Monday, May 13, 2019

How I Stay Consistent With Fitness


One of my resolutions in 2019 was to become more consistent with my diet and exercise.  I'm proud to say that I've made exercise a steady habit in my life.  I now incorporate movement 3 to 6 times a week (unless I'm out of town or sick)!  If you're anything like me, getting into the gym is a chore.  For me, the hardest part of fitness lies in actually starting my workouts.  If I can make myself go, then I can do the work!  So I had to ask myself . . .

What can I do to stay consistent with working out?

1.  Get a membership or sign up for a class.  

I was in a spin class once where the instructor urged us, "PUSH IT AND GET YOUR MONEY'S WORTH!"  I once thought I would workout at home or run, but exercising was the last thing I wanted to do after a long day.  Last August, I caved and got a membership to a gym down the street because the best workout is the one that you do.  Putting my money down keeps me accountable because fitness isn't cheap.  Think of it this way: the more you use your membership, the more it drives down the cost per use!

2.  Always have a plan. 

I plan my workouts like a bulleted list.  You know that satisfaction you get when checking things off?  Same thing applies to exercise!  Planning also means you waste less time figuring out what to do at the gym.  I also use these plans as an opportunity to work out more intelligently.

3.  Keep exercise clothes within easy reach. 

Every Sunday, I pack a bag of gym clothes to bring in to work.  I keep the clothing and my sneakers under my desk, along with a water bottle.  If the clothes are right there, it's easy to change and exercise!  I know several other people at my work who also do this.

4.  Exercise for an energy and mood boost. 

I focus on how great I'll feel after versus the thought of doing physical work.  I tend to go to the gym during my mid-afternoon slump, in lieu of coffee or a nap.  Exercise gives you endorphins and energy!  It's a great way for me to elevate my mood and also to take a meditative hour to be in tune with my body and its movements.

5.  Move with a buddy. 

I recently met some great gals at the gym after almost a year of working out alone.   We've been doing workouts together and it's a lot of fun!  Having buddies means you have the camaraderie of a team when it's rough.  You are also each other's cheerleaders!  There are countless times that my buddies have pushed me not to give up or counted down reps in a set.


What do you do to stay consistent?
Please share in the comments! :)

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Aiko


For a famous city, Seattle is actually a pretty small world, especially within the network of creatives and photographers.  I met Aiko late last year at a photography gig and immediately recognized her from Olivia's photography work.  We've been in touch ever since (she's a lovely person!) and finally got around to shooting this March.  We'd been talking about working together for ages and finally got to do it in Pioneer Square!  I plan to work with here again -- she's fun, easygoing, and very creative. 


The first location we stopped in was Cherry Street Public House which had the most beautiful lighting and aesthetic.  We grabbed some apple cider (Aiko is holding it!) and delicious pastries before getting to work.  Pro Tip: if you ask establishments nicely, they're more than happy to let you shoot in their space!  It never hurts to be courteous and kind.  While we were there, I managed to get a photograph of her from behind the glass window.  This is a photo I've always wanted to try.  Afterwards, Aiko did an outfit change and we walked around the streets of Pioneer Square to find new locations.


All in all, I'd say this was a successful and fun photoshoot.  I sent the photos off to Aiko yesterday so that's another collaboration in the books.  Something I tried to do this time around was change the way I edit.  I focused on enhancing the darks and shadows, and to shied away from overexposing to make images brighter.

Let me know what you think in the comments! :)  

Sunday, April 07, 2019

Sunday #74: Bonjour Avril


Hello, April!  I am not sure where the time went, but I've now lived in Seattle for a full year!  I remember how lonely it felt when I initially moved here, but I've settled into a routine, like my apartment, found my gym, and made friends.  With the exception that my partner is still far away, it's decent here.  I'm also stoked about breaking through the Seattle Freeze to meet so many wonderful people!

I.  My partner came to visit me at the end of March.  We saw Captain Marvel (highly recommend) and went to visit the Washington Park Arboretum in Seattle.  It's been awhile since I've photographed plants or trees so I decided to bring my camera.  I am experimenting with different floral shots that aren't just "zoom in on this flower and create bokeh."  For a long time, I sought to create images that are bright and full of light (both consciously and subconsciously leaning towards the Instagram-friendly aesthetic), but I've been purposefully including more shadows and darks in my images.  I like the starkness of contrast.


II.  When I decompress, I alternate between watching brainless TV or cerebral shows.  I am a huge fan of the show The OA.  Season 2 premiered on Netflix in March.  I've been rewatching it in the evenings to see what details I've missed because the show is so complex.  I like science fiction that is within the realm of believability (though we can argue that aspects of this show are a stretch of the imagination).  Quantum superposition + many-worlds interpretation?  Sign me up.  Do you have recommendations for shows that are similar to The OA?

