Thursday, February 26, 2015

Project 365, Days 50-56

 50:365 The Bellagio has a turn-down service that includes closing the curtains, turning off all the lights except the bed lights, turning on the TV and changing the channel to a serene music station, and setting out these two delectable chocolates. After my long days working, it was nice to come into my room and feel completely at peace and then enjoy eating my milk chocolate Belgian chocolate!

51:365 The lobby ceiling at the Bellagio is covered with this amazing blown glass art. Apparently it's worth $10 million but all I could think about is how heavy the whole piece would be if lifted. It's massive!

52:365 Ryan had some sewing needs so I whipped out the ol' sewing machine, set it up and let him have fun with his patch jobs.

53:365 Got a new piece of jewelry that shows off my love for the Harry Potter fandom!

54:365 Finished my second book for February and loved it! A book review for both the first book and the second book will be coming soon.

55:365 The Provo Library was having a book sale so Ryan and I checked it out and snagged some old favorites as well as picked some books that we have never read but looked interesting. By the way, this is only one aisle of the sale. The ballroom was FILLED with boxes of books.

56:365 Work had me doing a film shoot up at the Sundance resort and this red rustic chair popped against the gray worn wood. (I am ROCKING the alliteration!)

Well, there you have it, folks. 2 months are officially finished, just 10 more to go to finish this project!

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Project 365, Days 43-49

43:365 My work ordered dozens of roses for our company Valentine's Day luncheon for the employees to buy for $5/dozen. I helped trim and prep the roses and the room smelled AMAZING when it was all done.

44:365 My indoor plants are anxiously awaiting Spring sunshine.

45:365 We played a round of Valentine's tennis and enjoyed the amazing 60-degree temperatures that Utah rarely sees this early in the year. Even our tennis rackets look like a cute couple posing for a picture, ha!

46:365 The lovely artwork on my new yoga mat makes me so happy.

47:365 We used the President's Day holiday as a chance to get out and drive. Sure, it was a not-so-exciting trip to the Apple store (which is 40 minutes away) and the Outlets, but I enjoyed having him keep me company while I ran those couple of errands.

48:365 That night there was a Masquerade dance to celebrate Mardi Gras at the local recreation center but I was suffering a migraine the whole day and so we opted out and wore our masks that we bought for the event around the apartment.

49:365 My stay at the Bellagio hotel for a quick business trip. The company is having a convention in May that will be held in the Bellagio and so we're doing one final pass-through to make sure everything is good to go. My boss and I were down there to film some of our top leaders in their home in Las Vegas.

Whew, another week finished. Can you believe how fast this year is going by? Seriously so crazy. Anyways, I'm currently still in Las Vegas relaxing in my hotel room. I gotta say, the Bellagio has its reputation for a reason. I may never be able to stay anywhere else in Las Vegas (if I ever go there outside of business, bleh).

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Valentine's Day 2015

The past few Valentine's Days Ryan and I have gone to restaurants that were always overcrowded and waited way too long for the food and overall haven't loved our experiences dealing with Utah on February 14th. So this year we wanted to do something WAY easier and ended up having the best Valentine's Day with Ryan ever!

We ordered take-out from a local Italian restaurant, got some fancy bottled sodas, lit some candles and had a nice dinner with the music of our choice playing in the background.

Ryan's pizza. My pasta was delicious but not very photogenic, ha!

Tea lights!

Delicious soda
After our lovely dinner, we rented a movie on iTunes and cuddled up and watched it while our tummies emptied in preparation for chocolate fondue! We did the fondue while we watched "Friends" on Netflix and will definitely be doing our own fondue again in the future. So good and way cheaper!

 We will definitely be doing this from now on every Valentine's Day. Why deal with crowded restaurants and noisy movie theaters when we can enjoy everything in the comfort of our own home. We can go out any old day, so I'm glad we avoided going out :)

Friday, February 13, 2015

Five for Friday #1

My sister, Emily, has been doing this weekly blog post called "Five for Friday" and it is such a fun idea that I decided to give it a shot. I'd love for it to also be a weekly thing for me but I guess we'll see since I'm already doing my photo a day project and it's already hard enough to blog that ha! But here we go. Here are 5 of my photo a day rejects that didn't make the cut but I love them so much:

The day I got my orthopedic shoe to help heal my sprained toe.

Gosh, I love lemons.

Plants blowing in the wind in the backyard of my work

A full view of my jewelry box set up. I personally love the custom My Little Apocalypse Pony my sister, Sarah, made me a few years back.

In the window of an antique shop located in Downtown Provo.

So there's my five! This might become a regular thing because it's a place where I can share more of my random daily photography. There are so many fun gems I capture but they don't make the cut. So here I can be selfish and show them off anyways :)

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Project 365, Days 36-42

36:365 I had a night to myself and decided to paint my nails and play with the dotting tool while I watched the newest episode of "The Bachelor" (it's a guilty pleasure...).

 37:365 It's Halloween year round in the Merrill household! I was just too lazy to put these little guys away when the time came. So there they sit.

38:365 I recently got a small freelance gig and so I decided to show off my little editing suite. The speakers are a new addition (birthday present from Ryan's parents) and they're magnificent. Recognize the desktop background? (Hint: a picture I took from Bryce Canyon. Okay that wasn't a hint so much as the actual answer.)

39:365 Took a nice Sunday walk and love the iron fences that line the outsides of different houses along our route.

40:365 Ryan and I are getting into this whole Wii Fit thing and tested out the different activities they have.

