Tuesday, August 21, 2012

We've moved!

Well, not really. But bring on the home-warming potted plants anyway, because I've started a new blog!

From now on, you can find me here. I don't know whether to delete this blog or keep it up, but for the time being, I'll leave it so everyone (A.K.A. the like two people that ever actually visit this blog) will know where to find me.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Hello, August.

Sometimes, even when you've been headed on the right track for a long time, you need one final push to get you to where you need to be. For me, that push was a somewhat terrifying experience, but fear is the best motivator; fear opens your eyes to the truth.

And the truth can hurt, too. It can go against all that you've been insisting upon and surrounding yourself with for a year. It can scream for you to change everything.

So hello, August. This month will be for fresh beginnings, early mornings and regaining trust. For solitary walks on the beach, bike rides, and sketching. For film photography and dark chocolate and dinners with the best of friends. For complimenting strangers and filling notebooks with musings. For reading good books and discovering poetry and overdosing on music. For tennis and jogging and coffee dates with my grandma. For knowing that the most difficult path is also the most rewarding. For living without anything holding me back.

There are some things in life that, as breathtaking as they may be, can set your priorities out of whack. Things that halt your progress, freeze you in moments in time. You can stand there and enjoy the whimsical, warped, wonderful view, or you can break free and keep moving. I choose the latter, as difficult as it has been to walk away from something that has opened so many doors in my mind. I regret nothing that I have done, because all of it has taught me many invaluable lessons. But I've learned them, and it's time to move on.

I don't know where I'm headed, but the journey feels right. In a society that stands still, I consider myself lucky to be so open to change. I can't see my future, and I'm not particularly concerned with that fact. Nothing seems so important and magical as this moment in time.

I can't promise I'll be keeping up with this blog in the future; my time in this lovely corner of the Internet may have run its course. I enjoy it, but perhaps blogging isn't for me. At least not in this phase of life. I'm sure I'll be back with the occasional update, to share some artwork or some thoughts. But in the mean time, I hope everyone reading this has the courage to open their eyes to the truth and change their lives for the better. Because, really, nothing is worth sacrificing true happiness.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

The smell before rain.

Lately my life has been very cyclical; periods of happiness, calm and productivity slowly melt into tiring yet satisfying busy days, which in turn begin to eat away at my perseverance until I'm completely overwhelmed. I'm not complaining; having a few bad days once a month is worlds better than a never-ending depressive slump. However, I've had to discover better stress-releases and coping mechanisms to keep myself afloat on those days where I'd rather just stay in bed. For me, the most important thing is never to give in to the darkness of depression again, so even when I feel I can't go on, I must.

One of these coping mechanisms is to drop everything, dress myself in feelings and run outside to take pictures. Yesterday was a particularly stressful and tiring day at camp, with temperatures peaking 100 degrees fahrenheit before a massive thunderstorm, and a number of personal issues cast a dark shadow on my day. I finally dropped everything, grabbed my vest and bandana, smudged some makeup on and dashed out into the post-rain world with my camera and tripod. The overcast sunset lighting was perfect, and the water reflecting off the driveway was calling my name. Half an hour later I trudged back inside, soaking wet, but it was more than worth it. The photos came out beautifully (see more on my Flickr), and after endeavoring on a self-photoshoot with a dying camera, I was able to look upon my feelings and concerns with a clearer, calmer head.

Photography is so freeing in that it urges you to step out of your comfort zone and do things you wouldn't normally do. For what other reason would I find myself sitting on the driveway after a rainstorm? And yet, the simple act of laying there under cloudy skies, with water soaking through my skin, could not have been more calming. (It reminds me of a quote by Bob Marley; "Some people feel the rain. Others just get wet.") Sometimes, all we need is to stop for five minutes and think of nothing but the moment we are in, the ground we are stepping on, the sky above our heads. If I were not a photographer, I would most likely not experience these solitary moments of peace and calm. Nor would I see the beauty in a small yellow leaf on the side of the road or the way the light hits the folds of a blanket. Photography has caused me to move mountains to create beauty, and trained my eye to find it in the strangest of places. Perhaps it won't be my path in life, but I shall certainly never forget the lessons it has taught me, nor lose my passion for the little details that make a good life great.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

{lately; an abundance of summer}


Lately I've explored...
abandoned houses in the middle of the woods with my friend Karsch! It felt like we were those stupid people walking into the haunted house. So spooky, but thoroughly intriguing. Everything on the inside and all the doors and windows were smashed, but the structure was totally intact. Monster movie set? I think so.

