Sep 30, 2011

Fix It Friday

Another fix-it-friday! WOOO! I know you're PUMPED and have been refreshing my blog minute after minute waiting for this. The reason for the delay is (1) I wrote another blog post this morning, so if you haven't read it scroll down and do so and (2) they don't post the fix-it-friday photo until Friday so I have to edit it and write the blog post in one day. I know. So sad.

Moving on... For today's FIF, I wanted to do a little step-by-step with pics. So if you don't care about this kind of thing, just look at the pretty pictures, ooh and ahh, and move on to the next post. If you do care about this kind of thing, please don't hesitate to comment with questions or thoughts :)

Here's our beautiful original.

And now for the step-by-step. Follow along left to right.

1) crop original photo
2) adjust levels to bring out the whites
3) adjust curves to brighten more
4) MCP Magic Skin action - opacity at 50 percent
5) adjust color balance by lowering the blues and upping the yellows just a tad
6) new levels adjustment to bring down the reds in her face in select sections
7) readjust curves (I wanted it a little brighter) and get rid of her stray hairs with clone/healing tools
8) add texture of "sunshine" at 10% opacity

Here's our final. It always amazes me the powers of photoshop. Really, our touches were pretty minor, but together they make this okay photo stunning! (Self pat on back)

Alright. Black and white. I'm not going to do the step-by-step photos since it's pretty basic. First thing I do is start with my edited color version and desaturate. Then I adjust my levels -- in this case, I left the white slider alone and only upped the blacks. Then I added a black and white gradient map at 50%, added a very subtle warmth layer, and they ya go.

Hope you enjoyed it!

Perfect Days

The days have been beautiful here the past few weeks -- temps in the 70s and 80s, sunshine and blue skies -- such a relief from the hot, hot summer. Working from 8 to 5 each day makes me miss my days in Fayetteville when, on a perfect day, professors would take their students and teaching plans to the great outdoors. We'd sit on the ground, nothing between us and the earth beneath, and play with the grass under our toes while the teacher tried their hardest to keep our attention. And after that seemed to be failing, they'd try their hardest to remember why they had thought this was such a great idea. But it was a great idea, and no matter how many times they had failed before, teachers continued to bring their students outside on a perfect day. Perhaps it was knowing that no one would be able to concentrate inside either, for the trees and sunshine peeking in from the windows was all too much for us to be cooped up indoors.

Regardless, we've had days like that here. Beautiful days. Perfect days. Days you wish you could bottle up in an old mason jar and save for the rainy ones.

It's nice to just escape outdoors sometimes. Breathe in the fresh air, soak up the sun and feel blessed that in that moment, nothing matters.

Nothing, I suppose, except being together and doing our favorite things. Like chewing on sticks. Or playing on ebay. Or, in my case, finally capturing some sun flare with the camera. Success.

Hope you get out this weekend and enjoy the perfect weather. Happy Friday!

Sep 27, 2011

Trendy Tuesday: DIY Fall Decorating

So...not sure if DIY Fall Decorating is really a trend, but we're gonna roll with it okay? Since Friday marked the first day of autumn it seems only fitting that we have one of these. Hopefully you can get some great ideas for decorating! I know I can't wait to live in a real house so I can do this kind of stuff!

All the things I picked are things you can do yourself. And mark my words, I am totally going to be doing number 5, 6 and 7. Funny how those are the food things...

Okay, here ya go!

1. Pumpkin Bowl 2. Leaf Mobile 3. Fall Branch Arrangements 4. Fall Wreath 5. Caramel Apples 6. Chocolate Covered Pretzels (the obsession continues...) 7. Pumpkin Pie Waffles 8. Fall Flowers (or lack thereof) 9. Lamp Shadows

Happy Tuesday to you!

Sep 25, 2011

New Shows On Air

Finally, summer is over and my TV shows are back! What a relief -- something to do on weeknights when it gets cold out and I just want to cuddle up in my PJs with some hot cocoa. So pumped. Thought it would be nice to do a little preview of shows I'm excited about this season. So, without further ado, here's my top 3:

1) Grey's Anatomy - ABC

I've been following Meredith and McDreamy since it started in 2005. I was still in high school, if you can believe that! Wow! So crazy to even think about that. Anyway, I'm kind of obsessed with this show; love the characters, storyline, everything. And to be honest, I'm invested in it, so that's why I'm watching again this season. It's my thing.

In case you've lived in a cave the past 6 years, Grey's is about a group of doctors who work at Seattle Grace. It would take about 200 blog posts to tell you everything that has ever happened in Grey's, but to put it in a nutshell, each episode follows the doctors as they grow both as doctors, but also as people. Yes, there is sex. Yes, there is drama. Yes, it's amazing. 

