Wednesday, November 30, 2011

An Early Resolution

Lately work has been very stressful. When I'm stressed, I eat. My favorite type of food to eat when I'm stressed is anything that contains refined sugar. Even when I'm not stressed I love to eat sugar.

Unfortunately sugar isn't good for the body. Every afternoon I crash and it seems the more sugar I eat, the more I want. I can't keep eating sugar the way I do without consequences.

Sugar contains a lot of empty calories. Even though I wear scrubs to work everyday I can feel my waistline expanding. Despite the fact that weight isn't typically an issue for me, I need to watch my waist. Who knows when my metabolism will run away to Bermuda without me?

Eating too much sugar has always seemed to be an issue for me. My freshman year of college was particularly stressful and I ate too much sugar. I got to the point where my pants didn't fit like they did in high school (they never did again). I decided to give up sugar for lent (even though I'm not Catholic) and I made it! I was so proud of myself.

I want to do that again, unfortunately it's not lent. So during one of the most sugar laden holidays, I'm going to give up sugar. That's right for the whole month of December I'm passing on the sweets. No cookies, cakes, candy, ice cream, doughnuts, or brownies. The only thing I will not be giving up is my grandma's wassail on Christmas day.

This is going to be hard. I have tried this before and not made it, but I want to give it a second try. I know my quality of life will be better for it.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011


Today I went to Whole Foods for the first time ever. It was as awesome as I expected.

Today I'm exhausted from work.

Today I was self-conscious about the fact that I usually don't wear a lot of make-up. If any.

Today I ate like eight cookies. I stress eat by the way.

Today I sang at the top of my lungs on the way home from work so I wouldn't fall asleep.

Today I wanted to write a letter to my congressman, but I ran out of time.

Today I was too tired to watch a TV show.

Today I absent-mindedly walked around my neighborhood looking at Christmas lights with my dog.

Today I learned interesting uses for used coffee grounds. Will blog about that later, if they work.

Today I tried goats milk for the first time. It takes like goat cheese.

Today I'm going to bed earlier.

Today I made a decision about my eating habits.

Tomorrow I will tell you about that decision and write that letter.

What did you do today?

Monday, November 28, 2011

My Lunch Breaks

I like to spend my lunch breaks outside when the weather permits it. Being inside all day can get really boring! Fortunately, there's a large park not too far from where I work. I bring my lunch and sit at a picnic table right by the creek where I like to people and nature watch. Sometimes I also bring my camera along to practice my photography skills.
These trees are just plain gorgeous. I love the smoothness of their bark and the color of their leaves. We don't get a lot of color in our leaves down here in South Texas. On the other hand we've also been having a lot of clear, blue skies since we're in the middle of a drought. That's not something we typically get this time of year.

This tree had already shed the majority of its bark.

If I get tired of playing with my camera I walk around. While I'm walking I like to stop and look at these large sculptures in the park. You can call this number on the sign, give it the code to the corresponding sculpture and listen to the artist talk about it! How awesome is that.

It's not often that I get bored on my lunch breaks. What do you like to do on your lunch breaks?

You Might Be a Tree Hugger If...

For an entire year I washed my hair with baking soda and vinegar instead of shampoo. It's biodegradable after all and it was really good for my hair. I've also used egg and mayo. Right now, I use organic shampoo.

I really want to live in a yurt. Not kidding. If I had found some good land for sale I would have done it with this move. Maybe the next one?

I think animals should be treated humanely. I try to only buy eggs from free range chickens and milk products from animals who were treated kindly. I don't eat meat too often, but when I do I prefer for it to be organic.

I am a recycling maniac. I bring home stuff from work to recycle (ink cartridges, boxes, paper, etc.)

I have tried to convince someone in my family to not cut down a tree by threatening to chain myself to it. It didn't work and he wasn't amused.

I like protests as long as they are peaceful.

I prefer organic produce.

I'm not afraid to say it: I'm somewhat of a modern day hippie. I love being environmentally friendly. It's just who I am.

What do you do to embrace your modern day hippie?

Sunday, November 27, 2011

I'm Moving

Next month, which is only a few days away (!), I'm going to be moving. I've been living with my parents the past two years since I graduated college. I couldn't find a job when I graduated, so my parents let me move into their house. It was something they said they would never do, but I had no money.

In the four months after graduating I substitute taught and worked for the family business. Then I taught for a year. Now I'm working at my aunt's audiology practice. As a result of all these jobs, I'm finally financially independent.

So I'm moving. I've been driving an hour to and from work. It's exhausting. Fortunately, I found an apartment only 10 minutes away from work. I'm excited, scared, and sad to move all at the same time. I've been financially dependent for so many years that I hear a voice in the back of my head saying "You're going to go bankrupt." I hope not, I've been financially conservative the whole time I've lived with my parents.

I'm not ready to settle down and be an adult, even though I already am one. Financial independence and the ability to pick up and leave whenever I want is something I love. But it's time.

In order to help with the rent, I'm hoping to launch a side job soon. I'll tell you more about that as soon as I have it ready. This is a little scary, yet I know it will be exciting.

Thanks Mom and Dad for all of the support y'all have given me throughout college and my numerous career changes (and the ones I'm sure that will still be to come!).

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Candle Making

Yesterday I decided on a whim to start making candles after reading an article about a gentleman who made them. It seemed like an interesting hobby to add to my long list of already tried hobbies. So I went to Hobby Lobby and purchased a candle making kit. It contained everything I needed.

Today I decided to go ahead and give it a try. It really wasn't that hard at all! I did make a few mistakes, but that tends to happen when I try something new. Tomorrow I'm going to try a few new methods to correct some problems.

