June 30, 2015

10 Things // June 2015

1.  I vacationed at the Gulf Coast!

 2.  I visited my favorite turtle pond...
 3.  I took a photo that I didn't think was going to turn out well...and it became a favorite...
 4.  I saw a gator!!!
 5.  I tried editing my aquarium photos in black & white and discovered my go-to aquarium editing technique :)
 6.  This crab!
 7.  I hit a bump in the road and shared 3 tips for staying passionate about hobbies.  I'll be taking my own advice in July :)
8.  I started working on a top-secret side project that I'll be talking about later in July...it involves critters like this...

9.  I took part in my very first Collaboration!  Check it out right HERE!
Photo courtesy of Kelly Del Valle

10.  This happened :)

Finding this pretty girl:

Even MORE stuff I loved about June:
  • It rained SOOOO much!  Rain/Storms are my favorite weather-so I was quite pleased :)
  • I discovered Plan To Eat and started cooking more!  I've always been lazy (or absent from) the kitchen-so this is really exciting for me.
  • True Detective is back!!!
  • I discovered a new favorite blog: Popcorn and Glitter  Her film posts are my favorite!!!

June 29, 2015

Creature Feature // Narrow-Mouthed Toad

One reason that I love Herpetology so much, and this applies to pretty much anything else biology related, is that it's full of first time finds.  There are so many different species of reptiles and amphibians, and I know that no matter how many I find-there's always going to be something I haven't seen yet.  The Narrow-Mouthed Toad was one of them for me, and there just so happened to be one nestled into the damp earth beneath an old log in our back yard!  I knew what it was the instant I saw it, and I was seriously so excited.  I'm telling you...that never gets old :)

Narrow Mouthed Toads are easily recognized by their short pointy snout, plump body, and slight skin fold behind the head (see photo below).  This particular individual had a beautiful olive coloration which is typical of the Western Narrow-Mouthed Toad who's distribution range overlaps in this area with that of the Eastern Narrow-Mouthed toad.  These guys are often found burrowing into loose soil underneath objects such as logs and rocks.  They feed primarily on ants, but they also enjoy other insects and small beetles.  Males are known to have a darker throat coloration, and although I didn't get a photo of the underside of this one, I believe she is a female.

 Click HERE for more Creature Features!

June 24, 2015

Life Lately // Laundry Days

 A few months back, our dryer decided to call it quits, and since we didn't want to rush out and buy a new one-we've resorted to line-drying our clothes.  And let me tell you-we LOVE it!  Now, it's been raining a lot here lately-so we've been having to take everything to the laundromat.  The rain seems to have cleared out for the rest of the week though, so yesterday we hung out laundry outside.  It's so relaxing and I honestly never want to invest in a dryer.  Never.  *I'll be whistling a different tune once winter rolls around.  But until then....*
It's become a nice time for Matthew and I to do something relaxing and productive together outside in addition to our walks at the park.  The only down-side so far is that our backyard is covered in stickers and by the time I come back in-the bottoms of my flipflops are covered in them!  Oh...that and it's incredibly hot out right now...which means we've got another set of clothes that need to be washed once we finish these :)

Even with all of the rain we've gotten...look how dry and dead our grass looks already!  Summer is definitely here...goodbye Spring!

Do you line-dry your clothes?  

If you've never tried it-I think you'll totally love it!!

June 22, 2015

3 Tips For Staying Passionate About Your Hobbies

Create a Schedule

I can't speak for everyone, but I personally LOVE listing, planning, and scheduling pretty much everything.  I'm a bit obsessed with it actually.  I'm a visual person, so having everything organized and planned out on something that I can look at makes life so much easier when it comes to me getting things done.  Making a schedule for the next months blog posts is something that I try to do every month.  I may not be the greatest when it comes to following it exactly how I've planned it-but having a schedule definitely helps me to stay motivated and passionate about my blog.  

