Over the last year or so, I’ve been thinking a lot about photography and what I want from it. I’ve largely been doing this instead of actually taking photos.

After lots of self-reflection and experiments with different photographic mediums, I’ve realized the happiest I’ve ever been with my relationship with photography was probably my last year of college, when I would travel, document everything obsessively with my digital camera, and spend hours editing photos before sharing them on this blog.

So I’m going back to how things were – living a life worth documenting, and documenting the sh*t out of it.

I went to Fort Funston this weekend with Ben, Giulia and Mark. Fort Funston has been on my to-do list since I first vacationed here in 2008. For some reason I had always thought it was a tiny fort nestled underneath the Golden Gate Bridge, when in reality, it’s a gigantic ocean-side dog park in the lower-left corner of the city.

I met a wolf dog. I would very much like to own one in the next five years. I regret not getting this guy’s contact info, as I think he’d probably like these.

We eventually found the beach.

After our Funston hike, we headed to Ocean Beach to find Jim Denevan, a well-known sand artist, who we heard was starting just getting started on a piece. I remembered seeing this guy when I was in San Francisco on vacation in 2008, and thinking this was just part of San Francisco’s magic, along with the bakeries and delicious coffee and many hills and ice cream flavors.

He makes these fantastic, mathematically-precise shapes, only to be trampled and washed away at the end of the day.

More adventures soon.

Posted in san francisco · 3 Comments

Renee + Alex’s Wedding!

So during the Raleigh leg of my NC trip, I snapped photos of the wonderful Alex + Renee on their wedding day. So many of my favorite people were in attendance – the night was definitely a highlight of the trip.

Here are a few shots from the day. (Attendees, you should be receiving a link to the rest of the photos.)

(Sorry Anne. I still think this the cutest picture ever.)


Posted in north carolina · 1 Comment

Film times + some new apartment photos.

I’m really into film right now. I’m finally getting the hang of my Yashica Mat (which I’ve only had since Christmas), though I’m realizing that horrible eyesight + manual focus = lots of out-of-focus photos. Might be time for me to get hip and invest in some glasses.

Here are some photos from recent adventures (and my new wonderful studio apartment!!! I’ll write more about that later).

This is Brandom, one of my closest bros who now happens to live across the hall from me. He’s petting his firstborn son, Howard Borden.

This is a rather unexpected double-exposure of Aaron’s parents at Baker Beach + my friend Kara at her baby shower.

Dudes at Baker Beach.

Another unexpected double-exposure (Yashica Mats aren’t supposed to take doubles) while adventuring at Land’s End.

A happy Bob at Land’s End.

Scenic Fourloko at Land’s End.

Brandom posing in front of my beeeeeeautiful apartment view.


Moi in color.

Books in need of a bookshelf.

A view of my new room!

Me + Howard. (Photo by Brandom)

Sitting on my fire escape. Word cannot describe how much I love this place.

Life is good.

Ok, that’s all for now. More updates soon.


Posted in film, san francisco · 3 Comments

More film.

A few more shots from the Yashica Mat…

Posted in film, san francisco · Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , · 2 Comments

New family times.

Last weekend was primarily centered around family-related stuff. For one, Aaron’s family was in town for the weekend, and in addition to that, I was planning to meet my sister on Friday night, for the first time ever. (Background story on that here.)

We made plans to meet at Minibar, in my neighborhood. I headed over, ordered a greyhound, found my perch and buried myself deep into my mobile phone while I waited for her to arrive. I was still buried when I heard “Helena? Is that you?”

So right off the bat, my sister is f*cking gorgeous and amazing. She looks so much like my dad. We gave each other a big hug, sat right down and got to catching up. I really had no idea how I’d react, but it wasn’t a teary emotional event at all. We had already gotten through all of that through our online correspondence. At this point, we were just in disbelief and general excitement that we were actually together in real life.

We spent the rest of the night drinking girly drinks (because that’s what sisters do) and talking about EVERYTHING. It’s pretty bizarre how much you can have in common with someone you just met.

So, in summary, my sister is awesome and I actually know her in real life now. 2011 is great so far.

Next up was adventure time with Aaron’s parents, Bob and Roberta (the Bobs, if you will).

I love the Bobs. They are perched up in Portland, but both lived (and actually met) in San Francisco. From time to time they get homesick enough to come down for a visit.

We explored Baker Beach…

ate pork buns on Clement…

wandered through museums…

and climbed around Land’s End, among other things.

