Summer’s Last Hoorah?

It’s almost my favorite time of year. The mornings are starting to feel cooler, the air smells fresher,¬†yellow school buses are abundant in rush hour traffic…that’s right it’s almost FALL! I’ve pinned a hundred pumpkin-flavored recipes and am just about ready to slip on some leggings and boots. This being said, I don’t like to wish away the seasons because it really feels like yesterday that I was seriously looking forward to some beach-going, poolside-sitting, summer days. So this post will be a tribute to summer with pictures of Flowers and Lake Lynn, which I visited on Saturday evening at sunset. I’m sure I will take more pictures of the lake when the leaves change, but there’s still beauty in summer foliage too. ūüôā

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And of course it’s not summer without a bowl of watermelon.

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Enchiladas

This is way overdue. But I’ve been keeping up with blogging my dinners lately so I don’t want to stop now. Last weekend I had my parents over for dinner and made them Enchiladas. I feel like I’ve already talked about that, but what I didn’t share was what I did with the extra taco meat (ground turkey yo!)¬†and¬†homemade enchilada sauce. I made a casserole for the week! Enchiladas are delcious but they are very difficult to get to stay all wrapped up nicely, so they inevitably end up in a mess of a pile on my plate anyways. i figured casserole style would lend itself best to leftovers. And it did. I put green onions on top to make it pretty, though I’m sure my god-awful food photography still doesn’t do it justice.

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I will not have a post for this week’s dinner because I’ve burned through my grocery budget and am just scrounging and using up any leftovers. Yesterday I had pasta with mozzarella cheese, some seasonings and some chopped up green pepper (and then downed an oreo mint milkshake from cookout). So yea…no fun recipes to share this week.

A is For…

I’ve been looking forward to this post for about a week now. I really immersed myself in this project. And this is only the beginning. I took tons of pictures so I apologize for the length of this post..I am considering for the rest of the alphabet doing one post per subject but that may be too cumbersome. We’ll see.

So here’s what I photographed over the last two weeks.

1) Aquarium

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I went to the NC Aquarium with the goal to capture more than just a standard through-the-glass picture of some fish. I absolutely adore this picture above except for one problem – it wasn’t in focus! ¬†The aquarium had me getting used to manual focus because anytime you’re trying to shoot through glass, autofocus gets confused. This picture was a spur of the moment thing but I had forgotten to refocus after backing up from the window. Bummer. The one below is similar and more in focus but I thought it wasn’t as cute.

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And then I got a few standard shots of fish.

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Lessons Learned:

  • Manual focus is great but remember to keep checking it.
  • ISO 3200 is the most I ever want. 6400 gets way too noisy and it can’t be fixed later

2) Ajar

To get ideas for pictures I literally browsed an online dictionary. This was one of those words I got from there…random, but easy to do. And it was a pretty morning at the beach so it turned out to be a pretty alright photo.

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3) Atlantic Ocean

Yea it was convenient that I went to the beach during this. This was actually more challenging than I expected. I didn’t want a standard snapshot of the beach that anyone with a camera phone can get. But I also didn’t want to get too risky with getting my camera wet. I ended up with a bunch of shots of the waves in action and had to pick my favorite. They were all pretty similar but this one got a good close up of the crashing wave (and the sun was actually out that morning!)

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Lessons learned: 1) when waves are coming towards you in camera, they are coming towards you in real life and you should probably stop squatting so low.

4) Arcade

This was surprisingly one of my least favorites because I thought it would be fun to photograph an arcade. I was pressed for time, and the sun was still out so there were lots of reflections I couldn’t avoid. I just couldn’t think of anything creative so these are the best I got.

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5) Abandoned

This one was cool. When we were at the beach we drove past this abandoned movie theater and I asked if we could stop and I could snap a photo. It was actually raining at the time so I stayed in the Van and shot it with the door open. This picture was just made to be black and white and I had the vision for it as soon as I saw it. It wasn’t a difficult shot or even that unique but I thought the subject itself was unique enough in this case.

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6) Apple

Still life is fun. I struggled with aperture and focusing on these guys. I got to use my new macro lenses though (the little magnifiers you screw on to the end of your lens…not an actual lens).

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7) Apartment

Self explanitory. My apartment doesn’t get tons of light so I used a tripod and a slow shutter speed for these.

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8) Accessory

These pearls were a gift from my dad after one of his trips to China. I found a couple interesting things to do with them.

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9) Airplane

I live and work close to the airport so for the last two weeks I knew I wanted to try photographing some airplanes but I didn’t know from where. I found out about the observation deck at RDU and went there but there wasn’t a good enough view for a kit lens (telephoto may have worked alright). So I left after getting several unsuccessful shots of faraway planes. But on my way back I saw a plane fly overhead and so I pulled into a gas station parking lot, ventured over to a grassy area on the side of the road and waited for the next plane. It didn’t take long and I ended up with this.

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Lessons learned:

  • You’ll never regret making the time to just go out and photograph things. If there’s something you want to try just do it.

10) Achievement

Again, the point of this is to find unique/creative/interesting ways to photograph subjects. I could have taken a straight on shot of my diploma but what’s exciting about that? I decided to focus on the “magna cum laude” at the bottom because THAT was the real achievement to me and I kinda hate how it’s written so tiny…I couldn’t even find it when I first saw my diploma.

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11) Award

I got to drag out my collection of ribbons from dance competitions for this one. I had fun with them.

