Sunday, June 30, 2013

Lake Weekend

Had a great time at the lake this weekend. Here are the photo a day photos from Saturday and Sunday...

 June 29 - In my bag - the necessary items for the LAKE!

June 30. Handwriting

And a couple of other fun photos that I took this weekend.

Friday, June 28, 2013

06.28.13 Red

Popcorn! I love this vintage box, but love what's inside even more! Popcorn is one of my favorite snacks. Gotta have lots of butter and salt... yummy.

What's your favorite snack?

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

06.26.13 Empty

Go Out And Swing!

An empty swing sways in the breeze
back and forth with gentle ease
Longing for the sounds of laughter
on this day and forever after

Where is the child that used to be
in the swing; please tell me
I want to see her pretty face
her warm smile full of grace

She's grown up and gone away
but she'll be back another day
As soon as the swing begins to move
she's a child again with nothing to prove

Life moves fast so don't you blink
Be a child again... go out and swing!

by Cheri Marks

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

New Tunes Tuesday - Hunter Hayes

Encore is the second release for Hunter Hayes which reintroduces his Grammy-nominated debut album plus a little extra. With a total of 17 tracks, it's a LOT extra if you already own "Hunter Hayes," but the extras are worth it.

Two of my favorite artists duet with Hunter - Jason Mraz and Ashley Monroe. "Everybody's Got Somebody But Me" is a standout track with Jason Mraz. The two are so vocally similar that the harmonies are superb! And Ashley Monroe adds her melancholy specialty to "What You Gonna Do." Those two tracks are definitely worth a listen. He also re-recorded "More Than I Should." It sounds more aggressive as the lyrics demand. "'Cause my heart said a long time ago / Buddy tuck your tail and run / 'Cause it ain't love / When you're stuck on the wrong end of the gun"

"I Want Crazy" is definitely the best of the newer tracks. I love his "live in the moment" philosophy in the lyrics. "I wanna be scared, don't wanna know why / Wanna feel good, don't have to be right / The world makes all kinds of rules for love / I say you gotta let it do what it does"

Another great track is "Light Me Up." He opens his shows with this song, and it is easy to see why. It's a great feel good track and belongs on your road trip playlist. 

I like that he named the album (Encore) instead of "deluxe." Because it is more than just slapping extra songs onto an existing album. It's an encore presentation of his original work plus some very good bonus material without putting out a whole new album. Very smart move, and I look forward to his true sophomore album in the future.

06.25.13 Sharp

I wanted to do a special photo for today as it is the one year anniversary for Marks On Life!

I'm really pleased with how this one turned out. These are colored pencils with a little treatment given to them. I used my Color Splash app to color each tip and then used a textured filter. I was going to post the original photo... but then a wise person said "keep the mystery." So I am. Magicians never share their secrets, right? You've heard the technique, but I'll keep the original photo for myself.

One year ago I started this blog and decided to post each photo I took for Photo a Day. That year is quickly coming to a close. Only five more days remain. I have a special surprise for the end of this month, so stay tuned.

Make the good day yours!

Monday, June 24, 2013

06.24.13 Negative Space


Very cool topic for a photo challenge. First let me explain what it means...

"Negative space is the empty space around the subject or focus of the photograph."

The positive space is the subject matter in the photo and the negative space is the space around it. The use of negative space gives you some "breathing" room and somewhere to rest your eyes. Any photo, even a macro, could have negative space. The key is to focus on the space and gaps around what you are photographing instead of the subject to make it really stand out. Creative cropping and composition are key in this technique I think.

And I found out real quick that blueberries are difficult to photograph....


Some of my first thoughts are those hidden letters you see in photography. The letter is sometimes, but not always, in the negative space. I also think of a big sky with just a sliver of a moon or a few branches of a tree. Or a big open space with a lonely tree like I posted above.

Negative space is tricky, but I gave it a go. Let me know what you think.

a foot of chocolate

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Photo a Day Catch Up: June 15 - June 22

Back from vacation! Had a wonderful week off with the family. We spent time at the lake and traveled down to Branson for a few days. And along the way, I snapped a few pictures. Here's how the photo a day topics worked out this week...

June 15. From Above - Kenny Chesney concert at Arrowhead! This was a blast after the rain finally stopped. Kacey Musgraves, Eli Young Band, and Eric Church were also there as part of the No Shoes Nation tour.

June 16. Family - this is the sign on the garage down at the lake house.

June 17. Centered - bulls eye right in the middle of the dart board (staged because I suck at darts).

