Monday, February 1, 2016

Hello, 21

Wow. I can't believe that today I turn 21. It's been a few years since I started feeling like an adult, but today the world will recognize me as one. I wish I did more fun things today, but I wanted to run my 21 errands:

My morning began with snuggles from Guinevere, and howling from Lancelot, who wanted to be let out of the bedroom. I stayed in bed for a few minutes while Shelby cooked bacon and eggs. Yum!

I then drove to the DMV to renew my driver's license and now have a horizontal one. Whoo hoo! On my way home I stopped at the town building and registered my car and registered to vote. Shelby joined me on the trek to Littleton where I attempted to renew my passport. Unfortunately, the Feds don't recognize NH temporary licenses, so I have to go back. >=/ At least I filled out the form, wrote the check, and had my picture taken.

We wanted to have lunch at the French Sisters bakery, but they're closed on Mondays. Instead we enjoyed soup and appetizers at Chang Thai!

After that I finalized my new website and set it live! I put so much time and serious PhotoShopping skills into it, and am so happy with the results. There are still a few updates I need to work on, but it's mostly all set.

The day concluded with dinner at Stickney's and a couple games of air hockey, which I lost to Shelby miserably. My end of the day reflections led me to decide that I need to be more spontaneous. I spent most of my birthday doing responsible things and didn't even have my first (legal) drink. My goal for 21 and beyond is to continue being responsible, but let things go. Be more fun and willing to make last minute decisions, or spend money on something I really want.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Driving Miss MegaBug

It has been FIVE YEARS since I brought home the MegaBug. Growing up, I was always fascinated by the 60s vibe and the social & politcal change that took place throughout the decade and into the early 70s. I adored the Volkswagen busses and bugs, and was a frequent winner of the Punch Buggy game. Everyone gave me diecast bugs as gifts, and I remember falling asleep with a green one in my hand, imagining I was cruising down Main Street with the windows down.

I finally started looking for a bug of my own at 15. After months of waiting, my step-dad had a lead for a 1999 green one down in Raymond.

Tim let me drive the two hours down so I could accumulate time for my license exam, and I'll never forget what it felt like to turn the corner and see that little green bug smiling in the lot. 

Because I didn't have my license, I rode with the dealer to Tim's mechanic friend's shop, checking out every inch and corner. After giving it the exam, Tim and his buddy took it for a spin while I waited for the verdict. Sure it was my money, but I wasn't going to buy a car if it didn't pass "inspection." When Tim's friend said it was a tight little shitbox, the wheeling and dealing began... and I was officially a car owner!

I left the bug down in sNH to have the timing belt and water pump replaced ($800 later...) and started driver's ed that evening. Symbolically, I also earned my license exactly one month after buying the bug. Meant to be!

Over a year later I had my senior pictures taken with the bug.

Photo by Rodeo & Co.

This is the one in my yearbook:

Photo by Rodeo & Co.

When I graduated from high school, we started taking more road trips.

I decorated really well.

And Nanny learned how to pack it.

Cheers, MegaBug! I can't imagine driving anything else.

Friday, January 1, 2016

2016: Growth

Last year was more hectic than I thought it would be, so I'm looking forward to the consistency that 2016 will bring. I'm so happy with my job which is a huge leg up, as last year I had three job changes and a bunch of not so fun days at work. Shelby and I are (finally) settling into our new apartment, finding a place for everything and making it pretty. With more consistency and time to breathe, I'll have more opportunities for fun. Yahoo! My goals and exciting plans for 2016:

*Visit Florida with Shelby! We are leaving a week from tomorrow and plan on visiting Florida's beautiful state parks, NASA, St. Augustine, and the Tampa area.
*Plan a stellar birthday party. I'm 21 this year!!!
*Continue learning by enrolling in fun classes and workshops, such as Fundamentals of Jewelry at the Littleton Studio School. Last year brought many life lessons, so I hope 2016 is full of fun ones!
*Crochet and other crafty things. I haven't picked up my hook in so long!
*Plan more day and weekend trips. I should probably renew that passport...
*Cook more! Now that I have my own kitchen, a Crock Pot, and a adorable mint green Kitchen Aide, I am ready to go to town. (Literally- I need groceries!)
*Find my style. I'm still figuring it out, but I know it will have a lot of vintagey pieces. As I'm officially in the working world and turning 21 soon, I'd like to learn how to piece together mature, stylish, sophisticated (and comfortable) outfits.
*Book larger clients through my business and expand deeper into commercial and landscape photography.
*Buy a house. We have the downpayment. We've taken a course. We're ready to go!
*Possibly visit Florida...again. Dad wants to have a huge family vacation with our and Charlotte's families towards the end of October. I'm in!

