Sunday, April 23, 2017

Sunday #44: Good Bread, Acts of Kindness

Lumière & Lens, fresh bread, flaylay, wooden flatlay, europane
Rosemary currant bread and coffee on a sunny morning.

Hey, you!  Hope you're well.  It's a drowsy Sunday and I'm gearing up with my second cup of coffee.  On the agenda today are house tasks, a workout, and data work to send my advisor before the weekend is over.  I'm doing some work with The 100 on --if you like post-apocalyptic science fiction, you'll like this show!  Now, on to the post!


Right after I shared a bit of realism on this blog, I had a rough night.  I broke the crock pot and cut my hand open on the serrated ceramic edge.  While flossing vigorously that night, I accidentally unbonded a part of my permanent retainer.  I then felt ill and didn't sleep until past 3:00 AM.  The following morning, I dropped my medication and spent awhile digging around for it in my room.  By the time I went into lab, I was a mess.  My colleague left Easter candy on my desk because she said, "You looked like you were having a really bad day."  Later that night, my boyfriend did all my dirty dishes so I wouldn't have to soak my cut hand.  I don't always think about it, but on that day, I appreciated the thoughtfulness of those acts of kindness.  It's the little acts of kindness that can really make a difference in someone's day and they inspire me to pay it forward.


I was invited to a dinner for my university's Y to meet the wonderful people who make student activities possible.  The guest lecture of the night was delivered by former Jet Propulsion Laboratory director Dr. Charles Elachi.  It was a fantastic talk on the accomplishments of the US in space in addition to being educational; I learned that moon formation can occur in the expansive rings around Saturn.  I also did a bit of photographic work this week: new headshots for my friend who is a junior professor and group photographs for a lab at my university.  The question I keep getting is, "So when are you going to start charging?"  I've been 100% focuses on portfolio building so far!


Half our house is gone this weekend on a backpacking trip.  The closest I will get to nature is camping -- I refuse to go backpacking because I'm NOT into that whole doing your business on the earth thing.  What I am into, however, is playing with Stella, but she went with my housemates and boyfriend so the house is TOO quiet this weekend.  I miss hearing the clicking of her feet against our wooden floors while she zips around all day!

Lumière & Lens, puppy, dog,

Looking forward to having her and my boyfriend home tonight!  I won't lie, though.  It's nice to have the whole bed to myself with candles lit, The 100 on, and not worrying about whether the stray light is keeping someone else up.  Just saying.


•  Nat talks about taking a non-linear career path with a law degree.
•  Felicia writes about our culture of hate-following and shifting our focus towards love instead.
•  Gillian shares 10 small ways to save money.  Definitely going to make some changes!
•  Michelle takes tangible actions to beat the Sunday blues
•  How women and men are socialized to -- or not at all -- to apologize.

Tell me about your week?

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Realistically, Behind the Scenes

I started this blog nearly 1.5 years ago as an outlet for photography, creativity, and positive documentation.  Life was (and continues) to be stressful and I wanted a place that was all my own, to freely create and write my whimsies.  So far, I think I've done a fairly good job at keeping Lumière & Lens a positive place: I share adventures, good times, and photographs I love, while keeping mention of the negatives to a bare minimum.  When I have a particularly uninspired or perhaps rough week, I've refrained from posting at all.   

However, that's not realistic, is it? 

One of the main complaints people have about social media is the illusion of a great life because only positive moments and achievements are shared.  In the age of blogging as a career, Instagram-curation, and personal branding, there's both pressure and expectation to maintain an image.  While Lumière & Lens, in all its aspects, and I are far from perfect, my adherence to showing just the highlights makes me an active contributor to the problem.  

Many of you commented on how I maintained my optimistic attitude on a day where nothing went right recently.  Truth be told, I'm naturally a very pessimistic person.  I consciously work against that nature, because it's draining to both myself and others around me.  Wallowing, complaining, and self-pity is the easier, downhill process against which I fight.  However, it doesn't mean that behind the scenes, I don't have myself a good rant, or struggle to kick myself out of it.

Towards the end of this past weekend, I was feeling unhappy, irritable, and frustrated, which I didn't share.  You get the happiness, not the moodiness.  You see the clean flatlays and not the mess of laundry on my bedroom floor.  I told you about happy I was to see my best friend, but not how sad I was to see her go because it's like parting with family.  I thought, "Nobody reads a blog to hear complaining."

When I'm having a rough time, I avoid Lumière & Lens, but I don't think that creates the most realistic representation.  I'm not going to start posting diatribes, but I want to acknowledge that it's not all light, all the time.  Not every moment makes it to the highlights reel, but they're not less worthy of a mention. 

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Sunday #43: 14,000 Steps

Self portrait in a gallery piece at The Last Bookstore in LA. 

Happy Easter, to those of you who celebrate this holiday!  I've never celebrated Easter, but there's been so much going on lately that it's felt like a holiday for most of the week.  My best friend Gina came to visit me, I spent time with my friend Roberta today at The Huntingdon, and there's a lot of preparation to be done before the new week starts tomorrow.  Suffice to say that I am knackered especially as I've walked 14,000 steps today! 


Gina finally arrived in LA!  I think we've been friends for nearly a decade now; I honestly lost track of the years.  As Gina puts it, we first bonded in undergrad by going to lunch, and were then stuck together forever.  Much of our friendship was built around shopping, food, and studying together.  She received her a PhD a few weeks ago so while this trip didn't involve a lot of studying, it certainly included copious amounts of food and shopping (I gained 5 pounds in one day from eating, no joke).

We went into LA via metro to eat at Bottega Louie.  We saw some well dressed, California fashion savvy women taking photos in front of the restaurant which prompted Gina to say, "Look! Bloggers!"  I suppose that's the thing you start recognizing when you hang out with me in addition to the (probably annoying) constant shutter clicking.  After lunch, we went to The Last Bookstore (post coming soon!) and took a trip to Little Tokyo.  During her trip, we also visited the Norton Simon Museum, ate our weight at Ramen Tatsunoya, and did a lot of walking around the city (13,000+ steps on all the adventure days).  

 Gina and I (top).  Walking through the Japanese Village Plaza in Little Tokyo, LA (bottom).

It was so much fun having her around!  We go back so many years that it was like having a little piece of home in LA with me.  I also took every chance to photograph Gina during her visit.  At one point, she asked, "Do you think you have enough pictures of me?"  Nah.  She was my first photographic subject when I got my DSLR all those years ago and will always be one of the most beautiful, inspiring women to me.  


My roommate Paul's birthday was on Friday -- what a week of nonstop activity!  We had an impromptu wine and game gathering that evening with people dropping in and out.  I played photographer/annoying-person-with-the-camera as I usually do and got a few snaps that I'm sharing.  Heck yeah, some Bananagrams happened! 


Some other things I did:  my lab had a full group meeting this Saturday in preparation for a research communication event.  I went in to listen to the practice presentations and then went home to get some painting done.  It was definitely one of those weekends where everything I painted looked like absolute GARBAGE.  I managed to fit in an ab workout afterwards that left me very sore.  I started watching the much buzzed about 13 Reasons Why and wrote up a post on Lumene skincare (click?).  There's still SO MUCH to do in terms of tasks and experiment planning so I'm off!

Are you watching 13 Reasons Why?  Anything exciting in your week?