Llano River Trip: FILM batch 2

Here is the second roll of film from our trip to the river with Nick's fam.

Nikon N80 + 85mm or 28mm
Fuji 400H (rated at box speed and overexposed by 1-2 stops)
Scanned by Walgreens (So disappointed by the awful lines going through all of these. May just bite the bullet and send them all out to pro labs from now on.)

I'll have one more "Llano River Trip" post once I get my digitals done!

Llano River Trip: Friday Evening FILM

 We spent last weekend down at the river in Llano with Nick's family. We had a great time, and we hope to make it an annual thing. The girls weren't too excited to get in the water, but wanted instead to stay close to Nick and me to just dip their toes in and splash.

I have more digital pictures (and a few more on another roll of film I need to finish), but the digitals have to get culled and edited. I'm VERY behind on my digital editing. That's the beauty of film... so quick just to pick my favorites from the roll and post 'em! ;)

Kodak Portra 400, rated at box speed and overexposed 1-2 stops by metering for shadows
Nikon N80 + switched between my 28mm and my 85 I think (or maybe I just left the 85 on??)
Scanned at Walgreens (not sure they did so great... the color looks pretty good, but there are lots of dust spots, splotches, and lines running through them)



birthday trip to napa

(from sept. 1-3)

My big birthday (#30!) fell on Labor Day weekend this year, so Nick's mom and dad kindly offered to watch the girls for the weekend if we wanted to go on a little getaway. And since Nick had plenty of airline and hotel points, we jumped at the chance!

Nick got a free car rental upgrade... a red Jeep! It ended up being one of the most fun parts of the trip. We did a lot of driving up and down the main highway, and it was fun to pull the top down and enjoy the cooler temps.

It was a wonderful, relaxing weekend!

- - - -

Stopping in at Oakville Grocery for picnic lunch supplies

The Jeep

At the Castello di Amorosa Winery

Walking around Calistoga (I think)

At the Franciscan Winery (our fave)

At the Nickel & Nickel Winery

A scenic spot as we drove off the main highway


from July 22-29

This summer Nick's parents took the four of us up to Minnesota to visit the fam. All of Nick's grandparents live there as well as aunts, uncles, and cousins galore! Our last trip was 2 summers ago when Kate was 6 months old. We missed out on the trip last summer since Caroline was a newborn, so everyone was thrilled to meet her this year! 

This is major picture overload, so just scroll fast. ;) And after all that scrolling, there are some more miscellaneous pics in a Flickr slideshow. (I got tired of putting them all into storyboards!)

At the Carlson farm... playing with "new" toys, exploring, picking raspberries.

At Uncle Joe & Aunt Sandra's... making friends with Monarch & Extreme.


Kate looking through pictures of Daddy...


Shucking corn and playing out front...


And playing in the corn fields...


More Monarch & Extreme. (Every horse is now compared to these two.)


These were taken at Aunt Lai & Uncle Chris's house (other side of the family) later in the week... Kate playing croquet and Caroline just being super cute.


And here are the rest...

friday phone dump 8.17.12

I can't believe it's been so long (2 months!) since my last phone dump. The first one in this set was from Father's Day!


Father's Day breakfast at Ikea | Caroline asleep at the zoo | Kate w/ zoo map
alone time! | official walker | fun with friends | diving rings as crowns
sick baby | Rangers game | ballpark fireworks | a gorgeous rainbow - could see the entire arc!
playground | another splash pad visit | riding the skylink train at the airport | at the MN farmhouse
both girls conked out - a rare sight! | airplane "fun" 1, 2, 3
a wonderful trip to Costco had to be documented - girls laughing and hugging and kissing
watching You Tube videos | building towers (notice the ponytail!) | one chair is better than two | swinging

iphone 4 + instagram (sarcar04) and/or VSCOcam

Europe Vacation: Florence/Milan (final day)

I'm done with the Europe pics!! YAAAAY!! Here are a few from our last day there...

Thursday, February 9
We decided to try and sleep in a bit this morning, knowing it was our last chance to do so. What a luxury! At home we're always up by 7 at the latest, so I treasured the mornings when we could sleep in! We had just a little time to walk around in Florence before leaving for Milan, and I was thrilled that a children's clothing store I had seen on a night stroll (TAF) was open. In the window they had beautiful smocked dresses far out of our price range, but I spotted sweet, monogrammed handkerchiefs. What a sweet keepsake those could be for our girls (and from Florence, too!). I chose the white ones thinking that they might someday be used in wedding bouquets. Maybe I'll frame them until then. :) We strolled along the Ponte Vecchio, and I snapped some final shots of Florence.

