Friday, August 30, 2013

Our Day Trip to Columbus


Columbus Day Trip

Now that I work a regular 7-to-4-Monday-through-Friday schedule, Ryan and I are excited to spend lots of weekends exploring the other cities in our area.

We've got trips planned to Bloomington, Indiana and Louisville, Kentucky for the near future, and last Sunday we went to Columbus, Ohio. 

Some people like beach vacations, while others prefer the mountains; Ryan and I like to explore cities. Some of my favorite memories with him are of having long conversations while walking the streets of Paris, Stockholm, Chicago, Philadelphia, Cleveland, Indianapolis, and Las Vegas (not to mention the regular walks we take around our own beloved neighborhood here in Cincinnati). 

Even though Columbus is only a 2 hour drive away, neither Ryan nor I had spent much time there before. It inevitably came up as we brainstormed cities we could day trip to, and I was enthusiastic because I've wanted to go to a Jeni's Ice Cream Parlor since falling in love with her incredible creations a few years ago. 

We also spent some time at COSI, a science museum I have great memories of after spending an overnight field trip there when I was around 12, and we caught the movie The World's End, which was awesome. 

I'm definitely a fan of day trips; how about you? What cities can you day trip to from where you live? What do you think is the best way to take in a city in just a day? 

Columbus Day Trip
Columbus Day Trip
Columbus Day Trip
Columbus Day Trip
Columbus Day Trip
Columbus Day Trip
Columbus Day Trip
IMG_5321Columbus Day Trip
Columbus Day Trip
Columbus Day Trip
Columbus Day Trip
Columbus Day Trip
Columbus Day Trip
Columbus Day Trip



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Wednesday, August 28, 2013

What I wore today: 08/25/2013 (Columbus Day Trip)


Columbus Day Trip Outfit: gray AG Stevie jeans, ruffled Anthropologie shirt, studded-bottom bag, quilted leather flats

I love a classic piece with unique details, and this shirt definitely fits that bill. The drop-waist gathering and tuxedo tails in the back make me so happy. 

Ryan snapped these shots on a Columbus day trip (not to be confused with a Columbus Day trip) that we took on Sunday. More on our trip coming soon!

Columbus Day Trip Outfit: gray AG Stevie jeans, ruffled Anthropologie shirt, studded-bottom bag, quilted leather flats
Columbus Day Trip Outfit: gray AG Stevie jeans, ruffled Anthropologie shirt, studded-bottom bag, quilted leather flats
Columbus Day Trip Outfit: gray AG Stevie jeans, ruffled Anthropologie shirt, studded-bottom bag, quilted leather flats
Columbus Day Trip Outfit: gray AG Stevie jeans, ruffled Anthropologie shirt, studded-bottom bag, quilted leather flats

"Wiley Tunic" - Anthropologie
Gray "Stevie" Jeans - AG, Anthropologie
Quilted flats - Modcloth
Bag - ebay


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Monday, August 26, 2013

5 Fantastic Photography Books for the Creative Beginner

5 Fantastic Photography Books for the Creative Beginner

Although photography is one of my primary passions, it is also, relatively speaking, a recent passion. Having spent most of my early years as a performer, I didn't have any interest in being on the other side of the camera until college. Even then, it was a desire to share outfits, DIY projects, recipes, and snippets from my life on my blog that motivated me to improve my photography, rather than a pure interest in the art form itself.

But, as I learned more and photographed more, I fell deeply in love with photography. Years on, I've learned a ton, I've created some amazing images, and I am even starting to turn my passion into a side career. I am no longer a beginner, but, in a sense, I'll always be a beginner, because I'll always be trying new things, learning new techniques, and creating each unique image for the very first time.

* * *

Though I'm sure photography classes are great, I've never taken one, but have instead learned entirely from trial and error and from books.

The problem with a lot of books written for the beginning photographer is that they are dull. Rather than assuming you are a creative person who might be looking for ideas and inspiration, they bombard you with technical drudgery. The technical knowledge is important, of course, but I find it's easier to absorb information about shutter speeds and cross-processing, when that information is presented along with lots of creative photos and great ideas.

