Category Archives: General

Disappointments and Blessings

One week to go!  This month has been so busy, and there’s still so much to do before I leave.  I think I’m going to breathe a huge sigh of relief when I finally get on the plane next Friday!

I was able to make an unexpected trip home to see my parents in Montana this week.  Originally, I had planned to work at my temp job through May 12, wanting to store up as much in my savings as possible before leaving, but my manager came to me last week and said they’d hired a new full-time employee, so my last day would actually be Friday the 1st.

Disappointing and discouraging though it was to my financial cushion, it actually ended up being a great blessing.  I had a few extra days, and my parents wanted to see me before i left, so I get to begin my adventure from the house I grew up in.

I’ve had a marvelous time being back home in Hamilton.  I got to spend time with my parents, my sister and her family, and my nieces and their adorable baby boys. Knowing how hard it’s going to be being far away from them for the next 5 1/2 months, it’s been wonderful to have this extra time.

I also had the chance to go through some old papers and scrapbooks tucked away in my former bedroom.  I ended up throwing some of it away (lest evidence of my teenage crushes ever be revealed), but I also found several pages of my “dream vacations”- pictures of places I wanted to go- including Ireland, Paris, London, and Austria.

A couple of them I’ve already been to on previous trips to Europe, but it was fun to have the reminder that I’m embarking on an adventure that’s been almost 20 years in the making.  I think my 14 year old self would be very proud!

So, since I’m considering this the beginning of my journey, here is the first lesson I needed to be reminded of: even though things don’t always work out the way we plan, sometimes they turn out even better. To quote Alice Steinbach, one of my favorite writers and travelers, “M=EA (Mishap=Excellent Adventure).” I’m sure I’ll be using this formula quite a bit over the next several months!

The time here at home has been priceless, and I’m so grateful for unexpected blessings.


Oh, give us pleasure in the flowers to-day (Robert Frost)


"I believe in pink." -Audrey Hepburn

Seriously?  How is it possible that we’re a week into March already (and that’s it’s been 2 MONTHS since I last posted)?  I can’t believe it.  Though, I suppose January and February kind of disappear when you’re sick for 5 weeks.  Can I just say that bronchitis is NOT fun?  Luckily, January and February usually tend to be kind of blah months for me anyway.  Once Christmas is over, I’m ready to leap into Spring.

I guess, in a way, I kind of got my wish–glossed over February and straight into March.  The other morning I awoke to the birds chirping outside my window–truly the first sign that winter is coming to an end– and driving home from work yesterday I saw the tiniest pink cherry blossoms peaking out of some bare branches.  A joyous sight if ever there was one!


Emily Dickinson wrote:

A Light exists in Spring
Not present on the Year
At any other period —
When March is scarcely here

A Color stands abroad
On Solitary Fields
That Science cannot overtake
But Human Nature feels.

There’s “a little madness in the Spring,” a carefree euphoria that seems to come this time of year.  And with it, longer, warmer days, brighter colors, and the promise of new life.

Who can’t help but be cheered by Spring?


Magnolia Tree in full bloom.

And the Award Goes to…


… me, apparently!

I’m sitting at home, all cozy and warm, enjoying a wonderful dinner of pumpkin pancakes & dutch honey, and in a bit of awe of the new world of blogging.  You blog readers are the nicest, most wonderful people in the world!

This must be my good blog-karma week!  (And who knew there even was such a thing?)  The delightful Miss Erin Recht of Seventh Story Studio recently bequeathed me with not one, but TWO  blog awards!  I am very flattered, though I’m pretty sure featuring some of her engagement pictures may have had something to do with it. 🙂

From what I can tell, still being relatively new to the blogging community, these awards have been created by other bloggers as a way of networking and getting to view new blogs and content.

And on that note, I want to thank WordPress for choosing Gatsby Nouvel’s “All the Delights of the Season” as one of it’s Freshly Pressed features.  I’m so grateful to all of you who left such lovely comments about the photos, and your love of the season with me!  You are all so kind, and I appreciate your thoughtfulness more than I can say.  And because I can’t get enough, I decided to post another favorite autumn photo.

Autumn Foliage at Walden Pond

In 2007, I was studying photography at CDIA in Boston, MA.  One day in October our class took a field trip out to Walden Pond and spent a few hours walking in the footsteps of Thoreau.  The colors on this particular tree were brilliant, standing out from amongst it’s less colorful friends.  The image that I finally finished  felt somewhat like an impressionist painting.  So here it is, Impressions of Walden.

Now, on to not-so-serious business!

As one of the stipulations for receiving the Versatile Blogger award, I’m supposed to share 7 interesting facts about myself.  You have my sincerest apologies.

But, here we go:

# 1: In my journal is a list of places I want to visit.  It gets modified and updated regularly.  Brigadoon is on that list.

# 2:  I like squash, but only if it’s in something sweet: butternut squash soufflé, pumpkin pie, zucchini bread, chocolate zucchini cake, pumpkin cookies…  In fact, 90% of the time I’d prefer it if my vegetables didn’t taste like vegetables. The other 10% of the time I get a weird craving for salads.

