Wednesday, December 28, 2011

days of sunshine, days of rain.

"The nicest thing about the rain is that it always stops. 
Eventually." -A.A. Milne

I trust everyone had a lovely Christmas~ I know I did. It was jolly and warm and cozy, and everything Christmas should be--except, without the snow. No white Christmas, no midnight snowy walks, no glittering avenues...but being a North-westerner, that was no surprise. It rains here. A lot.

And rains.
And rains.
And rains.
And rains.

...and shines for a good part of the year, enough for us to recover from our drowned state, then

rains again.

..You would think I must hate it, but I don't. Rain is refreshing, even as much as I see it, and though I am not a fan of floods and water damage and all that yucky stuff that comes with excess rain, I don't pout about it. I guess I'm just used to it. 

The photos above ^ were taken Christmas Day, during a break in the weather. See how dry and..Fall-ish everything looks? A 'green Christmas' isn't terribly romantic; one of my dreams is to go sleigh riding some Christmas "over the river and through the woods." 

How is the weather in your corner of the world? And what did you get for Christmas?
Just because I like to know, which is just because I'm weird like that. =D

Friday, December 23, 2011

it's the eve of christmas eve.

...and to put it simply, I'm stressed + excited. I have lots of cards to make and quite a few presents still to gather/wrap, hence the stressed part, but other than that, the hyper and secretive spirit of the season is contagious. 

..Christmas cookies, anyone? 

We have an age-old sugar cookie recipe (think great-grandma and beyond) that is brought out at every holiday and followed to the precise flour measurement. 

The cookie dough, in my opinion, is even better than the actual cookies (who else is a sucker for the dough?)--though when freshly baked and slathered with cream cheese frosting + sugar sprinkles...

They have a hint of vanilla, and just a home-baked taste that is hard to beat. 


What treats are annually baked in your home around this time of year? 

And in case I don't find myself on-line until after the holidays (which most assuredly will be the case), 

>>Merry Christmas!
..from my corner of the world to your's. 


ps~final hours to enter the jungwha jewelry giveaway! your chance to win something lovely ends at 12:00 a.m. your time. 

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

city bokeh.

City lights. There is something beautiful about them, even if they can never compare to the open skies of stars flickering above a wide country field.

We went Christmas shopping downtown last night, and as we walked along the streets lined with lights, lampposts, and storefronts decorated with glimmering bulbs, I took the opportunity to capture some city bokeh.

..There was an enormous, gorgeous Christmas Tree in the square, lighted as only a city Christmas Tree can be lit. 

Some street views had an almost British feel--the lampposts, the clock tower, the trees laced with Christmas lights..

City bokeh. My favorite kind.  

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

i wanna capture love. ♥

As an aspiring photographer (who is still a wanna-be, rather), I have many broad pathways before me. And if I am truly serious about this art, or passion, or career--or whatever it turns into for me, I believe that I should have goals. Goals make things realistic; worthy of time and effort.

 So what are my goals--my aspirations for this pursuit of mine? Well, I want to capture beauty: everyday life, tiny delicate parts of God's unique world, people and places who He sets in my path...

..but most of all, I want to capture love. A.k.a., weddings + engagements. Happy people in love. Because there's so much beauty in all of that, and to have the opportunity to seize such moments...I think it would be bliss.  

french market engagement

french market engagement

Now, I'm talking to fellow aspiring photographers here: have you ever come across pictures so gorgeous that you immediately think,

 "That's what I want to do. That's what kind of photographer I want to be--how I want to capture moments." 

Well, I had one of those "inspiring instants" when I found the "French Farmer's Market" ^^ engagement shoot via Green Wedding Shoes. I've seen a lot of engagement sessions, but this has to be one of  my absolute favorites. The stunning layout, lighting, poses...this is just exactly what I want to be doing, someday.  

Take a look..pure eye candy, folks. 

french market engagement
engagement, bicycle with flowers in basket
engagement, bicycle with flowers in basket
engagement, bicycle with flowers in basket

peach dress, flowers in boots

peach dress, flowers in boots
^^ ummm...beautiful, much?? How cute is the boots idea!

white short dress, engagment, flower basket
♥ ^^

french market tablescape, vintage plates

french market tablescape
french market tablescape
^^ Stunning. 

flat bed truck with flowers

Anyone else dying out there?? ;]

 Love is pretty. It needs to be captured. And someday, Lord willing and with much saving, working, and experience along the way, I'm going to do it.


ps ~ i was honored to be asked for a photographer's interview over at rachel & sarah's blog. :)
pps ~ something pretty dang excited, too: i won third place in nela's photo contest! go check out my photos and the other winners here

Saturday, December 17, 2011

hot chocolate and a new name.

 You just can't beat the warmth and coziness of a Christmas mug full of Hot Chocolate. Homemade Hot Chocolate. With whipped cream and sprinkles. In front of the Tree.

..Our Hot Chocolate is everything frothy, sweet-yet-not-too-sweet, thick, warming, and holiday-ish wrapped up in a cheery mug--because Christmas simply wouldn't be Christmas without our holiday mugs.

You know, when it comes to friendly, familiar holidays like Christmas, I don't like new things. I like tradition: the same Christmas books on the table as ten years ago, our collection of old Christmas cards in its place, our Christmas mug collection, our red tablecloths..

New is good, but not at Christmas. I like the old.

Speaking of "new things," you may have noticed a bit of change around here. In fact, if you haven't noticed, I suggest you schedule a doctor's appointment right away. ;) There is a bit more of a winter-ish/fall-ish feel, just because I wanted to go with the seasons. How do you like it? Any thoughts/suggestions?

