Thursday, February 26, 2009

My Photography Classes

I wanted to share a little about the photography classes I'm taking right now since they are bringing me so much excitement! I seriously love them. The classes are at Burrough's High School here in Burbank (where my hubby went to school). They have one of the top 10 dark rooms in the country with like 15 enlargers and a whole fancy set up, including a real life studio. I have never heard of a high school with equipment like this, but I'm glad its one that's close by!

Advanced Black & White Photography:
The first class I started was Advanced Black & White Photography. It is so super fun. In the last three weeks I have 1) developed a roll of film that I shot 2) made proof sheets and 3) printed an 8x10 in the dark room! In the next 3 weeks, I'll be printing more 8x10's as well as adding Sepia tone to a print of my choice. It's amazing to see how this stuff was done before the digital revolution and Photoshop. It really gives a whole new perspective on how much work the real, legitimate photographers had to put in. I've learned how to burn/dodge and heck - even just loading the film tanks in the complete darkness is a work of art in itself!! I am so proud of myself when I do THAT right. This class is short - only 6 weeks - but I think I'll probably take it again since its just so much fun.

One of the first B&W pics I ever shot (about 6 years ago?) I made this into an 8x10.

Intermediate Color Photography
I have only been in this class for one week, but already I love it. The teacher used to be an NBC staff photographer. She has shot Johnny Carson, for heaven's sake. So its cool to learn from someone who has the experience as a working photographer. I know all the ins-and-outs of my camera (like white balance and shooting with the manual modes), so the functional stuff is just review for me. But the exciting part is that we get assignments every week and we'lll be printing and mounting our photos to make a nice little portfolio. We also get to shoot in the studio (yay!) and work with our images in Photoshop, so I'm getting the exact kind of experience I want. It's a 14 week class, and I have a lot to look forward to. I'll take the Advanced Digital class after this.

Just playing with color...

Photoshop for Photographers

I have been using Photoshop for a LONG time - probably around 10 years. So I wasn't sure how much I'd learn from this class. But it was 50 bucks and designed specifically for photographers, so I thought I'd give it a go. We are working with CS4 and I am kind of in love with it. It's not all that different from CS3 (which is what I use now), but just has a few little advantages. And the nice part is, there are so many ways to do one thing that I'm actually learning some new tricks. There are some cool girls in my class too, so its been fun in more ways than one.

Before and After - notice her slightly improved waistline & boobs in "After". My new favorite tool in Photoshop!

Thank goodness for adult school, huh? I don't ever remember them telling us that once we were out of high school we could do stuff like this. I didn't even know trade schools and things like that were an option. It was like - either college or nothing. So I got a job right out of high school and figured I'd just wing it the rest of my life. But these schools offer so many different types of classes, that now I may just expand my knowledge for the heck of it. Why not?

Friday, February 20, 2009


I am super excited. I just bought our tickets for Coldplay and we are on the FLOOR! I thought I had reached a point in my life where I didn't really care where we sat. Really, it's more about the music and sometimes being farther back is better because you're away from some of the crazies. But this is so awesome!! I haven't been this excited for a show since I had 4th row DMB tickets like 8 years ago. These aren't 4th row, but heck. It is still rad! The concert is in July, so I still have like 5 months of anticipation.

YAY anyway!!


This weekend is the Oscars. I always like to go over to Hollywood a couple days before to check out the setup. They close down Hollywood Blvd. and have all these tents and lights set up for the Red Carpet. You can't really SEE much, but it always give me a little tingle of excitement to be so close to the action. In this pic, you can see the setup to the right...

I used to work in Hollywood every week and one thing I loved about it was that I ALWAYS saw something new. I mean, the people are crazy. You wouldn't believe the things I witnessed from my work mini-van. I sort of miss that. I live only about 6 miles away, but don't get over the hill much. Yesterday I saw this guy and automatically assumed he was insane. He was dressed up as Jimi Hendrix, playing his guitar on the sidewalk for money. I laughed inside at him, but it turns out he's a really nice guy! I made a donation to his pot, asked if I could snap a couple photos, and he played me an awesome Jimi Hendrix cover. And he was really good. We talked for a quick minute but he would've played for me all day if I had time to stay and watch. I wonder how much money he makes hanging out there.

When people say that Hollywood is so glamorous, they don't mean the actual city of Hollywood. If you have ever been here, you know what I'm talking about. They mean the Hollywood LIFESTYLE is glamorous. Like if you are a movie star. Otherwise, its just another touristy city with a bunch of weird stuff to look at. I still love it, but even the Welcome to Hollywood sign is pathetic.

As for the Oscars this weekend, I haven't been very good about my research. The only Oscar Nom I've seen is Slumdog Millionaire. It was great, but I still want to see the others. I will definitely watch the show and when I'm jealous of that glamorous red carpet, I will try and remember that its just a bunch of bleachers and curtains hung in front of the Gap and Forever 21.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Foiled Again!

Valentine's Day is one of those days that Hubs and I always enjoyed celebrating as a new couple, but as the years go by, it seems like more of an annoyance than a special day. I think it was 2 or 3 years ago, we decided to stop buying each other gifts for Valentine's Day. Honestly, its meaningless! Nothing special ever happened for us on that day. We'd much rather celebrate our Anniversary, since that day is much more memorable.

