life is beautiful


1. i do not love apple peels. i hate how they get stuck between my teeth. it’s almost as bad as eating corn on the cob. but i do like apples.

2. i’m excited that my friend lindsey is going to be in my maymester class with me. 🙂

3. there are a few days left to vote in this contest to get my friend jen’s book on the shelf at walmart! you can vote once a day.

4. i want a beer. too bad they’re like six weight watchers points.

5. speaking of weight watchers, i’ve lost 11 pounds. i’m between sizes, which sucks, but yay!

6. a professor (cliff peacock) agreed to supervise my independent study in the fall. i met with him today and assured him that i’ll work really hard and am ready for it.

7. speaking of painting, i’m going to have two paintings set up at jail break 3 on april 14th! they’ll be for sale, but i really just wanted to do it to show myself that i could.

8. i loved the hunger games. i literally had to hold in sobs during two parts. if you go in with the realization that movies are always different from the books on which they were based, you will probably love it too.

9. i only have three weeks of regular classes left for the semester. how is this possible? it’s amazing. i cannot wait.

10. i’m excited for the flowertown festival this weekend. especially because the king of pops is going to be there. i recently heard about him, and i really want to try the lemon basil popsicle. sounds really refreshing and yummy.

that’s all for now. have a good weekend!


to be or not to be…offended by art?

this semester, i’m taking a required course called “issues and images in contemporary art.” i knew as soon as i saw the title that it would be a class filled with heated discussion and conflicting viewpoints and opinions. and it is. as i said on facebook and twitter during the break of my first class, i’m not sure if the people in my class are way smarter or way more pretentious than i am.

why can’t i just appreciate art for its aesthetics and not have to read so deeply into it? i don’t like ripping apart a piece of art until i can’t appreciate its beauty anymore. i like the feeling i get when i first see a work for the first time. i like to appreciate that part the most.

anyway, the interesting thing is a question one of the professors (there are two for this class) posed to us. we were looking at some paintings by john currin, which were a complete turnaround from his previous work. DON’T click on the link if you are easily offended. this brings me to the point of the post. the professor asked us how many of us were offended by the images he showed us. no one raised a hand. then he posed this question to us: how many of us are saying we’re not offended because we want so badly to *not* be offended? how many of us aren’t offended because we’re artists, and we’re not *supposed* to be shocked or offended by images we see? we see some pretty gruesome things on an everyday basis, right? we’re offended by things in the news and things we see on the street. but when it comes to art, anything goes, right?

that was the most interesting thing i’ve heard in a while. i had to ask myself how i actually felt. when i looked deeper, i found that i actually was not offended at all. unless something downright mean is said about me or my husband (or some close friends or family), i don’t get offended easily. it’s true. i think a lot of things i see are ridiculous (such as the amount of butt cheeks i’ve seen on campus this week under the shorty shorts girls are wearing lately), but i’m not offended by them.

john currin, the artist we were viewing at the time, changed his style completely. his recent works were inspired by danish pornography. yes, they are pornographic images. but they’re painted in an almost renaissance style. to me, the contrast is amusing. renaissance painters painted nudes all the time. but they were presented in a much more intimate way. currin’s paintings are full-on, like i said, pornographic. when we came back from our break, we studied an interesting contrast among three paintings to get an initial reaction.

***note: i debated whether to post the images of the following paintings because of their natures. it was a hard decision to make, since some people may actually be offended by the images, and a lot of my family members read my blog… i’m going to post the first two, but not the last, since currin’s works are actually modeled on pornography. as long as you don’t mind renaissance or impressionist nudes, then you’re fine to proceed from here.***

the first painting we viewed, pictured below, was italian painter titian’s venus of urbino (1538). it’s a painting i’ve seen many times in art history and other classes.  something that i like to point out is that the venus of urbino was actually based on the painter giorgione’s sleeping venus. it was completed by titian after giorgione’s death. mark twain actually wrote about this painting after seeing it in the uffizi gallery in florence. he was highly offended, not by the subject matter or the fact that it was a nude, but by the placement of the hand (is the hand placed there for modesty or for some other reason?). but most of us will look at this painting and think, “this is a renaissance painting. it looks real, and it looks beautiful.”

the second painting presented to us was edouard manet’s olympia (1863). not a surprise, as it is usually studied, compared, and contrasted with titian’s venus. it’s a bit more confrontational, as the woman (a prostitute) sits up and looks directly at the viewer. her posture is comfortable, confident, and open, whereas the venus or urbino’s posture is more coy and demure. note, however, that both have their legs crossed, and that the vital parts are not visible. the shocking thing about olympia, when it was first painted, was that there are several items in the painting that clearly identify the subject as a prostitute. notice the difference in hand placement and the tension there. olympia’s hand seems fiercely protective. the venus of urbino’s hand seems more delicate and demure in its protection. there are lots of symbolic items here. google or wiki them if you want to. it’s very interesting.

on to the next:  john currin, contemporary artist (born in colorado, raised in connecticut). his painting anniversary nude (2008) was the third we saw in this part of the lecture. it was kind of like, “oh. okay. well, that’s different.” it’s not that i was offended, but yeah, i was a little shocked. the obviousness and provocative nature of the painting is divergent…yet still similar to the first two. think about it: society today is largely about sex. “sex sells.” and it’s true. sex is present in some form everywhere we look. the openness, the extreme provocative nature of the subject…it’s like she’s just putting it out there for all to see. there’s no sense of modesty or decorum whatsoever. is this bad? is it the objectification of women? or is it empowering?

are you shocked?

are you offended?

if you aren’t, is it because you don’t think you’re supposed to be shocked in this day and age?

i still can’t decide. even if i’m not good at reading a work of art the way some people can, i love the way art makes me think and ponder.

what do you think?

