Hi! I’m back. ūüôā

Well, it’s been about a year and A LOT has been going on, but I’m hoping to start posting again on a regular basis. To catch you up a bit:

  1. My son started Kindergarten. It’s been a weird adjustment for everyone, but it’s given me more free time which I’m learning how to fill.
  2. I trained for (and then got injured 10 days before) the Philadelphia Marathon. Looks like 2017 wasn’t my year, but I had a great time training and I look forward to seeing what I can accomplish in 2018.
  3. I started a Podcast! YAY! It’s a podcast for my library and it’s called Young Adult at Heart: Great YA Reads for All Ages. I’m really proud of it, so if you like YA books, click here to gives a listen.
  4. I’ve done some fabulous programming at my library, including a monthly adult crafting program called Merchantville Makers and a Couch to 5K training program that just finished up on Saturday. It was a great experience and might get it’s own post. ūüôā

I’m hoping to pick up the blog and start moving forward from here. There might also be some design tweaks in the next month. We’ll see…

As always, thanks for reading!
<3 Christen

Weekly Workout Wrap Up

gym-workout-motivational-quotesI mentioned in¬†Saturday’s post¬†that my fitness took a major dive when I started my new job in August. I tried to get back on track during the holidays by taking part in the #RWRunStreak, but ended up have to take Cipro {an antibiotic} for an infection. Turns out you can’t do any strenuous activity {read: run} while taking Cipro because one of the side effects of the drug is tendon rippage. ¬† Continue reading

2015 Reading Challenge {Week Thirteen} AND a March Chocolate Winner

Welcome to the weekly reading challenge check in. I feel like I have made up the last few weeks of slow reading in these past six days. ¬†After the longness of I Am Pilgrim, it’s awesome to be flying through some super fun books again! ¬†I currently have about 15 library books checked out on my library card, so I walked over to my pile and decided to read the next book on top of the pile: Colleen Hoover’s Ugly Love.¬† Continue reading

2015 Reading Challenge {Week Twelve}

***I just realized I never hit “Publish” last Thursday!***

Oh my goodness!¬† I know I’m two days late for the weekly book wrap up, but I finally (FINALLY!!!!!) finished Terry Hayes’ I Am Pilgrim.¬† I told myself I could not write about *just* that book for another week, so I sat down earlier today and committed to get it done.¬† 1484518_10104901665669589_6957816998548989369_nFirst of all, I loved it!¬† You can tell the author really did his research and knew his stuff.¬† The main character was fascinating, his adventures were INCREDIBLE, and the book was hard to put down {once I got into the meat of it}.¬† I Am Pilgrim was a different kind of thriller.¬† It was done in first person with all of the side stories being retold from the main character’s research, interviews, et cetera.¬† I liked the ending and was left with closure…. but maybe there could be a sequel?¬† I guess we will have to wait and see.¬† Continue reading

Friday Five Link Up: Spring

Friday FiveFridays are now one of my favorite blogging days thanks to the Friday Five Link Up,¬†run by¬†Courtney,¬†Mar, and¬†Cynthia. ¬†The Friday Five gives me a chance to talk about some themed randomness, as well as read other bloggers’ posts that I wouldn’t normally get to see {thanks to the link up}. ¬†Although today was cold and snowy, it is technically the first day of Spring, and today’s Friday Five is Five things I’m looking forward to this Spring. Are you ready? I sure am!¬† Continue reading

Self Directed Programs

Edit 1/12/15: I updated the Dropbox link to all of my Self Directed Programs. You can find the new link here.

I recently gave a presentation at the 2013 New Jersey Fall Youth Services Forum entitled “Nothing Passive About It: Portable Programs for Teens on the Go”. ¬†I work for a library that has a hard time attracting teens to “typical” library programs (book clubs, crafting events, movie tie in parties), so last year I decided to embrace the Self Directed Program. ¬†Almost monthly I set up a “program” that my teens can take part in while stopping by the library. ¬†They usually have to fill out a survey, take a quiz, cast a vote. ¬†They always get candy for participating, and I like to have a Grand Prize for at least one winner per program. ¬†I went through several of my more successful programs during this presentation and now I’m going to share them with all of you. ¬†At the end of this post I will share a link to my “Nothing Passive About It” Dropbox folder. ¬†Please feel free to borrow or recreate any of these ideas!

Fairy Tale{Fairy Tale Scavenger Hunt} Continue reading

12 Weeks to Better Photos: Week Five, Composition

Welcome to Week 5 of our 12 Weeks to Better Photos course. ¬†What’s that you say? ¬†Week 5?! ¬†What happened to Week 4. ¬†Welllllllll… Week ¬†4 involves going outside and right now it is COLDDDD out there. ¬†If you happen to live in a warmer climate, please feel free to check out Week 4, Flash here. ¬†If not, don’t worry too much. ¬†I plan to work on this one sometime soon and you can just take care of this lesson when the weather permits.

So yeah. ¬†Hi Week 5! ¬†After weeks of technical talk, I’m pleased to announce that we will be working on something a lot more fun… Composition. ¬†While it’s important to know the functions of your camera, it’s now time to focus on shooting images that are pleasing to the eye. ¬†Check out Week 5’s pdf¬†here.

Rules of ThirdsComposition can be defined as “the¬†artistic arrangement of the parts of the picture.” ¬†Obviously “good” composition can be highly subjective, but Two Peas in a Bucket has put together a list of suggestions to help you better compose your photos. ¬†So without further ado, here are few simple suggestions to think about before you start snapping away.

Tip #1: Keep it Simple.

Learn to keep an eye on your surroundings.  Have a busy background?  Take a step closer to your subject to make him or her your focus.  Lots of toys and clutter on your floor?  Pick everything up before posing your subject.  When you eliminate the distractions  you are helping your viewer focus on the moment you are trying to capture.

Tip #2: Apply the Rule of Thirds.

Our eyes are naturally drawn to a point that is two-thirds up in a photo.  Instead of posing your subject in the middle of your frame, try moving them a bit off center.  You will be pleased with the results.  (The above photo is an example of how we can apply the Rule of Thirds to our pictures.)

Tip #3: Keep an Eye on the Horizon.

If you’re taking pictures outside, try to keep your horizon either a third of the way up or a third of the way down in your frame. (See the pdf for a great example.)

Tip #4: Frame Your Subject.

Use other elements to literally frame your subjects. ¬†This can include windows, trees, fences… There are literally endless possibilities.

Tip #5: Fill the Frame.

The best way to reduce distractions is to get super close to your subject.  Fill that empty space to make your subject more prominent.

Tip #6: Try a New Perspective.

Don’t be afraid to try new things. ¬†You don’t just have to stand there, holding your camera, shooting away. ¬†Get on your belly. ¬†Climb onto a chair. ¬†You might be pleasantly surprised how much a change in perspective can alter the look of your photo.

The Assignment:

Use these tips and start taking pictures!  Please share as many photos as you want this week.  SHOW OFF!







Some Random Thoughts:

1. Don’t have a DSLR? ¬†It doesn’t matter. ¬†You can use your P&S or your camera phone this week.

2. Some people just have an eye for composition.  I am not one of those people.  I am constantly checking out other photographers to see what they are doing.  I stalk Pinterest.  I am also a fool with my camera.  I climb all over our furniture.  I crawl all over the ground.  I always wear crappy pants and sneakers on a photo shoot because I expect to get dirty.

Does it help to have an artistic eye in photography?  Heck yes!  Can you learn composition with little to no creative ability?  YES!  This process should be fun and the more willing you are to embrace the silly, the easier everything will become.  So on that note, enjoy this week and please SHOW OFF your hard work!