The Anatomy of An Image: Editing

I went to a wedding back in May, and I'm sure my friends are wondering what happened to all of the images I took?

Yesterday I decided to begin tackling at least one that I was particularly happy with. I'm still new to editing people and it makes me incredibly nervous to do so. People, I've found, are so very judgemental of themselves and the camera is absolutely unforgiving. If you shoot at the wrong angle no matter how skinny a person actually is, they will still look like they weigh 50 lbs more than they actually do. Unfortunately, people take that to heart. They see images of themselves and think "dang! I need to lose 50 lbs!" when losing 50bs could very well result in someone who is anorexic. So in the end, it is the photographer's responsibility to take photos that truly emphasize the beauty of an individual.

… But who likes to have their photo taken?

I know one person who actually likes it. Justin just puts up with me taking his photo because he's married to me. In essence, I don't get much practice shooting people, and I get extremely frustrated with myself when I struggle at editing the images I've taken. If I don't get the image right, the prospect of taking said person's photo ever again dramatically decreases.

When I took the above image(s), I was trying to channel a bit of Julie Paisley Photography with the flowers in the foreground. The image above is actually 2 images. I took a full shot of the couple including the flowers, but the couple was moving or something when I did that, so they were a bit blurry. After deciding (quickly, within moments of the first shot) that the flower bit wasn't working, I zoomed in on just the couple and shot again.

Pulling the images up on the computer, it was obvious to me that my image needed to include the dandelions. Think about the added depth of meaning: the idea of wishes, dreams, imagination and childhood on your wedding day? *sigh* Very romantic. :)

Of course my dad saw the image and said something negative and confidence reducing that I will not repeat here. *sigh* There are definitely things that could be improved upon, but … DANDELIONS!!!!! Love!  Seriously?!?!

I've been putting off editing this image for months, because I just never felt I could do it justice. Their skin was blotchy and red in some places and green in others thanks to reflections off of the blanket and grass. Then, their clothing choices make her skin far brighter than his. (Clearly both of them should have worn a neutral gray! It would have made my job far easier!)

To get my final image I…

  • learned frequency separation!!! YAY!! –– This is where you separate the skin color from the skin texture in photoshop. It makes it easier to even out skin tone without losing the gorgeous texture you need to give the image a classy look.
  • upped the saturation. –– When I tried to get rid of the red skin tones, their skin looked amazingly flat which is not something anyone desires. Ever. 
  • used a gradient mask to brighten the left side of the image to give his face the extra light it needed.
  • ran OnOne software to give the image more blue. –– I seriously didn't know it needed it until I tried it.
  • Contrast and the High Pass filter combined with a gradient mask allowed me to bring out even more texture in their face while a Gaussian filter blurred the background.

I just sent the image to my local Costco to be printed so that I can "see" the colors and make even more judgements regarding the continuation of editing that will probably happen later this weekend since I am always seeing one more thing I missed… You see, there is never any definite end to editing, you just keep going until you are happy. Unfortunately, I'm never happy. ;)

After going through this process with you, the thing I want to be most clear about is that photography is more about vision and imagination than truth telling. My goal is to give the image a feeling, an emotion…and make it pretty. On your wedding day you look vibrant and beautiful to those who love you most, so who really cares what the camera captures anyway? :)

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TBT: Deutsch Kochen

Way back, when I was in high school, my German teacher had my entire class make some sort of German food for a class picnic we would be taking. It was a great idea, in my opinion. Everyone made something different. We became a little bit more familiar with another culture, but we also got to enjoy a day of relaxation, fun, and socialization at the local park, within walking distance of the school.

I'm not sure what I made. Thinking back, I seem to remember it being "Apfelkuchen", but it wasn't a pie or a cake…It was more like pancakes, I think. (My memory has gotten foggy at this point.) To be honest, I was the spoiled kid that you only wish you could have been. All I really had to do was find the recipe and my dad made it for me. He's no chef, so it's probably impressive that it was even edible. (That's mean. Of course it was edible!)

