Half Turn Catch

static trapeze

So, I’ve been working on this trick for awhile. Descriptively called Half turn, half turn, half turn. In case you haven’t guessed from the name of the trick, I turn three times. First a regular turn around, but then on the front end I push the bar down, half turn to the catcher. And if there’s no catcher, half turn again to land on my back in the net. I talked about it a little bit here.

When you keep working on a trick for too long and you’re in your head too much, it’s best to just stop that trick and try another. Halfway through class on Saturday, Susan told me “Try it one more time. If you don’t turn, stop for awhile and work on something else.” I was just in my freaking head! I had done it in class the week before, but my brain was stopping me from turning. I would just back drop. And I was so frustrated.

But I wasn’t ready to give up this trick. There are a few things my kid-self wished she could do, whilst dreaming of being a trapeze artist. One was to be caught then turn around mid-air, catch the bar and get back on the board. This was my chance! Another dream trick! I was NOT going to give up.

I gave myself a(nother) pep-talk while climbing the ladder. Susan, Tori, Noah, Dave and the entire audience (there were a lot of visitors that day!) had been giving me pep talks all day, telling me what I did good that time, everyone yelling at me “TURN!” when I was supposed to. (I like it when they yell. My body tends to obey.) I wasn’t going to leave not turning!

And turn I did. I did it twice in a row. Not very pretty. But I turned. Then it was time for catching. Dave told me to throw that trick. I ran it by Noah, he was game. So I threw that freaking trick and he freaking caught it! The great catcher that he is. Because I barely pushed that bar down at all. Kenny got up on the catch bar after Noah and caught me again. Noah took a video. Have I mentioned how much I love these people?? Pushing you when you need it, telling you where you’re doing good, and video’ing you when you don’t even know it. Also, they’re just awesome.

Hopefully by the show I’ll get back to the bar and possibly back on the board? At least to the bar. And another new trick! Always reach for the next tough thing, right?

Adventures of the Dress Kickstarter – LIVE!

adventures of the dress kickstarterYou guys, it’s here! The Kickstarter you’ve all been waiting for! Well, I’ve been waiting for it, at least. I’m crazy excited, can’t wait to check out the reward tiers. But most importantly, support my friend who has been working tirelessly on this! It’s been such a fun project, and to see it go this far is insane. In a good way.

If you have no idea what I’m talking about, here’s my post about it: Adventures of the Dress Kickstarter

So, I bet you want to know the link to the Kickstarter, right? Here it is!

ADVENTURES OF THE DRESS KICKSTARTER

Read more about it, watch a little video, check out the rewards (possibly my favorite part), and pledge something to support the project, if you’d like. Feel free to share the page and info with anyone, the more eyes on it the better! Thank you!

I’m so proud of you Cara, this is gonna be nuts!

Adventures of the Dress: Kickstarter Campaign

I have been involved in a special project with my close friend (and very talented author, photographer, designer and all around badass) Cara Vescio, for…well, years. I don’t even remember when this started, to be honest. I do remember when she first came across her cousin’s old wedding dress while cleaning out her garage, and she just knew she could use it for some future photography shenanigan. She always had a photography project up her sleeve, and loved to hoard random outfits just for the possible occasion.

But this dress had a plan of it’s own.

What started out to be one fun photo shoot, turned into twenty-plus photo shoots of twenty-plus different women all over the world in this same dress. Each of us brought it to life in our own way. Or was it the dress that brought us to life? We each put our own flare to the dress and our shoot, but I am here to tell you, that putting that dress on, lacing up my black converse underneath…that dress morphed into my personality, my true personality. I felt alive, gorgeous, confident, crazy, I felt like I could do anything. I could be anyone. More importantly, I could be myself. Each of us had a story to tell, a struggle, a life. We were all fighting something, as we all do. And this project was one of the small pieces of the puzzle that help make everything make sense again.

adventures of the dress kickstarter

Here’s where we come in…Cara is putting together a 120-page coffee table book of these photos and our individual stories. And she needs our help! She is launching a Kickstarter campaign May 7th – June 7th, to raise money to publish this book. What is Kickstarter? You can read about it here but in plain terms, it’s a way to fund creative projects that you believe in. It’s been around for awhile now, and has proved to be very successful. It’s a way to see people’s amazingly creative ideas to come to life. I’ve personally contributed to a few Kickstarter campaigns in my day, and I do not regret them.

