Wednesday, May 30, 2012

this is the thing about rupert grint.

Entirely not surprisingly, I get the occasional email/comment from someone saying, "Okay, but really. What's with the Rupert Grint thing?"

There's three reasons for "the Rupert Grint thing." The first was just having fun with SEO stuff and probably annoying the hell out of Rupert Grint's publicist, if she/he even noticed. The second is actually because I really do want to meet and hug Rupert Grint at some point in my life, which has to do with growing up in the world JK Rowling created in Harry Potter and how much the character Ron Weasley has affected my life, but that's not fun for you guys to read about. So I'm going to go ahead and pretend that the Rupert Grint thing has to do with reason number three:

Who can argue with that? I sure can't, Rupert Grint.

So that's the Rupert Grint thing. It's not that I'm obsessed with him; in fact, I've read hardly any interviews with him, I have no idea what sites are out there dedicated to Rupert Grint (I'm assuming there are some, considering there are entire sites dedicated to opposums). I don't even know when his birthday is. The Rupert Grint this is just about messing with SEO ranking (go google "Rupert A.L. Grint" then laugh at what comes up), a life-changing novel character, and those ridiculous green eyes. Any more questions?

*As much as I wish I could take credit for picture, I didn't make it. If you know who did, let me know.

Monday, May 28, 2012

all the healthy things!

{follow me on instagram! - thevalorieclark}

One of my big goals for May (and this year) was to get healthier. Eat healthier so I could feel healthier, exercise more so my body could feel stronger, etc. It really wasn't about weight loss, but about feeling healthy - though losing the width I gained from lots of late nights and bad food in college would be nice.

It's been pretty hit and miss.

One of the things I really hate about DC is just how long it takes to get anywhere, and this has changed how much I exercise drastically. I used to work out three times a week, easy. Now, it takes too long, so I never do. As in going to the gym has become a 3 hour time commitment (4 if I want to shower after - 45 minutes there on the bus, 1 hour workout, 45 minutes back), so I never go anymore.

When it took 1, maaaybe two hours of my day, I loved going to the gym! But 3 to 4 hours a day? What working person has time for that?

Since January, I've exercised at the gym 4 times.

Four! Times!

While I've been trying to eat healthier too, all that's done is help slow the weight gain and feeling like crap that has accompanied not exercising. It was so frustrating. I hated seeing what was happening to my body, and how sick and tired I always felt. 

So, this month I realized that something had to change. The gym was obviously no longer the answer, but there had to be another solution. Here are the ones I'm working on:
  • I bought a bike! It's unbelievable how I get around the city so much faster, and I actually get some exercise while doing it. I'm still not totally used to riding it everywhere, but I'm working on it. 
  • I signed up for the Color Run DC on October 21st! I don't need to win the race, but I don't want to embarrass myself either, so I WILL be training!
  • Finally, I invested in the BluePrint Cleanse. I'm pretty sure most of my friends think I'm crazy, and I've definitely never done a cleanse like this before, but after reading reviews of it (1, 2), I really want to try it. Naturally, I'll let you all know how it goes.
If you have any good running tips, have experienced the BluePrint Cleanse or any other juice cleanse, or any other general health advice, let me know! I'd love to hear about your experiences.


Hope everyone is having a great Memorial Day weekend! :) Don't forget - ad spots are discounted if you email me by Wednesday. A 200x200 is now $8, the 200x125 is $3, and a guest post to promote whatever you want (plus a 200x200) is $13. Email me at valorielovely {at} gmail {dot} com if you're interested.

Friday, May 25, 2012

I almost titled this post "a blanket roundup" which doesn't make any sense.

"A Blanket Roundup"? That came from the fact that "blanks" and "round up" are too closely associated in my brain now. Or, maybe I'm just in need of more sleep. It's been a hectic ridiculous week, guys. I mean, seriously.

Anyway. As you've probably noticed, I'm linking up with Lauren again this week for Fill in the Blank Friday. Won't you join us? It's awesome!

