Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Foray into photography -- from Clematis Street to Worth Avenue

I finally caved in and purchased a 50mm 1.8 lens for my mom's Nikon D90, which I've been using at the Zoo for several months. I'm more of a point-and-shoot, just-wanna-take-pretty-pictures kind of photographer, and so far I've been able to avoid having to understand f-stops and the ISO system. I've checked out books, read websites, asked photography friends and watched YouTube videos. Right now I'm reading Digital SLR Photography All-in-One For Dummies, which is somewhat of a beast at nearly 700 pages.

But everything started coming together in my head today, when the Zoo's events manager explained, explained and explained again the correlations. There was a lot of bracketing going on (when you take several shots of the same subject using different camera settings), and it helped me to better understand how to achieve the look I want.

I sent myself on an excursion to the Palm Beach Photographic Centre to purchase a protective filter for my new-to-me 50mm lens, and I also enjoyed visiting the National Press Photographers Association's BEST of PHOTOJOURNALISM 2014 exhibition. Those were some amazing photos on display! Unfortunately, I didn't take any pictures of the pictures, but I highly recommend you check it out if you are in South Florida.

Here I'm sharing some photos of Clematis Street, which is billed as the "historic heart of West Palm Beach."
 Who else loves the trolley busses decorated with marine life?
 'Cuz it's my favorite... get that wheatgrass, y'all!

Next, I wanted to try some beach scenes, so I went to the extravagant, iconic Worth Avenue on Palm Beach. 
 Time for the beach shots!
Zippy is a happy beach car, and says "Thanks for stopping by this blog!"

Monday, September 15, 2014

2-ingredient easy coconut cake! (4 ingredients iced)

I got on a horn and decided that, by golly, I was going to bake a cake. So I whipped open my cookbook from Our Lady of Fatima Church in Monroe, LA (where I used to be the organist) and consulted some recipes. 
Is it just me, or do church cookbooks have better recipes?! #SoCountry

The coconut cake recipe that I had all the ingredients for only called for four total ingredients, with just two for the cake itself. Sounded like it matched my level of culinary expertise.
Box of cake mix + can of coconut milk = cake
Container of Cool Whip + coconut flakes = frosting

Oh, and let us have a sad throwback shout-out to the coconuts left over from a friend's brunch, when we all discovered that her backyard palm tree was overflowing with the goodies -- too bad we've let them go to rot!
This is why we can't have nice things

Anyway, forging ahead with my recipe... you blend a box of cake mix with a can of coconut milk. 
I can work that mixer, ya heard?!

Then you bake it at 350 degrees for 25 minutes... and out comes a delicious, perfect cake!

You're supposed to let it fully cool, but unfortunately I was impatient and wanted to EAT IT. So I stuck it in the freezer, which helped but didn't fully cool it since I only left it in there for 10 minutes. #TimeToFeedTheFatKid
 Top it with Cool Whip and coconut flakes to dress it up...

This is the easiest-ever coconut cake recipe! I ended up sharing mine with my neighbor Michelle. If you knew how much of this cake I ate by myself tonight... *shakes head* It's bad juju. But the recipe is good!!! YUMMY!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Feast of the Sea festival 2014

It was super-fun to enjoy time at the 2014 Feast of the Sea festival in downtown West Palm Beach this weekend! The first-ever event was well-attended, with more than 10,000 people turning out to enjoy the delicious offerings of dozens of vendors. Some rainfall didn't stop the fun, either!
Tharrr be seafood!

We liked the different "continents" in the tents with corresponding themes of food. We ate our way through Asia with Asian Teriyaki Tuna, and also the Caribbean with Pan-Seared Mahi with coconut rice <-- rice was YUM.

I also was happy to bump into my zookeeper friend Melissa, who was very insistent that we partake of the lobster roll. She said that it was the best one she had ever eaten in her life! But we had to leave before we got a chance to try that legendary lobster roll.  ;)

Nathan, Tai, Melissa and me
Lots of local vendors touted their wares

Hip Hop Kids performing
Caribbean yumminess
The downtown waterfront is always so nice!
ONLI Beverages are made in West Palm Beach,
and they are DELICIOUS flavored sparkling water!
I love the hibiscus flavor

I hope we can make it out to next year's festival... meantime, check out Feast of the Sea's Twitter feed to see all the fun shenanigans with the hashtag #FOTS14!  :)