B&W Photography

DSC_0917No, no unfortunately I didn’t bring this adorable puppy home, but this little guy sure was trying to stare into my soul. He was just one of the subjects of this week’s photo assignment, Black and White Photography, not my new pet.  I learned that B&W photography can be really great, or just really not fit the subject.  The B&W isn’t necessary here, but it made me pay attention to the values of a photo that can benefit from a B&W color transformation. And regardless, I’m pleased to say that my instructor really liked my photos on the Downtown Mall in Charlottesville!

 

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We were supposed to use whatever photo editing program we have to transform our color photography into black and white, observing the contrast, seeing what fit and what didn’t.  It’s cool to look at B&W photos and be taken to a different time.  They can transform a picture you snapped on a city street in 2014 into a photo taken in the 1920′s in a little cafe in Paris.  The way you look at black and white photos is different than the way you take in the subjects in a color photo. So when done right, B&W photography can be very powerful.  

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Photography Class

As I’ve mentioned, I’m enrolled in a photography class right now, and I just love it! It’s a 9 week  intro class at The Art League in Old Town, Alexandria, and I’m learning so much about really how to operate my DSLR for the best pictures possible.  I wish I’d taken it before, but I’m so glad I am learning now.  It’s definitely true, it doesn’t matter how nice the tools you have are if you don’t know how to use them!  Tonight was week 7, so only 2 more classes to go, but here’s one more of my favorite pictures that I took for class a few weeks ago. The assignment was for composition, and Pete (the instructor) recommended looking for cool geometric configurations to make up an interesting photo:DSC_0294

The Ragtime Gals: Ignition (Remix)

A while ago I posted The Ragtime Gals singing SexyBack, and I’m excited to say they’re back with another funny combo. Nelly’s Ignition (Remix) circa 2003. Enjoy this oddly awesome little ditty.

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Valentine’s Day Breakfast Sandwich

Valentine's Day Breakfast Sandwich

Happy Valentine’s Day!

This morning I had a 2 hour snow delay so I slept a little later, and treated myself to my favorite meal of the day: BREAKFAST! Seriously, the way to my heart is a bacon, egg, and cheese sandwich. It’s a shame Sean doesn’t like bacon or eggs (I love him anyway though haha). This morning’s breakfast was extra lovely with the beautiful flowers Sean sent me this week as a birthday and Valentine’s day bouquet. (Thanks, Sean!)

Whatever you’re doing for Valentine’s day, know that you’re loved, and if you stop by for breakfast I’ll make you heart shaped bread and a delicious breakfast sandwich (or something else if you don’t like eggs or bacon).

xoxo

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Winter Wonderland

I took these pictures this morning while working on my photography class assignment this week. It was so beautiful out, COLD, but peaceful and beautiful. Enjoy!

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Snow day inspiration


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Happy New Year (er….I know it’s the 21st, but shhh!)

Disclaimer: this post, mostly for myself, may be boring, but read along as you will!

Today the D.C. area had the biggest snow storm we’ve had in 3 years (since Snowmaggedon!) and I was lucky enough to have a snow day.  After a very exciting already 3 day weekend, and a night of anything but restful sleep, I was SO happy to stay in bed this morning.

The weekend left me with a ton of questions thoughts, reflections, and happiness. Friday night: I saw the film “Her” with Amy and wow, it left us both with so many thoughts, reflections, and inspiration.  Speechless. (I realize not everyone will get this out of the movie, but the way it hit me was powerful in the moment) Powerful in regards to life, existence, changing/growing in relationships, changing as an individual, evolving as a person. Go see it. Monday my bro turned 30 and his friends threw him a party in Richmond on Saturday night, and celebrate we did! Celebratory drinks, Just Dance 2014, many dance offs, and a victorious Sibling dance off. What a night. Sunday: a wonderful day with my dad’s side of the fam at my cousin’s Bridal Shower, and dinner with Mom, Dad, and James, for his birthday. Monday: breakfast with mom, a run in the neighborhood, soaking in the 62 degree (!!!) weather in Williamsburg, and phone conversations on my way back with three of my favorite people in the world.  A boring list to read, but I want to remember it all, and remember leaving Williamsburg, driving back and recognizing how I’m feeling at this time.

