A Talented Little Star

I’m sure many of you have seen this video. I couldn’t help but share it myself and all of its pure bliss. This little girl is singing for her LIFE, and I don’t think someone can watch this without smiling the entire time. She’s feelin’ it and makes you feel it too.

Finding these types of videos (which can be pretty easy thanks to Facebook) makes me so so happy. And a lot of the time, these videos pop up when ya need it most. A little laugh is always helpful, especially when it involves kids and their abundance of joy and energy.

I can seriously watch this on repeat and it continues to fill me up with goodness. She’s not holding anything back and if we want to get a little deep real quick; it’s a good reminder we should never hold anything back. We may be on a bigger stage (hello, life), but that’s the exact reason to go for it and give it our all. We only have one to live so let’s make it rock (hey, Hannah Montana). All in all, shoutout to this little girl for reminding me of that and hopefully you as well.

 

Photo Credit: By Brittani Schiller

 

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A Walk Down The Aisle

We all know the feeling. You enter the long pathway of judgment and can’t do much to escape. There’s people behind you, people in front of you (unless you’re the lucky A1), and people to your left and right.

Eyes are on you. What is normally a walk in the park becomes strenuous. You may forget how to properly hold a bag. You may even lose all your upper body strength the moment you need it most. Those lifts are tough, people (when you overpack like yours truly).

So, you entered. People are surrounding you and you instantly become a little speck in a long chilly/hot cylinder. It’s either freezing and you need a winter jacket or you feel trapped in a sauna. Nice men and women greet you with big smiles on their faces especially on those lovely 7:05am journeys. And then your trip down the aisle begins. Scoping out the scene to find the perfect seat. Walk, walk, walk. Window, aisle, middle…which will you choose?! The window is an easier escape. The middle is just a no. The aisle gives you breathing space, but makes you an easier target. Your choice.

Walk, walk, walk. Eyes are peering in your direction sending fireballs of judgement. The baby sees you and instantly starts wailing. The businessman is so glued to his phone the flight attendants could say, “We’ve arrived. Welcome to Disney World!” and he’d race to the exit without question. The mom of twins is destroying the diaper bag looking for the bottle that’s already in the little boy’s hands. And then there’s the old man smirking that makes you debate whether your sister’s wedding is even worth the trip.

What you thought was an average outfit becomes a birthday suit, and your insecurities grow by the thousands. Walk, walk, walk.

The moment is here. You see the seat calling your name in the distance. Walk, walk, walk. It’s time to show the world the big guns. Lift up that suitcase and place it swiftly in the overhead compartment. Is that sweat on your forehead? Wipe it off before dear old grandpa decides to change seats and wipe it off for you.

You sit. Aisle to yourself (so far). And then something strange happens. You begin questioning the lady’s outfit. The prayers commence and you pray the sports guy doesn’t choose your row. The flight attendant is way too happy for a 7am flight. Should of brought the winter coat. That guy is in desperate need of a haircut. What is that smell? Seriously, another baby? Do not sit here. Do not sit here. Whew. Ooo he’s cute. Sit here. Stop staring. He looks like a murderer. This shall be fun. Do not sit here. Do not sit here. Crap. 

It’s funny how it works. From the judged to the judger. To feeling insecure to noticing all the little details they once noticed about you. Life is sure filled with lots of those moments. Good ole’ Southwest flights. Full of those ups and downs, if ya know what I mean.

 

Photo Credit: By Brittani Schiller

My Five Favorite (Chicago) Things

Chicago is my home away from home. Though I’m currently living in Florida, I do live in the city most of the year while going to school. I also grew up there so it’s definitely considered a home for me. Over the past two years, I’ve been lucky to live downtown and soak up all of the wonderful, zesty life the city has to offer. It’s one of those cities that makes anyone feel like they belong and has something for everyone. Below are some of my favorite things to do in good ol’ Chi-Town.

