Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Reading Material: 4 Months Down

So I'm going to change how I post about what I'm reading. It won't really matter to anyone else, but because I haven't really been going off the list I originally put together, I'm going to format it more how I do in my head each year. I want to read 52 books in a year. For the past three years, I've done the reading challenge on goodreads where you enter how many books you want to read that year, then as you mark a book as 'read' throughout the year, it adds to your count. I've put 52 as my goal for three years, and the closest I've gotten is 40 in 2012. This year I only read 17. So, I can't say I'm too sure of myself for 2014, but I figure it doesn't hurt to try again.

So this is what I read this month. Or...am in the process of reading:
1. One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp
I didn't open this book once this month. I love this book. I really do. However, I think I find it overwhelming. It's just really deep thoughts and ideas that make me think a lot, and I guess you could say I just didn't really want to think very much this month.

2. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
I didn't finish this book. A friend wanted to borrow my copy, and I just wasn't feeling this reread, so I took out my bookmark and haven't looked back. I don't think I'll try rereading this series again until 2015, when the second part of the Mockingjay movie comes out.

3. Divergent by Veronica Roth
I don't know how I feel about this book. My little sister read it before me, and she was extremely adamant about me reading it too. It was very interesting. But, it was also cheesy. I still liked it enough to finish 3/4 of it in one night. I stayed up way too late that night.

4. Insurgent by Veronica Roth
I finished Divergent nearly two weeks ago, yet I'm not even 100 pages into the sequel. Oops. I plan on starting it back up soon. I've just been more focused on working, and, more recently, knitting.

- rl

Reading Material
Reading Material: 1 Month Down
Reading Material: 2 Months Down
Reading Material: 3 Months Down

Monday, December 30, 2013

Where I've Been

The Rocket Summer's Bryce Avary at the Christmas Madness concert on the 20th. Awesome night.

Oops. I went a month without blogging. Not for any reason besides that I tend to try to focus on things that really matter sometimes. Why bother with organizing blog posts when I can sit on the couch and just relax by hanging out with my family? So that's what I did. I took a little break from trying and now I'm ready to go at it again. I'm ready to learn more about knitting on the needles I got for Christmas, expand my creativity with my camera, and get into better routines that involve reading my Bible more often. And, as much as I hate cliches, what better time to start than in 2014? And, of course, I plan on blogging every bit.

I'll post more about my 2014 goals soon. I just wanted to check it one more time before 2013 is over. Tomorrow I'll do my final reading update - I plan on changing that up a little bit in the new year. 

- rl

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

3 Months with Sam

Sam isn't looking so good. Even just look at pictures from one month ago, I can see that he's lost a lot of petals. And then I took inside the pot (like you can kind of see in the last picture) and it just all looks weird.

If this plant dies, I will be very sad. I'm thinking maybe I haven't given him enough water, so I guess this month I'll focus on reviving him.

- rl

(p.s. As usual, you can view the songs/videos I liked this past month here.)

Monday, December 02, 2013

Reading Material: 3 Months Down

This reading is going much, much slower than I first thought it would. I'm still working on what my priorities are, so when I have those figured out I should be reading more. Who knows, though.

So this is what I read this month. Or...am in the process of reading:
1. The Host by Stephenie Meyer
I finished this book in the beginning of the month, then sighed over Ian a few days. Then, last week I saw that the movie was on Netflix, so I watched it a little here and there and finished it while working on my application (yes, that got sent in on Sunday at 6pm. Cutting it a little close to the deadline, I know). 

2. One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp
Oh, man. This book is hard to get through. You really have to give it your full attention, but it's worth it, because it's just some really deep stuff. Just really interesting ideas and realizations that make me think hard. I'm only about halfway through, and I already know I'm going to have to make a list as well when the time comes...

2. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
So I first read this book around the time the movie came out. I finished it within 48 hours, then the next two of the series in the next 48. Crazy good. Then because I knew I was going to the midnight premiere of Catching Fire, I thought it would be a good idea to pause my progress in One Thousand Gifts and try to read the whole series (or at least through Catching Fire), but I obviously did not do that. You can see in the second picture how far I got. Pathetic, I know. I blame that on my mind which is already looking forward to reading another YA sci-fi type of book once I finish the ones I'm currently on. And yes, Catching Fire is as good as everyone says it is. I've already seen it twice, and I really hate seeing movies in theater period.

- rl

Reading Material
Reading Material: 1 Month Down
Reading Material: 2 Months Down

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Small Business Saturday

The gist: I opened an Etsy shop. Last week, actually. I thought about posting about it then, but then I heard this Saturday was Small Business Saturday, so I decided to wait until now to say anything.

