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{memories in manhattan – volume 5}

15 May

even though i don’t miss the winters in the northeast, or winter in general for that matter, i did enjoy the variety of weather that seems to roll in and out of new york. particularly, the evening rain. there’s something about a late night drizzle… it seems calming to me.

as i was looking through old fotos of my days living in new york, i came across a fun memory of a time when some visitors came to town and i helped them squeeze in as many “tourist attractions” as possible, since they were only there for two days. it made me feel pretty cool when they asked for suggestions. maybe because it made me realize that i had been in the city long enough to not only know my way around, but to be somewhat of a tour-guide.

one of my favourite places to visit and view the city was the empire state building. being able to experience the city from that perspective is something to behold. i only visited the empire state building twice during my time living in nyc, and both times were memorable and exciting. this particular night was memorable because it was very cold, and very wet. it was one of those kinds of rain that was almost like a mist, making the visibility low and the mood high.

the way way top

when my friends and i decided to go to the top of the empire state building, we didn’t realize that the very very top would be closed off due to wind and the aforementioned low-visibility. my friends didn’t care, and neither did i. by the time we decided to make our way to the destination, we had already been wandering the city for a good hour, sans umbrella… and it didn’t seem to bother any of us. besides, a huge part of the experience was being together – and for me, seeing the excitement on their faces, and living vicariously through their enjoyment. furthermore, the line was much shorter and there were fewer people on the tour… so it felt like we had the whole place to ourselves.

because of the rain, i found myself taking less fotos and spending more time reveling in and soaking up the moment… and doing my best to keep warm!

if i close my eyes, i can whisk myself away to some of those moments, and revisit and remember the experience so richly.

i love his hoodie

i love my hat

did i mention that these friends of mine are like the empire state building… in that, they are very very tall?!{especially standing next to me – haha!}  😉

 

{it’s national beer day!}

7 Apr

i admit i am kind of disappointed in myself that i only just discovered this as of 9:07 a.m. this morning… but i will be making sure to celebrate later today! 🙂

in honour of this awesome holiday, i thought i would share some fotos of some of my favourite beers i have tried. i tend to drink beer the way i eat food – seasonally and liberally, haha.

but seriously, i like to “drink the rainbow” and i will drink beers that correlate with the seasons.

for example, now that we are in spring, i have been letting go of the darker beers and transitioning into lighter beers like wheats, belgians, and saisons. in summer you will catch me drinking IPAs, lagers, and occasional pilsners. in autumn i like my reds and of course, can’t get enough of oktobetrfests. and then when winter rolls back around i’ll divulge in browns, porters, and stouts.

i hope you enjoy! drink the rainbow! 😉

and, ya know, drink responsibly!! 

although it’s not quite time for this summerfest beer, it is one of my all-time favourite beers! it’s so clean and crisp and refreshing and has a lovely finish. this lager is very easy to drink, particularly while chillin’ on the porch and enjoying the sunset. sierra nevada is also one of my all-time favourite breweries and i’ve read online they are known for having very clean water, which is very appealing to me.

i look forward to seeing this back on the shelves.

belgain witbiers have a soft spot in my heart and belly… they were the “gateway” beer for me, once i first put down the boring bottles and opened up my palate to microbrews. i love the refreshing fruitiness of a witbier! “ZON” {meaning “sun”} has a hint of coriander and a low amount of alcohol and makes this one easy to drink – like orange juice! a very pleasing brew from the missouri-based boulevard brewing company.

although this isn’t a “red,” it has a beautiful red colour. i haven’t had this one in a while, but i remember thinking it was very interesting. “raging bitch” is a belgian-style IPA, which has interesting and complex features, as you can imagine. i am a fan of flying dog brewery, but this one is rather strong {8.3%} and it’s way more of a sipping brew, for me. delicious, nonetheless… and it pairs well with spicy food. of course, i’m a fan of flying dog brewery, since they are based in maryland.

i also happen to love the bizarre cartooning on the label.

this is a great nut brown ale! it’s well-balanced and has tremendous drinkability. not too sweet, not to bitter – it’s just right. ska brewing company has fun marketing, and they are based out of a small mountain town in colorado. i haven’t tried too many of their other beers, but this one is a go-to if/when i can find it.

ohhh, lagunitas. so full of diversity and flavour… and ABV!

seriously, the brews they come up with over there in california are super-duper strong and therefore i also enjoy sipping them… i have to watch myself because those kinds of beers will go to my head rather quickly!

