Sunday, May 31, 2009

Sunday reflections

I don't usually write on Sundays, but I just finished reading a book that has me feeling reflective, so I guess I'll abandon my usual routine...

It's funny how I always seem to be waiting for something in my life. And by funny, I don't mean "haha" funny, but more strange. All my life, I've been a few steps ahead of myself. In high school, I was waiting to go to college and get out of my hometown. In college, I was waiting to graduate and start working at my dream job. When my husband and I were dating, I was waiting to get engaged, and when we were engaged, I was waiting to get married. When I was married and had a real job, I was waiting to buy a house and start a family.

And while I was waiting for all these things, my life was passing me by. Someday, I'm going to look back, and all these moments I spent waiting are what will make up my life. What a boring life!

I must admit, these past 5 months have really been a transformation for me, a transformation I don't think I ever could have seen for myself. You see, it's in my nature to want to take care of other people. It always has been. I'm also a planner. The idea that you have to work your way towards what you want is deeply ingrained in me. I never allowed myself any kind of instant gratification. But while I was planning for the future and taking care of the people I love, it never really sunk in how important it was for me to take care of myself. I deserve to be happy and to enjoy my life. And not only that, but if I'm truly happy, I have more to give to the people that surround me.

The job I was laid off from is not an environment I would wish on anyone. Being laid off was, and at times still is, scary! But somehow I find that I feel incredibly blessed to have had both experiences. I always say that I'm a true believer that everything, good and bad, happens for a reason, and I am. Every experience we have had really does makes us into the person we are.

We grow and change and the obstacles we face become the "knots" in the "tree" that is our character. Our "bark" may be worn in spots, but that doesn't make us weak, and it just makes us all the more interesting and unique.
No one has higher expectations of me than I have for myself. And while I still feel it's important to expect a lot from yourself and to continue to grow and learn, I've learned that it's OK to ask for help and it's not only OK to let myself be happy, it's essential! I am not perfect and I shouldn't expect myself to be. I've unfortunately experienced far too many times, in my 26 years, that life is short. And I'm learning not to take that for granted.

So as I approach the 5 month mark of being laid off, instead of feeling entirely overwhelmed with the idea that I still don't have a job and that I'm not living up to my potential, I'm mostly feeling happy. Happy that I've learned this life lesson at 26 and not 46. Happy that I've discovered a whole new part of myself that I never knew existed. Happy that I have more of myself to give to the people I love. And happy that I've finally allowed myself to just be happy.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Fix-it Friday!

I can't believe it's Friday already! This week just flew by! This week's photo for Fix-it Friday was taken by Jennifer over at Confessions of a Working Mom. It was a pretty adorable photo to begin with, but I had fun editing it!

Fix #1:
I use Paint Shop Pro 9 for all my photo editing. Here's what I did:
- Reduced the noise
- Adjusted the brightness and contrast
- Adjusted the color saturation on her shirt, eyes and hair clip
- Cropped portrait

Fix #2:
From Fix #1, I:
- undid the crop
- converted to black & white
- increased the contrast a little bit more
- cropped landscape

Happy Friday! Hope you all have a great weekend! :)

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Memorial Day Weekend

Better late than never, right?!

Last Thursday night, April and Eric came over for dinner! We always love hanging out with them and they got to see our new apartment so it was a lot of fun! Eric drove home that night, April stayed over and Friday morning the two of us headed to our hometown for the weekend!

Friday, I spent the afternoon at my parents' house. I sat on the swing, read a book, soaked up the sun, and enjoyed the breeze and the beauty that surrounded me. There's no place like home, but I really don't think there's a place in the world more beautiful than my hometown.

Saturday morning, I woke up to another beautiful day and decided to take some photos of my parents' house. They worked so hard and put so much time and effort into this house and I think it's just perfect. They absolutely deserve it!

My mom had to work the weekend, so after that, my dad and I went out to breakfast together, took a trip to the bank, discovered my car was leaking power steering fluid (ugh), and built a walkway from the garage to the back patio. I'm such a daddy's girl and it was so nice to spend some time with him!

By the time we finished the walkway, it was time to shower, get ready and head off to the bachelorette party for one of my good friends from high school! We laughed A LOT and overall had a great time!

