Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Your holiday gift guide - a DSLR camera

Have I ever told you how much I love the Holidays?  Seeing the decorations in the stores makes me giddy.  I know that it's still early and Thanksgiving is still around the corner and many of you are probably walking around the stores, sighing deeply and wondering why there are already Christmas decorations and Christmas items around the stores.  But me?  Nah uh.  I'm excited!

So to celebrate the stores putting up Christmas decorations, I am going to start an annual holiday gift guide.  I'll just review the items I own and love and if you're struggling to find the perfect gift for your loved ones, check it out.  I'll add all the items to this here handy shopping guide:

And I'm going to add a Linky Tool at the bottom so if you want to pitch in and give your ideas - Link up!

Today I'll start with my love, my heart, my DSLR camera.

I did a lot of research before finally settling on my Canon Rebel Xsi.  The reason I chose this camera above others is its ease of use, the price, and its capabilities.

I really wanted something that would allow me to get started since I've never had a DSLR before, but I also didn't want to buy a "start up" camera that I would have to replace not too long after. 

I actually settled on a Canon Rebel XS which is currently significantly cheaper but when I was finally ready to purchase the camera, the Canon Rebel XSi fell in price so much that it was only about $50 difference!  I couldn't say "no" to that.  (ps- I recommend putting your "wish list" items in your shopping cart on because you get notified anytime it decreases in price - that's how I caught my deal).

So let me tell you what I love about my camera.

First and foremost, I LOVE the picture quality.
Picture with digital camera
Picture with Canon Rebel XSi
See?  It's impressive! And that's on an automatic setting.  That's right.

Which brings me to my second favorite thing about this camera - it takes incredible pictures even on an automatic setting.  One of the things that really scared me about getting a DSLR is that I would never know how to use it.  But this camera has made things super simple.  I think the best part about this auto setting is that it also lets you know what settings are on during each shot - i.e. ISO, etc.  I use that to practice later on on my own and try to mimic the settings and then veer off a bit.

Then, once you get the hang of it, it's super easy to start trying out some of the other settings.  I'm still looking for a book or two on DSLR's and photography (*hint hint*) but in the meantime, I've been using the wonderful Google to get hints and advice and learn about this amazing new hobby.

Some things that I think aren't all that great about this camera is that it is big, as are most DSLR's.  I was ready for that though.  But I do wish I waited a bit longer because just a couple of months after I bought my camera a new one came out with HD video capabilities.  I'm not sure that I would pay the price to get that, nor am I sure I want them all in one, but I would like to have had an option.  Overall though, I really have 0 complaints.  Nada.  I love it.  It's my baby.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Right around the time Peanut made her presence known to us via a positive pregnancy test, I started experiencing a lot of back pain.  It was kind of "fun" at first because it was my first real pregnancy symptom, but it got old pretty fast.  On top of it, I totally stopped sleeping.

By about 4 months it got so bad I actually started seeing a Chiropractor to help me out.  It helped so much with the back aches, but I was still having trouble sleeping.

By 5-6 months I was feeling much better with the help of the chiropractor, but I could never really get comfortable.  At night, I tossed and turned like crazy.  I spent an hour or two each evening laying around in the dark, hoping to fall asleep but rarely succeeding. On top of it I woke up multiple times each night, unable to ever get comfortable. 

I know that many of you who are or were pregnant probably experienced a lot more than just some back aches and lack of sleep, so I never really thought too much about mine.  I figured I was getting off easy.  Yet, by 6 months I was pretty annoyed with the lack of sleep and the tossing and the turning.  And Jon was too.  One night we were both super annoyed with my new habbit of tossing and sighing and turning that Jon suggested I look up a body pillow that many pregnant women buy.  I didn't waste any time and read every review online.  I finally settled on this pillow:

The reviews were pretty good with the exception of the pillow taking up too much of the bed space.  I asked Jon if he would mind but by that point I think he was willing to sleep on the floor if only I would stop waking him up in the middle of the night.  He urged me to buy the pillow.  After a little hesitation, I finally gave in.

The pillow came in just in the nick of time.  Jon was gone on another one of his work trips for the whole week and the pillow arrived the first evening I was home alone.  I eagerly unwrapped it and put it on the bed.

Okay, so it took up a lot of space.  I guess it was a good thing that I was home alone?

That first night was the most amazing night of my life.  Or at least my pregnancy life.

Not only did I fall asleep almost as soon as my head hit this gigantic pillow, but I didn't wake up until my alarm rang.  I'm not even sure that's ever happened to me before I got pregnant.

On a side note, I've been getting up to go pee 2-4 times each night starting around 2 months.  That night was the first night I didn't get up to go pee in the middle of the night - that's how deep my sleep was.  By 6 am I bolted out of bed and barely made it to the bathroom.  I guess getting up in the middle of the night was probably a good thing at least for that reason.

The rest of the week went by smoothly.  I slept like a baby.  I woke up feeling refreshed.  My back was feeling great.  But I was a bit nervous about Jon coming home.

On Friday, the hubs returned from his trip and finally saw the new addition to our sleeping arrangements.  He laughed, but seemed to be okay with it.  We had to adjust a little the first night but generally it worked out really well.

Then Saturday morning I woke up early, refreshed after a great night's sleep, and decided to take the dogs for a walk.  I got back to this:

Somehow I don't think the hubs minded the pillow all that much.

In fact, it took me over an hour to get him out of it and to get going.

Needles to say, the pillow's a hit.

On a more serious note, here's some pros and cons about the pillow.

It is pretty big and takes up about half of our queen size bed.  This isn't so bad if your hubs is willing to share (mine's a keeper).  It's also kind of bulky on all accounts so if you're into really thin pillows (which I am), it takes a bit to get used to.  It's also super hard to get all the blankets wrapped up around yourself when there is so much pillow around you.  And the one thing that really does bug me about it is trying to get in and out of it.  When I was a bit smaller, it was no big deal.  But each evening it gets harder and harder.  Now in the middle of the night I find it to be a huge pain.

On the plus side, it is amazing.  If you find yourself tossing and turning, unable to get comfortable, this might be a good solution.  I just love how it contours my entire body from head to toe.  I feel like it hugs me from ever angle.  The fact that it's all around you is also super helpful when you want to turn around in the middle of the night.  No matter which way I face (there are only 2 options by this point), the pillow is always there for me.  I love the thickness because it aleviates the pressure on my back, allowing me to sleep even better.

Overall, if I had to do it all over again I might go for the pillow that's on one side of your body like tihs one:

I think it'd be easier to get up in the middle of the night.

But I don't know if it would allow me to sleep as amazing as I do now.  I do love my pillow and I'm super glad I gave in and bought it.