2) Pan Am - ABC

This is my second show I think I'll want to watch this season. It's a new show by ABC, but the concept seems good and the pilot was pretty entertaining. From what I can gather, it will follow a crew from Pan Am -- mainly the stewardesses. It's set in the 1960s. In the first episode, there was a link between one of the stewardesses and some spy work for the government, so I'll be interested in where they take that. 

If I had to guess what this season has in store for us, it'll be this: people join the Mile-High club, there's a problem with the airplane engine, and Kate (our undercover spy) has some tricky situations she has to get through. Should be interesting!

3) New Girl - FOX

Another new show that's caught my eye is New Girl, airing on FOX. I watched the pilot of this too, and the basic plot is that Jess (played by Zooey Deschanel) finds out that her boyfriend has been cheating on her so she moves in with three men. So far, she seems a little strange and at times the script seems forced, but it might be fun and light (which, after the first two dramas might be a good thing!) so I'll keep my eyes on it and see what happens in the next few episodes before I make up my mind. 

Honorable Mention) Criminal Minds - CBS

Okay, I probably won't watch this one every week, but I do record the episodes sparatically at John's house and I'm kind of obsessed. Crime tv? What could be better! I love everything about this show!

And, just for a quick list of shows I do not plan on watching, here you go:

• Glee - FOX

Sorry folks. Just doesn't cut it for me. Why? I actually have given it a chance (I've watched 5 or 6 episodes) but the characters didn't seem to have any depth to them. One minute, one of the Gleeks is obsessed with boy A, and the next it's over and never happened. I need some history to stick around people!

• Jersey Shore - MTV

Not sure if this fits in the category of shows for the 2011-2012 lineup but I hate this show enough to bend the rules. This show, in a nutshell, makes me ashamed of being a human being. 'Nuff said.

Sep 23, 2011

Fix It Friday

Okay, folks! Y'all seemed to enjoy last week's Fix It Friday post so I thought I'd do another one this week. Click here to get directions on how to do it yourself and to see other people's versions! The photo was not taken by me, I merely edited the original photo to my liking. I'll try to breakdown how I edited it (if I can remember) but before we do that, let's get a glimpse at the before:

One thing I do every time to the pictures is adjust the levels and curves. This makes the photo lighter, and brings out the brightness in the picture so it's not as shady. Next I added MCP Magic Skin action, which smooths her skin out just a tad and takes out blemishes and such. The key to this is to do it really lightly, so that they don't look plastic. If you look closely at the before photo, you might notice some blotchy skin on her chest/cheeks. Once you see the after, you'll notice that that color variation isn't there and that her skin looks silky smooth.

Next, I upped the vibrance to make her gorgeous red hair POP! The pink dress and green grass got a little more color to them as well, which I loved. After that, I played around with a few various actions to get the desired look. Finally, I landed on No Ordinary Slumber from the Taste of Pure actions found here. It's one of my favs and I've been using it a lot. Of course, I always adjust the settings once it's on there, like taking the vintage tones down a bit, etc. 

Finally, I did a quick crop, added my edited by bit, and wallah! There you have it. Here's the after:

And, of course, a little side-by-side action :)

I always like to do a black and white version too (just for fun). To do that, I just took the edited color version and went from there. First thing I did was desaturate the image. That way, I can add some warmth back in afterwards (which I like to do). So yeah, don't do greyscale. Bad.

Once you desaturate, the color has very little contrast, so I go back to my levels and curves and readjust them to get darker darks and lighter lights. Then I sharpened the photo to give the grass and her face a little definition, added a 10% warmth layer, and there you have it. Black and white version:

Okay, folks. There you have it. Hope you learned something? Most of you probably have no clue what I even said. That's okay. Hah!

Happy Friday!!

Sep 22, 2011

Catchin' Up (A Random Post) Part 2

Welcome to part 2 of this wonderfully random blog post about all the things I did this summer that I didn't tell you about. My sincere apologies for keeping you out of the loop. Today, I want to start off with these scrumptious baby toes.

Yes, I had a baby this summer. Kidding. I babysat. Think I'm too old? Think again! Mwa-ha-ha! Seriously though, I could eat him up. He's adorable.

I also went to the lake with John's family. Labor Day was especially fun since the whole gang went. Unfortunately, the sun didn't really want to hang with the rest of us, so we spent a lot of the time under cloudy skies. Which I guess was good if I'm looking at it from the-glass-half-full perspective. It meant it was not too hot. My parents came up for one day and it was fun for the two families to spend some QT together. Even if I didn't get any pics of all those in attendance. Next time, next time...

So sorry I didn't post these sooner! But, without further ado, here are a few of my favorites:

Yes, we believe in teaching kiddos how to use slot machines from an early age.

