Friday Faves Edition 32

Friday Faves – Edition 32

It’s Friday!

Time for a weekly round-up of some of my faves from the week.

In last Friday’s post, I mentioned finding the scene settings on my Sony Alpha 7 II.

Miss Sunshine had a game the next day, so I was able to put it to use.

 

I do love being able to freeze action shots. When I scroll through a series, it’s like looking at a flip book. Each picture a slight movement forward, capturing the essence of the play. There was a series that I loved of Miss Sunshine where she’s chasing down a ball. She starts the series of shots well behind the other player chasing down the ball. Over the course of 6 or 8 photos, you can see her catch-up and pass the defender, steadily putting space between them. Unfortunately, the goalie gets to ball, but I love being able to watch her turn on her speed.

I chose this shot to share because I like how Miss Sunshine (in the white) and the other player are frozen in this fight for possession of the ball.

Also, look at the background! Sometimes when I’m pining for my hometown Floridian roots, I forget that Virginia is a gorgeous place.

Of course nature does whatever she wants, but today is the first day of autumn. Some of the higher elevations are beginning to see color changes. As we progress into the season, that mountain will begin to be filled with yellow and reds, a spectacle of color.

Miss Sunshine has to be early to the fields for warm-ups. This leaves me time to wander around with my camera before games. I haven’t been on many outings recently and my nearby views had left me uninspired. I was beginning to wonder where my photographic passion had hidden itself. Wondering if my eye for the beauty in the simplicity had went on hiatus.

But I found it again that day. I have some photos that I’m still processing, but wanted to share this series where I was working with aperture (how much I wanted in focus).

The series was taken with my Sony Alpha 7 II with the Sony FE 3.8-5.6/28-70mm lens. This is the only lens I have at this time. I’m hoping to add a 50 mm/1.8 and a longer zoom, but am still working through which brand I want. The Sony lenses are pricier than other options and there are adaptors that make using other brands possible.

ISO 250 | 30 mm | f/14

ISO 250 | 30 mm | f/3.5

ISO 250 | 30 mm | f/22


Which do you prefer?

I took these shots handheld, so the differences between f/14 and f/22 may have been more pronounced had I used a tripod.  However, the water and the log are more in focus on the f/22.

On Sunday, we decided to have an outing down at the Greenway. Roanoke has a great Greenway, quite a bit of which runs along the Roanoke River. Miss Sunshine likes to take Maverick to play because she wants him to have a love for water.

Speaking of Maverick….

 

 

He finished Beginner dog training!

This is the first dog that we’ve ever taken for training. Our original goal was for the socialization. He was frightened by other dogs when we first brought him home. By the end of this 6 weeks, he was wanting to be friends with them all. He was in love with a little maltese named April. Every week he was so excited to get to go visit her.

Oh… and he learned sit, leave it, loose leash walking, shake, come when called…amongst some other things.

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Most of my week was filled with what I do…. mom-ing.

Miss Sunshine has soccer practice twice a week, physical therapy twice a week, games… Big Mister had a consultation with the oral surgeon for wisdom teeth removal… I fed people…I washed their clothes…I signed my name on school papers…I handed out money from the bank of mom…

And somewhere in there, I found time to get to Pilates, to train myself to run, edit some photos, and write some words.

Some weeks I wonder where all the hours went. This was one of those weeks.

Is it just me, or do you ever have weeks like that?


 

I’ve been enjoying the recommendations in music from YouTube. I’ve found bands or artists that I might not otherwise have discovered. That’s the case for my song choice this week. Tom Walker’s hometown is Manchester, U.K.  I did google him and discovered that he’s actually about to tour the United States.  He’s going to be on tour with The Script. He’ll be in Charlotte, NC, which would have been a doable journey…if I wasn’t still raising children. Unfortunately, it’s on a weeknight and late enough that it would require an overnight. Oh well, maybe hearing him live should be an excuse for a future trip back to the U.K.

Hmmm…

 

I hope that you all are enjoying this first day of Autumn and that your weekend is filled color.

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Let your light shine!

Amy

Friday Faves – Edition 31

Friday.

This week has been a blur. If you read my post on Monday then you know that my family in Naples was affected by Hurricane Irma, but that they are all safe.

