What I Look For in a Running Shoe

Running shoes are an investment. Usually, they’re pretty pricey anyway and they have the ability to make or break you. When I wear my running shoes, I can tell when they’re starting to be worn out just by the pain I start to get. There’s no telling what kind of pain other people might go through just by buying poorly made or a bad fit.

My only real experience with running shoes is just that I’ve been constantly running since freshman year of high school on the track and cross country team. I’m still running as a hobby and in the Army. I haven’t done any races in awhile though and would like to start back up.

One thing that’s important when picking a running shoe is evaluating the shape of your foot.

I was super attracted to the Nike Frees at first but when I tried them on, I knew immediately they weren’t for me. There was too much room for my foot. Nike Frees seemed to be for wider feet. I knew shoe brands like New Balance tend to be more narrow around the foot but spacious at the toes.

You also have to know if you pronate or supinate. You can tell by looking at the bottom of old shoes and seeing where the bottoms have worn away. If you’re neutral, the bottoms should have an even wear. I supinate (underpronate) so the outsides of my shoes wear away more than the inward parts meaning my gait isn’t balanced. For me, lightweight shoes are the best but those who overpronate should be wearing stability shoes.

You can read more about it here.

Then of course, what reasons your running is also important. Are you going for distance or sprinting? Distance you’ll want more padding while sprinting you’ll want less.

Most importantly, change out your shoes after 600 – 800 miles! I see far too many people not doing this. If you do two miles a day that’s already 40 miles a month. Shoes should probably only last you a year even though to a lot of new runners that’s weird to think. People who don’t change out their shoes are ones who tend to get shin splints.

Don’t be that guy.

 

Back Up Your Computers, People.

Sorry for the absence. My computer died Wednesday (we’re assuming it’s a hard drive problem) and I’ve been making up for the loss of all of my files amongst photoshoots, work and other such busy-ness.

Not having my own computer has been an interesting experience. I don’t think I’ve been in a situation where I had to rely on community computers since I was in elementary or middle school. My family always had a home computer around, so even when I didn’t have a laptop I had a computer where I could safely store my files.

Luckily, my school is pretty good about having computers available for students to use, and they have most of the programs that I need in order to get things done. It’s just weird having to store anything I do on an external storage, as well as having to start over on everything every time I go to do work. No leaving any half-finished edited pictures up overnight for me.

I should hear back about what is actually wrong with my computer today hopefully, but until I hear otherwise, I have to assume that I have lost all of my pictures not backed up (which thankfully was not as much as I originally thought) all of my documents, and all of my music. I think the worst of all of that actually is the music, since I have original files of a lot of my pictures, and documents can be recreated when needed… but my thousands of songs organized, with artworks, from years of downloading… that one hurts.

I’ll be spending a few weekends fixing all of this once I have a working computer again.

Saturday, which should have been the day I posted, I was in Phoenix again for a cosplay photoshoot. I had a lot of fun, met some great people, but I’m still hoping that this weekend was the last of those types of trips for a while. I’d love to go back and spend more time with some of the people I have done shoots with, maybe do some individual shoots where it’s not so stressful to get everyone done, but for now, I need to concentrate on surviving the rest of the semester.

After three weekends of being away from the apartment, I definitely feel like staying in for a bit and sleeping in my own bed, just being in one place for a while… but with spring break coming up at the end of this week, that’s not going to happen. My sister and I are headed to Disneyland, and will be driving from California to Tucson for a few days after we are done with the fun.

It’s supposed to rain while we’re at Disneyland, that will be a first for us. We spent a good part of this morning reading up on what the parks are like when it rains. I’m actually excited, as long as it doesn’t rain too heavy, it will end up in our favor, hopefully it won’t be as busy as it usually is. Also the last time we went we accidentally ended up going on the  opening date of Disneyland on its 60th anniversary, so really it can only get better from there as far as crowds are concerned.

For now, I’m just concentrating on getting through this week, not ending up in a puddle due to a huge stress-enduced meltdown before Thursday afternoon.

 

Out of curiosity, do any of you have suggestions for laptops that would be great for photo editing and potentially gaming?

Meal Prepping For Real This Time

Alright, so here is me trying to meal prep. Every sunday I am going to try and evaluate how I ate the previous week.

For this week, I am pretty aware that these aren’t the most healthiest of meals, but the fact that I am even trying to do this instead of fast food everyday is good. I think baby steps are totally acceptable and help people like me stick to their goals.

