Thursday, December 29, 2011

There's a First Time For Everything...

...although some of those firsts, I would have been fine living without.

I'm taking these last couple days of 2011 to reflect on the year.  And I've come to the conclusion that it has been a year of many firsts for me.  Starting with a very sad first at the beginning of the year--saying goodbye to my sweet pup of 16 years.  Along with my first trip to Pittsburgh to visit my dad.  First BFD concert with Jacques.  First time whitewater rafting and falling absolutely in love with it.  First "dot com" website for my art portfolio.  First original logo designed completely from scratch for my dad's company.  First house hunting adventures--good and bad.  First HOUSE.

As for the year overall, I have mixed feelings.  There were definitely some ups and downs, and by that I mean ultimate highs and ultimate lows... and there were times when it seemed that the year just dragged on and other times where I blinked and the year was gone.  The end is incredibly bittersweet for me though, since I am dealing with the joys of the new house, but the loss of my job and having to start over at the same time.

As for New Year's resolutions... I usually don't bother making them but I will this year:
  • First is to keep up with this blog more often... take more meaningful photos, of anything and everything that I can.  And actually get them posted up here instead of being a procrastinator.  
  • Another is to get back on track with finishing up college and finally getting my graphic design degree that has been delayed for far too long.
  • Find a job doing something I absolutely love. [Though I realize that this may take longer than 2012 alone]
  • Do these more often.  Every single one of them
That's a good start, I think.

 [Old-ish photo, btw!]
[The Redheads--Mari & Guinness]
I'll end this post with the tribute video collage I made of my sweet Brandy whom I still miss more and more each day.  I can't believe it's already been a year.  Thinking about it just makes me want to hug these
←  three big balls of fur  →
 that I currently live with even tighter.

( Song credit: "Wonderful Life" by Alter Bridge )

Oh and Happy New Year to anyone who took the time to read this!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Day On the Rocks

Jacques & I posing on the rocks!
So my dad came out to visit at the beginning of this month, mainly for business, but he also wanted to come see the new house and everything.  So after he took care of that business, we spent a few days together.  We traveled up to the top of Mount Diablo here in the East Bay, though we were not able to go out on the observation deck because they had it closed off. I really wish my dad and Laurel could have seen the view from that deck area because it is truly breathtaking. Ever since I'd been there last August, I knew I had to take my dad to Rock City, seeing as he's a geologist and I knew he'd love it up there.  So here are some photos that I took this time around.

Capturing the sun on a hazy day.  With a slight hint of color.

My dad walking along the trail at the top of the mountain.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Mom's Visit + Much-Needed Staycation

Mom and I @ Bubba Gump's.
So my mom's second visit here to beautiful Cali has come and gone.  It was really nice having her here for the week and being able to spend every single minute together this time.  We came across a few unexpected adventures, although not quite like last year's (which is a good thing, considering that it was a car breakdown...) and we had a great time.  Even though we had to interrupt her trip for a day of house-hunting, but that's another story. The whole trip reminded me of when Jacques and I would go on our weekend photography/tourist-y road trips back before I started working on the weekends.  It was nice to be reminded of that, I'd really missed those times of exploration and capturing some beautiful scenery.  Hopefully, within the next 2 or 3 weeks, we will be able to get back to some version of that.  I'm keeping my fingers crossed about this house we're hoping to get as well.  We need all the prayers/hope/faith that we can get!  I've come to realize that I have a love/hate relationship with the whole process...

Anyway, I'll get right to the photos:

We stopped here at Seaside Beach on the way to Monterey.

Another view of Seaside Beach... it was so pretty everywhere you turned!
More of the beach life.

Monday, July 18, 2011


So I've found that I have fallen in love with whitewater rafting. I keep reliving the experience and wishing it could have lasted longer! It was much more fun than I could have ever imagined. I think my cousin-in-law described it best, as insanely fun. Though there was also that sense of danger, mixed with an incredible thrill and excitement. It reminded me of how I feel about rollercoasters or scary movies -- scared but still wanting to experience it. I've never done such an "extreme" sport before, where there's an actual threat of death or at least being severely injured. I know it sounds like an exaggeration, but you wouldn't think so if you'd been through the intense rapids that we faced on that trip!

