Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Twlight - Breaking Dawn

10 Days left. Can't wait!!!!!!!! Unfortunately I won't be able to see it until that Sunday but maybe that's all for the best. I distinctly remember watching New Moon the day after it came out with a theater full of screaming 16 year old girls and thinking "God I'm too old for this" 

Either way I'm super excited! Hey Summit Entertainment. I'm sure millions of people agree with me when I say that we've been waiting a long time for this...there better be some EPIC Edward/Bella sex in this movie!



Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Road to the Half Marathon Episode II - Kick off!

Today was my first run for my training program for the Tinkerbell Half Marathon which is only a few months away now! It's going to be a even better experience this time around because since this is my second race I kind of have a good idea of how my body responds to training. Even better still I know I can freaking do it! haha.

My last 13.1 I ran in 2:26:41 and it is currently my personal (and only) record lol. My goal this time around is to run it in 2:20:00. Which would require running a sub 10 minute mile for most of the race (eek!) So what I CAN DO IT!!!!

My first run was today, 3 miles. I have been trying to keep up with running at least a few times a week for the last few months to keep my legs limber so 3 miles wasn't going to be that big of a deal. Even so I really wanted to have a little challenge for my first run, to make it a little more special. I have been working on improving my pace using PodRunner (such an important asset to my running, post to follow) and utilizing their interval training mixes to improve my speed so I was wondering if I could run my entire three miles at 170 BPM which was my latest speed drill from the week before. Of course last week I only ran at 170 BPM for 8 minute intervals twice.

Guess what! I DID IT!

3 miles @ 170 BPM = 28:30 run! which (you guessed it) is a SUB 10 MINUTE MILE FOR THREE MILES!!! WOOOOOOOO

I have my nutrition plan in place, my training plan in Google calendar, and a fresh set of sneakers.

BRING     IT     ON!!!!!!!!!!!!



Thursday, November 3, 2011

Back Again

Just when you were about to write me off (who I am kidding you probably already had haha) I'M BAAAACCCCKKKK! Sorry for such a long break. I think all bloggers at some point just run out of things to say. Around August that happened to me I guess; I had a major case of writers block and I then I guess I just got busy doing other things. Anyway last week I thought about the blog and I wanted to start writing again. I certainly have a lot of things going on that I want to talk about:

-My husband is FINALLY home from his deployment. It's certainly been a transition but I am really enjoying having him in the house again. 

- I have started playing Clarinet again. I played clarinet all though High School and most of College but after I moved to San Diego I stopped playing for two years. In late August I picked it up again and I have really enjoyed playing again. I joined a local community band and I just got a referral for a private clarinet teacher.

- I signed up for the Run Disney Tinkerbell 1/2 Marathon which is at the end of January. My first training run is next week!

- I have still been taking pictures but I haven't been working with the Wedding Photographer anymore. That kinda fell by the wayside. I'm ok with it though.

- I am currently saving up for a cooking class I plan to take as a present to myself after finishing the 1/2 marathon in January!!

Well. It feels good to be back. If you guys are still out there, thanks for sticking it out, and maybe some of you who gave out on me will come back. Either way I hope to be around for the long haul now. 


Until next time America,

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Winnie the Pooh

Anybody ever read Winne the Pooh as a child?

Ok I know that most of you did, and if you're anything like me you LOVED IT!

When I saw Cars 2 in theaters last week (very cute BTW) they had a preview for the new Winnie the Pooh Movie coming later this year; and I can tell you I almost lost it. I am so emotionally connected to this story, I remember my Dad reading me the books at bedtime when I was little. I have already decided that our kids nursery will be "Classic Pooh" themed. I used to imagine playing in the hundred acre wood with Pooh, Piglet, Rabbit and T-I-double Ge-Er.

I love Winnie the Pooh.

If you loved him as I did as a child, I dare you not to get misty eyed during this preview.....








Tut Tut, looks like rain...

Friday, July 1, 2011

Weekend ahead/updates

I have a full weekend of work ahead, but tonight I'm home, relaxing on the couch with my laptop and Gilmore Girls on DVD. A glass of wine by my side and a cat on my lap...quite the relaxing night.

I know that taking the month of June off of blogging left you with a lot of questions......(well probably not but I still need to keep up pretenses for my own selfish reasons)

Things that happened in June

  • I RAN (AND FINISHED) THE 1/2 MARATHON!!! 2:26:35 BABY!!!!!!!!!
My little brother and I just after I crossed the finish line!!!
  •  My brother came for a week (for the race) and we had a really fun time together, I can't wait to see him again when I go home next week!!
  • I got TNCC certified for work (Trauma Nursing Core Course), just another thing to add to the 'ol resume
  • I decided **another for work** that I'm going to stay in the ER until we leave San Diego next year then I'll apply for Labor and Delivery positions wherever we move to. 
  • I have become a "Krazy Coupon Lady" (more to follow)
  • I have been kinda "baby crazy" lately. I think it mostly due to loneliness with Kyle being gone but lately I have been finding myself surfing the internet for jogging strollers to help me lose the baby fat that I don't even have yet (I'm not insane....right?) 
  • We have decided on Italy, France and Germany for our Europe trip next year!!!!!!!!!!


Please remember me while I work in the ER all weekend, hopefully I can get flexed on the 4th so I have some time to get some BBQing in that day!!

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind


I just finished reading the most incredible book. The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind by William Kamkwamba. It's a true story of  young boy living in a small farming town in Africa who completely transforms his village by building a windmill in his yard from scraps from the junkyard. I was so inspired by this story, bringing renewable electricity to a town barely surviving.

