Sunday, July 29, 2012

London Recap!

Big Ben. It was rainy. ;)
I thought I would share a few photos and give you a recap of our trip! I know I've already talked to some of you about it, but I know others are still curious. I put up a bunch of photos on Facbook, so I'm not going to put up an excessive amount, but I couldn't resist putting some up. :)

So, we landed in London at 6:30ish AM. The first day or so we were so TIRED, but we still had so much fun. It is a very charming city, and I would like to go back to enjoy it more when I am not so exhausted. After getting through security and customs and all of that, we took the Heathrow Express (which, I like to call the Hogwarts Express. But not when I was in London, I promise) to Paddington Station. Our hotel was nearish to Paddington, but it was a good 15 or 20 minute hike and it was raining. Let's just say this was one of the few tense moments we had on our trip. ;)

Once we got our stuff dropped off, we were STARVING so we got some breakfast at a resturant on our way back to Paddington to go exploring. The food was so-so, but I did discover apparently it is a very British thing to have kidney beans on toast for breakfast. I did not try it. ;) Our next stop was the Tower of London.

There was so much History at the Tower of London. It was nuts! I don't have too many pictures of our visit there, simply because it was quite dark and all the cool places did not allow pictures. Let me just say the Crown Jewels are worth the price of admission... they were so beautiful! Some of those jewels were bigger than my head. That's only a slight exaggeration. Very very cool. It was also cool seeing Tower Bridge with the Olympic Rings on them. You'll probably see it multiple times over the next couple of weeks. ;)

London Eye
After the Tower of London, we just walked down the Thames for a long time. We saw a couple Bridges, shops, restaurants. We did lots of just walking while we were there. It's a great way to see the city! Then we went back to the hotel to grab a shower and get ready for dinner. After dinner we hit the London Eye.

Our next day in London we had breakfast and shared a table with a complete stranger. But I guess that's normal in Europe. It wasn't the only time this happened! We had a bike tour scheduled for our second day in London, but unfortunately we missed it due to a hiccup trying to find it in Waterloo station. So our plan B was to head up to the theatre to buy Phantom of the Opera tickets and do some more exploring of that area of London. Then we went ate lunch at a very yummy pub and hit Westminster Abbey.
Sausage and Mash. Doesn't get much more British than this.


 We couldn't take pictures in the Abbey, but it was beautiful. My favorite church we went to the whole trip. They stopped every hour on the hour to recite a prayer from the prayer book. During the prayer everyone had to stop and be silent. It was just neat because there was still reverence there, unlike a lot of other churches we went on this trip. After touring the Abbey we did some shopping on Oxford street, grabbed some Afternoon Tea. After a short break to get ready, we saw Phantom of the Opera at Her Majesty's Theatre. It was AWESOME.

Our last day in London we were able to reschedule our bike tour. It was wonderful! I have so many great shots from the tour, so I hope you can go see all of them on Facebook, but here are some of my favorites:

The London Eye

Changing of the Guard

Buckingham Palace

St. Paul's Cathedral

The Millennium Bridge (with St. Paul's Cathedral in the background)
British Museum
 After our tour we ended our last day of London at the British Museum.
They had some of the Olympic Gold medals on display. So cool to see that part of Olympic history. 
Overall London was excellent. We had a ton of fun and look forward to going there again. It's hard to pick a favorite thing that we did but I think seeing Phantom was way up there for me. So was Westminster Abbey. Please ask questions if I didn't do a good job explaining or you're curious. I love talking about the trip.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Parisian Style File

 The trip was fantastic. Really. I loved every moment of it. I wish I could be there still. Here is a Style File I shot in Paris. I'll do another post about each city with a few of my favorite pictures. But for now Enjoy!

This is the Arc De Triomphe. It has a wonderful view of the city. One of a few great views.
 While in Paris I wore a lot of dresses because they're easy and flats because they're comfortable. We walked A TON so comfy shoes are a must. But Europeans don't wear trainers, and we kind of wanted to blend in a bit...
 That bag is actually my camera bag. Best purchase I could have made. It doubled as my purse and also carried my camera. I really wanted something that looked like a purse because I didn't want something that screamed "HEY HERE IS AN EXPENSIVE CAMERA YOU SHOULD STEAL IT".
I also wore a lot of sweaters because London and Pairs were a bit on the chilly side. It was great!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Why I Almost (but didn't) Read "50 Shades of Grey"

Ok, here's the thing about this post: it is not meant to judge anyone who has read the book or will read the book. Just a collection of thoughts on it.

A lot of people I know have read it. It's become a bit of a cultural phenomenon. I was curious. I've heard it's terribly written and that it's utter trash. So why does everyone keep reading it? Surely there has to be something interesting about it. So, I even went so far as to put the Kindle version of the book in my cart and download it. In fact, I thought I had downloaded it, but it turned out I didn't actually click the button. I knew going into it that this book was not your everyday Harlequin Romance; that it was a bit more than that. After a good friend of mine asked an important question, I decided I would opt out of reading it. That question she asked was, "Why on earth would you subject yourself to that?" That's a very good question.

As a woman, why would I subject myself to that? The book is about a young, virginal, niave, and inexperienced girl who enters into a contract to essentially be a sex slave to a much older, very rich man. He essentially emotionally (and I think sometimes even physically) abuses her. I've read many reviews of the book and I noticed three things. First, the book doesn't seem to actually have any sort of love or commitment (aside from this alleged contract). I am of the opinion that any contract like this is unhealthy (even though I know some people in that lifestyle would vehemently disagree with me; but that's my opinion on it), but it is especially unhealthy when there is no underlying trust or love present. Second, why does the main character see this as OK? Why do readers see this as a grand romantic gesture? This is the same issue I have with Twilight: Edward is manipulative and creepy (watching Bella sleep? weird. Having to restrain himself from draining her whole body of blood? very creepy.) but it's seen as completely normal behavior. Ladies, if a man is actually like that in any way shape or form... that should be a HUGE RED FLAG. A great relationship does not start with one or the other part of the couple having control of the other person.

As a Christian and as a wife, why would I subject myself to that? Erotica is the same thing as pornography. This book, and tons and tons of other books, movies, and television shows, make sex into something very cheap. It's just something people do; sometimes without even any commitment or intention of loving the other person. I believe that is a gross misuse of sexuality. I believe God intended sexuality to be expressed between a husband and a wife, joyfully and without baggage. Pornography and erotica, in my opinion, simply invite outside thoughts, addictions, and images into your bedroom. That doesn't allow for sexuality in marriage to thrive or be exclusive or bring glory to the Creator of sexuality. Marriage should be protected at all costs, and a big part of that is guarding your sexuality. One of the vows I made to my husband was to "keep myself for you only". That includes what I put into my mind.

I'm just really curious as to why this has become such a cultural phenomenon? Why are women everywhere so interested in this? 

Again, if you chose to read the book I do not think less of you or think you're somehow a terrible person. I'm just sharing where my heart is on the matter, that's all. :)