Strive for Self-Improvement Over Perfection

never-compare-yourself-to-anyone-except-the-previous-you-quote-1I’m not a competitive person for the most part. I’m totally okay with losing as long as I have a good time along the way. I’ve been known to lose board games on purpose if I think the other person might have a hissy fit if they lose. But I am “competitive” against myself.

Self-Improvement-Quotes-Improvement-Quote-300x276I’m not a proponent of perfectionism. It sets you up for failure, because the perfect thing doesn’t exist. To call my life philosophy “that’s good enough” isn’t quite right either, because it implies I don’t really care about self-improvement, and, if you’re reading this, you know how untrue that is. I don’t need to be the best at anything. I don’t need to be perfect. But if I can mark every day off of the calendar with a check mark because I’ve improved a small aspect of my life then the day is a success.

Become-addicted-to-constant-and-never-ending-self-improvementIt doesn’t need to be something big at all. It could be getting one more kettlebell swing crammed into my 1-minute timer. It could be holding a plank for an extra 5 seconds. It could be getting a few more steps in the day. It could be turning down a mouth-watering soft pretzel. Now these are all health and fitness related, but I don’t exclusively count those. Yesterday I learned that beavers are vegetarians and eat trees, berries and shrubs. I didn’t know that the day before, so I’m automatically better than I was before! At the Renaissance Faire, I made a point of complimenting someone on their garb, which put a big smile on her face and in turn, made me smile. Daily I have to work on being as kind and understanding as possible with a specific coworker who consistently rubs me the wrong way. It’s a process.

self-improvement-quotes-The-safest-principle-through-life-instead-of-reforming-others-is-to-set-about-perfecting-yourself.Last week, I worked on a bit of my social anxiety and LEAD THE WALKING GROUP AT THE ADVENTURE RUN BY MYSELF AAAAAAAAAAAAH!!! (I’m 99.9% sure I did a good job 😉 ) So I gained a confidence point that day. Are these things that would be important on paper? Maybe not. But they’re important to me! Day by day I’m working on becoming a better person. Do I need to make huge strides daily? Heck no! Do I sometimes have setbacks? Sure as hellfire I do! But it isn’t about setbacks or failures, it’s about striving for being better. It’s a challenge to me: I’ve grown to realize that I can’t change anyone else, but I can change myself. And sometimes, changing yourself is creating a role model that may inspire someone else to change themselves for the better.

http://www.boho-weddings.com/2013/08/07/365-happiness-project-quote-188/
http://www.boho-weddings.com/2013/08/07/365-happiness-project-quote-188/

On today’s agenda is a) getting this blog written, b) reading a bit about writing/publishing a cookbook, and c) trying something new (a painting party). Also: d) BEING AWESOME. DONE! BWAHAHA. (Can you tell I’m feeling goofy today?) What’s on YOUR self-improvement agenda?

MemeOneDoesNotSimplyUnderstandHowAwesomeYouAre

Homemade Light Box – Part II

Hey ya’ll!

Okay I suppose I should not pretend to be Southern and instead embrace the local colloquialisms.

HEY YOUSE GUYS.

Ugh, okay, I’m never saying that again.

Ready for part deux of my light box project?! I AM!!!!! (You can read Part I here.)

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!SAFETY DISCLAIMER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

IMG_20150930_070117610X-Acto blades/knives are DANGEROUS!!1!!!eleventy!!!one!!! Please use them with CAUTION! During my years in architecture school I used one of these things daily and I have had my experience with finding one of these extremely sharp blades in a part of the body where it doesn’t belong, such as embedded deeply in the pad of my big toe or in the fleshy bit of your hand between the thumb and index finger (right about where the point of the blade is in this photo). Trust me, YOU DO NOT WANT THIS EXPERIENCE. It is NOT FUN. So please, please, PLEASE be careful. Thank you. Now, onto the light box!

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!END SAFETY DISCLAIMER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Step 4 – Line the box with your solid white paper. This is a royal pain in the ass. You may want to do a better job than I did. Just saying. Be liberal with your clear tape, especially in the corners!

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Step 5 – Use a piece of translucent paper to cover the angled hole along the back of the box. I used a piece of drawing vellum, because that’s what I had! I taped only the top and bottom and not the sides.

IMG_20151005_150215550_HDR IMG_20151005_150245166 IMG_20151005_150315618_HDR (1)

Step 6 – Set up your lamp so that the light shines through the translucent paper.

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Then you’re all ready to go! The bottom of the box is left open so you can use pretty tablecloths or a big block of barn wood, etc to jazz the place up a bit. Here I set up a little still life to show you how it looks:

Not bad, eh? It’s no substitute for natural light but I don’t think my boss would take kindly to me leaving work in the middle of the day to blog about food. And here’s tonight’s dinner, lovingly referred to as cabbage slop (it tastes like a bowl of stuffed cabbage, mmm):

IMG_20151005_180213561 (1)So there you have it, my DIY light box project!

Homemade Light Box – Part I

Oh, Autumn. You big lug. Making it dark when I get up in the morning and making it difficult for me to take good photographs of my food. I’m not sure what I like less about the cooler months, the cold or the dark. Okay, I’m sure it’s the dark. Darkness sucks. I’ve been noticed how around 5:30 the light is beginning to fade already and by the time I’ve finished cooking dinner I can no longer use the natural light from my window to take good photographs. It makes me mad!

Image from LiveScience.com
Image from LiveScience.com

So I’m taking this opportunity to build myself a light box. I already had most of the stuff I needed lying around taking up space, so I found a tutorial and got crackin’! I apologize for the lousy quality of the photos due to it still being DARK at 6:30 in the morning. *pouts* I found this tutorial on Pinterest, and figured I’d give it a shot!

Materials

  • Large cardboard box
  • White paper (I got a roll of poster paper)
  • Translucent white paper (I’m using either tracing paper or vellum leftover from my architecture school days)
  • Tape (I used Scotch tape, but masking tape works, too)
  • An x-Acto Knife with a fresh blade
  • A movable light with a white light LED bulb
  • A marking pen (not shown)
  • A ruler

The only thing I had to purchase was the white poster paper and the light bulb, grand total: less than $8. Not bad!

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!SAFETY DISCLAIMER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

IMG_20150930_070117610X-Acto blades/knives are DANGEROUS!!1!!!eleventy!!!one!!! Please use them with CAUTION! During my years in architecture school I used one of these things daily and I have had my experience with finding one of these extremely sharp blades in a part of the body where it doesn’t belong, such as embedded deeply in the pad of my big toe or in the fleshy bit of your hand between the thumb and index finger (right about where the point of the blade is in this photo). Trust me, YOU DO NOT WANT THIS EXPERIENCE. It is NOT FUN. So please, please, PLEASE be careful. Thank you. Now, onto the light box!

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!END SAFETY DISCLAIMER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Step 1 – Cut the flaps off the box. The part of the box that is open right now will be face down on the table or surface, and is now the bottom of the light box.

Step 2 – Draw a 45 degree angle on the back corner of the box and cut it out. At this point you may need to tape down some flaps!

Step 3 – Draw the opening onto the front part of your box (the part where you will be holding your camera, or in my case, my cell phone) and cut it out.

You can see in the final photo that the opening in the front is where you’ll insert the food and the camera, and the opening in the back will be where the light will shine in once it’s covered in the translucent paper.

Stay tuned for the second half of this project!