Denver Botanic Gardens

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Walking around Denver Botanic Gardens was very beautiful and I’m happy to share some of what we saw. Now that we are in the Spring season, the trees are in full bloom. That Colorado blue sky though!

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I came across a very angry orchid flower. It was screaming! Beautiful, but sassy orchids in the tropical room.

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Gorg plant, but I’m not sure the name of it. I love the tones in this particular plant.

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This stretches a long way and I just thought this angle was just so pretty. When I edited my name at the bottom of this picture, it came out huge here on WordPress. Sorry about that. But let’s take a moment and notice how all the little blue flowers look like they are yelling. Nature has a sense of humor and I’m bound to find it!

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If pink is your favorite color you would be in your glory walking around here.

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I like to find ugly or things that would normally be overlooked and make it spectacular. Here we have reeds sticking out of the water. They have nothing to offer. However, I loved how the sky reflected on the water. I was mesmerized.

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Blue flowers melt my heart-just like I fell in love with these flowers when I saw them.

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This reminded me of my childhood growing up in the Amazon jungle. Be still my beating heart.

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Growing up seeing these plants all your life isn’t too shabby. I felt right at home when I saw these.

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I might blow up this photo in size and hang it in my bathroom. It’s got that organic, fresh and zen feel to it. I was literally standing over this plant to get this shot.

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My mom would have loved these flowers.

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I love sculptures and this certainly caught my eyes!

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One of my favorite spots at the Denver Botanic Gardens! You can walk around the pond or sit on one of the benches facing the gazebo. To the far left is where we sat at the restaurant (not seen in the photo) where the service is friendly, the views are amazing and the food is delicious! I was raving about their fries and their pulled pork sandwich for days!

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Japanese garden.

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This bridal gown was up on the second floor of one of the plant rooms showcasing local artists work. Actually, it was in the same level as the tropical plant room. I love the skirt!

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If I lived closer to Denver (I live an hour away) I’d become a member to come sit here everyday. It’s amazing how so many plants can replenish your inner soul. This woman was just sitting there enjoying the atmosphere and I don’t blame her. This particular walkway reminded me of a park by my house down in Brazil called “The Bosque”. It was here that I’d go there and run around with my friends or have picnics with my mom, exploring and hiking around the trails. Here is a short video of what the park looks like. It literally is one of my favorite places in my hometown, I have so many great memories from there. One day I’d love to show my teen Adventure Boy this park, so he can get a feel (other than the humid air) of what kind of things I did as a teen. The video is here. Check it out!

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Behold a tree house! We were heading up to the top, but there were cones in the way in one of the stairs. By then, I had looked at the time and realized they were going to be closing soon so we forgot to head up the other way to go up. Maybe this coming Saturday we’ll head up to the top. Anyways, this tree house was epic! If you live near Denver, definitely check out the tree house in the tropical plant room. This is one of my favorite pictures even though it seems like any other picture. I like it!

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I love this house! Nothing brings out the romantic in me to see vines climbing up an old house with so much character. I could have sat there and come up with a short love story just by looking at this house. Yes, this is in the Denver Botanic Gardens park.

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So there ya go. Just a few pictures that I took whilst visiting Denver Botanic Gardens. This probably is thee longest post I’ve ever done in the past 5 years I’ve been blogging here on WordPress.

VIDEO COMING SOON! STAY TUNED!

Weekly Photo Challenge: State of Mind

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This week’s photo challenge is to choose a picture that represents our “state of mind”. What you see outwardly is not often reflected in what is going on inside, therefore, I thought this picture was a prime example of my state of mind. What is it you ask? How can I explain this? Ok. The shadow depicting wings from the man (in relation to myself) represents my goals and dreams that I’m currently working on. No one can see that unless I either tell them or they get to know me. My mind is always planning as I’m looking at the bigger picture. But on the outside I’m just another person you walk by or stand beside in the elevator. Everyone has different sizes of wings (goals), some are prime and ready for take off…others have just returned and they have teathered wings to show it so they need rest. Everyone is traveling on their own journeys in life. I don’t know if that made absolutely any sense.

This picture that I took was taken at The Fine Arts Museum here in Colorado Springs. This piece is by the Cuban artists Ron and Una Brasch. Their “Spreading Its Wings” artwork is only here until March 20th, so if you live here in Colorado Springs, make sure to stop by and check this out in person!

