Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Snacks...

I am a little odd...I know.  I think it started a long time ago.  I was walking through the cheese aisle in the grocery store yesterday and while browsing my eyes meet one of my favorite childhood snacks - Port Wine Cheese Spread.  The thought that came to me right away was "yes, I have to bring that home - I have not had that in forever!".  I brought it home and ate a bit too much of it.  With my craving subsided the thought that came to me this morning when I saw it in my fridge was "what an odd thing to be a childhood favorite."  I mean, what child should look forward to sitting down to Port Wine Cheese Spread, Genoa Salami, Gourmet Honey Mustard and some crackers?  So maybe that is where it all started.

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Have you ever had that spread, if not, you should try it.

Here is another favorite.

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Ginger Ale feels fancy to me.  It is my drink of choice whenever we are on a plane.  I know a can of soda is one of the least special things, but whenever I taste it I whisked hundreds of miles up into the clouds on my way to somewhere fabulous.

What are some of your odd childhood favorites?

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Color...

I have proclaimed next week "Graffiti Week"!  I am going to be second shooting another wedding the weekend after next, so my camera and I need some alone time.  I am going to be trying a new photo-stiching method that should allow me to make some great square city-scapes with a lot of depth and texture!  

I have been informed that what I call Graffiti would be more accurately described as "Street Art", but it will still be called "Graffiti Week".

There are so many beautiful colors in this city.  I love how each street is one world in the dewey light of morning and how it can poses a completely different mood in the haze of twilight.  The evening light brings out golds and coppers in a building that appears to be flat brick and tan in the mid-afternoon.

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There is so much inspiration here.  I love this city!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Space Child...

In my search for news and wisdom on Thursday afternoon I came across Smithsonian Museum Day and scored two free tickets to the Alder Planetarium!  (Yeah, that's right, I read that much and every once and awhile it pays dividends.)  It was amazing.  My favorite exhibit was a temporary exhibit on telescopes throughout time.  You were able to see telescopes from the 1600's, 1700's and the 1800's.  One of Evan's favorites was a telescope made out of Ivory recovered from Germany dated circa 1660.  Another favorite was Isaac Newton's telescope (or one like it) that was 22 feet long.  He believed, falsely, that the only way to increase magnification was to add length and more mirrors to telescopes.  The whole museum was wonderful.

We also received a different kind of education while standing in the 30 minute line to get into the museum.  There were 3 new college students behind us debating politics, life pursuits, and other things that you think you know all about as a newly minted collegiate.  My favorite quotes were:

"Who cares if she doesn't know who Anne Frank is, 
in 100 years no one will study that period in history anymore." 

Girl: "He is double majoring in Physics and Mathematics" 
Boy: "Well what good is that - his only career option would be a professor, 
you cannot do research in Mathematics" 
Girl: "Yeah, he could do research in Physics I guess, but not in Mathematics."

There were many other little gems of knowledge that we came away with from their very loud conversation.  You would think that being so wrong, and so close-minded you would keep your voices down.


Friday, September 24, 2010

Dinner Party Playbook...


I have heard this now in a few places, but maybe you have not.  
Parking tickets in Cambridge, Massachusetts now have yoga instructions printed on them.  
The women responsible for this calls it a form of public art and hopes that it makes people think before becoming angry with the parking enforcement department.

I saw two stories that both said the the same thing from two directions.  
- Younger drinkers prefer microbrews. -   
The first story I saw said that there are a few larger brewing companies like Guinness trying 
to market their own microbrews, which they then call craft brews, to these drinkers.  That seems 
reasonable to me.  The second story that I read said that Budwiser is going to spend all next week 
giving away free Bud's in bars where Bud is not usually the top pick and 
craft brew sales are historically high.

British children's pocket money has fallen to a seven-year low.  I wonder how they determine this, 
but I thought it was interested none-the-less.

