going to the movies (alone)

IMG_20150811_1501114_rewindMy usual volunteering partner was gone for the day, so I got off of my shift a few hours early. About two and a half hours really, a perfect chunk of time for a movie.

I checked my phone every few minutes as the bus turned from street onto bridge, bridge into Chinatown, and finally into the heart of downtown. I raced up to the top floor of a shopping mall and ran up to the tired college student behind the glass. I was late, but like all movie theatres, there were 15 minutes of ads before the actual movie.

What movie was I watching? Paper Towns. I’ve talked about how much I liked the book, but the movie was different. John Green himself has said that the movie and book aren’t meant to be water and ice. The movie was good, kinda cheesy at some moments and lacking in interest at others, but not too shabby. The entire time I was sitting there, in the middle of the theatre with no one to either side of me, I could help being… uncomfortable. There was a family of girls above me and a couple my age (hands intertwined for all 118 minutes of it) below. And, being the weird person that I am, I kept imagining a shooting like the one in the news.

Going to the movies alone was weird. I got distracted a lot. That might have been because of the movie but I had a desire to check my messages, my social media, as if to remind myself that, yeah, I had friends. It happens at parties too, when there’s a moment of not-doing-anything, I grab my phone and check in with the internet. I used to be good with being alone for a while. I had fun hanging by myself all summer. But this past year, I met people I actually wanted to spend time with.

So I guess this desire to not be alone all the time is not a bad thing. It does make movies weird though.


palouse falls, WA

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Just a little hike from the parking lot, Palouse Falls is an oasis amidst a desert. We arrived in the late afternoon but the sun was still high in the sky. There were people camping, hiking, painting, and just hanging out. As the teens say these days, it was pretty chill.

blogging tools: photos

blogpostphotosPhotos are a huge deal in blog posts. In today’s world, many blogs are excelling beyond magazine-levels of photography and it’s awesome. So, whether you’re just starting out or you need some photos in a pinch, here are my favorite and most used tools for photos.


You hear it a lot in the blog world: shoot in manual. A lot easier said then done, people. A series that I love and have used to figure out photo taking is Photography 101 by Of threes and Hues. Latrina’s blog is one of my favorites and her series is easy to understand and goes into plenty of detail.


Sometimes, other people just do it better. And sometimes, a post just needs a generic backdrop. Unsplash and Death to the Stock Photo share with the world amazing, high quality photos that do the trick. They are stunning, and look hella good. The photo for this post is from Death. My eyes are happy.


With Pinterest being a huge influencer on blogs, a good (what I call) title photo is key. That means putting the blog title or topic on the first picture of the post. The easiest way I’ve found to do this is through PicMonkey. Incredibly easy to use and learn. YouTubers use it for their thumbnails, I use it for everything (logo and infographics).

Once you got some nice photos at a title photo, you’re ready to go! Of course, you need to write the blog post too and we’ll cover that next week for part 2 of blogging process/tools/i’ll figure out a name later. 🙂

pretty packaging: korean skincare

DSC_9378My cousin came back from Korea with a suitcase filled with beauty products. While they can serve odd purposes, these products have such cool, colorful packaging that I couldn’t resist sharing with you. DSC_9379DSC_9381 This facial soap is made in the shape of an egg, and packaged a mini egg carton too. Awesome packaging idea and branding. (also these photos turned out pretty good, I think I may try photographing at this time of day again)DSC_9386 This above-the-lip-fuzz remover sports and cute face on the front and two little hands that pop out of the back to make the brand name come to life.DSC_9390DSC_9393And finally, a 3-step black head removal system that is cute, instructive, and with oh-so colorful packaging + graphics. As for the products themselves, I haven’t really tested out the egg soap and fuzz strips but the blackhead remover works like a charm (and you get to see all the dirt come out when you peel off Step 2).

What products do you think have some stunning packaging? Share in the comments! 


