If you've been following along on Instagram, you know that this week is kind of (ok, not kind of....is DEFINITELY) a crunch week for us! We leave this weekend for United in Santa Barbara and then we'll go straight in to WPPI in Vegas, then we're home for just a couple of days and then it's off to Germany (more on that to come!!). As we speak, I am writing & practicing no less than 5 talks and trying to pack for pretty much every climate imaginable. Let's just hope I don't accidentally take my Germany suitcase to Vegas or else I'll be wearing a parka by the pool! Word! :)
But all of this thinking about heading to Europe again got me thinking about the last time we were there: when we went to London & France to see the lavender fields over the summer! I realized that I had only ever shown a sneak peek of just a couple pictures of our trip, but had never gotten around to posting the whole thing. Well, we've been working on all the pictures to put together an album for us of our trip, and I can tell you that they definitely won't all fit into one post! So we're going to do it in three parts: first up the lavender fields in Provence, then Nice & the French Riviera, then finish up in London!
First up, Provence! We flew into Marseille, which is a great way to go if you ever want to go see the lavender fields. The fields themselves are way out in the country where there isn't a lot going on (although there are a few really nice resorts you could stay in), so Marseille made for a great home base where there were restaurants & things going on. Plus it's just such a charming little port city with a market right along the water where you can buy lavender & dried fruit and see street performers. We're BIG fans of websites like lastminute.com, so we were able to watch the hotels there and get this crrrrrazy amazing deal on a hotel there that looked like a palace (the Marseille Intercontinental overlooking the city.
So we would stay in Marseille, and every morning we would get up and the hotel would do this incredible brunch out on the veranda overlooking the city with this warm breeze blowing in. And then we would hop in our rental car & go exploring. Funny thing about the rental car: over there I guess BMW is just like your basic domestic car so when we checked in they said we could either have VW Jetta or a BMW 1 series. We took the BMW!! Justin LOVED driving all over France in that!
If you are going to try to go see the lavender fields, the first two weeks of July is a really good bet for when they will be in peak bloom (although it changes year to year). From Marseille you can head North away from the coast and slowly making your way toward Senanque Abbey (l'Abbaye Notre-Dame de Sénanque) in Gordes. Take your time though and just stop off and random fields you see along the way. They're everywhere & they're gorgeous! Feel free to skip over the Lavender Museum in Cabrières-d'Avignon though....we basically just paid 20 euros each to walk into a gift shop! :) But the Abbey is definitely somewhere that you want to make sure you get to! You have to drive up this crazy steep hill where you see views like the one below & then back down the other side of this crazy steep hill. But once you get there, you'll just want to stay there forever soaking in the beauty. It was incredible!
When there are just two of you traveling and you both happen to be photographers, you entertain yourself by putting on photoshoots of each other! Don't judge! :)
I may or may not have brought this dress just to wear in the lavender. :)
Finally, at the end of an incredible day of lavender peeping, do yourself a HUGE favor & go to La Coquillade in Gargas for dinner at Le Gourmet. We had a TEN course meal (TEN!!) of some of the best food I've ever had in my life!! Plus the property itself (the driveway is pictured above!) is stunning!
Ok, that's it for Part I! Stay tuned for Part II when we head over to Nice!
Anybody who knows me or spends more than about an hour with me, knows that I am a big fan of saying those big scary dreams you have out loud.
I am firm believer that, Something really BIG happens when you are willing to say out loud, maybe for the very first time, this is what I want for my one wild & precious life.
And I hold myself just as accountable to that idea as I do everyone else.
To that end, here are a few big, hairy, AUDACIOUS goals that have been floating around my heart lately:
*Shoot a wedding in London, England in general, Scotland or Ireland.
*Shoot a wedding in Hawaii. If you're getting married there, let's talk!
*Put a new open air front porch on our house with white columns and fancy new stone work. It turns out the one we currently have is being held up by a 100 year old cedar stump. :)
*Speak in Australia at one of the big AIPP conferences there. Anybody have a good in??
*Speak in London at their big conference
*Travel to Bora Bora
*Do a portrait photography series on loggers & coal miners in my home state of WV (Montani Semper Liberi!)
*Get a new golden retriever puppy. Boom.
*Be published in Martha Stewart print
*Donate $10,000 to an amazing charity. Deliver it in the form of a huge Ed McMahon sized check. With confetti.
*Send my dad back to Hawaii.
*Do a styled shoot, just for us for fun, at a castle in Europe
*Put in a new kitchen complete w/ Wolf range
*Do a TED talk & speak at Catalyst.
*Write a book. Or a few of them.
*See The Black Tie Bride & The Well Groomed Groom blow up & each hit 25,000 likes by the end of this year!
*Attend an Engage Conference as the BTB & WGG.
*Shoot a wedding on a southern plantation.
*Be published in Southern Weddings
*Impact 100 lives for the better. Leave at least 100 people better for having known me. Give more than I take.
Sooooo....don't be scared now! What are some of yours?? It's only fun if you share too!
Ok, correction. As Monty Python would say, it's not yet dead. But it's getting there fast.
