Thankful Thursdays – The Small Things: Flowers

Falling Off Bicycles Julia Willard peonies

My comings and goings to and from Paris have come with a good deal of reflection. Perhaps it’s the small spaces I have lived in, the constant living on top of complete strangers, the drastic differences in aesthetic from where I’m from, or something entirely different, but living abroad has been key to my learning to appreciate the smaller things. A morning walk, a long and drawn out meal, a burgeoning sidewalk overflowing with bright and fragrant flowers… they all have a stronger power to move me than they did before my move to France. But that’s France for you, isn’t it? The attention to detail is something that continues to strike me and indeed inspire me. And yet it’s so often done with such effortlessness.

Waterlogue Wednesdays: Red Bicycle at the Cave à Vin

Cave a vin photo by Falling Off Bicycles Julia Willard

I just love this image – both the photograph and the Waterlogue version. The red, green, and blue work together so beautifully, and the seemingly simple image really carries much of the identity of the Marais within. This cave à vin using a bicycle for marketing purposes obviously plays to my love of my love for these two-wheeled cuties.

Happy Waterlogue Wednesday!

Thankful Thursdays – Fun Amsterdam Bikes

Julia Willard Falling Off Bicycles, Amsterdam bikes

Bikes at tulip filled Leidseplein

Julia Willard Falling Off Bicycles, Amsterdam bikes

I love it when a bike matches nearby flowers

Julia Willard Falling Off Bicycles, Amsterdam bikes

Just down the street from chez nous on the Singel at cheese shop Reypenaer

Julia Willard Falling Off Bicycles, Amsterdam bikes

This type of bike is great to haul stuff, but I think this one in particular had been used by bricklayers for moving bricks

Julia Willard Falling Off Bicycles, Amsterdam bikes

Typical Dutch style in that Delft blue. I love this one!

Julia Willard Falling Off Bicycles, Amsterdam bikes

Bloemen!

Amsterdam is jam packed with bicycles… you probably knew that already. But until you’ve been to this glorious city, I’m not sure you can fully appreciate how many different ones there are. Indeed bike theft is pervasive in Amsterdam, so what better way to keep track of your fiets than to personalize it will a custom paint job, funky stickers, or even an etching or a quote? Unfortunately, I hadn’t done that yet by the time my basic black omafiets was stolen. But the creative people who have come up with these fun customizations were great inspiration for me when I was creating my logo. Stay tuned for how I came up with that design…

“The bicycle, the bicycle surely, should always be the vehicle of novelists and poets.”
~ Christopher Morley

Waterlogue Wednesdays: Red Balloons Eiffel Tower Ferris Wheel

Waterlogue, Julia Willard, red balloon project

Waterlogue Wednesdays are to share a few of my photos made into watercolors with the Waterlogue app, that I so love. This one was taken when we came across a couple getting engagement photos taken in front of this Ferris Wheel across the Seine from the Eiffel Tower.

Thankful Thursdays – Blossoms

Julia Willard Falling Off Bicycles photography
There’s nothing to analyze today. I just wish to celebrate the pure beauty that is Spring blossoms. Yes, they are especially beautiful with the lace of the ironwork on the Eiffel Tower or a charming Parisian façade in the background, but they are also astonishing beautiful sitting gently on each branch as they do. Spring always helps me appreciate the present moment and the incredibly beauty that surrounds us at every turn. We need only pause and reflect on it.

Spring won’t let me stay in this house any longer! I must get out and breathe the air deeply again.
~ Gustav Mahler

Waterlogue Wednesdays: Au Vieux Paris d’Arcole

Julia Willard, Falling Off Bicycles, Au Vieux Paris

After all the cherry blossom petals have fallen and the tulips are even nearing their end (in places other than Holland where they aren’t so ubiquitous), the wisteria begins popping out here and there against those beautiful Parisian façades, making for so many charming shots. Here is this week’s Waterlogue version of one of my favorite places to take in the some of that glorious lavender wisteria, Au Vieux Paris d’Arcole. Check for the photograph version of this shot next Wednesday on Instagram. Follow me at: @fallingoffbicycles

Thankful Thursdays – A Spot with a View

Amsterdam Café de Jaren

Something I’ve always giggled to myself about a little, as I’ve become more familiar with the Dutch culture and the sometimes unpleasant low dark sky and frequent rainy days, is how the first moment the sun pops out and sheds enough of a sun beam out (whether it’s in February or May), the Dutch are there to grab a seat on the nearest terrasse. I tease my Dutch friends about this, but the truth is, I too love the opportunity to go plant my bum someplace and people watch for hours. One of my favorite places to stop a have a drink and borreltjes is Café de Jaren on Nieuwe Doelenstraat, with its back terrace on the Amstel. It’s a fun place to be upstairs, downstairs, inside or outside, but in the Springtime when the golden chair trees are at their best it is heavenly on the back terrace.Julia Willard, Cafe de Jaren, terras Amsterdam

“Celebrate what you want to see more of.”

~ Tom Peters

Waterlogue Wednesdays: Red Balloons Stairway

Waterlogue, Julia Willard, red balloon project

Waterlogue Wednesdays are to share a few of my photos made into watercolors with the Waterlogue app, that I so love. This one was taken near the Jardins du Luxembourg in the 5th arrondissement. It’s not easy to tell, but that’s a bicycle next to the stairway.

Thankful Thursdays – Springtime ~ Amsterdam Version

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Pansies, a first sign of Spring

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The former Eye Museum

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Living in Amsterdam when Spring comes around is just as much a joyful and momentous occasion as it is in Paris. Since the Netherlands is indeed the flower country, what else would one expect but to have tulips available for super cheap and bright colors popping up on all those charming front stoops? If I can’t be in Amsterdam year-round, Spring is no doubt one of my favorite times to indeed be there, as the colors and spirit are so bright around the City. Many terraces have newly opened, and people are so thrilled to be outside along the water once again.

 If the sight of the blue skies fills you with joy,
if a blade of grass springing up in the fields has power to move you,
if the simple things in nature have a message you understand,
rejoice, for your soul is alive.Eleanora Duse

More about tulips in a future post…

Waterlogue Wednesdays: Salon de Thé at the Grande Mosquée de Paris

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As Spring comes into further bloom, I’m reminded of some of my favorite afternoons in Paris, spent at this pretty place. Here is a Waterlogue version of the tea courtyard at the Grande Mosquée de Paris in the 5th arrondissement, just behind the Jardin des Plantes. The vibrant colors here are perfect for the kind of shots I love, with all those gorgeous tones and shades, all of which change throughout the day and seasons. I almost always come with my friend, Mme Parisdise.