Wedding update!

February 17, 2011

So my sister’s big day is rapidly approaching – less than 2 days! I am so sorry that I haven’t posted anything more yet on here. I didn’t want to post anything that other people had not yet seen. There will be tons of pics after this weekend of all the flowers that will be at the wedding (made by yours truly!), but here’s a little something I made for them that I gave my sister at her sprinkle (it was a small shower – cute, right?).

Clay Ring Plate

Clay Ring Plate

I made them a personalized ring plate that they can use during the ceremony! Since they won’t be having a ring bearer, the rings can be tied to this plate with the ribbon and left up at the ceremony table until they need them. Then, after the wedding, they could display it by either hanging it with the same ribbon or using a plate hanger. Yay! In the back, I carved “Made with love by N.Hall.” I’m really happy with how it came out. I love working with clay! I want to start making little knick knack type things soon with it. If you have any suggestions or would be interested in ordering something, leave me a comment with your email address and I will get back to you ASAP.

In case you haven’t seen other clay creations of mine, here are two presents I’ve given Jesse. On the left is Sebastian the Ibis, mascot of the University of Miami Hurricanes. And on the right is the clay version of Jesse and I that I gave him at our rehearsal dinner.

Two of my clay creations

Two of my clay creations

I can’t wait to share more wedding stuff with you. Here’s wishing the happy couple a wonderful day on Saturday!


Is this taking gaming too far?

January 12, 2011


Gamer's Hell

Gamer's Hell (from kotaku.com)

I’ve never been a really big video game player. When we were younger, my sister and I had a Commodore 64, Atari, Nintendo, Super Nintendo, Gameboy and a bunch of handheld electronic games. We didn’t play them nearly as much as other people I knew, and we never upgraded beyond that. Currently, I have a Wii (and yes, I still have the SuperNES and Gameboy), but still don’t play all that often.

There are many people around the world, however, who spend a great deal of their time gaming. There’s something for everyone: Rock Band for music fans; World of Warcraft for fantasy buffs; Little Big Planet for creative, social players; countless sports games for athletic enthusiasts… the list goes on and on. I can understand how people could get sucked in, and how it could easily end up becoming more than a hobby for people with addictive personalities.

Even though I have long been concerned about the time people spend on video and computer games, things seem to be reaching new, horrifying heights.

The always innovative adult entertainment industry pounced on the new XBox 360 Kinect system, developing a way to use the motion detection software to simulate sex acts. Just what people really needed – interactive porn. Lovely.

And apparently, the average person’s attention span is so short that they even need amusement when using a restroom. Seriously? Are we that desperate for entertainment that we need to, as this article so delicately puts it, be “a first-person shooter” in the bathroom?

If these two developments are really in demand by international gamers, then I may be ready to give up on the human race altogether.

What are your thoughts on the current state of the gaming industry? Please join in this conversation and help me wrap my head around all of this.


No, I didn’t fall off the face of the Earth…

January 11, 2011

…I’ve just been completely immersed in wedding land and had a bunch of work for my last graduate class. My sister is getting married in about a month and a week, and I’m taking on a number of major tasks for the big day.

Thankfully, it’s winter intersession, so I don’t have any grad school work. I need to try to get a huge chunk of stuff done before my new class starts the last week of January. I also just got another freelance video gig, which will add some more stress and time consumption into the mix. But it’ll also be a lot of fun. I worked with these guys last year for their promos and, well… just look at the outtakes from last year’s shoot.

It’s gonna be a good time. Looking forward to it!

WARNING: If you will be attending the wedding and do not wish to see any details ahead of time, then DO NOT continue reading!

The largest role I’m playing (besides matron of honor, of course) is that of faux florist. I’m making the centerpieces, bouquets, bouts, corsages and favors with ribbon roses. Check out my uber simple site to see examples of previous work. I really need to update and jazz that up. You know, when I have free time. HA! What’s that!?

The favors are done, so that’s one thing off the list. Here are a few of them to show you (courtesy of my terrible camera phone):

Silver/Gray Favor Roses

Silver/Gray Favor Roses

I won’t reveal any more details as far as how these will become favors, but for now just know that the various shades of silver & gray are directly related to their purpose.

I’ll show some more details in subsequent posts to keep you coming back for more. But for now, I’ll leave you with the logo I made them for their Save the Dates. I put a watermark on it so no one would steal it, so disregard the “a hallsmark design” part.