There will be different tiers of donations for different amounts, large and small. The best part? It comes with presents! For example, if you contribute $45, you will receive a hardbound copy of Adventures of the Dress, if successfully funded. And come on, don’t you want a book that has a couple pictures of ME in it?? There will be other reward levels with different gifts, some relating to one of the models if you know them (um…me). I have no idea what the rewards are, but I can’t wait to find out!

Funding on Kickstarter is all-or-nothing. No one will be charged for their pledge toward a project unless it reaches its funding goal. It’s very important that the launch day of the project is big! If you know you want to pledge something, if possible, please do so in the first few days (launch day May 7th!). The more people that pledge that day, the more likely we’ll get high in rankings and be on popular pages and get way more exposure. I’ll post here the direct link to the project on launch day, but anyone can just go to http://www.kickstarter.com and search for “Adventures of the Dress” and easily find it.

Wanna see the cover?

adventures of the dress kickstarter campaign

I have seen so many pictures from shoots that she did with these women, and trust me, they are great. Look at that one up there! So fun. I did two different shoots and I have no idea which photos she chose of me to go in the book. One of the shoots was smack dab in the middle of Comic-Con, and when people asked us what I was dressed up as, Cara responded “A John Hughes film”. Yeah. You’re not going to want to miss this opportunity.

THANK YOU all for reading this really long post! I completely believe in this project, and am so proud of all the women involved, and thankful for Cara to let us play dress up and tell our stories- the good, bad, and the ugly. Sometimes you just have to put on a tattered and torn tulle wedding dress to realize life is really great.

Learning Curve

How about a video for a Monday morning?

Sweet Celeste took this video of me doing the splits. Thank you Celeste! I’ve been trying to stretch every day to limber up my legs and back. Spliiiits! Toe touching! Really trying to work on my form. Straight legs, staying tight throughout the whole trick, including (especially?) to the net. A good take off. This video looks better than my last. But I totally see all the flaws. At least there’s improvement, though.

The trick I’ve been working on in class is a turn-around, but then I push myself off of the bar straight up in the air and turn around mid-air to the catcher, then from the catcher I’ll return back to the bar and back to the board. Lots of turn-arounds and back to things. So I’m learning this thing one step at a time. I can do a turn around. I have the beginnings of shooting myself into the air. It’s totally not solid yet, and I really wish my body (and brain) would learn it faster. The last part of the video, after Chris catches me, is part of that trick. Only right before he lets go of me, I am to push my arms straight down to my hips so I shoot straight up in the air, then turn around and grab the bar. We have a show coming up, and my goal is to get this down to perform it then. I got this! (right? ugh.)

Del Mar

Most people weren’t in the office this particular Monday I went in, because it was a holiday. Our office was closed. We had a server upgrade that weekend, and I needed to be there early Monday morning to make sure everything migrated over okay. I decided to bring my camera and new lens I just purchased, to try it out after I was done fixing server glitches, to make sure it was the zoom range I was looking for.

There’s this great walking trail up on the cliffs in Del Mar at the end of Del Mar Heights Road. I had no idea it was there. It was the perfect place for me to test out this lens for my Canon, because it was a massive zoom lens! I didn’t realize how much of a zoom it was. I’m glad I gave it a test drive, because I ended up taking it back. It would’ve been great if I did surf photography, or something. I fInally decided on a lens that’s 18mm-135mm and I absolutely love it. It’s a great walk around lens with a great range. But first…here are pictures from the 75mm-250mm…

del mar beach
del mar beachdel mar beach
del mar beach
del mar beach
del mar beach

This nice man was sitting on that chair. He had watched me take a few pictures down the way, and when I walked by, he jumped up and insisted I take a picture of that Adirondack chair. I knew my lens was way too zoomy for me to capture it right, but he was so happy that I would photograph it, so I did. I may or may not have almost fell off the cliff, but I got a shot. Thank you sweet man!

train tracks del mar
del mar beach

Circus shoes and other dreams

I had a dream last night that I figured out a way to record my dreams on my iphone. How brilliant would that be if we could do that?? No more forgetting the awesome dreams you had, you could just play them back. You know how when you try to tell someone what you dreamt about (like what I’m attempting to do right here) and you can’t convey it just right and they just don’t get it, nor do they care? Well now you can just sigh, roll your eyes, whip out your phone and show them for themselves. Then their eyes will brighten, they’ll look at you and say “I get it, Ang (insert your name here), I get it!”  Anyway, it would be amazing if it were true. It reminded me of Inception, because I had a dream in my dream, but then I watched the playback of my dream in my dream. Or was the dream I was watching just another dream I really dreamt in really life?