We made our way to the train station and nearly missed our train to Milan. We had to run all the way down the platform to the LAST car. We were seated all of 1 minute before the train pulled out! 


The afternoon was spent in Milan. We saw their duomo with many spires and over the top architecture commissioned by Mussolini. We went from there to find the location for our reservation to see The Last Supper and on the way found a place called "Shockolat," a gelato and chocolate shop. We ran in for a quick gelato (we hadn't had any lunch), and coffee. I, of course, ordered a cappuccino (which pegs you as a tourist when you order it after breakfast time), but I ordered it all the same, and got some funny smiles and smirks! What do I care? It tasted great!! The dark chocolate gelato was definitely my fave of the trip - I wished we had had time to really stop and enjoy it (and maybe get another cup!!), but we had to get to our reserved showing of The Last Supper.

It wasn't far. We waited our turn, listening to the audio guide recount the history of the art and artist. We were called up with a group of 15 or 20 - they keep groups small and visits brief to help with preservation - and walked through 2 rooms to be de-humidified. The art is not a painting on a canvas, nor is it a fresco. It was painted on the wall of the chapel after the paint was dry, so it has been restored several times. It's amazing, though, that has survived bombings and pillaging through the centuries. It was incredible to be so close, to see it span the length of that wall - to study the light, the hands, the gestures, the scene as a whole.

We were beat and enjoyed some down time (and free Internet) at the hotel for a bit before going to dinner at another Rick Steves suggested place (Ristorante da Bruno). It just so happened that it was super close to our hotel! We enjoyed a bottle of Chianti Classico, spaghetti carbonara (for me) and oso buco (for Nick), and FINALLY got my first and only tiramisu of the trip! I was so glad they had it!


Whew! It feels so good to finally have all of those done!

Europe Vacation: Florence Day 2

I'm almost embarrassed to keep posting these pictures from Europe. I'm SOOO close to finishing the edits, though, so bear with me! Once I get these done, I'll be on to edits for photos from May (like Caroline's birthday). Sheesh.

Since our trip was 6 months ago, I had to refer back to my travel journal to help with the details! This was one of our favorite days of the trip - a tour of Tuscany with a private driver! We used Verbena Blu Viaggi Travel Agency and went on the "Chianti Classico Wine Tour, Tuscan Delights, San Gimignano and Siena" excursion.

Wednesday, February 8
At 9am, our driver, Carlotta, picked us up at our hotel for our day trip around Tuscany. This was a neat experience! We first stopped at San Gimignano where we toured the medieval city's gates, walls, and towers. Carlotta explained a lot of history, and while Nick paid attention, I took pictures. :) It was quite icy as we made our way up, and the views were far reaching. Unfortunately, they just weren't the traditional Tuscan views I'd hoped to capture; instead, I caught a much rarer landcape - Tuscany loaded down with snow! 


After San Gimignano, we drove to the Castello Monsanto Winery. The history was interesting: the original owner had seen the property (with castle!) as a young man, saw its beauty, and he purchased it soon after. He gave it to his son who started producing more grape varieties. Or maybe I'm getting all of this wrong. I'll have to just read Nick's account (or Google it!). Anyhow, the son was quite a pioneer, his becoming the first winery in the area to produce a white wine. We toured the cellars, learning all about their barrels and aging process for each wine. They had a tunnel dug under the winery to the castle, and they made it look beautiful! In one special stretch, they carved out niches to commemorate a birth or special event, like a marriage. The wrought iron spelled out the year and the name of the honoree, and bottles of the special reserve wine were (are) stored in the niches for 25 years. After seeing the storage, we walked back through the castle garden to go do our tasting. Unfortunately, we didn't get to tour the castle since it's the family's private residence. The tasting was fun. They had appetizers and 3 wines for us to try: the Chardonnay, their Chianti Classico, and the "Nemo" Cabernet. We liked them all, but the Nemo was our favorite. Loading back into Carlotta's car, I wondered how I'd be able to eat any lunch after that!


Lunch was our next stop, and we went to the medieval village of Certaldo for lunch. We took a gondola ride up to the top of the hill to "A Casa Tua Ristorante." Carlotta ordered some fried foods sampler as an appetizer, and then my meal came (pasta w/ ragu), and even though it was amazing, it was so rich that I couldn't even eat half of it. We each signed our name to the wall on our way out.


