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hello lovelies!

this week i went on a hike with a few of my friends before ap testing started, to help relieve some of the stress. they say endorphins help with buildup of physical and emotional tension, which i definitely have. they are right. getting out in the open, under the wide gray sky, with the breeze swirling through my hair, the dust scuffing beneath my feet, and the sounds of the birds on the edge of my hearing, was just what i needed.

the hiking trail we took was jesusita, and the people i went with were my friends emma and alexandra. emma also has a blog, and you can check it out here: https://sacredplaces.wordpress.com/ i think she will also be able to offer her thoughts on this little adventure. we just walked, with our phones in our hands ready to capture the idyllic scenery. we also talked quite a bit, and these people just happen to be two of my favorites to do that with. they like the same things that i like, and read a lot of books, so their heads are constantly filled with anything and everything. i am much the same.

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we hiked about 2 miles, so not so far, and not too long, but just the right amount of time to ease the tension in my shoulders, quiet the pounding in my temples, and clear the cobwebs from the corners of my mind. it was a good distance too, just far enough to feel we had traveled somewhere, but not far enough to lose track of the way home.

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on the way back though, there was this one tree leaning over the edge of the trail that had small fruits hanging from it’s branches. avocados, actually. looking closer, i saw a whole orchard of them behind the first, planted all the way up and over a nearby hill. we climbed among the spindly trees, plucking several fruits as we went, and eventually, after exploring for a while, went home. that is where we cut up the avocados and had a little post-hike snack of crackers, avocados, and a dash of salt. it was perfect.

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hello lovelies!

this week i am still completely slammed with testing stuff, and next week will be the same, so i had to go way back into the archives for this week’s pictures. these are actually from not that long ago, only the beginning of this year. i hadn’t gotten my very own camera yet, so these are from a borrowed one. also, the homework load was light, with little to no stress attached, and we were able to sneak away from our responsibilities one afternoon to go to the beach. i am not in any of these, they are of my friends, callie and alegra, who both have blogs as well: https://callielifestyleblog.wordpress.com/ and https://passionvspurposeblog.wordpress.com/. i was playing the role of the photographer, not the model.

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this being a borrowed object, i was careful not to damage it, but maybe a bit more risk-taking than i would’ve been if it was my own. i brought it into the ocean even, to take pictures there. there are also quite a lot of action shots with running, jumping, and flipping hair. there are also some pretty ones, looking out over the water, and companionable ones with the two of them laughing together.

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there is a reason why i included the word “nostalgia” in the title of this post. even though it was only the beginning of this school year, it feels like so long ago. it was all the way back when i could go to the beach after school, just go out and take pictures, and everything was just a little simpler. it seems strange to me to be talking about this as a time in the past to be looking back on fondly, because the very action is in-congruent with my age, but that is how i remember it. the sun was bright, the sand was warm, and the water was refreshing. i was spending time with some of my favorite people in the world, with little to worry about and a lot of time to relax. now, i’m stuck inside all day, taking notes, reading review books, etc. it’s quite mind-numbing, but i  hold on to the memories of the sunny afternoons, and look forward to summer when i can relive them again.

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hello lovelies!

this week i have to admit i am stuck cramming for some really big tests i have coming up, so i didn’t quite have the time for one of my little adventures. fortunately, i have one from a little while back that i didn’t post because i was doing a few more exciting things at the time. this is just as legitimate of a story though, if not all that exciting. oops.

this is mostly about me discovering my camera, and what it can do in different lightings. i was with alegra, my bestest friend, who helped me out a little. i’ve already taken pictures in broad daylight, that is, in the bright sun. i’ve also already taken pictures on cloudy days, which are notoriously known to have the best lighting, because the brightness from the sun is cut a little by the clouds, and spread evenly across the frame. it helps to avoid a glare, or unnecessary shadows and bright areas. but before this i hadn’t done any at night.

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i tried a few inside only relying on the artificial light in my bedroom. it turned the whole picture a sort of yellow-orange color, which is not always flattering, but it gives the picture a feeling of warmth that just isn’t there with cloudy day images.

