Sunday, December 18, 2016

Sunday #29: The Last Day

Hello.  So I've been a teensy bit quiet this past week of Blogmas.  It's been busy trying to get things done before holiday, preparing for my time away, and work functions.  I have a work holiday party to attend tonight and then I'm flying to Chicago tomorrow!  I'm feeling slightly under the weather, too, so I'm resting and having some ginger lemon tea before the party.


Our lab, in collaboration with other researchers, attended a cancer workshop led by my advisor bright and early on Saturday morning.  Afterwards, a few of us decided to go to the UCLA campus to take some photos.  What ended up happening was my friends directing me to stand in certain spots and pose.  I don't think I've ever had so many pictures of me taken, all without a stitch of makeup (see below, photo by S. Peng).  I do think it's important to accept and like myself for what I look like without cosmetics.  Amidst pretending to be a celebrity accosted by paparazzi, I got a shot of my companions through some tall grass in the city. 


We recently watched Everest, the 2015 movie based on the 1996 disaster.  Since then, I've watched the movie again and done a lot of Internet reading on the incident as well as extreme mountaineering.  I am intrigued by extreme sports performed in places that are inhospitable to human life.  I also like living vicariously through people more sportif than myself.  My day long hike through the Sierras is as far as I will go.  I picked up memoirs by two survivors of the 1996 incident: Into The Air by Jon Krakauer and Above the Clouds by Anatoli Boukreev.  I meant to save them for the holiday, but I'm almost done with Into The Air.

Aside from work and reading about mountaineering, I didn't get up to a lot this week.  I've got to get on packing for my flight and cleaning up things around the house so I'll wrap up here.  Lumière & Lens will return to regularly scheduled programming this coming week!  I'll be talking to y'all when I'm settled in for Christmas in Chicago!

What did you get up to this week? 

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Sunday #28: Green Bar Distillery, Downtown LA

Lumière & Lens, Christmas, Blogmas

The weekends in December have been packed!  I just got home from a professor's holiday party and I have one next Sunday, the night before I fly to Chicago.  So little time, so much to do!


Last night, a bunch of us went to a tasting tour at Green Bar Distillery in Downtown Los Angeles.  They are an environmentally conscious distillery that makes spirits with organic ingredients and plants a tree for every bottle sold!  I'm not much of a drinker (I can't handle ANY alcohol), but I did enjoy the tour and learning about how spirits are made.  The machinery was really cool.  Their Ginger Organic Liqueur was my absolute favorite of the night!  Their tours are only $12 per person so I'd recommend a visit if you're in the Los Angeles area. 

Green Bar Distillery, Organic Distillery, Downtown Los Angeles
Distillation tank at Green Bar Distillery.
Green Bar Distillery, Organic Distillery, Downtown Los Angeles
Distillation apparatus and continuous fractionation machinery at Green Bar Distillery.
Green Bar Distillery, Los Angeles
Green Bar Distillery, Organic Distillery, Downtown Los Angeles, Flavor Infusions
Samples of the spices and flavors used to infuse their unique liquors.


We decided to go Angel City Brewery after the tasting tour.  Standard night of drinking, games, and me walking around with my camera to take sneaky shots.  My friend took my camera and snapped a few group photographs, which I really appreciated.  I am often always the one behind the camera and rarely in front of the lens.  He said, "You should have some pictures of yourself, too."  And here we are!

Angel City Brewery, Arts District, Downtown Los Angeles, DTLA
Little Tokyo, Far Bar
Far Bar, Little Tokyo, Los Angeles

We then walked to Far Bar in Little Tokyo for my drinks and food.  I grabbed this sneaky shot of people from the edge of the table.  Look at the mood lighting!  That's my friend who took the last photo looking at his fiancée.  Ah, love!

What's also apparent from my photos is that my DSLR is very technologically outdated.  It photographs very poorly in low-light as you can tell by the noise.  I really need a new camera. 


