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{stargazer stages}

3 Mar

stargazer lilies are one of my favourite flowers! they are not only stunning to look at, but the scent is simply intoxicating!

i appreciate the intricate details within every flower blossom of the stargazer lily. i love to watch each one go through every stage as it blooms and opens. it makes me think of the phases and stages we as human beings go through in life. it’s like a flower blossoming… our journey may start by feeling closed off to the space around us… unsure of ourselves or “hiding” from the world… then in a divine way, we slowly start to open up and reveal our true inner beauty… and ideally as we grow and blossom, the world accepts and appreciates that beauty and all that we uniquely are, and we are ultimately embraced in all of our glory.

but just like a flower, it doesn’t really matter if anyone notices or appreciates or embraces. the essence of a flowers purpose is to simply be. it is beautiful with or without the recognition it deserves. and if we are lucky enough to be in the presence of such beauty, it serves us well to pause, notice, admire, appreciate, and absorb all that which IS.

and we are given that opportunity every single day.

 

{i am a ritualist}

12 Jun

what can i say?! … i am a creature of habit.

i believe i have always been this way, but i don’t believe i have always lived this way…

over the last couple of years i have been particularly adamant about creating a healthy routine in my life… i have found myself purposefully setting intentions of a grounding “ritual” in my daily life from which i could draw strength.

at the very core of those routines and rituals is my desire for overall well-being.

i’m talking about wellness – inside and out – a sense of harmony… and i do believe that all starts within.

the more within myself i look, the more i realize that i absolutely THRIVE in routine. i believe part of that is because i recognize that all living things are in routine… and all living things exist by “obeying” certain laws of nature, many of which we as human beings are more removed from than i would prefer. nature is cyclical, and it is {for the most part} pretty predictable… therefore, nature also thrives in routine.

think about it…

all that to say, the more in touch with nature i’ve become, the more i’ve realized that i am as much a part of nature as nature itself. my body thrives in rhythm and routine, just as nature does.

one of the things i have been wanting to adopt as part of my healthy routine was including a daily vitamin supplement. although i generally eat a very well-balanced healthy diet, i’ve frequently struggled with finding a vitamin supplement that fit my desire for harmony and also fit my standards for well-being… which, i admit, are pretty high. 😉

and so it is with great enthusiasm that i say – I FOUND THAT!

which brings me to my purpose for creating this blogpost… my new best friend :

my ritual vitamins.

these wonderful vitamins came into my life serendipitously… as do most things that are “meant to be.” 🙂

as i said, i had already set the intent of finding a vitamin to add to my daily routine that would give me what i was looking for… an extension of my already healthy lifestyle choices, and SIMPLICITY.

what i love most about ritual is their simplicity. they have taken the guesswork out for us. instead of stuffing a tablet with unnecessary fillers and/or many of the nutrients that come from an already healthy diet, they’ve only included the 9 nutrients that most women lack or are deficient in… basically, it does what i have always believed a vitamin supplement should do… supplement, or as they say – “fill in the gaps”…


the 9 essential nutrients in ritual are :

  • vitamin K2
  • vitamin D3
  • vitamin B12
  • boron
  • iron
  • vitamin E
  • magnesium
  • folate
  • omega-3

so, instead of buying upwards of 4 or 5 bottles of different supplements, many of which include unnecessary fillers, you get all you need in 2 daily capsules. part of the allure for me is that it truly epitomizes the concept of “less is more.”

another reason i love ritual is the transparency – literally and figuratively speaking. the capsules are literally see-through… and the company is transparent by allowing the consumer to trace the source of each ingredient on their website.

ritual vitamins are made for women. they are non-gmo, vegan, gluten-free, sugar-free, and the company was founded by a woman. these vitamins are designed specifically for women. for one dollar a day, you can invest in your health by supporting an outstanding company that is truly revolutionizing the vitamin industry. plus, you get bioavailable nutrients that help you look and feel your best.

i have chosen to be an ambassador for this incredible brand because i believe in their mission and i am an advocate for voting with your dollars, as in putting your money where it matters. the $30 a month investment is one that provides a wealth of health.

please visit this link to start your ritual today : food and foto loves ritual

and stay tuned for my personal review on how this vitamin supplement has affected my overall well-being.


