Sunday, September 29, 2013

LifeLookLens: Benefits of Blogging - Why I Blog - How to Blog - ...

LifeLookLens: Benefits of Blogging - Why I Blog - How to Blog - ...: Today, I have to finish my term paper for Philosophy. It's 6AM now, so I've got 18 hours to work on that before the deadline strike...

Benefits of Blogging - Why I Blog - How to Blog - Keep Writing - What to Blog About

Today, I have to finish my term paper for Philosophy.
It's 6AM now, so I've got 18 hours to work on that before the deadline strikes.
I feel like an unlucky Cinderella.

Before I start reading, typing frantically, and cramming for tests this week-

I must blog.

Blogging keeps me sane, at times when the day holds more responsibilities than I'm ready or capable to finish. Coffee will help. Blogging will help, too.

Must not think about Plato and what topics of which I shall write for a paper deadline right now. Far too stressful on this Sunday morning.

I took some pictures yesterday.

I'll blog about them now.

(right after these messages, that just happened in my head and should go right  
here on this blog.)

I don't blog so much for other people to read my posts as I blog for myself. That seems selfish. I guess it is. It's also the honest truth. I blog because I have too many thoughts spinning around in my head all the time so some of them have to go here.

Writing is like therapy for me. Taking pictures is what I do. Writing about those pictures is a simple way that I relax and regroup. Sometimes, I don't know what to write about. Actually, most times. To combat that annoying little obstacle, I just start typing.

Whatever words end up here are my thoughts at the time in which I type them on the screen.
I guess some people would say that my blog is more of a journal than anything creative or useful for others.

I figure that there are plenty of other blogs out there to fulfill the demands of readers.

Mine isn't usually one of them.

My blog is not really centered around any specific topics or advice columns that will help people find certain bits of how-to information they can use in life.

That's what Google is for.

Since other blogs and Google exist, I release myself from obligations of making readers love me or the random thoughts I write about.

So, why do I blog?

The motivation behind writing has always been strong for me, but the various reasons for blogging have changed repeatedly since I first began on Blogger.

At first, I wanted to promote photos I'd taken that I thought were better than average.
I dreamed that people would look at my blog, see my photos, and that somehow-
I'd become a famous photographer.

I realize that the leap from posting pictures online to professional photography is tremendous. When I began this blog, however, the jump seemed possible and even likely. How else would people discover me, I thought. So, that's why I blogged back then.

I am still not famous.
My photography has achieved account-making all over the web, but not much else. Photo contests I've entered have resulted in top 10 statuses, but I haven't won first place in any submissions yet.
No one has called me to praise the photos I take and to hire me as a professional photographer.
They're missing out, of course.
Still, the point of this matter is that blogging makes me dream of the things I really want.
Blogging and writing are means to self-discovery.
Although I'm not a professional photographer, I found that my passion for taking photos is real and persisting. I realized a talent I have and I gained confidence by blogging about my photos, if nothing else. That's what's happened with the first motivation results thus far. I'm okay with it.

After receiving no house calls from talent scouts or magazine editors begging for more of my photos, I began blogging about my new business venture on Etsy.
I started a shop, selling vintage and antique finds, at Lifelooklens on Etsy.
My store closed, following the death of my grandfather, the demands of my job, and the beginnings of going back to school for a degree I needed for the job I felt stuck in.

I miss owning and operating my Etsy shop. For the few months my store was open, I made about 60 sales and additional income that helped while my husband completed his third year in pharmacy school.

Yeah, I blogged about all that for a while. I promoted my Etsy shop and perhaps my efforts to post about it on this blog resulted in brief success at Lifelooklens entrepreneurship.

Still, no talent scouts called.

After I closed my Etsy store, following a heated message sending frenzy centered around the non-mailed status of a 1980's teal Caboodle kit, I decided to move on.

I stopped posting for a while. 
After all, I felt like I had failed in both ventures and purposes for blogging in the first place.

