29 July 2011

Battle of the Books

Salutations most excellent readers! I don't know if you, like me, are a book whore, but I love everything about books. I find it particularly difficult to read a book that I have to read when I have books I could read of my own choosing for my own desires. That is currently my issue. A few weeks ago I got my required reading in for Richmond and I've starting leisurely reading one of the books, but now that I have a month left I really need to get a move on. In reality I only have about two or two and half weeks left for reading. I know that my last few weeks will be devoted to packing, organizing and seeing my friends and family as much as I can.
The highlighter is proof that I have been reading!
 The problem is the other day after doing, what Daryn and I think is, one of our greatest photo shoots ever I was given a look book on photography and so I just want to read it and work on my photography. (while it is getting better. It still has a long way to go!) Then yesterday I received a package from Amazon and one of my friends had purchased 2 books off of my wishlist for me. I'm beyond stoked, but yet I again I must refrain. I have some serious reading to do for school and I can't let my other books intruded. 
The contenders for my attention.
I'm very excited to read these books and I'm sure they'll be coming to London with me. Earlier this month I wrote about Brad Warner's European Tour and the two books on top are his first two books. You may be thinking, why is she so excited to have his first two books if she is already excited to see him speak...or vice verse. (something like that...)I haven't read his first two books, yet.I actually started reading his books in reverse. I read his 4th, then his 3rd and I think I'm just going to keep with that and read the 2nd then the 1st, because, well why not!  After reading his last two books I started to listen to his podcasts because I didn't have the funds to buy his other books, but now I get to read them...after my homework. Which I should be doing now. Have an incredible weekend, do good and be kind to yourselves! 

28 July 2011

Waiting on my hair

Sorry I haven't blogged since my birthday. I haven't been busy, so I can't use that excuse, but I'm here now and I found something that I hope it fun to talk/ read about. I tweeted a very silly and obvious comment earlier "Waiting on my hair to grow it's kinda like, well, waiting for my hair to grow." and thought.....hey I could blog about hair, why not? So, here are my stories.

Growing up I always had really long hair, my mum used to tell me that she would just keep it trimmed up enough so that it wouldn't get in the way when I used the toilet (gross, but smart and thoughtful) and growing up all  through elementary school and middle school I always wore it somewhere in the general range of long, stringy and blondish-brown. The turning point in my hair story was in the 10th grade when I decided I was going to chop it all off and donate it to Locks of Love. (for those of you not familiar, check out the link) I opted for a "flippy above shoulder length cut with swooshy bangs". I didn't really know how to style my hair very well so it wasn't as chic as I had anticipated it being, but I wasn't very girl in my younger years. Through high school my hair went through few shifts, the most exciting being a big chunk of purple in my bangs until my senior year when I decided that I wanted a girly mohawk. 
I wore my mohawk to the homecoming dance, but my date's was bigger. lol
 I rocked that for a while, but I didn't really keep up with it and I slowly let it grow back into a shaggy bob, which really became my look. I eventually polished it into a cute kinda signature look with asymmetrical bangs. Then in college, when I was living on my own I went back to the mohawk for quite some time and the sides slowly got closer and closer until one day my roommates started joking about shaving the sides off. I said let's do it, so we did. Unfortunately, I don't have any pictures of my shaved mohawk, but trust me. That thing rocked! It didn't last long though. I thought it made my face look fat, so I just decided to shave it all off and start from scratch.  
My favorite comments where all related to Natalie Portman or Sigourney Weaver.
I let my hair grow out and I've kept the shaggy bob that I like; I've attempted multiple times to grow it long, but I've always give up when it gets to that length. You know the one, when you can't do anything with it. It's too short to pull up and too long to lay neatly. It just sticks to your neck in the summer and and refuses any shape until you get so desperate that you chop it off again. I've finally made it past that point and so I'm in it for the long haul now. I'm not sure how long I'll let it get until I just keep it trimmed at one length, but I'm very excited to have a new look after years and years of it getting shorter and keeping it that way. I'm also a little nervous about getting my hair done in a few weeks. I'm just going to back to my natural color, but I've gotten so used to red, teal, purple and blond hair that I'm worried I'll look dull as a brunette, but with Ryshelle as my hair dresser I shouldn't worry. She always does an amazing job, so I really don't have anything to worry about. 

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend and the last few remaining days in July! I think I'll start a grad school countdown in August and keep y'all posted on my exploits leading up to my departure (I guess I'm a little superstitious, because everything isn't set in stone yet and I don't want to jinx myself and have something mess up.) I'm still waiting to get my UK visa; I've had a few snags in the process, but I'm hoping it's all squared away now and that leaves a plane ticket as the last thing I need to get before I can leave.  Take care and be kind to yourselves! 

22 July 2011

Birthday Recap

Margaritas and Cupcakes!

