Cute Cute Cute


Tuesday, November 18, 2014

1. Moosey pants from Baby Gap. I bought them for $7 online. I like to wait for their online sales during the week! I love the quality of Gap but will only shop there with a good discount :)  
2. Trapper bear hat!
3.  Cable Knit Sweater Vest. aka John Shea's sweet old man vest. It is really precious.
4. Christmas jammies 
5. Sweet cable knit romper
6. Bear Stays Up For Christmas.... Bear Snores On is one of our favorites! Aunt Jules & Uncle Patrick got it for John and I've read it so many times now I have it memorized. Uncle Mikey has all the voices down and made me laugh so darn hard every time he read it outloud this summer, so I'm going to bring this one with us for Christmas. Get your voices ready, Mikey Bear. 
7. Winter/Christmas onesies. With the online discount earlier this week they were $15 for the three. 

Also, I remember loving this book as a kid at Christmas time! 

Before becoming a Mother, I never imagined the cute clothes out there for little boys. I always thought that was reserved for girls. Most of the time my toddler baby is running wild in just a diaper or is covered in dirt from head to toe (which I love about him!) but that never seems to stop me from finding him a cute outfit even if I know it's going to be quickly shredded at the knees and covered in stains. I shop for him far more than I do myself, and I happen to love shopping! I've had his Christmas present picked out for about two months now, ha. Also, we started in on the Christmas spirit in our house early this year. I don't know about you, but every year it seems like it goes too fast and with Thanksgiving so late, I've had Christmas music on and have changed out pumpkins for delicious smelling garlands. We won't forget Thanksgiving, and Easter has my heart, but I feel like you can never start getting excited too early about something so important as Christmas! Do you agree, or are you waiting until after Thanksgiving?!

PS. I am finally all caught up on emails, hallelujah... so if you sent me one over the past weeks or months (thank you!) and I never wrote back, please try again!

Sunday Rest


Monday, November 17, 2014

{Sorry for the iphone photos!}

Cam and I had a ton of homework to get done yesterday, but instead we took a good day of rest. We needed it! We heard a great sermon... curled up on the couch together while John Shea napped... picked up burgers and headed to Carmel Beach to walk, sit, play, let Superman run around, and take in the glorious sunset. It was a slow day and so refreshing! I had Cam pull over on the way home so I could pick those beautiful camellias. It was much easier last night facing all of our homework after we'd gotten to relax.

Thank You, Lord for Sundays and for Your beautiful gift of rest.

Marine Corps Birthday Ball


Monday, November 10, 2014

Happy 239th birthday, United States Marine Corps! I could not be more proud of my favorite Marine, the sweetest husband and the best daddy to our John Shea.

Also, consider me a huge fan now of Rent the Runway! They didn't ship to us when we lived in Okinawa so this was my first time renting. I loved wearing and dancing in this sparkly number (and appreciated the $25 off for first timers). It was a gorgeous dress in person!

Inside My Camera Bag + Some Basic Photography Tips


Sunday, November 9, 2014

I've never taken a photography class and the very little I know has been learned through trial and a whole lot of errors! And also (nearly) daily using my camera. I am about the least qualified person on the subject, but for the ladies who have asked over the last years and then again here for a post on photography, this is for you :)

1. My Camera & Lens: Canon 5d Mark III & Sigma 50mm 1.2 lens. Every photo prior to two months ago was taken with my Nikon d90 & 50mm 1.8 lens. There are a lot of differences between Nikon and Canon and most days I'm still trying to figure out how to really work the 5d! To answer your unasked question, yes, I had to save for a few years but it already has been absolutely worth it!

A good piece of advice I received when Cam and I were getting ready to buy the d90 was that you don't need a camera that is considered "professional" to take good photos; you just need to get to know your DSLR inside and out and push it as far as it'll take you... then if you want to upgrade, upgrade. I think the best way to get to know your camera is to shoot as often as possible and in manual:

2. Shooting in manual requires a balance between the aperture (f/stop), ISO and shutter speed. All three of these control how much light is brought in to your camera. When I first started and had absolutely no idea what those three things meant, I found the blog Click It Up A Notch and specifically this helpful page.

I think everyone has a preference with how they like to adjust the aperture, ISO and shutter speed and it always helps me when I actually get to see what each were set to in someone else's photo.

Here my camera was set to f/1.6, ISO 100 and 1/320 s.  In general, I like to keep a low aperture (anywhere from 1.2 - 2.8) and a low ISO.

3. The three things I love to take photos of the most are travel (seeing another culture and land through the lens is so much fun to me!), John Shea + Cam and food photography. I shoot in manual and always in natural light... I don't ever use a flash. I know a lot of people who do and take lovely photos, but that's my preference! The best times of the day are when the light is softest: early in the morning and especially in the late afternoon/early evening and during golden hour before sunset. I try to avoid the middle of the day when the sun is high and creates a harsh light, or try to find a shady spot.

