Monday, April 28

Take Fewer Photos: My thoughts on keeping life meaningful as it happens

It happened accidentally.

A colleague and I were eating lunch together last January when I asked how his son had enjoyed his first Christmas. My friend broke into a grin as he excitedly pulled out his phone to show me the child posing with Santa. He began sorting through the dozens of images that he’d taken on his phone since then. My friend finally found the picture, and although it was cute, I was far more interested in what I’d just witnessed him doing.

“Just how many photos do you think you have of Brian at this point?” I asked.


I thought he was joking. He wasn’t. It turns out that he’d recently purchased an external hard drive just to store these photos and the countless others he’d taken with his smart phone.

My friend is not alone. In less than two decades, digital photography has revolutionized the way that we take pictures. 15 years ago you could instantly see your photo on the screen of your digital camera. You could take limitless photos without having to worry about running out of film or paying to have the photos processed. Now that the majority of us have smart phones that have their own built-in digital camera, it’s even easier. We now have a fully functional digital camera in our back pockets to memorialize every moment of our lives.

To me, this is a mixed blessing. Have our limitless photo taking powers sapped the meaning from the memories they’re supposed to catch? When we look at a vacation photo, do we recall the vacation, or just the moment that we stopped to snap the picture? When I attend a concert, and rows of glowing screens of camera phones separate me from the stage, I have to wonder: are we hearing the music, or just watching it all through a lens?

Since then, I’ve committed to taking fewer pictures. Believe me, I’m still guilty of it. We don’t have children, and yet I’ve still amassed a few hundred photos on my phone in the past couple of years. Most of them are of our cats, I’ll admit.

But I’m trying to take fewer shots of them and of the people and places in my life. When my cat rolls on her back and looks at me drowsily for the tenth time today, I resist the urge to immortalize the cuteness with a photo. When our four-year old niece convinces my husband to wear a hair bow while drinking tea with her stuffed animals, I let my mind make the memory, not my camera. These moments are still just as important to me, but I want to rely on my own memories when I think of them, not just a quick snapshot. I choose to be an active adventurer in my own life, not a passive observer. And perhaps it’s a novel enough idea these days that it just might catch on.

Monday, February 22

I am inspired

Like many bloggers, I rely heavily on Google Reader to get my daily fix of what's happening at the blogs I follow. Mondays are especially plentiful as I usually don't read blogs over the weekend. Today I had more than 100 posts waiting to be read. My favorite comes from Le Musings of Moi, and is called A Personal Challenge: 21 days to a better you. Summer commits to 21 days of transformation, where each day of the 21 days she "will do or start something that will help and motivate [her] to be, do, and become better."

How inspiring!! It made me wonder: could I do 21 things in 21 days to better myself or others? What do you think? Could you? After years of flunking out from lost New Year's Resolutions and watching others succeed in their Lent vows, I just might have to go for it!

Thursday, February 18

Vote for kitteh!

Vote for my cat to win! If she does, I'll donate $1K to a local rescue group! Click here or copy and paste

Sad Morning

Today I went to work using the back roads to avoid traffic on the main highway. I saw a cat trying to cross the six lane street we were on. He started to run out in front of me, but then went back to the edge of the road as I passed. I relaxed and thought he must have decided to wait, but then saw him dart right out in front of the car behind me. The driver didn't even see him in time. I pulled over immediately and found the cat about 10 feet off the road. It was stretching its legs out a little bit then pulling them back, maybe for a minute or two, then died. Of course I bawled and stayed with him until it was over. I tried to find the owner, but didn't see anyone and all the houses are gated. He didn't have a collar and I saw a couple of fleas, so I guess he was a stray.

I hope that my being there with him helped ease his fear and pain.

Wednesday, January 27

Post 1 of 2010

To my followers, I apologize if I have dropped off the face of the earth. It started last April as Mr. Bean and I prepared to move from California to Texas. After taking a hiatus from here to do practical things like pack boxes and look for a job, I realized that there are many blogs and sites that do what my little blog did: hunt down cool sites, good deals, and off-beat finds. Many of them post more frequently and do a better job than I do. And so my hiatus turned more into an extended vacation and, well, here we are five months since my last post.

I am not saying that I won’t post again. There are times that I stumble upon something and think, “Oh, I must tell the blogosphere about this!” Maybe from now on I’ll also try to interject some of me into this. That probably means less exciting for you. Sorry. :) To be continued…

Tuesday, August 18

Online sample sales

If you like nabbing up good buys on high-end brands, you're going to love the new online sample sale craze! I'm completely addicted to these little gems and check many of them every weekday for new sales on brands like Puma, Gucci, Vera Wang, and more (they also carry children's and men's brand as well as home decor)! Could I ever afford most of these brands without a little help? No. Would I be willing to try them with a little discount? Of course! Here are the main sites I check out each day:

HauteLook (click on the name to visit their site)
My favorite online sample sale spot! I’ve now made two purchases with them and am very happy with the company.

GoMatta Girls
Great finds, usually under $50!

GiltGroupe and GiltFuse
Gilt Groupe itself is a little too pricey for me. I just can't get excited about a Prada dress that normally retail for $1,500 and is now available for a mere $600! However, they have a new site, GiltFuse, that carries only items less than $150. Recent brands included Juicy Couture.

Not related to this great stores is the fact that I haven't exactly been posting on a regular schedule since the spring. This is not an accident. Mr. Bean and I moved cross country. He started studying for the bar exam and I started looking for a job, and now we're both working new jobs that keep us happy but busy. I had a lot of fun creating The Sweet Jelly Bean blog this spring and hope that you had just as good of a time reading it. I hope we can meet again before too long.

Monday, April 27

And the winner of the boardgame giveaway is...

Homemaker!! Congratulations! Thanks to everyone for playing. :-)
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