Geek Love

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A while back, I stumbled upon this book and it made my heart flutter.
“The Official Handbook” to understanding geeks? Yes, please!
As I’m sure you can tell from this blog, dating (and marrying!) a socially-awkward individual can be trying at times. Geeks (and Nerds) have a different mind set than most people.
Carrie Tucker, the author, is a self-professed nerd whose boyfriend works for a video game company.
Now, this book is not entirely serious. It explores the stereotypical geek. And it can seem condescending at times. But in good fun, this book rocks.
It opens with a quiz to determine “What Type of Geek is Your Guy?”
James is a hybrid: Video Game Geek meets Film and Television Geek meets Science Fiction and Fantasy Geek. Yikes.
Then, the book details six different types of geeks, how to date that type, common relationship problems you may encounter and a brief glossary and history to help you better understand the things your geek loves.
  • Video Game Geeks – “In many relationships, the game controller is known as the mistress.”
  • Comic Book and Graphic Novel Geeks – “Ah, the comic book store. That dark, cavernous place your geek disappears into every weekend.”
  • Manga and Anime Geeks – “An Acquired Taste. Like Sushi.”
  • Film and Television Geeks – “We’re talking about the film and television geek who is obsessed with nerdy shows!”
  • Sports Geeks – “Geeks loving sports may seem like quite the shocker…but they do love them.”
  • Science Fiction and Fantasy Geeks – “Science fiction and fantasy geeks are truly birds of different feathers — or Klingons of different planets…”
All in all, it’s a fun read. And appropriate for Valentine’s Day … how better to bond your love with your Nerd than join him for a LOTR marathon or quest in Star Trek: Online.
And just for you *awesome* readers with Nerds of your own, I’m hosting my very first giveaway! 
 
The winner will receive a copy of Carrie Tucker’s “I (love) Geeks” book and a $25 gift card to Amazon.com.
 
To enter, please leave a comment below answering the following question:
“What do you love most about your geek?” 
 
Or, if you aren’t lucky enough to have a geek of your own, just tell me what you love most about your significant other. :)
 
For extra entries, become a follower of my blog, tweet about this giveaway, or post it on Facebook! And leave me a comment telling me that you’ve done so.
 
If you’re already a follower, don’t fret! Just leave a comment saying that you’re already a follower. :)
 
The winner will be chosen by Random.org’s number generator. Contest closes at noon Central on Saturday, Feb. 20, 2010.
 
Good luck!Edit: Thank you to all who entered! This contest is now closed. Click here to see the results!

Taco Soup

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It’s been quite cold here in Texas lately.
The other night, as snow was falling and the temperature was dropping, I decided to make a pot of Taco Soup to warm us up.
This soup is so easy to make — you just throw a bunch of ingredients into a pot!
Well, let’s get to it:
The Cast of Characters
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Ingredients:
1 pound of ground beef
1 pkg of Taco Seasoning
1 pkg Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing mix
1 can Rotel Tomatoes and Green Chilies
1 can black beans
2 cans whole kernel corn
1 can Ranch-Style beans
1/2 can tomato sauce
2 cups water
Shredded Cheese and Tortilla Chips to garnish
Directions:
In a stock pot or dutch oven, brown the ground beef and drain. Stir in taco seasoning and Ranch Dressing mix.
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Drain the juice from the Rotel and add the tomatoes to the pot. Don’t add the juice — if you make this mistake, your mouth will be on fire. Trust me.
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Now, pour in both cans of corn, juice and all.
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Same thing with the Ranch-Style beans — pour ’em in, juice and all.
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Pour in half the can of tomato sauce.
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Add the black beans, juice and all.
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Add the water.
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Now, simmer for about 30 minutes.
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Doesn’t that look yummy?
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Garnish with tortilla chips and shredded cheese.
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Download a 4×6 recipe card here.

Happy Saturday! Enjoy Valentine’s Day!

