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Monday, December 31, 2012

A year ahead.

Your success and happiness lies in you. Resolve to keep happy, and your joy and you shall form an invincible host against difficulties.
Helen Keller

I always liked Helen Keller. 

I do agree with this quote and as I look towards my goals and begin to flush out my calendar for the new year I am encouraged and reminded of this. Success and happiness. Not always the same, but always a part of the plan. Happiness and joy, to shield and comfort against trials and difficulties. 

While I don't make new year resolutions. I do try to refresh my goals, set a new calendar and plan my business year out each January. I find that if you don't set goals, and make a plan you tend to always be fumbling around missing deadlines, and forever behind. 

So to that end I thought I would share with you some of my goals for this blog. What you can expect to see and some things I am currently working on! Perhaps this will help you keep me all "on track" and hold me accountable for creating some more successful posts!

January: Time to Click series. This will bring you several posts with tips and suggestions for new camera owners, there will be plenty for the experienced or every day user as well. But we will be starting this year with some basics to build upon over the next year! Depending on feedback and subject content once it is all finished this series might continue into Feb or March.<in progress, please let me know now if you have suggestions for topics!>

February: To go along with the romance of the season, I plan on bringing some great tips for finding, interviewing and hiring a wedding photographer. I will also touch on some guidelines, contacts, expectations and general etiquette. <in progress, please let me know now if you have suggestions for topics!>

March and April: I am not sure it will be any sort of series, but this is a good time to cover some outdoor photography topics, macro, and possibly some family ideas. I will probably take this time to push forward and build on skills such as aperture and lens options since it goes so well with outdoor and macro topics.
May: I want to do a Mothers Day "something" perhaps this will be a good time for a guest giveaway, and end of the school year photography sessions and tips. Maybe, Road Tripping series?

June/ July: Will be tips for finding a family photographer, high school senior images, and more on posing and such for those shooting themselves.

August: Back to school

September/ October: Family portraits and sports photography. More advanced lens, shutter speed and manual trainings... perhaps additional flash if it hasn't yet been done.

November/ December: Holiday, Food, and seasonal photography.

You can also count on more Tuesday Tips, which will not always go with the topics of the month, and will remain a chance for me to get technical in response to your questions. As well as more product photography tips for everyone, and hopefully more crafts and food posts. As always, there will be plenty of current topics when PMA happens, and as new camera's and products are released!

I am also looking forward to bringing in some guest posters, not all photography related, and getting back to offering more reviews of photography outings and events. If your interested in doing some guest posting with me this year - please let me know! 

Well there you have it... a year ahead.. some plans made and I have updated my calendar with these goals so I can work on them ahead of time! I hope to, like in my business, stay ahead by a season (or a topic, here) so you are never without new content. This will make it easier also for me to simply add in current events and thoughts as they strike me rather then spending all my scheduled blogging time on the lengthy technical posts. 


Friday, December 28, 2012

Color in Motion

Today I am going outside our normal "box" here at Verte. Something that has become very close to my heart has been the education and groups supporting girls. So it was quite surprising one morning when I found an email from Morgan introducing herself to me and asking if I could help her get the word out about this project. After doing some research on both the event and the charity it supports... how could I say no!  While I am not a runner, I am seriously thinking of going to the event and doing a follow up for all of you - I mean just LOOK at these fun images! How could that not be a blast!!!! **Disclaimer - I have not been to this event - so none of these images are mine - they were given to me to use by Morgan from Color in Motion!

So, I am super excited to turn this post over to my first guest poster, who can share with you more about the event and how you can help support a local charity "Girls on the Run"

Hey friends! Do you want to have more fun this winter with your family? This is Morgan from Color in Motion 5k to tell you about an event that you are guaranteed to have a blast at and offer Verte Photo readers an awesome deal for the Color in Motion 5k fun run on February 2. This race also benefits the local Houston charity, Girls on the Run
**Use the discount code- VERTEPHOTO to register and get 10% off race registration at colorinmotion5k.com/event/Houston.**

Girls on the Run, the charity that we will be helping with this fun event benefits girls between 3rd and 8th grade and helps "inspire girls to be joyful, healthy and confident using a fun, experience-based curriculum which creatively integrates running." 

