I can’t believe summer is almost over and school starts next week. Noooo!!
Honestly, I’m not normally a huge fan of summer, since I kinda really hate the heat. I’m really more of a fall person, but I absolutely loved these past few months.
A couple of days ago, out of the blue, Josh told me that this was his best summer ever.
He said was the perfect mix of play dates with friends, going to camp, swimming, spending time away from home without us, and staying home and hanging out with us.
With my job in a lull since the end of June and Damon able to take a little time off here and there we actually got to DO things together.
I’ll probably never have another summer off from work again so I tried to make the most of it. We went to the beach, the Science Museum, a couple of fairs, and a parade. Then there were trips to the farmer’s market, picking strawberries, and visits with friends and family.
We played board games, and Legos, and football.
Josh and I spent ridiculous amounts of time at the pool. I even got some Sunday naps with my cat while the boys went biking!
I learned how to RUN and lost
35 36 pounds. No really.
Josh learned how to play chess and swim like a fish.
We enjoyed every single minute. (Even the 5am runs.)
I think it was MY best summer ever too.
Filed Under family, life, photos Tagged iphoneography, life, photography, photos, summer
Here are some of my favorite photos I took while I was in New York for BlogHer last week. It was so hard to choose! All of these were taken with my iphone.
Amtrak baby. So much better than flying.
I have a thing for taxi pics. I took a lot of them. I can’t explain it.
You know I couldn’t go to NYC without getting at least one shot of a manhole cover right?
I loved Central Park. I desperately want to go back and spend more time wandering there.
I pretty much want to go back and wander everywhere.
Filed Under photos Tagged BlogHer, iphoneography, New York City, photography, photos
I’m still trying to wrap my head around that which was BlogHer. First of all, I had an absolute blast. There’s just something about having friends who normally live in the little box on my desk suddenly come to life that is surreal, and wonderful, and crazy all at once. Have you ever read a book you really loved and wished you could jump into into so you could meet, and hug, and talk with those characters? It’s pretty much exactly like that.
So the experience was amazing, as was visiting NYC for the first time, but I’m having mixed feelings about the conference itself. I absolutely love and respect the people behind BlogHer. The founders, their staff, and the many volunteers do an incredible job and I appreciate them so much for their hard work.
That said, in my opinion it was just too BIG for me. I am someone who is very comfortable in crowds, and have no problem walking up to anyone and introducing myself, there were overwhelming amounts of people around every corner. Every session, keynote, party, (elevators!) everything everything was packed to the gills and people had to be turned away from events that were supposed to be open to everyone (Martha.)
From my understanding they are dealing with that situation next year in Chicago by having the sessions and expo in a different venue than the hotel and they will bus everyone in between. Honestly, I’m not really sure that’s the solution. I’ve already made up my mind that I’m probably not going to go unless something drastic happens that I feel like I can spend the money on it again. The enormity of it just doesn’t feel right to me – just me – anymore. I may look for a smaller conference that focuses just on writing and photography so if anyone has a suggestion for such I’m all ears.
The ONLY bummer for me all week was the BlogHer 5K. If you follow me on twitter you know that I trained really hard for this and it was supposed to be my FIRST REAL 5K. I wanted it to be special, and it was most definitely not. We arrived downstairs that morning to find complete disorganization.
We had no official map, just some suggested runs that the organizers were unable to share with us via any electronic means. I looked at the routes to see if I could just program my own GPS and lo, they were only 2.5 miles. That is not a full 5K. The friends that I had agreed to run with and I went out on our own, knowing a vague route through Central Park, and knowing two out of the three of us had a GPS. We were fine and we did it.
It was fabulous in that I RAN in Central Park. ME. And I made two new friends. BUT. It was not a real 5K. There was no number on my shirt. There was no one to greet us when we got back. No one to hand us water and say congratulations. There was no finish line.
If you are BlogHer staff and you are reading this, I have some pretty specific ideas on what simple changes you should make for future 5Ks and I would love to talk with you about it. At the very least, if you can’t have a greeter with water at the end, you probably shouldn’t have a 5K at all.
Okay! Moving on. There were far MORE things about the conference itself that I loved than not. OMG the President spoke to us. I was trying not to bawl because it was so awesome. And Katie! I always liked Katie Couric but I was never a fangirl. I’m a fangirl now! She was so personable, and smart, and funny, and real. Then there was the Serenity Suite and the people I connected with there. My heart, they were fabulous.
