Jul 28, 2011

New Day, New Look



I decided I didn't really like the old blog look. I guess that's one bad thing about designers: nothing is ever finished. It's always a work in progress, and this new look is probably going to be the same. I know it'd be better to just stick with something (the advertising degree and career are whispering that consistent brand identity is key to a successful blog) so we'll try this out for awhile and see what happens.

I'm going to try to figure out how to make buttons that take you to different places (like an "about me" button and maybe even a future "home tour," "meet ella," etc. All exciting things y'all want to know more about, right? That's what I thought.


Anyway, I have been house-sitting for mis padres this week (and next) so that's why there have been no cool pictures lately - I can't hook up my camera to their computer! It's aggravating but I have some good ideas/posts already written that I can't wait to share once I get back into my own swing of things.

Jul 27, 2011

If You See Me Running, Call the Police



A few days on Pinterest, this was a funny little blurb I tagged. And if you know me, you'd know why: I don't exercise. As in don't.

Which is funny because two days after tagging this, I found a little something online that made me change my mind. It's called Couch to 5K. I'd heard of it before, so I emailed a link to the boy and went on with my day. You see, the boy has been exercising every morning (at 5:30 am!) for the past month or so. Every. Morning. Did you hear that? That's cray-cray! He's been encouraging me to start doing something too, but as I stated earlier, I don't exercise so I politely ignored didn't hear him. But slowly, over time, he started getting to me. Doesn't help that he's starting to look really good too. So I started thinking about it. Which brings us back to me finding the Couch to 5K website.

Now, it's hot here in the Ark. Heat indexes above 100 degrees and humidity that makes you feel like you're swimming through a sauna make going outside to do anything pretty much impossible. So John and I decided we'd start our adventure at 8 pm, once it started to cool down to a horrible breezy 90 degrees. Ahhh, love it.

So that's what we did. Now the first week, you're supposed to start off with a brisk 5 minute workout (what is brisk, though, really? John and I had to discuss how quickly brisk was. Surprisingly my interpretation was much quicker than his. What do you think?). After that, you are supposed to alternate between running for 60 seconds and walking for 90. Then running for 60. Then walking for 90. I think you can imagine it: we looked crazy.

It started off fine and dandy with the brisk-walk-interpretation. The first two little spurts of jogging were fine too. I looked marvelous, of course, with my gorgeous hair falling softly behind me and my skin-tight running leggings that made me look like a pro.


Yeah, I wish. It looked a little more like this:


Only minus the awesome bod and runners uniform. And substitute John for the asian friends. 

Okay I hear what you're saying: Enough with the badly photoshopped images! The bottom line is I did it. John cheered me on and I did the entire workout just like I was supposed to. Well, maybe with one or two 2 minute breaks in between instead of 90 seconds. And with a little more complaining than a normal person would succumb to. Whatever, same difference

Anyway that's my story and I'm sticking to it. For the rest of the day, expect to find me being sore at work. Yay. 

Have a good Wednesday.

Jul 25, 2011

Lint Licker



My dog is a pretty normal puppy: she loves to play, she poops in the house, she barks at other dogs, and she gets super excited when I come home from work. However, she does have a few weird qualities. Like the fact that she has a major freakout when left alone for any small amount of time. Like if I go into the bathroom and shut the door on her. But let's not get into that.

The weird thing about my dog that I'm talking about today is her massive tongue. There's no other way to say it: it's huge.


I don't even understand how it fits in her mouth. I guess it really doesn't - usually it's all hanging out (like in above photo)!

And ever since we got her, she's been a licker. She licks EVERYTHING. The carpet, my jeans, the bedspread, anything. Especially if she's getting sleepy. In fact, usually when she gets sleepy she starts doing what we call The Snake Tongue.

video

Is that not the weirdest thing you've ever seen?!? And possibly a bit disturbing? Hahaha - John and I love it! It has provided us hours of entertainment. I talked a professional dog trainer, and she said that this behavior is a calming method that many dogs have. But that Ella's is extremely exaggerated.

After she told me that, all I could do was laugh and think, "so that's why she fits in so well with us!"

