Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Favorite Thing: Shower Clock Radio

Splash Resistant Shower Radio
Two of my favorite things are music and taking long hot showers. I received this as a gift from my husband a few years ago and I love it. God-forbid it should break, I would purchase another one immeeeediately.

Early in the morning, you will hear me listening to the Tom Joyner Morning Show as I get ready for work. I won't bother to talk about the singing & dance sessions o_O.

The radio is splash resistant, so you can have it hanging on your shower head, if you choose. I keep mine above the medicine cabinet. Since it's water resistant, you don't have to worry about the steam in the bathroom ruining it.

I have the exact one pictured to the right, but you don't have to get that one. I'm sick of Sony and their proprietary parts, so I'm not endorsing this specific one, although I've never had a problem with it in 5 years. Actually, I doubt they still make this one, so just do a Google search for shower radio and you'll see lots of options.

With Valentine's Day around the corner, you might consider picking one up. Chocolate and flowers are nice, but this gift will be around long after the chocolate and flowers are gone.

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The weirdest sneaker that I ever loved

Saturday, January 28, 2012

It's o.k not to "Do You", sometimes

Saffron Yellow Spanish Rice with Swai Fish
A short while ago, I filmed a video called "The Sibling Tag". It featured my brother William and I answering a few questions about each other. During the video I stated, "I don't cook!" and that's true, but let me share something with you guys about real life.

After last night's Friday Night Confessional, I went to bed at around 1:30 A.M. Normally, I stay up a bit later on Friday nights, but I had a 7:45 A.M. appointment to get new brakes and tires on my car. My husband works the graveyard shift, so when he got home Saturday morning, we were home for only half an hour before heading out the door. My car was going to take several hours to be ready. I had my husband follow me to the dealer, so that I could come back home with him while they were fixing it. That was the plan.

As we were lying in bed, about to arrive in Dreamland, my brother calls. There was a major leak in our 4-family rental apartment. My husband had to see about the problem right away. He was up almost 24 hours before he was able to come home and there was no way that I was going to let him come home to nothing to eat.

Perhaps one day on FNC, I'll explain why I never wanted to learn how to cook, but the point in this story is that as independent and free spirited as I might be, when you are in a relationship, you do things outside of your normal personality because it's the right thing to do. Forget about, "S/he knew I was like this before we got married" because s/he will also remember that shit after you're divorced as well.

In the dynamics of my marriage, my husband does not expect me to cook. Had I not made anything to eat, he would of found something on his own, but as a friend/wife/partner... I don't mind doing a little somethin' somethin' every now and then. It made my husband smile to see me make the effort. These are the ingredients to a healthy marriage. Not to mention, he cleaned the plate y'all!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

What's a good camera that's reasonably priced?

Additional info on choosing a camera (video)
Every time I post a YouTube video that pertains to Photography, someone is sure to ask me this question. I’ve attempted to create videos that would answer this question, however, given the short amount of time that YT allows, I always felt like I was leaving something out.

The question is a difficult one for me simply because of the word “reasonably”. What’s reasonable for you might not be reasonable for another person and the truth of the matter is, photography is expensive! You will notice that this guide does not prefer one camera type over another. I’m a firm believer in RTFM & GIYF. Don’t take any offense to the... well… offensive language. These are common terms in the tech world, so you will have to suck it up, if you want to navigate your way through it all.

Whenever one of my friends asks me this question, I follow up with, “Why are you purchasing this camera?” Are you a photo enthusiast? Is it for vacation? What is your budget?

I’m going to assume that we are speaking about purchasing a digital camera. If you are in the market for a film camera, you probably already know tons about photography and this basic guide is going to be of very little to no value to you.

Photography 101 series

How to focus? (video)

What's a grey card? (video)

What is ISO? (video)

F-Stop & Shutter Speed (video)

How much money you have at your disposal in this case matters. If your price point is on the low scale, you’ll probably be working with a Point & Shoot unless you are able to find a used SLR.

There is no denying that a SLR offers the most flexibility in terms of camera options, however, keep in mind that they are quite bulky. Some excursions do not permit anything dangling from your body, in these cases, SLRs have to stay behind. Additionally, if your vacations are mostly spent on the beach, are you willing to risk getting sand in your expensive SLR? I could go on, but you get the point. Different cameras are good for different situations.

Resolution (Mega pixels)
Everyone is caught up in how many mega pixels the camera has. Nowadays, almost all digital cameras will shoot with enough mega pixels for you to do anything you want. Once you have 8 - 10 mega pixels, please do not waste your money getting more. You can use the extra money to get other useful features.

