Pause for Gauze

Last week I mentioned that I’d become obsessed with an online store called Oh My Gauze, and at the time I said I’d take some pics of my new outfits eventually, so here’s part one of me fulfilling that promise. I’m also going to link to items when I can, so you can go check them out if you want (some of the pieces I bought were discontinued and are no longer for sale through the store, although many times you can find them on eBay). You’re welcome.

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Photography nerd alert: this is a composite shot – my upper body is from one photo while the lower body is from a different one.

I say part one because I seriously bought a lot of pieces from this store in the past few weeks. About 8 items are at the tailor right now, because in tops and dresses especially OMG clothing tends to run a little large on me. I’m skinniest in my shoulders and torso area, so with the generous sizing of this brand those things can look sloppy even though they’re already intended to be loose. Pants and skirts, though, are generally fine, although I did take one skirt in for alterations as well, because the balloon hem combined with big pockets made it a little heavy and it was pulling the skirt down (the waist was a little big, but it wouldn’t have mattered had the skirt not been on heavy side).

I will say that my outfits were a big hit at the tailor’s; it was a holiday here today so a lot of parents were taking their kids in for alterations on this or that (no idea what sort of kid-events go on in October, but there sure were a lot of people there) and as I kept coming out of the fitting room with more artsy, funky outfits, women began to notice and ask where I got all this fabulous stuff. I told them, of course; I have no need to keep a good thing secret. Since my last beloved baggy-clothing store, CP Shades, shut down, I certainly want to send OMG as much business as I can so I don’t lose another manufacturer that I love.

This past Sunday I decided to throw on some of the new clothes and shoot some photos; but pictures of me just standing around in outfits isn’t of much use to me beyond this blog, so I decided to kill two birds with one stone and do some jumping shots I could have more fun with. Little did I know how fabulous these clothes would be when they are in motion! Sure, I knew they were made to move and flow, but they created such amazing shapes I almost jumped myself to exhaustion playing around with it all. If you’ve followed my blog or Flickr page at all, you know how much I love using fabric in my movement photos to create interesting shapes, but most of the things I wear in those photos aren’t things I’d be caught dead in day to day. With OMG I have finally found a clothing line that works wonderfully in jump shots but that can also be worn out of the house! Heavenly.

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Yep – right after the shutter snapped that shoe hit the ceiling

Those pants are called the Ida pant and they are a new style to the store. I about died when I saw these, as I’d seen pants like them all over the Lagenlook boards I’ve been following on Pinterest, but as I mentioned last time, usually this stuff is pretty expensive. The Ida pant is only $63, though, so they were really affordable. They are amazing, and in spite of their general craziness they look great on; not bizarre at all, just interesting, and almost like a skirt if you don’t look closely at them. Comfortable and fun and no one else I know is going to have a pair of these. Moving on.

The top is called Vanna and I have two of them; as I mentioned earlier, OMG’s tops can often be big on me, and even when altered their slouchiness can weigh me down and make me look like I’m drowning in clothes, so a top like this is perfect for me. A flowier top balances my skinny torso out with my bigger hips, and this one with the cropped length gives me a waistline. It’s also very easy to wear; like most of OMG it’s a throw-it-on-and-go affair.

Some of their items, though, are not so convenient:

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PS – I had NO makeup on during this shoot as I’d spent the whole day in the pool, so I thought some funky glasses would detract from that. Not sure if it did or not.

OK, this is another new piece from them called Jeane; they call it a dress but it’s actually more like harem-pant overalls. Some of you know how much I love overalls and have been lamenting their lack of cool-factor since the 90’s, so a combination harem pant and overall seemed to be a slam dunk for me. However, the entire jumper is resting on those tiny little straps, which are basically shoestrings that tie in the back, and they are not up to the job, in my opinion. First of all, I despise anything that ties in the back (bathing suits come to mind; I love the look of a halter-style bathing suit top but they almost ALL tie at the neck and I just can’t stand that. And yes, I’ve been looking at a lot of bathing suits lately, too) and secondly, those skinny little straps don’t feel resilient to me at all. Plus, the first time I washed this one of the straps came ‘unthreaded’ (not sure what else to call it) and I had to use tweezers to force it back through, so they are not secure at all. I started to send this one back, but then I took these photos and realized how amazing the whole thing is, so I took it to the tailor and asked her to replace the shoestrings with something more sturdy that I would not have to tie. I don’t think I can get the straps in the same green, but I told her black would also be fine.