Which led me to realize that even now in 2011 there are people in other parts of the world who are still living like this. This man who wrote this story is about my age and when he was 14 and first built that windmill his village was just recovering from a devastating famine, there was no running water and Will had to drop out of school because his parents couldn't afford the tuition (for middle school). I guess I don't really ever think about how poverty striken so many of the world's population is. After his windmill was discovered by the media, Will was asked to speak at a African inventor's conference in a different city. It was there that he went on Google for the first time, (when asked if he'd ever been on Google, he replied "what animal is Google?").  It really makes you think about how privileged we are to live in America, and have so much available to us. Even people with no money whatsoever have access to libraries stuffed with books and computers that have access to the internet, that are air-conditioned and brightly lit.

My husband is thinking about a career in environmental engineering after the Navy and I am behind him 100%. When he told me that he would like to help facilitate bringing renewable energy to third world countries, it made me even more in love with him. I would love to be a part of that someday. I think it would be so incredible to volunteer, maybe even on a medical mission...

maybe someday.....


anyway check out his interview on The Daily Show...awesome, and read the book, you'll be glad you did.



Sunday, May 29, 2011

My app: iperiod & taking charge of your fertility

Yes you herd me. iperiod.

**DISCLAIMER** Below is talk of contraception and menstrual cycles. If this doesn't interest you, stop reading now.

My cycle has always been *what I thought was* irregular. The only time you could set a watch to my cycle was the years I was on the pill in college. Now I am not really an advocate of synthetic hormones in my body but It was the right decision for me at the time. The last thing I wanted to do was get pregnant in the middle of nursing school.

After I got married I decided to get off the pill, not because I wanted to get pregnant, but I was just sick of taking them all the time & they were started to raise my blood pressure a little bit (which is one of the main factors which puts you at risk for DVTs, MIs and Strokes). Now my husband and I are using other methods of contraception and I have started to track my cycles regularly.

When my husband is actually home I am a lot more diligent about checking my temperature in the mornings but when he's gone and my chance of getting pregnant is 0% I get lazy lol. I use the method found in Taking Charge of Your Fertility, 10th Anniversary Edition which I would recommend to EVERYONE. Seriously if you're a woman, do yourself a favor and read this book. It fills in all the gaps that you mom never told you and you didn't pay attention to in high school health class. Even being in the medical profession I was surprised about how ignorant I was about my own body! Pick it up, I got mine from the library, read it once, then bought two copies. One for me and one for my friend as a wedding present. She used the method to get pregnant and was successful pretty much right out of the gate. What's great about the book is that it focuses on contraception as much as pregnancy achievement.

So anyway on to the application. I started out tracking on paper but I would always want to know when my next period was due, especially since it changes a little bit from month to month. This application averages your periods together to predict your next cycle and it's pretty accurate (at least for me). This was actually recommended to be by one of my patients! I always ask women of child bearing age when their last period was in the ED and this one girl pulled out her phone and told me in two seconds the exact day her period started. I was pretty impressed especially since at that time I wouldn't have been able to tell you when my last period was if my life depended on it.

My phone. The app is "iP" located in the bottom row


Once you open the app you plug in some basic info and you input your last several periods. The more periods you put in the more acurate the predictions become. I also enjoy the ability to input the symptoms your having and your moods on certain days. I get a certain pleasure from saying, yeah I'm totally stressed out today or yeah I for the last three months I get really tired two days before my period starts, interesting.

Left: Home screen. See how long my cycles are? Around 38-40 days is NORMAL for me! Right: Calendar. You can see all the smiley faces showing my moods. The pink shows my period week. The green is an estimate of my most fertile days of the month with the dark green being my estimated ovulation day.

Anyway guys that's the short version of this app and why I like it. I haven't been using it to chart my basal body temp but I will start using it for that once Kyle comes back. Hope this was helpful to some of you ladies who are looking for more of a solution to knowing when in the heck your next period is going to be ;-)



Until next time!

Sickly

I've got the most massive head cold in the whole world ugh......

Yesterday morning I woke up with some mild congestion and a little cough but I didn't really think anything of it. My mistake was going for the 8 mile run per my training program because after I finished it I felt like death warmed over. Literally I took up post on the couch with my tissue box, my bottle of purell and plenty of water. I NEED to kick this cold before my race next week. I can't even believe that this time next week I will be already finished with the race, my brother will be here, I will be done with TNCC and I will have an entire week of slacking off ahead of me. I just have to push through.

Starting with this stuffy sniffly nose.....

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

ER Oscars

Here are some shots I was able to capture at the ER Oscars Awards Banquet last week!
(ps after I saw these posted I realized how DARK they all are....ugh Lightroom here I come!)














My friend Sara (yes you herd me) wanted to try out my camera and I had to pose for her! I really liked the way my outfit came together!


Here one of the CNA's Sandra is trying to teach me to dance salsa! I <3 my pink shoes!!!!!!

Barefoot Contessa

I have a new found love affair with recipes from the Barefoot Contessa



I found this in Target the other day and most of my meals for the next week are coming from this book. YUM!!!!!!!

New T-shirts

Just bought these new t-shirts. 
Can't wait to wear the blue one to Disneyland next week when Matt is here!!




Spinning Again

I would say my love hate affair with working out and regular exercise started my senior year of college. Before then I never really had to worry about trying to keep my weight down or trying to stay thin because (knock on wood) I was one of those lucky people who could pretty much eat whatever she wanted and my weight never really fluctuated all that much. I know I know I'm shutting up now..

Back then my roommate Lisa and I joined a gym together so we could motivate each other to work out before/after class. We joined a really nice gym between campus and our house and started going together. Each time I went to work out I noticed people wandering upstairs to the aerobic studio while I was running on the treadmill. After a few weeks I got curious and walked up there to check it out. Indeed they had a huge aerobic studio but next to that they had another studio filled with bikes. Now that perked my interest. I remembered some references to spinning on Sex and the City but I never knew anyone that tried it. I immediately found out when their next beginner class was and signed up.

