Links

I haven’t posted links in awhile, so here are a few things I’ve enjoyed lately, from friends and strangers…

Binksie and Bep – The very talented Hannah has finished a children’s book that she wrote and illustrated all herself! It looks really cute. I don’t know Hannah that well (I know her sister a little better), but I’m really impressed with her work. She’s only 25!

Spinach and Artichoke Hors d’oevres – These look delish. I need to try them.

My Little Turkey – A cute photo post about a photographer trying to get photos of her baby in a costume.

Heart and Earth – If you like things to be all-natural, my friend Rebecca makes organic body care products for you to purchase. There’s lip balm, hand soap, deodorant, and more.

Senior Portraits – I just think these turned out really beautifully.

Holy Matrimony – My sister posts lots of cute stories about her kids (you may be interested in following her blog regularly!), but here’s a fairly recent one that was especially amusing.

Sailing – This song came to mind the other day, and it used to be one of my favorites when I was a teenager. It makes me very daydreamy. [The video effects ruin it for me (sorry, but sailing and crackling squares don’t really go hand-in-hand), so probably don’t watch it while you listen.]

Let me know if you enjoyed any of these! I like being able to support people’s happy corners of the internet. There’s a lot of horrid stuff online, but there are so many fun things to celebrate, too.

July books, links, etc.

It’s a little late, but happy August!

In July, I listened to these two audiobooks:

Don’t Judge a Girl By Her Cover – Ally Carter (6 disks)
Third book in the Gallagher Girls series, a YA story about teens going to spy school. The audio of these books has its annoyances, and they really shined in this book (sorry, author!). Dania and I listened to it when we went to Seattle and we often made fun of the silliness. The main character is such a drama queen about some things, or maybe it’s just the reader. I don’t know, but I was tired of it by the end. The story idea is cute, though, and eventually I’ll read the fourth book.

Juliet – Anne Fortier (16 disks)
Julie’s aunt (who raised her) dies, and leaves her a key to her late mother’s safe deposit box in Sienna, Italy. Julie goes to Italy to embark on a sort of treasure hunt combined with discovering the history behind the story of Romeo and Juliet. This book was pretty long, and there were moments when I was slightly bored or annoyed (the main character is a little annoying). But overall it’s very good and interesting.

Books for 2011: 18

I also finished a puzzle!

But it was used, so it was missing one piece. :/

I tried two different photo management programs and ended up preferring Picasa. It’s better with the face recognition.

And I found some links that might be of interest:

Cutest Foods – I came across this through Pinterest (see below). They post a cute/clever food picture each day. Check it out, it’s pretty fun!

Brown Eyed Baker – A cooking blog that has some yummy recipes without overloading me with pictures of EVERY step.

Princess Hairstyles – A blog with lots of unique and (some crazy) hairstyles meant for young girls. If any of you moms have extra time on your hands 😉 you might want to check it out. No, seriously, some of them aren’t too complicated.

Also, I joined Pinterest. I haven’t used it all that much, mostly because I can tell it’s addictive and I haven’t wanted to let myself get too involved.

It’s a free service that’s basically like a virtual bulletin board for ideas and inspiration. You can “pin” anything you find online onto your various “boards” and it’ll link back to the site so you know where to go later. The funnest part is just going through friends’ and strangers’ boards to see what they have pinned, and then you can repin anything to your board or comment on them.

People have found some really awesome, clever and funny things online. Like this hedgehog! People pin everything from yummy recipes, to beautiful photos and locations around the world, to ideas for kids crafts or home decor. I have some invites left, so if you want to try it, let me know and I’ll send you one.

Have a great August!

Links

A few places you might want to check out on the web of worldwide:

CreativeLIVE – This site offers online seminars (webinars) that are free while live (and can be purchased later). Photographers and other creative professionals are brought in to give workshops, and there’s a lot of really helpful material. I don’t know if it’s standard, but the one I watched was replayed about an hour after it ended, so I actually had two opportunities to see it for free. This is a great resource for those of us seeking some expert advice in areas like photography, videography, graphic design and business. I’m definitely going to “attend” some more seminars (there’s a food photography one coming up in May!).

