Oh yeah, photos.

So remember when I promised I would post photos tomorrow? Well somehow tomorrow came and went about 11 more times before now when I finally have a moment to breathe.

I’ve had an amazing time this summer exploring new cities, meeting and getting to know fantastic new people, and teaching amazingly wonderful kids, but I haven’t had much time for my own pursuits (including, sadly, blogging!). I’m so far behind on my blog reader that the number of unread posts is actually slightly terrifying right now.

So, without further ado, these are some of the photos I managed to snap while in Seattle for the past month. These are SOOC (straight out of camera) and in no particular order. I’m hoping to do a before and after feature with these photos when I get back home in August, so be sure to keep your eyes peeled for that.

Side Note: Has anyone ever thought about that phrase? It’s so second nature to say as an idiom, but how painful does that sound: “eyes peeled”? Ugh. Gross.

Anyway, here are the photos!

Seattle Pike Place | clarkuscat.wordpress.com Seattle Waterfront | clarkuscat.wordpress.com Seattle Left Hand Books | clarkuscat.wordpress.com Seattle Pike Place | clarkuscat.wordpress.com Seattle Pike Place | clarkuscat.wordpress.com Seattle Alki Beach | clarkuscat.wordpress.com Seattle Alki Beach | clarkuscat. wordpress.com

There will be many more to come! As well as many from my new location in Santa Cruz, CA!

Pictures and posts will be a bit slow over the next 3 weeks, though, as I wrap up teaching another class!


First Friday Faves: Seattle Edition

I’ve been absent for a few days, but it’s not because I don’t love you guys. It’s because I’ve been traveling across the country! I’ve been in Seattle, WA for the past week!

This is incredibly exciting to me since I’ve never actually traveled further west than Chicago before. What? I know: crazy. But, all has been remedied, and I’m in Seattle now. It’s also the Fourth of July, and I am super excited for FIREWORKS. I seriously love fireworks, so any celebration that involves some kind of pyrotechnic show is a party I want to attend.

I’ll be posting some Seattle pictures over the weekend, but for now First Friday Faves: Seattle Edition.

1. THE WEATHER! You guys, it is July. It is July, and the projected high temperature is 74 degrees! I am in heaven, and my cardigans have been getting lots of love.

2. The greenery. I’ll be posting some pictures of this tomorrow, but man, oh man, is Seattle a gorgeous city or what. There are trees and green spaces everywhere, and I am beyond happy. The flowers also smell amazing just after it rains.

3. My host institution. I’m staying at Seattle University while I’m out here because I’m actually here for work – yep, I’m teaching a summer class on Detective Fiction! The campus is not only gorgeous (pictures to come!), but it also has delicious food and amazing people.

4. The people! Everyone here is so wonderfully friendly! I just met most all of my coworkers for the very first time, but I feel like I’ve known them forever. Even the people I meet on the streets are incredibly friendly and happy. It’s so refreshing to visit such a vibrant and joyous city.

5. FIREWORKS! because it needs to be mentioned again.

Runner, Runner

I’ve had Luke’s Bryan’s “That’s My Kind of Night” stuck in my head ever since I heard it on the radio earlier this afternoon. Seriously CANNOT. GET. IT. OUT. I don’t mind so much, though. Country music always reminds me of home and my family. Also, that song always makes me think of the movie 21. That’s right: “winner, winner, chicken dinner.”

Now that I’ve gotten that out of my system, let’s get down to actual business. I mentioned recently that I’ve decided to pick up running as a way to become more active, maybe lose a few pounds, and just generally take better care of myself, so after a quick trip to my local Nike Outlet store, I’m all decked out and ready to go. And, by that, I mean I bought a pair of running shoes, a sports bra, and some sweat-wicking clothes. I feel fancy.Running Clothes | clarkuscat.wordpress.com

I also know that I want to be smart about this new endeavor, so I’ve been doing a lot of research on how to ease myself into a running routine. After consulting about 100 blogs, a few friends, and Runner’s World (they have an amazing “Get Started” section on their website), I pieced together a nice plan that I think will work for me.

I plan to spend the first 4 weeks working up my stamina, so I’ll be following a “Walk to Jog” program. This program will have me up and moving 3 days a week for 15 minutes each day. I’m currently planning a Monday, Wednesday, Friday schedule, but I’ll have to see how that goes when school starts up again in the Fall. I might make some adjustments.

For the first 2 weeks, I plan to start each session with a 5-minute walk to warm up. Then, I’ll move into an alternating pattern of jog for 30 seconds, walk for 1 minute, jog for 30 seconds (for a total of 5 minutes) followed up by a 5-minute cool down walk.