I've seen...
my South-African friend Gabi for the first time in a year! She was visiting New York on holiday, and since I live so close to NYC, I was able to meet up with her and show her around a bit! This photo of us was taken on the top of the Rockefeller tower. In the background you will see the Empire State building!

I've discovered...
that my hair kinda-sorta-maybe goes into a ponytail. Get excited.

I've had...
a party with my closest friends. More on this to come; I have a plethora of amusing photos to share. In this shot, we're laying about in the bounce house that my family owns and keeps in our garage. I know. We own a bounce house. Best thing ever.

I've laughed with...
Russell, a co-counselor of mine at ecology camp on a local reservation. He dressed up as the Leatherman (local legend/real hobo from the 1880s) and hiked up to surprise our nine-year-old campers as we finished telling them the Leatherman's story. I'll probably spend a post talking about this camp at a later date, especially because it's taking up so much of my time lately!

Due to my spending the majority of my days this month trekking through the woods with a mob of boisterous, adorable children, posts will be sparser until July is over. I'll definitely attempt to write posts in advance and set them on a schedule, though.

☀ {lately has been full of laughter, sunshine, and adventure} ☀

Friday, July 6, 2012

On a healthy lifestyle

Breakfast: mini everything bagel with butter, grapes, and limeade with a splash of pomegranate juice.

Did you know? Back when bagels were first invented, they were the size of today's mini-bagels. And have you ever wondered why juice is so many calories? Well, take a look at vintage juice glasses; they're meant to hold three ounces, not eight. Humans, in America especially, have super-sized everything, from foods to houses to people themselves!

This super-sized mentality leads to unhealthfulness in a plethora of ways. Portions are enormous; you're only supposed to ingest three ounces of red meat a day, and yet most restaurants sell ten- or twelve-ounce steaks and burgers. People looking to lose weight often don't realize that it's portion size, not the type of food they're eating, that's doing the most damage, and start eating processed diet foods that actually slow down the fat-burning process. Those taking the exercise route of weight-loss tend to over-exert themselves or even exercise to the point of unhealthfulness (yes, it is possible to have too much muscle). And let's not forget the legions of individuals who yearn for a healthier lifestyle, but are overwhelmed by what seems to be a ton of work to get there.

Let me tell you: being healthy is simple. You don't have to exercise three hours a day. You don't have to eat only vegetables and protein bars. It's quite easy, really. There are a few basic rules: stay away from processed foods, savor each bite, and get up on your feet as much as possible.

The key to nutrition is to eat real foods. If you can't pronounce something on the ingredients list, put it back on the shelf. Our body is not meant to process chemicals and synthetic sweeteners and lab-made fat substitutions. Take a look at the ingredients list before you toss that package of ramen or low-fat cookies in the cart. It may boast "100 calories!" or "Low-fat" or "Now with 75% less sugar!!", but you'd be better off eating a 400-calorie, fresh-baked all-natural muffin than eating those "healthy" snacks. So if you want a cookie, consider baking them yourself instead of buying processed Chips-Ahoy. It'll probably taste a lot better, anyway.

Humans have adopted to a sedentary lifestyle. The majority of adults wake up, sit in their car on the way to work, sit at their desk all day, and sit in their car on the way back, anxious to get home and--guess what?--sit down on the couch and relax. Pause. Rewind. What?
Even if you work a desk-job, you can incorporate a bit of movement into your day by parking your car far away, taking the stairs, even just taking a few short strolls around the office. It'll most likely even increase your productivity and put you in a better mood!  Exercise doesn't have to mean a grueling ab workout or a gym membership. This morning, I went for a jog around the neighborhood, and spent ten minutes jogging and the other ten walking. Even if you take a short walk every day, you'd be in a lot better shape than if you didn't! 

