Sunday, October 30, 2011

Let's play catch up

Well ... I finally did it! I upgraded from my crappy, no-internet, likes-to-make-phone-calls-from-my-purse, simple cell phone to the newest iPhone 4S. I was waiting until the iPhone came to Sprint because I wasn't willing to change carriers since I've been with Sprint for 10+ years and I was due for a phone upgrade.

I've had an iTouch as long as I've had my MacBook Pro, so I already knew about lots of the cool apps that are out there. What I wasn't expecting to love so much was the camera on this phone and all the fun photo apps that are out there. I got this phone on October 17th and I will tell you that I've only picked up my point & shoot or my DSLR camera 2 times since then.

The pictures (and video) are so clear on my phone ... sometimes better than what I can take with my Canon cameras. It's easy to carry around with me and it's fast to get started when I want to take a picture quickly. In October, I've taken more pictures than the last two months, and I would bet that most of them have been since I got my new phone.

I wanted to share some of my 2nd favorite pictures that didn't make it onto The View Across Town. Enjoy!

Taken with the Instagram app. You can turn the camera around so it takes the picture from the front of the phone instead of the back.

Instagram allows you to change all the filters right from your phone to give your pictures a unique look. This app was one of the main reasons why I wanted to get an iPhone. It's free, but it would have been worth it if I paid for it, too!

The main camera is clear and allows me to keep track of things in my classroom. This day was beyond hectic. I shared this picture of our schedule with my classroom parents via my Twitter account.

Erik asked me to bring my camera to his TEAM Tailgate a few weeks ago to take pictures for the blog. I only brought my iPhone and I was very pleased with the pictures. They helped to raise over $6,000 this day for Jamie's Wish charity.

Instagram takes great pictures, even at night. Doesn't this tree look creepy?

YUM! Apple cider donuts at the Louisburg Pumpkin Patch. Instagram allows me to share pictures right then on Twitter if I want with my followers. I HAD TO share this one :)

It even has a tilt-shift feature, which makes some parts of your picture clear & other parts blurry. Can you see the horizontal line that is focused across the middle?

I've been used to carrying my PowerShot with me each time Minnie & I go for a walk. Now, I can just bring my phone (which also tracks the length of our walks). This picture is just as great as the ones I've taken with my camera.

This collage was made with the Diptic app. I'm not sure if I paid for it or not, but it's worth it! You can make a collage in many different shapes and number of pictures. I made this one as Minnie and I cooled down after our walk. Amazing!

Taken at school. The 4th grade team is going to be "Rock, Paper, Scissors" for Halloween this year. We painted these shirts on conference day last week. The backs of our shirts have pictures of our objects. Fun!

I took this picture at the Dollar Tree this weekend. I found these miniature cones in the teacher section at the store and wanted to share the find with my teacher friends on Twitter. Such a quick & easy way to share ideas.

Brought my phone to take pictures of Ellen getting ready for her Halloween parade at school. She is a bee keeper this year. Molls had to put her hair up so it would fit under her bee keeper hat.

The best spot in the world for pet portraits! Still takes a great picture, even with my phone!

I took this one with the MovieFXCam app (free until November 1st). You can take video or pictures with many different effects. This one is called "Seventies Film". I love the way the sunlight looks in this one.

Same app, but this effect is "Thermal Vision". Doesn't Minners look funny?

This one is in the same "Seventies Film" effect. Keifer is one of our neighborhood dog friends. He's pretty fast, so most of the pictures I took of him were a bit blurry. This is the one time when I think my DSLR would do better because it has a fast shutter speed.

Minnie loves her Auntie Mitzi. I was able to share this Instagram picture with Mitzi via Twitter after I took it.

Had to share a picture of one of my grocery store finds with the Instagram app. I love this filter because the apples look so yummy!

What are YOUR favorite apps? I also have 360 (for panoramic pictures) and Pro HDR, but I haven't played around with those as much.

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Wednesday, October 5, 2011

I'm actually excited about grocery shopping!

