Monday, June 29, 2009

Pic of the Day: New Orleans

Today's Pic of the Day comes from fellow designer, blog writer & architect bound intern: Allison Harris - Thanks for your contribution!

Q. What's the story behind the pic?

A: We went to New Orleans for our 1 year anniversary. The day of the cemetery photos, we sere signed up for a ghost tour that evening so we rode the cable car up to the cemetery so I could snap some shots and hopefully get in a ghostly mood!

Nice! Be sure to check out Allison's crafty blog:

Upcoming Travels

Here are a few things to
look forward to
in Upcoming Entries!

1. Atlanta, Ga. (July 1 & 2) - Traveling on a Budget / How to Enjoy a City for Under $100.

to submit the paperwork required in person in order to receive a Long Stay Visa from the French Consulate located in ATL. Also: opportunity to explore a Southern City that's earned a reputation for fun and nightlife - research should be a blast! Stay tuned. . .

2. DC, USA (Aug. 1, 2, 3) - All About Free / Exploring our good Nation's Capital!

Visiting my wonderful DC family & "touristing it up" before my fight to France departs.

3. Spain & Portugal (Weeks of Aug. 9 - 19) - H & P European Road Trip Part Dos.

living life with the one I love, which means traveling - exploring - learning! Stopping in:
San Sebastian,Santiago de Compostela, Porto, Lisbon, Toledo, Barcelona. Hoping to Enjoy: the coast, Flamenco dancers, Spanish art, sweet Ports. Open to: suggestions.

4. France (Aug. 18 - Dec) - Masters Program + Adventure Commence.

Hoping to find out along the way!

Ta-ta for now! <3 H.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Pic of the Day: Green Monster Face

What in the world is going on here? As I was walking down a busy street amid a plethora of noise and construction, a little green face called to me from a cinder block. It looked to me as if the face was saying "grrr...get me off of this wall!" Instead, I kept a safe distance from the green monster and captured a picture for future reference, i.e. today. This isn't the first time I've seen a completely randomly placed object juxtaposed against a familiar background and taken a picture of it...

(Las Vegas, NV, May 2008, Heather A.)

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Submit Your Pic!

Have you been somewhere worth sharing?
Or taken a gorgeous pic with a story?

Please share: email your pic and story to

Pic of the Day: Fete de la Musique

I'm two days past due for this entry! June 21st - very important date for many reasons folks. Believe it or not, I know 6 people with birthdays on June 21st (my mother included) but wait...its also the summer solstice, but wait! Its also...Fête de la Musique! Wow! This great concept was started in 1976 by American musician Joel Cohan and was later adopted by France Musique, a French radio station (thanks Wikipedia). The celebration only comes around once a year on 06-21 and carries on into the night with amateur musicians playing their hearts out on the streets of cities across the globe!

I spent 06-21-2008 in Nice, France and experienced my first Fête de la Musique. The streets were absolutely packed with people until the wee hours of the night with drums, guitars, volcalists and you-name-its on the street corners. What a great experience!

(Fete de la Musique, June 2008, Heather A.)

Friday, June 19, 2009

Pic of the Day: Chicago's Navy Pier

Beautiful summer day? Why not get an ice cream and hop on a Ferris wheel? Personally, I have a little fear of falling from high places, but I can usually stomach this ride. I took this pic back in 2004 while in Chicago with a women's singing ensemble. La la la! I loved my visit to Chicago because it brought back memories of when I used to live in St. Louis with that mid-west city feel. Have you been? Share your experience in "comments"!

(Chicago Navy Pier, April 2004, Heather A., holler back)

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Pic of the Day: Windmills in Scotland

Windmills - windmills - OH MY!!! How exciting to have WIND ENERGY!! They don't take up much room, they're pretty to look at and they're sooo innovative - now the United States needs to jump on board twenty years ago and get a piece of this yummy environmentally friendly cake! This pic was taken last summer in Scotland. Look how blue the sky is! I captured the light at 9:00pm but it looks like 3 in the afternoon due to the axis of the earth and its relationship to the summer sun way up North!

(Somewhere between Inverness & Aviemore, Scotland, June 2008, Heather A.)

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Pic of the Day: Monaco - Monte Carlo

Among my favorite things to photograph are ambiguous shapes and patterns. This particular pattern is easy to identify but beautiful nonetheless! Do you dig that pink? These motor scooters were for rent in the main shopping district of Monaco near the famous casino-hotel.

(Monaco - Monte Carlo, June 2008 - Heather A.)

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

H & P Do Europe Via Surfing (Post 3 of 3)

The next morning we were off again, this time headed to ZURICH. The drive through Germany was gorgeous. We were fortunate enough to take mainly back roads through the countryside in order to get a better feel for each region (and avoid the toll!).

This also gave Phillip an opportunity to see how other countries and regions maintain their vineyards. The weather was great, just above 50 F, and so we enjoyed a picnic lunch at Lake Bodensee.

We arrived in Zurich in the nick of time. After a day of driving we managed to find our host’s home rather easily. We were warmly welcomed by Rahel and Urs, a very friendly and accommodating couple in their late twenties who’d hosted many-a-couch-surfer in the past. They seemed very excited about our stay.

