Lettermo Challenge: Week One

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About a week ago PostMuse told me about Lettermo’s February Challenge and I decided to take part. The idea is to send one piece of mail every day the post runs and to respond to everything you receive. Since I knew I wouldn’t make it through the entire challenge if it meant going to the post office every single day, I decided to alter it slightly- Instead I’ll just compose a piece of mail every day and mail them a few at a time. To keep myself motivated and accountable, I’ll be updating here every week. Here’s what I sent out this week:

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  • Two envelopes stuffed with paper goods for a mail art swap 
  • Two valentine cards for my nieces
  • One postcard for a swap

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So far I’ve sent 10 pieces of mail for 8 days (I guess 9 since it’s now after midnight), but I’m behind on responding to various things I’ve received. Since I won’t have any swaps due next week I’ll be focusing on that. If nothing else, this challenge has made me realize how much mail I already send.

Who else is participating in the Lettermo challenge? How has it been for you so far?

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Book Review: Photo Idea Index

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Title: Photo Idea Index
Author: Jim Krause
Publisher: How Books

Date Finished: 1/9/13
Rating: 

I’ve had this book for about a year but continually put off reading it because of my assumption that it would be useless without access to a better camera. I finally read it last month after getting my first dSLR only to find my original assumptions to be 100% wrong. This was a great way to get started with my new camera, but I should have read it much sooner.

I typically don’t like reading how-to books since I learn better by doing but, as the back cover says, this is not a typical how to book. It is absolutely full of practical ways to improve the overall quality of your photos.  After reading I not only felt more confident about the photos I’d taken in the past, but also more free to experiment when taking new ones- needless to say it was a good way to get started with my new camera.  Reading this also cemented my belief that it takes more than a fancy camera to make someone a photographer.

This book was written to be accessible. It’s doesn’t focus on the technical aspects of photography (although it does contain useful information about those as well), so you can benefit from reading even if you don’t have a fancy camera, equipment, software, or even previous knowledge of photography. With that said, even experienced photographers who do have fancy cameras and equipment can get something from reading. The book explains the importance of cultivating creativity and a new perspective and proves that there are opportunities for good photos everywhere.  Whether you have a camera bag full of gear or just the camera on your phone, this book can help you take better photos. It’s even on sale now so there’s no excuse not to check it out!

Look inside Photo Idea Index: http://www.jimkrausedesign.com/pii_1.html

Buy here: http://www.mydesignshop.com/photo-idea-index

More on Jim Krause and his work: http://www.jimkrausedesign.com/index.html

Happy reading!

Gogo Guru Studio Opening

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There are few things that would cause me to willingly leave the heat of my apartment to endure below freezing temperatures- free yoga just happens to be one of them. Yesterday, a few friends and I did just that for the grand opening of Gogo Guru‘s yoga studio. One of those friends and I discovered the place a few weeks ago while we were exploring Ellicott City. At the time, it was only a retail space, but we ended up staying for a while and talked with the owner about the new yoga space. When we heard about the opening we were pretty excited. I’ve invited friends to things like this in the past and no one ever seemed super interested and usually ended up flaking. This time I was happy to have a group of equally-interested people with me.

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The studio space great; very open and filled with natural light- just as a yoga space should be. We stayed for three mini-lessons, all of which were slightly different.

The first class was with Ling. She blended yoga and tai chi in an energetic way and focused heavily on breathing techniques (something most classes I’ve been to have glossed over). After a short trip to the refreshment table we went to the next class, lead by Emily. Although this class was a little challenging for me, she was so friendly and energetic it was still fun. We ended the day with a class lead by Rodger. He set a relaxing and easy-going tone at the beginning by explaining “there’s no wrong way to do these moves”.

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It was so relaxing to look outside and see snow falling during the lessons.

If I hadn’t registered for yoga at my school I would have definitely paid for a monthly pass to Gogo Guru. They’re definitely at the top of my list when the semester ends!

Book Review: Double Dexter

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Title: Double Dexter

Author: Jeff LIndsay
Publisher: Random House
Date finished: 1/25/13
Rating: 

Let me start by saying, I love Dexter. I love the books, the show, the character himself… all of it. I’m not huge on the mystery genre (when it comes to books at least) but I’ve read the rest of this series by Jeff Lindsay and I was super excited when I finally got a copy of Double Dexter. Jeff LIndsay’s writing style has the perfect level of intensity to convey the suspense of Dexter’s story as well as the character’s dry sarcasm.

With all of that said, this was my least favorite so far in the series. In this, the sixth installment of the series, Dexter’s hidden identity is discovered by a stranger who follows from a far and uses his homicidal tendencies, as well as his loved ones, against him. I found the plot to be slow-paced and predictable compared to the rest and for some reason it took me about four months to get through. As the pace picked up towards the end it became easier to motivate myself to read.

Overall Double Dexter was just ok. I highly recommend the rest of the series (starting with Darkly Dreaming Dexter).

For more on the Dexter series: http://www.randomhouse.com/doubleday/dexter/

Have you read this, or any of the others in the series? What are your thoughts?

Happy reading!

Creative Space

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For my first post, I thought I’d show where I’ll be running this blog from. I took had to take these photos for a swap I signed up for about creative spaces. At first, taking photos of my personal space and opening myself up for criticism seemed daunting but it actually turned out to be interesting, not to mention it gave me the push I seriously needed to clean up.

Speaking of cleaning, I think it’s only fair to say that my desk is NEVER this clean. I took these photos less than a week ago and there are already stacks of books and mail all over the place. It never lasts.

Here’s the tour:

The desk is actually made up of three separate units, all from Ikea. When I was buying furniture for my room, I decided to go with black and white and add colorful accessories and decorations all over the place- so I loved this set up.

Here’s the unit on the far right. I don’t usually have my typewriter out but I’ve been desperately trying to clean it so that I can start using it again. Since that space is usually empty- this is where I tend to dump a lot of random things I come home with.

Two main reasons why this is awesome: it holds everything and it has wheels. I keep files, binders, and notebooks on the left (most of them are school-related) and sketchbooks, art supplies, and cds on the right. I use the smaller shelves to store copier paper for the printer and random stuff that doesn’t fit anywhere else.

Now over to the middle. The white areas on the back are what made me choose this desk- they’re magnetic white boards. I use one for writing notes and to do lists and the other for displaying various things.

This is definitely my favorite part of my room- I’m way too proud of it. I brought the birdcage back from Scotland years ago and just recently found an actual use for it. I usually turn off all the lights and turn on the birdcage lights and one other to do yoga or relax.

This area isn’t exactly thrilling, but it’s possibly one of the most useful. The file compartments on the right are the only thing about all three units that I don’t like. They don’t actually hold file folders so it’s tough to keep things organized. I use cigar boxes a lot to organize things. The one under the lamp is full of photo prints I don’t have a proper place to store yet.

I think it’s important to surround yourself with things that make you happy. Hence, the Andy Warhol calendar. I love everything about him. That’s also why my room is littered with photos, Japanese cat figurines, and books- they’re all things I love.

I’m not usually one to make New Years Resolutions, but if I had one it would be to stay organized. I have no problem of getting organized, it’s keeping things that way that I need to work on. Hopefully I can keep my desk looking this night for longer than a few days!