Friday, November 25, 2011

Photography Wish List

Ok folks, so after countless hours of research and recommendations from the photographer I've been working with, this is the initial combination of photography equipment I'm thinking of buying:

1. Camera: Canon EOS 40D 10.1 MP Digital SLR Camera

2. Lens: Canon EF 50mm F/1.8 1.8 II Lens

I can find both of these on Ebay for a combination of about $500, which considering my budget at this point is about $12, I have a feeling this is as close as I'm going to get. Any photographers out there have any advice for me? I'm an open book!!

Keep these requirements in mind:

- I'd use it for action/journalism shots more than portrait shots
- Some landscapes
- Extremely low budget

Any words of wisdom?

Monday, October 31, 2011

Thank You: All Of You have you been blogging buddies? I've been...well, I'll explain. There's been a lot of development on my end, and I bet you all have no idea how much you had to do with it.

Here, I'll break it down for you.

Remember about 8 months ago when I started blogging on a complete whim? No? Well that's cool. I had three week break between when spring semester ended and summer semester began, and I'd never gone that long without having a paper to write in years, so when a friend suggested blogging to keep my fingers busy, I decided to check it out.

I found Blogger, opened an account under a fake name (not completely ready to trust the internet) and started writing. College was all I'd known, so that was a good enough topic at the time. But as I became more and more frustrated with the career path I had chosen, the topics turned to self-introspection. What the hell was I doing? For as defiant as I was in everything else in life, I sure waved the white towel pretty quick when my parents limited my options for potential college majors. I gave in without a fight. Without doing my own research, even. And sure enough, the farther I got along on the path that had been chosen for me by those "who knew best", the more miserable I became.

And through it all, you were always the first ones to know. I explained to you the intense misery I felt at my first "big girl job", how I wanted to just keep driving everyday on my way to work, and how I felt trapped and confined by the metaphorical prison cell known as the cubicle. I word for word described my boss's unwarranted bullying, and then filled you in on the day I got fired. After that ordeal, I gave you more than a glimpse into who I really was by letting you all see the results of my own psychological career assessment. I had previously changed my mind so many times (maybe I should have seen the sign then?) that I felt guilty about letting any of my family know that after two bachelor degrees and a Master's, I was starting from scratch. You, blogging world, were my main source of feedback.

And feedback I got.  People I'd never met before in my entire life offered condolences and words of encouragement. I felt like I belonged to a secret society, and one that was fully supportive of whichever direction I wanted to take.

Soon I focused on a select few careers and decided to take the leap. Writer/photographer turned out to be the most realistic (when compared to acting, writing music, finger-painting and underwater basket weaving) but it still seemed like such a long shot. But with your encouragement, I took the leap.

I sent out about countless job applications to websites and magazines asking the naive question of, "Hi, I like to write. How do I write for you?" Brash and completely unprofessional? Definitely. But worth the embarrassment to get my question answered? Absolutely. I had no idea how to get into this business, and I knew I had to start somewhere.

I got 6 replies and they offered me jobs writing bit by bit articles. Instantly, I felt the pit of my stomach grow heavy. What the hell did I think I was doing? I don't have a journalism degree, or an English degree or a writing degree, or an 'in' with some famous poet, or a collection of antique pens, or a library with leather-bound books...I had the sudden urge to answer all of them back with, "Sorry, family emergency. Maybe the spring issue will work out better. P.S. lose my email I'm terrified of you." But I'd already committed on here. On my online blog with a fake name. So I stuck it out.

And thank God I did. It's been tough, but I now blog for three separate companies on a weekly basis, and write for 3 different statewide magazines. Eventually I'd love to call myself a freelance photojournalist (I'm still saving for that damn camera) and be able to document history right as it happens. In the meantime though I'm learning new skills, like how to actual promote a blog correctly and how to use backlinking and other ways of optimization to increase traffic. Plus last night I found out I type 80 words a minute. Take that, Mavis Beacon.

Blogger buddies, what I wanted to say was thank you. Thankyouthankyouthankyouthankyou a million times over. I feel like I'm finally in a job/career that is what I want to do, not what someone thought I would be good at. I'm excited, and I can't wait to see where this is all going to lead. I work hard, I make my own hours, and guess what...if I travel? I don't have to take time off work.

So that trip to Italy? That you voted on? Still planned for the spring. Except instead of a week long trip to Italy it's gradually grown to a 3 week trip to 6 different countries.

And I can't wait to write all about it.

The Not-So-Secret Confessions of a First Time Mom

Friday, October 7, 2011

Nightshift vs Dayshift

Fun fact: I'm a nightshifter. At a psychiatric hospital.

As in I work nightshifts...not some mythological shape-shifter super hero...although that sounds way more awesome...

But there’s a number of reasons why working nights is better for me: I get paid more, and by nature staying up all night just comes much more naturally than staying up all day. Plus there's a definite personality shift from day staff to night staff, and I fall into the latter.

So here we go:

5 Reasons Why Night Staff is Better than Day Staff:

1.) Night staff gets my sense of humor.

Day shift:

Nurse on lunch break holding an apple: "Oh darn, I forgot to wash my apple this morning."
Me on lunch break holding an apple: "Oh too."
I take a bite.
Nurse: "Wait, aren't you worried about eating a dirty apple?"
Me: "Nah, I'm more worried about the meth I did this morning."


Example #2:

Nurse #1: "Oh look, we're getting a patient named Heaven."
Nurse #2: "That's such an interesting name, I haven't heard that before."
Me: "That's totally my stripper name."


For the record, I do not do meth and I'm also not a stripper. Night staff laughs at that stuff. Point: nights.

2.) Night staff are as close to vampires as you'll get.