  1. Chillin’ by the lake DSCN1772There’s something magical about the lake. It’s the type of place where you can go and do literally nothing, but be completely content. The views, the atmosphere, the breeze… everything about it just puts your mind to rest. It comes in very handy around exam time when you’re stressed to the max and just need a moment away. Another thing that I love is that there’s always a mix of people. Whether they’re running, walking, biking, or just sitting breathing it all in, it reminds me that we’re all connected in this great big world in one way or another. It’s all around good for the soul.
  2. Soaking in the VIEWS!Processed with VSCO with c1 presetChicago is quite the picturesque city. Seriously, a picture of a trash can on a street corner can end up looking good. I’m constantly acting like a tourist and stopping every few seconds to take pictures. The fusion of the old architecture with the new gives the city even more character than it already has, and I just love it.  There’s so much history in Chicago and being surrounded by it is pretty remarkable. I encourage anyone reading to take a trip there. I promise you the city will not disappoint.
  3. Finding the deals and $teals IMG_3666Like pretty much all college students, this girl is on a budget. In the city, especially, things tends to be a lil more expensive than my liking. However, Chicago has plenty of places that can accommodate a cheap budget. When it comes to clothes, one of my favorites is Urban Outfitters Surplus. It’s pretty much an Urban Outfitters discount store with everything at sale prices. It’s the bomb. Another one, not unique to the city, is the good ol’ Salvation Army. When it comes to food, the delicious (and affordable) meal pictured above is found at the iconic Devil Dawgs. In a place where price tags can be a little steep, I love finding those places where my cherished dollar can go a long way and get me the good stuff.
  4. Finding the yummy ice cream shops! Processed with VSCO with c1 presetI’m an ice cream fanatic. It may be my favorite thing ever, and Chicago is full of the cutest little shops one can find. The ice cream above can be found at the lovely George’s on the Northside. Another favorite is the well-known Jeni’s in Wicker Park. I can go on and on about how delightful ice cream is, but that would possibly never end. So, moral of the story… Chicago knows what’s up when it comes to scrumptious sweets, and finding them is the best.
  5. Strolling down Michigan AvenueProcessed with VSCO with g3 preset

    Talk about a city oozing with life. Walking down Michigan Avenue is exhilarating in my book. There’s so much movement and it has a feeling about it that’s like no other. You’re surrounded by big buildings and you’d think that would make you feel so small, but it actually is a little reminder that you’re important; that you can do anything in this world, and do it with confidence. It’s also pretty great at night. The city is a little quieter and everything is lit up. It’s a sight to see and a feeling I hope to never forget.

    Photo Credit: By Brittani Schiller

The Ultimate Pairing: Yoga & Some Goats

In today’s social media world, it’s super easy to keep up with trends and stories that are repeatedly making their way on your feed. One thing that has been pretty popular lately is the idea of “Goat Yoga”. A simple combination that brings a smile to my face.

When I first came across this unique pairing, I was in complete awe and really wished I was one of those ladies doing the downward dog with a goat beside me. I mean, c’mon, that’s pretty great. It’s taking my petting zoo love and combining it with a practice that is all around good for the soul. It truly does bring you closer to not only the earth and your surroundings, but yourself and all of your inner workings. It’s one of those things that just makes you feel refreshed and ready to take on whatever life throws your way. To be completely honest, I have to get back into yoga. It brings an immense amount of clarity to my life and clarity is something you always need.

In addition to goat yoga, there’s even cat yoga! When thinking more deeply about it, however, I’m a little torn. While being surrounded by sweet little faces sounds amazing, knowing myself I would be completely distracted. The moment I enter a room with animals, I’m immediately focused on the animals and make it my mission to say hello to each one. That simple truth makes me think it would be very hard for me to effectively do the poses and stay focused.  Yoga is a practice that requires one to be completely present in the moment and focused on the connections we create with our bodies, souls, and our surroundings both externally and internally. For me, personally, in order to effectively practice, I have to clear my mind from all thoughts and allow myself to be focused only on what my body is doing and not what is going on around me.

Although I don’t personally think I would be able to focus on yoga alone, I do love the idea of bringing animals into the picture. (Most) animals seem to bring calmness and tranquility into a room. Given that goats are known for their grazing, I can see why the combo would be effective. And trust me, if I ever come across any type of yoga involving animals, I’ll be one of the first people at the door.

Breaking apart the pair and focusing on each individually really helps me understand the popularity of this new trend. Animals are lovely. Yoga is lovely. Two simple things we are blessed to have in our lives. If I’m away at school and pet a dog, it sure is a good day and same goes for yoga.

It’s all about mindset, and with everything that goes on in our day to day routines, it seems that a little yoga and a little goat can definitely go a long way.

