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"You do not have to sit outside in the dark.

If, however, you want to look at the stars, you will find that darkness is necessary but the stars neither require nor demand it."

// Annie Dillard

  

Picture a flat, desert landscape, up on an elevation close to 5000 ft. You step outside of your tent, into the darkness, and there is an eerie stillness. Not even a single breeze to break up the silence. You feel slightly uneasy as you imagine desert critters creeping up on you at this very moment. As your eyes try to adjust to the darkness, you look gaze forward and see a splattering of stars starting so low to the ground, you almost want to run across the landscape to see if you can touch them. As you tilt your head back, you are met with an explosion of stars. Stars like you've never seen before, at least, not in person. The milky way is visible, creating a blurry arc across the sky. And layers upon layers of shiny orbs reminding you that we are all living on a planet suspended in a single galaxy, one of billions in our universe. 

How small, yet how amazing, is our earth?

The above quote by Annie Dillard really resonated with me during my explorations in Page. Not only because the star gazing was phenomenal but because I felt this quote can relate to so many experiences you can have in the great outdoors. Nature, in all of its unconstrained, raw beauty, is out there, always, just waiting for you to take the road less traveled.

I received many messages about the camera equipment and settings I used to take these photos. I am not at all an expert when it comes to astrophotography. This is actually only my third attempt at it, and the first two times didn't turn out so well. While I did not go out and buy anything specifically for taking photographs of stars, I did do some research to find the best settings using equipment I already owned. 

Based on my limited experience, here are a few tips: First, the necessary camera equipment: a wide angle lens with a wide maximal aperture (4 or wider), a sturdy tripod and a remote trigger. Second, you need to be in a location with zero light pollution, and preferably, at a time when the moon is in a new moon phase. This location had zero visible light pollution, but I still captured some yellowish glow from the moon which had just been a full moon a few days prior. Third, try to compose your photo with a bit of the landscape in the frame. Otherwise, it is hard to visualize the scale of the stars. The images where I pointed straight up at the sky are a lot less interesting than the ones I shot with a bit of the landscape at the bottom of my frame. Finally, tinker with some settings on an editing program, like Lightroom, to reduce the light pollution/noise, and to adjust the temperature/contrast, in order to really make the stars and milky way pop. Below, I listed the settings I used for my camera: 

Camera: Canon EOS 6D

Lens: I used my Wide Angle to Telephoto Zoom lens at the widest angle, 24 mm, focused to infinity || Aperture: 4, which was the widest I could go with my lens || Shutter Speed: 30 secs || ISO: 1500 to 3200 || White Balance: Daylight

Hope this helps! Share photos with me, I would love to see them!

Yours truly,

 

 

 

 
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Today, I am sharing a fun DIY craft project using terracotta saucers. You can find them at the planter aisle in most gardening and hardware stores. I get mine from Home Depot.

     

Material List: terracotta saucers | acrylic craft paint | paint brushes | tablecloth | white charcoal pencil or Fons & Porter pencil | paper plate or disposable palette paper

Optional: clear acrylic coating spray

     

Make sure you give the terracotta saucers a nice wash with warm water and soap. Once dry, use the charcoal pencil or the Fons & Porter pencil to draw an outline of the illustration you want to paint. 

    

If you paint a background color, you can use a regular pencil to sketch out your design.

      

Before you begin painting, make sure you cover the surface of your table with a cloth to prevent painting spills from causing any damage. Select your colors and squeeze them out into a paper plate or palette, and paint away!

     

Once you are finished painting, set the saucers out to dry. For additional protection, you can spray a coat or two of clear acrylic. I kept mine au naturel but an acrylic coat is recommended if you plan on placing items on these saucers that can scratch the paint (i.e. house keys).

     

Once the paint and/or acrylic coat is completely dry, you can place them around the house. I use mine as a jewelry dish but they can also be a catch all container for your keys and random change in your pocket.

I first tried this craft idea with a group of ladies during my sister's Palm Springs bachelorette and everyone had a blast. Check out some of their creations below! 

     

Be sure to tag me @yourstrulycalligraphy if you end up trying this DIY so I can see your creations!

 
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As some of you may know, I taught my first modern calligraphy workshop a few weekends ago. It was such a fun day and I could not have asked for a better first workshop experience. From the wonderful vendors that I collaborated with, to my talented students, and my amazing friends that showed up to offer support -- everything was perfect!

