Sunday, January 21, 2018

Sunday #63: Et Voila

Photography by Nikolas.  Post-processing by self.

Bonjour mes amis!  I hope this Sunday finds you well.  If it's your first time or a while since you've been to this space, you'll see some visual changes have been made to Lumière & Lens.  Sometimes, a tweaking of the theme and spacial aesthetics can reinvigorate one's blogging mojo.  With the new theme comes updated an updated profile photo (taken by my friend Niko).  The last thing I want is for one of you to bump into me and say, "Wow, you look NOTHING like the pictures."  


I procured a new Moleskine notebook for bullet journaling at the end of 2017 after accidentally setting my old one on fire.  Yes, that happened.  That'll teach me to set a notebook down after forgetfully lighting a candle.  To be fair, I was caught up working that night.  This is the notebook I purchased to replace it.  I've been fairly dedicated about keeping this updated over the past two months.  I have a habit tracker, my weekly to-do lists, my food and exercise tracker, notes, and a lot of doodles.  

After discovering bullet journaling videos on YouTube, I've started to practice brush lettering (or my version of it) and yearly layouts such as the calendar shown above.  Some layouts (such as my weekly lists) are far more functional whereas things like the calendar are more aesthetically pleasing.  However, I find the whole process of creating a layout, putting down lines, and adding color to be soothing.  This is definitely a habit I'll keep up this year.  I also want to add that having a bullet journal has really helped me keep track of tasks and increased productivity.  I do believe I've crossed off everything in my to-do lists this week!


I had a major deadline in the middle of January that has finally passed.  I've taken this week easier since I've not had a proper day off (with the exception of being too sick on New Year's Day to go into lab).  This week, I've finally been able to make some time to see friends, to squeeze in a shoot, and to work up my backlog of old shoots.  However, life, work, and science continues to move with no regard for your personal schedule so I have more tasks to add to my docket.  Somewhere in here, I have to write my thesis, which must get done in six weeks.  All doable, right?  All eustress.  I personally think it's better to have a lot to do rather than twiddling my thumbs in idleness.


This weekend has been spent in sweatpants, makeup-free, and with good food.  My friend and I made dinner together on Saturday (cacio e pepe!) and I've been eating leftover meat and cheese today.  I plan to finish out my weekend with a lot of scientific literature reading.  I might meal prep as well and do a workout (this is less likely).  This upcoming week is going to encompass a lot of tasks so it might not be a bad idea to enjoy the last few hours of my weekend while I still have them.  What did you get up to this weekend?


❀  Self-plug: I wrote a post on tiny luxuries this week and shared a photoset from my first shoot of the year.
❀  TV series: The End of the F***ing World.  Movie: Dallas Buyers Club.  Both are on Netflix (USA) now.
❀  Voila by Francoise Hardy.  Just give it a listen. It's from the soundtrack to TEOTFW, which is amazing.
❀  Michelle inspired me to get moving and exercising.
❀  This powerful statement by Aly Raisman.

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Der Wolf

Hello, friends.  This is my first photoshoot of the year, featuring Niko, who has graced this space before!  I haven't had much time to use my camera so it almost felt like getting reacquainted with my metal box.  We made plans to take photographs and it was a very relaxed afternoon.  We visited some places in Pasadena and got shutter happy.  I tend to forget how tall Niko is which can be a small challenge on a crop sensor.  When I had finished taking photographs, Niko picked up the camera and got a few of me goofing around (you'll see some on the Sunday post!).  Anyways, I'll let the images speak for themselves because this photoset doesn't need to encompass verbosity.  Let me know your thoughts in the comments!

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Tiny Luxuries

European rose tea and eucalyptus.

The older I get, the more I begin to appreciate the slower moments in life.  I've learned to embrace the little things, to enjoy tiny luxuries, and to live slowly in a fast-paced world filled with the rush of deadlines.  I have had a hectic past few months between interview prep, presentations, and work.  In that time, I especially appreciated the tiny luxuries that helped me slow down for a few moments in each day which can be self care, in my opinion.  Here are the small treats that have I've been enjoying, all of which impart a wondrous aromatic experience.  

A small luxury I've recently discovered is European Rose tea, from Bird Pick Tea & Herb.  My friend Roberta introduced me to them and after having this tea at her house, I picked up 2 oz. of it myself on a recent trip to Old Town Pasadena.  As you can see from the picture above, the loose tea is made up on dried rosebuds.  It's an aromatic, non-caffeinated tea that's perfect in the evenings.  I put the rose buds into a tea infuser, steep for about 4 minutes, and finish off the tea with a dash of honey.  I find that a tiny bit of sweetness can really bring out the flavors of an herbal tea such as this.  

