Websites I would miss thanks to SOPA/PIPA

Today, in case you live under a rock with no internet access and aren't already aware, is the big SOPA STRIKE— the largest online protest in history. After learning more about the web censorship bills SOPA and PIPA you'll see that on the surface level they have seemingly good intentions, but their ambiguous nature leaves room for a lot of devastating loopholes. Even websites like Wikipedia could be targeted, not for misusing copyrighted material but for unknowingly linking to a site hosting infringing content. Of the many enlightening articles written on these bills, I found this one very informative:

SOPA, Internet Regulation, and the Economics of Piracy by Julian Sanchez

and this one. This is the one that really got my brain going.

What's On the Blacklist? Three Sites That SOPA Could Put at Risk by Parker Higgins

So yeah. Imagine how horrendous that would be, and how it could be carried through to countless other sites and how many jobs and revenue would be swiped away, despite the bill's promise "To promote prosperity, creativity, entrepreneurship, and innovation by combating the theft of U.S. property, and for other purposes." Yes, something should be done to protect content from being pirated, but with these mega-extreme measures? Is that the best way to go? I say no. My little drop in the ocean of opinions on the matter. Which leads me to sharing…

a few things from some beloved websites of mine in danger of SOPA and PIPA. First there's the aforementioned Etsy, with beautiful work like this but revolves around trademarked pop culture references.

Falling Slowly by Nan Lawson
Secretly in Love by Nan Lawson

Then there's Tumblr, the site I've basically stopped posted on but frequently visit to look at all the posts from the blogs I follow. User generated sites like Tumblr are in danger indeed, and with this bill passing we'd potentially lose sites like:

Paula Deen Riding Things

Unhappy Hipsters 

Photo: Brett Humphreys; Dwell
"It was finally pointed out to her that she was watering the lawn unevenly."

And lastly, Youtube. Even I realize the need to prohibit users from uploading copyrighted material, but to shut down the site completely? Surely there's a better way. For YouTube gave me Gotye, and despite this video being uploaded by various unauthorized users, I still went on to purchase his albums. That's the whole point, right?

Matthew Inman of The Oatmeal also has some good (and unsurprisingly, very funny) things to say about all this too, which is worth checking out. And if you want to do something about all this, Google's a good place to go. And I'm done with my spontaneous rant/ awareness post. Cheers to online freedom!


My week in pictures— the iPhone kind

Hey… so guess what! I finally have a new phone! This is indeed a happy occasion, for my pathetic little Sanyo SCP-2700, Sprint's *free* phone at the time, was barely hanging in there. And happier still because I am now the proud owner of the iPhone 4! A mega jump in technology from my little Sanyo, even without springing for the 4s. My phone and computer are already BFFs and syncing data, my text messages are actually being sent/received and the time stamps are no longer all jumbled up, and I'm already sufficiently addicted to Bejeweled. Awesome. I've also been having fun with the phone's camera, and here's some fun and mega filtered pictures chronicling the past week (had to get the vintage camera app, duh):

Tuesday! I get my new phone, and take a picture of Dylan! 

Then Wednesday, Dylan and I took our usual walk down to the neighborhood marina, where a storm out in the gulf was making the water go crazy. Not that it's apparent really, in the photo…

Beacon Beach Marina

But seriously. If you frequent this marina, and know the usual water levels throughout the day and how relatively calm it is, you'd be amazed at how high and choppy the water was that day. 

Beacon Beach Marina

I mean seriously! Waves CRASHING IN to the rocks! You're laughing. But the water between the marina and the little strip of land separating it from the ocean is usually remarkably calm. It was neat seeing it so lively, but the novelty was quicky lost on Dylan with the wind constantly buffeting him about.

Beacon Beach Marina

Beacon Beach Marina

Beacon Beach Marina

Saint Andrew Bay

I get to see all of the above and more on my daily walk with Dylan. For this native desert girl, that is something I never thought would be a fact, and every day I try to soak up the beauty of it. Dylan? Unfazed by the ocean, instead wants to chase leaves and investigate washed up jellyfish.

