My Boyfriend's Back

My husband is back! I confess that I may or may not have picked him up from the airport wearing a sheer nighty and a thong.  You know.  Just to spice things up a little.  Just kidding.  Not really.  I'll let you decide.  

There is gonna be a whole lot of shit everywhere now. His words not mine and he has certainly delivered on that.  He has also delivered on being the cutest man ever and even though my undiagnosed OCD is kicking in big time I'm glad to have him home. I kind of feel like my space is being invaded which is totally not true considering we bought this house together and have been living in it together for 3 years.  There is always this weird transition period that occurs whenever he comes home from an extended absence. I'm almost surprised to see him in the house when I walk in the door after work.  His presence has busted me out of my quiet little self contained bubble.  Like, what?  There is someone else in the house?  I have somebody to talk to and cuddle with?  When you are alone you just kind of float about the house without regard to anyone or anything but when you are in a couple there is someone to consider.  There is someone who wants to watch the football game on the big TV downstairs at 5:30pm.  Someone that might wonder where you are if you've gone and disappeared upstairs for a few hours.  There is an adjustment period when he leaves as I get thrown into the solo life AND when he comes back as I get adjusted to WE instead of just ME, ME, ME.  And it's a good adjustment to make.

Amazingly enough, I actually kept him fed for two dinners on the chicken breasts I made the day before he came home.  He took Monday off to recover from his travels and of top priority that day was grocery shopping.  He had the nerve to assume there wasn't much food in the house and well....he was right.  You know how I do.  Then he turned around and made this delicious healthy version of a Philly cheese steak sandwich for dinner on Wednesday.  So good.  He's baaaack!!!  Good lovin', good cooking, and a good man.  What more can I ask for?  Okay, so maybe it would be pretty cool if he could pick some of his clothes off the floor but you know what they say?  Marriage is about compromise.  I'm no walk in the park myself.  We will be having Subway for dinner tonight.  My pick. 

Now that he's back I finally got to watch Breaking Bad.  Now I know what my co workers have been whispering about and if you aren't already watching you should be.  It is CRAY!!!  I pretty much HATE Walter White.  He is cold, evil and power hungry.  The best thing about hating Walter is that I'm not freaking out about whether or not he dies, gets away with it or gets locked up.  I don't care one way or another and it has eased the anxiety that I would have if I actually cared.  The latest episodes have been so dark.  I always feel a little stunned after watching.  We are all caught up and will be able to watch the season finale with everyone else.  I cannot wait. 

Oh California how I love you.  Good old San Diego is hanging onto Summer by it's fingertips and that is just fine by me.  It's still a little chilly in the morning but by the afternoon it's been anywhere between 77-79 which is pretty darn perfect if you asked me.  Fall can take as long as it wants to show up.  There is plenty of time for boots and leggings.

We are already booked for Saturday.  He could not wait.  He literally made these plans while he was still out of the country.  We will be having dinner and maybe a movie at Cinepolis with friends.  I'm happy to be dating my husband again and I anticipate some movie watching and cuddle time on the couch too.

Now I just need this darn work day to be over so I can get on with it.

About all those Giveaways

When I first started blogging in 2009 there weren't a lot of giveaways at all.  Well maybe there were but I didn't realize it.  It wasn't until 2011 that I started seeing them pop up more and more and then last year giveaways really exploded across blogland.   They were every day every where.  I thought it was a phase and just the "in" thing to do at the moment and that it would go away.  Surely these people will run out of money.  Then the group giveaways started.  The prizes got bigger and the ways to enter multiplied.  What started out as giving away a scarf or a $20 gift card here and there turned into iPads, cell phones and $1,000 Visa Gift Cards.  There are entire blogs, twitter accounts and Facebook pages dedicated to promoting and entering giveaways.

The GFC count on a lot of blogs really began to skyrocket and it was clear that giveaways were not going to stop any time soon.  I was really annoyed at first.  As a Giveaway entrant:  You mean to tell me that I have to follow 20 blogs to enter this giveaway?  I wasn't willing to follow twenty million blogs so I knew I hadn't a chance in winning.  I knew that people were probably just following the blog to enter the giveaway with no intention of ever reading and I didn't want to do that.  Didn't these bloggers realize that they were only getting "fake" followers and being taken advantage of?   As a Blogger:  It didn't feel "fair" that their number count was going to double over night while I've been tapping away at my keyboard for years and gotten nowhere near that many followers.  It's not the only way to attract followers but we all know it's one of the fastest ways to accelerate the pace.

