November 17, 2015

At The Park // From The Treetops






It's finally beginning to look and feel like Fall around here...and I'm loving it SO much! I don't know about you guys, but when I know I'm going to be heading out with my camera...I want to take practically every piece of equipment I own. I've got a backpack that I can pretty much fit everything into, and I usually tote it around with me every time I'm going to be doing something outdoors. I cringed at the idea of taking my camera, my 50mm lens, and nothing else...but decided to challenge myself to use just one lens. I'm always afraid that if I don't have everything with me...I'll spot something incredibly photo worthy and not have the right gear. Is it just me, or does everybody feel that way? Although my 50mm did just fine (and I LOVE my 50!), I definitely want to keep lugging everything along with me for now.

My favorite finds of the day were the GIANT green leaf and the wasp nest!  I found a few really fun DIY projects involving leaves, and the size of this one is absolutely perfect for a particular project I saw.  Definitely going back to get some of them this week to try out :)

November 12, 2015

Derby Diary 2

So. Much. Has. Happened in the past month you guys!!!  Since my last Derby post, I've had several "on-skates" practices, learned tons of new cool stuff, and have gotten past the nervous stage of socializing with people (okay maybe not completely past that stage...but I'm getting there!). When I first became interested in joining the program, my goal was to be drafted to a team by the end of the session in January.  I'll be super stoked if that happens...but my new derby goals are to just get fit, have fun, and not fret about whether or not I'll pass assessments or get drafted in January.  I'm having too much fun to worry about anything else right now :)

My first practice was SO tough!  I got so incredibly tired, and although I was having fun skating...I couldn't wait for it to be over.  I felt like I was skating through mud.  I hadn't been on a skating rink floor in such a long time and I didn't know if it was just the floor I was skating on, my wheels not being the right softness/hardness, or if it was just because I'm so out of shape.  I didn't discover the problem until after practice was over...my wheels were too tight!  I had switched them out the night before and didn't loosen them enough.  I felt like such an idiot when I realized that was the problem.  Wheels are supposed to be loose enough that when you slap them they keep spinning...when I slapped them after practice...they weren't even budging!  I spent two hours skating on my wheels like that, and was so winded at the end of practice that I was coughing excessively for 4 days!

The second practice was so much easier.  The warm-up still killed me because I have zero cardio endurance, but skating felt amazing.  When I first got my skates, I went a little crazy and ordered several different sets of wheels including hybrid (inside/outside) and outside sets.  I'm so happy I did that though, because I realized within 5 minutes of being on the rink that my rainbow set was a little too slippery for me.  I tried doing a cross-over when I turned the corner and ended up falling and sliding like 6 feet.  I asked the coach if she thought I should switch out my wheels and she recommended just switching the outside ones to a more grippy wheel.  I immediately got off the rink to switch my outside wheels to my new set of Poison's.  They were exactly what I needed.  No more sliding and I feel a lot more confident turning corners now :)

My third practice was a bit rough on my feet.  I felt a lot better about my skating in general, but we did a lot of footwork and tried walking on our toe-stops.  I already had blisters on a couple of my toes, and after doing the drills we did-I knew I had to do something to protect them the next time around.  We also got to practice falling and getting up.  Aside from my lack of endurance, my second downfall is falls and getting up.  I'm not a confident faller.  There is a correct and safe way to fall...and I'm not particularly good at it yet...at all.  It's definitely something that I can spend more time working on at home.

