Monday, February 28, 2011

Land of Fire and Ice | Hot and Cold Thoughts from Iceland

Warning: It is at this point that I get a little wordy.  Perhaps it's because I wrote this blog first, these having been my most recent memories. 

Iceland, the island of fire and ice.  It's here where our journey ends.  Nichole and I were happy to have Reykjavik as our final stop before home because, quite honestly, there isn't a ton to do (within the city at least) and it was nice to just relax and decompress in our hotel after the awesome chaos of London and Paris.  Reykjavik certainly is a charming city.  While over 80% of the country lives here, it feels incredibly small.  All of the cafes and restaurants are so eclectic, their brightly painted walls covered in colorful posters, books, records, and knickknacks.  Every one of them seems like that one funky little nook in your city that you love to retire to for a hot cup of tea and a little peace and quiet.

At this point in our trip we were basically running on fumes- mentally, physically, and monetarily- so we began having lovely little picnics of french bread, brie, pear, cucumber, Gull beer (think Icelandic Bud Light) and other odds and ends we found at Svosin, the local minimart/bakery. Although, we did have a lovely dinner in the hotel restaurant on the night we checked in. While my lobster soup was to die for, I do not recommend the wood pigeon.

Nichole's brother Morgan just relocated to Reykjavik (an odd coincidence) so we spent a bit of time with him as well, poking around the shops and sampling breakfast eateries. While I missed out on crepes in Paris, the spinach, egg, and cheese crepe I had at Babalu's was fantastic! Mmmmm.

Our final day here we grabbed donuts and paninis at Svosin before taking the 45 min shuttle to The Blue Lagoon.  What a magnificent place.  Words cannot describe the nature-defying opaque turquoise water nestled in pockets of ebony and brick lava rock.  Here in Seattle we know that when the sky is blue, the water is blue.  When the sky is grey, the water is grey.  Not here.  The weather was terrible- high winds, rain, hail- the skies were anything but blue. And yet, still the water stays an amazing creamy glowing aqua. 

We braved the chilly exterior to soak our weary bones in the healing toasty water of the famous lagoon.  While the wind whipped around us, making it near impossible to capture any photos we submerged ourselves in the warm bath of salt and silica. If you ever get a chance, please go.  While the photos do a fairly good job of showing the natural beauty of this place, nothing can really prepare you for the awe you feel when you witness it first hand. 

After getting back to the hotel we had one of our hodgepodge picnics (seen below) and relaxed while editing photos and listening to music.  Around 10pm Nic decided that we would rally and let her brother lead us out into the Reykjavik nightlife, which by the way doesn't actually pick up until about 2am. Go figure.  Let me say, I am so incredibly happy she did.  We had a fabulous time taking shots with the bartenders, dancing to random music (ex: I Heard It Through The Grapevine techno mix/Jay-Z's 99 Problems) and making friends with the locals and fellow visitors.  Now, for those of you who've already heard stories of exchange students, free vodka, and Arturo the Spaniard, I assure you news of our debauchery has been greatly exaggerated. Thanks to Nic for the photos of us from the bar, it's quite a talent to take those yourself with one hand and an SLR.  Kudos.

It's here that I leave you.  I've yapped enough so you don't get a list this time, but did you really want one? Enjoy.


Thursday, February 24, 2011

The Knot Best of Weddings 2011 Pick!

Hello to all of my fantastic blog readers (and even more fantastic brides)!!!

OK, I know that I've been pretty active with the blog lately, and you all may be getting tired of finding me in your inbox everyday, but bear with me because you know the madness is coming and soon enough I'll be going months with no posts.  So, here's one more!

I am so excited to announce that Amelia Soper Photography (that's me!) has been selected as a 2011 winner in The Knot Best of Weddings!!!  Fun, right?!  So I just wanted to take a minute to thank all of last year's wonderful couples who took the time to share their generously kind words on The Knot's sister site, Wedding Channel, you know who you are!!  Your words warmed the cockles of my heart.  It's like this: You know how there's that person in your life that you totally adore but you're sure they couldn't possibly feel the same way?  And then you find out through your sister's coworker's ex-fiancee's landlord that that certain person actually DOES feel the same way!?  Well that's totally how I feel right now.  :)  While I would love to post all of your extremely humbling comments, here are a few of the overwhelmingly kind words I received from some of my new friend's this year-

...She was such a good sport, and so out of the box and entertaining that we hardly noticed it was raining all over us. She had us laughing up a storm, and being silly, even while we were cold and soaked! My bridesmaids had smiles on their faces the entire time, and so did Amy! She doesn’t have to work to make people smile, she’s naturally funny. No, actually, hilarious. -Lindsey

I never write reviews on anything. But having had almost two months to reflect on our wonderful wedding, I felt compelled to write a review about Amy, with the hopes that other couples would get a chance to experience her exceedingly rare combination of charm, friendliness, artistic talent, work ethic, and stunning photographs. -John

It felt like one of my really good friends was taking our pictures and this is so important because you will be spending the entire day with them! -Annie

For those of you unfamiliar with The Knot,  their Best of Weddings provides a “by brides, for brides” guide to the top wedding professionals across the country, and is a must-have when it comes to selecting the best-of-the-best wedding resources. From New York florists and Seattle bridal salons to DC makeup artists, engaged couples will find detailed feedback on local wedding businesses reviewed by thousands of newlyweds who had great things to say.  (yeah, I took all that right off their site...)

