Saturday, April 30, 2011

A Day Just for Me

After a day of much excitement, a week of exhausted legs, and crushing my favorite camera lens yesterday... I decided to leave my large camera at home and just enjoy the day for me. I had no plans and not much expectations... but it turned out to be one of my best days ever.

I did everything I dream of doing... enjoying the city like a resident and not a tourist. Strolling the shops of Piccadilly and Soho, visiting my new favorite store Zara, Chinese for lunch, being a writer in a coffee shop, wedding cake from Fortnum & Mason in honor of the Royal Wedding, laying in the grass and staring up at the sky through the leaves (this has been my favorite part of my trip and something I've done on every sunny day), plucking grass, and strolling about 7 miles with stops to appreciate ducks and roses. My only regret was not to take a Claritin!

Why does YouTube freeze in the stupidest position?

I'm off to Birmingham tomorrow to visit my friend Sheila until Saturday! I'm so excited, but a little nervous too
I'm not sure about my internet access this week, so I have some scheduled blog posts for you with more London coverage!
If I don't get to reply to you... I'll chat with you in Paris! This goes for Facebook & Twitter, I won't get to post my daily links, so you'll have to remember to check back.

Have a great week!

Friday, April 29, 2011

The Royal Wedding

 Outside Westminster Abbey

Though I commend all who camped out for a spot, I fought the urge to stay in and watch all the guests arriving on the big screen forcing myself to turn off the TV and get out the door... so I got to Westminster about 20 minutes before the now Duchess of Cambridge was due to arrive. Fortunate to get as close as I did, I was not able to see anything because of my height and fear that getting too close would result in physical safety as I so tested. But here is an essence of the atmosphere just before. I'm sure you heard the church bells on TV, but to hear them in the streets was really moving...

Once the wedding was in progress, I crammed into the doorway of this tiny pub to see the vows exchanged.

Ladies, wasn't the Duke of Cambridge so sincere in his vows... his eyes and voice only focused on Kate in those moments? Truly romantic... With Royal Weddings only happening decades apart, to see one of sincere love and warmth between the two, made this historical event really something to celebrate, and you could feel the happiness throughout all of London and I presume the rest of the world judging by the media coverage. Refreshing to see positive media coverage for once amidst all other current affairs.

Here is the church bells 20 minutes before wedding...

Did you watch the Live coverage?

Royal Wedding Guests

Outside the Goring Hotel

Because there is so much to report today, I'll do a couple of separate posts. All this excitement and I'm just about dying all day to tell someone and blog it. But I have to remember to embrace the moment!

Here is segment one after the wedding because it's the most exciting...

I just left Victoria Station moments after the kiss around 1:25pm to pick up a coffee. Most of the excitement (for me) was over at this point, because Buckingham Palace, St. James Park, and the route they were driving from Westminster to Buckingham Palace were full and therefore access was closed. I had made the choice to go to Westminster prior to the wedding, then planned to walk after that to get a view of them driving. Anyway, I decided to go to Hyde Park where over 100,000 gathered to watch on the big screens and celebrate thereafter. I was crossing the street fumbling with my coffee, and I heard and saw the Royal Air Force fly over head, I turned and saw a tiny crowd gathering... it was some of the Middleton guests interviewing with BBC just outside the Goring Hotel!!!


 Glowing guests return to the Goring Hotel after the wedding!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

HomeAway BlogAway Apartment

Cromwell Apartment near Kensington & Chelsea 

This post is part of the HomeAway BlogAway winner requirements. A 3 minute long movie and 5 photos of my time in London (3 including the apartment).

My review of the apartment will be posted on the HomeAway website at the end of my stay.
Thank you HomeAway Vacation Rentals!!

Today Show with Vivien Sheriff

Hat Designer 

I mentioned that I happened upon the filming of the Today show yesterday. Literally I was on the Tube from Tower Hill going to see the Royal Mews, but decided spur of the moment to get off at Embankment and walk to the National Gallery instead, as I wanted to see the paintings of Picasso and the likes. I stumbled directly into the taping of the Today show going live. I stood back in the distance because I'm so short and can never see over anyone. (No telling how I will see anything on Friday.)

