Seeking Color In The US


Postcard from West Virginia's Tiny Church

Maggie OwensComment

On our way to our campsite in West Virginia's Blackwater Falls, we passed by Our Lady of the Pines, whose postcards claim it is the smallest church in all 48 states. Apparently, these postcards were printed before Hawaii and Alaska became states in 1958. 

Here's the postcard we sent home:

The haiku reads:

Remember: words hurt. 
Don't call this a midget church. 
Say "little steeple." 

Fun Day Trip Into Kentucky

Color 60Maggie OwensComment

On our drive from Indiana to Ohio, we were pleasantly surprised to find out that Kentucky was a 20 minute detour away. ("INDIANA AND KENTUCKY TOUCH?"  two of us asked. One was a beanie baby. The other was Ceil). Being the carefree indie girl Lana Del Reys that you know we are, we were all "fuck it. let's go to Kentucky."

We could have spent a day of natural splendor at the Daniel Boone National Forest but... hiking? Nature? BOONE THERE DONE THAT. So, being the intellectual Lana Del Reys that you know we are, we spent the day at the museum. The Creation Museum. As in Creationists. As in dinosaurs died in Noah's Flood Creationists.

Things when from 0 to Kentucky real fast. 

... Me neither, Timmy. Me neither. 

Here we found Adam and Eve bathing. All the while we're paying for their god damn original sin by being at this terrifying museum. 

Okay, over-sexaulized wax figures of Adam lookin' like Wilmer Valderrama are one thing but what the what the hell is this? We don't even know what this exhibit was supposed to be about. Shit was getting scary and I think we blacked out.  


Seriously, guys, we blacked out. We honestly may have tagged this wall. Or maybe it was part of the exhibit. There's no way to know. Whatever. 

Don't worry about it, man. We're not picking up what you're putting down. 


Umm... I guess this is the part where we're supposed to color match things? Maybe? Kinda? God I'm so confused and scared. 

^^^Maggie at the Creation Museum. 

So, keeping with the Old Testament theme, here's a picture of the two of us as the distraught, sad girl Lana Del Reys that you know we were that day, cast forever out of Kentucky. 

Tripping On IOWAska

Color 53, Color 52, Color 51, Color 36, Color 37, Color 34, Color 44, Color 43Maggie OwensComment

People said there's nothing to do in Iowa. They said it and we believed them. What idiots they all were. 

We stumbled across the Grotto of the Redemption in West Bend, Iowa. Some time in the early 1900's, Father Paul Dobberstein promised Jesus that if he survived pneumonia, he'd built a shrine made completely out of rocks, minerals and crystals. Spoiler alert: he survived (if you want to avoid spoilers, don't go on the internet, man).

He spent 42 years building the shrine and today it is the largest collection of precious stones found in one location. In fact, it is estimated to value $4 million dollars. To put that in perspective, that's more than Celebrity Apprentice's Omarosa and 30 Rock's Judah Friedlander have combined.

(Editor's Note: though 4 million dollars is quite a large sum, it's only a 10th of Frankie Muniz's net worth. I guess it should really be called "Malcolm In The 1 Percent," huh? What's happening to America's middle class, guys?! Open your eyes, America. Real Eyes Realize Real Lies).

With walls made out of agate, amethyst, azurite and more, we found nearly all 60 of our colors here. 

They said there would be nothing to do in Iowa. 

... What rocks were they smoking?

Colorado Chapel

Color 24, Color 16Maggie OwensComment

What a welcome we got once we crossed the border into New Mexico. Look at this roadside chapel we happened upon.

Look how saucy St. Francis looks in a Color 24 lei! According to this Huffington Post article, “well-balanced individuals tend to wear green.” Umm, yah, no shit, Captain Obvious / Arianna Huffington. Despite the whole talking-to-birds thing, we already knew that St. Francis of Asissi was a pretty well-balanced guy. 

But, according to this Oriental Trading catalog, wearing a lei means you’re ready to “have fun in the sun.” Now this we didn’t know about Sainty Franny! Thank you, per usual, for the cutting-edge news, Oriental Trading. 

Also, you can buy a St. Francis statue on the Oriental Trading website! Check it out here or get a fucking life instead! 

Okay, check out the rest of the chapel pics.

Unnecessary separation of the sexes never looked so indie!

Unnecessary separation of the sexes never looked so indie!

The Vigil Family's chapel was such a surprising find and charming and gracious gift to their community.

I would write more about it, but I’m a little busy spiraling down an Oriental Trading k-hole right now. Is it a little too “she’s-gonna-die-alone” to buy carnival tickets to have just in case?

And how many of these “Bright Dollar Sign Glasses” can I own before people start to catch on to the fact that, despite what my eyewear says, I live paycheck-to-paycheck?

Not Your Mama's Colma, CA

Color 6, Color 4, Color 5, Color 3, Color 12Maggie Owens1 Comment

Check out this colorful graveyard we stumbled upon almost immediately after getting into New Mexico. This place was unlike any of the graveyards we’re used to (SHOUT OUT TO COLMA, CALIFORNIA! WHAT WHAT!). 

Back in New Mexico’s colonial period, Catholics were buried in fenced-in yards outside of their churches. When the churches ran out of room, burial sites formed in open areas just outside of town. This means some graveyards are seemingly in the middle of nowhere. There’s no elaborate ironwork entrances, no guest books, no directories and no manicured lawns marking the pathways. 

But these grave sites aren’t just desert stretches that are easy to miss or pass by. That’s because almost every single one of the sites is decorated with love and (sometimes humorous!) consideration by loved ones left behind.  

Much like shrines associated with Mexico's Dia De Los Muertos, these burial grounds, or Campo Santos, focus much more on showing the vibrance of life than accommodating the logistics of death. Photos, trinkets and party decorations embellish each grave.

Fresh flowers are swapped for plastics ones, providing a year-round spectrum of color that radiates against the sun-baked desert ground.