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Anna (pronounced Ah-nuh) shares, on her photo blog, bits and pieces of her life here in Indianapolis. She frequently takes her followers to local eateries and on bike rides. She has a knack for framing the ordinary and making it interesting. Her photos have a lovely, soft style, and she makes pretty much any food on the table look delicious. I've had the honor of meeting Anna in real life--once at a Thai restaurant in Fountain Square, and once at a Christmas party--and the food at both was amazing. To top things off, Anna has Kongcat, who is possibly the most amiable black cat I've ever encountered.


Alissa is yet another Purdue student! Her lifestyle blog reflects the "crazy world" she, her high-school sweetheart, and their sweet little toddler, Harper, encounter each day. Alissa is a student and freelance writer, but despite her busy days, she stays positive. One of my favorite posts was titled "It's OK Thursday," which was a fill-in-the-blank session with statements such as "It's OK that I eat my weight in Somoas in one sitting" and "It's OK that I still check my closets for crazies every night before I go to bed."



Violet is also a resident of the Indianapolis area. I first "met" her over a year ago. Her blog is a melee of beautiful photography, and I would love for her to shoot my own wedding. Violet is, in fact, a full-time photographer, and she always shares her work, whether it be wedding, modeling, family portrait, or pet portrait (most of which are of her own pup, Marshmallow). She also features digital photography tutorials and the occasional DIY. If you're especially interested in pastels, Blythe dolls, or Peter Pan collars, I would recommend visiting Violet's site.



After my mom, my brother, Hans, my cat, her cat, "The Lumberjack," and the cluster of mold growing in my back pantry, Zoë is probably my favorite being. Though she has taken to posting quite infrequently on her Tumblr, I know her to be one of the most intelligent people I've ever met. She's the mother hen, the worrier, the giver of excellent hugs. Half of our ludicrous conversations revolve around cats or "The Birdcage." Or business ideas--as wedding planners, as professional care package senders, as managers of a kitten circus. However, Zoë is naturally rational as well, and so her posts (on Tumblr, Facebook, or Twitter) often address politics, current events, and the betterment of society. 



Hands down, Jessica has got to be the most connected person in all of Indiana. Her project, Little Indiana, shows off the state's small towns. She travels--mostly out of her own pocket--to discover local eateries and neighborhood quirks. She also appears on PBS' "The Weekly Special" to talk about the project and her latest finds. If you ever travel around the state, I suggest browsing about Little Indiana for restaurants, shopping, campgrounds, and entertainment. In addition to showing off the side of the state that isn't filled with cornfields, Jessica also interviews other Hoosier bloggers. She's featured quite a few, if you'd like to discover even more.



Katie is a "small town girl from the cornfields of Indiana." Our mutual blogging friend Arielle introduced us, and I've enjoyed visiting Katie's blog since then. Lately, she's been incredibly honest on her site--earnestly and heartbreakingly so. Her words spun themselves into my soul, and so I go back, wanting to learn more about her, about her past. Katie is also an avid reader, especially of fantasy tales like "Alice in Wonderland" and "Harry Potter." I've also picked up a few good songs from visiting her blog, on which she shares various musicians. Furthermore, Katie shares the little things--the small things that her happy, and the quirky memories (such as breathing a chip from a taco pizza into her nose) that make her who she is.



Poppie is an Indianapolis native, and her blog documents her life here in the city. Some of her posts include photo tours of Fountain Square, Broad Ripple, and Massachusetts Avenue, three of the city's six cultural districts. She shares photos of her treks about the city, and I enjoy seeing her perspective of areas I frequent myself (including the Indianapolis Museum of Art). Poppie is also a grad student, so she often alludes to her studies and busy schedule. Despite that, we are looking forward to setting up a coffee/lunch date soon! I'm interested to hear her, a self-described urbanite, talk about Indy, a city I'm slowly exploring and learning about.


