6.28.2013

I'm Off to Cabo!!

It will be quiet around these parts next week because tomorrow morning Steven and I are headed off to  the resort pictured in Cabo for our one year anniversary! If you'd like to see some sneak-peeks into our adventures be sure to follow on Instragram, otherwise, I'll be seeing you on July 8th!

Adios, amigas!

6.27.2013

Create Beautiful Photos / Adobe Lightroom 5 Review

Photography isn't exactly my niche, never has been never will be. I prefer pen and paper to communicate. But soon after I fell in love with blogging, I realized that good quality images are vastly important to the success of a blog. They aid in telling your story --drawing your readers in and helping them feel a connection with you, the one behind the blog. 

But for someone like me, who still has yet to master the many functions of my DSLR, I can get frustrated by the poor quality of my photos. That's where editing takes place. I'm not going to get that perfect shot every time, but with the aid of a software program such as Adobe Lightroom 5, I can alter my photos, and take them to the next step, by giving them a more clear, polished, and professional look before hitting publish in Blogger.
Adobe Lightroom 5 has a variety of photo enhancing functions. Some of my favorite include skin softening, teeth whitening, and iris enhancement --all of which I used on the photo below of Steven. But sometimes, all a photo really needs is an adjustment in the clarity and exposure like the photo of the flowers above. 
Below is another photo that I edited pretty heavy handedly so you could easily see the difference. My pores were made smaller with the skin softener, my eyes brighter, and I obviously lightened the photo. I was even able to create more noise in the background so that the grass behind me takes on a blurry effect. (And yes, I am using Huckleberry as a headrest in case you were wondering. He makes a good pillow.)
At the end of the day, Lightroom 5 enables me to share better quality photos --captivating my readers and creating more beautiful memories for Steven and I to grasp on to. There is a bit of a learning curve, and I think at first Lightroom 5 can seem very intimidating for a new user, but there are plenty of helpful tutorials online. Or, you can be like me and find a friend who has the program and threaten her to teach you all her tricks! Okay, maybe leave the threats out.


Full Disclosure: Product was provided to me by Staples, but all views and opinions expressed are my own.

6.26.2013

The Good, the Bad, the Funny (pt.2)

The Good
-Finally learning how to shot my camera in manual! The above is one of my first shots in manual that I didn't completely overexpose. Go me!
- We leave in 3 days for Cabo!! I cannot wait! We haven't had a vacation since last July and to say I'm a bit burned out at work is an understatement!
- On Sunday, Steven and I stopped at a local used book store and grabbed some great finds! I love old books!
- Pampering. I've decided to pamper myself a little bit before we take off on Saturday (which I rarely, rarely do!). I'm getting my hair cut and getting a mani/pedi on Friday. Cute toes are kinda a must when you're headed to the beach...

The Bad
- Leaving Herschel alone at the house while on vacation. Huck will be spoiled to death at his good friend Mary Ellen's for the week (that's his daycare lady that watches him every Wednesday. It's a kennel free daycare where the dogs have free range of 6 acres! Huck always has a blast with Mary Ellen), but Herschel will be at our house alone and I feel guilty :(  Steven's mom will be popping in from time to time to make sure he has plenty of food and water, but I still can't help but feel a little sad about leaving him all alone.
- Steven's sick! He has a bit of a head cold and a sore throat. That means lots of fluids and vitamin C for the both of us because I refuse to get sick right before vacation!

The Funny
- We bought a new area rug for our living room last weekend --high pile and very fluffy! -- and Huck was going crazy on it! He rubbed his face and back all over the rug and his tail was wagging faster than the speed of light. He's pretty hilarious.
- I was feeling pretty exhausted Monday at work, but we were so extremely busy! I was trying to edit a proposal that was very technical and wordy and I felt my eyes getting heavy....a few minutes later I found myself jerking awake from one of those dreams where you are falling to your death! I had actually fallen asleep while reading the proposal right at my desk. *embarrassing*
- This escape preventing dog harness. Poor puppy!


