Re-Blog: 7 Ways to Be an Ethical Photographer While Traveling

The following is an incredibly insightful article written by travel expert Julia Austin on Planet Green’s blog.

I happened upon the article while watching recent episodes of Dresscue Me on I hope to write more about Dresscue Me in the future. It’s about a vintage boutique that makes it’s living upcycling out-of-date fashion items!

Anyway, this particular article about travel photography really spoke to me, as it resounded with many of the experiences Josh and I had while in Europe this past winter and spring. We came in contact both with the joy that respectful lifestyle photography can bring and the mistrust that careless photography can cause.

Julia said it best, so I’ll stop babbling and let you enjoy her work.

The best part about a trip might actually be looking at the photos after and sharing the stories behind photos with friends. And taking a photo in today’s world has become extremely simple.
You can take one while you text your friend what time to meet you at a café. But don’t forget—you create a world through your images. Just like you monitor which personal photos you put up on your social media pages like Facebook and Twitter, in order to give what you believe is an accurate and complete depiction of yourself, you must take this same care with photos of others that you take while traveling.

The tiniest camera phone can be snuck into a sacred place. If you wanted to, you could take a photo of just about anything. But, as always, with freedom comes responsibility. Here are a few tips on being a responsible, ethical photographer while traveling.

1. Unless you are at a public performance, parade or somewhere where the individuals expect to be on display, always ASK to take a photo. Sometimes language is a barrier, in which case simply smile, present the camera, make a motion to take a photo and see how the subject responds.

2. It’s tempting to pay your subjects to be in your photo, but this encourages a type of prostitution, so to speak. Individuals in that culture might then offer to pose for photographers in exchange for money, making their ordinary lives look more “photogenic” rather than portraying the reality of it.

3. Try to develop a relationship with an individual or a group. If you can just spend an hour or a week with them, they will grow a trust for you and usually want you to take photos of their life. Also, those photos will be more genuine because the subject is comfortable with you, and feels they are being in your photo, rather than imagining all the websites they may appear on . . .

Read the rest of the article on!

"Stockholm in My Heart"


I know it’s no excuse, but Travel Tuesday has taken a nosedive amidst my efforts to weed through and edit seventy-three billion six hundred and nine kajillion photos of Stockholm, Sweden.

What can I say? The two days Josh and I spent in Stockholm were absolutely magical (despite the fact that I was in the middle of one of the longest and most intense IC flareups of my life. What does that tell you?) Stockholm is one of those places you love to just be. It doesn’t matter what you’re doing. Just taking in all of the colors, the culture, the crowds–it makes the experience worthwhile.

Title is from this fabulous Swedish pop song “Stockholm I Mitt Hjärta.”



This is what the Swedes dress like.

I’m kidding. Of course they don’t 🙂 This was a traditional Swedish festival that was going on downtown right as we arrived in Stockholm. Talk about luck! Josh and I even stopped to pose with a beautiful older couple in traditional garb. Who knows? Maybe this is how their parents dressed when this couple was growing up.

There was also a street dance festival going on while we were in town. What a weekend to pick, huh? There also happened to be a marathon going on. That wasn’t so great. Lots of roads blocked off.

Anyway! The art culture of Sweden is just so vibrant. The crowds that turned up for these dancing street performers where so thick I literally couldn’t get a single picture of the actual dancing! Plan on more than just a handful of posts about architecture, sculpture, decor, and street art out the wazoo.



A guard at the royal palace

Most Swedes practice a daily ritual called fika. While it’s not unusual for the average American to have a cup of coffee in the morning and then head off to work in an office that keeps a pot of coffee on hand, a Swedish office will actually close for about 15 minutes in the mid-morning and again mid-afternoon so that everyone can take a break and fuel up on caffeine and a pastry of some kind.

And I thought the Spaniards were big on coffee!


More gorgeous pics of the most special city in Europe after the jump!


What I Wore: The Great White Way

I realized recently that I haven’t posted What I Wore since coming back form Spain two months ago. You all must have assumed I haven’t been wearing any clothing! Haha 😉

No worries. I haven’t let myself go and become neither a nudist nor a sweatpants-and-Uggs style slacker. Not sure which would be worse . . .

Thrifted sundress, Payless shoes, Charming Charlie clutch, Amish shop watch, necklace gifted from Grandma

Are You Not Entertained?: Comic-Book Heroes and Catharsis

I was planning on posting a review of The Dark Knight Rises after going to watch it with Josh last night. A lot of factors made me begin to feel less than excited about this upcoming project.

Everyone with a keyboard is going to be reviewing the film in the days to come. Won’t people be tired of the hype? 

Do I have anything unique to say? 

In light of the tragic Aurora, CO shooting, how meaningful would a review of the movie really be?

