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 www.theblahblahblahger.com. 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 news...you 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!


Wednesday, April 21, 2010

A Darling and Flirty and Sparkly Apron

I can't believe I'm just now blogging about this...but my slackerness doesn't surprise me so much because I won the following apron in a giveaway on the Apronista sometime last year AND THEN FORGOT ABOUT IT. Yes, I'm a loser. At any rate, I was in the Orange Circle not too long ago and went into Heavenly Hostess, then remembered that I'd won one of their darling and flirty and sparkly aprons, but then picked it up. I felt insanely embarrassed, but the shop's lovely proprietor was gracious and didn't make me feel silly. Instead, she let me pick my favorite of her aprons, then she gave me a matching headband to boot! If you're ever in Orange County, you MUST stop by the Heavenly Hostess. It's a beautiful shop with wonderfully fun gifts for the hostess in your life!

If you're here from Sandy's site, you may be wondering about why I'm going on and on about my silly apron story. Well, I'll tell ya!

I LOVE to entertain, even in my small home.

I LOVE to have my friends in my space drinking good wine, eating yummy food, sometimes playing games, but always sharing our lives together.

In spite of my small home, in spite of my singleness, in spite of the fact that I sometimes feel I don't measure up to my friends' beautiful lives, I choose to have them in my home where I can share my life, my encouragement, and my hospitality. Sometimes that's all I can give, but it always (in that moment) feels like enough.

To me, my home is not just my shelter; instead, it is an extension of me. I want to share my life with my friends and that means bringing them into my home...a place I've lovingly renovated and decorated...for me and for others. I always set a pretty table, create a centerpiece, buy flowers, put out the good dishes, and attempt a fancy meal (sometimes it fails!). But my effort is a part of my heart and my friends and family are worth it.

What does this have to do with my cute apron? Well, I'll tell ya...if I'm playing the hostess, you're darn well gonna see one who has gone to the extra effort. If you knock at my door, I'll greet you in my darling and flirty and sparkly apron, too!

Now, go and visit my friend Sandy's site, the Reluctant Entertainer, and see what home means to others!

Home is...


Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The Hours Before a Wedding

While many men golf, play paintball, smoke cigars and drink scotch before a wedding, the bonding ritual of women is infinitely more precious and special (IMHO). On Saturday before my friend's wedding, I got to hang out in the hotel room with the girls...we giggled, drank champagne, and watched the bride and her maids get beautified. It was so fun to be there and I just had to share these adorable pics!

Not so ready to give up her cousin, yet!


Lots of laughs with this group!


Her dress was AMAZING...a Carolina Herrera!

Big sister had no problem with her sweet cousin getting married. She got to be a flower girl, afterall!



One last smooch for Jen Jen before she became a wife.


Go visit Sweet Shot Tuesday to see some other beautiful shots from this week!!! I'm also sharing this with Angry Julie Monday's Wordless Wednesday...even though I included words. ; )


Monday, April 19, 2010

My Creepiest Prank Ever

My dear friends Jennifer and Jason got married this weekend and I flew to Texas for the festivities and to be reunited with my girls! We always have a great time together and laugh our butts off...and this weekend was no different.

A few years back, we all met while working on an intense and high profile political campaign. We worked long hours and often got slap happy. We also ate our weight in pizza and drank beer like college students, but I digress.

One night, Jennifer decided to have Sarah and I over for dinner and called to ask us to run by the store and pic up paper towels. While in the CVS, Sarah and I walked passed a cheesy gardening aisle where I saw a gnome. I told Sarah that we should buy it and do something funny with it. On the way to Jennifer's apartment, we got the giggles coming up with funny ideas. Upon entering the house, Sarah faked a bathroom emergency and ran with the paper towels and hidden gnome to the master bath.

At 5:30am the next morning, we got blackberry messages from an irate Jennifer saying she opened up her shower curtain and screamed bloody murder at the little person staring back at her. I think we both cried tears of laughter! Fast forward a few weeks and after a party at my house, I crawled into bed and screamed when my leg brushed a foreign object. Yep, you guessed it...the gnome. Then, a couple months later, after the campaign had ended the gnome got FedEx'd to Sarah's house to greet her when she arrived. We also left one for our friend Stephanie in her garden that she found staring at her one day while BBQing.