We discovered Zurich to be, by far, the cleanest city of our tour. There was literally no trash on the street: “ziltch in Zurich. It was a little too clean for us we decided, but an interesting experience nonetheless. The city is both exciting and beautiful and I’d love to return during the summer to see what it’s like when it’s warmer! We shared a lovely dinner of pasta and vegetables with our hosts along with a bottle of wine that Phillip brought.

Our stay in Zurich was short and sweet. The next day we were back in the car and headed to AIX-EN-PROVENCE, France, to visit Phillip’s friend from college, Tristan, and Tristan’s French girlfriend Marie. Aix is where I'll be headed in August for grad school btw. We stayed with them for two days which was a nice change of pace giving us time to take things in.

The weather in Aix was great and everything was beautiful. During the day we went hiking and enjoyed a picnic on Mont Saint-Victoire which was made famous by impressionist painter Paul Cezanne. Then we walked around the cliffs at the beach.

We had a wonderful time visiting Tristan and Marie. Overall, our trip was thoroughly enjoyable and full of adventure! We had a great time, got lost here and there, and made some friends along the way. We both highly recommend couch-surfing ( and Weiner Schnitzel (see below for recipe).

(To make Weiner Schnitzel: pound thin slices of veal (2 or so per person) until they are paper thin; coat the veal in flour, followed by egg batter and finally dip the egged veal in a bowl of semmel brosel, (bread crumb sprinkles). Place the breaded strips in to a frying pan bubbling with hot butter. Cooking with butter elevates the meat so that it doesn’t burn too quickly in the pan. After a few minutes of cooking the meat should fry into an even brown color. This dish is great to eat with potatoes and zucchini! Enjoy!)

H & P Do Europe Via Surfing (Post 2 of 3)

From there we continued onward towards Salzburg where we were warmly welcomed by our host Peter-Paul!!! Peter-Paul is as exciting as his name implies. We were his first couch surfing guests and he was the first to host us.

After a brief tour of his house we got down to business: the business of making Weiner Schnitzel. Luckily, Peter-Paul knew exactly how to prepare it. We all cooked together and in the end it was absolutely delicious!

Monday, June 15, 2009

H & P Do Europe Via Surfing (Post 1 of 3)

Unless your writers use particularly poetic diction in their emails, it is often difficult to picture where someone has been and what they have seen with just the written word! Hence, a travel blog is a wonderful way to share an experience with an audience. Plus, you're able to stay on top of things rather than hearing a watered down version of a great experience after its said and done.

If you were on my email list during my Feb - March trip through Europe, you've already read the following bits and pieces, but now they are accompanied with pictures which we all know - say a thousand words! Enjoy!

We met in VIENNA. Phillip
drove there (15 hours in the snow…that’s love folks) from Burgundy, France where he was working at a variety of vineyards for two weeks of internship experience. We stayed with our friend Kyle, who is living outside of Vienna as a Fulbright scholar, for a few days earning our keep by cooking breakfast and dinner for Kyle and his roommate Heidi.

was by far the coldest of our destinations; from there it progressively got warmer (from below freezing to about 20 above). Kyle gave us a fabulous tour of the city which included a trip to the Belvedere Museum of Art, a walk through the city center in the snow, and lots of picture taking.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Oh, the Joys of Couch Surfing!

I just hosted my first couch-surfer ever, and the experience was everything I’d hoped it would be! On Friday afternoon, Suzanne A. (31, of San Diego), messaged me through my couch-surfing account to see if I might have a couch available for her to crash on for Sunday & Monday nights. Suzanne was traveling through the North Carolina area (Charlotte and Raleigh) to see if either location would make for an ideal move for her. Her reasons for traveling and couch-surfing profile seemed legitimate, so I got in touch with her and said: “Sure! Come on by!”

To some, my self included at first, this type of connection may appear risky and dangerous, and it honestly has the potential to be both (as does getting on the highway). is a website project put into place by a few folks who wanted to increase connections among young travelers in search of temporary refuge with locals. Presently, the network has grown to nearly 1,158,586 people around the world! I was shocked to find that 350 people are hosts in Raleigh - although that's a relatively small number compared to other cities. I became a host after my wonderful experiences as a surfer around Europe with my boyfriend Phillip (that particular journey will be documented in my next blog entry including pictures!*).

Suzanne and I spoke briefly to straighten out plans and exchange directions and next thing you know, she was here! We were so excited about sharing our city with our FIRST couch surfer! We connected instantly. On Sunday night, we met the neighbors for a cook out and shared our Raleigh perspectives with our visitor. Monday morning called for a quick trip to Krispy Kreme, a tour of the down town area followed by the colleges and universities, then a swoop through North Hills shopping area and finally, a walk around Lake Johnson. It wasn’t much on my part to drive my guest to all of these places. I was happy to show her around, especially if Raleigh becomes a comfortable destination for her in the future.

The whole concept is like paying it forward, in hopes that someone will treat you to the same hospitality in the future! Suzanne wrote a wonderful review & recommendation for me which will serve to inform future surfers. Couch surfing puts you in touch with people who are able to accommodate your visit in many different ways, plus you’re saving money, now who doesn’t like that?