Tuesday, July 27, 2010

My Other Camera

It was just my dear friend Anne's birthday.  To celebrate, she invited a bunch of her friends to this yummy bbq joint in the city that had live country music.  (This is my friend who had her bachelorette party not in Vegas, not in Miami, but in Nashville, mind you.)  But hey, no complaints from me.  I borrowed a pair of Anne's cowboy boots for the soiree and gave a few "yeehaws" and enjoyed the night. 

And me being me, I had a camera and snapped some photos of the birthday girl and the festivities.  This prompted Anne to excitedly ask whether these photos would make it onto my blog (Hi Anne! Thanks for reading!).  I must have given her a bit of a face.  Okay, I definitely gave her a face, and she quickly stated "oh... these weren't taken with your fancy camera, so no, right?" 

Quite honestly, the answer was going to be no.  I wasn't planning on sharing those photos here (and for the most part, I won't - check facebook instead).  They were the cheesy group shots and candids taken with my point and click camera -- my not so fancy camera.  But Anne's comment, though, got me thinking.  Although I love my quote unquote fancy camera, my point and click camera takes some pretty nice photos, too.  So I think it's about time that I show off some of the ones I took in Portugal.  I didn't photoshop these - the special effects came from the camera's own built-in settings. 

Lesson learned: you don't need a fancy-pants camera to take a good shot. 

And happy birthday, Anne!  Thanks for the inspiration.  And the giant ice cream cake.

(Portugal, photographed June 2010; NYC, photographed July 2010)

Saturday, July 24, 2010

No W(h)ining

Whine... It's so hot in New York City this weekend.  Unbearably hot.  Too hot really to do anything but sit in a nice cool and dark apartment and drink a chilled bottle of vinho verde.  (Yup, am still plugging this wine.  Seriously, you have to try it).

When Laura and I were in Portugal, we not only drank our fair share of vinho verde, we also visited wine and port country.  We drove our car through the hills overlooking the Douro River, which are populated by countless quintas, each touting rows and rows of grape vines.  We stopped at one, where they grow the grapes used in fonesca port.  The day was hot, the sun was baking as we combed through the seemingly endless rows of vines, but our sweet reward was several glasses of port waiting for us to sip in a lovely air-conditioned tasting parlor. 

Oh, and the opportunity to take some neat photos was a fun treat as well.

(Quinta do Panascal, Portugal, photographed in June 2010)

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Happy Cows Come From Wisconsin

My last post about the Lincoln County Fair was all about the horses, but really, what would a county fair in Wisconsin be without the cows?

Speaking of cows, I have a story that is slightly amusing or maybe slightly embarrassing.  Really, I'm not yet sure which it is.  Last night, I was playing trivia at a bar with my friends.  A question comes up, requiring us to identify a particular breed of dairy cow.  Me, being the easily excited girl from Wisconsin, I scream out that I knew it, letting it slip that the particular cow (Jersey) was my favorite dairy cow.  Yes, the cat, er... cow, is out of the bag.  Not only do I know the various breeds of dairy cows, I actually have a favorite one.

I really am from Wisconsin.

(Merrill, Wisconsin, photographed July 2010)

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

My Fair Lady

Although I've lived in New York City for ten years, I'll always be a girl from Wisconsin (as the title from this blog should make clear).  There are certain things about Wisconsin that I just love... like cheese curds and the Packers, Summerfest and the Dane County Farmer's Market... and the Wisconsin State Fair.

I used to go to the State Fair each year, every year since I was born.  But I haven't been able to make it back the last few years.  But when I went home this last weekend for my family reunion, my dad had a special treat for me -- the Lincoln County Fair.  We stopped for a couple hours on Sunday, and it was like the State Fair, just on a smaller scale.  Animals, crafts, rides, games, and of course, deep fried food on a stick.

Although I still have more Portugal photos to post (yes, I took a lot of photos on vacation), I'm taking a break to show some from the fair, starting first with these from the horse barn.

(Merrill, Wisconsin, photographed July 2010)

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Pousada of My Heart

As I mentioned in my last post, I spent one night at a pousada while in Portugal.  A pousada is basically a state-owned hotel operating out of a renovated historic landmark, like a monastery, castle, palace, or other architecturally and culturally rich building.  There's about forty-some pousadas across the country, but the one that Laura and I stayed at was located in the hills of the Douro River valley, overlooking the water below. 

It was gorgeous, of course - essentially a nobleman's bed and breakfast.  Our pousada had a parlor, a game room, a beautiful dining area, manicured rose gardens, several elegant fountains and so forth.  It even came with its very own wedding party. 

(Portugal, photographed June 2010)

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


 As you may be noticing based on the steady stream of posts about Portugal, I took a lot of photographs while on vacation.  Traveling with another photographer meant that it was (generally) not annoying if I stopped and snapped a shot whenever something caught my eye.  And, well, lots of things caught my eye.  Like flowers.  I loved these tiny red ones that we saw at a quinta.  They looked like they were made out of crinkly tissue paper - very much like the red tissue paper poppies that the VWF sells in front of stores in remembrance of our veterans.

But this one of the sunflowers is one of my favorite photos of the trip.  I saw these sunflowers at a market in Porto that Laura and I visited one morning and am just so smitten with how the photograph turned out.  I wish every photo I took came out so perfect.

These next two photos were taken at the romantic pousada that Laura and I stayed out while in the Douro River Valley (more on that later!).  The place had a beautiful rose garden out front and, of course, we wandered through it taking photos.

(Portugal, photographed June 2010)

Friday, July 9, 2010

Futbol Fever

I haven't had much luck with the World Cup this year.  The Americans, although giving it their all, did not ultimately deliver.  My Germans (who I loved watching in the Eurocup while in Munich two years ago) were just eliminated in the semifinals.  But what disappointed me the most were the Portuguese.

Not because I normally cheer the Portuguese on, but because they played what should have been two big games while Laura and I were in Portugal.  The match against Brazil (their old colony!) took place while we were visiting Porto.  The match against Spain (their neighboring rivals!) happened was while we were visiting Lisboa - in fact, on our very last night in town.  Seriously, last night in town.  I wanted riots in the streets as my fair farewell to Portugal. 

But no.

We had none.

The game against Brazil, photographed here, was so anticlimatic.  As it was still in the early rounds, it ended on a zero to zero score.  Yes, zero to zero.  No goals.  Nothing to cheer for or against.  We watched in an outdoor square along with many futbol fans, but when the game was over, everyone went their own ways, with no celebrating or sulking.  Just walking on to continue their days as usual.  Anticlimatic, indeed.

Maybe I'll just have to go to Rio in four years instead.

(Porto, photographed June 2010)