June 18. Street - Main Street at Silver Dollar City

June 19. Currently Reading - the "rules" according to Tom and Huck

June 20. Cute - tiger puppet is certainly cute

June 21. Lunchtime - my dad cooked us fantastic hamburgers. Wow! And you gotta love that view...

June 22. Loving Life - at the lake (that's my son, Brandon).

Friday, June 14, 2013

Three Hundred Sixty Five

I began Photo a Day on June 15, 2012. I have posted or taken a photo each day every day for one whole year. ONE YEAR!

This journey (and it has been a journey) has been a total BLAST. If it hadn't been this fun, I truthfully would have dropped it a long time ago. But I kept with it for many reasons...
  1. I have met some great friends along the way. PAD Group, I'm talking to YOU!
  2. It has become a habit - part of my every day life. It's usually one of the first things I think about when I wake up in the morning (much to the dismay of my family), and I constantly talk about it. I think they have enjoyed it too between the moans and groans.
  3. I have really, really improved my photography skills. I had no idea that I could actually be kinda good at this.
  4. And I now view the world in a whole new way - everything is a possible prompt. Everything! From buttons to where you shop, you can photograph anything and make it look interesting. That is both a little exhilarating and scary at the same time.
Now it's time for another summary!  At the end of 2012, I posted my favorites from June through December, so here are some of my favorites from January until now. It was really hard to narrow it down to just these few!

January 18: Shadow - the shadow on the barn is still an absolute favorite photo of mine. It also says a lot about me and my likes - black and white, country, barns...

January 27: Sun - I love the Big Bur Oak and love this photo of it. I took several on this day.

January 31: Yourself - I had some fun with my app Color Splash (and my eyes really are that color).

February 16: Perfect - I had red in every photo for this month. Now THAT was a challenge. I had to continually think of ways to incorporate the red into each subject. The summary for the month looks really cool.

February 26: Quiet - the snow was SO beautiful, and it was really quiet outside.

March 3: Key - music is the key to my heart.

March 15: Explore - a very rare warm day in the month of March, so Krista and I went exploring at Rock Bridge Park.

March 24: Up - Yes, still March. The snow kept piling up!!! An empty long neck bottle made a good ruler.

April 1: Blue - Table Rock Lake never looked so good. We spent Spring Break in Branson.

April 9: Tiny - tiny little Polly Pocket shoes in front of my own for effect. One of the few photos I took with a "real" camera. Most of my photos are taken with my phone.

April 14: Water - I LOVE this photo. Probably my favorite of them all. April was a good month.

May 16: Mailbox - showing my country roots here. I love the sky in black and white.

May 28: What I'm doing Now - my birthday. This blog post talks about my photo journey and is still a popular one.

June 2: A Moment - I used my mantra for this photo "Live in the moment before the moment becomes a memory." Dandelions are the prettiest weed on the planet.

June 5: Environment - my country roots are showing again. Landscapes are my absolute favorite thing to photograph.

So there you have it! That's my year in pictures. I will finish out the month of June here because I didn't start blogging about my photos until July. You know, I must say that I am absolutely thrilled and very proud of myself for sticking with a creative project for a whole year. That was the goal when I started, and I accomplished it.

It's been a really great year. And I have the pictures to prove it.

06.14.13 Texture

Today is Flag Day in the USA, so I thought it would only be fitting to photograph our ragged old flag.


I walked through a county courthouse square,
On a park bench an old man was sitting there.
I said, "Your old courthouse is kinda run down."
He said, "Naw, it'll do for our little town."
I said, "Your flagpole has leaned a little bit,
And that's a Ragged Old Flag you got hanging on it.

He said, "Have a seat", and I sat down.
"Is this the first time you've been to our little town?"
I said, "I think it is." He said, "I don't like to brag,
But we're kinda proud of that Ragged Old Flag."

"You see, we got a little hole in that flag there
When Washington took it across the Delaware.
And it got powder-burned the night Francis Scott Key
Sat watching it writing _Oh Say Can You See_.
And it got a bad rip in New Orleans
With Packingham and Jackson tuggin' at its seams."

"And it almost fell at the Alamo
Beside the Texas flag, but she waved on through.
She got cut with a sword at Chancellorsville
And she got cut again at Shiloh Hill.
There was Robert E. Lee, Beauregard, and Bragg,
And the south wind blew hard on that Ragged Old Flag."

"On Flanders Field in World War I
She got a big hole from a Bertha gun.
She turned blood red in World War II
She hung limp and low by the time it was through.
She was in Korea and Vietnam.
She went where she was sent by her Uncle Sam."

"She waved from our ships upon the briny foam,
And now they've about quit waving her back here at home.
In her own good land she's been abused -- 
She's been burned, dishonored, denied and refused."

