Monday, December 30, 2013

Au Revoir, 2013...

What a year, man. Sometimes I found myself thinking this year would never end, but here we are. It was a rough one at times, though I suppose what doesn't kill you makes you stronger, right? (that's what I'm telling myself, shh)

Even with some unpleasantness, there were a lot of good things that happened. Without further ado, the good and the bad from 2013...
- I had a lot of health problems in the beginning of the year, which I talked about in this post. It's taken a while but we're working on it and slowly it IS getting better.

- John, Chris and Allison allllll turned 21 in February. Whoop! (here and here)
- Rebecca and I went to NYC for Spring Break.

- I played my Junior Recital.
- Then, suddenly, junior year was over?!?!

- Dr. Kowalsky retired. Everyday I wish he was still at FSU, we miss him big time.

- John left for the whole summer, which sucked so much it's not even funny.

- I went to the zoo with Mom!

- I turned 21.
- Rebecca graduated high school! (here and here)
- This happened. Yay! and also, yikes.

- We went to Savannah, GA for a few days. (here and here)
- My bestie from Birthright came to visit.

- I worked at this day camp for too damn long.

- Fourth of July with Mom was dope.

- THEN! I went to Europe and it straight up blew my mind.
- I moved into my new apartment. And, puppy roommate!

- Senior year of college started off with a bang.

- John and I celebrated 2 years. Side note, this is still the cutest.
- I started doing this more often.

- We got me a pumpkin!
- This weekend was amazing, as was this Saturday.

- My reed quintet played an awesome recital.

- I applied to graduate school! I'll be posting about that sometime soon :)

- I went to Georgia with John for Thanksgiving, and it was wonderful.
- Hanukkah shenanigans. (here and here)

- Dream come true.
- I launched a new online photography portfolio.

- I spent another wonderful Christmas with the Thomases :)

I seriously love looking back on all the amazing things that I've been a part of this year. Even though sometimes I wanted to crawl up into a ball and cry my brains out, I know that I am so lucky. And that I truly have the most wonderful, beautiful people in my life.

Specifically...
John. Thank you for sticking with me, I love you so much. And Mom, Dad, Rebecca, ALL of my friends, I couldn't do it without you. I'm just so thankful I could BURST.

Some resolutions:
- Cook more
- Challenge myself with my photography business
- Relax
- Learn more about plants/nurseries
- Get a summer job
- Kick ass at my grad school auditions

Happy New Year, friends. I'm so thankful for you, too.
Last year in review, here!
xx

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Forward Thinking

In these last few weeks of 2013, I've been thinking a lot about life post-graduation. I have it easier than most; graduate school for the next two years is my basically my only option if I want a career in music. And I'm okay with that. It gives me more time to learn, and more time to figure out what I really, truly want to do.

As of right now, I haven't a clue.

What I do know though, what I've come to realize this semester, is that I want to do something--anything--with plants. I'm mostly interested in small plants, indoor plants, house plants, decorative plants, that type of thing. But I find myself daydreaming of having my own small greenhouse someday...

I don't know what I'll end up doing, but I know what makes me happy, and plants make me happy. I've started collecting books and ideas on this Pinterest board (where the above photos and source links can be found). A lot can change in the two years I'll be pursuing my masters degree, but something tells me this won't. Here's to hoping, anyway.

xx

P.S. I've added a ton more shoots to my new online portfolio. Go take a look!

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

And A Happy Christmas To You, Too

It's always bothered me how people out in public just assume that I celebrate Christmas. When I go out to buy some sweaters that are super on sale and the cashier tells me "Merry Christmas," I never quite know how to respond. I want to tell them that I don't celebrate, I don't, that I'm Jewish and I celebrate Hanukkah. You know, that other (most of the time) December holiday?

I never do that, I just mumble a "you too" with a smile and continue on my way. Who am I to be a Scrooge?

The fact of the matter is, some of the people that I love most in this world celebrate Christmas, and they're kind enough to let me join them. And by Christmas Eve, I have just as much enthusiasm about waking up to a sparkly tree and getting to give gifts to my people as the next guy. 