After a super fun night Saturday night, we had her bridal shower Sunday morning. She lives in Florida now so we only get to see her a couple times a year, and it was really nice to be able to spend time with her.

When I got home from the shower, my mom was working, so my dad and I watched movies together the rest of Sunday afternoon. We met my mom when she got out of work and went out to dinner together, just the three of us.

My parents were having a BBQ Monday afternoon, but I wanted to get on the road before the traffic got too bad. I helped my mom get all the food ready in the morning, and then I left to get April and head back around noon.

Overall, it was a really great weekend! I felt bad that my hubby had to work, but it was so nice to spend some time with my family and friends and just re-charge my batteries!

Finishing up the questions!

First, thank you all for your thoughtful questions! I had a lot of fun thinking about them and answering them! I hope you learned a little something new about me, and for all the new people who commented or emailed me, I haven't had a chance to really start checking out your blogs yet, but things are starting to settle down a little bit so I'm hoping to make the rounds soon and start getting to know you!

OK, I think I only have 2 questions left to answer!
  • How did I makeover my blog?
There's a really good tutorial over at The Cutest Blog on the Block! I used that as a guideline, found some digital scrapbooking papers that a liked and played around with them in Paint Shop Pro 9. PSP9 is my photo editing program of choice, but you could probably use just about any program you have. I don't remember where I found the digital scrapbooking papers that I used, but there are lots and lots of websites where you can get them for free. And I remember making a few adjustments to the numbers in the tutorial, and playing around with it until it fit my blog the way I wanted it to, but I don't remember what those changes were. So, that's what I did! Sorry I wasn't very specific, but that tutorial is really helpful!
  • Where did I live when I lived in the South?
I lived in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina for about a year and a half when my husband was in golf school down there. I know, I know...whenever I tell anyone this they're shocked that I hated it and tell me what a great vacation spot they think it is! It very well may be a great vacation spot, but living there just wasn't for us. My husband and I grew up in small towns in the mountains. We are not city people at all! I found the people (in general) to be rude and cold, I hated the traffic everywhere you went, and I longed for mountains, grass, trees and all four seasons.

Don't get me wrong, I LOVE the ocean and I'm glad we lived there! It was great to experience a new place, it was where we lived together, really on our own, for the first time, and it is where my sweet, sweet hubby proposed to me. It is a place and time in my life that I'll never forget, but in the end I'm a small-town, New England girl at heart!

Well, that's it for the questions I think! If I forgot any, or if you have something you're just dying to ask, please let me know! I do have a few things I want to try to get done today, but I'm hoping to have time later to finally post about my long weekend home! If not tonight, definitely tomorrow!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Thank you!

Hey! I feel like I need to catch up with all of you. Thursday through Monday's posts were scheduled because I was in my hometown for the weekend, and yesterday's post was not planned ahead of time. I just felt like I had to get someone else's opinion and I'm so grateful for all your thoughts. I haven't made up my mind yet, but I have some research to do today and I think I'm leaning in one direction. That direction may be pretty obvious after this post, but I have some things I want to say to you!

First, THANK YOU for commenting, engaging in conversations with me, and genuinely caring about my life.

When I started this blog, it was more like an online journal. It was a way to express how I was feeling and to share those experiences with other people so if they felt the same way, they might not feel so alone. Then people started to read my blog and comment regularly and it has become more of a conversation than a one way stream of thoughts. And I love that! It keeps me on my toes and develops whole new streams of thought. It keeps my mind engaged and allows me to write, which is one of my favorite things to do. And I feel like I've become a part of a community of kind-hearted, honest, funny, and plain old good people.

Second, THANK YOU for encouraging me to follow my heart.

All my life, I've followed my head, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. But for once in my life, you make me feel that not only is it OK for me to follow my heart but that it's probably the best thing for me! It's certainly an adjustment to my normal way of thinking, but I'm getting there. And I'm starting to really genuinely feel like my happiness is important. It is more important than having a career or owning a house or anything like that, because if I'm not truly happy, I can't give the best of myself to the people I love.

Third, THANK YOU for continually reminding me to trust in the plan that exists for my life.

