Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Swirly Things

This morning I woke up and glanced outside and the exact thoughts in my head were "Oh, my God. Are you kidding me!?"

I was expecting a nice, sunny day. I knew it was going to be a little chilly. I knew there was a chance of light snow. I knew I shouldn't get my hopes up for spring. But, regardless, I was thoroughly disappointed when I looked out the window.

Here's what I saw:

179/365: MORE. SNOW. (but look closely, do you see the flying bird? pretty cool, didn't notice that til I saw it on the computer)
Yeah....I just really don't think it's ever going to stop. This time last year, I was taking photos of flowers that had bloomed. (Seriously, I even checked. It was March 31st.) Most of this snow has melted throughout the day, but it was still pretty devastating to wake up to a blanket of white once again. In the fall, I was wishing and wishing for snow. I was so ready for it. But once January makes its way through, I'm ready for the warm weather and green grass. Maybe I'm just never satisfied? Possibly...I know in the burning heat of summer I'm going to be longing for snow again. But, seriously, it's almost April. Time for rain and flowers. Don't you agree?

Last night's photo:

178/365: Swirly things.
I still haven't decided what these are. They began (with the big one on the left) as coasters. But as I continued to make them and got bored with one and started another, they ended up different sizes and they kinda just look cool clustered together like this. Maybe they're just a piece of art? Not sure. I wish they weren't so time-consuming to make, or I'd do a ton of them and I'd sell them (or give them away) in clusters like this. My favorite is the one on the right, in all browns. The green & black one in he front was Dustin's idea.

Tonight I attempted to make a stuffed chicken breast dinner. I used a recipe I "stumbled upon"...They didn't turn out exactly like they were supposed to, but they were still SUPER tasty! I decided it was one of the most flavorful meals I've ever made. I think the next time I make it, it'll be way better because I know what I did wrong this time. Pretty excited. It's a great feeling knowing you can cook. =)

I did ALL of my laundry today, except a few towels and a couple pairs of jeans. I am super excited. This is a pretty big accomplishment, as my closet floor has been covered in dirty laundry for the past couple months. I would just do a load of the "important things" every couple weeks and let the rest keep piling up. UGH! It was killing me...Clean laundry is one of my most favorite things in the world, so it sort of made my day when nobody else was using the laundry room today. I win.

I also tried a coffee, cocoa, milk, & honey facial mask today. Brian thought I was crazy, but I'm glad he can still talk to me when I have lots of food on my face. I did take a picture, but I think I'll save your eyes. If you desperately want to see it, let me know and I'll do something about it. Ha.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Daylight Is Coming

The good old Exploder might be down for the count. It hasn't been starting this whole week, so today my dad and older brother came all the way up to Madison to try to fix it. After cleaning the battery wires and replacing some parts (I have no idea what stuff is called,) it still wasn't starting. So now they're thinking it's the starter and will not be fixed until later this week at the earliest. I'm a little sad about it, but I'm so thankful that I have such a great family to help me out. I don't know anything about cars and I'm way too poor to take it to a mechanic, so having my dad here to do fix all my car troubles is such a blessing.

In other news, I've fallen in love with this website that I "stumbled upon" recently. I've tried a few of the 'recipes' and now Brian thinks I'm a nutcase because I'm always wanting to make honey masks and stuff. I'm not quite brave enough to totally ditch my Biore face wash and make my own, but perhaps someday. For now I'll just stick with some of the easy stuff, like the nutmeg & milk scrub (which I did today...it is lovely.) I have, however, stopped using my harsh Clean & Clear acne spot treatment stuff. To replace it, I brewed some jasmine green tea and then poured it into an ice tray and rub one one my trouble spots twice a day. Huge improvement! I'd been struggling ALL YEAR with the WORST breakout I've ever had, all along my chin. (I'm sure you've noticed.) I don't know if it's caused by the stress of my senior year, the addition of bills into my life, or what...But no matter what I tried, I couldn't get rid of it. I've been using my ice cubes for about a week now and I'm seeing some big improvements. It is super exciting, especially because it's WAY cheaper than the chemical-y stuff AND it's way healthier for the skin. Highly recommended. And check out that website, too!

I told Brian I want to start making the green smoothies (recipe on the website, of course)...He told me that if I do that, we're going to need two blenders because he doesn't want to consume anything that's made in the same blender. Ha. He's so difficult sometimes... =P

How about some photos?

Tonight's is my t-shirt that I'm currently wearing. This song, by Remedy Drive, is pretty uplifting and powerful. Everyone needs a reminder every now and then. Check out the song here.You will not regret it.