Does your pet do anything strange or bizarre? 

Jul 22, 2011

Dresser Makeover

About 2 years ago, I needed a dresser. Badly. I was about to move into my first apartment, and I had nothing to put my clothes into. And everyone knows a girl's gotta keep her clothes somewhere!

My dad had a great idea of redoing a dresser his grandmother had had long ago. It was just sitting in the garage, so he basically gave it to me!


This was the dresser on the day that I started working on it. You can see that the wood was really beat up, the handles were falling off, one handle was missing and was replaced with a bumblebee pull. Not exactly my style. 

So I enlisted John's help. It was the middle of the summer (which in Arkansas means HOT!) but he was a great sport. We spent about 3 days sanding this thing because my dad and John are both perfectionists and wanted to make sure we got EVERY SINGLE groove on the dresser. Which there are a lot of (if you can't tell). 

After we sanded, the painting began. We decided to go with a glossy chocolate brown paint instead of a stain. Not sure why I picked that out but I liked it and I still do (although I may paint it again another color in the future. We'll see). And we also picked out some new handles that would match the style of the dresser, and we painted those too. 

Here's the dresser after it's makeover:


Sorry both pictures are a little blurry; they were both taken with my iPhone a LONG time ago. 

Overall this project was a great deal. I hardly spent any money on it at all, and I got a great dresser that I still use today! I would highly recommend a project like this to anyone! 


Jul 21, 2011

Pinnable Me

One thing every aspiring photographer needs and wants to know is what their style is. I find that the best way to tag my personal style, whether it be fashion or interior decorating, is to find pictures that I'm inspired by and to save them. Once I collect a few, I can go back and look at them to see what trends keep emerging. Pinterest has helped me a lot in this for figuring out my favorite looks for the home: I now know that I adore blue/green/grey walls, with pops of warm color spread around (think orange and yellow), and natural wood furniture mixed with modern white pieces.

Today I want to find and look at some photos that inspire me. Not just glance at them, but analyze them: what I like, why I like it. The lighting, the composition, the expressions, whatever.

So, here we go!

1. Shutterchic Photography - I completely adore this image. The first thing that I love about it is the incredible lighting and the washed-out feeling of sun-soaked love. I can't wait until I figure out how to get this awesome hazy effect. I also love their expressions, the motion and candid-ness of the image, how the water is frozen in place, and the girl being in utter glee.

And hello, that yellow blanket is calling my name! I want it.



2. Kiss the Groom - Is this picture not the most adorable thing you've ever seen? This picture is a little bit different than the one above - the colors are a little heavier but you still get that lightness close to the bottom, where the sunshine is playing on the fields. My favorite thing about this picture is the girl's pink sweater - it just POPS against the green. I also like the shallow depth of field; the couple is in focus but the background blurs backwards. And, like the picture before, I love their natural expressions. I'm sure the guy doesn't naturally go around carrying his girl, but they look natural and not posed or forced. I like that.

 


3. Toddler Toes - I love this picture. This little boy is about the cutest thing I've ever seen. What I like about this picture is the composition. The photographer doesn't focus on the little boy's face, but instead on his adorable feet. I feel like this picture tells you a lot about this little boy - he is curious and calm. It captures a piece of a story and I love that.




4. Carter and Cook Event Company - I love this picture. How it focuses on the bride's beautiful updo. The lighting that she is facing. The glow. I love how the background is pushed into pure blurridness (if that's a word) and the overall natural colors that appear everywhere.




5. Bee Photographie - Again with the natural, sun-kissed, glow-y goodness lighting! And this girl's pose is fantastic - obviously posed by the photographer but still natural and flattering to the girl. The blur is great too! Heart flutter.



So those are the pictures that inspire me.

See any trends? Let's see:
• sun-soaked goodness
• natural lighting
• natural positions
• happy expressions
• blurred background
• focus on the details

Did you catch any more that I didn't? Why not try it for yourself on whatever projects you're working out: find your own style!

Jul 20, 2011

Random Ramble

I know, I didn't blog today. I meant to. Really. But then my alarm went off. I made a smoothie and shaved my legs and fed my dog and dressed for work. Went to work, went to a meeting, got a quick drink with some of my coworkers, picked up a pizza, ate with John and the day just got away from me.

