Monday, January 31, 2011

Blog Awards

& Announcements

Happy Monday everyone!
There have been some blog awards I have yet to share with you...

From the beautiful Liesl from Fabulous Fashions 4 Sensible Style...

Here are the rules...

1. Link the person who awarded you!
2. Post seven random facts about yourself.
3. Pass this award along to 15 other bloggers (only if you wish)!

7 Facts About Me...
  1. My favorite show of ALL time is... Felicity... I even had a perm like Keri Russell's in the show.
  2. Yes, I was upset when she chopped off her hair.
  3. Speaking of hair, I got bangs this weekend! It was the longest lock of hair I've ever had cut! Oh and I dyed it darker...
  4. I used to have really thin fingers, my ring finger size was 4 1/4 :) Not sure now...
  5. I wish I lived in a thatched roof cottage with ivy growing on the walls and a picket fence.
  6. I am distant relative through marriage of Davy Crockett.


Thanks to Kori @Blonde Episodes
who awarded me her:
"Your Blog is Breathtaking" award.

What the Award entails:
"Pass on the award to 8-12 fabulous blogs who take your breath away with how they inspire you! Post on your page who you are giving the award to, so others can visit them as well. Make sure to let them know you are honoring them!

If you are a recipient of the award, please take the time to answer these questions, so we can get to know more about you!"

1. What inspires you?
   A well-lit room with natural lighting, clean design, and being fully organized inspires me to be creative and work peacefully.

2. What is your favorite season and why?
    Living in Florida, I really miss the seasons, but do appreciate the generally warm weather. I try to travel in    autumn every year to see the leaves changing though. However, I think maybe it is spring that I really love with the promise of summer and blooms and baby animals...

3. What are you most looking forward to this year?
    Working from home & all the traveling to follow my dreams! (Photography Getaways)

4. If you could write a book about anything, what would you write about?
    Well I've started 3, but haven't finished any yet. One about my college days. One about my post-college days. And then my first fiction novel about a girl who owns a Patisserie in Switzerland. Honestly, I would be happy writing anything. It's the writing lifestyle and the time to do it that I crave the most.

5. What is your greatest passion?
   Believe it or not, that's tough. Besides traveling the world, capturing it with photography, I also love to culinary experiences very much! I enjoy design a great deal though too! Whether it be: graphics/ interiors/ landscape/ food and fashion.

6. If you could change one thing about your life or yourself what would it be and why?
   I did it! Read Friday's post...

7. Lastly, what is your favorite novel?
   The Executioner's Song by Norman Mailer, mainly because of the discipline that went in to reading it. It is 1,072 pages! I had to read it within 3 weeks for my criminal justice class, on top of maintaining my other classes and working 2 jobs. Eight years ago, I went to the library everyday with my Usher 8701 cd and read and read and read. It's based on a true story about the execution of Gary Gilmore and his court cases. Tommy Lee Jones starred in a movie based on the book, also called The Executioner's Song, which I still haven't seen. Hmmm... maybe that will be a new resolution.

Thanks for the awards ladies, now Congratulations to the following blogs... you're awarded both!

1. Girl Paraphernalia
2. This Italian Family
3. Village
4. Gyspy*Diaries
5. Serenity & Style
6. Melanie's Randomness
7. Bonjour Romance
8. All Things Marie
9. A Time for Being Human
10. Just Nat

Are you ready for some serious Pink & Red?
We'll be celebrating the 14 Days of Love again this year,
& I will be kicking off tomorrow with a guest post at Blonde Episodes!

Oh, and Happy Birthday Grandma!
(yes, she is one of my #1 followers!)

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Sunday, January 30, 2011

Scenes from the Weekend

His Birthday Weekend

We had a nice sunny Saturday afternoon picniking on the intercoastal watching the yachts and manatees go by, with amazing LaSpada's subs, so good they've appeared on the blog before here and here...

Frosting noses...

My Christmas present from the UK finally arrived from my friend Sheila...
Cute purses and knitting materials...
 I spent all day in the kitchen on Sunday cooking and cleaning... 

...testing recipes and photographing in the afternoon light.
Can't wait to share what's cookin' in our 14 Days of Love, Feb. 1st - 14th!
Stay tuned...

Have a Great Week!

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Saturday, January 29, 2011

Happy Birthday Handsome!

Another Year Younger

Wishing my camera-shy, beach-loving, warm-hearted, crazy Aquarian weatherman a very Happy Birthday!

I love you hun!

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Friday, January 28, 2011

Freedom Friday


I'm not sure where to begin, so I'll give you the short version first. I quit my job.