undercover” is a nice and malty ale with a boozy undertone, thanks to the 9.6% ABV. it’s a beautiful colour and for some funny reason, i like drinking it while i’m munching on pickles.

new belgium is my all-time favourite brewing company. my affinity for them dates back to 2006 when i reached out to the company and had the most pleasant interaction with one of the staff members, via email. the employee-owned colorado company comes up with some of the most unique flavour combinations and i love to support their “green” mission.

giddy-up” does not disappoint in the “unique combinations” arena. brewed with espresso and lemon peel, this medium ale packs a power punch of flavours.

who doesn’t love chocolate and peanut butter?!

put that combination together in a beer, and i’m happy as a clam. i discovered this limited edition chocolate peanut butter imperial porter shortly after moving to north carolina. this state has some funny liquor laws, but one of the benefits of it, is you can drink a beer in beer stores. they also sell a lot of “single serving” beers, so it’s fun to create your own 6-pack and sample stuff you may have never tried… which i did when purchasing this beer from horny goat brewery in wisconsin {ha – that name!}

it’s pretty much as delicious as it sounds and makes for a perfect after-dinner brew, as it basically tastes like dessert.

the ultimate “dessert beer” for me – at least until i discover something that replaces it – is this decadent porter from saranac brewing company out of new york.

i will mention, it is extremely sweet. you’ll want to drink more than one, but for me, one is enough because of the sweetness. and this brew literally tastes exactly like a s’more… it’s kind of mind-blowing. hints of graham cracker, chocolate, and even marshmallow make your palate do a happy-dance.


what are some of your favourite beers?

 

{memories in manhattan – volume 3}

27 Mar

after my experience with the cute stranger on the subway, i quickly started to realize that my fondness of portraiture was beginning to grow rapidly. when i was in college, i never really wanted to fotograph people… my ambition was to work for a place like j.crew and fotograph flat lays on white seamless. i think i would still enjoy something like that, but my point is, i was totally intimidated at the thought of putting people in front of my camera. 

the ironic thing is, part of the reason i was able to save up some money to even move to new york, was due to fotographing some portraits for clients during the summer months while i was living in delaware with a friend. i took the train up to manhattan twice and was able to squeeze in a few sessions on long weekends and put that money toward my moving fund. i think it was during that summer that i really started to fall in love with portraiture. 

the following fotos were taking during one of my first portrait/headshot sessions upon moving to new york. the only person i really knew in the city at the time just happened to be a film-maker, and he knew lots of aspiring actors and actresses that were in need of good headshots. 

i met this lovely young lady in central park for our session. she is of french descent, and i just love her unique features. she was a natural in front of the camera, and it was during this session that i started to really fine-tune my creative portrait eye. 

Continue reading

{memories in manhattan : volume 2}

20 Mar

there really is no place on earth like new york city. 

granted, i haven’t exactly been all over the world, but the most fascinating thing about new york is the fact that literally every culture in the world is represented in a 7-mile radius. it is something to behold, indeed. 

you can almost see my apartment from here

i remember noticing this right away when i first landed in the city. hearing all the different languages in the background as i shopped for groceries or seeing all the various colours of faces as i walked the streets or rode the subway. i love the condensed mini-world that new york offers with its existence. it was so inspiring to me to have such diversity at my fingertips. it became quickly apparent that i could walk 20-blocks in any direction and be magically whisked away to a different continent, in a sense. 

one of the other interesting aspects of living in the city is seeing celebrities walking around like “regular people.” one of my first memories was around thanksgiving, when i wandered into a little market on my block to shop for some artisan snacks to share with my roommate for the holiday. it was the cutest little store… not bigger than maybe 1000 square feet. packed from top to bottom, wall to wall, with delightful goodies and imported treats of all kinds. i remember standing in the small isle way of the freezer section, gazing at some pasta, when to my right i noticed a person approach. so i looked up as to get out of the way and quickly saw that julia stiles was walking in front of me. we exchanged demure smiles as we passed each other, and all i could think to quietly utter was, “happy thanksgiving.” she nodded and we parted ways. i guess in my mind, i figured she had chosen that little store to shop in rather than a big supermarket, so it was evident she wanted to go slightly unnoticed. even though i’ve always really admired her acting, i didn’t want to fan out and try to strike up a conversation or ask for an autograph or foto. i just wanted her to feel like a regular person for a moment. i quickly realized that a lot of celebrities choose to live or stay in NYC as to “blend in” and feel a little more sense of normalcy in their lives as opposed to living in say a place like los angelos. i have never been to LA, but i just get the feeling it’s a lot more “celebrity obsessed” than manhattan island. as it is, there are so many people walking around new york and so much is happening at any given moment, and that makes it easier for anyone, not just a celebrity, to “blend in.” 

