Sunday, December 28, 2014

My little guy turned 4!

This sweet little guy just turned four years old a few weeks ago. He got all his favorite construction trucks and a nice Thomas and Friend’s train set for presents. We didn’t throw a real party but we gave him a nice small construction themed birthday surprise. I thought this would be a perfect chance for me to practice photography at the same time let him enjoy his birthday. I used up a small space in his playroom and turned it into a makeshift mini birthday shoot setup, complete with construction themed backdrop and balloons. And oh, he loved his “little builder” birthday cake and 24 cupcakes with the same theme for his preschool friends that I ordered from Walmart. Below are some of the photos from two separate shoots that I did for his birthday.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

At the Pumpkin Patch.

Obviously, this was an overdue post but I'm still going to share it anyway, lol! We lucked out this year. None of us got sick in October. Woohoo! So we tried to do something fun for him in relation to Halloween. We took him to a church-sponsored pumpkin patch. I think he had fun. There's so much pumpkin to choose from but we ended up buying only 3...because that was all he wanted, lol! He picked all three and he put stickers all over them when we got  home, lol! Funny kid!

I was aware that he was a little overdressed for the event but I was hoping to get some decent shots of him while he's there so I put on his formal outfit. Unfortunately, there were too many people walking around to really get a good shot so I just settled with some candid poses. Below are some of my favorites.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

We're taking charge of our health.

Health is wealth. It may sound like a cliché but nothing else matters if you’re not healthy or won’t be able to afford quality health care for your family. Being government employees (hubby is a federal and I am a state employee), I would say one of the perks of having these jobs is the health insurance coverage, most especially Montana State employees. In addition to the State’s contribution towards our insurance policies, we even have nice health centers where State employees and their families can visit 100% free of charge. No co-pays thus no out of pocket expenses. My 3-year old gets sick very often and I always take him there. If they need to run more tests like lab tests, X-rays, ultrasounds and such, they will refer the patients to the bigger hospital in town. And the best part of it is that it’s absolutely free. I didn’t have to pay a dime when they did an ultrasound scan on my gallbladder when they suspected it to have stones. My little munchkin recently had a bad wheezing cough that lasted for weeks and they had to XRay him and we didn’t get charged for it because the state health center ordered the test. I mean it’s absolutely amazing health coverage that Montana provides to their employees.

On top of that, we have free health coaching, free dietitian, once a year free eye checkup, free preventive screenings such as cervical cancer screening, mammography, well-child care, routine immunizations, diabetes screening and more, all provided by the State to its hard working employees. Why does the state dump so much money investing for their employees health? (one may ask) It’s quite simple. Because an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure. In the long run, the state can save a lot of money with the health care insurance expenses if they stay on top of their employees’ health issues. Definitely makes sense! And so because of that, I think we are very lucky. But that doesn’t mean if you’re not government employed, you can’t have great insurance providers as well. You’re just gonna have to do your research and find a great agent for health coverage that’s gonna help you meet your health care needs without spending a ridiculous amount of money.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Best earphones ever.

I have gone through earphones like crazy. I usually buy the cheap ones in my favorite color but to be honest, they don’t really last very long with mediocre sound quality. So when my last set broke on me again for less than a year, I’ve decided to just get me a nice, expensive shure 315 earphones. They are awesome. This particular model blocks ambient noise because of its custom fit sound isolating sleeves. It’s truly high quality and the buds fit comfortably in my ear. Definitely worth the price.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

My Little Buccaneer on Halloween!

I was excited for my little man for this year's Halloween. It's his first time to go trick or treating. Well, not by choice though. We were just that unfortunate that every Halloween for the past 3 years, he gets sick. So we'd end up staying at home wearing whatever costume I bought for him for that year. So when Halloween 2014 was approaching and he didn't show any symptoms of getting sick, we made plans. I took time off from work and Jeff and I took him to the walking mall to go trick or treating. He had a blast. I picked this cute little buccaneer costume from Amazon and oh boy I think my young man looked adorable, lol! He originally wanted to wear his Spiderman costume from last year but thankfully I talked him into wearing the buccaneer outfit instead. I agreed to let him bring his Spiderman bucket so he can have at least some Spiderman spirit, lol!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

It's that time of the year again.

