Filter the Fluff, vol. 5 - On Creativity

April 23, 2018

Every now and then, I come across really well-written pieces on the interwebs and get the urge to share. There are so many vapid pieces floating around these days, making it more and more difficult to filter the fluff. Whether it aligns with my viewpoint or not, I only have one rule: it should be thought-provoking. The following (listed below) were just that. 


Creatives share their routines when dealing with burnout, shock and overwhelm


"...many prolific artists or authors (those who’d written hundreds of novels or created countless artworks in their lives) only spent a few hours each day creating. It is a lesson I’ve learned over and over in my 10 years as a working creative. You don’t need every hour of every day to accomplish great things. Which is lucky, because our work should supplement our life, not be our life. 
People won’t connect to how little sleep you lost over a project or how often you post, they will connect to how deeply they can relate to your work. Those flames burning inside you need to be fed. That well that you draw your ideas from needs to be filled. For the sake of good art, spend more time daydreaming and exploring."

Taco Cantina

April 19, 2018 Smyrna, GA



If there is one food I'm picky about, it's tacos. My street tacos must be authentic, on a classic corn tortilla and loaded with onion and cilantro. All those extra ingredients are unnecessary, and the more expensive they get, the less I usually enjoy them. 

My favorite taco spots are hole-in-the-wall establishments. They don't have an online presence, and the whole meal usually costs around $5 - better than any value meal at any fast food restaurant. So when Taco Cantina popped up in Smyrna a few years ago, complete with a sleek and shiny doorfront and a snazzy website, I was in no rush to visit. 

Fear of Flying

April 17, 2018


This post has been sitting in the drafts of my brain ever since I started planning our trip to Cuba last fall.

About a week or so before the trip, more and more people started telling me how dangerous it was, and that we should think it over, reconsider/read some literature on the subject ;). The country was/is in a state of turmoil, political relations were shaky, there had been a bombing at the American Embassy, and it had recently been hit by Hurricane Irma.

It was, admittedly, a bit much. J was already a little uneasy because of how terrible the media portrayed the streets of Cuba, and at first, he thought I was unhinged for even suggesting Havana as a vacation destination. But I knew in my heart we had to go. The window of opportunity to visit my dream city had finally opened, and I saw that it may be closing soon, so I had to take the leap before it closed.

Good memories have no price tag

April 16, 2018 Helen, GA


Trying to document a girls' trip, with a manual focus lens, under overcast skies, while wine tasting at multiple vineyards, on an empty stomach, will humble you. 

I took so many photos while we were in Helen, but only a few of them came out somewhat in focus. Still, this getaway was definitely one for the books, the kind that makes me realize why I'd much rather invest my time and resources in experiences over things. Good memories have no price tag.

Amelia Island in Technicolor

April 10, 2018 Fernandina Beach, FL


I have been playing around with RNI presets lately, and I absolutely love how the Technicolor simulation renders the greens and blues of coastal scenery.

Welcome, morning people

April 6, 2018 Midtown, Atlanta


I had the chance to attend a Creative Mornings Atlanta session last week and loved every single minute. The guest speaker, Joey Reiman, gave a great talk, making it the perfect way to kickstart my Good Friday.

35mm Winter

April 4, 2018


Olympus OM-10
M.Zuiko 50mm 1.8
Kodak Portra 400

The 100 Day Project

April 2, 2018


I recently showed an Elle Luna piece in this post from my visit to MoDA. She created the "Should and Must" sketch (her explanatory essay can be found here), and I loved it so much that I had to follow her on Instagram, naturally. It seems I joined her following at the right time, because every year she co-hosts The 100 Day Project, and it begins tomorrow, April 3.

Easter Views

April 1, 2018 Atlanta, GA


Today I woke up early, went downstairs, cooked breakfast and set off the smoke alarm because I like my bacon crispy.

Slow March

March 31, 2018


TL;DR  (presented as a Haiku)(well, almost.)

The backyard is still crusty.
I am already over spring.
The house is clean.

Moxie Burger

March 29, 2018 Marietta, GA



Moxie Burger, has been on my Yelp list for years. Yearsss. They have three locations, all tucked away deep in Marietta and Roswell, which is never on the way to anywhere I am going - until yesterday.