I realize now, that is nonsense. Pish-posh, if you will.

I went on a craft-making spree for a couple of months when I didn't post much on Blogger.
I began drawing and sketching again.
I pursued a cartoonist's dream for a while.
I thought about centering my blog around the drawings and sketches I doodle.
I posted some of those on here.

That got boring when no newspapers wanted my cartoons.

 Why I feel that success is getting my work published, I do not know.
It's just something I've always wanted. I still do.

As I reflect upon my history of blogging, I've gained an overall perspective about the benefits of writing and posting on Blogger.

Here's what I've learned: 

- Blogging promotes self-awareness, clarity, insight, and overall mental health. 
- Physical, tangible effects in my personal life have directly been the results of blogging. 
- Success is not being "discovered"
- Success is persistence of dreams, even when the specifics of those dreams aren't yet realized.
- Blogging helps to discover what dreams you want most in your life.
- Writing down your thoughts makes them more real.
- You're more likely to pursue your passions when you blog about them.
- Positive self-esteem is achieved by creating posts on a blog that you feel proud of
- Creative talents are discovered via blogging
- Even though you may not feel like anyone is reading your blog...someone does. 
- The thoughts you have are better organized on a blog than they are in your crazy little bean head. 
- Blogs don't have to center around any specific topic/subject.
- Blogs do have to center around specific topics/subjects if you want to have consistent readers. 
- If you believe in being yourself and valuing the traits you have that others aren't aware of- blogging achieves self-confidence, better communication skills, and better writing habits. 
- Blogging leaves something behind that will not die when you do. 
- Blogging makes your own personal mark on the world, even when you can't see it at the time. 
- Blogging is relaxing. 
- There is freedom in blogging. There is control, when life spins out of control.
- Blogging changes you, in positive ways that you never expected. 
- You can write about whatever you want. 

One of my favorite things about blogging, in summary, is that you  
don't have to begin typing with any specific idea in mind.  

It will come to you.

 It will develop before your eyes, like magic.

This post serves to demonstrate that last benefit of blogging, I think. :)

And now, the pictures I said I'd blog about...

because this is my blog. this is me. the story of my life, in pictures...ever-changing...

Enjoy, and don't stop writing!

Dear Readers and (Shy) Talent Scouts,

I would like to thank you for visiting my blog. I hope you will return. I am uncertain of the reasons for which you have not contacted me yet for photo publication, though I am sure they are noble and are not intended to offend me. I would like to publish a book. I would like for you to help me do that. I will be thrilled to see stats on my blog increase as you view this post and are compelled to find more photos and posts I have written. I am sure you are just very busy. I am sure that you will enjoy at least a post or two on this blog, if you grant me a few moments of your valuable time. I will forever be grateful for your attention to my work. I would like to tell you about my dream. It's simple. Just publish one thing I've done, so I can stop self-promoting my work in such a demeaning, shameless manner. I live in Nashville, Tennessee. People say they like my pictures. I would like for more people to see them. I would like for you to help me do that.

Thank you for reading. Thank you for following. Thank you for coming back to see what I do next on my non-conventional blog of random thoughts and ambitions I hope to achieve.

Please leave comments for any suggestions, features, or promotions/topics/projects/whatever's-in-your-head that you want to see here, on my blog. I will appreciate and accommodate suggestions!

Regina Hodge.
affiliated with many various online projects, but Lifelooklens is my overall alias. Now, you know my name(s).

I hope to hear from you all soon. :)

Saturday, September 28, 2013

September #Sunset in Nashville - Plato Inspired Allegory of the Cave Photo Shoot

A sunset is one of the most beautiful things.

Watching the sun go down fills me with happiness. 

It always has

The amber glow and silvery beams of light that shine down through trees are things for which I am truly grateful.

 It's the simple things like these, that are easy to take for granted.

 When life gets busy- when you have a million things you've got to do and you feel completely overwhelmed...

go outside. 

