Tuesday, January 19, 2016

2015 in Review

Belated Happy New Year! It saddens me that I never did a 2015 photo review here, so I'm going to remedy that. It's just a nice little summary to have in my blog records.

I began 2015 with a fun road trip up to the Seattle area. I remember it was sunny and cold and I felt inspired and content. It was a great start!

Later in the month, my relatives from Hawaii visited to check out a nearby college for my cousin (not pictured--this is a different cousin). He ended up attending said college in the fall (but has decided to transfer back to Hawaii), so I briefly had family living in Oregon! :)

FEBRUARY was a fun and eventful month. Over President's weekend, my friend Dan and I roadtripped down to my hometown of Yuba City, CA. It was such a fun and perfect trip--the weather was awesome, and I was glad to see my parents' (and formerly my) house one last time before it sold. Valentine's Day (the Saturday) was a highlight of the year. We hung out in the backyard by the pond playing games and enjoying delicious food, and I showed Dan some notable places like my schools and churches, and houses I lived in. Then Dania joined us for games and dinner. I get sad-happy thinking about it, because I will so miss that house and yard (just as soon as I accept that it belongs to someone else now).

My friend Katrina got engaged in February, so I got to take her engagement photos!

2015 was mostly a year of great weather, so February began a lot of time outside taking pictures. It was exciting to watch everything bloom over the months. Oh and I even went to the coast by myself at the end of February. My first time going alone.

MARCH was SO BEAUTIFUL. I went out and took lots of pictures, but otherwise stayed fairly close to home. I went to the Seattle area one weekend, and did a lot of prep for upcoming months. It was a happy time, at least in my memory.

At the end of March, my new niece was born! :) :) I now have 10 nieces and nephews between my two sisters.

APRIL: I got to meet my new niece! I made a trip out to the Albuquerque area and met up with my parents at my sister's house. We spent Easter weekend together and, even though some of the girls were sick part of the time, it was a really nice trip.

I took a ton of pictures of my beautiful nieces, while there. Don't they have darling Easter dresses?

Shortly after returning home, I opened my first Etsy shop to sell my photo prints. I'm sure you're tired of hearing about that by now, but it was a big undertaking for me, and it consumed my thoughts for several months this past year. It was also one of the main driving forces behind all the times I went out taking pictures, and I am so glad I did. Regardless of what happens with Etsy, I thoroughly enjoyed spring and summer photography in 2015.

MAY: I attended Katrina's wedding (something notable only because I actually go to very few weddings!), went to a peony farm, went to the iris garden more than once, took a million flower photos, and I'm having a hard time remembering if I went anywhere further than the Willamette Valley that month! I guess not.

Maybe I stayed close to home since I was distracted by Etsy and photography. But I did get to do this super fun photo shoot with my coworker, Katt.

JUNE: The rose month! I certainly took my share of rose photos throughout spring and summer. For some reason this past summer is kind of a blur to me now. I think one of the most exciting parts of June was that I bought an air conditioner! It's something I've talked about getting every year, but this past summer was the perfect time to take the plunge. I can't imagine how it would've been without it, because I got so much use from it even into September. We had so many hot days compared to usual.

I visited the Heirloom Roses garden (St. Paul, Ore.) for my first time in June. I definitely want to go back this year! It would be a great place for a portrait session. Do I have any volunteers?

JULY: Over the 4th, I had friends over and that a/c worked overtime. It was great! I played lots of games and took walks when it would cool off a little in the evening.

I also discovered a nearby community garden that is open to the public as long as we don't steal produce. :) They have lots of sunflowers and I went several times during the rest of the summer, since it's so close.

AUGUST: In this month, I got to photograph my friend/former coworker's booth over at Blackbird Granary in Mt. Angel. It was a new style of photography for me (at least professionally) and it was very fun!

Other than that, I spent time at the aforementioned garden and visited the Ankeny refuge (as I did several times this year).

