Thursday Thoughts - Awkward & Awesome

--I usually take my contacts out right before I shower at night because the steam kinda makes them uncomfortable.  And I don't always put my glasses on right away when I get out of the shower.  Well, apparently I need to because last night I put my underwear on inside out.

--The Fart Heard 'Round the World.  Actually, more like "the fart heard 'round the office."  No, It wasn't me!!  It was the lady who sits in the office directly across from me.  And I mean directly across - like, if I look up from my computer, we make eye contact.  Which makes things really awkward when she decides to let out a loud, juicy, rip-roarin' fart while I'm typing away at my desk.  I could see her look at me out of the corner of my eye and it took every ounce of willpower I had not to bust out laughing.  Because I'm secretly I'm a 10-year old boy and I laugh at farts.

--My AC finally got fixed!  Unfortunately, we had one casualty in The Great Heat Wave of 2011.  My poor basil plant.  Any advice on how to bring it back from the dead?

My dead basil (Please excuse the photo quality - I took it on my phone, almost in the dark!)

--This whole next week!  We're spending the 4th in Sonoma then heading out early Tuesday to Chicago.  I'm so excited for Nikki's wedding.  Almost exactly 11 years ago, we were randomly assigned to be roommates in the dorm.  Neither of us was really sure what to expect but we hit it off the instant we met and have been friends ever since.  Now, over a decade later, I have the honor of being a bridesmaid at her wedding.  Sometimes fate is pretty awesome.

--I've decided to take a new approach to working out.  I'm changing my attitude.  I typically workout because I hate feeling jiggly.  It's almost like a punishment for me.  I ate a lot of junk one day so I go to the gym or I feel a little extra bloated so I go for a run.  The act of exercising is always triggered by something negative.  Well, I've decided to start triggering it by something positive.  I'm trying to focus instead on how good I feel after a workout when heart's pumping, the blood's flowing, and the adrenaline's rushing.  The afterglow is my new motivation.  So far I haven't necessarily worked out more frequently than before but I have wanted to workout more than before and I definitely enjoy it more than before.  It's not easy - and it involves a lot of talking to myself ("You'll like this, Steph. Just do it. It's awesome!").  The new attitude is a work in progress but it's definitely progressing!

--Jessica's Daily Affirmations.  Have you guys seen this video?  I watched it before the bar exam last summer to pump myself up and it's just brilliant.  If only we could all have the positive attitude this little lady has!!

**Couple follow up notes to yesterday's post.  If you're concerned about scratching your lens, I typically keep a UV filter on mine so it's protected from potential scratches when doing the reverse lens technique.  Also, I did some research (a.ka. Googling) and found a filter thread adapter made precisely for this technique!!  I had no idea other people do it, too!  So for under $10, you can get an adapter to actually mount the lens in reverse on your camera instead of just holding up to the camera body.  I seriously wish I'd thought of this.  It's brilliant.  If you're interested, check it out here.


How To: Make an Impromptu Macro Lens

I have a long wish list when it comes to cool photography equipment but at the top of my list is a really good macro lens.  The only problem is I don't have a grand to drop on a lens and, even if I did, I don't use it often enough to justify such a purchase.  I love macro photography, though.  I love seeing the tiniest little details that create the "big picture" object.  So being the resourceful girl that I am (or try to be...) I figured out a way to make an impromptu macro lens.  Basically, you just flip your regular lens backwards.

Sounds weird, right?  It's actually quite simple.  A few tips - this technique tends to work better with prime lenses but you could try it with a zoom if you don't have a prime.  Also, I've found that it's better to try this when shooting a still subject.  I've tried with bugs and flowers outdoors but the camera is just so close to the subject that every little movement is captured.  For the flower examples below, I shot indoors and away from any drafts.

To make an impromptu macro, hold your prime lens backwards against the camera body.  Be gentle so as not to scratch the lens.  Since the lens is not actually attached, you can't focus the way you normally would.  Instead, you have to move either closer to or farther from the subject very slowly until the area you want is in focus.

