Macro Monday – 5 Resources for Beginner’s

MacroMonday10-6-14

Macro photography is still one of my favorites.  I found some great links that can help anyone get started in Macro Photography.

5 Macro Photography Tutorials for Beginners

Theme of the Month: Reinvention

ReinventYourself

At the beginning of the year I picked a word for the year, Reinvention, with every intention to make some changes in my life to be the person I want to be. While I’ve had some set backs I’ve made some progress. But there is still a lot more I want to work on, which why I decided to make Reinvention the theme of this month’s posts. My goal is discuss reinventing your brand to reinventing wardrobe.

I am making strides in the right direction, but with only 3 months left I have to step it up a notch, well it’s more like several flights of stairs.

Here are some things I hope to wrap up by the end of the year:

  • Finish the reinvention of my photography site, bizziephotography.com
  • Find a new style and build my wardrobe and accessories accordingly
  • Spend more time working out so I can reinvent my shape
  • Finalize the rebrand of BizzieLiving.com
  • Present concepts for a mobile app to the creative directors at work

For the month of October I will be writing articles based on the overall theme of reinvention and hope to find some additional writers to submit their content.

Not sure how to get started with change. Try writing down 10 things you would do in your life if you had absolutely no fear. Then pick one of them and do it.

Dealing With The Loss Of A Pet

PetLoss

For most of us, our pets are members of the family. They’re there with us through good and bad. Yes, they chewed up our favorite pair of shoes, but they also were the ring bearer at our wedding. They may have chewed on the only stuffed animal that your kid will sleep with, but they’re also curled up with the rest of the crew for family movie night. Through the good times and the struggles, they’ve been there with us the whole time.

But unfortunately, our beloved pets won’t be there forever. Like it or not, our cats and dogs have a shorter life span and the time will come when we have to say goodbye. Sometimes, it’s an unexpected accident and other times it’s brought on by illness or, if we’re lucky, simply old age and natural causes.

The beauty of pets is that they care about us as much as we care about them. Some of us even have better relationships with our pets than we do some humans. It’s because of our strong bonds that we seek the best for our furry friends. We feed them nutritious food and play games with them. We stay on top of preventative care and regular checkups at the vet’s office.

Losing your pet is heart-wrenching. Studies have even supported that it be equal to or worse than losing a relative. It’s not difficult to see, either. We form a special bond with our pets that can be understood through simple gestures and are far less complicated than standard human interactions.

If your pet is sick or in old age, it’s best to make them as comfortable as possible. Bring food and water to your pet so it doesn’t go through discomfort while eating or drinking. Surround it with it’s favorite toys. When the time comes, you can even opt for at home pet euthanasia so that he or she will be surrounded by loved ones in a familiar environment.

Everyone copes differently so there is no easy step-by-step guide to grief and there is no expectation of when or how you will learn to overcome the overwhelming emotions that can accompany a loss. It is completely acceptable to grieve and you should allow yourself to react. Writing down your feelings in a journal entry, song, poem, or even an undelivered letter can help you express your emotions. Look to friends and family to talk about your loss and you can also seek the help of a pet-loss support group. If you are inclined, create a memorial for your pet, potentially planting a tree in their memory.

Children and the elderly can be particularly vulnerable to pet loss. Find activities for the elderly to participate in, since many can feel a loss of purpose after the loss of their pet. Be honest but gentle with children. Creating false stories can only provide false hope and create more problems down the road.

Other pets may also become distressed. They may be reacting on their own emotions or potentially to your emotions. Pets may refuse to eat or drink, act lethargic, or whimper to cope with their loss. Provide plenty of attention and keep an eye on the behavior. If it persists, you may want to seek a vet for assistance.

There’s no need to rush into replacing your pet until you and your family are ready. Take your time and adjust to the changes before bringing a new member into the family. This will be much healthier for you, your family, and your new pet.

Loss is difficult and it takes time to overcome. Share your love of your pet with others and their memory will live on. Just remember to take everything one day at a time.

Celebrating Special Events When Family is Far Away

ConnectingwithFamily

In today’s world, people don’t always stay in the towns and cities in which they grew up. People may move halfway across the country, or even around the world, to pursue jobs, education, or just the adventure of being in new surroundings. This often means that when birthdays, holidays, and other special occasions arise, that it can be difficult to make family memories because not everyone in the family can attend. However, thanks to modern technology, the days of missed events punctuated by static-filled long-distance calls, and the occasional money-filled card from grandma are a distant memory. Now, even if you can’t be there in body, you can still be there in spirit… or at least in the form of ones and zeros.

The Video Conference Party

Video conferencing was originally used by businesses as a means for people in different locations to meet in one location without having to spend thousands of dollars in travel and hotel expenses. It also allowed people who might otherwise never see each other to actually meet face-to-face. That came in really handy because now “Philippe in Brussels” actually had a face to go with his weekly TPO reports.

Early conferencing technology needed a lot of specialized equipment to pull it off, and it didn’t always work well. Or people weren’t aware how to use it and you ended up with something like this happening.

