52 Weeks: Week 26

7.30.2011

Molly made a new friend this week.  A sweet little stuffed animal The Boyfriend bought for me when we visited the Monterey Bay Aquarium a few years ago.  Molly greeted the stuffed otter with the standard guinea pig greeting - rubbing noses.  She then chewed on its whiskers and did little jumps over its tail.  It was very cute to watch!

Week 26: Molly's New Friend

One Giant Ball of Awkward

7.28.2011

I know this is usually Awkward & Awesome Thursday but this week I just have one giant Awkward for y'all.  I mean, this one is so chock full of Awkward you don't need anything else.  And, in a strange, strange way, it's kinda Awesome, too.  You ready for it?  Here goes.  Toddlers & Tiaras.  Yup.  You heard right.  Toddlers & Tiaras.  *Awwwwwwkwaaaaaard*  Does anyone else watch this show??  Am I the only one to have discovered this lovely little gem?  Please say it isn't so.  Please tell me you watch it, too.  Because I'm fascinated.  I feel like I'm getting a weird Twilight Zone-style education in all things pageantry.  Sparkle baby.  Go glitz or go home!

Your next Mini Grand Supreme
How do you guys feel about children's beauty pageants?  I remember thinking it was weird, even when I was young.  When I was in 6th grade, I knew a girl who competed in kids' beauty pageants.  I remember thinking, "Why?  I don't get it?"  I still feel that way.  Modeling I understand.  Dance shows I understand.  Community theatre for kids I understand.  But beauty pageants?  Where the girls try to look like living dolls/middle-aged women doing Glamor Shots in the early 90's?  That I don't understand.

Sparkle, baby.
The most fascinating part of this show is, by far, the moms.  Pageant moms are like stage moms on steroids.  And they run the full gamut - from ex-pageant queens with bleached hair and spray tans to Quakers.  Yes, Quakers.  They'll be on next week's episode in case you're curious.

And if, by chance, you haven't seen this show yet, let me introduce you to Makenzie:


My Little Love Affair

7.27.2011

I have a little confession to make.  I'm not usually one to confess my deep dark secrets to strangers, but I think we've really become much closer recently.  I really do.  So I feel comfortable telling you this.  I, um... I haven't been entirely ... faithful.  I know it's terrible.  I feel so guilty and conflicted but I just can't help myself.  Yes, it's true.  I've been cheating ... on Summer.  The beaches and sand, the ice cream and flip-flops - it's all grand but ... Fall has always been my one true love.  As much as I try to deny it and be happy with Summer, it just isn't working out.  I mean, I love Summer but I'm not in love with Summer, you know?  At least, not anymore.  I am in love with Fall.

The crisp air breezing by my cheeks.  The rust-, saffron-, and burnt orange-colored leaves drifting lazily to the ground.  Pumpkin spiced lattes.  Pumpkin bread.  Butternut squash soup.  Thanksgiving.  Football.  Lounging by the fireplace.  Tea with honey and lemon.  Cozy sweaters.  Knee-high boots.  Plush scarves.  Hot toddies.  Corn mazes.  Apple-picking.  Apple cider.  I love it all and, even though it's still July,  I pretty much can't wait for it to be Fall.




1. Wool walking coat
2. Trinket flats
3. Crochet cardigan
4. Liisa flats
5. Open stitch tunic
6. Belted booties
7. Talauma tunic
8. Knee-high boots
9. Leather jacket

What about you?  Are you still in love with Summer or have you been having a little love affair of your own?

Mmm ... Food

7.26.2011

I have been seriously focused on food these days.  More so than usual.  I don't know why but it's like as soon as I finish one meal I start thinking about the next.  And the next.  And the next.  Thank god for Pinterest in moments like this!  I have been doing some serious food pinning these days.  If you're not hungry already, these photos will definitely whet your appetite.  (Nom nom nom..... )

Double Chocolate Espresso Cookies with Peanut Butter filling

Hot Chocolate & Marshmallow Macarons

Swiss Chard, Goat Cheese, and Prosciutto Tart

Lemon Ricotta Fritters with Mixed Berry Jam





(All images can be found via my Pinterest)

Weekend Snippets {vol. 7}

7.25.2011

Happy Monday lovelies!  Did you all have a nice weekend?  We spent our time with friends and family, ate a lot (and I mean, a lot), and enjoyed some unusually nice weather.  I know it may sound boring but trust me - it was mahvelous dahling.

Fresh heirloom tomatoes from the farmer's market became fresh Caprese salad (just add buffalo mozzarella and fresh basil)!