For the second 2 weeks, I plan to continue my 5-minute walking warm up, but I’ll switch my jog, walk, jog pattern so that I’m now jogging for 1 minute, walking for 30 seconds, jogging for 1 minute, and so on and so forth. Then, I’ll end with my 5-minute cool down walk.

After those 4 weeks, I’m hoping that getting up, outside, and moving will be at least somewhat habitual, and I plan to graduate up to this Beginning Running Guide from The Fit Girls. Even though The Fit Girls says their programs were designed for moms, I don’t think they’ll mind my borrowing them. Fingers crossed. Hahaha.Running Shoes | clarkuscat.wordpress.com

I’m also looking into a few stretching, flexibility, and yoga/Pilates plans for the “off” days in my running regiments. As a child and teenager, I spent 13 years of my life as a dancer. By the time I hit middle school, I was spending more time at the dance studio than anywhere else. By high school, I was probably spending 40 hours a week in the studio, so having an active life is something I’ve definitely felt the benefits of in the past. I also really miss some of the flexibility and strength I had as a dancer, so I’m hoping to be able to recover even a little of what I had. I know I’ll never be the same as I was then, but I also feel like it will be nice to pay tribute to the work that essentially defined my childhood. I do really miss it sometimes.

So, thar she blows. That’s my humble plan to become a bonafide runner. I’ll keep you all updated with my progress, any revisions to my plans, and any and all flexibility/strength programs I try out!

Anybody else just getting into a new exercise habit? Any runners out there with tips for a noob like me?


Bedroom Update Plan Part 1

Hey there! Post #1 of the new and improved CLARKUScat. Can I get a “hell yeah!”?

Anyway, remember way back when I was thinking about starting from square one with my bedroom? Well, I came across this office makeover on Vintage Revivals a few weeks ago, and I have not been able to stop thinking about that gorgeous wall treatment ever since!

I mean, come on! With a Sharpie. Amazing. If you haven’t checked out Vintage Revivals yet, definitely do so immediately. I’m in love with almost every project and room reveal Mandi posts!

After mopping up the drool all over my keyboard, I realized that a wall treatment like that would probably actually work pretty well on that big empty wall behind my bed. Remember this bad boy?

Bedroom | clarkuscat.wordpress.comPerfect blank canvas! So, I’ve created a new Update Plan for my bedroom. I’m really excited about this new direction for two reasons.

1. because I can use most of what I already have (and love) instead of purchasing new items!

2. because I think it will grow with me a bit more easily than the other one.

My style seems to be experiencing a bit of a transitional period, and lately I’ve found myself more and more drawn to graphic elements, clean lines, and lots of black and white patterns. Don’t get me wrong, I still love that vintage, cozy, lived-in vibe, but I’m definitely looking for ways to “clean up” my style a bit. This faux wallpaper is the perfect way to add that bold graphic pop I’ve been wanting in my bedroom! The best part: it’s totally renter friendly!

I’ll probably be following Mandi’s tutorial (found here) and I’ll definitely be posting new pictures of the process and the final result. For now, I have an updated inspiration board just to visualize how all of my existing pieces will integrate with a new statement wall.

Bedroom Update Plan Part 1 | CLARKUScat.wordpress.com

Anyone else feeling the itch to add something bold and graphic to your home? Share your adventures in the comments!

Revisions to the Blogging Schedule

After trying my hand at this whole blogging thing for a bit, I’ve learned a whole lot.

1. I had no idea what I was getting myself into.
2. Even though I still have no very little idea what I’ve gotten into, I kinda love it.

But, as the title of this post suggests, I’ve decided to revise my original plan re: when I’ll be posting and what I’ll be posting on (only minorly, don’t freak out!).

Essentially, I’ve decided to scale back to a few “features” (for lack of a better explanatory label) that will appear on a regular rotating basis. This way I won’t feel as much pressure to be churning out projects every other day (resulting in mediocre ideas for you and a cranky me). More importantly, I’ll be able to focus more specifically on the things that I am passionate about and intensely interested in exploring.

I know what you’re thinking, cut to the chase and explain the changes already! All right, all right. Calm down.

I’m imagining the “features” will include (not necessarily in this order):

Apartment and DIY Updates

This is really why I started CLARKUScat way back in the beginning (about three months ago), so I definitely want to keep it going; however, with my hectic work schedule (I am a full-time doctoral student and writing instructor, after all), I’m just not able to complete projects and updates as often as I’d like. My studies and my students must come first. Cutting back on these posts will allow me to post more substantial updates that have been planned and implemented well rather than rushed and half-a**ed. These posts may include small things (like my succulent garden project), larger updates I make to my space (including paint, wall treatments, new furniture editions, etc.), inspiration boards to help me generate ideas (like this sample office board and this bedroom board), or even shopping/wish lists as I create them.

