Photoshop skill level = nearing AWESOME!

I just completed watching every single screencast from Pugly Pixel’s Photoshop Basics tutorial collection. I have been a fan of Katrina’s design style for some time. It was quite a thrill to rediscover her site recently. I was ecstatic to find that she has created so many fantastic tutorials while I was hunting for various adobe suite and web design courses and tutorials to try out.

I tried to use some of my own photographs and artwork while following along with the tutorials, while also using some of the suggested artwork! I saved some of my favorite finished projects throughout the courses and thought it’s be fun to share what I made while going through it!


doll layoutDrop shadows:


Warped Drop Shadow – with layout exercise:



Clipping masks – with layout exercise:

Frames /Patterns – with layout exercise:


This was easily the most fun I had while learning new skills. And now I can’t wait to start Katrina’s CSS for beginners course!

flower photos edited with permission from the Biodiversity Heritage Library – Le Jardin and Grand Prix Dahlia | dots, lines and grid patterns:  Line 25 pixel patterns | text samples from Cupcake Ipsum.

What on Earth have I been up to?

I wanted to take some time to post an over due update on my life, where I have been and what I have been up to!

In 2014, I left my Customer Service position behind for an exciting new position in Social Media Marketing! I was thrilled to be moving into a more creative position. I was excited to take photos for work, and to share beautiful images on Social Media and to get paid for something I was doing all day, everyday already. It was a great opportunity and I am so glad that I made the shift when I did. Part of my job included helping to plan and style product photo shoots, as well as helping in studio at those shoots. I also got to organize little lifestyle shoots of my own here and there!dressshootAs you may know from this blog, I had also started taking Film Photography classes at my local community college about a year prior and had begun working towards obtaining an Art/Design degree. I have had creative jobs here and there, but I knew that I wanted to get my degree to learn more than what had taught myself, to add to my skill set and to help me get my foot in the door for more creative positions. I really wanted to get on a career path towards Graphic/Web/Textile Design.

Back to my Social Media Marketing role. It was somewhat short-lived. Just this last April, I left the company I was working for while my Father’s health was in decline. My Father had been diagnosed with a very aggressive, late stager prostate cancer 3 years ago. He took chemotherapy like a champ, and fought hard and strong. This last February, we were told that they could no longer give him chemotherapy treatments and that we had to prepare to make him comfortable for what time he had left. DaddyMy Father passed away 1 month ago this week. It’s quite unfair, but I am trying to remain tough through it. While it’s been a weird time for me, it has helped me to clarify many things. My Dad always encouraged us to work hard and to follow our passions. He was always proud of every job I took on. He loved seeing my brother, sister and myself work hard, he wanted to see us succeed. I was not always 100% proud of the positions I had held. I have worked for a lot of great companies and have met some amazing people. But, I wasn’t always content with the work I was doing day to day.  Although I was working for these great companies in these fancy offices and went to meetings, I realized that I was still working jobs. I did not yet have the career that I wanted.

On my way back to work, I am now trying to pack in as much knowledge as I can in order to land myself the best job for me. I am taking some courses at my local community college as well as online. I am packing in as much as I can in a short amount of time, while looking for jobs in the interim. I am excited for the possibilities and potential new adventures on the horizon!


Portrait photography short.

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Photographing people is always something that I enjoyed. When I first really got into taking photos, it was because my friends and I all love taking pictures and having our picture taken, of course. So naturally we always had cameras in tow. I love capturing candid shots, and I sort of developed that in the beginning of my photography journey.

When I enrolled in proper photography courses this last year, I mostly took photos of Dolls, still life photos that I posed and put together. I love doing it, however one of my assignments towards the end of my first semester was to shoot portraits. I felt confident that I had the experience and skill to do so, being that I had taken countless photos of people for fun most of my adolescent and adult life. I learned quickly, that portraits required something special.

