Weekly Photo Challenge: Blur

In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Blur.”

When I was first taking photography classes last summer, I did a lot of experimenting for homework. My favorite challenges were (and still are) capturing motion. I get to experience the joy of the MBTA Orange Line every day I go to work (anybody not from Boston, that’s sarcasm).

I took this photo while waiting on the platform to go home, watching trains go by the opposite direction. Here is a blurry image of the train moving but the buildings behind can be seen through the windows, I ended up loving how this turned out!

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Ephemeral

In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Ephemeral.”

I took this photo last summer while visiting Cinque Terre in Italy. This came to mind as an ephemeral photograph not only because the light from the moon glows over the village in that exact way for a short time, but visiting a magical place like Cinque Terre seems to come and go too quickly.

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Reunited with Mickey – Walt Disney World 2015

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Now that it’s (technically) spring, I finally have some trips (blog material) scheduled and I’m feeling somewhat rejuvenated after spending this past week in the sun! It has been kind of a gloomy winter and although the temperature hasn’t stayed too high I’m feeling hopeful that we are nearing spring.

I had a great opportunity with Joe’s family to go back to Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida this past week! I hadn’t visited Disney for over 10 years! Needless to say we had a really great time, and it’s just as magical as I remember.

We stayed right on Disney property at Disney’s Boardwalk Inn, choosing a resort to stay at was a tough decision since each seems to have so much to offer. Since we are all adults, we really enjoyed Epcot the most and since this resort was just a short 5-7 minute walk from Epcot it was definitely an ideal location. It is also located on an actual boardwalk lined with restaurants, shops and nightlife.

an overexposed photo of the boardwalk! (it's all I had!)

an overexposed photo of the boardwalk! (it’s all I had!)

We arrived on Monday afternoon and flew home first thing on Friday morning. In that short amount of time we packed in a LOT of activities.

Day 1: Magic KingdomWe had a 1 park per day pass factored into our rate so it was a tough decision what to do when. We really only spent a few hours at Magic Kingdom since we didn’t check into our hotel until around 3 PM and we had dinner reservations in Downtown Disney. We didn’t really research the setup of Disney enough ahead of time and didn’t quite realize the distances between parks. I think we would have spent more time here if we realized how far our dinner reservations were. My favorite ride here is definitely Splash Mountain, and of course seeing Cinderella’s Castle is always nostalgic :).

After Magic Kingdom we spent the evening at Downtown Disney- this isn’t technically a park it’s just an area owned by Disney with the most nightlife, shops, restaurants, live music and some great food stands. We came here a couple of times throughout the week. We ate dinner at Wolfgang Puck Grand Cafe which was really delicious. It’s mostly chain restaurants in this area and this was really exceptionally good. I would recommend this and Fulton’s Crab House for a nice sit down dinner in Downtown Disney. Followed by a life changing ice cream sundae at Ghirardelli :)

Day 2: Disney’s Hollywood Studios – we spent our morning here and used our Fast Passes for all the right rides. I’m not a huge fan of crazy rides so I did sit out on Tower of Terror and Rock n’ RollerCoaster, but if you are a fan of roller coasters and wild rides these are supposedly the two best! We waited in a long line for the Toy Story interactive game ride, which I loved and we also had a fast pass for the Indiana Jones show. All of these are highly recommended! We also spent some time at our great hotel pool.

Tower of Terror!

Tower of Terror!

Day 3: Epcot – This was definitely my favorite day. It was less overwhelmingly crowded and I loved everything about it here. I am a crazy foodie so I obviously loved going from country to country and buying small portions of tasty foods and drinks. I particularly loved the french bakery in France, we kicked off our morning with croissants and quiche! I would recommend using your Fast Passes here to go on Soarin’ and Test Track, those are two of my favorite rides at Disney. I also made a HUGE mistake while at Epcot and went on the Mission Space ride in future world. I get motion sickness very easily so I didn’t recover from this for an entire day!! I should have known to get off once I saw the puke bags in front of our seats.

We made dinner reservations for Chefs de France in France and it was the best meal I ate all week (and that’s saying a lot) the service was beyond amazing, the warm french baguettes were heavenly, and my french onion soup was the best I ever had. I love the country France so much maybe I was just happy to be transported back there for a few hours.