I am just going to copy this one exactly as I saw it.  Should make for an interesting Black Friday. 
- By the end of this month, LCD TV prices will be about 5 percent lower than they were at the 
same time last year, according research firm DisplaySearch. But a tailspin will start in October: 
In the last three months of the year, the firm forecasts that prices will keep falling until they 
bottom out at 12 percent below 2009 levels.




And on a personal note - Google is infuriating!  It thinks it is smarter than me.  I will not let it get the better of me.


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Thursday, September 23, 2010

Sick...

I have had a sick puppy for the last couple days.  He seemed okay on Tuesday, but his eye was red and it had a lot of goop in it.  Wednesday I woke up and he was starting up at me as I sat up in bed.  I crawled out and onto the floor with him and he immediately pushed his eye into my stomach and just held it there.  Held it there with a bit of pressure and a steady unmoving body.  I was planning to wait 48 hours until Thursday to see if it improved, but that was his way of telling us that I had to take him that morning.

We went to the vet and he started shaking as he always does when he is unsure about a new place and Bella is not there to reassure him.  As I left the house with just him I could tell he was stressed and did not want to leave Bella.  I imagine it is like when you were a kid and you spend some special time one-on-one with a parent, you can tell it is special, but it is kind of odd and unreal being there without your sister/brother.  Or, when you have three friends that always hang out together and then for some reason you are missing that third friend, and it is just the two of you, and you are unsure how to operate as two.  If you can sympathize with either of those situations, I think that is how Oliver feels.

The vet was very nice and he really liked both women that we interacted with.  They put a fluorescent dye into his eye to check for scratches, but thankfully he didn't have any.  It appears to be an eye infection, which looks incredibly painful still.

Oliver and I bonded that day.  We snuggled on the couch and I babied him to the best of my doggy-mama abilities.  He was no more than 3 feet from me the entire morning.  After only two applications of the medication you can just see that he is feeling better and that makes me extremely happy.  With all of my dogs I have always had that moment when they show me that they need me and recognize me as their family.  I've already had a few mild ones with Oliver, but when he pressed his head into my stomach for comfort that was the one that solidified  that feeling.  I love my little family.

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special because he really isn’t allowed on the couch

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Dinner Party Playbook....

Here is your Dinner Party Playbook for the weekend of September 17th.  Funny enough I might have to employ a few of these topic myself tonight.  I am an attendee at a dinner party tonight actually! :  )

Starbucks has removed the tall sized drinks from many drive through windows. 
 They say is it to unclutter the menu, but since they recently decided to add the "trenta" 
my guess is that the average drive-through-er has no interest in limiting their caloric intake.  
They could also just eliminate the whole menu and in big letters write "We know your addicted, 
we also know you know exactly what you want and could care less how much it costs, 
are you ready to order?"

Reportedly the Army has cut the amount of push-ups and sit-ups a new recruit has to
 perform in basic training to virtually zero.  New recruits will no longer have to do nearly as 
many push-ups and sit-ups.  The general in charge of basic training says "we were finding 
that the recruits we are getting for today's army are not in as good of shape as they used to be".  
Thank you "wait, wait, don't tell me"!  "Now drop and give me one....-ish".

It is not just people who have different accents, but bats as well develop dialects 
depending on where they live which can help identify and protect different species, 
according to Australian scientists.  Thank you Reuters - I was not really surprised by this 
to tell the truth.  It seems reasonable and obvious that different colonies, in different areas 
would develop different calls.  Interesting though.

5 wives have come face to face with their husband's mistresses at the top of the
 collapsed Chilean mine.  I thought it was a little comedic gem in a bad situation. "One of 
the trapped Chilean miners is in no rush to be rescued -- because 
both his wife and his longtime mistress will be waiting for him 
when he finally sees the light of day. Neither woman was aware of 
the other's existence until they met at a candlelight vigil for the 
miners, The Sun newspaper of Britain reported."  
Thank you NY Post headline!

