Friday, December 31, 2010

2010 comes to a close...

The years really do seem to pick up speed when you are in the prime of your life. I can't believe how much has happened in the past's been the most life-altering, intense, eventful year I've ever known. And as much as I am grateful for it, I'm glad to let it go and start something new.

On that note, I've been purging my physical and emotional life lately. It began as a subconscious act as I suddenly found myself digging through old boxes and shredding letters from former loves (the ones that call up unpleasant memories that is); taking stock of the photos I have framed and changing them to reflect pleasant memories and faces I adore; tossing items that have negative emotions attached to them, and so on. And, I have to say, it's feel fantastic! I am truly shedding the pieces of me that no longer fit; ridding myself of emotions I've held onto for far too long and all in all, beginning anew with a bright future and new husband by my side.

As I prepare myself for a new beginning, I am naturally looking back to put in perspective how far I've come. In that regard, here is my list of my Top 10 Favorite Moments of 2010:

1. October 16: my wedding day.

I will never forget the perfect contentment and overwhelming love I felt on this day. It was such an accurate reflection of Alex and I as a couple--emotional and heartfelt ceremony, rustic, woodsy setting in the Vermont mountains, fun music and crazy dancing and good times with incredible friends and family.

3. Camping in the Adirondacks and roadtripping throughout all of New York state.

Alex and I decided on a low key adventure this past summer, given we had a wedding and honeymoon coming up. We had a blast sleeping under the Adirondack stars, hiking up incredible mountains, driving 6 hours to Niagara Falls only to discover that it was not worth our time, and enjoying the silence and peace of the beautiful New York forests.

4. My bachelorette party in New York.

This was not your typical crazy drinking fest. It was an incredible girls weekend away filled with secret swapping and long talks about taboo subjects...amazing. I felt so blessed to celebrate with such sweet, interesting friends. I love you all!

5. Getting my first paycheck for doing what I love: photography!

6. July, 9: my 30th birthday.

I didn't have a negative association with turning 30. Instead I felt excited to begin a new chapter in my life. My adoring husband made me a book filled with lists of 30--30 moments in Alexa's life, 30 things that make Alexa unique, 30 things I love about Alexa, 30 amazing moments in our relationship, etc. He gave this to me in the Berkshire mountains where he took me for a stay at Kripalu Yoga fav.

7. January: I became a grateful member of Al Anon.

The reason I mention Al Anon so often is because my life as I know it would not exist without it. It took me a long time to finally enter those rooms, but it was the best thing I ever did for myself. Now I enjoy a feeling of peace and freedom in life that I never knew was possible.

8. June 29: Phish show in Canandaigua, New York.

Alex and I LOVE our Phish shows, but this was our best experience yet! We ended up in this tiny town in the Fingerlakes of New York state just for the Phish show, but it ended up being an incredible place to visit. And the venue was teeny tiny given the location, which is what made is AMAZING! We sat in the 3rd row, made long eye contact with all the band members and lost ourself in the music. I guess you have to be a Phish fan to understand though:) The best way I can explain it is to say it's like blindly grabbing someone's hand and allowing them to lead you into magical, strange, sometimes possessed worlds. It's a incredible.

9. August: Natalie comes to visit and we photog like crazy!

Always a favorite in my book! I feel so grateful for all of Natalie's visits!! I'm so lucky to have such an incredibly sweet, creative, talented, FUN, and photogenic friend. I think part of the fun for us is the months and months before each trip that we spend brainstorming photography ideas and planning out our projects. Not to mention, I've been SO lucky this year because Natalie has come to visit twice and she'll be here a third time next week! Yipee!

10. February 9: I began this blog!

I began this blog during the time when I was starting my photography business, as a way to share some of my work and experience as an artist. But, it has evolved into so much more than that. I recently overhauled my blog--changing the name, the layout, the intention. It feels more genuine and though I have no idea where it will lead me, I believe it will lead to something great.