And I didn't have anything to write about.

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I haven't broken out my camera in a few days. Not since the Mary shoot. I guess the reason why is that I've had no one to take pictures of. And I'm pretty sure y'all are getting sick of seeing my dog (even though she is precious and the best model there is).

I'm not sure why I feel like I've got to take pictures of people; I guess I'm just so inspired by portrait photography that I already know that's what I want to use my camera for - to capture people and their emotions and their beauty.

I did go out to take pictures of a train a few days ago. Only thing is, it just sat there. And it was kind of boring and ugly. So I ended up taking pictures of Ella; exactly the thing I shouldn't have been taking pictures of.

Also, I have super unrealistic high expectations for myself. John says I need to give myself a break because I can't always perfect something the first time. This is a hard concept for me; I like being good at something naturally. Like cake baking, or drawing. Even though I've only had my camera 10 days, I feel like I should already understand focus and aperture and ISOs and shutter speeds, and while I have a basic idea of how each of those things work together, I haven't mastered it yet. That frustrates me. 


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My friend from work, Jason, took this picture of me the other day. The color was really weird when I was playing with it so I just made it black and white and kind of liked the outcome. Here it is:


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Strangely, I love Thursdays. The reason is that the next day is Friday, so logically it would make more sense for me to like Fridays. But I don't. Thursday just has a nice ring to it, don't you think? Thursdays are good days. So I'm telling myself that tomorrow, Thursday, is going to be a good day when I get inspired, write a great post and take some great shots. Thursday is gonna be sweet.

Jul 19, 2011

There's Something About Mary

I know, I know. The title of this blog post is cliche but let me tell you somethin' - this girl is NOT! Mary is most definitely one of my favorite girls on the planet; she is always super fun and chill, and ready for anything. Which is exactly why I asked her to go on this little adventure with me. 


And adventure it was. Although Mary looks calm and collected (and gorgeous!) in these pics, it gives no clues to what occurred right before we took the pictures. Long story short: we went to get Mexican food, drank some margaritas (gotta loosen up before we went out!), laughed, talked, and oh...I don't know, got our food paid for by some Ricky Randos?!?!?

Guys, let me tell you one thing. Do not pay for two girls to eat dinner when 1) you don't know them 2) you aren't dating them 3) you have not made any sort of sexy-come-and-get-me eye contact or 4) you're old. It's weird. Believe me.


After we escaped the mexican restaurant with a blurry photo of the three weirdos and $12 out of my checking account for a round of drinks for them, we had to literally race against time to try to catch the sun before it tucked behind the trees. And luckily for us, we managed to catch a few last minute rays. 



THANK YOU, Mary, for being such a good sport and for teaching me a lot more than I could ever read on the internet about taking someone's pictures! Now I know that I should probably plan ahead. And figure out some poses (so I don't make you feel so awkward next time - although you don't show it at all!) 


Hope you liked them, folks!

Jul 18, 2011

I'm Just a Summer Girl

One fantastic thing about Arkansas is the fact that we have so much fun stuff to do outside, and all of it is relatively close to wherever you live. And guess where my favorite Arkansas outing might be. I'll give you a clue: it's a large hole filled with fresh water.

Yup, you guessed it (I hope). The lake. Cue blissful memories, clouds parting, and sun flares.

This weekend, I got an impromptu invite to Lake Ouachita with some family friends and jumped on my chance to get out in the summer sun! And, of course, I took some pictures while I was out there.



I had not tubed on the lake in about 2 years and although I don't have any pictures of myself on the tube, lemme tell you, it was fun. But scary. But fun

Caught some major air on Jen and Abbi's ride!



When we weren't out on the water, it was likely we were doing one of two things at the condo: eating or drinking. I'm pretty sure I ate more guacamole than I've ever eaten in my life (and it was fantastic!) and we drank countless margaritas! Yeah buddy! 


It's 5 o'clock somewhere


Tomorrow I'm going to show you a gorgeous lady friend of mine who I got to hang out with last night. There's just something about Mary....