So what is Color in Motion 5k? Color in Motion 5k is the most fun 5k race you will ever participate in. This is is not a timed race so run, walk, jog, whatever your prefer. I don’t know about you but I’m always looking for ways to have more fun. If you can combine having fun with exercise, friends and a great cause, I’m all in. What more could you want? Colorful photos? You can get plenty of those as well.
If you are not familiar with Color in Motion 5k, here’s how it works.
Come in white clothes and start moving.
At every kilometer of the race there is a color pit where our wonderful volunteers throw powder color on what we call, Color Chasers, as they go by turning your white clothes into a palette of color. Like these Color Chasers

What also makes Color in Motion different than your average 5k race is the after party. Afterwards there is a big party with music, dancing, vendors and a color throw.

Doesn’t that look fun? Having participated in one, I can promise you this is an event you DEFINITELY don’t want to miss out on. While pets are not allowed, this is an event I promise your husband/wife, boyfriend, kids, and friends will LOVE.
So what do you have to do to join in on this fun? Go to colorinmotion5k.com/event/Houston and sign up using VERTEPHOTO to get 10% off, bring your friends and get ready to have a great time and support a great cause while doing it. We are excited to see yo covered in color on February 2!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

It's Ok.

I have been following several bloggers that post on this link up- and I always LOVE the posts! So I decided I would start as well. It seems like a great place to dump all your thoughts and walk away...

It's ok...

That we stayed in our pj's all day yesterday.

That I still haven't picked up envelopes much less addressed them and mailed our cards this year.

That I slept in till 8 this morning

That I want to stay in my pj's again all day.

That I finished all 27 books by a new author I found, and each time I felt a little jipped by the story, ending, or the both.

It's ok that I would still read more by that author still knowing it wouldn't be "quite" what I want out of a book.

It's ok that I let my kid play on the computer for hours at a time over Winter break.

It's ok that we just made plans last night to keep my child in private school for up to the next 2 years. Despite the cost.

It's ok that I still have to ask for help.

New Camera for the Holidays?

Are you now saying "Now what?"

Don't fret!

Camera's are a super popular Holiday gift! Unfortunately, the event you want to photograph is typically happening right when you get your new gift! It can be ultra frustrating! Hopefully, you managed to muddle through and your gift giver was nice enough to give you charged batteries and a memory card in it!

But, if that's as far as you have gotten rest assured I am not going to leave you without some support! I will be starting a new series in January designed just for you! This series will be titled: Time to Click and I will be taking you from the first steps of opening the box, proper charging of batteries, what the differences are in memory cards, to proper handing and care, basic functions and how to properly store and archive and even options to print and share your images!

I have a lot of plans for the year and am already working on this series! If you are looking forward to following along - be sure to send me a note and let me know what your struggling with, and what your really looking to learn!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Too smart.

Growing up I remember the Christmas that I realized Santa used the same wrapping paper as Mom and Dad... and had the same handwriting. It must have been around the second or third grade. The next year I was stealthy in my shopping picking up secret presents for everyone including myself, nothing big but little things and I wrapped them with paper I bought. We lived in a house in Alaska that we built, complete with wooden steps... I remember going up and down those steps and learning where to step so they wouldn't make noise... and I planned how to stay awake long after everyone else was asleep so that I could deliver my own Santa gifts to the family.

This act probably says a lot about my personality that I don't really want to analyse.

However, in trying to preserve the holiday for my child, I continue to purchase paper and hide it each year, donating the unused portion back to schools or other places. While Santa in our house typically doesn't wrap many gifts, he un-boxes things like barbies and sets them up, installing all the batteries when needed, and recycles the packaging ahead of time. This year the request was made for Santa to WRAP everything... *sigh* apparently Santa wasn't busy enough this year!

