2016 New Year’s Resolutions

OMG, I haven’t updated in a month!!!  It has been quite a hectic last few weeks with the holiday season.  Hope everyone enjoyed it with family.  And now it’s 2016!!!  How the heck did that happen?!  Anyhoo, here are my resolutions for this year.

  1. Try to be off the grid more!
    Is that possible in 2016?  Yes and no.  For me it means to check Facebook less.  I am really aiming to not be the parent that has their head buried in their phone while their child is happily playing independently.  While I still want my children to learn to play independently, I still want to observe the little quirks that make them unique.  If that at all makes sense to any of you.  The goal is just to stay present in the moments and take it all in.  However, you’ll still find me taking a few videos or photos for Instagram.
  2. Mom’s Night Out!!!
    The one thing I miss about SF are the mom’s I met while there. While I have mom friends here, we rarely were ever away from the kids.  Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but it’s also difficult to have a very meaningful conversation especially now that our children are walking.  It’s usually a quick chat about a topic for 2 minutes before our children wander away from each other.  So I am trying to organize a monthly mom’s night out; away from the kids, away from the husbands so that we can reconnect as women over cocktails and food.  The first one went really well.  I just need to plan that second one.
  3. Be more active!
    Since moving back to the DC suburbs, it is really really easy to fall into that sedentary lifestyle–just sit on the couch or park bench and watch the kids play.  There’s just something culturally different between the East and West Coasts and our views on activity.  While I still play soccer, that’s not nearly enough to what I was doing in SF.  Granted the weather is a lot warmer and nicer there, that’s still not an excuse to not be outdoors and enjoying life.  So I’ve been taking advantage of the wetland preserve a mile away, which my son loves.  I have a zoo membership this year, which both kids absolutely love doing.  And we’ve gone to museums, which thankfully are mostly free here in DC.  We still walk to our local playgrounds.  But it’s nice to go out on a hike or walk, especially now Sammy just wants to walk all over the place (forget about baby wearing or stroller walking).
  4. Take pictures!
    I still primarily  use my iPhone to take pictures, but this year I really want to start using my DSLR more.  I used it a lot during my son’s first years of life, but I just haven’t done so with my daughter.  I always end up forgetting to bring it, but more often than not I’m just lazy about taking pictures.  This year it will change, even though I haven’t used it yet this year!!!  But we have some amazing trips (both with and without  kids!) planned this year, so it will definitely encourage me to pull it out and use it more.

So those are my resolutions that I hope to keep up this year.  I feel like it won’t be difficult, and I don’t want to say kids are the excuse.  What are your resolutions this year?


In the Moment

IMG_0213_FotorWe got this photo after we finished photographing my daughter’s 8 month photo.  I look like crap, but it shows her personality through and through.  Her brother was off to the side trying to make her smile, and they basically were giggling back and forth.  This happens on a daily basis, and it is the best thing ever.  I hope they continue to have a great relationship with each other.  It is amazing how much they love each other; and to see them both light up when they see each other, whether it’s first thing in the morning or when Oliver comes home from school.  I’m incredibly grateful tha they have each other and love each other so much.

P.S.  This was taken with a DSLR.

DSLR vs. Camera Phone

I get a lot of questions about what camera I use to take my photos of Baby Monster, especially from first time parents.  There are so many moments you want to capture, especially when your baby finally arrives that you want the perfect camera.  What do I tell my friends?  Get a DSLR if you want to learn how to properly use it.  Otherwise save your money and use a budget friendly point and shoot or your camera phone.

Why do I tell people they need to learn to properly use a DSLR?  Basically there’s no point in buying a camera worth hundreds of dollars if you are going to use it like a point and shoot that’s worth $100, or the camera that comes with your phone.  DSLRs on automatic mode do not give you an even better picture.  Automatic mode is behaving like a point and shoot.  But you must be saying, “It comes with that fancy zoom lens!”  Actually, the stock lens that comes with DSLR packages are not necessarily the best lens on the market.  And if you don’t know how to use the camera in manual mode (or even semi-manual) mode, you can’t even utilize the lens properly.  So unless you want to take the time to learn how to use a DSLR, save money and get a point and shoot.

Still not convinced?  Look at the two pictures below and try to guess which one was shot with a DSLR and which one was shot with a camera phone.




So the first photo was taken with my iPhone 5 and second was taken with my DSLR.  Seriously, the first picture was just a camera phone and the second was with a DSLR.  So again, if you want to learn to use a DSLR, then go ahead and buy one.  Otherwise stick with your camera phone or get a point and shoot.

And if you do decide to take the plunge into the realm of DSLR, and are still wondering what camera I use…  I first learned on a Canon 20D, which is close to a grand in price.  It’s actually really hard to use if you are trying to learn on a DSLR.  As a present from my bro, he got me a Canon T3i which is much easier to use but still pretty powerful.  I don’t use the stock lens though.  I have a Canon macro lens that I am in love with and have never taken off the camera body since I bought it even though it’s a fixie lens (no zoom).

So yes, the conclusion again:  buy a DSLR if you are going to learn how to use it properly, otherwise stick with your camera phone or a point and shoot.