Sunday, March 29, 2009

Finding Buddha at 72nd and Dodge

I'm going to break one of the cardinal rules of conversation and bring up religion in this post. So, you can stop reading now if you don't want to hear me blab on about it. Really, I won't be offended. Promise.

I finished reading Eat Prey Love last week. I am astounded by that book. It's the first time I've ever read about religion and not wanted to roll my eyes at it. I have been compelled beyond reason to start reading about about Eastern religion. So, I'm following that instinct and starting with Buddhism. The obvious choice, right?

I'd like to interrupt my own line of thoughts here to say a few things:

1. I am not religious but I do think that we're all involved in some sort of intertwined spiritual journey on this planet. We all push and pull together, connected as one humanity. I think that much is clear to me.

2. But as far as organized religion goes, I do not have one that I call my own.

3. I believe in everyone's right to choose a religious/spiritual path that takes them further down their own road of divinity, so long as it doesn't bring harm or negativity to others (i.e. blowing up a building in the name of God).

4. We're all where we are meant to be, at exactly the time we're meant to be there. It would be impossible for us to be anywhere else. If we were meant to be somewhere else, then wouldn't we already be there? We all have a choice between turning left or right. If I choose to turn left, then I was meant to turn left - otherwise I would have turned right.

Moving on...

That compulsion I mentioned earlier brought me to Border's on Saturday where I think Buddha spoke to me. Well, compulsion and a 40% coupon in my email inbox. Otherwise, I would have been home on and Buddha wouldn't have had a chance. I was looking at some books and I picked up one titled What Would Buddha Do? and I opened right up to a page titled, "What Would Buddha Do When A Loved One Dies?"

How. Freaking. Bizarre. Of course I read the page.

It said:

Not through weeping and grief do we obtain peace of mind. We increase misery; we increase misery; we harm our bodies. We become thin and pale, destroying ourselves by our own power:

Sutta Nipata 584

There are times when we must weep if we are to remain human, when our feelings demand expression, whether that expression brings embarrassment or tears to those who watch. Buddha knew this; this is not what he counsels against here. When a life ends we do need to mourn. But once we have faced and expressed our grief, we have to let it go.

This is the rub, because we hold on to grief. We hold on to it as held on to the one whose loss prompts the grief. This holding drains us and prevents our directing that energy towards someone new. We remain attached to those we love.

How he longs for permanence! But he won’t find any; nor will we. Yet if his tears will not bring back his child, may be his verse will return him and us to an awareness of how things really are. His grief, even this will pass away.

**Just a note, I copied that from somewhere online so it might not be exactly right**

It's amazing how that happens sometimes, isn't it? On a physical level, my grief is pretty well managed. But mentally I can't get around it. I just don't understand the point behind taking away a life that hasn't even had a chance to begin yet. I know on some level that there is meaning behind it but I don't think it's in our nature as human beings to accept the meaning of death. We as a species have a faulty amount of love and compassion running through us. We don't want our loved ones to suffer, so when they do suffer we wrestle the universe for meaning behind it. But I don't think it's really ours to understand.

I just wish I could understand that.

Was I really spoken to by a religious master while sitting on the floor of a Border's? Doubtful. But was it enough to make me pay attention for probably the first time in my life? Yes. Apparently, I was meant to pick up that book and turn to that page, because I did and I did.

And if you're still reading and haven't given up on me as a kook, I'll leave you with a Beatles quote. Because it's my blog and I can.

There's nothing you can know that isn't known.
Nothing you can see that isn't shown.
Nowhere you can be that isn't where you're meant to be.
It's easy.
All you need is love...

Thursday, March 26, 2009

O Bikini! My Bikini!

In six weeks we leave for Florida! That means in six weeks I will be face to face with beaches and swimming pools. I will be squeezing my pale and untoned butt into a piece of glorified underwear, and then be seen in public. I don't know what the hang-up is with my behind, but the thought of it being seen outside of my pants by people who are not either married to me or a medical professional freaks me out.


