Birthday Roses

My birthday roses were the perfect photography subject! Shot with my Canon 5D Mark III, 50mm prime lens, natural window lighting, ISO 100, aperture f/4.0 +/-, shutter speed 1/200 sec. “Warm Retro” preset, edited in Lightroom.

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Learning How to Bounce Flash

I have always been a natural light kinda girl, but with the addition of my new Canon Speedlite, I have been exploring the world of flash photography. Flash can bounce off almost any surface and have varying intensities, depending on the angle and settings.

“Bounce flash is when, rather than firing your flash pointing directly at your subject, you point it elsewhere typically up or at an angle, bouncing off a wall or ceiling. The objective is to “bounce” light to soften it before it hits your subject.”
– Garry Chung, Digital Photography School

Below I used natural light (a window) and then added in some diffused bounce flash to give a very dreamy/high exposure feel.

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Anyone else trying new techniques with their camera? I’d love to hear about it in the comments section.

5 Must Read Blogs This Week

Below are my top reads for the week:

A great post from Confessions of Wanderer about renewed perspective and projecting realism not perfection: Things Aren’t Always as They Seem

Beauty Beyond Bones denounces stereotypes and tells a touching story of her loving father: This Might Piss People Off

A post about saying goodbye to a best friend: The Unconscious Uncoupling of Friends and Being the “Other” Woman by Ankhor You

Get uplifted, inspired and feel closer to God with Sunday Reflections by mackmarie

Last but not least, a gem from Young & Twenty educating us on 10 Ways To Have A Discussion Not A Hot-Headed Debate On The Internet

Happy reading!

XO,

R

5 Must Read Blogs This Week

Below are my top reads for the week and there is something for everyone:

For bloggers who want to go the distance: Eight Tips For Sustainable Blogging

For my ladies and ‘gents who want to succeed at work: How to Prove You’re Ready for That Promotion

For those who won’t let fear hold them back: Chasing Heights and Facing Fears

For some serious Yellowstone eye candy: Just 13 More Minutes. (Yellowstone Nat’l Park)

For those who want to get it right on their Christmas card: How to Make Your Last Name Plural This Christmas Season

Happy reading!

XO,

R

The Most Perfect Gift

Best friends know exactly the perfect gift to give, and my BFF is no exception. Beth, one of my very best friends and Maid of Honor at my wedding, knew how much I wanted this bracelet. Not just any bracelet, but a personalized piece from a company called Coordinates Collection. This line allowed you to select a bracelet, ring, or necklace and have it engraved with the coordinates of a special location. For me, that is 43.5426° N70.3328° W the location where I married the man of my dreams – Pine Point Beach, Maine.

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My Coordinates Collection Bracelet

Beth had ordered this a while ago, and since I moved south right after my wedding, she did not have the chance to gift it to me. Being the sweetheart that she is, she traveled down south to Georgia to visit her BFF last week. During this visit we planned some trips together, one being Charleston and the other Atlanta.

After checking into our hotel in Charleston, Beth asked if I wanted my gift. I of course said “yes.” She knew I had been coveting this bracelet for ages, as I liked almost every photo they posted on Instagram and even mentioned it in conversation. Beth knew this was the perfect gift. I squealed with delight as I opened the small rectangular box and uncovered the delicate piece of jewelry.

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Beth and me on my wedding day

I honesty have no words for the thoughtfulness that went into this gift! I was so excited to receive it and the sentimental value is beyond words. The fact that Beth paid so much attention and selected the most perfect personlized gift, will always stay with me. Folks, when you find a best friend like this, you hang on for dear life. Ya hear?!

Face the Music: Songs to Get Ready

Nothing takes me to another dimension quite like music. I love to turn on some tunes when I am getting ready – this could be for a date with my hubby, errands, or some time with friends. Right now I am big into country. It might be this southern heat?! Also, my husband has gotten me into EDM… which took a while, but has now finally caught on. Without further adieu, here is a list of my ‘get ready’ music for primpin’ and then heading out the door:
headphonesThe country twang:

Carrie Underwood – Church Bells
This girl can sing! These lyrics bring the story to life, and Carrie’s voice is so pure and effortless. From her new album Storyteller, this song doesn’t disappoint. Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned!

Zac Brown Band – Loving You Easy
With catchy, fun lyrics and a voice like butter, ZBB is the perfect sound to get me pumped up. Loving You Easy is one of those tunes that when you hear those intro strums, you can’t help but to move!

Jessie James – Wanted
A super-sassy song and Jessie can belt with the best of ’em.This song is from 2009 but awesome none-the-less… straight from the archives to my current playlist!

Electronic and ready to dance:

Calvin Harris & Disciples – How Deep Is Your Love
Yes, it is the same words over and over, but it is still fire! Loved this song from the moment I heard it. Too good to ignore.

