Monday, May 31, 2010

A Memorial in Michigan

I got back from a weekend visit to Michigan yesterday. I met up with my mom, brother, and step-dad to attend my Grandma's memorial service. While it wasn't the ideal reason for a family get together, I really had been looking forward to getting to see a lot of my mom's side of the family that I often don't see that much since they're all spread out in the midwestern and other various states. I was so happy to see my Grandpa Chuck and give him a big hug. I hadn't seen him since my Grandma's passing and it had been driving me crazy that I couldn't just see him and hug him. It was great to see a lot of my other cousins, aunts, uncles, and other various relatives come out to support him and show their love for Grandma. Actions speak loudly and I highly respect those that made the effort to come. It became increasingly clear to me how, when people get older and have a steady job, family to tend to, house they've settled down in, it gets harder to take trips or see distant relatives. It's a bit saddening to me, because as we all saw and noticed, it just takes a bit of effort on all our parts, but it's possible. People think they're too busy or don't have time, but when it comes down to it, family is family. I realized lately how important family is to me and I'm not about to let mine get too much distance even if they are far from me, physically.

My brother & mom

The weekend was full of drama, tears, swear words, laughter, stories, trips down memory lane, old photos, new bonds, car ride adventures, walks around town, enjoying the outdoors, casseroles, and cakes. And I wouldn't have it any other way. Below are some photos I snapped at my Aunt Gale and Uncle Tom's house on the lake in Pinckney, Michigan. It was so peaceful, calming, and refreshing spending the afternoon there and enjoying the lake.

My grape soda-colored toes

My Aunt Gale feeding the swan family that regularly visits their dock

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Hung Chains

This was a shoot I did last weekend in Brooklyn's Dumbo area right by the water and bridges. It was early evening as the sun was setting, and with such an amazing view, how could we do any wrong? The pictures came out great and the team was awesome to work with! Hung Chains is a new designer team that creates updated, more hip holders for your glasses and sunglasses around your neck. I got to keep a pair and I've been rocking them all around New York! I love the concept and look of them. Here are the pictures for their Spring-Summer 2010 collection.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Barefoot in the Park

Since I've been back to New York from my South American adventures, the weather has for the most part been very welcoming. Any chance I get, I'm taking advantage of how close my apartment in Brooklyn is to Prospect Park. Or when I'm in the city, I take a break from all the running around to visit the parks at Union Square or Washington Square. The one that I do need to explore more is Central Park, but I just don't ever seem to be that far uptown (though I plan on it soon). In Lima, parks are a place specifically designated for couples so it can be quite lonely sitting in one by yourself. However, in New York City, there is no end to the kinds of people you'll see in a park: from Prospect Park's warm, welcoming families, couples, dogs, and children playing baseball, to Union Square's chess players, artists, performers, activists, business people on lunch break, and students doing homework. I love to people watch, dog watch, read, catch up with a friend, or just bite into a fresh, juicy Gala apple and soak in the sun's warmth.

I relish in taking my shoes off, sitting barefoot in the grass, and letting the sun restore the tan that winter's cold months depleted me of. There is just something about being barefoot outdoors- feeling the grass and dirt beneath your feet- that makes you feel closer to nature. Lately, this has been my happiness and my peaceful solitude. Except for one day in Prospect Park, when I accidentally acquired a new friend or two. There were a few butterflies fluttering around my patch of grass and they kept landing on me periodically, before flying off again to socialize with one another. At first one would land on my knee, leg, foot, bag and use its tongue to search for pollen, and after realizing there was none to be found, would just stay a little and look at me. Sometimes I had to shake them off because their tiny little legs would tickle me as they walked around, exploring the vast wonders of my leg.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Lovers in Lima

During much of my people-watching, I couldn't help but notice the abundance of couples everywhere! Of all kinds and all ages. Parks are apparently a place designated for couples to go hang out and enjoy each other's company. But even just walking around, I saw parents holding hands while their kids ran ahead, an elderly man take his wife for a spin on the dance floor, teens hanging out on benches embracing one another... I could go on. The display of affection among couples really struck me here. Even just the simple gesture of hand-holding was much more prevalent than in the U.S. There is such a feeling of romance in this city I didn't expect and it was so lovely. I might even call Lima the "Paris of South America" (or atleast of Peru) if I'd been to other countries in SA which I haven't... yet!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