My brain hurts.

Speaking of brains, I’m learning to juggle. You’d know that if you were following my Instagram. If you’re not following my Instagram, shame on you (aka you must have a life, and really, that’s better). I decided to video my progress, because, duh.

Clearly it needs some work. But I’m totally getting it, and that’s very exciting.

Also, I found these amazing circus shoes at Nordstrom Rack that were originally $250, but on clearance for $30 because who in their right mind would buy circus shoes?!

circus shoes

I guess I’m not in my right mind (just ask that guy in the mirror, it’s clear from his face that he’s judging me). But they’re amazing and make me incredibly happy. And currently being displayed in my bookcase, as circus shoes should be.

circus shoes

Next to my juggling balls, of course (when not in use).

DIY Wall Hanging Thing

diy wall hanging

I do this thing where I see something either in person or online and think “I can totally make that”. Truth is, I usually can’t. But I have this false sense of thinking I can make anything! Twenty giant birdcages hanging from the ceiling elegantly in Extraordinary Desserts? Suuuure! An abstract painting someone would actually want to hang in their house? Of course I can! This time though, I thought I could possibly do it. The only skill I would need is to know how to wrap a piece of yarn around a stick. I think I can do that!

I rummaged through my old jewelry making stuff to find extra embroidery thread (I used to make bags for the jewelry to go in) and that brass bar. Knowing my track record of thinking I could do this, I decided not to spend money on high-quality supplies, and just use what I had. You know…practice. If it turned out well, then I can buy the good stuff.

Here’s what you’ll need:
diy wall hanging

I bought the brass bars at Lowe’s, and I’m pretty sure you all know where to get embroidery thread (Michael’s. You get it at Michael’s.). I laid my colors out in the order I wanted them to be on the bar, to make sure I like how it looked. Totally not necessary to work with it like that though, especially since I started in the middle and tied one string on each side to make sure everything was equal.

Okay so…you figure out how long you want your center to be, then cut! I think having the first three being roughly the same length is probably a good idea. Then figure out how much shorter you want the next, cut two equal, and alternate putting them on the sides. Here’s how you “tie” it on the bar:

diy wall hanging

You get it, right? How do you explain that in words? Double the yarn evenly, put the loop end over the bar, bring the cut end under the bar and through the loop, then pull (I guess that’s how you say it). Then you just keep going. I quickly realized it was very helpful to have the bar on something, so I grabbed the nearest candle holder (unlit, of course. duh).

diy wall hanging

This project takes only one happy hour to complete. One to two drinks and you’re done! Oh, you must play your favorite spotify playlist and sing real loud while you do it, otherwise it won’t turn out as good.

After you put all them all on (make it as wide or narrow as you want it!) then tie a longer string on both sides so you can hang it. I think a ribbon would be nice, too. Hang it up somewhere and trim any of them you want. Or leave it haphazard. Follow your heart!

Here’s my finished product:

diy wall hanging
diy wall hanging

My cats were really into it, as you can see.

Here’s the front up close:
diy wall hanging

And here’s the back:
diy wall hanging

I like the little knot-things in back, you can make that the front if you want.

Here’s what I would do differently…

  • Better quality yarn! I think a silky, heavier yarn would be gorgeous. Or even a super thin one. Quality is the key here, folks (which is true for everything in life, I’ve decided). Here were two of my inspirations: Nike Schroeder String Art and Glitter and Grain
  • I cut too heavily. I wanted it to have more of a gradual slope up to the outer edges. Next time I won’t be so heavy handed on the string cutting (this didn’t happen in the trimming part, it happened when I initially cut the string pieces).
  • I kept the tails short when I tied the piece that allows the whole thing to hang. I think if it’s as long as the other ones, maybe it will disappear.

