Kate lives here.

Our Family Photos from Paris

Family Stuff, TravelKate Hash1 Comment

To say I'm happy about our family photos from Paris would be the understatement of the century. Katie Donnelly is so talented and lovely -- I can't recommend her highly enough if you are in Paris and want to capture your visit to the city.

If you need any reassurance about how awesome Katie is remember this post where I mentioned that the Hash family was barely sleeping in Paris. It was a nightmare! But, somehow, some way, Katie managed to capture us at our best (and maybe even worked some PhotoShop magic on bloodshot eyes). That's some serious photographic voodoo magic right there folks.

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As an FYI, if you're looking for a family photographer in our old home of Florence, Italy, I can recommend both Mollie Pritchett and Birgitte Brøndsted.

36 Hours in Lawrence, KS

Food, TravelKate HashComment

For 36 hours last week we found ourselves in Lawrence, Kansas. Now, I know what you're thinking...Kansas? What could possible be there? Well, let me be the first to tell you this surprising news: Lawrence, Kansas is awesome. The town is fantastic. The restaurants and food are out of this world (think local, sustainable, farm-to-table). The people are so, so friendly.

I'll talk more about why we were visiting later, but in the meantime I just needed to fill you in on this fun, hipster-friendly town that I'm a little embarrassed wasn't even close to on my radar until very recently. First, lets talk about where we ate...

Merchants Pub and Plate

Kansas Kansas Kansas

Located at 746 Mass Street, Merchants Pub and Plate place has amazing pub fare. To call it pub food seem a bit unfair -- it's much more creative, adventurous and downright tasty than what you'll find in a normal pub. Most, if not all, of the menu is sourced from nearby vendors and farms. The beer list is insane with something around 30+ on tap (Rob was in heaven). We split the Chipotle Chicken Sandwich and the Sloppy Joe. Both outrageously good. Plus, we showed up at 3pm after a long trip into town and had the place to ourselves. Lord, I love being back in America where I can get a meal any time of the day. FYI: I really meant to take pictures of the food, but we ate it embarrassingly fast.

715

Kansas Kansas Kansas

For anyone out there that thinks you can't get delicious, "fancy" food in small town America, please think again and visit 715 on Mass Street. I simply couldn't ignore everything that I was reading about this place online and insisted that we do a date night. We were not disappointed. From the cheese plate to the drinks to the main dishes, everything was exceptional. All of the dishes were so thoughtful and the flavors so simple, yet tasty. The decor was also wonderful.

Where I got my coffee: Z's Divine

Kansas

Lawrence reminded me so much of Louisville with it's plethora of locally-owned coffee shops. There were so many to choose from (and I really wanted to try about 10 of the ones that I skipped), but I found myself go back to Z's Divine three times during our stay. It was just so good and I like my coffee reliably tasty. They have a ton of outdoor seating and I imagine how it must be fun in the summer to sip an iced coffee and people watch!

Can you tell that I loved Lawrence? I guess that I expected Kansas to feel somehow foreign or crazy different -- and maybe other parts of Kansas would -- but Lawrence was so neat and fun and reminded me so much of the vibe of the Highlands neighborhood in Louisville. So, in a sense it felt a bit like home.

FYI: Lawrence is only a 40 minute drive from Kansas City, so if you find yourself on a layover or randomly in the city, I recommend making the drive to check out this fun town.

 

The Family Portrait Project

Life, Family StuffKate Hash1 Comment

In 2011, I had a family portrait painted by Inslee Haynes. It was the first time that I'd ever sprung for a custom portrait of any sort and I totally fell in love with it! After that experience, I decided have a family portrait made each year.

In 2012, I found My Little Buffalo, a graphic design firm out of Portland. The style was so quirky and fun. For 2013, I had an artist on Etsy make it. I'm not going to link to her because I found her really slow and uncommunicative, but I still really like the final product, so I'm happy in that respect. 

I think getting portraits done is a really fun way to capture our little family as it changes. Photography is amazing (photos from Paris coming soon!), but there is something so cute and special about these.  I love that we can change the artistic style up each year, too.

