December 31, 2016

2017 Goals and Intentions // A New Approach

Before writing this post, I scrolled back through previous annual goals lists of mine, and noticed something.  They're pretty much the same list.  Ooops!  Guys, I am such a procrastinator and it is not even funny at all.  Every year that goes by, I look back at the things I wanted to accomplish only to realize that I didn't do much in the way of reaching them.  I could come up with a load of excuses that might make me feel better...but I know they would just be I'm not gonna do that.  Instead I'm going to take a new approach to meeting my goals.  I tend to look at the big picture and imagine myself at the end of the year.  What would my life look like...what would I look would I spend my days if at the end of the year I could cross off everything on my list?  That strategy just ends up making me feel like I'm in a never ending tunnel...I can see the end and it feels like I'm moving forward...but the end of that tunnel just keeps getting further and further away.  Soooo.....instead of taking that approach, I'm going to just relax and take this year one month at a time.  I'm just going to have fun with it and see where it leads me.  If I want to alter or replace a goal 6 months from now, I'll do that and not feel bad about it.  I want to see what happens if I just take things one day at a time and make an effort to remain positive throughout.  So here are my intentions for the year in no particular order:

BE HEALTHY + FIT I am going to CRUSH this.  I list this as a goal every single year, and at the end of every year I have nothing to show for it.  This is the year it's going to happen, and here's why:  1) I have given myself a head start by dropping 10 pounds over the past few months already! Yay!!! 2) I reeeally want to be ready to jump back into Roller Derby in 6 months so that I can give so much more at every practice. 3) I have a fail-proof plan.  *Note to self: if you disappoint me the year, you're gonna be in BIG TROUBLE!*  My plan is to keep things simple by continuing the healthy changes I've made to my diet and incorporating a fun fitness routine, and to not focus on things like numbers and sizes.  I just want to feel better in my body.  Here's the breakdown!
  • 65oz Daily Water Challenge
  • Clean Eating: Meal Planning + Meal Prep
  • FitGirls Workouts 3X a Week
  • Hula Hooping Practice
  • Sunday Hikes
  • Roller Skating
Instead of focusing on the end result, I'm taking this as a monthly challenge, one day at a time.  If I can look at each day knowing that I can add a star sticker for completing that days goals then I'm set.  Having lost the 10 pounds I've already dropped is probably the biggest motivating factor going for me right now.  I'm super proud of the changes I've made and am excited to have that extra momentum pushing me forward. 

IMPROVE MY PHOTOGRAPHY This is another biggie for me, and it's on my list ever year.  Again with the procrastination!  2016 was the year I disconnected myself from a lot of things, and nearly let photography go. 😟 2016 was the year that I lost confidence in myself, my abilities, and my direction in life.  But hey, 2017 is looking up and I am feeling so damn confident in my plans for improving my photography skills and really making an effort to achieve my goals.  I'm a huge fan of Lauren & Rob over at Photography Concentrate and I'll be following their free "How to Photograph Life" course throughout the year.  The course is laid out as a 14-Day program, but I'm going to stretch it out into a monthly challenge instead. This months focus is all about camera skills, so I'm looking forward to getting comfortable with my camera again.  Of the few photos I did take in 2016...this is the one I'm most proud of, and I'd really like to try my hand at more night sky photography.

EXPLORE TEXAS If time and money were no barrier, I would pack a carry on right this minute, jump on a plane, and start living my life as a wandering nomad traveling the globe.  Time and money ARE definitely a living breathing thing holding me back right now, and seeing as I live in the giant and geologically diverse state of Texas...I have no excuse not to travel this land I call home.  It's easy to marvel at far away places around the planet and imagine that they must be the most beautiful and exciting places that I may or may not see in my lifetime outside of a photograph or film.  Know what else is super easy?  Overlooking all of the incredibly close-to home places just waiting to be explored.  Texas has some pretty incredible travel destinations and interesting things to see for sure. Here are a few definitely worth checking out: The Marfa Lights, Bracken Bat Cave (home to the worlds LARGEST bat colony!), Caverns of Sonora, Palo Duro Canyon, Enchanted Rock, and Caddo Lake!  Unless we're stormed out or I have a family meetup planned, I intend on spending every Sunday hiking and exploring as much of Texas as I can.

BE MORE INDEPENDENT + LESS SOCIALLY WITHDRAWN I hate to admit it, but I'm just a little very dependent on others and hate being an adult/doing things on my own.  Down to the point that I will sometimes forego going to the grocery store by myself if Matthew isn't going with me.  This is probably the one thing about myself that I want to change more than anything else.  In 2017 I'm going to make it a point to take myself on dates so that I can spend some quality time not being dependent on anyone else.  Aside from traveling solo, going to a concert alone sounds perhaps I'll make that happen at some point before the end of the year.

