thanksgiving weekend success.


my favorite holiday did not disappoint. last wednesday, we packed up our lives and headed for the hills. literally. we rented a cabin in the mountains of Whittier, NC with some friends and had us a big ol' thanksgiving feast. we got there really late wednesday night and were complete homebodies until late saturday night as we started the drive back.

the cabin was amazingly cute and nice, complete with an upstairs balcony, a deck with a hot tub and a fireplace. the owners even had a christmas tree and christmas lights on the trees out front. color us "stoked".

jesse, nick c., addie, cj
me, ketan, nick f.

while we were waiting for ketan to arrive late thanksgiving night, we all cooked our respective dishes. everyone contributed in many teamwork-ish ways: we all made food and/or drinks; jesse and ketan chopped wood; and we played games and mostly cooperated like the adults that we are.

ha, looking at that first picture, all the dudes look like lumberjacks with their facial hair and hipster dress shirts. anyway, the weather was nice and cold - it even started snowing for a quick second as the sun descended behind the mountains!! weeee!! all the food we made lasted us the entire weekend, with a tiny bit of excess. way to plan, team t-giving.
*click for bigger*

it was an incredible thanksgiving and i would do it over again in a heartbeat. with maybe one small exception being all the noxious fumes the one other female and i had to endure from all the boys. there i said it. for addie and for myself. but yeah, other than that, complete satisfaction. ahhhhhh. i can't wait for next year!


this just in: i still heart chicago.


SHOCKER, i know. i hadn't been to chicago in about a year and a half and thus deemed it highly necessary to go and visit KK. i booked myself a god-awful 6:20 am flight for last friday and was on my way. in retrospect, choosing this early-o'clock flight for the morning after i returned home from my first week back to work was not exactly a great example of my decision-making skills. but the price was right.

i fumbled around starting at 4:40 that morning, trying to make sure i ate something and packed everything i needed. at 5:15 i checked my phone and realized my taxi was downstairs waiting for me - panic! i grabbed my carry-on and yanked it off the little table it was on and WHAMMO, it wasn't zipped. everything spills on the ground. my nice, neatly organized belongings were then crammed back into the bag, devil-may-care style. i briefly hoped that i didn't break my wide angle lens or any other part of my important camera set-up, as i was looking forward to taking lots of photos over the weekend. otherwise, how would i blog about it? ha. ahem. excuse me.

2 flights and 8 hours later, i am waiting to meet KK in a restaurant and get our lunch on. upon entering the city, i made 2 observations:

1. man, chicago's train system leaves much to be desired.
2. man, i still love this city.

this is the part where you are probably expecting me to be like "oh and here are the great pictures i took! here's the awesome bruschetta from Frasca that i died over; and here's the cute Marc Jacobs dress i almost bought, but decided against; and this is us playing iPhone Catch Phrase and it was hilarious; and here are KK and i sitting on the bus/in the taxi/on the train; oh and here is the BEST falafel joint ever, Sultan's and the foodgasm that ensued, etc.". yes, you would expect that.

ENTER MAJOR BLUNDER ON MY PART: oh i packed the camera. and my nice wide angle lens. and my sb600 flash. however, none of these items really come in handy unless one also has the special battery that one left sitting on the charger in one's apartment back home in DC.


i thought about just going and buying a battery, but they are $40 and only have 5 minutes of charge on them, so i'd need the special charger that is also $40 and then some hours to charge it. so i couldn't justify an $80 blunder. i resolved to capture mental memories. and, if in a real bind, use the iPhone (but you all know how i feel about that).

therefore, there are 2 photos from the weekend. and i present them to you:

at least i captured two moments with two of my most favorite people. even though these pictures contain all of the qualities i dislike about cell phone pictures, they're all i've got.

speaking of cell phone pictures . . we got some sad news yesterday. jesse's favorite doggie, harley died sunday morning. we're not sure what happened, but his dad came in the house and found him lying there and he was gone. harley used to be my doggie lily's boyfriend when we would go visit jesse at his parents' house. here's a little picture jesse took (on his phone) for us one day:

harley, you are already missed. you big goof. ♥ going home for christmas won't be the same.


exposé: the un-glamorous side of business travel.


