Lara & Brian Engagement by Mollie Moran

I wanted to share some photos from Lara & Brian's engagement shoot! It was my first shoot in quite some time. They were so patient with me and also so playful. We found new Chicago backdrops while in Chinatown and classic views along the riverwalk. I hope you enjoy!

When everyone going by on boats cheers for the couple :)

When everyone going by on boats cheers for the couple :)

Sam I Am by Mollie Moran

This summer has been full of adventure and it's also been full of love.

My little nephew Sam was born and I just wanted to introduce him to you all. We all can't get enough of him.

Here are some photos I took of my sis Caitlin and her sweet Sammy :)

How beautiful is my sissy! 

How beautiful is my sissy! 

His little yawns are the cutest.

His little yawns are the cutest.

Welcome to our family Sammy :)

Paris by Mollie Moran

For many reasons, I have always been drawn to Paris. It’s architecture, it’s romance, the movies (Ratatouille is my favorite haha) It is classic and timeless.

Erin asked me one day if we wanted to go there for a few days. I didn’t know what to do. I’m surprised that I didn’t automatically say yes. I thought about money. But we called our parents, and both of them said to go. (They rock). We were already over here, so why not.

I want to be better at not focusing on money stopping me from things I want to do. I know it can stop a lot of dreams. I’m glad my parents helped us make this decision. :)

I felt very overwhelmed by people and language there. But truly everything else I loved. I watched a woman try and pick-pocket me. It doesn’t help that I wear a camera around my neck everywhere, I will always look like a tourist!

But Paris was the perfect place for me to play with street photography, even though it was rainy most of the time we were there, sometimes it helped!

Who doesn't love seeing flowers on every corner?!

We knew we wanted to see all of the tourist attractions because we had about 2.5 days there. Erin had been before so she took us all around :) I'm obsessed with anything with Paris on it. Journals, pillows, etc. For my birthday my family got me a lamp and the base of it is the Eiffel Tower, and I cried... Seeing it in real life was amazing to me. I found it everywhere we turned through the buildings. 

I love the buildings in Paris! All of the doors are grand and the windows all have colorful flowers on the balconies. Also, the orange rooftops are my favorite part. 

Erin and I ran across a huge roundabout because we couldn't figure out how people got to the ferris wheel and all I saw were speeding cars coming my way. Erin was ahead of me and all I remember yelling was, "ERRRRIIINNN!!!" I crack up thinking about it now but I have never been more scared.

We made sure to walk through the Tuileries Garden on our way to the Louvre. The gardens were so beautiful. They were the perfect place to read or bring a picnic to!

Erin knew Montmartre would be one of my favorite spots and she was right! It was a little hike and they had shops all over and the best views over Paris. 

We visited the Notre Dame one morning and sat on a bench by the river and ate sour strawberry straws. Not very french of us but they were good anyways ;)

I ate my first crepe in Paris and got Nutella everywhere on my pants and tote which made me a little self conscious haha. 

I really liked people watching in Paris, and I wish I took more photos of the people! It's sometimes scary especially when they're watching you.

We walked up the Eiffel Tower! I had a turtle neck (OMG) but we had to do it! Over 500 stairs but it wasn't too bad because of the views we got. We thought we bought the correct tickets to go all the way to the top, but somehow we messed up so we only got to the second tier! Still worth it all. I just barely caught this photo through the telescopes of Montmartre.

That night we decided to go back and have a picnic! We ate strawberries, bread, wine, ham, and really gross barbecue chips haha. It was our last night in Paris we spent watching the twinkling lights and people drinking and laughing. Gosh. What a view. I told Erin, "This is one of my favorite views I have ever seen," and she replied, "This is one of the best nights of my life." I MEAN.

My own Humans of Paris pic Erin snapped of me hahaha. I know I'm dramatic. Also, this bag is everything. I strive to practice this but sometimes I let everything get me down. I believe in it so much and preach it, but I know I need to practice more of what I preach too. Especially while traveling. It is a wonderful world we live in and I'm so lucky I got to see a place I've dreamt of.

It was so special to be in a place that was just as magical as I imagined. My family thought it was such a good idea I got to see Paris now because I've talked about living there for the past few years. I could really see myself there, but I've got to start practicing the language. So - I will be starting French classes while here in NYC! Yay!

So much love for you Paris, until we meet again :)

Ireland by Mollie Moran

I want these posts about our travels to just be very honest and full. When typing I first used the words amazing and incredible in every other sentence and I knew I had to find the right word, something more worthy and not repetitive. So I will try to put into words what this experience has done for me. Yet with that being said, I am a very open person, but for some reason I feel like whatever words I write about Ireland will never be enough. They can't come out to share how I feel about this trip.

This trip will forever be one of my favorite things I’ve ever done. Everything we did and everywhere we went was never what I expected it would be. I'm not sure why I had ideas or expectations of each place, but each was their very own. Each was better than what I imagined.

It was so special in every way. Having the opportunity to fit this into my life just to explore and be with my sister Erin. She was originally planning on going alone, and I was waiting to hear about an internship. I felt trapped in time in my own life. I didn’t like the way it felt, so I kept saying to myself, “Why not?” I asked Erin if it was okay to come along, and for weeks we sent each other photos of Ireland, counting down the days until we left.

When I returned I felt a new perspective take place. I had to say yes more. I had to see the people who put in effort to see me. I couldn’t let money stop me from experiences. I want to live my life fully. I think this is something very hard for me sometimes -- unfortunately. I think too much and I just want to feel simply happy.

I’ve thought about things from this trip everyday since I’ve been back, and once I went through photographs again, I feel so grateful that Ireland has opened up my eyes. Since being out of school, I haven’t photographed too much. I feel rusty still, which may sound silly because it should feel natural. I felt scared about not shooting for so long. I also never do much landscape photography, but I knew traveling would inspire me to shoot.

