Aug 26, 2013

London snapshots

Greetings from Paris! 

We arrived this morning and are exhausted but excited to explore this beautiful city the next 7 days. But before I get carried away, I wanted to post some of my Instagram photos from London! We really enjoyed our six days in Great Britain and saw so much! From day trips to Bath and Windsor to London's hop-on, hop-off tour buses, we learned interesting British history as well as seeing beautiful art and architecture. 

We are having a great time, despite some bumps in the road. I'm feeling so blessed to have this opportunity to travel with my sister. Let the adventures continue! 

I'll eventually post photos from my camera (I'm loooving how it's taking photos), but am really impressed with the iPhone 5's camera. I also use the Camera+ app (99cents) to add clarity and brightening as needed. Here are my favorite photos I posted on Instagram last week!

P.S. follow me on Instagram if you want to see more photos as our trip unfolds! The link is on the right side as a camera icon, or search for me (username:elle_alice) 

P.S.S I'm using the blogger app for iPhone so I apologize if there are issues with the layout or pretty-factor of the text :) the app is actually pretty good!

Aug 17, 2013

oh, the places we'll go (in three days!)

"Oh, the places you'll go! 
There is fun to be done!
There are points to be scored.  
There are games to be won." 
* * * 
Less than three days until my sister and I are off to great places!
After a refreshing sunset jog tonight, all I wanted to do was veg out 
and reminisce on last year's adventures in the U.K. and France

You'll be on your way up!
You'll be seeing great sights!
You'll join the high fliers
who soar to high heights.
* * *
I am excited for . . . 
new memories and stories to tell
seeing my sister's face when she gets her first sight of the Big Ben + Eiffel Tower 
walking through Monet's gardens with my green-thumbed mum
  hearing the waves of the coast in Nice

“You're off to Great Places!
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting,
So... get on your way!” 

be your name Buxbaum or Bixby or Bray
or Mordecai Ali Van Allen O'Shea,
you're off to Great Places!
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting.
So...get on your way!"

{excerpts from Dr. Suess'  Oh, The Places You'll Go}
* * * 
Here are some previous travel posts to enjoy while I'm gone:

I won't be blogging as frequently during our 2.5 weeks abroad,
but I will be using instagram to share snapshots, so feel free
to follow me during this adventure!

 Go into IG app + search for elle_alice in the "explore" tab

Aug 14, 2013

fun little photo-shoot link up!

“What i like about photographs is that they capture 
a moment that’s gone forever, impossible to reproduce.”

[  K a r l  L a g e r f i e l d  ]


I don't often post photos of myself, but was recently invited to a link-up by my adventurous and beautiful (inside + out!) bloggy friend, Katie Cook from Hope Engaged. Katie has been writing on her blog about creativity and thought it would be fun to invite other bloggers to link-up and post a photoshoot of themselves in a way that shows their personality and creativity. 

Fun, right??

As soon as I read her invitation, I thought of the fun impromptu photoshoot my photographer friend Jenn and I did last week when she was teaching me a few things about photography. 
My goal was to learn some new skills that would improve my photos for my upcoming (T-minus 5 days!!) trip to London, Paris, and Nice! Jenn enlightened (pun intended) me about the confusing world of ISO, aperature, and shutter speed, as well as how she positions her subjects to get them in their best light. And then she just said something like, "Look over here ... Now look at that tree ... Now take a picture with your camera ..." and POOF! Out came these photos! Granted, she touched them up a bit to blur out the background, but I was amazed at how natural it was for her! I still have a lot to learn, but it was great seeing a photographer that I admire right in her element . . . not to mention, it was really fun to pose a bit, which is something I am trying to learn to be more comfortable with!

So, without further ado, here are my favorites from our little portrait shoot :)


necklace by Noonday Collections
photos by Jenn at Spotted:Stills Photography

Want to link-up and join the fun? Click here to visit Katie's blog + link-up!
Hang out for awhile and read about her + her husband's adventures in Nepal working in an aftercare home for women rescued out of sex-slavery! She inspires me and I absolutely love reading her posts that are straight from her beautiful heart!

Aug 13, 2013

I'm the crazy girl that likes to pack

Only 7 more days until I leave for Europe for 17 days of adventures!
The itinerary-keeping, schedule-loving side of me had a bit of fun a few nights ago.
You see, for the past several months, I have been holding onto a goal of packing for the trip with only a carry-on and backpack. And for the always-be-prepared-so-bring-it-all-with-you packer in me, this is a challenge that is taking me out of my box (and it's about time!)

Some advantages to packing light for my Europe trip, of course, would include not paying for check-in fees, not straining my back with pulling 50lb worth of stuff, and forcing myself to think more simply (which is a struggle for me because I tend to complicate and over-think everything).