I have to write this down to read when I’m not feeling as light, happy and whole, but I AM SO HAPPY RIGHT NOW, and it is wonderful.  Work is great, Sean’s wonderful, friends are abundant, life is lovely.  I feel balanced, independent, light, whole.  I’m taking my photography class right now, and am thoroughly enjoying being creative, focused and immersed in something newish to master. I got a promotion at work and am proud of the work I’ve done over the past year. I’m looking forward to even more growth and discovery in my career.

Though there are so many uncertainties right now, they aren’t bothering me. Life will keep moving, things will keep changing, and I’ll continue being unable to control many pieces, so I’ll just have to take them as they come.  And whichever way things in life go, it will all be okay. I know I won’t always be this on top and positive, this lacking in fear and anxiety, but I always know I will be okay and come out on the other side having grown and experienced portions of my life for better or for worse.

Today was a lazy, but productive day. (Those seem conflicting; I got a lot done, but was so relaxed).  This morning my friend posted an article, “Busyness Isn’t Respectable  Anymore” by Tyler Ward, surrounding the whole “Busy Trap” discussion, as some refer to it. No matter how you feel about the “busy” topics, it reminded me of a few things including: saying that you’ve been “busy” is a lame answer to “how have you been”; say no when you need to and  manage time wisely so that your “busy” is intentional, positive, and productive for you; and spend time alone and in idleness, to keep inspired and energized to be my best self, try new things and get my best work done.  “The space and quiet that idleness provides is a necessary condition for standing back from life and seeing it whole, for making unexpected connections and waiting for the wild summer lightning strikes of inspiration — it is, paradoxically, necessary to getting any work done.” (Tim Kreider)

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Today I was able to be alone most of the day and enjoy my own company. I took care of myself today to prep for the week: made a breakfast smoothie, completed an online workout, got my hair cut, made homemade hot cocoa and whipped cream,created this DELICIOUS dinner (left), did a little bit of work, took a walk in the snow, planned my outfits for the work week, read and relaxed. I wish I’d had someone to share my dinner with, but that’s simply because I was proud of how delicious it was. However, I’m glad I had a day alone to enjoy the stillness of this snowy winter day. Here’s to 2014 and all it brings!

exploring new food and photography territory: summer Squash Quiche

For some reason last week, I got it in my mind that I was going to make something with summer squash. A dish that was light, flavorful and sort of healthy. Quiche? Why not!

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After some Googling I settled on basing my recipe off of Cooking Light’s “Summer Squash, Bacon, and Mozzarella Quiche.”  I made a few modifications: used a store bought crust, added tomato slices to the top and substituted (delicious) leftover chicken for the bacon.

All day I was majorly excited to make this quiche. I can’t tell you why, but I think it was not only the cooking part but the artful and delicious expression in the whole process. I realized this while I was in the middle of cooking: Not only did I want to make dinner, but I wanted to try something new and make something I hadn’t made before (quiche), use fresh healthy seasonal veggies (summer squash), AND make something that would be attractive to photograph. I’m big on colorful meals and I’ve been trying to play around with my camera more to really get to know it.  Sometimes I feel like I should practice taking more pictures of people, but taking pictures of still lifes/food really allows me to play with settings, on my own time, all while controlling the light.  I know some people just don’t understand why people like to look at spreads of food, but to me they are inspiring. In my own pictures in this series: the bright cheery yellows, the fresh earthy bright greens, and the vibrant fiery reds. The textures of the food, the pigments and strands of the table cloth or napkin, even the place setting.  before quiche picBaked quiche cropped

I took the first picture when it was still light out while prepping. Isn’t natural light the best? The second picture was 45 minutes later after the quiche was all baked, so by then the last natural light of the evening had faded.  The light bulb apartment lighting isn’t as lovely as the natural light, but I probably took 30 pictures of the baked quiche (making good use of my cooling time before I could dig in!) I know these aren’t amazing pictures but I’m still learning :)

I’ve done a lot of things lately that are expressions of the things I like to do: cook, create, laugh, photograph, sing, even dance. This weekend I laughed and celebrated all weekend long: starting with celebrating my friend Megan’s birthday (who also inspires me to cook fresh delicious beautiful things!), attending Wolf Trap’s “Sound of Music” sing-a-long with friends (I was in the sound of music in high school so I LOVED this!), exercising at my favorite Xtend Barre class and finally dancing (like I haven’t in ages!) for my friend’s Steph’s bachelorette party. Talk about a lot of creative activity. I’m feeling great after this long weekend and want to keep up my creative streak. I hope you also find the things you do and love and hold on to them.

