Thursday, December 13, 2018

Beyond the binary.

I had a realization this morning...I often think of things in my life as either one thing, or another thing. If I'm not successful at work, I'm unsuccessful. If I'm not heading in a specific direction, I'm lost. If I'm not full in all aspects of my life, I'm empty. My mind has always been a friend to the gray and the in-between, but I still find myself trying to fit into the black and white. The idea of the black and white has an enticing structure when I feel like I am lacking solid footing.

But let me tell you, my life post-college has been anything but black and white.

School was easy, relatively speaking. Make good grades, be nice to people, and you will get validation of who you are as a person. (If I'm not getting A's, I'm failing. If I'm not making my friends happy, I'm a terrible friend). Everyone likes the nice person who can help them on their homework, right? College was an exciting and adventurous change, but still within a structure that was simultaneously terrifying and familiar to me. (Choose your major, choose your life path. Choose wrong, and set yourself up for a series of wrong choices). It made sense for a least until I wasn't in it anymore. Then it was like the Wild West.

How many identity crises are you allowed to experience as a person? Because if there is a quota, I've likely hit it in my twenties. Since graduation, I've tried to grasp whatever sense of stability I could by continuing to seek validation from everyone but myself. How does _____ feel about my choices? What would _____ do? Does _____ like me? It was always comforting to know that I was heading along the "right" path, aka one that other people agreed with me on. The problem is, that path is the most unstable it can possibly be.

Similar to the feeling that you get when you realize your parents don't have all of the answers, I had a realization that other people don't have the answers to my life. They can have all of the opinions and advice in the world, but in the end I'm a different person than they are, and the only one of "me" they will ever know. So to give them ultimate say on what I do would be doing myself a disservice. They probably also don't want that responsibility.

And also, their feelings about everything around them (including me) are constantly changing and have almost everything to do with them, and nothing to do with me. If it has something to do with me, then they will hopefully say something. I do not have to read their minds, which is a relief, because I am usually wrong.

So, back to the drawing board. How do I find stability and flexibility within myself? The answer: start with more headspace. Listen. Leave space in my life and my thoughts for the in-between; open my mind to a curiosity of what is and what could be. Life is not black and white, and I'm learning what that means for me.

I want to live my life from the inside out.

"The world will tell you how to live, if you let it. Don't let it. Take up your space. Raise your voice. Sing your song. This is your chance to make or remake a life that thrills you."
-Shauna Niequist

Goodnight, friends.

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Throwback Thursday - Light

As a Throwback Thursday, I wanted to post an entry that I wrote for my friend's blog back in 2016. A reminder of light-giving things!
"I love this idea, giving light. My world has been a bit dark for a little while, and there have been things that have been beautiful and anchoring.
1. Coffee
I love everything about this daily ritual. Journeying to the coffee shops, enjoying conversations with the baristas, sitting and journaling or reading or studying, drinking the delicious mix of almond milk, vanilla and espresso (my go-to). I have lived in coffee shops this past year, and although it can get pricey, it’s worth it to me.
Latte art gets me every time.
2. Conversation
Whether it’s a small conversation with someone on the elevator, or a deep conversation with a dear friend, it’s these pieces of conversation that keep me tethered to what matters to me. I’ve always loved people, their stories, the small moments that can change a day and remind you that we’re all human and living this beautiful, challenging and changing life. We have a choice to fill each other up in these conversations, and that’s what I try to focus on.
3. Laughter
Who doesn’t like to laugh? But stand-up comedy on Netflix is something I thrive on and was the only thing I would watch at points this year. I also cherish laughs with friends and family. When you’re both laughing so hard you can’t breathe and tears come to your eyes, that is the absolute best.
My brother and I: the beatboxing-ukulele duo
4. Dogs
Is there something that always makes you happy? For me, that’s looking at a dog (usually big and/or fluffy ones). And maybe even more so, people’s reactions to dogs. It’s like they melt, and their eyes light up with glee and they start speaking in a “dog voice.” “PUP!” … “I want him!!”… “He’s SO CUTE!” All of these spoken by yours truly when a big dog or puppy crosses my path. Someday I will get one of my own.
5. Spontaneity
My favorite plans are the spontaneous ones with other people. I think because they are created out of a desire that feels most like myself in that moment, and the stars somehow align perfectly to create a space where anything can happen and everyone’s in. “Hey, this band is in town and playing tonight! Wanna go?” or “let’s take a roadtrip” or “I want tacos right now. Let’s go!” I have met some life-changing people through spontaneous choices. I am grateful for spontaneity and the friends that join me in it!
Thank you for reading, friends!"

