Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Meet Jade: Psycho Kitty + Bundle of Energy

So, around one month ago, we went out to eat for dinner at Big Wave Dave's Mongolian Grill, meeting up with Jacques on his way home from work.  Little did I know that we would be coming home with much more than just a full stomach.  I remember Jacques was still a bit sick (and I was still dealing with the stuffy-ear-problem) and recovering from a bad cough, and since we were already headed to Food Maxx to check out the movie selection from Redbox (although I cannot remember now, for the life of me, what movies we rented), we decided to buy some cough drops there too.

Well... just outside the door, there was a group of people with a basket of kittens.  They were giving them away free because the mother was allergic.  Erin instantly fell in love with the first kitten she held, this 6-week-old, multi-colored, longhaired tabby.  And yes, I have to admit, she was incredibly cute... and so tiny!  I ended up having the final say, and I'll be honest, there are some days that I wish to God I had said no.  But when I saw the way Erin's face lit up, I just couldn't.  I guess I'm a bit of a softie that way.

You have to understand, I am so NOT a cat person at all.  And I never have been.  My family grew up hating cats, so naturally, we only had dogs as pets.  I keep hearing people say that this kitten will turn me into a cat person eventually, but I can guarantee you, that will not happen.

However, she does make a great model for my photography (and I actually do enjoy photographing cats):

This is the look I often get from her... I'm always having to discipline her for getting into things I've already told her not to mess with, several times!

She likes to pose sometimes when she knows a camera's pointed at her.  This photo shows off her multi-colored coat, especially around her face.

Waving to the camera?  Or I caught her at just the right moment during a stretch.

Reaching for my hand, but she was getting tired so she just held the pose.

Sunday, September 02, 2012

#photoadayAUGUST: The Conclusion

So here's a quick post for the rest of August's photo-a-day challenges.  I say quick, because I am about to go update our food inventory, which hasn't been updated in months.  It has to be manually updated (I wish I could figure out a way for it to be automatic) so I've kind of neglected it these past few months because, honestly, I just haven't felt like dragging my laptop to the kitchen and examining every inch of our pantry & fridge.


As always, some of these need more explanations to really understand my thought process as to why I took a certain photo for a particular day, so feel free to visit my Photo-A-Day Pinterest board to clear up the confusion.  The good news, though, is that I only missed ONE day this month!  Hoping to make that zero days in September.

Now I'm off to update our inventory!  Expect a new post very soon, as I have some photos to share from a new addition we added to our house almost exactly a month ago!! 

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Beyond My Comfort Zone

So... lately, I've had this urge to create an "official" logo for my design and photography portfolio.  I hate what I have now, it no longer seems to fit.  And I want something unique and original.  The problem is, I haven't really ever dabbled too far into designing logos.  The only professional logo that I can say I have designed from scratch is for my father's company.  And even then, he'd given me a pretty specific idea to work with.  This time, I really have no idea, other than that I want it to be original.

So I've started reading about other designers' processes when thinking up a logo and implementing it.  I never knew that Adobe Illustrator was a better program for creating logos either, I've always just used Photoshop (even though I do have Illustrator installed).  I'm going to be spending a majority of my free time studying up on how to effectively use the program... from what I've seen so far, the mechanics and layout of the program don't seem that different from Photoshop's.

Maybe I'm just subconsciously getting tired of Photoshop and this is my way of exploring something different.  Who knows?!  We'll see where this takes me.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

The First Seventeen

So August's photo-a-day challenges have been just as fun as July's.  And I actually haven't missed a day yet!  Here's my collage of photos for the first 17 days:



Oh and Day 3's prompt was Coin.  For some reason I didn't notice that that one got covered up during the process of creating this. (And I'm too lazy at the moment to go fix it!)

That's all I have for today. :]

Friday, August 10, 2012

Fair Warning: FUN Ahead

"Take a chance
Take a step out on the ledge
Take a good look down and realize
It's all for you
For the night
I'm putting up a fight
I've opened up my eyes
To see a world I never knew..."