I did pretty well with exercising 4 times this week.  On my better weeks, I would do it 5 to 6 times a week, but motivation is harder in these darker months.  I've also been eating more carbs because it's nearly winter!  On the plus side, I did leg day today (I now squat above my body weight) and felt pretty shattered so you know it was intense.  I've also been working on a draft of a manuscript this week and am aiming to get the full rough draft done by Friday.

What did you get up to this past week?


•  I love makeup (and respect it as an art form) so these backstage makeup tips are right up my alley.
•  Diving Into The Unknown: a documentary about divers at Plura Cave. 

Friday, December 09, 2016

In Appreciation

As the end of the year rapidly approaches, I am taking a moment to count a few of my blessings and appreciate what I have.  I didn't write about them over Thanksgiving break and I think that it can be easy to lose sight of my privilege when I'm so wrapped up in the daily motion of life. 

Family.  I will be spending my holidays divided between my two families: my boyfriend's family and my own.  I appreciate so much love and warmth for it was not always so.  There is a warmth from being around good people that no physical fire can attain.

Health.  I had my yearly checkup and, thankfully, everything came back normal.  As they say, "Health is wealth" . . . because doctor's bills are expensive.

Home.  I appreciate having a roof of my head and a warm house to cozy up inside, especially this time of year.  I fall asleep every night next to my best friend.  All my roommates and I get along.  There is a lovely dog who brings unparalleled vivacity to our home.  When we all hang out together, it's like a constant house party without all the social awkwardness.

Education.  I complain about the hardships of graduate school a lot, but I lamented how the lack of an education turned our election this year.  Graduate school is one of the most mentally arduous things one can do, but I'm grateful to have an education. 

You.  I am thankful for all of you who come here and make Lumière & Lens interactive.  I appreciate every comment, every tweet, every follow.  I started this blog to write purely for myself so thank you for responding so that I'm not purely yelling into a void.  

I want to round out the end of this year on a positive note so this post is in appreciation.  What blessings are you counting?

Sunday, December 04, 2016

Sunday #27: A Little Bit of Everything

christmas, holiday decorations, lumière & lens

I'm really excited for the holidays this year.  Are you?  Last year, I went to visit my boyfriend's family in December and had my first proper Christmas, tree and all.  I am glad I experienced my first Christmas as an adult -- it showed me how much that holiday is about family, friends, love, and warmth.  In about two weeks, we will be flying out to Chicago to spend Christmas, and I can't wait!  

In the meantime, however, there's much to be done . . .


I've been hunkered down over my computer for much of this weekend, preparing slides for a presentation tomorrow.  At this point, I'm taking a break because my slides are mostly finished. When I do literature presentations, I always pick a paper in an unfamiliar field to learn something new.  This does make for a rough few days, but you can't grow if you're always comfortable, right? 


My roommates/boyfriend came home from a brewery on Saturday to hang out at the house.  I took a few sneaky photographs of them lest you all think I live in a vacuum and only take pictures of inanimate objects.  Yes, we have a giant cow painting someone got from a Christmas party over our fireplace (which we're not allowed to use because Fire Hazard, wut).  Doesn't everyone have a giant cow painting?  Anyways, even though I was sort of working at the living room table, it was nice to have company buzzing around our house.  I'm a huge nesting hermit and a crowd makes the place feel warmer.


Lastly, two of my girlfriends wanted to do some shopping and I decided I'd go out for a short while since I'd been cooped up all weekend.  The shopping district was so festive (see photo #1).  I didn't buy anything except coffee, but I did find a great tea place.  I'm thinking some loose leaf blends might make for a great gift! 

Okay, okay.  Enough blogging.  Back to work!


•  Someone Else's Rib - a poem recommended by my friend Anu.
•  Black Gold - photo story on the sale of Chinese hair for extensions: exploitative, disturbing, and cerebral.
•  I watch Love, Actually nearly every holiday season so here's Jezebel's delightful rip on it (circa 2013).