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12) Amethyst

This piece of amethyst was also in the box full of old dance stuff. I think it was some sort of special award at the competition that gave out all the purple ribbons…purple was kinda their thing. Anyways, when I saw it I was like “hey something else to photograph”. I used my macro lenses and this is what I got:

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Pancakes and Muffins

Confession: I’m in love with breakfast food.

Thursday I made some banana bread muffins. I adapted a recipe from Chocolate Covered Katie¬†(great blog for healthy desserts)…I made them whole wheat (just replaced flour with whole wheat flour)¬†and¬†replaced the sugar with an equal amount of Honey. They were so good I’ve been eating them for dessert instead of breakfast.

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Then this morning I made pancakes,my favorite weekend morning activity. I’ve made these before but had my mom’s help because it was when my sister and I were home for a girls’ weekend. I’ve since gotten a bit better at making pancakes…but I still struggle with flipping them sometimes. These guys were a little uncooperative but they came out pretty damn good regardless. I did not make the strawberry cream sauce to go on top…but I did use strawberry cheesecake flavored greek yogurt instead (because Food Lion was out of vanilla AGAIN)

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Weeks #3 and #4

So I never blogged last week’s meals for several reasons: 1) I only took pictures of dinner and 2) dinner was spaghetti. Not impressive. Though I did nail mom’s meatball recipe (again)…this time using ground turkey though. Still just as tasty in my opinion!

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Lunch I tried something new but it wasn’t something I wanted to eat everyday. Nor take pictures of when trying to get ready in the AM. And as a snack/desert I attempted some protein/granola bars but they didn’t turn into bars very well. So they became balls. The after picture is missing. I’m the worst at remembering to take pictures of my food. I also hate doing it because I never have the right lighting so they suck anyways.

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So that was last week. This week I made pepperoni stuffed chicken.

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And cashew butter/chocolate popcorn for a light dessert. You can see I didn’t take this picture until AFTER i had scooped most of it out into individual serving baggies to be put in the freezer. Yea, I’m that bad. I didn’t even bother editing any of these pictures. I’m pretty much just putting them up here as proof that I’m still doing¬†this cook once, eat all week thing…which by the way I like VERY much.

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Lunch I’m scrounging for because I didn’t want to shop this week on account of I spent too much last week. And breakfast has just been more smoothies. I think I’m going to make something yummy tomorrow though…and hopefully take decent pictures of it.

Get ready for my first alphabet photography challenge post next week! I’ve been attempting pictures of lots of “A” things…it’s going alright. Definitely going to be a learning experience. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, click here.

Photography Alphabet Challenge

No photos or recipes to see in this post. I’m just announcing that I’m starting a new project for myself that will occur over the next year.¬†

The Gist: Spend 2 weeks taking photos of everything I can think of that starts with each letter in the alphabet. (2 weeks x 26 letters = 52 weeks = 1 year).

Rules I Made Up:

  • No reusing photos I’ve already taken
  • No skipping ahead in the alphabet.
  • I’m still allowed to take pictures of other things that DON’T¬†apply to this project but can’t include them in any of my posts that DO apply to this project. (I’m not going to miss taking pictures of Christmas just because it doesn’t start with “J”).¬†
  • Be as creative as possible. Take mundane objects and make them into something visually interesting.

What you can expect will be a few of my regular types of posts here and there because I’ll still be trying new recipes and making fun DIY projects…but every two weeks you’ll see¬†a post of all the pictures I took for that letter.

I have already begun my “A” pictures (like I’ve taken one so far)¬†so next Tuesday (the 19th) will be my post of A pictures. I’m pretty optimistic that this will take my photography to the next level. I feel as though I’ve been a little stuck with amateurish looking photos and can’t seem to apply myself enough to get any better. But I do best¬†when I set goals for myself so in a year’s time we’ll see where I’m at!

Weekend Recap

So I would have ideally wrote this last night. But I ran out of time and motivation. I am JUST about finished getting all settled into my new place. I have been unpacking/cleaning/organizing on a daily basis for the last 2 weeks. My couch and recliner are coming Thursday so once they’re here and I fix a few minor things I’ll¬†be DONE with the craziness and I can enjoy more time spent doing my favorite things.

Like¬†making pancakes and drinking wine, which is my way of saying that’s what I did this weekend. Here ya go:

Friday Night: Movie night with Bryan during which I drank a bottle of wine. (Hey the bottle said “Relax” on it! I was just following directions)

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Saturday morning: I woke up and spent an hour making these babies. Whole Wheat Banana Pancakes Рwith chocolate chips because I like chocolate. Bryan thought there were too many chocolate chips in them which there probably were.But to me they were perfect. I put some vanilla greek yogurt inbetween two and made a pancake sandwich. It was heaven in my mouth. Also eating it in bed made it 10x better.

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And just because it was rainy and gross this weekend, I made sure I practiced using my camera and attempted some pretty rain pictures. Not the greatest but they make the rain prettier to look at.

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Sunday: We were GOING to watch more movies and make a few different homemade popcorn recipes to go along with it. But we watched one movie, made one batch of popcorn (that we put garlic salt and parmesean cheese on…it was yummy), and then fell asleep at 4pm. And then we were too lame to start another movie. We shall attempt this another day and I’ll have pictures of ALL the different popcorns. (I had big plans for the popcorn, guys). Just wait for it.

Oh andsince this post has already gotten pretty random (like most of them do), I’ll throw this in here. I did my first scrapbook page in my new craft room! It felt strange not being with my mom, and I found I was lacking a few necessities but it came together pretty well!

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