Anyway, while the German party was fun and the pancakes (or whatever they were) were delicious, there is one part of the story you are missing… :) That particular Saturday, my brother had a friend over. When the pancakes were done, my dad had me take them outside to share with my brother and his friend. That was when the friend decided that I should be his new babysitter; he wanted me to cook him more delicious things!

As you might can guess, given how much you hear about my husband cooking, I am not a great cook. I LOVE watching great cooks, pushing them to do better, challenging them with the foods I choose…All of it, really! I'm sure I learn so much by merely watching Justin in the kitchen, but when it comes to actual practice though, I am far better on the sidelines. The other week I burned brownies…from a box. I'm quite certain I could burn water if I tried. I'm just not patient enough with cooking (or baking); things are either overdone or underdone when I make them. I typically know what I like, but rarely do I have the patience and attention-span to achieve what I am after.

Nevertheless, it still makes me laugh when I think back to that day that kid thought I could cook and cook well. I will always have a special place in my heart for "Apfelkuchen" even if the kid never had me babysit him again!

Has anything like that ever happened to you? Someone thinks you did something amazing and is surprised later to find out that it wasn't actually you? Or did you get to do anything fun, like make food, when taking a language class? Share with me! I'd love to hear some other TBT stories! :)

Something New

Monsieur Peacock was hanging out at the petting zoo last year in Charleston just waiting for me to take his picture…so I did. Now he will be internet famous!

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Little Person

from June 2013

Today I've been culling images from forever. I've deleted so many images that I've lost count all the while looking for my August Break image. This doesn't feel like a "break" to me, but at least some cuteness came out of it… :)

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*cue Barbara Streisand* :)

view from the Holiday Inn Resort at Panama City Beach, June 2014

One of the worst parts of summer is that it has to end eventually…

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Following In Your Shadow…

When One2One asked me to blog about Tori Amos' new music video "Promises" I was a bit apprehensive at first. What did I have to say about mother/daughter relationships when I myself am not a mother and there are no Mother's Day holidays in sight for another couple of months? At that point I realized that Tori Amos' video is not just about mother/daughter relationships, but it's really about women and people relating to one another in general.

Last night my sister-in-law came over and said something I've heard quite frequently from a lot of women over the years: "I don't have any female friends".

Why is that the case? What do women do to one another that causes such isolation among our gender?

This really made me think about how I relate to the girls I watch and encouraged me to think about what it is that I do or say and how it can affect their life outlook. Is there anything that I am doing or saying that could cause them to continue this trend of isolation?

My relationships with the male gender are some of the best in my life because these men optimistically tell me that they will always be there to listen to me and help me without (too much) judgement (or complaint), offering me the opportunity to grow, become more confident in myself, and blossom as an individual. I realize that I may have some very unique (and awesome) male relationships in my life and that not every guy out there is like that (or every girl as lucky as I am), but what if women offered those same promises to other women? How much stronger and more capable would the female gender be? 

I try to do that with the kids I watch letting them know that even though I'm not their parent, I am there to fully support them and back their decisions or at least help them get through tough decisions whenever they need me. My support goes for both the boys and girls I watch, but unsurprisingly it is typically the females more so than the males tearing one another down, talking badly about one another, and just simply not being supportive of one another. It's starts as early as elementary school and only gets worse as the kids get older and enter middle school, high school, college … and begin their careers as an adult. This is why Tori Amos's song with her 13 year old daughter is so poignant. It is absolutely lovely to see a promise made between a mother and daughter, a younger female and an older one, that no matter what happens they will always be there for one another.

Today I encourage you to promise someone you love (male or female) that you will "always be there". Whether you are 13 or 82, life is hard enough without consistency, security, and support; let's make it a little bit easier on ourselves and the others in our lives by always choosing to be there for them no matter where their life takes them.

