365 Photo Project

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Way back when, in the spring of 2009, I decided as part of my 101 Things in 1001 Days that I would start a photo project – taking a photo every day for a year.  I figured it would be kind of a cool way to journal a year of my life with photos and also it might help me improve my photography skills.  I learned a lot in that year, which ended back in March (I know, I’m a little slow to talk about it).  One of the things I learned is that many days, I just wasn’t feeling it.  So I’d take photos of the cat or some other method of “phoning it in”.  Of course, after losing Romeo in June of this year – those photos of him at 10pm at night are precious to me.  But, I also learned that on days when I am feeling it – I took some great photos.  And it was fun to look back at them and see some of the things that happened during that year.  The photo at the top of this post was my first photo for this project.  I’ve even used one of my 365 photos on my About page.

Aphrodite

It was a hard project – hard to stick with, and some weeks I didn’t.  But, I’m so glad I pushed myself to do it.  And some of the most rewarding photos were captured when I said to myself “I’ve been wanting to stop and take a photo of that for a long time”, and then I just pulled the car over and got out with my camera. 

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I thought this “wrap up” post would be a good place to share some of my favorites from the year too.  But, if you’d like a look back through those 52 weeks, you can find the posts here

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There were photos from Miami, photos at work, photos on my way to school, photos from the “walkabouts” I went on with Eric and his camera club, photos from my first 5k and photos celebrating holidays with our families.

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It was even an interesting way to look back at the books I was reading during the year – because strangely those books ended up in my photos more often than not.

Wreath with Snow 

I documented snow on Christmas Eve, and then later in February when we had snow again.

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But above all, I’m glad I had this experience and that I challenged myself to do it. I’m so appreciative that it brought Eric and I closer together as he taught me the ins and outs of using my camera, suggesting trying new settings, and walking with him in the snow – cameras in both of our hands.

It was a crazy, whirlwind of a year. But, at least I can look back at these photos and remember.

032509 Rain with Leaf

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Bluebird of Happiness

Bluebird of Happiness

So much has been on my mind lately, and part of what has been on my mind is whether or not to share it publicly? My intention with this blog was to put myself out there, and share my thoughts, my journey, and my passion for all things beautiful and stylish – including design, fashion, art, travel, etc. My blog falls far short of some of the amazing design and fashion blogs out there, but in the end – this blog is all me. I don’t get a lot of traffic on this blog, which is perfectly fine with me. Yes, I would love to occasionally know that someone is reading and that what I had to say was worth putting out there publicly, but it’s not the reason I do this.

One of the things I’ve been struggling with a lot lately is not feeling like I measure up. Part of this is because I’m struggling with losing weight. I am making progress, but it is slow. I’ve touched on the topic before, I think, that I love fashion and really want to dress and present myself well but I run into a couple of obstacles with that. One being that since I am changing sizes, and won’t be in a certain size very long (hopefully), I don’t want to invest much in a transitional wardrobe. Second issue is that I don’t have the kind of budget I’d love to have for clothes and accessories that a lot of other people do. Granted, I have some nice pieces, but the majority of my wardrobe isn’t high quality. So, when presented with an obstacle like this, I tend to go into the mode of doing nothing. Which bothers me. I had gotten to a point in my life where my motto was “feel the fear and do it anyway”. Thus, the reason I started posting my “wardrobe picks” posts. But then I quit doing it for a variety of reasons explored here. I have contemplated even deleting the posts from my blog completely. But, then there’s a part of me that feels like once I reach my goal weight, those posts are probably going to be important to me as part of my journey. So, for now they stay. But, God, I hate seeing myself in photos sometimes. Guess it’s all the more reason to really put 110% into getting where I want to go.

I love love love reading other blogs that are witty and smart and where the blogger makes self-disclosures about their own journey. And when all that is paired with photos of their beautiful home/wardrobe/life I love it even more. Part of why I love it is because it gives me something to aim for, a little piece of “hey I want that in my life”. And there are a lot of people that hear or see things about my life and think that it’s perfect or that I have everything and am so lucky. But, although I am so grateful for almost every single part of my life right now, I still want to strive to make those parts that I am not so happy about better.

This past week has been filled with ups and downs. The ups being that I completed another 5K. And my completion time was six minutes faster than my last 5K. I am so proud of myself for that. A couple of the ladies on my team are planning on continuing our Saturday morning walking and we’ll see where that takes us. We walk 3 miles every Saturday, which is very rewarding and when I go to my weigh in afterwards I feel so light and full of energy, regardless of what the scale says. This past Saturday, the scale read a 3.4 pound loss, which I am ecstatic about! I hope that means that I am past my plateau and can move forward with more losses now. And, my walking partner is also a part of Weight Watchers and is a size or two smaller than me. She is going to bring me her clothes that she can no longer fit into because they will fit me. She didn’t get to wear them very long, so it’s like I’m getting new stuff for my closet! And it solves my temporary problem of not wanting to invest in transitional clothing.