Here's what I mean by flipping the lens backwards:

The red dot (or white spot for some) is what you would normally line up on the camera body to lock the lens into place.

And here are some examples of shots I've taken using this technique:

Sprinkles on a sugar cookie
  Carnation (edited to add film grain)
 Molly's chew toy

White rose

See?  It's pretty easy, no?  Just handle your lens carefully and you can get some great super-close-up shots!


52 Weeks: Week 22

Week 22: Birthday Cupcakes




... to bombard y'all with "test" posts tonight!  I just created a new button for the blog.  I wanted something more consistent with the title banner - the old one just said "Big Mario."  What do you think?  (If you previously grabbed the old button (thank you!!), be sure to grab the updated code for the new one over on the left.)

I also added a Photography section over in the left-hand column.  The current button is for my 52 Weeks Project.  Just click on that to see all posts with the label "52 Weeks."  I'm planning on creating a button for my Flickr account, too, but I can't decide which photo I want to use for it!!


Weekend Snippets {vol. 4}

Happy Monday!! (I'm not actually that excited it's Monday but, hey - fake it till you make it, right?) :)

Giants game from the Club Box.  Neither of us had ever been up there before so it was quite a treat!  We had amazing views of the game and the Bay, but the best part was going inside when it got too cold.  The Club Box has floor-to-ceiling windows and counters/stools all along the windows.  It was awfully chilly out so we went in, grabbed some hot dogs and garlic fries, and hung out by the windows to watch the Giants win 4-3.  Great views, winning game, and no goose bumps?  Perfect.

We headed over to The Little Cousin's birthday party Saturday afternoon.  She had a great time chowing down on cupcakes and whacking the pinata to her little heart's content.  I had a great time chowing down on BBQ ribs and wine to my little heart's content.  Not a bad Saturday.

Started the day off with a workout (I may have chowed down on a cupcake yesterday, too...) and a nice lunch followed by the biggest macchiato I've ever seen.  We even asked before ordering to make sure it was a traditional macchiato.  Turns out, this cafe's idea of "traditional macchiato" is one that's twice the size of a latte!!  Despite the ginormous beverage, it's still a cute quirky cafe.  I especially liked their name for the bathroom - The Thinking Tank.

The giant macchiato is on the left, my measly little latte on the right...

What about you?  Did you have a lovely weekend, too?  I sure hope so!!


Fab Friday - I Need Your Help!

We have a couple of birthday celebrations this weekend.  First, today is The Boyfriend's birthday!!!  I'm so excited to take him out to a Giants game followed by drinks, friends, and cigars (for him, not me).  This is the 3rd birthday I get to celebrate with the love of my life and I couldn't be more excited.  I'm looking forward to many more Boyfriend birthday celebrations to come!  


Then tomorrow, we're going to The Boyfriend's little cousin's birthday party.  She's two years old and blossoming into a lovely little girl.  Just recently I've started to notice she doesn't look like a baby anymore and I can't wait to capture her cute little-girl-not-baby face on camera tomorrow!

Ok, so here's the part where I need your help.  (It's totally unrelated to birthday celebrations.)  I still need to buy a pair of shoes to wear to my friend Nikki's wedding in two weeks!  Her colors are gray and yellow and our bridesmaids' dresses are pewter.  We're supposed to wear black shoes so I'm looking for something fun and fanciful but also affordable.  I've narrowed it down to four pairs (assuming I can find these in my size...) but I can't decide on one!  So here's where you come in - which do you prefer of the four below?

1. Ambrosia Pump
2. Pyper-G (Steve Madden)
3. QutiePie (Nine West)
4. Obrien Evening Sandals

And so you know what I'm working with, here's a shot of the lovely bridesmaid dress:

So this isn't the traditional Friday's Fancies but if you'd be so kind as to let me know in the comments below which pair of shoes you like best, you'd really make this decision a lot easier for me!!  (And I'd owe you a favor!)  Thanks for your help, Lovelies. :)

Happy Weekend!!!