I started out with just entering them.  I'm a natural sweepstakes enterer by nature.  I enter tons of worldwide sweepstakes every day that I have no shot in hell of winning.  I know that I will probably never win the HGTV dream home but for some odd reason I'm compelled to enter.  I've always done this.  Even as a child I used to fill out the Publishers Sweepstakes entry form and stick on the little car stamp in the color of my choice on behalf of my parents.  Yes, I'm addicted to sweepstakes and yes, it's a problem.  Giveaways had become a part of blog land.  If bloggers wanted to give things away in exchange for fake followers then I would let them.  I started following tons of blogs and entering my little sweepstakes loving heart out but then I started to feel bad.  I still enter giveaways but now I only take entries I want and limit blog follow entries to ones I'm already following or blogs that I legitimately have an interest in even if it lessens my chance of winning.  I also try to comment beyond the giveaway post. 

Doing a giveaway on my own blog still didn't feel right.  I didn't want to be like everybody else and do a giveaway just to get my numbers up.  I utilize some blog promotional tools but giveaways or anything that involves the exchange of money or goods felt too much like selling out or buying readers. It was hard to take the slow organic approach and watch other blogger numbers go through the roof  while mine remained low.  I held out for while and then did a solo giveaway on my own blog around Christmas of last year for a gift card to one of my favorite stores.  It felt right because I really did see it as a way to thank my readers for reading.  The winner was already a reader and she was thrilled.  It felt really good to give something away and make someone happy so I was willing to do it again when asked to do one in a small group by one of my favorite bloggers.  I was getting used to the concept and I got to thinking.  How would I know that doing giveaways was not right for my blog if I didn't give it a chance and see what it was like?  Why not take advantage of the opportunity for other people to discover my blog?  I love writing and while I am not motivated by the follower count I do want people to read.  I started to wonder how people would ever find my blog if I wasn't willing to follow the current trends to promote it.   As I continued to enter giveaways I also started winning some cool stuff so I also felt it would be good for my giveaway karma to give something back.  I wasn't interested in signing up for a random group giveaway that someone tweeted about.  I took the approach that if I was asked by a blogger that I have a connection with I would say yes and only with what little money that I'd generated out of blogging.  It still felt kind of organic.  Sort of.  

I have won giveaways.  I have done 3 solo and participated in 4 group giveaways hosted by others.  These are my observations.

1// You actually can discover a lot of new favorites through giveaways.  No, I cannot follow and read fifty million blogs but yes, I might discover just one more that I really really like.  Most of us follow a ton already but with incentive we might decide to add yet another and it could turn out to be one of your favorite blogs.  Every new follower is also a potential reader.

2// I never really got sponsorship until I won add space through a giveaway and had a chance to experience it first hand. It was then that I realized how much bloggers put into the whole sponsorship thing and how kind they are in promoting other bloggers.  Yes.  Often in exchange for money.  But kind nonetheless.  I've found blogs through a sidebar button or sponsor spotlight.  It's possible.  Cassie @ Live, Laugh Love and Sarah @ A Girl Smitten were awesome.  They checked in with me and delivered everything they said they would.  I don't accept sponsors or buy add space on others; but I get it. 

3// Winning free stuff is really fun.  When you win a group giveaway it's like winning everyday because you keep getting e mails from people wanting to send you free stuff.   

4// There are a lot of professional giveaway enterers that have profiles specifically set up for entering giveaways.  They will follow you but will probably never read your blog.

5// A lot of my regular readers don't enter at all.  I think a lot of people don't enter because they figure they will never win, entering can be a pain in the butt or they simply don't like them.  I understand the point is often to gain new followers but on the other hand my ideal giveaway is where a lot of my current readers enter and a long time reader wins.  Rafflecopter gets to pick not me.  

6// They are actually a lot of fun.  I'm always honored when a blogger asks me to join in and it's fun working with other bloggers. People get really excited about getting free stuff 'cause who doesn't love free stuff and it's fun being a part of making that happen.

7// Instead of looking at it as just a greed thing and just wanting to get more followers I started to see the kindness and generosity behind bloggers who spend their own money to give things to people that they don't even know.  Yes, they want people to follow their blogs but they are still giving something back.

8// I can understand why a lot of new bloggers jump right into giveaways so they can get their blog out there and establish a base.  I can't even imagine what it would be like to be a new blogger right now with 2 followers when a lot of blogs are 3k+ and a lot of bloggers already have formed connections. It's got to be so intimidating in a way that it wasn't when I started out. 

9// You can fast track your numbers with all the promoting tools available and get all of the followers in the world but you have to produce content that people want to read in order to keep them and get them reading and commenting.  I see a lot of blogs with a whole lot of followers but nobody is commenting.

Bloggers give away things in exchange for a chance.  A chance for someone to possibly fall in love with their blog and become a new reader.  That's what most of us want.  Sponsorships, giveaways, link ups, guest posting, social media, SEO and google analytics (which I still don't understand) among many other things represents the evolution of blogging.  I hated a lot of it at first but I think it was mainly just because it was new and it represented a new direction for blogging that I wasn't sure that I wanted to go.