By the fourth practice, I was over the "socially nervous" bit for the most part, but I was having a bad day and 100% did NOT want to go.  I felt grouchy and tired and had no interest in doing anything but having a nice bath and going to bed early.  Matthew wasn't about to let me miss practice though, and I'm so glad I forced myself into the car.  As soon as I laced up my skates and got on the rink...I was happy again.  This practice turned out to be one of my favorites so far.  I learned a couple different ways to stop, we did a lot of 180's and 360's in our skates, and we started backwards skating.  I felt a lot more confident doing these things than I did at most of the previous skills we've gone over.  By the time practice was over, my attitude had done it's own 360...which I'm sure Matthew appreciated ;)

This weeks practice...didn't happen.  I had every intention of going and was so excited to learn about whips and practice more on what I've learned so far.  I woke up Monday morning feeling a bit queezy + no appetite, which didn't get any better as the day went on.  I got off work at 2 and was asleep within the hour and didn't wake up until 5.  I NEVER take naps, I actually hate them.  I always wake up feeling like I've taken a sedative or something, so for me to need a massive nap like that-it was evident that I wasn't feeling well.  I'm all better now, and will be so excited for next weeks practice.  I'm hoping to go to one of the local rinks after work this weekend to get in some extra skating time.

I can't wait to find out what I'll be learning at Monday night's practice!

November 10, 2015

Backyard Adventures // Buzz Buzz Buzz

Our backyard is currently covered in weeds and yellow flowers....which means it's also full of butterflies, bees, and a variety of other insects :)  I had plans of going hiking yesterday, but they fell through and I had to make due with exploring the back yard instead.  Which was fine-because I love insects :) I've always wanted to get a nice shot of a giant bumblebee, but they tend to buzz away before I'm able to get close enough.  This one was nice enough to crawl around just long enough for me to get a few shots before it decided it had had enough.

I've only seen a few honeybees this past month, so I was happy to see this girl:
Matthew currently has an ingrown toenail, and our hiking plans have been taking a backseat while it's healing.  I hope it gets better soon!  I'm ready for lots and lots of hiking!

November 5, 2015

Food + Fitness

After my first two hour Roller Derby practice, it was more clear than it ever has been...I really need to commit to making fitness a priority in my life.  I said goodbye to my healthy weight range about 4 years ago, and it's been such a struggle to stay motivated to make the right choices for my body.  Getting involved in Derby has really gotten me motivated to not only lose weight, but to make my body strong and healthy.  I knew I would feel sore after practices (and I do!!!), but I'm not as sore as I thought I'd be.  My biggest struggle so far has been stamina.  Each practice begins with a quick warm up that's mostly cardio...and you would seriously think I was having an asthma attack or something.  My fitness priority right now is definitely going to be building up my cardio endurance. I plan on working out 5 days a week (including Derby practices), with Tuesday and Wednesday being my recovery days.  For now, my workouts will consist of a mix of cardio training + skating/derby drills. I recently decided to make a lifestyle change and am gradually converting to a vegetarian diet.  I challenged myself early last week to eat a vegetarian menu for at least one week to see how it would go.  I didn't complete my challenge, but I'm happy to say that I only ate meat at two of my meals.  I'm trying new foods and have become really excited about Collard Green Wraps.  Maybe I'll even share one of my favorite recipes soon!  Making an effort to switch to a Vegetarian diet has forced me to plan my meals in advance, which keeps me from eating fast food and pizza all the time.  Seriously...the Ninja Turtle diet was definitely getting out of hand...I LOVE PIZZA!  I've also cut out soda for the most part.  I've been drinking more water, unsweet tea, and lemon water is my new favorite thing.  Every now and then I have a Vanilla Cream Root Beer from Sonic...it's my YOLO treat for sure :)  Aside from the health benefits, my choice to switch to a vegetarian diet is also fueled by my love of animals and the environment.  Not only am I starting to feel healthier, but I feel happy about not eating meat.  I even picked up a couple of Vegan cookbooks to try out a mix of Veggie and Vegan meals :)

 November Goals:


  • Reach goal weight of 145 pounds by December 1st.
  • Start a cardio routine
  • Find at least one new Vegetarian/Vegan meal that I love to prepare.
  • Find and sign up for a January 5K Race.

November Challenge:


  • Eat Vegan for one whole day.