Saturday, December 03, 2016

My Favorite Day

oats, healthy recipe, healthy oatmeal, oatmeal, fall breakfast, autumn

Saturday is my favorite day. It is my guilt free day off from work, though this weekend, I have to work on a presentation for the coming Monday. On my Saturdays off, I usually wake up around 7:30 AM to squeeze as much out of the day as possible.  I drink my coffee while making my favorite weekend breakfast which is a bowl of oats with all the fixings.  I arrange it and take a picture of it, because if its not on social media, then it didn't really happen (heavy on the sarcasm here).   
Since I'm posting a picture of my food, I'm obligated to provide a "recipe" of sorts, so here it is:

Saturday Oats

1/4 cup of steel cut oats
1 banana
1/3 cup of blueberries
1 1/2 tbsp of unsweetened coconut flakes
1/4 tsp of cinnamon
1 dash of nutmeg
1 tsp of honey
1 tbsp of trail mix or nuts

Cook the oats according to the packaging.  Pour it into a bowl.  Put the bananas and blueberries in.  Sprinkle with the cinnamon and nutmeg.  Top with coconut and the trek mix.  Drizzle with honey.  Take a photo of it and post to Instagram.  Alternatively, you can throw everything together and mix it up because the world won't end if it doesn't look Just Right.  And then you eat it.

hot oatmeal, oats

That bowl of oatmeal took about 10 minutes to assemble and photograph, but less than two minutes to eat.  I'm off to make my second cup of coffee and get into working on my presentation.

By the way, thank you for the lovely responses on my last post.  They were a real treat to read!

Thursday, December 01, 2016

Hello, December!

blogmas, lumiere and lens, december

Oh, hello, December!  When did you get here?  

Yep, it's that time of the year again.  Insert clichéd statement here about how the year has flown by, but it really has.  There are so many memories in my head of events that seem to have occurred recently, but were actually many months ago.  Does the passage of time seem faster as you get older because you have a lot more to do than you did as a kid?  Anyways, I am both excited and freaked out with wrapping up 2016.  I have a lot of work to do, but I am also excited to visit my families!  

December segues into the new year so it's time to do something fresh.  Welcome to the first monthly goals list on Lumière & Lens!

Goal #1.  I will be participating in Blogmas (going easy on the Christmas theme, though) this year with 3 posts per week, inclusive of Sundays.  I want to create better, more regular content and the only way to do that is to jump into it!

Goal #2.  Get a manuscript draft to my research advisor before I fly out for the holidays, no matter in-progress I am with some of the last experiments.

Goal #3.  Exercise/go to the gym a minimum of 4X a week.  My brain always think it's time to hibernate because of the winter darkness.  I've lost some weight as muscle mass disappeared.  Gotta turn it around!

Goal #4.  Update my LinkedIn, CVs, and start drafting ideas for my proposals examination. 

Goal #5.  Eat healthier.  Take vitamins and probiotics to keep from getting sick.

I keep thinking I have to add more goals because this list seems "short," but they are all more labor intensive than they seem written out.  I want this December to be productive and fulfilling, so here goes!

What are your December goals?  How do you keep yourself on task?

Thursday, November 24, 2016

A DIY Brightening Facial Serum

DIY Facial Serum - Lumière & Lens
A DIY brightening facial serum.

Today, I want to share a DIY brightening oil based facial serum.  Now that winter is just around the corner, my skin is in need of extra TLC and radiance.  The summer tan has faded and there's been a lot of erratic temperature changes (hot during the day and bitingly chilly at night in Los Angeles).

I was having a browse at nourishing skincare recently and was intrigued by facial oil serums.  I came across two products that were $20 and $38 for 15 mL.  I flipped the bottles over to look at the ingredients and noted the blends: grape seed, jojoba, argan, avocado, lemon, rosehip oils, etc.  IMHO, the products were a bit costly for their composition.  Since I have a lot of the ingredients at home, I decided to make my own facial serum.  If you're into DIY skincare, read on!