Visiting a castle in the mountains

This weekend we decided to check out Bishop Castle high up 9,000 feet above sea level in the mountains of Southern Colorado. The drive down there was long, but once we turned into the National Park, the drive up was gorgeous and everything you’d expect from Colorado in scenery. Each curve allowed you to peek for a few seconds how high you were going up. Even my car was running out of air it seemed as the oxygen got less and less. Once we got there, there were several other cars parked on the side of the road and then suddenly through the trees, you finally see it. The castle. A man made castle still being built by one man named Jim Bishop. If you don’t know me by now, you should know that I love castles. I just do. I love exploring them and I just love the raw and rustic feel they bring. The photographer in me just explodes with possibilities of what I can capture and my artistic side tries to find every nook and cranny that is quietly hiding its beauty. To stand there and take the time to appreciate how each stone is laid out and the endless hours it has taken and is taking to build every inch of this growing castle. One must do that. Recently I saw a video of a man on YouTube who took a very nice video of the castle, but he was practically running through it. He didn’t even take the time to just stand and admire the work. He was too busy filming and running through the castle-it was unnerving to me to watch. Here are some pictures and a short video I took during it.

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We were sitting on top of one of the towers here. Below you can see where the cars park on the side. It was pretty nice from up here, but the tight squeeze to get up there was nothing short of claustrophobic.

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I just like this view of the people walking up the stairs to go up into the castle. I didn’t have the nerve to do it myself.

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You can’t have a castle without a dragon, of course! This one even blows fire from its mouth during the summers. I’ll have to come back for that.

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The castle in all its glory. Can you believe one man has been working on this all these years? It’s amazing!

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This was slightly spooky yet so surreal at the same time. There was a sense of peace and tranquility in this room, yet at the same time another feeling of reflection. I enjoyed walking around this room as you can tell by the video below.

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I love these glass windows. Sometime this year, I’m going to dedicate a window panel in honor of my mom. If you ever come to Colorado and come visit Bishop Castle this year, you’ll see my real name up there too. Forever immortalized in a castle high up in the mountains, my mom, eternal Queen of my heart. I’m going to choose my mom’s favorite flower on the panel. There’s more information about how you can add your name on these window panels on their website. Visit me at the castle high up in the mountains why don’t you? Wink.

Bishop Castle Amanda's Camelot

Bishop Castle Amanda's Camelot

This was the cathedral area and it was gorgeous! I wasn’t able to show this part in the video because I kept getting an “error” whenever I tried uploading it. It was so beautiful!

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Adventure Boy looking out from the cathedral room. We love our adventures together here in Colorado. Can you believe he’s 14 now? He’ll be taking some Honor classes next year as he’s doing very well in his studies in High School.

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Bishop Castle Amanda's Camelot

Bishop Castle Amanda's Camelot

Even before seeing this wizard, I told Adventure Boy that I could picture Gandalf living here. He agreed and we both gave each other a knowing look when we gazed up to see this wizard on the window panel.

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This is the front of the castle when you first walk up to it. It just looms over you, it’s pretty grand.

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Taking a few minutes to imagine walking through a medieval walkway. This was a fun entry way into one of many stairways into the castle.

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These skinny wrought iron stairways that clung to the side of the building scared me to death. People walked on them like they did all their lives, but I was to scared to do it. First of all, since this is an active construction site you do have to sign a liability form just in case there is an accident. Maybe next time I’ll attempt to walk on them, but seeing how high I am, it only brings out the fear of heights in me.

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Upon walking up to the little gift shop on the premises, we came along this cute sign.

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Until next time!

Let’s talk about my video. Yes, there was the shaky cam going on, but I was either trying to side step eager castle explorers or forgetting to aim the camera up further. At the end of the video when I reach one of the outside stairs, you can see the camera move closer to the wall; yes that was me wanting to stay as close to the wall as possible without looking down. Do you know what’s funny? Jim Bishop is also afraid of heights. He said in an interview that even though he’s scared of heights by working on the building for so long, it has helped him overcome his fear of heights in slow doses. In one of the many stairs, there were no guard rails and only small hooks. I was literally plastering myself to the wall and saying I was not walking up any further. It was scary! Visiting Bishop Castle was fun and we’re are going back sometime this year again, probably to see the window pane we plan to dedicate to my mom. There will be 3 names up there, my mom’s, mine and Adventure Boy. I know my mom would have loved this place and it’s my way to honor her memory here in Colorado. Future generations of mine can go visit and enjoy the castle like we did. Leaving our legacy up in the mountains of Colorado!

