Monthly Archives: August 2013

Self Portrait: ‘To the Music’

Another Saturday is upon us and that means it is another edition of Self Portrait Saturday. This is a reflective piece about my current view of life.  A portrait of myself inspired by my father’s view of living life and enjoying life to its fullest.  We are inherently never in full control. We can no sooner control life’s outcomes than we can control the weather.  Sometimes this lack of control can cause people to try to control people around them.  Be it to modify their world views or force people into the same mold of how they envision life should be.  Feeling we cannot control our situations some people are quick to judge others around them or point out every moment where something is out of place, not right, or goes wrong.  Life should not be forced. Nor burdened under the weight of guilt passed on from one to the next.  Life should be full of passion. We may not be able to control the song, but we can choose to dance.
Self Portrait ‘To the Music’ by Bonnie Rose Photography © 2007 – 2013 All Rights Reserved | 

I try to do one every week and post on a Saturday. 

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* Photography belongs to Bonnie Rose Photography © 2007 – 2013 All Rights Reserved | 

Exciting News: The Theatre

It has been so much fun recapping our 10th Anniversary trip to Wales with all of you and I am not even half way complete with this series of posts.  There is still the whole Vow Renewal that I have yet to share and it is coming, I promise. :) If you have been loving my Wales post make sure to visit my Belinda who is an expat living in Wales. 
However I have been sitting on some really good news for about a month now that in light of my summer holiday and travels keep forgetting to mention.  I woke up this morning and decided it was about time I mentioned it on my blog.  
f r o m   B o n n i e   R o s e

If you have been a reader for a while you are familiar with my Weekly Wishes posts that I do through the Nectar Collective blog link up.  One of my Weekly Wishes was to get back into the theatre.  I basically grew up in community theatres and drama classes through my nomadic childhood in Europe. It was my one constant through all the change and new beginnings.  That let me to be a theatre major at Uni where I met my husband in the theatre department.  Basically since giving birth to my first born I have not done any theatrical performances. So this summer, after being motivated by my friend Amanda, I went on my first two auditions in over eight years! I also went to a theatre bbq with one of the drama groups here in Bath, England.  It was great just be back around theatre people and to know they are just as extroverted as theatre people in America.  It was like finding my niche.  I do have one friend here in Bath so far, another expat and the other ‘American’ in my village. Since I have been working from home I have not met a whole lot of other people so far. Which was another pull to get back into the theatre scene.  Before I digress to far let me get to my exciting news!
I got a call while I was in Wales from the director of the Cinderella Panto that I auditioned for a week before we left on our trip.  I got offered a part! There are three princesses that are vying for the heart of Prince Charming (think the Bachelorette meets a Miss America pageant) and I got offered the role of Princess Carolina.  I auditioned saying I would accept a chorus position because I just really wanted to be involved.  So the fact that I got a part with lines is really exciting and it is a very fun character to play.  Plus I auditioned using my american accent and looks like I will be playing it that way too. I used to go to the Pantos with my dad when I was a young girl growing up in England. It is one of those culture and holiday things specific to England.  It just means so much that my first role back in the theatre is in a panto.  I know my dad would be so excited for me.  Ryan has yet to go to his first panto, so it looks like it might be seeing me in January in Cinderella here in Bath. Thank you to everyone for your well wishes and support through the audition process! 
I would love to introduce you to my sponsor featured today, Karis, from Little Black Suitcase. First off I really like about Karis is her style of traveling.  She definitely comes across as someone I would jet around the world with to satisfy my endless list of Wanderlust. I was so happy to have Little Black Suitcase on my side bar because it is the perfect blog for planning any adventure.  Need a place to stay? Great! Check out the listings of places she has found and those that she has stayed at herself.  Half the fun of going away is planning the trip itself and she makes as fun as shopping for the the holiday wardrobe.  Do not just take my word for it, check out the Latest Places on Little Black Suitcase for your travel inspiration! 
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Recommended reads from Karis:

