Friday, February 25, 2011

{I Heart Faces} Fix It Friday #88

It's Friday again! This week went surprisingly fast considering my girls were off from school all week! They were definitely kept busy with sledding, playdates, seeing the Justin Bieber movie and going to The Met. On my end, I pretty much got nothing done and I'm exhausted to boot.

I did want to at least sneak in a Fix It Friday. I recently bought a Photoshop action set from Florabella so I thought I'd play around with that a bit.

Here goes...

Original shot - not mine (SOOC)

Fix-It Friday #88

First edit - cropped, brightened the eyes, ran the Jane action and tweaked


Second edit - ran the B&W Film action on top of the Jane action and tweaked.


You can check out more edits over at the I Heart Faces site

So far the weekend is NP (no plans), but I'm sure I'll be waking up to many requests!!

Monday's almost here, right?!?

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Finding Photographic Style

Last month I attended a workshop at B&H in the city called Finding Your Photographic Style. It was a great course given by David Brommer - the guy who runs the event space (yes - he's also a professional photographer!) We learned about different things to notice in your work - genre, attitude, technique to name a few.


I started analyzing my photos and definitely saw a pattern. I get most enjoyment from photographing children, I like a tight crop, lean towards black & white or muted colors, and in most of the photos, (or at least the ones I like best) the kids are NOT smiling.

During the course he mentioned your style may have evolved from your upbringing. Hmmm, no smiles. What did that mean? I didn't have a bad childhood and I don't hate my own kids, so why do I like moody photos? I'm definitely going to have to put more thought into this one!

As part of the workshop, we were invited back this month for a photo critique. I was so excited and so nervous at the same time! We were asked to e-mail 5 photos that we thought fit our style. I waited until the last day to e-mail them. Not because I'm such a last minute person (at least not in this case) but because that meant I was going to be judged. This was my first photo critique from someone I wasn't friends with or related to. A REAL photographer!!! I knew I had to do it though. It's part of the whole "putting myself out there" this year.

So, I dug through my photos, chose 5, wrote an e-mail and attached the pics and clicked SEND. There! It was done!! I survived - the first part at least.

These are the photos I submitted..






Yesterday was the actual live critique. 17 brave souls showed up to have our work analyzed. David went through each of our photos - had them up on a projector for the whole room to see and voice their opinions on. Since I submitted mine so late, I think I was number 15 or so.

As he went through everyone's photos, it just gave me more time to be nervous.! I was actually sweating, and that room is FRRREEZING!!!

How are my photos going to look so large?

Did I choose the right ones?

Will they secretly think I had a messed up childhood?

Am I just a mom with a camera?

At least I was focussed and not thinking about what I was going to cook for dinner!

It was my turn and I'm happy to say it was great! I got some really good feedback and even if I didn't, I was making it so much worse than it could have ever been. I even got an e-mail today from David with links of photographers he thought I should look at for inspiration. Talk about going the extra mile!!

I feel so fortunate that I discovered the amazing events at B&H. I really feel in the past 2 years since Ive been going to the workshops, I've learned so much and have grown as a photographer. And my wallet didn't even have to suffer in the process. They're all FREE workshops!!

I'm already signed up for a few events for March. Can't wait!

If you live in NY, have you been to any of the B&H events? Which ones are your favorites?

Monday, February 21, 2011

{Curl Talk} - Carve, Slice & Rake


If you've been reading my blog for a while, you may remember the hack job I had on my hair last year. Well, because of that episode, I hadn't had my hair cut in a year!! It's taken me that long to grow it out and get over the trauma.

About a month ago, a friend of mine forwarded me something she read on Craigslist. Ouidad was looking for Hair Models in February. For those of you not familiar with Ouidad, it's a high end salon here in NY specializing in CURLY hair. I've always wanted to try it but since it's high end, high end prices go with it!


Ouidad is not only a salon, but they have also expanded into training hair stylists from other salons on the Ouidad method. Such business savvy - love it!! So, the reason why they are looking for "hair models" is for the trainees to get some hands on experience with what they're being taught. Great for us curly haired girls! We get a free haircut!

My sister got in on it also so we went down to the city together this weekend to have our hair day. Before we left I had to get my "before" shot (taken by my 7 yr old).