III.  In the past few months, I've improved my relationship with exercise.  Exercising has become a way for me to take time to myself, the 45 to 90 minutes in a day I get to focus solely on moving and improving my body.  Anyone who brings up exercising with me gets an earful because I'm so excited to talk about it.  I have been doing workouts with some friends.  It's rewarding and fun!  I'm so enthusiastic talking about it that recently someone asked if I wanted to train clients for several hours a week at a wellness company.  Alas, I am not a certified trainer, but this got me thinking about getting certification from NASM.  It's expensive, though, and I already have a lot of other hobbies and interests (not to mention a full-time job).  Maybe somewhere down the line?  However, expect to see fitness-themed content here very soon!

IV.  Speaking of full-time work, I've been doubling down on learning biology recently.  I work in both chemistry and biology groups.  Now that I've largely wrapped up my chemistry work, I want to dedicate all my focus on biology.  There's a steep learning curve with biology (or any branch of science) so I have been making it a goal to read more, aiming for 3 to 5 scientific journal articles a day.  I figure if I'm not leisure reading, I should read academically.  My goal is just to read every single day.  Good for the soul, good for the brain.

V.  Setting some goals for this week: not eating out or spending money with the exception of a Friday night dinner.  I've been noticing how much I eat out which is neither good for my health or wallet.  I have plans to get ramen with coworkers later this evening.  After that, I'm going to meal prep and work for the rest of the evening to prepare for Monday.  My other intentions this week are to exercise 5X, read 10 to 15 new academic articles, and to gain traction on my biology work.  Let's make this a productive week!

Recommended

•  Natalie's guide on how to henna your hair.
•  Michelle's 4 Ways to Keep A Blog (from a few weeks ago) that the community found useful!
•  Downtown by Majical Cloudz which is the most calming song on earth.

What are your intentions for the week ahead?

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Sunday #73: Crossroads


Hi, I'm Alyse, and I have a coffee shop + pastry problem.  Ok, really just this one shop because the coffee is freshly roasted every day, I go there so much that I have A Spot, and know all the staff.  Look, we all need our sanctuary spaces and this happens to be mine on the weekends (or weekday mornings occasionally when I want to do computer work).  I swear this is 90% of my feed and stories.  That being said, I haven't done a Sunday post since January, so here goes the catch up!  I think telling y'all I've been busy is kind of a given because there's always something that needs doing.  I'm hunkered down over writing, poring over the literature, and generally looking for different ways to get my projects moving.  Sorry if that's intentionally vague, but hope you understand.  On a more personal end, less full-time work focused end, there's a bit to catch up on!

I.  I've done about four photoshoots in the past month between photographing Taylor, doing my friend's headshots, a Women's Day event at Flywheel Sports in Seattle, and recently, a collaboration with Aiko.  With the exception of Aiko, the shoots were all kind of on the fly.  The Flywheel Sports one was the most challenging because I've never had to shoot in a dark room before and had to push outside of my natural light comfort zone to work with (built-in) flash.  I'm at a crossroads where I'm debating if I should invest in a full-frame camera and start advertising for more paid gigs or to continue this solely as a hobby with the occasional job.  The difficult thing is that this would be entirely freelance and always come second to my full-time job.

II.  I redid my blog layout (again!) and got my photo website back up and running.  One thing I struggle with is the direction I want to take Lumière & Lens.  On the one hand, I write conversationally and love to connect with readers, but on the other, I want to create more curated content.  At the moment, I write these posts like a train-of-thought.  For the future, I'm thinking of a fitness and photography series, but have to figure out how it will fit into the overall theme.  How do I better my "brand"?!

III.  Speaking of fitness, I can now say that I'm a verifiable gym rat because I've kept pretty well to my resolution this year of exercising more.  With few exceptions, I've managed to exercise 5 to 6 times a week since the beginning of January.  If you're interested, I post tidbits of exercise here.  This past week, I tried barre and spin, both for the first time!  I'm drafting posts on those experiences.  All in all, I can say I LOVE exercise because it's become a meditative space for me.  I've still got insulation, but I also have more strength and muscle than I have had in my entire life.

IV.  Spring has officially arrived in Seattle. Whilst everyone is rejoicing the arrival of longer days and the sunshine, I'm already missing the winter.  We had a big blizzard that was dubbed Snowmageddon2019 where the city effectively shut down this year and I loved it.  As a person who is perpetually warm, I love the cold and snow!  Future plans: move to the Arctic Circle.

I have to sign off and get some work done before my spin class this afternoon.  Tell me what you've been up to in the comments!

Saturday, March 09, 2019

Ink


I recently met Taylor, a fellow photographer in Seattle. We both do photography for fun.  In general, my time has been largely committed to work, exercise, and decompression.  Honestly, if you don't work at my job, the gym, or my favorite coffee shop, then you haven't seen much of me at all.  I haven't made concrete plans for quite a while, but since this fellow artist was in the neighborhood, we had an impromptu trade shoot (time for prints, you know the drill).  Here are some of my favorite photographs from the day!  