And that’s it! Easiest thing to make ever, instant gratification. Now I’m dying to buy high quality yarn/thread in really cool colors and do this thing right. Maybe I’ll stick with a smooth brass bar, maybe I’ll use the driftwood I smuggled in from Costa Rica. I don’t know, maybe invite all your crafty friends over and do a craft/happy hour soiree. BYOMaterials!

// Art print in top photo by Leigh Viner

Road Trip to Pismo Beach

Pismo Beach

I took a little mini-vaca this past weekend, and drove up to Pismo Beach. I’ve never been to the Central Coast. I’ve spent plenty of time in San Diego, LA, and Northern California. But have never ventured up Highway 1 until Saturday. And it was amazing. I wish I could’ve taken pictures from the road, but I was the one driving, so decided to play it safe instead. The weather report called for thunder storms all weekend, but all we had were beautiful puffy clouds with scattered storm clouds, tons of rainbows and a few very short downpours.

This last minute trip came at the perfect time. Work has been totally insane, I’ve been working way more overtime than I like and I needed a brain break so bad.

We stayed at the Sea Crest Hotel, which was right on the cliffs, as you can see from the picture above. That was the sunrise view from my balcony. Tough life I lead, right? We were in the North Tower on the fourth floor, so the views were amazing. The rooms are a really good size, very clean, and I swear I saw their patio furniture at Target last season. Which is fine by me! They have a really great breakfast that’s included in your nightly fee, with yogurt, fresh fruit (including grapefruit!), toast and waffles (not homemade waffles, just the kind you toast), oatmeal, cereal, hard boiled eggs, juice, coffee, pastries…more than the average breakfast at an average hotel. I ate breakfast outside next to one of the firepits they had going. I did not want to leave.

Pismo Beach
Pismo BeachPismo Beach

The night we were there we went to a restaurant recommended to us by a local, at the SeaVenture Hotel. Most restaurants there use only local ingredients, and this place was no exception. It was so good! I had the margarita flatbread with a balsamic reduction, and the goat cheese and beet salad. Oh yeah, and a flight of wine.

SeaVenture

They said a flight was three pours that were each a third of a glass of wine, so it was supposed to equal one glass of wine. But c’mon, they were three whole glasses! Not a bad deal. Everywhere I had wine this trip, it was excellent. Being in the Central Coast wine country, I shouldn’t have been surprised. Here was my view from the table…

SeaVentureThey supposedly have a great happy hour M-F with half off appetizers and drinks. With this view and those prices, it’s possible I’d be there every night. Just sayin’.

The next morning bright and early I grabbed some coffee from the lobby and took a walk down these wooden stairs to the beach.

Pismo Beach
Pismo Beach
Pismo Beach
Pismo BeachPismo Beach
Pismo Beach
Sting Ray?

Pismo Beach
Pismo Beach

These little birds were so cute. They kept chasing the waves, then running away from the waves, with their tiny little legs.

Pismo BeachPismo Beach Pier
Pismo Beach Pier
Pismo Beach PierExtra credit if you see the little rainbow in this last picture! (Hint: it’s to the right of the end of the pier)

There is so much wildlife there, more than here in San Diego. Which sounds strange. But there just is. I saw tons of dolphins in the water, nine deer all together up in Lopez Lake, flocks upon flocks of all different kinds of birds, bugs galore! My poor windshield was never clean. I guess I was really heavy handed on the beach pictures, but the hills on the other side are so incredibly green and lush! The ten minute drive to Lopez Lake was like you were in the Irish countryside. The trees were so pretty, with knotty and twisted dark trunks and branches, and moss hanging from the ends. Driving into town you pass so many vineyards and wineries. I could only stay two days, and with five hours driving each of those days, I totally didn’t get to explore enough. But I’m already making a list of what I want to do next time!

Trapeze Update!

It’s about time I give you a full trapeze update! As you know, I went through a crappy spell when I just wasn’t improving that much at all. To be honest, I was doing pretty bad. And most days I left the rig, I was disappointed and discouraged. Am I just not cut out for this? I’ve wanted to do this my whole life, I thought I’d excel at it! Be the best trapeze artist they’ve ever seen (albeit, not limber in the least), I would impress them all with my natural ability. And I was just failing left and right. Should I quit? Give up? Move on with my life? I couldn’t bring myself to do that, I loved it way too much. The more bruises and bumps and shoulder pains the better. Our bodies are meant to work hard like this, and it feels so good to be using it to the full. And doing flips is pretty awesome too. Besides, no one is good at something when they first start learning it! I needed to keep pushing myself. Quitting gets you nowhere. It’s not an option.