Well, respectively I gave over a 4 1/2 week notice. I've been employed for over 4 years as a client services manager for an investment advisory firm for high networth clients. Leaving was one of the hardest things I've ever had to do. I debated for months, maybe even years about when I would do it. I'm pretty sure those close to me, never thought I would actually do it. But when the day I said I would do it, came and gone, a few times over, I finally had to look to my Chinese fortunes I save next to my mousepad, that I stare at for 8 hours a day, that say: Let your heart guide you. I prayed, took a deep breath, looked at it one last time for encouragement, got up and walked to his office. My co-workers have been my surrogate family since I moved to Florida not knowing a soul. They have treated me like a granddaughter, sister, and friend. Protected me during the recession. Day after day, I watched CNBC from my cubicle watching the volatile swings, all the while holding on tightly to my job, knowing they were looking after me. I should have had a T-shirt stating: I survived the Economic Crash. It made it even harder since I was given the option to advance my education to further my career. While I enjoy the investment world, and I have been good at it, (I mentioned before that I was in the Top 1% on 2 seperate competitions for the CNBC portfolio challenge (over 100,000 participants, in a male-dominated industry, I will go so far as to say, that kicks some royal ass!) I'm a creative person at heart, and couldn't bear to watch another 10 years go by wondering "what if?"

My roles of anwering phones, sorting mail, and well being a glorified gal-Friday after 8 years were weighing on me, since about, well 8 years ago. But I plugged, pressed on, and tucked those hard earned pennies away, waiting, posting about my dream jobs, wondering what the hell am I going to do?

My dream has always always ALWAYS been to be self-employed. I just couldn't decide what was best for me... writer, bakery owner, Bed & Breakfast (still a dream), join the circus (jk), you get the point. But after looking at the daily routine and financials of running a bakery, waking at 4am, never being able to leave the shop; making cupcakes was quickly looking like a nightmare.

I started to think about how I wanted to spend my days, besides writing and blogging. Traveling is my favorite thing in the whole world. And I always catch myself obsessively capturing every step with the camera. Wanting to explore the history sites, taste the food, and experience the culture. Call me a dreamer - I don't care. Life is too short. Looking at devoting a portion of the year to travel, and the rest to business development and marketing was looking like it could work. That's how one fine day in June... the idea of Photography Getaways was born.

After my years of being indecisive, when the idea of Photography Getaways struck me, I knew I had found it, and immediately put plans quietly into play within the same week.

I wanted to offer a similar experience as the escorted tours I'd been on to photography enthusiasts who want to see the world. People who are interested in the same thing, who share the same euphoric feeling I do when I discover a new place, that inital awe and wonder of when you first see a new place, and can't wait to start capturing it. I didn't want to offer the same workshop style other photographers do, I wanted something a little different... a combination of a tour and a workshop, to add the culture, bonding, siteseeing and regional dining.

And so I waited until the right month when everything was set and I could and should finally give 100% of myself to my dreams... as I mentioned my New Year's Resolution was one main thing: to be true to myself. This was it.

So, now I will be taking a leap of faith. I know I'm not alone, and so optimistic for this year! I know it's going to be the best yet! It's so encouraging to see the success of other bloggers, and know that blogging has opened the door to so many possiblities. I've got big plans to make my blog even better... which I'm so excited for! Which I'll be starting with the return of 14 Days of Love, February 1st! I'll also be doing some guest blogging, and participating in more group blog posts. So if you're interested in having me guest blog, please do let me know! Also, I'll be hosting regular giveaways! Let me know if you'd like to sponsor a giveaway! Want to advertise? Interested in the Etsy shop? Join us on a Photography Getaway? Or please support by spreading the word... following on Facebook, Twitter, or Bloglovin'!

Happy Friday!

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Thursday, January 27, 2011

Donner Pass

Travel Thursday

Have you heard about the Donner Party? It's an interesting piece of American history that I will let you read about here, rather than discuss on my blog. But my Mom lives very close to Donner Pass, and we went along the old highway when I visited last October. It was very pretty, despite it's dark past.

"Big Journeys Begin with a Small Step."
From a Chinese fortune I have sitting on my desk.

P.s. Can't wait to share some BIG news!

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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Pancakes on a Monday

& More
Good Eats Wednesday

Photo by Nicolette.
Taken on the canal bank of Amsterdam.

What started off as a great raw attempt, really ended up as more fresh fruits and veggies, which isn't a bad thing. But after a few days with minimal meat, things sort of went the other direction. Plus we had a couple of frustrating days with cable AND internet issues in our building. Getting a service man to come out has been a real nightmare. (If you follow me on Twitter, you may have even witnessed my little "hissytweet".) Anyway, we survived by doing normal things again like: date nights, reading books, going to the beach for ice cream, and even walking to our neighborhood Chinese restaurant for dinner. My hand regained circulation from not spending every waking hour on my computer, and even I hit the gym!

