Wanderings: Chrysler Museum of Art

Adding to the list of activities I didn’t appreciate until adulthood kicked in, I love museums. I didn’t used to. My family would tour  Washington, DC’s museums during cherry blossom season. It was hot, it was humid, and it felt like a forced march. I don’t remember many of the specific exhibits we attended. But, if maturing works retroactively, I appreciate everything my parents did to expand my horizons and culture. Because, now that I’m an artist, I LOVE museums.

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Last time I was out this way, Erika and I went to the VMFA. This time, we went to the Chrysler Museum of Art–celebrating our second friendiversary!!

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The cameo glass pieces were especially my favorite in the glass exhibit! I couldn’t help but marvel at how these intricate pieces were made.

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Impressionism always makes me think of my mom. She is especially fond of Mary Cassatt; we went to a number of her exhibits. Her love of the style extended to me, and I was excited to see there was an impressionist exhibit!

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The most unsettling was definitely the Lunatic of Etretat by Hughes Merle. Erika fairly skipped up to it, flourishing her arms so I would know it was one of her favorites. It truly stays with you. Her eyes bore into you as she protects what should be a baby…but is a log in a blanket.

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The kinetic chandelier by Luke Jerram hangs in a stairwell, each tiny radiometer spinning in reaction to light. It doesn’t require electricity to run, but there are tiny LEDs in the bulbs so it can run at night!

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If the Lunatic painting was one of her favorites, this is her favorite. It’s hollow. Beautifully draped and ghostly and hollow.

The museum was the perfect way to spend the day with Erika. The best friends are the ones with whom you can share goofiness, honesty, and interests, such as art.

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Wanderings: Colonial Williamsburg

I LOVE being on vacation. When my best friend offered me a chance to stay at her family’s waterfront Williamsburg home for 10 days, I leapt at the chance. Sunrise devotions on the water? Two adorable (if overly affectionate) australian sheepdogs? Yes, please!

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Aside from the wonderfully memorable American Girl Felicity tour I got to take on one freeeezing February morning 16 years ago (so much nostalgia), Colonial Williamsburg seemed like someplace my parents went to for boring grown-up vacations. But now, I think of amazing food, beautiful backdrops, houses steeped in history, and so much more.

Maybe I’m a boring adult! (gasp)

Or, possibly, it’s people you go with who allow you to see a place with new eyes. That was definitely the case when my Erika and I came through a year ago and it’s the same when my friend Chris, a William & Mary grad, walked me through his alma mater’s beautiful campus.

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Chris was an amazing guide, telling stories that brought the campus to life. There were ghost stories and war stories, renovations and architecture details. Around us, flocks of huddling freshmen following neon-clad orientation guides evoked thoughts of the continuing story of the school, the next generation. Like the best tour guides, Chris waited while I took photos of every nook and cranny.

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In the middle of the most beautiful part of campus was the Crim Dell Bridge. According to the lore, if two lovers kiss on the bridge, they will be lifelong lovers. And, in grand tradition, if they break up, one can push the other off of the bridge.

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The inside of the Wren Building was still, with only a sparse few people walking its halls. The girl was reading Our Country’s Founders on its steps; I thought it poetic.

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It was at this point my tour guide left me in Erika’s care. She and I have been to Colonial Williamsburg so many times, we have favorite spots and traditions that makes it all the more fun! As we’d walked the entire site a couple days before (without my camera!), we made a beeline for our favorite wishing well.

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The day was warm and very, very humid, but I can’t resist snapping a few portraits!

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I’ve been training Erika in posing techniques, both for herself and others. She’s getting SUPER good!!

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We were making our way back from the shops when I spotted this garden down one of the alleys. Isn’t it beautiful?

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The bees were everywhere, but I have a new appreciation for them after watching Mr. Holmes. I’m not exactly sure what kind they were, but they were harmless, minding their own business, buzzing from flower to flower. We left them be to return to an air conditioned house.

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The Bridesmaid Chronicles: Part 1

When my amazing friends Peter and Elizabeth got engaged, I was quick to reassure them I would be there to help at every turn. I was even quicker to agree to be Elizabeth’s bridesmaid(!!). After countless weddings attended as a guest, eight bouquets caught, and six years as a wedding photographer, I’m a bridesmaid. As Amanda Bynes’s character in She’s the Man, Violamight say, “I’ve got a lifetime of knowledge.”

