Adventures in Photography

apartment decor photography christmas loft party

It might be mid-January and 65 degrees in Dallas, but it’s never too late for a little holiday reminiscing, right? After announcing in November I was in the market for a DSLR and doing some extensive research (read: asking any random person I could catch in the act of taking a picture what camera they had) I finally settled on a Canon Rebel T3i. My dream camera came just in time to capture the loft’s holiday touches and what is hopefully the first of many evenings hosting friends.

So far my tricks mostly just include playing with the aperture/depth of field – the fancy way of saying changing the focus from foreground to background (yes, I did just have to google it to be sure). I’m also going through a serious black and white picture phase. Even with my standard lenses and complete lack of knowledge, the image quality has so much more depth and detail than any camera I’ve used before.

I’m really excited about the prospect of picking up a new skill to learn all about. I’ve always been drawn to photography as an art form and envied people who could create and capture such beautiful details and moments. Photography to me is about exercising thoughtfulness and taking time to appreciate the deceivingly ordinary.

Hopefully that can one day be me! In the meantime, thank you in advance for bearing with me…

Gaia Flow Yoga

FcDeApGJ109 namastenamaste2

About two months ago I started yoga at Gaia Flow Yoga, a hot yoga studio in Addison. It’s been quite the amazing journey thus far. At Gaia, they practice with love. This means that we occasionally turn to our neighbors and say “I love you”..which really can feel a little ridiculous at times. But yoga is all about letting go, and letting go of feeling silly is certainly one of them. We are also taught to act with love and kindness, and to love ourselves. Love where you are today in your practice and love where it will take you tomorrow. When you walk into the room, you let everything go. To be distracted by work, friends or anything else is taking away from your practice. Each class is a gift you are giving yourself, and you should enjoy that gift. And it’s so unbelievably true. When I leave any of the five classes, I feel fantastic.

The overall point of practicing love is that the things you practice on your mat are to transcend into your day to day life. Every week there is something new for you to focus on during your practice and during your week, called Sadhanas (yamas or niyamas). For instance, one week was to not be greedy,  called Aparigraha. Each class I went to that week, the different instructor had a different interpretation as to how to practice it that week. It went beyond the typical money greed, and into bigger things. Perhaps to you it meant greedy with your time when you should be spending time cultivating your friendships and family relationships. Speaking of the instructors, they are all amazing and lovely people to be around. Really, everyone who attends the classes are in general, happy and nice people. But I mean, I guess we are all yogis, so how unhappy could we possibly be?

We are also a sweaty bunch. And I mean sweat – y. Oh my lanta. You leave completely drenched and your body begging for a nap. As I begin dipping my toe into more difficult classes, I am learning how weak I actually am. I’ve always had what I oh so affectionally refer to as “man arms” but despite the proud biceps and triceps definition I have gained from doing weights all year, those suckers aren’t getting me into a handstand. It’s all new muscles being worked, toned and pushed to their sweaty physical limit.

Practicing yoga has also had other affects on me outside the Gaia Flow room. I am even more interested than before in learning about other religions. Often when the yoga instructors mention a God they say “your god or my god.” I find this fascinating as it pulls religion into your practice without constricting your beliefs. I also find myself taking deep breathes when I get stressed, overwhelmed or upset. Taking a few breathes, remembering my practice, have taken helped ease stress in my day-to-day life. Another take away from Gaia Flow is they always say when we start warming up to notice the slight pains, any tightness or anything else out of the ordinary. Notice it and accept it. And then breathe into it. To not get frustrated with things you cannot change is huge for me. To not get frustrated but continue striving for more. I have also improved my diet since kicking up my yoga practice. You develop a natural desire to treat your body better (and being around super yogis twisting in all directions is definitely encouragement).

I suppose yoga isn’t for everyone, but I bet you’d be an easy convert. An activity that is physically challenging, emotionally enlightening and full of awesome people? No elliptical can quite give you that satisfaction in your workout and in your life. Well, now I must be off to my weekend warrior class to be impressed by those pretzels around me and to hopefully finally get into a headstand!

The divine light in me sees the divine light in you. All my love, namaste.

(see? I’m practically a natural.. okay so maybe I’m still mastering that downward facing dog..but no matter)

Images (1, 2, 3)

3, 2, 1….

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2012 was an amazing year. I re-started my career from scratch, spent time in NYC, landed a great job in advertising, and now live in my own (and my roommate’s) apartment, with my own dog, and my own car. As a result of all this happiness, I have an irrational fear I will ruin it with a terrible new years.

I find New Years to be incredibly stressful. There is so much pressure to have a fabulous time with fabulous people wearing a fabulous dress. And although I do hope to one day be wearing a shimmering dress, with a pair of  Christian Louboutins gracing my feet with their presence, while my beau simultaneously pours champagne into my crystal flute and ever so classily kisses me while confetti pours down when the ball reaches the bottom, but that just won’t be happening this year.