* This post was sponsored by One2One Network. I was not paid or compensated for this post; all opinions are my own. Check out Tori's youtube channel to see more music by her and check out any of the 6 youtube videos created by One2One members that were inspired by the song. You can also follow her on twitter @TorAmos.
** Interested in buying the song? Buy on Itunes, Amazon, or GooglePlay.
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TBT: Treasures

I define treasures as worthwhile, unique items that only I have or that are hard to come by, so how appropriate is it that today's August Break theme of "treasures" fell on throwback Thursday!

This dress was purchased at Stefan's Vintage Clothing (now Ambrose Vintage, named after his cat) in Little Five Points a really long time ago. Justin and I were going to a murder mystery party, and about the only thing I was looking forward to was finding the perfect vintage dress. I'm not sure this dress really suited the time frame we were looking for, but it suited my character and was a delight to wear. The dress has a bit of wear and tear to it and I'm certain I paid far too much for it, but it still has a place in my closet even though I haven't worn it since.

My grandmother made these Raggedy Ann and Andy dolls for my second cousin in the 1960s. Unfortunately (or fortunately) my uncle ultimately (and oddly) decided that my mom's dolls also made during same time frame were made for him (in my mom's favorite color?) and gave them to his daughters, my much younger (and only blood-related from that side of the family) cousins. Luckily, my grandmother has since (in the 2000s) made me my own set of the dolls in my favorite color (and made my mom a replacement set). It is so meaningful and I feel so special knowing that my set was made just for me by someone that I love. :) I didn't even need to receive a passed down set from my mom; I got a set directly from the source!

Not so much an object but more a memory at this point, Justin put our initials on a gazebo seat up in Young Harris, GA at one point while I was attending school there. He had come up from Georgia Tech to visit me, and we were having a rough time getting along. In an effort to prove his love, he pulled out a knife and etched our names into a gazebo seat. I'm not sure I believed him that night despite his driving two hours to be with me and despite the etching, but looking back it certainly was a sweet gesture. It is a gesture that I may never be able to hold in my hands or wear, but so long as that gazebo exists (with the same wood, of course), our initials will always be there. Sweet, right? :)

What are a few moments or things that you treasure?

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First Time Flying Overseas: Air France Vs. Delta

I'm still working on my picture of Chattanooga, so I haven't had time to edit any others as part of the "August Break" challenge.

Instead I decided to tackle a question I know you all have been wondering but afraid to ask: which is better Air France or Delta?

My flight to Paris took off at 7:45pm on a Tuesday night since it turns out that Tuesday flights are cheaper than any other day of the week. We were trying to arrive prior to May Day. Unfortunately, after getting lost, we missed out on the majority of the festivities that May Day encompasses; instead, the most we experienced were the large number of closed shops. Arg. Lesson learned: don't travel, get up early, or go shopping on May Day in Europe.

I digress.

Atlanta Hartsfield Airport was awesome. My husband and I arrived at the international side of the airport at around 5PM. We walked right in, handed the Delta staff our bags, went through security, and found the waiting area very quickly. There were a few snafus and I had to fix my favorite necklace with tooth floss, but other than that everything went well.

Air France

The line for boarding involved waiting for your letter to be called on your ticket. As such, we boarded after our seatmate who had taken my seat next to the window – the seat that had the extra leg room that I had booked on purpose. After making him move, we discovered that these seats, even for a short person like me (5'2") were tiny. There was hardly any leg room except for the one seat I had purposely booked.

The French staff on board our flight were courtesy enough. Having never really flown before, I did manage to get on one individual's bad side, but she simply corrected me and moved on attempting to get along with me during the rest of the flight.

Justin and I had gone to eat just prior to arriving at the airport, so we were surprised when dinner was served almost immediately upon boarding. I had coke, chicken and gravy, potatoes, quinoa (?), apple sauce, cheese/butter, a baguette, and a slice of coconut cake. The chicken was decent but cold, the potatoes were just that, the cheese and baguette were delicious, the cake was so-so, and I refused to eat the quinoa and apple sauce. (The coke tasted flat and disgusting in case you were wondering.)

