Wednesday, August 27, 2014

And Then Suddenly They Weren't Little Anymore ....

One day they are these tiny sweet little creatures, dependant on you for everything, and then far too soon you wake up to find they are entering teenhood  and you're hanging on to your seat for dear life, haha!
I snagged a rare opportunity to catch a few shots of my growing boys, before they outgrew their patience for me and my Nikon ;) 

Enjoy every moment with your precious "littles", because one day they won't be so little anymore. Mine are almost as tall as me now! (Yikes!) 
-J ;) 

Saturday, August 23, 2014

And Then The Rains Came

I've found the best way to enjoy a thunderstorm is with a cup of tea and a cuddle with someone you love - in this case it was our one year old puppy . (Who snores when he sleeps ;)  I chose one of my favorite mugs , a birthday gift from my friend Gaby, and decided to document this rare occasion (rain in the desert) with a photo. 
May you always see the rainbows that come after the storm! 

Friday, August 15, 2014

......and then I got an iPhone

It has been a year since my last post. Wow. A whole year.  And what have I done with all that time? You may not have even been wondering that but I'll tell you anyways ;). I finally crawled out from  the rock I'd been stubbornly hiding under and caved to the digital age -yep, I got myself a smartphone. And then, once the novelty of my new toy tamed down to a quiet appreciation, I finally began searching out ways to reignite my old passions for blogging and disconnect myself from the time wasting social media apps that were dulling my brain  and my senses. 
I'm ecstatic about this Blogger app. And as soon as I logged on with my phone and discovered it had been exactly one year to date that I stepped back from the blogging world (to take a much needed breakI) I knew the timing was no mere coincidence. The time had come to pour new life and inspiration I to this tired old blog!
 So to kick things off right, let's get some new pics up here!  Here's a fun (but brief ) look back over my past year ;) 

(Mothers day) 
My furry little lunch date ;)

Homemade samosas
Car trouble lol
Homemade tandoori chicken ;) mmm mmm! 
Kids- Chilling with their uncle
.... And his buddy, both of whom happen to be the band Thirtystreet, who gave us a concert in our living room! awesome ;) 
Tried my hand at cooking Jamaican food ;) so good! Above : beef patties. Below: chicken curry
Our puppy has his first birthday! And celebrated with a little bit of ice cream at our friends fruit stand.(they spoil him even more than we do!)
With his bestest friend, our friends 5 year old daughter - so far the only person with the energy to wear him out ! Haha
Snuggles with daddy
ATV the orchard ! Good times 

Best. Cherry. Ever. 
In the shade!!!!
Creepy bug

Beware of Dog ;) 

And so begins a new year ! I will be starting September as a student, as I am going back to college this year (finally!) and I'm super thrilled to be getting to cross this super important, long-awaited item off the bucket list! 
Here's to a new year of memories, in photo form ;) 

Sunday, August 18, 2013

My Memories Digital Scrapbook Software GIVEAWAY!


First of all I just want to thank the My Memories team for their generous offer to let me host this giveaway for all of my awesome readers out there!

Alright, here's everything you need to know:

The Giveaway will start at 7 am today and closes on Sunday September 1st. at 5 pm

Visit the MyMemories webpage and choose your favorite digital paper kit or layout, and comment back here at the bottom of this blog post telling me which one you chose,

Enter the GIVEAWAY contest in the widget below.

One winner will be selected at random and I will email them the promo code for the FREE My Memories Scrapbooking Software download.

Each entries will count for a total of 3, and you can enter once a day, for the entire duration of the contest.


This is the part you ALL get to be in on.  I will posting a promo code for ALL OF YOU to use  to get $10 off the software download and a $10 coupon for the store :

USE THIS CODE FOR A $10 DISCOUNT PLUS A $10 COUPON AT THE MyMemories online Store. That's a $20 savings overall.  Here's the code to use at the checkout:

So, while only ONE of you will win the My Memories Digital Scrapbooking Software for FREE,  the rest of you will have the opportunity to get a discount if you use the promo code  Remember that you can enter the GIVEAWAY every day once a day until next sunday!

Good luck! ;)

Share the Memories Digital Scrapbooking Giveaway

Saturday, August 17, 2013

"My Memories Suite" digital Scrapbooking Software and a GIFT FOR YOU!

