Category Archives: travel

Two weeks in {France}

 
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Hello friends,

 

I am happy (so very very happy!) to announce that spring has finally arrived on our little farm on the hill.  The lilacs- my very favorite spring blossoms – are in full bloom and we have a very old, very big bush that is filled with fragrant blooms.  I had also planted a number of bushes along the west perimeter of our property down in the garden pasture a few years ago and they too are covered in purple (and a bit of white as well).  I am so happy that they are here as I was away for the past two weeks and I was nervous that their season would be finished when I returned.  If you know lilacs, you know how short their blooming season is!

 

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The past two weeks were spent driving around one of my favorite countrysides – in France.  Handsome husband and I had been invited to a wedding in the northern Pay de la Loire region and we decided to make a holiday of it.  It was a wonderful mix of romantic time spent with my favorite partner in crime driving through the sweetest villages, with no agenda other than spending our first night with dear friends in their beautiful home in Normandy and the wedding.

 

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We began our adventure when HH picked me up at CDG airport on his way from Germany.  We headed straight for Rabbit Hill as I was excited to see friends and for HH to meet people that I love.  We enjoyed an afternoon and evening dining on wonderful food, drinking wine (and beer for the men-folk) and talking endlessly.  French husband and HH got along marvelously and it made me so happy to know that he know understands what I love so much about our dear friends.  We departed the next morning but thankfully there were no tears as I knew I would be seeing Cat again in Paris in a week.

 

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We headed south and meandered our way through country roads, stopping for snacks or the occasional cafe.  We came across what will go down as one of my favorite French villages – Falaise- with it’s gorgeous architecture, quiet streets lined with shops, boulangeries and historical buildings.  We spent an hour or so wandering the streets in the sunshine and I pulled out my “proper” camera to capture some of the beauty that surrounded us.  There were some really old buildings I would have loved to explore but we were heading to a dinner with the happy couple and some of their close friends so we were soon on our way.

 

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The wedding was a once in a lifetime event.  Hosted on the bride’s late Grandfather’s incredible property, which was covered in 10-20 foot sculptures (he was a sculpture).  The dinner was held in his studio/workshop/gallery and it was amazing.  As her grandfather has passed, the workshop was filled with numerous unfinished pieces – many of which I would be thrilled to put in our home.  He was an incredibly talented man and his work lives on.  The house on the property had recently been renovated by the bride and groom and it is a gorgeous very old home with heavy beams and a stone exterior with my favorite blue shutters.

 

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After the wedding weekend HH and I headed to Nantes for a night, where we explored an old fort in the middle of the city.  We had a nice romantic dinner that evening and stayed in a hotel that was a renovated old church.  Interesting to say the least.  I wish I could say more about Nantes and it was there that I realized I have been spoiled.  It has been a long time since we have visited a city that we didn’t know and didn’t have a “host” there to show us the best spots.  It isn’t nearly as fun for me to visit someplace where I haven’t a clue as to where to walk, what to see and where to eat.  Thus, one night in Nantes was enough for us.  We decided that we needed a couple days of R & R and so we headed north- back to the seaside of Normandy, where I knew of a wonderful spot for just that!

 

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Manior des Impresionistes is a spot that Cat shared with me last summer when I was visiting and in need of peace and nurturing.  It is the perfect spot for such things- beautifully renovated, situated on a sloping hill with a gorgeous view of the sea.  Since last summer they have opened a wonderful soothing spa that is THE place to enjoy peace, re-focus and simply relax.  Our room was on the third floor with a beautiful view, a full luxurious bathroom and comfortable inviting furnishings.  We spent two days enjoying the quiet.  We had a morning at the spa – which the reserved JUST FOR US- where we relaxed in the steam room and sauna, as well as the spa pool just above the beautiful ocean.  Listening to the birds and smelling the salt air was the perfect place to find rejuvenation.  In the afternoon Cat came to spend time shopping in beautiful Honfleur, which I loved.  Meanwhile husband had the quiet time he was looking forward to – and we BOTH were happy.  On our last night there we had a fabulous double-date with Cat and French husband which was the perfect way to wrap up our time together in France.  The next morning we were off to Paris!

 

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I had rented an apartment in the 6th, half a block off of the Seine- a bright airy walk-up (read: a LOT of stairs (read: great for the bum!)) with a roof-top patio that had a view of the top of the tour Eiffel, the Seine and Sacre Coeur.  It was wonderful!  HH and I had one evening there before he flew home and then it was girls’ weekend!