Then it came time to shut the windows and sleep (or pretend to anyway.) Given that we were traveling during what would be night time, I just knew I would be tired and sleep the whole way waking up refreshed and ready to go when we arrived in Europe. Then, I had a thought: I would be able to see the sunrise from an airplane! How cool would that be?! The thought excited me enough that I simply could not sleep, and I opened my window halfway to France just to see the sunrise over the Atlantic. Amazing? Eh, not really. But super exciting anyway. :)

Despite not sleeping, I didn't really take advantage of any of the amenities on Air France. I watched the screen on Justin's tv to see where we were, how high up we were, and when we would be arriving in France. There weren't any movies to choose from or music to listen to, so using the screen seemed pretty pointless. I also spent a lot of time looking out the window, bothering Justin (who was trying to sleep), and listening to my ipod. Before I knew it, the staff was turning on lights and serving breakfast.

Breakfast on Air France was made up of a muffin, yogurt, fruit, orange juice, and that baguette with cheese again. It was the perfect breakfast for me. I wasn't hungry, but I devoured the delicious baguette and sweet muffin before my attention once again returned to the patchwork quilt looking landscape that now lay below me.

Exiting the plane happened fairly quickly. We were escorted to the front of the line, and the longest we waited was for retrieving our bags, which given the length of time between our arrival and theirs, we thought they had gotten lost!! Charles de gaulle airport was a pain to navigate compared to Atlanta Hartsfield. This could be due to my lack of flying experience though?

After that, Justin and I spend a wonderful –almost– 3 weeks exploring Europe with friends before our next flight took off Sunday morning at 6AM in Paris, France.


First of all, our original flight was scheduled for Saturday at 3PM. We missed the flight somehow. (Something about not arriving in time to navigate the airport? Or at least that's the line they gave us. Note: Arrive at Charles de Gaulle THREE hours before. Not two. I'm not sure why.) Anyway, we ended up staying at the hotel at the airport since we had already returned our car and we didn't want any trouble navigating the rail system at 3AM in the morning.

The staff was courteous enough even though they were all less friendly than the staff at Atlanta Hartsfield. And the airport was huge and difficult to navigate. Luckily, a complimentary breakfast of croissants was provided to us at our hotel prior to boarding our plane. Yay! I think that may have been the only good thing about the hotel except for being able to see the sunrise at the airport from our hotel room window.

Once again, after boarding, we were served a simple breakfast. Unfortunately, I didn't take pictures of either the breakfast or lunch provided, because I was tired and slept most of the flight. I don't remember much about the food other than it was "American" and not served with a baguette and cheese. Highly disappointing, I must say. ;) I had learned my lesson though, and I drank sparkling water on the flight home and was far more impressed with that choice than the coke served to me on the previous flight.

I was also thrilled to have plenty of leg room. And when I finally woke up from my 5 hour nap, approximately 2 hours prior to disboarding, I found an awesome movie to watch.

Audrey Hepburn enticed me to watch it, but after the first scene I was hooked.

"I already know an awful lot of people and until one of them dies, I couldn't possibly meet anyone else."


"You're blocking my view."
"Which view would you prefer?"
"The one you're blocking." ;)

haha. Audrey Hepburn is so serious and so funny.

The Delta flight had far more movies to view, music to listen to, and overall things to do than the Air France flight. Pair that with more leg room, and I would say that Delta was far more comfortable and enjoyable to fly than Air France.

Upon arrival, we were out of the airport within 10 minutes making Atlanta Hartsfield my favorite airport and Charles De Gaulle … not. Perhaps next time I should try Lufthansa and fly directly to Germany instead.