I'm also incredibly shy and withdrawn.  If I can get away with being as invisible as possible, then I'll go for it.  I'm terrible at small talk, I'm always thinking that my contribution to a conversation is going to come out all wrong, be awkward, or that nobody will care what I have to say.  I've been that way since childhood and it's mostly around people I don't know...but occasionally around people to that I DO know which makes me sad.  At one point I even shut myself in my room and went to bed hungry while my sister was having a get together because I was afraid to leave my room and someone talking to me.  I've come a long way since then, and there's no way I'd miss food if it meant I had to do a little socializing to get it.  Especially pizza...if you need me to come out of hiding in my room...just tell me you have pizza k? 😉

Confidence is key, and that's what I'll really be working towards in 2017.  If I can be confident in myself, then I think being more independent and less shy will naturally come a lot easier.  

PAY OFF MY CREDIT CARD DEBT I haven't completely narrowed down what exactly it is that I want to do for a living, but I'm due for a change sometime within the next year or two.  I have some concrete ideas, but before I jump into something else I need to start clean by eliminating my credit card debt.  I paid down quite a bit over the past few months, but I still have quite a ways to go.  I'm on top of it though, and I know it can be done.  Reaching this goal will require me to be more frugal and to stop impulse-buying (which I do a lot of).  I will have such a sense of freedom when I reach this goal, and I'm going to become a super saver afterwards.  

LEARN SPANISH I've always wanted to be able to speak a language other than English, and German is what has always interested me the most.  I discovered DuoLingo last year, and I had fun learning a bit of German although I wasn't very committed.  Because Spanish is most practical considering my geological location and the number of Spanish speakers here, it only makes sense to start there if I really want to tackle this goal.  There are even several customers that come into the pharmacy I work at that speak only Spanish, so there's an opportunity for practice right there!  That along with practicing on DuoLingo daily should have me speaking Spanish on some level by the end of the year.  I've been practicing for just a couple of days now, and the only setback so far is that I keep thinking of the German answers first haha!  DuoLingo is free and they have a new feature where you can compete with friends which is pretty neat.  If you're learning Spanish this year, add me as a friend so we can compete with each other!  You can find me HERE.

READ 17 BOOKS The number of books I've read over the past couple of years just brings me down so I'm not even going to share the number.  I plan on reading at least 17 books in 2017, but hopefully more.  I just finished The Girl on the Train and am currently reading Misery by Stephen King.  I've added a fair number of books to my amazon wishlist, several of which will be movies in 2017.  I get pretty excited about book to movie deals, so that should keep me pretty motivated.

CREATE MORE In 2016, I surprised myself by jumping back into drawing.  I got myself a set of colored pencils and had fun with a bit of fan art.  I was so proud of my work and want to continue to explore artwork, mediums, and making things in general.  I have a hard time sticking to one medium for very long though, so my goal is to just create more.  That could mean drawing, painting, jewelry making, learning to sew, or who knows what else.  As long as I'm making something I'll be happy :)

SPEND TIME WITH FAMILY This one is so important.  I haven't spent nearly enough time with my loved ones, and I'm all too familiar with the fact that tomorrow isn't guaranteed for anyone.  I need to take advantage of my time here by making memories with the ones that I love while I can, and I intend to do just that.

So there they are!  My big intentions of the 2017.  I'm determined to not let this be just another year that I set goals and let the time slip by without making progress.  2017, I'm going to love you.  Happy New Year!!!

November 2, 2016

Wes Anderson Filmography

As a member of A Film Club, I'm excited to spend the month of November sharing and discussing all things Wes Anderson!  His symmetrical style, strict color palettes, melancholy humor, and fabulous soundtracks are only a few of the numerous reasons I name him my favorite director.  His artfully crafted set designs and incredibly quirky characters pull everything together for a cinematic treat that is incomparable to anything else I've seen.  If you're new to Wes Anderson, I've listed his work in chronological order with an added bonus section at the end which includes links to all of the his short-films that are available to view for free!

I would also like to note that all artwork included in this post is by the very talented Natalie Andrewson!  Her art prints are available for purchase in her shop, and I encourage you to pop over and check them out!

