Flashback Friday | My First SLR Camera

Back in December of 2004 I got my first film SLR camera. It was just a simple camera, but to me, it was everything. Below are some photos I took with it in January of 2005. I’ve been thinking about getting that camera out of storage actually and shooting with film for fun. I think it needs a battery but otherwise I have no reason to think it wouldn’t work. In the past I’ve shot with disposable cameras for fun. It’s so different than what we’re used to nowadays with the immediate gratification of the screen on the back of a digital camera.

I remember when I had this camera I followed a lot of photographers on DeviantArt and was always so jealous of their DSLR cameras. Back then it didn’t seem like it would ever be reasonable for me to own one. Then I got a job taking photos for my college newspaper and had access to one, which was amazing. Now I live in a household with three of them. But I still never got as creative with my photography as I remember those photographers I loved were.





Road Trip, Sunrise & A Kitten

So I’ve been pretty vague as of yet in my videoblog about how my trip to visit my dad & stepmom Ellen went. And I didn’t write any blog posts while I was there or anything. The drives were fine, long but I kept myself entertained (see here and here for those videos).

I visited with my grandpa and grandma while I was there. They’re both on hospice and not doing too great. Grandpa had colon cancer last year which was treated but now there’s not anything else they can do.  He’s up there in age, somewhere in his early 90’s. He still has all his mental facilities though, so he knew who I was and was happy to see me. Which surprised me and was nice, he’s always been a little bit critical here and there and usually not overly excited about much. My grandma, on the other hand, has dementia and didn’t know who I was. We didn’t bother trying to tell her. She did know me last time, sort of. They were still up and active then, back when Nicole and I both visited. I’m not sure when that was exactly. A while back.

On a much lighter note, my stepmom Ellen and I are so alike it’s hilarious. She and I are both listmakers and writers and we both have a million notebooks all around us at all times. I found out she likes to art journal too, which is my newfound hobby, and she gave me an extra book she had to use for an art journal. She has a giant art studio that puts all art studios to shame. I’m always so jealous of it when I go visit!

I got to see my little brother, who unfortunately didn’t want to be in my Sunday with Friends video with me, but that’s okay. We hung out at his house with his very well behaved and adorable pit bull Rosko who puts all my dogs to shame. We watched Star Wars Episode 3, I guess he’s gearing up for the new one. I barely remembered it. I worry about him a little, out there all by himself, but I know he has a lot of friends, more than me, and he seems to be like the rest of the family anyway and likes keeping to himself at home.

One morning I was up very early and despite the blistering cold temperatures, I took some photos of the sunrise. And this hilarious new kitten Dad & Ellen have. Here they are.


30 Day Photography Challenge | Days 1-3

In November, I ran across this 30 day photo challenge from Expert Photography and decided I would give it a try in the month of December. Each day has a specific prompt along with a post explaining exactly how to go about getting a photo with that prompt. They start out pretty simple and get progressively more difficult as the month plays out. Some of them are really cool and I’m excited to do them. Most of those are later in the month.

To start, here are my photos for days 1-3.

Day 1: Self Portrait

Oh man, more self portraits? Okay.


Day 2: Rule of Thirds

This I already try to think about when I’m taking photos, or even in post processing when I’m editing. If my photos don’t look as good as I want, it’s usually a rule of thirds issue. This is the first thing I remember my mother teaching me about photography. Didn’t do anything fancy though, just took a quick shot of one my favorite coffee mugs.


Day 3: Black and White

I don’t go black and white with my photos very often, so this was a tough one. I had to find something that would play well in black and white. I went with the Tunechi-monster.




Christmas Tree Lighting

Last weekend we didn’t do any driving around like usual, so I don’t expect to have a driving through depression post this week. But I do have these photos from the Christmas tree lighting downtown at the square. It was a little less interesting than I would have liked. We got there and the tree, which looked like it was about to fall over, was already lit and there was no fanfare. They were giving carriage rides around the square, that was fun. My favorite pic of the bunch is the one of the group of people with Santa. Santa was about to get in his red SUV and this group of college-aged guys and girls stopped him and asked for a picture. I don’t remember where they said they were from, but I overheard a guy say they don’t have Christmas there. I thought it was fun that they were so excited about the tree and Santa.

