Wednesday, August 29, 2012


So what's new with me lately you ask?
I got this idea from 2 other bloggers recently and I am a dork for not actually remembering who it was so I can properly credit them. So, if you see this and it's your idea, please let me know and I'll give you credit!

Here we go. This is what's going on currently.

Loving: Tomatoes, herbs and Ice cream Cones. Not together of course. I am loving all our fresh tomatoes & herbs lately. We have fresh basil, thyme, and oregano from our garden that we dried out and storing for later use. We have plenty of fresh herbs for cooking daily. I also found some delicious recipes to make with tomatoes. Check them out HERE. Oh and the ice cream cones .... My husband and I might be addicted to the Blue Bunny Caramel Lovers Ice Cream Cones. Why can't ice cream have zero calories?? Oh wait, then it would taste horrible.

Reading: I am on a reading dry spell. I haven't read much lately. I have a bunch of books loaded on my Kindle which I haven't touched in weeks. Next up on the reading list: The Island - by Elin Hilderbrand. Then I hope to get to: I beat the Odds; From Homelessness to the Blindside. The story of Michael Oher (Remember the movie Blind Side? This is his biography)

Watching: Lot's of Baseball. Loving my NY Yankees baseball. Oh and of course pre-season NY Giants football. And waiting ever so patiently for the fall shows to premier. Waiting for Grey's Anatomy, Law & Order SVU, Chicago Fire, Grimm (which just did start up early), Animal Practice, Private Practice, Parenthood, .... to name a few. I think the previews for "Revolution" have sparked my interest - I'll give a go. If you would like to see when you're favorite shows are starting up this fall, click HERE!
p.s. Thank goodness for DVR!!!

Thinking About: Almost time to go fall clothes shopping for Julianna. I love shopping for Julianna more than I love shopping for me - that's quite the statement! I like to check out the consignment shops in the late summer for fall and winter jackets/sweatshirts/sweaters for Julianna. I got some great buys last year. I don't find too many shirts & pants for her in the consignment shops because I find the prices usually are not any better than what I would pay for the same thing brand new. But - for coats I make out big time if I'm patient. I got a Pink Baby Gap shearling winter coat last year for Julianna for $10. It was a $75 coat in the Gap. Can you say Score!! 

I love these 'warm' things for Julianna:
I love this vest from Baby Gap. 
I love this jacket from Old Navy.
This coat looks so warm & cozy from Gymboree. 
And I must buy this "Girly Football Hat" from Etsy    
I'll be buying Julianna these Uggs for Fall & Winter. She had a pair last year that she wore every day. I live in mine in the cold weather, and so does Julianna! 

Anticipating: New Windows in our house. I can't wait until my daughter's room is no longer the Arctic Circle in the Winter time. We are getting all new Windows and a few new doors in a couple weeks. The windows we have now with the exception of 3 that were newly installed before we moved in, are about 50 years old. Can you say cold breeze?! Brrrrrr. Time to save on heating costs. Yay!

Wishing: That the housing market here in NJ would get better. Soon. It's very frustrating to see our home value decline for the last 8 years. We had hoped to be out of here (and upgrade) 5 years ago but each year that goes by, it's not getting any closer to being able to be sold. We need to wait it out a little longer - maybe a lot longer. Ugh! Hello crappy housing market in NJ. Maybe one day we will get to sell and move to South Carolina.

Making me happy: Julianna and my husband always make me happy. That goes without saying that they are my world. They are what I live for. But.... Summer & Warm weather makes me happy too. I love summer. I love the sun and the beach And just being outdoors in general. We are truly enjoying sitting on our deck and BBQ'ing lately - and breathing in the nice summer air! I dread the cold weather, bare trees, brown grass, and frozen ground... when we are stuck indoors and feeling cold. Yuck. 

This is summer

Miscellaneous thing: I am loving this dumb commercial and for some reason it makes me want to dance when it's on! It's the "NY Lottery Blast with cash" commercial. It took me 3 times to figure out why the presidents were dancing around and partying. But then I got it. I don't know what draws me to it - but I am lured like a fish to a hook each time. HERE it is.
And while we're on the topic of good commercials - I am so loving this football commercial! It's referring to the first game of the season coming up between the NY Giants and the Dallas Cowboysgirls. I love Eli Manning, so it's just funny to me!

