the dissection of my carry-on


Oh, the turmoil of packing the perfect carry-on. Packing gets me all in a tizzy. I loathe it so much, I procrastinate to the last minute doing things like work + laundry. Ask my husband at 1 a.m. as I contemplated every item I placed in my suitcase and carry-on as he tried to sleep. You don't want it to be too heavy so you don't have to burden your loving husband with carrying it around the airport, but you know it'll be the end of the world if you don't have your favorite trail mix...or chocolate...or camera...or chapstick...or enough airplane entertainment!

After many flights and road trips, I'd like to think I've become a pro at packing my carry on, from finding the perfect tote, to the perfect scarf to snuggle in, to the essentials you wouldn't be caught without (face wipes, toothbrush, makeup), to my entertainment package (iPad, kinfolk magazine, iPhone, journal + pens) and of course, my babies (cameras + film). The perfect carry-on definitely makes for a more enjoyable flight.

What's in your perfect carry-on bag?

Bon voyage! Bonjour, France!

My essentials are listed below (Not pictured: my camera bag which is full of a whole other world of tech goodies!):

1. Madewell Transport Tote

2. Nikon FM

3. Fuji Instax Mini

4. Mast Brothers Chocolate Brooklyn Blend

5. Kinfolk Magazine

6. Rifle Paper Co. Notebook

7. Anthopologie Tassel Palm Scarf

8. Say Yes to Tomatoes cleansing face wipes

9. Kodak Portra 400

10. Kodak TMax 400

11. Fuji Pro 400H

12. Fresh Market Cranstachio Mix

13. Pigma Micron Pens

14. Apple iPad

15. Apple iPhone + Headphones

england & ireland: pt. 3



After a couple of days in London & finally meeting up with Big Jerry & Tess after their eventful mission trip to Belize, we ended up in Dublin, Ireland. First of all, the flight from Heathrow to Dublin is the easiest thing ever. Hop on, sit, drink some hot tea, hop off, catch a taxi, and bam!...Dublin. By the way, it's SO GREEN. And there is free wi-fi everywhere you go. #winning

We were only in Dublin for 2 days, so we researched some things you cannot leave Dublin without seeing & pretty much did the touristy thing. Although, it wasn't too bad considering Dublin is a hoppin' city, but it's small & very easy to navigate (at least compared to London!). We stopped by St. Stephen's Green, Trinity College & its Old Library, Grafton Street, Guinness Storehouse, 3fe Coffee, St. Patrick's Cathedral, Murphy's Ice Cream, and Temple Bar. All in 1 day. It was awesome!

I only shot black & white film and with my iPhone in Dublin. I love capturing city life in black & white, however Dublin is such a colorful city so I'm glad I at least shot on my iPhone to capture it all! To see all the details on the instagram shots below, go check out my page!




I love quiet little moments like this girl feeding the geese. It reminds me of my childhood when we would take all our old bread to the parks in England and get swarmed by the ducks and geese.




We stopped by the Old Library at Trinity College early in the morning on our second day in Dublin. This was such a beautiful place. A library that you dream about...of course, I dreamed I was Belle in the Beast's library. We went to go see the Book of Kells, which was stunning. The exhibit before the Book discusses the details of creating books and illuminated manuscripts, something incredible to see after my art history class of medieval monsters in religious books! While there are no pictures from there, here are some beautiful shots from the Library upstairs!





The Dublin Dental Hospital & School for Jerry!



Inside St. Patrick's Cathedral. Such a colorful place inside, but quite a hefty fee to go in. Since when do churches charge to go to church? Although, considering the economic hit Ireland took in the last 5 years, I don't blame them.

After St. Patrick's Cathedral, we trekked across the city to the Guinness Storehouse...that's a good walk by the way so be ready, or take a taxi. This was a neat museum on Guinness and the company as a whole. It was all inside of "the world's largest pint glass," which decided to be clever and add a "foamy head" to their ceiling in their top-floor pub. It's amazing the impact Guinness has on Dublin and Ireland. They were one of the first companies in the world to offer paid vacation, so I'll drink a Guinness to that!






And what's better than Ice Cream after a day of miles of walking? Murphy's Ice Cream is what Ireland is clearly the best. Ireland is very proud of everything Irish. And they should be proud! Locally grown, locally produced, locally consumed & mostly always organic! They have figured out the system and it's quite a delicious one. Murphy's Ice Cream is handmade in Dingle, a small little coastal town (post coming soon!) and their signature flavor is Sea Salt. SO GOOD! They also have crunchy peanut butter, Bailey's Irish Cream, Guinness, & Brown Bread just to name a few flavors!

Also, the best treat of all to me (& thank you for walking 1.5 miles for a great cup of coffee), was to find the best coffee-house in Dublin. 3fe Coffee had tons of people talking online, especially about their latte & home-roasted beans. So we walked...and walked...and walked just so I could get a cup. It was so worth it though. Just as smooth and creamy and absolutely beautiful (love their latte art!) as I expected it to be! And as a plus, we got to see a cool little school multicultural parade while we were sipping away!





Thanks for following along! My plan is to have some photos of our Castle Tower house in Limerick up tomorrow!


rdu baton: may 1, 2013

This year, my birthday was pretty awesome. Mainly because y'all made it fabulous & because I got to do what I love all day (make pretty photographs...duh)! I held the RDU Baton instagram account, a collaborative photo project held by the wonderful people of the Triangle to let the world see how AWESOME the Triangle-area of N.C. is! I didn't have an unusually eventful day, but worked to make all my shots count! It's definitely nice to have a challenge when shooting since I haven't had that since the good ol' days of Pat the photo professor! I included the original captions beneath each photo for y'all. You can sign up to hold the baton here. Also, if interested, all shots are iPhone and I use a diverse group of photo apps and textures: Mexturespictwopictapgovscocamsnapspeed, and squaready (although this is just a handful of what populates my 2 "photo folders" on my phone).


Hello RDU! I’m Lauren V. Allen, a local photographer based out of chapel hill! I’m also a high school photography teacher at Northern High in Durham. I always start my mornings off really early, around 6:45, at work with a cup of coffee in my “great mustaches” mug! #chapelhill #durham #latergram by @viedfinder / on Instagram



My intermediate photography class at #Northern decided it was best to do a crazy class picture! These kids are the next movers and shakers of the photography world and have quite the eye for it! They are my #durham #babyphotoninjaz! check out my blog, for some upcoming class galleries! Photo by @viedfinder / on Instagram



I’d like to thank @google for making this girl happy with a #google #doodle! By @viedfinder #techgeek / on Instagram



I’m always lovingly greeted home by my sweet yorkie, Eloise. Today she fought over a new hair bow while barking at our neighbors at the bus stop. She thinks she’s the biggest dog in all of #chapelhill. Photo by @viedfinder #adventuresofeloise / on Instagram



So freaking excited for my birthday present & good company! I sure do love my husband & his memory of my favorite color :)! #chapelhill photo by @viedfinder / on Instagram



Fresh cut lines for my favorite #chapelhill @thetopofthehill knock-off: Kansas City Ice Water! Love dinner parties! Photo by @viedfinder / on Instagram



Confetti cupcakes with great friends are better than confetti cupcakes alone #ftw. It’s been a great day with you lovely North Carolinians! Couldn’t have had a better social media birthday:) now to spend my time with friends and the hubs! Be on the lookout for Emily @mlelynn and her day with the baton! #chapelhill by @viedfinder / on Instagram


Thanks for all the well wishes! Such a great way to start off a new year!