Thursday, March 31, 2011

Mr. Sun... Sun... Mr. Golden Sun....

.... Please shine down on me!

Another day of no sun, but things are looking up for Friday and Saturday Kansas City!
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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Lucky Us!

Lucky for Megan and I we have access to our friend Drew at work who is awesome with cameras and can talk photography ALL DAY.

We set up a quick little "teach us everything you know in 30 minutes" session with Drew today to figure out some things we've been dying to learn in our class but haven't quite mastered it.

Photo blurring.  Basically we wanted to know how to blur the background of pictures and getting the person in the front (full body) perfectly clear.  We mastered how to do this with objects up close, but couldn't figure it out how to do it for our desired full body pictures.  Turns out... our lens' are not up to par and time to invest in a fixed focal lens like this one!!! Ugh... more $$$. But at least this is a reasonable price.  The other fixed focal lens (50mm 1.4 was upwards of $275+).  All and all he said it wasn't necessary to get that type of lens yet. This is an expensive hobby!

If YOU want to know how to do the simple blur background with an image close up here's a quick how to:
  1. Put your camera in aperture priority mode
  2. Get your camera set on the lowest F Stop. This varies camera to camera.  My lowest is 5.6.
  3. Get close to your subject or object whichever you are shooting and get the little box or dot in your viewfinder to focus on an object and when you see what you want to be in focus and the background blur... CLICK!
  4. Takes some practice but love these pictures if you can't tell.  They are my favorites especially when there is a lot going on around your subject/object.
  5. Another option could be to to use Photoshop if you have it.  I used to do that and still do for some photos until I get my new lens.  Here are the best instructions I have found

Good news is though Drew dumbed it down for us and we finally are figuring out how to perfect our up close blurred photos! So a big thanks to Drew for teaching us goobers how to do something we should have figured out long ago!

My attempt at the blurred photo

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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

I See, You See.

Time to get back on track.  Last week our friend Megan from ChasingDavies took a vacation so she wasn't able to get to the sunset picture. Also, we weren't given an assignment last class so we decided to make our own "I See, You See" assignment for the week.

Assignment: Picture of each other

Think it doesn't sound challenging?  Try taking photos after a long day of work in gloomy weather.  We both laughed when our teacher said today was a horrible day to be taking pictures outside, and we both looked at each other and were like... Ooops!

I saw:

She saw:

You love her outfit and want to know where she got it?  Check out her blog! Like my outfit? Ha... ya right :)

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Monday, March 28, 2011

March Sadness

Yes KU lost, that was sad.  But even more sad is when I woke up this morning, at the end of March, and saw snow stuck on the blooming trees outside my house!

Yes, SNOW. Why does it continue to keep snowing in Kansas City.  I remember being so excited to have the first snow fall of the year, but now I'm over it.  Time for the sunshine and the warmth.

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Sunday, March 27, 2011

Safe Haven

When you're having a bad day like I'm having (KU lost today...) then you either A) Want to go shopping B) Want to cry C) Drink.

I opted for option C. Lisa, Linds, and I decided we'd drink our sorrows away. Well, not in the...inappropriate...what happened to those girls today... way. But in the, "let's make the best of it," way.

Although this day was less than thrilling because KU lost, it turned out not so bad being with some good friends on a snowy (yes, snowy) Sunday.

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Saturday, March 26, 2011

Winner, Winner Chicken Dinner

I'm so excited to announce the winner of my very first giveaway.

The Prize: $25 towards PaisleyPeepers Etsy shop with the chance to customize coloring for the item you pick which has a value of ($40).

And now for the winner who was chosen via

Which is....Lindsay!

Congrats Lindsay! I will email you with information on how to collect your prize.

Again, thanks to PaisleyPeepers who was so nice to participate in this giveaway. Even if you didn't win this time, stick around and check out PaisleyPeepers Etsy shop!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Last Chance!!!

To enter my very first giveaway!!!

It's for $25 towards your choice of something on PaisleyPeepers Etsy shop.  She is willing to customize something for you which is usually $35-$40 so why not enter and see how your luck is doing lately?