177/365: Daylight Is Coming...The dust & stuff on my mirror is sort of annoying, but it also kinda looks like glitter bokeh, so I didn't try to fix it or clean it. =)
Yesterday we went to Dustin's LAST tournament of the season. I must say, I'm pretty glad basketball season is over. Those games are much too intense and nerve-wracking for me. Ha. My blood pressure is probably through the roof from watching so many of them this year. I can't wait for track and baseball to start. Two MUCH more mellow sports. Baseball, especially. The slower pace will be an excellent change. (If, of course, I'm able to get home to catch a few games.) Anyway...Yesterday's photo is of their coach for the tournament. A recent graduate of I-W, and a former basketball star at my high school. The back of Dustin's head is also in the photo (on the left.)

176/365: Coach Eric.
Friday night was our BIG DSU Live event - Battle of the Bands! It was a GREAT night...Probably the best BOTB I've seen at this school. It went almost TOO smoothly, and lots of people showed up, and everyone had a great time. Even the bands who didn't win enjoyed the night. Usually we get a few angry emails yelling at us and accusing us of "fixing" the competition, or something. None this time, though. It's a great change.

175/365: Music
The bands who played were The Broken Resolve, Top Shelf Stank, Amos Slade, The Dashing North, and Blood of the Ancients. Definitely check out all of those bands! (Just type their name into facebook) They are all really nice guys and REALLY great musicians! The competition was extremely close! 

Thursday, I didn't do a whole lot so I didn't have a very great photo opportunity. So, you get to see what I ate for supper AGAIN! I know, you guys love that, huh? Mmmm Chili!

174/385: Tons of crackers!!
And, lastly, here's Wednesday's photo. It's the (nearly) finished artwork for Jenn & DSU's Diversity Services. She asked me to put something together representing how athletes are sort of modern-day slaves. I've talked about this project on here before, I know, so I'll spare you the repeat. But here's what I did. (I have to re-do the baseball player, since I ripped the paper when I was erasing some smudges. SO ANGRY because that one was my favorite!!)

173/365: Athletes
Wowzers, that was a long one! My apologies for waiting so long to post an update. It's been a busy weekend! I will try super hard to post more often. I hope I haven't lost my readers yet!

Enjoy the rest of your night. And have a good Monday, everyone!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


Rain, rain, rain.

It's been cloudy/raining/storming since Sunday. I will admit the thunderstorms instead of snowstorms is very welcomed, but not DAILY. And we definitely don't need to rain these days. With all the snow melting, we've got plenty of water - So much, they're closing roads because they're flooded over. Rain...Come back in July!

Here's today's photo:

172/365: Rain + Hail, shot through the soaked screen door, which is why it's so blurry and awesome looking.
And yesterday's was from last night when we got a pretty nice thunderstorm. It started hailing pretty heavily and the wind was blowing it right into our balcony doors. I seriously thought they were going to shatter.

171/365: Nice pea-sized hail. Once it stopped, I reached my hand out the door and was playing with them. It was cool scooping up a handful. They remind me of those ice cream "dippin dots" that you get at amusement parks/fairs. So fun. (The blue-ness on the right side of this is my sweatpants reflecting on the glass. Ha.)
Also, I have to say that I am extremely glad that I saved up all that change from waitressing all summer. Last week I took in a medium-sized tupperware bowl full of nothing but nickels and dimes, and got $64 out of it! So today, Brian and I went through half of the BIG jar and extracted most of the quarters from it (laundry money, yay!) and then I refilled the same tupperware bowl (this time with some quarters added) and brought that in and it came out to $95! It's pretty exciting, for someone who is 100% broke right now. I still have half the BIG jar left and a few smaller bottles. And we've got a good $100 in quarters right now, just for laundry. I'm really hoping we won't go through that much before June, but it's there just in case. Hooray for making money without even doing anything!

Side note - This morning we made some PB&J pancakes. Win. =)

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Sunshine = Love

Oh. My. Goodness. I have neglected this all week, haven't I? So sorry....I need to catch up.

I woke up this morning on D&E's living room couch. Brian was on the floor. After an evening full of 5-Handed Pitch and tons of food, we both woke up to the sound of heavy rain and thunder outside. There seemed to be hail, as well, but we didn't get up to check. It was 4:40 in the morning.

I'm a huge scaredy-cat. My entire life, I've been afraid of thunderstorms (usually only when they involve heavy winds, though.) So waking up to this crazy weather, although scary, was incredibly exciting. It's the middle of March and we're already getting stormed on!