 

{old school typewriter}

12 Feb

a friend of mine generously donated this {fully functional} old-school typewriter to me a couple years ago, and it’s mostly just been in storage. lately i’ve really been feeling the desire to use it and express my feelings on paper.

in today’s world of over-stimulation and instant-gratification, it’s kind of funny that i feel the need to put it in “reverse” and go back to classic ways of communication… like letter-writing. sometimes i think i’ll end up writing my memoirs on this typewriter. it seems a little odd {especially in today’s world} to have only ONE copy of something versus saving it to the cloud or a usb drive… but for me, that’s the basis of its appeal. i love the idea of only having one copy of something… seems to make it more romantic or sacred.

i can’t wait to find a place to have this tuned up so i can use it!

oldschooltypewriter-2

oldschooltypewriter-1

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isn’t it cool?!

{total solar eclipse}

22 Aug

i drove down to columbia, south carolina to watch the total solar eclipse yesterday… and i’m so glad i made the trek! admittedly, i did not do as much preparing as i would’ve normally done… particularly because it kind of came together last minute. originally i had wanted to go to greenville, sc – which is where i was born {and supposedly where the highest totality and visibility would be}, but it all worked out rather nicely and i’m thankful to have been where i was… especially because it was also my mama’s birthday yesterday.

i didn’t have time to make a pinhole camera, which i really wanted to do, but of course i had a camera. if you follow me on instagram, i hope you saw the story… it was fun to create.

it was important to me not to get too caught up in taking fotos, because i truly wanted to enjoy the moment {two minutes, 36 seconds to be exact} 🙂

i shot these images with a 50mm lense… which, of course, isn’t ideal for something so far away… but i kind of liked showing the sky and having the tiny sun and moon fill up a tiny amount of space. i didn’t have a special filter, so i simply put my eclipse glasses over my lense. i thought about using my zoom lense, but like i said, i was more concerned with being there to truly witness the moment… it’s a hard balance sometimes, as someone who loves to take pictures… but i have been challenging myself to “capture the moment with my mind,” from time to time. this was one of those moments.

i took a few pictures of the crowd as well, but i wasn’t super thrilled with most of them. i think i was just too caught up in the experience to really take very many fotos… and i’m okay with that.

it was a truly incredible event and the sky was perfectly clear for the duration of {almost} totality. the crowd was wonderful, the vibe was awesome, the beer was delicious {i drank a special ‘black ipa’ aptly named, “blackout”.} i feel very fortunate to have been where i was during the eclipse. we reached totality around 2:30 p.m. in columbia, south carolina. the temperature dropped, the moon inched in front of the sun, making it as dark as night… the crowd went wild, people screamed and hugged and kissed… it’s kind of hard to truly describe how marvelous it was to see it all happen. the energy felt very intense to me… and as someone who has always admired and been in awe of the stars, it was a lot to take in… something for the history books, indeed.

i’m still buzzing from it all ❤

       

{beautiful lilies}

21 Aug

in today’s hectic and fast-paced world, i believe it is very important to remember to stop and smell the flowers… as often as you can. breath them in deep!

particularly if they are stargazer lilies – they are so intoxicating!

today is my mama’s birthday, and always think of her when i see lilies… so these are for her 🙂



happy birthday, judi!

 

{nyc – through the eye of my camera phone}

17 Jul

i am working on a new volume of “memories in manhattan” and will post one next week… in the meantime, here’s a post about new york to keep the theme going 🙂


i took a trip new york in june… i had been wanting to go back for a visit for quite some time, as it had been about 5 years since i had been there. often times, i think part of me wants to live there again, so i was eager to experience the city once more to see how i felt about being there.

i had a wonderful trip, as i figured i would. the weather was a little ridiculous – as in sweltering hot. but outside of that, it was nice to feel the energy of that amazing city, again. new york has a way of making you feel on top of the world; as if the whole place belongs to you. as an introvert, it’s strange to me that i can be surrounded by people but still feel like i’m in my own little bubble. the “hum” that is always in the background doesn’t feel distracting to me… it’s a strange dichotomy that i have always appreciated.

all that said, i think i realized that i do not wish to live in a place like new york again. i long for a country life – on a farm somewhere, growing food and having lots of animals. of course, that may change – after all, we are human and our desires come and go as we move through life.

it was wonderful to be in new york once more and to walk around and take the subway and just feel the energy… i immediately settled back in to the “way of life” there and even had people asking me for directions – and i knew them! that’s also a good ego boost.

i didn’t pick up my camera too much… i guess because since i lived there for so long, i took so many pictures already and this time i just wanted to kind of experience it in a different way. of course, i did have my camera phone with me – so i captured a lot of snapshots with it.

here is a gallery of fotos from my trip – i hope you enjoy! :

 

until next time…

 

{1500 followers!}

10 Jul

New York City

i am so humbled to have recently welcomed my 1500th{+} follower on this cherished little blog of mine!!

thank you to all of those who have stuck around all this time. and thank you to the newcomers – i want to extend a warm welcome to all of you who chose to hit that ‘follow’ button and come play along as we talk about yummy food and pretty things, whilst taking pictures of it all!