And finally: I wrote this post recently about how incredibly important it is to watermark your photos if you are putting pics of your little ones out there for the world to see and enjoy. I am noticing more posts by other bloggers now including this one from Ashley Sisk that talks about yet another stolen children's image being used without her permission for a shirt!! I urge you to go back and read my post or Ashley's ... but there are others I have seen recently - As blogging moms, we need to all stick together and stop the picture stealing. It's wrong, gross and shameful.
And don't forget about Instagram. Many of us do the Instagram thing - I downloaded the iWatermark app ($1.99) to make sure I watermark even my instagram pics from now on. I am not trusting anyone. Also with Instagram - it helps not to let anyone follow you that you don't know and vice versa. If some random person has thirty thousand followers and they are following thirty thousand people, and they want to follow you - chances are it's not for your pictures. It's for other reasons. Unless of course you're following Kelle Hampton - she's legit ;)

What's new with you? What are you loving, reading, watching, thinking about, anticipating, or wishing and what's making you happy currently? 

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Finagle a Photo - Best of Summer!

I am participating today in Happy Jax's "Finagle a Photo - Best of Summer" and "Best of week" series.
I can't believe it's time to choose the best summer photos already. I'm in major denial that summer is almost over. It was hard to choose my favorites but I did it. I'm sure I'll have new favorites next week again! Check out Happy Jax - Melanie's blog - she has some amazing photography of her son and check out some of the people linking up for "Best of Summer" Series.

Here is my "Best of Week" shot from this past week

I cropped a little off center, straightened it, brightened & sharpened a bit.
This was my favorite shot this week because it shows Julianna's personality. She runs fast & far and has so much fun doing it! Arms & legs in all directions. We went to the Lake Mohawk boardwalk on Friday and she loved it. She loves anything exciting & outdoors. 

** Here are my "Best of summer" shots **
Some of these are repeats from this summer if you followed me closely. Some are new.

My favorite sunset photo from our vacation in Ocean City, MD in July. 

Dark clouds make for a cool background sometimes (along with Boondoggle Lightroom preset). 
This was taken on vacation in Ocean City, on the canal inlet where we stayed. 

I love my baby girl's eyelashes. 

This is one of my favorites from our summer vacation - This is the Ocean City Boardwalk at sunset. 

This is the Lake Mohawk (Sparta, NJ) Boardwalk by us. I went here with my mom & Julianna this week. 
It's nice to walk around & see the German inspired restaurants & buildings. 

My happy girl on vacation. 

My golden girl. 

My husband played golf this summer and loved it. He wants to take lessons now. 

My "Hollywood" daughter. 

Here are some Before & Afters.  
Still part of my "Best of Summer" pics. 

SOOC - "Before" - It was too bright & too centered. But I adored her feet sticking out and the solitude of this shot. 

Fixed-"After" - I darkened & deepened it, straightened the horizon, cropped off center, removed random swimmer heads. 

 SOOC - "Before" - I thought there was too much going on in the top background with the building.

Fixed - "After"- I liked it in B&W better, and I cropped out the busy background. 

 That's it. I hope you enjoyed the summer photos. Which is your favorite? 

EDIT 9/7/12 - I Won! I won! I won the 'best of summer' over at Happy Jax where I linked up here! Pretty cool man!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Two things that bothered me

Two things have been bothering me this week ... Doesn't it seem like people make comments at the most inopportune time to make you feel worse, right?
I would like to say that most people do not mean any malice or harm by their comments, and I do know this, but things can still hurtful to me when I hear it sometimes. 

