What's Up Lately Episode 005

What’s Up Lately Episode 005

What’s Up Lately.

Episode 005.

It’s been a busy couple of weeks since I was here with my last update.

That update coincided with my husband’s birthday.

Smith Mountain Lake.

We decided to rent a boat and spend part of the day cruising around Smith Mountain Lake.

The lake is the largest man-made lake in the state of Virginia.

It has 500 miles of shoreline.

So while we did lots of exploring, we were only seeing a tiny portion of all there is to see.

We decided to anchor in a cove to see how cold the water was. If you know me, you know the cold and I do not get along AT ALL. Even the Atlantic down in Florida is often too cold for my liking. I jumped in once but quickly climbed back out. It wasn’t the cold, but the eerie feeling that some lake monster might be hiding in the depths ready to eat me.

The average depth of the lake is 55 ft with a maximum depth of 250 ft. I’m a Florida girl and lakes mean alligators.

My rational brain said it was much too cold for that, but the irrational part said there were still unknown large animals down there. I got in once more and swam out to my husband. The water was very cold, but I could have acclimated. The depth and unknown still freaked me out and so I climbed back aboard the boat and basked in the sunlight on the bow.

I think I could get used to the scary waters. It’ll just take some time.

Do you ever frequent lakes? What’s your take on them?

Soccer Tournament.

The following weekend, Miss Sunshine had a soccer tournament in Virginia Beach.

Virginia Beach is about a 5-hour drive from Roanoke. It’s the farthest that we typically travel for a tournament. However, we always stay oceanfront so it’s a fun time.

Miss Sunshine and her team won the championship. That was despite being down a few girls who couldn’t make it and then down a few more due to injuries sustained during the weekend.

Since it is such a long drive home and there was school the next day, the team didn’t stay for the medaling ceremony (that would have added many more hours to the day).

There were plans to get their medals at practice that Wednesday.

However, rain canceled practice.

Flash Floods.

On Thursday, Hurricane Michael made its way to Roanoke.

I’ve shown you all the dry creek in my yard before. Any time it rains heavily, the creek runs with the water draining down the mountain. If you look into the background of the photo, you will see the row of Evergreens that we planted a few years ago. There is a road behind them. That road is covered is flash flooding water. The road to my driveway was covered in flash flood water.

You may have seen photos on the news of Roanoke covered in flooded water.

This photo is early into the flooding. Shortly after this, I was pacing the floor. Mr. D has early release for Seniors. I didn’t know if his Mustang would make it on our street. At the time, I had no clue what the rest of the county looked like.

About 15 minutes after the early release Seniors left school, I received a call that they were immediately releasing the schools due to increased flooding.

Mr. D made it to our neighborhood entrance, but then could tell that he would not make it any farther. He turned around and called me to pick him up at a nearby office parking lot. I took out the Jeep. Leaving our neighborhood, rocks had been pushed across the road and a car had been pushed to the side as well. The jeep had no problem making it across the rocks.

I picked up Mr. D and then had to make my way to the high school to get Miss Sunshine and Mr. D’s girlfriend. Many of the roads that we would have normally taken were closed due to flooding. Even the one that Mr. D had made it through 20 minutes earlier had a car submerged to its headlights. We finally made it to the girls and slowly made our way back through traffic. What normally is 20ish minutes round trip was over an hour and a half.

When I left, I didn’t know if the flooding would continue to get worse. However, the rain slowed and had receded from many roads by the time we made it home.

It was a mentally taxing afternoon, to say the least.

GoFest.

The Roanoke Go Outside Festival was this weekend.

After all the craziness, I was ready to go walk around, listen to music and drink a few beers with my husband.

It was a good ending to the week.

How has your week been?

Part of her mystery is how she is calm in the storm and anxious in the quiet. -jmstorm quote

Let your light shine!

Amy

Friday Faves Edition 66

Friday Faves Edition 66

Friday.

It’s Friday and as promised, I’m back!!

Last Friday, I was preparing to watch my oldest son graduate from high school!