It’s a momentous occasion. I’ve been on the other side of the lens before for headshots, but this time, I get to go behind the scenes of the wedding experience–and report back. As a photographer, I work with brides all the time on one aspect of the wedding: photography. This can expand to schedule advice, vendor recommendations, and sometimes even serving as emergency seamstress, but talking to Elizabeth nearly every day during the months of planning has shown me just how many tiny details and decisions go into one day!

It was an honor to go wedding dress shopping with Elizabeth a few months ago. As an avid Say Yes to the Dress watcher, I’d never experienced it firsthand. Georgetown was rainy that day, but our spirits were high as we went from shop to shop. Elizabeth hemmed and hawed over all the dresses. It’s so easy to be indecisive when you have such a fit figure! But, when it came down to the final two, it was a photo I took of Elizabeth–in the dress–in a window that convinced her of her decision.

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In the meantime, we teased Peter we’d found the perfect pink tux for him to wear…

Right now, Elizabeth and Peter’s lives are a whirlwind of final decisions and anticipation. Peter is on the tail end of finishing up his home for Elizabeth’s arrival and Elizabeth is having dress fittings and making sure the details are in order. It’s an odd pairing to have a couple who are both self-professing Type A personalities, but they complement each other nicely.

And now–OHMIGOSH–the wedding is a mere 10 days away.

 

 

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Hayley & Will’s Classy McLean, VA Wedding

Meet Hayley and Will!

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Hayley and Will met eleven years ago during an internship in New York. For Hayley, Will was just a fellow law student. For Will, it felt like a bolt of lightning. This was the kind of girl he wanted to marry. There was a hitch, though: Hayley was married. So Will resolved to marry someone like her. He never expected to marry the genuine article, but, when a series of events left Hayley single, he seized his chance and the rest is history!

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The day of the wedding was bright and clear, ideal wedding weather! Among good-natured groomsmen, Will struck his best tuxedoed Bond pose.

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Inside McLean Presbyterian Church’s bridal suite, Hayley prepared for the big day with the help of her kids, Anna and Luke! There was so much joy and excitement everywhere! The bride positively glowed with happiness.

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The ceremony was simple and personal. Hayley could not stop grinning and Will held her hand every possible second.

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Caught this tiny, intimate moment right after the recessional! Look how happy they are!!!

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Will and Hayley are a photographer’s dream, the kind of couple who pose naturally. They were so wrapped up in each other I’m pretty sure there were moments they forgot I was there!

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The reception was short and fun, including such highlights as a chair catching fire, flower girl twirls, and cake getting smashed in a very surprised Will’s face!

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All events culminated in a grand exit in a flurry of bubbles blown by well-wishers!

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Here’s to the happy couple!

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Peter & Elizabeth – Old Town Alexandria Engagement

When people fall in love, there are a lot of common words thrown around. Adorable. Cute. Sweet. One might even be tempted to use the words totes adorbs. Today’s couple inspires those descriptions in so much excess, their cuteness levels can only be measured in snuggly kitties and tumbling puppies.

You have been warned.

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Meet Peter and Elizabeth!!

Their story begins four years ago, on Army Navy Game Day. Peter made quite the impression on Elizabeth and, despite his love of Navy football, the two of them ended up talking about mutual interests more than watching Navy dominate (GO NAVY!). Peter was still on her mind a month later, so Elizabeth scoured their mutual friends on Facebook before finding Peter among them! It wasn’t until September of 2012 they finally went on their first date! Life took its many twists and turns, moving them geographically apart, and, despite their best efforts, they couldn’t find time in their busy schedules to get to know one another better. They managed to stay in touch through the wonders of the internet, conversation always coming naturally, but everything finally aligned in 2014 when Elizabeth discovered she would be moving to DC for work! Peter jumped at the chance to finally date her, even going so far as to fly to Atlanta and help her move. Six months and a proposal overlooking the chilly New York skyline later and here we are!!

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I have to admit that this is a couple very near and dear to my own heart. I met Peter after church a little over two years ago. I was new to the group and looking to get plugged in, and he generously invited me to his house for a dinner party: smoked pork and cornhole. He and I bonded over photography and shared work experiences and fell into an easy friendship. After seeing my work, he told me he wanted me as his wedding photographer…one day…

But, last August, when Peter introduced Elizabeth to the group during a church cornhole tournament (wow, cornhole really brings people together!), I thought it only fair for me to return the favor and welcome her into the group. I had no idea I would be welcoming someone who would become such a dear friend in so short a time! Such a dear friend that she wants me as a bridesmaid!! Not going to lie, it’s fun to be fought over by a couple!

