Meet Jenn :: Jenn Terrell (United States)

We kicked off a new series last month featuring traveling photographers from around the world. We make no secret of the fact that we love travel. We love learning about other cultures. We love contributing to a smaller, more interactive space. With this in mind, we are going to be sharing local stories by local photographers from around the world throughout our posts this year.

For this month’s feature post, we had a chat with Jenn Terrell based in the United States. Readers are in for a treat as not only is Jenn lovely to converse with but her work has been internationally recognised (including by National Geographic Your Shot & Vogue Italia). We hope you enjoy Jenn’s feature and her inside scoop on her part of the world: Arkansas, United States. All images below were taken by Jenn and cover food, art and people found in her corner of the world. Enjoy!

This image was published by Vogue Italia and involved the following vendors:
Photographer: Jenn Terrell
MUA/Planner/Creator of the amazing crown: Veronica Jaquelinne Lopez
Model/Queen: Lagrea K Higgs
Gold Dress: Rosie Rose Designer
Venue: The Ballroom at I Street

 
 

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Tell us about where you live: I live in Bentonville, Arkansas in the United States.

What makes your town, state or country unique?: Bentonville is the location of the headquarters of Walmart. Because of that, several people travel to Bentonville each day for business, etc. On any given day you can hear a number of accents from different people at local stores. Bentonville is also in the Northwestern part of the state. There are lots of beautiful trails, mountains, waterfalls and more all over the state.

Jenn took this image of Hubert Neal, Jr painting in his studio. He is a Belizean American artist currently living in Bentonville. His work can be found at hubertnealjr.com. (Photography by Jenn Terrell)

Jenn took this image of Hubert Neal, Jr painting in his studio. He is a Belizean American artist currently living in Bentonville. His work can be found at hubertnealjr.com. (Photography by Jenn Terrell)

If I traveled from the opposite side of the world, what should I visit in your town, state or country?: Definitely visit Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. The place is a never ending wonderland of art. It is an amazing place!

Beautiful Bentonville creating the backdrop for this image. (Photography by Jenn Terrell)

What is something quirky we would find in your town, state or country?: I would say find people and talk to them, especially in Arkansas. Make a friend, grab a great cup of coffee and hit the trails or relax by the lake. I have also had a lot of luck thrift shopping here. I have found everything from a leather coach laptop bag for $25 to vintage cameras with lens that work on my personal camera.

Coffee or chai/tea?: There are lots of coffee shops in Bentonville and Northwest Arkansas in general. My favorite, hands down, is Onyx Coffee Lab. The one in Bentonville looks like something out of this world. The coffee is amazing and even the signature drinks are very unique. The vibe inside is really nice, too. It is great for photoshoots or relaxing with a friend.

Food recommendations?: The food here is also amazing! Many of the restaurants downtown are owned by chefs or have an executive chef. My personal favorites are Oven and Tap Restaurant (pizza and other delicious entrees), Little Beans (El Salvadorian Food), and Table Mesa (Mexican).

Best breakfast cafe?: The Station Cafe is great for that old school cafe vibe with delicious pancakes and biscuits and gravy. So good!

Three reasons for why someone should visit your town, state or country?: Three reasons to visit Bentonville are easy! One, Crystal Bridges Museum of Art. Two, you will make friends and, three, enjoy amazing food!

Chef Aria Kagan presenting at a Brightwater Salon event where an artist is paired with a chef for a night of food and art. Brightwater is a local culinary school. (Photography by Jenn Terrell)

This image was taken at a Brightwater Salon event where an artist is paired with a chef for a night of food and art. Brightwater is a local culinary school. (Photography by Jenn Terrell)

Any local legends?: Every now and then Alice Walton (daughter of the creator of Walmart) will come into Onyx and grab some coffee. I have also seen her on a golf cart in the Neighborhood Walmart parking lot.

There is also the Bentonville Film Festival every spring. Celebrities from all over come to Bentonville for it. You will see celebrities in the restaurants downtown and out and about. Once I saw Jon Heder (the guy who played Napoleon Dynamite) at Oven and Tap.