I turned on the TV for a little bit, just to check if we were in any severe weather warnings. No warnings, just a little patch of green, yellow, orange, and red on the radar. We were in the red. I waited a while to see how quickly it was moving, and when I decided it was safe and the rain seemed to get lighter, I turned off the TV and fell asleep again and dreamed a movie-quality dream before waking up again around 11:00.

Once we got up and going, D&E&H were at church, so we had some coffee and I tried to clean up a bit from the previous night's "party." Then we proceeded to spend the entire day playing Super Mario Bros. on the Wii. Spent a tiny bit of time outside - Brian broke Hal's swing set on purpose (with the approval and encouragement of D&E. Photos below.)

Great weekend. Now, to find the motivation to finish a project...Could be a problem. To procrastinate some more, here are some photos from today. (Check facebook in the near future to see last week's POTD's.)

Sunlight = Love
Wrigley, sunbathing and yawwwwning.
Hal & "Wrigs"
This is probably my favorite "Halle face." She is so funny.
And, now, for the bringing down of the already broken swing set....Featuring Brian and, well, a broken swing set. This was fun to watch.

I love the faces he's making in a few of them. I think he was just trying not to die. =P (If you're wondering, apparently this set had, not one, but TWO trees fall on it at different points in time. It was just getting a little too bent and dangerous to be playing on. Unless, of course, you're Brian. Then it's still fair game.)

Can someone PLEASE send me some motivation OR inspiration to get through this last month & a half of school? I should just be fine knowing that after May 7, for the first time since I was 5, I will no longer be a student. But I think that's making it even more difficult to concentrate on finishing. Senioritis, anyone?

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Sunday Recap

And, finally, a recap of Sunday.

Our last day "out West." We got up early once again to enjoy some free breakfast. Brian had a waffle which I demolished by trying to get it out of the flip-over waffle maker thing. I'm not sure I've EVER successfully removed a waffle from them without wrecking it. Anywho...

Then we cleaned up the room and packed up and checked out. We wanted to spend some time in Deadwood because neither of us had really been there. It was Sunday and "off season" so there wasn't much going on. Lots of the shops were closed, but we still walked around the town and even talked to the lady at the information building and she gave us a nifty map and marked places we should go. Very nice lady.

Here's some photos:

Main Street: Deadwood, SD
Brian was pretty interested in learning about Wild Bill. And learn we did. Sort of.
Pretty scenery in this small town.
We visited the graves of Wild Bill & Calamity Jane.

Love this shot. It would be lovely to be buried here. So pretty, for a cemetery.
Crazy place.
By the time we left Deadwood it was lunch time. So on our way back home we stopped back in Rapid and got lunch at a place called Arnold's Diner. It was a cute 50's inspired place. REALLY good food, from what we could tell. Service was alright...Very laid-back. It kind of reminded me of Emily's.

Brian's humongous chicken fried steak sandwich. This was the real deal, too. None of that frozen & deep fried patty stuff. It was real meat in there. I tried a bit. Sooo good!
My Triple BLT. It was ginormous! But extremely good!
This one is funny. If you have ever eaten sammiches with me, you know that, for whatever reason, I rarely finish a whole one. For some reason I don't like having the "last bite" of anything. Especially sandwiches. Don't ask...I have no idea why. In addition to that, I'm always picking it apart and ripping off the crusts (specially on toasted stuff cuz if it's too crispy it hurts my mouth. anyone else?) So my plates always end up looking like this when I'm done. Even though I eat the majority of the sandwich, it makes it look like all I did was make a huge mess. But this BLT was amazing and I want another one RIGHT NOW.
Name the bridge!! (and river!)
There...Not very many photos for Sunday, but it was still an eventful day. Brian and I drove all the way to and from Rapid City and didn't break out the Mad Libs ONCE! I think that's pretty impressive. We made 3 mixed CD's to listen to on the way, full of songs we each chose separately so we could both listen to our kind of music. (He likes old hip hop. I like indie rock. The CD's are quite interesting...)

Also, I have to add here that tomorrow it's supposed to be 60+ degrees outside. I think my running shoes are going to be worn out by the end of the day. In that weather, I could run for DAYS! So excited. =)

AND, if any DSU students are reading this...Come hang out at Open Mic tomorrow night at 7:00 in the Underground! We'll be doing karaoke and you can sing/play/do anything you want. It's gonna be fun!

Saturday Recap

More on our short mini-vacation....