Here is the 2013 family portrait...

Here's 2012:

And, finally, a flashback to 2011:

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Our trip to Paris

TravelKate HashComment

Our trip to Paris was...interesting. Lets talk about some of the wonderful parts of the trip:

  • An amazing AirBnB apartment: The apartment we stayed in was amazing. Clean, modern and in an unbeatable location in Saint-Germain. If you're anything like me, you get really overwhelmed by all of the endless options available in a city like Paris. It's nice to have such a homey place to come back to after a day out.

  • The weather: It was perfect. Seriously, 60-65 degrees each day, very little wind, sunshine and just absolute perfection. We couldn't have asked for better weather.

  • Visits to iconic spots: We saw the Luxembourg and Tuileries Gardens, the Eiffel Tower and a few other quintessential Paris sites. Seeing them over the course of such beautiful days made it a really dreamy experience.

Ok, now for the "lets keep it real" portion of our blog post. Livia. Did. Not. Sleep. Something about this trip just didn't agree with her. It made for an interesting energy-level for the Hash family. It made for an even more interesting flight back to the U.S. with just me and her. Suffice to say I was counting down the time, minute by minute. We made it back safe and sound, so that's all we can hope for.

On the upside, we did a photoshoot with a photographer while in Paris and I can't wait to see the photos. Hopefully she can photoshop out the red eyes and sleep deprivation from our faces!

Chapters

Living in ItalyKate Hash3 Comments
Hash-Family-in-Italy.jpg

Italy has witnessed some pretty major transformations and chapters in my life. In January 2005, I arrived in Florence a 21-year old college student that had just taken her first international flight. When I was packing for this big adventure, Italy was so darn perfect in my dreams that in complete and utter naïveté I didn't even pack a winter coat. I was heading under the Tuscan sun, right? Obviously every day would be a perfect sunny, 75-degree day. Ha! Needless to say my mom mailed me my coat after the first freezing (and snowy!) few days.

I left Florence five months later a different person. I arrived a boozing, slightly immature college student and arrived back in Washington, D.C. just...different. I had my own apartment, lived with my boyfriend (now husband), had an office job and just felt so darn grown up. It wasn't one of those I'm-sad-that-now-I'm-a-grown-up things. It just felt so natural and it made me happy. It felt like my time abroad had really opened my eyes and help me set goals for my future.

When I was packing up in 2005 and telling people that "I will be back here, I can feel it" I got a lot of nods and "Yeah...sure." Basically every college girl that studies in Florence claims that she'll live here one day. But for me, I knew it was different. I just knew this place was important for me and my story.

Five years later, when the opportunity came knocking to call Italy home once again, we jumped at it. This time around, we arrived in January 2011, sorta-newlyweds and self-employed marketing consultants ready to experience Italy in a whole new light. We traveled, visited museums, tried new things, met amazing people and matured...a ton. We matured and grew as individuals, but also as a couple.

As we get ready to leave Florence this time around, I find myself leaving a completely different person again. Italy didn't just watch me grow up this time, it watched me become a mother. I can state without hesitation or exaggeration that our life and lifestyle here was the reason we took the leap into parenthood. Without Italy this wonderful little family wouldn't be complete. I almost lack the words to properly express my gratitude to the universe for this.

I think that most of us have a place -- a physical, real place -- in this world that feeds our soul. Calms us. Helps us grow. All evidence seems to point to Florence as being that place for me. In that regard, it feels right to be leaving because I never want to abuse my relationship with this city, this place. I know now, just like I knew as a 21-year old, that Florence will always and forever be a part of my life. Except now, I feel it on an even deeper, more organic level. My daughter was born here and some of the happiest moments of my life are intertwined with Florence -- it's impossible to separate them.

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Our move from Florence has been on our minds for quite some time. It's been definite for many months, but I stayed quiet about it on the blog because I really just wanted these last months to be about spending time with friends and soaking in every moment possible. In due time I'll share our new plans, which are very exciting for our little family.

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