So, anyway, it’s been a little rough the past few weeks and I’ve been feeling pretty overwhelmed with stuff going on in my little head plus feeling bad about the weight. But, I think things are turning around. So, I’m going to work on encouraging myself, celebrating my victories and “feeling the fear but doing it anyway”. And I’m going to continue to take my inspiration from here, here and here.

P.S. – sorry if this post was a little all over the place. But, hey, that’s how I roll.

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My First 5K

Ready

For the past two months I’ve been training for my first 5k. I signed up for the training through Weight Watchers as part of their Momentum Challenge this summer. It was a pretty cool deal, you signed up and got to work with a trainer for eight weeks, getting you ready for a 5k at the end of the training. Plus, I got a cool 5k charm for my WW keychain. So anyway, Saturday was the 5k our team had signed up for. We chose the McKinney Historical Run 5k. And let me just say, for the record, that we were walking not running. I’m not quite up to the whole running thing yet, as my knees keep telling me! Our team has basically been walking a 5K every Saturday morning for the past several weeks in training. So, we knew we were totally ready for the big day.

I had to get up at the ass-crack-of-dawn (aka 5am), in order to meet up with my team and get out to the race. Eric packed me snacks for before and after the race, so I was all set.

At 8am, we all converged at the starting line (unfortunately, their sign only said “finish”. Fail.)

About to Start

And we’re off! My goal for the race was to finish in under an hour, to enjoy myself, keep up a good pace and take some photos along the way.

And We're Off

This is where our paths diverged from the people doing the 1 mile fun run. One of the ladies on our team did the 1 mile, with a cane. She rocks!

Taking the Longer Route

One of the things I loved about doing this race was that the route took us through the McKinney Historic District, and there were some gorgeous homes along the way. I love the bunting on this one. One of these days I’ll have a beautiful wrap-around porch that will lend itself to bunting on the 4th.

Bunting

I was glad to see our first mile marker!

1 Mile Down

Look at the gorgeous red gate at this house!!

Red Gate

Another mile down!

Mile 2

I don’t know where my photo of the Mile 3 marker went, but trust me I passed it. And it was so cool because along with the race people who were along the route cheering us on, there were also people out on their porches and waving through their windows. All of them were cheering and waving and shouting “good job, keep it up!” It was so cool!

And in about 56 minutes, we made it to the finish line. And we were not last.

Finish Line

I cannot tell you what an accomplishment this is, and how proud of myself I am. To a lot of people, walking a 5k may not seem like much. But, it is.

My First 5K

I’m so glad that not only did I do this myself, but that I had a great team to do it with. And, completing this milestone I can now cross something else off my 101 Things list “Participate in a fitness event”. And, I’m also signed up for two more 5Ks this year, one in September and one in October. This was a great experience!

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Random Tuesday Thoughts

 

 

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On several of the blogs I read, I’ve noticed that there has been an interest in creating a gallery wall to showcase photos and/or art. I wanted to share our gallery wall with you too. When Eric and I first got married and moved into this house, we came to a bit of an impasse about hanging art on the walls. Having a BFA in Art History, I was of course all for bringing art and loveliness into our home. But, we have slightly different ideas of what is lovely. After months of blank walls and a lot of back and forth, we struck on the idea with printing photos from our travels. It began with photos from our honeymoon in Rome and from our cruise in the Caribbean where he proposed. In the past three years we’ve added a few more trips to that list. Initially, I’d scattered the photos throughout the house. But, then I was inspired to hang the majority of the photos together in our entry. I loved the idea of showcasing not only Eric’s photography, but also a gathering of memories of those wonderful places. Eric was a little hesitant about hanging them all together, but I ran the idea past my good friend, Jennifer, the decorating guru. And once Eric was met with the argument that “Jennifer says it will look great,” we starting arranging the photos on the wall. The wall now holds photos from Rome, New York, Philadelphia, San Antonio, Oklahoma City and Chicago. I am sure we’ll be adding to this collection with our more recent trips to Virginia and Miami. I love how this wall looks, and I feel like it is very representative of us to people first entering into our home. If you want to see some other great gallery walls, take a look at Blue-Eyed Bride’s gallery wall …

and the photo collections over at elefantitas alegres…

Eric and I found we loved traveling together so much, that I gave him this as a wedding gift. It was a promise of many more trips in the future.