I won't try everything but I wanted to give giveaways a chance before I totally made up my mind about whether I hated them or not.  And you know what?  I don't hate it.  I don't feel like I missed out by waiting so long to do one or that I'm missing out by not doing more.  I am open to doing it again but I probably won't do it a whole lot.  It's fun to watch that number go up but the overall satisfaction of getting a new follower out of the blue just because is far greater then when they come from giveaways.  Not that I don't appreciate giveaway follows.  Believe me I do.  It just feels different then when people just made that decision to follow without any incentive.

People complain that there are too many giveaways and I once did too but I'm over it. Your blog content should never consist of giveaway after giveaway.  People get bored.  It's free stuff!  If you want free stuff enter.  If not then move on.  If you don't like giveaways don't enter them and don't host them but like it or not it looks like they are here to stay.

What do you think?  Love them, loathe them or indifferent?

Life Lately...

I've been living the single life for the last 6 weeks. I'm dating my friends and doing very little laundry, cooking or house cleaning. The house is as neat as I want it to be-which is pretty darn neat.  I take out the trash and keep the orange tree in the backyard alive. The word we has been momentarily replaced with I and face time has taken the place of kisses and cuddles. I stalk him on Facebook and I smile when APO Armed forces Europe or Bulgaria shows up on my blog stats.  He's a million miles away but if he's checking out my blog I know at that moment he's thinking about me.  He even commented.  Only the 2nd time ever.  That random comment on this post saying I'm hot.  Yeah, that was him.

Lately I've been....

Missing my husband.  I'm no stranger to being separated from him and I have learned to deal with it.  Four weeks is nothing since we've gone as long as 11 months but six weeks is when I hit a wall. 

Remembering what it's like to live alone.  It's really quiet and somehow it makes me feel very thoughtful and very aware of myself and my surroundings.

Participating in solo introspective activities.  I love having Mj around but he's distracting, in a good way.  I have made a point to spend time with friends and family but my social calendar has slowed down a lot.  Some nights I even get bored.  I finally figured out manual mode on my camera.  I've been taking pictures and writing at home on weekends instead of going to the coffee shop.

Watching a lot of movies.  I dominate the Netflix Queue and have been burning through no less then three movies every weekend.  I'm trying to get in all of my random/chick flick movies in before he gets back.

Eating ice cream.  I single handedly demolished an entire gallon of Dreyer's Light Coffee flavored ice cream.  Love this stuff! It's so good I can't even believe that it's light.  I ate a half of cup which is only 100 calories every single night until it was gone. 

Drinking wine.  I've never been one to drink alone but I've been doing it over the last month more then I ever have before.  I've really developed a taste for it over the years and just because I'm home alone is no reason to stop drinking it.  It's all the more reason to drink it.

Cooking a whole lot of nothing.  Which isn't too far off from the norm.  Dinner is no longer a team event now that I'm on my own.  I finished off our 4 lb jar of Peanut Butter.  Typical dinners have been Quesadilla's, hearty salads, Hebrew National Hotdogs and Green Giant frozen vegetable Steamers.  Subway has made it into the rotation twice, which stretches to four dinners because I split my $5 foot long into two days. 

Wondering what's going on with Breaking Bad.  The episodes are stacking up in my DVR teasing me and my co workers are whispering about it behind my back.  I've been waiting 6 weeks to watch it.  The suspense is killing me. I also can't wait to start watching Orange is the New Black again.

Spending little to no money.  I am so over shopping.  Seriously.  Over it.  Not that I don't still have a list of things I want or that I will never buy anything again.  Not that I don't drool a little when I'm reading fashion posts but the urge to spend is just gone and I am so glad.  It was feeling so ridiculously excessive and chasing sales is exhausting.  I think I needed all that shopping so I could feel good about my wardrobe but I have plenty of things to wear now and I don't need to be out shopping every month.  I've gone out to eat a few times and have gotten cheapo take out but I've spent more money on gas this month then anything else.  I feel like I'm getting back to my spendthrift ways and I like it.  I still have two trips left this year and saving for those is priority.

Feeling excited about our trip to Las Vegas. I know, I know; I just went in May, but it's not the first time I've gone to Vegas multiple times in one year.  We're going in November and this time it's just the two of us.  We've both been separately with other people but we haven't gone together since 2009 when he came home from Kosovo on R & R.  I really can't believe it's been that long.  It'll be a perfect way to celebrate our anniversary.  We usually don't, but I guess we are this year.

Enjoying our perfect weather.  August and September were HOT and I loved it.  It's cooled down to 70's to 80's over the last week.  I'll be okay when Fall decides to show up but  I'm just as happy for Summer to stick around as long as it wants to.

