JULY 2018

#182 Our First Apartment.JPG

#182 Our First Apartment

01 July 2018 // Eugene, Oregon

We took a second to pay a visit to our old apartment, the first one we ever lived in as a married couple.

Sadly, it might also be the last one we’ll ever rent for less than $1000. Some parts of Oregon are especially easy to miss compared to California.

We remembered moving all our stuff in just before the wedding, the day we brought Beignet home, her walks all over the bushes, the crazy ice storm that knocked over all these trees, and the Saturdays we would start things super late, make pancakes, and throw on our shows.

#183 Pip's Original Doughnuts.JPG

#183 Pip’s Original Doughnuts

02 July 2018 // Portland, Oregon

Filling up on Pip’s on my last day in town. Because if you didn’t have a bunch of doughnuts, were you even in Portland?

#184 I Fly PDX.JPG

#184 I Fly PDX

03 July 2018 // Portland, Oregon

Headed home, by way of my very favorite airport.

Bring it on, two day work week!

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#185 Fourth of July 18

04 July 2018 // San Diego, California

“Home is home.”

After a long conversation with a South African about all the challenges and problems in his country, that’s the conclusion he drew. When some place becomes home to you, you have some degree of ownership over its challenges and the process of making things better.

The USA is my home. There are changes I’d love to see happen, sure, but part of calling it home means being part of that process. It’s not an overnight process, and the path isn’t always linear, but home is home.

#186 One Hundred Years of Solitude.JPG

#186 One Hundred Years of Solitude

05 July 2018 // San Diego, California

“It is enough for me to be sure that you and I exist at this moment.”

–Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Book No. 16 of 2018

Alright, a bit of a confession- I wanted to like this book a lot more than I think I actually did. I really like Gabriel Garcia Marquez, I’ve had a positive interaction with him, I’ve liked other books of his, and I do like magical realism. Yet this book just was a bit too meandering for me. There were some interesting moments for sure, but on the whole, it felt like I never got too deeply invested in anything.


#187 Bao.JPG

#187 Bao

06 July 2018 // San Diego, California

Bao, the out-of-the-box Pixar short that will make you want to call your mom, instantly take away that desire, and then just make you really hungry instead.

#188 Heatwave Antidote.JPG

#188 Heatwave Antidote

07 July 2018 // San Diego, California

I’m not much of a surfer, I’m definitely not a hot weather person, but I’ll sign up for everything about this pic. Heatwave antidote.

#189 Watermelon Smile.JPG

#189 Watermelon Smile

08 July 2018 // San Diego, California

Think of the bravest person you know.

Take 30 seconds. Just think about them.

Good job.

Now run towards that thing you’ve felt resistance towards.

#190 Pray for Port Au Prince.JPG

#190 Pray for Port Au Prince

09 July 2018 // San Diego, California

This weekend I’m set to fly to Haiti with my friend Lei to capture some stories of Plant With Purpose communities, but right now I’m hoping that this trip can still happen. This weekend was a tumultuous one in Port Au Prince. The government increased gas prices, sparking a lot of heated demonstrations that have blocked roads and caused flights in to Port Au Prince to be cancelled.

There is hardly anything about this on my newsfeeds, timelines, or on headlines I’ve seen. Here in the U.S., I’ve had to do a lot of my own research to find out this is even happening, let alone the complex causes behind it. Just a reminder of how “reading the news” doesn’t always mean being fully informed. Our focus is often narrow and misguided. When places like Haiti do get our attention, it’s only over things that seem shocking or scary.

But that’s a large part of the reason I’m drawn to international storytelling. And not just in a journalistic way, but on a human level. And that’s why I look forward to capturing those stories in Haiti, whether that happens next week or needs to be postponed for another, calmer time. Because beyond the unrest and hardship, there are people helping other people. There are people healing their land. There are so many more stories that capture the human spirit. Haiti deserves more than a one-sided story.

#191 Lola's 100th.JPG

#191 Lola’s 100th

10 July 2018 // San Diego, California

Today my grandma would’ve been 100 years old. She lived to be 98, and I last saw her at her 96th birthday party.

This plate is kind of a strange memento, but it reminds me of the last time I saw her- and that might actually be one of my fondest memories of her. I introduced her to Deanna, and although her memory was mostly gone by that point, her warmth and excitement were unmistakeable. She went on to give us a tour of her house, four times in a row, each time pointing out the same things. Every time we went into her room, she showed off this plate and told us, “imagine… you can have all this!”

