Friday, August 23, 2013

Ch- Ch- Changes

Everything always seems to happen in the blink of an eye. Time passes by so quickly and it's easy to miss the special moments in all the fog and haze of daily life-- but we're here and we're all just doing the best we can to take this great big life one day at a time!

News is good, honestly. I've moved out into my own place at the border of Hollywood, Los Feliz and Silverlake and I'm striking out on my own. I've loved and loved and loved, but some things just aren't meant to be-- there's timing involved, and intent, but mostly a lot of emotions that can get really complicated. It suffices to say Nova and I are learning to live in a new part of town.

Immediately after moving, my computer's motherboard decided to take a nosedive and I also lost a prime location in which to take product shots for Dewclaw Vintage. Between that and packing (and unpacking), I've lost a little impetus to use my camera, although on my switched-up commute I see plenty of things on my new route that I'd love to shoot-- so it's just a matter of getting back into the swing of things.

I have goals-- I'm finally on my own in the Big City like I always dreamed I would be, so now I'm motivated and feel charged to pursue my career, whatever that really means.

This blog is called "These Things First" after the Nick Drake song "One of These Things First" -- I always have focused on living life to its fullest potential... I never wanted to have to ask myself if I missed an opportunity because I wasn't letting myself be "this thing first" -- so here I am, plain as day, take me as I am. I'm living my life as I want, rolling with the punches and being grateful for every opportunity that is presented to me. Hope you will stick around for the journey, because it is going to be full of life and very powerful.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Everything I Need, I've Got

I'm not the best blogger, clearly. It's been a month since my last post and meanwhile my photos are piling up into an unmanageable pile of multiple posts, so instead of trying to play catch-up, I'm just going to cherry pick the best photos from my stash and share them with you with a little background. As I combed through my photos, it was easy to find myself honing in on portraits of everything around me that makes life worth living-- the people, places and puppies!

Want to start with my perfect, pretty puppy basking in the afternoon sun. She's the light of my life!

Thalia and I recently spent a morning enjoying The Highland Cafe down the street from my home. The rejuvenation of York Blvd in Highland Park has been so nice to watch happen, now if you drive through this stretch on a Saturday or Sunday morning, you'll see so many people walking (who says nobody walks in LA?!) and enjoying the local businesses and the revitalization of the neighborhood.

A Highland Park staircase and a hillside in Griffith Park, the kind of outdoor scenery I'd like more opportunities to shoot. I have found that my passion is in portraits but sometimes you just see something so beautiful that you have to at least try to capture it!

Spent a night camping in Ojai in February and got this awesome shot of Greg under his big straw cowboy hat.

One of my best friends, Chelsie, also likes to take photos. I won't fault her for using a Nikon, even though I shoot with a Canon! She's always got a smile on and I appreciate her insight and mindfulness. She is an excellent mediator and always tries to get everyone's perspective before she chooses her path.

Another trip to Montana, a few more beautiful photos. That beautiful moon was hanging low over the Craters of the Moon National Park outside of Arco, Idaho.

A shot of myself, either before or after I went skinny dipping in a river in the Tahoe National Forest. It was hard to stop smiling-- I love being out in nature, especially in a judgement-free zone where it's ok to be truly human.

My friend Chris and I got all done up to go see Bjork at the Hollywood Palladium in June. The crowd behind us didn't really appreciate Chris' height or his horns, but after the show ended, he was showered with compliments! Bjork is one of the first independent artists I ever listened to, so it was a dream come true to see her perform live. She sang so perfectly that I almost didn't believe it wasn't dubbed!

Hopefully it'll be sooner and not later before I post again, but if not, enjoy the photos and feel free to share this blog!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Dewclaw Vintage

I haven't posted in a long time, it's true. It's not that I haven't wanted to blog, but more that I told myself I wouldn't pursue anything until I got my online vintage clothing shop up and running, and now I finally have!

Dewclaw Vintage is here! I have wanted to launch my own online vintage shop for a long time. There's so many good finds out there and I just don't have the time or energy to wear them all, so I'm curating them and hoping to pass them on to people who will love them and wear my items to music festivals, or on camping trips, or on missions of self-discovery, or even just around the house.

