February in Photos

February 2014 in Photos

How can I possibly sum up my February in 16 photos?! I’m still in the midst of keywording and editing my photos, so I’ll have to make due with just some snapshots for now.  I flew to Germany on the first and from there Sylvia and I traveled by train to Paris.  We rented a little apartment and spent an amazing six days there.  We traveled back to Germany and then had a couple of days in Bavaria.  So different from Paris, but beautiful as well.  I flew home the day before Valentine’s Day and Eric met me at the airport with a bouquet of flowers.  I finished two books on my trip – one on the plane there and then I started/finished the second on the plane home.

These photos bring such a smile to my face.

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Raise the Red Lantern

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I thought I’d share some photos from October (yes, October!) with you.  I’m working on a backlog of photo editing from the end of last year.  I guess there were just so many fantastic things going on that I got behind.  And October is always a busy month for us, it seems.  Every year, as you probably know, we go to the State Fair as part of Eric’s birthday celebration.

This year, they were having the Chinese Lantern Festival, so we made sure to go while the festival was still going on.  We went during the day, although I’m sure it was beautiful all lit up at night.

When we went, there weren’t a ton of people there, which was nice.  We just strolled through at a leisurely pace.

There were lots of little animals and flowers and mushrooms and all sorts of things.  What you have to imagine, which is sometimes hard to take in, is that everything is a lantern!!  I’m sure it was really a stunning display at night.

I loved the little grove of cherry trees – such fun to see their pretty pink blossoms.  Reminds me a bit of my First Days of Spring post.

The dragon was stunning all by himself.  He was huge – lengthwise – and absolutely amazing the closer you got to him.

Especially once you realized he was made entirely from china plates and cups.  Everything was woven together in the most intricate fashion.

And there were even a couple of temples – the entire piece was itself a lantern. How amazing is that?  These are all primarily constructed of fabric and wire.

And these were so cool – they are made up of tiny little glass vials filled with colored liquid.  Water or oil, I assume?  They looked like they were covered in crystals in the sun.

See the little vials?

The lotus blossoms on the water were so pretty.  And there were frogs and birds and even fish lanterns in there too.  I just really loved the pink lotus flowers.

Apparently some of the big lotus flowers actually opened and closed at night during the show.  Love that!

See the bird?  I loved all the colors on these lanterns.  And the fabric had a sheen to it like silk.  Just absolutely amazing the level of detail.

The swan paddle boats looked right at home amongst the flowers.

This was a giant fan – I do mean giant.  I loved the kind of cloisonné look of the birds.

Here’s the other temple – I just loved all that bright blue!

And look at this shadow box with the peacocks – also had that cloisonné look to them.

It really was a fantastic exhibit.  Like I said, I wish we could have seen it at night – but it was still breathtaking during the day.

I loved this shot – a little bit of East meets Southwest.

Of course, we spent a good amount of time at the fair doing the other things we usually enjoy.  We took in two shows of The Killdares.  Always good music and a lot of fun to sit and watch them play.

They had a new fancy rotating stage this year, which was kind of fun.

Eric bought a couple of their CDs and we stayed behind after the second show to get them signed by the band.

It was a great day and we definitely enjoyed ourselves.  By the time the sun went down we were worn out and ready to head home!

Until next year!

Oh, and p.s. if you’ve never seen the movie Raise the Red Lantern, it’s really good.

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Things I Love Thursday: Chihuly

Well, I missed doing my TILT post last week, and almost missed it again this week.  Of course, with my birthday celebrations, my schedule is a little bit in an uproar, but I decided it was important to get this post in this week.  I’ve been having a lot of fun for my birthday and will post on that for sure soon.  But, today, I thought I’d focus on one of my favorite things.  Most people that know me for any length of time know that I love art (I have a BFA in Art History) and that one of my favorite artists is Dale Chihuly.  I have been in love with his work for a long time, and remember fondly my dad recording (back in the VHS days) specials on Chihuly and his work for me.  I’ve been lucky enough to share this love of these intricate blown glass sculptures with Eric.  And in a funny way, our relationship has involved a series of Chihuly sightings, which has been fun.  We’ve managed to see Chihuly installations in a variety of places, most recently in Miami a couple of years ago.  The photo at the top of the post was from there.

But our first foray into Chihuly sightings, and where I first introduced Eric to his work, was in the Bahamas.  Eric took me on a cruise to the Bahamas back in February of 2005.  At the Atlantis resort, I was ecstatic to find four Chihuly sculptures.

That trip to the Bahamas was also where Eric proposed.  So it was a memorable trip for sure!

The year after we were married, we took a trip to Philadelphia for his cousin’s wedding.  And guess what we stumbled upon?

This piece is called The Flame of Liberty and it is stunning.  I didn’t get the best of photos of it, since I was still kind of new to the whole photography thing.  But so fortuitous to find another Chihuly on this trip together.

On our second anniversary, Eric surprised me with a trip to Oklahoma City.  Why Oklahoma, you ask?  He took me to the Oklahoma Museum of Art which boasts the largest collection of Chihuly pieces anywhere in the world.  Now that is a man who loves me!!!  And the pieces in Oklahoma were amazing for sure.