See what I mean, though, about the pictures proving that I really need to keep this piece? It takes some amazing photos – only one of which I’ve had time to edit (trust me there’s more):

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My eyes went really wonky in this shot, so I ended up actually copying the left one and pasting it over the right one, then flipping it horizontally. I still look weird here, but not nearly as weird as I did before. Sorryboutit.

The shoe match here was great; those are from Urban Outfitters and are always on sale two for $20. I have a ton of them and find uses for them all the time, aside from photos (I learned long ago that bare feet are not the business for jumping shots unless you have pretty ones and can point your toes well; shoes make for a more flattering photo without the distracting dragon toes or, in my case, super-long skinny feet that look awkward). This was one piece people at the tailor’s place today were really freaking over how cute it is. Really unique; I just hope she can fix the straps to make it more manageable.

And while I’m thinking about it, I want to link here to another fabulous clothing discovery I recently made: Sleevey Wonders. I’ve always hated having to wear full-length tops under sleeveless dresses and things, but I also am not a big fan of sleeveless things (I just like being more covered than not; I’m not modest, I just think covered arms are prettier). Sleevey Wonders give you, well, sleeves, without the bulky top attached. Brilliant! They aren’t cheap, but for me they’re worth it. So far I have a blue mesh one and a white jersey, and I’m going to be picking up an ivory one soon. I wear the two I already have all the time – including in the pictures above. Moving on.

Now this next item is also unusual, and I was uncertain whether or not I’d like it, but in the end I’m glad I tried it out:

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This is a color I’d generally never wear, but OMG is having a sale of discontinued colors right now that’s up to 50% off, and I couldn’t bring myself to buy this in a more wearable color (for me, anyway) and pay twice as much. So, chartreuse it is. I paired it with a pair of Chico’s Black Label satin cargo pants and a long-sleeved tee from Ann Taylor Loft, and bingo – I really like this look. It’s especially nice how well all this stuff goes with so much of what’s already in my closet – it’s not my first time at the artsy-flowy-fashions rodeo, people. Remember my Free People obsession of about a year ago? Most of what I bought from there works great with this stuff too, so my wardrobe has literally doubled over the past three weeks. It’s a little overwhelming, but it’s all good. This can also be worn on it’s own as a dress, by the way.

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Also good for leapin’ – YEP!

Speaking of overwhelming, I had to quit editing outfit shots after these last two, but believe me, there’s more where this came from.

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The hair is Laine by Rene of Paris, by the way

The top here is called Lynn, and it’s a narrower cut that didn’t require alterations for me. They also make a short-sleeved version of this called Grace that is great under other things. The whole line has some really interesting hemlines – there’s lots of angles and asymmetry that makes layering really eye-catching. The pants are pretty fabulous – they’re called the Osprey and I kept resisting buying them, because the price was around $85 and I couldn’t bring myself to spend that much when the sale pants were around $30 – finally they also went on sale and I snatched up two pair (in this color, called Fig, and also in Bone). I will say these pants looked AWFUL right out of the box, and I thought I’d made a mistake until I washed and dried them and they fell into place. The shoes, by the way, are another pointy-toed flat slide from Free People that I bought recently – so comfy and so unique with the shiny fabric. Love them.

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Simon is also impressed

I have a lot of really fantastic jumping shots to process later, and more outfits for a future post, but I did want to go ahead and show off some of this stuff now. I think I’ve calmed down on the purchasing for awhile, but I definitely plan to go back often and add to my collection when I can. Dressing has been so much fun the past few weeks, and I think you can see why – this stuff was made for me. And comfy, and easy to clean (machine wash and dry), and affordable! Love.