"And the government for which she stands
Is scandalized throughout the land.
And she's getting threadbare and wearing thin,
But she's in good shape for the shape she's in.
'Cause she's been through the fire before
And I believe she can take a whole lot more."

"So we raise her up every morning,
Take her down every night.
We don't let her touch the ground
And we fold her up right.
On second thought I DO like to brag,
'Cause I'm mighty proud of that Ragged Old Flag."

By Johnny Cash 

Thursday, June 13, 2013

06.13.13 Kitchen

My kitchen... small yet functional.

This kitchen had dark wood cabinets, vinyl floor, and all white appliances when we moved in. We've done a lot of improvements over the years. I really like the stainless appliancs, the new cabinets and my floor! I wish it was throughout the main floor, but no... just in the kitchen and entry way.

Just need a stainless hood now.

Life is good under the hood.

Most important part of the kitchen sits on this counter...
My Keurig!!

Just a touch of color here for the breadbox that my Grandma painted.

In a perfect world, my kitchen would be four times this size with a large island and breakfast nook. Oh and a fireplace... Maybe some day... 

The kitchen is like the center of the house for me, so I just wish mine was larger for social gatherings. And I wish it was on the back of the house next to the deck. I have to carry food through the living room to get to the grill. Not the best design, but we make it work. These are things you notice and change if/when you decide to move!

Do you like your kitchen? What would you change about it?

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

06.12.13 11 o'clock

My life is usually pretty boring at 11 o'clock am on a Wednesday. I'm at work. So I'm either answering email, on a conference call, or in a meeting. It can vary.

But one thing is for sure... by this time, I'm thinking about lunch. So that was my inspiration for today's photo.

And I'm typically sleeping at 11 o'clock pm on a Wednesday. Different story on the weekends however...

What are you doing at 11 o'clock?

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

New Tunes Tuesday - Ashley Monroe

She's known mostly in country music as one third of the Pistol Annies, but Ashley Monroe goes solo this time with "Like A Rose." Is she strong enough to stand on her own? Absolutely.

Produced by Vince Gill and Justin Niebank, it's traditional country at its finest. The nine songs on this album, in which she co-wrote on all of them, take on an autobiographical tone. It starts out with a bang on the the title track. She sings, "I was only 13 when Daddy died." But with a sweet yet guarded delivery, she escapes the hard knock life she was destined to live.

And the story-telling doesn't stop there. There are several woven throughout. "The Morning After" likens a bad break-up to feeling like a hangover. "Two Weeks Late" is about a single mom who can't pay the rent after her man runs off. A familiar tale in country music, but she makes it fresh and new. "Monroe Suede" is a honky-tonk song that's fun to sing to at top volume... "Momma still plays piano in the same ol' church / Helpin' them sinners get saved / Daddy died drunk, left us all in a lurch / And they call me Monroe Suede."

"She's Driving Me Out of Your Mind" is a favorite of mine with clever lyrics and a great vocal. It is creative, contemporary and a classic. "Don't know where I'm going but I'm gettin' there fast / Looking in your eyes I see her future and my past." Would have been a huge hit back in the 80's or 90's.

Another favorite is "Weed Instead of Roses." It's a plea to her partner in an attempt to spice up the relationship. Skip the ol' stand-by, let's get a little wild. "I ain't getting any younger, oh but you don't seem to care / Let's trade in the boxers for some sexy underwear."

To wrap the whole album up, a duet with none other than Blake Shelton. Oh, they are a great match together on "You Ain't Dolly (And You Ain't Porter)". They play off each other really well. It is straight up old country.

My only complaint is that the album is too short with only nine songs. I respect not having any filler however. I'll just keep it on repeat (it's that good!) I look forward to hearing a lot more from her.

06.11.13 Something Funny

I immediately thought of movies and gathered a few for today's photo.

I also love lists. So I thought to myself... why not make a list of my top ten funniest movies of all time?

10. Space Balls - Gotta love Mel Brooks. And as a huge fan of Star Wars and other sci-fi movies, I love this parody.  

9. Dodge Ball - Who doesn't love a good underdog story? And this one is superbly funny. Pure satirical entertainment.

8. Ferris Bueller's Day Off - Big fan of John Hughes, and it's fun to watch an awesome scheme falling right into place. Every kid wanted to be Ferris or date Ferris. And I love the life philosophy presented in the movie, "Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you might miss it." 

7. Office Space - The scene with them destroying the printer is awesome. How many times have you wanted to do that? 

6. Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me - Yeah, baby! I like the second movie in the series the best. Maybe just for Mini-Me. And Fat Bastard... "Get in my belly!"