Night staff has no one to impress. We also shriek in the morning when people turn on the lights, and we walk to our cars in awe of this strange thing called "sunlight". Point: nights.

3.) We make better coffee.

Please, point: nights.

4.) Night staff are better at their jobs.

Yes, this is a stretch, but I'm going to say it. See, at a psych hospital, we are a part of the "real" hospital, so therefore we have to follow all staffing orders that are hospital wide. To save money, the hospital staffs short on nights. For the rest of the hospital it makes sense. People are sleeping at night. But in psych....oh honey...

People don't sleep in psych. They are always awake. When you tell someone it's bedtime, there's a good chance they will tell you that they are an orange and you are a carrot and as such they have superiority over you. There's really no way to argue with that.

Therefore, nightshift has to do the same jobs dayshift does, except with considerably less people. Point: nights.

5.) We look out for each other.

There's a million people to fill in for days. But nights? Hardly anyone. If we're short there's a list of about 6 people we can call, and we all know it. Dayshift has the luxury of not coming in for any extra shifts because most likely someone else will cover it. Nights? Not so much. You get called you come to work. There's no one else to call.

There. I've vented and now I feel better. Also I'm going to bed now.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Fall Fashion Conundrum

Ugh, Mail.

Typically, I enjoy getting mail. I even welcome the familiar stack of "pre-approved" credit card applications that make the bi-weekly journey from my doorstep directly to my trash can. But some days, the awaiting delivery turns out to be my complete undoing, almost as if the mailbox had transformed into Pandora's Box while I was slaving away at a hospital night shift.

And why the sour attitude? Well, every once in awhile, a fashion brochure (how the hell do they find me?) will turn in up the mail, and it's usually not all that threatening. Granted, the floral day dress on the cover of the spring issue will absolutely not go unnoticed (and will probably end up in my closet), but summer catalogs with "perfect" women in their "perfect" bikini bodies on "perfect" yachts rarely tempt me into digging out my credit card. Typically, I throw them out after nothing more than the casual flip through.

Until the fall issue, that is. The fall issue, without proper warning and preparation, can be devastating on my budget.

Fact: I'm a huge sucker for fall clothing. The coats, the boots, the hats, the's all gold. I love the coziness, easy sophistication and simple stylishness of it all. Each article of clothing is meant to wrap you not only in a plush, soft fabric, but also in a feeling of confidence and stylishness. Suddenly, it becomes chic to cover up. The skin-showing overload of summer gives way to the tasteful body-conscious silhouettes of fall. I'm already on the prowl for a long sleeved minidress...

And those damn coats and scarves hanging in store windows...brutal. It's safe to say I'm a ridiculous fan; scarves are indeed my kryptonite, and as such, they belong in my closet, adding to my already substantial collection. I've also been craving a red peacoat since I was old enough to figure out what they were. It's always been a fantasy of mine to be the lone lady in red, walking down a silent street of white. I've had my eye on this one (pictured left) for the last two years.

Not so fast sweaters, you're not off the hook either. Sweaters shout at me from holiday magazine covers, and I feel I absolutely must have one for the upcoming snowed-in nights I'll be spending curled up by the fireplace, on a fur rug, drinking a glass of wine and eating chocolate truffles. See the crazy vignettes my brain creates to justify my purchases? We don't even own a fireplace. Or a fur rug.

And boots...oh don't get me started on boots. In my mind the only reason a leaf would fall from a tree is so it could be stepped on by a fashionable knee high boot. Right now I'm obsessed with anything that's worn and weathered. I don't want a new pair like the ones in the magazines (who am I kidding, I'd never turn them down), but I'm craving something that has a story behind it. A pair that looks as though they were formerly worn by a sheepherder in northern Ireland. Preferably with a heel so I can feel appropriately matched with my 6'5" boyfriend, but I'm not too picky. Oh and straps and buckles, lots and lots of straps and buckles, regardless of their uselessness in the real world.

So while this may be my favorite time of year, it's also my most difficult. We've already canceled the cable and I've gotten a second job, so I'm not about to do something stupid like buy a pair of boots.

God I love a good pair of boots...maybe just one pair...I've been so good...

Focus. I need to get through this. Sorry awesome fall coats, boots, hats, sweaters and scarves, but you're just going to have to wait until next year when I can buy you in a thrift store for 1/10 the price. Of course, I do have a closet swap party coming up on October 14, so lets just focus on that.

So tell me, what do you like about the fall?

The Not-So-Secret Confessions of a First Time Mom

Thursday, September 22, 2011

A Sign It's Good Day

I had a Jerry Maguire moment today. No, not the "SHOW ME THE MONEY" moment you all are thinking of, but a different one. The clip below should explain it pretty good.

Don't you just hate when that happens? When you're so excited you want to shout it to the world but the next best thing is singing at the top of your lungs. So instead, you have to hunt down an awesome song to sing to and it's then and there that every radio station seems to be collectively running their "sh*tty song of the hour" promotion. One of my favorite songs to sing to? 500 miles, by The Proclaimers. I love the "Da Da Da Da (Da Da Da Da) Da Da Da Da (Da Da Da Da)  Da Undela Undela Undela la la la" part. And I'm sure that looks wierd but if you know the song you'll get it. And because I also love HIMYM I'll help you out:

And why was I so happy? I have no idea. I was on my way home from the gym, had gotten in a pretty impressive workout, and it smelled like fall outside. Also, I've been working a lot on my new travel/food blog and it's finally starting to come around. Plus I've also heard back from a few writing offers too, so I guess I take that back. I do know what I was having a Jerry Maguire moment:

Because I was having an effin' good day, that's why.

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