witness testimony


The kids ask me to tell them stories all the time but I can’t remember any. Why? Yesterday going through rolls of film from 2019 made my skin crawl. Why? Why do I get dizzy and sad and afraid when I look back? Why can’t I remember? Will I remember this? Is it irresponsible of me not to journal every night? Will their childhoods just disappear into the ether? What good am I as a witness if I cannot recall? 

alex's chocolate chip cookie recipe

Classic Chocolate Chip Cookies

½ c all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
16 tbsp (2 sticks) salted butter, browned
8 tbsp salted butter (1 stick), solid, cut in chunks
1 c white sugar
1½ c brown sugar
5 tsp vanilla
2 tsp salt
2 eggs + 2 yolks
1½ c chocolate chips

Lily & Cameron's Wedding // Newport Beach, CA

Can you believe how cute these two are? Lily's heirloom Tiffany jewelry! Blended families joyfully blending anew! The smiliest nephew you've ever seen! This mini wedding is a real treat. Fun fact: I got married in this same temple one million years ago. 

More [100% Kodak film] photos from Lily and Cameron's mini wedding right this way:

alex's slightly modified version of Food52's best apple crisp

click here for original recipe by Ella Quittner via Food52 

Crisp Topping:

- 2/3 cups almond meal (aka almond flour)
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 sticks butter, cold, cubed
- 1 1/3 cup rolled oats

07/21/22 (via ig)

 Day 1 in @sequoiakingsnps. We got a late start leaving Bakersfield and arrived in the park around 1pm, about 100°F, so we decided to play in the river first. This spot in the river was near Hospital Rock, which is ironic, because right when we were about to leave and continue up the mountain, I fell on a rock and injured my elbow and y’all I would have *loved* to be in a hospital with AC and morphine. (I am okay!) @maryssor was the ultimate road trip hero and carried all three kids across the river and back to the car. I’ll post more about our other stops but first I needed to put these photos and videos here ✨ the hours we spent in this spot were sacred. Watching my precious children experience such purity and wonder filled me with gratitude and peace... 

the whole sky

 it's 10/20/23
i finally listened bigger than the whole sky for the first time
people said it was about miscarriage
and i couldn't bring myself to go there

i thought my miscarriages would someday 
fade away
because i know i've had all the babies i'll have

so there's nothing to worry about

they're not gone
they still loom so large in my life

they're not so bright red anymore
but each one

5 miscarriages
it's a lot

it's still a lot

i wish they'd never happened
miscarriage is so confusing
along with so many other feelings - 

hopeless "this was a miracle and now it's gone"
sad "i wanted this so bad"
wondering "why?" "how long will it take me to heal?"
haunting "maybe i could have done something"
angry "i'm trying to do the right thing"
exhausted "now we have to start all over"
sore "why does it hurt so bad"
embarrassed "all i want to do is talk about this but no one cares as much as me"
overflowing "wait but why"
upside down "how could this happen? i'm healthy, i've had healthy babies already"
disappointed "gosh i was so excited to have this baby"
disheartened "i want to give up"
heavy "this is too hard"
confusing "what exactly have i lost? how sad do i get to be?"
desperate "please God no please not again not again"

and even now
typing it all makes me cry

"you were more than just a short time"

Thank you to my paying subscribers

This message went out to paying subscribers of Handpicked on 10/3/23.

Hi wonderful supporters,

First and foremost, I thank all 27 of you receiving this message for supporting Handpicked with your dollars.

Tomorrow I’ll be announcing that Handpicked will no longer follow the paid subscription model. Going forward, all of the weekly newsletters and occasional extras will be free to everyone.

After a few months and a handful of paid issues, I’ve paused to look at what’s working and what’s not. To be frank, I’ve felt so weird and awkward promoting paid subscriptions. Talking people into buying my creative work has always been the thing I hate most about being a working artist.

It has occured to me that there’s another way, and that way is community support. Some of you have told me that you don’t really care that much about the Deep Dives and Gift Guides, that you only upgraded your subscription to support my work. To support me. And that makes me burst into tears.

If that’s not the case for you, and you’d prefer a refund, please reply to this email and I’ll take care of that right away.

In future newsletters, you’ll still see a clickable button to “support my work.” I’m going to try an experiment for the next few months and see if any readers besides you want to support Handpicked “just because.” Once the experiment is over, I’ll check back in with you.

It might sound like an odd time to bring up my values, but that’s the real reason I’m ending the paid subscription plan. The two traits I respect most in myself are openness and willingness to help. I’ve felt muddled as I’ve tried to discriminate between what newsletter posts “deserve” to be paid for and what should be free to everyone. I work hard to create every single issue of this newsletter and, while it’s never perfect, it’s always my best. Free and paid. Thank you for wanting to pay for it.

Last week I was really freaking out about my career, full spiral, ugly crying, pit of despair, etc. I found myself on my knees asking for clarity from my Higher Power. The answer that came to me was: “Just stop.” And while I am still figuring out exactly what that means, one conclusion was easy: I need to stop treating this newsletter like a growth mechanism and stop treating my audience as leverage. Handpicked is a beloved creative project, not a tool. You are a person, not a stat. I feel enormous relief as I give myself permission to stop trying to optimize/ hack/ monetize/ add value/ grow exponentially/ whatever else the newsletter expert bros say to do, and go back to putting this newsletter together 100% from the heart.

Thank you x1000.

July + August film // 2023

Independence Day, two museums (NHM, Getty Center), portraits of everyone, some closeups. This summer has definitely been my closeup era. 

After a year+ of not shooting very consistently, I feel like myself again. Making photographs grounds me. Maybe that's a little dramatic... photography might just be the frosting of my life. Still. So joy.

All photos made by me on Kodak films. Canon EOS 3, 50mm 1.2 lens ///
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