Thursday, December 31, 2009


This post is for my boy, R.B., who I've known ever since UMCP. He's been with his gf (T.B.) for years and has been telling me about this "engagement ring talk" all year. Today, he text me saying, "Tonight is going to be a fun and special night." Now, I know it's New Year's Eve and all, but why tell me that? And why tell me that he made reservations for them at their favorite Indian restaurant in Union Station? (White Tiger) My theory...he's going to propose to her tonight. So this post is to prove I was right...IF I'm right. We'll see!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

A Touch of Red

I'm a member of the Bowie-Crofton Camera Club, and every month, we hold a themed competition amongst the members. In addition to a first place, second place, or honorable mention title, the winning photos are usually displayed in Bowie's City Hall or Senior Center.

January will be my first competition that I'm competing in, and the theme is "A Touch of Red". The example given was a photo of a shark about to attack a surfer, but the focal point happened to be the bright red shorts of the surfer, which takes your attention away from the subject matter. I'd award First Place to whoever actually had a photo like that! Another example given was a monochrome (black and white) photo of a security camera mounted on the side of a building, with a red bra hanging from it. How naughty! However, I didn't want to edit my photos much at all, so this is what I found on my hard drive and submitted, 30 minutes before the midnight submission deadline last night.

This one is titled Awedience. We can only submit two digital photos and I opted for two others. I thought it was too dark, overall. But there is indeed a touch of red!

This one is titled Fourth of July. I know, imaginative name, right?

Here is Wagonfly.

This is my first time competing, so I'm just glad to have a submission this time. The other members are really, really good photographers so I can't wait to see the other entries! Until I find out the results...

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Is that Maserati a Buick?

Maybe it's me, but there is an uncanny resemblance between the current Italian-made Maserati Quattroporte and the domestic Buick LaCrosse. Should there be?

Should we mistake the $30,000 car with the $130,000 car? I guess that's like the Chrysler 300M and the Rolls Royce Phantom, no?

No, not the same, not the same at all.

Riding away in my beater truck that could only be mistaken for a Ford,


Monday, December 28, 2009

Christmas 2009

This Christmas was so great. I wish I could say that I woke up at whatever o'clock on Christmas morning but I didn't. At 8:15 am, I got out of bed to start wrapping gifts. I never even took a break to eat--Mike had to toast a Bagelful for me to eat and I kept on truckin'.

By 2 pm (that's right!), we finally got ready to go his parents house to drop off gifts. His mom made a roast (roasted what? cow? pig? deer? bear?) and "twice baked potato" for Christmas dinner. She's so sweet--she still calles me Zana and even addressed my Christmas card to "Zana" but she got me an awesome gift, a PowerLight blow dryer that one of her stylists uses at her salon, with a mini travel sized version! I can't wait to use it! That is, assuming that I'll ever do my own hair again, I'm on a quest to teach Mike how, but until then...
Mike's Mom tried on the coat that we got for his dad.

Then we ate on the good Christmas china in the dining room that gets dined in once a year and said our goodbyes.

Then we headed to my mom's house for the real Christmas (sorry Mrs. Taylor!) and what a real Christmas it was. My mom made macaroni and cheese and had cherry pie. I love cherry pie! Let's open the gifts.

What a wonderful Christmas it was. :) Now what am I gonna do with two fire extinguishers?

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Holiday Door Decorating Contest

This year, my office participated in the company's holiday door decorating contest. I heard that last year, we won second place, but I have no idea how, with the paltry decorations found in our dusty holiday box stuffed away on a corner shelf. This year, my coworkers in the IT Dept decided to take it up a notch!

The prize for the 1st place winning door is a free lunch on Friday, December 18th, which happens to be the same day as our holiday potluck. 2nd place is a breakfast on Thursday the 17th. Before we were even done with our door, we confidently wondered if we could change the date of the free lunch!
After collecting a ton of supplies and working for three days on the door with Nikki (go Nikki!) and the superb artist Shanna (go Shanna! who knew she was so talented?) while still keeping up with our regular work, we were finally finished. All day, people were coming by our office to take a look and either commented to themselves and walked away or commented to us about how nice they thought our door was. And in the meantime, it turned into a real competition! Now I can share what all of our hard work produced!

But first, how about a gander at our competitor's doors?

Nice, but in their defense, I don't think they were finished yet...

Keep in mind, the company that I work at, VSE, refurbishes naval ships...

Cool, the hull is 3-D!

More 3-D action!

Here's our door.

No, that's not it, that's just a door that we decorated to look like a gift that's located next to our door.

You can't see them well here, but there are Christmas lights on this wreath!
I was soooo happy to be finished. I can't wait until Wednesday morning for the judging! What do you think? Do we deserve 1st place? 2nd place? An honorable mention?
Here's to the competitive spirit in you...happy holidays. :) -Insana

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Happy Birthday Jamahri!

I'm about a week late posting this, but I can't neglect talking about my nephew Jamahri's 6th birthday!

The party was supposed to be at Planet Fun in Greenbelt (yay?), on a Wednesday afternoon (hey, it IS the day of his actual birthday). Wouldn't you know it, an hour before the party, someone got there early, at 5 pm, and let us know that Planet Fun was closed. Yep, CLOSED. Not sure if it was closed for business, but nobody was having a party there!

So my sister moved it to Chuck E. Cheese in Largo, MD. It didn't smell as much as I remembered (like sweaty palms holding tokens for hours), and it wasn't nearly as crowded, probably because it was Wednesday. Go Wednesday!

I'd never seen an actual Chuck E. Cheese in the costume (only the mechanical one on stage) dancing with the children, but there he was...and the kids were dancing too! They had a ball, and didn't try to beat him up.

That's my niece Saraia doing that pose below. She KEPT doing it. Where do they get that stuff?

I got to play skeeball with my mother, which was great, because we don't do many fun things like that together anymore.

I LIVE for birthday cake, and despite the offputting dark dyes and whatnot, this cake was very, very good! This is my sister, Qualamiya, cutting the cake.

Ghetto sight of the night: One of my sister's friends wheeled in a bike for Jamahri, and the kids took turns riding it around Chuck E. Cheese. Yep.

Happy Birthday Jamahri! :)

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Can't Touch Dis

Last night, I took a class at the Washington School of Photography on Photo Retouching, using Photoshop CS4. The class was three hours long and cost $85, but what I learned to do is priceless! The goal was to learn how to use Photoshop to whiten teeth, soften or remove wrinkles and blemishes, and overall basic retouching techniques.

When you retouch your first photo, I'm telling you, the feeling is unmatched. To make someone look their absolute best--and still natural, is awesome. When the photo is delivered, it's still them, and it's our job to make them look better than they ever thought they could. I still have a long way to go, but I practiced some of the techniques I learned on one of my good friend's photos, Toya.

Here is the before photo:

And here is the same photo after retouching.
I probably could have done a better job but I am just so happy! I want to do some more before it feels like a chore! lol

Thanks for reading and joining in my Photoshop happiness,

Insana :)