It's called from the Maker. Thinking of a name is why it took me so long to open a shop. I would have started one this summer if I had been able to think of a name. The reason behind it is explained a little bit in the shop info:

My relentless Savior is an incredible Maker. I'm a maker too, but of the things listed here instead of the mountains and skies. 

I don't really know of any other way to explain that. I hope to organize my thoughts on the name a bit more and then dedicate a full post on it eventually. I only know now that I share the things I make here on this blog, but this shop is where I will attempt to sell those things. It's been "open" for a week and I have already gotten one favorite on a hat, which was exciting to see!

So far, I only have four hats listed. One adult-size, and three baby-size. The one shown above is my favorite. I think the ones without brims are the cutest, and I can confirm that the yarn this one was made with is soft.

I guess you could say that my vision is that one day I won't be the only maker on there. A few other people would also be contributing. And it would rock. I like that idea of collaboration. For now, though, it's just me. But, hey, if you want to join me on there with something you make, let's talk about it. (:

It won't just be loomed hats. One day I'll actually learn how to knit or crochet a hat, or scarves, or maybe I'll put my weaved baskets up there, or maybe even some stuff I haven't quite thought of yet.

So there you have. Need a hat? Welllllllllllllllllll, I may know of a place...

- rl

(p.s. I hope to have some other "from the Maker" specific social media pages open before too long. Today, though, I worked and then I have a lot of my Moody application to work on before tomorrow's deadline, so the social media will have to wait.)

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Benefits of Being Awkward

I took this while we were in San Antonio, because, seriously, who doesn't always need a new profile picture?

When I read this post last month, I had just started work at Chick-fil-A. I could relate to the post. Not because I'm a photographer (although I have already had a good amount of people ask me to take photos of their family after this post. That offer is still good, by the way!), but because of this line,

"my awkwardness helps me see awkwardness in others during uncomfortable situations...and I'm well suited to ease it."

I'm not the only awkward person. There are plenty of others, and they come up for food. When I think a guest feels awkward or uncomfortable, I speak differently to them. Not in a negative way, of course, but I try to make sure they feel comfortable. It's hard to explain. For one, I make sure I listen closely so that they don't have to repeat themselves. Obviously, I listen as intently as I can for every guest, but some people don't mind if they have to repeat themselves. I just know that for me, I look at myself negatively when the person I'm getting food, or anything else, from doesn't hear me. Sometimes we both end up feeling awkward, which is hard.

But, whatever the situation, I'm thankful to be awkward now that I see the benefits.

- rl

Monday, November 25, 2013

Update on the Current Situation

I took this picture of my feet in the grass yesterday because I wanted to do a before and after picture after it snowed. It never snowed. Texas, why do you always have to get my hopes up?!

Well, I suppose now that I actually have something to update people on, I should do so.

I wrote this blog post in August, and haven't really updated since. Obviously, I did not go to Chicago. And while I should have contacted Moody in late August to see what my next step would be, I waited until last Wednesday to do so. I emailed them about whether or not I need to reapply, and they replied that night.

I do. I have to reapply. The early decision deadline is Sunday, December 1. So, that's my goal. I barely started working on the application Friday, and I plan on finishing it up this week.

I don't think I shared this in that big long blog post back in August, but last year I had wanted to apply for the December 1 deadline, but I just didn't finish in time, and I know it ended up working out better in the long run, because I had plenty of time to really think about my essays. This time, though, I've had months to think about it, so I plan on just knocking it all out in one day.

By applying for this early decision deadline, multiple things can happen (to my knowledge) when I get a letter in mid-January:
1: I can get accepted for fall 2014. Straight up.
2: I can be deferred to find out after the regular decision deadline on March 1 (that letter coming in mid-April).
3: I can be denied altogether, but I think Moody's version of that is
4: suggesting I do FYOP (First Year Online Program), where I think it goes something like this: regular amount of hours, but all online, then Chicago the next year?
5: Spokane for a time. Moody has a campus in Spokane, Washington, but as of right now they don't have the Communications major there. I could do my "basics" there, then transfer to Chicago, I think. That campus is different, though, because there are no dorms, and I think it's more like you can rent houses with other students.

So there you have it. I'm working on my application this week. It's scary this time around because I'm making it public. I feel much more vulnerable this time. Not a huge amount of people read my blog, but people still know what's up in my life, and they care about me. Last time I didn't put out there where I was applying. If someone asked, I would tell them, but I didn't talk about it a lot to people I wasn't close to. It's hard this time, though, to think that I feel a responsibility to let people know either way, even if it is a "no" this time. And that's the hard part - the thought that I could not be accepted to the Chicago campus again. I was really shocked to get in on the first try, so we'll have to see if it happens again.

Ok. Now time to go work on my application.

