Learning Photography: My Camera Starter Kit

Learning Photography: My Camera Starter Kit

This semester, I challenged myself to learn something new. I enrolled in my first college art class to learn photography. It’s a skill that I admire and have wanted to learn for some time. But, the process of figuring out what I needed to do photography was a bit overwhelming. I didn’t know what camera would be best for me.

Through class lectures and some personal research, I was able to figure out exactly what I wanted and needed to get started. If you want to get into photography too, I hope that this blog helps!

Here’s my camera starter kit:

Canon EOS Rebel T7 DSLR: I ended up getting this camera for a few reasons. First, the reviews gave me confidence in it. Many said good things about this camera and said it was great for beginners. The price also wasn’t too bad since it included the camera body, the lens, and a few other accessories. Also, I noticed that there were a ton of free resources online for this camera. So many people have created YouTube video tutorials on how to use the Rebel. I have found this extremely helpful in learning.

32GB Memory Card: Honestly, this was the memory card that was suggested to buy with the camera online. In short, it works! Do I necessarily need 32GB’s worth of space right now? Nope. But, could it come in handy? Yes.

Camera Cleaning Kit: My professor recommended not to spend a lot on a camera cleaning kit. They all contain about the same things that do the same jobs. In this kit specifically, I have used the blower brush the most. I’ve found YouTube helpful in learning how to properly clean my camera.

Pink Cross-Body Camera Bag: It’s very cute, functional, and protective. It has been convenient to take on the go when shooting.

Lens Filters: The first lens filter I got was a polarizer. This type of filter comes in handy in some lighting scenarios. Now, I want to get a UV lens filter. This type of filter is good for general lens protection. Looking back, I would’ve bought the UV lens filter first.

What camera do you currently use? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments or on Instagram. Let’s chat!

February Highlights ’21

February Highlights ’21

Let’s catch up and recap February!

Early in the month, I had the opportunity to attend a yoga event led by Janice Liou. If you don’t already keep up with her on Instagram, you should! Her feed is very creative and inspiring.

The event was so relaxing and made me realize that I should make more time for movement in my days. Even doing a quick cardio routine in the morning can make all the difference with my mood and productivity.

Right in the middle of February, I had a great time celebrating Valentine’s Day with my significant other. We ordered some delicious takeout and watched our favorite show, Doctor Who. I even made some chocolate covered-strawberries sprinkled with cacao. Yes, there were as yummy as they look.

Later in the month, I attended another event, but this time it was a podcasting webinar. Scott Seidenberg hosted and shared his story along with podcasting tips and tricks. It was cool to gain some more insight into podcasting. Also, I was able to learn some ways to further develop my podcast, Megan Till Midnight.

And speaking of podcasting, my episode with Lexy Panterra came out in February! I thought this was very fitting since one of her albums is named “Gemini Valentine.” You can listen to the show here.

Before closing out the month, I want to say thank you and welcome to anyone new! In February, viewer records were broken. It makes me happy to see this space grow, and I am excited to share more with you all in March.

What were your highlights? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments or on Instagram. Let’s chat!

How-To Create a Mini Charcuterie Board

How-To Create a Mini Charcuterie Board

This is definitely one of those “Pinterest made me do it” moments. For a while now, I’ve wanted an excuse to create a charcuterie board; as it turns out, Valentine’s Day is the perfect reason!

My goal was to create something cute, festive, sweet, salty, and easy to replicate. This board will not cost you a ton of money to create, and it’s the perfect appetizer for one or two!

What you need: Mini Tray, Parchment Paper (optional), Baking Cups, Hershey’s Kisses, Bagel Chips, Port Wine Cheese Spread, Brownie Crisps, Chocolate Hearts, Mixed Nuts, Sahale Pomegranate and Vanilla Cashews, and Skinny Dipped Cacao Almonds.

Tip: When shopping for ingredients, get single-serving packs of chocolates and nuts! It reduces cost, and then you get just the amount you need.

Steps 1-3. In these steps, you are creating a “chocolate rose.” This will act as the centerpiece of the board. All you have to do is place one baking cup inside another and pinch its sides. Then, you can add the kisses!

