Sunday, August 28, 2011

I want to swim away but don't know how.

I've been overdosing on this song, and the Blue October, all week. With rain puddles and blown tree branches scattering my neighborhood as a result of Hurricane Irene, it just feels appropriate.

It seems that every post I write begins with an apology.. an apology for my lack of time spent in this little space. Today is no different. It's not that I lack things to say but rather the time in which to write them down.

August, as usual, has been filled to the brim. Filled with working three jobs, making trips, photographing events (look for a post about 2011 Golfing for Smiles soon!) and friends, sibling sleepovers, spending time with the best of friends and dreading tomorrow. (The first day of classes at a new school.) Despite it's long work weeks and too short of weekends, August has treated me well. Here are a few things I've been loving this month, brought to you by Instagram:

A new haircut. 
Because there is nothing I love more than my outdated bangs.

A photo wall update.
I'm terrible about hanging my own photography in my apartment. This picture hanger from IKEA makes it a little easier to keep updated photos of family & friends around. But I'm debating on buying these fabulous fotoclips from photojojo! and investing in today's Groupon for a gallery wrapped canvas. (Have I mentioned how much I love Groupon?)

My job.
Last week, I spent a day on Codorus Lake. I'm lucky enough to say that my eight hour work day was spent on a pontoon boat on a lake in sunny weather. I've got a nice tan on my thighs (and only my thighs) to prove it. There is nothing better than swimming in a lake on a nice day except perhaps if you get to call that your work for the day.

Painting tiny toes.
Somehow I managed to spend my last two weeks of summer vacation working three jobs, including babysitting my girls. Before, the girls had no patience for nail polish. In two weeks, I've painted their nails four times. They're big fans of crackle nail polish, crazy patterns and not sitting still. 

via Glamour Magazine; Nike Advertisement
The gym.
I've always enjoying working out and running but between my asthma and the twenty minute drive to the gym, it was never convenient. With Planet Fitness only five minutes from my apartment, I've found the time to go to the gym almost every day. I love that I can get my workout, listen to some great music, and catch up on the Kardashians at the same time. It's quickly become my favorite part of the day.

My iPod.
After a mishap with my iPhone and a treadmill at the gym, I decided it was a good idea to invest in another music listening device. While I have a hand-me-down iPod nano that I love, my musical tastes had outgrown it's tiny memory. My 160GB iPod Classic is already over half full with 15,832 songs. I love never having to hear the same song twice, especially since my iPod goes everywhere with me lately.

Grande & Poquito.
Last weekend was the 65th Annual Wellsville Carnival and this year, I actually managed to make it there. While I almost cried at the news that the Chicken Corn Soup contained wheat noodles, it was a good time. Though I did leave with soup for friends, I also left with two goldfish. While Grande is no longer with us (I'm terrible with fish), Poquito is doing just swimmingly. 

Oregon Chai.
It's no suprise to anyone here that I love chai lattes. A few weeks ago, I found Oregon Chai concentrate tucked in the organic aisle of Giant. While I love Tazo Chai, Orgeon will always hold the number 1 spot for me. Every morning, I start off my day with this little bit of heaven. Yum. It's made like 6:30 mornings a bit easier.

Summer staples: turkey burgers, homegrown watermelon, UTZ medley chips & Diet Dr. Pepper Cherry
It wouldn't be much of an exaggeration to say that this is all I've eaten for weeks. Turkey burgers are delicious and so easy to make, thanks to my friend George Foreman. I'm also really lucky to have a family that grows a lot of produces and always finds the time to make sure that I get some. This watermelon is perhaps the best I've ever had, really. And the carolina gold tomato on my sandwich? Ah. So. Good.

Photography work.
While I haven't been shooting as much I would like to be, I've been shooting a lot. And when I'm not, I've been fulfilling print orders, packaging photos for clients and brainstorming bigger and better ideas. I promise that I really have picked up a real camera this month, I just am in the process of editing 400+ frames of film at the moment so Instagram is sort of my "easy button" so to speak.

Sibling sleepovers.
I've been missing my little brother more than anyone could imagine. I feel like he's grown up so much since I've moved out... he's even on facebook now. This week, I made sure to get some quality time with him when he came for a sleepover. We ate Klondike bars for dinner, watched silly movies and went to the Blue Heron for his favorite lunch - chocolate mousse.