 

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I spent the morning before the ladies started to arrive wandering the streets of the 6th and 7th, taking photos and popping in to shops that looked interesting.  It was a beautiful day and spring was in the air.  I walked through one of those amazing farmer’s markets that are one of the main reason I love France so much, and wished that I could buy a bag full of their gorgeous produce, cheeses, and fish to prepare for my family.  However, I simply enjoyed the beautiful displays and moved on.   Thank goodness market season is in full-swing here at home so that I can enjoy some of that here!

 

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The girls began arriving that afternoon- Cat came first and we had an afternoon together walking everywhere.  We did some shopping, some eating, and more walking.  Ange and Simone arrived the next morning and for the next two days we laughed, talked, ate, drank wine, walked, shopped and talked some more.  It was, by definition, the definitive “Girls Weekend”.  I loved every moment of it- until the good-byes that is.  All three of those girls know how much I suck at that…

 

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My last night was spent with Ange where we stayed at the GORGEOUS French apartment owned by her dear friends.  We were spoiled, fed, wined and tucked in for the night by our hosts and it was the perfect way to wrap up such a wonderful trip.  I left with a very full suitcase which included a bottle of the delicious wine our hosts had gifted me and a full heart – grateful that I have been so blessed to know such wonderful friendship.

 

 

 

{Follow along!}

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Hello friends!

 

With the arrival of the sun and with it the warmer weather of spring I am not often on my computer.  Thus, posting seems to all but disappear sometimes.  However, if you want to follow along on our adventures on the farm or our travel to wonderful places around the globe, you can easily to so on Instagram! http://instagram.com/kimberlytaylorimages  It’s quick and easy, not to mention visual- of which I am totally in love with.

 

Happy Tuesday!

x

 

and I left a bit of my {heart} there~

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There are so many wonderful things I want to share with you.  Right now I am in the process of trying to sort them all out and figuring out how to share them in a way that will let you truly understand all of the beauty I saw while in Africa.  I know that there will be posts that are more specific in the coming weeks but I want to begin to share some of the beauty I saw.  It feels a bit scattered still, but seriously- the photos are so – I can’t even find a word to describe them- beautiful or incredible doesn’t really capture it in my mind…

I want you to know that it was an incredible trip to a place that I immediately fell in love with.  While the trip itself wasn’t as long as I had anticipated it would be, I have no doubt that I will return there within the next year.  The beauty and joy of the people there completely captured my heart and I have already begun working on a plan of my own, a plan that I feel so passionate about.  I met some incredible people who both inspired and motivated me to do something. I  left knowing that I was given this opportunity in order to open my eyes to the power I have to make a difference in the life of someone I don’t even know.  I saw a world where daily life is a constant struggle, and the idea of material goods doesn’t really amount to much but things like food and school fees are everything.  I met women who work so incredibly hard every single day to make sure that their families were cared for and I wanted to carry some of their burden.  I saw children carry heavy jerry cans of dirty water long distances every day and my mama heart wanted to do it for them.  I saw mothers sitting in a children’s hospital, two and three to a bed holding their beautiful but terribly ill children for days on end and I had the opportunity to tell them, face to face, that I thought they were the strongest women I had ever met; that I couldn’t imagine how difficult it must be in a hospital with not enough plasma or medication.  Where most of the children’s IV ports are in their heads as their little veins are simply not healthy enough to insert them in their arms.  Where each ward has upwards of 20 beds – and remember, a bed holds 2-3 children with their mamas at a time- and two nurses on staff.  And my mama head thought “truly, how can this be?”.  You can see a video of where I was HERE.

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I visited a place where people lived in the meekest of conditions- referred to as a slum by many but I really dislike that word- so that Edwin and I could distribute water filters.  Thanks to your support I was able to bring 29 water filters with me on this journey, and five of them ended up here.  And while I had been warned that it would be incredibly difficult, I insisted on going.  And me being me, I also insisted on interacting.  So Dr. Isaac (Edwin’s brother for whom I am so incredibly grateful and excited to work with again in the future) said that I must cut all my nails and remove my ring and if I were to hug those children and hold their hands I was not to touch ANYTHING on my face until I had returned home and thoroughly washed.  And I was NOT to kiss a single child’s head- this was non-negotiable.  And so it was done and off we went.  My stomach was in knots on our way as I was so worried that I would cry and I desperately did NOT want to cry.  And then we arrived, and truly, all I saw was beautiful smiling faces.  Yes, conditions were beyond what anyone should have to survive in, but they were surviving.  Children were without parents in some cases, and yes, that broke my heart a little.  But when  I pulled out the fruit leathers, I was surrounded and loving every moment of it.  It was magical- it truly was.