I've never been a fan of grocery shopping. Do you remember when I diagnosed myself with Grocery Store Sensory Overload? It's a real thing. I promise. I have a hard time planning a menu for the week and sticking to just the things on my list.

When Trader Joe's opened here, I thought for sure I wouldn't care or become a shopper there. The first time I went, Jill & I went just to look around. I was annoyed by the crowds, but it was still new at that point and everyone was super excited about TJ's.

Then, I asked Molly if they'd meet me at the Ward Parkway TJ's to do some shopping and give me suggestions of what to get. 4 weeks later, I'm completely hooked! For someone who used to typically hate my grocery store trips that happened every 3-4 weeks, I'm now excited about going once a week to get what I need for lunch and dinner. I thought I'd share a few of my favorites (so far).

Chocolate-covered banana bites - $1.99. These are in the frozen section and stay frozen. Just take out & enjoy as-is. They are pretty filling and usually, I can get over a chocolate craving with just one or two of the bites.

Bananas - $0.19/banana. Pretty cheap for bananas! They also carry organic bananas for a little bit more money. I love bananas, but I got burned out on them after peanut butter banana sandwiches for SEVERAL meals in a row.

Mini heirloom tomatoes - $3.49. So yummy! The last time I was there, they didn't have the heirloom tomatoes, but had regular cherry tomatoes for the same price.

Whole wheat slim sandwich bread - $2.49. These taste just as good as the Thomas' whole wheat slims I was buying at my other grocery store, but a bit cheaper. One of my coworkers told me today that all the bread from TJ's should be kept in the fridge (and they recommend that) because there aren't any preservatives. Just an FYI for you.

Half-gallon of fat free milk - $1.99. I normally drink fat free skim milk, but TJ's didn't carry it. this milk is significantly cheaper than the price of a half gallon at Walmart where I normally shop. I have a hard time drinking my entire 1/2 gallon, so sometimes I have to pour out half of it. I don't feel nearly as guilty when the milk is less than $2.

Organic brown rice - $3.49. There are three 10 oz. packages inside this box. It's found in the freezer section. So far, I've only made one of the packages, but when I mixed it with a bag of organic frozen veggies ($1.69), it was a great "side" to add to my lunches.

Turkey meatballs - $2.99. Frozen & fully cooked. This is next up on my list of things to make with pasta for some easy lunches for school. I haven't tried them yet, but Molly has and they are getting great reviews.

Chicken & vegetable potstickers - $2.99. These can be cooked quickly in the microwave and they are super yummy.

Kashi Go Lean Crunch cereal - $2.99. I didn't actually buy this at TJ's. I'm sorry I didn't, because the day before I bought it at Walgreen's when doing some quick shopping for $4.99. Ugh. I'm still getting over the lack of taste, but attempting to like it because of the high amount of protein it has.

Organic fruit wrap - $0.49/each. I'm a hugh fan of fruit snacks and roll-ups. I used to buy the fruit wraps at Whole Foods, but I rarely shop there. Target's Archer Farms brand has great fruit wraps, too. I really like these, even though they are a bit expensive.

Quinoa duo with vegetables - $3.99. Have you ever tried to shop for quinoa at your grocery store? Of course, my Walmart didn't carry it. When I finally found some in the organic section of a Hen House, a small container cost a small fortune! I left it on the shelf. This is found in the frozen section and it's already pre-cooked. You just need to quickly warm it up in the microwave or a skillet. I got about 3 portions out of this bag and I added a little bit of cheese to it for some flavor and to tone down the spice. I'm sure most people wouldn't think it's too spicy, but I noticed it had a kick to it.

I'm also now a fan of the What's Good at Trader Joe's FB page, with the hopes that I'll get some other new ideas. With a little bit of searching, you can find plenty of blogs & twitter accounts where people share suggestions of what to buy at TJ's and what foods reviewed well (or not so well).

I hope you can find a few things to get next time you're there ... or maybe this will entice you to take your first trip to Trader Joe's. Let me know what you like to get when you are there!

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