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Week In Pictures – Summer Traditions

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We got a new tv stand/entertainment center, and watched Spock Mind Meld with Picard.

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We swam.

Grammy & the girls

Grammy & the girls

We tried tying scarves 20 different ways, because why not? (Also, Grammy’s going to Paris and will be wearing scarves.) We all will be more stylish now. :)

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We tried a Starbucks soda.

Maddie and Grampy

Maddie and Grampy

One day the pool was “contaminated” and we couldn’t go in it for 24 hours, so we did this instead.

S & G trying their hands at ping-pong

S & G trying their hands at ping-pong

Me & Kristi

Me & Kristi

We got a visit from my oldest and dearest friend, Kristi, and her daughter Kailey Genevieve. :)

You may have read about Kristi HERE. A lot has changed since even that post I made 3 years ago!

Most of us.

Most of us.

Pictured above are me, Kristi, my 3 kids and her oldest daughter. Sadly, her 10-year-old wasn’t on this trip, but hopefully we’ll have a photo with her next year.

(Just for kicks, here’s a picture of Kailey and the kids their last visit 4 years ago)

Kailey was 11, Sean was 9, Grace was 7, and Mads was 4.

Kailey was 11, Sean was 9, Grace was 7, and Mads was 4.

The next day we had one last dip in the pool (and jacuzzi).

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Friday night, my youngest went to a movie night at a friend's house and we had a movie night of our own.

Friday night, my youngest went to a movie night at a friend’s house and we had a movie night of our own.

And we used our themed utensil for the pizza!

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Dinner at the Bowl

Dinner at the Bowl

On Saturday we went to our first of 3 concerts at the Hollywood Bowl. (Going to the Bowl has been a tradition of ours for 10 years with the kids – almost 19 years just us.) It was celebrating Dreamworks Animation’s 20th anniversary. Jack Black was the host. Several composers showed up – Alan Silvestri, Hans Zimmer, Alexandre Desplat, and a few more – to conduct, or just to play instruments. At the end, they all played an instrument and formed some sort of  composer supergroup, while Jack Black and Judith Hill sang.

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And there were fireworks.

Shrek-sized fireworks

Shrek-sized fireworks

Let’s not forget – the USC marching band showed up as well, to help with a song from the Croods.

The USC marching band in front of the orchestra.

The USC marching band in front of the orchestra.

 

It was a pretty darn good week! How was your week? What’s in store for you next week?

~Genevieve

 

 

Ten Ways Mad Men Makes Me Glad I Live In Today’s World

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If you’ve ever read my blog, you probably already know I tend to throw myself into things.

Example One

Example Two

Between my husband, my son, and I we own at least 20 Star Wars shirts, and in the last year I’ve acquired 3 Star Trek shirts and a costume. (Side note – I also own a Leia’s Bikini, but I’ve never worn it.)

So, after watching the first 2.5 seasons of “Mad Men” in less than a month, I’ve become a little obsessed with the 60s again. I’ve loved the 60s for a long time – starting in high school For one, there was my obsession with Marilyn Monroe (which I suppose is more 50s than 60s), my love of 60s tv and music, and even fashion and style.

However, watching “Mad Men” has given me a peek at that world and even though it is just a tv show, there are several things I’ve gleaned about how life would have been in the 60s…

1. Everyone smoked- They smoked at home. They smoked at work. They smoked in restaurants, cars, hotels, and airplanes. Which meant everyTHING smelled like smoke – furniture, cars, carpet, clothing, hair, skin, and breath. Blech. I have a really bad reaction to being around smoke, so living in that time period would have surely given me full blown asthma. Women smoked when they were pregnant.

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2. Women had to really fight for what they wanted – Women were expected to work at home, and those who did work outside the home were mostly secretaries, teachers, nurses, or air hostesses. Those who did work their way up to something considered a “man’s job” made much less and had to really be her own advocate. And I know that women still fight for equality today, but it’s a very different world for a woman today than it was in the 60s.