"Upon his release from a mental hospital following a nervous breakdown, the directionless Anthony joins his friend Dignan, who seems far less sane than the former.  Dignan has hatched a hare-brained scheme for an as-yet-unspecified crime spree that somehow involves his former boss, the (supposedly) legendary Mr. Henry.  With the help of their pathetic neighbor and pal Bob, Anthony and Dignan pull a job and hit the road, where Anthony finds love with motel maid Inez.  When our boys finally hook up with Mr. Henry, the ensuing escapade turns out to be far from what anyone expected." -IMDB
Favorite Quote
I don't expect you to be as depressed as I am, but I don't think your happiness is quite appropriate-Anthony

"Max Fischer is a precocious 15-year-old whose reason for living is his attendance at Rushmore, a private school where he's not doing well in any of his classes, but where he's the king of extracurricular activities-from being in the beekeeping society to writing and producing plays, there's very little after school he doesn't do.  His life begins to change, however, when he finds out he's on academic probation, and when he stumbles into love with Miss Cross, a pretty teacher of the elementary school at Rushmore.  Added to the mix is his friendship with Herman Blume, wealthy industrialist and father to boys who attend the school, and who also finds himself attracted to Miss Cross.  Max's fate becomes inextricably tied to this odd love trianlge, and how he sets about resolving it is the story in the film." -IMDB
Favorite Quote
I saved Latin. What did you ever do? -Max Fischer

"Three grown prodigies, all with a unique genius of some kind, and their mother are staying at the family household.  Their father, Royal, had left them long ago, and comes back to make things right with his family." -IMDB
Favorite Quotes
Anybody interested in grabbing a couple of burgers and hittin' the cemetery? -Royal

I think we're just gonna have to be secretly in love with each other and leave it at that, Richie. -Margot

Hell of a damn grave. Wish it were mine. -Royal

"When his partner is killed by the mysterious and possibly nonexistent Jaguar Shark, Steve Zissou and his Team Zissou crew set off for an expedition to hunt down the creature.  Along with his estranged wife, a beautiful journalist, and a co-pilot who could possibly be Zissou's son, the crew set off for one wild expedition." -IMDB
Favorite Quote
Woman: That's an endangered species at most.  What would be the scientific purpose of killing it?

Steve Zissou: Revenge.

Son of a bitch, I'm sick of these dolphins. -Steve Zissou

"A year after the accidental death of their father, three brothers -each suffering from depression-meet for a train trip across India.  Francis, the eldest, has organized it.  The brothers argue, sulk, resent each other, and fight.  The youngest, Jack, estranged from his girlfriend, is attracted to one of the train's attendants.  Peter has left his pregnant wife at home, and he buys a venomous snake.  After a few days, Francis discloses their surprising and disconcerting destination.  Amid foreign surroundings, can the brother sort out their differences?  A funeral, a meditation, a hilltop ritual, and the Bengal Lancer figure in the reconciliation." -IMDB
Favorite Quote
I wonder if the three of us would've been friends in real life. Not as brothers, but as people. -Jack

"It is the story of one Mr. Fox and his wild-ways of hen heckling, turkey taking, and cider sipping, nocturnal, instinctive adventures.  He has to put his wild days behind him and do what fathers do best: be responsible.  He is too rebellious.  He is too wild.  He is going to try "just one more raid" on the three nastiest, meanest farmers that are Boggis, Bunce, and Bean.  It is a tale of crossing the line of family responsibilities and midnight adventure and the friendships and awakenings of this country life that is inhabited by Fantastic Mr. Fox and his friends." -IMDB
Favorite Quote
Mrs. Fox: Why did you lie to me?

Mr. Fox: Because I'm a wild animal.

"Set on an island off the coast of New England in the 1960's, as a young boy and girl fall in love they are moved to run away together.  Various factions of the town mobilize to search for them and the town is turned upside down - which might not be such a bad thing." -IMDB
Favorite Quote
Walt Bishop: Holy Christ, what am I looking at here?

Laura Bishop: He does watercolors. Mostly landscapes, but a few nudes.

Wait. Just in case this is a suicide or they capture us and we never see each other again anymore, I just want to say: Thank you for marrying me. I'm glad I got to know you, Suzy. -Sam

"Grand Budapest Hotel recounts the adventures of M. Gustave, a legendary concierge at a famous European hotel between the wars, and Zero Moustafa, the lobby boy who becomes his most trusted friend.  The story involves the theft and recovery of a priceless Renaissance painting and the battle for an enormous family fortune - all against the back-drop of a suddenly and dramatically changing continent." -IMDB
Favorite Quote
You see, there are still faint glimmers of civilization left in this barbaric slaughterhouse that was once known as humanity. Indeed that's what we provide in our own modest, humble, insignificant...oh, fuck it. -M. Gustave


The short film that made me fall in love with short films was none other than Wes Anderson's Hotel Chevalier starring Natalie Portman and Jason Schwartzman.  It ties into Schwartzman's character in The Darjeeling Limited, so if you haven't seen it, treat yourself by clicking the title link below and enjoy the others as well!

