Italy Lifestyle Photographer

The Coolest Thing I've Ever Done // Kissing at Santa Maria del Fiore

OK.  So. The story I'm about to tell you happened a year ago and honestly, I never intended to post this on the interwebs.  I didn't want it to scream "look at me! look at me! Attention! Attention!"  HOWEVER, after much consideration, I decided it's such a fun story and if it can inspire someone out there to be fearless and live a little, why not?  So, you know what? I'm doing it.  The time I kissed a stranger at Santa Maria del Fiore in Florence, Italy.  Here we go.

My friend Jackie and I had been traveling in Italy for about three days.  We had just hopped off a train from Rome to Florence the night before, not the least bit tired from our adventures together.  We pride ourselves on being the perfect travel partners.  We give each other space, we're easy going and zero control freaks about what to see next or what kind of agenda should be had every day (the only priorities are espresso, wine, food, repeat).  We let the wind take us and we easily meet people so it really is a match made in heaven.  Anyway, I digress.

On this particular day we decided that we wanted to see the infamous Duomo and The David.  We also decided that I needed to ask a local Italian man to kiss me.  Yes.  That is correct.  It was decided that I would ask a local Italian man to kiss me.  We would go about our day, enjoying all the wine, all the food and any spontaneous kisses that came my way...

We stopped for espressos and saw the Duomo in all its glory.  We waited in line to see Mr. David and agreed it was worth the wait (It's amazing.  Don't miss it if you're ever in Florence).  We stopped for lunch, a glass of wine and talked to a group of people traveling from Dublin while we we were at it.  We payed the bill and wanted to make our way to a rooftop view so the journey continued.  We turned a corner and found ourselves in the middle of a piazza and realized we needed to ask for directions.  Suddenly, the crowd parted (do you like the dramatic affect I'm building here?) and there he was.  An Italian man straight out of Vogue magazine sitting on his ricksha looking our way.  Jackie and I looked at each other and quickly mumbled, "he's the one."

We walked up to him and asked him for directions.  He wasn't having any of that though and tried to convince us to pay for a tour.  Jackie gave me a look and then backed away slowly, camera ready in hand because she was not about to let this go down without proof.  She's good like that.  Now it was just me and him.  Standing in a VERY public place.  This was it.  I turned to him and said the following, "Listen, I have this goal, which is I need to kiss an Italian guy before the day is over."  His eyebrows went straight up.  "And I was wondering if you would want to be that guy?"

His eyebrows went up even more.  He then lowered his sunglasses and said in a very thick Italian accent, "like...on the lips?" HAHA I'll never forget that. "Yes, is that ok?" I asked.  He adjusts his sunglasses once again while blurting out, "well yeah!" He pulled me in, brought his face close to mine and all of a sudden I hear Jackie yell, "yeah Liiiizzzzz!!!!" and then this happened....

Goooood times.  After what seemed 10 minutes, we came up for air and then just stood there for a minute in silence (not the awkward kind.  The good kind).  Jackie came back to gather my weak in the knees self so I thanked him for his delightful, sexy kisses and disappeared into the crowd of people (not before looking behind me a few times).   It's hands down the coolest thing I've ever done.  I'm laughing as I write this because it's also something straight out of a romantic comedy, which is ridiculous in the best way.

I guess the point of me telling you this story is a) it's my favorite story (ha) and b) to inspire you next time you're somewhere far away from home to do something outside of your comfort zone.  I hope you run faster towards new experiences.  I hope you say yes to things you usually say no to and I hope you walk away from that week or two weeks, or three, with a new fire inside of you.  I hope you return home from your travels not just rested or rejuvenated, but different.  I always look at traveling as a chance to get closer to the person I want to be, but more importantly, I look at travel as a way to KEEP my childish sense of self. I.E the story where I once kissed a stranger in the middle of Florence. 

The last five photos are courtesy of my daring, hilarious, beautiful, free spirited friend, Jackie.  We all need friends who encourage mischievous, wild, fun behavior, such as kissing boys in far away lands.  Jax, You are my own personal little gift in life and I'll cherish you always.

Heather & Nick // Married in Italy // Part Two

Welcome to Italy, part two folks.  You've entered a place of happiness, bliss, a place of familiar faces and complex love.  This is a place where wedding dreams are made and live forever.

// A couple who found one another and didn't let go.  A couple who brought their closest people together to a magical universe with no one else in sight.  For three days, only they existed.   They celebrated not only their union as husband and wife, but the union they share with their loved ones.

Yes, this is a place of strangers, close friends, new friends and family.  A place where everyone forgets their troubles and focuses on what is really important.  A couple who surrendered to the day, did things their way and went with the flow.  I am so incredibly lucky to have been a professional observer right by their side. 

// The staff got to know us and we them and needless to say, we all fell in love.  They prepared our meals and taught us Italian and I've never laughed harder in my life.  Most of the wedding day was spent around a table while wine was poured, stories were told and songs were sung (Bryan Adams - [Everything I Do] I Do It For You in particular.  It's a thing).  Cigars were lit, dancing never stopped and sleep didn't arrive until 4am.   

Heather and Nick.  Thank you for bringing me along on this amazing adventure.  Every time I look at these photos I will remember every single moment I was able to share with you.  To the rest of the Italy gang, travels will never be the same without you :)

Cali to Paris // Solo Travel

When I was 14 years old I became obsessed with two things.  Frank Sinatra and Parisian culture.  I poured over books on Frank and how he got his start and of course bought every album he's ever made (that's a lie.  My dad bought me one every Christmas).  However, what I think had an even bigger impact on me was the way people lived in France, especially Paris. The pace of every day life // the language // the passion // the architecture // the sophistication and pride in how they carry themselves.  I fell in love with all of it.

I would sit in my teenage room and spend hours reading about what there is to do there, the history behind the Eiffel Tower and obsessed over the incredible fashion.  I just loved how looking like your Sunday best is a part of every day life.  Something I feel we lack in the states.  People wearing pajamas to the grocery store hurts my soul.  I'm sorry, please don't send me poison in the mail.

I vowed to myself that as soon as I could, I would go to Paris and walk the streets I had read about late in the night.  I would drink every cappuccino and eat every croissant and ride every bike and create every picnic imaginable and photograph every bridge I came across.  What can I say, the romantic in me can't be controlled.

So, the day has come.  I leave in a couple hours.  A COUPLE HOURS.  I will take a direct flight and step foot on that magical land.  I always thought I would go with the man in my life or a close friend, but as it turns out, I've decided to go alone.  There is something that happens to you when you take a trip solo.  There's nothing like it and i'll be experiencing it in a matter of hours.  Sleep deprivation here I come.  Give it to me.

And that my friends is my eat pray love chat for the day.  I'll see you on Instagram with updates on all things Paris!!  #frenchingwithliz

 

// A few photos from my trip to Italy four years ago.  A trip that time stamped so much growth for me, brought me closer to a friend and taught me to slow the f down.  I've been wearing lipstick, buying flowers every weekend and never get annoyed when the waiter takes longer than expected since then.  

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