So try it out. Ignore the super-sized foods and the super-sized ads pushing them on you. Eat fruit. Walk around a bit. If you go out to eat and have a big meal, take half of it home and have it for lunch the next day. Don't wolf your food down, but enjoy every bite. Instead of spending your days off lazing about, work on a project around the house or go for a hike. It's not difficult to live a healthy lifestyle, and once you start, you won't go back!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Outfit; back to basics

It's not your typical fourth-of-July outfit, but it's my typical style. And besides, how can I resist wearing half of the new things I got while shopping with Bayley yesterday?

shirt/forever 21. shorts/pacsun. shoes/forever 21.
bow/forever 21. earrings/gifted; from nantucket.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Appreciating everyday life.

An aspect of blogging that I both love and hate is the selective nature of it. You get to present yourself at your best, with your most brilliant ideas, during the highlights of your week. However, showing only the organized, cheerful, exciting part of yourself is a little bit dehumanizing, and I hate that.

You know why? Because I love being human. I love my "imperfections". I love my frizzy, curly hair and my oversized men's t-shirt and the faded, smudged eyeliner left on from yesterday. 

Yes, I can make myself look really nice and fancy and done-up when I want to. But let's be real. I wear jeans or shorts and a t-shirt almost every day of the week. I'm still a bit of a tomboy, and I just can't be bothered looking nice all the time. To those people who actually can, well, you go glen coco. Four for you. But that's not me, and I wouldn't change that for the world.

I think a lot of people are scared to be vulnerable or ignorant or weak. And I'm not going to say that being those things isn't a bummer, but there's no reason to be ashamed. Each day is an opportunity for growth. A few people I'm close with are struggling with depression, and the most common phrase I hear out of their mouths is "I can't." So I tell them, yes, you can, you're just afraid. If you think you're a bad conversationalist, that's all the more reason you should take a public speaking class. If you think you're too weak to exercise, it's in your best interest to hit the gym. If you can't embrace something about yourself, don't sit there brooding, because you have the power to change it.

I've become a positive thinker by necessity. I recently clawed my way out of the big black pit of depression, and I have vowed never to go back. So I put my mind into training. I flipped every negative thought and complaint on its head. I took advantage of every moment of my day. I learned to find a balance in my life between productivity and relaxation, friends and family, work and play. I'm still working at it, but you know what? I love life. I love life so much that it makes me want to dance and sing and hug my evil cat and lay in the middle of my lawn probably getting a hell of a sunburn and sit here writing a blog post about all of this with the biggest, stupidest grin on my face.

This was going to be a post about making the most of life by doing things like sitting outside with your computer or exercising while watching TV or something like that, but it turned into a big sappy inspirational speech.

Anyway, enjoy a black-and-white webcam selfie of my natural lazy-day face, and have yourself a wonderful Monday evening.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Hello, July; Summer goals

As I've previously mentioned, I have a plethora of plans this summer and not enough time to execute them! So I thought I'd compile a small list of a few summer goals to get the ball rolling. (And in case you were wondering, that strapping young lad in the photo above is my younger brother. Shot on 400 iso colour film.)

1. Live in the moment. As much as I love photographic memories, some things just can't be captured on camera. Being present in the moment is the best way to take advantage of life's small joys and be truly happy. I chose not to bring my camera to last night's early Independence Day fireworks, and I had a truly magical time, crawling through a hole in the fence into the skate park and watching the fireworks laying next to some of my favorite people in the world. Another thing to consider is time wasted on the internet - blog posts and incoming emails will still be there when you get back, but a firefly-catching moment with your family won't last forever. 

