I’ll never get tired of Ƨ.

It’s the little things that make you stop and realize things won’t always be the same. It’s beautiful and sometimes pretty darn devastating (or in this case…TOTALLY heartbreaking).  I heard someone say once that kids literally break your heart every single day, and I had no idea what it meant until I had them obviously. Every achievement, cute moment, and backwards “s,” because you know they will never be this innocent again, and soon enough, they won’t even call you.  Well, little do these girls realize, apu will SOMEDAY have travel perks and I WILL HUNT THEM DOWN (wherever they are in this world) and demand a quiche at least once a week.

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Budapest Family Christmas

For those that have in-laws, you may understand how things can get lost in translation…especially when things actually DO get lost in translation (Hungarian/English). But something this year was different. Maybe it was that we moved (which helped a LOT), but WE were different. No expectations, no anticipating the worst, no judgment, and just being ourselves (meaning we annoyed the crap out of everyone). And this Christmas was FUN, like actual fun. Lots of laughs, no petty anything, lots of eating (let’s not talk about the Hungarian fish sperm soup), and just hanging out. So friends, I think I’ve found the key to success. Letting things go, and being yourself…because when you do those two things, literally nothing can bother you! Cheers to a happy new year!
Lyon Family Photographer
Budapest Family Photographer
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Budapest Christmas
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Need to Breathe.

Aniston here…

If you didn’t already know, my mom is an avid reader/audiobook listener. In fact, on some days, she totally ignores us, leaves us to draw (mostly on the couch), and she sits and gets lost in her next book.  Mom has ventured out of the box recently, reading on spirituality (more on that later), philosophy, evolution, classic poetry, etc.  There is a TON of irony here, considering she HATED everything about college and being forced to read the aforementioned stuff. Like, she spent decent money on Cliffs Notes.

Something changed after she had a quick hello with the grim reaper, who turned out to be a pretty sarcastic dude. Mom said she can’t “un-know” this stuff now, and that’s both a blessing and a curse.

Anyway, this year long (really decade long) “journey,” so to speak, has led to some VERY interesting revelations and commonalities among these authors.

  1. Universal connection is repeated throughout history.
  2. Love/compassion and empathy are common themes in ALL areas of literature.
  3. People SCREW up majorly when it comes to interpretation. DO NOT get mom started on organized religion.
  4. Courage in life is necessary.

Kelly Acs Photography Books

And a sad fact, just for fun, something like 5% of the US population buys and reads 90% of the books sold. That NEEDS to change.

Recently she picked up “The Descent of Man,” by Mr. Charles Darwin himself. Unfortunately, he wasn’t around in the era of Audible, so mom had to go old school.  Plus, she ONLY likes it when the author actually narrates their own books (seriously, it makes a HUGE difference).

Did you know the “survival of the fittest,” that FAMOUS term coined by Darwin was only actually used TWICE in the book? Two times. And did you know that the word “love” was used 95 times? So why the hell are we so caught up in being the best, strongest, smartest and quoting “survival of the fittest,” in the meantime? That’s not what he said. He said we were able to empathize, which gave human beings the ability to HELP one another. Love. Compassion. Inclusion.  What exactly gives humans MORE of a right to live on the planet than a flamingo, cow, lizard or parasite?

So yea, I’m starting to not take society or conventional education very seriously these days. So pick up a book maybe…and have the courage to not let others think for YOU…we’ve seen where THAT gets us.

Here are a list of mom’s top 10 book obsessions, if anyone is looking for new reads:

  1. The Untethered Soul, by Michael Singer (the IS the book that brought mom and apu together, resulting in yours truly).
  2. The Way to Love, by Anthony de Mello. This book is the size of an iPhone, so it’s totally easy to carry around and reread!
  3. The Impersonal Life, Joseph Brenner.
  4. It’s Never Crowded Along the Extra Mile, by Wayne Dyer (I think I’ve read 30 out of his 45 books…and they are ALL incredible.)
  5. The Alchemist, by Paulo Coelho.
  6. Left to Tell, by Immaculee Illibagiza.
  7. Self-Reliance, by Ralph Waldo Emmerson.
  8. Man’s Search for Meaning, Victor Frankl.
  9. Dying to Be Me, Anita Moorjani.
  10. Braving the Wilderness, Brene Brown.