Happy Friday! I hope you guys have had a wonderful week so far and that you’re looking forward to a marvelous weekend. I’ve had a really wonderful week and I can’t believe that my 23rd birthday came and went so fast. I remember as a kid I used to count down to my birthday for several months in advance. I knew it was coming and I just couldn’t wait for it, now it isn’t that I have less zeal for life than I did as a child and it certainly can’t be attributed to a busy schedule, at least not this year, but rather as I have matured I have started to realized the importance of every moment and everyday rather than having a fixed point in the distance that I’m excited for. I guess I should clarify that though, I DO get excited about future plans. Leaving for London at the end of August is one and this past spring when I was saving up to go to Harry Potter World (really it was Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure...but who really cares?)

I had a great birthday and spent it with my family and friends. I don't really have a narrative structure for any of this so I guess I'll just get to posting pictures and let them tell the story. Most of the photos in the post where taken by my lovely and generous friend, Blair, and the photos of the flowers where captured by yours truly.


I received the prettiest bouquet! 
I made cupcakes for everyone & Blair gave me a fondue set. 
Guac, my favorite! I sure will miss mexican food when I'm in London.

Chocolate and Strawberries!

Very excited about my owl pillow from Carl and Renay,
my brother and my soon to be sister in law.

I don't have anything else to say, so I'll leave you all with a quote. A little something I try to live my life by, take care and be kind to yourselves and those around you. -monica

Thousands of candles can be lit from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.” -The Buddha

20 July 2011

Happy Birthday!

Grand Bay- Such a beautiful place. 
Just a quickie today, because I'm sure that I'll be blogging about what I did today in a day or two, but it just seemed right to throw it out today, since I am 23 now! Wow! Does the time fly. 
I'm very excited to eat lunch with my mum and dad for my birthday then have margaritas with my friends tonight. I'm not even expecting any gifts. I just want to see as many wonderful friends as possible, because to me everyone's friendship is the greatest gift I could possibly have. I'm off to take care of a few things, so have a wonderful day and be kind to yourselves. -monica

17 July 2011

Photo Drop: Editing Fun

I've been on a photo editing binge for the past few weeks and I thought I would share some of what I've been working on. I feel grossly narcissistic posting so many photos of myself that I have edited, but I also feel okay about tweaking my photos and not okay with touching up photos of friends. It seems to imply that there is something about them that needs fixing and I don't feel that way. I know, I know, I know, a photo is a only an image of someone, but I don't want anyone to get the wrong idea. Perhaps I'll be more comfortable editing photos of other people soon. Well, here ya go! Feel free to tell me what you think about the pictures. 
Hunter- AFI- Summer 2010

Davey- AFI- Summer 2010

Photo by Daryn. Edited by Me.

I'm wearing clothes in the picture. I promise!

A unicorn to match my hair. 

In my friend's car, shooting out the window. (drive by jokes anyone?)

Local band: Pigtoad

Quintessential downtown Valdosta with Pigtoad
 The photography kick I have been on lately was prompted by my acceptance in to the Richmond University. My thoughts where 'if I'm going to be in London, I am going to want good pictures...but I'm a terrible photographer'. The conclusion was obvious, learn to be a better photographer, thus Project: Trying to be a Better Photographer was born. I feel like I'm doing better already and I have been lucky enough to have received 2 cameras from 2 wonderful friends. Enjoy the rest of your weekend and be kind to yourself.     -monica

14 July 2011

Inspiration: Harry Potter

I'm so so so excited to go to the midnight showing of the final Harry Potter installation tonight. I remember when I first started reading the books. I found the Chamber of Secrets in the library in the 6th grade and when I checked it out I was told that there was a book that came before it, so the librarian found the Sorcerers Stone for me and I checked them both out and just fell in love with them. 
The Sorcerer's Stone
 I remember going to read the 3rd and then the long wait for the fourth and every time I read a book I could relate so well with the characters in their personal struggles, certainly not their literal challenges seeing as how I'm not a witch or wizard. (I guess Dumbledore forgot to mail my letter.) 
The Deathly Hallows
Have fun tonight if you're going to see the first showing and have a great weekend! As always, be kind to yourself. -monica

10 July 2011

Brad Warner in Europe

Happy Sunday everyone out there in I-hope-people-are-reading-my-ramblings-land! I'm having a fantastic day thus far and I hope you all are as well. I have two, personally, exciting things to talk about that are totally unrelated. So, here I go. 
♥ ♥ ♥
 First, I weighed myself this morning and I weighed in at 110.8 lbs. This is a big deal for me because while I was working at a tattoo shop at the beginning of this year I slipped into a pretty rough slump of depression and a very sedentary lifestyle, which helped the pounds to creep on slowly and being in that state really only perpetuated itself. I had a freak out moment after I started running again, but I wasn't losing any weight and found myself tipping the scale at 120 lbs. Which doesn't sound so bad to the majority of people, but consider that fact that I'm only five foot tall with a smaller frame and wide hips. (My point is perspective, for someone taller it isn't a big deal, but when you're a little thing. It makes a big difference.) Running with different friends helped a lot, mostly to pull my glum ass out of my pit and make me feel more optimistic. I also had to break some bad habits that my insomnia had started, namely mindless late night snacking. I don't want to get too heavy here, no pun intended, because I like my blog to be light hearted, but I just feel better when I weigh 110 lbs and lower. I feel physically more fit and capable, my energy is better and my self-esteem is better as well, so there is more to it than just vanity. I know where I feel best and I hold myself to my own standard, rather than what mainstream culture tells me I should be and so should you. I promise if you work at it you'll be kinder to yourself than a magazine is and you'll learn to listen to your body and do what you know if right for it. It just takes patience and clarity.

