Weekend Tidbits

Posted Leave a commentPosted in photography

Hi hi,

The Girl had a fabulous weekend....how about you?
The Girl had a fabulous weekend….how about you?

I pass two Starbucks in the morning on the way to work, and I’m not sure what it is about Fridays but last Friday, both drive-thrus were super long. When I approached the second Starbucks, I decided to park and walk inside. Figured it’d take less time.

Wrong.

The place was nearly empty. Except for the lady who was putting in her order. I stood behind her and waited another 15 minutes while she put in her 2 drink order. I kinda expected her to pull out her checkbook at the end of the transaction. (Miraculously, that didn’t happen.)

This was me many, many, many minutes later outside of Starbucks:
060818-Starbucks
(This was fun to do, by the way. And the hazelnut soy latte was muy bueno.)

On Saturday, I took Giada on a walk post-lunch. We passed a bride posing for pictures in front of her house with her bridesmaids. “Congrats,” I said. She said thank you while the party stared at Giada and smiled. In contrast, her next door neighbor was sitting in his driveway picking his nose.

I’m sorry to say that I don’t have pictures of that.

We went to our friends’ place later that night for their son’s third birthday. I think I need a bubble maker.

060918-bubble
 
suburban summer
The suburbs aren’t so bad. 😉 Also, it’s refreshing to take pictures of people other than my roommates. (Don’t tell Giada.)

As I’m typing this, I’m ending Sunday in the best way – New Girl on Netflix and going through cookbooks for recipe ideas. Hope everyone has a great week!

Weekend Recap [in photos]

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Family Life, photography

We work very hard to have low key weekends around here – it helps us to regroup as a family and more importantly, it’s good for our sanity. 🙂 It started with an egg breakfast on Saturday morning (scrambled for The Girl and me and sunny side up for the other two).

The Girl eating breakfast

After breakfast, I gave the kids slices of watermelon while I put dishes away. I looked up at one point to find The Kid trying to share his watermelon with his sister:

060218-breakfast-sharing

He’s doing pretty good with the sharing things these days. She – yeah, not so much. LOL.

After breakfast, we went to a fire station open house near us.

060218-fire-department

They loved hanging in the driver seat.

060218-fire-department-2
They didn’t like posing for me so much though.

060218-kid-papa
The Hubs and The Kid looking like they’re having a moment. In reality, they were arguing. 😉

Later that night, the four of us went to Salsa 17 with The Hubs’ BFF. It was such a busy night that I didn’t get too many pictures. But I’ll share one:

Salsa 17
This is the salsa recipe I’m trying to chase. I can’t figure it out completely yet, but this recipe from Cookie and Kate is pretty close. (I’ve made it 3 or 4 times now when people come over for dinner – each time, someone has commented about how good the salsa is.)

The food was awesome at Salsa 17 – as was the one mojito I had. I was tempted to order a second, but the kids kept me busy all night. The Kid had to go to the bathroom twice. The first time, he did his thing and flushed the toilet. The flush was pretty loud that he screamed. The second time, he was prepared for the noise. So much so that after he flushed the toilet, he dived under the locked door to bolt out of the stall. Screaming, of course.

And The Girl….

Oh man, she was was overstimulated in the restaurant, so I took her outside to see if it helped. It did. I came back inside to see The Hubs’ BFF sitting alone at the table. “After you went outside, The Kid ran down the aisle and into the kitchen,” he said.

OMG.

When The Hubs returned with The Kid, I took both of my sweet angel children outside.

060218-Kids-fountain
That helped a lot.

The Hubs said he’s never going out to eat with the kids again. LOL. (I don’t know why I’m laughing because I’m pretty sure he’s serious.)

Sunday involved Domesticated Fun. I cooked. The Kid helped me make won tons – some of which we had for lunch and the rest we froze.

060318-won-ton
His and mine. 😉

And then, I watched the two kids eating lunch quietly as The Hubs researched bay window options (we’re getting one in the kitchen – yay!). It was a nice Sunday.

060318-LunchTime

Actually, was a pretty good weekend.

Memorial Day Weekend

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Food

This past weekend was The Hub’s birthday. Because it was his birthday weekend, I did what he wanted to do – stay home. So for the most part, we did stay close to home. Saturday was Birthday Eve. I had ordered lobsters from The Lobster Guy earlier in the week, and it arrived just in time for the weekend. So. Good. After a lot of screaming (“Lobster look scary!!!!!!!!”), The Kid decided he wanted to try a bite.
Dash-Papa-052618
(He was also into the melted butter.) He might be an addict now.

