Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Photo Assignment Update

I'm going to post pictures a few assignments at a time so that you can see what has been occupying alot of my time lately. The critiques are given by the instructor, Bryan Peterson.

For my isolation assignment, I took this picture of my nephew, Ethan.

"Lisa,I absolutely LOVE this and as the father of three I can tell you this is a scene I have witnessed in real life TOO MANY times! LOL! Fantastic shot and this is a great job on isolation! Kudos for the creative shot of your nephew and this is a PERFECT PICTURE!"

For silhouette's, I took another picture of Ethan.

"It is tough this time of year to get the orange glow, but that doesn't mean we can't get a silhouette. First, great job on the 'tilt' and that adds a lot of energy here. Exposure wise you have a great silhouette and all we need here is to get him more against the sky as the lower right portion is just black. SO, get down low looking up so that all you see is sky surrounding him and you will have it- and even without an orange sky you will love the result as the ball will be shooting for the sky."

**I had made a comment about not getting a pretty orangy sunset because of the cloud cover.**

For selective focus, I went in search of pretty flowers when it was very cold in SA but luckily found some potted ones at a downtown business.

"The flowers shot is great and I love the background there - nice and complimentary and a great capture here as the exposure is dead on and that makes for colors that really POP! A PERFECT PICTURE and great job this week!"

Missing my Column

Every now and then someone will ask if I'm still writing my advice column in the SA Express News to which I reply "obviously you didn't follow it because I ended it 16 months ago!" When this happens I think fondly about the good ol' days when I was wearing my Advice Columnist hat every Thursday and then my mind wanders to a zillion other things like it tends to do.

But today a chance call has me really missing it. A lady at work called me for help in pinpointing the proper point of contact in my department for a certain issue. She started by introducing herself and then said "by the way, I miss your column", I gave out a little chuckle and said "I miss writing it" and she said "I bet you do, I wish you'd go back to it" and then we got on to the purpose of her call. I hung up and thought "I really do miss it. I wonder if the SA Express News would hire me back? I wonder if San Antonio wants to give it another shot?" As you may, or may not remember, I stopped writing the column because I wasn't getting any more reader mail therefore I had no questions to give advice to.

What do you think? Should I send a little note to my old editor and see if there's a remote possibility of starting it up again? And maybe it could be a once a month thing instead of weekly and it could even be kept to an online column instead of being in print?

Share your thoughts under comments!

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Photography 101

I completed the first week of my "Understanding Exposure" online course thru the Perfect Picture School of Photography and am already feeling much more confident about my camera and using it in manual mode. I love that there is an online Q&A forum for the students to ask any kind of question we might have and that not only can the instructors respond, but so can your classmates. I'm very happy that I took the plunge! Below are the three pics that I submitted for my Week 1 assignment. We were to take a picture of a moving object (like water) and a non-moving object...to get a feel for how we can make the pictures look different by using different exposure settings. The instructors haven't critiqued the pictures yet and I'm anxious to see what they say about mine!

And then this morning I attended "Mamarazzi School" with Christy. Sarah Quiara is a photographer that lives in my town, Converse. Christy had her take some pics of her kiddos a few weeks back and they are AMAZING! Just check out her blog and you'll see what I mean. She rocks. We had a 4 hour session with her that consisted of shooting and editing (using Lightroom and some Photoshop.) The knowledge we both gained is priceless...that one-on-one teaching makes all the difference in the world. Aside from me stepping in big mound of dog poop in Christy's back yard, everything went great. I even got to play with Sarah's 50mm lens, which is the same one I just ordered, and her Canon 70-200 mm, f/2.8 lens (or was it a f/1.8...I was so in awe I can't remember!), which is freaken unbelievable and I-must-have-one! But that baby runs an easy grand, so I'll have to save up for it. Or win the lotto. Or find a sugar daddy. Yeah, I need to save up. LOL!

I'm posting one picture that I took with Sarah's Canon 40D (which I also want!) because my battery died out and had to be recharged midway thru our shoot session. The picture was edited in Lightroom and Photoshop and I think it turned out really neat. There are more pics that I need to play with before I post them, so stay tuned for another post.