A lovely Sunday afternoon in the city

52 Weeks: Weeks 24 & 25

7.23.2011

I just realized I'm a couple weeks behind on posting about my 52 Weeks Project.  Here are the last two weeks' photos.  Happy Saturday!!

Week 24: Old School Chicago

Week 25: Under the Swings

Fab Friday's Fancies | LWD

7.22.2011

Alright, enough with the photography posts - it's time for some fab fashion!!  Are you so excited it's Friday?  I know I am.  We don't have much planned for the weekend.  Just hangin' with friends.  I like it that way, though!  Every now and then a girl needs some down time, you know?  But if we did have something planned - like, say, a garden cocktail party or a hot dinner date - that would be a good time to break out the LWD.  Little White Dress.  Just so happens that's the theme for this week's Friday's Fancies!


1. 4 Love and Liberty Cross-Over Dress - Isn't the back of this dress just heavenly?
2. Suede Strappy Sandals - These shoes are on sale people!!  SALE!!  The best four-letter word in the English language!! (besides "love" of course)
3. Oval Bead Ring - I love the neutral color palette of this outfit but I just really wanted a liiiiiiitle pop of color.
4. Coin-Operated Cuff - You had to know something from Anthro was coming!

I realized after making the collage that I left out the awesome Marc Jacobs bag!
Happy Weekend!!
xo

How To: Create A Tilt-Shift Effect {part 2}

7.21.2011

Yesterday I showed you a pretty straightforward way to create a tilt-shift effect in PhotoShop.  Below are a few more examples of photos I've edited using this technique and some phone apps that also offer tilt-shift effects. 

For the photos of Florence and Venice, I wanted to add a little bit of an aged feeling to the color scheme so I added various filters and made some adjustments to get that honey-colored vintage tone.






For the red umbrella on the beach, I wasn't so much interested in the fake miniature effect as much as emphasizing the red umbrella and the waves coming ashore.  Honestly, I love both the Before and After of this image.

Wanna see the Before Before of the Red Umbrella?  Here's the image straight out of the camera:

PHONE APPS
If you don't have PhotoShop but still want to experiment with the tilt-shift effect, a number of phone apps offer this option.  Both Little Photo and Vignette (both for droids) have a Tilt-Shift effect option.  The iPhone's Instagram app offers a tilt-shift feature for non-droid users and there's an app called TiltShift Generator available for iPhone and iPad.  The photos below were taken out of either The Boyfriend's apartment window or car window with my camera phone using the Vignette app.


Overall, tilt-shift is a fun technique to play around with and add some pizzazz to your photos.  Some other examples of tilt-shift photography from around the web can be found here.  Hope you have fun trying it out!

How To: Create A Tilt-Shift Effect {part 1}

7.20.2011

In addition to a macro lens, a tilt-shift lens or lens baby (Composer?) are on my Camera Gear Wish List.  Of course, I can't really afford nor justify such a purchase.  However, that doesn't mean I (and you!) can't still enjoy the effects!

Tilt-shift is a method of selectively focusing within a photo to create a "fake miniature" effect.  I'm sure there's a more technically precise way of describing it but that's how I understand it.  In addition to the cool "fake miniature" effect, you can also use this method to draw attention to a particular area within a photo.  If you have about $1500 for a somewhat frivolous purchase, you can buy a special tilt-shift lens to capture this effect.  Or, if you're like me and you don't have $1500 just lying around, you can do it post-production (assuming you have PhotoShop or PS Elements...).  There are lots of tutorials online but I'm going to show you how I did it recently.

1. Open your image in PhotoShop.


2. Enter Quick Mask Mode by selecting the Quick Mask icon in the tool box/palette thing.

3. Select Gradient Tool and the Reflective Gradient option (fourth icon from the left in the top little bar).

4.  Draw a line starting at the point that you want to be the center of focus for the image and extend upward.  This part may take some trial and error to figure out where exactly you want the focus to be.  When you've drawn your line properly, the screen should show a red bar in the area that will be in focus.


5. Switch back to Standard Mode by selecting the appropriate icon in that tool box/palette thingy again.

6. At this point, you should have the flashing dashes surrounding the different areas of your photo.  Next, apply Lens Blur.  I had to boost the radius on my lens blur filter to 70.  This is the only tweak I made to the default settings.  Adjust yours as necessary to show the amount of blur you're going for.



7. Once the blur is applied, deselect the flashing dashes by hitting Command D (on a PC I think it's Control D).  Now boost the saturation to replicate those bright overly saturated colors you find in miniature scale models.  I boost mine to somewhere between 30 and 40.


8. This is also the point where you can make other adjustments to the overall image.  For this one, I boosted the Brightness and Contrast and added a very slight S Curve to make the colors pop even more.



