On Super Bowl Sunday, Thomas and I couldn’t decide between making brownies or cookies, so we decided to mix the two and make blondies. Blondies are one of my favorite treats because they are the best of both worlds. We whipped these up in a matter of minutes and couldn’t put them down. They were dangerously delicious and addicting. We followed this recipe from America’s Test Kitchen (one of our favorite recipe books) but cut the recipe in half since there was only two of us.

While we love our little apartment and finally being able to cook in a kitchen of our own, having no laundry machine or dishwasher is just something that we have to deal with. San Francisco has a very green culture and we have picked up some of the green habits like recycling and the occasional composting. With Green products popping up everywhere like Green Skincare and Green Clothing, Green cleaning was probably the least crazy way to become more environmentally friendly.

We enjoy the Farmer’s Market just like anyone else but sometimes we can’t help but laugh by some of the questions and comments that you overhear walking from booth to booth. We have never tried to keep up with the people that think they can single-handedly patch the ozone, but we can make baby steps by using better products. By the look of most green cleaning products on the store shelves none of them appeared like they would do the job. We decided to try out Clorox Green Works because we could trust that the product would be equal parts Green and equal parts Clean.

So, when decided to make these Blondies for the Super Bowl, amongst other foods like Bratwurst, Salsa, and Guacamole we knew that the Green Works dish cleaner could handle the stack of dirty dishes. I wish I could say the same thing about our dishrack! You can watch this short Youtube video by Clorox about “The Green Housewives”- It’s pretty funny because we have actually overheard some similar things before.

This post is sponsored by Green Works®. You don’t have to compromise to be clean when you use hard working, plant-based cleaners powered by The Clorox Company.

 

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filed in: food

When Julia asked me to write about the basics of blog photography she challenged me to cover it all in one post. Well, I failed at that. When I took out my whiteboard and started brainstorming about the topic I came up with three categories to cover in depth: Picking the Location, Adjusting the Camera, and Photo Editing. I could not cover all of this in one post so I decided to do one post per category. I hope that you enjoy the series and that you can pick up some of what we have been successful with to help you take better pictures. I’m by no means an expert and I’m 95% self taught so some of the terms I use might not be spot on. Please leave feedback or further questions in the comments section.

Lighting (see pictures above)

Aside from having good style, lighting is the single most important thing for great fashion and beauty shots. There are a variety of different methods for achieving good lighting in your pictures. Your choices on location, camera adjustments, and photo editing will all make significant changes. As we started learning photography we noticed that if you start by picking a location with better lighting everything will come easier. At first we tried two different methods for taking our pictures: Backlighting and Shooting in the Shade. With Backlighting the model stands with their back to the sun and the photographer positions themselves so that the sun is hidden behind the model’s head. When we Shoot in the Shade we will often find a tree or overhang that will decrease the strength of the sun. In this method the model will stand in the shade while facing the sun and the photographer. The last way that we take pictures is with Reflected light. When we first started taking pictures in San Francisco we noticed that some of our photos had amazing light, yet we didn’t know what caused it. After a couple weeks of pictures we finally diagnosed the cause. We figured out that when we faced white or light colored buildings, which were reflecting light, our pictures came out the best ever. We have now adopted this method for a majority of our photos. Sometimes it is hard to get good reflected light and find a nice background, especially in a city that doesn’t have taller buildings. We have never used light reflectors like these but I hear that they are effective if you have a third person or stand to hold it.

Choosing a Background

When the center of the story is all about the model you don’t think too much about what the background looks like. But look at any photo that gets shared like crazy on Instagram, Pinterest, or Tumblr and you can tell that the photographer put the extra effort in finding an amazing location. When looking for a background we always search for lighting first and then we look for background colors that add something extra to the pictures. We try to make sure that the outfit doesn’t blend in or clash with the background. Keep it simple so that it doesn’t take the attention away from you and what you are wearing. The background should complement the outfit by bringing context to why you are wearing the outfit. If you do not like the background colors, your best bet is to create distance between you and the background. This can be done by shooting down a street or sidewalk.

Time of Day

We quickly figured out that the time of day will drastically impact the lighting in the photography. We choose to do about 90% of our photos during the last couple hours of sunlight. The sunlight is not as intense during this time and since the sun is lower in the sky, there are fewer shadows on the model’s face. If you time the photos perfectly you can look directly into the sun and get fantastic light. During the “Golden Hour” light is softer and warmer in hue. There are a couple of online resources and apps that will show you when the “Golden Hour” for your location takes place.

Stay tuned for our next post on camera adjustments and learning how to work your DSLR!

*Written by Thomas (my wonderful husband)

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February 4, 2013

Warm Weather Days

Dress Zara/ Belt & Tights Club Monaco/ Heels Jimmy Choo/ Hat American Apparel/ Purse c/o Rebecca Minkoff/ Ring Samantha Wills/ Cuff JewelMint/ Nail Color OPI “Fly”

The weather this weekend was so beautiful, so Thomas and I had dinner outside late Friday afternoon. I felt like we were back on our honeymoon in Italy eating pizza, drinking and staying a little longer than we should. I fully embraced the warm weather with a big floppy hat and comfy dress. I know I’ll be bundling up later this week when I’m in New York, but it was nice while it lasted :)

 

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filed in: julia's style