I've known Nicole about as long as I've known Anna and Violet. And in all that time, I have not seen Nicole radiate as much joy and happiness as she does now. Her son and fiance--who she is marrying later this year--make frequent appearances, and I enjoy getting to know them through her. She prides herself on sharing her honest, day-to-day life--the ups and downs, the tears and the smiles. In Nicole's own words, her blog is about "our family life, loves, passions, hardships, good times, adventures, and dreams. We kind of let it all hang out over here."



Sara is a recent discovery. She is yet another Indiana blogger whom I was introduced to through Twitter. I was excited to see that she, too, graduated from Purdue! (She has degrees in both photography and art history. She's been sharing some spring inspiration lately, but she is a photographer, textile artist, and Etsy seller herself. Her shop features lots of embroidered works (my favorite are the vintage photo journals). It is clear that Sara supports the handmade goods, as well as other artists--from Frida to Edward Ruscha.



Shakti (pronounced Shock-tea) is a central-Indiana blogger whom I've also had the pleasure to meet in real life. We dined at a Steak 'n Shake and ended up sitting at our booth for hours, chatting about blogs and significant others and the weather and Indiana and everything between. She is friendly, intelligent, and creative. In fact, my favorite creation of hers is a jellyfish made from fragile textiles. I always look forward to each of her posts--whether it is about her Pyrex collection, her latest DIY necklace, or the small adventures she and her husband have in their hometown.


Twitter has introduced to me some truly fabulous people, one of them being Sacha. She and I swapped ornaments in December, and we've kept in touch since. (She's a Twitter aficionado, so I would definitely recommend talking to her there.) She's another fellow resident of Indy, and seems to know everything and everyone. Need restaurant suggestions? Go to Sacha. Interested in visiting a new art gallery? Sacha probably knows one. She's thoughtful, money-conscious, and is always up for a laugh. I've greatly enjoyed her company when I've bumped into her around town. Best of all, Sacha is honest, and she is determined to help people, to point them in the right direction. 

I just started flipping through Twinkle's site, after she signed up for the springtime swap. Her site features posts about food and gardening, and there are, of course, DIYs and recipes. (I'll probably be checking out her gluten-free recipes soon.) Her latest post, though, describes how to create a vertical garden out of a leftover pallet. In addition to being a mother, musician, and social media fanatic, Twinkle is also the digital lifestyle & entertainment producer for LIN Media. She, too, is a transplant to Indianapolis (she's originally from Mississippi).


Also, I am now networking with Indianapolis Bloggers! So if you live in Indy--or would just like to connect with other Hoosiers--check out their site. I love discovering the little coincidences: how a blogger I've never met visited Mass Ave. the same day as me, and even took a photo of the same December-blooming rose. Moreover, getting to experience neighborhoods and eateries through others' eyes is always a welcome experience.

Have a Happy Easter, and don't forget to sign up for the springtime/May basket swap!

KURT VONEGUT MEMORIAL LIBRARY










Kurt Vonnegut was actually born in Indianapolis, and born into a family of architects. His father and grandfather were part of a firm, Vonnegut & Bohn. The firm built a lot of historic buildings around the city--including the Athenaeum, the William H. Block Company Building, the Herron Art Institute (which is right across the street from my apartment)--and is quite well-known. That said, the Vonneguts have quite a legacy here in Indianapolis.

The Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library is located downtown, about two blocks from the Statehouse. I visited it with a friend back in September, and we vowed to return, but with more company in tow. So, in December (yes, that is when these pictures were taken), four of us strolled into the library to read about Vonnegut, gaze at his artwork, and browse the small gift shop area. True, the Library is intimate, but it is engaging. And there are several things I wish I could purchase from the shop, including T-shirts, mugs, and autographed copies of his artwork.

The Library has several of Vonnegut's original artworks, and his typewriter as well. You can see where he rested his cigarettes as he pounded out a sentence. And in the cozy back corner is a table, a chair, and a typewriter at which you can sit and chicken peck a few words. The area is a replication of his own writing studio, right down to the red rooster lamp.













Have you ever read any of Vonnegut's novels? What is your favorite? "Slaughterhouse-Five" was the first one I ever read, closely followed by "Cat's Cradle" and "Jailbird."

