I’ve lived in two other states besides Texas and one thing is for sure – there is absolutely no place like home. I’m one blessed Texan and proud (like most of us born and raised here) to say so. I love that our great state has so many different landscapes, that the people are the friendliest you’ll find, and our history is so very rich. After finally seeing the great plains and desert of the west (you can view part 1 of my Marfa, Big Bend and Alpine trip here), I can say that I’ve experienced every landscape and region of the Lone Star State and appreciate them all.
John Steinbeck pretty much sums it up…
“I have said that Texas is a state of mind, but I think it is more than that. It is a mystique closely approximating a religion. And this is true to the extent that people either passionately love Texas or passionately hate it and, as in other religions, few people dare to inspect it for fear of losing their bearings in mystery or paradox. But I think there will be little quarrel with my feeling that Texas is one thing. For all its enormous range of space, climate, and physical appearance, and for all the internal squabbles, contentions, and strivings, Texas has a tight cohesiveness perhaps stronger than any other section of America. Rich, poor, Panhandle, Gulf, city, country, Texas is the obsession, the proper study, and the passionate possession of all Texans.”
For years I’ve wanted to explore the west Texas town of Marfa and discover what other artists were being attracted to. So, after God brought someone very special into my life and he was game to explore it with me, I finally made it happen. Except Jason and I tacked a day trip to Big Bend National Park and a couple nights in Alpine, TX onto our itinerary and made a wild west weekend adventure of it.
After loading up the pups on the 4th of July, we set out on our eight-hour trek to the desert and celebrated our first 4th together with pit stops and road trip tunes instead of family picnics and fireworks. And I couldn’t go without taking along my vintage Polaroid Colorpack II Land Camera and tons of film. My good friend, Jane, had recently visited me in Dallas and was the catalyst for me dusting off my old collection of cameras and actually using one. For that, I’m thankful. And I now have these beautiful memories. A separate post is coming with my DSLR images. For now, I wanted to showcase our adventure through our “instant satisfaction” images… the Polaroids and Instagrams. Enjoy.
Standing in front of the famous Prada, Marfa installation – a must see!
Marfa by bike
My sweet road trippin’ companions in our rental jeep
The Hotel Paisano – where the cast of “Giant” stayed while filming there in 1954. We really enjoyed the history and hospitality.
Off we go!
Our first 4th. (somewhere on the side of the road in west TX)
A very appropriate road to travel on July 4th – 1776
Fueling up in Alpine before a day trip to Big Bend
Super cool historic hotel in Alpine – we loved the bar/restaurant!
Thanks goodness someone else pulled over to take pics
Ray-bans in the desert
Date night in Alpine
My girls were excellent travelers. I love how in the below photo, they are somewhat mimicking the cattle in the mural.
Enjoyed chatting with this little entrepreneur and trying her yummy product!
The famous Prada, Marfa art installation
We discovered the best little dive bar with the most amazing nachos we’ve ever had – Planet Marfa. We went twice because it was that good.
Planet Marfa pooch
Adorable little cafe we had breakfast at – I loved all the architecture in Marfa.
Planet Marfa’s mission:
Hotel Paisano at dusk – simply gorgeous!
I bought us these books (Jason also loves to write) and on our last night we did two of the writing exercises – was fun to see our different takes on the assignments.
Using my Polaroid
Quite an adventure for me – hadn’t been on a bike in years. So fun!
Headed home, sweet home.
What do you get when you combine two gorgeous sisters with a beautiful backdrop? The perfect recipe for a sibling session. I recently had the pleasure of photographing these beauties at their home and it had been years since they had professional photos done. You’d never know it with how easy it was! Thank you, “Q” family, for trusting me with your precious memories. I had so much fun!
Some of my favorites…
“If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast.”
“Let’s go to Paris,” she said. My mother, who’d never traveled to Europe before decided somewhere during what I’ve dubbed “my worst year ever” that Paris seemed like a good idea. And although I couldn’t see it then, Audrey Hepburn (and my mother) couldn’t be mistaken. So we started making plans. I suppose it really didn’t hit me until we got to the airport that this was really happening. And I’m so thankful it did. One thing Mom also said before the travel agent was even contacted (that really resonated with me throughout our trip) was that she may not have tomorrow and so, by golly, we were going. How could I argue with that? And honestly, after unexpectedly losing her sister – my beloved Aunt Karen – in January, I couldn’t have agreed more. There are no guarantees of our time left on earth. And creating memories with our loved ones, exploring the beauty of this world, is something I want to spend more time doing.
Upon arrival, we were immediately taken aback by the beautiful blooms. Paris in Spring is simply stunning. Our driver was quick to tell us that the beautiful canopy of purple blooms lining the street where our hotel was had just happened a few days before our arrival. Already a good sign. We had some rain and winter-like temps throughout our week, but nothing could take away the magic and allure of the City of Light for us.
People keep asking me what my favorite part of the city was and I just can’t seem to narrow it down to one thing.
So here is my simple love letter to Paris—
I loved waking up every day with an adventure ahead of us. New places to discover, people to meet, food to eat and culture to learn.
I love that your coffee just tastes better. And I miss your Cafe Cremes dearly.
I love that love was everywhere – whether it was the American girl chatting up her new Parisian boyfriend next to us in the cafe or the young woman crossing the street and as my eyes followed her, she leaped into the arms of a man and flung her legs around him as though it had been forever since they’d seen each other. I just smiled because it was so cliche and so perfect.
I loved visiting Shakespeare and Company, your famous bookstore once occupied by American ex-pat artists and writers Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ezra Pound and Man Ray to name a few. I loved daydreaming of you in the 1920′s in all your extravagance and glory and now have a fascination for The Lost Generation and their time with you.
I love your simple grilled ham and brie open-faced sandwiches. I’ve never been much of a ham fan. But they were divine.
I loved standing in your cathedrals and chapels so beautiful, my breath was literally taken away.
I loved ducking into one of your vintage boutiques and finding the ultimate souvenir – a beautiful camel trench coat by Parisian designer Lolita Lempicka – in perfect condition. Thanks for spotting it, mom!
I loved walking through your historic Marais area and daydreaming what it would be like to live there as an artist. To think, dream, write, photograph. To soak in your art galleries, fashion houses and cafes.
I loved sitting in the basement of your Musee de l’Orangerie and taking in Monet’s Water Lilies from all sides. Awe-inspiring.
I loved watching your Eiffel Tower glitter against the night sky while having an amazing meal with one of my favorite people.
I loved standing at the top of both your Eiffel Tower and Arc de Triomphe – despite being winded or chilled to the bone. When you’re “on top of the world”, somehow those are just insignificant.
I loved visiting your famous Laduree not once, but three times. I could really use a raspberry macaroon right now. I’m sure mom could too.
I love your rain-soaked streets…reflecting your many lights…illuminating your many charms.
I love looking forward to my return because in the words of Hemingway, it does stay with you. It has stayed with me. And we will meet again…
Au Revoir, Paris. xoxo.
And now for the Instagram photos…