Saint Andrew Bay

Also this week, I bought my first house plant! I'm not known for my green thumb, so we'll see how I do. Today I bought a beautiful ceramic pot in Mexico Beach to put it in, so I'd say I'm already on the right track.

These are Dylan's favorite hang out spots during the day when I'm working on my computer in the living room: sunbathing on the ottoman, staring out the window…

…or hanging out on the couch with me, lying in his bed :)

On Friday, I visited a nursery off of 98 during my first search for a ceramic pot. It didn't take long to find out they specialize in outdoor plants and lawn decorations rather than planters, but I did leave with some rather neat pictures of the place.

Calo Palms & Nursery

Calo Palms & Nursery

Business Hwy 98

And lastly, that afternoon Dyan and I ventured to a nail salon where my nails turned blue and sparkly! When I got home, Austin asked if I was channeling my inner 13 year old. My answer… basically. :)

And so ends my week in iPhone pictures! I think the next step after using the vintage camera app is to start using Instagram, right? That's what the cool kids are doing? We'll see. My Facebook participation has been quite low of late, even with a new smartphone. Same with blogging. I'll get back into the swing of things eventually :) Back to enjoying this lazy weekend with Austin, good night everyone!


Christmas in Lubbock!

Hi! So this post has been a few days in the making, and is finally complete. There's been many a place to be, many a thing to do, a friend to bid farewell, a novel to devote every moment of spare time. But enough of all that, it's time for some Christmas photos. 

First up are photos from the first portion of our trip spent in Austin's hometown and where we both attended college: Lubbock, TX. It starts with poor Dylan shoved underneath our seat on the plane! 

I shared more plane photos of Dylan in my first post of the year, and really he did spend most of the day with his head poked out on the top of his carrier. Technically that's not allowed… he's supposed to be fully in his carrier with it zipped closed… but no one minded except for one flight attendant on the way back to Florida. Otherwise, everyone was fine with seeing Dylan's cute little head poking out, and though he would have much preferred being on our laps I guess he considered this an acceptable compromise. 

He was certainly MORE than elated to be out of his carrier once in Lubbock though, and greeted Austin's mom and Dad (who he met back in September) with much enthusiasm! 

Later that day, back at Austin's parent's house, it was a lot of fun getting to see our niece Maci meet Dylan for the first time. She was so gentle with him, and hearing her call out to Dylan in her sweet little Texan twang was incredibly endearing!

Showing her what Dylan loves best: tummy rubs

Austin's family spoiled us our first night in town— brisket, deviled eggs, and potato salad awaited us for dinner that night. Mmm! Brisket in Texas just simply tastes better than anywhere else.

Though Austin's and my agenda while in Lubbock mostly involved family things, I did get to spend a little time with dear friend Jordan! She had JUST finished moving out of her apartment and was soon heading out of town for Christmas, but thankfully was able to make time to see me before she hit the road. The day started out with her giving me a marvelous Christmas gift: 

The Hunger Games! Jordan has my music and literature tastes down to an art, and knows just exactly which song or book I'll absolutely love. As such, she knew I needed The Hunger Games in my life, and right she was. I've already devoured the first book, and am halfway through its sequel. Perfect gift Jordan, thanks again!

Our visit continued at J&B Coffee Co, a favorite haunt of mine while I still lived in Lubbock. Many nights were spent designing here, as well as swing dancing/studying/chatting. It was good to be back.

Lolz at the dude in the background.

We made a quick stop at her new apartment, where I got to meet her sweet little Theodore!

Theodore is a Peekapoo, half Pekingnese half Poodle, and is absolutely adorable. We were bummed Dylan and Theo couldn't meet this time, but I'm still happy to have been introduced to Jordan's little pup :)

Jordan got to meet Dylan back at Austin's parent's house, but sadly he wasn't as cooperative in front of the camera. He still loved Jordan though!

Later that day, Austin and I ventured to the Lubbock mall to finish up some Christmas shopping we couldn't do in Florida. It was fun being out and about in Lubbock again with him, even if we were battling the holiday craziness.  