Today video conferencing is much easier and much more accessible. Skype is the most well-known video conferencing app, but it’s not the only one. There’s ooVoo which lets you link up to 12 of your Facebook contacts in one call, or Google Hangouts which lets you connect up to 10 people.

You could have each family host a gathering at their house, on the same night, and all connect via a conferencing app, and even project it on to your TV. It’s like everyone being there, but not as crowded and you won’t have to clean your whole house or find places for people to sleep.

The Family Video

Family videos are nothing new. Long before there were camera phones there were hand-held video cameras, and before that there were actual film cameras that people used to record special family events. In fact, TV Producer and director J.J. Abrams started his life in film by repairing Steven Spielberg’s personal Super 8 movies.

However, with today’s technology you can do so much more than show a video on your television. There are tons of computer and mobile applications that let you make birthday video slideshows, using still and moving images, and post them on social media sites. You can also make videos for other occasions, such as holidays or wedding anniversaries. For example, a newlywed couple could make a video with highlights from their first year of marriage, which they can then post on a social media site for distant family members. You could do that same thing for “Baby’s First Year,” “Max’s Last Year of High School,” or “The Johnson’s Holiday Greetings and Year in Review.”

Reloadable Debit Cards

This is not so much a way to get together, but an easier way to send birthday or holiday money. Rather than worry about a card getting lost or delayed in the mail, grandma can give out reloadable debit cards and add money to them at any time. Companies like Bluebird allow people to make a master account, and deposit money to that account. They can then create sub accounts, each with its own debit card, and transfer money into those sub accounts.

That great thing about these accounts is that the deposits are instantaneous. So if you want to give money as a gift, the recipient gets it the minute you initiate the transfer. You can also suspend the account if the card is lost or stolen, and put a cap on how much the recipient can spend in one day.

Reloadable debit cards aren’t just good as gifts, but also if you have a child living away from home, like at school, and you need a quick and reliable way to give them money, but also want to keep track of their spending.

 

Photo credit: @woodleywonderworks

Getting Over the Back-to-School Sickness and Other Mommy Woes

MommyWoes

The start of school can be a wondrous time for stay at home parents. Of course, mornings and post-school schedules can still be pretty hectic, but those precious midday hours when you’re by yourself (or, like many of us, your load is at least lightened) are relished. It’s the point of day when you can get a few things done without interruptions. Laundry actually makes it back in the drawers, fingerprints are scrubbed off of walls, and carpets are crumb-free. It’s pretty much a miracle. But it can all come crashing down in the worst possible way if someone gets sick.

When your baby gets sick, it can be rough. When all of your babies get sick, it can be a catastrophe. When the parents get sick, it’s pretty much Doomsday. But, with some simple steps, you can combat the common ailments that spread at school.

Influenza
Most school-aged children will miss at least one day of school for illness and most often it’s due to influenza, more commonly known as the flu. Once your kiddo has it, it’s a matter of cool compresses and warm soup. The flu has to run its course but that doesn’t mean it has to spread to the rest of the household.

Keep your sick little one quarantined as much as possible and encourage everyone to wash their hands regularly. Any coughing should be done into the crook of the elbow to keep kids from spreading the germs. Hand washing is the best way to prevent the flu. Make sure the little ones aren’t sharing spoons or lip balm either as this can spread the germs as well. Make sure you wash all bedding and toys at home, too.

Molluscum
This doozie of a skin condition is characterized by small painless bumps that can be pretty itchy. The problem is, when you scratch molluscum it spreads, so kids, toys, and adults can all catch it. I’m itchy just thinking about it. Should your child contract molluscum, essential oils have been shown to help. Just look for ones formulated for molluscum.

The best way to prevent catching molluscum is simple hand washing. Make sure your little ones are thoroughly washing for the proper length of time to wash away any germs. If it does make it’s way into your home, it can take six months to a year to fully go away so I can’t stress hand washing enough!

Lice
I don’t know about you, but lice give me the heebie jeebies. I’m not a fan of the harsh chemical treatments – especially since it really boils down to just smothering the little things. Grab a fine-toothed lice comb and some olive oil and start going through your child’s head. Make sure every bit is covered and feel free to leave it in for a bit, especially since it will condition their hair too. Then use their normal shampoo twice. Make sure you wash all towels, bedding, and toys to prevent any further spreading.

You can also look into overnight essential oil treatments (just make sure your child isn’t allergic first) and an oil and rubbing alcohol blend spray can help prevent more infestations. Preventing lice isn’t the easiest but you can discourage the kiddos from sharing hats.

The Other Woes
Those back-to-school sicknesses aren’t the only things that can keep mommas up at night. When our kids are stressed, we are stressed and that only amounts to a house of chaos. Skin conditions can be the most troubling – both for their natural effects and the mental havoc they can wreak. For many childhood ailments, there are simple ways to to handle them.

Acne and eczema can be particularly troubling for the teenager in your life. Pay special attention to their diet and stay away from overly processed foods. Have them drink plenty of water to keep their skin moisturized and flush out toxins. Coconut oil, which may seem counterintuitive for acne, has been found to benefit both blemish conditions effectively.

