Seven hundred and two

Back from my month in Thailand, Cambodia and Australia!

I can hear the wet snow hit the window and my socks are still slightly damp from the tiny leak in my winter boots that caused the ankle-high slush outside to seep in.  It’s quite the difference from the sweltering heat I was in last week, but I’m still glad to be home, snow and all.  Not that I didn’t have an amazing time, but four weeks away from my man and my own bed was a long time.

There’s always something about coming home that is comforting.  As much as I love the excitement of traveling, learning about different cultures, and changing hotel rooms every few days (well, maybe not the latter as much), home and routine is just as wonderful.  When my boyfriend came to pick me up at the airport, after the airline lost my luggage on my connection in Tokyo and I’d flown eighteen hours having hardly slept, the comfort of having his arms around me made it all better.  I’ve been back since Sunday afternoon and I’ve been back to work, got all my laundry done, have caught up on a few emails and phone calls, and snuggled a lot with my bf, all with a little jet lag butt-kicking haze.  Nothing exciting, but just perfect, especially with this crazy storm going on.

Elephant_Statue

Of course I have so many stories and inspirations I’ve returned with.  Although very touristy, Thailand and Cambodia were beautiful, the food was fantastic, the people were lovely (once we got past the “please give us money or spend money here” dance).  We traveled from Bangkok to Phuket to Ko Phi Phi Don, back to Phuket, then on to Ko Samui, Ko Phangan and Ko Tao, up north to Chiang Mai, south to Siem Reap, and back to Bangkok.  I finished off my trip with a week visiting friends in Melbourne, Australia, where I used to live.

We fed and bathed elephants, had fish bite the dead skin off our feet (which I found incredibly ticklish), learned to cook Thai food, ate rice out of a pineapple and drank watermelon “fruit smoothies”, had the best massages ever, played a crazy shoe game with Cambodian kids, snorkeled with sharks and fish surrounding us, rode a longtail boat a few times, relaxed on the beach, went on 5 ferries, 15 flights and countless tuk tuks and cabs.  We saw breathtaking temple ruins in Angkor Wat, ornate Buddhist temples throughout Thailand, and the majestic Grand Palace in Bangkok.  We learned lots about the history and culture and met some fascinating people.  And at the end I got to spend time with old friends that brightened my day.  I am so fortunate that I had this opportunity and am grateful for every moment I had.  It was a trip I will never forget.

longtail_boat

I took quite a few photos, but haven’t had the chance to sort them all out.  On this post are a few from our first couple of days.  I will post more soon.  Photos don’t really do it justice, though.  It was beautiful!

pier

Six hundred and fifty-three

Happy New Year!

Instant Infant

I can’t believe it’s 2013 already.  Is that a cliche thing to say?  I hope everyone had a fantastic holidays either celebrating Christmas, or just enjoying the break.  I spent a lot of my holidays talking about how much my mother wants me to have babies and whether I would consider having one on my own through insemination.  Yes, she really is that desperate to have grand babies.  I laughed at her and told her that she’ll just have to deal with whatever it is I choose, and NO, I am not getting artificially inseminated so I can raise a child by myself just for her!  I’m pretty sure my boyfriend would have a problem with this as well.  My aunt got me the “Instant Infant” you see above, so I kept joking that I’m now off the hook and mom should bug my brother and his girlfriend instead.  She was not impressed.

Christmas at the Schwietz household is a busy time of year, with all my aunts, uncles and cousins.  One year I think we had over thirty people for dinner.  This year dad organized a scavenger hunt around their big yard, which included a couple of “shot” stops, a beer, wine and cheese barn party, and scratching a lottery ticket in which I won $20 from!  We have so much fun, but it is a lot of work and energy that left me with a bit of an excitement hangover (literally and emotionally – probably letting my brother mix me a nightcap shot was not the best idea I’ve ever had…).  After the highs of the holidays, it’s easy to feel a little low, but grateful for my family and everything we have.

I don’t really do new year’s resolutions, because I figure we should be doing things we find challenging and living our life in the best way we can all the time, but I do plan to continue to do yoga and eat healthy.  My recuperating from my ups and downs was definitely helped by a little downward dog and cooking a yummy turkey soup.  And then of course my writing and a bit of painting I did with the new paints and easel I got for Christmas from my wonderful man.

