Weekly Photo Challenge: Focus

Although I rarely take part in The Daily Post’s Weekly Photo Challenges (but always enjoy looking at what others have shared), this week’s topic was one I felt I could easily dive into.  I realized that I never shared very many pictures from my trip to Amsterdam last year, and since that vacation was spent playing around with the focus on my new camera, I jumped at this opportunity to share some of my favorite shots responsive to this challenge.

The challenge reads as follows: “For this challenge, get out there and take a picture demonstrating the concept of focus. Depending on your skill level or type of camera, tinker with the manual settings, use the auto focus feature, or play around with an app.”

The first set of photos were taken at NDSM Werf, located just a short ferry ride from Centraal Station.  The site is an abandoned ship yard turned artist’s haven with amazing sculptures, graffiti, statues, and other art installations created from rusted remains.  I played with my camera’s focus while looking through a hole in a warehouse wall, first focusing on the graffiti inside, then shifting the focus to the brick I was looking through.



The difference is subtle, yet striking.  I can’t decide which one I like more!

Here are a few others from the ‘Dam that I took while playing around with different focus and depth of field:

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Looking through all of my photos again for the best to share really took me back.  I’d recommend Amsterdam to anyone planning a trip to Europe! Wishing you all a lovely weekend! xo


*All pictures taken on a Sony DSC – HX200V

BBQ Brunch

Hello every lovely body! I hope you all had a nice weekend!  Josh and I are in recovery mode after returning from a long weekend in VT with friends.  This wasn’t your run-of-the-mill get together, but a 5 year college graduation reunion that pretty much knocked the life out of me. (See: “The Art of Drinking like You’re Still 21“; See also: “You’re Too Old for This“). Pain and suffering aside, we had a blast, and it was so wonderful to catch up with friends I hadn’t seen in years.

Onto today’s post.  If you live in the NYC area and haven’t yet been to The Strand Smokehouse in Astoria, you are seriously missing out.  Josh and I had gone during the wintertime, not long after it first opened, and we had a mixed experience.  While the food and beverages were amazing, and the company – we went with two dear friends – was great, it was overly packed and suffered from a few organizational snags:  they had run out of many of the key menu items early in the evening, the CC machine was down so we had to run out for cash unexpectedly, seating was very limited so we had to squeeze all four of us on the end of a bench, etc.  However, the mouth watering slow-cooked meat, good beer selection, fun blue grass band, vintage whiskey barrels, homemade hot sauces, and overall ambience brought us back.

We thought we were going to catch an early dinner/late lunch, but when we went by past 3 pm on Sunday they were still serving brunch.  Trying not to be too disappointed that we wouldn’t have meat piled on platters in fornt of us, served in quantities by weight (as was done at dinner), we were actually quite pleasantly surprised with the brunch menu options.  Since we both were looking for a bit more of a midday meal rather than eggs, we opted for the BBQ chicken and biscuits (Josh), and the Pork Belly BLT (Me). However, I got a good glimpse of our neighbors’ chicken and waffle dish (featuring a delicious looking half chicken) and another dish with some drool worthy biscuits, gravy and eggs combo.  Let’s just say we’ll be back shortly for another round of brunch with an appetite for breakfast food!

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Are you as big of a bbq fan as we are? Add The Strand to your list of places to dine!  Hope you’re all having a wonderful start to your week, xo.


Another month has flown by and I am seriously bummed that I didn’t make the time in my schedule to come here more often and share my comings and goings with all of you.  I don’t want to fall into the habit of relying on another social media platform – Instagram – to fill my blog content.  But alas, for this past month filled with moving, weddings, concerts, crazy weather, and everything in between, here are a few pictures to fill you in on everything I should have been blogging about!

  • If you haven’t been to Jackson Heights, Queens, you really should.  Falling in love with the sights and sounds of our new neighborhood…
  • My happy girl, in our her new bed, in her new apartment
  • The Great Googa Mooga festival was unfortunately rained out on Sunday, but we had an amazing time Friday night seeing the Flaming Lips and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, with friends, family, and a lot of good food!
  • When the rain cancelled the Googa Mooga festivities, we opted for a Sunday brunch scene at Woodland in Park Slope, BK.  Bloody Mary complete with salted rim featured here.
  • Easy weeknight panini recipe:  Sliced apple, caramelized red onion, sharp cheddar, bacon, kosher sandwich pickles, honey dijon mustard on rye bread.
  • Josh and Dimona enjoying a sunny Sunday on MDW
  • A quick “selfie” we took, waiting for the subway, at our new stop – 90th St/Elmhurst Ave on the 7 train. Think we like wayfarer sunglasses much?
  • Snapshots of 5 Pointz, an amazing haven of graffiti in the city
  • Manhattan skyline showcasing the city swelter of this past week’s 90˚F+ days

Welcome June!