I had almost decided that I just needed to get over myself and power through a detailed review when a friend from my literary and theater circles posted a link to the article Catharsis in a Cape on his Twitter. It was then that I knew that almost anything I had to say about The Dark Knight Rises would be redundant, for this NPR-written title had captured my feelings towards the movie with a single word–


As a former English major, this word is pretty significant to me. In fact, in my mind it’s one of the most powerful marks of good storytelling.

catharsis – n. A release of emotional tension, as after an overwhelming experience, that restores or refreshes the spirit.

I have so much respect for filmmakers, screenwriters, playwrights, and authors who can craft a story fraught with conflict and tension that climaxes at a point so powerful I can hear my pulse pounding in my ears–and then all of that stress comes crashing down on me in a moment of perfect resolution. Such resolution should make an audience feel cleansed, “refreshed.”

I love leaving a theater feeling emptied of myself and full of nothing but story.

I had never before thought of the powerful role that such emotional release could play in society as a whole. Especially in light of the Aurora massacre, I thought this article was a flawlessly eloquent expression of why comic book heroes so powerfully affect the masses and what an impact they have on the emotional development of a culture.

So rather than attempting to restate these profound thoughts, I’m going to just direct you to the well-crafted article on the NPR website.

Enjoy! And I hope you enjoyed the movie as well.

Photo Shoot: Awoken Beauty Part 2

Wow, does anybody even remember Awoken Beauty Part 1? Well, I assure you it was good. ‘Cause I’m not biased or anything.

After weeks of negligence on my part, here is the second half of the photos that resulted from this fairy-tale-inspired shoot with Rachel. For some context on what the idea behind this interesting “bed in the woods” theme we have going on. You can always check out the first post.

I hope these feel even just a little bit magical to you 🙂

More ethereal photos after the jump!

Doesn’t she have amazing eyes?

Awkward and Awesome Thursday: Cray-cray Vacay

Speaking of crazy . . . this is my youngest cousin, an aspiring super villain

Sorry, folks! 

The reason posting has been sparse lately is that Josh and I have been scrambling to get moved into our new apartment (I’m finally settled in. He hasn’t even seen the finished product.) and in the middle of it all, my cousins from Georgia are up for the week. The last thing I want is to be wasting time at my apartment–or on my blog for that matter.


  • Moving into the apartment on a Saturday and not getting any power until Monday. It felt like camping! I almost had to go without coffee in the morning. Roughin’ it.
  • Even after the power got switched on, I couldn’t get the AC to work ON THE HOTTEST RECORD-BREAKING NIGHT OF THE YEAR!
  • My “little” cousins are now taller than me. And giving me workout tips.
  • Speaking of working out, carrying Josh’s and my impressive but heavy book collection into the building one load at a time. Why did I choose to move during family vacation again? I sure haven’t gotten a break!
  • Bathing suits. Head-to-toe lycra would be better than all of the slippage when wet.
  • Jumped into the lake with my lovely watch gifted by the hubby. Still works, but it’s very ironic considering that the lovely bracelet he bought me last year met an end in the same lake.
  • Josh and I can’t for the life of us remember what time our friend’s wedding is this Saturday.


  • Off to Darien Lake with the whole fam today. Minus Josh :-(. That bit’s not awesome.
  • My grandparents celebrating 50 years of marriage with all of their kids and grandkids around 😀
  • Josh drove all the way up to Canandaigua just for the afternoon to attend my grandparents’ anniversary dinner. He is the sweetest! 
  • Legit buying one of every dessert for our table and then decimating them together.
  • My cousins are all so grown up. It’s so good to hang out with them. 
  • Josh might be going to grad school at University of Georgia, a mere twenty minutes from this awesome crew of kids!
  • I think the car is finally fixed!!!!!
  • Free lunch at school. That is the way to a married college student’s heart.
  • Rachel has a sunglasses tan. Baha.
  • Hopefully hitting up The Dark Knight Rises with the hubby this weekend. After the wedding, of course.

Awkward and Awesome Thursday: One for the Money

Does this look like a rehearsal to you?


  • The above awkward pic is not from this week. It is from three years ago. (Wow, that long?)
  • I have posted this ill-timed image because I have spent this week missing Messiah College theatre so very very much.
  • Poor Josh fell at work and really bruised up the old tailbone. Guess he won’t be much use helping us move 😦
  • Our lovely Camry is dying! So many memories in one little car. So little money to buy a new one . . .
  • My body trying to doze off while driving to work early in the morning. So scary!
  • Direct (and completely serious) quote from Josh’s foreign doctor at the ER after hearing Josh say that his butt hurt: “Do you have chronic butt problems?”
  • $1400 per person owed to the US government for health insurance. Thanks, Obama! You are the reason we can’t afford a new car.
  • The start of school is still so far away!

