Friday, April 18, 2014

GREATER AND WISER {Helena La Petite}

I wanted to interview the lovely bloggers and blog readers out there for a long time. They all have so much greatness and wisdom to share, so I asked them to write it all in a letter to their past selves. Helena is one of the greatest photographers and her advice posts always motivate me to go out and explore the city. Also she lives in London, so I will have to go visit her one day.  
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Briefly tell us about yourself. Where you live, who you live with and what you do. 
Hi there, my name is Helena. I live and work as a documentary and lifestyle photographer in London. At the moment I’m finishing my BA degree in Photojournalism & Documentary Photography, so I have been spending a lot of time recently working on my final project, documenting a circus (excited to share more on my blog soon). I also love psychology, and enjoy combining what I learn about it with photography + design. In my free time I love to bake, paint, daydream, dance, and watch ‘magical’ movies, such as Harry Potter, Alice in Wonderland, or Peter Pan.
 photo 8a68f9fd-fa74-4397-a62b-013f9b70b19d_zpsde8a2a73.jpg Write a letter to a yourself from the past. Something you would like to have heard when you were a teenager, when you were moving away from home or before you took a hard decision.
So here are some things I’d tell my teenage self:
· Trust your mum that dyeing your hair black isn’t a good idea.
· Go for what you want.
· Trust your gut.
· Just relax, things always work out.
· Your family will always be there for you and they support you. Always be thankful for that.
· God’s got a plan.
· Be yourself and trust in your skills + knowledge.
· Don’t worry, you’ll never be fat.
· Look after yourself, it’s the best thing you can do.
· Have fun and enjoy the adventure.
· Ask for help and advice if you need it.
· Keep exercising, your older self will love that you’re fit.
· Be pro-active.
· Always be grateful for what you have and appreciate life.

So yes kiddos, trust your mom and keep exercising. All of this is great advice! Thank you Helena:)

Thursday, April 17, 2014

15/52 {upside down}

15/52
everyone is deciding where they are going to college next year and it's so excited! i'm so happy for all my graduating class. and i cannot wait to tell you what i'm doing... shhhh....

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

ON SYNCHRONIZED SWIMMING AND BROKEN EARDRUMS

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my mom always tells me that when i was only sixteen days old, they took me to a parent and newborn swimming class. the instructor made the parents push the babies under water upside down to show them how, no matter what, the newborn turned upside up and floated to the surface. im not sure my parents were willing to try it out that first time, but at some point they did, and it worked with me.
i learned to swim before i learned to walk and pools have always been my favorite place. i was the weird person who prefers a sweaty, chlorinated indoor pools to the ocean or the beach. i got a little tired of swimming laps, so i started synchronized swimming competitively when i was in fifth grade, almost nine years ago.
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synchronized swimming is more common in spain than it is in the usa, but i still often got strange reactions. no, it is not like dancing in the water. it's like doing pushups, an ab workout, running a sprint, doing yoga headstands, counting and remembering the moves, being synchronized, smiling and swimming all at the same time underwater without breathing. i could try to argue that it is possibly one of the hardest sports in the world but im not going to because i am terrible at everything else, lost cause kind of terrible, and i think it is stupid to compare difficulty across different sports. but yes, synchronized swimming is harder than it looks.
i've given up so much sleep, so many weekends, so much social life, so much study time and so many saturday mornings for synchro. i've had coaches who made me cry and i've locked myself in bathroom stalls before competitions because i was too nervous. i have made team families and i have felt miserable and proud and conflicted and afraid and incredibly happy. and because its such a small synchro world, i have traveled around the country and i have competed against olympians and i have been a judges assistant at the swimming world championships last year in barcelona.
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but a few years ago i had ear infections and i ripped my eardrum, i destroyed it. i kept swimming with earplugs until, when i moved back to barcelona, my doctor made me stop and i had to get surgery. the surgery did not work, and after five months, i got another one. the second surgery did not work, and after five more months, i just decided to get back in the water and compete again with earplugs.
but it got to the point that it was too stressful. i was getting sick and i would have ear infections and be forced to be out of the water for two weeks. i was too unreliable. and in the end, this year's synchro was going so badly that the risk and the efforts were not worth it. it took two very emotional months to "quit" - a part of me really wanted to move on but the other part of me was heartbroken about leaving the water. i couldn't figure out a way to do it without hurting my team and i did not know how to explain it to my coaches, especially because their lack of effort and coaching skills were the reason why the year was so bad. when i told my teammates i had to leave some of the younger ones cried. it was so sad. so sad.
in the end, i think it worked out well. i am no longer competing but i go coach my team as much as possible and i still feel part of the synchronized swimming world and my team family. but it was a really hard decision, and mixed in with everything else that was going on in my life at the same time, it led to some really bad sobbing in the aquatic center bathroom and very conflicted, emotional days.
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ps. the pictures are from our trip to florida in march for the south zones national meet.

