1.25.2014

My Two Cents for the Non-Bride Bride

More about my wedding? Yes. But I promise this is different from the other posts. It’s an advice piece. Yes, I, in my less-than-a-year marriage, already have advice to tell to you non-married people. Giddy up. But this isn’t marriage advice. It’s advice, I suppose, about planning a wedding. 


I have a lot of wonderful memories from my wedding. It was a fantastic weekend filled with a lot of excitement and lots of good food, good people, and good dancing. I have friends and family who still talk about how much they loved the way we did this or that and without a doubt, it was the greatest event of my life, celebrated in an extremely fun way. And while I feel like I made a lot of great decisions regarding the actual wedding and how things went, the process that it took to get to that day was not my favorite thing in the world. 

Well, to be a bit more frank, I hated planning my wedding. I really hated it. Even though I had experience helping with other friends’ weddings and planning plenty of other events, I did not have a good experience planning my wedding. I think I might be a rare case as far as this goes, but I wanted to write this post in hopes that if there’s another girl out there who is getting chastised for not being the “typical girl” and you haven’t had your wedding planned since you were 14, you’re not alone. It can be a scary and daunting task to plan such a big day. I’m not an authority on wedding planning by any means, but I do feel like I would’ve been better off knowing a few certain things, if only for my mental well-being. So, this post is more for how to deal with the stress and pressure of planning a wedding. And while I think advice pieces suck most of the time, if any of these ideas happen to help some frazzled and stressed-out bride out there, then I’d feel great knowing I’d somehow helped.

Things I wish I would’ve known before I started planning my wedding: 

 Get the pressure out of your head.
  • Pt. 1. There is an absurd amount of pressure that comes with weddings. About everything. About decorations, about your hair, about your invitations, about the venue, about your slammin’ hot bod, about your shoes, about your thank-you gifts—TRULY ABOUT EVERYTHING. For this, I truly think there’s something wrong with the wedding industry to put so much pressure on one day. It’s insane and it’s just not natural (another post, another time). Some of the pressure I felt was likely brought on by myself, but I think there’s a lot of hype to get these magazine worthy weddings. Weddings can be beautiful and inspiring, but if the idea of crafting a million doo-dads for your wedding makes you want to vomit, don’t do it, even if it means your wedding might be overlooked by Martha Stewart. People won’t remember your custom graphic-designed labels or the bunting you labored over for hours. People will remember you and your spouse. And at the end of the day, when I look at the photos of my wedding and reflect on that day, I think about my family and my friends and all the people that came together to celebrate Ian and me. I didn’t have time to notice how my flowers looked or how the cake was displayed. I was talking to people. Because people are the things that matter at your wedding. The rest is secondary.
       
  • Pt. 2. Even deeper at the heart of the pressure issue is how you feel. This is something I want to write, if only for my sake. I’ve briefly talked about this before on my blog, but I know that body image issues are not uncommon. I feel as though I’ve dealt with them on a similar level as most women, and when wedding time came around, it brought these issues to a head. So, this is for every girl who feels like they’re less than adequate at being a bride: I had a near mental-breakdown after I got my bridals back from my photographer. I thought I looked hideous. I thought I looked fatter than I was and that I looked horrible in my dress. I couldn’t see anything but the bad because I had these weird expectations of what I wanted to look like and I felt this enormous pressure to be the hottest I could and would ever be in my lifetime. No matter what my friends or family said, I couldn't see what they saw. I just saw a girl who didn’t look like other brides. In retrospect, what makes me so sad about that is that at the time, I completely missed what Ian looked like in those photos. I didn’t see the way that he looked at me in the photos. I didn’t open my eyes enough to see that he was completely in love with how I was. I had gotten such a weird bride complex in me that I had completely forgotten why I was a bride. The thing is, you’re a bride because someone loves you and wants you to be their bride. You’re a bride because of your relationship with him and yourself. That person loves you enough to marry you and thinks you’re perfect the way you are. I have always known that Ian loves me the way I am, but I didn’t love me. This is a constant battle I fight with myself, but after many tearful conversations and mental adjustments, when I got dressed on my wedding day, I saw the woman who was marrying the man who I thought deserved everything. I saw Ian’s bride.
Prepare to be frustrated, and know that it’s okay to be.
Whether you’re upset about something simple like the shade of green that’s all wrong, or it’s something bigger, like you’d really like to burn your dress, it’s okay to be upset. Planning a wedding is, plain and simple, a stressful thing and there are bound to be frustrating things along the way. Unfortunately, the notion of being a “bridezilla” made me feel overly dramatic and like a selfish and spoiled nutcase any time I was upset about something. But if something is different than what you wanted, it’s fine to feel upset. If something isn’t right, take the time to address it and if possible, see if you can change it. If it’s not possible, you will have at least acknowledged it and hopefully come to terms with it. Part two of this point is for those who aren’t planning a wedding, but your _____ (best friend, sister, daughter, etc.) is. Please, please don’t call her a bridezilla. Don’t diminish her feelings. Don’t make her feel stupid and dramatic. Just listen and try to help. 
 