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So I want to thank you- all of you who sent me grace, and prayed for grace.  Because it worked- it truly did. There were times when I felt so – giddy is the only word I can really find to describe it, or maybe joy-filled – and I wondered more than once if something was wrong with me.  I wondered why I wasn’t sad, why I wasn’t crying and feeling helpless.  But then I realized- how could I be sad when those around me weren’t? Yes, their life was hard, but it was their life, and when a chance to smile or feel happy arose, they grabbed it.

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I will be sharing more over the coming days and weeks as I get through the hundreds of photographs I took. Every time I see them it brings me back to that place and even though I knew I would love it, I had no idea how deeply it would bury itself into my soul.

x

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{the day} that they became a family

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Dear friends,

It is 9:30 pm here but it might as well be 2 am, completely exhausted as I am.  It has been an incredible day, for the most part impossible to put into words that would truly capture the magic that I feel filled this place today.  I can’t begin to describe what it felt like to see 8 beautiful faces at the gate, each with a simple bag in hand- a bag that held all of their worldly belongings.  Everything they owned.  In a bag- a small bag.  Can you even comprehend what that would be like?  Personally I couldn’t fit my toiletries into one of those bags, better yet my entire world.  And yet, there they were.

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 I can’t begin to imagine what it would be like to stand outside the gates of the very first place that they could really call home.  A place where they wouldn’t sleep on a dirt floor in a log and mud hut with a rusted tin roof.  A place where the people you lived with really are your family- not by birth, not by blood, but by divine intervention.  But there they were, waiting so patiently to enter, to sit around a table and be welcomed, to hear what life would be like in their new home, and finally, to be welcomed into their new rooms, complete with beds with mattresses and bedding, a metal box to hold their own towel, toothbrush and toiletries, a wash basin and a mosquito net.  On the top of each bed, a name plate hand-painted and laminated by my dear friend April who lovingly created each one.

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The evening was spent learning the ropes, unpacking their bags and putting their possessions in their metal boxes (which are 2 feet long and 12 inches high), finding common ground with “new siblings”, washing up before dinner, sharing a family meal made by the two “Aunties”- both named Sister Aida and both absolutely loving and wonderful around a long table in a thatched-roof hut.

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After dinner it was back to the children’s house where I found my way to the girls’ rooms- two rooms connected by a doorway with no door, three beds in each.  As one bed has yet to receive it’s resident I claimed it as my own and the girls joined me for snuggles with Hope and Desire sang songs and danced for us.  Sweet Hadeja took a cherished handmade necklace out of her metal box and carefully placed it on my neck.  She had given me one of the only things she had- and I was touched more than I can ever explain.  I then took out my packages of glow in the dark bracelets and we had such fun putting them on everyone’s wrists (Sister Aida included) and then turning off the lights to dance around.  You can imagine how difficult it might be to settle them down after that, but these girls, they are gems.  After a short while they were all in their beds- which were now decorated with all of their glowing bracelets-  waiting for me to tuck them in.  I had an idea and ran into the main house to ask mom if she had the hand-knitted bears she had brought.  I grabbed 5 of them (5 girls and 1 boy arrived today) and brought them back to the girls rooms’.  You have NEVER heard five little girls squeal and giggle as much as these girls did over those little bears.  I gave them each one while tucking them in, kissing them on the forehead and telling each of them how incredibly happy we were that they were there.  When I left Sister Aida was tucking them in for the night as well and all was quiet.  Absolute heaven.

