30 Awesome Things

I can’t remember where I first saw the idea of a “reverse life list,” but I thought it might be fun to spend my 30th birthday mulling over some awesome things I’ve already done. Here goes:

  1. Eat sushi in Japan

  2. Hike in Olympic National Forest

  3. Make pie crust from scratch using my Nanny’s recipe

  4. Shoot a gun

  5. Play in a concert band, marching band, trios, and quartets

  6. Have my toes nibbled by doctor fish in Okinawa

    Doctor Fish

  7. Crochet a gift for someone

  8. Go parasailing

    parasailing cancun2

  9. Learn to shoot in manual

  10. Earn a black belt

  11. Hold a monkey


  12. Ride a roller coaster

  13. Complete a 365 project


  14. Visit 35 states

  15. Go wine tasting in Napa Valley

  16. Take Tim to England

    Photobomb 2

  17. Picnic at a winery

  18. Develop my own film


  19. Try skiing (never. again.)

  20. Go whale watching

    WW24 T

  21. Sing karaoke

  22. Snorkel in Cancun (including a close encounter with a barracuda)

  23. Meet a celebrity (twice – only one time did I make an ass of myself)

    Meeting Rob Riggle

  24. Learn to drive a stick

  25. Photograph a family

  26. Swim with dolphins

  27. Run a 5k5k2
  28. Lie in a hammock on a Caribbean island with a rum drink

  29. Donate my hair

  30. Make a new person who is pretty much the best ever

{Life List} Complete a 365 Project

Day 48: Trail

Yesterday I got to knock another item off my life list, and this was a big one – I completed my 365 photography project. My life has been fairly crazy in the past year, with tons of travels, moving several times, trying to find a job, and sometimes feeling pretty aimless. This project has been something totally mine, something that stayed constant through the mayhem.

Day 227: True/False III

Why I started
I wanted to push myself to learn more about photography and my camera(s). There was also a little bit of a test involved – I wanted to take this new exciting hobby I’d found and see if I still loved it after doing it every day for a year. Sometimes making something routine, or required, takes the magic out of it for me. I can say now, after completing the project, I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of taking pictures. I still have so much to learn, and there is always something new to master. Plus, I got so many great photos I never would have tried if I hadn’t been pushing myself to find new things to shoot.

Day 6: Snail

What I learned
So, so much.  I learned so much about my camera. I learned how to look at other photographers’ pictures and be inspired with my own ideas. I learned that my favorite shots can happen when I just walk ten feet farther than I ordinarily would have. I learned that I do, in fact, have my own style, even though I’m still discovering it. I also learned that I could probably get by just fine with nothing in my camera bag but my 50mm.

Day 150: Suitcase II

Day 62: Opal IV

Why I’m glad it’s over
I am excited to get back to going out to shoot just because I have the itch – not because I have to find something quickly before I forget.

Day 87: Shoes

And wouldn’t you know it, now that it’s over, I’ve already taken a picture this morning even though I didn’t have to :)

Day 212: Bonobos

Day 109: Self-Portrait

365 Tips

There is already an abundance of advice out there for people wanting to start a 365 project, but I will add my two cents.

  • First of all, do it! I expected it to be really challenging to stay on track, but it wasn’t.
  • I would advise to always set an alarm on your phone, write down “take a picture” in your journal, or somehow remind yourself every day. In some ways it becomes second nature to take a picture every day, but for that very reason it can easily slip your mind.
  • Along the same lines, try to shoot earlier in the day if possible so you’re not scrambling for something before you go to bed (especially if you’re not great with flash, like me).
  • Definitely post your photos on a blog, Flickr, Facebook, or other photo sharing site. When I finally told people about my project, it was fun to know they were following along.
  • Not every shot will be a winner, and that’s fine. It’s just part of the project. The amazing shots you inevitably get will make up for the shots of your coffee cup. Plus, those shots of your coffee cup are still a chance to learn and practice exposure, composition, etc.
  • Use the camera on your phone! Some people think that’s a copout, but some of my favorite shots were from my iPhone. It’s a whole different kind of photography, and sometimes it’s just easier to take your phone with you than your camera. And with apps like PS Express and Instagram, it’s easy to edit them quickly and add creative effects.
  • Finally, don’t get discouraged if you miss a day. I beat myself up after realizing I messed up one day and didn’t take a single photo (see tip #2). Don’t think of it as all or nothing – the point of the project is to learn more about your photography, and as long as you keep doing that, you haven’t failed.