Monday, April 14, 2014

:))))))))

SPRING
you peopleeeee! im ready, im done! i've made all the hard decisions and i'm back to a relatively regular mental state after some really crazy months. i have tons of pictures to upload, tons of stories to share and tons of brain energy to put into the world.
please let me know, where are you? what are you up to? 

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

///

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i missed two days of school because i was visiting a university in new orleans. so today i had so much to do to catch up, make up work and finish homework for tomorrow. oh, thanks spring break for being almost here...

- make up the calculus test
- make up history quiz on wwii 
- make up in class essay about early 20th century japan
- re read act iv and v of shakespeare's hamlet
- rsvp to college event in nyc this weekend
- buy bus tickets and find a host in nyc
- call to make hair and make up appointments for prom
- write research paper on whether iran's 2013 elections were democratic
- share and promote and email people about #dayofthegirlrally
- make this graphic, get bad resolution, decide it's not worth fighting over
- take a shower

phew.
what was on your list today?

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

14/52 {hippie}

14/52
not owning a tripod is a bad thing if you are planning to do a 52 week project. i need to buy one on amazon as soon as possible, because it is making this letsgetcreative thing kind of hard. i mean, look at this... but i have a little dilemma. i have not told my parents i'm doing this. i don't want them to think im wasting time into things other than studying or helping out around the house. maybe it's an irrational fear because they know i love photography and blogging and see me taking photos sometimes, (they might even be reading this, hello) but it's just that when i started the project in january we were not in a great place and i already had too many things on my plate. it was just not something i wanted to bring up. i felt somewhat guilty, privileged, of hiding out to take a moment to devote to this.
what is your situation? do your parents, spouses, roommates, coworkers, friends, etc approve of the amount of time you devote to photography and blogging?

Thursday, April 3, 2014

13/52 {night}

13/52
i "skipped" week twelve. i spent a lot of time trying to shoot it but i couldn't get anything i liked. so i decided it's ok. i spent time with my camera trying to be creative and that is what counts.
this week i am late one day, again. there have been a lot of late nights lately (remember donate to the campaign guysss). and then in class i find myself drawing these triangles all over my notes because i cannot concentrate, ha

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

BIG GOALS, BIG NEWS #DAYOFTHEGIRLRALLY

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I am so excited to finally be able to share this huge project we have been working on! As many of you already know, I am a member of the 100% youth-led Action Team for Day of the Girl US. After our advocacy efforts, the UN declared October 11th as International Day of the Girl Child in 2011, and just last year, Obama made a Presidential Proclamation too.
As the Action Team, our job goes beyond "the day", because as we like to say, we are a movement. A worldwide revolution for equality. And right now we are already planning for this year's October 11th. We want to host 11 rallies in 11 cities across the country. And we want these rallies to be led by girls! Because WE KNOW, from the most personal experience, that working on activist issues to stand up for  our rights and the rights of others has empowered us. It has given us leadership skills, it has connected us to tons of inspiring people, it has changed the way we view ourselves and our bodies, it has educated us and exposed us to new perspectives and it has given us the confidence to stand up against violation of our rights.
We want to give more and more girls these opportunities so we have started the Rally Project. We will provide guidance, toolkits and a support network of activists but we also need to help them shoulder the rally costs financially. We just launched a fundraising campaign and now we need your help to share, donate and help us reach our goal. 
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HERE IS WHAT YOU CAN DO:
· Donate to the indiegogo campaign before May 1st. 
· Share on facebook, tumblr, twitter. Or write a post about it! (if you write a post about it you will make me so happy - and I can promise you it will make a huge difference!)
· Lead a Rally yourself! Create a team in your city, contact us and apply for a grant!
· Get involved! Get your friends involved! There are so many different ways to take action!

Sunday, March 30, 2014

I'M SO SORRY

I'M BACK i'm so sorry. there is just so much to do. actually, no. there is not even that much to do it's just all a little too overwhelming. i wish there was something you could take that makes you instantly productive and attentive and motivated for this entire month. like a very very very intense dose of coffee. i will be back very soon (like tomorrow hopefully) because i really do have so much to share. i promise!

