iAdventure: Villa Terrace

One of my days off a little while back was blustery and the summer temps hadn’t quite set in yet, but the sun was bright, Lake Michigan was the bluest of blues and there was hardly a cloud in the sky. I thought to myself, “What the heck, let’s go on an adventure today!” And adventure I did.

I’ve lived outside of Milwaukee my whole life. I’ve experienced a lot of the great things MKE has to offer (it really is such an underrated city), but I know there is a lot more I’m missing. One thing, for instance, is the the Villa Terrace Decorative Arts Museum. I’ve driven past the wrought iron gates on Lincoln Memorial Drive countless times. I’ve lusted after the gorgeous back of Villa Terrace for YEARS. And only now did I get myself over to this stunning manor. It was worth the wait, however, and I enjoyed my time spent exploring the museum and grounds.

I mentioned the light was killer, right? Oh, I didn’t? Well, it was. Stunning. And it gave me plenty of opportunities to nab photos of striking shadows. During one point, I had squatted down to take a picture and as I tapped the screen on my iPhone 6 to focus in on the subject and adjust the exposure by sliding down (iPhone hack, in case you didn’t know!), an older man also exploring and photographing inside the museum sneered at me and asked, “Are you seriously using your phone to take photos in here?!” Normally, I tend to shrug off strangers’ questions and comments because I love avoiding conflict and confrontation at all cost. But this, for whatever reason, got under my skin. So I stood up, straightened my shoulders, and proudly said, “Yes! I am.” and proceeded to the next room.

I love photography. Capturing moments, people, culture, life.. Could you imagine life without it? Sure, it has it’s pros and cons. As with all things! But ultimately, what an incredible medium. And of course, some photographic technology is better than others. However, with cell phone cameras getting better and editing apps becoming more advanced, who’s to say whipping my phone out to capture a moment is wrong? Is there skill there? Do they have an eye? Does it make you feel something? Is there passion? Then it’s art. And that’s all that matters.

“Inherently, we all know that an image isn’t measured by its resolution, dynamic range, or anything technical. It’s measured by the simple—sometimes profound, other times absurd or humorous or whimsical—effect that it can have upon us. If you can see it, it can move you.”
(Chase Jarvis, The Best Camera Is The One That’s With You)


On Bloglovin’

I’ve been using Bloglovin’ for a while now: it’s a great way to track of all the blogs you love to follow in one place, highlight favorites and organize new ideas.

I started with my favorites (blogs like Ann Street Studio, Woodnote Photography, Post Secret, A Beautiful Mess, Design*Sponge and Style Me Pretty) and quickly added numerous new favorites (Minimalist Baker, Naturally Ella, Ruffled, DESIGNLOVEFESTThe House That Lars Built plus, oh, about 80-some others).

And now, Elizabeth Marie is finally a blog you can follow, favorite, save and sort on Bloglovin’. Follow me here!

Travel, Widder UK Tour 2014

Flashback Friday: St. Andrews

We woke up to our first full day in Scotland in St. Andrews. It was gorgeous, too, with only a few scattered showers. The morning brought us briefly back to Crail (which is roughly a 20-minute drive from the Home of Golf) but we spent the rest of the day exploring the town. All of the sea breezes, sights and sustenance were well worth our sore tootsies!

Ate and Drank

  • Breakfast: a full Scottish breakfast–eggs, beans, baked tomatoes, sautéed mushrooms, bacon, bangers (or sausage), tatties (or potatoes), haggis, black pudding–plus porridge, toast, fruit, coffee and tea included with our stay at Agnes Blackadder Hall (When out of term, the University of St. Andrews reopens a few of their student residence halls as hostels. The rooms are affordable, clean, comfortable and feature an ensuite bathroom, in-room coffee, a television and phone plus other amenities. We were within walking-distance of the city’s highlights, could use the hall’s car park for free, plus it’s fun to say we stayed at the University.)
  • Lunch: Zest Cafe (This cute, fresh sandwich shop sells ready-made sandwiches and salads and makes a variety of fresh-squeezed juices.)
  • Dinner: The Blue Stane (My dad went for their award-winning Fish & Chips while I went for their crisp and refreshing Five-a-Day salad.)
  • Sweet Treats: Jannettas Gelateria (This gelato shop has been running since 1908 and always has a line out the door. Travel hack: Burns Sweet Shop on the next street over is owned by the same family and sells a few of Jannettas flavors, too–without the line.)

