Wednesday, May 19, 2010

PSSSSST, Hey Blogger Readers...

You may want to update your subscriptions, cuz I've got a snazzy new wordpress blog over at Hope you make the journey with me!

Sunday, May 09, 2010

WINNER of the Eclectic Whatnot Camera Strap Cover

In the remodel process, I kinda forgot to announce the winner of the Eclectic Whatnot camera strap cover. For those of you who took a look at Ruthanne's gorgeous straps, you know her crazy talent...and I'm pretty sure we're gonna have a few jealous ladies here!!!

Having said that, I did have to pick a winner...and guess who won?! Our very first entry! MRS Jen McNeil, come on down, you're the lucky winner, and because I know you can't stand your old Canon strap, I think you're gonna love your new blinged out strap! Look for an email from me connecting you and Ruthanne later today!

And for those of you who didn't win, I hope you'll hop back over to the Eclectic Whatnot shop and consider buying one of her covers. The quality is wonderful and the price is affordable AND you'd be supporting a really great gal who I was fortunate to meet and enjoy spending time with at BlissDom!

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Extreme Blog Makeover

I know something you don't know...and it's making me so antsy with excitement!!! Can't wait to share the big may want to stay tuned, make sure your subscriptions to my BLAH BLAH BLAHs are up to date, and help me by keeping your fingers crossed!

Until the big reveal, please know that while I'm not posting much this week I AM reading your blogs and you all inspire me to pieces...when I grow up, I want to be like all of you!

Monday, May 03, 2010

Mexican Lasagna, aka MEATY CHEESY GOODNESS

This weekend, I had my closest girlfriends over for dinner, wine consumption, and a chick flick. We watched It's Complicated (LOVED that movie).

We had a wonderful time catching up on life and promising to spend more time together, being present in each other's life. We also promised not to worry about the calories in the dinner...sometimes you just have to throw the best intentions to eat well out the window. And we are VERY GOOD at doing that.

I typically like to experiment on dinner with this crowd. I know that if I bomb a recipe with them, that pizza is always a close second best.

Like many of my bloggy sisters, our "go to" recipe gal has become Pioneer Woman. Last week, she posted an homage to Pastor Ryan and included a number of his recipes. I saw the pics of Mexican Lasagna and felt like I HAD TO HAVE IT IMMEDIATELY.

This dish was INCREDIBLE, but it's not for the faint of heart. First of all, the recipe says it feeds 8. Well, I cut that sucker in half and it was like the Loaves and Fishes. I had enough Mexican Lasagna to feed an army. It was a massive dish of meaty and cheesy goodness and I would recommend it in a heartbeat!

This was supposed to be a serving for four...linebackers, perhaps!

So, ya want to know what is in it? Head on over to The Pioneer Woman and see Pastor Ryan's incredible recipe!

AND, if you want to see some other incredible recipes, check out Tasty Tuesday at Jennifer's site. There are countless other women (and men) in blogland who whip up incredible meals each week and share them with the class!

Making a Difference

Saturday, May 1, is Make a Difference Day. In the South Bay (an area of LA), organizations and communities come together to adopt much needed projects that otherwise wouldn't have funding to make critical or much desired improvements. This year, my company participated and joined 5,000 other volunteers, which means that I coordinated, planned, recruited volunteers, and basically took on yet another major project. But it was all worth it.

I've mentioned it before, but my company is headquartered in a not so nice area. There are some areas that are dilapidated, blighted, and in some cases, dangerous (don't worry, mom, I don't go there). Across from the civic center is a middle school that is just BLAH. We decided to take on some of the projects they needed help with and in just one day, we saw MAJOR changes. Though it was a Saturday, there were many campus programs happening, and students continually came by and thanked us for volunteering...we made a huge difference in the look of this school. We replanted a memorial rose garden for a deceased teacher, weeded and replanted massive planters in their quad, repainted the backstops in their athletic field, and power washed their bleachers. It was a big job, but we had a lot of fun. The other great thing about this project was having our vendors get involved, volunteer their time, AND donate supplies. It was pretty phenomenal!

Volunteering in the community is something that has always been important to me, but has looked a little different at times in my life. As a teenager, I went on a mission trip to Europe; several years ago, I dug trenches for a dormitory in a Mexican orphanage; when I lived in DC, I read to inner-city elementary school students. I've had the privilege of serving on boards of directors, too. One thing I learned about ten years ago, was that if you can't give financially, you can always give your time and talent. What a great reminder that is when we feel like we're unable to make a great impact on the community around us. Others will be grateful for the service we provide, but ultimately, those who give, receive the greatest reward!

How are you making a difference in your community?

PS - like my hot pink gardening gloves? The Easter Bunny brought them and I was ABSOLUTELY the cutest little worker out there!

Friday, April 30, 2010

GIVEAWAY & PhotoFANatic Friday: Simple Setting Tips for your DSLR

If you have a DSLR camera, chances are you've flipped through your manual to figure out what all those dang buttons are for, but I'd hazard a guess to say that you may not have read ALL the way through to what the menu button contains. Why do I guess this??? Because when I got my first DSLR camera, I didn't do it, either. Many of the wonderful tips I've learned have been from friends who have hit me upside the head, and then have shown me their tricks and tips.

So, if this sounds like you, too, here are a few tips/tricks that you probably weren't aware of. And once again, though I have a photo business, I'm not purporting to be the be all, end all. I just want to share some things with you that I've found helpful!