So tell me, what's the good, the bad, and the funny in your life this week?! I'd love to hear it!
Last week some of you had mentioned you'd like to see this post as a linkup? If you'd participate in this weekly linkup let me know, and if I get enough interest I'll set one up after I get back from vacay!

6.25.2013

Summer is Here!

I know this because Huckleberry's snow nose has disappeared!
Look at that handsome boy's sharpie black nose!!

If you didn't know, Huck, and many other retrievers, suffers from a case of snow nose. Basically, his nose gets pink in the cold, winter months when there is less daylight, and then returns to black in the summer. I think he's a cutie either way, but I am definitely a fan of his coal black nose!

Just one of the many quirks that makes Huck so darn lovable.

Happy Tuesday, friends.


6.24.2013

Weekend Review / Busted Lips. Pretty Skies. Zombies.

The older I get the faster my weekends fly by. Has anyone else experienced that, too?

This past weekend started out very eventful. Steven (you know, my hunky husband who just got his braces off?), had a double header softball game Friday evening. First game went great. I was the dutiful wife sitting in the stands Instagramming his butt...and then the second game started and Steven decided to take a softball to the face, busting his lip and knocking three of his pearly whites loose! That boy...
He has bad luck when it comes to his mouth region. Luckily, his teeth stayed in. He just has one HUGE lip!

Saturday turned out to be a gorgeous day here in Washington! We ended up heading out to Ravensdale for a barbecue at a friend's where I got to hold two of the cutest babies in the world (who always give me intense baby fever) and get a behind the scenes peek of this little cutie's mini photo session against the most beautiful sky!
Soooo pretty! Oooooooooh. Ahhhhhhhhhh.
I'm so glad Saturday was such a pretty day, because Sunday it rained all. day. long. Steven and I decided to go see a movie because a) there is nothing better to do on a rainy day b) we both really wanted movie theatre popcorn, and c) he's obsessed with zombies. Obviously, we saw World War Z.

I'm not sure how I felt about the movie. I don't think I'd recommend it to someone but I'm not exactly sure why. Maybe it's because Brad Pitt is noticeable aging or maybe it's because the zombies were disgusting and sounded like pterodactyls. Either way, it's a movie that you could probably just wait till it's on Redbox to watch.

And apparently I now do movie reviews. You're welcome.

Sami's Shenanigans

6.21.2013

Let's Explore Diabetes With Owls & Do Yoga

Simultaneously.
jk.
Ladies and gents (do any gents read this blog?), this has been the longest week of my life. I feel as if the world's been spinning in slow motion since Monday. I can't concentrate at work, I feel clumsy and out of whack at yoga, and no matter how hard I try, I simply cannot seem to roll out of bed on time in the mornings. It's just been one of those weeks, you know?

The highlight of my week was last night when I got home and saw that the new David Sedaris book was on my doorstep. I love, LOVE him! He is so hilarious and makes the seemingly ordinary life events outrageously hysterical in his prose. I bought it so I could have some new reading material in Cabo, but I'm not sure I can wait till then! I might have to delve into it tonight...

And speaking of hot yoga, remember this post about yoga etiquette I wrote a few weeks ago? Well, number 3 (mind your personal hygiene) was broken by a fellow yogi the other day. It was the most disgusting thing I've ever experienced! I seriously thought I was going to pass out with every inhale. The smell coming from this man was outrageous!  I'm not trying to be mean about it, it was just very disgusting and distracting! So much so that my personal practice suffered because of it!! Not cool. 

So all you who do hot yoga...use deodorant, brush your teeth, don't eat Indian food, shower before class if you must! And please, please, steer clear of me if you suffer from excessive body odor issues because next time I'll punch you in the face.

Oh, and read this Craiglist ad.

Happy Friday, friends. :)

6.19.2013

The Good, The Bad, The Funny



The Good
- Homemade fish fry curtesy of my very own personal chef. That man can cook just about anything and it's guaranteed to be delicious! 
- Cabo in 10 days. The countdown has officially begun! 
- Remember Steven's corrective jaw surgery? Well, it's only been 5 months but he's healed so nicely that, as of yesterday, he is now braces free! 
- Having all my pants taken in 2 inches. Feels good to be a skinny gangsta.