The last two New Years have been victims of too much hype. The first of the two, I was oblivious to the countdown happening because our party bus was running behind and we stopped at a random too-chill-for-new-years pub. I, unaware of the time, was was walking out of the restroom after some primping and rang in the New Year alone in a hallway before meeting up with all of my friends. Last year, I was all set with my tutu and glitter for Lights All Night in Dallas (a three night dance festival affair featuring the best of dubstep). On the day of I fell ill with a 102 fever but still went to the concert. Once you make a tutu, there’s really no going back. Needless to say I was essentially miserably smiling through a painful fog the whole night and left soon after the countdown.

So this year I am not risking anything. I will not risk blowing $100 on a ticket to a New Years “Party Bash” and end up hating the crowd or the location. Nor will there be that feeling of being in a large room of people as we all shout “3, 2, 1..” to watch the adorable and blisfully happy couples kiss into the new year (fellow single ladies, preach it, am I right?) All that to say, I loved my New Years. Prosecco, s’mores, the first fire in our fireplace, good movies, fashion magazines and fun friends all came together for a perfect night. The only splurge I had to make made were the orange and white roses I bought myself at Trader Joe’s. But I mean..they were on sale. Really I saved money.

You can’t talk New Years without talking resolutions. Resolutions are a habit of mine. I enjoy making them often and breaking them even more. But not this year. I have made my resolution so vague that it simply cannot be broken. In 2013, I have vowed to be healthier in both mind and body. What does this mean you ask? Well I am not quite sure. So far, this has meant commiting a significant hunk of change to yoga each month and being more conscious of what I am putting in my body. If I don’t understand the ingredients, should I really be eating it? (This might mean I have to cook more, warn your local fire department) And do I really need that chocolate chip cookie when I already know what it tastes like? It has also meant being cleaner. This might sound like a weird one. But for example, getting rid of those old bras and replacing them with gorgeous lacy ones. Thoroughly cleaning my car and keeping it clean. Not leaving the house with my hair all amuck, etc etc.

Did you make any New Years resolutions or have any fun New Year plans?

Photo credit (1, 2, 3)

Brunching Dallas

I first heard the term “brunching” in New York City.

Lydia and I were ‘warned’ (as if late breakfast could ever be a bad thing) before a visit to New York last April that brunching was truly epic in the city. Something about turning the word into a verb (already a fond pastime of mine) made the idea of brunch extra charming, and I was definitely intrigued by what could make a meal so “epic.” Long story short, we discovered said epic-ness in our own way and have pretty much been hooked ever since. Our ongoing addiction to prosecco only predisposed us to this obsession.

So when it became clear that Dallas was going to be my city for awhile, I set out on a mission to become an avid bruncher…well, as avid as one can be on a tight (read: negative) budget.

I’m proud to say I have made this dream a pretty regular reality. It’s been like living in a whole new city as I get to know different parts of Dallas with each restaurant. I’m a sucker for sugar, carbs, a good soy latte and affordable mimosas, but my favorite part of brunching is the company. Let’s face it, brunching by yourself is really just eating and drinking breakfast a little later than usual. Getting to spend quality time with both my longtime and new favorite people has gone a long way in helping me find my Tiffany’s.

Here’s some of the Dallas brunch spots I’ve hit so far:

Bloody Mary’s and Mom on the Vickery Park patio (with apple and pear french toast)

Vickery Park Brunch

Company Cafe at Katy Trail (The ultimate A+ menu for both my gluten-free friend and full-carb-eating self after morning yoga at Klyde Warren Park)

Company Cafe

Oddfellows with an old friend – a beautiful 78-degree December day exploring Bishop Arts…Some pancakes, breakfast tacos, gouda grits, lattes and mimosas later.

Oddfellows

Any recommendations for where I should brunch next?

Dolly Python

A friend has been telling me for weeks I should go to a place called Dolly Python. So when I happened to see its sign across the street when dropping off some things at Goodwill, I couldn’t not go in.

I was picturing another cute, Dallas boutique with a hipster flair, and what I found instead was so much better. A cross between a vintage clothing/consignment store, record shop and Austin’s Uncommon Objects, Dolly Python was full of fantastic thrift store finds at vintage prices and the kind of unique items you can’t help but want for the ‘I found this treasure’ feeling and cute factor.

The people were unique to match, and there were a lot of them….My spontaneity led me to stumble across what was apparently an in-store special event, as an employee dressed as a life-size taco offered me free drinks from their keg and collection of whiskey. Special event indeed.