I don’t spend much time on my personal Facebook page. When I do visit it, I usually catch up on people’s lives in a stalker-ish type of way.  I don’t always have anything to add, so my comments are infrequent and I rarely fill in the “what’s on your mind?” box to add to my page. That has been completely different this week. I have been the relayer of updates on my family to the rest of the extended family. I have shared information about local resources so that those who do have internet are able to know where to find them. I have checked updates of others to be sure they made it through the storm safely.

I have heard from friends who had to take turns holding the door so that the wind did not blow it in. I have cousins and friends who have waited 3-4 hours in line for gas. I have seen photos of the devastation. Photos from Naples…streets I have walked on. Photos from Immokalee … the town I graduated high school from. Photos of lives ripped apart.

Yet, I have also been privy to hear of the kindnesses and compassions that have taken place in the wake of devastation.


 

I mentioned that I did not attend Miss Sunshine’s game last Sunday. However, I did attend her game in Lynchburg that Saturday.

Normally, this is not a photo that I would share because the ball and hands aren’t in focus. I know that some people like that movement in their shots, but that would not have been my preference for this photo.  Even if I had frozen the shot in focus, I would have known that this is right at the throw by the fact that her foot is being dragged. [Handy hint if you don’t know soccer…futbol…both feet must stay on the ground during a thrown-in. This action gives you more oomph.]

I’m sharing the photo because I finally took the time to learn something new about my camera because I was frustrated by this shot. I am still working on learning how things work on manual and aperture priority modes, so when I can’t practice (such as for a game) I’ve been relying on Auto mode.

My Nikon had a handy-dandy action setting right on the top knob. On that setting, the shutter speed was always quick enough to freeze movement. On Auto mode, my Sony Alpha 7II, captured this photo at: ISO 100, f/11, 1/250… too slow of a shutter speed. I did know the Sony had a scene selection (the SCN setting on the top control knob), I just didn’t know how to change it.  Once on it, you press the menu button and under the camera tab you can find scene selection (mine was on page 7). Ta-da! Now I need some more action shots…good thing Miss Sunshine has a soccer game tomorrow.

 

I mentioned earlier in the week that I often pick up movies at the library. These were a couple that we recently watched.

Have you seen either of them? What did you think?

Wales is a place that my heart has always been drawn to and that I hope to get to visit, so I found the landscape scenes in King Arthur to be entrancing. As far as The Zookeeper’s Wife, I love movies based on true stories about people who did brave things.

Yay…me! In case you missed Tuesday’s postI turned the Big 4-0 on the 12th. We decided to have a family dinner at Outback and then came back home for cake.

I was sooooo stuffed, but it was all sooooo good.

My parents had already sent me presents in the mail which I saved to open on my actual birthday. I love this bracelet and they also sent a wine glass that says the same thing.

I like that…aged to perfection.

 

 

The last time I went home was Memorial Day. I flew in to meet my mom and aunt before we drove to Miami the next day to fly to Scotland. I spent most of my brief time in Naples visiting all my family, but I wanted to see the beach. All the beaches were packed, not a parking spot in sight, so my mom dropped me off at my favorite beach, Lowdermilk Park, and drove around while I breathed in the heavy scent of salt upon the air and snapped a couple of photos. Today, my hometown still weighs heavy on my heart. My parents are clearing debris and traveling into the city to assess damage to my Papa's home while he remains in a rehab facility…my brother will need to replace his roof…aunts and uncles have sustained some minor damage. But they are all safe and that is what matters. My heart goes out to those who no longer have a place to lay their head. I know the community is and will continue to come together…because that's what they do…that's who they are… #CollierStrong . . . .#visitflorida #roamtheplanet #roamflorida #pocket_beaches #ihavethisthingwithcolor #sheisnotlost #stayandwander #optoutside #theoutdoorfolk #theglobewanderer #fromwhereistand #wearetravelgirls #dametraveler #darlingescapes #passportready #letsgosomewhere #traveldiaries #travelstoke #liveauthentic #lifeofadventure #modernoutdoors #ladiesgoneglobal #natureaddict #naturehippys #visualsoflife #exploretocreate #sonyalpha #seekthesimplicity #floridastrong

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Stress has consumed much of my week. Sometimes I let it paralyze me, but I finally got back into the gym on Wednesday and once again started tackling my mile long to-do list.