Monday, November 26, 2018

Blue Skies.

It is strange and scary when you realize what or who you assign your value to, and how much. I'm so used to hanging my value on others...but that is precarious. It's like I hang it on a tiny nail in a door that swings constantly with the wind or accidentally gets shut by someone who's careless or moves too quickly. And just like that, my value moves and shakes and falls.

I have a hard time being present, but when I give others permission to determine my value and worth, and they unknowingly drop or shatter it, it seems like that's the only moment there is. That's the only life that ever existed, that time spent with that person or those people. Forget the previous decades I've lived, THIS is my life. Everything else was nothing.

Obviously, that's not a fair way to go about that. Not fair to myself or others.

I have lived 29 years and I feel like I have the fear of a 29-yr-old and the knowledge of a 5-yr-old. I usually say that the 20's feel like a constant unlearning of everything I ever thought I knew. But in a good way...often painful, sometimes inspiring, sometimes terrifying...but overall, good. I used to live like the world was the solid thing and I was fluid and unknown, but now I feel more solid and the world feels more fluid. I can find some stability within myself amidst the unpredictability. I like that.

And then there are nights like tonight, when I'm reminded that when I'm tired and worn down and sad and afraid, my strength dwindles and my mind goes to not great places. A weird headspace. Fragile headspace. Toxic headspace. I feel the need to balance everything to feel in control and instead feel out of control. And night is unforgiving.

And these nights will happen, and that's ok. But I've learned that instead of dwelling in this place, it is time to drink some water, put on comfy pajamas and go to sleep. There are no battles to fight today, only rest. There will be a better tomorrow.

Goodnight, friends.

Sunday, November 25, 2018


The night is cold
The thoughts wear on
It's getting hard to sleep

The day dissolves
Like it was never there
No good is mine to keep

I see no light in this forever night
The pain is just too great

It's not enough, things will never change
This has always been my fate.

But before I step off into the abyss
And say my last goodbyes

A faint voice whispers,
I hear it say
So tonight, I change my mind.

I never knew you, but I wish you would've stayed. Because you were a person and you mattered, and your life mattered. But it's too late, and this world is complicated and taking one's life is juxtaposed with grocery shopping. And it doesn't make sense, and there's no way to make it make sense. So we push forward in the fog and search for the tiny anchors of light and life and love each day that keep us living. Rest in peace.

I hope you stay, friends. You matter very much. There is help, and hope.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Dear 23-year-old me.

People normally write to their 16-year-old selves. The thing is, when I was 16, I still had some semblance of structure in my life. I was going to finish up high school and head to the same college that most of my older siblings went to, and then my life would probably magically unfold for me after that.

But 23, that’s a different story. At 23 I was done riding the graduation high, and I was past hope that I’d find a decent job right out of the gate. The structure I had gotten so comfortable in for about 17 years suddenly fell away, and I was expected to immediately be an adult. Enter: the first of about 80 identity crises. Not to mention that my most useful class in my entire school career from a practicality standpoint was “quantitative reasoning”, which taught us what math could look like in the real world. That insane college tuition was totally worth it, right? RIGHT?!...*eye twitches*.

Let me set the stage: I was working at World Market in suburbia and living at my parents’ house, still trying to swallow the hard pill of not getting out of college with a salaried job and money in the bank. My low point was considering being a family counselor at a cremation company in the strip mall 10 minutes away; even more defeating was the fact that I probably wasn't even qualified with my B.A. in Psychology. Far from college friends, I tried to find a "new" set of friends in close proximity. I also tried going to church consistently for some semblance of comfort. But I was ultimately was still focused on guys and what people thought about me.

