Ack!  Blog neglect!  School has gotten the best of me yet again, but the busiest part is over, and now I just need to stay strong until the end of the semester.  I was more or less offered an internship that I really want last week, so I’m looking forward to getting into the practice side of this work soon!  I’ll be taking the summer off to work and travel, and then will do the internship fall-spring to complete my MSW.  Woohoo!

In other news, it’s getting nice outside, finally, and you know what that means–back to taking pictures again!  Hannah officially graduated from high school, and her party is this weekend, so we had to do another shoot and finalize some portraits to give out at the party.  It was really rushed at the end, so I didn’t get the shots just the way I wanted them, but I’m satisfied enough with them that I don’t feel horribly embarrassed about local people seeing them as the final product.  I’m such a perfectionist, it’s hard to accept my work.  Well, here are a few for you!




I don’t know why, but I’m just not in a picture mood this week.  I took a break from the week in photos last week, and now I can’t find my point and shoot, so I guess this week will be another week off, too.

In other news, this is my first year participating fully in Great Lent, as I was chrismated and baptized into the Eastern Orthodox Church last Easter (which comes right after Lent.)  On a surface level, what this means is that I’m going to be on a vegan diet until Pascha (Easter).  But obviously it means a lot more than just that.  What, exactly does it mean then?  Well, that’s something I’m still in the process of understanding and figuring out.  So hopefully more on that later…

For now, I end with a quote I read tonight by a Catholic saint that I found really challenging:

“Love for our neighbor consists of three things: to desire the greater good of everyone; to do what good we can when we can; to bear, excuse, and hide other’s faults.” –St. John Vianney

That last one is the one that really struck me.  I can’t even count how many times I bitched about and exposed people’s faults this week.  From my professors, to my boss, to my own family members.  😦  I hardly realized it was wrong at the time, but after reading this quote, I realize how unloving it really was.

I’m going to really try and work on this one for a while.

How about you?  In what ways have you been challenged to be more loving lately?

I took these pictures last fall on a whim when I stopped by my friend Lonnell’s house to drop off something. He was home with his son and asked if I’d shoot a few pics of the two of them together. I had about 10 minutes before having to be somewhere, so we ran into the yard and took a few quick shots. This spontaneous photo shoot turned out to be my most memorable shoot thus far. Capturing the beautiful interactions between Lonnell and his son, London, was such an incredible moment to be a part of. I felt like I was a part of capturing something that was far deeper than aesthetic beauty–something invisible and intangible, yet nonetheless capturable in a photograph.  This is the kind of photography I hope to be able to continue doing, and get better at.






Camera: Canon t2i

Lens: 24-70 2.8L

Postprocessing: None


Dreary day, dreary night :/


Writing papers all week long…


A foggy morning outside of the Japan House


Last week of eating meat before lent!


A fortune I found while cleaning my dresser


Preparing to prepare my students for the SAT/ACT


Why is there a shopping cart on that balcony?  (Is it not obvious this is an apartment on campus…)

How was your week?


Camera: Canon SD Powershot 780Is

I had a really nice start to my morning today.  My friend, Diane, invited me to be her guest at a tea ceremony for her Japanese aesthetics class.  It was really peaceful, and very traditional.  Sadly, I didn’t take any pictures, but you can check out the UIUC Japan House at their blog.

Well, time to go work on my drug paper I’ve been putting off for three weeks…I just changed my topic from crack vs. cocaine laws to methamphetamine problems in Asia, so I’m more excited now about writing it.  Whoo!

I’m sitting in one of the campus libraries right now taking a break between classes (two LONG three-hour classes…ugh…), and out of the nine people that are within my range of vision right now, all nine of them are Asian.  What can I say?  We like our libraries.

Anyway, I thought I’d post up some more pics from my Minolta roll that I developed last week, since I love them so much.  Here are a few that Rick took of my parents and me when we were at my Dad’s company lake.


Aww, aren’t we cute!?  Sadly, my darling brother is missing from the picture, as he’s away at college right now.  But he’ll be back in town in two weeks for a couple shows that his band is putting on.  I can’t wait!  I ❤ my family…

Camera: Minolta Hi-Matic 7s

Film: Kodak Gold 200

Well, I missed Monday, but it was a holiday, so I have a good excuse, right?