The paleness I can do little about. I sunburn like a crazy person, then it turns back to white without stopping at the pretty bronze phase in the middle. Short of a spray tan, I'm stuck with it. I fake baked for a month a few years ago in preparation for a trip to San Diego and the results were disappointing to say the least. I would have had just as much luck getting a tan from sitting in front of a 60 watt bulb for eight minutes a day, as I did laying in that stupid tanning bed. Yes, eight minutes. That's what I managed to work my way up to. My belly burned every time I went. The rest of my body did see negligible signs of a tan - but I'm pretty sure that was from the bronze tinted post-tanning lotion rather than the actual tanning process. When all was said and done I was "tan" by my standards, but still "ghostly" by normal standards. Not what I was expecting out of $100.

The squishiness of my lower body however, I'm hoping to overcome. I have six weeks to run and do Wii yoga. And in six weeks when I still haven't done either of those things, I will admit defeat against my butt and pack the extra bikini bottoms with the cute little skirt on it that hides my shame from the world.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Happy and Heartbroken

My newest little niece Jaqueline was born yesterday. Most unfortunately, her twin sister Julia passed away. It's such a hard thing to process. We're overjoyed to have Jaqueline in the family and in the world with us, but we're heartbroken over the loss of Julia. It's one of those things in life that don't seem fair, no matter how you might try to justify it.

My heart goes out to her parents. There are no words to console someone when a child passes away. We're trying hard to focus on the joy of a new baby in the family. She deserves for us to celebrate her new life. She's a sweet, tiny little girl, born at 3 lb, 4 oz. It's going to be rough for her for a while, but I've met her family. Fighting it out is in their genes. :)

That's really all I can muster up to type at the moment...

Monday, March 23, 2009

Upholstery Predicament II

I posted a couple weeks ago about a pair of chairs that I'm trying to recover. Here's a couple pictures of the bottom of the seats to better illustrate the issues I'm having with attaching the fabric.

Any advice will definitely be welcome!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Creative Ways To Save

Matt and I have been making an effort lately to spend less money. Focusing on food alone is helping out a lot. We only go out to eat maybe twice a week now. Usually once a week for lunch at Jimmy Johns (at $14 it's an expense that is well worth it) and once out to dinner on the weekends. Spending less on eating out of course means that our grocery bills are going to be higher. Now the challenge comes to reduce our grocery bills.

We've started buying some items in bulk with our Sam's Club card and we make sure we eat our leftovers, but I still think the grocery bills are high. I've subscribed to coupon emails and I clip out of the newspaper. Did you know that Target has coupons online? They do! It took me a while to find them but they're right there! Target is probably one of the most expensive places you could possibly buy groceries, but sometimes they'll run a really good coupon for like, 50 cents off Silk Soy Milk which Matt drinks like it's going out of style.

Still seems too high though. What's another way to cut costs? How about making pantry staples from scratch? I just read a great article about how to save over $100 a year on spaghetti sauce. We buy a lot of spaghetti sauce in our house. We've always wondered how to make it ourselves but never really tried to figure it out. It's a pretty genius plan. Make one giant pot of it and then freeze it? Duh. Easy.

Now I just need to learn how to brew my own Leiney and we'll be set.

What other grocery staples are easy to make at home?


You know what's awesome? Once again being able to buy bunches of flowers for $1 at the grocery store.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

15 Albums That Changed Your Life

I got this from my husband on Facebook and spent too much time filling it out not to post it elsewhere. So, in order to justify the last two hours I spent making this list, I'm going to use it for my blog post today.

FYI - It's listed chronologically, not by any type of preference.

The idea is to fill it out and then tag 15 people. Fill it out if you want and then let me know you did! I love reading everyone else's list.

15. Cake - Fashion Nugget
If I remember correctly, my sister talked me into paying for 1/2 of this album with her. I might have been 12 or 13 at the time. I thought it was the coolest thing I'd ever heard. I just listened to it last week on my iPod and the bass lines thump so loud when you listen to it on headphones. It's awesome...

14. Annie DiFranco - Little Plastic Castle
I worked at Sam Goody in high school and the store manager was a huge Ani fan. She put this album in the playlist and I thought it was crap. After listening to it probably 40 times I started liking it. This album launched my great love of all things DiFranco and probably is to fault for me eventually letting my boyfriend buzz my head. No joke.