In reading my old journal entries, I just wanted to give my 23-year-old self a hug. This one entry particularly disturbed me:

"Here I am; manipulative, selfish, inconsiderate, lost, striving, overwhelmed, bitchy, hypocritical, UNWORTHY. I am disgusting, vile, nothing of my own doing is good. Or at least that's what I feel like. Every good thing I have is You [God]. Every good thing I am is You. I don't deserve friends, happiness, generosity, or anything...and yet You bless me with it every day."

I've seen a handful of posts with that dialogue and it doesn't feel like me. I was just a scared, lost post-grad who wanted a boyfriend more than anything and sought value in other people constantly. I wasn't a horrible human; I still focused on being kind and loving, even if it wasn't to myself. The fact that I wrote "vile" and "disgusting" among other descriptors is sad and almost humorous because it sounds like something out of a radical sermon. But that's really what I felt like...I was so overwhelmed with my life that I "surrendered" it. Turns out that still meant feeling everything, wondering why it wasn't changing, and feeling helpless and out of control.

Looking back, what would I say to that girl?

I would tell her she's more powerful than she could ever imagine, and she deserves to be heard. Her contribution is valuable. I would tell her that she deserves a guy who's interested and friends who feel like sunshine. She doesn't need to mute herself to let others shine; it's not a zero-sum game. Everyone matters, including her. 

I would tell her that no one gives a true crap about pivot table skills in advertising for entry-level positions. I would tell her not to waste too much of her time chasing that stupid flaky wedding photographer, that apathetic guy from church or that close-minded and judgmental dude from high school. Although each of them have helped shape her in the rock tumbler of life, I would tell her that eventually those people would fade away and new, more amazing people would come in their place.

I would tell her that it's ok to question her faith, and she should dig in and question it more even if the answers weren't the ones she grew up knowing. That she would still be ok.

I would tell her to talk back to the critical voice in her head and say the opposite to startle it into silence. I would tell her that it eventually starts to speak less and less, and knows it is not welcome.

I would tell her that the satisfaction of her days would be measured less by how many guys talked to her or checked her out, and more in lattes, books, laughter, words, hugs and tiny details.

I would tell her to stop hiding. And to not define herself by paths already taken by people in her life. She has everything to contribute, and is her own person but also a beautiful combination of interactions with everyone else.

I would tell her I love her, and that it will only get better.

And I am so thankful for that. At the end of my 23rd year, I found an internship at an advertising agency that would jumpstart the next 6.5 years of my life. I moved out of my parents' house down to Wash Park to have a whole new set of adventures. I learned more about what it means to be me.

At 29, things are better still. I have so many amazing supports in my life, I've created 3 roles and elevated my career, and I am living in Denver. It's definitely not all roses; I often ride an emotional roller coaster and am scared for some big changes that I want to make, but I know that my 35-year-old self would say: "I love you, and it will only get better".

Thanks for reading, friends.

Saturday, November 3, 2018

It's Alright, it's OK

I've really been liking this song that showed up on my release radar playlist on Spotify. It's called "It's Alright" by a band called Mother Mother. Take a listen! I've included some of the choruses below:

"It's alright, it's ok, it's alright, it's ok
you're not a monster, just a human
and you've made a few mistakes.

It's alright, it's ok, it's alright, it's ok
you're not gruesome, just human
and you've made a few mistakes.
It's alright. It's ok.

It's alright, it's ok, it's alright, it's ok
you're not a demon, there's a reason
you behave in that way.

It's alright, it's ok, it's alright, it's ok
and I believe, yes I believe,
 that you will see a better day.
It's alright. It's ok.”

I have to be honest, this week has run me over. I've had a serious case of imposter syndrome at work...what am I doing there? What do I have to contribute? When will they find out I really shouldn't be there? As managers we came up against mistakes that our team members made that cost the agency a lot of money, and we have to be accountable for them and also communicate that those mistakes can't be happening. This isn't the first time this has happened, though it was a different type of mistake, so I had to defend one of my employees against angry executives that only see those mistakes and don't see the growth and effort. I understand that this is a manager's job, but I've been trying to figure out if I fit into this.

