Friday, January 30, 2015

favorites from spain


Dandelion seeds


The Royal Palace


I loved the murals throughout old Madrid, so beautiful


light and mist


sunshine child




a shot of my favorite street, Fuencarral in La Chueca (commonly known as the gay district). We explored the street devotedly, indulging in rum and cokes at kitschy, colorful bars and spinning under rainbow lights strung across the pedestrian walkway


jump jump jump


more shots of Fuencarral, crowded at 2 AM


I adore this shop. I want to write stories about the quaint flower shop nestled on Fuencarral deep in the heart of old Madrid. Despite the wintery cold, the flowers and plants flourished in their wooden crates outside the plastic barrier, and the greenery inside were coated with heavy, perfumed mist that smelled like lavender and thyme.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

365: week 4

After two grueling weeks that felt eerily similar to finals, I bought a car! It's a beautiful silver unicorn, a 2009 Toyota Yaris. I am excited for our adventures together.

I got a belated Christmas package in the mail from Gir, one of my besties. A unicorn emblazoned charm necklace, mason jar shot glasses, and a blue infinity scarf; does she know me or does she know me?

I went to game night at a friend's house, where she showed me her new incredibly charming coffee table book.

Grace, our Bald Eagle, getting fed her delicious rat pieces.

Playtime with Zeppo, the Green-Winged Macaw. He was being kind of a twerp this day, but he was so cute during playtime. I loved this close-up of his feathers with his demure face in the background.

I was sick during my weekend, ugh, so on my Saturday morning I let the birds out to play while I lounged in bed. I've been really into Parks and Rec lately (obvi, it's amazing), so I like how this photo captured exactly what I was watching (Ron Swanson's pyramid of greatness) and Maeby being inquisitive.

Earth and I had the exact same idea about what we wanted to do with our Lazy Sunday.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

365: week 3

Little treasures in my shadow box. I've been wanting a shadow box forever and one day I magically found one in a thrift store in Salt Lake City while visiting. I painted it blue and now my treasures from friends' weddings, Spain, my lab, and Mexico live there.

16 : 365

I went to TWO parties this night, one at the local watermark's restaurant where there was an open bar and a lot of cute, drunk coasties and one at Whiskey River, a Texas two-step dance hall where there are cheap drinks, line dances, and shitty music. It was an amazing night.

17 : 365
Charles, the constantly worried Min-Pin.

18 : 365
I was cleaning the Nearshore pond and found a pressed penny someone had thrown in. Their loss, I now have a 51 cent pressed penny with a stingray on it!

19 : 365
I went out to dinner with Andie the night before and so had leftover New York-style pizza to enjoy on my "Friday" night, complete with a mini bottle of wine.

20 : 365
Claire and I watched terrible horror movies and drank wine together over Skype; hands down one of my favorite activities.

21 : 365
I was drinking hot chocolate and realized that I have an impressive collection of mugs. Most of them I've painted myself or have been painted for me by friends, the Halloween mug was found at a thrift store, and the owl mug next to the Halloween mug was a gift from Disneyworld from my Dad.

This week I didn't take many photos during the actual daylight, so I want to try to change that up. I also was fairly sedentary in my activities this week, so I need to get up and start exploring again! To be fair, it's mostly because I still don't have a car with which to go on adventures, but hopefully that will be remedied soon!!

Sunday, January 18, 2015

365: week 2

8 : 365
I got in a pretty nasty car accident on my way to work this morning, so I decided to take the day off (since I was an emotional wreck) and walked to get some lunch around midday. On the way home, I saw this mockingbird eating his own lunch of berries. It made me smile for the first time all day.

9 : 365
My roommate painting with oils.

10 : 365
Mr. Wendell, our Southern Tamandua. He's very sleepy all the time and had a lot of leafy enrichment to snuggle up with.

11 : 365
Brutus, the Eurasian Eagle Owls. I am OBSESSED with owls, as you may know from reading this blog, and I was super excited when I learned that my facility had an Eagle Owl. I begged to work with him and was finally put on his training team six months in. I adore his eyes; he's so photogenic.

12 : 365
I was feeling pretty depressed due to my car troubles, so my roomie and I went on a roomie date. We went to one of our favorite dinner places to get giant alcoholic sweet teas and fried cheese curds.

13 : 365
I took my roommate's dog, Earth, for a walk, who infuriatingly would NOT look at the camera the entire time. Even when I set her up for it and told her to sit and look at the camera, she pointedly refused to. At the end of the walk, I finally got a photo of her head on, but with her eyes closed. EARTH! It makes her look kinda cute, though...

14 : 365
Take-out for dinner on a lazy "Sunday" and a fortune that reminds me that I can handle whatever life throws at me

January is a little harder than I anticipated, but I did have a pretty good day today. I got out of work at 4 PM due to early shift, went for a run, then went to dinner with Andie for delicious pizza. Now time to do more car research, ugh…

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

365: week 1

This year I've decided I'm going to do a 365 photo challenge (for reals this time). I was especially inspired by The Dainty Squid, since Kaylah did one this past year and then wrote an awesome post about why it's a good idea to do at least one 365 challenges in your life.

