We had a wonderful time sharing Thanksgiving with some of our closest Cali' friends. We were lucky enough to stay in a beautiful little cabin which was just a few blocks away from the Wrightwood town center.
Friday night, Katie and I visited the town and took part in the annual Wrightwood Christmas Tree Lighting event. It was filled with family fun and joyous people. I made a little video montage of that night:
Ok, this is my 4th attempt to complete this post!! My mind is already on the holidays, so I'm going to keep this short and sweet (you were hoping for that, weren't you?):
A few weekends ago, I went to a TOMS Shoes sample sale and bought 9 pairs of shoes!! Only two were for me, the rest for friends and family - though none for the Riggs family, as there's a TOMS Shoes embargo at their house. Summary of my day: 2 hrs waiting in line, 1 hr shopping, 2 hrs waiting in line to check out. WORTH IT.
Here's the middle of the line as I was walking up to find the end:
Here's the line from behind:
Almost to the front:
Aww, so many cute kids shoes:
My favorite find of the day:
The next day, I volunteered for an organization called PS Arts. Through work, I've participated with this group a few times before, but this was their yearly event for donors and their families. It was a huge arts day for families - the kids left with pillowcases, pottery, jewelry, cupcakes, chimes, headbands, mirrors, dolls... and while the kids created, and parents chowed down on local food vendors whose boothes were between the crafts. There was also a Sprinkles truck and In-N-Out truck. Yep, this event doesn't mess around.
Here are pictures of the different booths:
Star of the show - Target's mascot, Bullseye!
Here was my station - the PS Arts merchandise booth, where you could screen-print your own t-shirt.
These prints were my favorite discovery from the event - Taut Canvas.
Taut Canvas was started by a husband and wife who were wanting modern art for their daugther's room, but something that would be relevant as their daughter grew up and interactive. Each print represents a value - the print with the white background is "courage" - the little birdy is flying off the tall tree. The print with the blue background is "honesty" - someone has taken a little bite out of the apple, and there are seeds in the little birdy's belly. The pink print is "compassion" - the little birdy, whose wing is bandaged, receives a kiss from the big birdy. The designer told me that his daughter is now 3, and they are using the art to talk about these different values as she's headed into pre-school. I highly recommend visiting their website and seeing what they have to offer! They're coming out with a new line after the holidays, based on numbers and letters. So fun!!
Well, I finally bought my iPad thanks in part by generous gifts from family members for my birthday.
I love it and will probably blog about it a great deal in the coming days. It is a great device and although many see it as a useless iPod Touch on steroids, it is so much more. To me, its the first popular consumer device that truly gives a glimpse into the future of data consumption. More about this soon.
It has been awhile since I have blogged and it looks like Katie has picked up some of the slack by blogging 4 posts since my last.
Last week Katie and I took care Alex, the son of some friends of ours. We had some fun running around REI and checking out the different tents. Alex also enjoyed playing with Barkley and Penny and they loved playing with him.
I like a lot of different music and many times become fans of bands before they make it big. However, I mostly owe this to William Austin, as he always tells me what to listen to. Before I started listening to Mumford & Sons, Will had mentioned them several times and I had seen other friends "tweet" about them occasionally. On our trip to the Sequoias back in July, we finally pulled them up on our iPhones and gave them a shot. After the trip, Matt burned a CD for our car and we haven't hit eject since. You might remember THIS post and Matt's video of our Sequoia trip... yep, that's Mumford & Sons.
On Monday night we went to the Hollywood Palladium to see them live! They were everything and more.
We're obsessed and we hope you will be, too. They do use some adult language in only one of their songs - but come on, they're Englishmen! If you can get past that, then you will enjoy not only their musical ability, but their attention to crafting verses that will cut you deep and remind you of a good Word you may have heard before.
I'm jumping on this bandwagon a little late, but I've had my eye on Etsy for a couple of years now. This week, though, after seeing this post on my fav, The Kitchn, I decided it was time.
Do you like?
I've been looking for something to go over my oven, so I'm thinking this blue poster with perhaps a green or red picture frame against my yellow walls... love it! Also practical when cooking and converting. I mostly love it, because it involves math.
Eventually, I'd like to have this one as well...
Don't pretend you've never lived by this philosophy. In a difficult moment, a cupcake can offer great peace. It's just better not to think what the cupcake will do in later moments (mostly in the thigh region).
Etsy offers so many temptations...
... don't blame me if you become addicted. I warned you.
There have been quite a few posts lately round these parts about being energy-efficient and cost-effective. I'm not an expert like my better-half, but I have been trying to do a few things myself to help the earth and our pocketbook.
