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Friday, December 27

New Years in NYC

I'm in NYC to ring in the New Year! (I do have some pictures to share just keep scrolling). I wanted the last post of the year to be a Friday naturally, I'm posting it on NYE, not a Friday. :)

Still trying to figure out what I want to talk about in this post, maybe I'll just do a recap of the year.

Places I've visited:
  1. NY, NY
  2. Los Angeles, CA
  3. Washington, D.C.
  4. Palo Alto, CA
  5. Reston, VA
Exciting moments:
  • Ran a Half Marathon
  • Saw the droids at the Google headquarters
  • Went to the Charmed house AND went inside (someone actually lives in the house)
  • Ran a 100m dash in high heels
  • Went to a masquerade ball in a mansion in DC
  • Saw a Predator at the Smithsonian (the UAV not a person)
  • Went to a Halloween party at the Museum of Natural Science in the Paleontology wing (it was like a scene from A Night at the Museum)
  • I bought a new car!!!
  • New years in New York!!!
Well, I hope everyone has a happy and safe new years. Catch you on the flip side!


My trip so far!

Friday, December 13

My Experience in a Photography Class

I went to a photography class a few months ago and I thought I'd share my experience with you. I have to preface this with the fact that I did not enjoy this class but I did learn some helpful things from it. I don't think these tips are worth the 99$ (regular price) but I bought a Groupon so I'm not upset about it.

First, I want to point out that most of these classes are meant for people with a DSLR camera. What that really means is that they are taught by pretentious know-it-alls, who think owning 1000$ in camera equipment makes you an intermediate user. Yes, I do mean to sound that defensive. I'm not the only one who felt that way, I got a second to talk to another attendee and she was very upset that we were basically on location taking pictures, and that was it, we weren't really being taught anything. Btw, we were at Discovery Green in downtown Houston and the class was put on by the Digital Photo Academy.

The things I learned from this class:
  1. Try to offset the subject of your photos, the best locations are where the grid lines meet.
  2. Use the viewfinder to see what will be caught in your picture and adjust your angle and/or view accordingly. So, if you see a pole in your photo ask yourself "Is that adding anything to this photo?"
  3. Shoot in 'Program' mode because it will set your ISO and aperture automatically while adjusting for the most common settings, such as fluorescent lighting.
  4. Use a line occurring in nature to draw focus to your subject.
  5. Cylindrical symmetry is hard to find in nature.
Do you think those tips are worth 99$?

Here are some pictures I took during the course:
The first 3 are the same photo using the all available settings in 'Program' mode, see how the settings adjust for color distortion? Obviously, you can use these filters for a creative effect as well.

I used a Canon S100 camera for all these photos. (Link!)

All things considered, I'm glad I went because it proved that photography is just something you do. Its hard to find the balance between art & technology that your audience is looking for. For example, I wanted a more technical course that would teach me to make the judgement calls on focal length, ISO, lenses, settings, etc. I would not be surprised to find that most people don't care and would rather talk about how to create an artsy blur.

I would definitely go to another photography class but not at the same place or with the same teacher. I'd like to take a Photoshop course.

Thursday, November 28

A woman on a mission- The Chipotle Chronicles

When I started working, almost 2 years ago, I was in a pretty drab place. I don't mean emotionally grey, I mean it literally. I was in Bartelsville, OK. So, I decided to start a challenge to eat at a Chipotle restaurant in as many cities as possible.

I can explain... Chipotle is my favorite place to eat. Yes, that's right. No, I'm not ashamed. ;)

I'm nowhere near the end of my mission but I've been to a few places and I'm about to hit the 2 year mark at my job. Without, further adieu here's the list:

  1. Houston, TX
  2. Seattle, WA
  3. Tulsa, OK
  4. Dallas, TX
  5. Austin, TX
  6. San Francisco, CA
  7. Chicago, IL
  8. Jacksonville, FL
  9. New York, New York
  10. Palo Alto, CA & Mountain View, CA & Cupertino, CA
  11. Los Angeles, CA
  12. San Antonio, TX
  13. Washington, D.C.
  14. St. Louis, MO

Saturday, November 2

I just ran a 1/2 Marathon...COME AT ME. BRO!

Hello everyone!
I've been away for awhile, no good reason really, I just wasn't motivated and was on the road until about a month ago. But I did an amazing thing this past Sunday and I’d really like to share it with you. What did I do, you ask? Ohh, you know, just RAN A HALF MARATHON!!!!