While I'm not loving the "goodbye" part of things, I loved getting to spend an evening with two of my best friends. I also loved having dinner guests and playing the first game of Apples to Apples in my apartment. Supposedly the cards you win are to describe you. Creepy? Visionary? Cosmopolitan? What do you think?

Barnacle Blue Backpack.
After my purple polka-dotted Jansport was ruined in the fire, I was devestated. As I began school shopping, I was disheartened by all the childish and stuffy backpacks I looked at. Instead, I ordered this backpack by Jansport in my favorite color of the moment - Barnacle Blue. While I'm not looking forward to class (or a new school), not the least bit, I'm excited about my turquoise & suede bag.

Perhaps this gives you a little glimpse into the past two weeks for me, but if you're looking for more, I hope to be around much more as work slows down and school begins again. I have a lot to share with you. (And a lot of photography, too!)

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Home Sweet Home... or something like that.

After a whirlwind weekend (and not the good kind) spent in Steel City, the City of Bridges or as I like to call it, Pittsburgh, I was ready to come home. Or at least to the place that I call home for now. Messed up lunches, tailgating baseball fans, drunken concert goers and fist fight threats will do that to you.

But truth be told, I don't really refer to my apartment as home.
Home is the farm house in the tiny town where I get my tomatoes, play with my brother and occasionally borrow the wireless internet.

I'm working on making it home though.
For now it's just my apartment.

You'll have to excuse the photos. The only thing I dislike about my apartment is the lighting and the reason why is clear here - it's never bright. I could open my blinds but they simply won't stay up. Not sure if it's me or the window fixtures at fault.

My kitchen proved to be the biggest trouble in situating and decorating. It's approximately six different shades of yellow between the table cloth, floor mats, pot holders, dishes, and cabinets. I'm slowly adjusting to it. Lord knows I searched every store in the greater York area in search of the perfectly colored table cloth. 

My favorite part of living alone is my pantry. Besides a box of Duncan Hines chocolate cupcake mix, there's nothing in my apartment that I can't eat. I'm loving cooking all my own meals, doing my own grocery shopping and sharing dinner with friends. Plus, I'm getting really good at making red skin mashed potatoes.

thanks for the noise, iPhone.

I've tried putting pictures everywhere I can imagine - it helps. I've got my favorite people plastered to my fridge amongst take out menus, a full calendar, coupons for the craft store and fun magnets. It almost makes mornings easier when I reach in the fridge for my almond milk.

My living room was much less of an issue thanks to my parents for their generous couch donation, the curtains, rugs and pictures frames I already had and because of Ikea's affordability. Seriously, I couldn't function without Ikea.

My favorite part of my apartment is probably my coffee table. I always dreamt of having somewhere to put my extensive collection of coffee table books and silly board games. While it's still a little bare, my coffee table contains my whole collection of Post Secret books, a photo album of my Paris trip, a Jackson Pollock exhibit book, quite a few issues of Glamour magazine (thanks Groupon!) and the beginnings of a novel written by a friend.

Like I said, I'm putting photos everywhere I can think. By the end of my first night at my apartment, these were already unpacked and displayed. All three of these little ones have made such an impact on my life and there's no way my apartment could be home without them.

Another, rather silly, thing I love about my apartment is having plants. While I don't have the best track record with anything green, it's going well so far. I've got a day lily in the kitchen, some strange tropical creation in my living room window and a jade plant in my bathroom. And they're all still alive.

The only thing that remains to do is to decorate my bedroom. First, I have to figure out what color my walls are exactly. They're somewhere between pink and cream, but I haven't decided which way to go with things. All I know is that my poppy printed orange and green comforter wouldn't match. Instead, it's found a new home in my best friends guest bedroom where I can still adore it. I haven't given up my green sheets yet though.

In the meantime, I have put away my books (and even started to read one!), managed to put a single pencil in my cup holder, and found a way to hang my photos all on my own. Today, my photo wall got a much needed update. Pictures of snowy days needed to come down, it's almost September after all.

& Of course, there's the bathroom. The first room I decorated and the one I love the most. Target had a terrible selection but I managed to find something cute and girly. Plus, I love having a shelf for my jade elephant bamboo plant and some Snoopy wisdom.

I apologize that it's taken me so long to show you my "new home" but it's been a few weeks of Ikea trips, furniture building, rearranging and arguing with myself over the color yellow.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

"Love of beauty is taste. The creation of beauty is art."