I was in Florida for Hurricane Wilma. It feels strange to be away from my family as they move through this cleanup process after Hurricane Irma.

The song I chose this week is by the band Broods. They are out of New Zealand and I like their music. I chose this specific song because…my parents were the beginnings of the formation of this woman who is still discovering…still growing…still evolving.

I hope that you all have an amazing weekend.

Fall is on the march here in Southwest Virginia. Leaves are beginning to change. The sun’s not sure he wants to cooperate with cooler weather, but I still plan to get out and walk amongst the trees.

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Let your light shine!

Amy

 

Friday Faves Edition 30

Friday Faves – Edition 30

It’s Friday!

This is where I round up my faves for the week.

I’ve been having a hard time finding the upbeat self that I like to bring to Friday.

Because:

 

Not just today… but for days.

Quite a few of you know that I am from Naples, Florida.

A rare native. Born there. Lived there until I was 30.

Directly in the path of Hurricane Irma… Naples, Florida.

And while I left Naples in 2008 and Florida in 2013, my family remains. Immediate…extended. Friends. I have friends in Okeechobee. The city to the north of the Lake Okeechobee that they are rapidly lowering so that it doesn’t overflow. I have friends from our last home on the East Coast. The Jensen Beach/Stuart area. Friends that live on the barrier island. Friends that live in low lying areas. Numerous other family and friends spread throughout the state.

And I am worried. Physical manifestations on my face…worried. Nauseous…worried.

My immediate family is staying. They live inland, which is currently on target for impact. They are in wood frame homes.

I wish they’d have fled.

It’s easy to say shoulda, coulda, woulda… but the reality is that people are running out of gas on the highway and many gas stations have no gas. Gas stations that do have gas are lined 50-75+ cars deep. It is taking about 4-6 hours to drive 80 miles.

I am deeply concerned.

And yet, I still have soccer games to attend this weekend, deadlines on Senior things, people to feed and keep in clean clothes.

So for this moment…right now in this moment… I will focus on the things this week that I have been grateful for.

 

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This Girl.

Yesterday the girlie in white turned 40. If you’ve followed along for some time, then you will know that this is my dad’s half-sister. But in reality, she is almost more like my sister. Jami and I were born 5 days apart and when we were 12, they moved next door. I’ve shared some funny tales from our youth in this post and this post. At the age of 19, she was diagnosed with Lupus. There would be lots of health scares over the years, some nearly ending in death. A little over two years ago, I would dance with her at her wedding to “our” song. And now she has crossed that milestone that we thought was so ancient when we were young, cruising around in my red hot rod, waving at random people. Each year, I get to tease her for those 5 days that she is “so much older” than me.

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This Face.

As much as Maverick drives me crazy by eating every random sock he can find, he also makes me smile many times a day.

He has a random peculiarity that makes me laugh. He loves ice cubes! One fell onto the floor early into our ownership of him and he loved it. Each morning, when the ice maker starts to rumble to fill Miss Sunshine’s water bottle, he races to the fridge to await “his” ice cube.

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This Camera.

(and my other cameras). They help me notice the details in the world around me.

This week, a friend asked me take some photos of her staff. I was really stressed about it because I don’t usually take photos of people and I have perfectionist tendencies, which means that often I am not happy with my photography skills (an exception to both of those was this Wednesday’s post of Miss Sunshine waiting between games at her soccer tournament). My friend was happy with the photos and my moment of gratefulness comes from the fact that she believed in me even when I didn’t believe in myself. From that moment of pressing outside of my comfort zone, I have grown.

yoga mat

This mat.

Today I went to Pilates.

A text exchange with my mother right before I walked in the doors left me blinking back my tears. Tears of worry for my mother, my father, my brother, my sister-in-law, my two nephews.

And then I began to breathe.

Inhale.

Expand your ribs sideways.

Exhale.

Knit your ribs toward each  other like you are tightening a corset.

Maintain that connection.

And again.

And again.

Space for a sip of air into the expansion.

Exhaling even further into the space.

