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26 December 2014

Rich & Mya Come to London | Vlog | Episode 16 ● by Jess

My brother, his very sweet wife, and their adorable baby, came to visit us in London for Christmas. Fun, festive times were had!!

19 December 2014

Winter Wonderland | Young Rubbish Vlog | Episode 15 ● by Jess

Winter Wonderland is possibly my favourite thing about living in London during Christmas time. We went last year and loved it... but I feel like it gets better and better each year. It is this massive carnival + bavarian winter market that comes to Hyde Park year year. It literally takes 2 hours just to walk through it, much less ride the rides or buy anything. It just feels like this glittering, sparkling, magical funland... and it pretty much brings the inner kid right out of you!

14 December 2014

Holiday Update ● by Jess

I don't usually get to gush about all my little kidlets, but, since my school posted these photos of our Nativity play on Twitter, I think I'm in the safe zone! I can't say much about it, except to say that it was one of the most adorable things I've seen in a long time. The kids owned it-- each person had their own lines to memorise and songs to learn and they did so well!In other news, Jon turned 30 this week. What a stud! Plus he decided to spend his birthday at the opera (we saw L'elisir d'amour). What a cultured guy! I'm one lucky lady....
Now that I'm out of school for Christmas, and I finally have a chance to take a breathe, I am-- of course-- sick.  Battling with a pretty nasty sounding chest cold at the moment, but I've got a couple of exciting things up my sleeve for Christmas! Stay posted for some holiday vlogs!

07 December 2014

Friendsgiving | Young Rubbish Vlog | Episode 14 ● by Jess

[*Disclaimer* This is a small amount of language in the postscript, although its been bleeped out for some of our younger viewers. Consider yourself sufficiently warned!]

When you're in a foreign country, you sometimes miss the holidays from back home. We got together last week with some of our expat friends from work and we all celebrated Thanksgiving, friends style!

It was so warm and cozy in Michele's flat (thanks again for hosting Michele!!) and it was awesome just eating food with fun people.

Happy Holidays!!

01 December 2014

Poppies | Vlog | Episode 13 ● by Jess

[*Please Note* This video is now set to private]

A look at the centennial year of Remembrance of WWI here in in London.

We went to visit the epic poppy ceramic exhibition at the Tower of London. Each poppy represents one of the fallen soldiers in WWI. As a whole, the poppies also represent the blood spilt during the war (the poppies are literally gushing out of the windows).

I love that in the UK there is just this collective memory of WWI... its something that doesn't really exist in the United States, and it is a really moving thing.

If you have yet to see it, please watch this:
It is one of the most beautiful and moving things I have seen in awhile.

15 November 2014

Scotland [Part 3 of 3] | Young Rubbish Vlog | Episode 12

We started the day by  walking out into one of the most beautiful autumn mornings I've ever seen. Then we headed north to try to get to John O'Groats, one of the northernmost points in Scotland. We stopped at Dunrobin castle, which looks like to is straight out of a fairytale. Even though the castle was closed, we ended up sneaking in to the back garden, after we saw someone go in to the castle and smile and wave. It was magical.

We made our way farther and farther north, and ended up stopping at this little town out of the twilight zone in a desperate attempt to find a bathroom. Fortunately, we found one-- after great effort-- and headed all the way up the top.

Unfortunately, the day ended very poorly, which I'll leave to the video to describe. It pretty much bottomed out the whole next day, but we are planning on heading back up over the New Year to spend time with the family of one of my friends. Until December, Scotland!

(Isn't he just yummy?! I'm such a lucky girl :)  )

10 November 2014

Scotland [Part 2 of 3] | Young Rubbish Vlog | Episode 11

We drove where James Bond drove and we swam where Nessy swam!

06 November 2014

Scotland [Part 1 of 3] | Young Rubbish Vlog | Episode 10

The first leg of our epic Scottish road trip -- including missing our train at King's Cross Station, a tartan history lesson, a pint-sized euro car, Edinburgh by night and the scariest drive of our lives.

26 October 2014

Westminster Evensong | Vlog (Episode Eight) ● by Jess

Every now and then, we'll have a video set to private, so only our family will see it. This may be for a few reasons... maybe we are discussing something private or about my work (legally I can't discuss anything-- even the cute things! that happen at school without specific permission)... or perhaps its because we snagged some footage that we could get into trouble for capturing. Because I operate on the "forgiveness is easier than permission" mantra, when it comes to my camera, this will probably happen  more often than I'd like to admit. ;)

Anyway, I'll let you guess why today's video is set to private. It's a short, lovely afternoon at Westminster Evensong and here is a still to tease...

