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.

Bishop Castle Amanda's Camelot

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.

Bishop Castle Amanda's Camelot

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.

Bishop Castle Amanda's Camelot

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.

Bishop Castle Amanda's Camelot

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

Bishop Castle Amanda's Camelot

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.

Bishop Castle Amanda's Camelot

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!

Bishop Castle Amanda's Camelot

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.

Bishop Castle Amanda's Camelot

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.

Bishop Castle Amanda's Camelot

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

Bishop Castle Amanda's Camelot

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.

Bishop Castle Amanda's Camelot

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.

Bishop Castle Amanda's Camelot

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

Bishop Castle Amanda's Camelot

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.

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.

Weekly Photo Challenge: My happy place

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Our weekly photo challenge this week is to showcase a place we are happy at or happiest at. I chose this photo from the waterfalls we went to a few weeks ago. It is here by a waterfall that I feel a piece of home come alive. I could go on an analogy explanation about how it relates to life, but I won’t. It just gives me wonderful memories of my childhood and also of my precious time spent with my mother. Let me explain.

When I was a child my mom would take me to waterfalls deep in the Amazon jungle. It was there that I would play with my friends under the falls and swim about. Sometimes we’d even take a picnic and fry fish over an open fire on a sand dune island. What others may think as a piece of paradise to be swimming in fresh water surrounded by jungle trees, blue butterflies and an abundant amount of sunshine to dry you off, was normal for me growing up. As I grew older and got into my teens, my friends and I would visit our other friend who would then take us to a secret location where another waterfall was.

By the time I was in High School and in my Senior year, we took a 2 week Senior trip all across Brazil, from the tip of the Amazon to Argentina where we saw the amazing “Foz do Iguacu”. If you haven’t been to a World Wonder, you have to go there. I’ve been there twice. Imagine the scene where all the elves lived in the Lord of the Rings trilogy and that is what it’s like when you first see Foz do Iguacu. I was blown away. These waterfalls are not to be messed with, they are hardcore. They are rough! One of the craziest things I’ve ever done in my life and to this day I can’t believe I did it, was to go on a little motor boat with 8 other people and go to the edge of the “Devil’s Throat” waterfall. I suppose I was feeling like a dare devil that day because I didn’t blink an eye when asked to go on the boat. We all wore life jackets, but now that I think about it, if that little motor on that boat gave out we all would’ve gone over the waterfall; I wouldn’t be sitting here writing on this blog to live to tell about it. Here’s a video to show you exactly how magnificent these waterfalls are.

When I came to the USA, my mom and I went to the Canadian side to see Niagara Falls and it was pretty nice, not the prettiest, but definitely massive in the amount of water you witness causing a thunderous sound as it pounds the rocks below.

So you can imagine my delight when I’ve been able to visit two waterfalls here in Colorado Springs (both within half an hour away from where I live), Helen Hunt Falls and this one, Seven Falls that is pictured above. I was so excited to be there at those waterfalls and to just bask in the sun and listening to the water. These falls are in the mountains and this Brazilian girl never experienced hiking and seeing such beauty before, that’s why I enjoyed myself so much that day. Waterfalls in the mountains…. truly a gorgeous experience and one I can see over and over again since I live so close to them.

It’s a piece of home away from home where I grew up. And it’s a great thing. Oh. I found some old pictures from when I visited Iguacu Foz. Check them out below.

Iguacu Foz
This was taken at the edge of one of the waterfalls, “Devil’s Throat”. The thundering sound of the water was immense. The mist from the falls also caused one to get immediately soaked within minutes! This ledge was pretty cool and one I’ll never forget.

Iguacu Foz
This was my High School boyfriend (now ex of course, but he was my first serious boyfriend) and I posing next to the falls. I look at this picture and think how long ago this was, almost twilight years when I was just a wee thing and naïve to what the world would present to me once I graduated from my senior year in a few months back then. Anyways, yes, it looks dangerous but in actuality we were never in danger. There were plenty of rocks near us, but they don’t show up in the picture. This is also the days before I colored my hair brown, haha. I definitely want to return back some day, it’s truly a spectacular place to walk around.