Thursday Morning Awkward and Awesome

-- My A/C is still broken.  I came home yesterday after work to find the thermostat reading 97 degrees.  Luckily, before I left for work, I set up a little fan blowing towards Molly's cage so she at least had a nice breeze all day.
-- For some reason, the bathroom is the coolest room in the apartment.  Molly discovered this as soon as I let her out of her cage.  Poor thing.  She ran back in there and just kinda laid on the floor.  I've read guinea pigs are susceptible to heat stroke in very warm temperatures so I set her up with a little fan all her own, along with her food dish and water bottle.  Basically, it's guinea pig room service.  She hung out in there pretty much until the sun went down and the other rooms started to cool off. 
-- This heat also makes me not wanna work out.  I haven't done anything since last Friday.  Even though I feel the jiggly bits getting even jigglier, I'm secretly hoping the heat will magically melt the fat away...

-- YOU!!!  I can't believe we've hit triple digits in number of followers!  I started this little blog as my own personal creative outlet - a little something to add some extra joy to my day.  I never thought other people would find it interesting or even enjoyable so it makes me so happy to know you all have found something about it that you enjoy, too!  Thank you for reading along, commenting, indulging my awkwardness, and just being all around awesome! :)
-- Also, this is officially my 300th post!  Huzzah!
-- The Boyfriend and I are going to a Giants game tomorrow!!  This is my first game this season and I can't wait!  I am not that into baseball - in fact, I find it kinda boring to watch on TV - but I LOVE going to baseball games!  When we were little, we used to go to Missions games (the San Antonio minor league team) so going to Giants games reminds me of that I guess.  Except Giants games are like Missions games on steroids.  Tomorrow's adventure is extra special because we're celebrating The Boyfriend's birthday, tool!

Molly's room service

The Boyfriend and I at the last Giants game/birthday celebration (He does not have a mustache, btw, it's just shadowing!).




Via Etsy

It's 100 degrees today.  It was 104 degrees yesterday.  And something's going on with the AC in my apartment so it's about 86 degrees in my living room.  In fact, it's so hot in my apartment Molly was freaking out trying to get out of her cage.  So I picked her up and held her in front of my little fan.  Normally she hates being held and will nibble on my hands until I put her down but as soon as I stood in front of that fan, she flattened out and laid perfectly still in my arms!  So, yeah ... it's hot.

Despite the heat, I'm still so happy to welcome Summer!!!


Weekend Snippets {vol. 3}

A few highlights of the beautiful weekend -

Deeeeee-licious dinner at Rocketfish in San Francisco.  You'll note there aren't any pics of din-din ... my hands were too busy shovelin' the yummy into mah tummy.

Grocery shopping, blog reading, and a little DIY.  This was my first DIY project and, I must say, I'm pretty happy with it.  (Nevermind that I picked a pretty easy starter project...)  The Boyfriend has been craving a Mad Men-style drink cart to use as a bar so last weekend we hit up a few antique stores.  We found this little gem but it was quite nasty.  It was coated in a pretty thick layer of dust and had some icky plastic wheels.  The wheels were so old, Lowe's didn't carry anything with a compatible attachment piece!!

 The handles were dull and brassy, rather than golden.

We replaced the wheels with some little rubber feet and cleaned the glass (sorry ... forgot to take a "Before" shot with the icky old wheels but think previously-clear-plastic-but-now-gray plastic wheels with a layer of dust).

And After - They Boyfriend thought we should restore it to its former Golden Glory so we went with a nice metallic gold spray paint.
Not too bad for a first project, eh?

Fabulous bbq, homemade cherry pie, time with the family, and hanging out with Bo (the poodle from yesterday!).  What more could you ask for to wrap up the weekend?