The fireworks/light show at 9 PM every night in Epcot is also not to be missed. I could have easily spent 2 full days in Epcot. Also, I almost forgot to mention it was the Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival! The topiaries were great, and also the food stands were my favorite part.

France - Epcot

France – Epcot

Beauty and the Beast topiary - my favorite!

Beauty and the Beast topiary – my favorite!

Most delicious French Onion Soup

Most delicious French Onion Soup

Creme Brulee after dinner!

Creme Brulee after dinner!

The amazing flowers at Epcot!

The amazing flowers at Epcot!

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Fireworks from Japan :)

Fireworks from Japan :)

Day 4: Disney’s Animal Kingdom  – Best decision we made: get a fast pass for the safari! Such a great ride, but a very, very unbearable line to wait in. The wildlife reserve they have is great, it’s the closest I’ll get to an African safari for a while I guess. There was also a baby gorilla born 3 weeks ago that we could see really well! I loved that. I also loved how they talked about the issues with poaching elephants for ivory, and encouraged everybody to not buy ivory under any circumstance. Everest is a really great roller coaster here as well, I’m not a huge roller coaster fan but I could handle this one. We waited in line for this one and it was definitely worth it.

We spent our last night on the Boardwalk. We ate a delicious meal at Trattoria al Forno. None of us didn’t love our meal. We also ate breakfast here almost every day since it was right outside of our hotel and it was really great! The bakery on the boardwalk has some great homemade treats and there was always a line for ice cream. The environment on the Boardwalk at night is really fun and lively, and such a pretty view.

I didn’t think I’d be going back to Disney until I had kids of my own, but it proved to me that it’s fun for all ages! Not an inexpensive trip, but they do offer more budget friendly hotel options which I was impressed by.

Exploring Beacon, New York

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My sister lived in New York City for years. We visited her in Park Slope in Brooklyn more times than I can count. Whenever I think about our weekends in Brooklyn I think of the extra layer of fat I would come home carrying from literally devouring the most amazing $5 cupcakes (we had to try the best one on every block), gourmet dinners, morning lattes and bagels in between meals. NYC is truly a food capital and with a family full of foodies we didn’t stand a chance.

My sister moved from Brooklyn to quite the contrary, Cortlandt Manor. We loved the idea of a change of scenery and of course being a little bit closer to my big eyed nephew. The area is shockingly rural and woodsy, as if it’s plucked right out of Vermont. It’s a huge change and the main judgement factor is most definitely food… and I’m happy to say it did NOT disappoint.

My two favorite people touring around Beacon.

My two favorite people touring around Beacon.

Despite the cold we went on some serious adventures on Saturday. To start we visited Peekskill which is about a 4 minute drive from the house. We waited in line at the Peekskill Coffee House, Joe and I split a hot chocolate and a gluten-free crepe with banana and nutella. Although it was a little early to be cracked out on chocolate it was beyond delicious, the crepe was piping hot with a perfect distribution of heavenly filling. The restaurant scene looks great, but we decided to head about 30 minutes away for the scenic drive and a destination of Beacon.

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We heard that Beacon had a big artist community and they are very well known for Dia: Beacon, a massive museum with collections from the 1960’s as well as new exhibitions. We didn’t have time to do the museum but it’s definitely on my list for next time.

Even without visiting the museum, the artist community is so obviously vibrant. The main road is lined with vintage shops, numerous art galleries, murals on the sides of buildings and delightful restaurants. We spent hours here and the light dusting of snow made it truly picturesque.

We ate lunch at Beacon Falls Cafe and their corn nugget appetizer was life changing. The service was great, everything was incredibly fresh and full of flavor.

Autumn Grilled Cheese w/ Sweet Potato Fries

Autumn Grilled Cheese w/ Sweet Potato Fries

Corn Nuggets with Dipping Sauce

Corn Nuggets with Dipping Sauce

Some of my other favorite stops included:

The Chocolate Studio, need I say more?:

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The Hop: after visiting The Hop it would make sense to me going forward if every restaurant that thrives on craft beer and local flavor should also be half store. This way, all the beer you try is easy to find and purchase! We strolled in here by accident and left with some great local hard ciders, and a variety of beer. Too good to miss!

