26 Books Every Photographer Should Own - Digital Photo Tips and More on PopPhoto.com
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We had a really nice, relaxing Christmas with just the two of us this year (plus the dogs of course). Nothing too extravagant. Just some things that we really wanted. Tim got me a Wii Fit Plus and the Balance Board which I totally love (and I have already picked a few favorite exercises -- love the Super Hula hoop!) Can't wait to get one or two more games for that in the upcoming months. I got him the new Dan Brown book The Lost Symbol and, like a typical Dan Brown book, he can't seem to put it down. Then we got some other things like Wii games, clothes, dvds, etc. Just nice and simple. The funny part is, I was able to guess all of my presents before I unwrapped them. I felt so clever! I'm such a sleuth. ;)
So now we are trying to figure out if we want to do anything for New Year's Eve. It's supposed to snow here quite a bit that day, so it's kind of putting a damper on things. I would like us to go out to dinner or something but not too many places are accepting reservations this late so maybe we'll just stay at home to celebrate.
I have already started thinking about my resolutions for 2010. I need to keep it around three, otherwise I'll lose focus and get too overwhelmed with everything I'm trying to accomplish.
Here's what I'm thinking for my resolutions:
- Work out on the Wii Fit three times a week for at least twenty minutes.
- Pay down my credit card debt a significant amount (I have a certain dollar amount in mind) and stop using it so much.
- This one is still a work in progress but it will have something to do with photography and/or my Etsy shop. It needs to be specific so I can hold myself accountable.
I hope you guys have a great week and please feel free to share your New Years resolutions! You never know who you might inspire. ;)
Last Thursday we had Tim's managers over for a nice little holiday dinner. He put so much work (and love) into this little shindig. I don't think they really understood all the preparation that went into it but if they did, they would know they got the most thoughtful boss holiday party ever.
Here are a few food highlights:
- handmade truffles*
- caramel-glazed creme puffs (Tim calls them "croquem"-something... can't remember)*
- prime rib
- baked mashed potatoes
- baked dijon asparagus
Tomorrow I'll be posting about Niko's birthday and the recent snow activities.
Fast forward to November when I learned that they cut ALL classes at our location (and our location only) indefinitely to keep costs down. Now, I would understand maybe if they did this at other locations also, or maybe just cut down on a few of the unpopular classes at our location, but it wasn't that way. (There were several times I attempted to go to spinning class on a Monday night and couldn't get in because the class was already full at least 10 minutes before the class even started!) Frustrated, I fill out a "member concern form" after I learn about the situation with the classes, and wait to hear from someone at Urban Active so we can talk about this.
A week later I talk to a UA representative. I tell her my frustrations, why I joined the gym in the first place, and how I don't want to drive twenty minutes to the other locations to take a class that should be offered at my location, especially if I am driving to take a spinning class and I am not even guaranteed a seat when I get there! She listens and does not waiver in her stance. She tells me my options: I can have my rate lowered to $20 a month but only stay at our "home" location, without an option to take a class at other UA locations; if I am really dissatisfied I can cancel my membership for a $100 cancellation fee; or wait to see if they bring the classes back closer to summer (with no guarantee of that happening of course). I told her that I didn't really like any of those options and I would have to think about it.
I feel like my whole conversation with her was pointless. I knew all of those options already and she didn't offer to do anything really. I have been looking at local yoga classes but there aren't very many studios that have flexible schedules plus I would still want to do spinning/cardio somewhere. Then I started thinking about getting a WiiFit for the yoga option but I'm not sure about that whole thing.
I feel like Urban Active did nothing in the way of customer service and now I just don't even want to go in there to work out. It makes me angry to go over there but I need some cardio in my life. What do you guys think? Are these people crazy? Do you think they should have offered more options to me or am I just being silly?
Please comment with any sort of recommendation or resolution that you think would help. :) I would greatly appreciate it.
Go here to preview and download your free 21 holiday songs. It's a pretty varied selection of artists so it'll be great for a dinner party or whatever festive event you have coming up soon.
I'll be posting some holiday shopping specials this weekend. Stay tuned!
This week's email introduced me to Pictory. This is a website (magazine) that has collected stories from all over the globe that showcases a photographer's captivating picture and then the compelling story to go with it. The stories that these pictures tell are quite interesting. My favorite picture so far is the first one called "Bright Lights, Ancient City." It's a photo that I could see myself taking.
Enjoy reading the different stories. It'll be a good way to start your Sunday afternoon. :)
We, the dogs included, have been enjoying many evenings in front of the fire recently. I am not really a cold weather person but I don't mind it too much if you have a warm fire to snuggle in front of.
