30 April 2010

Another Friday, another Fix-It Friday fun exercise! I don’t know why, but the first thought that crossed my mind when I saw this photo was that it could be one of those cards with inspirational quotes.

The original:image

So, that’s how I went about with my edit. Visualizing how it would be if it were one of those cards. First, I had to crop it tighter, then I flipped it horizontally to make the composition of the photo better able to accommodate the “quote.” I first worked on the photo –sharpened, played around with curves, etc. Then I added text and that little brush stroke using Illustrator. Afterwards, I used the AI file back on Photoshop to play around further with the overall look and feel…

Fix-It #1: Sharpened, PW’s Soft & Ethereal ActionFix-It-C

Fix-It #2: A slightly ‘dreamier’ feel.Fix-It-D

Fix-It #3: Sepia, with magenta filterFix-It-B

~~—~~

Here are all three edits again:52FixIt collage

image

Please head on over to iheartfaces and play along.

~~—~~

I need some help deciding on a new camera. Could you please chime in and let me know what you think?

Thank you! Have a great weekend!

Camera S.O.S




When I first made the transition from film to digital, we got a Sony Cybershot. It had served us well for a couple of years until we decided to upgrade to a newer model. I got a Cybershot again, mainly because I’m used to the functions and it’s so convenient to simply slip in the memory card into my Sony VAIO notebook, without having to have a card reader.

Now that that second Cybershot is on its last legs –zoom not working, cannot access menu to adjust settings, etc., –it’s time for a new one.

The questions are --
    1. Do I go with a point-and-shoot again or do I buy a DSLR this time?
    2. If I go for a DSLR, which brand should I get –Sony, Canon, or Nikon, –and what model?

While I am dying to get a DSLR and have more control over the photos that I take, I balk at the size. I am so used to just stuffing my point-and-shoot in my pocket whenever I’d go out. I won’t be able to do that with a DSLR. I think that is the main advantage of a point-and-shoot.  I do, on the other hand, want better control over my shots and a DSLR would address this need.

We did a little recon at the Sony store last week. The salesperson that I spoke to was very helpful in answering my questions. At the end of our 30+ minutes there, I’d more or less come away knowing that if I should decide to get another point-and-shoot, I’ll get the Sony DSC-HX5V, which is the closest they have to a cross between a point-and-shoot and a DSLR (more point-and-shoot, really). Not as stylish as their other models, but its functions and features are more geared towards (slightly) more advanced users.

Sony DSC-HX5V
image

While Sony is not exactly top-of-mind when it comes to DSLR, their Sony A550 seems to get good user ratings. Two of our friends have this and are pretty happy with it.

Sony Alpha A550
image

That said, other people that I’ve spoken with who are photography enthusiasts or professional photographers, seem to prefer either a Canon or a Nikon instead. When I took a photography class way back in university, I was using my dad’s Canon SLR. Apparently the lenses from that old SLR would work with a Canon DSLR as well. So there’s that going for Canon.

Canon EOS 1000D
image

There seems to be quite a number of people who are diehard Nikon fans, too. An entry level Nikon would be their Nikon D3000. I am not too enthusiastic about what I’ve read from online reviews about this model so far, though.

image

Ideally, I should get both a point-and-shoot AND a DSLR, but at this stage, I’m thinking of getting only one or the other.

I would love to hear from all of you who are into photography –whether amateur or professional.

What do you think? What camera (brand/model) do you use and what do you like about it? If you could upgrade or get another one, would you stick to the same brand/model or get a different one? How come?

Thanks in advance for your sharing your thoughts.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Image credits –: Sony HX5V -Sonyinsider; the rest from Cnet Australia.