2. Finish redecorating and organizing my room. This has been a very long process, folks. First time redecorating my room since my crazy bright-colours-everywhere phase in seventh grade, and I'm halfway through the process. I need to reorganize my desk area, add art to my walls, reupholster my couch, and add a few more finishing touches. If I don't finish this summer, I may go a little bit crazy.

3. Complete a summer scrapbook. I'll be posting about my first adventure into scrapbooking through the course of the summer. I intend to capture as much as I can of this already perfect summer in one little book... wish me luck!

4. Take care of my body. I've taken a great interest into nutrition lately, and this summer I plan to take care of my body the best I can. Eating balanced meals full of natural, unprocessed foods and taking daily walks - a simple, healthy summer lifestyle that I will eventually come to adopt from here on out! 

5. Schedule a bit of art, music, literature, and relaxation into my daily life. For a person with a million passions, I can't tell you how frustrating it is to have to cut art short because I have other plans. This summer, I will try to make efficient and effective use of my time, and work writing, reading, drawing, and acting into my daily life. There are so many skills and interests of mine that I would love to further cultivate, and I intend to do so this summer. 

Essentially, this summer is about getting in touch with my personal universe. Challenging myself in every way and making each day beautiful. I'll be busy and I'll certainly collapse at the end of the day, but I'll come out of it with unforgettable memories and positive impacts to last a lifetime. So hello, July. Bring it on.

Saturday, June 30, 2012


There's something about film photography that is so endearing to me. The rawness of non-edited images, the beautiful imperfection of the film grain and scratches, the stunning bokeh. I own a completely manual 35mm film camera; this means to take one picture, I have to manually set the shutter speed, aperture, focus and zoom. To a photographer, it's all in a day's work, but to anyone whose photographic expertise goes no further than point-and-shoot and instagram filters, all the numbers and dials would seem like a foreign language. Not to mention all the work that goes into processing and darkroom development. Film photography seems so much more meaningful because such an immense amount of work goes into one photograph, therefore making each shot all the more special.

Unfortunately, I don't have access to a darkroom over the summer, so my film rolls go off to CVS to be processed and developed. Luckily, thanks to modern technology, they can make a CD of your prints along with the hard copies, so I don't have to go through the hassle of scanning them in! I plan to shoot a lot of film this summer, both colour and black-and-white. In the mean time, enjoy more of my film work on my flickr!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Adventure time, #1

This is my best friend Bayley and I on a hike about two weeks ago. You'll be seeing a lot of her on the blog in the upcoming months, because this summer, Bayley and I plan to..
go on ALL of the adventures!

On our most recent escapade, we hiked up a nearby mountain and had a picnic at the top. Complete with some tree climbing and later shopping in an adorable village (not really, but I just love the word village) nearby, it was a lovely day.

I feel like I have a million amazing things on my to-do list this summer and hardly enough time to do them! I'm working out a blog schedule right now, though, so you can be sure that posts will be at least somewhat regular. (:

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Outfit; 50's flare

Naturally, my hair looked much better before I went outside in the wind to take the pictures. Still, I'm absolutely loving this style while my hair grows out! It makes it look a little bit longer than it is... maybe? Anyway, I love 1950's style makeup; perhaps I'll do a short tutorial in the future.

shirt/forever 21. lace headband/vintage. shorts/delia's. heels/forever 21. 
yule ball earrings/warner brother's site. lipstick/l'oreal #315 true red.

Friday, June 8, 2012

{lately: seize the day}


Lately I've been...
for morning walks around the foggy reservoir.

I've eaten...
brunch on the patio with my family.

I've made...
ice cream using liquid nitrogen in my chemistry class on the last day of school.

I've read...
A Game Of Thrones by George R.R. Martin. I highly, highly recommend.

I've photographed...
portraits with my beautiful friend Georgia on a short walk today... see more on my Flickr!

I've listened to...
"From Where You Are" by Lifehouse. Warning: may prompt nostalgia.

