At Home in Columbus–The Fun of Decorating

Decorating is one ridiculoulsy fun part of growing up and becoming independent. I still have a good bit more to do (yay!)–but here’s the bedroom at present. Doing it on a budget makes it even more fun–no really! I went with elegant neutrals (white, cream and gray) to allow for color pops. Currently I’m on a mint/turquoise kick.

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The bedroom furniture is a refurbished Chris Madden set–redone and artistically painted by a local artist in Columbus. I got it for a STEAL. I was thinking of going modern with my furniture (deep down I didn’t really want to–so when I landed this gorgeous set, I sprung for it.)

The comforter and pillows are a Cynthia Rowley set from T.J. Maxx (Maxxinista all the way). I wanted white (scary I know)-but it allows for so much room to decorate/change decor with color . . . etc.

The lamps on the night stand and the sweater chest on either side of the bed are from Hobby Lobby. I’m a firm believer in that place–and I always like to support them–especially with all the antagonism they put up with for standing on principle.

think the curtain is from Bed Bath and Beyond. But you could find an identical one just about anywhere . . .

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The print above the bed was inspired by Pinterest–found the quote there–and replicated it with my own spin and design. Ordered the canvas print online–but I couldn’t tell you where. I was nervous about how it might come out–but when it came in, it was beautiful.

The little corn husk doll is from a dear friend living in Slovakia. And yes, the entire thing is made out of corn husk. And the candles were all gifts.

The lamp on the dresser is from Family Dollar. Yep, you read that right. I’m not a name brand snob–not one bit.

The mannequin necklace stand was also from T.J. Maxx and was given to me by my sister.

BOOK REVIEW: Picture Perfect Practice

taken from peachpit.comHaha! It has been a long while since I have written a book review. However, I can promise you that I have  been reading–and reading lots. However, I wanted to review this particular book because of it’s pertinence to something I have made to be a hobby of mine–and because it has only enhanced my understanding of the art and practice of photography.

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I will say it right out–Picture Perfect Practice is a fantastic book. Every photographer–aspiring, hobbyist, professional, world renowned (I mean that)–ought to find a place for it on his/her shelf. Roberto Valenzuela posesses the abilities to demonstrate and communicate, through writing and picture examples, what makes his own work so dynamic and powerful, as well as helpfully break down the artistic techniques he faithfully practices into applicable and very doable exercises. But let me get into the specifics on what makes this book so wonderful.

1. Readability. It’s not heavy textually. You won’t feel as if you are reading a textbook. The book shows rather than tells. Every technique is fully explained and subsequently demonstrated with Valenzuela’s own work. Further, and a  huge positive in my opinion, Valenzuela’s tone is down to earth, simplistic, educational–and far from condescending. I feel that he has full faith in the ability and potential of the reader without being assuming.

2. Excellent Examples. Everything in the books demonstrated–and beautifully so. Valenzuela doesn’t give a rule or a suggestion without demonstration from his own work. He’s carefully thought through each practice–and he knows exactly what exercise will hone a specific aesthetic skill.

3. Explains the “Why.”  Let me explain that (yes, yes I know). Many hobbyists (myself included) can take a good picture filled with decent composition, because over time we’ve developed an eye for what
“appears nice” –but we can’t explain why; nor can we explain the technique, nor can we quickly replicate a process or a method of taking a good picture somewhere else in the same way. All we have to go on is “okay, yeah, that looks good right there . . .” But then, stuck in a different situation and we are pressed to compose a good photo (of people or things or places) we can’t find the sweet spot, or it’s laborious, and we don’t know what to do first except trust underlying instincts that aren’t always terribly quick–but yet we know what we’re seeing is going to take a bad picture . . . Okay, now let me explain how Valenzuela expedites the whole trial and error aspect of the “person who only has a good aesthetic eye”. Valenzuela explains and enables the reader, through various exercises, to not just notice aesthetic–but to understand it. And boy, he makes it fascinating.

4. Valenzuela’s photography is gorgeous. If you never fully read the book–but just glance through his photos throughout the book–there is still a lot to be learned. A picture is worth a thousand words–and Valenzuelo’s photos are worth much more than that.

Go, go read it. It’s beautiful.

He Won’t Fail Me

I haven’t posted in quite sometime. I know. I feel as if I should say that I am sorry . . . Blogging was an outlet for me as I completed school and now that I’ve moved on from school into a new place, a new state, a new occupation, I’ve had to get settled. It’s taken me six months so far . . . to get settled.

Question is. Am I settled? Hmmm . . . Ask me later. Perhaps not, perhaps that’s a good thing–means I’m not in my comfort zone. And that’s the best place, isn’t it?

Where am I, exactly? Ohio. Columbus, Ohio. Yes, definitely a new land. A land of snow and negative temperatures (something rather new to this SC girl at heart).

What am I doing? Working for a cause I’m passionate about. And what is that? The pro-life movement. More specifically, I’m the Director of Communications at Ohio Right to Life . . . and it is the scariest and hardest occupation that I have ever experienced (which isn’t saying much, since I’ve been a full-time student up until May). But it’s been rewarding in ways I never thought possible. I’m smack dab in the middle of one big learning experience; through many many and even repeated mistakes I’ve learned so much about myself in this new environment–what I can and cannot do, and what I can learn to do. Among being the scariest and hardest occupation, this has been the most humbling as well.

Why? Because reasons. No really, because God. God put me here. That was clear enough (and I rejoice because of it). Am I at peace because of that? Um . . . No. Does that mean I’m questioning God? Yes . . . but not His sovereignty. No need to question that. But the questions of “why here?” “why now?” “why me?” “why is this so hard?” “why do I keep failing?” “when will I be more confident?” “why am I not doing _______ right now?” “WHY do I have to fall on my face AGAIN?” “why can I not do it right the first time?” “why didn’t you put someone better in this position?” “why can’t I be more ________?” “why did you give me such a big and hard responsibility?”  . . . Ok, I’m sure you more than get the idea. And is God giving me answers? Yes. But not to everything, or not everything right away. And let’s just be honest–that’s why this is exciting: because I don’t have all the answers to all of my SELF-CENTERED questions. God’s growing me. That’s for sure. He won’t fail me–even if I fail. He won’t fail me–even though I do fail. And that’s encouraging.

God won’t fail me.

You hem me in, behind and before,
    and lay your hand upon me.
  Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
    it is high; I cannot attain it.

Psalm 139:5-6

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Yep! Hi! That’s me in this strange new wonderland of snow.