Friday, August 31, 2012


This weekend, I was in the middle of changing up my mantle (I don't like it to stay the same for too long), when I got what I thought was a pretty good idea to attempt some self portraits.  Awhile back, I had refinished this mirror that I had found at Goodwill (click to here to see how I did it).  I decided to have some fun with it out in the community area across the street from my house.  Although I'm not usually one to take a lot of pictures of myself, I wanted to do something that really represented me.

This was my initial idea - capture my reflection using the mirror I had redesigned. While looking at Touch Up Tuesday last week, I found this blog about converting photos to black & white.  Stephanie at Behind the Camera and Dreaming did a great tutorial on this conversion using PicMonkey (which is my newest favorite tool for photo editing...if you haven't tried it yet, go now!).  To see this tutorial, click on the Behind the Camera and Dreaming link.

The picture on the left was converted from the original above, and then I decided to play with some other effects as well on the right.

I wanted to represent as much of myself as possible in these photos.  I started with the mirror to show craftiness.  My initial vision for these photos kind of developed as I went along - trying different angles and views.

Obviously my latest love is for my camera, so it needed to be present in at least most of the pictures.

I also wanted to express my personal style fashion-wise.  I'm a sucker for a comfy pair of jeans and flip flops - but if at all possible, I go barefoot.  Sunglasses = sunshine (I am not much of a winter or rain person - so why do I live in the NW?!)

You may have noticed the tattoo on my foot.  Awhile back, I became extremely aware of my inner strength and wanted a reminder of that awareness during times I may be feeling weak.  I also had been toying with the idea of getting a second tattoo for awhile but didn't know what I wanted.  One morning, though, I woke up and knew that was the day I was going to do it.  The infinity knot is a Celtic symbol for inner strength.  After going online and searching around a bit, I found a design that incorporated a heart into the knot and knew that was the one.  It really has become an encouragement for me and represents my journey to explore who I really am.

Like I said before - the purpose of these photos were not to be conceited or self-centered, but to express who I am and just have a little fun with it.  It was also good practice for my composition and editing skills.

Sunday, August 26, 2012


Yesterday my trek to continue to find new environments and subjects to photograph took me to the local Saturday Farmer's Market.
Every Saturday throughout the summer they block off a few blocks downtown and welcome in various farms and other local businesses to sell their products.  Although it is extremely convenient to have a Safeway right behind our house - you can't beat the prices and freshness you find at farmers markets.

At the risk of sounding like a complete "foody", one of my favorite parts of the farmer's market is all of the samples.  Being able to try out the fruit or bread before buying it is a huge plus compared to going to the grocery store.

A close second to the samples would have to be the gorgeous flower arrangements.  It makes me wish I had looked into one of these small farms when I got married!  Some of the smaller arrangements start at $8, while the largest ones are only $15 or $18.  These arrangements are absolutely beautiful!

I do want to share some of the "treasures" I came home with, as well as show some of the great deals that you can find at these markets.

As you can see, these zucchini are absolutely HUGE - and I didn't even pick the biggest ones!  Not only were they massive, but three of them cost me only $1.

To see what I did with some of this zucchini, go check read A Trip to the Farmers Market at Delectably Home.

These are some of the best blueberries I have ever had.  Just last week, I bought a small package of berries from Safeway to make a dessert.  They were pretty good - but inconsistent.  Some were really sour.

I have not had a bad berry yet out of this pint from the market that was only $3.
The flower booths reminded me a lot of the stands that they have at Pike's Market in Seattle.  When I was going to school in Seattle, I used to venture downtown occasionally just to bring home some of their beautiful flowers.  This arrangement was only $10.

I would definitely encourage readers to go out and try to find local markets in your community.  You would be amazed at some of the things you will find.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012


This weekend, I had a few hours to spare Saturday afternoon.  We were staying at my in-laws and I decided to go out and "explore" my hometown to see if I could find any interesting subjects to capture.

My father-in-law suggested visiting a cemetery.  I thought of this older church out in the country that has an old cemetery on property.  Part of the charm is that the church sits on "Life Lane".  I was disappointed to find that the street sign appears to have been removed - possibly by a passing vehicle.

There is an old fish station outside of town that is built out over the river on piers.  I believe the building is roughly 100 years old.  Just over a week ago, and ship came by, and the movement of the waves was apparently the straw that broke the camel's back - one section of the building collapsed on top of itself:

From there, I took I drive along many gravel, dike roads - just to see what I could find.  My goal: try to find "different" subjects, experiment with various angles to add interest, and pay attention to the composition of the photos.

The middle photo in the above set was the original, while the two on the sides have been edited using various techniques.

These old buildings are really fun to work with!!

It was fun to spend a little time in a place that I have lived most of my life, but to see it differently.  It's amazing how much you can miss when you are in a particular environment on a daily basis!