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Elizabeth is one of the most encouraging, inclusive, and expressive people I know! She is the perfect foil for Peter’s serious, analytic side. She brings out the fun in him and he is a supportive rock for her. They are both kind and driven…and SO happy together! As they walked down the streets of Old Town in matching navy, they looked like the perfect power couple, ready to take the world by storm.

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We stopped in Starbucks for a quick costume change, where Elizabeth ordered a tall blonde coffee…much to the amusement of her own tall and blonde fiance.

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Their friends are pretty sure there are magnets in their noses.

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Peter has a knack for thinking of the little things, like wearing the shirt they met back in November when they modeled for me in November, or, in this case, retrieving Elizabeth’s grandmother’s diamond and resetting it specially for Elizabeth’s ring.

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This is the kind of couple who knows where their relationship is founded, who knows the importance of being there for each other as well as just sitting back and having fun with life! It’s been a joy to watch their relationship bloom into something lasting and strong and I am honored to be a bridesmaid for their wedding!

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Liz & Jay – McLean, VA Wedding

You know those people who can’t help but make an impact on everyone they meet? Those people who are genuine from the moment they meet you? They’re pretty amazing, right? It’s more amazing when two of those people find each other and fall in love. Two of those people are Liz and Jay.

The day started with a few flurries, but cleared to blue sky by the time I made it to the church. The bridal suite was a flurry of activity, laughter, and Taylor Swift songs. Every few minutes or so, Liz would look into the mirror and exclaim, “guys, this is really happening!”

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As I escorted Jay to the porch for first looks, I asked him when he knew that Liz was the one for him. He replied that he knew within the first two months of meeting her. They got to know each other at the Harvest retreat at White Sulphur Springs, a place very near and dear to my heart.

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If looking for a prime example of a couple in love, look no further than Jay and Liz! Both were positively glowing!! So sure, so confident in each other, so in love.

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Liz looked like a princess in her flouncing white skirt and beaded bodice. It was cold outside so her mother lent her the shawl, completing the ensemble.

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The princess bride played beautifully on Jay’s uniformed prince! Liz, of course, had no problem borrowing his sword on occasion.

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This, ladies and gentlemen, is what happens when your bosses are also officiating your wedding.

It was just warm enough to take photos outdoors! We took all the family photos beforehand so Liz and Jay would have more time to mingle with their guests.

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Just before the ceremony, I snagged a couple more shots of Liz on the stairs outside the bridal suite. These are some of my favorites!!

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Everyone had just enough time to warm up before the ceremony began!

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Now for the celebration!! Liz and Jay had sent an open invitation to their wedding and reception, and the place was packed with well wishers!

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They set up a photo wall with props for guests, but the bride and groom had no trouble taking advantage as well!

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Liz’s brother, Jon, performed a medley of songs from their childhood, from her first Disney parody to the songs they would sing growing up. It was both entertaining and touching; there was no shortage of laughter…and maybe even a few tears.

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The happy couple exited through an archway of swords and sparklers!!

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After the energy of the first reception, Mr. and Mrs. Boyles met a smaller group of close friends and family in Tysons for a more relaxed reception!

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During the revelry, it started to snow outside! Liz’s family is from Texas so they were glued to the window.

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During the toasts, the guests were regaled with story after story of how Liz and Jay had welcomed complete strangers into their lives and shared their faith in Christ. I can only imagine how much these two will impact peoples’ lives side by side! I’m so happy for you, Liz and Jay!

 

Bride’s makeup: Boldly Beautiful by Sarah Winston

Flowers: Larissa White

Bride’s hair: Christy Chenette

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A Photographer Abroad Days 12-15: Holyrood Castle, Princes Street Gardens, and the Museum of Scotland

Return, recharge, restart.

Here it is, folks: the end of my travels abroad…and well overdue. I didn’t realize how go-go-going for two weeks could take the wind out of my sails the moment my head hit the pillow on my bed. So now, over two months later, I am finally posting my final two days in Edinburgh!!

Firstly, I find it so cool that the official animal of Scotland is a unicorn. Why restrict yourself to fact when you can have legend and myth on your crest? Julie made a game for the kids of finding as many unicorns as possible on our expeditions.