Vintage clothing is something that's always been near and dear to my heart and I'm hoping that this endeavor is a real success. I get to use myself as a model and hone my photography skills remotely -- that self-timer is going to take some getting used to~!

Please check out my online shop and hopefully you'll find something that you'll just love, but if you don't, there will be a lot of new stock arriving soon, so keep an eye out and an ear to the ground!

So come check out my new shop and see everything in store, and keep track of Dewclaw Vintage across the web!

Monday, April 8, 2013

Staying Positive

It's easy to find yourself in the trap of letting things get to you. I'm trying to work on it-- I don't need to feel sorry for myself, in fact I'm incredibly grateful to have everything that I do. I'm making a commitment to focusing on remaining positive. I've been taking this on like someone trying to beat an addiction-- one day at a time. Besides, it's Spring-- how could I be upset in the light of all the clear sun, budding flowers and newness? I'm adopting a fresh perspective.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Downtown Warehouse Party

I am acquaintances with a handsome and talented gentleman named Jared Tate who lives in a studio in the Fashion District in Downtown LA and had a chance to go to a party in his decked out loft. All the usual suspects are here: Thalia, Jonnah and Chris Boss along with April O'Neil. I used the party as an opportunity to play "Unofficial Party Photographer" but mostly I ended up just snapping some interesting photos of my friends and the crowd.

Clearly I'm an amateur, but I love that my learning curve still allows me to take photos that offer unusual results that I still enjoy and am proud to share.

At the party's peak, local comedy band The Weekend Pilots performed a set of their songs.

People laughed, people danced, people got comfortable and got cozy, at which point the evening more or less dissolved into me taking candid portraits of my friends around the loft.

If you like my photos, please share my blog with your friends! Also, keep an eye on the These Things First Tumblr account for outtakes, photos of myself and my life (mostly the food I eat and my dog) and other photos that you might not see on this blog!

Sunday, March 3, 2013

30 Before 30: Los Angeles Edition

I've lived in the greater Los Angeles area my entire life, and while I've traveled to different cities all around the world, no place else feels quite like LA does. It's really quite lively but also quiet and private, it's this balance between putting your best face forward while also concealing how exactly it is you look so perfect all the time. This kind of life has disseminated itself in many ways, owing to the televised nature of the city. LA isn't a compact, close-knit city, but instead sprawls out over hillsides and into valleys and this topographical unrest airs itself out by dividing this great city into little neighborhoods, all of which offer a unique perspective to what it means to be a resident of the largest city on the West Coast.

Los Angeles is in my blood; it moves me. Seeing a Metro train rumble past Craftsman homes in Highland Park in the rain, hiking into Griffith Park and seeing the wide scope of the city all the way to the Pacific Ocean, following an urban staircase just to find out where it leads-- these experiences fulfill me, and often overwhelm me. 

I know many bloggers like to sort of take stock of their lives and make these "30 Before 30" lists, and I don't want to be the exemption. I'm not interested in settling down and raising a family, so instead I think I need to be active about nurturing my sense of curiosity in the world around me, the way one might nurture their own child. I have a more personal overarching "30 Before 30" list (with some sort-of embarrassing confessions that I have deemed nonpublishable!), but this list is related specifically to Los Angeles, and is my way of dedicating myself to being active in the city I've chosen to make my home (hopefully for a long time!).

Yes, there are many things I've already done in Los Angeles-- the LA Zoo, LACMA, Watts Towers, the Natural History Museum, the California Science Center, the Rose Bowl Flea Market, Olvera Street, Chinatown, Angel's Flight-- but there are plenty of things that I haven't done or seen, and that's where I want to direct my interest. I fully expect to add items to this list to complete, but for now this is where I'm setting my goals.