I was HOOKED! From that day on I was spinning for an hour long class at least three times a week. I loved the rush it gave you. The push of climbing out of the saddle, climbing up the biggest mountainous hill my imagination could cook up. I loved it. 

When I moved to California I completely fell off the wagon and didn't join a gym until almost a year later. After I got a deal at the 24-hour fitness near my house I started up again working out; but they didn't have spinning at their gym. Then running took over my life. Once I started training for the half marathon I needed to incorporate cross training into my routine. EUREKA! I joined the YMCA near my apartment, specifically because they have a HUGE spinning gym there.

They have brand new keiser magnetic spinning bikes which are really fun to ride on. 



These bikes give such a smooth ride!


This is the computer on the front of the bike the little push knob on the bottom of the image sets the gear from 1-24. The digital readout shows RPMs, Watts & time elapsed, much more technical than my last spinning bike. 

What I really love about spinning though are the instructors, they push me further than I would ever push myself if I was just biking alone. I love leaving that classed drenched in sweat and all gross because I leave feeling like I really accomplished A LOT. 

Like they say "sweat is just your fat cells crying" :-)

Do any of you spin? Do you cycle outside? I am thinking that eventually I would like to get a road bike, but I want be biking more regularly before I drop $800 plus on another bike.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Operation Fashionista - Awards Banquet

I have an awards banquet to go to this week and in true Sara fashion I have left all the prep to the last possible second. I was thinking about wearing one of my little black dresses I have stashed in the closet and was perfectly happy to do so. I actually was planning on risking it and wearing it with some pink high heels I had purchased a few months ago for a trip to Las Vegas, bought but never wore :-(

That's also classic Sara, buying something and never actually wearing it out.  One of the books in my inventory really stresses this point.. "never buy anything if you can't think of 3 different ways to wear it with things you already own!" exceptions of course are formal wear and occasion pieces (i.e. beachwear, outerwear etc).

So back to the pink heels. I was out with my friend Alex, talking with her about this party and she made the suggestion of wearing a skirt and white button up with those shoes. I had just bought a blue bubble skirt from j.crew and never EVER in a million years would have thought of paring dark navy with hot pink, but DAMN it looked good! Apparently in fashion speak this is called color blocking

 "Color blocking is a styling technique that hasn’t quite been picked up by the masses. It involves some knowledge of the color wheel and a bit of bravery. The main idea is combining different colors that support and compliment each other."

 So I was ready to try my first foray into color blocking, with my navy skirt and my bright pink heels...

Unfortunately as nice looking as it was it wasn't quite as formal as I wanted for the party. 

When I was out with Alex on Friday we were in Banana Republic browsing and I saw a really beautiful navy cocktail dress on the rack. I left without trying it on but I just couldn't get it out of my head. The next day I went back there and tried it on....the rest is history. I also found some bright pink bangles to accent my shoes and I had a silver clutch which will work too (I think)

Operation Fashionista - Beginning Color Blocking


That is my actual dress and actual shoes...aren't they fabulous!



Here I am with the dress on, 
**please forgive the messy hair as well as the mess behind me**
**also forgive the tan line please k thx**



What do you guys think?
It's pretty far from my comfort zone of the little black dress but I think I look pretty good!!

Operation Fashionista

Hope you guys had a great weekend!

Now I am pretty fashion ignorant to be perfectly honest. When you open my closet you see nothing but a sea of jeans, t-shirts and nursing scrubs. I know pretty pathetic right? Until last month I had about two bracelets, one skirt and two pairs of shorts. I have been stuck in this rut pretty much my whole life; I never really had an interest in dressing up or paying any attention to fashion. Then one day last year I woke up, put on my jeans, a plain t-shirt and my black flip-flops for the 3rd time that week and was so disgusted I didn't even want to look in the mirror. I felt so "Sara plain & tall" I just wanted to hide under the covers and never come out. Then instead of giving up and getting back into bed, I decided then and there that I was going to make the change I wanted to see. I said to myself "Ok, NOW is the time! I am an adult, I am a professional, I have the body I want and feel good about showing off, I (for the first time in my life) actually have some income to use on clothes. I need to build my wardrobe now before I have kids and no longer have the disposable income to utilize :-)"

So it was then and there that my commitment to improving my wardrobe. I was a girl on a mission! Fast forward and now 6+ months have gone by and I haven't yet purchased a single foundation piece. I figure now is the time to get serious.

I want to become (in Cosmopolitan speak) a Fun Fearless Female!!

Now every developing fashionista needs resources, and I am lucky enough to have a good friend who is not only pretty; but also pretty adept at putting together an outfit ;-) (love you Alex!). Besides her I also have some helpful written guides to help me in my mission, playfully dubbed Operation Fashionista

This book, written by the editors of LUCKY magazine is really helpful when planning a closet inventory, it also has really helpful tips for trying on different clothes and examples for using stable items in lots of different ways.



Style on a Shoesting
 Love this book. This has a lot of useful information about budget savvy shopping. I liked it so much I bought a copy for my mom, 'nuff said!!


The Pocket Stylist
Something a little out of my league, this book was written by a Pro stylist and is a step-by-step guide to finding your unique shape and using that information to find the best clothes for your body. I think I might have to read this more than once for the info to sink in; it's a lot of industry lingo but all good & valuable info.


& last but certainly not least...

InStyle Magazine


I really love InStyle magazine for inspiration. I have three issues so far and each month if I see an outfit I like I tear it out and tape it inside the shelf of my closet. Each day when I get dressed I try to incorporate some of the ideas into my outfit. Or when I'm heading out to the mall I look at them right before I leave for some last minute ideas.


What do you guys use for your fashion inspirations?


Until next time I remain your humble fashionista in training,

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Road to the 1/2 Marathon - Entering the Final Weeks

Today was day two of week 9 of my training program. Only three more weeks to go before race day. I went for a nice & relaxed 5 mile run at a local state park near my house. There are lots of wooded and grassy trails here which make for a nice run. I can't believe I am the kind of person now who can say I went for a "nice" and "relaxed" run for 5 miles.

