Friday, October 31, 2008

Fall Colors Exist, After All!

Last Saturday I woke up at 6:30 and couldn't get back to sleep, so I spent about an hour doing laundry, ate breakfast, and then went up the canyon to take some pictures.

By Vivian Park I found a couple of Heber Valley RR cars to take pictures of. I'm still learning about manual settings, and my hands were freezing after about 2 minutes, so I didn't stay around long to experiment or perfect anything. :) This is what I ended up with. Some I like, some I don't...

After that I went down into the Riverwoods business park area to see if I could find some better color. I did find some, but not as much as I would have liked. I have no idea what kind of tree this is just below, but I like the contrast of the little apple-y looking fruits against the leaves.

I took the one below out of focus on purpose to see what it would look like. I kind of dig it--it reminds me of some of Monet's paintings after he started losing his sight. (Not that I'm comparing myself to Monet - Ha, yeah right!)

I was surprised by how cold it was that morning--it took me a couple of hours to really get warmed back up (and my poor hands started to crack and bleed. Boo and hiss. that usually doesn't happen until closer to Thanksgiving.). I don't want winter to come yet. Yuck.

Oh, and Happy Halloween! Here is a partial picture of me last year in my Venetian mask.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Cross Processing of Photos and Films :: the Creepy Cotton Candy Effect

I have never been able to figure out what crossprocessing was actually called until TODAY. I always called it the "creepy cotton candy" effect because of the eeriness I feel it lends to the photo or film, while at the same time really intensifying the colors.

This is one of my favorites from the Cross-processing group on Flickr. By John.

Reminds me of the Fabuleux Destin d'Amelie Poulin. Interesting movie. I got a CleanFlicks version just before they went under if anyone ever wants to borrow it.

It's also possible to get this same effect through Photoshop, apparently (one day I'll own it).

What do you guys think of this particular effect? Is it creepy to you at all, or is that just me? I tend to associate it with "flashback" moments in movies where someone is remembering a traumatizing event they experienced as a child. I also associate it with clips or pictures of eerie-looking deserted carnivals. That must be where my homegrown "creepy cotton candy" name came from.

Monday, October 27, 2008


Since about 1999, soon after I started working for a wholesale florist, I have detested the smell of eucalyptus. I had to handle large bundles of it every so often at work, and the oil from its leaves just clings to your skin like nobody's business. Not only does that mean the smell stays with you for hours, but it also leaves a horrible residue all over, like sap from a tree that seemingly never goes away.

Eucalyptus by Marc 50 via Flickr

As a result of this distaste for all things eucalyptus, getting sore throats and colds is even more annoying, because everything seems to have nasal-passage-clearing and sore-throat-soothing eucalyptus in it.

No, thanks. I'll take those pseudo Vitamin C candies that they sell by the throat lozenges.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Waiting Games

So, I officially applied to the Sorbonne today.

I hope I get accepted!! I should know within the next week and a half, although from everything I've read I would be shocked if I didn't get accepted. (No, I don't have a super-inflated ego... I just think they basically accept anyone who will pay them who shows up with a visa. I'm not going to start a Master's program, just some language and civilization classes specifically designed for foreigners.)
You know, this whole process is kind of crazy. It's kind of a Catch-22 at any given second, because you need to make important decisions without complete information being available, and some decisions (and payments) have to be made with nothing but hope that it will all work out. More on that later.

In a matter on months, I could be studying here. Hmmmm. Kind of skews the concept of what a University library should look like, doesn't it? Absolutely gorgeous. It reminds me of one of those rooms in an old house-turned-museum that is roped off but perfectly set up and preserved. You know, the one where the tour guide gives everyone a sarcastic once-over as they all lean in over the rope as far as is physically possible and wish they had lived 400 years earlier...

Photo from the Spirit of Paris. Merci, Michel!

