Jan 30, 2013

Ikea Loot

So the Hess family boys were away at a retreat this weekend and my mother-in-law proposed us ladies head to Dallas for a some girl fun. You know, spending hours at Ikea, dinner at California Pizza Kitchen (Jerk Chicken Pizza anyone?), sleeping in a comfy hotel bed, make your own Texas shaped waffle breakfast, and swimming in the hotel pool...

It was a pretty fabulous weekend. I capped off the weekend with a wonderful lunch with my Aunt Billie. I guess I started the weekend early too by driving to Dallas early Saturday morning for a little thrift shop challenge. (More on that on Friday, really, you will want to see this...)

But today, I'd like to tell you about all the loot I snagged at Ikea. ...Oh Ikea, how smart and genius your people are. How I wish you were closer, but only if I had unlimited funds.

If you've ever been to Ikea (at least the one is Frisco/Dallas) you know you start with the escalator. My nephews LOVED the escalator. Unfortunately there is no down escalator (Smart Ikea) and so the boys may have had to take the elevator down between escalator 'rides.' You know, after we found the elevator, they are very tricky there at Ikea no wanting you to go back the wrong direction or anything...

So we got a map. Which kind of helps. But I LOVE it, it's like a store adventure through all those small little houses and living rooms and kitchens then down to the world of a million awesome things to buy. If you need a map in the store, I consider it entertainment too...

I don't know how they do it, but things just look prettier at Ikea. Maybe it's because they are prettier... or maybe it's the low prices...

They even sell live plants at Ikea. I had no idea. I've even been there before. But I feel like that will happen every time I go; I'll be amazed by something new and great. Kind of like the people that keep going back to Disney world again and again... right?

Although the boys spent some time in the kiddo-land at Ikea, they were beat. I was too, but I was hyped up on "oooh look what I just bought," and Landen wasn't so lucky...

See?? How do you not get excited about this basket of awesomeness... even though that's some of my sister-in-law's stuff in there too.

But let's unpack. Here's the loot I ended up with. Sorry for the poor lighting, I took these pictures a little later in the day than I should have...

First this was an impulse buy. I saw this cool figurine man and I couldn't take my eyes off him. I've always wanted one (he's fully poseable) and I thought they were like $30 or something so I never looked for one. But then Ikea said $4.99 each and I said, okay I'll take TWO! I figure (pun, lol) I'll put one one my desk at my new job, and one in the living room. I can't seem to find the name of them, but they were on sale and don't seem to be available on Ikea's website anymore either. But I'm sure Kyle and I can pose them all crazy like and it will be a fun game of something.

Then there was the rest of the loot. I maybe should have taken individual pictures of everything because it's harder to see the details. But once they're in place in the house I'll update you guys on where they ended up and how...

Starting on the right: First we have magazine rack/dividers called Knuff (Ikea names most of their items, and they all are kind of funny actually). They were on my list. I know it looks like one, but it's actually two. I've been looking for a way to sort the 'piles of files' on our desk for mail sorting, and I think this may do the trick (more on that system later). There were some made of cardboard for 2/$4.99 but I like the wooden ones. It was the look I was going for and they seemed sturdier so I sprung and paid 2/$9.99.

Second in the lineup is the striped napkins: Matta. These were also an impulse buy. But they were fancy and LSU-colored and 49 cents for the whole pack. So spendy...

In the middle are the red dish scrubby brushes called Plastis and I'm kind of in love with them. They were also on the list.. We have the exact same one now and it's about dead and needed replacing. They're $1.49 each and they have a suction cup on the end of the handle which means they just suction right to the sink when you're done.

The blue lamp you see may have been my third and last impulse buy (if you count the two figurines as one impulse...) and it's called Morkt. See I told you the names were funny... Anyways it's a tea light lantern and the color is unbelievable. And it's cute, and I think I may hang it on the wall... 

Then last, but never, ever least are the frames. I could not believe the prices for these frames. AND they were already white, which meant I didn't have to spray paint them white like I did the last cheap frames I bought from Target.  They're different size and all white except for one silver one that I thought would be fun.