Christmas Eve was spent celebrating the birthday of Travis, my brother-in-law, at Orlando's (yuummm green chile chicken pizza), doing a quick family photoshoot for them despite the cold weather (photos coming, Trav and Rachel!), and going to church with Austin and his parents later that evening. Then, Christmas morning, we woke up to this!

Lubbock gave us a white Christmas! It may sound strange, but it was nice experiencing a WINTER once again. Florida had been muggy and warm, so feeling the cold dry air of the Texas plains was a much welcomed thing indeed. Dylan, being a 100% Floridian pup, was quite fascinated by the snow and V formations of geese flying above!

That morning was wonderful, and I especially enjoyed watching Maci open her presents from Austin's parents. She had a full-blown Toy Story Christmas at her Nawnee and Poppi's, receiving many family characters from the movie! Christmas with kids are the best. It made me think of all my other beloved little ones as well, in Colorado and Texas and elsewhere. :) 

Family Christmas picture, with pups and 4 year olds and newborns alike! 

Other things that occurred during our Lubbock stay with sadly little/no photo documentation: a trip to Cast Iron Grill for the most amazing Texan comfort food, another round of braving the crowds as I shopped with Kay, my mother-in-law, an evening looking at Christmas lights in Ransom Canyon and Vintage Township with Austin's parents, an evening out with Travis and Rachel as they treated us to an amazing dinner at Las Brisas, visiting both of Austin's grandmothers, and Kay's famous chicken chimichangas enjoyed Christmas evening. What a magnificent trip, and so lovely spending time with everybody!

Next up, the second portion of our trip spent in El Paso, TX. But before that, a messy kitchen to clean and a restless pup to tend to. Then a movie with Austin :) Hope everyone is enjoying their weekend, good night!


In progress

Tonight we're taking a look at things that are currently in progress in my life. Let's start with—

[1] Dinner.

Yep… 10:00 pm and dinner has yet to be enjoyed. Dylan hasn't even finished eating yet, though I'm quite certain that's because I dropped some plastic bowls near him as he was eating and, now he's sitting in the living room staring at me, either spooked or indignant. Either way, dinner is on hold mostly due to Austin out picking up a friend from the airport, but also because earlier we were—

[2] Dealing with loans.

Oh.my.GOODNESS loans are no fun. We finally sat down and entered in all our separate loan payments into USAA's website, and wow the end result is depressing. I am fully aware of how blessed we are to have as much as we do, especially after watching The Pursuit of Happyness (gah what a heart-wrenchingly sad and stressful movie), but it doesn't make chipping away at our humongous pile of loans any more delightful. Is there an "Occupy Loan Street and Their Suffocating Interest Rates" movement? I might sit out in a tent for that one. In the mean time, I'll have to start booking a lot more—

[3] Client photo shoots.

My main bread and butter as of right now, though my passion remains in graphic design. Photo shoots have been simpler to book, and kept me busier than I ever would have imagined these past few months. With this new year, I'm hoping to even things out a little, and find a balance between design, photography, and bringing in more income. Now that I know we'll be sticking around Panama City for at least two more years, a design firm position is looking more probable— a good thing! My photography business will still be up and running no matter what job I find in town, with fun photos like the one below of my friends Thatiana and Dennis Lott. Ocean sunsets are seriously something else. 

Lott Maternity and Anniversary Shoot | © Molly Cooper 2012

Speaking of photos, I also need to look through my—

[4] Christmas 2011 photos.

I've made a bad habit of letting important events pass by me with no documentation, mostly due to the fact I haven't gone through the photos yet. I'm determined that Christmas 2011 will not meet this fate! I already have so many posts planned to catch up on fun November and December things. Those later, photos from Christmas and our Texas vacation first. Here's one now!

With my parents in El Paso, TX, right before we headed for the airport

Then of course there's always—

[5] Laundry. 

And cleaning. And unpacking. And on and on and on. You know how it goes.