I couldn' t pass up one more from this weeks "Wait, Wait, Don't tell me" - there are benches
 in a park in China that you have to pay to sit on.  There are metal spikes on the bench 
keeping you from sitting for free.  You put change into a meter, like a parking meter, and the 
metal spikes retract.  If your change runs out the metal spikes come back up.  
Apparently this system was designed by a German engineer.

If you have anything else to share, please do!

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Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Tables...

You all seem to like the table and detail shots the most of all.  Well just for you, here are a few more of the table that I didn't share.  The one I shared in the post below was obviously the best, but here are a few more.

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And one of this ladies man!  He was dancing up a storm with all the girls even before the music started.  I wondered to myself as I snapped this picture if he picked his own suit?  It just fit him perfectly. 


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Monday, September 13, 2010

Natalie and Brent....

As I sit listening to Michael Buble I cannot help but feel a little more love in the air than usual.  I am so excited for the future.  I know now more than ever that I want to be a part of a couple's wedding day.  I want to give them something tangible to relive those fleeting, but all important moments.

I have always been to ready and willing to help.  I am sure some people find it strange, but at events that are not necessarily my own, I feel more at ease helping out in the kitchen or cleaning than just being a guest contented to sit and sip.  I see something that needs to be done, and I do it.  Trash overfilling at my new neighbors housewarming party - find a new trash bag and take it out in my four inch heels; guest needs a band-aid - got ya covered from my bag of tricks; can't find your Mom - let's hold hands and wander until we find her; not sure how to finish that bustle off on the bride's wedding dress - allow me.

This is the quality that I think can set me apart.  I am observant of other's needs and moments, almost to a fault.  I can stand back and allow that moment to develop, but rest assured I see you.  I see what is important to you.

What was important to Natalie and Brent was family, friends and fun.  They were married at their family's church in Orland Park, Illinois.

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It was a beautiful church with ceilings that swept your eye up.

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The reception was held at their home.  It was a beautiful house with a generously sized backyard big enough to hold all of their closest family and friends.  Here is a sneak peek of the bride taking a "sneak peek" before their grand entrance. 

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Before that though, we had to get her dress bustled and ready for the party!  Her mother helped her in her gorgeous kitchen in some of the prettiest light we encountered all day.  I probably snapped 30 photos.

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The details were everywhere and so cohesive that it transformed their home into the personalized venue every bride dreams of.

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I hope to find out the name of the catering company because they did a wonderful job.  Their service staff was polite and attentive, and the food was beyond yummy.

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This best man's toast was one of the funniest ones I had ever heard.  It was such a uniting toast.  I felt like I knew the bride and groom better after hearing his best friend recount a few very funny stories.

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Once the dancing started the lights transformed the venue into a more intimate and romantic club feel - and these wedding guests knew how to have a good time.  They took over that dance floor and did not leave it for the rest of the night.  Everyone young and old joined in on the fun.  The songs had the feel of being hand selected for that family because each one seemed to be everyone's favorite song!

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Once again I have to thank Dayna Schroeder for the opportunity to help her capture her sister's wedding.  I know that if I were to photograph my sister's wedding I would only trust the most capable hands to help me.  I want to thank her for putting that bit of trust into me.

I look forward to all that lays ahead!  Cheers!!!

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Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Little Girls....

Little girls that love me taking their photo are my favorite kind of little girls.
This little angel was the flower girl at the wedding that I photographed on Saturday.

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angel eyes

I have a lot of photos to share with you from this wedding.  Dayna Schroeder was kind enough to let me join her for her sister's wedding on Saturday in Orland Park, Illinois.  It was a beautiful wedding centered on family.  The details were amazing, as was the food.  This family was vibrant and beautiful.  I cannot wait for you to see more of them.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Rounding it out...

To round out the week here is a revisit of the photo below.  

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I was playing with black and white presets and trying to make up some new interesting mixtures with more depth than your average black and white.

