Thursday, December 27, 2007

2007 Recap

I don't usually do this, but I thought it'd be a nice closing blog for the year. :) (Christmas photos coming soon!)

As 2007 comes to an end....recall all you did this year.....

1) Where did you begin 2007?
In Tustin at a friend's house. Great party!

2) What was your status by Valentine's Day?
I don't celebrate it! But Chris and I have been together for 2 years, 7 months now.

3) Were you in school (anytime this year)?

4) How did you earn your money?
Was actually unemployed until the end of February. I now work for a commercial real estate developer.

5) Did you have to go to the hospital?
Knock on wood, I didn't.

6) Did you have any encounters with the police?

7) Where did you go on holiday?
A few weekend trips - Vegas, San Diego.

8) What did you purchase that was over $1000?
The new camera and lens kit.

9) Did you know anybody who got married?
Yup, my uncle.

10) Did you know anybody who passed away?
Yes, Chris' grandmother.

12) Did you move anywhere?

14) What concerts/shows did you go to?
Not nearly as many as last year! The highlight was seeing Chris work at the Warped Tour.

15) Are you registered to vote?
Of course.

16) Who did you want to win Big Brother?
What? Is that show still on?

17) Where do you live now?
An apartment in Tustin.

18) Describe your birthday.
It was great! Low-key night out with friends and then dinner with family.

19) What's one thing you thought you'd never do but did in 2007?
Good question! Raise a puppy, I suppose. We thought that would come way later.

20) What has been your favorite moment?
Too many too choose just one!

21) What's something you learned about yourself?
That I'm a great puppy mama.

22) Any new additions to your family?
23.) What was your best month?
Again, hard to choose...

24.) What music will you remember 2007 by?
The Dears, Rufus Wainwright, Feist

26) Made new friends?
Definitely! Roseann stands out. :)

27) New best buddies?
For sure!

28) Favorite night out?
Do I have to just pick one? There are many - standouts include our anniversary, last New Year's, my birthday, Alena's birthday, Josh Groban at the Staples Center, video game nights at my place with the girls, Whooligans nights and Thursday nights at the Schwabels' house.

Quote of the moment: "What we anticipate seldom occurs, what we least expected generally happens." -Benjamin Disraeli

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Christmas Is Upon Us...

Does anyone else feel like this week is totally dragging? Well, it goes fast once I get home and work on all the stuff I need to do personally, but at work it's just creeping ever so slowly...

Today's Funny

At any rate, Jessica Sprague, scrapbooker extraordinaire and one of my fave bloggers, posted an especially funny blog yesterday about how her very young son has managed on more than one occasion to make calls using her iPhone - and not just random ones, but to dad and grandpa! :) It just cracked me up; if you have a few minutes its a great read!

It got me thinking too - my generation is one of the first to really grow up with computers (c'mon guys, Oregon Trail?)(not that it makes us any better at using them!), so we consider ourselves pretty savvy. But my brother, who is seven years younger than me, grew up with what are considered "modern" (read: not-DOS) computers and is a true whiz. Granted, he's a total geek and incredibly smart, but still he and his friends all type faster than anyone I know and can figure out any gadget in 2 minutes or less. So maybe Jessica's son represents the next generation - the ones that can easily use an iPhone to make a call (which takes 4 distinct steps, mind you) by the age of 3? It's an interesting thought. Imagine what my kids might grow up with!

Scrappin' Stuff

The reason I haven't posted much lately about scrapbooking is due to me working away
at a top-secret Christmas thing which has taken a lot of my mojo and desire to even discuss scrapbooking! However, I was totally inspired this week to use one of Bree Clarkson's new templates to make this page, entitled "Christmas Cookies":

And now, come to think of it, I never "officially" announced the other creative team that I was asked to join! Geez! I'm terrible.

This one is for the awesome (and aforementioned) Bree Clarkson, who, like Penny, also recently joined Sweet Shoppe Designs. She primarily does scrapbook page templates (and other templates, like cards and hybrid projects, etc.), and she's awesome at it! What's really great is that they provide "mojo" when you want to make a page but don't know where to start, and they're totally customizable (you'd be surprised to see how many different variations the CT can turn out using the same template!). At any rate, it's a great CT to be a part of and I'm loving it! If you want to check out her products, you can do so here. And here is where you can see pages done using her stuff.

...And More Photos

More than anything lately I've been playing around with my camera and the awesome photos it's turning out. I'm finally starting to feel like I'm capturing what I was seeing at the time! I'm even thinking of taking a class at the local JC. Next thing on my list I think is Adobe Lightroom, which can do some amazing effects with just a few clicks, such as this. (And don't gasp at the price! If you're a student or a parent of a student you can get it here, for MUCH cheaper.)

So last Saturday my girlfriends and I spent the most of the day in old town Orange, drooling over antiques we couldn't afford (although Nikki and I both bought vintage 50s clutches, for a whopping $15 each) but would totally go into debt for. My only problem is lack of space! Eventually, when I'm grown up, I'd like to have more antique furniture than new in my house, but that's going to take a while!