We Took the Road Less Traveled

*photography by Bonnie Rose Photography © 2007 – 2013 All Rights Reserved | 

Photography: The Spitting Caves of Hawaii

For today’s throwback photography post we head to the exquisite Spitting Caves found on Oahu, Hawaii. My model for this shoot was Tasha Woodfall, my make up artist Melissa Hurley, with hair and photography by myself. While the three of us had not all worked together before I had been Tasha’s hair & make up artist on shoots with two different photographers and Melissa and I worked together frequently during our time on the island. We tailgated at the parking lot of a near by Starbucks to do hair and makeup before heading to the Spitting Caves. I had seen this place in photographs before and as one of the sets used on LOST, but this was my first time seeing it for myself. While it is nice to location scout before hand, walking out here was like taking a child to a candy store. My eyes were wide open as my head looked around and my mind thinking of all the shots I wanted to get while we were there. While we did have to work around a few tourists that showed up during our shooting, we pretty much had the location for ourselves. I just adore the way the layers of the rock shone beneath the sun, the colour of the ocean, and the way the water did ‘spit up’ against the caves. It was on my list of places to shoot before I moved and I could not have asked for a better team that morning. I hope you enjoy! 

Q: Have you ever been to the Spitting Caves? Have you ever been Cliff Diving? 
(I ask because that is one thing I have never done before)

*Photography belongs to Bonnie Rose of Bonnie Rose Photography © 2007 – 2013 All Rights Reserved | 

Cadair Idris

True Colours

I am linking up today with Casey from True Colours for the travel series: Wanderlust.  The theme for August is Natural Wonders and I continue our recap of our trip to Wales with a sneak peek of our mountain hike. We stayed in the town of Dolgellau in Gwynedd for our 10th Wedding Anniversary.   Dolgellau is located next to the mountain Cadair Idris in the southern end of Snowdonia National park. The famous peak on Cadair Idris is a popular location with many paths from which to choose from to get there.

The day before our hike my husband and I had prepared our boys for the trek with a stop at the local sporting store in town for hiking boots.  While there we talked to the store keeper about which path to take to the top.  He told us of two ways: one easy path and one more challenging trail.  On the day of during our hike we got to the point where we had to choose either the longer easier path or the ‘shorter’ more challenging path.  Since we take our sons, six and eight, on regular country walks in England we decided we could bypass the easy way.  
Our journey took us up the grassy sides of the mountain, through a trail of rocks and boulders, pass rock formations created by the passing of a glacier, and next to crystal clear lakes and rocky streams.  All of which were frequented by sheep, which became a common sight through out our ten hour hike. 
While the path we chose was more challenging than the easy path which our trail met up with eventually, it was nothing compared to the way back down.  Imagine making your way down a steep trail where your feet constantly have to secure their footing on the loose rocks before taking your next step. However it was all worth it to make it to the top peak with my husband and sons.  To be so high up that the clouds practically touched our heads, to see the towns so small below, and see as far out as the ocean where it met the land.  

My Wanderlust for Wales has only deepened since our journey. This is Cadair Idris.  Our first mountain to climb with our boys, and the first to many more to come. Both for hikes and for upcoming photographs from our time in Wales.
*Bonnie Rose Photography © 2007 – 2013 All rights reserved |

Travel, Beach, and Sandcastles

Another Edition of Travel Tuesday with my cohost Belinda and I decided I wanted to skip forward in my recap of Wales and share with you one of the reasons I love going to the beach.  My family loves going to the beach.  From the west coast of Monterey, to the island of Oahu in Hawaii, to Seaside Heights at the Jersey shore on the East coast, to across the pond to pebble beaches of Brighton, and now over to the beaches in Wales.  It is all about being near the ocean, smelling the salt in the air, and enjoying our time at the seaside.  
We ended up going to the beach twice during our week in Wales which made me conclude that I could easily come back every year just to spend two whole weeks at the beach.  Honestly my sons would be quite happy about that.  With everything we did in New Jersey last Summer, some which were not that cheap, they preferred the free visits to the beach the most.  One of their favourite things to do, well after running into the ocean to body surf a million times, is to build sandcastles.  Last year they had an amazing time with Nonna using all the neat buckets and shovels for sandcastle building.  There is just now limit when it comes to creativity and will power.
While we were in Wales I was inspired by two builds from other patronages of the beach.  Though not big and intricate, they were simple and beautiful.  The first because the kids who had built it took the time to bring little flags for which to decorate the castle.  They even had the Welsh flag with the dragon on it.  The second was a speedboat because what could be a better setting for one than the beach? 

