Currently

Currently

Watching: Revenge, The Walking Dead and American Horror Story

Reading: Eat Pray Love

Listening: To endless rain

Making: Christmas cards, advent boxes and December Daily embellishments

Feeling: Excited for Christmas

Planning: Christmas crafts (a table runner and wire place card holders)

Loving: Michael’s Christmas spirit for all things lights!

I Choose – December

I-Choose

December has been my favourite time of the year for a long time now! I’m looking forward to it even more this year since it’s our first year in the new house! This month I will:

  • Spend at least 10 minutes each day working on something December Daily related
  • Try heat embossing with glitter powders
  • Make photo Christmas cards again
  • Read Eat, Pray, Love
  • Host Christmas lunch at our place for my Dad and sisters
  • Shoot a roll of film in my film camera
  • Buy some maxi dresses to live in over the course of summer
  • Make at least 2 art journal pages
  • Write daily
  • Finish my One Little Word album

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Choose was my One Little Word for 2013, that I used to help guide me throughout the year. It’s still relevant in my life, so I will continue sharing an “I Choose” post at the start of each month.

You can see my “Choose” posts here.

If you don’t know what One Little Word is, you can read more about it in this post from Ali Edwards. I will be undertaking Ali’s One Little Word class again this year, and creating an album about my word and the changes it’s manifesting in my life.

Black and White Photo Challenge

My sister challenged me to take a black and white photo a day for 5 days in a row. I don’t usually take black and white photos, so I thought it would be a bit of fun. I’m very driven by colour, so it was interesting to look at things differently. I found that photos with good contrast and texture were the ones that turned out the best!

B&W photo 1 || Inspired Life with Jess

B&W photo 2 || Inspired Life with Jes

B&W photo 3 || Inspired Life with Jes

B&W photo 4 || Inspired Life with Jes

B&W photo 5 || Inspired Life with Jes

I’m pretty sure I will try a challenge like this again, because I know I can do a lot better with it, but for now, it was a bit of fun!

Sunday Seven

Sunday-Seven

Each month I will be sharing a Sunday Seven post, which will be a round of a few of my favourite things I’ve seen on the web. I like the idea of celebrating some of my favourite sites, along with new sites that I discover and find inspiring.

  • Loving the look of this slat bench as a coffee table for our upstairs living room
  • Wanting to read Yes Please by Amy Poehler so much. My sisters and I are starting a family book club, and this will be my first pick!
  • Excited to receive my Ali Edwards December Daily kit and to get started on my album. This is our first Christmas in the new house!
  • This is a fun knitting technique I want to try. Being summer, it’s a little to warm to knit here, but I’ll be trying this in winter
  • I need a ring dish for my bedside table and in the kitchen when I wash up. I hope to try this cute tutorial for one!
  • Thinking about having an overseas wedding, somewhere like here. Any suggestions?
  • Learning about mail tags to send to my pen pal :)

Hope you all have a great week ahead!

Feeling Grateful

Grateful

Sometimes it can be hard to remember gratitude when everything is go go go. I’ve noticed lately a feeling of overwhelm from how much we having going on with the house, family visits now everyone is so spread out, and commuting. Because of this, I’ve decided to slow down for a moment to think about some of the little things that I am grateful for.

Sure there is all of the big stuff like living in our own house, being engaged to my best friend, having a good job, and getting to spend time with loved ones, but I really wanted to think about some of the little things that make our life pretty great since they seem to be forgotten when things are tough.

 

|| That I am developing a green thumb and eating fresh herbs regularly || That I always have a well stocked kitchen || That we have a really good internet connection || That I can take time on the train each day to read, watch videos or listen to podcasts || That there are some great scrapbooking classes that leave me feeling inspired out there, and I happen to do a large share of them || That I get to go on regular weekend coffee dates with my favourite guy || that I have my own craft room where I can spread out and make a mess when I please || The awesome chicken salad rolls at the bakery near my work || That I am inspired to read, write and create || That I can chat to Mum easily via face time, even when she’s away on the other side of the world || Tea || Warm weather and evening walks || Wedding planning and dreaming || That I have endless notebooks to record endless inspiration, ideas, dreams, plans, to dos || My favourite TV shows {The Walking Dead and Revenge} that I can watch while I clean, organise and unpack || That I have duel monitors to make working on digital projects and organising folders much easier || That we have a massive table that I get to spread out on to create || Our new lounge || Wine ||

I need this time today to take a deep breath  so I can take it all in. That little pause reminds me of all the great and little things in my life that I need to savour.

#jessgrowsagarden Update

Inspired Life with Jess || #jessgrowsagarden

I am becoming quickly addicted to my little garden! I still don’t have much planted in the ground, but I sure do have a large collection of plants! I’m now at 17 indoor plants, and 40 or so outdoor plants, which for a brown thumb like me, is amazing!