- rl

Friday, November 22, 2013

Fall Foliage: Part III

Well, I didn't plan on having three parts to this post, but the leaves in our neighborhood were just too beautiful. I had to take pictures. And share them.

- rl

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Fall Foliage: Part II

My mom really wanted me to get a picture of the trees on this street. But since I only have an 18-55mm lens, it doesn't zoom quite that far. If it did, I could have gotten an awesome shot of those pretty trees and the church in the background.

So I lied a little. Not that it really matters, but this was not posted the day after part I, like I said it would be. Seriously, though, who cares?

Anyway, so these pictures were taken at out behind where my mom used to work. As we walked around she told me about how they used to come out here and have their prayer time. It was so beautiful. I wish we could have spent another 30 minutes there, just so I could compose each shot carefully. Alas, we had to head home so dinner could be ready in time.

It was a really nice couple of hours. I enjoyed our time together, mommy. So glad we have similar interests like this. (:

- rl

Monday, November 18, 2013

Fall Foliage: Part I

Yesterday,  my mom and I went on a little adventure. Rumor has it she was tempted to skip work on Friday just to go look at trees, so we had to get our fix yesterday. We love pretty trees. So, after lunch with the family, just the two of us headed out - me in the driver's seat.

First we hit a little trail by a neighborhood my mom keeps passing by and she wanted to check it out. It didn't look the same up close in person than when you're driving past. A tad disappointing, and it was HOT out. Like nearly 90 degrees. Why, Texas?!

Then we went to Willowbend Mall, where my mom thought there may be some good trees. There were a few, but there also weren't really any places to stop to take pictures. So.

Then we went to an office building area, which had some nice trees and plenty of space to get the right angle. We were just afraid some security officer would confront us. They did not.

Tomorrow I will share pictures from the final place we went...

- rl

(p.s. I'm aware these aren't the best pictures. Not sure anyone else will notice, but I definitely did once I got them on my computer. In my defense, it's so hard to really see the quality of a picture on an LCD screen in the afternoon sun. Sigh.)

Friday, November 15, 2013

What I've Been Up To This Week

Reading before I go into work. 
Not regretting having a ham and cheese croissant from Paradise Bakery every now and then.
Reading after work and while waiting to be picked up.
Trying to remember to eat more pears. 
Enjoying the environment at work. One of my managers/friend put random condiments in my bag when I went on break. 
Sacrificing the slippers I love so this boy can be happy.

What's up in your world?

- rl

(p.s. Getting my own laptop = finally getting pictures off my phone = finally having space on my phone for the first time in forever = finally taking pictures with my iPhone again = the first time I've had iPhone photos on my blog! All others are taken with my Canon Rebel T3i, and the rest will be, unless specified. All photos in this post were taken with my iPhone 4S.)

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Photo Editing

I don't know why I feel the desire to share my opinion/process of editing photos. I actually don't edit my photos. I haven't, that is. The only edited photos on my blog were a couple days ago in this post. I thought I would share here how little I edited these photos. I also think it will be fun to have this list for future reference.

The top photos are the edited ones. All were edited using Adobe Photoshop Express, which I found free in the store on my Windows 8 laptop.

Picture 1:

Looking at these side by side, I can hardly tell the difference. I just tried to make it a little less washed out. 

Picture 2:

I cropped this photo. I think that's it. I took this picture while we were on a boat tour on the Riverwalk in San Antonio because of those two similar angles, but didn't like that the sky awkwardly got in there, so I cropped it out. It looks like I may have played with the shadows a teeny bit, but I can't even tell. 

Picture 3:

I only cropped this one, because I didn't like that those people happened to be in the picture. 

Picture 4:

The first thing I did to this photo was crop it, so it was endless balconies. Then I think I tried to lessen the yellow-ness of the lights, but that was obviously not fixed. Of course, I could try it in black and white, but half the fun is that that is how those balconies looked. (Also, I knew I liked this photo. I uploaded it to 500px.com, a website I'm starting to use to share some of my photography, and it's gotten a lot of comments/like/favorites tonight! You can view it here.)

Picture 5:

This photo is the one I edited the most. I didn't like the yellow look. I ended up just making it black and white. And playing around with some levels. 

Picture 6: 

The main thing I did with this one was straighten it. It really bothered me that the wall looks crooked on the left side, so I fixed it. I also edited it a tad. Maybe. I don't remember now, I did all these Saturday night in the hotel room.

So that's it. I guess my view on photo editing is simple: cropping, straightening, and making it black and white. While I love the coloring on all the hipster photos I reblog on tumblr, that's not my photography style. My style is natural. That's why I shoot in manual. That's why I don't delete any photos, even the ones that I will obviously never use because the settings were wrong. I like to look back on the process it takes to get one photo.

- rl