Project 52 (50)

Happy Saturday! I have a few photos for you. (Warning: I have a slug photo a few photos down, so if that bothers you you’ll want to just skip this post.)

Here are my two new hanging plants that I got for $5-something each.
The fuchsia is not exactly loaded with blossoms, but the hummingbirds still inspect it sometimes (and then have fast food over at the feeder), and it’s nice to have some greenery on my deck. Here’s something interesting I read online the other day (which means it’s true, of course): fuchsias naturally bloom upright, but have been bred to have weak stems so they droop over.  I haven’t done any further research, but maybe some of you know about that? I’m not sure if they meant the blossoms, the leaves, or both.
I think this is a begonia? I’m such a plantologist. 
I have several photos on my computer that I never got around to posting. Here’s some catching up…
Taken weeks ago when I took a spontaneous trip to the wildlife refuge. I love the cute ground cover under the rail trail.
Slug alert…
(And poor photography alert.) On that same trip, I realized it was apparently slug season. There were dozens of these out on the  trail, and I had to keep my eyes on the ground so I wouldn’t step on them. They ranged in size from about 4-6 inches long. Pretty nasty, but also kind of fascinating. I was thinking about what good slugs are. I’m sure they have an important role.
These are just a few photos I took at work the other day.
That’s enough for now.
Hey, I’ve been trying to be better at responding to comments the same day instead of like three weeks after they’re left, but I didn’t go back and check old entries. I’m not sure whether I should, at this point. Reader poll (I think I may have asked this before, though): do you subscribe to the comments or go back and check them regularly?
Enjoy your weekend. Mine’s indoorsy so far, since it’s all rainy. But I like the indoors!

Art Journal – Prompts 2-4

Oh hey, let’s get caught up on these.

Prompt 2 was, What is the BEST part of your day?” Answer:

My opinion of my page this day: LAME. It’s not the prompt’s fault, I just really lamed it up here.

[Note: that says “Watch the beavers,” not “Watch the bears.” Sorry about my handwriting.]

Prompt 3 (talk about a person special to me) was not one I wanted to do. I didn’t like the idea of picking one person and then making other people feel sad or confused or anything. I know I could’ve picked several, but then where do I stop? It’s like making a wedding guest list. So instead, I stole one of my sister’s ideas and talked about someone who is my opposite. 

That was easy because whenever I think of someone who is my opposite, I think of my younger sister, D. The page kind of explains why.  I definitely appreciate some of her non-me qualities, though. For instance, in social situations she can make friends instantly and keep the conversation going, so it’s fun be at gatherings with her. Anyway, she and I aren’t always the extremes of those descriptions, but it gives you an idea. Like some people would be all, “Jessica? A wallflower? Que the heck?” but that’s because they’re seeing me in specific situations where I’m feeling more social, or maybe there are bugs all over the walls.

Prompt 4 (that’s today) was, What does your heart look like?”

[I should clarify that I’ve not actually seen my heart, so this drawing probably isn’t 100% accurate.]
I was thinking about how to sum up what’s in my heart, and I thought about how the seasons are a good representation of life overall, with their goods and bads and changes and consistencies.
And now we’re caught up! So far I’m having mixed feelings about this project. It’s a good thinking exercise for me, and I enjoy it for the most part, but before I start I always feel a little dread. Also, my pages are not exactly gallery quality, so it’s a humbling exercise to post them here for you. 😛 Oh well.
What about you–have you done a journal like this or do you want to?

Thankful Thursday

[I started this post earlier today and now it’s too late to really fill it out with photos, so you’re getting the stripped-down version.]

I am still doing my art journaling, but don’t plan to post it every day. You’ll get caught up soon enough (and you’ll be sad I ever started the project!).

I’ve actually felt a little cranky the past couple of days (I think allergies and poor sleeping are the main contributors), but I’ve been simultaneously able to see why I shouldn’t feel cranky. Here’s some of the good stuff:

1. Shopko had a big clearance on all of their plants, so I was able to get a couple of hanging plants for around $5 each! I always wish to have plants to hang on my deck in the summer, but at around $20-40 each, I usually talk myself out of it.

2. The Safeway near me has finally started selling two delicious products: Mexican Coke (aka Coke with cane sugar instead of corn syrup) and raw tortillas! Since I don’t have a Costco membership, this makes getting the good tortillas more convenient (for my friend with the Costco membership, at least). As for the Coke, well I don’t typically have non-diet soda, but if I do splurge, I might as well go for real sugar.

3. I had a sore shoulder yesterday, and then it was fine. I’m not sure if the pain was from my new pillow or what, but it was bugging me all day and then in the afternoon I realized the pain/discomfort was gone! The nice thing about having pain or sickness is that it makes “normal” feel SO good by comparison.

