A Road Trip to Joshua Tree.

Posted on August 31, 2017


Back in October, some friends and I vacationed in Joshua Tree for a few days before heading out to the dopest wedding ever. We flew into Las Vegas and drove 3 hours through the beautiful Mojave desert. Joshua Tree turned out to be one of my most favorite places in the world. This trip was just special. Life-changing, even! We stayed at this airbnb, and it was amazing. The pictures don’t do it justice.


The pool was legiiiit.

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There were beautiful succulents and cacti all around the yard. I took a million photos!

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We barely cracked the surface of Joshua Tree National Park. I’d love to go back and do more exploring. We hiked the Barker Dam trail which was a feast for the eyes at every turn. It felt like we had stepped onto a different planet – it almost didn’t seem real. The sky and landscape were so expansive.

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Sad Cactus Series:


I took about 5,000 photos of Joshua Trees. I could.not.stop.

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Oh, Integratron, you magical little thing! We made a reservation for a group sound bath and I’m really, really happy we did. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, but I found it to be  both calming and energizing at different times throughout the session. Definitely visit this place if you’re ever in Joshua Tree! Make a reservation in advance and give yourself time before your appointment to wander the grounds. Buy a super-charged crystal in the gift shop and lounge in the hammocks!

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A few other favorites in Joshua Tree:

Natural Sisters Cafe. We ate here every day, sometimes twice a day. Delicious and fresh vegan food, juices, and desserts.

Joshua Tree Saloon. A fun place for dinner, drinks and karaoke. I love the western dive-bar vibe.

Grateful Desert. A natural food store and apothecary located next to Natural Sisters Cafe. I bought a handmade ring from a local artist, some delicious snacks, and a few sticks of palo santo.

Ricochet Vintage.  Funky vintage clothes, souvenirs, and trinkets.

Las Palmas. For the best fish tacos of your life.


We drove up Route 66 on our way back to Las Vegas and stopped at Roy’s Motel and Cafe in the Mojave desert town of Amboy, which is basically in the middle of nowhere. An art installation was staged throughout the six motel rooms and visitors could wander through the rooms freely. There were cryptic messages written on the walls, nails sticking out of the beds, and furnishings in disarray. It was fascinating. I could have wandered around those rooms for hours.


The drive back to Las Vegas was peaceful. We made a shared Spotify playlist so we could each add our favorite road trip songs to listen to during the drive. I’m such a sap, I listen to the playlist often.

I recorded a bunch of footage with my phone and compiled it all together to make a little video of our time in Joshua Tree and Las Vegas. Memmmories!




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Mike & Tiffany’s Las Vegas Wedding!

Posted on December 22, 2016




Back in October, two of my dear friends, Mike and Tiffany, got hitched at The Neon Museum in Las Vegas. They are quite the creative couple and they managed to pull off an equally creative wedding that was intimate, gorgeous, non-fussy and ridiculously cool. They asked me to photograph the event, to which I was very honored, but also STRESSS BARFFF. Shooting a wedding is very intimidating, at least to those of us who don’t spend our lives doing it professionally, because you literally only get one chance to get it right. Not that they put any pressure on me, they were in fact super chill about it. I was all ‘I’M NOT A WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER I DON’T KNOW HOW TO INTERACT WITH HUMANS WHAT IF MY CAMERA SPONTANEOUSLY EXPLODES AND STABS YOU IN THE FACE I’M SCARED’ and they were all ‘whatev, just do yo thang, girl’.


I visited The Neon Museum once before, so I was super excited when they told me they had chosen it for their venue.  This place is a party for the eyes!





We had an hour before the ceremony to wander the museum and take photos of just the two of them. Are these two not the ugliest human beings you’ve ever seen? #opposite


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Their good friend Meghan officiated the wedding (so smart – why didn’t we do that?!) and her 1960s Priscilla Presley look was ON POINT. Y’all made my job so easy.


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An intimate group of Mike and Tiff’s very best people flew to Vegas to relax, hang out, and party for days. And party we did.




We all gathered around as they read their vows which were sweet, sentimental, funny, and smart.  STOP BEING SO PERFECT, YOU GUYS.


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The table settings for the reception were effortlessly casual and pretty, although we all know these things never happen ‘effortlessly’. White wooden tables with burlap runners, bud vases with single cut flowers, loose greenery, and succulents made for a casual desert vibe. The sun had set by the end of the ceremony, but I had a few minutes to snap some photos of the tables beforehand.




Then there were speeches. Everyone cried (again). Dinner, drinking, dancing, ensued.



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Love love love.  Mike and Tiff, thank you for the best time ever and thank you for trusting me to shoot these photos (except for the one directly above which I believe Drew took after I drunkenly handed him my camera so I could get crunk). I love you guys so very much. CONGRATULATIONS!



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Kittens, OMG!

Posted on August 29, 2016




Two of my good friends, Eve and Shiloh of Grateful Paws, recently fostered a mama cat and her four kittens through Ferndale Cat Shelter. I stopped by a few weeks ago to cuddle their faces and shoot some photos to help generate interest in them. I’m happy to report that the kittens were recently adopted as pairs into two loving forever homes!


