18 July 2014

All In The Details

I don't really photograph food that often anymore, and truthfully, I generally don't enjoy doing so as much as I like photographing people. But, give me a room packed to the brim with impeccably styled displays of colorful food & flowers, and I will gladly walk around for hours taking pictures of lobster, cheese and macarons.

That's what I did last Saturday night, and let me tell you, it was a lot of fun. I photographed the people in attendance at the party too, but the details of the event stole the show this time. (I can attest that it was all delicious. I obviously sampled everything).

Not pictured here, but worthy of a mention: dark chocolate-covered strawberries, trays upon trays of every hors d'oeuvres imaginable, a giant glass caviar station, Italian meatballs, and an orange Hermés cake.

15 July 2014

A Walk In The Park

Here's one very important item I forgot to include on my summer bucket list: plenty of downtime in Central Park. Without a doubt, I consider it one of New York City's greatest treasures--time there is never wasted. During the summer months, the vibrancy of green in every direction (as evidenced above) is enough to make you forget you're in the middle of the city.

I am currently reading Sister Mother Husband Dog: Etc., a book of essays by Delia Ephron (Nora's sister). The way she writes about New York City causes me to frantically search for a pen so I can transcribe my favorite little bits, like this:

"If New York is for you, nothing else will do. The beauty, the excitement, the friction, the thrill of mystery...mostly, however, loving New York is personal: the  validation of identity. New Yorkers are born all over the country and then they come to the city and it strikes them, 'Oh, this is who I am."

This is true for me, having come here for college ten years ago (ten years!) with nothing more than a few plastic bins and the beautiful naiveté of being eighteen and out on your own for the first time.

P.S. More bubbles!

[Photos: May - July 2014 // Central Park, NYC]

11 July 2014

Summer in New York

Summer in New York goes like this:

1). Sweat miserably, hate everyone and wish you were rich enough to afford a beach house.


2). Sweat miserably, commiserate with everyone doing the same, and realize you're pretty freaking lucky to have a city full of awesome stuff to do at your fingertips.

I try my best to fall into that second camp. When I don't, I give myself an attitude check and go hide until I'm ready to be civil again (Happened yesterday. Over it now. Trashy tv & rosé helped).

Here's my personal city-themed summer bucket list for the remainder of Summer 2014:

Attend Yoga & Broadway lunch in Bryant Park (free!);
Visit Smorgasburg & the Brooklyn Flea (free entry);
Go kayaking on the East River via the Brooklyn Bridge Park Boathouse (free!);
Stroll the Highline and lick a popsicle to beat the heat (free!);
Have drinks at a rooftop bar;
Take the train out to Coney Island for a day at the boardwalk;
Shakespeare in the Park--King Lear runs July 22-August 17th--(free!);
Sunset sail on the Hudson;
Visit the MET and go for cocktails at the Roof Garden Café;
Check out the colorful Jeff Koons exhibit at the Whitney;
Sample craft beer on a Brooklyn Brewery tour (free tours on Saturdays!);
Catch an outdoor nighttime movie at one of the many screening locations around the city (free!);
Attend the Jazz Age Lawn Party on Governor's Island;
Eat pie at Four & Twenty Blackbirds & drink iced coffee at Bluebird or Crosby Coffee;
Be a glutton at The Chocolate Room;
Take a trapeze class.

New York, I love you.

P.S. 21 Newly Opened Outdoor Dining Spots (Would love to check out Pier A Harbor House in Battery Park City) and Recommendations for Summer 2014 from the NY Times.

10 July 2014

La Tour Eiffel

We visited the Eiffel Tower a couple of different times during our stay in Paris. Our second night, we spontaneously detoured there late after a lengthy day spent walking all over the city. We stayed to watch the lights sparkle and then hopped on the metro to head back to the hotel.

