Wednesday, April 30, 2008

BSOL'ers 4-Ever!

You know how sometimes seeing people or friends that you haven't seen in months or years can end up being awkward when you do?

I was glad to realize, albeit belatedly, that it wasn't like that at all when I met up with a couple classmates from my APU/BSOL program last night. Despite a 5+ month absence (after spending every single week together for a year and a half), seeing Rhonda & Mary last night felt as if no time had passed. Two of my favorite people from the cohort I was in, Rhonda & Mary never failed to support, entertain & encourage me. Last night we laughed, we shared, we gossiped (shame on us!), we encouraged, we feasted on fresh-baked bread and pasta.

It was great to see them and enjoy not only the company, but the reminder of the hard work that we did together and what was accomplished as a result of it all.

Great to see you two!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Do it. Do it for me.


I brought my mail with me to work this morning. In the stack was one larger than normal envelope with the quote "A voyage of discovery" written boldly across the front.

I like voyages! I like discovery! Eager, I opened the envelope.

And this is when I gasped. And then sighed. I gasped because the content of this envelope was an invitation to participate in something I've tried to find for years now. The sigh was for knowing I wouldn't be able to participate because of my upcoming relocation.

So would one of you become a member of the Da Camera Society and then attend one or all of the upcoming 2008-09 Chamber Music In Historic Sites performances? And take lots of pictures? I'd also appreciate rhapsodic and poetic descriptions of both the locations (historic sites around Los Angeles, including the Doheny Mansion, the Mission Inn, the Bradbury Building!) and the performances (intimate chamber music by world-renowned musicians so close you can actually read their sheet music!).

Did you know that one of my dreams is to experience Vivaldi's Four Seasons in an intimate setting just like these?


Monday, April 28, 2008

WANTED: Posers

I want to practice my people skills.

More specifically, I'd like to practice my taking-photos-of-people skills. If you or someone you know needs some updated individual or family photos, or just want to add to their already bulging portfolio (because after all, many of my friends are also talented & budding photographers), or you/they just want to provide me faces to practice on with no intention of actually using what I've taken, I'm ready and willing. (Can't promise the "able" part, but I'll do my best!)

Pretty please?

Vote for me!

My mom recently commented that she has only one picture of me on the "Mantle of Family Photos" and that photo is my senior portrait taken in 1994. I've always jokingly referred to it as my "Pensive Jail-Bird" photo as I gaze to the side looking so serious/sad wearing my mother's pearls and that fake off-the-shoulder wrap thing they had for girls to use so it looked as if you were wearing a regal black velvet ball gown. So at her request, and my desire to not have any visitors think I'm still that young (though I wouldn't mind them assuming I'm still that thin), I'm going to load her up with recent photos of myself to replace Pensive Jail-Bird.

To aid in that effort I had Denise take a few pictures of me at the Flower Fields this weekend. After polling a small focus group, I am putting the top two contenders up for the blog vote:


Which photo gets your vote to take it's place on the prestigious "Mantle of Family Photos"?

In other news...

  • I had to enter "Illinois" as "State of Residence" for my financial aid paperwork. That was strange. The word "Illinois" is kinda strange. Say it out loud several times in a row.
In other news...
  • I am eternally grateful to be living with Ginger right now. Not only for her dear friendship and sunny personality, but for her central A/C. Praise Jesus, thank you Holy Spirit.
In other news...
  • I'm excited about Project 365 and just want it to start already! Eager to see what randomness I'll capture throughout this next year. Be prepared for randomness.
In other news...
  • To try and be more healthy, Ginger and I have committed to planning out our meals for the week. So far I've only planned one day, and it looks like this: Breakfast--Raisin Bran w/ NF milk, Snack--Grapes & TJ's Light String Cheese, Lunch--Lean Pocket & Orange, Snack--1 Samoa cookie & Grapes, Dinner--Chicken Enchiladas & Pinto Beans. We're also planning to get up at 5:55am and go for a walk 3 times a week.
In other news...
  • Ginger & I tried a new church yesterday. We think they used a fog machine. (Is that strange to anyone else?) It's either that or the drummer was smokin' something. Not sure which I'd rather see.
Happy Monday!

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Wildflower Hunting: Check!

I can check another place off my list of Places to Go/Things to see. This time Denise, Matt & I headed south to Carlsbad to experience the Flower Fields, row upon row of colorful ranunculus blooms.

Go here to see what Hugo & I Spied.
Or here for what Denise saw.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Friday Night

Add a good book and it's just about perfect. TGIF!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Beauty Review: Makeup Primer

Well, my first foray into less-expensive beauty products is a success! A special thanks goes to Denise who owned the cheap alternative (used for another purpose) and was willing to test it on herself first after reading another blogger's experience. At her encouragement, I spent the $6.39 (Target) and purchased a tube.

