Summer Reading List

Summer Reads besotted blog

Ah summer, it’s finally here! Time to play outside, eat piles of fresh berries, make some sun tea, and devour a few interesting books. My preference is for fiction with a plot that covers some ground and isn’t too bogged down by flowery language. Dense descriptions make me nod off, which is useful for a natural sedative, but not a good recipe for finishing a book. Here are a few recent reads I’ve enjoyed, in case you have the same criteria:

Currently reading: I Love You More, by Jennifer Murphy.

It’s unlikely you’ve heard of this one, because it’s a freshly released debut novel. It only came to my attention because it was quietly penned by one of my neighbors! I had no idea she was a writer, I barely know her, but I am thrilled for her. You don’t get a book deal with Double Day without some serious chops. I’m only a few chapters in, but I’m already charmed by the central character (a 12 year old girl cleverly named Picasso).

What She Left Behind, by Ellen Marie Wiseman

Two stories intertwined: a modern day teenager recovering from a family trauma & a woman who is committed to an asylum in the late 1920’s (even though she is perfectly sane). It’s a story about appalling injustices, and how people react to them. I was not expecting my heart to be in my throat for so many chapters! One night, my eyes were still wide open at 3 am, (but it was worth it).

Note: If you are familiar with the second season of American Horror Story, you may find yourself waiting for Jessica Lange to pop up somewhere in the asylum. Yikes!

The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion

A professor with Aspergers devises a plan to find a mate, and is led through unexpected adventures with squirrely people who don’t adhere to his plan. The story is told from the professor’s perspective as he processes all of these unexpected events, which I found delightful and insightful.

The Museum of Extraordinary Things: A Novel by Alice Hoffman

Coney Island curiosities, a murder mystery, two people in love with the deck stacked against them, and ok, I admit it – one of the main characters is a photographer. I was fascinated by the descriptions of a not yet fully developed Manhattan, woods teeming with deer and other animals living along the Hudson River are so hard to imagine now!

The Orphan Master’s Son by Adam Johnson

Even though this is a work of fiction, I felt like I came away with a real impression of what life could feel like for the citizens of North Korea. This Pulitzer Prize winner lingers with you for awhile. I may have been so intrigued that I made my husband watch a number of documentaries with me, then I talked his ear off about North Korea for a few more weeks. I’m pretty sure he loved it.

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children and Hollow City by Ransom Riggs

Tristan has already mentioned these, but they are worth mentioning again. Such imagination! There are heros and villians, it’s very cleverly written, and of course I love that Ransom Riggs collected the photos first, then built the story around them. I can hardly wait for the third book in this series to come out.

Finally, I don’t think it’s possible to write a reading list right now without including The Goldfinch and The Fault in Our Stars. You can’t lose really, both of these deserve every bit of attention they’ve received.
Have you read any good fiction lately? I’ll need to line up another book soon!

Author / Miss Michelle P.

Miss Michelle P. is a photographer, designer and co-professor for Souvenir Foto School. She lives in the Pacific Northwest. Her muse is light.

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LETTERING SUPPLY RESOURCE LIST!

huge lettering supply list besotted blog

I have wanted to create this for a while, but it was easier said than done!  I have finally put together a list of supplies to start your lettering journey in an easy (I hope) visual guide. I didn’t get specific on all the nibs or nib holders, I may create another gallery for a more advanced supplies list but this is the list I get the most emails on and it covers everything from books/classes to the paper and ink I recommend.

If you have questions or have requests of what you would like to find lettering wise, please let me know and I will try to address them for future add-ons to the gallery.

Be back soon!

P.S. The lettering font I used at the top of the post can be found here!

VSCOCAM TUTORIAL | DARK & DRAMATIC

VSCOCAM tutorial besottedblog.com

Hello Besotted beauties! I love the look of black backgrounds. They can be rich & theatrical, and they allow subjects to shine without any distractions. Lately, I’ve been using the VSCO Cam app on my iPhone for test shots (and for Instagram) before I haul out the dslr & tripod. I am often floored by the results, sometimes I even prefer the phone shot! Here’s my method in case you’d like to give it a try. Yes, you really can get these results too.
1// Download the VSCO Cam app.
2 // Set the stage. My set-up : Window to the right of my subject*, black stretch velvet fabric draped over a rigged up art canvas and small table. Style your subject so you are ready to take your shot.
Dark and Dramatic Phone Photos Besotted Blog
3//  Open VSCO Cam & bring up the camera. Tap the screen with 2 fingers in order to access the separate focus & exposure buttons. Exposure control is your secret weapon!
Dark Dramatic Phone Photos Besotted Blog
4//  Set your focus point, then move the exposure button to a brighter area. The app will think “hey, that’s too bright,” and cause it to darken the rest of the scene, making for deeper shadows and blacker blacks. Pull back to find that bright area if you need to, just plan on cropping out the clutter in your editing process.
5// Crop, Edit, Voila! Rich, dark & dramatic -all right from your phone.
We are always curious to see your results. If you put this tutorial to good use, share it on Instagram, with #bbdarkdramatic so we can take a peek!
*Next time I’ll share how to get this kind of glow!
Author / Miss Michelle P.