Friday Faves - Movies

Favorite movies of all time in no particular order:

1) Shawshank Redemption (I’ve only ever seen this once, but I absolutely loved it)

2) The Holiday (I just think it’s brilliant and fun)

3) The Village (scary and thought-provoking)

4) Les Choristes (great French film – I own it w/English subtitles if anyone wants to see it…)

5) Wait Until Dark (that is about as scary as I go)

6) Pride and Prejudice (and I’m not ashamed)

7) What Happens in Vegas (SOOOO many funny one-liners in this movie!!)

8) Mansfield Park (possibly my favorite Austen movie)

9) Memoirs of a Geisha (the cinematography is truly masterful!)

10) Hairspray (literally could watch this again and again – I think I saw it 7 times in the theater, including the SIIIIING along time when Heather, Amy and I were three of 5 people in the theater rocking out to the movie). (Mom, were you there?)

11) Mona Lisa Smile (I love the message of this movie)

12) Sense and Sensibility (I’m a romantic at heart, which is the main reason I love this movie. But I have to admit Eleanor hyperventilating at the end is TOTALLY my favorite part.)

Thursday, October 23, 2008

"Untitled" - a.k.a. I Love Luis Feito

Well, I love his paintings, at least.

His most recent ink on paper works are interesting, but not as textured and captivating as his older stuff.

These two are my favorites, though I pretty much like everything I've seen of his older works.

They are both "Untitled." Which, if I'm going to be honest, might make me like them better. Coming up with a title for every painting seems like it would be a pain (though the artists probably spend enough time with their medium and each work that they have the time to mull over it a while). I think leaving things without titles allows the audience to take a little more ownership of their reaction to the work itself.

(Plus, I think I would rather own a cool painting that is untitled than one that is called "Blue background with white hatch marks" or "Black and Grey blobs," etc.--wouldn't you?)

Aren't they incredible? The first is mixed media on paper, and the second is sand and oil on board. Breathtaking, and both in private collections. Wow, I want so much to be a rich art collector.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Dear Alexander,

Just wanted to write an extremely belated thank you.

Not only did your research into hearing devices lead to the invention of the telephone...

but you were also one of the founding members of the National Geographic Society.

Either one of those alone would have been enough for my gratitude, but both? That makes you extra cool. You not only made instant communication possible over vast distances, but National Geographic has provided millions of people with inspiration, education, and truly amazing photography, films, and articles over many, many years. Plus you have awesome hair.

So, thanks. I know it wasn't for me, but I benefit from your hard work every day of my life.


Saturday, October 18, 2008

More French Tunes - "La Tribu de Dana" by Manau

French Celtic rap.

What, that's not your favorite musical genre?
Yeah, I know. It sounds seriously weird. But I actually like this group, Manau (although I don't think they are still together).

I'm not usually a fan of rap, and even though I speak French I only understand about 1/3 of the lyrics. Even taking those two facts into consideration, I still love this song. No vulgarity, no drugs, no gangs, no inappropriate comments about women... the lyrics are actually about a fictional battle between to Celtic clans (like I said, I know it sounds weird).

Have a listen. It's surprisingly catchy. Everyone I've ever forced it on has been surprised.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Friday Faves - Earrings

Several of you, though I'm guessing not all of you, know that I love earrings. REALLY love them.
You might call it an obsession, a fetish, or an accessory imbalance. But, call it what you will, I love earrings, and I thought I would share mine with you today.

I have amassed many pairs of earrings in my life. In total I think I've got between 85-90 pair of earrings. I counted a while ago but I don't remember the exact number. Almost all of the earrings I wore growing up are gone because they were mostly post earrings, and now I tend to wear drop earrings 99% of the time. I have zero tolerance for being stabbed in the neck by an earring post. Hooks are so much more gentle on the skin behind my ears.

Keeping track of all my earrings (specifically, rummaging through them all to find the ones I wanted to wear) had become a challenge in the last couple of years, so I finally devised a way to keep them all in one place. This was the resulting crafty project.

Ingredients: One unfinished glass-free frame from Robert's, several lengths of ribbon, staple gun, staples, white paint, clearcoat. Oh, and 3M hooks for the necklaces and rings at the bottom. LOVE those hooks.

