Tag Archives: Weather

A New Semester…

The blizzard hitting the East Coast has finally made it’s way to my house and I am hunkered down waiting for the snow to stop falling. Since they’ve estimated anywhere between 8″ and 2′, I think I might be waiting awhile.

Anyway….

The Spring 2016 Semester began at my University this past Tuesday (January 19th) and after the first week of classes I can certainly confirm to you that this semester will be FAR more work than I had originally thought. With a 2D animation project and 1.5 digital paintings due by the second week of March for midterms, ALL of my spare time will be going to artwork. Not to mention I have to have an entire comic book done for my Illustration class by the time the semester ends in the second week of May. And more projects will pile up as the semester progresses. And then I have that children’s book to illustrate, too…

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Basically, if you see me on here, I’m procrastinating or I’ve finished what needs to be done for the time being. Although, it will probably be the first reason.

If you want to see my art you can find me here on DeviantArt: Soleil Grand! I upload my work at least once a week.

Take care of me this semester, please!

-Soleil

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Update

Just popping in to say hi!

Also, it was raining so I decided to bake some cookies! Please check out my recipe for these delicious Blueberry Nutmeg Cookies on my food blog, found here: Tuck In and Chow Down.

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Thanks!

Look for my words again soon!

-Soleil

The “NaNoWriMo-Is-Beating-Me” Update

NaNoWriMo has been kicking my butt. While I was able to plow through for the first couple of days, I hit a serious road block early on: I don’t know where I want the story to go.

It should be stated the story I chose to work on for the month was one I had been previously working on but I decided to re-write it because I wasn’t entirely sold on the manuscript I had already written. Unfortunately, this change has caused me to realize that I’m not happy with how the story has gone. It used to be a lot more fun than this and somewhere through all of the words and descriptions, character development and world building, scene transitions and dialogue, I got lost. So, I feel like I’m writing aimlessly which, in turn, feels rather pointless.

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I understand that NaNoWriMo is all about having a complete novel at the “at least 50k” mark but I’m one of those writer’s who would rather spend the time figuring out what I want and how I want it instead of needless writing unnecessary things just to reach a word goal. This is because that means I’ll just have so many thousands of more words to go through and take out when it comes to the final editing process.

What I really need to do is sit down somewhere where I will have no distractions and figure out what I want for this story. How I want it to change from the previous manuscript, why I want it to change from that, and where to start it.

Also, I seriously miss having Microsoft Word. I finally made myself buy a new Macbook Pro because the one I was using was a 1st Generation MB Pro and it wasn’t letting me use programs properly for my homework/schoolwork. Seriously, this Apple Pages application is such a pain!

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That being said, I think that’s enough for tonight. I’m going to post this and continue to sit outside with my parents in front of the fire we have going. It’s funny, because it’s about 47F outside but the fire is keeping us so warm that it’s pretty pleasant. The Christmas music is a nice touch, too, haha!

Look for my words again soon (because NaNoWriMo is ending in 9 days!)

– Soleil

Helping the Homeless Again and a GoFundMe for Me

Good evening one and all!

I have been lectured by both of my (younger) brother’s for giving a homeless 20-year old boy a ride from the Taco Bell to the local diner down the street. I am a girl, I was alone (well, I had the dog with me), and I didn’t know the kid.

First, yes, I am a girl, but that is irrelevant. This kid needed a ride and that’s it. He didn’t look dangerous (and, yes, you can spout all of the “don’t judge a book by it’s cover” stuff, but I just had this vibe that he wasn’t going to be a bad guy, and you know what? He wasn’t). This poor kid is the same age as my youngest brother. Of course I’m going to give him a ride because it was freezing cold the other day thanks to all of the rain we’d been getting, and all he had was a tank-top and torn jeans. He even had the politeness of manners to introduce himself (his name was Ed) and ask if we could put the radio on because he missed listening to music (instead of just changing what I was listening to from my phone, which was movie soundtracks, by the way, haha!). Anyway, it was two miles down the road, and it was a cold and miserable day, so I gave him a ride to his destination and made it home alive.