23 October 2014

Seven Noses of Soho | Vlog (Episode Seven) ● by Jess

We went on the search for the legendary Seven Noses of Soho!

19 October 2014

BBC Proms | Vlog (Episode Six) ● by Jess

We learned the true meaning of "promming" with our friend Anika at the Royal Albert Hall, where we were able to see Beethoven's Ninth Symphony on the last night of the BBC Proms.

16 October 2014

Globe Theatre | Vlog (Episode Five) ● by Jess

A low key belated birthday date to a midnight showing of Shakespeare's Comedy of Errors at the Globe Theatre. So cool! We also went to dinner at the Laughing Gravy, which is probably the best name of a restaurant I've ever heard. :)

12 October 2014

St. Pancras Tree | Vlog (Episode Four) ● by Jess

Exploring St. Pancras Cemetery, finding a tree growing over the top of old tombstones, and spying on some scary people in the bushes.

09 October 2014

The Love Festival | Vlog (Episode Three) ● by Jess

A giant love festival where hundreds of people all got married at the same time!

04 October 2014

Rooftops and Chocolate | Vlog (Episode Two) ● by Jess

A trip down Oxford Street, one of the main stopping districts in London... from rooftops to chocolate to some really disturbing history.

01 October 2014

Camden Town | Vlog (Episode One) ● by Jess

[*Disclaimer* This episode was shot in Camden, which is a edgy part of London that tends to be a bit risque at times. Though I would show this video to my own kids (if I had them), I'd give it a 'PG' rating, so siblings-in-law that are particular about your kidlet's media, you've been forewarned.]

27 September 2014

School and Such ● by Jess

This is a letter one of my nieces, Gretchen, sent me this week. Jon and I were so excited to get it, especially because we have been working very hard to get our vlog put together by the end of this month. My nieces and nephews are probably the most loyal readership we have on this blog, mostly because they like our movies... which is pretty great because there are a lot more coming your way, kid-os! 

In other news, my new job is kicking my rear end in a very serious way. Working full time as a teacher, then going to school part time in the evenings and weekends is much more difficult than I had expected it to be. I am exhausted every. single. day.

That being said, I love these kids. I work with the 4/5 year olds and they are hilarious. The first couples of days, they didn't really understand my accent, so I pulled my really terrible British accent. It worked for the first day or two, but then, by the next week I tried to use it again when I was asking who wanted water at lunch. They were very quick to ask, "why are you talking like that?" 

Speaking of lunches, private school food is amazing-- like UHMAZING. I suppose it better be for the price of tuition.... I checked on my school's website to figure out how much each of my little four year old's was paying, then almost had a heart attack. One year of a four-year-old's tuition is roughly equivalent to what I spent on my four year degree + traveling around the world for 8 months (disregarding scholarships). Ouch. This fact naturally ads a bit of pressure, but fortunately, I am only one of three teachers in a classroom at anytime, so these kids get plenty of one-on-one attention. 

One of my favourite things is that I feel like I am a junior version of Harry Potter. Not only does everyone have adorable British accents, but there are House Points, a head boy and girl and we refer to the principal as the "head mistress." It is glorious and my inner 11 year old is constantly squealing with joy. 

Anyway, the vlog is coming! Stay tuned... My goal is to have episode 1 up by Oct 1st. :)

01 September 2014

Transitioning ● by Jess

Mmmm... I am one lucky lady. Look at this dashing husband of mine! This handsome man took all of this last week off to celebrate birthday week with me. He is the best hubby ever.

I haven't been super great at blogging lately, but its for a good reason....

Jon and I have realised that taking video when we are traveling and going on adventures actually makes for a much more pleasant experience than stopping to take photos. Confession: this is mostly because I make him take, and retake, photos of me at least 20 times.

In the past, we've made a number of montage videos, which has helped us realise that perhaps we are going about this whole blogging thing wrong. So, we are going to begin the transition of moving from blog to vlog.

In my dream world, each of my siblings and sibling-in-law's families would have their own vlog and on Sunday Jon and I would just spend the afternoon catching up with everyone and watching our nieces and nephew's grow. That would be beautiful. But of course, this is just the wishful thinking of an expat couple missing their family :)

We're still working out the logistics on how exactly this would happen. We are debating on what to set as public and what to set as private, and how/whether we'll change things when we have kids. I'm very open to any feedback, so feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below.

We'll probably begin rolling out episodes by the beginning of October (if my new job and school-- which started TODAY-- doesn't overwhelm my schedule). Its gonna be great!