41:365 I try to journal a little bit every day, a goal I made earlier last year and have found that Moleskine journals are my favorite. So far I'm loving the soft-cover version the best but have loved the hardback ones in the past.

42:365 Testing out my Wii U pedometer for the first time (as a part of the whole Wii Fit thing Ryan and I are doing). I love my little Mii face that's on it :)

Can I just say how hard it's been these past couple of weeks to come up with things to photograph! I am trying not to photograph food all the time and am trying to see the extraordinary in daily life but mostly my life is fairly the same every day. I'm glad for the challenge but sometimes it's horrible when I've gone almost the whole day without finding something to snap a picture of and then have to deal with the terrible lighting of my apartment and make due with what I have around me.

Soon, I'll be trying to invest in some proper lighting so that I can practice my indoor photography and not feel like the pictures coming out are terrible because of my lightbulbs. 

Here's to completing another week!

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Project 365, Days 29-35

29:365 It's been a year since I was a volunteer at the Sundance Film Festival and I have used my volunteer water bottle ever since I got it. I was missing being a volunteer pretty hard this particular day.

30:365 Slowly trying to get used to night photography. I definitely need some more practice after tonight, but here's one of the better images. Also, here's a favorite section of downtown Provo.

31:365 Finally bought a frame for the hedgehog painting I got as a gift a YEAR ago. Also, shout out to my mom who painted the Aspens canvas and the smaller painting of my childhood home. Love ya, mom!

32:365  Snapped some shots of my lovely jewelry box I got for my birthday from Ryan. At some point I will show off more of this part of my closet that brings me so much joy!

33:365 A friend of mine goes to school right next to the Trader Joe's up in Salt Lake City and was so kind enough to ask if I wanted any produce while she was up there. Of course I couldn't pass up the opportunity for some of their amazing (and well priced) fruits!

34:365 I tried making lemon cupcakes from scratch and they didn't turn out nearly as well as if I'd just done them from a mix. Lesson learned!

35:365 We got a new door mat and I'm smitten with it :)

Well, that's it for week 5. Some days were much harder than expected but I got through it and hope that the next week will be much better!

Also, I'm thinking that it would be fun to share some of the photos that DIDN'T make the cut. There are days where there are many pictures of different things but they never see the light of day. We'll see if I can find time to share those as well :)

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Midway Ice Castle Adventure

Ryan and I went to the Ice Castle in Midway this winter after vowing we would go since we missed last year and saw all the amazing picture people took. So we waited all winter for the ice castle to open. Unfortunately, Utah has been having a very mild winter and the temperatures made it difficult for the castle to be made. 

FINALLY last weekend they opened, but only for 3 days: Friday, Saturday, and Monday. We had things going on Friday and Saturday that prevented us from seeing them so Monday morning we made a spur of the moment decision to go. We knew it would be busy since they would be open only the three days and Monday was the last day but we went regardless of the large crowd.

Well, we were all fine and dandy until about half a mile away from the ice castle where we hit a LARGE never-ending line of cars. It took 20 minutes to drive to this half-mile spot from our apartment but then it took another 40 minutes to crawl through that half mile to get to our parking spot. And to add to that, I had to pee about 15 minutes into the trip. The drive through the canyon has NO places to stop and relieve oneself unless they pee behind a bush. So I held it hoping I'd find a bathroom at the ice castle.

 Well, guess what? After we walked from our parked car to the ice castles and found the bathrooms, we saw a line longer and slower than the line to get into the castles. There were only 3 "johnny on the spots" and a line filled with kids with tiny bladders doing potty dances. So I ditched that line and caught up with Ryan who was standing in the ticket line. So no relief for me yet.

Once inside the ice castles it was quite an amazing sight. There were TONS of people but there was also lots of space in the main room to wander around and see all the flashing lights and listen to the music playing. So my need to pee was put on the back burner as I soaked in the sight.

This fountain certainly didn't help my urge to pee...

 There was one big cavernous ice room and then a handful of slot canyons that you could explore as well as slides for people to go on. The line for the slides was as long as the bathroom line and filled with just as many kids so I left the slides to them. Plus, it sounded more cold than fun.

We spent about 45 minutes there before we felt we'd seen everything and the need to pee was almost too overwhelming. But it was enough time for me to work on my night photography and practice my abilities at capturing the magic that was the ice castle.

Once we left it was easy getting out. But there were still no places to go pee until we got home. So I told Ryan to step on it and get me home fast!

We were free and clear until we were at the mouth of the canyon (about 10 minutes away from home) when we were stopped yet again by a line of cars. But this time it was because there was a really bad accident that blocked both lanes going out and one lane going into the canyon. So with one lane available and that lane being the wrong direction we want to go, we had to sit and wait until the area was cleared. That took 30 minutes. And all the while I was sitting there wondering what in the world I did to deserve such terrible luck!

We stayed in good spirits the whole time and I tried really hard not to be resentful to the car wreck since it was pretty bad (when we drove past, we saw 2 people on gurneys and a car that was crushed completely).

Once home, I BOLTED to the toilet and was able to finally relieve myself after 3 hours of needing to pee. Let me tell you, it was quite satisfying. But I'll leave it at that since talking about peeing isn't proper, ha!

Anyways, thanks for reading my silly story. The pictures I took turned out well enough but I wish I had more time and more space to get more practice. It was hard getting the color right since the ice had more of a greenish glow to it (think Minas Morgul from The Lord of the Rings) but it was still a lot of fun. I just hope next year we have a better winter so that the castles are only open for 3 days and it's super cramped. I'd love to go again, but not under those conditions.