29 April 2010

Try, Try Again



Do you remember when you were little, when you weren’t tall enough to see what everybody else was seeing, when your arms were not long enough to reach the object of your fancy, when you had to stand on tippy-toes?
zoe-small1
We went to an electronics/appliance store over the weekend. While we were checking out phones, Zoë spotted the Apple corner and wanted to play around with the notebooks. She tried to climb up the counter, but couldn’t get any leverage. She then actually went to Josh and said, “Give me a boost, Koko? Please give me a boost?” I didn’t even know she knew the word “boost”! Josh was busy checking out another notebook, so he didn’t help her.
zoe-small2

That did not deter her. She kept trying. She moved this way and that. She used her left arm; she tried with her right.
zoe-small3
Through sheer willpower and persistence, she managed to get hold of the headphone and quietly spent a few minutes there, giving us time to do what we went to the store to do.
zoe-small4
Pooh's lesson
It seems that Zoë took Pooh’s lesson to heart. Try, Try Again from the Lessons from the Hundred-Acre Wood series is Zoë’s current favorite Pooh book to read at bedtime. Now whenever she can’t do something the first time around, she would tell herself to “try, try again!”

Image credit: Pooh image from Disney Clipart.com

28 April 2010

In Massage Heaven



No, Zoë was not striking a pose here.
I didn’t tell her to say cheese.
This happy, contented look on her face?
smiling zoe
was the result of her foot and body massage courtesy of J.
massage bliss
Three years old and already very much into massages.
I can see Mommy-Zoë dates at the spa for us in the not very distant future.

27 April 2010

Relaxin’ with Tonin’



For the past five years, my music has mostly been kiddie tunes and lullabies. I know the words to almost every kiddie song/CD that we have. Once in a while, though, I need my own music. I love to kick back with good music in the background and curl up with a good book. Sometimes, I listen to classical music, sometimes reggae, sometimes pop/jazz, country, and even Christmas carols, too (yes, even when it’s not Christmas).


One of my favorite feel-good CD’s is Manhattan Transfer’s tonin’. I don’t remember how or when I first discovered this group. Probably sometime around the late 1990’s. Anyway. I absolutely love the group. I love the vocals, the harmonious blending of their voices. I love the happy carefree feel that their music has. Listening to their music, I could almost feel how much fun the four of them had while making the music… and that makes me smile. Every time I listen to them.


DSC07800

Here is a one of their songs from the album Tonin’ " –Just Hang On.





Does this betray my age? Let’s just say that I have mature taste in music, shall we? Ahem. Let’s leave it at that. Okay? Okay.

Please visit Communal Global and read about what people from different parts of the world find relaxing.

Study 1 - black border (resized 150)

What helps you relax?

26 April 2010

This week’s theme at iheartfaces is “Smiles.” I have so many from my files to choose from, but eventually decided to go with this one of Zoë, taken during our trip to Ocean Park earlier this year. I love the sweetness and openness of her smile here. A natural smile, as opposed to the "Say cheese" smile that she'd put on whenever she is conscious of the fact that her picture is being taken.

Have I mentioned that this little girl makes my heart sing?


smiling zoe


Do visit iheartfaces for more photos of lovely smiles!



23 April 2010

Le Creuset Giveaway –Yay!



{Contest closed.}

I thought that had a nice ring to it. Don’t you just love how that sounded? Luh cruh-ZAY give-a-WAY, YAY!

The kind folks at CSN Stores have gotten in touch and have generously offered another giveaway to y’all. For all of you with babies and tiny tots, you could go to their site and browse through cribs, beddings, nursery decor, etc. and come back here and let me know what you might want to win*. For those of you who love to cook or bake, you might get this Le Creuset silicone set of --

image Prep bowls (Set of 4)

PLUSimage Pinch bowls (Set of 4)

PLUSimage6.25” x 9.5” Multi-purpose rectangular mat --

potholder / surface protector / jar opener / anti-skid mat

~~—~~

I love Le Creuset. I love their colors and I love the quality. I have a set of Le Creuset silicone loaf pans and cake molds and I just love them. Especially here where space is a premium, I find the silicone cookware so easy to store. I could bend and fold them without fear of damaging them.

Not a fan of silicone cookware? You can choose from other items on any of the other CSN sites. Isn’t this cool?

Mandatory entry: To win a *US$40 CSN Store gift card, please visit any of the CSN sites below and leave a comment below to let me know what you would love to get.

