Saturday, January 31, 2009

Intro: Photo-a-Day

Since it's ridiculously cold outside, and since the winter months are prime time for honing one's photography skills (or obtaining said skills, if one does not possess them)...

I'm announcing a new blog series, starting tomorrow, February 1st:
One photo, posted once a day, for one month.*

No promises that these pics will be anything spectacular. But I will promise regular photos. And maybe some commentary thrown in, here and there.

Oh, by the way, if you're up for it, why don't you try it out, too? Just leave a comment below, letting me know that you're in, and then slap a picture on your blog every day this month. They don't have to be magazine-worthy photos, and you don't even have to be a "photographer." You can take pictures of your dog, your dinner plate, your fuzzy slippers, your great aunt Melva, etc. etc. It's a fun way to document your life, and I betcha it'll improve your photography skillz. Try it out and see :)

Photo #1, coming tomorrow!

*Inspired by the many photographers who are blogging one picture per day for an entire year. Impressive. You'll notice that I've picked the shortest month of the year. I'm starting small... ;)

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Ten months ago today...

...we were on our way here.

Don't get me wrong; I like snow, and winter, and icy roads, and shoveling, etc. etc. etc.

But Maui's looking really good right now.

P.S. Um, Bobby Earle mentioned me on his blog. What the heck?! I'm practically famous ;) Did you take my advice and check out his photography? Good stuff!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Coming soon...

... a new project, suitable for the dead of winter.

Here's a hint.

Monday, January 26, 2009

The light was pretty.

Bogart, Bergman, and weekend recap

This weekend, Marty and I sat next to the fireplace, bowls of cookie dough ice cream in hand, and watched Casablanca. Have you seen it? If not, please do! I was pleasantly surprised, particularly because it was nothing like I thought it would be. (For starters... it takes place in Africa? Who knew?!)

If you haven't guessed yet, I'm on an old-movie kick. Next up? Since we like to alternate between my preferred film genre versus Marty's (i.e., gushy-mushy vs. bombs-explosions-severed-limbs-etc.etc.etc.), maybe The Bridge on the River Kwai... Do you have any suggestions for good movies from the 40's and 50's? I'd love to hear them!

I've got a massive to-do list this week. Lots of plans are in the works right now, from both a business and personal standpoint. Since we're back to single-digit temps this week, it's a good time to hole up in our tiny abode and plan, plan, plan for when the good weather hits... it's also a good time for ice cream and vintage movies ;)

Happy Monday!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Reverence (or indifference?)

**Location: the Art Institute, Chicago

Cute, regardless :)

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


This book is good. It usually helps me come to terms with the virtues (and vices) of this chilly season we're enduring. (Today, 21-degrees and sunshine felt like springtime. Not a good sign.)

Here's an excerpt, written by Kathleen Norris (titled "Weather Report: February 10"):

I walk downtown, wearing a good many of the clothes I own, keeping my head down and breathing through several thicknesses of a wool scarf. A day so cold it hurts to breathe; dry enough to freeze spit. Kids crack it on the sidewalk.

Walking with care, snow barely covering the patches of ice, I begin to recall a canticle or a psalm--I can't remember which--and my body keeps time:

Cold and chill, bless the Lord
Dew and rain, bless the Lord
Frost and chill, bless the Lord
Ice and snow, bless the Lord
Nights and days, bless the Lord
Light and darkness, bless the Lord

Another line comes to mind: "at the breath of God's mouth the waters flow." Spring seems far off, impossible, but it is coming. Already there is dusk instead of darkness at five in the afternoon; already hope is stirring at the edges of the day.

Photogs in action...

I meant to post this a month ago! Here are a few pics of Marcia, from David and Rachael's wedding...