Whew, goodness! Exhausting day, even though it was mostly sitting around editing photos or working on finances with Austin while laundry and the dish washer were going. If you've made it down here through all that wordiness up there, you get a treat, another work in progress: my website. If you know me well, you are aware of my reluctance to let incomplete work be released to the masses, but since I'm letting photo clients know about it I may as well let you get a sneak peek too, right? Check it out, MollySaysHi.com. It may look fairly simple (and certainly unfinished), but MAN just getting it to where it is took some mega brain power for this CSS/HTML/jQuery/JS beginner. Anyway. Congrats if you made it all the way down here! And thank you for reading. :) Until tomorrow, good night everyone!


Hi new year! And some 2012 calendar lovin'

Happy New Year! And happy back to blogging! 2012 means a return to my usual blogging routine, and in true Molly fashion it's starting two days into the year :) I did say usual, right?

It's hard to believe I have only a handful of posts for November, and zero for December. I'm going to look back on my blog one day and think, "huh, wow, I must have been sitting around doing nothing those two months" until I suddenly remember "oh wait completely untrue because I was going CRAZY at the end of 2011." My attempt at efficient prioritization of tasks led to an extended hiatus for this blog, and I'm happy to say my time away was not spent in vain— I accomplished an incredible amount before the new year and had a wonderful time with family and friends in Texas for the holidays. More about that soon, lots to catch up on! 

In the mean time, check out our adorable pup right before his first airplane adventure.

Looks way excited, right? Ha, no. Dylan did a fine job traveling with us, but he is definitely no fan of flying. 

At least we got him a manly pet carrier to ride around in! Most people in the airport didn't even know we had a dog with us, he was so quiet and still. He made a little bit of fuss every now and then on the plane, but I know I'll be turning way more heads with a noisy baby or toddler one day. Dylan did wonderfully, and everyone in Texas LOVED him! Austin and I are extremely grateful we got to bring Dylan home with us for Christmas.

We returned from our trip two days ago, and though there is plenty to do around here, what was apparently an important task for me to accomplish today? Picking out a 2012 calendar. Like I said above, I'm still attempting to prioritize my tasks efficiently. ;)

I found many I liked on Etsy, and while gathering my favorites I realized isn't this what the Etsy Treasuries are for? Highlighting items of a specific interest? So I put my first treasury list together. Check out my 16 favorite Etsy calendars here! I'm crazy about all of them, but I have a spot in my kitchen that I think the local produce tea towel will fill perfectly… then once 2013 rolls around I can use it for its originally intended purpose! Click on the snapshot below to check out my findings.

Snapshot of my Etsy treasury "2012 Calendar Love"

I asked Austin what type of calendar he normally likes, and he said he usually gets some sort of dog calendar. Obviously, I took his opinion in consideration when I fell in love with this poster calendar and decided we need it in our home too. 

The Good Fight by Hammerpress

But seriously— if we are to have a dog calendar, why on earth would we buy one of other dogs when we're so in love (obsessed) with our own? It simply makes sense that we should create our own custom calendar. And if I were to actually start and finish my many DIY project ideas, I would do something like this:

2012 Poster Calendar Series by Alyssa Watters

I love this gallery hanging of all the different months, each featuring one of the artist's paintings. What a fun idea! If I get my act together right away, I'd like to do something similar with my personal photography. We'll see, at the rate I'm going it'll be finished around July… I might have to just stick to the tea towel for now. :)

So yay, my first blog post of 2012! A quick look back into my archives tells me my first post in 2011 was also on the 2nd. Cheers to consistency… hehe. Check back for more updates soon, good night and happy new year everyone!


Beach, Beer, & Breakfast

Beach, beer, and breakfast. How aptly that describes the past two days so far…

It starts off with yesterday, when Austin came home from his half day at work and asked me "want to go to the beach?" My immediate answer was YES. My love for spontaneous adventures was more than satisfied with this outing. 