I have actually been mostly keeping up with it, which makes me proud considering how iffy this year has been so far. But, like I said, I must maintain a positive attitude (PMA!) and remember the year can only get better (knock on wood).

1 : 365
My last day in Spain we spent a good portion of the day recovering, but we also had one last major exploration. One of our stops was Puerta del Sol, a familiar place nearby my parents' apartment where we had just rung in the new year just thirteen hours before. This is a statue of Carlos the Third, the King of Spain from 1759-1788, complete with a pigeon and that fantastic sign behind him.

2 : 365

This day was travel HELL. So many stereotypical terrible things occurred that you always hear about from someone else's travel stories that I basically COULDN'T. EVEN. The only picture I snapped all day was of this breakfast sandwich, a tradition I have maintained whenever I fly alone.

3 : 365

My Spanish goodies all gathered together.

4 : 365

Kimani, the African Serval I work with, playing with his Christmas tree enrichment. He was hiding inside of it, leaping out, and then batting around the toilet paper roll "ornaments" we decorated the tree with.

5 : 365
This was the last night that our Christmas tree was going to be up, so Maeby got to play in it for a little while. She tentatively likes live trees.

6 : 365

I doodled all morning while watching What Not to Wear. Then the Christmas tree had to go down, along with its beautiful glowy lights :(

7 : 365
Manny Calavera

My first week of the 365 project, done! I am almost done with the second week as well and plan on posting that soon! This project is super fun, I highly recommend it. It's never too late to start!

oh hey, 2015

As said in Dumb and Dumber, "We're there, man"

We made it to 2015! And 2015 has been a DOOZY so far. And I don't often use the word DOOZY (mostly out of shame and embarrassment). But this post is to talk about my past year, 2014. It was a pretty big year for me: the first time I moved away from home officially, the first time I got a "grown up" job, the first time I traveled to Europe…it was both very hard and very fun (that's what she said OHHHHH)

Last year I rang in the new year dancing with sparklers in a snowy backyard in the mountains, quaffing glasses of champagne (and I mean glasses), dancing in an underground speakeasy, and then gloriously throwing up on myself for the first time ever. This year I was a bit classier and instead rang in 2015 in Puerta del Sol, getting sprayed with champagne and confetti and eating 12 grapes for the 12 months of the year.


painted a million things at Color Me Mine since it was super cheap
applied for tons of jobs
had tons of job interviews
visited Claire and Traci in California (after an interview in San Jose)
rode a mechanical bull
sold some things in my Etsy store!


traveled to Texas for the first time in my life
got my very first grown-up job as a bird and mammal trainer
tried to experience as much of Utah as I could before the move
packed up my life to move out to south Texas
drove a giant truck with a car towed behind it


moved into a house with a stripper and a desperately lonely 40 year old man
started my first big girl job
got rear-ended after my first day of work. MY FIRST DAY OF WORK
Growler was deemed incapable of keeping up with my high-speed lifestyle :(
began training and relationship building with tons of amazing animals
made tons of great new friends
went to the beach, went to trivia, got drunk, had parties, went to a Spazmatics concert…the usual
skin grew over the back of my cartilage piercing so I had to go to a piercing studio and beg them to pierce through the skin


explored new places
continued to learn the ropes at my new job
Opa came down to meet me in San Antonio so I could bid adieu to Growler and buy a new car
bought Spixie, the 2008 blue Kia Rio
started the tradition of "Wild Wednesdays", my shared day off with several people, where we went on adventures aka day drank the whole day
attended Orphan's Easter, a big event where all my friends from work had a big party and it was awesome
I made a ham for the first time
started the tradition of Sunday Fundays, originally created to watch Game of Thrones and drink


visited Dallas with Jess to see Bruce Springsteen and got to feed tigers!
started training my first behavior with Nacho, the Red-Legged Seriema, and Kogi, the Military Macaw
got into country music (it finally happened, after living in three states where people were obsessed with country music…)
went to drive-through bars
kept trying to keep up with having a social life and being dirt poor as I worked hard at a job I loved


Summer: Texas Style begans
started a polaroid project where I attempted to take a photo with my instax mini every day
had several bonfires on the beach
went line-dancing
found a "real" club to go dancing
broke my favorite lens, my "nifty fifty" :'(


experienced a baby Kemp's Ridley Sea Turtle release
went dancing, drank a lot of peach vodka iced tea, went swimming, played in the ocean, went to the beach
got dehydrated at work a lot
moved into a new apartment with Elise! Two bed, two bath, YES! And Elise is one of the best roommates ever
Dad came to visit for a couple of days! I showed him the aquarium, we went to the beach, he bought me furniture, and we ate pizza and watched Thor (and also drank rum and cokes)
got really frustrated at work for certain reasons