The folks at Woolacombe Bay Holiday Parks put together a lovely infographic about The World of Sandcastles and Sand sculptures.   It is all part of a Sandcastle building competition where you can take part, send in a photo, and win a holiday at one of their four holiday parks for up to six people!

Infographic presented by Woolacombe Bay Holiday Parks
Q: What has been some creative builds you have seen at the seaside?
A Compass Rose
A Compass Rose

Here’s how it works:
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My sponsor today is no stranger to the world of travel.  Selena has been to over thirty countries and she plans to double that number in the next five years! Now that is a goal I would love to join in.  I was so excited to find out about Selena when she found my blog because we have a lot in common. We are both US Air Force brats that moved around a lot as kids and now both live in England.  I find her story really inspiring to myself.  After her daughter left the house her life evolved to finding love again, moving overseas as an expat, and now exploring the world.  I am just attracted to people who love life and love seeing all it has to offer.  I think you will love Selena too!
Recommended Posts by Selena:
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*photography belongs to Bonnie Rose Photography © 2007 – 2013 All rights reserved | 

Country Walk in Dollegau, Wales

First off if you are a reader from Casey’s blog, We Took the Road Less Traveled, and have come here by way of Essentials for a Country Walk, thank you for stopping by! Today I continue our recap from our 10th Anniversary in Wales.  
It is our first full day in Dollegau and we took the first part of the day fairly easy by exploring the town and taking all the kids to the park.  Ryan really wanted to do more exploring, so despite the looming dark clouds he got me out of the house for some alone time.  It was a good thing we had waterproof shoes and rain jackets for we got rained during the walk back.  However the rain only enhanced our experience in the picturesque countryside of Wales.  Between all the wild life I got on camera (minus the deer that leaped out into the road…it was too quick!) and the beautiful backdrops it was as if we had stumbled into our own fairytale.  When you are celebrating ten years of marriage what else could you possibly ask for?  
It always astounds me how much of a work out a simple country walk can be and how hot it can get with my wardrobe choices.  So when it decided to pour down rain on us, i actually welcomed the cool rain with open arms.  Seeing the really dark clouds and many electrical lines we decided to do an impromptu run back to our bed and breakfast.  I loved every second of it and so glad that Ryan convinced me to a pre dinner country walk.  It become one of my most favourite and cherished memories from our trip. I hope you enjoy the photos! 

I will try to keep this short but I am a huge fan of my sponsor, Erika, of the blog Chimerikal. We met by way of the Blog Every Day in May challenge and since then I have loved reading her posts about travel, the world, and all her inspirational outlooks on life.  If you are having a bad case of the monday’s (or even if you are not) you should definitely check out Erika’s blog today for inspiration to brighten your week. 
Recommended Posts by Erika:
Be Friends with Erika: Blog | Twitter | Facebook

*photography belongs to Bonnie Rose Photography © 2007 – 2013 All rights reserved | 