What's Behind Door #1?

So I'm being lazy this week and utilizing a lot of my pictures I took while I was at Liberty Memorial on Tuesday for my photography class.

There was a door there that looked pretty cool in the daylight, but when it got dark outside and the lights hit it just right it looked even better! Had to get a picture, right?

I wish I could open the door and walk right onto the beach in Cabo this week.

Rough Week = Need of a Vacay.

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Thursday, March 24, 2011

Guess What?

Thoughts on what you think this picture is?

Would you believe it was a really ugly light on the ground and with a little touching up I got it to look like this?

Thank God for photo editing.  I can't get enough of it!

Per a request, I wanted to show you where I started from with this picture.

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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Bird's Eye View

Yesterday was one of my FAVORITE classes so far in my 8-week course.  We went over to Liberty Memorial and took pictures for two hours! Yes is was a little long for me as I was exhausted from work and think my weekend finally caught up with me, but all and all it was a blast.

I got over 100 pictures if you can believe it.  We worked on getting our panoramic pictures that we will get printed at the end of the course and HDR shots which I'm really excited to try in Photoshop this week.

One of my favorites (pre-photoshop) was this one:

I think I'm getting the hang of things... well sorta.  I about threw my camera over the ledge at one point. The wind was blowing SO hard last night which made it really difficult to get a clear picture when I so badly wanted one.

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Tuesday, March 22, 2011

I See. You See- Week 4

This week it's I SEE.  Megan is on vacay with her family right now (SO JEALOUS) so wasn't able to make it to class, but once she gets back I'll show you her sunset picture too!

Assignment: Take two pictures inside using the AWB (Auto White Balance) and tungsten settings & take two pictures outside at sunset using the same settings.

I was not pleased AT ALL with my inside pictures.  I took pictures of my running shoes and it turned out blah so I'll save your eyes and keep that one to myself.

I did however love my sunset picture.  Of course I waited until last night, night before our assignment was due, to go take the picture.  Walt walked to the park down the street with me and gave me some photos ideas too which was fun!

Here is what I came out with:

Tungsten Photo

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Monday, March 21, 2011

Lent is Getting to Me

Here is a little peek into my religious views.

I am Catholic.  I was confirmed when I was in high school because that is what I was told I was supposed to do.  It made for a fun social hour with my friends, therefore, I learned a lot less than I really should have.

Nonetheless, I continue one of the MANY Catholic traditions that are out there by giving up something for Lent every year. No, that doesn't make me the world's best Catholic, however, I feel like it somewhat ties my to my beliefs and my past so I continue to do it.

This year I gave up desserts.  I initially started by saying sweets.  I tell you what, when someone told me that donuts were a "sweet" I was quick to turn sweets into just desserts (i.e. candy, cake, cupcakes, etc).  NOT donuts :) I don't eat them frequently, but man, when they are sitting right in front of me I can't resist taking one (well... two... maybe three by the end of the day).

So I figured I'd give up desserts since we have so much candy and desserts where I work it could make Heidi Klum a blimp.

Now that I have given up something that I thought I didn't eat all that frequently, it is EVERYWHERE I look.

Walking down to the plaza with Walt tonight we passed by my FAVORITE cupcake shop, cupcake A La Mode in all of Kansas City and all of the world.  I am a cupcake snob and have never tasted such amazing cupcakes so this was juts torture and a reminder that I have over a month left of no desserts.

All and all, if you haven't tried them, TRY THEM! They are AMAZING! Feel free to brag to my which ones you try and how much you love them!

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Sunday, March 20, 2011

If Only...

She were an outdoor cat.  Mia got to experience the great outdoors today.  I bought a leash a while back for Mia since she ALWAYS tries to run out the door when we are leaving.  Today I decided to let her try it out. She pretty much walked outside and plopped down.  No walking. No sprinting away.  She just wanted to lay there....

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Friday, March 18, 2011

Rock Chalk!

Here we go KU fans! It's that time of the year to support our beloved Jayhawks as they start their first round of the March Madness games!