Sugar Cookie Pops

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Since Valentine’s Day fast approaches (and snow days freed up my work schedule!), I decided to try my hand at these super cute sugar cookie pops from Our Best Bites.
I love, love, love the sugar cookie recipe from their site — especially with the Almond Extract flavoring. I’ve always had sugar cookies with Vanilla Extract, but the Almond was to die for. I love the smell of it!
Here’s the Cast of Characters:
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1 C real butter
1 C sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 tsp Almond extract
3 C flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
Directions:
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Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
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Add in eggs and extract and mix well.
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In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt. Whisk to combine.
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Slowly add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and mix well.
Separate the dough into halves and roll between two sheets of wax paper. Chill for at least an hour in the fridge.
Once the dough is nice and chilly, use cookie cutters to cut shapes (I did hearts for Valentine’s Day!).If you’re making cookie pops, take a lolly pop stick and press in into the back side of the cookie, about halfway up.
If not, just move on. :)
Lay the cookies out on a cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 8 to 12 minutes, depending on how crispy you want the cookies.
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You’ll know they’re done when the edges are just barely turning golden brown.
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Now for the fun part — Frosting the Cookies! :)
This was the first time I worked with Glacé Icing.
The second Cast of Characters:
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1 pound powdered sugar
1/4 cup and 2 Tbs whole milk
1/4 cup and 2 Tbs light corn syrup
2 tsp extract (Almond, if you used that in the sugar cookies)
Directions:
Mix the sugar and milk.
Add the corn syrup and extract.
Divide and add color — I did pink and white. :)
Here’s the white:
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And the pink:
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I used Wilton’s Sparkle Gel to pipe a line of icing around the edge of the cookies.
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Then, I filled in the cookie with the Glacé Icing.
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I’m sure it gets easier as you work with it more and more, but I learned after the first few cookies to pipe a line of frosting around the outside of the cookie to keep the glaze from running off the edges.
I had to salvage a few where the icing ran off the edge, so I just added a bunch more icing and piped a fun design on the top:
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Aren’t they so fun?
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Now, if only I had someone (other than the Nerd and myself) to share them with!

Snow!

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It’s snowing outside, and it has been all morning!
We awoke this morning to a blanket of white on the ground, and it hasn’t stopped sprinkling white stuff all day.
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Since we live in North Texas, this is not something we are used to. In fact, the Minions had a great time frolicking in the snow.
I thought I’d share some of their escapades:
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Kaylee had a lot of fun. There is nothing cuter than beagle ears flopping around.
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Isn’t she a doll?
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And Georgie was trying to eat the snowflakes as they fell around him!
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Since I don’t have to work for the rest of the day, I plan on baking some cookies and making Taco Soup for dinner tonight. I’ll take photos and post the recipes eventually.
Hope everyone stays warm and dry!

Nerdy Things Thursday: MTG

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Welcome to Nerdy Things Thursday, where I try to shed a little light on some of the Nerdy Things I come across in my life with The Nerd.
Earlier this week, I shared some photos from our weekend trip to Houston to celebrate a new set release for Magic: The Gathering. So I thought I’d explain a little about this super-awesome trading card game.
The basic premise of MTG is that you are a planeswalker, or magician, who is dueling another planeswalker. You cast spells and summon creatures or artifacts to assist you in the duel and defend you.
Each player uses a 60-card deck of spells, creatures, artifacts and mana cards. Mana is the “fuel” for your spells — a force that you draw from different forms of land. There are five colors of mana, and each color has a general strategy or “feel” of a spell associated with it:
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I like to play blue, white and (occasionally) black. The Nerd is more partial black and red.
So, you need mana to cast a spell. Each card has a certain mana cost. You are allowed to play one land card (which produces one mana) each turn, unless you have a spell that allows you to cast more than one land card.
Now, let’s take a look at a card:
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This is a white card. If you look at the top left corner, you’ll see the casting cost. It’s 2 white mana, and 4 mana of any color.
The card type is a “Creature — Human Soldier.” So, this card can attack your opponent, or defend against an attack from your opponent’s creatures.
In the bottom right, is the Power/Toughness of this creature. It’s a 3/3, so it had 3 hit points, and can absorb 3 hit points.
You need the right combination of creatures, spells, artifacts and land (mana) in your deck to win. It’s all about strategy. And making super-cool combos.
See this website for more basic rules.
The cards are released in sets. A block consists of three sets of cards, all with a similar theme. Currently, the Shards of Alara block and Zendikar block are the standard sets. So, you can use cards from these sets when playing in a Standard tournament.
Of course, there are really cool cards from all sets, and I really like to collect the cool cards.
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If you know me, you know that I am a (semi)organized person. I love Post-It notes and labels and file folders. Yep, it’s possible to love those things. But I digress. I like to keep my Magic cards in pretty boxes — one for each deck.
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Ah, blue, green and purple. My favs.
And I thought I’d give you a look at some of my favorite cards:
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This is Elspeth. She’s beautiful.
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Master Transmuter lets me play any artifact for a low cost. I love this card in my Esper Artifact deck.
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And Ethersworn Adjudicator is just a cool card. Yes, it’s autographed by the artist!
Hopefully, we can eventually delve into some of the strategy in this game, and talk about some of the popular types of decks that people create. Not that I’m an expert. I lose a lot.
Hope everyone has a safe, warm day! We’re expecting snow in Dallas, so this should be interesting…
Until next time, live long and prosper!