I love this picture that I took. These kids were my school friends ranging from grades 9-12th grade. Some of them came from Japan, Switzerland, USA and Brazil. My school was next to a German/Swiss school, so many of their students came with us on this 2 week trip. It was a lot of fun!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Change

Made with Square InstaPic

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This past Sunday we went up to Woodland Park, a cozy mountain town 30-45 minutes from Colorado Springs. As we drove down one of the roads away from civilization, we came upon a long and windy road that snaked up and down fields and trees. The Aspen trees are already showing off their colors, which got me even more excited for Autumn to come. In Colorado Springs, the trees are just taking their time turning colors, but soon and one day, I’ll be blown away by the massive yellows and oranges that will suddenly appear overnight. Anyways, I whipped out my camera and took some shots. In 10 ten days, it will be exactly a year since we arrived to visit Colorado. Now I live here. Welcome to Autumn in my Camelot…

Weekly Photo Challenge: Today was a Good Day

AmandasCamelotFramedflowers

It was a good day because I found this app and I could frame these flowers! I love taking pictures, but I also enjoy framing my photos too. This elegant frame seemed appropriate for these flowers. What is the app? It’s called “Photo Studio” and you can find this exact frame for your photos on there. I’m still discovering all it has, so that’s always fun. I did use Picasa to do a quick green border around the frame.

This picture suggests romance, elegance and perhaps a little wish for the future in my humble opinion. I like to interpret things I see and photograph them, but I also like to see if my viewers also see what I see. Maybe if I take a dreamy picture, does it mean I’m in a dreamy state of mood? Yes! Very much so. I show my emotions through my photography.

So do you have plans this weekend? If you know me well by now, you will probably know that I love theater! In saying that, I’m going to a theatrical dance play called The Warriors: A Love Story. The main characters of said play is about a philosopher and a dancer who were truly in love and survived the war. My kind of play! Those are my plans for Friday night this week, just another excuse to dress up; besides the play is free. Then this weekend it’s off to see the Hot Air Balloon festival here in Colorado Springs!

It’s September already, can you believe it? I hope this month treats everyone of you very kindly.

Until next time my darlings. xoxo

Amanda’s Journal: Getting great news

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Dear Journal,

I’ve been riding a wave of euphoria since Sunday night at 8 PM. I can’t stop smiling, I am filled with happiness. I received news from a woman who knows my biological mom down in Brazil. She said my mom is doing well despite having had a stroke and is currently living with my older sister. She sent me a recent picture of my mother and as I stared at her lovely face, I was filled with love and pure joy. In the picture, my mom has the biggest smile and looks like she is about to break out in a huge laugh-it’s fantastic! She has more grey hair since I last saw her, but still retains that very youthful look. My mom (my adoptive mom who raised me) said out of all my sisters, I look the most like my biological mom. So, now that we have a middle woman between us, I can get her address and be more in contact with her. I had lost contact with her, so I wasn’t sure if she was still alive or not. I’m happy as a clam right now! Knowing she is alive and well makes me want to do the best in everything I do; I want her to be proud of me.

So that’s my great news!

As a way to show how news can affect how great news like this affects a blogger as myself, I thought it was the perfect time to change my blog name from JavaGirl’s Life to Amanda’s Camelot. I have my google alerts set for my own blog name and there are some other JavaGirl(s) with questionable intentions that I didn’t want to be associated with. I had wanted to change my blog name since last year anyways, I just didn’t know to what or when. Amanda is my middle name which I love very much. I chose using my middle name because I have a very unique first name and as far as I know I am the only one in the State of Colorado who has this name and one of 6 people in the entire USA who shares this name. So, for privacy reasons, I wanted to use my middle name. Camelot comes from the second definition of the word in the Webster dictionary: a time, place, or atmosphere of idyllic happiness. I like the name camelot because I have a romantic view of life. I love all things royal, castles, old world love and art. Colorado is my camelot. I love this place! I love the mountains, the wild flowers, the air and it truly represents where I live right now. It’s my camelot; where my dreams will come true whatever they may be. Everyday will not be perfect, but they will be better and easier.

Oh and I just got myself a new business partner or is it the other way around? We’re at the beginning phase, but things will move along fast because most of the research and bare bones of the website/store is already laid out.

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I am because we are….

FACEBOOKSTORY

Fascinating story and one I saw on Facebook by my friend who posted it. I love how these children look out for one another, are selfless and know the meaning of unity. In a society where there is an insane amount of things to fill our every need, it’s great to see these children learn at such a young age that when you do things together, there is a greater leverage of happiness to be shared.

I love sharing. If I find something interesting or read about an interesting place, I have to share it on my blog. This also occurs in my real life too. I absolutely love sharing things with people. It’s fun and there is that moment of bonding over it. Why keep it to myself for my own satisfaction? I want others to see it too and if it made me smile or happy, then of course, I want everyone else to share in that happiness too. That’s the main reason I started this blog. I wanted to share and I will continue to share.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Intricate

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I got this Mayan calendar at Old Colorado City. Remember how I wrote the first one crashed the first night I brought it home? Well, this is the second one I bought and it’s been behaving on the wall and not broken into pieces. I like decorating my home with small eclectic things and I found this piece to be one that starts conversations. Or so I hope because the dude sticking out his tongue is just too funny to me because that’s pretty much what I do when I eat asparagus and lima beans!