Wearing my boyfriend jeans from Old Navy.  I really want to wear them every day.  I was hesitant about buying them at first because I thought they'd make me look fat.  Well who cares, I love the easy comfortable fit.

Life is different without MJ.  Something is missing, but he's coming home on Sunday and I can't wait.

Love and Loss

I have never been to a funeral.  No one that I am really close to has ever passed away.

My parents moved to Southern California before I was even born and most of my extended family is in Michigan with some in Northern California.  I have cousins, aunts and uncles that I don't know very well.  Growing up, there were Summers that we piled into the car and made the cross country journey to Michigan or the 9 hour drive to San Jose but it wasn't enough to really know them.  It bothers me that I don't and I want to connect but I feel like I don't know where to start.  I met 3 out of my 4 grandparents.  My grandmother on my dad's side is still alive but the others have passed away.  I never really understood how special that grandchild and grandparent relationship until my nephew DJ was born since I had never experienced it myself.  My parents are so in love with that child.  As am I.  Children are so loved.  I imagine that my grandparents love(d) me that way too but not being close to them I never really understood that until now.  DJ will know his grandparents and his aunts in a way that I never did.  They live in North Carolina but we had him here for the first three years of his life and it's important to all of us that he doesn't forget who we are.

Its an odd feeling when someone in your family passes away and you don't feel sadness about it in the way that you think you should.  It kind of makes me feel like a bad person but I know that it's just because I didn't know them.  Yes, I'm sad but not in the way that I would be had I truly known them as a person and had the opportunity to grow close to them.  In a way, I have been spared the pain of loss simply by not knowing my extended family.  While I may be somewhat shielded I don't know how lucky that is because I really would have liked to have known them better.

My aunt passed away on Saturday after 6 years of battling cancer.  I haven't been to Michigan in over 10 years and I can't even remember the last time I saw her.  I am saddened by this and my heart aches for my mother who is losing a sister.  I love my sister's so much.  I can't even imagine how awful that feels.  She is also a mother, a wife and a grandmother.  There are so many who are deeply affected by her passing.  It's this gigantic ripple effect and every ripple is a layer of love and a deeply painful loss.  I don't ever want to know that sickening heart wrenching feeling of loss but I know it's not a choice I get to make.  There will come a day that I will become painfully acquainted with it.

With the passing of my aunt and that terrible shooting; death has been on my mind.  I know, it's so morbid.  But sometimes your mind goes to dark places whether you want it to or not.  I watched Safe Haven on Sunday.  It's about a man who loses his wife to cancer and is now raising their two children on his own.  Boy meets girl, they fall in love and the story unfolds.  The end of the movie left me a sobbing mournful mess alone on my couch.  I can be emotional so this is not unusual for me.  I've cried watching a cotton commercial. I cried as if my heart was breaking just imagining the loss of this fictional characters wife.  Then the anger hit.  I know it's just a movie, but then I thought of my aunt Martha again and anyone else that has lost loved ones.  I too will experience it at some point before I eventually expire myself and somehow it all just seems so cruel and unfair.  I literally asked out loud as if someone would answer; Why do people have to die? It's such a childish question and I am old enough to know the answer.  It's the circle of life.  We can't live forever. 

Sometimes I let my mind wander a little bit too much and I think of how I can possibly endure loosing the people in my life that I love the most.  My eyes tear up, I get this terrible lump in my throat and then I have to push it aside because we can't live our lives fearing what has not yet happened even if it is something as inevitable as death.  I don't spend a lot of time thinking about it.  Nobody should.  It's too depressing and we have to live for the here and now.  But whenever it does sneak into my thoughts it's a reminder of just how important it is to make the most of precious time with friends and family.  Nobody is promised tomorrow.

Have I Let Myself Go?

It dawned on me the other day that I look a lot cuter when I'm not at work. Too bad my co workers will never know the magnitude of my true hotness.

It's not exactly a corporate or fashion forward type of environment.  If you are an administrator you might wear Ann Taylor suiting and dresses but other then that most of my co workers don't.  I've never had to wear a suit to work thank goodness, so I don't even own one.  The style of dress ranges from tennis shoes and jeans to slacks, suits and dresses.  The age range is anywhere from 20's to 60's.  We don't have an official dress code. I mean, there is the moral code of not wanting to look like a ragamuffin at work but overall, it really is left to our own discretion to wear what is appropriate.  There is little to no face to face interaction with anyone outside my office.  I see the same people every day.  I sit inside an air conditioned office for about 9 hours staring at computer screens and most of the time don't even go outside.  And then I go home.  So what's to get all beautified for?  I'd rather spend the extra time in the morning scrolling through Instagram and Twitter feeds thinking about getting out of bed instead.  I don't think I have to look "done up" to present a professional image and I'm comfortable with my appearance without make up. 