Ireland has the ability to make you feel very small – one of my favorite feelings - and the world feel very big and wonderful. The things we saw were sometimes surreal.

We went into this only having a few ideas of where we were going to sleep, and things we wanted to see.  Looking back the coolest thing is thinking about how much we did and what we saw - and how smooth it all went!

We started in Dublin, headed to Belfast, then to Galway as our main stops. (We fit Paris in between - but that'll be another post!) On some of those days, we took day trips to see big attractions or new cities. The day trips were some of my favorite days. We learned from our bus drivers and got to see more open land, and cute baby sheep! “Remember we drive on the correct side of the rode over here,” one driver told us. Looking each way before crossing the street became so confusing!

I hope that my photos show you more than my words can say.

St. Patrick's Cathedral was our big 1st stop in Dublin. It was so beautiful with colorful tulips everywhere! Also we saw a lot of puppies and Erin and I couldn't resist saying hi.

See :)

Our jet lag was horrible on the first day but we just couldn't let ourself stay inside! We got a little sleepy during our first meal and made sure to sláinte every drink we had our whole trip! Sometimes we even said it and clinked chocolate, grapes, ... any of our food :)

Going to the Guinness Storehouse was a big one on our list. It's a self guided tour with tasting rooms and seeing really old machines showing the processes. We also went to The Old Jameson Distillery and loved that tour even more! I'm not a big straight whiskey gal, but tasting the difference between Jameson & Jack is something I can do now! "Tastes like college!"

Cobh was a beautiful little town. I met a cute little snail and seeing these colors on a rainy day made it so much better :)

Our day trip to the Blarney Stone was our first and lots of fun. It's a little terrifying hanging upside down just to kiss a stone! I don't think my luck really caught on because I fell down the spiral staircase right afterwards... made of stone. I'll blame the rain. I cried and held my elbow for hours lol.

Belfast had the biggest Botanic Gardens and greenhouses! They were fun to explore even when they felt like a jungle inside. We checked out city bikes and it looked like I'd never ridden a bike before -- they were heavy and I was struggling which probably made me laugh harder.

Going to The Titanic Museum and seeing where it was built so long ago was interesting and sad. You could feel the mood in the museum while everyone read stories. In it you see what the furniture was like, how much food was loaded on, pictures of daughters and names of all those lost. We did find a few Moran's and wonder if in any way we could piece that family tree. 

Belfast had some perty light in the evenings. Our view from the hostel had big hills and watching the sunset from our window was always orange shining through our window and I remember us loving watching the sunsets.

Driving along the coast was stunning in any direction. When we got to see the Carrick-A-Rede Rope Bridge, Erin and I couldn't help our facial expressions. We were in awe. I took so many deep breaths in and remember feeling very full of happiness. It was our first time stopping on the coast and seeing tiny islands.

She's so pretty :)

Giant's Causeway was a big hike that we didn't really expect. We weren't dressed for a hike so we were all sorts of sweaty but the views were completely worth it. It was packed with tourists but being up high on the cliff was much quieter :) We bought our Vans in Dublin on our first day because our feet already hurt oops!

We fell in love with Galway so quickly. It was surprisingly tiny and full of musicians and with beautiful weather it made our wandering even better. I ate some of my favorite food in Galway, one of them being the best burrito I've ever had. Weird, right!?

We biked all around Aran Islands somehow without a map and didn't get lost. Within the first 5 minutes though I got a flat tire and Erin didn't come save me. It was a rough start but I remember saying that it was one of the cutest days of my life. We saw so many animals, yelled, "Weeee!!!" down every hill, and raced up when we had the energy. I think we had ice cream twice that day :)

We weren't dressed correctly for this day either, I was wearing black jeans and Erin a skirt, we were struggling a bit with the heat and this was our biggest sunburn day. That Irish blood!

During the bike ride we got so close to the animals! It was special that they trusted us. The white horse was letting me pet him :) 

I have to comment on this chocolate shop we stopped at in Doolin. It's homemade, and I picked a Dark Chocolate Rocky Road bar and it was hands down the best chocolate I've ever had. Erin hated me because I couldn't stop saying, "MMM" out loud.

In our minds, the Cliffs of Moher were the #1 thing we needed to see, and luckily we saved this trip for one of the last! Going at noon got a bit difficult with light but these views just can't be done any justice in photographs. I got pretty queezy getting close to the ledge but man it made you feel in awe.

Everywhere we went there were baby duckies or swans! Erin and I watched them for a good half hour and snapchatting them with our commentary. We thought they were our family because there was a mama, papa, and 5 ducklings all in a line :)

This man playing 4 instruments was insane. This was one of our last days in Dublin and we listened to him and didn't want to leave. Then on our last day, we took our final day in Ireland to Wicklow Mountains - another thing we really wanted to do but weren't sure if we could. It was the perfect ending. We stopped at the bridge from PS I Love You and found out that Gerard Butler is Scottish and not Irish! Oh well, still a favorite. We also met this sweet 3 legged puppy Milly who followed us around. At Guinness Lake we only got to stay for about 10 minutes but I know Erin and I could have stayed all day.

Below are photos by Erin on her GoPro or from our phones!

This is an experience that will be with me forever. I'm so lucky to have a sis like Erin. We are the same with planning, so this trip was a new side of spontaneity for us. We needed it. This trip was for us and nothing else. To explore and grow and learn about somewhere that we've always thought about.

Although I missed my home and routine, I know that Ireland was 100% more good than bad. I don't feel I am the best traveler or adapting quickly to new spots, but it makes me wonder if travel photography is something I'd want because of the way it makes me feel. I'm grateful for my dreams to be able to morph just as my life does all because of new experiences.

