Travel

Home-home in the Summertime

Hello!

For those of you who are missing summertime, here is a glimpse back on my time in my hometown in July.  I love Western PA in the summertime.  I also love watching my nieces and nephews explore the creek (honestly, we say crick) that I grew up visiting on the family land outside of town, finding salamanders and crayfish among the rocks.  🙂

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Here’s an added bonus to this post. A couple of my dad’s magnolia trees are thriving here in the north and had many beautiful blossoms this year!  I’m not sure if I’ve shared the background story of his magnolias on the blog before, so here it is:

Magnolias hold a very special place in my heart (Southern Magnolias to be specific, but one can’t be too picky up here in the north).

For the last twenty years or so, my dad tried to grow Southern Magnolia trees at their home in Pennsylvania. I don’t even know how many he planted over the years. Many bit the dust quickly, some lasted a few seasons, and every once in a while there would be a blossom or two. Back in the summer of 2014, I was laughing at (with?) him as he watered his magnolia trees, reminding him that they really aren’t meant to live in the northern climate. He chuckled and said, “Well, we’re sort of delaying the inevitable here.”  He knew they wouldn’t grow into huge, flourishing trees, yet he faithfully filled those buckets and continued to water them and enjoy them while they grew in the yard.

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Summer, 2014

Magnolias have become a reminder of Dad for me. They remind me to live in the moment, “water the trees,” appreciate the little things, and enjoy life itself, because in the end everything is temporary.  This makes me super thankful for biblical promises like the one in 2 Corinthians 4:18 “For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal,” but this is already too long to add a sermon into the mix.
All that to say, this is why magnolias make me smile, remind me to appreciate each moment, and encourage me to trust God with the unknown and not-promised future. 

Aren’t these blossoms beautiful?

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July, 2019

 

 


Whales, Puffins, and Murres!

I recently spent some time on the island of Newfoundland.  I definitely had to google the Newfoundland and Labrador province before my friend and I planned this trip just to know where it was located!

We had a great time exploring a small part of this very large island.  There was so much to learn about Newfoundland’s history and wildlife.  O’Brien’s Whale and Boat Tours was a great place to start on a foggy morning!

We were able to see tons of puffins, murres (which totally look like penguins from a distance), and humpback whales on our boat tour.  I hope you enjoy some of my photos from our adventure in Bay Bulls!

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A puffin!

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Approaching the Isle of Birds (I made up the name, but it fits).

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Murres on the move

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Puffins on the move

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Puffin burrows

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Not penguins 🙂

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Humpback whale sighting!

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Check out those fins!

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They were so close!

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Here is a video (don’t worry, no plans to become a videographer anytime soon!) showing our slightly overdone excitement about having whales near our boat.  🙂

 

 

Additionally, here are some photos from my phone to show another perspective from our tour.

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I’m so grateful that my friend Laura was up for joining me on a chilly summer adventure in Eastern Canada!


Europe in 2018

Hello, all!

Winter weather is assisting me in getting caught up on photos and this blog.  I just wanted to give a heads up to those of you who follow this blog for travel photos: Great things are coming your way!  I went to Europe three (what is my life!?) times in 2018 and have some beautiful photos to share from the five countries I visited. This post is a sampling for you!

I am going to be posting quite a few of my 2018 portrait sessions after this (so my clients know that I’m still doing this side gig.) After that, I will have more travel posts. Get excited!!!

Happy 2019, friends!

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Enjoying London, Italy, and Germany on assorted trips in 2018.

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London in the spring

 

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My first time in Malta! March, 2018

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Summer in Italy

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Summer in Italy

 

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A fall day in Dublin, Ireland

 

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Germany in October 2018


The Rosario Mining Company in San Juancito, Honduras

As I mentioned in my previous post, there’s this really unique village outside Tegucigalpa, Honduras where an American mining company once set up shop.  It is now a bit of a rundown area up the mountain from San Juancito, at the entrance of La Tigra National Park and has become one of my favorite places to visit.  This post documents my visit there in June 2017.