13. The Strokes - Is This It
I saw these dudes on Conan O'Brien and ran out and bought the album the next day. I was a freshman in college and had a 5 hour art class on Monday nights, so I brought it to play during class. The teacher, who I had a major crush on, really liked it and talked to me about it. I swooned. I completely wore this album out over the next couple of years. It's too catchy to shelve permanently though.

12. Scout - It Seemed Like a Good Idea At the Time
Again, another band I saw on Conan O'Brien. I bought this album before a road trip to Chicago and listened to it on repeat the entire time. Loud, grungy, full of attitude. It transcends girl rock into just plain rock. And it's awesome.

11. Miles Davis - Kind of Blue
What is there to say about this album? It's iconic.

10. Frank Sinatra - Come Fly With Me
I took this album out of my grandpa's old record collection when I got my first record player. I love to play it when I'm cooking. I pour a glass of wine, throw on an apron, and pretend it's the 1950s. I love a classic crooner and no one does it better than Blue Eyes. I listen to it and I think of my grandpa sitting around with a glass of scotch on his astroturf covered patio.

09. Spoon - Girls Can Tell
I discovered this one in an ex's record collection and staked my claim on it. It's freaking awesome. It's indie rock before indie rock was mainstream rock. Indie rock before there was a haircut associated with it. You can keep your Death Cab, I've got Girls Can Tell. This is one of the best summer albums ever, perfect for driving with the windows rolled down.

08. The Long Winters - When I Pretend to Fall
I started listening to this band at the same time as The Shins, and these guys ended up being my favorite of the two. There's something about this album that's so fluffy and goofy, yet serious and sort of depressing at the same time. I know every word to every song. It just makes me feel good to listen to it.

07. The Concretes - The Concretes
Another one of those girl rock albums that is just plain good whether you're a boy or a girl. The singer's voice is so bizarrely imperfect that it's beautiful. It's the kind of catchy, poppy goodness that only the Swedish can give to the world.

06. The Raconteurs - Broken Boy Soldiers
I could probably fill this list with just albums from Jack White and Brendan Benson. This is their first album together and they bring it like the rock stars they are. This is what modern rock should sound like. It's a shame that it only got minimal radio play. Everyone should have this album in their lexicon. It reawakened my love of great rock music.

05. Nina Simone - Nina Simone Sings the Blues
She is the High Priestess of Soul. Hers is a voice that will hit you right in the gut. The woman's got it going on. This album is pure 60s soul. It sounds like it was recorded in a hot NYC bar in the middle of summer 1967. She's angry and heartbroken and fighting for her civil rights on this album. It's beautiful in more ways than I can understand.

04. Kings Of Leon - Aha Shake Heartbreak
Raw, dirty, rock n. roll. I love it. I love this band. I'm seeing them for the 4th time when we go to Florida. This album feels like so much more than just another band making music. Bonus points for "Soft" containing some of the filthiest sentiments ever set to music. You're missing out if you never listen to this band.

03. The Beatles - Sgt. Peppers
Oh god... what is there to say about Sgt. Peppers that millions of people worldwide don't already know. This album (and band of course) is probably responsible for everything that's happened in music over the last 40 years. Listening to this one in headphones is the only way to go. It's so rich and deep. There's so much hidden back in there. What makes it even more amazing is the way they recorded it. No Pro Tools, no computers. Just a room full of geniuses and 4 tracks. It's mind blowing. I can't pick one Beatles album that I think is the best, but this is one that made me realize how amazing the band became on their later works.

02. Beach Boys - Pet Sounds
Forget the fun-in-the-sun, surfer bullshit. This is Beach Boys right here. The harmonies are insane. No auto-tune in 1966, remember? I've listened to some of his album with the instrumentals taken off and the vocals alone still make up an incredible piece of work.

01. Led Zeppelin - Houses of the Holy
I broke out of the Beatles/Beach Boys zone with this album and started listening to heavier classic rock. Robert Plant sort of sounds like a lady-boy at times, but you know what? He rocks it. Definitely needs to be listened to with the volume cranked up.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Recipe! Irish Leftovers

Yesterday was my first St. Patrick's Day as an Irish man's wife. I performed my wifely duty and cooked corned beef, cabbage, potatoes and beer bread. I have never, ever, in my life eaten corned beef and cabbage before. The words just sound gross. Turns out though that it's really, really good. I'm a corned beef and cabbage convert.