Parenting: 5 Things I Have Learned

Bonnie Rose Photography © 2007 – 2013 All Rights Reserved | 
The photographs above were taken on my mum’s last night in England.  Ronan was ready to have is photo taken and posed and Maddox was still holding on to his feelings of being upset. To his defense he did pick the flowers for me and out of love, but unfortunately it was not our garden. However, I love both photographs because they showcase the ups and downs that is raising children.  Before I had kids I envisioned a happy little family of laughter and giggles.  You do not think about the stresses and challenges that come along with your growing bundle of joy before having kids.  
I love my children and I love my weekends because it is all about family time.  I cherish those moments most as an expat living abroad.  I try to leave my Sunday posts open to flexibility so if I need a day to just write thoughts or share photographs I can do so.  So many of my friends as of late are starting to have babies or adding more children to their family.  So the thought of kids and parenting has been on my mind frequently.  Today I share five things that I have learned personally since becoming a parent.  While these may not agree to you, they fit my family.  My husband and I understand that just because it is different, it does not make it wrong.  If you do read through this and can relate, feel free to join in the discussion at the bottom by commenting.  Hope you are all having a great weekend! 
1.  When you become a parent you take on your own style of parenting.  
The way you parent may not necessarily be the same way that your parents raised yourself.  Nor will you parent the same way as one of your siblings.  Your best friend in all the world who shares all your common interests may too parent differently.  This does not make either party right or wrong.  In fact the same parenting style for one child may not even work for your second or third child.
2.  Families can be both extremely helpful and also overly complicate matters after children come along.  
It really depends on the family, specific family matters, and the situation.  I can be around my mum , sister, and uncle and have no issues arise while they praise the boys for how respectful and loving they are and accept my parenting style.  I can also be around the family of my inlaws and have every parenting choice put into question, be over stepped as a parent, and treated like a sixteen year old instead of a married mother in her thirties.  The thing you have to remember is when it comes down to it what is important are the parents and the children.  Block out the negative outside opinions and influences.
3.When kids are hungry they will eat.  
My children spent three years of their young life growing up in Hawaii and so they were introduced to a variety of foods that included but not limited to: fish, sushi, pho, pancit, and jiaozi.  Instead of eating out at typical ‘american’ chain restaurants we went to our favourite local spots for Vietnamese, Philippine, Chinese, or Japanese food.  Fast forward to today and we eat a lot of vegetables, fish, and meat with what is closely related to a paleo diet.  All in all I know my kids eat foods now that their cousins back in the US will probably never eat until they are adults. My husband and I also do not allow picky eaters at the table.  We serve them just enough that they would be able to eat and expect them to eat it all or most of it, depending on what is served.  If my son eats everything but leaves one thing and goes right into ‘i do not like it’ then he is told he has to eat it and do it quickly.  My sons have  yet to be stubborn enough to sit at the table for hours without eating the food and more often then none exclaim that they actually like the food after eating it.
They will probably be sick of this story once they are teens but I always tell them that learning to eat something you may not out right love will train them to be amazing travelers ready to experience new foods in any country they visit.  They will learn to eat something and smile so that they will always be respectful to their hosts when living abroad.  Again my children are not other people’s children and I am aware that they have had a broaden world view already for being kids with American citizenship.  However, from experience I have realized that my kids will eat if they are hungry or motivated enough.  Sometimes a little dessert bribery can go a long way.
4. Having boys is a lot different from having girls.  
I say this as a mother of two boys with no daughters and as a girl who grew up having just one sister.  I honestly did not know what life would be like living with a guy until after my husband and I were married.  I now live with three guys and it is quite the experience sometimes.  I remember growing up as a girl and being able to spend an entire day indoors reading or playing with my dolls.  Keeping my sons inside the house for too long and they will find a way to bring outside play into the house with running up and down the stairs, loud shouting, toys being thrown and explosion noises being heard from their location.  I recently was watching a group of girls in varying ages at the park play and just realized how differently they played compared to my sons and their friends who were running around the grassy field nearby.  I would love to have a daughter next, but after eight years could not imagine my life without my boys.
5. Being a mother is comparable to being a broken record at times.  
I honestly say the same things over and over in one day, in one week, and through out the month.  You would think that once it has been understood you have progressed enough to not have to look over the same situation again.  However it is different when raising kids.  I also would love to learn how to say something to my boys in my normal voice and be taken seriously.  I do not like having to raise my voice or call in the big guns, my husband, for things to get done.  I am exaggerating slightly but it seems to be a thing all my friends who are mothers deal with when parenting.
*Portraits belong to Bonnie Rose Photography © 2007 – 2013 All Rights Reserved |