Friday, March 30, 2012

Texture Tuesday ... On Friday

I've finally had some time this week to delve into Photoshop and really begin to learn and explore all that it has to offer. One of the things I wanted to learn first was how to apply textures to my photos and use layers. I was referred to Kim Klassen and I was able to explore her site this week. Wow! If you are looking for great tutorials on how to apply textures in Photoshop, her site is a wealth of information. Her work is stunning and every photo is truly a work of art. 

I went to her Textures in Ten Classroom and used the FREE tutorials. My final image is above! I'm in love with the result!! I photographed this beautiful Magnolia flower down the road at one of our local parks. The tree was loaded with flowers and the fragrance was euphoric. I just love how this photo turned out. I applied two of Kim's textures, first Be still and then Faved.

I also learned this cool mouseover photo trick from Project Alicia. You can mouse over my photo to see the original SOOC shot. I have copied the code below if you want to give this trick a try for yourself, or you can find it on Alicia's site here

<a href="TARGET URL GOES HERE"><img src="URL OF FIRST IMAGE GOES HERE" onmouseover="this.src='URL OF SECOND IMAGE GOES HERE'" onmouseout="this.src='URL OF FIRST IMAGE GOES HERE'" /></a>

I'm off to walk my pup. It's a bit cool here today, but the sun is shining brilliantly! 
Have a great weekend! 

-tish xoxo


Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Tutorial Tuesday | Creating a .GIF

This week I found my way to Tutorial Tuesday. Sarah Halstead of  Naptime Momtog and Ashley Sisk of Ramblings and Photos have teamed up to challenge us in both shooting photos and editing them. I was excited to take part this week in creating a .GIF, though to be honest, I didn't even know what a .GIF was before reading this tutorial.

A .GIF is a graphic file that has animation applied to it. Its a little more complicated than this, but basically, I took several still photos, uploaded them to Photoshop, copied and pasted them, making several new layers, and then put them in an animated sequence.

My .GIF isn't perfect, but I feel a sense of accomplishment. With Ashley's help, I got past the hurdle of copying and pasting in Photoshop. (Yay for learning something new!) I am determined to learn Photoshop. Every little piece learned is another victory for me! Their tutorial was great, so easy to follow. Click on the button below to hop on over and give it a try too!

And finally, here is my .GIF - me dribbling the basketball:

(I think I start to feel a little queasy if I watch this too long! ha ha)
have a great Wednesday!
tish xoxo

Tutorial Tuesday

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Chicken Pasta Salad

I have made the same pasta salad for the past 16 years. Our family loves it and it always gets eaten if I take it to a picnic. Its simple and quick, which makes it nice to whip up and have on hand for a quick side dish or snack. HOWEVER, I needed something different. Something without the traditional italian dressing tossed over noodles. My search landed me at where I found the Chicken Pasta Salad recipe. It's a bit more time-consuming than my old standby, but so completely worth the time and effort! I love the fresh greens mixed in with the pasta noodles. The vinaigrette is so light and the bacon adds a nice touch of flavor. We loved the salad and will definitely be serving it this summer! 

adapted from

16 oz. bow tie pasta, cooked and drained

4 large chicken breast halves, boneless, skinless
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
1 clove garlic, minced

3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3/4 cup freshly-squeezed lemon juice
4 teaspoons granulated white sugar
4 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 cloves chopped garlic
1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary, to taste

Salad Ingredients:
1 pound mixed salad greens
1/2 cup chopped fresh italian parsley
1 bunch green onions, sliced (1/2 to 3/4 cup)
1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
1/2 cup crumbled, cooked bacon
1 cup toasted pine nuts 

*I did not use the sun-dried tomatoes - I have two people in my family who do NOT like tomatoes of any kind. Also, I substituted purple onions for the green onions as I did not have any green onions at the moment. I also skipped out on the pine nuts, as there are not many nut-lovers in my household either.

1.  Prepare the chicken. Saute chicken with onion, rosemary and garlic in a 12-inch skillet over medium heat until chicken is cooked throughout. Remove from pan and slice into thin bite-size pieces. Discard onion. Set chicken aside. 
2.  Dressing. Whisk dressing ingredients together. Pour dressing over cooked noodles and chicken. Cover and marinate overnight in refrigerator. 
3.  Just before serving, add remaining salad ingredients and toss.

Have a great weekend!! 
-tish xoxo 

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Wordful Wednesday | The Western Center

This weekend we traveled to the outskirts of Pittsburgh for our girls' gymnastics State competition. The meet itself was held in Washington, PA. We spent two nights in a hotel in Canonsburg, PA. It was a beautiful hotel built on a hill in a developing business area. As we were driving up toward the hotel, a rather large complex of old brick buildings caught my eye. I pointed them out to the girls and my husband and immediately we all began to speculate about their origin and purpose. They looked old, and we all agreed a bit eery. Our interest was piqued. What was this complex of old brick buildings sitting alone at the top of this hill? We all seemed to come to the same conclusion, it must be some condemned, decaying mental hospital. 