We are one of the lucky few who have a washer/dryer in our apartment. After putting up with sharing laundry facilities in our parking garage for couple of years, we happily gave up a dishwasher for a washer/dryer. It's not ideal that they are located in our kitchen, but it's quite efficient for house-keeping. Once Matt started his saving-energy crusade, I looked around at some ways I could cut-back as well. The dryer was the first thing that came to mind. I found this drying rack at Target (on sale at the time) and now I hang my laundry until it's about 80% dry, then I throw it in the dryer for 15 or so minutes. Most people would say that they don't like the way materials feel when air-dryed and I would agree! But I haven't noticed a difference at all- even if they air-dry the entire way, I still fluff them a bit in the dryer. I've also started using Method laundry detergent. From the picture, you'll notice that it's a pump. I love that I can just pick it up and pump the soap right into the washing machine. However the best part is the packaging - much MUCH less plastic wasted than the other brands. Now... this option isn't cost-effective, as it costs a dollar or two more than the leading brands (unless you find it on sale!).
Back in May, just before my birthday, Matt and I were taking a stroll around Costco when I noticed these Snapware glass containers. I was oo-ing and ahh-ing and explaining to Matt how great these were, because they wouldn't leave stains! I must have made a pretty big deal about it, because a few days later I unwrapped them as a birthday gift. :) At first I was mostly impressed that he had listened to me... but as time passed, I was (and am) so grateful that he listened! I love these containers! They come in lots of sizes, perfect for leftovers and taking food to work. However the BEST part is that they're helping me use less plastic. Since I received them in May, my usage of Ziplocs and Saran wrap has decreased by 99.9% at least!
That's all for now. We've both been making efforts to leave lights off and using natural light during the day. I also have caught myself thinking twice about paper cups and utensils, examining packaging of products, and we stopped buying bottled water over a year ago. I highly recommend the documentary "No Impact Man" - I guarantee you won't go to the lengths this family does to unplug from the world, but his hope is that you'll at least do one of the things.
You just never know what life is going to give you. Sometimes it's lemons. Sometimes it's puppies. In our case, it seems to be the latter. Sometimes you're just walking along with your husband and dog, enjoying being off work early due to a high Jewish holiday (mazel tov!), discussing life and dreams and goals and plans, and sometimes these discussions can be frustrating if you and your husband don't seem to be on the same page. But it's amazing how quickly your demeanor can change when a little puppy peeps from around a tree and says hello.
To make a very long story short... we now have a new puppy named Penny. After a few days of hanging signs, looking around the neighborhood for signs, posting ads on Craigslist, and even taking her to the vet AND finding out she was chipped AND calling the owners who denied that she was theirs.... we decided she should live with us. She and Barkley are getting along just fine. Occasionally she gets a bit rough with him, but this is getting less and less by the day. Mostly she loves him and loves to snuggle and give him kisses... and he tolerates her. We always knew that someday we would add to our family of three... I just assumed it would be of the human variety. But Penny fits in our family just fine and we love that Barkley has company during the day. Last week Matt set up a "puppy cam" by leaving the camera on my computer open, and we were able to spy on them from work. I'd say the day looked something like this: 80% sleeping, 15% looking outside, 5% chasing each other/wrestling. It was pretty cute. The worst part of it is the realization that we have become one of "those" couples. The couple with TWO dogs. Two super cute dogs who are like our children and we are obsessed. And yes, they will be coming home with us at Christmas, so get ready. Penny is ready to chew on some Christmas presents!
I have realized that my camera, a Canon T2i with kit lens, seems to give me a better picture on the LCD then it really captures. I think it is partly due to the fact that I test all my shots in the middle of pitch darkness and every little light (star) just pops on that LCD screen. I assume that it is all properly exposed and then realize after I download the hundreds of photos that the pictures are always very underexposed. This creates a huge problem because I then have to go into my editing programs and push the photos to their limits to gain exposure. This highly degrades the images and creates a multitude of digital noise. I need to try and always overexpose what I am actually seeing from the camera, however they still look really cool.
Katie and I spent the weekend at the one and only Silver City Mountain Resort.
I have been asked to do some web videos for the resort in exchange for free stay. Eventhough I hate not being paid I love the outdoors and couldn't pass up an opportunity to return to the outdoors a handful of times over this next year for free!
Katie and I filmed the annual Thanksgiving dinner which Silver City offers every year. They do a early Thanksgiving due to the resort being closed during the actual Thanksgiving date.
While we were here I took several photos with the idea of creating some funky HDR (High Dynamic Range) images.
You basically set your camera to bracket your exposures. I bracketed mine for 2 stops in both directions and ended up with three identical photos all two stops away from each other. Using an application like photoshop or photomatix you can create some killer images that are very abnormal and interesting.
Here are a few I worked on today.
The watermark is still there b/c I haven't bought the software and am using the trial version.