5. Elf - Yes, I have to include a "Christmas" movie because I can view this holiday movie any time during the year. Will Ferrell is hysterical as Buddy. Smiling is my favorite too, and this one definitely makes me smile!

4. Dumb and Dumber - I own this movie on VHS. Remember those? I really need to upgrade to the DVD because this is a comedic classic for me. Jim Carrey is naturally funny, but Jeff Daniels is as equally funny in this movie. The characters may be dumb, but the movie is pure genius.

3. Happy Gilmore - I was surprised to learn I don't have this movie on DVD! I really thought I did. Golf has never been more interesting or funnier. Adam Sandler is one of my all time favorite comedians. My favorite quote... "The price is wrong, bitch!"

2. The Hangover - Yes, it is vulgar, but you have to respect the comedic approach of this movie. I never laughed harder. Zach Galifianakis is brilliant, and Bradley Cooper is in it (enough said).

1. Monty Python and the Holy Grail - it is the holy grail of funny movies for me. Too many funny quotes to mention. Just watch it, and you'll see what I mean.

What do you think of the list? Agree? Disagree? 
Sound off in the comments.

Monday, June 10, 2013

06.10.13 You!

Another self-portrait prompt for today's photo. So here you go...

This is me.

I am a daughter, sister, wife, mother, niece, cousin and aunt. 
I am a girl, a woman, a Bearcat and a Tiger.
I am a student and a teacher.
I am confident and scared, shy and friendly.
I am carefree and careless, thoughtful and hopeful.
I am broken and whole. I am misunderstood.
I wish on stars and dream my dreams.
I am a dancer, a runner, and a singer.
I pray to God and cry my tears.
I listen even though others don't listen to me.
I walk on eggshells.
I walk on fire.
I am your biggest fan.
I am me.

Who are you?

Sunday, June 9, 2013

06.09.13 From Down Low

There aren't many tall buildings here in Columbia, Missouri. We have parking structures, the Tiger Hotel, and the buildings on campus. So I chose Memorial Union Tower for today's photo. It's very impressive looking.

The concept of a meeting place and home for alumni was introduced in 1915. Fundraising began and construction was slow due to the war and the Great Depression. The tower was completed in 1926. On either side of the tower are two wings, originally one for men and one for women. The North Wing was completed in 1952 and the South Wing completed in 1963.

Memorial Union honors the University's 117 lost soldiers during World War I. Their names are inscribed on the inside walls of this archway. Later a plaque was added inside the North Wing that lists the 338 MU men who lost their lives during World War II. Another plaque in the stairwell commemorates those who lost their lives in wars and conflicts from 1945 - 1996. And panels continue to be added honoring those who have fallen in the line of duty since the 1990s. 

"In grateful memory of these heroic sons of Missouri who in the Great War (1917–1918) paid the full measure of Devotion."

Memorial Union is now used as meeting space, a gathering place, and offices for campus organizations. It has evolved over time and now contains a cafe and Starbucks. But first and foremost, we must remember that it is a monument. It is easy to just let it blend into the everyday landscape of the campus, but it is much more than a building. Remember the tradition of speaking in a hushed tone and "tipping your hat" as a respectful gesture as you walk through the tunnel. 

Don't let the historical significance fade. View it with new eyes each time you visit.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

06.08.13 Animal

I really thought I was going to be sad today.

When I first saw the list and read today's prompt, I thought to myself.... "oh man... anything but THAT." As you may recall, we lost our beloved pet, Skyler, only just 2 weeks ago. We miss her every single day. I thought I would have to post an old photo of her or go searching for a cow or squirrel to photograph.

I didn't have to do any of those things.

As it turns out, we are dog-sitting for some friends while they are gone on vacation. Perfect! So... say hello to Otto!

Isn't he gorgeous? He's a 9 year old Blue Heeler, or Australian Cattle Dog, and a wonderful pet. He is so well behaved and very loving. And I have to say... it's nice to hear the jingle of a collar and the click-click-click of nails on my floor again.

He's a working dog and loves to play catch! Look at him launch for that ball!

Thank you, Otto, for staying with us this week. You sure are helping with the loss-of-pet transition, and you make an excellent subject for photo a day.

Good Boy!

Friday, June 7, 2013


Not sure what type of flower this is - if anyone knows, please leave a comment - but they sure are bright!

Especially in the bright sunshine.... the color simply POPPED!

The bushes had thorns so I had to be careful when I got in close for a photo. You know... I've never been good at identifying plants, flowers, trees, etc. I can't grow them either.

