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One of my back-to-back flights this past fall and winter took me to Moscow, Russia for about a week at Christmas time!

I was in the city to photograph and socialize (ie. blab all over social media channels) a few important meetings and events… namely, a VIP reception and auction at a gorgeous mansion, a press conference and a visit INSIDE the Kremlin – right to a meeting in the presidential library! The whole week included working with celebrities from both the U.S. and Russia, as well as my organization’s CEO and of course several key leaders from the Russian government.

But mostly I just wanted to share all the CHRISTMAS with you! Man, does this city know how to Christmas! The decorations were gorgeous and plentiful. I used the opportunity to walk around with my brand new Sony a6500 camera when I was “off-duty”.

This was my first time traveling outside of the Latin alphabet. I admit it was extremely difficult for me to decipher a restaurant from a cell-phone store – literally – so as a result, I had no food and no SIM card!

Three final photos were captured with my usual Canon 5D Mark III, if anyone’s keeping score – I was walking through Red Square again after one of our events. I’ve since changed my Sony lens to a 28mm because of the cropped sensor, so I’m able to get a wider view while traveling, hiking and just general on-the-go photography. Point there is that I’m now snapping MUCH more every day – I’m loving the Sony a6500!

I took off for the airport at 2:30am the following Saturday morning, speeding off to the Hedman family Christmas in Connecticut on the same day! But don’t worry – that’s just the way I like things.

More globe-trotting in 2017!

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Freshly home from about 11 days of travel, including a few days in London before one full week in India.

The India portion of my trip was to visit my organization’s (the International Fund for Animal Welfare, IFAW) wildlife rescue and rehabilitation project in Assam and Kaziranga National Park. Absolutely incredible stuff, face-to-face with baby elephants and rhinos (and leopards!) who will soon grown strong and confident enough to be released back into the wild. Other than bottle feeding, human contact and voices are at a minimum around these magnificent creatures. The center is not open to the public.

If you’re traveling to India, Thailand, Vietnam and other popular Asian destinations, PLEASE dedicate some time to finding the right place to see elephants and exotic animals. Use of words like “sanctuary” and “rescue” are almost always untrue, and the cruelty behind-the-scenes is astounding. Make sure there are no rides, hands-on interaction or selfie photo-ops offered on the website before you visit.

dilli haat market in delhi indiaAs we moved toward the city of Delhi for continued strategy meetings, I loved the chances to sneak out for visits to a couple of local markets and the stunning Hindu house of worship called Akshardham.

Textiles such as scarves and blankets were my favorite to indulge in. While the majority of our travels showed extreme poverty, there is still a vibrancy to the Indian culture at every turn. Laundry drying on the highway guardrails, women crouched in the tea fields, children begging on the streets – all in beautiful prints and colors.

dilli haat market in delhi indiaOur meetings included more than 30 colleagues from all around the world: Australia, the Netherlands, France, China, Germany, Kenya, Russia, South Africa, Canada, the UK, Mexico, India and the U.S. I’m filled with inspiration and a boat-load of new ideas for the year ahead!

dilli haat market in delhi india

It’s such an honor to be able to travel the world with my camera, and to share images and experiences from these cultures. Don’t forget to join me on Instagram at @staceyhedman!

AKSHARDHAM

courtesy of akshardham.com

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New Years is deeeefinitely my favorite day of the year. I mean, 4th of July is my favorite holiday, but on January 1st, I love nothing more than to curl up with some quiet time and a notebook. How ‘bout you?

The thing is, New Years is almost always preceded by New Years Eve, and that’s the kind of holiday when we all party and rage with friends or even strangers until the wee hours of the morning. This fun-but-predictable ritual results in a groggy start to the fresh new year.

We are heading up to spend an awesome weekend with friends at Jay Peak in northern Vermont this New Years 2017, and I couldn’t be more excited! Snow, fresh mountain air, laughter – can’t beat it! But I’m already setting some physical and mental space aside for my notebooks, pens and quiet time! Actually, when everyone else is swooshing down the slopes on New Years Day, I plan to be hiking UP the 4000-foot peak of Big Jay by myself (unless someone wants to join me, which is totally great too!). Sounds like a pretty great way to start the year, if I may say so!

journaling for new years resolutionsSome other great New Years essentials:

Notebook: I’m a huge Moleskine fan and recently acquired the perfect shade of navy blue by Leuchtturm from a bookstore in Moscow. I also can’t let go of a unique paint-splashed journal I found at Adorn last winter. The question remains: lined, graph, dots, blank paper? Do you write more, do you draw, do you draw in a straight line or all over the paper? I do all of the above, and I like to add some clippings and quotes using other mediums when I can.

