Sunday, June 29, 2014

Bedroom Makeover

All items above from Urbanara. 

Recently, I've been dreaming of bedroom makeovers. You see, we moved in to our cute little apartment almost a year ago.  The rent is cheap, there are big windows, cute historical details, and hardwood floors (albeit the floors are pretty destroyed.)   And while I decorated our work space, hung up artwork in the living room and arranged the books on the bookshelf in that hard to achieve practical-but-also-artful way, I never did anything to the bedroom.

I suppose the motivation isn't nearly as great to invest time and money into a private space, since the only people that would really see it would be myself and my husband.

Well, I woke up the other day in our mess of a bedroom - still no headboard, no matching duvet covers, no headboard, no bedskirt, and not a stitch of decor on the walls and decided things had to change.  I want the bedroom of our place to be a place we can relax and feel good in. At the moment, I only feel stressed out by the mess created by lack of storage. 
So! The shopping begins. In addition to all of the bed essentials, I'm on the hunt for a rug, some beautiful new curtains, and a fabulous light fixture to hang above the bed.  I've already found some great options! I'm currently in love with the UK site Urbanara (which now ships worldwide!) and am also pulling lots of inspiration from my pinterest boards 

What are your thoughts on bedroom makeovers? Do you tackle them first or push them to the bottom of the priority list like I do?  Where do you find your inspiration? Where do you shop? Let's talk - I could use all the help I can get!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Why Don't Americans Care About Soccer?

Most of you know that I have a German husband. Said German husband is, along with the rest of Germany/Europe/Earth, very much obsessed with Soccer.  With the start of the world cup he now spends every free moment he has checking the scores, and we exchange multiple texts a day regarding the outcome of various matches.

Just putting it out there: I am not a sports fan. I do enjoy watching soccer, but I have to credit that mostly to having spent 2.5+ years living in a country that LOVED watching soccer (In German, we call it Fussball) and went absolutely bananas during the world cup.  Before moving to Germany, I didn't care about soccer at all.

But why is that?

Why is it that in the USA, soccer is largely considered a sport for kids to play and eventually outgrow?  It doesn't really bother me that it's that way....I'm just genuinely curious.

Because everywhere else in the world, Soccer/futbol/fussball is a BIG deal. The world cup is the most watched sporting event in the history of the ever!  People should be into that, right? But, no.  I could easily list five cups way more important to Americans than the world cup: 

1. The Stanley Cup
2. Reese's peanut butter cups
3. 7/11 Big Gulp cups
4. Those red cups they hand out at frat parties
5. Cup o' noodles

So I guess I just what to throw the question out into the world: what is with America's apathy towards soccer? Why don't we care about it like every other country on earth does?

I know this post doesn't really have any conclusion, but I definitely find it interesting! What's your take on the world cup and Soccer in general?

Monday, June 23, 2014

My Favorite Wedding/Portrait Camera Lenses

I think most photographers would agree that, when it comes to equipment, using quality lenses is key. Having an amazing camera body is awesome, but in my opinion it's much better to shoot on a cheap camera with a great lens then a great camera with a cheap lens.   I shoot on canon cameras so I'll be listing canon lenses here, but if you're a Nikon shooter it's pretty easy to find the Nikon equivalents to the lenses listed below.

Want to upgrade from your kit lens? 

If you're a newer photographer looking to trade in your kit lens (18-55mm is standard,) my first recommendation would absolutely be the 50mm f/1.8.  

Known as the "thrifty fifty," this lens is, in my opinion, still the best value you can find on the market right now. It's made with plastic and inexpensive glass, but being able to go down to a 1.8 aperture (though I would stick to 2.2 and above if you want a really sharp focus) will give you the shallow depth of field - read: those fab "blurry" backgrounds - that make images look soft and romantic.

The low aperture also makes this lens ideal for low light situations.

Those looking for higher quality glass can upgrade to the 50mm f/1.4 for an extra few hundred dollars, though I'll be honest and say that I've experienced focusing issues with the 1.4 and actually prefer the 1.8.

Cost:  $110 on Amazon

What's the best "all around" lens for wedding and portrait photography? 

When someone tells me they're looking to invest in a lens that will be super versatile for them, I will always point them to the Canon 24-70 f 2.8. I say invest because this lens is not cheap. 

It's sharp, fast, and when you have your aperature opened between 2.8 - 4 you're going to get shallow depth of field for really romantic looking photos. This is the lens I use to photograph most ceremonies, because being able to go from 24mm (very wide angle) to 70mm (telephoto, close up portraits) means less moving around and disturbing the moment.

If versatility is more important to you than wide apertures, you might want to check out the Canon 24-105 f/4. This allows you an even longer zoom and is much cheaper than the 24-70.