Learn how to say no. 
This was a major problem of mine—I was a major push-over. I passively nodded my head to so many things that it got out of control and it was hard for those helping me to figure out what I actually wanted. I wanted to please those around me, but in doing so, I ended up creating a problem instead. This is sort of a big deal and is essential to a lot of different things involving a wedding—the d├ęcor, the food, what you spend your money on, etc. I had said yes to so many things that I ended up being overwhelmed and over-budget, which is something that I truly could’ve avoided. It even comes down to dealing with vendors, too. Vendors jack up their prices because people will dish it out because it’s a wedding, but it’s completely in your power to turn things down. For example, the first bouquet I had for my bridals was completely different from what I had ordered (like, the specific flower that I asked to not be in anything was the biggest part of it and I had asked for all white flowers, and they were all different colors). I should’ve told the company that I wouldn’t pay for that bouquet or that they should do something to make it right or fix it. It’s their job to do things the way they’re ordered, and if it’s wrong, they should be told no. 
 
If you like something, stick to it. 
This is another part of learning how to say no. There were a lot of ideas that I was talked out of and talked in to and a lot of them didn’t match up with what I actually wanted and I wish I would’ve just stuck with what I initially liked. If your favorite color is neon orange, do neon orange. If you want to use mason jars even though they’re at a lot of weddings, use mason jars. If you don’t want to have a reception because the thought of talking to that many people stresses you out, for the sake of your own happiness, don’t do it! Do what you want! Don’t feel obliged to do certain things this way or that whether it’s about how you schedule things, what things look like, or even who you invite (although that one might be a bit trickier…). It’s your wedding. Do what you like. 
  
Understand that there will probably be things you might have regrets about.
Maybe regret is too strong of a word. But this was something that I wasn’t expecting to feel at all, but it was making me feel weirdly sad. I mentioned to a dear friend of mine that I sometimes wished I would’ve gone with a different style of dress, and without missing a beat, she replied, “Oh, me too. There will always be things that you see later that make you think, ‘I wish I would’ve done that.’ It’s just a part of it.” After she said this, I felt really relieved just knowing that I wasn’t the only one who wished that this or that could’ve happened. (I had a friend recently find her dream wedding dress three years after she was married. It happens.) On the flip side, there’s no use in harboring bad feelings and in the grand scheme of things, whatever happens, happens. 


Don't be afraid to ask for help. 
That's what bridesmaids are for. And what your mom is waiting to do. I had a pride complex here and it totally added to my stress level. Let go of your obsession for cootie-catchers that are perfectly folded. Let people help you. They might even want to help.   