I'll post some of my favorite shots he took of me soon, too, though you know I'd much rather share images of others than of myself.  Let me know what you think of these?

Saturday, January 26, 2019

Jupiter's Moon


When I finished graduate school last year and decided to continue pursuing science full-time, some people were confused.  "I thought you wanted to do photography."  "Weren't you going to be a photographer?"  A woman can do both.  Whilst I was doing small gigs in Pasadena, I haven't heavily pursued photography out in Seattle.  I think I work best when I am doing photography as a hobby.  That's not to say that I don't enjoy all my photoshoots (including for hire), because I do, and each one brings a new challenge for me.  However, the photoshoots I am most excited to edit are the ones whereI can create freely without restrictions in mind.  These are the shoots that light a fire under me, that have me editing for hours immediately afterwards (I zone into the work completely!).  What this tells me is that I'd rather keep my photography as a hobby and not as a job.  I'll do the odd gig here and there, but I don't ever want this to feel like work.  Does anyone else feel like this?

Soliloquy aside . . . let me bring your attention to today's post!  This is one of several photoshoots I've done with Jupiter's moon, AKA Io.  I've worked with her before and she is genuinely one of my favorite models with whom to collaborate.  We typically pick a location and just go with the flow.  I never really "finish" editing all the frames from a day either because there are SO. MANY. useable shots.  Here are a few of my favorite edits from the last shoot!  If you're curious, the locations in Seattle we used were random streets in Capitol Hill and Volunteer Park.  Maybe a front stoop here and there . . .


Moving forward, I think I want to keep doing more of these portrait/fashion/lifestyle (?) kind of shoots.  It's tough for me to label; I like to think that I focus more on capturing the person than trying to sell "fashion" or "lifestyle" moments.  Things I want to work on in the future: incorporating more body length shots into my frames, changing up my style of editing, and seeking out different models.  I think I've gotten very comfortable in my editing process and need to change things up.  Life begins outside of your comfort zone, right?  Right!

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Sunday #72: Hello, January

Saturday morning start in a calm coffee shop.

Check it out, friends!  It's the first post of 2019! I don't know about you, but the first few weeks of 2019 have been pretty action packed.  I came back from the East Coast to start work on January 2nd and it's a full swing at the lab.  I can't quite complain; I always think having a lot to do is better than to sit idly.  Moving along . . . 

NEW YEAR, OLD FRIENDS

"New year, new me" is the mantra of most people come January.  New year, same old me, but hoping to make improvements.  As I get older, I find that I more actively seek joy, laughter, and meaningful friendships.  The less drama the better.  Is that a sign of getting old?  I'm mostly interested in quiet, calm spaces and quality time.  One thing I've really reflected on is the amount and depth of female friendships that I have.  Whether it's through FaceTime, phone calls, Gchat, or in person, I really appreciate the amount of strong, inspiring women I'm privileged to be friends with.

This weekend has been particularly packed for me (socially, at least) -- I've caught up with a good friend from Pasadena, saw my friend Ellen who I haven't seen in years (she dropped into Seattle!), and tonight, I'm hosting a girl's dinner with some amazing women I met through work.  We're going to do a pot luck.  I'll be making linguine with Brussels sprouts, pancetta, white wine, and lots of Parmesan cheese.  Apparently, all I know how to make are pasta dishes!

WELLNESS

I've managed to stay fairly consistent with exercise so far this year.  I'm still managing my goals of minimum 5X of exercise a week.  I'm thinking of doing a post on my fitness routine.  Anyone interested?  This year, I want to incorporate more high intensity interval training (HIIT) into my routines so I can burn fat.  Apparently, there's a binary switch that's flipped when you turn 30 and your metabolism slows way down while storing as much fat as possible in the midsection!  Currently, I'm alternating between days of cardio and heavy weight lifting.  Rather than focusing on pure aesthetics, I want to improve my strength, endurance, and mobility.   I can eat better, too, but let's be real here!  I don't exercise so much to only eat salads.  Your girl loves ramen, pasta, and croissants.  I always say that I'd rather have a bit of belly than turn down delicious food.

CREATIVITY

I haven't done any photoshoots yet this year, but I did wrap up the edits for these two gigs this January.  I'll be doing full posts of them soon, but here are two previews.  Something I want to work on this year is editing to make pictures look more refined and professional.  I think I always edit the same way and I need to challenge myself in terms of aesthetics.  I currently have a photoshoot planned at the end of this month.  As for the future?  I'll need to put myself out there more.


It's almost 4:30 PM here in Seattle, so I'm going to sign off.  I have to start preparing ingredients to make dinner because my guests will arrive soon!  Hope you're all having a great Sunday.  Tell me what you've gotten up to this weekend in the comments?

RECOMMENDED

•  Ellen started a baking challenge this year!  Follow The Great Graduate Bake-off.
•  I've been following Torrie on Instagram for awhile and added her blog to my reading list.
•  Michelle's 2019 bullet journal set up.  I love looking at bullet journals!