It was surprisingly busy for a weekday night, but the weather was nice so we sat on the patio to pass the time (and, of course, I took pictures of the decor).

Filter the Fluff, Vol. 4 - Bloggers Edition

March 28, 2018

Every now and then, I come across really well-written pieces on the interwebs and get the urge to share. There are so many vapid pieces floating around these days, making it more and more difficult to filter the fluff. Whether it aligns with my viewpoint or not, I only have one rule: it should be thought-provoking. The following (listed below) were just that. 

Lately

March 27, 2018


Ladies and gents, may I present: a list of things I have been doing more of lately:

Lighting Candles
A few years back, I used to light candles every evening. My routine would be to come home, figure out dinner, get comfy, light a candle, dim the lights and read/watch tv/write/etc. It has always been a super simple way to relax and unwind - kinda like romancing myself. The first time J. ever came to my apartment, I had a candle lit on the coffee table with the lights dimmed. I thought nothing of it at the time, because HELLO, it was part of my routine. Like a year later, he told me he thought I was trying to romance him that night! *spoiler alert: he was wrong* After a few more visits (and no "romancing") he realized I just like to light candles in the evening.

I had fallen out of the habit this past year, but it is coming back strong.

Love at first snap

March 22, 2018

The Georgia Aquarium

March 18, 2018 Atlanta, GA


Through the lens of an iPhone.

This space is imperfect, just like me

March 12, 2018

Six years ago today, I published my first ever post here on TAS.

I was fresh out of college, working full time as an administrative assistant, and in desperate need of a creative outlet. After being inspired by a few blogs I found via StumbleUpon, I created a blogspot account, registered a domain and got started - armed with only an entry-level DSLR my mom bought me as a graduation present and the HTML knowledge I had from a 101 class I took at Georgia State. I had all I needed, or so I thought.

Soon I realized my kit lens was not cutting it. The quality of my photos were not on par with the quality I intended to produce, and as blogosphere began to explode, my homemade template began to feel inferior. In short, the demon of comparison began to creep in. Those sentiments were present in this post. *cringe*

After all this time, two things have remained constant in this space: my core categories (life, love, music, food and atlanta) and my name/domain. It took me all of 20 minutes to pick a name for my blog, and even less time to choose what I wanted to blog about. TAS was created as a form of self-expression, so, naturally, I built this platform around my personality.

Ch, Ch, Ch, Changes...


Not much has changed since day one, but at the same time, nothing is the same. I still live in Atlanta, love food, enjoy writing about music and am (occasionally) spilling my thoughts on love. However, the following things are different.

My Writing 

There were many times when I felt so constrained by my collegiate experience. My senior year was full of 10+ page papers, structured poetry pieces and APA vs. MLA formatting. By the time my degree came in the mail, I just wanted to write for the sake of writing, so that's what I did.

My early posts were full of grammatical errors and typos, and I hardly proofread before hitting the publish button. I recorded my thoughts and went on about my business. My readership was minimal (such is still the case), so who cared if I missed a few commas here and there? Not me. All those linguistic rules could kick rocks. I even put a disclaimer in my about me page, something along the lines of please excuse my writing, this space is imperfect, just like me.

These days? I CARE. My blog link is sprinkled throughout my various social profiles, including my online portfolio, which means increased visibility with potential clients. In short, flawed blog writing can now interfere with my side hustle. *record scratch*

I cleaned up my act and am continually working to improve my blog writing process, mostly as a way of honing my craft. I no longer spill my thoughts and hit publish; I review, revise and refine. Sometimes I even find ways to challenge myself, like only writing in the past tense for a whole post or only using simple sentences to convey my message. Funny how my relationship with constraints and structure has come full circle.

Visuals

I have always cared about the visuals here, but I now care less about how others will receive them. I snap and post photos for my own enjoyment more than anything else. In doing so, I have become more confident in my photography skills; I have also gotten better at curating photos for my content (a skill I also conveniently use at work). I am itching to upgrade my gear this year, so hopefully that will happen soon, but I will definitely be shooting more 35mm film in the coming months.

Layout

Okay now. This one changed quite often. I have updated my blog template every year, sometimes twice each year. At first I was upgrading for newer and newer features, then I could hardly settle on a design. Sometimes I just got bored, and this may always be the case, but I will always choose a simple layout with lots of white space. This year I tried to introduce a little color - grey - in the navigation bar up top.