I am now starting to look into the actual race course to plan the rest of my training runs. I currently have been doing most of my long runs on flat terrain (so I can actually finish them lol). I think the race course is mostly flat but if there are some hills involved I need to incorporate them into my routine NOW. My long run this week is 12 miles, the longest I have ever run and the last long run before race day. After that run I taper off for two weeks until the BIG 13.1 mile race :-). My brother is coming out to see me run and I'm really excited about being able to share this with him.

One (of the many) happy side effect of the running? I have consistently shaved and smooth legs! Since I am in running shorts 3-4 days a week I need to shave my legs pretty much everyday, a good primer for the summer coming up. The other day I was at Bath and Body Works (love!) and picked this stuff up.


I love it! I use it twice a week before shaving and it leaves my legs oh-so buttery smooth. It smells nice and fresh and it's thick which I like. I have used sugary scrubs in the past and the oils always splash around everywhere and I it always makes a huge mess of the shower.

Alright, it's off to bed, this running girl needs all the sleep she can get!


See you on the road!

Monday, May 9, 2011

The 19th Wife


I have really enjoyed having time to read for fun lately. My latest read is The 19th Wife by David Ebershoff. Polygamy has always been something that fascinates me. I always think about how miserable I would be if I had to share my husband with another woman, with two other women! I wouldn't be able to tolerate seeing him sharing secrets, asking advice, or spending time with women that were not me; right in front of my face! Not to mention have SEX with and father children with! How did those women do it?

I guess if you really think that's your ticket into heaven, you can tolerate some pretty awful things. 

This book (historical fiction) combines a historical autobiography of Ann Eliza Young, notorious 19th wife of famous Mormon Prophet Brigham Young, with the story of a modern day polygamous family. This book has it all, history, murder, deception and triumph and I really REALLY enjoyed reading it. David's prose really transports you into this lifestyle during turn of the century in rural America, and provides a truly realistic perspective on what the women must have been like living in these Mormon compounds. At the same time he brings you back to present day and a modern day murder mystery set on a Utah polygamous compound.

Final verdict? TWO THUMP UP!!! If you are interested in Polygamy and like historical fiction, pick it up, you won't be disappointed.

When I was looking for a pic of the book cover to post I saw that Lifetime made a movie based on this book last year. Now I'm not one to watch a Lifetime movie clip without rolling my eyes and giggling but i'll TiVo this one and make sure to watch it. I would like to see how the movie matches up to the book. 


It's also cool that it stars Chyler Leigh (Grey's Anatomy) and Matt Czuchry (Gilmore Girls). 

Movie review to follow

Any of you guys as fascinated about Polygamy as I am? I mean I can wonder about how these women must have felt during this time when Polygamy was new in the Mormon church. But that being said polygamy has been illegal and not recognized by the Latter Day Saints for over a hundred years but that doesn't mean people aren't still doing it.


Case in Point. 

Sister Wives? Yes I'm obsessed, but that's a post for another day ::wink::



Until then I am (and will always be) my husband's one AND ONLY wife,

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

I'm going to Europe!!!!

next year...

But still Kyle and I are headed to EUROPE next summer. We discussed it and (even better) we started saving for it. Now that's where it pretty much ends for us as far as planning goes. I figure it's never to early to start.

How long should we go? Where should we go? Where do we stay? How do we get around? I need a passport AHHH!!!!!!

Obviously I need some help with this.

I know I want to go to Paris, and I want to go to Italy too but I don't really know a whole lot about Germany or Spain, or for that matter all the other countries around there!

I can't wait to walk the streets in Paris....


Maybe see Vatican City


Ride a Gondola in Venice


The truth is I'm in way over my head here, where do I even begin? Any help would really be appreciated. Leave me a comment with some tips pretty please!! Have you been to Europe? How did you do it? Where did you stay? Did you use a tour package? How long did you stay? Where did you go?


Until next time America,

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Road to the 1/2 Marathon.

So I have been training for my first half marathon (and first race actually) for the past two months. I am currently in week 8 and I have to say that I am no worse for wear. Actually, I'm doing pretty good with it.

My training program is set around weeks of 4 running days with one day of cross training and the last two days as rest/recovery. Since I work 12 hour days at the hospital I have had to tweak the program to fit my needs. I mean it sounds good to say to yourself "hey, no problem. I can get up at 4:15 am and run 5 miles before working a 12 hour day. If I decide to sleep in I'll just do it when I get home at 8:00 at night. Piece of cake!"....yeah...ok....right. So I do have to admit that some of the shorter runs have fallen by the wayside. What I haven't been skimping out on is (drum roll please) the long run.

Ah, the long run. Nothing in this world can strike such anticipation and terror into the hears of beginning runners like myself. Now I can say (honestly people, always better to keep it honest) that before last year I wasn't a runner, and I mean AT ALL. Back in 2010 I made a new years resolution to start and complete The couch to 5k running plan, it was the first new years resolution I EVER finished. By the end of march I was running like a champ. Then summer came, and I got busy, and I stopped.

Fast forward to September. My birthday came and went and I decided to start lacing up the sneaks again. I felt like I had to start over even behind where I initially began. That was brutal. It took me almost twice the amount of time to work up to three miles again. I can still remember the brutal run/walks (emphasis on the walk), the failed goals, I remember "if I can just make it 10 minutes without stopping to walk, 12 min, 15 min. 15 minutes was a real benchmark for me. I clearly remember the first time I ran for 15 minutes without stopping. I felt like I could conquer the world! I finished the run with both arms in the air like I was running across a finish line ribbon. It makes me smile inside just thinking about it.