DIY Facial Serum - Lumière & Lens
DIY Facial Serum - Lumière & Lens

Ingredients for 1 fl. oz. / 30 mL Facial Serum

5 mL, Jojoba Oil - Trader Joe's
15 mL, Avocado Oil - Now
10 mL, Argan Oil - Pura D'or
1 Drop, Lemon Oil - Now
Small Beaker - Pyrex
1 ounce Amber Bottle with Dropper - Vivaplex

I get USDA certified organic oils when I can, but I generally trust skincare products from Trader Joe's and NOW.  The process is beyond simple: pour in relative proportions of the carrier oils and stir with the tip of the dropper until oils are well mixed.  A beaker is useful for measuring the oils, but you can eyeball it, too.  For brightening, I also added a drop of lemon essential oil.  Lemon essential oil is pretty strong so I wouldn't recommend more than a drop to prevent skin and nose irritation.  After mixing, I poured my facial serum into the amber glass bottle.  It's a good idea to store this in a tinted glass bottle since some of the ingredients are light sensitive.

DIY Facial Serum - Lumière & Lens

That's all there is to it!  Do you ever DIY your skincare?  What do you want to make or see made on Lumière & Lens?  Do let me know what you think in the comments! 

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Sunday #27: Angel City

Arts District, Mural, Los Angeles
Mural in the Arts District of Los Angeles.

It's the weekend before Thanksgiving.  I, for one, am glad that this coming week is on the shorter side.  I'm writing up this post before I head into lab for a few hours.  However, it's chilly, I'm cozy, and it's hard to leave the house.



I went out last to the Arts District in Los Angeles with my roommates/friends last night for a bar crawl.  I don't drink, but I do like good company!  We went to The Pie Hole to get pie and then Angel City Brewery.  I went pretty snap happy all night and ate A LOT of potatoes in the form of tots and fries.  See, got my vegetables in!  The Arts District is a pretty cool area: there's a lot of murals, spray paint art on the sidewalk, and plenty of interesting bars.  We ended up at Wurstküche before heading home, buzzed and with bellies full.  

The Pie Hole, Los Angeles, Arts District
The Pie Hole, Los Angeles, Arts District
Get the apple crumble pie!
Angel City Brewery, Los Angeles, Arts District
Angel City Brewery, Los Angeles, Arts District
Angel City Brewery, Los Angeles, Arts District
Angel City Brewery, Los Angeles, Arts District
Angel City Brewery, Los Angeles, Arts District
I don't know these people, but they looked happy.



I am on my last set of trays for my Invisalign braces!  I had braces as a teenager, but made the terrible mistake of  not wearing my retainers so my teeth moved out of place.  Moving teeth led to occlusal trauma.  Hence, Invisalign.  I got fitted for a permanent retainer on my bottom teeth that will sit under my retainer trays.  Apparently, a metal wire costs a pretty penny.  Between the metal retainer and the three plane tickets I have to buy to visit families in December, my bank card is crying.  However, I've got straighter teeth now, so yay?  Also, maybe I should've become a dentist!




My best friend, Gina, defended her thesis and is now a bona-fide Doctor of Philosophy in chemistry.  We met in our undergraduate years which seems so long ago.  In that time, she's published, grown as a scientist, and person.  Congratulations (because I know you read here)!  Proud and happy for you!



I had the opportunity to write my first guest posts recently.  Check out my makeup decluttering tips over at Gweni's blog, G Beauty.  I also wrote about positive ways to motivate yourself to exercise at Michelle's blog, Daisybutter.  Huge thank you to both Gweni and Michelle — this was an opportunity I really appreciated!

Thursday, November 17, 2016


Alvarez Guitars, Lumière & Lens, Alyse, Guitar
Alvarez AD710 Artist Series Dreadnought Acoustic Guitar

Meet my guitar, Eisley.   I've never properly dedicated a post to my guitar, though she's mentioned all the time, and is such a delightful part of my life.  So, hello, this is Eisley, my acoustic dreadnought guitar that is named after the band.  I say "she" because I anthropomorphize my instruments and consider them my babies.

