30 April 2010

being blessed

I am close to tears today.

Sometimes, a friend does something so generous, so kind, so thoughtful. Today is one of those days~

I really am blessed by the. best. friends. Ever.

Thank you Lori - truly.

Find Lori's lovely post here~

29 April 2010

a give-away!

This set of flower shots was taken at a gorgeous flower shop in the 6th. Kasey and I loved how they had flower petals scattered all over the ground, and that they had THE MOST BEAUTIFUL bouquets.

I plan on listing these shots in the shop when I get myself organized enough to do so. For now however, I am doing a give-away. I have a HUGE collection of craft items - ribbon, beads, glass, small mirror pieces, etc that is sadly neglected in my home. Thus, I want to re-home it with people who will use it! It is all a part of my attempt to focus, something I am finding difficult when every day I stare at so much excess. I will put together two packages and (happily) send them off to two lucky readers next week! Please simply leave a comment - followers will have two entries, three if you tweet/post about it. Please MAKE SURE TO TELL ME how many entries you have so that I make sure and credit you~ I will draw the names next Wednesday.

I am sure there may be some vintage french pages in both packages - have I mentioned that I came home with a "few" very old books?

Have a lovely Thursday mes amies~

28 April 2010

Paris, jour trois - and a random thought

Ahhh... peace and quiet. The crazies are in bed, husband is in Europe, and I have a perfectly quite house all to myself. I truly think this is the very best part of the day, closely followed by 5 am - another perfectly quiet time that comes with the knowledge that no one will be joining me for another hour at least. My time to work~

So, day three in Paris. I have photos, don't you worry. But first, we need to discuss another side effect of my time in France. Specifically, my second week. Now, all of this will come out later, but, for better or worse, it is affecting me NOW. It needs to be put out there.

Before I left for France, I had been running. I ran a few times a week, 2-4 miles at a time, depending on the time that I had that day. And it was okay. Not great - but come on - it is RUNNING. What is fun about that??? Anyway, there was this little "race" in France - just outside of Toulouse where I was staying with those who shall now be referred to as my french husband and french bestie. You see, they are crazy adventure runners/athletes extraordinaire. They inspire me. They definitely inspired me - how else would I have EVER committed to running a 12k race. I have never run 12k. Ever ever. But alas, there was wine, and I was so damn INSPIRED.

So, back to that story a bit later. The point is, since my return, I have been thinking about my running. A lot more than I was. I have been *excited* about it. Really? Excited? did I just say that? hhmmm... Anyway...

So, this will come as no surprise to any of you who really know me but today, I stopped a woman- a complete stranger, who was running on the road. I was driving my car and she was running in the exact same spot that I had run just an hour before. And she reminded me of me. Me running that is. And there is this race - this Saturday. And it is 5 miles. And no, that isn't long, but it is a trail race. with hills. I have contacted all of my girlfriends - none of whom are able to run with me Saturday. And so I thought - hey, maybe this stranger, who is minding her own business, running along happily will want to run with me. And I pulled over and yelled to her. (yes, I actually yelled - she was wearing headphones - what else was I supposed to do?)

So, J. and I had a lovely conversation where we discovered that we both were at about the same place with our running (granted, she has run two, yes TWO marathons in her lifetime - impressive, even if it was a *few* years ago...) and the fact that she lives near me and is interested in training together was a bonus. We also discovered that we had spent 10 minutes talking at the preschool facility here in town this morning about schools (but clearly the look I had going post-run and the ball cap she was wearing while running made it impossible at first glance to recognize each other). Destiny? I think so...

Anyway, I will get back to you on the run Saturday. It may happen, it may not. But it won't be the last run as I think I see a future in all of this. What future that is, I haven't a clue...

So, onto the Paris photos.

~but before I do - I am sure you all have been reading Kasey's blog. Honestly, she writes in such a way that you will feel like you were there (well, if you were there in Kasey's version of reality that is...). She will have you in stitches, and honestly, if you haven't been reading along, you need to go back and read from day one. It really is something you shouldn't miss...

Jour trois was the Tour Eiffel day. It was also another walking day (walking to find the supposed macaroons that were meant to be better than Laduree, walking down the Champs-Elysee, walking to lunch, walking to buy my bandaids, visiting street vendors). The sun was shining and we had a lovely morning.

