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I’m bummed to admit I don’t have a tutorial ready for today, which seems kind of silly since I have the supplies for two tutorials just sitting around! I’ve been really busy this week, though, and I’ve had a cold that’s left me feeling very tired, mostly because I get congested as soon as I lie down and then I can’t sleep! I really wanted to share a tutorial today, but I took a lengthy nap instead of photographing it. Oops.

It’s okay, though, because I’ve also been wanting to share a bit of how I edit my creative self portraits. Folks keep asking how it’s done, so it’s time to share! Yesterday I posted this one, “Really good book.”

A really good book

The first step to creating a levitation photo is planning. So are the second and third steps. Without a plan and a concept, it just won’t work out or will be incredibly difficult to composite. I like to start with the concept/feel and then go from there, so I ask myself questions like:

  • “Why am I levitating?”
  • “What am I wearing?”
  • “What feel do I want the photo to have?” etc.

For this photo, I wanted to express the magic of reading a good book and the power it has to make you feel transported somewhere impossible. If you can’t tell, I really love reading! I’ve finished off four books in the last week (?! Maybe that’s why I always feel busy… Two of them were really short, though! And two I listed to in audio form). I wanted to use this white chiffon dress I recently found on super sale because it has a sort of childlike, innocent feel to me. It has little lace details around the neck and arms that sort of remind me of a nightgown, plus it’s very floaty and etherial. I like how it lends an air of childlike trust and confidence in the situation – the belief that a book really could make you float and accepting that this is going to happen by going ahead and tethering yourself to the ground so you don’t drift too far. The float/weight was another important element for me. I really enjoy juxtapositions, so I liked using something that is typically used to float as a weight, instead. Once I had the concept and dress figured out, I knew I wanted the picture to be in the forest, not at the beach where I usually like to shoot, to give that added sense of contrast. A fishing float at the beach doesn’t make you stop and think nearly as much as seeing one in the forest!

After figuring out these details, you have to pick a prop to “levitate” on. The right prop is key to a successful levitation photo. If you want it to look realistic, and not just like someone jumping in the air, you need a stool, ladder, or something else to stand/lie/sit on. In this case, it’s one of our “dining room” stools (we just have a little dining area that’s somewhere in the kitchen/living room area of our apartment). You also have to plan how you’ll be perched on the prop, or props, so that the overall feel will be realistic. You can just plop down and have your dress clearly hanging over a chair and expect to look like you’re floating! There’s a levitation photo I’ve been wanting to take for over a year, but I haven’t figured out how to hit the pose and make it cooperate with a dress, so I still haven’t been able to take it. In the picture below I did an elbow and one leg plank between two stools. It was difficult, but it’s how I kept the skirt from being squished under me!

reading a book levitation

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Wordless Wednesday – A Really Good Book

A really good book

Natasha

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Wedding Anniversary Small Batch Cupcake Recipe

It’s our anniversary – hooray! Literally. Today is our actual second anniversary!

our wedding day

It’s kind of like our first, though, because we weren’t able to celebrate our first anniversary together. In fact, I would hesitated to say either of us really “celebrated” at all. My dad passed away exactly two weeks earlier and my husband was on deployment, so the mood wasn’t exactly festive! I did have brunch with my mom and sister, which was nice, but the overall atmosphere wasn’t particularly celebratory.

Although loosing my dad wasn’t on the agenda, we actually never expected to spend our first anniversary together because we knew he had a deployment coming up. We consciously decided not to follow tradition and freeze some cake to share on our first wedding anniversary. Instead, we decided that, since I made our original wedding cake, I’d just make more cake for us to share when we did get to celebrate together! So now here we are at that day and I’m sharing our wedding anniversary small batch cupcakes. Admittedly, they’re not super small bach (the recipe makes 10-12), but at least it isn’t as much as a “normal” cupcake recipe! {{As a note for new visitors – yes, I did make our wedding cake. We actually self-catered the entire reception! If you’re looking for information and resources about catering your own wedding reception, please see my posts on self catering your wedding and planning your self-catered wedding reception.}}
Small Batch Wedding Anniversary Cupcakes [click to continue…]

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Hi, everyone!

It’s been a while since I shared a Motivational Monday post, so I thought I would do something special/different for today – a guided meditation!

For the longest time, I was curious about meditation but didn’t know how to start. In retrospect, that’s kind of silly – there are so many ways to meditate and it really isn’t tricky to get started. (If you’re trying to figure out how to begin your own meditation practice, I highly recommend you check out Sit Like a Buddha. I’ve written about how much I like this little book before!). Guided meditations are particularly helpful for working towards specific goals, in this case having a joyful week filled with love and gratitude. =)

As you may (or may not!) have noticed, I have a new “Members’ Area” tab. These pages are password protected, but everyone who confirms their subscription to my email newsletter receives the password. (If you already subscribe, please check for last week’s newsletter to find the password. You can also leave a comment or email me and I’ll send it to you again!) Anyway, if you look at the new area you’ll find a link to the audio version of this guided meditation available for download so you can listen anytime, anywhere. Yahoo!