After the Barn: This store was so great. They design, build and sell custom wooden tables all shapes and sizes. The staff was friendly and helpful, and although the various size tables were a pretty penny it is obvious how much time and love has gone into their crafting. Along with tables the shelves were lined with old farming antiques and decor. I’m already dreaming of investing in a new table from After the Barn.

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The entire area is scenic and full of history. There are beautiful churches and landmarks all along the road to stop. Cold Spring is nearby and boasts another bustling family owned community. The roads are windy and full of hills, but the scenery makes the possibility of carsickness so worth it.

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Think Warm

I have been pretty quiet on here lately, the reason being I haven’t been too adventurous with all of this weather. I’m not sure if you’ve heard, but New England has been absolutely pummeled with snow over the last 3 weeks. It has been our Monday routine now for 3… straight…. Mondays.

You could say I’m struggling. I have gotten to stay home from work twice due to our struggling public transportation system, but I think that just makes me crazier. I invested in a floor length down jacket, also referred to as a down dress or blanket by my co-workers and I also heavily rely on my knee-high Sorrel boots. I might look like an absolute lunatic, but if I’m warm it is 100% worth it.

So anyways, I went through some of my favorite warm weather shots from last year. Whether I was traveling, or visiting one of my favorite east coast destinations it makes me happy to remember that summer does in fact exist… and someday soon it will be here. Thinking:

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Austin

Coast of Italy

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Red Sox game fun in the spring

Red Sox game fun in the spring

Rockport, MA one of my favorite places on earth

Rockport, MA one of my favorite places on earth

Rockport

Rockport

Taken in Toronto, Canada

Taken in Toronto, Canada

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Fun at Bunganut Lake in Maine

Fun at Bunganut Lake in Maine

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Street Musicians in Austin

Street Musicians in Austin

Arlo Enjoying the Day

Arlo Enjoying the Day

American Flag Waving at the Lake

American Flag Waving at the Lake

Cinque Terre, Italy in hot July

Cinque Terre, Italy in hot July

Hiking in Saratoga Springs

Hiking in Saratoga Springs

Juno

Needless to say, I have had a VERY unproductive day. I went outside for about 10 minutes, baked raspberry thumbprint cookies, ate my body weight in calories and I have watched Blippi ten thousand times with my 20 month old nephew. Unproductive, but I definitely cannot complain about a day off work.

If you are from somewhere in New England I imagine that snow covered pictures of all kinds are filling up your social media feeds. If you are currently reading from somewhere sunny warm we probably should become friends :) haha no but here is a little peak of the snow we are currently buried beneath… woof.

I just bought my first zoom lens and I’m still experimenting with it, these are the best I could do so far with it.

crazy birds

crazy birds

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windy roof

windy roof

grandma and RJ

grandma and RJ

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windy roof

windy roof

RJ is less than impressed with this weather

RJ is less than impressed with this weather


Weekly Photo Challenge: Express Yourself

I haven’t had any time this week to do any real posts, but I have been loving the Weekly Photo Challenges. I love looking through blogger’s lives, their insights and how they interpret each theme.

This week the challenge is to post a picture that expresses yourself. The only thing that comes to my mind when I hear this is fun. Looking through some of my travel photos, I have a lot of fun “in the moment” photos but I only have a handful that really crack me up.

I bought my first DSLR camera about a year ago, and I learned how to shoot manually at the end of the spring. I was in Europe for pretty much the whole month of July, so it was a perfect opportunity to experiment with what I learned and grow as a photographer. Ireland was the last stop of my trip, I met my boyfriend and 4 friends in Dublin to embark on a weeklong road trip down and up the coast to fly out of Shannon.

One of our favorite stops was Balleydehob, which I wrote all about in my past posts about Ireland. The night we got there, our house was right on what seemed like an endless cow pasture, we ran around the hills for hours like little kids. I did some jumping experiments with my camera, and we got some really funny pictures out of it. My favorite was when Joe just couldn’t get on the same count as anybody else, to me in this shot he is hilariously expressing himself (by accident):

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Serenity

I am excited to share my first weekly photo challenge, this week it should be a photo that displays serenity. I took this photo at the Notre Dame cathedral in Paris this past July. I thought this was appropriate considering the recent tragic events that took place in Paris, and I wish them peace and serenity.

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