So this was the year in the rush I forgot to stick everything back in the closet one day, and my child saw it. The paper that is. I didn't say anything and just bundled up all the wrapping supplies and put them away. Hoping she wasn't paying attention. Only to have her ask that dreaded question Christmas morning... Mom... why did Santa use OUR paper?


There are time when I wish my child wasn't so observant and smart.

I tried to explain that I knew Santa was extra busy and since he doesn't normally wrap all the gifts I had purchased extra paper for him to use... just in case. Turns out he used it! She looked at me with that "I know your lying to me... but I'm going to let you think I believe you look" and we left it at that. I am so sad that shes that much closer to figuring out the secret of holiday magic.

On the flip side, everything she sees and hears melts into her brain. I am extremely lucky to have such a smart child. She has extreme empathy towards animals and is learning some hard facts about life and how other people are not as lucky as we are. She requested that I find a animal rescue for people to donate money to instead of always giving her gifts a few days ago. I couldn't be more proud of my smart cookie!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Catching Santa!

Ok, this is SUPER cute!!!!

Since my daughter has decided that she doesn't want to go see Santa to do photos with him any more, odd since she was never afraid of him and we always did something fun like breakfast with Santa at the zoo with friends... but whatever. For the past 2 years we have done an email from Santa, where he sends a nice personalized letter saying how proud he is of her accomplishments and he is looking for a special ____ gift for her. She loves them. 

But this year, I found this, well being part of US Family Bloggers, the offer found me.  After going to the site, and checking out the process, I am totally going to do it! Plus, I thought I would share it with you all! What could be more fun! 

Basically you take a photo of your house, holiday tree, Grandma or Mom, and upload the image you want to use. Select from several images of Santa, like him leaning over to do a kiss, placing presents under the tree etc... the program combines the two images and poof - you "caught" Santa in your own home! You can print or email the image out right then!
The service is normally $10, not bad... Here is a code I get to share with my readers for 25% off that... Code:SANTA2012

I am planning on taking some photos of our tree and working on this over the weekend so I can show you our image next week! I would love to see yours also! Be sure to link them to me if you post them! 

Oh and if you want to  have even more fun! Enter to win the ipad giveaway or learn how get a FREE Santa image here!

Friday, December 21, 2012

The Teacher Gift.

I am not particular crafty.. I mean I LOVE the idea of crafts, I love doing crafts... but there is a lot of cleaning up to do before when setting things up, and after... and heaven help me if it's something that needs "prepped" so my kid can help as well!

However, this year our teachers have been extra special for us. So, doing some research and talking to some other teachers... I found a craft made by a child was usually something that meant more to them then the $5 coffee gift card. Seeing as how I spend so much quality time on Pinterest, I set out to find just the right "bright idea".

I actually saw it on the ABC show "The Chew" making ornaments out of melted peppermint candies. Now I had seen the platters before - but an ornament that seemed like something that was practical and could make a cute gift! The could eat it , break it up and put it in coffee, or hang it on the tree to enjoy! Perfect! We could make them for all the teachers, and admin staff as well! Wonderful! Simple, easy... fairly inexpensive right?

Turns out, not that easy. I went to 3 stores to find the peppermints - first - WHY would stores not have big bags of these around for the holidays? I swear I see them ALL the time! I ended up having to get several smaller bags... to keep from having to go to yet another store... in the holiday season.

I tried it first on the slipmat... epic fail, as my slipmat gets used for too many crafts, I guess. It ended up making the white look burnt... so back to the store for wax paper.. which was suggested.... only to have it stick to the peppermints, and nearly smoke me out of the kitchen. One MORE trip to the store for parchment. *sigh*  I know, why do I not already have these basic things... I am going to blame my lack of desire to bake anything. So again... layout everything... and... miserable results. I couldn't cut them with our cookie cutters, even when warm, they cooled too fast, and would break as I was trying to use varies knives, and pizza cutters... btw, were on day 3 of this "simple" project, now.

