Blog Posts

Back in a New York Groove.

December, 2017

New York City streets feel alive under your boots and every day was a series of stops and starts with the hustle and bustle of life in fast forward. This is the norm in NYC. This is life in one of the largest cities on the planet and my third trip here. I love the change of pace, the cultural epicenter of the world at my finger tips, and a savory feast for my eyes around every corner.

Arriving in mid-December, NYC is a magical winter wonderland kind of Christmas town. Strolling down 5th Avenue to Rockefeller center on our first night, I had to see the largest Christmas tree in the city and later, headed across the street to Saks Fifth Avenue’s window displays of Disney’s animatronic Snow White and the Seven Dwarves. It completely conjured up my childish butterflies of sheer joy and excitement. It could turn the biggest Scrooge into a rosy-cheeked, perma-grinned, Christmas-loving, caroling freak in no time. It was truly a magical experience. This was also my first experience to the Statue of Liberty, which was to say the least, an emotional one. She was magnificent. The perfect patina goddess of Liberty welcoming our ancestors to the land of the free. My great-great Austrian born grandfather was one of those people, which set the course of history for everyone in my family and like many, many others. The days filled with more adventures in East Village, NYU campus, and Washington Square. I could almost hear the protesters and the sounds of the acoustic, folk masterpieces of Dylan during the Vietnam era. I walked across the Brooklyn Bridge with “No Sleep Till Brooklyn” by the Beastie Boys on repeat playing in my head and found a big, red apple sitting on the rail. It was pun-tactic. So much history, so much culture, so much to soak in and surely not enough time. Everyday was like taking a breath and going for it. It’s a sink or swim kind of town and only the strong can survive it, but that’s life in the big city. You may feel like a pro at life just walking down the street or figuring out the hieroglyphs of a subway station map, but that’s only the beginning. New York City is a city of dreams and of new beginnings. It’s a thrill getting lost deep into the streets of this concrete jungle, only to find yourself again.

Down in New Orleans

October, 2017

New Orleans. One of my favorite cities on the planet. Every year, I make an extra effort to see different places and experience new things, but NOLA always draws me back in. There is something so magical about this city and I feel like my senses are on fire the moment I arrive. The people and the surrounding different sections of the city are like microcosms of their own culture and yearly celebrations from Mardi Gras to the Po-Boy festival, always give a reason to party. New Orleans magnificent history is mesmerizing and the positive vibe I feel when I am there, always puts a huge smile on my face. Some people may disagree with the city’s hedonistic fashion or call it cursed, but I love every ounce of its reputation whether it’s considered good or bad… bring it on.

My favorite time of year is Halloween and there is no better place to be during the most haunting season of the year than the mysterious city of New Orleans. It is known for its history of Voodoo, witchcraft, and dark lore and the city encapsulates a supernatural semblance about it to a point that you can almost feel. My camera is on autopilot, developing a mind of its own capturing so many beautiful shots from the historical architecture, the people, and the food, that it’s easy to lose myself through the view finder. During Halloween, there is a vast array of events, but the best is the Krewe de Boo Halloween parade. It is a must-see event filled with different participating “Krewes” with their extravagant floats and costumes. It’s like a smaller version of Mardi Gras and I always leave with a bag full of candy, beads, and souvenir cups.  I also enjoy just walking around the city because every day, there is always something new to explore. This year, I participated in a walking tour and I got to visit the beautiful St. Louis Cemetary No.1. It was truly amazing and it made me fall deeper in love with the city, I already cherish. The Big Easy will always be in my heart and I’m hoping to be lucky enough to return soon, but I’m guessing it won’t be soon enough!

Lonestar Round-Up, Travis County Expo Center in Austin, Texas April 6-7th

This weekend the grounds of the Travis County Expo center were slammed with a colorful array of hot rods, pin-up babes, greasers, and cool cats running wild at the 17th annual Lonestar Round-Up. Chop tops, Deuces, and customs were a feast for my senses as the smell of gasoline and burned rubber filled the air. Jumping sporadically by the occasional engine revving and tire peel-out, I realized I was in hot rod heaven. The originality and creative power that these cars possess were pure works of art with exceptional detail. I could hardly put my camera down as I sifted through the rows of cars, fascinated and excited by the next. Being the music junkie that I am, I took a break from the cars and I went to check out the band. I managed to push through the crowd to the stage for some old school 60s-style, rock-and-roll by the Woggles. I was moved by the seasoned feel behind their whole style and look. These guys nailed the sound of an era. I loved it.

Moving along to the expo center, I had to gaze over and control my wallet by the numerous vendors selling everything from hats, jewelry, vintage car parts, cool T-shirts, vintage dresses, and leather goods. I also loved the local vendor’s custom gear shift knobs with everything from skulls to rat heads.  It made me miss the days having a manual transmission, but I’m sure most of these gear shifts would have reached the ceiling of my Toyota Corolla back in the day, but oh well, at least I would have looked ridiculously cool shifting. Closing out towards the end of the day, I made my rounds and snapped a few more pictures to chronicle the memory of another awesome year at the  Lonestar Roundup. I will be back again next year, admiring the next round of vintage cars, still wishing I was a hot rod Betty cruising the streets in my black and red Bel Air.

~ Stephanie Ford ❤

April 7th, 2017

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