I think it’s really sad that because of a lot of bad things that go on in the world, when people are confronted with something like this in their daily lives, they’d rather look the other way and pretend they don’t see these homeless people. That we make excuses that a majority of homeless people aren’t really homeless, but pretending. But what if that ONE kid or person that you turn away really IS HOMELESS? How would you feel then, if you really knew that and that when they asked for your help, you turned them away?

All I know is that if I was homeless, or if that kid had been my youngest brother, I would want help. If it was cold and all I wanted was a ride to somewhere I could go inside and sit to warm up for a bit, that’s all I’d like.

So, I helped the kid. I wasn’t murdered. I didn’t die. I dropped him off and gave him $3 so he could get a coffee or a soup from inside, and then I went on with the rest of my day. Heck, I even checked in the back of my car to see if I had a sweater I could give him! I didn’t and I wish I had. I went to the local Goodwill this week and bought two sweaters. If I see Ed again, I’m going to give them to him so he has something as the weather is getting colder, especially at night.

I have a feeling I’ll see him around town again. He’s the same person I gave those waters and granola bars to back in the summer. He was wearing the same clothes then as he was last week. I doubt he’s pretending. Even if he is, and you can call me gullible, at least my conscious feels satisfied that I helped another human being who asked for a favor and needed the assistance. I feel good about what I did and that is all I care about.

That is all…on that topic, anyway.

On to my second topic of the night!

As an art major, I find myself worrying more and more, as graduation from my university looms ever closer, that I will have great difficulty in finding work in my field of study. Despite this, I have no regret for choosing art, because it is what I love and I know that in time, I will get a job in this field, doing what I want to do.

However, after much discussion with my parents, I have decided that perhaps a “fall-back plan” would be essential, so that if I cannot find work immediately in my field, I can have something to do so I can pay back my college loans until I can get an art job. Because, let’s face it, I can’t keep doing odd-jobs for the rest of my life, and I certainly won’t be able to make enough money to pay off my college loans by doing said odd-jobs.

That being said, I have decided to become a Certified Massage Therapist because I have always been interested in natural medicine and remedies and I can help people with relieving their stress and sports/related injuries at the same time. The only problem is that the program to become certified is expensive. $5,500 expensive! So, I have set up a GoFundMe account. I’m not here to beg for you to give me money. All I want to say is that if you have a penny to spare, could you spare it to me? Benjamin Franklin said: “A penny saved is a penny earned” and I’d like to earn the use of this penny to stabilize myself after school.

I have a link below that will take you to my GoFundMe account page if you want to help:

http://www.gofundme.com/MassageTherapyFund

Thanks so much everyone!

Look for my words again soon!

-Soleil/Tara

(Because P.S.: At this point, you should know that my real name is Tara, because that’s the name I have on my GoFundMe. I chose to use the name Soleil for my blogging life because it’s the name my parents almost gave me and I think it’s adorable.)

Cheers!

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The History of Downtown Charleston, SC!

I’ve made a liar of myself. I never did make that 9/12 post I promised. For that, I apologize. In case it might happen again:

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So, I wanted to finish up my South Carolina trip recap in this post. Let the fun begin!

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This was my dinner at Jestine’s Kitchen in Downtown Charleseton. It includes some awesome Soul Food: Brown Sugar Glazed Ham, Mac & Cheese, Collard Greens, and cornbread with some real Southern sweet tea.
Trying to get to Jestine’s it started to downpour! Since Ant and I didn’t have an umbrella, we got soaked, of course. It was a cold rain, too.

 

 

 

 

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To the left we have me, soaked, and to the right we have me with my hair dried off and with an awesome flip to it now! Yay!  IMG_7881

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I also took a really cool historical tour through a portion of Downtown Charleston in an open-carriage pulled by two mules.