I'm so excited to get serious about my veggie and fitness journey!  I'll be checking in every four weeks to share my progress and add new goals and challenges.

Current Weight: 151 // November Goal Weight: 145 // Final Goal Weight: 125

October 28, 2015

5 Creepy Films to Watch This Halloween

Sharing posts about movies isn't something I do often, and I don't think I've ever shared a film post here on Lady Serpentine.  I'm in love with all things movie related though, and with Halloween creeping up quick, I thought it would be the perfect time to share a list!  Instead of sharing a list of my favorite Halloween time movies such as Beetlejuice, The Shining, and Nightmare Before Christmas....I thought it would be more fun to share an interesting selection of creepy films I haven't seen yet!  When I say creepy...I really do mean creepy....and not just creepy-obscure and maybe even freakish?  Coincidentally, two of the films on my list share the same name!  We'll start there:
The Boy (2015) "An intimate portrait of a 9-year-old sociopath's growing fascination with death"-IMDB.  See the trailer here.
The Boy (2016) "An American nanny i shocked that her new English family's boy is actually a life-sized doll. After violating a list of strict rules, disturbing events make her believe that the doll is really alive."-IMDB  See the trailer here.
Borgman (2014) "A vagrant enters the lives of an arrogant upper-class family, turning their lives into a psychological nightmare in the process."-IMDB  See the trailer here.
Goodnight Mommy (2015) "Twin boys move to a new home with their mother after she has face changing cosmetic surgery, but under her bandages is someone the children don't recognize."-IMDB  See the trailer here.
Krampus (2015) "A boy who has a bad Christmas ends up accidentally summoning a Christmas demon to his family home."-IMDB  See the trailer here.
I love obscure creepy movies-let me know if you've got a recommendation!

October 27, 2015

At The Park // Black + White


Are you guys ready for Halloween?!  I know I am!  I hate that I've been absent here for almost the entirety of October, but I'm happy to say that my schedule should finally be going back to normal this week.  I'm looking forward to spending time with my camera again :)  I took these photos on my last trip to the park with the intention of trying to get spider web photos, and I'm happy that I was able to get a few different ones.  Editing them in black and white really helped them stand out against the background, which was a bit busy.

This last photo might be my favorite...I love all of the little bokeh from the sun shining through the tree leaves, and I think the heart shaped leaf in the center of the web is sweet too :)

I hope you're having a great Monday!

October 15, 2015

Derby Diary 1

A couple of months ago, I announced that I was going to be joining a Fresh Meat Roller Derby program.  I've been fairly quiet about it, but it's finally started and I'm SO excited about it!  One of the big reasons that I decided to do this, is because I'm incredibly introverted and very much a loner.  I wanted to do something that would push me out of my comfort zone and force me to socialize with people.

I was so nervous about going to orientation.  I didn't know anyone that was going to be there and didn't know what to expect.  That's typically more than enough to make me run the other way, but I just kept telling myself that it would only be a couple of hours and that it was a baby step in the right direction for me.  Orientation was great!  I introduced myself to a couple of girls, which is a big deal for me because I'm usually the girl in the corner waiting for someone else to talk to me first.  Everyone was so nice and I quickly became a lot more comfortable as the time passed.  One of the most interesting things about Orientation was the fact that the previous session girls were doing their Assessments.  Getting to see what we would be doing at the end of our 12 week session was really neat.  It was also an eye opener...this looks tough!!!  Another reason I decided to join the program is for fitness purposes.  I've never been part of a team sport (unless cheerleading in Jr. High counts).  I reached my most unhealthy weight early last year and have managed to slowly drop 20 pounds.  I don't want to let anyone down by not trying my hardest, so this is definitely going to force me to be more active outside of practice.  I'll share more about my cross-training activities in another post...but I'll just tell you that it's SO HARD!

