the shot i didn’t take

It was mid-May. One of those days where in the shade it’s cool and breezy, but in the sun, you schvitz. I was on West 49th Street near the corner of 6th Avenue. It had been a long day already. It was the day Lisa and I had walked from Harlem through Central Park to Rockefeller Center. It was crowded; summer was coming. The sun was setting and my feet were tired. It was time for a cupcake. In the crowd of people I noticed a woman dressed in tattered clothing, obviously homeless. Using the crowds to her advantage, she asked for money. She may have asked for other things but, being the seasoned New Yorker that I am (stop laughing, Lisa) I ignored her and stepped into the sugar sanctuary that is Magnolia Bakery.

Armed with sugar and the promise of caffeine, I braved 49th street again. This time, I noticed that the woman asking for money was sitting against the building. She looked sad, like she was a child being admonished for something. In front of her knelt a woman dressed like a 90’s mom. She was face to face with the homeless woman, holding her hands. I heard her say, “what did I tell you about doing this?” She said something about getting help. Apparently they had met before. The street was still crowded with no place to stop. Sidestepping our way down the block to an open space, Lisa turned to me and said “Why didn’t you get a picture of that?” My excuses were lame, “My hands are full and I couldn’t get to my camera.” “I’ve been taking pictures all day. All I want is this cupcake and to sit for five minutes.” The shot I didn’t take.

The truth? I didn’t take the picture for two reasons. One was that I legitimately couldn’t get to my camera in time. There were people everywhere. I’m generally a hot mess. The second, and more important reason was that I felt like I’d be invading their privacy. Whatever moment they were having was so intimate that I didn’t want to interrupt it. Did I miss an opportunity, or as Lisa puts it an “award winner”? Yea, probably. Do I regret it? Definitely. The shot I didn’t take.

Ok, Martina, let’s get this train into the station.

I’ve been wanting to write this post for a while now. It got away from me, I didn’t know what to say, am I capable of posting something without using gifs? Most importantly, how was I going to write something about a picture without having a picture to show? The internet works in mysterious ways and over the past day or two I have seen posts (from Allison & Heather) talking about putting down our phones and cameras, taking off our blogger hats and just live in the moment. In a way, that’s where I tried to go with this, but I got caught up with the CMAs, YouTube and Sam Hunting.

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Bottom line: In life there’s always going to be a shot you didn’t take. Moving for that dream job, asking that cute guy/pretty girl for their number (ugh. that’s a whole ‘nother post.), literally not taking a photo of something you wanted to remember forever. Maybe it’s a good thing. Maybe it means we’re living our lives the way we’re supposed to. We’re on the right track and we’re enjoying the view. Taking it all in. Living in the moment.

What shot didn’t you take?

Let’s discuss!


sweater weather tag! (totally not the candle)

The other night I was scouring the internet for something, anything to inspire me. I was in my usual funk of I have things to say but don’t know what to write. I went through all of the writing prompts on Pinterest, tried to come up with a witty list, possibly entitled 20 Things To Do When You’re Home Alone That Doesn’t Involve Hulu or Netflix. Except, what is there to do besides catching up on Hulu and Netflix when you have the TV to yourself? I was about to give up when I clicked the refresh button on my Reader. Up popped a new post from Kristen over at Peaches and Poppycock. It was a tag! And she tagged me! ask and you shall receive. So, thanks Kristen! She put a limit on her word count, but you guys aren’t getting that lucky with mine.

So, without further ado:

favorite candle scentLeaves by Bath and Body Works or Home Sweet Home by Scentsationals (you can get it at Walmart. it’s actually those wax cubes for the tart warmers. wax that smells good = candle)

coffee, tea or hot chocolate?  first of all, if i’m drinking coffee, it’s iced. second, I like all of those beverages so it just depends on my mood.

what is the best fall memory you have — i don’t really have one. early fall usually reminds me of school and sometimes i forget how old i am and i start to look for my backpack to get my homework started. old habits die hard, i guess. honestly, the only other thing that comes to mind is doing blogtober last year. i really loved that challenge (and a challenge it was!) and all of the people i’ve “met”/found because of it.

best fragrance for fall — Chloe by Chloe or Burberry Body

favorite Thanksgiving food — Stove Top stuffing. sorry, i’m just not a fan of the homemade ones. my aunt also makes this corn bread/pudding thing that i would eat the whole pan of if i could.

most worn sweater —  i don’t wear a lot of sweaters because i’m always warm.

football games or jumping in leaf piles — ohh tough choice. i’m going to go with football games. we all know i feel about men in uniform.

favorite type of pie —  apple or cherry, both with vanilla ice cream.

what is autumn weather like where you live — gorgeous. and the views aren’t bad either.

which makeup trend do you prefer: dark lips or winged liner — dark lips, hands down.

what song really gets you into the fall spirit —  the monster mash?

is pumpkin spice worth the hype — it used to be and then starbucks thought it would be cute to release it in august. then dunkin donuts, for some reason, decided not to release their apple cider. NOT COOL. how else are we supposed to fight against the great pumpkin (spice)?