3. Being gay was like having the plague. I feel like today we’ve come so far, even though we still have a long way to go. So many people were closeted because they were afraid of being who they truly were, or what would happen to them if they were out.

4. Segregation. I can’t wrap my head around separate bathrooms, drinking fountains, seats on the bus, lunch counters… Horrible. Again, I know that things aren’t perfect, but they aren’t like the 60s.

5. Men were pigs. I hope that “Mad Men” universe is exaggerated, because the way men treated women was awful. Women were objects, plain and simple. Women were expected to show off their assets and be open to being hit on (or worse) by men at all times. I’ve been treated like crap by guys, but being told what is wrong and right with my body by some man I just met is ridiculous.

6. Everyone was drinking and driving. I don’t suppose there was really a law for that. In one episode they do test Don’s blood alcohol level, but he’s merely fined. I can only imagine there were a lot of accidents on the road back then.

7. Later in the decade, the threat of our young sons/brothers/husbands going off to war was  very real. The thought of my son going off to war would paralyze me.

8. People smacked their kids – and other people’s kids. If one of my friends or relatives smacked my kids I would turn into the Hulk.

9. 60s underwear. What the women wore on a daily basis blows my mind. It actually looks pretty sometimes, but boy does it look uncomfortable!

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10. Medicine. Watching Betty Draper give birth sounds just like my own mother’s experience in 1969 – horrifying. Being so drugged up you don’t remember giving birth, waking up with a baby in your arms you’ve never seen, having to do it all yourself while the husband waits in the waiting room (probably smoking), and using awful instruments like foreceps? No thanks! Add to that the fact that doctors smoked while working, things weren’t as sterile, and technology and knowledge in general was lacking. I have no doubts that if I gave birth to my children in the 60s, I might have one child with big health problems and all of my children would have lost their mother after the third child was born.

So, I’ll still watch my shows from the 60s, listen to 60s music, and occasionally wear something inspired by the 60s, but I’ll continue to be glad to live in the decade that I do.

 

Week In Pictures –

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A few years ago on this blog, I used to do a “Week in Pictures” feature. Some weeks were more exciting than others, of course. Sometimes it’s the beauty in the mundane.

 

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I guess you do forget. The 11 re-learning how to ride a bike.

Wayne and little Jakey playing.

Wayne and little Jakey playing.

Every week, the 13 brings in the trash cans and likes to have the 8 keep him company.

Every week, the 13 brings in the trash cans and likes to have the 8 keep him company.

The 11, cooking dinner.

The 11, cooking dinner.

A Panda Express "Innovation Kitchen" opened down the street. It has a tea bar.

A Panda Express “Innovation Kitchen” opened down the street. It has a tea bar.

Cleaning up around my room, I found a comedy audio tape I made with a friend in 8th grade. Pictured with us is Mr. Gudgeon, one of my very favorite teachers.

Cleaning up around my room, I found a comedy audio tape I made with a friend in 8th grade. Pictured with us is Mr. Gudgeon, one of my very favorite teachers.

We've become the family that eats in the dining room.

We’ve become the family that eats in the dining room.

New ice cream maker = better ice cream.

New ice cream maker = better ice cream.

By the pool - kids getting swimming lessons.

By the pool – kids getting swimming lessons.

Kids heading up to the waterslide. (Polka dots is my littlest one)

Kids heading up to the waterslide. (Polka dots is my littlest one)

Said Water Slides

Said Water Slides

The 8, feeling a little squished with the mattress in the car.

The 8, feeling a little squished with the mattress in the car.

Clouds over the house.

Clouds over the house.

Father-daughter weightlifting.

Father-daughter weightlifting.

Improv.

Improv.

