|The Light Inside by James Turrell|
The above photo is the underground tunnel connecting two buildings that make up the Museum of Fine Arts Houston. As the minutes tick by, the color gradually morphs from one part of the spectrum to another. I had talked my tween daughter into joining me for the Kusama special exhibit, and I'd been pleasantly surprised by how engrossed she was by the rest of the museum, especially when she had her camera out. This was such a special day for me as I was finally able to relinquish my "nervous mother hen" role that I typically play when my kids are surrounded by priceless, delicate objects and did not feel compelled to rush before my child got bored. When it was time to go, neither of us felt ready to leave. I can't remember any other time that's happened at an art museum.
|Big Top Candy Shop on South Congress Street in Austin, Texas|
When I took this photo, I didn't realize that my shadow was serendipitously aligned with my daughter so that it blocked the window reflection, allowing her face to come through. I like the effect. This was taken at the end of a great day playing tourist in our hometown with other local friends. Everyone always talks about how cool SoCo is, and attending a sewing summer camp a few blocks away gave us an opportunity to finally explore.
Sadly, I've just found out that the sewing store, Stitch Lab, which is located in an adorable, decades-old cottage will soon be permanently shutting down so that the cottages can be demolished and a modern condo tower built in its place. The property taxes were simply getting too high as this area becomes more gentrified. It's a typical Austin tale that I do not enjoy.
|The Shambles in York, England|
Getting to explore England was a dream come true. While in York, we spent some time on The Shambles which has been nicknamed by Google Street View as "Britain's Most Picturesque Street." I was already getting a Harry Potter/Diagon Alley vibe when I came across this Wanted poster for Bellatrix Lestrange. That clinched it. My family waited
|Catching Pokemon at Stonehenge|
Pokemon Go and our trip to England will be forever intertwined in my memory. The game had been released in the USA right before we started our trip but had yet to be released in the UK. Hence, my kids were one of the few people playing at each of the touristy places we visited. My boy captured the gym at Stonehenge, and it stayed captured by him for the remainder of our time on site. I could see others surreptitiously looking over my kids' shoulders to see how the game was played and whispering to their friends about it. I will admit that allowing my kids to play gave me some extra time at Stonehenge before they started asking when we could leave. For some reason, they didn't want to listen to every single track on the audio guide as I did.
This photo is more about the memories connected with it than the actual image itself. This was my first time tent camping in almost 20 years. I'm not really a tent camping kind of gal. I'll pick glamping — or better yet, a 5 star resort — over a tent any day. My oldest son, on the other hand, received a Boy Scout patch for tent camping more than 50 days total. Yet, I pushed myself out of my comfort zone and woke up to this view. Why in the world did I do it? I am a Girl Scout troop leader. I was so nervous about tent camping that I practiced setting up all 3 of my tents — one for me, and two for the troop — in my living room that week. The campfire and s'mores went really well; then, all heck broke loose when it was time for bed. To make a long story short, one of the troop tents was entirely abandoned, and seven girls crammed into a tent that really wasn't designed to hold that many. Imagine a bunch of sardines in a sauna, and you will get an idea of how crowded and hot their tent was. So, whenever I see this photo, it's with a sigh of relief that everyone got through the night with no additional drama.
|Not watching the in-flight movie|
This photo sums up air travel for my tall husband. He has zero leg room. He keeps nothing under the seat in front of him so that he can attempt to stretch out his legs. The seat back is often not high enough for him to rest his head on it. And when the person in front of him reclines, he can no longer tilt the screen enough to view the in-flight movie. He's also too courteous to ask them to put the seat upright much less install one of those recline blockers. The struggle is real. (Not quite sure why I'm categorizing this as a Favorite Photo. I must be twisted.)
|Carrément Chocolat cake|
This photo has nothing to do with travel. It's all about my other loves — baking and chocolate. In 2016 alone, I visited both a chocolate museum in York, England and a chocolate factory in Vermont. I had been staring at the cover of Baking Chez Moi by Dorie Greenspan for while and drooling over the cake pictured on it. When my birthday rolled around, I figured it was a great excuse to make it for myself. It's just as delicious as it looks. Chocolate cake is soaked in a simple sugar syrup and layered with a silky, chocolate custard. The whole thing is covered in luscious chocolate ganache glaze then piled high with shards of salted chocolate. It was tons of work but turned out fantastic and looked just like the cookbook cover, so I had to take a photo of course.
For those of you celebrating it, Merry Christmas!
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