This is the first candle I made with my mother and brother. It needed more coloring (I wanted it bright red) and more scent. It also sank in the middle, so my mom read on the internet how to fix that. We'll try the new method tomorrow.

This is the second candle I made with my mom. I learned a few things on this one. First, if you don't seal the bottom of the mold properly, hot wax will pour all over your counter. Oops. Second, adding more scent and coloring was a good idea. Third, patience is a good thing. I think the reason this one turned out slightly better is because I didn't shove it into the fridge as soon as the first candle.

I'm hoping to make this a regular thing. I also would like to make some extra money, so I'm thinking this may be the way to do it.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Black Friday

I love Black Friday. I love all of the commotion and excitement. I love that they changed the time from 4 a.m. to 12 a.m. Most of all I love the deals!

I went to Target this year. I was supposed to go get coffee at 9:30 and then get in line at Target at 10 p.m., but when I drove by I saw tons of people in line. I decided to go get in line right away. It was a good decision. My friend Brittani brought me my coffee in line. Thanks Brittani!

Fortunately, there were interesting people on both sides of me. One was a stay at home mom and the other was interested in the A&M vs. UT game. Otherwise I would have been bored to death. My brother also texted me the scores for the A&M and UT game to keep me entertained.

People kept trying to cut in line, but everyone was good about not letting people in. When I got in I ran (I mean walked very quickly.) to the places I needed. All in all I was out in 15 minutes! I didn't even have to wait in line for check out. Target has their stuff together! Here's what I got.

This throw is normally $34.99 and I snagged it for $20.
I bought these sheets for around $15 or so. I can't remember and I am too tired to grab my receipt. I think they are normally around $24.99, but none of the pictures in the ad look exactly like it.

I bought two pillows, they came tied together for $9.99. Normally they are $19.99.

Lastly I bought this present here. It's my brother's gift. I'm not going to say what it is, but it's pretty darn cool. Originally it was $99.99 , but last night it was $64.99. That is way more affordable.

If you total it up, my estimated savings would be a total of $69! Totally worth it in my opinion.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Changing the White Balance

Have you ever thought about how different lighting can change the color you see? Yeah I didn't think about it either. At least not until I took my photography class. Now I know, light sources make a huge difference.

I guess I had thought about it a little because in my house, I use CFLs which produce a different color than incandescent bulbs. I decided to play with the white balance (which is normally just on auto) in my camera. Look at the difference.
This first photo was taken under the incandescent setting. Notice the blue look it had to it? That was not what I was looking for.

This next photo was taken under the fluorescent setting. This looks way closer to what I was seeing when I was taking the picture.

This was taken under the shade setting. This is my favorite out of the three. I also happen to be holding the camera a little more straight in the picture, which is always helpful. (I really want that dang tripod!)

I still have a long way to go before my pictures look professional, but I'm definitely learning!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Money Doesn't Grow on Trees

I recently went to a photography workshop in Houston. I learned some pretty awesome things about photography and I definitely love my hobby even more now because of it. Unfortunately I couldn't help think: why the heck did I chose one of the most expensive hobbies ever?

If you know me, you know I'm tight with my money. I guess I'm just going to have to compromise.

Anyways, in addition to the new information, I also learned that I "need" so much more stuff. Here are a few of the things that I want over the next year or so.

5. A new camera. This may just be a case of the go big or go home mentality, but I really want a new camera even though I don't really need one. Here's the one I want:

(photo courtesy of Nikon, obviously)

4. A speed light system. I haven't researched enough to know a lot about it, but I want one nonetheless.

3. A wide angle lens.

2. A tripod so I can take more pictures without them being blurry. This isn't the one I want, but it looks cool.
(photo courtesy of GorillaPod)

1. A telephoto lens. I LOVE photos with blurred backgrounds, so I'm really wanting a nice telephoto lens. This one only goes to 85mm, but gets f/3.5-5.6. This is what I plan on getting for Christmas. I'll have to sell my old film camera in order to get it, but hopefully it will be worth it!

(photo courtesy of Nikon)

As I'm sure you can see, I will need a second job to support my hobby. Anyone hiring?

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Scout's the Name

My new dog's name is Scout. I forgot to tell you that yesterday. And just in case you happen to love my dog as much as I do, you're in luck. Here's another picture. It took me awhile to get a good one, I had to use the telephoto lens because anytime I get close to him he wants to come to me. As in he wants to be right in my face.

Isn't he cute?

He loves to stay close to me, which makes me happy. At first he liked my littlest brother, Josh, more. Until today I also thought he preferred another brother over me as well. That is until he bit said brother on the rear. ;) That's what he gets for rough housing with me in front of the dog.

My sister's dogs came down for the weekend. Her big dog, Hank, and my dog had tons of fun running around and even going for a swim in the pond. I wish I had good pictures to show you, but I'm still working on my action photography.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

My Discount Doggie

I made an impulse decision the other day. I adopted a dog. I had been wanting a dog for awhile because pretty soon I'm going to be living all by myself.

Two of my friends and I were looking for a Christmas tree. I knew that the SPCA would be there, but I had already looked for a dog there. We went and looked anyway. There was this cute medium dog there who was very friendly. We eventually moved on to continue our tree search, but my mind was stuck on the dog.

The volunteer had told me that he had been at the shelter for awhile. I couldn't figure it out, he was really cute. So I made a phone call. "Mom, can you come look at this dog at the mall?"

I'm perfectly incapable of making a decision without at least 5 million opinions, so she came up there and he turned into a complete marshmallow. He definitely isn't as hyper as I thought he was.

It turns out that he was on sale for $35 since he had been at the shelter too long. That was the extra push I needed. First off I didn't have to pay as much and secondly I was saving him from being put down.

So now I have this super cute mutt sitting next to me gnawing on my hand. I'm loving it.