Wednesday, January 9, 2008

10 Things

I think it's about time I did anther round of (cue music):

10 Things Making Me Happy (Right Now)
  1. My new zoom lens. Now I know what you're thinking, "A new lens already??" But hear me out - the lens I got initially is a 50mm fixed lens, aka no zoom. For most instances, it works great! But if I'm trying to fit a lot of things in the frame and can't back up any more, I'm stuck. Or if I want to photograph something without it's knowing (i.e. pets), that's tough. So on and so forth. Besides, a standard photographer's kit includes at least 2 lenses, depending on what you photograph the most. Just ask Scott Kelby. ;-) So I finally decided on the Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 zoom lens. I hardly had a chance to really test it out Tuesday night, but so far it's handling great!!
  2. Adobe Lightroom. I had heard about this program before, but finally decided to download the free trial after people started raving about how quick and easy it makes photo editing. And I have to say I agree!! Definitely going to invest in this one (using a student discount, of course). It has one-click presets that are either built in or there are tons you can download all over the internet, which can yield stunning results that would have taken me a LOT longer in Photoshop. There are certain things you can't do, such as remove imperfections, whiten teeth, or blur messy backgrounds, but it definitely streamlines the whole process. Plus the presets are totally customizable - they could take just one click, and/or you could modify the effects yourself. Here's a few examples of the same photo with different presets applied (from Kelsey Smith and Traci Reed) that I did the other night (click image for larger version):
  3. A moving possibility. We're in talks with our property managers to move to a fully upgraded apartment instead of renewing the lease on our current place. Very exciting! Those of you who have visited know our place could use some spiffing up. :) The one we're looking at is in the units across the street, has its own washer & dryer (huge improvement!!), everything has been gutted and redone, and just a slightly different floorplan that I actually like better. The increase in rent will be minimal, for what we're getting (plus we were due for an increase anyway with the renewal), and I'd really like to stay in the area as long as it's feasible. Plus, in terms of my current photography cravings, it's on the second floor so we get more/better light, and it has more wall space so I can start hanging my own stuff instead of somebody else's! ;-) Jeez, I've gone off the deep end now.
  4. A charitable contribution. Granted, it was only $8, but I still feel it's a nice way to start the year! It was through this awesome digital scrapbooking shop that started last year called Songbird Avenue. It's run by two super designers, Jan Crowley and Meredith Fenwick, and every month they create a big scrapbooking kit along with a guest designer and all the funds go to a charity of the guest's choosing. I've bought kits from them before, but when I saw this month's I had to get it right then and there! Their guest is Shabby Miss Jenn, another designer I really like, and her charity is the Lupus Foundation of America. Check out how cute it is:
    Right? Now go make some donations! :)
  5. "Ghosthunters" is back! Except our cable box and internet have been down since Wednesday, so I don't think it recorded the premiere last night. So that's not making me happy! But I'm sure I'll be able to catch one of the repeats. Such a cool show to watch, if you're into that kind of thing.
  6. Aaron Brothers' 1 Cent Sale. If you love having your photos out and framed, get over there now! Such an awesome sale. Not only do they have the "buy one, get one for one cent" thing going on, but they have many of them on sale to begin with. I stocked up on scrapbook frames, plus some basic black collage-style frames to start hanging more of my own photos. I filled one of them last night with photos of Jacopo (surprise) - between the Lightroom effects and the new Epson photo paper I got, they looked awesome.
  7. One+One. Its a new inspiration blog that some gals in the digiscrap community started up, and so far I've really loved what they posted. It's just one little thing every day, but a really nice blog to check in on every once in a while when you need some eye candy.
  8. Books, books and more books. I'm practically surrounded by new books! They could each be a point on this list, I swear. I was given two gift cards to Barnes & Noble and two to Borders, and I've already used them all. Plus I ordered some (photography and scrapbooking) online through Ideabooks4u that I couldn't find in the store. I won't list them all, but some of the ones you guys might be interested include Cathy Zielske's Clean and Simple Scrapbooking-The Sequel (serious inspiration there!), Bryan Peterson's Understanding Exposure (a must-have according to many trusted sources, including Scott Kelby himself!), Laurie Notaro's The Idiot Girls' Action-Adventure Club (for when you really just need a laugh, her other stuff makes my sides ache!), and one of my all-time faves, Audrey Niffenegger's The Time Traveler's Wife. I read that one last year, and I couldn't stop thinking about it for days. Just amazing prose. I think its already been through several printings - not bad for your first fiction work. I can't wait for her to put out another book! But I had originally borrowed it from a friend, and I just had to finally get it for my own library. :) There were a bunch of others - darn Borders' buy one, get one half off table! They always have good ones! I'm sure I'll share if any are worth reading.
  9. Good deeds. Last night I helped a woman who works in the office next door jump-start her car. Lucky for her I have jumper cables (and know how to use them)! She didn't have cables or AAA - and that's just not right! You gotta have one or the other. :) I'm pretty sure I racked up some karma points, and that always feels good.
  10. Shopping with other people. It sounds silly, I know, but last weekend I did errands with my mom, and the weekend before that went shopping with my best friend at the post-Christmas sales, and I didn't realize until then how much I missed shopping with another woman! Usually I avoid malls and such on the weekends, so my shopping is done after work, alone. It was a truly welcome change to have such good company!
So what's making you happy? If you have to think more than 30 seconds, you need a break from whatever you're doing!!


Quote of the moment: "One of the secrets of a happy life is continuous small treats." ~Iris Murdoch


Anonymous said...

Sounds like you're ready for a photo shoot now. ;o)

I am liking the effects on that lightroom program, I wouldn't mind going in 1/2 on it & sharing!

Kris watches ghosthunters, surprise! He loves it too.

Yeah for shopping with the girls, I'll send you an ical invite for next month shopping in Pasadena.

Things making me happy right now:

*My yummy thai lunch

*Working on my travel intineraries for this year's travel.

*Helping my mom out with cleaning at the house & doing errands for her since she can't walk right now.

*Dropping off 2 bags full of old clothes to Goodwill.

*My energy level from working out last night.

See you soon, love ya!

Team Leader

Katrina said...

Love this list and share so many things that make me happy :) Off to do a little lift of your idea! Love your blog header too!!

Michelle said...

Thank you so very much for your support of Songbird Avenue!!!!