BabyCribsPlus.com

Cookware.com

For additional entries, please do one or all (!) of the following and leave me separate comments for each:

1) Follow Buckeroomama on Twitter and leave me your Twitter name. (1 additional entry)

2) Tweet about this and leave me the link. (1 additional entry)

3) Blog about this and leave me the link. (3 additional entries)

I will pick the winner on 30th Apr. One winner with a valid entry will be selected using random.org. The winner will be announced and must respond with a current email address within 48 hours to claim. Otherwise, another eligible entry will be chosen. (Giveaway open only to readers in the US and Canada).

Note: I have not received anything from CSN Stores for this post other than the opportunity to do a giveaway for the readers of Mamahood, Among Other Things…

Fix-It Friday # 51



It’s Fix-It Friday again!

The originalFixIt51


Fix-It #1 Fix-It 5


Fix-It #2Fix-It 3


Fix-It #3Fix - It 4


Can’t decide which I like better. What do you think?

Check out iheartfaces for more edits.

image

22 April 2010

Wetsuit Model



We went for a swim for the first time this year. As the water was still a bit cold, we decided to get Zoë to wear the hand-me-down wetsuit from one of Josh’s friends. I can’t get over how big-girl she looks in it.

When I began clicking away, this little girl started posing this way and that way. I had to hold back my giggles to keep the camera from shaking! That toe point, bent leg, sideway look thingy? Totally her own. No art direction needed.
Zoe-in-Wetsuit
Tell me, is this a girl thing? I never got this with Josh.

21 April 2010

Throwbacks




Many of the malls and stores and restaurants here have gone through quite a few phases of “reinvention.” Upgrades, face lifts, new logos to keep up with changing tastes. While that is all good and dandy, I do love stepping into a shop that somehow seems like it’s been that exact same way for oh so many years –untouched by reinvention, free from the evil clutches of sleek marketers and image consultants prone to overanalyses. Mom and pop stores. Shops that transport me to ‘olden days,’ when things were less commercial.

This is a store along Canal Road East that sells all sorts of things… it kinda reminds me of those stores that my grandma would take me to when I would tag along on her jaunts to the market.
Old Chinese store



This “sauce” store is along Elgin Street, the one old store that I could see amidst the trendy restaurants and stylish boutiques that line this street.
Old Chinese Store

Do you have similar kinds of stores in your neighborhood?

20 April 2010

Cardamom. I’d gone to every single supermarket and could not find cardamom. I need cardamom for my butter chicken recipe. Finally, I got in touch with my friend, Sonia, who directed me to the Indian Provision Store behind the South China Hotel, near the Canal Road market. I got my cardamom. Yes. I also got basmati rice and muruku!

I’d never really explored the area around Canal Road. On our way to the Indian provision store, Chris and I saw this --


Villain beater1


We just had to stop and gawk look. I had heard about villain hitters (Da Xiaoren/打小人), but had never seen them before. These old ladies sit there below the Canal Road Flyover, with their plastic stools, paper tigers, and little altars. Some people go to them when they want their enemies cursed or when they have want to have some “demons” exorcised.


Villain hitter2

Villain hitter3


Apparently, you go to these ladies and provide them with a piece of paper with the name and the date of birth of the person you want cursed and these ladies will literally curse and beat that paper (or the paper tiger) with a shoe or a piece of stone until the paper's all tattered and then they burn it. All this for HK$50 (US$6.50). Does it work? I don’t know.

Some tourists are game enough to give it a go… just for fun. I think these villain hitters get as much business from the tourists as they do from people who are there with earnest issues. Interesting, eh?

Would you give it a try if you ever visit Hong Kong?

Please head on over to Communal Global and see what other Tuesdays Around the World are like.





19 April 2010

 

I find making photo collages a bit challenging.  Only six photos in this collage, but it took me a few hours of playing around with two different programs that help with making collages, toying with different layouts, choosing different photos, before I finally ended with this.

CNY (Feb 2010) 

All of the photos were taken during that one day in February when we had the Lion Dance, on Day 7 of Chinese New Year.  Both Josh and Zoë were decked out in red.  I loved how festive they both looked… very much in keeping with the spirit of Chinese New Year.

~~—~~

For a look at more collages, please visit iheartfaces.

16 April 2010

As if blogging does not keep me long enough in front of my computer, I’ve now discovered the fun of playing around with Photoshop and Illustrator. I was on the computer working on a menu and logo for a cupcake shop until 4am! I’d started on it shortly after lunch and but for a break when I put the kids to bed, I was working on it until my eyes could barely focus anymore. I digress.