SLR (Single Lens Reflector)
If you are a photo enthusiast, think about saving up and purchasing a SLR. When you make a decision to buy a camera, you are committing to a lens system, not the body. Manufacturers are always coming out with new camera bodies, but the quality of the lens is where the magic really happens. Good glass is expensive. My recommendation is to start off with a fixed 50mm f/1.8 lens and work the hell out of it. Don’t worry about zoom yet, you want that f/1.8 or f/2.8 aperture to get creative.

P&S (Point & Shoot)
P&S cameras are great. You do not get the option of switching lenses, but these small cameras can fit into your pocket, a huge advantage when traveling on foot. The sad thing about P&S cameras is that people do not RTFM. Learn how to use the camera's functions and you can get some great photos.

Optical Zoom vs Digital Zoom
Digital zoom is completely useless. Don’t fall for it, it’s a marketing scheme. Optical Zoom is what you need to pay attention to if you are in the market for a P&S. Try to get at least 3x on a P&S. The more you can afford the better. If you're opting for a SLR, zoom is not applicable because you have the ability to change your lens.

Rechargeable Proprietary Batteries vs AA's
Some P&S cameras operate with standard AA batteries, others come with their own battery. The pro to using AA's is that they are standard around the world. The con with AA's are that they typically don't last very long. Proprietary batteries will last for a longer charge, but God forbid you lose your battery or it didn't charge, you're out of luck and you can't replace them as easily. My preference is to have 2 - 3 proprietary batteries.

Handy Camera Features:
Image Stabilization: If you are thinking about purchasing a camera with a zoom lens, seriously consider getting image stabilization. Some companies call it vibration reduction, but it's all the same thing. This is important because the further you zoom in on a subject, the vibration in your hand becomes more apparent, thereby contributing to blurry images. Image stabilization helps to stabilize the lens within your camera, minimizing the blurry effects of your unsteady hand.

Video Capabilities: More manufacturers are adding this option to cameras, but take note! Educate yourself about the video file type the camera generates. If you have access to a video editing program, then don't worry about it. Should you have no desire for video editing, make sure the camera creates a file type that your computer / YouTube / DVD player is able to recognize.

Red-eye Reduction: This is another great feature to have. Professional photo editing software, such as Adobe Photoshop, will allow you to correct red eyes. I'm an advocate of getting it right Straight Out Of the Camera (SOOC) so if you can afford it, get it.

Macro: Think about small objects like bugs and flowers. Get creative with this function and you will start to look at objects differently. Imagine a baby's foot, an eyeball, or the texture of an orange. There's so much you can do.

So what do I recommend?
For a P&S camera: 8 mega pixels, 4x zoom, and image stabilization.
For a SLR camera: save up as much as you can and get glass with a f-stop of 2.8

Try the camera out and if you don't like it, take it back! Use the return policy until you find one that fits your needs and your budget. If you know a specific camera that you want, think about getting is from eBay. I have bought and sold camera on eBay with no problem at all.

I didn't provide a specific camera on purpose. The information provided above will always be relevant. If I provided a link to a specific camera, it will eventually get swapped out for something else, so I'm going to leave that part up to you to decide for yourself.

Nuff Love & Happy Shooting!

Friday, January 20, 2012

A Derailed Sisterhood, Back on Track

I’ve known a few women that are willing to forgive a man for some treacherous old... someone get me some hot grits... with cheese!... type of foolishness. But, go ahead and try to tell her that she needs some help with her kids and you’ve opened the flood gates for a severe tongue lashing. Why do women hold each other to such a higher standards than our men?

This blog post isn’t about the dynamics of the female : female vs male : female relationship. It’s about a friendship that was once broken, and to my surprise, now repaired.

Some of you that are familiar with me on YouTube know that my friend Aleke and I decided to see Celine Dion in concert as a gift to ourselves and we had a blast. Looking back at some of the footage, it’s surreal to know that we spent 8 years without speaking.

The following link is the original email thread, back when Aleke decided to reach out to me. It gets a little heated and emotional at times, but it's real and it's life.

Just so you know, Aleke has reviewed the email chain and is 100% o.k with me posting it. I have blocked out some personal parts like her last name, email addresses, and other names we refer to but that’s it. I decided to post this up, because when you read how angry and hurt we were, I thought it would be encouraging for other women to see, that yes… our sisterhood friendships can be repaired.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

The weirdest sneaker that I ever loved

Commuting to work everyday via public transportation could give me enough material to write a few blogs. Perhaps, I'll save that for when I feel like ranting. Today, I'm simply in love with one aspect of my commute and that's due to these kick ass sneakers. Now, if you would rather choke a bitch out for some new Air Jordans, then this post is not for you. But, if you are looking for some reasonably priced sneakers designed with the user in mind, then read on.