So after this last fail, I simply gave up! I mean, this is sad enough I didn't even photograph it for you!!! EPIC FAIL!

Would my kid go for a gift card? Please... no. No amount of begging on my part would get her over the disappointment of NOT making something special for them. Great.

So off to the far reaches of Pinterest I went again yesterday, searching for something I might be able to do with things from around the house! When I found... Frosty Hot-Cocoa! Well, the name was different, but its a make your own cocoa mix, in a recycled jar that is dressed up to look like a snowman. Bonus. I had two jars with lids that I had been holding onto, and luckily the ingredients for the mix as well!

So I dug out a recipe I liked better then the one on that blog, I used this from Alton Brown.

  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 cup cocoa (Dutch-process preferred)
  • 2 1/2 cups powdered milk
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper, or more to taste

Only I used a pinch of cinnamon, so it wouldn't be quite as spicy but still add a bit of "hmmm what is that" to it. Split it up between the jars and proceeded to think "whew!" done!

Well, not quite, I then proceeded to spend WAY too much of my last day without a child before Christmas on trying to create a top hat out of construction paper, pom poms.. and other craft items I am too embarrassed to admit to. I finally went to Hobby Lobby and was SUPER lucky in finding a couple craft hats made of felt that would fit when glued to the lid! (and spend WAY too much on them) While I was there I picked up some ribbon for the scarf. 
By the time I picked up the little one from school I had google eyes and a pack of foam beads in different shapes set up with the scarfs tied and hats glued, so she could just decorate.
Here is one of her creations.

So all in, not counting gas it took me the better part of 3 full days, around $20-$30 in supplies depending on if you want to count the things I bought but didn't use, and the gift bags we purchased for the unmade candies, and such... and I have learned a very valuable lesson.

Next time, just get a $15 gift card for each of them. No, not really... but I did learn that I need to work better at my time management, and schedule our crafts and gifts better and be a little less "ooohh" over Pinterests version of "easy". This year has been one big time suck after another. I could have used an extra 2 days this week!

So lesson learned, I am going to order these for our next round of gifts, ahead of time like I should have done for Christmas!
To keep your lips kissable for Valentines!

And smellies with a beach theme, along with some flip flops or a fun beach book for End of Year gifts!

Btw - if you don't shop with the  Streeter's You should! She is awesome! Be sure to check out her blog, and shop here - and find your own "easy" present for your kids next holiday party too!

P.S. I am starting to work towards doing more "Pin"spiration  posts... and this week I am happy to join the link party from

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Christmas Mug Swap

Christmas is certainly a time of giving!

 Heather from Heatherly Loves, you might remember from  a past mug swap, hosted her own swap party for the holiday season...and it was a blast!

My mug swap sender really gave me a goodie! She brightened my home and my day with this great snowman mug - which I must say, nestles right into my hand  with its awesome curves!
While not all participants of this swap where bloggers... Heather has hosted a linkup so you can check out some other holiday cheer!

 Thanks again to all who participated and most of all to the woman who sent me this! It fits my snowman cheer decor perfectly!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Ornament Exchange 2012

Well I admit, I am a little behind! However, I am super excited to share the ornaments I received!

This exchange was hosted and put together by Tutus and Tea Parties, a super cute blog btw! I highly recommend you get to know Robin!

I was SUPER lucky and got to double dip my ornaments... meaning I got to have 2 partners! My first, was Colletta from Colletta's Kitchen sink. She does a great job reviewing books and recipes! PLUS she has a super cute shop attached to it!
In fact! I had a great surprise when I opened my package, she had enclosed a newborn hat from her shop, to add to my prop box for babies! SUPER awesome!!!! I LOVE IT!
 For my Ornament she made me this sweetie.... which is now prominently displayed with all my other treasures on our family tree! Yes... I included the hat in this image so you could see how adorably small it is!