That was a summer that followed a very eventful and fairly tragic spring. I spent it in a few Asian countries, and the phrase ‘go where the love is’ replayed over and over in my head. I knew that me and Deanna in the Philippines was one way to do that. When Lola passed two years ago, it occurred to me how much she embodied that phrase. Even though I had no idea how to afford the trip, I booked a flight from Eugene to her hometown of Iloilo.

After her memorial service, I asked her caretaker if she knew anything about the plate. I hadn’t given any thought to heirlooms or mementos, but I thought the plate might be a meaningful thing for me to hold on to. I had no idea if she’d even know what I was talking about. 

“You know, the china plate with my grandma’s face!”The next day, she found me and handed it to me wrapped in a plastic bag.

I continue to ask myself what it means to go where the love is. That question never fails to help make things clear.

#192 Haiti on Hold.JPG

#192 Haiti on Hold

11 July 2018 // San Diego, California

My trip to Haiti this week is officially off.

Thankfully, however, things seem to have improved a lot over the past week. The fuel increase was called off and a lot of the streets have emptied and clean up has begun. It’s still a fairly volatile area, though, so continued prayers are still a good idea.

And if all goes well I’ll be going in August.

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#193 Illustrator: Seattle

12 July 2018 // San Diego, California

I’ve been using Photoshop for like, 13 years. That’s gotten me way too dependent on it. I use Photoshop even for tasks where there are definitely better Adobe products for the job. One of my summer goals has been to get way better at Illustrator.

Here are some early returns- a poster of Seattle that I used to practice shapes and a mock-up Plant With Purpose enamel pin to practice the pen tool.

#194 Angie.JPG

#194 Angie

13 July 2018 // San Diego, California

Good friends. Good talks. Good eats.

What more could you want?

#195 LA Rooftops.JPG

#195 LA Rooftops

14 July 2018 // Los Angeles, California

Since Haiti didn’t work out, we went to LA to help Nat and Mus move into their new place. DTLA is all about linear patterns, right angles, and rooftop hangs. And being right in the middle of everything.

#196 World Cup 2018.JPG

#196 World Cup 2018

15 July 2018 // Los Angeles, California

I pretty much remember where I was for every single World Cup game I’ve watched since high school. None of them were at home. For the World Cup, I try to seek out the most packed house, public viewing I can find.

I had to be in the US for the finale this year, but Downtown LA isn’t a bad spot to try and find a spirited crowd. This Irish pub had just the right lower level seating area to meet my tastes for a final viewing party.

#197 Alex's 25th.JPG

#197 Alex’s 25th

16 July 2018 // San Diego, California

Welcome to quarter life, cous!

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#198 Beloved

17 July 2018 // San Diego, California

“Something that is loved is never lost.”

–Toni Morrison

Book No. 17 of 2018

Of all the books I’ve read in the past few years, this might be one of the hardest ones to describe my reaction. I’m simultaneously impressed and confused, I guess. It’s thematically rich and robust, the way a ghost story speaks to the psychological legacy of slavery is brilliant and kind of a spiritual predecessor to something like Get Out.

At the same time the book is so densely packed with allusions and themes and meaning that it’s hard to know exactly what just happened and what it all really means.

I have a bunch of respect for Toni Morrison, though, and I get why this book gets the attention that it does.


#199 Brew Coffee.JPG

#199 Brew Coffee

18 July 2018 // La Mesa, California

Usually when I do a writing day off-site and at a coffee shop, I go in search of whoever has the best outdoor seating where I can still grab an outlet.

This week is different. If your A/C is on blast and you’ve got cold brew, I’m there.

#200 Combo No. 2.JPG

#200 Combo No. 2

19 July 2018 // San Diego, California

You know how awesome it is to try and control the emotional energy in a room only towards the positive ones? You can totally tell jokes and respond for people to make sure nobody has to feel sad or angry or embarrassed or anything!

Oh did I say awesome? I meant to say easy. At least for me. It’s way too easy to do that and it isn’t always right.

One of the bigger things I’ve been developing this year is a better ability to hold back from “fixing things” or offering the sunny solution in less than a second.

I’d share what I’ve learned by trying to work on that, but I’m still in the early part of the process and I mess up a lot. I guess my one note would be that it’s been worth it. Discomfort is often worth it.