Step 4. You can spread the port wine cheese spread as thick as you like onto the bagel chips. Then, you can place them in a curved pattern that “hugs” the rose. You will want to place these closest to the left side of the board.

Step 5. On the opposite side of the board, place a row of brownie crisps. You can add a heart-shaped chocolate to act as a bookend of sorts.

Step 6. Add some mixed nuts in-between the bagel chips and brownie crisps.

Step 7. Sprinkle some of the cacao almonds and pomegranate cashews on top of the nuts.

Steps 8-9. Dress up the board a little more by folding the baking cups and placing them at the back of the board.

And, ta-da, your mini charcuterie board is complete! All that’s left to do is enjoy the sweet and salty goodness. If you’re 21 and above, I believe the flavor profile pairs nicely with rosé.

What’s your favorite Valentine’s Day treat? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments or on Instagram. Let’s chat!

A Few Ways to Celebrate Valentine’s Day

A Few Ways to Celebrate Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day isn’t just about candy or flowers. Even though, I do appreciate both of those things. It’s about showing love to others and yourself.

I came up with a few ways to enjoy the day that don’t require a rom-com storyline. All you need is yourself and maybe some loved ones to participate in these events and activities:

Attend a fun online event. Eventbrite has a ton of options! You can virtually attend a Valentine’s Day Happy Hour with all the DIY supplies you need to make chocolate truffles and hibiscus-rose margaritas sent to your door. Or, for just a few bucks, you can see a pop version of Romeo and Juliet performed.

Support your local greenhouse. Pick up a bouquet for your significant other, friends, family, or even yourself. It’s a great way to spark joy and show love to a local business.

Cook a special meal at home. My significant other and I are planning to stay in and cook. A few recipes I am considering include vodka pasta and veggie flatbread pizza. I also want to try and make us a charcuterie board with a Valentine’s Day theme!

DIY a box of chocolates. Most likely, plastic or cardboard heart chocolate boxes do not contain your loved one’s favorite treats. To personalize the typical gift, pick up a heart-shaped tin and fill it with something special. You could even bake treats to put inside.

Dress for the day. Utilize red or pink in your February 14th outfit. Yes, you can use this idea as an excuse to go shopping. I recently went to my local Goodwill to pick up something cute for V-Day. They had a ton of different options, which were all nicely color-coordinated. I ended up with a cozy pink sweater that will pair nicely with a skirt or denim depending on the weather.

What are your Valentine’s Day plans? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments or on Instagram. Let’s chat!

January Highlights ’21

January Highlights ’21

We are already one month into 2021! Let’s catch up and chat about January.

Early in the month, I officially joined Beachwaver as a campus ambassador! I am very excited about the opportunity and can’t wait to share more tutorials with you.

In case you missed it, I recently posted a video on my YT channel unboxing my first package from them and doing my hair with the 3B Waver (you can check it out here). If you want any Beachwaver goodies for yourself, use my code MEGANGREENBAY and this link for 20% off!

Mid-January, I had another project with Goodwill come out! I was able to join them for their Winter Style Challenge series (as you may remember, I was also part of their Fall Style Challenge). It was so fun to shop around and put together a stylish winter look.

The month was definitely a busy one between projects, classes starting, and work… but, I wouldn’t have it any other way. Thank you for following along! I’m excited to share February with you.

What were your highlights? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments or on Instagram. Let’s chat!

4 Habits I’m Creating In 2021

4 Habits I’m Creating In 2021

In the past couple of weeks, I have been creating some new routines and habits for myself. Some of these are motivated by New Year’s resolutions, and others happened more organically. They have all helped me to reset and get motivated.

When creating habits, I think it is important to reflect on goals and what you want. Habits are much easier to maintain when you realize the why behind them. Here are the top four habits I’m working on and how they are working for me:

Habit 1: Creating manageable to-do lists. Before this habit, I would write to-do lists longer than hours in the day. It was overwhelming and impossible. I realized that if I gave myself more manageable task lists, then I could leave each day satisfied with everything checked off. Planning my weeks out ahead of time has helped me to do this.