We've also had a lot of interviews this week with prospective employees, and I realized that I haven't nailed down a good description of my role. I stumble in my introduction...not fully able to find the words to capture my thoughts about what I do and describe it genuinely.

My current intro: "My name's Katie, I'm the Manager of Paid Search Services & Development. I manage a team of strategists, specialists and coordinators and also manage Paid Search and Shopping strategy across the department to make sure we're consistent, aligned with best practices and innovating across accounts (buzzword, buzzword, buzzword). I created a training program for our department to make sure that new people coming in are fully supported and know who to ask questions to so they're not drowning, which is the development piece of my role.”

It always feels fake when I say it. I don't know why. Maybe because it doesn't acknowledge the journey...I came into advertising with a psych degree. I knew absolutely nothing. When I started at my last agency, there was no one to ask for help and we had to figure it out. I remember the complete panic of being given a task (and every task felt monumental) and not getting full direction. As I progressed at my agency I never wanted anyone else to have that same feeling, so I became the unofficial trainer.

When I came to my new agency, I fell into a similar role of unofficial trainer. Account leads were too stressed to train and utilize their junior-level support people, and our support people were feeling useless and not learning anything. On top of that, our strategists weren't talking to each other and everyone had their own way of doing things. I made time to give people help, pushing aside the work for my 8 client accounts to prioritize other people. But I would still have to get the client work done, which just left me extremely burned out. So after about a year of that, I decided that I needed to make my training role official or I would leave. My boss listened and supported me in an awesome way by helping me to create it. And in creating my role and making it successful, I enabled other people to have a similar role across departments. Now there is a training program in place to make sure that new people coming in are fully supported and know who to ask questions to so they're not left high and dry.

Do I like advertising? Not really. It was fun at first but now I'm over the daily revenue goals and lack of small wins. Do I like supporting people? Absolutely. And management allows me to do that directly. However, there's a lot of other things that come with that in this management role, and I've been taking a good hard look at how I want to move forward.

When I have these rough weeks, it's helpful to remember the journey. It's also helpful to remember that things can always change. I can either change them for myself, or I can be open that they'll change on their own. At my old agency I remember when they dissolved my team and moved everyone into sections with their new teams...except me. They gave me a lone cube in the hallway, with no neighbors. I remember thinking that I could be coloring in a corner and they wouldn't have cared. BUT. Things changed. I moved into a team, I reasserted myself and created a new position at the agency for myself and others at my level who were forced to do things above our pay grade. I left that agency having felt that I made an impact.

I've said a lot of not nice things about myself this week, that catch me off guard and remind me that I am always a work in progress. And I'm grateful for people who listen and support, and allow me to have my ugly thoughts but also help combat them. I normally hold it together so other people can be themselves, but it's been a refreshing, humbling and slightly anxiety-inducing experience to have that for myself. So far, I haven't scared anyone away. :) I'm alright, I'm ok.

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Switching it up.

Well, friends...I have to admit that I'm not as committed to this photo challenge as I'd like to be. I'm going to take a break to post about different things, and also decide what I want to do as a re-vamp of this blog. Thanks for reading along :).

When I started this blog, I was inspired to take cool pictures and post them, sometimes intertwined with my thoughts and sometimes not. I was a LiveJournal maniac growing up, as well as a fan of Myspace journal entries. Thankfully both of those are long gone, because I definitely treated those as personal journals and not something that the entire internet could view. And by long gone, I mean probably living somewhere that I can no longer access...out of sight, out of mind, right?

I've kept journals consistently since I was little. I had this Lisa Frank diary that had the signature "I think a rainbow threw up on this" look, complete with a cute animal (I think mine had a horse on it?). I didn't particularly care about horses, but I liked the bright colors. My entries consisted of my deepest secrets as defined by a 7 year old, such as the desire to marry all of my secret crushes, venting about my little brother coming into my room, and who my best friends and worst enemies of the minute were. I also even ventured to draw my "future self", complete with pigtails, clogs and lipstick. Nailed it. I keep all of my journals in a plastic tub, and occasionally I'll return to them to see where I've come from and how I've changed (or have I maybe haven't). It fuels my desire for constant self-reflection and self-improvement.

