04.14
2015

Boston

My trip to Boston started as kind of a spur of the moment thing. One of my favorite musicians (hasn’t toured in almost ten years!) announced tour dates in DC, NYC, and Boston and when I couldn’t get a ticket to the DC show I just said “Well, I’ve never been to Boston before!” YOLO. What’s more YOLO-y than planning a trip to a new city to see a concert all by yourself??? At the beginning of the year I decided this was my year to say YES to things and to just do as much living as possible. That spirit was the driving force behind this trip!

My friend Karla (who I went to Italy with) lives in Boston, so she kindly offered to host me and our other friend Quyen. These two are such gems! I originally met them at Foster workshop last Fall. I signed up for that largely out of a desire to get out of my little bubble here in the DC/VA/MD market where everyone is doing really similar things and meet new people. Get fresh perspectives. I’m so thankful I did because these two are amazing! Have you ever felt like sometimes people come into your life at a certain season for a reason? I feel like I was meant to meet them and become travel buddies with them! It was fate, for sure.

Anyway, this trip was a lot of fun despite being FREEZING (to me). I’m not a cold weather type person at all…I just don’t handle it that well!  We saw Boston, New Hampshire, Maine, and where Tom Brady and Gisele MIGHT live. I feel like Boston is a big city, but also feels small enough to not be too overwhelming like some cities can be.

Here’s a recap of my trip in photos! I loved Boston so much and will definitely be back!

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Here I am with my friends at a restaurant called Top of the Hub! It overlooks the city and you can see pretty much everything for miles! It was such a great experience!

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On Easter Sunday we drove up the coast and stopped in Newburyport for brunch and then went to Portland, Maine! Maine is adorable! I could see myself living there (in the summer, only due to the, uh, BRISK temperatures).

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That’s it for this trip! I’m looking forward to planning a few more adventures for the summer time…what are a few of your favorite cities to spend a weekend in??

 

I first blogged about my same day slideshow process about two years ago, and since then my process has changed a bit, so I thought I would share an update! Since buying a 5D Mark III, doing slideshows is easier than ever. I can literally do a slideshow from start to finish in about six minutes flat. Which, for me, is important because I like to actually EAT during dinner time ;)

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At heart, I would consider myself someone who loves to be prepared! And even more so, I love to research things! I’m always searching for random things on Google…from skincare solutions, to health remedies, I’m ALWAYS Googling.  When it came time to plan my Italy trip, I started really getting into the logistics of going out of the country since it was my first time traveling internationally since I was little. Like I said before, I LOVE to be prepared. As such, I knew not having access to my phone or internet (especially as a small business owner!) was going to be a no-go for me. First I checked with our phone service provider (we have Sprint) but the roaming charges for international travel were OUTRAGEOUS. I’m talking in the thousands of dollars for any type of basic internet usage. I didn’t want to spend that much for a weeks’ travel, so I started searching for other options. A lot of people will buy an international SIM card when they travel, but that’s not really an option for Sprint users, so I kept looking.

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Today I’m back with part two of my Italy trip! Last time we covered Rome….if you want to check that out, go here.

When my travel buddy Karla told me she really wanted to see the Vatican, I was somewhat hesitant. I’m not Catholic so I wasn’t sure if I would get a lot from the experience, but I’m happy to report I was wrong! SO wrong! The Vatican was one of the places I felt most moved on this trip, despite not even being sure if I wanted to go. Plus, I got to knock another country off the list of places I’ve been! Did you know the Vatican is a different country even though it’s inside of Rome?

The one thing you should know if you go the Vatican is that you should most definitely buy your tickets in advance online. If you do, you get to skip the world’s longest line. Seriously. I thought the two hour line through security at JFK was awful til I saw all of the people waiting outside the Vatican museum. It was insane! Since we got our tickets online in advance we bypassed everyone and made our way inside a lot more quickly. We saw two parts of the Vatican, the museum and the Sistine Chapel.

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All of the tapestries blew me away! They were incredibly tall and very detailed. The amount of work that must have gone into creating them is astonishing!

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The Sistine Chapel has a strict no photography policy, but I had to take this photo to remember it by. I tried to be discreet as possible! I can see why it’s important to not spend all of your time taking photos there…it’s magnificent. And I wouldn’t just say that word for nothing! It really is incredible to see this with your own two eyes. I felt so moved by this huge, incredible work of art. I could have stayed there all day! I still can hardly believe I got to see this in person.