Bishop Castle from Amanda on Vimeo.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Vibrant

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Manitou Springs, Colorado is a cool and funky little mountain town I often go to. There’s a bench with artsy designs that I pass all the time and I always love taking close up pictures of all the fun things I see on there. This photo above is just a little part of the long bench which holds art on it and I thought I’d share it with you and be part of the Weekly Photo Challenge.

There’s a Super Bowl game happening next Sunday. Make sure to cheer for the Broncos to win! See? There’s even a HORSE in the picture! It all ties in together, hehe.

Amanda in her Wonderland…

Hi guys!

Welcome to my warped world here in Colorado. I had some fun twisting some of my photos that you may have already seen in past blog posts. I’ve been wanting to twist my photos for several months now and I finally got the chance! So here they are, tah-dah! Yeah. About the title. Alice in Wonderland is one of my all time favorite childhood stories. When my mom would read me the book as a young child living in Brazil, I could relate to Alice in always wanting to explore places. I never had the fear of the unknown and to this day, I am still very adventurous. So this blog is dedicated to all my friends and subscribers who think “outside the box” and for those like me who still see the world with wonder and magic.

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Driving through Garden of the Gods…love the road here. Even the sky is pretty rad here.

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If Garden of the Gods was an island in the sky…this is how it might look like.

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The Great Sand Dunes. This is like Star Wars meets Alice in Wonderland with a lot of sand! Very magical if I say so myself.

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I love this one (I love them all) because it’s basically how I see the world. I still see it with wonder and magic. I think this one reflects it the best.

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Who says Aspen, Colorado is boring? Not only is it beautiful when it’s completely twisted, but it looks rather artsy too. Love the brick colors here. And the never ending road around the buildings.

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The fact that the guy on the far right is looking to his right makes this picture awesome! It’s like he’s thinking, “Where am I?! What planet is this?” Haha. You can see the original picture in the few blogs back. We were hiking around Palmer Park by my home. This looks like flat land and it is, but we are actually pretty high because you can see below at the city. This park is smack dab in the middle of town, but you’d never know it by hiking up there. It’s like Central Park in NYC…you’d never know it with all the highways and roads all around you if you look down from where you are hiking, it’s total crazy cool to hike there. I obviously had fun with this one!

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Uhhh. I hate this white hat. It makes me look like a construction worker! We were hiking up to Helen Hunt Falls back in late September or early October of last year and I decided to wear that dumb white hat. It’s too big on me anyways. But can I just say that I look like I’m doing a David Blaine stunt? Remember the one where he stood on top of a pole thing for days? Yeah. That’s what I look like here. I love that flannel shirt. Never owned one until I came to Colorado (got it from Charlottes at the Mall-woo!). Anyways, I twisted this picture so much it looks like I am standing! Ha! Little do you know that I am actually sitting on a stone fence overlooking the trees below. From the camera’s perspective (normal picture), it looks like I am sitting on a very, very high stone wall that drops several hundred feet below me, but there is actually a slow slope beneath me, so I am somewhat safe. If I slip and lose my balance, then yes, I would tumble all the way down to the forest below. I love how the twisted effect made my body look like a seahorse…see that little tail at the bottom? Fo shizzle mah dizzle.

Guys. I have a confession to make. I am. Actually. A seahorse. Just kidding.

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I see Pikes Peak everyday! It’s really tough living here where you see one of the most beautiful mountains in the USA, but what can I say? It’s really, really tough seeing such beauty every single day! Anyways, who knew there was a road to heaven here in Colorado Springs? See? Here is the proof guys!

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Believe it or not, this is the exact same picture as above! I made it so it looked like it’s own island in the sky…with a mirrored effect. Dreamy. It is Pikes Peak.

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Amanda in her wonderland. Fun photo!