4. Shooting Indoors: Unless it's at a time of day when there's tons of sunlight streaming in, you'll want to have a lens with a low f/stop (aperture) that goes to 1.8 or lower. I had the 50mm 1.8 Prime lens (meaning the lens is fixed -- you cannot zoom in or out -- you have to literally move your feet closer or further away from the object you're focused on) that cost no more than $100. It was a wonderful lens to learn manual with and every photo on my blog prior to September was taken with it:

Unedited little darling!

(all taken with Nikon d90 & 50mm 1.8 lens)

5. Food Photography: Natural light! I almost always take photos of my recipes outside. When inside, I use our beautiful farm table that is right next to a large window. I pull the white cotton curtain closed to act as a buffer for the bright light and to allow me to set my aperture lower. If you're taking photos of food, your children or whatever your subject is, it's best to have a window or some source of natural light nearby. When I first started photographing and sharing recipes on my blog, I read From Plate to Pixel by Helene Dujardin, and would recommend it!

6. Editing: I have Lightroom but mostly just quickly use Photoshop Elements. I like to keep my photos as natural as possible, so all the editing I ever do is slightly raise the brightness and contrast with a little sharpening and saturation or vibrance when it's needed. There are a lot of great filters and editing presets out there (if I used one it'd be VSCO!) and I see a lot of photographers doing amazing things with them. I love Shannon's photography and editing! My personal preference for my own photos is the less editing the better. I like fresh, crisp and natural. Haha, or atleast that's what I try to go for! If I don't take a photo that seems to fit that, and needs a lot of editing, I tend to just delete it. Here is an example of straight from camera and then edited:

Straight from my camera, taken outside in the shade (f/2.8, ISO 100, 1/250 s)

Edited: I raised the brightness +10, the contrast +6, the sharpness to 75 and the saturation +7 in Photoshop Elements.

7. Storing Photos & Shooting in Raw: I upload all of my photos directly to an external hard drive and no longer to my computer or into Lightroom. I shoot in raw so each photo is HUGE and before I knew it, after the first year and a half in Okinawa, taking photos every single day, my poor computer was running so incredibly slow, driving Cam insane. He spent hours transferring the obscene amount of photos from my computer to a hard drive and I made a promise to him that I would do the same from then on out.

8. Sizing Down: I size down all of my photos that I put on the blog to 640 pixels wide. I do that to match the maximum width of my post column, and also to act as a kind of copyright or determent to stealing since they're very low-pixel quality.

I hope something in this post was helpful :) Any questions??! Any tips you've learned you'd like to share!?

Roasted Garlic & Herb Infused Olive Oil + a Simple Cheese Board


Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Usually on the weekends, we're relaxed and happier spending time together instead of making a full dinner or lunch, and crave something quick, easy and satisfying. I absolutely love to cook and create new recipes but I think we all have days when we just need a break! Sometimes it's takeout for us, but more often than not, we turn to some beautiful basics: olive oil, cheese and bread.

Our favorite cheese board is one with gouda and/or brie/sharp cheddar, focaccia or a crusty bread, fruit, a meat like salame and wine. Oh, and chocolate, too!  It's one of our favorite meals and essentially what we lived off of when we were traveling around Europe as newlyweds.

This roasted garlic and herb infused olive oil is amazing year-round, but I think the warm olive oil and warm bread is especially wonderful when it's cold outside.

Once the garlic is roasted, it slides out easily from it's paper. You can leave it chunky like this, but I like to mash it up and really get the flavors to marry with the olive oil. It's great with bread but for my gluten-free friends, it's also yummy over roasted vegetables, or chicken, or used in a vinaigrette.

Happy Fall, happy Tuesday and happy simple cheeseboard dinner!

Roasted Garlic & Herb Infused Olive Oil

1 head of garlic
extra virgin olive oil
fine sea salt
2-3 sprigs of fresh oregano, or about 1-2 tsp dried

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Cut off the top of the head of garlic, exposing it, and peel off the outer paper layers. Don't worry about leaving the rest - they will easily come off once roasted. Place the garlic in the center of a large piece of foil. Cover it with a couple of good glugs of olive oil. Add the oregano and a good pinch of salt.

Wrap up the foil securely and roast for about 40 minutes. Pour the infused oil into a bowl or a dipping plate, remove the paper around the garlic and mash the garlic into the oil. Taste; add more salt as needed and more extra virgin olive oil if desired. Serve with bread and cheese, or use over roasted vegetables or meat. I hope you enjoy it!

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