True Friendship

Kiana Underwood / | Photography: Nathan Underwood / Today's post is a little departure from the norm, but near to my heart. I can count the number of real friends I have in this world on one hand. One of my oldest and dearest friends, Joy, is an incredible writer. I'm often really touched by her blog entries, and one of my absolute favorites was this one that she wrote to her daughter. She has also just recently published an amazing journal on gratitude. We decided to collaborate on a blog post using the language of "words and flowers".

Flowers: Chrysanthemum is the flower of friendship, love and fidelity, and white ones in particular symbolize loyal love and truth. Carnations also symbolize love and friendship, so of course I had to incorporate them into my arrangement. I added a couple more to the mix - peony, which symbolizes good fortune, as well as the camellia, which so appropriately symbolizes an everlasting union.

So, I'll leave you with her beautiful passage on our friendship. I love you Joy!

Kiana Underwood / | Photography: Nathan Underwood /

Joy writes, "Friends are hard to come by. I've had people tell me that I would never make friends like I had in grade school. I've had others tell me the same about high school and college. There's a little truth to all of them, but the adage I really subscribe to is this - people come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime. There's a nice poem that elaborates, but the crux of it is this...sometimes you need something (material or otherwise), and by chance (or not, depending on your outlook) you'll meet someone who gives you just that thing, and then when the need is fulfilled, they disappear from your life forever and you have to move on. The lesson is learned.

Those are the ones who are in your life for a reason. There are others, the seasonal kind, who are in your life to help you grow, to learn from you, to share experiences. But it's only for a season. When the season changes, so do those relationships, and they likely fade away.

The ones that are the most treasured for me are the lifetime people - they teach you lifetime lessons. To forgive. To love, without judgment. To appreciate. To accept. To use what they have taught or shown you, and pay it forward. The overarching theme in these is love.

Two of my "lifers," my perennials, are Kiana and our friend Eric. When we were in college at UCSB, we used to go down to the cliffs by the beach after dinner, with our hot chocolates from the dining hall, sit on the steps, listen to the crashing waves while we discussed life's pressing matters.

Now, we are all busy, but none of us glorify it or use it as an excuse. We take the time to keep in touch via email or text, and even if it stretches to months in between, we only worry instead of finding fault, and then we just reach out to make sure the others are handling everyday life okay.

A few times a year, the stars and planets align and we get to spend some time together in the same city. Sometimes it's LA or Long Beach, sometimes Santa Barbara, and sometimes San Francisco. On a brief trip in August, I was lucky enough to spend 24 lovely hours with the two of them and Kiana's family and just a few weeks ago, the three of us explored the Queen Mary in Long Beach in all of its odd glory.

During these concentrated moments, we discussed life's pressing matters, listened to the waves crash on the beach at Half Moon Bay, sipped our Belgian beer and rosé, then hot tea and scones - like old times, only better.

It's never dull (thanks to "fog" delays and airport terminal closures from abandoned packages...not to mention random conversations involving tentacles), there are always good meals (homemade to-die-for Persian food and yummies from cool local joints), long walks and belly laughs, and sometimes mother nature will throw in a 6.0 earthquake for good measure. I'm good with the last one not repeating...but it's my hope that these get-togethers continue until we're old, gray, and moving more slowly than we are now, because like I said, friends are hard to come by."

Kiana Underwood / | Photography: Nathan Underwood /

Kiana Underwood / | Photography: Nathan Underwood /


Styling and design by Kiana Underwood Photography by Nathan Underwood

Not Quite 40

When I was 19, 39 seemed ancient to me. At 19, I was a sophomore in college with not a care in the world (of course I thought my life was really tough because of papers, projects, tests, etc.). Little did I know that there would be days in my future where I would long to still be that girl in college enjoying the beautiful Santa Barbara life with friends and (relatively) easy academic life. At 19, I didn't worry about what would happen to my figure if I ate Burger King at 2am. At 19, I didn't see lines forming around my eyes...and my forehead...and around my lips. I never even wore sunscreen! At 19, when I looked in the mirror I saw youth without even knowing it! Even 10 years later, 39 still seemed really old to me. At 29, I had traveled a good portion of the world, was married for four years already, had a master's degree, had an 18-month old baby girl, was only 6 months away from the beginning of being pregnant for nearly all of the next two years - with boys born 14 months apart. By the time I was 31, I had three babies under the age of five! CRAZY!

The last 10 years have flown by - faster than a bullet train in Japan. Well, the inevitable has snuck upon me, and 39 no longer feels/seems old. On the inside I am still that 19-year-old, but when I look in the mirror I only see a small semblance of what I saw at 19. But, I also see a woman who loves her life!

I am going to live every minute of my last year in my 30s to its fullest, and when 40 comes in 12 short months, I will embrace it with all my might (I think). Life is beautiful, and I wouldn't have it any other way!

I cut these in the garden and my ever-present photographer insisted on some portrait shots Kiana Underwood / | Photography: N.R. Underwood /


Styling and design by Kiana Underwood Photography by N.R. Underwood

Celebrating 100!