Photography by April Pizana bio picture
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    *Summer was KICKIN with 3 amazing magazines out with tons of awesome peeps doing their thing....Korie Robertson, Yonder Way Farm, Junk Gypsy...currently still have more out with Rodeo Royalty in Where Women Cook Fall, Where Women Create Buisness with more Junk Gypsy, and Where Women Create with Jessica Robertson. whewwww! see why i needed some time off?

    * Round Top Antiques Week coming soon and a super fun shoot coming with my favorite gypsies ever-- stay tuned!

    *Christmas sessions are set and a couple senior shoots in the works will top off the year.

    *Senior sessions already made for 2015 so it's NOT to early to get in touch if I'm any part of your class of 2015 plan :)

STUFF YOUR EYES WITH SOTO

 

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Been meaning to post our big finale to summer

but volunteering at school has got a hold of me so that’s off!

But it would be wrong for me not to share the amazing Soto Exhibit

we went to on our last official day of summer at The Museum of Fine Arts Houston.

We never leave MFAH without finding something amazing and inspiring and

this day was no different.

It was on my summer bucket list to experience the Soto and we made it there on our last day–

a Friday– at 4 pm no less before school started Monday.

WHEW!

My son Maceo had a  BALL!

and I had a ball shooting his splendor ok and the splendor of a couple random strangers but

it was impossible not to.

It was more than just an incredible feast for the eyes.

It was standing back and watching human kind frolic and smile on and on.

Not thinking of schedules, traffic, school supplies in 2 days…

Now you may be thinking — it’s just  some plastic stuff hanging from the ceiling

but you’d be wrong. very wrong.

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The masterpiece was done by Jesús Rafael Soto (1923–2005).

Sadly his last piece but celebrated with such wonder that I can’t imagine a more fitting

exit or tribute —  bringing so many people happiness and glee

all in the name of whimsical art.

The exhibit entailed 24,000 hanging strands of PVC plastic

each carefully colored and methodically hung to create a yellow oval orb in the middle.

To the untrained artist like myself though it was just fun.

FUN to see kids from ages 1-99 run, gallop, skip, or walk through feeling the

sleek playful strands (that and when can you touch something at the MUSEUM!?)

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like dancing in the rain without getting wet

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so we soon found out we weren’t supposed to tug– he was very gentle about it but still we stopped:)

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Ok maybe one more time. GENTLY.

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What a treat to have something so fun to connect kids to the wonders of art.

I can’t imagine a great impact and gift than that of the arts.

Spirit of Labor Day

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We must dare to be great and we must realize that greatness

is the fruit of toil and sacrifice and high courage.

Teddy Roosevelt

-

love that Labor Day is the last big hurrah of summer.

one last chance to pretend we’re still able to enjoy an adventure to the big city,

 act like epicurean critics, and cultural thrill seekers.

Unfortunately our adventure took a detour as our plans for downtown

disappeared somewhere between Milam and Bagby Street bc many things were closed.

But like any adventure detours can be a good thing and

the spirit of a true adventurist appreciates that therein lies the thrill.

And thrill it is as I found something new to appreciate at

Manready Mercantile on West 19th Street.

Decided to take a trip down Nostalgia Lane or the Heights as it’s also known.

I do this at least 2 times a year as we lived there for the first 14 years of my life.

Hard to believe these are the same streets I once rode down in my mom’s

cherry red monte carlo

(with white pleather seats and no seat belts buckled thank you very much).

How things have changed and yet they haven’t changed much.

The streets are much the same to me as they were 30 years ago

which is the likable charm behind the whole strip along West 19th Street.

This is a good thing in my case considering my

fondness of all things vintage, Americana, and treasure.

Manready Mercantile is all of this and more.

Think Teddy Roosevelt expedition, Johnny Depp in Secret Window,

Norman Rockefeller, boy scouts,  Ralph Lauren,

bathed in leather, aftershave, anything manly

you can dream up and you’ll get a whiff of what i’m talking about.

I thought the Teddy quote fit perfectly.

The revival of the American spirit is alive and well on 19th street.

Talk about a moment of clarity when my detour took me to this place

on of all days– Labor Day— the celebration of of the American worker.

 

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Someone recently asked me how i go about blogging and

choosing specific businesses.

No formula, rules, or specifics.

Just people & places I come across

that are daring to do a leap of Faith.

Do it different from every other guy.

Do it themselves.

Do it ORIGINALLY and fearlessly

not looking around or back.

I have so much admiration in my fellow adventure seekers who

are making their own path and dreaming

on a million stars all on probably not so much sleep.

People I can identify with.

Putting down actual bricks where your dreams can live and breathe…

pretty scary but completely amazing and how can i not share that?

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From the time you walk in and head upstairs you’ll

surely be greeted by the owner’s sweet pooch, Delilah who’s

smooth, shiny, taupe coat even compliments the shop.

Don’t be surprised to be greeted by Travis (the owner) with a round of spirits

and a warm welcome

(none for me since i was driving and had my side-kick with me).