my birthday month! I turned 24 and threw a big beach bonfire bash complete with copious amounts of alcohol, skinny dipping in the ocean at night amongst the bioluminescence, getting herded by a sheepdog, and crying (ugh)
went sailing for the first time!
the curator who hired me resigned to work elsewhere, so management changed and with this came a lot more freedom
there was a lot of change in attitudes, some tears, some bitterness, but ultimately a breath of fresh air
went to San Antonio for a day trip! Visited Seaworld, the Riverwalk, and an excellent old-school tavern


watched Laura release three beautiful barn owls back into their native habitat
became the lead trainer of Kogi, the Military Macaw I am in love with, and Cleo, the grumpiest Swainson's Hawk ever
went to a Miranda Lambert concert, my first country concert ever!
one of my friends threw an EPIC murder mystery party! It was old west themed and I went all out as a saloon girl. I even won Best Costume and got a gift card because of it. So proud, so proud
my car BROKE DOWN. My "brand new car" had an issue where something in the engine broke and it was a $900 fix. UGH
went to Legally Blonde: the Musical with all the ladies in my life and it was fantastic
celebrated Kogi's tenth birthday (or BIRD DAY)
learned how to shoot guns like a country girl. Blew shit up in the desert


threw a pumpkin carving party (of course) where Elise carved only her third pumpkin ever!
went to an epic Halloween party at Laura and Ryan's house where there were brain hemorrhage shots, dancing, glow beer pong, drinking games, line dances (where I won ability to wobble the longest), and failed to bob for apples because I was so busy doing everything else
unfortunately, at that amazing party my phone was stolen :(
Jess, my Wild Wednesdays partner, moved back home. It was hard to see her go, she was one of my best friends down here and my partner in crime in the Wildflight department. She is greatly missed, but I'm glad she's happy :)
was interviewed for the aquarium news program about Halloween enrichment since it's my favorite, got to be on Youtube!
went wine tasting in Rockport


got a new phone, a 4s, so I upgraded a little bit
I had to re-pierce my own cartilage piercing since it fell out one night and grew over within 12 hours
went for a quick trip to Utah to see Gabe and Mom (because she was there for a social work conference)
got to see some of my best friends
went exploring in the mountains
hung out with my family
had some weird, awkward moments…
went to Orphan's Thanksgiving, which helped me a lot since I had such a great family Thanksgiving last year
went to the Dia de los Muertos festival downtown
Laura got a new Great Dane puppy!


really struggled with depression and anxiety (it's still ongoing, unfortunately)
got our staff evaluations; mine was mostly positive :)
trained Kogi to knock down a sign for his routine
got a Christmas tree with Elise
drank hot schnapplate
flew to SPAIN for Christmas!
experienced Europe for the first time; went sightseeing, went birdwatching (what are European birds, idek), went wine tasting, took thousands of pictures, explored constantly, and barhopped as we ate our weight in tapas
got my nifty fifty lens replaced for Christmas thanks to the generosity of my amazing parents
got to see my family and my dogs again
went to work holiday parties for the first time

All in all, it was a year filled with growth, broken/stolen/lost items, heartbreak over broken/stolen/lost items, tears, sweat, blood, aggravation, and passion. It was a fiercely important and difficult year of my life. I am so grateful for my new friends here, the opportunities I've had, and for the adventures I will go on in the future. Despite my tenuous relationship with South Texas, I am here for the long haul (or at least a longer haul) and will have a damn good time despite the rough edges.

2015 has so far been pretty difficult emotionally: I lost my iPod on the plane ride back from Spain (which in itself was the worst), I got into a car accident, and now my car has been proclaimed totaled. I must buy a new one within ten months of just undergoing the same process. Needless to say, depression has run rampant.

But, as my mother wisely said, I must not write this year off already. It's only been two weeks into the new year. I have a lot to prove, a lot to learn, a lot to experience, and a lot of fun to have. I'm not done with you yet, 2015, and I am going to train the shit out of you.

Happy New Year

I did an overview of my last two years here and here

Thursday, January 1, 2015

a new year

It's a new year! Welcome 2015!

This past year has been a rollercoaster, as filled with delicious highs and hideous lows as this blog is filled with empty space. I have written the least amount of blog posts this year than since I started in 2011. This has been due to mostly positive things: living my own life and writing about it in my personal journal rather than blogging about it, however the downside was that I was not taking very many photos. I love photography and used to use my camera religiously, but once I moved to Texas I could count the number of times I used my DSLR on one hand in the ten months since I've lived there.

I was able to spend a marvelous ten days in Madrid, Spain with my families for the holidays and with it came some revelations. I was able to experience the ups and downs of traveling overseas by one's self and, although sometimes pretty terrible, I learned a lot.

I am definitely a maker of New Years Resolutions and this year is no different. I will be making a whole list soon but for now the biggest thing that will be at the top is "LEARN TO LOVE YOURSELF".

Also my parents showed me this hilarious music video and I love the song. I think this will be one of my 2015 mantras.

(disclaimer: I'm not suffering from anything dangerous, just feeling very down on myself a lot of the time and am realizing that I have truly never learned to love myself. So I want to get better at practicing self love, at upping my confidence, at my job, at my hobbies, and punching life in the face and kicking ass. This is why this song will be my mantra)

Happy New Year's Day, and hello 2015.