travel photography

A WEEKEND IN CHICAGO

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this past weekend my sister and i went to chicago to see our two friends tie the knot. there is something magical about that city in the winter, maybe it’s because i’m not from there and i’m born and raised a cali girl so i’ve never really experienced “seasons” but i fell hard for this place and it’s crazy weather. i mean the weather wasn’t ideal for exploring and on the day of the wedding, i experienced rain like i’ve never seen before but since it was my first time to chicago, i wanted to make the most of our quick trip… so i made an eatinerary – see what i did there?? this basically determined where our time was being spent based on which restaurants we were eating at. saturday we pretty much dedicated that day to catching up on sleep, crying and dancing. i’m a great wedding date by the way.

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the next day, the weather decided to chill and stop raining sideways, so we were able to spend some time outdoors. first stop on the eatinerary- goddess and the baker. this place was PACKED… so we ordered quickly, snagged a spot and devoured our breakfast. we didn’t get any pastries for the road because we had many more stops to go on our eatinerary and didn’t want to get full before we got to the rest. it’s all about pacing yourself right?? i am kicking myself for not getting at least one pastry to try… my biggest regret of 2018. HANDS DOWN.

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to try and walk off our meal before the next stop on the eatinerary, we headed over to millennium park. as we approached the park, we could see an ice rink peaking through the trees,  we smelt the christmas tree and felt the crisp air on our cheeks. it felt like we were stepping into a hallmark movie and i never wanted to leave.

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next up on the eatinerary was some schnitzel, pretzels and cheese from the christkindlmarket. we underestimated how crowded this place would be (on the 1st weekend of december…who were we kidding??) we looked at as many vendors as the mob would let us and squeezed our way to the front of some store to purchase some christmas trinkets. to emphasize just how crowded it was- this was an outdoor market and i was sweating from all the body heat. unfortunately, because of the crowds and the fact that we had to catch a flight later that night, we had to cut our time at the market short and weren’t able to try the schnitzel, pretzels or cheese but we made sure to grab a hot chocolate in the cutest little souveneir mugs on our way out!lrg_dsc04438-1

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going from one hot chocolate to the next! this was a must for our trip as we’ve read here, here and here . mindy’s hot chocolate… god this place is good and it’s got all the awards to prove it. courtney had the old fashioned and i the dark oat milk… i have never tasted something so diviinnneeee. to top it off, there were homemade marshmallows in our drinks. yep! HOMEMADE MARSHMALLOWS. i’m ending this post on a deliciously positive note. until next time chicago! xx

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A DAY OF RUINS

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i was planning on posting about the rest of my trip to peru much sooner but well…life happened…between work and an unexpected surgery, i’ve only just finished organizing my thoughts and notes that have been left on my phone for too long. so here it is in all it’s glory, part 2 of my trip to peru, “A Day of Ruins”. in case you need a refresher, you can find my first post here.

our day began with the ruins at ollantaytambo which for the record are at the bottom, middle and top of a mountain…just for the record! so, we began our ascent to the top. much like the burning in my thighs, it’s hard to forget about these incredible views. we were up among the clouds, face to face with the mountain- it was definitely worth the climb… you know, just for the record.

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after our morning “workout”, we went to see the town of chinchero. as we went deeper into town, the quieter it seemed. the little noise we did hear was only from our own footsteps on the cobbled ground. our guide brought us to a church; it was sunday. it felt like we were standing there waiting for something to happen and then the church doors opened. out poured what seemed to be the entire town of chinchero; talking, eating, playing. this quiet part of town was now filled with color, laughter and food. i felt surrounded and consumed and i loved it!

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our guide told us that after church, the women gather to talk about their community and discuss items of “business” while the men play futbol. i think these peruvians might be on to something! just below the plaza was a marketplace with food, trinkets and lots of peruvian goods, so we went to have a look. surprisingly i didn’t buy a thing! rob, however, couldn’t help himself…he just HAD to have it.28

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we ended our day at pisac with some more ruins on top of another mountain, with more incredible views…are you sick of it yet?? me either. stay tuned for the main event…peru post number 3…MACHU PICCHU!39

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A PERUVIAN WELCOME

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i’m finally getting around to posting about my trip to peru. this trip came together for me pretty last minute…i really didn’t have much time to prepare for my departure so when i returned to my life in LA, it was just as i had left it…with an unmade bed. SO…first things first, make my bed. secondly, try and keep some food down. unfortunately, upon my return i had a visit to the urgent care and the ER (dehydration and a possible parasite) everything i tried to consume would not agree with me, my stomach or my mom’s habit of force feeding her children to make sure they’re eating enough. so my pictures from peru went unseen and unsorted. looking through them now i’m reminded of all the things that we had done, all that we had seen. we were up among the mountains, clouds and ruins; experiencing a different culture, learning about peru’s history and exploring its land.