Cabaña Mirador El Rosario owned by Jorg and Monika is the perfect cabin on a mountain and the dinner and breakfast served at the main house is dreamy.  Here are some sights from the cabin and their home:

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And here are some photos from the former El Rosario Mining Company buildings near the entrance of La Tigra National Park, the bright pupleria, as well as some photos from hiking near the park…

 

My top three favorite photos from the getaway:

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I’m always fascinated by the plants I see there…

Here are some additional photos from my phone to get you a feel for the place…

Lastly, we saw a quetzal on our way back down to San Juancito!

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The Gringo Cemetery of the Rosario Mining Company, Honduras

Nothing like a snow day home to have me thinking back on past trips and adventures.

In June I returned to my beloved second country, Honduras.  I was able to have a quick getaway to one of my favorite places, Cabaña Mirador in El Rosario.  While there, my friend Michelle and I took a little hike around the village and on the edge of La Tigra National Park.  Just up the mountain from the village of San Juancito sits an old mining town that was operated by a US mining company in the early 1900’s.

This post is focusing on the photos I took at what Michelle and I call the “gringo cemetery” where the mining company buried workers who passed away while they were living there.

Some may find cemeteries creepy, but I tend to find them peaceful.  This one is fascinating.  I hope you enjoy some of the details of this unique place.

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A Walk around London at Dusk

Just before the new year, I was able to take a walk around London as the sun set.  I enjoyed a different angle for photos of Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament than my last visit or my trip in the fall of 2015.  This time I took a few (haha) photos as I explored.  Hope you enjoy them!

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I loved this view when I came out from the tube and saw the evening light on the clock face.  When I crossed the bridge, I was struck by this doorway before turning around to check out the view across the river.

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The view while walking across Westminster Bridge

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The view I’d been hoping for!

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There was no way I could wait out all the people gathered there to take photos, so I decided to appreciate their presence in this photo.  🙂

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Poor quality photo, but I like seeing the details on this lamppost.

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The Palace of Westminster

 

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Big Ben at different angles

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Christmastime with Big Ben

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The view back at Big Ben as I walked toward Westminster Abbey

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Central Hall Westminster

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Westminster Abbey

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I couldn’t get very close to this, but have appreciated this prayer on the side of Westminster Abbey since I saw it last year.

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Westminster Abbey

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Checking out where the Prime Minister lives… it seemed pretty secure.  🙂

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Walking through the Horse Guards building.


Windsor at Christmastime

On Wednesday, Mom, my sister, and I had the opportunity to tour Windsor Castle and have afternoon tea nearby before catching the train back home.

Since my trip here has proven that my super teacher immunity is no match for British germs and I’ve had a day in, I put together this blog post to give you a taste of our time there.

My mom and I took my nephews to Windsor Castle last time I was here in October 2015 (you can see photos from that visit here, here, and here), but I found this trip to be equally fun with the addition of Christmas decor and tea with my mom and sister.  I hope you enjoy these!

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Christmas crackers don’t often make it into American decor, so I enjoyed seeing these at the Windsor train station.

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I love the walk up to the Castle.

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These photos were taken during our little detour as we waited in line on side streets to buy tickets to the Castle.

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I really enjoyed all the festive decorations.  They do a lot, considering the Queen doesn’t even spend Christmas in this home!

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A close-up of St. George’s Gate and other views around the castle grounds.  We unfortunately weren’t allowed to take photos inside the state rooms.

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St. George’s Chapel

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A close-up of St. George’s Chapel with animal guards.  🙂

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The guards dress a bit differently in the wintertime.

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Then we walked across the street to afternoon tea at Clarence Brasserie and Tea Room.

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It was great getting some quality time with my sister and my mom!

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What afternoon tea is all about, really.

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We were able to go back past the castle on our way out to see the evening light on it.