So, again, thank you thank you thank you, from the bottom of my heart!!!!  Here's to another wonderful wedding season and even more fabulous brides and grooms!!! (Which incidentally starts next weekend in Miami, woohoo!!)


Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Baa Baa Black Sheep | Fuzzy Thoughts from Wales

OK. In the interest of full disclosure, while visiting Wales we didn't actually stay in Wales per se.  We actually stayed in Oswestry, a little town in Shropeshire, England which sits on the border.  Po-tay-to, po-tah-to.  Most of our travels were in Wales and that's where all the sheep were, so there you go.  Now on with my random, yet fond memories...

1.   Taking photos in the pouring rain
2.   Cocoa at Kate's coffee stand
3.   Quiz night with the locals at Fox Inn
4.   Color-coded sheep
5.   Checking out the numpties at Wetherspoon's
6.   Pistyll Rhaeadr waterfall
7.   Lake Vyrnwy and a town under water
8.   The black sheep and pheasants at Chirk Castle
9.   The Pontcysyllte Aqueduct in Trevor, nothing like a little wind at 126 feet.
10.  Pints at The Corn Mill
11.  Bedlingham terriers at Horseshoe Pass
12.  Climbing a rock wall after a night a drinking. Don't ask because I don't know.
13.  A horrible open mic night at Yales, with one shining star.
14.  Imbibing new beers- Ginger beer, Desperado (tequila + beer) and Casteel Cru (champagne + beer)
15.  Adam's adorable kitty, Chino
16.  The Boyz II Men barbershop.  Seriously, how awesome is that?

Alejandra | Cutie Patoot!

Well hello there!

It's been quite awhile since I've been over to photograph my darling little friend Alejandra.  So long in fact that in the meantime she's had her first birthday, grew a couple little chompers, and learned some new words-  "Sasha" (their yellow lab) being her favorite thing to say at the moment. I've really got to get her working on Amy.  Say it with me now... AY-MEE.

I honestly never get tired of photographing this wee one and love seeing her smile whenever I arrive.  Here she is again back by popular demand, the happiest kiddo you ever could meet: Miss Alejandra Katarina.

Love you kiddo,
auntie AY-MEE

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

J'aime Paris dans l'Hiver... | Chilly, Meandering Thoughts from Paris

And then came Paris.  Ever since I can remember I've wanted to come here. Just my luck, four years of high school French, two in college and I could only remember a few somewhat-useful phrases.  I then proceeded to annoy Nichole by sporadically spitting out words I remembered randomly throughout the day, like I had Parisian Tourette's or something. 

Fun French Fact: Tourette Syndrome was actually diagnosed and classified by French physician and neurologist Georges Albert Édouard Brutus Gilles de la Tourette in 1885.

While our entire 15 day holiday was completely amazing, it was our brief 24 hours in Paris that enchanted me most.  There really is something special about this place. Yes, even with more poop on the sidewalks than I care to remember. For the most part, everyone we met was very pleasant, with the exception of our hotel's night clerk.  If you want to hear the fantastic tale of  L'idiot et les Gendarmes, give me 30 minutes and drinks are on you. I'll only quickly comment that the French Police are jerky doo-doo heads.  Ok, enough of this...  let's get this show on the road.  Here are just a few of my many meandering memories from the City of Lights.

1.    The magic of the Louvre at night, unbelievably breathtaking and completely surreal
2.    Our epic walk from Gare du Nord to beautiful Sacre Couer (seen above)
3.    Meandering through the streets of Paris with a terribly drawn map.  Rick Steves, do us all a favor and stick to writing.  Find yourself a good cartographer and make all of our lives a little easier.  While I enjoyed our misguided wandering through the alleyways of Montmartre, a map's job is not to take you on the scenic route. Thanks. 
4.    Randomly ending up at Au Marche de la Butte, the grocery from Amélie

5.    Escargot and a 2003 Chateaux Garreau Bordeaux at Bistrot la Grange
6.    The beautiful wall murals by Christian Lacroix at La Bellechasse
7.    Sunset from the Eiffel Tower, the coldest place on Earth
8.    The heavy, ethereal feel of evening mass at Notre Dame
9.    Rushing across town to photograph the last Eiffel Tower light show at midnight
10.  The tiny bar off the Champs Elysees where every TV behind the bar was tuned to Fashion Television
11.  A 20 minute frantic search for the Venus De Milo before having to catch the train back to London
12.  Our first taste of chilled vodka shots with lemon in the lobby of La Bellechasse
13.  The Eiffel Tower's beautiful light show
14.  The statue of our good friend George Washington at Place d'Iena
15.  French macaroons at Paul before our speedy (daytime) Louvre tour
16.  Taking lots of silly little videos at dinner and along the Seine on our late night walk to the Trocadero
17.  Our quirky English waiter at Bristrot la Grange who named our 12 escargot: Ringo, John, Paul,...
18.  The bustle and madness of Gare du Nord, while crazy it was amazingly simple to navigate
19.  The vision of local artists and cooking crepes in the open store fronts of Montmartre
20.  Lighting a candle for a loved one at Notre Dame.

Paris, I'll miss you.  Au revoir mon ami, je reviendrai bientôt!

Étreintes et baisers! (xoxo)