Dec 27, 2016

30 Before 30: Have a Handmade Christmas

This Christmas I gave my family, and some friends, paintings I had done throughout the year. You'll remember that I just started painting about a year ago and have since switched to acrylics as my preferred medium, but have dabbled in watercolors a little too.

My favorite moment was when Kid K (age 3.5) opened her present and said, "It's my favorite picture!"


I don't have photos available of every painting, but here are a few:
Lighthouse for Bro-in-law

Ornaments I painted for Sis

Baby B's fairy
Whale for my roommate, The Bomb
Kid K's "favorite picture"

Nov 1, 2016

30 Before 30: Make a Video and Post it to YouTube

So, this seems like a silly little thing, but it was something I kind of wanted to do. At first, I thought that I would make some big video and learn editing or whatever, but this is what happened instead!

You can find the video here.

Jul 28, 2016

30 Before 30: Finish Writing a Book

In 2011 I started writing a novel, the idea of which came while listening to an audio of a fairytale. Today, I finished it!

Five years of on and off writing, of struggling with plot and characters, of wondering if this would be the one that I actually completed--and I did it!!

I did a mini celebratory dance when I finished it and then I went and got Chipotle, sprung for the chips, and paid for it all with a gift card I got from a company thing a couple of weeks ago.

I can't believe it! I actually finished writing a novel! (Well, the first draft anyway.)

Jul 27, 2016

30 Before 30: Buy Something from Tiffany

Today while I was in Salt Lake I headed over to Tiffany and Co. I've had the money for a little while, but going into the store kind of intimidated me. It's so fancy, you know? I mean, it's Tiffany. That's basically synonymous with class. But, since I was in Salt Lake anyway and I was dressed nice, I decided to go in.

It was a great experience! The salesman that helped me was really nice. When he asked why I was there, I told him that I was treating myself. I gave him my budget and he showed me what would fit in that budget. Then I mentioned a certain collection I liked, he moved over there and talked about some of the designs in it. He asked if I was celebrating anything, and I said no, just that I wanted to get something. He said that he thought that was great and he thought more women should do it--that a lot of women think they can only get jewelry if it's a gift.

Anyway, I tried on four rings, but I kept going back to the first one I tried on. It was just more me, simple and delicate but elegant. And it was far below budget. Win!

The bag!

The box!

I felt really bad about undoing the bow when he had done such a good job tying it.

The ring!

Jun 25, 2016

30 Before 30: Create a "Work of Art" by Throwing Balloons Full of Paint at a Canvas

Today Sis, Bro-in-lay, Kid K, and Baby B came over to have some fun! However, this fun didn't exactly work the way I thought it would.

First, filling up the balloons with paint was an adventure which ended with us having to get three bottles of Smart Water to make it easier. And even then Sis and I both ended up with paint all over us.

I had put thumbtacks in the canvas to help break the balloons; however, I may have needed more because the balloons did not break easily. Poor Kid K couldn't throw them hard enough to break. I think she still had fun though--even if her hands did get dirty.

So it was fun and I have something cool now, but if I were going to do it again, I'd do things a little differently.

May 22, 2016

30 before 30: Finish the Book of Mormon

I'm not the best at reading the scriptures, but in the past year I've tried to get better at it. I definitely see an improvement in my life when I do read them. 

Even if you don't believe that the Book of Mormon, like the Bible, is the word of God, there are good things written in it. It is full of stories of good people trying their best to do God's work. 

This wasn't the first time I've read it all the way through, but every time there is something new, especially as I mature and my life changes. 

May 21, 2016

30 before 30: Have Professional Photos Taken

I had never have a real professional photo taken of me. At one time I had a roommate who wanted to be a photographer and she used me for her portfolio, but I wasn't that impressed with them and her attention to detail left some things lacking. I think it was one of those cases where nice cameras are so available, everyone thinks they can be a photographer.

Last weekend I went out with a friend and the experience was completely different. He and his wife pay a great attention to detail, and he made me feel more comfortable about the whole process. I really think that's what makes a good photographer. 

Here are a few of my favorites:

May 19, 2016

30 by 30: Get a Pen Pal

This one took some research. I looked at adopting a soldier, but while I think that's an amazing thing, it wouldn't give me the back and forth I was looking for. Then I looked at a lot of different pen pal sites, but it just seemed . . . suspicious. So, finally, I went to Facebook. I asked my friends if they knew of anyone willing to have a pen pal, to write "old fashioned" hand written letters to each other. What I wanted was to have someone who lived in a culture different from my own, so I could learn about it. I've lived in the same state my whole life, so I thought that would be good for me.

One of Sis's old roommates (who had lived a lot of places) knew someone whose wife was willing to write me. Which is how I met Pen Pal! She lives in Switzerland and it's been interesting to learn about a different part of the world and a completely different person than what I'm used to. It's been great. I love getting her letters and she's a fun writer. I hope she thinks I am in return . . .

Swiss stamps!

Apr 2, 2016

30 before 30: See a Ballet

Last night I went to Capitol Theatre to see "Beauty and the Beast," performed by Ballet West.

It wasn't quite what I was expecting, since it seemed to be geared toward kids/families. There was narration and dialogue, and it was only about 1.5 hours (including the intermission). So maybe it doesn't really count, but I'm going to count it--though I may try to go to another ballet later.

I love going to shows and performances. The moment I walked into the theater, I was filled with happiness. The murmur of the audience, the red curtains, gold leaf, and chandeliers, everything adds to the experience. It made me glad to see so many little girls there--some with their dads, some with their moms, some with both parents--wearing sparkly or poofy dresses.