It's been a great year! Happy New Year's everyone! I hope you look at this new beginning as an opportunity to reshape your life in ways that light your soul on fire!


Thursday, December 30, 2010

guest blogger: natalie schlegel photography

Hello! Natalie Schlegel Photography here! Lola Rain and I have known each other for a few years now. We always seem to find inspiration in one another, and are constantly creatively brainstorming together. On that note, I thought it would be a great idea to do a “Top 10 List” of Lola Rain Photography so here it is:

1.The Dance of Branches: There is something that I find so intriguing about this photo. The colors and the movement of the branches speak to me. This is a photo that I can see printed on a huge canvas and hung over my bed.

2. Pink Light: Again, the takes my breath away. The flowers are so crisp and fresh. I feel like I’m there.

3. Rusty Door: Maybe I’m partial to this photo because it is of me, but I love it nonetheless. The colors stick out and really grab your eye. It speaks to you on numerous levels, and makes you wonder what I’m thinking. What do you see in my eyes?

4.Hudson River: This photo calls up a sense of desertion for me, like I’m lost and broken. I’ve reached the end of the road, but there is life beyond the stump of wood. The water makes me feel alive and rejuvenated, almost as if I’ve found what I was looking for.

5. Adirondack Train Tracks: This makes me feel like I’m running. I don’t know where to, but it doesn’t matter. It’s my escape from the world and I’m heading down the right path.

6. Om Namah Shivaya: I don’t know a lot about yoga or mediation, but I can feel it in this photograph. It’s peaceful and calm. If I had a meditation room this would go it in.

7. Tide: Low tide? High Tide? It doesn’t really matter because this photo says so much to me. I can visualize the water flowing up the beach and falling on its way back down, the rocks sinking into the sand as the ocean runs its course.
8. Red, red, red. Again, another photo of me, but what can I say? The girl knows how to capture me. I’m trying to look around the corner to see if someone’s coming, hiding and trying to keep my secret...

9. I heart Vermont (the last photo on this post, the one that was on the post card from the wedding). Oh Vermont, how I miss thee! This photo captures the landscape so beautifully, it screams east coast to me and I love the visual depth.

10. The Tao of Motherhood (The first photo in this post). There is nothing like being a mother. I’m not a mother yet, and I can’t imagine what it takes to be one. The will power and strength you have as a woman once you gift birth to your child is amazing. The tattoo reads: "giving birth and nourishing, having without possessing, acting with no expectations, leading and not trying to control: this is the supreme virtue." This is what motherhood is. I adore it.
I love Lola Rain Photography and I hope you all do too! Are these also your favorite Lola Rain photos? Don’t forget to check out my Top 10 Portraits of 2010! Also, don’t forget that Lola is on Flickr, Facebook and Etsy!

tropical flowers

I snapped a few pictures of tropical flowers while in Antigua. I was out on a walk with my husband when I suddenly began to pay attention to the nature around me and realized how different it was from home. It would be more like me to look up and identify these flowers in a field guide, but instead I'm going to hold onto the names I gave them in my head on my walk (i.e. spider flower and star flower).

Not all of these are great photographs, as I was being pulled along by my husband who is not as patient as I am when it comes to slowing down and noticing life in detail. But, I really do enjoy taking macro shots of nature. Things are so beautiful and interesting close up.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

honeymooning bliss

Galley Bay Resort in Antigua

I had a feeling my honeymoon would be fun, but I had NO idea it was going to be such a surreal state of bliss. It was incredible! I should pat myself on the back for the months of researching and hundreds (literally!) of reviews I read about different locations and resorts, because it definitely paid off! I narrowed my search down to the place with the shortest plane ride and best weather--3 hour plane ride and 85 degrees with no rain all year. And our resort, Galley Bay, was as amazing as the hundreds of rave reviews I read claimed it was!

There's really no way to share the story of a 9 day honeymoon.....the long conversations, the life planning, hashing out our parenting philosophies, inside jokes over drinks, romantic, PDA-ridden dinners, playing on the beach like children...I think this only covers about 1/4 of the experience.