The Bad
- Cabo in 10 days means I CANNOT CONCENTRATE AT WORK! I think I'm suffering from ADD.
- Almost dying in hot yoga last night. The temperature got up to 109 and the humidity was outrageous! In the 5 or so months I've been doing yoga, I have never experienced a class quite like last night's. It was unbearable.
- I can't remember the last time I swept the floors in our home. It's been that long.

The Funny
- Huckleberry deciding to bolt to our next door neighbors down the hill. When I went to go get him he was sitting on the old man's lap! Thankfully, our neighbors love Huck.
- This image I found on Pinterest. Every time I come across it I laugh till tears roll down my face! WHY?!? Can't. Stop. Laughing.

6.18.2013

Kohls.com Discount Code

Last week I showed you all that adorable bird dress Steven picked out for me at Kohl's, and I may have mentioned my obsession with Lauren Conrad's line that is available there. I've always loved Lauren's style and was thrilled when I could snag her cute and trendy clothes for an affordable price at Kohl's!

Below are just some of my favorites from LC's collection currently available!


Really, the prices simply cannot get any better at Kohl's...well, accept if you have access to a discount of some sort of course --and if you are reading this you do! 

Kohl's was kind enough to offer all you reader's 10% off any online purchase at Kohls.com today through July 11th! Simply enter the code BLOGGER10 at checkout. But that's not all, this discount code can be used to stack savings with one other department specific code found on their website. (Like the code LAUREN15 for an extra 15% off all dresses going on till this Thursday.) Stack those two savings and you get 25% off on a new summer dress!

I don't know about you, but I'm off to take advantage of this deal!

Which of the above items do you think I should pick??



**This is not a sponsored post. All views and opinions expressed are solely my own.

6.17.2013

Weekend Recap / Fur Babies, Farmers Markets & Lots of Laughs

First, if you haven't entered to win the $25 gift card to Petco (curtesy of Huck) over at Sarah's blog, make sure you do so today!

Second, good morning! We have bad and good news today. The bad news is it's Monday, and there is nothing I can do about it. The good news is I have a weekend review post full of photos of my pets that is guaranteed to put a smile on your face! You are so very welcome.

Friday night was a picture-less night because Steven and I decided to have a Law & Order: SVU marathon on Netflix. I know, our life is fabulous. Be jealous.

Saturday I woke up to a loud thumping of one's tail on every hard object he could find followed by the whooshing sound of little kitty paws flying in the air. Apparently, someone snuck into our home while we were asleep and fed our pets copious amounts of sugar. It was not cool.
Needless to say, we got an early start that morning. (Does anyone else have animals that wake up at the crack of dawn on the weekends?)

We decided to take Huck to the river and tire him out a bit while Steven fished. That dog loves the water! After that, we checked out the farmers market where we got tons of fresh veggies, homemade jam, and this beautiful bouquet! I couldn't resist it...they always have the prettiest flower arrangements there!
Later that night we met up with some friends to play Cards Against Humanity. Seriously, I can't remember the last time I laughed so hard. If you love card games (and have a crude sense of humor), I highly recommend getting this game! If games heavily laden with sexual, religious, and downright offensive overtones isn't your cup of tea, run. Run from this game if you ever encounter it.
The rest of our weekend was filled with coffee dates, yummy Sunday breakfast, a two mile jog, (in which Huckleberry almost dislocated my shoulder) and a Sunday evening fish fry!

Oh yeah, and a photo sesh with the evilest, most angry kitty in all the land.
Apparently, Old Man Herschel is pissed we got a pool for Huck and nothing for him. Sorry Herschbutt.

Sami's Shenanigans

6.14.2013

Huck: The Dog with a Blog // Guest Post & Giveaway

I recently found out that there really is a kids television show called The Dog With a Blog. I thought that was pretty hilarious. And I'm not sure which came first, that show or this blog, but I'm officially bestowing Huckleberry with the official most awesomest dog with a blog award!
Awesomest is a word if I want it to be.