Then again, the whole family might be:
lobster-leftovers

I wish I had thought to get a picture of the lobsters pre-meal. But in case you need a quick review of The Lobster Guy: the lobsters are really good. Both kids also devoured the clam chowder. I liked the lobster cakes and stuffed shrimp we ordered too, but next time I probably will just stick with the lobsters and chowder.

Earlier in the day, I made a marscapone cheesecake from the green Gourmet cookbook. It’s legit the best cheesecake recipe – I tell people that this is the cheesecake that you make and use to buy friends.

cheesecake
I can’t ever seem to keep a clean work area as I bake.

I also can’t seem to do anything in the kitchen without an audience:
girl-cheesecake

And do you think I have a picture of the final product? Nope. LOL.

On Sunday, we went to a hibachi place near us with The Hub’s BFF. I have to say that the sushi was awesome:

sushi-fish-on-fire
I’m a sucker for sashimi.

The kids were really excited for the grill:
fish-on-fire
Or was this their hungry faces? 😉

I didn’t take too many pictures because of that whole being-in-the-moment thing. 😉 But here’s the fried rice that I was planning to eat until The Girl stuck her hand in it:

friedrice-fish-on-fire

The next day, we had our neighbors over for a BBQ. This is the only photo I took:

burger-meat-memorial-day-2018

I’ll admit that the outside temps stunted my thinking this weekend. (Seriously, it hit 100 degrees at one point.) Also: I’m a fan of keeping things simple and I once heard that all you needed to put into burger meat is Lipton Onion Soup Mix. I did just that without telling anyone, and everyone said the burgers were really juicy. (I haven’t had one to validate this, but if people keep saying the same thing without being prompted, it has to be true, right?)

And the weekend ended nicely with Spiderman sharing the last of the birthday cake with me:

last of the Lutz cake

Sweet. 🙂

Daily Design – Week 21

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Design

You know what’s funny? I was going to take this week off from this self-imposed Daily Design Challenge* and I ended up designing things anyway, so I thought, Why not just share what you’ve done?

MONDAY
doodle-052118
My doodle game isn’t strong. But it’s consistent.

And for those of you looking for ways to decompress, I’d recommend doing this at the end of everyday. Especially if you have kids people in your life that say nonsensical things – it’s fun to go back and remember the things that came out of their mouths. On similar note, I came across a Twitter account from a designer – seemingly from Chicago, no less – who does next level “doodling” (it’s actually beautiful sketches)…and I totally love her work.

TUESDAY
dinner-menu-2
Yup, a dinner menu for next week. We are having our neighbors over for Memorial Day, so I was trying to think ahead. As I’m typing this, I don’t feel like this menu is yet set in stone. When I was in LA for the photo shoot last week, there was a craft service table set up for every meal catered by City Kitchen. The food was amazing. I told Lulu – the girl who set up every meal – that I was going to kidnap her and bring her to Chicago. She seemed to be down with this plan, lol. In any case, I am going to use their catering menu as a starting point for ideas anytime I’m in a rut. So somewhere in that menu are my sides for Monday’s BBQ. I think. (Er, I hope.)

On note about the weekly menus: lately, I seem to be editing it throughout the week.
dinner-menu-1

But I’ll still insist that it’s good to have this guide to lead me into the week. 🙂

WEDNESDAY
I felt like it was time to get back into the photo book because March 2017 still needed to be tackled. In the morning, I culled 103 photos from that month. I probably need to whittle it down further, but here’s my favorite picture from that month:
032917-reallife-2767

Highlight #1 of the day: I texted my neighbor to see if she had any Diet Coke on her. She didn’t….and went to 7-11 to get me a bottle….with 4 little kids in tow. F-ing rock star mom.

Highlight #2 of the day: having dinner with an old friend. It was nice because she lives in the city but works out in the suburbs, so we got to do something 5 minutes from the house. I really wish all my friends lived nearby.

THURSDAY
Woke up early. Feeling groggy. Opened a book on Illustrator – there’s a lot more I could learn about the program. (Speaking of Illustrator, how awesome is this artwork?) Read a page…and then felt like creating something. So here’s me on the hotel bed from last week:

052418-jumping-on-bed

FRIDAY
I was trying to think of what to create this morning with 10 minutes to spare. I thought of this apology letter that I got in the mail about a year ago from a former friend. Let’s call this a lesson in how NOT to write an apology letter. 🙂
052518-apology-letter

Have a great weekend!

