Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Save the Date Sample/Preview

Had so much fun and an easy time creating a sample Save The Date for our upcoming wedding!

Stationery card
View the entire collection of cards.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Writer's Resolution

Trying to get back into writing. Talking with my co-workers, most of whom are artists too, I realized if I want to accomplish and improve as a writer, I have to practice. Writers are a lazy lot; it's like "Okay, I wrote a paragraph. I want to go eat. Oh there's this new book I want to read. I'll play a game for a little while. I'll write more later." Musicians are the most proactive; they practice a lot and have gigs to perform. Too bad there aren't paying gigs out there for creative writers.

I'm trying very hard to improve myself; old habits are difficult to change. I don't have excuses not to write anymore. I'm not in school, and I don't work a very demanding job where I work really late. I haven't blogged in a long time because it felt forced and almost like work. I've never been able to keep a consistent diary, therefore my blogging isn't very consistent either. I just feel I often don't have anything exciting to write about, so I don't. However, the one thing I've been devoted to writing in is my reading journal. That's an improvement. Still it doesn't hone the skills I need or want to work on.

I think I've been conditioned by school to think of writing as a chore and something to put off til the last second. It hasn't been fun in a long time, so maybe that's why I'm hesitant to write more. Lately, I've been getting really bored and restless without schoolwork to occupy my thoughts and time. I feel I need to channel that energy into something creative. I've been working on my woefully incomplete novel leftover from last year's NaNoWriMo and a snippet of a couple other stories. I'm going to make it a goal to write a little bit everyday both in my blog and "novel."

I have a fear that I'm going to put all this work into a piece, I'll get stuck, and abandon it because it sucks. I have a tendency to want to rush and get to the "good" or more exciting part of the story. Writing in little bits helps me focus. I think I'm a better than average writer. There's lots of mediocre to terrible writers out there who are published, not to mention people who don't actually write their own books. I can do this! 

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Snowy Blog

First big snow of the year! The day started off rough, as my residential roads were mostly cleared though with tons of slush in the middle. I almost hit another car because the turning lane I was in had not been cleared very well. I wasn't driving very fast and tapped my brakes but it didn't slow me down. My car kept sliding forward, and I was freaking out, worried I was going to hit a truck in front of me. I pulled my car around, thinking I could turn into the gas station I was trying to get to. Thankfully, I managed to get in the median, and stop right in front of the light next to the truck. I was at a stoplight and there was no oncoming traffic. I was very relieved, though I called Dustin freaking out for like ten minutes.

Work was very boring and slow. Surprised we were open due to the snow, especially since we had no shows going on. Downtown roads were immaculately cleared, so I guess that's why. I got to leave early though. Going home was much less stressful than going to work.

Sending in my resume for a "big girl job" at an insurance company where Dustin's mom works. Hopefully, I'll be able to get at least an interview. I'm not putting all my hopes into getting this job, but it'd be nice to at least score an interview for a "real" office job and even better if I actually got it. Nevertheless, I'm not in a hurry or eager to give up my super awesome current job at the KY Center. 

No work tomorrow! I'm making plans to go sledding with my friends Leslie and Kristi. Then I have traffic school at night. Bleh. Oh well, at least I get to have fun before hand. Plus, I don't have to worry about watching my speed when I'm sledding.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Top 10 Reads 2010

I've devotedly kept a reading journal since May 2010. Since then I have completed reading twenty six books and started but haven't finished three. I've been considering starting a book blog, but feel that's getting a little ahead of myself. I still haven't completely caught up with all the entries in my journal; all the books read are listed with a few notes, but some need more elaboration. Reflecting back, my top ten favorite reads of 2010 that I haven't read before are as follows (in order read):

1. Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson - This great YA novel shows the effects of trauma on a teenage girl and how she gradually develops the strength and courage to speak out about it.

2. White Cat by Holly Black - I love how carefully this world and the mystery surrounding the main character, Cassle, is developed. I especially liked the theme of power negotiations within different relationships.

3. Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett - This is an EPICALLY AWESOME novel. There are so many intricate plot details and characters which all weave in, out, and together. Also, greatly appreciate strong female characters that actually feel like legitimate portrayals of medieval women, not token anachronistic female empowerment characters.

4. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins - Imagine Gladiator set in a post-apocalyptic world with teenagers as the participants. Add in one bad ass female character named Katniss who is intent on survival, and you have one of the best books ever written.

5. The Virgin Blue by Tracy Chevalier - I really like how Chevalier takes a work of art and creates a vivid, imaginative story around it. She uses this formula often, but the result is always different. I didn't care about the modern portion of the story, and focused primarily on the historical part; I felt the story of Isabelle Moulin is beautifully told and heartbreaking.

6. Water For Elephants by Sara Gruen - It takes real talent to tell a good story in first person, and even more to add in a sub plot taking place in the present while the main story takes place in the past. Gruen perfectly achieves a balance between the two. Her characters are what truly make the story wonderful; they are all incredibly fleshed out and real.

7. Ascendant by Diana Peterfreund - I don't think this sequel matched the caliber of its predecessor, Rampant. However, it was still enjoyable to read. I really liked how the main character, Astrid, began questioning her fate as unicorn hunter and decided to take control of her destiny in order to do something else. I do like the emphasis on the difficulty in making the "right" or at least, most ethical, choice.

8. Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman - I think anything Gaiman writes is AM-A-ZING! I felt this was an early version of Stardust with the two Londons (Above and Below) one without magic and the other full of it; and a "normal" young man brought into the world of magic to help a girl on a quest. The characters are wonderful, and their adventures exciting; that's breaking it down to the basics because I could go on forever.

9. Brave Story by Miyuki Miyabe - I thought this story was absolutely WONDERFUL! It's an incredibly complex coming-of-age story. The journey is more important than the end; and every decision made by main character, Wataru is important. Shit gets real in this book; no other way to put it. I think it certainly compares to and rivals Deathly Hallows.

10. Zombies VS. Unicorns Ed. by Holly Black and Justine Larabalestier - Awesome collection of short stories by some of the best writers. There's a 50/50 ration of zombie to unicorn stories. They range from hilarious to dark and introspective. Strong female characters are in abundance! This book was the most fun to read.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Happy Year of the Unicorn!

I've decided to dub this year the Year of the Unicorn. I had a very unicorn Christmas and feel my New Year should correspond. Plus unicorns are symbols of good fortune. I was reading an column in LEO or Velocity discussing writing. The only part I remember was "Don't just talk about writing, just carry a journal and write." I'm guilty of the former, so I'm attempting to resolve it this year.

I had to work New Year's Eve which was kind of a bummer, especially since Dustin took my lunch that day. Still, I got to hang out with one of my favorite supervisors/co-workers, and we only had to work til 6 PM. After work, Dustin and I went to Oishii for sushi; business was hopping, but it wasn't impossible to find a table.

Following dinner, we headed over to my friend Bill's house; my friends Leslie (who is dating Bill) & Rachel took over his house to throw a New Year's Eve party. So many nerds and engineers in one place, it was hilarious. I had a couple drinks--didn't get too wild because I had to open the next day. Rachel and I drunk danced together. We spent quite a bit of time conversing about our boobs, and how the workers at Victoria's Secret keep trying to convince us to buy the bra that will make use go up TWO WHOLE CUP SIZES!

We turned on Dick Clark's New Year Special. Lo and behold the Backstreet Boys were the musical guest AND New Kids On The Block. All us girls started screaming and singing "I Want It That Way." We were pretty bad. Leslie and I were on the couch together and were both like "BRIAN AHHH!" Dustin moved far away. Rachel commented on how the NKOTB's harmonies were good and BSB's were not. We all agreed A.J.'s physical appearance was really bad and definitely reflected his previous alcoholism. We spent a lot of the evening yelling at the musical celebrities on TV and about everything. I got my first kiss with Dustin on New Year's Eve! I always had to kiss someone else, like Matt Tobbe, because Dustin was always working UPS.