Habit 2: Reading to relax. Reading for enjoyment is something that sometimes gets lost during the busyness of academic semesters. I just began reading The Book of Moods in downtime. It feels good to read because I want to rather than because I have to for an assignment.

Habit 3: Drinking coffee at home. I created this habit when I realized how many coffee-runs I was going on. I’d much rather save some money and practice my barista skills at home. This isn’t to say that I never visit my local coffee shops; I’m just more mindful of the frequency.

Habit 4: Getting active each day. Since I work from home and attend classes online, it has been hard to get much movement in my days. I notice I feel a lot better and a lot more energized when I do some cardio or yoga in the morning. I really enjoy and would recommend Blogilates workout videos.

What habits will you create? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments or on Instagram. Let’s chat!

December Highlights

December Highlights

First things first, happy new year! We made it through December and 2020! It has felt so good to kick off 2021 with a relaxing long weekend and time to slow down.

One of my biggest highlights from last month was sharing Blogmas with you all on Instagram. I decided to countdown to Christmas on my IG stories each day. We got to chat about our favorite holiday movies, our traditions, and gifts that we wanted to give/receive. I looked forward to posting every day and diving into the festivities.

You may have seen the virtual concert I attended as a part of Blogmas, but that is another highlight I want to note. Lil Debbie (the rapper, not the snack cake mascot) put together a live stream show.

I went to a show of hers four years ago during my senior year of high school, so it is a bit ironic that I was able to see her during my last year of college. This show even had a live chat, which was very entertaining. I loved the concert, and I cannot wait to get my merch in the mail.

I am also very excited about the podcasts that I released during December. In the latest, I talk with Kirstie Taylor. She’s a relationship writer that I first stumbled upon when reading Cosmopolitan. It was so fun to chat with her and hear her story. Also, I believe her insight could help all of us, no matter our relationship statuses. I know our discussion caused me to reflect on my own feelings/needs.

Currently, I am in the process of goal setting for 2021. I am hopeful for the months to come. While this past year has had its challenges, I am still grateful for many little moments. I am also grateful for this blog community. Thank you for being here and being on this journey with me!

What were your highlights? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments or on Instagram. Let’s chat!

Bake with Me: Walnut Cacao Scone Recipe

Bake with Me: Walnut Cacao Scone Recipe

I have been seriously missing sitting in cafes to read and write during these times. In an attempt to bring the cafe to me, I decided to make some scones that I can enjoy with espresso at home. I followed a scone recipe from The Faux Martha, but I made it my own with a few additions and substitutions.

Before baking, I always like to measure out everything that I need. Recycled Yoplait Oui jars come in handy for this. Not only is it aesthetically pleasing, but it’s also super convenient.

I gathered 1/2 cup of heavy cream, 1 cup of applesauce, 1/3 cup of sugar, 6 tablespoons of butter, 1/3 cup of chopped walnuts, 1/3 cup of mini chocolate chips, and my Cacao Copina Co powder. I also had 2 cups of oat flour, 1 tablespoon of baking powder, and 1/2 teaspoons of salt nearby.

Step 1. To begin, I whisked together heavy cream and applesauce in a mug. In a large bowl, I combined all of the dry ingredients.

Step 2. Once the dry mixture was well stirred, I added butter. My hand mixer worked perfectly to combine it. I mixed until I ended up with a crummy yet moist consistency.

Step 3. Next, I threw in chocolate chips and chopped walnuts. I simply stirred with a spoon to combine these ingredients.

Step 4. I packed down the dry mixture to make a well for the wet ingredients, and I poured them in.

Step 5. In a jar, I combined a splash of water and 4 teaspoons of cacao powder. I used my hand frother to mix it. Then, I poured it in the middle of the other wet ingredients.

Step 6. I mixed everything up with a large spoon. It didn’t take long for everything to combine and for a cacao aroma to spread across my kitchen.

Step 7. I put some parchment paper down on my baking sheet (yes, it’s Hello Kitty shaped), scooped out the batter, and plopped it on the sheet. I tried to create triangle-like shapes.