Watch the sun set and take a look around you. 

The warmth of those rays reassure you that it's all going to be okay. Free self-therapy for the stressed-out, broken-hearted, and lonely...whatever the feelings, 

a sunset is a cure-all

My husband took this picture of me, outside in our backyard. It's obviously one of my favorites! 
Photo by Joshua Hodge, who has a knack for taking great pictures in difficult lighting! #Sunsets and my husband...two of the best things I have in life. Here I am, standing in the sunset's rays this week. Glad Josh caught this with my #Nikon ! 
Goodnight, sun. I'll see you tomorrow. Sweet dreams! Josh snapped this shot at the last light of day. It may look a bit strange at first, but I really like this picture. Makes me look like I'm telling the sun least, that's what I think when I look at this one. Love it! 
A slightly creepy/mysterious shot, taken by my husband. I like it. I had read so much Philosophy on this day and so maybe that's why I think of Plato's Allegory of the Cave when I look at this photo!
For those of you who aren't spending your days reading about ancient philosophers and pondering the purpose of life-
First of all, I envy you.
Secondly, you should familiarize yourself with Plato's cave story.
It's a good one, to say the least.

For a quick summary that'll help you understand my perception of this photo, as well as one of the most influential writings in all history, visit:

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

The Grand Revealing - RODP Art Project for Online Classes at NSCC

My "Hands-On" Art Project needed to make a political, social, or personal statement, according to the assignment requirements. 

For those who read my last post, you are aware of the forbiddance of iPads to be used as drawing tools in this project. 

You are also aware of my feelings about this, as well as those involved in my Art Appreciation class at good ole' RODP - 
an online class that I frequently use iPhone, iPad, and Mac to access from any location.

Although frustrated by the prohibiting of all things artistic and technological, I put aside these feelings long enough yesterday to complete the assignment the old-school way that my professor recommended.

Sketch pencils, charcoal, and pencil shavings still litter my dining room table. That mess could have been neatly stored away in the iPad 'Paper' app, for which I am quite the advocate as most of you know by now.

Anyway, I drew this sketch below before I'd received additional requirements for the project that designated all creations should have an overall theme. Since the drawing below is personal to me and I didn't want to explain it to my class, I decided not to use it for my project.

I drew this with sketch pencils...(only.)

I have been trying to re-create a drawing of my Papa since he passed away in late April this year. 

Above, I sketched out the lower half of his face. I've made several attempts to sketch an image that resembles an old photo of my late grandfather, without success. 

Anyway, I didn't want to go into the details of why this sketch means something to me- at least, not to my iPad-hating professor- even though I only used pencils to make this one.

I had to start all over to make a project that would convey the whole social/political/personal statement-thing...

So, I did.

I scribbled angrily and came up with a cartoon that I hope will result in a good grade.

Here it is...
"The Road to College is Paved With..."
That's what I call this one. Probably could've chosen a better title but by the time I finished drawing, I felt exhausted. I still had to write a statement that explained my doodle's meaning. Smudgy keyboard letters are still the result of the mess those pencils made yesterday.

We had to take pictures of our projects. I took several, hoping that I'd get a few that would be decent enough and clear enough to show the detail I'd sketched into a drawing that conveys all aspects required for the project.

I like what this ended up looking like- I adapted a previous version that I'd drawn on my iPad, which I'd learned could not be accepted for this project. Art Appreciation is hard to appreciate in moments like that. Nonetheless, the professor did end up contributing to a better rendition of my previous idea for this cartoon. It wasn't because of the pencils, though- It was just the re-drawing of the concept that made me  change it up a little to avoid repetition, boredom, and artistic insanity.

Perhaps I should get extra credit for a #selfie ? Proof of #noipad usage. :) 
Normally, the lines wouldn't be so dark. I was a bit angry. Makes sense, right? Also, creates more contrast so it's okay to draw when one is angry. :) 
Okay, do you see it? 
What's it say? 
Tilt your head a little to your right. 
No, your other right. 