Click to Enlarge
The Skechers Resistance Runner (SRR) is designed for runners, but for someone like myself that walks daily, I'd say they are perfect for that as well. Sketchers claims "the SRR has Kinetic Wedge technology designed to help create a more fluid stride that emulates a natural running state." Here are a few pics I took to help you get some details on how this works. The weird thing about the SRR is that the bottom of it is not flat. It has a curve that peaks at the middle of your foot. It took me just a few minutes to get use to it mentally, but I felt the comfort and support of the design on my feet immediately.

Click to Enlarge
I don't know how Costco does it, but I purchased these for only 20 bucks. They are also listed here on Amazon for $57.99 – $84.99 and the reviews are currently rated at 5 stars.

Commenter's claim that ailments such as plantar fasciitis, knee pain, and various other foot related problems have been minimize because of the way this sneaker is structured. Fortunately, I don't have any of those problems. I just saw a pair of $20 sneakers at Costco and decided the price was right. Seems like I got a whole lot more in return.

If you have a teenager that likes to run track, you might consider picking up a few pairs. Costco is infamous for having stacks of something really awesome, but should you decided to wait, you might be standing in that same spot looking around like someone stole your car.

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Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Lend your money to charity

I just finished reading Half the Sky by Nicholas Kristof, and his wife, Sheryl WuDunn. Just in case you haven't read it yet, the book is a compliation of their first hand experiences from their world travels. The book opens the window for you to truly take a look at women who are living in the poorest parts of the world and how their lives are affected as a result of their environment. I won't get into it too much, just in case you plan on reading it, but the book closes with a few simple things that you can you can do to help. Kristof lists organizations where you can make a real difference, which is what lead me to get involved with kiva.org.

I will be the first to admit that I usually don't give a lot to charity. It's not that I don't want to give, I'm just sick of reading story after story on how terribly mismanaged many Non-Profit Organizations are. If I give $100 to a charity, I wonder, how much of my money actually gets to the people that need it?

With Kiva, you know exactly where your money is being spent. You even get to decide who receives your loan, yes LOAN. It's called microfinancing. The banner to the right basically describes the process, but feel free to get a more detailed explanation of how this all works by going to their website. You can lend as little as $25. Once your loan is repaid, you can get your money back or lend it out again and help to change another life at no additional expense.

What I love most about Kiva is viewing the lenders from all over the world banning together to help a specific person or small group.

Here's my Kiva lender page. I hope you'll consider joining.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012


It's amazing how reading these words from years ago brings me right back to what I was thinking and feeling. Here is an old blog entry I wrote on Sunday, April 15, 2007, when I left my New York co-workers to take an assignment in Connecticut. This was the BEST working relationsip I ever had. We started out as a group of girls (2 guys joined us later on). All of us were different, some were straight, some were gay. Some of us were married, some were living with their S.O, one was cheating, and one was totally free and dating. Whatever way you try to catorgize us, we were a creative team and a damn good one at that. Supervisors on different shifts would try to emulate "The Girls on 19!"


On Friday morning, I got out of bed 20 mins later than usual (that being 3:20 a.m.). Although I was completely awake for the extra 20 min, I think the reality finally hit me. Today will be my last day at my current job site. I thought to myself... I'm not doing a damn thing at work today, LOL. But the reality is, it's normal day and if I don't want to get fired, I'd better carry on as usual.

It's great that I will not have to come to New York City any more but not everything is so simple to say goodbye to. I have made some friends at this site and I'm going to miss working with them. I really hate goodbyes. It always reminds me of when I was a little girl visiting Barbados, and on the last day my grandmother would cry. Year after year, no matter how often we visited, on that last day she would cry. One day I finally asked her, "Gran-gran, why are you crying?" her reply was, "Because I don't know if I will live long enough to see you again". Even typing this out, makes me a bit emotional when I think about it. At any rate, I don't want to say "Goodbye" but instead "See you later" to my ladies on the 19th floor, plus Damien and Nate. I admire something different in each one of you and I'm grateful that I had the chance to know you not as a co-worker but as a friend.

Anne: You have no idea how much I respect that fact that even though we work at a stuffy investment bank, you always knew that you are really a painter. I can't wait until you update your website, because your new drawings are amazing. I have always admired the way that you never let your emotions show on your face. It might seem like a silly thing to you, but I attribute that your ability to keep everything under control. That's something that I could definitely learn. Sorry, I did not get a chance to say goodbye, but you will be seeing me. Even if it's at the New Year's Eve Party. Thanks for your friendship, thanks for sharing your thoughts with me, girl... I'm really going to miss you.