It was after that run that I decided to reach for the stars and sign up for a 1/2 marathon. I had talked about it at work (it's always easy to say "hey maybe I'll run a 13 miles in a race this year." Doing it is an entirely different ball of wax) but after that run I felt so good and accomplished that before I knew it I was clicking away on the register here link online.

The great thing about running your only competition is yourself. Remember that great benchmark victory feeling I got when I ran 15 minutes without stopping? It happened again at 30 minutes, then again at 4 miles, then at 5, 6, 8 and now 10 miles running. I started out huffing and puffing after 5 minutes, and last week I ran for two hours, you hear that? HOURS, without stopping. At each milestone I finished with my arms up strong. I am woman, hear me roar!!!!

I have four more weeks before the race; and I have to say; bring it ON!!!!!!!!!!


See you at the finish line,

Monday, May 2, 2011

Hi Old Friend, I missed you

To my readers,

I have been pretty lost over the last few weeks. To anyone reading this who is also a Mil-spouse you can understand how it's always a transition trying to teach yourself to live as an individual when your husband is gone. I have been "adjusting" and "transitioning" for the last month and now I finally feel like I have my feet back on solid ground again. Last week a fellow nurse sat me down and told me that people are concerned that I'm not bringing my A-game to work anymore. It was that proverbial "slap" over the head that really woke me up; where have I been for the last month? I was so deep in a haze that I didn't even realize I was sleepwalking through my life for the past 4 weeks.

As most of you can obviously tell, I have been neglecting the blog BIG TIME. This is especially sad considering I had just gotten a blog makeover, courtesy of Danielle. It would be such a shame to get all of that done and just leave my blog to collect dust, which is exactly what I did. I have been so busy working and training for the 1/2 marathon that I haven't had any time for shooting, or blogging for that matter. It wasn't until last weekend that I realized that weeks had gone by without me even picking up my camera, or opening my laptop.

Well I have woken up out of my proverbial haze. I am determined to turn over a new leaf at work & put my game face on. I'll blow the dust off my camera and make time to shoot; and I'll get back in the groove of blogging.

I hope you guys didn't write me off as just another loser who abandoned her blog, never to post again. I'm committed to prevent that from happening. Sorry we haven't talked in awhile


Hang in there!!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Tutorial Tuesday - Getting up close and personal with the auto modes of your camera

Hey guys, welcome to another addition of Tutorial Tuesday! I hope you guys enjoyed last week. Sorry that there hasn't been a whole lot of posting in between but it's surprising how intrusive things like work can be on the 'ol hobbies.

Today I want to expand a little bit on the first post, DSLR: a (very brief) introduction by talking a little bit about the different modes on a DSLR camera and taking a picture.

What my dial looks like, I know Nikon dials are different, but the principle is the same.

Now on a canon rebel camera the dial (pictured above) is divided into two distinct groups of photographic modes; the automatic modes and the advanced (or creative) modes. The two groups are split by the fully auto mode of the camera (the green square) with the pictures showing the different auto modes and the P, Tv, Av M and A-Dep represent the creative modes. The automatic modes, although very sophisticated and very appropriate for the beginner DSLR user, are pretty limiting to a photographer who wants more control over their images. Their very purpose puts the camera in complete control of the exposure. Lets not forget what I said in the last lesson, always remember that the camera has no clue what it's looking at. If you want to take control over what the camera is seeing and how it's being interpreted by you, you need to cross over into the "creative zone." (insert cheese twilight zone music here please!)

Now don't get me wrong, the auto modes are great and in a pinch, can provide some pretty top notch images. Here is an overview of the different auto modes on a canon rebel

1) Portrait Mode (face profile): In this mode the camera widens the aperture, providing a smaller depth of field. In most instances the pop-up flash fires to provide extra light (yuck!)

2) Landscape Mode (mountains): This time the camera narrows the aperture, providing a very deep depth of field. The shutter speed correlates to make a proper exposure.

3) Close - Up (flower): Utilization of this mode is very similar to Portrait mode, using a wide aperture for a narrow depth of field.

4) Sports (running man): This mode is helpful if you want to stop motion for things like action shots or sports photography. It utilizes a fast shutter speed to freeze movement.

5) Night Portrait (person with star icon): Mode to use when photographing in low light. This mode again uses the pop-up flash to provide adequate light in a dim setting and uses a longer shutter speed to expose the background.

6) Flash-Off (lightning bolt with strikeout): Most (if not all) of the auto modes with utilize the pop-up flash if needed to make a properly exposed photo (again in the opinion of the camera, no accounting for taste here!) This mode with disarm the flash and it will not fire. Useful if you want to auto expose and you know you don't want flash in the image.

So that's it folks, Tomorrow we'll look into the more fun modes!

Tomorrow: Advanced or Creative modes and why everyone should use them.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Photog Friday - Inspirational Image

I am always inspired by other Photographers; I see every single image I look at as a learning experience. An opportunity to wonder what they were thinking, what gear they used and look through the lens at the image as they saw it while they were putting together the shot. So many decisions are made when building an image and a split second change in perspective can really make or break a photograph.

Maybe someday I can make images like these amazing people.

This past week a favorite wedding photographer of mine Erin Farrell posted a recent Wedding she was able to shoot in Jamaica. This image immediately grabbed me:



The Deep depth of field here adds so much to the image. The rule of thirds is strong with the beach acting as a leading line to the couple on camera right. Plus the image is just awesome, I'm sure the couple is happy with it.


Erin Farrell is a Wedding, Newborn & Portrait Photographer in Wilmington DE. Check her out here


Sorry guys the week kind of got away from me and I wasn't able to dedicate as much time to blogging as I would have liked. The good news is I am blogging right now from my brand new 15" MacBook Pro! I'm off to work for the weekend. Have a great weekend everyone!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Tutorial Tuesday: The DSLR; a (very brief) history

Hey guys! Welcome to my first EVER Tutorial Tuesday!