Again, the hands were too busy shovelin' to bother with shootin' but I did manage to grab some "Before & After" shots of the fresh cherries for the pie!



52 Weeks: Week 21

Week 21: Bo

The Boyfriend's neighbors' were dog-sitting this weekend, which means we got to spend a lot of time with Bo the Poodle, one of the sweetest dogs I've ever met.



Paris, Je T'aime

Just two more days until Oh, Happy Day announces the lucky winner of a trip for two to Paris!  I have to admit, I have a slight obsession with Paris.  Though I've never been, in my mind, it's heaven on earth.  You'll find plenty of Parisian pictures on my Pinterest page (now say that 3x fast!) and I'm adding to the collection constantly.  Here's a sample of some of my faves:

Bon chance to all those who entered!!!  And if you haven't yet, click here to do so!


Fab Friday's Fancies | Father's Day BBQ

It's finally Friday!!!  Are y'all as happy about that as I am?  We're having a little Father's Day bbq on Sunday.  A simple bbq usually turns into a feast when The Boyfriend's family is involved so I can't wait!  I'm making this cherry pie and maybe steak braciole.  (At the suggestion of Mrs. Teresa Giudice.  She tweeted me again.  Twice in one week.  That means we're basically besties now, right?)

SF is supposed to be around 60 degrees so for this week's Friday's Fancies I looked for something lightweight but still cozy.  This outfit is actually almost affordable - and pretty much all from Anthropologie.  You know how I love Anthro . . . *sigh* 

1. Stitched Acres pullover sweater - I love the simplicity and femininity of this sweater.  The neutral color makes it so versatile but the little lace insets make it easy to dress up. 
2. AG Stevie white straight-legged cuffed jeans - Just a comfy way to dress up the casual summer denim
3. Coral Canvas Wedges - One For One.  Who can pass up shoes that serve a good cause?
4. Citrus Twist necklace - Another Anthropologie beauty... and it's only $38!!

Happy Weekend!


Awkward & Awesome

--Taking Greta to the mechanic for a "simple" coolant leak only to find out it's actually 3 leaks and will cost $1400 to fix!!
--Icicles for fingers.  One of our summer associates (a.k.a. interns) decided to bump the thermostat in my office to 65 degrees!  (This wasn't out of a cruel sense of humor - one thermostat controls both of our offices and apparently the cozy mid-70s setting was too warm for him.)  By the end of the day, I was afraid to type because I thought my icicle finger tips might break off.  Then I'd just have finger-nubs.

--A great friend who understand exactly when you need a happy hour, then takes you to a place with mint juleps and cheese platters loaded with Humboldt Fog!!
--Molly's excitement when I come home in the evenings.  I'm convinced that if she could, she'd run up to the door and greet me every night.
--It's Thursday, which means one more day till Friday, which means one more day till the weekend.  That's pretty awesome all on its own!

Mint Julep and a cheese platter



A friend posted this on Facebook yesterday:

Via Etsy

Greta decided to start leaking coolant so I have to take her to the mechanic before work this morning.  But ... I won't let that ruin my day!  I'm gonna be happier than a bird with a french fry.  No matter what.


Easy-Peasy Pizza Dough

The recipe actually came from Teresa Guidice's cookbook Skinny Italian.  I made the dough into four portions, rather than six.  Between dinner Friday night and lunch Saturday, two pizza were enough for us!  The other two balls of dough are sitting in the freezer waiting to make their debut.

(I know it looks like a lot of work but I promise, it really is easy-peasy.  After you've done it once, you'll see how simple it actually is!)

