30 day photo challenge

A while ago I tried taking one picture a day for a year. I did it for a while, but it fizzled out and I gave up. After writing this post, I wanted to do something like that again, but this time, I thought I should start small. I found this '30 day photo challenge' that I've been working on for a bit now. Some of the challenges have been a bit difficult or odd {sunflare or faceless portrait}, but overall, I've had a lot of fun with it. It's fun to have a photography goal for the day, even if it's as simple as 'favorite color' and doesn't require any major camera equipment.

It's a fun idea that I highly recommend!

I thought I'd share a few of my favorite snaps. {The green car represents my favorite color. I thought that would be a bit more interesting than a blank green paper.}


Say Something Nice

I generally love all Improv Everywhere videos; they're hilarious! But, I thought this one was especially cute, probably because how sweet of an idea it is. I would love to be a part of one of their skits, though I'm not sure that I'd ever be able to keep a straight face during the actual performance. Still, it'd be fun to try.

Check out more of their videos and be prepared to laugh.


Road trip to... Iowa??

Today I am mini-road-tripping to Des Moines, Iowa for a mini-reunion with some of my best friends from college. While Iowa is not my first choice for our meeting destination, I'm so excited to see all of my friends that we could be meeting anywhere and I'd be happy. {My friend got engaged after college and moved in with her fiance in Iowa.} I'm especially excited to see my friend Hannah who now lives in Memphis. It's so hard to get all of us together now-a-days; everyone's in different places in their lives and just different places.

Hope everyone has a great weekend! I know I will.

{photo via}


moo, chirp, baaaaaaa.

i found a few more pictures from the state fair and they're the best kind kind... they're of cute animals. I especially love the bunny that looks like chewbacca. i'm not normally a rabbit person, but i'd take that one any day.


Angela's Ashes

I've never before read a memoir that ached my heart so much to read- both because of humor and sorrow. Angela's Ashes by Frank McCourt is a powerfully written story that depicts the troubled childhood of a strong-willed boy in New York City and Limerick, Ireland. I was amazed by the details captured in McCourt's memory and also the way he is able to recall those memories though a child's innocent mind as if they passed only yesterday. His story is one of survival that you will not be able to put down.

According to Vanessa V. Friedmann from Entertainment Weekly, "The power of this memoir is that it makes you believe the claim: that despite the rags and hunger and pain, love and strength do come out of misery- as well as a page-turner of a book. And through the experience it tells of was an individual, the point- and the story- is universal."

This is not a light or quick read, but definitely a book that hooked me immediately. I listened to his book Teacher Man during my rides to and from school {this is the the third installment of his memoirs, focusing on his teaching pedagogy}. I also bought his second book 'Tis. I know I'm reading them a bit out of order, but I'm looking forward to getting started on it.

Vintage shopping

While I wouldn't call myself a techie, I have a great appreciation for technology- computer programs, iPhone apps and such. But. I sometimes wish I lived in simpler times. Sometimes instant access to information and people is a bit overwhelming and I'd like to hide away from it all- maybe in a little bunker from the 1950s with a book, pad of notepaper and stamps and an AM radio.

Maybe it's because of this overwhelmed feeling that I'm a huge fan of vintage artifacts, especially clothing, design and paper creations. {I guess this combination between new and old could create an odd home decor statement.}

This past weekend I checked out a few of my favorite vintage shops in the Bucktown and Wicker Park neighborhoods of Chicago. I found a lot of cute things but ended up walking away with only a few homemade paper projects. I was tempted to buy a few Fisher Price toys from the 1980s though, just for nostalgia's sake. I may have to go back for those. And a bunch more, especially the clothes that I loved but didn't feel like trying on for size.

It's always an interesting time shopping at vintage stores... you never know what you're going to find!


this weekend, according to my iphone

i had a splendid time relaxing with friends and family this weekend. a friend and i went to the movies and gorged ourselves on buttery popcorn and treats, my family golfed for my belated birthday party {some of us better than others :) }, i spent a lot of time shopping in the different neighborhoods of chicago and mostly just relaxed. although we had some rough weather one afternoon, i tried to make the best of it and curled up in a coffee shop with my newest book, angela's ashes. {i'm only about half way through, but it's amazing. i read another book by the same author, part three in his memoirs, teacher man
, and it was also fantastic. especially for teachers.} i hope you all also had an enjoyable weekend.

happy monday!

Beautiful photography technique

I got my DSLR camera a while ago, but I find new ways of using it all of the time. One technique I've tried, but haven't been too successful, is long exposure photography. I tried it at the local Fourth of July fireworks show the past several years, but my photos always end up looking like a giant, colorful fuzzball instead of distinct fireworks patterns. I have to practice a bit more.

My friend, Sam, found 10 Examples of Fantastic Long Exposure Photography on a blog she frequents. I was so happy she shared them, that I had to share them also. Some of them are simply beautiful.