Traveling does the heart good. This was a time in my life where I realized I may not have this opportunity again, maybe ever, so it was a time to be embraced. The words, "why not" haven't left my mind for a few months now, so hopefully I will continue to experience things just as wonderful :)

I luff ya, Ireland.

All sorts of thankful. by Mollie Moran

Well! It's been one speedy month since I have finished school. I just wanted to share about what my life has been since.

For a while, not much happened for me. (Granted, it's been just over 1 month.) Finding a job is so hard! I wanted to find something I loved and that I could also benefit from. Many people told me to take whatever I could get. I understand that and believe in that too. Yet life is way too damn short for me to take just anything. I knew I could find something I'd love, it just took patience.

Being out of school my biggest focus is my health, leading me to my fitness and food. I have been cooking so much and wish I cooked more with my dad growing up. I snapchat pictures of my food every night to my family and it feels so good to make yummy meals. I've also been practicing yoga, barre, spin, and just stepped into the world of HIIT. I always had phases of working out and for the past 6 months or so I've been really keeping with my food + fitness and it feels good to feel strong.

Outside of school also meant a huge step back from the art world. And I did that by choice. I felt very overwhelmed by the art world, and also by my own art practice. I started photography before I started college. And in college I learned all types of ways to shoot, etc, but I felt like I was having trouble finding my own love of it as a whole towards the end. And no, I am not saying that I hate photography! I know this is still what I am meant to do. I just needed to step back and rediscover why I fell in love with this medium... Especially in the world we live in today. Everyone is a photographer. That doesn't scare me though. But social media does. Instagram really gets to me some days. I want to delete it probably everyday. I see too much negativity and photos that don't inspire me. But then I remember these little moments are mine, and I'm so lucky to have a platform to share one part of my day or week and some thoughts that I want to share too. It's too good of a platform to let go right now.

So, I've taken a step back. I am finding loves outside of school. I really do love leaving my apartment in the morning knowing I am not going to school. That sounds crazy and maybe silly but gosh it feels so good to know I get to keep discovering life. I felt like I was always an extremely serious student, always stressed, it was my biggest priority and I didn't let much else into my life. But now I get to find new things to do and focus on. It rocks.

Birthdays are such weird days to me! If I'm not with my family or my birthday sis Erin, it seems to feel off. But I have a feeling 22 is going to be a wonderful year, and it can only happen if I put that effort in. I am so thankful for everyone who wished me a happy birthday and celebrated with me.

On the 1st of February I bought the book, "You Are A Badass". I think my friends hate how much I quote and preach it now. But truly, this book has changed my life. It explained to me my own energy which I felt I never really understood. It explained to me that I deserve the things I want. I love these books that just remind you you're doing awesome in life and that life is awesome too.

Lastly, for lent I've been trying my best to just write down how I feel every day and reflect. The word that comes up most is thankful. I am very lucky to have the life I have. Lucky yes, but extremely thankful. I have the most supportive parents. Chicago is absolutely beautiful and I get to live here. I have a job. I have my health. I get to buy groceries I like. Life is simple and sweet, just the way it should be.

So! Here is to another year of health, amazing people, happy energy, adventure, and discovery :)

In high school, I started photography with myself, so, I decided to make it go full circle. I took this photo of myself 2 days before graduation. It was a really emotional time taking this too, some photos I was crying. I've always felt vulnerable in front of a camera, it was a bittersweet moment.

In high school, I started photography with myself, so, I decided to make it go full circle. I took this photo of myself 2 days before graduation. It was a really emotional time taking this too, some photos I was crying. I've always felt vulnerable in front of a camera, it was a bittersweet moment.

Just some yummy juice, pretty lights, and fun floor dinners with besties.

Celebrated my 22nd with a spin class, awesome people, dancing all night, and cake :)



Cheers to 2015 by Mollie Moran

Coming home is a time for me to look back at the year and see how much has changed. Here are some photos from my Christmas with family, the 1st time in 2 years we've all been together. This post is longer than normal, but I'm happy to share photos and memories from the end of 2015.

For Christmas Eve mass, we love to go to the cathedral downtown because it's so beautiful. 

After mass, we are off to Grandma & Grandpa's house - the annual tradition. They host everyone, make the yummiest meal, and it's always a special night.

Grandma gave me a goblet of my favorite ;)

My 2 brothers, beautiful sissies, and beautiful mommy.

Blue steel back to back!

G & G have the most beautiful house. 

The kids started to play a game, (I forget what it's called already!), Where you can only ask yes or no questions, and will hopefully guess what you are. 

Then comes presents time!

I got to capture G & G opening the gift from Cait and Brice, baby booties! We also FaceTimed Jenny and Peter -- they sent the Chicago flag to Colorado :)

Christmas morning was so easygoing and happy. We all knew it was the day we got to tell the world that we were going to be aunts/uncle. This has been such a hard yet also fun secret for me to keep for a few weeks. Whenever anyone would ask me how I was doing, even during finals, my answer was always great and wonderful, because I just felt so excited about this. I'm so happy for Cait and Brice.

Then we took a sibling trip to Boulder. 

We ate yummy food all day, wen't to Ozo coffee shop, walked around on Pearl Street, went to the Sink for dinner (all sisters being 1st timers), and saw the Boulder Star. The Boulder Star is something I've wanted to see for quite some time. When we got there, we thought the lights were supposed to turn on, but they hadn't. We decided to start climbing. ~15 minutes later, Cara was already trying to go back down the small --but steep!-- mountain, and they finally turned on. Luckily I wore my hiking boots, and I knew the view would be worth it at the top. I left the siblings for a bit and went all the way up as a lone ranger, fell a lot, all while carrying a camera that I probably shouldn't have. Anyway, the view was definitely worth it.