Enjoy and don’t forget to be awesome.



Flashback Friday | Thanksgiving

Wednesday, January 05, 2005 (4)

This was the year I got this great picture of my brother. 2004.


This is was the year we started our Thanksgiving tradition of having margaritas. This was the year I turned 21. 2005.


This was the food that year. 2005.


This was the year David got stilts this year so he had to show them off. 2006.


This was also the year I decided Thanksgiving photos should be in black and white. 2006.


This was the year Dave & I had an awesome brother/sister date to the mall and Chinese food. 2007.


This was the year I went to a Rainbow Thanksgiving dinner with friends. It was really nice, a friend at the time’s family hosted it for his friends who didn’t have anywhere else to go for the holiday. 2008.


This was the year I went to a Thanksgiving dinner with Mom & her friend. 2009.


This was the year I basically skipped Thanksgiving to drive to Texas and see these two wonderful people get married. 2010.


This was the year Nicole & I had our first holiday together as a couple. <3 2011.


This was also the year I got my favorite picture of me and Mom. 2011.


This was the year I got to spend Thanksgiving with Nicole’s family for the first time and I had my first serious casino experience. 2012.


This was the year I didn’t take photos but I did find this funny one of our whiteboard. That’s all my handwriting, by the way. I thought I was so funny. :) 2013.


This was the year I got to learn Nicole’s family’s top secret coconut cream pie recipe. 2014.


And that’s what I decided to share in the way of old Thanksgiving photos. Have a great weekend and don’t forget to be awesome!


Easy Pecan Pie Recipe

This is my secret family recipe, or at least I thought it was until Mom told me Sunday it’s from the Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook. So all props go to them, although also to my mom for making pecan pies a Thanksgiving staple when we were growing up.

But the recipe does turn out to be super simple, especially if you cheat and use a store bought pie crust like I did.


First off, the ingredients. You need a pie crust (duh), eggs, sugar, light corn syrup, vanilla extract (I had to use vanilla ‘flavor’… oops), butter (not pictured, another oops) and obviously pecans.



A little word on pecans. When I grew up, we had a pecan tree in our yard, and my grandparents had a bunch of them. To me, pecans were something you just picked up out of the yard and ate as a snack. When I moved out of my house, I was very confused about where I was supposed to get pecans. It turns out you just get them at the grocery store and also, they’re not cheap. At least, not as cheap as they are when there’s a tree dropping them in your yard.

I was lucky enough to have free pecans for this pie that my dad gave me from my grandparents yard. So I had to get to cracking.



Be sure that if you do use pecans that you’re shelling yourself, you get out all of the weird bits from the inside because they’re really bitter. And wash them well because they’ll have shell and inside dust on them.


Now before you do anything else, it’s time to make your pie crust look beautiful.Crimp the edges and make it look nice. I just used a fork and made lines around because that’s what we used to do when I was a kid. At least that’s what I remember.


Now, in a large bowl big enough to later house all your ingredients, lightly beat your eggs. Then add in everything else, which is 2/3 cup sugar, 1/3 cup melted butter or margarine, 1 cup corn syrup and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Get all that mixed well, then add in the pecans.


Once you’ve got that stirred up, pour it into the pie crust and you’re almost done already.


Now, to keep your exposed crust from getting ugly, you want to cover it in aluminum foil. This is not the proper way to do this, you’re supposed to make this fancy thing and cut a hole in the middle, but I just threw foil around the sides haphazardly as pictured and it worked fine.

By the way, I’m pretty sure we didn’t do this when I was growing up because I remember our crust edges being a lot darker than mine turned out. So if you’re feeling lazy, don’t worry about it.


Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes with the foil on, then take the foil off and bake another 25 minutes. That’s it!


Easy Pecan Pie Recipe

Adapted from Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook

  • 1 pie crust
  • 3 eggs, slightly beaten
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup butter or margarine, melted
  • 1 cup light corn syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 1/4 cup pecan halves
  1. Crimp the edges of pie crust as desired.
  2. Mix together eggs, sugar, butter or margarine, corn syrup and vanilla.
  3. Add pecans to mixture.
  4. Pour into pie crust.
  5. Cover exposed edges of crust with foil (to prevent over-browning) and bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. Remove foil and cook an additional 20-25 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out clean.