These 5 books really nail it for me. Each of them is full of basic information that beginners need, as well as unique ideas and inspiration for creating interesting shots that go beyond technical achievement.

5 Fantastic Photography Books for the Creative Beginner

01. Hot Shots & 02. 52 Photographic Projects 
by Kevin Meredith
5 Fantastic Photography Books for the Creative Beginner

Hot Shots was the first photography book I ever picked up that made me go, "Whoa, I could totally get into this." Each page in this pocket-size, life-changing book has a great photo and a few words on a technique (whether technical or artistic) that is showcased in the photo.

5 Fantastic Photography Books for the Creative Beginner

The concept of 52 Photographic Projects is that you try something new every week of the year to keep inspiration flowing, but it's a great book to pick up any time. Just turn to a page and try something new. 

Kevin Meredith also has a book about toy cameras that I'd love to check out when I have time to indulge my interest in Dianas and Holgas.

by Elsie Larson & Emma Chapman 
5 Fantastic Photography Books for the Creative Beginner

I love Emma and Elsie's blog, and I share with them a love of lifestyle photography. While others reach for their camera to capture a beautiful sunset or a historic landmark, I'm more likely to photograph the people and things that I love in my everyday life. That said, I want those images to be creative and beautiful, not stale and cliché.

That's basically the concept here. A Beautiful Mess Photo Idea Book is full of just that: ideas! Ideas for capturing those everyday moments in a unique way. The book has chapters about fun things to do with light, ways to utilize props, how to take good self-portraits, and even fun crafts to make with your photos once you've taken them.

Since Elsie and Emma aren't experts, they don't include much in the way of technical information, so if you are just starting out with a DSLR, you'll probably need to look elsewhere for details on apertures, shutter speeds, and ISOs. Might I recommend Wikipedia? But, if you're an intermediate DSLR-owner or a beginner with an iPhone or point-and-shoot camera, this book is great for you! It's really great for people of all levels (even advanced photographers), since it's more about inspiration and creativity than technical knowhow.

5 Fantastic Photography Books for the Creative Beginner
5 Fantastic Photography Books for the Creative Beginner

04. Photojojo!
by Amit Gupta
5 Fantastic Photography Books for the Creative Beginner

This is a good book to turn to when your photography is feeling a bit stale and you want some crazy ideas to mix it up. Whether you're looking to capture an image you've never even thought of before or to create a fun DIY project with a favorite photo, Photojojo! has you covered. 

5 Fantastic Photography Books for the Creative Beginner
5 Fantastic Photography Books for the Creative Beginner

by Elizabeth Messina
5 Fantastic Photography Books for the Creative Beginner

Ruche brought this book to the clothing and book swap at TxSC and I came home with it. I devoured the whole thing in one travel day, and I loved it! It was exactly the book I needed at this point in my journey as I'm pushing myself to shoot primarily in manual and to create head-shots, engagement shots, and family portraits for family, friends and friends-of-friends.

Elizabeth Messina talks extensively about light and about how to get that flattering luminous glow in nearly any lighting condition. She also gives lots of great tips about working with subjects, putting them at ease, and coaxing great expressions and natural poses out of them. One of the things I loved about this book (and something Kevin Meredith does too) is that Elizabeth lists the ISO, shutter speed, and f-stop she used beside each image she includes, which gives you a great idea of how to create similar exposures in similar lighting conditions. 

5 Fantastic Photography Books for the Creative Beginner  5 Fantastic Photography Books for the Creative Beginner

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Wednesday, August 21, 2013

What I wore today: 08/18/2013 (Petticoat Junction)

Petticoat outfit: Black open-back Urban Outfitters dress with pink rosebud print, pink tutu skirt, black "Everly" openwork Jeffrey Campbell ankle boots, green leather belt, metallic rose Marc by Marc Jacobs for Target pouch clutch

This dress has been in heavy rotation since I bought it years ago. (You can see it layered over a mint blouse here, under a blazer here, and styled simply waaaaaay back in the day here.) Last weekend, when I found myself turning to it once again, I wanted to do something new to mix it up a little, so I decided to layer my Carrie Bradshaw skirt underneath.

