Monday, December 21, 2015

seashell photography

The first time I found a seashell on the beach (when I was in Pensacola, Florida!) was quite exciting for me. Of course, I'd seen plenty of seashells before, but I'd never found any myself. Beachcombing quickly became my new favorite hobby. On that trip I walked along many beaches and collected many pretty things. I hardly found any that weren't broken, but I couldn't bring myself to toss back so many of the small pieces because they were just so beautiful, even in their damaged state.

Since I live in the Midwest, shelling is something I seldom get the chance to do. When I get home from my trips to far away beaches, I have so much fun laying out and identifying my finds. I love looking through my shell book anyways, fantasizing about how wonderful it would be to stumble upon some of the rare beauties. Nature is soooo crazy, you guys!

My shells have been boxed up for a while (so many moves!), but the other day I decided to take them out and admire them. This led to a new photo series that I am soooo into at the moment. I love being able to share the beauty of my collection, especially the broken ones. Aren't they gorgeous?

These photos and more are available as prints (and pillows, phone cases, tote bags, ect.) in my Society6 shop!

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Lake Michigan Road Trip 2015 // Mackinac Island - The Grand Hotel

While we were on Mackinac Island we stayed at The Grand Hotel. I stayed there once before when I was about thirteen, and I was very excited to go back. The Grand Hotel truly is one of a kind, and honestly, I don't think I could stay on the island without at least staying a night there.

Ok, so I'm all about van life and road trips, not showering for long periods of time, ect. Staying in a place like this is definitely not the norm for me when I travel. Even when I do choose to spend the night at a hotel/motel, I'm all for that shady Motel 6 experience. But this trip was special, so we decided to visit the island and stay two nights at The Grand for my birthday. It wasn't cheap, and we knew this going in, because we had made reservations about a month in advance. We decided on the "Bed and Breakfast" package because it was the least expensive. It included breakfast in the gorgeous dining hall, but it didn't include the five course dinner, which is one of the things many people enjoy most while on visiting the hotel. But, alas, we are struggling artists, so we opted for the cheaper one. It cost about $700 for us to stay two nights. That, as I said, included breakfast (not a measly continental breakfast, either). That was insanely expensive for us (more than a month's rent!), but like I mentioned earlier, it was a special treat and most definitely something we do not indulge in often.

Probably my favorite part about staying here is that there is a dress code strictly enforced after about six o'clock. Men must wear trousers, jacket, and tie, and for women, a dress/skirt (or pantsuit). (Just for fun before my trip I was looking up reviews of the place, and lots of people weren't psyched about the dress code. The hotel does make a note of the rules to every guest reserving rooms, so it's not as if people aren't aware of it before they arrive. In my opinion, it's part of what makes The Grand grand.) I had soooooo much fun planning my fancy outfits. I don't lead a lifestyle where I have to dress up for an event often (ever), so this was kinda a big deal for me.
The longest porch in the world. (Actually.)
Looking down into the dining hall. Isn't that geranium carpet amazing?!
I'll be honest, I was a little disappointed that we weren't assigned to one of the crazy flowered rooms. Ours was pretty vanilla compared to most of the other ones (each room is decorated differently). We did have a view of the water, which was amazing, but our room was on the ground level, so we had to keep our blinds shut most of the time to keep the guests lounging on the porch from being able to look in.
After dinner, there's a band that plays in the ball room. We enjoyed the music and then danced the night away! Towards the end of the night, we ventured up to the cupola where there's a small bar. There's a star theme in the top room, and even the carpet is navy with stars. We were the only ones up there the night of my birthday. We enjoyed the amazing view and the pretty piano tunes. The pianist even played "Stars" from Les Miserables (keeping with the theme, no doubt), and when he finished I told him that we were big Les Mis fans and he then proceeded to play a Les Mis medley. It was kind of a surreal moment.
All dressed up on the big porch before birthday dinner. For my birthday gift, my parents gave us some money to use towards dinner one night at The Grand, so we were able to enjoy the amazing five course meal in the dining hall.
Unfortunately this was the only picture of my outfit from the second night. I'm in love with this insanely sexy leotard from American Apparel. I paired it with a gorgeous long sea foamy skirt and some pretty black heels. We took a carriage ride downtown and at dinner at the Seabiscuit Cafe (we were quite overdressed, but psh, who cares?!). We walked back to the hotel and enjoyed some more dancing in the ballroom before retiring for the night.
More of the ground floor lounging area. I adore the color of the ceiling.
My time at The Grand Hotel was something I'll remember for the rest of my life. I would definitely recommend the island to anyone looking for something fun to do in the Midwest. And I would also recommend staying at The Grand! It is worth every single dollar to have such a unique experience.

See my other Mackinac Island posts here!