I had favorite sessions too, there was one about technology and fitness during HealthMinder Day, and the one I was really looking forward to on iPhoneography on Friday was a good as I hoped, and the very last one I went to on Saturday was just a big meta conversation about blogging. LOVE. So good to hear so many perspectives. The best thing I took away from all of it is that no matter what you’re doing, as long as it works for you, it’s all good. There is no doing it wrong when it comes to blogging.
I know what you really want to hear about is the parties, but I have to be honest with you. I went to all the parties, went in, hugged many people, and left again. (SO MANY HUGS!) I only left because I can’t stand how loud the music is and I hate having to shout and strain to hear other people talk. (I’m OLD – what of it?!) So if you saw me sitting just outside the parties? That was not me disparaging them or fearing them, that was just me hanging and chatting with friends and enjoying every minute I could.
I have so much more to say, about the city itself – photo post to come! – and about the people. It always comes back to the people. I fear doing a linky-love post because I know I will miss someone but I also really want to shout out to those who I had so much fun with. I have to think about that!
If you’re thinking about going to a BlogHer, know that it is really an incredible experience and it’s indescribable and of course different for each person. You just have to do it and remember that what you get out of has everything to do with what you put into it, and not all of it will be perfect. If you hide in your room, you will regret even bothering, but if you make an effort, it will come back to you ten-fold. On that note, I’m going to take another nap. Re-entry is hard yo. xoxo
Filed Under blogging, friends Tagged blogging, blogging about blogging, BlogHer
One of the things I most want to learn more about at BlogHer is iphoneography, both what new apps are out there and what they can do, as well as how to better use the ones I have.
With that in mind I’ve been shooting a lot. I thought I would post some of the photos I’ve taken in the last couple of weeks so you can see what I’ve been up to.
Some of these are heavily edited, and some are completely unedited. I’m trying to shoot more by using composition and natural light to get the effects I want rather than using filters – although filters can be fun! Most of the square crops were posted on instagram.
Daisies are my favorite flower. This one is just barely edited.
This one is completely unedited. The colors popped without any help from me.
I don’t know if this is a weed or a wildflower but I liked it. I got down underneath to take the photo. Heavily filtered in Camera +.
This was a sunset at my mother’s in Maine. She has the most amazing view from her front porch. It’s not edited either.
This is heavily filtered to pull out the detail in the water. This is in southern Maine.
Also at my mother’s and also a raw image. The light that night was amazing.
The basketball hoop I grew up with. I think that’s even the same net. Slightly edited.
There is a very old tractor at my mom’s. This is darkened in Camera +.
My brother’s dog Sadie. She really does have all of her legs. Slightly edited.
She has all of her teeth too. Heavily edited just for fun.
I needed a new twitter headshot that shows me in my glasses so people can recognize me at BlogHer. I tried to edit out my roots but I was unsuccessful. Heh.
I love feedback! Please tell me what you think.
It’s that time of year again, when bloggers everywhere start losing their minds over that behemoth of a conference – BlogHer!
If they’re not going they’re lamenting it, (loudly – like me last year!) and if they are going they’re thinking about it, talking about it, tweeting about it, and apparently freaking the heck out over it. Just take a look at the #BlogHer12 hashtag and you’ll see what I mean!
As someone who has been to BlogHer once before I have a few bits of unasked for advice for those who are STRESSING!! You need not stress. Really, it’s awesome and huge and there will be a crazy number of women (and a few brave men) there. Many of them have some sort of anxiety, ADHD, or social disorder. You are not alone! Unless you want to be. 🙂
Here are all of my best tips that I learned from experience:
- Wear comfortable shoes! Seriously. If your feet hurt you’ll be miserable and who wants that when you’re going nonstop for 18 hours or more for days? If you don’t normally wear heels this is NOT the time to start.
- Same goes for your clothes! Wear what you like, not what you think everyone else is going to wear. I live in tee-shirts and shorts/capris most of the time so that’s what I’m bringing. I might trade in my shorts for a skirt for some of the evening events but then again I might just wear pajamas to the parties too. Who knows, who cares?! Along that same line – don’t feel like you need to go buy a whole new wardrobe for this. If you want a few new pieces that make you feel great then by all means, but no one expects it, and no one will notice if you’re wearing anything new or old. And remember NYC is hot and humid in August! Bring extra underwear for mid-day changes. And a full size deodorant! Smelling good is more important than looking good. IMHO. Ahem.