1.)  As you know, I have one child, Julianna. I am 41 years old. Brian and I are ever-so-hoping for another child but after one recently failed pregnancy, we do not know what the future or God has in store for us. So, for whatever reason in the last week, I have heard this:  
"When are you going to have another child?"  
"Don't you want to give Julianna a brother or sister?"
"You better get going soon if you are going to have another one, you aren't getting any younger." (My personal favorite. Thanks for reminding me, because I really had no clue). Aarrggh.
I don't mind talking about wanting to have another child but it's been a touchy subject for me lately and some comments have hit home a little bit. 

Obviously there is no way people can know what we are going through and my feelings, so I get that. But I had kind of a bummer week and hearing comments like that put me over the edge I guess. Brian and I want nothing more than to have another child but it may not be in the cards. I know my age, I am WELL AWARE of that... but it's not impossible. We will see what happens. Oh and my other personal favorite is when someone who barely knows you feels they can give you magic advice on how to make it happen, like drink cough medicine for 3 days straight when you are ovulating. Really??? Thanks. I must have missed that one in my research. Oyyy evay. 

2.)  The 2nd thing that annoyed me this week was - Asking me when I am going to potty train my daughter. Um hello. Since when is it YOUR business and why do you care? Unless I have an 18 year old in diapers, lay off folks. My kid is 2 years and 2 months old - that's 26 months. The "average" age for potty training for girls is 2 & 1/2 years or older. I am not worried and I also know that she is not ready since I am after all her mother. 
I can tell you what I am not going to do - I am not going to push my daughter to do something she is not physically or mentally ready for and torture her, me and my husband for 4 months. No thanks. It will happen when she is ready. So, to the Quick Check worker lady who put me over the edge with her comment to Julianna of how "Mommy wouldn't need to buy diapers if she went on the potty like a big girl". (p.s. I ran out of diapers while I was out and had to get one of those '1-diaper' changing kits to get us through until we went home). Mind your business lady. I felt like poking out her eyes with my car keys. Normally I can handle dumb comments but it was the 4th or 5th person that asked me this week about when I am going to potty train her. What. The. Hell. How about you worry about your own life and I'll worry about mine. 

OK sorry to whine - Wah Waaah wahh - Yep that's me crying. But seriously I guess most other moms feel anything is ok to talk about or ask directly even when they don't know you well. And like I said I know it's not done in malice - but it was just a bad week for me and that made it worse. Oh and seeing like 70 pregnant women didn't help. Everywhere  turned, there was another pregnant chick. Eh, whatever. I do know that I am totally blessed with Julianna and Brian and I truly have a charmed life. But, I am however allowed to have "Off" weeks. Right?! 

On a good note... here are some "Happy Thought" pictures to leave with you. I went to our local Lake Hopatcong beach last week with my friend Lisa and her 3 kids on one of my days off this week, and we had a great time. I did not bring my Canon to the lake on this day, so I took some snaps with my Iphone camera. There was no one there (back to school shopping??) and the kids had a blast in the water... although I did manage to get stung by a damned bee. It hurt like hell, but luckily I had no allergic reaction... that would have put a huge damper on the day. 

Monday, August 20, 2012

Watermark your photos and 'Eyes' challenge!

If you visit blogs regularly, then you'll notice some bloggers tend to watermark their photos. I was doing this at one time, but then I stopped for no better reason than I got lazy.

Well. I have started watermarking photos again for this reason. Please (I beg you) read this blog post over at "A Sorta Fairytale" about watermarking and WHY (& how) you need to do it.  This Mama has 2 young adorable sons and posts many pictures of her boys (like we all do!!). Someone actually stole her pictures from her blog of her older boy, and created a facebook page about him saying it was HER own son!! How super freakin creepy is that? That freaked me out enough to immediately start watermarking again. Right away. It takes more time but it's worth it. I love sharing my photos of Julianna too much to sht down all together, so for me, I will watermark from now on no matter what. 

One key point about watermarking, which Mandy at "A sorta fairytale' points out in her post: When you put the watermark on the photo, make sure to put it close to your child's face or body, so it cannot be cropped out easily. I used to hide the watermarks in the corner or bottom of the photo, and looking back, I realize those are way too easy to crop out by someone that wants to use the pictures of your babies for no good. Can you imagine someone stealing your child's photos and saying it's their child? And then posting photos over & over of your child??? That would drive me off the deep end. 