What are your thoughts? Have you ever flown overseas? Are there any airlines you recommend? Favorite airports to arrive in/leave from? What do you recommend for someone who is new to flying? 

Oh - and be sure to watch the 1963 movie Charade with Audrey Hepburn and Cary Grant. I highly recommend it! :)

Don't Look Down

"After climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb." 
Nelson Mandela

This is very true… especially in Europe. They have all of the hills…and stairs. It makes me grateful for elevators. But some climbs are definitely worth it. :) 

Have a fantastic Monday!

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Peace is always beautiful. – Walt Whitman

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In My Bag: Make-Up & Skincare I Recommend

If you know me at all, you know that I don't carry around a bag … or a purse … or anything unless I have to. I am of the opinion that I would find myself sticking useless junk in said bag under the premise that I need it.

Thank goodness this post is not about bags though.

Instead it's about a few of the make-up and skin care products I use not necessarily on a daily basis, because I'm lazy like that, but occasionally at home before going to a party, on a hot date, or to the park.

Neutrogena Rapid Clear Treatment Pads

A few years ago, I didn't have acne problems. Most days I would just rinse my face, occasionally using a bit of cetaphil as recommended by my mom's dermatologist. Shortly before my wedding none of that seemed to help like it had in the decade before. All of a sudden spots would appear on my face and they would take months to disappear! And when they finally did? I was left with little red marks on what was previously clear skin. Needless to say, I began to get anxious when acne appeared on my face. I just knew that one day I wouldn't recognize myself in the mirror due to all of the acne scars. That's a pretty awful feeling … and I was in my 20's! Well past the time when this should have been a problem!

Enter salicylic acid as found in these pads. It was some crazy treatment I had read about online. It, along with the next product on this list, worked! It took approximately 2 weeks to clear my face after the first use, but I have not had a problem since! I should note that I do not use this product every day or even every other day. I only use it when I feel a pimple coming on (my face gets itchy) or I have a pimple. I'm afraid this product could be very drying to your skin if used too often. I love taking this product on vacation to clear my face of excess oil after a walk on the beach in the humidity or when traveling abroad since it is not a liquid. Yay! If you're having problems with acne, I highly recommend Neutrogena Rapid Clear along with…

Clean & Clear Persa Gel 10

I bought this product due to the benzoyl peroxide which is also suppose to be great for clearing acne. The Clean & Clear Persa gel is used even less often than the Neutrogena Rapid Clear pads. This gel is for acne that takes up residence and stays on your face for weeks at a time. Benzoyl peroxide is extremely drying and should only be used in small areas once a day or so. If you use the gel too often and dry your skin too much, you could find yourself with more pimples and acne than you had to begin with. That's not typically the goal, right?

Maybelline New York Cover Stick Concealer in Light Beige

If I'm having to use medication for my zits, I really try to avoid concealing or covering them up with make-up unless I have something really important I'm going to or the spot is really embarrassing (i.e. red or in existence for far too long). I've used this Maybelline concealer for a while now originally bought on a whim from a grocery store. With 4 out of 5 stars on Amazon, it must not be too awful. Plus, it's worked just fine for me for the past several years.

Bare Minerals Stroke of Light Eye Brightener

I bought this product shortly before going to Europe to help with the dark circles under my eyes. Some days I think to myself: "I'm so glad I purchased this! It works so well!" And sometimes I think the complete opposite. Either way, if I had a bag, this would probably be in it.

Rapidlash Eyelash and Eyebrow Enhancing Serum 

About two or three months before traveling abroad I bought this product just to see. It was recommended by one of my favorite brands, BHLDN, and I thought that it would be a fantastic product for someone that doesn't like using mascara! I'm not entirely sure if it worked or not because I don't pay too much attention to my eyelashes to really know or care. I wanted it to work. I loved the idea of having thick, long, beautiful eyelashes, but I was also not incredibly vigilant about using this product. Maybe it will work for you? Others' reviews seem to imply so.

