You ever drive through your hometown and set out to discover the yet to be discovered? Or maybe set out to capture the beauty of the unappreciated? That’s always been a goal of mine, even from a little girl. I was always determined to find my town’s best kept secret or at least pretend that it was.
Beaumont,TX (my hometown) is full of treasures. Although buried deep or often gone unnoticed, there are many points of interest I’ve always been drawn to. I’ve been going to Collier’s Ferry Park (or as the locals call it “The River”) since I was a little girl. My uncle would pull out the boat and we would go tubing during the summer. Every trip I would feel a rush of excitement, as if I didn’t only live ten minutes away. Even as an adult, I still sort of get a little excited. Often times as I got older, I would go just to be able to think. The silence is so calming. You could literally hear a pin drop. Its been said that pure silence is the best time to hear God speak. Either way, my little moments at the River have helped me think through many life decisions.
In recent years, my hometown has been the center of much controversy and scandal. It has seen many changes, some for the good but a lot of bad. Crime rates have rapidly increased alongside a failing school district. But somehow, I can’t seem to find it in my heart to completely forget where I’ve come from. I visit often, mainly because of family. But also because there is no place else like it. And because of places like the River, in all of its simplicity, still manages to exude a whimsical blanket of serenity whenever I’m near. To me, it feels like the calmest, quietest place in the entire town. Many of my friends who left vowing never to return may think I’m stuck in a fairyland for writing this. But I understand that no place is perfect, and there will always be trouble anywhere you go. I just choose not to let the bad completely overshadow all of the good that I’ve grown to appreciate. We all have our own things we find beautiful; our own aesthetic truths. Doesn’t always require a trip to a completely foreign place to realize either.
Happy New Year friends! Its been such a long time since my last post. 2014 was definitely a year of reflection, tears, joy, and all things in between. November was magical, as I took a much-needed trip to the Napa Valley again. I love it there. Something about the air just calms me. Or it could be the smell of the vineyards in the air. Who knows.
I’ve seriously been debating all year about how I wanted to re-structure my blog. Traveling and art are my true passions. I want my blog to definitely reflect that. But more than anything, my aim is to inspire. If you get nothing else from my posts, I want you to leave away feeling inspired. Inspired to think deeply or enjoy the simple things. Whatever blows up your skirt.
Napa Valley really is an amazing place. Despite what some perceive to be a pretentious, uppity playground for wine snobs, I have never felt that type of energy. Not saying it doesn’t exist, because it could. But I’ve never felt more comfortable somewhere.
I definitely needed this trip to sort some shit out in my life. Add a little fuel to my travel bug fire. I think Napa will most likely be one of those places I continually visit for life. I think everyone should have an “old faithful” place they repeatedly visit ( I actually did visit the Old Faithful Geyser of California while I was in the area. Let’s just say it left much to be desired for $14). What’s your old faithful?
I love, LOVE to travel. The majority of my trips have been in the states, with my first out of the country experience being to Turks and Caicos last summer. It’s addicting. I get the urge about every 3 months. I love the idea of immersing myself into different cultures. The best thing about traveling for me is doing it solo. Yes. Most of the time I travel alone.
The thought of doing things on my own time, without worrying about catering to someone else’ s preferences, is so very liberating. I love to take the roads less traveled. As an introvert by nature, I typically stray away from touristy places. I know what you’re thinking, and none of the places pictured were bustling with tourists when I went. Timing is EVERYTHING (and off-season traveling is WAY cheaper). I like quiet and relaxing. I can go to a bar and party at home. Adding that to my list of things to do would totally defeat the purpose of a vacation, in my opinion. I couldn’t really afford to do the typical road trips and Spring Break excursions that most undergrads did in college ( I worked 2 jobs and took 18 hours every semester). So I have been exploring my adventurous side for the last 3 or 4 years because I can afford to do it now.
The really great thing about traveling is you never know who you may meet. I made some really cool business connections while in Turks and Caicos, danced with a Swedish man and made friends with a model from Chicago by way of Somalia. Good times and many more still to be had.
I always manage to find beauty in the most random places. I call them gems. Sometimes its like finding a diamond in the rough or a needle in a hay stack. The reality is, beauty is all around us, sometimes right where you can see it. Often times we get too tied down with life that we don’t notice it. Continuing on with the celebration of spring, here are some shots I captured around town. Some in random open fields by my job and others just taking a stroll through my neighborhood.
Sometimes I feel weird walking in the middle of people or on busy streets and whipping out my camera to snap a picture. But who’s to say the opportunity will be there tomorrow or even 15 minutes later? To me, that’s part of the beauty of photography. Capturing life’s most simplest moments the minute they make themselves known. I’ve had my fair share of missed opportunities, and each day I strive to get better at seizing them.
The Etta James classic rings heavily in my head as I sit and reflect on today’s events. My visit to the Texas Hill Country was filled with scenic routes ( I basically got lost a bunch of times, but it was totally worth it). It reaffirmed the fact that I love the life I live, ups and downs. The downs make the ups that much better. This trip was totally an up. You know what made this trip even better? Wine.
The drive up to the winery was a gorgeous one. Winding curves on a dirt road, leading up to the top of a hill. Perfect way to spend a Sunday afternoon. The winery grounds were cozy. The staff were super friendly and welcoming. Ten bucks got you 6 tastings and the cool wine glass pictured above. I’m usually a Merlot girl, but the day was nice and warm enough for a sparkling white ( Starry Nights, thank me later). Overall, an extremely pleasant experience. I didn’t take as many pics as I should have at the winery, but I was too busy enjoying the breeze and relaxing. Next time, I promise.
I love a good road trip, especially in the spring time. The really cool thing about Texas is the multitude of terrains you encounter across the state. I grew up along the coast for the most part, so I decided to explore the Texas Hill Country this weekend!
Did you know that there is another version of the Texas Bluebonnet? Yep, the Alamo Fire. And its just as stunning!
I also had the liberty of taking the famous Enchanted Rock hike in Fredericksburg. Totally worth all the sweat and shortness of breath it took to get to the top (note to self: we really need to become friends with the gym again).
On my way down, I found these gems. They were waiting just for me, I know it.
The coolest thing about being at the top of the rock was feeling like time completely stopped. I had some time to actually think. Think about, what I’m currently doing with my life, what I want to be doing, should be doing. I hate to sound all corny and predictable, but I really did have an “a-ha!” moment. Sometimes you need absolute silence to really be able to sort through your thoughts and all the clutter. Not to mention, silence was golden in taking in the spectacular views below. Oh Life, you sure know how to keep me interested in you….
Fall of 2005, I enrolled in my first drawing class. I was excited and nervous. My family had only seen my drawings up to that point, so I wasn’t exactly sure how total strangers would see me as an artist. My favorite lesson was on linear perspective. I loved it so much because it was so specific and exact. I like to say I’m slightly OCD and extremely over analytical and I guess this lesson worked well for me because it was a chance to channel my sense of perfectionism. Needless to say, I got a C on the project (my TA had it out for me since day one). But it’s completion was one of my proudest moments. And I swear now, I see everything from a linear perspective.
Its amazing what you find on your lunch break. I’m amazed at the many simple wonders God has placed on this Earth for us to admire and appreciate. Some so simple, yet so bold. I’ve always been a visual person, with a huge scope for imagination. Bold colors draw me in like moths to a flame. So much so that I have to seize the moment and capture their intensity. Of course, spring time is a breeding ground for bold colors. Hands down my favorite time of year.
So here’s to capturing life’s most fascinating wonders and living aesthetically.