SEPTEMBER: Right at the beginning of the month, I headed over to the state fair for some photos. I went alone, thinking I might feel pathetic at such a peoply place, but it was great! I loved being able to focus on photography and not worry about holding anyone up. Plus, I enjoy slowly perusing all the animals, which might be boring for some. I also love feeling anonymous in crowds like that, and hoped I wouldn't see anyone I knew. :D I'm such a social person!

My parents, after working a hard summer as camp hosts, finally had a break and came up to visit me. We had fun going to the coast and the refuge, and just relaxing and hanging out, too.

OCTOBER, as you know, is one of my favorite months (if not the favorite). I had another great October that began with an awesome trip that I've posted about (and never quite finished!). My friend Dania and I went to Vegas and Utah...

...and then I went onto Albuquerque after that! I still want to show you some of those picture. I got to hang out with my sister's family for a couple of days, which is too short, but I'm so glad I got another trip out there. Plus, I love the Balloon Fiesta!

The month continued with a fun birthday weekend, lots of fall color, and plenty of time with my camera. I remember walking around Bush park and surrounding neighborhoods on Halloween, happily taking in the fall feeling before it was gone.

NOVEMBER: More fall color, another trip to the refuge, etc. etc. Early in the month, I joined my friend Pami for a wine tasting at Honeywood in Salem. I also got to try a new restaurant (Rafns') and we had a nice day, despite the rainy weather.

I managed to catch the porcelain berries when the leaves turned yellow, which was exciting! It only took several visits to make sure I didn't miss.

Over Thanksgiving, I drove up to the Seattle area, which is becoming a tradition that helps make the holidays less stressful (one less plane trip to deal with that time of year, since all my family lives far away). Then that weekend, I got my first Christmas tree (of my own) for my apartment. I loved it! It brought me lots of holiday merriment. :)

DECEMBER! It feels like a long time ago now, even though it was just last month. I visited a nearby light display one evening, and practiced with light/bokeh photography. I decorated my livingroom and made a point to have friends over to enjoy it. There were games, lots of cheesy Christmas movies, and of course Christmas shopping and wrapping.

For Christmas, I went to [south of] Houston where my older sister's family and now my parents live. I hadn't been before, beyond driving through many years ago, so it was interesting to see a new place that is very different from here. It's more tropical, for one thing. On Christmas Day I wandered around my sister's backyard taking pictures of anoles, and the bananas they just discovered growing there. That's an anole on my dad's hand. So fun!

The day after Christmas, we celebrated my nephew's birthday in Galveston, where they have some really cool old houses. Overall, I had a great trip and I'm looking forward to going back. There's soooo much more to see there. They get so many birds! I want to post more photos sometime, but with my track record I can't make any promises.

This is a very summarized version of my year, of course--there's so much more I could say, but I didn't want to overwhelm you or myself. Overall, I'd say 2015 was very good. I got to relax a lot, but I also worked pretty hard (both at my job and in my personal life). There wasn't really any major drama, which was a huge relief.

Here's to you, 2016! Be good to me.

Thanks for looking/reading. Click here on my Year in Review tag if for some reason you'd like to peruse previous years.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Valentine Notecards

I'm NOT good at keeping up with this blog. But I wanted to let you know I added some new notecards to my Etsy shop!

Click/tap images to get to my Etsy shop!

Click/tap images to get to my Etsy shop!

I designed two styles, with four colors/images for each style, so please go have a look! More details and pictures are on the listing. I know Valentine's Day is a month away, but it'll come quickly. It's nice to have time to fill out cards and address the envelopes at your leisure, thinking about your friends and family and what they mean to you. Maybe add a pretty sticker to the envelope, and possibly purchase some candy or a Starbucks card to send along with it. ;) You'll definitely brighten someone's day!

I hope everyone had a great Christmas and New Year's! I want to post photos from that (and still more from my October trip), but I know better than to promise! Have a wonderful evening. :)

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Day 4: On the road again

Finally back to my trip recap! I'm going to forget everything at this rate.

As usual, here's where I post links to the previous entries in case you're just joining us:

Day 1
Day 2
Day 3 (Part 1)
Day 3 (Part 2)
Gallery of all my photos, most of which did not make it in the blog posts

Okay! On Saturday (back on October 10th), Dania and I had our last morning in Utah before heading back to Vegas. Before leaving Bryce, we wanted to check out the view in different lighting, and from a different point than what we had seen the day before.