Jul 15, 2011

The End

Well, last night the final Harry Potter movie came out. I didn't go to see it because I haven't seen all the movies (yet). I have, however, read all the books and thought a post about the end of an era was necessary.

Harry Potter, Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley are significant people when it comes to my childhood. After all, I was at the perfect age to start reading the first book when it came out in 1997. I was 9. Instantly I became hooked on the series, and every summer when a new one was scheduled to come out, I would buy it.

I remember getting the third book, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, from my father the day I turned 11. The book came out that day, and somehow he managed to grab a copy on his way home from work to gift to me. It was one of my favorite gifts he has ever given me.


I remember reading those books like crazy, turning the pages faster and faster, dying to know what was about to happen to Harry and his friends. I remember reading them at a beach house my grandparents once owned, so enthralled that going to the beach was the last thing on my mind.

I own every single book (about half hardback, half paperback) and have read them numerous times. Even last summer, I reread the entire series because I wanted to relive those times.



I'm planning a HP movie marathon soon so I can go see the final movie in theaters. It's another Harry Potter memory I want to make.

I know that this is not the real end for Harry Potter and me. I fully plan on reading these books again and again, reliving my childhood and possibly sharing them with my own children one day.

So I'd like to say one thing to Harry Potter. And that's thanks. For keeping me interested in reading. For being a faithful friend during my youth. For growing up with me. And, a biggie, for bringing people together.  

Jul 14, 2011

Three Basils in a Pod

I've never really been a plant person. Don't get me wrong, I love plants. Flowers especially (hint hint, John :) Kidding... ). But I've never really been a gardener. Although in third grade I did succeed in planting an oak nut seed which ended up growing into an actual tree. But besides that, I've kept my potential green thumb in my pocket. 

That is, until a few weeks ago, when my friend Ashlyn and I decided to go buy some plants. Our porches at the apartments were starting to look a little b a r e. 

I picked out some sweet basil plants and quickly began envisioning a summer filled with my momma's famous pesto recipe. And for about $30 I was able to get three plants, a pot, and some soil. Perfecto!

I've enjoyed having the plants on my balcony - every day I see them there, green and perfect, reaching up towards the sun they crave. But that's the problem. They crave it. They need it. And I don't think they're getting enough of it. Insert sad face. 

Kinda wilt-y.

It's not that they aren't growing - they are! But they aren't doing as well as expected. My bestie told me basil is hard to kill, and although it's not dead yet, my hopes for it are fleeting. 

It does get sunshine. Probably about 6ish hours a day, which seemed adequate when I was purchasing my three peas basils in a pod. I guess only time will tell how well they will do. 

Don't you like the spider web in this picture? So cool!

And on a completely random topic, this makes me think about other things I need to keep alive. Or shall I say other THING (singular). EB. Her health is a constant worry to me. Not that's she's unhealthy - she is healthy as a flea (but without the flea)! 

But just having her, and worrying about her, kind of freaks me out. If she vomits, you can guarantee I'm online trying to figure out if she's dying. And if she's tired? She must be dying. I am absolutely terrified that I am going to accidentally kill my puppy. 


Which is exactly why I'm never having children. 








At least, not for a really really really long time. 

Happy Thursday!

**Note to anyone who is now overly concerned for my pup - she's totally fine. Very healthy, eats a ton every day and has fresh water. One person worrying about her is probably already more than enough hah! 

Jul 13, 2011

My Strange Addiction

I have to admit something. I'm addicted. No, not to cigs or alcohol (although I do enjoy my margaritas!) Y'all have got to know I'm too much of a goody-two-shoes for the cigs. And no, I don't eat toilet paper or have a sex-doll wife (if that statement seems weird to you, you obviously haven't seen the "My Strange Addiction" show)

No, I'm addicted to Red Mango.

Have you heard of it? It's fantastic.


