April 29, 2011

New Camera!

I finally have my camera!! It came on Wednesday and we got here Thursday right before Cru. I spent the night reading through the manual to make sure I knew where everything was. Surprisingly, after that short prep time, I know how to do all the basics now! I was worried that it would be confusing because every time I checked out the camera in the store it seemed complicated. But after reading where everything is, it's very easy.

Yesterday I took my new friend out on the drillfield to test it out! I LOVE how bright the pictures are! And how easy it was to switch from auto to manual! Although I'm feeling very noob right now because it seems too easy - and I always hear photographers say there's always more to learn. So at least I feel like I have a good start and don't feel too intimidated to try. And I did have some difficulty trying to use the meter to get a better exposure, but it will be so fun to learn everything! Okay, now you can look at the pictures! (I can't really take credit for these first two because I was still cruising in auto mode at this point - but I LOVE the colors so I had to show them!!)Favorite!Testing out aperture settings. :)I took this one for Whit because he loves flowy water shots. (PS The NEX no-shake feature is AWESOME)So bright & vivid (*double rainbow reference)Yay what a fun day! I can't wait to try it out more!
I was feeling so inspired that I came home, went to the grocery store, and made dinner! We had baked chicken parmesan (thanks Jess for the recipe!!), noodles, bread, and the wine we bought from Chateau Morisette a few weeks ago. Right before we started eating, I remembered that I have my new camera and could take pictures of our food, so I did!YUM.
Hope you have a great Saturday!!

April 27, 2011

Daily Dose of Cute

If you are sad, bored, frustrated, or just in need of some adorableness, check out these super cute Shiba Inu PUPPIES!! http://www.ustream.tv/sfshiba It's a live camera feed of six precious Shiba pups. Watch them and their mommy as they play, nurse, and sleep.

What is a Shiba Inu? Why, it's only the best breed of dog ever!Shibas are a Japanese breed in the non-working group. They are in the Husky and Akita family, and a lot of people say they resemble a little fox! Shiba Inu is Japanese for "small dog." They're about 1/3 the size of a husky (about 20 pounds) - perfect to cuddle up in your lap! They are extremely popular in Japan as they make great apartment dogs (they don't bark and they have a big bladder). They have a cute curly tail, soft pointy ears, and snuggly little snout that you just have to kiss! And let's not forget those melting eyes - that come in at the corners displaying their Japanese origin. (Look at the puppy below - would you not do anything he asked??)

They come in red:white:and black/tan (aww!!):This stately guy looks like my first Shiba Inu pup, Prince Edward (affectionately known as "Prince" and "Eddie"). He had the perfect markings! Whit always says they look so sophisticated. Shibas are not to be messed around with - they're to be taken very seriously. A Shiba IS the king of his household. Their demeanor is cat-like; they only come when they feel like, they clean themselves regularly, and they're quite aloof. They're easy to get along with, especially for someone who shares their independent nature, like me. They're just about the only dog Whit likes, because they don't slobber or demand constant attention. Sometimes I wish my pup would linger in my arms a little longer though...I could pet her super soft ears for much longer than she sometimes allows. I'll leave you with my favorite internet pic of a Shiba. This one has markings more like my dog, Lady. And you're welcome for all the cuteness!


Whit and I have been traveling around these last two weeks. We got some great visiting in and had a lot of fun.

We started off in Lynchburg for Courtney's bridal shower. It was great to see her (and spoil her) and also see two of her bridesmaids again, who I had met a few weeks ago. They're great and it was fun to see them again before the wedding this summer. After that we hung out with Evan and Courtney at the JCrew sale, checking out their new house (which is AWESOME), and stuffing ourselves with delicious Mexican food. I love seeing them and am so glad we've been taking advantage of the short distance between us while we still can! Oh yeah and I forgot to mention - on the way to Lynchburg it was literally pouring rain the WHOLE way. I mean TORRENTIAL rains. It was kinda weird because there wasn't any thunder/lightning. I guess it was one of those tornado rains.

The next day we headed east to visit Becky & Justin and see our new NIECE for the first time!! Anna is SOOOO adorable!! I don't love that many babies, but she is really cute. She's two months old and is seriously the size of a baby doll (and looks like one!). See??
Whit had NEVER held a baby before, so this was his first time! He did well! We loved this little sleep sheep toy she had that makes ambient noises - including whale sounds. It was so funny to hear a sheep making whale calls. It was so great getting to spend a lot of time with Becky & Justin since we are normally just there to spend the night.

