Weekly Vignettes

I came across the beautiful blog Lark & Linen the other day and fell in love with her mini photography posts that showed little snapshots of her week. I love taking photos and thought I would try something similar to document the small moments throughout the week.

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Views from the backseat – en route to my cousin’s blessing.

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My morning view, the Morristown train station at dawn.

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Celebrating the third night of Hanukkah with my cousins.

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This dog LOVES to hang out in my room (even if his face doesn’t show it).

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The display on the Macy’s store in Herald Square, taken from my walk to Penn Station.

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I wake up at 5:30 a.m. for work every morning and there’s nothing I want to do more on Saturday than stay in bed.

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An eggnog latte from my favorite coffee shop in New Jersey – Drip in Madison.

Photo Diary | Autumn Walk

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I’ve lived in Arizona my entire life until this fall, and living in the desert doesn’t really accommodate the changing seasons. But ever since I’ve been living in New Jersey with my cousins, I’ve experienced my first real fall season, from the changing leaves to the crisper mornings and the perpetual crunching under your feet. It’s just absolutely beautiful, maybe even more so because my family lives in a more woodsy area with farms and forests.

We went for a walk at a famous Morristown spot called Jockey Hollow, and of course I had to bring my camera to capture the fleeting beauty of fall as the weather gets colder.

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Photo Diary | Northern Arizona

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I went with three of my closest friends from college on one last hurrah in our home state of Arizona before we all went our separate ways at the end of summer. Even though all of us have lived in Arizona for most of our lives, it had been over 10 years since I saw the Grand Canyon, several years for Marissa and Rose, and just a few months for Maddie who lived in Northern Arizona last year. It may be hard to believe that with a natural wonder in our backyard we haven’t seen it that often, but not every day gives us the chance to make the trek up to the Grand Canyon.

We stayed in a village about an hour out from the Grand Canyon called Williams. The only way I can describe this little town is by saying the first thing I saw when I got out of the car to get dinner was a man wearing a cowboy hat unironically. It was the cutest, quaintest town that boasted its location on Route 66 at every possible gift shop and road sign. All we did there was sleep and eat, but what we saw was worth our stay at the Quality Inn.

The last time I was at the Grand Canyon it was covered in snow, and it definitely felt more like a postcard seeing the red rocks without any white dusting on them. Even though I didn’t get to see very much of the canyon – and my photos don’t do it any justice – I still want to go back and hike it, and eventually go to places such as Havasupai Falls and go white water rafting on the Colorado River. As far as Northern Arizona goes, there’s still so much that I want to see.

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10 Things I Love About Living in New York City

I was lucky enough to spend this summer in New York City while attending the NYU Summer Publishing Institute in June and July. After living there for over two months, I began to feel a bit more like a “local” than a “tourist,” and during one of the last nights in my dorm room – a beautiful corner bedroom in the Gramercy neighborhood – I wrote a list of my favorite things about the city. Here is what I wrote.

1. There are cute dogs everywhere.

I have never seen a larger population of French bulldogs than in the city.

2. You can practically get any food you want, any time you want.

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The best crepes come from a hole in the wall after midnight.

3. Walking and taking public transportation almost everywhere = never having to drive, park, or pay for gas.

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God bless the subway, even when it’s disgusting and packed full of sweaty people.

4. Knowing how to navigate the city is like learning a new language.

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It’s a language of streets and avenues, uptown and downtown, and becoming fluent means you’re a true New Yorker.

5. Every turn you take leads to a place unlike any you’ve ever seen before.

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And sometimes it’s a place you’ve only seen on the Internet.

6. Parks, waterfront views, beaches, museums – all accessible via walking or subway.

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And there’s more to see than just Central Park (like Battery Park, above).

7. You can window shop for you dream apartment on the daily.

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Why yes I did google that East Village apartment, and yes I did cry at the rent price.

8. PIZZA!

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The best and cheapest thing you’ll eat in the city.

9. Art is everywhere you go.

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Street art like this is just a normal part of the commute.

10. You can always find something beautiful in New York, even in the most unexpected places.

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The city always shines, even during the rain.

Photos from San Antonio

I was lucky enough to travel at the very beginning of the new year to a city I’ve never been to – San Antonio, Texas! My sister Hannah got the amazing opportunity to perform with the color guard in the 2015 U.S. Army All-American Marching Band, and of course we had to go to cheer her on. Aside from the weather being extremely chilly, wet, and muggy the first day, all of the All-American activities plus seeing the city made the short trip such an experience.

Exploring San Antonio

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Awards Show feat.  Super Bowl Hall of Famer Lynn Swan

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 San Antonio Day Two

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 U.S. Army All-American Bowl Game

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On the River Walk

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 Heading home…

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October Adventures

I was lucky enough to be able to take a long weekend in order to celebrate my sister’s senior night activities for marching band and go to her competition in Flagstaff on Friday. I packed so much into four days and I’m just happy I got to spend a day in the cooler weather up north and feel like I was actually experiencing fall, and getting to see my friends and family at the same time.

Thursday, October 16

IMG_3809_edited-2 IMG_3868_edited-1My sister’s high school marching band performed at their annual exhibition with the rest of the bands in the school district, and my parents and I went to watch, of course. I was able to get some pictures of her practicing, which never fails to impress me – she’s on the color guard and somehow catches a rifle that she tosses into the air. What?! She was practicing for this year’s show, Mirror, Mirror, in which she portrays the “Evil Queen.” Bow down, bitches!