There are some changes I would make to this having now gone through the process once. I would use eyelet screws on the inside of the frame where the glass would normally sit and I would either use thinner ribbon or wire. I kind of like the way the ribbons wrapped aroung the edges of the frame, but the earrings with the smaller hooks tend to slip off the ribbon because it is too wide and flexible.

Regardless of those little issues, I have loved having this earring holder. It keeps them all in front of me, and it turns my earrings into a sort of haphazard artwork.

A couple of years ago I decided that instead of spending money on random souvenirs on trips I take (which inevitably end up thrown away, lost, broken, or being picked up by me as I scratch my head and wonder where I got it), that I would purchase a pair of earrings for each vacation I go on (or multiple pairs, if I am visiting several locations in one trip).

It started in 2005 with a Thanksgiving trip to New York City and has continued up through mytrip to Alaska this summer.

I'm not going to lie--picking my favorite earrings was a challenge, because I wear so many of them frequently and love them for different reasons. But here are some of my favorites and where they came from.

These turquoise hoops are a recent purchase, custom made by her. (I love Etsy. Seriously.) They are to replace a pair of earrings I bought at the Adopt-A-Native-Elder Program rug auction and jewelry sale in 2005. I lost ONE of them just a few weeks later and have been looking for a replacement pair ever since.

This pair of red coral spheres I purchased at an outdoor market in Berlin right outside of the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church.

I wear these earrings at least once a week. They were a Valentine's Day gift from a coworker who knows how much I love earrings. We were on a business trip together and she gave me these and a great card with a quote from Van Gogh about painting. (She obviously knows me really well and is an extremely thoughtful person.) Thanks, Gena!!

These earrings were also a recent purchase, because I didn't feel like I had any silver earrings that were really basic but still had some substance to them as far as their size. These are maybe one inch across, so not huge skanky hoops, but they don't disappear once I've got them on, either. From Target (as are most of my earrings).

This pair was a Christmas gift last year from my best friend Happy. I wasn't sure how I felt about them at first, because up to that point I almost never wore anything but silver and cool colors. Thanks Hap! (For the earrings and helping me branch out).

This pair is also from the Hapster. She got them from a woman who had a booth at the Spanish Fork Fiesta Days fair. Apparently this woman never makes the same pair of earrings twice. I love these earrings, and I get tons of compliments every time I wear them (which is pretty often because they're really versatile).

And to wrap it up (I'm sorry... who knew that anyone could write this much about earrings??), these earrings are coming my way soon. Again, these are replacing a pair of earrings (my favorite pair EVER, hands down--I wore them every day of my mission and then some) because I lost one while napping on my parents' couch. It disappeared into the depths of the cushions or elsewhere, never to be found again.

They are also from Etsy (this shop), and I am sooo excited to have found some that are so similar to the one I lost (I still have its partner in my car so I could periodically stop by Argento and ask if they were making them again).

Okay, I'm done. If you read this whole thing, you are a trooper. :)

"How to Create an Abstract Painting" from wikiHow

I thought this little "tutorial" from wikiHow was kind of fun.

How to Create an Abstract Painting

from wikiHow - The How to Manual That You Can Edit

Abstract painting might look easy, and it might look as if the artist did not know what they were painting. It might look like it; however, this is far from the truth. Abstract can be more difficult than landscape or scenery, because there is nothing to copy from, and nothing like it has been painted prior to the moment that the artist picked up the brush.