My other swap partner is from Eugene, Or. Where I spent a wonderful Christmas with family YEARS ago... I have really warm memories, even though it was bitterly cold when I visited.  Chrissy from Muse in the Mornings describes herself as ". I'm a mama, an artist and a kisser of owies, giver of snuggles and nurturer of art. I live in the heart of Oregon hippie country with The Hubs and my 2 adorable children" She has a great sense of humor and I have really enjoyed reading up on her life, craft projects and ooing and ahhing over her sewing patterns.

While I feel she got the short end of the stick on this exchange... I LOVED what she sent me - It is vibrant and colorful just like her!

I am super excited that I was connected with these ladies! Both offer such great shops and blogs I am certain that I will continue to follow them and I really hope you take some time to visit as well!

On a personal note... Yes.. the background is new,  it's a background mini - small and made just for these little objects! These are the first test shots with this color combo, let me know your thoughts!
You will see more of the mini's for sale in my shop come January, but if your looking to add to your photos, picking up a pre-made mini, or custom ordering one to match your shop colors is a great option!

Monday, December 10, 2012

All I want for Christmas

I want a lot of things for Christmas... important, meaningful things. However, I thought I would post a couple of wishlist items, that I have found around the internet... been inspired by, made me giggle, or perhaps I just LOVE.

I really want the new purple ones... I know color doesn't matter... but how hot would they look!

It's just a photoshop thing!

Since I am old school and HAVE really done darkroom stuff... this is HYSTERICAL (to me)!

What you thought it would be all photo related? I need some really fantastic shoes!

A statement jacket, that isn't a jacket

A purse that is not a purse! Steller for traveling!
 And while this is listed last.. that's only to put emphasis on it! I LOVE LOVE LOVE this bag! It would be the perfect outside for the camera insert... and Zeeuh is such a great small business to support!http://zeeuh.storenvy.com/products/581406-kelly-bag-fiesta-floral

Friday, December 7, 2012

5 Fun Gifts for the Camera Lover

I know... here I was all relaxed into the holiday season and really staying up on my posts and BAM! Gone for almost 2 weeks! Crazy! I am sorry for that, we had an unexpected turn of events in our family and it has taken a while to get back to business as usual.

That being said... I had begun this post prior to the chaos and wanted to finish it up so it might be helpful to those of you who are / or have a camera lover in your life! I hope you enjoy!

I began my camera "crazy" early on, I remember taking photos secretly with my moms camera, and even remembered loving using a little 110 camera to go to the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo on a class field trip. Please don't tell me if you don't know what that is... you will only make me feel old! A few years ago my Grandfather (now 103) gave me a camera he used when my mom was growing up. It must be in my blood because he has a closet full of slides and photos! With that funky old camera, which now is showcased as the header image on this blog, began my love of camera funk! Pinterest has made it easy to not feel the need to purchase each item as soon as I find it... so I pulled out some of my fav's along with some tech gifts for the camera lover. All of these are things I know I would enjoy, or I am currently enjoying! I hope they inspire you!

The lens mug! These come in  Nikon and Cannon... I haven't seen others yet. It would be best to have the mug be the same as the preferred camera manufacture... well because otherwise it would be like giving a case of pepsi to a coke drinker...

I have recently fell in love with this print style... and LOVE that Motivate Clothing Co offers both the print and the image on a Tshirt!
Vintage Camera Print http://nvy.gd/Pb9YVX

Find a designer strap, or strap cover for them!Be sure to make sure it will fit the strap they use, or purchase one for them! I know I am partial to my strap because of the curve to it, so my cover will have to be custom made!

This one by  The Orange Bird, is great with a lens cap holder!

And here is one for the smaller cameras: from grama-carol-s-creations on Storenvy

This one a LOVE! I have a version of this bag in a different pattern, and Aubrey does a GREAT job with the stitching and pattern!  Retro Camera Clutch by Aubrey Plays

And, since I gave you two strap ideas... here is a bonus...from crumpler.com
Turn any purse into a camera bag with this great insert... ok not "every purse" but any style large bag/purse!