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let’s build a snowman: five things today’s snowfall taught me.

“Emily: We can’t just throw him out in the snow.
Walter: Why not? He loves the snow. He’s told me 15 times.”
–from the film, Elf

1. Never say never. “Does it snow where you’re from?” many British colleagues and friends asked me before I left London for home. I assured them I’m from Virginia Beach and besides the freak occurrence of last winter’s Snowpocalypse, we never get snow. Maybe a few flurries that get the weathermen all in a tizzy, but nothing note-worthy. Even yesterday, my grandmother worried our breakfast plans for Monday would be put off because of forecasted snow. “Let the snow fall first,” I assured her, “And then we’ll deal with it.” Well, darn if she wasn’t right. We woke up today to yet another epic snowfall, a few inches at first and now measuring well over a foot.

2. My brother is the coolest. Earlier in the day, he went outside wearing shorts, knee-high blue soccer socks, and hiking boots. He rang the door and when I asked him what he was doing, he replied, “Just browsing.” I could tell he was thinking how weird it is, now that we’re older, to not be racing outside at the first sign of snow.  Then, sometime later this afternoon, he came downstairs looking like a terrorist (I know that’s not exactly PC), black mask pulled down over his face, only his eyes and nose uncovered. “Where are you going?” my dad asked, to which my brother answered, “Gonna build a snowman.” But of course, right?

3.  I’m still a kid at heart. I was pretty content to spend the day indoors, warm and toasty by the fireplace, but I knew I couldn’t let my brother have all the fun. I pulled on old clothes, tall boots, and a winter cap and trailed outside after him. We quickly devised a strategy, using buckets and boogie boards to transport snow from the backyard to the front–keeping the front yard relatively pristine except for a trench through a foot or so of snow to our “construction site.” An hour and a half later, our snowman was complete–mullet and all.

4. Skiwear is unbelievably warm. My winter wardrobe often errs on the side of impractical, my jackets never sufficient on their own, leading me to wear layer (after layer) of various sweaters and hoodies. I did the same today, but pulled on an extra proper winter jacket of my brother’s on top. “You’re wearing the one with naked women on it?” my mother asked, having never been a fan of the soccer brand, Kappa. Scandalous or not, the jacket proved warmer than I’m used to and just what I needed to keep me going outside.

5. Snow isn’t as exciting to today’s kids as it used to be. Although the prospect of a snow day doesn’t seem to be going out of style anytime soon, I was amazed at how quiet our suburban street was…all day. Only once did I see two kids playing outside, and that was for a mere fifteen minutes or so. Gone are the days, apparently, of spending all day romping around in the snow, insufficiently dressed, red-cheeked and wide-eyed with wonder. My brother and I spent the day reminiscing about the snow days of our childhood and for a few moments, it felt like no time had passed at all. Our beloved mother even had hot chocolate (with marshmellows, of course!) waiting for us on the stove inside.

Does it get any better than that?

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Filed under Photography

the magic of multimedia.

A couple of months ago, I posted a blog titled “Sunset in the Suburbs.” It told the story of a particularly striking sunset here in the suburbs of Suffolk, Virginia – a sunset that got me thinking about how I view the world around me. I began to recall the sunsets I’d seen throughout my travels thus far and, moreover, the stories behind them. I was drawn to the way the sun seems to have no prejudice towards what exactly it’s illuminating. You can see a great sunset anywhere.

So when I got the idea for a new media project, I turned to the subject of suburban sunsets for my first theme. When my mom hosted an event last Saturday, the videographer took one of the songs I’d performed there live and used it for the opening of the event’s DVD. Seeing the artistic shots he’d taken before the event started set to my music was a bit of an epiphany.

Any fledgling travel writer is constantly looking for their niche, their unique angle and story to tell, and for me, I’ve been searching for a way to incorporate my other loves into my writing – namely, music and photography. Seeing the DVD with a song I’d written playing over the film, I got the idea to do the same with places I’ve travelled to – with the mind of a travel writer, to tell a story with original photographs and music I’ve written. Videos like this one by World Hum’s Eva Holland have inspired me – even if I don’t plan on winning an Oscar for Best Documentary anytime soon, one perk of owning a Mac is at least being able to take advantage of the relative ease of programs like iMovie and GarageBand.

But without further ado, the video:

“Sunset in the Suburbs”

Home’s not known for catching me off-guard

It’s those far-off places that move my heart

It took a sunset in the suburbs

To open up my eyes to the idea

That there is beauty in between the lines

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