Monday, June 30, 2014

What I'm Into

[That photo is actually from April. :D I guess I'm into posting old photos.]

My friend Brenda does this (I guess a lot of bloggers do), and I always think, hey I should do that! But I don't, aside from some interests/updates posts that might mention things I'm into. So here goes my first official "What I'm Into" post.

General Highlights
June was a pretty good month, beginning with my niece's visit, which included trips to Silver Falls, Tillamook and the coast. My department went on a one-day work retreat to Lake Suttle. I spent the next couple of weekends chilling to make up for all that excitement (I'm weak!). I reconnected with an old friend, celebrated my friend Deborah's birthday at a BBQ, and did a lot of other little things that'll be covered in the following topics.

Read and Reading
I've had some bad luck with books lately, and have started a few only to quit on them. But I did enjoy the few books I finished in June...

Where We Belong by Emily Giffin: I've enjoyed several Giffin books even though I don't always like her character's choices. I loved this story!

A Place to Belong by Lauraine Snelling: The final book in a series I had read and enjoyed. And I didn't mean to have a "belong" theme in my reading this month. And yes, that book cover embarrasses me.

Hypothetical Future Baby: An Unsentimental Adoption Memoir by Claudia Chapman: I loved this! It's by a blogger I follow who adopted from Ethiopia. Definitely check out her blog and/or the book.

I'm currently working on several books, as usual, and who knows which ones I'll actually finish. I need to get to the library where I have more audiobooks waiting to rescue me from the ones I'm not enjoying.

When my niece visited, we went to see The Fault in Our Stars, per her request. I'm not really into super sad movies--and it was--but this was well done and I'm glad we got to go. If you go see it, bring more Kleenex than you think you'll need.

Meanwhile, on Netflix I've been watching Once Upon a Time. I couldn't get into it the first time I tried, but I gave it another chance and have been enjoying it in the evenings. It's not the greatest ever, but it's interesting enough to keep me company while I play phone games or have dinner. Plus it's a family kind of show--fairly clean and includes all sorts of fairytale characters.

And since I don't think I've mentioned it here before, Parks and Recreation has become my new comfort show that I watch on repeat when I'm lonely, need a little cheering up or just want some guaranteed entertainment. IT'S SO FUNNY.

I took a little trip down memory lane recently and dug up some old songs that I loved in my teens. I was always big into R&B and especially loved ballads back then, like Force MD's Tender Love and The Deele's Two Occasions. But in newer (to me) music, my aforementioned friend I reconnected with introduced me to Marc Cohn, and I particularly like Strangers in a Car.

I think the best thing I ate this month was some carrot cake at Deborah's birthday BBQ. Wow, that was good! As for cooking this month:

I did a lot of shopping/spending this month (too much!) and a couple of my favorite purchases were:

Bath & Body Works Beautiful Day lotion - It smells so good! I want to get some more products in this scent.

LED Twinkle Star Tap Light - A silly impulse buy from Walmart that I've ended up loving, because apparently I'm 8 years old. It was like $3.something and I find it cute and comforting to turn it on when I go to bed. It shuts off automatically after 30 minutes.


Candy Crush - Big news--I finished Candy Crush! Well, all of the levels they have created so far (590). I will probably go back and replay some levels or even start it again, because it's so fun.

Sumoku - My friend Dan sent me this game since I loved it so much when he first showed me how to play. It's really fun and good for all ages. I think it would be especially great for helping with basic math skills for kids.

Catch Phrase - Since Jimmy Fallon plays Catch Phrase on his show, Dan was craving to play and ended up purchasing the game, which we've played over the phone several times. I also downloaded a few apps for Taboo and Catch Phrase on my phone.

Summer brings on a different atmosphere at work, as well as lots of building changes while the weather's nice. At my department retreat, I found out my office is moving to another building, so in August things are going to change a lot. I will go from sharing an office with one coworker to sharing with my entire department (we'll have cubicle walls). It should be interesting.

Other than that, my design projects are mainly for fall events, but I actually have a few projects for Christmas and Thanksgiving cards already! So I've been perusing lots of Christmas stock vectors and it feels a little wrong.

I also took on a freelance design project for a church invite card. It's good to get a little side work.


  • The temps have been great for sleeping and not needing fans or a heater. My electric bill should be good!
  • Timehop - This is an app you can download and it'll report to you what you tweeted, instagrammed and photographed on this date in years past. I find I look forward to reviewing my Timehop each day now, and I've been way more into Twitter knowing I'll get to revisit my tweets in a year.
  • The other day I got to see a mom deer and her three tiny babies! The pictures I got were horrendous and not worth sharing here, but you should've seen these adorable fawns. After nursing on their mom for a bit, they hopped around like little grasshoppers. They were the tiniest deer I've ever seen.

And now I think I'm supposed to post this:

Feel free to share anything you were into in June!

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Photo experiments with K

My last set of pictures from K's visit are the ones we took when trying different photography subjects. K had requested we do the oil and water thing that I did awhile back, and then I added some other things that I wanted to try or retry. It was super nice to have help from someone also interested in photography!

As I'm sure you've gathered, we played around with a black light on a few occasions. It was fun to see what showed up and how, like my shoes (proving that, no, I don't untie them before I take them off...I'm such a grownup).

Then we did a bit of light painting, which I talked about another time (in this post).

Only, instead of flashlights with colored cloth, we used glow sticks, which I felt was much easier (even if you can't turn them off to create spaces in the design).