Explanation of Improv – We went to ComedySportz LA last week and the kids saw a game called “Five Things” where someone leaves the room, then the audience comes up with 5 things for that person to do. Except they take details and change them into crazy things. For example, Making a Statue. But instead of a hammer, it’s Captain Kirk, and instead of a chisel, it’s a donut. The statue is made of Love, rather than stone, and it’s a statue of Abraham Lincoln. (that was my daughter’s) There are 5 things that they have to guess in 4 minutes. The kids wanted to try it, so we each guessed only one. This was my husband’s.

Something positive.

Something positive.

In striving to be more like a 50s housewife, but not going whole hog yet, I’ve gotten into the habit of making the bed every day. I’ve kept it up for over a week. This is a record. I have to say, I like it a whole lot better this way.

~Genevieve

What Is Fat?

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I’ve been (unsuccessfully) trying (not very hard) to lose weight the last few months (years). My thyroid isn’t helping, but neither is getting 5 hours of sleep or eating ice cream at midnight.

 

 

This is me in 2008. I was committed to being healthy.

This is me in 2008. I was committed to being healthy.

In the photo above, I weighed about 137. I wasn’t the slimmest I’ve ever been, but I was the healthiest I’ve ever been. I felt good, physically, and I felt happy and proud of myself.

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Me, two weeks ago.

I know I won’t ever dip into the 120s, but if I could get to 140, I think I’d be pretty happy. As long as I was healthy and felt good. I don’t think I’m being unrealistic.

I have been working on being healthier. Baby steps.

In my quest to find the best way to go about this, I’ve read a LOT. I read something recently that really stuck with me. Our generation is fatter than ever. The obesity rate in the US is (according to Gallup) 27.7% in 2014. In the 50s it was 9.7% (Livestrong) and in the 80s it was 23%. This seems like a big jump, doesn’t it?

I’ve been reading about health and weight standards over the century. Here’s how things have changed in the last 80 years:

(For reference, I’m 5’6.5″ )

The median weight  for a woman my age and height from 1922-1934 is 149.9. This seems to me more of a collection and analysis of data rather than an ideal set by doctors or an insurance company. At this point in time, I weigh more than that.

 

Photos from a family wedding, 1935.

Photos from a family wedding, 1935.

In the 1950s, insurance companies and doctors started using a “desirable weight” chart for how much people should weigh, or perhaps rather what is healthiest or optimal for people to weigh.

 

My darling grandparents, in the 40s.

My darling grandparents, in the 40s.

They had women report their height in 2″ heels, which seems really odd. Also, they had you measure your wrist to find out if you’re small, medium, or large framed.

I am exactly between small and medium, so I’ll call myself medium.

From 1950-1958 a medium framed woman who is 5’8″ in heels is 137-147 lbs

In 1959 a medium framed woman who is 5’8″ in heels is 128-143 lbs.

In 1983 a 5’6″ medium framed woman is 130-144.

All of these are pretty close to one another.

According to Weight Watchers, my healthy weight range is 128-155. That seems like a much bigger range than before, and allows us to be a a little heavier (from 7-12 lbs heavier). And yet there was less obesity overall in the past.

Maybe it’s because the women had so many chores to do she didn’t sit down all day and just burned all her calories. Maybe it’s due to less fast food, and less processed food. Maybe if I clean all darn day that’ll work. (It sure won’t be much fun, though!)

I see and read about people losing weight and they always say “don’t eat fast food” or “stop drinking soda.” I do fast food very rarely, and I never drink soda, so that’s an “easy fix” that won’t work for me.

So, I’m trying to put more steps in my day – whether it’s going for a walk or playing “Just Dance” or “Wii Fit” games with the kids. I’m making more meals at home instead of going out to eat a lot. I wouldn’t call myself fat (and I definitely wouldn’t in front of my kids), but I am dipping my toe in the “Overweight” category on the BMI scale (yet another measurement for “ideal weight”). According to all the charts listed above, I’m more than my ideal.

But more than that, I want to FEEL better.

I want to fit into my closet full of clothes.

I want to be a good role model for my kids.

I want to have more stamina.

I want to have less back pain.

And yes, I want to look good naked, as Lester Burnham would say.