Our Philippine wedding anniversary is in 2 months, so I can’t help but reminisce the beautiful and grand things that had happened that day. It was a "dream wedding come true" for me. My family, relatives and the closest of my friends have all attended and witnessed a very special moment of my life. Not to sound like I’m bragging, but we spent a whole deal of time, sweat, effort and money into making my dream wedding come true. We thought about all the minute details. And in hindsight, I could have listened to my friend when she suggested that we might want to have a dj present during the reception. At that time, she was looking for a wedding dj in wilmington for her wedding that happened in the same week that I had mine 3000 miles away from US. But we decided not to have one at the reception anyway. We did hire a group that sang the whole time at the reception and I think we liked it that way. We're not really party people anyway, lol!

Monday, November 3, 2014

Small guitar for him.

My little man is showing some interest in playing the guitar. I mean I know he’s really too young to learn anything useful but he likes to spend time with his Dad when he’s down there practicing in the basement. He helps his daddy tune the guitars, lol! I know it’s more like playtime for him but I think if we encourage him and support him with it when he’s old enough to take guitar lessons, it will be wonderful. We have both electric and acoustic guitars but none for a kid his age, so we’re thinking of getting him a ½ size acoustic guitar for Christmas. I am looking at our options as to where to get it. We have a guitar store in town so we’re probably start our search there. I heard of Musicians friend, an online music store so I think we’ll check it out as well.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Have two left feet.

I’ve always admired people who have the innate talent to sing and dance. They seem to have so much poise and grace in them. Some people who aren’t so gifted though but likes to learn how to dance would sometimes even go to dance lessons. I remember when we had our Philippine wedding 4 years ago, our wedding planner asked us if we would like to do a special dance number as a couple, lol! I was all for it. I mean I’m not a dancer or anything but I think I can dance. But hubby wasn’t too keen about it. Even if I’ve suggested that he should take a short term private dance lessons santa monica. He just isn’t comfortable dancing let alone do it in front of so many people.

Monday, October 27, 2014

7 Years...and Counting!!!

Seven years ago today, I married the love of my life in a very small, intimate Christian wedding, witnessed by my sister and her family and my father-in-law. Like most married couples, we've been through ups and downs during our 7 years of being together. It's part of being married I guess. Two distinct individuals living together striving to have common goals in life, there sure have to be some adjustments to go through. Getting married is easy, staying married is an ongoing process. And I am proud of us for reaching 7 years. We survived the 7-year itch, lol!

I thought instead of sharing the same old wedding photos from 2007, I'd like to have some recent photos of us taken on the day that we celebrated our 7th year. So here we are, braving the crazy, windy Fall weather here in Montana, lol! Just to have some photos of us together which clearly we haven't done in a long while. So I set up my T3i with my new 85mm f/1.8 lens on my tripod, chose the 10second timer option ('coz I couldn't find my remote) then ran back and forth to my focused spot until we got at least 2 decent shots, lol! Whew! Yep, it was hard work considering the brrrrr weather but totally worth it!

Inspired  by Pinterest ideas, I glued 7 "copper" pennies (copper being the symbol of 7th anniversary) on a piece of paper representing the years that have had significant meaning to our lives. When I first saw this, I thought it was cute and very thoughtful so I decided to give this to hubby as one of my gifts for him. And guess what, he loved it!

Umm, the photo below?!? Just me, wrapping up the session with a solo shot in the comforts of our living room, lol! Couldn't take the "chill to the bones" weather anymore.....but I had to have a solo shot, right? LOL!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Looking for a possible upgrade.