Another stop Cara and I made -- the new Restoration Hardware. Have you guys been yet? Man, it's beautiful in there. We did a little photoshoot too. What's new :)

Lastly, here are some small moments of break that made me really happy.: painting with my best friend and giggling the whole time, cooking with my dad, eating at one of my favorite restaurants in Denver, going on walks with my dad and seeing a big sky, and hugging my puppy Theo + waking up with him. 

This year has been a very good one. Although there were some rough times, things started to fall into place and I feel more like myself than I ever have in my whole life. I can reminisce for who knows how long, but I just want to say I'm grateful for all that has happened and who I'm surrounding myself with. My independence and health, both physical and mental have made huge leaps this year, and I'm really proud of that. 

 

Here is to a new year of change. I'm ready for ya!

Photoblog - Alex by Mollie Moran

Alex & I have been wanting to meet up and shoot for months. I love meeting new people for photos, and she absolutely killed it. People responded so well to my last Photoblog - I can't wait to continue more :)

 


Photoblog - CJ by Mollie Moran

Lately some photographers I've been following have been doing a photoblog, where they share multiple photos from a shoot - I loved the idea so I'm giving it a try :)

I met CJ for the first time at this shoot! We went to the zoo and played. She did anything and everything and looked badass through it all. I hope you enjoy!

I'll have another coming within a week!

You're in the good ol' days by Mollie Moran

For my Film class, I watched a movie called Chungking Express, a story of two love-struck police men in a world of motion blurs and energetic colors.

I’ll keep the story short: in one scene, an officer buys pineapple cans that expire May 1st; May being the name of his lost love, his birthday, and the expiration date of their relationship.

He says, “If memories could be canned, would they also have expiry dates? If so, I hope they last for centuries.”

How true is this… How tightly I wish I could hold on to the most precious, happy memories. But also, some are meant to fade.

I think because the year is flying, I’m feeling nostalgic. It happens around the holidays because how quickly they come, but I’m so glad they do. It means another year of growth, cookies, family time, and appreciation.

My mom always tells me that the years go by faster when you’re older. I believe her, no doubt. I always ask to hear stories of when we were little, or if my parents miss us being so small. But she told me that she loves to see all of us doing what we love and figuring out the lives meant for us. Moms are the best.

Back to my point, how cool would it be to have a limitless expiration date for memories? But we aren’t allowed that. We must look back with happiness and gratefulness, but understand that we are only here now. We must leave be relationships that weren’t working, friendships that aren’t deserved, whatever it may be. Some memories, no matter how good, definitely have a time frame. We have to let go.

“I wish there was a way to know you’re in the good ol’ days, before you’ve actually left them.” Thanks, Andy Bernard, for the reminder. We may be nostalgic in 10 years of what we have now, so all we can do is appreciate where our lives are today, even if it’s not our “destination”. I’m using too many quotes but if you know me, then you know I luv them, but really this is so much about a journey. Nothing happens the way we ever predict. 

For my friends in other states, curious readers, or whoever stumbles upon this post, another reminder, “You can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, you’ll find you get what you need.” We have to let go, and be in the moment. As my mommy says, “No matter what decision you make, it’ll all work out.” 

Sources below ;)

Chungking Express, Mommy & Mollie, Andy, and The Stones

 

 

Go for it. by Mollie Moran

I just recently watched actress Emily Browning during a press conference for the new movie Legend. She was asked how she prepared for her role. Her response was a confirmation to me about what I, too, see in myself.

 She said she doesn’t have a specific process of preparing, and when you read the script, the character is there on the pages. When she acts, it just happens and when the camera stops she has no idea what she just did. That’s where she lays it all on the table. She does not think, she just does. And that is the only time in her life she does not overthink.

“It’s never a specific process.” Each character for her, and each subject for me, are so different. Each has their own story to tell, the result will never be the same.

I realized that when I photograph, I think of nothing else in the world. Everyday I worry and stress (too much, I’m working on it), and for photo-shoots I study photographs and study poses. But when the time comes for me to actually work with my camera and my subject, the world is gone. That is when I can create and forget troubles, worries, and even prior inspirations I wanted to remember. That is my only time in life that I let go.

With my senior year in progress, and graduation months away, I am constantly looking at job postings. What is next, what if this or that? Truly, it is terrifying.  

I’ve also been reminded that “fear is the only thing stopping people, fear stops you from starting, from success.” I’m so scared of what is next, but I must live in what is now. I must embrace the uncertainty, the moments of creative inspiration that hit me. When you know this is all you know you must do, and that you were put in this world for this, you will make it happen. You have to want it.

I’m thankful for inspiration, and thankful for the unknown. & most importantly, I'm excited.

Venice, Italy by Mollie Moran

The last stop of my trip was 7 days in the most picturesque place of all, Venice. When we arrived we were greeted with a beautiful light and rainbow. This might be my favorite post, it feels bittersweet that this is the last of them! This post is a long one, I hope it brings you happiness :)

Obviously I had to open with a Venice photograph, but this one of the little girl I accidentally forgot from Milan's post. And I realllllly wanted to share it. I will always remember it as a really special moment of my life. I knew the language would be a barrier in Italy, it was much harder than I thought! But this little girl and Erika went back and forth copying each other making silly faces and funny gestures, no speaking at all. She was so giggly and I just remember sitting on the bus thinking how special it was to communicate only through giggles and silly faces. I'm so glad I got to capture it. 

My teacher Jim. This guy is so smart, I'll say it again. I learned so much on this trip.

The color in this city... I think at one point I called it a "watercolor world". I'm cheesy but who cares!