Then, since we were in the Virginia Beach area, we met up with Bryan & Erin! We hung out on the beach for a little bit (it was a gorgeous day) and then had lunch at "The Raven." The food was good but we joked that they should sell t-shirts that say "I was really hungry by the time my food came" because they were really. slow. So great to catch up with them (and we're sad we missed their visit to Blacksburg the one time we weren't there!).

From there I think you know the rest of the story - we've been in Mechanicsville meeting with some of our ministry partners and it has been great to see them as well. We've really enjoyed spending time with our parents too! Tomorrow it's off to Blacksburg again. I can't WAIT to be there to enjoy beautiful Blacksburg summer - and take pictures of the drillfield with my new camera! - which should be arriving TODAY!!! YAY!

April 24, 2011

Happy Easter!

What a great Easter! Whit and I came up to Baltimore for the weekend. He has done Easter with my family every year except when I was in Venezuela, and it was fun to come together this time as a married couple. Evan came too, but Courtney went on to visit her family so we missed her this weekend! Maybe next year. ;) We went to church last night - and the place was still packed. It was kind of odd seeing the "He is Risen" signs up front and celebrating Christ's resurrection when it was only Saturday night...but He is really risen so I guess it makes sense when you think about it un-symbolically. The service was pretty good, but what I couldn't stop thinking about was all the people in the room who I knew were only there because it's Easter. My heart was so burdened for them, like I have never experienced before at an Easter service. It made the lyrics we were singing mean so much more, that God is mighty to save - He conquered their graves. I hope that many people understood the true Gospel message - that Jesus changes lives - and that He will change theirs.

I loved this quote from Eugene Peterson:

"You don't live in a mechanistic world ruled by necessity; you don't live in a random world ruled by chance; you live in a world ruled by the God of Exodus and Easter. He will do things in you that neither you nor your friends would have supposed possible."

I just love the reminder that Christianity changes your life. Because Jesus died, God works in us through the Holy Spirit to literally make us different people - people who aren't angry or bitter, discouraged and hopeless, lost or alone. "Thanks be to God who gives us victory through our Lord Jesus Christ!" (1 Corinthians 15:57)

This morning we woke up, had a beautiful breakfast that my mom made (english muffin french toast with fruit and honey yogurt), opened fun Easter baskets (with Tim Tams and Loft tank tops!), and then all sat down and Evan narrated the Easter story to us from the Bible, with commentary. It was great to go so in depth and think about things differently. We also did a couple of fun Bible quizzes based on the Easter story. For one of them, we heard made-up quotes about the resurrection from a first-person perspective, and we had to guess who "said" it. I loved this one from the angel who got to announce Jesus' ressurection:

"I was there for the most glorious moment of earth's history! I witnessed the greatest event that has ever occurred, and the Lord allowed me to help Him with some of the details and remain behind to tell others the good news!"

We had great family time after that too - playing at the park (doing pull-ups, walking Lady, and even getting ice cream from the ice cream truck), playing games, eating a fabulous dinner, and ending the day with a movie. Saturday was really fun, too - we shopped til we dropped at Arundel Mills, along with thousands of other people (I'm a bad estimator, but it is a huge mall and it was completely packed). It was so good to spend time with family and celebrate our Savior!

April 22, 2011

The Deal is Done

I got it!!! I bought my new camera today!! I am soooooooo excited!!!! It took me a long time to decide which camera to buy...and then once I decided, the good deals were gone! How annoying - right when I decide to buy, the price goes up. So I've been waiting patiently for the past few weeks, checking Best Buy each Sunday. The bundle I wanted was more expensive, same price, and then gone. I had been checking ebay too, but it was just as expensive or more. But today I randomly went on ebay just to see...and found the perfect deal!! They had the price on the Best Buy bundle that I had been waiting for. I actually ended up getting a better package that included lots of extras - huge memory card, lens filters, tripod, and carrying case. Score! Now I just have to wait until it arrives! So which one did I get?

The Sony Nex 3! Once I decided this is the one I wanted, I started waiting for the replacement to come out. I had read some rumors online that they were going to announce the release of an upgraded camera on April 4. However, because of the earthquakes in Japan, the factories have been at a halt so they haven't been making the sensors. They might release the camera later this summer, but I need to start learning how to use it now so I can take sweet pictures of the Rockies (and Tech's campus before I leave!).

So, why did I decide on this one?
This Sony and the Canon Rebel XS were my two choices - both equally great cameras. It's really hard to choose between two similarly good options, but I realized that I just like the Sony more. Normally I make decisions completely based off of logical reasons because I don't know which on I like more. I realized that I was leaning more towards this camera and thinking about it a lot because I had been researching it so much, and it's just cool!