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then we went outside to try a few in the dark. naturally, the first few we snapped were completely black. there was no light for the lens to absorb. before that moment i had hesitated to use the flash, because in the daylight, it can cause strange lighting situations that almost never turn out well. but seeing as it was the only thing we hadn’t tried, we turned it onto the night mode and took a few test shots. they were actually really cool! the flash focused on the immediate foreground and nothing else, making for a very interesting, very specific type of image. we took a few more pictures to experiment with what we had discovered, all of them turning out nicer than i had expected.

this was a simple instance of trying something new, just because i hadn’t done it before, but i think the idea of this can be transferred to many other things. i would like to give a few things a chance now that i haven’t bothered to before, and i hope others will too. please comment below with your thoughts, and any ideas for something new to try. have a beautiful day.

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hello lovelies!

this week’s post is going to be a little bit of an adorably-heartwarming, make-you-smile kind of post, so prepare yourselves. my family on my father’s side, that is, his brother, his sister-in-law, and their children, were visiting this weekend. their children are very little, one is three, and the other is a year and a half. and to think that i haven’t seen them for over a year. they changed so much in that time. so i was pretty excited to get to spend a whole weekend with them. we went to the zoo, and out to tea, we went exploring in downtown santa barbara, and we went for a walk to the park.

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above are my cousins, first luke, and then eliana. they are still little, but i have so much fun playing and running around with them. when we went to the park, eliana, or “ellie” (her very cute nickname) rode a tricycle. it’s the first picture on the post. on the way home though, she refused to ride it, so her father carried it several blocks while i carried her. three year olds are much heavier than i expected! but i cherished it, because the next time i see her, she may be too old to be carried. luke is still a baby, just beginning to talk and run. he can walk just fine, and he babbles quite a bit of nonsense, but his words are slowly coming in, and sometimes i have to jog to catch up with him. he likes to go on the slide by himself, and he is very snuggly. if you pick him up, he holds on to your shoulder and lies his head on your chest, sitting solidly and comfy in your arms.

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when we went to tea, ellie ordered a huge slice of cake with the grudging consent from her mother, and afterwards we went exploring downtown. in la arcada, there are some bronze dolphin statues that i remembered playing on as a kid, and ellie did the same thing. we walked around and she was fascinated by the sculptures, the colorful store windows, and the water features in the plaza. it was a joy to watch her run around and laugh.

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we had a wonderful time together, and i miss them now that they’re gone, but times like these really help me to appreciate love and family, and to realize just how important they are. please comment below with your thoughts, and have an amazing day.

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hello lovelies!

this week i visited the santa barbara art museum with a few friends. these people i was with are very special to me, as i have known them since I was about 2 or 3 years old. we tend to do a few things together from time to time, as a mechanism for keeping the connections and friendship between us. the art museum is a place that i have not been to for a very long time. the last time i remember going was for a field trip in elementary school. as a result, almost everything i saw was new to me. there was a large room full of beautiful photography that was all muted colors and black and white pictures on walls with bright orange and blue paint that complemented each other very prettily. another room that i really enjoyed was the room named “geometry of the absurd”, featuring textured geometrical art pieces with bright day-glo colors.in this picture, i was particularly captivated by the compliment of my friend’s pink hair.

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then finally there was a children’s room that was full of chalks and pens, and most importantly, a large statue of soft clay that was made for tiny hands to mold.

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after the visit to the museum, my friends and i were hungry, so we walked a few blocks down state street to a pretty little bakery called lilac patisserie. this bakery is dedicated to gluten free, and they even have a few vegan items! normally, i don’t like gluten free pastries. they always feel so dense to me. but this place makes them so well i can’t even tell the difference between their desserts and wheat ones. even the vegan cupcakes are absolutely amazing, tasting like they contain gluten, dairy and eggs while catering to the many vegans in santa barbara unlike any i’ve seen before.