And after receiving the postcard from our guide the other day, we are DEFINITELY going for a second trip before the season's over. We have to. I don't even care if we have to sacrifice every little bit of fun to save up the money, WE'RE GOING. :) I really never thought I'd love it so much. I found myself reluctant to even let go of the paddle once it was all over, I just didn't want it to end!

On with the photos - starting off with some views of the ride up to the meeting place in Lotus, CA.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

When One Door Closes...

So, last week I took a trip out to OKC to visit my family for my birthday. This trip felt different to me, for 2 reasons. The first is because it was the first time ever that I came home to a house without Brandy, my sweet dog who passed away this past January. I'm so used to having her greet me right as I walk in... and I really missed it. She was always so happy to see me and the feeling was mutual. The other reason it was different... somehow, I felt more like an outsider to Oklahoma during this trip. I realized how invested my life has become to living in California. I can't really find the right words to fully explain what I mean by that though... but I could definitely tell that Oklahoma City is no longer my home. It has become just another place where I visit friends and family. It was kind of surreal coming to that realization. But looking back on my trip, there's no doubt that California has become my home now. I'm not sure when it happened, but somehow in the course of the [almost] 2 years that I've been here, it became my home. Though, in no way am I saying that I'm not proud to be an Oklahoman, nor that I will ever outgrow or forget that part of my life.

Anyway, I do have a few photos from the trip. So I'll get on with that, since that is the main purpose for this blog! The first word that comes to mind when I think about the pictures as a whole is a "potpourri" of photos. You'll see what I mean.

I'll start with some photos of my brother's adorable dogs: Mattie, his golden retriever; Lulu, a pup that they started out fostering, but are now in the process of adopting; and Paige, an utterly adorable 6-week old puppy that they are fostering to prevent her from being euthanized. If I could have snuck her on the plane back to Cali with me, I would have! She's the cutest little thing ever!!

Paige. It was extremely difficult to get a good capture of her because she was constantly moving around.

I caught this neat lighting effect, thanks to my mom who was taking a photo using her flash, at the exact moment that I was taking the picture!

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

First Ever Dot Com + Frustration

So, first off, I don't have any photos ready to update with. I just need to vent, really.

I guess the biggest news I have right now is that I recently bought my first ever .com domain. It's been awesome, I love seeing it. But the reason for it is that I wanted a better place to be able to build an online portfolio of my photos/designs. I was using the portfolio that deviantART provided, but they only allowed a certain amount of photos in each gallery. So I bought a 3 month subscription, thinking I would have unlimited space — not the case. I found out I'd have to make multiple portfolios and the limit was still the same per gallery. So that's what brought me to buying my own domain which allows me to have NO limits because I'm in control. It's not ready for the public yet though, because first I'm having to go through ALL of my photos and see which ones are "worthy" to have in my portfolio... and we're talking over 10,000 pictures. Yeah, it's a bit overwhelming. Especially since I really only have 2 full days off from work.

I'm also kind of frustrated at people who misconstrue my tendency of being too nice. Just because I actually listen to you vent about your problems and try to help you by giving the best advice that I can does not mean that I am romantically interested. It's called being a good friend. I don't understand how that gets so misunderstood. And after only a week of knowing each other. It turned into a situation that was more than a little creepy. And then to throw it all away because the guy could not be just a friend. It's sad that people think that way, but I still hope that he will be able to find happiness somewhere down the road. And that's me being too nice once again. Sigh.

Anyway... I'm really excited to have this new domain up and running. The site is in maintenance mode right now, but if you're still interested in seeing what I have so far, click here. Although it may change drastically before I'm even done reviewing photos! Speaking of that, I better continue while I still have the extra time before having to put in 3 hours of work today.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Discovering Pennsylvania, Last Day

Hello again! This time I am updating with the last day in Pennsylvania. I have to say that this was my favorite day of them all. If you know me at all, you will see the reason in these photos! It slowly started snowing throughout the day and got heavier as well.

This is what I woke up to that morning... my dad called it a "light dusting" of snow. I LOVED it!

Taking Albert for a walk along this little path that ran around the house.

I liked how the tree sort of framed the pathway in this photo.

