Rainy Day at the Aquarium

Well, hey, we're almost halfway into August and I've yet to post anything around here. No shocker there. Life's been going pretty smooth minus the occasional hiccup here and there, but I'll try to fill y'all in on all of that another day. We've been dealing with a crazy amount of rainfall this summer. Instead of spending time outdoors, we have been trying to find fun things to do indoors. Last week, G and I took my mama out to brunch and then to the Florida Aquarium because we'd all been feeling cooped up. I have been a handful of times in the past, but it's still fun to explore. They added a few new attractions, but nothing major. I took capture some cool shots while practicing with my DSLR and I like how they turned out.


Things You Don't Know About Me

I've shared a couple (rather long) lists of random facts about me in the past, but I have since removed those posts. Instead of trying to cram them all into one day, I'd rather share a handful from time to time. I still like the idea of sharing little tidbits about myself because I feel like it's a good way for you guys to get a better sense of who I am and maybe you can relate.

+ My neck itches whenever I'm embarrassed.
It's like all the blood rushes to my neck. It started happening about seven years ago, although I can't really pinpoint the very first time (I probably thought nothing of it until I noticed that it was reoccurring). It hasn't been happening as often over the past year and I'm pretty sure it's due to the fact that I've learned how to laugh at myself. I'll admit, I still think it's weird.

+ I was homeschooled the last two years of high school.
High school sucked, big time. I was extremely timid and I had a really hard time coping with it. A few weeks into my junior year, my parents withdrew me and my sister-in-law started handling my schooling (she was/is homeschooling my niece and nephew). For my senior year, I chose to go through an online high school. The work was really hard and I wasn't motivated, which is why I was 1.5 credits short of having an accredited high school diploma. I'm currently working on getting my GED.

+ I'm a sucker for songs that incorporate the banjo.
I've always had a special place in my heart for stringed instruments (piano, violin, cello, acoustic guitar), but there's just something about the banjo that makes me giddy whenever I hear it. I can't explain it, but I certainly don't mind it.

+ I've only been to the ER once in my life.
It was after a fishing incident in which my friend (at the time) accidentally hooked me in the eyebrow as she was casting her line across the jon boat we were in. I'll never forget the neon orange worm dangling in front of my eye. I panicked, I cried, I laughed and cried some more. Once we made it to the hospital, it only took a shot to the forehead, a couple tugs and a tiny band-aid to fix. No stitches! The nurses and attending physicians sure had a nice laugh after I explained what happened.

+ I always add milk to my ice cream.
Basically, I can't eat ice cream without pouring milk over top of it first. I'm pretty sure my best friend, Lauren, introduced me to it many years ago and I've done it ever since. The milk thins it out a bit and makes it taste better (in my opinion).

+ My first pet was a lizard.
A Carolina anole, to be exact. My cousin caught him in her backyard and gave him to me to keep. I named him Benny after Benny "the Jet" Rodriguez from The Sandlot (one of my favorite movies growing up). He lived for well over a year, until the crickets that I fed him decided to gang up on him and beat him up one day. We tried our best to patch him up, but he was too far gone. I buried him in a matchbox beneath a big orange tree in our backyard. Rest in peace, little dude.

So, tell me something I don't know about you!


Color Crush No. 1

So, there's this itty-bitty series idea that I've been sitting on for a few months now. I've seen a couple of other bloggers do something similar, but it's time that I share my own version. In the past, I've always ran to Design Seeds when I'm seeking color inspiration, be it for a web design project or even an interior design endeavor (like redoing our bedroom). However, I would really like to create my own palettes using photos that catch my eye. Sometimes when I'm scrolling through Pinterest, I'll find a photograph that leaves me in awe, and the majority of the time that photo will incorporate a grand scheme of vivid colors. I'm really hoping to infuse my love of photography + bright colors and share the results with you guys. Here goes ;)

As soon as I laid eyes on this photograph by Russian marine biologist, Alexander Semenov, I knew I would have to showcase it here. Alexander definitely has a passion for underwater photography, which is evident in his work. I mean, just look at the brilliant colors of this jellyfish. Alexander graduated from Moscow State University's zoology department back in 2007. He now works as the chief of his diving team at the White Sea Biological Station (WSBS), where he has captured most of these magnificent photographs of various jellyfish as well as other sea life. You should take a moment to view his photo galleries.


Rising From The Ashes

The past week has been an emotional roller-coaster and the ride has just begun. Three days ago, one of my best friends was diagnosed with cancer. She went to the ER because she wasn't feeling right; something was off. On Wednesday, she texted me to let me know that the doctors suspected it was uterine cancer, but they weren't sure what stage it was, although they also mentioned that the MRI revealed a few spots on her lungs. On Friday, I spent about an hour visiting her in the hospital. I could tell she was exhausted, both physically and mentally, but she seemed to be in good spirits. At this time, she was awaiting the biopsy results to come back. On Saturday, I received a text message from her when I was on my way to work confirming what the doctors had already assumed. It was uterine cancer and it had already spread to her lungs. Stage IV. The words burned right through me like a hot iron, leaving a feeling of devastation. My mind automatically feared the worst.

Cancer. The same attacker who had stolen my grandma away from me ten years ago. Cancer. The same invader who had ripped my dad away from this realm, away from his family. Cancer. The terrorist  who infests the lives of so many each day, each year. Cancer. The enemy that will be defeated this time around. It may have brought anguish and heartache with it whenever it arrived, but a new state of mind is rising up from the ashes of despair. An attitude of victory, of hope, of recovery is making its way to the battlefield and it won't back down, it won't run away in fear and it certainly won't give up.

God is going to be fighting alongside Victoria as she goes through this journey. I'm finding peace in knowing that He has her in His hands. And I feel that he is going to turn this whole situation around. She will come out stronger when all is said and done. All I ask is that each of you stand behind her in prayer and support as she fights this. It would be much appreciated.

We've set up a GoFundMe account here for Victoria + her family to help them out. If you feel led to give, please do!