Getting the “perfect” Background: Garden Center Chic

Hey everyone! For today’s post I’m going to be doing another part in my getting the “perfect” background series. It’s been a while since I’ve shared a photoshoot, and this one is one of my favorites.

I personally love having photoshoots at different stores, especially ones that you wouldn’t conventionally think of as a good setting for pictures. It’s kind of like a challenge finding the best angles and backgrounds, and it usually leads to some great photos.

For today’s shoot, we decided to go to Lowe’s and At Home, since they both had big garden areas with lots of plants. All of today’s pictures were taken on a Canon Rebel t5i.

The first thing that we saw when we walked in were the carts, and of course my first instinct was to grab one for a picture. I loved the contrast of the bright orange cart with my cooler blue-ish and black outfit. If you’re somewhat like me and don’t know how to pose most times, grabbing a prop like this cart can be super helpful!

Although it was quite an unconventional idea, I decided to sit on the stacks of potting soil for a picture. These turned out to be my favorite pictures of the entire shoot, and I love how vibrant the colors turned out.

We then ventured inside of the store to the lamp and lightbulb aisle, since we thought the bright lights would provide an interesting background.

To avoid feeling awkward about taking so many photos, my friend and I pretended to be in search of furniture for our “studio”, which made the experience even more fun. Anytime someone passed by us we would stop taking photos and start pointing out the item we were by, saying “do you think this would fit in our studio?” and so on.

Another great background for photos in stores like these are the plant areas. The natural look and bright colors make the background pop and can liven up an otherwise simple picture. Since it’s approaching the holiday season all of the Christmas trees were out, and we attempted to take a few pictures in the middle of them.

That’s all for today’s post, I hope you enjoyed it. Be on the look out for a thrift haul post and some room renovation posts in the future, see you all soon!

Study With Me: How I Take Notes

Hey everyone! For today’s post I’m going to show you how I take organized, neat notes that are quick and easy to do while you’re in class or in a rush.

Most people close to me know I’m kind of a neat freak, and that I’m obsessed with stationery and office supplies. Therefore when I need to take notes on something, I make it as neat and as organized as possible.

Supplies

I try to keep the amount of supplies I use in my notes for school pretty sparse, so I don’t take up time switching between writing utensils or other stationery.

These dual pens are my absolute favorite to use for highlighting important items, writing titles, and adding a pop of color to my otherwise pretty plain notes. My favorite pack is the pastel pack as it is light enough that a plain pencil shows over the top of all of the colors easily. The lilac pen, or shade 620, is my favorite out of all of the colors I have.

I like to have the option of a felt tip pen with more color than my pastel Tombows for any titles or other important items in my notes. I don’t always use these, but if I have more time I like to add accents with them.

  • Notebook or sheets of notebook paper

Because I’m left handed, most notebooks are really difficult for me to use. I usually write notes on normal notebook paper and put them into a binder or folder afterwards. However, I found that these notebooks open completely flat and aren’t spiral bound. These are perfect for left handed people or those who don’t prefer spiral notebooks! The only problem with them is if you open the notebook too flat, sometimes the pages start to rip out. If this happens to me, I use a bit of tape to secure the pages.

The Process

Before the lecture in class starts or I load the presentation I’m taking notes on, I get out my pencil, one Tombow color to use for accents and subject highlights, and a papermate that compliments this color.

I make my title stick out from the page so I can easily know where the lessons start and stop, as my notes are usually more than one page long. Every time there is a new subject or topic within the lesson, I highlight it so it is separated into its own individual section.

To make it easier to differentiate between the lessons, I write the unit number and page number of that unit in the top right hand corner of every page.

If I have more time to take notes, like when I’m at home and am copying off of a PowerPoint, I like to make my notes a little more in depth. The example below are some notes on BSL lab safety guidelines from my medial microbiology class.

Whenever I’m taking notes on a subject I need more help with, I tend to make the notes more detailed. It takes more time, but it helps me to understand the material better in the long run.

To be able to this in a short amount of time, I keep my notes pretty simple when I’m in class. The only times I use a different color are to accentuate a switch in topic or subject. Otherwise, I just write down the notes as the teacher is speaking or as I’m reading the PowerPoint. This allows my notes to be neat and organized while also being quick to make.