Brad Warner
Second, I have become a big fan of podcasts here recently and I was trying to see if Brad Warner, one of my favorite Zen authors, had any podcasts. He doesn't have his own series, but there are plenty of his lectures, Q&A sessions and interviews available, very cool. The exciting part is that he is going to be touring Europe, while I am in London! Wow, I'm am freaking stoked! His tour schedule can be seen, just click the hyperlink. He has dates in Germany, the Netherlands, France, Belgium and one day in the UK. Needless to say I will be finding a date that I can make and hopefully I can share it with you, my dear hypothetical readers. Also, I have a friend that is currently living in the Netherlands, so hopefully I can make it to one of those dates, see her and maybe even have a place to stay at the same time. Fingers crossed! [Correction: He does have his own podcasts. I just had a hard time finding them.]
I guess that's it for today. I'm a beautifully humid day here in Georgia, with high of only 91 today, (That's not sarcasm! It's awesome when it stays below 100 in July.) so I'm going to get off my bum and do something. Take it easy and be kind to yourselves. -monica

09 July 2011

New Camera and Band Photos

I'm beyond excited to tell everyone that I am now the proud owner of a Canon Digital Rebel XT with a 35-80mm lens. I love how terrible the "Rebel XT" sounds in the name, but it's a wonderful camera that I bartered for with a massive supply of oil paints. I'm proud to be the next person to shoot with it. My dear friend, Josh, learned to shoot on it and so the torch has been passed to me; I just hope that I can get as good as he is. He will tell you that he hopes to be as good as Jamie Harmon, his photography mentor. I received a crash course in photography last night and hopefully I absorbed some! I went on today to shoot pictures of my friend's band, Pigtoad. They're really goofy guys and after shooting with them, I have spent most of my afternoon listening to the storm outside and editing the pictures of them.  Have an incredible weekend and be kind to yourself and one another. -monica
Not too shabby (first time photographing a band)

05 July 2011

(late) Weekend Photo Drop

I hope everyone out there in hypothetical reader land had a marvelous 4th of July weekend. I headed to Mexico Beach with my girlfriend Blair and we crashed at her dad's new condo, relaxed on the  beach and cruised around Port St Joe. I wish I had better photos to share of everything, but I wasn't able to take too many that where worth sharing. I'm still working on being a better photographer and my camera is the best I've had, but still not ideal. (so, I do my best! What else is there really to life?)  

The best part of the trip was, without a doubt, walking the beach at night (jack and coke in hand) with our flashlights and finding little crabs and watching them scurry sideways into the water or pull their legs in to make themselves taller, kinda like how people puff out their chests and bow up for fights. On our walk back to the condo we all shut off our flashlights and let our eyes adjust and we were able to see the stars fairly well, fortunately the new moon was less than a week prior so the only light pollution was from the town lights. I bet it would be incredible to be on a boat in the middle of the ocean and get to stare up at all the stars! 

This sign made me really happy for some reason. It was on the way, off of some back road in Florida.

I scored the brown owl glass for free at a junk shop and it goes great with the rest of my owl stuff.  
Veggie Dog...forever alone. 
 I spent the fourth with my family. They weren't going to do anything special, but I convinced them to cook out since I won't get to do this next year with them. My mum made this delicious watermelon, lime and club soda drink to have with supper. That and hot dogs was a perfect southern summer dinner!

Steve-o (Broken End Stereo's tour manager, I believe) playing with DJ equipment.
That night I went to a party at a friend's house and this really great band from Tucson, AZ was crashing there for the night. The guys from Broken End Stereo, their tour manager and the merch girl where all there and they were all SO much fun. There are touring for 12 months on The Gila Monstour, which is a hella DIY tour. I wish I had thought about it in advanced, but I would have made them all something for dinner, but they are slated to make there way back through Valdosta in 6 weeks or so, so I will hopefully get to carouse with them one more time before I hop the Atlantic.  
Best part about vegan baking? Licking the beaters and say 'gtfo' to salmonella!
That brings us back to today, what a great long weekend! I slept until noon today and made some fabulous Vegan Snickerdoodles. They're a bit crunchy, but that makes them perfect for dunking into coffee or tea, which is how I plan on having them this evening. I hope you all an amazing weekend and have an even better week. Keep the peace and love yourself.