World Travels Map

And completely unrelated to my decorating musings, this morning was my first venture back to a regular yoga practice. It is so hard getting up even earlier in the mornings, but I feel so much better when I start my day off with yoga.

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For now, I’m going to do two mornings a week. My body was so happy to stretch today! I definitely needed it. I’m just using a DVD for yoga currently, but I’m interested in giving classes a try again. I’ve had two people recommend Bikram (hot) yoga to me. One girl that I see at the gym alot said that she’s started doing Bikram yoga and is now in the best shape of her life. I may give it a try. There’s a couple of places that offer it near me, Sunstone Yoga and Bikram Yoga Grapevine. I also have a DVD at home of Baron Baptiste’s. He teaches Power Vinyasa Yoga, and from what I remember of doing the DVD some time ago, I really enjoyed it.

So, today was just relaxing and stretching, but it reminded me how much I love yoga and how much I’ve missed it. And after walking 3.2 miles on Saturday and getting huge, really bad blisters on my feet, I really needed both the relaxing and the stretching.

Dana hace Yoga en la Playa

Photo from leo.prie.to via flickr

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Dallas After Dark

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At the end of June, Eric invited me to go on a photo walk around Dallas with a group of Photographers (actual real live Photographers). Although it was hot as anything, I do think it was worth going for the few good shots I got (even with my point and shoot camera).

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We started off our walk at Dealey Plaza and then went over to catch some shots of Reunion Tower as the sun was setting.

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We walked back past the Old Red Courthouse and then down to the West End.

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I’ve learned that I really enjoy taking photos of neon. It could be that whole attracted-to-bright-sparkly thing I’ve got going on. But I took a ton of photos of the neon down here.

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And those rainbow neon tubes are where Planet Hollywood used to be, I believe. Eric and I ducked into Spaghetti Warehouse for something cold to drink while the rest of the group was enamored with a horse-drawn carriage. Other than the chihuahua in a dress sitting in the carriage, I didn’t really feel the need to take a photo. I think the cold drink was a better idea!

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I just love the photo below, with the green building all sharp and the people below blurred.

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Of course, when you’re walking around with a group of twenty or so Photographers all with huge amounts of camera equipment and tripods, people ask what you’re doing. I think some guys used the explanation that we were paparazzi. And while we’re on the subject of tripods – let me just say, Photographers, there is a right way and a wrong way to carry a tripod. Jutting out behind you, and smacking people (me) with it every time you turn is bad form. Just sayin’.

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Mmm…pizza.

And the photo below, is probably my favorite photo of the night.

West End

I just had a point and shoot with me on the walk, so I just kind of wandered about snapping photos of whatever caught my fancy, while the Photographers set up with their tripds and long lenses and flashes. I had fun.

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From West End, we walked over to the Dallas Aquarium. I was starting to get tired and hot by this time. We’d been walking for several hours at this point. Why didn’t I wear my pedometer???

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And our last stop of the night (for Eric and I) was Fountain Place. There are tons of fountains here, and it was really pretty lit up. I liked this photo with the pink begonias in the foreground though.

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After that, Eric and I decided to head home as we were both tired. What a fun night though. Thanks, sweetie, for inviting me to go out with the Photographers! Photos from our Miami trip are coming soon!

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Artful Readings

I am off to book club again tonight, which I am looking forward to. Unfortunately, the book for tonight was less than stellar in my opinion. The book we read for tonight’s selection was Old Masters: A Comedy by Thomas Bernhard. I think the interesting parts of the book could have been slimmed down to a mere 30 or so pages, out of the 150 that it actually was. But, I love my book club. I have been a member since its inception back in 2002. It’s a program through my local art museum and it is called “Artful Readings”. We meet every other month, and while I haven’t enjoyed all of the selections I have probably enjoyed 90% of them…which is saying a lot! And, one thing I love about this book club is that for the most part none of these are books that I would have picked up and read on my own. So, I appreciate that it gets me out of the box a bit with my reading. The other thing I love about my book club, is that as the name suggests the books all have something to do with art. Often, our fearless leader will choose books that go along with the current exhibition at the museum, which is wonderful.
Book club begins with a bit of mingling, there are light hors d’oeuvres and wine. We begin our discussion of the book and then for the last half of the time we go out into the galleries or the exhibit to look at some pieces and tie them into our book, either through genre or time period or even artist. It is something I look forward to every other month. And if you knew how far I have to drive on a Friday at rush hour to get there, you would know how much I love it.