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The next two photos are poor quality because they were taken from the window on the train, but I just wanted to show what a beautiful train ride it is from Rome to Florence! I had the honor of enjoying this view with a glass of champagne…what a way to spend an afternoon, right?
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And this is Florence, or Firenze as they call it in Italy! We stayed at the adorable boutique hotel Antica di via Tornabuoni, which I can’t recommend enough. The following photos are from our hotel rooftop! THAT VIEW THOUGH. Am I right??

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Florence was a little less hectic than Rome, but still very much a city. Florence is really one of the most charming places I have ever seen in real life. It looks like something out of a storybook!


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I still can’t believe I had the opportunity to go on this trip even though it’s already over and the blog recaps are written…it was the trip of a lifetime for me, and I’m so glad I had the chance to go and see some of these sites for myself. I can’t wait to go back! One day…

 

I might be one of the last people to get on board with ONA bags, but I have a good excuse! I’ve been pretty happy with the bags that I currently use for weddings (A Kelly Moore B Hobo and the Pelican 1510) and haven’t needed to get another yet. That is, until now! In the past when I’ve traveled for work or fun I’ve just used my B Hobo bag. It’s definitely got enough room! I can fit a ton of stuff in there. The only problem with that is, I find myself either taking TOO MUCH or just getting annoyed and not wanting to carry a heavy bag and leaving it in the car when I sightsee.

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For my trip to Italy, I knew I needed something else. Something a little bit lighter and smaller that I could carry around the city all day without feeling tired or sore. I’d originally looked into the KM Riva bag, but decided to see if ONA bags had a smaller bag that would fit the bill. A lot of people I know carry the larger Palma and Capri bags, but I decided on the Bowery because I liked that it was a little different from the one I see lots of people using, and it’s a teeny tiny bag! For a camera bag, at least.

I chose the black in wax canvas partially to be budget conscious (which, I have to say, anyone would be feeling like that after doing their taxes and seeing the reality of the expenses I had last year…yikes) but also because I like to have something I’m not worried about getting wet or damaging. I love how it looks! It looks like a satchel and not at all like a camera bag, which I really appreciate, being a woman who travels solo from time to time. It also matches most of my clothes, which is great for travel, since versatile items are important. One thing I did NOT realize though, that is something to consider, is EVERY SINGLE PIECE OF LINT attracts itself to this material. And being that it’s black, it shows easily. I really wanted the black and didn’t care as much for any of the other colors so I think I would have still chosen the same bag, but just something to know if you’re thinking of buying one.

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It BARELY fits my 5D MarkIII with 50 1.2 attached. It’s kind of a rough fit if I have other stuff in there too, but the bag itself is flexible enough to make it work. It fits fine length wise, but the thickness of the Mark III makes it a challenge to get the clasp on the front closed unless you have the rest of your stuff packed just right. I keep my Mark III and lens in the bigger section and my wallet, Mophie, and any other random stuff in the other. If you didn’t need random junk, you could totally put another, smaller lens over there. Maybe a 35 1.4? I REALLY wished I had my 35 in Italy! You could also take the divider out and put other stuff in there! I think this would fit a smaller film camera (a 35mm) very well, but I doubt you could get a contax in there. The bag is actually meant for mirrorless cameras though, so stuff at your own risk!

There are also two smaller pockets on the front where you could put money or your ID or CF cards or something. I didn’t use those for money on my trip though because I was slightly concerned about pick pocketers. There’s also a back pocket, which online people have said you can fit a tablet there…but I think that’s pushing it unless your tablet is a kindle. Even so, half of it would be sticking out…and I wouldn’t personally want to carry it around like that. I used that pocket to store a paper map (so old school, right??) and my phone cord. The pockets on the outside sides DID fit my iPhone 6 (which has a slim case on it) but it was TIGHT. I would have to use a little force to stuff it in and I had to wriggle it out. If you have a 6 Plus or a ginormous Android phone, using that hole for your phone is going to be a no go. My iPhone 5 probably would have fit perfectly though!

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One last little thing I noticed, which I also noticed on John’s UNDFIND bag (but strangely never on my Kelly Moore) is that where the clip attaches the strap to the bag squeaks when you move after a bit. It’s really not a big deal (unless squeaking annoys you) but I plan to just put some WD 40 on it. We did this to John’s bag and it was fine.

All in all, I think this bag was a great purchase for me! When I took it on my trip, I packed it in my roller bag stuffed full of rolled up shirts and it fit very nicely. I am really happy that I brought it along. It made it so much easier to enjoy the trip and take lots of photos while I was there without constantly being in pain.