October 16, 2010

31 Days

Not shot manually but a recent fav of our Rockstar

I've been planning to get to know my Digital SLR better since we purchased it six years ago. It's ridiculous really. Instead of taking the time to play with the manual settings I've taken the easy route time and time again: set the dial to automatic and snap snap snap. I've been happy with my photographs most of the time but I know I can take them to the next level by using the manual settings. So why haven't I done so? Good question. I don't have an answer to it but I will share my snapshot background with you.

In high school I took two photography courses and fell in love with the challenge of taking a perfect (for me) photo. I spent hours in the darkroom at school developing film and my parents being the amazing people they are set up a darkroom in the basement for me. I applied to attend college to become a professional photographer, was accepted and then the night before my acceptance was due I changed my mind. I don't regret the decision one little bit: I wasn't entirely convinced that photography was what I wanted to spend the rest of my life doing and I wasn't ready to move away from home just yet (needed another year). Eventually I came to the realization that spending time behind a camera photographing people and things was a perfect hobby for me but wouldn't make me happy in the grand scheme of things, I needed to work with and care for children to feel fulfilled.

Unfortunately after I made the decision not to pursue photography professionally I sort of set it aside for a number of years. I always had a simple point and shoot camera in my backpack in my early 20s and took a zillion shots of friends and family but rarely did I take the time to compose an excellent shot. In the last few years I've spent a little more time shooting random bits, landscapes etc but more often than not I catch myself thinking *I wish I had my camera with me*. Now that the Rockstar is here I'm pulling the camera out almost daily and trying to take it with us when we head out and about. I'm in the habit of wearing the camera so now I need to get back into the habit of using the manual settings.

It hit me this morning that it has been nearly 15 years since I took that the advanced (high school) photography course so I really shouldn't beat myself up for not remembering the details, of course I learned on an old school SLR but let's not go there, I'm dating myself. Side note: the fact that I am able to use the words "dating myself" is a little bit depressing. Rather than dwelling on what I don't remember and don't know I've decided now is the time to start from square one to relearn how to use manual settings and refresh my composition skills as well.

While searching for something completely unrelated (moments after making the decision to stop talking about it and to start learning to use the camera properly) I found this 31 Days to a Better Photo Series over at life with my 3 boybarians. This series is going to deliver the kick in the ass I need to get started.

Expect some upcoming posts focusing on my mission to improve my photographs! Hopefully I'll have some cool pics to share with you.

October 15, 2010

Fab Pick of Last Week

Check out the sweet pieces in Whitney Smith's shop. These cupcake stands are absolutely adorable and the cake stands are to die for!

October 14, 2010

Pineapple Salsa? Mikey Likes It!

You remember the Life cereal commercials with Mikey, right? If not here's a refresher:

Whenever I find something new that my "selective eater" husband Mike likes to eat I can't help but think of this commercial. His repertoire of fond foods has grown substantially over the ten years we have been together but it is still exciting for me (the lover of all things edible) when we find a new dish that he really likes.

Ridiculously small image courtesy of Homemade Simple

I admit I was a bit surprised when he said he wanted to try out the recipe I'm sharing here today. I was watching Homemade Simple and they made a pineapple salsa served over pork chops; it looked super yummy to me and Mike said he thought it looked good too (crunchy foods are his friend). We made it the next evening and WOW.

This recipe has definitely made the cut and will be added to the weeknight dinner rotation. It's super easy to make, healthy and over the top yummy.

The recipe link isn't opening up for me so I'll go from memory and tell you what quantities I used to serve two people heaping servings of the salsa and a fair amount left over for a fabulous crunchy snack (good on its own or scooped onto tortilla chips).

What you need:
1/2 green apple (I only used half)
1/3 red onion (I would use less next time but go with what looks good to you)
1/2 a red pepper
1 can of pineapple (only used about a quarter of a can it)
1 lime
fresh cilantro (appx 2 tbsp)

What you do:
Chop up the apple, onion, red pepper and pineapple into tiny salsa-ish chunks. Finely chop the cilantro. Mix this all together and then squeeze the lime over the mixture. I also added a few spoonfuls of pineapple juice to the mix and in the end I tossed in a bit of salt just because.

The original recipe has you broil porkchops in the oven after you spoon a bunch of pineapple juice over them and toss on some salt and pepper. I went with this and the end result was great but I think it would be even better served with pork tenderloin cooked with apple slices and the pineapple juice.

Once the pork is cooked spoon a mountain of salsa onto it and proceed to fill your face. Be sure to make extra salsa because you'll want more than your one serving once you taste it.

I will definitely be making more of the quick 20 minutes or less recipes featured over at Homemade Simple. Yum!!

October 10, 2010

Buy One Superhero Get One Free

Kian's still too little to fully appreciate the awesomeness of this tutorial but one day he will. Whipping up a superhero cape is a pretty simple task but Kelly from Sewing In No Mans Land took it up a notch by creating a two-in-one reversible cape: brilliant!