I give you this whole background story to set the stage for Operation Wedding Gnome. Yes, we're TOTAL and complete jerks, and yes, we cried tears of laughter while plotting this!

I looked all over online for bridal gnomes and couldn't find one, so DIY Diva came to the rescue and I bedazzled an every day garden gnome...and we left the sucker in the Honeymoon Suite in the shower...how's THAT for full circle?! I'm sure the groom is seriously questioning Jennifer's choice in friends right about now!


And now, more fun in the suite!

I apparently have the longest arms EVER.

The suite at the Omni Houston was AMAZING...here's proof (yes, it's easily two or three times the size of my HOUSE).

It had a HUGE fireplace...so big that I made my three dear friends get inside of it.


Friday, April 16, 2010

Confessions of a Permanent Bridesmaid, Part 1

I'm on my way to a wedding this weekend, so I thought I'd borrow this post from my photoblog and share one of my bridesmaid experiences here, too. Incidentally, I showed this to a young cousin last weekend and she said "dude, you were fat." Yes, that's how our family rolls...and yes, I have lost a significant amount of weight since then. ; )

If you've ever read my bio, you may remember that I referred to myself as a professional bridesmaid.  I don't say that out of bitterness or sass, but because I've been in 14 weddings and helped with countless others.  I love all the weddings I've been in...out of state, backyard, fancy hotel, or ballroom, because each of them celebrated the joy and love my friends have found.

So yes, that means I've been a bridesmaid FOURTEEN times...and I kinda feel like I've seen it all.  So, as I've recently launched my new blog branding (look and feel), I wanted to begin a new series to share more about my life and the experiences I've had being in weddings, because really, this is a way to remember and celebrate my friends once again...and share some funny stories!

So, do you see that adorable couple on the right?  That's my big sister from my college sorority.  In October 2001, she married her best friend on a cold night in Texas on a beautiful golf course.  Yep, Jamie Kay Kleinsorge married Michele Poltronieri surrounded by family, friends, and some crazy Italians.  Wait, what?!

Yep, out of all the boys in Texas, my dear friend found an Italian pilot who was in town for training and snatched him up...and years later, they're still in love and still flying...only his English is far better and her Italian is, well, okay. : )

Sadly, because of the September 11th tragedies and attacks, most of his guests opted not to come to the US.  It was less than a month later, and the world still lived in uncertainty...

But that wasn't going to stop the party!

I have this image framed on my bookshelf and everytime I look at it, I wonder who those little girls are!  It's almost been ten years since they were married, which means we were all in our young 20s...just babies!
I look at this photo of myself walking down the aisle and I can remember the wind like it was yesterday...October in Texas is usually blazing hot!  I was so happy to be reunited with my college friends; we had a great time celebrating and spending time together...I can remember how surprised they were to see me show up in Texas with brown hair.  Up until that point, I'd been a blond...but a bad one.  Do you ever see someone and say to your friends, if I ever look like that, you've GOT to tell me? Well, I saw a photo of myself as a blond that year and was horrified that noone mentioned that I looked terrible!
When it was time for Jamie Kay to throw her bouquet, her little sister's friend (a very tall valleyball player), spiked it down right into my arms.  Look at the intensity (or whoops) on her face!  Everyone else clearly thinks it's hilarious...I hope she has forgiven me for being in the right place at the right time!  : )
When I am embarrassed, I often laugh loudly and shriek.  Here it was caught on film.  Nice.  I have to laugh at the poor guy's facial expression.  Doesn't it look like he's worried he'll get smacked?  I was a nice Christian girl and even though he had to get the garter onto my leg, I wasn't about to let him take any liberties.  Ha!
So, what did I learn from this bridesmaid experience???

The evening may not have had all the friends and family that were expected, and it may have been unusually cold, but there was joy, love, friendship, good food, good wine, GREAT dancing, and a beautiful bride and groom...and THAT makes for a perfect wedding!


Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Flea Market Table

When Hollywood Housewife and I were tootling around the Rose Bowl Flea Market on Sunday, I mentioned that I was looking for a small table to set between my black ghost chairs. I didn't want anything too big, just large enough to set a drink on or some hors d'oeuvres. I LOVE to entertain and I think part of a good room flow/design is to have places to "dock" your food or beverages on. While I love the chairs, the space has felt unfinished to me, so I set out to rectify that.