On walking into the hotel, we asked the hotel staff about the buildings. They informed us that it was indeed an old mental institution and that there are those who believe it is haunted. In fact, we were told the television show "Ghost Adventurers" traveled here and filmed a segment on it. We didn't believe her at first, but we googled it and found a lot of information as well as "ghost stories" about this establishment. I must state, we do not believe in ghosts, but even prior to learning this information, knowing we were right, gave us an uncanny feeling.

Of course, we were curious and wanted to get a closer look. 
The cloudy skies coupled with the old barren trees and branches broken on the ground added to the creepiness surrounding these old buildings.

As we neared the buildings, we noticed doors were open. We learned people were in there working. These buildings are all that are left. Originally, there were 37 buildings on 304 acres. This facility was a place of treatment for mentally ill individuals, however, as I read more about this facility, I found there are horrendous accounts of isolation, neglect, accounts of experimental drug therapy, poor treatment of both residents and faculty and even rape. Prior to housing the mentally ill, this campus was a reform center for delinquent boys. It was called the Pennsylvania Reform School at Morganza. Sadly, there is also a small cemetery on this property with 35 headstones, all young boys who died while at this facility.Photobucket

The Southpointe development, the new development where we were staying, is required to "maintain the cemetery containing about 35 graves of children who lived and died at the reform school known as Morganza. The cemetery, surrounded by a white picket fence, occupies a knoll outside Holly Cottage at the edge of the 200-plus-acre Southpointe II tract. The gravestones, which are level with the ground, are made of concrete. Flat aluminum rectangles top the stones. Thirty-three of them bear the names of the deceased and the message "Rest in Peace." There are crosses on the metal plates, but no dates."   -

All the buildings have been demolished on this campus except for the buildings in my photos. Apparently these were the historic Administration buildings. These are to be kept intact and restored to function as a future cultural center.
I found plenty of "ghost hunters" on the internet who have visited this site.  There is also a plethora of video clips on YouTube of people documenting noises and such inside these buildings. If nothing else, it makes for interesting reading and viewing.Photobucket
One more interesting fact I learned ... "The exterior of the administration building can easily be recognized as the Baltimore State Forensic Hospital in the film Silence of the Lambs (1991)." -//
(We have never seen the movie, but with what we've heard about it, it seems rather fitting that this place was used in the filming of it). 
I took this last photo (above) on our way out of the development. This was apparently the old bridge and entrance to the campus. I was not able to photograph it, but the cement pillars read, "Pennsylvania Reform School at Morganza". 

A last interesting tidbit ... after we left Canonsburg, we drove into Pittsburgh for breakfast. Circled at the bottom of our bill, probably the waitress' initials, were the letters RIP. Weird, right?!  ha ha

Hope I haven't creeped you out too much!! Our family enjoys traveling and we just found this all very interesting and I thought I'd share it. :D 

-tish xoxo

and then, she {snapped}Live and Love...Out Loud

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Project 64: Out of the Box | Tan


Wow! I guess its been 10 days since I've posted anything! It's been a little crazy around here lately. We've been traveling around PA over the last three weekends to the girls' gymnastics competitions. This weekend will be our fourth in a row! This is our last meet of the season, they both will be competing at States. We are excited for both of them, they've worked so hard! But, it will certainly be so nice to have a break from meets for awhile though!

I am pretty excited ... I purchased Photoshop CS5 about a week or two ago. I haven't found too much time to play around with it, but with using Kim Klassen's video tutorialsrecommended by Alicia of Project Alicia, I have learned how to apply texture! I bought this cute little cream and sugar pottery set on a trip I made to Israel to visit my best friend a few years back. I LOVE this set. The creamer, of course, goes in the top and the base is the sugar dish. 

I didn't have much time, as we needed to get on the road, but I thought I'd try adding a little texture to this photo in Photoshop.  I could probably do so much better if I had more time, but it can only get better from here, right?!

Gotta run! Enjoy the rest of your weekend! 
And Oh ... Happy St. Patty's Day!! 

-tish xoxo

project64 button

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Sinful? Absolutely!!

I assume most of you reading this have at least heard about Pinterest, if not become avid pinners already. Well, I have to say, I'm quite good at pinning outfits, photography tips and tricks as well as recipes, but what I have not been so good at is accomplishing much of what I've pinned. Maybe its because its been so cold and drab that I don't feel like exerting extra energy, or maybe its because I got more than I bargained for when I agreed to be President of our middle school PTO this year in addition to fulfilling my second term as secretary at the elementary school. (I have to admit, I'm pretty nervous as the busiest part of the school year for our PTO is just beginning, eeeek!)Despite all that, I felt I needed to thank one of our generous neighbors for printing and re-printing (and printing once again) a science project for my oldest daughter, A. This was a massive project and she printed page after page of the periodic table and what seemed like a million data charts very late at night for several nights in a row. I figured this deserved a little baking. 
And who can resist a cookie full of chocolatey goodness? Certainly not me! It was settled then, I was going to make Deep Dark Chocolate Cookies. 
recipe adapted from Epicurious

