Friday, January 28, 2011

Tips From National Geographic

I was in Washington DC last weekend and managed to see and do quite a bit in just a few days. My husband and I visited the beautiful Saint Mathews Church (said to be one of the most beautiful in the country), took a walk through the outdoor sculpture park on the Mall, stopped by a neat bead store, and fit in a lunch at Ben's Chili, where Obama is a customer! However, I think my favorite outing, was a trip to the National Geographic Museum. It's pretty small and doable if you have 1 or 2 hours, but well worth it! They currently have a collection of some of their favorite unpublished photos of 2010, as well as small hall of presidential photos. If you have ever seen a National Geographic magazine then I'm sure you know that they have amazing photographers - so, even though these photos didn't make it to print, you can be rest assured that they are beautiful, interesting, and thought-provoking. I highly recommend a visit!

My museum visit prompted me to check out National Geographic's website upon my return home (surprisingly, I had never done this before). Well, a "quick look" quickly turned into an hour...and then I stumbled upon their photo tips!!! - Brilliant! Check out this slideshow for a few tips on capturing "moments".... :)

Simply Beautiful Photographs, Tips on Capturing a Moment, Gallery – National Geographic

Here are a few pictures from my trip:

Monday, January 10, 2011

Pakistani Art

I just returned from my first trip to Islamabad, Pakistan. It was such a wonderful trip, visiting with my husband's parents and sister, and getting to know them better. I learned a lot through our conversations and outings. One of my favorite things, of course, was seeing all the beautiful arts, crafts, and architecture!! I couldn't help but buy some of beautiful textiles, necklaces, or carvings I saw....just doing my part to help the economy in Pakistan! ;) And now I will do my part to share a LITTLE bit of the beauty of Pakistani art with you, friends!....keep in mind that Pakistan is surrounded by other countries (India, China, Iran, Afghanistan) who have influenced the arts and architecture of the country.

Said Pur Village: This is a very old village in Islamabad, but it is being renovated in order to bring more tourists in.

Faisal Mosque: One of the largest mosques in the world, designed by a Turkish architect.

Carved door at Heritage Museum: There are many wood carvings that you can see in the architecture, as well as in handicrafts, such as the beautiful plates and boxes in the last picture below.

Wooden, painted chairs: These are from a small village in Rawalpindi. The old style of bed, found more in small villages, can also still be seen. The legs are carved and painted colorfully, but the "mattress" is woven like a hammock (similar to the seat of these chairs).

Textiles: This artist is weaving on an old style loom. I learned to do this in college but I don't remember - It's very complicated.

Mosaics and tiles: Many buildings and walls are intricately decorated with colorful, complex mosaic designs. This is just the washing area at Faisal Mosque. I only have a drawing in my journal to show the beautiful walls inside the mosque.

A gift for Dad: A wooden bowl that has been painted and carved.

A gift for Mom: Turquoise earrings, a paper mache bird egg, and a ceramic pitcher from the in-laws.

Carvings, and textiles, and jewelry, oh my! There are just so many beautiful textiles and handicrafts in Pakistan that it is hard to pack lightly!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

2010 Progress

I thought I would review my New Years list from last year and see how I did on my goals. I had so many plans but then life happened and I traveled to Kansas City and NYC where my husband was working plays, then I spent the summer relaxing, then work started in September and I became very busy, etc etc. I know, they are excuses. So here is my progress and new goals for 2011!

1. Sign up for a Spanish course
Sad, I did not do this and this is a BIG goal of mine. This goal stays for 2011.
2. Practice Urdu
Uhhh, Ap ka kya hal hai!? Teek hai? yeah, I practiced a little during my 10 days in Pakistan, but this is also a goal that needs to stay.
3. Stretch for at least 10 minutes every day
Nope..this only happened when I went to the gym (so 3-4x/wk). The goal was really to stretch at home, but it is highly unlikely that it will happen in 2011 .
4. Drink more water
Check! (yes, i know I didn't write the goal so it is measurable, but trust me...I am drinking more water!)
5. Eat more greens and less chocolate (I'm anticipating this will be the hardest for me!)
Um, I'm doing the first part for sure! (smile)
6. Sell at least 35 pieces on Etsy in 2010 (I sold 18 necklaces/bracelets in 1009)
I sold about 21...still working!
7. Read at least 25 books (I know this is low number, but still higher than my 12 books this year!)
Sigh. I failed miserably. I didn't even make it halfway. Maybe my goal for 2011 will be to read 15. :/
8. Take (and pass) the Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) exam
Nope...I finished the hours but really need to sign up for and take the exam.
9. Meet my parents-in-law
YES!!! - Met this goal twice!!! :)
10. Paint
Yes! Started painting and need to do more!
11. Pay off my grad school loans (this will also be a BIG task but I think we can do it!)
Didn't reach this goal, only because of a special circumstance, but my goal now is to have it paid off by the end of March.

Well, I still have quite a bit to work on for 2011. I might also add a goal of more travel....either to South Africa or to Turkey. hmmm....

What goals do you have?