Wednesday, February 29, 2012

How Snapsort Ended My DSLR Envy

Mr. Love Bird unpacks our T2i
Yes, more Nigeria stories and pics are still forthcoming, but in the interim as Mr. Love Bird and I edit them I wanted to share a bit about my DSLR envy.

Well first of all before I got my T2i I had general "beautiful photography on blogs" envy. I would pore over blogs I admire such as Enjoying the Small Things, Cupcakes and Cashmere and Pioneer Woman dreaming of the day that my blog would have luscious photos. I just knew that when I finally got my hands on my own DSLR that my pictures would be just as stunning.

Then reality set in once my DSLR arrived. In the few months I've had it my pictures do not look like those on the blogs I admire. I quickly realized (and read on other blogs too!) that "a great camera doesn't make awesome pics - a great photographer does!"


Mr. Love Bird and I did so much comparison shopping when we decided to get our DSLR including a visit to the famed B&H on Thanksgiving Day. There really weren't any super, awesome Black Friday sales, but we did get a substantial discount through a small online store based in CA. It was in budget, and we actually purchased it on Black Friday.

As part of my camera research I would look up the FAQs of blogs whose photography I admired and use a tool Mr. Love Bird recommended to me called Snapsort. It gives a side by side comparison of cameras. 

I was quickly finding that our entry-level DSLR was beating out many of the crazy-expensive, super-fancy cameras of some of my favorite bloggers.

Who knew?!

Now it's up to me to get schooled and learn tricks of the trade and practice, practice, practice. 

As I'm on the road to recovery with my bum ankle, I can't wait to pound the pavement again with Nia with my DSLR in hand exploring NYC this spring!

Here are a few online guides to photography that I'll be using; I hope those of you new to photography will find this helpful too:
What other photography resources do you find helpful?


P.S. For those of you considering which DSLR to buy this was another great post that really helped me!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

You Like My Bling???

Yes, I know the word "bling" is dead, but that's what BlogHer calls the new accessory I'm rocking to the left under my button. 

I'm officially going to BlogHer '12!!!

I had visited Baby Making Machine at the conference when it was last in NYC in '10 when I was due with Nia, and while I didn't attend the conference my interest was definitely piqued. I wasn't able to go last year as it was in California, but this year I will finally be there and I'm SO excited!

It will be my first blogging conference, and while I know there are others that are more intimate like Blogalicious (which is in Vegas the week after my birthday - hint, hint Mr. Love Bird!), EVO and Bloggy Bootcamp I figured why not start with the most recognized conference?

Being the Type-A researcher that I am, I've already compiled some great tips and checked out previous years' PDF guides to the conference that can be found online (2010 here and 2011 here).

Here are additional resources from previous attendees that I've found helpful so far:

Are any of my readers going to BlogHer'12? If you've been before, any advice to share?

P.S. I'll have a sign-up sheet posted later this summer if anyone would like to meet up at BlogHer '12!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Love Birds' Apartment Tour #2

In a few days I'll be celebrating the 5th anniversary of moving to NYC, and our new apartment is the 4th apartment I've lived in since moving here from Boston (check out our last apartment here). I'm really, really tired of moving, and I'm praying this will be the last move before we buy a home. Who knows where and exactly when that will be but for now I'm excited to have our current blank slate. 

Without further ado, here's our apartment:

Our living/dining area; we have a landing area outside the door for strollers/plants/shoes
      Cabinets!!! Just wish they went to the ceiling, but I'll be utilizing the space anyway. Also LOVE that I can open the window when cooking.
Opposite view from entry
Having an actual linen closet makes me do a happy dance! (That's Nia's bathroom to the right)
Oh how I have I longed to have a proper pantry; better organization to come
Another view of the pantry - lots of wall space storage ideas in my head
The office
Nia's bedroom
The master bedroom; our en suite bathroom and his/her closets make me happy!
The 2 bathrooms are similar

Now I do have to be honest and say I miss our washer/dryer, but the upside is we drop off our laundry for wash and fold, and I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE not having to fold clothes! The laundromat is a half a block from our apt. Mr. Love Bird is a sweetie and drops/picks up for me, and I just have to put everything away. 

I also miss the ease of being able to run out the door and hop on the subway. We are not as mobile as we used to be (my still-fractured foot doesn't help), but I definitely see Zip Car helping more with this as we've used it 3x already since our move. 

Besides the ease of getting around I miss good retail options. Being able to run down the block to get ingredients if I'm forgetting something for a recipe or go to the drug store if I need something is a thing of the past. Our neighborhood is a few steps behind the gentrification of Harlem, and we won't be here long enough to see it catch up so for now I just have to make the most of when we have our Zip Car and try not to forget anything on my shopping list!

Overall, the benefits of our new place (space, costs, lower noise level etc.) far outweigh those inconveniences.

I have about 20 boxes left to unpack which are currently neatly stacked in my office, but I look forward to decorating and organizing with a lot if inspiration from  . . .
What sites do you use for decor inspiration? 


Sunday, February 26, 2012

On the Horizon . . .

My cutie in the  Dapple Grey Designs skirt she won from Baby Making Machine - not really related to this post but I couldn't help but share it!
I posted before about what I'm looking forward to in 2012, but short term I'm getting excited for some things coming up  . . .
  • Tonight Mr. Love Bird and I will renew our wedding vows at church (then race home to catch the rest of the Oscars - boo for not having DVR!)
  • Having brunch at my new favorite neighborhood spot this weekend
  • Visiting my parents in Baltimore with Nia and my sister Ariane next weekend
  • A NYC-wide Wellesley alumnae event for students of African descent
  • Heading to Foxwoods for Toni Braxton and Babyface's concert with Mr. Love Bird and my BFF (it's my 2nd time overnight trip away from Nia, and she'll be in safe hands with Aunty Ariane!)
  • Celebrating my friends' life events with wedding/showers/birthday parties  

What's on your horizon?


P.S. Make sure you stop back tomorrow for our apartment tour!

Friday, February 24, 2012

All Around the Kitchen with Mr. Love Bird

Before we left Harlem I had captured some shots of Mr. Love Bird cooking. While I do most of the cooking Mr. Love Bird is quick to jump in and help. He's more of an artist/creator in the kitchen whereas I tend to follow recipes then tweak them to my liking. I've always been a firm believer in both men and women knowing how to cook and Mr. Love Bird does not disappoint!

Clove infused pork
He's mastered homemade potato chips! (I'm still too scared to use the slicer)

We're huge fans of our slow cooker!


Thursday, February 23, 2012

Best of Downton Abbey

I've posted before about my love for British TV especially Downton Abbey (you can read my old posts here and here). While Downton Abbey Season 2 has ended and I frantically patiently await Season 3 here are my favorite pop culture mentions from around the internet: 

This tribute to the Dowager Countess (Maggie Smith - my fave!) set to Rod Smith's classic song showcases her best lines from Season 2:

And this one is longer but a round-up from both seasons:

These paper dolls are brilliant!

{Image Credit}

I always think it's fun, and sometimes alarming, to see period movie actors outside of character and this feature via Papermag (shared by Nat the Fat Rat) is a wonderful side-by-side comparison of this. Here's a sampling:

Mr. Bates in character {Photo Credit}

Mr. Bates out of character {Photo Credit}

Finally, this NPR story on why British food was so bad for so long (and some think it still is according to the comments!) really gave insight into how the food culture changed and why following the war. 

Oh and I can't leave without sharing my ultimate favorite line from Maggie Smith's Dowager Countess character:

{Photo Credit}

What's your favorite line from Downton Abbey? Haven't watched it yet? Shame on you, but you can catch it here.



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