*I don’t know if I never put an end date to this project. I was initially thinking 52 weeks, but since I will be returning to work full-time in June, this may be a 26 week (6 month) challenge. Then, I’ll go back to posting work at random. 🙂

Daily Design – Week 20

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Design, photography, Stop Motion

Hi there!

I will be traveling this week, so I’m not sure how much design I’ll get to do but I’ll do what I can!

MONDAY
So I had a nice relaxing weekend where we had friends over for dinner on Saturday (I feel like I say that a lot). And Sunday was Mother’s Day, so my husband was nice about letting me relax and he picked up a lot of the parent duties. I thought I would get to work on the 2017 photobook a bit, but I decided to doodle and play with my kids’ watercolors while they were napping on both days with “New Girl” playing in the background. (My coworker keeps talking about that show, so I finally had a chance to sit down and watch it. I’m addicted. And I love you, Zooey Deschanel if you’re reading this. Ha!) But no, the photo book didn’t get touched until today…and I think we can say that February is done.

A couple of page spreads:
Feb2018-photobook
 
Feb2018-photobook2

Onward to March!

TUESDAY
Okay, so March will have to be put on hold for now. At the start of the year, I started waking up early to do design work. These days, I find myself waking up to make coffee, letting the buzz kick in and then take Giada for a walk before getting ready for work. So although I am designing everyday at work – and these days, doodling away in my sketchbook – I have to find some energy and time to do personal work. And I do it because I feel like it helps keep the creative juices flowing. When it rains, it pours. 🙂

Anyway, this is a photo from 2017. Did the Photoshop stop motion effect this evening.
051518-Kid-Portillos
Man, I could go for Portillo’s cheese fries right now….

WEDNESDAY
dinner-menu-051618
I always feel like these menus are a cop out in getting out of this daily design incentive because I do them anyway (seriously, if I don’t plan our dinners, we would probably stand in the kitchen all confused until bedtime – we’re an indecisive bunch). But since this week is a travel week, I had to get on it to help keep us on track & organized (i.e. I’ll know what to get at the grocery store when I come back this weekend). By the way, I always seem to gravitate toward the one Nigella Lawson cookbook I own when I’m looking for ideas. Her recipes are diverse – I like that!

THURSDAY and FRIDAY
I’m sorry to say that these were long work days, so I didn’t get to design. Since we’re on the subject of work, let me gloat as I share the first two football uniforms I’ve ever designed (and hopefully not the last!):

052118-Riddell-photoshoot

On that note, I will be taking this week off from this Daily Design (Self Imposed) Challenge to regroup. But I’ll be back at it next week!

Daily Design – Week 19

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Design, Stop Motion

Hi hi, Happy New Week. I didn’t get into the photo books at all over the weekend because I was just really, really out of it during any downtime I had. I finally got my mojo back on Sunday afternoon during the kids’ naptime when I found “All or Nothing” on Amazon Prime and managed to watch a couple of episodes. TV – sometimes it’s good for the head. 🙂 Anyway….

MONDAY
As I edited away on pictures, I realized that a lot of my phone pictures are backed up on Amazon Prime. I logged on and found about 5 pictures I wanted to use – all of which include my friends’ kids (so probably best if I don’t share the pictures here). Going through Lightroom, however, it’s funny to see that period where I was playing with light. Examples:
dancing-on-table-feb2017
 
carseat-feb2017
 
naptime-feb2017
I didn’t get to do page layouts today….

TUESDAY
Got around to a few page layouts (while watching “All or Nothing” – I’m addicted). There are a lot of pictures this month. I can’t say that too many of them are strong as stand alone photos. But I still want to keep most of them, so I pulled together quite a few photo collages within the page layouts.
feb2017-30-31
 
feb2017-34-35
I might be done with February this week! (Maybe.)

WEDNESDAY
I was very much out of it on this day, so I can’t say that I did any design. Although I did plan out my meal for the week.
050918-menu

THURSDAY
Today was a busy day, so I didn’t get to design (well, I did at work but nothing personal). After work, I went to pick up dinner as we had guests over.

Kikkoman
The restaurant gave us TONS of soy sauce (I admit that we are partial to the green label though….)

