I *Heart* Faces Photo Workshop!

Last weekend, I had the chance to attend the Dream Big Photography Workshop sponsored by I *Heart* Faces.
I took the beginner class, taught by Michelle Johnson from My Two Seasons. There were about 20 of us in the class.
We learned lots about aperture, shutter speed, ISO and exposure. We even got a few tips on Photoshop Actions.
But the best thing? I got the confidence to shoot in Manual for the first time!
Here are some of my photos from that day:
This little girl was so fun.
She looked at each camera and posed perfectly.
Plus, her outfit was super-cute.
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This is the daughter of Dana Suggs.
She was so quiet but she was such a doll.
The cookies were provided by Bake at 350.
Isn’t she beautiful? I love her fiery red hair and sky blue eyes.
Simply gorgeous.

It was so great to have the chance to work on my photo skills.

Thanks for looking!

I learned a lot about aperture, shutter speed, ISO and exposure at the Dream Big Photo Workshop. And shot on manual for the first time ever!

Bakerella Book Signing!

For the longest time, I have adored Bakerella.
I just love her blog. And her Cake Pops are darling.
So when I heard she’d be in Dallas for her book tour, I jumped at the chance to meet her.
I mean, look at her. Isn’t she so fun and full of life?
First, she shared some tips to get the perfect Cake Pops.
You see the pens she’s holding in the photo? Those are the only ones to use, she said.
They last a lot longer than other brands, Bakerella told us.
But you still have to be sure to use a light hand when writing/coloring on the candy melts, she said. If you don’t, the candy will gob up around the pen.
And these little pink bowls are the perfect size for a 16 oz bag of candy melts.
Bakerella uses only the best!
Once you dip your Cake Pop into the candy melts, *don’t* stir it around the bowl. You just want to dip it and pull it out to let the excess drain off.
And here’s the trick: Don’t shake your Cake Pop to get rid of the excess chocolate.
Hold it in your hand and tap your wrist with two fingers, gently discarding the excess without messing up your beautiful creation.
Gets it smooth every time, Bakerella told us.
After her question and answer session, she signed books!
I was #8 in line, so I got to go through quickly!
We each got these super-cute buttons, too!
It was such a fun experience!
And here’s the best part: I bought an extra copy of Cake Pops by Bakerella and had it signed especially for one of my readers.
That’s you, folks!
One lovely reader will win this *signed* copy of Cake Pops by Bakerella and a set of adorable mini buttons.
The Rules:
The contest is open to U.S. and Canada residents only.
You *must* be a follower of my blog to enter. To follow my blog, simply click “Join This Site” on the Google Friend Connect widget. You can sign in with your Google, Twitter or Blogger account.
If you are a new follower, you will receive 1 entry.
If you were a follower prior to the start of this contest, you will receive 2 entries.
Fill out the form below to enter. Do not leave your entry in the comments.
Each person may fill out the form once.
If you h
ave any questions, you can consult my contest policy.
Increase Your Chances:

Complete the following tasks to increase your chances to win!

  • +1 – Become a fan of The Nerd’s Wife on Facebook.
  • +1 – Follow The Nerd’s Wife on Twitter.
  • +2 – Tweet about this contest. Sample tweet: I ♥ Cake Pops and want to win a signed copy of @bakerella’s book from @thenerdswife. You can, too! Enter here: http://bit.ly/atfzRL
Contest Ends Friday, Nov. 12 at 11:59 pm CST.
Good Luck!

Bakerella showed us how to make perfect Cake Pops when her book tour stopped in Dallas.

Scott Westerfeld Book Signing

Last week, I got to meet Scott Westerfeld when he spoke at a local library about his latest book, Behemoth.
Behemoth, which is the sequel to Leviathan, is an alternative history of World War I.
It blends Steampunk and fantasy to create a world where “Clankers” use steam-powered walking machines to battle Darwinist creatures fabricated by Great Britain.
Westerfeld talked about how he wanted to include illustrations in these novels to give the look and feel of an early 20th-century novel.
Behemoth is punctuated by illustrations like this, depicting an elephantine machine walking through the streets of Istanbul.
Westerfeld talked about how he would give the illustrator, Keith Thompson, an idea (or model, haha)…
…and Thompson would turn it into something like this.
Isn’t that cool?
Some illustrations were based on actual machines developed in the early 1900s, like this weird walking motorcycle thingy.
At the end of the night, I asked him to sign some copies of Leviathan, Behemoth and Zombies vs. Unicorns.
He agreed to take a photo with me, too!
This was one of the most interesting author events I’ve attended and I’m so glad I got to meet him!
Thanks for looking!
Scott Westerfeld, author of Behemoth, wanted to include illustrations in his novels to emulate the look and feel of an early 20th century book.