Very friendly and laid back atmosphere – doesn’t feel like the

 high-pressure, goal driven shopping you’re used

to with a “do you need some help” every 5 minutes.

More like hanging out with friends browsing a museum with a “oh hey that’s cool”

and clothing & accessories conveniently in reach.

I have to also mention that I found pricing very fair and

very unpretentious for such a trendy, hip place.

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blame it on these hats for unplanned photography excursion.

how do pass this type of vignette without paying homage?

not possible.

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don’t forget to drool over the canoe overhead

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boots made me wish my almost 10 year old was in a senior.

you know that never happens.

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Don’t know what 2/3  of these do but they look perfectly displayed and that’s enough for me.

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thanks for a great visit and enough imagery to get this girl through till antiques week Travis!

You can read more about Manready Mercantile’s history here.

Visit their super awesome online store here.

And become a fan here.

Note: Feel free to pin images to pinterest with photo cred: april pizana photography

Please do not repost images to websites, social media, etc without explicit permission.

Please send all requests to aprilpizana at gmail dot com

xo, a

MAYA ADVENTURE DAY 8: GREATEST SHOW IN MERIDA

Night fall on the Plaza Grande in Merida, Yucatan and the square comes alive.

The square always has some kind of entertainment going on.

Everything from dancing in the street, Vaqueria (a traditional dance performance), big band music,

Pok-a-tok (ancient maya game), serenades, street performers, etc….

But first — treats!

Show starts at 9 pm so we had time to grab some ice-cream from

an paleteria on the square known as Janetzio.

freshly made popsicles in so many flavors…cocounut, mango, lime, CORN!?

and many i couldn’t pronounce.

I had the plain vanilla and it was AHHHHMAZING!

Very pure and simple– nothing like it at home.

Mace had a chocolate dipped mango with sprinkles and

I can’t remember what Hector had.

But we all agreed it was super good.

So next came the show! Music by the Jaranara Orchestra.

Completely fabulous party for your ears.

The performance began with the   Jaranara Orchestra.

Fabulous and very professional.

The announcer was very entertaining.

First, his voice…he was very dramatic and just had an awesome command of the crowd.

Second, he looked JUST like Al Pacino to me (and sounded just like him as well).

Third, i mean look at his sandals. Al Pacino in those sandals…I had to giggle.

It’s a part of there traditional dress but it’s just very different to see to foreigners like me.

The traditional dance is known as, “Vaqueria”.

It dates back to the 1800’s when cattle ranchers came to town

to show off their wealth during branding time by hosting villages with feasts

and entertainment and to honor patron saints as well.

The dances are said to be adapted

by the wives of the cowboys and include a very specific style of dress.

Women wear a traditional hipil (white dress embroidered with colorful flowers), a shawl, high heeled shoes.

The men wear all white including a guayabera shirt, Panama hat, red scarf, and leather sandals.

They dance an entire hour to beautiful music and in perfect sync often displaying

stories with each different dance combination.

The women were stunningly beautiful with their feminine poise

and the men were such gentlemen.

We immediately loved the show and could not be more impressed.

At one one point, my husband and I commented on how this was the best

performance of any kind that we had seen.

The looks on the faces of the performers was so endearing.

The were so respectful and full of a positive spirit it was contiguous.

Truly something of another time.

Mind you they are doing this in the summer heat and humidity.

All without blinking or missing a step.

Another cute dance….each guy places a hat on one girl’s head.

Amazing energy

They somehow braided the ribbons while dancing.

Crazy perfection

Really cute dance where the women act like bulls and the men the matadors. Really adorable and playfully done.

What an honor to see such a show and the performers where so kind to me often holding their pose or looking straight at me

while i clicked away.

Do NOT go to Merida without seeing this show.

You will not regret it one bit.

 

MAYA ADVENTURE DAY 8: MERCADO LUCAS DEL GALVEZ

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I’ve always wanted to be one of those adventurous people

who traveled to a food market with exotic produce

wild game and things you have no idea what they are or can pronounce.

Of course there are many of these types of places in Mexico.

I had no intention of actually BUYING anything at this type of market—

just to photo the market life.

I found such a place in Merida called the Mercado Lucas del Galvez a market well over 100 years old.

Even though it is HUGE – like several blocks huge and 3 stories in some parts —  it was not easy to find.

Then again not much is easy to find in Mexico when you speak

Tex-Mex Spanglish and there are tons of pedestrians.

But with the help of my resourceful hubby, a random tow-truck driver and $5 we found it.

Selling everything from liver to shoes to papayas to god-knows-what that is!

Imagine my shock when I learned that one of the woman I admire most

had actually been there!

Martha –  you should’ve called me…(watch here)

We would’ve had a ball girlfriend!

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It was almost exactly what I imagined.

Women white dressers embroidered with flowers selling fresh herbs, spices,

radishes, dragon fruit, cilantro,

peppers of every variety, mangos, pineapples, fruits I had  no idea what they were,

limes…speaking of limes…they’ve gotten more and more expensive

locally but in Mexico they are literally growing on trees everywhere

so i don’t get what the big shortage is all about.