The Eiffel tower was gorgeous, as she always is. Personally, I think she is far prettier from a distance, but it was fun shooting her close up as well. After we had taken enough photos (but really, are there ever enough?) we walked over to a packed and very french cafe to enjoy a glass of wine and a bit of lunch. It was almost more fun just sitting there people watching than it was being out walking around. It was an absolutely gorgeous day and I think we were all aware it was our last day in Paris.

After lunch we walked over to the Champs-Elysee and stopped at Laduree to pick up our supply of macaroons. My very very favorite? salted caramel. divine. heavenly divine. What I wouldn't give for one of those babies right now!

We had finally made it back to our hotel, had our shoes off, and were relaxing for the first time that day, when it suddenly occurred to Kasey and I that we hadn't yet seen a cemetary. We were on our last evening in Paris and had NO SHOTS of a cemetery!! It was 30 minutes before Monparnasse closed and, being us, we jumped in a taxi and raced over. We spent time wandering through the most beautiful cemetery that I have ever been in, shooting the oldest gravestones and tombs that I have even seen. It was one of my favorite shooting moments of the trip. We walked all the way back to our hotel, enjoying our last big walk in Paris, knowing that we would be back, one day.

Our last night... Let's just say it involves a LOT of wine, French cigarettes, a camera, a window, an alley, and lingerie. Those photos will NOT be found on this site - thankfully they are pretty blurry as it was PITCH BLACK when we were taking them and Ruby probably knew better than to focus completely. I will say, however, that it was one of the most fun, risque, and completely frivolous things I have ever done. Thankfully Simone was there to keep things in check, although she did a bit of shooting herself... There is something about standing in an alley, in your lingerie and a coat, with heels, shooting photos of one of your besties in the window above, laughing hysterically, with handsome Parisian gentlemen whistling as they walk by. Truly a once in a lifetime moment~

26 April 2010

we interrupt this program...

I love the photo above. Clearly I didn't take it as I am the lucky girl being kissed by the wonderful french cheese man. I want a cheese man. I need a cheese man!

Life is settling into it's regular ebb and flow now that I have been back for nearly a week. Has it really only been 5 days? It feels a lifetime ago, and yet, it is still right here - close to the surface. I have been doing a lot of thinking since my return. I actually started reassessing parts of my life while I was away. It seems easier sometimes, to really *look* at your life when you are temporarily removed from it. It is an odd thing because it is like seeing it from a strangers perspective and yet somehow, you have insiders knowledge at the same time. Confusing? Yes, well, if you think it is confusing, try being me!

One thing that I have been ruminating on continually since my return is my photography and where I want to go with it. As I live in my head much of the time, as well as the fact that I am COMPLETELY type-A, this is causing me to obsess a bit... You see, while I love the idea of being a bohemian photographer - wandering the planet, shooting what inspires me, and supporting it all by harvesting the money tree that grows on our little farm, the truth is, I need to actually focus and turn this crazy full-time hobby into something more. I need to somehow figure out what it is that drives me - what makes me feel so passionate about it - where I want it to go. The problem is it is far easier for me to say what I DON'T want to do with it than it is to figure out what it is that I DO want. Have I mentioned that I am fairly certain I have ADHD...?

Sooo.... My husband is away for the next nine days and I am hoping to take that time to really start to organize all of the thoughts and ideas that are currently running helter skelter in my head. I am incredibly blessed to be surrounded by some of the most inspiring, creative, driven photographers and artists out there, and some of them I consider my dearest friends. I am not shy about pulling them into all of this to help me figure it out. I need them. Truly.

I am also ALWAYS open to feedback, advice, input, etc. from any and all of you. One of the most difficult things that I find in all of this is seeing yourself from the "outside". I think that I, like many people, tend to be quite self-critical and thus, find it easier to see what it is that I don't like about my work than what I do like. And while you are all SO. INCREDIBLY. NICE. with all of your wonderful words and compliments, I am actually really looking for advice on a very practical level.

Paris, jour trois shall be here, hopefully tomorrow if I can get enough photo editing done. Sometimes I begin to work on it, and then become lost in the wonderful memories of it all~


25 April 2010

Paris, jour deux~

Remember when I said that I found EVERYTHING interesting to shoot? Well, this post should help illustrate that a bit more clearly...

