Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The Days of a Pub Culture

It's certainly true that the best times you can have are when surrounded by friends. And no where is there an atmosphere better suited to this particular hang-out world than the pub culture that permeates the Czech Republic. It may be freezing and dark outside (as it is a good portion of the year there) but inside, downstairs, and/or in the back corners of some of the county's most unique restaurants you can find friends, food and frothy cheer in enough plenty to set even the coldest of hearts aglow.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

White Wanderings

In honor of the first snow of the season, I'm taking a look back at the lovely scenes of Snowpocalypse 2010.

It may have shut down the entire city for days on end (truly pathetic in the eyes of a Chicagoan) but as I was still only a visitor to this lovely city, I had a splendid time frolicking and shirking all responsibility. At weekend's end I just drove away, leaving a beautiful, white weekend behind.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Winter Wonderland Come Early

Wisconsin seemed to have decided to skip Thanksgiving weather and jump straight to Christmas weather.

It's hard to complain though when a fresh layer of snow reflects both the brilliant blue sky and invites all sorts of snow mischief. So armed with a blaze orange hat, tall boots and the promise of hot chocolate upon my return, I set off.
Jumping, stumbling and bumbling along my way.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Pixilated Happiness

Sometimes the world is so beautiful, it takes your breath away.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Walking a Battle

East coast fall color is addictively beautiful. So when that is combined with another passion of mine, namely history...well, and photography, great things happen. This particular slice of amber glory is from the Fredericksburg battlefield in Virginia, site of a major clash between the Union and Confederate armies in 1862. A battle now quitely remembered by grave markers, gravel paths and trees. Lots of trees.

Enjoy the somber glow.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

The Redhawks' Biggest Fan

Not in stature of course, but this little guy was a diehard. The hockey culture at the alma mater starts from a young age, clearly.

Jumping, cheering, and chanting along with the rest of us, he was my favorite fan of the game.

Love and Honor.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

DC: Decidedly Captivating

Pretty much everyone who visits DC has pictures of the monuments at night but it's such a beautiful scene that it's hard to resist a photo shoot of my own. It was difficult to pick just two, so more may resurface at a later date but as a start, here's the Washington Monument.

Monday, November 1, 2010

NHL: Nirvana Has Landed

Possibly the happiest night of my life to date: my first NHL game. Caps vs Bruins. I may not care about either team all that much but the sheer electricity of the atmosphere sent my hockey loving heart into ecstatic palpitations of joy.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Road Trips and Rest Stops

Being originally from the flattest of flat portions of this country of ours, I tend to get really excited upon encountering hills. (If you didn't grow up in the Midwest/Planes states, you just won't understand.) This past weekend's road trip through the Appalachians offered 7 hours of mountain geeking out thrills. A quick stop at the Sideling Hill rest stop and a fall photo shoot ensued. A beautiful drive through beautiful country at the most beautiful time of year.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

An East Coast Autumn

Apple orchards, pumpkin patches, and hay bales. Oh my!

Or in the case of these photos, mill pond and chicken coop.

My first taste of an Atlantic coast fall came hand and hand with pumpkin picking in a Maryland field; it just reminded me of home.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Every Photo Blog Needs Some

Always more breathtaking than what you're able to capture in pixels but it's worth a try. Right? These are from my trip to St. Augustine, Florida this past April and even though the red isn't as vibrant, the warmth is replaced by computer fans and the glow is entirely lost on a screen, it's still a good end to a wonderful weekend. Happy end of summer everyone. Let fall begin.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

A Late Summer Chill

The rain that recently filled these cracks of my driveway has since evaporated into the cool summer air; lucky I ventured out when I did. Some last moments of hometown beauty in a typical American suburb before fall and big city moves take center stage.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Tween Fads for One and All

As a 20-something, I see no purpose for the newest fad of Silly Bandz. On my 6 year old cousin, sure, but people my age? Absolutely not. Or at least this is what I thought before a friend of mine impulse bought a Disney Princess set at the local dollar store. Now I know there is a purpose for that ridiculous tangle of rubber; to distinguish your martini from among the masses. Yes ladies and gentlemen, like window clings, these stretchy strings attach to perspiring glasses of the beverage of your choice. (Wine glass charms are a thing of the past.) So thank you creators of Silly Bandz, you kept my drink clearly labeled, safe from swiping, and the center of jovial conversation.