We ate the leftover corned beef in the form of reubens for lunch (Frank's Sour Kraut - also a big yum) and were left with a giant container of cabbage and potatoes. Soooo, I made my version of a Runza. For those of you who don't live in Nebraska, Runza is a fast food restaurant with a deliciously weird sandwich called, what else, a Runza. It's ground beef and cabbage baked into a bread pocket. There are versions with cheese, mushrooms, whatever.

I browned a pound of ground turkey with onions, garlic and hamburger seasoning. Then I chopped up about 1/4 of a head of the boiled cabbage from last night and threw that in. I also mixed in a scoop of the sour kraut leftover from lunch and a small can of mushrooms.

I scooped the mixture into a premade pie crust.

Drenched it with shredded sharp cheddar.

And covered it with the second pie crust.

And ate it. Yummmmm...


Spring gives me such a stirring feeling in my gut. Whenever it rolls around, I rethink my life and my career and my choices. It's the season of rebirth and every year I continue to be... not reborn?

The sky and the ground, the sounds and the smells, it's all so beautiful and inspiring. But I usually end up missing most of it while sitting in the basement of an office building clicking away at a computer. It's depressing. I hope above all hopes that this is the last year I have to do this. I want my job to be going outside and experiencing the Spring, taking pictures of it and sharing it with people. How wonderful would that be? I've finally found my attainable dream and I'm not going to wait any longer to make it happen. I refuse to live a miserable, office bound life. I know that a lot of people are happy to work in offices (or happy to have a job at this point - for all the complaining I do I'm still happy to be employed) but I don't find any satisfaction in it. I don't know what I was thinking when I pursued a career that required me to sit at a desk for 40 hours a week. It isn't me...

So, this will be the Spring that I follow that stirring. This will be the year that I finally go after what I want and make my life something that I'm proud of. I'm done with the sad sap "poor me with the unhappy job" life I've been living. No one is going to hand me happiness, I have to make it for myself. I realized that long ago. This is the one last step I have to take to make my life completely happy and so help me - I will make it happen.

- Tis' better to live your own life imperfectly than to imitate someone else's perfectly.

I'm about to pass into babbling territory so I'll leave it at that...

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

In My Dreams

Requirements for my next kitchen:

1. My very own Diet Coke dispenser.
2. A professional, huge, crazy, eight burner, double oven range.
3. A square of heated floor in front of the coffee maker. I spend a lot of time there in the morning.
4. A dishwasher capable of dissolving an entire casserole from a baking dish.

...I think that might be it. That's not too much to ask, is it?


So, this "featured post" thing I was trying to do lasted a whole two weeks. That's ten days longer than I expected.

I've been feeling kind of swamped lately. My weekends are filling up with (free still counts) photo shoots with friends, and then the subsequent six hours of photo editing afterwards. Photoshop addict in the house! I got my federal tax ID set up yesterday and tonight I need to get my Zenfolio site set up so I can start posting stuff from an event I photographed last weekend. I still stop all the time and wonder if this is really happening. I feel like a fraud.

Sunday, March 15, 2009


Look who smiles now!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Photo Thursday

Tonight I put that extra hour of light to use. I'm bummed that I don't have it in the morning. There's nothing harder than getting out of bed while it's pitch black outside.

Time to hit the Feria.

I went to the store today and a little girl was staring at me. After a few seconds she turned to her mom and said, "Look Mom, that girl's hair is orange!"

Upholstery Predicament

I have a bit of a problem regarding a chair seat I'm trying to recover. I have these two awesome aluminum kitchen chairs, kind of like these but mine cost a whopping $2 apiece at a garage sale. Mine though have a detachable seat which is covered in a nasty red vinyl that has paint stains on it. I've been meaning to recover them and after five years of owning the chairs, I finally got around to it. I bought all the materials to rewrap the seats, took the first chair apart, and then realized that the chair seat is made out of some type of space age indestructible plastic and I can't use my upholstery stapler on it.

What do I do? How do you reupholster a seat if you can't staple or nail into it? The red vinyl is held on by little tabs that were cut into the chair seat and then the material was shoved under the tabs. Sort of like the back of a picture frame. (Did I mention that I'm terrible at describing things???) I don't think I can get my new materials under there with it because the tabs don't bend.

