Tag Archives: photography

Colorful and Delicious – Yes Please!

I found this photo today when I was looking through Flickr’s Creative Commons gallery for a picture to illustrate my next guest post at Balance In Me (coming this Thursday — shameless plug!).

But back to the ice cream. Does this picture make you want to lick your computer screen/smartphone or what??

Free Rainbow Sprinkle Ice Cream Cone Creative Commons

I am no photography expert, so I can’t speak about anything technical, but the colors in this picture are…. delicious. And sprinkles in general are just…. delicious. It is probably not coincidence that I lingered on this picture shortly after I visited Baskin-Robbins for the first time in years. I really wasn’t sure they still existed, but being in one reverts me immediately to a child. That’s something the frozen yogurt places will never have. (But I still love you.)

I was just moved to share this picture. It made me happy. I thought you might like to go to sleep or wake up to such colorful sweetness too.

Photo Credit: D Sharon Pruitt; see more of her photos here.


New Year Jitters

I was a little greedy and took an extra day off work this holiday break. My colleagues are back in the trenches today, but I knew that I wouldn’t be ready to come back so I attempted to prolong the inevitable return with an additional day.

I’m not sure it was the best idea.

Sure, I’m finishing up some errands, sitting at a coffee shop working on my blog, and when I’m done, I’m going home to DO NOTHING but catch up on my DVR (something I have yet to do this break). It all sounds perfectly relaxing, no?

But instead, the day has an anxiety cloud hanging over it. I’ve had such a wonderful holiday break, but I feel now like there is a countdown clock in my head to 6 a.m. tomorrow and its “tic-toc” sound is quite loud. Let me be clear, I have a great job that I enjoy and I work with wonderful people — this has nothing to do with job satisfaction and for that, I’m grateful. I think it is just about having a break. The novelty of a lifestyle that is so different from your normal routine. I’m worried that going back to reality will mean the end of these peaceful feelings.

But I have control over this, right? So I’m going to look back (via my less-than-spectacular photography skills) on a few fond memories of the break and how I can maintain these good vibrations when normalcy comes a-knocking tomorrow.

What I was feeling: Warmth and coziness in the picturesque holiday setting of Ohio.

How to keep it going: Well, I’m not doing a snow dance. I prefer to only visit the cold. But spending time with JB’s family was comforting and my own family is all within 10 minutes of where I live. It’s easy to take this proximity for granted. Perhaps a little more time spent with all of them in 2011 is in order.

What I was feeling: I mentioned in an earlier post how I look back on my college days and remember them as the least stressful times of my life. While I received some very honest feedback from that blog leading me to believe that perhaps I have extra-strength rose-colored glasses, when I had the chance on New Year’s Day to cheer on my alma mater in my hometown at the TicketCity Bowl, it was exhilarating to sing the fight song, see the band, and feel the purple pride among the crowd. We didn’t win, but it didn’t matter.

How to keep it going: I guess I could donate to my school. *pondering this* Ok, I’ve thought of something else. The real happiness of this day was the camaraderie among the Wildcat fans — even more so given how outnumbered we were playing a Texas school with 55,000 local alumni as opposed to our 2,000. And I do believe we cheered louder. Consequently, I would like to be a more active member (or at least a member) in the local alumni association this coming year. Being around people with whom you share a common thread — whether it’s a school, a love of movies, or the sick desire to do something crazy like run a marathon — can be a great way for adding some new activities to your routine.

What I was feeling: I’d like to end this look back with pizza. But not just any pizza, Chicago-style Lou Malnati’s pizza, as displayed above by JB and his oven mitt. We (but not so much of me) cooked this up, along with some black-eyed peas for good luck, after the bowl game. Besides feeling satiated in a way only cheese can do, I felt so excited that we had nothing to do but eat this pizza and watch that other team in purple make Texas proud. Falling asleep on the couch at 8:30 p.m. also didn’t hurt.

How to keep it going: Should be pretty simple, if I can only remember that it’s not necessary to schedule something every weekend night.  I feel selfish and guilty when I don’t make plans with friends, like I’m wasting an opportunity to catch up and develop those relationships. But man, that pizza at home tasted GOOD!

I could continue with this stroll, but I can’t believe how long this post has become. Besides, I think I’m ready. The “tic-toc” sound has lowered. The to-do list is completely checked and the Google Reader is empty. My mind should be prepared to enter back into reality.

Or maybe I need just one more day…

Have you taken the plunge and headed back to work? Did you survive? Assuming you did, what’s on deck for 2011?

The Balance Conundrum in South Florida

I barely know how to “point and shoot” (I think that expression is supposed to convey simplicity and quite frankly that offends me), but I thought this blog post would come across better in pictures.

I recently came back from a brief vacation to the South Florida area, specifically two days in Key Largo and two days in Miami Beach. My blog is about finding balance without simplifying, and these two cities — only 70 miles apart — definitely exemplify the polar extremes of leisurely beach town living and hurried city life. True to my nature, I found I longed to be in one when I was in the other! Let’s begin the journey, shall we?

When JB and I travel (or do anything), we like to start with food. This trip was no different. Here, we indulge in the freshly made sticky buns and strawberry shakes at Knaus Berry Farm in Homestead, FL.

We left full of sticky-cinnamony goodness and arrived in Key Largo. Hello simplicity. This is our friends’ back porch on Little Buttonwood Sound. To quote JB, “it doesn’t suck.”

I would continue to enjoy that box of sticky buns and coffee in the coming mornings right at this table below. So far, relishing this life – mornings for me are the time when I welcome simplicity the most.

On our first night in Key Largo, we drove to another key, Islamorada, to enjoy sunset drinks at Lorelai Cabana Bar. I include this because I think it’s pretty telling of the pace of a town when you can show up at a bar at happy hour, easily find a parking space, and get a table (overlooking the water, no less) immediately.  All that was left to do was sit back and enjoy the music. Not too shabby.

The Keys were wonderful and relaxing, but it only took a couple of days for me to start missing the fast-paced city life. I craved seeing more people out and about and the little things like a Starbucks on every corner. So, in the words of Will Smith, welcome to Miami (Beach).

I could feel the difference immediately — goodbye undemanding life, but hello to energy! And diversity! And….. traffic. Oh well. We ate a great cafe on Ocean Drive.

The crowds on a beautiful Sunday afternoon around the Lincoln Road shops – yay for commerce (and dreidels made out of shells)!

And even when you are bringing the heat in South Beach (which we did none of, by the way), you can still find some peace, such as sitting on the rocks watching the cruise ships leave at dusk. Bon Voyage!

And so we said bon voyage to our time in Florida as well. After two days in Miami Beach and then back home to reality, I was nostalgic for my days eating sticky buns overlooking the water with nothing to do, but I know my life will always need the energy and diversity (and even the traffic), so the quest continues for perfect balance.

What do you prefer on vacation — doing nothing or sightseeing? How do we balance the two? And, most importantly, do you call them cinnamon rolls or sticky buns?