Monday, August 23, 2010

Love and Honor

It seems appropriate on this, the first day of classes for those who were lucky enough to not graduate this past May, to pay homage to my alma mater. For all its twists and turns, I wouldn't change it for the world. After all, there is no more beautiful place in my mind or in my heart.

To think in such a place, I lived such a life.

Love and Honor.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Shanghai 2010 World Expo

We bring my China posts to a close with the Shanghai World Expo aka the Epcot of life, only a million times more amazing. Here are a couple of shots from inside the fraction of country pavilions I made it to during my two days there.

This small city of international celebration was too large for even a person, such as myself, armed with good walking shoes and a Performers' Pass (aka cut to the front of most lines) to get through it all. If you're in the Shanghai area between now and the end of October, I highly recommend going. Prepare to have you mind blown and spirits soar.

Above: Vietnam Pavilion
Right: Italy Pavilion
Above: Germany Pavilion

Above: Morocco Pavilion

Above: Czech Republic Pavilion

Above: Russia Pavilion

Above: UAE Pavilion

Thursday, July 22, 2010

What Kind of a Box?

Not much beyond "they made me chuckle" needs to be said about these photos. Passing the smile along.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Real Chinese Food?

While I still can't claim to have experienced "real" Chinese food, I can say that I'm closer to the palate than I was before. These are from a dumpling dinner in Xi'an. 18 different kinds of dumplings, we counted, and each in the shape of what they contained. This one, as the whimsical form suggests, was duck. Whether helpful or close to disturbing at times, this style of labeling the different courses certainly kept things lively. Below is a bottle of "vinegal" or vinegar...which really turned out to be soy sauce.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Meditative States

Coming from the land of in your face Christianity, it was wonderful to step back and appreciate the tranquility of religion in China. The Wild Goose Pagoda in Xi'an was a swirl of incense, gardens and silence, wherein a slow stroll fostered introspection.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

It's Kinda the Same but Beautiful Still

From what I've noticed over the years and from the pictures I've taken, the only possible conclusion is that I have a thing for lamps and shadows. Particularly lit lamps in twilight shadows, like these photos. At the top is a lantern outside the entrance to the Luxembourg Embassy in Beijing and below is a night view of Tianamen Square. I think it's the fickle relationship between my camera and nightscapes that draws me to these particular shots. The transitory potency of the dark poses a challenge that I'm all too willing to take up.

Friday, June 11, 2010

The Great Wall is NOT Flat

I've wanted to visit the Great Wall of China ever since I was maybe 7 years old. To touch it, climb it, look out at the mountains, obnoxiously sing Mulan songs while skipping from tower to tower. And yet all of these things I wanted and knew never actually added up to the realization that the Great Wall, isn't flat. The adult, rational me knew the mountain location meant steep hills, not to mention the very phrase "to climb the Great Wall," but for some reason my conscience pushed these logical conclusions aside in favor of a little midwestern girl's imagination who, up until middle school, had never actually seen a mountain with her own eyes. Hill, yes. Mountain, no. Let me tell you my friends, the Great Wall is on the latter of the two. This particular section had me cursing my 7 year old fantasy but by the top, both of my 7 year old and 20-something selves put aside their imaginative differences to take in the sights of a Wall that truly is Great.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Hello. Well Come to China

The last two posts about China have been-what are the words? ...exuberant...verbose, but well intentioned-and while it's all well and good, especially when trying to convey an experience, but it tends to get tedious. So here's a photo that, after a brief introduction, does all the talking. Our new, enthusiastic friends, presumably a school field trip to The Great Wall.