I was so in love with this little family. They just looked so good in this city. I hear saloon music when I look at this man walk. The one above is one of my favorite photos I've ever taken, it feels like a movie still to me.

This is St. Mark's Basilica, and unfortunately it was under construction so we couldn't see it in it's full glory. But walking through this square I literally started to sweat because of how nervous I was walking through all the birds... They fly right by you and I didn't want to get pooped on... although 1 person from out group did! 

I have always been so in love with foreign music, and hearing the musicians on the street play was truly amazing. Sometimes we could hear them playing down the alley from dinner or we'd walk by hearing popular classic songs and would dance a bit in the street. This guy had the cutest smile as he played. 

We visited the Peggy Guggenheim collection in what used to be her house. The collection was ginormous and full of names we all know. I noticed Barbara Morgan's signature on her photograph, and it looks so similar to my grandma - Barbara Moran's signature. The best cursive :)

The colorful scene Venice is known for... everything kind of looks similar here, so it's easy to get lost along the skinny winding roads. And the only way to get around is walking or boats - the Vaporetto!

When you walked at night the moon would literally be your biggest source of light. I felt like in Venice is when I saw the biggest and brightest moon I've ever seen. 

We went to the Venice Bienalle, one of the most famous international art shows in the world. Each country has 1 or 2 representatives for their own exhibition, and this is the most art I've seen in 1 place - we were overwhelmed! 

Walking over this bridge everyday gave us some of the best views. The golden hour in Italy was always on point.

How freaking cute are they!! 

I became obsessed with seeing laundry lines everywhere! It made it even more colorful and cute :)

1, I need to work on my faces while I take photos. They're a little silly. and 2, this cute woman waved to me! I loved seeing people look down at the streets from their windows

This was the first day we had free - so we had to go to the beach! My dad studied in Italy for a bit when he was younger, and the best thing he can say is, "dov'è la spiaggia" which is "where's the beach?", I said it until we found it ;) I'm also terrified of oceans... I know, weird. But I did go in and swim with my girlfriends!

I caught them laughing right after Sophie threw some figs that exploded and splashed on Lucia!

One of the biggest reasons I transferred was to be able to study abroad. I am so thankful that this happened for me and especially to bring it back and share with you all. 

I will say that I cannot believe I didn't take any pictures of my food! What as I thinking? If you know me, you know I suck at trying new foods. I'm picky and a little scared, but! my friends helped me while there and here's a few things that I definitely could have conquered in America - and instead did in Italy: artichokes, anchovies (not a fan), macaroons, sake and chop sticks for a whole meal (we needed a break from pasta), and the weirdest of all to me was black squid ink! Ah! 

It's almost a month since I've been back. I had horrible jet lag for a week! The one regret I have is not writing on this trip. I think that my mind was filled with new knowledge but also new feelings from traveling. I wish I had documented what was going on more in my mind. 

And lastly, I know that I am not the best artist, I stick to photographs. But in Italy part of our projects were to draw. To sit, slow things down and really understand what you were looking at. It was a complete test for my eye. While I still struggle with perspective and tones, I think color was my favorite thing to work with. 

The left drawing of the Vatican was the first drawing I did with charcoal. The next 3 are rubbings from the ground of churches and walls. Bernini's is from his grave! 

I did these 2 sketches at dinner. I saw two men on a scooter and loved it - no pressure makes it easier! 

I am really proud of that baby's right foot haha. Drawing churches is so hard! I cannot wrap my mind around the perspective and I start to draw things that aren't actually there. 

I painted on some post cards :) 

I want to thank everyone who takes the time to read these!  

This is a trip I will always remember. Until next time, Italy :) 

Milan, Italy by Mollie Moran

I assumed Milan would be my favorite of all places, because of it's fashion, the way people spoke of it, and from previous photos I had seen online. But the more I go over this trip, I really can't pick out a "favorite" place. Yet our 3 days in Milan, I definitely did some of my favorite things and photographs! 

The first stop we made was to the Fondazione Prada - Prada Foundation, seriously one of the coolest things I've ever been to. It is an art collection, and every building housing the art was made of a different material. Right when we walked in there was a photoshoot happening. Inside these glass doors is the Wes Anderson cafe, I didn't want to leave, I love seeing behind the scenes! 

This is Lucia :) She became my go-to model on this trip. She's so comfortable and easy to work with in front of the camera. She also took all the pics of me on my Instagram! :) The light in the Prada Foundation was amazing. The mirrors acted as natural reflectors and I love shooting with natural light, so I started to take photos of everyone... 

I took my 50mm and my 35mm on this trip, and ended up only really using my 35mm because that's what old street photographers did and I love the look. 35 isn't ideal though for selfies...

The upper part of the building you can spot from far away because it's literally made of gold. Beautiful, bright, and dreamy gold. 

Faculty from the trip. The two on the left we met quickly - their friends. In the middle my art history teacher Jim, who knows everything about everything. His knowledge is insane. Then there's Anders - the architect. I can't believe his drawings! Helen-Maria next to him, wonderful Scottish accent and killer outfits. She is a design queen. And Mardell, Anders' wife who wore pretty shades of blue :)

We met this guy on the street, and Sam (left) had a conversation with him about music. It's so cool to hear everyone's stories in a completely new world. Also, the light was too good so I was taking pictures this whole time! We were wandering around and we found a little restaurant for dinner, not fancy at all, and it ended up being my favorite, yummiest pizza from the whole trip. Simple arugula - they call it rocket! 

The next day we visited Achille Castiglioni's studio. He died in 1996 but his studio is now turned into a museum where everything is pretty much the same from when he left it. We got a tour with his daughter, it was so cool to hear her talk about him and how he designed things for her mother! This mirror he had against a corner, so no matter where he was in his studio, he could see his assistants at all times. Smart man ;)

This is Giovanna, his daughter. She gave the best tour and explained all of his designs so well. Some of them were so funky but so practical. 