MAY DAY SPRINGTIME SWAP

When I was younger, in elementary school particularly, the arrival of spring was always a joy. It meant warmer weather. Easter. Finally being able to ride my bike again. It meant green grass and walking to school and playing in the sandbox. It meant my birthday was near. It also meant May baskets.

My small town never celebrated the "true" reason for May Day (you can read about the spring festival on Wikipedia, the site journalists use more than they like to admit). However, people in the town--especially children--usually made and delivered May baskets.

As children, our baskets would be of woven construction paper, something we most likely made at school. We would fill them with popcorn, treats and sweets. A handful of violets. Some emblem of spring. We would leave the basket on the doorstep of a friend, ring the doorbell, and quickly hide, as was custom. (I've heard that if the fleeing person is caught by the person receiving the basket, then they must kiss.) Though May Day traditions vary throughout the United States (and throughout the world, of course), May baskets are what I remember most. They were small joys contained within a paper satchel.

So, this year, as a way to revive generosity during the heart of spring, I and two other fantabulous bloggers--Mary and Shannah--are hosting a May Day Springtime Swap. It's similar to the ornament swap earlier this year, in that it allows you to network with other bloggers. Furthermore, it's a fun way to exchange small items: little, pretty things that are springlike and fun.

Interested in participating? 

Please email me, Dawn, at d.marie755@gmail.com with the subject line SPRINGTIME SWAP.

In the email, include:
1. Your mailing address. 
2. Your shipping preference (domestic or international).
3. If you have one, a link to your blog, Tumblr, Twitter, Facebook, etc. Remember, anyone can join the swap, so don’t hesitate to join if you don’t have a personal site.

The last day to sign up for the swap is April 1.

Everyone will receive, by April 5, an email with partner information. The entire month of April is then devoted to sending and receiving packages! (Just be sure to mail them in time so they arrive by May Day.)

The “swap” is actually a round robin, so you will mail a package to one person, but receive a gift from another! The springtime packages can be purchased or created, vintage or handmade. They can be whatever you would like them to be … but they shouldn’t cost more than $10. Include a jar of honey from the farmers market. A handmade brooch. A fistful of dried flowers or a postcard depicting a warm-weather picnic. Lavender-scented soap. Whatever you wish.

Most importantly, have fun! Enjoy getting to know two additional bloggers during the hopeful promises of spring. And be sure to snap a photo or two of the package you receive, unravel and open. Come May 1, there will be a showcase of everyone’s gifts! Lastly, if you wish to spread the word, you can grab the button to the left. After all, the more the merrier.

Enjoy the first day of spring! If you have to be cooped up because it's just not quite warm enough to be out and about, be sure to visit Mary at Inside My Hideaway and Shannah at Shannah Renee. Shannah is a swap-and-mailing queen, and I was actually introduced to her through a disposable camera swap she hosted. She frequently shares her sewing ventures (the latest of which is a chevron skirt), and often posts DIY crafts that involve fabrics. And Mary? She's a crafty one, too. Her shop is stocked with felt creations--brooches, pins, ornaments. (I'm kind of in love with her hedgehog pins.) I met Mary through a swap as well, and have enjoyed getting to know both her and Shannah. I never knew that participating in such events would yield such amazing online friendships.

INDIANA STATEHOUSE



Since I am only a temporary hire, I reap my benefits in the little things, rather than in overpriced health insurance. For example, there are at least two people a week who bring wonderful food items into the office. There has been banana bread. Pepperidge Farm cookies. Coffee cake. Bagels. Gourmet popcorn. Donuts from Long's--a bakery in Indianapolis that is notorious for its nirvana-like glazed donuts.

There is also a mini-mart just below my office that I visit when the stockpiles in my desk drawer are running low. Another small benefit is the handling of paper; though I have developed minute calluses on my thumbs from all of the page turning I do, I handle reams of paper, some of it still warm from the printer. I can spend my lunch hour at the state library, researching buildings and people for Historic Indianapolis. I can go shopping on my lunch break, too, if I desire. Take the angular, vertigo-inducing tunnels to Circle Centre, where I can pick up a pair of jeans or earrings.  Speaking of the tunnels, there are mazes of underground passageways--from the parkage garage, to the state library. To the mall downtown. To the Statehouse.