But I decided that I will remain raw-inpsired at least 3-4 days per week, because the energy from it feels great! Plus I still have not purchased anything from Starbucks in about 4 weeks. Go me! Two cups of green tea in the am, and lots of water. Oh and did I mention we are currently doing this Garden of Life Perfect Cleanse now? My first cleanse... yikes!

But I did manage to make a few items this week that were a delightful success and consumed in moderation with a healthy dose of veggies on the side ;)

    Rubbed with Smoked BBQ Rub from The Spice & Tea Exchange, followed by a coat of Jack Daniel's BBQ Sauce.

Veal Marsala


I finally played around with my new food processor too, which I made fresh salsa and smoothies. No photos, sorry, was having too much fun. I think I may have found my new best friend!

But Monday came around, like it does every week, doom and gloom, and though I fought the craving, I had to have blueberry pancakes for dinner for some ultimate comfort food. However, Bisquik makes a gluten-free mix that is pretty decent, and didn't give me a stomach ache afterward.

This may be a new way to cure a case of the Mondays!

What's been on your menu lately?

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Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Red & Yellow Tulip

A Photographer's Journal

One of my favorites...

As I'm doing some spring cleaning on my computer of images that need to be transferred or deleted. It's always nice to find one that make you smile and reminds you of a fond memory. This was taken on a spring morning in the Keukenhof Gardens outside of Amsterdam. I will be doing a photo feature touring the tulip garden for the March issue of Belle Inspiration. This photo is newly listed on Etsy. It also makes a gorgeous card set!

Have a beautiful day!

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Monday, January 24, 2011

Coco Chanel

Less Than Six Degrees of Seperation

Last week I mentioned that I watched Coco & Igor.

Afterwards I was excited to interview my dear friend Sheila from Birmingham, England about Coco. I did a post on Sheila last year and mentioned she was once technically employed by Coco Chanel!

Sheila resided in the home of Coco's niece, Gabrielle, to look after Coco's great-nephew. She was paid a good salary, far better than many of her other friend's in Paris at the time (though the movie portrayed Coco being tight with employee's salaries). Even though Sheila had a once-in-a-lifetime opportuntity, she claimed it was very difficult working for the family, mainly because she slept in the nursery room on the third floor with the little boy, had no time to herself, and was only allowed off 24 hours per week. She was advised by another caregiver to find a friend to stay with in Paris for that night, because if Gabrielle saw that she were still there she may expect her to work that day anyway. So Sheila would leave the residence from 8:00pm until 8:00pm the next night. Sheila also recalled tension in the marriage, which made things a little uncomfortable.

It was Coco's & Gabrielle's wish that the children learn to speak English, which is how Sheila got the position. She answered an advertisement in Lady Magazine requesting an English speaking nanny. She was chosen out of 60 applicants and thus moved to Paris. She recalls, "big bottles of silver-topped perfumes of Chanel No. 5 in the bathroom", and said that "Coco smoked like a chimney". Both Gabrielle and Coco's favorite flowers were white gardenias.

I have seen both: Coco Before Chanel and now Coco & Igor. I must say while I admire Coco's independence, her fashion success, and her acheivement on being one of The Top 100 Most Influential People of the Century, the latter movie didn't shed the best light on Coco, as she had an affair with Igor, a married man. Coco invited him, his wife, and children to stay at her home so he could work on his music, where their affair began directly under his wife's nose. When Igor's wife asked Coco if she felt guilty about what she was doing, Coco responded her with a flat, "No".

However, for those of you who have seen both movies, may be able to understand that Coco's life 'literally' before Chanel, was not the easiest, and probably explains why she did the things she did, her lack of interest in marriage, and her determination to end up successfully independent. Still, saying she was a fashion icon is an understatement, she changed history in fashion.


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Friday, January 21, 2011

Anthropologie-Inspired Photo Shoot

Fashion Friday

Last weekend we did some shooting, and finally everything just came together.
The relationship between model and photographer finally clicked.
Our communication improved leaps and bounds, me as director, his listening, and finally I relaxed in front of the camera.
Plus the lighting was perfect!
We have the best set in our backyard, a torn down golf course,
and a beautiful golf course right next to the other.

Did you know I can fly?!

Cream Knicker Shorts ANTHROPOLOGIE

Wondering how our holiday shoot went? See here.

Happy Friday!
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