That’s all for now. More updates soon!


Posted in san francisco, visitors · Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , · 3 Comments

I’m so hood.

Last night I went to Oakland in a green jumpsuit. That is all.

[^ photo by Mick Frederick]

Posted in san francisco · Tagged , , , , · Leave a comment

So I have a sister.

In fact, I’ve had one my entire life.  I just had no idea.

Long story short:

It was almost four years ago.  I was on tour with American Aquarium.  We were playing a show at The Evening Muse in Charlotte, NC, with Jeremy Fisher and the North Labrea All-Star Conquistadors (to be specific). I was turning 20 at midnight.

(photo from that night)

I was sitting at the merch table, blogging away (writing this one, actually), and I check my MySpace inbox to find a message from a Brandi Price – my older sister. At this point, I’d never heard anything about a sister. Needless to say, this came as a little surprise.

My dad had died a few weeks ago, and apparently in the sorting through of his estate it was discovered that he in fact had another child. The estate lawyer contacted her and provided her with information that eventually led to her finding me on MySpace. She unfortunately never met my dad, and had no idea who he was until receiving the news that he was dead.

All of this was a bit emotionally taxing, if you will, but man, it’s an exciting feeling to discover you have another sibling! Interacting with her was amazing – she has an eerily similar sense of humor and even writing style to me – I sometimes felt like I was writing to myself. Genetics at work, I suppose.

Brandi and I obviously had a lot of catching up to do. The next six months were filled with long letters back and forth, ranging from lining up our pasts to talking about boyfriends. It was awesome. And then… she disappeared. Her messages stopped coming, and eventually she deleted her MySpace account completely, without a word.

I’ve spent the last two and some years incessantly searching the depths of the internet for her (how can someone related to me be so hard to find online?), I had pretty much given up on finding her again.

Then, Saturday morning, I check my inbox to see an email from Brandi Price.

Guess what? She lives an hour and a half from San Francisco, and we’re grabbing a drink on Friday. I finally get to meet my freaking sister.

23 years late, but it’ll do. :D

Posted in Etc. · Tagged , , · 6 Comments

Healthy train report: Week 1

Hi all!  As I mentioned in my last blog, I’ve made a plan to get healthy again, and will be keeping the interwebs posted as a means of accountability/reason to keep it up.

…and by the way, it’s actually working.

This has been my process so far:

  • Breakfast: Eggy/protein breakfast before I leave for work, usually two boiled eggs and some beans I cooked the night before.
  • Lunch: A little bit of meat, and a lot of beans/vegetables (usually leftovers from dinner I cooked the night before), or Caribbean/Mexican food from down the street (plates w/ no rice or tortillas)
  • Dinner: I cook a ton of delicious meat, beans, vegetables.  Then I eat it.
  • Saturday: Cheat day.  Ate lots of bread and potatoes and BBQ sandwiches and beer.
  • Notes:  I actually cheated a little bit every day (oops).  I also only went to the gym one day this week (I’m aiming for at least three).

Results: *

  • Lost 6.5 pounds (143.5 to 137)
  • Lost .5″ in arms (mid-bicep)
  • Lost .5″ in legs (mid-thigh)
  • Lost 2.5″ in waist
  • Lost 2″ in hips
  • My face has lost some weight, and literally looks different.

* No, I’m not intending to sound like an infomercial, and no, I am not obsessed with my measurements.  I didn’t even own a scale until a week ago.  I just like seeing and tracking data, especially as motivator for change.

More Notes: I eat a lot, and continued to eat a lot this week – just of protein and vegetables instead of noodles and sandwiches.  I am way less hungry, have no sharp jumps in blood sugar (crazy shaky hunger attacks and random sleepy/dizzy spells = gone), and am actually spending significantly less money on food than normal (more grocery shopping/cooking at home).

Holy shit.  This is actually working.

I also just ordered some workout equipment to use at home, in addition to going to the gym.  I’m not really prone to building muscle, but I’m going to try to put some muscle-y pounds on these bones.

More updates to come!


Posted in healthy train · Tagged , , , , , , · 7 Comments

Back on the Healthy Train.

A coworker recently told me (endearingly) that I am a habitual planner. Funny, I had never sit down to think about it, but I’ll be damned if I am not, in fact, a habitual, borderline-obsessive planner. I make resolution after resolution throughout the year, related to health, productivity, work, life, you name it. I don’t necessarily carry all of these plans out, but I just keep on planning anyway.