I listened to her voice focusing my mind into this present space…of breath…of alignment…of finding my core….figuratively and literally.

And in this moment…I am grateful that today all of those whom I love…are safe.

Mural on the University of Strathclyde Grahams Hill Building in Glasgow, Scotland

This song.

The song that I’ve chosen this week was an artist that I stumbled upon quite by accident. Those of you in the U.K. may be familiar with him. I’ve been paying attention to synchronicity. A book I was reading mentioned the name Paolo and I thought that was the same name of an essential oil I’d just read about the day before (it was actually Palo  – Palo Santo). So I googled the name and this artist came up…Paolo Nutini… AND… he was from Paisley, Scotland. And ya’ll know how much I loved Scotland. Plus, I’m pretty sure I have ancestral relatives from Paisley. I definitely have some from Renfrewshire, as recently as my 4th great-grandparents, Cecelia Findley and James Scott. So this artist it was…I hope you enjoy:

May you find moments to breathe…to focus….to be…

The Real Gift of Gratitude is that the more grateful you are, the more present you become. - Robert Holden

Let your light shine!

Amy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Friday Faves Edition 29

Friday Faves -Edition 29

Here we are at Friday!

Before I get into my faves this week, I just wanted to take a moment to let those who have been affected by Hurricane Harvey know that you are in my thoughts and prayers

Having spent the first 36 years of my life in Florida, I am well aware of the devastation that a hurricane can cause.

Hurricane Wilma 2005 in Naples, FloridaI grew up in rural Collier County and remember the trees swaying deeply as Hurricane Andrew came in and devastated Homestead. I remember watching the news for the track on Hurricane Charley in 2004 and the moment when Jim Reif announced the not yet predicted slight movement to the East that would bring Charley barreling toward Punta Gorda. I would visit Punta Gorda some later and the remnants of destruction would still be visible. In 2012, I would be living a few miles from the Atlantic Ocean, in Sewall’s Point, as Sandy made her way past us as a tropical storm. I would see the churning of an angry sea. I would watch as the river flowed beyond its bounds and up into our streets. I would nod my head in agreement that it was wise that school should be cancelled due to the danger of the school buses crossing the causeways in the high winds.

Damage from Hurricane Wilma in Naples, Florida

I would experience the slight effects of other storms, but I would live through Hurricane Wilma in 2005. In fact, it was just 11 months ago that I wrote this post about it, during which time I was concerned about my friends and family who were in the path of Hurricane Matthew.

But I have never experienced such personal devastation. And my heart aches for those that have. I shared in that prior post about this tree above and my opinion as to why it broke during the storm. If you look at the first photo, you will see that pine trees grow densely. They bend together in a storm. Their unity gives them strength. This pine tree stood alone. He took all of the brunt of the Hurricane force winds…alone. And he did not survive.

I hope that all of those affected by Hurricane Harvey continue to see growing bonds of unity.

Sorry, I have no good segway into my faves after that display of emotion…

So how about with some beer?

You all know from this post that I finished my 30 days of no alcohol. We decided to rent Guardians of the Galaxy 2 and I thought this would be a fun craft beer of choice to go along with the show. The movie was hilarious and the beer was tasty!

Another exciting part of my week was that the hubby finished painting my room! Yay! Peaceful serenity! My room color is the color of choice throughout my house…Sea Salt by Sherwin Williams. It’s a great neutral, but also makes me feel like I’m at a spa or by the ocean (which is where my heart resides). I’m so glad my friend introduced me to this color! Thanks friend!

Also, I finally found a duvet cover (yes, my bed could be made to look more like a magazine ad, but you know…real life and all). I’m not big on buying something just to take something that bit the dust’s place. My duvet cover finally had to meet its maker about 4-6 months ago. It’s taken me that long to find one that I like and that didn’t cost an exorbitant amount. This one is linen and I found it at Macy’s. It was either on clearance or a really big sale. Nevertheless, I’m super happy with it. As you can tell, I’m a fan of neutrals. We don’t do throw pillows because they just get “thrown” into the chair that’s in the corner on the right. Things hanging out in that chair (like some people’s clothes. ahem) is a massive pet peeve of mine.

I did see where there are some nice covers you can get for body pillows and that can be the decoration in the middle.

