Is there anything more synonymous with the notion of “America the Beautiful” than the images of Ansel Adams? In this day it seems that traditional landscape photography has fallen somewhat by the wayside, but I still find myself inspired by his majestic imagery. How can you not be proud to live in this country that he has captured with such intriguing lighting and proportions?

Not to be irreverent during this time of celebrating the USA’s birth, but I thought it would be interesting to juxtapose Adams’ respectful awe of our country with some contemporary photographers’ work that combines cultural commentary with landscape:

Top image by Eirik Johnson

Top image by Daniel Shea

Top image by Justin James Reed

Top image by Daniel Shea

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Holy moly. It’s been awhile. Unfortunately, my blogging has fallen by the wayside lately due to a combination of other distractions and lack of inspiration. I used to constantly be struck with “I should blog about that!” ideas, but that well seems to have dried. The first step is admitting you have a problem – I’ll be better from now on.

Appropriately, it was the best collection of pretty rocks I’ve ever seen that snapped me out of my drought. These poor quality iPhone pics were snapped at the Perot Museum of Natural Science here in Dallas last weekend. It was our first trip to the much hyped about museum and we weren’t disappointed. While it was packed with well designed displays and an amazing amount of interactive material, my jaw hit the floor when I walked into the gems and minerals hall. Kid, welcome to the candy store. I gawked (and took pictures) in front of every single one of the dozens of display cases for a solid 10 minutes. Each. Luckily the family I was with shares a similar, if not quite as intense, interest in gems.

That big guy up there is the 3rd largest gold nugget in the world. The only negative to this exhibit is the amount of pure jealousy and greed that it manages to muster.

The size of this amethyst geode just can’t even be real. As demonstrated by my awestruck expression. The things I would do to take him home… Anyways, anyone in the Dallas area or planning to visit, be sure to add the Perot Museum to your to-do list, it won’t disappoint!

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We took a little trip to San Antonio last weekend, and I have to say I was impressed. I’d only been once for a school trip in 7th grade, so my memory of the city was foggy at best and left me with the impression of it being a small-town tourist trap. Wrong. While there’s obviously the touristy aspect, this place has tons of culture, great food and drinks, vintage charm and lush landscapes. A quick Google search turned up that it’s actually the seventh most populous city in the U.S. – whaaaat?

On our first morning, while Zac did some work stuff, I ordered room service in bed. It felt pretty luxurious. And only the second time I’ve had room service ever, the first being the day after our wedding. Oh, and that’s the hotel’s resident peacock, who I stalked and may have accidentally led to believe I wanted to be more than just friends, because he showed me the goods. I can’t say I’m sorry.

A jewelry designer must pack an adequate selection of adornment.

Here I am, remembering the Alamo. The best part about visiting the Alamo is the grounds around it – so many gorgeous plants of the cactus variety. Actually, the best part was discovering how fashion forward Davy Crockett apparently was…that’s his vest up there. I was about to steal it, but the mean mug I got just for taking the picture (without a flash, mind you) suggested that security may have been tighter than I initially evaluated.

What’s a trip to San Antonio without seeing a quinceañera?

Here’s some scenes from the Spanish Governor’s Palace. I love Spanish style, and this place had some yummy details.

The market was the most touristy of tourist things to do, but the colorful eye candy made it worth doing once. That little guy on the bottom left came home with me. What’s he for? Don’t know, but he sure is pretty.

We ended the trip with a stop at Ocho in the Havana Hotel for drinks and dessert. This place was special and had amazing ambiance on a candlelit patio overlooking the river. A definite re-visit. We had dinner at the Pearl Brewery, a great new development that transformed a deserted brewery into a retail and dining area. Unfortunately the only picture I got is that top left one…next time. And that’s all, folks!

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Some images from market. This season I was influenced by my return to Texas – lots of Western and Native American references. And turquoise…they do love their turquoise here.

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This is what I imagine wanders through Dot’s pea brain nowadays while exploring the jungle that is our backyard. (Not jungle in a cool intentional way, but in a we-are-the-laziest-home-owners-on-earth way). Yes, my friends, spring has sprung here in Dallas and I hope it’s here to stay.

Sidenote: despite appearances, I’m really not trying to turn this blog into a haven for cute animal pictures.

Image via Mimosa Lane 

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Sometimes I get hung up on the fact that rather than finding a cure for cancer, I’m making baubles for people to put around their necks and feel pretty. Some people grow up with this desire to change the world, but I always kinda just wanted to create stuff. And I’ve come to realize that’s ok. It takes all kinds. Who’s to say that making people happy in a small, simple way throughout daily life isn’t just as (or maybe almost as) important as saving lives?

Image found here

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So…I love pigs. Seeing this overly cute picture on Pinterest got me right in the ticker. I looked into getting a miniature pig a few years ago, but word on the street is they stay small for about five years and then morph into 300 lb. monsters overnight. Which I honestly wouldn’t mind…if I had a farm. I settled for a pug.

P.S.: Has anyone heard of a fantastical island that supposedly exists with swimming pigs everywhere?? If gouda grew on the trees, it would be my heaven on earth.

Image found here

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