Pens: The coolest options can be found at Goulet Pens. I love following along on their Instagram, and I’m always wanting to buy their pen collections as gifts. I must have also told you about these gel pens from Japan that you can erase?

Vision Boarding: I mean, of course I’ve heard of vision boards before, but it seems to be quite a trendy thing right now. I googled it to see what the latest was. The Huffington Post says “If you think vision boards are bogus, then the joke’s on you,” sooooo, I’m in. They also suggest your vision board should focus on how you want to feel, not just on things that you want. I highly recommend this quick read. I’m actually very excited to implement this in my 2017!

Tarot Cards: I get it now, why these whimsical cards are also trending. I heard Anthropologie was selling the same pack I have in their stores: The Wild Unknown. You can check out BiddyTarot.com’s list of 10 Tarot Decks to Add to Your Holiday Wish List. The general rule here is that there are no rules. Pull a card out in the morning to help guide you through your day or a big decision, or dig deeper into the techniques for full readings. Overall, it’s just like a Magic-8-Ball, and it’s all up to your own interpretation – which it turns out can be extreeeemely valuable!

Anyway, I wish you the absolute best as you welcome your New Year 2017 this weekend! Find a little balance (drink water) along the way and celebrate where you are in this wild and beautiful life!
tarot cards and resolutions for new years

Bonus tip: Treat each Monday as a fresh new start as well! Mondays can be pretty amazing!

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Taking it back a bit to Julie and Dave’s Chatham Bars Inn wedding, because they had one of the most beautiful AND hilarious wedding days I’ve ever had the pleasure of photographing!

I got to know these two for their Cotuit engagement session, and I felt like I had a decent idea of who they were and what a great wedding they would have… but I never foresaw the all-night 90s hip-hop party that would ensue (and 90s hip-hop is the way to my soul, by the way)! Guess that’s bound to happen when an incredible couple follows my [brilliant] advice to hire The Classic Yellow as their band – in addition to apparently living a double life as rap stars themselves!

But truly, Julie and Dave are beauties on the inside and out. Welcome to their Chatham wedding day in the rain!

The rain came and went, and came and went again. Thankfully there’s no shortage of indoor photo locations and a huge wrap-around porch at the Chatham Bars Inn. We made it outside for plenty of portraits though!

I always capture a bride’s bouquet on these adorable Tiffany-blue wicker chairs down by the waterfront. I hope they always have them there!

The groom, his pals, and that incredible 90s hip-hop I was telling you about…

Julie and Dave, I hope life has been beautiful for you as you welcome another new year together! You remain among my fondest memories of wedding bells and certainly dance floors! XO

Florist: LilacsInvitations: Judy Paulen DesignsCatering: Chatham Bars InnCake & Dessert: Chatham Bars Inn and Four Seas Ice CreamVideo: The Pros Weddings | Music: The Classic YellowHair & Makeup: Lisa GeorgeOfficiant: Rabbi Sharon Forman | Transportation: Cape DestinationsDress: LazaroShoes: Miu MiuSuit: Vera WangFavors & Escort Cards: Pink Polka Dot

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Wishing you and your loved ones a cozy and thoughtful holiday week ahead!

christmas wishes from cape cod

We’re gearing up for a unique Christmas Eve ourselves – it’s the first time we’re slumber partying over at my parents’ house just 15 minutes away! And not to be missed, Gary’s parents are currently driving down from Vermont to join us! We’re looking forward to football, a scrumptious dinner and maybe some card games until late (but not too late, Santa!) into the evening.

A few of my favorite things today, á la Julie Andrews:

Starting the day with yoga, followed by a hot cup of pour-over coffee, burying my face in some dog fur, the twinkle of Christmas lights throughout the house, midday rain that I’d love more if it were snow, being ahead of the game on cooking and wrapping, the possibility of reading a book, the greater likelihood that I’ll be able to knit (while chatting), the sound of football on television even though I’m not really watching, seeing my mom happy with a full house of family, the positive side of social media and sharing in festivities with friends around the world, the clink of ice in my low-ball glass of bourbon, curling up close to the man of my dreams, and the anticipation of waking up to a fun new day.

As you’re singing o’er the hills this weekend, what are a few of your favorite things? Snap me something fun at @staceyhedman on Snapchat!

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