After, what I just wrote above, I'm sure you can figure out that I'm leaning towards not taking the job unless they agree to more money, and maybe to just decline altogether. But I really haven't made up my mind yet. Last night, after I posted, I thought I'd probably take the job to be responsible and get back to work. Then another opportunity presented itself (not in the form of a right now, stable job if you're wondering) and it really shocked me. I felt like God put two paths in front of me and was trusting me to make the right choice. Way to make me feel the pressure, right?! But then I remembered that He already knows what path I'm going to choose (even though I don't) and even if it's not the path He wants me to take, He will always provide for me. Six months ago, I don't think I would have had the strength to trust that deeply.

So, I know whatever I choose to do, everything will work out the way it should. I know that my happiness should be at the very top of my priority list. And I know I have some real friends here that will support me and encourage me whichever path I choose. How great a feeling is that?!

So, thank you!


Oh, and YES, I do plan to finish answering the questions you all asked and tell you about my weekend (with pictures of course!) but that may have to wait until tomorrow because I have another busy day today!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009


I really need your advice! (Yes, I know there are a few questions from last week that I haven't answered yet, and I promise I'll get to them!)

I had a job interview today. (Hallelujah, right?!?!) Let me first just take a second and tell you how grateful I am to have someone finally call me for an interview! It went really well and they essentially offered me the job, but I'm really stumped and don't know what to do. I'm going to lay out all the details and I'm hoping you guys will share your thoughts and help me make this decision.

OK, here goes...

It's a front desk position at a very successful salon and spa. At the risk of sounding cocky, I really am overqualified for the position, but it's a job I could do really well and the woman who interviewed me said there is room for future growth in the company. It seems like a really nice work environment that I would enjoy, but it's also almost entirely women (about 50 women to be exact!), which I think any woman knows is a possibility for a really horrible environment. They have health and dental insurance which they pay 35% of. I would end up paying about what I'm paying for my whole plan now, expect it would be a better plan. After a year, I would have a 401k and a week paid vacation. My days off would be Sunday and Tuesday or Sunday and Wednesday. Since my hubby's only day off is Thursday, we'd never have a day off together. And because there's a possibility that I'd be working evening shifts, if my hubby had a morning shift and I had an evening shift, I may not really see him or be able to spend time with him for days.

Up to this point, I'm thinking it's not ideal, but I'll probably take the job if she offers it to me. Then she tells me how much it pays and it's like a kick in the teeth. Now, I'm not naive. I know I'm probably not going to find a job that pays as much as my last job did. But, without getting too specific, it pays about $10/hour less than what I was making. It's even less than what I'm bringing home in my unemployment checks. After taking a hard look at the numbers, it's about $2/hour less than what I can realistically take home and be able to pay our bills without starting to use our savings or go into debt.

So this is where I need your help. My unemployment runs out at the end of June and there is the possibility that I could get an 18 week extension. Do I tell her that I just don't think we could live off of what she offered, suggest $2/hour more, and take the risk that she says no and doesn't offer me the job anymore? Do I just take the job at what she offered, be grateful I'll have a job, and try to figure out how to cut more things in our already tight budget? Or do I decline, bring home more in unemployment than I would working there, keep looking like crazy for a job hoping something better comes along and risk my unemployment running out without finding a job?

She doesn't work again until Friday so she told me to think about it, look at the numbers and get back to her on Friday. I've talked about it with my husband, Mom and Dad, and I'm going to sleep on it tonight, but I just don't know what to do. It has a schedule that would take a lot of time away from my photography and photography classes, and what I eventually really want to do, and I'm really afraid of losing myself in a job again. At the same time, the responsible side of me is screaming, "It's a job! Take it and run with it! The economy is terrible and another opportunity may not come around."

So help me out, please! What do you think?

Monday, May 25, 2009

Not Me! Monday!

*UPDATE* So apparently, MckMama had a Not Me! Monday break today because of the holiday. I think I'll keep my short little one up anyway though!

It's Monday again, so you know the drill! It's time to confess all the things we didn't do this week. After you read about my week, head on over to MckMama's blog to read what she and everyone else have not been up to this week!
I did not write this post early and schedule it to post because I've been at my parents' house since Friday really enjoying some time with family and good friends. Nope! Not Me! By the time I get a chance to link up at Mr. Linky, I will not be number 527 on the list or something crazy like that! (And I did not only come up with one thing worthy of a NMM post this past week because I really didn't give it too much effort. I would never disappoint my loyal readers like that!)