When things go really wrong, keep it in perspective.
It is your wedding and there’s no question that it is an important day and you should feel great, but when things go haywire, remember that it’s about you and your partner. I got a sinus infection two weeks before my wedding. I frantically altered and cut up parts of my dress a week before my wedding. I got a yeast infection (TMI, SRY WHO CARES) a week before my wedding. I had to get a shot in my face for an acne cyst three days before my wedding. A lot of crappy things happened all at once at a crucial time when I would’ve loved for none of that to happen. But it is what it is, and I still got married and still had a great time even though I had a bruise on my face that looked like I had been punched by my brand new husband. Luckily for me, all of those things make me laugh now. 
 
When the day comes, be positive and be present.
At this point, your wedding day is what it is and chances are, it’s going to be a fantastic! Focus on what’s happening and let go of anything else. If a groomsman shows up late, just carry on with a smile on your face. If someone drops your cake, laugh about it. This is probably the most basic piece of advice, but it is something that is crucial. Don’t miss out on moments from your wedding because things might not be going just right. There are so many people there to celebrate with you and it’s just not worth it to spend time in a negative mental place. Also, despite my earlier point about being frustrated and upset, on the day of your wedding, be classy and kind and graceful—it is unflattering otherwise. I was once shooting a wedding at the Salt Lake Temple and was literally yelled at by a bride after I directed my bridal party to a certain area that she had been waiting for. I was in the wrong, sure, and I quickly moved out of the way and to a different area, but I was offended and more embarrassed for that bride and how she had acted. Your wedding day should be full of happiness and love, and you can dictate exactly how it goes by your behavior.
 

I don’t mean to depict planning a wedding as this horrific, unavoidable burden. Fortunately, all of the crap that came along with planning this thing ended with a wedding that was not only special and meaningful, but incredibly fun, too. It was great. My beginning of my marriage is undoubtedly the most important day of my life and I'm so glad that all the hard work led to a beautiful and fun wedding that celebrated that. 

But in general, planning a wedding just takes a lot of time and can cause a lot of stress. It takes a lot of organization and a lot of help, too.

Fortunately, there are lots of helpful tools and websites out there to help. I don't know about many, but once resource that I found to be really stress relieving was A Practical Wedding. This website helped me a ton with certain issues I was dealing with in regards to my relationships around me and with myself. I won’t go into detail, but this site made me feel infinitely better about how I felt while I was planning. (And just a tip, I did buy the book, but I ended up finding the website to be more useful to me. JSYK.)
 

So, to those of you that are embarking on the adventure of planning your own wedding, I hope that this post has nourished and strengthened your body and mind. Really though, I hope that this post helps! I know there's a pretty sad tone to this whole post (yikes, sorry), but I have wanted to write something about this for some time. Planning a wedding can be tough. But weddings can be so, so great.
 
Alright. Well, that’s all I have to say about this. (This may be the longest written post on my blog ever…) If any of you readers have any advice to add to this, please comment!

OKAY THAT’S ALL. BYE. 


Photos by the wonderful J. Taylor Photography. 

1.24.2014

Adam & Ali Engagements










A few winter-y photos of Adam and Ali that I shot over the break. A black diamond ring. Pretty neat, huh?

Ali is my best girl. Since we became friends, I always felt a special connection with her, aka a real and powerful girl crush. That's right. I'm not ashamed to admit it--I am in love with Ali Malan! Tell me of one person who has known her and hasn't felt the same. Because of my love for her, I knew that whoever she would marry would be the luckiest guy and he also better love the crap out of her or else.

I also remember Ali telling me once, "When I get married, I want people to just be able to tell that we love each other just by looking at us." And you can, with them. These two really love each other and care about each other. It's wonderful. I'm so glad that Ali has found her lucky guy* and I'm so happy to see that Adam adores Ali to the level she deserves.

Hooray for friends falling in love!

*Don't get me wrong, Adam is a great person and is worthy of praise, too. But I'm just far too distracted by Ali and fact that my bff is getting married. It's just all about Ali here.

