Fine, Call Me A Tree Hugger.

Originally, I had started this post because a friend (or frenemy, rather) brought up the idea that reducing my carbon footprint means nothing. I, as one person, am not going to change a single thing. Buying organic toothpaste, recycled paper towels, or a Brita filter will do nothing but cost me more money than if I were to purchase regular merchandise. However, I beg to differ.

  • If every family in the country purchased one package of 100 percent recycled napkins instead of regular, it would save 1 million trees.
  • Last year, the US used over 39 billion (yes, billion) plastic bottles–enough to circle the globe 190 times. Each Brita filter can save up to 300 of those bottles from being tossed in a landfill.
  • By replacing one box of 48 ounce petroleum-based powder laundry detergent with Seventh Generation’s vegetable-based detergent, we could save 96,000 barrels of oil–enough to heat 5,500 houses per year.
  • It takes 75,000 trees to print one run of the New York Times Sunday edition. Read news online.
  • The average grocery shopper uses between 500 and 1,200 plastic bags per year. Buying a couple reusable bags from your grocery store will save those bags from resting in landfills.

Anyway, those are just a few things I can personally do that A) make me feel like I’m making a difference, B) don’t take a lot of effort, and C) show how one person can, in fact, change the world. My goal for next weekend is to actually buy a sorter for my paper, plastic, and aluminum waste that I can keep in my kitchen. My apartment complex does not have a recycling facility, but there is one exactly 4.2 miles away. That is my next step in becoming a little more eco-friendly each day. Not to mention, we keep our townhouse at a whopping 64 degrees, unplug the electronics, and reuse our water glass each night. And perhaps down the road, an environmentally friendly wedding theme will be in the picture. Basically, I want to do good. I want to see others doing good as well. I’ve joined the Green Team at work, and would like to see one established in my neighborhood. To sum it up, at the risk of sounding completely cliché:

“You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” -Mahatma Gandhi

Things I’ve Learned.

With 22 years under my belt, there are a few things I’d like to share with you. Some realizations are my own, others I’ve stolen from friends and coworkers, and some were borrowed from various internet sources collected along the way. Either way, take a few. Read them. Share them. Let them inspire you. Laugh. Think back and smile. Agree. Comment. Shake your head at the ridiculousness of a few. But most of all, know that I appreciate your procrastination skills at their best right now, since I’m sure you have better things to do than read my useless blog tonight.

  • I can take my phone out of my purse, look at it, and put it back two or three times before I actually realize what time it is.
  • Parents are the reason we have Limited Profiles on Facebook. No one wants their mother looking through pictures of them getting wasted with their friends when they were 16.
  • There’s no worse feeling than that millisecond you’re positive you’re going to die when you tip a little too far back in your chair.
  • Shirts get dirty. Underwear get dirty. Pants? They never get dirty and you can wear them forever.
  • Everyone should have a go-to karaoke song.
  • I have a hard time deciphering the fine line between hunger and boredom.
  • I would rather carry ten bags of groceries into my house than have to go back to my car for a second trip.
  • The freezer deserves a light as well.
  • If it’s not on Facebook, it’s not official. I know this sucks, but you know it’s true. And it kind of hurts a little when someone denies your friend request.
  • I automatically dislike you when you tell me you hate gay people. These days, it’s almost as unintelligent as saying that a woman’s place is in the kitchen.
  • You never know when it will strike, but there comes a moment at work when you that you just aren’t going to do anything productive for the rest of the day.
  • Bad decisions make great stories.
  • Hangovers are cured only if you combine coffee, water, IB Profin, breakfast of some sorts, a cold shower, deleting texts from last night, talking about what exactly happened with the other people that were there, and then complaining on Facebook about how lousy you feel. In that exact order.
  • Obituaries would be a lot more interesting if they told you how the person died.
  • There is a great need for a sarcasm font.
  • Nothing sucks more than that moment during an argument when you realize you are wrong.
  • The best nicknames are the ones people don’t know they have.
  • More often than not, when someone is telling me a story, all I can think about is that I can’t wait for them to finish so I can tell my own story that is not only better, but more directly involves me.
  • Every time I hear a recording of my own voice, I am convinced that I would not be friends with me, even if I was someone else.

There’s a billion more, but perhaps there will be a “Things I’ve Learned: Part Deux.” Have more? Feel free to share.

High Dynamic Range.

High Dynamic Range, or HDR, is one of my favorite types of photography. It is an interesting process to achieve this look, something I have yet to accomplish, but will one of these days. You can either take one image, or a series in different exposures (over and under exposed) and combine them for a very unique type of picture. It also requires (to look legit and not Picniked) software that costs money that I don’t have. Anyway, by combining the different exposures, you end up with images as such:

I actually have a very good friend of mine who is working on perfecting his skills. He’s just now playing with HDR and is already phenomenal. He makes me wish I had actually gone to school for photography, not just taken one class. I admire him, look up to him. One day I aspire to have works as great as his (in general, not only the HDR). I have yet to ask his permission for reposting his work, but keep your fingers crossed he’ll be happy his work is getting exposure.

If you’re interested in learning more about HDR, I definitely recommend checking out Stuck in Customs. This guy’s work is amazing, and gives a very user friendly tutorial on how to make your own HDR images. Kudos to you, Trey Ratcliff, for your ability to make beautiful artwork.

Writer’s Block.

I realize it’s been over a month since I last wrote, and quite some time passed between that and the one previous. This isn’t a diary, nor is it a news publication. If something inspires me to write, I will spend hours upon hours perfecting my piece until it is exactly what I want you to read. However, lately, my time has been consumed by work, moving, and student loans.

I have not had time to vent, or appeal, or persuade, or object. I have not had time to create, or inspire. I have not had time to anything, really. Something has to change.

Am I a writer? Who’s to say what the boundaries are, or the qualifications that make you a full-blown, legitimate writer? According to Wikipedia, a writer is someone “who produces literary content, including but not limited to stories, poetry, music and other literary art, advertising, procedures, and books.” But I’m writing online. Does that make me a twenty-two year old aspiring writer? What’s the difference between a writer and a blogger? Do I need a degree in creative writing or journalism or any other program they offer before I can truly be a writer?

That’s where I’m stuck. I’m not sure what I am. I continue to wonder why I never went to school for creative things. Not that Intel and Russian aren’t “creative” so to say. K Dubs always said Intel was art. And perhaps it was what I wanted. And now… I feel like I’m back in high school, trying to figure out which college to go to, what I want to do with the rest of my life. I love writing. I would love to continue writing. Poetry, short stories, blogs, you name it. I love it.

So maybe writing is just a passion. A hobby. But maybe it’s a possibility down the road. My opinions and ideas will continue, with the overload of passion in each sentence I write. I feel free when I’m writing. I’m not held back. It’s almost as exhilarating as when I have a sunset, my Nikon, and an empty memory card. There are no boundaries when it comes to my keyboard or my camera.

And I know I’m only twenty-two. I have my entire life ahead of me. My possibilities are endless. I can do anything. But now the question is… Where do I go from here?