I really look forward to iheartfaces’ photo assignments and the Fix-It Fridays. It is really wonderful to be part of a community that gives encouragement, support and constructive feedback. It is great to learn by looking through all the different photos and noting the different styles and work that are submitted each week.

This week’s Fix-It challenge was something that was submitted on Constructive Feedback Friday a few weeks back.

Here is the original photo (on the left) and here is my edit (on the right) --

image

Pretty


And here’s another one, cropped, with levels adjusted.Pretty2 

Fix-It Fridays are great for practicing Photoshop (and other photo editing software). I got inspired to actually sit down and really learn Photoshop because of this site! Thank you, iheartfaces!

image

15 April 2010

It is heartening to see that the government and the private sector are stepping up to help raise civic awareness. There are signs around town –posters in public places, stickers inside buses and trains, etc. Below are just a few that I have seen when riding the bus the other day:


GivingUpSeat

This one, hmmm. During rush hour, good luck with people giving up their seats for those in need. Many of them pretend to be “sleeping” or engrossed in their newspapers. Sometimes I am tempted to ask them outright to give up their seat for a senior citizen. When I was pregnant, many times it was the women who offered up their seat for me. I remember that a man even once jostled me away to get to a free seat –me in all my pregnant glory. Just my personal opinion, but I think women seem to take this message more seriously.


HoldBaby


HoldRail

The buses and the trains are usually SRO, hence this message.



KeepTidy

The trains and buses are generally clean. Some people do snack, though, despite the sign.



BusSign-Cough

Oh, my pet peeve. Nothing more disgusting than having someone cough or sneeze and not cover their mouths, thinking that he/she is doing a public service by sharing the germs. Ugh. After SARS, people are generally more health-conscious and have started to wear masks when they have a cold. Still, these reminders don’t hurt.

Hong Kong is pretty good about public service reminders in general. In trains (and elevators!), though, I wish they would have a sign to remind those who want to get on to let passengers go out first before rushing in.

Do you think these public service signs and reminders help or are they are waste of money?

14 April 2010

My Girl is 3!



How can one not help but fall head over heels in love with a little girl who

…talks to her shadows and tells them to follow her as she walks along, because she’s the teacher?
…throws her arms around you, gives you a very tight squeeze, AND then plants wet, sloppy kisses on your cheek?
…drops what she’s doing and runs to her Daddy as soon as he comes in the door, shouting “Daddy!” and gives him a big hug and a kiss?
…says “Thank you! I love this; it’s my favorite!” when she gets small presents, any present from her Mommy and Daddy?
…sings along to songs at the top of her voice, even though she does not know most of the words?


DSC06428


…gets out of bed and hides behind a giant pillow on the window ledge –in the middle of the night –and leaves her mommy wondering and a bit worried to find an empty bed upon her return from getting her a drink of water from the kitchen, only to nearly jump out of her skin when this little girl peeks out from behind the pillow and says, “Boo, Mommy!”? (This was with her having a temperature of 101oF.)
…who cheers her mommy on during her many 1-minute Bejeweled games, chanting, “Go, Mommy go! GGGGGo, Mommy!”?
…pats her mommy’s back (or knee or whichever body part is within her reach at the time) and wisely advises, “It’s okay, Mommy. Just a game…” when her Bejeweled-addicted mom expresses disappointment at her score on Bejeweled?
…stages dancing contests and arranges the chairs around a “dance floor” and wants us to be her “audience”?
…shushes us and tells us not to talk to her while she works on her jigsaw puzzles; then when she finishes, says, “Now you can talk to me”?
….immediately rushes over and asks, “What happened, Mama?” whenever she hears me go Oh, no! and then proceeds to pat me and say, “It’s okay. Everybody makes mistakes sometimes”?
…whose theme song is Big Girl (You Are Beautiful)?

HideZoe

Zoë is turning 3 today. Every day spent with this little girl is a blessed day. She is equal parts diva and darling. And we love her to bits. Happy birthday, Big Girl. (And yes, she is getting another cake today.)

prezzies

Blog Widget by LinkWithin