Monthly Archives: September 2013

They Belonged to My Father

Monday, September 30: ‘Share a photo of something old. Maybe something that has personal history for you, that was passed down to you, and that has special meaning to you. Tell us about it and why it’s special.

I do not really have anything ‘old’ that was passed down to me.  My dad was going to give me his mother’s rings when his dad passed away but my grandpa had put them somewhere ‘safe’ and they were never found. My dad’s rings were stolen somewhere between the scene of the accident and the hospital because he arrived at the funeral home without them. After his death I took a few things of his home with me.
My dad really enjoyed the 20-volume Aubrey-Maturin series (ever see Master & Commander with Russell Crowe?) and so I took home eight of the books. I have 1-10, minus 8 and 9.  I have begun the first book but need to pick it up again and start all over. It is one of those that requires your full attention.  Since my dad loved them so much I feel I need to read the whole series while I am alive. I found my local used book vendor has many of his books too. So I should have no trouble finding the other twelve books in the series. 
I remember reading Tunnel in the Sky by Robert A. Heinlein as a girl after my dad recommended I give it a try.  His worn copy was the first book I looked for on his bookshelf and now it sits on the top shelf of mine. 
Three books, just as old as the previous book mentioned, I found about the United States Marine Corps in World War II were in my dad’s collection.  Vol. I: Beginning’s End, Vol. 2: Battering the Empire, and Vol. 3 Death of an Empire.  Printed in the early ’70s the pages are now an amber colour and they all contain a middle section of black and white WWII photographs.  The books were compiled and edited by S.E. Smith.

A Photograph.

I know I look like my dad and that we have the same eyes. But when I saw old photographs of what his mum looked like when she was a young woman I was surprised to see how much I looked like her. All my memories of my dad’s father mostly revolve around visits to his his trailer in the elderly community where he lived in New Jersey.  It always had a strange musty smell of mildew and a bitter cat named Reggie, who hissed whenever he saw my sister or I. My grandpa was nice and liked to watch old episodes of  the original Star Trek and Next Generation.  We saw him once every three years or so since we lived in Europe and he died during my sophomore year of Uni.

It was after his funeral that I found an old photograph of him and his wife, a woman who died before I was born, and fell in love with it.  They both are so young and look so happy.  They look like a couple I wish I could have known.  Honestly I wish my dad had been alive longer so I could have asked him more about them and what it was like growing up.  But back to the photo. I love all the elements of the time…his pinstripe suit, stripe tie, and pocket square and her 1940’s styled hair, pretty black dress with tear drop cut outs and pretty sleeves.  It is a souvenir photo from a date night out at the Village Barn Restaurant which was on 52 W. 8th St in NYC.   

As an interesting tidbit I did some research and found out that though it closed in the late 1960’s it became Electric Lady Studios, where famous rock group legends like Jimi Hendrix and The Clash  recorded.

This was the last post for #Blogtember

I really enjoyed being a part of this series with Jenni and now look forward to returning to recapping our summer adventures in Wales in England…aka your regularly scheduled programming here on ACR.

Q: Have you been passed down anything old from your family? 
What would you want to pass down to your future generations from what you currently own?

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

The War on Girls: Education & Bloggers

I have two sons.  I am their biggest advocate when it comes to their education. As a nomadic family you have to be.  With moving frequently my eldest son at eight years old has been home educated and has gone to five different schools in three states in the US and two countries. For me as a mum the biggest challenge facing my kids and education is just making sure my kids are not being held back from their potential.  I look at the spelling lists, the math work, and the lack of homework my sons have in the UK and I see how behind it is from schools my son attended in the US. My eldest went to an accelerated learning school for first grade and was doing algebraic equations for his math level.  That school worked with kids with what level they were at individually and did not hold them back or push them forward for the group.  It opened my eyes to the potential kids at young ages have to learn.  My first grader here in England came home this week with spelling words that included: go, to, and we. I have my son reading chapter books at home and he helps in reading paragraphs aloud in Harry Potter with us as a family. Not to mention I am certain the spelling words I worked with him on in home education a year ago were much harder.  It can be really frustrating as a parent especially as in the expat life and dealing with cultural differences.  Our solution so far is to do as much home education as we can in our free time on top of everything they are learning at school.  We have talked about revisiting the plan of home education full time at home if things do not progress at school.  This is my personal story with education and raising boys. What does it mean for the girls of our world?

I am glad that we are highly involved in our boys’ education and that we did not let the in-laws hostility towards home education ruin our plans to continue with it.  However not all children all over the world even have the luxury of freedom to go to school.  There are people who think girls should not get an education. Those who say ‘what is the point when they are not going to get a job’. These girls face the challenges of distance, poverty, and child marriage.  Instead of families advocating for their daughters education, there are girls who are banned from going to school and beaten for attending. Girls can be harassed by the community on their way to school. Dreams of girls continuing their education become dashed when forced into child marriages where taking care of the family replace their role of a student.