Saturday we got up around 7:00 to get breakfast at the hotel. I thought the sign for breakfast serving time was 6:00-8:00...We got there and saw that it was actually 6:00-9:00. Totally could have scored an extra hour of sleep, but oh well. Being up early on vacation is kind of nice. We had some coffee and apple juice and bagels and cereal and pastries. Not too bad.

Then we called and made reservations to tour the Jewel Cave. We decided that first we wanted to go back to Mt. Rushmore since it was MUCH nicer outside and we could actually get some photos and enjoy being there, rather than try to shield ourselves from the vicious wind.

This was tough to get. Times like these when I wish we had a little point & shoot camera, instead of my DSLR. We made it work, though.
Pretty cool. =) It was nice being here on an "off" season day. There was hardly anyone else around so we didn't have to fight a crowd just to walk around. 
Of course, gotta have the "I'm from this state!" photos. Brian says "I'm from California!"
"I'm from South Dakota!"
We drove a little around the mountain and there was this cool view from the road.
Some pretty shots from the drive from Mt. Rushmore to Jewel Cave.

I could never get tired of this view.
...Or this one, either.
And then we arrived at the Jewel Cave. We were told to be there by 1:30 (tour was at 2:00,) but we weren't really sure how long it would take so we left a bit early and ended up getting there before 1:00. So they had us watch a nice PBS video about the caves to pass the time. Boooooring. Brian almost fell asleep. My mind was wandering so I hardly absorbed any of the information. Once that was over, we sat outside a bit and grabbed some snacks from a vending machine. We hadn't eaten anything since breakfast, so we were both pretty hungry. Finally the tour started and we went 500+ feet underground.

I didn't take very many photos inside the cave. It was kind of one of those experiences where a photo just wouldn't have even come CLOSE to showing how massive and awesome this place was. Here are the few I did get:

Right before the tour guide turned off all the lights in the cave. Complete and total darkness. It was super eerie.
Brian said this area looked like the walls were throwing up. Yeah.
Crazy stuff.
We learned some cool stuff and had a good time. We didn't see any "jewels" or anything really PRETTY. I was kinda sad. Mostly it was just this gunky looking stuff and what they call "popcorn." Still interesting. Lots of walking, though. I think they said it was like 700 stairs throughout the whole thing. Our legs were pretty tired by the time we left.

Just as we were pulling out of the parking lot, there were 4 deer just hanging out along the road. They were adorable and I wanted to stay there and take pictures of them all day. =)

Look at this guy's ear. Is it super funky to anyone else?? Looks like it has 3 ears!
It was shaking its head. Hahaha....So cute!!
Beautiful, huh?
The drive from Jewel Cave back to Rapid felt super long. There were some really pretty scenic areas, though. Brian really really REALLY wanted to see some buffalo. We even spent some time on the Wildlife Loop at the Custer State Park. Never saw one buffalo. We'll have to keep an eye out in the summer if we go back.

Cute little creek.
And then we saw some MORE deer!
They just kept eating and eating. I'm surprised they're not fatter. Ha. Just kidding. 

Brian shouted "BYE!!" out the window to each deer we saw. They all just looked up at him and appeared to not care. So rude! Luckily there were hardly any other cars on the roads so we could stop and watch them for a while, without the locals getting mad.

I have some other scenic photos, but this is already heavy with images so I'll just wait til another day with those. Or check facebook, they'll probably end up there eventually.

We got back to Rapid City and had dinner at T.G.I.Fridays. One of my favorite restaurants - I was super happy they had one, since the one in Sioux Falls has been closed since FOREVER, it seems. We ate lots of delicious food and had to take the dessert that came with Brian's meal back to the hotel with us. Vanilla bean cheesecake - Mmmmm! Then we rested at the hotel for a little while before throwing on our swim suits and going down to the pool area to sit in the hot tub. Which lasted about 15 minutes before we both got hot and bored and tired. Ha. Watched Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, took showers, and went to bed.

Saturday was basically a LOT of driving. It was fun, though.

Today....Working on homework/projects. I have the balcony door open and it is the PERFECT temperature right now. Ahhh I love spring!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Friday's Recap

I am back! This past weekend was tons of fun. It was pretty much the first time that Brian and I have taken a trip together where we weren't rushed to get somewhere or with anybody else. It was a pretty fun little getaway and planning out our days and making changes to those plans was really exciting. We're both usually tagging along with our families so to be able to be on our own and making our own choices was great.