If people enjoy it, I’ll be creating more guided meditations in the future, so please let me know!

Hope your Monday is off to a great start. =)

Natasha

 

 

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Cooling Lavender Mint After Sun Spray

I don’t tan. No, really. I either stay white or I burn – but there really doesn’t seem to be any middle ground. I’m from South Carolina, and I can easily spend a couple of hours outdoors there without heavy duty sunscreen, and I gave up on sunscreen after the first day in West Virginia (a whole month outside left me with a barely perceptible tan and nothing more). It’s like I have a magic Gringa Superpower to stay so pale people ask me if I really do live in Hawaii! But speaking of Hawaii – here I can burn without sunscreen in only about 20 minutes, so I’m constantly slathering the stuff on. Even with sunscreen, I’ll sometimes end up burned, just like I did this past weekend. (Don’t worry, Mom, it wasn’t that bad or extensive! But it hasn’t been comfortable, either.)

Aloe is an amazing thing, but I can’t deny that I also love my essential oils. That’s why I created this soothing lavender mint after sun spray! It feels awesome on irritated skin, it smells amazing, and it’s super easy to make.

Cooling Lavender Mint After Sun Spray Recipe

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Wordless Wednesday – Dance to your own Tune

Dance to your own tune

Natasha

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Yesterday I was working on my self love e-course (I’m almost ready to share more details so stay tuned!!) and talking about the importance of staying grateful and looking for solutions instead of problems, particularly when you feel like you’re having ‘one of those days.’ Apparently the universe was listening and decided to test me because I had a lot of solutions to find today! (Including rewriting this blog post because, in spite of usually auto saving and typically having a back-up in browser, somehow when I originally tried to publish this post, it evaporated instead).

Anyway, today I’m sharing a yoga practice for the chest and shoulders. Just a few days after we returned home from our extended trip, my shoulders had a really rough day at the gym. We did max effort floor presses (they’re similar to bench presses) and then a lot of push ups. The next day my chest and shoulders were a sore, stiff mess! I worked through various yoga poses to see what offered them relief, and that’s how this practice was created. You don’t need to be an athlete to appreciate this practice – most people in the Western world end up with cramped chest and shoulders at some point due to sitting down using a computer or other electronic devices. There is also a bit of calming breath work, so that’s a great way to destress, too.

Before linking the video, I would like to apologize for the video quality. It’s a long story, but several of today’s solutions to find centered around filming this and my small video camera is currently on the fritz due to corrosion at the battery contact points. I’m working on getting these tech issues resolved and hopefully next week’s video will be better. =)

 

Please leave a comment and let me know what sorts of practices you’d like to see more of. Guided meditations? Relaxing/restorative practices? Something faster paced? Please let me know!
Natasha

 

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Sometimes the best weekends leave you with a few bumps, scratches, and a bit of sunburn – but they’re all totally worth it.

We loved our time in West Virginia, but being away from home made us realize we’d started taking some things around us for granted. We hadn’t used our paddleboards in ages, (we hadn’t actually taken our personal boards out in a year and a half!), we’d barely made it to the beach all year, and we had only done one hike since January. Yikes!

This weekend we decided enough was enough – it was time to get out! We started off Saturday morning with the Crouching Lion hike, named after a rock formation that looks, well, like a crouching lion. No, really – it actually kind of does. We only have some pretty poor GoPro photos because we didn’t actually bring our “real” cameras up the hike, but you can see the lion:

crouching lion hike

Don’t you love that warped horizon I couldn’t quite get edited out?

And, of course, we had to take goofy selfies. I mean, it’s what you do on hikes in Hawaii! If you don’t have a GoPro and a selfie stick, I’m pretty sure they don’t let you hike here (That’s a joke/exaggeration, but they really are popular).

hiking crouching lion

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If you don’t know I love beachy decor, this is probably your first time visiting my blog! I’m lucky it’s summer for many other people right now, too, because I can feel a little awkward sharing beachy projects when I know it’s winter most everywhere else in the US.

Anyway, for today’s project I decided to try out something I’ve been eyeballing for a long time – that stone textured Krylon paint. I found it in a “fine texture” at the local craft store and I just couldn’t resist any longer. The Sandstone color is a wonderful match for sand, so I decided to make a sandy texture summer beach vase! Isn’t it cute?

DIY Sand Texture Summer Beach Vase Tutorial

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Wordless Wednesday – Never Mind Convention

Never Mind Convention

natashalh

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