Season: First off, thanks for not being pissed with me for calling you Summer for the first few weeks of meeting you. I never told you this, but I think it's great that even though you first went to school to be an actress, you're not afraid to change into something totally different. It's great that you are able to follow your heart. Let me know how everything works out with grad school. Lastly, don't forget those head-shots. Your responsibility as a Dr's wife is to make sure your husband has the most ass-ugly secretary available. LOL

Damien: Before you came, Cerelia named me Token... hummm, saying that sounds a lot funnier than writing it. Anyhow, I didn't get know you for as long as everyone else, but it easy to see that you are quite a man. Working 2 jobs, 7 days a week to provide for your family is more than just responsible. Your ability to balance it all out and find time to play with your 3 year old son everyday, makes you admirable. It's been a pleasure working with you. Get ready for my Lost & Heroes emails.

Nate: You're the coolest m-fing white man I know. You're not afraid to be yourself with all your crazy-ass animal tracking. I'm going to miss the hell out of your travel stories. More than anything else, I'm going to miss our conversation. You're one of the few people that whenever I speak with, I get the feeling that you are actually listening to everything that I say and you tell me exactly what you are thinking. You're attuned to my body language & my expressions. I've often thought, "Wow, he really wants to know me." Our conversations have helped me know myself better. You would make an wonderful High School teacher, although I don't know what the hell you would teach. I only know that you have the ability to help a person figure out what's best for themselves, without always having to say it. I know you will keep in touch.

Cerelia: Damnit, this is the hardest one. I don't know what to say to you or where to start. I just know that sitting here, I come close to tears when I think about how much I will miss you. My thoughts are scattered like some sort of abstract painting that evokes more feeling than it does image. Organic and free, my stream of conscientiousness...

Utah and Mormon : Barbados and Baptist, how could this be? Blue blue eyes, kinky hair, there is so much one could compare. But they matter not. Yoked together through friendship and laughter. Calm down girls, you're both pretty!... More laughter. Pretty honest with ourselves to be honest friends. No bullshit, just honest friends. No bullshit from our men. Dave Matthews, Trader Joe's, A pact to save our money. A pact to keep in touch. Will you scan this? and You gotta listen to that! Think Outside the Box! Our friendship is Outside the Box. My thoughts are not contained to these chosen words. Do you know of those unspoken words? Undecipherable. Outside of my comfort zone. Flowing free like a shallow stream. No distinct destination yet progressing quickly. I'll always be me, but after you... just a bit more organic and free. Love ya gurl.

Take care everyone. It has been a pleasure.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Announcement from CandidAnn

When I fell in love with Photography, I had no plans on sticking to a specific genre. I hate sticking to any “type” in most things that I do. I simply loved taking photos, especially those that are emotive and thought provocative. At any rate, after being asked by my very good friends (you know, the kind that's more like family) to shoot their wedding, I had a moment.

That moment came to me when I was in the church and looking through the viewfinder of my D200. What I saw broke me down. I didn't get a little teary eyed. No, I broke the fuck down into the ugly cry. Thankfully, this was after the ceremony. It was this moment that I realized, “I’m responsible for this family remembering this moment.” What I was looking at is something Oprah calls, a full circle moment.

Through the viewfinder I saw the bride, a woman that I am honored to call "friend". As she stood at the alter with her son, now a grown man, I remembered him as a child. I remembered when my friend spoke to me about how her son would cry, asking her, "Why don't I have a Daddy?" That's another story, but the long and short of it is, my friend was married before and her ex-husband was being a major jerk. I literally served his ass with papers to pay his child support! Yeah, if I'm your friend, I do shit like that. But that’s all beside the point, when I stood there looking through the viewfinder at this couple my husband and I consider a part of our family, I was documenting not just a wedding but this family becoming a union under God and I found something that I loved doing.

This is what Wedding Photography has always been about for me, documenting a family’s union. Unfortunately, nothing is perfect in life. And while I LOVE photography, I'm just not into the business of Wedding Photography. I just want to shoot. During that time, I've had the pleasure of documenting some amazing weddings but I have come to the decision that I only want to shoot for pleasure. Whoa hooo, to creative freedom!

So, this blog will dramatically change from a photo hub, to whatever random shit I feel like speaking about. Now, I can let loose. I wish I could say this is going to be a space for inspiration and encouragement, but you’re better off reading your Bible for that. If you’re the type of person that finds encouragement in someone that you can relate to, and you’re able to laugh at yourself from time to time, then stick around.

My random shit will include my natural hair journey, candid moments captured on my cell phone, additional thoughts from some of my YouTube videos, and maybe some reviews, who knows? I like a lot of different things so this blog is going to be reflective of that. Let's see how this goes.


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