That’s all for today’s post, I hope you enjoyed it and found it a bit helpful for your future note taking needs. See you all soon for another post!

Summer in the Sand: Port Aransas Mini Travel Diary

This year for the Fourth of July, my family and I spent a weekend at the beach in Port Aransas. We rented out the most amazing townhouse: it had three stories and a rooftop deck, along with an elevator in the house. How crazy is that?!

All of today’s pictures were taken on an iPhone 8+, which the exception of the picture below which was taken from booking.com.

Directly across the front yard was a marina with a ton of boats. It was so serene to walk along it at night when it was lit by the lanterns lining the dock, and this ended up being one of my favorite experiences.

We attempted to fish early one morning just as the sun was coming up. I was decent at casting, but I completely sucked at reeling it in. My friend and I made a team since she could reel it in but not cast. We ended up catching a stingray and a few fish!

It was suuuuper windy while we were there, with over 15 mile per hour winds. This made staying at the beach at bit hard, as our umbrellas and chairs wanted to blow away. Nevertheless, the view was breathtaking as the sun rose and the clouds parted.

The next day, we went on a dolphin cruise. I was worried we wouldn’t be able to see any, but there were so many dolphins! The captain of the ship also brought around a seahorse for us to look at, as well as a lot of other sea creatures. The weather was perfect this day, and I really enjoyed the cruise.

Apart from the cruise, we spent most of our time in Port Aransas at the beach. There was also a coffee shop nearby to the townhouse with some of the best gelato I’ve had in a while. They had a ton of interesting flavors like coffee and rocky road!

Overall, I loved my time in Port Aransas. I’m not much of a beach person but I really enjoyed the serenity of the beach, and I hope I can go back soon for more.

I hope you enjoyed today’s post, and I’ll see you soon for a new one!

Fantasies at the FOMO Factory

In our social media-filled generation, more and more places dedicated to getting those perfect photos are emerging. In today’s post, we’re going to look at the FOMO Factory, and what makes places like it so appealing. All of today’s photos were taken on an iPhone 8+.

As usual, this post is not sponsored or endorsed by the FOMO Factory in any way, I’m just sharing my honest opinions and experiences!

The FOMO Factory is an “interactive pop up shop” that has 17 different themed rooms for all of your photography needs. The FOMO Factory is currently in Houston, Texas at the Houston Galleria until the end of this year. Adult admission is $28.00, children 3-12 are $21.00, group admission is $23.00, and children under three years old are free to enter. The factory also offers VIP admission for $150.00, which includes a personal photographer, valet parking, an express entrance to the factory, and “FOMO swag”.

I visited the FOMO Factory in December of last year while it was in Austin, Texas. When we arrived, we got to pick a fun nickname for our nametags that we wore during our visit. The exhibitions of sorts started right when we walked in the door with a rainbow staircase leading the way into the first room.

In the first room, the walls were lined with different color cupcakes and cakes, all placed on plates with little forks. There was also an area with rainbow streamers and more balloons than you could imagine, which my favorite photography assistant (my mother) and I had a lot of fun throwing around.

The final thing in this room was a giant birthday cake on a wall lined with present boxes. It was SUPER cute, but there were a lot of people here when we first came in so we had to circle back.

The next room we went into was school themed, with rainbow lockers and a bunch of school supplies all over the walls. There was a little desk with some fake school books in the room as well for those perfect study shots. In one corner, there were even giant paper airplanes hanging from the ceiling!

On our way to the next big room, we noticed a bathroom of sorts with a ton of clear balls as bubbles. There was an adorable duck shower curtain and the cutest pink mirror by the sink. I had the most fun trying to avoid all of the “bubbles” my mother and friend were throwing at me, and I got some great pictures out of it!

The next room we went into was lined with silver streamers and had a big moon in the center with a disco ball on the ceiling. It created such a fun effect in photos and I had a great time running around the moon.

We toured the last few rooms inside, and then headed to the outside area. There was a lovely little tiki bar to take pictures in, as well as walls filled up with rainbow cassettes and other paintings. Next, we headed down the confetti-filled stairs into the garden area that was equipped with a rose-covered swing set, a see-saw, and scooters!