I was fortunate to be able to collaborate with a handful of San Diego creatives to make this workshop a beautiful (and tasty!) event for all of my students. We held the workshop at CC Vintage Rentals, which was filled with amazing vintage furniture and Not My Dish tabletop rentals. Julie of Julie Ferneau Photography was on site to capture all of the details.

The delicious pies (coconut cream, earl grey and chicken pot pie) by Pop Pie Co were a huge hit. These gorgeous florals by La Belle Bloom tied everything together and made the whole venue and the tabletops look beautiful. 

I loved how everything looked all set up and ready to go. Each student received a modern calligraphy booklet (custom designed by yours truly) and a curated beginner's toolkit of some of my favorite calligraphy materials. I also added my "Hello, Gorgeous" card and indigo floral temporary tattoo for everyone to take home.

More captures by Julie of the workshop and my students hard at work.

Thank you, to all of my workshop attendees!

Special thanks to a few of my #calligrasisters who came out to support me: Grace and Nina of Calligraphy Companion, Younghae of Logos Calligraphy and Alice of Lace & Lettering. Friends, the calligraphy community is so uplifting and supportive, and I am so grateful to have met these ladies early on in my calligraphy journey. You should check out their workshops, especially if you are interested in traditional calligraphy scripts and letter forms.

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There is something about the California coast. The salty winds, the crashing waves and the fine grains of sand that always seems to find its way into your hair and clothes. The ocean never ceases to inspire with its ever changing hue and expansive horizon. 

The ocean was the inspiration behind this beautifully intimate styled shoot dreamed up by the talented ladies at Beijos Events and photographer This Girl Nicole. This was the first styled shoot I participated in and I was thrilled to see it featured on Style Me Pretty. A dream team of talented vendors contributed to this shoot and I am so excited to share the details with you all!

Without further ado, here are some of my favorite images from this shoot:

All images by This Girl Nicole.

I just love this off-shoulder Sarah Seven wedding dress from The Dress Theory and the stunning bouquet created by Milieu Florals. Hair and makeup was done by 1011 Makeup.

The sweetheart table was put together with that gorgeous driftwood table from Found Rentals, tabletop wares from borrowed BLU and more beautiful arrangements by Milieu Florals. The wood Mr. and Mrs. pieces were made by The Duo Studio and the watercolor place cards were created by yours truly. 

The dessert table set up is possibly my favorite from this shoot. What is there not to love with (too pretty to eat) sweets from Susie Cakes and Le Mignon Macaron, artfully arranged on cake stands from borrowed BLU? And that teal table from Found Rentals is just perfect.  

I used pretty stationery from Prim & Pixie to create this handlettered wedding invitation suite, using a mix of white, pointed pen calligraphy and gray, watercolor brush lettering. All of the jewelry shown here is by Love Tatum, and the velvet ring box is from The Mrs. Box.   

More beautiful details, including this peacock chair by Found Rentals, shoes from BHLDN and rings from Love Tatum.

I hope you enjoyed these images as much as I did.  Have a great weekend, friends!

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I have an ongoing love affair with the desert landscape. There is something about the haze inducing dry heat, the golden hues as the sun goes down, the uniqueness (and resilience) of the flora that flourish in such an unforgiving environment. Maybe it is also because of the many family trips I took to the desert as a child.

I recently took a road trip to one of my favorite places in the world – Joshua Tree National Park. If you have not yet been, Joshua Tree National Park is a magical place filled with grand rock formations, prickly plants, and of course, groves of Joshua trees. Normally, I visit this park to hike, climb some rocks and take pictures of the landscape. This time, I accompanied my newly engaged sister and her fiancé to meet with the very sweet and talented Abbi Hearne of Abbi Hearne Creative for an engagement photo session (for them) and a portrait session (for me). 

I had never visited the park during the winter season before, and I was pleasantly surprised to see so much COLOR in the desert landscape. There were so many shades of gray, with pops of red, yellow, green and blue. Summertime makes for harsh lighting and highly saturated colors. But the cooler winter temperatures and the soft lighting really lit up the desert landscape in pastel colors.  

I had such a great time with Abbi, her husband, Callen, and their pup, Charlie, who were on an epic road trip going from one national park to another while taking some amazing photos. You can follow their adventures here.

Here are a few photos from my portrait session with Abbi:

Once our photo sessions ended, we explored the park and I attempted my hand at engagement photography and snapped a few photos of my sister and her fiancée.

Stay tuned for photos from my sister’s engagement session with Abbi and some calligraphy by yours truly!

P.S. Hair color and styling was done by Mish

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