A close up of Picasso's brush strokes

After seeing so much architecture, it was so exciting to see prints from photographer's I've studied and looked up to. Here's Sally Mann, you may have seen this photograph before - it was extremely controversial for the content, but she was always working with her children. 

Andreas Gursky - who you can always recognize from far away. We felt like nerds a bit going through galleries and naming all the artists and not looking at the labels, it felt good to know I really knew what I was looking at and who, too. 

The Wes Anderson cafe - obsessed with him (a director), and obsessed with this cafe. It felt like you were in a movie of his. 

We toured the Alessi Factory, one of the leading Italian design companies. Tons of kitchen ware, and tons of things that you wouldn't really think about that were designed. This was (I think) a plate - that I liked getting in close and making it feel like a landscape. 

The woman who gave us our tour. She knew stories about every development and design. She's holding a book here from a shoot that happened, all huge artists that we know now were friends and always hung out; Dali was quite the model. 

On the drive home from the factory, we stopped at Lago Maggiore, THE most beautiful place, I wanted to stay. This is Erika, she is such an amazing artist. She draws and paints with such attention to detail and accuracy. 

The Viola was the prettiest of gelato colors the whole trip! I had that flavor with Mango, I still remember the taste! 

This is Sophie - we were paired as roomies the whole trip. She is so genuine and thoughtful. We had so many random, funky  things in common the more we found out about one another. Both of our little sisters were in Thailand at the same time, birthdays, names in families, and more. Right now she has no return ticket - she's traveling with her girlfriend Laura HEY GIRL! I miss them already.

The girls said I reminded them of a puppy a lot of the time, and started to call me Golden :) Here is Lucia with a picture of me ;)

The day I had been waiting for!! I love seeing The Duomo in photos, and sadly I didn't get the full view of it on my camera shots. But, I was right about Milan being the most fashionable city ever. The men and women and even children looked so good. So classic and timeless. 

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I'm a wannabe Garry Winogrand - a street photographer. I'm going to pretend he would have seen this with his eye too. Also - a major fear of birds - mostly pigeons, developed here. They get so close to you because people feed them! When I stood on top of this block for a photo - a man threw bird seeds at me and they all came at me. It was mean... I laughed but inside I cried, and I was terrified. 

The roof of the Duomo was incredible. To some people this architecture would be overwhelming but it was so interesting to me. I sat with Lucia and 2 of my teachers and watercolored up here - until I got in trouble whoops! I've learned it's better to say sorry than ask for permission - it works in photography and apparently painting too. I should have known better... 

 

Thank you everyone for checking out these posts, I feel so happy that people are responding well to them. I have gotten emails from family, and from people that I don't even know asking for prints. I got a message too that read, "Love your pictures from Rome! Like -- literally -- my mom and I are sharing ice cream and going through each one --- on by one!!! It's making her so happy -- perhaps that's your goal!" Things like this make each of my images feel so worth it, and so worth sharing to you all. Ciao for now - Venice is the last stop. 

Rome, Italy by Mollie Moran

I am so excited to share some of my photographs from Italy! I spent 1 week in Rome. I went with  28 students from my school there and studied pieces of work that I've read about in textbooks. I was overwhelmed everyday by realizing that they, these artists we study like Bernini, Michelangelo, Da Vinci, Caravaggio, (to name a few) are people too, and students like me. I thought a ton about my work as I was there, and began focusing more on color. (As that comes naturally in Italy with its abundance.)

Before I left, I read an article that said, "Art is in a state of decline from the moment that it aspires to massiveness through colossal proportions." Beauty was conceived entirely in terms of the colossal, yet once it's purpose is only that, it's losing its validity. When you see the architecture and sculpture in Italy, this makes more sense - the scale was always insane. In this article they were talking about architecture and the huge buildings that were there or would soon be constructed. But I started to read it in new terms too. My art, my photos, do not have to be for the biggest and widest audiences to be beautiful. For a long time I thought I wanted that. But what I've realized I really cherish in my photos  - and my life - are moments that capture small hints of a person or places of beauty. Moments that feel special and I can't get back. 

I didn't want to explain every photo - I think they speak better for themselves :) I hope you enjoy!

The Ponte Sant'Angelo, where we stayed close by and where we met up in the mornings. This bridge was always beautiful!

The Vatican and St. Peter's Basilica were so beautiful. I can't believe I got to capture light like this! I love when you can see little dust particles in the air, whether in such an outstanding place or even my kitchen at home :)

Every ceiling that we saw was extravagantly decorated. We saw over 50 churches (Yeah, 50!) - most of them in Rome. Some of them had mirrors so you could look into those and notice new details instead of hurting your neck and looking up. 

And below are my friends Erika and Lucia - we became a little trio :)

The river by Ponte Sant'Angelo had such a fun night life! Food, bars, games, gelato (which was on the menu basically every night)...

Spanish Steps! Such a pretty view all around. 

Some guys hand out roses on the street without telling you at first that they cost money. We learned better after that...

I think this was the point of the trip that I really started to watch people. It sounds creepy, and half of the time, I felt creepy. But if I liked what they were wearing and the colors surrounding them, I stood by and watched them until I captured what I wanted. This guy reminds me of Up :)

This evening in the Palazzo Navona was one of the happiest times of my life. We had great seats at a restaurant to watch the whole plaza and listen to wonderful music. This woman was KILLING it, we listened to her and painted and ate pizza! My life felt like a movie - it was so special.