I figured that if this camera really isn't as good, I can always sell it and get a DSLR in the future. The determing factor was that if I decide to do that, I won't really lose any money. The price of this camera will surely go down when they release the new one, but the prices of the Rebel aren't going anywhere (they're already as low as they will probably ever be). So even if I lose some money selling this one in the next few years, I can easily pick up a different camera for as much as I will sell this one for. I get to try this camera out now (I'm so curious about it!) but if it turns out to not be what I want, at least I'll know that I tried it and didn't like it. In addition, this camera will be great to learn on before switching to a DSLR, if I do that. It's trickier (most features are accessed through the camera menu), but I learn it then switching to DSLR buttons will be a breeze. And with all the tips it offers and the way that it's more similar to a point and shoot, it should be easier to learn on this one and way less intimidating.

In the meantime, this camera will be perfect for starting out and for my needs right now. I want to be able to take it on hikes in Colorado to photography the scenery of the beautiful Rocky Mountains. I don't want to be hauling around a huge camera bag. I also really want to try to take it in to Phish shows this summer to utilize the HD video. The camera has an excellent AF feature so I hear, which will make the videos turn out way better than I could ever do on my point and shoot. So even if I want to get the bigger DSLR in the future, this small one (with video) is perfect for right now.

Also, I did a comparison online, and figured out that this camera is actually much better than the Rebel. It has many more features (besides the lack of lenses) including higher ISO, larger screen, more FPS (shoots way faster), has video, better image quality, and significantly better image quality (more MP). So I think I made the right choice. Can't wait til it comes in - YAY!!!!

April 21, 2011

Photo Card

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April 18, 2011


When we were in Charleston, WV for our service spring break trip with Cru, my team spent a rainy day helping out at the Habitat for Humanity ReStore. We were in the group that was working on the Habitat houses for the week, and when it rained they sent us off to this fun store to do some clean-up and help organize the place. I didn't know much of anything about Habitat before the trip, and had definitely never heard of a ReStore. I learned a ton about it that day though and thought it was awesome enough to share!

Habitat for Humanity builds homes for people living in unsatisfactory living conditions and can't afford to upgrade to safer, healthy environments. It's actually a fairly intense process, so the people who get the homes definitely deserve them - they have to take several classes about home repair in addition to putting in 100 (I think) hours working on the house themselves.

Habitat homes are funded mostly through donations, and the labor is mostly supplied by volunteers (electrical wiring and such are contracted out, of course). A lot of the funds come from the Habitat ReStore. The ReStore is a Goodwill-esque Home Depot. People and businesses donate used or imperfect doors, tiles, sinks, furniture, and home odds and ends. At the store we were at they got palettes of tiling for free that would have just been thrown away because it was extra or the wrong color or whatever. Habitat then sells the furnishings and donates the proceeds to build houses. It costs about $50,000 to build a house (they only pay the bare essentials), and the store we were at had fully funded 7 houses over the last few years. If there's one near you, you should check it out - you could find a great deal on a desk or cabinets and donate to a great cause. A couple of years ago some guy (local artist?) donated a TRUCKLOAD of bottle caps that he had been collecting to the ReStore. They didn't know what to do with them all, so they created this awesome picture of recycling on the wall of the store! Each bottle cap represents one ton of material that has been diverted from a landfill due to it being recycled to the Habitat store. They are divided by year. It's so cool to see the level grow each year! Cool recycled bottle chandelier.

I got to try my hand at decorating this room to make the furniture look more appealing so people would buy it. I totally transformed the look of the room by rearranging all of those pictures you see on the wall - that wall was completely covered with those canvases! They weren't lined up or straight at all and the wall was just really cluttered; it looked terrible. We opened the vintage chest (to the left of the fireplace) that they were itching to sell and made it and the pictures marketable by stacking the canvases inside so people could look at them. We leaned other pictures in strategic places and arranged the back wall so the pictures were even. We took down a lot of the pictures and only displayed the best ones so they would catch people's eye, making them want to look at the rest.

April 16, 2011

Safari Park!