In case you hadn't noticed, I'm a sucker for every word to have come from Ralph Waldo Emerson's pen.

I've got the itch.
The creative itch.
The itch to paint, to write, to draw, to design.

I sat and wrote last night and realized how much I missed writing, really writing. But doesn't everyone have a half finished novel tucked away somewhere? No? Well, those are the type of people I like the most.

I have a hard time creating when I'm happy. In my freshman honors composition class, I wrote a paper about how tragic I found that compromise. Now, without a composition class to push me, I find myself skimming on the time I take to write, to reflect. The blog, it helps but it's not the same. Here, I write for everyone else, I don't take the time to write for myself.

Last night, I read what I had written. I wonder how I found the wisdom I had then - I was only fourteen, which is impossible to imagine. I remember the starting lines scrawled in a notebook late at night, laying on the floor, hiding what I had written. It's strange how things change.

In high school, my creative side took form in art. I challenged my mother's insults on my painting abilities and learned to paint. I never loved it in class; I hated my art teacher.. No, really. But, oil paint was comfortable from the first stroke. There's something about the colors, the texture, the smell that I can never leave for long.

This morning, I woke up at seven o'clock knowing I had to paint. Something. Anything. I read until nine o'clock when Michael's would open. I needed canvas, brushes, turpentine. I drug my french easel from the top shelf of my closet. I slide the legs down, tightened the bolts. I cleaned my paints, growled when half of them were sealed tight, impossible to open.

But I painted.
It's a step.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Half of My Heart has a Grip on the Situation

I've always been one to wear my heart on my sleeve.
I've always been one to give my whole heart away.
I've always been one to put my heart into things fully.
I've never been too careful about it.

Lately, I've realized that I should be.
Not everything deserves your heart - sometimes not even a piece of it.

I guess this is where I insert the disclaimer that this is going to be a post of many thoughts, feelings, photographs and well, rambling, too.

I never knew that putting my whole heart into something, a "hobby", could be so exhausting. Photography has really taken over a lot of my time - between DAT, my own projects, editing, learning and shooting for fun, I need to sleep for days. In the past week, I've shot and edited two sessions and I have two more in the next seven days.

It's been the only thing getting me through the past few crazy and, I won't lie, hard weeks. And Adele, thank God for Adele. It's a lot easier to put my life in focus from behind a lens. I see things more clearly that way. I stop and take time to concentrate, to plan, to adjust the little details.

It's also taught me a lot about people. It may sound silly but there's a connection that occurs when you're behind a lens. Someone is in front of you, being vulnerable enough to capture on film. I love capturing the people I love most, I love those moments where I feel that I can see through them, to understand them, even if it is only for a second. At times, I pass strangers in the grocery store, on the street, and I think about taking their portrait - what would it say about them? You know, a picture is worth a thousand words.. or something like that.

I've loved having the opportunity to capture couples. Alex and Brittany were total strangers who asked me to photograph them - and more importantly, their relationship. I love watching the side glances, those little looks, the lit up eyes, the smiles, the kisses, the way hands are held. There's hope.

Photography has empowered me - it has made me braver, more confident, more assertive. I no longer shy at the thought of posing people. I don't worry if I've got enough frames. I've photographed close friends, friends of friends, total strangers. I've learned to take control of the situations in front of me, to manipulate a scene for the best. I'm working on spreading that lesson to the rest of my life. Lately, I've realized that happiness is a choice, sometimes it takes work (and assertiveness) but ultimately, you are the only one who can make the decision wether to be happy or not to be.

I've learned a lot lately, maybe too much. I've learned that I'm blessed - I've learned that I've got friends to lean on (wether they're a few miles or a few hours away), I've got the best jobs in the world, I can be on my own, I've got everything I need. I've also learned how cruel people can be, how hurtful disrespect is, how easy others find it to lie. It's all about finding the perfect mixture of the two. 

"Actual happiness always looks pretty squalid in comparison with the over-compensations for misery. And, of course, stability isn't nearly so spectacular as instability. And being contented has none of the glamour of a good fight against misfortune, none of the picturesqueness of a struggle with temptation, or a fatal overthrow by passion or doubt. Happiness is never grand."

Being an open book is exhausting.
Goodnight, xo.

P.S. If you'd like to see more from these shoots - you can view slideshows here & here.