Friday, July 11, 2008

Weak Resolve

Umm, can I take that all back? I just found this couch, and it's 50% off!

Framing the Question

Because I recently got married and went to Europe, I've been thinking about, looking for and purchasing picture frames lately. I've noticed that I tend to be overly matchy-matchy in looking for the perfect frame. Even though I like the eclectic look, I get caught up on things going together "just so". For example, the frames and prints above (from Julia Rothman) are perfect for each other, even if they aren't an obvious and sophisticated match. It's the painted pink frames that emphasizes the "folk-art" look.

I think I might have the similar problem with finding a new couch. My husband and I are not sure what kind of couch we will agree on because comfort (his priority) and design (my priority) seem to be somewhat mutually exclusive. However, lately I've noticed a few interiors that feel put-together without being centered on the perfect "designy" couch.

Here are a couple of examples:
So, maybe I'm going about my home decorating backwards-- getting too caught up on the pieces and their "matchy-ness" , rather than focusing on an overall feel that I like. It's important to LIKE the couch, but maybe it doesn't have to have gorgeous dramatic/clean lines and perfect fabric in order to work within the room.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Euro Touro 2008

** North. England and Bath/London have been updated below**

Making a tour of Europe was once considered the capstone of an education for young gentlemen of the court. I can see why. I’ve had the opportunity to travel quite a bit, but it was still eye-opening to see the extent of differences between cultures in such a small area. The diversity across Europe is hard to comprehend as an American. The US is homogenous in comparison. And, although I love the diversity of foods we enjoy in the US, nothing compares to the original. I will forever miss Parisian pastries and baguettes, Italian-made pomodoro sauce, ravioli and (especially) gelato.

It seems that everyone I know is taking some incredible vacations right now! I’ve read a lot of trip logs and seen pictures from amazing destinations, but I’m getting travel-logged out! So, I’ll to keep this short to keep you interested and to ensure it gets posted before the next vacation rolls around. Read assured that these are truly the highlights! I've divided the post into our major destinations and will start working on Northern England right. . . now!

(Note: travel posts are added in order below this post, so that they make sense chronologically.)

Northern England

Dinner with the branch – ancient viking York – shopping York – Abbeys and Castles (I like abbeys, Kelly likes castles) – sheep everywhere – winding roads through the Moores and Dales – Wensleydale cheese – Preston temple – site of first baptisms – true English breakfast

Northern England was breathtaking. My favorite part of any corner of the world are the rural roads. So picturesque. (This one is going in our living room.)

Towers of York Minster

Bryan photographing York Minster

Roche Abbey-- incredible ruins of an old monastery

Roche Abbey

This is the epitome of a tourist vacation with a family of photographers. (Notice the 4 pictures being taken simultaneously, including mine!)

We visited Middleham Castle. In the struggle for power between the church and the state, the lords often torn down Abbeys (hence the ruins at Roche Abbey) to build their castles. Castles were built in a more practical and industrial style than the Abbeys, but it was cool too. This is the view of the "kitchen" through the (missing) floor of the great hall.

The English Moores have stone fences criss-crossing every hill and valley. It made me wish I could spout Frost's poem, Mending Wall. I tried to explain it to my family while we were "in the moment", but no one was really listening. So, if you are a member of my family, follow the link and read the poem! It would have been magical if we could have qouted it while we were there.

We separated for dinner because our group of 13 was too large for any of the small villages we were driving through. The five of us found a village pub where Nigel, the bartender, introduced us to Ginger Beer. It's great stuff! I'm hoping we can find some in the US somewhere.

We spent our last day up north in Preston, where LDS missionaries baptized the first members of the church in the British Isles. My own ancestors joined the church in Leeds and sailed for America from Liverpool. This is the Preston Temple, which sits adjacent to the missionary training center where my brother spent a few weeks before leaving for his assigned area in the Leeds Mission.

Bath and London

Roman Baths – the Circus – London architecture is gorgeous – Big Ben and Parliament – Westminster is a rip-off, but nice from the outside – V and A Museum, wow! – Indian food – Natural History Museum – Hydes Park (with a real pigeon lady) – Buckingham Palace – Coffee houses make tired feet very happy – Wicked! – the Chunnel

Bath Abbey (next to the Baths).

The Roman Baths were a very interesting visit. Much of the original streets, plumbing and some statues, etc. have been preserved. The baths were discovered in the late 1800's (contributing to the resurgence of classical culture) and a museum was erected over the site. It's interesting to see the curation from that era that is antique in and of itself.

Angel statue in a park overlooking the city.

The Circus (above) and the Crescent were the fashionable place to live if you came to Bath "during the season". The architecture reflects the popularity of classical culture at that time. The Circus took 15 years to construct.

Parliament tower in London. It's truly a gorgeous building and so different from the White House or Capital that set the model for American government buildings.

Big Ben, of course.

At Buckingham Palace we ran into Joe, a friend from Las Vegas. He's actually moved to DC since we knew him in the singles ward, which made the whole thing even more coincidental!

Most of our time in London was spent devouring the museums. I really could have used more time at the Victoria and Albert. We really enjoyed the glass exhibit.

I really enjoyed the patterns in the textiles exhibit. (Not a good picture, but amazing design and embroidery!)

Kelly really enjoyed the ironwork exhibit. . .

And this bench in the glass area. (The lights are wireless LEDs.)

Overall, we really enjoyed London!

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Photographer Extraordinaire

A(nother) friend recently asked about my wedding photographer, and I thought I should post a recommendation here. Rebekah Westover was our primary photographer, and she was amazing. I contacted Rebekah after seeing my friend Wendi's beautiful wedding pictures. Two of our friends have also followed suite since our wedding.

Rebekah was fun, flexible and very talented. I'm not very good at "posing" and Kelly hates cameras, but she made us feel comfortable and we loved the results. I also felt like she did a great job of noticing what WE liked and working it it-- trees that Kelly liked (he's an arborist), my vintage jewelry and details at the reception.

Here's the link for the post with some of our pictures and the album.