A belated valentine’s snack


I made my bed in the morning for the first time in my entire life… (Sad, I know)


Catching some late night studies at my beloved library


Where I enjoyed my sunny afternoon toast w/ raw honey and cinnamon


Saturday Catholic mass (Rick’s church)


Wally’s Beeswax Ear Candle

Waking up “early” made for a great week!  I’m hoping for another good one w/ an even earlier start.  We’ll see how it goes!

Camera:  Canon Powershot 780

Yayyy!  I’m so stoked!  I finally tested out my grandma’s old Minolta Hi-Matic 7s that I found in the closet a while back, and it works!  For some reason, all of the pictures I tried to take manually didn’t turn out. But luckily, I took most of them on automatic. Here are three of my favorites.


The first one is of a lake at my dad’s work, the second one is a picture of Rick, my wonderful boyfriend, and the third is of a cemetery across from where I attended k-2nd grade when I was a little Stephanie.  (I have a very funny memory of walking through that cemetery w/ a friend when I was little and freaking ourselves out.)  Surprisingly, quite a few of my pictures turned out, so you’ll be seeing more in the posts to come!

Camera: Minolta Hi-Matic 7s

Film: 200 Kodak Gold

As simple as it is, choosing to wake up in the morning at a decent and consistent hour has done wonders for my week.  Without trying to tackle any of my other problems besides the waking up thing, a lot of them have improved due to simply waking up.  My mood is significantly better, I’m being more productive, and I’m feeling less tired and groggy throughout the day.  I’m eating healthier, taking my vitamins, and finding myself with more free time.  I even went out with a friend last night and didn’t feel stressed about school work!  I’m sure the warmer weather is a contributing factor as well, but I really am beginning to become sold on this whole morning person thing.

In other news, as I mentioned, it is extremely warm this week!  It is so warm, I sat outside today without a jacket and ate some toast w/ raw honey and cinnamon.  It was lovely.  I guess one thing good about the cold is that it really helps you to appreciate warmth.

On that note, since I’m not as bitter about the winter right now, I’ll post up some pictures I took last week when there was still snow on the ground.  I wanted to get some pictures before the snow melted, so I took a ride out to the country with Hannah and to our surprise, we found some horses!




Although the second one is my favorite, I get a total kick out of the last one.  He turned his head and looked directly at me with his one eyeball right as I shot the picture!  The look on his face makes me very curious to know what he was thinking…

Besides the horse pictures, we only got a couple barns, because it was so cold out.  I wasn’t too crazy about any of them, but I’ll put up this one just for kicks.


Well, I’m off to teach some piano lessons now.  Happy Friday everyone!

Camera: Canon t2i

Lens: 24-70mm 2.8L

Postprocessing: Lightroom 3

I’ve been enjoying a nice morning view from my desk as I organize my thoughts and get ready for the week.  I’ve been very unhappy and unsatisfied with a number of things in my life lately, but I haven’t done much about it except complain.  After some talks with my priest and my boyfriend, I’ve decided to take some serious steps to change my attitude and my daily habits in hopes that, as a result, my life won’t constantly be plagued with guilt and disappointment in myself.

Step one is simply just to get up in the morning, every morning, before 9am.  If you know me, you’re probably laughing right now and don’t believe this is actually  going to happen, as this has been a struggle that I’ve been trying to overcome almost my entire life.  I have a terrible habit of sleeping til noon every day that I can get away with, which gives me barely enough time to rush around frantically, not get enough to eat, speed the entire drive to class, all only to be late.  It’s a bad way to start every day, to say the least.  On top of this, by the time class is over, it is already dark out, and I feel like my whole day is gone.  Then I go to work until 8 or 9, and by the time I get home, I’m too tired to do anything, so I just lay around in my bed.

I have to admit that this is a very unsatisfying pattern of daily events.  I know that I have more potential than to be spending all of my free time in bed.  But it’s so tempting and so easy, so I have persisted in these unhealthy behaviors.  Well, as I said, it is a time for all of this to end, and this is my official declaration to the world.  (Well, I should say, all parts of the world that have internet and access to WordPress.)  So I conclude this post by saying, this week, I will get up and out of bed no later than 9am every morning.  Better life, here I come!


Camera: Canon Powershot SD780

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