1. The best surprise ever would be a car! I miss driving kind of the same way I'd probably miss my own hand if I lost it.


2. Driving alone on country roads with the music blasting during college is my favorite memory.

3. The hardest most worthwhile thing I've ever done was fall in love.

4. The best part of my day is my writing hour every morning. I love having an hour of peace and quiet to myself.

5. Something I like that most people don't is top 20 songs. I'm not a fan of Justin Beiber or Rihanna, but I feel no shame admitting that I like a lot of top 20 hits. This seems like a big deal mostly because I have a lot of friends that are like "Oh, you listen to music that comes on the radio? You must have terrible taste." Honestly, I don't care. Give me something I can listen to without thinking about while I'm driving.

6. Something I'm willing to fight for is the things I really believe in, like gender equality.

7. Something you might not know about me is that I am dying to go bungee jumping, but haven't found anyone to do it with. Any of you interested?

I started this weekly round up thing several weeks ago, and I've been doing only okay at keeping up with it. This week though,  I vowed to do better. Woo!

Things You Might Have Missed Here:
Things I Did Other Places on the Internet:
Things I Didn't Come Up With but LOVE:
  • is doing 31 days of giveaways in May. If you're getting married, go enter!

Happy Friday, everyone! This weekend I'd like to relax but I'll be getting some work done for something huge I'll be announcing on the VCP blog on May 31st. I do have some fun things planned though - mostly some pool time. :) Anyone have anything fun planned for this weekend? 

OH. If anyone is interested in sponsoring this blog, spots are discounted if you email me about it by May 30! A 200x200 is now $8, the 200x125 is $3, and a guest post to promote whatever you want (plus a 200x200) is $13. Email me at valorielovely {at} gmail {dot} com if you're interested.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

the one with the manifesto.

For a little over a year now, I have been trying to write a manifesto for myself. As someone who loves living life with intention, having a manifesto that really goes over the things that are most important to me was something I really wanted. Plus, I knew that putting my values down on paper would help me come back to them later if for some reason I was feeling out of touch with myself.  After loads of tweaking and rewrites and really evaluating what I think is the most important to me, I've come up with this. 


You are a creative person.  You are a creative person in a lot of different ways – stop doubting that and embrace it. Stop it with the safety nets and the Plan Bs and the approval seeking. Just go be you. Be yourself. After all, no one can ever tell you that you’re doing it wrong.

Forget everyone else’s expectations of you. Live up to and then beat out only your own.

On that note, stop comparing yourself to other people. You are on your path and they are on their path. In this life, it’s you versus you, not you versus them. Everything in the world has been done before, just not – and this is the important part – in quite the way you will do it.

Finish things. When you set goals for yourself, do them. Set a few goals for yourself every day, and complete a few goals every day. Remember that it’s okay if you don’t always finish everything. Life happens.

Be careful to not over-schedule yourself. You need some time to breathe, remember?

Don’t worry about being good at ALL THE THINGS. Pick a few things and be good at them. It feels good to be good at things, and that is good, not vain. When you’re in a rut, remember the things you’re good at and go do one of them. It will make you feel better.

You are your own wildly passionate person, but you aren’t perfect. So stop pushing yourself so hard, honey. There are going to be days when your only goals are to eat and get out of bed. And that’s okay. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

Stop collecting so much stuff. You have small hands, remember? In a fire, you’re only going to be able to grab so much on your way out. You probably don’t need much more than those things.

Go outside more often. Remember outside? You like it there. Do something you like everyday. Try to have it be something other than taking a nap, but it’s okay if it’s napping sometimes.

Take a few minutes to plan your day, every day. When things go wrong, stop worrying. Worrying about the problem doesn’t fix it, it just stresses you out. Take a deep breath, then fix it.

Cancel everything when an amazing opportunity arises. Lunches and writing sprints and work can be rescheduled. Pursue growth, pursue love, pursue laughter. Grab life with both hands. You will never regret trying; you will regret having to wonder.