# 3: I find cravats incredibly sexy.  For some unfathomable reason they appeal to my girly flutterishness (yes, I made up that word).  And while I’m making things up, I’ve decided to call this condition  Thornton-Wentworth Syndrome.












# 4: I deliberately left out Mr. Darcy when naming the above Syndrome because I find Darcy references too cliché.  My apologies to Mr. Colin Firth.

# 5:  I have the weirdest, most random dreams of anyone I know, and I like to share them with my friends and family.  Sometimes they find it amusing and sometimes they find it annoying.  I’m contemplating starting a dream blog so I can inflict the madness on an unsuspecting public.

# 6: I start getting anxious for Christmas in September.  My tree was up before Halloween last year, and I have every intention of doing it again this year.

# 7: Sometimes, when I’m alone in my car listening to music, I lip-synch and pretend that I’m Ella Fitzgerald or Rosemary Clooney .  And sometimes when I listen to George Winston I pretend that I’m a famous pianist and that I’m playing in a ski lodge and Hugh Jackman walks in, finds my talent breathtaking, buys me a hot chocolate, and slips extra marshmallows in it.

Oh, I’m sorry.  Was I over-sharing?

I’ll stop now.

But not before leaving you with this image:

Sweaters also make me happy.

All the Delights of the Season


We have officially entered into my favorite time of the year: October 1st through December 31st.  I just love the arrival of fall.  The brilliant colors, the cool temperatures, cozy sweaters, apple cider, hot chocolate, crackling fires, fat pumpkins, crock pots, harvest festivals,  and all the homey-happy things that make autumn so wonderful.  It’s the beginning of shorter, colder days that are just perfect for snuggling in with a favorite book (Little Women) or movie (Anne of Green Gables–though actually both of these are great books AND movies–how awesome is that?!) and lazing the day away.

This year is particularly exciting because I get to celebrate a wedding of two dear friends in a couple weeks, take my first trip to Paris next month, and celebrate my niece’s wedding in December.  Plus we have Christmas and Thanksgiving in there too.  So, with all these happy memories about to be made, I took a trip down memory lane and dug up so some favorite fall photos from days gone by.  So raise your mug of spiced cider and toast The Season with me!



Beacon Hill, Boston 2007

One of my favorite places in the world is Beacon Hill in Boston, MA.  I love strolling along the cobblestone streets of this quiet neighborhood, the frenzy of the city just a few blocks away.  In the fall orange, gold, and red mums fill the planters, leaves scatter the streets and walkways, and stoops are decorated with pumpkins and colorful gourds.



Central Park, Late Fall 2007

New York’s Central Park in late November is magical.  The fall colors are striking against the light dusting of snow.  This was my first (and only, to date) trip to New York.  A friend and I took a Friday off from school and took a bus from Boston to NYC for a long weekend.  We had an absolute blast taking in all the sights around Manhattan, buying souvenirs in Chinatown, and window shopping along 5th Avenue.  Added bonus: we got stopped on the sidewalk outside a hotel and mistaken for paparazzi just as Josh Groban emerged.  Both of us photographers, neither of us got the shot.  He was in his car before we realized who he was.


Cider Squeeze, Puyallup, WA 2009

My second year in Washington, some friends and I went to an old-fashioned cider squeeze at the Meeker Mansion in Puyallup. And if you haven’t been to an old-fashioned cider squeeze, your life is not yet complete.  We each pressed our own gallon of cider, ate donuts, and had a great time!  And doesn’t this look like a fall catalog shot?  And we didn’t even plan it!  We’re just naturally amazing.

Nathaniel Hawthorne Statue, Salem, MA

On a brilliantly gorgeous Saturday, just a week before Halloween, I took a day trip to Salem, MA.  In addition to the famous witch trials, this town was also home to the author Nathaniel Hawthorne.  The bookworm in me just couldn’t let this photo-op go by!  Oh, and a tip for fellow travelers: if you want to experience a quiet, peaceful New England hamlet…DO NOT go to Salem in October.  On the other hand, if you want to experience the madness of Halloween at it’s puritanical finest, this is the place for you.

A fair is a veritable smorgasbord orgasbord orgasbord…

And while I totally agree with Templeton, turns out it’s also a pretty good place for a fun, romantic photo shoot too!

Last weekend I had the chance to go home to Montana for a few days.  Not only did I have a great time visiting with my family and meeting my new nephew (I’ll post bragging pictures later, because he is the CUTEST first great-grandson ever to be born into our family), I also got to do engagement photos for my beautiful niece, Erin, and her wonderful fiancé, Trevor.

Erin and I started planning and talking about wedding ideas a couple months ago (even before she was formally engaged!) and in discussing engagement photos, I  realized that the most likely weekend I’d be home to take them would also be the weekend of the Ravalli County Fair…well, it was just too good to pass up!  Erin loved the idea, and Trevor loves Erin, so on Saturday evening the three of us spent several hours at the fairgrounds taking pictures.