dramatic shadows everywhere

i also found this to be true of myself. i’m an introvert at heart, and i don’t really like to draw attention to myself or have unnecessary interactions. one of the things i loved so much about living in new york was feeling “always alone but never alone.” shortly after moving to new york, i had someone tell me that, and it really struck a chord with me. the hustle and bustle of that crazy city just never ever stops and yet as an introvert, i found a way to detach from it and live in my own little bubble. no one was really paying attention to what i was doing. i guess sometimes they were, as i will regale in other volumes, but for the most part, everyone is just doing their own thing and no one is really taking notice of anyone else. this gave me a sense of control in the chaos… peace within the whirlwind. once i became more and more familiar with my neighbourhood and the metro system, it became joyful for me to throw on my headphones and enchantingly saunter through the streets, discovering my way to and through various explorations. i enjoyed people watching very much. perhaps people were also people watching me, but if they were, typically i didn’t notice – just like everyone else, for the most part.  

i remember taking the L train somewhere one day, and i was sitting across from this adorable young girl wearing headphones and drinking a kombucha. she was dressed so uniquely herself… mismatching tights and a poofy skirt with a denim jacket adorned in various pins, and her hair was cut super short and spiked with traces of leftover hair-dye in it. there was something about her that was so cute and charming and i almost immediately had the desire to want to take her picture… not just like, on the train, but actually take her out and have a portrait session with her. i remember sitting there and observing her blissfully unaware nature and thinking to myself that i wanted to give her my business card and offer to fotograph her. i pondered for a few stops, eventually talking myself out of it as i watched her get up and exit at 14th street. i immediately regretted not having the confidence to approach her, but i also remember thinking that maybe she wanted to go unnoticed, too.

bustling city at night

the most serenditipous thing happened like a month later. i saw that same girl on the same train. i was shocked! at the time, i didn’t think it was possible to see the same person twice while one was living in new york city. there were far less people on the train this time, as it was fairly late in the evening. alas, once again, i got too nervous to speak to her or give her my business card – how silly was that?! as many days continued to pass when i took the L train, i was hoping i would bump into her again. but in 3 following years, not once did i see her face again. to this day, i kind of regret not at least trying to talk to her, as i would’ve captured some amazing portraits if she had let me. however, all in all, i did learn a lot through that experience and it taught me not to let an opportunity or moment pass me by. as time marched on, i became more comfortable approaching people that i thought my camera would like to get to know better. 

{memories in manhattan : volume one}

13 Mar

a little preface here :

i have been thinking about my experiences living in manhattan… i’ve been thinking about it a lot, in fact. i hope to make a trip up to the city in june, and so i have been mentally reflecting back on my time there.

i thought i would start writing about some of my experiences. i enjoy writing so much, and yet i don’t do it enough. i try to keep a journal, but my fingers just can’t keep up with my mind most of the time. i’m a much faster and better typer than i am a writer, which kind of makes me sad but also makes me thankful that i can take time to sit down and type out my thoughts when i need to. having said all that, i really wanted to start a series here on my blog which will highlight some of my favourite experiences living in the big apple. some of the stories may include fotos, some of them may not. i don’t have any expectations regarding this, but i do know it’s something i want to do.  and so to honour this desire of mine, i plan to update this collection of memories on mondays.

i thank you in advance for taking this journey with me, and enjoying these memories with me…

and without further ado, i present to you –


memories in manhattan : volume one

i’ll never forget pulling up to 20th street with the half-empty u-haul and seeing my new roommate standing on the curb with her friend and his dog. i can’t remember the dog’s name, but i’m sure ms. judy will refresh my memory if i ask her. i was so eager to meet her, as we had been exchanging emails back and forth for about a month. my boyfriend at the time was living in manhattan and had helped me land this living situation by visiting it prior to me moving there. i met my roommate, miss J, online when she responded to an ad i had placed looking for a roommate/apartment. it was so serendipitous to have her reach out to me, because i had struggled finding a place to live that was reasonably priced and met some of the requirements i had set for myself. of course, i wanted a safe living situation and preferred a female roommate. i also wanted something on manhattan island and i had a certain budget i didn’t want to bend on. ms. judy met all my requirements and she even shared her name with my mother, which i found to be a fantastically sweet nod from the universe. 