Some things are hard. Sitting up straight, being brave, and asking for help are among those things. But sit up straight, be brave, and ask for help anyway.

Here are some things that are easy to do: Playing with dogs. Reading a lot. Writing a lot. Dance offs in the bathroom. Taking photos. Laughing loudly. Keep doing those things. There’s no such thing as “too much” of those things.

Do easy things and hard things every day. Life’s a balance. 

Go ahead and drink good liquor. You’ll have a headache either way; might as well like the taste that gets you there.

Eat good food too. And try to eat more Good For You Food. You don’t have the metabolism of a 14-year-old soccer player/cheerleader/swimmer any more, so don’t eat like a 14-year-old soccer player/cheerleader/swimmer any more. Respect your body. Mom says you’ll thank yourself for that later. She’s right a lot of the time, so go ahead and listen now.

Her opinion is one of the few opinions that really matters to you. Hers and a small handful of other people. Listen to those people, and ignore every one else. Nod politely, if you have to. But at the end of the day, you’re the only one you have to answer to. Remember that.

Spend twenty minutes every day doing nothing. Call it meditation if you like. Just stare at a wall every day for twenty minutes and let your mind go where it will. This also makes you feel better, and it opens your mind to more creative thoughts.

Stop checking your email in bed. There are better ways to start and end your day.

You know those things you want to do? Stop talking about them, stop reading about them. There is a point when you’ve read and analyzed and thought too much. Stop talking about it and go do it. Just go do it.

Do things you dream about until you almost don’t like them anymore. Then stop. Take a break. It’s okay to take breaks. But then start doing them again. Do them until there’s nothing left to do; Do them until you can finally step back, take a deep breath, and be proud of what you’ve done.

Then go do something else you can be proud of.

Remember: People can choose freedom or be chained to a life they don’t like. You chose freedom.

Monday, May 21, 2012

reminders: sit down, shut up, and eat your hummus.

The other day I was talking to a friend fine, mumbling to myself about how much I hate cleaning. I love the results of cleaning, but the actual act of washing my dishes and vacuuming the floor? No thanks. If it wouldn’t be such a ridiculous waste of money (for me), I would probably pay someone else to do it just so I didn’t have to.

That got me thinking – cleaning isn’t a bad way to make a living. My family hired a woman who came and really deep cleaned our house like once a month and homegirl banked. So, naturally, I wondered if I could ever be happy cleaning houses and I had a weird realization: I don’t mind cleaning other people’s stuff. It just cleaning my stuff makes me stabby.

Boyfriend was out of town at this point, and since he wasn’t around to look at me side-eyed when I didn’t put my dishes directly in the dishwasher, there was a growing pile of them in the sink. As I stared at them I felt irritated with myself for letting them sit there. For not having a cleaner house. Which led to me being irritated that my house wasn’t better decorated. Naturally, this spiraled quickly and within an hour I was mad at myself for not being a superwoman who had time to have an immaculate house and run her own business and look drop dead gorgeous everyday.

I mean, what the hell is that? I don’t put my dishes in the dishwasher for two days and now I’m a failure? Sit the fuck down, inner voice. It’s not that big of a deal. No one is superwoman.

In my brain, I know this – no one does everything without help and no one can DO ALL THE THINGS. Which is why I would be okay with cleaning up after someone else; I know they’re not superhuman and I’m helping them out. But I’m so much harder on myself. I think we all are. Aren’t you?  

This has to stop. From here on out, I am telling myself to not judge my own character based on the fact that there are dishes in the sink, the bed isn’t made, I forgot to tweet about something, or all I had to eat today was hummus and carrots. Guess what? IT’S OKAY. It’s okay to not do everything and it’s okay to be nice to yourself.  Self-improvement and getting things done is NOT the same as running yourself ragged and being Judgey McGee.

Note to self: Enjoy your life! Sit down and eat your hummus!