People Watching

Below are some shots I snapped of Lima's citizens throughout the trip. I really enjoy taking pictures of people, whether I ask permission or not, because I think it's very telling of the culture and place you're in. Plus, people watching is one of my favorite things to do. Here you get a glimpse into the wide variety of what I saw. Happy people watching!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Llamas in Lima

coolest alpaca ever (fake of course)

One of the things I was most excited about in going to Peru was the fact that it is the native land of llamas and alpacas. Llamas are one my favorite animals and the idea of seeing one in its natural setting just tickles me pink! I'm not sure why, but I think it started back in 7th grade when my English teacher and field hockey coach had this weird llama obsession that somehow rubbed off on me. I'd seen a few llama farms in the Pennsylvania countryside, but this was a whole other ball game.

When I arrived in Peru, I was informed that llamas are not easily found in Lima, but rather in Cuzco where Machu Picchu and the mountains are. However, I refused to believe there are NO llamas in Lima and thus was determined to see some before I left (without taking a trip to the zoo). Thanks to Steph's friend Lori, she knew of this Huaca- an ancient ruin site of the Incas- where they had llamas and some other farm animals. So we ventured to the Huaca and I got my llama fix. Below are some pictures of the ruins, the workers who worked on restoring them, and of course the stars of the show. I can't quite explain it, but they're just funny-looking animals, and they make me laugh. It's just something in their faces, how they show expressions, even how they sit cracks me up. Hope they bring a smile to your face like they do mine.
me & steph

taking a break...

Guinea Pigs- Cuy- are eaten here. I didn't try it though.

Coca plant- though Peru is a country that does not use it for drugs.

making faces...

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Ceviche in Peru: check.

The other day, Stephany, Ximena, and I treated ourselves to a lovely girls lunch at La Mar in Miraflores. We figured it'd be worth going to a nice place known for their Ceviche to get our fix. The banana and sweet potato chips (chifles) that were brought to the table with various yummy sauces definitely were a hit. Our waiter was kind enough to bring us a second bucket full since we attacked them the second we sat down.

Then the Ceviche arrived. It was indeed delicious, though a bit too spicy for Steph and myself. We were chugging our water in between bites and didn't realize we could've requested the flavor to be toned down a bit since we have sensitive tongues. After getting our fix at La Mar, we wandered around and did some afternoon shopping. It wasn't until the next morning that we realized the spicy Ceviche wasn't going to let us off the hook that easy. So, we learned: in the future, when consuming very spicy food, absorb it with something starchy or of stronger substance than just corn and sweet potato. Otherwise it doesn't turn out too pretty on the other side.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

I Scream, You Scream...

D'Onofrio is one of the most famous ice cream brands in Lima. You can't go more than a block without seeing a billboard, bus stop ad, bodega, or little man on a bike riding around with a cart on the back. I'm very glad to see the people of Peru are big fans of ice cream. I approve. This was my first of many helados to come!

A Passerby

This woman is another one of the few I've seen walking around town with a chic, put together look. Her outfit conveys an older, more sophisticated and sensible style. Unfortunately, she refused to stop walking and pose for me after I politely asked so I just snapped a discreet paparazzi shot anyway. Couldn't help it- the navy and white ensemble with a touch of red, polka dots, and white espadrilles.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Cafe Time

While Stephany, Ximena, and I were enjoying an afternoon cafe y postres (coffee and sweets) at the lovely San Antonio, I couldn't help but notice this woman. She is the epitome of relaxed, casual chic to me. She's one of the few people I've seen since I've been here that has style and dresses well. There aren't too many people worth stopping to take their photo as there is a lot of mass-production of what is popular so nothing too unique or attention-grabbing. I felt a bit paparazzi-esque snapping her photo, but as you can see, she probably didn't even notice. I love how she and the two men she's with are just simply enjoying finishing their red wine on a warm, sunny afternoon. This is Lima: laid back, relaxed, and all about Almuerzo (lunch).
Oh, and this chick is pretty cool too. Here's Stephany and her chill, retro style... before the pastries disappeared.