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A Good Travel Camera?

I just got back from my trip to France and Morocco! I’m so eager to tell you about it, but I need to get over jetlag, go through and edit my photos, and of course cobble together a few cohesive thoughts on the whole thing. So today, can I ask for a recommendation? I’d love a good camera for traveling. Something between my iPhone and my DSLR.

I brought my Canon 7D with two lenses (a wide angle 10-22mm, and my favorite, the 35mm f/1.4L prime) in a leather camera bag from ONA. Altogether, my camera gear was at least 10 pounds which I’m normally happy to carry for the sake of better quality photos. While six months pregnant though? I was jealous of my travelmates with small lightweight cameras. And really, I’ve been looking for a good travel camera for a couple of years now — it just took this trip to really make it seem like I ought to finally find something.

Traveling With My Camera Bag

I’m aware of a few options… Jordan bought a Sony NEX on the recommendation of a friend, and coincidentally it was the same model that both Carol and Dave were using, though theirs were provided to them by Sony. I was sent a Samsung Galaxy Camera to review for Babble in 2012, and I had high hopes for it but it was buggy and not as great as I’d hoped. I liked the quality of the Canon G10 that I used to own (I gave it to my sister a couple of years ago, but it looks like the new G16 might work for me now), and I’ve heard great things about the Fujifilm X100S, but I worry that the fixed lens is limiting and it’s expensive.

Since I’m not a professional photographer and I don’t need to carry all of my heavy, expensive gear with me, I’m still looking for the magic camera I was two years ago. Good in low-level light, wifi or bluetooth connection with my iPhone (or maybe just Eyefi compatibility?), manual and a variety of automatic modes (shutter or aperture priority), nice depth of field, a wide optical zoom range, and of course, something that can take good quality photos. Do you have any recommendations, or an impartial review site to check out? Thanks in advance for your help!

The Playroom’s Accent Wall (Featured in HGTV Magazine)

The playroom is sporting a different look from the last time you saw it! I showed a couple of shots while the wall was in progress a couple of months ago, but then I couldn’t show any more until the feature with Glidden ran in HGTV magazine this month.

Playroom Accent Wall in Progress

I write for Glidden, so when they asked if I had any painting projects coming up that they could share, I told them about my plans for the playroom. Typically, I’m not one to do an accent wall, as they can seem kind of arbitrary. In this case though, I really liked the white walls on the third floor for the most part, but wanted to bring some of the color over from the curtains on the other side of the playroom. A big block of color (like a traditional accent wall) could have worked, but I thought this would be a good place to try something a bit more playful.

Accent Wall in the Playroom #makingitlovely

Playroom Accent Wall #makingitlovely

The feature is inside a peel-back front cover in the June 2014 issue of HGTV magazine, along with projects by Kate and Eduardo, who also write for Glidden over at My Colortopia.

Making it Lovely  for Glidden in the June 2014 issue of HGTV Magazine

Initially, I thought about creating a more orderly polka dot wall, but I changed my mind the day before I started painting and went with a bunch of falling bubbles instead. The walls on the third floor are textured, so the design couldn’t be too intricate. I started with the quick marker sketch you see at the beginning of the post, and then drew large circles for the design on the wall, freehand with a pencil. I used an inexpensive art/craft paintbrush to outline some of the smaller circles, and used a 2″ angled paintbrush for the rest, and to fill everything in.

Circle Outlines

The other side of the playroom has those floral curtains that I made years ago from Moda’s “Mom’s Couch” fabric. They hung in my stationery studio initially, and were also used in Eleanor’s bedroom in the last house.

Playroom #makingitlovely

I chose Glidden’s Red Geranium because I wanted to pull in that bright orangey-red color and bring it to the other side of the room.

Playroom Accent Wall #makingitlovely

There are bookshelves for toys to the right of the easel, and along the left side, I hung cubbies to keep art supplies within reach, and also put up three large wall clips to use for rotating artwork on display from the kids.

Playroom Accent Wall #makingitlovely

Art Supplies in Reach, and Display

I’m glad I’m finally able to share this updated space with you! We spend a lot of time in the playroom, and the added color has made it even more fun for the kids. And thank you, Glidden and HGTV magazine for featuring the project!

Playroom Accent Wall #makingitlovely

The Chicago Garden Party

Over the weekend, I hosted the The Chicago Garden Party brought to you by The Home Depot Garden Club. The weather was fully cooperating, and we hosted several hundred people throughout the day!

#SpringMadeSimple Home Depot Garden Party

I was there welcoming people and inviting them to participate in the hands-on projects at the party. Meghan Swint of The Tasty Fork was there grilling up carrots, and everyone went nuts for her Farmer’s Market Salad (recipe below). Gardeniere Gina Iliopoulus helped people transfer their choice of oregano, basil, or cilantro into terra cotta pots, and she was also able to help answer gardening questions for people. Even a sweet Home Depot mascot dog showed up with his own customized apron.

#SpringMadeSimple Home Depot Garden Party

Home Depot Dog

The food that day was so good, thanks in large part to Meghan’s recipe for the event. You could grab tomatoes, jalapeno, and basil directly out of a backyard garden to use! Even if you only have a little outdoor space, you could plant something like the Raised Salsa Bed below, and there was a Tower Container Garden at the party too, with room for 8 herbs. The party had plenty of garden-to-table inspiration and ideas.

Farmer's Market Salad, by Meghan Swint for The Home Depot #SpringMadeSimple Garden Party

Raised Salsa Bed

The kids couldn’t be there with me, but I did tell them that I would decorate a plant pot for each of them. Eleanor requested eight flowers (very specific on the number there, kid), and August wanted a zombie on his. I did my best to come through with their requests.

Flowerpot Flowers and a Zombie

I made a third pot too, with a quick diamond and dot pattern, and now we have fresh oregano, basil, and cilantro growing in the kitchen. I thought about planting the herbs outside, but I like the easy access of having them on hand for cooking.

Herbs in the Kitchen Window

The Home Depot holds events throughout the year, all over the country, and the best way to keep up with them is through their Facebook events page. You can also join the Garden Club and get simple tips, resources, and discounts, or follow The Home Depot on Pinterest for home and garden inspiration.

Thank you to The Home Depot for having me, and a big thanks to everyone who came out on Saturday! It was so good to spend some time outdoors, chatting, picking up gardening tips, and getting crafty with you.

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