Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Life With Cali

Everyday, around 1:30 to 2 pm, my cat Cali will come upstairs where I'm sitting at my computer looking up pictures of Leonard Nimoy on Pinterest.

Don't judge me.

She will not fully come into the room I'm in. Instead she will sit at the door way, scream at me a few times and try to look cute, so I will stop my Leonardy pursuits and feed her lunch.

Wouldn't you like to feed a cat like me?

Look at me, all cute and rolling around like a spaz.

I will even stretch my wee little paws out toward you mommy.

You're just going to sit there and take pictures of me?

I'm so done.

I don't know what's more disturbing. The Leonard Nimoy admission or the fact that my cat and I know each other as well as we do. Either way…send help.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Downton Jenny

This week will go down in history as the week I became utterly obsessed with started watching Downton Abbey. 

Several of my friends have been watching this show for awhile and have begged me to start watching it. Every time I saw an ad for it I thought "This isn't for me. It looks boring and slow paced and not at all something I'd like." And when season 4 premiered recently, all the same friends were planning English dinners to eat while they watched it. I laughed at them, thinking it was silly even though the new season of Justified was premiering at the same time and I was trying to decide which bourbon to drink while I watched it. 

But that was different. It's Rayland after all.

Then something happened last Wednesday…I was at home alone, cleaning up files on my computer and there was a Polar Vortex so it was -356 degrees out and as such I wasn't going to leave the house for anything (other than to pick my kid up at school). So I turned on the TV, went to Amazon Streaming and saw Downton Abbey was available for instant viewing for Prime members (turns out membership does have its privileges). I decided what the hey, I'll watch the first one and see what it's like.

The rest, as they say, is history.

As the first episode ended, I texted my husband to tell him I watched it, it was so much better than I ever thought it would be and he had to watch it when he got home. Which he did. Then we spent Thursday and Friday watching the rest of seasons 1. And since Saturday was rainy and awful we thought "What the frak…let's spend the entire day watching season 2!"

Funny side note: I got a backache from sitting on the couch all day binge watching this English masterpiece. Such an affliction from binge watching a show shall henceforth be known as "Downton Abbey Back" or whatever body part it is that ails you.

As Saturday evening came to a close, Cali joined us on the couch and became as enamored of the show as we were.

You can see how worried she is about poor Mr. Bates and Anna. We all were.

And now here I am, the newest devotee of the Crawley family and the rest of the brilliant cast. I'm more than ready to sit myself down and watch season 3…I want to see what happens with Matthew and Mary (I think they would have the most beautiful dark haired, blue eyed babies on the planet), Mr. Bates and Anna (I cry ever single time they have a scene together) as well as Miss O'Brien and Thomas (creepers keep on creeping with those two). 

Now I'm off to Amazon to see if I can find an English tea set to buy so I can drink my tea properly while I watch it. Send help.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Here's My Card

So I've been thinking about getting myself some business cards so I can try and get a photography business thing started for myself, but I'm feeling a little apprehensive about actually doing it.

I discovered a website called this afternoon (thank you Instagram) that has some really awesome, artistic business cards, like these Polaroid style ones above. They use 5 of your own images and have all your contact information on the back in a really cool looking font.

I picked 5 shots from the various senior portrait sessions I did with my daughter last summer and fall, then typed in some random info on the back, just to see how it would look.

The answer? Like I know what I'm doing.

But as I looked them over a few things started to nag at me…
  • I don't have specific information where people can reach me (just my regular numbers and email address but that is easily remedied).
  • I don't really have any set price lists in case someone wanted me to do a session.
  • I would actually have to hand these out to people, which means talking to them and that always strikes fear in my heart.
I will freely admit that starting a photography business of my own is something I've wanted to do for a long time, but the fact that I don't really know where to start or how has always been a huge obstacle for me, so I tend to let it go and say to myself "Well, maybe someday".

But in my year of being open (and really trying to live up to that word), I've begun to think that maybe now is the time to do it. And maybe if I buy myself some business cards and actually hand them out to people, I will find someone who says "Hey, I'd like you to take pictures of me, my kids or my cat!" Because I would seriously do that. I really would.

But I've got this little nagging voice in the back of my head that keeps telling me there are a million billion photographers out there already, who have way more experience than I do and why would anyone ask me to photograph anything for them?

Yes, there are a million billion photographers out there (some with more or less experience than I've got), but they've managed to carve a little niche out for themselves. Why should I be any different? It's not like I want to do this everyday for the rest of ever, I'd just like to offer my services to people out there who'd like a nice portrait of themselves, their children or their families at an affordable price. 

And what's the worst that could happen? I get these cards, hand a few out, no one calls and I'm stuck with the rest of them? They're really cool looking so it's not a total loss… 

Monday, January 6, 2014

The Weekend

Thanks to the snow day on Friday, we had a nice, long weekend.

There was a salon appointment for me (way cheaper than therapy)...

Cats in boxes (always with the boxes)...

Taking down the tree (way more fun putting it up than taking it down)...

Chocolate souffle cake in a mug (a/k/a everything that is right with the world in a mug)...

Trivial Pursuit for National Game Day (and the first time I've beat my husband ever)...

Playing in the snow (you're never too old for this)...

Making a snow girl (named Regina George who was personally victimized by the warm weather we had today)...

And a fresh roast turkey dinner from our favorite local farm ( ain't just for Thanksgiving)...

Hope your weekend was good.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Snow Day

Today was our first official snow day of the year. 