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favorite fall TV show —  does “You’ve Got Mail” airing on ABC Family (or wherever) count?

skinny jeans or leggings? — leggings if i could find a long enough, light enough sweater or tunic. otherwise, skinny jeans. who am i kidding? elastic waistband for the win.

combat boots or Uggs — gun to my head? Uggs. but really, riding boots.

Halloween: yay or nay — nay. or should i say nae nae?

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fall mornings or evenings — do i have to choose? 

what do you think about Black Friday? — it’s cool, but no thanks. too many people, too much pressure. i think it’s bullshit that stores are not giving their employees a chance to enjoy the holiday. opening at 6pm on thursday? by that time, my pants are still buttoned and i’m not looking for the fennel to help me to digest yet. #italiansolutions. i mean, what kind of shit is that?

one Fall 2015 trend you love — blanket scarves #baaaasicccc

Now for the tagging.

I tag:
Libby @ Honestly, Libby
Mallory @ Mallory Can’t Even
Laura @ Life with Lolo
Allison @ AA
Anyone who wants to do this. Really! Feel free.

Can’t wait to see everyone’s answers! Just make sure you tag me or leave a comment or whatevs.

Later gators!



photo dump: central park, where else?

I’ve had these pictures hanging out, waiting to be posted for a little while now, but I haven’t gotten a chance to actually put it all together. Don’t get too excited, they’re of Central Park – again. I know, let’s all put our shocked faces on. Whatever. It was a nice day, albeit hotter than Hades. This time, Martina and Lisa’s Day of Fun started at the Shakespeare Garden, which is like something out of a fairy tale. Or the English countryside. I assume.


I was too busy running around chasing butterflies, trying to get pictures of them, and failing miserably to get pictures of what was at the top of the stairs. Imagine a round English garden and that’s what’s upstairs. Not that I’m in any kind of situation for this to happen to me, but if I had to list a few places to get engaged, this would be pretty high on my list. take note, boys.

Before we left for the park, Lisa told me she was going to bring a sandwich and have a picnic. The last time we had a picnic in the park, we sat on a bench and watched a Men’s softball game. This time, we’re walking down the path and Lisa says, “Let’s sit here”. I look around and there’s no bench, no men in tight pants. I said, “Where?” “Right there”, she replies, pointing to an open space of grass. She walks over, opens her bag and pulls out a bedsheet, spreads in out, sits down and starts getting her sandwich out of her bag. Thankfully, there was a hot dog vendor nearby so I bought myself a hot dog since I really didn’t believe we were picnicking in the park. From where we sat we had an excellent view of the back of the Belvedere Castle and the trees provided excellent shade.



After we ate, people and dog watched, we started our journey down to the East Side. I keep forgetting that Central Park is basically the Met’s backyard. One day, I’m not going to make myself not look like a subway troll and I’m going to go to the steps of the Met, channel my inner Blair Waldorf, and have lunch. #pagingchuckbass Except I heard that that’s not allowed so I guess a quick photoshoot will have to suffice. Through the trees, I spotted 5th Avenue and like the Ansel Adams that (I think) I am, I stopped and took 400 photos, even making Lisa move the weeds out of my way. #ineedanassistant #thatswhatfriendsarefor


The building on the right is Marymount, which is an extremely Catholic school, or so I was told. Either way, it sure is pretty.

We made our way down past Alice in Wonderland to visit Hans Christian Anderson. Good old Hans. I take the same picture every time we come to see him, but I really don’t care. After we said goodbye to Uncle Hans, we started back on our journey down and out of the park.




Finally, we made it to the Bethesda Fountain. I’ve been trying to get artistic shots of her for a while now and today was no different. What was also not any different was the fact that I still couldn’t nail the shot I wanted. There’s always next time because you know, sure as shit, I’ll be back.




We walked through the mall, got a Hello Kitty ice cream bar, which promptly fell on the ground. Left the park and went over to Columbus Circle in search of a bathroom.

NEW YORKER TIP: DO NOT I repeat, DO NOT use the bathroom at the Starbucks near Columbus Circle. It was filthy and horrible. I actually felt bad for my shoes. So gross. But I was really desperate. I don’t know what that says about me and I’m not sure if I like it.