Friday, May 18, 2012

fill in the blank friday + weekly roundup

This week, I'm linking up with Lauren over at the little things we do for Fill in the Blank Friday. This week's blanks are so cheerful, and I love it! :)

1. Something very near and dear to my heart is reading. I've been reading a lot of business and self-improvement books lately, but when I get a chance to curl up with a nice historical fiction novel (or any novel, really), those are the moments I feel truly joyful. NERD ALERT. 

2. Waking up this morning is a great cause to celebrate. :)

3. The most fun I ever had was traveling alone and photographing my life in another country. 

4. True friends are ones that will always answer your phone call, even if just to say they love you but they'll have to call you back and do.

5. Something that makes me terribly happy is knowing that I am loved. Driving alone on a nice spring day. Reading by a pool. I can go on and on. 
6. A good way to spend a sunny day is outside! Going for a bike ride, reading by the pool, whatever. I'm a fan no matter what.

7. My favorite celebratory food is chips and salsa, with a margarita of course.

My weekly round up isn't as link-filled as usual, but I do have one thing I would love if you all checked out: 

photos by valorie clark photography
 See those photos? They are from a wedding I shot with Hello, Gorgeous Photography on May 4th. I would love it if you guys checked them out and told me what you thought. :)

I'm spending this weekend in DFW, but I'll be back to DC soon enough for an interview! I know! I might not die alone in the street like a dog! (See here, if you're confused.) What are you guys doing this weekend?

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

this is your hump day assignment.

It's Wednesday. And that's always good, because it means it's halfway to the weekend.
Of course, since I'm currently a full-time love+lifestyle photographer, every day feels like the weekend to me. 
Life is good.

Anyway, this is your hump day internet assignment: 
Check out these ladies, they're the best, and not just because they help me pay rent. 

She's a Texan living in Germany. How cool, right?

She is a Southern college student and super sweet to boot. 

So, we good? Excellent. Go check them out, they're great. :)

Monday, May 14, 2012

not much to see here. except some cool stuff.

I have all the aggressive sads right now and haven't been feeling up to much more than eating yogurt covered pretzels and watching endless reruns of Friends, so I'm not blogging here today. That said, I am hanging out a couple other places that you should check out.


Over on Awesomely-Awkward, I'm helping you out with three tips for photographing children that I use as a photographer and have found to be super effective. You can check out my tips right here! It's good stuff.

 And over at Jenni Austria Germany, I'm talking about life as a wedding photographer. It's a nice a life, trust me.

Have a good Monday, everyone.

Friday, May 11, 2012

it's friday, friday...

High-five for Friday! Woohoo! Normally, I'm really excited on Fridays, but if you guys have been following the blog at all you know that today is the last day of my internship, and I (still) don't have a job yet. But I've had two interviews, so fingers crossed! If you know of any job openings in social media in DC or want to hire me to photograph your wedding, let me know. (Shameless self plug, but I don't care.) :)

my five favorite things from this week:
1. Getting my hair cut! I seriously hadn't had a hair cut since January, so it was about time! I haven't taken a photo yet (I know, I know, how ridiculous), but I will soon! 

2. Meeting a friend for a summery drink last night. We sat on a rooftop patio and had strawberry lemonades and it was just perfect. 

3. Doing a lot more writing this week outside the blog world. I do a lot of internet writing (I'm everywhere!) but, this week I've been sitting down with cups of coffee and Word and doing some personal writing. And I love it! 

4. Finding out about a place where I can take free language lessons here in DC. THE COOLEST. You better believe I'm signing up for French or Spanish or something. :)

5. Going through photos from the wedding I photographed last weekend. I can't stop looking at them! They're so pretty! (Check out the preview here! I'm so excited I just want ALL THE PEOPLE to see them, haha.)

One of these days, I'll actually remember to take photos on instagram of all these things so I can share them! Haha. (You can follow me there as TheValorieClark. Woo!)

The week in review. Woo!