I got Eisley on a summer afternoon in June, during a two hour lab break.  She is the first instrument that ever truly felt like mine and the guitar with which I do a majority of my musical learning.  I briefly dabbled with guitar during my undergraduate years, but abandoned it.  In the first year of my Ph.D. studies, I met the mister and our group of friends.  A lot of them play guitar and listening to them inspired me to revisit it.  For the first month that I had Eisley, I played in secret, too shy (still am) to play in front of others.

Alvarez Guitars, Lumière & Lens, Alyse, Guitar, Girl with guitar

I am primarily self-taught and it is an ongoing process that is both arduous and gratifying.  Unlike some uncertain things in life, I get out of it what I put into it.  I remember struggling with simple chord changes in the beginning that are second nature now.  Finger-picking seemed impossible at one point!  Like any form of education, there is always more to learn.  I reached the pinnacle of hardcore this weekend (no, not really) playing what I've learned of Fur Elise on an electric guitar.

Music inspires so many emotions and having Eisley helped me process many of my own over the years.  If I was going through something, I had the guitar and I could write bits of songs to echo what was on my mind.  At the end of the day, I have something that is completely my own, and that's music.  If all fails and employment doesn't pan out, I figure I can busk for money.  My vocal chops certainly garner reactions!  They include "you sound great," "please don't sing," and people in the car reaching over to turn up the radio.  In other words, I am NAILING IT.

Alvarez Guitars, Lumière & Lens, Alyse, Guitar, Girl with guitar

Since first year, I've picked up a travel sized acoustic guitar and a ukulele.  I do live in a very musical house and have access to keys, bass, electric guitars, and drums, but I always return to Eisley.  As I've gotten busier over the years, I've spent less time playing, but I'm actively making a habit out of it again!

Do you play anything?  Any tips you'd like to share on stringed instruments?

Photography by Jake Kim.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Sunday #26: Ginger, Lemon, Honey

Ginger lemon tonic, tea to drink when you're sick
Healing with ginger, lemon, and honey.

It's that time of the year . . . even though it doesn't feel like autumn here, the seasonal sniffles are starting to make their round.  Yours truly has been hit with the cold since late last week.  I've been drinking ginger and lemon tea with honey like water for days!  The mister's caught it from me, too, and what a lovely pair we make.

AMERICA.  As the whole world tuned in to watch, our country elected it's new president.  Like 48% of American, I was bummed about the results.  I'm not going to clutter up this Sunday post with my disappointment, but you're welcome to read and respond to my thoughts after the election.  A silver lining to this is my own dedication towards being more empathetic and compassion because I don't want to add more negativity in this current climate.

CONFIRMED KILLS.  Confirmed Kills is Iliza Shlesinger's new standup special on Netflix.  If you haven't seen it, I highly recommend it because it's a feminist and empowering performance.  A snippet: command, not demand, respect through how you treat yourself and other women because "you teach people how to treat you."  I respected what she had to say on how society doesn't allow women to feel proud about themselves and their bodies, which I've long taken issue with.  How often does society complain that insecurity is "unattractive" on a woman?  Yet, when she loves herself and dares to show that, she still receives backlash.  LOVE YOURSELF. 

autumn colors, autumn leaves
Searching for autumn.

WARM TONES.  I'm expanding my photography outside of the usual cool, blue tones.  I've been feeling creatively stuck and I think using one color palette is extremely limiting.  There's an argument to be made for Instagram themes or portfolios, but my real life isn't that curated.  I'm experimenting with some warmer tones, especially since I'm searching for those "autumnal" colors that perpetually green California seems to lack.

SUPER MOON.  Everyone knows about the supermoon?  It's supposed to be the closest our moon has been to the Earth in 70 years.  I managed to get a picture of it in the waxing gibbous phase that I'm quite proud of considering my equipment limitations.  The mister got us tickets to see Car Seat Headrest tonight so I'm going to try to snap a few pictures around that.