St. Philip's Episcopal Church

St. Philip’s Episcopal Church

It leans slightly to the left because of the earthquake that happened in the 1800s. Also, John C. Calhoun is buried here. In case you’re wondering, he’s the man who created the “Don’t Tread On Me” flag. Also, Edward Rutledge is buried here, too. He was the youngest signer of the Declaration of Independence and eventually became the 39th Governor of South Carolina.

Powder Magazine

Powder Magazine

The Powder Magazine sat on the edge of the original Charleston city border, which was surrounded by a 17-ft. wall made of mud and palmetto logs. They built a wall around their city because 13 prior attempts to colonize the South (one of which was Roanoke) had failed. The Powder Magazine dates back to 1713 and has walls that are 2-3 feet thick, made of brick, and the roof was stored with sandbags in the case that if there was an explosion, the sound and impact would hopefully be muted. This same wall was very successful during the Revolutionary War. Charleston was able to hold out against the British for four years (compared to Boston and Philadelphia, which fell in under a year), because the wall was built from palmetto logs, which are very absorbent of water and so are very spongey. This sponge-iness allowed for difficulty to surmount and destory and/or invade the city. Since the British couldn’t break the fort walls, they retreated back North. This victory for the city of Charleston is why South Carolina features the Palemetto as its State Tree and on its State Flag.

Charleston had five major fires in its history, and the fire of 1861 wiped out a good portion of the city.

I also learned that in 1704, the Spanish sent several hundred men from St. Augustine, FL to Charleston o wipe out the southermost English colony, which at time was Charleston, SC. The Spanairds attempt failed but the English sent back a retaliation force and burnt St. Augustine to the ground. This allowed English domination in the South.

Then there is King’s Street. It’s the main shopping street of Downtown Charleston. Our tour guide informed us that King’s Street is the highest point in Charleston, at 11-ft. above sea level. Also, it’s named King’s Street because it was owned by the King of England. In fact, it is still owned by Queen Elizabeth II today, so if you live on or do business on King’s Street, you have to pay taxes to the Crown.

Other Fun Facts: Charleston is known as the Holy City because it has so many different churches and was one of the most religously diverse cities of its time in history (in the American Colonies, anyway). In fact, the oldest Synagogue in the country is here and was established back in 1750.

St. John's Lutheran Church

St. John’s Lutheran Church

St. John’s Lutheran Church was established in 1734 and is well-known for it’s great iron-work gates with date back to 1822. They are so signifigant because these gates are one of the few original iron-works in all of Charleston. That’s because during the Civil War, a lot of iron was taken from around the city to melt down into weapons for the war.

The Unitarian Church in Charleston.

The Unitarian Church in Charleston.

The Unitarian Church was made in 1722. (For the record, I took this photo off of Google because my photo wasn’t nearly as good as this). I’ve never heard of Unitarians before this carriage tour. Unitarians believe that everyone goes to Heaven and that there is no Hell. Thomas Jefferson didn’t share their beliefs, so during the Revolutionary War, the Unitarian Church was used as a stable for the soldiers horses.

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These brick homes were built by the US Navy during WWII for soldier housing barracks. After the war, the Navy donated the buildings to the city to be used for whatever they wanted. The city ended up making them public housing.

Extra Fun Fact: All of the bricks used to make these homes, plus all of the old historic buildings in Downtown Charleston were handmade by the slaves on Boone Hall Plantation, which I featured in a previous post.

Old Marine Hospital

Old Marine Hospital

The Old Marine Hospital was designed by Robert Mills. After WWII it became the Jenkins Orphanage. One of the orphans who ended up living here created a dance that caught on and became well-known, even to today. It’s known as the Charleston, and was named after the city it came from.

The Old City Jail

The Old City Jail

Front of the Old City Jail

Front of the Old City Jail

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The city of Charleston chose the location of Potter’s Field for the Old City Jail because for the first 150 years of Charleston’s existence, it was the farthest end of the city’s limits. Potter’s Field was settled between Franklin and Archduke Streets and was where the poor and the people of no faith were buried.