  1. Buy a ready made canvas in a craft store. Buy any size that you feel you would like to work on. A smaller one, 10x10, or 12x12 might be best, if you are just learning and experimenting. The canvas will be ready to work on as is, but if you prefer a colored background, buy a jar of Gesso, to prime the canvas and give it a touch of color. When doing this however, you will have to wait about 24 hours until the canvas dries before you can paint on it.
  2. Decide whether to use acrylics or oil paint. Acrylics have no odor, are easy to wash off surfaces and clothes, dry faster and can be painted over if you make a mistake. Oils are the complete opposite.
  3. Buy a color chart and an easel and paints and brushes. Buy the basic colors at first, and use the color chart to determine which colors belong together.
  4. Start your painting by thinking of an object, or a scene. Do not think of the actual drawing of each, just dwell on the thought. Look at a vase, not at how it actually would be sketched, but how you would think it would look. Your imagination, and your feelings will create what you paint on the canvas. Remember, you are interpreting, not drawing.
  5. Allow the brush to take over painting with one color. When your thought process stops, you stop. Add another color, shade it, make it lighter at any part, or heavier at another. Improve what you see on the canvas and of what you think should be added.
  6. Add a bit of yellow, to a part of the red, blend it and make various shades of orange. Some areas will be darker, some lighter according to the brush strokes.
  7. Remember once you feel that the painting is finished, stop . Do not go back to improve or touch it up. Do not overwork your painting, but learn to finish it, the moment you feel it is finished.

Found this here.


  • Experiment with adding textures to the canvas, and painting over them for added depth to the painting.
  • Use colors according to the feeling you wish to paint. Read about colors and how to use them to express emotions. Reds and yellows will be happy, while blues, blacks, and browns will signify darker feelings. The feeling you wish to convey will depend on the colors and brush strokes you use.
  • Don't be afraid of drips and splatters. At times drips might add texture to your painting and so will splatters especially of a blending color.
  • Don't wear nice clothes. Wear something you don't mind getting paint on.
  • Sometimes the best pictures you make are the ones with your eyes closed. So don't be afaid to close your eyes and just have fun with it.


  • Wash your brushes with a cleaning solution after you are finished painting to keep your brushes soft and usable.
  • You can also wrap your brushes in clear film or a carrier bag and they will stay fresh for weeks.

Sources and Citations

Article provided by wikiHow, a collaborative writing project to build the world's largest, highest quality how-to manual. Please edit this article and find author credits at the original wikiHow article on How to Create an Abstract Painting. All content on wikiHow can be shared under a Creative Commons license.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Eeeeeeeew! Creepy Alert!

So, as it turns out I'm not taking EITHER apartment.

#1 rule of any online transaction = Google everything about everyone.

I Googled the username of the person I was getting ready to sign a contract with, and Google kindly led me to this:

If you can't actually read it clearly, it's some creepy guy looking for a WIFE! Ew! Ew! Ew! He also had a profile on some other grody website.

So, I'm going back to my original plan which is having all of my friends from Paris contact friends, family, ward members, and the institute president for available rooms or shared apartments.

Ew!! Need I say it again? Lesson Learned : If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.

Oh, and I also sent the creepy guy and e-mail telling him he was busted. :) Ick.

Off to Paris

Let's say (hypothetically speaking) that someone was going to move to Paris. She had two potential apartments, both in great locations. One location is more central, but the other is a better price and still an excellent location--it would just require a longer bike ride to school (or, she could use the savings from rent to buy a transportation pass).

Keep in mind that school at the Sorbonne starts in February. The average temperature (low-high) in early February in Paris is 38-46 degrees Fahrenheit (and it snows on average 4-6 times in the month); by mid March it's from 44-57 degrees.

Apt 1 - Great Location, 400 Euros/month, much farther away from school

Hello, the Arc de Triomphe would be a block away!!

Apt 2 - Great location, 500 Euros/month, only 3-5 blocks from school

This one is about two blocks from Notre Dame and has a bakery right out the front door.

Both will have a bunch of tourists around in the summer because they are close to big Paris sights. Both have a washing machine in the apartment, a well-lit bedroom with a desk, and a sanitary-looking, albeit tiny, bathroom. Each will also have one other tenant who is not the owner living there.

I already know which one I'm going to take. But I'm curious... which one would you take?

Oh, yeah. Obviously the "hypothetical" is... not. I'm moving to Paris in mid-January. Hooray!