As you can see, I am in desperate need of a haircut, not to mention a wash. It had been 4 days which in curly world is pretty normal. Don't be too grossed out - I did continue to shower every day!

When we got there the first thing we had to do was sign a model release. Being a photographer, I found it amusing to be on the OTHER side of a release!


My stylist's name was Lauren from Massachusetts. First we chatted about what she wanted to do with my hair. We were on the same page so that was good.


Keep the length but decrease the volume! I also felt comfortable because they had trainers watching over them to make sure they were doing everything correctly. Even down to what type of shampoo and conditioner to use! It was pretty amazing how they ran such a tight ship. They are really serious about curls!!

When I was in the chair I kept hearing words like Carve, Slice and Rake. Not normally what you want to hear when you're sitting so vulnerably on the other end of scissors about to get your hair cut!! The carving and slicing had to do with the cut and the raking has to do with the styling.

I was getting a bit nervous during the "carving & slicing" phase. The sound of the scissor going through my hair left me breathless a few times. The scissor makes like a "z-z-z-z-z-z-z" sound for some reason and I was hoping she wasn't slicing off too much!

So, after the wash, condition, cut, and deep condition, it was time to be raked! They use their fingers like a rake to style the hair and keep the curls in curl formation and minimize the frizz.

Four hours later (and lots of product), this was my "after" picture taken by my sis.


I really won't be able to tell if I like it until after I wash and style it myself. This time though, there won't be any "raking", but instead I'll be "roping" - my own styling method. Will have to show you how that goes on the next Curl Talk along with an "after after" picture!

For you curly girls out there, what's your favorite styling method?

Have you ever been to Ouidad or any other salon specializing in curly hair? What has your experience been?

Friday, February 18, 2011

{I Heart Faces} Fix It Friday #87

How has your week been? Sorry I didn't have much time to blog this week. This was a bit of a crazy week - will fill you in on it next week. Next week my girls are off from school so I've got to start coming up with some fun activities for them. Eeeeek!!

In the meantime, here is this week's version of Fix It Friday.

The original shot - not mine:

Fix-It Friday #87

My first edit I cropped and adjusted levels and sharpness


For the second edit which I like better, I did the same as the first edit and ran a Florabella action called B&W Blush. I then tweaked it by adjusting levels, color balance and sharpness.


Check out some others on

Do you have anything fun planned for the weekend?

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day!


Such a busy day today but I wanted to take a minute to wish everyone a Happy Valentine's Day!!

Do you have anything special planned for today or tonight?

I made red cake balls with my girls yesterday. They started out as cake POPS but ended up as BALLS. She wanted something fun to bring to her class today. I took a quick photo so I'll post it later on.

Have lots of projects I'm working on and the girls will be home from school soon, so...gotta run!

Friday, February 11, 2011

{I Heart Faces} Fix It Friday #86

How has your week been? Mine was spent mostly in front of the computer. I am in the process of redesigning my blog as well as switching over to WordPress. I feel like my progress is so slow but I know I'll get there eventually!

I just took a break from my computer and watched an episode of Glee that was saved on my DVR from last Sunday. That show puts me in such a good mood! The songs are always great and the dance routines are amazing! They always look like they're having so much fun. Just what I needed to get me ready to tackle my blog again. I'm ready though!!

Before I get to my blog, I thought I would do this week's Fix It Friday edit from

Here's the original shot (not mine - SOOC)

This little one is so cute!! Definitely made it fun to do some editing.

Fix-It Friday #86

My first edit is pretty straightforward - cropping and tackling the darkness by adjusting levels, and sharpness.


For my second edit, I ran the B&W Film action from Florabella and tweaked it with some color balance and also brightened up the eyes a bit. I really like how it almost has a denim feel to it.


Check out the other submissions at I Heart Faces.

We have some kid related activities this weekend and may do some baking for Valentine's Day.

What about you - anything fun planned?

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

{I Heart Faces} Hearts does a weekly photo challenge at the beginning of every week. Because of scheduling or the particular theme, I'm not always able to participate but this week I just decided to make the time.