Things You Might Have Missed Here on Simply, Valorie:
Things I Did Other Places on the Internet:
Things I Didn't Come up With but Love:
That's all for me! I have the apartment to myself (boyfriend is back home watching his sister graduate today - yay for her!), so I think I'm going to do a lot of nesting and reading. I'm so excited! What are you guys up to this weekend?

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

I work for free, shouldn't I drink for free?

Did you know that DC is expensive? No? Oh, hey, by the way, DC is hella expensive. Not as bad as say LA or Manhattan, but when you work for free like I do, even the ghetto is expensive.

(My boyfriend read this post and would like me to include here that we don't actually live in the ghetto, I'm just trying to make a point. Life is expensive, 'kay?)

As you guys probably know by now, I have an internship here in DC. And it's really great experience, looks good on my résumé, blah blah, but it's unpaid. Yet to network and meet with people who might know of a job opening somewhere, I have to spend money at coffee shops, and bars, and restaurants. And - hey! - guess what, that adds up after a while.

So one day when I was on the bus on my way back from one of these happy hour meetings I wondered - isn't it kind of unfair that this city is basically run on interns, but we interns are hardly thanked with much more than a letter of recommendation (if that)?

And yes, yes, I know I just hit on the biggest problem with capitalism and I sound like a communist right now, but I'm not going to get in to that. Stick with me on the interns thing.

You know how at a lot of restaurants you can get a stamp card that shows you're a loyal customer, and after 5 or 10 or 20 purchases, you get a free frozen yogurt or something? It's supposed to be a thank you from the restaurant for spending a whole bunch of your money there, right? 

Well, I think interns should have something like stamp cards, except they'd work like this: for every 5 or 10 hours we work, we should get a free drink. Any drink in the house (long island iced tea, please), redeemable at any time. And every bar should honor this. It could be like a thank you from the city to all the interns for making sure the work actually gets done.

I mean, if you're not going to pay us, at least give us something. Come on, DC.

Monday, May 7, 2012

let's see those may flowers.


Let me be the eleventy billionth person to say it - what? It's already May? 

May is and will be a big month for me. I already traveled to New Jersey to shoot a wedding with the lovely Rachel, my internship will be ending this Friday (gulp), and this is the last full month to accomplish my 101 in 1001 list (it ends June 7).

April was pretty good, all in all. In fact, here's the April Eff Yeah! List: Made new friends; lost two pounds; finally got VCP all incorporated and official; hit 130+ followers here; read Vonnegut's Cat's Cradle; and created a new website that is almost ready to be revealed! Yay! 

Now, the May Goals, which I'm super excited about: 

Yoga twice a week
Work out three times a week
Drink 8 actual cups of water a day

Stop biting my lips (seriously, I need tips on how to break this habit)
Fill a stack of post its with inspirational messages and leave them places. 

Stage a wedding
Buy this lens. (Finally.)
Giveaway something AWESOME. (Oh, yeah, get excited. For more on this giveaway, you'll want to follow my photography blog.)

Write every day
Read an excellent book.

Do Uncomfortable Things:
Make an appointment to donate my hair (!!!)
Find someone to bungee jump/free fall with this summer (interested?)

Those of you that know about my bucket system know this isn't all of the buckets or all of the goals, but I didn't want to bore you.

If you have good book recommendations or tips on how I can stop being the asshat that bites her lips until they bleed please leave them in the comments. Seriously, please. My lips are begging you. (That is a weird sentence.)

Friday, May 4, 2012

may the fourth be with you.

You didn't think you were getting out of this blog without some nerdtastic holiday cheer, did you? Ha! How little you guys know me. I won't be celebrating with any Star Wars movies, as is customary, but here's a picture of a greyhound wearing an AT-AT suit. You're welcome.

Now, for some blanks with Lauren, as (almost) always. Did you fill in blanks today? Let me know! :)

1. My bedtime routine includes    watching Friends until we're exhausted, lately. But that's okay because Friends is the best show ever.