Jenn’s description for this image: “The gentleman looking out the window is Eric Trautman. He was my first landlord here and just a gentle soul. He has helped several local artists get their start”. (Photography by Jenn Terrell)

Train, bus, car or walk?: Bentonville is a smaller town so renting a car is probably the best option. That or getting an uber everywhere.

Best accommodation?: 21C Hotel is definitely the best in town. Celebrities stay there when they come in. If you are looking for something a little more budget friendly, there are plenty of Airbnbs in town that are fabulous. Eureka Springs is also only about an hour away and it is a gem of a small town. There are lots of treehouses and cabins that can be rented there.

This image was taken outside of 21C Hotel. (Photography by Jenn Terrell)

Number one thing you miss when you're away?: When I leave, I will miss Onyx Coffee, the amazing food and the great people that I have met in Bentonville. Tanyard Creek (15 minutes away) also has a beautiful waterfall that only takes a short hike to access.

Jenn tells the story behind this one: “I took this photo of Laverne Cox in Fayetteville (20 minutes from Bentonville). Her lecture was part of a series put on by the University of Arkansas. They bring in amazing speakers like her periodically”. (Photography by Jenn Terrell)

This image was taken by Jenn of her friend, Roxana. Roxana is from El Salvador and they met in Bentonville. Jenn says of Roxana, “She has been one of the most amazing people to know”. (Photography by Jenn Terrell)

 
 

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You will find Jenn here:

Meet Matt & Grace :: Playground Love Weddings (Italy)

We are kicking off a new series today. We make no secret of the fact that we love travel. We love learning about other cultures. We love contributing to a smaller, more interactive space. We are going to be sharing local stories by local photographers from around the world throughout our posts this year.

For today’s post, we had a chat with Matt & Grace from Playground Love Weddings in Italy (seriously - check out their work for some stunning & emotive photography with impeccable attention to detail!). We learned a bit about their part of the world. It was too good not to share and, if you are anything like us, you are adding Matt & Grace’s recommendations to a well-loved travel notebook stat. Enjoy!

 

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Tell us about where you live: We live in Bellagio, a small town in the center of Lake Como. Lake Como is one of the most beautiful lakes in Northern Italy. It is full of old villas and breathtaking landscapes.

 

What makes your town, state or country unique?: Bellagio is timeless. The lake is full of small towns, like Varenna and Lenno. Como is the only big city and it’s a mix of cool urban life, mountains and lake.

 

If I traveled from the opposite side of the world, what should I visit in your town, state or country?: In Bellagio, you should visit Villa Melzi and its gardens. In Varenna, Villa Monastero and Villa Carlotta. In Como, you have to take the funicular to Brunate. There are so many places!!!

Photography by Playground Love Weddings (Villa Melzi, Italy)

 

What is something quirky we would find in your town, state or country?: There’s only one small island on the Lake, called Isola Comacina. The island is full of ruins of churches from the past centuries and has a restaurant; here you can drink a coffee flambé.

 

Coffee or chai/tea?: Let’s take a walk and reach the Caffè Sancassani, in Visgnola. It’s a hidden gem with a mix of traditional pastries — try a “cannoncino”— and healthy, fresh-baked cookies.

Photography by Playground Love Weddings (Villa Melzi, Italy)

 

Best breakfast cafe?: Bar Rossi , in Bellagio, is absolutely the most charming place for a breakfast coffee in front of the lake. The interior is furnished with wooden carved furniture that will transport you to the beginning of the last century.

 

Three reasons for why someone should visit your town, state or country?: You can visit an amazing place, full of history. You can take a boat and relax by yourself or you can go on a hike on the mountains. And, last but not least, the food is amazing! One of the typical products of the lake is the oil and it’s totally amazing!

Photography by Playground Love Weddings (Villa Melzi, Italy)

 

Any local legends?: Every year there’s a carnival in a small city called Schignano. It’s a crazy, funny & legendary event where people wear traditional masks and costumes.

 

Train, bus, car or walk?: In Bellagio, you must absolutely walk. For example, you can reach Punta Spartivento, the panoramical point, in just a few minutes’ walk from the city centre. Then use the boat to reach Varenna, Lenno and Como.