I’ve also got some self-portraits to share that I’ve edited recently, but I’ll upload those later. For now, enjoy the rest of the week, and I hope you have as much fun getting out of bed and putting on clothes as I do!

Pant-a-palooza

More Free People! These pants photographed great, but they are the least flattering to actually wear, since the white stripe going down the outside of my body tends to widen me as opposed to the other pair I own, which has a darker stripe going down the side to make them slimming. But whatever, they looked great in photos, and such are the perils of shopping online. I was conflicted about which shots to process since I liked so many of them; I liked all three of these but to reduce repetition since they’re all so similar, I made use of the collage feature in PIxlr:

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I also think the shots taken in this particular outfit turned out so well because this was done at the beginning of the shoot; it’s not uncommon for me to get sloppier as time goes by and I start to get tired. I think my focus was good here as opposed to later when everything got blurry and soft. I actually had a tighter focus here too, which made it harder to fit myself into the frame (that’s why I’m hunched over in all of the collage shots) but that helped me get my face into focus.

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There’s those other yoga socks I was talking about yesterday. They have slip-resistant soles and little cutouts for the toes; cute as heck and I can see where they would be very helpful for yoga. As I already mentioned, I like them for making my feet look more graceful when jumping. Now this next one is rather weird…

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…but I liked how the shape of my hair mimicked the shape of my legs/pants. If you squint your eyes when looking at this, it looks like a vase someone tossed into the air. This last one is a mirror pose of the wreath one, so maybe I didn’t need to process almost the exact same shot, but I did it anyway:

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Obviously I added a little texture, which I ended up not liking, so I went back and took it out later. Anyway, in the future I need to remember that a closer focal length is a good thing. The farther away I get, the softer everything gets; makes sense, I just forget it from time to time.

For these next shots, I remembered to pull them into Photoshop and play with the burn tool again to enhance shadows and midtones; it’s such a new process for me that half the time, I forget to do it. Since I forgot to do it in all the shots above, you can scroll up to compare the difference the burn tool makes. It really adds some nice depth:

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And yes, my backdrop was wrinkled,  but I was too lazy to edit it out. I tried occasionally to conceal the wrinkles with textures, but it didn’t end up making enough difference to keep doing it. In fact, it may have made them appear more prominent:

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I thought ahead about the cat hair and glitter all over the floor of the backdrop in these shots, and really blacked out the entire area rather than going in to delete every little speck, but wouldn’t you there’s one stubborn piece of glitter that’s still over there on the lower right-hand side, twinkling away. Oh well.

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I liked this next leap, just for something different:

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And I don’t actually know what else to say here, as I’ve posted a lot of pictures and have run out of steam, so I’ll just post the last one now to close out this set, finally. This is every outfit I photographed on Saturday, so who knows what photos I’ll be sharing in my next post. Lord knows I still have plenty to process! Since Luanne loves them so much, maybe I’ll upload more antique-district pics tomorrow. 🙂

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Catting About

Well here it is the middle of the month, and already I am overloaded with photos. I’ve been shooting, if not every day, at least every other day, and the backlog is insane. But I may only have a few weeks off this summer, so I might as well shoot and edit and blog while I can. So let’s get to it.

While jumping about in new clothes Saturday, Simon eventually decided to try and get into the act. Well, he wasn’t trying to get into the pictures so much as he was trying to: a) crawl behind the backdrop and create a big visible lump in it, b) steal the remote after I pressed it and tossed it on the floor (mission accomplished on that one – one of my two remotes is now MIA), and c) attack my skirt and/or feet while I jumped about. I figured if he was doing to get into so much mischief while I tried to shoot, he could at least do me the courtesy of a little modeling.