Specially blended essential oils can also treat the symptoms of common skin issues like eczema, acne, and moles. Moles are generally harmless, but can sometimes rub against skin and pop up in awkward locations. There is a blend of essential oils for mole removal from Amoils.

Sending the kids to school doesn’t have to be a frightening thought. Just make sure they’re well versed in proper hand washing techniques and brace yourself for the possibilities. We can’t keep our babies sheltered forever, but we can educate them to prevent sickness and common skin conditions as much as possible.

Combating Fears Through a Journal

One-Thing-That-Scares-You

Things have been beyond hectic the last couple of weeks. Work is beyond busy and home life is just as crazy if not more while we balance school and extracurricular activities as a family. I have skipped my daily runs almost daily. I am definitely in need of break. Luckily I have a stay-cation planned in just two days and I’m counting down the minutes. I’ve already started a list of things to do that my week “break” won’t really be a “break” but a chance to me to reset and focus on the things I love doing.

I stumbled on this book while in a paper store during my lunch break and I just had to buy it. I’ve always preached the motto, “life begins out of your comfort zone.” Preached but struggle, I mean really STRUGGLE with living by it.

Do One Thing Every Day That Scares You…

The journal contains a year’s worth of fear-facing prompts and mottoes of encouragement. It even provides space to jot down daily examples of your own courage — the small steps that culminate in on bold year.

Each day we have an opportunity to perform one small act of bravery. If you’ve seen the movie, We Bought a Zoo,  Matt Damon says it best, “Sometimes all you need is 20 seconds of courage…”

So here’s a very short list of things I’m scared of: Public speaking, public dancing, being wrong, trying a new activity and sucking at it (basically embarrassing myself), making a change that may shock others (they are used to the way I am now, making a change would make me stand out), and obviously standing out.

So i bought the journal as a reminder to keep trying to knock down the brick wall surrounding me in my comfort zone. It’s my mental sledge hammer.

You can order the book on Amazon.com, much cheaper than my indulgence at the specialty paper store.

Are you up for the challenge?

Reflections on the Red line

RelineRaant

Okay this post has nothing to do with the metro at all, it’s just there isn’t much to do when you are stuck on the train and you don’t want to drain the battery on your phone incase you need it for an emergency of some kind. Like a ride home because the train has been sitting at the station for the last 15 minutes.

We are going on year three in the DC metro area and I haven’t met with any of my blogging friends in the area. I’ve accidentally ran into Mrs. Fergie at a Dance Moms Meet & Greet no doubt. And I attended a back-to-school event at the park with Tech Mom when I first arrived. But that’s it. That’s a little pathetic. One of the reasons we choose DC was because I actually knew several people here. I think I saw them all more when I lived in California.

We are going on year three and we still have not gone to New York, Philly, Outer Banks or any of the other places you should visit while you live on the East Coast. If I’m missing any other “must see” places let me know.

We are going on year three and I’m still not used to the weather. We did have a mild summer this year so I can’t complain. But I am dreading the winter and possible polar vortex to come. I guess I need to invest in some winter clothing.

We are going on year three and I still scream when I find one of those GINORMOUS East Coast breading bugs in my house. I still can see the eyes of that Wolf Spider we saw perched on the walls of a stairwell last year.

We are going on year three and I’m more “allergic” to nature then I was in California. So much so that the kids have adopted my “I’m allergic to nature mantra.” Perhaps I’ll hire someone to take them camping one day to get the re-acclimated. Me on the other hand, I’ve accepted my allergy and will embrace it as much as you can embrace embellished allergy.

We are going on three years without superbly awesome Chinese food, Korean BBQ, Wood Ranch BBQ, Liquor availability wherever you shop on any day you decide to shop, In n Out (The Hubs missing more than I ever will), restaurant sushi (I’ve actually gotten pretty good at whipping up some Tempura Shrimp rolls), Denny’s, close proximity to Las Vegas and San Diego and of course year-around neutral weather.

Macro Monday and Focus Stacking

MacroMonday_FocusStacking

The one thing that frustrates me most about macro photography is ironically the bokeh. I mean I love bokeh in most instances but sometimes when I’m shooting macro I want a little more clarity on my subjects. Sometimes I want not only for main subject in focus but some of the nearby objects in focus as well. I can see this being useful when you are shooting several subjects close up. From a row of hot wheel cars to some blueberries tossed into a food display.

After finding an article on focus stacking on PetaPixel.com I think I found a solution – Focus Stacking. I’ve read about it before but never had the time to plan a shoot to give it some practice.

Focus stacking is a technique commonly used for macro photography. For a brief definitionfocus stacking is when a series of pictures captured at different focal distances are merged using a third party software, resulting in an image with enhanced depth of field.

Check out the article Tutorial: Easily Focus-Stack Using a Photoshop Feature You Probably Didn’t Know About on petapixel.com along with the youtube video and you’ll be focus stacking all day long.