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Love this picture! This was taken at Palmer Park as we hiked along a trail, but I made it look artsy. I might even blow this one up and frame it. I think I have a perfect spot for it too. Ok guys. That is all for now. Sorry I’ve been MIA lately. Life has been stressful the past 2 months, but hopefully February will be a lot better. A huge welcome to my latest subscribers!

xoxo

Hiking & Exploring

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Well hello there! My first picture for 2016! I’m not even finished with this blog, but I wanted to share with you this picture. I have no idea who those people were, but they framed my picture just right. This is Palmer Park. I’ve never been here before, but I pass it all the time with my new job. Palmer Park is huge to me. I mean, it looks all innocent with a playground when you enter it, but then it takes you on these long snake like roads that go up and down the hills with many picnic areas. It’s truly a maze and like a rabbit hole to explore because of the numerous hiking trails. We chose one scenic spot and parked my car. We walked a five minute hike to a clearing and came across this. What? Where am I? Suddenly I’m in a field, but I was just driving up…now it’s flat with loads of wheat. Am I on a farm? Where does this trail go? I see mountains, but all I see is this long road that leads to nowhere. Exciting yet so beautiful. I had to take some shots which you’ll see later today. This trail leads down and around somewhere, we didn’t take it. Instead we took a left and went down another long trail and hiked for a good 45 minutes.

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I’m posting these pictures and I can hardly stay awake. Too bad because I had wanted to make warm, soft ginger bread cookies. Not those hard as a rock I’m-going-to-break-all-my-teeth-just-by-biting-into-one cookie, nope, the soft and chewy kind. Alas, my body is winning this time and my eyelids feel heavy. I fit in 2 hours of studying, made dinner, had gone to the bank, store and another store and finally gave my 30 day notice of leaving my apartment (going to be at another place just down the street) after work. I’m. Just. Tired. Anywho!

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The view after we took our left turn. I would never guess some wheat land area would be up on the hilly areas of this park, but as you can see, there are many cliffs and drop offs in the distance. That day (Sunday to be exact), there was some forest fire out to the NorthEast. You could see the smoke billowing off from the mountains, not shown in the picture. There are so many trails to explore and it all depends on what level of a hiker you are. I take it the trail we were on was the beginners because it was mostly flat. Haha. I’m hoping to get to the more advanced ones where I have to hop over rocks and such because that’s what I’m used to coming from Brazil. I read somewhere there are foxes and even cougars at the park. What?! How do I protect myself against a cougar? Now I’m scared! Lol. I didn’t see anything when we went. All we saw were geese flying over and maybe a bird or two.

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What can I say. I just love wooden fences.

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There was still some snow on the ground, but the lighting caught my attention here.

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Stumbled across this cute and cozy picnic table.

7 End of the Year Questions for Amanda: Year 2015

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1. Was I happy?

Answer: Yes, but I believe I had more of a guarded happiness if that makes any sense. I moved to a new State on my own, which I’ve never done before by myself so that was a huge change. I’ve moved about 11 times in my life so I’m used to change, but moving cross country to a completely different place, was a big jump, but it was something I needed to do because I had wanted to do it for the last 10 years. Yes, I was happy this year, but I was also taking in new sights and taking in new experiences so during that moment I would say I was happy. There are still days I wake up and I can’t believe I live in Colorado-it’s so beautiful here! I am currently happy because I now realize what my purpose is now, now that I have moved here. I only discovered or was given that opportunity a few weeks ago. That is why I can not wait until 2016 starts because I am like a runner at the beginning of a race and just ready to burst out with so much energy for this coming year. I am so ready for this new year!

2. Did I live in peace?

Answer: Yes, I actually took a year off from a lot of things (work, relationships, etc) most of this year to really take time for myself and get a grip at what I needed to do next in this new phase of my life here in Colorado. In doing that, I have more peace than I have had in a long time. Sanctuary amongst the mountains and foothills. It is here I love listening to the waterfall sounds and hearing nature. Peace. I’ve always had it, I just needed to lasso it back in being in a new place. Each place I have lived has had its own unique peace about it. You can find a certain peace at the beach. You can also find a particular peace high up in the mountains. You just have to adjust to your local surroundings and find the best place to find it. Every place on earth has it. I promise you. I think with finding balance in your life as well, you also find peace.