Have you seen this done? What do you think?

Soccer life has been crazy this week. Miss Sunshine needs some physical therapy for her knee so on the nights that she didn’t have practice, she had therapy. To keep myself occupied I played with Snapchat filters. I don’t actually snapchat, but I do love the filters. We head to Charlottesville tomorrow for a weekend in the rain at a tournament.

I know that I’m going to need to plan ahead to be mindful of my September Challenge.

If you follow my Instagram stories, then you know that one of my 2017 goals is to participate in a 5k. Originally, I didn’t care if I walked the entire thing, I just wanted to participate in one. Well I’ve decided that I might be a little more competitive than that.

I had some cash to spend at the sporting goods store from earlier backpack purchases.I went there looking for sports bras…but no luck. So far, I only like the Knockout Bra by Victoria’s Secret. In yoga and pilates, I spend time on my back for core work and there’s nothing I hate worse that hooks digging into my back. Plus, anything that says S, M, L… instead of a bra size, never actually works for me. Fun fact: I worked at Victoria’s Secret as a second job when I was 18, so I actually do know how things are supposed to fit.

I ended up finding this really cute Calia tank. Honestly, I’ll probably wear it all the time, not really for working out.

Yesterday, I went to see how long it would take for me to run/walk/power walk 3.2 miles. I’ve never been a runner because I get anxiety if I feel like I can’t get enough oxygen in my lungs. This is why I don’t particularly enjoy snorkeling and haven’t (and may never) been scuba diving.  I could tell the difference made by learning how to breathe in yoga and pilates. I finished it in 44.5 minutes. While I didn’t crush it, it was my first time, and I was pleased.

Since I want to make sure I don’t injure myself by trying too much too soon, I’ve downloaded a Couch to 5k app that I plan on implementing for training starting next week.

Are you a runner? Have you ever run a 5k? Or more? Let me know!

My song choice this week is because I find it uplifting and fun. I’m working really hard on me. On being me. On being happy with me. Feeling confident and strong. Making choices that move me in that direction.

Also, I had a recent conversation with Miss Sunshine about feminism. That I do consider myself a feminist because I think women should be paid the same for doing the same job. I don’t think they are lesser in any way. But I also don’t agree with the contingent (which is hopefully a small contingent) who believe that you must also bash men in the process. Those two concepts are not mutually exclusive. Because as with many divisive things… it moves us no closer to a solution.

I hope that your weekend is filled with more sunshine than mine appears to be.

Remember how far you've come, not just how you have to go. You are not where you want to be, but neither are you where you used to be. -Rick Warren

Let your light shine!

Amy

Friday Faves Edition 28

If you read Wednesday’s post, then you know that my teens went back to school this week.

They started Wednesday so it’s a short week for them.

So a whole lotta faves this week for this mama.

Over the weekend, Miss Sunshine had a soccer tournament. It was blazin’ hot! It was a home tournament, so no traveling… yet! They were playing up an age division and knew that it would be hard.  They didn’t win, but played with some good skill. He switched up the line-up some on the second day, so Miss Sunshine played an attacking mid in part of that game. She ended up with a couple of assists…and…a goal! Of course, I didn’t bring my camera, but I woohoo’d it from the sidelines.

As part of some of the changes I’m anticipating for this year, I decided that I was ready to change it up with my hair.

I wasn’t sure what I was going to do until I sat down in the chair at the salon. I had a very strong urge to do set of thick bangs since I have an ongoing internal “bangs or botox” debate. I opted not to do bangs because apparently I have a cowlick that might be a little too stubborn.

I spent a year being a brunette…which is my natural color, but I decided to go with some heavy highlights and add in some layers.

After a weekend of soccer, Miss Sunshine had Monday’s practice off.

Which was good, because…

She got braces!

The pain is finally subsiding, but I’ve been packing her soft food lunches this week.

Amongst the shipments for back to school stuff, I ordered something for myself.

A new tripod!

I couldn’t justify the expense for a carbon fiber tripod. Maybe if I ever get to the point of selling my photography, I’ll spring for the lighter weight. The reviews for this Vanguard Alta Pro were really good. I wanted the travel size with a ball head.