And this ceiling that is reminiscent of the Bellagio ceiling in Las Vegas.  Such an amazing play of light and color through the glass pieces.

There was even a Chihuly at my old office.  Thankfully I took photos of it before I became a casualty of massive layoffs.

And you might wonder why I decided to focus this TILT post on Chihuly’s work?  Well, currently the Dallas Arboretum is home to a Chihuly installation and I can’t wait to go and see it.  I have heard that the pieces they have on location are stunning.  I am so looking forward to it getting a bit cooler out so that I can venture out to see what they have.

And while the pieces are always amazing in daylight, I can imagine they are even more stunning at night.  I hope to get to see them in both.

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Father’s Day

So, I mentioned a few posts ago that my dad died at the end of February and I haven’t been really sure how to blog about it.  But I do feel like I need to.  I feel like in some little way, I need to share who he was with the Universe.  And, after three months, it just seemed like I need to just say what I want to say and get on with it.

On the 29th of April my mom, sister, niece and I went to a butterfly release that hospice was holding in memory of the people they’d cared for.  The photo above is actually from a trip Eric and I took to Philadelphia a few years ago, but I thought it was appropriate.  The ceremony was very nice and I think it was a nice way for families to say goodbye.

It seems like though, the past few months have been a series of goodbyes.  On Memorial Day, we went to the National Cemetery to visit my Dad’s grave and see his headstone for the first time.  I can’t even begin to put into words how hard it was.  Seeing his name and dates on that stone made it so real, so permanent.  But, the ceremony for Memorial Day was really moving and it was so nice to see so many people out there celebrating their loved ones and honoring those that have served their country.  It was refreshing to spend Memorial Day in the spirit of the day.

Last week was my Dad’s birthday.  He would have been 68.  I spent the day in Wichita in meetings for work, but he was never far from my mind.  Eric took my mom out to lunch and brought her some flowers, because he knew it would be a hard day for her.

And today, is Father’s Day.  And I am missing him something fierce.   I went to a funeral yesterday for the husband of a friend who died suddenly.  And it truly made such an impression on me.  My parents spent the last 47 years at each others’ sides.  And I know that the loss that I am feeling probably doesn’t even touch the loss that my mom is feeling.  My dad was truly an amazing man, and I hope that one day I can live up to the legacy he’s left me.  I hope too that one day I can look back and say that I spent my life with my best friend by my side.

I found these photos recently, photos I’d never seen before, of the two of them on one of their adventures.  They loved to visit the National Parks and explore and take photos.  I get my love of photography from my Dad.  They set up the camera on a tripod and snapped these photos, and I think they speak for themselves about how they spent their lives together.

I imagine that one day, they’ll be off on yet another adventure together.  But, for now, we’re just missing him.

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Christmas in the City

I thought it would be fun to share some photos from our trip to New York City a few years ago.  New York is amazing at the holidays.  The whole city is decorated and it seemed to me the whole place was filled with music too.  One of our first days there, we spent the whole day just walking through the city to see all the holiday decorations.

 

Inside Macy’s.

And the amazing store windows, decorated for the holidays.

And our evening was spent at Rockefeller Plaza.  We watched the skaters and had hot chocolate.

 

One evening, we stopped and had hot dogs from a vendor to tide us over before seeing the Rockettes perform at Radio City Music Hall, which is just across the street from these pretty ornaments.

Inside the Empire State Building was festive too.

And a quiet walk through Central Park.

Whenever the holidays come around, my memories of New York are always intertwined.  It was truly an amazing trip and I highly recommend seeing the city at Christmas if you get the chance.

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Roadtrip

Last weekend I took a little road trip.  It was a much-needed getaway.  And let me tell you, when I stepped out of my car and was greeted with silence, absolute silence – I knew I was in the right place.

My first morning there, I caught the sunrise.  I can’t remember the last time I saw the sun rise when I wasn’t headed for work.  And starting the morning in a rocking chair on the porch with nothing but the sounds of cattle in the distance…Heaven.

I wandered a little bit around the property while the temperatures were still relatively cool.

And to top of the day, I watched the sunset too.

It was the best weekend – full of good food, friends and laughter.  Oh and margaritas…we can’t forget the margaritas.

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A Trip to Rhode Island

Ready for another travel post?  I’m enjoying taking these virtual vacations this summer.  How about you?  Today we’re venturing to the North East, to Rhode Island.  As you can probably tell, we’re working with film photos again too. 

Back in May of 2002, I spent a week visiting a friend in Rhode Island.  I was not in a very good place personally.  I was going through a divorce, moving into a smaller apartment, and felt like the world was coming down around my ears.  I’d already planned this trip to Rhode Island, so I decided it might be good to have a little time away from everything.  It was one of the best vacations I’ve ever had.  I felt loved and taken care of, it was a beautiful place to visit, and we got to see some amazing things. 

One of the days I was there, we decided to take a drive out to Newport to see the “cottages”.  We ate lunch at a fabulous place near the pier.  Then we headed over to Rosecliff. 