The last area we went into was the basement area. There was a ball pit with an inflatable flamingo floatie, a ladder up into a little indoor treehouse, and a juice bar. They also had free snacks, the frosted animal crackers being the best.

We took our final few photos and then decided to head out. The exit door was filled with nametags from past guests, so we stuck ours on the door and left.

In the end, we spent about an hour in the FOMO Factory and I ended up with about 700 pictures. It was a great experience, and to me it was definitely worth the price. I am starting to see the appeal to places like these, and I’m excited to try out more!

I hope you enjoyed today’s post, and make sure to be on the look out for more posts coming soon. A new travel diary will be up shortly as well as some more new content, see you guys soon!

Behind the Camera: Who’s Behind the Screen

So, who’s behind the screen?

Well as you could probably guess by the title of the site, my name is Zoe. I love photography, drawing, painting, and anything relating to animals, especially horses. I’m also interested in graphic design and animation, both in school and outside of school.

I’m also passionate about writing, and it’s something that I’ve been trying to do a lot more often. Along with writing I enjoy reading, and lately I’ve been loving medical novels. In the future, I hope to go into the medical profession, so the medical novels have been great reading material.

In addition to all of this, I’m a member of the color guard at my high school. If you aren’t aware, color guard is a combination of theatre, dance, and performance art that involves the spinning of flags, rifles, and sabres. This is my third year in the guard, and it’s been one of the best experiences of my life.

This website is a place for me to express my thoughts in writing, as well as a place for me to just post things that make me happy. I hope you enjoy it!

Raving About ROMWE: Friday Favorites

When shopping for clothes, it’s hard to find quality clothes for a cheap price. There are numerous online retailers that offer clothes starting as low as $1, but how can you know if the products are actually made well? In today’s post, I’ll be sharing my thoughts on one of these retailers: ROMWE.

(Disclaimer: This post is in no way sponsored by ROMWE, although if they would like to I’d be up for it!)

For this experiment, I purchased items from almost every category they offered: tops, bottoms, dresses, and home decor. In total I bought 10 items for $42.37 USD, which was more than reasonable to me.

First, I bought this “Ditsy Floral Sweetheart Neck Cami Dress” for $7.52 when it was on sale in one of their “lightning deals”. These lightning deals take a percentage off of the price of certain items, with prices ranging from 89¢ to over $10. At it’s regular price, the dress is listed for $11.95.

This dress looks exactly the same in person as it does on the website, and it is great quality! This dress has become one of my favorite pieces that I own, and it is completely worth the price. If you’ve read my “Less is Floor” post, I’m actually wearing this dress in those photos!

The next items I purchased were the “Scallop Edge Rib Knit Tank Top” and the “V-Notch Thick Strap Ribbed Top“, retailing for 89¢ and $3.57 respectively during the lightning deal. Now, they retail for $5.95 and $7.95.

Both of these items are exactly as they appear on the website, and are great quality for the price as well!

The next two things I purchased were definitely just for fun since they were on sale. The “Leopard Print Shorts” were on sale for $3.57 from their regular $6.95 and the “Cow Pattern Short Sleeve Tee” was on sale for $4.46 from its regular $5.95.

To my surprise, I really liked both of these items. The cow print tee turned out to be dri fit, which was super nice since it wasn’t see through. I also enjoy the shorts, however they do need to be ironed occasionally to prevent wrinkles.

The next items I purchased were from the home decor section. I bought two pillow covers, a “Terrazzo Print Decorative Pillow” and a “Face Print Cushion Cover“, both for $2.66 instead of $2.95.

Both of these pillow covers worked perfectly, and fit my standard throw pillows snugly. They are a little bit see through if you have a darker pillow underneath, however.

The final items I bought were two of the “Flower Print Rod Pocket Sheer Curtains” for $5.36 instead of the regular $5.95. The only downside to this great price is that only one curtain is included, so you end up spending over $10 if you want more than one.

These curtains are exactly the same as they were on the website, and I couldn’t love them more. Since they are sheer they still let in some light, adding a nice atmosphere to the room they are in.