Leaving Dylan at home (sorry Dyl, once again, no dogs allowed at the beach) we ventured to St. Andrew's State Park, which is considered to have one of the best beaches in the nation. We arrived just in time to set our chairs down and enjoy a truly gorgeous view of the sun setting over the ocean.

I asked Austin what prompted this trip, and he said that with all the photoshoots I've been doing on the beach around sunset (him joining the past couple times), it's been a bummer that we weren't able to just sit and enjoy the sunset together. He's right— we've spent the past two weekends at the beach, just to leave the second the sun disappears beyond the water. Yesterday more than made up for our previous hasty retreats, and he made me one happy wife with this surprise adventure :) 

Our trip to St. Andrews was then followed by a trip to Buffalo Wild Wings! Ohhh goodness. Hello Priest Collar (Guinness/ Woodchuck cider) and boneless wings. You most certainly contributed to last night's awesomeness. We were surrounded by University of Kentucky fans watching the basketball game, and we had fun people watching/somewhat watching the sports games on the many TVs.

This morning Dylan and I went for our usual early walk, and I came home and made Austin and myself this bacon & green chile breakfast pie to hold us over until Thanksgiving dinner at the Flemings' house!

Our contribution to today's holiday feast is Pioneer Woman's mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, bread, and wine. I am SO grateful that the Flemings are providing the turkey… I escape once again from tackling that culinary challenge! One of these days my time will come, but for now I'll savor the hospitality and generosity of our Thanksgiving Day hosts. More holiday pictures soon! Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!  


What I've been up to No. 1: photo shoots

I know I started writing mid-November saying "I'm back! Hello! Life's good!" only to disappear once again. Not that any of you are pining away I'm sure, though it is nice to know at least my mom and Mimi look for my blog posts every morning, and a few beloved others! 

Thing is, I've finally gotten my freelance design/ photo commission business underway. A good thing! The bad thing is, I'm still the same ol' scatterbrain. I'm still adjusting to my newfound busyness (and not just decorating my house or crafting busyness, something that actually pays money— yay!) and my blog has definitely taken a back seat. Priorities, right? My ramblings and pictures of my dog can't be TOO high on the to-do list, as much as I'd like them to be. Hopefully I'll get my act together and come up for air soon, and I'll discover the best way to keep blogging regularly. Since chronicling Austin's and my life (and ramblings and Dylan pictures) has become important to me, and all. :)

So what have I been up to lately? This, for starters: 

© Molly Cooper 2011

Photo shoots! Every weekend since I got back from El Paso I've been out taking photos, whether for Christmas cards or professional headshots or even for an impromptu maternity shot. It's been wonderful fun so far, since I haven't taken on any commissions since the Johnston family in Mississippi, and I'm so grateful to my friends for giving me this opportunity. 

Here a few to peek at! My first Florida photo shoot was of the Elsings, taken on a very atypical cloudy day. We still made it work, and had a lot of fun! I especially loved Jodi and David finding a way to represent Mitchell's love of all things John Deere at the beach :) 

The Elsing Family | © Molly Cooper 2011

The Elsing Family | © Molly Cooper 2011

The Elsing Family | © Molly Cooper 2011

The Elsing Family | © Molly Cooper 2011

My next photo shoot was of Maria and Jessica— both independent Arbonne consultants and both in need of professional headshots. We headed to downtown Panama City and historic St. Andrews for these shots, with Jessica's husband and daughter joining us as we walked around on our photo adventure.

Maria Williams, Arbonne Executive Regional Vice President | © Molly Cooper 2011

Jessica Hosbein, Arbonne Independent Consultant | © Molly Cooper 2011
And, um, can you BELIEVE that Jessica was around 21 weeks pregnant in these pictures?! You would never be able to tell from the waist up. Darling darling mama. 

Maria & Jessica | © Molly Cooper 2011

Quick Hosbein family picture as the photo shoot was coming to an end!

The Hosbein Family | © Molly Cooper 2011

And this concludes my first photo shoot wrap up. More to come, as I'm still processing photos from more recent shoots and have more sessions to look forward to. And more catch up posts as time permits! Good night everyone :)