Travel theme: Paths

There’s nothing quite so beckoning or mysterious as a path that winds out of view. It always makes me wonder – where does it go? What’s at the end of that path?

Or as Disney’s Pocahontas would say-

What’s around the river bend!
Waiting just around the river bend!

Sorry, I’ve been on a Disney movie kick recently!

Anyway, the meandering nature of paths has always fascinated me and therefore I have too many pictures to choose from! So I decided to narrow it down to a trip I made a few years back to the Lake District in England, a gorgeously verdant area with so much natural beauty you can almost become immune to it… almost. Here there were paths galore, surrounded by some of the most beautiful nature as well!

DSC03472This path was marked with the cutest wooden sign that designated it as a public footpath. It cut through several meadows dotted with fluffy white sheep and their adorable lambs actually frolicking next to them. It was the literal embodiment of pastoral tranquility and melted my cynical city girl’s heart.

DSC03506This gloriously wooded road lead to an amazing waterfall! I’m glad that I got a chance to walk along this road and savor it, rather than drive through it in a hurry.

DSC03556The park with the waterfall afforded us more lovely paths. What’s better than a meandering path? A meandering path with steps!

DSC03883This was the road leading from the Honister Slate Mine, so dramatically cutting through the hills!DSC03981I forget what this road was called, but the bus driver I believe claimed it was the narrowest and most rambly road in the Lake District? It doesn’t look too bad but he did make a big deal out of it, hehe. I do like the way it cuts through the green!

Travel theme: Bark

Sometimes when I’m trying to teach my 2 year old daughter different vocabulary, I’m a little stumped on how to teach her homonyms – those words that sound/are spelled the same but have completely different meanings! Ugh! Isn’t that kind of confusing for non-native English speakers? It’s something that I take for granted so when I’m called on to explain weird English quirks I just throw up my hands – that’s just how it is!

Bark is one of those words – are we talking about trees or dogs here?! Ah, the English language and all its weird foibles.

dsc04068Here’s the sweetest little farm dog that came up to me as I was sitting, heavily pregnant, waiting for my husband to come back from a corn maze with my daughter. She kept me company and gave me the most adorable smiles and let me pet and cuddle her. She also had the most quaint name – Dora Mae!

dsc05644Perhaps this is actually the absence of bark? I love look of wood after it has been worn down by the elements, it has a wonderfully sculptural quality to it, doesn’t it?

dsc06702Here’s my friend’s dog Millie! She’s so patient, even when she has a bunch of little kids crawling all over her! Big dogs are my favorite!

dsc08559I love how the light strikes the bark of this tree and really highlights all the grooves and patterns that make each tree unique!

dsc08616This adorable dog Cream is always mistaken as a girl because of his innate cuteness! He can’t help it if he’s so damn good looking! And if we’re talking about barks, this one has a huge one!

dsc09927Lastly, I love how this fairy door seems to be inset into the bark of the tree somewhat naturally! Maybe it leads to a secret fairy world to discover? Love Trust and Pixie Dust! (sorry that’s a Tinker Bell references lol).

Weekly Photo Challenge: Treat

Hmm… this week’s challenge made me think. It’s so hard to single out a single thing that I consider a treat – anything that’s enjoyable (and not work-related!) to me is a treat!

So you know what… I have three words for you:

Treat Yo Self!

Whether it’s mimosas, fine leather goods or a nap that does you good, go out and do it! While hopefully not breaking the bank or missing work or neglecting your children or whatnot. I advocate responsible treating!

So here are some things that I consider a treat:

DSC01647

This thing of beauty is a green tea blueberry cake, and while the flavor combination may sound weird, it is super divine! Light fluffy green tea cake layered with cream and blueberry jam… give it to mama! This cake also reminds me of good times spent with friends – surprising my husband for his birthday, eating Korean BBQ buffet, and catching up on times – a definite treat!

DSC04421

Sometimes you wake up and the sun streaming through the trees is so gorgeous that you just have to get out your camera and capture it! And then you remember its 40 degrees outside and you’re not wearing a coat… or shoes. But then you also remember that you’re on vacation and you have the next 3 days off! YEAH TREAT!

DSC04246

And finally, the biggest treat of all is spending time with this elegant little girl right here! Just look at that lady-like eating face.

Travel theme: Delicate

For me, there’s nothing quite so delicate and ephemeral as cherry blossom season! The flowers have a short bloom time so it’s easy to miss them in all their fluffy pink glory. It’s also rather hard to predict exactly when the flowers will blossom, so you may find yourself booking a trip to Washington DC in hopes of catching them in full bloom and find that you’ve come a week early. Le sigh.

Still, I have been able to catch a few glimpses of gorgeously flowering cherry blossoms, so I count myself lucky! There’s something so romantic about cherry trees and the fluttery pink hail they send down with each breeze…

Sakura Mankai

“Cherry Blossoms in Full Bloom”

IMG_0011
The sad sad scene that greeted me in Washington DC this year! The buds were just ready to pop, and actually started blooming the day we left! But wait, there’s more…

IMG_0071
Fluffy pink blossoms on a beautiful clear day at Cornell. There’s a line of cherry trees right by Olin Library that’s absolutely breathtaking when they’re flowering! So nostalgic!

IMG_0120
One of my favorite places to go during cherry blossom season is the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, which has an awesome festival called Sakura Matsuri with different events and festivals. But even without the festival, the flowers are still a spectacle to behold.

IMG_0138
Although I love pink cherry blossoms, white flowers are beautiful as well!

IMG_2509
Last but not least, cherry blossoms in Shanghai. It was an unexpected but lovely surprise to come upon a stand of flowering cherry blossom trees in the middle of the city!

This post is in response to the weekly Travel Theme at Where’s my backpack?, check out Ailsa’s great pics!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Surprise

Surprise! We’re all still here! I’m sure most people weren’t expecting the world to end but it did give me a good reason to pig out – after all, if the world is ending I will be eating one more fajita bowl from Chipotle, please, before I go. The other big surprise was that overnight Syracuse became a wintry wonderland! We awoke to snow falling steadily throughout the morning, transforming the whole yard into a fluffy white playground for the neighborhood kids. This is the first big snowfall of the year and I doubt it will be the last. It definitely made for some interesting driving conditions since the plows had not been out too much yet. But I love snow and lots of it when I don’t have to drive!

Happy Holidays!

We’ll be having a white Christmas here!

IMG_0289

Weekly Photo Challenge: Delicate

I love Fridays – not because they’re the end of the work week because I’m still working this weekend (ugh!)  but because they mean new photo challenges! And of course that means rooting through  my old photos for something suitable or snapping some new shots to fit the theme. This week I had plenty of photos to choose from for the Daily Post’s weekly challenge. I love taking pictures of flowers and nature – the sheer variety and innate grace of nature is just so wonderful to photograph. Even the smallest,  over-looked little pinecone can reveal beautiful symmetry and complexity when you focus on it.

IMG_9999

Weekly Photo Challenge: Green

Only now did I realize I was supposed to use only one photo for the Weekly Photo Challenges at the Daily Post! I’ve been cheating all this time. But this week’s theme is a multi-image challenge so now I’ll play by the rules and post up pictures of green! Nature is the best source of all things green for me – although I do curse that I never got that traditional green “Ithaca is Gorges” shirt when I was in college, it would have come in handy here!