Our first practice went a little differently than planned due to a scheduling conflict, but hanging out with the group and learning more about what to expect at practices was great.  I felt really nervous before forcing myself to get out of the truck to join the other girls, but once I did I felt a lot better.  I can tell this is going to be a life changer for me.  It might sound like I'm getting ahead of myself by saying that...but it really is.
My next practice is Monday night.  We were asked to get a shirt with our chosen derby names and numbers (if we've decided on them already), and I'm so excited to make mine.  I'll share my results when it's done :)

October 13, 2015

At The Park // Frogs + Critters


The past couple of weeks have been so rough at work.  I won't go into details, but I had zero time for life outside of work.  I actually ended up having a little bit of a meltdown when I got home one day because I was so upset that I wasn't getting any of my personal projects done.  Having the weekend off made me so excited to finally be able to get my camera out and head to the park.  I spent an hour and a half trekking through the woods, and it was really nice to just spend some time alone out there.  I feel better.



I'm really looking forward to cooler weather, but I'm going to miss photographing tiny living creatures.   I'm considering renting a wide-angle lens for landscape and night sky photography during the winter season.  Any recommendations?

September 25, 2015

Fall Goals 2015

You guys...Fall is officially here!  It certainly doesn't feel like Fall in my neck of the woods yet, but I'm very much looking forward to sweater weather and all things pumpkin.  Here are a few things I hope to accomplish within the next few months: Work my bum off (literally) for Roller Derby.  For the next 12 weeks, I'll be going to weekly practices and I want to not only be able to keep up....I reeeeally want to become an athlete.  Fitness has taken a backseat for most of my adult life-getting fit for Derby is the perfect motivation for me right now.

Do lots of pumpkin carving.  For someone who loves Halloween so much...I can't believe how long I've gone without carving a pumpkin.  I MUST make this a priority this year.

See the Blackheart Burlesque show again.  My sister and I went to this a couple of years ago, and it was so much fun!  I had never seen a burlesque show before, and knew this was the one I had to see.  Most (maybe all) of the routines are pop culture themed.  I think they've even added in a Beetlejuice bit!  It'll be here in November this year, and I can't wait to see it again!  If you want to sneak peak-watch this!

Go on a Stephen King reading binge.  I love books.  I've always been an avid reader...until this year.  I started reading Outlander last December and it's nearly October now and I'm only in the second book.  I do enjoy the story (and LOVE the show), but I just haven't been making time for reading.  I've been wanting to start a new book or series, but I hate not finishing one after I start...it just feels wrong....but I think I'm going to have to make an exception for this.  I'll come back to it, but for the next few months-I want to get back into Stephen King books...he's my favorite :)

Camp at Dinosaur Valley!  Fall screams camping and marshmallow roasting.  After our recent trip to Dinosaur Valley State Park, I'm itching to go back-and this time I plan on taking a tent.  It's been waaaay too long since my last camping experience.

Treat myself to tons of LUSH goodies.  If I treat myself to anything this Fall...it's going to be LUSH.  I started trying their hair products this year, and I've fallen in love with their Fairly Traded Honey shampoo and Happy Happy Joy Joy Conditioner.  In addition to replenishing my stores of shampoo and conditioner, I'm also ready to stock up on a variety of bath bombs, bubble bars, and fun rolls!

Get a new tattoo.  This is something that's always on my to-do list...but somehow never happens....mostly because I'm terrible at saving money.  I have plenty of ideas, so it's just a matter of saving the money and making an appointment.

Re-Open my Etsy Shop.  I put my shop into vacation mode earlier this year when we went on vacation, and just never opened it back up.  I've been wanting to re-brand my shop, and I think that's what's been holding me back from re-opening.  I'll get on that.

Watch all of my favorite Halloween-y movies.  I'll save my list for an entire post one day.  Thinking about my favorite Halloween movies give me warm fuzzies :)  I'm so excited about this season finally being here!

What are you goals this Fall?