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as a reminder, if you don’t already – please follow me on instagram for the most recent updates on all things food&foto related. {you can also find me on facebook and pinterest.}

i appreciate all the love and support i’ve received over these last 6 years of blogging. i look forward to more adventures to come!

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the most sincere appreciation to all of you, from the bottom of my heart.

—–

 

{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

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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?

 

{what real strawberries look like}

6 Dec

something i need to write about is how i spent my summer vacation… even though it’s long passed now.


one of the things that took up the majority of my free time this summer was participating in a community garden. it was basically one of the best things i’ve ever done for myself. growing your own food is truly one of the most rewarding things one can do! i would constantly remark, “all i did was put a seed in the ground – and this happened!” because i was constantly blown away at how cool nature is! my cucumber plants literally took over and my neighbours were calling it “the cucumber farm” 😉

the reason i bring this up is because i inherited a small strawberry plant in my summer garden plot. many of my neighbours had strawberry plants and i was fortunate to have one reseed itself in my plot. i didn’t get a lot of strawberries from it, but the few i did harvest looked like these strawberries. they were more cone-shaped than heart-shaped. and i’m telling you – the flavour in these things is just out of this world! SO sweet and SO juicy and SO delicious! better than any store-bought strawberry i’ve ever had!

do you ever compare conventional produce to farmer’s market produce?! the differences kind of blow my mind! the last time i was at the grocery store looking at apples, they were bigger than a softball! that’s just not normal. or fruit so waxy i could use it as a candle?! yikes.

for me, i like things to be as close to their natural state as possible. food, soil, water, me, and everything in between.

and that got me thinking about these strawberries i picked up at the farmer’s market last week. i was looking at them and decided to snap a couple fotos because i was thinking to myself, “i bet there are lots of people out there who don’t even know what REAL strawberries look like.” 

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these strawberries were SO full of flavour, too! something else that lacks in conventional produce. maybe it’s got something to do with mass producing them and lack of nutrient-rich soil.

anyway, i love that i can still find strawberries this time of year – as north carolina has a year-round farmer’s market and excellent long growing season. i hope to find some more when i go back this week!

{happy birthday to me!}

22 Nov

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looking forward to a healthy year… mind, body, and spirit.


i want to take a moment to sincerely thank you all for being a part of my life. for taking the time to read what i write, for enjoying my fotos, for your emails, your comments, your jokes, and your love. i appreciate every word and interaction and cherish each one dearly. some of you have been along for the ride since the very beginning… and it just means so much to me to have you here! ❤

{zen space}

7 Nov

oh, how i have missed blogging!  and i have missed interacting with my readers! i hope you all have been well and that life has been treating you with love and grace.

so much has happened this year {and last year} for me and although i would love to go into great detail about it all, after much consideration, i have decided to refrain.  i have been taking some time to journal some thoughts down and i think that will be a good way to release it all first. then, if i decide to share, i will.

it suffices to say that i have grown tremendously over the last 24 months and i sit here writing this post with an overwhelming sense of gratitude and relief! the past is in the past and i am here, now. although, the time is always now, you know?! if we are fully submersed in the moment, we are always in the now.  the past is behind us and we can’t change it and the future doesn’t even exist yet… so all we really have is now. and it is always NOW. i am {re}learning and remembering how crucial this simple truth is to keep in the forefront of our minds. it is far too easy to get caught up in other things and especially other thoughts.

and here at food and foto, we like to keep it as light-hearted as possible. or at least, as “positive” as possible. i have been thinking a lot about what we choose to focus on; what we allow our minds to be occupied with. and for me, it is extremely important to find a way to disconnect from our seemingly ceaseless thoughts… to find a zen space. and that doesn’t exactly have to be a physical place. although – it can be found in nature, in a park, in your bedroom, at a church… but basically, being “zen” is truly a state of mind. it has little to do with location.

however, it is true and i do find that some places bring me to a more “zen” feeling than others. for example, i did like living in the mountains and especially in the tiny home, as it was a life-changing experience… one that many people dream of. however, i never quite felt “zen” while i was there. at least, not like i do when i am near the ocean. i love listening to the sound of the waves as the water ebbs and flows… it reminds me to breathe in and breathe out. i love the smell of the salty air breezing through my hair… it reminds me to stay in touch with my intuition and appreciate the moment. i love sense of wonder and awe i feel for the unknown that lies beyond and beneath… it keeps me grounded and humble. truly, nothing makes me feel more zen than being near the ocean.

i am a water baby at my core and i basically believe i am {or was} a mermaid. therefore, i feel truly at home when i am near the vastness of the big blue. something about being around the water gives me a sense of peace like nothing else does. it is truly my zen space.

with all that said, i would like to share these fotos i took while visiting the atlantic ocean recently. i had a little fun playing around with some different filters. also, it’s pretty satisfying to be able to dip your toes in the warm sand in november!