 

Photo Credit: By Matt Madd [CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/#%5D (no changes made) via Flickr

Q&A: Judi Honiker Capturing Life’s Beautiful Moments Through Her Lens

Life is composed of so many creative elements that come together to create the colorful world we know and love. One of those elements that is near to my heart is photography. Recently I’ve been captivated by Chris de Bode’s work and the way he shares stories. It’s all about capturing a moment that holds immense beauty that you can then carry with you moving forward.

Today I had the pleasure of interviewing Judi Honiker, a 64-year-old photographer located in Clearwater, Florida. While working as a Sales & Marketing Assistant, she absolutely loves taking photographs in her spare time that exemplify the beauty that surrounds each of us. Judi has a creative eye that transports you directly into her beautiful photographs, and I’m so happy I was able to chat with her about how she captures life’s lovely moments.

What inspired you to start taking photos? Tell me about your first introduction.

I actually never had a desire to take photos, but in 2001, I was laid off from an administrative assistant position.  After meeting with a career counselor at Worknet Pinellas, I was informed that they didn’t have any positions available in that field and suggested furthering my education doing something else.  I’m not sure why, but said, “I think I’d like to try Photography.”  So I enrolled in the Commercial Photography Program at PTEC (Pinellas Technical Education Center).

Was there a defining moment where you knew photography was going to be a major part of your life?

Probably when I was in my photography class. I was also in a writer’s group (PINAWOR: Pinellas Author’s & Writer’s Organization).  It was there where I discovered my love for poetry, primarily haiku.  I found merging the two together very satisfying.

What do you look for when trying to capture a moment?

I open myself up to all options of creativity; color, texture, lighting-all come into play during the process. Haiku Photography

What is your personal definition of photography?

It most definitely is capturing a moment that evokes emotion and many times creates a memory.  The image initially starts out with how it makes me feel, but when others have a reaction, well that’s just an added bonus.

Do you specialize in a certain type of photography or do you enjoy/practice all areas? (Landscape, portrait, fashion, etc.) 

Although, I have studied all genres of photography, I find landscape/nature photography most rewarding.

In your opinion, what makes a moment beautiful? Both on the camera and off the camera?

I would say for me what makes a beautiful moment is being fully present.  Sometimes as a photographer wanting to get that “best shot” one sacrifices spending time with others.  There has to be a fine line with being committed to the craft, but not being too involved as to ignore what is happening in the moment.  That being said, it may be a unique gift to share the special moments that you created.

Is there any simple thing/action that you always make sure to do in your everyday routine that makes you smile? Listen to music, draw, meditate, etc. 

Music is very important to me and a great part of my day.  Every morning before going to work, I walk for about 20 minutes & listen to Country Music.  Believe it or not, I never listened to Country Music until I started writing poetry and found it to be very poetic.  I like to use an example of a Wynnona Judd song, “Flies On The Butter (You Can’t Go Home Again”)  I just loved the imagery, “Old tin roof, leaves in the gutter A hole in the screen door big as your fist, and flies on the butter.” I also listen to Christian Music (Joy FM) at work and in the car, which I find very calming.  When I ride my bike I go back to Country Music and I sometimes even borrow a word or two when writing haiku.  It really does inspire me!  That for me is when and where I feel most creative, riding my bike, being out in nature, listening to Country Music.  It’s the best!  It makes me smile.

Photo Credit: Taken myself

…And We’re Off!

Hi, readers! Welcome to Lovely Little Thang! Based on the name of this blog, one may think I’m referring to myself as a lovely little thang and while that may be true, this blog is all about life A.K.A. a lovely little thang. This blog will focus on all of the simplistic beauty surrounding each and every one of us. Life is compiled of many ups and downs, twists and turns and a series of other moves we may not be prepared for. However, I’m here to remind everyone, including myself, that beauty exists in every one of those moves.

I was inspired to create this blog because I’m at the stage of my life where I’m learning more and more about myself, who I am, and who I want to be. One thing that has really been sticking out to me is the importance of the all of the little moments along the way. Whether that’s a sunset that takes my breath away, or a song that completely turns my day around. Yes, they are little things, but in the long run it is the little things that amount to the big things. It’s all about those building blocks and the moments that make us smile as we go throughout our day.

Therefore, I hope that through sharing my perspective and things that take place in my life, we can work simultaneously and remind ourselves of the beauty that is present even when it’s hard to see.