yesterday started out pretty good. very early, but good. i was surprised, nay shocked to find the start of my journey south greeted by countless metric tons of traffic both coming into as well as leaving the city. at 6:30 in the morning. shocked. i thought i'd beat everyone on the road. so i turned my iPod on random and experienced good shuffle fortune.

the result of my waking up at 5:15 am (sleep was restless and filled with terrible dreams anyway . . might as well get up) was a state of bleary-eyed lethargy. for some reason, i just can't function properly if i wake up before 6:15. that extra hour is essential to my circadian rhythm.

my day wasn't very busy as i didn't have a computer set up or access to anything i needed yet, so that made it slow, but it was still good. things went a bit south after the sun went down. i checked into my hotel and brought all my stuff in and set it up. since i'll be here for a year without checking out, i can leave everything in my room. the hotel leaves much to be desired.
i'm used to a bit more "luxury", if you will. the kitchen and bathroom feel like . . i dunno . . like i'm in an RV? the towels are glorified washcloths. and by "glorified", i do mean that they all look like they've been washed with a red sock. as i sit here typing, i can hear the slam of the microwave door in the next room. and someone blowing their nose loudly. i'll leave it at that.

after "settling in", i went to the whole foods down the street. i was already very tired and hungry at this point, which always spells disaster if i have to do something that requires thinking and common courtesy, like buying groceries or interacting with other humans. i literally walked through the prepared foods section, up and down the different island buffet thingies, THREE times. nothing looked appetizing. at all. defeated, i settled on some three squash soup, cornbread, and a salad. salad bar was weak as hell. disappointing at best.

upon arriving back at el hotel circa 8pm, i realized that a) i was WAY too hungry to squeeze in even a 20 minute workout and b) i left my 2 gallons of bottled water on my cart back in the store. i almost cried (indication that i was SPENT). i sucked it up and delved into dinner - one word: gross. the best part was the cornbread which does not quite constitute nutrition. i turned the tv on for some noise and didn't bother to see what was on or change the channel. monday night football - indicator number 2 that i was "dunzo".

these post-work events all made me wish i was cuddling up on the couch with jesse and my favorite blankie to eat a good home-cooked meal and relax. allow me a moment to wax photographic regarding my blankie . .

because it is the best blankie. ever. and this facial expression pretty much sums up my grump.

i enjoyed a fairly decent night's sleep, but opened my eyes at 5:24 am, wide awake, unable to further enjoy that last hour i deserved. strange. let's see what day 2 has in store . .


back to work.


this morning i leave DC for richmond. the next few weeks will be a whirlwind of travel, but that's ok. i'm keeping it all in perspective. and thanksgiving is coming! it's my favorite!

in anticipation of how much i'm going to miss jesse after 6 straight weeks of sleeping in the same bed every night (first time that's ever happened in almost 3 years!), i bestow upon you an animated .gif that might possibly the cutest one i've ever made. get ready to vomit.

yep. there it is. one of the few crafts i actually got around to on my little break were these DIY silhouettes. and then i took pictures of them. and made this. ok, must get ready now. man, it's early. have a great monday!


my science project.


as my 6 weeks of funemployment come to a close (HALLELUJAH!), i am reminded to enjoy the few days i have left. cherish them and whatnot. reflect on the time i spent watching shows on hulu. the baked goods i created and consumed. the many crafty projects that i did NOT get around to. oh who cares, bring on the work!!!!

on monday i start my new one year contract in richmond, va. and this begs me to pause for a moment.


i feel a science project coming on. get ready.

by Raena

PROBLEM/PURPOSE: i may have stumbled onto something about myself here.

HYPOTHESIS: i think i must have some subconscious affinity for capital cities.

PROCEDURES: i lived and worked different places. and didn't even realize i was making science!

DATA: let's see, i lived in madison, wi for a year and a half. then worked/lived in atlanta, ga for a year and 8 months. now i live in washington, dc (capital of capitals!). and off i go to work in richmond, va for at least the next year! hmm, a graph may help here. graphics are very effective for explaining results.

i actually expended a good deal of effort making this timeline. it's not even that good. definitely not to scale. hmph.

RESULTS: curious, isn't it? would you even go as far as to say "uncanny"?? well i don't know if i would, but still. strange.

CONCLUSIONS: now i almost feel obligated to seek out capital cities and make it my "thing".