Miss Michelle P. is a photographer, designer and co-professor for Souvenir Foto School. She lives in the Pacific Northwest. Her muse is light.

VICINITY STUDIO | PINTEREST | INSTAGRAM | TWITTER

MACARONS A HAND LETTERED FONT FAMILY

handlettered font besotted blog

Oh, hello there! I am still here, just a little behind on getting some of the new functionality up for the site, mainly having all the fonts I’ve recommended in one place, the supplies, oh, the supplies, I need to get a one page of all the lettering supplies because I get hundreds of emails about supplies and I don’t have one place for you to look for them at a glance, tsk tsk. It does warm my heart to no end to see that some of you have been inspired enough by my lettering love posts to actually try it yourself either via workshops or on your own, keep it up! I don’t want lettering and hand-lettered correspondence to go the way of the Dodo so I encourage you to keep at it, tell a friend, heck better yet send said  friend a handwritten letter! The lettering artist interviews, those too need their own easy accessible page (and deserve to be highlighted, always grateful that these artists are willing to share their secrets with us). This is all a learning curve for me the back end of a WordPress site (and uhm, the whole new mommy gig), even with help from some terrific coders and input from a delightful new partner I am still being a bit daft with the whole thing. There’s so much that we want to add to this site, but it’s important to us that the information is easy for you to access and the site easy to navigate and that seems like it is always easier said than done.

Speaking of hand lettering, Coto Mendoza of Latinotype just developed this charming font called Macarons (the blogosphere should appreciate that). It’s a bit more rustic than Woolen, (they are similar but different enough that I would use them both happily).  Macarons also has the additional ‘sketchy’ version and some cursive ‘catch words’, it’s a nice little font family and it’s on sale right now so a bargain to boot! I do hope you enjoy this find!

P.S. If you are looking for some more charming font action, may I recommend Suarez to you?

THE GLOW

the glow photo by kelly stuart besotted blog

I have been obsessed, I mean completely obsessed with The Glow and their photographs. If you do not know of this magical site you must pay them a visit, it’s inspired by motherhood, but the chicest most inspiring/successful mothers in town. In other words, the complete opposite of the type of mom I currently am (slovenly, tired, frantic and decidedly unchic). For some reason instead of feeling pangs of supreme jealously it has given me hope that I could one day join the ranks of society that can hold a conversation, eat sitting at a table, shower longer than 30 seconds and a whole host of other things that I am hoping to one day to accomplish again. And of course there’s those photographs-le sigh.

I recently did a shoot with a local photographer (my mother’s day gift) and all I wanted was to try to recreate one of these images from the site. Just one is all I wanted, I think every mom should have at least one photo that is so breathtakingly+ heartbreakingly beautiful that captures the essence of this ephemeral time in her life, don’t you?  We did not accomplish it, but being the tinkering (and obsessed) kind I have been trying to figure it out because I want a photo like this darn it! And unless I become wildly successful, creative and beautiful in the next month (E. is growing so fast!) I won’t be having Ms. Stuart photographing me anytime soon.

Once you have devoured the site, you can now purchase their new book release.  I haven’t gotten my copy in yet, but I am sure the images will be every bit as inspiring. One of my favorite shoots/interviews on the site is the co-founder Violet Gaynor and her daughter Plum (darling names, right?) I am hoping they show more of them in the book.

What else is new in my little world? Not a whole lot, I still haven’t gotten my ‘sea legs’ on this whole mama + work thing.  I did successfully finish a design project, which took me about 2 weeks of stolen 10-15 minutes here there and there (not the most optimal way to work but I did it and the client was happy!  I am still working at my little shop, lot’s of custom stamps for small businesses, always makes me happy. E. is cutting teeth and her canine’s are coming in before her front teeth, she is going to look like a hill billy vampire (no offense to hill billies or vampires). Michelle is going to grace us with her talent again and has an amazing tutorial you’ll have to check out. We are still working frantically behind the scene to bring this site back up, I’d love to be here on a less sporadic basis (oh, how I miss you all so very much!) and of course introduce my new partner on the site (I bet you can guess, but she does need a proper introduction…). So until next time my friends!

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