See how many I got?? From top to bottom: one Ribba 5x7" in Silver, four Ribba 5x7 in White, one Virserum 4x6"in White, one Ribba 4x6" in White, one Ribba 4.75x6.75 in White, and two Nyttja 8.5x11in in White  And they all have cool mats except the Nyttja frames (which means without the mats the frames can hold larger prints or with the mats they look very, very cool. All the frames seem to have real glass, and get this... ALL the frames (except the Ribba 4.75x6.75) were $1.99 each! Crazy, crazy, crazy! The 'expensive' one was only $4.99.

In case you lost count, that's ten brand new, already the color I want, with mats, and glass, and ready to hang (once I put stuff in them) for a total of $22.90 (without tax). I think I can swing that. Or I did, I guess I already did...

So I've got a whole lot of stuff and a few projects up my sleeve, if you can't tell. And I've got some pretty fun stuff from my thrift shop hunting too... so tune in Friday for the Thrift Shop Madness again, inspired by these guys and a little bit of crazy music.

Do you live near an Ikea? Do you wish you did now? Or maybe when you have a ton of cash and can redo you're entire kitchen with Ikea stuff and their awesome butcher block counter tops?? ...okay, maybe just me...

Jan 28, 2013

Big Job Changes

Crazy enough, today was my last day working with my Veterans. My last day at the clinic with the coworkers I love so much, the last day all I have to do is dial an extension and get one of my very best friends on the line, the last day I wear my medical badge, and the last time I drive all the way to Shreveport to the hospital.

I'm switching jobs.

Crazy, I know.

Most of you know that my husband is in Colorado for most of the summer... and well, I've typically been in Texas for most of the summer. And while distance does make the heart grow fonder, I missed that guy so much. If you know Kyle, you know how incredible he is and you probably miss him too, lol. And while I did catch up on lots of sleep and lots of seasons of TV shows while he was away... we were looking to change those plans.

So today was my last day at my old job.

And tomorrow I start a brand new one. It's closer to our home, so I'll knock and hour total off my drive every day and I get to work with little kiddos and teach them about nutrition! But most of all it's with one of the local school systems and when the kids are out for the summers....

I get summers off!!!

I can spend the summer with my husband, in Colorado, working hard with him to serve the families that come to camp and our college staff as well. I think all our dreams are coming true!

We didn't know what we were going to do when the summer came and we'd have to be apart again... and God just brought this new job right to my email inbox. Kind of perfect.

So today I'm reflecting on everything I loved about my very first job as a dietitian. It was the very first place I was an intern, they were crazy to take a chance on me and give me a real job. They waited as I studied for my RD exam, and they supported me through all that was the thesis. It's where I learned to be an employee, where I became and RD, where I hosted my very first National Nutrition Month and where I had my very first patients.

That was the hard part, saying goodbye to the patients, and the people, the coworkers who became family (because honestly I spent more time with some of them than my own husband at times). I cleaned out my office today and made sure it was ready for the next dietitian who will live there. Crazy to think about who will come next.

I think I'm still processing everything and I don't think I quite realize it all yet. But it's exciting, because tomorrow I put on my 'professional attire' (yep, can't wear scrubs anymore...) and drive to a new place where anything could happen. :)

I couldn't be more excited, or thankful, or blessed.

Happy Change. It kind of feels like it's New Year all over again... or like a fresh semester of college (which is even better by the way, my favorite actually).

Jan 25, 2013

The New 50mm Lens

So I've been talking about my new 50mm camera lens for a few weeks now. It's not like it's some super-duper fancy lens or anything. But to me it's fancy :) And I love it so I figured I'd share a little more about it and why I love it so much.

I also thought about telling you all about my new lens and the differences between this lens and my other lens. Okay so I actually wrote up a long post about that and then it got really complicated. Another story for another day... maybe soon, who knows?

But today I want to tell you why I love this 50mm lens: two reasons to be exact. They officially call it the Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II Autofocus lens. And well, first, it's 'artsy' and second it's 'fast'.  But let me explain.


The 'artsy' comes from the "f/1.8" part of the lens. The pros call that the aperture (I call it that now too, lol). Pretty much everything on the camera affects the amount of light in the picture in some respect. The aperture is kind of like the iris part of the eye, you know the colored part that makes the pupil get bigger and smaller... f/1.8 is like when the colored part of the eye is very thin and the pupil is large letting in a lot of light. My other lens has a minimum f/3.5 meaning the 'iris' is thicker and therefore the 'pupil' smaller letting in less light.