RECOMMENDATIONS: actually having some sort of testable hypothesis and using the scientific method would probably be best for a science project. and not leaving it until the night before it's due. (you're welcome, parents!)


i don't know what happened here, but i think i got something across . . ok, gotta go.


practicing our plyometrics.


i am sorry, but jumping photos rank right up at the top of my list. why? i don't know . . they are so fun. so much movement, you never know what's going to happen. it's dangerous - you might accidentally jump right onto the photographer or, in our case, knock over the tripod. it's livin' on the edge. to the max!!

sometimes i can even get jesse to indulge in my photographic whims. he's mostly hesitant at first, maybe even self-conscious, but he comes around to enthusiasm, even dreaming up what we should do next. yesterday we headed back out to the National Arboretum and scoped out a spot to make it happen. which was rather difficult, because we were losing light fast (the sun set at like 5:06 yesterday - what the what?!) and i didn't want to see a bunch of humans or cars in the background. jesse found this spot for us as soon as i was getting frustrated.

and we did lots of this:

and this:

and even some leap frog:

and a bunch more of it all:

man, that was uplifting. ha! get it?!! UP-LIFT-ing??!? oh come on, who doesn't love a good pun?


serious photographer(s).


you are probably already able to tell by all of the amazing photographs in this blog, but i am a serious photographer. so serious, in fact, that there have been some times when others have caught me right in the middle of my photojournalistic stance. it's true!

this shot, for example, was taken by my good friend meredith when i was "on location" in maui back in 2006. that's right, serious photographers get to go really serious places. don't feel bad if you don't know what "on location" means - ha! it's an industry term. anywho, this is the essence of pure photojournalism: crazy hair, weird outfit (camera bag + hoodie + short cotton cheerleading shorts?), kneeling down to scope out the best angle and lighting, hand at the ready to zoom in and out at will. man! such a pro!

why, just the other day when i was out "shooting" (ha, civilians! that means "taking photos" - oh, you) the fall colors on location at the National Arboretum, my assistant, er, boyfriend, jesse caught me in this serious moment of repose, you know, just scoping out the remaining lighting, trying to figure out where i wanted to venture next.

yep, just checking my "gear" and securing everything in my bag. lenses and flashes and whatnot. keys hanging from a little clip thingy on my beltloop. ha, why am i even saying things that no one will understand??

little did you know, jesse is a serious photographer too, if you couldn't already tell by the expert composition in the photo above. nice use of fill flash. good work. so that you may properly diagnose a serious photographer when you see one "in the field" (there i go again!), here is another example from a photo i took of jesse:

mmm hmm. that's the look, alright. two different takes on the same idea. i like the use of space in the shot he took of me a little better - you see the tops of the columns and a bit more sky and that little plant on the right. i like how the sun is poking through the columns in mine though with a bit of lens flare, and how you feel like you're right on top of him! aaah! this isn't a competition though. just fun and games. except, you know, very, very serious. not counting the tickle fight we had when we put down our cameras.

yep, now you know everything.


a whole lot of nothing.


i was awake, tossing and turning for some time before i decided to look at my clock (read: phone), telling me that it was 5:52 am. i turned off my light well after midnight last night and wasn't tired then, why should i be at 5-something am? there is far too much on my mind. it was racing with thoughts of triple-checking to make sure i paid the mortgage on the house in FL, and what is happening with that security deposit mess from KY, and turning over the job prospects that lay (lie? this is my grammatical achilles heel) before me, and poking holes in each one.

it's a strange week. i can think of nothing to do during the day, save for things that would cause me to spend money. so i feel i must refrain from those things. my wrist is killing me lately, and i went to an ortho doctor about it. he prescribed physical therapy, get this - 2 to 3 times per week. what normal person could accommodate that? the only reason i could possibly even go more than once a week right now is because i'm jobless. but therein lies the problem, because i'm afraid to shell out the money for it. same goes with my back - i've had some sleepless nights because i can't even find a comfortable position to sleep in it hurts so badly. but chiropractor visits are all out of pocket. the irony is thick up in here. i'm too young for that much pain. what the what?

wow . . i just realized that i haven't actually stepped outside since sunday when we went to the grocery store. WOW, even worse, i didn't even step outside as we went from parking garage to parking garage. that is pretty disgusting. i share this here so that now i become accountable for DOing something about it. today. and i will post photographic evidence, so help me.

this is over. so over.