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{faces}

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For those of you who follow along on Instagram and Facebook these photos aren’t new.  However I wanted to share the faces I have come to love over the past week.  These children are so filled with smiles and exuberance and endless giggles.  They screech and hide behind the bravest of the crew and then come forward in an attempt to show bravery.  Never have I seen anyone with less and yet rarely have I seen anyone happier.  For those of us living in very different circumstances it is so difficult to imagine, and yet, when I leave here I hope to bring some of what brings these little people joy home with me.  They have life.  Each day they get is a gift.  Every meal is a blessing.  I think they are thankful and that is something I want to be more of.  Thankful.  They are generous little souls, sharing their laughter and love freely- and I am feeling incredibly thankful for my time with them~

Who says Disney is the {happiest place on earth}

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Hello friends,

I wanted to share a bit of what I have been completely blissed out on these past two days.  These are only iPhone pics but that is because I didn’t want to overwhelm them with the big camera until they were a bit used to my face.  I must tell you I am completely smitten by these gorgeous children.  The village is filled with them, calling out “Mazungu!” (thanks Shelly!) – their term for a white person.  Some come running up, full of smiles and wanting to hold my hand or touch my white skin.  If someone has already claimed both hands, and arm or a bit of my shirt to hold onto will do.  Some approach smiling shyly but when I turn to say hello they scamper away giggling.  Others- young babies mostly- simply cry when they see me.  :)

As we are still working on the project and the kids haven’t yet moved in, I have been spending time with some of them in the village and also at the orphanage right next door.  Yesterday I posted a video of children singing on Instagram.  (kimberlytaylorimages) Front and center was Vanessa- a child that I was determined to get to smile at me, even if she was only 3- the cursed potential crying age…  :)  I returned today as the children had performed at church and said that they would sing for me while I recorded them with my camera.  It was beautiful- those sweet voices singing about their belief in Jesus, so pure and genuine.  Afterwards they organized a soccer football match for me to watch, and while they were organizing teams the girls taught me some foot games and hand games- like we did as children (tell me you remember “miss mary mack mack mack all dressed in black black black…).  These games however were done in Lusoga, so I didn’t understand a word.  I am finding that I wish I could speak the language as I can only imagine what those cheeky children are saying about me knowing I haven’t a clue!  :)

So Miss Vanessa found her way to me this afternoon while I sat watching the match.  I tried not to pay too much attention for fear of scaring her off.  Before long, however, she had made her way to my lap, where she promptly fell asleep.  Bliss I tell you, pure bliss.

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{Africa 2013}

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Hello friends~

It’s hard to believe that after all of the months of planning and preparing, I am a mere two days from leaving home and embarking on this incredible adventure.  My bags are mostly packed, preparations have been made for when I am away from my boys (thank you Nannie and Grandpa Rick!) and I think I am ready to go.  I’m pretty sure you have some idea of how excited I am to arrive in Africa and start loving on those kids.  I am really hoping to take you along on the journey and while I don’t know how much blogging I will be doing, I will try my best to instagram as much as possible- you can find me at kimberlytaylorimages  - and posting on my facebook page - https://www.facebook.com/KTI.kimberlytaylorimages

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I hope that you will follow along and share in this amazing journey.  I promise to share my photos when I return.  Thank you endlessly to all of you who have supported this endeavor from the beginning- from your kind words, encouragement and donations.  I hope you know how much your love means to me.

See you when I return my friends!

x

 

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time in the {country}

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Sometimes you need to be spontaneous.  You need to jump on a plane bound for people who have known you for your entire life.  You need to rent a car and drive down country roads with the windows rolled down, music playing, warm spring air on your skin.  There is something magical about starting each morning with a cup of coffee on the front porch as the sun rises and warms your face.  Time in the country replenishes your soul.

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This past weekend I was blessed to be surrounded by family that I grew up with.  We spent time together, we ate wonderful food, we caught up for the past 25 years.  I loved on old family, met new family whom I adored, and felt like a part of a family.  I spent time with one of the most important and influential men in my life, a man who was a huge part of my childhood.  He took me to all of the places that I love most- old historic cemeteries, farms that have been in the family for years and years, complete with the most amazing outbuildings and very old farms that have been more recently acquired.  Beautiful old buildings, weathered barns, and fabulous old chicken coops.  It was wonderful.  Hours and hours of wonderful.

 

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Those three days gave me something that I didn’t even know I needed.  It reminded me how life can be uncomplicated and leisurely.  It reminded me that gathering with those you love can be as easy as a few phone calls and a pot luck of really great food.  Perfect is so overrated.  Stressing about everything being “just so” takes so much more energy than looking at the people right in front of you and loving every moment with them.

I am grateful for a husband who supports my need for times like this.  I hope that when I return home to my family I am a better person, a calmer person, a happier person.