This photo got me so pumped, I am so proud of it. He just naturally stood there, and moved right after I got the shot. It is one of my favorite portraits from the trip.

One of my teachers, Anders - follow his hat and you won't be lost :)

Our hands would get so dirty after drawing. Whether we did sketches with charcoal or a rubbing of the ground, we couldn't avoid it. Thanks Ali for letting me show off your hands :)

Ciao Roma! In a few days I will share Milan :)

I remember 2014 like it was yesterday… ;) by Mollie Moran

What a year! So many exciting and fun things happened.

Sister’s graduations and moving away from home are some big things that I will always remember.

Every year, I’ve known some event was going to happen. Whether a graduation, a wedding, or switching schools. For 2015, I know of nothing. No big events, no expectations… and that is very exciting to me.  It means this year is free to be whatever it wants to be, and I cannot wait to see what happens!

My resolution this year is to practice cooking and preparing better meals for myself. I got fun kitchen goodies for Christmas and cannot wait to try them out! Here’s my first meal of the year! I guess that means I might turn into a food Instagram gal... uh oh!

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Happy New Year! 

Home is where the heart is by Mollie Moran

I counted down for 8 months before the big move to Chicago. If you read my last post - I mentioned how weird time is to me. How is my first semester almost over? How is this year almost over? 

I feel like I've never worked so hard in my life the way I have in Chicago. But I was ready to be home and take a break. I counted down for about a month to come home (which felt like forever).

And now here I am, home. But this time it doesn't feel exactly like home, it's different, and I can't quite put my finger on the difference. I know I'm not used to being here so it will automatically feel a bit odd, but the people can always remind me what home is supposed to feel like. Here's a bit of adventures that happened during my Thanksgiving break :)

I surprised Cara! It was so hard to keep a secret from her, but I woke her up and she was so confused and happy!

I surprised Cara! It was so hard to keep a secret from her, but I woke her up and she was so confused and happy!

My sisters and I ran the Turkey Trot at Washington Park! It was a good way to start the day.

My sisters and I ran the Turkey Trot at Washington Park! It was a good way to start the day.

Thanksgiving dinner at Grandma and Grandpa's! 

Thanksgiving dinner at Grandma and Grandpa's! 

Erin made cute Thanksgiving treats :)

Erin made cute Thanksgiving treats :)

Denver looks so pretty 

Denver looks so pretty 

Love dressing up and being downtown!

Love dressing up and being downtown!

My mama took us all to the Nutcracker :) Put me in the perfect Christmas mood.

My mama took us all to the Nutcracker :) Put me in the perfect Christmas mood.

Afterwards we got treats at the Cheesecake Factory. Yum!

Afterwards we got treats at the Cheesecake Factory. Yum!

Hanging out with this little man is so much fun, even though he doesn't seem to enjoy it

Hanging out with this little man is so much fun, even though he doesn't seem to enjoy it

Adventure day with sis!

Adventure day with sis!

Wandered around Pearl street!

Wandered around Pearl street!

I love collecting cute cards like these. I found them in a cute shop on Pearl

I love collecting cute cards like these. I found them in a cute shop on Pearl

The prettiest coffee shop in all the land, Stella's

The prettiest coffee shop in all the land, Stella's

My little sis always glowing :)

My little sis always glowing :)

Sister night with pizza!

Sister night with pizza!

Record store hangouts with sis!

Record store hangouts with sis!

How selfies start, smiley and cute...

How selfies start, smiley and cute...

And then this happens behind the scenes... haha

And then this happens behind the scenes... haha

Missed these sunsets :)

Missed these sunsets :)

I leave tomorrow morning back to Chicago. I've got 10 days left of finals, and then I'll be back. See you soon CO!

Home is wherever the heart is, wherever it may be.

December?! by Mollie Moran

Sometimes time hits me hard. It's crazy to wrap my mind around the fact that it's December 1st, and that my first semester in Chicago is almost over.  With Thanksgiving just over, I wanted to do a little post about a few things I'm thankful for.

First off, family. I know everyone says this about their own and I will say it about mine too: they are the best. They have helped me so much with a big move to a big city, they have listened to me cry and fail and they pick me up. Seeing my grandparents at Thanksgiving I immediately started to cry because I hadn't seen them in months. Sometimes I feel alone in Chicago, but I know that I've got so many family members I can turn to who always comfort me. 

I'm thankful for my health. This Thanksgiving my sisters and I ran our first "race" together. I was so proud of us. Even though it was a short 4 mile run, I am no runner - it was hard. My hips were killing me the next day, but it felt so good to complete that. 

I'm thankful for friends. Some people you never expect to can offer you support, and it means the world. When things hurt you, friends are always there to tell you they are there, that they will kick some ass, and they will love you. I've gotten good at cutting people out of my life when they no longer make me a better person, but the ones that do are so special. I already miss my girls in Chicago.

Lastly, I'm thankful for special moments of laughter, kindness, hugs, and quiet. Sometimes in my head I take imaginary pictures of those moments. (Like Jim and Pam on the Office).

 

A few of my favorite things:

Seeing sunsets and wide open skies, I haven't seen them in so long.

Looking up and seeing stars

Houses with holiday lights 

Movie nights with sisters

When my puppy greets me at the door

Home cooked meals

Adventures around Denver

 

While these may all be cliche, these are things that can be taken for granted so easily, but I don't want that to ever happen.

I'm going to post soon about my time here at home, but until then, Happy December everyone! 

Family Weekend by Mollie Moran

My family came out to visit! I was counting down for so long to see them, and I wanted to share our adventures.

This is how the morning began... Donuts in a comfy hotel bed.. 

This is how the morning began... Donuts in a comfy hotel bed.. 

We took the architecture tour on a boat through the Chicago River and got to learn all about the buildings!