What you will need: 
  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 1-1/2 cups bittersweet chocolate chips (about 9 oz), divided
  • 3 large egg whites, room temperature
  • 2-1/2 cups powdered sugar, divided
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly spray two cookies sheets with nonstick cooking spray. Melt 1 cup of chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl for 2 minutes in the microwave, stirring twice. Cool slightly. 
Using an electric mixer, beat egg whites until soft peaks form.
PhotobucketGradually beat in 1 cup of the powdered sugar (I cut the sugar down and instead used 1/2 cup). Continue beating until mixture resembles soft marshmallow cream.
Whisk 1 cup sugar, cocoa, cornstarch, and salt in medium bowl to blend. On low speed, beat dry ingredients into meringue. Stir in lukewarm chocolate and 1/2 cup chocolate chips (dough will become very stiff).
Place 1/2 cup sugar in bowl. Use about a tablespoon of dough and roll into a ball. Next, roll it in sugar, coating thickly. Place on cookie sheet. Repeat with remaining dough.

Bake until puffed and tops crack, about 10 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes before transferring to cooling rack.

I couldn't resist the temptation to bite right into one of these gooey cookies. Wow! Chocolate heaven! Beware: These cookies are extremely rich, but will surely satisfy any chocolate craving you might have!
I neatly packaged the cookies up and delivered to our neighbors. I was informed that the cookies are best enjoyed with a large glass of really cold milk! :D

Hope you try this recipe! Let me know if you do and how you like them!

-tish xoxo

   Live and Love...Out Loud

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Unite for Her | Pink Invitational 2012

Last weekend, the girls had the opportunity to attend the fourth annual Pink Invitational to raise awareness and money for those affected by Breast Cancer. It was A's third year to compete at this event and M's first. It is an absolute favorite of the gymnasts and it continues to grow and expand each year. This year, over 2,100 gymnasts competed over the three-day weekend and together, participating gyms raised and donated over $60,000 to individuals affected by breast cancer and I'm proud to say our gym took part in this. The event has grown greatly over this four-year period. For the first three years, it took place in Downingtown, PA, but because of the growth, they moved the event this year to the Philadelphia Convention Center. 
We traveled to Philly the evening prior and had dinner at one of our favorite Italian restaurants, Maggiano's Little Italy. They have several locations in the northeastern part of the US from New Hampshire to DC. Maggiano's is a great place for rather large portions of delicious Italian food at a midrange price. After dinner, we did a little shopping on Rittenhouse Row. We retired early, as we needed to get a good night's sleep for the big day ahead. 

The next day, we walked over to the convention center. The meet was held in one large room divided into three gymnasium-type setups. AJS Pancott, the meet's host, did a fabulous job orchestrating such a large event. It was so exciting for the gymnasts. This year Shannon Miller, the most decorated gymnast in American history and the only female athlete to be inducted into the US Olympic Hall of Fame twice, was there. She was signing autographs and getting pictures with gymnasts as well as greeting the gymnasts at the start of each session. My girls were thrilled! I think they got their gym bags, t-shirts, leos, hands and even a trophy autographed! ha ha
Before competing, the girls decorated their hair with pink streaks and each gymnast got a pink breast cancer ribbon drawn on their cheek. Also, another exciting benefit to participating in this meet, each girl receives a leotard designed specifically for this event by GK Elite. The company will then make this design available for public purchase online at a later date in the year.
M, getting ready to vault.
M enjoyed competing in this venue and had a great meet.
Any gymnast that scored a 9.0 or over on any event received a pink ribbon with their name and score on it.  For every pink ribbon earned, an organization pledged to donate $1 for breast cancer awareness. My pictures don't do it justice, but there was a tremendous number of pink ribbons earned throughout the weekend. My girls both earned a ribbon! M also medaled on three events and placed 8th all-around. :D
A's session started at 5:30 p.m. It had already been a long day, but she had her game face on.
She also competed very well, earning a pink ribbon and a medal for her performance on beam.
She ended the meet on vault, accepting a medal on this event as well. And to top off an already great day, she qualified for states!
It's been a tough competition season for my girls, but they are fighting and working their way through it. One more meet next weekend and then both girls will be headed to compete at states. We are so proud of them both for their perseverance and refusal to quit. I know this will surely prove beneficial to them in the future.

Project 64: Out of the Box | Red Orange

This week our PTO hosted a Teacher Appreciation Luncheon for our middle school teachers. We chose bright spring colors to brighten everyone's spirits. Everything turned out wonderfully and I think the teachers truly felt appreciated. 


I chose one of the red-orange Gerber Daisies for this week's Project 64 entry. Hope it brightens your day too!

tish  xoxo
project64 buttonand
 then, she {snapped} 
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...