 

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bringing clean water to {uganda}

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Hello friends,

I am sitting here with the sun streaming through the windows having just spoken with Christian from Waves for Water.  They are an amazing organization who’s goal is to spread clean water through distributing filters around the world.  My gorgeous friend Alexis hooked me up with them, seeing as she has that whole “waves/cool surfer/southern california” thing mastered.  (She and her husband know the man who began the project)  So, here’s the deal- Waves for Water supplies filters that are light weight, easy to use and if taken care of, will filter up to 1,000,000 gallons.  Can you imagine what the means to communities where there biggest challenge is staying healthy without clean water??  I read recently that something like (don’t quote me here) 80% of people in hospitals in developing countries are there due to lack of clean water and illnesses that result from consuming dirty water.

 

So, for the next three months I am attempting to raise enough money through their Clean Water Courier program to purchase 100 filters.  They weight half a pound each and will fit in one of my suitcases.  I love the idea that this isn’t a bandaid that will disappear soon after I leave Africa, but will last for five years providing water to these families.  And in five years, maybe another more permanent solution will be found.  But for now, that is one step closer to health for these people- something they desperately need.

 

So, I am asking you, please, go to this site and consider making a donation.  Every dollar counts and the more funds we raise, the more people’s lives are impacted.  The further we can spread this, the more people we can share it with, the more clean water we will provide.  I am so excited about this friends- and I promise to document it all for you so that you too can see what it means to bring something that we take for granted to people who have rarely known clean water.  We can do this- you and I.  I know we can!

 

You can visit the page here - http://www.wavesforwater.org/courier/bringing-clean-water-to-uganda – and learn more about the program, the filters and what this amazing company is doing around the world.

 

Thank you, again.

Sponsoring {supplies}

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Hello friends!

 

So, this is my first {trip to Africa extravaganza} post and I am so excited about it!  We are in the process of collecting numbers for purchasing things that are available when we arrive in Uganda.  Once we have that list I will share it with you.  I also plan to host an online auction through my facebook page - https://www.facebook.com/KTI.kimberlytaylorimages  I hope to have that up and running in March.  With all of these posts, I would be forever grateful if you would spread the word as far and wide as you can.  Yell it from the rooftops, use facebook, twitter, whatever it takes.  I really want to do everything we can to make this trip and this home as amazing as we can~

Today however I want to share one of the items that we need to purchase here in the states- something that is not available in Uganda.  As mom and I are traveling on missionary tickets we are allowed 3 suitcases each.  With one for clothing, that leaves each of us two large suitcases each to bring as much as we can to the home.  While there we will be setting up the kitchen, bringing the children in and getting life running there.  It is such an exciting time, and we hope to have as many of the necessary supplies for when we begin feeding the children.  Which brings me to this list…

First item- when mom was here last week I made her juice with my juicer.  She had never had it and I explained to her that she could get much of her nutrition in a drink first thing in the day, thus making sure she had a healthy start.  It made her think and after she returned home she realized that if we had a commercial juicer in Uganda we could get the same nutrition into the children- children who have NEVER had proper nutrition in their lives.  They plan to grow large gardens as part of their sustainability program and juicers would be the PERFECT answer to using some of that produce.  The one we want to buy is by Breville:

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It can be found here:  http://www.brevilleusa.com/beverages/juicers/dual-disc-juice-processor.html

It retails for $399 and I would be thrilled if someone knew how to get them donated but Breville doesn’t have a program for donations at this point.  If anyone was interested in sponsoring a juicer, that would be amazing as well.

I am also going to add a {donate} button to my sidebar.  It will connect directly to my paypal account and 100% of the money will go directly to the children, whether for clothing, medication or food and supplies.  We will bring what we raise with us to purchase things from the following list~

 

15 beds (triple high bunks) @125.00ea = $1,875.00

45 mattresses@ $40.00ea = $1,800.00

45 pairs of bedsheets @ $10.00ea = $450.00

45 blankets @ $25.00ea = $1,125.00

45 mosquito nets @ $5.00ea = $225.00


Installation of showers in the outside latrine = $300.00

All utinsels for cooking in the new cookhouse for children = $500.00

3 rakes @ $30.00ea = $90.00

4 shovels @ $40.00ea = $120.00

3 hoes @ 30.00ea = $90.00

10 fans for both houses @$30.00ea = $300.00

 

There are also so many other things- school supplies, clothing, toys- for goodness sake- especially toys!  These children have NEVER had their own toys- can you imagine giving them things to play with?!?  Mom had done a number of great updates on her website - http://jaajabarbshomeofangels.blogspot.com   You will be able to see the progress, the razor wire going on the wall and the breaking of the ground for the second house.  Exciting stuff~