Since  I knew it was going to be a snow day yesterday afternoon (my daughter's school called well in advance instead of 5:30 am the morning of the actual snow day), I was super smart and stayed up until almost 1 am reading a really great romantic historical fiction book (don't judge me). As a consequence, when it was time to get up and feed the cat, I was doing a pretty good Rip Van Winkle impersonation and was unable to rouse myself. Thankfully my loving husband did it so I could be a lump. Of course, once the cat was done with breakfast, she decided to join me in bed because why not?

In order for me to get out of bed at a human regular time, I had to turn myself into a contortionist a la Cirque de Soleil to get up without disturbing the furry hell beast cat. 

Once I was up (and having only pulled one muscle doing so) I went downstairs and made pancakes because IT'S WAS A SNOW DAY.

Regular pancakes for the rents...

And a fun snowman pancake for the kid. Look at that...I even sprinkled it with powdered sugar to give it a snowy effect. Y'all can stand in line behind me, THE MOTHER OF THE  YEAR.

As the day went on, there was a debate as to whether our daughter would go to her voice lesson in the afternoon or not. After much debate where my husband and myself tried to persuade her to just stay home, she won and I took her to lessons despite the 12+ inches of snow and 12 degree temps.


The day has ended with our daughter going to a post holiday party with some friends while we stayed in and pretended I'm we're not living somewhere where it's 2 degrees out. My husband suggested we get pizza and watch Timeline this evening. So in the end...greatest day ever.

Thursday, January 2, 2014


I am feeling pretty dang accomplished today.

Everyone is back to work and school today (although there may be a snow day to tomorrow…knock on wood), so I'm home alone, doing my thang and getting it done in a very expedient manner.

I've worked out, started the laundry, bathed, eaten fairly healthy (the small portion of sea salt and vinegar chips I had with lunch should not be held against me) and watched several episodes of Torchwood while I finished these two babies:

My 2013 Project Life and my December 2013 Picture The Holidays albums.

This is the third Project Life album I've done and I really have to say…I love doing these. Back in the day, I was a rabid scrapbooker. I had taken my daughter to a local playgroup and one of the other moms was a Creative Memories rep. She had a small album with her that she had put together and showed it to all of us. I went bonkers. It was photos (I've always loved taking pictures), stickers (I had a sticker album when I was a kid) and was everything I felt like I needed to do, especially since my daughter was 3 years old.

But as the years went by, I gradually fell off the scrapbooking bandwagon. My daughter was entering her teenage years so there weren't as many photographic opportunities as there had been when she was little. I would put an album together every now and then, but the days of putting a two page spread together were gone.

Enter the idea of taking a photo a day to document your life plus the Project Life kits by Becky Higgins, and I was pulled back in like nobody's business. I love capturing the big events of life as well as the small, mundane moments that are often overlooked. Plus it's very cool to have a whole year laid out in front of you.

So, on the second day of the new year, I put the last two pictures in my 2013 album, added a few finishing touches then put it on the shelf to be perused at one's leisure.

Naturally I've already started on the 2014 album and even though it's only got two photos in it, I'm enjoying it. I got too comfortable with last year's album, not really venturing too much away from the basics of the kit set. But this year I've got a few ideas that I plan on incorporating to make it a little different and more personalized.

As for my Picture The Holidays album…ugh, I love it. I loved capturing the whole month in pictures. Plus I added all the Christmas cards we got in the mail to it, so that was kind of fun. I followed some of the prompts in the Tracy Clark class at Big Picture Classes. If you're into photography, you should look into her classes. They are so good and she is such an amazing photographer. 

An hour has passed since I started writing this and now my man and kid are home with donuts. I guess it's a good thing I worked out this morning...

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

New Year, New Me

It's the afternoon of January 1st, 2014 and I am already tired of hearing the phrase "New Year, New Me" along with the litany of resolutions that everyone seems to be craming down our collective throats on Facebook, Twitter and anywhere else one can make a public proclomation.

That's me. Just a little ray of sunshine.

Don't get me wrong...I understand that people want to better themselves and the act of putting their goals out into the world makes them more motivated to accomplish them. Add to this the idea of a fresh start of a shiny new year and it's the perfect storm for a tidal wave of resolutions.

I know what you're saying..gosh Jen, don't hold back, tell us how you really feel.

If I'm being completely honest, I've been thinking about resolutions the last few weeks. Every December I start thinking about things I'd like do in the new year. And every year I think about writing them down and putting them up over my desk, so I see them everyday. But I never do it, mostly because I'm lazy like that.

But last night I had an ephiphany...what if, instead of making a list of things I want to change about myself, I came up with a list of things I just want. And I'm not talking a list of material items, but a list of intangible things. I immediately thought "I'd like to take more meaningful pictures", "I'd like to spend more time relaxing" and "I'd like to be open to possibilities."

And that is when it hit me...instead of making a list of resolutions, I'd pick one word for the year I'd like to try and live by (Ali Edwards does this every year and I love the idea), and thus my word is open.

2014 promises to be a of change for me. My only child will be graduating from high school and starting college in the fall. I hate that these two very significant  milestones happen only a few short months apart. I feel like I should have some time to get used to the first one before the second one occurs. But I don't, and so I would like to be open to what will happen. Open to change, open to possibility, open to who I will be afterward.

So here is to a new year, and a year of being open to it and all it has to offer.

P. S. I find it extremely funny that under the labels I've made for this blog, one of them is "resolutions". Oh the irony...