 —12 Stones, For the Night


So Jacques and I were able to catch a day trip up to Sacramento the weekend before last, right in time for the last weekend of the California State Fair.  When I lived in Oklahoma, I loved going to the state fair, I'm not sure exactly why, but it was just something I always did every year, either with friends or with family.  This is my third year in California and I'd never been to the fair yet, even though I'd wanted to go.  What sparked the trip this year was being invited by one of Jacques's friends. (Thank you Bryan & Anh!!)  And I have to say, it wasn't much different, except for all of the palm trees.  It brought back some memories though, good and bad.

Anyway, here are a few random photos that I took while we were there:

Overview of some food booths.

Bumper boats!
Repeating banners in the livestock building... thought it was a neat photo opp!

I noticed this patriotic ribbon wrapped around the post while watching a show on having some fun with baby cows.

Colorful macaw in the Floriculture area.


Closeup of a beautiful peacock in the Floriculture area.
Fountain with banners listing all of the California counties all around it.

Friday, August 03, 2012

Moment of Truth in your Lies

"And I don't want the world to see me
Because I don't think that they'd understand
When everything's meant to be broken
I just want you to know who I am..."

—Goo Goo Dolls, Iris

That song always takes me back about 14 years to when I first heard it.  I can say that for a majority of my music though.  It just never gets old to me.

Anyway, I want to start this post out with the rest of my photo-a-day challenges for the month of July, from the 11th to the 31st.


I ended up only missing 3 days out of the month, simply because I wasn't too fond of the theme for those days.  Or I wasn't able to capture the specific prompt in the right way.  But overall, I had fun with this!  I'm continuing into August as well, and plan on doing the same thing with making a collage of multiple days together, though I will probably break it down into the first 15 days and then the remaining days to make it seem more balanced.

In other news, I've been sick-ish for the past week.  It started with a chest congestion that I caught from Jacques, and eventually moved up into my left ear, resulting in my hearing being incredibly muffled... kind of like when you go swimming and water gets caught in your ear momentarily until you have to give your head a big shake to get it out.  Imagine that feeling constantly and that's what I'm dealing with.  It's highly uncomfortable and I hate having to talk and not being able to clearly hear what I'm saying.  I went to the doctor this past Tuesday morning, only to confirm how much I still really hate doctors.  First off, this was the first time I'd met him, since I haven't had the need to visit a doctor since I moved here.  He seemed to have no idea what I was talking about and I had to keep repeating my symptoms.  It was entirely frustrating, especially since I know my doctor back in Oklahoma (who had been treating me ever since I was little and had these ear problems every six months) would have immediately known what I was going through, simply from me saying "ear."  And he would know exactly what to prescribe to make it better.

But no, this doctor said he couldn't prescribe any antiobiotics, and simply told me to go get Sudafed or Zyrtec.  And I've been taking 1 pill every 4 hours for the past 3 days and it has not gotten any better.  So it's basically turned into a completely wasted trip.  Sometimes I wish I could just teleport myself back to OK temporarily so that I could see my old doctor again.  I hate switching doctors.  But I suppose that's just one of the few downfalls of moving 1,600 miles away.  If I end up having to go back again, I'm definitely changing my doctor beforehand.

I do have some photos to post from our day trip to Sacramento last weekend for the State Fair but I'm going to hold off on those for now.  This post kind of got away from me, what with venting about the frustrations concerning the doctor issue.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

We Bought a BOX! + Daily Photo Challenge

Sooo, about three weeks ago we bought a box.  I know that doesn't sound like much of a big deal, but it's not your typical box.  Ha, I'm not sure why I'm trying to be so vague when anyone who reads this can instantly look a few spaces down on this page and realize that I'm talking about a car.  It's the Scion xB, but the car salesmen call it "the xBox."



I'll be honest, I'm really not a huge fan of the shape of the car, it's too square-ish and boxy for me, but it's got the perfect amount of space that we were looking for.  We wanted something slightly bigger, since we have 2 large dogs that like to tag along with us for a ride in the car.  However, I think they still like my car better, seeing as they can't really stand up in the xB and they always fall down at almost every turn.  (It's kinda comical)

But it's been great for us, having two reliable cars once again, and I have kind of even forgotten that I have a car during the day again!  It also means that I can finally get back to work and complete college.  Don't get me wrong, I LOVE our house, but being stuck in it day after day is getting more than a little old.  And boring!  I have an interview/meeting set up this coming Monday for opportunities and I'm really excited!  Although I am a bit nervous as well, because I'm not the best at selling myself.  Either way, I just can't wait to get back to working and continuing college again.