Protect your little ones and any family members (or pets!) you care about. Watermark. Here is the link to Mandy's blog again for you to read what happened to her and how to watermark.  

The way I used to watermark last year - If you notice, the watermark is at the bottom and can easily be cropped out by a bad-doer. 

Now... I try to get the watermark near my daughter's face or body to make it much harder to crop out.  I don't worry so much about landscape or nature shots since I could care less if someone takes one of those. It's not the same as my child.

I am linking up to the PAPER MAMA for her challenge called "EYES" with my above photo. 
I just love Julianna's eyes in this shot. So expressive and deep!

The Paper Mama Photo Challenge

Another example of watermarking near the face. I would like to hope this protects her from most evil people. 

Friday, August 17, 2012

At the Lake

We live right by the largest lake in New Jersey called Lake Hopatcong. We often go to restaurants on the lake to eat dinner & enjoy the view ... but we don't go to take pictures too often. So Saturday night, Brian was putting together our new grill, and rather than sit in the house for a few hours, I decided to take Julianna down to the lake. We went to a small beach over by where we used to live. It has a nice pier and small swimming beach and boat docks. I do love our lake in the summer time - it's so pretty. We are lucky to live so close.

Every year we say we want to get a boat. Maybe a boat like THIS. You can't have a fast speedboat on the lake, even though so many people do, but you can't take it all out so what's the point of having a Donzi boat when you can't step on the gas? A nice party boat would suit us fine. We can take friends, family, the kid & dog comfortably! Maybe if we finally decide we can't sell our house and stay here for a while. Ugh.

Anyway back to reality.... So I was slightly challenged on Saturday night with the lighting. It was an hour before dusk and that nice golden hour. I thought my settings were OK for most of the shots i took, and the histogram even showed good. But, then I got them into Lightroom and they were all under-exposed , dark and often blurry. Phhtt. Bad job but at least I know what I did wrong. I need to over compensate in that type of lighting it seems! Live & learn right? Luckily I was able to lighten up most of the decent shots in Lightroom and save a few. Anywho, Here are my photos from Saturday evening.

I love her pretty face in this picture (if you overlook the major limb-chop!) 

Julianna was very excited over the ducks! 

She sat there for a while watching the ducks and the boats - while I got to snap a few pictures of her! 

Such a peaceful night - on a peaceful quiet part of the lake. When Brian and I first moved in together, before we bought our house 8 years ago, we used to be able to walk to this pier (and beach next to it) - It was a nice luxury. 

The clouds were moving all over and creating some interesting lighting. 

I love this little duck - and it kept quacking at Julianna. She was so happy it came up to us on the dock! 

She kept asking to go on the beach ... so I told her to sit down & take off her shoes- and she did. 

Wiggling toes in the sand! (Now she loves sand- 3 weeks ago she wouldn't have gone within 5 feet of this sand!) 

Julianna was jumping up and down in the water and loving it. 

Splish Splash. 

She loves the water!

And of course when i was time to go, I had to drag her off the beach kicking & screaming ... which turned into a full blown meltdown because she did not want to leave. "No Mama! Beach! No Mama! Beach!! Nooooo!" I got her in the car quickly and shut the door so she could scream all she wanted without people staring! haha! 

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Aimless & Arbitrary stuff lately

I took Julianna to the Lake this weekend to take some photos and watch the boats... I am still going though those pictures now, and hope to post them sooner than later.

But in the meantime, here is some random stuff... 

1.  I went to sip my cup of water that was sitting on the deck, and there was this thing floating it in (still alive!) - Good thing I looked in the cup first! (Yes that's a big-ass bee!) 

