• August 3, 2016

    Photo Session

    Feature-Image

     

    If you follow me on Instagram, you already know that I got a shiny new toy for my birthday:

    Camera

    It’s a Nikon Coolpix B500.  I’m still learning my way around it, but so far I’ve been very pleased.  It’s not a DSLR, so there are some limitations as far as zooming and focusing and the manual aspect that higher end cameras offer.  That said, I think this is about as close as any point and click camera can get to a DSLR – the zoom is amazing and the images are crisp and clear!

    The reason I asked for this camera is because the DSLR we have is wonderful, but also big, expensive, and hard to take on camping, hiking, and vacations.  I needed something  better than my phone camera but less intense then the Canon Rebel!

    The first day I had the camera, we went to a winery and I snapped a few pictures of the grounds.  Totally forgot to take any of the actual wine tasting… I guess I’ll have to go back and try again!  *grin*

    Vineyard

    Grapes

    One day these will be delicious wine… and I will be back for them!

     

    Wine

    Then, last weekend, we went camping.  The spot we had wasn’t super great for pictures – truly lacking in flowers, moss, or any color really.  I did manage to get some nice shots of the lake, though, and the wildlife as well!  

    Tent

    Heron

    That zoom! O.o

     

    Fly-Away

    I hope you will enjoy watching me learn my way around this camera and getting a glimpse into my world as I go.  It’s been a lot of fun for me so far!

  • February 24, 2016

    Top 5 Apps for Android

    It’s time for another Top 5!  This time, we’re going to look at my favorite apps for Android devices (many of these apps are also available for ios, but I don’t know anything about that so… Android it is!).

    Gmail

    Ok, my number one app is actually a combination of apps an you all probably already use them, so it’s not terribly groundbreaking.  However, I feel that Google’s apps bear mentioning because I use them heavily and love their function.   I plan and write first drafts of the blog on Drive; I use Calendar to plan meals every week and keep track of everything else that is going on; I use Keep to remember things I hear on the radio, make quick notes about ideas for the blog and other things.  Maps and Gmail, of course, get lots of action as well.  Maps I use more for work than play, but I definitely rely on it pretty much whenever I go somewhere new.

     

    Podcast Republic

    My second app is Podcast Republic.  This app allows you to stream and download podcasts from tons of different sources.  Among my favorite podcasts are NPR (with several subcategories: Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me!, Hidden Brain, TED Radio Hour, and Fresh Air), several podcasts from HowStuffWorks.com (Stuff You Should Know, Stuff Mom Never Told You, ), The Art of Manliness (not just for men!), Dear Hank & John (from Hank and John Green of YouTube fame), Ear Biscuits (from Rhett and Link also of YouTube fame).  If those don’t interest you, just peruse the lists that include everything from religion to sports to politics to videogames and hobbies.

     

    WineSecretary

    The third app I love is called Wine Secretary.  This is a simple, easy to use app that allows you to track and rate the wine you drink.  I think my favorite feature is that you can take a picture of the label to help jog your memory and to help you find it again later!  There is also a feature to keep track of the wines you have in your collection (I don’t use this so much since I don’t keep that much wine on hand).

     

    Audible

    Number four is Audible.   If you aren’t already familiar, this app allows you to buy and listen to audio books.  My husband is currently using it to listen to Dutch language lessons while he runs, but we discovered it when we took our road trip to Canada and needed something to listen to!  You can set up a monthly subscription and get one book free a month and discounts on any additional books you want to get as well.

     

    CamScanner CamCard

    My fifth app is actually two similar apps: CamScanner and CamCard.  I use these more on my work phone than in my personal life, but they have been pretty helpful so far.  CamScanner allows you to take pictures of documents and will update the image so your documents are the only thing in the picture and makes them more readable (printable, even).  CamCard is similar, only it is designed for importing contacts directly from business cards.  I have found that this function is a little spotty and I almost always need to update the contact information by hand later due to wrong letters being entered and so on.  I still like this app, though, and have hopes that it will improve with time.

     

    TwoDots

    Finally, since my first favorite was sort of a generic cop-out, I think you’ve earned a bonus app!  TwoDots is a beautiful, addictive puzzle game.  I started playing this in January when I was sick and laying on the couch all day, but I have continued to play during breaks at work and down time at home.  The home screen artwork is adorable, as is the music.  The game play is pretty straightforward and seems simple, but the puzzles get increasingly difficult and the objectives change with every level, so it keeps you on your toes.  It’s defiantly worth a look if you enjoy causal game play.

    I hope you’ve enjoyed my favorite apps and maybe even found some new favorites for yourself!  What are your favorites?