  • We’re moving this Saturday! Into an apartment with central air! And a dishwasher!
  • Everything’s packed up in bags and boxes. Beast!
  • Salisbury steak. One of the few foods that still tastes good in TV dinner form.
  • The Amazing Spiderman in 3D! A great reboot. Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone have so much chemistry and totally have the awkward high-schooler thing down. I also have the world’s biggest crush on Rhys Ifans.
  • Possible fashion journalism internship. Happy dance. Nervous twitching.
  • Hopefully going to see some friends in what looks like a great production of Spring Awakening this weekend.
  • Homemade screen-print t-shirts. So easy, but so creative 🙂 Expect a DIY post soon!
  • My academic adviser <3. Love you, Dr. Mrs!
  • This performance from So You Think You Can Dance tonight. Oh. My. Gosh. I couldn’t breathe. You must watch! It’s freakin’ “Unchained Melody!”

“Skippin’ Like a Stone” (Keuka Lake)

The houseboat roof was so small I couldn’t get my shadow out of the pic!

It never ceases to amaze me how being confined to a slightly claustrophobic floating cereal box in the middle of a body of water can make you feel more free than you’ve ever been. I just love the Finger Lakes and the time our family has spent on them over the years. I can think of nowhere better to celebrate Independence Day.

The only thing that could have made it better would have been if Josh had come with us 😦

Title is from “Independence” by The Band Perry

Some photos of mind-blowing aquatic acrobatics after the jump!!!

The Half-Submerged Pike Dive
The Cousin’s Splash Avoidance Maneuver
The Lady of Shalott
The Twisty Frog
The Happy Sea Otter
The 180 “Use Your Noodle”
I don’t know what to call this, but she’s obviously blasting fire out of her hair
The Urkel
The Cheerleader

Awkward and Awesome Thursday: Red, White, and Blue

I got the above adorable package from ModCloth in the mail on Tuesday. Several weeks ago, I had made a $15 purchase on ModCloth called “A Stylish Surprise.” I entered my size and my credit card information and his “Confirm Order.”

I had no idea what I was ordering.

That’s the whole point! ModCloth did this amazing “Stylish Surprise” promotion to get people more excited about their lesser-known products. Most people, including me, seemed to think they only sold (gorgeously unique) indie dresses. The clincher for me was, buyers were promised a surprise product valued anywhere between $30 and $700. Worst case scenario, I get $15 off a $30 item. Best case, I get a whole lot more bang for my buck!

And I did! This is the gorgeous plaid pea coat ModCloth sent me. The arms are actually the right length for me. That never happens!

So all that to say, definitely one of the more awesome things that happened this week.

  • Dangit, can’t wear my new coat until winter!
  • I still get nightmares and then can’t get back to sleep when I’m staying down in my grandparents’ basement.
  • There are no books to process here at work today. Internet surfing for six hours? Meh. Not so much.
  • Torrential rains on the highway. Four-ways on, everyone! I can’t see a flippin’ thing!
  • I still can’t believe I watch The Bachelorette . . .
  • First world problems: Found out we were out of sugar in the break room after I poured my coffee, lol.

  • Dude, I don’t think you understand how awesome this coat is. It’s red, white, and blue and everything! Just in time for the Fourth!
  • Speaking of the Fourth, a blissful afternoon spent on my uncle’s houseboat with beloved family.
  • It feels so good having my cousin back from Japan. Having him here for Independence Day was really meaningful.  Hopefully we can hang out again soon before he heads back.
  • Wegmans red, white, and blue bread. Try it! It makes breakfast taste like fireworks 😀
  • Mom and Dad finalized their house purchase! They have a house to move into up here! Yaaaayy!
  • Speaking of moving, got all of my crap in the basement sorted and into boxes for our move into our schmexy new apartment next Saturday. Like a boss!

"I Joined the Navy to See the World" (Okinawa, Japan)

Cody and his mom’s side of the family

This week’s Travel Tuesday is very special and a but odd since Josh and I are not the people doing the traveling these days. I’m sure you guessed that I’m not the one who joined the Navy, haha.

My cousin Cody, on the other hand (who I have not seen in over a year), has been on active duty for the US Navy in Okinawa, Japan. Talk about culture shock! I’m sure Europe was nothing compared to what Cody dealt with and will continue to deal with on a daily basis over in Japan. He doesn’t even really like sushi from what I remember . . .

Anyway, he is officially home with us for just over three weeks! And just in time for Independence Day!

I wrote about Cody and my other military family members in a post last Fourth of July explaining my feelings on the US military. I took the post down not because it was controversial, but because it wasn’t true to my “art and lifestyle” focus of the Nine to Phive blog. Anyway, my conclusion was that while I’ll never condone warfare, I genuinely believe it to be a necessary evil.

I am blessed beyond words that there are people in America like my cousin who can handle the pressure of carrying on their shoulders a nation of people who need protection but who so often either forget or refuse to say thank you.

Code, I know you didn’t want to go to Japan, but I’m so proud of you for doing your duty with a good attitude and making the best of this big adventure.

It’s so good to have you home.



My dad has an interesting relationship with all of my cousins