The theme for this week is "Hearts". Seems pretty logical since Valentine's Day is just one week away. Which reminds me - Valentine's Day is only one week away!!

So, I had an idea in mind for a photo with a Heart theme but had to get my girls involved. This isn't as easy as it sounds. I just want them to do what I ask. Why is that so difficult?

Them: "Mama, I think we should pose like this"

Me: "No, I want you to pose like that!"

Them: "I don't want to wear my hair tied back"

Me: "It will only be for a minute."

Them: "Is dinner ready? I'm staaaarving!!"

Me: "Just let me take the picture!!!"

After all of that, this is what I ended up with. Not exactly what I planned but it is what it is.


Do you have anything special planned for Valentine's Day?

Monday, February 7, 2011

Game Day

I know yesterday was a big game day for football fans across the country - snacking on favorite comfort foods, drinking and partying.

The girls and I went to visit my mom yesterday for a few hours before my older one's last show and we ended up having our own special game day.

There's a closet in her apartment in the room my sister and I shared growing up that still has remnants of our childhood. My girls, being the inquisitive rascals that they are, always like to investigate and sift through what must seem like junk to them, but are actually precious memories to me and my sister.

They noticed a stack of games up on one of the shelves and of course were eager to play. Like rummaging through an old attic, these games were equally as old and dusty so before anything, I got the Fantastik out with some paper towels and started cleaning away. Not really what I was expecting to do on a quiet Sunday visit at my mom's.

We started off by playing Trac 4 - a game where you compete to create patterns I used to LOVE this game! It wasn't really working so we had to improvise but still managed to have fun anyway.

I love looking at the packaging on these old games. Look at the hairstyle on the mom!


Next I found a game called Tilt but we couldn't play because we didn't have all of the marbles. Look at the packaging on this one - vintage illustration!


Ever since I was really little I was always into crafts - always wanting to make things. I remember always getting arts & crafts kits as gifts and here's one that was still around. I remember a lot of the kits were from the same company - "Arts & Crafts Today"


These next ones really cracked me up - my girls had no clue what they were.

My record player which also happened to be a radio as well.



This was the second one I had. The first one was red and short lived because it broke right away. They didn't have any red ones left so they got me this steel blue colored one. Never liked this color although my favorite color at the time was blue.

More like this blue - from our 8 track player!!


My mom wasn't as nostalgic as I was. In true mom fashion...

"When are you going to get rid of these things?" (can't you just hear the tone!)

"Why don't you bring them to your apartment?"

It just wouldn't be the same. It belongs here with all the other memories of Dawn Dolls, flatsies and Chrissy & Velvet. Somehow it wouldn't fit in at our place with Spongebob and Lady Gaga.

What are your favorite childhood games and toys?

Friday, February 4, 2011

{I Heart Faces} Fix It Friday #85

Do you have anything fun planned for this weekend? Here in NYC it's supposed to snow again tomorrow. The snow hasn't bothered me so far. Not even this morning when I was trying to park my car and got stuck and had to ask my super to give me a push. I'd much rather have cold and snow than heat and humidity!!

This weekend my daughter has 2 more performances of Honk - one of them is even during the Super Bowl. No biggie for us since we're not a big sports family. If I was invited to a Super Bowl party, I would maybe go but just for the food and company - NOT to actually watch the game! Are you into the Super Bowl? What's your favorite game time snack?

My apartment is quiet now - the girls are in school and the hubbs is out and about in the city, so I have some time for a Fix It Friday. It's actually kind of relaxing when you're editing just for fun!

Here's this week's shot SOOC - and as usual NOT mine. I'm only here to edit!

Fix-It Friday #85

My first edit - crop, adjust color balance, levels and sharpening.


Second edit I used B&W Beauty action from PW with some adjustments.


Check out some others on the I Heart Faces site.

Have a fun weekend!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

{Recipe} Easy Lemon Chicken

When I cook dinner during the week, I go for my quick and easy recipes. I mean really, who wants to be fiddling about with complicated recipes on a school night?!? Once the kids come home from school, we've got to keep things moving if we want them down by 8:30. OK, who am I kidding - it's more like 9:00!!