Day 161: Ted

Day 252: Drive II

What’s next?
I’m already thinking about my next photography challenge to myself. Another 365 project might be in the cards somewhere down the line, but I’m definitely ready for some time off of the daily grind. I have some ideas – possibly a weekly self-portrait, or finally getting around to experimenting with flash (with help from Strobist). Any other suggestions?

Day 162: London

Thank you to everyone who followed along with my project!

Day 365: Portland

{Life List} Whale Watching

This past weekend I got to cross a huge item off my life list. Tim and I went whale watching off the Kerama Islands. It was just as awesome as I had hoped it would be, and I can’t wait to go again.

We left from Naha port on a small boat that took us out near the Kerama Islands. I had a homemade water-resistant contraption for my camera, consisting of a Ziploc bag and Tim’s boot bands, a fully charged battery, and a grin like a little kid on Christmas morning.

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{Life List} Crochet a Gift for Someone

One of the items on my Life List is to crochet a gift for someone. I’ve started crocheting more in the past year and have gotten a lot better. Not good enough to sell my stuff, and I’m not sure I would want to, but I think my wares are sometimes good enough to give as gifts.

I’ve actually given several gifts in the last month, but I thought I’d write about the one I actually have photos of – the skinny scarf I made for my Aunty Lynne.

The pattern was made up by my mom (and grandmother?) long ago, forgotten by both of us, and then cobbled together from what we could remember and what looked right. I’m terrible at reading and following patterns, so I’m confident this won’t make a whole lot of sense, but it goes approximately like this:

*Start with 26 chain
*1 double crochet (dc) into 4th chain
*2 dc, 1 sc, 2 dc into 2nd chain (in other words, skip one chain, then do this into the next chain)
*2 dc, 1 sc, 2 dc into 4th chain
*2 dc, 1 sc, 2 dc into 4th chain
*2 dc, 1 sc, 2 dc into 4th chain
*1 dc into 2nd chain
*1 dc into 2nd chain (should be last stitch of the row)
*3 chain, turn, repeat pattern

I added fringe to the ends by taking the rest of the yarn, wrapping it around a small book, and cutting it so I had lots of strands of the same length. Then I took two or three of the strands and slip knotted them into each stitch of the last row.

I use Luv This Yarn for scarves, because it’s the perfect softness.

Lynne seemed to like the scarf, and even wore it around on our outings, bless her heart!

I think my next crochet goal is to be able to do a circle, something that has eluded me so far. I’d love to be able to make a hat. I also want to perfect the fingerless mittens I’ve been working on, so that I don’t have to make four mittens to get two good ones.

I think it’s funny that my two first Life List entries have been about crafting. Time to do some other stuff!

{Life List} Make a Vision Board

Putting my Life List on the blog is something I want to do eventually, but it’s a pretty daunting prospect. I have over 100 things now, and I know I don’t want to share every single one. So that will come later. But for now, I want to start writing about the things that I get to cross off. The most recent of these was to make a vision board.

I got the idea from Karen Walrond at Chookooloonks. I’ve been reading her blog for months and I absolutely love her photography and her words. She wrote about how she and her daughter make vision boards at the start of each new year. They are supposed to be a crafty, visual representation of what you want for yourself for the year. It also involves cutting pictures out of magazines and lots of mod podge, so Megan, Stephanie and I were immediately on board. We also wanted to throw ourselves a softball as far as our life lists were concerned, and this was something we knew we would do.

We spent a few hours just flipping through magazines and ripping out anything that caught our eye. If something made me smile, or reminded me of something happy or a goal I have, I tore it out. I also had a one-word resolution in mind for myself, so I tore out anything that fit with that. By the end of the night we all had a huge pile of pages and photos and we started cutting out the stuff we wanted.

Then we went to bed. Because we are old.

The next day we started arranging our cut-outs on our canvas and gluing them down with mod podge. I had never played with mod podge before, and by the end of this project I wanted to mod podge pretty much everything in my life.

When we were finished, we were all in love with our vision boards. Mine is hanging in my room and it’s the first thing I see when I wake up. On it are things that remind me how lucky I am and that I want to work on enjoying the moment in 2011.

So now I get to cross this off my Life List, but I think it would be nice to make one of these every year.

More Life List posts to come!