Cost: $2,299 on Amazon.

What lenses do I use? 

Other than the 24-70, I have two prime lenses I switch off of frequently when shooting weddings and portraits. I LOVE the look of prime lenses (prime means the focal length is set and you can't zoom) and almost always prefer them to zooming lenses.

The 35mm f/1.4 is my go to lens during most portrait/engagement sessions. It's made with "L" glass (that means the good stuff.) The 35mm focal length, at least for me, is that perfect sweet spot where you can get amazing wide angle shots or move in for beautiful portraits with minimal distortion.

Shooting on a prime lens means you have to be your own zoom. You have to run back, forward and back again to get the different shots you want. If you want a portrait, you have to get right up in the subject's face. I LOVE that.  It lets me create a stronger connection with my clients which I think shows through in the pictures.

Those wanting a cheaper option would also be satisfied with the Canon 35mm f/2.

Cost: $1479 on Amazon. 

My new all-time-favorite lens for portraits is the 85mm f/1.8. This lens is SHARP, which means you can have your aperture wide open at f/1.8 or f/2 and still have a really sharp focus. Love that!  The photos I take with it are bright and contrast-y which means less editing in post.

The absolute best thing about this lens, however, is the PRICE!  It is cheap as far as lenses go and gives you an awesome bang for your buck.

Cost: $379 on Amazon

I hope this helps a few of you out with your hunt for lenses! I'd be happy to answer any questions you have about cameras, lenses and the like in the comments section.

What's your favorite lens? 


She Snaps is an ongoing series about photography and the business behind it. While most concepts can apply to both men and women photographers, this series is written with the female photographer/entrepreneur in mind. Enjoy! 

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Weekend Travel Itinerary: Malta

When scanning a map in search of a place to visit, the tiny island of Malta can be easy to overlook. But despite its size – or lack thereof – the country is a cultural powerhouse bleached by centuries of Mediterranean sun that boasts 7,000 years of history, prehistoric ruins and tales of the Knights of St. John.  Only 19 miles long and 8 miles wide, the island can be explored in no time at all, though you’ll certainly wish you could stay for weeks on end.  If an extended trip doesn’t seem to be in the cards, you can still join the Maltese in the experiences they love best in one single weekend adventure.



The best place to begin your trip is in Malta’s capital. Easily walkable, Valetta is the perfect place to soak up the history (and the sunshine) that Malta has to offer.  The buildings lining cobblestoned streets feature vibrantly colored balconies above, while cafes, restaurants and shops serve locals and tourists alike at street level. Take in views of the harbor at the Upper Barrakka Gardens as the sun sets – it’s not to be missed.
Guze Bistro in the heart of Valetta takes traditional Maltese food and offers it a modern twist. It doesn’t lack in ambiance either – the restaurant resides in a 400-year-old building built by the Knight’s of St. John.
If you’re looking for a traditional experience, try Fenek; pan fried rabbit served in a garlic white wine sauce.


First and foremost Malta is an island, and like other islands it is best viewed from the sea. Set off on a full day cruise with Hera Cruises for an experience both adventurous and incredibly relaxing. Around noon you’ll anchor for lunch in The Blue Lagoon, which boasts crystal clear waters perfect for snorkeling. Jump from the rocks (or your ship!) straight into the sea, but be prepared – the water remains brisk, even on the hottest of summer days.
Your ship will dock in Sliema, making it easy to catch a ferry back over to Valetta for a dinner of fresh locally caught fish at Palazzo Preca, a restaurant owned by two sisters that is renowned for its seafood offerings, from swordfish to octopus to giant prawns.



After a leisurely breakfast, take some more time to soak up Malta’s infinite sun. Among the country’s best sandy beaches are Mellieha Bay and Golden Bay. While these beaches are certainly no surfer’s paradise, the still waters offer supreme conditions for swimming and snorkeling, a flawless way to spend a warm late morning.


If you’re hungry, stop in Rabat for one of Malta’s most traditional and beloved snacks: The Pastizzi.  This puff pastry stuffed with a mixture of ricotta or pureed peas is flaky and brittle, the crumbs shedding all over your palms and sleeves with even the slightest of movements.  Pastizzi’s are sold in shop after shop for only a few cents a piece, though the absolute best can be found at the Crystal Palace Bar, tucked away on Triq San Pawl (Street Saint Paul) in Rabat. You’ll probably find a few old men lounging outside, pastizzi in one hand and cigarette in the other.  If you’re feeling brave, wash down your pastizzi with a bottle of Kinnie Soda, a local beverege, though admittedly this bitter orange drink flavored with herbs is not for everyone.