Ha. Just looking at this list makes me laugh because every single one of these books is about JUST that. Love, being yourself, listening to your intuition and the challenge us to question everything. EVERYTHING.

My FAVORITE quote of all time by Wayne Dyer sums this up pretty well…”When you follow the herd, you’ll end up stepping in shit.”  And mom likes her French shoes too much to do that.

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Life Lesson 1,284,359…

So if you don’t like reading personal stuff, like it makes you feel uncomfortable, then maybe you should stop reading. In fact, in a photography group I’m a part of, I’ve had people tell me that I shouldn’t talk about this because it’s too personal? But it’s my life…so sorry, ya’ll!

Peter lost his job. It was not a complete shock, as his company filed bankruptcy a two months ago. They were trying to reorganize and sent out emails about buying new airplanes, Peter was sent to training again…so we were trying to stay positive. And then he called me to say he’d be home early.

So now what? Somewhere in me, I knew this would stir up a lot. Emotionally, of course, but I’m talking about the REAL yucky stuff.  But we needed it.  You see, I’ve never been a career girl. I worked in a law firm during college, and got a master’s in psychology, that I literally didn’t do anything with. I opened a business with an ex, and after seven years, my heart wasn’t in it.  Becoming a mom came at the perfect time. THAT was my job. I can’t say I’ve loved every second of it, but I’ve always thought, “there’s no amount of money that I would take to miss all of this.”  But now we’re here, with no income, and it’s definitely changed the game. And you know what, I didn’t crumble like I thought I would. In fact, I’m writing and taking pictures like my life here depends on it…because it does.

We’ve been living a darn good life. We are a part of the VERY small percentage of people who have clean water, shelter, education, etc.

A few months ago I was listening to my fave writer, Wayne Dyer and he spouted off some crazy statistics. Basically he condensed the entire world’s population down to 100 people.

6/100 people in the world hold 59% of the wealth.

50/100 people are malnourished.

1/100 people are college educated.

1/100 people own a computer.

Last week (after the not so great news) I went to buy celery, eggs, rice and chicken…a luxury to like 2% of the world. There was a young girl who kindly ask if I could donate money or food for less fortunate kids this Christmas…and being the blubbering weakling I am, I burst into tears. She felt awful and I scurried away, wiping tears from my very embarrassed face. And then THREE milliseconds later, I realized what a jerk I was.  We’re counting every single penny acting like we’re in this huge crisis (but in reality it’s NOT), and there are SO many kids who have it much, much worse. Peter and I have amazing families on both sides that immediately offered help…and here I was being selfish and throwing myself a pity party.

So what happens when your second biggest fear comes true? Another day passes, the world keeps turning, and you realize there are still a million things to be really grateful for…mainly love.

 

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Temporariness

The last year and a half was literally a dream. How many people get the chance to really CHOOSE where they live? Not many. Within two weeks arriving in Lyon, I had met the friends that would shape my time here.  I have distinctly remembered reflecting on the synchronicity that had to happen for all the pieces to fall into place, so seamlessly, and really so effortlessly. And I knew it was temporary…because everything is. But what a cool thing to know! Both the GOOD and the BAD moments are fleeting, and to take the time to really appreciate it fully in the moment before it becomes a memory.

Of course I was the first to cry saying goodbye…it doesn’t take much.

For the first time in my life, I was FULLY myself with my friends from the beginning, because they were so genuine too. It is such a great reminder when you are yourself, you will attract JUST the people you need in your life. Tina was one of those people.  She was the sarcasm that spiced up the conversation, the mom that scoops up your baby and treats them like her own, and the friend that gives you a huge hug when you’re a blubbering mess at the park…

So yea, the last year was amazing…and I also can look forward to what is to come…mainly coffee in Paris with my dear friend for life.

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