New lens fun

I recently decided to sell two of my lenses so that I could get a much better lens. I found a great deal on an L-series lens (which I’d previously only dreamt of, never imagining I would ever have my own) and pulled the trigger.

Canon 24-105mm f4
Look at that gorgeous red band.

It’s a Canon EF 24-105mm f/4 L, and it’s exquisite. Yes, it doesn’t open quite as much as my beloved 85mm f1.8 that I traded in, but the photos are so crisp, I have absolutely no regrets. And now I have a much wider range of focal lengths than I had before.

One of the reasons I wanted to get this lens was so I wouldn’t have to lug around several lenses when we go to England this summer. I’m determined to only bring one carry on roller bag, so these are the tough decisions I have to make. Heh.

Here are a few very random shots I’ve taken with this lens. The weather’s been icky so I haven’t been able to play with it as much as I’d like, but in conjunction with my recent body upgrade (that’s camera body) I’m pretty smitten with photography again.

(You can click to view at full size to see how freaking clear they are!)

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My Valentines

Oh yeah, it’s Valentine’s Day, huh? Mardi Gras pretty much supercedes anything related to February 14, but we did manage to exchange them anyway.

George gave me Hot Tamales, which you know are my favorite but the cards the boys made me were absolutely the best gift I could have gotten. I literally teared up at Miles’s card. Gah.

Mardi Gras (so far)

Last night, I went to Muses with a bunch of friends (including a couple of kids, but not my own) and had so much fun! Muses is probably my favorite parade. And honestly, at this point, if I didn’t see any more parades, I’d be fine.

Their signature “throw” is a glittered shoe. Literally, a shoe they cover in glitter and jewels and other sparkly things. (So you can imagine how that might appeal to me.) I was lucky enough to get TWO last night! So fun. Yay!

Facing a fear (i.e., what have I gotten myself into?)

Like most people, I have a fear of public speaking. I mean, it’s not the same kind of fear like my one of cockroaches. Cockroaches have a way of sneaking up on you. Or flying in your face. ::shudder:: But public speaking is generally something you have to opt in to.

I submitted a speaker proposal for WordCamp Dayton, thinking, okay, this is a perfect place to get started. There will be friendly faces in the crowd (I don’t just mean people in Ohio are friendly, but also several coworkers will be there) and it won’t be a massively sized one. I have had an idea for a talk ever since we had a public speaking learnup at work last year, so I decided to bite the bullet and just go for it.

And it got accepted and now I have to stand up in front of, I don’t know, at least dozens of people, I guess, and talk about Making Blogging a Habit.

If you’re reading this and you have been blogging for a while, I’d love to hear how you’ve managed to keep it up. Please, I have a speech to write now!

Monday morning things

I wanted to blog about a few things that don’t really merit a post of their own.

I baked a king cake!

I’ve been wanting to try this for a while, and finally got around to it this weekend. I used the recipe in this blog post. [Please ignore the line, “(Pronounced Nawlins in case you don’t want to sound like a fool)” because that is absolutely, 100% untrue. Please don’t ever say “Nawlins” in my presence.]

The only changes I’d make next time are:

1. Three strands instead of two. It was very puffy. Not necessarily a bad thing, but there was definitely a higher ratio of bread: filling than I’d prefer.

2. Get a real baby, not a LEGO minifigure that I sterilized. Though it made for a hilarious photo. I crack myself up.

You're going to put me WHERE?
You’re going to put me WHERE?

3. Get the colored sugar to sprinkle on top. I colored the icing instead, but sugar would be prettier sprinkled on top of the icing (not in lieu of.)

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I was really happy with how it came out, though. So yum! And P was really happy to get the “baby.”

Hair product recommendation

Saturday night, I went with some friends to a walking parade, Chewbacchus. I think you can imagine what the theme was. I looked all over the house for the Princess Leia wig I had at one point, but then I remembered that I have long dark brown hair. No wig needed, just a Pinterest tutorial!

Worked like a charm, and I was so enamored with the bun-making technique, that I went and bought a hair donut thingy yesterday from Ulta.

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Oliver’s writing

Oliver had his writing journal from English class in his backpack and HOLY COW it was a treasure trove of cute. I can’t wait to get my hands on Miles’s and Linus’s. My favorite entry was the one that said, “Today I will inoy my dad.”

Oliver, school, and Mardi Gras

Yesterday was a big day. It was Oliver’s class’s last day at the zoo as well as the school’s mascot unveiling and their Mardi Gras parade.

The kids (dressed as animals for the parade later that day) gave presentations about things they’d learned in the last four weeks at the zoo. Oliver discussed endangered animals and something else. Reptiles?

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Oliver pontificating on endangered animals.

After the presentations, we went to the zoo auditorium to watch the movie they make at the end of their 4 week session. Looks impressive up on the big screen, eh?

The drama!!!
It’s a French film, so obviously subtitled.

After the film, there was a potluck and then we headed to school for the big mascot unveiling and the parade.

The kids had voted for which mascot they wanted, and so there was much excitement in the air as they unveiled…

So here’s the problem with the kids going to a French school. Now I’m going to have to say “Loup Garou” a bunch of times over the next eleven years. Maybe can we agree the non-French-speaking amongst us can just call him the Werewolf?

In any case, he was pretty awesome. Very Teen Wolf.

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The kids were really excited. Hey, has anyone seen Mr. Chip? Oh, just wondering.

Next up, the parade!

Happy birthday, part 2

Friday night, I had my second awesome fortieth birthday party. This time, with my girls from the neighborhood. I didn’t want anything super fancy, just a meal at a local Mexican restaurant and margaritas. And everyone had to wear sequins and sparkly things. And obviously there had to be cake.

My lovely friends came through in spades.

First, Tee and I went to get our makeup done. I was extremely nervous, because I don’t generally wear a lot of makeup, but I mean, if I’m going to get my makeup done, it needs to be DONE, right? Well, it was certainly done. I got the full smokey eye. It was pretty amazing.

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I looked fierce.

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Meanwhile, Tee got some super glam sparkly gold eyes.

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After we got all gussied up, we met everyone else at the restaurant, where I was given a GINORMOUS margarita and a TINY glittery sombrero.

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Yes, I’m looking down in pretty much every picture so you can admire my eyes.

I really don’t feel like that photo captures the true size of that margarita. It was glorious.

After dinner, I ran into an old friend.

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and then we went back to Jenn’s house where we drank more margaritas out of sparkly lip straws…

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and danced and played some game and ate cake.

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We took a group picture in front of the most excellent banner, and then I snuggled with Jenn’s dog before heading home. At 3:30 in the morning. YEAH!

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Happy birthday to meeee! (Again!)