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He somewhat complied

And yes, I know those little white specks (which are mostly glitter from a previous shoot and Simon’s cat hair) are on the floor again in these photos; I noticed it after I re-sized these and saved them to the blog, so although I went back and edited the originals, I didn’t bother to edit them in the re-sized versions. Sorry. And, lesson learned about the need to seriously clean the black backdrop before shooting. Moving on.

As far as the photo goes, I’ve been learning a little about the burn tool in Photoshop, and how I can use it to enhance shadows; I think it made the movement in the skirt more pronounced here. Those little half-sock thingys are from, of course, Free People, and they are great for photos. I think they are considered some sort of yoga sock, but I wouldn’t really use them for that – I got them because I really don’t think my bare feet look good in my jumping photos (I am not a dancer, so really it’s that I don’t know how to point my toes very well while trying to leap about and I they often come out looking sloppy) so I thought this little half-sock might help distract from my less-than-perfect toes. I think they worked out great for this purpose. Damn that Free People, they really do have absolutely everything I want right now (I also bought some yoga socks with little cut-out toes in them [!], they look great in photos also. I’ll show some pics I took wearing them later).

Let’s talk about this next shot a little. I actually got two shots of me leaping while holding Simon; in the one below, I managed to get some nice height while carrying him, so it was definitely the better shot:

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He looks thrilled, doesn’t he?

But as you can see, my hair was all in my face and the expression I was making wasn’t that great either. I much preferred my head in the other shot I took while holding the cat…

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…but the leap was unimpressive. So, I pulled both shots into Paint Shop Pro and layered one over the other to combine my top half with my bottom half into one perfect jump.

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I know this is the sort of thing a lot of people can do easily, but for me it’s still a chore to pull off, which is why I don’t do it more often. If it didn’t take me so long I’d have more perfect jumps out there, for sure. But I really have to care enough to take the time involved to do this. In this case, it was worth it, even though Simon looks like he’s about to bail on me (he was perfectly fine after the leaping, I promise).

This skirt, by the way, is NOT from Free People; it was purchased at this cheesy boutique called “Everything Bling,” or something like that – a store that is always blaring country music and has loads of rhinestones and lace. Yet every time I go in there I find something cool, so perhaps I shouldn’t be so harsh on the cheesiness of it. Clearly it caters to me on some level. I bought this one in both black and beige and I do wear them everywhere because they are tiered and twirly and fabulous. I always wanted to get photos of it and hadn’t had the time until last weekend.I took a bunch of photos in this skirt, but the focus was off in most of the shots and I felt like they came out soft, so I didn’t process many of them.  I did edit this next one, but I don’t really like how it came out; still not sure if I like it at all. What I do like is how it shows the great movement of the skirt.

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I added blur since I felt it was a little soft and figured I’d make it look intentional. I even tried pulling this into Pixlr to see if I liked it better, but I’m not sure I do.

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I dunno – I’m still meh about it. I did like this next one, though, if for no other reason than because it’s a particular leap I’m always trying to pull off and not accomplishing, and I managed to kind of do it here – kind of a little ankle-kick while leaning slightly forward (my technical dance terms, don’t you know). It would have been better if I’d been in profile, but when you’re as uncoordinated as I am you take what you get.

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I hope you all noticed, also, that I took all these jump shots in  my natural hair. We’ll talk about the four months’ worth of regrowth at the roots later, mmm’kay? Anyway, more yoga toes tomorrow!

iRetroscope

So much I could say about work today, but I put off writing a blog post too long and am not up for all the typing. So – I thought I’d share a fun little photography/video app I have on my iPhone called iRetroscope.

My artist friend Deb Morbeto shared this little iPhone photo gem with me, and I often forget I even have it, but last Friday I went over to a friend’s house after work and her two little boys pounced on me as soon as I walked in the door, asking me if I would take photos of them jumping as I’ve done before. See collage below for reference:

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No toddlers were harmed in the making of these photos.