Marcia, David, and the mother of the groom... she was a hoot :D

Saturday, January 17, 2009

I heart Blogs

Since it's the weekend (the perfect time for "blog-spelunking"), I thought I'd write a quick post about a few of the blogs that I visit, so that you can be similarly inspired :)

Jasmine Star (hilarious, with smashing photography to boot)
Becker's Blog (wish I knew my camera as well as he does)
Justin and Mary (pure cuteness, in photographic form)
Marcia (you've heard about her before! Groovylicious images!)
DPS (a great resource; I love searching through their archives)
Shootsac Blog (My Shootsac makes me happy.)
Nakai Photography (I met Kenny at a photography seminar. Cool guy; cool blog.)

The Bolsa Chica (Buy a bag from Monica's Etsy shop. You'll love it!)
Belles Lettres Designs (Katie is beautifully, ridiculously talented...)
Jorjah-B (I go here for inspiration, and here, too. Haven't been disappointed yet.)
SouleMama (One word: peaceful.)
A Cup of Jo (entertainingly inspiring! I think I found this through Georgia's blog.)

Joy [blogs] to the World (Joy writes. Really well. Post more often, Joy!!)
6YearMed (It's like a kiss on the cheek and a punch in the stomach, every time you visit. And I mean that in the best way possible...)
Boundless (yay!)
Purple Cellar (Lydia shares good stuff about biblical womanhood and the like.)
22 Words (thoughtful, concise, thought-provoking. All posts are exactly 22 words long.)

Rochelle (Makes me giggle! Also, Roe gives interesting, thoughtful insight on living with fibromyalgia.)
Hobie and Gobie (My cutie patutie second-cousin-once-removed... the blog is named after her two imaginary friends!)
Amy's Humble Musings (She cracks me up.)
A Year of Crockpotting (Stephanie rocks the crockpot like nobody's business. I'm dying to try the crockpot cheesecake recipe...)

Is there a blog or two that you think I should know about? Leave it in the comments; I'd love to hear about it!

*Photo courtesy of this blog.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Ode to Warm Weather

Given that temps in Chicago might not make it up past zero today, I thought a post about summer might provide a brief respite for us Midwest arctic-tundra dwellers...

Marty took these shots five months ago, during a day at Oak Street beach. That was the day I didn't put any sunscreen on. The sun did its work while I was lying on my towel, feet in the sand, reading a book... We went to Greektown for dinner that night; it was there, standing in front of the bathroom mirror, that I realized I had been transformed into a red, shiny lobster.

It was a good day :)

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


You have to check out PicPads:

Considering that I'm a list-making queen, this is absolutely, positively brilliant.

(The prices are a bit steep, but wouldn't this make the cutest birthday/wedding/etc. gift?!)

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

inspiration hour

It usually happens between 10 and 11, every morning.

I'm sitting at my desk, sipping tea and working on a project. It's peaceful and quiet. My space heater whirrs in the background.

And then, my mind starts to dance.

These are my moments of inspiration: here, somewhere between 10 and 11am, every morning. This is when I feel that I can conquer the world. This is when I scribble to-do lists on post-it notes.

This is when I brainstorm:
what to do this weekend?
what to do for vacation next fall?
what to do for mom's birthday gift?
what to do about the blank living room wall?
what should I read next?
how can I surprise my husband today?
what's next for me in photography?
what relationships do I need to work on?

As I work, I think. I scribble. I dream.

Sometimes I call Marty and tell him my newly-hatched plans for the future. He's usually working with high voltage or has his head inside a giant machine, so he "mmhmm's" me, and promises we'll talk it over tonight. I hang up, content, and scribble some more.

Somewhere around 11am, my thoughts slow down. I get hungry. I keep working.

That 10-to-11am hour is my 60 minutes of inspiration for the day.

When are you most inspired?

Saturday, January 10, 2009

White-balance awesomeness

I would like one of these, please!

*Photo courtesy of the Photojojo Store. It's pretty much the bomb-diggity. So go there.

Here's the product description:

The White Balance Lens Cap leaves you no excuse for not properly white-balancing every situation you encounter. Simply flip your camera into custom White Balance mode, snap a photo with your White Balance Lens Cap on, and your camera creates a perfect profile of the actual lighting in front of you.