Unlike Valetta, whose boulevards and streets form a perfect and practical grid, the walled city of Mdina is a mass of twisting roads and alleyways that all intertwine, no rhyme or reason to be found.  Allow yourself to get lost for an hour or two. Climb one of the city walls for a panoramic view of the island – all the way out to the coast – that is nothing like you’ve ever seen.
The best way to finish out your perfect trip to Malta is with a perfect meal, and Medina Restaurant is arguably one of the island’s best. On a warm night you can dine out in the stone courtyard under swaying palm trees and you’ll feel like you’re in another world.  

I based this weekend itinerary off of my own experience in Malta. I hope some of you find it helpful! If you have any other suggestions for things to see, do or eat, or advice for those hoping to travel to Malta, please share below in the comments! 

Monday, June 9, 2014

SHE SNAPS: Photographers - Be Nice to Other Photographers

Even I can’t deny it: There is an undeniable appeal associated with being a photographer.  Getting to be creative for work, setting your own hours, not having to submit to the 9 to 5 grind. It IS appealing. It’s not without its challenges, and you end up spending way more time in front of a computer screen than actually out there doing what you love, but even then it still seems…glamorous. Exciting, somehow. Like I said before, I really can’t deny it; I am a photographer and half of the reasons I decided to be one I just listed above.

I’m also definitely not the only one hopping on this camera-wielding bandwagon. It is the age of the professional photographer.  You see photo websites and blogs popping up in all directions, everywhere you look. Here in Utah, for instance, the number of female photographers advertising themselves as wedding, portrait and lifestyle photographers is staggering and still increasing steadily. I’m not here to complain: After all, I'm one of them! 

But what I’ve noticed is the environment among photographers seems very hostile. There is a rivalry among us – particularly among the female photographers I meet – that goes beyond friendly competition. For a while I thought it was just me being silly, feeling threatened and insecure by the other more established photographers in the area, but after a while I realized it wasn’t all in my head. It's actually true. Photographers can be mean!

I get it. We want to be successful. We don’t like the idea of competitors charging less for their work and taking all of our business away. I still find myself growing very irritated when I hear local photogs – at some of the workshops and gatherings I attend – speaking so poorly of other photographers. It is easy to bash those who charge too little, who over-edit their images, who don’t seem to really know what their doing yet. 

And then I realized I was doing it too. I receive emails frequently from people asking advice on starting up a photography business and so many times I’ve felt disinclined to help them or answer their questions for fear of being copied. I felt threatened by simple questions because I thought my business would suffer. 

Here is my wake up call to myself:  I was being stupid.

Helping others figure out how to do what they love is not going to hurt my business. If anything, I think it will help! How could forming genuine friendships with other people who love what I love really hurt? Would having a community of photographers who lifted each other up, asked each other for advice, recommended each other’s services when they themselves weren’t available, etc;, really be that bad?

It sounds pretty dang awesome to me! 

Photographers: BE NICE TO OTHER PHOTOGRAPHERS. There will always be people who know more than you and people who know less than you. There will be people who charge small fortunes and people who don’t charge hardly anything at all. Does it really matter? We all started somewhere and we’re all doing what we love.

If you are a photographer, local or not, I would really like to be friends with you! Please leave a comment here introducing yourself and feel free to include links to your websites, social media accounts, etc;. I will check out every single one and would love to stay in touch.  

If you feel like following me on my photography adventures, you can find my info here:

Instagram: @Darylschmidt

Friday, June 6, 2014

Fitness Goals and Other Fallacies

My whole life I've had a very interesting relationship with running. Growing up I hated it - I was convinced there was something wrong with me that prevented me from being able to run. I considered having to run a mile at school - a SINGLE mile - to be physical torture. I would walk the entire thing and finish last in the class, even all the way through high school.

It was right after high school when I decided that I was being ridiculous and decided I would try to run a 5k. Most people are looking at this and probably going "a 5k? ANYONE can jog for three miles. It's not that hard," but for me I honestly think I could compare my goal with something like summiting Everest after having lost a leg to frostbite and losing my oxygen tank. Or something.

But regardless, I trained for over two months. When I started I was only able to run for a few minutes, but when I finished I ran my 5k in under 27 minutes flat. Whoo!

Anyway, I ended up continuing to train and got close to being able to run a 10k race. Then some combination of moving/school/work/stress/other lame excuses happened and I stopped running all together.

I just stopped!

Then a few years ago I essentially started over. I trained for months, made it to about a 10k guessed it...stopped.

This has repeated SEVERAL times, and my bucket list goal of running a marathon seems so out of reach!

I felt like this was an appropriate post to write today because I'm about six weeks in to consistently running again, probably about four or five more weeks away from being able to do a 10k. I DON'T want to quit this time. I want to hold myself accountable!