In conclusion, ROMWE is definitely good quality. I would highly recommend checking them out if you’re looking for some cheap clothing, shoes, accessories, or home decor.

Hopefully you enjoyed this review of ROMWE and it gave you some insight into their company and products! See you guys soon for another new post!

Clear Skies in China: The Great Wall

In May of this year, I got the amazing opportunity to travel to Beijing, China with my color guard. We spent eight days exploring Beijing and seeing all of the tourist sites, along with practicing for our exhibition performance at WGI China.

Since I did so much and went to so many places on this trip, I’m going to split this travel diary up into multiple posts. Today’s post is focusing on a place we went to on one of the final days of the trip: the Great Wall of China.

We went to the Mutianyu Great Wall specifically, because it was less crowded during the time we had planned to go and gave us the best chance at seeing everything the wall had to offer.

It was a magnificent day, with clear skies and a temperature perfect for walking outside. The day started with the short hike up to the base level of stairs to access the wall. Since we were on a pretty strict schedule, our group opted to take the gondola lift up to the wall. To be honest, I was pretty scared at first, but once I had a chance to look around there wasn’t any way I could possibly be afraid.

We finally reached the wall, and at this point had about an hour left to explore. It was even more breathtaking than I had imagined, which I didn’t think was possible.

We stumbled across a structure where previous visitors had signed their names on the walls, and I knew I just had to as well. Now I’ll be able to remember my visit forever, and others who come in the future will know I’ve been there!

The last thing I had to do before leaving was something quite unorthodox. I wanted to zigzag down the wall, and I made sure I did just that.

Overall I absolutely loved visiting the Mutianyu Great Wall, and it was one of my favorite moments of my whole Beijing trip. Hopefully you enjoyed this post, and be on the look out for more Beijing travel diaries soon!

Loving the Lensball

There are so many different accessories for your camera, whether it’s for your phone or a separate camera. One in particular that caught my attention was the Lensball. All of today’s photos were taken with a Canon Rebel T5i.

The Lensball is a circular crystal ball that reflects the environment it’s in. It’s great for wide angle photos, and creates one of the coolest effects in photos I’ve ever seen.

To take these photos, I held the lensball up to the top of this structure at the Cathedral of Junk. If you’re ever in Austin, Texas, go check out the Cathedral, it’s amazing!

The Lensball is a bit expensive, however, with the Pro (larger) version priced at $59 and the Pocket version priced at $49. To me, the product is well worth the price, and I would highly recommend it!

Christmas in Connecticut: A Short Travel Diary

To start off a new travel series on this website, I’m going to recap my trip to Connecticut in the winter of 2017. All of the photos in today’s post were taken on a Canon Rebel T5i and an iPhone 8 Plus.

We flew in to Connecticut on a brisk morning, and I was very nervous about flying for the first time. My fears were short lived though, as I’ve come to quite enjoy flying.

We headed to Compo Beach on a lovely foggy day, and my favorite photographer, aka my mother, took some photos of me. The scenery at the beach was breathtaking, and I love that I have these photos to remember it.

The next day, we took the Metro into New York City for some sightseeing. In the short time we spent there, we walked past signs for current Broadway shows, saw the Christmas decorations in Rockefeller Center, did some shopping in Times Square, and I tried the best cookie dough I’ve ever had. If you ever see a Dō cookie dough shop try it, it’s amazing!

This concludes my super short travel diary about my time in Connecticut, I hope you enjoyed it. Be on the look out for the next installment in my travel series, Beijing, China!

Getting the “perfect” Background: Whether the Weather

Weather can lead to some of the best conditions for photos, whether it’s sunny, raining, foggy, or something else. Today’s photos were taken on a Canon Rebel T5i.

This particular morning it was super foggy outside, which seemed perfect for taking pictures. I enlisted the help of my favorite photographer, also known as my mother, to capture these shots of me.

Action photos are one of my favorite styles of photography, especially since you don’t necessarily have to be facing the camera. For these photos, I simply ran up the street.

The next time you notice the weather outside, go take a picture. You never know what you’ll end up with!