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where do you find your zen space?!

{thirsty thursday : new belgium’s pumpkick brew!}

17 Sep

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it’s just around the bend… that wonderful feeling in the air, as summer transitions to autumn… this is, afterall, my favourite time of year… and i humbly and somewhat eagerly welcome the change of seasons {both literally – in nature, and figuratively – in my own life} as i toast with a yummy, beautiful brew — pumpkick, from new belgium… and goodness, they sure know what they’re doing when it comes to beer!

and i’m slowly learning what i’m doing when it comes to life…

 

SLAINTE!

 

{“you can learn a lot of things from the flowers…”}

27 Jun

… “especially in the month of june…”

{alice in wonderland}

———

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my roommate brought these gorgeous flowers home from work recently and i gasped with glee when i laid eyes on them… then i immediately grabbed my camera, of course! actually, i waited until about 6:00 the next morning, then took them out on the balcony and sipped my iced americano while snapping images of these amazing beauties. i just love mornings… and i LOVE morning light… especially this time of year!

such pretty tulips, orchids, peonies, and greenery!

i am inspired by LIFE. not necessarily by the world, and the way we live, but by LIFE itself. these flowers are alive, just as we are. i was inspired by the stillness of these flowers, the stillness of nature… how nature just IS. the sole purpose of these flowers is to simply be. if anything, they just long for us to look at them, to bring awareness to them. and i believe when we “stop and smell the roses”, we can connect with them, with nature, in such a way that can offer stillness and peace to our own lives. after-all, i do believe we are just as much a part of nature as nature itself.

i love what eckhart tolle says about nature :

“Even a stone, and more easily a flower or a bird, could show you the way back to God, to the Source, to yourself. When you look at it or hold it & let it be without imposing a word of mental label on it, a sense of awe, of wonder, arises within you. Its essence silently communicates itself to you and reflects your own essence back to you.”

eckhart’s words resonated with me and i’ve carried them in my heart over the years. when i felt the glee i did upon seeing these flowers, i was reminded of that quote… and i thought i would post some pics of these gorgeous flowers along with some of my favourite quotes regarding stillness, spirituality, or love.

i hope you enjoy and i hope this brings some stillness to the mind and a warmth to the heart.

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“the earth laughs in flowers.” ~ ralph waldo emerson

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“the intuitive mind is a sacred gift, the rational mind is a faithful servant. we have created a society that honours the servant and has forgotten the gift.~ albert einstein

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“we need to find God, and he cannot be found in noise and restlessness. God is the friend of silence. see how nature – trees, flowers, grass – grows in silence; see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence… we need silence to be able to touch souls.” ~ mother teresa

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“there is a voice that doesn’t use words… listen!” ~ rumi

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“if we could see the miracle of a single flower clearly, our whole life would change.” ~ buddha

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“after women, flowers are the most lovely thing God has given the world.” ~ christian dior 

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“the best teachers are those who show you where to look but don’t tell you what to see.”                                      ~ alexandra k. trenfor

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“yesterday i was clever, so i tried to change the world… today i am wise, so i am changing myself.” – rumi

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“and when you gaze long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.” – fredrich nietzsche 

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“be kind whenever possible. it is always possible.” – dalai lama

 ———

enjoy the weekend! ❤

 

 

{a personal post : bye bye 2014, my last blog for a little while, happy new year, 2015 – 8, new beginnings, cycles, the universe, etc etc…}

31 Dec

wow.

so i’m sitting here… alone… with my baba black lager. it’s new year’s eve. the last day of 2014. the final day in this calendar  year… 2014 was a numerology #7. 2015 will be a numerology #8. i could write a whole blog about the significance of numbers, etc. i just think cycles are so interesting… cycles of all kinds… the seasons, numbers, etc.

does anyone else get all weird on this day? like, it’s just another day really… but somehow i find the energy to be soooooo … intense. in many ways.

like, i woke up restless – what’s that about? and i slept for like, 9 hours last night.

oh yeah, it’s not just because it’s new year’s eve… it’s because things are changing… again. at least for me, personally… in my life, everything is changing… including where i live… i’m saying good-bye to the tiny home… with a bittersweet feeling in my heart.