I won't totally suck and give up again like I have 5+ times before in the past. I will complete a half marathon this year. I will. I WILL.

What are some of your fitness goals? How do you stay motivated? Do you use any training programs or apps? Let's talk fitness!

Thursday, June 5, 2014

My Favorite Foodie Destinations in San Francisco

Let it be said here and now: San Francisco is a foodie paradise. I would wager that there are so many restaurants here that every single SF resident could go out to eat all at once and still be able to find a table.  A city this on top of its gastronomic game has far too many excellent eats to even begin to list, so consider the following a foodie’s quick and dirty guide to eating well in the City by the Bay. 

Destination #1: The Ferry Building

One of the oldest standing structures in San Francisco, The Ferry Building was completely remodeled in 2003 and restored to its former glory.  It now serves as a marketplace housing award winning small eateries and dozens of stands selling artisanal meats, cheeses, and fresh seasonal produce. A farmer’s market is held outside the Ferry Building every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.  

Destination #2:  Tartine

Lovers of baked goods, rejoice! Co-owners Liz Pruett and Chad Robertson have won the James Beard award for outstanding pastry chef – that alone should speak for itself!  Breads, pastries, hot-pressed sandwiches…this French-style bakery has it all. Make a stop here in between seeing the sights for a croissant so flaky it will shatter with every bite. Don’t worry about the mess, we understand.

Destination #3:  NOPA

This ingredient driven, farm-to-table restaurant could easily fall into the category of pretentious and over-priced hipster hangouts, but while it does feature the industrial rustic décor and organic menu that suspender-clad citizens of SF tend to crave, the prices are affordable and the service is excellent. NOPA is also open for brunch on the weekends but be sure to call ahead for reservations.

Destination #4:  Food Trucks

It can’t really be said where the phenomena that is gourmet mobile street food originated from, but it can be said that San Francisco is bringing that food truck fad to an entire new level.  While standard street eats like burgers and tacos can still be found in excess, you’ll see that your options now extend to gourmet pizzas, Moroccan tagines, curries galore and yes, even sushi.  Some of my favorites are Brass Knuckles,  Bacon Bacon and Kung Fu Tacos. Sites such as Off the Grid and Frisky food trucks allow you to track your favorites and find food truck marketplaces day by day.

Destination #5:  Flour + Water

I love this place for many reasons, but the main reason is that you can find an authentic italian experience here that is simple and modern.  Their specialty is fresh, homemade pastas and wood-fired pizzas and for good reason. At first glance one may not notice anything particularly special about the place; the small interior can seat only 50 guests and the décor seems very simple. However on closer inspection one will see that, just like the menu and dishes themselves, the unassuming décor is dotted with really thoughtful, beautiful details. All in all this place feels like home to me. 

This isn't my first San Francisco foodie list, and that's because you can't really throw a rock in San Francisco without hitting an award-winning or noteworthy restaurant.  It's a city I could come back to time and time again for the food alone!

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Look at This Cool Stuff

Cool Stuff // Week 1

For Nerds Like Me:

  • Artist creates pixelated classic paintings using legos // I don't know how he ever thought to do this, but I'm really impressed. Naturally, lego saw this and is turning it into a national campaign! And why wouldn't they?
  • This witty infographic will tell you whether or not you're reading a gothic novel.  // According to this, I haven't read a gothic novel since high school.
  • Watching Game of Thrones this week, I became immediately obsessed with this dress that Sansa wore in her last scene. // Costume design for television and movies has always fascinated me, because I like to see how costumes change as characters evolve. After an episode in which we begin to understand that Sansa is a lot smarter than she looks or act, I'm happy to see that her pretty-little-nice-girl dresses have been retired to her closet.
  • Speaking of Game of Thrones, the Viper and the Mountain are still totally buddies on instagram. // As a side note, this show is teaching me that I should just never love anything.
  • If you're looking for an incredibly nerdy but pretty awesome medieval fantasy series to read, I HAVE FOUND IT.  // I'll have finished the second book by the end of the week. Third book come out soon? The books are VERY good at world building and have fleshed out characters I'm growing to love.  They're easier reads than GoT, probably meant for a bit younger audience, and definitely more family friendly. #nerdlifeforeva 

Wedding Photography Madness: 

Just Some Good Life Stuff: 

Pretty Things I Like: 

  • A Well Travelled Woman // A pretty Tumblr with travel photos and quotes and other nice things I like.
  • Lingered Upon //  Alice Gao is a photographer I really admire and her blog is always filled with effortless, minimalist gorgeousness.
  • This Swimsuit. // Just kill me with the pretty.
  • These shoes. And these ones. And these ones. 


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...