Life's about to get a lot busier...



I started this new photo-a-day project for the month of July.  It's something that I've seen a few friends of mine participating in, and I thought it could be fun to try out.  At first, I thought it was only taking a random photo every day and posting it on Instagram/Twitter/Facebook... But when I actually researched it further, there's a list that a volunteer puts together every month, with a theme for each day.  So here are the first 10 photos I've taken from those daily inspirations, collage-style:


Some of the themed photos require further explanation than simply a one-word description, so if you're confused on why I took a particular photo (IE: day 9, which I know doesn't seem to make any sense from the word "big"), feel free to visit my Photo-A-Day Challenges board on Pinterest for more information.

I'll end this post with two photos of Napoleon (Nappy) looking absolutely adorable while he enjoyed some sun and posed for me:




Sunday, July 08, 2012

Fourth of July Parade

So I hope everyone had a Happy 4th of July this past Wednesday!  Mine was okay, despite the fact that Jacques was on call the whole week, and of course, the one day he got paged with a problem that he had to report in to work for was on the holiday.  So although our original plan was to go see a fireworks display that night, we ultimately decided against it, since there would be no option for making a fast getaway if we needed to.  We ended up spending our holiday trying out a new recipe for dinner, Blackberry Chicken, and watching a couple movies (Gone and This Means War).

However, the week before, I got a random visit from our realtor, giving out some invitations to a 4th of July BBQ lunch party out in Danville.  They had a parade beforehand and the party started directly afterwards, so we were able to attend that, and we arrived in time to watch the parade as well.  So here are a few photos that I took of the parade.


Distractions before the parade started... I liked how these two trees came together, to an illusion of one tree with different colored leaves.

Closeup of the red leaves, with the sun shining in the background.

I was able to capture the crowd's reaction to a Bell UH-1 "Huey" flying around before the parade started.

People carrying a large United States flag through the parade.

This was the "Huey" that was flying around before the parade and getting lots of attention!

Diablo Valley Flag Brigade.

War veterans on their "float" through the parade.

Distracted again by this lonely leaf in the middle of the walkway.
While it wasn't really the July 4th celebration that I had been planning on, I still had a good time spending it with Jacques ... aaand some random people in the Oakland ER, where I had to wait while Jacques took care of some IT issues with a printer.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

A "Capitol" Day

Well, my birthday's coming up just around the corner and I have to say, I'm not too excited about getting even closer to 30 years old.  Sometimes it seems like time stopped for me in my early twenties, yet it forgot to tell the rest of the world.  I don't feel like I should be almost 30.  And I definitely don't look the part either.  It sounds like too big of a number.  Thirty years of being alive.  It just sounds crazy for some reason.  Though I'm in no way saying that being 30+ is old, before someone tries to twist my words. :p  It just seems unreal to me that so much of my life has already passed me by.  Oh well, though, that's just how life happens sometimes, I guess.

Anyway, so back to the last day of my dad's visit from the beginning of this month.  At the end of the first post I made when we visited the mines, I said we'd be visiting the zoo in Oakland.  That didn't happen.  Turns out, I'm more of a fan of going to the zoo than he is, so we ended up starting out the day by traveling to the capitol building up in Sacramento. (or Sac-of-tomatoes, as some Californians refer to it...)


Closeup of the front as we were walking to the doors. 
Inside, looking up into the dome!  Beautiful!


Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The Everyday Scene

Okay, so before I continue with the last part of my dad's visit from last week, I wanted to share some photos of the area in which we cycle every day.  We mainly stick to a trail that follows Marsh Creek, because there's an entrance located conveniently right at the beginning of our neighborhood.  This little trail reminds me of the one back in OKC that follows Lake Hefner around.  Though it's entirely different in the fact that it has much more twisty turns and the scenery is MUCH prettier.  Then again, the comparison from Oklahoma scenery to California scenery is like comparing apples and oranges!  So that's a no-brainer.

Anyway, here's a little of what I get to see every day while riding.

Tumbleweeds stopped by a menacing gate.

Looking back at our neighborhood from the trail.
Winery in the distance across the creek.

