Around Christmastime I found myself falling in love with all things shiny and gold. I took that infatuation and ran with it to get supplies for wrapping and card-making. Michaels had a great selection of glitter tape–about $1.50 per roll! I went with a simple theme: white and glitter. I had white boxes and tissue paper as well as a few sheets of gold/silver/sparkle tissue paper. I also came across some silver and gold tinsel at the Dollar Tree. Here’s what I came up with:
The minimalism of white paired so well with the festive sparkles. I just can’t help but gush over it!
Here’s a little sumpin’ sumpin’ my sister and I made for her out-of-state friends: floral antlers. Just like my last DIY post, this one involved some perusing of Hunt & Gather (I just love that place so much!). Here are the deatz:
What you need:
Step by step:
Since my last post, a lot has changed. It has been half a year since I last made any notes about my life, and now with the new year approaching, it’s only natural to look back and try to see how my life has changed.
I started 2012 quietly–helping some friends move and having a couple drinks before they left for Israel for four months. I also started the year with anticipation of a trip to Europe to see a boy whom I loved and missed very much. Its crazy to think that a couple weeks into 2012 I was engaged. Looking back, it’s clear that God still has a few things he wants me to experience and learn before I start my own family. A few of those things include overcoming idolatry and facing the true meaning of Loving Him: being satisfied with Him in all circumstances. Aleks and I called off our wedding and took a step back to dating. After some time, it was clear that we had to face the fact that we must seek a meaningful and fruitful relationship with the Lord first before seeking one with any other person on the planet. And, boy, has it been a rollercoaster–nothing is more bittersweet than clinging to God and His plan for your life amidst heartbreak. I look forward to seeing where God will lead me in this new year; I only hope that more than anything, I will experience his faithfulness to its fullest.
I had a great time moving forward in photography during 2012 both professionally and as a hobby. Not only did I invest in some new equipment, but I also put that equipment to use as I shot some very beautiful weddings. I tried my hand at video editing as well–I had a lot of fun doing it, too. In 2012 I became an avid instagrammer–participating in an instameet and winning a polaroid camera in a contest (remember when I won that other polaroid camera? lol). I’m really excited about where I’ll be in a year regarding my photography. One of my new years resolutions is to try to get a grip of posting regularly and not falling into any lulls, so I can truly say that I’m passionate about photography.
In 2012 I moved out of my parents house into a small apartment in Robbinsdale with a couple girls. This has been one of the most defining experiences in my life. More than ever I feel like an adult–paying rent, utilities, and making sure my space is clean and livable. I found challenges in sharing a space with people who weren’t my family, having to buy groceries and planning meals that wouldn’t spoil. I also became really good at organizing and creating a livable and functional space. More on that later. Now my parents get to miss me and get really excited when I come home! Hah!
In 2012 I switched restaurants, going from The Lowry to The Minneapolis Club. The switch made me realize what good management is and isn’t . I really understood how important the type of people who you work with are for you to enjoy your job. As a waitress it’s very easy to be discouraged and become depressed about what you do for a living, but surrounded by good people (both on your level and above you), you can really boost work morale. I hope that I won’t be waitressing forever, but until that day comes, I’m glad I found a stable job with people I can trust.
In late 2012, I also got a new car. After being involved in a small fender-bender, my dad and I decided that it was time to find Dummy (the name of my 2001 Honda Civic) a new home. We fixed him up and are hoping to sell him. In the mean time, I get to drive around in My Cat (the name of my 2012 Honda Civic). It feels so great having a safe, reliable car. Not going to lie, but it also feels great having something that smells so new and looks so shiny. I drove it out of the dealership with 49 miles on it! It also yells at me when I dont have my seatbelt on–so here’s hoping that I can learn to be a safer driver.
In 2012 I realized how much I love my sisters. How they have been really good friends to me during my ups and downs. I’ve also learned how much I love my parents. Even though it was a very painful year in learning how to build a relationship with them, I think we all realized that no matter what, we are family. For that, I am thankful to God and pray that He leads us closer to Himself and closer to each other.
Looking back, I can definitely label 2012 as the year of change. From relationship status, to job, to residence, to car, I see that this year left no stone unturned. And I thank God for all of it.
“Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good!
For His mercy endures forever.”
1 Chronicles 16:34
First off don’t think I’ve been bumming around and not updating. In fact, I’ve been busy not only working the day job and shooting weddings, but I’ve also been super busy planning my wedding (!!!) with Aleks. Thus the lack of updates. Without further notice, here’s a short post about some of the great images we took off my phone (Aleks took most of these as I was busy shooting away on my camera):
Go ahead and click through for larger images!
