Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The Morphing Gift Exchange Tradition

I know it's a bit late to be talking about Christmas still, but I wanted to share how our family handles the gift giving.

My mom's side is rather large and so no one (especially in this economy) can afford to get everyone a gift. So over 10 years ago, we started doing a white elephant gift exchange (which, for those of you who haven't participated, just means that everyone brings an anonymous gag-gift and we take turns opening the gifts or stealing them from each other... you can read more here).

This didn't go over so well as people were fighting over really dumb things like the singing Billy the Big-Mouth Bass and ended up stuck with really dumb stuff they just threw away.

So we decided to bring real gifts but it ended up being one of those things where only the women shopped so it was filled with potpourri and lotions and candles.

Now, my Stepdad is a quiet, unassuming type, but oh-so-funny. I guess he deemed our little exchange too dull or feminine and one Christmas, he brought a box of bullets. Everyone had a good laugh, the men felt involved for the first time and it was grand.

Each year has gotten progressively more interesting....

This year, I was texting Boyfriend-Fellow during the process and had to update him that "Cousin so-and-so just opened a Japanese sword..." and "Holy crap! Mom just opened a REVOLVER!"

Now, this photo is terrible, except for the hilarious face she's making. But if I posted it, she'd kill me, so I will have to deny you, dear readers.

What is your family gift tradition?

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Topical Tuesday

I'm stealing Deanna's idea for today's post. She has a question up every Tuesday that sparks interesting discussions.
My question is...
How have you been changed or influenced 
by the people you've been interested in?

I mean, the music is often the first thing I think of. I was into punk with the punk boy, metal with the metal guy (that was way harder to get into), indie with the indie guy...

But I also became far more political when I was dating a social rights guy and way into soccer when I was dating a soccer buff. Then there was the guy who mixed music so I loved learning the nuances of that. A guy I was interested in was very outdoorsy, so I got into hiking and biking (though we never dated). Boyfriend-fellow has influenced me in a lot of ways but one of the most obvious is health and fitness. He's very much into sports & working out and so on.

So, what have you gotten into because 
of the people you've liked?

*this is one of my best friends, not a love-interest

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Awkward/Awesome vol. 79

This is a short awkward/awesome post but 
check back this week as I've got more posts comin'!

Creepy: Walking to my car in the dark, late at night.
Creepy x 2: Having some guy start walking after me.
Creepy x 3: When I started walking faster/almost running, so did he.
I got to my car and slammed the door and started driving. The road I turned onto was blockaded by police. They asked me to go another route as they were looking for someone....

Awesome: My sisters now have access to emails
Awkward: Apparently, they're following the rules of text-etiquette ("I sent you an email, did you not get it? Why haven't your responded immediately?")
They're so adorable.

Someone was presenting a project that I had begun but they had taken over... 
Him: So, you may remember this project that Rachael presented last quarter but I'm presenting it again as I've taken it over and it's ... [he drifted off]
Me [trying to be obnoxious]: ....WAY better than it was before!
Him: I'm so glad you said it!  I wasn't sure how to phrase it.
....Wow, just... wow.

Awesome: Finding a coveted parking spot outside my friend's house that's notorious for its crowded streets.
Awkward: Having to do an 18-point turn to squeeze in.
Awkward x 2: As I was walking away, I realized my 'spot' was actually someone's driveway entrance.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Awkward/Awesome vol. 78

Awesome: Finally getting a haircut I like!

Awkward: This post being 3 days late.

Awkward: Telling my boss that I'm leaving graduate school
Awesome: She was overjoyed for me and took me out to dinner!

Awesome: Hearing classical music blasting from the poor-quality headphones of a 70-year-old man at the gym.

Awkward: These instructions

Awkward and Awesome: Going to Starbucks like this
madre would be so ashamed
Awesome: Getting my drink for free (maybe I looked depressed?)

Awesome: Making my family a healthy and delicious meal... Cheesy quinoa!
Awkward: It looked... disgusting.
At least it tasted good!

Awkward and Awesome: During my last family photoshoot, the 3-year-old (who had a 12-week-old new baby brother) asked if my baby was still in my belly or out. He thinks all women carry one inside at all times.

Awesome: I'm a rebel...

Awkward: This candle
It was probably just as horrifying before it was melted too

Awesome: Happy hour with this view...

I really enjoyed Deanna's awkward/awesome this week... 
What have been some of your * special * moments?

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

I got dressed...

First off, thank you guys, SO MUCH for all your supportive comments on my last post. I've responded to them all so check back for a reply if you left a comment!

I feel like I'm taking off,  but that I have a very short runway (two more months of a paycheck before I'm on my own). I'm scared and excited at the same time.

Today I put a little extra effort into my outfit and snapped a photo to send to Boyfriend-Fellow's mom and grandma since they gave me the boots and dress, respectively. Only after I was out of the house that I remembered today is the day I give a 2 hour lecture. SO glad I didn't wear the hoodie and jeans I was originally planning!

