Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Jardin du Luxembourg

There is something about traveling to another country and integrating into their lifestyle that changes you forever. I especially felt this way after visiting Paris.

While in Paris I learned to slow down and be present. Mornings were spent waking up slow as I stood in line at the bakery on our street picking up fresh pastries and coffee. Afternoons were combined with sight seeing and a picnic as there was fresh food and markets in every neighborhood. Dinners were easily a three hour event involving a nice bottle of wine and dreaming up plans to live this way. Everywhere we went it seemed like people just slowed down; something I wasn’t used to but easily grew to adopt and love over time. 

We had so much on our list of things to see and with our new way of living in slowness we ran out of time. However there was one thing I just had to see: Luxembourg Garden. On our very last day I mustered up all my willpower (obviously I am not a morning person) and woke up extra early to catch the sunrise.  Thankfully it was a short 10 minute walk from our hotel.

I was in complete happiness sitting there in solitude watching the sunrise while chase down my pastry with a cup of coffee.  The light was even more beautiful than I had remember...

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“I am not the same having seen the moon shine on the other side of the world.”
― Mary Anne Radmacher

Monday, June 29, 2015

Weekend Details

Happy Monday! I am taking a break from Paris posts to share some photographs from a few weekends ago. 

The prefect way to start the weekend after sleeping in an early morning run (I try!!) is with a delicious breakfast and some strong coffee. I dislike the long wait for brunch but during the summer it's not too bad. Seattleites are willing to wait for outdoor seating and as for me, I let my stomach rule and cave into indoor seating.

On this gorgeous Saturday morning we headed to Citizen in Queen Anne which is always a hit. You can't go wrong with ordering just about anything on the menu; it's all delicious. 

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HIS: sweet crepe with a glass of red wine
HERS: huevos rancheros with a strong cup of coffee

Citizen
706 Taylor Avenue North
Seattle, WA 98109


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We're having a very blessed and beautiful summer. After brunch we walked to the waterfront and had drinks at The Edgewater. Yes, it can be a little touristy but the view is so worth it. 

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The Edgewater
2411 Alaskan Way
Seattle, WA‎ 98121

Friday, June 19, 2015

Defining Luxury

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I was in my mid twenties when I walked into Louis Vuitton and purchased my first ever designer handbag with a matching wallet as a gift to my grown-up self after signing a stellar job offer. I thought this was the ultimate luxury in life; to be able to afford purchasing an expensive designer hand bag. I was happy to be able to provide myself this experience but most of all I was so proud of myself. However in the next few weeks, these feeling would soon evaporate. The first time I took my handbag out I was constantly watching it; paranoid that it would get dirty with the contribution of my clumsiness. Then I started to receive too much attention from it which made me uncomfortable. However it was the time I saw my own reflection off a building that made me realize it just wasn’t me. It just looked loud and flashy to me. When I got home that day I cleaned my bag, placed it in its dust bag and threw it in the back of my closet. I would never carry this bag again but that’s not to say my search stopped then. I quickly moved onto designer shoes.

Over the years I really started to think about what is luxury. I thought I knew what luxury was but after purchasing a few luxury items I wanted so badly it just didn’t give me the satisfaction I was thinking it would. I was baffled.

Dictionary.com defines luxury as: a material object, service, etc., conducive to sumptuous living, usually a delicacy, elegance, or refinement of living rather than a necessity. Designer handbags and shoes fits right in, am I right???

Thankfully I’ve been given plenty of opportunities to clearly define what luxury means to me in the last few years. I believe the process started when I began to strip away the materialistic things in my life. I downsize my living space, my closet, my belongs and really face my consumerism lifestyle. From doing this I learned that my belongings were weighing me down and turning me into a slave. In fact, during this time I had just started dating my beau and I was working so much I hardly ever got to see him. All my hard work was going towards buying new clothes, shoes and things that really didn’t mean much to me and with the little free time I had I was spending it maintaining my things. I was miserable. It was only after getting rid of a majority of my things that I was able to determine my necessities and then defining my luxuries.

To me luxury is time and freedom. Being able to traveling for weeks with my beau is a luxury. Having a job I love that is flexible and allows me to work on my photography and travel is a luxury. Being able to be spontaneous with my weekends is a luxury.

Here’s the thing I’ve learned: luxury can be anything we want it to be and to be true to ourselves we have to start observing our own lives and really ask ourselves the question in order to make it meaningful to us. Because if we don’t we may end up settling for society’s definition and miss out on what truly brings us happiness. For some people luxury is a designer handbag or a sports car or a big house in the suburbs and although those may not be things that I would consider a luxury for myself, I think it’s completely acceptable if that’s what’s truly a luxury to you.

This last year I sold my handbag and my designer shoes for a fraction of their cost and spent that money splurging on an extra nice hotel, restaurant and experiences on my trip to Paris, a city I’ve always dreamt of seeing as a little girl. I don’t miss the things I sold but I do miss Paris and hope to return someday soon!

I encourage you to really think about what luxury means to you and define it for yourself. It will make a world of a difference.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Paris by Day, Paris by Night

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Paris, the city of light.

Like most American girls, I’ve always wanted to visit Paris. For me the yearning for Paris grew as I fell in love with photography. I heard the light was simply divine so I wanted to see it for myself.

On this day, as I sat at the Trocadero watching the sunset I was having one of those 'pinch me' moments. In my left hand I held my beau's hand and in my right I held my Pentax. We were surrounded by so many people but no tourist, street artist or pick pocketer could have put a dent in my mood. With my two loves in my little hands and this view I was in utter bliss!

Paris, you have my heart!

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

The Palace of Versailles

Digging through my photos from Europe made me so happy especially after finding these scans of my little self-portrait project I did while at the Palace of Versailles. Oh man, that place is so so beautiful!!! (That extra so is no typo).

My beau and I had brunch in Paris prior to hopping on a train to Versailles. It was super easy to do and from the train station, it was an easy walk to Versailles. We arrived around noon and felt like we were already late given there were a ton of people everywhere. Getting inside required standing in two lines: a ticket line and an entry line. I’d have to say my beau and I make the best traveling partners; while he waited in line to buy tickets I waited in the entry line and once he got our tickets we were steps away from the entrance killing two birds with one stone and making the couple behind us very jealous of our strategic planning. High five babe!

The palace and garden of Versailles is unlike anything I’ve ever seen before. Being there felt like a dream. Inside the palace there were gold covered trimmings almost on everything, meticulous paintings on the ceilings and the chandeliers inside the Hall of Mirrors are astonishing! Like so many others, the Hall of Mirrors was my favorite room and is significant to history. In this room is where the Treaty of Versailles was signed to end World War I. Yes, I am a nerd and love to learn the history behind things when I travel. I think it brings more life and meaning into the place.

With my traveling companion, my Pentax I walked around the Palace of Versailles lost in my thoughts, absorbing the information I was learning as I roamed through each room and sneaking photos of my own reflection…


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Palace of Versailles // September 2014 
Kodak Porta 400. Developed and scanned at RPL.