October 26, 2016

Illustration Diary // 1

The past several weeks have been so artistically productive for me, and I'm excited to start this new series: Illustration Diary.  Every 4 weeks or so, I'd like to share illustrations that I've been working on, as well as non-illustration projects that slip in every now and then.

I mentioned in a post recently (which you can check out right here if you missed it!) that I'm finally finding my way back into making drawing part of my everyday life again....and I simply can not find the words to express how much it means to me.  I'm so excited to see where this new chapter takes me.

These past few weeks have been inspired exclusively by Eagle Vs. Shark, Flight of the Conchords, and What We Do In The Shadows.  The last of which I've only done a portrait of Viago.  I'll pick up on those in the future, but I have a couple of projects that I'll be working on in November that I'm really excited to start on.  I'll share more about that next time!
Eagle Vs. Shark is what inspired me to start drawing again.  I'm not sure exactly what triggered my need to draw after seeing it, but I suspect it was most likely a combination of my love for offbeat characters, Jemaine Clement, and the social awkwardness throughout the film...which reminded me of myself.  Whatever the reason, I'm glad I found a new favorite which inspired me to put pencil to paper.  So happy.  I had a bit of fun playing with backgrounds, shapes, and fonts in Photoshop to turn my original illustrations into these little prints.

Next up is Flight of the Conchords.  I am one of those "incredibly late to the game" Conchords fans.  I remember everyone talking about it when it was on HBO, but I didn't have HBO and it just ended up slipping by me.  I have since become infatuated with them on the same level that I am obsessed with Monty Python.  That's a pretty big deal for me.  Seriously.

I decided it would be fun to make paper doll robots of Bret and Jemaine, and only ended up starting Jemaine.  I'd like to pick it back up and complete one for Bret too, but it may be a while.  It was fun, but the mood to create another paper doll just hasn't struck yet.  I'm sure it will though, and when it does I think it would be cute to make a little stop-animation thing of them.  If you're totally lost in regards to the whole robot thing, pretty please watch this video and become a Conchords fan so we can talk about it!  I would love to dress like this for Halloween...I won't be going out for Halloween so it would just be me sitting at home wearing this for my own amusement...which is comical to maybe I will ;)
Alright, saving the best for last.  The framed illustrations in the photos below were inspired by a promo commercial Flight of the Conchords did for season two where they sing about Sexy Flowers (you can see it here).  I ended up completing the one of Jemaine first (of course) and proceeded to send it to him on Twitter.  He ended up re-tweeting it, which kind of my made my head explode with joy....and then he actually replied with this:
....which I think actually DID make my head explode...or at least that's what all the smiling has made it feel like anyways..  Seriously...I can't stop smiling.  This is too awesome.  Needless to say, I'm stoked to see them in concert tomorrow night.  It's going to be the best night ever!  I ended up completing a matching illustration of Bret and have them both framed above my desk :)

P.S.  I'm just a little bit in love with using these candle holders to store my color pencils, pens, and such.  So cute!

October 19, 2016

Hiking Lake Mineral Wells

It's finally beginning to feel like Fall around these parts, and I couldn't be happier.  The brutal heat of Summer in the South is slowly being replaced by cool breezes, falling leaves, and cooler temperatures.  We were still in the 90's during our hike this past Sunday at Lake Mineral Wells State Park, but you wouldn't have known had it not been for the steady breeze.

Even better than the beautiful weather though, was the abundance of amphibian and reptilian friends we spotted while on our hike!  Leopard frogs, Cricket frogs, Spiny Lizards, and even a juvenile Water Snake!  

On our hike back to the car, I spotted this little cairn!  I had never seen one before, but knew immediately what it was because of a post Kaylah had shared a while back.  Now I want to start building them everywhere we go hiking!

I'm more than excited about our hike this coming Sunday...we're going out of state for this one, and I'm going to have something so magical to share!

October 12, 2016

10 Essential Horror Comedies

With Halloween creeping up in just a few short weeks, I like to fit in as many scary movies as time allows.  Between work and side-projects that I'm doing at home, trying to fit in a variety of classic, monster, ghost, serial killer, and family friendly Halloween movies can be quite the task.  This year I decided to make a list of movies separated into sub-genres like I mentioned above.  As I was creating my lists, I thought about how most "Top Favorite Halloween Movie" lists don't include many Comedy Horror films.  But that's a shame, because being made to jump AND laugh excessively during the same film is the BEST!   So, if you're looking for something spooky or thrilling with a sprinkle of giggles on sure and add these to YOUR Halloween watch list!

