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Sorry posts have been sparse lately. There’s been a ton going on and I promise I will make a big update post as long as everything has settled!

Good luck to Hurricane Sandy -ers out on the East Coast. Stay safe.

one last parting shot from our shoot last week…

 

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Photography 101

Blaise took me out to the Phoenix Mountain Preserve today so that I could begin to learn how to use his DSLR. I inherited a pretty snazzy old school SLR from my grandfather (I believe it’s an Olympus OM-2?) but I have yet to really get the hang of it. It really sucks to pay for a roll of film and development to find out that you didn’t set the aperture or shutter quite right. But with the DSLR (Blaise’s is a Cannon 40-D), I can take just about as many pictures as I want.

Blaise is a pretty good teacher, and although I find most of my pictures pretty boring, they turned out okay! More shoots to come, hopefully with more interesting subjects!

(this is a creosote plant. The cool thing about creosote is that when it gets wet it releases a very unique, crisp scent into the air. Whenever it rains here in Phoenix, the whole city smells of wet pavement and creosote!)

Sneaky lizard under another creosote bush

And then dear Blaise took to taking a few shots of me!

I really feel like I need more hobbies these days… more things to fill up time in a meaningful way and make life a little more fun. Perhaps photography shall fit the bill for now? We’ll see.

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Am I Blushing?

Awww, guess what!? I’ve been nominated for a Beautiful Blogger Award!!

Now, this is really quite the honor and I’m feeling pretty special. And the best part of the whole thing is that I get to pay this special honor forward! More on that in a minute.

I’ve been informed that being bestowed with this award comes with a few tasks I must complete.

  1. Thank the blogger who nominated you.
  2. Attach the award to your site for braggin’ rights.
  3. Share 7 random facts about you. 
  4. Nominate 15 bloggers for the Beautiful Blogger Award.

[1.] I happen to have been nominated by the lovely Amber Starts Today whose blog is full of great insights on life and living. Go check it out now! I really want to thank you, Amber, as it is just so very sweet of you to appreciate The Good Life and all the randomness I have put online here. Thankyouthankyouthankyou!

[2.] I am about as computer savvy as a bat and wordpress.com is sort of my own personal rubik cube, so if anyone has any advice or instructions on how to permanently install this icon to my blog, please let me know! Many thank yous in advance.

[3.] 7 Random Facts – let’s go!

  1. I played piano from the age of 4 – 21 and went to college to study music. I ended up changing my major, but being a pianist was a major part of my life.
  2. I also wrote the music for three school plays during high school.
  3. I didn’t start drinking coffee until I was 20.
  4. I think the best band of my generation is absolutely, positively, Radiohead.
  5. I used to be a lifeguard and yes, I actually had to jump in after some kids on a few occasions. Scary!
  6. I’ve hiked the 2nd tallest mountain in Arizona twice, but still have yet to do the Grand Canyon. Hmm…
  7. What I would really like to add to my urban farm right this very moment is a goat. A girl can dream, no?

[4.] And here are my nominees for The Most Beautiful Bloggers:

When Life Is Good
Raising Gabe
The Great Dorset Vegetable Experiment
Mrs. Buena Vida
Novice // Sage
Food, Foraging and Farms
Fortyteen Candles (love this one!)
Club Schadenfreude
Urban Chickening
Longest Acres
Simply Breakfast
Linda’s Bees
A Windycitygal’s Weblog
Swebb in India
HipsterApproved.net

Get to reading, friends!

Living

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French Toast bites for breakfast Sunday morning! Yum!

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We’re been taking a lot of bike rides on the tandem lately. So fun to see everyone’s smiles when we cruise by. Unfortunately, we happened to get a flat tire on this particular ride. Whomp whomp!

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We made Nettle Mint tea with the help of our STILL hot sun. We’ve had a few days of cool weather, but Phoenix is still rather warm these days.

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But not so warm I haven’t pulled out my fall clothes! I keep meaning to do some style posts… Maybe I’ll get up the guts to start doing them soon!

xoxo

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Coming Up Roses

Well… I suppose we don’t have any roses at the moment, but here’s what’s coming up over here:

Radish

Broccoli

Spinach

Carrots

Buttercup Squash

and let’s not forget the sunflowers!

Also growing but not pictured at the moment are onions, kale, garlic, and several other varieties of squash (pumpkin and yellow straightneck!)

Last but certainly (!!!) not least:

(although kind of hard to see, two of the chicks are under the lemon tree and the grown up brood is staring at them from their run)

The Welsummer says hello! She is very, very loud…

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The Good Life

10 Ways To Live The Good Life
(or — 10 Lessons I Have Learned the Hard Way)
 
 
10. Thank Your Parents
They made you, they love you, and unless your parents are drug addicts or abusive jerks, you really should give them a call (like, right now) to tell them how much you appreciate them. Being a parent is probably the most undervalued job on the entire planet and it really shouldn’t be. 
 
9. Be Nice to Children and Old People
Must I elaborate on this one? Apparently I do. It’s cool if you don’t want kids – I’ve seen enough bad parents in my life to know that not everyone should have kids, especially if you don’t want them. But even when children are literally the most annoying, noisiest, and irritating creatures running around, you should still be kind to them. You were a kid once, you know? As for old people, they’ve done a hell of a lot more living than you have and you really should appreciate their wisdom and knowledge. Both children and old people are people, for pete’s sake, and there’s nothing different about them other than their height and/or number of wrinkles on their faces. Be good to them. Actually, we might as well just call this one “Be Good to Everyone.” 
 