DSC_9360DSC_9317I know my name is a flower, a part of the eye, and a Greek goddess of rainbows. But damn, I love the carnation. DSC_9316DSC_9343DSC_9315I’ve half-participated in organizational/spring cleaning projects and activities across the blogoshpere and almost every one says to buy flowers. It seemed so simple, picking up a bouquet at a flower stand down the street and filling your house with them. Living in  the suburbs and not New York City, I never really got the chance to bring plants to my room. Earlier this week though,  I went to the local grocery store and bought a bunch of carnations. Just a tiny bunch of these little flowers was enough to fill five little vases/soda cans/bottles with their bright faces. I put them throughout my room and the house and are so pretty to look at. DSC_93532DSC_93442DSC_9354DSC_9345 Flowers bring color to my room. They bring life and they bring change. (and a little more air to breathe in times of stress.) I can’t stop staring at these beauties. Go get some flowers this weekend, it’ll be great.

la jolla cove.

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La Jolla Cove, it’s stinky and pretty weird. Sea otters I mean, seals are everywhere and they let everyone know, that this beach is theirs. But peoples still swim, snorkel, and all that jazz in the little cove of sand.
DSC_8975 copyDSC_8977 copyDSC_8986 copy The beach is stunning, it really is. The path towards the cove wraps around for a perfect view of little people in bright swim suits next to big sea creatures in dark suits. DSC_9018 copyDSC_9022 copyDSC_9026 copy Recalling these memories from only a month ago are all tainted with the delirious, tired feeling I have right now, writing this post. Isn’t being sick just great?

grand canyon.

Next up in our west-of-the-rockies road trip, the Grand Canyon.DSC_8812 copy DSC_8821 copy We finally arrived at the South Rim around 7 pm. It was not the best of planning that day. The drive through was absolutely beautiful, a single black line through the red carpet. When we arrived, we only had a few hours to take in the stunning views before driving back to our cabin through the dark, lightning-filled skies.  DSC_8834 copyDSC_8836 copyDSC_8837 copyDSC_8839 copyTip!! One day, or even two, is not enough to take in all of the grand C. There’s a special bus that takes you to the most beautiful road in the park, and only that bus is allowed to drive there. If possible, take a ride on as many buses as you can before they close. DSC_8861 copy DSC_8864 copyThe next day, we went to Zion National Park. DSC_8898 copyDSC_8902 copyDSC_8922 copySimilar to the Grand Canyon, but smaller, and with a orange highway they perfectly named “the carmel highway” running through the whole park. It was a nice stay-in-the-car experience, the last nature activity before we entered the city of lights and spending money on luck.

’14 summer roadtrip: yellowstone np

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For the first two weeks of August, I went on what I called a west-of-the-rockies road trip. The first day consisted of a 13 hour drive from Seattle to Yellowstone. Our first night was at Grant Village. The next morning we headed out to the east side of the loop.DSC_8252 DSC_8264 copyDSC_8311 copy  DSC_8337 copyDSC_8320 copy DSC_8321 copy DSC_8327 copyDSC_8415 copy DSC_8416 copy DSC_8438 copy And finally we arrived at the Mammoth Hot Springs. Possibly my favorite place we stayed this trip. There was this hill right next to our little cabin that gave a beautiful, chilly view of the whole town. The next morning we headed for the west side of the loop.
DSC_8442 copy DSC_8461 copy DSC_8464 copy DSC_8466 copy DSC_8478 copy DSC_8486 copy DSC_8494 copy DSC_8496 copy DSC_8500 copy DSC_8512 copy DSC_8506 copyDSC_8514 copy DSC_8525 copyDSC_8549 copyoutput_MQbcOI DSC_8529 copy  There were so many geyser basins, and they can all start to look the same after a while. But then you meet a bacteria-filled bowl of boiling water, and it’s stunning. DSC_8643 copy DSC_8652 copy DSC_8666 copy DSC_8699 copy output_2BviWwDSC_8738 copyWe ended our Yellowstone visit at the Old Faithful Snow Lodge. There is a lot to do in Yellowstone and two days barely got us around the full loop. Three days would have given us time to see everything and enjoy each of the magnificent underground structures of  My cousin and I went early in the morning to watch Old Faithful a second time before the sun rose and we headed off to Grand Teton, and Salt Lake City.