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Friday Faves.

Sometimes the term Friday Faves doesn’t seem quite the accurate statement. I definitely have some faves to share, but I also have things that are not faves (far from it, in fact) that I need to talk about as well.

Life.

A conversation about life…my life…the lives of others…life in general.

Before Graduation.

Leading up to Big Mr.’s graduation, our schedule was pretty chaotic.

Mr. D had a random schedule because he had some finals to take and they are given in two-hour windows.

Miss Sunshine had an 8th-grade field trip to Washington D.C. on June 5th. We had to have her to the school by 4:45 a.m., with a “planned”, pick up time that night of midnight. The best-laid plans…right?! I know that they can’t calculate traffic and never come back at that time. We had Big Mr. on standby to pick her up. I stayed awake, but barely. She got in about 1:00 a.m. Her English teacher had told them there would be a quiz the last day of school, so she chose to go in for that morning block. I’ll refrain from publicly making commentary on my thoughts surrounding the situation.

My parents got in Wednesday afternoon. We took them up to the Roanoke Star on Thursday and then Thursday night, I took them on a drive through downtown Roanoke. Mostly we stayed around the house visiting.

Dress Rehearsal.

Big Mr. tried on his cap and gown for us and my mom and I snapped a few pics. There are some that are quite hilarious because his attention span for photos is rather short and he starts being silly to indicate “enough”. I’m sure if he could have gotten away with wearing flip-flops to his actual graduation, he would have.

Graduation Day.

While he did wear khakis, boat shoes, a dress shirt, and tie to his graduation, his one claim to his own personal style was the necklace.

The necklace is a strand of cedar beads. That is what I was told they are called when I bought them from a roadside stand in Arizona on my honeymoon. I purchased them because they keep nightmares away and while they were worse in my 20’s, nightmares are a frequent part of my dreams. In digging around, it seems that the necklace is mainly known as a Navajo Ghost Bead Necklace and is made from Juniper Berries.

Big Mr. was wearing them because he’s been wanting to rock some beads recently, but it still felt special because even though I purchased other jewelry and pottery on my honeymoon, this is the one piece that I bought because of the story behind it. While I don’t sleep in necklaces (I have a fear of strangulation) and so didn’t advocate it for my children, I did hang them above the bed of one of my children when they were having night terrors.

The beads are also thought to represent an interconnection of the earth, trees, animals, and humans and bring harmony and safety to the wearer. What a perfect thing to wear on such an important day. One teacher did suggest he remove them, but he just tucked them in a little.

Party Time.

In my past, I used to host our entire family in Florida for parties. It felt a little strange that it was only my parents, but we embraced the time to celebrate together.

Photos.

Big Mr. had already stripped out of the cap and gown before I made it through the nasty graduation traffic and back home. I may have him put it back on and snap more photos, but for today, I’m happy with the few that I was able to capture.

Beach Week.

Big Mr. left for beach week along with many of his graduating classmates. He will return home soon. The house feels a little quieter with him away, but I know it won’t be long until this is the norm.

Death.

I don’t know how far news travels, but you may have heard about the triple homicide in Bent Mountain, Virginia. If you hadn’t and your breath has just been taken away, that is how I felt Wednesday morning. I don’t watch the news very often and hadn’t recently. I heard about it from my hairdresser. When she told me their ages, I suspected that either Big Mr. or Mr. D might know the people. She didn’t know the names, but I pulled out my phone and googled it. I knew right away that it was likely that the boys might know them. They did. The 20-year-old was a skateboarder, something my boys did quite often when they moved here. The 18-year-old girl, a classmate of Big Mr.

I knew her name.

It’s strange the little things you remember. Her name felt familiar because the last name is the same as someone well-known in this country. It made me stop a little longer and notice it at that time. I had read a quote from her in the yearbook. They were words about travel and culture, something that you know I am passionate about. Words that she will never get to fulfill. Ones that have been horribly stripped away from her. It broke my heart both as a mother and as a human. A week ago, I watched her walk across the stage and take her diploma in hand. The world a bright, open future. A world stolen.