Bare Escentuals Medium Beige Foundation

My mom got me started using Bare Minerals make-up nearly 20 years ago when I was still a kid. Obviously I didn't actually use the make-up, but she bought it and put it away for me for when I got older. Supposedly bare minerals make-up is more natural and better for your skin? Anyway, that's all I use now if I'm going to use a foundation. I also use SPF mineral veil with the foundation, because I hear that protecting your skin from the sun is generally a good thing…

L'oreal Dazzling Plumping Lipcolor Glam Shine #110 Prima Donna

Occasionally I use Mary Kay lipstick, but more often than not this L'oreal lip gloss is exactly what I want. It's not too wet or too dry and it adds the perfect amount of shimmer and glossy look to your lips. It's also a very old product that you may have trouble finding. What can I say? If I try something and love it, I stick to it!

Bare Escentuals Eye Color

If you ever get the chance to wander into a Bare Escentuals store, I highly recommend it. Before my trip to the store, I used drug store and Mary Kay eye shadow. They were okay. But once I walked through the doors of my local Bare Escentuals shop, I had to have one of every color they had out on the counter. It was like… GLITTER! I'm not entirely certain I had to have all of the colors for my face though; I would have been quite content to do sand art with the "glitter" or … any other kind of art, really. Unfortunately Bare Escentuals is just a bit too expensive to make art out of. If you are going to buy it, you might as well use it on your face.  (Soooo boring. I know.) I recommend Daydream, Hyacinth, Fairly Light, and Chameleon as my favorite colors.

Mary Kay Powder Perfect Cheek Color - Azalea

The last item in my bag is another oldy but goody. Do they even sell this color any more? It's one of my favorite blush colors because it is so subtle. I hate bright and dark colors that are so noticeable. This shade is perfect for brightening my cheeks just the tiniest bit and adding just a bit of pink to them.

Now that you know what would be in my bag if I had one, do you have any recommendations for me? Do you use any of the same products as I do? What are your favorites?

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Life Post Robin Williams

From the person who taught us that: "You treat a disease: you win, you lose. You treat a person, I guarantee you, you'll win, no matter what the outcome."

Thank you Robin Williams for all you did.

Now I think I'll go watch a few of my favorite films.

5 Mostly Kid-Friendly Fun Summer Drinks found on Pinterest

The summer is a fantastic time to get fancy with fruits and frozen drinks. I love that today's (really yesterday's) summer break concept is "drinks". What better time of the year to soak up a daiquiri, enjoy a milkshake with the kids, or sip on lemonade out on the front porch! Here are a few other ideas I'd love to try:

 1. The Very, Very Red Drink (mocktail)

Made with a variety of fruit and a bit of club soda, I imagine this drink tastes as good as it looks.

2. Poptail ftw?

In case you have gotten bored with the typical lemonade in a glass, try thinking outside the glass … or at least think differently about what could be stuck in the glass! Lemonade + popsicle = Yum! Right? Or if a poptail isn't your style, you could check out Studio DIY and see if any of the other 5 ways of serving lemonade are your thing.

When I was little, I remember hearing Deanna Carter's song "Strawberry Wine" and always wondering how delicious that would be. While not exactly wine, this strawberry champagne punch recipe sounds like it might be the perfect drink for someone that isn't too into alcoholic beverages but very into summer and strawberries. (As an alternative, put a scoop of sorbet in with your champagne. It is delicious!)

One of my favorite drinks, I went on a search for "Italian sodas" in Italia with no luck. Is it even a thing in Italy? No matter. It's a thing here – a delicious thing. Club soda + syrup + half & half = yum! Or skip the half and half. You don't even need a fruity syrup; vanilla syrup makes it taste a bit like a milkshake! :) Add a bit of whipped cream or a piece of fruit on top with a straw, and you have an amazing desserty drink. Go forth and enjoy!