Today, I am quickly sharing 2 of my very first simple and rather amateur portraits. However, simple and amateur they may be, I am still proud of them. And, I’ll be back to share more portraits and more of my thoughts and experiences with portrait photography soon!

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My 32nd year manifesto.

A Birthday wishlist of sorts, for the year ahead.

This year I want to go on more adventures.
I want to go hiking outside of the Peninsula Bay Area, or anywhere that I have never hiked before.
I so want to spend time in the snow, preferably skiing or snowboarding.
I want to try paddle boarding and surfing, and I also just want to play in the ocean and jump through some waves!
I want to do cartwheels on grass fields, and ride my bike for miles with the music turned up loud in my headphones.

I want to take pictures.
Oh boy, I want to take so many pictures.
And then I want to make photographs.

I want to create a HOME.
I want to build a place that is full of love and comfort.
I want to build a place that feels peaceful, happy, and also inspiring.

I want to learn.
I want to keep taking classes that are rewarding and fulfilling in the long term.
I want to build my knowledge base both academically and in various crafts.

I want to work.
I want to build a brand.
I want to design and execute beautiful ideas.

I want to reconnect with friends that I have grown distant with over the years.
There are so many dear people that I miss who are nearby. I have simply turned into a poor and lazy friend, a person that I never thought I would be and it is something that troubles me each day.

I want to ensure that my family really feels how much I truly love them, by being better at showing my affection for the people that mean the most to me.

I want to inspire others to be happy. To accept the crap that happens, and to find the good in everything.

I know there is more that I want to do and see and be, but I think this is a decent start. Here’s to 32!

A not so recent Wyoming adventure.

Back in October of last year (2013), I had the opportunity to Travel to Wyoming with Mario to see his Mother, meet his Grandmother and much of his family that lives out there. It was such a great trip to such a beautiful place. And, I got to meet some really great people, and spend valuable time with his Grandmother.

I had never been to Wyoming and had no idea what to expect. I didn’t pack either of my SLR cameras, not knowing the insane amount of photo opportunities there would be (at least, I know for next time…) So, I only took photos using my iPhone and then edited them lightly in Photoshop.

We had a rental car, and the second day we were there, we packed it up and headed out on a road trip to Thermopolis to stay over night.

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This was taken at a spot on the way, called Hell’s Half Acre. It is a canyon type area with all these crazy rock formations. It looks like dinosaurs should be roaming or something. I was told that there used to be a motel and restaurant at the location. But, they both have since closed and the area is fenced off. It would be great to get back there with my real camera.

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Up next are photos from our stay in Thermopolis. We spent some time exploring caves that Mario’s grandfather used to hang out in. Thermopolis has natural hot springs and the cave we went into was warm and steamy, like a small spa. But, I was too scared to get too far in or spend very much time inside.


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final1Back in Casper, we got to spend some time on Gothberg Ranch, owned by Mario’s Uncle. It is one the most incredible properties I’ve seen. Mario’s Uncle took us on a tour of the land in a Kawasaki 4×4 jeep type thing. We busted up the hill towards Casper Mountain and it was beautiful. We ran into some of the cows that graze on the land ans well as his horses that are allowed to roam free on his huge property.

As we were cruising around on all this sprawling gorgeous land, I kept singing to myself “Give me land lots of land, under starry skies above, don’t fence me in…”


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IMG_3139 copyOn my last day there (I had to head home early for school) Mario’s Mother took us to her mountain land. And to a nearby park with a waterfall. Most of the photos below were taken on her land, expect for the waterfall photo. This was another beautiful property. Only this time, we were in the mountains, surrounded by tall trees. It was such a pretty spot to hang out and explore in.

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Black and White doodles.

Somewhat, I recently, I have been interested in the idea of getting into textile design.

I love hunting for fabrics to use in my sewing projects. For my bags, I was always really picky about the fabric I chose. I love prints, but many of what I had access to were not so much in line with the aesthetic that I was hoping to achieve.