The community is in shock, three families left without a piece of their lives and countless others heartbroken over never seeing their smiling faces again.

Be the light.

I have to believe that the good in the world outweighs those who are blackened with evil. Many days I fail to be the person I’d like to be, but I still try to spread my light through the little circle of influence that I have.

I encourage you to be the light as well.

You may have noticed that I’ve been a little quiet on the blog and social media front. I have been writing more and reading more and trying to be fully present when my family is home.

Miss Sunshine and I head down to Florida next week. While I will miss my hubby and the boys tremendously, my heart is happy that I will be seeing family and friends that I have missed. I will be letting them know how important they are to my life by making time to just be present with them.

Still, I’ll be working on my photos and the blog in the wee hours of the nights and mornings, but I expect to only be here a few times a week during the three weeks that I am gone.

I hope that you have a stunning weekend and light-filled week. I hope there are more smiles than tears and that you find a moment to speak a kind word into somebody’s soul.

Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. - Martin Luther King Jr quote quotes photoquote

Let your light shine!

Amy

Friday Faves Edition 65

Friday Faves Edition 65

Friday.

Hello Friday!!

Bring on the weekend!!

I say that, but the forecast is still calling for thunderstorms. They appear to be scattered storms, so I’m hoping there will be some breaks of sunshine in between.

How is the weather in your area?

 

Friday Faves.

I do have some Friday Faves to share, but also just some news about life and such.

Flooding.

It had rained here most of the time that I was away in the U.K. That led to saturated grounds. The area of Roanoke in which I live was hit with a storm last Sunday that dropped 6 1/2 inches of rain in three hours, causing flash floods and mudslides.

I have some friends that shared that they had to be diverted off of the main road because sections of it were impassable. Big Mr was with a friend over near our local library and said a flooded area was as wide as the Roanoke River. They had to turn around because the water was too deep, and that was even barely into the swath.

I was at home quite oblivious to the extent to which the waters were rushing until I saw the footage. Our property slopes downward with our home sitting on a hill. We are toward the bottom of what you could call a mountain…or a larger hill, but I’m not sure there is anything that would mudslide toward us. The placement of our home also means that our basement doesn’t flood.

Driving Miss Sunshine to school and passing along the road that runs near the high school, there are piles out for the trash that you can tell came from flooded basements. My heart is heavy for all those who have damage to deal with and memories that have been lost.

Memorial Day.

Monday was Memorial Day.

I spent time with my family and the hubby and I looked for some furniture for the back deck. Right now we are down to two plastic Adirondack chairs that we bought for seating when we first moved to Virginia because our furniture hadn’t yet arrived. Of the two that are left of the initial five, one is broken and it is a matter of time before the seat fully gives way.

I didn’t find anything, but I do have some ideas for what I may get.

The Next Phase.

Big Mr. doesn’t graduate from high school until next Friday, but he is finished with school.

On Tuesday, they had a Senior Day where there is a field day for the Seniors (this was moved indoors due to the rain), and along with their graduation practice, they decorate their caps to showcase where they are going after high school.

University.

Big Mr. will be heading to Virginia Tech in the fall. They sent him this sign to stick to his cap. Some of the Seniors get very creative in decorating their caps (everything must be removable for the actual graduation ceremony).

My High School Graduation Memories.

It’s funny what your mind chooses to remember.

I needed to get the wrinkles out of his gown. I was talking with my mom about how strange it was that they come all folded in a package with deep wrinkles and asked her if she had to iron my gown for high school graduation.

The answer was yes.

And yet, I have no recollection about how I received my cap and gown, only wearing it (wrinkle free). I also recall a big discussion with my three close friends about the possibilities of rebelling against the fact that we were expected to wear dress shoes. I’m pretty sure there were more details to the type of shoe required, but we were told that they would be inspecting them in the lineup, prior to our ceremony, and we would be pulled from the lineup if not wearing dress shoes. We tried to come up with a way to switch to white Converse after inspection. We even had a teacher who encouraged our idea (he was a total nonconformist). In the end…we became like sheep and conformed because we had family in the stands and didn’t want to take the chance of not getting to walk in graduation.