I'm off to try to get things done before this evening.  What did you get up to this week?

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Sunday #25: Halloweekend

Happy Halloweekend!  I've spent the past few days playing with this little darlin' here who doesn't like to sit still for pictures.  This is a once in a mini-lifetime shot. 

HALLOWEEN.  Since Halloween is on a Monday this year, we had a party at our house last night, making this Sunday lazier than usual.  I went as Rosie the Riveter, a costume which cost me all of $3.90 for the bandana.  It ran pretty late and, for someone who doesn't drink, I felt kind of run down during the day.  It's probably all the junk food and dehydration!  I'm a little hoarse from talking over the noise (I'm drinking apple spice tea with A LOT of honey as I write this), but it was a great time.  We have a bowls of candy and libations leftover.  I'm trying not to eat so many sweets!

Halloween, Halloweekend, Rosie the Riveter Costume

EISLEY.  Eisley is one of my favorite bands and the artists I named my "first" acoustic guitar after.  Watching and listening to these women sing is like watching fairies.  For my birthday in June, the mister got me tickets to see them live for the first time at El Rey Theatre.  I have to say that their 45 minute set just flew by; I wished that it could've gone on forever.  They played a lot of my favorites and their new song Defeatist.  I'm beyond excited for their record to come out next year. 

Eisley, El Rey Theatre

CATHARTIC.  I wrote a post about living a more minimal life this past week.  It's the most vulnerable and personal post I've ever written here.  Posting anything online opens me up to judgment and scrutiny; I was nervous that it might be seen as too negative, but the responses have been thoughtful and kind.  There was also catharsis in writing, editing, and publishing the post.

How was your Halloweekend?   

Thursday, October 27, 2016

What I No Longer Need

I like a clean house.  Our surroundings have an impact on our brains: clear your space, clear your mind.  In a recent bid to live within my means and not in excess, I've taken to removing things — clutter, so to speak — from my surroundings.  I want to live my life with a more minimalist approach, to separate my wants from my needs.

I picked up Marie Kondo's The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up since it seemed in line with my thinking.  Mind you, I'm just barely through the first chapter, but I already love Kondo's philosophy: When you put your house in order, you put your affairs and your past in order, too.  How one tidies, or doesn't, is presented as a manifest of one's mentality and I'm inclined to agree.
I have always taken immense pleasure in throwing things out, imagining a clean slate, and free space.  Despite this, I am a bit of a hoarder and emotional pack rat.  I think this is due to materialism, sentimentalism, and an unwillingness to let go.  My cosmetics collection is a tactile example: I keep makeup items because they were expensive, luxury, packaged nicely, etc.  Over time, this costs more than my initial investment.  It devolves into bad spending habits and retail therapy.  You wanna know the kicker?  Makeup expires.  So I began to throw things away.  If I didn't use it, I had to lose it, no matter how luxurious or expensive it was.  I turned to my closet as well, and packed up bags of clothing that I deposited at Goodwill.  Farewell and good riddance!

At some point, my physical tidying began to translate to my personal life.  There is a great value in knowing when something is past its expiration date.  How many of us remain in unhealthy friendships and relationships because "we've known each other forever"?  Or spent time with people out of obligation, despite how emotional draining it was?  In business, pouring money into a project with no returns is termed a bad investment.  How is spending time with people who we don't feel good around any different?  Which brings me to a platform we've all used to "keep in touch" with others: Facebook.

I've kept my Facebook account deactivated for the past year except for short spurts to "catch up." Inevitably, this would devolve into gossip-fests with friends, creeping, and the comparison game.  It became a platform that nucleated negativity while draining my energy.  I never felt better after I used it.  I won't blame Facebook; I take personal responsibility for how I engaged with it.  I decided if I wasn't going to use it productively, I wasn't going to use it at all.  Last month, I permanently deleted my account and it felt freeing to do so.  All those people I wanted to keep in touch with?  Well, it's nice to have real conversations now through other means. 