What You Need:
4 1/2 c. flour, but have more handy if needed
1 1/4 tsp. instant yeast
1 3/4 c. cold water
1/4 c. olive oil, plus more for rising
1 1/2 tsp. salt

What to Do:
1. Combine the water, oil, and yeast in a large mixing bowl.  Using the paddle attachment, mix on low speed.
2. Add the salt and flour, one cup at a time, until a you have a stiff, sticky dough.  Once all the flour has been added, switch to the dough hook and mix on medium-low until smooth and elastic (about 5 minutes).  Note, you may need to add more flour to get the right elasticity.  I ended up using about 5 cups for this recipe.
3. Place dough on a lightly floured surface and knead briefly.
4. Cut into four (or six for smaller pizzas) equal pieces.  Pour a couple tablespoons of oil into a baking dish and place each ball in the dish, turning to coat with the oil.
5. Leave a little space between the balls and cover tightly with plastic wrap.  Refrigerate for at least 12 hours or up to 3 days.
Note: If you want to use the dough immediately, let the covered dough stand at room temperature until the balls double in size (about an hour and a half).  If you want to freeze the dough and save it for another time, place each ball in a separate plastic freezer bag and freeze until ready to use.  (I did not coat the extra dough in oil prior to freezing.)
6. If you refrigerated the dough, then a couple hours before baking, pour a few tablespoons of oil in a clean bowl.  Re-coat the balls and cover again with plastic wrap.  Let stand at room temperature for about two hours until they double in size.
7. After the dough has doubled, drop each ball onto a lightly floured surface and press down to deflate the dough.  Shape into a ball again, return to dish, and let stand to relax for 20 minutes.
8. The dough is now ready to be made into a pizza!  Flatten the ball into a disk on a lightly floured surface.  Dust the dough with a little flour and roll into a 10- to 12-inch round using a lightly floured rolling pin.
9. Preheat your oven to 475.  Add whatever toppings you like to your yummy dough and bake for about 10-12 minutes, until the crust is golden brown.  Slice and enjoy!

A couple tips on making pizza dough:
-- I don't have a pizza stone so, instead, I place a large baking sheet in the oven while the oven is preheating so the baking sheet gets nice and hot.
-- Prep the pizza dough on a sheet of parchment paper.  When the oven is ready, pull out the baking sheet (using a mitt of course!) and place the pizza (still on the parchment) onto the baking sheet.  Easy peasy!
-- If you don't have a stand mixer with hook and paddle attachments, you can still make the dough by hand.  You'll have to knead it on a well-floured surface until smooth and elastic.  Takes a little more work but totally doable (or dough-able *hee hee hee*).
-- Of course, add whatever toppings you like, but keep in mind the dough is fairly thin so too many toppings can weigh it down.  Also keep in mind that some toppings will shrink as they cook.  I thought I put plenty of basil on ours but when it came out of the oven, there were just a few tiny specks of green in a sea of red!

PS - This little tweet totally made my day yesterday.  I may have tweeted to tell Teresa we made her pizza dough recipe and she responded!  I <3 her.

Teresa Giudice
good for you! Thank you so much! xx



Weekend Snippets {vol. 2}

Happy Monday Lovelies!  Did you all have a fab weekend?  Ours was filled with a lot of food and some much-needed relaxation.  While out on our picnic, we saw a couple families doing photo shoots for the girls' quinceaneras.  (If you're not familiar with what this is, it's a celebration of a young girl's 15th birthday, sorta like a Sweet 16 but at 15.)  The two girls we saw were out in their big poofy, colorful dresses - one in bright green and one in purple.  Green Girl disappeared behind some bushes so I couldn't get a good shot, but I caught a glimpse of Purple Girl from a distance. 

We also spotted a couple kids who managed to sneak away from Green Girl's photo shoot.

And, of course, I love me some flare!

We also ate ... a lot.  Pretty much all weekend.  In fact, as soon as we finished lunch yesterday we started talking about what we'd have for dinner!

Homemade Pizza - Stay tuned tomorrow for the super easy recipe!

Salad with spinach, strawberries, feta, and pecans - Yum!
My all-time favorite cheese, Humboldt Fog (aka Best Goat Cheese in the World)

Overall, it was a great weekend.  I'm already counting down the days till the next one!