Dan…on games! – My good friend Dan has started a blog on games (of all types). He’s smart, funny, and knows a lot about a lot of games. He also incorporates personal experiences and stories into his posts. I’ve found his entries very interesting even when they aren’t about a game I play, so please go check it out.

Softly Sweetly Gourmet Marshmallows – I’ve mentioned my friend Rachael’s Etsy shop before, but I wanted to link you again because she’s doing a fundraiser for Japan. If you purchase some of her Strawberry Pocky marshmallows, 100% of the profit goes to Relief International. Also, Rachael has added more flavors, including some incredible-looking caramel ones that I want to try.

Yesterday I went to what is essentially a drive-thru zoo down in Winston, OR. I won’t bore you with most of the photos (zoos tend to be more interesting in person, don’t you agree?), but thought I’d share a couple just to jazz up this post.


Enjoy your week. This gray, wet Oregon weather is truly inspiring, so I’m very excited about waking up to a rainy Monday!

Photography Blogs

I follow several photography blogs, but I wanted to share links to some of my favorites. I narrowed down my list by choosing the photographers who update at least semi-regularly, and who I gain something from–whether it be photo inspiration (which is sometimes in the form of inspiring me not to do a particular style/pose/etc. :)) or knowledge about photography.

Most photographers take several types of pictures, but I’m sorting them by what seems to be their specialty or preference.

CHILDREN/FAMILY

Photography by Meg
I love a lot of her stuff, and she’s fairly new to photography, according to what I’ve read.

Phreckles Photography

Whitebox
They do children’s photography, but check out their recent photos from India–stunning!

SENIOR PORTRAITS

Kacy Kizer
She does weddings, too, but I’m going to put her in this category so Michelle Moore doesn’t get lonely. Also because I see more senior portraits in her blog, and that’s why I added her to my reader!

Michelle Moore
I’ve gotten a lot of inspiration from her senior portraits–she’s very talented.

WEDDING AND ENGAGEMENT

Jasmine Star Photography
She’s one of the most well-known wedding photographers right now because she really knows how to market herself (and has the right personality to attract a lot of fans). I mainly appreciate her blog for the FAQ posts and funny stories about her everyday life. Her success story is pretty inspirational, too.

Jenny Sun Photography
A wedding photographer in Australia. I really love a lot of her work.

Jessica Claire Photography

Jessica Feely Photography
Hey, it’s a good name.

Jose Villa Wedding Photography
I wish he’d update more–I love his stuff. I believe he shoots exclusively with film. He also has a book out that I want just to look at the pretty pictures!

Todd James Photography
I particularly loved the behind-the-scenes video he posted awhile back. It’s so fascinating to see the photos that result from various setups and poses.

NATURE

Ethan Meleg Outdoor Photography

John E. Marriott

Phillip Colla

Niebrugge Images
Yes, his watermark is in Comic Sans (as is his main site), but don’t let that keep you from admiring his photography!

There are so many more, but I had to limit myself. Let me know if you have any favorites or recommendations for me to add to my reader!

Links

Brenda posts links to different articles/etc. that she has recently enjoyed, so why can’t I? (I’m such a biter.) I’m just going to scroll through my starred items in Google Reader and see what I should share.

How They Built a Glass House for The Lake House
I recently added the Hooked on Houses blog to my reader, and this post was interesting. The Lake House is actually a pretty bad movie (sorry! love you, Sandra!) that I strangely watched twice, therefore I’m double-sure it’s bad. I won’t go on and on about that (although I could, believe me), because the point is that the house is pretty cool (even if impractical), and I found this entry fascinating.

G’day mates!
This wedding photography couple made a funny spoofy video about themselves as photographers. I don’t remember a ton about it except that I found it cleverly amusing. And dorky.

Jess: Abbotsford Grad Photography
I think this old post was what made me start following this photographer’s blog, and for some reason it was reposted. I love the dress. Beautiful! That’s my whole point in linking you, and I’m not even a fashiony person.

Explore your doubts, but do so in peace
For whatever reason, this post spoke to me, and then a few days later I heard a talk about almost the same topic. It bothers me how sharing doubts can freak other Christians out and so we tend to just hide our true feelings. It’s better to acknowledge our struggles and tackle them, knowing most people have times when they feel far from God and question things like his promises and the Bible’s validity.