  • January 20, 2016

    Top 5 Movies of 2015

     

    Star-Wars-The-Force-Awakens

    Star Wars: The Force Awakens

    Everyone is talking about the newest addition to the Star Wars saga right now and for good reason.  I don’t want to give anything away, so let’s suffice it to say that The Force Awakens makes me very happy.  I love the new characters and the integration of former characters.  I love the style and the feel of the film.  I love the character development.  If you haven’t seen this one yet, please do!

     

    The-Martian

    The Martian

    I don’t really care too much for Matt Damon, but this was an excellent film!  The script was a marvelous balance between humor and intensity and the film itself literally had me on the edge of my  seat the whole time!

     

    Inside-Out

    Inside Out

    I’m pretty sure Pixar can’t do anything wrong.  Ever.  There isn’t a Pixar film out that I’ve disliked.  But Inside Out… this film really stands out to me as something great.  Humor all ages can appreciate and a meaningful story that opens up so many opportunities for parents to talk with their kids about feelings!  I’ve listened to numerous interviews with the creators of Inside Out and it sure seems to me that these people really did their homework to create an accurate representation of psychology of emotions.  I love it!

     

    Avengers-Age-of-Ultron

    Avengers: Age of Ultron

    Much like Pixar, Joss Whedon has yet to make a movie (or television show, or comic, or mini-series) that doesn’t impress the hell out of me.  I didn’t grow up a big fan of Marvel comics, but the way Joss tells these stories makes me care… makes me want more!  I love the action and the humor which, as always, is well balanced and a lot of fun to watch!

     

    Paper-Towns

    Paper Towns

    Not as good as the book (movies never are), but still pretty great.  John Green tells a great story and the film is a lot of fun.  They didn’t stick strictly to the story, but the sentiments, the actual point of the book, it’s still there.  It was lots of fun to watch.  *grin*

     

    Of course, there were a lot of other great movies that came out in 2015, but this is my top 5, not top 50, so… this is what you get.  ha!

  • October 15, 2014

    Computer Fix

    Featured-Image

    Oh. My. Gosh. This has been a looooong time coming. It’s hard to replace things like computers when you can “make due” for a while. And when you are broke. Computers are expensive, ya’ll!

    Alas, it finally had to happen! The noisy fan, the jacked up mouse and keyboard, and the ridiculous Frankenstein style inner workings were just too much to bear. I never knew when my computer would start up or when it would tell me to take a hike. It’s really hard to get anything done when nothing works properly.

    I know a lot of you probably don’t give a rat’s fart about the inner workings of computers. As long as you can use Facebook and Pinterest, the rest isn’t really that important.  I get it.  However, I have a husband who really cares.  This is nice for me, because he usually takes care of the computer issues and fixes things for me.  But, then, I thought… “What if I didn’t have him to help me fix this?” and that bothered me a little. Getting computers fixed is as commonplace now as getting your car worked on and we all know how sketchy car mechanics can be when a clueless girl walks into the shop with something not working right and no idea where to start. It’s easy to get suckered into replacing things that aren’t necessary, to pay a lot extra for labor, and to get something worked on without any actual work happening when you don’t know what you’re talking about.

    It doesn’t have to be that way.

    Today, I want to share with you the basics of what makes your computer run and what the parts do. I know it may not seem super fun, but its good information to know! After all, you don’t want to be like Jen:

    (Also, please watch The IT Crowd. It is amazing. *grin*)

    First, to be completely clear about what you’re going to read: this is not meant to be a tutorial or “how-to” for fixing or building your own computer. There is a lot more that goes into it than what I can share in one post! Not all pieces and parts are compatible with each other and it is easy to make mistakes and/or damage things if you don’t know what you’re doing.  Okay?

    Okay!

    I think it is safe to say that most people will have heard most of these terms, but don’t necessarily have any idea what each part actually does.  So, let’s start your computer education there:

    RAM

    This is RAM. RAM is your computers short term memory. Basically, it stores information while it is being processed or being used. A lot of times people will suggest that you get more RAM to speed up your computer. Sometimes this works – sometimes not so much – It just depends on what the bottleneck of your speed problem is.

     

    CPU

    Next up is the CPU (aka. Processor). The CPU handles all of the processes you ask your computer to complete – it runs your programs so that you can see and understand the code on the back end that makes it work.

     

    Power-Supply

    The PSU (aka. Power Supply) is just that… POWER. This is the piece that connects the other components to the electricity coming from whatever wall you plugged your computer into.

     

    Hard-DriveHard-Drive-(2)

    This next piece is the hard drive. Basically, this is the long term memory that stores your files and program information.

     

    Motherboard

    The motherboard is the piece of this puzzle that all the other parts plug into and communicate through. It is also the piece that you typically plug your audio, Ethernet, and USB devices into from the back.