Last Wednesday, my hubby finally had a morning shift after about a week and a half of closing, and was home around 3 o'clock! It was a gorgeous day, so we went for a nice long walk, came home and ate a light, healthy dinner out on our porch. Since we were so good, there's no way that after that we would head to Friendly's for ice cream sundaes! And we certainly wouldn't eat every last drop!
Nope! Not us! And we definitely didn't both have stomach aches the rest of the night either!
Happy NMM, everyone!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

So, you really want to know?

I got a really good question the other day that I felt deserved a post of it's own.

Besides blogging, what have I been up to since being unemployed?

Really great question, so let's go back to the beginning!

I was not happy at my last job. I could probably write forever about that place, but I won't. Suffice it to say that I was under appreciated and made to feel like I was a moron. (I am not a moron by the way. At the risk of sounding conceited, I am very intelligent and creative and a DAMN hard worker!) Anyway, I was staying because I was taught that life isn't perfect and you have to work hard to get what you want. You have to make sacrifices and do things you don't always like, pay your dues and climb the ladder. The money and insurance were great, so I sucked it up and gave 110% every day. But I wasn't happy and I was losing myself.

I was laid off around Christmas time. I was given advance notice, so I knew it was coming, but I was terrified. At the same time, I was also relieved. Since my husband gets laid off every winter because of the field he is in, we decided to spend a couple weeks in our hometown with our family. I think we drove home on like the 19th of December and we stayed until the 5th of January. During that time, I tried not to think about being laid off, finding a new job, or anything else that was stressing me out. I spent lots and lots of time with the people I love and started to finally get myself back.

When we came back, besides looking for a new job, I spent a lot of time doing things for my sister's wedding that was coming up at the end of January. I did a lot for her wedding that I wouldn't have had the time to do if I was working a full time job and really enjoyed doing it. I was also able to be at home with her for few days before the wedding to help with all the last minute details. They ended up having a really beautiful wedding day and I am so grateful that she let me be such a big part of it.

In February, I decided it was time for me to do something I really enjoyed and to learn something new. So, I signed up for a photography course through a distance learning school. I do all my lessons at home, on my own time. There is a combination of reading, listening to CDs and watching videos. Then at the end of each unit, I submit a photography project to my adviser, who I have phone and email access to all the time, who grades my project and sends me a recorded discussion of what I did well and what I need to work on. I am really learning a lot and I can do it on my own time, which is great because when I do find a job, I don't have to give it up.

At the end of February, I was able to take 2 weeks and help my sister move to Maryland. Her husband is in the Air Force and was already stationed there. So, my husband and I, along with my parents and her new in-laws, helped her get everything packed up, moved, and settled into their new house. This was a big, scary new step for her, and I'm so glad I could be there and help her through the transition.

Since then, I've obviously been blogging a lot. But I've also been doing a lot of blog reading, twittering, job hunting, working on my photography, writing, researching other opportunities to bring in a little extra money, cooking for my husband and trying to enjoy all the little things around me. We moved at the beginning of May, which also took a lot of my time and energy, and I try to get outside every day and soak up the sunshine.

I certainly have good and bad days, but overall I think I've remained pretty positive and have seen a more relaxed version of my self emerge. My self-confidence is slowly returning and I find am more true to myself. I'm making plans for the future, but remaining open-minded, knowing that things may not go as I plan, but that there is a plan for my life!

So, that's it! That's what I've been up to! Currently, I'm in my hometown. Little miss spy and I have a good friend from high school who is getting married at the end of June. Her bachelorette party is tonight and her bridal shower is tomorrow, so we are enjoying time with friends and family!

Hope you all are having a great long weekend! :)

Friday, May 22, 2009

The infamous "kids" question

The question answering continues! :)

I got a couple questions by email regarding children. I've been getting this question since my wedding day (yes, at my actual wedding reception!) so I was kind of expecting it. Some of you have asked whether we want children and when we think we'll have them. This is a very sensitive subject for me, so PLEASE forgive me if the following sounds harsh.