New Year's Day I worked; it was vastly boring. I was surprised we weren't closed considering  my workplace is non-profit, and there were no shows going on. That evening we went to Bill's again for spaghetti made by Rachel. Rachel and I drank leftover Smirnoff's. We were like, "These are so delicious! They taste just like candy!" I said to Dustin, "We should buy a ton of these and drink them everyday!" To which Rachel responded, "That's called being an alcoholic." Then we ate Lindt and Hanukkah chocolate (which we didn't know why Bill had it because his family is Catholic) and watched Hot Tub Time Machine. Dustin and I cut out a little early, went home, and promptly fell into bed.

Today was my first day off in a week! I couldn't sleep past 9:30, and Lily was being a whiney brat. I piddled around on the internet for a good couple of hours. I took an uber long shower jamming to my fave 90s Celine Dion songs. I washed all the dishes in the sink and swept the very messy kitchen floor. I had a my oil changed at Sears and walked all around the mall. I was proud of my refusal to cave in and buy stuff super on sale. Afterward, I went home for a bit, then back out to the movie theatre to see Black Swan--which was the most beautiful film, I've seen in forever! The final dance scenes makes the entire movie worthwhile!

Lastly, went to dinner at a local Vietnamese restuarant La Que on Bardstown Rd. I loved being with a large group of my friends; somehow we always end up being the people who are really loud and laughing the most. I ate a super yummy, uber spicy green curry. Leslie and Bill were introduced to Vietnamese and Thai food (the restuarant serves three kinds of Asian food: Vietnamese, Thai, & Chinese).

Good times, good times. The year has started off great! This weekend was uber fun and friend filled! So sad, we all have to go back to our separate lives. Now that I have texting, it's somehow magically easier to keep in touch and make plans. It's amazing how fast people respond to text messages! EVERYONE I texted responded, unlike when I call and leave messages.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Life Just Got a Little More Magical

I love unicorns. I have since I was five and never stopped. Of course my taste in styles of unicorns have changed...to an extent. I've been known to fall for unicorns that are extra sparkly and/or purple. This Christmas was unicorn filled! I decided to devote a blog post to all my lovely new unicorn items.

I adore this little, sweet unicorn statue. Dustin's mom bought it for me for Christmas. She's different from all my other unicorns; she looks edgy and cool, but still adorable. I was so excited when I opened a box to find her.

This is a magical, wishing unicorn Dustin bought for me. I can change the background between Autumn forest, waterfall, sunset beach, or rainbow meadow. He came with a book; in spite of its stupid title Unicorn Wishes, actually contains worthwhile information about unicorn mythology.

This is Clara. She's my unicorn Pillow Pet; she is the perfect complement to my Snuggie. Dustin's parents bought her for me. She's so FLUFFY I THINK I'M GONNA DIE! And she's purple!

And lastly, here's Zombies VS. Unicorns! It's an anthology of short stories (50/50 zombies and unicorns) edited by Holly Black and Justine Larabalestier. Dustin bought this for me. It's a fantastic collection of stories!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Christmas Magic: The Nutcracker

I have found a love and deep appreciation of the one of the oldest and most iconic Christmas traditions: The Nutcracker ballet. Tonight was opening night of the Louisville Ballet's Nutcracker. It's been running for 50 years in Louisville; this is the second year of the new, localized production. It's in someways different from the traditional ballet version of the Nutcracker, but apparently closer to the original book version. The main character is Marie not Clara; she's older, not a little girl. There were changes in choreography, staging, sets, etc. I've never seen the original version, so I really don't have anything to compare it to, unless you count a very, good cartoon movie version.