3. Did I extend kindness?

Answer: Silly question because I normally practice this everyday. No one is perfect and I do have those days I want to just pull my hair out because people are driving me nuts, but I do like being kind to people. We live in a very selfish world where people feel entitled to how they should be treated. You open the door and they just whiz by you like a princess without a care. You offer to sit down and talk to someone who looks like they are lonely only to be rebuffed and ignored. Or you come across people who just ask so much of you because they know you are a giver (typical ENFJ downfall). They take and take from you until you suddenly realize you’re being completely taken advantage of. Oh well. Those are far and few between. Despite that, I continue on being kind to people. When people are kind to me I think, “Aww, you’re so nice!” It’s the greatest feeling.

4. Did I live in the present moment?

Answer: Yes! Since moving here, I’ve lived more in the present moment that I have in a long time. Sure I’ve shot videos and have taken pictures, but I’ve also learned to just enjoy the moment fully with every fiber of my body. The last “in the moment” I felt was climbing a rock in Garden of the Gods near my home. This place is so beautiful and we always see tourists, not so much now because it’s cold. When the tourist season is mostly gone, it’s nice to appreciate it without all the fuss. After climbing this rock, which you’ll see in the coming video in a future blog, I turned off my camera and just sat on top of the rock and took in the beauty of what was in front of me. America’s Mountain, known as Pike’s Peak, was off in the distant like a familiar friend and below the mountain you could see from that high vantage point the little town of Manitou Springs. Cars were driving along a road that snaked its way through the park and people looked like ants. It was dusk, but there was still a quiet beauty of where I was. Sometimes those off the camera moments you can only store in your heart and mind forever. No one or anything can every destroy that. I’ve experienced a lot of “Ghost Cat” moments since moving here and I know I’ll experience more. All the pictures I’ve posted on this blog, I have had experienced off camera “in the moment” feels. Every single one of them. I take pictures and videos to share with you all, but I also do it to remember it and how it made me feel those few minutes taking my eyes off the camera. I’m a collector of memories and the emotions that go with them. This scene below explains it perfectly. If you are a photographer, you’ll totally understand this scene. This is from one of my favorite movies “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” and I wait the entire movie just for this scene-I love it so much because it means the world to to me on so many levels.

5. Did I take time for myself?

Answer: Yes, I would say so. A year for myself, abso freakin’ lutely.

6. Did I accomplish at least one goal?

Answer: Yes and it came within the last weeks of this year! My goal this year was to figure out my next step in life here as I started my new life in Colorado. Now that I am learning and training for my dream job (which I’m not sure I can say yet), I have accomplished my biggest goal of the year. This particular goal was going around my mind like crazy and I almost felt like I needed to hurry up and figure things out, but life as we know it, brings surprises and big opportunities when you least expect it. When it came to me, this opportunity, I ran with it and I plan to run with it until I achieve my next career goal with my dream job. I wake up now every morning knowing I am getting closer and closer to it (my dream job) and I get so excited about it. I have never been so excited about this new career change since I was in my early 20’s when I applied for a similar job to what I’m going to be doing in the future. This is my purpose. It’s not because I want to do it, it’s because I need to do it. And that my friends, is the biggest achievement I got this year in 2015.

Here’s to 2016! Let’s do this! Let’s begin a new year with new adventures, photographs and videos! Come with me and let’s live in the moment. Thanks for being part of MY 2015. Even if you subscribed today or even tomorrow, I’m so happy you’re part of my blogging life. I welcome you and I welcome my future subscribers in 2016. I can’t wait to meet you!

Much love from me to you. See you next year!

xoxo

Just peeking in quickly…..

Hey guys!

Sorry I’ve been away for a minute! I’m trying to adjust to my new schedule and still make time for blogging. I come home and I’m pretty tired from work. I’m also training/taking a course for my dream job which is time constraining and intellectually draining with terms, case studies etc. It’s an exciting course no doubt, but I have to balance my life and have fun too. Speaking of fun, I want to give a very warm welcome to my latest subscribers! You guys subscribe even when I’m not blogging and that makes my heart sing. I think it’s very sweet that you want to know what I’m up to and are welcoming my little humble blog posts into your feed or inbox. I don’t really have a theme for my blogging, I just basically like to write about places (unusual or ones that people never hear about), my digital journal which I haven’t done in a while, WordPress Photography Challenges (which I’ve been slacking on lately) or just funny things. I try my best to return the favor with likes or subs, but I’ve noticed that my latest subscribers aren’t from WordPress which makes it hard for me to just easily follow back. If you have an email link or something I can follow you back if you’re on another web platform, let me know or else I’ll just to hunt for it on your website. I have down time now, so I’m reading some posts from you all. Just finished reading about a blog specifically about relationships. I always find that interesting, how bloggers manage their relationships online. Your photos are amazing too, so I like to see the talents of the photographers out there. Keep up the great job everybody! You all are stars to me. Don’t forget that either.:)