Be not discouraged by the brand name or the intended purpose of the product (found in the feminine products aisle, by the rest of the traditional Monistat products). I am here to say that after only 2 uses, I am more than pleased at the results. My makeup stays on just as well-if not better-than with the Laura Mercier, MAC & Nars brand primers I've tried previously. My occasionally sensitive skin has not reacted with anything unusual (i.e. pimples, rash, redness, etc) and it doesn't leave my skin oily or unable to breath. Application is smooth and easy, requiring only a pea-sized dollop for the entire face. (Note: As with all primers, it's suggested you wait a couple of minutes after application before you apply your makeup.)

I'd say it fits in well with the rest of my makeup bag, don't you? But best of all, the first day I used it I received compliments that my makeup looked especially nice and my skin "dewy" (in a good way). For almost 1/2-1/4 the cost of traditional primers, I'll bear with the strange looks when I say I use Monistat for my makeup primer. (And as a bonus, it actually works well for the original purpose of protecting against chafing in those 'sensitive' areas.)

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

The Oregon Exodus

What's so great about Portland, Oregon anyway? Three friends have chosen the Portland area to be their home in the last couple of years! Is it the laid-back lifestyle, the many beautiful open spaces, the charming neighborhoods, or the emphasis on living 'green'? Whatever the reason, Portland has lured yet another victim as BAM and their belongings head north in a matter of hours.

(Sorry, Mike! I have no idea how I managed to take no individual pictures of you, or at least none that came out.)

Project 365: Wanna join?

There are a number of them going around, with one group on Flickr that collects shots of those who are participating in the challenge. The assignment is to photograph something each and every day for an entire year. It's a challenge I've considered for a while now, but held back at the commitment, and from wondering whether I'd actually find something interesting to photograph each day.

But now I'm ready for the challenge! Most of all, on the 366th day, I'm eager to look back on the collection I've amassed and do something fun with it, like turning it into a coffee table book. How cool would it be to have a photographic record of an entire year that you made?!

Ok, I'm officially excited.

Care to join me starting May 1? Here's what I'm thinking for details:

  • Take at least one photo per day and choose one to represent that date
  • Pictures can be of anything that catches your eye: people, place or thing. Be creative and find inspiration in everything from the ground to the sky, and all areas in between. If participants find they are lacking inspiration, perhaps we can have a weekly theme to prompt us to think outside the box.
  • Feel free to post your daily photo on your own blog or, if there's enough interest, we can start a group blog just for this purpose. If interested, I could see about creating a Flickr Group for this purpose. I'll personally maintain a Set on Flickr for my own photos, and will post as regularly as possible to Hugo & I Spy.
  • Think about what you can do with these photos at the end of the year--Make an album? Turn them into postcards? Print them as a collage on paper to use as wrapping paper? I'll likely stick with an album, but am curious to hear what other creative ideas you might have to compile or display your images.
That's about all I've worked out so far. I hope a few of you will join me but even if you choose not too, you are welcome to browse what I come up with through the next year and make suggestions for themes to capture.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008


There should have been a warning sign. The Renaissance Pleasure Faire does not disappoint for those eager to gaze upon many a painfully squashed bosom in lusty-wench costume. Bailey, Denise, Matt & I beheld more breast-esists than we could ever have expected (or wanted!) to see.

(No worries, there are no pictures with a rating over PG/PG-13.)

Friday, April 18, 2008

Dust Collectors

Unless you count kitchen "stuff" I'm not really a collector of anything. And I'm actually ok with that because I'm sure I'd get bored with having a collection of one type of thing. For example, I love the pineapple, and the history of the pineapple and it's colonial connotation for hospitality and welcome. But other than my brass pineapple welcome door plaque and a single wooden pineapple I picked up several years ago in Costa Rica (or was it Boston?), I don't need a pineapple designed grocery pad, post-it notes, magnet, serving platter, lamp, etc. One or two pineapple-themed things are more than enough to express my appreciation. I find one needs to hesitate in declaring something one loves lest one be gifted with "BLANK" themed items for the rest of one's life. Brandi and I were talking about this issue at her recent garage sale as she tried to get rid of gifted items that were redundant.

See, the problem is that the gifter has the best of intentions, and really thinks they are giving something the giftee will "absolutely LOVE!" I know this because one Christmas I tried to gift a friend with a love for stars (she has a small collection of star-themed decor items) something star-themed that I'd found and instantly thought she would love. I was so proud of myself for finding the perfect gift! Turned out she already had one of the items I'd purchased and felt that keeping the others pushed the star theme into overboard. I totally get it! My intentions were good but I failed to follow my own cardinal rule about collecting. (Although it must be said that some people out there in this world really do want to collect things and are happy to fill their houses with a billion of one type of item; me, and my sister and my friend, well, we are just not those people.)

All this to say that my fancy was caught recently by the whimsical little Limoges box that Pioneer Woman recently posted about (photo right, hers). While I am not a chocolate truffle fan as she is, part of me wants to find my perfect little Limoges box as a single piece to add to my decor. I felt that same way after seeing a Faberge exhibit one time; while not technically my style, one cannot deny the over-the-top beauty and the artistry, and it made me want to stumble upon a Faberge egg that had a history and was perhaps chipped or broken, and that somehow, when I got it home, it worked perfectly in my decor.