To finish off this Catchin' Up series, I want to share one of my favorite pictures I've taken so far. A Mallory lakehouse sunset. Can't beat that. Til next time, summer. And fall? Welcome! I look forward to attempting to capture you better than summer. 

Happy Thursday, folks!

Sep 21, 2011

Catchin' Up (A Random Post) Part 1

FIRST OFF, do you like my new blog stuff? I do! I'm so excited about it! I made it about a month ago but hadn't gotten around to making all the changes until yesterday. In fact, I still have a FEW changes to make, but they're subtle so don't worry too'll mainly look like this for a bit! I do have one thing I want to point out though: I have created a playlist with music to go along with the blog ( to create a bit of ambiance, as they say)...if you've been here before you may have noticed it since it started automatically -- well now, you have to push play (womp, womp) because I'm pretty sure it was driving people crazy. So it's still there, with tunes picked especially for my posts, so go on...scroll down, click play, and then come back up and start the post :)


I try my best to take great pictures of things that I do so that I can write a blog post about it later, but I realized that sometimes I just don't take enough pictures to give me a good post!! My sister, Eliza, called me out on this and although it was hard for me to admit at first, she was right. I need to share some stuff I've done with y'all! So without further ado, let me introduce this random Catchin' Up post.*
*Please note that random is bolded.
John got a new book about guitars. He loves it. He brought it out one night and was so cute, sitting on the bed engulfed in the pictures. It's always really cool when he shares his passions with me, and on this particular night I wanted to remember how enthusiastic he always is about the things he cares about.

Eliza and Paul had us over for one of the best dinners I've eaten in forever. See that green stuff? It's to.die.for. Bell peppers, mango, and avacado + lime = divine! The lamb wasn't bad either, Paul. And the couscous? Kill me now.


John and I had a mini-date at my parents' house while I house-sat for them. We rented Harry Potter (#7, part 1) and made chocolate dipped treats. If you know me, you may know that I'm a little obsessed with chocolate pretzels (see here) so this snack was right up my alley. After melting the chocolate, we just coated some big pretzels with it until we had enough to feed a small village a reasonable amount. Then we used the rest on some salty popcorn. Scrumptious!

Hmm, what else....Oh yeah, my little sister came home from a summer abroad. Jealous? Me too. She was in Spain, France, Italy and pretty much anywhere that spells a-w-e-s-o-m-e. My momma was happy to see her, to say the least. I guess I was too :) This first picture is blurry because she literally came out.of.nowhere so I basically had to just start shooting without adjusting anything.
Okay, I'll be honest. I'm just not that good at focusing yet....

Check back tomorrow for part 2 of this Catchin' Up post!

Sep 20, 2011

Workin' on the Blog...

Sorry if the blog is being a little weird. I'm trying out a few new things. :) Check back tomorrow to see if I made any changes!

Trendy Tuesday - Scripts

I've noticed something strangely beautiful lately on my favorite blogs: Script-y fonts. YYUUUMMMM, my favorite! There's something so beautiful about the elegant curves and swoops on these that I cannot get over. Maybe it's the graphic designer in me, but I just love fonts!

I love that many of these are written in French -- that way, it's more about the look of the words than what they actually mean. Think John would let me get some wordy stuff? Probably not. But I can dream! If I was going to get one of these, I'd totally be torn between #7 (scarf) and #8 (rug). Can't.get.enough!

1. French Poem Dresser 2. Script Canvas 3. Verse Rug 4. Wall Stencil 5. Cursive Pillow 6. Chocolate Chocolate Chocolate... 7. Wordy Scarf (ties in perfectly with last week's Trendy Tuesday!) 8. Le Poeme Rug 9. Pottery Barn Scripted Shades

Happy Tuesday y'all!

Sep 19, 2011

My Christmas Palette

Well folks, it's happened. I'm PUMPED for Christmas. I mean's only 96 days away! So, to get ready, I've decided what colors I want to use for Christmas decorations. I found some stockings online and could NOT get over them for months so after much deliberation, I've decided to commit to these colors for the next few years, and to get stuff that matches for my Christmas decorations. And! By the way, I want and NEED these stockings.

So, without further ado, here is my official color palette. Yes, it's gorgeous. Yes, I'm excited. Yes, it's September. Womp womp.

Can't wait to find some great stuff and start collecting for the next few years! I know that Christmas stuff kind of builds up over the years. Last year John and I decorated with red and silver. Luckily, that means that this year we really just need aqua and green. And then we can expand next year since our budget won't go TOO far (although I have a hard time skimping on Christmas). Here are some ornaments I just bought on
125-Piece Club Pack of Shatterproof Light Aqua Blue Christmas Ornaments
I've already started pinning some great stuff I'm hoping to make/get for this year's celebration.

image found here
image found here
Christmas 2011 is ON. 