(Apologies for the poor quality... These were taken with PhotoBooth and an iPhone) 

The neckline and back of the dress has really cool open-loop details but these photos don't do it justice

(Photo by Boyfriend-Fellow)

(Photo by Boyfriend-Fellow)

jacket - thrifted (but you can get here)
boots - gift from Boyfriend-Fellow's mom
dress - gift from Boyfriend-Fellow's grandma
cardigan - bunny's in Santa Cruz

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Big news

I think I promised you guys several times an explanation for why I've been so busy...
Well (drum roll please)...  I'm leaving grad school.
I earned my Masters degree at the end of last school year and I've given it a go but I really haven't felt fulfilled for a long time.

I have been quiet about it on the blog because...
a) Some of my fellow students at one point found out about my blog and I didn't want to say anything that would compromise my position before I was decided and ready to say something
b) I'd rather be someone who doesn't complain unless I can do something about it.

The support of many helped me make this decision, not least of which was Boyfriend-Fellow. He's been absolutely amazing throughout this whole process, listening for countless hours and giving me loads of confidence.  I also was inspired by Molly beginning to live out her dream (post here). And I received a ton of useful (and free!) information from Chic-CEO, a company by woman entrepreneurs, full of free advice for women who want to start their own business.

So what am I going to do?
I'm going to pour my heart into becoming a full-time photographer.
I know it's a tough business to break into.
And I know it's self-employment is hard.
But I'm dedicated.

I've worked for 8 years for my dad's wedding videography business and gained lots of experience in that field. I've been doing impromptu, mostly unpaid photography for my friends and friends of friends for over 10 years. My goal is to do lifestyle photography, spanning engagements, weddings, maternity, baby and family portraiture.

And... it'd be fun to do some band or fashion shoots too.

So yeah, that's what's up with me. 
I could really use help at this start-up phase of my career so if you know of anyone getting married, I'm willing to travel!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Tall Tales

As we've just come out of the season of one of the biggest weird-things-we-tell-kids, I have been reflecting on erroneous information my friends and I have received in the past, like when my brother told me my toes tasted like strawberries...

We've all heard the 'your face will freeze like that' or 'gum takes 7 years to digest' fibs. But have you heard these ones?

My best friend from elementary was under the impression that there was a factory cat that peed on top of all the cans of soda (that's why you should really wash every soda can top).

At a fancy wedding, my brother told me that caviar was shaved raspberries. That was a big disappointment.

My elementary best friend also believed that we had bubbles in our skulls and if you hit the right one, you'd die (hence never hit anyone in the head). My favorite is the one her grandma told her about how cars are notorious for having their door handles hook belt loops on pants and dragging people along (that is why you should always walk on the inside of the sidewalk).

My high school best friend wanted to go to Disneyland when she was younger but her parents didn't want to deal with the crowds so they took her on the tram ride around the parking lot and told her that was Disneyland, then they got hamburgers across the street. Funny enough, she had such a good time she asked to go once more (and they duped her again).

What tall tales have you grown up with?

Friday, January 4, 2013

Scope out

Recently, I wanted to scope out some locations for a few upcoming family portrait sessions and The Littles kindly helped out...

Goofing around...

Littlest-Little is just gorgeous...

That hair!


Biggest-Little looks so grown up!

Fierce Littlest-Little...

P.S. I definitely benefitted from the practice in lighting. All three family photoshoots went great!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Awkward/Awesome vol. 77

Gettin' back on the bandwagon 
with an Awkward/Awesome edition!

Awkward: Holiday weight gain and sugar addiction. UGH!

Awesome: Boyfriend-Fellow's grandma got all the girls matching holiday necklaces.
Awkward: I got a necklace-shaped rash within 10 minutes of wearing it every time.

Awesome: Still lovin' the macro Photojojo lens Boyfriend-Fellow got me for my iPhone.
Droplet on a blade of grass

Awesome: Playing hangman with The Littles 
Littlest-Little (being a smart-alec) had me guessing phrases like, 'Isn't it obvious?' 
Biggest-Little had me guessing nonsense pairs of words like 'bird rain' and 'palm truck'. Oh and this is her handwriting on an iPod...
Can you read it?

Awesome: Mowth in his Mowth-sized vacation home.

Awkward: My head is so big I have to lengthen all my headbands with safety pins.

Awesome: On Friday we headed up to our family Christmas weekend.
Awkward: 3 hours into the 7 hour trip, as the car became increasingly lurch-y and sputter-y, we turned around (that's a 6 hr drive in total for Friday).
Awesome: We used the other (smaller) car and left the next morning. 

Awesome: My dad used to work with Teri Hatcher (she was the head cheer coach and he was the head soccer coach for an organization). I just found these old flyers he made 
that's her on the right

close up

Awesome: Trying on glasses with The Littles

Awesome: Pops McGee when he was my age-ish (note: he's still cool)

Awkward: The things I used to give my dad as presents....
Maybe it was a toothpick holder?

Awkward: I did not have my boyfriend to kiss on New Year's, but I did have Mowth.

What's been awkward/awesome with you guys?