Hey everyone, I KNOW, It's been nearly forever since I wrote my last blog post but THIS TIME I have a really really good excuse!  AND my excuse leads to a really really good deal for one of YOU lucky readers!
The reason I've been MIA is because I've been distracted by this new digital scrapbooking software called  My Memories Suite from .  Now to be completely honest , I am NOT a scrapbooker by any stretch of the imagination, it;s just not my "thing", HOWEVER,  as a photographer, I am always eager to see what;s out there when it comes to the editing/finishing process.. I thought I would try out this digital scrapbooking software from the My Memories site and see how it checked out in terms of editing/scrapbooking/album  programs out there.

Here I go on this honesty kick again, but as a longtime Adobe fan, and I love my Photoshop CS but I have to tell you, professional editing software is expensive, and can be quite technical  - it can be overwhelming to a beginner. Whether you are a scrapbooker who just wants to make her photos look more polished, or a blogger extraordinaire who is looking to take the blog world by storm, it's good news to hear that there is a program out there that is easy to use, affordable and still gives you good results for your photo albums.
I had a hoot playing around with this program! Everything was user-friendly - even a hassle free and simple download process which impressed me,  It DID take a bit of time to download  ( about 90 minutes actually - but maybe my well-used laptop is slowing down in it's old age, haha)  and mind you, it was a BIG file. However it is quite a powerful program and I was fascinated to see just how many creative possibilities it held.
As far as simple editing processes went, again it was easy to use, simple and efficient. There were at least a dozen different "effects" you could use, that were all simple actions that took place with just a single click the mouse. Nice!   The background patterns, colors and texture had tons of possibilities in their creative combinations. You can also look online for even more of their themed scrapbooking kits for inspiration.

As far as photo albums go, once you open the program, you have the option of selecting one of their many creative templates, or designing your own from scratch.
I used a photo of my newest furry addition to our family (our 8 week old puppy, Turk) to design my own layout and try some of the photo editing/finishing options and add some text. I'm kind of a minimalist at heart, so I kept the design simple and keep the focus on his cute little face. haha.


After using My Memories Suite

I have to admit that for a quasi-prejudiced Photoshop geek, I was super impressed with the professionalism the scrapbooking software had to offer.  Mind you, I  reviewed this from a photographer's angle, not a scrapbooker's, so I can guarantee an experienced "scrapper" could probably use this program to scrap circles around me in in terms of how much more it could handle, haha,  That;s one area where I admit I am totally out of my league.

But ya know what? THAT'S OK,  Because from my viewpoint, if you're an amateur photographer just starting out, or an avid blogger this could be just what you're looking for to get you on the right track. And it's actually fun to use too. Especially if you are a wannabe 'foodie" blogger, like me. If you hadn't noticed, my love affair with food has gone on for YEARS, haha.

My next project was influenced by my foodie fetish - A couple years ago I decided to start a family recipe cookbook that would encompass not only all of our secret family recipes passed down from generations,  include  photos of the prepared dishes, but also photos of our family ( kids included)  preparing and enjoying the food as well.  I plan to give printed, hardcover  copies to each one of my kids as a personalized 'housewarming" gift for the day they each move into their own homes. While that is a long way off yet, I've begun to collect recipes, and make sure my camera is nearby when we make them, so that I can begin my photo collection to go with the recipes.
I used one of the ready-made creative templates to create a 'ccokbook" album to see what said family heirloom recipe album could look like. Here's a page from my album:

Ya I know what you're thinking What's in it for you???

Here it is......  One of you, my dear precious readers, is going to get to WIN this software download for FREE!   How?  By entering the My Memories Digital Scrapbooking GIVEAWAY right here on my blog!  I will post the contest details right here on my blog TOMORROW.  So make sure you pop on over here tomorrow to check out how you can enter for a chance to win!
I'm super excited that My Memories asked me to host this giveaway for all my readers, and super pumped to give this away to one of you!
There's more good news about the giveaway for ALL my readers but you'll have to wait until tomorrow's post to see what that is!
There, is THAT a good enough excuse as to why I haven't been around?

