Thursday Cravings: A Weekend in Paris

With a short holiday ahead to celebrate the Easter weekend, I can only daydream of taking a trip…to once again discover the beauty of Paris, the City of Light…and – with Sinatra playing in the background as I prep this post – here’s just what I wish I could take with me!

Credits:  1) Anywhere Weekender Bag – Brahmin; 2) Kindle Canvas Clutch – Diane von Furstenberg; 3) Draped Neck Dress – Alexander McQueen; 4) Benj Bracelet – Dannijo; 5) Trench Coat – Antonio Croce; 6) Ankle Strap Shoe – Ballin

And…a very brief personal history….  Not so very long ago…back in the Spring of 2005…I went on a ladies’ trip with my mom, grandmother, and aunts to France.  We flew into Charles De Gaulle, hopped on a train to visit our Lady of Lourdes, took a bus through the French countryside to explore the medieval city of Carcassonne and then returned to Paris on the overnight train to enjoy the sights!

Once there…I tried to fit in as many sights and experiences as possible…tasting everything I could from my first encounter with escargot to the fresh baguettes from the local boulangeries…visiting the museums (Rodin and Louvre) and catching a ballet at the Opera Bastille…strolling along the Seine and stopping at little shops…pausing every so often to take in the glorious architecture that surrounded me.  Basically, doing as much as I could in a short time period (we were there for 3 days).  It was then…really…that I fell in love with Paris for the first time…and here is a little overview of the trip (a la my personal photos) and some of my suggestions on what to do when in France!

Explore the French countryside! (This photo of the Pyrenees was taken en route from Lourdes to Carcassonne)

See the Hall of Mirrors, formal gardens and pools of Versailles

Hop on a Metro...take a stroll along the cobblestone streets of Montmartre towards La Basilique du Sacre-Coeur. Once here, you will find a gorgeous view of Paris, too!

If you love sculptures...say 'hallo!' to The Thinker at La Musee Rodin...and then visit the Louvre to have a peek at the Mona Lisa!

Grab a fresh baguette, some wine and cheese...and enjoy a light repast at the Tuilerie Gardens.

The Pont St. Michel over the Seine with the Musee du Louvre behind me.

There’s so much to do when in Paris…but remember to relax, breathe and enjoy. This city – full of amazing architecture, art and culture – has been around for centuries…and I’m sure you (and I) will have a chance to go back to it.

Thursday Cravings: Photogra-comfy

So, it’s been a pretty hectic week.  Lots of follow-ups and orders in various proofing stages.  Juggling a few projects and trying to lock down a few personal ones.  I almost forgot to work on my cravings…almost.  And, when I first sat down to work on it…well, let’s just say I stared at the screen…blankly.  Not to say that I don’t want anything.  I think most people want something or other, if even subconsciously.  I just couldn’t think of anything…at the time.

Anyhow, I finally figured out what to write about…it’s one of my passions.  Photography.  And, since I intend to do a mix of fashion and “something” in my Thursday posts, I dub this week’s cravings…photogra-comfy because 1) while I’m a big fan of the chic and stylish, I’m also a big fan of comfort (most days will find me in a t-shirt, jeans and my favorite pair of Converse) and 2) it’s easier to get a variety of shots in comfortable clothing.  Flopping down on my belly to get a shot in a particular angle isn’t best done in a slim-fitting dress, mmk?  So…without further ado…here’s my craving…

Credits:  1) Charlie Scarf – L.K. Bennett London; 2) Navy Classic Converse – Welikefashion.com; 3) 2 Sues Camera Bag in Raspberry – Kelly Moore; 4) Ralph Lauren Striped Long Sleeve Top – Farfetch.com; 5) Adriano Goldschmied Belle Jeans – Calypso St. Barth; 6) Navy Tucks Hat – Piper and Paisley (Photo Credit: Youa Photography for Piper and Paisley)

And here’s a list of some of my favorite go-to places for photography tips and tricks…

…when I first got my DSLR…I found this series of posts on Aperture by The Pioneer Woman, Ree Drummond, very helpful.  You’ll also find other posts on a variety of photography topics (composure, lighting, exposure), as well as tips and tutorials from guest contributors!