Friday, March 21, 2014

PIECES

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it's been soooo long since the last pieces post, so this one is packed. this past month there have been an insane amount of snow days, some college interviews, not a lot of schoolwork, and ton of food expeditions. and i have finally planned this year's summer, after many skype sessions with friends and some complicated family meetings.
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nisha drove down from annapolis one saturday to come walk around georgetown with me. one afternoon, bridget and i went prom dress shopping and it was ridiculously fun and frustrating at the same time. one weekend we celebrated lina's birthday with a fancy dinner at kafé leopold, which has insanely great desserts. (and for some reason, that group of friends was entirely made out of europeans, so it was great to spend the evening talking about the weather in fahrenheit and splitting the check "unevenly")
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there were two weeks when i switched phone companies and my cell phone stopped working. you would think unplugging would be relaxing and all that, but it was actually a nightmare. at one point i was stuck in an igloo, another time i had to wait on my friends' doorsteps until she came home because we couldn't find each other after school. i survived through my friend's cell phones and numbers scribbled in pieces of paper all over my backpack. on one especially crazy afternoon bridget wrote her phone number in sharpie all across my arm so that i could contact her if i needed help. i depend so much on my phone, it's embarrassing.
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at the end of february i went to florida with my team for the south zones synchronized swimming competition. i needed that warmth and that sun so so so much! we did well and it was good but the day we were supposed to come home our flights got canceled and it was a mess, so we were stuck there for a while.
syncro-wise, this past month has been very intense. but that might need to be explained in another long post.
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these two little brothers turned eight and twelve! we celebrated with cake and balloons. we also went on a neighborhood hike one day. and we went to see the movie frozen together. i am very proud of making it to the movies three times this past month! i used to go all the time when i lived in barcelona: it was close to my house and very cheap, so we would go on random weeknights after we finished our studying! besides frozen, i've also seen the monuments men, which was very hollywood and great. and the grand budapest hotel, which deserved a post of it's own.
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as soon as i got back from florida, like less than an hour after i landed, my friend texted me about going night sledding. the temperatures were record low, i had spent all morning swimming in an outdoor pool and not taken a real shower in days, so i did not go, but i made a batch of thick hot chocolate, packed a bag with blankets and plastic champagne cups and we met at my family's new house. we just bought it and they haven't started the renovations, so it has no furniture and it was the perfect bananagrams night spot. the next day another one of my friends had a brunch with all kinds of food and we played cards against humanity and it was great. oh, winter is actually so great.
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i discovered vace's take out. it's a small italian deli that reminds me so much of my italian grandma's family old grocery store! i'm so so glad my friends love food as much as i do, that they are into finding high quality donut shops and willing to take the metro all the way to columbia heights just to get some good pie. we are making a google map with all the places we want to try in dc! these past weeks we crossed off the list the district of pi pizzeria (on pi day, of course) and the diner in adams morgan (their brownie a la mode is now a dc must).
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i've also led my mother into my obsession with food. we have some differences, she likes pancakes i like crêpes, she likes soups i like sandwiches, but we get along, ha... one day we went to g by mike isabella for their roasted couliflower sandwich and had coffee at busboys and poets. then went to see the women of vision expo at the national geographic (which was amazing) and ended up at shake shack because frozen custard is important.
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but please, my friends, the food obsession goes beyond fun weekend outings. it has taken over our day to day lives... for katherine's birthday, i discovered how quick it is to make banana bread (which is probably dangerous). and later that day we surprised her with a party where we all brought vegetables, cheese and bread and grilled panini. and just this monday, when it snowed, my friend noa sent me a link to a gnocchi recipe and the next day she was at my house making them. it was great, we were so proud of ourselves, we outpinterest pinterest!

ok that was a lot. i apologize. high fives if you read through it all instead of turning off the computer and running to your closest food store. i promise i have also been productive with day of the girl, babysitting and calculus. but yes, it's been mostly food. what about you? how have you been?

Thursday, March 20, 2014

THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL

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i saw the trailer months ago and i had been counting down the days for this movie to come out. i had never been so excited about a movie, seriously! i had always been least nerdish fangirlish person i know, but wes anderson stole my heart. his movies are works of art and this one was probably my favorite. it was so clever, so genius!
my mother introduced me to wes years ago and we have admired him together ever since. i asked for the "wes anderson collection" coffee table book for christmas and it is one of my most prized possessions, it's beautiful.
when the movie ended, i wanted to stay and replay it. there is so much attention to detail i could never ever get tired of watching it. i was literally like again again! and as i walked out, the man at the door was handing out free movie tickets to apologize for the delay (they had some technical difficulties at the beginning). so yea, i have three free tickets now. and yea, i will most definitely spend them all on the grand budapest hotel.