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Meet Courtney Klein

Growing up, I had a dream to become a successful fashion photographer in New York City. I consider myself incredibly lucky to be running my own photography studio in Manhattan today, but I know that dream may not have been possible even just a few generations ago. It is so different to be a woman now, the opportunities presented to us that were never available for our grandmothers or mothers. I feel so blessed to be alive now and able to do what I love, and I know that comes from the courage of the women before me, my own determination and faith in myself, and the love and support of many other inspiring women around me.

I think it is important to take time to commend these inspiring women – both because of how far we have all come and also because of the incredible things they are doing. And I’m not alone in this – Pandora started an Inspiring Women Initiative in order to honor the incredible women in each of our lives. Part of this celebration is their new Pandora Essence Collection, a series of beautiful, stylish charms that helps women express their inner beliefs – love, wisdom, balance, courage. We presented this idea of photographing three inspiring woman across the United States as a new series in partnership with Pandora, in celebration of inspiring women.

One such woman is our friend Courtney Klein, someone I met in New York but who has now moved to the city of San Francisco. She came to the city with the intention of being a modern dancer (so gorgeous!) but fell into the world of digital production and eventually became a partner at Hard Candy Shell, a digital product agency focusing on making excellent websites, applications, and other digital media. You may have seen their work: Of a Kind,The New Republic, and Rent the Runway are among their many clients.

Now that she’s in a new city, she’s busy starting her own company, Storq, one that’s focused on empowering women through fashion during pregnancy. How does one get from partner in a digital product agency to maternity fashion?

“When I moved to San Francisco, I had the option to keep doing what I was doing or to do something completely and totally different. I was fortunate enough to be able to take a couple months and really think about what’s next, what kind of things interest me, what do I want to work on? It was a little weird to not go to a 9-5 job, and I felt a bit lost for a little while, but then I found a lot of different types of things I could potentially work on, and I ended up with this idea called Storq.”

We started the day by walking her dogs, who were getting very excited. “Today is their ‘beach date’,” Courtney explained. “They get to go to a special dog beach called Fort Funston!” How cute is that!

Above & Below: Courtney wears a hat from Amazon.com, jacket from All Saints, sweater and pants from Rogan, shoes from Dieppa Restrepo, Balance Charm by Pandora Jewelry

 

On the Balance Charm she chose by Pandora: 

“Part of moving to San Francisco was about reclaiming a more balanced life…doing lots of different types of things, like the garden, and a career that supports not being in the office 70 hours a week. It’s hard to have a balance in New York…there’s always something going on, so you’re working and working or you’re out all the time, so it was really hard to carve out a space for myself. Here, it’s about taking a step back and allowing myself to slow down. It’s definitely something I’m working on.”

Located in San Francisco’s colorful Mission District, their house was built in late 1890s and was most recently a bar before Courtney & Zach bought it. Their bedroom was where they used to store beer! I asked Courtney if she was afraid of earthquakes after living in New York for almost a decade…she explained, “The house survived two of the largest earthquakes in modern time without any structural damage so that makes me feel good. However, when we signed the papers you have to acknowledge it’s on a particular fault line, which means your house could end up in the ocean…which is unsettling.”

All the beautiful plants inside their home were found at the S.F. Flower Market

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The Aubrey Hotel

Having just come off a plane from Paris, I had no idea what to expect from South American accommodations…As we know so well, hotel rooms in Europe are TINY (and this from a New Yorker! And you know we know small). By the time we got to Chile, all I knew was I wanted a good bed to rest in as we started our #onlyinsouthamerica grand tour of Chile.

At first I was so surprised – the exterior of The Aubrey Hotel looked German! How can this be? Come to find out from our Santiago Adventures tour guide, a couple of Australian men saved this building in Santiago from complete ruin from years of abandonment and turned it into one of the best boutique hotels I have ever experienced. The original facades, built in the 1920s for influential Chilean politicians and their families, have been kept and restored while the interiors have been brought up to modern times and modern luxury.

The fresh floral scent of the room, the spaciously designed but simple decor, the surprising pops of color in the art and textiles… it was a perfect balance. From hospitality to ambiance, location and room size – I never wanted to leave. Just scroll down to see what I mean…


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Safari Dreams

All images shot on 35mm Pentax with Kodak Tri-X 400 black & white film

Deep in the wilds of Africa we found our honeymoon chalet. Built over the riverine bush we would lie in bed at night and listen to the animal cries, feeling so small and so human in this world of other kings. When the sun was high on those lazy afternoons we’d hide out on the porch watching elephants herd by while we wrote in journals, sketched in notebooks, and read our novels. The romance of the mosquito net like a wedding veil fills my memory of this space in a soft glow of white light. Showers outside on the porch under monkeys swinging by and an endless view of the African vista felt so free and so naturally beautiful. Nights in long baths with old jazz playing its heartfelt tune take me back to this dreamy place, this homey place so rich in comfort so far from home.

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A Parisian Hideaway

I know, a chateau can hardly be called a hideaway but that is how it felt staying at this 1892 mansion in the sixteenth arrondissement: the Saint James Paris. Tucked away behind old stone walls that seemed to hug you as you walked through the grand entrance, it was like a childhood dream to stay in a place so whimsical and Parisian. A porthole to the city, a Alice and Wonderland seeming staircase, a glowing aura of magical things to come. From the roaring fireplace when you walk through the doors to the resident cat who will paw at the window until you let him in, this place floats in my mind as a safe haven tucked away in a corner of Paris…

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