Haha...yeah, not that funny, I know.
Anyway, you see that the sketch says 'DEBT' now. 
You didn't see that at first, did you? 
If you did, yay for you. 

We don't care. 
You're great. This is for the rest of the viewers...

I did answer the title of my art project's question. 

What's the road to college paved with? 

A+ for all of you! Yes! DEBT! It most certainly is! 

You are all so smart. In fact, I think you appreciate art! 

Too bad you'll have to pay to take the class, anyway. 

Hopefully, I'll get the same grade I gave all of you. 
Wish me luck. :/

Monday, September 23, 2013

Hands On Art Project for RODP Art Appreciation Course

I have a "Hands-On" project due for my RODP Art Appreciation class today. My professor will not allow me to use my iPad app, 'Paper', to sketch for my project. He said that since it's a "hands-on" project, raw materials should be used instead of an iPad.

Now, it's a good thing that I know how to draw with sketch pencils and that crafting artistic stuff has always been a hobby of mine. If none of these things were true, I would have been more irritated than I was to receive his "no-iPad's-allowed" email.

I don't think I explained my request clearly to this master RODP instructor. Surely, he knows that for one to draw on an iPad 'Paper' sketchpad, one must exercise the 'hands-on' method as much as one does when sketching with pencils.

I guess my professor doesn't know that.

To give him an idea of the artwork I enjoy making, I sent several web links to this professor. Those links had tons of photos and sketches I've made.

I thought to myself, "I shouldn't have to draw or make anything else for this class, once he gets a load of this blog right here!"

I was wrong.

He didn't comment on any of the blogs I'd emailed for his viewing. He really just focused on the 'no-iPad' part that would now make me fit one more assignment in my crazy hectic schedule.


I wonder if he'd know it if I drew a picture on my iPad, anyway...

Since we are supposed to take a picture of whatever we make, how would he know I didn't use a pencil to draw?

He wouldn't.

He doesn't know that screenshots will serve to break the rule that defies the entire point of the whole class. ART APPRECIATION.

Maybe my professor should appreciate technology's contributions to art. Maybe he should appreciate that I can make a masterpiece by using one finger as a drawing tool on the 'Paper' app.

Seems that I'm not the only one who really needs to pay RODP to teach me lessons in Art Appreciation.

Nevertheless, I have decided that I will not try to fool my professor by screenshot-ting an iPad drawing.
Instead, I'm going to use pencils.
I just wish I could think of something to draw with those pencils that would express how I feel about this class right now.

Time to start drawing...

no iPad allowed.

Let's see what I come up with... :)

Post of my project soon! It's due today, so I've gotta get busy! :)

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Athens Greek Restaurant - You Don't Know Until You Try!

My family has always had a birthday tradition that I loved when I was a kid.

Turns out, I love it just as much now on my 26th birthday as I did back then.

 It's simple, really. And yet... it means SO MUCH.

We had this birthday rule about letting the birthday girl/boy -

(boy was always Daddy, as I grew up with females, otherwise)

- pick any restaurant or special dinner for their annual celebration.

This year, my mom was surprised when I suggested something different than my usual birthday go-to spot. (Calhoun's, in case anyone wants extra credit.)

Since I moved from the small town of Ashland City to Nashville, I've become quite the little foodie-lover...

One of my favorite places to eat is Athens Grill.

Mama had never heard of Athens, nor had she ever tried Greek food...

until today.

Turns out that what my mom and dad taught me as a kid proved true today...

"You never know until you try"

I love teaching my parents new things that they taught me first.

I am thankful for my family and truly enjoyed spending time with those I love most on my 'name-day'! :)

Go eat at Athens Family Restaurant.
It's my birthday, so you have to do what I say.
It's the birthd-eve rule...
That's a new holiday I came up with that I'll explain later... trust me, you'll love it when your birthday rolls around.

Anyway... at Athens with the fam...