you know they say that the only constant in life is change. how funny is that!? like, well – you can guarantee this – stuff’s gonna be different tomorrow. not everything will be different, but a lot of it will… because that’s how life rolls… it doesn’t care if we are ready for the change or not… it just keeps on changing. people change, astrology changes, rules change, the weather changes, laws change, … most things around us do NOT stay the same… including the people in our lives, and those we love.

so what’s my point? 

i dunno, maybe i don’t have one. maybe i just wanted to sit down in front of my computer and keep it real with you readers… and myself.  maybe i’m tired of trying to “keep it together” all the time… as in, always having the perfect thing to say and taking so much time to think about how to express myself… because i’m so scared of being misunderstood. maybe i just wanted to be spontaneous and sit down and write while i felt the desire, the thoughts flowing, the keys being struck with force and purpose… maybe i want to just say whatever i feel and not be worried about how everyone else is gonna perceive it…

maybe i’m just feeling the baba… 😉

so how do you feel about the idea that the only thing we can be sure of is that things change… how does that make you feel? is it comforting to know that with each moonset and each sunrise, that life can end and begin all over again?!  does that give you peace to know that tomorrow… tomorrow… the sun will come out?! or does it make you kinda crazy to know that you can’t ever really count on anything?! does it give you total anxiety to feel like as soon as you get comfortable with something or someone, there is damn good potential for it to morph into something else entirely and seem completely illusive?!

i feel like there is a balance… as with most things in life.

most days i’m so thankful to begin anew… to wipe clean the “yesterday” that never really exists in the first place… to wake feeling renewed and purposeful again. i learned a lot about the beauty in each new day when i lived in new york… it’s amazing how that city just doesn’t stop for anything… it doesn’t care if you didn’t get the memo, it doesn’t care if you aren’t walking fast enough, if you missed your subway stop, or if you aren’t feeling its embrace. when living there, i had to learn how to be so completely present that nothing seemed to really effect me to the point of not being able to continue to be in the moment.

my challenge this year is to get back to that space…

i’ve been practically beating my head against the wall trying to figure out where i went… what happened to the person that seemed to be able to really stay in the moment… to embrace it even when it was chaotic, unpredictable, and sometimes down-right scary.  where did that audrey go that i spent 29 years trying to find when i met her in new york?!

she didn’t go anywhere… it took me all of 2014 to realize that.

i mean, seriously. just this past week i had the total epiphany that nothing is “wrong” with me… and if there is in fact anything that i feel uncomfortable with – that I, personally, have the power to change it. i can and always do create change in my life when i am feeling a need for it. sometimes it’s not always clear to me, but it’s almost like i do things without even thinking sometimes… and then when i’m on the other side of it, i go, “oh yeah… i see why we did this.”

i guess that’s true with everything in life… hindsight is 20/20, right?!

well, all i know is… i’m feeling more comfortable with change… dare i say, i’m embracing it. i’m not saying i love “change” during every moment while i’m in it… but i’m okay with the idea that everything seems “fleeting…” because really… if it’s true that the only constant in life is change… well, then i wanna make sure to be so immersed in each passing moment, that i love it for what it is… recognizing that it will never again be the same… that each moment really is a gift. maybe it’s not a gift wrapped in colourful paper and bows, maybe it’s not a gift we asked for… maybe it’s a gift we didn’t realize we needed.

but it’s still a gift… if we can be open to receiving it…

personally, i’m feeling happy to be letting go something while completely surrendering to something new and exciting. for me, my personal changes happen to coincide with the calendar change… but i’ve always been a firm believer that you can choose to make a change at any given moment in your life. you don’t have to have anyone validate your decision to change, you don’t have to have a party or mark it on your calendar… hell, you don’t even have to invite anyone. you can choose to make changes in your life while washing your dishes… you can choose to create a new life while driving to work… there are no rules for that. you can live life on your terms, but in order to do so, you must live life on your terms.

does THAT give you comfort?!  it sure does me… 🙂

so, as i ring in the new year and celebrate new beginnings, my heart is filled with gratitude for all the loving people, places, and things i’ve experienced. i just want to continue to hold a space of gratitude… and to be open to new things as i step boldly out of the familiar and into the unknown…

happy new year! – to each and every one of you. thank you for following my blog, for engaging and for taking time to read and give this blog purpose… i’m truly grateful to each one of you.

 p.s. – i’m not gone forever… just a temporary hiatus while i adjust to some new things… i’ll be back to blogging in no time… 

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