Sunday, August 19, 2018

Sunday #71: Traces

Hello, friends!  First of all, I'm going to start this post off with an apology: I'm sorry I've been away for so long.  I keep saying I'll be back and blogging more, but time has flown by and before I knew it, two months have elapsed!  I've put most of my hobbies (including this blog) to the wayside in the past few months.  I know it's not quite balanced and something I need to work on.  A lot has happened in the past two months so I'll fill y'all in (if you're still even around this space).


I've lived in Seattle for nearly five months now.  I'm ashamed to say I haven't spent as much time exploring as I could have.  I'm familiar enough with the neighborhoods in Eastlake, South Lake Union, Downtown, and Capitol Hill, but could really do with venturing outside.  I've discovered a few local coffee shops I really such as Voxx, Armistice, and Caffe Ladro.  The photo above was taken at Armistice, where I set up shop both mornings this weekend.  There's no shortage of good specialty coffee shops and I'm aiming to visit as many as possible. 

There's a lot of cool things about living in Seattle.  Everyone says the summer is really nice though I'm not much a fan of heat.  However, with summer comes the South Lake Union Block Party which was closed out this year by one of my all time favorite bands, Built to Spill!  Back in LA, my partner and I would attend every show they played.  In Seattle, I saw this show alone.  I wished my partner could've been there, but it was still fun to go to a show alone, to dance, and sing to my heart's content.  I screamed when they closed with Carry The Zero.  Speaking of my partner . . . he's going to be visiting this weekend.  I'm going to aim for getting out and exploring more.  Maybe Discovery Park?


In June, I turned thirty years old.  Yep, dirty thirty!  Ana flew out to surprise me for the occasion, followed by my partner the week after, and many calls/texts as well as time spent with friends.  I felt so loved and really helped ring in a birthday I was dreading.  Nat even sent me a whale ornament!  People definitely joke and call me old now, but I can definitely feel my age (in a good way).  They say that your thirties are some of your best years and I'm hoping that's true.  Certainly, I feel a clarity of mind and understanding of myself that I lacked in my twenties.  I don't stress as much of the small stuff and despite having hard days from time to time, I've shifted my mindset to always look on the bright side.  I think I have greater stressors, but I'm also more content in my lifestyle.  There are some less fun sides to thirty such as a slowing metabolism and gaining weight, but I'll get to that in a future post! 


Something I've really neglected in the past few months has been doing creative things outside of science.  I don't draw, play guitar, or photograph much anymore.  It seems weird because creating is such an integral part of my existence.  I've been having a hard time finding models out here in Seattle.  On top of that, I'm so tired by the time I wrap up my day (the to-do list is endless) that I've been opting to vegetate with Netflix instead of productively relaxing!  The most "artistic" thing I do is my bullet journal which I've largely used for tracking rather than creating.  

In a bid to get the creative juices going, I've picked up this notebook from Anthropologie and just started doodling in it.  Whether it's lettering or composing shapes to fill a space, I want to get back into the habit of creating images.  I've reached out to models I've photographed to ask if I might use their faces as references for drawings!  

In the vein of being creative, I'm going to aim to be better at creating on this space, too.  I've embarked on changing my lifestyle so look forward to fitness and art posts!  Anyways, I'm off to clean my house because I'm just that exciting on the weekend.  Also to buy a new cord for charging my phone because I managed to snap the end off my current one.  


•  Kim's Convenience on Netflix.  Witty.  Funny.  Aware.  ASIAN REPRESENTATION.
•  White Mustang by Lana Del Rey.  So soothing.  So good.

If there's anything else you're interested in (if you still read here, that is), feel free to drop me a line in the comments!  What fun stuff have you gotten up to this summer?