But of course, I did not have my Canon 7D with me as I’d not been planning on taking any pics, so I knew I wasn’t going to be able to get any decent jump shots that night. However, far be  it from me to deny some kids the opportunity to jump on the bed, so I got out my trusty iPhone and went to work. I did shoot video of them jumping around on the bed for awhile and threw together a video of the experience that I can also share, but it’s not the most thrilling thing ever, and actually does not use the iRetroscope app. I’ll throw it in here anyway – why not (and yes, I’m getting to the iRetroscope part, I promise):

Unfortunately, it wasn’t until after that bit of fun was over that I remembered the IRetroscope app and realized it would have been a perfect opportunity to use it. The app has several different era settings – from the 1920’s all the way up to the 1980’s – and does a pretty cool job of making either a video or a photo look dated. It’s a great thing to use when snapping iPhone pics that you think might not turn out all that great; as you may know if you’ve read my blog for any length of time, I am a huge fan of doing whatever possible to make quick, crappy pics look intentionally crappy so you can still use them. Aging a photo is a sure-fire way to turn blur and bad framing into something ‘retro,’ so I decided to give it a go while the kids basically ran around and screamed a lot to provide me with more camera fodder, as seen here (using the app this time):


I literally started filming and said, “OK, just run around or something.” And man did they comply.

I used the 1930’s setting for the first section and the 1970’s setting for the second. And no, there is no repeating of footage there; they actually did run back and forth that much. The music is from a compilation I found on amazon.com of silent film soundtracks, and man have I gotten use out of those tunes. It’s great for silly little videos like this one.

I actually don’t have any photos using iRetroscope that I can get my hands on at the moment, but you get the idea from the video, I think. And unfortunately, I thought that in order to fill the screen I needed to hold my camera in landscape/horizontal position like you do with the plain old iPhone video camera; sadly I was wrong so everything is squished. As I said, I haven’t used this app in forever so I forgot how to use it. Also, I know nothing about video editing and the only software I know how to use is MovieMaker, and that probably shows. Never was able to get into video editing like I did with photos.

Anyway, I can’t recall if the app is free, but if it costs money I’m sure it’s not much or I wouldn’t have purchased it. It’s a lot of fun and an easy way to fancy up your iPhone shots. You’re welcome!

Photoshoot Round 2

After working on deer portraits, I decided to change costumes and do some jumping. Unfortunately, my office/studio gets really hot during the day when it’s hot outside, so I couldn’t leap for long as I timed things badly and was jumping about at the hottest part of the day. I still got some good shots, just didn’t get as many as I usually do. I’m learning to take less anyway, since I can only process so many photos from the same shoot before I get bored. There’s no need for me to take 300 shots each time, it’s just I have so much more to work with when I do; but when it’s 100 degrees outside, and about 80 degrees in my studio, well, I just can’t handle too much bandying about in a hot wig and layers of costumery. So I made this part quick and kept the fan on high to try and reduce the heat.

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Is this a fab dress or what? It’s like a cross-dressing costume for Peter Pan.

I wanted to play around with different movement and camera focus some, since I tend to rely a lot on fully zoomed-out full-body jump shots. I thought it might be interesting to bring the focus in and just capture parts of me in motion; it irritated me a little as I feel I probably missed cool movement this way and am still more interested in the shapes the entire body makes, but still. Gotta change things up a bit when I can.

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I felt this one needed to be B&W for some reason. And that little shot of the floral tights bugs a bit; it takes away from the seriousness of the shot, but cropping out the leg entirely ruined the movement of it so I had to keep it.

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I love this one – I look like some freaky combination of a My Little Pony and a day-glo extra from Cats. The wig is another Gothic Lolita one; not sure you can tell but it transitions from purple to pink on the ends. 