I've always loved writing and so I want this blog to be a reflection of that. This blog spans from 2011 to now, and I have also changed immensely since then. Have I outgrown this blog? Should I move into something different? How do I want to marry my desire to be genuine, my love for people and my love for writing? These are some things that I'll explore over the coming weeks.

I came across the below quote and found it continues to be a constant unlearning of everything I ever thought I knew. But in a good way. Sometimes frustrating, sometimes refreshing, but always good in the end.

"Losing an illusion makes you wiser than finding a truth" - Ludwig Borne

Thanks for reading, friends.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Days 14, 15, 16, 17

Hi friends,

All caught up today! Enjoy the pics and some random thoughts below.

Intricate flower patterns
This is the shape I take at...hipster flea markets
I love anything that can take a picture.
*deep breath*

There are many patterns in the way we do things. One of my patterns that I noticed tonight at a work happy hour was that whenever I am meeting someone new and I have a good conversation with them, I always question it after the fact. I go into hyper-analysis mode and think "ok, how did I potentially mess that up or misinterpret the fact that it was going so well?" It's pretty exhausting. And to what end? Let's say I'm a complete weirdo in the conversation (which is bound to happen when you fully embrace potential awkwardness)...what's it really going to matter? Especially when all that the other girl was probably thinking was "oh my gosh, what is she thinking about me? I can't believe I just said that". I don't even want to know how much time I've wasted thinking about what other people think about me or how they feel about me. How do I feel about me? How do I seek to be more than just the negative space between people's opinions?

It can take many a shape. What is the shape I take when I'm at work? At home, alone? With friends? Are those shapes similar or drastically different? I'm noticing that as I get older, those shapes are looking more and more similar. They don't have to be the same; I'm a private person and I will share certain things with close friends over coworkers. I will also be able to talk about certain things with coworkers that friends may not understand. Both are valuable and have a place in my life. My goal is to have the base of those shapes be the person that I am at home, alone, without anyone else's input.

An ongoing battle, but a worthy one.

Sitting around the table at tonight's happy hour, we continue discussing the theme of favorite technology. A normal topic for those who live in the digital advertising industry, of course. Why wouldn't we subscribe to the things we use to persuade and transform internet users into retail customers? The funny thing is, I don't like ads. I didn't like them before I got into this industry because they looked like they would deliver a virus onto my computer as soon as I clicked. And now I'm not a fan of them after because I know too much of what goes behind them. I find myself wanting to shop on my own terms, and not have a banner prompting me to return to shoes that I was looking to buy 3 days ago ("I'll buy them when I'm ready, dammit! I know what you're trying to do here..."). That said, if ads are going to show regardless, I'd rather have them be relevant. Or at least that's what I tell's hard to be in an industry that you don't 100% subscribe to.

It was a strange, imposter-feeling night despite the good conversation and laughs. Those come around occasionally, and thankfully aren't here to stay. No need to read people's minds and assume thoughts that they probably aren't even thinking.

So instead, I stop. Breathe, and look up.

Night, friends. And thanks for reading :)

Monday, October 15, 2018

Days 11, 12, 13

Bear with me as I catch up, friends. It was a great weekend! Unfortunately I did not take as many pictures as I should've. I will slowly be catching up this week :)

I have a handy little set of lenses that my mom got me for Christmas for my phone camera, and they're a lot of fun. This one in particular is for close-ups so I decided to see what a bag buckle would look like. Turns out, it's pretty cool.

Comfort. For me, one of the most comforting things is a hot beverage in my hands on a cold day. Especially if it has latte art. Because who doesn't love latte art? Probably the same people who don't love coffee...and don't have souls. ;) Just kidding. I know people have legitimate reasons for not drinking it/liking it. But it makes me so happy!

Another thing that makes me happy is the juxtaposition of snow against the color of the fall leaves. We got a bit of snow on Sunday, which was kind of fun and cozy if you weren't driving in it. I read an entire book! After an awesome morning of sleeping in and wandering to the coffee shop with one of my favorite people, it was a great combo.