There are people standing up for change.  Like Malala Yousafzai, a Pakistani girl who is an activist and blogger standing up for education and women’s rights. She was shot in the head and the neck a year ago ‘in an assassination attempt by Taliban gunmen while returning home on a school bus’.  This past friday Malala was at Harvard to accept the 2013 Peter J Gomes humanitarian reward.  You can read Malala Yousafzai’s blog here.

There are also groups of people advocating for change for girls around the world. I recommend you watch the video below about Because I Am A Girl, an initiative formed by the international charity organization Plan International
In the end I believe it is all our responsibilities to make sure our younger generations get an education.  I am so inspired by all the young girls out there advocating for their peers all over the world. It truly fights against the Miss Representation post I shared last week.

To read Malala’s blog:

Self Portrait: Smart Phone #1

Welcome to another Self Portrait Saturday! I am so excited to have you all linking up with me every week.  For today I wanted to do a self portrait from a different camera than my SLR.  I bring to you a self portrait from my phone. As I use an iPhone 4, my camera is not as amazing as some of the newer phones out there now with comparable cameras to the point & shoots available today.  However it takes pretty great great photos in its own right, especially if there is really good lighting.
Grain. I would like to dispel the myth that grain in a photograph is bad.  It is one reason why I love shooting photographs on my phone and turning them into black and white.  To be fair I am pretty obsessed with black and white photography.  So if you are using your phone to take photographs and the grain is getting you down…work with the grain! 
Self Portrait: Smart Phone #1 |  Bonnie Rose Photography © 2007-2013 All Rights Reserved |


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

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I would love to see your photography!
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*Image original to A Compass Rose blog by Bonnie Rose Photography © 2007-2013 All Rights Reserved |

Photography: Hard Drives & Online Sharing

I took this photograph almost three years ago during a stint of living in Tucson, Arizona.  I was on my son’s field trip to the Botanical Gardens and shot this while we were waiting with our group.  To be honest I forgot about this photograph until this week when I was browsing through my hard drive on a photo search.   
It solidified the following facts:

  • I take so many photographs.
  • I take photographs of so many things.
  • I clearly like to document our life.
  • A small percentage of my photographs actually make it online (via blog or social networking)
  • A very large percentage of my photographs are forgotten on hard drives
The Problem
I take more photographs (for myself) that I do anything with after uploading.
The Bigger Problem
Just because we can back up our photographs in so many ways it does not mean something could happen to them. I still do not know if we are going to be able to recover digital photographs from the first few years of my eldest son’s life.  We had them backed up on cds, which were lost in a move.  We had them saved on an external drive…which we think is somewhere in a box but has yet to be seen. I’ve been putting of the hunt hoping that they really are somewhere.  Luckily I have a few things printed out. But I did not print out or make it through more than a few pages in a scrapbook I began. 
The Sad Truth
How many of us take digital photographs and only really share them online.  When was the last time your printed off photographs? When was the last time you had a print bigger than a 4×6 and put up on your wall. If you have ever had your photographs printed out and have held them in your hands you know what it is like to be able to hold it in your hand. There is nothing compared to the lack of connection a photograph has on a computer screen.  The digital age is amazing but are we just taking tons of photographs, perhaps sharing select ones online, and not enjoying them at home?
The Solution
Photo books.  I want to start making yearbooks for my family.  I am trying to figure out how to execute this mission.  Perhaps I’ll see how far back I can go with my kids and begin there. Maybe I’ll start with 2013 and as I finish book work my way backwards.
The Rewards
I can have tangible books that my family can enjoy and relive memories.  They will also make great christmas gifts for the end of the year.  It kind of takes the next step over Christmas newsletters.  
So this is my plan to address the family photos of my family and hope will be able to show off some finish products as I complete this goal. 
Q: After reading this let me know what your thoughts are in regard to your personal experiences with digital photography. I would love to hear your story! 

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

Travel is Life

Monday morning my internet went out and my blogging every day streak got postponed while I waited on  the powers that be at Sky to fix the problem.  Luckily today my internet and landline are back to working.  So I apologize for not having Travel Tuesday up and hope you have all been able to link up with Belinda this week!  If you have not linked up yet I have the link up below.  This is Belinda’s last week of co-hosting the Travel Tuesday link up with me as she focuses on other avenues with her blog. Please make sure to let her know how much you loved having her as a cohost. :)

Travel is life. Short and sweet that message has been my life.  The fact that I have not lived in one place for longer than three years at a time solidifies that statement even more.  Even if I am not traveling this month, on a plane to another country I feel like I am traveling in lifestyle.  I have only lived in my current city for the last nine months and in three months we will be moving again.  Not out of England but perhaps to another town. It is just my life of a highly nomadic person who constantly feels called to be somewhere else.