The first time John and I went, we hated it. I don't remember what kind I got but I remember John got vanilla and it was so weird! We vowed never to return and got on with our lives. And then, for some reason, fate intervened and we went back. Don't know why. Don't know how. It was only about a week later and from that point on, we were hooked


My order there is pretty classic - always chocolate mixed with some other fruity flavor. Fav has got to be raspberry but they got rid of that (BOO!) so now I alternate between a few different choices. Last night I got chocolate and strawberry and it was PEE-YOUR-PANTS-GOOD! Here's a snapshot of mine before I devoured it.


We went with some of John's friends, Brad and Garrett. They were first-timers and unfortunately felt the same way we felt about it the first time. At least, that's the message I got when I saw Garrett sneakily throw half of his away. GASP! How could he?!?! Next time he will fall in love.



Sidenote: I LOVE MY CAMERA!!!!



Red Mango is really different - it's not your average ice-cream place. First of all, it's frozen yogurt that actually tastes like yogurt. The chocolate was a little weird at first because it has that strange tang afterwards. That's why I pair it with the fruit. It has a nice zing

Photo by Garrett. Empty cup by Kati.

Can't wait to go back for more! Especially with this ridiculously hot Arkansas weather! I feel like I'm freaking melting!

So what about you? What's your strange addiction?

Jul 12, 2011

Take a Shot!

John and I decided it'd be a good idea to go on a little excursion with the new cam. Most photographers suggest going out in the evening, right before the sun sets. So, we headed out around 7:30 or so. I live right by the river here in LR, and it made the perfect backdrop for some great shots. 

By the way, isn't my guy the cutest? 




On our way, we ran into Ella's frienemy Stella. I say frienemy because they get super excited to see each other but usually end up biting each other's heads off. Weird. Too bad, too, because they have rhyming names which would be a little more enjoyable if we weren't constantly pulling them off of each other. 


And of course, I've got to show the cutest dog on the block. EB! She's the bomb-diggity (when she isn't busy barking at the computer at a photo of herself. Weirdo).


Somehow along the way I convinced John to sit on the grass and "just play with the dog...you know, don't look at me but pretend I'm not here..."

He went with it and I got a few shots that I like a lot. I'd probably have a ton more except my hands are a little overwhelmed between focusing (which most of these pictures have problems with), and making sure the exposure is correct. Thank goodness for photoshop!


And last but not least, a good one of John with our crazy dog. Be prepared to see many more pictures of the two of them. Don't say I didn't warn you!





Jul 11, 2011

Taking the Plunge

Well, I did it. I bought a camera. Meet my new friend.




Ain't she a beauty? I can't believe I bought her (yes, she is a she. Name undetermined at this point). My heart was racing as I handed over my card on Saturday afternoon to make the final purchase. I ended up buying the kit even though I hear the lens in the kit usually sucks. I also bought a sweet 50 mm/1.4 lens which I LO-HOVE to death so far. Here are a few shots we've taken with this baby:

How about a sweet shot of yours truly bright n' early? Lovin' the eyebrow that's still a little crooked from an encounter with the pillows.

Photo by John

Oh, and I made dinner tonight for the boys. John and his two friends Brad and Garrett. Garrett is a photography genious and helped me out a little with the new cam. He also ended up taking some pics of my food. Love him!

Photo by Garrett Houston. Food by me.
Photo by Garrett Houston. Food by Shake n' Bake. Delish!
 Afterwards, we headed out for a little adventure.
I think this is my favorite one from the day. Don't know why.

Anyway, I gotta get to work on some freelance stuff (I'm writing this on Sunday night even though it's posting Monday morning) but I couldn't wait to give y'all a sneak peek! I think this blog's gonna be a lot more fun from this point out. Stay tuned - already got Tuesday's post ready to go!

Jul 8, 2011

Fix It Friday

It's that time again. Here's the original:

Before

And here's the same photo after I altered in in Photoshop.

After
What I did:
• Opened in Photoshop
• Adjustment Layer > Levels - brought out the darks
• Adjustment Layer > Curves - brightened the foreground. Then I deleted the background from this layer so that I still had the vibrant red of the farmhouse in the background
• Adjustment Layer > Warming filter, opacity 30%
• Adjustment Layer > Vibrant up 20% or so

I think that's all I did to it! Have a good Friday!

I think I'm going to the camera store today - should be fun. Who knows what will happen there!