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I’m only speaking for myself.

Be whatever size you want. It’s your health. I won’t tell you what to do and you don’t have to tell me what to do.

 

~Genevieve

SIDE BAR

Awhile back, I posted something in a private group about not attending a formal occasion, partly because I didn’t want to buy a new (bigger) dress. (There were other reasons, too, that I won’t go into, but that was one small piece of the picture.)

This group wasn’t happy with me.

In fact, half of them accused me of having body dysmorphia.

According to the Mayo Clinic, body dysmorphic disorder is a type of chronic mental illness in which you can’t stop thinking about a flaw in your appearance — a flaw that is either minor or imagined. But to you, your appearance seems so shameful that you don’t want to be seen by anyone.

When you have body dysmorphic disorder, you intensely obsess over your appearance and body image, often for many hours a day. Your perceived flaw causes you significant distress, and your obsession impacts your ability to function in your daily life. You may seek out numerous cosmetic procedures or excessively exercise to try to “fix” your perceived flaw, but you’re never satisfied. Body dysmorphic disorder is also known as dysmorphophobia, the fear of having a deformity.

When you have body dysmorphia, you are thin, but see yourself as fat.

They couldn’t be further from the truth. I don’t obsess about being deformed or thinking there’s something wrong with me. I don’t obsess at all, in fact, and I don’t let it affect anything except how I feel in a bathing suit and when I step on the scale. I also don’t see anything different in the mirror.

Just wanted to clear that up. At first I was furious and hurt. Now, I am past it. I know that isn’t me, and clearly if people are going to think that about me, they don’t really know me.

 

 

 

How a 2010s Housewife Is Different From A 1950s Housewife

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First of all, I don’t like being called “Housewife.” I’ve always found it quaint and a bit demeaning. Of course, I was never “Just a housewife.” When we were first married, I was a full-time teacher. I considered both of us equally responsible for cleaning the house, and I think he was MOSTLY on board with that. (For some reason I always did the laundry. I think it’s more that I’m possessive and don’t want anyone else to muck up the clothes.)

Once I had Sean and stopped working (I finished out the school year and then didn’t go back the following year.), I was a “Stay-At-Home-Mom” (SAHM) Truth be told, I wasn’t that familiar with the title until I found message boards on the internet (and subsequently, arguments over what’s better – staying at home or working out of the home. Sigh.). But that’s what I was. My job was to take care of the baby, and do some housework when I could squeeze it in.

Once the kids went back to school, I still considered myself a SAHM. I did stuff around the house, but I also volunteered in the classroom and after a few years, started working on my first book. So, technically, I was morphing into a Work-from-home Mom (WFHM for the purposes of this blog). This year, everything changed when Mom went back to work. [See THIS post and THIS post.] Suddenly my morning got a whole lot busier, and I not only had to make breakfast and lunch for everyone, but I had to do it for myself AND get ready for work. (Usually I didn’t eat til after dropping off the kids, and I didn’t “get ready” – I just threw on some clothes.) Thankfully, my husband helped with the lunches. Of course I didn’t have the daytime to do chores or laundry anymore, so I often ended up staying up late folding clothes so everyone could have clean underwear.

Now that I’m home for the summer, I’m trying to get in a routine, and get everything organized so come August, it’s easier for everyone (but mostly me).

So, if you read yesterday’s post, you know I’m trying to embrace some ideas from 1950s housewives.

Here’s a list I found on Ultimate Housewife of things a 1950s housewife had to do. Next to it is my response of how it will (or won’t) work in my household:

1. Have Dinner Ready - This is a great ideal, honestly. I would love to have dinner ready and on the table when my husband walks in. Sometimes it happens. Sometimes he walks in the door and it’s “almost” ready. Sometimes I have to put it all away before he gets home so he can at least warm it up when he gets home, an hour after we’ve eaten already.

June Cleaver, making dinner before Ward comes home.

June Cleaver, making dinner before Ward comes home.

