A hub for all things to do with design, furniture painting, photography, style, event planning [and some foodie bits for good measure].  

Why does it have to be cold in Boston? Memories of New England.

The temperature has dropped 24 degrees. This can only mean one thing...

I must be in BOSTON!

I'm here for a mini college reunion, since it's been almost 2 years since I've been back [I think? Time has a funny way of getting away from me these days...] and as I sit here drinking my mocha, I recall my love/hate relationship with New England.  The love can be found in these photos, which were actually taken in Maine five or six years ago in the summertime.  Even though they're not of Boston, I posted them because they remind me of how beautiful it is up here, and how wonderful a city Boston can be.

I need these photographic reminders, since I just completed 20 minutes of waiting in the freezing, windy rain for a bus, which then took me to the T, which then proceeded to take me over an hour [public transportation should NEVER take this long, but that's the charm of Boston, right?] to arrive at my present location; a neighborhood close to my alma mater, where I'll be staying with a friend.  As I walked to the cafe I'm hunkering down at for a few hours while I wait for her to get home from work, I actually trudged through a bit of slushy snow. SNOW.

Just yesterday I was out running around with the new puppy [I'll get to that news another time..] in a t-shirt and shorts.  Therein lies the 'hate' of my love/hate relationship with Boston.  I've grown really accustomed to the warmer climate of Atlanta, and I've become nothing short of a pansy when it comes to the frigid, grey north.  There's a reason why only college kids thrive up here.  I used to walk around in my Rainbows and a hoodie well into February without batting an eyelash.  It must have been all that Natty Lite that kept us warm at night [kidding...sort of...]. Now, I've resorted to four layers, plus a scarf.  I'll admit, that was a bit excessive, since I had to immediately shed several layers once I was safely in the belly of South Station. 

Okay, rant over.

I really do love it here, and I'm so thankful I get to be back here, even just for a few days.

A new place to walk my dog...the Beltline!

It's here! Well, for the most part: there is the slight issue of a lack of lighting, making night-walks ill advised, along with a couple incomplete areas [it's just walking in a little dirt, no harm there]. But I can finally walk from my block all the way to Piedmont Park! [or in the opposite direction to Old Fourth Ward Park!]  This is huge for me and my neighborhood.  The path is really wide and is perfect for biking, running or walking happy dogs [like mine- see below!]. The walk from my house to the future Ponce City Market location is ONLY around 10 minutes [and that's more like a leisurely stroll], and on that walk I get an incredible view of the Atlanta skyline, along with art installations done by local artists [check out the great street art Kona found below]. Eventually there will be lots of green space lining this thoroughfare, which will make it all the more enjoyable.  

It was weirdly strange walking across the bridge over Ponce, because this is a street I use literally everyday, so having this new perspective on things was fascinating [even though, really, it's just a walking bridge]. The sun was beginning to set over the skyline to my right as I walked with Kona, and despite being a little hot [it's post-Labor Day, if I can't wear white, I shouldn't have to be subjected to the oppressing heat of summer!] the walk was perfect.  I could easily see myself here everyday, taking advantage of one of the many perks of living right in the heart of the city.  

What was funny was there aren't a ton of people who are using the path yet, [this may have to do with the numerous signs saying "CONSTRUCTION ZONE KEEP OUT"] but those who are have the same giddy look about them.  I stopped and chatted with a guy on his bike, along with a group of runners, and we were all so thrilled about the new, fully functional path.  I think my fellow Beltliners are slightly friendlier than your average Atlantan [though compared to up North, people here are generally very pleasant].

Now that the weather will start cooling down [I welcome 80 degree weather with open arms!], I highly encourage you to take a walk [or run, or bike ride] along the Beltline and see what all the buzz is about.

A historic building on the way to The Beltline.
Kona has a great eye for art.
The sun beginning to set over Atlanta.
A new perspective of Paris on Ponce.
Standing on the Ponce bridge, overlooking the future Ponce City Market.
The view towards my house.
Heading back home!

Aruba in 10 Photos.

This says it all.
Now let's play, Where's Waldo?
[except I'm Waldo, minus the red and white striped outfit]

So apparently it's SUPER windy in Aruba, duly noted.
No, my hair doesn't always look this awesome.
The private island: Flamingo Beach. Quiet. Empty. Peaceful. Perfect.
This aqua blue water makes my heart melt. 

The flamingo posse liked to hang out at the other end of the beach.
I still don't know why their knees bend backwards.

The other beach was named after these happy, romaine lettuce loving iguanas.
This guy asked for caesar dressing on the side :ba dum pish:
My personal hammock.  I spent hours laying here, listening to music, reading, sleeping.
If I could love an inanimate object as much as a person, it would be this hammock.

This is Freddie, my Pelican friend.  He kept me company by the hammock.
I probably spent half my trip watching these amazing birds scoop fish out of the water.

These are some very happy sand-covered toes.
[also, check out my sweet tattoo- if only it were real...some day soon!]
When the beach was too hot to handle, I drank Sex on the Beach: my cocktail of choice :)
I also made tasty drinks in the hotel room with the bottle of Admiral Nelson's Coconut Rum I procured [no, I couldn't afford Malibu], along with mango juice and club soda.  Yum.

Aruba brought zen to my life, even if it was just for a few days :)

Travel Photography Clean up: a man and his alphorn.

I've done quite a bit of traveling over the last year and a half.  Mostly for family reasons, sometimes just for fun, but regardless, every trip has been a truly one-of-a-kind, unforgettable experience.  I usually go on a photography rampage when I travel, and my little Macbook Pro 13" is getting tired.  I've pretty much maxed her out, and on this most recent trip to Aruba, I had no choice but to go through my 8,000+ photos [this actually being only half of my actual photo collection, since everything pre 2011 is backed up on my external hard drive] and start making decisive cuts.

I get a little trigger happy, especially with the action setting on my SLR, so there are tons of photos that I can part with, since there are 7 or 8 more nearly identical to it.  The other issue is these SLR files are massive.  Gone are the days of my 4 megapixel Canon Elph circa 2001.  I've got to work on continuously editing this opus of photos, but I never seem to keep up with them.  Since I leave for another big trip tomorrow [SO excited for my retirement cruise in Alaska with my Mom!] and I know I'll easily take 500+ photos while I'm there, so I've got to continue the photo purge.  

Therein lies my rediscovery of this Swiss man and his alphorn. I started going through the thousands [yes, thousands] of photos I took while in Europe last summer, and I came upon the day I met my first alphorn player.  This traditional Swiss instrument dates back to the mid 16th century and was used as a mode of communication in mountainous regions throughout Europe.

We had taken a lift up to First Mountain in Grindelwald, and this gentleman arrived right along with us.  We waited in the lodge restaurant, because a heavy cloud cover moved over the mountain, causing nearly zero visibility.  While we waited, I noticed the man pull several wooden tubes out of his small black backpack. I watched as he slowly began to assemble them together. In short order, he  had a nearly 11 foot horn sitting in front of him, right there in the middle of the lodge.  He hoisted this monster horn up and brought it outside, in the thick of the clouds. 

As if by magic, the cloud cover began to dissipate, and he began to play these long, low notes.  I was convinced the vibrations of the horn broke up the clouds and cleared the skies.  A small crowd gathered, and we watched this man create beautiful music alongside the breathtaking mountainside.    It was definitely one of those surreal experiences.  I probably took a hundred photos of the man and his horn, but I saved quite a few, since the intensity on his face was so fascinating.  I love that even years from now, I can still look back at these photos and recall this day.