Blogging For Books, Melting Pot

Book Review

Zen Camera by David Ulrich

I found the premise of this book interesting. It is meant to help guide you to develop your unique style and self expression through photography.

I love photography, but with big life changes and challenges, it’s fallen to the back burner and I haven’t been able to devote nearly as much time to it as I used to, and frankly I just don’t enjoy it like I once did. I had hoped this book might help get me back into the swing of things. I wanted to love it, but it fell short of my expectations.

There are some good nuggets of wisdom hidden throughout the chapters and some of the exercises suggested are compelling enough, but as a whole the book is much too verbose. I expected it to be more of a guided journal type of book, with more exercises and actual tasks to complete, but it’s essentially a very wordy sharing of the author’s opinions and a few ideas for you to try out thrown in for good measure.

I received this book from Blogging For Books for this review.

Melting Pot, No Filter Friday

No Filter Friday

The one thing that bothers me is the handle on the smallest fry pan doesn’t match the rest of the set. WHY? I’m OCD about things matching, so this drives me bonkers!

Well I finally got myself a new set of cookware! It’s not the set I had been eyeing back in Pittsburgh before I moved – that set seems to have been a unicorn as I’ve never found that exact set in any other stores or online, not even on the manufacturer’s web site. Very odd indeed. But anyway the set I did end up getting is from that same brand, and is a turquoise color that coordinates nicely with my KitchenAid mixer which is the appliance I’m building the colors in my kitchen around. Having items from numerous brands means nothing actually matches – even within the KitchenAid brand the items with the same color don’t match exactly – but as long as I can stick with the general light turquoise/aqua color theme, I’m good.

Anyway I really shouldn’t have spent the money, this I know… but I really really wanted some good cookware. I have a small mish-mash of things I’ve been using but with literally only a handful of pots and pans I’ve often found myself feeling frustrated with the limited options I have had to work with. The set I picked up this week is an 18 piece set that includes a decent variety of sizes of pots and fry pans with lids, all of which will work very nicely for my needs; a steamer basket, two baking pans, and four heat-resistant plastic utensils. The sets were $60 (+ tax) and they had initially had about 20 in this color available but when I was last at the store there were just 3 sets left. I stood there for a solid five minutes debating, trying hard to talk myself OUT of spending the money. But I ended up talking myself IN to the purchase instead. I justified it by considering the baking pans which as y’all may recall I mentioned not all that long ago I still use my grandma’s bakeware and it’s so old and worn at this point it truly needs replaced, the inclusion of the steamer basket to help me make cooking fresh veggies a bit easier, and I had $10 saved up on Savings Catcher which no isn’t a lot (I’ve redeemed small amounts numerous times and larger amounts a couple times so had been working on trying to save up again) but I figured if I used that  I could consider that $10 “off” the price of the set and $50 for 18 pieces of pretty new cookware, bakeware, and a couple utensils to use with them… *shrug* I can find a way to justify damn near anything, a skill that’s sometimes good but usually bad… ^^’

I have only cooked with the new pans a couple times as of now, but so far I am super pleased with my purchase! I made some pancakes for breakfast this morning and without putting any butter or oil in the pan, none of them stuck to the pan at all. This is fascinating to me as my past experiences with other non-stick pans has been that especially for something like pancakes you still need to use a bit of butter or oil and even then stuff would still sometimes stick. To not use any butter or oil at all, and not have problems with the pancakes sticking, is amazing to me.

Anyway I’m off, I’ve got some cleaning up to tackle. I hope y’all have a great weekend!

Until next time. xoxo

Melting Pot

Snow Day

I was scheduled to work till 7 tonight. When I got to work this morning however, my manger had already sent the couple other girls that had been working home and told the one supposed to come in later in the afternoon to stay home. She had me help with closing tasks, with a goal of leaving no later than 2. We clocked out at 1:30. She followed me most of the way home to make sure I was making it home ok. I slid a few times but mostly the drive went ok. Then I made it to the street my driveway is on, mere yards from turning into my driveway… and I couldn’t get any further. I was stuck. 

Thankfully J was home and able to come to my rescue. It took a while and a tow chain, but he got my car into my driveway for me. Then I waited anxiously till he let me know he had made it back home safely. Now we are both home and I can relax, knowing I am not going out anywhere for the next couple days! I don’t HAVE to be anywhere till Monday. My manager said I can come in Friday to make up the missed hours from today if I want to – she is leaving it totally up to me if I come in or not and if so what time I come in. I will be waiting to see how the roads are. I very very much need the hours yes, but if the roads are still a disaster I will be staying home. 