Future goals for creativity:

- Sign up for photography class (Winter session at the Alexandria art place)
- Make gnocchi
- Paint something new
- Find somewhere I can SING regularly/maybe try out for a show (eek!)

Bald Head Island Beach Vacation 2013

Bald Head Island Beach Vacation 2013

I just got back from my vacation at Bald Head Island with Sean and his fam! It was absolutely beautiful. The weather, the beaches, the palm trees, and the fun times together.

I’m bad at returning to reality. It gets me every time. It’s a little bit silly. But after a week of reading, playing, relaxing, and dreaming, coming back to a desk, an office and no sunshine is hard. I think it would be easier if Sean lived closer to me instead of us spending a week together then he disappears back to Charlottesville. Oh long distance relationships. Mean things!

I would love to live on the water somewhere. Water makes me so happy

But it does make me reflect on things – I need to be in a job that excites me so that even upon returning from vacation, I’m excited to be here. I’m thankful for my job, and am often excited. But it’s hard!! The beach is too wonderful. But, I’m also thankful to be able to go on such nice vacations and can’t forget that.

At least I have a ton of have pictures to look at and dream of being on the beach through. Speaking of, more pics to come from my DSLR soon!

Peaches, Millions of Peaches

Peaches, Millions of Peaches

I know there’s been a lot of peaches on here lately, BUT I had so many from the orchard and I had to find all sorts of things to do with them.

This past weekend, Alice, MBD and I brunched at Alice’s place and I told them I’d bring some sort IMG_20130728_115704_602of peach pastry. I had a bunch of over ripe peaches that could only really be used in something, so I decided to make a peach breakfast pastry of sorts.

Puff pastry is magic.

Seriously. All you do is thaw it, put a combination of delicious things on top, and bake it for about 15 minutes until it’s a bit golden on the edges and the filling is appropriately melted. and VOILA! Delicious flavor party in your mouth.

For this pastry, I let the puff pastry thaw for 40 minutes, and cut it in to 9 little squares. I placed thinly sliced peaches (from 4 small peaches) on top, with brown sugar and popped them in the oven for 15 minutes. Baked at 400 degrees, but I think I’d bake them at 415 in the future. 15 minutes later we had these delicious pastries to enjoy.

And btw, I know you were wondering. The pies were also DELICIOUS.

Finally, on a happy Monday note: This weekend was so very lovely. I appreciate my friends, my family, and the abundance of wonderful food, friends, and love in my life.  Hope yours was wonderful too.  It’s important to appreciate these summer weekends while we still have them! (um, hello august, why are you almost there?)

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Peach Pie in July

Peach Pie in July

Yesterday was one of those days that I sort of impressed myself with just how much I got done. Good feeling! That sounds kind of annoying probably, but it’s nice to look back at a day and really feel like it was productive. On the other hand, it seemed sort of ridiculous, like woah, chill out!!IMG_20130716_070055_546

I got up at 5:45 a.m. for my 6 a.m. boot camp (see that beautiful sunrise over D.C.!), went to work, made dinner and hung out with Alice, ran to the store, came home and made mini peach pies, scrubbed the bathroom sparkly clean, did my dishes, then my head hit the pillow.

I wanted to eat a peach pie then, BUT at 10:30 p.m. pie isn’t quite necessary and besides I made them to share with friends tonight! That would be SOOO selfish. ;)

The peach pie recipe was so easy, but that doesn’t mean it won’t be delicious. It also helps that I have my Breville mini pie maker (a ridiculous impulse purchase I made a few years ago), to aid in the mini pie making process, as well as store bought puff pastry. I’ll report back on the pies!

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