When I saw the camera angled directly between Natalie Morales and hat designer Vivien Sheriff, I KNEW I would be on. I then moved toward the front so I could see a little closer.

The really short girl next to the really tall one.

Also spotted, Meredith Vieria!

Here is the Today show clip for you to learn a little bit about hat designer Vivien Sheriff
& find out which hat a Royal Wedding guest will be wearing!

I'm so glad Kori at Blonde Episodes did that guest post on Monday 
about Kate's favorite hat, so I could appreciate this!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Royals Two Days Before the Wedding

Journalists Have Been Staked Out All Day to Get the Photos I Did

All day long, I've been at the right place at the right time. I've spoke to journalists including Today host Natalie Morales and Vivien Sheriff, hat designer to some of Miss Kate Middleton's hats... who knew when Kori posted Kate's hats earlier this week I would get to see, snap, and speak to the designer!!! (I will post later along with the clip of the Today show, and point out where I was a speck in the crowd.)

But this afternoon, I beat the thousands of journalists who have paid top dollar for their stations to stake out all day for a glimpse of the Royals and their preparations. Each news medium here has a number of photographers at all entry points of every location.  As a journalism graduate, it is really pretty damn exciting just in itself to be a part of this.
I lingered for about 20 minutes before feeling that I should move on, and fortunately for me I got a few shots of ... unconfirmed officials returning to Buckingham Palace just before 5:00p.m., with no other journalists around.

Notice the driver closest to us behind the wheel, but who is this passenger?

 Tell me that does not look like the man of the moment?

Also in the front car... VERY blurry, but...

 The teeth and eyebrow bone look very much like Prince Charles in the back seat. Or maybe Harry?
I think it looks more like Prince Charles? What do you think?
I was about 75 yards from the private entrance to Buckingham Palace and saw them turn in with police motorcycles before and after, so I'm not yanking your chain.

And just a few minutes before, a trio of silver vans leaving Buckingham Palace...

Zoomed in to the front... doesn't look like Kate to me.
But whoever it is has some nice jewels on. It was rumored (well confirmed actually by a journalist photo) that Kate pulled her hair back today, uncommon for her to do as she was driving herself and sister to Buckingham Palace earlier today. Speculations are she may be trying out an up do for the big day.

Also, the Queen was in Cambridge today but returned this afternoon. Wonder if this was her returning late afternoon.

& after I waited for 20 minutes with other London newspaper journalists (they had witnessed a Range Rover entering Clarence House). I decided to carry on, fortunately for me I caught all my photos. At the next entrance, just a few moments later, where hardly any journalists were, I walked by and caught this Mercedes leaving the Palace. It drove right past me, the windows were completely blacked out. (This was a no access area for cars or media, so it was someone important.) The other journalists ran over to snap photos as as quick as they could, one getting very close to the door as you can see. 

ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN or any other world media corporations if you're looking to hire... I'm your girl!

The key is even though I'm a meager tourist with my humble blog (and Heidi braids today), I always have my camera ready... and go with my gut. Funny thing is I was content with my photos of the vans and Mercedes, had my camera put away to enjoy the same walk I took yesterday from along the gates of Buckingham Palace with St. James Park at my right because I found it so peaceful the day before. But I took my camera out to search for something I saw yesterday - two single red tulips that stood out in a jumble of weeds next to the gates, I thought them to be symbolic of William and Kate for the wedding. I remembered them from yesterday, so pulled out my camera to try to find them again in the afternoon lighting, couldn't find them, and instead turned to my right and saw the entourage.

The Tulip Girl scores again... I'm really beginning to see the big picture of how small events in life unfold into a grander scheme.


Author Interview

I'm very excited to be able to share my author interview with you! Many people have asked questions about my book, 'Running Away to ...