Photography by Playground Love Weddings (Villa Melzi, Italy)

 

Best accommodation?: Villa Serbelloni

 

Must-see vantage point?: Brunate in Como and Punta Spartivento in Bellagio.

Photography by Playground Love Weddings (Villa Melzi, Italy)

 

Who is the most note-worthy person to come from your hometown?: Alessandro Manzoni, a famous Italian writer, who lived in Lecco. But one of the most famous from the lake is George Clooney, isn’t it?!

 

Most colourful character in your hometown?: In Bellagio, you can find some sculpture of a really talented artist named Abele Vadacca. You can meet him at work in his studio-gallery in San Giovanni of Bellagio.

 

Number one thing you miss when you're away?: The fog on the lake during the winter time.

 

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You will find Matt & Grace here:

Christmas in Brisbane

We have been spoiled. We have enjoyed a European Christmas previously.

We spent Christmas itself in Dresden with wonderful friends. One memory (it has been five years, after all!) that we cherish, in particular, was perusing the Dresden Striezelmarkt, Germany’s oldest Christmas markets. That Christmas really set the benchmark for us.

Christmas in Brisbane is… well… hot. Humid. Steeped in commercialism

HOWEVER, Brisbane has a beautiful Christmas experience to offer in and of itself. To be honest, you really do not have to look too far for opportunities to make some lovely memories. As our Lord Mayor Graham Quirk is quick to point out: “Brisbane is a great place to live, work & relax - it’s a safe, vibrant, green & prosperous city, valued for its friendly & optimistic character and enjoyable subtropical lifestyle”. These characteristics & attributes are reflected in our unique celebration of Christmas.

FURTHERMORE, many of Brisbane’s Christmas events are free and family-friendly. You can find things to see & do in The City, South Bank and Roma Street Parkland. (If you are keen to see what we get up to in Brissie, jump on instagram and follow the hashtag #MerryBrismas.)

We have compiled some images below from our 2018 Christmas in Brisbane. We hope you enjoy!

There is something that is a quintessential part of Christmas for me (Em): Pete’s (very rum) Rum Balls. They are one of the highlights of my year. Pete has truly perfected his recipe. (One of the best things about them is that they are not geographically limited!)

We like to say that Queensland is “beautiful one day & perfect the next”. However, we experience extreme heatwaves & explosive storms during our summer months. One thing is for sure, though: if you are looking to escape the snow, Brisbane is a safe bet!

We indulged in a pizza cook-up at Northey Street City Farm. The catalyst was random musings during a community playgroup; everyone’s individual contributions came together perfectly. This will be a lovely Christmas memory for years to come - for both parents and children.

Brisbane Arcade usually looks pristine and welcoming but is particularly stunning at Christmas-time.

Queen Street Mall, including the Myer Centre animated Christmas window display, is worth looking at during Christmas.

Regent Theatre’s foyer is another recommended Christmas-related spot to check out.

The South Bank Christmas Gift Markets are quirky and inviting. You will want to stay for a while.

King George Square boasts The Christmas Tree and the City Hall Lights.

In conclusion, our city is beautiful and well worth a visit during Christmas. <3

Travel Diaries :: Prompts for the Journey Home

We have shared a couple of musings from our travels (here & here). We are continuing that theme today but from a different perspective. We have mentioned previously that we are not diary-type people but that we do enjoy chronicling our adventures. In fact, we make it a priority. On our way home, we pen our final thoughts: the good, the bad & the ugly. It is our way of summarising the cliff notes - or the key events & experiences, if you like - while they are still fresh.

On our way home from Europe, we interviewed each other with some of the following prompts:

Our holiday in review:

  • Most exciting moment

  • Most depressing

  • Most notable

  • Most life-changing (neither of our answers were very philosophical, by the way!)