8. Be Humble
Please see #2 and #1 for more details on what this looks like, but being a humble person is what will draw others to you. This doesn’t mean you have to be self-deprecating or in denial about your awesomeness, but rather that you are able to accept complements gracefully, admit to your mistakes, and live out an understanding that you are in a state of constant flux and growth. Others will appreciate this realness in you. 
 
7. Take Risks – What’s The Worst Thing That Could Happen?
Nothing good in life comes without a bit of risk. Nothing. Want to fall in love? You have to risk getting your heart smashed to smithereens in order to find the right person. Want your dream job? Then call / email / show up at the office of the person you want to work for and risk getting turned down. Maybe they won’t turn you down. Want to travel the world? Go risk getting your passport stolen. Remember that everything in life is risky, but in the immortal words of Modest Mouse “it’s hard to remember we’re alive for the first time – it’s hard to remember we’re alive for the last time.” This life is it guys – go get ’em!
 
6. Forgive & Move On
Forgiving someone is tough, especially when you think they might not actually deserve your forgiveness. Moving on is equally as tough because we are a naturally grudge-prone species. If you find that you can’t forgive someone and really just forget about it, then maybe you shouldn’t be in that relationship anymore (platonic or otherwise). However, you first need to learn how to tell the difference between something that should be forgiven and something that really wasn’t okay and needs to be forgotten… forever. 
 
5. Get Up & Then Get Up Again
Inevitably, we’re all going to take a few knocks in this life. Actually, we’re going to take a lot of knocks. Learn how to process these setbacks with grace, maturity, and the understanding that nothing is ever really a failure. And then get up back on your horse and try again. 
 
4. Surround Yourself With People Who Love You
My only New Years’ Resolution a few years back was to put good people in my life who could build me up, and who I in turn could build up, too. It was awesome, guys! I opened myself up to a lot of wonderful people and found that I built a community of people who truly valued supporting each other and accepting said support for themselves. We can’t go through this life alone – find good ones to journey with you.
 
3. Don’t Be So Hard On Yourself
Kind of like #6, you also need to learn how to accept forgiveness. You can’t sit around in a big pool of regret and self-pity for forever, so at some point you need to sit up, say that everything is going to be okay, and move on. Others will forgive you from time to time, and you really need to also be able to forgive yourself. 
 
2. Give Everyone the Benefit of a Doubt – i.e. Unless Otherwise Explicitly Stated, It is Not About You
So that barista gave you the stink eye? Your friend is being cold and distant? Your boyfriend/girlfriend didn’t text you back right away? Chances are, these things have nothing to do with anything YOU did. Most people are in their own self-centered little worlds and they really aren’t thinking all about you every second of the day. Give people the benefit of a doubt. Maybe the barista had a really late night and coffee’s just not cutting it. Maybe your friend got in a fight with her parents and she doesn’t want to talk about it, but she can’t stop thinking about it and therefore she’s not hanging on to each and every one of your words. And maybe, just maybe, your gf/bf’s phone died / they’re at work / they’re in the middle of a conversation with someone else and don’t want to be rude by texting in the middle of it / they’re driving / they forgot their phone at home / they didn’t hear the buzz of their phone / etc. / etc. / etc. Seriously, 99.99% of the time, it’s not about you. Realizing this will relieve a ton of stress and insecurity. 
 
1. You Have Nothing To Prove
Stop living by others’ expectations of you. Nothing will make you more miserable. Furthermore, train yourself to not feel the need to insist to new people how cool / smart / fashionable / fun you are. These are obvious things and they will come out naturally as you get to know the person. Be genuine, be yourself, and if that person isn’t in to you, then no big. It’s like #4, you only want people in your life who want to be there anyway. Just be true to yourself in all things, be proud of that, and remember that others’ opinions of you (your personality, success, choice of lifestyle, etc.) is the least important thing in the world. 
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Happy Hour

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Sometimes a girl just needs a glass of wine at the end of a very strange week. Sometimes a girl needs to keep her chin up and live by her principles even when the world feels upside down.

Forthcoming: My list of 10 Ways to Live The Good Life, i.e. 10 Lessons I learned the Hard Way. Be on the lookout for that tomorrow or the next day!

xoxo

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Hangin’ On

(circa 1991)

Little Bits

A bit of what’s going on around here:

The little ones are growing up so fast. I have to remember to snap a few shots every now and then because even I can’t tell from day to day, each pic reminds me that they’ve already gotten huge compared to how they used to be.

Sunflowers peeking up

New tomatoes

And because I’ve been blathering on and on about how cute the babies are, I’ve totally forgotten about the other, still awesome adult chickens.

Hey Pete!

and finally,

We also rearranged the house! Yesterday we took most of the day to do a ton of cleaning and moving. The place feels so much more open and airy!

Life is good! Hopefully I’ll get around to writing a more substantive post soon, but I’m in a rush this morning so be on the lookout in the near future!

 

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Cruise Control

1/ SR-89 North of the San Francisco Peaks
2/ Utah State Line at Monument Valley
3/ Monument Valley
4/ Arches National Park
5/ Me at Delicate Arch (the arch on the Utah license plate!)
6/ – 7/ Goblin Valley
8/ Glen Canyon Dam
9/ Cute Junior Ranger station!
10/ Lava Field near Sunset Crater / Wupatki National Monument
11/ Sunset Crater
12/ So big!

(P.S. Beach House show was ah-mazing!)

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