PenGems review.

DSC_8054DSC_7916   As a proud member of the stationary-addicts anonymous for let’s say, fourteen years, I can tell you that pens are a huge part of using notebooks to their full potential. So, I was incredibly excited when I got to try PenGems pens! Here’s a little about them:DSC_7912

We love sparkly things! We know we can bring a little sparkle to your day, and that is the foundation of PenGems. We’ll do whatever we can to provide an excellent customer service experience.  Happy customers are the core of our business. Our crystal pens make perfect attendee gifts for color-themed events, like weddings and baby showers. PenGems are popping up in swag bags at charity fundraising events and blogger conferences, too.

Our founder (and Chief Sparkle Specialist), Angel McMichael, served 12 years in the US Air Force. She’s now an Army wife! Of course, after years of proudly wearing the uniform, she decided her life needed more colors than green and gray. (She’s certain the sparkle is the opposite of camouflage!)

And look at this!

PenGems are:

  • Available in 21 gemstone colors
  • Contain more than 120 Swarovski Elements Crystals in each pen
  • We can customize a logo on the barrel, or engrave the pen clip.

DSC_7923Cool, right? Well, after writing a bunch and having a whole lot of fun playing with these pens, here are my thoughts on the Signature and Stylus PenGems:


  • These pens are absolutely gorgeous.
  • Nicely made. Great quality
  • With authentic Swarovski® Elements crystals!
  • Love the stylus-pen combo. Super useful.
  • Writes like butter*
  • Black is very black compared to other pens I own.
  • Clip is quite strong- won’t fall off.
  • Free refills with each pen. (amazing for someone who uses pens all day everyday. )
  • Affordable!



  • Actually getting the ballpoint out. I was kinda confused but that’s just me.
  • And once I figured it out, (twisting the pen tip) it was difficult to get the tip to twist smoothly and easily. Though, it got better the more I used it.
  • Replacing refills. Confusing-ish. See below.
  • *they write smoothly, on most types of paper. I have one notebook that just doesn’t like these pens for some reason.

Every question I had can be answered on PenGem’s fantastic FAQs page

http---makeagif.com--media-7-14-2014-RJ60sdAren’t these pens amazing? These are definitely a new staple in my collection and will be fantastic for when school starts (though I don’t want anyone borrowing these pens!). I don’t want to just keeps these fantastic pens to myself! Angel was so kind to give you guys a coupon code for 10% off your purchase! Use the code HEYIRIS at checkout! 🙂


These products were sent to me to review and give my thoughts on. All opinions are my own and in are no way affected by compensation. 

successful summer : thoughts from museums

One of my #successfulsummer goals was to do one fun thing a week. I did two. 🙂



*note* The photos above aren’t from the exhibit; I couldn’t take pictures there. 🙂

Thoughts on Modernism in the Pacific NorthWest:

  • War can have such a big impact on everything.
  • It started out with thin white on dark backgrounds
  • Then more white
  • and more white
  • until it was more white than dark
  • And there were influences from the church
  • and the asian cultures
  • There was a lot of uses of different perspectives
  • Both in art and about the world back during the second war.






And then I went to the Museum of Flight.

Thoughts from the MOF: 

  • Airplanes are such an amazing invention.
  • After touring the Concorde, I was in awe of how humans can be so genius. Faster than the speed of sound? Amazing.
  • I also toured a retired Air Force One. It’s like a hotel room in the sky.
  • And a Space Shuttle?
  • WOW
  • I was walking in the same place astronauts had.
  • And the painted dark walls made it feel like I was in space.
  • Even the imaginary universe in my head was beautiful.
  • The universe,
  • is beautiful.