Baby steps.

Finally got my camera back

March 6, 2018


My camera just came through the other side of open-heart surgery (it needed a new image circuit board). I got it back today, so, naturally, I took random photos to document its return.

Be alright

March 3, 2018 Buckhead, Atlanta


Today I had the absolute honor and privilege to sit under the voice of Andrew Young, Jr., a man who marched alongside Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and led so many changes to race relations in our country. I wanted to write about it now, while the moment is still fresh in my mind.

February

February 28, 2018


February started with a trip to West Egg and MoDA and a subsequent pitstop at Gusto! on my way home. I had been craving this meal for weeks (the have thee absolute best sweet potato chips, ever), and I was so anxious to get here that I paid $2 for street parking even though it took less than five minutes to place my order, pick it up and walk back to my car. The worst part? There was a free parking lot behind the building, and I had no idea.

Other things I did this month:

I Love a Good Soundtrack

February 21, 2018


Once upon a time, Shazam did not exist; iPhones did not exist, and internet access was not just a pocketdial away. This was an archaic time, a time when you called a phone number to hear what movies were showing in your area (770-333-3456 for Atlanta), and Moviefone made you wait patiently for those titles at the end of the alphabet - those showtimes were always listed last, and unless you had extra daytime minutes to spare, you saved that call for nights and weekends.

Background Info
This was the movie-going era in which I came of age - when I started crafting my own opinions on different genres (Horror? Yes! Sci-Fi? Bleh.) and making sense of all the elements that factor into a great film: cinematography, editing, script, direction, score/soundtrack, acting, et cetera. Often times, I find the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. The acting may be phenomenal, but the narrative makes no sense (looking at you, Tarentino), or the cinematography and editing are flawless but the character development falls flat. The part that has always grabbed my attention most and, quite frankly, acts as glue for all these components is the music.

If the movie is a three-layer cake, the score and soundtrack are the icing in the middle of each layer and the part that smooths it all together on the outside. Sharp, dissonant notes are singlehandedly responsible for every cheap jump-scare in most scary movies, and if it were not for that stringed background track weaving its way around your heart during those sad scenes, nobody would ever have cried during The Notebook (2004).

In my opinion, a good score complements the story like a shadow: sometimes you forget it is there, but it should definitely be there. On the other hand, the soundtrack of a movie has always been more in-your-face (ears) for me. The first soundtrack I ever owned was the Pocahontas Soundtrack; my age was still in the single digits. I asked my dad to buy me the movie, so he requested our local Blockbuster Video order a copy (am I showing my real age yet?), but they accidentally ordered the soundtrack instead, so I just kept it. It was also the first CD I ever owned, and I wore that thing out, casting all my cassette tapes aside in favor of those Disney-inspired melodies. When adolescence hit, I became too cool for such childish things and moved on, as one does.

Fast Forward
I was re-triggered some years later, like someone had flipped a switch in my brain. I distinctly remember sitting at the end of Seven Pounds (2008) to find the name of the artist who covered Nina Simone's "Feeling Good" in an earlier scene - it was Muse, and their cover is still one of my favorites. This was during the aforementioned pre-Shazam era, before post-credit scenes were made popular by the Marvel Cinematic Universe. I became the weirdo who had to wait until the very last of the credits rolled to find the name of a song I heard during a movie, and whomever I was with had to patiently wait with me, because it was that serious, and that's where the song credits appear: at the absolute very end.
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Before that, if I was at home and heard a song on tv, I would write down a few of the lyrics and Google them later, from our desktop computer, using dial-up. DIAL. UP. Needless to say, it was a tedious process. It is thankfully much easier now. I still Google the lyrics, but from my handy-dandy cellular device, like how I did in this instance.

So, yeah. Songs in movies have always been a big deal for me. It lowkey sparked my interest in writing because while I do love stories, I especially love a song that tells a good story, particularly when paired well in film. Film storytelling is infinitely better when matched with good music: circular reasoning case closed.

Ponce City Views

February 19, 2018 Atlanta, GA


Views from the roof at Nine Mile Station, atop Ponce City Market.

Love-Themed Inner Reflections (& Dialogues)

February 14, 2018


I have a whole category dedicated to love on this blog, yet I hardly update it.