Once upon a time, my mom had a candle that was called "cherry limeade". End of story. Justin had to make it. That's the way things go in my relationship with him. I smell something delicious or hear about something delicious … or taste something delicious(!!) and he has to make it. I've never tried this particular recipe for cherry limeade, but I can tell you that cherry limeade is absolutely delicious if you get the right recipe. No pressure to make it though. ;)

I couldn't merely suggest a milkshake without actually recommending one. This one is pinned to my pinterest board as a try-it-later recipe. It looks good. I recommend that you also try-it-later and let me know how it tastes. It looks awfully delicious.

What are your favorite summer drinks? Are there any you think I should try? Have you tried any of the ones I mentioned?

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A Window Into My World

"The whole purpose of places like Starbucks is for people with no decision-making ability whatsoever to make six decisions just to buy one cup of coffee. Short, tall, light, dark, caf, decaf, low-fat, non-fat, etc. So people who don't know what the hell they're doing or who on earth they are can, for only $2.95, get not just a cup of coffee but an absolutely defining sense of self: Tall. Decaf. Cappuccino."
- Joe Fox "You've Got Mail"

Yep. That's me. I have no decision-making ability whatsoever. That's why I never order coffee at Starbucks or anywhere else. What does that say about me?

Hope you all have a fantastic weekend!

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First, a look at finances

Networth: Still in the negative, but the total that we owe vs. how much we have has decreased by .001% in the past month. (That sounds awful, but I'm glad it's improving. In case it hasn't been said before, we owe a lot thanks to college expenses.)

Assets: increased by 1/3 and over halfway to my original goal. On top of that, it is the most we have ever had in savings. EVER. YAY! I have to say that I am a bit impressed with myself to be able to do that in one month given my lack of steady income.*

Debts: Decreased by .00001%. Ouch. We could definitely do better in this area.

News: Rather than continuing to dedicate all of my income (vs. Justin's) towards assets, over the next few months, I will be putting my money towards debt. This is a little bit saddening for me since Mint says that I would have reached my goal for savings by December, but what can you do? We don't need credit card fees on top of our current debt. At the very least, if something major happens, I know that we have the money to cover it without going into more debt. There is something to be said for that.

Now, a look at what I shouldn't be spending my money on… ;)

1. Free People Sweet Treat Mini Dress

4. Anthropologie Lila Tiered Chemise
5. Anthropologie Sunpane Dress
6. Anthropologie Island Inn Sun Hat

7. Anthropologie Laced Piersica Robe
9. Free People 100 Degree Dress

Surprisingly, I found that I am really liking the very feminine nightwear at Anthropologie. Then, add to that a gorgeous 1950's style dress in the midst… that really ought to go on sale. I mean – come on!?!?! This is a need not a want!! …What about all of the beautiful, lacy, elegant Free People options? I promise that I fall more in love with that store every day. *swoon* :)

Do you have as hard of a time saving and becoming debt free as I am when you see gorgeous clothing from some of the world's finest retailers? It only makes it worse (or better) when items are sold at department stores where I can use coupons. *sigh* I may need help. Is there a group like AA for shoppers? ;)

*Last month I was worried about having a job for the fall, but now I have one and I will be making more money than I did last year. Double yay! :)
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Looking back over the last 10 years spent with Justin…

March 2012

June 2011

June 2007

August 2006

January 2005 (a selfie before selfies were cool?!)

May 2004

It's two days too early, but happy ten years (of knowing me? of being with me? of something?) Justin!

Time for a divorce.

Just kidding!

I think…


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** I'm participating in August Break! Join me! Share a link to your blog in the comments below, so I can see what you are up to!

Orange is the New Black

Birthday flowers from Justin, 2014

I think I meant orange is the new red. Oops.

** I'm participating in August Break! Join me! Share a link to your blog in the comments below, so I can see what you are up to!