I really think that it’s time to upgrade our couch. It’s been 7 years old and the cushions aren’t as comfortable anymore as when we first bought it. Not to mention the fact that when you have a child, they seem to wear off faster. My almost 4 year old loves to eat and play in the couch so one could imagine how much stain and liquid spill I have wiped off of our “used to be” nice chocolate colored microfiber couch and loveseat. So lately, we have thought about getting a new one. I am not quite sure yet though whether to get another microfiber again or try leather this time. I’ve been looking at our local furniture store in town as well as keeping my options open by searching online. And I found this really neat discount furniture store online and I thought their selection is pretty good. They have this cute brown sectionals that I’ve been eyeing for a while now. They seem to have delivery options so I think that’s great!

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Birthday Girl.

I sometimes have a tough time remembering how old I really am because the husband always tells me that I am 29, lol! Well, I was 29 when I first met him but that was like what 9 years ago, phew!

But anyway, I am now a year older and wiser hopefully, lol! These photos are taken by my hubby on my birthday. I initially didn't plan to have a birthday shoot but my mom kinda suggested that I should have one..just.. you know.. to have updated pictures on my FB page, lol!

As I've mentioned in my earlier post, the husband did give me an expensive brand spanking new lens. Probably not expensive to the professional photographers standards but to me, since I am just an amateur hobbyist, my Canon 85mm f/1/8 prime lens is an expensive, excellent portrait lens that I own so far. I could not stop raving about how sharp and great this lens is. I really love it despite the fact that I would need quite a lot of room to use this thing. This is like a perfect outdoor portrait lens for me. Below are a couple of shots using this lens.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

A new addition to my gear.

I celebrated my birthday two weeks ago. Nothing fancy, just quality time with my 3 year old and hubby. I've never been into birthday parties anyway, lol! It was wonderful watching the two made a strawberry cake with pink frosting for me. Then I made some baked cheesy tortellini for dinner. I got a box of chocolates and card from my little guy. Like I've said it was just a simple celebration. However, my wonderful hubby surprised me with an expensive birthday gift though. I've always wanted to own an 85mm f/1.8 lens by Canon but I never thought it would happen sooner. I was really in cloud nine to say the least, lol! Just as I've expected, this lens is amazing. It's the sharpest and most expensive lens in my arsenal at the moment. I couldn't wait to try it out so I had a mini photo shoot with hubby as the photographer using my new lens on my birthday. And I am going to share those pictures on my next post. Ciao!

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Back from a long hiatus.

I know...I know...It's terrible! I have been away from blogging for what seems like forever. I don't even want to attempt to make up any excuses this time. I lost inspiration to write. Plain and simple! Yes, I have been busy...with work, family and my new found passion in photography. But I could have spent a little bit of my time blogging but I didn't because I didn't feel like it, lol! So there you go...Just the laziness and lack of motivation have gotten the best of me lately.

However, I am proud to say that I am back...hopefully for good this time! I didn't realize how much I've missed blogging until I just have so many things in my head and I wanted to express it with no holds barred and I thought wait a minute, yeah I do have some kind of a virtual diary where I can pour my thoughts out. So yeah, I am happy to be back..I have so many things to share. I will try to write updates more often that I had been. So please stay tuned, lol!

Friday, June 20, 2014

Vigilante Parade 2014.

Last month, I had a wonderful opportunity to witness this year’s Vigilante Parade here in Helena which is one of the longest-running high school parades in the nation. The parade was originated in 1924 by Helena High principal A.J. Roberts, whose goal was to replace several activities that had “gotten out of hand,” including Skip Day and Senior-Junior Fight Day.

The parade started around noon-ish so instead of eating lunch, I went down and watched the parade and took pictures. The young minds of these HS students are so brilliant, creative and so full of life. It got a little crowded especially when the parade was in full swing, so I find a sweet spot away from everybody's way. I stood on an elevated part of a building where I can see the floats and participants without having to deal with heads obscuring what could have my great shots.