30 Days of Thankful (November Recap)

November in Pictures

A central theme across social media this past month was to give thanks every day of November.  I had many friends and acquaintances post on facebook, twitter, their blog and/or instagram each day about a part of their life (big or small) that they were grateful for. I’m not dedicated enough to have posted every day, but since this week’s WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge theme is “Thankful”, I thought I’d take this opportunity to incorporate the things I am thankful for with a recap of November via instagram pictures:

1. Sunday, November 4th – Taken at the Giants vs. Steelers game tailgate, with one of my best friends since age 8.

*I am thankful for sunny days spent outdoors, even as the weather turns colder.  I am thankful for lifelong friendships and playful rivalries.

2. Friday, November 9th – Taken at a dear friend’s family’s cabin, early in the morning.  I have a wonderful group of friends who continue to make time for each other, and we have a fabulous host who brings us to this serene location at least twice a year for long weekends.

*I am thankful for upstate retreats and catching up with college friends.  I am thankful for a few days a year when I can pretend, and act, like I’m still 21. I am thankful for peaceful mornings and the nostalgia that an image can create from years and years of wonderful weekends.

3. Saturday, November 10th – Also taken at the cabin: my fabulous bloody mary, with a slice of bacon.

*I am thankful for “make-you-own” bloody mary bars, and bacon.

4. Monday, November 12th – Taken at home with my family the night after we got our power back following Hurricane Sandy.  My step mom made this fabulous cake and it was made even more delicious while we celebrated heat and the ability to use the oven.

*I am thankful that my family stayed safe during Sandy and that there was no damage to our home. Although two (freezing cold) weeks without power were difficult, I send my prayers to those who do not have homes to go back.

5. Friday, November 16th – Taken along the waterfront in my town on Long Island at sunset.

*I am thankful that I live near the water and get to enjoy beautiful images – such as sailboats along the horizon during sunset – every day.  I am thankful for God and nature and all the elements of the universe that I will never understand that work together to create a sky such as this.

6. Sunday, November 18th – Taken in my living room of my dog (the princess) sleeping on her fort of pillows.

*I am thankful for the privilege of being a dog owner and taking care of the sweetest girl in a world that judges her based on her breed first.  I am thankful for how much I have learned about myself and my spouse, and how our relationship has grown, since we decided to raise a pet together.

7. Sunday, November 18th – Taken in our kitchen as Josh creates the “ultimate” pulled pork sandwich.

*I am thankful for great recipes that are easy to make and that can satisfy a hungry man.  I am thankful for dinners at home together, and amaaazing cookware wedding gifts (yes, that’s a Le Creuset dutch oven!)

8. Thursday, November 22nd – Taken in our Aunt Leslye and Uncle Richard’s home Thanksgiving day as three different generations of men carve the turkey.

*I am thankful for tradition, for family, and for love.

9. Friday, November 23rd – Taken at a local sushi place in town during a lunch & movie date on Friday when we had the same day off.

*I am thankful for the small things that bring great joy, such as seeing a movie in a theater and eating in a restaurant.  I am thankful that I get to wake up and look at that face every day for the rest of my life.

I hope that you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving with your family and friends, and wish you so much happiness during the coming holiday season.  I am VERY thankful for my readers, who took me to over 60,000 hits this month! xo

Weekly Recap: Valentine’s Day Edition

Gustav Klimt - The Kiss

Happy Saturday morning to all of my lovely readers.  For those of you in the northeast, I hope you’re enjoying waking up to snow, and can cuddle up today with friends and loved ones, or go out to play!  I’m soon headed to the upper west side for a mimosa-heavy brunch with some dear friends.

For this edition of my Weekly Recap feature, I thought I’d make it fun and Valentine’s day themed, since that seems to be what all bloggers have on the brain!  Here’s the best of the best from the web in preparation for this “Hallmark” holiday!

Happy weekend my lovelies! See you on Monday! xo