     

    Video-Card

    Last but not least is the video card. Video cards are not always required – some motherboards have on board video to run monitors, so a separate part is not necessary. However, if you are a gamer, you’ll want a separate video card to support the heavy graphics and design of most newer games. Mine is an older model, but for what I do, it works fine.

    Put them all together aaaaaand…

    After

    Voila!  A beautiful, working computer!

  • July 16, 2014

    Timeline of my Day

    Oooooh boy… I missed a couple of days here.  Don’t worry, you’ll still get all the posts from the challenge!  And I’ll be getting a new computer!  We still aren’t super sure what is going on with it, but it’ll start sometimes and not other times and there aren’t any  patterns to speak of, so that’s helpful.

    *sigh*

    Anyway…

    My Day!  My regular, normal, boring day!

    So, during the work week, I wake up at 6:00 to get ready.  Nothing special here, just a shower, breakfast, and fighting with my hair to do what I tell it.  I usually lose that battle.

    Once at work I… work.  A lot.  Usually in an office, sometimes in the homes of people I work with.

    I almost always take my own lunch.  Going out all the time is difficult because of my Celiac disease and strict diet.  It’s also a huge waste of money.

    After work, my routine varies a lot.  Sometimes I go grocery shopping or run other errands.  Usually I head home.  Once home, I get dinner going and do what I can to tidy the house.

    Then, I write, read, go to Bible study, or just relax.  Throughout all of this, I play with the pets (Ollie is so obsessed with his tennis ball, I spend half my life throwing it for him).

    Weekends, of course are different.  We usually have plans with friends or plan a date night.  In the summer, we spend tons of time working on the garden and keeping our yard under control.  I almost always spend time making a weekly meal plan and grocery shopping over the weekend.

    Not too exciting, but it’s mine, I guess.

  • February 5, 2014

    Geeking Out

    Never-Forget-What-You-Are

    Professional nerd, Wil Wheaton said “being a nerd or a geek… is not about what you love, it’s about how you love it.”

    The things nerds love have the beautiful tendency to bring likeminded people together.  We are drawn to things that matter.  Things that are interesting or exciting to us.  Nerds love to share what they love with other people and drag their friends kicking and screaming into their fandom’s until their friends love their fandom as much as they do.    It’s so exciting to find people who love something as much as you do.  To share that love and excitement and all of the inside jokes, feelings, and fears.  And the best thing of all is that it doesn’t matter what the thing is that you love.  Hey football fans, you know what I’m talking about.  Whovians and Sherlockians know too.

    So, it is with great enthusiasm that I share with you a couple things that I am totally geeking out about right now!

     

    Thing One: Game of Thrones (the books)

    Oh man… where do I even begin?  I am almost through the first book and it’s amazing!  George RR Martin is a fantastic writer.  At first I was intimidated by the sheer size and number of books in the series (and it isn’t even done being written yet!) as well as the huge number of characters to keep track of.  I wasn’t sure if it would be tedious or awesome.

    Spoiler: It’s awesome.

    I don’t find it hard to keep track of the characters at all.  The way this book is put together is so well done that I know who is who and where we’re going in the story for the vast majority of the time.  And when I do forget who someone is, there are lists of characters in the back for reference.  Easy!

    I can honestly say that I haven’t been this jump-up-and-down-squealing-and-never-put-it-down excited about a book since Harry Potter.  Don’t get me wrong, I’ve read a lot of books since HP7 and most of them were really good… just not that good.

    The hardest part of being a little late to the Game of Thrones party is avoiding spoilers.  I already know every character I ever dare to love is probably going to die a horrible death.  I think I’m ready for that.  And I have a few hunches about some other stuff… but I’m trying not to let too much outside knowledge in so I can sit back and really enjoy the book for what it is.

     

    Thing Two: The Nexus 10

    Guess who saved up all her allowance for 6 months and bought a shiny new tablet (yes, my husband and I still have allowances.  And the only debt we have is our mortgage and a student loan.  So there)!  It was only delivered this week, so I haven’t figured out all of the little nuances and tricks yet, but whoa… so shiny!

    *grin*

    So far, it’s super intuitive and easy to figure out.  I have a Kindle Fire, but tend to neglect its tablet-like abilities because it just isn’t very intuitive to me.  But the Nexus… I barely have to think about how to get where I’m going and what I need from it because it’s all right there waiting for me.

    I’m also loving the 300ppi display.  Colors show up brilliantly and lines are crisp.  Watching videos has been flawless so far and even the speakers are good enough that I don’t need headphones to hear.  The only thing I need now is a separate little keyboard so I can work on these blog posts from anywhere!  Who knows, maybe that will help me get things done before its last minute.  Like tonight.

     

    Don’t judge me.  At least I managed to tear myself away from my geekyness to share my geekyness.  And now you want to try it too.  Right?

    Spoiler: It’s awesome.