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{the kids playing with a balloon that mom brought}

That is it for now- but once again I want to thank you for your amazing support and kindness with this project.  Some of you have gone so far above and beyond, it is incredible.  You have my heart~

x

 

montreal {bagels}

 

While I was in Montreal last month the opportunity was presented to me (by this dear friend) to shoot an amazing simple yet productive space.  Something I have realized lately is that shooting spaces is an absolute passion.  I love walking in to an inspiring shop, restaurant or kitchen and picturing how it would look as a set of photographs.  I am excited by industrial surroundings- wood and cement and metal, well-used tools and well-worn surfaces.  There is something about a space that has history, that lives have passed through and stories have played out.  It is as if those who have walked before are still there, quietly occupying the corners, keeping watch over those that have come after them.

 

On this trip I was introduced to Montreal bagels at St-Viateur Bagel shop.  Now, I don’t know if you have had the extreme pleasure of enjoying a true Montreal bagel but let me tell you, if you haven’t, you must.  They are divine- dense and a bit skinny and not cake-y like so many of the bagels elsewhere.  I don’t know if it was that I experienced the care and attention that went into making these bagels- the pride of those actually hand-making each. and. every. one.  However, there is something valuable in watching something you are going to eat made from start to finish.  I gained an incredible appreciation for those delicious round seeded treats as well as the men that made them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Saturday & {catching up}

Happy weekend mes amies!

 

I wanted to share some of my favorite photos on the fly from my magical trip to the East Coast a few weeks back.  Did you know that visiting the East Coast in the autumn was on my life list?  Yep- another thing that I was able to check off!  Little did I know that not only would that trip be beautiful with all of that gorgeous color, but that it would change the way I saw the future for myself and my photography.  It really was one of those times that really alters your path~

 

 

I hope you have a wonderful autumn weekend, wherever you are.  It is wet and cool in Seattle- perfect for working on things indoors~

xx

Vermont {in the autumn}

 

Not long ago I was fortunate enough to enjoy an inspiration-filled week with a dear friend at her home on the hill in the countryside of Vermont.  It is difficult to put into words the sense of peace and tranquility that lives on that hill.  I am hoping that the photos give you some idea of how beautiful and soul-filling my time there was. We spent a lot of time simply driving through the countryside, stopping frequently to take in the beauty of the autumn color and gorgeous landscapes. We also had the opportunity to work on a project together and I can’t begin to tell you how inspired I was to really “work” with someone as talented as she. I returned home filled with energy and ideas and plans for the future.  I am so grateful for that as I think it was something I had needed more than I had realized.

 

We shared adventures that I will tell you all about soon, as I have photos from those as well.  However, today, I am thinking of the hill, and of the coming winter, and how warm and nestled up the residents of that wonderful cottage must be.  I long to bring some of that to our little farmhouse~

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

San Fran, farm projects, and {a dream}…

Hello friends,

I know I’ve been a bit absent lately, and I have missed posting.  The thing is, I’ve been trying to be more present in my life lately.  I spent a wonderful weekend with friends in San Francisco this past weekend and returned home completely charged and ready to get to work on some projects both indoors and in the gardens.  We enjoyed delicious meals, beautiful weather, and lots of walking.  We discovered some fabulously inspiring shops that gave us ideas on updates we all wanted to do in our homes.  And we talked- about life and home and raising children and the beauty of marriage.  It was a splendid weekend in which I didn’t take a single photo with my big camera and instead stayed present and snapped away on my phone.

 


 