And to end on a lighter note…

Herb Scissors
I want some of these. It’s not that I’m all about the herbs (I don’t even know how to pronounce some of them), but I have dreamed of this sort of multi-blade slicer before. Only, in my head it was like a pizza cutter, not scissors.

Friend Links

Happy new year! I am on my final day of vacation, which I can’t believe. I certainly haven’t done everything I had hoped, but I got all of the mandatory stuff out of the way. Today’s theme is folding laundry. I’m so excited!

I had hoped to go take some kind of winter photos, but it’s been pretty cold and I’ve been incredibly lazy over the weekend. It was to make up for all of the busyness of last week. The only thing I have for you is this closeup of the ice in my hummingbird feeder:

Now to the main point of this entry. Here are some of my online friends’ blogs, etc. I like spreading the word for others who wouldn’t mind more readers. Sorry if this bores you–feel free to skip. 🙂 Also, see my “links” topic for other recommendations.

Danielle Carey – Danielle is a friend from Australia who writes (well!) about her life–mainly the pleasant little aspects of her days–and posts fairly regularly. Oh and she’s a very nice and awesome person. 🙂

small pieces of inspiration and accomplishment – This friend grew up in the US but married an Australian, so she now lives there with her three kids. She’s funny, smart and crafty, and doesn’t post nearly enough (she may be a little busy), so hopefully this mention doesn’t put undesired pressure on her.

Also, her younger sister is a really good artist, and I have enjoyed following her blog. Go look at her pictures!

Softly Sweetly – My friend’s etsy store for handcrafted marshmallows. I’m not even a marshmallow fan, but I enjoyed them (as did my family) and want to try more. She has built up her little business and now makes several flavors that sound really tempting! Go check it out for fun, even if you have no intention to buy. (R, I hope it’s okay that I stole one of your store photos to make my entry look more interesting. :))

Okay, that’s good for now. If your blog wasn’t mentioned, it might be that I linked it previously, didn’t get your permission to mention it, or will catch it on a future post.

Importantness

Oooooookay. I’m behind on blogging. Tonight I have side-job work to catch up on, so I can’t do any complicated, pictury posts, but I will tell you what’s ahead and some other nonsense:

1. Last night I took some family portraits. I was a bit nervous but all went well. It helps to photograph a super nice and cooperative family. Pictures to come!

2. While I was at work, my butterflies all hatched and I missed it. 😦 I will post more about that soon.

3. My friend posted this hilarious video in her blog, so now I have to share it. “…revealing my tattoo, so you know I have a past.”

4. Every day, a friend and I exchange “SQ” scores. That’s the daily Set and Quiddler puzzles that are available. I think my Set record is 23 seconds, but most of the time it takes me somewhere in the one- to two-minute range, if I don’t give up first. I’m impatient.

5. I’ve never made my own lemonade, but today I was reminded that it’s possible, so now I will. Life is too short to put off stirring up some lemon juice, water and Truvia.

6. I’ve also never made a pie, so it’s one of my lesser-known 2010 goals (and is now more important than ever, since I ditched my goal of reading 50 books). I came across this Amish Egg Nog Pie recipe months ago and decided I should start with that. Maybe closer to fall. I know probably half of you are gagging, since eggnog isn’t a fav for lots of people, but something about it sounded intriguing. I’m not huge on eggnog myself–I’ll have a glass or two around the holidays–but I like the flavoring in other sorts of desserts.

7. If the fall and winter didn’t mean super short days and driving home from work in the dark, I’d not dread it as much. But I’d still dread it some, because the rain tires me. How convenient that I live here. Not that I’ve been giving those seasons much thought yet.. we’re still in July. Don’t be crazy!

8. One day soon, I will update my blog design, and the world will be a better place.

9. I’ve been on a long search for the perfect pillow, and sometimes it feels like this journey will never end.

10. It feels wrong to end at nine items.

Blogs

I thought I’d share some blogs that I follow, because I’m sure you are very curious. Although, I also know that you’re not.

I actually have 122 blog subscriptions, according to Google Reader, but that’s very misleading. A handful are blogs that are password protected, and though Google is supposed to at least notify me that they’ve been updated, it doesn’t. Then there is an even bigger handful (probably of someone with larger hands than mine) of blogs I have subscribed to and later learned that the person never updates, but I just haven’t cleared them off. And then there are those who update, but only very rarely.

