Ramblings on hobbies, neuroticism and soup | Hello Pretty Bird! - A beauty and not-so-glamorous lifestyle blog

24 October, 2013

Ramblings on hobbies, neuroticism and soup

Warning: This post will be somewhat personal in nature and rather rambly. If that sort of thing doesn't interest you, feel free to not click "read more" and instead look at this picture of a swan I took:

Hello pretty bird, indeed.

That rather stern intro makes me wonder... do you, the readers of beauty blogs and other things like that enjoy peeking into the lives behind the bloggers? I certainly do. Product reviews are helpful, but people's personal lives and feelings are juicy, man. I know I can't be the only one who feels this way - how else could one explain the abundance of YouTube vloggers with thousands (or even millions) of subscribers?

When I first started this blog I had the intention of doing more personal posts because... like... I think stuff sometimes. But at the end of the day when my brain is all tired out from doing other shit I find it easier to write systematic, analytic things. You know, like product reviews or in-depth guides on how to decorate your toilet. Anyway, I guess what I'm saying is that going forward I plan to blog a bit more on stuff of a personal nature. Don't worry, you'll still see me reviewing cheap lipsticks and weird Korean facial contraptions (and I promise not to bore you with tales of That One Time Mom Left Me At The Supermarket, *sobcrysob*).

So now that we've thoroughly established that I'll be writing about my personal thoughts, let me tell you about something I've been thinking about a lot lately: Hobbies. First, resurrecting an old one:

I bought myself a cheap set of watercolor paints. Why, you might ask? Because I used to really love watercolor painting and I thought it might be fun to experiment with it again despite getting very bad grades in my high school painting classes. Yes, really, that's a thing that can happen. Want to know how? Storytime:

I got into watercolor painting during my senior year of high school. My school had a dedicated watercolor painting class, which I think is sort of unusual because I graduated from a very small school that didn't exactly have a large number of art teachers. But one of the art teachers was a proficient watercolorer, and - wait for it - a TOTAL MEANIE.

Picture this: Your art teacher tells you that it's an open class period and you can paint whatever you want. So you paint a cartoonish picture of some chickens.* There's no reason really, it's just the first thing that pops into your head. The teacher leans over to look at your painting, scowls and asks "Why didn't you paint one of the things over on the still life table?"

You, the student, are a bit baffled by this question because she said you could paint whatever you want. So you say "I thought you said we could paint whatever we wanted!" Teacher scowls again and scuttles away, and what happens next? Teacher makes a phone call home to your father that evening explaining how incredibly disrespectful you are for painting chickens!

Being a hot-headed teenager with a bit of rebellious streak, you decide that the best recourse is not to start painting the stupid crap on the still life table, but continue painting chickens into every single piece you create for the rest of the year. And that, my friends, is how you too can get poor marks in art class!

In retrospect I was being kind of a dick, but so was she. I suspect she's retired by now and no longer has to deal with insufferable teens and their imaginary chickens, which is probably best for everyone. Anyway, despite Ms. Grumpyteacher I never lost my enjoyment for painting, but over the years I've had to divest myself of all my art supplies due to various international/cross-country moves. I've been settled in New York for almost three years now, which is a long time in one place for me, so I thought it would probably be safe to buy some paints again and try my hand at some new and exciting chickens. Or maybe now that I'm an adult I'll finally be ready for the still life table?

*The original infamous chicken painting is in my mother's possession. I don't think she knows the story behind it, she just saw it in my pile of stuff when I was moving and said she liked it so I gave it to her. Chickens (and LOVE) will always win in the end.

I'm also planning on exploring a new hobby: Photography.
I've been using the same shitty point-and-shoot camera for years, and while it takes decent photographs in really bright outdoor light (like the swan picture above, which was taken on a sunny day in New Zealand, aka land of the 30-second sunburn), it's not so great for taking indoor shots. I've been saying that I need to buy a new camera for months, and guess what? I finally did it!

I put off buying a camera for so long for two reasons: Number one, I decided I really did want to go DSLR, and that required a bit of extra scrounging up money time. Even though I got a lower-end camera, that shit ain't cheap.