Love animals? Love adventures? Love laughing? You need to go to Safari Park. Safari Park is a 180 acre drive-through zoo. Pile in the back of a truck (or remain in the safety of your vehicle) with a bunch of friends and buy a few buckets of feed. Drive slowly and hold the feed out of the car so the animals come up to you to get a snack. You will laugh hysterically as you feed animals that come close enough to pet them, squeal as they come too close for comfort, and just smile because of how ridiculous the whole experience is. We went to Safari Park yesterday for our staff social, a one-a-month outing to help us feel connected and get to know each other better since most of our time is spent on our personal ministries. The Highfields drove their van separately, and the rest of us piled into the back of Mike's truck. Adam and I documented the experience, Julie and Dan tried to avoid the animals as much as possible, and Whit and Kelsey tried to rile the animals up the best they could.
If you have never been, this is what it looks like. GIANT animals come up to your car - and stick their heads in your windows!! If you want them to go away, the only thing you can do is to keep driving.You get to see (and pet!) many varieties of animals, including zebras! (We saw 7!)
Julie was afraid to feed them. Besides the animals being silly, Julie provided a lot of entertainment trying to escape them.

The funniest part of the day was when 3 huge camels came to our open truck bed to get some dinner. We had already seen camels and knew they were a little aggressive - one of them had stolen one of our buckets of feed. We approached the next set of camels slowly, and I decided to try to feed it since I hadn't fed the other camels. I held out the bucket and everyone was hoping he wouldn't steal the bucket. As soon as his lips touched the bucket, he grabbed it away!! I had no hope trying to get it back - he was strong and he turned away from us, saying "nope, it's mine now." Then other camels came and caused a ruckus - us standing in the truck bed, camels' giant heads everywhere, and feed being poured out all over Dan multiple times. And Lisa got the whole thing on video!
Such a weird juxtaposition - farm and safari creatures in Virginia with a beautiful backdrop of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
Whit enjoying feeding the animals.
We went to Safari Park for one of our first dates/trips back in 2007. It was just as fun coming back again with our friends.
The great part about Safari Park is that it's really two zoo experiences in one. You drive around and feed tons of animals that come right up to you, and then you get to walk around and see caged animals and pet some more. We went on the kangaroo walkabout and this little guy was sitting right on the path, outside of his fenced-in area. We figured out we could get up really close to him, and eventually I got up the courage to feed him and pet him! He was the most fun animal I've ever fed - his lips were really soft and he didn't slobber all over my hand - very professional. And he had the softest fur!! It was like rabbit fur.
My other favorite part of the day was getting to pet these little lemurs! Whit hopped the fence and went up to their cage to feed them, so of course I did the same (fortunately we didn't get caught). They were so cute eating out of my hand! One of them even held hands with me with its little tiny fingers! They were sooooo cute - and the one on the right had a little tiny lemur baby!! I LOVED it! I'm ready for the next adventure, Safari Park!

April 11, 2011

Ready to Rest

It's the end of another jam-packed weekend. Friday Evan and Courtney came to hang out with us and spend the night. We talked for awhile and played games (including Clue, my favorite!). It seemed like they were just here, but the last time they came was Christmas break. They came and stayed because their first wedding shower was the next day at my cousin Shannon's house in Blacksburg. I was so bummed that we couldn't go to their shower, but Whit's friend from high school was getting married at the same time.

Saturday morning was the Susan Komen Race for a Cure. It was a 5k and a lot of our family was there to walk in memory of my Aunt Doris and also in honor of my Aunt Brenda, a breast cancer survivor (she was there too!). Us newlyweds and engaged came after the race ended since we stayed up late the night before and met everyone for lunch at Zaxby's...yum! It was great to see everyone there for a little bit since we couldn't go to the shower.

My mom and all her kids!

Aunt Brenda and granddaughter Carolyn. I had only seen her before at our wedding. I finally got to hold her - she's too cute!
Whit in his new suit! He got it just in time and is now ready for the 10+ weddings we have in our near future.We headed to Charlottesville from there for the wedding. The ceremony was in the chapel at UVA which was so pretty. The ceremony itself was so beautiful, too. We sang a few of my favorite worship songs, In Christ Alone and Be Thou My Vision - great wedding songs! It was our first wedding since we've been married and it was great to be reminded of our covenant that we made 5 months ago. One thing that particularly stuck out was something the pastor said about the congregation being witnesses. Because we are witnesses, we're not just watching the ceremony, we're agreeing to watch over their relationship and make sure they are keeping their covenant. It was great to hear and think about all the couples' weddings we've been to and will go to, and how we are to watch over their relationship as their friends and family. The reception was really fun too - I got to hang out with Whit's group of friends from high school who I've never really spent much time with before, and it was a lot of fun.

