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Showing posts from December, 2022

New Photography Gear & Tips

  I think it's pretty safe to say that this blog has created a new love of photography in my life. I've always been a little shutterbug, but until I had a 'reason' to step up my photography game, I simply viewed it as a hobby. In the last year, it has become much more than that. When I purchased my camera, I wanted something I could grow with. I wasn't about to drop a ton of dough on a heavy duty Canon or Nikon when I'd never actually shot anything in manual mode and knew very little about exposure, composition, or editing. So I bought my Samsung (after doing a lot of research), which comes with an 18-55mm zoom lens. The kit lens is great, and I've taken some of my favorite pictures with it, but... I outgrew it. I could have gone out and purchased a new, more advanced camera system, but I still love my Samsung. I think it's a great 'blogging camera'. I opted for a new lens instead ( Samsung 45mm f/ 1.8 prime lens ). I could get pret

Book Buying Freeze

  Book Buying Freeze I've developed this habit. This book habit. I'll go to the store on a random Tuesday. From across the room, I'll spot a book that seems intriguing. Good-looking cover. Interesting blurb on the back. I pick it up and read the first couple of pages. It makes me laugh. We hit it off, me and this book. I invite it back to my place. We open a bottle of wine and snuggle up on the couch together. Things are going great. We're getting to know each other. Maybe I even tell my best friend about this book. How great it is and how much she'd love it. Then something happens. Usually about a quarter of the way through. You know what I'm talking about. The book I thought was going to be so great, The One even, suddenly isn't so interesting anymore. Maybe it's the way it takes forever to get to the point. Or maybe it's the way it uses too many overly descriptive words. Maybe it's just a character thing. Whatever the

Coffe Chat: Part One

     Good morning. It's Friday. That means it's Coffee Chat time. Let's talk about stuff... Coffee Chat No. 24// Miranda Writes Blog My friend Amanda introduced me to Notes From The Universe. It's not really 'The Universe' emailing you. It's a dude named Mike, but they're still really fun to get in your inbox. They're all inspirational-y and vague. If you like pinning quotes on Pinterest, you'd probably like this. I made this skillet pizza for dinner the other night. Except I used pesto and artichokes and it was the bomb! Super easy weeknight dinner. I really, really, really, really like this trench coat. Really. If this video doesn't get you pumped up, you are not pumpupable. Yep. It's a word. Nadine did a great post on using Pinterest's promoted pins feature. If you're a blogger you might want to check this out. Also check out Nadine's blog too. She's hilarious. The Girl Who Saw Through the Illusions makes me feel all th

First-Time Cruise Packing Tips

   The best part about sharing this week's cruise recap posts has been the number of you who have commented saying that you didn't want to go on a cruise before, but are now considering it, or who have said that you now more than ever want to take a cruise. I wasn't expecting to hear that when I posted my vacation photos, but it has been a very nice surprise. I thought today I would share some of my packing tips as well as some general cruising advice (perhaps for anyone still on the fence about jumping on a boat and setting sail). To be completely honest, I think the best way to know how to properly pack for a first-time cruise... is to actually go on the cruise. Not a great way to start a post where I'm giving you packing advice, right? It's the truth. The odds are that you will over pack (I did), and about halfway through your trip, you will fully comprehend what you should have left at home and what you should remember to bring next time. That's just how it

Cruise Recap: Road Trippin' to New Orleans and First Day on a Floating Hotel

  Guys, I have a secret to tell you. While it may seem that I spent last week at a computer blogging my little heart out, I was actually kicked back in the middle of the Gulf of Mexico looking at this view... Yep. I put this blog on auto-pilot (mostly) and I set sail on a cruise with my husband, my best friend, and some random dude. Kidding. Random dude is my best friend's husband. Let me back you up real quick. I've mentioned a couple of times that my best friend, whom I call Ronald (not her real name), graduated from nursing school. Her husband (Ryan) called us up a while back before the holidays and told us he was surprising Ron with a cruise to the Bahamas as a graduation present. He asked if we wanted join. I was furiously nodding my head before we even finished reading the text message. This was the first cruise any of us but Ryan had ever taken, and we've been planning our little adventure for a few months now. I didn't mention it because

The Makeup Mix-Up: American Beauty

  Makeup Mix-Up Day is here! Now, if you're thinking that this look is remarkably similar to my profile image, you're not wrong. I knew when Jaelan and I decided on the American Beauty prompt that I wanted to do a look like this. To me, there is no one single definition of 'American' beauty, and what makes a person beautiful is when they feel good in their own skin, when they're wearing a look (makeup or not) that makes them come alive and feel confident. For me, that often means red lipstick and a subtle wing. I love the look of a bare eye and an ultra strong lip. It's my favorite look to wear and to apply, so it was a no-brainer.  First of all, how funny is it that Jaelan and I are both wearing stripes? When it comes to the makeup, we did not discuss or plan our looks together, but I am guessing that we're going to end up thinking alike more often than not on these prompts. I love Jaelan's smokey brown shadow, her strong brow, and t

Cruise Recap: Key West, Florida

  Day three was when I felt like the cruise really started. It was our first day in port and also our first excursion. Ronald and Ryan's stateroom was right next to ours. Every morning one of us would wake up and inevitably the first thing we'd do is head out onto the balcony to check out the view. We were just barely off the coast of Florida and we could see the water getting bluer as we went. I walked out on the balcony just in time to take this picture. Can you see the line where the water turns color? I wanted to hop over the balcony railing and just sit on the edge of the boat. Which, I technically could have done, but I figured I'd have to spend the rest of the cruise in boat jail, and so I just took more pictures. After breakfast we changed into our suits and cover ups and hopped off the boat. I was really surprised how close the boat docks to everything. Key West isn't that big of an island, but still, we could see gorgeous condos an

Outfits: Leopard Wedges and Bold Lips

  In my dreams I wore this outfit to a casual Saturday morning girl's brunch, complete with mimosas and a patio table. In reality, I just wore these shoes to take pictures and then promptly changed into my Chuck Taylor's to go grocery shopping.  Even though these are wedges, they are deceptively difficult to walk in, and I can only do about 15 minutes of teetering at a time. They are alas, sitting shoes. When the weather warms up, I'll be able to break them out for date nights more often. I also went with a really bright lip color. As casual as my office is, I don't think I can get away with neon fuchsia lips at work, which is a shame because I'd rather wear bold lips than something neutral any day, so I try to break out the fun colors on the weekend.  *Let's just ignore that towel on the floor in the background...I was experimenting with a new Sally Hansen Airbrush Legs technique. Possible post to follow.

How To Deep Clean An Electric (Coil) Cooktop

  It was time for me to do some deep cleaning in the kitchen. My cooktop was looking pretty, shall we say, loved . I wish I could say that it ended up like this because I've been crafting from-scratch gourmet meals five nights a week, or that I've been experimenting with exciting new recipes, but in reality, this cooktop has been servicing Joel and I with lots of coffee kettle boiling, egg scrambling, and the occasional batch of Ramen noodles.  On a day-to-day basis, when I'm done cooking, I give the surface a good wipe down, and I try to catch spills as they happen, but in preparation for this post, I let things get a little bit dirtier than usual. You've gotta have a good before picture, right? Since it's a black cooktop, and it hides more than a white or stainless one, I had to let it get pretty dirty in order for things to show up in photos. Oh, the sacrifice. So, let's have a look shall we? So step one in cleaning your cooktop, is to