***PS. - UPDATE ON THE WEIGHTLOSS GOAL...I'm down 5 pounds!***

Friday, January 11, 2008

The Hallmark Queen

There's only one place I could go and lose myself in, besides the bookstore, and that's a Hallmark Store. I just love, love, love reading all the funny cards. And I will stand there and read thru them all, looking for the funniest ones. If they make me laugh or giggle out loud, then it's a taker. Odly enough, I've never witnessed anyone else in the aisles laughing...do they not have a sense of humor or is it just a Lisa quirk?

And much like my book-buying habit, I love to buy cards. It's not unusual for me to go into the store to get a card for someone in particular and come out with 5-10 extra. But whereas the books are for my enjoyment, I buy the cards to share the laughter with others. I know how happy and excited I get when I receive a card (in person or by mail) so I want to share that feeling and bring a smile to someone else. Because laughter makes the world go round dammit!

If I have your address and I know when your birthday is, you've most likely been the recipient of a card from the Hallmark Queen. If you ever got an eGreeting instead it's because I got off track and it was too late to mail a card, sorry! And while I tend to go for the funny ones, I've been known to send a mushy one too. Sometimes, if I can't decide between the two, I'll give both a funny and mushy one!

Even though the title is "Hallmark Queen", I'm not a Hallmark snob. I get cards from everywhere....the grocery store, Walgreen's, the car wash place; if I'm there and there are greeting cards, I will browse thru them.

I was in the Hallmark store just down the street where I work today...the Pink Giraffe (cute name, huh?) and picked up a card for my father (HAPPY BIRTHDAY DADDY, today he is 67...wish my daddy many more years please!) and grabbed a bunch of good ones. You never know...you might just get a little "card love" from the Hallmark Queen soon!!

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Movie Reviews!

It's that time again, folks!

I am Legend -- Michelle and I went with her older boys and none of us knew what to really expect. With Marcus working at the theater he caught glimpses here and there and said it was a popular movie so we figured it had to be good. And it was. Granted it was just Will Smith and a dog for the majority of the movie, but it worked! The plot was interesting and there were some scary parts that made me jump (the boys taught me a new trick....don't cover your eyes, cover your ears so that whatever is about to happen doesn't happen loudly and you won't jump. I was still too scared to try it!) I know this was like the 3rd or 4th remake of a classic so now I'm curious about the other movies. If I happen to be in the video store and remember, I'll try to find the original.

Alvin and the Chipmunks -- I was not really a fan of the Chipmunks when I was a kid. But when I saw the trailer for the movie I thought it might be something I could take the twins to. Christy and Rob beat me and took all the kids one Saturday and I couldn't join them so I had to convince Grace to see it with me. The movie has been out for some time now and it STILL is packing the theater. I'm so glad we got there early because there was not one seat available. And I know why...this movie is so freakin funny! It has a really good storyline and the animation or wizadry used to put the chipmunks alongside real people is amazing. I have to buy this one...or maybe someone will buy it for my birthday in May. I also want some stuffed chipmunks...yes, I still love stuffed animals! Please see this movie..with or without little ones, you will love it!

PS. I Love You -- I read this book and loved it so I was really looking forward to the movie. I knew I'd be crying a lot so I didn't even wear any mascara...how's that for preparation?! It's been a few years since I read the book so I think some of the characters in the movie were added (I'm gonna have to skim over the book to compare) but the jist of it is the same. Husband dies, leaves a years worth of notes for his wife with things to do, to help her move on. Tearjerker but also really funny. And the men! Oh....now I want an Irish man...or at least a man who can fake a good irish accent. "You're a pain in me hole" is now my new favorite movie quote!

The Water Horse: Legend of the Deep -- Haven't we all wondered whether the Lockness Monster is real or made-up? Well this movie says the story is true and the little girl in me wants to believe in the story. The movie is sweet, funny, and sad at times. We took the little ones and I think it might have been too much for Ella...if the "monster" wasn't on screen, she lost interest. Loved it, worth renting.

This Christmas -- Family gets together at Christmas and all kinds of secrets are revealed. Really cute, funny and emotional at the end (plus I learned a new use for baby oil!) Worth renting when it comes out.