What do you remember about your own high school graduation?

Yoga.

This week also finished out my May Challenge…31 days of yoga poses. It was wonderful to have Dee Dee come along with me on this journey.

I shared my pose each day on my Instagram Stories.

At this time, I have all 31 days shared on my Instagram Page under the Highlights section.

I thought I’d share a couple of my favorites from this week.

The Wheel Pose shown above wasn’t technically on the pose challenge. It was on the day of the Camel Pose. I can’t seem to touch my toes in Camel Pose without bringing my hips farther back than my knees and yet I can do the backbend required for Wheel Pose.

This shot was me proving to myself that I could still do the Wheel Pose.

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Dancer Pose.

Dancer Pose is one of my favorite poses.

I feel graceful when I am in the pose, even if that is not the visual reality.

I was never a dancer, but I recall a time in my drama class where somebody’s mother came in to show us some ballet moves for the choreography of a musical we would be performing. I can’t remember exactly what she said to me, but it was a compliment in regards to the fact that my long arms and legs made the moves look nice.

I was the person in drama who took the leftover roles because I loved acting (playing the part of someone else), but did not audition (which required “me” to get up in front of my peers) for any part. This compliment from a stranger in front of my class meant a lot and stuck with me.

Crow Pose.

The final pose was the crane pose. Crane Pose requires straight arms and your knees pressed into your armpits. I was happy with crow pose. I’m of the opinion that any arm balance is a good arm balance.

Writing.

If you have already seen my June Challenge, then you know that today I will begin spending 20 minutes a day working a story or two that I began writing last year or possibly even coming up with an entirely new story.

This does mean that I will again be learning time management.

Film.

I had considered making June a month of no TV, but I do have a couple of shows that I like to watch with the hubby and rarely watch it outside of that.

Even on the long haul flight to and from the U.K., I did more reading than movie watching.

I managed to start and finish The Handmaid’s Tale and I started Red Queen. Once home, I’ve been a little sidetracked by simultaneously reading Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain. I stumbled upon it at the library and recognized it from knowing that she gave a TED talk on it (which I haven’t yet watched).

However, on the way over I did watch Lady Bird, which I watched again last night. This time with the hubby.

I also watched Black Panther and It on the return flight.

I didn’t love It as much as I expected to love it. I read and watched lots of Stephen King in my late teens.

Have you watched any great movies or shows lately?

How about any amazing books?

Outlander.

I also picked up Season 1 of Outlander. I’m always late to hop on the bandwagon, but after my time in the Highlands, I’m curious to see the show.

What about you? Have you seen Outlander?

The photo is from our day trip around the Isle of Skye. This was our tour guide Sandy and the photo was taken toward the end of the trip.

That is Eilean Donan castle in the background.

I’m still getting around to processing my photos from my time away. Graduation time is a busy time.

In case you missed it, I did share some views from the River Clyde in Glasgow in this post and some Doors of London in this post.

I will not be back next week with a round of Friday Faves because Big Mr.’s graduation is in the middle of the day and my parents will be coming up for that as well.

I’ll have some posts up during the week though and will be back for Faves the following Friday.

I hope that you have an awesome weekend and week ahead.

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Let your light shine!

Amy

 

Photography Tip Using Leading Lines in Composition

Follow the Lines

Photography.

Photography gives you a chance to share the world through your view.

To perhaps share a new angle.

A new way of thinking…

Of seeing.

Photography Tip Using Leading Lines in Composition

 

Lines.

The photography challenge up for interpretation this week is lines.

While I am far from an expert when it comes to photography, lines are actually one of the things that I consider when I’m composing my shot.

Quite often, lines can add an element of interest to your photo.

Today, I thought I’d share some photography tips (examples) on how I use lines in my photos.

Photography Tip #1.

Shadows.

