Weekly Photo Challenge: Careful

In high school, I got the chance to take ceramics to fulfill a “tech” class (my other one next semester was jewelry-making!). I really enjoyed it, making molds, sculpting, and my favorite part, glazing the ceramics and see how the finished product would come out. Years and years later, I got a chance to do some “throwing” – sounds violent, but really just means the process of making something on a pottery wheel. Like in the movie ‘Ghost’… am I dating myself with this reference?!

Anyway, if you’ve ever thrown pottery it is a bit twitchy. i was never good at it and I need a lot of hands on guidance because if you’re not careful, too much pressure will give you a big gaping hole in your pot or make the walls too thin. It’s a delicate process that requires some patience…

IMG_6572

Weekly Photo Challenge: Orange

I’ve lived in Syracuse for several years now, and it becomes apparent very quickly that the ‘Cuse is very proud of their basketball team – the Orange! So when I saw this week’s photo challenge, I thought it was quite fitting. However, if you follow college basketball you’ll also know that the NCAA just imposed a bunch of penalties on SU’s basketball team and coach Jim Boeheim… so it’s not a great time for the Orange right now.

Still, I have to start off with an Orange pic:

DSC09228Watching the Syracuse vs Cornell game. As a Cornell alumna I wanted to root for Cornell too!

DSC05686

The most adorable little donut peaches at a u-pick fruit stand near Ithaca.

IMG_4243A brilliantly orange cosmos flower from our own garden!

IMG_4286

A brightly hued playground in NYC. Can anyone guess which one this is? Hint: It’s in Chinatown!

IMG_5282I love all the fiery hues of autumn, encapsulated in a single leaf.

orlando-299

I’m a sucker for bright, shiny explody things – which is why I enjoyed the Indiana Jones Stunt Show at Disney World. I think I saw this when I was kid even – it hasn’t changed much!

Travel theme: Energy

Living in a smaller city now has made me appreciate even more the city of my birth – New York City! There’s a wonderful zest and energy that the city has that, to me at least, is inimitable. On any given day there’s tons of stuff going on – concerts, festivals, museum exhibits, shows, etc. And of course, it’s a given that you’ll find awesome food if you know where to look. Even now, there’s a hot chocolate festival going on! Le sigh…

Anyway, I may be extremely biased, but I do believe that NYC is a great city full of energy!

DSC06770

A accordion player during the festival of San Gennaro in Little Italy.

DSC04940

Setting off fireworks (illegally, I must add!!) in the streets of Coney Island during July 4th.

IMG_0766

Although it’s pretty much a tourist trap, it’s a must-do for out-of-towners – Times Square! Stay for the lights and the bustling crowds, maybe get some cheap Broadway tickets at the TKTS booth… but do not eat here. It’s all crap chain stuff.

IMG_5645

One of my favorite places in NYC – Grand Central Terminal! Probably because I’ve never had to actually take a train here, but just to admire the architecture and maybe charge my iPhone at the Apple store heh. There’s definitely a lot of energy at this transportation hub. One of my favorite parts is the constellations picked out on the ceiling.

IMG_0901

Another ubiquitous scene in NYC. If you’ve taken the subway or strolled through an open touristy area, you will have seen these Showtime kids – they blast music, hype up the crowd, and do a lot of impressive acrobatics and gymnastics. It’s pretty cool when they do it on the subway with the poles. After a while though, you do become a bit jaded about seeing them ^_^;;

Travel theme: Transformation

<cue computer voice>

Transformers – robots in disguise!

I couldn’t help it, this week’s travel theme by Ailsa reminded me of them! Here’s a quick shot of Megatron, the transformer baddie.

orlando-148

Anyway, on to the more “serious” photos for this week’s theme! I’m always impressed by people’s artistic skill, and their ability to transform a blank canvas into something that captivates people and expresses their emotions. An artist can be anyone who creates, in my opinion – the traditional artist with pencil and sketchbook, a sculptor who finds vision in clay or stone, and even the sometimes vilified graffiti artist.