Spring finally feels like it is trying to break through the clouds and cold temperatures and the sun feels absolutely divine when I am out digging in dirt.  With a  property like this, there are always new projects that arise, as well as older ones that never seem to take precedence and thus are pushed off from one year to the next.  Last year we undertook some bigger projects- a new roof on the barn and a complete renovation of the studio, inside and out.  The entire structure, as well as the house were then painted which gave everything a fresh feel.  The barn was well overdue and it was a relief to finally take that item off of the to-do list.  This year I hope to repaint Chez Poulet, the chicken coop, as well as the playhouse.  There are always garden projects that don’t really even make the list as I simply work on things as they call to me.  I enjoy adding structured things such as new bushes, trellises, or other features.  We also always plant a vegetable garden to compliment the fruit that we get every year.  And then, as anyone with a larger property knows – there is always maintenance.  That is probably our least favorite part as those items aren’t often very fun but oh so necessary.  Hopefully this year that list will be short so that we can work on other things.  Some of my “wish list” items would be to remove two trees that are really sad and old and diseased.  I would LOVE to run water to parts of the property without spouts as I would expand our gardens if I had access to water.  And, the biggest dream of all – one that I don’t even dare mention to my husband unless it is in an attempt to make him feel like it is in actuality his idea is to put the long awaited french doors in the kitchen and a big partially covered deck with our BBQ and perhaps even a simple fireplace on it.  I promise you I would eat EVERY SINGLE meal out there in the summer – breakfast, lunch, and dinner.   I would take my morning coffee in the sun while enjoying the sound of the birds.  I would sit down for lunch with the boys and talk about their plans for the afternoon, and our family would gather at our gorgeous gifted table, hopefully with guests, for dinners that would stretch into the evening, long after the sun has set, with a fire burning and candles on the table.  As you can see I have put much thought into this project.

 

My hope is to post more photos of the farm and the projects that we are working on in the coming months.  If things would dry out a little bit I would be able to capture something other than mud…  I will work on it!

xx

A weekend away with {the girls}

 

Tomorrow bright and early I will be up and off to the airport.  I am so excited to spend this weekend with two great girlfriends in one of my favorite places – San Francisco.  I am excited to share some of my favorite spots in the city – most of them food-related.  I look forward to wandering the city with two girls who, like me, are easy-going and have no agenda other than to enjoy our time together.  There will be a lot of eating, a lot of walking, and hopefully, a lot of laughter.

 

I plan to tweet my way through the trip so if you want to share in the adventure and see photos of how we spend our days, follow along on twitter.  The link is right over here up near the top  ——————————>

 

 

{merci}

Merci is a wonderful not-for-profit shop in Paris that I discovered – thanks to a sweet friend who had just been there a month before me and made me promise to visit myself. They carry beautiful clothing, wonderful eclectic furniture, and some of the best linens I have come across. I brought home a few dish clothes and some other small things, but the space itself is what I fell in love with. It has an industrial feel with a lot of white, dark metal, and wood. It is a very open space with a library of sorts and coffee shop attached. Downstairs there is a wonderful cafe with fabulous metal stools and white tile tables. It is that sort of comfortable welcoming space that I would love our home to feel like. Another reason to love Paris~

The French {Cheese Shop}

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While wandering the streets of my very favorite city on earth, I came across this dream of a cheese shop. If I lived in Paris I would go there every day, buying something wonderful to bring home to my little flat. I would enjoy it with a simple bottle of wine and a delicious baguette. I would have the windows thrown open, old French music playing, and I would listen to the sounds of the city below. Even saying this makes my heart long to go back. I’m not sure why I am having more difficulty this time with leaving Paris behind. But I am.

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a {birthday} in Paris

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It is almost too dreamy – spending my birthday in Paris. Waking up to the sun shining on that beautiful tower right outside our window, knowing that I would have breakfast and dinner with my very handsome husband, and spend the hours in between with a sweet friend was almost more than one dare dream. However, I think the best part was waking up to the sound of my sweet boys’ voices wishing me a happy birthday before they went to bed last night. Pure bliss.

{hello french flower market}

bonjour from {paris}

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I am nestled in a very comfortable bed in a gorgeous hotel in the heart of the 6ieme arrondissement in beautiful Paris. The windows are thrown open and the Tour Eiffel is sparkling in the darkness of night a mere stones throw away. It is beyond stunning and I was giddy when I realized that our room was on the top floor of this old building, with views of my very favorite rooftops in the world. Internet has been spotty at best, but I am so excited to get out there and shoot for the next four days, now that we have returned from Montpellier. And, tomorrow is my birthday. I am so excited to spend it here, wandering the streets that I love and taking photos of all of the delicious things I plan to eat!
Bisous~

Sarlat {market}

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what I wouldn't give to shop like this every day...

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dejeuner!

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Sarlat.

It was market day – and anyone who knows me knows I love me some market day. I could spend hours roaming the stalls, shooting photos of the incredible bounty offered, and talking with the vendors. In France, it is like, well, a magical experience, as there are so many things we can’t even begin to find here. Add to that the incredibly beautiful old buildings, constructed of weathered stone, and you will find me completely blissed out. The market in Sarlat was no exception.

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