Not only were there lines in the porch railing, but I also liked the shadows cast by the sun streaming through the metal railings onto the snow-covered porch.

Photography Tip #2.

Fences.

If you’ve followed my photography for some time, then you are already aware that when I’m shooting nearby scenes in Virginia, I love to use fences and fence posts as a focal point to draw the eye along the scene.

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Photography Tip #3.

Roads.

Roads have great lines. There can be a focus on the center line or just the shape of the road itself.

 

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Both straight roads and curvy roads each have their own fascinating features.

You should always use extreme caution when shooting a roadway. I haven’t yet had the opportunity to shoot on abandoned roads. Nor have I typically been on a road that is less traveled, so rarely shoot from the center of the road.

My photo quote was in a neighborhood right after a snow so we were able to stop the Jeep and I could lean out the window.

The photo above is from an overlook along the Blue Ridge Parkway.

If I were going to take center-of-the-street shots, I would definitely have someone with me to be my traffic eyes.

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Photography Tip #4.

Lattice or Chain Link.

You can find interesting compositions almost anywhere.

Don’t be afraid to capture something that catches your eye.

Remember, everyone has different taste and beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

The photo above is of a sweet pea vine growing in the wild. It’s growing along a chain link fence that provides a barrier from a parking area in downtown Roanoke and the interstate rushing along beside.

I love how lattice and chain link both create a diamond pattern.

Photography Tip #5.

Trees.

I photograph trees.

A lot.

I am not a fan of Virginia winters, but I do love to see the shapes of the trees after they’ve shed their seasonal coats of leaves.

I was on Roanoke Mountain to watch the sunset when these trees turned vibrant as the sun they were facing began to set. The moon had already made its appearance, being framed by these ancient beings rising up from the earth.

Photography Tip #6.

Landscapes and Sidewalks.

You can find lines most anywhere you look.

Many places will line sidewalks with trees or bushes. While the sidewalk itself creates lines, I love when the landscaping enhances them.

This sidewalk is in the Museumplein in Amsterdam.

These are just a few examples of how to incorporate lines into your photos.

What are some of your favorite ways to incorporate them?

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Let your light shine!

Amy

 

 

 

Photo Interpretation of Prolific photo challenge

Photo Interpretation of Prolific

Photography Series.

I never do two posts in one day.

BUT…

I haven’t missed a weekly photo challenge yet this year

…and I don’t intend to start today.

 

Photo Challenge.

The word we were asked to interpret for the photo challenge was prolific.

Prolific.

Prolific is defined as:

Present in large number or quantities; plentiful. Producing in large quantities or with great frequency; highly productive.

I’ll spare you my normal plethora of words and let the photos mostly speak for themselves.

 

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Tulips in Bloom at Vondelpark in Amsterdam. (see more of Amsterdam here)

 

Love locks along the Seine in Paris. (see more here)

 

Gravestones at Old Town Cemetery located at Church of the Holy Rude in Stirling, Scotland. (see Stirling Castle here)

 

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Rocks, seagulls en masse on the rocks in the background, stunning turquoise beauty…take your pick. Baby Beach in Aruba. (see others here)

 

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Pink Dogwood in bloom. Roanoke, Virginia (see others here)

 

So much of who we are is where we have been. -William Langewiesche

Let your light shine!

Amy

 

 

wpc: prolific

 

A blanket of snow after spring had begun creates a hidden spring in roanoke, Virginia

Hidden Spring

Hidden Spring.

Late Snow. Spring blooms. Roanoke, Virginia.

Sony Alpha 7 II |Sony FE 28-70 mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS |ISO 100 |28 mm |f/3.5

Sony Alpha 7 II |Sony FE 28-70 mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS |ISO 100 |37 mm |f/4

Sony Alpha 7 II |Sony FE 28-70 mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS |ISO 100 |34 mm |f/9

Sony Alpha 7 II | Sony FE 28-70 mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS | ISO 100 | 55 mm | f/9

Let your light shine!