Disclosure (Featuring Lorde) – Magnets
This beat! You can hear the different layers and textures to the music – the lyrics are pretty hypnotizing too. Lorde has such a unqiue voice, it makes this splendidly different than most stuff out today.

Goldroom (Featuring Mammals) – ‘Til Sunrise
I want to sit on a beach, sip an ice tea, and listen to this on repeat! This song is a bit more “chill” then my other songs but still has an incredible beat.

Just plain ole pop:

Sia – Cheap Thrills
The kids chanting! Sia is always creative with her songs and has an epic voice to match. Cheap Thrills makes me want to dance like no one is watching!

Mike Posner – I Took A Pill In Ibiza
My girlfriends and I love this one, Mike Posner back from the past.

Arianna Grande – Into You
Her voice though. Not a huge fan of AG but love this song big time. There are also some great remixes, but I am pretty partial to the original.

I’d love to hear what your favorite songs are right now? Please share!

Book Review: “It’s Not Okay” By Andi Dorfman

I have a few little guilty pleasures, and one of them is The Bachelor/Bachelorette TV show – ain’t no shame in my game! I currently don’t have cable  (boo!), so my curiosity for current seasons is fed by Reality Steve, Us Weekly updates and by watching things unfold via social media. I did get to watch Andi on The Bachelor with Juan Pablo and then go on to her own season right after. I am guilty of being fascinated by the concept of this dating show – I mean a train wreck waiting to happen, right?
When I saw Andi had a book coming out I wasn’t clamoring in line to get it, however on an app to sell clothes, I saw someone was selling it for dirt cheap. How could a girl resist? There had been a very public breakup between her and her fiancé Josh, whom she met on the show. Just like any “celebrity” couple, there wasn’t much in the way of explanation as to why the two split. On interviews, appearances and social media, they looked deliriously happy. So why the split? My mind clamored for info. This book was the key!

If you are familiar with Ms. Dorfman, she is a cheeky, outspoken, southern girl who isn’t afraid to speak her mind or overuse the contraction “ya’ll.” Andi writes just exactly as she speaks, which is a great talent for a writer – I could picture her southern drawl speaking the words on the page. It was as if she was speaking to a friend – complete with inner dialogue and some choice swear words.

Breakups, we’ve all been there. To read about someone constantly under public scrutiny and how they personally dealt with a split, was interesting. Many saw the smiles in the media, however did not have any insight as to actually what went wrong with the couple. Insight into her personal narrative was honest and refreshing. She also wasn’t shy about her love for wine!

Watching the show and seeing Josh and Andi’s relationship unfold, I couldn’t help but scream at the TV – don’t pick the dang athlete! In her monologues she mentioned always choosing the same “type” of guy, then being treated the same way by them. In her book, she admitted she glazed over all the red flags flying, which is humbling. Most of us can relate.

Despite her angry and upset tone for most of the book, at the end she sounded hopeful. Dorfman’s “It’s Not Okay” can be used as a survival guide for breakups, the recovery steps in summation: cry, eat, cry and eat some more, burn your ex’s belongings, relapse, then move on. Amen.

All-in-all, a quick, easy read and the book definitely pulled its weight in regards to entertainment value, especially where she dishes the weird details of her Fantasy Suite date with Nick Viall aka “Number Twenty Five.” Just keep in mind, if you ever dated a jerk – you may get a case of déjà vu. Readers take caution.

Apple Lightning to USB Camera Adapter: My Precious

Perhaps many of you avid photographers have already discovered this little gem of a product, but for all those who haven’t, you can take a few moments to get acquainted! I typically take quite a few photos on my DSLR and then want to get them to my iPhone for editing. Before the Lightning USB Cable, I had created some crazy work arounds which included emailing myself pictures in batches. I knew there had to be an easier way!
img_2661Enter Apple’s lightning to USB camera adapter, my little precious! This tiny cable connects my iPhone to my fancy digital camera. The lightning cable has one end which goes right into the iPhone’s charging port and the other end has a spot for the camera’s typical data transfer cable. The USB would fit in the lightning cable and the other end would plug into the camera’s digital port – one seamless connection from phone to camera. Once the DSLR camera is flipped on, in your iPhone’s standard photo app you automatically will see a new group called “Import” along the bottom of the screen near the home button.
Once you tap import, you will be able to select which photos from the camera you want to upload – this could be one or all. Once you import using the cable, the photos from your camera will be on your phone in less than 30 seconds. One caveat, if you shoot in RAW or in large format, the imported photos will take up a lot of space on your iPhone.
After the import is complete, you have the option to remove or keep the photos on your camera. A dialogue box will pop up on your phone and ask your preference. I always hit “keep” and delete them from my camera manually if needed. Happy importing!