Once I remove things from my life, I find that I'm not sorry to see them go.  Truth is, if I don't miss something when it's gone, did I ever need it in the first place?  I don't miss that expensive lipstick I never used.  I don't miss gossiping about people's status updates.  Decluttering my physical and mental space is helping me see what actually matters.  The money I would've wasted on makeup can be put towards debt or plane tickets to see family.  Letting go of the safety net of a quantity of people gives me energy to focus on genuine, wonderful friends who inspire me to be better.  In short, I am learning to be happier with less because what I keep with me are things of importance.

I'm not sure of what the conclusion to Kondo's decluttering method will be, but I've arrived at one on my own: When I get rid of what I no longer need, I create space for greater things.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Sunday #24: Lumière & Lens Turns One

Hi, y'all!  Here's a shot of my mug since this blog doesn't actually see much of my face.  I wanted to take some new shots for the blog and it was a challenge.  I'd say 90% of my shots today were either a) RBF, b) herp derp, or c) out of focus.  Apparently, I really like looking down and to the side.  Retouching was kept to a bare minimum even though there's things I want to fix.  However, flaws and all, this has to be an honest representation of yours truly.

ONE.  Somehow, without my knowing it, the one year anniversary of Lumière & Lens sneaked up on me!  The true anniversary of this blog was actually on September 13 so technically, it's 1.09 years old.  The blog has gone through a rebrand, helped me develop my photography, and given me a platform to write about things I love.  My main goal for Lumière & Lens was only to have a personal space to write and post photographs to my heart's desire.  An online diary, if you will.  That it gets any engagement at all is a wonderful bonus.  In a year's time, it has grown a humble readership and I am incredibly appreciative.  Thank you to everyone who takes the time to read, comment, and engage with me on social media!  

PERMIT.  I got my learner's permit this past week after my old one expired over a year ago.  I'm way past the age that most people get licenses.  My entire life has been spent in cities so I never had need to learn to drive before.  To be honest, I dislike cars since I get motion sickness, but this is something I'll just have to get done. 

BELOW ZERO.  I try my best to keep negativity on this blog to a minimum.  I want Lumière & Lens to be a repository of positive things and an outlet away from more high stress situations so I tend not to talk about things I'm going through.  Unfortunately, as much as blogs and other online platforms open up the dialogue, there's still a stigma against talking about mental health.  Discrimination and judgment is still a very big problem. If I can figure out a way to articulate myself well, I want to contribute to the conversation in the future.

OIL.  I'm ending this Sunday with an at home screening of There Will Be Blood with my roommates/friends.  It's been a pseudo-relaxing weekend so far.  Back to the grind on Monday.


• Dani wrote about the experience of being a foreigner and otherness.  Though this written from a European perspective, it resonated with me and I think it's an important conversation to have. 
• Michelle encapsulates a lot of familiarity when she talks about growing out of friendships.  Life's too short to spend time with people who you don't feel good around.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

The Girl Who Climbs

Meet Veronica (@vinyasaraptor): yoga instructor, rock climber, and all around strong-as-heck woman.  She is the sister of my other half and when she came to visit us in California, we took her to Joshua Tree.  I'm always in search of new photographic subjects and the rocks out in the wilderness were the perfect backdrop.  Veronica was kind enough to humor my dreams to be a Serious Photographer and played model while we explored the desert.

Joshua Tree is popular with climbers because there are so many rocks to scale.  Headstone Rock was right by our campsite so we went exploring there first.  One of my favorite pictures is when Veronica ascends toward the sky between a narrow chamber of rocks.  It looks as if she's climbing towards the heavens, doesn't it?

There is a popular rock at Keyes Point which overlooks Coachella Valley and Palm Springs that people like to take photographs atop.  Naturally, here's a picture of her pulling off bakasana on a peak that's sided with steep descents.  #GOALS.  Anyone else want to try this on a mountain?