I think it would make a nice "mid-January-just-because" present, don't you?

Happy weekend :)

Friday, January 9, 2009

Snow day? I think not...

It's a freezing, snowy, windy Friday in Chicago, and I absolutely love it. I wish it would snow for days. Everyone would panic, the roads would shut down, and Marty and I could sit at home by the fireplace; I'd edit pictures and read books, and Marty would make cups of hot chocolate and sing Jack Johnson songs to me with his guitar, all day long.

(My mom sometimes tells me that I'm delusional. She's probably right.)

Instead of the predicted eight inches of snow... we got one.


I'm told more is on it's way tonight. Not sure if Chicagoland can handle a whole, whopping two more inches of the fluffy white stuff... Regardless, hope your weekend is off to a fantastic start! And if you've got a fellow crooning to you about banana pancakes, all the better ;)

Thursday, January 8, 2009


Jorjah-B posted this today. The picture made me happy :*)

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Winter in Chi-Town

During our stay in Chicago last week, Marty and I tried to curb our spending a bit. One of us (still not sure who) introduced the idea of walking from our hotel on the Mag Mile over to the Shedd Aquarium, our destination for the day.

Hmmm. $10 cab fare vs. 4-mile walk in the blistering cold. (In hindsight, I could have skipped the glass of wine at dinner that night, and we could have taken the silly cab.) Regardless, the walk through Chicago's arctic tundra won out in the end (Never mind that Marty didn't have a hat. Or gloves. Or even a winter coat.), and we found ourselves scurrying along Michigan Avenue...

We made it to the Shedd:

So did 20,000 other people:

So we waited in line for 1 1/2 hours. Outside. (Did I mention it was cold and windy?)

I love irony.

But, it was sooo worth it! Here are a few pics; I apologize for the poor quality--these fish clearly don't understand the concept of swimming slowly, to compensate for my slow shutter speed ;)

Check out this guy: he's got a mark on his back fin that looks just like his eye, to confuse predators.

This turtle was GINORMOUS:


This poor guy doesn't look too happy:

The Shedd is currently under renovation, which means that the penguins, dolphins, and whales are "on vacation." Seriously? No penguins?! I told Marty that the Field Museum (next door) has penguins galore. We could have gone there (and skipped the freezing-cold queue), but this is the reason Marty wanted to go to the Shedd:

Anything to keep the hubster happy ;)

I know. Iguanas at an aquarium?

We stopped at Millenium Park on our way back:

Our attempts at a Bean-reflection picture... My aim was off, and people started staring. So we made faces to really emphasize our coolness:

We love Chicago! (But next time, I'm bringing an extra $10 bill...)

Monday, January 5, 2009


2009 already?

I took an on-again, off-again break from the blogging world over the holidays, but now I'm back, recharged and ready to go! (Due to one of the oh-so-cliche new year's resolutions that Marty and I have embraced, we actually got to the gym this morning, at the crack of dawn. Remind me again why excercise is important?)

I'm attempting to catch up on some blog-reading, after spending a bit of time reading actual books during the last few weeks: this, this, and this. My "to-read" list for 2009 is growing longer by the minute. I'm intrigued by The Poisonwood Bible, and I really, really want to delve into the works of C. S. Lewis. Also on the list? Lots of poetry, including Billy Collins: one of my favorite college profs would open his classes by reading a few stanzas from Sailing Alone..., and I've meant to get my hands on a copy ever since.

Speaking of recharching, Marty and I took a quick trip to Chicago this past weekend, to plan for the coming year and do a bit of sightseeing (photos to come). I always say I'm from Chicago, but it's amazing how few times a year we actually make it into the city...

I snapped this one at sunset; if you're at all familiar with photography hot-spots in the Windy City, you should be able to guess where this was taken:

Happy New Year!!