The costumes were beautiful--especially the good fairy's, which looked like rose petals. The dancing was beautiful.

The Beast was so dramatic, reminding me of Prince Edward from Enchanted. However it was, I liked having a night out, seeing an interpretation of one of my favorite fairy tales.

The stage, from my seat. 

The main chandelier.

Mar 29, 2016

30 before 30: Get Henna

Last weekend was Salt Lake Comic Con FanX. I was walking around the vendor with Kid K while Sis fed Baby B when I saw a big sign proclaiming "HENNA". What a great opportunity to check something off my list! So on Saturday I went and got henna.

I did an "artist's special"--I paid the money and just told the artist that I liked lotus flowers and she made up this design right on the spot.

This was taken right after it was done.

After I peeled off the paste that night. It has since darkened.

Didn't she do such a beautiful job? I also liked the smell of the henna--like a mix between turmeric and nutmeg.

I'd most definitely get henna again.

Mar 10, 2016

30 before 30: Learn to Oil Paint

Now, I can't say that this is finished, since I feel that learning an art skill is a life long endeavor--something I've learned from my 24 years of playing the piano. But I have learned a lot since I started in January and I want to mark something off my list. :)

For most of my life, I thought that art was not for me. I thought it took a talent that I wasn't born with and so, as much as I love art, I never tried to really learn. About 8 years ago when I was on my study abroad, I took a drawing class, because I needed at least 2 classes and that one seemed better than the other. That class was the first time that I realized that I could draw something somewhat well. There were a lot of things I didn't understand and no matter how many times it was explained to me and how I tried, apparently it was never right (looked right to me though!). When it came to "figure drawing" and we were sent out to the museum to pick a statue to draw, I drew something I could be proud of.

I wasn't the only one who chose that statue (to be fair, it was probably the easiest statue to draw, so it's not surprising), and I think it's interesting that each person drew the statue differently. We unconsciously inserted our own perceptions of beauty and women (the statue is of Eve), and I think art, in a way, shows how each individual views the world, even if we are all drawing/painting/whatever the same thing.

That was a long winded introduction into my painting. I have seen myself improve these past couple of months. The way I look at the world is different; I find myself looking at colors, shadows, shapes, etc. I bought a sketchbook. After viewing a lot of different tutorials online, I have become encouraged by how positive and helpful these people are--people who believe that anyone can do art. They explain sketching things out in a way that I can follow--even simple human figures. They are teaching me different ways of interpreting the literal world into something that resembles it, but doesn't at the same time. Something that tells a story.

I know that I'm never going to be a great artist. I'm not going to be paid thousands of dollars for a painting. But I've found something that calms me, that gives me joy in creation. Creating something that I can look at, that I can give to someone else to show my love for them, that's pretty amazing.

One thing I would like to learn is how not to get messy. I watch these artists on YouTube and they may get a little paint on their hands. For me, it's like paint is just drawn to my hands the moment I open my pallet. And then I get paint all up my arm. It's a good thing I have an outfit specifically for painting, but those are also covered in paint. (There is something about the fact that you can tell that I'm right handed by where most of the paint is on my clothes. Like, if I were arrested of murder or something and the person was killed by someone left handed, these clothes would prove me innocent)

Here are some samples of my paintings:
The first painting I ever did. Still makes me laugh.
 I was trying to follow a Bob Ross video.

My second painting. It was slightly better. 
After this point, I got some advice on better paints, which made a big difference.

This is the first painting I was truly proud of.
Another attempt at mountains. Look how much better they are!
My latest (finished) painting. "Second Star to the Right"
In my sketch book I have a lot of plans for paintings
based on my favorite movies and books. 

Feb 20, 2016

30 before 30: Change My Job Situation

Last month I applied to another job. For nearly the past two years, I had been looking for and applying for jobs off and on. I had started to become discouraged. I'd apply for a job and either never hear from them or get an interview and then never hear from them. 

It's a hard cycle to constantly be in.

So when I applied to this job, I was like, "Well, I did what I could do, time to move on." 

Then I received an email requesting a phone interview. That seemed to go pretty well. That night I got called to set up an in person interview. Two days later--nervous as all getout--I had my in person interview.

And I totally bombed it. Seriously. I started my interview with "I'm just really nervous . . ." which I'm pretty sure is number 2 on the list of interview don'ts, closely following "Don't wear sweatpants". And I felt that every answer I gave was wandering and tangential, and worst of all, WAY too long. I found myself thinking "Shut up. Stop talking now." This all means that I left the interview feeling pretty sure I wasn't going to get the job. And completely exhausted because of how nervous I had been all day.

I sleepwalked through the weekend, trying to forget, but having to relive it whenever someone asked how my interview had gone. And then Monday I was asked to come in for a third interview. That completely blew the socks off me. 

Tuesday I went in, and left with an unofficial job offer! What the what?!

In two days time, I will start my new job as an Editor, course of study for the College of Healthcare Professionals at Western Governors University.



Jan 5, 2016

30 Before 30: Make a Souffle

During the holiday, my mom and I attempted another of my 30 before 30 goals: Successfully make a souffle!

I had wanted to try it out for a while, but it seemed pretty overwhelming, so I'm glad I had my mom to help.

Well, we did it on one try! We made this recipe from Martha Stewart.

Here are a few pictures:
Buttered and sugared souffle dish 
Chocolate base

Beating the egg whites

In the dish with buttered parchment paper around it

And it tasted pretty good too.