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Hannah’s senior night (the last home football game of the year) made it hard not to get emotional that night. For one, it brought back all the memories of my own marching band days (I played clarinet and was drum major for two years). And of course, it reminded me and the rest of my family that Hannah is almost done with high school!!! How did that happen?

We made her a senior poster with pictures from childhood and the seasons of color guard and lined up to present her at half time. She got to wear a cute pink bow to show that she’s a senior, too – so cute!

Saturday, October 18

Processed with VSCOcam with m5 presetMy lone picture from Saturday! I drove up to Flagstaff with my good friend Austin to go to Hannah’s competition and hang out with my friends that go to school up there. I also got to spend time with my grandma at her competition which was lovely, since it’s so rare I get to spend one-on-one time with any of my grandparents. After that I hit a few bars with my newly-21-year-old friends and spent the night at my grandparent’s place.

Sunday, October 19

IMG_4232_edited-1 IMG_4230_edited-1 IMG_4233_edited-1The few photos of my morning in Flagstaff. My trip was go-go-go minus the several hours of sleep I got on Saturday but I got to appreciate some of the changing colors of the trees! I love my grandparent’s place in Flagstaff at any time of the year, but this fall morning was particularly beautiful. I want more orange leaves in my life!

I’d be lying if I’m sad to go back to the hum-drum of school/work life, but I’m thankful for my little vacation and the tiny taste of fall I was able to experience outside of a pumpkin spice latte.

Zoo Afternoon

My roommate Marissa and I decided to go to the Reid Park Zoo in Tucson on Labor Day! It’s a tiny zoo but only about five minutes away from our house, so it’s crazy that I hadn’t gone before today. I really wanted to see the hedgehogs, but those only come out for special events apparently. Despite my infinite sadness, we did get to see the other thing we came for – the baby elephant born only a few weeks ago! As far as babies go, she was pretty huge, but as far as elephants go, she was teeny tiny!

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Friday Night Lights

Since it’s my senior and final year as an undergrad at the University of Arizona, I decided I should invest the money into purchasing a ZonaZoo pass because a. I didn’t go at all last year, and b. I’ve yet to go to a basketball game, which is basically a crime after being at U of A for three years now.

I went with my roommate, Marissa, and best friend from high school, Alex, and after failing to scope out a new restaurant called Pizza Studio for dinner due to running late, we settled in near the south end zone (I think). We were right next to the marching band, which I have a forever fondness for after playing clarinet and being a drum major in high school. We called our section the “chill” section, for us not-as-insane football fans who don’t want to be judged for sitting (or leaving) during the middle of the game.

I’ll admit that I’m not that into sports of any kind, but I can really get into a game if I’m watching intently, which I definitely was, as I brought my DSLR and had every intention of practicing some action shots during the game. I think I managed to succeed, and got a good amount of shots for staying halfway through the third quarter. Good news for the Wildcats – we won in a blowout 58 to 13!

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Tangerine Trees & Marmalade Skies

Living in Arizona as I have my entire life has its downsides, like inescapable summer heat and crazy conservative politicians. But every July when monsoon season begins, all of the summer stress of living in a desert melts away with the thunderstorms and rain we’re blessed with only several times throughout the year.

Today was one of those days when the rain seemed to come out of nowhere, and having already feeling “a case of the Mondays,” it was a welcome surprise. Even though I’ve experienced many monsoon seasons now, the beautiful sunsets and smell of rain in the desert never fail to capture my attention. When the rain stops, there’s just this glow that settles over everything and makes for picture perfect moments.

Let Freedom Sparkle

Happy (belated) Fourth of July! While today was certainly not as exciting as Independence Day, I got to do one of the things I love to do best – editing photos! I spent the day with my Mom and sister and showed them this blog post about photographing words with sparklers, and lucky for me, they were totally in.

Before we could get into taking photos, we decided to get Mexican food (I know, totally American, right?) and make some patriotic treats! The original fish taco plate from Rubio’s always hits the spot, and after raiding Fry’s earlier in the day we have enough red, white, and blue food for a feast!

The first thing we made were red, white, and blue shortcakes. Extremely simple and bite-sized treats, all you need is angel food cake (or individual shortcakes you can usually find near the strawberries), whipped cream (used Reddi Whip, but you could use Cool Whip, too), and any combination of berries you want. In this batch we used strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries.

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These little cakes were light and tasty…and gone in about 10 seconds!

After watching two hours worth of So You Think You Can Dance and waiting for the sun to go down, we headed outside with sparklers in tow to start taking photos. Since I don’t own a tripod, my setup was extremely glamorous: my camera sitting on top of one of my Mom’s bar stools. It actually ended up working out pretty well, since the padding gave me extra stability and height to the camera.

For the writing, I shot in shutter priority mode in order to control the amount of time the shutter stayed open in order to capture the entire word or image. We found that the small sparklers worked long enough to write an entire word, but you could also use the longer ones that burn for over a minute or so. For my name the shutter was open for 5 seconds.

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After that I picked up my camera and decided to take some photos of my Mom, my sister, and my sister’s boyfriend when he showed up.

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I’m lucky my family are such good sports about my attempts in photography and that I got to spend the Fourth of July with them!