A Magic-al Weekend

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This weekend, The Nerd and I drove south to Houston to visit some friends. About a year ago, these friends had introduced us to a wonderful (and addicting!!) trading card game called Magic: The Gathering.
We’ll talk about the specifics of the games later in the week during Nerdy Things Thursday. For now, let’s just say that it’s FUN!
Oh, and the cards are pretty. That’s all that really matters.
A new set of cards was released this weekend, and we all got together for a booster draft!
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We purchased a booster box to split between us — that’s 36 booster packs, each containing 15 cards.
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That’s a lot of cards.
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There’s nothing better than opening a fresh pack of Magic cards:
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The Nerd likes to tease me by not letting me see the cards he got…
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He’s a mean, mean man.
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And then, he let me see the rare from the pack:
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April is a much better model.
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She likes pretty cards, too.
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She’s my compadre in many of our Nerdy activities.
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Once all the cards were open, the draft ensued! Eric won. 
Then everybody else. 
I was last. 
I suck.
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Eric is the thinker of the group.
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April always has a cool combo up her sleeve.
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And then there’s me. Blinded by pretty cards. 
(And wearing my Pioneer Woman shirt!)

Not Me Monday

It’s that time again…
Welcome to Not Me! Monday! This blog carnival was created by MckMama. You can head over to her blog to read what she and everyone else have not been doing this week.
As for me, things have been pretty hectic the last week or so.
Things have been so busy, in fact, that I totally did *not* forget to post another Nerdy Things Thursday post last week. Not me.
Two weeks in a row that I’ve missed.
So much for my schedule.
The Nerd and I headed out of town for the weekend, which you’ll get to read all about in tomorrow’s post. I totally did *not* persuade my husband to purchase 8 additional Magic booster packs, just so I could get a pretty box. Not me. 
And I totally did *not* drink a Dr Pepper on our way home yesterday, cheating on my resolution to only drink water. I have *not* cheated several times. Not me.
And finally, I am totally *not* about to leave you hanging with a photo preview of tomorrow’s post. Not me.
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Happy Monday!

When Nerds Get Together…

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Massive amounts of gaming ensue.

Swimming … in January!?!

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Yes, this was us … yesterday. It was 31 degrees outside and we were wearing swimsuits. Are we crazy? No, we were at Great Wolf Lodge!

Remember my adorable niece? Well, my brother and his wife are moving her to Denver on Monday.

So, my mom thought it would be fun for us to spend the weekend with her at the indoor waterpark!

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Nanna and Pappy are so proud of River! 

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Here she is suiting up. Please excuse the terrible blurriness in these photos. I didn’t want to take my super nice camera into the waterpark, so I used my point-and-shoot.

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River wasn’t the only one who had fun!

It took a little while for her to get used to the water, but soon she was splashing around like a champ!

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There were all kinds of things inside the park. Like waterfalls…

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And water guns…

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And water slides… Go James!

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Nanna and River are best buds!

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I’m gonna miss that baby…

A New Me

I don’t want to disappoint you guys, but there will be no Nerdy Things Thursday post this week.

Sorry. Personal things in my life have encroached upon my blogging and I just can’t bring myself to wax poetic about the “quirks” of my husband this week.

This post is going to be about ME.

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What does Smart Water have to do with it??

I’ve recently realized that I can’t remember the last time that I did something just to make me happy. I’m always working or going and doing but it’s never for me. It’s always for someone else. If I had to list my one main character flaw, it’s that I would do *anything* to make other people happy. I live to serve, if you will.

I don’t think it’s a bad thing to derive happiness from the joy of others. But sometimes, you just gotta live for you.

So, I have decided to revamp my life and my priorities. I’m tired of trying to always make someone else happy. I want to be that someone else.

Now here’s the question: What will make me happy? Well, there are a lot of things. But number one on the list is to be happy with my self. So, I’m going to get healthier. I’m going to start working out. I’m going to do my best to be my best and I’m not doing it for anyone but me.

One of my blog idols shared her weight loss story here. I’m taking a lot of tips from her.

This is going to have to come in phases or it will be an insurmountable task.

Phase One started today: Drink nothing but water. That’s where the Smart Water comes in. I’m also starting to take a multivitamin.