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We started out at Holyrood Castle, the official residence of Her Majesty the Queen in Scotland. As I walked through the museum-style rooms filled with tapestries and vaulted ceilings, I had a hard time imagining what it must be like to call this immense property home. Emma had no problem imagining after receiving her new favorite crown at Edinburgh Castle the day before and proceeded to respond only to “your highness” or “my lady” when I addressed her. We stopped in the gift shop before entering the castle where she picked out a sparkling scepter to be retrieved after the castle tour. Nevin picked out a fire-breathing dragon.

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Most of the interior of the castle, still festooned for Christmas, was off limits to photographs, but they had an impressive spread in the family area, complete with face painting, dress up, and card crafting where I was able to use my camera. Emma had left her new crown at home for fear of losing it, but was appeased when she got a beautiful glittery crown painted on her brow. Inspired by his own gift, Nevin chose a dragon.

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After story time, Jeremy, Nevin, and I went outside to explore the abbey ruins adjacent to the house. The architecture was stunning; after observing many other churches and castles from my previous explorations, it didn’t take much for me to fill in the architectural gaps in my mind. The sun was setting behind Arthur’s seat, I would have given anything to see the abbey with the golden rays filtering through the now-missing stained glass windows.

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It was cold, so while everyone else went to grab lunch, I took some time to explore the abandoned grounds. It was eerie, almost, wandering the all but abandoned gardens alone, but it allowed me to take in the inspiration of my surroundings and frame every photo with care. Golden hour is by far my favorite time to take photos and the stone fairly glowed against the backdrop of Arthur’s Seat.

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From there, everyone headed over to Arthur’s Seat in the waning sunlight. Nevin and Emma had finally received their gifts, clutching them tight as they mounted the trail. Julie took Elsa up a paved path while the rest of us chose a more vigorous route. It turned out to be the wrong route, of course, but I’m not complaining!

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The kids, however, were. After a day of behaving themselves in a house full of shiny, off-limits artifacts, they were itching to run free or rest, neither of which are easy to do on a trail incline. Jeremy took turns giving shoulder rides, and I kept the other company. As Emma complained that she was tired, I looked ahead to see what looked like the sun disappearing against a turn in the path. Jeremy said we would reach that turn and then go back down to meet Julie, so Emma and I made up a song about chasing the sun. That camp counselor job paid off; the distraction worked!

Please note my brother, child on his shoulders, looking like he just walked out of an REI advertisement.

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Our last day in Edinburgh dawned cold and clear–we were blessed with SO much good weather!!–and we went to explore the hilltop we saw from Arthur’s Seat the evening before. Calton Hill is located in the center of the city, most notably marked by a beautiful Athenian acropolis. The acropolis is actually an unfinished memorial to Scottish soldiers and sailors who died in the Napoleonic wars. It is by far the most recognizable structure on the hill, but there are numerous other monuments as well, including the Nelson Monument. I climbed it with Julie and the kids, all 143 steps (which I would discover later in the day to be nothing compared to our explorations later). The steps were clearly made for someone with smaller feet than I, it’s a wonder I didn’t fall!

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That panorama is my favorite from the trip, that bird’s eye view is just breathtaking!

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From there we went to Princes Street Gardens where the Christmas Market was still in full swing! The locals may have been on the downswing from Christmas, but they were gearing up for Hogamanay, which translates to New Years’ Eve or The Most Epic New Years Eve Party Ever. You decide.

It was a regular carnival with carousel, ice skating, and high flying swings. Reeeally high flying swings. Julie continued her quest for the perfect plaid wool scarf while I climbed the Sir Walter Scott monument to the top…287 steps!! I must admit to some trepidation as the steps got smaller and the railings disappeared and my head scraped the spiral staircase’s ceiling, not to mention that every few minutes we had to allow someone going in the opposite direction to pass. I felt like a claustrophobic giant; those steps were not made for 5’8″ women with hips that don’t lie. If I hadn’t met Jeremy on the second level I doubt I would have had the courage to continue upward. He went ahead of me, keeping me apprised of how close we were to the next level (there were four in all). Each level allowed me a better look at my surroundings, with a view that seemed to go on forever in the clear sunlight. One of the great things about travelling with my brother is that he is always willing to snap a photo of me…it’s so nice to have quality photos of me on my travels without having to take my own photo. My camera is heavy.

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Julie managed to find her scarf from this lovely couple (they were so sweet!) and snag this snazzy mug which predictably came full of delicious mulled wine!

