11 Jul

Meet Me at BlogHer 2014

Posted by Jenna, Under Uncategorized

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BlogHer 2014 is fifteen minutes from my house, and I’m keeping my eye on the Ticket Swap page for a great deal on conference passes. I really enjoyed my experience at BlogHerPro and I feel like my “blogging as a career” plans are picking up steam. I’m about to announce/launch a few different projects (details soon, I promise!) and I’m going to use the BlogHer experience to try to develop some partnerships with sponsors and network with other bloggers who are trying to do the same thing I am.

I’ve never been to a big conference like this and I’m trying to prepare myself. I’m such a newb that I didn’t even bring business cards to BlogHerPro. I haven’t lined up babysitting yet, so I’m not quite sure how much of the conference and festivities I’ll be able to attend. I want to meet up with people who are going! Where will you be and what are you looking forward to most?

20 Jun

Wodna Wieza

Posted by Jenna, Under reviews, Travel

I think this post represents two firsts for me – the first time I’ve written a recap within 24 hours, and the first time I’ve done so with photos taken and edited on my iphone. All edits were done with VSCOcam and the side-by-side shots are done with TwinCollage.

Everyone else in my family is sleeping in today (we are still in Poland), and since I was up at 5am I’ve had plenty of time to process photos and put this post together. I’m hoping I can keep this early morning momentum going because I love feeling like I’ve accomplished so much before 8am.

I wanted to write up a post about our dinner last night for a few reasons. I’ve been doing lots of Europe trip planning lately and the English-language blog posts I find about things I’m researching are really handy. TH and I also fell in love with Wodna Wieza and when we like a restaurant that much we start to worry it might go out of business. This happened to our favorite Dallas restaurant, Aurora. I know odds are slim that any of my readers will be heading to Krakow anytime soon, but if you ever do visit the southwestern area of Poland I think it would be worth a trip.

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 Wodna Wieza calls itself a Steampunk Cafe, though I think the use of the term cafe makes it sound a lot simpler than it actually is. It’s nouvelle cusine with a touch of molecular gastronomy in a setting that has attention to detail unmatched by any restaurant I’ve ever been to.

Is there a Steampunk Restaurant Supply catalog somewhere? My iphone couldn’t do this place justice.

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The wine cellar.

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It wasn’t just the decor that wowed us, with each course of our 5 course tasting menu they brought us unique silverware unlike anything any of us had ever seen before.

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The restaurant is on the top floor of an old water tower, so the views are stunning as well!

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Our dining group for the evening.

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The first course was a grouping of individual mushrooms, in a very unique serving dish, made 10x cooler when the server “watered” the largest mushroom and revealed the presence of dry ice nested underneath. Throughout the meal I was really impressed by how far they were able to take things without it feeling cheesy or trite. We ooohed and aaaahed with each new thing brought to the table. Even the bread and butter! (Honey and lemon infused butter, delicious.)

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20 Jun

Children and Foreign Grandparents

Posted by Jenna, Under Parenting, Travel

 

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We have been in Poland for about a week, with another week to go. TH’s family is as lovely as ever, and once the (grueling) flight from the States to Poland is over I always feel we shouldn’t wait so long to come back again.

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I anticipated a really awful flight, and the kids actually exceeded my expectations. It was overnight and they slept for a good portion of it. We bought a seat for T2 and put her in a car seat and that made things a lot easier. I also expected jet lag with two kids to be tough, and it was. The kids have been sleeping in the same room for several weeks now, but here we have been unable to get them to settle in and sleep through the night if they are together. I’m grateful that my in-laws are providing us with several days in Berlin without the kids. We are craving some serious re-connection time as a couple.

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One thing I didn’t anticipate was how hard this trip would be for T1. Previously he was very young, either not talking yet or just learning to speak, and he didn’t seem to mind the language barrier so much. All speech probably sounded a bit confusing to him! Now though he seems really thrown by the lack of English and strong accents. I confess I’m not sure how to walk the line between affording him space to be shy and autonomous, and pushing him outside of his comfort zone in order to be polite and attempt to form bonds with these family members who love him so much.

We’ve talked about different options but aren’t sure what will be best. Maybe we keep the current approach, visiting for two weeks every 1-2 years, and see how things develop. Try to prioritize video conferencing more often. Long summers in Poland for the kids at some point? Are there things we can do now to prevent the same disconnect for T2?

It’s been really hard for me to watch all of this unfold, because I feel like one way I can express love and gratitude for my inlaws is to encourage my kids to engage with the in meaningful ways. But T1 is his own person, and I can’t force him to feel and think and act in ways that don’t match with what he wants. I hope this is just a stage, like most other things with kids this young.

Do I have any readers with family who live internationally and speak a language that isn’t spoken by their grandchildren/nieces/nephews/etc? How have you made it work?

11 Jun

One Quick Take

Posted by Jenna, Under Uncategorized

We met some friends at Big Basin Redwoods State Park to take pictures. After I did my thing and we ate some lunch, they were kind enough to turn the camera around and take some of me and my kids.

The picture above is what I would print out and hang up. The one below is what it’s like trying to get the one above to happen.

 

 

10 Jun

Old film and old cameras

Posted by Jenna, Under Photography

Last time I was home I asked my dad’s mom if she had any old film cameras that she wanted to give away. I’ve been emailing everyone I know to request that they give/sell me any film gear that is sitting in their garage because that’s one of the cheapest ways to get film equipment. If any of my readers have relatives who were seriously into film at one point I might be interested in what they have in storage! I have been buying lots of expired film on ebay for person use – if you have film sitting in your fridge (unlikely, haha, but a girl can dream!) or in a cupboard somewhere you can sell it to photographers like me who want to have something to play with.

My grandma gave away her old Polaroid years ago (I shed a tiny tear over this), but she had a point and shoot Minolta in her cupboard with an old roll of film in it only half-used. Score! The camera itself isn’t really what I’m looking for, but I was excited to use up the rest of the film and then send it off to discover what I might find on it. I laughed when I saw this picture of my cousin with a mohawk at a family reunion!

The film is old, and so some of the frames have light leaks or other interesting imperfections. I like how this one frames my cousin. Very artistic of you Grandma!

The rest of the roll was used up on random things throughout the house. I wasn’t even sure if anything would come of it, so I didn’t shoot anything that I felt really invested in.

Got an old camera with film in it? Use up the rest of the roll and then take it somewhere like Walgreens to get it developed. It feels like I did when I was a kid and we opened up a time capsule. If you do develop at Walgreens, make sure you understand what you are paying for. I took a roll in and ended up paying $13 for the developing, CD, and prints of all of the images. Next time I will bring the cost down by nixing the prints and asking to have the images uploaded online instead of burned to a disc (this should bring the cost down closer to $7.

      I'm a farm-raised almost-crunchy stroller-pushing picture-taking lifestyle-blog-writing gastronomy-obsessed divine-seeking thrift-store-combing cheese-inhaling pavement-pounding laughter-sprinkling lover of individuality and taking chances.
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