There is some cross over, but my more conservative work outfits are less exciting then my non work ones.  Monday through Wednesday I wear my favorite chino type pants that I get from J.C. Penny's or slacks from The Limited and Express.  I try not to wear any pants that are too bright or skinny delicious on those days.  I pair them with casual tops or button ups and cardigans.  I do casual Friday AND casual Thursday just because I can.  Those days I'm in colored denim or blue jeans and cute tops.  I like my casual clothes way more and I hate ironing.  I live in flats.
NO make up, NO filter, NO problem
And then there is the face.  I feel like I used to care a lot more, but somewhere along the way it stopped mattering so much.  I've never been a big make up person anyways.  There was a time that I never showed up to work without at least blush and a colored lip gloss which I keep in my purse and put on in the car on the way there.  About a year ago I stopped doing that every day.  I even show up to work totally bare faced.  The horror.  It feels like too much effort to do it every day before 7am. When I do feel like wearing make up for work it's just my 5 minute face with the basic fixings. I really don't see the point of any more then that.   Unless I have plans directly AFTER work.  Sometimes I have to whip out the flat iron but the hair is basically get up and go.

I don't think I look bad.  Typically anyways, unless I'm running on hardly any sleep or it's the day after an annoyingly mid week holiday.  Yes, I'm talking about you 4th of July 2013.  If I'm in an outfit that I feel good in and well groomed that works for me. And earrings.  For some odd reason I feel naked without earrings and I get bummed out for a second when I realize I forgot them.  I wear the same necklace everyday.  It rarely comes off.  Outside of work  I put in more effort with make up and styling my outfits.  I get to wear fun things that won't cut it even in our casual office environment and I enjoy taking the extra step with make up to feel extra pretty.  I'm not a glamour girl.  Unless we are going out out out I'm still not wearing a lot make up but I will wear a little more and switch up the jewelry.  I'm more motivated to take those extra steps on weekends when I'm on MY TIME enjoying life with friends and family and doing things that I want and when I'm just schlepping around doing errands lately, I just rock the glasess and don't even bother putting in my contacts.  I'm not going out like the people of Walmart but I'm definitely not going to get done up.  And if I run into someone I know from work or elsewhere?  Who cares.  Since I don't wear a lot of make up anyways I don't look all that much different. 

So have I really let myself go?  I mean, is this where it starts? One day you stop wearing make up on the daily and the next you are shopping in the ugly Missy section at Macy's and leaving the house with pink rollers in your hair. I'm not quite there yet so I'm going to go with no.  As much as I wish I was more's just not me.  I'm going to call it settling into my casual self and not caring what anybody around me thinks of it instead and I'm finding it to be very liberating.

Manual Mode Made Easy

I guess I should say Manual Mode Made Easier.  Because great photography isn't exactly easy.

When we got  our camera I spent about 20 minutes looking at the manual and gave up.  It was way too much information making it way too complicated for a newbie DSLR user like myself.  It was just TMI.  All I wanted was the basics.  Just enough for me to understanding the most basic function of each setting.  A year later I sat down, did some internet research and pared down the volume of information so I could figure this thing out.  Finally, instead of randomly changing the settings around until my image stopped being black I was able to make educated guesses about what settings to use in different conditions.  I spent all last weekend taking pictures at home trying to get better at this.

There is so much to learn about manual mode and how to take great pictures.  This barely scratches the surface.  Once you understand the settings there is still a lot to know about how to manipulate them in relationship to each other to get the shots you want.  Never mind all the skill and practice it takes to really be good at it.  It's enough to get started without making it more complicated then it has to be for a beginner.  Everyone's brain works differently so this may or may not be the key to unlocking the mystery of manual mode but it's been very helpful to me. 

Shutter Speed
Amount of time that the shutter is open. Length of time that your image sensor ‘sees’ the scene you are attempting to capture. Measured in seconds (i.e.:  1/60 or 1/80)
Example: Think of how window shutters work.  The speed at which you open and close them controls how much light gets into a window.  The lower the bottom number is the slower the shutter is being closed and more light is allowed in.   

Slower Shutter

  • Lets in more light
  • Brightens image
  • Captures speed and movement in an image
  • For use with a Tri-Pod

Faster Shutter  
  • Lets in less light
  • Darkens image
  • Freezes the moment and reduces the effect of camera shake.
Window :: Aperture   //  Shutters :: Shutter Speed [photo credit: Christophe]

Size of lens opening with which the picture is taken. Measured in F-stops (i.e:  F7.0).  The larger the F-number the lower the Aperture.  Example: Think of it as a window that lets in light.  A larger window (larger aperture) lets in more light and will have a smaller F-stop.  This one gets a little confusing because large equals a lower number.