I thought I would use this photo because I loved it so much in color, I wanted to see if I could love it in black and white.  I think the loss of color brings out a whole new story to the photo.  Before I mostly saw his eyes and the bold "fun-ness" of the photo.  Now I see more of the innocence of it, I notice his parent's arms framing him more and am taken into his small stature and smile more than before.

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Think I am right?  Which one do you prefer?

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Dinner Party Playbook....

I feast on news and information.  I drink it all in via NPR on the radio, NPR podcasts, nightly news, the local newspaper and 24/7 CNN mostly.  Since I have this strong addiction I thought you all might be able to benefit, I would like to present "The Dinner Party Playbook".  On Thursday I am going to give you anywhere from 5 to 10 quick snippets of interesting news; hopefully arming you each with good conversation for the proverbial
"dinner party" scenario.  


Here it is....


Your Dinner Party Playbook for Labor Day Weekend


Grover Cleveland made Labor Day a federal holiday in 1894 after breaking up the Pulman Railroad strike.
  He felt like he had to throw organized labor a bone and gave them the first official three day weekend. 
 (thank you for the history lesson KLG & Hoda)


The Texas State fair, like the Iowa and every other state fair, celebrates all things fried.  The new thing this
 year - fried beer.  It is a patent pending process where beer is fried in small ravioli like pockets.  Does it
 make you want to try it this weekend?


Head and Shoulders has insured Steelers linebacker Troy Polamalu's hair for $1M with Lloyd's of London.
  Troy is a spokesman for a new Head and Shouldes campaign and apparently they fear the wrath of some
 angry dandruff suffer with a pair of scissors.


Know a soccer fan?  An in with them might be pointing out that Vuvuzelas were recently banned from
 European competitions after UEFA said that "the controversial plastic trumpets drowned out supporters and
 detracted from the emotion of the game".  If you watched any of the World Cup I think we are probably
 both breathing a collective sigh of relief.


In most areas of the country now, unmarried women between the ages of 22 and 30 without kids are making
 8 percent more than men in the same demographic.  "At this point in time, young women are 1.5 times more
 likely to earn college degrees than their male counterparts," says James Chung, president of Reach Advisors.
 "That's a huge difference. And it's starting to reflect in average income.It's still not certain whether these
 findings signal a significant change. The big question is whether — as this group of women ages, marries or
 has children — their wage advantage will disappear. (Thank you All Things Considered on NPR)



Other than that, the only other advice I have is don't eat that dip...you know it won't be as good as you think
 it will be.  Why is it yellow like that anyway?


If you have any additional gems for your fellow dinner party goers please share them!


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Take some time to drink in your family and relish in the last days of summer this weekend!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Morning Coffee...

My adventures in morning coffee continued this morning.  I guess I need to ask Evan how he decides whether or not to make coffee that morning.  Today was a drowsy rainy morning and I could barely fall out of the bed this morning.  To me, it would seem like a sure fire coffee day, but alas my wonderful coffee brewing husband must not have seen it that way.

So, I am left to my own devices.  I worked in a coffee shop for probably 10 months or so in college.  I can brew one mean espresso, but in all of that time I worked the afternoon shift and we did not brew regular cup o'Joe coffee at those hours.  Looking back on it I think of it as odd, but then I think of the Starbucks "barista" pushing a series of preprogrammed buttons to make sure your carmel macchiato is the same as last time you had it and I feel better.

I have now determined it does not matter what grounds I use really, it is the proportions.  I try to make the amount of coffee I want to drink and Evan always brews the same amount.  Turns out this is the one thing he is willing to waste and I guess I never noticed.  So with my new knowledge and wasteful new outlook on morning coffee I set out to make a pot this morning and....success!!!  I am happily enjoying a cup of the rich black gold and the little morning faries no longer have to prop my eyelids open!



Now for some post processing!!!