I feel very passionate about crafting a living space that I love, but I am often dismayed by many of the (albeit fabulous and utterly amazing) decor/DIY blogs I love because most, if not all, of the updates are projects that I simply can’t do in my rental space. I don’t want to be limited by the fact that I rent, though, because the reality is I will probably be renting for a good while before I purchase a home. I love love love the idea of taking inspiration from some of the bloggers I follow and admire and finding ways to create updates that I adore in my rental. Just because I rent is no reason not to love the space in which I live.

First Friday Faves

This is a feature that I’ve already begun to implement posted about once before (see that post here), but that I really like. I love to scour the Interwebs for fun products and sites, so I’m definitely still very interested in sharing my finds here with you. Each list will be centered around a theme that will arise from the time of the post (ie. what I’ve been inspired by recently, holidays, gift ideas, clothing items I want or need, etc.) and will contain five items (maybe more if I’ve had a particularly fruitful time on the Internet.

Photography Experiments

I’ve recently invested in a DSLR (a Nikon D3200) and am dedicated to learning more about photography. I’m hoping to post some of my sample images, experiences, and tips (here’s hoping I actually have some ;)). I think it’ll be a fun little way to document my progress, and I’m really excited to have a forum to share my experiences!

Project Life Experiences

As those of you who have been reading along (that’s right, I’m talking to you, my five followers! You guys are awesome!) already know, I’ve recently begun my very first Project LIfe album (I’m using Becky Higgins’ system via a mix of digital and traditional paper pages). You can find my Project Life posts and freebie downloads by clicking those links in the menu under the header image! I’m really excited to continue creating freebies!

Cooking and Running

This is something entirely new to me (and to CLARKUScat as it was originally conceived), but it has become a major facet of my life recently. I’ve struggled with my health in the past (nothing major, but enough to impact my daily habits and lifestyle at this point) and have recently (as of about a year and a half ago now) dropped gluten from my diet in an attempt to better control my symptoms. I’m also a vegetarian and a totally and completely terrified kitchen noob. This means that upon first eliminating gluten from my diet, I relied on a lot of specialty products, spent a fortune feeding myself, and recently gained quite a bit of weight because of this bad habit. I’ve made it a personal goal of mine to conquer my culinary fears and to invest more of my time into exercise because, you know, Elle Woods makes a compelling argument. I’m not sure exactly what shape these updates will take here, but I’m excited to include this facet of my life with all the others. I also hope my experiences can help others who struggle with various health issues or dietary restrictions.

So, 886 words later, I come to the conclusion that I am much happier about this plan moving forward. I was beginning to feel stressed out about CLARKUScat recently, and that feeling shook me into some introspection. This blog is supposed to be an enjoyable release, not an additional source of anxiety (trust me, I have enough of those. Shnikeys.)

I’ll hope you’ll follow along if you’re new or stick around if you’re one of the first five! Let’s do this thing. :D



Project Life: June Freebies

Hooray for a solution to my technical problems. It certainly helps to have 3 brothers who are each incredibly computer savvy when trying to diagnose and solve blogging issues. Three cheers for them!

Anyway, I’m back with a new freebie for all of you Project Lifers out there. This month I realized that I really want a way to divide the months of the year in my books, so after googling around a bit, I realized that I can purchase 6×12 page protectors. This seems like a perfect solution for a divider, so I created a few different layouts that I thought would be fun to try. CLARKUScat_June-Freebies_2014-Dividers

Download Here

As you can tell, there are 5 different templates (downloaded as layered PSD files). I thought some of those little squares would be fun for a snapshot of Instagram pics from the month or even a fun way to add little bits of patterns/colors that will be used throughout the month – this way you aren’t limited to one color for the whole year, but the book remains cohesive with each monthly divider setting the tone for a new color palette. The vertical stripes could be used in the same way, and the horizontal could even be used for some “Monthly Highlights” journaling. There are many many options, but I think I’ll probably use these as I’ve outlined here.

I hope you enjoy! I’m curious to know: do you guys divide your albums by month? Do you put them together as 365 projects? Simply put pages together as you get pictures or by holiday/major event? I’m a total noob, so I’d love to hear about your experiences in the comments!

Technical Problems and a Few Babies

I’ve been absent in the blogosphere lately due to a few technical problems on my end. I’m hoping to have them wrapped up soon so I can get back to my regular 1-2 posts a week. Fingers crossed, people.

In the meantime, I will leave you with these pictures of some baby birds I found outside my parents’ home.

Baby Birds | CLARKUScat.wordpress.comBaby Birds Close Up |CLARKUScat.wordpress.com

We were able to determine they are tiny Mockingbirds after finding the (incredibly-protective) parents who were not too keen on my camera being that close to their nest.

Anyone else have some cool wildlife happening around them?