Fun Fact: The College of Charleston tried to build a new library not too long ago, about a block away from the prison, and they dug up over 500 bodies. So, the area known as Potter’s Field still had bodies below the homes and streets and old city prison built on top of it.

This being said, I’ve definitely decided that if I EVER moved to Charleston, I would NEVER EVER live in the area known as Potter’s Field.

 

Moving on….

The Memminger Auditorium was once the Charleston high school, but before that it was a middle school. While it was a middle school, cannonballs were dug up on the school grounds, during a renovation project, that dated back to the Civial War! When the cannonballs were found, the bomb squad was called in because during the Civil War, some cannonballs were explosive rounds and they were worried they might still be live.

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The Daughters of Confederacy

The Daughters of Confederacy building hosts many Cival War artifacts, including some of Robert E. Lee’s hair.

Philadelphia Alley

Philadelphia Alley

This is Philadelphia Alley and it is where all of the Gentleman’s Duels took place. John Luke Wilson, a laywer of Charleston, wrote a book of 28 rules for the duels.

Fun Fact: The most common profession for a majority of the duelists were newspaper editors.

Extra Fun Fact: Charleston was once held captive by Blackbeard in the 1800s. His demands were that the townspeople of Charleston give him a chest of medicine in return for him to leave town. They complied. Our tour guide joked that their city is the only one in America who can lay claim to Blackbeard holding their city hostage for healthcare, haha!

Wrapping up, this trip was lots of fun packed into a quick 3-day weekend. If you’re ever heading to Charleston, South Carolina, I highly recommend doing any of the Historic Tours or exhibits. Have fun and look for my words again soon!

Cheers!

-Soleil

Playing Catch-Up

Shops and Restaurants and Cafes line Asbury Avenue in Ocean City’s Downtown. They and the street buzz with activity as locals and tourists visit during the summer holiday. Trees offer shade at the shopfronts and sidewalks allow for easy comfort and separation from the road traffic.

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Pretty flowers lined this sign! I wish I knew what kind they were. My parents said they might be geraniums, or some type of them. I wish I knew for sure…. Do any of you know what kind of flowers these are?:

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I really wanted to eat at this cafe:

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It’s called “Ma France Crêperie”, which translates to “My France Crêperie”. Very simple. But, they were only open from 8AM – 3PM. Not that this was an absurd time window, but I just always found myself remembering this place after 3PM. -sigh- Perhaps next time I can try to eat there. I love crêpes! I also wanted to eat at a restaurant called “The Chatterbox” which even has dog-friendly patio seating outside! But, alas, no one wanted to go with me and I didn’t want to go alone. -sigh again-

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Oh! It rained on…Tuesday, I think…and, afterwards, there was this GORGEOUS double rainbow! Of course, the second rainbow is very faint, but it’s there, barely visible on the righthand side.

See for yourselves!:

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Also, after the storms, the clouds looked like they had been painted into the sky:

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Literally, I thought they looked like clouds painted on a canvas in a rococo style, like “The Swing” by French artist, Jean-Honoré Fragonard, and “Jupiter in the Guise of Diana and the Nymph Callisto” by, also French artist, François Boucher. The paintings are light and airy and the light and colors are emphasized. Rococo is a late-Baroque period style of painting that I am in love with.

Also, we played a lot of Scrabble on this trip. It was one of the boardgames supplied at the beach house for rainy days or just general fun, as we found it. I love Scrabble. I love creating words out of the tiles. It’s sort of like my love for crossword puzzles. I think the two might be related somehow, though the love for it is the same. Here’s one of our games after we had played all of our tiles:

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Let’s see…what else? Ah, there was one night where when I was walking on the beach after dark and it was low tide, that I came across one of the jetty’s on the beach and found life! I found rock after rock covered with little mussel shells! It was fascinating!

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I thought it was spectacular and was a bit sad to leave the little creatures to go back to the beach house. They bubbled when you ran your fingers across them and they grew in great patches across the large rocks!