Photos are screen shots of the Google Maps Street View of each location.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


20x200 is a GREAT website that offers two different pieces of artwork each week. One photograph and one "work on paper" as they call it.

They run three different editions of each piece at three different price points:

200 small prints @ $20.00 each
20 medium prints @ $200.00 each
2 large prints @ $2,000.00 each

They are pretty varied as far as the style and subject matter; I always enjoy looking at the different pieces that are being featured that week. I haven't purchased anything yet, mostly because I am always too late to get the ones I really like (plus the fact that I am selling my house, so it's not like I would even have anywhere to hang them).

I like their website and concept, regardless. Go check it out.

Monday, October 13, 2008

James Judge - Contemporary Painter

I would buy these two paintings if I had money and a house big enough to have an art gallery.

James Judge seems to create abstract landscapes for the most part, which I'm not a huge fan of. Landscape paintings very seldom appeal to me. But the two shown below, 'Echo' and 'Watermark' respectively, are just un-landscape-ish enough for me to love the mixing, blending, splashing and bleeding of the colors.

I would really love to be able to paint like this. Maybe some day.

Click on the paintings to see a larger version via the Adam Gallery website.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Friday Faves - Recipe Edition

Today's friday faves are brought to you by my recipe box.

I love to cook. I'm not necessarily a great cook, just a willing one. :) Cooking good food makes me feel productive and collected.

Most of my favorite recipes were discovered at family functions or at the homes of my friends during high school. If you want any of the actual recipes typed out, leave a comment and I can come back and add them. What is given below is a general description of the dish and the process (VERY general in some cases).
Note: All Recipe Names are based on what I call them and may or may not be actual names of recipes.

1. Tabouleh (non-traditional) - a tangy and delectable mixture of cooked and cooled bulgur wheat, tomatoes, cucumbers, mint, parsley, with a lovely dressing of tomato sauce, olive oil, lemon juice and garlic powder. Recipe source: Nancy Peterson, my cooking kindred spirit.

2. Best Ever Creamy Tomato Soup - 'nuff said. Well, almost enough. You got that it's tomato soup, and that it's creamy, but just from the title alone you wouldn't be able to tell that it's really quite easy to make and has just the right amount of diced/stewed tomato to make it more robust than a canned counterpart, but not chunky enough that it resembles a stew more than a soup. Oh, yummy. It's cold outside, and I want some... Recipe source: Aunt Denise.

3. Ni├žoise chicken - discovered in my high school French class. I volunteered to make it for some kind of party we had in class, and I am officially hooked for life. A deliciously sweet and savory one-pot wonder made of cooked chicken, quartered tomatoes, onions, tomatoes and halved garlic cloves simmered in white wine (okay, apple cider or apple juice for me--that's where the awesome sweetness comes in). Incredibly tender and delicous. Garnish with olives if desired (i don't desire, even though I love olives). Recipe source: the Amazing Charlotte Touati.

4. Frito casserole - my family's comfort food and a budget-friendly one-dish flavor extravaganza. Combines elbow macaroni (I go for the high-fiber kind), stewed diced tomatoes, corn, chili pepper, cayenne, cumin, tomato sauce, garlic, cheddar cheese, and (of course) Fritos. The recipe actually says to bake it (thus the 'Casserole'-ness), but I prefer to just mix it all (except the chips) together in a large pot like goulash, and then use Fritos Scoops to eat every last morsel. I'm pretty sure Amy lived off of this one recipe for the larger part of her college life. Everyone loves this. Recipe source: Sister Williams from our ward in West Valley.

5. Caprese salad - Okay, this wasn't really discovered through my family, but it is a favorite of mine, so here it is. Sliced tomatoes, sliced fresh mozzarella, fresh basil leaves. Layer one tomato, one basil leaf, and one slice mozarella. Alternate until the salad is a satisfactory size. Drizzle with your favorite olive oil, basalmic vinegar, and sprinkle on a smidgen of sea salt. Alternately, you can simply slice the fresh basil into thin strips and sprinkle it on top of the tomato/mozzarella combo. This one dish convinces me--every time--that I should have been born in Italy. (Come to think of it, I'm pretty sure it was Denise who originally introduced me to this, just in another version as described here by Josh).