Before I get started on the weekend recap and TONS of photos, I want to add in here that my little brother Dustin is feeling pretty icky today so keep some positive thoughts for him, please. Here's the text my sister sent me earlier "Just letting you know, we have Dustin at the clinic in Viborg. He has influenza. Not doing good at all. I have never seen him this bad. Temp was 103.4 when we got here." She also said he was shaking uncontrollably and had a headache and was so weak he couldn't walk from the bathroom to the living room without stopping to rest. I know you all have seen his photos on here and can tell that that's a pretty big deal for this active guy. He rarely gets sick so to get this message today scared the crap outta me! But it sounds like he's home from school for the week now, so hopefully he can rest up and get better soon!

Anywho....In an attempt to keep these posts somewhat at a reasonable length, I'm going to break them up by days. Today I'm posting everything from Friday, and tomorrow I'll post twice - for Saturday and Sunday. So you'll just have to keep checking back for the full effect!

Here goes....Friday, March 11, 2011

We left Madison at about 7:30 AM. This time, I'm sure you know if you know us, is incredibly early. But we wanted to get there early to have time to run around on Friday. So we got up super early, packed up, stopped at the school to use their printer, got some drinks and a donut and a full tank of gas, and we were off!

So we started driving and the roads were kinda slushy so the windshield got SUPER dirty SUPER fast....And, of course, Brian had no washer fluid so we had to drive all the way to Salem before we found a gas station that had water out.
So then, clean windshield and all, we drove alllllll the way across SD and decided to stop at Wall Drug on the way. I had (surprisingly) never been there and Brian hadn't since he was a kid. So we listened to all the billboards (If you haven't driven across SD, you wouldn't understand the emphasis I should put on the word "all"...goodness.) and made the stop.

Brian out front. He's such a goober.
Ginormous dice. That's Brian's hand, if you want to imagine the actual scale of these things. Ha.
Boots. I decided if I was a cowboy (er, cowgirl) I would have never left this little shop.
Brian found a new girlfriend while we were there. She's rather pretty. But lucky for me, she was kind of a couch potato so he left her. I win. =)
Here's this guy. I would have invited him along on the trip, but I'm not a fan of smokers. Sorry, dude.
We were a little disappointed because we didn't get any of the famous free ice water. Maybe next time. And then we kept driving. I must say, the drive out there seemed much more scenic than I remember. I think it might have to do with the fact that there's snow on the ground so it added an extra element to the hills and trees and grass. I couldn't get enough of it.

So pretty!
We finally arrived in Rapid City where we found our hotel and then realized we still had a few hours til check in so we made the trip to Keystone and visited Mt. Rushmore. It was EXTREMELY windy so we didn't stay outside or get many photos of us because our faces were all windburned and red and my hair was ridiculous. So we got a few and then grabbed some ice cream and then went back to Rapid.

Here's this guy.
Hooray sunlight!
This is possibly my most favorite photo from the whole trip. Haha! It was cookies & cream, by the way. I had mint chocolate chip.
From inside. The windows made an excellent frame. =)
And, on our way out.
Good stuff. Mt. Rushmore is one of those places where it's cool to see, but there's really not much to do so you can't spend your whole day there. Specially this time of year, when none of the trails or presentations are open. We still had fun, though.

Then we went back to the hotel and lounged around for a bit. We ended up eating dinner at the Firehouse Brewing Co. Really awesome place. Brian had a bacon cheese buffalo burger and I just had a regular bacon cheeseburger. He let me try his and I thought it tasted pretty much just like a regular burger.

While we were there, we witnessed a proposal! It was pretty cute. The whole restaurant started cheering and the girl was crying and it was just adorable. Ha. Sadly, I didn't take any photos while we were there. We will definitely be eating there again, though. Pretty cool place.

After dinner we went to see the Adjustment Bureau. Or, as Brian calls it, "Matt Damon vs. The Gov." Great movie!

Then we headed back to the hotel and zonked out. Had to be up early the next morning for our free breakfast! (My personal favorite thing about staying in hotels.)

Whew! Day one is covered! Come back tomorrow for a recap of Saturday and Sunday!

I've yet to take today's photo. I had class this morning and then we went for a run. Came home and edited all these photos and went to get some food. Now Brian's at work and I'm here updating this. Sorry, I made that sound extremely boring. I think it's time to end this post before all my readers leave (if they haven't already.)

Check back soon!


My name is Denise and this is the home of my Photography 365 Project. Here you will find many photos and lots of words and hopefully something interesting. Feel free to leave comments and kind words whenever you wish. Thanks for stopping by!