Travel Tuesday: Traditional Ethiopian Houses

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One of the most striking aspects of Ethiopian life was their traditional houses, gojobeits. Made of intricate weaving of bamboo or teff straw, sticks and mud, their structure becomes sturdy and undoubtedly beautiful. Seeing them scattered along the Ethiopian countryside was one of my favorite parts of the drive into the rural wilderness. The photo above was taken on Thanksgiving, as the smoke was rising from grilling meats. And the photo below was taken on the drive into Mezan Tefari, a region far south.

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Frank - Nice Huts

Travel Tuesday : Morning Commute

So I’ve been meaning to post a photo or two each Tuesday talking about my adventures abroad and local, and the stories behind them.

As so many folks in the metro area begin their daily commute this morning, I’m reminded of one of my favorite photos. It offers such a unique contrast to our style of transportation.

This photo was taken up in the mountain of Chiri, Ethiopia where paved roads are a foreign luxury, and individual vehicles are unheard of. Many men climb aboard any moving vehicle to get to the top; which is typically an hour long commute to start the days work. The less fortunate begin a day of walking to get to nearby markets.

This photo represents another aspect of life in Ethiopia that I find so endearing. Public transportation is rough, smelly, and dangerous but it’s part of their collective identity. Notice the kid second to the left with the big smile on his face. This is one of those days I’d gladly trade my ride for his.

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DIY : Wedding Goody Bags

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For brides planning weddings which require an overnight hotel stay, this is something cheap and extremely thoughtful to consider for your guests: A homemade goody bag!

As guests checked into the Hotel Roanoke, they received a goody bag, complete with a fresh warm cookie. Now THAT is service!!

Their personalized bag included things like :

+  a water bottle + Tylenol for that morning hangover

+ lots of snacks for late night munchies

+ gum (genius!)

+ a personal guide to the events at the wedding and recommendations for downtown Roanoke (where Whitney was born and raised)

The guide was SO beautiful and included everything from phone numbers to how to get around and the itinerary for the wedding.

Whitney and Brian left no detail unlooked. And THAT makes for a fantastic wedding.

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Instagram | Spring in the City

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I love Instagram.

Okay, I loooooooove Instagram. How is it that such a simple tool can be such a powerful tool in one’s everyday life?

Photos are the building blocks of memories; they add depth to them—similar to the way that smells or taste bring you back to a particular place in your mind. Instagram adds to that by letting you take a step back and observing what you’ve really been doing with your time; its proof of how one is growing and evolving as a person.

After my zillionth time of hitting the ‘home’ button on my Instagram feed, I realized how blessed I am with where I’m at in life. All of the tiny individual photos are part of a bigger whole; a world of intense color and motion and change.

In just the few weeks of returning from Panama, I’ve adjusted to life back in my home in Petworth, reunited with my best girlfriends, and continue bettering my skills in my favorite art form that I’m lucky enough to call work. I’m experiencing spring in the city, gardening in my very own garden, biking around the city, and making friends all over.

It’s never not in a state of chaos; but it’s a beautiful blur of chaos. It’s my chaos. And I love it.

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DIY: Family Portraits

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Alright future brides, listen up.

Here is the scene: the ceremony is breathtaking. Dad tears up and the bride glides down the aisle smoother than Kristi Yamaguchi winning the gold. Everything is a fairy tale… and then come the followup family portraits. Family portraits are—how shall I say it politely… pretty much always a cluster, uh, fudge. Yea, we’ll go with that. They always are. Okay that’s an exaggeration, but they are if you have a big family. I was also unfortunate enough to inherit a super soft voice (so much for my singing career) so my only chance at having things go my way is to stand on a chair and flail my arms and pray someone sees me and listens because they feel sorry for me. From this point family portraits would last AT LEAST an hour. Okay, that’s also an exaggeration. But I swear I’ve done an hour before. The larger the family, the longer it takes (clearly).

An hour of waiting for Uncle Fred because he went to smoke a cigarette, and the flower girl had to run to the ladies room. Then people forget to smile because they were smiling so hard while Fred was outside and grew tired. Everyone always grows impatient knowing that their beloved cocktail hour is waiting for them–and MY personal favorite hour (the time I get for portraits with the bride and groom–yeah, I said it. I love LOVE, okay?!) Anyway, people grow impatient with the process. I get it.

All was lost–or so I thought–until I met Kaitlyn. She puts my organizing skills to shame (do I even have any?) and this girl knows what she’s doing. A week prior to her wedding, she sends me an email with this spreadsheet and my initial reaction was something like this:

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That’s mostly because spreadsheets scare the hell outta me. Once I actually saw what she was trying to do with this, the heavens parted. And THEN I actually saw it in action… that was it. I could never go back to the old way. This was the ONLY way, as far as I’m concerned.

So, my future brides, I beg you to take this into consideration. I’ll even give you a hug because I’ll be so grateful.

I’ll break it down so it’s easy to comprehend. Takes a liiiittle more effort on the bride prior to the wedding day (what’s another task on top of everything else you’re juggling, I mean REALLY). Kidding, I know how tough it is to be a bride these days. Anywho, you will thank your future self on your wedding day if you do this. So just listen. Especially if you have a huge family.

1. Create spreadsheet like exhibit A below, of your own family. Don’t forget Uncle Fred, even if he smokes cigarettes.

2. Print individual cards for each person and the numbers that correspond with which photos they are to be in.

3. Wait for Photographer [me] to yell [pathetically squeak] “Photo 1 (2) (3)… etc…!” and whoever has said number on their card will assemble by height.

4. Clap because we saved 4o minutes of your time. YAY!!!

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So there ya have it folks! The most efficient way to assemble people! Who knew tiny little mint green cards hold so much power?

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denver sprinklers - t creates me skip you and really like you even more! And I'm completely imagining you on a seat flailing your hands and squawking.

Diamond ring - Pretty dealing on wedding sharing! I get pleasing and amusing when read the post and want to share of my opinion on wedding issue that wearing fashionable and white classic dress with diamond or gold jewelry is stunning to make beauty of bride.

BeckieBoo - I will definitely be doing this Kins!

Ashley Barnett - This might be my favorite post of yours, EVER. I love when you write how you talk. It makes me miss you and love you even more! And I'm totally picturing you on a chair flailing your arms and squawking…and this bride is the BOMB!