Sarah B Texas @ City Girl Gone Country

Monday, August 20, 2012


The only thing more refreshing than a cold beer on hot day, might be a cold lake or pool.  But considering we don't have easy access to either of those things...this is the next best:

I took the opportunity to snap a few pictures as well.

A Beautiful Day

Wednesday, August 15, 2012


Recently, I was discussing with a good friend of mine how I've been working on my photography and developing more technical skills.  She surprised me by asking if I would be willing to do some family photos before their new baby was born (she was about 8 months pregnant at the time).  After quickly explaining that I haven't done much portrait photography - but would be willing to try if they wanted to be my guinea pigs - we agreed to figure out a time and place.

Since the weather has been so gorgeous here in the NW lately, and considering I don't exactly have a studio to use, we decided on a nearby park that her husband and daughter had been to previously.

"A new baby is like the beginning of all things - wonder, 
hope, a dream of possibilities." 
- Eda J. Le Shan

It has been fun spending time with Ben, Ania and Hailey recently and to watch them get ready to welcome their new baby girl and sister into the world.  Baby's are truly a blessing and a miracle - a sign that life can be good and innocent and sweet.

I felt blessed as well to have the opportunity to both spend time with my good friends and hopefully give them some memories to hold on to for years to come.

(My Favorite)
 "Only love can be divided endlessly, and still not diminish." 
- Anne Morrow Lindbergh

There will be more to come from this family once the baby is here - lots of sister pics on the way...

Also: If you have a chance, go check out Stefanie @ Ni Hao Yall. She has some great photos, as well as a weekly link party!

Monday, August 13, 2012


"To believe in yourself and to follow your dreams, to have goals in life and a drive to succeed, and to surround yourself with the things and the people that make you happy - this is success!" - Sasha Azevedo

Growing up, I went through stages in my love/hate relationships with cars.  I've heard stories of my dad taking me for late night car rides to try to get me to sleep and ones of me staying up all night during our 8 hour trip to Northern Idaho.  I used to dread our occasional trip to Portland, even though it was only an hour away.  The other day, though, I realized how much I really love to just go for a drive.

As Tristan and I were driving through the hills on our way back to the city - I thought about how relaxing and enjoyable it is to just sit back and enjoy the scenery passing by.  We had the windows down, the music up, and my mind was open.


The particular road we were taking back towards Portland is one the I have seldom traveled and when I have, it has mostly been through the cover of nightfall.  I have never really paid much attention to what is along the winding highway.  

In the small town of Mist, Oregon is an old school with a playground around back.  Walking onto that playground felt like stepping somewhere back in time.  Today's playgrounds are covered in rubber and plastic.  There was something sweet and sentimental about coming across this classic merry-go-round, swing set and metal slide.  It was a quiet reminder of how easy it is to become accustomed to the way things are today and forget about where we come from.


Just across the field was another reminder about how things evolve and perhaps even devolve through the years.  Tristan's grandparents used to live next to the old school.  While we were there, Tristan told me about how the property at that time was mowed and weeded . . . how it sustained the livestock of a farm and entertained family gatherings.

Here, where Grandpa and Grandma Trass's house once stood, it's now just an overgrown field.  

The remains of an old brick BBQ

It was so much fun to listen to Tristan's memories of what this piece of land used to be.  The hollow tree above is where he used to hide his "treasures" when he was a little kid.  And the ones below were just small saplings when he helped his grandpa plant them, with the intention of growing Christmas trees.

I have listened to many stories which have reiterated in my mind what hard workers my husbands grandparents were.  They were driven: to make something of what they had, to take care of their family, to do something worthy of being remembered.  They were driven and determined and they worked hard to build a happy life.  To see what has become of that life they built now that they are no longer here, of the land that they put so much of themselves into, made me sort of sad.  But at the same time, it is an inspiration to always find that drive to be something more - to make the most out of the moments and opportunities we are given.

As we finished our drive home - I sat back into my seat, letting the wind blow over my skin and through my hair, absorbed in the music and my thoughts.  Again I was dwelling on all the things we take for granted every day and how we fail to recognize all the hard work those who came before us have done so that we can have the lives we have today.

For those of you reading this, do me a favor: think about your friends, your parents, your grandparents.  Think about some of the things that they have done in their lives and how they have provided you with opportunities to do some of the things that you have done.  Think about how fortunate you are to have those people in your life who can motivate you to be a better person.

I guess our little Sunday "drive" pushed me to think about finding that drive in my life to do great things.  They may not always be big things, but the little things in life can have a huge impact on ourselves and others as well.

 On a side note: we also spent a morning this weekend driving these RC rock crawlers up and down a big rock pit in our friends' back yard.  I have to say - for as much as I make fun of Tristan sometimes for how much time he spends "playing" with his truck - they are actually a lot of fun!

"Enthusiasm releases the drive to carry you over obstacles and adds significance to all you do." - Norman Vincent Peale 

Sarah B Texas @ City Girl Gone Country
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