Reasons could be:

  • I suppose planning keeps me entertained and my spirits up when I feel like my life is becoming a bit too ordinary.
  • I think that going through more than a decade of rigorous classical piano training ingrained in me a sense of perfectionism – that is, a constant desire to do better than others as well as myself. Long story short, I’m never satisfied.

Now don’t confuse the dissatisfaction with lack of appreciation or optimism – believe me, I appreciate every good and mediocre and awful experience I’ve ever had in my lifetime. Rather, I just don’t like to sit around. I feel like there’s always something new or better that can be done, and I have a need to pursue it.

So in the last year I’ve made AT LEAST 3 major plans around getting healthy, ranging from running every day (if you know me well, you know that I’ve never run in my life, but I actually did this for a while), going to the gym every day (also did this for a while), going on a whole-grains/fish/vegetable diet, going vegan, then going 90% vegan…. the list goes on.

Well, I have a new plan, and I think it’s finally time for me to not half-ass it and actually make this work.

I recently stumbled upon this blog post in Gizmodo, essentially an excerpt from Tim Ferriss’ Four-Hour-Body, describing what he calls “the slow-carb diet.” By that night, I had the book and was 200 pages in.

In a nutshell, the slow-carb diet is as follows:

  • Don’t eat any white carbs or even whole grains.
  • Eat lots of repeating meals consisting of vegetables, legumes, and proteins.
  • Eat a high-protein breakfast within 30 minutes of waking up, every day.
  • Don’t eat fruit.
  • Don’t drink calories (no juice, soda, alcohol, milk, soymilk, etc.)
  • THE BEST PART: Take one break-day a week to eat whatever the heck you want. The break-day serves to prevent your metabolism from leveling off at a lower rate – thus, eating crap on break-day actually facilitates weight loss. I expect most of my break-day meals to consist of fried chicken + noodles + pie.

I really don’t find this diet to be daunting. I love vegetables, legumes, and proteins, and can think of plenty of ways to cook them. And for whatever I feel like I’m missing out on, I can just eat it on my break-day.

So last night, Aaron and I went shopping at Trader Joe’s, bought a ton of cheap veggies and beans and lentils and meat, grabbed a scale and tape measure from the neighboring hardware store, and headed home to get started. I’ll be measuring my progress (literally) every week, & posting updates on the blog as a means to keep myself motivated.

My goal is to lose 20 pounds of fat, and gain 5 or so pounds of muscle, leaving me with a 15-pound loss total. I know 20 pounds sounds like a shitton, but I’m 5’9″. The changes on me aren’t THAT drastic. For instance, I lost almost 40 pounds from 2007 to 2008 and it didn’t look like I lost a human or anything. Either way, I’m looking forward for getting back into the healthy-zone.

Helena at biggest, 2007: 157 pounds

Helena at healthiest, 2008: 130 pounds

Helena at medium, now: 143 pounds

That’s all for now from the healthy train. I’ll have updates for you next week!


Posted in healthy train · Tagged , , , , , · 6 Comments

New year, new blog!


Seriously guys, I’ve been wanting a new site forever. The other one looked fine and all, but it was extremely limiting in a variety of ways:

1) I couldn’t post a blog without a photo to accompany it. That’s silly. What if I just want to post a word or two (like this post, for instance)?
2) With the old design you could only browse one post at a time, and in a way, this made me feel like every post I made had to be some epic production. Maybe this was possible when I was touring or traveling, but these days, not so much. I now need something better suited to casual scrolling.
3) I had no leeway with the design. I couldn’t add a sidebar, nothing. Also silly.
4) It was a free WordPress template that anyone could copy and use for themselves. I’d rather have something a bit different.

So I’ve slowly been working on this new design, on and off, for probably 10 months now. I would have loved for it to happen sooner, but I am teaching myself HTML and CSS as I go, and that, in combination with being busy with life in general, made the learning/researching/coding an exhausting and timely process. I still have a ton of kinks to work out, but I think it’s ready enough to make live and just go with it until I read some more tutorials and stare at the code long enough to figure it out (or until I get a headache and back off again).

ALSO – I’ve gone back and added a ton of epic old stories from touring and traveling – I had never posted them online other than in my old email list and on my MySpace blog (throwback). Feel free to browse through them by clicking on “travel stories” or “tour stories.”

Again, YAY! Happy 2011.


Posted in Etc. · Tagged , , · 1 Comment