Please stay tuned. Lots of pictures will be coming up soon!
Happy Thursday to you.
Fragrance Finder Quiz Results
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A couple of days ago I got all these weird DMs (direct messages for those who don't twitter) from a random follower on my account. Well, I clicked on one of the links (dumb me) and then my twitter account got hacked. I figured out the next day what had happened and of course immediately I changed my password (one with numbers AND letters, thank you) and thought that would resolve the issue.
Well, it hasn't.
Whoever this person is that tried to (or I guess I should say did) hack my account is still continuing to do so!! I have tried to log in a few times in the past few days and now all I get is this message: "Locked out! We've temporarily locked your account after too many failed attemts to sign in. Please chillax for a few, then try again."
WHY DON'T THEY STOP!? I am so frustrated right now about this. I don't know if there's anything that I can do but just wait it out. Has anyone else had this happen to them? If you have, please help me figure it out! Thank you!
In other news, I am slowly getting into the holiday spirit. The other day I just did a few things with some decorations around the house to see if Tim would notice (he did) and warm him up to the holidays a little bit earlier this year. Last year, we (read: Tim) didn't put our tree up til about 10 days before Christmas. That's waaaaaay too late I think. I'm aiming for a little bit earlier this year. I am hoping for around Thanksgiving but we'll see what happens. In the meantime, I will mentally rearrange our living room to see where the Christmas tree will fit in our new house.
Also, if you want a little memory-keeping inspiration for the holidays check out this cool pre-made art journal designed for on-the-go scrapbooking during the busy holiday season. :) Just put in your photos, write a little something and you're done! Love it! And Ali Edwards is giving it away on her blog this weekend. Score!
We are driving to North Carolina in the morning -- in the EARLY morning -- Tim wants us to try and leave the house by 6am... we'll see if that actually happens.
It should be a fun-filled weekend of friends, family, and a Halloween wedding to boot. And the dogs will get a nice little visit from their "grandma" as Tim's mom comes to dog-sit for us for the few days while we're gone. Good times for all.
Enjoy the rest of your week -- I know I will!! :)
So a couple of weeks ago I thought it would be a really good idea to work part-time at The Limited for the holiday season. I love their clothes and thought it would be an opportunity to save money on buying some fall and winter clothes while making a little bit of money to catch up bills. And while I have gotten some nifty items (like the Infinity scarf) at a great discount, I feel like (well, I have been) burning the candle at both ends trying to work there and at Cincinnati Tan so I think I may quit while I'm ahead. I'm not sure. (I don't know if I really wanna work Black Friday at Kenwood Towne Centre that much.) In any case, this is the reason I've not posted any new Etsy items or blogged in a while so sorry for that.
I am, however, planning on catching up on things these next few days before we take a quick trip down to NC for a little R&R and watch our friends get married on Halloween. That should be great fun! I think it'll be just the mini-vacation that Tim and I need.
Have a great Monday!
1. One of my favorite lotions. $4 of each sale goes to the Breast Cancer Research foundation.
2. Support this site who donates a percentage of sales to free mammograms.
3. The Pink Ribbon bagel at Panera Bread. So tasty and good for you!
4. Love me some yogurt!
5. The best way to stay informed and celebrating 25 years.
1. This recipe for banana walnut bread (or muffins if you'd like!).
2. This Tom's of Maine's soap. I bought it because I ran out of Aveda and Tim and I both loved it. It doesn't leave your skin with that filmy feeling. Totally awesome and only about $3.
3. Flash Forward. I think it's my new favorite TV series.
4. Spa Ritual's new matte purple nail polish. I die.
5. My mom's birthday was yesterday! I wish I could've been there. I love you, Mom! Hope you like your presents. :)
The favorites this week:
1. This leather jacket at The Limited. (I haven't loved a jacket in a really long time.) And with a Friends and Family 40% off coupon, and a nice surprise from Tim, I am now the proud owner. :)
2. An impromptu date night with Tim last night. We went to Slim's for dinner and Honey for dessert. Let me just say that my favorite part was not Slim's (for a number of reasons) and we will definitely try Honey for dinner sometime.
3. Tonight we are having Vigna Dogarina Pinot Noir and I love it. I can't remember how much we spent on it though so don't blame me if you go buy it and it ends up being a sticker shock. :)
4. This magazine rack from Crate and Barrel.
5. If you are a dog person/owner, and you can spare 15 minutes to take a quiz, go to DogAge.com. It's fun, interesting and informative.
1. This top from J. Crew.
2. This tunic from Urban Outfitters.
3. This cardigan from The Gap. (Can you tell I'm itching to go shopping?)
4. This print on Etsy.
5. This recipe from Giada. (I'm hoping I can get Tim to do this for a special occasion sometime.)
Feel free to share your favorites this week!