Extremely foggy day, but Charlottesville was still beautiful!We slept in this morning because my evening was full of different things for work. I got to talk at women's time about the purpose of marriage. I really enjoyed planning for it - it felt way more fulfilling than like an obligation. Talking to the girls was fun, too, especially being on the panel and discussing questions people had. I unfortunately missed my next thing because women's time took too long, but I was glad I got to stay and talk about relationships. I was supposed to go film a video clip for the world team. I'm bummed I never got to share about Venezuela and missed my one opportunity, but I was glad to talk to girls because I haven't really gotten to do that before either.

I haven't packed yet and I'm leaving tomorrow morning for a Women's Conference with some other women on our staff team. I am so ready to rest and be refreshed after one of the busiest weeks I've had all year. I think it will be a great time to worship and be poured into, and I'm hoping to meet some of the women I'll be working with next year as well as grow closer to the ones on my team now. We have a 5 hour drive together so that shouldn't be too hard! ;) They have a fitness center, too, so I'm planning to run some because next Saturday is the 3.2 for 32. It will be funny that I'm leaving my husband but I'll come home and the house will actually be cleaner than when I'm around...I'm definitely the messy one in this relationship. I'll miss Whit a lot - this is the first time we've been apart since we got married, but fortunately today we got to spend good time together and have a lot of fun (it was a beautiful day so we walked to the mall and got a smoothie). Hopefully I will come back refreshed and ready to start meeting with people for MPD! See you in a few days!

April 8, 2011

Goodbye Free Time...

...hello Pinterest! I just got invited to join Pinterest on Thursday morning and I quickly figured out that that is where most of my free time will go! Pinterest is a new website that's kind of a mix of photography and social networking. You have your own page where you can create "boards" (kind of like folders) where you can "pin" pictures of whatever you want on them! I love love love it because I can think of new board ideas and then waste my time adding pictures I love to them! Finally a place to store all the pictures you want to look at, and you can share them with your friends! It's kind of like twitter in that you can "repin" a picture you like from someone else. You can also comment on people's pictures and like them. It's also fun that you have to write a witty or creative comment on all of the ones you post. So while you're waiting for your invite, check out my page! http://pinterest.com/bluechameleon/ So far I haven't found anywhere to write this on the actual website, so I'll explain why I chose that name here. I picked the name Blue Chameleon because I am interested in so many different things (so I knew I would have a variety of pictures), but if you take me to turquoise waters I won't leave! So my true color is blue. :) If you join follow me so we can share fun pictures!

April 7, 2011


I have decided which camera I want!! Now I just have to wait until

April 3, 2011

Full Weekend

This weekend was so fun! Friday was pretty laid back, but the rest of the weekend was full of fun things. Saturday I met Nicole for lunch at the Cellar. It was so good to see her and catch up! :) While we were eating I was watching the weather outside through the window. It was the weirdest weather I have ever seen! It was 45 degrees and snowing. But not just snowing, going back and forth between rain and snow (with no slushy mix). To top that, later in the day it rained while the sun was out! What a freak day. At least near the end of the day I got to see a full rainbow all the way across the sky! I don't think I've ever seen both sides of a rainbow before. St. Patrick's Day must be coming a little late this year. After hanging out with Nicole, Whit and I headed up the mountains for Chateau Morisette. I went once with girlfriends in the fall, but I knew it would make a great date for a chilly day. We got to take a free tour. I didn't learn as much as last time, but I got to see a lot more of the factory. Our adorable tour guide, "Mr Magoo!"Love the rafters!The wine tasting was great! I had the same wines as the last time I went, when I had never really had any wine before. This time, I completely surprised myself by drinking every red wine - and not being thoroughly disgusted by the smell of each. Whit thinks it's good that I like red wine, and maybe he's right, but I'm still disappointed that I can drink stuff that I used to think smelled like easter egg dye (and probably still does). We left with a bottle of red (Whit's excited that I will finally drink it with him) and two jars of jam made out of wine! It is so good! A quick stop in Floyd! What I found? A super cute camping knife in my favorite color! (I'll have to sneak it in our bags when we go...Whit doesn't think it's exactly camping material...I don't understand.) Maybe one day my kitchen can be entirely turquoise...

We'll have to go back sometime during the day to look at some awesome artwork (the store hours are actually "Wednesday afternoons, Thursday afternoons & evenings, and Saturday 11-3"). There is a gigantic painting of a blue whale that I want to get for our non-existant aquarium room, a
more reasonable size painting of jungle monkeys, and a realistic potential buy of a beautiful beach.

Sunday was a great day too. The weather was much nicer, and we got to hang out with Jamie and Kevin. I hadn't seen Jamie in what seemed like forever so it was really good to catch up! We ate at Moe's and then later played the classic game of Nerts.

Next weekend will also be packed with fun activities and people - yay!