Ah, the Statehouse. An 1888 construction at which I marvel from the wide windows in my boss's corner office. It's pretty grandeur, and I'm thrilled to be working next to such a building. I've actually never been in my own state capitol (which is the only five-domed state capitol in the country), so being able to enjoy Indiana's is something for which I am grateful. Each time I lug my camera into its open floors, I notice something different--the pattern on the windows, the flickering gold that paints the bottom of each staircase.












AFTER WEEKEND WORK


I actually gasped with delight when I first saw these photos. The colors were perfect, just what I was looking for. I had taken them on a Sunday, on a sunny afternoon after I finished some weekend work at the office. Though the plaza between the Government North  and Government South buildings has a particular name, it escapes me. (For the record, I work in the Government North building, which is on the left.) But from the first day I visited, from the day I went in for my interview, I was struck by the long pathways, the tall columns. And, on Sundays, when no one is there, the area seems much more colossal and humbling. I even spent some time on the historic canal where, though it doesn't show, I met several people jogging or walking their dogs. It was a delightful February afternoon, really, and I'm glad I was able to get it on film.







Camera: Refurbished LC-A
Film: Lomo CN 400

MONUMENT CIRCLE


In contrast to yesterday's images, which were taken from the top of the Soldiers and Sailors Monument, today's were shot from the terra firma of Monument Circle. The Circle is in the heart of downtown, at the crossroads of Meridian and Market streets. The entire Circle is paved with brick and is pedestrian friendly. During the warmer months, tourists and locals alike spend time in the Circle--frequenting shops, cafes. They lounge on the cool steps, or cluster beneath the trees, the ones sparkling and glittering with fairy lights. It's certainly captivating, almost magical. It's a place that earned my admiration four years ago, when I first saw it, when we first turned a corner and THERE. THERE IT WAS. Fountains and stone and light and shadows. The heartbeat of the city.

These photos were taken with my LC-A, with my second roll of film. I used Lomography's CN 400, which didn't work as well on that gloomy day as I had hoped. Things still look a bit too gray, but, as I've said before, I'm learning. Sometimes it is quite racking to share images here, ones that I know are full of imperfections. All the same, I love the contrast of the red brick against the stone architecture. The Circle is one of the most admirable--and oldest--places in the city.








I took the following eastward-looking photo because I fell in love with this one from 1910. The original, old buildings, the carriages, and the rails. And, oh, the streetcars .. the public transportation that no longer exists, that instead has been plowed and paved over dozens and dozens and dozens of times.


Have a wonderful Tuesday, friends.


Camera: Refurbished LC-A
Film: Lomography CN 400

TAKE IT FROM THE TOP


With the air warm, the breeze light, and the sun in the sky, we spent both Saturday and Sunday outside. My dad--who had been visiting Indy for a couple of days--stopped by Saturday morning. He gifted us yeast and blueberry donuts, and after Hans and I gluttonously devoured them for breakfast, we drove to the Indie Arts & Vintage Marketplace (where I picked up an 1898 map of Omaha). After a few hours perusing antiques, we tramped downtown, to Monument Circle. There, we huffed and puffed (well, I did, anyway) up 331 stairs to the top of the Soldiers and Sailors Monument.

The deck was crowded with the physically exerted. Damp from the sweat of those who had bypassed the elevator. But the cost was free, and the view was spectacular. We mapped out Virginia and Massachusetts avenues. We pointed in the direction of our apartment. Asked ourselves, "What is that?" Watched the ants, the ant-like persons some 200-feet below us, crawl in straight lines of traffic.

What I remember most is one child, a boy, who kept exclaiming to his parents, "I'm in the heart of Indianapolis! The heart of the city!" Where he and his family resided, from where they had driven, I do not know. But his earnest appreciation of the city made me smile. For I, curiously teetering behind the glass, with camera in hand, was just as filled with childlike wonder. 



Constructed in 1857, the Christ Church Cathedral is the oldest building on Monument Circle. This 1898 photo shows both the Monument and the church.
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