I recently bought the Fit Girls Guides and really love the way they are laid out and their inspiration. In it, they also talk about giving yourself a break. A lot of the time people say oh no, I messed up so now I need to start over and since I messed up today, I might as well mess up for the rest of the day.

This is bad thinking and leads to unhappiness and no results.

Monday

Breakfast – Hard boiled eggs, coffee

Lunch – Salad 1: Tomatoes, chicken, chickpeas, cucumbers, ranch, water

Dinner – Frito Salad: Fritos, refried beans, cheese, sour cream, lettuce, salsa, water

Tuesday

Breakfast – Hard boiled eggs, coffee

Lunch – Salad 1, water

Dinner – Frito Salad, water

Wednesday

Breakfast – Hard boiled eggs, coffee

Lunch – Mashed potatoes, peas, chicken

Dinner – Spaghetti and meat sauce

Thursday

Breakfast – Hard boiled eggs, coffee

Lunch – Mashed potatoes, peas, chicken

Dinner – Spaghetti and meat sauce

Friday – Sunday

I’m in the field. Sad because ew, MREs but good because MREs and thus no need to meal prep?

Cost:

How I felt when working out:

Elusive Female Friendship in the Army

One of the reasons why I think I have been not only stressed out but also not doing that great day to day at my job is that I don’t really have a group of friends or even a friend. My unit only has myself and one other LT who is male. Then our commander is also an LT who is male.

I guess they are my friends in a sense but truly, they are my coworkers and no matter where you’re at or who you work for, you need someone who you can vent about stuff like work to. Venting to these two LTs would be inappropriate because it would be complaining and not friendship.

Does that make sense?

One thing I wasn’t really prepared for at all when becoming a member of a combat arms MOS was the lack of females.

I mean, I knew that was a fact but I didn’t realize the implications. I had great male friends in ROTC why would it be such a problem in the ‘real’ army? At the same time though, I had my three great female college roommates who weren’t even in the Army and then I had my two great female friends who I could talk to about anything who were in ROTC.

No judgements and I could complain about work and they could sympathize.

Here, I really don’t have anyone. I still have my friends from college and high school who I can text but it’s not the same. There’s something about saying oh I ran to this water tower and x, y, and z did this and your buddy instantly knowing what and where you’re talking about.

I’m hoping that when deployments come back home there will be more LTs roaming around for me to get to know.

In the meantime I’ve been creeping around different Army websites trying to find volunteer opportunities where I might be able to meet other people.

So far, I don’t see much. A lot of the opportunities are when I’m working or for spouses of soldiers but I’ll keep an open mind. Besides, one thing work does is keep me busy so after working, studying for work, and blogging, I really only have so much time anyway.

Why Is Liz So Stressed Out?

Entering in to my last semester of college, I thought everything would be business as usual, nothing too crazy, that I would just get through my classes for the last time and graduate.

I was wrong. Very wrong.

This semester I decided on four classes: three photo classes and an online business class that would last for the first half of the semester. Sounds pretty simple, but it’s proven to be the ingredients to the busiest, most time consuming group of classes I think I’ve ever taken in all of my college years. Three photo classes is just not as easy and carefree as it sounds, really.

To be fair, it’s not only my classes that are taking up my time, work and social life events are also a factor. This year has been the busiest socially for me, which I’m really alright with, and with my new position at work, I have more hours there and less time at work that I get to work on other things since I don’t just sit at a desk the whole time anymore.

It would probably help my case if I took better care of myself. Somehow I have been sick for most of the semester, and it seems like I haven’t been 100% healthy at any given time. My eating habits aren’t the best (though I am working on that) and I definitely don’t drink enough water to keep my body happy (also working on that.) I don’t get enough sleep, but that isn’t all my fault. Noisy room mates who don’t sleep and have no regard to others who may want to be sleeping tend to keep you awake it would seem.

This weekend coming up will be the third weekend in a row that I’m traveling, and the second one of the three wheee I’ll be doing a big shoot. After the last weekend I did traveling and with big important shoots, I have to admit I wonder if I can handle it again so soon. It may require very high amounts of caffeine, some crying, and a very decent playlist to get me through.

I plan on actively trying to fix some of my issues, working to keep myself organized and healthy. It just feels as if I’m adding more to my plate by trying to fix those issues while trying to keep up with the rest of life.

I shouldn’t complain too much, this is probably pretty close to what life after college will be like, crazy and full of stress, but I can only wish that things are especially crazy right now and I won’t actually have to go through lack of sleep and being overwhelmed so often in life when I’m done with school.