1.16.2014

Me and the Internet


A round-up of things I've liked lately from the one and only Internet. Enjoy!

---

 "One is the Loveliest Color"... A spotlight on people who dress exclusively in one color. This article is a few years old, but I still think it's fascinating.

I recently discovered Joy Prouty, a photographer and mother, on Instagram after a friend suggested I follow her. I initially followed her after discovering she, her husband and her four children were traveling the country in their 1950s trailer. (That's right, four kids and two adults in a teeny-tiny trailer!) They've recently chosen to settle down, though, in their new home in Washington and boy, is it amazing. I've always preferred cities and the busy nature of them and being close to others, but after seeing these photos of their home and her posts on Instagram, I am suddenly craving a life with an old house and a forest in the backyard and a barn and gardens and chickens and babies and wide open spaces meant for adventuring and exploring.

Ian recently introduced me to The Smothers Brothers, a folk singing comedy duo from the 60s, and their song "Boil That Cabbage Down." I laughed the whole time. Fun fact: Steve Martin got his start as a comedy writer for these guys.

This New York Times dialect test is eerily accurate. I really don't think I have an accent, or at least one that is a dead giveaway of where I'm from (although most people here in France usually think we're from Canada...), but this test narrowed it down to not only a region, but to Salt Lake City. Nuts!

I have a major thing for fashion photography and editorial spreads (enough that it inspired me as a teen to make scrapbooks from pages and pages of magazine spreads, but not enough to actually translate into me having any sort of eye for fashion or authentic personal style...ha). I recently came upon Lacey, a fantastic fashion photographer and former assistant to Tim Walker, who combines 2D and 3D elements to create some of the most interesting and artfully put together photos and spreads that are like eye-candy. Her Instant Gratification series is my favorite and makes me want to build my own giant Polaroid camera.

A beautiful article (and beautiful photos, too) commenting about how "babies ruin bodies." I could launch into a whole other blog post about how I feel about post-baby bodies, but I'll just sum up with what I think: there is far too much pressure to get that rockin' post-baby body, but those who do dedicate time to returning to their pre-pregnant figure are just as entitled as anyone else to love their bodies. There should be no shame or guilt either way. (Mostly because it's actually none of your business! Ha.) 

And last but not least, "10 Facts About Nothing From Jerry Seinfeld's AMA Chat." I'm dying to know what the new project he's working on with Larry David is...especially after this sighting. Long live Seinfeld!

1.15.2014

Kebabs at Dely's


Even our beards love them!

I've talked about kebabs (also known as a schawarma) before in this post from Toulouse, but they truly are worthy of their own post, if only to talk about one of our favorite kebab places, Dely's at the Forum tram stop.

A student in one of Ian's classes suggested we go to this certain tram stop for the best kebabs, but never specified a place. Fortunately, there was only one place to go, and we found it, and haven't stop going there since!

It's become almost a weekly routine where Ian and I hop on the tram for a ten minute ride to Dely's where we get our fill of French fast food. At Dely's, we get one of their Turkish/Greekish/Arabish appetizers like hummus, dolmades or tabbouleh (pictured above) and then feast on our kebabs made with slow-roasted meat with a side of delicious fries (which are soooo good here...because we're in France...because of how French fries are usually...called..........ughhhhhhhh) and topped off with a grapefruit Schweppes. It's the best meal.

The best part is that the workers recognize us now. It's pretty awesome being a regular at a place in France, I will admit and I'm pretty proud, although I don't know how proud I can be of eating fries on a weekly basis--it should be on a daily basis!

1.10.2014

Holiday Happenings


This news is slightly delayed, but we are back in France and recovering from our travels and our magnificent Christmas vacation back at home. I don't have many photos from our trip home, but it's worth documenting it all. (AKA, you can skip this post if you want.)