While I love my Jayhawks, I REALLY love buying cute new t-shirts to support them in!!!  Recently my friend KJ got this shirt for her b-day gift (from Victoria Secret).  I love it and it looks so cute and artsy.

What do you think?

   make avatar

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Thursday, March 17, 2011

Green Beer... Why Not?

While I am not out at Power and Light fist pumping to Pauly D from the Jersey Shore tonight, I did have a GREAT night with my girlfriends.  We enjoyed three hours of conversation over some green beers at a local mexican restaurant! I had no idea that Dos Equis Lager with green dye tasted just the same... I also had no idea that I could combine Cinco de Mayo and St. Patty's Day into one event.

Completely satisfied with my choice to hang low tonight.. I'm now onto attempting my taxes.  Fun, right?  Wishing I had more green beer right about now...

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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Choo! Choo!

I drive past these trains EVERY day to work.  They move slower than I can run basically, so you will most likely never see any speeding train pictures of these trains.  But with the beautiful blue sky and graffiti train cars I just had to get a picture to show you!

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Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Giveaway: $25 Gift Card to PaisleyPeepers Etsy Shop

I'm excited to tell you all that I am having my very first giveaway!

When looking for a camera strap for my G11 and newly aquired SLR (from my PaPa) I came across PaisleyPeepers on Etsy.  I immediately fell in love with this strap and thought I'd share the great find through a giveaway.

Paisley Peepers is offering a $25 gift card to her Etsy shop to the lucky winner. She creates tons of great items for you to choose from... camera straps... aprons... toddler harnesses...placemats...and more! She is also giving you the option to customize one of the items in her shop with different colors as well (this is usually $35-$40) so an added bonus!

I want to thank those people who already follow me and welcome any new followers to participate.

Here's the low down....

Mandatory for 1 Entry:
1 . You must be a public follower of my blog A Candid Life. If you are, you're in luck and it won't take too much extra work to enter, if you aren't look to the right hand side of my blog page and click on the "Follow" button that is located under the "About Me" section. 

2.  Make sure to leave a comment letting me know that you are a follower and what your favorite item is from PaisleyPeepers.  Please include your email address if it isn't connected to your profile so that I can contact you if you win.
Additional Entries (Please provide a separate comment for each entry):
1 . Follow me on Twitter and tweet about this giveaway.  Come back and leave a comment letting me know with a link to your tweet. Example Tweet: @lmajor9 is having a #giveaway, enter for a chance to win a $25 gift card from PaisleyPeepers: 
 2.  Share a link to this post on Facebook, come back leaving a comment letting me know you did so

3.  "Heart" PaisleyPeepers on Etsy who is so generously providing the $25 gift card to her Etsy shop. To do so, you must either be a member on Etsyor register (takes 2 seconds), go to her page,  look on the lower left hand under ACTIONS, and click "Add to Favorites"

4. "Like" PaisleyPeepers on Facebook, leaving a comment on her page letting people know I am having this giveaway (must include link to

Disclaimer: Any comments that are incomplete and do not meet all the requirements will not be eligbile for this giveaway. This is for US Residents only. 

You will have now through Friday, 3/25 5:00pm CST to enter this giveaway. I will announce the winner on Saturday, 3/26 here and email the lucky winner.  Good luck everyone!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Oldie but a Goodie

So recently Megan pointed out that we have an awesome old Ford truck in our parking lot at work.  I don't know how I have gone so long without noticing it... It's a pretty cool looking truck if I do say so myself!

Megan actually posed in front of it last week for her blog post featuring her rustic KU look, and at the same time I figured taking a picture of an old rustic truck and putting it in black and white would be a pretty good mix for a blog post!

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Sunday, March 13, 2011

Smart Phones for Smart Girls

Where would we be without our smart phones?

It is beyond me how I ever thought the little Nokia with the snake game on it was the coolest thing I could have ever been given for my 16th birthday.

This weekend a group of friends/co-workers went to have some pre-drinks before the Big 12 games this Friday and I looked around on the table and EVERYONE had their smart phones out. I couldn't resist getting a picture....

