2011 Books

I saw this cute idea on another blog and totally copied it. Only, mine isn’t quite as neat and even as the other girl’s, but I’m all about cutting corners where possible. You still get the idea.

A few thoughts…

1. Don’t judge me! I read to escape, not to become a lit. professor.

2. I know all Mary Higgins Clark books are the same, but I still like them, and there are always plenty available on audio. I went through a phase where I was rereading some of her books, and I had even forgotten the killer in a couple!

3. These were my first Maureen Johnson books–I enjoyed them and will definitely read more of her stuff.

4. Sophie Kinsella is a good writer, but I’m not consistently impressed with her books.

5. Grace for the Good Girl was very good. I recommend it. I think I need to reread it.

6. Eight of these books were read on my Kindle.

7. Many of these books were audio… I loooove listening to audiobooks while I drive! And yes, they still count!

8. I just barely finished the Mindy Kaling book today. I wouldn’t say it was LOL-funny, but it was entertaining and very interesting. She seems like a pretty cool chica.

9. The Barry and Fey books were audio and read by the author, which I highly recommend for that sort of book.

10. I can’t remember, now, why I read Rescue Your Love Life. I used to read marriage books when I was a teenager, though, so I guess I was revisiting that hobby.

So did you read anything interesting this year?

2011 in photos


Here’s a photo summary of my year, minus portraits since I included those in a separate post. In some captions, I’ve linked you to a post (or set of posts) that contain more photos, for any of you who are new or like to re-look at pictures. 🙂

So here’s what happened in 2011…


I brought in the new year at my place, with some of my friends. We ate and played Pictionary, because we’re a wild bunch. I looked through the photos I took that night, and they’re all blurry! That’s just sparkling cider, though. 😛


In February, I switched my photography brand name from Hello Butterfly to Greengate Photography.



I had a pancake party for Valentine’s Day.



It snowed!


Dania and Brenda came to visit! We went to the very windy coast, among other places. (That photo of me (middle) isn’t great, but one of my resolutions is to post more pictures of myself and stop being such a baby about it.)


We also visited Klickitat Street in Portland!



My parents and I went camping in Death Valley, CA in March. (We also went to Vegas for a day. My first time beyond the airport!)


While there, we visited Scotty’s Castle.


I saw about a million rainbows from my back deck.


It may have rained a time or two.


My friends and I went to the wildlife safari in Winston, OR.



I went to Deepwood Estate a few times.


I visited Ankeny Wildlife Refuge several times.


I also went to Bush Park on a semi-regular basis. Salem is a good city.


I managed to get photos of Western Tanagers.


Did I mention the rainbows?


I went to the coast again, when the weather was a little nicer.


I watched beavers swimming around in the lake.


Dania came up again for Independence Day weekend, and we went to Seattle.


I saw deer at work.


I took lots of food photos.


And, of course, hummingbird photos.


I went to New Mexico to see my family. (This isn’t a very New Mexico-y photo, though.)


I ate too much Padington’s pizza (but Tina was my lovely company several times!), and also started a weekly photo project.


I saw raccoons at work!


I learned how to make pasties.


I went [back] to the Bellevue Botanical Garden in September.



My parents came to visit over my (and my dad’s) birthday weekend!


I went to the pumpkin patch with some friends. (This is P, enjoying pumpkin ice cream.)


I had a crush on fall.

I celebrated 11/11/11 over dinner at 5 Guys and a caramel apple party with friends.


I took lots of frost and mushroom pictures.


I spent Christmas with my parents (in California).

So that was my year. As always, it was full of ups and downs (not pictured), and lots of beautiful sights. How was yours?

Favorite portraits


Hi there! I’m home and feeling that new year inspiration that I get each December after Christmas (if only it would last!). As we finish up 2011, I want to post a few entries that sum up my year. I hope they are entertaining to you, but they mostly benefit me, as they remind me of my progress and experiences.

For starters, I think I’ll post some of my favorite portrait photos from 2011. I’m so thankful for the portrait photography opportunities I’ve had, even when some experiences resulted in me feeling bad about myself. I learn from them all, right? I think I’ve learned a LOT this year (I’ve certainly made a lot of mistakes). Enjoy!






























Thanks for looking! If you’d like to view more portraits, I have them all tagged in the portraits category along the right side of my blog. Or you can just click here.

Hi, heron.


Just checking in. I’m currently in northern California visiting my parents, and today my mom and I took a drive to see some birds. Herons are so skittish that this one flew off when I got semi-close, but the nice part was being able to get some flying photos! I still want something better than this one day, but it was a decent catch.

How are you? How was your Christmas? I hope to post some end-of-the-year entries soon.

Thankful Thursday: The Goodness Of Winter


Happy Winter Solstice! Typically it falls on the 21st, but this year it’s on the 22nd, which works out well for Thankful Thursday. I admit that winter is my least-favorite season. There are plenty of things I don’t like about it, but let’s talk about the nice things.

[The pictures in this post are all old photos from winters past. I thought it would be fun to dig out some pre-blog stuff.]


I could be wrong on the location of this photo. We were on a drive, so maybe we weren’t quite in Maine yet. R?