Amy

Friday Faves Edition 58

Friday Faves Edition 58

Friday.

It’s Friday! I hope you all have had an amazing week so far!!

The weather threw off my routines, but that’s okay.

Sometimes our lives need a little shake up so we don’t get stuck in our comfort zones.

Friday Faves.

I’m doing my weekly round-up of Friday Faves.

My agenda looks like a tornado struck it with things crossed out that didn’t get accomplished. However, I did manage to make notes about the things I did want to share!

Party.

First off, remember in last week’s faves when I gave you a sneak peek of the dress I planned to wear to the party on St. Patrick’s Day?

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The Dress.

If you follow my Instagram stories, then you’ve already gotten a glimpse of it. I put my favorite filter (Rio De Janeiro) because the sun was at its harshest when we left. The actual photo looks like I ran it through one of those pixellating filters because the glare off of my arm and leg is so intense.

Imagine my delight the next morning when I discovered that my mom had taken the original that I texted her and posted it on her Facebook (love you, mom!).

It probably wasn’t that bad, but I am notoriously particular and usually unhappy with how I look in photos. Good thing I’m usually behind the camera.

However, since I love ya’ll so much… I am sharing two photos, that while I don’t love them, I find them acceptable for public viewing.

Close Up.

I thought the dress had a very retro classic vibe, so I tried to channel Audrey Hepburn or Jackie Kennedy Onassis with my pearl necklace and earrings.

Full Length.

The dress is a Ralph Lauren and I found it at Macy’s.

Since it was St. Patrick’s Day and my dress was not green, I wore a jade ring. Originally, my “something borrowed” at my wedding, my mother-in-law gifted the ring to me a few years ago.

It was much chillier than I originally thought it would be so I brought along a white 3/4 sleeve Lily Pulitzer cardigan that I’ve owned forever. I draped it over my arm as we entered the party since I really expected to need it later in the evening.

We stopped at the bar to pick up a cocktail. I wasn’t sure what I wanted, but the bartender was asking, so I went with a vodka cranberry. Can you guess where I’m going with this?

I told the hubby I’d like to put the cardigan down at the table before we mingled. Of course, we are passing people that I need to meet along the way to the table. Sure enough, the drink spilled on my cardigan. Not an EGADS! she spilled her drink. The cup just slightly shifted, dribbled over my hand, and onto my sweater.

I switched to vodka and pineapple juice after that.

We had a great evening. Lots of good conversations and food.

And the juice stain came out!

Soccer.

Miss Sunshine had a soccer game on Monday afternoon. They won the game and Miss Sunshine had an assist for their goal.

As a side note, I’m still very disappointed in how the Nikon is performing. When I return from Aruba, I will be getting a longer zoom lens for the Sony.

Aruba.

Speaking of Aruba…only one week! There wasn’t school on Wednesday due to snow. There was a 2-hour delay on Thursday due to snow.

It threw off my quiet time for posts, but I did manage to share some things I loved at the National Museum of Scotland, a Tree Series for Wordless Wednesday, and a Thursday Door post of St. Giles Cathedral.

Snow is forecast for Saturday.

I can’t wait to have my toes in the sand and not snow!

 

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Apparently all I can manage at the moment are mirror selfies (and the same red jumper 🤤)– but this is a good thing! The wheels of change are turning! 🎡 In the morning I’ll be on the @thismorning sofa talking to @schofe and @hollywilloughby about my campaign to make upskirt photos a sexual offence in England & Wales. 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿 ❌🤳👗🚫Tune in and lend your voice to the campaign with the hashtag #StopSkirtingTheIssue. 📱💻Whether it’s insta-stories, Twitter or a good old email to your MP this campaign needs you! DM if you would like a MP email/letter template! ✉️✔️ Then all you have to do is pop your name in and send! 📮♥️

A post shared by G I N A M A R T I N (@beaniegigi) on

Instagram.

I’ve shared before that I have a love/hate with Instagram. I love most of the people. Not so much a fan of the follow/unfollow crowd, but I guess that’s their way of marketing. The algorithm changes really bothered me.