Aren't they amazing?! I have to figure out how to do that with my camera. Also, doesn't the last one kind of remind you of a Dali painting?


Unintentionally offensive test answers from young children

There are many things that I am looking forward to as a new teacher, but the tops has to be the incredibly random and accidentally hilarious comments from the students. I've already gotten some doozies and I can't wait for more.

I found this website, called happyplace.com, that compiles some of these unintentionally hilarious answers from students. I could spend hours upon hours on this site perusing and laughing until I peed my pants.

P.S. What would you do as a teacher that received these answers??


Social media propaganda

Don't get me wrong, I'm a huge fan of social media. I'm an active, addicted member of all kinds: Facebook, Twitter, Four Square, Soundtracking and more. But when you take a step back and look at it, it is a bit cult-ish, isn't' it? That's why I love these propaganda posters for social media applications by Aaron Wood. They're so clever.

He created more you should also check out.

{I found these via my friend John, thanks}

Interactive art exhibit

The Art Institute of Chicago recently unveiled a new exhibit, titled 'Windows on the War: Soviet TASS Posters at Home and Abroad, 1941–1945,' focusing on the aftermath of German invasion of the Soviet Union. It looks incredibly interesting, especially considering the current political climate and detail in the artists' work. I would love to visit the exhibit. I may have to plan a little day trip to the museum.

The most interesting aspect of this exhibit, I think, is the interactivity between viewers. Everyone focuses on media being more interactive, but people often forget art. And art, expressive communication, is the ultimate interactive work. I like that museums are recognizing this. But, with that said, it would not work well with every exhibit, possibly just with more where the art is making more of a social or political statement. {I understand that all art is a statement in one form or another.}

{First images via, last via}


Book Review: The Help

I went in to The Help expecting nothing but pure entertainment, not a social commentary equivalent to the impact of Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird. So while it is necessary to take this book with a grain of salt, I was pleasantly surprised. I really enjoyed the book. The book centers around an Ole Miss grad {a young, white woman} writing the stories of black maids and what it is like to be the help in Jackson, Mississippi during the peak of civil rights, the 1960s. I think I actually ended up finishing all 500-something pages in one day because I could not put it down. I even lent it to my sister who did the same thing, and she's not really a book person, at least not as much as I am. The characters are all fun and interesting to follow so you get sucked into their storylines {even those characters that you hate}.

{Sidenote: I read one review of this book on a different blog and her only complaint was that Skeeter's relationship with the senator's son was explored deep enough. Personally, I thought that could have been cut out completely and it still would have been a great book. Differences in book choices, I suppose.}

One complaint about the book though is that it does sugar coat relations between white and black women in the South, especially during that time. Has there been a good fiction book that really tackles those issues well? I haven't heard of one but would love to read it if it exists. Also, I think it's important to keep in mind that the author is a white woman from the South who grew up with a black maid in her home. I would definitely recommend this book to others; it's a quick, entertaining read.

I think it's incredibly interesting to hear others' opinions on it also, since my perspecitive is very different from others as I am a white woman in the Midwest. According to the Association of Black Women Historians:

"The Help’s representation of these women is a disappointing resurrection of Mammy—a mythical stereotype of black women who were compelled, either by slavery or segregation, to serve white families. Portrayed as asexual, loyal, and contented caretakers of whites, the caricature of Mammy allowed mainstream America to ignore the systemic racism that bound black women to back-breaking, low paying jobs where employers routinely exploited them. The popularity of this most recent iteration is troubling because it reveals a contemporary nostalgia for the days when a black woman could only hope to clean the White House rather than reside in it."
As long as you keep those things in mind, it's a good book. Definitely not ground-breaking though. You can also read the NYTimes movie review here. I heard the movie sticks closely to the book.

Since this is such a big-seller {both in the bookstores and in the theaters}, it's also interesting to hear what people have to say about it. Especially on Twitter {sometimes your opinion actually comes out more clearly in 140 characters, and sometimes not.}:

Alison Sudol
Jenn Brown

365 things for 365 days

This blog is EXACTLY something I would love to do.... if I could draw. The blogger draws one illustration a day for 365 days. It's so simple, the idea and the drawings, but it's so clever, I love it!

This reminds me of the photography project I attempted last year. My goal was one photo a day for a year. I think I made it about 4 or so months before I just gave up, which was unfortunate. It could just be difficult to find something worthy of a photograph on a day you wake up, go to work, go home and then to bed. But this blog has revived that project a bit. I may consider trying it again.

87 down, 278 to go.


Daring photography

Some people call it spectacular artistry; I call it crazy. But either way, they are some pretty impressive images. This terrifying photography technique puts the photographer on the edge of very tall buildings, often dangling over edges, to capture the striking view from atop.

I recently came across a blog that compiled some of the best of this daring technique and I had to share them. Check out the blog for even more vertigo-inducing photography.

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