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Sunday #70: Make Yourself At Home

Happy Sunday, folks!  How are things in your little corner of the world?  Over here in Seattle, it's a sunny, lazy Sunday afternoon.  It's been a long, busy week so I'm enjoying my clean home with some Lana Del Rey playing in the living room.  I typically make no plans on Saturday and spend it doing home stuff, which includes cleaning my house so I can thoroughly enjoy it on the Sunday.  Old lady over here!  

Speaking of home, here is the "gallery" wall of my living room.  The table has a "Make yourself at home" sign a diffuser, candles, and flowers from the farmer's market.  I finally bought a guitar stand as incentive to display my baby and get back into the habit of regular playing.  Since I bleed money into rent, I decided to get as many functions out of my apartment as possible.  The living room functions as my office, music studio, gallery, home gym, and a photo studio, as you'll see below! 


My best friend Gina is an expert knitter and soon-to-be mom to both a little girl as well as a knitting business.  If you recall, she made me these beautiful hand-knit cat socks last year (pattern available here)!  She was in need of a photographer and model so asked if I would act as both for her new design.  You might've seen these already if you have Instagram, but I played one time model and wore her newest knit top!  I'm not used to being behind the camera, but I got a few shots that she liked.  I also did a flatlay photographs of the detailing above the hem in the back whilst accessorizing with fresh flowers from the farmer's market.  There you go.  The one and only modeling gig I'll ever have.


I always feel like I do the same things every week and don't go anywhere so there's not much to update y'all on, but there were quite a few new activities this week.  I'm jumping on a new (to me) project in lab which requires additional training on animal models so I've been completing a course at the University of Washington, which has been incredibly interesting!  I work with a few people in lab so I try to get in earlier nowadays to maximize productivity.  I'm usually drained by the time I leave, but it's also fulfilling so I can't complain.  I'm enjoying working with my newer colleagues a lot as well.  I also had brunch with a neighbor for the first time; it's nice to make new friends in the neighborhood.  

In other news, I'm turning 30 this upcoming Saturday.  My partner will visit me the weekend after so I'm going to have a few people over on the actual day for a small low key dinner with cooking by yours truly.  I'm thinking homemade apple pie, orecchiette with meat sauce, and a salad.  I have a lot to get done these two weeks so I can thoroughly enjoy my weekends! 


•  The new season of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt on Netflix.  I've been rewatching the show lately.  It's an incredibly witty, feminist show as well as a satirical take on modern times. 
•  Every Breath You Take on repeat.
•  Fade Into You also on repeat.  I just really like old music, ok?

Saturday, June 9, 2018

La princesa en el laberinto

Remember when I mentioned that I've had a 33% success rate in finding models in Seattle?  Here is Io, the 33%.  Turns out we'd been following each other on Instagram long before I moved here and I recognized her when I was out one day.  Of course, I asked her to model and one of the locations we at which we worked was Gas Works Park.  The park is host to a retired oil plant and now features green pastured hills with views of the Seattle skyline.  I was mostly drawn to the industrial backdrops which I think provides a nice juxtaposition of old:new and weathered:youth.

The first working backdrop was a set of stone arches which I used to frame the model.  As I was editing, I definitely got a feel of a princess in a labyrinth.  I'm trying to edit differently and get out of comfortable aesthetic habits.  I deliberately edited the first photograph in this post to be darker and more moody.  What are your thoughts?  Yay or nay?

We found some of the abandoned rigs and took photos there as well.  Like most people who grew up with it, I love America's Next Top Model and was always jealous of the cool backdrops on the show.  We got a lot more photos than are shown here, but I loved the old metal rigs!  My running joke was that everything in the park was pretty much walking tetanus. 

The last location at which we worked was by the water's edge.  The nice thing about Io is that she's game for anything and engages completely with her surroundings so she does things I wouldn't normally ask models to try.  Because of that, we got one of my favorite photos where she dangled over the water's edge!  Having a model who is so dynamic means I can focus most of my energy on framing and composition in place of directing.  For more, you can check out my photography Instagram, @alyseliangphoto, where I've posted additional images from this day in my feed.