All this to say, I was wrong. Yes, Christmas carols get annoying after 5 straight weeks of them on the radio, but it's a season of kindness and giving, and that's something I can get behind. I'm thankful that I have my own little kind-of family to welcome me into their home to celebrate with them. Even if it is 80º and sunny instead of snowing (damn you, persistent Florida heat)

So with that said, happy Christmas to you and yours, from us and ours :)
xx

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Exciting News!

I've created a more professional site for browsing through my photography work! It took quite a bit of time and thinking, but all in all it wasn't terribly difficult. The hardest part is finding an inexpensive host for your site ;)

If you want to, you can take a look here. Pleeeaaase take a look!

And even though I'll be keeping my Facebook page, I've changed the "Photography" tab on this blog to route to my new website instead.

I'm very excited about this new addition to my small business :)
xx

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Home

I'm home! I hadn't been home since September. Even though I've seen my mom and sister since then, it feels good to finally be home. Of course, it's never perfect, being home I mean. Bec and I bicker about petty things, Roxy doesn't even seem to like me anymore since I've been gone so long, Dad is always golfing, Mom is working all week, yada yada *sigh*

Still, I can't deny it's nice to get out of Tallahassee. It was started to feel awfully cramped in that little city.

Anyway, here's a video of Roxy meow-ing at the patio door, despite the fact that she had a clear entrance to the house just around the corner. I might seem cruel because I tapped on the glass, but I was just teasing her because I had literally just opened the door for her!...

Enjoy the cute:


xx

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Slices of Life

Instagrams that date waaay back to before Thanksgiving, up to today. Somehow they just now managed to get on this site...

Today, I finished the fall semester of my senior year. That's pretty weird, right? Maybe not. I don't know, but this year seems to be flying by. Wasn't this semester just beginning?

You can follow me on Instagram here, @oliviamyheart.
xx

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

DIY Terrariums // The Makings of The Best Day Ever

This is a post about the best Saturday I've ever had, and everything I learned on said Saturday about making cacti and succulent terrariums. 
First, let me state that John knows me so well and I am so grateful to have him to indulge my plant-craziness, and sometimes even share it with me. Second, HE IS JUST THE BEST. On Saturday, we went plant shopping to make terrariums, something I've wanted to do for a long time. For my Christmakkuh gift, he helped me pick out and then bought me some of the beautiful plants and containers we used. And this book, which is beautiful and has great ideas and instructions. I highly recommend it.
The first thing we did was pluck off some of the leaves and bulbs from my stock of succulents to dry out and replant in a few weeks. The goal is to grow our own succulents, so we can make more terrariums without breaking the bank. It's called propagation, and you can read more about it here. It may take a while for them to grow, but we'll see. No rush ;)
Then we got down and dirty. We planned everything out before hand, but nothing too specific because sometimes it's just best to do it, you know?

What you'll need:
- Cactus potting mix (Home Depot)
- Small rocks or pebbles (Home Depot)
- Activated charcoal (local pet store chain, in the fish aquarium section)
- Assorted cacti and succulents (Home Depot and local nurseries)
- Decorations (we used small circles of wood from our trip to Brunswick and some of the bigger pebbles)
- A knife or scissors (for cutting/sizing the plants)
- A variety of open glass containers (Goodwill)

Some things to keep in mind:
- If you don't want to use pebbles, sheet moss is a great (and pretty) alternative. You can use both pebbles and moss, but it's not necessary. It all comes down to personal preference.
- The activated charcoal is necessary because it helps with drainage, since there are no holes in the bottoms of your terrarium containers like there are in typical pots.
- I like to support local nurseries as much as I can, but sometimes you can't beat the great prices and awesome variety of plants at Home Depot. Just sayin'
- Make sure the plants you buy won't get too big and outgrow your terrarium. Look for plants about 2-4in. in height.
- You may have to pull apart the plants to get the sizes you want. Use your best judgement, and don't be afraid to take risks. Terrariums aren't permanent fixtures and they can be added to as time goes on. If a plant in your terrarium dies, no big deal. You can replace it :)
- Be wary of over or under watering, and remember, it's a relatively closed system. It'll take longer for the terrarium to dry out, and cacti and succulents like to be dry.
- You can make closed terrariums. They're very common. BUT, not with cacti or succulents because, again, they like to be dry.
- Do research before you start collecting materials or making terrariums. This wiki was really helpful to me, as well as some other random websites, and the book linked above.