What to do.... any suggestions?

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Blogstar: Meg "Whatever" Duersken

Wow. The news of the world today is especially saddening. Lots of horrific stories to read if you can stomach it.

I want to cheer everyone up this afternoon with an uplifting blog. This woman and her family are a bunch of dolls. They are cute, fun, bright and cheery. And they have a knockout house with an insane bathroom.

Whatever - Meg Duersken

Aside from being stinking cute, she also likes to keep it real and will actually show you the giant pile of dirty laundry on the floor, thus making you feel better about your own giant pile of dirty laundry.

Vicki Christina Nebraska

I am so sick of winter. The windchill this morning was -9°. That is outrageous for March. I'm looking at our Florida trip in May as a break from the winter, because it seriously feels like this is never going to end!

We stayed in bed last night and watched Vicki Christina Barcelona. I don't want to say that it was a terrible movie but... it was a terrible movie. The character of Vicki is clearly Woody Allen and they're both clearly in love with Scarlett Johansson. ScarJo on the other hand tops my list of Hollywood's Most Overrated. I swear the only reason she keeps getting work is because she's hot when she pouts.

Penélope Cruz and Javier Bardem's scenes carried the movie. I could have watched an entire ninety minutes of them screaming at each other in Spanish. They're both such great performers they make you forget that you're watching another annoyingly neurotic Woody Allen movie. And yes, I understand that "annoyingly neurotic" is his schtick but enough already.

From now on whenever he releases a new movie I'm just going to skip it and watch Annie Hall. Annie Hall is one of my all time top five favorite movies. That's why it makes me so mad that Woody Allen circa everything-after-1977 sucks. It's also why I'm incapable of not watching his movies when they come out.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

$1000 Spree - Electronics

If I had an extra $1000 this week, I would spend it on electronics. In reality I would spend it on new windows for the house. We got a quote last night and holy goodness, it was more than I thought it would be.

But right now I'm pretending that my windows are paid for, I'm rich, there is no recession and I don't feel an overwhelming sense of guilt when I buy myself things.

Amazon Kindle 2 - $359
I'm not sure how I really feel about the Amazon Kindle. I like the idea of being able to take my entire library with me where ever I go, but books are such a classic thing. I'm not ready to replace those in my life. A Kindle would be tops to have when traveling though. For that, it makes it onto my wish list.

Skyworth TV/DVD - $299
We ditched the TV in our living room and now it's so damn quiet when I'm cooking alone in the kitchen. I'd like to have a little TV to just tuck away in the corner and flip it on while I'm in the kitchen. This one also comes with a built in DVD player so I can watch SATC while I bake cookies. :)

BlackBerry 8830 - $179.99
I have major iPhone envy. I can't bring myself to sign up for AT&T cell service though. It's really terrible. I hate calling people in Omaha who have iPhones because it's so hard to hear them. My friend Tomm pointed out to me, "But if you have an iPhone you don't need to actually talk to people." Touche. I love Blackberries though. I'm becoming more and more of a gadget person as time goes by. I'd like to be able to access email, etc without being chained to a desk.

Garmin GPS - $139.99
I get lost. A lot. Enough said.

Apple Nike + iPod Sport Kit - $29
I would love to be able to just put on some shoes and run without first having to visit to plan a route. I'm completely anal about knowing how far I've run. This would take care of that and so, so much more. And at $29, it's something that I might actually buy.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Monday Recipe: Fake Baking!

As far as I know, I created this recipe. It tasted a little familiar though. So, unless someone comes forth to claim it, I'm saying I made it up. Complete bonus for it being easy peasy.

No-bake Peanut Butter Cheesecake

Beat 2 tbsp (room temp) unsalted butter until fluffy. Then add 1 cup peanut butter. Then beat in about 2 tbsp powdered sugar. Once that's mixed and creamy, beat in an 8 oz. package of cream cheese.

If you're like me, you could just eat that straight out of the bowl. But, it gets better.

Fold in half a tub of Cool Whip. Pour cheesecake mix into a pre-made graham cracker crust. Voila! Cheesecake.

I then topped mine with the chocolate ganache from this recipe.

You might want to spread your cheesecake out a little more evenly than I did...