30 Before 30: Los Angeles Edition

  1. Hike up to the Hollywood Sign
  2. Visit the Heritage Square Museum
  3. Ride public transportation from Downtown all the way to the Pacific Ocean
  4. Ride the ferris wheel at Pacific Park at the Santa Monica Pier
  5. Take a tour of the Smith Estate
  6. Have a picnic at Grand Park, Downtown
  7. Take a tour of the Los Angeles Central Library
  8. Visit the Wilson Observatory
  9. See a show at the Walt Disney Concert Hall
  10. Take a tour of the Scientology Center
  11. Visit the Museum of Jurassic Technology
  12. Visit the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels
  13. Explore the underground tunnels in Downtown LA
  14. Have a fancy cocktail at the Tiki-Ti
  15. Go to an LA Dodgers game at Dodger Stadium
  16. See a movie (or a concert!) at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery
  17. Ride the carousel at Griffith Park
  18. Spend an evening at the Magic Castle
  19. See a movie at the Silent Movie Theater
  20. Buy a cupcake from the 24-Hour Cupcake ATM at Sprinkles Cupcakes
  21. Visit the Bhagavad-Gita Museum in Culver City
  22. Go to a First Fridays at the Natural History Museum
  23. See MOCA's permanent collection
  24. Take the Classic Neon Cruise with the Museum of Neon Art
  25. Create and erect/post my own street art/stencil
  26. Visit The Broad
  27. Go to Jumbo's Clown Room
  28. Take a tour of Walt Disney Studios in Burbank
  29. Go to a college football game (UCLA/USC/Rose Bowl -- not picky!)
  30. Spend a day taking photos at Evergreen Memorial Park (See My Post About It!)
My idea and my goal is to take my camera along and document each of my thirty goals as I do them! I know that some will be more difficult to achieve than others, but I'm hoping that with the next two years and three months I can do my best to explore this amazing city .

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Around the House, January 2013

I was lucky enough that my boyfriend got me a Canon EOS Rebel T3 for Christmas, and it seems like the first chapter to something bigger and better (and more fulfilling) for me, so I've been doing my best to practice and learn how to use it well. On its own, it has a tendency to take crisp, clean, beautiful photos, but with a lesson or two and learning how all the settings work, I am hoping to become more in control of the final product.

January is generally a quiet month for me, and because my income fluctuates seasonally, I don't usually have as many resources available to be able to travel or do anything really extravagant this time of year, so instead I've been trying to use the camera around the house. My boyfriend has really taken to it, as well-- it can be assumed that any pictures of me were taken by him.

Greg plays guitar and bass in our living room at least once a week, and seeing him get in the zone gave me a great opportunity to practice shooting in low light.

The light in our kitchen is very yellow-- I'm not sure how I'm ever going to be able to get nice food shots at night, but regardless of the lighting, I got a great portrait of Greg one evening while dinner was cooking.

Here I am painting my nails, as I usually do every other night (although most people probably don't put any on RIGHT before they leave for a night out!). Polish is SEPHORA + PANTONE UNIVERSE Violet Quartz.

We are on our way to The Edison in Downtown LA for a friend's 21st birthday!

The most challenging part of taking photographs, so far, seems to be getting myself into the habit of taking my camera with me when I go places that would make for interesting pictures. I'm hoping to be better about it!

Keep up with me around the web, if you'd like! I'm on Instagram at somelissasaid, on Twitter at @somelissasaid and on tumblr at Feel free to tag me on any of these services as well, or with the hashtags #somelissasaid or #thesethingsfirst.

The Standard Hotel Downtown, January 2013

On January 21, 2013, a group of my friends and I gathered up our summer gear and celebrated a little bit of July at Christmas down at The Standard Hotel in Downtown Los Angeles. I think people get the idea that Californians (and Angelenos in particular) take our non-stop summer weather for granted, but we like to take advantage as best as we can. The Standard Hotel rooftop pool is open to the public and is free every day (except Saturdays, where you can expect a $20 cover charge), so we got there early and sipped up overpriced cocktails with reckless abandon. This is how we celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day in Los Angeles — ideally, from within the midst of the beautiful Downtown LA skyline.

swimsuit is JOYRICH x Keith Haring.

Visit Thalia and Jonnah at Infinite Pi (∞ Π) and visit Chris Boss at clitmonsterbbygrl. All photos taken by melissac. (except the one of myself, which is by Jonnah!)