So I put together a list of essentials I felt I would need , and then figured out how to use them in different outfits. I tried to accessorize to further snazzy-it-up a bit.
I had a few rules (beacause if you're an itinerary-keeping, schedule-loving soul such as myself, you need rules, right?)

Rule #1: Every article of clothing must be worn in atleast 2 ways, or it can't join us on our trip
Rule # 2: You may break Rule #1 twice if you buy yourself some macarons in Paris 
(well, there had to be a loophole somewhere!)

After some soul-searching, closet-digging, I came up with this plan:
2 dresses
4 pants
2 skirts
4 tops
2 tanks 
3 pairs of shoes
2 cardigans
3 necklaces
(unmentionables and pjs are mentioned here but not pictured)
16 outfits 

I might add a few "extra" pieces depending on if there is a bit of room left, but I am pleased with what I have so far. As an avid overpacker, this is a good lesson on the beauty of simplicity. I tend to bring things I don't wear and the last thing I need is to lug around extra baggage through Europe!

Here are some very helpful blogs I found through the magical world of Pinterest for packing tips:
Gina from The Feminist Breeder shows the art of "rolling and tetrising"
Travel Fashion Girl gives 20 tips to avoid overpacking
Little House Big Heart opened my eyes to packing cubes!
Perpetually Chic breaks down her carry-on, step-by-glorious-step 
Steph's Travels offers lots of practical tips for 3 weeks in Europe
Marie Claire offers 10 tips for traveling light 

So tell me what you think and if you have any packing tips!
Also, for those who have traveled, what do you recommend for exchanging currency? I'm currently trying to figure out how to get the best bang for my buck (pun intended).

p.s.  do you see the two articles of clothing I broke Rule #1 with? 

Aug 9, 2013

random raves // noonday collection

"When you satisfy the needs of the oppressed, 
your night will become like the noonday."
{  i  s  a  i  a  h   5  8  :  1  0  }

I love Noonday Collection and am excited to rave about them today!

This week I received a beautiful package in the mail that has brightened my week. 
It was my Noonday Collection necklace I ordered from my bloggy friend, Abigail Boyle, a Noonday Collections ambassador!

Noonday Collection was started by Jessica Honegger to fundraise a costly Rawandan adoption process in 2010 by selling fair-trade jewelry. Soon, more women joined Jessica in selling gorgeous jewelry with the purpose of advocating for children and women. 

Some of the ways  that Noonday fights to give a voice to the forgotten and oppressed includes providing jobs which creates a way out of poverty for families as well as helping other families fundraise for adoptions. 

I mentioned in my last post about my little photography lesson with my friend Jenn. She caught a few poses of me and I just love how my new Ruth necklace looks! I am excited to find new ways to pair it with my outfits, but am even more excited that this beautiful piece of jewelry is made with a purpose to give a voice to the voiceless and hope to those who thought there was no hope. 

Check out the link button below . . . and happy shopping! 

and then, she {snapped}

Aug 7, 2013

a tale of a friend, a camera, and two parks

Today was my day off and I met with a friend (Jenn from Spotted:Stills)  who is a photographer, wedding event planner, and blogger. I asked her to meet in the trendy Pearl District in downtown Portland to give me some photography pointers and so we can shoot together for a little while!

I have a Nikon J1, which is a hybrid between a point-and-shoot and a DLSR.  I used it for my NYC trip, and got some great photos, but am eager to learn more about the camera. I am also hoping to learn more about the art of photography, like posing, angling, and using natural light. The main reason is because I want to take great photos during my Europe trip in a few weeks, but I also want to grow in my skills because I photography is such a special art. Each photographer has their own flow and their photos show such personality as they capture beautiful memories that are cherished for years to come. I've always admired the works of other photographers, so I am now hoping to learn a few things myself to capture all the adventures that God has been so faithfully bringing into my life. 

We started off with lunch at Nuvrei, a great patisserie with delicious almond croissants, macarons, sandwiches, and other yummy treats! After catching up over a delicious lunch, we set off and walked a few blocks to Jamison Square, where we had some fun with our cameras!


After our fun shoot in the Pearl District, I drove over to Laurelhurst Park, 
which happens to be my favorite park in Portland. I first stopped at these two beautiful homes, which is a tradition every time I visit this lovely neighborhood 

And here, my friends, is Laurelhurst Park. I only walked through a small corner of the park, but I was able to practice some of the tips from Jenn.

I had lots of fun with my camera today. I am definitely not a photographer, but I am excited to learn some new skills to improve the quality of my photos during my trip to Europe in less than two weeks (gasp!)

p.s. for the photographers out there, what are some of your tips on getting that perfect photo?