What We Do In The Shadows (2014)-"A documentary team films the lives of a group of vampires for a few months.  The vampires share a house in Wellington, New Zealand.  Turns out vampires have their own domestic problems too."-IMDB

It's more than safe to say that I am a bit obsessed with this movie and anything involving Taika Waititi or Jemaine Clement.  I've probably seen it half a dozen times this year, I've watched nearly all of the special features (working on the commentary!), I have a Vlad the Cat lapel pin, and as you can see from the image at the very top of the post...I've even begun creating color pencil drawings of the characters!  A lot more comedy than horror, but still a few things that might make you jump!
I Sell The Dead (2008)-"18th Century justice catches up with a pair of grave robbers.  With only a few hours to go before his date with the guillotine, Arthur Blake (Dominic Monghan) tells his life story to Father Frances Duffy (Ron Perlman).  Before long, Arthur spills the beans on how he got started in the grim corpse peddling business with seasoned ghoul Willie Grimes."-IMDB

I saw this several years ago when it was recommended to me by a co-worker, and I was NOT disappointed.  The music makes this one so much fun
The Burbs (1989)-"An overstressed suburbanite (Tom Hanks) and two of his neighbors struggle to prove their paranoid theory that the new family on the block are part of a murderous cult."-IMDB

I was born 4 years before this one came out, and I've been watching it for as long as I can remember.  It was one of my favorites as a kid, and I still just love it to pieces.  If you haven't seen this, please do yourself a favor and grab a blanket & a bowl of popcorn, turn out the lights, and enjoy this 80's Tom Hanks movie...its a guaranteed laugh with a just a little bit of spooky!  Watch the trailer HERE!
Tusk (2014)-"When podcaster Wallace Bryton goes missing in the backwoods of Manitoba while interviewing a mysterious seafarer named Howard Howe, his best friend Teddy and girlfriend Allison team with an ex-cop to look for him."-IMDB

Alright, this one may not get much support as it's definitely a love it or hate it kind of movie (and most people seem to hate it), but I personally LOVE this movie.  It's bizarre, it's gross, and it makes me laugh SO hard.  Michael Parks as Howard Howe is SO incredibly creepy, and Johnny Depp's character is perfectly aloof and comical!  When I first sat down to watch it, I was expecting a straight up horror I was pleasantly surprised by so many laughs.  If you've never seen it, just give it a shot.  You might hate it, or it could become a new favorite. 
Little Shop of Horrors (1986)-"A nerdy florist finds his chance for success and romance with the help of a giant man-eating plant who demands to be fed."-IMDB

I'm not sure what took me so long to see this, but I only just saw it for the first time a couple of years ago.  Musicals are fun, but this one is fantastic!  Also, the scene between Steve Martin as the sadistic dentist and Bill Murray as the masochistic patient is THE BEST!
Beetlejuice (1988)-"A couple of recently deceased ghosts contract the services of a 'bio-exorcist' in order to remove the obnoxious new owners of their house."

Beetlejuice!  Beetlejuice!!  Beetlejuice!!!  Gaaaahhhhh!  I LOVE IT!!!  This is on everyone's favorite list, right?
The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)-"A newly engaged couple have a breakdown in an isolated area and must pay a call to the bizarre residence of Dr. Frank-N-Furter."

The oldest film on my list, and one of my personal favorites of all time, The Rocky Horror Picture Show is a must-see for anyone who's never seen it...and a must-watch again and again for those who have.  I also have the soundtrack on vinyl, and it's one of my favorites to jam out to while working on projects.
Ghostbusters (1984)-"Three former parapsychology professors set up shop as a unique ghost removal service."

Pretty much all of the Ghostbusters films fall under this one.  Sadly, I haven't seen the new one-but it looks fantastic and I so badly want to see it.  Like Beetlejuice, I feel like this is just one of those that's a favorite for anyone who's seen in.  
Dead Snow (2009)-"A ski vacation turns horrific for a group of medical students, as they find themselves confronted by an unimaginable menace: Nazi zombies."

I saw this back in 2009 when it was released, and it scared the crap out of me while keeping me laughing to tears throughout.  The violence is so over the top, which is what makes it so fun.  This is a Norwegian film, the only foreign language film on my list, so be prepared to read the sub-titles!
The Lost Boys (1987)-"After moving to a new town, two brothers discover that the area is a haven for vampires."

Oh, The Lost Boys :)  It's 80's fashion clad vampires, teenage romance, and nerds out to save the day.  What else could you ask for in a perfect October movie night?  P.S.  Can I please have Jami Gertz entire wardrobe from this?! 

So there it is!  I'd love to know what your favorite Comedy Horror movies are!  What about your favorite Halloween-time movies in general?  Let me know in the comments below!