Then there was a “Baby Parade“. The 106th annual baby parade held in Ocean City at the boardwalk. The only thing I took a picture of was that, at some point in the parade, there was a Scottish Pipe and Drum band. I love Scottish Pipe and Drum bands….they call themselves the “Sand Pipers” (after the bird, get it, haha) and they were playing “Danny Boy”, so I simply had to snap a photo:

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Also, I believe I mentioned that my family and I rode around on the boardwalk yesterday morning in a surry. Here’s a photo I asked one of the attendants to take when we arrived back at the surry shop:

IMG_2261I’m the one sitting right up front with the tropical shirt. My brother Kit is sitting behind me with his glasses and scruffy beard. Then in the second row, it’s my mom and dad, and Kit’s girlfriend. Oh, her name is Sydney, by the way.

This morning, I had some very delicious Eggs Benedict for breakfast. If you ever meet me and want to make a good impression, take me out for breakfast and order me Eggs Benedict. I may very well love you forever.

IMG_2262Also, there was this adorable little teapot that they gave me when I ordered hot tea! See?:

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Actually, I’m not sure that I would call it a teapot…maybe a tea canister? Anyway, it’s adorable and I want one! But…I don’t know what it’s called so I’m not sure how to search for it!

-sniff sniff- The Doctor knows how I feel! -sobs in a corner- I really would love this glass tea brewer!

Well, those are all of my photos that I took while on my very lovely family vacation. I hope you all had a great week because I sure did!

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Look for my words again soon!

-Soleil

Beni’s Walk, Emma, and ED Baker

Good afternoon world!

Day Six of our family vacation is in full swing! While my parents and brother and his girlfriend and her two sisters are at the beach (see, we only have 6 beach tags, so one of us had to stay behind…. Side Rant: I think it’s quite incredulous that you need to buy tags to go onto a beach. A beach should be public property where families and friends can go to relax. But, no, some towns and cities actually charge you to use their beaches! How demanding! What is this world coming to?). Ahem, anyway. I decided to walk Beni around town while they enjoy the sun and surf. I’m pretty beached out anyway and could use a day to relax from the surf, sand, and sun.

Beni and I made plenty of friends on our walk today. She is an ever-popular dog. I guess it helps that she’s super adorable and very socialable and friendly. I walked her 10 blocks to Starbucks. Once there, the lady at the window where I placed my order for iced green tea gave me a treat for Beni. That was nice. She asked if I was a dog walker, because when I went to this same Starbucks and this same girl was my server earlier in the week, I had been walking Leila, then. I told her no, I just have different dogs, haha! Beni and I then sat at a table outside and relaxed in the shade of the awning over the building while I drank my tea. I have a portable dog bowl that folds up, so I undid that and gave Beni some fresh, cool water to drink, too.

While I sat there, I met two men who are here on vacation from Albania! I thought at first that they were speaking French, and when I said that, the one guy snorted into his drink. I guess he found it funny. But they were speaking Albanian! I’m just glad they weren’t speaking French because I thought for a moment that maybe I forgot all that I’ve learned and practiced when I couldn’t quite make out what they were saying.

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Well, that being said, once Beni and I were done with our drinks and our break, I walked her 10 blocks back to our shore house. Now, she’s passed out on our couch, sleeping. What a cutie.

I found a new webcomic! It’s called “Emma”! Well, actually, DeviantArt introduced me to it, but that’s beside the point (or is it? Hm….). Here’s the link, so check it out: Emma: The Online Comic.

I think that’s it for now? Other than that, I’m reading E.D. Baker’s “The Frog Princess” series. Did you know that her book is what Disney’s “The Frog Princess” was based off of? It was written back in the early 2000s. Since I have to wait for October for the other book in her newer series to come out, I figured I’d re-read her first series since I:

  1. Can’t quite remember it. And….
  2. Am not quite sure that I ever finished the whole series.

I’m off to do some more reading (and writing probably). I’ll post some more pictures from my vacation later.

Look for my words again soon!

-Soleil