Reason number two is that owning "nice" stuff makes me sort of nervous. If you've been reading here for a while you may have noticed that I don't exactly shop at "fancy" stores - budgetary concerns aside, I feel like if I have expensive stuff I'm going to accidentally ruin it somehow. These feelings of course extend to personal electronics as well... I didn't own a smartphone until a few months ago, and the only reason I have one now is because I got it for free. :P Oh, and computers? I bought a new one right around the time that I started this blog, not because I wanted to, but because the enormous beast of laptop I had been using since 2007 was about ready to explode.

Anyway, I finally bit the bullet and ordered the camera. Now I just have to wait for it to arrive, and in the meantime I can fret about where to keep it safely in my shithole of a personal zone. Cleaning for the arrival of the camera feels weirdly like I'm baby-proofing my house - is that odd?


This post has been really text-heavy, so I think I'll sign off with a picture of some split pea soup I made. Because cooking is a hobby of mine too, one that I practice every day so I don't starve to death. The soup was DELICIOUS and it totally helped me stay alive.

If any of you are still reading at this point, what do you think? Do you have any hobbies that you're actively pursuing or interested in taking up again?


  1. I love prying into other people's lives. :P These posts are awesome. Awesome like that swan. I like to read news stories about them attacking people who encroach on their territory... lol.

    Your art story was awesome. The ultimate 'fu' to the bitchy art teacher. Lol. Bravo. I've always liked art, but I'm terrible at it. It made my high school year twelve grades considerably more shit than they should have been. :P These days, I've transferred that love into my nails and make up as a kind of compromise.

    I see you did get a new camera then? Even though I couldn't quite make the jump to DSLR, I still feel ridiculously protective of the new point-and-shoot. Haha. Then again, I have every right. My first ever camera was broken when I said to my younger sister 'be careful, the camera's on the bed'. She said 'I know, I know'. Then she accidentally knocked it onto the floor anyway. She didn't have a job at the time so I couldn't even make her pay for it. -.-

    This turned into me rambling more than you. Lol. Oops.

    1. Haha, rambling comments are allowed in a rambly post! :P Makeup and nail art is totally a form of art and I wish you could get "life grades" or something for stuff like that. I wasn't exactly the *best* watercolor painter, but when I was older I got this job painting props and doing other odds and ends for a costume-making business, and I feel like my shitty chicken-painting skills might have prepared me for that. Maybe.

      Your point and shoot is still a delicate camera so of course you should be protective of it! Especially if you're sister is around. :P I actually ruined my first digital camera by accidentally melting M&Ms into it, but perhaps that's a story for another day...

  2. So, I looked at the picture of the swan AND read your post. Is that cheating?

    Anyway, I really like the personal post! I am very curious about what kind of camera you bought. I'm been thinking about making the jump to DSLR myself, but 1. They're expensive and 2. I can't decide which one to get. Also, after some research, I realized the lens I really need for my shitty lighting is $600.

    1. Looking at both means that you get bonus points! :)

      I ended up getting the Canon Rebel T3i. It's relatively affordable and very accessible... it seems to be a popular model amongst bloggers and youtubers, so there's a lot of documentation and tutorials online. I suspect I'll need something better than the kit lens eventually, but at this point I'm still learning so I'm going to hold off on buying more expensive equipment for now.

      Is artificial lighting an option for you? If you're shooting products, you can get a light box on Amazon for like $50 or DIY it. I actually plan on getting some standing lights for video purposes so I can film things indoors without them looking all grainy and yellow.

  3. Your story about art class is incredible , I always thought that some people just do not have the human qualities suitable for teaching .
    Anyway the most important thing is that you didn't lost your enjoyment for painting . Watercolor paintings are beautiful , I would be curious to see one of your works sooner or later ...
    Anyway I didn't read your post on how to decorate the toilet...it made my day , I am still laughing !!!

    1. Yes, I always wondered how some people who clearly hate working with kids end up being teachers. Or maybe it's being a teacher that turns them sour? Haha.

      I'm glad you liked the toilet post, lol. I had a lot of laughs making that one!