Already I feel a sense of ease entering this new year, and I can't wait to see what adventures it will bring.

Thursday, December 31, 2015

2015 Reflections

I titled my first post of the year, "2015: A New Era," and that has certainly been true. It was a transition from full time student to full time employee, and I finally gained a huge amount of independence that I had been dreaming about for so long. This is what the new era of my life brought me:

*Lost my dear cat, Puss on the second day of the year. It's a devastating blow I'm still trying to overcome.
*Experienced my first collision when I drove the bug into a highway guardrail after hitting black ice. It was a scary experience, but I was able to drove home from it okay.
*Moved out of my parents' house on my 20th birthday! Granted it was to a semi-permanent house sitting gig down the road, but I had an entire house to myself. As 2015 comes to a close, I have since moved an additional two times. Ugh. Now I'm living with Shelby in a lovely apartment in Bethlehem. Yay!
*Enrolled in WREN's Business and Entrepreneurial Technical Assistance program and gained more relevant knowledge than I learned during my entire business degree program. It was an amazing course and I feel significantly more confident in running my business than ever before.
*Competed in the first annual Littleton Area Capital adVENTURE Challenge and made many new connections and experiences.
*Left my job at the Chamber and was offered a marketing assistant position in Plymouth. I left that job a few months later and am so happy to be past both of them. I took a leap of faith and am now working for Emshika, owner of Chang Thai Cafe and M-ZO Tea & Co. in Littleton, and I absolutely love it. I'm her assistant and marketing coordinator, which basically means I'm her errand runner, writer, photographer, travel companion, etc. It's awesome!
*Traveled to Nova Scotia with Mom. The province is gorgeous and so peaceful.
*Adopted two playful and adorable cats from a hoarder situation. They came named Guinevere and Lancelot- could it get any better?
*Had my first full gallery show at 42 Maple.
*Was able to spend more time with friends and family.
*Acquired so many new life skills. I learned how to be a teacher (at the Littleton Studio School!), design websites, make lattes, live alone, manage restaurants, and more.
*Took AHEAD's Secrets of Homebuying class with Shelby. Between that and my experience as a residential loan assistant, I feel confident and ready to buy a home. (And I have a good credit score!)
*Experienced incredible business growth that is carrying into the future. I invested all of this year's income back into the business and am pleased that 2016 will be my first year of profit.

What a roller coaster year this has been. I look forward to consistency and upward growth in 2016.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

On Printe

I'll never forget the moment I ordered my first canvases. My finger poised for the click, eyes anxious to see how they'd turn out- but I was reluctant. It's not often that I place print orders, and canvases are in a league of their own. I had no idea how they worked, how they're printed, or how much they were.

With the advent of digital photography, the majority of images created will never reach a tangible form. They're files and numbers and data and more technological than I'm capable of comprehending. Film was simpler. When I took Photography in high school, I was simultaneously enrolled in Chemistry. The two courses had more overlap than I thought possible, and I'm so lucky it worked out that I was in both.

Nowadays it's so easy to take a picture, that many don't understand the process behind photography or value professional photographers. The word "photograph" is a marriage or two Latin roots- "photo" translating light and "graph" meaning write. Because photography is writing in light, I've always thought of it as a science and an art.

In Chemistry we learn that light acts as a particle and a wave. When the shutter is released ("taking" the picture"), light waves enter the camera and are recorded when the particles react to chemicals on the film. The photo is a latent image and thus not visible until the film is developed with more chemicals. But film strips are small (generally) and don't look as pretty on the walls, so photographs are more likely to be printed with even more chemicals. It's a long process, but the photographer always ends up with a physical product.

Although digital sensors work similarly, there's no development process and no film, meaning an photograph could be taken and never seen again. Photographers now are more likely to post these images to Facebook and Instagram instead of printing them out and displaying them on the wall. I'm certainly guilty of this! But as I dive deeper into my business, I've decided to explore the fine art side of photography and frantically printed and framed about ten photos that are for sale at the Purple Peacock in Littleton. Framing is not my forte, and it took me hours of review reading to find just the right pen to sign the images with.

This month I upped the ante. In Bethlehem we have a new gallery known as 42 Maple. Angel from Larcom Studios (who designed MegaBug's fabulous logo and watermark!) asked if I would like to do a show with a sculptor from Massachusetts. I've had my work featured in galleries before, but I was responsible for occupying the entire wall space! Although an exciting task, it was also quite stressful.