What if I were to answer your question by saying that we've had multiple miscarriages or that we cannot conceive?

You'd feel like an a$$ for asking, wouldn't you? I'm not saying it to be cruel to those of you that asked, I know I told you to ask anything, so PLEASE don't take this personally. It's just that there are certain people that I really want to say that to and never do, so I took this opportunity to get it out! lol Oh, how I love blog therapy. Thankfully, neither of these answers applies to us. I know people mean well when they ask and they are just genuinely interested. I get curious about my friends and family too because children and pregnancies are exciting and wonderful, except I just don't ask.

I know that response is overly harsh, which is why I've never actually said it to someone out loud, but I do have a point. Everyone's situation is different and this is a subject that is SO personal and private. You never know the whole situation or circumstances behind the couple's choices or situation. Not to mention, if someone wanted you to know, and if there was something to actually tell, I'm SURE they would tell you.

So, yes, this happens to be a very sensitive subject for me and I have used this opportunity to get some things off my chest. Again, I know I told you to ask, and I am NOT mad! I love you all, and like I said, I expected it. :)

And to answer your questions, yes, we absolutely do want children. When that will happen and how many we will have is between me, my husband and God. When or if I do become pregnant, I will certainly be OVER THE MOON with excitement and I will be sure to share with all of you, I promise!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

More questions answered!

Here are a few easily answered questions:
  • Would I rather eat choco covered grasshoppers or hitchhike?
This one's easy! I'll eat anything covered in chocolate! Hmmm, well, maybe not anything...
Anyway, I'm not much of a risk taker and have trouble trusting people I don't know, so hitchhiking is completely out of the question for me! I'd be worried the person that pulled over to pick me up would rape and kill me or something! So, I guess you should pass the grasshoppers please!

  • What types of books do I like to read?
I love to read! I'm mostly a fiction girl and love anything that just completely pulls me into the story. I'm not sure how to really categorize what I like. Some books I enjoyed are: The Thirteenth Tale: A Novel by Diane Setterfield, The Memory Keeper's Daughter by Kim Edwards, I Know This Much Is True by Wally Lamb, Midwives by Chris Bohjalian, and Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen. I also love The Giver by Lois Lowry, A Gift from the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh and anything by Jodi Picoult, James Patterson and Dan Brown. I have not read any of the Harry Potter or Twilight books, though I intend to. I didn't get into Harry Potter until I saw the first few movies, so I decided I would see all the movies before I read any of the books. And I know I'll be completely absorbed in the Twilight series, so I don't know what I'm waiting for there! lol
  • Do I paint my toenails?
You know, I used to always keep them painted. Then one day I decided I liked them better unpainted. So, in general, the answer is no. But, I do enjoy a good pedicure and will paint them if I'm going to a wedding or something special like that.
  • What am I going to do when I'm a famous blogger?
LOL Have you all met my BFF? She's hilarious, I love her, and yes, she's the one who turned me on to blogging! I don't think I'll ever be a famous blogger, but if that day ever comes, I think I'd probably stop blogging. I'm not someone who really likes a whole lot of attention. My BFF already knows that, but now you do too! And yes, of course, I will always remember you! There's no way in the world I could ever forget you!
  • What did I make my sister for her birthday and do I have pictures?
I don't have pictures. I was so concerned with getting it out in the mail so that it made it to her on time that I forgot to take some. I bought a really nice frame that had a spot for two photos. In one spot I put this photo of the 2 of us from her wedding that I just love:

In the other spot, I put one of my photographs that I signed for her. I had trouble with this part. Mostly, I wasn't happy with how the colors were coming out at the place I chose to have it printed, so I made several edits and had them printed before I found one that I liked and was true to what it originally looked like. Then I wasn't happy with how the pen looked that I used to sign it with, but I ended up sending it anyway because I was just being too picky! This is that photo:

Anyway, I really miss her, and I know she misses me, now that she's living so far away and I thought she'd appreciate this as a gift.
  • What is the craziest thing I've ever done?
That's a toss up between kissing my husband (who wasn't my husband at the time obviously) for the very first time and skydiving with my BFF! I'm heading home tomorrow morning for a friend's bachelorette party and bridal shower this weekend, so I'll try to find the skydiving photos and scan one in for you all to see!
  • Did I ever figure out why I rinse chicken? and Where did the name Why Rinse Chicken? come from?
Clever! I have never personally rinsed chicken! I find it a silly practice and completely pointless. My hubby says he's rinsing off the chicken slime, whatever that is! For more thoughts on rinsing chicken and how it came to be the name of my blog, please see my very first post!
  • What's my favorite color? wear: white or general: purple!
  • What's my #1 favorite comfort food?
How about comfort meal? I absolutely LOVE my gram's chuck roast in the pressure cooker, with her homemade mashed potatoes and fresh green beans! YUM! But if you insist on just 1 thing, it would have to be pasta with butter.
  • If I could do anything at this very second, what would it be?
I'd be sitting around a campfire with all my family and friends. Someone's playing the guitar and there's singing, laughter, reminiscing and s'mores. It doesn't get much better than that.
  • What's my favorite tv show?
Hmmmm...I can't say that I have one favorite that's head and shoulders above the rest. I really enjoy Grey's and Private Practice though. Some of the others we tend to watch are: American Idol, House, Iron Chef America, Survivor, Fringe, and Lie to Me.
  • What movie can I watch over and over again?
Actually, I don't like watching movies over and over again. It ruins the movie for me. The hubby and I do watch all the previous Harry Potter movies like a little marathon before we go see the next new one though!More questions to be answered soon!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Fun alternative... pasta salad!

I just love pasta salad! Heck, I love pasta period! But a few years ago, my hubby mentioned that he like rice salad better than pasta salad. I had never heard of rice salad, and he went on to explain that they always had it growing up, and that it was just like pasta salad, only with rice instead of pasta. He didn't have a recipe, so I came up with something on my own, and it's now one of our favorites!

I made some to get in the fridge for dinner tonight, and it was just so pretty that I had to share!

Rice Salad

Prepare 2 cups of rice and cool. (We love basmati rice so that's what we always use, but I'm sure any rice would work just fine!) Chop up 1 cucumber, 1 red bell pepper, and a handful of baby carrots (or any veggies that you like). Add chopped veggies and 1 can of drained chick peas to the cooled rice. Add Good Seasons Italian dressing (or your favorite Italian dressing) to your desired wetness. (I tried adding my own mix of herbs and spices, oil and vinegar, but we like Good Seasons better. *My secret, I always use apple cider vinegar to make ours instead of regular vinegar.*) Chill and enjoy! :)

It's super easy and super colorful and absolutely delicious on a hot day!


...and you shall receive! Wow! Your questions are so fun!! I'm so excited and I just can't hide it! (Trust me, you don't want to hear me sing!) Some of them have provoked enough thought that they will receive their own post, some are similar so I will combine them, and some have fun, silly, easy answers so I'll post a bunch of those together. I'll probably only do 1 post per day, so if you don't see the answer to your question right away, stay tuned! I will answer them all, as long as they aren't too personal, over the next week or so. Please keep the questions comin' because this is a total blast!!

Anyway, one of the questions I got was, "What kind of camera do you use?" Good question! I don't think I've posted about that before.

My baby is a Canon 30D digital SLR.
She's not cheap folks, and I am so so so blessed to have an amazing hubby who bought this for me as a Christmas gift in 2007. I have a Canon 28-200mm f/3.5-5.6 USM Standard Zoom lens and a Canon 50mm f/1.8 lens (LOVE IT) for her and she is absolutely fantastic! This is what I use most often, and it's rare to find a time when she is not hanging from my neck.

I also have a point and shoot Minolta DiMAGE Xg.
There are all sorts of point and shoot cameras out now that have more features and megapixels than this camera does, but I DON'T CARE. I've had this camera for years and I love, love, LOVE it! I will use it until it dies (when that happens I'll probably cry because it's been discontinued) and then I may even consider trying to find another one on the internet somewhere to buy. This is the camera that's usually in my purse or that I'll take with me on the rare occasion that I have a crazy night out with friends. It's small enough to fit in my pocket, takes great quality pictures and I just love it.