25 August 2014

Some Highlights ● by Jess

I'm long overdue on catching up with photos on this blog, but as far a few recent highlights, we recently attended an Eric Whitaker (a composer) concert. I was not familiar with Eric Whitaker prior to meeting Jon, but my husband is definitely an... enthusiast? That might be putting it too mildly.

Once when Jon was walking home from church, he spotted a many with shoulder length blond hair walking with his wife and child. Immediately Jon recognised him as Eric Whitaker, legendary composer, and ran after him, yelling "Eric! ERIC! HI!"

Somehow it was indeed the man himself and Jon got to shake his hand and introduce himself. It pretty much made Jon's whole month, though to be honest I'm still trying to figure out how Jon was able to "recognise" a composer on the street.

Anyway, Jon got tickets to his concert and it was absolutely beautiful, funny and entertaining.

Classical music makes Jon ravenous for chocolate. 

We also spent a day at the British museum. Unfortunatly, we ended up going on one of the hottest days of the summer and on a Saturday. But, even with all the tourists and the muggy heat it was still amazing!

20 August 2014

One Year London Anniversary ● by Jon and Jess

Holy guacamole folks, its been one full year today since we moved to London. It some ways it feels like yesterday that we were in Queens, and it others it feels like we've always been here.

We decided to do a little tribute to our first here in this marvellous city. Cue the Beatles!

05 August 2014

Behind the Scenes in Pierrefitte-Nestalas ● by Jess

Been going through our phones and cameras and realised we had a bunch of little chips from this trip! Hobbled together a few them, threw in some music, and now we have a behind the scenes of our trip to Southern France.

28 July 2014

Bath ● by Jess

I feel like I should start out this post by acknowledging that sometimes, when I'm super relaxed and traveling, I completely forget that I'm a photographer. I just lug around my huge camera and lenses and don't bother to pick it up, hence the short movie and scanty snaps.

That being said, hopefully thiese shots do it justice. There are few places I've been that make me as happy as this town.

How could anyone not love Bath? It is so insanely beautiful and definitely makes my little Neo-Palladian-loving soul sing with joy. *sigh* I love this place. 

Bath is the setting of several of Jane Austen's stories and was a place she lived for several years. We visited her house and took photos in front of this pensive statue. There was also a live male in costume, but he was skeevy, so we stuck to fake Jane.

Bath is quite literally named after the Roman hot springs that were here thousands of years ago. They were rediscovered in the Georgian era and the town exploded. The bath's can still be toured today + there is an awesome brand new spa for the modern spa-lover.

On this trip we used Airbnb for the first time and stayed in an amazing place! Our hosts were amazing and even brought us a full goodie basket. Seriously makes me a believer in Airbnb.

The best vacations are where you spend the bulk of your time eating, in my personal opinion. We had some *phenomenal* food. Our favorites were Sotto Sotto (this incredible underground Italian restaurant) and Sally Lunn's (which was around in Jane Austen's time and is world famous for their "Sally Lunn Bun"). 

Overall it was a relaxing wonderful trip and I highly recommend it to anyone heading to England anytime soon.

26 July 2014

Brighton ● by Jess

As per my nieces requests, I'm finally getting together some of the videos and photos from our travels in the last few months. This set is from our weekend in Brighton back in April. It is the funnest, whimsical little seaside town and it is so close to London!

My favorite part of Brighton is down on the beach. There is a long pier with an amusement park and dozens of fish and chips shops on it. A giant ferris wheel is on the beach, which gives awesome aerial views of the city. Each capsule has a speaker system with a voice-over tour that tells you history and information about the town. Unfortunately, the creators tried to make the dialog like a conversation which means there are long awkward pauses. Its so bad its almost good. 

[For some reason this picture looks like it has had some really crummy photoshopping. Still working on a solution... something to do with Blogger]

The beaches in Brighton are covered in pebbles instead of sand. These naturally occuring holes in the stones are very rare and Brighton is one of the only places in the world that has them. They are said to be magic and are have been called "hag stones" or "sailor stones" as people use them as good luck charms and to ward off witches. Today, they are very uncommon-- but I managed to find 8! Which is pretty cool. 

12 July 2014

Dream Job ● by Jess

Since I was fifteen, my plan has always been to get my bachelor's degree in Art and then a Master's in education. I keep trying... like every year. I apply to graduate schools, dance around the house in my underwear after getting in, then inevitably realize I'm broke and have to turn down the offers.

Its a very sad cycle.