Saw and Did

  • St Andrews Cathedral and Castle ruins (While we didn’t get tickets to enter and explore the grounds, we were able to see the ancient and picturesque ruins from all angles on St. Andrews’ coastal walkway.)
  • St Andrew University (We also didn’t go into any of the buildings of the University, but we thoroughly enjoyed walking around the campus.)
  • Shopping on South and Market Streets (Bonkers, Waterstones, Paperchase, and a pop-up craft fair at VIC (The Victoria Cafe) were some of our favorite stops.)
  • St. Andrews Golf Course (We’re not a big golfing family, but we HAD to step onto the Old Course for a wee bit. If you’re more into golf, you can go on an actual walking tour of the Old Course, explore the clubhouses, play a round, take lessons, or brush up on golf history at the British Golf Museum.)
  • Harbour, Old Pier and the East and West Sands (You can find sailing, fishing and seagulls around the harbour and East Sands and run through the West Sands like the men in Chariots of Fire.)
Travel, Widder UK Tour 2014

Throwback Thursday: Crail

They always say the unexpected moments in life are the ones you remember the most, the ones you are most fond of. And they’re right! (‘They’ really know what they’re talking about sometimes.) And even though our driving route led us right through Crail on our way to St. Andrews, we didn’t expect to stop. We didn’t expect to make a second trip there. And I certainly didn’t expect to fall so hard for the cutest, quaintest fishing village in Fife.

Ate and Drank

  • Breakfast: London Mini Manor (it was our last morning there so you guessed it: coffee, yogurt and berries!)
  • Lunch: we stopped at a Tesco in a random city while driving up the Scottish coast for important road trip snacks (snap peas, carrots, apples, crackers, biscuits) and a selection of nightcaps (stouts, hard ciders)
  • Dinner: West Port Bar and Kitchen in St. Andrews (we drove in late and there wasn’t much open, but this restaurant happened to be. And good thing too: we dined on mushroom risotto and fish cakes.)

Saw and Did

  • Between taking wrong turns and depending on public transportation, we almost missed our train to Edinburgh. Only almost! My parents and I have good hustle, what can we say. Upon arriving in Edinburgh, we immediately picked up our rental car and my dad–who had never before driven on the opposite side of the car or road–was driving us through Scotland!
  • Crail Pottery: this is one of the main reasons we made the second trip back to Crail. The family-owned and operated pottery store that has been in operation for fifty years was closed on our first visit so we returned and ended up leaving with a wide variety of beautiful, handmade potted goods.
  • Crail Gallery: this artist-run gallery specializes in linocut and silkscreen prints, whimsical and full of brights colors just like the village itself
  • Village tour: we went our own walking tour of Crail, exploring the little nooks, crannies and alleys that make it so picturesque. We saw Crail Church and toured the parish grounds, meandered up and down it’s High Street, through the fortress ruins and down into the town’s marina.
Travel, Widder UK Tour 2014

Flashback Friday: London Mini Manor

This week got away from me so I’m throwing you a brief #flashbackfriday instead of my usual (as of late) #throwbackthursday. But life is happening! Things are slowly falling into place! And speaking of places, here’s a tour of the Airbnb we stayed at during our stint in London, the London Mini Manor.

The Details

  • Renters: Sarah and Axel
  • Location: Bayswater (helluva convenient as it’s a 10 minute walk from Paddington Station, 4 tube stations–Bayswater, Royal Oak, Lancaster Gate, Queensway–5 lines–Central, Bakerloo, District, Hammersmith & City, Circle–and Hyde Park with a variety of supermarkets, shops and restaurants also nearby)
  • Space: inviting entrance hall, quirky and cozy living room, comfortable bedroom plus a full modern kitchen and bathroom (London Mini Manor is perfect for 3 guests; my parents took the bedroom and I slept on the daybed)
  • Amenities: freshly laundered essential linens and towels, basic bathroom toiletries and complimentary coffee and tea in the kitchen (not to mention a dishwasher, microwave oven, espresso machine and washer-dryer). There isn’t a television, but we didn’t have a problem with that as we were touring most of the day and could check up on things with our wireless devices as Wi-Fi is provided. Besides, there are stacks of literary works on the window sill to get lost in.

My parents and I had a wonderful three days staying in this flat. We enjoyed leisurely breakfasts, spent quality time playing games and conversing late into the night and were able to do a quick load of wash before heading off to Scotland. By living, eating, shopping, getting around like a local, we became acclimated to London faster than we would have staying in a hotel (which made it that much harder to leave). Sarah was a knowledgable, reliable, excellent host that made our experience that much more enjoyable. I would, without a doubt, stay at the London Mini Manor ten times over. I actually wouldn’t even mind moving in. 😉

Travel, Widder UK Tour 2014

Throwback Thursday: London No.3

Happy Thursday! It’s overcast in Wisconsin today, slightly similar to our third day in London last year (although it was far more poetic walking through Kensington Gardens in a bit of humid rain than it is staring into a blustery midwestern backyard). The sun in London fought it’s way through and made for a bright afternoon so maybe we’ll get lucky and have some blue skies yet!