Today I am going to (very briefly) talk about what a DSLR camera is and (briefly) explain how it works


     The first ever known photograph was developed in 1826 using a pewter plate covered in a petroleum derivative which hardened when exposed to light. Then a whole lot of time passed and now we have the fabulous DSLR camera!

How does this amazing contraption work? It's basically a small and VERY powerful computer, thinking about it that way kind of helps when explaning it. Each DSLR has the same basic components:

1) The Lens: It might help here to explain that D-SLR stands for Digital Single Lens Reflex. This means that each camera is made up of a "body" (the bulk of the camerea, containing the shutter and the image sensor) and a seperate and interchangable lens (the front of the camera, the glass through which we see an image containing the aperature). Many professional photographers refer to their lenses as "glass." There are about as many lenses as there are subjects to take pictures of. Prime Lenses offer a fixed field of view and Telephoto Lenses offer a range of fields allowing you to zoom in and out depending on what you want to focus on in your image.

There is plenty to talk about lenses but i'm getting ahead of myself. Just remember for now that the lens is the window to your image, it can be interchanged in a DSLR and it contains the aperature.

2) The shutter: The shutter, contained within the camera body is actually a set of two sliding panels which move to expose light to the sensor chip. The first panel moves to start the exposure and the second panel moves after a designated amount of time (usually a fraction of a second) to cover the sensor chip and end the exposure.

3) Sensor chip: The "film" of a DSLR camera. Exposed to light by the shutter it converts thousands of levels of data from the scene and converts it into a digital image found commonly on the LCD screen on the back of the camera body. When you change the ISO settings in your camera you amplify the signal volume of the data coming from the chip and in essence making your sensor "more sensitive to light." Even though this isn't what actually happens it helps to think about that when you think about how your sensor chip relates to ISO.   

4) Mirror and Pentaprism: This is what makes a DSLR a DSLR. In order for you to be able to look through the lens of a DSLR camera there are two main mirrors inside the camera body that reflect the image captured by the camera. You can actually see the main mirror when you take the lens of the camera.

Sony Alpha DSLR; showing mirror
 The second reflective medium is the pentaprism which is what actually allows you to see the image correctly. The first mirror (pictured above) flips the image upside-down (think old school pin hole cameras) and the pentaprism using several angled sides to flip the image up correctly.


Here is a nice image which sums up everything I have just discussed. You can see the light traveling through the aperature in the lens, bouncing up through the mirror and through the pentaprism into the viewfinder that you look through. When you are ready to made the exposure the mirror moves away and the shutter does it's thing to reveal the senor chip. Pretty amazing isn't it?

That's about it in a nutshell folks, a pretty narly piece of technology that we can use to strech our photographic skills to hights never before imagined. Just always remember that even though this little machine is very intellignet, it has absolutely no idea what it is looking at. It doesn't know if it is seeing a candle lit room or a stadium filled with floodlights. It is up to US, the PHOTOGRAPHERS to accurately judge what WE want to take an image of and show the camera how to record it the way we see it. DSLR camers are a very powerful tool, but that's it. We are the painters and the camera is our brushes and canvas.

So that's it guys, my first EVER Tutorial Tuesday! Hope you guys learned something new and I can't wait until next week! Please forgive some of my technical jargon I know some of you are thinking ISO? WTF? No worries, it will all be explained in due time!


If you have any questions please leave me a comment!



See you on the other side of the lens!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

All things Photography! Now Appearing Tuesdays & Fridays Right Here…

I first picked up my canon DSLR camera two years ago and I have been in love ever since! I have been busy ever since going to photo shoots, reading stacks of photography books and taking my camera everywhere I go. Over the last few weeks and as we enter into March I have decided to share my journey with you guys!

I have decided to dedicate two weekly posts to all things Photography.


1) Tutorial Tuesday – each Tuesday will be a mini-lesson on something photographic. Topics will include basic photographic principles & techniques. I have always been a believer of the saying “You don’t really know something until you can teach it to someone else.”

2) Photog Friday – This weekly post will be a lot more abstract (and a lot more fun for me!) This will be a different thing ever week. Gear reviews, photo challenges and image breakdowns are just a few ideas I have in my mind.




So I hope you guys will join me on this road. Hopefully I can teach you guys a few things, and we can all learn something new together!



 
Until Next Time!!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

MIA


So I have been MIA

Don't worry I'm not back to my old habits of never ever (ever ever) posting

I have been hard at work thinking about a new blog layout and plan

I have been pre-organizing posts

and The Design Girl has been hard at work at my layout re-design

It. will. be...awesome


If you are just getting into DSRL photography, it will be even awesome-r

Friday, February 11, 2011

The Friday Rundown

Week 3: Feb 5th-11th

1/2 Marathon Training Kickoff: March 13th 2011  (30 days to go!)

Run 1 - Saturday
           Mission Trails
           3.01 miles

Run 2 - Sunday
           Home Course
           2 miles

Run 3 - Monday
           Home Course
           3.6 miles

Tuesday - OFF

Wednsday - OFF

Run 4 - Thursday
           Hills (ewww)
           2 miles

Friday - OFF

I need to start running on work days (which will involve getting up at 4:45am YUCK), hard I know but I need to start doing it now so when I HAVE to do it for my training it's not completely awful/I don't do it.

Week High: currently reading: Runner's World Performance Nutrition for Runners very cool book, runners (and anybody interested in how our bodies actually "use" food) should check it out!Week Low: Thursdays run, hills totally SUCK!          