We left on the 22nd bright and early to hurry up and wait at the airport. Things were a bit delayed at the airport and we were worried we were going to miss our connections, but thankfully, we sped-walked fast enough and had the right passports ("Americans, to the front of the line!" Woot woot!) and eventually we made our way all the way home without any problems. One thing worth noting, Air France had incredible food. I'm serious, people! 

The next few days were full of Christmas festivities, but we started with celebrating my brother's birthday on the 23rd with Zeponie's pizza from the "Centerville region" as my brother proudly declared while we got our fill of baby giggles and hugs from our nephew. He's eight months old which is my personal favorite age of a child. Once they get any older, things just go downhill.


On Christmas Eve, I got together with a bunch of my girlfriends from high school for breakfast. I had a great time catching up with them and hearing about their lives and just being in the presence of my smart, driven and compassionate friends. I have a few select girlfriends from high school that have been a great source of inspiration for me as we've all gone down our different paths, but I've mostly appreciated how kind they are and how they are always embracing me with loving arms, even when I'm not as good of a friend as I should be. I'm so grateful for that. Also, I'm grateful to finally have an audience for my Mormon jokes. #iknowthesefriendsaretrue


Afterwards, I went with my in-laws to Saving Mr. Banks for their annual Christmas Eve movie. Great film, great tradition. And then the preparations for our Christmas Eve feast began. My one and only mother-in-law cooked prime rib and it was delicious. She's a master. We had a gift exchange with the cousins from Ian's side and I spent the night defending myself after Ian spilled all of my ridiculous interests as of late...puppies, nail polish, Katy Perry. I promise I'm not dumb. 

As the Eve winded down, I participated in my first Thorley sleepover with all the siblings smashed into one room playing rock band until the wee hours of the morning and watching National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation. I didn't last long. Sleep was my Christmas wish. 

I groggily woke up early in the morning only to find Ian wide awake playing Temple Run on his phone under a blanket. He'd been up for hours. We still get excited for Santa around here. Eventually we scrambled up the stairs to see a smorgasbord of presents all for us! I couldn't stop grinning the whole morning because even though we're grown adults, our Christmas morning was the perfect excuse to act like a kid. It was juvenile, sure, but so much fun. I got Ian some beard shampoo to help him maintain his manly face-mane and a sweatshirt from his favorite band and he surprised me with my very own Instax camera. I went through two packs in a week and a half. I was excited about it, to say the least.

Later that day, we ventured with my family up to Preston and to Logan to visit my relatives. It was an interesting and fun adventure into the beautiful farm lands of Idaho.


After Christmas day, the days started to blend together, but here are the highlights:
My best friend Ali got engaged on Christmas Eve to her fiance, Adam. I couldn't be more thrilled and excited for her. They are getting married in March, and luckily for me (SO LUCKY FOR ME), Ali is flying me out to shoot her wedding!!! As it turns out, too, Adam happens to be the younger brother of one of my dear friends...To say I'm excited for this wedding is quite an understatement. I could cry. I probably will cry. Anywho, I took a few engagement photos for them while I was home and they were winter-y and precious. More photos from this soon!


Ian hosted the 5th Annual Christmas Movie Marathon. This is my third time attending (gradually working my way up in level of importance--friend, girlfriend, wife...next year, baby momma? I'M NOT SERIOUS) and while we only watched two movies compared to five or six in past years, we had a great time catching up with friends. Most of my friends are spread around Utah or in different parts of the country, but we were all back together and it was glorious.

I visited my friends Brissa and Cory and their brand new baby, Jude! I spent some good quality time snuggling and squeezing her little hands and feet and chatting with Cory and Brissa. Those two are a good pair and are going to be wonderful parents. Again, more photos for another post coming soon!


Unfortunately, Ian was sick for the majority of the break. It was pretty sad and we were both bummed about it, but we still packed in a lot of stuff while we were home. We spent the rest of our days hot-tubbing, shopping at City Creek, going to movies, babysitting my lil' nephew, playing Killer Bunnies and Taboo, eating so many treats, having a fantastic New Years and satiating my desires for Indian food, sushi and donuts. But the best part was getting to spend a lot of time hanging out with our families and visiting friends. Being 5,000 miles away from them has made me really appreciate how great my friends and my family really are.
 Also, dogs!

