Photography Passion Brought to Life

Friday, September 9, 2016



Photography has always been a passion of mine. I went into high school (so long ago *frown* ) knowing that I wanted to work on the yearbook and take awesome pictures that would be captured forever. I got my first DSLR back sometime around 2008 (maybe before then?!) but you can read more about that and my new camera here. After posting that I saw a Groupon for a walking tour for photography. The photographer would teach you how to use your camera and walk with you through the city showing you how to compose your pictures. 

Hands on help is always better helpful so I bought the Groupon for my mom and I. This Groupon was almost disastrous, but it worked out in the end. I put a sneak peak of some of my pictures in my August Vlog



After getting quite a few shots I really liked I set out to figure out ways to better edit my photos in Photoshop. I was able to figure out some "actions" and got free downloads, score! I was able to make my pictures look brighter and more vibrant with this. For example here is the before and after of my mom and I that the photographer took while we were at the park.


Even since editing this photo I've learned so much more! I want to keep getting better and sharing my photos (and hopefully one day make some money because of it). But right now, I just want to share my photos. So I created an Unsplash account. If you are unfamiliar with them, it is free pictures you can use in any way you want to. I loved using pictures from there for my blog. So now I'm glad I can give back. My goal is to get 20 likes on my photos!


You can check out some of my pictures, like them or use them for whatever you want! Click HERE to go to my Unsplash page! 
 

Dinner Ideas for Busy People

Friday, September 2, 2016


It gets very hard trying to come up with dinners to cook when you work in the evening. Cooking dinner for me takes place at roughly 7 or 8 am! I proceed to pack it up in to-to containers for myself and put the rest in the fridge for NPG for dinner. It's not easy to ask yourself what you want to eat for dinner when it's nearly 12 hours before dinner time!

I decided the best move for me to make was to make a meal plan for the month (August) and it extremely helped me to know what I was cooking and actually cook it. Plus it saved on grocery bills since we knew exactly what we were going to eat and what we needed to buy. I think one week I spent $40 for the whole week, minus dog food and alcohol.

Some of these recipes I saw on friends pages so I will list the links below so you can also try them out. Some really turned out to be favorites so I switched out some meals to make our favorites again.  

Basically I tried to have something new at least twice a week and have leftovers often so the fridge didn't get too piled up with food since it's only 2 of us eating. I'm thinking for some of the casseroles I may cut them in half next time because I know personally I get tired of a meal after eating it twice. But I can say the dog sure enjoyed the leftovers that we didn't finish. Also, I didn't plan for the weekends because we could be doing anything or going anywhere so they were often quick meals or eating out.

So without further ado, here is my August meal plan:


Recipes linked by date

3. Goulash
8. Stuffed Bell Peppers
9 (23). Skillet Sausage and Veggies
11. Chicken and Broccoli Casserole
12. Cowboy Casserole
15. One Skillet Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta
17. King Ranch Casserole
18. Buffalo Ranch Chicken Quesadillas


If y'all know of any other great recipes please share them!  I'm still filling in my future months calendars!



Highlights of August

Friday, August 26, 2016


I have slowly been getting back into the blogging game. I'm basically a one-day-a-week blogger now (better 1 day than none, right?!) and so a lot of stuff gets left out when I only blog roughly 4 times a month.

So last month I saw how Elizabeth did a cool vlog of her adventures throughout the month and I really liked the idea, so I'm totally stealing her idea and making my own vlog to update y'all when I don't always blog about everyday life. Though everyday life isn't always that interesting, I tried to throw in the highlights.






What have you been up to this month?!

Finding Reading Time in a Busy Schedule

Friday, August 19, 2016


I swear my free time has diminished to about 5 hours a week. Okay, that might be an exaggeration, but that's what it feels like. In all honestly though, between working a full time job that sometimes requires Saturday hours, training for the half marathon and just keeping up the house, reading falls somewhere behind blogging on the list of when to get things done.

Every year I create a goal to read 20 books on Goodreads and so far, every year I have fallen short. This year seemed to be the same (see all of my excuses above). I tried multiple times to sit down and read but every time I lost interest in about 2.5 seconds because there were other things I needed to be doing or I was just plain tired and wanted a nap. So far this year I have read 8 books and only one of this has been paperback.

Okay, so how do you read books when you have a busy schedule? Well, my answer has been audiobooks. I rediscovered them in all of their glory. Yes 7 of the 8 books I "read" I actually listened to. Most of them I listened to while driving back and forth to work. But it's also easy for me to listen when I'm cooking or cleaning.

This year I have read: The Girl on Legare Street, Who Moved My Cheese, Low Pressure, Texas Lucky, Lethal, The Heart Goes Last, Demon Rumm, and Rogue Lawyer.

I have also discovered a new favorite author, Sandra Brown. I have fallen in love with her writing style and can't get enough. I've read 4 of her books this year, that doesn't sound like a lot but for me, it is.

I also wanted to revive the Read Across America map! I have started adding a few new books to it.



My two new adds for this year are Texas with Low Pressure by Sandra Brown and also Louisiana with Lethal also by Sandra Brown. Next up in Tennessee with Ford Country by John Grisham.

How do you fit reading into your busy schedule?
What have you been reading?


Hello Half!

Friday, August 12, 2016


Running has never really been my "sport". I really disliked running in high school and I warmed up to it a bit in college. Anybody else feel this way? I am trying to make it my thing. I have now completed the Monument Avenue 10K in 2015 and 2016 plus too many 5ks to count! But it has been my goal to run a half marathon for over 4 years now. It is on number 37 my 101 in 1001 list and I was beginning to get a little worried that I wouldn't complete one. BUT I'm happy to announce that I have signed up for the American Family Fitness Half Marathon on November 12th.
I am fairly nervous about this half, but I am so excited to finally be completing this goal! Sports Backers is holding their 8th year of the half marathon training so I know by the time the Half gets here I will be very prepared for it!

I had my first welcome/introductory training run last Saturday and it just stood to remind me I have a long way to go. We ran 3 miles and they were 3 tough ones. This past week was our first official training week. 3 days at 3 miles each. It has been so hot and humid here in Virginia I hadn't been running. I completely understand why I didn't run any this summer. Those runs this week were pretty killer. I was slow and drinched by the time I finished those 3 miles. But I'm looking at it as just more room for improvement. By the time race day gets here I will have improved greatly, the weather will have cooled down significantly and I know I will be very proud of myself and how far I've come!

I am so excited to share little tid bits of helpful hints along my journey that can hopefully help y'all with whatever race you are preparing for. The first one being, if you know there is a camera man nearby taking pictures always smile! You hate to be caught in an aweful face like I was. I will know better next time!

PS check out my coach friend who is looking quite stunning in his orange and penguin hat!

Smile, it's just one more mile!


What tips do you have for running a half marathon?