Larger Aperture (Smaller F-Stop Number)
  • Larger hole (more light gets in)
  • Brightens image 
  • Large Depth of Field: Most of your image is in focus with clear background details
  • Landscape shots
Smaller Aperture (Larger F-Stop Number)
  • Smaller hole (less light gets in)
  • Darkens image
  • Shallow Depth of Field: Only part of the image will be in focus with blurred background details
  • Portrait shots
Here I am wearing my low ISO Sunglasses outside // Please excuse the duck lips, don't know what I was thinking

Measure of digital camera sensor’s sensitivity to light. The image sensor converts an optical image into an electrical signal.
Example:  Sunglasses.  Dark sunglasses block light so we wear them to lower our eye's sensitivity to the bright sun.  So think of using a low ISO as putting on sunglasses when you are outside because you need to lower the amount of  light getting into your eyes. When you are inside you don't need to block out light, you actually need more of it to see so you take your sunglasses off. 

Lower ISO 

  • Less sensitivity to light
  • Darkens Picture
  • Outdoors or in a well lit area 
  • Sharpens Image
  • Still Shots
  • Tripod

Higher ISO 

  • Greater sensitivity to light
  • Brightens image
  • Indoors or in a dimly lit setting
  • Add grain to image
  • Action Shots 
I gathered a lot of this information from Digital Photography School.

Great Work if you can Get it

I got mail last week that reminded me of something that was kind of a big deal for me but that never made it on the blog.

Back in April I got an e mail from my agent about a casting for a catalog shoot for a company that makes baby toys and products.  I'm still listed with an agent even though I haven't done any modeling in a long time. She's really cool about the fact that 99% of the time I have to say no because most castings and jobs are during the work week.  This time however, I was able to say yes.  It was going to be a quick one because they were only asking  a limited number to come in and I could get it done on my lunch break.  I don't like to bother with a casting if I already know I probably can't make the shoot, but she already knew the week the shoot would be on so I had time to wrap my head around juggling it with work. 
On Set // I got to work with those adorable babies
At the casting the person in charge said the client really liked me.  That should have made me confident but instead it made me even more nervous.  What if they liked my agency photos but HATE my casting pics?  Well, they didn't and I got an e mail that I had been booked for the job.  I was so excited because booking a job is practically a miracle.  That's how I see it anyways.  It's just such a crap shoot because there are so many variables that go into it.  Either it's a giant casting with a million girls that all look a like and you wonder how they ever choose one or everyone is so different that you have no clue what they are looking for.
Hair & Make up // Wardrobe // Display monitor while shooting // Beach Shoot Day 2
The shoot was at Groovy Like a Movie Studios.  It had been so long since I'd been able to do this that I was soaking everything up from the moment I got there.  I was so early they were still setting up.  You NEVER want to be late for a shoot.  It's unacceptable.  It happened to me once for my very first shoot ever.  It was at the beach and I got lost.  It was awful and my agent forgave me but I never wanted that to happen again.  The make up and hair person showed up and the fun began.  I went from the make up chair to the hair chair.  The client kept asking if we were almost done so they were rushing.  As soon as they finished I quickly changed into the outfit they had ready for me.  It was a basic top, sweater and capri's from Target.  In commercial print it's not about the clothes it's about the product.  Most of the shoot clothing comes from places like Target, JC Penny's or Marshall's.  And some of them like you to leave the tags on in case they want to return it.  I rushed over to the set to meet my son.  He was an adorable 5 month old baby boy and the next few hours were spent cuddling him while they took pictures.  It was really tricky.  You can't always get babies to do what you want them to do when you want them to do it but this baby was such a little pro.  He never cried even though he got passed around from person to person for hours.  Then my fake husband did some shots with our fake son and then all three of us did shots as a fake family.  The idea of course is that it look convincingly real.  There is a lot more acting in modeling then people may think.  And it's a painstaking process.  The baby's diaper is showing in one shot and my sweater is falling open in another.  It was always something and yet everything has to be perfect.

There is always a little bit of pressure because there is a room full of people watching.  This project is important to the client and I'm being paid to get good shots for them.  I want to do a good job.  It was a little confusing because the client told me to show more expression when the photographer had just told me not five minutes earlier to tone down the smile.  The monitor where the pictures pop up was actually facing towards me which I found unusual.  I'd never been on a set where I could actually see how the pictures were turning out so that was kind of helpful.  The hair stylist was obsessed with my pony tail.  She kept popping up next to me with her brush and hair spray.  My hair was basically shellacked by the time I was done.  The make up person was always right there checking out my face and giving it a swipe here and there.  I had one outfit change and a hair change throughout the shoot. 

