Wednesday, July 30, 2014

What I'm Into (July 2014)

July started off busily, but then slowed way down. When I think back to 4th of July weekend, it feels like months ago! I did a pretty good job of blogging my activities, but here's a quick recap of life between work and sleep:

  • 4th of July was spent with friends (Dan, Mariel, Jon) at my apartment. We played games and ate sandwiches and strawberry shortcake.
  • The weekend continued on with various activities that I discussed here.
  • I went to Portland on my own to visit new places. I blogged about that here.
  • Mariel and Jon came over for more games.
  • I visited some local gardens to get out of the house and take pictures.

I didn't read a ton, but enjoyed what I did read (listened to):
  • Daddy's Gone a Hunting by Mary Higgins Clark - MHC is one of my unguilty pleasures. Her books are all the same, and I can joke about them, but there is something really comforting in listening to Jan Maxwell read them to me on my drives. They make me feel less lonely!
  • Thin, Rich, Pretty by Beth Harbison - My first experience with this author, and it was a good one. I'm looking forward to reading more of her books!
  • Last Night at the Chateau Marmont by Lauren Weisberger - This is the author of The Devil Wears Prada, which I have not read (only watched), but I have read a couple of others by her and enjoyed the escape into a totally different kind of lifestyle than mine. This one may be my favorite of hers so far.
X-Men was the only new thing I watched this month, and I already talked about that. My wireless is currently down (due to a creepy/gross ant infestation of my router!), so I have been on a small break from Netflix lately, which is probably a very good thing.

I played all of my usual favorites with friends, but Dan also introduced me to the Jet Punk website where you can take lots of quizzes. It's really fun and educational! We did several over the phone, and I tried many on my own time as well. As for apps, I've been playing a lot of Pet Rescue Saga, and recently downloaded Red Herring, a fun categories game that I heard of through 7 Little Words (which I believe my sister told me about).

I realized Colbie Caillat came out with a new (partial) album, and downloaded that right away. She's one of the few artists where I'll automatically purchase her new albums when I come across them. So far I like Blaze and If You Love Me Let Me Go the most.

I got hooked on what I call Hash Scramble this month. It's nothing new, I just cooked up hash browns, sausage (my favorite is Trader Joe's chicken breakfast sausage), eggs and cheese together in one pan (but not all at once--in stages) for a hearty breakfast casserole that doesn't require the oven. The best part is that it reheats well and I was able to make it ahead and have it for breakfasts (actually, any meal!). I ended up fixing it so much that I got a little burned out on it.

 I also made these Parmesan zucchini rounds a few times, because they're sooooo delicious.

  • For the past few months I've been using Dove dry shampoo. I've tried several kinds of dry shampoos, and this is the best one so far--at least for me. The smell is fine, the white residue comes off easily, it's only like $4, and it gives my hair some needed volume/texture to make it easier to fix. Plus, it actually does what it's supposed to do--it absorbs oils between washes so your hair doesn't feel as dirty. 
  • I bought my first pair of glasses from Zenni and they're great. They're so inexpensive, and everything was processed and shipped fairly quickly. See below for a picture.

I've gotten much more into Instagram and Twitter lately, and am happy for any new followers. Some of my Instagram highlights this month:

  • Roses - I've been in love with roses lately, particularly since many are in bloom right now. I had a great time at the rose garden in Bush Park and took tons of pictures that I posted here.
  • A/C and fans - It's been fairly hot (for us) here off and on over the past month. I'm pretty tired of it, but am thankful for a/c at work, fans at home, and relatively cool nights.
  • Upcoming plans - I'm so excited about the fact that I get to spend Christmas with my younger sister's family and my parents! I haven't had Christmas with kids in awhile, and am thrilled that I'll be with my nieces. I'm also hoping to visit my older sister for Thanksgiving in her new hometown of Houston, TX (Pasadena, to be specific).
Bonus: Sister Love. My niece posted this in Instagram the other day and I had her send me a copy. Can't wait to spend Christmas with these two and their sisters and parents!

Monday, July 28, 2014

Gardens, flowers (vertical edition!)

I went to a couple of gardens yesterday evening, just to get out of the house, so obviously I have some pictures. Here are some of them and the rest will come later.