We had a fantastic break and I really cherished my time at home. But I was really excited to come back to France. We have a pretty great life here and there are a lot of things like my routine, what I do with my free time and even our ways of eating that I was starting to miss. It's good to be back in the land of the baguette!



1.02.2014

twenty thirteen


2013 was a year that will go down in the books.


This year, I:
  • Had a New Years kiss. We decided to marry each other shortly after.
  • Learned how to use my Polaroid camera
  • Was proposed to in the perfect way
  • Started planning a wedding and turned into a basket case
  • Went on a riotous cruise with some of my bffs to Mexico for Spring Break
  • Two of my very good friends, Joe and Josey, got married
  • Made good relations with my teachers and professors
  • Starting caring about food and nutrition and health
  • Celebrated Ian's 24th birthday with homemade treats with coconut, one of the only foods he hates. -_-
  • Performed at Why Sound in a show with my best friends
  • Said goodbye to my wonderful job at the art museum on campus
  • Went through the temple. One of the greatest additions to my life. 
  • My first nephew was born! (On the same day I went through the temple!)
  • Pushed myself academically, succeeded and failed at a few things, finished up spring semester and said goodbye to USU for a little while
  • Watched proudly as Ian graduated from USU
  • Saw Dragonette and The Presets at The Depot
  • GOT HITCHED
  • Spent a perfect honeymoon in Kauai
  • Lived in my in-laws basement (which was actually a really great thing!)
  • Worked at the Salt Lake City Mosquito Abatement for the summer
  • Discovered Breaking Bad 
  • Spent many summer days lounging by the pool
  • Went camping a few times in our backyard and in our local mountains
  • Celebrated America and barbequed for days at a time
  • Power road-tripped to San Francisco for a weekend visit 
  • Played tonz of Mario Kart and beat Ian maybe once
  • Made some good friends at work
  • Saw James Taylor in concert and cried about it with my mother-in-law
  • Ate out at plenty of delicious restaurants in SLC
  • Hot tubbed for dayz
  • Attended a dear friend's sealing in the SLC temple
  • Rejoiced when the summer of opposite shifts finally ended (I worked in the morning, Ian worked at night. It got lonely sometimes.)
  • Moved to France!
  • Adapted to my new position as "housewife"
  • Started the seemingly never-ending challenge of learning French
  • Explored our beautiful Bordeaux
  • Ate Foie Gras and many other Frenchy foods
  • Started a pen-pal relationship with a nine-year-old French boy
  • Celebrated Halloween in a nation of scare-haters by carving bell peppers
  • Went to the fair downtown and nearly lost my lunch from the roller-coasters
  • Celebrated my 23rd birthday by eating great food and taking a nap
  • Took cooking lessons from Ian 
  • Traveled to Toulouse
  • Learned how to manage my time
  • Worked with the missionaries
  • Got into old hobbies like arts 'n' crafz
  • Developed a borderline insane desire for a puppy 
  • Saw a Cirque de Soleil show
  • Felt a lot of love for the gospel and what it means to me
  • Spent the weekend in Pau with Ian's friends from his mission
  • Saw Jamie Cullum in concert
  • Listened to hours and hours of Christmas music
  • Sang Christmas Carols in downtown Bordeaux
  • Thoroughly enjoyed Christmas (especially the lights) in France 
  • Reunited with friends and family for one of my favorite Christmases yet
  • Added another camera to my collection...a Fujifilm Instax!
  • My best friend Ali got engaged to Ian's best friend's younger brother, Adam
  • Participated in the 5th Annual Christmas Movie Marathon
  • Spent New Years Eve eating Japanese food and playing Taboo with some of my best friends
  • Kissed that same guy I kissed last year again at midnight!!!






