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this is what i ordered: a chocolate fudge yellow cake with sea salt caramel. it is so rich that i took 3 bites, and i was full… for the rest of the day! going with friends was a fun experience because of the opportunities to share and swap, that let us get a taste of everyone’s treats. i wanted to give special mention to the frosting they make here that to me, is the very definition of decadence. with beautiful organic designs of flowers and leaves, they decorate the tops of their delightful cakes with colorful buttercream that melts in your mouth.

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i loved this afternoon activity in downtown santa barbara with the visit to the art museum and the drop-in at the small cafe for a sweet treat, and would recommend it to anyone who happens to be in town. please comment below with your favorite weekend activities, and have a beautiful day.

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hello lovelies!

i have mentioned before that i live in santa barbara, california, and just how lucky i am that i was born and raised here. that was only confirmed when i visited the beach last week to do a little photography with some friends. it is incredibly beautiful here, with the combination of the water and mountains and the close-by channel islands making up a very diverse landscape. My personal favorite however, is the beach. the sand, the breeze, the salty ocean, the towering cliffs, the marine life, and the bright sun are all reasons why i love the beach. I went with two friends, callie and alegra, during the evening.

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we decided to go to the mesa lane steps, which is known locally as thousand steps along with another beach close by. now, it’s definitely called a thousand steps for a reason; the staircase was long and steep, but with a great height above the beach to get some pretty shots of the whole scene. the sun was setting, and the sky was orange and pink, and the ocean reflected the colors and clouds to make a very picturesque scene. we walked along the sand and took pictures as the sun was setting of the scenery and each other, taking advantage of the sunset and the little wind.

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the cliffs had a very gentle sloping to them that allowed us to climb them and take pictures from there to get a nice vantage point to take pictures from. there were other people walking along the beach with dogs, and cameras of their own, which just illuminates for me how many people have the ability to appreciate the landscape. both of my friends brought their own cameras and we each took our own pictures that we saved, and that i know we will all continuously look at to remind us of the beauty of our hometown.

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after all of the running and climbing that we did on the beach, we walked back up the thousand steps staircase (actually it was only about 200) to the street and proceeded to walk to cliff drive for a bite to eat. we went to ichiban, a japanese restaurant on the mesa. the whole while i kept my eyes on the sky, watching the colors fade and the stars appear in the darkening air, and thanking every single one of them that i live in this beautiful place.

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hello lovelies!

this weekend, i went to the animal shelter in goleta to get some volunteer hours, and because i like working with animals. they are so adorable and i believe that they deserve all the help they can muster. in the back of the whole complex is a little yard of hutches called b.u.n.s., a clever acronym for “bunnies urgently needing shelter”. there are bunnies of all colors and sizes and personalities, along with a friendly assortment of guinea pigs and one rhode island red. thats a rooster.

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this rooster’s name is cayenne, like the pepper. it suits him, and his rather fiery personality that can sometimes get him in trouble. but mostly he walks around between hutches and under people’s feet, simply begging for attention.

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this is one of the head volunteers, karen. she is very friendly, and in my opinion, very generous in giving up her weekends to help the animals. she always has a new task for the volunteers, and delegates with a smile on her face. she knows all of the bunnies, the organization of hutches, all of the other volunteers, and basically everything i was lost about when i first started. people who help out quietly often deserve the most respect and admiration, such as karen and all of the other volunteers at buns.

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above is a guinea pig and a bunny, both happily hiding in structures inside their hutches that were amazingly provided and payed for by donations made at the shelter. the animals all have their own places to sleep, each equipped with hay, toys, water, and food. how they all are able to have everything is the day to day care offered by the volunteers. when i first arrived, something that surprised me was when the head volunteer that day said that bunnies and other small caged animals needed daily care. all of that is provided via the generosity of our community.

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at the end of the work day, everyone is given a handful of fresh greens to feed to the bunnies in their hutches. they always are grateful, and some even allow themselves to be held and petted.

i am so happy to give my time to something i am passionate about, and to help out in the process. also, i’m so grateful to the rest of the community who does any sort of volunteer work, especially for causes that cannot help themselves, like these sweet little bunnies.