I don't know much about all the new cameras out because I haven't looked. I'm perfectly happy with this one for the amount of time I use it. I'm sure if you're looking for a new camera, there are better ones out there, so I guess I'm not much help there! My suggestion is to do your research!! Find one you think you like and read the reviews online. People do not hold back what they're feeling. Also, go to a store and hold the camera before you buy it. It's often cheaper to buy it online, which is great, but hold it and play around with it in a store first to make sure you like it!

I also have 2 film cameras. One is a Minolta MAXXUM STsi.
Don't get me wrong, I love digital. But every once in awhile I get in the mood to dust off this camera. It's nothing too special, but there is something about film that will never quite compare to digital.

I also have an old school Asahi Pentax K1000.

I didn't buy this, I think I found it in my grandparents' attic or at a tag sale or something. I've had it since high school and despite looking pretty beat up, it still takes pretty good pictures. In addition to being a film camera, it's also fully manual, which is pretty cool and fun to play around with. It makes you appreciate all that cameras can do today and really makes you take the picture instead of letting the camera do most of the work. (I once took what I thought would be a bunch of really amazing photos before realizing that there was no film in it! LOL There's no sensor to remind you. Lesson learned!)

So, there you have it! Those are my cameras. Not much help to those of you that are looking to buy a new camera, but even though I'm far from an expert, I'd be happy to answer any specific questions you have, if I can.

Similarly, in another photography related question, I was asked if it's better to have your kids face the sun or have their backs to the sun to prevent them from looking washed out. Again, I'm no expert, but I prefer having their backs to the sun or having them in full shade. This works better to me for 2 reasons. First, it helps prevent squinty, watery eyes - something that always happens to me with my sensitive baby blues. Second, I really like the look of back lighting, but that could just be a personal thing.

Another quick tip, the light is best in the early morning and evening, not in the middle of the day when the sun is high in the sky. It will give a prettier, softer look to your photos and help do away with the washing out effect. I'm actually reading a really great book for my photography course that I think a lot of you moms would enjoy! It's called Photographing Children and Babies: How to Take Great Pictures by Michal Heron.

It's written for you, the mom, and not only is it FULL of really great tips, it's super easy to understand! I would highly recommend it!

Phew! That was fun but I think that's it for today. Stop by again tomorrow and I'll answer some more! And keep those questions coming in my original post!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Come out, come out, wherever you are!

I've noticed a jump in traffic to my blog recently and I'm curious who's out there visiting!! If you've been reading and are hiding in the shadows, come out and say hello! I'd love to come visit your blog so I can get to know YOU better and make some new bloggy friends!

And in the spirit of getting to know each other better, I want to give you the opportunity to get to know ME better too! Here's the deal - just ask me a question! You can leave it in the comments of this post or you can send me an email at whyrinsechicken [at] gmail [dot] com. Ask me anything you want, anything at all! Well, maybe not anything... Want to know what my childhood was like, my favorite food, what I went to college for or who my heroes are? Just ask! And once all your questions come in, I'll answer them all (within reason of course)! In addition, if there's something about my blog that you just LOVE and wish I would do more often, TELL ME! I'm so excited to see what you all come up with! I'm hoping you make 'em good and really make me think, resulting in some super interesting posts to come!

I can't wait to meet you all! So, ready...set...GO!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Not Me! Monday

It's Monday again, and I hope by now you all know that that means it's time for us to confess all the things we didn't do this week! I never thought I'd actually look forward to Monday, but there's nothing like a little denial confession and laughter to re-energize the soul! After you read about my week, you can head over to MckMama's blog to read what she and everyone else have not been doing this week too.

Last Monday, I did not spend an unhealthy amount of time online waiting for MckMama to post her NMM and Mr. Linky. I absolutely did not get overwhelmed with the number of people doing NMM now and I did not feel so bad that I couldn't even come close to reading everyone's Not Me's that I began to just click on completely random names with no game plan and for no reason what-so-ever! It certainly wasn't noon before I showered! Nope!

I did not have a really bad day, emotionally, on Tuesday and did not cry for a good majority of the day. I am much more emotionally stable than that and never let myself get that sad over something I can't control. I am NOT a control freak! Nope, not me! I am also not extremely grateful for good friends, new and old, IRL and from blogland, and for their thoughts, prayers and kind words of encouragement! And I am not especially grateful for my good friends the Oreos...