Fun at the Fair!

Earlier this week, I posted about the amazing selection of fried foods we tried last weekend at the State Fair of Texas.
Today, I’d like to talk about animals.
Namely, freaky looking rabbit-like animals like these ones. I have no idea what they are called.
Giraffes, which River really liked.
Goats that became so interested in a cute little blonde girl wearing an Aggie cap…
That they came over and stuck their heads through the fence to get a closer look at her.
Of course, she had to reward him for coming to say hello.
She liked him so much that she poured her entire cup of feed into the shovel to feed him.
He was one happy goat.
River got a good look at the rest of the animals…
There was this little guy, who looked strangely intriguing.
And miniature horses that liked to cuddle with each other.
And, finally, zebras! They were so cute!
While we’re at it, let’s talk about rides.
Crazy, swinging rides that you will never, ever catch me riding.
Heck, I’m even a wuss at Six Flags.
And games…
Super-fun games where cute little girls win fun little prizes.
River really liked the game with the duckies.
She liked the swan ride. Her daddy, however, didn’t like the fact that he had to pedal them around the pond. :)
But I think the carousel ride (the horsies!) was her favorite.
By the end of the day, she was all tuckered out.
And so were we.
Oh, the fun we had at the fair!
River had a blast at the petting zoo and riding the carousel at the State Fair of Texas!

DFW Maternity Photographer

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This weekend, I had the amazing opportunity to take maternity photos of my sister-in-law.
This will be her second baby — a little boy, due in January.
The first go around (with River) she didn’t have photos taken. So, I wanted to be sure to get some this time!
We headed to the Dallas Arboretum to try to get some fallish pictures. It was a fun (but exhausting!) day, and I think we got some good shots.
The whole family — it was hard to get River to smile.
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I love these next few of Alex against the stone wall.
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The purple belly is so fun!
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Isn’t she gorgeous?
This shot reminds me of Notting Hill.
There were lots of sailboats out on the water.
Love her reflection in the water!
River likes to play on Mommy’s belly.
Her personality really shines through here.
Of course, River wanted to play with the blocks…
River and Mommy
Such a wonderful family.
Andy was being silly and put the pumpkin in his shirt. River didn’t quite know what to think…
She loves Mommy’s belly, though.
So does Daddy.
Now everyone has a belly! :)
Thanks for looking!

Maternity photoshoot with my sister-in-law, Alex, and her super-cute family! Can’t wait for baby pumpkin seed to be born!

Beef: It’s What’s For Dinner

I recently had the chance to attend the Appetite for Inspiration cooking event sponsored by the Texas Beef Council.
DFW bloggers descended upon the Viking Cooking School in Dallas to learn how to prepare some simple, family-friendly beef dishes from Chef Richard Chamberlain, a local celebrity chef.
Chef Chamberlain prepared a couple of dishes right before our eyes.
First up was the Beef and Heirloom Tomato Salad with Balsamic Syrup.
Oh my goodness it was yummy.
Chef Chamberlain talked about the benefits of eating beef when it is prepared in a healthy (and yummy!) way.
The Beef Pot Roast with Maple Sweet Potatoes and Cider Gravy was so tender and juicy. It’s definitely being added to my recipe rotation.
Soon it was time to don our own aprons and head to the kitchen to test our skills!
We were divided into groups and assigned a recipe to prepare. My group’s dish was the Mojo Beef Kabobs.
I’ll share the recipe with you in a later post, but this was the end result. It was really peppery and yummy!
We were proud of our dish. I think it’s really pretty, don’t you?
Here are some of the other dishes:
Farmer’s Market Vegetable, Beef and Brown Rice Salad
Sweet Hawaiian Mini Burgers
Tenderloin, Cranberry and Pear Salad with Honey Mustard Dressing
Chipotle Sloppy Joes with Crunchy Cole Slaw
Of course we had to try all of that delicious food!
And boy, was it yummy!
Here’s me and Chef Chamberlain.
It was a wonderful experience with a great group of women. It was a lot of fun!
You can see more photos from the event on my Flickr page.
**Disclaimer** This event was hosted by the Texas Beef Council. I was not compensated for this post. Attendees received goodie bags with aprons, recipe books and other fun beef-related items.

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