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Saturday, March 12, 2011

Practice Makes Perfect

Working on my "blurred" photography from Tuesday's class I went back to the park and got a picture of Lisa on the swing set.  Mind you, it was pretty cold outside and she was doing me a favor and was freezing her little fingers off!

I like how the foreground (Lisa) is blurred, while the background remains in focus.

What do you think?  Think I'm getting better?

Friday, March 11, 2011

Why Walk When You Can Cartwheel?

Yesterday I went outside with Megan to help her take a picture for HER blog when I an idea for my blog post today popped into my head.

I just learned how to take several pictures within seconds of each other to show movement with my cameras! Probably one of the coolest things I have learned in the class... lame I know, but I just love showing action photos especially funny ones like what you are about to see.

I LOVE cartwheels! I don't think it's possible to do a cartwheel without immediately having a smile on your face afterwards.  They are awkward to do, funny to see, and make you feel like a kid every time you do one.  It took Megan a couple of times to get warmed up and get her perfect landing, but all and all we got a fun series of pictures that I thought you all would enjoy!

                                    gif animators

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Thursday, March 10, 2011

Piano Man

I'd like to start off today to apologize for my lack of a post the time I got home and sat in front of the computer, Lisa and Walt emphasized the point that drunk posting was not going to do anyone any good :) Therefore I spared you!

It is not normal for me to say that about a Wednesday night...but after having some great wine and food at Cafe Trio with a few co-workers and a friend from Chicago the night got the best of me. But what I was able to take away from the night was a fun picture of the pianist playing great music! Took a few times to get the picture right since he was playing all over the place, but I finally got a good one!

He even gave me his card so I can send him the pictures! I warned him that I was just starting down my "photographer" path, and not to expect anything more than average.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

I See, You See - Week 3

Time to show off tonight's pictures from Megan over at ChasingDavies and myself.

Assignment: Take 3 blurry photos, and 3 stop action photos

We decided we should show you our best of each. Which, to say the least, we both feel like we did a horrible job this week. Nonetheless, we want to show you them anyway....


Blurry (Lisa)

Stop Action (Kristin)
Blurry (Katie)
Stop Action (KU Cheerleaders)

P.S. Don't forget to enter in ChasingDavies  giveaway! Tonight is the last night to enter for a chance to win an Apothica gift card for $25!!! 

Monday, March 7, 2011

Farewell... For Now.

Well... tonight was the last time we'll see Little Lisa on The Bachelor, but who knows what's in-store for her next!

Didn't you just love her outfit tonight? ChasingDavies can get your all caught up on Lisa's style and more!

Fun fact... those were my earrings and bracelet she was wearing ;)

To to wrap things up for Lisa on The Bachelor this season I wanted to show you the roses she did come away with on the show! Who needs real ones when you can get them right there on your feet?

Don't forget to follow Lisa on Twitter! She gets to start tweeting after next week's show and she's all yours! I'm on there too if you want to give me a follow as well!

So back to the real question... who do you think will win?  Chantel or Emily?  I'm DYING for Emily to win!!!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

My Daily Battle.

I thought I'd let you know a little more about me through this blog post. I wanted to let you know about my daily battle with something that is imaginably one the the crazier things you might ever see.

My hair.

Since I was a kid I have battled with it.  Every. Single. Day. I wash it just like any normal person does.  I brush it in the shower hoping to get rid of some of the knots, and then put it up in a towel while I get ready.    Then the inevitable comes, time to do the hair. I pull the towel off my head and BAM. This is what I get...

WHY?  Why does this happen?  I have tried everything to avoid my 10 minute battle of just getting my hair to brush out.  All and all it will go perfectly smooth after some TLC of brushing, blow drying, and straightening/curling it. But man... nothing makes me hate showering more than having to deal with this battle every time!

Wine Tasting Gone Weird...

Yesterday was a pretty busy day.  KU was busy beating Mizzou, we celebrated all afternoon, and then proceeded to go to a wine tasting my girlfriends we signed up for a while back.