So I kept at it. Two days a week I make the trek out to the rig, don my black ballet slippers, wrap those homemade wraps around my wrists to protect my already blistered hands from ripping further, and climb up that ladder and jump off that platform over and over again. And one day…I did everything right.

trapeze high

I had been working on a turn around with a push away. That means you jump off the platform facing forward, when you get to the other side of the rig you turn around on the bar, so you’re facing the platform, extend your legs up and over the platform, then when you swing back to the other side, you do a back flip to the net. Eventually when I can swing a bit higher, instead of extending my legs over the platform, I’ll let go of the bar and land on the platform. That’s the whole point of the trick. There was a couple other girls working on the same trick, and Dave was having them just do a back drop to the net. But he specifically instructed me to do a back flip (aka push away). It’s not the first time he’s had me do the more complicated tricks. I think he sees my potential and passion, and wants to push me further. He knows I have it in me (at least, that’s what I tell myself, ha!).

So! I’ve been working on that trick for a few weeks, then finally something clicked and my turn around portion is much cleaner, I’m getting higher on the board each time, and my push aways are flawless. I’m getting yells from Dave like “pretty!” “That was in your top 3!” Then finally last night, “you know, you could do that out of lines”. Out of lines! Yes!

I have not done that trick out of lines yet. But just last week I did do my first trick out of safety lines. Knee hang with back flip to the net, then also to the catcher. Just out of the blue Chris said “Do a knee hang out of lines off the second riser, we’re going to catch that tonight.” Second riser?! Guys, I haven’t used the riser before, it’s always scared me. It bumps you up two-three feet higher than the platform. You use it so you get a higher swing, which was necessary if I’m going to a catcher without safety lines to boost me higher if needed. So I marched on up there and nailed it, complete with back flip, about six times. I was so proud of myself! Dave said it was beautiful and perfect. Unfortunately I don’t have a video of that to show you. But I do have a video of me doing splits out of lines for the first time last night! Complete with a little twist at the end so I land in the net on my back, not my face. (warning, grainy video ahead!)

I now hate safety lines. They hold me back. They get in my way, they slow me down. I used to never want to do tricks without lines, I needed their comfort. But now I just can’t wait to do tricks out of lines.

I still need to work on my form. I stretch every day, but progress has been slow! I’m working on being more flexible, keeping my toes pointed and my body tight. Legs straight as an arrow, never bending my knees. If you saw my very bent knees in the video, you’ll see why I need to improve on that.

When I left last night, Dave said I’m improving much faster than most people, and it’s been really fun to watch me. There have been a number of people that haven’t seen me fly in a few weeks, and they’re shocked at how much I’ve improved. So, maybe I really am meant to be a trapeze artist, just like I always knew in my heart! Or maybe I’ve just had a great couple weeks and I’ll continue to suck next week. Whatever it is, I’m not going to give up. I’ll be flying for a very long time.

George Cardinet Trail

george cardinet trail

While I was at my dad’s house, I did my fair share of exploring the neighborhood. One morning we walked to Peet’s and looked way too much like homeless people in the Ross, which was in the same parking lot. It might have had something to do with me trying on a dress in the middle of the store over my workout clothes, complete with tennies and a beanie because it was freezing outside. The laughing dressing room attendant may or may not have told me I should just come back later to try it on properly.

One crisp morning, I ventured out on my own. I knew there was a trail nearby, I had been on it years ago with some friends. I sleuthed it up on google maps and headed there. I knew it was going to be pretty. But I didn’t anticipate the morning sun making every single thing in my path glow.

george cardinet trail
george cardinet trail
george cardinet trail
george cardinet trail
george cardinet trail
george cardinet trail
george cardinet trail
george cardinet trail
george cardinet trail

I really tried to narrow these pictures down for you, but I just couldn’t. I couldn’t even decide which mushroom picture was the best. You can choose! I took these pictures with my phone and didn’t edit them one bit. The sun is just that slanty and amazing up there in the wee hours of the morning. Just beautiful.

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