Ate and Drank

  • Breakfast: another morning of yogurt and berries in our flat
  • Lunch: a collection of good eats at Borough Market (wild boar tortelloni from La Tua Pasta and an aubergine mozzarella ciabatta sandwich from Gastronomica on Rochester Walk, an olive cheese stick and salted caramel doughnut from Bread Ahead Bakery in Three Crown Square plus a Pimm’s Cup from Cartwright Bros. at Middle Road)
  • Dinner: a quick and tasty thai red curry from SIAM Eatery on Wellington Street in Convent Garden
  • Nightcap: an iced latte from Ca’puccino on the ground floor of Harrods

Saw and Did

  • Kensington Palace (we took ourselves on a self-guided tour of the palace exploring the gardens, the King’s staircase, gallery and state apartments as well as the Queen’s state apartments and featured exhibits: Victoria Revealed, exploring Queen Victoria’s life through outfits, personal objects and her journals plus Fashion Rules, dresses from the collections of Her Majesty the Queen, Princess Margaret and Diana, Princess of Wales. (But you better hurry, this spectacular fashion collection is only on display until Summer 2015!))
  • We split up our afternoon in Convent Garden; my mom and I did some window shopping around the area–although we did splurge on a box of Ladurée macarons–while my dad paid a visit to the London Transport Museum
  • Our evening was spent getting lost in Harrods (and quite literally, too! There are so many rooms, floors, tables of delicious handbags, cases of divine diamonds and racks of scrumptious gowns that get you all sorts of turned around)
iAdventure, Wisconsin

iAdventure: Beauty in Bloom

Every spring, the Milwaukee Art Museum hosts a stunning four-day flower festival, Art in Bloom. For the past eight years, regional florists and designers have created picturesque, dramatic, imaginative floral displays inspired by the vast variety of art housed by MAM. While the Collection Galleries are currently off display because of MAM’s renovation project,  the featured exhibition–Inspiring Beauty, 50 Years of Ebony Fashion Fair–was the influential source. I’d been meaning to attend this event for years but never seemed to get myself over to it. This year, however, I finally did. It was a wonderful experience and a warming, colorful way to welcome the upcoming change of seasons.












“I must have flowers, always and always.” (Claude Monet)

Travel, Widder UK Tour 2014

Throwback Thursday: London No.2

The Widder UK Tour of 2014 continues! Day Two in London brought us to graffiti-ridden streets, the Old Spitalfields Market, a brief visit to the Tate Modern , a stroll along the Southbank and meanderings through arcades and alleyways.

Ate and Drank

  • Breakfast: greek yogurt, strawberries, blueberries and granola picked up from the Waitrose near our AirBnb plus french press coffee
  • Lunch: a chicken, leek and ham pie with a side of pea, bean and mint salad and sweet potato mash from Square Pie at Old Spitalfields
  • Dinner: peri-peri chicken with spicy rice and a mixed leaf salad at Nando’s on Stamford Street (Silly, I know, but I had my tastebuds set on trying Nando’s while in the UK. Luckily my parents were willing to try it with me!)

Saw and Did

  • Oliver Bonas on Brushfield Street (I am crazy about the fun, quirky and eccentric stylings of OB’s fashion, accessories and housewares. If only I had a bigger suitcase, or I could carry infinite bags..)
  • Collectif Clothing on Brushfield Street (Collectif is an adorable independent retailer in the UK that sells Forties and Fifties vintage reproductions in a variety of sizes and styles. My mom got the cutest navy blue dress with white polka dots.)
  • Inspitalfields on Lamb Street
  • Cath Kidston Flagship on Piccadilly
  • Festival of Love on the Southbank (We stumbled into this while trying to find the Nando’s we went to for dinner. The art, exhibitions, activities and outdoor art installations explored the many different facets of human love. Good news: the love’s coming back June-September 2015!)
  • National Theatre‘s Watch This Space Festival at St. John’s and Waterloo (Bright colored birds with arrows on their bellies posted around the Waterloo roundabout led us to a quaint little park beside St. John’s church. Lunchtime music and evening shows take place here and even though we missed out on seeing any performances, the mosaic garden provided a lovely stroll.)
Travel, Widder UK Tour 2014

Throwback Thursday: London No.1

We had a few glorious end-of-winter days not too long ago. They’re somewhat uncharacteristic of Wisconsin in March, but had me reminiscing of the three-week holiday my parents and I took mid-summer last year: the Widder UK Tour of 2014. I’ve been squirrelling away photos from our trip for months on my external hard drive; it’s high time they’re shared and enjoyed!

Ate and Drank

Saw and Did

  • We landed at London Heathrow, rode the Tube to Paddington Station and dropped our luggage off at our Hallfield Estate AirBnB flat.
  • We bought tickets for the The Original Tour and spent the day hopping on and off double-decker buses (and even a river cruise boat) to see and explore Trafalgar Square, Picadilly Circus, St. Paul’s Cathedral, Tower Bridge, the Tower of London, Parliament (Elizabeth Tower + Big Ben), Westminster Abbey and more!

Get ready for a series of Throwback Thursday posts! Here’s hoping our memories of England and Scotland will get us through this change of seasons.

Life, Travel, Wisconsin

Travel: Door County

BRR! The only thing this winter chill has me thinking about is how much I miss complaining about the summer heat. And spending warm weekends in Door County with some of my favorite people. Last summer, a bunch of us piled in a car and made the three-hour journey to the tip of Wisconsin’s thumb for several days of blissful escapism while beach and winery hopping. (Today, we’re piling onto this blog post for several minutes of blissful escapism while memory hopping.)

The Details:

“One must maintain a little bit of summer even in the middle of winter.” (H.D. Thoreau)