- Don’t plan on carrying a ton of stuff around with you all the time. If you have a small purse or bag you that can carry your phone etc in that’s great, but stash your big items in your room until you need them (like a session on blog design – obv you’ll want your laptop for that.) I carried my laptop and a big notebook around with me all the time in ’09 and I barely used them. I’m sticking with a small cross body purse that I can stash my iPhone, a small notebook, and business cards in – both mine and the ones that people will hand me.
- Yes, you need business cards! At least a few hundred of them. Everyone should have them, no matter how big or small your blog is, or even if you don’t have a blog. Your name, twitter name, and email address, and URL (if you have one) are must haves on your card. It’s a great way to break the ice and remember everyone you talked to.
- Go to sessions! I know everyone thinks it’s all about the parties, but the sessions are great and you’ll get to talk to way more people there than you will at a loud, dark, crazy party. Don’t feel like you need to go to Every. Single. Session (!) but try to get to some of them. Look at the schedule in advance, plan the ones you MUST go to and be flexible on the rest! Sometimes the best sessions are the ones you didn’t think fit your style but you ended up in by chance.
- Yes, the parties are awesome too! Let me just say this right now; the Official BlogHer parties are just as fabulous if not MORE fabulous than the private, invite-only, offsite parties. For REAL. Last time I went I way overbooked myself and really regretted going to so many offsite events. I would have been way happier and less stressed if I had stayed in the hotel and gone to the official parties. I think I would have connected with way more people too. Don’t worry if you haven’t been invited to ANYTHING. You don’t need to be invited, or sign up, or RSVP to any of these awesome events.
- If you want to connect with brands, but you’re worried you won’t if you don’t go to a specific brand event, STOP worrying! Brand reps are everywhere, in sessions, in the Expo, and hanging out in the halls, just like you. Don’t publicly beg pr reps for invites, and I beg you, don’t abuse the BlogHer12 twitter hashtag trying to get a brand to notice you.
- Take some down time when you need it. Go to your room and take a nap or a shower. Hang out in the lobby or restaurant. Sit on the floor in the hall. Hide in the bathroom. Check out the Serenity Suite. Have a quiet convo with one or two friends. Whatever. Just don’t think you need to Go Go Go every second or you will burn out.
- Stop thinking about Swag.
- I repeat: stop thinking about SWAG. The swag is not the reason you are going to BlogHer. Right? You are going to BlogHer to see friends, meet new people, maybe get some education, maybe connect with brands. You are not going to BlogHer to get STUFF. BlogHer swag can be fun, and frankly it can be weird, but if that’s all you are there for you could save your money on your conference pass, hotel bill, and plane/train ticket and go BUY THAT STUFF. The swag is just a minor extra perk and that’s really all the attention it deserves.
- Exchange cell phone numbers with the friends you really want to see. Sometimes a text is quickest way to get in touch with someone if they don’t check their email or twitter messages often. If the hotel’s wifi is a little slow (expect it!) sporadic cell service might be all you have to rely on.
- Don’t be afraid to go introduce yourself to that one person standing alone. You might just make their day, and yours too!
- Prepare to hug and be hugged. Especially if you meet me. I’m a hugger!! If you are having the worst day ever, come find me and I will hug the crap out of you!
- Bring earplugs in case your roommate(s) snores. Bring extra in case YOU snore so you can share. Y’all need what little sleep you have time for! (Especially the night before the 5K that SOME of us are crazy enough to sign up for!) Also, pack Tylenol/Advil and bandaids.
- Take photos! I only took about 6 pictures the last time I went and boy do I wish I had taken more!
- If you could only go to one event the entire weekend, make it the Voices of the Year. Seriously, don’t let anything else keep you from going to this. You won’t regret it.
I hope this helps even a couple of people! I remember being so nervous before I went to BlogHer and I read everything I could get my hands on about what it’s like. I don’t think anyone can really tell you though, you just have to experience it. If any of you want to connect with me there my twitter is @annettek or let me know if you want my cell #!
Oh, and if any of you have been and have any tips to add I’d love to hear them!
I’ve been trying to take my own advice and really look around at my surroundings for interesting things to photograph. I decided to search for the ugliest thing in my neighborhood – and realized that it’s all of the manhole and drainage covers! Those are probably the most obvious eyesore in every neighborhood!
Since I had never really taken a close look at drain covers before it didn’t occur to me that they actually have some design elements to them! I took a series of funky shots and prettied them up with app filters. I kinda really love the patterns and orange/rust colors and I can’t wait until I’m in New York in August so I can look for some different ones. I might actually have to keep this series going!