Well, I walked a half marathon. My official bib time was 3:35:24.2, which is about a 16 minute/ mile pace! I think that’s a pretty speedy walk. You? In any case, I wanted to wait until I had some pictures before I posted this and share my little story.
First off, its important to note that I’m 70 pounds overweight. Yes, you read that correctly, 70 pounds overweight. This is not something I’m proud of but its a fact and I think its relevant to my training and excitement about being able to overcome this great feat. Remember, this is the type of stuff people put on their bucket lists.
So to start, I trained for about a month, though the fact that I was going to be doing this race was in the back of my mind for about 2. I didn't actually train very hard and my first time hitting 13.1 miles was on race day! I was mostly concerned about pace and making sure I could get (and stay) where I needed to be to finish the race. I started out walking on a treadmill for about 30 minutes to 1 hour for a week, just to get an idea of the pace. Then I hit the road, for my first trial I walked 3 miles in 45 minutes! I knew that that was a great speed but I was still scared about the endurance component because I needed to last for 10 more miles. After that trial, I actually didn't walk again. I did cross training. Cross training is key! I did a month of Zumba classes, not daily, but near it. And I have to say that is what got me through it. Zumba is a very intense cardio workout and long distance running/walking is about maintaining your heart rate. On race day, I knew that was what saved me. I only felt my heart rate go up once and it was around mile 3 when I was trying to make up my speed. Being so overweight and not especially fit, I can attest to the absolute fact that mind overcomes matter. The thought of not finishing never entered my mind and I thought about alot of things during those 13 miles… pancakes, sloppy joes, massages, Lady Antebellum, being able to finish after being hit by a car. Yes, I thought about finishing even if I was hit by a car! That is the level of determination that something like this requires!
Even though I thought about what I would do, or like to do, after I finished the race, I couldn't imagine myself crossing the finish line. While, in my mind, I knew this was an inevitable step of finishing the race, I just couldn't picture it. That is why I cried when that moment actually came. I was so overwhelmed with accomplishment and a sense of pride in myself that I just started crying. Not wells of tears, you don’t have enough water in your system after that much physical exertion to cry those types of tears but a soulful cry. A my heart, my gut is trembling cry. I can honestly say that there are few times in my life where I've worn my tears proudly, maybe just this once, but I will always be proud of those tears.
I don’t mean this to be a self glorifying post, I hope its inspirational. I hope that someone out there in the ether reads this and thinks to themselves “If she can do can I!”

Keep calm and persevere my friends!



The emotional finish line moment ;)

Tuesday, September 10

MCSA 2012- Recommendations for Testing

Sorry, I've been away for so long, but I've been studying for my MCSA (Microsoft Certified Associate) certification. So I thought some of you might want to know about my experience and how to prepare. I will bold all my recommendations.

My first and most important recommendation is to take the exams in order. They build on each other in topics covered and difficulty of said topics.

Study Time
I passed the fist exam 70-410 Installing and Configuring Windows Server 2012 about 3 months before the I took the second one. I will say that was a mistake. I had to do alot of re-learning for the second exam. I recommend a week to 2 weeks of study time for each exam, and a week in between.

Study Methods
Speaking of studying, I would recommend taking practice exams to get a sense of what you need to review. I took MeasureUp exams but have heard others recommend Transcenders over them. Other than practice exams, it is crucial that you setup a test environment. I used virtual machines and created a network but that doesn't give you any real-life experience with Hyper-V. Its best to install Hyper-V on a physical machine and then create virtual machines on it.

Those are my major recommendation points, let me know what your experience is with the exams, Prometric and/or Microsoft.

Good luck with your studies!

Sunday, July 7

imPRESS Review

I'm back with another press on nail review. (Check out my last one here)

However, this time my 'findings' (sorry, I've been watching a lot of Bones) are positive. I've purchased and worn these nails, all four colors, over a period of about 6 months. I've featured some of these on my blog before. here
(Top-bottom, left-right: Dancing Queen, Tweetheart, Joyride [changed name, closest to Kiss 'n Tell], Joyride [this color is now under this name])
Some of my favorite features of these press on manicures:
  1. Stay put.
    • Once you apply the nails they stay on the nails. In the 6 months I worn the nails, on and off, I only had a few pop off.

  2. Professional appearance.
      • The tape on the backs of the nails makes application easy and lay flat. Its also a surprisingly strong adhesive. So the nails look near perfect in 1 simple application.

  3. Versatility
    • The nails come in a variety of lengths. Of the bottles I have, 2 are medium length and 1 is very short. 
All in all, I'm very imPRESSed by these nails. haha I would definitely recommend these nails for anyone wanting to try false nails or even just a quick pick me up.


Friday, May 31

Ringing in a new year!?