2. Prepare Yourself- “Take 15 minutes to rest, so you’ll be refreshed when he arrives. He has just been with a lot of work-weary people. Be a little gay and a little more interesting. His boring day may need a lift. Greet him with a smile.” - I will say that 95% of the time I do all of these things but take a rest. Keep in mind that I’ve been with work-weary and homework-weary people all day. :P

Most of the time he comes home to me looking like this. Little to no makeup, t-shirt and jeans or shorts.

Most of the time he comes home to me looking like this. Little to no makeup, t-shirt and jeans or shorts.

3. Clear Away the Clutter – I’m supposed to make a last trip around the main part of the house so it’s spotless for the man of the house. (I’m doing this for me, but if he benefits – great!)

4. Prepare the Children – “If they are small, wash their hands and faces and comb their hair. They are his little treasures and he would like to see them playing the part.” -I’m going to have to say that if I did this, my husband wouldn’t notice. Or he would think it’s weird. I think he would rather them have a little mud from playing outside, or smell like chlorine, or be in their dance clothes for class. This is the first really “dated” item on the list.

I'm sure Dick and Jane and Sally always greeted their father properly.

I’m sure Dick and Jane and Sally always greeted their father properly.

5. Minimize All Noise - this means make sure the washer, dryer, and vacuum shouldn’t be going, as well as the children. :P

6. Make Him Comfortable - “Have a drink ready for him. Have him lean back in a comfortable chair or suggest he lie down in the bedroom. Arrange his pillow and offer to take off his shoes. Speak in a low, soothing voice. Allow him to relax and unwind. ” - Seriously? Will he do the same after I’ve been working hard? (Actually, just for kicks, I poured a glass of wine for the husband last night and gave it to him when he walked in to kiss me. He almost fell over.) As for the rest? Hahahahaha.

 

7. Listen to Him - I’d like to think we both listen to each other, as well as the children.

8. Make the Evening His – “Never complain if he doesn’t take you to dinner or to other entertainment. Instead, try to understand his world of strain and pressure and his need to unwind and relax.” I’m at a loss for words. I understand trying to have a pleasant evening, but I think mutual respect is the key. Open communication rather than complaining on BOTH parts.

So, my inspiration from the 50s Housewife is more about the house and the meals and bringing the family together, rather than making him king of the household and being his servant, which it really seems a lot like is going on when I read this list of how to be a good wife. It’s hard to believe that the women who were putting airplanes together and working the factories while the men went to war just suddenly stopped doing that and only stayed home and made that the priority. Which is why, I suppose, the 60s happened.

In any case, today’s “housewife” or “wife” has a lot more on her plate than just the home. She has the home and the job, and let’s not forget keeping herself active and in shape. If there are are kids, there’s volunteering and shuttling kids to and from school, sports, dance class, and after school academics while finding time to make dinner and then get everyone to bed on time. Taking the time out of HER day to make the man feel special is one of the last things on her mind.

I’m wondering, however, if making him feel special will in turn inspire him to want to make HER feel special?

In any case, I’ll do the ones I think are valid. The others, I think I’ll leave for our grandmothers.

~Genevieve

Readers, do you think that’s a list that works in today’s society? Why or why not?

 

 

Inspired by the 1950s Housewife

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My name is Genevieve and I’m a terrible housewife. Is there a THA (Terrible Housewives Anonymous)? Because I would belong to it for sure. I’d probably be the president, or at least the VP.

When I was younger and living on my own, I wasn’t a horrible housekeeper. I certainly wasn’t great, but I wouldn’t win any “Messiest Roommate” awards. When we were first married, we were never the best, but we were both working and I think we were better at it together.

When we started having kids, it got harder, and the more kids we had, the worse it got. I could at least keep the toys somewhat contained when they were wee. Now? They seem to leave a path of destruction wherever they go. My oldest is the most tidy of the bunch, but only in his own mind. He has an order to things that may or may not actually be ORDERLY. My middle one leaves art supplies where she was working, and loves to cook (which is FANTASTIC and so helpful), but she’s not great at putting away the ingredients and/or utensils and dishes when she’s done.