Here’s a few of the photos I’ve taken so far:
So what do you think? Are manhole covers still ugly, or do they have the potential for beauty? What other typically ugly things should I take another look at?
WARNING WARNING This is going to be one of THOSE posts. The squeamish should run away now while you can!
I think you all know I have IBS. No rhyme or reason, no cause, just effect. You know never know when it will hit you, what food will do you in, or where you will be when it strikes.
My digestive system is just ridiculous. You know, you never hear anyone say that they love their intestines. You know why? Because if they work well you take them for granted! You only hear from those of us who hate our guts. And whose guts hate them back.
When my gallbladder up and quit on me I thought my “issues” would get better. And they did! I could eat salad again! Seriously though, a piece of freaking lettuce used to send me running for the loo. I don’t have to play I-Spy a restroom every time I walk into an unfamiliar building anymore. It’s soooo much better. Except when it’s not.
When you have your gallbladder removed, all of a sudden you have no bile regulation. Your liver continues to spurt that acid out on a regular basis, but without the gallbladder there to send it on only when you need it, the bile just goes straight to your stomach and sits there waiting for food. When you sleep at night or otherwise fast for a time the acid really builds up. Stomach acid + say, an egg in the morning? Well, they don’t play well together. I’ve learned simple coping things, lots of whole grains/high fiber, especially in the mornings, make a huge difference.
The problem is, I have other triggers, hidden triggers. I’m still finding them 3 years post surgery. There are the obvious ones, fried foods, high fat foods, high sugar foods, and too many raw vegetables.
Then there are the less obvious. The most recent discovery? Splenda.
It’s really hard to try to lose weight when you can’t have any artificial sweeteners. Nutrasweet (aka aspartame) gives me migraines and now Splenda (aka sucralose) gives me diarrhea. Massive cramping, leave you on the floor in a fetal position, diarrhea. Awesome.
I’m going to drink some stupid plain water now. Humph.
Filed Under food, life Tagged crazy, gallbladder, humor, if you don't laugh you'll cry, life
Geez! It’s been an entire week since we got home from vacation. I’m like, the worst blogger ever. I had every intention of showing you pics as soon as we got home and then I got sucked back into 12 hour days at work…eh.
Anyway, I really wanted to show you all some of the best photos I got with just my iPhone. I haven’t even had a change to LOOK at the photos we got with the other cameras yet. Between all of the cameras we had with us we probably have close to 1,000 images to wade through. Eek! If you’re friends with me on Facebook you may have seen a couple of these, but not all of them.
We had perfect weather for most of the trip – and this sky? Was UNREAL.
Wupatki Pueblo. This was an unexpected detour on our first day of driving and one of our favorite spots of the whole trip.
I’m so happy we made time for that!
Then we headed up north to Monument Valley Utah the same day. We made it there close to sunset and it was crazy beautiful.
Next day we headed back south a bit to Page, Arizona. Page alone was worth the entire trip!
This is Horseshoe Bend, on the Colorado River. Seriously, my photos just don’t do it justice. Google it y’all.
You need a wicked wide-angle lens to get the whole thing in one image. What you’re looking at is a 1,000 foot drop to the river. We had to crawl out onto a ledge to get the photos. As I said on FB, it was the scariest damn thing I’ve ever done. I swear I almost threw up watching other people just stroll out to the ledge and look down. I was sure the wind would blow someone right off! And then, if the fall doesn’t kill you, the hike back to the road will – 3/4 mile uphill on deep shifty sand at 4,200 feet. My poor sea-level lungs! Even so, this was mine and Josh’s favorite place out of everything we saw.
Our other stop in Page was just as good but completely different, Upper Antelope Canyon. (I wish we had stayed and extra day and gone to Lower Antelope as well!)
I have hundreds of photos of just this one place. It was truly unbelievable. It was Damon’s favorite spot on the trip, and a close second for me. Antelope Canyon is what’s called a slot canyon, with the light coming in from above. You walk along a path naturally carved out by periodic flooding. We had a fabulous Navajo tour guide who clearly had respect and reverence for it. I wished we could have stayed much longer and watched the light change throughout the day.
The next day we headed for the Grand Canyon itself, and stayed there for a couple of days. I don’t think I need to tell you how gorgeous it was.
After this we wended our way (on Route 66) over towards Las Vegas. On the way, we made a last minute change of plans and stopped at the Hoover Dam. It’s almost impossible to get a good photo of it, it’s so huge! This is taken standing on top of it, looking down. I just like the texture.