Get pumped.

Sep 16, 2011

Fix It Friday

I went ahead and participated in this week's Fix It Friday! Here's the original:
And my edits. Did them all in photoshop. In the color one, I started by adjusting my layers and curves to lighten the photo. From there, I used the BrightEyes action, followed by a boost of vibrance in her lips and then another one on the entire photo. I also sharped the picture, cropped it and adjusted the color balance to less yellow and more blue. Love it!

For the black and white version, I desaturated the photograph and went back into my layers to up the blacks. I went in again to curves and brightened her face a bit, and added a slight color tint in light orange so that it was a bit warmer. Done!

Hope y'all have a wonderful weekend! I'm going to try to get some good shots and good posts set up for next week so make sure to check back in :)

Sep 14, 2011

All It Takes

Today I wanted to talk about photo editing. Yes, I edit my photos -- usually just a little color boost but sometimes a drastic change of merging two photos together. I'm going to give you an example of this today. I took these photos at the Razorback football game that took place last weekend. I was getting some cute shots of Evan and his dad, PJ, when I realized that it'd be really great if Erin (Evan's mom) was in them too! Only problem was, Evan and PJ both looked away right as my shutter snapped. Womp, womp. Here's the picture I ended up with:

Apparently they were more interested in the band than me. Humph! Luckily, I had captured this pic moments earlier and thought it was cuter than a kitten hugging a bunny rabbit!

So my solution? Merge the two pictures. Since they were taken from relatively the same spot, I just copied the picture of Evan and PJ, and pasted it on top of the one of the whole family. With a little erasing here, cloning there, and some scaling, it was the perfect match! Now Erin has a great picture of her family! 

After making the changes I did one more thing to make the picture perfect. Cropped it! Ahhhhh, much better!

Have a good day!

Sep 13, 2011

Trendy Tuesday: Scarves

No, it's not winter yet. I'd struggle to say fall is officially here (although it's soooo close)! Luckily, it doesn't have to be cold outside for you to pull of one of my personal favorite trends: scarves! They are IN IN IN! I love it - what a great way to jazz up a normally boring outfit. My momma just bought me a new scarf from our vacation and I absolutely adore it. It's a great transition out of summer and into fall!

Alright, alright. Enough about me. Here's your weekly Trendy Tuesday board. Links below :)

1. How to Tie a Scarf 2. Scarf with a pin 3. Urban Scarf 4. Outdoor scarf 5. Fun Prints 6. Dreamy outfit with Red 7. Poppa Color

Happy Tuesday, y'all.

Sep 12, 2011

Woo Pig Sooie!

John and I both went to Fayetteville for  undergraduate. It's where we met, actually. I was 17 and a freshman, beginning a new chapter of my life. He was 19 -- a sophomore. It was my very first class on the first day of school. I walked into that english class, sat down next to him and the rest is history. (There's a lot more to the story, but that's for another day)

Today's story is about the Hogs. Our Alma Mater. The University of Arkansas. Neither John nor I are big sports people -- it's one of the many great things we have in common, along with loving salt & vinegar chips and puking at least once a month. We have sensitive stomachs. Oh...TMI? Sorry....

Back to the story. We're never the couple to spend any money on tickets to the games. In fact, we usually won't go to the game even when offered free tickets. Yes, we're those people. We're really just in it for the food. And the people too :) Hence our love for tailgating. This weekend the hogs came to Little Rock, so we put on our red, white and black and headed to the Mallory tailgate. I dragged my camera along for the day, hoping to capture some good shots. Get ready for a red overload!

One of my favorite things about every tailgate is Erin's cookies. How cute are they? And the best part about them is they taste just as good as they look. Check out her blog here.

I also love spending time with John's family. His cousin, Erin has the cutest little boy, Evan. And he loves me. Could he have a better smile? I don't think so...Here's a family shot of the three of them.

Gotta love some pictures of Evan with his sweet cousin Rosemary -- who. is. adorable.
Oh, and Evan again with his grandmother (John's aunt).

One of the best things about the Mallory's spot is that they are located right where the whole Razorback football team gets off the bus. Everyone lines up around the street, and the football team comes walking in, giving high fives and Razorback spirit! After that, we get up close and personal with the band. Always fun for the kiddos (and me!)

My apologies to the band peeps for catching them mid-blink. Keep your eyes open, folks!

My little sister (who is gorgeous!! Wouldn't you agree?) always comes by too to grab some grub. Love her! Needless to say, it was a pretty fantastic day. And the best part? The hogs won. Not that I really care or anything. 

Woo Pig!