I used my medium telephoto lens (55-250mm) and I thought that was the perfect lens for that shoot. Not only had I gained an insight on the rich history of this town but I was able to enjoy photography and captured colorful pictures. So hope you enjoy some of the parade highlights as shown below:

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Eliminate language barrier in the corporate world.

Most businesses aim for globalization. As part of that objective, they try to cater to the diverse need of their clientele. However, the language barrier may prove to be a significant deterrent towards that goal. Thankfully, there are a number of reputable translation companies out there to help bridge the gap on this aspect of business. Basically, a translation agency like Rosetta Translation provides a full range of translation services to companies worldwide. They specialize in high-quality document translation for business and commercial texts. They make this happen by employing the right person for the job. This is particularly important if you’re dealing with financial and legal translation. To ensure that they’re giving their clients the excellent service that they deserve, this company only uses translators with immaculate linguistic skills. Being accurate and reliable as far as meeting tight deadlines are also very essential aspects of being a great translating agency.

Even in just a small business setting, the need to communicate and be understood is paramount. I remember when I use to work in IT at a bank, they have their own group of multi-language speakers set up. While English is the most preferred language in business, a wise business entity wouldn’t turn away a prospective customer just because they don’t speak English well. I think that’s their goal why my previous employer had a group of multi-lingual employees. They have anticipated a need to reach out to more prospective customers by eliminating any language barriers.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

My Camera Bags.

For someone like me who had just ventured into DSLR photography as a hobby, I was on a serious hunt for a camera bag. Initially I wanted a roomy, nicely-padded, waterproof bag that could hold a camera body, 2 or more lenses and other accessories. I know that I would eventually invest on better lenses so a big camera bag like the Canon 2400 SLR Gadget Bag for only $32.00 was what I wanted right off the bat. I was quite happy with its price and quality. I love the padded adjustable dividers which allows me to customize it to my equipment. It has a durable shell, with rugged water repellant nylon fabric and a shoulder strap with non-slip, adjustable shoulder pad for carrying comfort. I actually don’t have that much gear and accessories yet but I think the bag is big enough to house all my current gear and probably more should I decide to get more lenses, external flash and what not.

However, I could think of one con with this bag though. It looks too geeky and flashy for me, lol! It screams “Hey, I got expensive stuff worth mugging in here” so I really wasn’t too comfortable lugging it with me wherever I go. I stopped taking my camera with me for a while because there were just too many things to pay attention to in every morning dash to Caleb’s preschool and my work. But now that days are getting warmer and spring is almost here in Montana (not quite but it’ll eventually get here, lol!), I want to carry my camera with me everywhere so I won’t miss any opportunity to shoot good pictures of flowers, bugs, and possibly birds on my break my quest to find me a small, handy but still can give my camera the best protection it needs continues!

I find these holster type camera bags really cute and not too bulky. I decided to get Case Logic SLRC-201 SLR Zoom Holster on Amazon for only $28.00.  I didn't expect much of the quality considering the cheap price but much to my surprise, this cute little thing really exceeded my expectations. My T3i with my longest lens attached to it fit snugly and comfortably. I like how small and easy to carry this bag is.  

The interior has memory foam which serves as a padding and the water-proof EVA base which allows the case to stand up on its own is a bonus. Obviously, I can only carry one lens attached to the camera with this bag and store my extra memory cards, batteries and filters in the three zippered compartments but that's the whole point of getting this bag. I want it to be my perfect everyday easy-travel camera bag.

Another thing that I love about this bag is the hammock system as you can see in the picture below. My camera does not sit on the bottom of the case, it's actually being suspended by this sort of an ingenious suspension system which added a superior impact protection. Ok, I know I sounded like this was a paid endorsement but it's not. I happen to just simply love this purchase and I want to brag about it, lol!

For now, I am really happy with my camera bags. But in all honesty, I am really drooling over the Epiphanie camera bag collection. They look girly, stylish looking camera bags that you wouldn't even think of them as gadget bags. But for $165.00? Nah, that would have to wait! My money would be better off spent on a professional lens than a bag, lol!