I did get this one I liked of one of the support towers.
Then Vegas. Blech. We only went because we were flying out from there. I thought it would be fun but compared to everything else we saw that week it was just garish and gross. If I could do it over again, I’d skip that part, and would have flown back out of Phoenix so we could have spent more time there, and could have gone back through Sedona. Oh well! It still was the trip of a lifetime for all of us and I’m so glad we did it.
Did I mention by the end we drove almost a 1,000 miles? And our rental car was a red Mustang convertible? This isn’t one of my best photos, but it is one of my favorites.
Man, that poor car looked like we’d gone mud running in it by the time we were done. 🙂
Filed Under family, photos Tagged iphoneography, photography, photos, vacation
Soooo. Hi. I’ve been a little absent. Not just here, but in my whole life! A few weeks ago I was asked to take on an extra book project for work, on top of the three different books I was already working on. At first I said no. I really didn’t have time. So they sweetened the pot a bit and I just couldn’t refuse. It’s a huge rush job and well, that money will more than pay for our vacation AND BlogHer in August. So, yeah.
Here’s the thing, when you freelance it’s really hard to say no to work – you never know when the next project will come along (maybe months) and if they give this contract to someone else, well that someone else might just get asked first next time. Paranoid much? Yep. But sometimes I take on more than I can reasonably do. Oops.
Anyway, the lure of extra cash hooked me and now I’m working 12 hour days, including weekends, to keep up with it all. I don’t have a moment to spare for anything. Not groceries, not sleep, not cleaning, (oh, darn!) not even Words with Friends (gasp, I know!) I didn’t even go to that one day conference last week after all. I didn’t cancel the babysitter though, I basically paid her to play Monopoly with my kid while I put in headphones and pretended they weren’t there.
It’s going to be like this until the day we leave for vacation, it will be like this again starting the day we get back, and it will last until sometime near the end of May when all four projects come to a close. So if you don’t hear from me until then, you know why!
Oh, and this boy? He turned NINE almost 2 weeks ago and I didn’t even have time to tell you. Sheesh.
I love geek holidays, I can’t help it! Are any of you baking pies in honor of Pi day today? I wish I had time! I’d like a blueberry pie, or maybe a chocolate cream pie, or oooo, a bacon quiche? That totally counts as pie right?
In case you noticed my lack of internet presence, I’m completely swamped with work right now. As great as it is to have plenty of contracts and a good chunk of money flowing in, it makes my life completely insane. I never want to be someone who complains about work though, because oh, would it suck to not have any. This is just me saying, I miss you guys!
I really want to be a better blogger though, so in light of that, I’m going to Blog Better Boston in a couple of weeks. It’s just a one day thing, but I suspect I’m going to get a lot out of it! I’m really looking forward to the food photography course I’m taking there. If you’ve ever tried food photography you know it’s wayyy harder than it sounds.
I also decided I’m going to go to BlogHer 12 in NYC this summer. I’ve haven’t been to BlogHer since 2009, the timing just hasn’t been right for me the last few years. I’ve heard it’s gotten sooo much bigger and intimidating but that’s okay with me. I have a pretty good idea of what to expect, I want to spend some time seeing the city through my camera lens, and I have a fabulous roommate who I know will let me tail her like a puppy when I don’t know what else to do with myself. 🙂 Will I see any of you there?
Okay, so speaking of photography, we bought the cutest camera you have ever seen! It’s small like a point and shoot, but has interchangeable lenses. I’m kind of in love with it and kind of afraid of it! I’m really hoping someone will buy me a macro lens for it. And teach me how to use it??
Soooo, that brings me to the reason we bought the camera – because we’re going on our first “real” vacation EVER. I think every vacation we’ve ever taken has been either to visit family, has been part of a business trip, or has been a staycation. Since we managed this one car thing for so long, and are planning to continue it indefinitely we decided to use some of the savings we would have spent on a second car and go on a trip to the Grand Canyon.
You guys! The Grand Canyon! This is truly a trip of a lifetime for this New England girl. It’s something we’ve always wanted to do but never thought it would happen. I’m sure I’ll have much more to tell you about it as it gets closer. Or hey, no promises, I might not have time to blog again until after it’s over! Either way, I guarantee you I will have a million and one photos to share with you. Heh.
I hope y’all don’t mind if this ends up being a photography blog!
Hello Spring! So glad you’re almost here!
Filed Under blogging, photos, Uncategorized Tagged blogging about blogging, BlogHer, photography