September 21, 2015

At The Park // Squirrell


I don't know about you, but I can never get over how cute squirrels are.  After snapping shots of the butterflies at the park last week, we headed back to the truck to leave...until I saw this pretty girl!  She was so cute!  She had made a little groove in the dirt at the base of a tree and was rolling around in it after burying a nut for later.  Look at all the dirt on her snout!
On another note, Matthew and I went to see Black Mass on Friday night, and it was sooooo awesome to see Johnny Depp as the villain.  He was so creepy!!!  Check it out!

September 18, 2015

At The Park // Winged Creatures


While at the park recently, I stumbled upon the local butterfly meeting grounds, and have been meaning to make a trip back so that I can try and get a few butterfly shots.  I was crossing my fingers that there would be just as many there as there had been when I didn't have my camera with me....because let's face it-that's usually how it goes right?  As soon as we parked, I could see that my luck was with me...they were everywhere!  I snapped away while Matthew did a few laps around the park track, and am really happy with the shots I got.  I'm definitely going to have to go back and try for some more this weekend!

This last photo was perhaps my favorite from the day.  Just before we left to go to the park, I spotted a Red Wasp crawling around in our front yard and couldn't resist trying to get a close up shot with my 40mm lens.  I took a ton of photos, and this was my favorite.  The eye's are so cool!

September 16, 2015

At The Park // Armadillo


It's no secret around these parts that Armadillos are EVERYWHERE.  The weather has cooled down just a bit in the past few days and let me tell ya...80 degrees feels incredible after weeks of stepping outside has felt like stepping into an oven and having your clothes immediately stick to your body.  To be honest, the heat has played a major roll in keeping me away from visits to the park.  So when I stepped outside this past Saturday, I decided that it was the perfect day to visit the park.  I packed up my camera bag, threw on some flip flops, and headed to one of my favorites around the corner. As soon as I got there, I noticed a group of deer at the far end of the trail...they noticed me too and headed straight for the treeline.  I knew they wouldn't be anywhere near that spot when I got there, but the little opening in the treeline was calling for me-so I headed that way :)  I was about to continue into the woods when I heard a light rustling sound in the leaf litter nearby...I knew it was an armadillo before I even spotted it.  They've been a constant in my little explorer life, and they've become so easy for me to identify by sound.

I was able to get pretty close (these photos were taken with my 50mm prime lens), before my presence was noticed.  That's another thing I love about armadillos...you can get really close before they even know you're there...and even if they do realize you're there...they don't seem to care too much.  This one let me stay and observe for a few minutes before standing on it's hind legs to smell the air before going back to it's business of rooting for insects.

I can't wait to see more Armadillos as I do more exploring this fall.  If someone were to ask me what my favorite animal is (aside from snakes and other reptiles)...and I were forced to choose just one...it might well be the Armadillo :)

September 11, 2015

On The Trail // Dinosaur Valley State Park: Part 1


 As I mentioned in my previous post, Matthew and I spent Labor Day visiting Dinosaur Valley State Park for the first time, and I'm pretty excited about the photos I left with...so much so that I'm splitting them into two posts!  I wish the place wasn't nearly 2 hours away-because it's seriously one of the best hiking areas I've been to.







I can't wait to share the second group of photos with you on Monday!  Have a great weekend!

September 9, 2015

State Park Visit // Dinosaur Valley

 Matthew and I spent Labor Day visiting Dinosaur Valley State Park for the first time.  I've been wanting to check it out for a really long time, and was super excited to finally get to go :)  The visitor center had a really neat dinosaur exhibit, and the diagrams and illustrations were my favorite part.


Unfortunately, the actual dinosaur prints were visible, but just barely and I couldn't get a decent photo of any of them.  The only thing I came out with was this one...and you really can't tell there's a print there.  If you're having a tough time figuring out where it's supposed to be...the two deep grooves in the bottom right corner are the toes of a 'barely there' print.
If you're interested in seeing a better photos of LOTS of tracks-I found a pretty good one on Flickr.  Check it out here!


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