I've been brainstorming ways to transform this blog into a new concept. More to come on that!

Stay warm, friends :)

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Day 10: Best Friend

Hi, folks. How's Wednesday treating you? It snowed today for the first time! It makes me excited for big, fluffy blankets and hot chocolate (dairy-free, of course).

When I checked what today's challenge was, I immediately thought "oh I can't do it! I'm not around anyone I love!" And then I thought...wait a second. Of course I am.

Let me tell you about my best friend. I can go to her about anything, and she's been there through thick and thin. Although she hasn't always been nice to me and I haven't been nice to her, we always talk it through and come out closer than before. We sing together, laugh together, cry together, dance together, and do 10-minute cardio videos together when we don't feel like going to yoga. Whenever I feel pulled in every direction by everyone's opinion, she reminds me that I am intrinsically valuable without anyone else's input. If it was just me, here by myself, I would still be whole and complete. I try to remind her of the same because often she is telling others that but not believing it of herself.

She is a deep thinker and an overanalyzer to the utmost degree, which I think is why we get along so well. But it can put both of us in difficult places when we try to read people's minds and use those fake thoughts to build ourselves up or put ourselves down. She is kind, giving and genuine. And she's always excited to make someone laugh. She always tries to see the good in people and situations, which helps me be more optimistic when I'm having tough days. I trust her wholeheartedly and learn from her every day. I couldn't imagine living this life with anyone else.

Goodnight, friends. :)

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Day 9: Doodles

I can't take credit for this doodle; it was shown to me from an awesome patch and I wanted to re-create it for fun. For someone in particular (you know who you are). 😊

"Get lost, find yourself". Seemed fitting to hold it up in front of a watercolor painting of a mountain landscape that I fell in love with at a brewery. After pining over it for the evening but questioning if it was true love or just a couple of beers, I slept on it and...went back and bought it the next day. Breweries have amazing artwork.

Keeping it short and sweet tonight, friends. Get lost and find yourself...listening to the song below.

Monday, October 8, 2018

Days 6, 7 & 8

It was a great weekend. Unfortunately, I slacked on a few of my pictures...which means today you get 3! It is also a bit of a throwback Thursday; instead of taking new pictures I decided to edit a few older ones that have been sitting on my computer. Enjoy :)

The first? Well, what's possibly shinier than the Bean (errr...I mean, "Cloud Gate")? I went to Chicago for the first time at the beginning of March and it was a really great work trip. It's a big city with a laidback feel, and I could see myself living there if I could handle the weather. It was a very dreary morning and my coworkers and I decided to trek to this very famous sculpture. Definitely worth it, especially since most people didn't want to be out in the pouring rain. This picture does not do the size or the shininess was cool, and I was a shameless tourist.

This next picture is from a solo trip that I took to Steamboat Springs last fall. It was an unexpected, last-minute trip that came after I decided to cancel a trip to Portland and needed some headspace. I took a 4 hour drive to an Air BnB, met a giant Newfie named Chewie, ate almond milk mozzarella, drank wine and chatted advertising with my host (a human, not Chewie), and briefly met his neighbor who was a former-Olympic-Nordic-combined-skier-turned-bear hunter. The trip was wonderfully unplanned from start to finish and was a welcome distraction. I snapped this pic on the deck of the house; I love the contrast of the ground with the fading sky.

And finally, weather. Today would've been PERFECT to take a picture of given that it was a misty, cloudy day. But by the time I realized this, it was already too dark. But that's ok because I came across this picture; I went on a hike in Frisco last October instead of doing laundry, and it was a fantastic decision. This cloudy weather is my favorite to hike in and makes me feel like I can hike for miles. Grateful for views of yellow trees against a heather gray sky.

Thanks for reading, friends!