Learn Something New

I'm 100% a learning maniac.  I love learning and exploring new things.  Hobbies in general really excite me.  When I start feeling as though my hobby is getting away from me or that I'm becoming a little bored with it, I do a bit of exploring and find something in my hobby field that I don't know how to do yet.  If your hobby is crocheting amigurumi dolls, learn to crochet granny square blankets! If your hobby is photography, learn to make and use a pinhole camera!  Not only is learning something new so much fun, it will make you even more passionate about your hobby.

Give Yourself a Break

One of the most important tips that I want to share today is this:  Do NOT overwhelm yourself.  I have fallen victim to this time and time again.  I get tired, unmotivated, and drained of creativity.  After standing on my feet all day at work, sometimes I just don't have the energy to photograph a project for a post that I should have scheduled DAYS ago (this is where creating a schedule comes in handy!).  Sometimes we have the best plans and intentions, but life happens and we don't get the things done that we set out to do.  Don't give up!  Just give yourself a break!  The last couple of weeks have definitely been like that for me.  After getting home from my vacation at Rockport, I was completely drained.  I was nursing a second-degree sunburn, I was getting back into the routine of work, and at the end of the day all I wanted to do was go to sleep.  So that's what i did.  I took a break last week and didn't share anything on Wednesday or Friday.  I still don't think I'll have a new Fun Shoot Friday post until July 3rd, but I'm getting back on track and I look forward to sharing great things soon!

Share Your Tips in the Comments Below!

June 15, 2015

On The Trail // Where The Gators At?

 While hiking out at the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge, one of the creatures we were reeeeally hoping to see was an Alligator.  The landscape seemed absolutely perfect for gators.  We hiked, and we hiked, and we hiked some more...and still no gators....

 As we came to the end of our hiking adventure, we made one last stop near a body of water, and BAM!  There it was!  A lone sleepy Alligator :)

 It was so awesome getting to see an Alligator in the wild.  I've lived in Texas my whole life, and I've seen many photos of Alligators living in my neck of the woods, but I've personally never spotted one.  Getting to see this one made all of the mosquito's and sweaty clothes well worth the trip :)  Aaaand, sitting just a few feet from the gator, was this American Bullfrog!  What a couple of cuties!!

Do you have gators where you live?

June 13, 2015

The Gulf Coast // Florida + Mississippi + Texas

via Flickr
Hi guys!  Today is a super exciting day for me, because I'm taking part in my very first collaboration post...and with two amazing photographers!  A couple of weeks ago, I mentioned that I'd be vacationing for a week on the Texas coast.  Kelly of Swimming in Sunshine got in touch with me and invited me to take part in a Gulf Coast collaboration post that she and Jen of Pierced Wonderings were already doing.  It was perfect timing and I'm so excited to take part in it.  I've never visited Florida or Mississippi before, but these photos are inspiring me to want to plan to Gulf Coast road trip in the future.  That would be so much fun!  Until then, I hope you enjoy our photos!  Don't forget to check out the variety of photos we've all shared on Kelly's and Jen's posts as well!

The Florida Coast // Kelly
I've been following Kelly's blog for quite some time now, and it's become one of my absolute favorites.  She always has such a great variety of nature and wildlife photos, and her blog posts seriously make me want to pack up all of my stuff and move to Florida.  For a reptile lover such as myself, that state would be a paradise to go herping in!  Kelly's Florida Gulf Coast photos were taken at Fort Island.  I am so in love with the colors in her first photo, and the Little Blue Heron in the second photo is so sweet!  My favorite is, of course, the snake photo!  I'm not sure, but I think it's either a Pine Snake or a Gray Rat Snake.  Either way, it's gorgeous!!  Check out Kelly's Gulf Coast post HERE!

The Mississippi Coast // Jen
I only just recently started following Jen's blog, but it's quickly becoming one of my favorites as well.  I don't know how she edits her floral photography, but the colors are just so beautiful and charming!  Jen's Gulf Coast photos were taken at the Gulf Islands National Seashore.  I'm so serious about that road trip idea!  I could totally see myself getting into a pair of waders and seeking out reptiles to photograph.  This place looks like it would be FULL of them!  I'm told there are definitely gators there, so that would be awesome to see!  My favorite thing about Jen's first two photos are the reflections in the water.  I am a huge fan of reflection in photography, and these are just so gorgeous.  Her third photo reminds me a lot of home.  Before I moved to Fort Worth, I lived in a tiny central Texas town, and this type of environment is basically what my backyard looked like.  I love it!  Check out Jen's Gulf Coast post HERE!