Wedding Logo!

Wedding Logo!

Let’s break that down for those of you who don’t know the happy couple. The test tube represents my sister, who is a chemistry teacher. The wrench is for her fiancee, who is a steamfitter. And the apple plays a dual role – it represents both teachers and the steamfitters! Gotta love when that works out!

I’ll check back in soon with more details, and hope to have some additional posts up in the next few days. Until then, have a great day and if you’re going to be affected by the upcoming nor’easter, be safe!


Quarter-life crisis? Perhaps

November 24, 2010

As I stated in a recent post, I’ve had a sort of mental funk overtake my world lately and I couldn’t figure out why or what to do to get rid of it. It turns out, I’m not alone.

I started wondering if this was some sort of quarter-life crisis. Since I wasn’t exactly sure what the term entailed, I began my web search. Of course, it all begins with the Wikipedia entry. Many of the emotional aspects mentioned in that post rang true for me, which I find oddly encouraging.

In 2005, ABCNews posted an article talking about the growing occurrence of the quarter-life crisis. The Huffington Post chimed in just over a year ago with a quiz to see if you were a QLC victim. Hatch Magazine even came up with a suggested soundtrack to get someone through this time in their lives. It seems many people are thinking about this topic, and that I’m not alone in this. Thank goodness!

The question now is what do I do to get out of a quarter-life crisis? There are many books on the subject, for anyone interested. For now, I’ll pull from a Suite101.com article and an EzineArticles.com post.

These articles suggest that I stop putting pressure on myself to know exactly what I want to be doing with my life. I should accept that these things take time, that I have plenty of time to sort it all out and that I just need to aim for shorter-term goals that are more accessible. They also say that I need to keep an open mind for new opportunities, and that all of my hobbies are important to expressing who I am. It’s nice to know that I don’t have to feel bad about wanting to do so many different things!

The best thing I got out of my research was that I should not compare myself to anyone else. Everyone goes through this time in their lives in their own way. Some people know exactly what they want to do and are fortunate enough to find it right out of school. Others need to get out in the world and test the waters before they find their fit.

My cousin Jennifer recently started her own flower business, following a personal passion and making her dream a reality. She’s only a year older than me, and creates truly beautiful floral arrangements. Seeing her drive and success both inspires and terrifies me. On the one hand, I think, “If she can make her dream come true, then I can, too!” On the other hand, I wonder, “But, what is my dream? And how in the world can I do it?”

I need to keep telling myself that it’s just not my time yet to fully bloom (flower pun intended). And that it’s okay. No small thing to keep in mind, but I have to if I’m going to keep my sanity.

As long as I keep chugging forward and being honest with myself, my current frustration and funk will pass and I’ll come out of this quarter-life crisis better than when I went into it. I just have to be patient with myself. Any advice you might have on how to do that would be greatly appreciated.

Did you experience (or are you currently experiencing) a quarter-life crisis? What steps did you take to get through it? If you’ve gone through it already, what did you learn from the experience?


Digital dependence: Is it a good thing?

November 22, 2010

Everything in our lives today revolves around technology. We’re lost without our cell phones. We check email countless times a day. Our iPods are constantly playing, our Blackberries always surfing the web, our GPS continually spewing directions. These things are so ingrained in our daily lives that we hardly even notice them when they work correctly.

It’s when our connections are disrupted that we get in a tizzy. Undoubtedly, you have been at work when the Internet goes down. Frustrated, you refresh your browser and email repeatedly feeling lost without your link to the digital world. How did we let ourselves become so attached to our gadgets?

In October, CNET ran a piece about the symptoms experienced by a group of first-year college students after a day not being plugged in. They had a very difficult time without technology and experienced withdrawal (much like someone beginning a drug rehabilitation program). And this was after just one day!

Growing up with all of these tech advances is changing the living and working habits of the current youth generation. The NYTimes explained how the ease and accessibility of online videos, games, phones/texting/etc. has directly influenced the ability of young people to focus on a single task. Some colleges are now trying to incorporate handheld devices into courses and lesson plans in an effort to connect to their otherwise disengaged students.