I haven’t had chance to try it out yet.

Maybe this weekend!

Of course, my faves for back to school week wouldn’t be complete without pics of my babies.

I made Miss Sunshine take some more photos for me when she got home from school.

Big Mr. and Mr. D were surprisingly cooperative with standing there while I snapped some first day pics.

I still can’t believe that the boys are Juniors and Seniors in high school.

I blinked my eyes and up and up they grew.

I also was able to make it Pilates and Yoga once they returned to school.

This morning I met a girlfriend for coffee at this great local coffee shop called Mill Mountain Coffee. The weather was cooler than it’s been and we were able to sit outside and catch up.

I left our coffee session, came home home and smudged my entire house.

I just feel like this is gonna be a good year.

So my song choice this week is twofold: One reason is because I know lots of people who will be watching Conor McGregor and Floyd Mayweather fight this weekend.

But the overriding reason for my song choice is that I hope that whatever path my children choose to take in this world, they give it their all and that they are passionate about the path that their feet walk upon.

I hope that you have a light -filled weekend!

Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards. -Soren Kierkegaard

Let your light shine!

Amy

Friday Faves Edition 27

Friday Faves – Edition 27

Happy Friday Everybody!

I hope that you’ve had an amazing week so far.

Mine has been pretty packed.  We are on the countdown until school begins. Next Wednesday is the day.

We did our big purge over the weekend. And while we definitely made massive headway (think… I can see the floor of the garage and the storage room), I’m still hoping to make another push.

On Monday, I decided to Google myself because every now and then I like to be sure that everything out there associated with my name is legitimate.

I discovered that one of my Instagram pics was on one of the University of Glasgow’s pages. It rotates through various Instagram pics so it took a bit for me to discover which one. It was definitely an uplifting moment as I’ve been feeling ambivalent about that social media platform. The algorithms are not in my favor and I have no interest in paying a company to get me noticed.

In fact, I’ve spent more time away from social media in the past few weeks because I was devoting a lot of time there and not seeing any growth. That is time away from focusing on my family…and if they are my main priority, then I am not honoring my priorities.

Everyone had their annual checkups this week.

The fun part for me is getting an official measure on my teens, not just my marks on the wall (I do use a level though!).

Big Mr. is 6’5 1/2″.

Mr. D is 6′.

Miss Sunshine is 5’4 1/2″.

They don’t see how tall I am, so I’m just gonna keeping on claiming my 5’8″ [I may have shrunk a little from giant babies compressing my spine, but I’m saying I’ve lengthened it back out with yoga and pilates ;)].

Maverick started puppy training classes this week. He’s a little afraid of other dogs, so I was prepared for it to be overwhelming. However, he just sprawled out and almost took a nap while the instructor talked.

The first class is pretty easy. We worked on sit. He already had this down so he happily received treats from Miss Sunshine for demonstrating what he knows!

He’s pretty well potty trained. Or he has us trained. We take him out often, but I don’t feel like he really lets us know when he wants out, which has led to some accidents. Numerous people have told me about getting potty bells, so this week I did that.

You hang them from the door and each time you take the dog out, you ring them. I put his paw on it to ring them. The idea is that he will learn that the door opens when he rings the bell. I have heard that some dogs will do this just to go outside, even if they don’t need to use the bathroom. We have a fenced yard, so as long as he gets the idea of ringing the bells, I don’t care if it’s just to go out and play.

Yesterday was Mr. D.’s birthday.

16!

We always let the birthday child pick dinner. I used to make their request. Now we go out. He decided on Kabuki. It’s a Japanese Steak House. The kind where they cook the food in front of you and toss shrimp in the air for you to catch in your mouth. They also make a volcano out of onions and light it on fire. I shared a little of our experience on my Instagram story.

It made for a very fun evening!

Stepping up my photo game has been on my to-do list for some time.

Honestly, I’ve been super frustrated because I could not figure out how in the world to change the aperture on my Sony Alpha 7II.

I got the camera so close to heading to Scotland that I knew I would shoot auto while there. I’m sure this caused limitations, but the quality was superior to my beginner Nikon, so I took the Sony.