If you repeat this recipe, feel free to create whatever shapes you like! The batter was pretty easy to move around with a spoon. Also, feel free to lick off any batter left on your spoon. I used applesauce instead of eggs, so it’s safe to eat raw!

Step 8. I put the Hello Kitty baking sheet along with an additional sheet full of scones in the freezer. I also set the oven to preheat at 425 degrees.

Step 9. Once the oven was ready, I baked the scones for 15 minutes. After this, they were done and ready to enjoy!

What is your favorite treat to bake? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments or on Instagram. Let’s chat! P.S. Use code “Roshak10” for 10% off at Copina Co.

My 2021 Vision

My 2021 Vision

Since 2020 only has a couple of weeks left, I thought it would be fitting to set some of my intentions for 2021. In previous years, I would just simply write resolutions down in a notebook. This year, I allowed my new planner to guide my 2021 vision.

Cassey (aka the gal behind Blogilates) creates a “fit planner” each year that allows you to set goals, track workouts, and plan your days. This is my first year purchasing one, and I am so excited to use it throughout 2021.

At the beginning of the planner, there are a few different worksheets that allow you to set goals and reflect before the new year. I have found it so helpful to work through. I have also enjoyed the thought-provoking prompts that Cassey created.

I want to share a few of those prompts with you as well as my responses to them. I hope that this may inspire you to reflect and consider what you want in 2021.

“This year I want to feel…”

Joyful! By definition, joyful is “feeling, expressing, or causing great pleasure and happiness.” I really love this word because it means so much more than just feeling happy. This word acknowledges that we can all be active in expressing and causing happiness.

“I will nourish my mind with…”

Books, art, and crafts. I love reading, but it’s one of those things that you have to intentionally make the time for. Same with enjoying art and creating projects. In the new year, I want to be more active with my different hobbies.

“2021 is going to be…”

Exploratory! There is a lot that I am excited to learn about and explore in 2021. In the spring, I will be entering my last semester of college. I decided to enroll in a photography class to get outside of my comfort zone. Once I graduate, there will be a lot to navigate. For example, maybe a new job or a new area. I want to be open to exploring and seeing what’s all out there.

What is your 2021 vision? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments or on Instagram. Let’s chat!

P.S. Cassey even created free fitness planner printables that you can get here.

Repurpose your Rosé: Wine Bottle Craft

Repurpose your Rosé: Wine Bottle Craft

There are better ways to recycle your empty bottles. In fact, there are endless ways that you can up-cycle them. I decided to get crafty and turn my empty rosé bottle into a cute holiday decoration.

To prepare for my project, I went to Target and picked up a few supplies. I got a couple of ornaments, tinsel garland, and a hot glue gun. I already had a wine bottle and twine at home. If you want to do this craft yourself, pick out whatever ornaments and tinsel speak to you! There are so many ways to customize it and make it fit your style. I just thought the fox ballerina ornament was too cute to pass up.

Once I had everything that I needed laying out, I plugged in my hot glue gun to get started. I also removed the cap from the bottle and put it aside.

I began by hot gluing one end of the twine to the base of the bottle. Then, I twisted the twine around the bottle while gluing each layer on the way up. I cut off the twine once I reached the metal piece on the bottle. I was honestly surprised at how much twine it took to cover the wine bottle, so I was happy that I started with a full roll.

Around the metal piece, I took the tinsel and wrapped it around as I did with the twine. I started at the bottom of the metal and worked my way up to the mouth of the bottle. I didn’t bother hot gluing the tinsel along the way since it held the coiled shape, but I did glue it down at the start. Once I reached the top, I cut the tinsel and tucked a bit of excess tinsel into the bottle. Then I put the cap back on to hold the tinsel in place.

Lastly, I added on the ornaments. The string on the ornaments I picked out was the perfect length, so I was able to place them around the top of the bottle. If you try out this project and want your ornaments in a specific place, just use hot glue!

I am really happy with how this up-cycling project turned out. I will be gifting my creation, but I may make another to add some festive vibes to my apartment.

How do you get crafty during the holidays? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments or on Instagram. Let’s chat!