Next Trip.  The next place I have my heart set on traveling to is Austria.  It holds a lot of special memories for me with my life growing up in Europe.  It is the one place that I really feel closest to my dad. We used to go snowboarding and skiing there through out the years.  If you have read my blog for a while you will have heard me mention Germknödel as a food I miss eating in Austria.  Germknödel is a fluffy yeast dough dumpling with a mix of poppy seeds and sugar, filled with spicy plum jam and melted butter on top, often eaten with custard on top. I used to love ordering it after a day of snowboarding.  I have not had it in so long that I think of it a lot. Which brings me back to what it is like when travel is life.  You travel and move so much that you miss things all over the world. Things that you can not easily satisfy and may take years in waiting. But I would not give up or trade this life for any other.

Together with my cohost Belinda
fromFound Love. Now What?
a Weekly Travel Linkup.
Share your Travel stories
and wanderlust addictions.
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* Bonnie Rose Photography © 2007 – 2013 All Rights Reserved |

Blogtember: Life Lately

Blogtember Day 15: ‘A “life lately” post. What you’re up to, how you’re feeling, how you’re doing on your goals, etc. Bonus points for great photos!  Even thought I read through the whole list of Blogtember posts before the start of September, it still seems like a surprise every day that I work on a prompt.  I was glad to see this ‘life lately’ prompt as I feel there has been a lot going on and would like to just catch everyone up in one place.

Affordable Online Photography Courses
The most exciting news is my new BLux photography courses are progressing well and the first one will be ready in October.  Registration has not yet begun, but keep you ear out as I will be mentioning more about it it closer to the time.  I had a guest post on The Bradley’s Blog which came out this weekend.  The first course is B.In Focus, a photography 101 course that helps you make the transition from auto settings into manual.  The goal is to help students get their camera to do what they want it to do.  As a teaser, here is a first look video about the BLux photographic courses.

Blogging Everyday 
I am still posting every day and have been since February.  With each month that goes past I feel so accomplished as I finally found something I love to be consistent with…since exercizing comes and goes. 😉  While I write every day, I do not expect people to read my blog every day for I can hardly expect everyone to share on the interests that I talk about on ACR.  So in case you are new here are some of the themes I have ben blogging about lately:
…of course Blogtember prompts!

I some amazing bloggers coming to the sidebar in October, including our winner from the September Giveaway for my brand new ad space opening up.  There a just a few more spots open for Second Star to Right and Compass Points for October if you are interested in sponsoring ACR.  Alternatively you can also take over my blog for a day and submit a guest post.  Get in touch if I can be of any assistance. 

You may have noticed some changes on ACR lately in regards to the design.  I have been trying out some different looks and restructuring how things have been laid out. If you notice anything out of place or a broken link, please let me know.  I have tried to catch everything, but you can never have too many eyes keeping a look out. 
Favourite Reads
I love sharing posts I read that I love because they are some of my favourite posts to read on other blogs. However the sensitive person in me always feels a bit uneasy as I do not want anyone to think I forgot about them or did not like their posts this week. The opposite is true as I am always so motivated and encouraged by the amazing energy and work that is being put out into the blogosphere.  Thank you to you all for loving what you do and sharing your passion with us!  With that said these are some really great reads from recently:
Following your Blogging Compass by Belinda at Found Love. Now What?
Its Okay – Expat Version by Patricia at Kisses and Croissants 
Third Culture Kid by Elizabeth at Sattvic Family
New Norm V by Chelsea at Lost in Travels
Snorkeling Borneo by Amanda at Living in Another Language
Q: What Have Been Your Good Reads Lately?

*Image original to A Compass Rose blog by Bonnie Rose Photography © 2007-2013 All Rights Reserved |