Awww! He was so cute. I still can't believe I managed to capture such a clear shot of him looking up at me. He was a very rowdy little guy!

Fork in the road... we took the right path...

...which led to this frozen lake. Though you can't really tell that there's a lake in this photo.

Side view of the lake, with the snow-covered rocks.

This was kind of a spontaneous shot... I liked how there were the paw prints, tire tracks, and footprints all in one spot... like "signs of life."

Walking further down the road... I just liked this barn with all the snow, and that long long driveway.

One of my favorite shots of the day, with the gate looking almost as if it's about to tip over.

Very old one-room schoolhouse, built in 1890!

Another favorite! This was taken while randomly driving around. I loved the look of the bridge with the snow.

And the other part of the bridge that was closed for construction.

Very beautiful scene in Mercer Citizens Cemetery.

I liked how the sign looked with the rest of the clutter from the trees. (it says "Black Willow")

This was actually taken through a window at a jewelry store. We were going to walk down to those beautiful falls, but they had the trail closed for safety because it was too slippery with all the freshly fallen snow. :[ I was very disappointed.

Different angle, still taken through a window.

On the way down to McConnells Mill for some truly amazing views!

The mill. It was snowing at this point, and as you can see, it kinda ruined my shot.

It was such a beautiful scene, especially because no one had been there and the snow was completely untouched by footprints.

Another favorite from the day. This was leaning off the side of the railing to get a view of the other side of the mill.

Something about these snow-covered steps just drew me to it... not really sure what.

The calm on the other side of the mill.

Another favorite of the day! I could have stayed there all day, it was so soothing.

My dad and I posing with a beautiful background.

And in black & white as well!

Looking across the covered bridge before crossing it.

Overall view of the mill, from across the covered bridge and looking through the trees.

Icicles found on the side of the rock, as we were driving back.

More of the scene while driving away from the mill. We were rapidly running out of daylight.

Looking directly up into an icicle. =P

I had an awesome vacation, spending some quality time with my dad, and getting to see some truly beautiful scenes. Even though I only got to spend 3 days in Pittsburgh, I made some wonderful memories that I will keep close to my heart. Love you, Dad.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Discovering Pennsylvania, Day 2

So I've realized after looking through a few older posts that I totally forgot to continue the photos that I took from my mom's visit here back in June/July of last year. I need to stop letting myself get so behind on this blog. -.- But I don't want to interrupt the photos from PA, so I'll continue with those, and then post the rest of my mom's visit afterwards... plus some photos from a spontaneous trip to Oregon.

Anyway, back to Pennsylvania's trip. Day 2 revolved all around Pittsburgh. My dad lives about an hour north of the city, so we started early.

We stopped in Carnegie first before getting into Pittsburgh to get a photo of this beautiful Russian Orthodox church.

And this equally beautiful Ukrainian Orthodox church right next door.

Going through the Fort Pitt tunnel into Pittsburgh, I liked how this turned out.

Me in an eyeball chair right outside the parking garage that my dad parks at every day.

This was a beautiful old church right in the middle of downtown... the photo does not do it justice!

The cracked and broken tombstone of a Revolutionary War Veteran, in an old cemetery located right next to the beautiful old church.

Side view of the church... I liked how the new buildings were mixed right in with the old. It was like that all over downtown.

Market Square. I forget what that glass building was called but it was pretty!

Same building, closer and from a different angle.

Dad and I with the Christmas tree. A nice guy offered to take this shot for us.

Walking along the river. It was really cold down there. I wanted to walk further but Dad was getting too cold and we were running out of time anyway.

Very creepy depiction of Mister Rogers.

Me with Pittsburgh in the background, taken up on Mt. Washington.

Closeup of the Steelers stadium, from the lookout at Mt. Washington.

Pittsburgh at a glance - the city of bridges.

Driving towards the 16th Street Bridge.

Beautiful heavy door that still worked, built back in 1869. It opened into a very old cemetery. (this was after leaving Pittsburgh, in the city of Harmony)

View of the fence surrounding the cemetery.

It was a great day and I really loved all the quality time I got to spend with my dad. :] Him being all the way across the country really gets to me sometimes, but it's trips like this that make it better. Look for lots of snow photos in the next update, Day 3 in PA!!
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