The cost of printing and framing images adds up, which led to my hesitation at placing the canvas order. In a split second I mustered up enough courage to hastily click the submit order button, and there was no going back.

A week later I was greeted with bold color and familiar memories. The canvases glistened in the gallery light, people pausing to take a better look, discussing their thoughts on where each image was taken. One turns to me- "Are you the artist?"

To read about the gallery show on my MegaBug blog, click here.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Losing Your Sh*t and Cutting the Rope

When we tune into the right frequency, everything seems to fall into place. I've had a difficult time the past couple of days, but an article popped up in my Facebook newsfeed that piqued my interest- and it couldn't have come at a better time. The article was published on Elite Daily and is titled, "10 Reasons Why Losing Your Sh*t Will Make Your Life Come Together." Intrigued, I read Aleksandra Slijepcevik's list that placed emphasis on the individual, and how everyone experiences life differently. Under "10. Your breaking point is your solo journey. No outside feedback allowed," she wrote, "When you feel like you’ve reached a breaking point, something beautiful happens: You begin to listen to yourself, your own truth and your own suffering — that’s where healing begins."

This resonated with me. It reminded me of a time last November when I had come home from a difficult board meeting at my full time job. I was still attending LSC as a full time student, and felt so lost and overwhelmed. Instantly I collapsed on the couch and just stayed there all day, lying on my back and watching the sun set outside my living room window. It was quiet. The bold colors of evening turned into the darker, muted colors of night and I just watched, feeling helpless and confused. My family came home and didn't understand what was wrong with me, or why I continued to feel low and upset for the remainder of the week. But after reading Slijepcevik's article, I now understand that those three days of aguish revealed to me what my breaking point is.

When her article popped up in my newsfeed last night, I was feeling overwhelmed yet again. What Slijepcevik's article revealed that hit me so hard was that no one understands what you're going through but you. Yes, simple concept, but one that's very hard to understand when your loved ones are restless and frustrated with you for wanting to do nothing but stare out the window for a few days. They don't understand. However, the line when article truly clicked with me was, "You're not broken; you're simply out of order. Don't apologize for that."

So I went to sleep pondering Slijepcevik's philosophical revelations and woke up feeling like I had a purpose again. I try to stay away from Facebook, but I signed in this morning to see if a friend had received my message from the night before when a video popped up at the top of my newsfeed. It was from Humans of New York. Sole blogger/photographer, Brandon Stanton had posted the forum he was asked to participate in at Harvard University. I have followed his blog for over a year and admire the way Stanton uses only a few words and a single image to reveal the personality and experiences of a total stranger.

In the forum, he explained how HONY began, that what it is now is not the idea he came up with to begin with. He said, "I think the one thing that holds most people back from doing it [something creative] is that they're waiting for that perfect idea to cut the rope behind them and start putting their energies towards something they really want to be doing, that they're really passionate about."

This reminded me of "The Hero," the latest book in "The Secret" series and my absolute favorite. It perfectly illustrates Stanton's quote through multiple examples of how successful people made their dreams come true, and focuses on the Law of Attraction. I think it's time to move it back on my nightstand.

I'm amazed that these two stories came to me at a time when I could really use some inspiration. Hopefully I'll continue on this frequency and will embrace losing my sh*t, and finding some scissors to cut the rope.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Roaring Twenties

With every birthday, people ask if I feel different. A couple of days ago I turned 20, and yes, I do feel very different. It's incredible to begin my twenties having already graduated from college, a strong credit score, a steady full-time job, and now a house.

Okay, so I don't own said house, but I'm not really renting it either. The owners have temporarily moved to the Middle East and I am now responsible for their beautiful white house, dog, and cat. My cat, Puss was put down a month ago, so it is wonderful to have Arlo purr in my ear, step on my computer, and crawl in my lap. Ben is also a sweetheart, acting as my free personal trainer.

In the couple of days I've lived in this house, I am ecstatic about being a pretend homeowner. Grocery shopping excites me, and I feel fulfilled when cleaning and organizing. I'm so thankful to have the opportunity of learning how to care for a house without having to pay a mortgage or even rent. (Well, I do pay a little...)

I've already accomplished so much, and I now feel free to take advantage of my twenties and mold my life into exactly what I want it to be. In the past I've lived life quickly, and I'm truly enjoying moving at a slower pace and being able to balance just work and fun, not work, fun, and school. Ben and I walk everyday, and on Thursdays I have my tap class. I've been able to take WREN workshops and pay more attention to growing my business. Whatever the next decade brings, I hope to have a roaring time.