So once you remove all of those, I probably only see 20 or 30 blogs on a regular basis, and many of those are skimmed. That’s me–I’m a skimmer!

Now that we’ve established that important information, here are just a few selections, by category:

Funny
Cake Wrecks – People submit photos of professionally-done cakes that are poorly done and the blogger says funny things about them.

Awkward Family Photos – Same idea, but photos.

Big Mama –  Just a funny writer talking about her day-to-day life as a mom in the south.

Photography
Michelle Moore – A senior portrait and fashion photographer in Seattle that I get a lot of good ideas/inspiration from. And humility, of course.

Whitebox – A photographer (different types of portraits from children to weddings) that I like and who updates pretty frequently.

This category can go on and on, so I’ll probably link you to more another time.

Cooking

Mennonite Girls Can Cook – Daily recipes, all including photos.

Simply Recipes – A very popular recipe blog that I just learned more background on from a post she did yesterday. Also, she’s from Carmichael, CA, which I thought was cool.. I didn’t realize she was so local (to where I grew up, I mean).

Friends
More of my friends are starting blogs, but not a lot of them are actually keeping up with them. Still, I’ll start you off with a couple. I will share more as they become more active. Yes, I’m talking about you, Jennifer!

Unhistoric Acts – Brenda is one of my closest friends and she has a very easy-to-read style of writing. She also has the ability to restate rambly, complicated ideas in a concise manner, which always impresses me.

Pearls & Picket Fences – Laura is a new mom and relatively new wife. I have appreciated her realness and encouragement over the years. She’s not afraid to be honest about her struggles and yet she’s also a very cheerful, godly woman.

Feel free to share some links with me!

Topic Medley

I haven’t blogged for a couple of days because all of my topic ideas are boring. (And I’ve been slightly busy.) Well, maybe they aren’t boring to begin with, but I have a certain effect on them. I call it Jessica’s Special Treatment, available at a retailer near you.

But why fight the boredom? Instead, I will embrace it by telling you that today I got a new mouse pad at work. Who knew you could wear out a mouse pad? Not I, but after my mouse kept having issues with, well, pointing at things, I realized–through extremely scientific experimentation–that the worn areas of the pad were throwing it off. It has been 4.5 years, so I suppose it’s reasonable that it would be time for it to retire and enjoy a life of leisure.

Instead of a monotopical entry, I will instead give you a little of everything by touching (ever so lightly, much like the feather of a chickadee) on several topics I had in mind.

BLOGS: I follow many blogs, but one recent add to my Google Reader that I have enjoyed is Broken Secrets. It contains helpful facts and tricks that apply to everyday life.

GAMES: In case you have a need for (more) addictive computer games in your daily routine, I thought I’d start introducing you to some that I have enjoyed. Start with Bubble Spinner. I haven’t actually played it in months, because I burned myself out, but lately I’ve been kind of tempted to go back and spin it up real nice.

BEVERAGES: I think I’ve been totally converted to Coke Zero products as opposed to Diet. When they first came out, I really didn’t understand the difference and just ignored them, but now I find I’m disappointed when no Zero is available. Vanilla Zero is my favorite, but I like cherry and regular too. I drink too much soda.

HONESTY: My friend Laura “tagged” me to be all honest and stuff (as opposed to most of my entries, which are pure lies). I started compiling a list, but for now I’ll just give you one confession: Most of the books I read are very light. I want reading to be fun and relaxing, not a constant mental challenge. I once started Wuthering Heights and was lost within the first 20 minutes, so I never finished it. The combination of my poor reading comprehension and extreme procrastination issues might cause one to wonder how I ever graduated college. (No confessions on my final GPA, though I’m sure you’ve guessed there was no laude involved.)

YAY: Today I got off work an hour early! They were painting the floor down the hall, and the smell was very strong. We had been warned, but I didn’t actually think it would be a problem with our door closed. It was! I’m glad I escaped before a headache came on.

COOKING: I’ve been wanting to post more recipes here but there are two reasons why I haven’t: 1) The last few recipes I’ve made were either not that great or not very photogenic; 2) I’m not satisfied with my old photos of previous meals, so I’d rather make them again before I post about them.

Now I have other work to do, so bye.