Leaving work


Stuck; so close yet so far…

A new hand knit hat I finished yesterday. My sister’s pattern and yarn (Little Cabled Hat and Rustic Worsted yarn in Violetta. Pattern and yarn (though not this color, I bought all she had lol) available on her site,

Until next time. xoxo

Melting Pot, Saturday Somethings

Saturday Somethings

I use a usb thumb drive for my music in the car. Google maps (android) voice navigation seems to only play through the car speakers if the audio source is set to Bluetooth. This translates to a silent drive, rather than getting to listen to my music. Or, giving up and letting navigation go through the phone speaker instead, so I can still have my music. Which defeats the purpose of having connected the phone to the car bluetooth. This has been driving me nuts for months. The iOS version works beautifully – whatever audio source the car is set to does not matter, when navigation instructions are necessary it overrides whatever audio is playing and once driving instructions are given the regular audio resumes. It’s such a stupidly simple thing and yet android makes it impossible. I’ve scoured the internet for solutions but those I have tried have not worked. Maybe there is just something I am missing in the phone or car settings but based on how many other folks I have seen complaining about this issue I am guessing it is not just me being dense. 

I got answers to questions I have had about something I was thinking of going back to school for. I’m still really not sure if it’s the right path for me to take, but at least now I have some better insight into it while I try to figure things out. Thing is, I have NO idea what else I could possibly do. I need something that’s going to offer actual job opportunities and a livable wage, that does not require a very long period of schooling or ridiculous tuition… I just truly don’t know what to do. I enjoy the job I have right now but it isn’t something that is giving me the livable wage I desperately need and there is very very little chance it would ever be a job I could live off of. So I need something else. But I can’t figure out what that something else is. What I really need is a man with sufficient funds to take care of my financial needs so that my job not giving a livable wage wouldn’t matter, it would just be a job for something productive to do and some extra money for savings or a rainy day… sigh. I had really hoped that by now I would be in a situation where I wouldn’t be stressing so much about money, but it just has not worked out that way. I don’t know what I am going to do in a couple more months when the financial help I have had stops completely and I have to start repaying that person for all that has been done for me thus far… 

It warmed up for a couple days which was really nice but now it’s getting colder again. It is winter afterall but I am looking forward to it warming up again. Granted I hate hot humid weather too. I can’t quite figure out which is worse between very cold or very hot. 

I’ve got the itch to do my nails – it has been a couple years since I have done my nails. I don’t even have the necessary supplies anymore. Sally Beauty Supply does not seem to have the variety of acrylic products they used to, and what they do have I have tried and it honestly isn’t very good quality. Not that it matters – work has certain rules about nail length and such anyway so even if I had the supplies I couldn’t do what I really want with my nails; and with my finances as they are right now I can’t afford to get the supplies. Oh well.

I’ve got some laundry and other cleaning up to deal with today so I’m off. 

Until next time. xoxo

Melting Pot

New Year Randoms

I know I haven’t posted much, other than some scheduled posts, for a little while and I missed a NFF. I had a crazy busy work week before Christmas and have been sick ever since. I woke up the day after Christmas sick and am only now starting to feel better but I am still awfully congested. I had an eye doctor appointment this morning and now plan to spend the rest of the day in bed doing nothing but resting up. I’m off work till Friday and hoping that by then I’ll have been able to rest up enough to be well again. 

My eye doctor appointment went well and I’m happy to have that out of the way. I knew I needed a new prescription and my glasses have seen better days. I’ve got my trial pair of contacts to test out for a few days, and new glasses were ordered. My eyes are nice and healthy, that’s the most important thing. 

I haven’t done any art or anything like that lately. I haven’t had the time, energy, or desire honestly. It’s been too cold more recently, too. I do have a crochet project I will need to start soon. I made an agreement with my sister to design a pattern for her to sell on her site. She needs to send me the yarn I will be using but I’ve already done a little testing with some yarn I have on hand and think I know what I’ll be doing. 

 I finally got myself a quick icing tip. I had seen them years ago but never got one. Since using them at work I decided it was worth getting one to have at home in my cake decorating supplies. Now I need to bake a cake to use it. Lol 

I’m off. I’m tired and want to rest. I hope y’all had a nice new year’s eve/day. 