i opened the truck door and stepped my foot onto the concrete jungle for the first time, looking up in awe at the trees all around me. it was the 1st of october, and the trees were ripe with a rainbow of colours and the air had a crispness to it that i wish i could bottle up. i took a deep breath and immediately reached out my arms to greet ms. judy. she gave me a warm embrace and proceeded to kiss me on one cheek, then the other. she pulled back a little and said, “in new york, we kiss.” my soul felt a warmth i was unfamiliar with and to this day has not been duplicated. her friend and neighbour then introduced himself and his sweet pooch, both of which i hugged {and ‘new york kissed’}. 

i fell in love with my neighbourhood immediately. the tree-lined street just off the east river had been built shortly after WW2 and was one of the only “complexes” in manhattan. it was tucked away just far enough off the bustling streets to feel like its own personal city full of park benches, fountains, and lots of greenery! right below our apartment was the most perfect little bodega that ms. judy and i strolled into shortly after unloading my things to grab some pizza for dinner. everyone working there knew her by name. the place was packed with just about every kind of goodie one could imagine. it became quickly apparent that this was going to be a place i would frequent – all hours of the day. 

although i remember those very first moments of arriving in new york city, i do not remember much else about that day. my room was already furnished, so it didn’t take me too long to unpack. i had been downsizing my things prior to moving to NYC, and so by the time i arrived, i had packed and unpacked so much it was like a science. 

i do remember the following few days… i pulled out my brand new camera that i had recently bought with money i received from selling my car. it was 2008 and digital cameras were much more expensive at the time than they are now. it was my ambition to make that happen, and sure enough, i did. 

ms. judy had given me lots of information about the neighbourhood, and in true audrey form, i had done a lot of research on the area as to {somewhat} know what to expect. i stepped out into the cobblestone-lined walkway just outside of our building and i began snapping fotos.

i think this was one of the first pictures i ever took in new york : 

my first foto in nyc

i was still a somewhat budding photographer at the time, and looking back at some of the first images i took in new york makes me kind of giggle – as i can now see how much i’ve grown as a photographer and artist.  Continue reading

{how seashells are like humans… or is it the other way around?!}

20 Jan

seashells-2seashells

i love the ocean. i love everything about it – the movement, the sounds, the life that’s in it, the deep mystery of it… my soul resonates so intimately with all things ocean-related.

one of the things i love most about living in north carolina is the fact that i can go to the ocean in december! last month, just after the holidays, we took a drive to the shore and spent some time with big blue. i love to beach-comb and i have been gathering quite a collection of shells lately.

as i was laying all my seashells out the other day, i was admiring the variety of what was in front of me, and i got to thinking about how similar seashells and humans are. we are all so uniquely different, and yet we all come from the same place, essentially. maybe not the same exact place, as we are all born into different families and have different backgrounds and stories, but we are all born the same way and created the same way, just like seashells.

seashells all come from the ocean, a vast sea of wonder. we, as humans, all come from the same wondrous creative process. we all look different and have different shapes and colours and sizes – just as seashells do. some of us are not fully developed or some of us are broken – just like seashells. some of us have lots of stripes and stories to tell, and some of us do not – just like seashells. some of us are a little more ‘clean cut’ and some of us are a little ‘rough around the edges’ – just like seashells. some of us get tossed around by life, just as seashells get tossed around by the ocean waves. some of us leave the ‘ocean’ a lot sooner than others. we are very similar – humans and seashells.

at the end of the day, we all come from the same ‘ocean.’ we all are born human, and that is what connects us. our differences are what make us unique and give us unique perceptions and views of the world. those differences are what allow us to be able to learn from each other. in an ideal world, we would all appreciate our differences and recognize that those differences are what makes us all able to truly work together, and to formulate this big ol’ puzzle called life into a clearer picture.

my wish for the world is that we truly start to see each other.

 

 

{happy new year!}

3 Jan

happynewyear

i hope you all rang in 2017 with peace and love.

i think it’s pretty cool that the new year fell in line with a new moon… great time for reflecting, releasing, and  focusing on things we want to let go of, as well as things we want to invite in.

sending all the best to you and yours as we march boldly into a new year full of new possibilities. to celebrate, i made a vision board, which is kind of a tradition of mine. i don’t like to get too crazy with resolutions, but a few of my “goals” this year include learning to sew, practicing my piano every day, buying a new camera, and keeping a daily journal.

what were some of your resolutions?

 

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