New Camera | Sony RX100 V + Sample Photographs

Two years have passed since my last camera purchase of the Panasonic Lumix LX100. Last week I decided to order the Sony RX100 V. I've had my eye on the Sony RX100 since for several years and I'm finally glad to have it. The photography and 4K video quality are incredible. I still love my Panasonic and I will continue to use it, but I love how much smaller the Sony is. Plus it has a flip up screen for vlogging which is something I didn't care for two years ago. Below are some photographs I took recently with the Sony RX100 V. I can't wait to bring it with me on my vacation to Virginia and Washington D.C. in a few weeks.

I would love to dive back into street and nature photography. I miss it. There was a time in my teenage years and during my early twenties when I would spontaneously go out with my camera just to take photographs. It wasn't to document a feeling or a memory, but for my pleasure alone. To be fair I had more time on my hands back then as I was on a college hiatus and working part-time.

As I grew older I slowly began to move away from the arts as adult responsibilities consumed me. I walked away from playing the piano, I took a step back from photography, and I don't even remember when was the last time I painted. As for writing, most of the writing I do these days are found here on my blog. I have a journal that I haven't touched in weeks, unfinished books and drafts, and ideas collecting dust. Often I have wondered if my walking away from the arts derived from exhaustion. The exhaustion of a renaissance woman with a dispersed passion for many things, instead of a focused passion for one or two things. Whatever the case may have been I would like to revisit the paint brushes, hear the scratching of my pen, feel the keys under my fingers, and hold time still again just for fun.



Leven Rose Oils

I love oils and I have been using them in my beauty regime for years. I was recently on the hunt for organic cold-pressed oils. I use jojoba or olive oil to remove my makeup and I have used argan oil in the past to moisturize the skin around my eyes. This time I decided to invest in higher quality oils. I first found the ArtNaturals company and I decided to purchase their rosehip oil which I still enjoy using as a moisturizer on my face after I cleanse and exfoliate in the evening. Unfortunately, their selection of oils was limited. I really wanted to try pure oils which were rich in antioxidants and omega fatty acids that could fight free radicals. This led me to a company called Leven Rose. They offer many more oils and I really love the principles they stand for. I decided to purchase their red raspberry, carrot seed, blueberry, rosehip, and jojoba oil.

Of all the Leven Rose oils, their blueberry seed is my favorite. I think it's the best oil I've ever put on my face. Because it is cold-pressed all the beneficial properties have remained in tact. The color is a light purple-blue and it really does smell like blueberries. I think I will repurchase all of them, except for the jojoba. Their jojoba oil doesn't feel any different than the one I buy at Trader Joe's for a much lower price. Plus, my main usage for it is to remove my eye makeup and cleanse my face. I definitely want to try all of their oils. I have dry eczema-prone skin, especially around my eyes. Oils have always helped, especially in the colder months. These oils are incredible and I'm looking forward to seeing more improvements in my skin with consistent long-term use.



Books, Coffee, and Rain in Downtown Tampa

Last weekend Lea and I went to Downtown Tampa to grab some coffee at a new coffee shop called Caffeine. We also checked out the book sale at the Old Tampa Book Company. The skies turned grey and soon the rain came down. We browsed the books inside for a good while as we waited for the rain to pass, but we didn't mind. We ended up eating lunch at the Urban Cantina which was right around the corner from the bookshop. Their tacos were fantastic and so were the drinks, although I much preferred their sangria over their margarita. After our lunch we went to mall. I wanted to purchase my favorite eyeshadow. It's a Buxom one called "Invite Only", but it wasn't on the shelves at Sephora. Before leaving we checked out the sale at Nordstrom, but we found nothing worth buying. We ended up on the other side of town at another mall to get frozen Italian caramel coffees. Ulta was across the street, so we went in there and Lea found my favorite eyeshadow. It was the last one so I was lucky in that regard. While I was there I also took the opportunity to purchase a few travel sized toiletries for our upcoming weekend trip to Virginia and Washington D.C. in September. This was pretty much the highlight of my weekend.



Thomas Jefferson and His Books

"I cannot live without a book" is just one of many famous quotes attributed to Thomas Jefferson. The only record of him ever saying such a thing is found in a letter he penned to John Addams on June 10th, 1815. He wrote, "I cannot live without books: but fewer will suffice where amusement, and not use, is the only future object." This wasn't just something Jefferson believed to be true, he lived by those words. He refused to live or work without books. He viewed books as tools and absolute essentials. He read books to expand his mind, obtain new skills, and learn about various topics.

When Jefferson's birthplace and family home, Shadwell, burned to the ground in 1770, he lost all of his books in the fire. This grieved Jefferson, however, within three short years his library at Monticello contained more than 1,200 newly acquired books from his travels. He had an incredible dedication to scholarship. It's been estimated that he owned between 9,000 to 10,000 books in his lifetime. In his day, Jefferson had the largest and most extensive private library in America. In 1814, after British troops set fire to the Library of Congress which contained roughly 3,000 books, Thomas Jefferson offered the books in his library as a replacement. In 1815, Jefferson sold his 6,487 books to Congress for $23,950. He, of course, began to buy books for his new library soon after.

Mark Dimmunation, the Chief of the Rare Book and Special Collections Division at the Library of Congress, had this to say about Jefferson: "His love of books and bibliography, his travels and his worldly learnedness, and his ample means provided him the unique opportunity to build a private library that was truly unrivaled in America. He was not buying first editions, the best editions, or the best copies. He wanted working texts, ordinary books for the 18th century. He was not building a gentleman's library for show. He was building a scholar's library to meet his needs as a philosopher, statesman, diplomat, scientist, planter, architect, musician, and scholar. He truly is the American enlightenment. He embodied the philosophy of the entire 18th century. He believed concerted rational thought focused on a problem would produce a reasonable solution. He studied the classics in order to construct his understanding of democracy and the republic in very much the same way he would approach a problem with his crops or a scientific question."

After the second fire in 1851 at the Library of Congress, two-thirds of Jefferson's books perished. Now the quest to find copies of his books and rebuild his library continues. If you look closely at the photographs I've shared of Thomas Jefferson's book collection, each one contains a ribbon within its pages. The dark green ribbon indicates that the book physically belonged to Jefferson, he owned it. The golden ribbon indicates that it's an exact copy: same edition and printing press. A black box with a title indicates that the book is still missing.

reference: 1, 2, 3, 4 /// photographs: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5