9. Once you're happy with the color scheme, click Save and admire your work!


Stay tuned for Part 2 where I'll show you a few more examples of photos edited with this technique as well as some cool phone apps that offer a tilt-shift option!

New Photos in Etsy Shop!

7.19.2011

Hello lovelies!  Just wanted to let you know I added a few new photos to my Etsy shop and renewed a few other listings.  Please stop by and check 'em out if you have a free minute or two!







Weekend Snippets {vol. 6}

7.17.2011

Friday
Harry Potter!!  Let me just say, there were quite a few movies throughout this series that were disappointing.  This was not one of them.  I don't wanna give too much away for those of you who haven't seen it yet, but it was a fantastic end to the series.  And I cried.  I expected tears but not at this particular moment (trying not to give anything away here!!).  It was so good!!

Saturday
We headed to Santa Cruz for a weekend hangout with The Boyfriend's sister and bro-in-law.  A little stop at the beach followed by some sugar-eating and roller-coaster-riding at the Boardwalk made for the perfect summer Saturday.  I went a little nuts with the sweets while at the Boardwalk but I'm pretty sure there's a rule that says if you're at a carnival/theme park/circus/boardwalk/etc. you're supposed to indulge in all sorts of sugary goodness.  I was just following the rules!

Part of this sugar goodness included chocolate covered bacon.  Yes, bacon.  With chocolate.  We were skeptical so we just got one piece to share between the four of us.  I'm a little embarrassed to admit this but I kinda loved it!  I mean, I don't think it'll be my go-to chocolate but if it's offered to me again I can't promise I'll say no.  :)

If you have the chance, I highly recommend a day or two in Santa Cruz.  It's such a fun hippie beach town.  I know you'll love it!

Sunday
While waiting for a table at brunch, I popped into the thrift store next door just to kill time.  I found a lovely little scarf for just a couple bucks.  Thrifting success!  Can't wait to try it out.  I think it'll be perfect for Marissa's side braid/head scarf combo.

The scarf (it's folded in half but it's actually pretty long), plus some fun at the Boardwalk with pirates and cotton candy.

You can't go wrong with chocolate + salty!

I'm thinking about adding these two Santa Cruz photos to my Etsy shop.  What do you think?



Fab Friday's Fancies | Summer Lounging

7.15.2011

Happy Friday lovlies!!  I am SO glad this week is finally over.  Weekends are just so much better than weekdays, no?  Plus, on the agenda for the weekend we have Harry Potter tonight then two days in Santa Cruz... can't wait!  What are your fab plans?  Hopefully you'll squeeze in a little R&R!

This week's Friday's Fancies is inspired by lazy, hazy summer days.  For me, a long loose maxi dress is my go-to for lounging on a hot day.  My hair kinda drives me nuts when it's hot out so I thought a chic top knot plus headband to keep the frizzies in check would be perfect to go with this dress.  What do you think?  Could you see yourself doing some lazy summer lounging in this outfit?

1. Slubby Tulip Dress
2. Original Wayfarers
3. Camille Headband
4. Michael Kors Strappy Flat Sandals

Happy Weekend!!!
xo


Awkward & Awesome Thursday

7.14.2011

AWKWARD
--I stopped for a green light on my way home from work yesterday.  No idea why.  I just rolled up to the intersection and ... stopped.  I didn't even realize it until the light turned yellow.  Guess someone was more tired than she thought...

AWESOME
--Guinea pig kisses.  Molly has taken to licking my fingers when I lift her up to take her out of her cage.  She also loves licking my toes.  She's a weird one but her little kisses are the best.  Not drool-y like a pup's and not sandpaper-y like a kitty's.  Just sweet soft little tickles.
--Bossypants.  I plan on writing more of a review soon but suffice it to say this book is definitely awesome.
--Harry Potter opens tomorrow!  If I didn't have a day job, I'd totes be going to the midnight showing tonight.  Alas, I'll have to wait until after work tomorrow for the final HP film.  I realize I'm nearly 30 and these books/movies were originally made for people half my age but I don't care.  I love 'em!!



Before the Ceremony

7.13.2011

This week has been crazy at work trying to catch up on all that I missed last week.  Hopefully I'll have things under control soon but for right now, the day job is requiring nearly all my attention.

I wanted to share with you just a few photos from the wedding this weekend.  Unfortunately, I pretty much stopped taking photos once the ceremony began but I did manage to get a few good shots of the set up/getting dressed time.  I didn't realize that being in the wedding would make it so hard to actually take pictures!!

The bride & groom had a candy bar set up at the reception.  Brilliant!



One of the highlights of the day was, after getting dressed, Nikki exclaimed, "Ooh, I LOVE my outfit today!!"

 

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