…and if you’re looking for recommendations on lenses and gear, as well as techniques and tips…I know I always am.  My eyes are set right now on a 50mm lens for my Canon.  I’ve heard it’s a must have.  Anyway, here is a great article on lenses that I stumbled upon recently from a blog belonging to wedding photographer, Jasmine Star.

Mood board composition by Leslie Shewring of A Creative Mint (at Blogging Your Way NYC)

…earlier this month, I was able to attend a photo-styling workshop in New York City.  Led by Holly Becker of Decor8 and Leslie Shewring of A Creative Mint, the class was insightful and intense.  In one day, I learned a lot about composition, lighting, and styling that I hope to exhibit in my photographs.  Holly and Leslie have an e-course called Blogging Your Way that not only covers blogging and how to tackle it in a personal and creative way, but also offers more insight into styling photos and telling a story through your photos.  I’m hoping to be able to join…may be you might be interested, too!

Bookmark Save the Date by BrainFry Concepts - photograph composed and taken at Blogging Your Way NYC

…if you’re like me and have a business that requires a lot of product photography…stop by handmadeology.  They have compiled a wonderful list of articles from the web that will help you make the most out of your Etsy or on-line shop.  Over the next couple of months, I plan on using what I learned from the photo-styling workshop I attended, as well as some techniques discussed in these articles, to update my site with new photographs of our work at BrainFry.

I took this photo while on a camping trip at Acadia National Park - Schoodic Peninsula (Sept 2011)

…I’m a lover of travel and I do most of my photography when I’m on the road (mainly because when I’m home, I’m working since our studio takes up the first floor of our condo so it’s somewhat difficult to leave work behind).  That said…one of my favorite sites is National Geographic.  They have a great photography section (not surprising) with tons of articles focusing on tips and techniques for on-the-road memory-keeping.

…you have your shots, but you know it doesn’t stop there.  The next step in the world of photography is editing…it’s time consuming and sometimes frustrating.  But, it should be done.  And, if you have a good tool like Photoshop or Photoshop Lightroom, your job is that much easier…some might say.  Now, I’m not a huge fan of Photoshop by itself…but I have recently discovered my love of Lightroom!  I enjoy it so much that I have to stop, turn around and give myself a time out (lol).  Anyway, I am still learning my way around this awesome image processing tool, but a close friend of my father’s took the time to walk me through the basics (see her work here at Fototeqnika and on her blog, Clout and About).  (Thank you, Tita Lulu!  – again)  She introduced me to a bunch of sites and here is one that has amazing presets for Lightroom.

If you have some favorite sites of your own that you wouldn’t mind sharing…please comment below and I’ll hop on over and have a view 🙂

Happy Friday! Go Out and Seize the Day!

Paramus Ridgewood Duck Pond, New Jersey - I took this photograph while enjoying the park with my family.

Yes, that’s a nod at Newsies, which I saw way back when…when Christian Bale starred as Jack Kelly in Disney’s musical covering the newsboys strike at the turn of the century. Currently, the musical has been revived for the stage and is playing at the Nederland Theatre on Broadway.

Anyway, enough of that…I chose that particular call to action specifically because personally it has been somewhat of a tough week to go through. No, nothing bad or untoward has occurred. Just some weeks or days are difficult – sometimes there’s a reason, sometimes there isn’t. And, while it’s ok to give into mulishness from time to time, there are better things to do and you just have to give yourself a shake and plow on! Easier said than done, I know…so here are some suggestions on how to deal with those “Jonah Days” (Yes, that’s a reference to Anne of Green Gables!)…

Take a walk. The weather has been so fine and the sun wonderfully invigorating!

Hit the park! Bring a picnic and lounge about under a lazy tree.

Grab a cup of coffee (or – if you’re in the Park Slope neighborhood – some fresh yogurt a la Culture…I hear their Key Lime Pie is a treat!)

Hop in the car and go see a movie! Hunger Games just hit the theaters!

Basically. Enjoy. Life.

Now…have a great rest of your day and an excellent weekend, folks! I’ll be back on Monday with a veritable smorgasbord of goodies!