Have a great weekend!
Sunday I didn't have to work until 5:00 so I had planned on getting alot of things done: cleaning the house, working on Etsy, scrapbooking, etc. Well, much to my annoyance, NONE of that got done. I couldn't even sleep that night. I had the worst headache, waves of nausea, and felt like I was running a fever. Not good at all.
So I take some Extra Strength Rapid Release Tylenol and sucked it up and went to work for a few hours.
I need to back this up for a second.
We have a HUGE problem with mosquitos here. I mean, anytime Tim and I try to have a nice dinner on the back patio, we pretty much have to bathe in OFF spray and then swat at something every 30 seconds. So it's not uncommon for me to have bug bites right now.
Well, I get to work and I'm telling the girls that I feel like crap and then I say, "Take a look at this freakin' mosquito bite. It did NOT like me."
Laura looks at me and says, "That is NOT a mosquito bite. THAT is a spider bite!"
Oh crap. NO wonder I felt so bad!
So I keep on my Tylenol regimen that I have established for myself and I'm starting to FEEL better but my bite has gotten way worse.
Monday I go to work and I still have the headaches, fever and nausea coming and going but it's more manageable. I got a bright idea that morning and said, "Ooh! Why don't I take some Benadryl. That should definitely help."
Well, it helped a little. Not nearly what I thought it would do though. By lunchtime, I was getting worried. So I call my mom and tell her and of course, she does the Mom thing and freaks out. "How much swelling is there? How red is it? How much does it itch? What are your symptoms? Do you think it was Brown Recluse? I just read that Ohio has one of the highest concentrations of Brown Recluse spiders in the nation! Do you think you can leave work?"
OMG. Way too many questions. I started getting very nervous... and I left work and went immediately to Urgent Care about 10 minutes away. Thankfully I didn't have to sit too long in the waiting room because the itching was BANANAS at this point.
The doctor comes in the room and I tell her how I think it happened sometime on Saturday, started feeling like death on Sunday and the whole nine yards. She said, "Well I'm pretty sure it's not a brown recluse but I've never seen anything quite like this." Thanks, doc. That's so reassuring.
She writes me two prescriptions: one for antibiotics and the other for steroids (for infection and swelling). Then I am cautioned that if this does not improve within 24 hours or my bite starts to turn grey or black I have to go straight to the Emergency Room. <
Then she says, "I don't mean to be rude, but pardon me while I draw on your leg. This way you'll know if the redness gets bigger and worsens." She proceeds to draw a large circle on my leg that ends up being about the size of a baseball. Now I feel like a freak, AND look like one. Thank you very much. But I'd rather have a big circle on my leg than have to amputate my leg.
Typically this would be the point in the blog where I would have a picture. I decided to spare you guys that notion today. You can thank me later. The only people that will ever see that picture is my family.
Forty-eight hours later, I am happy to report that the medicine is working fabulously and I have killed at least six spiders in my house since I've been bitten.
Take that, nasty spiders. There's more where that came from!
PPS - Shame on you for those that knew about this and didn't tell me!
I will have to get the book soon....very soon. Leave me a comment if you've read it!
Happy almost Friday!
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So I'm on their website and of course, I get easily distracted and find this thing called "Daily Deals" and I got REALLY excited because they had some awesome stuff on there for pretty cheap. Unfortunately they didn't have any curtains on sale that day but I will keep checking back.
Go check it out! There's awesome stuff on there! (For instance, yesterday one of the deals was a pair of Men's Lucky Brand Jeans that are originally $110 and right now they are $59.99 + free shipping! hello!) :) I promise I wouldn't lead you astray. Well, not with Target anyway.
Tim has Monday and Wednesday off next week so we're excited to get a few out-of-town guests Scott and Kirstie (and their two dogs Daphne and Dougan). We haven't seen them since New Year's so I'm sure we'll all have a great time together. :)
Did someone say Hofbrauhaus?
Well all day yesterday it was really rainy up here. I mean, I seriously think we got at least two inches of rain. It wasn't bad thunderstorms or anything, just a good steady downpour. To me, rainy weather = soup (or chili). So we ended up making a shrimp and corn chowder. Not any recipe in particular, just taste as you go. Oh. My. Goodness. Finger lickin' good. (I know it's not a finger food but just go with it.)