So here is a bit of an update:

  • I have 12 cherry tomatoes on my plant! They are still small and green, but this is one of the most exciting developments of my garden overall!
  • I harvest parsley and basil at least once a week. My coriander plant is doing really well too, but I don’t really know many recipes to use it in. I love being able to get herbs from my garden!
  • One the note of herbs, I planted some basil, parsley and chive seeds. The chives didn’t do so well, but I’ve now upgraded the basil and parsley to a bigger pot and they are starting to go quite well! I will be giving some of these to my sister once they are big enough that she won’t kill them straight away!
  • I wanted to try growing some mint, and ended up getting a bunch from the grocery store and putting it in a cup of water to see if it sprouted roots. When it did, I put a splash of Seasol in the water, and the roots developed like crazy! I now have 4 new mint plants out of it!
  • Since potatoes are meant to be good at breaking up clay soil, I planted about 17 or so sprouted ones in the middle of our yard since we don’t have turf. Two of them have sprouted and are growing quite well so far!
  • My garlic plants are not doing the best. I’m not sure if it’s too much water or too much sun, but they are a bit withered
  • My fiddle leaf fig was looking a little dead when Michael’s sister gave it to us. I noticed that it started to sprout new leaves though, and they look quite healthy compared the the few it had when I got it!
  • I have a fern that I took out of Mum’s garden when she moved. It didn’t handle being repotted too well, and started to die off pretty quickly. I thought it was a gonner, but Mum suggested I cut it back and wait and see, and amazingly enough, it’s sprouted quite a few new fronds! It’s actually doing quite well where it is now, even though it’s a spot that should be too sunny and too windy for fern!
  • I now have the coolest indoor planter ever! I saw it a couple of months ago and wanted it but thought it would be an impulse buy so I waited. I couldn’t stop thinking about it though, so I caved and got it, and it’s now one of my favourites!
  • I can not grow succulents. I am currently killing 4 of them quite well! I thought it was not enough water, but even watering them a lot more, they are still dying.

I have been sharing some of my adventures on Instagram under the tag #jessgrowsagarden

Peri Peri Chicken

Inspired Life with Jess || Peri Peri Chicken

My sister made some awesome peri peri chicken one night when I visited her place using a premade spice mix. I wanted to try it at home, but Michael was teasing me that I can’t use a premade spice mix since I like cooking for scratch. Turns out I had everything on hand to cook it from scratch anyway, so I accepted the challenge!

Inspired Life with Jess || Peri Peri Chicken

Ingredients

1T garlic
4T lemon juice
2t chilli flakes
4T olive oil
Handful of parsley
1kg chicken

Method

  1. Chop the parsley finely
  2. Make the marinade by combining the garlic, lemon juice, oil, parsley and chilli
  3. Chop the chicken into pieces. I used chicken breast, but you could use thigh fillets, drumsticks, wings or any other pieces as well
  4. Mix the chicken through the marinade and leave in the fridge for at least 4 hours, stirring occasionally, to infuse the flavourInspired Life with Jess || Peri Peri Chicken
  5. Cook in a fry pan on medium with any remaining marinade until cooked through
  6. Serve with vegetable, a side salad or potato wedges. I used a salad with kale, spinach, mushroom, feta, tomatoes, pineapple and cucumberInspired Life with Jess || Peri Peri Chicken

This recipe was rather successful, and for something so quick and easy, I will be making it again for sure! It could also work with chopped ginger as well, and  you can adjust the amount of chilli and lemon juice to suit your preferences.

Currently

Currently

Around here… I have been in my car a lot driving to and from the Coast. It’s a little over an hour and a half each way. Thankfully, good weather and good tunes makes it go quickly!

Around here… I am loving intentional family time. It’s good to see everyone, especially now that we are all so spread out. Wine, good food, movies and Monopoly make for a fun night! We are talking about book clubs and cocktail nights for the next one!

Around here… I have thought of what pretty sure will be my 2015 One Little Word and I’m excited about it like I can not believe! I’ve been thinking of lots of little ideas related to it, and really need to spend some quality time writing it all down!

Around here… I am wearing in new work shoes and I’m pained by blisters on my heels. Overall the shoes are super comfy, they just rub on my heels for now

Around here… I have been making progress with my craft room and love that it is slowly coming together! I set up my laptop with an episode of anything in there, and just sort one pile at a time. I will get there!

Around here… I have 12 cherry tomatoes sprouting on one of my plants and love that I can eat fresh parsley, basil, coriander and shallots whenever I like since they are thriving in my garden!

Around here… I watched the Sex and the City movie for the first time ever and now I want to watch the whole show! I’ve never even seen an episode before now!

Around here… I am loving the explosion of jacaranda trees that look so pretty and smell so amazing! The pretty purple flowers make me happy, and if it wasn’t for the mess they make, I would have one in my backyard in a heartbeat!

Around here… I have a pen pal card to make and send and I’m excited about a new friendship. I love getting happy mail and picked it up from my sister’s over the weekend.

Around here… We are finally getting a stove top!! I can’t wait to make Thai food again!

My Photo History

My Photo History

What is my story with photography?