K got really good at making butterfly wings, and sometimes I could capture a little of her in the picture.

She also did a better tornado than mine (not pictured; it was lame).

But how cool is my flower? It was so fun to be able to take turns trying designs--way more fun than doing this alone!

I can't remember what I was going for with this, but it ended up looking kind of like an open book.

The left is a stick that had three sections of color. The right was when I experimented with tossing the glow sticks so they created a waterfall effect.

The whole experiment was pretty entertaining and hilarious!

Next, we worked on the oil and water pictures. I was able to try some more fabric for background colors.

Unfortunately, I had lost my ring flash when we were doing these. I even texted my parents wondering if I had left it there in April. Embarrassingly, I found it later in a laundry basket (with clean laundry over it--I can never seem to keep up with folding my laundry!!). I'm glad it wasn't really lost, but bummed we weren't able to use it. We did use my other flash and a flashlight, though.

Most of these are K's photos.

The oil and water was bubbling a lot more than last time, maybe due to a change in the type of oil I had on hand. But the bubbles are cool too.

Then this was something I've been wanting to try for a long time--dropping colored water into clear water. We had been watercoloring a couple of nights before and noticed the cool patterns when we dipped the brush in the clean water. I think people use lots of different things for this type of image, but the right consistency of watercolor worked great. Since it was my first time trying, though, we had issues with lighting, the container used (and needing to constantly replace the water), getting the right consistency of paint and just catching the right moment when the drop was looking awesome. It was a lot harder than I thought and I'd like to work on it some more later.

Lots of people have said these look like jellyfish, and I agree. This one has a cyan background due to my photo editing. When I did an auto adjustment of Curves (in Photoshop), it changed the white-gray background to be this aqua color, and K told me to keep it, so I obeyed!

Finally (this has gotten longer than I thought!), K patiently let me try out a concept I had seen on Pinterest at one point. I have tried these light shapes in the past, but hadn't incorporated them into a portrait before. I loooooooved how these looked with the ghostly image of K in the back with the light shapes posed in different ways. She's just holding a string of Christmas lights, but she had some good ideas for how to hold them.

I was having a hard time getting the hearts to show up right, though.

I had much better luck when I switched to the butterfly cut out.

It was hard to narrow these down.

I think having the butterfly "hair" made it seem all fairy-like. This was really fun.

Okay! Thanks so much for looking at my posts/pictures of my time with K. :) Enjoy your week!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

K's visit: Silver Falls and the coast

The next set of photos is from a couple of the little trips I took with K while she visited. I didn't know at first if she was interested in going to Silver Falls since she didn't mention it after reviewing her sister's video. But when I brought it up as an option, she seemed all for it.

Some blossoms growing on the sides of the cliffs near South Falls. I'm sure they love the constant mist.

I've taken almost every guest to Silver Falls (specifically South Falls, but sometimes a couple of others) because it's pretty close, cheap and usually something unique for out-of-staters. At least, I don't think I had ever gotten to hike behind a waterfall prior to moving here. It appeals to all ages so I really like it. But now I've gone so many times that I don't take as many pictures anymore. And I didn't really get any good ones of K in front of the falls, though I instagrammed one, I believe.

We enjoyed taking lots of pictures of the water droplets that had collected on the cliffside. It was misty enough this time of year that there were lots of little photo ops and I could've stuck around taking pictures there even longer. (The photo on the right is one from home, actually, but I happened to tack it on with the droplet one.)

A couple of days later we went to the coast. First we hit Tillamook Cheese Factory, since I had never been. I guess I don't have anymore photos of that since I included some in the video and on Instagram. (I sound like a broken record.) Then we stopped at two beaches, one in Pacific City.

It was sooooo windy on this beach. The noise and pressure were starting to give me an ear ache. The blowing sand stung our legs. But K loved it and didn't want to leave.

She was really into looking for sand dollars and was thrilled when she found this one that was mostly intact.

Leading out to the beach was this grassy area that was neat for photography. My camera must've gotten some sand or mist because it took a few hazier photos which actually looked kind of cool.

Then we headed to Lincoln City, and after lunch at Mo's we wandered around the little bay by the restaurant. This was more ideal--much less wind and a lot more creature sightings.

Like this little jellyfish! He was just a little larger than a golf ball. In the video (that again!) I have a photo of her holding a dead one, so you can get an idea of the size.

There were lots of sea lions swimming around and laying out on the shore in the distance, but it was hard to get a good photo.

The most interesting part of our time there, in my opinion, was watching the crab fishing! There were several people fishing along the shore and they were all very nice and I learned a bit about it.

Basically they have a special basket that they bait with either a dead fish or someone had a hot dog (I think?). It's attached to a rope hooked to the shore, so then they just toss it out into the water for about 5 minutes and then drag it back in to see if they caught anything.

The rules are that the crab has to be male and at least 5.75 inches at the widest part of their top shell in order to keep it. These rookies (their words) from Colorado were trying to measure their crab when he latched onto the measuring stick and he wouldn't let go! They finally had to knock him off somehow so they could set him free.

Once free from the trap, the crabs generally scurry back into the water. None of the ones I saw caught met the minimum size requirement.

It was a great day and I wish we could've had more time at the beach, but I was pretty tired from all the driving, wind and sun. I always feel bad about the fact that I don't go to the coast more often when it's relatively close, but it is over an hour and the road is kind of windy, so it's not quite as easy/convenient as it seems. Still, I need to get out there more often than I do. I just need to grab friends to do it, because it's not as fun all alone!


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