Oh! Let me back this little story up with a grocery store find that I was SUPER excited about. I mean, I wanted to do a cartwheel in the aisles of Jungle Jim's. People. Do you KNOW what I FOUND? I'll tell you. MAUI WINE. Yes, as in Maui, Hawaii. And they had TWO different kinds!! TWO! Maui Blanc (pineapple) and Maui Splash (passionfruit). Of course, I got one of each. That stuff just totally made my week. (Obviously, there's not too much excitement around these parts.) ;) I'm giddy just knowing that it's in my fridge right now.
So, back to the food. Tonight for dinner, Tim made a wonderful salmon entree with some sort of sauteed zucchini and yellow squash teriyaki sauce. All of this to go with the pineapple wine. Delicioso. Wait. I'm not done yet. Dessert was a .... trifle. Actually - I'm not exactly sure what to call it but I'll tell you what we did and then maybe you can figure it out. (Pictures will be posted later.)
First, we made our own lady fingers. That was an interesting process. Then we poked a few holes in them with a fork and drizzled a little Mocha flavored Kahlua and let it soak in while we made the rest of dessert (the other layers). Next comes the pastry cream. Kind of like what you would get in a cream puff I guess. Not heavy like in an eclair. Anyway, I digress.
We drizzled the pastry cream on top of the layer of lady fingers. Then comes blueberry sauce. (I really wish I were better at culinary terms.) I don't know if you would call it a sauce, but it was similar to a blueberry pie filling. Then another layer of lady fingers, then more cream, and then a layer of strawberry "sauce."
The third layer of lady fingers was put in, then another layer of cream, then a thinly-sliced layer of bananas, followed by a cherry-chocolate sauce. (Are you drooling yet?) :) Then a final layer of the pastry cream and then top it off with the last layer of cherry-chocolate drizzleness. So if you're a visual person, it'll look like this:
cherry-chocolate sauce -- top
thin layer of bananas
lady fingers -- bottom layer
HOLY COW. It's making me hungry again just thinking about it and typing this. It is so decadent.
Enough talk about food.
Actually, that's the perfect segue to another thing I did this week: Buy a gym membership. :) Lord knows if we keep up this kind of cooking it will definitely come in handy. I went to Fitness 19, the YMCA, and Urban Active and I ended with Urban Active. They had the better value overall. Plus, that's where Tim's membership is so it'll be nice to workout together every now and then.
Now, y'all know I don't like to run unless the building's on fire or something; I'm definitely more of a yoga and spinning kind of gal. But Urban Active has the Cardio Cinema thing which may be just what I need to get off my butt and do more cardio. Imagine this: you are in a dark-ish room (maybe like a movie theater? hmm?), there's a good movie playing (with surround sound), and you have your choice of a treadmill, elliptical, or bike. And you can work out however long you want to. You can watch the whole darn movie and not have to do a sign-up sheet or anything. HOW COOL IS THAT?! I'm so in love with that idea. I know that when I miss a spinning or yoga class, I'll definitely be in there.
So, today we took the dogs to two nearby parks. The first one is next to the school and is going to be the location of the OG employee picnic next week. The other one was more of a nature preserve -- a great little photography spot. The awesome thing is that they're both only about five minutes away! Such great exercise for us and the dogs just walking around checking everything out. (And especially for me to just get out of the house. Whew.)
I can't wait to see what else Cincinnati has in store for us this summer.
Anyway, Tim and I ended up getting annual passes to the aquarium, so that's cool. While down in the Newport on the Levee area, we ended up going to Brio for lunch. Also an excellent experience. We will definitely have to explore that area more when we have another weekend (or day) together.
So now, since we have all the dogs together again; we put in an invisible fence. We really weighed all the options and that was the best one of them all, I believe. Especially since we did it ourselves (well, Tim mainly -- I helped a little here and there), we saved a lot of money considering the size of the yard, labor, installation, etc. We got the PetSafe DIY invisible fence. It ended up only costing us about $300 I think. (And about 8 hours of manual labor.) It's only in the backyard so hopefully it'll be enough room for them to run around and get the exercise that they need without us having to worry too much. Layla (of course, it would be her) has already tried and successfully broken through the boundary this afternoon. Hopefully we won't have too many more instances like that. (Darn squirrel in the neighbor's yard.)
Although, I certainly got my exercise.
Here's a sneak peek:
I will list one new item every day this week. :) Keep a look out and tell me what you think. Also let me know if there are certain flowers or subjects you'd like to see on there.
A little boiled shrimp and caprese salad for dinner. Ice cream sandwiches for dessert.
And Tim gave in and bought a Wii this weekend. :) We only have two games so far (both are sports) but we enjoy the friendly competition.
Actually, I forgot, we have four games. We downloaded two more the other day: Pong Toss (read: Beer Pong game) and The Legend of Zelda.