The Texas Coast // Mindi
My trip to the coast here in Texas was a TON of fun, and I had such a great time taking photos for this collaboration.  The photos that I'm featuring here today were all taken at San Jose Island near Port Aransas!  San Jose Island is 21 miles of undisturbed shoreline full of pretty shells and sea life.  We saw so many sea turtles and sharks that day.  It was awesome :)  On the downside, I got the worst sunburn of my life while we were there, and I'm so happy I took these photos before I lost all of the energy I had left :)  Seriously, it was rough.

Thank you Kelly and Jen for inviting me to take part in this collaboration!  I love getting to share your photos with my readers, and I love seeing all of our photos together!

Check out Jen's post on Pierced Wonderings!
Check out Kelly's post on Swimming in Sunshine!

June 12, 2015

Friday Is For Favorites // Jurassic Park

Courtesy of Kate Gabrielle
Eeeep!  Jurassic World is here!!!  I have been so pumped about this movie, and I can't wait to see it today!  Jurassic Park is the very first movie that I remember seeing at the theater.  I'm sure there were others before it, but it's the first one I remember so it's extra special to me :)

I was going to share a Jurassic Park themed Fun Shoot Friday post today, but time got away from me this week and I just wasn't able to get it together in time.  I couldn't pass up the opportunity to share a few of my favorite Jurassic Park/Dinosaur themed goodies from around the web.  Aren't these all so cute!?
Courtesy of Hello Dodo

Courtesy of TinySketchbook

This would seriously be THE cutest tattoo!!!  I kinda of want it reeeeeally bad now :)

Are you going to see Jurassic World?

June 10, 2015

Black and White // Jellies, Rays, and Sea Horses

While on our Trip to Rockport, Matthew and I made our way to the Texas State Aquarium in Corpus Christi!  I decided to edit my favorite photos in extreme black and white to create something different, and I'm completely in love with the way they turned out.  A lot of these were really difficult for me to get a good focus on because of the glass.  Removing all of the color and increasing the contrast totally saved them and gives them a sense of mystery/magic in my opinion :)  Enjoy!

I hope you're having a great week!

June 8, 2015

On The Trail // Aransas National Wildlife Refuge

I'm back from vacation!  In case you didn't know, Matthew and I spent all of last week in Rockport, Texas visiting family, going for hikes, and spending so much time in the sun that I got the worst sun burn of my life...which wasn't so great...but I had a blast!

One of my favorite days was spent hiking through parts of the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge.  A few of the trails were impassable after a point due to fallen trees and high waters, but the parts we did get to hike through were really nice...minus the massive cloud of mosquito's that trailed us the whole time!  They were seriously crazy that day.

We saw a TON of Six-Lined Racerunners, which were way too fast for me to ever get a photo of, a few deer, the cute little Millipede above, and soooo many butterflies and dragonflies :)  We saw a few other creatures, but I'll be sharing them in a separate post scheduled for early next week!
So I mentioned that I got the worst sunburn of my life while on our trip.  My legs were much better in this photo since they had been healing for a couple of days, but the day after this I ended up getting second degree burns (raised blisters) on my right shoulder.  They're still there and they look way too gross for me to want to share photos on here.  Next time I'm wearing long sleeves and sitting under an umbrella while on the beach.  The sunshine hates my skin.

Matthew took charge of my camera for a bit and got a shot of this gorgeous butterfly!  I don't know how he got it to sit still long enough, but I'm so glad he did.  We saw so many of these, and I just wasn't able to find one that was sitting still for a photo.

The last photo was one of my favorites.  There were pretty patches of flowers all along the roadside while we were driving to different trails throughout the refuge, and when Matthew spotted these with the ocean in the background, I just couldn't pass it up and I love how it turned out :)

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