These are my least-favorite photos, but I do love the rainbow dots in the left photo.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Portland Jaunt

I had no plans this weekend and wanted to make sure I didn't get ultra lonely/bored/depressed/unmotivated because of it, so last night I did a little research to see what I might like to do in order to take advantage of the nice weather. I wanted to go to some places where I hadn't been yet, because I tend to fall back on the same defaults when I'm looking for a photo excursion (Deepwood Estates, Oregon Garden, Silver Falls, etc.).

I ended up visiting three different places, beginning with the Leach Botanical Garden. I arrived at around 9:30am because I happened to get a decently early start on the day, despite not setting any alarms. I was hoping to beat the crowds and the less-cooperative light (for photography) and that I did--in spades. It was an overcasty sort of morning and I was the only person at this garden. The gift shop wasn't even open yet. It was a pretty place, but I didn't really enjoy myself as much as I had hoped. Without anyone there, it didn't have much energy and it felt kind of creepy to be by myself in a hidden/wooded area. Also, I kept walking through lots of invisible spider webs, so I didn't explore the entire place before leaving. But I did take several photos in the small area where I walked around.

Here you can see one side of the gift shop/visitor's center/house. It's in several photos because it was kind of cutely situated, plus I was more in the mood to photograph manmade objects than nature today.

Here it is again.

And again!

I have this craving to take pictures of little garden details like these. I need to find some more gardens to visit, but every time I did various searches, they kept coming up with Deepwood. Do you know of other good ones in Oregon? Charming English gardens with wrought iron and ivy, please!

I thought this was interesting--bamboo must grow very quickly if this emerged less than two months ago. It was very tall--I was taking the picture at eye-level and it went up much higher than that. I don't know much about bamboo except it's cute and pandas like it.

Next stop: Cathedral Park. So, this place is a really clever use of space. It's very cute and cool with the cathedral-y columns that hold up the bridge (I sound like an expert bridge-builder!). In this case, though, I had the opposite problem as with the garden. There were people in my way! And tents. Really? That's the only place you could've put your picnic tent? :( So the view was spoiled and I realized that to get a decent picture at this place, you probably have to go very early in the morning. I mean, I figured there would be people there, but I wasn't anticipating tents or that they'd be sitting right on the main feature of the park.

But certain angles were clear.

Practically the same photo, but I'm leaving it.

Well, at least you get to see the general scene, even if these aren't the best. It is pretty neat. They have concerts and events here, and I think they were setting up for concert tonight.

Finally, I went over to Nob Hill to see some of the cute neighborhoods and pretty houses. This was when the clouds were breaking up and it got sunny, which was nice for my mood, but not so much for photos. I parked and walked around a little, but didn't take many pictures. It's a cool neighborhood and some of those houses have awesome views of downtown Portland and the bridges. I'd love to go on their back decks to see for myself! I only caught glimpses between a few houses.

I'm too lazy to edit the wire out. :) This house is not very representative of the neighborhood, but it was interesting.

There were soooo many beautiful houses I would've loved to photograph, but it's tricky to find a good parking space and then with the lighting, I really just didn't try too hard. Mostly I just enjoyed looking, and sometime maybe I can go back when someone else drives. Also, there are lots of shops and restaurants in this area that I may one day explore. I have been there once or twice to eat at Papa Haydn, but I think that's it.

After that, I had wanted to go to one more place, but my GPS steered me wrong and I got a little frustrated (it said "You have reached your destination" at some random intersection near the railroad tracks ??) and headed home. Even though my experiences with each place weren't quite what I had hoped, the trip did accomplish my goal of not feeling blue this weekend. I felt good and also more motivated to go exploring in Portland more often. It's really not that far (about an hour) and yet I tend to go either east or west when I'm heading out of Salem, maybe because there's so much in Portland that I just don't quite know where to begin. But chipping away at my list a few items at a time seems reasonable.

I'm super-hoping my friend Dania can come visit me soon, because she is great about checking out random places. In fact, I'm kind of glad I didn't get to my final destination because I think it's something she would like, and so I'd rather go with her!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

The weather and a photo project idea

Hey! Just posting mostly to say hi. The photos are a few I took at work today when I was out doing a work-related photo shoot.