Our daily routine didn't seem to alter much the entire time though: sleep in, enormous pile of pineapple and enormous omelet, beach, fresh fish lunch, more beach and/or pool, lazing on the balcony reading and writing, his and her shower (I must have this in my future home!), dress up for dinner (and watch Alex react to a different dress each night, so much fun;), tropical drinks and champagne at the teepee bar, stroll home along the beach staring at the bright Antiguan night sky.

One of the greatest things about being on your honeymoon, especially when you don't go until a few months after your wedding and you think all the fun is over, is being congratulated repeatedly. We were greeted with the best glass of champagne I've ever had in the reception area only seconds after arriving, but when we got to our room we also found this adorable hand-written note and a bottle of champagne to enjoy at our leisure....even better, another one was delivered to our doorstep the next day as well.

The best part of being congratulated in Antigua though, is that the people truly mean it. I was overwhelmed by the genuine, warm, friendly natives and our vacation was incredibly enhanced by these sweet island folks. The island culture was a beautiful and welcome change from the unfriendly extension of Manhattan that we live in.

We stayed on the top floor of this beach villa, the perfect choice so we could enjoy the privacy of our peaceful first thing in the morning or while lounging together, listening to music and talking into the night.

Our room could not have been any better. Terra-cotta tiles to cool your hot feet, an amazingly comfortable bed, gorgeous photography on the walls, a bathroom the size of my living room and kitchen combined (with his and her showers and a hot tub, yes please!), a swanky living room and kitchenette and the breathtaking views from our balcony of the perfectly teal Caribbean waters...oh, and a tiny Christmas tree!

Here's the lovely pool that felt like lounging next to a swimming hole in the middle of a rainforest.

Three things that will forever remind me of Antigua: pineapple, coconuts and fish. I suppose it makes sense to associate tropical fruits with tropical islands, but I had no idea how insane my craving would grow each day. I seriously could not get enough pineapple or coconuts. I consumed two large plates of pineapple every day, and couldn't stop ordering the best drink I've ever had: coco locos. Mmmmm! And I have to say, fish is incredibly different when it's caught fresh every day and prepared with island sauces and herbs.

One notable experience was the couples coconut cocoon spa treatment we had in a little hut. They scrubbed us from head to toe with a coconut sugar scrub, then poured warm coconut milk over us and cocooned us in warm wraps while massaging our heads. The treatment was finished off with a couples shower and coconut oil massage. Ahhhh.....

This was a very long list of rules posted on the beach. But, I absolutely love the second to last one: "Please respect mother nature. The sea is beautiful, and powerful." Oh yes it is! It's obviously beautiful, but the waves were extremely powerful. The last two days the waves reached what I feared were tsunami levels (totally not though, haha!) and they had to make a sandbag barricade around the boardwalk to keep the waves from crashing into the restaurant....but they still crashed in. It was quite exciting and mesmerizing to watch; but I'm not going to lie, I was pretty scared. I kept having flashbacks from the movie Hereafter (with Matt Damon).

These are "tiny" waves.

There's nothing like a fruity, tropical beverage from a teepee bar right on the ocean, right? It's the picture of an island vacation and I enjoyed it far more than I anticipated. I don't even drink, but I couldn't help but indulge in yummy coco locos (coconut creme, light rum, pineapple juice). And I've never had so much champagne in my life! But, was my honeymoon:)

The best part of the trip hands down, though, were all the fun, romantic, hilarious, lively, intimate hours and days of connection I experienced with my husband. We do spend a lot of time together at home, but this was so different! We were completely removed from life and melted into one another in a new way that left us feeling more bonded than ever.....I guess you'd call that married:) At any rate, there was so much playing and laughing and uncontrollable affection and praise. Ahhh......

All in all, I came home with an endless store of memories that will make me smile for the rest of my life.