Photography Friday! Week 4 – Iron Man, Star Trek & A Sand Mandala

Home on Friday night, fighting off a horrible hacking cough and nursing a migraine while my friends are out at a pub crawl/going away party. I won’t bother to pretend that I was looking forward to bouncing from bar to bar tonight, but I was psyched for a chance to go to the only male strip club in town, just for shits and giggles. I’m 99% sure I would have been grossed out (after all, what’s attractive about guys in man panties?) but still. Anyway, I’m going to keep this short, since the bright white light of the WordPress backend is making my face want to split in two right now.

Saturday, May 11th was a very busy day. I went running, got a great massage that has kept my back pain at bay for almost a week now (!!!), ate a great sushi lunch, then met up with my coworkers for an event called the Champagne Stroll on Magazine Street. Afterwards, we all went bar hopping, and then my friend Gary and I went to see The Essentials play at this club called The Maison.




Sunday, May 12th was low key. I woke up to a lovely bath from Murph (really a reminder that his food bowl was almost empty – he only “loves” me when he needs something), then later walked through the CBD to the movie theater to see Iron Man 3. I’m one of the minority who happen to not hate Gwyneth Paltrow, so for me, Pepper Pots is one of the best things about the Iron Man series. There was one particular scene in this last installment that made me cry for happiness. I won’t ruin it for you if you haven’t seen it, but it’s a small part of a pivotal action scene, where you see that even though Tony has been consumed by his work as of late, he didn’t neglect to take every precaution to make sure his most precious asset, Pepper, would be safe. Yes, I’m a total sap. Sue me.



The remainder of an old building facade in the CBD.

Monday, May 13th I watched workmen putting some of the finishing touches on the building that houses Peche, the new Donald Link restaurant at the corner of Magazine & Julia Streets. I also discovered that you can revive wilted asparagus by snipping off the ends and putting the stalks in water overnight! It’s a miracle! I was also in a short video about the nature of sanity.



Watch "You Are Insane" here:

Watch You Are Insane. It’s weird, and smart. 

On Tuesday, May 14th I was in a bad mood most of the day. I was in a bad mood most of the week, but I was also very tired, which later I found out was because I was getting sick. Sick sucks. Anyway, I walked around in the CBD in search of the elusive UPS Store (which I guess is hidden inside the Roosevelt Hotel, but I never found it). On my journey, I found this lovely sign that reminded me to chill the eff out.


Wednesday, May 15th was all about going to see Star Trek Into Darkness – whoot! I went with Gary and Nathan from work, plus six or seven of Nathan’s friends from Mississippi. We saw it at the IMAX in 3D, and even got a free commemorative poster that glows in the dark. So cool. True to form, I forgot to take photos at the event, but I did take some cute snapshots of Nathan’s two dogs, Otis and Nola, beforehand.


Sweet and ever-happy Nola.


Otis is honestly one of the cutest dogs I’ve ever met. He’s such an optimist – he thinks that everyone has ham for him. Maybe because most people do 🙂

Last night, (Thursday, May 16th) my friend Caroline and I went to watch the Tibetan Buddhist monks construct a portion of the sand mandala. It was gorgeous, and my photos do it no justice. I’ll have to write more about it in another post, because the coughing is back and I kind of want to wrap this up.



The sands & tools used by the monks.


They worked in silence, with such confidence.


The item in the monk’s left hand is a long funnel-like tool, full of colored sand. It has ridges along the top, and the monk is holding a wand-like tool in his right hand that he rubs over the ridges. The vibrations make the sand flow out of the end of the funnel almost like water. It’s a very precise, calculated set of movements, but the monks are so skilled that they make it seem easy.

I spent most of last night awake, coughing up a lung (or so it seemed). Today I made some changes on my blog – sorry to keep messing about with the template, but the old one was malfunctioning – then Gary and I went down to the convention center to meet up with Caroline and watch the monks destroy the mandala. Unfortunately, the crowd was so thick that I couldn’t really see much, but I did get to hear them chanting and playing instruments. They sound like giant bullfrogs when they chant, and the instruments sounded like 2nd grade music appreciation, but I know that’s just my Western ear. I loved it! Afterward, I bought an altar cloth and a book of the Dalai Lama’s sayings. Tomorrow morning I’ll get to hear him speak in person!