There it's been done. No take backs.
But you know who else is a pretty awesome pup with an equally amazing fur mama? Floyd over at Total Basset Case. Floyd was kind enough to let Huck stop by his blog today and share some of his favorite things to do! And that's not all, Huck insisted that I give all his furry friends the opportunity to snag a few of their own favorite things! So head over to Floyd's blog to read Huck's post and enter to win a $25 gift card to your local Petco!

Happy Friday!  

6.13.2013

What I Wore // More Birds

The other day Steven and I made a quick trip to Kohl's. We had a 15% off coupon (does anyone else get bombarded with Kohl's coupons?) and decided it needed to be used pronto. I always have good luck at Kohl's and  I'm obsessed with Lauren Conrad's collection there was in need of a new summer dress of two. 

While browsing the sales, Steven saw this navy blue dress with neon green birds on it and said I should try it on. I laughed, thinking it looked quite obnoxious, but tried it on to appease him....and ya'll, I fell in love with it! Turns out, Steven knows my fashion preferences better than myself ;)
The above is a bad picture, but I just had to show you my photobombing pup!! He is so ridiculous! Ridiculously cute, that is. 
This is my second what I wore post with birds on it. I don't particularly care for birds, I've just found some oddly cool pieces with birds on them recently! It's strange, I know... Go ahead and judge me.

And speaking of birds, if you haven't read this post by Aunie, you should! And if you're a horrible person like me, it will make you laugh aloud! (Sorry Aunie!)

Lastly, you should watch this video. You're welcome.

6.12.2013

Almond Flour Biscuits (gluten-free, dairy-free, and delicious)

I've been blogastinating. You know, procrastinating on all my blogging duties (such as posting this scrumptious almond flour biscuit recipe I promised so many of you that I would post last week!). So finally, a week late (but who's keeping track)I give you these amazing gluten, dairy, and yeast free biscuits!
Ingredients:
2 1/2 cups blanched almond flour
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup grapeseed oil
1/4 cup agave nectar
2 lare eggs
1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

Directions:
Preheat over to 350 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, combine the almond flour, salt, and baking soda. Ina medium bowl, whisk together the grapeseed oil, agave, eggs, and lemon juice. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry mixture until thoroughly combined. Drop the batter, in scant 1/4 cups 2 inches apart, onto the baking sheet.
Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until golden brown. Let the biscuits cool briefly and then serve warm.
These delicious biscuits make it impossible to eat just one! We like them in the morning with our eggs, but they are also great with some strawberry jam! You may be surprised by the texture if you make these. They aren't dry and flaky like white flour biscuits, but rather moist and soft. They are definitely a healthy and delicious alternative if you're trying to cut gluten or dairy out of your diet (or just trying to eat more "clean" in general!)

You can find this recipe and other yummy treats made with almond flour in Elana's cookbook!

6.10.2013

America's Past Time, Kiddy Pools, and Grub

This weekend was busy, busy! Steven had his first softball game with the church league he's on Friday night. I hoped to take lots of photos of him running the bases in those cute baseball pants ;), but there was nobody to keep the books so I got suckered into doing that instead! 

They had a double header. Won one, lost one. It was a fun night.
Saturday was also super busy for me, Steven, and even Huck! Poor Huckleberry's coat had gotten a little out of control and I was beginning to fear for his life. Mice could have been living in that thing! And he looked so miserable and hot on sunny days I decided it was time for his very first haircut. I told them to trim him up a bit, you know, just the excess here and there, but they basically shaved the poor guy. He looks pathetic, but I'm sure he feels much better! And he seemed happy and even smiled for the camera afterwards!!
As a reward for his good behavior, we bought him a kiddy pool, which he pretty much uses as a giant water bowl.
Also, this weekend I seemed to have forgotten that I'm eating healthy and leaving for Cabo in 19 days!!  Sigh. Ya'll, I grubbed! It was no good. (Well actually, it was delicious. But you know what I mean.) We ate out 3 different times this weekend. Three! We're terrible...
Yummy french dip from Ristrettos.