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Our last stop of the day was the Scottish Museum. The kids were waning, though we could hardly blame them after all the excitement at the gardens, but we pressed on. Jeremy had visited the museum the day before and brought them straight to the kid’s corner. It was filled with all kinds of activities, like piecing together a broken jar, placing a magnetic suit of armor on a knight, costumes, and a catapult!

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Her royal highness, Queen Emma, finally obliged and put on a dress and cape. There were even costumes for the grown ups! Emma curtsied for the Queen Mother.

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The Kingdom of the Scots section was so engrossing that I forgot to take more than a handful of photos. The church history was especially interesting to me, but, to keep the kids going, we headed down to the natural world gallery. It was the interactive aspects of these exhibits that really got the kids interested; Emma spent much of her time with her nose pressed up against the glass (sometimes literally!) while Nevin went from one impressively large deadly animal to the next. They were both disappointed when it was time to go, but we had an early start the next morning back to London.

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The trip back to London was long but uneventful, there really isn’t much to share from there. I packed up all my goodies and left on a morning flight back for the US of A.

The more I think back on this trip, the more surreal it seems. It’s a good thing I stored up memories in photos and on this blog–there are far too many details to recall at a moment’s notice! I never thought I’d be making a trip like this so soon; I am so thankful for the generosity of my family and friends to make this possible. I was speaking with one friend a few weeks back and, after she listened to what I had to say and the changes that had taken place in my life since, described it as “transformative”. It didn’t feel that way at the time. Travelling with Jeremy, Julie, Nevin, Emma, and Elsa felt like the most natural thing to do. I had half expected to be overwhelmed two days in and spend my travel regretting my laziness, but the opposite happened: I was energized and inspired! I was completely detoxed from the stresses of living on my own and overworking that when I returned, my mind was set free to restructure my days.

So yes, I suppose it was transformative…and I’ll jump at the first opportunity to return.

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Jules And we will welcome you back in a heartbeat! There's always more to see and do, save up and we'll take you around again!

Crafty Afternoons – Chocolate Covered Strawberries

Have you ever bitten into a chocolate strawberry only to have the delicious coating crumble in your hands? Do you wish there was another way? If so, then this post is for you! Whether you’re making these for significant other or yourself, this is a simple and easy treat to celebrate Valentines Day. Every time I share this trick I discovered years ago, I feel like I’m in an infomercial. This is part public service announcement!

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To make these chocolate covered strawberries, you will need:

  • Fresh strawberries
  • Chocolate (I like Trader Joe’s imported Belgian dark or 72% cacao dark chocolate)
  • 1 Tbsp Crisco per 4 oz chocolate

Seriously, the Crisco makes all the difference! It keeps the chocolate glossy, but just soft enough to bite into without falling apart!

  • Melt the chocolate. Be sure to use chocolate bars; chocolate chips are formulated to retain their shape so they won’t melt as well. I prefer to use a double boiler, but you can melt it in the microwave in a deep (not wide) bowl at half power in 10-20 second intervals, stirring in between each interval, to avoid burning the chocolate. I don’t have a double boiler, so I made due by floating a metal bowl on 1″ of boiling water in a saucepan.
  • Remove from heat and whisk in the Crisco. If the chocolate is too runny, let it rest for a little bit.

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  • Grasp the strawberries by the leaves and dip in the chocolate. I prefer to go slowly and dip them more than once before placing them on wax or parchment paper. It was at this point my playlist turned on Maroon 5’s Sugar and I started dancing in the kitchen.

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Just for fun, I melted some white chocolate, adding just a little bit of Crisco so that it would drizzle easily. It added the perfect little garnish. After 15 minutes in the fridge, they were ready to eat! And look! One bite, and there’s still chocolate on the strawberry!

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The moment my roommates found out the strawberries were ready (and I had taken all my photos), they chowed down! I finished these just a few hours ago and there might be 10 left of the 30 I made. Yum!!

I know I still owe you all a post covering my last couple days in Scotland…I hope to have that post up by the end of the week, so stay tuned!

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Becky aahhhh... so pretty, Rebekah!!

A Photographer Abroad Day 10 and 11: York and Edinburgh

I have a bit of advice for people travelling travelling in the UK on Boxing Day: don’t. Sure, the streets are wide open (because all the locals are smart enough to avoid the Boxing Day sale insanity), but most places one visits along the way from London to Edinburgh are shut down. Not just the tourist spots, but the grocery stores and eateries, too.