We headed to Inspiration Point, which is at 8,100 feet elevation.

Even though these pictures are cool for me to look at, I know that they don't compare to real life. There are so many textures and colors and every angle is a little different. Plus it's just really interesting, and not the kind of terrain you run into every day (unless you live there, of course!). I'm getting broken record-y about this, but it was just such a unique experience to see this canyon full of spires and hoodoos.

Eventually it was time to get going, and we said goodbye to Bryce and started back on our longish drive (about 4 hours, I guess) to Vegas. It went pretty smoothly, and they let you drive fast in Utah. Sometimes the highway had an 85mph limit! I wasn't very comfortable maintaining that, though I'm sure I would if I had a bit more practice.

We stopped for lunch in...I forget the town. A place that has a university. Oh, Cedar City! I looked it up. That was probably the first normal-sized city we came across, and they happened to have a Zaxby's. I had only been once in NC years ago and remembered it being a yummy southern fast food chain. We picked up some lunch, made another stop at Walmart (I can't even remember why now), and then made it to Vegas in the early afternoon.

Since we had a bit of time before our flights, we made a couple of stops. First was to a mermaid show Dania had read about. This girl was the only mermaid that day, and she swam around and played little window games with the kids.

Then we decided to go back to the Bellagio. I really wanted to see it again because I loved it there and was eager to watch the fountain show again in daylight. First we walked through the lobby and conservatory, though.

You saw this from when we went on Wednesday, but it was night time then.

Check out this pumpkin made of roses.

I'm in ♥ with the Bellagio. Hm...am I supposed to say "the" in front of it or not?

We watched the fountain show, and then went and had some gelato. Time was getting tight by this point, because everything takes longer than you think it should (like walking to the gelato place, waiting in line, finding the car, dealing with traffic). But we managed to get the rental car back in time and clear everything out.

After we were checked in at the airport, we eventually parted ways so that Dania could fly back to Sacramento while I flew to Albuquerque. It was a little sad to see this portion of the trip come to an end, but I was excited to see my sister's family for a couple of days! I can't even remember much about the rest of that night besides landing in Albuquerque and my sister and brother-in-law picking me up. We got back late, so most of the girls were asleep in anticipation of an early morning at the balloon fiesta. The oldest, L, was letting me use her bedroom and it looked so cute and tidy! And then we all went to sleep.

Hopefully soon I can talk about Sunday at the balloon fiesta and the remainder of my trip! Thanks for following along. As always, I have additional photos here in this gallery: Utah Trip Gallery

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Porcelain berries!

I still have trip photos to post, but I thought I'd take a tiny break for some porcelain berry photos. Mostly just because I freaking love these things!

I've been visiting the berries once or twice a week for the past month, not wanting to miss the leaves changing to yellow.

Last year I somehow missed them completely and they went from green to completely gone. I decided I would be much more attentive and I have stopped by on lunch breaks, etc. just to see the progress.

There are still some green leaves on one side, but mostly they are yellow and already drying up fast. Soon I'm sure they'll just be brown twigs lining the fence, so I didn't hold back on taking millions of photos. :)

Not that there's anything wrong with the green leaves, of course. The berries are beautiful throughout fall! But the yellow leaves really make the colors stand out.

In case you wanted some perspective. There are my fingers touching some beautiful turquoise berries.

Royal blue!

I gathered up some berries from the ground. Okay, mostly from the ground.  :] I wanted to try some pictures of them off the vine.

I stole this idea of a gradient. I saw someone on Instagram had done it and I wanted to try! The only shade that's missing is light green, since now it's too late and I couldn't find any.

I hope you're having a happy November! It has really cooled down here, and last night I had to resort to turning on my bedroom heater (usually I sleep too hotly for that). I had it set to 59 and I heard it heating away at various points in the night. It's cozy, but I hate how my electric bill goes up so much in the winter.

Have a great rest of our week!


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