DSC02671I took this photo on a trip to London, around the Brick Lane area where there are many colorful graffiti artworks. This one is in the process, but even in the early stages it is quite beautiful!

Another example of artistic transformation, showing that anyone can be (sort of) an artist with enough guidance!

DSC06970

the beginning!

DSC06989

the finished painting!

While this isn’t going to fool any Van Gogh fans, I was pretty pleased by how it turned out and how fun it is to create something! If you haven’t tried one of these painting classes, you should check them out – even the artistically impaired like me come out looking good!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Symmetry

There have been studies showing that people who have symmetrical features are found to be more attractive and beautiful than their slightly more lopsided counterparts. However, most people aren’t symmetrical – our eyes might be a little off, or one bigger than the other, ears not even (apparently this is very common according to my optometrist!) and so on and so forth. Maybe our natural asymmetry makes us pursue symmetry even more, whether in architecture, design, or beauty.

nola-165

This photo is from Oak Alley Plantation near New Orleans, Louisiana. The name is pretty self explanatory – the walkway is lined with amazing centuries old oak trees, creating a beautiful tunnel of greenery leading to the grand house. Although the symmetry is striking, I really like the juxtaposition of the oak trees themselves –  asymmetrical, gnarled and totally perfect in their own way.

Also a little fangirl note for those Nora Roberts fans – they used Oak Alley as the filming location for Midnight Bayou =D

Travel theme: Details

I’m the kind of person that my travel companions roll my eyes at while I stop to take a picture of something mundane – I can’t help it, I like to capture every little detail whenever I’m on a trip! That includes food… yes, I’m very guilty of that, sorry! But when I look back at my pictures, I find that oftentimes it is those photos of little details that bring back specific memories and feelings for me.

DSC02481

This photo reminds me of cycling around Hyde Park and Kensington with the rental bikes. It was a nice because we only paid £2 to use the bikes and then as long as we re-docked them within 30 minutes it was still free. So we probably biked 2-3 hours around with those bikes, docking them and then checking them out again at 30 min intervals. We even had time to go have tea at the Orangery and then come out and ride again!
DSC03564

We visited the English countryside of the Lake District, and the fields were filled with lovely bluebells! I love their delicate shape and brilliant color. We stayed at a lakeside hostel that was a 15 minute walk to town – which meant that we saw many fields of flowers, cows and sheep!
DSC05400

My college friends and I try to visit our alma mater once a year – it’s become a tradition to rent a house, play games and have a BBQ. While walking around campus last year, I saw this chalk drawing on the sidewalk – we used to live in Fontana Apartments during our senior year! Ahh… brought back some nostalgic memories.

DSC06061

This was what my father felt was appropriate footwear for my cousin’s beach wedding. I was considering saving this picture for blackmail, but it wouldn’t work because he feels no shame at all.
DSC07451

Another cousin, another wedding. This is their kitchen table the morning of the wedding day, filled with takeout boxes of delicious dim sum sustenance for the family and the bride and groom to feast on before the long day ahead. Just looking at this picture reminds me of the cheerful bustle in the house, everyone talking over each other and fighting for the last shrimp dumpling.
IMG_2564

This was from a trip to China, when we were visiting a local temple. The whole atmosphere was very solemn and reverent as we were looking around… and then you peek into a room and see a ping pong table. I guess even solemn and reverent needs to take a break sometimes!

This post is in response to Ailsa’s Travel Theme! Go check out her great pics 🙂

Weekly Photo Challenge: Scale

Maybe it’s because I’m short, but I’ve always been acutely aware of scale. Especially with a tall husband, if I’m not on my tippy-toes or in heels I am dwarfed by him – and the fact that he’s tall and skinny whereas I am short and normal…. he makes me look shorter and fatter. Argh! Stupid scale!

In any case, using scale is a great way to emphasize how big or how small something is. Case in point – my daughter was born in November, a preemie at 6 weeks early and she was a tiny little thing! Her little fingers compared to my thumb make her seem even smaller and more delicate. Now she’s grown so much that her little hand wraps around my whole thumb!

DSC08840