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February 2011 Archives

PSA on Cookies

February 28, 2011

The last few weeks I've been telling Steve that I feel fat. To which he would roll his eyes and tut and not engage in this conversation with me because a good man knows better. But still the feeling remained: my pants were a bit tighter, my belly a bit poochier.

I knew I had been eating a few too many cookies and brownies and not going to the gym as often as I once had. I also hadn't been going to my pilates classes because of an incident with a teaching assistant that left me pretty ticked off. But that wouldn't have made me feel like this, it must be water weight. Or winter blahs. So I had another cookie to cheer myself up.

So I did a scientific study, of sorts. It involved measurements and scales and analysis and conclusions were drawn. And instead of creating a tri-fold display with sections for a Hypothesis and an Experiment and pencil-colored graphs, let me just get to the Conclusion that you couldn't have possibly guessed:

Eating bags full of cookies for months will make you gain weight. Possibly even 15 pounds.

The results shocked me, too.

So, uh, unrelated (*cough*): I'm back to tracking my daily calorie intake and exercise. I want to make this publicly known as a way to keep me accountable and not eat another cookie. Because tight pants mean I have to go shopping and I hate shopping please don't make me go shopping.

Current complicating factor: my boss's daughter MADE COOKIES last night JUST TO SPITE ME. They are chunky. They have chocolate chips and coconut and oatmeal. And they are sitting in the file room where I have to go to fill up my water bottle and get my carrot sticks from the refrigerator, just sitting there with all of their little friends calling to me like Greek Sirens.

I am imagining them full of raisins to help me not touch them. Ew, gross. (It's only kind of working.)

Complicating factor in the very near future: Girl Scout cookies. Evil, evil Girl Scout cookies. We placed an order with a friend who has them with her this very moment and we will be meeting after work. You know what's fun to do with Girl Scout cookies? Make ice cream.

I've lost weight before and I can do it again: I just need to refocus.

On something other than cookies.

Presidents Day

February 21, 2011

Birch Lake and Chugach Mountains

I had today off, so Olive and I took a good long walk today in the sunshine.

Presidents Day Walk-7

We got all bundled up in layers and snow gear and hats and gloves for the walk, and were so glad we had it for the first half of the walk. During the second half, the wind died down and the sun got warmer and I started pulling layers off.

Presidents Day Walk-5

It was fun tromping through the snow with the dog, who ended up covered from the tip of her noes to the tip of her tail.


One of the great things about snow is that you can easily find trails that might not exist in the summer, or if they do exist they are difficult to find. We followed some footprints through the woods and found ourselves at Birch Lake behind the nearby high school.

Presidents Day Walk-1

There was one solitary set of ski tracks around the lake's perimiter, but otherwise the snow was undisturbed. Until Olive went after a bird.

Presidents Day Walk-3

But on a day like today, I couldn't blame her.

Thirty Before 30 Roundup, Pt 2

February 4, 2011

Continuing to review my accomplishments and slackerliness with my Thirty Before 30 list. The first half of the list is here.

16. Get a professional massage

I did get a massage, and it wasn't as terribly tickle-y as I had expected. I felt great immediately after, but the effects didn't stick with me for long. Not sure if that was normal?

17. Spend a day/afternoon on a ski slope

No. By the time winter rolled around we were in super-save-money mode and that left no time for the ski slope.

18. Host a dinner party

I did this! We had more people over last year than any year before, and I envision even more dinner parties and game nights to come.

19. Read 15 books

I kept track of my books through Goodreads, which tells me I read 21 books since May. This doesn't count the textbooks I read, or the number of books I started but didn't finish (something I never would have done, but I'm realizing if I'm more interested in poking at my iPhone in bed than reading my book, perhaps it's better to find another book because I can't put down the books I do love).

20. Climb Flattop 5 times

I climbed Flattop twice, once in the rain with friends and then once in the hot sun with Olive. I will be climbing it again this summer.

21. Redesign/repurpose

Didn't happen, though I started some early futzing in Photoshop and was pretty meh about the whole thing.

22. Nap on a sandy beach

Also didn't happen. Only places I went last year were Juneau and Homer.