We took the architecture tour on a boat through the Chicago River and got to learn all about the buildings!

I want to live in these cool spots right on the river

I want to live in these cool spots right on the river

#searsfromhere

#searsfromhere

The fall leaves here are so beautiful

The fall leaves here are so beautiful

Caitlin and I :)

Caitlin and I :)

I haven't been able to see the city like this. We got lucky too with weather because earlier in the week it was so foggy that the buildings weren't visible!

I haven't been able to see the city like this. We got lucky too with weather because earlier in the week it was so foggy that the buildings weren't visible!

The housekeeper tucked in my giraffe and gave me candy. We all thought it was super cute that they thought I was a child.

The housekeeper tucked in my giraffe and gave me candy. We all thought it was super cute that they thought I was a child.

Dad being an airplane

Dad being an airplane

Sis, mama, and I. We were going to go to the aquarium but the line outside was too long, so we walked along the water  instead

Sis, mama, and I. We were going to go to the aquarium but the line outside was too long, so we walked along the water  instead

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All of us together :)

All of us together :)

Fall, you're doing it right

Fall, you're doing it right

I took them to the roof of my school! You get to see majority of Millennium Park 

I took them to the roof of my school! You get to see majority of Millennium Park 

On the Nichols Bridgeway 

On the Nichols Bridgeway 

I have been waiting to get pizza since I moved here. I was so excited to be full

I have been waiting to get pizza since I moved here. I was so excited to be full

Deep dish deep dish!

Deep dish deep dish!

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Leftovers the next day right outside my dorm :)

Leftovers the next day right outside my dorm :)

We went shopping.. Macy's is 9 floors tall so lots of escalators! 

We went shopping.. Macy's is 9 floors tall so lots of escalators! 

And then we found Dad when we were done

And then we found Dad when we were done

Seeing the sun is becoming a bit weird here, it's been very cloudy. 

Seeing the sun is becoming a bit weird here, it's been very cloudy. 

This is a real thing

This is a real thing

Cupcakes after a yummy dinner in River North

Cupcakes after a yummy dinner in River North

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I'm so glad I got to show them around and show them how fast I walk. ;) 2 months was a long time without seeing my family, and now I've got 2 more months until I'm home for the holidays!

You are your own worst critic. by Mollie Moran

I have never believed it more. 

Some days are harder than others. Some days I feel like I’m actually going insane because of how stressed I am. But I just have to know it’s okay to give myself a break and breathe. Always easier said than done...

On Tuesday my to-do list was a full day commitment, (my planner has never looked uglier.) I had 3 shoots, two papers to work on, and other homework to complete. (Not all of it was due one day, I'm just ahead of schedule, to make that clear.) As soon as I submitted homework, I got feedback immediately from a professor and it was exactly what I needed: a response letting me know I was confident in my writing voice, when that is normally a big struggle.

Things will pay off; hard work definitely will pay off. It’s feels good and right to say that I’m proud of myself. And it’s only midterms, but this school has tested me so much already. I have to keep pushing.

It’s a gift being here because I’m learning and growing not only as an artist but also as a person. At the end of the week, it’s so worth knowing you did your best, with true effort, and put your heart into projects. Although I haven’t felt as proud of my photos here quite yet, I’m being tested conceptually, and I know that in time I will find my way. But I can't give up, even if I don't feel as creative or get a bad critique. That's the reason I am here, I am only a student. 

I have never worked harder in my life. And maybe it's good that I'm my own worst critic, it's only motivating me to work that much harder. You are not losing your mind, Mollie. You’re growing.

 

experience by Mollie Moran

Art history has become a huge interest of mine. Whenever I do the readings, it takes me so many hours to dive into it and try and understand it, yet it’s so fun to try and solve. My teacher is awesome and thoroughly explains everything, seriously sometimes I get chills. These ideas are so big that they’re hard to wrap your brain around, but when you get a hint and the understanding peeps through, IT IS SO COOL.

In my contemporary Art History class on Monday, we were discussing a reading called Art & Objecthood by Michael Fried. There’s one tiny part in it (that doesn’t really have to do with the theme of it at all) that he brings up the sculptor Tony Smith. Smith talks about a drive he was taking through the mountains -- an artistic experience to him. Yet, there are some artistic experiences that just don’t have form, they are not a framed painting.. Things were so beautiful to him, there was no limit to what he was seeing. There was, “No way you can frame it, [you] just have to experience it.” WHAT. YES. I thought that was so nice, because I think it’s true. Not that this part was hard to wrap my mind around – but it just hit me. And it’s so simple.

Experience is something we just know happens. It’s normal. But experiencing things and not taking them for granted I feel is hard for us to do.

I was walking on the beach last week – it’s nice having city and “beach”, listening to Van Morrison, and just looking at where I was and taking it all in. For reals in my head I said, “this is living”. But to other people, living is getting to do crazy things like sky dive or I don’t know, other big things. Which I think is true too. (And I hope to do those things!) But that day, living was having a relaxing day to myself, feeling very happy where I was. Some days you just need those revelations.

The experiences that give me these thoughts are my favorite, and they’re very rare for me. They make me realize how lucky I am, thankful I should be for what I’m doing, for how healthy I am (minus this cold I just got), and how happy I am in the big picture and shouldn’t focus so much on small things that stress me out. I just need to not think about my limits, like art can have sometimes, and just let things be, and take them in as they happen.

What’s cool to think about is how we are people, artists, just like all these famous people are too. They worked and studied, practiced and created, just as all of us can do. And maybe we can achieve their level of expertise. Their work and critiques are within us; we can have these thoughts and passions, whatever it may be. We have the ability to push ourselves to be great and experience life... We just have to put it out into the world… 

 

 

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