But really, we're talking "making the cool blurry stuff in the background" the fancy 'blurry' background that makes professional pictures or portraits look so professional. They call it 'bokeh' but I have no idea how to say it out loud. I've looked on lots of websites and asked a few photographers and none of the answers matched...

Anyway, when the lens is 'wide open' at f/1.8 it lets in lots of light particles and has a shallow depth of field. Which means it can only focus on like one person football or 3/4 of an inch of depth, so the background gets blurry but the person football in focus is real sharp. Like this one.

Sometimes this can get out of hand though. Like me getting all artsy with the pumpkin bread at Christmas. See how only the middle of the loaf is sharp and even the back side of the loaf pan is blurry... maybe it was a little too much? Maybe not?

Better yet, check out these pictures from the root beer tasting extravaganza. The first one is f/1.8 so it's got a blurrier background. But then watch how the background becomes more clear bottle by bottle as the aperture is changed.








So that's fun. The aperture thing. It makes great portraits...

Anyways. I told you there were two things I like about this lens.


Second is the ability to take 'faster' pictures. Think about it, if the lens is 'wide open' so a whole lot more light can get into the camera, then I can speed up the shutter speed and still get all the light I need so the picture's not too dark. I won't go into all of that now, but here's a link to two great quick tutorials if you're interested (or if you got lost before when I said aperture and stopped reading for while...).

For me it means that I can take picture of things moving without them being too blurry. With my other lens I just didn't have enough light outside to capture a clear picture when my nephew was moving. You know kids, they don't really sit still...

But with my 50mm f/1.8 I can just open up my aperture a little more and speed up the shutter speed and snap a sharp pic. It's kind of like setting your point-and-shoot camera to "Action" or "Sport" mode. This lens of mine is not the best for action shots or anything, but it's better than my kit lens because of the "f/1.8" See how I captured this when they were swinging...

But these guys were swinging too fast for me to capture indoors...

It's nice to have a 'faster' lens because that means I can get pictures of squirmy little kids, or maybe I'll get some action shots when Kyle plays softball this spring. Maybe?

But that's probably more than you wanted to know about a camera lens. Maybe that's more than you wanted to know about photography all together. But really kit lenses are like the "jack of all trades, master of none" lenses. And I still use mine of course, the thing can zoom without me having to actually move my feet, and I can get a wider angle shot with it.  But the Canon 50mm f/1.8 is only about $100 (Nikon has a similar lens and price). It's like the gateway to lenses, because the other guys are like $500-$5000 for a lens. But I'll leave that to the pros.

I've heard someone say, or okay, I read someone say that they'd recommend a 50mm f/1.8 over a kit lens any day for a beginner. Like buying the camera without a lens and just putting the 50mm on it. Crazy sounding, but not too bad of an idea.

So if you're 'into photography' look into it. But before you buy anything, figure out why. That's what I'm learning, no need to buy 'camera stuff' just to have more 'camera stuff.' I've gotta be able to tell myself exactly why what I have right now isn't good enough and exactly why what I want to buy actually is...

Here's to photography, and knowing just enough about it to sound like a fool... I really know little-to-nothing.

But doesn't the focus on the this one just draw you to the cabin name... and the blur looks artsy. Right?

Jan 23, 2013

December in Pictures

After a nice long 3-day weekend I think I may be back on track. Like maybe I'll do laundry more than once a month and stop eating cookies every day, every hour. Or maybe it was the MLK weekend sale and my impossible quest to find dress pants that fit... maybe that's what will make me stop eating cookies. Maybe?

Anyways, just to get all things caught up, after a very belated November in Pictures, I present to you December in Pictures.  This was the month I got my new 50mm lens, so you may be able to tell the difference in some of the pictures. I was pretty excited about it, so once I put that lens on it every rarely came off in December. If you can't tell the difference in the pictures, I'll be talking a little lot more about the 50mm lens on the blog on Friday.

Get excited picture nerds...

Otherwise, enjoy. December... at least I got it posted before February...


Here's one of the outtakes from our Christmas card pictures...

December harvest... yep.

The more popular sour gummy bear 'spice drop' tree.

I'm proud of this next one. My brother doesn't like having his picture taken but he has the best smile when it's a real one :)

Trying a little root beer...

Hope you enjoyed 'December' as much as we did. Now we're all caught up. Happy Wednesday! Did you spot what you thought to be the 50mm shots? More deets on Friday... do people still say 'deets' ??
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