We saved our picnic for out last night in Paris. We arrived an hour or so before sundown and plopped down on the lawn to share a bottle of wine and treats we picked up from a local market. We opted not to climb the tower this time, mostly because the lines were long and we were lazy (and who am I kidding, sufficiently drunk). Instead, we walked underneath the tower and headed up to the plaza overlooking the Trocadéro gardens to take in the view from there. We arrived at the top of the plaza steps in prime time to take a few photos as the sky turned the prettiest shades of pastel pink and purple.

To end, a quintessential midnight shot, at which point anyone in vicinity of the view stops to gaze up and watch the lights.

Never gets old.

07 July 2014

Color Me Happy

We ended our 4th of July weekend with a bang; racing in the 2014 Brooklyn Color Run, aka 

The Happiest 5K on the Planet

It was one of those bucket list things I've wanted to do for a long time--I am so glad we finally signed up for one. We actually ran the entire thing, 'cause three miles ain't no thaaang (except my thighs are burning today, so there's that). I'd say at least half of the other participants walked, danced or skipped for most of it, which, in retrospect, is how I'd recommend approaching the whole event.

Below, a before and after comparison for you. The most fun of all takes place after you cross the finish line, when everyone goes bat-shit insane jumping and screaming underneath rainbow clouds of color. Photo booths, free swag, music and yummy treats (frozen yogurt, granola bars) abound aplenty, making for a fun-filled and memorable experience. I highly recommend participating in an event near you: check out the rest of this year's tour schedule here.

P.S. We're both still washing color off our bodies: My right armpit is purple and Tiho's left torso is blue. It all mostly comes off in the shower, although those darker colors take an extra scrubbing or two...

05 July 2014

Smile, You're On Camera

That's the translation above those butt cheeks. I observed several people walk past the graffiti and smile broadly, so it would appear the artist was successful in his or her message.

All of this street art was seen on Rue des Rosiers in the Marais. A favorite spot for sure.

[Photos: June 2014 // Paris, France]

01 July 2014

Musée du Louvre

On a particularly hot day in Paris, we decided to spend the afternoon exploring the Louvre. Museums have always been a huge source of inspiration for me and this one immeasurably surpassed my expectations.

We knew we couldn't feasibly tour it all in one visit--the place is seriously enormous!--so we started out in search of Cupid & Psyche and then wandered over to find the Mona Lisa. We got lost along the way but had loads of fun figuring out where to turn next. We ended up touring several different floors, thus seeing more than we originally planned, which was great.

After about three hours, we decided we'd gotten our tickets' worth and headed out for a stroll and cold drink in the (very sunny) Tuileries gardens. All in all, an afternoon well-spent.

Five fun facts about the Louvre:

-It is the largest and most visited museum in the world.
-The oldest artworks date back over 7,000 (!) years.
-Before it became a museum in 1793, the palace originally served as a fortress and later a residence to multiple french kings.
-It takes 2,000+ employees to maintain the museum and all of the art.
-The collection is comprised of over 1 million works of art, of which 35,000 are on display at any given time.

30 June 2014

June 2014 Self-Portrait: Parisian Treats

[Just barely squeezing this one in under the deadline. July tomorrow, say what?] 

Of course my June self-portrait pays homage to our trip to Europe: it was the main event of the month! I selected this shot because of the memory it evokes; a coffee & dessert date at Ladurée followed by a stroll in the Jardin du Luxembourg. We polished off the box later that evening while perched along the Seine watching the sunset, happily buzzed from a bottle of rosé.

If this all sounds too cliché, that's because it is, although with Paris, everything feels cliché in the best possible way.

Our hotel was nestled in my favorite neighborhood in Paris--Le Marais. We were a stone's throw from Place des Vosges, argued by many to be the most beautiful square in the city, a fact I cannot dispute (here's a shot on instagram). If I'm remembering correctly, I think we stopped briefly to eat one or two of the macarons there before wandering off to finish the rest by the river.

In my opinion, the best way to enjoy Paris to keep it simple. Splurge on good food, wander everywhere and pause often to slow down, sit back and take it all in.