As this Mother’s Day approaches, I get more and more nervous about what to get my beautiful mom who already has everything she will need in terms of items. What in the world do I get the most hardworking, loving, caring, cancer-surviving, delicious-food-cooking, crafty seamstress of a mom? With money being tight because of the wedding and all, it gets even tougher to think of something unique. However, as the thrifting season begins with the change of weather from cool to warm, inspiration can be found anywhere. This proved to be especially true when I went out to a local thrift/antique shop here in the Cities.
As I perused Hunt & Gather, an idea popped into my mind: Teacup+succulents+banner = cute gift for mom! This would be fantastic because my mom loves plants, and after they grow out of the teacup, she can use it! Cute and practical (not to mention meaningful, yet inexpensive). I bought a teacup at the antique store along with some succulents the were selling there as well (Hunt & Gather is easily the best place to spend an afternoon). I also purchased a matching saucer, but that ended up shattering when I accidently dropped it in my garage. Total cost of this project? $11.
What You Need:
Take a look:
I can’t wait to give this to my mom on Sunday and thank her for everything she does!
After getting engaged, the following evening we went out to celebrate with a fancy dinner at a new restaurant. I got all dolled up, as did Aleks. We stumbled upon a restaurant in the same district we were staying in. The only difference was that this place was tucked away in an ally and had a very elegant feel to it. The following morning, as a newly engaged couple we ventured to the Louvre. Though not before having breakfast at our favorite place!
The entire museum is an architectural gold-mine. From the 12th century Palace to the pyramid addition in the 90s. To say it’s beautiful is an understatement. What a privilege it was to visit the world’s most visited art museum! It was exciting for me to see art from so many different eras and artists and to be completely honest, it was very overwhelming. The Louvre is a place that requires a considerable amount of time for exploration. However, because we were in Paris for only three days, it had to be worked into our schedule.
One thing that I could not stand thinking about was being an American tourist and doing the tourist-y things. But when I met up with the Larsons in Amsterdam, they made a point that I had to agree with: the tourist points are so popular for a reason–the show up everywhere, in literature, in popculture; there are simply too many references to not go, see, and take in. With that mindset, it was a given to visit the Louvre, the Eiffel Tower, and all the other places we saw.
We couldn’t see the entire palace and all its art, but we mentioned to note the most famous pieces and made our route with them in mind.
One thing that we saw as we toured Paris is that there were many immigrants, visitors, and in general, non-french. This was very apparent in the subway, and even more so visable in the museum. On our way there, we spotted a Russian band playing in the subway. The men’s faces were familiar–so was their music. After that, we couldn’t stop noticing how the Russians stood out from the crowds all over Paris. And at times, they turned into some great comedians with their outrageously fancy outfits and mannerisms.
We were exhausted from walking the museum and ended up spending the remainder of our time in Paris shopping. We also wandered into an English Pub which was great–we watched Rugby and joked around with our waitress and bartender in English. It was the perfect segway as we would be heading out to London by train the following morning. Leaving Paris was bittersweet–we were excited to finally be able to understand everything and speak English with everyone, but leaving such a beautiful city that had so much more to offer was sad. After all, its the world’s most romantic city and we just got engaged… It remains my favorite city I’ve ever visited and would recommend it as a stop to anyone who loves art, food, wine, and beauty.
Starting off this post, I want to look to Aleks and thank him for the amazing, caring person that he is. While in Estonia, he took time out to talking to me via phone, via skype, and via letter. Not only that, he also took time out to plan an amazing trip for the both of us. The entire itinerary, flight, taxi, bus, train, all booked by the kind-hearted loving man I get to keep for the rest of my life. He knew I had never stepped foot overseas; with that in mind, he planned adventures to countries he knew we would both enjoy. Thank you, best friend I love you.
After spending our first morning in Paris wandering around the city and the closed Lourve, we had plans to visit La Dame de Fer, the Eiffel Tower. This would include a half hour walk from the Louvre to the Tower with lunch plans afterwards. I was not used to walking so much, but the distances in Estonia prepared me for the next week and a half quite well. As I had mentioned, during our adventures, we used public transportation, but on days that the weather was beautiful, we took advantage and walked. This was one of those days. It was still chilly, and that day, I forgot the mittens that Aleks had bought for me as a Christmas gift in Estonia. I kept putting my hand in his pocket (which I love doing!) but for some reason that day he found it a nuisance and told me it wasn’t welcomed (more on this later). As we walked closer to the tower, we noticed how everything in the city was plated in gold–this sparked conversation between Aleks and I about art in Paris (over and over again, I was thankful to be in love with such an intellectual human). Finally we had arrived at our destination, the Iron Lady. We got in line, and waited to make our way up. I have never seen so many tourists of different cultures, English, Indians, Russians, Germans, crowded the lines. We took the lift up the tower to it’s very highest point. The view was amazing to say the least. Hues of pastel blues, pinks, and greys for miles around. Downtown Paris was also visible from one side of the Tower. Quite easily, this was the most remarkable view I have ever seen.