2.  Some of my favorite Iphone Apps lately are: 
  • Red Laser - This is cool. If you are out shopping and see something you like, you scan the barcode and Red Laser tells you if you can find it cheaper somewhere else or online instantly. 
  • Amazon - Great for Amazon-aholics like myself. 
  • InstapicFrame - Nice addition for your Instagram shots & more frames
  • Trip Advisor - Love this if you are a review-nut like me. I won't go to any hotel, destination or restaurant without first reading all the reviews on it! 
  • Line Camera- Another nice little iphone picture editing app to compliment your InstagramBugs Buttons - Great game to keep my toddlers busy - the bugs look real and it has a ton of stuff for her to explore. 
  • Google Plus+ and RSS Reader- I use the reader to catch up on reading blogs while I am out (like when I'm getting a pedicure) and I use Google plus app to upload my phone pics to be available to use on my blog - Can you say SUPER easy??!! 
What are your favorite apps on your smart phone? Please share! 

3.  I am scouring Craigslist for this lately - Hoping to find one of these beach carts for the beach that isn't too expensive before the end of the summer - Making 2 trips from the car is getting old really fast. 

4.  Meet our new friend Weber. He's swell. 

5.  I just love these. LOVE them. I think they are made specifically for ShopRite .... but maybe not? If you have a Shoprite by you - pick these wafers up - they are delish!! 

6.  What kid doesn't love these? 

7.  This is my daughter's favorite little car to ride on and her trusty Giraffe rides in the basket. This giraffe is her true love. This thing never leaves her side! God help us if we lose it! 

Have a great day !! 

Saturday, August 11, 2012


Hi everyone! I hope your weekend is going well and doesn't end too quickly! 
Just a fast link up post; I'm connecting over at The Paper Mama Photo Challenge - Her theme is "Green". 

I instantly thought of a picture I took of Julianna last weekend at the fair with her bright green ties on her dress sticking out and a devilish look in her eyes. Here is the picture of Julianna that I'm entering - 

8/21 EDIT: I was listed as a favorite on the PaperMama site! Yay me!

The Paper Mama Photo Challenge

Friday, August 10, 2012

NJ State Fair - Sussex County Farm & Horse Show

Every year in the summertime, I look forward to the NJ State Fair! Brian and I look forward to the rides, the food, the animals, the petting zoo, livestock, the pig races, the cool stuff for sale, vendor tents, rides, games, sweaty weirdos walking around, and did I mention FOOD? Oh the food - the cheese steaks, fries, zeppoles, homemade milkshakes, kettle corn, and lemonade just to name a few of my favorite things. We always manage to leave there with a nice case of the bloat.

It was hot as heck this year, but we managed to get through by going in and out of the buildings and shade, and drinking a ton of water & lemonade. Once the sun started to set, it cooled down quite a bit thank goodness.

We were all hot sweaty messes at the fair- Needed to super-hydrate!! 

 Julianna liked riding the kiddie tractors

My hysterical laughing child!! 

Julianna loved the pony ride! The pony's name was Vince. He was super soft and she loved petting him .

 The only issue with Julianna's John Deere dress was, it kept coming untied. Here's daddy straightening it out. At one point, we were wheeling her in her stroller through one of the vendor tents, and one of the vendors rudely pointed out that our child was naked and said she should get Mardi Gras beads for it. My husband was ready to punch the guy - but then we saw that our child was indeed naked from the waste up in the stroller... and we had to laugh. Sort of. 

Julianna on the choo-choo train ride. What ride doesn't this kid love?!

I can't remember what ride this was - but by this point, anything resembling a ponytail on Julianna's head was long gone from being windblown, sweat on, and tugged on. 

Mommy with Julianna on the kiddie rollercoaster. This is a rare site. You won't see me on any rides too often. I also found out half way through the ride I sat on the wrong side of my daughter, because when we went around the one bend rather hard, I almost crushed her! Oops! She still laughed & smiled the whole time so I guess she was ok. 

Who doesn't love the carrousel? 

And what's a day at the fair without one full-fledged meltdown?!

Milkshake solves everything. 

Here is her John Deere dress - pretty cute! 

Holy sweaty fair hair!

Daddy & Jules on the tractor at the fair. This might be my favorite picture of the bunch. 

Sheer happiness. 

Do you go to your state fair every year like us? What's your favorite thing to do there? 


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...