To make up for my many indulgences this past weekend, I started my morning off right with a delicious protein packed smoothie, made a strawberry spinach salad for lunch, and then made a date with hot yoga before dinner! And as for dinner, we're having these spicy baked tex-mex meatballs! (They are so good and Paleo as well as Grain and Gluten free!)

Hope you had a great weekend, too! Now let's tackle this Monday, shall we?

Sami's Shenanigans

6.07.2013

Mornings with Huck

Last Sunday Steven and I slept in. We lazily made our way to the coffee pot, poured a hot cup of jo and turned on the TV. 101 Dalmatians was on ABC Family. Not the animated version but the real one with all those adorable pups. You can't say no to 101 Dalmatians on a Sunday morning! Who could pass up that cuteness??

As I settled onto the couch, sweet Huck nuzzled his body as close to mine as he could and insisted on cuddles, but it wasn't long until he forgot about me and the amazing belly rubs I give and became enthralled in the movie instead. So many barking puppies and dogs! His ears were perked as he intently watched the TV screen and sometimes he would take a quick peek back at me --as if to make sure I was still watching along with him. 

I just had to snap a quick picture...

The darn pup. His cuteness is almost too much to handle. 

Hope you have an amazing weekend! Mine will be filled with baseball games, food with friends, and, of course, time spent with my 3 amazing boys!!

6.06.2013

Healthy Tastes Good

I haven't talked much lately about my "yeast free" eating habits and thought it was time to give you readers an update! If you're new to this blog, you may not know that back in February my husband and I decide to participate in a 30 day yeast free challenge. Basically this meant no grains, dairy, sugar, or fermented drinks for 4 weeks. During that time, I lost 11 pounds and experienced many other significant health benefits (you can read about those here)! The changes to my body, both external and internal, amazed me so much that I decided it was in my best interest to extend this 30 day challenge for the next 70 or so years. This commitment resulted in my husband and I adapting a yeast free/Paleo lifestyle, and other than marrying Steven and adopting Huckleberry, this has definitely been the best decision of my life!
Almond Flour Drop Biscuits
Spaghetti Squash Pasta w/ Homemade Turkey Meat Sauce
Paleo Chocolate Cake

The most common question I get concerning the way I eat is, "how do you have the time to prepare all these healthy dishes? I hardly have time to heat up a microwavable lean cuisine!" Well, why does one have time for anything?? It's because they've made that thing, whatever it is their spending their time on, a priority.

For the first time in my life, I've decided to make my health a priority. It's not always easy, but because it's a priority it usually get's done. I turn off the TV and turn on the stove, I spend less time reading blogs (gasp!) and more time researching recipes that meet my dietary needs.
Spicy Ground Turkey w/ Butternut Squash

But with all that said, do I think this lifestyle is for everyone? Probably not. But it works for me and I think it may possibly work for many others.
Paleo Lemon Bars

To date, I've lost 14 pounds and two pant sizes. My skin is clearer, I'm sleeping better at night, and most importantly, I feel good. And at the end of the day, I think that's ultimately what I was striving for when this all began 4 months ago.

All photos are my own taken of dishes I've prepared since eating yeast free/Paleo. To see their recipes (and read more of my experience) go here!

6.05.2013

Happy Birthday, Herschbutt!

June is Herschel's birthday month! We're not exactly sure the exact day he was born, but if our calculations are right it had to be around the beginning of June. So today's post is a little shrine to our vicious yet cuddly guy who is turning 1!!
Herschel, you were the tiniest, cutest kitten with the biggest blue eyes I'd ever seen in a fur baby! And now your a massive fluffbutt with piercing green eyes! You've grown so much! Thank you for washing Huck's face with your sandpaper tongue and keeping the mice at bay. You've turned into the most perfect addition to our little family!

Happy Birthday, Herschbutt!!!

P.S. I just learned that your name is Yiddish for "deer" ....random.