I’ve watched some YouTube tutorials, but never found one that addressed changing the aperture. Depth of field is one of the things that I like to play with the most, so it was crucial for me to figure out. Otherwise, I just wasn’t going to enjoy the camera.

Since I didn’t make it a priority, it took some time to finally find a website that explained how you change the aperture on the Sony Alpha 7II. With the switch on AEL, you depress the AEL button and then rotate the knob above and to the right of the C3 button. There may be another way to change it, but I’m over the moon ecstatic about discovering how to change the aperture.

Speaking of the moon….

How many of you found glasses to watch the Solar Eclipse on Monday?

Unfortunately, not me.

I decided on a parody song this week. Somebody shared it on Facebook and I found it really funny. I figure after a week like this, we could all use a moment of lightheartedness.

Growth is a part of life.

I hope to never stop having an insatiable curiosity and desire to grow. And I hope you don’t either.

Have a peaceful and relaxing weekend!

Miss Sunshine has her opening soccer tournament this weekend, so I will be cheering her on from the sidelines!

Let your light shine!

Amy

Friday Faves Edition 26

Friday Faves – Edition 26

We're rolling into another weekend… the second one of August already!

But before we get there, I'm sharing some of my faves this week.

Miss Sunshine and I did some school shopping. Back to school shopping for a female going into 8th grade is not for the faint of heart! It's not that she isn't fun to shop with..she is! It's that the current fashion trends do not conform to school dress codes.

Ripped jeans… yes you can wear them, but the rips must start below the acceptable shorts line

 

All the jeans had a rip at the thigh. Scratch that. We found a possible pair online, but they haven't made it here yet.

The other popular trend. The cold shoulder. But is the part above the shoulder wider than three fingers? Whose fingers? Some chubby fingers? Some petite fingers? And what the heck is wrong with shoulders?

At least we found a backpack!

In the past, Miss Sunshine has picked out her backpack from a surf shop we frequent on our beach vacations. Last year, it was a little too small to carry what she needed, so this year she wanted a bigger one. And all black. Since I don't replace backpacks every year, we opted for this North Face one. I expect it to last a good while.  Can it make it 5 more years of public school? I'm not setting my hopes that high, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

Big Mr. had Senior photos this week. We won't receive them for 2-3 weeks and which point we will decide which to place in the yearbook. If you remember from this postthe Big Mr. had hair down to his shoulders. Curly and thick hair. He knew that he planned to cut his hair, but wanted his Senior photos with his long hair.  When I asked why, he told me so when he was 40 he could look back and see that time when he had long hair.

So after Senior photos, off he went and came home with so much gone.

Bold move!

I'm so happy that he loved the new cut because it took 1 1/2 years to get it to the point it had been at before.

This past year has been a year of growth for me. If you've read my blog or followed me on Instagram for a while then you know that in April I went overseas for the first time. It pushed me outside my comfort zones to travel to a new country, but I also had my husband (who had done some world traveling) as my security blanket. When my mom suggested taking her first overseas trip, to Scotland, at the end of May… I jumped at the chance. I wanted her to find a love for travel just as I had 6 weeks before. I handled transportation & city navigation (with the help of some map apps) as we moved throughout some areas of Scotland. I came back from that trip even stronger and more confident in myself. As I think about future travels and the fact that I'll be turning 40 in a little over a month…I see a year of pushing my comfort zones even farther. How have you pressed outside of your box this year? 💙🌎☀️ . . . . .#sheisnotlost #femmetravel #dametraveler #travelstoke #traveldiaries #travelblogger #lifeofadventure #ladiesgoneglobal #theoutdoorfolk #keepitwild #liveauthentic #livefolk #darlingescapes #fromwhereistand #thehappynow #thisisscotland #visitscotland #visualsoflife #stayandwander #wearetravelgirls #lifestyleblogger #passportready #momboss #bossbabe #passionpassport #natureaddict #naturehippys #thediscoverer #roamtheplanet #seekthesimplicity

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I found high amusement in the Big Mr.'s commentary about "when I'm 40" because I'm sure that to him it seems so far away. I know that when I was 17, I probably thought that seemed so old.

And yet, here I am, at around a month away from being 40.

And it was so far away.