Word of advice for this recipe! It's almost easier to make two pies with this. Just double the peanut butter, butter and powdered sugar ingredients. (And obviously buy a second crust.) Otherwise, you'll end up with half a tub of Cool Whip and about a cup of ganache left over. I don't know about you, but I'd rather have two pies than a fridge full of halves.


Sunday, March 8, 2009

Weekend Picks

I kind of missed the boat on this one. My brain was preoccupied with a photography workshop I had on Saturday at Becky Novacek's studio. And then this afternoon is my niece's sixth birthday party.

Here are a few pics of the model we had at the workshop.

It was so awesome to be able to sit around and have a photographer explain in simple terms how to really use a camera. I learned a lot, but once again left the workshop feeling like I know nothing. I'm really starting to see how my photos are lacking a technical touch, which is a good thing. I'm hoping to be able to improve upon that. I still like my photos though, whether or not they're technically "good." I think they have a decent amount of heart in them.

Looking back at the pictures of our wedding, I'm really disappointed in them. They're well done and yes, technically "good," but I don't think they really represent Matt and me. I wanted some warm and personal pictures of us to put up around the house and I don't feel like we got anything like that. I haven't printed off a single picture to put up. I'm thinking about hiring someone to maybe do some one year anniversary pics for us. If I can talk Matt into it. :)

Friday, March 6, 2009

Blood and Needles = Me Not Okay

I have this funny little story that I've never told. The only people I've told are my hubs, Cat and her hubs, and maybe our parents. Why? Because it's embarrassing. Why am I now sharing it? Because if it hadn't happened to me it would probably be one of the funniest things I've ever heard.

I went to the doctor for a shot in the arm. Simple enough, right? No, shots anything medically related makes me queasy. It was towards the end of the day so had to sit in the doctor's office for probably forty minutes before I could get in for my thirty second appointment, so I was a little worked up by the time the nurse called me back. This poor nurse was a very sweet lady who just graduated from school if I remember correctly. This was the third in a series of arm shots and I told her that the shots hurt. They aren't bad at first but then after a couple of seconds it feels someone punched me in the arm. She said it was probably because my arms are so lean and she would pinch the skin up so the needle would go into more fat and hurt less.

Okay, whatever, she's the professional here.

So that's what she does. But something went a little wrong. I heard her say, "Oops! I think I hit an artery!" And like an idiot I looked down at my arm which is now spurting blood. The room got a little dim and I think I uttered an "Oh no." She asked me if I was alright, which clearly I wasn't, and I told her that blood sort of freaks me out. She had me sit down in a chair and relax for a minute while she tried to stop the bleeding. I'm familiar with the feeling of my medical nausea though and I knew the only way I was going to be okay was if I fled the building and sat in my car with my head between my knees. Really, it works. Sometimes I get a Sprite in the parking garage too.

She reluctantly let me leave and walked me to the billing counter. I was very much not okay by the time we reach that billing counter. I was clutching the counter for dear life and my vision was blurry. I was so desperate to leave that rather than sit down and give myself a minute, I followed her out into the lobby.

It is at this point that I pass out. On top of the nurse. I was trying to walk to the nearest chair but my feet felt like they were stuck to the floor and the lights went out. I fell forwards on top of her and sort of bounced off and landed backwards on my butt and elbows. Purse and coat went flying. I never lost consciousness, I just lost the ability to see, talk and move. The entire time my brain was saying, "Oh shit, oh shit, oh shit." I heard lots of yelling and I opened my eyes to three nurses standing over me with stethoscopes and little flashlights, ready to check my vital signs. I told them I was fine and I was just testing their emergency skills. All I wanted was to run from the building but they wouldn't let me up off the floor in fear of me falling again and hitting my head. Can't blame them. I already tried to leave once and ended up blacked out in the lobby. They brought me a cold towel, water, crackers - all while I was sprawled out on the floor of the waiting room. I've never been so embarrassed in my life. It was like one of those dreams where you realize you're at school naked. All you want to do is flee the premises.