I’d love to spend a little more time discussing book club and the past books we’ve read…but I’ll leave that for another time, since I have to gather my things and head out. But, our next selection is The Man Who Loved China, which I am looking forward to. Eric and I are planning a trip to China, so reading this book will be interesting.
You can see on my sidebar what I’m currently reading and what I’ve read so far in 2009. I’m challenging myself this year to see how many books I can read (hopefully more than 25!). As a side note, not all of the books in these photos are for book club. In the top photo, the bottom three books were for book club and in the bottom photo, the Sookie book was not book club. Giovanni and Lusanna was the selection before Old Masters.
Until next time, happy reading!
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Get Into the Groove*

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First things first, I need to discuss my 365 photos. I am still taking photos everyday, and I’d like to think I am getting better at it. But, as I may have mentioned previously, the weekly photo overload is not necessarily the best way to highlight my burgeoning talent [ha ha]. Anyway, I decided that instead of doing a post that just includes all of the week’s photos, I’ll just use the photos where they seem to be appropriate to illustrate my posts. We’ll see how that works for awhile.

Now, onto other things. I thought I’d give a little update this week on where I’m at with my fitness. My weigh-in on Saturday showed that I was up 0.6 on the scale, but I attribute that to going in with wet hair and having eaten breakfast right before. So, not overly concerned. Especially since on Monday morning when I weighed myself at home (I weigh everyday), I was down three pounds. As of this morning, I am up a pound from that…but still doing pretty good. I hope to see that change at WW on Saturday morning.

The big change this week though is in my workout routine. Every couple of months, Eric switches up what I’m doing at the gym. We try to keep my workouts short and sweet based on the fact that I fit in my workout between leaving work and going to school. So, as of Monday I am doing a new routine. This is a circuit workout that was published in the May 2009 issue of Oxygen magazine, called “Tone your entire body Fast”. It’s a four-week program, and they give you a beginner 20-minute program and an intermediate/advanced 30-minute program to choose from. I’m doing the 30-minute, which is basically just doing an extra set of everything. For week 1, I’m following the workout on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and then doing cardio. Tuesdays and Thursdays, I just do cardio. Here’s the breakdown…

Three sets of 12-15 reps
1. Dumbbell squat
2. Push-up
3. Bent-over row
4. Shoulder press
5. Hammer curl

I did it on Monday and it was a pretty thorough workout, so I’m excited to be doing it. And I like that each week is different. That keeps my body guessing and having to work at it. I’ll let you know how it’s going, when I switch to next week’s set of exercises.

032509 Purple Heels

In an effort to give myself a little incentive to lose the five pounds I’m working on, I’ve put myself on a spending freeze of all non-essentials until I reach that goal. It’s already proving to be interesting. But, I figure that it will be a good reason to reach that five pound mark fast! I’ve also been noticing that when I pay more attention to my appearance (ie dressing well), it gives me a feeling of wanting to get moving and taking care of myself. It works the opposite way as well…I think the two things are rather interrelated. So, here’s to investing in myself! Today I am wearing my new pants that are actually long enough! Yay! And also my new seamless undergarments…so thankful to finally be removed from both forms of fashion faux pas hell. Feeling pretty good today!

*And if Madonna can go from a cheese puff-eating, undershirt-wearing material girl and become a toned yoga goddess…so can I.

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Refocusing

Cherry with blossoms

Cherry with blossoms by tanakawho, on Flickr

You may remember that I recently started a new 101 Things in 1001 Days challenge, and in that post I talked about wanting to finally put that last piece of the puzzle in place – being a healthy weight. So, since it’s been on my mind a lot lately I thought I’d do a post about where I’m at and how I’m working toward my goal.

I am changing my lifestyle and eating habits in a couple of ways. I am a member of Weight Watchers and I am also loosely following the South Beach diet. What I mean by that is that I count points, but what I eat is dictated more by SB. A while back my doctor suggested that I needed to be more aware of my cholesterol and see what I could do through diet and exercise to get it to a better level. She suggested I take a look at the SB diet, as one way to do this. Eric and I went through and completely revamped our diet. We cut out all pasta and bread, all sugar, etc. We began incorporating more vegetables into our meals, and we took a look at what kind of meat we were eating, cutting down on the amount of red meat we were consuming for instance. It was a little hard at first, but not that bad. Since going through that initial period, we’ve added back in whole grains and complex carbs. For the most part, day to day, this is how we eat. And while the weight isn’t just melting off, I feel better and I know we are both healthier for it. I’ve spent the last couple of weeks taking a look at my points and trying to figure out what I can do to switch things up in order to start seeing a bigger difference on the scale.

