Asheville . Charleston . New River Gorge // Labor Day Weekend

Art & I headed on an 11-hour road trip Labor Day weekend to Charleston, South Carolina making a stop in Asheville, NC and Chimney Rock on the way. Asheville was the cutest city, tucked away in the mountains, and full of delicious southern cooking and craft breweries like Wicked Weed that made my beer geek fiance Art ridiculously excited. We then spent a few days relaxing on Seabrook Island with some our friends from Carnegie Mellon, and broke up our long drive back with a stop at New River Gorge, WV – which is insanely beautiful! I know I’m all about traveling abroad, but I must say, the US has some pretty spectacular places to see too 🙂

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Obama ate here!

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Fried Oyster Salad & Vanilla Bread Pudding!

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Our luxurious getaway in Charleston DSC_0355

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New River Gorge, WV (taken on iPhone)Processed with VSCOcam with g3 preset

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Iceland // Day One – Reykjavik

Wow, it has been a whirlwind of a month! Between Seattle, New York, shooting and attending weddings, planning Yoga & Yarn, and a promotion, I could not be more grateful but a little overwhelmed with life. To top it off, Art & I got engaged in Iceland! I was completely surprised when he proposed, and it was definitely the icing on the cake of an already wonderful trip.

Iceland is really a photographer’s dream. With so many vast and unique landscapes – waterfalls, glaciers, mountains, volcanoes, beaches – the variety is endless and each thing is more beautiful than the last (to the point where we got very spoiled and started saying “it’s just another waterfall”). There are too many photos to share, so I’m going to blog a day at a time.

We started our journey after a short 4-hour flight from Boston to Reykjavik, the capital city with only  about 100,000 people. We landed at 6am and headed straight to Cafe Loki for some traditional Icelandic food.

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Smoked trout on earth-baked rye bread and dried fish!

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Around Reykjavik…

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Icelandic Fish and Chips!

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After walking around like jet-lagged zombies for a few hours, I was doing dancer’s pose by the bay for a quick photo, when these two ladies walked by and literally yelled “There’s a free yoga class at the Harpa tonight!” Talk about fate and the universe aligning itself. Aarona Pichinson, a teacher from New York, had organized a free class with a small orchestra that was going to happen THAT NIGHT! I was beyond ecstatic, and it was one of the most amazing experiences of my life. Practicing among Icelanders on my first day in a foreign country to beautiful live music…wow. It was really a dream come true! One of those moments where you think about how every single one of your actions leads to something else that is meant to be. #gratitude

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That night, we drove about 40 minutes east of Reykjavik to the middle of nowhere in hopes of seeing the Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights). Skies were clear, and you have to be away from any lights. It was definitely scary, but we pulled off on the side of the road into quietness and nothingness and waited…it was well worth it. I like to think that it was because I channeled the word “aurora” during yoga class that we saw a glimpse…and even managed to capture a shooting star!

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Holy moly, Iceland, you blew our socks off on the first day!

these are a few of my favorite things

So I thought I’d start my first blog post (I know, I’m so late to this social media train) by introducing myself!

5 things I love (other than photography of course):

1. YOGA

I started practicing yoga seriously almost two years ago, and it’s become such a huge part of my life mentally and physically. One of my goals this year is to become a certified yoga teacher so I can help spread and bring to others some of amazing things it’s done for me. More than just the physical poses, yoga is all about learning to control your thoughts and practicing compassion through realizing that all we are all beings in the same universe.

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2. PITTSBURGH
I grew up in the small town of Hershey, PA (Fun Fact – my first summer job was being the Hershey Kiss at Chocolate World), and fell in love with Pittsburgh when I did my undergrad at CMU. Coming from Hershey, I thought Pittsburgh was a “big city,” and was overwhelmed by all the amazing culture, restaurants, neighborhoods, and history. My favorite things about Pittsburgh include the Steelers & Penguins, the Duquesne Incline, and eating my way through the Strip District.

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3. FRENCHIES
I am completely obsessed with getting a white baby French Bulldog one day and just cuddling with it ALL THE TIME. I even have a fake Frenchie dog pillow named Hank (he looks so real doesn’t he?!) That’s Hank with my boyfriend Art. We are currently looking to buy a house so that we can make Hank real!
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4. TRAVELING
“The world is a novel, and those who don’t travel read only a page.” 
I was born in Taiwan, but moved to Alabama (I know what you’re thinking…who the heck lives in Alabama?)  but my whole extended family is still in Asia. I don’t know if that’s why I have such an urge to see the whole world, but I have been over 20 countries and have so many more on my list! A few years ago, I was lucky enough to take a 4 month hiatus and travel all around Europe and Asia which is when I started playing around with my first DSLR. A little blog of my trip here starting from London and ending in the Philippines: Eva’s Fun Times Blog.
Traveling pushes you to be in unfamiliar situations and talk to strangers – both things I happen to love! Next trip: ICELAND in September!
Below: one of my favorite travel photos from the monkey forest in Bali. This was not a zoo, and the monkeys are just free to hang out as they wish, which means jumping on your shoulders and stealing the bananas you are hiding! 
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5. WHEN PEOPLE QUIT THEIR DAY JOBS AND FOLLOW THEIR DREAMS
It sounds so cheesy, but I really am a believer that anything is possible and that life is too short to waste so many hours a day on something you don’t enjoy. Why not love EVERY moment of your life? I have so many friends who are always “working for the weekend,” and don’t think they deserve to be happy ALL THE TIME. We only become good at the things we practice every day, so if you’re practicing something you don’t love, you’re going to be pretty good at it whether you like it or not! What do you want to be GREAT at? Spend more time on that and make your wildest dreams reality.
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