  • Most confronting

  • Most relaxing

  • Most stressful

  • Most awkward

  • Most challenging

  • Most humbling

  • Places we must revisit

  • Most interesting people

  • Best hotel moment

  • Worst hotel moment

  • Strangest food

  • Best sugary treat

  • Biggest highlight

  • Favourite city

  • Least favourite city

When we visited India, we adopted a different approach. We made a list of things we would not miss about India and things we would. Here are just some of the things we listed that we would miss:

  • Friends/adopted family (both)

  • Curry for breakfast (Pete)

  • Organised chaos (both)

  • Polite hospitality (both)

  • Colours (both)

  • Masala chai tea (Em)

  • Architecture & art (both)

  • Roti, garlic naan & paratha (both)

  • Constantly exploring (Em)

  • Nat Geo in person (both; wonderful experience to see places we had only read about previously come to life)

  • Beeping horns (both; we actually adapted to the background noise and, in the end, it grew on us)

  • Eating with your hands (Pete; we were really nervous about this aspect of Indian culture upon arrival but we ended up adjusting within days and grew to enjoy this further tactile extension of the eating experience and found it hard to believe that we had been concerned in the first place)

Just reading through this list makes us want to go back to India stat. We are so glad that we recorded these feelings & thoughts while they were still fresh. The following two sentences sum up how we feel about documenting our travels. If you do not record these adventures, you may regret it one day. If you do record your adventures and you never look at your writings again, at least you had the choice. Do future you a favour and write it all down. Furthermore, you just might find that your trip home feels that little bit shorter. Or it could just be the “return trip effect” but that’s a different story. Happy & safe travels! :)

Travel Diaries :: Corrie Ten Boom Huis & Anne Frank Museum

We recently wrote a post addressing today's obsession with presenting a perfect & happy image (literally) on social media platforms, such as Instagram, and musing about the somewhat forgotten art of storytelling (perhaps with less filtering?) by way of handwritten diaries. We wrapped up the post with this: "We vote for both: enjoy and share with the world your highlight reel on Instagram (after all, holidays are usually a huge investment so enjoy reliving those memories over and over!) but also treasure those raw and gritty handwritten travel diaries over a glass or two of red (after all, those genuine and authentic moments are priceless)! Who knows... we might even share a story or two or three from our travel diaries this year. <3"

We are going to share below one of our journal entries from the 3rd of January, 2014. We had just visited both the Corrie Ten Boom Huis & the Anne Frank Museum:


"Today we set out to see the Anne Frank Museum (AFM), the Corrie Ten Boom Huis (CTBH), and go on a canal tour. We got 2 of the above done. However, although we only got 2 done, I feel as though I reached my saturation point today ... so much to write about! Firstly, we went to the tourism place across the road from Centraal Station to find out where the CTBH is located and how to get there (public transport). It turned out that it is in Haarlem and about 10 minutes walk from the Haarlem Station. As the CTBH stopped tours from 3 pm and the AFM closed at 7 pm, we decided to go for the CTBH first. We bought a day ticket for the train and got on for Haarlem.

On the way, the ticket officer asked for our tickets. We produced them. She took them from us and promptly got upset with us. It soon became apparent that we had (unwittingly) purchased a ticket for the tram and bus instead of the train. To make matters worse, it was with another company. How we had made this mistake was that most of the ticket machines required payment by card. The machine from which we purchased our tickets was one of the few we could find that accepted cash. Well, the situation could have been worse; the ticket officer, after we explained that it was our second day in the Netherlands, took the tickets from us and explained that we would have to buy new tickets at the station. So we did.

Image was taken by us during our holiday adventuring. (You can purchase original Ten Boom watches here.)

We headed for the Corrie Ten Boom Huis. It was a beautiful neighbourhood. It was surreal walking the streets Corrie and her family walked. We found the museum and I was so surprised to find that the jewellery shop is still open and trading under the Ten Boom name still. They were selling watches in the window - Swiss, et cetera - and some were just 'Ten Boom'. It was great to see.

We lined up with 3 Americans for the next tour starting in 5 minutes. A very friendly American lady welcomed us in for the tour and directed us to the living room. It was ... surreal. Having read the 'Hiding Place' and watched the film, it was hard to process that we were sitting in the living room of the Ten Boom's home. The tour guide talked us through the main parts of Corrie's story and, as she got to different sections of the story, we moved to different parts of the house. We got to Corrie's bedroom where the hiding place is. Pete and I stepped in. At one stage, while Pete was in the hiding place section of Corrie's room, the tour guide pulled down a curtain and closed the cupboard door to the opening into the hiding place. While it was dark, she started knocking on the wall and Pete later said the experience was unnerving and made the story of the 6 Jews 'held captive' in there for 47 hours more tangible.