Monday, November 23, 2015

Lake Michigan Road Trip // Mackinac Island Part 2

Usually when I'm packing for a trip I tend to be way optimistic and I pack too many summery clothes and then end up freezing most of the time. This trip was a bit of the opposite! Well, taking a road trip in the Midwest in the third week of September could be chilly! The weather was a bit brisk the first night, but every other day we spent on the trip was just the most perfect weather. I ended up wearing the same cutoffs and top pretty much the whole time just because it was so pleasantly warm. The weather was most noticeable on Mackinac Island. Blue skies and warm breezes made for just a beautiful couple of days. 
We rented bikes from our hotel and rode them around the whole island! This is Arch Rock - a natural bridge formed in limestone. We climbed all the way up to the top of the peak to the left.
The view from up near Arch Rock. This reminded me so much of my home in Door County, Wisconsin.
This small cave was formed during the same period as Arch Rock (the Nipissing post-glacial period) by the waves of Lake Huron. It's called Devil's Kitchen.
On our last day on the island we checked out of the Grand and made our way downtown. We rented a tandem bike and tried not to think about leaving. The tandem bike, by the way, was awesome. Neither of us had ridden one before, so it was a bit of a joke at first, but we quickly got the hang of it and LOVED it.
Said tandem bicycle in front of the Butterfly House. Literally everyone we talked to told us we needed to visit this place. It was pretty awesome. The butterflies were gorgeous! It provided a great opportunity to practice with my (still quite new) camera. There was also a pretty cool tarantula that had recently shed its skin! One of the women working there showed us the shed skin, which was like the coolest thing ever. She was super into it talking about it, too, we could probably have been best friends, haha.
Bye bye, Mackinac Island. I had the time of my life on this island. The whole community and industry (not to mention the landscape, as I mentioned earlier) reminded me so much of the place where I live and work (another beautiful tourist driven place). It was nice to play tourist for once, though. I do have another Mackinac Island post coming up - lots of pictures from the Grand Hotel!


Tuesday, November 10, 2015

inspired by // the art of Sophia Rapata

Sometimes people come into your life and they make the world seem less lonely. When I first stumbled upon Sophia's work, I could hardly contain my excitement. I felt an immediate connection, loving the strange and macabre as I do, and not long after I was lucky enough to find it, my first piece of art came into my home. 

In my opinion, the best artists are the ones who inspire you to create. Not necessarily using the same medium (although I was inspired enough to pick up a set of watercolors!), but in life in general. Lately I've been in the midst of an artistic slump and have not been motivated to create anything new. This morning as I was scrolling through good ol' Instagram, there was my answer in Sophia's feed. I had so much fun trying to bring some of her characters to life! There are two of them I tried to mimic closely, and the original art is posted below. The rest of the characters are my interpretation of Sophia's artistic style.

The photos of the art I snagged from Sophia's Instagram, which I strongly recommend you check out, in addition to her website and Etsy shop. Please help support Sophia and other artists making the world a more beautiful place!

Sunday, November 8, 2015

equinox photography prints plus now available

I'm excited to share that some of my photographs are now for sale on Society6! I've worked very hard to put together these images, and I'm so proud to see them live on the site! And the coolest part is that not only are they available as prints, but also as coffee mugs, clocks, stationary, phone cases, laptop skins, and more! There are some photos that made it onto the blog, but most of them have never been published here!

Selling through this site is a fun and only temporary way to make a little extra road trip money, and to get my brand out there. I'm working on getting some of my work into local galleries, and maybe at that point I'll start cutting out the middle man and selling them myself. However in the mean time, I hope everyone enjoys taking a peak through my S6 shop!

If there's a photo you've seen on my blog and you're interested in seeing it for sale, let me know and I will make it happen. Also, if I'm lucky enough to have my art travel into your home, please please please send me a pic!


Wednesday, November 4, 2015

a walk in the woods

Door County is beautiful in the fall. Well, actually, anywhere that the trees are changing colors is pretty darn beautiful, but there's something about the peninsula in peak that just takes my breath away. Maybe it's the contrast of the blue skies and waters with the oranges, reds, and yellows, or the sounds of the waves lapping on the shore and the wind blowing golden leaves from the trees.

It's November now, and the tourists have scurried back to their home towns leaving my home eerily still. It's wonderful. On a recent day off, I took a walk around one of the trails in Peninsula State Park. I was alone, and I didn't encounter another person the whole couple of hours I was out there.

There was a thick layer of crunchy leaves that covered the ground, and at one point I discovered that I had wandered off the trail. I had a heck of a time finding it again. While I wandered I took in the colors, the crunch underfoot, he glorious smell of the fallen leaves, and the sense of being completely alone in the woods.

I planned things in my head. I picked up pretty leaves and admired them before sticking them into my camera bag to press later. I looked up. I looked down. I shed a tear for the warm seasons that has now passed. It's going to be a long winter.  

Thursday, October 29, 2015

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