Until next time. xoxo

Melting Pot, Thursday Things

Thursday Things

It is cold here right now. Makes sense. Winter and all. But I don’t like the cold. Correction: I don’t like when it’s cold INSIDE. Cold outside isn’t great but is tolerable enough. When it is cold inside is when it is a problem. I’m not totally freezing – thick socks, cozy sweaters, fuzzy pajamas and blankets and lots of hot tea are perfect for dealing with it. (I do have access to a space heater if I decide I am too cold. Knock on wood, so far I don’t feel it is necessary.) I’m grateful it’s not any colder inside than it is, but it is a bit annoying that it isn’t sufficiently warm inside. But again, I am grateful it isn’t colder. All things considered, it could be worse. 

I had a busy couple of work days and am happy to now have a couple days off. I’ve got a bit of a cold, so it’s nice to have a break to try to rest up and get well. Some of the work day tasks of the last two days included baking giant cookies for cookie cakes, decorating some of them for new year’s, decorating single layer holiday cakes, cutting and base icing sheet cakes, and making three batches of icing. Where I work the standard in store cakes are all square, and those are all required to be decorated in certain ways, according to the book exactly. The cookie cakes, holiday cakes, and sheet cakes are where we are allowed to get creative (though there are still some rules we have to follow and certain things we can’t do) so it was nice to have a chance to just do what I wanted for a change. I only decorated two of the sheet cakes – one of them I forgot to snap a picture of – and really I had only been supposed to base ice them. But I had a small bit of time and didn’t want to deal with larger sheet cakes right at the end of my shift and I didn’t have enough time to deal with them even if I had wanted to, so used that time to decorate the smaller sheet cakes I’d base iced instead.

Adapted this one from a picture seen on Pinterest but haven’t been able to locate the original source. It is by far my favorite cake I have decorated since I started this job.

J’s co-worker was finally able to come fix the spot on my house where squirrels were accessing my attic this week. Super grateful that is done! It’s been nice to not have squirrels making racket overhead and setting the dogs to barking during the day and early in the mornings! 

My aunt and uncle are going to be planning a visit sometime in the new year. No clue when exactly. Probably not till spring I am going to guess. They have some furniture and other items they’ve been saving for me. If things work out for it my dad will head to their place and then ride here with them so I can visit with him again as well. Fingers crossed. It’d be a very short visit but that’s ok. Short visits are better than none. 

I am off. I have some laundry to hang to dry and vacuuming to tackle. 

Until next time. xoxo

Melting Pot

Merry Christmas

I am honestly not much of a fan of Christmas music, and what I do like tends to be the classics rather than covers/remakes by currently popular artists or new songs they’ve come up with. I do, however, quite enjoy this version of We Three Kings from Alexander Jean & Casey Abrams. It’s definitely different. 

I hope that you have a wonderful Christmas day today – whether you celebrate the holiday or not. 

Until next time. xoxo

Melting Pot

7 Days 7 Photos: Day 7

Of course, knitting and crochet are VERY much a part of my everyday life! If I don’t actually work on a project on a given day, it is guaranteed that I have at some point thought of one of the projects I have in the works or something I want to make in the future, or yarn I want to use up, yarn I want to buy, needles or hooks I would like to have… you get the idea! 

This concludes my 7 Days 7 Photos challenge series of posts. I hope you’ve enjoyed it. 

Until next time. xoxo

Melting Pot

Almost No Filter Friday – 7 Days 7 Photos: Day 5

(A not-quite-NFF this week. Still technically “no filters” as the editing was just adjusting saturation, contrast, and sharpness to change from color to black and white, but my usual protocol for NFF is to not even do that so I am making an exception this week for the 7 Days 7 Photos challenge!)


I love tea and have a section of my kitchen counter set up as a little “tea station” with my current selection of hot teas (and usually a box of iced tea bags as well), tea bags for my loose leaf teas, a small canister of sugar, and my electric kettle. And Nessie is currently hanging out in the tea station as well. Lol Nessie tends to float around the kitchen a bit. She’s a terribly cute slotted spoon (though there is a non-slotted spoon version as well, I’ve not gotten one of those yet but likely will at some point) that was designed in a way that it resembles a little loch Ness monster.  Whether that was intentional by the manufacturer or not I have no clue. But I saw it and loved it and it was cheap enough to justify the “I just want it” purchase. 😜 

Until next time. xoxo