You may recognize Rosecliff as the location where The Great Gatsby was filmed in 1974.  This home is really the epitome of what they refer to as the Gilded Age – a time of dinners, balls and costume parties. 

Rosecliff was built in 1902 and was inspired by the Grand Trianon at Versailles.  In 2002, when I was there, Rosecliff was celebrating its Centennial with special events including an historic costume exhibit. 

Gorgeous place, and unfortunately photos were only allowed outside, so you’ll have to take my word for how stunning it was. 

From Rosecliff, we took a little trolley over to see The Breakers.  This place is impressive, for sure.  During my visit, the house (built for the Vanderbilts by Richard Morris Hunt) was undergoing its first major architectural restoration in 107 years. 

Even the sheer size of the iron entrance gates is amazing (they weigh over seven tons by the way).

Again, no photos of the inside, but I did come home with a little book of the Newport mansions that was a lovely reminder of these glorious spaces. 

Even around the back of the house, it’s beautiful.

And look at their view from the backyard. 

It was really a lovely day, and I couldn’t have asked for a better companion on my sightseeing trip!

While I was there, we decided to head into downtown Providence one night to see Waterfire.  This was an amazing experience.  There are over 100 bonfires that float in the river and while you’re watching the fires reflected in the water, and smelling the scents of cedar and pine burning, you’re also listening to a vast array of musical selections from classical to world music. 

The fires are tended from sunset to past midnight by black-clad performers in boats. 

The whole experience is really surreal, it affects all of your senses, and it almost puts you into a meditative state.  Really really one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen. 

On the last day of my trip, we decided to head out to the shore to see one of the lighthouses.  Having never seen a lighthouse before (that I remember), I thought it would be really cool.  The ocean itself looks very different than what I’m used to (Florida, California, Gulf Coast, Hawaii).   

We were out at Narragansett, at the Point Judith Lighthouse.  Unfortunately, when we got there we found out that you couldn’t actually get to the lighthouse because it had been secured since 9/11.  It was cool to see, nonetheless. 

Such a fun, fun trip.  I’ll always remember it and always be so thankful for having that time to heal when I needed it most.

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Staycation

It’s Friday again, and in keeping with my idea to post some travel photos, I thought I’d post a local location.  Years ago, I had the opportunity to stay at the Hotel St. Germain here in Dallas.  This is an absolutely gorgeous hotel with only seven suites, each one decorated differently.   

As you can see, the rooms are stunning.  And the atmosphere at the hotel is wonderful too.  The night I stayed here, there was a wedding going on downstairs.  I remember laying in that big brass bed and listening to the sounds of Billie Holiday’s “At Last” coming from the reception.  What a wedding that must have been.

I loved the feel of this room, and in the photo below you can even get a peek into the black and white bath.  And as you can probably tell, it’s been long enough ago I was here that my photos were taken with a film camera. 

So, if you’re ever in Dallas and want something different from the regular hotel options, do think about staying here.  It’s also a lovely option for a special occasion, if you are in town. 

Next week I think I may see about sharing some photos from Newport, Rhode Island with you.  Hope you enjoyed this edition of my summer vacation posts!

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Zilker Botanical Garden

So with summer upon us, and a holiday weekend starting, I thought it would be kind of fun to post some of my travel photos.  Eric and I love to travel, but haven’t been able to do any lately, so I thought it would be nice to go on little virtual trips.  What do you think?  Want to take a little road trip with me? 

Back in September of 2007, we went down to Austin to visit my sister.  We spent one afternoon with her and my niece at Zilker Botanical Garden.  The park is really beautiful, and we enjoyed wandering around and taking photos.  At the time, I didn’t take a lot of photos, so I don’t have many to share that don’t have my niece or Eric in them.  But we had a good time walking through the various gardens. 

You just have to watch out for the velociraptors. 

But really, it is a very tranquil spot, and there are some fun sculptures for the kids, which makes it an adventure.  You never know what you’ll find around the next bend in the path. 

So the next time you’re in or near Austin, stop by Zilker Botanical Garden for an afternoon.

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Wednesday Walk: Dreams of Travel

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Wednesday! I’ve been training my replacement at work this week (I’ve been doing two jobs for awhile now), and you wouldn’t believe the amount of walking I’ve been doing. We’ve walked all over this place repeatedly in the past three days. This morning when I passed by this world map I had to snap a photo for my post today.

For the past several months I’ve been jonesing to go someplace. And that got even worse when I read Elefantitas Alegres’ posts on her recent trip to Italy. Oh I miss Italy! And with our recent anniversary, it only makes me want to travel more.

I’ve even been thinking a lot about being a travel photographer. How cool would that be?! To experience new places and see new things (and take photos of everything!).

And since this year is a milestone birthday (it was a milestone anniversary too!) I’m dying to actually go somewhere to celebrate. I was hoping for someplace like Paris or Spain, but those may just be dreams. Plus, there was that whole drama with my family last year around my birthday, and you may recall that birthdays are rough for me anyway, so the allure of getting out of Dodge is strong!!

But it sure is fun to dream. And one day travel will be something we get to incorporate back into our lives. I can’t wait to take some more photos for our gallery wall!!

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