There was a time when I wrote about love like it was going out of style, like there was literally nothing else in the world to write about. My favorite verse explains how God is love, one of my best college essays broke down the etymology of love, and each tattoo on my body was inspired by my love for someone or something. I was no hopeless/ful romantic, I never pined for a boy who did not return the feelings (or at the very least, a phone call), but I always appreciated the many facets of love and how it could change people in the most drastic ways.

Flash forward a few years, and my fire for writing about the topic has dwindled, which is strange considering my love life is nothing short of wholly fulfilling (not perfect, as you'll see below, but definitely fulfilling). I look around at my small-but-might social circle and think I did pretty well for myself. I have such an intense love for every friend of mine, and I harbor no ill feelings toward any family members. Many people out there cannot make these claims, and I am grateful for this level of love-related satisfaction.

So today, as I was scrolling and rolling my eyes at all the Valentine-inspired posts in my newsfeed, I had to stop and check myself. Am I really annoyed by all the How I Made Peace with Being Single and Why It's Okay to Be Single on Valentine's Day posts or do I just really expect more than these cliched articles from 21st century journalism sites these days? The former is true, but the latter is truer (it is also true that the curse came just in time to rain on my personal V-Day parade, so that may be the real root of my irritation). Then my inner dialogue went something like this:
Me: You cannot complain about the lack of good Valentine articles when you rarely even post good love stuff on your own blog anymore.
Also me: You know what? You right. [sic]
Also, also me: Maybe you should fix that.
Me: ...
And then I kept scrolling my newsfeed, because honestly, I have no love-themed inner reflections to contribute or a soapbox to spill onto a blank page at the moment. What I can share, is a different kind of inner dialogue - not the kind that goes on in my head, but the kind that goes on between two people who are (as previously mentioned) wholly fulfilled in their relationship.

For Aesthetics

February 8, 2018


The inspiration is above; the execution is below.

Filter the Fluff, Vol. 3

February 6, 2018

Every now and then, I come across really well-written pieces on the interwebs and get the urge to share. There are so many vapid pieces floating around these days, making it more and more difficult to filter the fluff. Whether it aligns with my viewpoint or not, I only have one rule: it should be thought-provoking. The following (listed below) were just that. 

Le Jardin Fran├žais Boutique

February 5, 2018 Atlanta, GA


Stumbled into plant heaven the other day

How We Live in Language

February 2, 2018 Midtown, Atlanta


I had the extreme pleasure of visiting MoDA with my team at work for a little creative stimuli, and this exhibit was easily one of my favorites, ever. 

Text Me: How We Live in Language, is all about written forms of communication, and how they shape our interactions, relationships, perspectives and personal identity. The show ends in a few days, which is unfortunate, because I honestly needed a few more visits to fully absorb and better appreciate these pieces (two hours was not enough!).

Here are a few of my favorites.

West Egg Cafe

February 1, 2018 Atlanta, GA


*Note to self: take more pictures next time.

January

January 31, 2018



I went from having absolutely nothing to say all month to not having enough space on these photos for all my January commentary. This post is longer than originally planned, but I am making an effort to share more real-life moments more regularly, so I am going for it, haphazard handwriting and all.

First, above: a selfie. I have been trying to share one each time I upload one of these monthly recaps, because I know my face is not nearly as present as it probably should be for a personal blog. It just takes too.darn.many snaps to get a good selfie. As far as I am concerned, I did not land on a good one above, which is why I cropped the background and collaged it that way. But I wanted to share one. So here it is.

Moving on...

my cup runneth over with reclusiveness

January 24, 2018

Every January, everyone seems ready to hit the ground running with fresh ideas and fresh starts and fresh content for their various outlets, and then there is me.

I have been at home, on my couch or in my bed, reading and watching and hibernating. I am fasting from coffee, so I have turned to tea - matcha green and cinnamon herbal varieties -  for a cup of something warm, and my cup runneth over with reclusiveness.

Last weekend my calendar was wide open. I went to a workout class with some friends, grabbed a few groceries, and was back home and out the shower by noon - ready to "start my day." I did not leave the house again.

My mom called to say my niece and her sweet baby had stopped by, and I contemplated throwing on real clothes and driving over - a whole 10-15 minutes away. Instead, I turned the call into a FaceTime, and eventually my mom decided to come to my place. 

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