I decided that since the chairs themselves were a modern interpretation of classic design, I could be a little bit flexible with the table I found, so long as the color matched the rest of my furniture. (My space is SMALL, so while I appreciate eclectic design, I've avoided it in my home.)

I found a couple of wobbly pieces, but then my eyes caught a gorgeous hall table with an italian marble top and a lyre (go AXO!) base...I was mesmerized by it, but it was too big and not at all what I needed. However, while I was drooling over the lyre piece, Laura pointed out a small companion to it...and I knew I'd found the perfect table.

After a little haggling, this beauty was mine. It was incredibly heavy to carry to my car, but SOOOO worth it!


On another note, several of you have commented on the previous blog post and twitter that you love going to the Rose Bowl Flea Market...I DEFINITELY plan on going again, so I thought we could coordinate a blogger field trip! Let me know if you want to be included in the list and prior to the next one, I'll send out a fun email with details!!!


Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Taking Advantage of Opportunity

Last Friday, I spent a lovely morning with seven at-risk high school students as part of a mentoring program for a board of directors I serve on. At first, they were hesitant to open up and see if I was going to be another one of those adults who tells them to study hard, stay in school, and knock off that drinking. Naturally, that was a message I wanted to convey, but I am realistic enough to know that I work in the hood and see this lifestyle daily, but for them it's all they know, so I eased my approach and tried to be funny and tell them my story.

Sure, my growing up years were remarkably different than those of these teenagers. I had the opportunity to go away to college, then later to attend grad school. I had parents who encouraged me to be whatever I wanted...even though my mom was convinced that I'd make a great teacher or dental hygienist (I've since learned that many moms encourage dental hygiene as a career...what's up with that?!). Still, in spite of that, and even though my parents didn't go to college, they told me I could do anything, so long as I turned the tv off while I was studying. ; )

Years later, I know what an AMAZING gift it was to grow up with my parents. Having said that, I believe a key to my career success has been my ability to take advantage of opportunities as they arose. I assume that my parent's support allowed me to do that.

In each job I've had since college graduation, I've been able to parlay that into something new and bigger...not because I'm the sharpest tool in the shed, but because I work hard, have a good attitude, and in some cases, have fallen into opportunity. This is what I communicated to the students.

They started to loosen up and ask questions...even the kid with four spikes through his chin and the 17 year old girl who was married. I asked them what they wanted to do someday. One of the slacker boys said he wanted to be a tattoo artist; I showed excitement for his artistic ability and asked how he was going to make his dreams happen. It's sad to say, but I truly feel like I may have been one of the first adults in his life to do that.

My message for the students was about opportunity...being ready and available, having a good attitude and a strong work ethic. Taking advantage of opportunity is still working out for me, too. I was TOTALLY exhausted last week, but on Thursday night, got a call from a photographer friend asking me to shoot a concert on Friday night.

I didn't shoot as well as I would have liked to, and in spite of the fact that I was totally exhausted, I had an AMAZING night at the Staples Center, with three other photographers at the sound booth shooting none other than the glorious Michael Buble...and you know how I love me some Michael Buble!

It's good to know that practicing what I preached to those kids on Friday morning had such an awesome result on Friday night!


Are YOU taking advantage of the opportunities that come your way or are you missing them due to fear, apathy, exhaustion, or busyness?

Sweet Shot Day I'm sharing this post with my friends at Sweet Shot Tuesday, because dang it, shooting Michael Buble was pretty sweet!!!


Monday, April 12, 2010

A Morning at the Rose Bowl Flea Market

In the airport on the way home from BlissDom in February, I met four wonderful women. Laura Tremaine, the Hollywood Housewife, lives just up the freeway in LA and I thought her blog title was quippy and fun. Since then, I've really enjoyed reading her blog and getting to know her better through the blogosphere. Last month, she blogged about visiting the Rose Bowl Flea Market and though I'd never heard of it, I knew I wanted to go sometime, so I tweeted her and then invited myself along to join her...and she was totally game. YAY!

Yesterday was chilly and overcast, but we met at the front gate at 9:30 and spent three hours meandering through, catching up, and chatting about blogs. We had a blast and I can't wait to hang out with her again.