Now, what to do:
- Wash the glass containers, inside and out.
- Line the bottom of your container with activated charcoal. Just a thin layer! I suggest pouring it into a cup before pouring into the glass.
- Add a thin layer of pebbles/stones, or just start with potting soil (either works)
- Add a thick layer of pebbles/stones, both for drainage and for show. Make sure the layer is thick enough that when you put soil on top of it you can still see the layer of pebbles if you look at the side of the glass.
- Add soil; make sure it's enough that your plants will be sturdy and have enough room to root in.
- Dig a little hole with your fingers for the plants, then put the plants in and add soil until the plant is secure. Pack it in there as well as you can. I recommend using two contrasting plants in the terrariums. Assortments of moss look nice, too!
- Water the plants, then add more soil if necessary.
- Put "decorations" around your plants. In this case, by "decorations" I just mean things that aren't alive, like the wood and stones in mine.
- Admire your handiwork! You did a great job, I'm sure. Ha.
I got a little excited and made four terrariums, the fourth being a bit of an after thought but no less loved! It was sooo fun. And they make such great gifts!
It seems like a lot of work, but if you're into this kind of thing you should totally try it. I'm considering making a bunch more and selling them, but only time will tell. In the meantime, I'm thankful for days like this and a boyfriend who made it all possible.

John, thanks for taking some photos for me! I love you.

Hope you all enjoyed this post! If you have any questions or comments/corrections, email me or leave a comment on this post. I'm eager for feedback.

Happy planting :)
xx

Monday, December 9, 2013

Over the Weekend

These photos are actually from a few weeks back when I was on campus for a photo shoot. The leaves have mostly fallen by now, but here's proof that they were pretty. Even if only for a little while! Also, that was the biggest slug I've ever seen, I had to take a photo.
Last night, I had some friends over for latkes. A belated Hanukkah celebration, if you will. The latkes were from a box because I am a student who can not cook and has no time to make latkes from scratch. (Sorry mom, maybe some day). They were delicious and my friends are hilarious. It was a really, really fun night.

P.S. Can anyone believe this Hanukkah party was a year ago? Yeesh.

John and I had the best weekend, ever. We spent all of Saturday with plants and it was amazing. More details on that tomorrow :) The moral of the story: my boyfriend is the best in the world.

To everyone with finals, good luck this week!
xx

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Happy Hanukkah

I'm pretty cranky. I ruined two of my favorite shirts and a package of Polaroid film tonight. Both my fault, both annoying beyond belief. I hate it when I just don't double check things.

On a positive note, I got a package from my synagogue at home that contained some pretty dreidels, gelt, and candles. I don't have a candle menorah here in my apartment, just an electric one. While the electric menorah is pretty, it just isn't the same. So my roommate went outside and filled a jar with dirt for me to stick my candles in and say my prayers.

If that's not kindness, I'm not sure what is. Also, it was really pretty.
xx

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Thanksgiving 2013 // Brunswick, GA

 ^ John II & John III ^
I spent Thanksgiving with the Thomas Family, up in Brunswick, GA. There isn't a whole lot going on in Brunswick, but it was a really great few days. Relaxing and enjoyable. The photos above are an assortment from Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. I hope they give you a good idea of how beautiful their property is.

John's grandparents are probably the sweetest and cutest couple of all time, sorry, they just are.

I'm so grateful that they welcomed me into their homes and let me share this holiday with them. It was wonderful. I hope I get to see them again sometime.

Some other things I'm thankful for everyday, but especially this time of year:
- Family, near and far, old and young.
- My health (relatively, anyway).
- Being fortunate enough to be at FSU, studying with some amazing people.
- Food. Running water. Electricity.
- Friends. I have the greatest friends. They are my other family.
- Being able to go to school for something that I enjoy doing.
- John, my best guy, my person.

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday. Much love.
xx
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