October 3, 2016

101 in 1001

Knowing myself, and that I always have a hard time sticking to goal lists that start at the start of the year, or the beginning of the month...I've decided to jump into the Day Zero Project, and create a 101 in 1001 list to start NOW!  I was a bit surprised by how quickly I came up with this list, and having 1001 days in which to try and accomplish most, if not all, of the items on my making me more excited than usual to get started.  So here we go:

  1. Reach My Weight Loss Goal
  2. Complete 4 Rounds of Kayla Itsines Bikini Body Guide
  3. Do 5 Consecutive Pull-ups
  4. Buy a Bike.  I'm LOVING this one!
  5. Go to the Dentist
  6. Pay Off My Credit Cards
  7. Have $1,000 in Savings
  8. Build a Capsule Wardrobe
  9. Answer the "50 Questions That Will Free Your Mind"
  10. Drink Only Water for 30 Days
  11. Become a Beekeeper *Again*
  12. Be Drafted to a Roller Derby Team
  13. Master the Slingshot
  14. Complete a Taxidermy Project
  15. Participate in NaNoWriMo
  16. Make a Morse Code Bracelet
  17. Grow a "Mold Farm"
  18. Make Bubble Bars
  19. Complete the Hoop Love Coach Training Program
  20. Learn To Do FX Makeup
  21. Travel to 12 Amazing Places in Texas
  22. Travel to 9 States
  23. Go on a Cruise
  24. Go on a Roadtrip
  25. Visit the Wizarding World of Harry Potter
  26. Visit New Zealand
  27. Get 10 New Tattoos
  28. Build a Time Capsule
  29. Complete a Jigsaw Puzzle
  30. Fly a Kite
  31. Sew My Own Clothes
  32. Learn to Play the Musical Saw
  33. Make a Balloon Animal
  34. Have a Silly String Fight
  35. Make a Short Film
  36. Memorize "Ice Ice Baby"
  37. Discover My DNA Ancestry
  38. Learn to Shoot My Camera in Manual Mode
  39. Photograph a Tornado
  40. Photograph the Night Sky
  41. Get Paid for a Photoshoot
  42. Have a Photo Published in Texas Parks & Wildlife Magazine
  43. Buy a Macro Lens
  44. Buy a Wide Angle Lens
  45. Photograph a Rattlesnake in the Wild
  46. Participate in a 52 Week Photo Challenge Probably this one!
  47. Make 12 GIFs
  48. Go Storm Chasing
  49. Grow an Herb Garden
  50. Go Camping
  51. See a Lightning Storm Over the Ocean
  52. Go Kayaking
  53. Learn to Identify 10 Constellations
  54. See the Bats at Bracken Cave
  55. Have a Picnic in a Tree
  56. Go Trail Skating
  57. Go Backpacking
  58. Buy an Apple Computer
  59. Become Self Employed
  60. Organize My Home Office
  61. Create Multiple Income Streams
  62. Learn To Do My Taxes
  63. Make and Launch An Online Course
  64. Create Passive Income
  65. Learn to Edit Photos in Lightroom
  66. Reach 3,000 Followers on Bloglovin'  You can follow me here!
  67. Launch a New Etsy Shop
  68. Make 100 Etsy Sales
  69. List Every Movie I Watch for 30 Days
  70. List 101 Things That Make Me Happy
  71. List 50 Places I'd Like to Visit In My Lifetime
  72. List 50 Experiences I'd Like to Have In My Lifetime
  73. List 25 New Hobbies I'd Like To Try
  74. List 52 Drawing Prompts
  75. Watch Every Best Picture Oscar Winner
  76. Go To The Sundance Film Festival
  77. See Flight of the Conchords Live.  I have tickets for October 26th!  Yay!!!
  78. Complete the Day Zero Ultimate Reading Challenge
  79. See 10 Movies at the Drive-In
  80. Go Bowling With the Family
  81. Learn 14 Recipes From Around the Globe
  82. Learn 14 Vegetarian Recipes
  83. Learn 14 Vegan Recipes
  84. Make Mawmaw's "Berry Pie"
  85. Make a Rainbow Layer Cake
  86. Make Homemade Gummy Bears
  87. Make Homemade Marshmallows
  88. Complete 50 Color Pencil Drawings
  89. Publish a Coloring/Activity Book.  Identifying Venomous Snakes of North America!
  90. Participate in a 30-Day Drawing Challenge.  THIS one is awesome!
  91. Make Money With My Artwork
  92. Participate in a 52-Week Art Challenge
  93. Create a Cryptozoology Calendar
  94. Build a Collection of "Bret" Sweaters (Flight of the Conchords!)
  95. Collect Creepy Old Toys.  Like this!
  96. Be a "Mother of Dragons".  I've always wanted a Bearded Dragon!
  97. Get Animal Plastics Housing For All of My Reptiles
  98. Crochet a Granny Square Blanket
  99. Reupholster a Chair 
  100. Build a Garment Rack
  101. Build a Craft Table
I'll be sharing my progress here on the blog, but feel free to follow me over on DayZero if you're participating as well!  You can find my profile HERE!