I've lived  so much life thus far. Done so many things. Met so many people. Traveled to faraway places Grew life inside of me. Celebrated life's highs and mourned life's lows.

Still I feel as if I'm just on the edge of having experienced all that I want to in this wide world.

I feel as though I'm just beginning to embrace who I really am. Learning that the world doesn't get to dictate my choices.

I ask you the same question that I asked on Instagram…

How have you pressed outside of your box this year?

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I mentioned in last week's faves that I was making some dietary changes. I am on my third week of a four week no alcohol detox. I read somewhere about it being a good thing to try before heading into Virgo season. I don't know if there's anything to that, but I figured letting my liver not have to process out toxins for a bit was probably a win-win for it. I layered in no gluten the second week and this week no dairy.

Dairy has been much harder for me. I had no problem giving up my splash of heavy cream in my coffee. I just switched it to almond milk, something I use in my smoothies already. However, I do love cheese. No cheese has been hard. When I decided on "no dairy" along with "no gluten", my husband asked what I was going to eat. I admit that I wasn't on top of things with pre-planning so I wasn't always happy with my choices. Oh… that meatloaf recipe takes milk… here everybody…eat up…I'll just be over here with my salad. Maybe I can eat a baked potato… oh wait…no butter…no sour cream either. I'll just be over here eating the leftover taco meat…with no cheese.

I did make guacamole. That was a tasty point in the week. And I love my breakfast smoothies. It was the other two meals where I should have planned better.

The goal wasn't really an elimination diet. Although I wish I'd have done that.

The hubby and I went to dinner last night. My favorite Chinese restaurant. I ordered my regular choice. Hot and Sour Soup and Kung Pao Chicken. It was the first time I noticed the area on the menu that says these items can be made gluten free. For some reason, I just assumed they were already gluten free because of the stamp beside them. I'm not a stickler in restaurants for how things are cooked because I don't have Celiac Disease. I just have various digestive issues and have for years, but don't know my triggers.

The meal was awesome and tasty. The conversation with hubby full of laughter. I felt a little pain in my stomach as we went to leave, but really it wasn't a big deal. At home, about an hour later, the pain returned, but centered on the left scapula and toward the chest and I felt a headache type pressure in my head and down my sinus cavity.

Since I wasn't on an elimination diet, I still have no idea what the trigger was. It could have been the gluten in the soy sauce, but it could have easily have been the peppers or any other number of things that make up those two recipes.

I'm not sure if I'll move to an elimination diet. The alcohol detox has become more about finishing out the goal that I had set. I would have to go even longer in the entire process cut out other foods and I just keep seeing my birthday on the horizon with a slice of cheesecake and a cocktail calling my name. Would I have time to add things in and discover my triggers before that day? I don't know, so I'll have to ponder it.

 

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This week I took back up spending some time in my journal. The black journal started the year out as a place to write a little snippet of fiction. A page to a page and a half. 20 minutes. I really wanted to work on being more descriptive. To see if I could tell a fictional tale that would draw somebody in enough to want to know more.

And then I got sidetracked.

It was something I enjoyed, but I didn't make it a priority. My goal is to move it back to a priority.

I picked up the mint journal because I've wanted to start a gratitude journal. I've been working more on staying in the present moment and gratitude seems a great place to start. I just picked it up Wednesday…made a list of 5 things I was grateful for and promptly forgot to do it yesterday. I've obviously got a ways to go to make it a habit.

I think I'll set a reminder on my phone so that I stop and actually do it.

Do you have ways that help you focus on the present?

The song I chose this week came up on my recommended list. The band found the inspiration for the song when they moved to London and left their loved ones behind. If you're a Game of Thrones fan then you'll love that the video features Maisie William (aka Arya Stark).

I got the hubby to watch the documentary Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things with me, and while he's always been an advocate of us reducing our clutter, now he's finally ready to actually help me with the process. This weekend is supposed to be a huge purge weekend for us!

I hope that as you go into your weekend, you find yourself a little freer from the daily stressors of life.

Take a moment to look around a see what a magnificent world in which we live.

The sun rises and sets.

The flowers bloom.

The breeze blows.

Take it all in.

This gift that nature offers.

And all for free.

 

The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it. - Henry David Thoreau

 

Let your light shine!

Amy