 2013. What a year. I've deemed it my "lucky" year because everything has really been just perfect for me.

(Now is about the time for me to apologize for the following sappiness, but ya know what? Who cares.) 

It's the year of the beginnings of my marriage and my life of adventures with Ian. And although there have been some unfortunate things along the way (I had some losses with friends and family, my car broke down and never got better, I've never been more sick than I've been this year, I started dealing with the capital B-word that is student debt, yada yada), they have been completely overshadowed by the outpouring of happiness and love and joy that I've been blessed with this year.

I've had a great life thus far, I know that. And fortunately for me, I haven't ever really felt like I was in a dead end--I've (mostly) always been excited for the next piece of my life.

But this year, I felt like my life really began.

Cheers to you, 2013, and a hearty hip-hip-hooray for the new guy, 2014!

1.01.2014

Lightbox 2013

One of my favorite end-of-year rituals is to look through TIME's collections of pictures throughout the year. My favorite series is the 365: A Year in Pictures. Although this year, after I looked through the series, I felt unsettled and sad.. 2013 seemed to be a difficult year full of fear and conflicts for the world. But for every heartache, the world pauses and delights in the birth of a certain baby or celebrates a remarkable new leader. There is good in the world, sometimes it's just a little harder to find.

Here are some of my favorite photos from the interesting year that was 2013.

To see the complete series, click here. 
 
Ilya Naymushin—Reuters
Jan. 11, 2013. Members of a local winter swimming club take part in their weekly bath in the Yenisei River, while air temperatures stand at minus 17 degrees Celsius (1.4 degrees Fahrenheit), in the town of Divnogorsk, outside Russia's Siberian city of Krasnoyarsk.

Read more: 2013: The Year in 365 Pictures - LightBox http://lightbox.time.com/2013/12/03/2013-the-year-in-365-pictures/#ixzz2pBHYS590


Andrew Biraj—Reuters
Jan. 19, 2013. A boy plays with balloons by Buriganga river as smoke emits from a dump yard during sunset in Dhaka, Bangladesh.

Read more: 2013: The Year in 365 Pictures - LightBox http://lightbox.time.com/2013/12/03/2013-the-year-in-365-pictures/#ixzz2pBKVdjZr

Alexander Demianchuk—Reuters
Feb. 1, 2013. Masha, an 11-year-old bear from a traveling circus troupe based in Moscow, practices a tightrope walking act during rehearsals at the Circus on Fontanka in St. Petersburg, Russia.

Bernat Armangue—AP
Feb. 5, 2013. A Palestinian child cries after his family house has been demolished by the municipality in the east Jerusalem neighborhood of Beit Hanina.

Win McNamee—Getty Images
March 6, 2013. A llama seeks shelter next to an abandoned school bus at Cox Farms in Centreville, Va.

Read more: 2013: The Year in 365 Pictures - LightBox http://lightbox.time.com/2013/12/03/2013-the-year-in-365-pictures/#ixzz2pBI3kGyq

Alessandra Benedetti—L'Osservatore Romano/Corbis
March 17, 2013. Pope Francis leads his first Angelus Prayer and blessing from the studio of his private apartment at the Vatican.

Read more: 2013: The Year in 365 Pictures - LightBox http://lightbox.time.com/2013/12/03/2013-the-year-in-365-pictures/#ixzz2pBI9HbHu

Manish Swarup—AP
March 22, 2013. Indian villagers from Nandgaon wait for the arrival of villagers from Barsana to play Lathmar Holi at the Nandagram temple famous for Lord Krishna and his brother Balram, in Nandgaon, 120 kilometers ( 75 miles) from New Delhi, India.

Read more: 2013: The Year in 365 Pictures - LightBox http://lightbox.time.com/2013/12/03/2013-the-year-in-365-pictures/#ixzz2pBIGAaW0

Sebastiano Tomada—SIPA USA
March 30, 2013. The bullet-riddled poster of Syria's current president in the newly liberated neighborhood of Sheikh Maksoud in Aleppo, Syria.