Unfortunately, people have certain negative perceptions about shelter animals. These animals need a little extra help to get people excited about them. Great images bring people into shelters. That’s a fact. I wish I could show you Eleanor’s low quality Petfinder photo, but I forgot to save it. The photo was taken from high above her crate with a flash. She looked like a scary little blob with glared eyes. A few days after I adopted her I took this photo:




Who wouldn’t want to meet that dog, right? So when Eve and Shiloh asked me to set up a photo shoot with the kittens to help them get adopted, I immediately jumped on board. In fact, I plan to donate my photography services to more shelters in the area moving forward. It’s so important to get these fur babes out of shelters and into loving homes.


At the beginning of the photo shoot they refused to sit still and gave me a run for my money. If only I had that youth and vigor! By the end though, they were falling asleep on each other in a cuddle pit. IT WAS SO CUTE I THREW UP.


Check out these kitten pics, yo:







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Let me tell you, nothing cures what ails you quite like a kitten cuddle session. Thanks for looking! Meow.



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Mix n’ Match Dining Chairs.

Posted on July 20, 2016

View More: http://katesassak.pass.us/tracey-sponge


Several years ago, when I threw our breakfast nook together, I slid these two chairs under the table as a temporary fix while I shopped around for a more cohesive pair. While I love the eclectic vibe of having two different chairs, I never really loved the ghost chair in there, and the danish arm chair always felt a little too heavy.  I searched for a while, then got busy, and well, these chairs were *fine*, so I just never got around to replacing them. Lately I’ve been itching to switch things up, so when Chairish reached out and asked me to share my two cents on how to successfully mix and match dining chairs, it was perfect timing. For those of you not familiar with Chairish, it’s an online marketplace filled with gorgeous vintage finds. It’s kind of like Craigslist or Ebay, but more curated and organized.  You don’t have to spend hours scrolling through pages of ugly Walmart chairs from the 90s while trying to get to the good stuff, and I appreciate that.


I don’t think most people want their furniture to be super matchy, they just don’t know how to mix furniture styles, so they run to the nearest furniture liquidator store, buy a generic dining table that comes with 8 matching chairs, and call it a day. It’s cheap and convenient. I get it. But honestly, mixing and matching furniture is pretty simple, it just takes a little bit of thought and intention. When done right, it can make a space feel interesting, unique, and fun.


An important key to making disparate styles of furniture look intentional and not like your drunk uncle’s basement, is to keep everything within a consistent color palette throughout your space. My color palette is mostly white, black, varying shades of grey, pale pink, warm metals, neutrals, and light/medium wood tones. If I’m shopping and see something I love, but it doesn’t jibe with my color palette, I let it go. It’s truly a lesson in self control. At a garage sale a few years ago, I impulse purchased a set of teal 1950s dining chairs. I *knew* the color was wrong, but the tiny delusional hoarder that lives in my head was like I CAN MAKE THEM WORK. Spoiler alert: They looked terrible. I hemmed and hawed about reupholstering them, but then I lost them in the floodpocalypse of 2014 anyway. Lesson learned. Stick with the color palette!


View More: http://katesassak.pass.us/tracey-sponge


I’ve been re-envisioning my breakfast nook by playing around with a design board, virtually swapping different chairs in and out. Here are a few that I love, both new and vintage.



Clockwise from top left: Rug, hanging planter, set of bertoia chairs, wooden planters, rose chair, gold chair, acid/glam mugs, moscow mule cup, lucite bar cart, wooden chair, light fixture, dining table.


My house is tiny, so I try to maximize space, including visual space, as much as possible by choosing airy furniture with open backs and thin legs. This allows your eyes to travel through the furniture and makes the room feel visually more expansive. And obviously, lucite is great for the same reason.


So what do you think? Which ones are your favorite?  That gold chair is quite an investment but it makes me INTENSELY SWOONY.





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Posted on April 23, 2016




I just spent the last two hours listening to Ann Delisi’s thoughtful tribute to Prince on WDET. She ended the show with Purple Rain and I ugly cried, big heavy tears, for the first time since he passed away.


Ever since the news broke I’ve vacillated between disbelief and numbness. The grief has only just started to creep in. Truth be told, I’m still reeling from the death of David Bowie.


These two mystical, magical, alien-rockstars seduced me before I was old enough to know any better. They emoted this irreverence of gender and style that just DID something to me. Their rebellion against the norm awakened my inner weirdo. They taught me to walk in through the out door.


“I’m not a woman. I’m not a man. I am something that you’ll never understand”.




I was about five years old when my parents brought home Prince’s album, 1999.  I took to it like a moth to a flame. It was hard for me to stay in my body when his music was playing. During an impassioned moment I jumped from my bed while belting the words to Delirious and sprained my ankle. Later, while performing a dance routine to Baby I’m a Star, I over compensated a flip and broke my toe. I guess if I’m going to have arthritis, let it be from Prince!


Last year I saw Prince perform for the second time in my life. I never guessed it would be the last. As I stood 18 rows from the stage at the Fox Theatre I felt an overwhelming sense of gratitude. He could have easily sold out a stadium, but he chose to play a three-hour marathon set inside an intimate theatre. To Prince, the music has always mattered more than money. And the music slayed us that night. I’ll never forget it.


I read that Prince passed away in the elevator of his home. An erie example of how life imitates art. Toward the end of Ann Delisi’s radio show she played Let’s Go Crazy. I listened to Prince’s eulogy of “this thing called life” for the billionth time, and I could still hear his message loud and clear. In that moment I realized he’s not really gone. He just punched a higher floor.



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