It's been quite warm lately, but my apartment was handling it pretty well for awhile. Then in the past couple of days, the heat caught up with it because it's not getting as cool at night. So yeah, I'm feeling a little whiny about that, but the good news is that we're right on the brink of cooler temps! Welcome back into to my life, highs of 80s and then 70s! It'll be so nice to not have noisy fans on 24/7, and not to have to keep up with when to open/close windows and blinds.

July is more than half over now, and I don't really have any particular plans for the rest of it. I'm not feeling super inspired to do anything. But in August, I am hoping to do a little photo project for practice. I will share my results here if I have any success. Basically, I was thinking about how many household objects could be really interesting/pretty if arranged and photographed in the right conditions. Sort of like a still life. (Or maybe exactly like a still life...I guess I only think of that term for paintings, but it's probably the same for photos.) So I have a (tentative) goal to photograph at least four different settings during August. Feel free to join in and find some cool items in your house that would be worth photographing! There are easy things like decorative items and jewelry, but then there less obvious things like toiletries, dishes, tools, etc. And you can mix and match--set up something elaborate, photograph one item on its own, or anything in between. I keep thinking of more and more as I write this, but I don't want to give all my ideas away. :)

Have a nice rest of your week!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Rose Garden

There are a lot of pictures here, so settle in and probably use wifi. I didn't really put a lot of effort into great photography and unique angles (so bear with me on all the similar closeups), I just wanted to try to show you all of the loveliness that I saw on Sunday.

Saturday, July 12, 2014


I'm finally posting some bug photos from the past few months! If this sort of thing bothers you (no, I won't say "bugs you"), please feel free to skip/delete this post completely. There are insects of all sorts here including spiders, even though I think technically they aren't insects. At my blog, you can call spiders insects! That's freedom.

  • Most of these bugs are under a quarter inch long in real life.
  • Some of them are eating other bugs.
  • I have lots of room for improvement on my macro photos!
  • I'm putting these behind a link if you're on my actual main blog page--click on "Read More" (below) for the photos.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014


There's nothing earth-shattering to tell you, but I had a few photos I thought I'd upload while I felt like it.

This past weekend I had four glorious days off (yes, my work gives us two days off for Independence Day)! I spent them hanging out with friends, playing lots of games, watching Parks & Recreation, staying up late, sleeping in, going to two arcades (??), eating strawberry shortcake, going to the coast, and even seeing a movie, which I so rarely do. (That's three theater movies this year--probably a new record since my early 20s.)

We're having a bit of a heatwave here in the PNW, so since my place has no air conditioning, it's good to get out during the hottest hours. My friend Dan and I headed to Lincoln City where the weather was perfect. There was a bit of fog coming in, which created a nice effect in my photos.

Oh yeah, and I took a couple of photos of this flower the other day. Might as well throw them in this post.

The only issues with our Lincoln City trip were slow service at a restaurant (and we were pretty dang hungry by that point) and lots of traffic on both drives. The way home took us quite awhile, probably because it was Sunday after a holiday weekend. I hadn't thought of that--I've never had traffic problems between Salem and Lincoln City (probably because I don't go enough).

The movie we saw was the latest X-Men movie, which is totally not the type of movie I would choose to see, but it was alright! It had a couple of special effects. One or two action/fight scenes. The story was fairly easy to follow, though I had a bunch of questions afterwards, like why must superheroes always wear capes? It seems a little impractical.

Dan sweetly brought me some roses, so I took a few photos tonight before they wilt too much. Not sure if I mentioned that it's hot here lately. :]

Going back to work today was pretty difficult, and I felt really overwhelmed at first. But I powered through with some whining and caffeine. And now we only have three more days to go!

Other favorite parts of my weekend:

  • Playing Catchphrase with Dan, Jon and Mariel. So fun and funny!
  • Sleeping in. That deserves another mention, since it's one of my favorite things.
  • Seeing beavers swimming around.
  • And a deer!
  • And herons flying around.
  • Iced tea!
  • Sunshine.
  • My new glasses arriving in the mail.
  • The dishes being done.



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