Friday, October 5, 2018

Day 5: Drip

I had big plans for this picture...I would take my camera, turn my faucet slightly on, snap a picture of a perfectly shaped drop, and BAM. Day 5 post. But it turned into a flash at the bottom of this shot instead. It was more difficult than I thought! That's ok though, especially with some black and white effects. It's also fitting because there are actual rain drops outside and it's a nice soundtrack to a chill evening. Hope you're all having a good night :)

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Day 4: Texture

Tonight was a lovely night making a new recipe with a special someone and a new thing: spaghetti squash. Is there a more perfect thing for "texture"? We decided to try this recipe and it was a success! Would definitely recommend if you want to try something new with a coconut curry-type flavor. The most fun part (besides eating it) was "fluffing up" the spaghetti squash with a fork; there's just something really satisfying about how easy the warm squash comes apart with the fork and transforms into spaghetti-like strings. And? It even looked like the official recipe pictures.

A successful night. :)

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Day 3: On the ground

Hi all,

Going to be a short and sweet post tonight I think. All you need to know is that I am a sucker for water droplets on plants/leaves/windows/you name it. You can check out a similar picture in this post from the ancient days of 2012. Goodnight, friends. :)

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Day 2: Bright

Did I stare at a bright light through a camera lens for several shots before I settled on this photo? Maybe. Should I have quit after two shots to save my eyesight? Probably, but I'm not a quitter. Was it worth it? I'll let you decide.

I'm realizing the downfall of only being able to take pictures after I get home, which means it's dark outside and I get to explore the inside of my apartment for photo subjects. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, but it can often result in lightbulb pictures instead of sun-soaked balcony pictures. Good thing I'm not trying to win likes on Instagram.

I love the word bright; I immediately think of light or color but it also implies intelligence. To me, someone who is bright is someone who is eager to learn, catches on quickly, and has an energy about them that is contagious. I'm always really grateful when we get new people like that at work because they seem to shift the energy with their genuine curiosity and remind people why they started working in their industry or job. I'm also just grateful for people like that in general; a barista at one of my favorite coffee shops this morning greeted me like an old friend and we chatted about the weekend. I didn't even know she knew who I was, which made it all the more awesome. It was such a day brightener to be recognized and greeted. Plus non-awkward conversation?! Nailed it.

There are also times where things don't feel so bright and darkness hangs heavy, and I'm familiar with that space too. I cling to these tiny anchors in a day (a sincere hello, a warm smile, a puppy sighting...) and keep a "thankful for" note in my phone to hold a little light when those dark days come around.

But today? Today is bright, and I am thankful.

Monday, October 1, 2018

Day 1: Leaves

"Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall."
- F. Scott Fitzgerald

It finally feels like fall here in Colorado, and I couldn't be more excited. For me, fall brings with it a feeling of hibernation and coziness. I love being outside but during the summer there's this palpable sense of "I need to be outside and swim/hike/bike/camp/tan or I am WASTING THIS SUMMER". In the fall, focus shifts inwards and the pressure to be outside seems to lift as the temperatures lower. Oddly enough, my productivity at work also goes up about 200%.

So. What's the first thing you think of when you hear "fall"? If you said "pumpkin spice latte", partial credit. The answer for me is "changing leaves". It's fitting that for day 1, that's exactly what I'm taking a picture of. But unfortunately there are only about 5 leaves starting to change color in my neighborhood; I almost resorted to spray painting them yellow or doing some really aggressive photoshop edits before I stumbled upon the below.

Fall: crisp and cool. A time of solace and self-reflection. Fleeting and delicate, yet vibrant and impactful. I've found that watching the leaves turn bright in a blaze of glory allows me to pause and reflect on the months behind me and the months ahead. And I'm excited for the months ahead. I stare a bit longer at the trees, hoping to carry the memory of their brilliant colors into the restful and silent winter. I'm grateful that time feels a bit slower as the world tucks in with the cooler temperatures. I hope you can feel that same reprieve from the hustle and savor this season.

Thanks for tuning in, friends.

Sunday, September 30, 2018

I'm baaaack: Photo Challenge #3

Well folks, it's happening. I'm dusting off my DSLR and testing out another photo challenge. Found one from #theidearoom from October 2016 that looks like a good one! I shall start tomorrow and we'll see how this goes.