4. I don’t buy from them very often, but sometimes I will compare prices on things like hair products. So I ordered some stuff from them the other night, and I discovered they have lowered the minimum order for free shipping, and they gave me great customer service when the free gift I was supposed to get didn’t show up on my order. PLUS: My order shipped out on Tuesday and I got it on Wednesday!! That’s pretty crazy–that was the free shipping, not expedited.

5. New hair products! (Once again my thankful list is mostly shallow and materialistic.) I’ve only tried the stuff for one day now, but wow my hair is noticeably curlier and more voluminous (a word I never say). I’ll probably tell you what I bought after I give it a bit more time.

6. You guys. I really appreciate that you follow my blog. Even without comments, it makes me happy when people make a point to subscribe/read regularly. 🙂 Thank you.

Okay it’s late. Goodnight.

PS Happy birthday June and Deborah! I know I texted you both, but I figured I’d mention it here. If I were a more thoughtful person, I would’ve included each of you on this list with why you rock!

Art Journal – Prompt 1

My sister R has been doing a 30-Day Journal Challenge and it has inspired me to take on the challenge myself! Only, I’m afraid to actually say I’ll do it for 30 days since I tend to be a big quitter. How about we take it a week at a time? Or a day at a time? 🙂 (Though I am feeling encouraged that if R can do it between homeschooling and caring for her 5 kids plus 4 nieces and everything else, then what excuse do I have not to finish it?)

The challenge comes from Janel over at Run With Scissors. I guess the ideal is to follow along with the group, but I’m just now feeling like things have calmed down and I can work on something like this. A few friends did the challenge last year, so I decided to go back and do the 2010 prompts so everything would be new for me. It seemed unfair to go into it knowing what prompts to expect, plus it puts pressure on me to think about it before the day has come. I like this idea better. I won’t look at the new prompt until the day I do it.

Prompt 1 says to “Create a full page design introducing yourself. 🙂 Highlight your name many times in the midst of your design.”

(Click for larger)

How self-centered am I? 🙂

I’ve decided to [try to] avoid disclaimers with this journal and just enjoy it. It’s going to fall short in many ways, but the point is to just be creative and try something a little different. When I was a kid I loved doing a lot of art projects with paper, tape and markers, so this is a chance to go back to that and get off the computer. I took R’s lead on this day and skipped pencil and did it all in pen. No erasing! It’s kind of liberating, actually.

I’ve written too much in this post, so if you have questions, feel free to ask. I’ll try to be less wordy on these in the future!


Here’s the video I made for my niece. It’s just a compilation of little clips I took throughout her visit.  

[I’m in a couple (actually it’s just one sliced up), though I don’t look directly at the camera because it’s practically impossible to look at it and also watch the screen to make sure the camera is aimed correctly. Why don’t they put the camera more central, I ask you?]

I could add a bunch of disclaimers, but I think you can figure them out. It’s not perfect, but oh well. (Words I live by. :P)

Music: Brighter Than the Sun by Colbie Caillat
Have a great week!

PS I forgot to say thanks to my sister R for providing a few photos and video of L’s return to ABQ! I think that last video of her homecoming might be one of my favorite clips. 🙂

Current events: Mom and fish

Happy birthday, Mom! (Can I look like you when I’m 62? Or sooner, even?)

On a sad note, my mom informed me that half their koi died over the past couple of weeks. 😦 They don’t know the exact cause, but there are some theories. Anyway, as my mom said, “I know they are only fish, but it’s still sad.” It is! One of them (pictured) has been in their pond since 2004 and he was a beauty! RIP Sunflower, Peachy, Mexico, Hanes, Billy Idol, and Dovey. ETA: And now Lemon Drop.

Project 52 (49)

I’m on a roll with posting here. Sorry to be overwhelming, I guess it’s just good to be back into a routine that allows it. Plus, this week I had several photos to choose from, so I’m all ready to post. This is L by the lake when we were doing her portrait shoot.

Thankful Thursday

Happy Thursday! I ♥ Thursdays. I’m going to include a few photos from the past week in this post, and they may or may not relate to my thankful items.  

1. Responses. I didn’t expect so many responses and for people to read all I wrote yesterday! 🙂 Thank you. I already feel better and more excited about my blog after posting that.


2. My new blog design. I changed it up–go look!


3. Summer. I love summer here in Oregon. It’s the nicest time of the year. I loved summer growing up, too, but when I was an adult I started liking it less after we moved from our house with the pool and I had to work full time in the HOT weather of the north valley of California. Moving to Oregon has changed the meaning of summer and it always reminds me why people live here in an otherwise dreary climate.

4. L’s visit was what I hoped. I feel like we got to do all the things I wanted to do with her, and we had safe travels and only minor glitches. I’m working on a video compilation and it makes me happy to watch the little clips. I’ll show you guys when I’m done.