First, the Wifi went. Any time I tried to log on, it would say "no wifi hardware installed." And I'm not sure if you've ever noticed before, but a laptop without Wifi is basically just a box. A glorified paperweight. An overachieving door stop. A typewriter that went to Bloomies and had a makeover.
So we tried updating the operating system. At which point the Wifi started working again......but then all of my email folders disappeared. ALL of them. Now, I'm not sure if you've ever seen a grown woman lay down on the floor, kick her legs, and hold her breath until her face turns purple. And that didn't happen that day either. But it came close. There is just something about technology not working that makes me turn in to the Incredible Hulk. Such a shame too. It shredded my favorite polka dot button down from J.Crew.
So about an hour & a ton of Mac forums later, we find my missing email folders hidden under a destination folder. Where they were presumably taking a vacation. I like to imagine they were drinking tiny pina coladas. And getting caught in the rain. And for one brief shining second, all was right & working with my computer again!!!
And then.....the Wifi stopped working again. HULK. SMAAAAAASH.
So I calmly took a deep breath and rationally discussed the problem. Or y'know, the opposite of that.
From there, things just went from bad to worse. First the sound started going. It would pop & crack like I was listening to some old school vinyl on a gramophone. Which, y'know, kind of worked for my Oh Brother Where Art Thou soundtrack. But not so much for Pitbull. Then the video card start going. It would take whatever window I was looking at, and whatever I would mouse over it would duplicate it over and over until it looked like I was playing some really terrible Atari game.
The 80s called. They want their technology back.
The final blow was when the power cord literally broke off in the computer. I'm sorry, wait. It BROKE OFF in the computer! Who does that happen to?!
So yea, like I said. Not yet dead. But getting there fast.
So after a scene right out of ER of me pounding on the computer's chest and yelling "CLEAR" and "WHYYYYY"...we decided to pull the plug (see what I did there). It had to be done.
And we are now proud to introduce our new bouncing bundle of retina display joy....My New Macbook Pro!!!
I wore green on my sweater to let this new computer know who's boss!
We also invested in this beauty! It's an "Airport" so it's what gives us our Wifi in the house, but then you can also set it up as your "Time Capsule" so that any time you're logged on it's backing up your computer. I am terrible at remembering to plug in my laptop to a hard drive to back it up. But I'm GREAT at remembering to log on to the internet. So this a win-WIN for me!
And that is the tale of my technology saga. I am incredibly thankful that we were able to just go out & grab a new one. There was definitely a point early on in our business where we couldn't have done that, and that makes me extra grateful now. With all of our traveling we do, we literally run our lives from this machine. So I'm so SO thankful for a new & super fast computer to get it all done! And that there are silver linings even when it feels like everything is going wrong!
Happy Monday friends! Here's to the crazy ones!
One of the things we have been loving most about having some time at home in December & January, was getting the chance to do more of our house projects! For those of you who have been here a while, you know that Justin & I bought an 1880s colonial style house on the Long Island Sound in 2009. The really amazing news about that is that we were able to buy our first home on the water (which we STILL can't believe that's true! We have to pinch ourselves every day that we get to wake up & that's our view!). The bad news with it (and the reason we were ever able to buy waterfront in New England which is usually crazy expensive) is that it needed a ton of work. A TON!
Four years in and two major rounds of renovations over, there is still work to be done. There probably always will be, honestly. And we wouldn't have it any other way! We LOVE working on this house & making it our own. And the good news is, there will never be any shortage of projects to share with you guys! :) Today, we want to show you the new curtains & rug in our living room/meeting room on the first floor (there are three floors total, so like I said...no shortage of projects to be done!). It is absolutely amazing how much a difference a good set of curtains can make! We added in these gray velvet curtains to balance out the brightness of the room (we get a LOT of gorgeous light in off the water!) and also to pull in those tones of the sea stone fireplace (original 1800's...it even has a hook in it to hold a kettle for cooking!). Once we had those in place, we knew we wanted something to anchor the room (we were spending half our lives straightening the couch up). So we were over the moon when we found this light blue rug to tie the whole room together. It is the softest rug I've ever felt & honestly, it feels like it was made just for us and this room!
We are super excited with how everything is coming together! And by the way, I decided to leave our Christmas decorations up on the mantle as our "winter decorations." Don't judge!
Happy Friday y'all!
Oooh we also made the leap & added three new "Nest" smoke detectors in the house (one for each floor). Instead of just going off with some annoying alarm, they talk to you. Excuse me, there appears to be smoke in the kitchen. AMAZING!
And finally, this is a little hint at our next project to come! Any guesses?
What do photographers do when it snows? Go out & shoot in it of course!!
We only lasted about twenty minutes, but it was totally worth it to see Cooper running around like crazy trying to eat all the snowflakes and to get some pictures of our own little family to put in picture frames all around the house. As you photographers out there know, we are all kind of like the shoe cobbler's children when it comes to documenting our own lives: we rarely make it over to that side of the lens and pretty soon another year goes by undocumented. That is something we have made a vow to change this year. Because I don't know about you guys, but I think our own stories are worth telling too.
So here's to snow days! And taking the time to remember to play!