Last month we made a last minute decision to tag along with my husband on a business trip to one of my favorite U.S. cities, and I’m so glad we did. I fell in love with New Orleans during a series of visits in my mid-twenties, and have been anxious to get back ever since. I was taken aback when a few people reacted negatively when I told them we were taking the kids, because apparently the only NOLA they know is the inebriated, late-night party version. While that can be fun (I recommend experiencing Mardi Gras once when you’re young, like I did), it is only a small piece of the picture. There is so much to love about the historic city: the people, the food, the music…distinctly American but often French-infused. In fact, I feel it’s the closest to France you can get in the states. New Orleans is celebrating it’s tricentennial (wow) this year, and has conveniently been named the #1 place to visit by The New York Times. I’m sharing our whirlwind 72 hour trip in it’s entirety – my favorite family-friendly spots, itinerary ideas, and tips…plan a visit, and bring the kids!
The holiday season brings with it a range of emotions – but this year, more than ever, I feel overwhelmed with gratitude. There is nothing in the world more important than our family: the two little humans holding my hands, and my husband (having a rare turn behind the camera). While we have so much to be thankful for, there has been a dark cloud over us for quite a few years – some of which I’ve shared here, and some that I’ve kept private. At times it has felt hopeless, like everything was an uphill battle. You might be surprised by this since most (not all) of what I share publicly are our happiest, and most memorable, moments. For those of us who share pretty content on the internet, we often walk a fine line between sharing too much and not sharing enough. Please know that while part of me would like to share it all, some things need to be kept safely guarded. Maybe someday I’ll be able to elaborate, but for now it’s still too fresh.
For the first time in years, I feel like we can (cliché alert) finally see the light at the end of the tunnel. We’ve learned the hard way that the only way out is through, so to speak. We were dealt a serious dose of humility, and have a different (and healthier) perspective on life. If you’re currently fighting a battle of your own (aren’t we all), please know this: it will get better. The memory of it will stay with you of course, but the darkness should not. I have a bold proposition for you this Thanksgiving…try to be thankful for the battle. That may sound easy for me to say, now that we’re on the other side, but it’s still challenging for us as well. However, with every struggle, there is a hard-earned lesson, and sometimes a beautiful gift, even though it can take some time for it to be realized. When you look for the silver lining, look for the meaning…you might be surprised what you discover. Wishing you a holiday season filled with hope, love, and gratitude.
The Dia:Beacon was one destination that was set in stone during our Hudson Valley itinerary. It’s an uber cool gallery housed in an old Nabisco box-printing factory. An extension of the original Dia in Chelsea founded in 1974, the Beacon was opened in 2003 and houses many large scale installations. I had been wanting to see Richard Serra’s work in particular, and figured the kids would appreciate the scale of the art at the very least. Admittedly, I hadn’t read much about the artist or his inspiration before our visit – which was actually a benefit, in my opinion. I was able to experience the art without any bias and come to my own conclusions. One thing was for sure: it was extremely photogenic.
I had never heard of Copake Falls, New York before this trip. A modern Airbnb farmhouse is what brought us there – it was close enough to everything and aesthetically our vibe. The town itself is incredibly quaint and charming (I mean, just look at that church – it now serves as their historical society). With direct access to the Taconic State Park, it’s perfectly situated for nature lovers. While I wouldn’t describe us quite like that, we do love to bike as a family, and had every intention of doing so. However, after some issues with the house (long story) that robbed us all of sleep, we ended up lounging around, walking around town, and baking. Regardless, the quality time as a family was priceless.
The home is incredibly photogenic (part of why I chose it), and I enjoyed capturing it. When I’m not feeling required to create content, my creative juices flow freely. Unfortunately we had mostly dreary weather while there, and the home was a bit darker than portrayed on it’s listing. I had to get extra creative with my photography, and thankfully had my tripod with me to play around with long exposures. I don’t normally do that, so it was a great learning opportunity – I’m proud of what I shot and edited! The kids are almost always eager to be “models”, and are showing a lot of interest in photography themselves. I think it’s time to get them (kid-friendly) cameras for Christmas – thinking Polaroid, but recs are welcome!
My birthday (October 1st), happens during my favorite season – autumn. When presented with a road trip opportunity this year, the destination was an easy choice for me. I chose the Hudson Valley, as I’ve been dreaming of a fall visit for many years. For some reason I’ve never made it there, despite seeing (and swooning over) New England in peak season. My desire to visit the region strengthened after seeing so many friends on Instagram share gorgeous images from the Storm King Art Center. Founded in 1960, it’s the home of incredible sculptures from some of the most prominent 20th century artists. While the foliage wasn’t quite what we had hoped for (this unseasonably warm weather is infuriating), the art didn’t disappoint. Henry and Marie were very engaged throughout our entire visit, and retained quite a bit of information. I’m sharing some tips for visiting with young children…click through for that and more from our visit!