So when we stopped in York on the way to Edinburgh, Clifford’s Tower was shut down.

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Clifford’s Tower is the only remaining keep of York Castle, built by William the Conqueror. We didn’t get to step inside (or even walk around it) because the gate was shut and we didn’t have a Fezzik to get the key… Beside the tower, there were parts of the original Roman wall amid the miles of wall–more than any other city in England. While the course of these walls has been altered through time, most sections are of historical significance.

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This was the beginning of my many encounters with stairs, each staircase reminding me how out of shape I am! I figured if the kids could do it, I could do it, so I soldiered on. While Jeremy, Julie, Emma, and Nevin climbed the staircase, I waited with Elsa, then we swapped!

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Because parking was so hard to come by, we weren’t able to stop at the chapel and I was forced to hold a “drive-by shooting”.

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York was our only interlude between Hertfordshire and Edinburgh. We were all thrilled to arrive–especially the kids! Nothing like two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a kitchen, and a living area after seven hours in a car! Jer and Julie smartly rented out an apartment instead of a hotel and I’m kind of a fan of the idea.

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The next day we knocked Edinburgh Castle off our list first. It was our first rainy day–it even flurried when we walked around the castle courtyard. E and N struggled to get to the top, but Elsa rolled with it…or let Jeremy carry her (in stroller) up the stairs to the top. That’s right, more stairs!!

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The fortress sits atop an extinct volcano, in a position so strategic that when the Scots rose to take it back from the English in 1314 (after numerous struggles back and forth), they were ordered to destroy it. Because of that attack, the only remaining original portion of the castle is St. Margaret’s Chapel. Many reconstructions and repurposing has left the castle in an altered state, but it was still beautiful and full of history. Parts of the fortress are still used for military purposes, though most have been decommissioned. Most notably and traditionally, a gun fires at 1300 daily (not on holidays!) so everyone within hearing range can make sure their watches are synchronized. This was more important when watches were less common or unreliable, but the practice continues to this day. I heard it today walking through downtown Edinburgh, though Jeremy missed it.

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My absolute favorite part of the tour was the Mary, Queen of Scots actor who held “court” in the great hall. She painted an eloquent verbal picture of what her court might have looked like, how she might have acted, what they ate, even how they danced!

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Emma was too shy to have her photo with the queen, but after seeing the crown jewels and getting a crown of her own, E experienced a change of heart. Too bad the queen had returned to her chambers!

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Daylight, while super bright, doesn’t last too long, and we were back to the apartment by dinnertime! That was fine by me, as my legs and face needed to thaw. Thank goodness for leggings, jeans, warm socks, jackets, scarves, gloves, boots, and layers in general!

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A Photographer Abroad Days 8 and 9: Hyde Park and Christmas Day

Christmas Eve was supposed to be my day in the museums, but a quick internet search informed me that London practically shuts down from December 24-26. Instead, I went to the Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park!

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Inside the gates sat a huge Christmas market interspersed with foods and circus rides and other merriment. It seemed that every time I thought I reached the end I would turn a corner and it would continue on.

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The wonderland was more German themed than I anticipated, with every few food booths some sort of bratwurst or other deliciousness. After a little research, I discovered that Angel Market (and most Christmas markets in the area) are traditional German–not British–markets! I wasn’t complaining; I love a good brat topped with sauerkraut. Mulled wine and cider was everywhere too, and yum!

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The Saucy Chip place boasted some delicious chips, though I skipped their signature gravy toppings; I was still full off bratwurst and nutella crepe. I opted for “naked” chips with sea salt and malt vinegar. As I sit here eating brick oven pizza in Edinburgh (!) I’m realizing food is a large part of my overseas experience. Not that I’m complaining, I love good food.

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A break in the merriment pointed me in the way of the Serpentine where swans, geese, and seagulls showed off in exchange for crumbs.

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There were other attractions at Wonderland like an ice palace (there were a lot of Elsas waiting in line), a roller coaster, an observation wheel, and others, but I opted to watch than go in.

Christmas morning dawned cloudy, with the stampede of waking children lively enough to rival any movie.

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With Christmas crowns for everyone and every wish fulfilled, the kids settled in to play with their new toys and I settled in for a long winter nap. It was perfect to finally spend a day in. London and the surrounding area is exciting but tiring…I slept for hours before waking to pack for Edinburgh, where I am now! Look for our stop in York and first day at Edinburgh Castle up on the blog tomorrow!

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