1. Snow. It’s rare enough here that it’s an exciting treat when it snows (challenges aside). Getting a snow day is awesome, but even just having a chance to take snowy pictures is something I look forward to.

2. Being cozy. People often say it’s easier to warm up than cool down. That’s especially true in the land of no air conditioning, and I love being able to wear sweats and cover up in blankets while I sleep.

3. Drinks stay cold in the car. It’s a little thing, but it’s one of those perks I always appreciate. I tend to keep bottled water in my trunk, and it’s so nice that they are ready to drink! Or if I forget a beverage in my cup holder, it’ll stay nice and icy cold for hours while I’m at work or in the store.


4. Fog. I enjoy this mostly from a photography standpoint, like many things. It gives the landscape some mystery, adds dewdrops to spider webs, ups the chances of streams of light coming through the trees, and it makes everything a little quieter.

5. More ducks on the lake. In the summer I mostly see mallards and wood ducks out on the lake behind my place, but in the winter we have several other species that have migrated down. It’s fun.


6. A better view of the lake. Without all of the leaves on the trees, I can better see the aforementioned ducks. Or ice.

7. The days get longer. I remember my dad once mentioning how the nice thing about the first day of winter is that the days get longer from there. It feels so dark so early, that this is very bueno news.


8. Holidays. Yes, I have complained about the holidays, but they certainly have their good aspects, too! Christmas can be magical, New Year’s means new beginnings, and even Valentine’s Day (heart fun!) falls in winter.

9. Using the oven. No need to worry about heating the house!


10. It makes me appreciate spring and summer even more. Does that count as a real reason? 🙂


I’m sorry to say I did not take this photo. I wish! My sister’s friend actually took it after an ice storm. I hope it’s okay I’m featuring it here. I came across it in my files and it’s just too awesome not to show you. Also, it reminds me of one of my favorite poems, Birches by Robert Frost:

But swinging doesn’t bend them down to stay.
Ice-storms do that. Often you must have seen them
Loaded with ice a sunny winter morning
After a rain. They click upon themselves
As the breeze rises, and turn many-colored
As the stir cracks and crazes their enamel.

(Please don’t hate me for quoting poetry in my blog! I know that’s a little sappy.)

Okay, tell me your favorite thing about winter, please!

I took some pictures.


The ring-necked ducks are here for winter, so now I’ll show you foggy pictures of them.



It wasn’t easy getting this diving shot.


Did I mention there was fog?


But not here–this was when it was all sunrisey outside. And then I took my time machine to earlier this year so I could use my old watermark.


Here’s more non-fog.


I took this a couple of weeks ago. There was a thin fog creating streams of sunlight, which are barely visible in this photo since the sun is kind of hogging the stage. (Typical.)

Okay, I’m going to talk for a second. How’s your Christmas shopping going? I’m about done, but I always think that and then get more ideas right at the end. I really enjoy gift-giving, though I don’t really like that Gifts is one of my primary Love Languages (the other being Words of Affirmation). It’s kind of an uncool Love Language, because it seems so materialistic and it’s more susceptible to the obligations trap that one can fall into with friends and family.

As the year wraps up, I’ve been thinking about 2011 and what I’d like to remember or forget. I’m looking forward to posting more about the former, and coming up with ideas or changes for 2012. I know many people scoff at the idea of New Year’s resolutions, but I see no problem with setting goals at a particular time. I set (and fail at) goals year round, but the beginning of a year is a good time to get reflective, along with everyone else, and dream about change and improvements. It’s like celebrating Valentine’s Day–sure, you can and should show your love all year long, but what’s wrong with having a special day for it too? I like holidays.

Sometimes I get so curious about who is out there looking at this blog.

PS I redecorated for winter.

Project 52 (26)


The beavers have started on a couple of new trees. I’ll have to keep an eye on them. In the background is the beaver lodge.

I’m a little late to post this because of computer issues I’ve been having all weekend. But I think I’ve figured out the problem and have a temporary fix until someone smarter can look at it. I’m so happy to sit here at my computer and not have it freeze up on me every 10 minutes!


This picture shows both the beaverized trees.

Happy week before Christmas!

Portraits – Kayli


Yesterday I was able to get outside for a portrait session, and it was just what I needed on an otherwise gray day. I think I get a little high off of taking pictures, sometimes! Kayli was an excellent subject–beautiful and comfortable in front of the camera.



I was really excited about how many of these turned out. It was hard to narrow down which ones to post, so I tried to choose a variety. Be sure to read between the photos for Kayli’s mini interview responses!



What do you do for fun in your spare time? In my spare time I enjoy riding my horse, running, and hanging with friends and family.



What kind of music are you listening to lately? I love my country music!




What’s your favorite holiday treat? My favorite holiday treat would probably be peppermint ice cream.




Don’t you love her hair?


What’s your favorite thing about college? I love college because I’m learning so much about my career, being encouraged in my faith, and getting to hang out with some amazing peers 🙂 (sorry I guess that’s three things!)




Thanks again, Kayli!

Portraits – Anna

Just a few photos from a brief portrait session I did the other day….



I hope you’re having a nice week so far!