Interaction.

However, recently I’ve tried to separate myself from caring about my number of likes and growth and to just focus on interacting with those that Instagram decides that I want to see. That means I try to add more IG stories and also watch more of them.

Upskirting.

All that to say, I found myself watching @beaniegigi’s story.

Here’s a case of “you don’t know what you don’t know, but once you do know, you must speak”.

How many of you have heard of “upskirting”?

Probably a lot of you.

Defined.

If you haven’t, it’s the case of somebody taking a photo up a woman’s skirt (or dress) without her permission.

I admit that I live in a bubble and I don’t find myself in many places where this might happen (public transport, concerts…etc).

I’m sure we’ve all heard of the paparazzi shots of celebrities taken from this angle. I was always mortified that anyone thought it was acceptable, but it never occurred to me that it was a “thing” happening to every day women (and girls).

It happened to Gina Martin at a concert. You can read her story in this Unilad article.

Legality.

Did you know that there are places where upskirting is not illegal? It isn’t considered illegal because voyeurism apparently only applies to private places and since there’s underwear it’s not considered lewd.

Making Change.

Gina is working to have the law changed in England and Wales to make upskirting illegal. A cursory look to see if it was illegal in the United States brought me to this Time magazine article where I discovered that it is illegal in Virginia. However, at the time of the article in 2016, it was not illegal everywhere.

I applaud Gina for taking a stand against harassment.

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Challenge.

I am still steadily progressing on the March Challenge, which is part of my #thisis40 year of monthly challenges. I do know what I’ll be doing for my April Challenge. Look for the announcement on Monday.

Walking.

It never ceases to amaze me how little I truly must walk in a day. Getting in 10,000 steps requires an effort on my part. However, basing fitness on steps doesn’t take into consideration that I take Pilates 3x a week and that doesn’t require much walking, but it’s hard!

Planks.

I have officially made it 23 days on the plank challenge segment of the monthly challenge. That is a 3 minute 50-second plank.

Modifications.

On day 20, I did need to switch it up to make it through. Instead of keeping my legs at hip width, I widened them to distribute the weight differently. I did that for about 10 seconds a couple of times over the course of the plank. On the following days, I also have moved from forearms to hands and back (though mostly on the forearm).

Opinion.

I am still forging ahead and hoping to nail the goal to completion. However, if I had it to do over again I would not have chosen this specific plank goal. I took on this goal because I will be wearing a bikini in Aruba. That’s the plain and simple fact. Judge if you will.

However, I feel like my abs get a much better workout from a Pilates routine. I can’t see my form during the course of the plank, but I don’t think I’m losing form. However, it’s my mid-back where I can feel the most change. Perhaps I’m losing the focus on maintaining those lower ab muscles while I’m just trying to push through to the end. I know Pilates breath work and incorporate that to get into those tiny muscles, but I feel the plank in my shoulders, back, and quads more than in the abs.

Puppy.

Yesterday was Maverick’s 1st birthday. He got a haircut last weekend and toys yesterday.

Ohhh…my baby is growing up!

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Long Exposure.

If you watched my IG stories on Wednesday, then you know that I had a crazy outing trying to capture some snow scenes. I’ve shared a few photos on Instagram and the one above will eventually be shared. I hadn’t worked with long exposure on the Sony yet. I only have one ND filter and it wasn’t really strong enough. However, I did manage to get a few shots that I was happy with (after sliding down the embankment of snow and dropping the tripod in the stream).

Music.

I heard this song on the way home from Pilates today and liked it. Nadia Ali is a Pakistani-American singer-songwriter. IRO is a Brooklyn based singer-songwriter. Sultan + Shepard is a Canadian electronic music duo that often does collaborations.

I hope you enjoy!

I’m off to finish prepping for Aruba. Oh…and for that snowstorm heading our way. I suspect my teens might want to eat and food flies off the shelves before a storm like an apocalyptic invasion is on its way.

Keep that smile shining.

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Let your light shine!

Amy