Classic Anne Move…Overspending

I knew that I was spending a lot but I wasn’t really sure how and thus, couldn’t really figure out how to cut back.

While laying in bed doing nothing, I found an app called Mint and after categorizing each transaction from my one credit card… I now know.

Ignorance is bliss because oh my goodness.

As you can see… I’m in the hole. In my defense, I did go on a big vacation in December but it seems I still haven’t pulled out of it. In the pie graph is also seems I really enjoy shopping.

The good news is things like shopping and eating are easy to identify what I need to do to stop these spending habits. For shopping, I just shouldn’t be buying frivolous stuff. I think I’m still going to keep doing Stitch Fix. My last fix was in January but I have one coming to me in March.

I don’t need to keep buying things like Kate Spade purses or cardigans though. Fact of the matter is I only get to dress up on vacation and the weekends so I need to start buying stuff in that manner. Even makeup is pointless.

I already know my fast food habits are disgusting but it’s even worse to know that the cost of it is adding up. I can definitely make groceries last two weeks with 100 dollars and with fast food twice a day, I blow through 100 in one week.

Traveling is also something I adore but I know I splurge on hotels and dining. Also, I really under utilize things like groupon and coupons. In my mind, I know what I want to do and I just buy that option instead of shopping around or investigating cheaper vacations.

In my opinion, this is such a classic 23 year old thing to do. I’m just so blinded by getting a real paycheck for the first time in my life I really just acted like a kid in a candy shop.

Also, I’m lazy.

 

 

Food Photography: Restaurant Shoots

Becoming more and more interested in the world of food photography has introduced me to doing restaurant shoots. So far I have done two, and I have to say, the first time I felt absolutely professional as a photographer was when I did this second restaurant shoot in Tucson. Not that the shoot went perfectly (it really didn’t for many reasons) but it left me feeling like I was a professional and that I might be able to survive in the real world of photography.

Reasons it didn’t go so well: I didn’t realize that I had received an email from the restaurant owner rescheduling the shoot until I got there (always check your email before going out on location, things tend to change). The timing of the shoot was later in the day and I found myself losing light fast (usually I would opt for morning shoots, but sometimes you have to work with the client’s schedule). The audio recorder wouldn’t work for the interview (not a common problem for most photographers, but in this case I needed an interview and of course technology isn’t always reliable.)

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Reasons the shoot went well: The staff at the restaurant I was shooting for was amazing and very understanding. Not only did they let me shoot at the original time and provide me with 3 dishes and a beverage to shoot (above and beyond, folks!) but they made sure I was comfortable too, really helping to lessen my stress level. The restaurant owner was very understanding too, and was super supportive, knowing I was a student and not very experienced in these types of shoots. The dishes were amazing! They were colorful, beautiful and unique, everything a food photographer could hope for.

I’m very glad that everything worked out in the end, and it was fun to use some special equipment to do the shoot, but I would definitely check this shoot off as a learning experience over anything else. I’m proud of myself for handling things so well, taking the curve balls as they came and coming out with some great pictures (all hence why I felt professional even though things didn’t go 100%).

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Some basic tips I would give to any food photographers staring out are:

  • Don’t count on the restaurant having all the supplies you need. If you think you’re going to need props, utensils, placemats, etc, just take them. I did and left them in the car, so as not to seem overbearing in the shoot, and didn’t end up needing them, but I would have been glad to have any of it had the need arose. I would add that you want to make sure you have any photo equipment you might need. Reflectors, flashes, extra lenses, should all be ready to use and in your vehicle just in case.
  • Don’t be afraid to touch the food. I usually use a fork or some other type of utensil if I need to move parts of the food around, but if you need to get your fingers messy to get the food looking right for the shot, go for it. You don’t want to have to rely on PhotoShop later to fix the food.
  • If you are using natural lighting (I highly recommend natural!) make sure sunlight is diffused. This shoot took place on the patio of the restaurant, which is always my first choice if such an area is available. I mentioned before that it took place later in the day, so I was lucky to have some nice shade to work in. But if I had been faced with direct sunlight I would have used some sort of diffuser to avoid harsh lighting.
  • Realize that food is time-sensitive. In this shoot, I was working with some veggies and fruit, as well as lettuce in several of the dishes. Over time, all of this type of food will start to wilt. The avocados were especially time sensitive since it was a bit warm out. I ended up shopping out some of the brown spots that started to appear, but overall I knew I needed to shoot these dishes quickly to avoid capturing any discoloring or wilting.
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