23. Complete an emergency fund

I have a good portion of 6-months worth of savings in the bank, mostly because of all of the overtime I worked this past year. But most of that savings will be allocated to a very large purchase in the next two months anyway, so I'm going to say no to this one as well.

24. Have coffee/lunch dates with 15 friends

I stopped counting my friend dates because that seemed petty, but I did this! I asked people out for lunch or coffee and no one laughed at me! Also I have some awesome friends.

25. Get a facial

No facials here.

26. Spend less time online

I drastically reduced the number of website feeds I followed this year, which definitely helped me spend less time online. But other times I found myself staring blankly at my feed reader and refreshing in hopes that someone would update something, then I feel dumb.

27. Cook an elaborate new meal

I can't say that I did this. I mean I tried new recipes, but nothing I would really classify as elaborate except Thanksgiving dinner, which isn't a new meal.

28. Have a new experience every week

I had a ton of new experiences this past year, but I was crap with documenting them. Did I have a new experience every week? Probably not. If I did then I didn't focus on enjoying it for the new experience that it was, which kind of defeats the purpose.

29. Throw a big 30th birthday party

Heck yeah, it was awesome, wish you were there.

30. Not complete the whole list


Thirty Before 30 Roundup, Pt 1

February 1, 2011

So a year ago I made this super optimistic list of a ton of things I wanted to accomplish before I turned 30. I knew it was optimistic, I knew I wouldn't complete everything, but thought it would be fun and/or good for me to attempt them. Let's take a look at how I did.

1. Start a business

I totally did this. Business plan, logo, business cards, studio website complete with an awesome gallery/shopping cart backend that Steve programmed, expense accounts, clients.

2. Sell a photo online

Sold a few, actually, and some even to people who don't know me! I didn't promote the shop as much as I could have, but I'm happy to have it.

3. Finish photographing 100 strangers

I did not finish my 100 strangers project, but I did shoot ten more so that's... something.

4. Take 2 photography workshops

I took quite a few workshops this past year, some focused on lighting, some on experimental portraiture, and others on business, including one for which I asked (and received!) my money back.

5. Photograph 10 models

Well, no. I tried and models flaked because models are flaky. But I did manage to photograph Daniel, Samantha, and Colleen.

6. Curate/edit an Anchorage photo book

Nope, did absolutely nothing with this.

7. Show my work at a First Friday opening

Aaaand no. I sent some pitch emails to a few galleries with a specific idea to showcase the Have You Met jump shots and didn't hear back. But I did get on the wait list to show at a downtown cafe--the wait list is just two years long. So. Summer 2012, look out!

8. Take a dance lesson

Had every intention to do this, even looked up beginning dance lesson schedules and obtained cursory interest from Steve to go with me, then... didn't.

9. Go to the movie theater all alone

No. This is the scariest thing on this list and I did not do this. I will claim that it's because any movie that interested me I wanted to share with Steve, but we all know that's complete crap and I just chickened out.

10. Ask for help

I want to cop out and say that I asked for all kinds of help with doing little things, but that wasn't the spirit of this list item and so this one is a no.

11. Find a new gynocologist

Yes! And she was awesome!

12. Update my makeup routine

I made some updates to my routine, but nothing dramatic. Mostly the quality of the products I use are now better than before.

13. Reconnect with a lost friend

I'm pretty sure this is why Facebook exists. I reconnected with some lost friends and even some lost cousins.

14. Wander aimlessly

Uhh. I didn't set out with the express purpose to do this, so I'm putting it in the Didn't category. Only time I remember wandering aimlessly was after a really hard week at work that ended with an even more difficult meeting and I sent Steve to the wrong mechanic to pick up the car and I had a complete emotional meltdown downtown on a Friday evening. I wandered around for a while and ended up at the Park Strip sitting on a bench crying until Steve picked me up. Then he canceled his plans and helped me go out to take pictures and I felt 1000% better. But I don't think that counts.

15. Have sex in public

Depends on your definition of "public", but: yes.

Additional Content

Hi, I'm Valette

I'm a photographer based out of Anchorage, Alaska. I've recently become a wife, a stepmother, and a homeowner. Life is pretty awesome. You can email me anytime. Learn more...

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