I am so pleased with how they turned out!  Lots of color, lots of atmosphere, and I even got them on a camel together!  Now Erin can say with the upmost of authority, how difficult it is to kiss while riding a camel. 🙂  In editing and developing the photos I chose to do some of them with a more aged/distressed finish, as Erin has chosen a vintage theme for her wedding.  Check out a few of the samples below.

A summer evening, a ferris wheel, a candy apple, & a kiss. Does life get much sweeter?

"Wow, it's really hard to kiss while riding a camel!" -Erin Recht

It might not be a magic carpet, but a ferris wheel is still a classic!

And of course, who can resist a smooch on a carousel?

Les Miserables and Photogenic Tenors

My brain operates in a weird, circular way.  Playing word association with me would make psychiatrists cry.

Case in point: I’m planning my trip to Paris, so have had all things Paris & French on the brain at the moment.  Paris makes me think of Les Miserables (both the book and the musical, but in this case, we’ll focus on the musical).  This sends me to iTunes to listen to the soundtrack.  The soundtrack makes me want to watch it.  Hello Youtube!  I watch the 10th Anniversary cast.  Then I move on to the 25th Anniversary concert.  I cry.  I get goosebumps.  I discover Alfie Boe.  This sends me to Amazon where I download his new album, “Bring Him Home.”  This sends me into blissful delight as I play it over and over.  I start YouTube-ing like mad.  I find Alfie Boe singing Christmas songs in a church.  I start thinking of Christmas.  I start thinking of Christmas trees.  I start thinking of Christmas trees that can sing like Alfie Boe.  I decide to take a break.  I come back from my break to the same YouTube video of him singing in a church.  The church reminds me of the Sainte Chapelle that I plan to see in Paris.  I’m getting excited for Paris.  I once again go back to planning my trip to Paris. I read about Victor Hugo.  I want to visit his house.  I’m in the mood to watch Les Miserables again.

There you have it.  I am just a little nuts (but in the good way, like a DQ peanut buster parfait).

However, during my recently discovered Alfie Boe obsession (and now I will forever associate him with my first trip to Paris, which, my friends, is not a bad thing to be associated with) I found these INCREDIBLE publicity photographs, and I fell in LOVE with this photographer.

The sad thing is, I don’t know who the photographer IS! 😦  I can’t find the photo credits anywhere!  If someone can, please let me know, because I need to be their friend (plus, I need to put their name here).    The lighting in these portraits is GORGEOUS!  Theatrical, but subtle.  Just enough background to allude to the theater, while still keeping the subject as the main focus.  The costuming is perfect–adding to the character without overwhelming him.  Sorry.  I’ll stop gushing now and let you see for yourselves!

Besides, YouTube is calling for me again…

***UPDDATE: Thanks to a reader, Fin, I now know the photographer!  His name is Ray Burmiston.  His website can be found here:  I just followed him on Twitter. 🙂  Thanks, so much Fin!

The staging of this is beyond brilliant: putting the actor in the balcony for a change. Plus the pose is just so languid and reposed.


The use of light and shadows is BRILLIANT. Also, love the expression that was captured here.

I love the detail of him playing with his cuffs, and the shadow in the background... so atmospheric!

Bonjour Paris!!!

2011 has been a pretty awesome year for me in terms of being able to cross things off my bucket list.

In February, my friend Abbie and I went down to Seaside, Oregon for a much needed weekend getaway.  We stayed in a gorgeous old inn that was built in 1892.  Each room had a unique theme, and the lobby and main floor were filled with antique furniture.  Plus they had freshly baked chocolate chip cookies each afternoon!  It was right on the beach and absolutely perfect for curling up in and escaping the real world.   Item #12 on the Bucket List? “Stay in a fabulous hotel.”

#14 on my list was “buy a fabulous bed,” which I did this spring.  I LOVE it.  And so happy to be sleeping in a huge, comfy, queen sized bed after spending 4 years in college with a twin and another 6 years moving all over the country with a twin bed my parents bought me when I moved into my first “real” apartment.

The BIG check mark came in May when I flew down to San Francisco for the weekend to see Hugh Jackman in Concert!  #18, “Watch Hugh Jackman perform live” has been on my list since about 2006.  I had 3rd row tickets and they were worth EVERY penny.  The weirdest part of the whole experience though was standing by the stage door entrance just like the real groupies and actually touching his arm for maybe 1/2 a second before I got scared his security guard would break my hand.

But the next item to come off my list–in less than 3 months, thank you very much, is one that’s been on there since I was about 9 years old and saw Audrey Hepburn and Cary Grant walking along the Seine and eating ice cream in Charade.  Yes, ladies and gentlemen, your faithful blogger is going to PARIS for Thanksgiving!  But shhh. I still haven’t told my mother yet! 🙂

My friends Abbie and Kris are coming with me, which is exciting because I usually travel alone, and now I get to share the experience with two fabulous women.  Our hotel is on the left bank with a view of Notre Dame.  And we get to spend a full week enjoying and exploring the city of lights.

Of course, one of the things I’m most excited about is getting to photograph this beautiful city that I’ve seen in movies and read about in books all my life.  So, in the words of Audrey Hepburn, Fred Astair, and Kay Thompson… BONJOUR PARIS!!!

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