Although items like Faberge eggs and Limoges boxes may just be dust collectors, one or two carefully chosen and placed pieces are what often make a house a home, with the story each item carries with it.

Are you a collector? If so, of what?

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Under-Eye Cream

Anyone have a good and inexpensive recommendation for this preventative cream? I've used supposedly good (read: expensive) eye creams for several years now and though I can't say it's not helping, or won't help in future years, I can't say (yet) that it is.

Now I'm curious so that means...Poll time! In your comment, please share your thoughts on the following:

  • In your opinion, does eye cream actually work to keep the area firm(er) and wrinkle-less(er)? If so, do you believe you have to spend a fortune on a "good" one?
  • Do you use it daily? If so, do you have a brand you swear by or are you still on the hunt?
  • Any recommendations for caring for the tender under-eye?
Following a recent post on a certain someone's blog about my peepers, I couldn't help but wonder*... Have all the years and money spent on NVPerricone/Bobbi Brown/Dermalogica under-eye creams done a lick of good? Heck! Not using eye cream could save me a good 6-seconds in the morning if I didn't have to carefully dab using my ring fingers, which apply the least pressure.

*Yes, that was a SATC reference.

Free Life

If you immediately open your iTunes and download Dan Wilson's album Free Life you won't be disappointed.

I heard a snippet of "All Kinds" at Barnes & Noble last night and had to hunt down the artist. Opening iTunes, I immediately clicked "purchase album" without even listening to previews of the other tracks. After listening to the entire album (twice) I must say that every song tugs at some part of my soul. Best $9.99 I've ever spent on iTunes. If you wondered what kind of music I like best, this is it, hands down.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

O' the sacrifices!

I tell ya, people, if you had asked me two years ago whether I'd consider giving up my car and buying makeup from the drug store, I would have thought you had been drinking grandma's special kool-aid.

Strange how I am in fact trying to find someone to 'rent' my car until the lease is up and I used Barnes & Noble like a library to pour over Paula Begoun's "Don't Go to the Costmetics Counter Without Me" book to identify beauty products under $15 that might work for me in place of my more expensive Bobbi Brown/Laura Mercier/Nars/MAC/Smashbox/Stila makeup & Dermalogica skin care products.

But desperate times (i.e. soon-to-be living on grad school student loans) call for desperate measures and as I forecast a budget, there is simply no way to afford the lifestyle I've become accustomed to.

It kinda sucks, I confess.

But! Surprisingly I'm not nearly as devastated as I would have thought I'd be. It's as if the preceding months have been slowly, unconsciously preparing me for these moments when I have to sacrifice for my education and future career.

In the coming months as my current makeup/skincare product stash is used up, I'll be posting reviews on the drugstore items I try out, just in case any of you are interested in joining me in this endeavor, in feeling my pain, my poverty.

First item to replace...Makeup Primer. Problem is Paula's book doesn't have any reviews of primers so I'm on my own with this one unless you have a personal recommendation of one that costs less than $20. I'll probably start with Sephora brand and see how things go. Wish me luck!

(Photo via Lumene)

Monday, April 14, 2008

The Results, A Wedding & The Ritz

Drumroll please...The shoe-vote results are in and choice 'a' won! Also, I decided against the necklace and added hair jewelry instead.

Now on to the wedding!

The fuscia pink and lime green colors were an infusion of color against the beautiful blue skies. The groom's father married the couple in a moving and personal ceremony.

My friend Jono was in awe of his beautiful bride, Lara, who positively glowed with happiness. These two are clearly very much in love, sharing sweet whispering moments during the ceremony, absorbed in each other and the excitement of becoming husband and wife.

Mr. & Mrs. Jonathan and Lara Griffin!

My "date" Lauren and Lara's father, greeting friends and sharing his excitement.

The table and wedding favors.

The cake and my handsome little table-mate, Murray.

Lauren and I ended the evening with her boyfriend Carlos (whom I adore), and drinks at the Ritz-Carlton, where we enjoyed every drop of our deliciously expensive cocktails.
For other photos from the day, visit here.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Vote for Pedro!

I mean SHOES.

I'm attending a wedding & reception tomorrow evening at the La Canada Country Club and though I have the dress, jewelry & purse picked out, I'm still deciding between 3 different pair of shoes. That's where you come in with all your inner-fashionista.

Here is the dress, necklace & purse. (Note :this black & muted-gold print dress is just slightly longer than knee length with a flowy A-line skirt and black satin sash at the waist.)

And here are my shoe options (Note: I don't know whether I'll be walking on grass or outside, so leave that consideration out of your choice and vote purely for appearance. **EDIT** This just in! Word is I won't be walking on grass.):

a.) Peep-toed sheer-sided sling-back pump, b.) Strappy wedge sandal, c.) Pointy-toed stilletto pump

Which shoe gets your vote?