I never saw the Nutcracker as a kid and as I got older, I always associated it with being aimed towards younger kids. Working at the theatre though, I was taken aback by how many grown people love the Nutcracker. It's one of those shows that appeal to everyone, even people who aren't particularly artsy folk. One of my co-workers told me she went last year for the first time; she spontaneously bought a cheap ticket. She said she had so much fun and sitting next to a little girl who was completely into the show made it more so. I decided I had to go see the show at least once in my life. This week, we got an opportunity to get staff comps.

I took my friend Matt Tobbe with me because he really enjoyed the last ballet we saw, Giselle. Matt and I are almost always late for everything. We both left work late. The weather was awful; it snowed/rained--slushed--all day, and traffic was terrible. Matt and I both take forever to get ready to go anywhere nice. We were both convinced we were going to be late. WE ARRIVED AT THE THEATRE EARLY! In spite of everything, I was on time picking Matt up, and we got to the theatre exactly one hour early. Obviously to celebrate our achievement and not the ballet's opening night, there was a fancy reception with hors d'oeuvres and drinks. Matt got to smoke extra cigarettes, and I had snack and chill time.

I loved Nutcracker for all the magic and sparkles.The show was seriously magical. There were so many amazing tricks like turning a small wooden nutcracker into a life sized moving nutcracker. I think my favorite trick was when the life sized "dolls" of the Sugar Plum Fairy and her Cavalier were pulled from seemingly small boxes, perfectly poised. I thought the best part of the whole performance was the Snow Pas De Deux/Waltz of the Snowflakes! That musical number is my favorite of the entire ballet, and the scene was the most beautiful one I'd ever seen! To top it all off, at the end it snowed in the audience as well as on stage! Matt's favorite part was the Russian Caviar; the dancers did flips and awesome spins. We both loved the dance between the Sugar Plum Fairy and Cavalier. There was a large number of children in the production. They were all students at the Louisville Ballet School. I was impressed by how good all of them were! Uber cuteness was not the only factor in their being cast. The kids made the show twenty times more fun. Again, Matt and I thought the show was simply amazing and wonderful!

Something weird and funny also happened. I took of my high heel shoes when I sat down because I usually pull my feet up into my seat. At intermission, Matt went out to smoke, and I wanted to get a drink of water. I reached down and grabbed one shoe, but couldn't find the other. I thought maybe it had fallen down in the row in front; not there. I looked to see if it had been kicked over a few seats in my row, I checked my tote bag, and the row behind me. I was baffled as to what could have happened to my one shoe. Could someone have found it and taken it to lost and found? Why just one shoe?

When the lady and guy sitting next to me returned to their seats, I asked her if she had found or kicked a shoe. She said, "Yeah, I found a shoe and put it in my bag." What normal person, finds a single shoe, and puts it in their bag?! I am pretty sure she was a combination of toasted and weird based on her following comments. "I found the shoe and put it in my bag. I thought it might be one of my shoes. (really, just one shoe randomly laying around on the floor?) I have really small feet (note: she was quite big--not obese, but big; she did say it with a joking tone)." She proceeds to pin this giant sparkly flower on her shirt, then show me & the guy in-between us (who she came with) the new nutcracker she had purchased. "This is the new nutcracker. It's different from last year's; it's sparkly." The guy asked her if she collected all of them; she answered, "So what if I do?" Then she turns to me and says, "This is my brother NOT my lover. Just so you know." Needless to say, conversation was very awkward, in spite of the humor. 

Matt thought the lady was nice. He said we should go see Nutcracker again drunk and act like that lady and steal people's shoes and put them in my bag. I really hope I win the Nutcracker ticket sales contest so I can get a $50 Bristol Bar & Grill gift certificate and four tickets to see Nutcracker; I'd settle for second place and getting two free tickets. I know I'll definitely be making plans and saving to see the show next December! Oh and also, as I was driving Matt home we saw FIREWORKS! It's because we were early for the first time in forever! Matt and I realized tonight we never got to eat strawberries and see fireworks in the same day before because we were always late. Well tonight changed all that! Tomorrow we'll be back to our normal, tardy selves.