#201 Red Sea Restaurant.JPG

#201 Red Sea Restaurant

20 July 2018 // San Diego, California

Trying to help people is hard work, and you don’t want to get burnt out. That’s why I think it’s important to celebrate every single win.

Plant With Purpose just ended a really good fiscal year and I’m glad this team know how to celebrate the right way- by spending a Friday out of the office hunting for treasure in the park and discovering that the real treasure is the Ethiopian café you go to at the end of the day.

#202 Bob's Burgers x Shake Shack.JPG

#202 Bob’s Burgers x Shake Shack

21 July 2018 // San Diego, California

We’re all here for this Bob’s Burgers Comic-Con activation, hosted by Shake Shack.

#203 Nephew Safari.JPG

#203 Nephew Safari

22 July 2018 // Escondido, California

Went with my nephews and in-laws to the zoo yesterday, got to see Simon woo a kangaroo into lettimg him pet its back, and went back for more Ethiopian food for my sister-in-law’s birthday.

All this in spite of the fact that the Earth’s thermostat is stuck and it’ll never be cold again.

#204 The Next Few Trips.JPG

#204 The Next Few Trips

23 July 2018 // San Diego, California

I’m extremely excited for some of the events and trips I have coming up over the next few months. Can’t wait to meet new people and spend time in a few of my favorite cities.

#plywoodpresents is one I’ve been anticipating for a long time. I’m looking forward to getting connected to other problem-solvers and getting more involved with the Plywood community.

+ I’ll be going to Haiti immediately after to make up for that trip that was postponed from last month. Can’t wait to see my next Plant With Purpose field site.

#farwest2018 is in Portland, and I’m excited to be able to return to PDX so soon. Repping a nonprofit at a trade show for nurseries will be a new one for me!

+ I’ve been following the #STORY2018 world for quite some time and I’m excited to get to be there in person this year in Nashville. Plus, I don’t spend enough time in Nashville. Nashville is great.

#205 The Milk Lady of Bangalore

24 July 2018 // San Diego, California

“You tie empty Coke and Sprite bottles around your waist in order to float in the water; you line up tattered shoes as goalposts when you play football; and you figure out how to get an animal to the third floor. But you don’t give up on culture and tradition, particularly when they bring you good luck.”

–Shoba Narayan

Book No. 18 of 2018

This book was a bit like a This American Life episode, minus the fact that it wasn’t really American at all. I went back and forth between thinking that cows were way more fascinating than I would’ve ever guessed, and wondering if the story had any direction or point at all.


#206 One Word at a Time.JPG

#206 One Word at a Time

25 July 2018 // San Diego, California

A story written with my nephews, each of us contributing one word at a time.




They died.

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#207 Two Family Dinner

26 July 2018 // San Diego, California

Such a treat getting so much family time over the past few days, especially when it involves getting both families together.

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#208 Bali Hai

27 July 2018 // San Diego, California

Bali Hai confirms my theory that there’s a tiki bar lover somewhere deep inside each of us. Always a treat whenever I get to eat here.

#209 It's Gonna Be A Girl.JPG

#209 It’s Gonna Be a Girl

28 July 2018 // San Diego, California

It’s gonna be a girl!

Congrats Ivy & JB. We loved being there for baby’s first text.


#210 PWP x PLCPC

29 July 2018 // San Diego, California

I had a blast this weekend getting to share Plant With Purpose’s work with my church. Point Loma Community Presbyterian has sponsored a village in the Dominican Republic for several years.

Now Los Arroyones is at the point where it just doesn’t need as much support from the outside, and it wants to be an advocate for environmental stewardship to neighboring communities. Happy to celebrate the occasion with the congregation across three services.

#211 The Packup.JPG

#211 The Packup

30 July 2018 // San Diego, California

It was a good day.

Got to catch up with an old friend. I surprised myself with how much I got done at work just before leaving the office for a couple weeks. I got to spend quality time at home with Deanna and Beignet.

Much of life has felt like a pursuit lately, and that’s kind of a good thing. But I also love those in-between days and where we are right now.

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#212 Atlantabound

31 July 2018 // Atlanta, Georgia

Made it to Atlanta and woke up pumped for day one of Plywood Presents but yesterday was a travel day for sure.

Storms kept us circling the airport for so long we had to stop in Nashville to fuel up the plane. Made it to ATL later than I would’ve liked but I still managed to grab burgers at a local fave- Grindhouse Killer Burgers Just might be directed by Quentin Tarantino but their Grindhouse double burger was tough to argue with.

Philippe Lazaro