Photo Therapy: Across the Pond

Our trip to London in August was so fabulous. London now has a special place in my heart because this trip was where Ian and I took our first international vacation together and where we decided to make the big decision to move-in together. I thought I’d share a few photos from the trip with you. My favorite part of the trip was going on the Jack the Ripper tour – my father had always wanted me to go on this and it did not disappoint. Our tour guide, Donald Rumbelow, was fabulous and I eagerly bought his book and read it over the course of our trip. I highly recommend his book!

On the trip we also managed to: see the Crown Jewels at the Tower of London, drink at the bar Churchill frequented, cross London Bridge, see the Arnolfini Portrait (which was on my bucket list), enjoy a full English breakfast, take afternoon tea at the Kensington Palace Orangery and attend the Buckingham Palace summer exhibit which had Kate Middleton’s McQueen wedding gown on display (it is so gorgeous in person).

What are some of your favorite places to travel?

Ashley

Oh She Glows Classic Green Monster

Remember when I posted about losing weight and advocated eating a lot of fruits and vegetables? Well I thought I would offer you my little secret for sneaking those veggies in regularly if you aren’t used to incorporating them into your meals often (like me, circa January 2011).

Oh She Glows Classic Green Monster Recipe:

Classic Green Monster in my Christmas Mug

This little protein shake looks intimidating. I mean, it’s greenBut it tastes exactly like cake batter while managing to sneak in more than 2 cups of fresh spinach and over 30g of protein. Just one shake gives you three of your five servings of fruits and vegetables for the day (win!).

Mmm, delicious and healthy!

If you haven’t discovered Oh She Glows yet, take a look around, even if protein shakes aren’t your thing. Angela, the blog owner of Oh She Glows, has the most fantastic collection of easy, healthy vegan meals. Another of my favorite recipes from Oh She Glows it the Back on Track Wheat Berry and Bean Salad which is absolutely delicious! I make it at least once a month to have on hand for a small snack or quick dinner.

What is your secret healthy recipe?

Ashley

Photo Therapy: My First Bouquet

Today is a very special day…

Ian gifted me with my first bouquet. Neither he nor I have ever been huge on giving or getting flowers but I have to say, his surprise has really cheered up my day. Didn’t he do a beautiful job picking the flowers?

I hope these photos cheer you up as well (no sense in me ‘hogging’ all the love).

Happy Tuesday!

Ashley

Reindeer Treats

Originally I had planned to make these for my co-workers and I am so glad I made my Festive Cupcakes instead because making this in large quantities is exhausting! But I just had to make these for Ian’s family.

To make Reindeer Treats:

Make a batch of “Muddy Buddies” (otherwise known as “Puppy Chow”) according to the recipe on the back of a Chex Cereal box. Wash out a mason jar and fill with the mix. Tie a festive ribbon around the lid and add a tag saying “Reindeer Treats”.  I think they turned out pretty cute but I wish I had made more so I could have given some to my family too! But be sure to learn from my mistake and make the mix in small batches. Otherwise you’ll wind up with a floor covered in reindeer treats.

Ashley

P.s. Sorry for the blurry photos, Santa didn’t bring me a tripod this Christmas…

Scenes from Our Christmas

I hope everyone had a safe and fulfilling Christmas (for those who celebrate it). I wanted to share with you some scenes from our wonderful celebrations:

My mother always decorates the most beautiful trees but I especially enjoyed her frosty tree this year:

Isn’t it beautiful?

My mom actually decorated the whole house in a frosty winter white. Look how she decorated the mantle:

Apollo also got into the holiday spirit:

My sister gave my Mom some adorable Kate Spade slippers too. Don’t they look fabulous?

My Mom gave Apollo a very festive gift too:

After celebrating Christmas with my family, Ian and I went down to Indiana to celebrate Christmas with his family. Doesn’t his mother do a beautiful job decorating too?

Merry Christmas (one last time)!

Ashley

Chicago’s Christmaskindl Market

Every Christmas Chicago’s Daley Plaza is transformed into a german Christmas wonderland known as the Christmaskindl Market (http://www.christkindlmarket.com/en/). Rows of evergreen covered timber houses sell festive goods under the shadow of Chicago’s Christmas Tree while merry visitors sip mulled wine and eat spiced nuts to the sound of choirs singing. It’s almost as if Rick Steve’s European Christmas were transported to this cement plaza right in the heart of the Loop.

Yesterday Ian and I were lucky enough to have a few moments to run over there on our lunch break and enjoy the [less crowded than the weekends] splendor. This market has a special place in my heart: my father took me here for the first time about five years ago and we went every year until he became ill. My father had been to Germany over ten times and said that this market was remarkably similar to its German counterparts – right down to the vendors, who are all German.

If you have a chance to visit the Christmaskindl Market make sure you (i) stand in the long lines for the glass ornament houses, they’re so worth the visit and (ii) try the spiced wine and eat something with sauerkraut (unless you’re a wuss like Ian).

And don’t forget to snack on some delicious potato pancakes and bratwurst…

Happy Holidays!

Ashley

Supplemental Reading:

For the Love of Nike’ s post on the Christmaskindl Market: http://fortheloveofnike.com/2011/12/02/christkindlmarket-chicago-german-christmas-festival/

TooTallFritz’s post: http://tootallfritz.com/2011/12/11/tacky-christmas-has-arrived/

Vino Con Vista’s post: http://vinoconvistablog.me/2011/12/14/christkindlmarket-chicago-2011/

Photo Therapy: Ryan & Robin’s Wedding

Before my father passed away he and I owned a photography studio and I spent many weekends in college driving into Chicago to do shoots. After he died I refused to pick up my camera for many months – the memories were still very raw for me. Some may say that that was a cowardly decision but I needed to simplify my life for a while and re-center. But I have a confession – I’ve missed the adrenaline rush that comes from picking up my beloved Nikon and capturing a great shot. So…  

Back in October my boyfriend’s cousin got married in the Chicago Suburbs. Their photographer was only able to cover an hour before the ceremony but Robin, the bride, really wanted some photos of her and her bridesmaids getting ready.

So of course I offered to shoot the morning of. Here are some of the still-life shots I did…

The Bridesmaids Dresses

The Bride's Shoes

The Bride's Purse

The Bride's Jewelry

The Bride's Earrings

The Ring

 

The Bouquets

So after a very long break – I have returned to photography, if just only on a rare basis.

Ashley