They dutifully posed for a few photos for me in the Orange Circle, which has this great fountain in the middle (click for larger):
And I love this one - they were waiting for me to take some photos of this awesome building in old town, and right as Mindy turned I snapped. I just love how her face seems to say "Oh for Christ's sake..."On Sunday Chris and I went over to his parent's house for a photo session on the beach with his family, which his mom is having put on canvas for Grandma Kaye (Chris' dad's mom). We froze our asses off, but I'm hoping they turned out well! We were supposed to do it the previous weekend, but the death in the family bumped it. When we got back to the house I decided to do a few photos of my own up on their balcony since it was pretty sunset light:
I know Chris looks kinda evil in this one, but I still love the intensity of his gaze. Plus Jacopo was actually paying attention too! :)Then after that it was up to Whittier to have dinner with Grandma Kaye for the family December birthdays (Chris' dad and brother).

Monday night we finally had a chance (since we just got our Christmas tree on Sunday morning!) to take some photos for our Christmas card. That was a trial! Luckily I also got a remote for the new camera (only $20, I highly recommend it!), otherwise I think I would have been sorely tempted to smash it, or anything within reach, really. Trying to frame it just right (in front of the tree, of course) and get the right aperture and shutter speed settings, and then getting the puppy to stay still long enough on top of that proved to be just a bit too challenging. But we wound up with some pretty darn funny "outtakes"! :)

Such as this one, where the camera seemed to love Jacopo more than us:Or this one, where I was just taking test shots before finalizing the settings. Pretty intense, que no?And then there's this one, where Chris was like "Honey, quit fiddling with your camera and take this damn photo I set up for you!" You're the best, babe. ;-)
I made my traditional Christmas fudge last night - so hard to not get into it right away! But my recipe calls for it to sit for 24 hours, so tonight: watch your back, fudge. I'll be picking at you in between the gift wrapping!

Quote of the day: "A positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it will annoy people enough to make it worth the effort." ~Herm Albright

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Holy Thor!

What a whirlwind 10 days it's been...I don't hardly know where to start! I guess it would be Thanksgiving - have to share a few photos from that get-together. It's one of my favorite holidays, because it means hanging out with family and eating. What more could you ask for from a holiday? ;) Unless you're the cook, that is...which mom always handles so beautifully! I did make the chocolate pudding pie, as usual, and this year I had help from my new Auntie Donna. :)

Mmmm turkey... (as always, click for larger)
And I always think our table is so gorgeous I have to take multiple shots of it. I'll spare you the majority of them:
And, of course, the requisite group shot (sans moi, since I was taking it):

Chris, Sarah and her boyfriend Jim joined us later that night, but all in all a great turkey day! Especially with mom & dad's new 54-inch flatscreen HD TV! ;)

Unfortunately I spent the rest of the long weekend dealing with the worst migraine I've had in a long time. Apparently turkey can be a trigger, who knew? Guess we'll have to do fish for Christmas, huh mom?

My New Love

As a holiday present to myself (and after finding out what my bonus is from work), I ordered the camera of my dreams, the Canon Rebel XTi. It arrived just in time for Thanksgiving Christmas! As most of you know, I've been daydreaming about owning a dSLR since I started pursuing photography as a serious hobby over a year ago. So as soon as I found out that I would have the chance to spend that kind of money relatively guilt-free, which I otherwise never would, I jumped at it! And boy oh boy is it ever paying off...I'll spare you all the details, but basically I decided not to order the stock kit lens it usually comes with and got the 50mm f/1.4 lens instead, which is ideal for portraiture (which I do a lot of) and low light (ditto). I've been researching this for a long time, and all the sources I trust recommended this lens. Here's what that killer combo did with my very first round of shots, straight out of the box:I know it's not a perfect shot, but hot damn! Compared to what my old camera did in those same lighting conditions, it's a miracle. I definitely still have my point-and-shoot since it's pocket size is so handy and the Rebel can be a bit too much for taking photos at a restaurant or something, but I am totally in LOVE. Next on the list is a zoom lens (the one I got is a fixed length, meaning if I want to zoom in/out I have to do it the old fashioned way: with my legs), but it'll be a while before that happens!

And of course, had to show my appreciation for the new toy:

Chris' grandmother Henriette (on his mom's side) passed away last Monday, peacefully in her sleep. She would have been 82 on Saturday, the day of her funeral. Chris' mom, Gisele, has four sisters, and they all have kids (and one grandkid), so it was quite the family gathering. His grandfather was actually the rock of the bunch, making jokes and stuff. The cousins are all pretty close, and I was grateful that even with their grief they made me (and the other girlfriends/boyfriends) feel welcome. In order to try and be of some help, I offered to make a poster of some family photos of grandma to display at the viewing and funeral:
I didn't get to know her as well as I would have liked, but I do know that she was a lovely, caring woman and is sorely missed by her family.

In between being with the family on Monday and the funeral on Saturday, I had an open house for one of our projects at work on Tuesday and then the company holiday party on Thursday, both of which I was responsible for. So it's no wonder that Friday morning I woke up with a horrible head cold! Luckily I was able to get rest after coming home early on Friday so that I could be there for the family on Saturday, and Sunday and Monday were spent under blankets too. I'm mostly over it by now, just a cough and a lovely peeling nose to match. :P

Now I'm looking forward to doing a Secret Santa gift exchange with my girlfriends on Friday and some vintage shopping in old town Orange on Saturday.

But before I go, just wanted to share some photos I took the weekend after Thanksgiving, the full extent of which you can see here.
Quote of the moment: "Let us so live that when we come to die even the undertaker will be sorry." ~Twain