I actually picked a couple off a tree at Chichen Itza and made margaritas with them!

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radishes are very popular in Yucatan cuisine

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I could photo these women in their craft all day.

There’s just something beautiful to me about people in touch with mother earth.

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Gotta love my husband.

Even on vacation he’s never off duty.

This is his looking back at me – can you stop photographing for a second

and pay attention to your surroundings – look on his face.

Always on patrol when it comes to his family’s safety.

Then again I can’t blame him.

I was carrying many thousand dollars of equipment on me.

Thank God he’s not always around to see the

crazy stunts I get myself into:Dbless his heart!

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But it’s hard to stay focused with all the colorful natural goodness around.

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handle your business girlfriend!

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if you don’t know what this is (above) I am truly sorry

for you because you have missed out on quite a delicious delicacy.

Chicharones or fried pork skin– BUT NOT the kind you see

in the chips aisle. No this is the real deal and addictively good.

We didn’t have any but it looked pretty awesome.

There were many stands to buy meals from but we just aren’t THAT brave.

The unfortunate side effect of having a degree in Biology is

knowing about different microorganisms, bacteria, and parasites that

places like this are perfect breeding ground for.

Thank God my husband trusts my caution and is the same if not worse.

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Then there was this.

So i thought i was pretty adventurous living my photography dreams of

photographing exotic markets and all.

Of course this seemed completely normal to the local folk

standing in about an inch of bloody salmonella on the floor.

I just couldn’t imagine Martha here at this point but see the video — she was!

I was so grateful Maceo was wearing tennis shoes and not flip flops at this point.

That and i didn’t have any open cuts on my feet!

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This guy wanted his photo as he was very proud of his poultry.

Turkey is a widely used food all year in the Yucatan.

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We were happy to exit the grocer area after that.

We came upon a man named Manny who custom makes some very cute leather sandals.

We couldn’t help but giggle at his ingenuity of using old tires as soles.

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So comfortable that I had 2 pairs.

Although it took a little while- i was glad there were

animals nearby to keep Maceo entertained.

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He was smitten over this little dude.

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He charged $15 pair but we paid him more b/c the quality of his work

was very nice and underpriced.

He was thrilled and so was I!

MAYA ADVENTURE DAY 7: LIONS TIGERS & PAJAROS OH MY

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Parque Del Centenario where the Merida Zoo lives.

I just loved the entrance.

Bright and colorful, I loved the old day nostalgia of the iron gates

and architectural accents.

A very charming and smallish zoo with just enough animals, a sweet park,

refreshments, and a train, and some simple rides.

Pretty awesome that it opens at SIX am! Although,

we didn’t make it there till 10.

And you really can go at anytime and feel good about

it because it is free!

Yes I said F-R-E-E!

I read about the history and basically in early 1900’s

the city town folk decided that there should be a park for children in the center of town.

At first it was more of a bird sanctuary, but with time

more and more animals were added.

I just love that.

That people came together in the the name of the good of children.

The love of children.

A timeless value that binds all beings across every culture and time.

To put this above monetary practices is very telling of the type of community

that lives in Merida.

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Picture taking was starting to wear on these good sports

so excuse the cheesy smiles:)

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A long train took us on a tour of the park.

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I took very few photos on the train b/c it wasn’t traveling very slow LOL

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Snacks and refreshments everywhere except where the animals are kept.

You aren’t even allowed to take WATER in!

You have to leave all drinks on a shelf as you enter the caged areas.

I thought it was very quaint that people leave their drinks there and they

are undisturbed.

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I photo’d lots of animals but not everything.

Some were being fed or cleaned– the giraffes, gorillas, etc…

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Oh these baboons and their butts. I could without seeing that.

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and I think he could do without his foot! He was very agitated with a flea I guess?

hubby thought it was hilarious and told me to “shoot shoot”

yuk yuk no thanks

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Maceo’s favorite – Señor Toucan – who seemed to

really take to Maceo too. Or maybe it was jut b/c he had a

Mexican soccer shirt?

Mexico takes it’s FUTBOL VERY serious!

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Felt very sorry for this guy. He seemed to be very anxious pacing up and down.

His cage was not adequately large enough in my opinion.

He ignored everyone except my husband.

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Came within a few millimeters of getting sprayed by this lovely

tigress! She lifted her tail and SQUIRT!

Drove the tiger next door crazy. silly girl playing hard to get.

THANK GOD i was paying attention and jumped back for dear life.

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Lots of rides for kids. Unfortunately, we were visiting in mid-June

and school is not out till July. I’m guessing this is why the rides were closed.

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My poor gigantasaurus is losing his childhood way too early

because he’s such a big kid. His body may not say 9 years old but

his brain says SLIDE ON!

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Nice and quiet, lovely adventure at the Merida Zoo.

Definitely worth a visit!

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C O N T A C T