Another store that recently opened up in Old Town Pasadena is SajeSaje is a natural wellness store that sells aromatherapy and essential oil based products.  Do I buy into homeopathic remedies?  Not really, but I appreciate beautiful scents and recently invested in two oil blends.  I've had a lot of allergies this season so I picked up their soothing oil blend in Inhale, which contains lavender, lemon, and peppermint as their main ingredients.  Though I'm not a mother, I did purchase their Mother's Wellness blend, which contains rosewood, grapefruit, and lavender, in a less concentrated formula.  

The proper way to use these oils is to apply some to your palm, rub your hands together, and then cup your hands around your nose and inhale.  I like to use these before bed or whenever I want a little pick-me-up in the middle of day.  Depending on your budget, these might be pricey, but a little goes a long way so I anticipate these lasting for quite a long time.  

Another two things I've been enjoying are the soaps and mists from Saje.  (I promise they're not sponsoring this!)  I've switched over to using bar soaps completely since discovering this brand.  My favorite bar soaps are Get Grounded (shown here) and Rain Forest.  The soaps are triple-milled, non drying, and scented enough to be soothing without overpowering the senses.  I find that they lather up really well, too!  I've repurchased these soap bars multiple times which is testament to how much I love them.  My last favorite has been the Jasmine mist.  It's a single note, floral scented mist that I like to use before bed.  I typically hold it above my head and spray it in a mist to perfume the air before I tuck in.

You'll find that all my luxuries have a central theme: slowing down, calming, and soothing.  I enjoy my work, but it's not a job without stress.  I've learned over the years that maintaining work-life balance when you're incredibly busy can include small moments of peace.  When I was making the final push to finish a manuscript, I did it with good tea on hand.  When I'm stressed before bed, I use aromatherapy to delight the senses.  For me, practicing self-care when you're busy to take a vacation means introducing tiny luxuries that I can enjoy while I'm working.  It doesn't always mean taking extra time out of your day, but instead, making what you need to do more enjoyable.  

Here's what I'd like to know from you: what scents do you find soothing?  What are the tiny luxuries you add to your everyday life?

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Sunday #62: Hello, January

Hello, January!  Now I know most people typically say this at the start of the new year, not midway through the first month, but it's been quite a month so far.  I've pretty much been working straight for nearly two months with nary a day off.  The last day I had off was the first of January when I was incredibly sick with a cold.  Pardon me for my absence -- I didn't think it would be very interesting for y'all to hear about me traipsing back and forth from house to lab.  


In the academic world, we spend a lot of time preparing and revising manuscripts.  I've had my nose to the grindstone the past two weeks, finishing up experiments for edits.  Barring any major pitfalls, I'll be resubmitting tomorrow.  Keep fingers crossed for me!  I'll be glad to have this project completed and off my plate.  I'm taking a little break after working this much, but I'm excited to jump back into lab to move new scientific ventures along.  I've had the chance to learn and acclimate to new techniques over the past few months.  In other graduate school news, I've scheduled my defense for March.  A defense is where a student gives a seminar on the work they've done and it's the last hurdle before getting the title of Ph.D.!  AH!


I've been neglecting my photography because I've been hyper focused on my science.  Whilst I won't be less focused, I am going to be making some more time for photography again.  I've reached out to some people to model for me this coming week.  In other news, I also photographed my first wedding (a small, intimate affair) for our administrator in lab recently.  I have to finish editing her photos as well as other backlogged work.  Happy to share as they get done.  The last set of photographs I did was when my partner defended his thesis and got his Ph.D.!  Here's two of my favorite pictures from the day.  I love capturing candid joy.  The only tricky thing about this was color correcting from the artificial light of indoor pictures. 


My labmate/friend and I went out to dinner tonight.  We were chatting (ok, I was venting a little) and it turned out he was parked right outside!  We went to French-Asian fusion restaurant followed by ice cream.  It was nice to socialize, to be in good company.  Can I mention how much I'm looking forward to having more of a social life again?  I'll have to start writing my thesis this week, but I've learned to channel work obligations into eustress.  Hopefully, this means being relaxed enough to also have a little down time.  My labmate and I have started a tradition of going to Philz on Friday for fancy coffee.  Here's the mint mojito, one of my favorite coffee drinks!

Happy Sunday!  What did you get up to?