Day 2 was at the beach.  I'm not the biggest fan of outdoor shoots because you have to deal with the elements and logistically it can be a pain in the butt.  I'm usually either too hot or too cold.  There might be dirt or itchy grass.  I just don't like it.  My call time was 7:30am.  The hair and make up station was a park bench and wardrobe was under a tree.  Once the clouds burned off it was a perfect day.  It was exhausting because I had to smile while lifting and carrying the 5 month old from yesterday all over the playground. My arms felt like noodles by the time we were done.  Then I worked with a toddler and they are even more unpredictable then babies.  We sat in the sand and tried to get this kid from dumping out all the sand onto his pants.  My fake husband was late.  I felt really bad for him because he showed up all flustered and the client was obviously mad.  Apparently there was a mix up with his agency about what his call time was.  I did some shots with him and another toddler on a play mat and then it was over.

In the grand scheme of things this gig was small potatoes but modeling opportunities for me are few and far between so any chance I get means a lot to me.  Even if it rarely happens I always feel lucky that  I've been able to do it at all.  There is a lot of waiting around and it can be really hard work but it's so much fun.

That was five months ago and what I got in the mail reminding me that I hadn't blogged about it was a fat paycheck.  It's real nice to get paid generously for doing something I actually enjoy.  What a concept!  It would take a 40 hour work week at my day job to get paid what I did for just 6 1/2 hours of modeling.  Don't even get me started on how depressing that thought is.  If modeling could be my real full time job we'd be rich.  It's pity I can't do it more often.  It really is great work if you can get it.
Throwback modeling pic

More about my illustrious modeling career here.

Kate Spade Giveaway

Jackie from Jade and Oak organized this lovely giveaway for you all.  I have to be honest here.  I know nothing about Kate Spade except that the designer is well known and that I can't afford it.  I've never even checked out the website until I became a part of this giveaway because I already know it's out of my budget.  So why would I be part of a giveaway for a brand I know nothing about?  I personally would love to win free money towards a designer brand that I would never buy for myself so I figured you might too.  If you are like me and have never shopped Kate Spade before this is your chance.   

 Kelly - Curated by Kelly / Rachel - With Love, Rachel / Cece - Pink Sunshine / Jules - Canines & Couture

 Belinda - Found Love Now What / Kelsey - Ladies in Navy / Alesha - Lifeology / Catherine - Bailey Dailies

Kelly - Petite Ramblings / Sarah - Venus Trapped in Mars / Tara - Starletta Designs / Jackie - Jade and Oak

Gift Card + Ad Space:  2 months Big Ben ad space from Belinda at Found Love Now What and 1 month of Flavor of the Month ad space from Catherine at Bailey Dailies.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Giveaway is limited to entrants 18 years and older. All entries will be verified. The giveaway will end on September 13, 2013 at 11:29 p.m. EST. The winner will be selected at random by Rafflecopter. The winner will be notified within 48 hours of the end of the giveaway. The winner will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be selected.

I Don't Use Coupons

I confess that I left for work and forgot to turn off my flatiron.  I wasn't totally sure it was on but I had this nagging feeling as I pulled into 7-11 to get my coffee.  I'd rather be late then have my house burn down; although I don't really know for sure if that would happen so I went back.  Better safe then sorry.  Lucky I hadn't gotten that far.  Good thing I did because it was still on.  Don't you hate that?  

I confess that the REAL reason I was late to work is because I really liked my outfit and spent about 10 minutes with Timer Cam trying to get a picture.  It's on Instagram. I'm embracing colored denim; GREEN! Something I would have never done before.   And I've been shopping a lot lately.  Might as well show some of it off.

I confess that my husband is a computer nerd now.  He got a hot new Computer Network Engineering job and then he brought home a PC.  We are Apple people.  We  have Mac laptops, i Phones and he has an i Pad.  I know.  Scandalous.  Apparently when you are a computer nerd you want a PC to "play around with" whatever that means.  And sometimes you even buy odd computer game controllers called Thrustmaster.  My computer nerd is smart AND sexy so I'm not bothered by this one bit.

I cut out coupons but they rarely make it to the store before they expire.  I want to use them.  I try, but nine times out of ten it just doesn't happen.  Whatever I save is chump change so it just doesn't seem like it's worth the effort.  It's either things I don't use, they want you to buy multiples or I don't have it with me.  I kind of wish I had the time and know how to be an extreme couponer but I don't have the storage for it anyways.  I'm much more likely to use restaurant or clothing coupons.   I will go out of my way to make sure that the $10 off at Kohl's doesn't expire on me.  I finally put an envelope in my car.  Let's see if that helps. 
Linking up with Leslie @ A Blonde Ambition

Sometimes the only thing that keeps me from using that rusty razor in the shower is that one episode I saw on 1,000 Ways to Die about the stripper with the looooong luxurious legs who used a rusty razor, went into sepsis and died.  I'll grab my razor when I'm in the shower.  Look at it.  See rust.  Think about how I'm already wet and don't want to drip water everywhere reaching into the drawer to grab a new one.  I think about that damn show and how a tiny nick could potentially be the death of me.  Then I do it anyways.  Or let my legs stay hairy and skip it altogether.