After lunch we drove to Siena, Carlotta's home town, where we toured the main square and saw the outside of their duomo. It was interesting to hear of the medieval rivalry between Florence and Siena, but the plague had hit Siena hard, and so Florence won out over them. Their rivalry showed in their buildings as they always tried to one-up each other.


Carlotta drove us back to Florence, dropping us back around 7:30pm, a 10.5 hour day! We mapped out directions to our restaurant, "Antico Ristoro di Cambi" and walked along the river to it. We were, by now, figuring out how to order; splitting antipasti and ordering just a main dish (usually pasta for me and meat for Nick) was all we could manage. We wondered how it would be possible to eat all of the courses you were supposed to!


Hope to get pictures of our last day (Florence morning, Milan afternoon) done and posted soon. What a triumph it will be to finally have all of them finished! 

Europe Vacation: Florence Day 1

Maybe I'll get through all of these vacation pictures by the end of the year! They have definitely been put on the back burner.

Florence was our favorite. We just loved how the city was smaller and more pedestrian friendly. And although it was lightly snowing on this day, it had not accumulated on the streets.

We stayed at the Hotel Brunelleschi, and we had a great view of the duomo.

Florence Day 1 Strybd 1

First stop... climbing to the top of the duomo's dome. 463 steps.
We were SO glad to be there in the off-season when there are fewer people there. I think I would have felt extremely claustrophobic if that tiny stairway had been filled with people going both directions. As it was, we pretty much had the staircase to ourselves. Nick was sweet and took over camera backpack duty while I huffed and puffed my way up. :) The picture on the bottom right of this board shows the last stretch up... and it looked almost like a straight slope. You couldn't even see the steps for how steep they were.

Florence day 1 strybd 2

We made it!! It was FREEZING cold up there. I already mentioned that it was lightly snowing, and the wind that high up was pretty fierce. The views made up for it though! I was disappointed that the skies were so cloudy, but just before we left, the sun started shining through.

Bottom-left you see Nick going back down the steps, and on the right is the view of the dome ceiling (with the plexi-glass in the way of the shot).

Florence day 1 strybd 3

After our hike, we walked around the marketplace, then went to the Accademia to see the statue of David. We marveled at yet another of Michelangelo's masterpieces and wondered if he ever slept! No photography was allowed there.

Dinner at Trattoria Sostanza was our favorite of the trip, I think. This was another recommendation from my friend, Melissa, who sent us there with notes on what to order! Butter chicken for me, Florentine steak (of course!) for Nick.

I asked if they minded if I take pictures. They said no, they didn't mind, then invited me INTO the kitchen to shoot in there. Please stop and look at those steaks. They pulled that rack of meat out and hacked the steak off right when ordered.

If you're ever in Florence, please go here.

Florence Day 1 strybd 4

Then we walked back. And no freezing Italian night is complete without gelato!

Florence day 1 strybd 5

It may be another month before you get to see day 2 of Florence/Tuscany, but it'll be worth it! (I think... I haven't really looked through all those pictures yet!!)

Bringing you up to speed: Europe by Instagram, Europe by HolgaParis Day 1Paris Day 2Rome Day 1, Rome Day 2

holga film, european edition

In addition to taking pics with my "real" camera and my iPhone, I also dragged my Holga to Europe. This is only my second roll of film on the Holga, and something went wrong when I loaded it. Some of the roll ended up getting exposed, while the ones that did come out have these black specks on them. I was just thrilled to have any come out! I guess that's what you get for using a "toy" camera. I starred my favorites. Which ones do you like?

Kodak Tri-X 400 B&W 120mm film

1. Paris. Eiffel tower.

2. Rome. View from our balcony at the Waldorf.

*3. Florence. View of the duomo from our room.

*4. Florence. Top of the duomo.

*5. Florence. View from the top of the duomo (2).

6. Tuscany somewhere. Monsanto Winery.

7. Milan. Duomo. (This obviously just barely made it! Interesting all the same.)

*8. Milan. Glass covered shopping area adjacent to the duomo.

*9. Milan. View of the duomo through the shopping area arches. (This one's my favorite. I love the birds in flight. Can you see them?)

Here was my first Holga roll if you want to look back!
I think next time I'll try color. It's fun, even if my results are pretty sloppy!