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Evening light on Windsor Castle

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The Queen Victoria Statue next to Windsor.

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Unique Christmas decorations by the shops next to Windsor…

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The shops at the train station and awaiting our train back.

 


Christmastime in London at Night

I’ve been pretty pumped about this blog post, not because there’s anything special about these photos (they’re not the best quality, what with me not having a tripod with me, nor time to fix my settings for every shot), but because London is so beautiful at Christmastime!

These photos are from a couple evenings last week when I went to a show with a friend and the following day Mom and I explored Oxford and Regent Streets after we went to a pantomime at the Palladium.  I hope you enjoy this trip through part of London at Christmastime.  Apologies for any incorrect information I give about the locations of where these photos were taken…

More to come soon.  Happy New Year, everyone!

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Taking a walk around South Bank

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The London Eye and Big Ben

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Somewhere near or across from South Bank

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I couldn’t get enough of this view of Big Ben and Westminster Palace

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I wondered why there were photographers lined up on the bridge looking this way… then I realized what a great shot it was.  🙂 

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I loved taking in the beauty and shopping at the Leicester Square Christmas Market next to the cinemas where all the London movie premiers take place.

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Trafalgar Square, including the Norway Spruce gifted to England every year as a thank you for their help during World War II.

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Covent Garden knows how to be festive.

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Sights from more of Covent Garden

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Mel and I enjoyed warming up in the fancy lobby of the Savoy before we went to the show.

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West End is the place to go for shows!

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Mel and I saw the show Beautiful, an example of store windows near Regent Street, and a church at the end of Regent Street.

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Regent Street

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More of Regent Street

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Oxford Street


Along the Thames

Shocking though it may be, here’s an up-to-date blog post for you as I visit London for Christmas this year.

With a few more posts on the way, here are some photos from my visit along the Thames on Monday with my friend, Mel.  Hope you enjoy!

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Here are some sights from around the Tower of London (where they used to have real lions guarding the gates).

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The Traitor’s Gate and more from the Tower

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The Middle Tower entrance

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Shadows and the outer wall

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Walking along the riverbank by the Tower, we had a great view of Tower Bridge.

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Approaching Tower Bridge

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View of the Shard from the riverbank by the Tower of London

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Views from Tower Bridge

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View from Tower Bridge

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On the other side of the Thames River

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The Tower of London and Tower Bridge in one frame 🙂

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London Bridge City Christmas Market

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I must say that London Bridge is a bit anticlimactic compared to Tower Bridge, considering the airplay of the song about it.

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Streetlamps and the Shard

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Southwark Bridge

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It was probably the least pretty spot to catch the sunset on the Thames, but I did my best.

Coming up next… London Christmas lights.  You’re going to love it!


A Home of Henry VIII: Hampton Court Palace

I’m trying a new format on this post, since I had so many photos to share.  One of my last days in London last October, my mom and I took four of my nephews to visit Hampton Court Palace.

It was such an intriguing place to visit.  To think about Henry VIII walking the same hallways we walked was a bit surreal.  The palace is an interesting mixture of Tudor style (from Henry VIII’s time there in the 1500’s) and Baroque style from King William III’s rebuild of a large part of the palace in the 1600’s.  Throw in a giant maze, capes for the kids, and lots of nooks to explore, and we had ourselves a fun adventure!  Some of my favorite sights include tapestries from the 1500’s, an emblem in the wood that should have been removed after the beheading of Anne Boleyn, being in Henry VIII’s kitchen and banquet hall, making it to the middle of the maze, and much more.

Here are some highlights from our visit posted below.  Since this is my last post recapping my London trip, I included a few photos at the end of the whole reason I took the trip.  It was such a blessing to have two weeks there with my mom, sister, brother-in-law, and their seven children (especially meeting their newest addition!).  I hope you’ve enjoyed these posts!  Get excited for some upcoming posts of recent photo shoots I’ve had and, of course, some more travel photos!