I confess that I keep deodorant in the center console of my car. One day on the way to work I realized I'd forgotten to put some on so I rushed to the drug store, bought some and kept it in the car. It's come in handy on more then one occasion.

I confess that I live in pajamas when I'm at home. I get home from work and the first thing I do is trade day clothes for pajamas. When I'm at home and have to go somewhere getting dressed is done right before I have to leave. I just can't be in my home in clothes.  I feel like I can't relax.  Don't worry, I'm not hanging around in rags.   I have a ton of jammies and most of them are really cute ones from Victoria's Secret.  

It's going to be another hot weekend for us in So Cal.  It was 83 degrees on my way to work at 7:30am this morning.  HOT!  But I really love it.  If I didn't have Air Conditioning at home I might be complaining but I am a California girl and I love the heat so I'll take it while it lasts.  Have a great weekend everyone!!!

My Weekend in Manual Mode

This weekend update is brought to you by: I Finally Understand Manual Mode Productions. 

Mj has been out of the country for two weeks so my social calendar has slowed down significantly.  Apparently I have no life without him.  I only had two things planned.  I went to a fight party at a friends house on Saturday night.  I still have no idea who was fighting or who won because I'm not really that interested in MMA.  I only went to see my friend and hang out.  And eat the pizza.  And drink her Light Raspberry Smirnoff Vodka.  Good stuff.  My parents came down to see me on Sunday and we had a really nice day together going out to lunch and hanging out.    

Mom and Dad
It's been an entire year since Mj brought home the Canon Rebel DSLR camera.  I don't know what my problem is but I've been really lazy about figuring out how to use the thing.  I had no clue what I was doing in manual mode.   My primary technique was to switch the settings around haphazardly until the image stopped being black.  I didn't understand why the image was black, too bright or blurry.  Without understanding what each setting actually does it's kind of impossible to know that so it took me forever to get a decent shot.  I found a great website and finally took the time sit down and read up on Shutter, ISO and Aperture.  It finally clicked for me what each setting does and what effect they have on images.  It was so exciting to be able to apply the information and make somewhat educated decisions about my settings rather then blindly guessing.  It took a while but I think I'm finally starting to understand this fancy camera.

Still working on that novel.  Sigh.  It is such a work in progress.  I really need to figure out where this story is going.  I put on my Pandora Classical Music for Studying station and sat my butt down at the dining room table for hours on Saturday and Sunday.  With the house all to myself and nothing but time there were no distractions and no excuses.

After doing the 30 day shred at home going to the gym just feels like the biggest pain in the butt ever.  That's okay because I'm still getting my fitness on.  Saturday was Power Yoga with Rodney Yee, Sunday was Element Ballet Conditioning and Monday was 30 Day Shred Level 3. I was planning to schlep myself to the gym today after work but I left my gym bag at home.  I swear it was an accident.  I may or may not go but either way I'll still work out.

I drank more coffee then usual.  After my work out on Monday I busted out my tiny little old school Mr. Coffee machine.  I rarely drink coffee on weekends when I'm away from work and I pretty much never make it myself.  My favorite go to spot for coffee is 7-11.  I went there on Saturday so I saved myself the $1.25 and made it myself.  It's no Keurig but it works.  Breakfast was Ezekial Bread toast with yummy melty Peanut Butter on top.  I sat my tired legs down to watch Breaking Amish.  

There was  a lot of TV and movie watching and wine drinking.  Just a glass or two every day.  Does that make me an alcoholic?  I'm hoping not.  The movies were Open Road, Admissions and Warm Bodies.   Open Road was just okay but I really liked the other two.  I found a really good TV show from some foreign film channel on You Tube called The Model Scouts and got hooked.  It was so good.  I stayed up to the wee hours of the night on Friday and Saturday watching it.  What is it with Lifetime movie network?  They are off the chain with all their movies and TV shows about murder.  I had it on in the background half watching but mostly not.  On Saturday it was back to back episodes of I Killed My BFF and Killer Kids.  Then on Monday in honor of Labor Day (get it? Labor) there was back to back movies about women so obsessed with having a baby that they lie, cheat, steal and kill in order to get one.  What are they trying to tell us?

It was a great weekend.  I'm no pro with the camera but at least I'm finally learning.