Even though we had a Commodore 64 when I was younger, my family didn’t get its first, real PC until I was in seventh grade (Christmas ’96). Today’s college freshman were mostly born in 1992. They’ve grown up with PCs (do they even know what dial-up is?), probably bypassed Walkmans for Discmans, and never knew a world without video games. My sister got our first Gameboy about 2 years after these freshmen were born when she was 13 (her son, my nephew, just got a Nintendo DS… for his fifth birthday).

It’s astounding how dramatically life has changed for us is such a short span of time. I really do love technology, for many reasons. I mean, I wouldn’t have a job otherwise, so right there is a huge thank you to the tech gods. But I do worry that all of these gadgets and gizmos, along with our need to be in constant contact and our general lack of attention span, could be causing a general dumbing down of our society as a whole.

Maybe we should all try a day or two without our devices, just to remember simpler times. We could read books, play board games, look through photo albums, talk with old friends…

Or we could just fire up our laptops and do all of those things at the same time from the comfort of our couches. Ah, progress!

What’s your take on all of this?


Hoping to end my funk

November 8, 2010

Has it really been over a month since I wrote here? Bad blogger! Bad! My mom keeps asking me why I haven’t posted in a while, and honestly, I’m not entirely sure.

Part of it is certainly laziness, but that’s not a good enough reason. I’ve also been in a kind of mental funk lately, and I’m having a tough time shaking it. There are a million ideas swirling through my mind – things I want to do, events happening around me, obligations to fulfill, etc. Somehow, I need to sit myself down and get my brain organized because nothing is getting done this way, resulting in even more mental woes.

So, here’s what is going to happen. I will be writing here again, as well as posting any school projects I finish on my graduate school blog (put up a new one today, actually). I’m trying to clean our apartment and organize it so I can work on crafting projects that have a deadline. I hope to devise a plan to start selling some of my own work as well as other things I’ve been collecting to sell online. And I want to finally start taking care of my body and learning how to exercise. (I say learning because I have never really done it before, and I know it will be a difficult process.)

Yes, that’s an ambitious list I’m attempting to undertake. However, if I want to get myself back on track I need a plan that will accomplish some of what’s been bogging me down.

Have you experienced a similar stall in your life’s ambitions? If so, how did you get out of it? I’d appreciate any suggestions and kind words.

Until next time, I’ll keep shaking these cobwebs out of my head and get my tush in gear. Wish me luck!


Polygamy, TV style

September 27, 2010

So here’s a new show on TLC this season called “Sister Wives” – have you heard of it? In case you haven’t, please allow me to give you a brief synopsis.

The Brown family consists of husband Kody, his three wives (Meri, Janelle and Christine) and their 12 children, plus one more on the way.

Take a second to digest that.

Now add to the mix that on the first episode, Kody tells the wives that he wants to marry another woman and take in her 3 children.


When I first saw promos for this show, many thoughts ran through my head. Who came up with this show idea? Was there a demand for insight into the polygamist lifestyle? Or did the good folks at TLC just want to continue their exploration of unique family dynamics, as seen in shows such as “Little People, Big World” and “Kate plus 8?” Who is the target audience for this show? And most importantly, would it last?

I knew I would have to check it out, and thankfully I caught the replay very late Sunday night of the series premiere. I’m still watching it now as I write this post.

To say that their attitudes and lifestyle intrigue me is a dramatic understatement. Obviously, I don’t understand how they feel. They’ve all grown up in polygamist families, making the decision to be involved in this family structure a no-brainer for them. They see nothing wrong with sharing their husband, raising each other’s children and being open to adding new women to the family.

I would love to hear from someone familiar with plural marriage. Why do these women want to be involved with a man who clearly has a roaming eye? Don’t they want a husband of their own? How do they handle the news that a new wife is being added to the family? Are the women allowed to have multiple husbands, or is it only the men who are allowed this privilege? I know I could look up articles and information online about polygamy, plural marriages and sister wives, but I would rather hear from a real person.

I’m not sure yet if I will plan to watch new episodes or just catch them as I notice them in the channel listings, but I do think I would watch it again. I hope to gain more insight into these women and hope to stop viewing the husband as a total dirtbag (sorry, Kody, but that’s my gut reaction).

I’d also like to hear from you, the readers. What do you think about all this? Is this a show you might watch? Why, or why not? I look forward to your input, and perhaps a spirited debate!

UPDATE 9/28/10 – According to this People.com article (this one too), the Brown family is being investigated by Lehi (Utah) police for possible charges of felony bigamy. Updates will follow as I read more.