[ kitchen collective napa ]

I love new neighbors. As Forrest Gump would put it, "you never know what you're gonna get." My zeal for meeting the people around me has undoubtedly weirded out a few folks, especially when I lived in the heart of Boston and San Francisco. I think showing up at people's doors with a plate of cookies + a smile is often interpreted as naive or Pollyanna-esque. But I didn't care then, and I don't care now. The people who get it have become some of my sweetest friends, with an added benefit - they're right next door. 

A couple of years ago, I penned, "It's easy to put on armor in my city life, to buy into a dog-eat-dog mentality. But I'm not chained to that. Neighborly kindness is my choice, and I want to have a small town heart wherever I roam." (Couldn't have said it better myself.)

Now that I'm back in a small town, it's still challenging to grow relationships with those around me. I'm not running into the same faces in the apartment hallway, the laundromat downstairs, or the corner bodega. So I loved meeting my new downtown neighbors at Kitchen Collective, a membership-based cooking club, who not only welcomed Pollyanna in, but also invited me to join them for a dinner featuring Hudson Valley foie-gras. Chef Itamar (pictured below with Chef Antonia) prepared some gorgeous food, but parting ways friends with my neighbors - that was the best stuff. If you're local or just love visiting Napa, check out their membership options, it's a great concept! 

[ spring in napa ]

It's been a dark, rainy winter in Napa. If I were a dried-up field or a drought scientist I would've rejoiced each day (we are years into a deep drought in California). However....I am a confirmed lizard. My rejoicing springs forth when the mustards come, because they promise daffodils and camelias...and MAYBE even tulips....and by the time tulips get to Napa, well, winter is really being chased out of town. There is, of course, a season for everything. And this rain is a sweet gift to tired, dry earth from Shasta to San Diego. But HALLELUJAH, people.

The mustards have arrived. 

[ trait de genie pop art ]

Jermaine creates the kind of art that hits you between the eyes. You either love it or hate it, but you definitely can't ignore it. Screaming with color, you'd think these portraits were created in some concrete loft in LA or Brooklyn. Instead, Jermaine paints from his living room studio in small-town Vallejo, California. Surrounded by family, kids toys, and his wine collection, he paints in the middle of the night - after the kids have gone to bed, and before his day job starts. With time at a minimum, he often will paint a complete work in one sitting. Jermaine asked me to document his workspace and process, as well as follow his finished pieces to private, retail and hospitality locations around the Bay Area. With a big opening show on the horizon and a new website underway, we created these images to communicate the artist's personality and the versatility of his bold, bright art.