5.The coast. I don’t go as often as I’d like, but I’m glad I have access to make it there a couple of times per year, at least.

6. My friends. I’ve said it before, but repeat thankfulness isn’t a crime. I have some really nice people in my life. Friends from church and work, online and offline friends from all over the world, and friends from places I’ve lived before. There are lots of nice people out there.

7. Speaking of friends from work, I have some really nice coworkers. There are people who consistently encourage and appreciate me. Just yesterday I got a gift from a coworker in thanks for basically just doing my job. I also received many nice words from some ladies I am on a committee with. It was sweet and unexpected!


8. The Internet. A couple of my friends are moving away, but thankfully it’s so easy to keep in contact with people these days.

That’s all I’ve got today! My lunch break is over, and Blogger is driving me crazy with the formatting, so sorry for weird spacing you may encounter. 

Blogging, photography and me

[Long exposure (25 seconds, I believe) of the ocean taken in Yachats, OR this past weekend.]

Happy summer solstice!

I know I don’t need to explain every move I make, but I wanted to talk something out here.

This blog started as just a place to write publicly for people from all walks of my life. It was supposed to include a variety of things like reviews, recipes I tried, life happenings, musings, and photos. But when I felt like I should take the next step with my photography, I transitioned it over into a photography blog. I didn’t want to have two blogs (I can barely keep up with one along with all the other stuff I do online), and I was already posting photos anyway, so why not?

Since I had been following several photography blogs for a couple of years, I felt like I had to do certain things in order to progress. If I wanted to take senior portraits, I needed to post a lot of portraits and remember my clients and future clients might be reading when I blogged. I started feeling more pressure and questioning myself about every post–were my photos professional enough? Was I keeping with the blog’s theme of photography? Was I posting enough portraits vs. other types of photos? Was I getting too personal or off topic? Even though I have continued to post about more than just photography, I have felt a little guilty every time, like I was being unprofessional.

Meanwhile, my photography “business” (if you can call it that) is not exactly taking off. I never meant to go full time with it (at least not at this point in my life), but I guess I thought I would get a few more portrait sessions than I have. In some ways I’ve held back from marketing myself, and in others I have made uncomfortable efforts that didn’t seem to matter at all in the end. I have sought out clients for high school and college senior portraits, but I’ve gotten more requests for photographing families and subjects that aren’t necessarily the direction I want to take. It just hasn’t gone as I imagined.

The funny thing is, I’m not even really sad about it. The more I get into a business mindset about photography, the less I enjoy it. The truth is, I am not a business woman, and I don’t enjoy that aspect at all. It’s just been a necessary evil. I hate coming up with pricing and handling a sale. Thinking about photo printing and my website can be stressful. Marketing myself can be intimidating and uncomfortable. I’m tired of trying to keep up with what I’m “supposed” to do to appear professional. I just want to take pictures and make people happy with them.

That’s not to say I should just avoid something that I don’t like. I know we all need to step out of our comfort zones and take on challenges, and I think I’ve done that. I recognize that it’s a lot of work and expense (for my equipment, etc.), and I think it’s reasonable to want compensation for taking people’s pictures. I’ve invested a lot of time, energy and resources into photography to bring myself to where I am, and I hope to continue to improve. I’m still trying to figure out the sort of role God wants photography to play in my life, and how (or whether) to have it as a side job that is still enjoyable for me.

Back to my blog. I’ve been overly concerned with the possible clients or future clients who might be reading, when they probably comprise about .01% of my audience. Most of you reading this (well, I’m not sure anyone is still reading at this point :P) are friends and family members. I know you guys are fine with whatever I post, and you can read it or skip it as time and interest allow. So I’m going to stop worrying about the business side of things. I want to get more personal.

I don’t anticipate this meaning much noticeable change for my blog at first, but over time I hope things evolve into something more comfortable and more me. In saying this, I’m hopefully taking pressure off myself which should give me more blogging enjoyment. Yays all around!

Project 52 (46-48)

I guess I should catch up on these!

46: This dragonfly hung out on my screen door for awhile.

BONUS: Here’s the other side, if you’re curious.

47: I picked up a couple of new sauces to try. (Then I placed them in my cart and paid for them before bringing them home.)

48: L on a walk through a foresty park on the coast.

I have to say, I won’t really mind when this project is over. For some reason I have an addiction to taking on photo projects, but I tend to get burnt out on them after awhile. It’s not like I don’t already take plenty of photos, right? But we’re practically on the home stretch now. Maybe my next photo project should be to not take on a photo project.

PS: Anyone else hating the Blogger changes? I have to add my own html breaks now, apparently.

PPS: Tomorrow it’s back to work after 6 days off (counting the weekend). I don’t mind too much, but can I please sleep in first?

PPPS: L is home safe.