I’m working on putting together a little video of my time up in the Garden of the Gods this past Sunday. It’s taking longer than expected, but I’m trying. It’s a lovely place near my home and I wanted to share the experience with you guys. There is one clip where I am standing on the edge of a cliff thing and the camera is focused down into the little alley way, it looks incredibly frightening but I was pretty safe where I was and the camera just makes it look 1000 times scarier. Lol. It’s not really high, but the depth perception is what makes it scary, haha. Ok. Time for a late night shower and heading to bed.

One more thing. See below. That’s for you, my amazing subscribers!
xoxo

SealOfAwesomeness

Day 11 Writing Challenge: Write about anything that’s currently on your mind

Are you kidding me? Right now, this very second Star Wars is on my mind! This goliath of a movie release and the enormous anticipation is everywhere! Remember my post about when I went to the Great Sand Dunes here in Colorado? No? Well, for my newest subscribers, you can click and read it here: Exploring the Great Sand Dunes. One of the reasons why I wanted to go there this year was because of the new Star Wars movie coming out. Not only did I want to see these Great Sand Dunes and their beauty, but because I’m such a Star Wars nerd I wanted to see what it might have felt like running around in the sand which felt like being in the movie itself. First of all, there’s a lot of walking and you’d need a big container of water just to walk 3 hours to just get to one huge dune. Huffing and puffing, I thought, “Ok. Maybe running around in an actual planet full of sand is not as glamorous as it looks onscreen.” Ha. Anyways, seeing this video clip reminded me of my fun day out in the Great Sand Dunes and it just made my little Star Wars nerdy heart so happy! I just hope it’s as good as it looks. I loved seeing Chewy and Harrison Ford. Doesn’t Harrison look amazing? Wow. I mostly want to see the original cast members in the movie; I just think it’s so wonderful they could all be together so many years after the first Star Wars movie. It’s a great time to be alive people!! Back to how good the cast looks, look at Chewy with his fur all combed back looking debonaire and suave baby. Lol… So excited to see this film and I hope you are too!

I give you the behind the scenes of Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

Video credit: ScreenSlam

Day 10 Writing Challenge: Write your top 10 pet peeves

Ooooh snap! This should be fun! Yes, after yesterday’s post, I wanted to do something a bit more light hearted. When it comes to pet peeves, I can tolerate some things, but others…. No ma’am, nooo ma’am!

1. People who don’t cut their fingernails! Especially men. I’m not big fan of men with claws and if there is (gasp) dirt underneath their nails, then I am running for the hills. A nice clean cut fingernail is attractive to me.

2. People picking their teeth at the table. I just cringe whenever I see this. Please for the love of the world get a toothpick!

3. Don’t call me “babe” if you want to date me! I don’t care if other couples call each other that, but I hate being called babe. It reminds me that pig from the movie “Babe” and I will think I’m a pig if I’m called that. I prefer the much sweeter names like darling, sweety, hon or princess.

hahahaha

4. When I’m concentrating and someone starts to click their pen like crazy!
lol

5. Squeezing the toothpaste from the middle!

6. When you do something for someone and they don’t say thank you. I don’t like the attitude of entitlement. Just show a sign of gratefulness.

7. When someone takes a swig of water from a bottle than hands it to you with all their germs floating around in the backwash! Ew. Just no. Nope. Gross.

8. People who cross a busy road and don’t bother to look both ways! There’s an air of arrogance for people who do this because they think traffic from both directions will stop just to watch them walk across the road like royalty.

9. When you come up with a great idea and someone else takes credit for it in front of your boss! This happened to me once many years ago. Grrr!

10. Eating a Kit Kat like a sandwich! No, you break it in pieces one by one in one long strip. To munch right across the Kit Kat is like death to me! Haha!
KitKat