{lately has been full of wonder}

I hope you've enjoyed the first installment of my {lately} series! I will continue, perhaps 
weekly or bi-weekly, sharing little moments of my life with you all. Enjoy!
All photography by yours truly.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

The great outdoors: my place of worship

Religion fascinates me, but I personally think that there are way too many theories out there about the spiritual world for just one to be right. If you have a faith that gives you strength at your weakest moments and guides you to bring goodness into this world, that is absolutely fantastic. But as for me, I figure I'll just try to live the fullest life I can, and when I die I'll find out what's up there. Or maybe I'll just be dead. I don't know, but it doesn't bother me too much. 

Anyway, my family requires I come to church with them every Sunday, but being in the sort of rocky, emotional state I was today, I packed a bag with my camera and some notebooks and pens and headed out when the mass started. Behind the parking lot, there's a huge grassy hill with some wooden benches at the top and a few swings at the bottom. Just being in nature, with a beautiful blue sky and a warm breeze,  brought me so much peace.

Backpack. I love this thing to pieces.

I (sort of) made friends with a little groundhog! He was pretty shy, but I got some pictures from about seven feet away.

I found this absolutely gorgeous feather!

Every single twirling picture I took, my eyes were closed, so I just cropped my face out. Sorry, you don't get to see my super curly hair!

A view from the swings. Such a gorgeous day.

A little sketch of my find. :)

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Cinnamon Roses with Pomegranate-Cranberry Glaze

I thought I'd share this elegant twist on a classic brunch treat. Cinnamon Roses are light, sweet, and perfect for summer!

You will need:
Store-bought crescent roll dough (I used Pillsbury)
Cranberry-pomegranate juice (or blueberry-pomegranate juice, or just plain old pomegranate juice)
Powdered sugar (confectioner's sugar)

1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Unroll dough, separating down the middle perforation into two rectangles. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.

2. Roll the two rectangles up as so.

3. Using a serrated knife, cut slices about 3/4 inch in thickness and lay them on their side.

4. Pinch the bottom of each roll with your fingers until it's completely closed up. This will cause the center part of the "rose" to pop up a bit. Make sure that all the layers still stay relatively close together and that the center isn't sticking out too much, because this will cause your roses to unravel during baking!

5. Your roses should look something like this. Stick them in the oven and get ready to make the glaze! (Follow the baking instructions on the dough package. I found that while the instructions called for 13 minutes baking time, these only needed about 10. Be sure to check on them!) 

6. Pour about a half cup of powdered sugar into a small bowl. Don't worry if your measurements aren't exact, because all you need to do is add the juice until the glaze is the perfect consistency! Start by adding a tablespoon of juice, and continue adding teaspoons, stirring as you go until the glaze is thin enough to be drizzled. I found that I needed about one and a half tablespoons.
(If you'd like a brighter, more festive glaze, add one drop of red food colouring to the mix!)

7. Drizzle your roses with the glaze and serve warm! :)

Sunday, May 27, 2012

DIY: transform a simple jar into a unique, cute way to save money!

The best time to start working towards your goals is today, and saving is usually a good way to get there. However, if all you're looking at is numbers on a piece of paper, you probably won't feel too accomplished. I find that the old piggy-bank system, saving your spare change every day, can be an enjoyable way to help save up. But there's no need to dust off the old pink pig, because all you need is a mason jar, an index card, and some scissors!

1. Gather your materials. Pop the suction lid out of the screw-on cap of the jar to use as a stencil.

2. Using the inner part of the lid to get the sizing just right, cut a circle out of an index card.

3. Fold the card in half and cut two little notches, far enough apart to accommodate all sizes of coins. Then, cut the resulting rectangle out.

4. Unfold your circle and smooth it out. It should look like this!

5. Decorate!

6. Stick the circle into the screw-on part of the lid. You can glue it down if you'd like, but it should stay fine on its own. Besides, if it's not permanent, you can keep using the jar for your next saving endeavor!

7. Screw on the cap and start saving!

P.S. Yes, I really am saving up for a road trip. My boyfriend and I plan to travel around the country together for a month or so, the summer after I graduate. :)