26 June 2014

Two Frames // Paris

I've spent most of my morning going through photos from Paris and feeling completely overwhelmed with choosing what to share here. I remember feeling the same way after my first trip there three years ago. A part of me very much wants to share larger travel-recap posts but I have a feeling Paris imagery will be shared in smaller bits and pieces over the coming weeks while I take my time to work through the edits and put photo stories together.

This feels appropriate and aligned with the way I view Paris; a city to be savored slowly, luxuriously, deliberately.

Much more soon.

[Photos: June 2014 // Paris, France]

24 June 2014

London London Londontown

We arrived in London on a Saturday evening and stayed until the following Tuesday afternoon. This gave us a solid two & a half days to explore the city together, along with my brother-in-law, Milen, who lives and works just outside of London. Milen was a great tour guide, showing us some of his favorite places as well as all of the requisite sights. I've been to London before (about seven years ago), but Tiho never has. We did a lot of walking. In all honesty, I think we could have used another full day to really spread out some of the sight-seeing (we fell into bed exhausted each night), but in retrospect, it was kind of cool to jam in as much as we could.

We stayed three nights at the Hilton Kensington, which served us wonderfully. The hotel clerk kept us waiting for approximately seven minutes at check-in while he called to make sure our room was ready, and apologized by providing us with a free bottle of wine. Can't beat that. We chose Kensington as our home-base mostly because I wanted to be in close proximity to the quainter neighborhoods in London (Notting Hill, Holland Park) but still near all of the buzz of central London. The hotel is a five minute walk from two stops on the central tube (subway) line, enabling us to get pretty much anywhere in the city quickly.

Following, a sampling of photographic highlights, mostly in the order we experienced them. I realize now that I almost never take photos of food/restaurants while traveling because usually, I'm too hungry to stop and take out the camera. I assure you, we ate (and drank) well. I also realize that I don't take too many photos where crowds of people/tourists are present. I gravitate towards "clean" shots and get mad when a random lady's fanny-pack obstructs my vision. This is why you won't be seeing any images of Buckingham palace below. Good, God.

Overall thoughts + memories I want to preserve from this leg of the trip:

-Consuming the best Turkish food of our life in a hole-in-the-wall joint near our hotel. Seriously amazing falafel. I wish I remembered the name of the restaurant.

-Climbing St. Paul's Cathedral and meeting a friendly lady from California with whom I struck up an immediate friendship (extroverts!). She didn't bring her camera for the climb so I snapped a few of her at the peak and promised to send them after we returned to the US.

-Walking across the Millennium Bridge to the Tate Modern and buying a colorful Matisse print from the current exhibit.

-Acquiring a horrible sunburn on only one arm from wandering all day in a t-shirt and forgetting to reapply sunscreen.

-Strolling through Kensington Gardens & Hyde Park, across the Tower Bridge, along Oxford street, around Trafalgar Square & Picadilly circus, past the London eye, The Shakespeare Globe Theater, Westminster, Big Ben & Buckingham Palace (to name a few of the many places we visited).

-Eating lunch at the most charming little outdoor bistro on the south bank near Borough Market (I devoured my elderflower champagne cocktail, asparagus & artichoke macaroni & cheese, and roasted peaches in raspberry sauce over vanilla ice cream).

-Eating dinner at the coolest restaurant in Soho where the table was actually a interactive touch screen menu.

-Buying a cheap umbrella at Primark when it started to rain while we were en route to a fancy(ish) bar for evening drinks.

-People-watching on the grass in Leicester Square after a brief tour of the National Portrait Gallery.

-Taking pictures of all of the colorful doors in Holland Park (separate post to come!).

All in all, London was beautiful. There was obviously a lot we weren't able to see or do in our limited timeframe, but with Tiho's brother currently based there, I don't see what's stopping us from hopping back across the pond sometime soon. :)

[Photos: June 2014 // London, United Kingdom]