September 19, 2016

Renewed Vigour

Over the past several weeks, I've given myself a vacation from blogging, photography, and projects.  Sometimes I've just got to step back, breathe, and give myself time to  During my little break, I discovered new loves and interests-which in turn renewed my passion for drawing and illustrating.

I'm going to tell a story.  It's not a happy one.  But it's mine.  Growing up, one of my favorite past times was drawing.  There were times in my early life, when I felt very isolated and spent a lot of my time reading and drawing.  As an introverted child who was lacking in the friends department, my one confidence booster was art.  I loved it, and felt good about the things I drew or created.

Fast forward to senior year of high school.  I had spent the past 5 years excelling in art class, one of my pieces had been featured on the cover of a children's magazine, my art teacher had been looking into scholarship opportunities for me, and everyone thought I would pursue art after school.  You can imagine everyone's disappointment and confusion when I didn't sign up for art class my Senior year of high school.  It was definitely out of character for me.  I was sad, cried at school on a regular basis, and was stuck in a situation that both frightened and depressed me.  I stopped creating.  This dark period of my life had taken away the last bit of myself that gave me confidence.  I was crushed.  It would be another year or so before that dark cloud moved on, and I was able to start rebuilding my self confidence.  I had been out of my art groove for so long, that returning and trying to create the same quality as before was just too daunting.  So, although I did draw and create here and there, it just didn't seem as fun as it always had.

In 2014 I started creating "cute" cartoon/tattoo type illustrations of some of my favorite movie characters and started an Etsy shop selling buttons that I made using them.  That gave me a boost, but I started getting lazy about it, and stopped illustrating again.  I had too much going on with other hobbies.  If you've been reading for a'll know what happened next.  I stopped creating.  I have a history of overloading myself with projects and ideas, and then getting burned out.  I need to develop a plan, or a rotating schedule for hobbies.  Maybe that would help?

Either way, I'm happy about the fact that I'm drawing and illustrating again.  I'm proud of what I created this weekend, and I'm not even finished yet.  I have quite a bit left to finish this Eagle Vs. Shark illustration project, and I can't wait to share the finished product.  For now, I'm just creating for the simple joy of creating.  I'm trying to keep the "Ooooh, I could sell these" mentality at bay for now.  I don't want to lose this creative high.  Sometimes I can't help but merge those two things together.  Nothing would make me happier than to be able to work as an artist, no matter the, illustration, digital creations, or something else...but for now...I just want to focus on creating for the sake of creating.

August 9, 2016

Life Lately

In my previous post (in late JUNE! What?!!), I shared a lot about being unhappy and wanting to change things.  There were (and still are) so many things about the way I'm living my life that I wanted to change.  I wasn't able to get anything done or stay motivated, because it all became so overwhelming.  I can't believe I never considered it before, but letting go of everything else just to focus on one thing has seriously been THE best decision.  I chose to start with my health first. At times it's been difficult to step away from photography, blogging, and creating.  I see things when I go hiking, and kick myself for not having my camera.  I feel remorse for not sharing here on Lady Serpentine OR Happy Herping, and I feel like I'm letting you guys down by not doing so.  Deep down, I'm a learner and a maker...and stepping away from learning to make new things has been a bit frustrating.  BUT...all of the time I would have been spending on those things, would have prevented me from focusing on my health the way that I have been for the past month.  I've been drinking water almost exclusively, I've been getting into weekly meal prepping, I've been following a workout plan, and I've actually been cooking and trying new recipes A LOT!  So far, I've only lost 5 pounds since I started making intentional changes, but I keep getting more and more motivated to keep going.  One of the most valuable resources that I discovered was the Nerd Fitness Academy.  It's turned this whole weight-loss and fitness thing into a game...and I'm really having a ton of fun with it.  If you've never heard of it, go check it out!  It's awesome :)

I plan on primarily focusing on getting healthy and fit over the next 12 weeks.  I may get my camera out here and there and share photos every once in a while, but don't count on seeing too much as far as photography goes between now and then.  Instead, I may be sharing my weight loss and fitness progress during that time.  In 12 weeks, my confidence in myself will be so much better than it is now, and I'll be moving on to my next area of focus: Photography.  I can't wait!

Let me know if you have any questions, and thank you so much for sticking around.  It means a lot!

June 27, 2016

Flowers From E.T.