The Eiffel tower is about 81 stories tall making it the tallest building in Paris–second tallest building in France. Paris has building codes that prohibit buildings from going over 7-stories. Because of this code, the hollywood cliche of the Eiffel Tower view from the window is only limited to a few buildings in Paris. Up until 1930, when the Chrysler Building was built, the Eiffel Tower was the tallest man-made structure in the world. It later surpassed the Chrysler Building when an antenna was added to the Tower. The Eiffel Tower gets repainted every seven years–currently it’s sporting a bronze color.
It was chilly on the third level of the Eiffel tower, so after spending about half an hour gazing at Paris, we took the next elevator down past the skating rink, past the gift shop, down to the bottom. This is where things got sneaky, but first a back story:
On Christmas, Aleks sent gifts to my family from Estonia. This included some shampoo for the parents, some little animal figurines for my sisters, and a medium format camera for me (!!!!!). My mom told me that when I go to visit him, I would have to deliver a gift from her to him. I was fine with that… not like I cared too much. About a week before my trip my mom kept pestering me about a sweater she had bought for Aleks. I took one look at it and decided that he wouldn’t quite like it (it was way too big and totally not his style!). She packaged it up and kept telling me to put it in my carry -on. I told her that I didn’t have room and that it would go in the check-in baggage. I threw it in the corner for a few days until she asked me in a desperate way why in the world I didn’t care for the gift she made for my boyfriend. As I packed, I stowed it away in my checked in luggage. No big deal. Oh, mom….
Back to the story:
I was feeling hungry–we had a great breakfast that morning, but all the walking made me hungry. Right after we stepped off the elevator of the Eiffel Tower, I asked if we could get lunch. Aleks said he wanted to take a quick break and rest with me on the grounds. I wasn’t opposed to this because let’s face it, my American legs were tired of walking. We made our way to the terrace and lying down side by side, we looked at the Parisian sky. Aleks went on to ask me if I loved him and other such questions that I answered as best I could. In about two seconds, he went on to pull a ring out of his pocket–no wonder I wasn’t allowed to keep my hand in his pocket!
I looked at the beautiful thing and looked at him and didn’t get a bit teary-eyed (let’s face it, I SO did!) Next thing I know, he was asking me to marry him. And before I could say anything, he slipped the ring on my finger and in a heartbeat I said I would. I couldn’t believe that he brought me out to Paris to ask me to marry him. It was so romantic–the kind of thing you see in a cliche-movie but never in real life. I couldn’t believe any guy would ever do such a thing. For lack of better words, I told him it was cheesy (face-palm on my behalf) but I really couldn’t believe that such a story-book thing was happening to me. What other girl can say the man of her dreams asked her to marry him in the most romantic city in the world?! Further-more, I couldn’t believe the amazing ring he had gifted me. So beautiful, delicate, and sparkly. What a sneaky man! Months ago, he had the ring delivered to his parents’ house in Chaska where my sister picked it up and brought it to my mom. My mom then sewed it into that sweater that I mentioned before–right onto the tag. She packed it up all innocent, as if she were giving him a Christmas present. Upon arriving in Riga, I gave the sweater to Aleks saying, “My mom really wanted to give you this… try it on.” He ran out of the room with it. And he kept it in his pocket the entire trip. Little did I know I brought a little treasure with me to Europe from the states. If I had known, I would have definitely put it in my carry-on luggage!
Right as Aleks was asking me to spend my life with him, a few gypsies ran up to us asking for more donations. This time we did not hesitate to shoo them away.
What a perfect day. After spending a few moments being cute and in love, we walked a few blocks down to Brasserie de la Tour Eiffel. I still have a napkin from that restaurant in my belongings.
Later that evening, we got all dressed up (I spent 3 weeks looking for a dress to wear in paris) and celebrated this new adventure by going to the fanciest restaurant we could find and eating our hearts out–foie gras and steak–and drinking fine french wine. This was a great way to end a beginning of a new life.
We are engaged!
A celebratory lunch at Brasserie de la Tour Eiffel:)
My most beautiful ring!