We did a LOT of walking in Paris. We could have taken the metro, or a taxi, and we did, a few times. But most often, we were far more interested in walking. There was so much to see!!!

The second day in Paris, Kasey, Simone, and I started off by heading out to visit Sacré Coeur. I had been to Paris three times before and yet had never made the trek up to see her, better yet go to the top and experience the incredible views. I honestly didn't even know you could go to the top. Clearly I wasn't aware of how one got there. Have I mentioned that I am claustrophobic...? Simone decided to stay at the bottom - possibly meet new friends, have her portrait painted. So many opportunities there. Kasey and I, however, in search of a particular photo opportunity (thank you Natasha for verifying where it was actually taken from - why the hell I didn't ask you before the trip is beyond me. You have no idea how much time was spent analyzing where it could have possibly been!).

~that is simone in the center with the orange purse waving at us!

We thought we might have to sneak up to the top, but shockingly, they actually had an accessible way up. So we paid for our passage and through the one way gate we went. I stopped dead in my tracks when I saw the stairway. A sign above clearly posted "300 steps up - 300 steps down". The number wasn't the issue. The size of the stairwell was...

Sometimes a girl has to do what a girl has to do for a photo, so up we went. I pretty much just held my breath and went for it. On one small landing, I shot a photo of Kasey in a doorway. She was considering hiding it it's dark depths until the next tourists came along so that she could scare them. Thank god one of us has the voice of reason constantly rolling in her head...

When we stepped out of the teeny, tiny, miniscule little stairwell into the fresh air I breathed a HUGE sigh of relief. The view was incredible and completely worth the trip. I had made it. I was victorious. (insert "we are the champions" music here) And then Kasey arrived on the little platform. And was so kind to inform me that there looked to be a little door ahead, leading to more stairs. We weren't *quite* at the top just yet. And look! The next stairwell was even smaller. and darker. and smaller...

We did however make it to the top, only to realize that this was clearly not where our beloved shot had been taken as it was too high a vantage point. It was however amazing and we spent time taking photos of the view, as well as each other.

We did make it back down in one piece, Simone was waiting for us with her new-found friend, and after a quick goodbye, the three of us were off again in search of adventure.

After we left Sacré Coeur, we headed to the Place du Tertre - a small square with local artists and fabulous crêpes. After a small "incident" with one of the local crazies, I found the sweetest artist who's work I loved (and of course brought home with me). I wanted to bring the artist home - he spoke to me in French and actually acted like he understood what I was saying. That alone is worth millions...

When we left the square, filled with our delicious lunch, we began walking down off of Montmartre and came across this darling little car. Kasey and I had been in search of a deux chevaux to take photos of and while she and I never found one (I did - in Toulouse, but that is a whole other story..) we did find this teeny little treasure.

We also found three men emptying out "the cave" of a residence. Apparently the cave is basically a basement. A treasure filled incredibly cool basement where the "garbage" that they clear out would be considered treasures in the states. Kasey and I were in pain. Literally. We racked our brains as to how we could get these fabulous old (really really old) doors and windows home. They were gorgeous. My stomach still hurts thinking about it. How about you Kase?

And then we walked. We passed so many beautiful doors...

~yes, I am wearing runners. after the first day I knew if I didn't, there wouldn't be a lot of walking and I really really wanted to walk! but for the record, there were some crazy fashions in Paris and I was NOT the only one wearing runners.


Rooflines..... Oh how I adore the rooflines!


Beautiful streets...

I loved these men playing boules in a park along the Seine. How incredibly cliché is that? They were playing along this gorgeous tree-lined pathway. Seriously - even pathways are just beautiful in Paris. I so need a little apartment there...

We did walk past the Louvre but didn't make it in as when you only have three days in such an incredible city, going indoors just doesn't seem like a good option. Especially when we had such gorgeous weather.

We did visit Fauchon with it's beautiful food, teas, spices, and treats. We stopped at Laduree to see their beautiful macaroons (which we bought the day before we left Paris).

However, my goal that day - the one destination that I COULD. NOT. MISS. was Dehillerin. The ONE place in all of Paris that I was DYING to visit. And it did not disappoint. Dehillerin will have a post all to itself, as it is worthy of it...

AFter all of our walking, we found this sweet little café that had the most delicious moules and fabulous wine. It was the perfect meal to wrap up our wonderful day exploring the city!