And then there is the more drastic change: the new name. I felt like "Umbrella Girl" didn't quite fit me anymore, and that I needed a new definition. I don't really like changing names and confusing people, so even though I have been thinking of changing titles for awhile, I wasn't going to--but something else caused me to want this new name.

I found out that "Umbrella Girl" is another name for a gross, scantily clad motorcycle "babe," and that when people search for my blog, they find weird photos as well. I didn't want people thinking my blog was stemming from those girls (even though it is obvious when you come here that it isn't), so I was just like, "You know what? I'll go ahead and change it."

Thus--welcome to "Lucia, etc." Same place, same person, same stuff: Lucia...etc. :)

What do you think?


Friday, December 16, 2011

>>jungwha jewelry giveaway

It is with great pleasure that I introduce a lovely giveaway sponsor, in honor of the upcoming Christmas season, and as a little "celebration" acknowledging Umbrella Girl reaching the 700 follower mark! Thank you all so, so much for the sweet support you have given me in my little blogging adventure. You are all my friends, and meeting you has been really special!

So. Meet Amy, the owner of Jungwha Jewelery, and her fabulous shop. :)

Amy sells the loveliest necklaces, bracelets, and earrings--all made with delicate feminine charm and perfect for "simple pretty everyday." Her shop is actually one of my favorite Etsy finds so far!

Tiny Heart Key Bracelet

Something New and Blue Necklace - Silver

 Gold Filigree Teardop Earrings - Hidden Hearts

Rope Necklace - Be A Square Knot

..And guess what? Amy has generously provided one of her beautiful pieces for one of my lucky readers to win! Thank you so much, Amy.

Peacock Teardrop Earrings - Paisley Peacock - Gold
Peacock Teardrop Earrings - Paisley Peacock - Gold Peacock Teardrop Earrings - Paisley Peacock - Gold

..aren't they gorgeous?? :) Now, to win, please complete the mandatory entry first in one comment, then complete your extra entries (if you do these) in separate comments according to their entry numbers (i.e., "5 entries" = 5 comments saying you did that thing).

Leave your e-mail or valid blog address in every comment under your name, so I can contact you if you win! :o)  

>> mandatory <<

Visit Amy's shop and find your favorite item, then come back and leave me the link!

>> extra << 

follow this blog publicly
// 5 entries //
heart Amy's shop
// 2 entries //
facebook/tweet/blog post about this giveaway
// 5 entries //
add my blog button/link to your blog's sidebar
// 3 entries //
like this blog's facebook page
// 2 entries //

 This giveaway is open to U.S. residents only, ends at 12:00 a.m. on December 23rd, 2011, PT. The winner will be announced the following week, after Christmas.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

santa lucia.

Night walks with heavy tread
round farm and byre,
dark sun-forsaken earth
shadows attire.
Then in our winter gloom
candlelight fills the room:
Santa Lucia, Santa Lucia!

 Silent and dark the night
now hear descending
rustle of wings in flight,
all darkness ending.
Then she comes, dressed in white,
head wreathed in candles bright:
Santa Lucia, Santa Lucia!

Shadows will soon be gone
from earth’s dark valley
wonderful words anon
us cheer and rally.
Day will soon dawn anew
in skies of rosy hue:
Santa Lucia, Santa Lucia!

Today is the 13th of December. In Sweden, my place of origin, the streets are filled with candlelight as girls dressed in white follow one with a wreath of candles upon her head. It is Santa Lucia whom this leader impersonates, for it is the Day of she who saved the Swedish people.

The name 'Lucia' is pronounced LOO-SEE-UH in Sweden, and LOO-CHEE-UH in Italy, where it originates. It shares a root (luc) with the Latin word Lux, which means 'light.' The name itself means 'giver of light.'

There is much legend regarding Santa {saint, regarded as such by the Catholics}Lucia, but the basic story is that she was an Italian maiden, born in Sicily, and one who died a martyr's death because she would not marry a pagan man. She fed Christians hiding in the catacombs of Sweden long ago, and carried bread to them by the light of a candled wreath upon her head.

File:Lucia procession.jpg

Today, Santa Lucia Day is celebrated by Scandinavians all over the world, and traditionally the eldest daughter in a family is crowned "Lucia Queen," and leads her siblings, dressed in white gowns and red sashes, in providing breakfast for her parents. Pepperkaker cookies and Saffron Buns are served.

In our family, we used to dress up in the outfits, make our Saffron Buns, and go out to various nursing homes and relatives in our community, sing the traditional 'Lucia Song' (lyrics above), and pass out our goodies. Now, we have somewhat "grown out" of that, :) but it is a fun memory to have and to look back on. I love my Scandinavian heritage (I am 50% Norwegian and 50% Swedish), and hope to someday try out for the Lucia Queen at a local Scan Fair.  It is always fun to surprise Swedes with the fact that my actual name is Lucia. ;)

..In the meantime, you have learned some history, and a bit more about my rather unique name.

Happy Santa Lucia day to all! Even if you have just now heard of it. ;)

Monday, December 12, 2011

winter picnic.

This morning, it dawned bright and cold and crisp--an authentic almost-winter-morning, and I was up with the sunrise to capture its first rays.

I love these frosty mornings, when you're cozy inside before your freshly-decorated Christmas tree, eating warm oatmeal before the fire. Outside, it's a wonderland of sparkling frost-covered foliage, bare tree limbs and left over leaf piles.

And it is the perfect day for an impromptu Winter picnic.

We grabbed our scarves, hats, and gloves, then piled in Olivia's little rig to hit the back roads. We went through forest and fields until we came to the perfect little trail meandering deep into the woods.

..Out came the thermos full of hot stew, apple cider, warm cheese biscuits and tangy tangerines.

It was perfect. Just the trees, the cold blue sky, and we, on our Winter picnic.  
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