We walked to St Bravo Church where the Ten Booms went to church. They were busy setting up for a winter festival tonight and we were fortunate enough that they were playing the pipe organ containing 68 registers and featuring 5,068 pipes. Mozart played the organ in 1766 and G.F. Händel also played it (the Christian Müller organ).

We went and had a high tea (of sorts) at Bij Babette just down the road from the CTBH. We indulged in delicious scones and an amazing green tea called 'The Love Potion'. We asked our friendly waitress to surprise us with a tea and she delivered.

Next stop was the AFM. After the cosiness and warmth of the CTBH, I found the AFM a bit sterile and detached but it was a powerful experience nonetheless. Such a strong story and very glad we went. It was particularly sobering to see Anne's name in a huge, fat in memorium book lising every Jew (103,000) who was killed in the Netherlands during the war. To think that so many people died senselessly was staggering and upsetting.

It was a buzz to see Anne's diary in the flesh - to see her handwriting with corrections, et cetera. It made it all so much more real. Another little thing that stood out to me was on a picture Anne had put on her wall of a pretty young lady (from a magazine or paper, I assume). It was black & white, of course, but Anne had coloured the lady's lips with a pink pencil. It was a reminder that she was just a girl doing girl things."


"Forgiveness is an act of the will, and the will can function regardless of the temperature of the heart." ~ Corrie Ten Boom

We must learn from history.

Crisp, Curated Instagrams & Muddy, Unfiltered Diaries

We recently read a very endearing article (here) by Danny Wallace from Conde Nast Traveller regarding the evolution of holiday memory collection. In the good old days, handwritten diaries were standard. In today's culture, carefully curated images and stories are the norm. In the good old days, diaries were written for the person writing it (if intensely personal). Or perhaps for friends and family, as well, but still a controlled audience. One major purpose of Instagram is to share. Widely. In so doing, the world becomes a smaller place - in theory, at least. A side-effect is relinquishment of audience control unless the account is private. Memories are recorded with different target audiences in mind. Funnily enough, the content usually reflects this.

In our day to day life, we are not big diary people personally. Our calendar serves the only day to day purpose we need: keeping track of bills, appointments, sessions, etc. However, when we travel, we make keeping a diary a priority to the point that we actually plan part of our day around our diary. Every night, we try to find a quiet spot where we can have dinner (?glass of red) and record the details of our day. Every single day. We have found that if even 3 or more days pass, your memory of what happened when can start to fade and drift into differing recollections of what took place between observers and subjects. We record the good and the bad. We record the anticipated and the unexpected. We record the happy times and the sad. It's therapeutic in a way and clears your mind so you're fresh to welcome a new day of exploration and adventure. It also means we won't ever forget e.x.a.c.t.l.y what our holiday was like. This is why Danny's article resonated with us, we assume. We found this paragraph particularly pertinent:

"I think we’re in danger of only documenting the things we think we’d like to remember. The things that paint our trip the way we think the trip should have gone. The things you’d Instagram. But it means we risk turning those memories into a stylised highlights package or a magazine spread, when what makes it real and important are the small and everyday memories that slip between the cracks. Often, the things that make your trip memorable are those very things we forget, maybe because we mistakenly choose to. Those seemingly pointless, perhaps even, on paper, dull details that – when taken and put together – make up a wonderful whole."

We vote for both: enjoy and share with the world your highlight reel on Instagram (after all, holidays are usually a huge investment so enjoy reliving those memories over and over!) but also treasure those raw and gritty handwritten travel diaries over a glass or two of red (after all, those genuine and authentic moments are priceless)! Who knows... we might even share a story or two or three from our travel diaries this year. <3

Our own travel diaries to date; 302 pages worth.

Our own travel diaries to date; 302 pages worth.