An Hour on Etsy

When a friend of mine posted a link to her etsy shop featuring some linocuts for sale, I decided to take a gander and see what type of (legit) artwork I could find during an hour long search of the site. I wondered how I would know if the work was legit, and what I was willing to pay or if I was willing to pay for copies. The hour long search became a soul search as I questioned my thoughts on art, what I deemed good vs. bad, worthwhile vs. not. Below are a few pieces that I stumbled upon that I liked and might consider adding to a home collection in the future:

Patriots Point Mount Pleasant Marina Sunset

I began my search with Charleston in mind since I had just visited. We spent a good bit of time meandering through art galleries including one that was going out of business and offering 50% off. None of the work stood out as something Justin and I had to have. I would love to have artwork all over my house from places that I have traveled though. I think I would end up with a lot of pieces featuring the ocean.

The piece above was the only piece in 5 pages of paintings of Charleston that got my attention. I saw many, many pieces that were "painted" and sent from China, but I just wasn't sure I could trust those pieces. I googled Ginette Callaway and discovered that she was indeed a real artist.

Blue Irises and Butterflies

One of the things I absolutely love about her work is the combination of pen drawing and watercolor paint. Then, to top it off, look at the lovely colors she includes. I think she may have included a rainbow of color in each of her pieces. <3. I also love that the color is only really a suggestion in her work. This is approximately where the grass blades would end and the sky begins; this is about where the ocean is and the boat reflections would be. I like that the only marks that are really set in stone are her pen marks and even they are open to suggestion. Yes, Ginette Callaway, you are an artist after my own heart.


(Sorry. I had to include one more!)

Next, I began to search for Parisian paintings. I wondered if I would see any of the street art from the Parisian streets being sold off as original work despite the fact that there are millions of stands in Paris selling the exact same prints. As with Charleston, I decided that anything from China was not worth even a penny. I'm sure I bought some China knock-offs in Paris, but at least I was in Paris at the time. Buying Chinese knock-offs from Etsy? No. Surprisingly, I found more artists selling prints of paintings of Paris rather than the actual paintings even when I excluded anything from China in my search. Another key to my interest level was 1) whether or not the artist could be googled and 2) whether or not the piece was signed. Obviously price is generally a good indicator of whether or not a piece is real, but there are all kinds of people online and you never really know what you are going to get until you get it. Decisions have to be made about the artist and work prior to purchasing. Having very little money to devote to art, I decided that having a print of a work is acceptable as long as I have reason to conclude that the artist is selling prints of their own work. Paintings take a lot of work and I realize that numbered prints are one way for artists to make more money off of their work more quickly than creating a few dozen paintings. (Artists have to live and eat too!)


This painting reminds me of a donut or cupcake shop in the US. Fun, girly, pink with sprinkles. How cute! I sincerely doubt that this individual has ever been to Paris (although I could be wrong!), but yeah… the only reason I really liked this painting is that it reminds me of a cupcake. Yum! Keep up the good work Clare Caulfield!

A Bit of Paris

I have been in love with the piece above for years … ever since pinterest became a thing. It may have been one of the first pieces I pinned to a board! When I see this piece, I think of Aristocats and 101 Dalmations. Especially in 101 Dalmatians when Pongo judges other dogs and their owners. I guess the drawing style looks very similar seeing as you don't see too many buildings in the scene… And doesn't 101 Dalmatians take place in London? Ah well!

Don't you just love this scene? :)

Café in Paris

This image reminds me of painting prints you find at stores when you are looking for decorations. It doesn't change how much I love the style though. I'm not sure I would pay $600 for it though even if it is original!

Notre Dame Seine River

And finally, last but not least. This image makes me think of Japanese art, but the artist is actually from Germany! I'm not sure I would buy the piece since it is not original, and I feel that you wouldn't truly be able to see the texture that I love so much in this piece as a printed copy. I do love the style though.

Have you ever taken the time to glance through the large body of artwork available on Etsy? How would you choose what is a keeper and what isn't? Would you trust artwork from China?