No, I did not eat all those Oreos on Tuesday! I would never use food to fill an emotional void!!

A few of the Oreos actually went into the dirt dessert that my 26 year old husband did not request that I make last week. Nope, he is not a BIG kid! And he certainly didn't eat the majority of it in about 3 days!

And after taking this photo, I did not decide that it was perfectly fine to eat the small remaining amount as my lunch! Nope, certainly not me! I know too much about nutrition and take care of my body too well to do such a thing!

Moving on...

Seeing how I have very strong urges to have everything in it's designated place, with no unnecessary clutter laying around, I would never ever do laundry on a Saturday and let my husband's work shirts lay on the guest bed until Wednesday before I ironed them! I do not hate ironing that much!


I did not think that We Art week was so much fun that I posted for it both Wednesday and Thursday! Nope! And everyone's really sweet comments did not totally lift my spirits!

I do not totally love the word totally, and I am not totally pumped that my lettuce is coming up and growing like crazy! Not me! I do not love growing my own veggies and herbs. And I do not love eating them either!

Finally, my stunningly gorgeous little sister did not turn 24 years old yesterday. It does not seem impossible and make me feel incredibly old! Nope! I was not sad that she is living so far away and I do not miss her beautiful face like crazy!

Nope, not me!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Fix-it Friday!

It's Fix-it Friday again! I debated about whether or not I would participate this week. With We Art posts Wednesday and Thursday, I thought I should probably have a real post. But in the end, the photo this week was just too beautiful for me to miss out on the fun!

I really love the back lighting, but I think it made her face look a little too washed out.

Fix #1:Fix #2:My fixes are exactly the same except for the different crops. I accidentally closed Paint Shop Pro before I typed them out, so this is what I did to the best of my memory:

- Gamma correction
- Manual color correction for the black of her eyelashes
- Adjustment of midtones and contrast
- Slight sharpening

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

We ♥ Art - Part 2

Domestically Challenged, Three Bay B Chicks, and I'm Living Proof that God Has a Sense of Humor have come together and created We Art week to celebrate art and being creative! And if that wasn't fun enough, by linking your We Art post to Mr. Linky on their blogs, you will be entered to win one of SEVEN prizes up for grabs!

First, thank you for all the amazing comments on my photography yesterday!!! It's such a wonderful feeling when something you've worked hard at is appreciated! Also, if you haven't checked out all the other
We Art posts through Mr. Linky you definitely should!! There are some amazingly talented adults and kids out there!

Today, I'm going to share my second favorite creative outlet - WEDDINGS! I'm lacking photos of a lot of things because my laptop crashed a few weeks ago and I haven't received the retrieved data back yet, but I'm going to do my best to share what I do have photos of!

I did so many things myself for my own wedding, but I'll just share a few! I designed, printed and assembled our programs for the church.

I designed our wedding album. (I used Blurb to print the album - they're fabulous! And I should mention that the photography shown in the book is obviously not mine since it was my wedding!)

And I designed our Thank You cards.I also designed my cousin's and sister's Thank You cards for their weddings. (All 3 of these Thank You cards were printed through Vista Print.)
All photos used in the above card are my own.

I did so many things for my sister's wedding, but unfortunately the pictures were on my laptop and I haven't received the retrieved data back yet. I did her programs, place cards, shower invitations, shower and wedding favors and rehearsal dinner invitations, just to name a few!

Here are some pictures of the favors and favor tags I made for her bridal shower.

I couldn't find a copy of her shower invitation, but it was very similar to the rehearsal dinner invitations that I designed and printed for her also.

So, my secret's out! I love creating things for weddings! I had a lot of fun doing it for myself and love getting creative for family and friends, but I have no design background and would never claim to be an amazing designer, nor would I ever do it for a living (except for the photo albums).

However, my very best friend is an AMAZING DESIGNER! And in the spirit of art and creativity, you should most definitely check out her website, blog and Etsy shop!

We Art week was so much fun! I hope you all enjoyed my posts and have stopped by Domestically Challenged, Three Bay B Chicks, and I'm Living Proof that God Has a Sense of Humor to see all the other creative entries too!