2. I am   in New Jersey as I write this - I'm assisting another wonderful photographer for a wedding - and she rocks.

3. I can't stand being late to anything   because   it just makes me so anxious my heart could leap out of my throat. 

4. My idea of relaxation would be   chilling out on a beach at night and listening to the waves crash. With a drink in my hand, obvs. You guys know me.

5. If I had an extra $50, I would   save it! haha. But really. I work for free - that extra $50 could help out a lot later.

6. The best thing about a bloggy friend is   you immediately know if you have something in common! Finally meeting a blog friend in real life isn't awkward at all because it's like you've always known them.

7. A recipe I've been dying to try is   this three ingredient slow-cooker pulled pork. But I don't have a slow cooker so it's just not going to happen. Boooo. Anyone have one they don't want? :)

Normally, I do a weekly wrap-up here, but I didn't do much on the internet this week (applying for jobs is sucking up all my time), so here's a short list of things you missed here and everywhere else. You don't want to miss these things though, so check 'em out!

Also, if you're one of my new followers, introduce yourself in the comments! I'd love to get to know you. :)

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

a list of things I'm generally anxious about, like dying alone on the street with the dogs

This blog is a pretty positive space, over all. What can I say? I like to have fun. (Who doesn't?)

But occasionally, I get a little real, and this post is going to be one of the ones that's a little real.

So if you're one of those people who likes the internet because it makes everyone seem like they have their lives together and are wildly successful and happy ALL OF THE TIMES, this is a post you won't want to read.

Here's the thing. Today is May 1st. My internship ends on May 11th. That is ten days away AND I DON'T HAVE A LEAD.

A lead on a permanent job that is. The place where I'm interning is experiencing budget cuts (who isn't?) and can't afford to keep me on. So I'm job hunting. I'm sending out my resume and applications. Each one seems more intense than the last, and every time no one calls me back it seems more soul-crushing than the last time.

(Seriously, Every Company Ever, you don't even send thank yous that I spent time applying for your position? EMAILS ARE FREE. YOU CAN EVEN AUTOMATE THEM.)

Everyone keeps telling me, "It's just the economy. No one wants to hire. Just keep your chin up, someone will call you soon."

But in my head all I can think is, "What if it's not 'just the economy'? What if it's me? What am I doing wrong?"

And all that anxiety and all that fear is making all the other anxieties and fears sound very loud in my head. More soul-crushing than not having a hiring manager call you back (or even email, jeez), is the voice in your head that every time you hit "apply" says "Oh, why bother? You won't get this one either."

I wish I could say that I had a lesson to share within all this, but I don't. All I've got is this laundry list of other things that I'm anxious about these days and the hope that putting them in writing will at least make them seem a little smaller and free up more of my brain to work on actually applying for jobs.

My Laundry List of Legitimate Things I'm Generally Anxious About
 Not getting a real "career job."
Not even being qualified enough to be a waitress/bartender/barista should I not get a "career job."
Valorie Clark Photography failing. 
Never photographing another wedding.
Dying cold and alone on the street with the dogs. 
(I literally tell my boyfriend that this will happen to me about once a day. He's used to it.)
Not making rent.
Going into debt.
Never making enough money to travel again. 
Having to move back in with my parents. 
(I still love you, parents. Don't look at me that way.)

Here's the thing: I know that worrying about these things doesn't make it better. I know that my parents or my boyfriend will help me out if I need money for groceries next month -- they're not going to let me starve. I know that someone will hire me and that I'm actually quite qualified for the jobs I'm applying for. And, if I don't get a "career job" tomorrow, I'm still overqualified to be a waitress. I mean, I have actual serving experience. Someone will hire me for something. 

It will be okay. I'm not going to die cold and alone on street with the dogs.

What are you guys generally anxious about these days? Maybe sharing will make us all feel better.

(This is literally the cheesiest [and not-greatest] thing I've designed in a while, but I needed a little reminder. Maybe it'll help you too?)