52 Weeks: Week 20

Week 20: White Rose


Fab Friday

Happy Friday Lovelies!!  I'm so glad it's finally Friday.  Since I was in Chicago last weekend, The Boyfriend and I haven't seen each other in almost two weeks.  This distance thing kinda sucks sometimes.  But we're planning on making the most of our weekend together - lots of cooking, eating, and relaxing - and maybe a few cuddles in between. :)

The weather is finally summer-y here in Northern California (aka NorCal) so we're planning a picnic for Saturday afternoon.  If money were no object, I'd rock this maxi dress out at the park.

But money is an object - and I went a little crazy at Trader Joe's and blew my grocery budget for the week - so I'll have to settle for one of the dresses already in my closet.  I'm also obsessed with packing our picnic in a vintage suitcase rather than a traditional picnic basket.  We can pack plates and utensils in the nifty pockets (and maybe a little bottle of wine, too...).  Is this a cute idea or am I just crazy?

 found here

found here

What about you?  Any plans for the weekend?  Whatever they are, I hope you have a fabulous time!

Happy Weekend!!!


Awkward & Awesome Thursday

Photo via Pinterest
--I saw a note on my desk today that said "Email TG."  I immediately thought, "Why do I have to email Teresa Guidice?"  Then I realized "TG" was not referring to the infamous housewife from New Jersey but to one of the partners I work for.  You've reached a whole 'nother level of reality TV viewing when a set of initials makes you think of a Real Housewife before your own co-workers!!
--Speaking of offices, I sat still for so long yesterday the lights in my office turned themselves off.  I started waving my arms like a mad woman trying to activate the motion sensors and as I did, a couple of the partners walked by.  Wonder what they think I was doing?  Some kind of dance maybe?  Like the I-really-need-to-get-out-of-the-office-sometimes-because-I'm-too-awkward-for-confined-spaces dance?
--I've said it before, and I'll say it again.  Don't send personal emails from your work account!!  I'm doing another doc review assignment and after hundreds of documents about boring stuff, I came across a juicy one that started "Holla Girl!!!"  I was intrigued...  I read on...  These were not amorous like the last bunch, but they were still very entertaining.  The two friends gave each other posing tips for sexy photo shoots and gossiped about an old friend that got a little too chubby recently.  Made the afternoon much more interesting.  Then I had to go and Google these chicks.  That's when things got Awkward.  Now I have a face to go with that sexy posing tip.
--I think I killed a bird.  I was driving to San Francisco last week and all of a sudden a white fuzzy blurb thumped into the front of my car.  (Pretty sure it was flapping some wings...)  I say I think I killed a bird because when I got to The Boyfriend's, I checked the bumper and found no signs of feathers or other birdy stuff.  That's a good sign, right?  Maybe it wasn't a living creature I hit?

--About a month ago, I gave up sweets and desserts until my friend's wedding on July 9.  Giving up sweets and desserts is definitely not awesome, but the side effects totally are.  I've lost 3 lbs.!!!  Not too shabby.
--Molly has had the run of the apartment lately.  She loves galloping up and down the long hallway (it really does look like a gallop - a little guinea pig gallop).  But being the social creature that she is, she doesn't like to be left alone in a room.  She's like The Little Mermaid - she wants to be where the people are.  So she's taken to following me all around the apartment.  If I go in the bedroom to put away laundry, she's running right behind me.  When I finish and return to the living room, there she is again.  She's my little shadow!  When I finally settle in a room, Molly lounges underneath whatever furniture is nearby.  She kicks her feet out like a little frog and flattens herself onto the floor.  It's one of the cutest things in the world.  Fact.
--After starting the week out gray, cold, and rainy, it's finally feeling like summer.  It's supposed to get into the mid-80s this weekend so The Boyfriend and I are planning a relaxing, romantic picnic in the park on Saturday (hence the photo above).  Awesome indeed. :)

Molly chillin' flat like a pancake

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