I really have no idea how I ended up getting into photography. It was kind of just something that happened over time, I think. When I was a kid, Mum used to take photos to document the big events: birthdays, Christmases and the likes. It was at the time of film cameras, so it was a much more expensive hobby back then. I always loved looking back on the old photos of when I was a kid and seeing the clothes we wore, favourite toys and the hints of every day details they tend to capture. But Mum was never into photography beyond taking the happy snaps of life. She’s not into the technical side of taking an amazing image, or the composition of photography or any of the fancier elements that I’ve been trying to learn over the years.

As I kid, I used to shoot with a film camera, usually whatever Mum had at the time, that I would take on school excursions with me. I was terrible at taking photos as a kid though… Half of them would have my finger in the way, would be blurry or randomly of the ground. It was always a lot of fun though, to go around taking photos of whatever caught my eye, and it was even more magically to get the photos back from the developer! As bad as I was at taking photos, it was still so much fun looking at them!

I got my own first camera for Christmas in 2010 and it was one of the best Christmas presents ever! I was so excited about it, and went through the first roll of film pretty quickly. I think it was some sort of old Kodak Advantix, like the C400, where the flash flips up, but I couldn’t find the exact model, and I remember it being black, not grey. But I loved that thing, and took quite a few photos on it over the years! I’m pretty sure I only ever owned one film camera myself, but I know of at least 2 others that I remember using a bit as a kid.

My families first digital camera was some 2MP thing. It took terrible quality photos, but I always thought it was amazing that you could put the photos on the computer. Mum upgraded to a 4MP Sony Cybershot through Chrisco Hampers a few years later, and I loved that thing so much that I brought the same model camera as my first ever digital camera. I worked every Sunday afternoon in a supermarket at the time, and saved up for a few weeks to get it and I was so proud to have brought my own camera! I would have been about 16 at the time. I’ve since upgraded my Sony Cybershot another 2 times, one being about an 8.1MP Cybershot, and my current one being a purple 16.1MP Cybershot that lives in my handbag. Love that thing!

I also own a Canon 60D DSLR that I affectionately call Beast. I’ve had this one since October 2012 and I love this camera! I’ve taken a handful of photography classes in the City over the last year or two (one’s for the basics of shooting on manual, wedding, pets, sports, night and macro photography) and even more online classes such as the one I am doing now, the Lens of Joy, by Ali Edwards. I can shoot on manual, but not very well, so I still have a lot to learn! I have a few different lenses (the 18-55mm  Canon lens that came with the camera, an 18-200mm Sigma lens and my Canon 50mm lens), and I would like to get a good zoom lens and macro lens at some point. I also have a remote which is awesome for night photos!

Other cameras I own include a Polaroid Z230 (which was A LOT bigger than I expected and I have a bit of trouble using it), and an old Minolta film camera that Mum gave me when she moved. I haven’t used this yet since I need to take it to a camera shop to work out what film I need for it, but I will be getting a film for it over Christmas for sure!

Unlike most people, I don’t really use the camera on my phone overly much. I only have an old iPhone 4, so the camera is not overly great, but I do use it to take photos for Instagram. I haven’t been sharing as much lately as I do on occasion, but I’ve always found my photo sharing (and probably my photo taking) ebbs and flows a lot. I don’t like the quality of my iPhone photos as much and I always have my Cybershot with me, anyway, but I do hope to upgrade my phone soon!

While there is something special about looking through actual photos, I find printed photos harder to manage and use since I always need to scan them first, although I have transferred most of my negatives to disk over the years and I’m slowly going back and scanning Mum’s photos. They also never seem to be in the sizes I want. My photo organisation for digital photos requires a lot of work though, so I am hoping to get some good tips from Ali’s class! I also need to learn to edit my photos better.

My favourite types of photography are macro photography, night photography, food photography and travel photography. And to finish up this post, this is my favourite photo I have ever taken of the Sydney skyline.

WITL Monday 20

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I am currently taking Ali Edwards Lens of Joy class and this reflection has come about from one of the prompts. It has been seriously fun thinking about my photography history and I’ve enjoyed looking through some of my old photos and reflecting on the cameras I’ve had!

I Choose – November

I-Choose

I feel like this year is flying past… It feels like just yesterday that we were entering into the new year. Surely it can’t really be November already?!

This month I will:

  • Complete my Week in the Life album. I have all the photos and words, just need to put it all together and get an album
  • Catch up on my One Little Word album. It is getting there, I just have a couple more prompts to print and decorate
  • Paint spots on our powder room walls, get curtains for in there and find 4 planters and plant combos that I love
  • Make a cushion for our lounge
  • Finish weeding our back yard. It seems the weeds grow quite well in our clay soil!
  • Cook 2 new Mexican recipes
  • Buy A Beautiful Mess Happy Homemade Home. I’ve been wanting this for awhile now
  • Work on the Catch up with Project Life class through Big Picture Classes
  • Get back into writing on the train each day
  • Go on weekly dates with Michael

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Choose was my One Little Word for 2013, that I used to help guide me throughout the year. It’s still relevant in my life, so I will continue sharing an “I Choose” post at the start of each month.

You can see my “Choose” posts here.

If you don’t know what One Little Word is, you can read more about it in this post from Ali Edwards. I will be undertaking Ali’s One Little Word class again this year, and creating an album about my word and the changes it’s manifesting in my life.