Menu Settings You Need to Check Out Now

Shoot w/o Card - If you're a Canon (like me), in the menu on your camera you'll be able to find a setting for 'shoot w/o card.' The default setting is YES. TURN THIS OFF IMMEDIATELY. The last thing you want to do is fire off a bunch of great shots, then realize that you don't have a SD or CF card in the camera. : (

Beep - In your menu settings you will see something that says "BEEP" and it can come in quite handy. Let's say you are shooting a wedding, or your nephew's baby dedication in church. Every time you focus, you'll hear an auspicious "beep." However, you can turn the beep off very easily, which means you want cause people to turn and look at you when your brother and SIL are sharing your nephew's life verse...ahem.

Quality - Have you ever been curious what this stands for? Quality allows for you to decide what size image you are going to shoot and whether you're going to shoot RAW, JPG or both. I shoot raw, SRAW1 to be exact. RAW allows me to shoot images that contain more information, which gives me more opportunities to manipulate photos in Photoshop. I shoot small RAW because they are still HUGE files, but don't burn through my CF cards as fast as RAW. I can blow my images up for large canvases, but still save space on the card. This is a win win in my world. However, RAW files mean that I need to have photo editing software. Shooting JPG would allow me to pop my images into the computer and immediately put them on Facebook, etc. ; )

And now for the GIVEAWAY!!!

If you're into photography equipment and new products, you've probably been following the onset of adorable new camera strap covers. My pal Ruthanne, over at Eclectic Whatnot, has started a new line of BEAUTIFUL covers. Having spent countless hours and mounting dollars sewing camera strap slip covers for anyone who would take them, Ruthanne decided something had to go ~ and it wasn't going to be her sewing machine. Thus, Eclectic Whatnot was born. She describes her store as "shabby, chic and just plain fun." Ruthanne's sewing machine is fueled by foot power and she is fueled by good coffee and streaming episodes of 24.

So, now that you know more about Ruthanne, take a look at her gorgeous products by heading over to her store. Here's my favorite. If you're interested in winning one, too, go to the store, then come back here and comment about your favorite. You can also tweet about this GIVEAWAY for another opportunity to win one, too! I'll select a winner next Friday, May 7, so stay tuned!!!

If you're interested in purchasing any new photography products or equipment, I encourage you to check out Adorama. In my opinion, they have the best prices and customer service out there! Happy shooting!

All reviews were provided by the blogger on her own accord. Products were not provided for review.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Greener Grass

I just arrived home from a quick weekend trip to Fort Worth. And my heart hurts a little.

I get back there at least once a year, sometimes more, and whenever I'm there, I'm struck with how much I LOVE the way of life there. You don't have to make TONS of money to have a normal life. Moms can stay home with their kids (if they want) and don't have to live off of Top Ramen. People do life together and live in community in a way that I can't even fathom. Everyone is just so nice...neighbors actually talk to one another. It just feels like a happy place.

I know I'd enjoy living there.

BUT, I've lived in TX, DC, and Sacramento...away from my family. When I came back home, I said that I wasn't going to do it again. My brother and SIL live in CO and we miss them desperately. I've watched them raise their kids away from both of their families and know that at times, they've wished they had extra help and that they miss spending time with our grandparents and cousins, too. I'd be a fool to even consider a life away from my family...

But that means I'm a fool to continue living in Orange County, too, right? I am tired of working my butt off at a job that frankly pays me a lot of money, and yet, at times, I feel poor. I am tired of being a slave to my tiny condo and big mortgage. I am tired of living in my car because I'm a commuter (85,000 miles in 3 years!). I am tired of living several cities away from my best friends and how we have to be really intentional in order to spend time together.

Have you had to weigh decisions like these? Have you chosen family over way of life or vice versa?

Sorry for being such a downer...I have a long day ahead of me and hope to snap out of it soon!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

The Humor in Blind Dates

On twitter last night, I posted that I was going on a blind date. I actually said something about "I hope he doesn't chop me up into millions of pieces." Yes, I was being funny about my blind date, because really that's the only option.

Dating in your 30s isn't really easy. The pool of great singles gets smaller and smaller, and in my industry, men do pretty well for themselves, and let's face it...women aint stupid, they snap those men up in a hurry! So, I don't really meet available men through work. As involved as I've been at my church, I really haven't found a match there, either. So, off into the realm of blind dating I go!

The responses that I got to my tweet were hilarious! A friend in ministry texted me and told me to only have 2 drinks, wear lip gloss and emphasize my assets. Mrs. Limestone told me to order something expensive (hilarious!). Darcy asked if she could have my camera equipment (if in fact, the blind date DID chop me up into millions of pieces). Y'all stinking cracked me up!

In the past, I've gone on blind dates that have been AMAZING (never heard back from that guy), fun and flirty (until he gave me a depressingly bad smooch goodnight), and CRAZY (half way through the date he put his chin on his hand and said "we're both such attractive people, why are we still single?" Let's not forget Tiny TeethCrazy Eyes, Old Man in a Young Man's Body, and The Shrink. People, blind dates can be PAINFUL...but then again, they always make for hilarious stories.

So, if you follow me on twitter and gave me some words of encouragement, THANKS SO MUCH! I really appreciate your tweetship (twitter friendship?!).

And for those of you who are curious, the date was pretty good. He was a really nice guy and so far, doesn't deserve any crazy nicknames!