Klyde Warren Park

Klyde Warren Park just had its big grand opening last weekend in Dallas. The “Central Park” of Dallas it’s not (as it tries to market itself), but definitely is a really neat addition to Dallas’ ever growing urban-ness. I attended the free yoga last weekend and had a blast. I had just come straight from a 10 mile run, so to say I was stiff, sore, and tired would be an understatement. The park was super crowded, so I was a little nervous throwing my mat down in the middle of a crowd and doing a downward dog for the cameras. Westley came a long with me and couldn’t have been more perfect. He was tired from the run as well, and sat patiently while I embarrassed myself in warrior 1. He was a crowd and photographer favorite. Unforunatley I have been fruitless in my efforts to find some of the shots taken of him. Such a bummer. He totally posed.

Klyde Warren Park will be offering this free yoga class every Saturday at 10 AM by Dallas Yoga Center and a Boot Camp at 9 AM by Andrew Odell. I vote go to both. I will be! I think I’ll be altering my running routine so that I can attend! My next big workout plan is going to contain hot yoga and free/at home workouts – so this fits into that plan so perfectly! AND free dog training at 1 PM each day. It’s everything I love, right in the middle of Dallas. And over a highway. The yoga should be really neat. There’s nothing like focusing on your body and breathing in the middle of a bustling city in some green grass.

I already loved the Dallas Arts District before this park, but now it’s really becoming a unique place to be. It’s exciting to be in Dallas while all these great changes are coming our way.

Hats off to you, Dallas. Maybe all of us New York, Austin, Chicago and L.A. bound Texans will stick around a little longer.

Photo credit (Park)

M83 at Palladium

 “It’s mainly about dreams, how every one is different, how you dream differently when you’re a kid, a teenager, or an adult.” – Anthony Gonzalez, M83

This month, we went to arguably one of the best concerts ever.


M83
came to Dallas, which gave us a lovely excuse to check out Palladium Ballroom, a little of the South Dallas neighborhood around Sarah’s apartment and of course, M83.

The previous concert champion was Third Eye Blind, who Lydia saw in college and Sarah saw the summer after (for only 8 bucks – thanks Taste of Addison). The energy of the crowd made it clear everyone had been looking forward to this show ever since they bought their tickets, too, and there’s just something about music from that ‘90s-early 2000’s that hits everyone’s nostalgic side just right…

But we digress.

We had somewhere between low and completely neutral expectations as we walked into Palladium.

Some of M83’s earlier albums veered almost too…different…for a concert? Love different. Love chill. But all this at a concert sounded like a potential recipe for sleep.

But – the show was electrifying. (Literally, it was quite the light show). The band was so, so much better live than on any recording, and you could tell they were having a complete blast on stage. The whole concert seemed so organic, like they were creating the music from scratch on the stage and surprising even themselves with every sound and step.

Lydia’s hooked and aching to delve into the details of their music – exploring how their music has developed and changed directions over the years to where they’ve arrived at today. Sarah, forever a wanna-be child of the ‘80’s, is content to blast it from her new car speakers and bask in the ‘80’s nostalgia.

Bottom line? Crazy talented band. Top notch concert. Good crowd and venue.

Old Home Supply

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I’m moving into a new apartment at the end of the month and like any red-blooded American woman, I’m stalking Pinterest like I’m waiting to get the winning lottery numbers. My biggest issue with all these overly zealous DIY-ers is that they make everything sound so simple. Like finding a door for a “simple” headboard or wood pallets for well, anything. I’ve always wondered where these people find this wonderland of cheap wood.

Well, this weekend I learned that these places actually exist. It’s called Old Home Supply in Fort Worth – worth the drive. It’s pretty amazing. They gather doors, cabinets, old window frames, mantles and other hardware pieces from historic homes in the area that get torn down. They have three buildings, and you can mosey from building to building as you please. The employees are all really nice, friendly and want to help you with whatever project you are embarking upon. I brought a frame and a window frame to the front to ask how much they were, and the woman at the register guided me to the one that I purchased (below). They are also so trusting. She had me go ahead and put the window frame in my car while I shopped around, and I could pay for it when I was finished. She said she had wanted the window frame but couldn’t find a place in her house for it, and she loves when things she likes goes to someone who will enjoy it as much as she would – I assured her that she would not be disappointed. I’m a sucker for good customer service.


I did have some Pinterest-inspired moments of my own. I picked up this amazing old window frame for $20. It’s minty green, the paint is chipping like crazy and I LOVE it. The plan is to take some hemp, string it across, paint some clothespin and pin up some postcards and pictures. I’ve also learned that you can print Instagram photos at camera specialty stores, so that’s on the list as well. In an effort to be original, I picked up a few knobs for my dresser that I want to give a quick makeover. I’ll need to supplement with some unoriginal Anthropologie hardware, but I’m not looking to turn down an excuse to just be in that heavenly store.

My bonus adventure was stopping at Berry Good Buys on my way. I purchased this amazing lamp for $8. It needs a little work… to make it well, work. But I don’t think that is too difficult? Wish me luck with these projects.. the last DIY project that worked out for me was a science fair project. About mold.