At the flea market, we found all sorts of AMAZING finds...this beautiful and wonderfully constructed deco desk was only $150...but sadly, neither of us decided to get it.
There were a lot of antiques and also new items...but I kept gravitating toward the antiques. There were a number of beautiful items!
This retro range made me swoon...at one point, I planned to do a retro kitchen, but then I realized that being that specific in a condo wasn't really an option. : (
We also found some CRAZY things...like the Puppoose. If I had a dog, I'm sure it would be that lazy, too. But really...REALLY???
We found a GORGEOUS set of end tables for a steal. With a little love, the blonde beauties will be amazing in someone's home...
...in the Hollywood Housewife's home!!!
What a fun day with a fun girl! I can't wait to hang out with her again, even though she made me do manual labor!!! : )
I also ran into Lindsey from Better After!!! What a small world!

I also found a darling end table which I'll be blogging about later this week. SO excited to find exactly what I was looking for!


Friday, April 09, 2010

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Keep Books?

First, let me ask for your grace...my bookcase is GNARLY right now. But I think that may have been the impetus for this post. I've been at my computer a lot lately editing photos, and every now and again, I look to the left at the big gross bookcase that I've been meaning to transform FOREVER. I took a close look at it and realized that the bookcase wouldn't really survive what I had in mind. It's made of pressboard and I've abused it pretty well over the years.

Having said all that, I've been thinking about getting an armoire lately so that I could hide away keepsakes and photography equipment. My little house just doesn't have the storage space that I need and I don't really want to keep my equipment out in the open. So, that means I need a plan for all my books.

A while back, I bought a Kindle and I'm IN LOVE with it...it will allow me to read more efficiently and I won't have to store books. I could also just hit the library more often, but that's water under the bridge. : )

So, here's where I need your advice. Do you keep books that you don't really plan to read again? Should I donate them, try to sell them on craigslist or another second hand shop, make a DIY project out of them, use them as kindling in my non-existent fireplace?

I just got an email today saying that if I donate books to one of the local library branches, I'll get 25% off of Extreme Fitness Bootcamp. Yaaaaaah, that's totally not gonna happen. I can't even joke about doing that one because I know blogland will hear me laughing!


Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Warning, everyone I know is preggers...you could be next!



How not fair is it that she's due in June??? She's a total peanut and this is her third!!!

I've linked this post up to Darcy's Sweet Shot Tuesday and Angry Julie's Wordless Wednesday!


Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Tool Talk Tuesday: The Power Drum Auger

It's Tool Talk Tuesday once again and today I'm really excited to introduce you to another condo dweller...Lisa, from Condo Blues! She's a girl after my own heart, and has been creating a castle out of her condo with one project after another. She's handy, green, and loves a good bargain...a triple threat in my book! Please give her a warm welcome as she talks to us about the power drum auger!!!

Hi, my name’s Lisa, I blog at Condo Blues and I have slow drains.

“Hi Lisa!” you say.

I learned how to clear a drain using a plunger, the environmentally friendly baking soda and vinegar method, and I admit to a few desperate attempts involving a not so environmentally friendly liquid drain cleaner.

All of those methods worked to some degree, but more often than not, the clog would eventually come back like the monster in a horror movie sequel.

During an unrelated trip to the hardware store my husband popped over to the plumbing aisle and came back with a powder drum auger. I got so excited I hugged him and told him he didn’t have to buy me flowers if he bought me that DIY plumber’s snake.

Idiot, I know. I love it when he buys me flowers. I just happen to love this power tool just a little bit more.

Why? Because this little beauty is snakes through drains and cuts through clogs much easier than a traditional cable auger that uses a hand crank. It’s also the only thing that can cut through a “Gee honey I have no idea what’s making the kitchen sink back up for three days certainly not the old coconut you said I shouldn’t throw down the garbage disposal” situation (in theory.)

The power drum auger fits on a standard power drill.

It’s easy to use, just feed the cable down the drain, and squeeze the trigger on the drill. I recommend wearing protective gloves because the cable will twist and turn while it’s working its way down your pipes. Simply reverse the drill and whatever gunk is clogging your pipes will be attached to auger head.


YUCK! And this was only a tiny clog. You should have seen the giant piece of gunk it cut thought and pulled from the shower drain. I’d show you that photo but it’s not for the faint of heart.