Monday, February 7, 2011

Adobe Photoshop Lightroom - Crash Course

So today was *gulp* my interview with the Wedding Photographer. It actually went REALLY WELL! He is interested in getting another part time editor on his staff and when I went in to talk to him he was pretty impressed I think. He has a little editing studio and consultation area with a coffee table heavy with absolutely GORGEOUS wedding albums. There are huge pulled canvas' of simply breath-taking images are all over the wall; I serisously felt like a kid in a candy store! When I told him that I was pretty much a total beginner who was looking to do ANYTHING (and I mean whatever) to get some more exposure (haha I kill myself and NO I didn't say that, sheesh what do you guys think of me anyway?) to photography and to have the opportunity to work under a professional he was pretty positive about it. He asked what my experience with Lightroom is and even though I do own it I'm pretty sure I know only about 10% of what the program can actually do. I told him I knew the program "fairly well" and that I am a quick study and am able to learn quickly. He then promptly said "alright well let's see what you can do!"

Um YIKES! didn't know there was going to be a test (or I would have studied!) We went over to his computer and he chose some images from an engagement shoot and let me take the mouse, go ahead and edit them. Now after my heart started beating again I just tweaked the images, a little more exposure here and a little less color temp there. It really wasn't as terrifying as I am making it out to be. He was helpful and prompted me and best of all he was full of positive feedback for me! He told me that I have a good "beginner's eye" and that I have some solid potential. He's going to train me once Wedding season starts in April and I'll work for him part time as an editor about 10-12 hours a week.

Oh and it's paid btw, more $$ to put toward more glass!!!!!!!

Now I gotta bury my head in my Lightroom books! I have 2 months to pratice!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Tomorrow

Today was the Superbowl (YAY Green Bay!) I'm not really a greenbay fan but since my best friend here is a die hard browns fan I had to hate the steelers by association. I really enjoyed the game, both teams played well and the commercials were pretty good. The black eyed peas were entertaining (didn't you guys LOVE the dancing light-up people with boxes on their heads?) and Green Bay won! We had a nice little get together at a friends house and it was nice to watch the game on west coast time so afterward we actually could do other things with our night (like blog?)

Tomorrow I have a meeting with a local San Diego Wedding Photographer. He responded to my letter I had written about some possible work experience and he has a position available for a part time editor. I am really excited/nervous about this opportunity. I really need some help with post production and this will allow me to learn lightroom from a professional Wedding Photographer! I hope the meeting goes well and that I get the job!

Wish me luck!

Friday, February 4, 2011

The Friday Rundown

Week 2: Jan 30th-Feb 5th


1/2 Marathon Training Kick-off: March 13th 2011 (37 days to go!)


Run 1 - Monday
            Local Running Park
            3.05 miles


Run 2 - Tuesday
             Home course
             3 miles


Run 3 - Wednesday
             Gym Run (1st treadmill run!)
             3.1 miles
            
Work Thursday/Friday


I'm on call tomorrow so hopefully they won't call me so I can get another run in Saturday as well as sunday. Looks like I have to run 3 miles each day to get back to my 15 miles I did last week!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Project 52: Week 5 - Muse

I have been meaning to start Project 52 for a few weeks now and finally I have the time (and the motivation) to finally get off my duff and behind the lens again. This Project 52 is through one of my favorite photography websites MCP Actions. They specialize in Actions for photshop which are specific presets designed by the company that help take your photographs to the next level. I don't have full photoshop yet. I think that might be on the christmas list for next year ;-)


The theme for week 5 is "Muse" I wanted to photograph something that inspires me. So here we go.




Project 52: Week 5-Muse

I have always been inspired by books and by reading. When I got my Kindle last November I was really excited to have a literal libaray at my fingertips whenever I wanted it. I also am incredibly inspired by the other two guys in the image, my husband and one of my cats. My husband always encourages me to follow my dreams and take risks. My cat alex recently had to undergo surgery (see his cone head) and has been doing really well even though I can tell he's in pain. Looking into his little cone face makes me feel like I can do anything, becuase in his mind, I can do no wrong!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

New Layout in the works!

Oy!

So after a few half-baked attempts at blog design I have decided to pay for the professionals to come in and give my blog a make-over. It's part of my 101 in 1001 and I figure, why not now? Now sounds good to me!

Some points from the day, I finally finished a knitting project I had been striving to complete for the last two weeks and now I can start on my next project. I am using these very vague terms because both items in question are gifts for people whom I pretty sure read this blog, so hush hush about it. I'll let you guys know as soon as they get them.

I went over to finally visit one of my good friends from work who has a little 2 week old son at home. Mom and baby are doing fine and her husband is just beside himself with pride and happiness. I meant to take a pic when I was there so you can see his cuteness in person, but I forgot, epic fail. It seems that every time I see a baby my maternal clock chimes a little louder (right now it's about a 1.5 on a 10 scale haha). I can't wait to be pregnant and have a little baby in my arms, but I just want to have some time to just be a wife before that happens!

I got a call back from one of the Wedding Photographers I wrote to about freelane work. He is interested in having me work for him as a part-time editor! I am so excited about the chance to really learn lightroom from a professional photographer. I am going into his studio to meet with him next week!

All-in-all a very productive day. All that and a 2 mile run to boot. YAY!

Have a great Wednesday everybody!

Monday, January 31, 2011

Starcraft II

My husband has always been a fan of video games. I am not complaining at ALL however because I would rate his actual USE of said video games on a 3 on a scale of 1-10. I know so many women who constantly complain because their husbands are surgically attached to their x-box/PlayStation 3/wii. Kyle, however, really only plays on the computer or the wii when I'm not home/doing something else. I know i'm a very lucky girl!


He likes playing on the computer and he would always tell me about this game, Starcraft which he loved and I should try it yadda yadda. Well about 6 months ago we were in Target and he saw Starcraft II on the shelf and was like "Oh WOW they finally released the second one this is SO COOL" and so on. Did he purchase it? After I practically begged him to? no. The guy never buys himself ANYTHING. It really bothers me, so much so that I need to overspend on myself to make up for it (just kidding.....maybe)


So anyway when he was at sea for a month back in October, I bought Starcraft II for him as a welcome home present, which probably wasn't the best idea because I didn't see much of him for the first week after he installed it (which in case you're wondering was NOT the first week he was home haha) Again and again he asked me to play it with him, to try it, and last week I finally conceded

Now I'm addicted. Darn you Kyle!! 