I started to create designs and patterns by organizing solid colored fabrics in various ways. As you can see in some older posts; here and here. It was always fun and challenging work, and still is. However, it is quite limiting. You are limited to certain shapes and colors.

Since discovering Spoonflower, I have tried my hand at painting and rather amateur graphic design to come up with some patterns to print onto fabric. I have had a few successful patterns. Two of which are currently available on Spoonflower.

So, the point of all of this is just to start introducing some random paintings and doodles I have done over few months. In practicing my artistry and just getting ideas and things out on paper, here are some Black and White paintings that I paired together to post today.

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This past Sunday, we took our regular monthly trip out to Alameda for the Antique fair. I snapped some photos, which I am not always great about remembering to do. I get so caught up looking at all the lovely things and the hunt for goodies to take home. I always forget to capture things.

The thing is, there are some vendors that are very thoughtful about their merchandising. And, with the collections of so many old and  interesting items, it makes for killer displays and you guessed it… photos. I hope to get better about remembering to snap more photos each time we go.

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There was some really great stuff this month. We got rained out at February’s fair. But, we did walk away with about 1 item each, before we noticed that vendors were packing up and the rain was starting to come down hard. But, we made up for it this month. Or, at least, I did.

Sunday, we got a little sprinkling and a good downpour on our way out, but for the most part it was a win. I walked away with some serious loot. See below:

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I found some really great decapitated doll heads for my current collection, which is rounding out quite nicely. They are my favorite photo props for class right now. But, I have about 7 now and could probably take a break in collecting them, for now. Unless I find something that I can’t live without, of course. I also found this lovely non decapitated doll, with a perfectly cracked face. She is going to be another fine model for photos. I’m quite excited. I also scored the sweet little porcelain kewpie lookin’ doll, some $1 glass medicine bottles, a lovely black glass tray, a perfect old (but never used) photo album, and that rad purple trunk! It was a good day.

Emily and I have discussed opening an online shop, likely through Etsy, to sell some pieces in. We plan to sell items from our own collections so we can cycle though a bit and keep collecting without becoming hoarders. It’s always fun to purge and refresh, and it should help to keep our most recent habit a bit less dangerous. We already have some pieces set aside ready to sell off. So, keep an eye out!


Into the Woods. V2. Color edition.

More from an early morning session with Stephanie and Sarah, this time some color shots. I edited a good amount in black and white, but I loved the fire-y orange of the sunlight and some of the cool color tones in these that I wanted to share some in color also. I’m still practicing and learning, so this was a lot of fun. Mostly, just a nice relaxed morning with my people. Thank you Stephanie and Sarah for getting up at 6am to catch this light!

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reserve (5) reserve (6) reserve (7) reserve (12)See some Black and White shots here.

Into the Woods. V1. Black and White.

I was fortunate to get my Sister and girlfriend Stephanie up early one morning last weekend to try to take some photos in the morning sunshine. My first assignment in Photography class this semester is Light, and after going to this spot for the hiip Winter photo shoot, I wanted to go back and play some more. Here is just a little bit of what came about with some black and white editing. Please, be kind, as I am not traditionally trained in photo editing digital photos. I just play around. I do plan to take a digital class next. Film is just so darn romantic, though. I wasn’t ready to take a break quite yet.

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reserve (9)See the color shots here.

Double exposure trial.

Back in the day, about 10 years ago. My girlfriends and I used to love doing fun photo sessions. When my girlfriend Laura lived with us, there was always a photo experiment of some sort. We’d set up a back drop and go to town experimenting. It was one of the funnest things ever. Since, starting my photography class in the fall, I have longed for those days. I have so many ideas and things I want to try.

A couple weeks ago while preparing for my portrait assignment for class, I got the urge to go play. I dragged Stephanie and Sarah along. Stephanie picked a nice spot up off 280 to watch the sunset and shoot some photos. I wanted to try some double exposure stuff. Here is what came out. Pretty amateur. I have a lot to research and learn still to get them just right. But, this was so fun and I can’t wait to try again!



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