I also wanted to play around with leaping in such a manner that I might flip the photo on its side and look like I was falling, or flying, or something. This hasn’t gone so well for me in the past but I thought I’d give it another shot by trying some jumps with a falling motion to my body. Interestingly, in the leaps where I tried this, I kept visualizing me flipping the photos over to the left, so when playing around with editing I kept flipping everything that way and it wasn’t working. Then I got the idea (duh) to flip to the right and it looked a little better. Still not sure this works but maybe that’s because I know I was leaping straight up and can’t stop “seeing” it when I look at it. Who knows. Also, it’s a bitch to edit the floor out of the shot but that has to be done or the effect is ruined, so I probably won’t try this with too many photos just yet. Or maybe I will, who knows. I just know it took twice as long to edit this one, and I had to use several extra layers of texture to conceal lines that would indicate what was really going on.

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Click on this one to see a better shot with more clarity. For some reason it looks crappy when inserted into the post.

Tomorrow I’ll share the last “look” from this shoot, although I’ve got lots more of both these and yesterday’s costumes to edit. I’ve also kept my studio set up in case I want to shoot anything else on the holiday. I do have lots of grocery store pics to share at some point since that’s what I did Sunday.

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Kinda cheesy background but I thought the movement of the stars worked well with the shape my body made. 

Outtake Awkwardness

I set up for a weekend shoot Thursday afternoon, and while I was at it I threw on a crinoline and attempted some sofa-jumping pics (I worked in the interior design industry in the 90’s, and to this day I cannot use the word couch when referring to that particular piece of furniture; it was considered in poor taste to do so, which is one of those completely random, useless factoids from a past career that has never vacated my brain). Anyway, most of the shots were crap, but I did snag this one, which I enjoy:


I have very veiny feet, and until my mid-20’s I had hair on my toes. My nickname in high school was “hobbit feet” because of this. True story. 

I took this one shot where I hit the sofa hard and the face I made was so awful, I deleted it directly from the camera. The second I hit the delete button I realized it would have been perfect to upload in an outtakes post on my blog, and actually shouted “Nooooo!” but it was too late. So, the best outtake I cannot upload. But I did find a few lovelies to share.


This one illustrates the importance of being sure one’s Hobbit Feet are pointed


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Believe it or not, I’m making an even worse face in the shot I deleted. But at least my Hobbit Feet are pointed.

I always watch a Rifftrax or old Mystery Science Theater 3000 episode while shooting. Weird, I know; but I can’t sit still to watch anything, so I use my shooting time as movie time. Sometimes between that and the industrial-strength fan I have blowing, I have a hard time hearing the timer count down This was one of those times I couldn’t hear it, and realized it was about to go off too late. I tried to scramble into some sort of pose, but I didn’t have time to come up with anything, so I punted:


When in doubt, make this face

I’m going to try out some new costume stuff this weekend, which will require a trip to Party City tomorrow. Time to buy more cheap crap! Maybe I can get my hands on some Hobbit Feet slippers or something. But it would probably be better to get my feet on them (or in them).

Outtake Awkwardness – Curly Wig Edition

In working my way through the tons of photos I want to process from this shoot, I kept the idea of looking for good photo fails in the back of mind so I could share them here. I mentioned in the last outtake post that when searching through old sets for awkward shots I was disappointed by how boring most of my bloopers were, but this time I got a few doozies. So…yay me for doing a bang-up job looking ridiculous, I guess.

I’m also experimenting with uploading smaller photos than I have previously. I never re-size my shots before uploading, which is a bad idea I know, but I am lazy. At least for the blog I need to get better about that. And I’m also thinking it would be smart to watermark them, but I have to get past the fact that I hate watermarks. I’m perpetually conflicted between the part of me that wants to be smart about the internet and the part of me that wants to Keep Calm and Upload On.   Anyway, on to the outtakes!


I hear the perverted soccer mom look is really in this year

My first thought on seeing this next shot was that I looked like I had a penis. Then, while I was editing it (because yes, I even edit my bloopers) I realized I look like Michael Jackson. And those two things together in one self-portrait are really disturbing.


#1 – Betchya didn’t know I had such a nice package; #2 – Um, I’m Bad? Maybe?

This next one is presented without comment. Although it does have a caption. Is that a comment? Probably so. Anyway:


Not exactly how I envisioned this jump working out