I love what a petticoat can do to an outfit in terms of adding texture and volume. And you don't have to own an official "petticoat" to get the look; you can just use a voluminous skirt or any skirt that has a built in petticoat. Simply layer the skirt under your top layer and voila!

Of course traditional petticoats are great too, and you can usually find them on eBay, in costume shops, and at flea markets. As a kid, I had a bright-orange flea-market petticoat that was my favorite piece in my dress-up chest. I wore it doubled over and safety-pinned at age six, and was still wearing it at age ten when it actually came closer to fitting me.

Petticoats are also a great solution for skirts that are a touch too short for the occasion. Let a bit of petticoat sticking out add an inch or two to the perceived hem-length of your dress and you are good to go.

With a petticoat, a pink rosebud print, and maiden braids, this outfit is pretty girly. I added my Jeffrey Campbell ankle boots to rough up the look just a touch (and because I cannot stop wearing them).

Petticoat outfit: Black open-back Urban Outfitters dress with pink rosebud print, pink tutu skirt, black "Everly" openwork Jeffrey Campbell ankle boots, green leather belt, metallic rose Marc by Marc Jacobs for Target pouch clutch
Petticoat outfit: Black open-back Urban Outfitters dress with pink rosebud print, pink tutu skirt, black "Everly" openwork Jeffrey Campbell ankle boots, green leather belt, metallic rose Marc by Marc Jacobs for Target pouch clutch
Petticoat outfit: Black open-back Urban Outfitters dress with pink rosebud print, pink tutu skirt, black "Everly" openwork Jeffrey Campbell ankle boots, green leather belt, metallic rose Marc by Marc Jacobs for Target pouch clutch
Petticoat outfit: Black open-back Urban Outfitters dress with pink rosebud print, pink tutu skirt, black "Everly" openwork Jeffrey Campbell ankle boots, green leather belt, metallic rose Marc by Marc Jacobs for Target pouch clutch

Black and pink rosebud-print open-back dress - Urban Outfitters
Pink tutu skirt - Target
Everly openwork ankle boots - Jeffrey Campbell
Green leather belt - Anthropologie
Metallic rose pouch clutch - Marc by Marc Jacobs for Target
Gold arrow necklace - Etsy

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Monday, August 19, 2013

Summer Recipe: Caprese Appetizer Pops

Caprese appetizer pops recipe

Last night we went to a potluck dinner party at our friends' apartment. I wanted to bring something fun and festive but simple, and ended up deciding on these cute Caprese appetizer pops.

Caprese appetizer pops recipe

I'm a big fan of Caprese salad in the summertime when tomatoes are ripe and good (See my toasted corn Caprese recipe here.), and I'm always a fan of food served on a stick, so I've definitely found a new favorite party food.

The assembly is really simple, so the quality of your Caprese appetizer pops really depends of the quality of the ingredients that you use. That's what I love about summer food; it's all about simple recipes that let fresh ingredients shine. 

Caprese appetizer pops recipe

Ingredients:
Small fresh mozzarealla balls
Half as many cherry tomatoes as you half balls of mozzarella
A small basil leaf or piece of a large leaf for every ball of mozzarella
Equal parts balsamic vinegar and extra-virgin olive oils
A good grinding of black pepper

Caprese appetizer pops recipe

Step 01. Drain the mozzarella balls and drench them in the oil and vinegar. I use equal parts because of love vinegar, but you can use more oil and less vinegar if you like. Give this mixture a good grinding of pepper and stir to evenly distribute.
Step 02. Slice each cherry tomato in half.
Step 03. Poke each toothpick first through the mozzarella, then add a basil leaf, and, finally, add a cherry-tomato half, cut side away from the other ingredients.
Step 04. Serve each pop cut-side-down so that they sit on your platter nicely. 

Caprese appetizer pops recipe

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