A few Saturdays ago was my birthday and I decided to celebrate with Calatey:

I bought a voucher on Groupon a few months ago but couldn't go until my birthday weekend because I was studying for my certification exam and then I started working in California. Well, I figured what better way to start off 24 than with a new experience. I've never ridden a horse before this was a 5 hour trail but I wasn't remarkably sore the day after. :) I can honestly say that anyone can ride a horse, at least on a slow trail. To ride a horse on a run you definitely need training and to know what you're doing... obviously, I was an expert, as I'd never even been close enough to touch a horse never mind sat on one.

Well, I had a fun birthday and I got some great footage with my new GoPro which I'll probably upload to YT pretty soon!

Have you ever ridden a horse? Gone on a trail?


Friday, May 10

Pro Con List: Wen by Chaz Dean

I did a Wen by Chaz Dean review on my YT channel: link!.

I decided to write out a post on the main Pros & Cons of the product. I hope you find this helpful  in deciding whether you want to try Wen. I will preface this by saying that I did not like this product, wouldn't recommend it and find the price absolutely criminal for what it is.

  1. The pump is effective and a user-friendly means of dispensing shampoo
  2. Herbal scent (Lavender & Chamomile)
  1. Leaves hair looking dull & flat
  2. Hair falls out in clumps (even with the correct product for hair type)
  3. Hair is dirty in 1/2 the time of other shampoos
  4. Use alot of product w/ each wash (5-10 pumps for long thin hair)

What are your thoughts? Have you tried Wen?


Monday, April 1

Friday Diary: Mini-cation in L.A.

Last weekend, I went to L.A. over the weekend since I'm working out in California now. Usually, I try to limit what I want to see or do as much as possible. I rarely do research on a city before I go there because I know if I do I will walk away with a 'to-do' list longer than my arm. However, in LA there were just some things I've been waiting a lifetime to see. Topping the list:

The Charmed House!!!!!

I can't even begin to describe how I felt when I saw this house! I know it seems silly to be so emotionally affected by a house but it was just surreal. I've watched, and dreamed, about this house for years (Charmed was an important part of my childhood) and can't believe I actually got to see it. It truly felt like a realized childhood dream.

Have you ever felt attached to a building? Are you a Charmed fan?

Friday, February 15

First impression: Surface Pro

If you've been following me on fb (link) you'll know that I've been fan-girling out for the Surface Pro since before the RT came out.

Now, its FINALLY here!!!

I wanted to do a 'first impressions' sort of review on the product, since I've been raving about it for so long!
  • The stylus is AH-MAZING!!!
    • Extremely accurate and work from about an inch from the screen...impressive
  • The small screen is manageable
    • I watched about 2 hours of TV on it and wasn't disappointed or felt like I wanted something bigger the whole time.
  • There is no lag or speed issues with everyday tasks- email, browsing, or even streaming
All in all, it really is a laptop replacement and I see it being very useful to me! Its worth the 1.2K I spent on it, which honestly what you would spend on any ultrabook right now.

Are you thinking of getting one? How does the price tag affect that?

Wednesday, January 23

Crafty McGee: Cherry Blossom

I marked this picture on Follow Me on Pinterest as something I'd like to make but I didn't have an occasion.
Well, I found an occasion (home decor gift for my sister...again)! Here's my attempt at a cherry blossom tree.

Step 1) Gather supplies, 1 of each unless otherwise noted

  1. Canvas of any size (I used 8X10)
  2. 2L Bottle (I used Diet Coke)
  3. Tray for paint
  4. Paint brush
  5. 2 Bottles of acrylic paint (as many as you desire)

Step 2) Paint the tree branch/base of the cherry blossom tree.

Step 3) Pour flower paint into tray
I used a rectangular tray but I recommend circular plates because they are deeper and allow you to create precise flowers.
Step 4) Dip the bottom of the bottle into the paint and dab onto the end of the branches.

Step 5) Take a wide paint brush and shape the flowers.

Step 6) Add some color and piz-zaz (yes, I just used that word)!

What do you think will you try this? Do you enjoy these craft project features? Let me know in the comments!

Sunday, January 13

Welcome 2013!

Being the slacker that I am, I'm posting a New Year themed post 13 days after the fact. However, as 2013 rolled in I started reflecting on the previous year, for me that means travel. As I've mentioned before, I travel regularly (2X a week, every week) for work. So I thought it would be fun to show you some of the places I've been in 2012. This is by no means an exhaustive list but its a pretty fun one.

2012 Travels:
  • 'Welcome to the Ville' Woolrac- Bartelsville, OK
  • Golden Gate Bridge- San Francisco, CA
  • Skyline- Miami, FL

Hope the New Year is treating you well!