technically, our first night in peru was spent in lima. we had landed a little after midnight; checked into our hotel, had a pisco sour at the bar, went to sleep (more like took a nap) then woke up early the next morning to catch our flight to cusco. it’s still kind of a blur to me but when we landed in cusco we were greeted by a woman called nielda at baggage claim. we followed her to our shuttle van where her husband, jose luis was waiting for us. we strapped our luggage to the top of the van and off we went to the sacred valley! once we got out of the city center of cusco, jose luis had pulled over to ask if we wanted to stop and see how peruvian textiles were made… all of us a little delirious from our journey in weren’t really sure if we were up for it as we were supposed to be heading to our lodge which was still about an hour away…and then jose luis said “llamas”. my eyes widened and i calmly told everyone to get out of the car…quickly. img_7152

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after giving us some coca tea, they began their demonstration on how to create textiles using minerals, llama wool and bugs…yes bugs. as she told us, they sacrifice a bug for the color of their blood; add lemon juice and mix with a salt crystal. it also doubles as a lipstick…i thought she was kidding but then she proceeded to smear the blood across her lips and i thought “damn that color looks great on her”.

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on our way out, they let us feed the llamas! it was everything i had imagined my first experience in peru would be.

the next morning, jose luis and nielda met us at our lodge, we had such a great time with them the day before we ended up hiring them for the next couple of days to be our own local tour guides! close to where we were staying was the town of maras. i was familiar with this town as i had heard about the salt mines located there. that’s where we began day two of peru. these expansive and primitive pools were gorgeous to look at. essentially, it’s more of the same but the vast majority of them consumed you once you stepped foot on the mines. it was incredible. even more incredible is that they still mine the salt themselves through each pool. img_8162

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after exploring the pools, we made sure to stop at the market up top to get some salted goodies to bring back to the states. unfortunately, those goodies didn’t last long, they didn’t even last long enough to make it out of maras…whoops! we couldn’t help ourselves… it was that good.

next up were the incan terraces of moray. it was only about a 15 minute drive from where we were and my oh my what a beautiful 15 minutes it was.

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the actual purpose of these terraces isn’t fully known. jose luis was telling us that it is believed that the ruins were used as an agricultural laboratory by the incas. each terrace differed in temperature by roughly 27F creating micro climates to test crops and experiment with them. he said it was that or there were aliens here…

as we continued to roam the ruins, i noticed nielda had gone off on her own, we continued to climb. as we were heading up the hill i see her running towards us. i thought “no need to run, we won’t leave without you” but then as she held out her hands i realized she was running to show us what she had been doing for the last 20 minutes…

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CATCHING A FRIGGIN DRAGONFLY. she caught a damn dragonfly with her BARE HANDS. nielda, queen of dragonflies.

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AN ITALIAN WEDDING

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it was only in september when i was last in cortona visiting hannah and luca for the first time. fast forward 9 months and i’m back in cortona with my brother for their wedding…their WEDDING! this was cody’s first time in cortona (in italy actually) and i couldn’t wait to show him all the things that made me fall in love with this little town. i didn’t need to do much selling, cortona pretty much sells itself. between the wedding, sight seeing and pasta eating, i think he fell hard for it too.

cody and i flew into rome pretty early and couldn’t check in to our hotel until 2pm soooo we freshened up in the lobby bathroom (thank god for l’ocittane’s verbena refreshing towelettes) and began our first day in rome at 7:00 in the morning! (i think this is what they call making lemonade out of life’s lemons). first up? the spanish steps…cody was eager to run to the top and take in the view… i was eager to run from the sun and keep the awkward jumpsuit tan at bay (spoiler alert, i still got an awkward tan).IMG_0251

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after a full day in the city, we were ready to check in to our hotel room and get some rest. with a nice shower and a belly full of pasta (i promise to show all the food pictures), it only took me about 3 seconds to fall asleep. i think i might take this secret back with me to the states and use it as my bed time remedy…

one train ride later aannnddd we made it to cortona! we went out to explore the town before dinner and ran into some familiar faces in the piazza; the bridal party, some wedding guests and even the bride and groom! i love small towns.IMG_0343

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there was a market in the center of town over the weekend, so we spent our morning browsing all the vendors. with a lot of self convincing (and cody’s reply of “you don’t need that.” to my “but it’s itaaaalian!”) i managed to not buy a thing! it was hard….like really hard. after we walked through the market, we caught the train to florence to check out the uffizi museum and stop for lunch at my favorite sandwich spot. hannah took me to this place last time i visited and i couldn’t wait to take cody. he’s only heard me talk about it every day since we got into italy.

it’s wedding time!!! i’m so happy to have made the journey to witness these two share their love for each other. the ceremony was translated in english and italian and took place overlooking the beautiful province of arezzo. the day couldn’t be any more perfect. salute to the happy couple!

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FullSizeRender 28the day after the wedding, we went over to the house where hannah’s family was staying and hung out poolside with the newlyweds. it was the perfect way to spend our last day in cortona.IMG_0759IMG_0726

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cody and i left for rome the next morning. this time around, we took a pretty relaxed approach to the city. we spent the time we had left in italy as laid back as we possibly could… wake up. eat pasta. roam the streets (pun intended). eat gelato. roam some more. repeat. we walked through the villa borghese gardens, found a bench and sat there for a couple of hours. there was a light breeze that day, i think i could’ve listened to the trees sway back and forth forever.IMG_1387

 

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