I'm off to go find something to eat since staring at those food pics made my tummy rumble....
See you back here tomorrow!
~J   Xo.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Life: In Focus

 I live in the desert. And no, I DON"T have air-conditioning (I'm just crazy  kinda used to it now) and after weeks of arid, scorching hot weather, it's always a welcome relief to see the rain clouds gathering on the horizon. Let's be clear - I DON"T like rain, generally speaking, but sometimes that change in the weather is EXACTLY WHAT I NEEDED to make it through the week. Being that it is a desert, our rain "storms" generally blow through in a nasty 20-minute mess of lightning and thunder, drenching us in flood-like downpours and then leave us just as quickly, a lot of times with a gorgeous rainbow in it's wake..

For those of you who know my husband, he is a minimalist at heart - yet one of the most accomplished, hard-working, motivated people I've ever met in my life. Because of his active lifestyle and hectic schedule, he has always kept a tightly minimalistic home life - when we got married, all he had was a few boxes containing clothes, personal belongings and  books,   and his only furniture  was his mattress ( no bed frame) a recliner chair and an office desk (and chair). THAT WAS IT.   However, he had a vehicle that was fully paid off and absolutely NO DEBT.  I am thankful to have learned so much from him in the past few years.

 So often I feel like I'm falling behind in  my own life, and when I stop to look around at others who accomplish so much while I'm struggling to just stay afloat, I find myself wondering in admiration how they are so successful at so many things?  If you have ever felt like this, let me assure you, you are not alone!

Streamline.  Yes that seems to be a common denominator through these success stories and I'm beginning to see why. Work smarter, not harder. You should still put 100% effort in, just do it efficiently instead of the hard way.

Minimize. Seriously - get rid of the junk in your trunk in your home, vehicle, workspace - wherever it tends to gather.  Ask yourself - you can't take any of that stuff with you when you're dead, so how much of it do you REALLY NEED to live?  Honestly, most of our "stuff" just bogs us down, slows  us down and/or takes us down ( literally, as in, it trips you up in the middle of the night when you're stumbling around in the dark trying to find the bathroom!).

Focus - do one thing at a time. I used to pride myself on being a multi-tasker - as a single mother for a long time, I worked full time juggling a patchwork of employment through 3 jobs while also running a home-based photography business. I felt I had earned the equivalent of a Master's degree in Multitasking. What I found however that while I managed to get a lot done ( more or less)  , nothing was done WELL. Or at least not as well as I could have done it if I had truly given it the proper attention. Learning to narrow down my focus to the things I did WELL, while delegating the less important things that I suck at didn't do as well, proved to be far more effective in my overall success.

 So without further adieu, I'm announcing that I'm going to continue changing and Simplifying My Life - starting with this blog here. The plan is to  STREAMLINE, focusing my efforts in a more efficient way, so that I can bring you all MORE PHOTOGRAPHY, and less BLAH BLAH BLAH. (did I just hear cheering??) You will notice that the top tabs have changed,  as I am focusing purely on photos, not writing.  and hopefully it will feel better ORGANIZED with smoother transitions.
I'm looking forward to this change and I hope you will too!  I also hope it will inspire you to begin simplifying and organizing areas of your own life that have begun to stress you out and cause frustration and wear you down.
What areas of your life can you think of right now that would benefit from some streamlining?

Friday, May 31, 2013

Idea # 31 - Take Me Out To The Ball Game ....

                                                          (photo from Google images)
Major league baseball games have a lot of hype behind them, and don't get me wrong, even though I'm not a huge baseball fan, seeing a major league game is still somewhere on my bucket list. The sights, sounds, aromas ( I'm referring to food here - hot dogs, popcorn, french-fries, nachos, hot roasted peanuts...mmmm!)  are enough to get you into the spirit of the summer season.
If you're like me and don't live near a city center with a stadium, I have a BETTER IDEA.  Go watch a little league game. Seriously, I find them MUCH more entertaining to watch! Kids playing baseball is AWESOME and you can still hit the concession stand on game day for a hot dog or two. Not only that, when you cheer for them, kids actually APPRECIATE their fans in the stands ;)

31 days of Awesome
I hope you enjoyed reading these and I hope at the very least it has inspired you to make your days fun and enjoy the little things that can make the season special, instead of staying in the same ol' rut day in and day out.  My son already pointed out that I didn't post anything about ice cream. Whoops. my bad!
What are some things you like to do in the summer that you didn't see in my list?