Monday, May 07, 2012

"Miner" Adventure

So my dad arrived late Saturday night.  We weren't sure exactly what we were doing for Sunday, but we definitely knew we were going to go out somewhere.  And that it would involve a camera (well, for me at least!).  We eventually decided on visiting the Black Diamond Mines Regional Preserve, to take a tour of one of the existing mines that were used back in the early 1900s.  Jacques, Erin and I had already gone on this tour back in March of 2010 (wow, I did not realize it had already been 2 years!) but we had yet to take my dad there.  And he's a geologist so he really enjoyed examining the sandstone inside the mine.

Anyway, after looking through past posts to find the previous photos of Black Diamond... I realized I never even got around to uploading them in the first place!  ( I really should have kept up with this blog better. )  So I'll include a couple of those also... but this time around, I was focusing a bit more on macro/close-up captures, since I'd already gotten the gist of the area the first time.

Close-up view of the locked gate at the entrance to the mine.
Small trail of rocks among nature.  This was another macro shot, so it's even smaller than it looks!

Cute photo of Erin & Jacques on the trail towards the mine—from our first trip in 2010.
View from the top of the entrance to the mine, looking out—This was also from 2010.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Cyclist in the Making

Yesterday Jacques and I went out and bought some mountain bikes for the both of us.  He'd been thinking of getting a new one for awhile now and we decided now was the right time.  He used to be really into cycling all the time and I think it's great that he wants to get back into it.  We both wanted to find some way of getting some exercise every day and we were settling with taking the dogs on a walk around the neighborhood every night when he got home from work.  But it just wasn't enough.  So now our nightly walks are going to turn into nightly rides on a trail located conveniently near the entrance to our neighborhood!  We took an early morning ride today to get familiar with the trail and see how far we could go and it was amazing!  I hadn't been on a bike in such a long time and I'd totally forgotten how fun and refreshing it is to feel the wind blasting in my face, cruising along to the beautiful scenery.

We plan on taking bike trips out to wine country, San Francisco, the Redwood forest in Oakland, among other places we find along the way.  We've both fallen a bit out of shape, spending entirely too much time just sitting on the computer, or watching TV and it feels so great to get out of the house without relying on the car, where we're once again just sitting.  





I can't wait to see where this new adventure in cycling will take us, literally and physically!


Thursday, April 26, 2012

Indecisiveness & Another Redesign

So after a few weeks with the dark side, I felt it was time to return to the light once again. This time, even brighter than before. (though I hope it's not too bright) The dark just wasn't working for me and I was hating the way the whole site looked, even with some minor modifications I was making every now and then. I've always known that I'm incredibly indecisive and can't seem to stick with just one thing for too long at a time... but having a website (err, -cough-THREEofthem-cough-) doesn't necessarily help this problem. I find myself constantly wanting to change things. Though a complete redesign isn't usually one of the things I like changing. In that respect, I'm pleasantly decisive. It's just the little things that I can't seem to hold on to.

With this redesign, I've also decided to implement the "jump break" feature, because as I was looking through my previous posts with LOTS of photos, they are just too lengthy to scroll through on the main page. I didn't want to use this feature at first because it hides the rest of the photos, but after thinking about it, I think it'll make the blog look a bit more organized.

So anyway.  There's not a whole lot else going on right now.  We're still in the process of figuring out the car issue so that I can go back to work and finally finish college, this time with a degree.  I wish there was some way that we could speed up the process, but unfortunately, there's not... unless we win the lottery... and with my luck, we don't even have a fighting chance.  It'd be nice though. :]

I'll end this post with a very fitting macro of an orange lily from the bouquet of flowers Jacques brought home for me one night this week:


Thursday, April 05, 2012

On the Road Again...


Well, the huge road trip is now over and done with and we are STILL exhausted from the super long drives.  The drive seemed much shorter on the way back, but it was also much more difficult, since we hadn't fully recovered from the first drive out.  I'm telling you, it takes alot more out of a person than it seems.  If we ever have to make this trip again, we are definitely stopping for the night, rather than driving straight through.