While I’m not thrilled at touching the Son of the Blob that it pulls from my formerly slow and perpetually clogging drains (even with work gloves on ), I do like is that the power drum auger permanently removes clogs from my pipes without the use of harmful chemicals. Once I’ve cleared a drain with the drum auger that bad boy stays clear.

As long I don’t buy coconut flakes.

***********
Lisa Nelsen-Woods is a writer. Other days she is a foodie, DIYer, decorator, crafter, dog mom, and green gal. Lisa shares green living and money saving tips with a dash of humor on the side in her blog Condo Blues. She has a one eyed rescue dog named Blitzkrieg. He likes carrots.


Friday, April 02, 2010

PhotoFANatic Friday: Secrets of Perfect White Balance

Do you ever take photos and feel like the tone/color is WAY off? That's a white balance (WB) issue, and once you explore you SLR a little more, it can easily fixed!

I like to blog about my house and recipes...which means that a good number of the photos I display here on my blog are taken indoors, which means that I don't have much control over lighting.

As an example, here's a photo taken in my kitchen straight out of the camera with auto WB. See, it's a little warm and yellow/orange-y.

In most kitchens, the light source is either florescent or a tungsten tone...and guess what, your camera can modify for that! All you need to do is adjust your settings.

Here's an example of my kitchen with the WB setting on Tungsten.  (Not too bad, but still a little yellow-y.)

Here's an example of my kitchen with the WB setting on Florescent. (Too overcorrected - almost peach.)

Makes a big difference, huh?!  If you're a homie (house blogger) or a foodie (food/recipe blogger), I highly recommend that you try playing with your WB in camera, so you don't have to worry about it when you upload the photos to your computer...it takes a lot less time on the backend and you can get the tone/temperature of your images closer to perfect without any additional work.


NOW, if you're a gadgety kind of person and don't mind spending a few bucks for PERFECT WB every time you shoot, there are a couple of great options out there that are decently priced. As a photographer, I prefer to spend less time in Lightroom and Photoshop, so when I first heard about, then tried the ExpoDisc, I was HOOKED! For about 100 bucks, I've been consistently happy with my images.

To get a killer custom WB, all you have to do is place the disc over the edge of your lens and take a shot (in manual focus, and Av mode) at the light source where you'll be shooting from - for me, it's the other end of the kitchen - then select that custom color and start shooting. VoilĂ  - DONE. Perfect WB from that angle with that light source. Need proof? The image below has had no Photoshop or Lightroom temperature enhancement. For me, 100 bucks was worth it for consistently perfect WB! And maybe it will be for you, too!

There are other products out there, like the Photo JoJo white balance lens cap, which Dawn raves about here. And if you're interested in a custom WB for much less, you can use a grey card, which usually retails around less than $40...but that seems a little more complicated and less consistent to me.

If you're interested in any of these products, 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, but were rather purchased by the blogger.


Thursday, April 01, 2010

If you don't laugh at these, you're an April Fool!

I just can't help myself...If someecards.com were a man, I'd be in love with him!


Wednesday, March 31, 2010

It's Time for You to Go!

Do you ever look around your house and narrow in on something and think to yourself (or even say out loud) "it's time for you to go"?

If you're anything like me, you'll occasionally furnish your home with things that are good enough for now, but that you may not want to stick with forever. Sometimes these items are on sale, or the deal to be had at a thrift store, HomeGoods, or a yard sale was so killer that you HAD to have it. Sometimes it's a gift. Sometimes it's a relic that you bought for your first house and you even forgot you had it.

I recently took a walk through my house to determine what I was going to edit, repurpose, or donate to the charity or the library and I realized that I was totally on autopilot in one room...the bathroom. I honest to goodness think it's because I'm so exhausted until I jump into the shower that I don't even see anything...and it's also because I don't have my contacts in either. Ha!

But that doesn't mean my bathroom (in all it's TEENY glory) should be ignored!  If I don't care for the decals I purchased a couple of years ago, I don't have to live with them anymore...that was the whole point of decals in the first place!

It's time for me to get rid of things that were okay once, but aren't really singing to me now...like the decals!

What do you look at in your house and scratch your head about? Tell me I'm not the only one who impulse buys and then forgets about the item!!!  When was the last time you uttered/thought:
It's time for you to GO!