The other thing I am doing is exercising. I workout five days a week, most weeks. I am also in the process of adding yoga back in to my daily schedule in the mornings. Yoga keeps me centered and also helps me stretch out all the tension that I seem to carry in my body. At the gym I do a combination of strength training and cardio. I have found that my efforts at the gym seem to be what pays off for me size-wise and scale-wise the most. Over the past year, with a new job and also going to school at night, my efforts at the gym haven’t been 100%. So, I’m in the process of rectifying that and refocusing. As part the WW new walking challenge, I have signed up for a training team that begins in June to train for a 5k. It’s been a helluva long time since I participated in a 5k, but I am excited about doing this. I hope that it will be a good step in the direction of participating in more events like this. So, expect that come June I’ll be talking about my training sessions here, in preparation for my 5k in August.

I am also working on drinking more water. I don’t seem to get enough water in throughout the day…not that I’m drinking anything else…so it’s important for me to do this. We’ve basically cut all sodas out of our diet (and there are days I would kill for a Coke), so water it is. Any tips on getting through the water would be appreciated!

So, that’s where I am on my road to fitness. I have an ultimate goal weight in mind, but I am only focusing on five pounds at a time right now. As of last week’s weigh in, I have four more pounds to lose. So, hopefully tomorrow’s weigh in will show some more progress in that direction.

I don’t intend for this to become a weightloss blog, but I thought it would be good to refocus myself by posting this and keeping up with my 101 Things goals. And since it’s Spring (although I think it’s in the 90s here today), it’s a good time to make some changes and get in gear!

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A Week in Photos

4/19/09 – 4/25/09

This week had some great photos. The first photo of Shiva and Kwan Yin is one of my favorites. After the living room redo, both of these ended up on top of our entertainment center, with my favorite piece of pottery behind them. It’s one of my favorite things to look at in the room.

Shiva

Monday night I headed to class at church again and I liked how this angel looked with the iron fence in the foreground.

Angel

The scrimshaw for my Catherine Theron workshop came in the mail this week. These are made from old piano keys. They’ll be so pretty with my class pieces once I finish those.

Scrimshaw

Every night that I go to school I pass by this apartment complex that reminds me of a Southern plantation. This 365 project was intended to be a way to get me to take more photos and in some cases it was a reason to finally stop and take a photo of something I’ve been thinking about shooting forever. I was glad that I finally stopped the car and took a few shots. The flowers in the center of the drive are lovely.

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I especially loved the running horse weathervane. Makes me think of the Derby.

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I love my window office. It looks out onto a courtyard, and while I mostly end up watching squirrels, there is the occasional feathered visitor. This pair of doves spent a long time perched on my tree today.

Doves

And here’s another example of finally just pulling over the car and taking photos. I have wanted to get some bluebonnet photos for years and just never did. I pass this patch of them on the way to work. I finally just pulled over one morning and practiced a bit with my macro setting.

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I’m so happy with how these turned out. And I’m so happy that I finally stopped the car to get some bluebonnet photos!

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And to round out the week, on Saturday we went to Turner Falls, Oklahoma to celebrate our third anniversary. I was excited for an opportunity to take some photos outside of my normal stomping grounds. You can see them here.

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A Week in Photos

4/12/09 – 04/18/09

I visited my parents for Easter lunch. Afterwards, my niece had some pretty strawberries. She couldn’t figure out why I wanted to take a picture of them though! (too bad it’s blurry!)

Strawberries

My sister brought my mom these pretty tulips.

Tulips

And after lunch my sister and my niece dyed Easter eggs.

Easter Eggs

Monday nights before my class I have a habit of going to Wendy’s for dinner for some chili and a caesar salad. I always bring a book with me. You can see I decided to take a break from Pillars of the Earth and read a little Sookie. (How much do I love that the cover of my book is glittery?!)

Dead Until Dark

And many nights, when I get home from school, I spend them like this. With Romeo on my lap.

Romeo

This is the skylight in our master bath. I love to look up when I get out of my shower in the morning and see the blue sky. It’s a good way to start the day. So here’s my little Patch of Sky.

Patch of Sky

I try to collect a charm for my charm bracelet that represents all of our travels. I’m a little backlogged though. I have several that still need to be soldered onto my bracelet.

Charms

And I spent some time at my friend Sherri’s house. She has so many beautiful roses in her garden.

Red Rose

Multi Color Rose

And a pretty windchime.

Wind Chime

Sherri and I were cutting wood for some frames we are making together.

Framing Day

You can see the photos from the end of the week here. Mmmmm….mojitos!

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