We hit a few road blocks (no pun intended) along the way, like having to change up the whole plan of getting the U-haul truck, since they'd booked us for a 17-foot truck instead of the 14-foot truck like we'd ordered and not even letting us know until we were in New Mexico on Friday afternoon.  AND we were told that it only got 8 miles to the gallon, which would have been almost $1,000 in gas alone.  So we had to do some serious rethinking before even getting to our destination.  But everything ended up working out and the only downside is that instead of instantly having my stuff here, I have to wait around 10 days.  (We ended up still using U-haul, but their U-Box service instead)

ANYWAY, on to the photos!  First, from the drive from CA to OK:

Random stop we made in Arizona for gas... I liked the look of this old building across from the Roadkill Cafe in Seligman, which reminded me of a ghost town.

Catching a view of the mountain in Flagstaff, AZ.

More of the city life captured in Flagstaff, AZ.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Almost Here

So we leave tomorrow night for our 1,600-mile/26-hour drive halfway across the country!  I'm getting pretty excited for the trip, it should be fun doing this with other people this time, instead of on my own.  Let's just hope that this time there's not a breakdown in the lovely city of Gallup, NM.  Seriously, that city is cursed.

I don't know how I'm going to get through tomorrow, it's going to seem like the hours will just drag by.  The good news is that I will hopefully have some photos to share after this trip and this blog can finally turn back into a true photoblog!

I've got another random selection of a couple photos though:

First off, our new table!!  Finally!  We have gotten rid of the TV trays, never to be heard from again. :]


I wasn't quite sure how I would like the pub height at first, and I'm still getting used to eating from that high up... but I LOVE the table.  It's different than what we had originally planned to get, and the other table would have saved us some space in that small area, but it had also increased $100 in price.  AND those placemats that we bought wouldn't have worked on that one, which was round.  They barely fit on this square one.

I'm just happy that we finally have a place to eat again, instead of on those damn TV trays.

And here's some more food photography...


I'd actually forgotten that I took this photo of the banana bread I'd made a few weeks ago, but I found it after having to use my big camera for the photo of the table, because my little point-and-shoot was being difficult.  So this was taken back when I was more into the food photography vibe.


And here's some of the BEST homemade fried chicken that I've ever had, made by Jacques.  It gets better every time he makes it and this was no exception.  It was even good warmed up in the oven as leftovers.  I think I captured the most appealing side of it here... arranging fried chicken for a photo isn't as easy as it looks, as I've found with most of my food photography experimenting...

On a completely different note, I finally finished editing and uploading all of my photography for the Fauna section of my portfolio, both wild and domestic.  Feel free to check it out.

That's all I have for today.



Friday, March 16, 2012

Growing Excitement

Well, less than two weeks from now, Jacques, Erin and I will be on our way halfway across the country!!!  I am very excited for this opportunity at a road trip, even more excited than I am for the reason for making the trip in the first place!  Which is to finally pick up my stuff from my old apartment from way back when.  I've been waiting for TWO years to make this happen, and I'm finally in a place to do it.  I mean, it's only stuff.  But it's more than that, it's a part of me that I haven't been able to access every day for these past two years, a part of what reminds me of home.  I know Jacques must think I'm just being crazy sentimental about a few pieces of furniture, DVDs, books, photo frames, etc... but I can't help that I'm a sentimental person.  And it's better than the alternative. :]

Anyway... so I know this is supposed to be a photoblog, but I've been hit with a crazy amount of inspiration and creativity lately, so I'm going to share some recent designs that I've made within the past week:

Made for a St. Patrick's Day themed SOTW!

Oh, Zachary Quinto...

Originally made for a video-game-themed graphic battle against a very good long-time friend of mine!

The majority of these were made on a whim, for graphic battles and contests on a graphic design forum that I've recently joined: Jasper Designs.  Which means that I've been bitten by the PB bug again.  I hadn't realized how much I truly missed the forum era until now.  I knew I'd missed the incredible activity that my own forum once had, but I just didn't realize exactly how much.

That's about all I have to report right now.  Life has been good, I've secured my first ever paying design job of building/designing a website for one of Erin's friend's mother's graphic design company, so that's exciting!  Plus, I've been maintaining my dad's website as well, which is getting a lot of traffic.  And also, I recently redesigned my own portfolio website.

Things are going well, so far!  Hope everyone has a happy St. Patty's Day tomorrow!