Still, as much as I love photography, I keep feeling this deep visceral yearning to teach. I'm particularly obsessed with early education and Montessori based learning. Anyone that has followed me on Pinterest for the last year is probably aware of this (I really am sorry guys-- I know the incessant Montessori pins are probably clogging up your feed).

In the states it isn't too difficult to work in a Montessori environment, but in London it is hardcore. All Montessori teaching positions require International Montessori certification (which costs about $5000 to get). Every couple of months I fantasize about getting certified and becoming a teacher, but, obviously it has yet to happen.

However, not to be one of those weirdos that thinks there might be some credibility to "the Secret," but... I'm now a believer!!

Starting in September, I will be teacher for a private primary school in Notting Hill. In a magical twist of fate, they are not only paying me to teach, but also for the full Montessori certification. Praise!

My photography business will keep rolling on, but I will be scaling back to only doing weddings. No more families and babies, I'm afraid. But I imagine I'll still be photographing little ones at the school.

Anyway, it's a happy, happy day at the Young house! I get to start school on my birthday (September 1st), which is one of the best birthday gifts I could possibly imagine :)

06 July 2014

Lately ● by Jess

Celebrating Independence day, while living in the UK (and paying British taxes), definitely has a sort of quirky irony... But that doesn't stop us from having a party! Our friends, the Blocks, threw a BBQ (the pavlova above was made by our friend Stephanie, another guest-- it was AMAZING!). Such a fun evening of burgers, watermelon, and lots of America lovin'. 

As for what has been going on in the lives of the Youngs lately... I've started painting again! I'm sending my stuff out to a few juried shows and it just feel so good to be creating again. Photography, though I love it, has always felt more like archiving then actual art to me. It feels nice to have a paint brush in hand again, even though space is really tight.  

I've also had a lot of Jessica time lately, as Jonathan has been traveling a lot for work. In the past few weeks alone, he has been to France, Germany and Switzerland (on four separate occasions). Generally, I'd be ok with this, but I've been driven to the point of near insanity by a new mouse infestation. 

It started out when one jumped out at me in the kitchen one night. I ran out and bought a half dozen traps and, after several days, finally caught the sucker last week. 

Unfortunately, his life partner (who I've since named Lady Macbeth) is now on revenge plot to attack me in my sleep. I woke up one evening to her clawing and squeaking right next to my bed. 

The next day I went out and bought another six traps. 

Our flat looked like a mine field for awhile, until I realized the little she-devil was coming through the floor hole where the radiator pipes in. So, I barricaded the radiator with heavy wood and covered the exits with my traps. I was certain the problem would be solved before morning. 

Unfortunately, she is a crafty little thing started to chew through the wall instead.

Anyway, for the sake of my nerves and adrenaline levels (which shoot through the ceiling every time I wake up to her night-clawing), I'm headed back to Switzerland with Jon this week. I won't be seeing much of him, but I'll get to explore a bit on my own, which will be lots of fun. :) 

18 June 2014

Maggie's Wedding ● by Jess

 This past weekend, I had the pleasure of being able to photograph one of our dearest friend's weddings in southern France. I feel like Maggie has been with us from the beginning-- we doubled with her on Jon's and my first date. Now she's married to Jean Baptiste and back in the US to get sealed in the temple and I feel like I could scream with happiness for her!  

Since my photography site is down for a bit of updating, I thought I'd share some of my favorite moments from the day on here. More to come when I get JKB Young Photography back up... In the meantime,  Enjoy!

I can't get enough of her dress! It was originally strapless, but (after a mildly traumatic experience with the original designer), Maggie took it to her seamstress in Arizona who magically fixed it within 36 hours! A MIRACLE!

Pierrefitte-Nestalas is this little village nestled in the Pyrenees mountains (which are huge). This place is charming, sleepy and one of the most beautiful places I've ever been in my life.

Just look at his face! GAHHH! So much love.... French weddings are required by law to be public so we had a whole lot of people in a tiny little room.

One of my favorite things about weddings is that I get to be apart of every beautiful moment-- and that includes all the inside jokes. I LOVE moments like this. 

The sit-down reception venue reminded me of Beauty and the Beast (maybe the antlers on the wall?)... but fancier... and just as French!

There were a million courses... The dinner portion literally lasted from 9pm to 2am. As an American, this was the longest meal I've ever eaten in my life. 

JB surprised Maggie by having fireworks go off during their first dance. CAN YOU GET ANY MORE ROMANTIC??!

One more thing... here is a picture of our hotel. Isn't it the cutest little hotel you've ever seen? It was built circa 1910.

That's all! I promise to be better about blogging and more posts are on their way :)