I've come close to passing out in waiting rooms many times, but this was the first time it's actually happened. I once voluntarily laid down on the floor outside of a doctor's dermatologist's office because I started getting tunnel vision and could only hear what sounded like rushing water pounding in my ears. I also had to duck into the mail room at work once and lean against the Coke machine after getting my cholesterol tested. There was also a time where I tore my elbow open falling down the stairs at Cat's house and had to have my mommy bandage it up while I sat on the floor with my arm above my head. I was 22.

This story is also cross referenced under, "Why I Don't Have Any Tattoos."

Now We're Talking!

I might have a photography website as early as next week! I met with some web cohorts today and we're doing a work-exchange for it. So, the site is free sort-of-but-not-really. As long as I don't have to write a check to someone, I'm happy.

Now I need clients, clients, clients to take pictures of.

Do any married ladies out there want to dust off their wedding dresses and do a bridal shoot with me? I want to do a practice round of wedding pictures to get a feel for it. I guess it's technically a "trash the dress" but I promise no trashing will be done. You wear your dress, I'll buy you some flowers, we'll go find some cool place to take pics, fun will be had by all. And if your husband doesn't happen to be busy maybe he'd like to come along too?

Email me! cburright {at} gmail dot com.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Photo Thursday

Okay, so the photos I took weren't too spectacular this week. I was kind of lazy about it. I did do some experimenting with color and textures though and I accidentally did something sort of cool. I took my incredibly boring picture and turned it into this:

I like adding way too much stuff to my pictures and turning them into these grungy messes. Sort of makes it look like I know what I'm doing.

Vacation and Booking Flights

What a day! I woke up this morning and my desktop weather said it was already 48° outside. I wanted to sit outside and drink my morning coffee. It was so beautiful. Spring is here, or at least here for the next five days.

I bought plane tickets for our mini vacation in May. We really wanted to be able to take a trip this year but the budget is a little tight. We originally thought about Las Vegas again or Colorado, but we ended up scaling back and decided to visit some of Matt's family and friends in the Tampa area. By going to Florida we have a free place to sleep and a kitchen to cook our meals in. Two huge money savers. I do however plan on eating Dunkin Donuts every morning while we're there. I can't wait for my first official DD experience. Bonus that the house also has a pool and is in walking distance to the beach.

I was a little surprised by the price of plane tickets. Everyone has been saying they're going up, but I was able to book us two round trips on American for $378 after all the wacko taxes. I've never flown on American before, but I already like them. I must have signed up for their emails at some point because I got one with a coupon code for 10% off airfare. It knocked off about $33 before taxes and ended up being the cheapest flight I could find. I'm going to keep an eye on flight prices and make sure they don't get any cheaper than that. If they do, I'm hoping they have a policy like Southwest where they will issue a credit for the price difference. It never hurts to ask! I don't think the credit policy is even listed on Southwest's site. I had to call and ask about it.

I'm also going to try to get out of the luggage fees. American charges $15 per bag, each way. Since we're taking a short trip and it's summer (summer = lighter packing) we might be able to get away with just carry on luggage. I once took a five day trip to San Diego with nothing more than a carry on bag and a large purse. It was a proud moment for me. Always remember to check luggage fees before booking. Some airlines are outrageous.

So, in short, three things I always do when booking through an airline:

1. Sign up for airline emails at least a month before I plan to purchase my ticket and keep an eye on discounts.

2. Watch ticket prices after I buy and call the airline if I see my same flight offered for a cheaper price. (If it isn't the exact same flight, they might charge a flight transfer fee which may or may not negate the price of the credit, depending on how much the price went down.)

3. Check luggage policies before booking. Sometimes the savings in ticket prices doesn't make up for the price of having to check luggage.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Blogstar: Nie Nie

For my first Blogstar post I'm going to give you the most incredible blog ever to read. (No offense to the next person I feature on here.) You may or may not have heard about this woman and her story. I can guarantee you will be hooked on it though if you stop by and read her blog.

Nie Nie Dialogues

Stephanie Aurora Clark Nielson returns from a almost fatal plane crash. Happy to be blogging again from Utah and recovering too. Four happy children and one sweet husband make her life as good as it gets.

Last year this incredible woman and her husband, along with a pilot who died, were in a small plane crash. After months in a burn unit recovering, she's back at home with her hubs and kids and blogging again. There's really not much for me to say about this blog. It speaks for itself. You don't know how many times I've started to cry reading her blog. January 16th is when she started blogging again after the accident. You can scroll down to there and read backwards to catch up with her. Her sister, Courtney, kept a record of their time spent in the hospital and kept the world updated on their improvement.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Structure! Bring it on...