I've been feeling a bit lost this year, as I mentioned a few posts back, and as much as I'd like to say that I've found my way back, it's just not true. I'm unhappy with myself and my work.  I'm constantly daydreaming and planning for the things that I want to do, but not setting any time aside to actually accomplish anything.  My lack of energy and motivation has got me stuck in a circle of planning and not doing, spending too much of my time indoors instead of outdoors, and generally just feeling sad about where I am at this point in my life.

This post is most definitely NOT a pity party, and I don't want to come across as a "poor pitiful me" girl right now.  I'm 100% in charge and responsible for the decisions I've made and will make.  If I want something, I need to make smart goals and stop being discouraged when something doesn't happen as quickly as I'd like it to.

Having said that, I'm considering taking yet another break from blogging while I focus on getting myself healthy and happy.  That doesn't necessarily mean that I'll be gone for months at a time again, but my content might be less frequent and a bit different.  Instead of writing content to go with my photos, you might only see my most recent photography work instead. I've been considering adopting a more minimal/visual approach to blogging for a while, and I think it's going to be the right direction for me.  I'm also considering making a switch from Wordpress to Squarespace in the near future, but I haven't decided yet.

I want to remove as much stress as possible from my life right now, and just focus on improving the basics that I know cause me the most stress.  Over the next 6 months:

  • I'll be working on connecting more with nature by spending more time outside, hiking more frequently, and traveling when I can.
  • I'll be working harder on eliminating credit card debt, and focusing more on saving the money I earn so that I can afford to treat myself.
  • I'll be working on improving my diet, and developing a simple outdoor activity schedule to ensure that I do something active every day.

By the end of the year, I want to feel more refreshed and full of energy, so that I can venture outside of the basics, and start improving other areas of my life.

What are your favorite ways to cope with stress and/or lack of motivation?

June 17, 2016

Photo An Hour

So, in my previous post, I mentioned that I wanted to begin one or more photography projects.  Well my friends, here's the first one I've decided to run with!  I got this idea from Kaylah, and thought it would be a great reason for me to carry my camera around for an entire day just documenting the little things.  It also forced me to practice using different settings in my camera depending upon where or what I was doing at any given time as the day went on.  Overall, I'm super excited to do this again next month :)

9:20  I made breakfast for Matthew and myself.  This was actually my first time making Sunny Side Up Eggs!  I usually go for scrambled eggs, but thought these might make for a prettier photo.  Photography + Kitchen Adventures = Score!
10:00 After breakfast, I showered and got ready for the day.  These are my current makeup essentials.
11:24 Packed my gear into a backpack for the day, and loaded up the car for a drive to a State Park we hadn't visited before.  My vintage E.T. doll was along for the ride for a second photography project I'm starting.
12:18 Listening to some tunes on the road.  I have a serious fascination with serial killers (real life and fictional), and so I'm a big fan of this song.  It's a tribute to Buffalo Bill, the serial killer in Silence of the Lambs.
1:21 During our hike, we spotted lizards, frogs, damselflies, and a few roadrunners!  I wasn't fast enough to photograph the roadrunners, but I love this shot I got of one of the Leopard Frogs we saw :)
2:45 After our hike, we spent some time cruising through the park, taking wildflower photos, and checking out the campsites and trail systems for our next trip out there.  I'll share more about this place in an upcoming post, but it's seriously my new favorite hiking spot.  I can't wait to go back!
3:16 While planning our trip, Matthew stumbled upon a website for a Fossil Digging park that was nearby.  We were almost too tired to visit this place after our hike, but it was so close and sounded so neat that we couldn't skip out.  Let me just say this: I do not do well in heat.  It was in the 90's that day, sunny, and not very breezy.  I tend to get pretty beat down by the sun if I'm not careful, and this day was no exception.  We didn't stay here too long, but it was reeeeally cool, and I want to plan better for the next time we visit.
4:20 Definitely the kind of day that called for a DQ Ice Cream Cone.  Man oh man, those things are so yummy!
5:05 One of the neighborhood tomcats was waiting to be fed and loved on when we pulled into the driveway.  This guy is such a big sweetheart!
6:41 After a refreshing shower and change of clothes, I decided it was time for a fresh coat of nail polish.  I'm stuck on green right now, but have been using the crap out of my Revlon Posh.  I decided to change it up and use a a couple of my Essie polishes.  The pale green is Mojito Madness, and the soft pink is Fiji.
7:12 Getting dinner started, and winding down for an evening of relaxation.
8:00 I was in the mood for something funny, so I decided to go with "For A Good Time Call...".  If you haven't seen this one and your up for a good laugh, I highly recommend it.  It's such a fun movie.  It didn't take long for the day to catch up with me, and I was out pretty quick.

There you have it!  My first installment of the Photo An Hour Project!  I'm going to have a great time going back and looking at these when the end of the year gets here.

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