But I'm good at photographing and appreciating them. Thank you to all the green thumbs out there for giving us pretty things to view!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

06.06.13 Transport

So many modes of transportation that you could photograph with this topic.... air, rail, road, water, cable, pipeline, and even space! Makes me think of the movie Planes, Trains and Automobiles (funny stuff).

But I chose an old photo for today... one of my favorites taken in November while visiting San Francisco.

I captured this while traveling over the Golden Gate Bridge. I was coming back from visiting a few wineries with a new friend that I met through Photo a Day. Yes! I have met - in person - some wonderful people though this photo challenge. And I hope to meet more.

We had an amazing time. This photo is a great memory from that day.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

06.05.13 Environment

"Take me home.... country road."

Today is World Environment Day. A nice perk to Photo A Day is all of the things I am learning along the way. I'm not sure I've ever heard of this day before. But here is some information about it.

The theme this year is Think.Eat.Save. According to the above site, "every year 1.3 billion tonnes of food is wasted. This is equivalent to the same amount produced in the whole of sub-Saharan Africa. At the same time, 1 in every 7 people in the world go to bed hungry and more than 20,000 children under the age of 5 die daily from hunger." Food waste is an enormous strain on our environment. So this year's theme encourages us to reduce our foodprint. Think before you eat and help save the environment.

How will you do your part?

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

New Tunes Tuesday - Lady Antebellum

Lady Antebellum released their fourth studio album, Golden, last month. I gave it a listen, thought about writing a review, and then got majorly side-tracked with my life. Hate it when that happens. But New Tunes Tuesday returns today!

There are a few more up tempo songs on this album. Good thing because their previous record, Own The Night, was on the heavy side. But don't worry, there are classic heartbreaking songs on this album that only Lady A can provide.

First off, I have to be honest about their first single, "Downtown." It is not one of my favorites. I know it's been a huge hit. It's flirty and playful and issues a big warning, but there is something about it that I just can't get into. Still, Hillary Scott sounds great on this track.

My favorite song is "Good-bye Town." Not only does Charles Kelley sound awesome on the track, but I can relate to the song. When you find a connection to a song, it just means that much more. "I can't erase the memories, and I can't burn the whole place down." Too many hurtful memories of her leaving surround him in the good-bye town.

Another great up-tempo number is "Better Off Now (That You're Gone)." "I've been waiting on your call now just the silence and me / I know you want me to chase you around but I'm so tired of asking you please." Yes, they've finally moved on and realized it was never going to work out anyway. I love the harmonica at the bridge.

The most heartbreaking yet beautiful track is "It Ain't Pretty." Hillary Scott sings with a regretful tone throughout. She thought she was fine, but then decides she probably shouldn't go out clubbing with a broken heart. "I made my way to the bathroom mirror / I'm standing next to some girl spilling beer / She didn't notice I was drying my tears / Just look at me now, God, how'd I get here?" The song is as real and hopeless (in a good way) as they've ever been.

The best moments are when either Scott or Kelley sing solo. They've never sounded better. There are very few skip-ahead tracks. I find myself wanting to dig even deeper into the songs as I set them on repeat.

Well done, Lady A.

06.04.13 After Dark

After dark at the lake (to borrow a line from a Kenny Chesney song)... everything gets hotter when the sun goes down!

We gather around the bonfire, kick back in a lawn chair with a cold one, and turn up the tunes. That's when you know summer has arrived. Some of my most favorite moments with my dad has been sitting around the fire. 

He really spiffed it up for this summer.  Check out the new party patio!

I love his cooler too (it's that wooden box with the Mizzou logo). Yes, I can tell we'll be making a lot of great memories here.

Monday, June 3, 2013

06.03.13 On My Table

On my table in the living room sits a lamp...

And on the other side of the room is one just like it.  

I was going to write a poem or something fancy, but nothing is coming to mind. I've been kind of uninspired lately, so this will be my post for today.

Until tomorrow...

Sunday, June 2, 2013

06.02.13 A Moment

I love this topic because it is exactly what this blog is all about.... capturing moments, enjoying moments, living in the present, and experiencing LIFE each and every day.

I chose to photograph the dandelion because it can turn from a flower to a seed head in just a few days. It's life span is very short. It reminds me of how quickly time passes and changes. One moment it is a flower... the next it's a puff.... and then it's gone.

Time is our most valuable possession. So don't hold back... don't play it safe. Life without regret. Live in the moment because in the next moment... it's a memory.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

06.01.13 B is for...


I went to The Color Run in Kansas City today. It was a total BLAST!

Perfect weather and such a fun atmosphere. It's not timed, so everyone is relaxed and just has fun!

It really IS the happiest 5K on the planet!

I will be doing this one again.


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