Starcraft II is an RPG (role playing game) which is basically a war-type strategy game with each mission (level) being a different map in which you have to complete a task/destroy an enemy base etc. The game involves quite a bit of stragety because you have to build an army, but in order to increase your man power you have to train them, to train them you have to have funds, to get the funds you have to harvest minerals and gas, to do that you have to deploy special robots to do the harvesting and so on. It becomes quite difficult when you have to think about how many marines you need vs. how many supply depots you have vs. how much crystal you have harvested. I do really like playing and Kyle has enjoys watching me play and helping me out.


Here is a trailer video for Starcraft II. Blizzard is the same company that makes WOW (world of warcraft) and before you even ask, no, I don't let Kyle go near that. (we've both tried it *I KNOW* and it's waaaaayyyy too involved for us)










have any of you guys bonded over something that your man was interested in and actually ended up liking it as much as him?

Friday, January 28, 2011

The Friday Rundown

So I was thinking that each week I could check in with you guys and let you know how my 1/2 Marathon Training is going...I'm calling this my first "official" week of running. Even though I ran a couple of times last week I wasn't really "trying" i.e. I was walking WAY too much.

Week 1: Jan 23rd-Jan 30th
 
1/2 Marathon Training Kick-off: March 13th 2011 (44 days to go!)

Run 1 - Sunday
            Home course (1.2 mile laps around apartment complex)
            3.12 miles          

Run 2 - Tuesday
             Home course (1.2 mile laps around apartment complex)
             3.4 miles

Run 3 - Wednsday
             Home course (1.2 mile laps around apartment complex)
             4.03 miles

Run 4 - Thursday
             Home course (1.2 mile laps around apartment complex)
             2 miles

Run 5 - Friday
             Home course (1.2 mile laps around apartment complex)
             2.5 miles

Done for the week, working tomorrow so no running for me!

High for the week: Today's run was an easy 2.5 miles with NO WALKING!!
What I can do better: Improve my 10:30 mile average (slow poke!!)

Weekly Mileage 15.05! Wait, did I just say that? Me? run 15 miles in a week!? THAT'S AWESOME!!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Two years (and two days)

Two years (and two days) ago I married my best friend

I didn't think life could get any better....



it did.


Sara & Kyle's Wedding 1/24/2009 from Sara F on Vimeo.


Kyle, you're the best husband and the greatest friend a girl could ever have. I can't wait to have more adventures with you. I love you. Happy anniversary...


p.s. 4 miles today! HELL YEAH!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Two Years

Road Runner Sports: Shoe Dog

So today I was on call, but my phone never rang!!! Yay! These days are so rare that when they actually do happen I need to get out there and take full advantage. I went for a 3.5 mile run this morning longest one yet since I started back up again. I left about 1 hour earlier than I usually do which actually made the run a lot more comfortable since the sun wasn't right ontop of me in *bake* mode; because of that I was actually able to go 1.5 miles straight before I had to take a short walk break. Gotta keep going. I need to be in good shape when I kick off 1/2 marathon training March 13th!!!!!

Thanks you guys so much for the positive feedback on my photos. I really appretiate the support. I have been having fun tweaking my images using Photoshop Lightroom and I have already registered for another event in February! I even got some compliments on the website album from the other photographers! **faint**. This is just. so. cool. 


But anyway the point of this whole post anyway was to tell you guys about the experience I had today at Road Runner Sports. I had never been to one of these stores before but since I am going to be running pretty much non-stop for the next 5 months I wanted to check them out to get some new clothes and maybe a second pair of shoes. This place is SO COOL. They have this program called shoe dog which takes about 10 minutes but custom fits you to the ideal type of shoe to your feet. I learned more about my feet today then I have in the last 24 years I've been alive! It's really impressive/informative. As a person who is on their feet 12 hours a day at the hospital, then running on top of it, I believe that you really should invest $$ in your feet. So did I get a new pair of shoes there? No


The ones I wanted are on backorder =)

Here's a quick video on Shoe Dog and how it works. Any of you guys ever tried this?






Sunday, January 23, 2011

Miramar Air Museum Shoot

I had SUCH A GREAT time at my first model shoot with Pro-am Photographers and Models on Saturday. There was quite a large group there, about 30 photogs, all from different walks of life and skill levels. I consider myself a very "green" photographer, and I have to say I was pretty star-struck by all the semi-pro and pro photographers that were there with all their gear and reflectors and lights. I hope I didn't look like too much of a groupie following around all the pro photogs like a little puppy dog.

Even though my photos are no where near as good as most of the other photogs that were there, I am still really proud of what I did and It makes me even more motivated to get better. If this is where I am now, I can't wait to see where I am in 2-3 years.




Here is a peek at some of my shots.






Not too bad for my first time out eh?



Running recap: 3 miles today, 8 miles total this week 

Friday, January 21, 2011

Updates

So I forget if this ever came up in a previous post this week but my cat Alex went into surgery today. He has had history of kidney stones which block in his urethra and prevent him from urinating. If he becomes blocked completely it can become life threatening rather quickly. It happened for the first time about two years ago and back then the Vet said that surgery will probably have to happen at some point to widen his urethra. When we got back from Disney he had another partial blockage, apparently heavy stress can cause him to block. So we have to decide; never go on vacation ever again, or pay for the surgery.

He had the procedure today, all is well and Alex is doing fine. Poor guy has on the cone of shame to protect his sutures. He has to wear it for three whole weeks, poor guy. He'll be ok. He just got another dose of pain medication, right now EVERYTHING is hunky-dory with him!

p.s. tomorrow is my first Model Photo Shoot, more on that tomorrow!