The War on Girls: Miss Representation

What I write today for the War on Girls: How Society Has Failed Us, is not a new story nor the last  I want to share.  I did photography project in 2010 entitled The Secret Lies of Men & Women, which all began with one idea.  To share the story of women who get stuck in abusive relationships and feel they have no way out. I remember trying to help a friend in that situation and it tore me apart as the person on the outside.  It did not seem to matter what I said or what I did, I felt powerless in my attempt to stop it. I remember feeling crying to the police when I called them for help and they said in situations like these they could not really do much unless she comes forward.  It was terrifying for me to hear the things she told me that were happening, and more so when she defended the man when we talked to the police. What has society done to our women that we feel we get what deserve? My friend ended up getting a happy ending, but not so many are that fortunate.  I cannot help but think that our media is only continuing this problem.  With both the way men see women and the way we see ourselves.  I entitled this entry off a film I recommend you watch about how women are portrayed in the media: Miss Representation
Last week I continued this series with a talk about how magazines had a way of impacting my view of my self and the world from the impressionable age of a young girl.  In current times the social media has an even greater impact on our youth. They can easily spend half the day consuming media.  That is not media based on facts, but a value system that is dictated by marketing and advertisers.  Just take a look at the television programme, Mad Men.  It really opened my eyes to how the world of advertising works.  There is a product and for money people will say what people want to hear in order to feel the need to have it.  Otherwise it would be bad advertising and not help the number of sales for that product. It only takes my sons a short while watching television with their grandparents to start telling me what they want and repeating the commercial word for word.  Unfortunately the media is not only telling us how we should feel about certain products.  They are conditioning our minds with how we should look at women.  This essentially is making a woman an object and what could be more dehumanizing to an individual than making them into a thing.  
I love the idea of princesses and loved feeling like one in my wedding dress at my vow renewal this year. As a British American I grew up in love with Princess Diana and as a young girl fell in love with Disney princesses.  Now that I am an adult I have been looking in retrospect on the whole princess idea.  It seems like a good thing that got off course.  When did it go from being playtime of dress up and fun and into an unattainable but must have goal for our young girls?  They are not even into double digits in age and they are being told that they are not good enough.  I am the first person to tell you I love Disney and have so many fond memories as a child and as an adult to going to the ‘happiest place on earth’ with my family.  However, I look at how the princesses are manufactured and advertised to our girls and I get tears in my eyes.  The beloved princesses I grew up with are no longer ‘good enough’ and have received makeovers that make them look even more like beautiful adults on the verge of being too sexy.  I tried finding the same thing happening for our favourite male animations and honestly they still all look the same to me.  So why should our childhood role models need to have smaller waists, bigger boobs, more contoured faces with more make up and even better hair?  

If having to be a certain standard and a certain look is not enough it is the way women and girls are portrayed that start us out on the wrong outlook on life.  If princesses taught me anything it was that my ‘true love would come’.  It is a world of waiting and being saved.  I remember being elementary school aged and making my guys friends let me be the princess and telling them to come rescue me. I grew up watching the original Star Wars with my dad.  Princess Leia might have been a strong woman with quick one liners but she was no better than the other princesses I loved.  She was a princess needed to be rescued by two strong men (and a wookie) and again when dressed up this time as a sexy slave girl. 
Which brings me to my next point that the majority of women in the media are either portrayed as princesses waiting to be saved or as sex bombs.  If you are anything else you are probably not pretty enough, not thin enough, and not young enough.  After all it is about 70% of women on television that are portrayed in their twenties and thirties.  Is that when our beauty fades and we all have an expiration date?  Where are the real women and why are they pushed out of our media?  Why do the strong ones who make it through it then have to be scrutinized and objectified by how they look. It is never about their message or what they stand for but why they do or do not look a certain way.  In the film Miss Representation they clearly show how men in the media and news are destructive to empowered women and put them down.  It is either that those who say such things are just outward mean people or that they feel threatened.  Either way it is showing young girls that if you want to be in a position of power where you can make a change, you are going to be objectified for being a girl. Why does being a girl have to be any less than being a guy and why should men dictate what it should mean to be a girl?  The percentage of women in those high up decision making processes is so small that it is no wonder we live in a world of ‘teenage boys’.  A world where women can watch shows geared towards men but men would be looked down to be watching shows made for women.  What makes women second class citizens and why do we keep letting it happen?
I look at how men are portrayed in the world I lived.  I grew up in a conservative church where only men could have roles in worship.  While my British side has had queens and a female prime minister, my American side has yet to have a female president and hold less than 20% of political offices.  Men who sleep around a lot are portrayed as masculine and strong and women are portrayed as beautiful and those who sleep around a lot are sluts. It is a contradiction that has been brought up before but still happens today. It is just a part of how women are treated less fairly as men. Tell me the last time you saw men on a magazine showing how they had gained fifteen pounds and it was considered news. The only articles I could find in a quick search were those of men who had lost or gained a significant amount of weight for a movie role…for their profession.  Women can be too sexy but when is a man too sexy?  If a woman does modeling in her youth it can hinder her job prospects as an adult for being a woman and discredits everything else about her. I cannot come up with a perfect comparison for a man in the same regard.  
In the end change will only come with hard work. Despite where women are in today’s world we still have a long way to go to break up the stigmas and change how society looks at women.  If not for us for the little girls growing up in today’s world. 

“We will have to repent in this generation not merely for the vitriolic words and actions of the bad people, but for the appalling silence of the good people. We must come to see that human progress never rolls in on wheels of inevitability.” – MLK
This post is compilation of many conversations I have had over the years.   
I highly recommend you watch the trailer below for Miss Representation 
and then see the film if you have not yet.
*Main photo for this post belongs to Bonnie Rose Photography © 2007 – 2013 All Rights Reserved
**Disney photographs were found from and their article Sexy Merida Makeover