We haven't given up completely on the idea of Valentine's day, so I made heart-shaped pancakes for breakfast and he had a little surprise up his sleeve. When you live in Southern Cal and you buy a Disneyland ticket, you also get to come back another day and go to California Adventure for free. Since we went to D-land for my birthday, (and it was Saturday so we had some time to kill) he thought it would be fun to use that free pass and go to CA Adventure for a couple hours in the evening. We could walk around, grab some dinner, maybe hit a couple rides. Of course, when I heard this idea, I thought it was brilliant.

So we fought the traffic and arrived at CA Adventure around 4pm. We strolled up to the gates, passes in hand and - surprise! My season pass is blacked out on Valentine's Day and they had to turn me away! I honestly had no idea and never even thought to check that before we left the house. I felt so bad because we had driven all the way out there for nothing.

Since we had just paid $12 for parking, we decided to make the most of it and just hang out at Downtown Disney. We tried a couple restaurants, but of course it was Valentine's Day so everything was PACKED - another reason we avoid celebrating this day. Finally we decided to go see a movie (He's Just Not That Into You) and fill up on junk food. So we ultimately still had a fun day. But Disneyland - how could you?!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

New York Inspired Me...

This is on a HUGE canvas, so I must say it looks pretty cool hanging over our couch!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Lucky Me!

My husband's amazing Mother wanted to throw me a belated birthday party. Totally unnecessary, but oh so sweet. We had everyone come here, since there was a mishap with the water heater at the in-laws' house. I think we ended up with about 18 people squeezed into our tiny living room, but it was so much fun. The cat was scared out of his mind, the nephews took turns between running wild and watching movies, the adults got to hang out and eat some totally delicious food, we had the company of the newest baby in the family. And I got to be very spoiled by my generous in-laws. I got some top-notch gifts (including Tiffany's, Burberry and Ed Hardy - nothing wrong with that!!) And they prepared all the food and cake beforehand and brought it to the house. One of the cousins even drove 5 hours to be here! It was so nice and really made me feel special. They made me feel like it was OK to make a big deal out of my 30th. They all kept telling me it was a very important birthday.

So thank you soooo much to the whole family for all the effort you put in. I couldn't ask for anything more! And the gifts were too much! Believe me, they will be put to good use!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

American Idol or American Idiot?

I was getting so frustrated watching American Idol yesterday! It was driving me crazy with the judge's decisions.

First, I was really sad that they cut Jamar. I remember saying out loud to myself "OK, if they cut Jamar and they keep that dude in the red pants, I'm going to be really upset." Well, they kept the dude in the red pants - Nat. And he always wears those stupid headbands. Ugh. And then Tatiana. Oh my word. Tatiana. I have never seen more of a trainwreck of a person in my life (besides on MTV). Anyway, she made it through and it made me want to rip my hair out.

I'm not usually THIS passionate about the show. I definitely love it and always watch, but I don't ever remember getting so fired up during auditions! I guess I've had a little more time on my hands this year, but I'm thinking I better go back to not caring as much. It's just making me too mad - and a little mean to these poor innocent dream-chasers.

Friday, February 6, 2009

My Birthday Weekend in Pictures


Dinner at Buca di Beppo's

Our House for Cake
...(and Presents and Silly String)

Here's to being 30! I'm old enough to know what I want. I'm old enough to admit when I'm wrong. I'm old enough to stand up for myself. I'm old enough to know that being 30 is so much better than being 20. I'm old enough to afford the good wrinkle cream. I'm old enough to enjoy going to bed at a decent hour. But I'm NEVER too old to have fun and enjoy all that life has to offer.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Celebrity Fat Club

So is Jessica Simpson fat? Since this story is all over the place, I thought I'd just throw in my two cents.

No, she is not fat. Not even close. At least not by any normal person's standards. I'm guessing she's like a size 8 now? But here's the problem. She is not a "Normal Person". She may be normal to her friends and family, but to the rest of us - she's a celebrity. Ashlee Simpson wrote somewhere that she was disgusted with the headlines regarding her sister's weight. She said "All women come in different shapes, sizes, and forms and just because you're a celebrity, there shouldn't be a different standard."

That's nice of you to stick up for your sis. But, really? There shouldn't be a different standard? That right there, is a DOUBLE STANDARD. You know you love being a celebrity and being held to a different standard in every other aspect of your life. You know you love being rich, famous and having everything you want right at your fingertips. You know you love being VIP. You know you love providing your family with everything they ever dreamed of. You know you LOVE it all. But as soon as people start criticizing you, its just sooo unfair. Waa. Yeah, it sucks that people are watching your every move, but that's the trade-off!

And when you go from looking like this:

to looking like this:

people are going to say something. Jessica had no problem flaunting her hot bod all over the place when she was in shape - making American women feel inadequate and bad about themselves. In fact, she loved it. And she made a career out of it. Just by looking good and having a great body. She doesn't even have to do anything else!

Yes, the media may be a little harsh. And no, I don't think Jessica Simpson is fat. But unless they are willing to give up their celebrity status and truly be treated like normal people, we are going to notice when they gain a little weight. Sorry.

Plus come on - the outfit! It's just so unflattering. But that's a whole other issue.