***ETA: the previous link for anniversary nude did not show the full painting. the new link will.***

monday, monday.

poor monday. he really gets beaten up. he sort of has a reputation for being a bad guy, but if you look deeply, you’ll find that he’s a big softie at heart. i have a proposal. let’s make monday feel better about himself by doing some affirmations:

monday, you’re the beginning of the work week, which means the end of weekend fun. but we humanoids are grateful to have the jobs we have that keep food on the table and roofs over our heads. it’s not your fault that a lot of jobs happen to take place monday through friday. you don’t just bring the end of the weekend; you bring the start of what we can hope is a promising new week. we tend start new things on mondays, like exercise or diets or classes, which lead to better days. it seems as though people are never very happy to see you come, and always glad to see you go. but how about monday evenings? they bring a certain sense of relief, and for that, dear monday, we thank you.

let's help raise monday's self esteem.

mellow monday

well, it’s monday again. it’s actually shaping up to be a pretty darn good day. 🙂 the best news? only one week left of classes! next monday is the last official day. why they would make the last day of classes be a monday completely baffles me. i wonder how many people will actually show up that day? i’m hoping we have a review for our math final, so i’ll definitely be there. anyway, it’s a lovely day here. sunny and a high of about 80 degrees but not humid yet, so it’s really nice in the shade. i’m currently sitting at kudu coffee between classes, munching on a turkey tuscan sandwich and sipping a coffee. i thought i’d put together a nice little monday playlist for you to enjoy. even if you think you don’t enjoy the type of music i like (which is ludicrous, because i like most music!), you should at least listen to “hold time” by m. ward. it’s so beautiful. ❤

Get a playlist! Standalone player Get Ringtones


i have really been tested in both school and my personal life over the last few weeks. i tend to get a little freaked out by stress and anxiety. i’ve been trying to adopt a new calm demeanor. i’m trying to make “oh well” and “c’est la vie” my new mantras. haha. i’ve also had things put into perspective lately, and i’m hoping this feeling is going to last.

school was going great up until a couple of weeks ago. all of a sudden, things are getting much more stressful. how apt that we just learned about stress management a couple of weeks ago in learning strategies. at the time, everything was good with school and stuff, but suddenly i find myself really needing those stress-relief tactics. i started to have a panic attack this morning after i missed a quiz due to really bad traffic (again with the traffic!). my chest was tight, and my back was tense. but i did deep breathing and told myself that what’s done is done, and that in the grand scheme of things, this matters not. of course, my grade matters. but it’s so much less important than a lot of other things.

over the past week, i’ve been reminding myself constantly of my two favorite scriptures. i memorized joshua 1:9 during vacation bible school when i was in fifth grade, and it has stuck with me all these years:

have i not commanded you? be strong and courageous. do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.

that verse has gotten me through some really rough times in my life. i’ve written it on a sheet of paper and hung it up in our past homes when willy was in the navy. reading that verse gave me so much strength and comfort. i think i need to make another poster to remind myself more often.

another favorite verse of mine is one that many people are familiar with. philippians 4:13:

i can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me.

so i’m putting this into use yet again:

which i happen to have in a large frame at the base of the stairs in our house. 🙂

i’m throwing off insecurity, anxiety, and fear. i’m keeping my chin up, holding my head high, knowing i am a strong, good person, and that i can do everything i set my mind to. (and if i don’t reach every goal i make for myself, who cares?)  🙂

lessons from nana.

this week, we lost the most amazing woman ever to walk the face of this earth. my nana, annie clemmons laflamme, was the strongest, most loving, caring, and beautiful woman i have ever had the pleasure of knowing. it’s been an incredibly hard week for us all, but we know she’s gone home to the lord and is doing what she does best–watching over us and loving us.

my sister, cousins, and i put together a list of things we learned from our nana over the years. we tend to cope with humor, so we laughed quite a bit while compiling our list. though it’s been rough so far, it’s also been awesome to see all the people, family and friends alike, who have been touched by nana’s love and care. it’s also been so much fun to relive stories about her. so without further ado, here are a few “nana-isms” we put together.

* You’ll never get a husband if you don’t learn how to eat spaghetti without slurping.

* You can never have too much jewelry.

* You have to earn the right to wear the white.

* Stop touching your face, or you’ll get wrinkles!

* Get your hair out of your face.

* If you must rub your eyes, use your ring finger.

* Always make sure everybody around you is cared for.

* Age is just a number. You’re never too old to dye your hair pink or wear a coconut bra.

* Always have your lipstick at the ready.

* Beauty comes from within, but you’d better be using your moisturizer.

* If you really mean something, underline it. Twice.

*You can always spare $10 for a birthday card.

* Above all, Nana taught us strength, grace, and love.

we love you more than we could ever say, nana, and we miss you so much.

here we go!

t minus 45 minuts until we leave for a new disney world adventure!!! yes, i realize that some of you may think it’s childish of us to want to go to disney world every year without kids. but it’s so much fun, and it’s a place that’s filled with so many happy memories for us. so off we go! see y’all next week!  ❤

i'll tell mickey & minnie you said hi! 😉