In an effort to bring a little more structure to my blog, I'm going to start doing daily posts based on a scheduled topic in addition to my regular ramblings. All the famous bloggers do it. And we all know that I want this blog to bring me massive amounts of fame and fortune. Hence why I would like to start writing about things that other people might find entertaining, not just me, my sister and approximately four of my friends.

I really want to find a direction for my blog. I don't think there's a real purpose to any of it right now. I don't really use this space as a journal. Nothing I write about is really that personal and I try not to spend my time ranting and raving about things. Believe me, I really want to. You don't know how many angry posts I've written and then deleted on here. I'm trying to keep my karma clean though. I love looking around and observing other people and places. I'm going to share that with you guys for a while and see how it goes. I might find a real direction out of it.

Plus this might be a way to put all my surfing to good use:

Recipe Monday
Easy enough, I just share a recipe I made. It's Monday so I'm not going to set the bar too high.

Shopping Spree Tuesday
This is where I will pretend that I have an extra $52,000 in disposable income every year and I pick out $1000 worth of stuff I would buy each week. Is there a real point to this other than to show everyone lots of great stuff that probably none of us can afford? No. But its fun to pretend.

Blogstar Wednesday!
Blogstar = Rockstar blogger. I stole that term. I'm just going to link to someone else's blog and let you read their stuff. It's going to be my slacker day. I read (or have friends that read) lots of great blogs out there and I want to get them some extra clickage. Plus these people are relevant and you should probably be spending your time on their sites, not mine.

Photo Thursday
In an attempt to hold myself more accountable for photography practice, I'm going to make sure I do one creative shoot a week (taking pictures of my dinner doesn't count). I will hopefully do this more than once a week and have lots of pictures to share. Maybe it can be a daily thing?

Weekend Picks
Movies, concerts, shows, events, whatever. There's always great stuff happening on the weekends. I'll find something to share. Probably just a cut and paste from the City Weekly. Or a one word post: Bar.

Amazing Home

Do you think this lady will let me move into her home?

Beth Jansen's Photogenic Home on

I want to buy that house from her and everything in it. It's such an inspirational home.

Who wants to come over and help scrape the popcorn ceiling so I can paint it yellow? Does anyone want to sew me an awesome, bright quilt like hers? How about wallpapering? Does anyone like wallpapering?

Call me.

Oh geez... she's a photographer too. Give me a break. This is just too much. Cat, don't go look at her site. You'll want to fire me...

Flower TV from HANNspree

How much is too much to spend on this TV shaped like a flower from HANNspree?

If you answered, "Any amount," you're probably right. I think the TV is sold out from the company, but I found one from an online seller for a mere $499. Right. For a 12 inch TV. That makes sense.

It is cute though... HANNspree has a store in San Francisco that we walked by at least ten times while we were there. Obviously, it's a very good thing that we didn't go inside. They also have another one that looks like an apple. Say it with me now, "Awwwww."

Sunday, March 1, 2009


Tonight we continued our Oscar 2009 tour by watching Changeling. We both liked it. The first ten minutes or so kind of sucked. It felt like Clint Eastwood was taking a cat nap in the director's chair and no one wanted to wake him so they just filmed the first few scenes without him. Angelina Jolie just sort of held her hand over her face and pursed her lips a lot until he woke up and started telling her what to do. Then the movie got good. And it stayed good for the next six hours or so. The movie is not short if you catch my drift. It clocks in at 142 minutes.

Last week we watched Burn After Reading and Man on Wire. (I signed us up for Blockbuster by mail thing as you might have guessed.) Man on Wire was awesome! It was such an inspirational movie. I'm also a huge sucker for documentaries so it had that going for it. Burn After Reading was also good. But again, I'm a huge sucker for the Coen brothers. It was another one of their "everyones' problems are solved by the death of someone else" movies. The cast was great in it. Highly recommended.

Not much else has been happening this weekend. It snowed again, so that sucked. I did make a meal tonight that is probably one of the weirdest things I've ever made. Peanut butter chicken stir-fry. It was good.