Back to Earth

It’s Sunday morning, and the first time in a long time that I don’t have pressing matters to attend to immediately. In fact, today’s going to be relatively uneventful in comparison to the last two weeks of outrageous stress and worry. Don’t get me wrong – I’ve got a very full plate still – but for the last couple of weeks, I would wake up in the morning knowing that just by the way the universe works, I was already behind on things I needed to get done, and there was no way to catch up in any useful manner.

Yesterday marked the end of the official madness – the Fall Fashion Bazaar that I had spent weeks planning, curating, designing, and marketing actually happened, and now it’s over. I spent upwards of 80 hours working on just this one event in the last two weeks, not counting my three other freelance clients or my own (shaky at present) personal life. It’s fair to say that I’m a bit burned out, plus in an unhealthy spot, since I haven’t worked out since November 1st. AND on top of all that, I’m behind by five (5) FIVE! origami creations, so that’s going to have to be one of today’s major goals.

The Fall Fashion Bazaar was beautiful, and the vendors all brought great things. We had a fair amount of foot traffic, and an OK bit of sales, too. I worked so hard to get this thing on every community calendar in the city, and to get our word out through social media and word of mouth and with posters and flyers in every coffee shop and place witha bulletin board in the city. There was a huge standing sign outside of our door, and signage at the ends of both blocks, plus lots of lighting and decorative stuff outside of the front door, too. Still, though we only had about 150 people walk through the space over 8 hours, which just breaks my heart. Every vendor sold something, though – most went home with at least 100 to 150 of profit (some more than that), and most ended up being very happy with the day. After talking it over with my coworkers, it seems like the best way to increase foot traffic is to get more vendors and spill the sale all the way out almost into the street next time, instead of making passersby look in through the door to decide if they’d like to come in, we should hit them with desire from step one. We’ll see.

Here are a few photos of the sale. For more, go to

Miss Nola, one of our office dogs, during set up. She’s a dainty little thing!

Lanterns – we filled them with strings of LED lights for an amazing 12-hour glow.


The sale gets set up.

Photo by Loc Pham

Photo by Loc Pham

Photo by Loc Pham

A few cool things came out of this experience. First off, I’ve always loved running trade show booths, and getting events and shows set up. When I was in college, I used to work in catering for a famous local restaurant, and even though I was just a lowly server, they’d let me come early and help with designing the set up since it was up my alley and they trusted me not to be a screw up 🙂 Running this event was no different, other than the sheer amount of physical and mental energy it drained working on/thinking about this 24/7 for the last couple of weeks. I really enjoyed getting to be the glue that held the event together, and I’d do it again in a heartbeat, even if that means I’m completely insane.

Secondly, I met a few people that I really liked, and hope to work with again. There were a few vendors that I really loved from the beginning, both because I really dug their products and also because they were just nice people who were trying very hard to promote the event from their ends, as well. I hope to get to work with them in the future on whatever they end up making and doing, just because they’re awesome and fun.

Another unforeseen perk is that I got presents! One vendor, Mokamoda, made the coolest bags and I just love them so much – the funky shapes and fun colors remind me a lot of Desigual designs. I’d link to the company website, but it’s not up yet. Anyway, at the end of the night, Laura, the designer behind Mokamoda, gave me this gorgeous clutch bag just as a ‘thank you’ for my work! It’s one of the nicest bags I’ve ever owned – it’s amazing. Also, one of the designers, Naomi Celestin of Restrung Jewelry, cut me an amazing deal on a pair of earrings that I adored. She makes all of her jewelry out of used guitar strings from Louisiana Musicians, and is seriously one of the coolest chicks I’ve met in a long time.

Curvy Peapod Earrings by Restrung Jewelry – this was the only pair she made with a curvy line like this, since the beads have to be so tiny to contain the shape. Love, love, love em! Check out more of her work at


Some of Mokamoda’s amazing bags. They’re all custom printed on canvas, very sturdy, and have colorful printed interiors, too. This photo doesn’t do them justice, really.