"Hello. Well Come to China"

Friday, June 4, 2010

A Forbidden City

Until the Forbidden City, the most of China I had seen was the airport, the highway and my hotel room; and aside from the random signs emblazoned with Chinese characters in said location, there was little to distinguish this country from all the other countries I had visited in the past. That all changed upon getting to the Forbidden City. It was my first real glimpse of both traditional Chinese architecture and life. (I'm a firm believer in the concept that culture's customs are effortlessly captured in doors, windows, pillars and ceilings. This trip, once again, proved this to be true.) It was peaked, it was red, and it was entirely captivating. With my finger glued to the shutter button, I trailed behind our guide, trying to pay attention to the facts but invariably getting distracted by the aesthetics. Historians and professors will shudder but I really don't think dates matter. Exact dates that is, sure it's important to have the time period established but beyond that point, it matters little for the visitor. What matters is the feel, that intrinsic weight each place has. And this City had it in spades. Call me a willing participant in the all too real honeymoon stage of the trip but the mere fact that I couldn't pick just one photo for this post speaks for itself. Here's a corner of photographic bliss.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Peace at the Other Side of the World

I have a legitimate reason for disappearing for as long as I did this time, and it is because I was in China. Yes, that's right, China. The farthest distance and time zone from here I could possibly manage. While the smog is oppressive, the sodium intake swelling, and the masses of people overwhelming at times with both their numbers and curiosity at seeing a westerner, it is an absolutely beautiful country. My small glimpse wasn't nearly enough. Three cities-Beijing, Xi'an, Shanghai-and I burned through my 2 gig memory card with ease. The picture above was taken in my second favorite location of the trip, The Summer Palace in Beijing. It's a shame the tour companies rush you through these beautiful places as quickly as they do, I could have spent hours walking the lake (yep, a lake) and meandering the trellised gardens. If I could draw, I would have or if I had my notebook, I would have written but I all I had was my camera. I hope you'll appreciate the snapshots I post in the coming days. It's never as good as being there, surrounded by the hum, air and presence of every detail that makes a photograph worth taking, but it's a start.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Because who doesn't like a glowing cup of:

One of the things I miss about Europe and the Czech Republic is the wonderful concept of the Beer Garden. For those of you who don't know, they are wonderful places you can take your friends, sit outside in the glorious spring/summer weather and enjoy a drink with no fear of the open container laws here in the States.I'm by no means advocating public intoxication, but a drink outside with friends is just about the most perfect way to spend an afternoon. But I suppose outdoor patios like the one pictured here will have to do.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Hello, my name is

It appears that I have fallen off the face of the blogging world but chanced upon finding myself again on the side of a passing bus. If that's not a sign to post something I don't know what is. haha. Hard to believe it's almost the end of April already, summer and the illusive summer vacation is upon us within a matter of weeks. With the weather so beautiful, it's hard to not get swept up in everything but updating a blog (ironically about photos, delving rather heavily in weather such as this). Wishing everyone a Happy Spring, April and weekend! Till next randomly inspired post.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Easter Here and There

One year ago on this precise holiday, I was walking the streets of Prague, wandering the Easter market in Old Town Square and avoiding willow whip armed boys. It's a Czech tradition for the boys of a town, armed with small braided willow whips, to playfully whip the girls in order to keep them young and beautiful. But don't worry ladies, we have our revenge later that night by dumping cold water on them while they are returning home from the bars.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

A Weekend Post

The weekend is here, the sun is out and it's warm enough to shed the winter coat for an unbuttoned jacket. Life is good.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


A somber mood seems to have settled across the town as a reaction to the temporary disappearance of the sun. In reaction, the photo for today is equally somber and quotidian. I’m very interested in finding the photographically compelling in practically anything, not just the typical breathtaking travel photos (though they are great in their own right and I have many of them myself). So I present: table, chair, window and cabinet. Enjoy the contemplative.