I’m guilty of letting papers and mail and magazines pile up. I think I’m saving time by dropping things on the dining room table, but really I’m making my life worse by giving myself a big giant pile of crap to clean up later. And my husband likes to leave his gym clothes in a big pile on the floor.

So, needless to say, my house is never “company ready.” Now, every few months we decide to have guests, so we clean as much as we can.

Easter of this year.

Easter of this year.

However, when we clean, we rarely have enough time to truly clean everything, and we’ve been known to put “stuff” in baskets and shove them into our bedroom and shut the door when guests come over. Once when I had my book release party  we actually put the baskets in my car. *turns red*

Well, I’ve had enough. I can’t take it anymore. I know my husband can’t take it anymore. I don’t want to invite anyone over with the house the way it is (but I DO want to invite people over!), and I won’t let the girls have friends over until their room is clean. So, things are going to change.

First off, we started by having friends over last weekend. It was a group effort. I finally figured out that my daughter was old enough to clean the bathroom by herself. That was a life saver! I assigned very specific tasks to each kid, while my husband and I each took our own tasks.

The result was good, though not perfect. Our living room and dining room, as well as both bathrooms, looked fantastic. The kitchen was so-so, although the floor was abysmal. The family room was passable, and we closed all the bedroom doors. :P

Our living room, guests and all.

Our living room, guests and all.

My goal this summer is to tackle EVERYTHING. All bedrooms, family room, my desk, kitchen, and KEEP them NICE! I don’t want to close all the bedrooms when people come over. :(

I’ve also been watching Mad Men the last month or so. It makes me think of the 50s housewives and their lovely homes and their lovely selves, wearing dresses and looking fantastic when their husbands come home.

I mean, will you look at her?

I mean, will you look at her?

Granted, Mad Men is a tv show, and Betty Draper had help with the kids and the house…

Still, I aspire to be better.

Upon looking for ways to be a better housewife, I found a few gems.

1. Ultimate Housewife has posted this list. I’ll link it HERE, and soon I will address this list and how it translates to the 2010s.

2. I found a blog where this woman named Jen (not Jenn) experimented with living life as a 1950s housewife for TWO WEEKS.  I admire her level of commitment to the whole lifestyle. While I want to try some of the ideals and basic tenets of what they did back then, I’m not willing to cook what she cooked, or go quite as far (wearing vintage undergarments) as she did.

So, we’ll see how it goes. I’ll be posting updates with how things are going. I hope that at the end of this experiment, I’ll have a cleaner house, cleaner kids, and maybe even have guests this summer!

Amateur Photography, part one

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I love taking photos. I don’t pretend to be a photographer, but I aspire to take really good photos. Not just to have memories, but also to be able to take some photos with at least a little bit of an artistic eye.

These are those attempts from our vacation.

These are unedited (one of them is cropped). I will go through them and punch up certain colors, but as raw photos, they’re not terrible.

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I noticed my daughter’s eyes matched the lake.

 

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We got a rainbow when it began snowing, and it came out better than I thought it would.

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Snowball headed toward my face.

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The sky suddenly looked really eerie, and I saw these trees through the window.

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I wish the wires weren’t there, but perhaps it adds to the photo.

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Family. Not a perfect picture, which makes it perfect to me.

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The only one I cropped. I loved the light behind the stained glass and the peeling paint on the door frame.

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Oops. I lied. I cropped the automatic garage door opener out of this one.

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I love the way the light’s hitting her.

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This girl is a little sprite, and it looks like she has fairy kisses on her face.

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Just a small piece of the “gum wall” in Seattle.

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Boats on the sound. It was a grey day.

 

I know I’m just a person taking pictures, but I’m practicing and working on my eye and trying to take better photos every day.

Thanks for taking a look!

~Genevieve

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