This is where it gets weird.  Our friend Kelly found this wine tasting class through the community college.  The description went a little like this:

"Anyone can spend $20 and get a decent bottle of wine. The trick lies in spending $5 or less for a decent bottle of wine. Join artist Linister in his studio where he will share some of his favorite in-expensive wines. Fruit, cheese, and bread complete the evening."

Seems intriguing, right?

We pulled up to this place was a loft looking thing and were already a bit concerned when we noticed the neighborhood looked a little less than safe (that is an understatement). We then proceeded to walk into the "classroom" which so happened to be in this shady living room.  There were painting of naked people, crap literally EVERYWHERE, a skeleton bride, thousands of corks in boxes, random kids toys displayed on this dining room table where nine of my girlfriends and I sat with three other random people.

Simply looking around made us all laugh.  Was this really happening???? Where were we??? I even turned to my friend Kelly who set it up and asked if this was her way of letting us know she hated us :)

While the wine was pretty good and the greatest thing we learned was where to go to find cheap wine nearby, the experience alone was worth the $24.

So thank you Kelly and friends for a great night out.  Something that otherwise would have been one of the creepier things I've ever done turned into a hilarious memory!

Please excuse the pictures, some are mine and some are my friend LV's and it was hard to catch the room in it's best light.


Friday, March 4, 2011


Today we gave Kristin a surprise shower at work!

We really thought we had her fooled until she came over to my desk at 3:15 (party was at 4) asking "What's going on?"  I immediately tried to change the subject to work.  Attempt one was a semi-success, although I felt like she could read it on my face that something was up.

Around 3:45 she comes back saying something is going on... I was said, "what do you mean something is going on?"  She says, "I dunno I just feel like something is going on..." At this point, my heart was RACING trying to think of things to say to derail her again, and went on to say I don't know what you're talking about I'm gonna go work out you can find me in there if you need me... hoping that she believed me... but knew my face said it all.

I took all my stuff and run downstairs to our decorated conference room with my two cameras and hid behind two chairs awaiting her surprise.

She was "surprised" from what it looked like, but then openly admitted she caught on around 3 today due to little clues here and there.

Oh well... she still loved every minute of it and was grateful for her surprise which was all that mattered!

Kristin after her surprise! 
Cupcake A La Mode Cupcakes
White Wine Sangria - Made by Angela Hunter
Opening her fire pit from our department
I'm so excited for her wedding I can hardly wait.  Get here already April 9th!!!

Deal of the Day - Canvas OnDemand

Hi Everyone!

While it won't be until tonight that I get to today's post, I wanted to fill you in on the deal of the day for Canvas OnDemand:

Happy Friday!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

This is What You Get!

Lisa: How about you just do a one liner...?
Laura: I'm not so good with one liners - I'm more of a paragraph person
Situation: Lisa trying to get me to hurry up so we could go to happy hour!  

So this is what you get - trying Lisa's method out. 

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

This is Definitely Refrigerator Material

Remember when you were little and you couldn't wait to get home to show your parents what you learned in school that day?

That's what I felt like when I got out of class last night.  I couldn't wait to call up my mom and tell her to read my post for today. I really did learn a lot in class last night! We went across the street to the Nelson-Atkins Museum and took pictures as the sun was setting so we got some beautiful lighting reflecting off the water. This is just one of my 150 pictures I took. I'll save the others for later ;)

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

I See, You See - Week 2

This week's assignment....something BLUE.

As I mentioned in yesterday's post, I was finding it difficult to find things that were blue.  It's one of those things when you are looking for something you can never find it.  I run into this problem all the time when looking for my keys, my phone, ipod you name it.  

Remember how I went to the park because I was convinced the swings were blue and weren't.  I did find out that there was a blue slide, kids with blue gloves on.... but felt a little too much like a creeper taking pictures of other people's kids. 

I was bummed when walking home and then right there in front of my face.... a bright BLUE sign for my neighborhood! 

This was my picture for the day. I was all bunched up on the ground to get the blue sign against the blue sky.  You like?

On to Megan's (ChasingDavies) picture of the day... She had the privilege of visiting her friend in Washington D.C. this past weekend and got some beautiful shots!

One of my favorites of hers tonight.... is this cute blue house in D.C.