Phase Two will begin next week: Work out at least three times per week. I’m going to join the local YMCA. And I’m going to stick with it.

Phase Three will begin shortly thereafter: Count calories daily and start to eat smaller (and healthier!) portions.

I’ll keep you updated as things move along. I need all the support I can get, so keep me in your thoughts and prayers. This is going to be tough.

Path of the Planeswalker

This blog is mostly about my husband and all the Nerdy things he does. But tonight, we’re going to talk about a very Nerdy thing that *I* did last week.
 I purchased my first Graphic Novel!
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We’ll talk about Graphic Novels in more depth when that Nerdy Things Thursday topic rolls around. Suffice it to say that a Graphic Novel is kind of like a comic on steroids.
But why would I purchase such a thing? Because it follows the Magic: The Gathering storyline. And I’m a sucker for anything MTG!
Path of the Planeswalker chronicles the origins of each of the MTG Planeswalkers. We’ll talk about who (and what) those are at a later time. Now, let’s look at some pretty pictures!
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I love this drawing of Elspeth.
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And here she is once she releases her power. Such a bright spark!
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I really like how the style of drawing suits the personality of each Planeswalker.
This is Liliana Vess. She’s evil and dark.
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Chandra is a fire mage. Her drawings are bright and colorful and full of fire.
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Garruk Wildspeaker gets cursed by Liliana. Such a haunting drawing.
You can read more about this Graphic Novel here. Or, if you’d like to purchase a copy of your own, you can do so here.
Until next time, live long and prosper!

Not Me Monday

Well, folks, it’s been another eventful week. Let’s talk about some of the things that I — being a dedicated, wonderful and diligent wife and employee — did *not* do.

Welcome to Not Me! Monday! This blog carnival was created by MckMama. You can head over to her blog to read what she and everyone else have not been doing this week.

I was so *drained* after last week — work was brutal. On Friday, I didn’t get home until 7:30 p.m. and I totally did *not* walk in the door, sit down on the couch, and refuse to check my e-mail. Nope, not me. I  make sure to check my e-mail every morning, afternoon and evening so I *never* miss a question from a customer. I’m good like that.

Then, on Saturday, when The Nerd offered to take me to see Leap Year, I totally did *not* leave the house in blue jeans, Uggs and a T-shirt that was massively large on me. Nope. Not me. I care about my appearance. I would *never* go to the movies with no makeup and my hair in a pony tail.

And Sunday, I totally did *not* finally take down the Christmas tree. I’m a domestic goddess and had the… umm… tree… umm… *totally* taken down before New Year’s. Nope, I didn’t take it down on Sunday. That would be crazy.

And right now, after spending the last four hours on the computer answering all the e-mails that I *didn’t* neglect on Friday, I’m totally *not* writing this post, even though it feels like my eyeballs are about to explode. Isn’t that a great visual?

Oh yeah, one more thing: I’m totally *not* about to make a blogging faux paux by posting with no pictures.

Forgive me. It’s Not Me Monday.

Wish List

I don’t know if it’s just *my* Nerd or if this is a trait they all possess, but James has a really hard time buying me presents.

I really don’t understand it. When a holiday comes around, there’s always *something* that I think would be a good present for him, so I just assume that he can come up with something for me.

Well… you know what assuming does…

I’ve even tried dropping hints: “Hey, babe, isn’t that sweater pretty?” or “Can we just go look in Brighton for a little bit? See these earrings, they’re gorgeous.”

But even that doesn’t work.

So, I finally got smart. I started making lists.

And now, I’m going to publish my Wish List for all the world to see (and my husband, especially!) Be sure to click on the photo to purchase the item! :)

Le Creuset Round Dutch Oven, 5 1/2 quarts

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I really like the Lemongrass shade. :)
KitchenAid Artisan Stand Mixer
 
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I love the sleek black color!
Silpat Silicone Cookie Sheet Liner

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I’m told these liners are *phenomenal* for baking.
RollPat Nonstick Rolling Mat
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Great for making sugar cookies and other baked goods!
Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 Medium Telephoto Lens
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This would be a great addition to my camera!

Canon EF 35mm f/2 Wide Angle Lens

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This lens is not as general purpose, but the Pioneer Woman swears by its Nikon equivalent. If it’s good enough for her, who am I to argue? :)

Shootsac Lens Bag with True Color Fashion Cover

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My friend, Christy, just got one of these and I’m so jealous!

Now don’tcha think all those awesome cooking tools and camera equipment will make this blog so much better? I do! :)
What’s on your Wish List? I’d love to hear!
Happy Sunday!


 



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