National Treasure - Book of Secrets -- I loved the first movie so I couldn't wait for the second one. And it did not let me down. All the characters are back with the addition of Helen Mirren as the mother. It was funny, adventurous and really makes you want to go back and read up on American History, which is why I loved the first movie. They totally leave it open for a Part 3 so now I'll be chomping at the bit (where the hell did that saying come from, and what exactly is a "bit") for it to come out. The only thing I didn't care for...and this is silly...was Nicolas Cage's hair. It just looked too dark and thinner and he looked just a tad bit too pale. Told you....silly.


Ratatouie -- have been wanting to see this one for a while since I love Disney movies. I'm not a fan of rats (who is?) but I really liked this one. Cute story, and amazing animation as always. And, much like when I watch the cooking channel, it made me want to cook something. But I didn't. LOL!

Evan Almighty -- I don't know why the critics didn't like this movie...it was very funny! A masterpiece, no. The best acting ever, no. Funny and cute, heck yes! Rent it and see if you don't laugh!

Monday, January 7, 2008

Lazy Sunday

I had such a great lazy Sunday yesterday that was anything but lazy. I was able to get a lot of chores done and chill out and read/watch TV so instead of feeling like the day was wasted, I felt like I had accomplished a lot. I even got a late start because the twins stayed over with me on Friday night. After they ate, they took a long bath that included play time in the water, then they colored until they got sleepy. After a night of me being pushed to edge of my bed and damn near falling off, we woke up and layed in bed for a while snuggling, no one wanting to actually get up. Finally around 10:30 we woke up and had cereal and Michelle picked them up before 11am. Grace was out with her family so I had the house all to myself. I made my lunch, sat around watching TV and catching up on my magazines and then in between commercials started on the tasks at hand.

I cleaned out my bathroom drawers in my quest to start out the new year with an organized bathroom and closet. Just a few more things to do in the closet (mostly cleaning it out for items to donate, which will be a lot..there's a lot of stuff in my closet and chest that I haven't touched in years, if at all. Things like t-shirts and stuff.)

I cleaned up a bit more in my office...filing receipts, bills, etc.

I FINALLY put away my reunion pictures into a photo album --yes, pictures from the reunion that took place last JUNE...I told you I procrastinate! -- only to realize that I ran out of pages and still have 26 pictures left! Hopefully I'll find the exact album again at Wal-Mart, if not I'll have to find a bigger album and start over.

I did all of my laundry....and this time I actually folded and put everything away!! Typically the recliner in my bedroom is the gathering spot of all my clean clothes that come right from the dryer and they either get worn again or eventually get folded and put away (usually the night before the housecleaners are due.)

I even managed to buy something on my "photography wish list" -- a Lens Baby lens! I can actually blame Walter for this....he was in Tampa for a photography conference and called me from the vendor symposium even though I told him to stay away from there! He calls to tell me that the Lens Baby's (this really cool lens that lets you focus on one "sweet spot" and everything else is blurred AND a bit curved...it's so neat!) were on sale and did I want one..free shipping and no tax! So I said "sure!" A purchase I did NOT need to make, but I can take some cool shots with it at DisneyWorld in March and Hawaii in April, so it's not a complete waste.

By the time dinner rolled around I was able to plop in front of the TV to catch the new episode of Desperate Housewives and the pilot for the new show Cashmere Mafia (which I thought was about women mobsters..I was wrong).

I didn't go to bed early like I planned (early to me is 10pm) because I started to work on my "Blurb" book (putting my 2007 blog posts into book form) and since my computer is soooo frickin slow lately (I don't have enough memory to keep up with all my applications...that's something I'll need to care for soon) I was up till almost midnight editing the pages. So now I'm having a Monday morning in which I can't stop yawning and need extra caffeine.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

2008...No More!

Happy New Year!!

I gave up on making New Year's Resolutions a few years ago because you set yourself up with all the things you are going to do for the new year and when you don't, you feel like a failure. So instead, for 2008, I have the stuff I will do No More....

1. No More leaving the house in the morning with my bed unmade.

2. No More going to sleep at night without washing off ALL my makeup (typically I just remove my eye makeup)

3. No More wondering if he's going to call like he said he would, and if he doesn't, No More wondering why.

4. No More procrastinating...this will be a tough one, I procrastinate on just about everything!

What's on YOUR list of "No More's" for 2008??