Read more: 2013: The Year in 365 Pictures - LightBox http://lightbox.time.com/2013/12/03/2013-the-year-in-365-pictures/#ixzz2pBIfV2qV

John Tlumacki—The Boston Globe/Getty Images
April 15, 2013. A man comforts a victim on the sidewalk at the scene of the first explosion near the finish line of the 117th Boston Marathon.

Read more: 2013: The Year in 365 Pictures - LightBox http://lightbox.time.com/2013/12/03/2013-the-year-in-365-pictures/#ixzz2pBGzLbhV

Jeff Holt—Bloomberg/Getty Images
April 29, 2013. Workers leave for their lunch break in a building that houses garment factories in Dhaka, Bangladesh.


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Dan Kitwood—Reuters
May 8, 2013. Britain's Queen Elizabeth arrives for the State Opening of Parliament, at the Palace of Westminster in London.

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Arno Balzarini—EPA
June 13, 2013. The Milky Way is seen between the Biferstock, the Piz Urlaun and the Toedi mountain above Linthal, Switzerland.

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Kirill Kudryavtsev—AFP/Getty Images
June 24, 2013. A picture taken in Moscow Sheremetyevo airport aboard a plane of Aeroflot flight from Moscow to Havana shows the empty window seat 17A, which fugitive U.S. intelligence leaker Edward Snowden was scheduled to occupy according to Aeroflot's flight records.

SHAAM News Network/AFP/Getty Images
July 25, 2013. A handout image released by the Syrian opposition's Shaam News Network allegedly shows the Khaled bin Walid mosque whose mausoleum has been partially destroyed in the al-Khalidiyah neighborhood of the central Syrian city of Homs.

Bulent Kilic—AFP/Getty Images
Aug. 29, 2013. A newly married couple walks up a hill with a view of the city of Antakya, Turkey.

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Reuters
Sept. 15, 2013. Numerous tents are seen during the 2013 International I Camping Festival in Mount Wugongshan of Pingxiang, Jiangxi province, China.

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Thibault Camus—AP
Sept. 28, 2013. Lou Hamrani, 6, walks in the street after attending the Mini Miss model beauty contest in Paris, France.

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Brendan Simalowski—AFP/Getty Images
Oct. 1, 2013. A U.S. Capitol Police Officer walks past a statue of Gerald Ford, who was US president during the 1976 shutdown of the federal government, in the Rotunda while the building was closed to tours on Capitol Hill in Washington.

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Muhammed Muheisen—AP
Oct. 9, 2013. Pakistani schoolboys look out the window of their classroom at other classmates chanting prayers to commemorate the anniversary of Malala's shooting by Taliban, at a school in Rawalpindi, Pakistan.

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Adam Dean—Panos for TIME
Nov. 16, 2013. People play by a fire in a neighborhood destroyed by Typhoon Haiyan in Tacloban, the Philippines.

David Guttenfelder—AP
Dec. 13, 2013. North Korean subway commuters gather around a public newspaper stand on the train platform in Pyongyang, North Korea to read the headlines about Jang Song Thaek, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's uncle who was executed as a traitor.
 

Yannis Behrakis—Reuters
Dec. 15, 2013. A local boy, Anda, looks out from his hut's window at the burial ground of late former South African President Nelson Mandela ahead of his funeral in Qunu, South Africa.

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Gregory Bull—AP
Dec. 30, 2013. United States Marines support a 100 yard American flag during pre-game ceremonies at the Holiday Bowl NCAA college football game in San Diego.

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Kim Kyung Hoon—Reuters
Dec. 31, 2013. Light and laser illuminate the Great Wall of China to celebrate the new year before a new year countdown event at the Badaling section of the Great Wall, in Beijing, China.