FRIDAY
Well well well, I can’t say that February pages will be done this week.

gah

Maybe I’ll dabble in February this weekend? Maybe? 🙂

The Kid Takes Pictures

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Life, photography

The other morning, I took a picture of The Kid while he was relaxing on two of his stools (yeah, I don’t get it either):
kid-on-stool-050718

As soon as I snapped this, he sat up and asked if he could take a picture. I hesitated because he’s a little um, careless with things. (He is three, after all.) And he’s a terrible listener on top of it, so the probability that he would go rogue with my camera – and drop it afterwards – was high. But then, I thought about the point and shoot camera sitting on top of my bookcase. “Hold on one minute – Mama is going to let you use the blue camera,”I said. “Oh, the blue camera???!!!! YEAH!” he replied. (For the record, he just repeats answers and gets excited for them even if he doesn’t know what I’m talking about, such as this case). So I gave him the camera. Tried (remember, he’s a terrible listener) to tell him how to take a picture and not to cover the lens.

Anyway, his sister was his first subject:
kid-takes-picturesl-050718

This is the actual picture he took:
kid-takes-picturesl-050718-2

Doesn’t she look thrilled? Ha ha ha ha ha ha.

He turned and took a picture of me:
kid-takes-picturesl-050718-3

The picture he took:

Like I said, I **tried** to tell him not to cover the lens
Like I said, I **tried** to tell him not to cover the lens

But then he said, “Mama, sit down on the bench. Put down your camera.” A photographer giving out directions – who am I to argue? The photo:
kid-takes-picturesl-050718-5

Not bad. I’d like to tell you he took 10000 more pictures, but he got tired of it soon after. We’ll see how much he gets into photography later down the line, if at all!

Daily Design – Week 18

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Design, photo book, photography

Alright, something a little different this week…

This blog started off as a place where I would focus on sharing how I design and layout photo books – I want to say this blog evolved since then, but really, I just haplessly went in different directions and just posted wherever my mood took me. I’m 100% going to continue to do that because this is still a fun little space for me to play around in without any restrictions. I think maybe that’s why people don’t post regularly – they feel like they have to stay “on brand” or “within a niche”. Oh, plus blogging does take a little more work than it appears. On a related note, I get the appeal with posting on a platform that is more quick and easy. (Ahem, Instagram….) If I had the energy to blog everyday though, I would (mainly because Seth Godin says it’s a good idea). But hey, I do what I can.

So enough about that. 🙂

Back on point: I haven’t finished my family photo album for 2017 yet…actually, it’s mostly empty (yikes). So I’m going to jump back on that and share my progress here until I have it finished and sent off to Blurb. My goal for this week is to have January completed and to start on February. Maybe if I tackle it this way, I could have this book done by the end of May. Maybe? 🙂 Let’s give this a try….

MONDAY
I have three pages in the January 2017 done. Woot woot.
2017 photobook progress
I did cull the photos I wanted to add into the photo book. I haven’t edited them yet, but I think I’ll do that tomorrow. It was fun going through pictures I had forgotten about – and texting them over to The Hubs. He loved them (something about pictures makes you forget about those exhausting days and sleepless night).

TUESDAY
Did a quick edit on all the 55 photos I culled yesterday to put into the photo book, including this one:
Cool-Giada
No layouts today. But guess what the rest of the week is for. 🙂

WEDNESDAY
A selection of page layouts:
photo book layout
 
Jan2017-page-layouts2
 

Jan2017-page-layouts3

And January is done. Yay! I’ll start looking at February 2017 photos tomorrow. Here’s the start:
title page for photo book

THURSDAY
Going through and culling photos I want to use. I saved 565 photos from February 2017 and trying to narrow it down to a fraction of that. Kinda fun to see that time period where I’m pretty sure I was a sleep walking zombie. (So my advice to moms of newborns: Just pull out the camera and shoot. Revisit the shots in a year – you’ll totally appreciate them.) I had the foresight to type in notes back in February 2017 into the photobook Indesign file to insert pictures from certain events. I’m on a hunt for a couple of those pictures, which I may have taken with my phone. So my advice with the photo book thing – write down/type notes that will help you jog your memory. Other advice? Don’t wait 1.5 years to put the book together. 🙂 A few shots I pulled (no page layouts today):

On a walk during an unseasonably warm February day
On a walk during an unseasonably warm February day

Breakfast
“What the heck are on my hands??!!!”

She was so little! She was so little!

FRIDAY
Edited a handful of pictures – I pulled 89 pictures from the digital pile. (That’s kind of a lot for a short month, isn’t it?) This was among the favorites:
at-home-feb2017-4
I’ll take whatever I can get, lol.

I may continue dabbling in this book over the weekend. Maybe I can wrap it up early next week and get started on March then. Maybe?

Have a great weekend!