My favorite photos from this week I took while playing with Lucy one afternoon. She is at such a fun age right now and starting to show some imagination while she's playing. She makes voices for her toys, pretends to drink tea, and giggles at herself. The sweetness is intoxicating sometimes.
Every winter I set goals to work on new photography skills/improve existing skills and try to invest in some kind of continuing education. I have learned as a small business owner in a creative field if you don't invest in keeping yourself fresh and inspired, no one is going to. This past January I took an online tabletop photography class from Nicole's Classes. I had so much fun completing the assignments for the class and it made me realize since little Lucy came along I haven't been taking my camera out for personal work very much at all. So for my thirty-third year here on earth I decided I would work on carrying my camera around with me a doing a better job shooting for fun. I'm not going to try to shoot something every single day. I attempted a 365 project a few years ago and it just wasn't all that practical for me. Now, more than ever, a day can just get away from me and before I know it it's time for bed. However, since I started, I find myself reaching for my camera a lot more as I head out and not simply relying on my iPhone. I will choose one series to feature every week and challenge myself to shoot both every day stuff as well as projects I set up. I'm looking forward to it.
Here is week one: French pressed green tea. I bought this tea on a trip to Taiwan from a tiny little lady with a fluffy white dog in the village around Sun Moon Lake in 2009. It is some of the best green tea I have ever tasted. Every time I steep the tea I remember the steamed buns and leek dumplings I ate across from the stall selling giant wood phalluses. Phalluses? Phalli?
I'm a little late getting my January Birchbox review posted seeing as my March box will be shipping in a few days. Whoops! What can I say, I'm a procrastinator.
First of all, I'm still LOVING getting the birchbox every month. It's my favorite mail by far. My only complaint is I seem to get mine a couple days after everyone else I know so I'm not usually as surprised by its contents :-(.
This month I got some lovely things.
Viva La Juicy Fragrance: Choosing a fragrance is tricky business for me. I have some weird skin chemistry that turns certain types of scents sour. Boo. Juicy was ok on me, but not my favorite scent. Victoria Secret's Dream Angels Halo, is my favorite scent, just in case you were wondering. But they only carry it twice a year. Double boo.
ZOYA Polish in Kendel: This polish is a part of the Feel Collection. I love ZOYA polish for lots of reasons, but mostly because it lasts such a long time. They also have a lovely color selection. It goes on thin and not too gloopy (that's a word, right?) to dry quickly (my major complaint for OPI and China Glaze polish) but still has good coverage. Depending on the color, sometimes you only need one coat. This shade isn't my very favorite, but I like it well enough for every-once-in-a-while.
'witchcraft Granola: Not a fan. Tasted a bit too "earthy" for my taste. Think crunchy dirt.
FIX Malibu The Works: I like this cream a lot, but I don't $70 like it. If you have patchy skin and need something to smoothen your skin before you apply foundation this is great. I really liked using it, but $70 is a bit out of my price range since I already spend $$$ on prescription skin-care products.
Algenist Firming and Lifting Cream: While I'm not *quite* old enough for saggy neck skin, it's never to soon for a little ounce of prevention, right? I used the cream and I loved how soft and smooth it made my skin, but I'm gonna be honest, I didn't $94 love it. Andy has promised to love me and my saggy neck if he can keep his $94. Fair enough.
***If you would like to sign up for Birchbox, I would love it if you used THIS LINK so I can get some points :).
****CLICK HERE to see December's Birchbox Review
There seem to be three unofficially sanctioned responses to this book: You may heap praise on the author for his brilliance, you can say that you didn't understand it but it's probably brilliant anyway, or you can say that you didn't understand it and you're a little pissed off about that. I'm really not sure which camp I fall in. Really, reading this book was kind of like watching a David Lynch movie. David Lynch movies can be very enjoyable if you're aware that you're watching a David Lynch movie. You know that there are layers you're supposed to get, if you're clever enough, and even if you aren't clever enough you can enjoy the story and certain elements for what they are and the way they're presented. The problem is that I wasn't aware that I was watching a David Lynch movie. As a result, I found myself unfulfilled on the promise that I was given in the first chapters. Samedi the Deafness gives the illusion that it is a spy thriller -- a mystery -- that will be unfolded over the course of its 300 pages. That's not to say it isn't a spy thriller / mystery, or that it isn't resolved in the end, but it didn't play out in the way one expects it to. I don't like to read the "dust jacket" review before starting a book, but in this case it would appear that I should have. This book really wasn't the book I was lead to believe it was, and as a result don't feel very qualified to give it a rating, or make a recommendation about whether or not one should read it. The book is what it is.
Samedi the Deafness, by Jesse Ball
I'm a little conflicted about how to rate this book. I'm really trying hard to stop throwing out four- and five-star reviews so much, but this book really did move me more than most books do. It's a really well told story on the nature of dealing with and moving past loss, and how different people handle the loss of a loved one. It's one of those books that I'm really glad I read, yet I'm not sure I would recommend to just anyone. Some may find it simply depressing, or even emotionally manipulative, but I found it to be really sweet and thoughtful.
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, by Jonathan Safran Foer -
I very vaguely remember watching this movie a decade or so ago, and I know this series has a couple dozen books, so it has to be good. Right? Wrong. I was, however, genuinely curious about how it would wrap up, so I did manage to read clear to the end. I don't think I'm spoiling anything by telling you that this is the story of a kidnapping by a supposed schitzophrenic sociopath. And, of course, the big question is whether or not he's really schitzophrenic or just faking everyone. Really, though, I just didn't care. Like all of the other characters, he just wasn't at all believable. Granted, it is the first in the Alex Cross series, so maybe Patterson's writing has improved since this one was released, but I'm really not all that interested in finding out.
Along Came a Spider, by James Patterson -