I’m not really sure of my point for today’s post, if only to wish everyone a wonderful year.  I am grateful for every day I have and every thing in my life – the challenges and the triumphs.  Now I just have to get this book published so I can really celebrate 2013!

I’ve been on a bit of a photography kick recently, so here are a few I took over the holidays.  I hope you like them.

Bird house

Baby's First Christmas

Yes, this was mine from when I was a baby!

Camel on tree

Christmas Eve Cosmo

Christmas Eve Cosmo

Fireplace Angel family

Six hundred and thirty-nine

Road trip with mama and America’s capital

Over sixteen hours in a car with my mother and we managed not to kill each other!  Mom is probably reading this and making tsk-ing noises with her mouth, so I’d better set the record straight: we had a wonderful time on our road trip to Gettysburg, PA for my cousin’s wedding, to Reston, VA to visit with family, then finally to Washington, DC to be tourists for a couple of days.  The driving was beautiful, the wedding was fun, it was great to see my American relatives, and Washington DC is one of the prettiest big cities I’ve seen in the States.  Mom and I walked lots, had some fabulous meals, and wandered through some fantastic museums.  I took a lot of photos, but unfortunately the weather in the capital was very foggy the days we were there, so they didn’t turn out as nice as I’d hoped.  Here are a few of our trip that I thought were fun:

My seven year-old cousin's "bow" hair for the wedding

My seven year-old cousin’s “bow” hair for the wedding

Bird_on_can

Random bird on a bin

Lincoln_memorial_on_stones

I just thought this would make an interesting photo.

FDR_memorial

FDR memorial

Vietnam Veterans Memorial wall

Vietnam Veterans Memorial wall

Hope_diamond

The Hope Diamond

We_shall_overcome

Martin Luther King, Jr. memorial

Capitol

The United States Capitol

Next week I won’t be blogging because of Christmas, so I hope everyone has a great holidays and see you in the new year!

Six hundred and twenty-five

Photo shoots

I’ve had the pleasant surprise of being asked to take photos for three different people over the past week.  Isn’t the saying that things always come in threes?  One was a friend asking me to take her headshot for her blog, which has been postponed, but hopefully will happen in a couple of weeks.  The second was two friends making holiday wine and wanting to put a silly photo of themselves on the label to give away as gifts.  Finally, another artist friend of mine who creates beautiful fascinators (head pieces, think British royalty at the races) wanting me to take photos for her holiday catalogue.  I love the experience and am enjoying helping my friends.  I actually think I might be getting the hang of this photography thing.  Or at least I’m learning as I go.  I wanted to share a few of my favourites this week.

The fascinators in the first group of photos are made by the talented Asia Vickovic.  She sells these, as well as custom pieces.  If you are interested in more information, or getting one of these beautiful headpieces for your New Years Eve party, you can contact her at: asia.vickovic@gmail.com, or visit her facebook page at: facebook.com/asiavickovicart.  Makeup by Adrianne Gagnon.  Photos by yours truly, Lindsay Schwietz.

Colleen

Photo by Lindsay Schwietz. Fascinator by Asia Vickovic. Model Colleen Doyle.

Charlotte

Photo by Lindsay Schwietz. Fascinator by Asia Vickovic. Model Charlotte West.

Tamara

Photo by Lindsay Schwietz. Fascinator by Asia Vickovic. Model Tamara Cooke.

Adrianne_2

Photo by Lindsay Schwietz. Fascinator by Asia Vickovic. Model Adrianne Gagnon.

And one just for fun!  How could we resist having Gordon be one of our models, too?

Gordon

Photo by Lindsay Schwietz. Fascinator by Asia Vickovic. Model Gordon.

These last two are from the holiday wine bottle photo shoot with Colleen Doyle and Nicki Ramjass:

IMG_8836_edit

IMG_8901_edit

Both photo shoots were lots of fun.  Thanks to everyone involved.

Next week I will be away at my cousin’s wedding and then a little trip with my mother, so will be blogging at the end of the week instead of Wednesday.  Hopefully I’ll have some more fun photos from our trip!