What are your family's go-to recipes? How did you discover them?

Thursday, October 9, 2008

The Center for Fine Art Photography...

has a great website highlighting their current and past exhibitions. You can also subscribe to receive e-mail notifications about calls for entry. I'm not quite good enough to do that, but I think there are some people in our family who are.

Check out their website. There are some really gorgeous photos there.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Red Coats

I love red. I love coats. I really love red coats.

The one I've had for years is pretty much worn out. So I think I might replace it with this one. But I'm still looking, 'cause I don't really dig the buttons.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Last Post Today (I Promise) -- A New Blog

Today I set a goal to lose 20 pounds by December 31st. If you haven't seen me in a while, well... I've gained weight. Ta da!
If you have seen me recently, then you know I could stand to shed a few. There's really no denying it. (And this isn't a request for compliments of any kind. I'm just telling the truth). My long-term goal is to lose about 50 pounds. By when, I don't know. I'm just setting time-specific goals for the short-term and eventually I'll get to the long-term success.

I am a member of a weight-loss and healthy living success group at my work. Initially I joined because I was a trainer, they asked me to teach a class on exercise to the group, and (of course) I wanted to lose weight. It's pretty much done nothing for me up to this point because I wasn't really accountable to anyone and didn't take it seriously enough.

The group is only meeting on the first Tuesday of each month, so today we did some brainstorming about how we could help keep each other motivated for the other 28-30 days of the month.
I suggested a blog so everyone could contribute their ideas, successes, recipes, etc. and be able to access the suggested resources outside of their work e-mail accounts. No one else knew how to start it, so... I am officially in charge of said blog. I'm thinking that will help keep me motivated.

So, here it is:

Success Group

Stop by if you feel so inclined. And wish me luck on my way to a healthier life. :)

*I'm not posting a "Before" picture. The fugly one of me below should be sufficient.

Hayleigh's Blessing - Ode to Heather (but not in a creepy way)

We all know that Heather should contract out for event planning somewhere or start her own children's birthday party planning business. (See here, here and here for examples.)

So, it won't come as a shock to anyone to find that Hayleigh's blessing was perfectly planned and executed, right down to the last detail - even with a last-minute venue change because of the crazy fall weather. Here are some of the details for those who couldn't make it.

I don't have the party planning skills, so I'm perfectly content with hiring Heather to plan all of my future kids' parties. What's your going rate now, Heather?

Hayleigh's Blessing - Family Pictures

Before Hayleigh's blessing on Sunday, both sides of the fam gathered outisde the church for a few pictures.

This is about as cooperative as anyone could get the boys to be.

Here are the Garners.
And I have some serious reservations about putting a super ugly picture of myself on my OWN blog (for crying out loud), but here are the Knights, too. (Thanks to Uncle Dave for taking the picture!)

And, finally, Hayleigh with her parents.
She's much more cooperative. :)

After the Fall Colors in Provo Canyon

Dad, Ames and I went up Provo Canyon last night after work to capture the fall colors. Dad said they were really nice on Saturday.
Unfortunately, it looks like the rain took out most of the leaves, so there were a lot of bare branches and less-than-awe-inspiring colors.
Regardless, we did take a few fun pictures.

My white balance was on Auto (oops) for most of these, so they're a little on the blue side. Oh, well. I think the subject matter is fall-ish enough, even if they're not the typical fire-colored leaves.

This last picture doesn't really show it very well, but this was a HUGE field full of these cattails. Dad and Amy got closer pictures, but to get there they had to cross a river on three narrow felled trees. I was in as-yet-un-weatherproofed suede stilettos, so I wasn't about to venture across the river. Maybe Ames will post some of the pictures she took.

I hope you enjoyed (or still get to enjoy) the fall leaves in your area! If not, click here to enjoy them vicariously via Flickr.