We eat a lot of chicken breast over here so I've got to have a slew of recipes to keep it interesting. This Easy Lemon Chicken recipe was adapted from a similar recipe I tried from Rachel Ray years ago. It kind of reminds me of Lemon Chicken you would get at a Chinese restaurant. My girls really like this one!!

The first thing you need is the lemon part of the lemon chicken - lemon curd!!


What is that?!?

Beats me but it's usually found in the jam/jelly section of the supermarket so I guess if you're not using it for this recipe you can use it like you would jelly.

OK, here's the thing - I've tried this recipe with different brands of lemon curd but this one is the best. When I tried it with others because I couldn't find this particular brand, my girls ALWAYS know!! "Eeeeew Mama!!". So, do your best to find this one.

Put half the jar in a small pot with about a tablespoon of water.


You want to break it down a bit with a fork so it's not in one big blob.


Put it on very low heat and what will happen is as it's heating up, it liquefies a bit. We'll use this later for the sauce.

Now on to the chicken.

I start off with one package of skinless boneless chicken breast. I usually try and find the Thin Cut kind but anything will do - even chicken tenders if that's what you already have.

Cut the chicken up into bite sized pieces - about an inch and a half or so. Please don't go taking out your rulers!! Just eyeball it!


Sprinkle with a little salt & pepper.

Then take a large Ziploc bag and put about 3/4 cup of flour - All Purpose is good.

Now you remember that old Shake & Bake method, right?!? Place the chicken pieces in the bag and get shakin'!!

Put some Canola Oil in a pan and heat it up. Once the oil is pretty hot, start placing the pieces of chicken in the pan. Shake off any excess flour first. You'll have to do this in batches - don't overcrowd the pan.


I think I had to do about 3 or 4 batches. Let the chicken cook a few minutes and then turn it to cook on the other side. You want it to get a slightly golden brown color - but not burnt. This chicken with cook quickly because the pieces are small.

Take the cooked chicken out after each batch and put it in a bowl.


Once all of the chicken is cooked, it's time for the sauce.

First thing we need is some Distilled White Vinegar.


This is the secret ingredient! It just makes it taste extra special. Put about 1 tablespoon in the pan but be careful - don't get too close!! The pan is hot and when the vinegar hits the hot pan, it bubbles up a bit and you'll get hit with the fumes from the vinegar - powerful stuff!! Trust me, you DO NOT want a vinegar facial!!

Stir it around to pick up any crispy bits that may end up on the bottom of the pan. The vinegar dissolves pretty quickly so work fast. Lower the heat and stir in 1/2 cup of chicken stock. I ALWAYS use Kitchen Basics!!


Now it's time for that lemon curd we started with at the beginning - stir that in as well.


At this point if you feel the sauce is too thiick, mix in a little more chicken stock. The sauce will defiinitely thicken up once the chicken goes in. Once that's all mixed together, put the cooked chicken back in the pan to incorporate with the sauce. Mix it up.


Cut up about 3 scallions.



You can use as much or as little as you like. I find 3 works perfectly. Mix that into the pan and you're done!


Put the whole thing into a serving bowl and serve with either rice or couscous and of course a veggie!!


What are your favorite easy recipes?


Easy Lemon Chicken Recipe

1/2 jar lemon curd mixed with 1 tablespoon water
1 package boneless skinless chicken breast cut into bite sized pieces
salt & pepper to taste
3/4 cup flour in a Ziploc bag
2 tablespoons Canola Oil (more if you need)
1 tablespoon White Distilled Vinegar
1/2 cups chicken stock
3 sliced scallions

  • Put the lemon curd and water in a small pot on very low heat
  • In a separate pan, heat up the canola oil
  • sprinkle chicken with salt & pepper and place in the Ziploc bag with flour
  • make sure all the chicken is coated in the flour and shake off any excess.
  • Cook chicken in batches and add more oil if necessary
  • Place cooked chicken in a bowl between batches
  • Once all the chicken is cooked, put the vinegar in the pan to take up any crispy pieces at the bottom of pan
  • Stir in the chicken stock and then the lemon curd
  • Mix
  • Place the chicken back in the pan with the sauce, mix around to make sure all the chicken is coated with the sauce
  • At the very end mix in the sliced scallions and transfer to a serving bowl.
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