I was getting dark by the time we were ready to leave so my pictures of Columbus Circle are eh. I’ll have to go back at Christmas time because everything is prettier at Christmas. Wait for it.

We had finally had enough of the heat and humidity so we decided to head home. While we waited for the train I looked down at my arm and it was literally wet from the humidity. Ahhh, Summer in the City.


And that’s that. Now I’m waiting for the mail because Amazon says that Mindy Kaling’s new book will be delivered today. Gotta love Prime!

What’s going on with you?

Let’s discuss!


photo dump: brooklyn heights

On Sunday, (yes Sunday, as in almost a week ago) Lisa and I headed downtown to relive our college days. By relive our college days I mean eating lunch, getting Starbucks and act like idiots real adults. We went to school in Brooklyn Heights, which is like a little Manhattan. Really little, but it has everything you may need. Like Five Guys and Sephora. Some stores have changed but for the most part it was like we took a short ride in Dr. Brown’s DeLorean (except we went backwards and not in to the future. i think i messed up that reference.) After lunch, we walked down to the Promenade. (a note to my out of town friends: if you come to new york, try to make your way over here. great views of downtown manhattan and the brooklyn bridge. it’s a nice walk from beginning to end and if you keep going, you’ll find yourself under the bridge, where there’s a carousel, and ice cream place and great views of the manhattan bridge. it’s worth the trip if you like to walk.)

Anyway, this post is going to be a small photo dump of the day. Consider this also a weekend recap since this was basically it.

princess diaries

All of these photos were taken on my cellphone. I felt like that needed mentioning because even I am blown away by the quality. I still love my trusty Nikon DSLR though.



it’s just a sweet, sweet fantasy bey-bey.

Lisa’s dream was to tell the barista at Starbucks that her name is Beyonce. I played along and used Mariah, which didn’t get the reaction I was hoping for so the next time I go to Starbucks, I’m going to wear red lipstick and tell them my name is Taylor Swift. They’ll take one look at the short, not skinny (i just could not decide on an adjective here), brunette in front of them and be totally convinced. The barista in this case was a good sport. He called out Lisa’s drink but didn’t say a name so, of course, I sadi, “For Beyonce?” to which he responded, “yea, but I didn’t want the paparazzi to swarm”. “Good looking out.” I said. now lemme get yo numba. (because this is as close to a meet-cute as i’m going to get.)

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19 Cranberry Street. What movie is this from? Here’s a hint – “I HAVE NO HAND!” No? How about – “My dying mother in Italy!” Give up? Moonstruck! It’s the house Cher lived in. I tweeted her this picture and didn’t get a response. Maybe it’s for the better, homegirl is not the best at handling the tweet machine.


We’re going to pretend this  1)picture isn’t blurry and 2) building is not a bunch of apartments and that I could live there when I marry super super super rich. I’m in love with that turret. I’m sure, if no one ruined it, these apartments are filled with charm. High ceilings, built in bookshelves, creaky wood floors. ugh. Honestly, I based some of my decision to go to the school I did on being able to troll hang out in this neighborhood everyday. The brownstones, the carriage houses, the Promenade – oh my!

carriage house

I didn’t take this photo,(click the photo to go to the site I got it from) but I did pass this house. Isn’t it gorgeous? You could almost hear the clip-clop of the horses parking in the driveway.

That’s about it. What’s your go-to Starbucks alias?

Let’s discuss!


Blogtober14 Day 23: favorite photo editing apps


Oh em gee it’s day 23!

I’ve been excited about this one since I first read the prompts for blogtober. It’s “your favorite instagram editing apps/editing tools for your blog”.

I only have one, and that is I love this website. I don’t usually use it for my instagram pictures; I just use whatever filters they offer. i wish they would offer some more. 

Normally, I use it to spruce up the pictures I post here. I also use it to add a watermark to them. I pay to have a Royale membership so I have access to all that they offer. It’s $4.99 a month and definitely worth it. The only thing that bothers me is that they don’t offer a “recently edited” feature like their predecessor,, did. So if I work on a photo and save it, it’s done. I can’t close the site and then come back to the same photo, or even two photos ago. I’d have to open it again from the file on my computer and start all over. Really though, it’s more of an inconvenience than a huge problem.

I also used that website to make my header and signature for the blog. i told you i’m in love.

I have Photoshop and use it occasionally, but I never sat down to really learn it so I don’t know how to do much with it. It’s a shame because it’s so powerful (and expensive!). A goal of mine is to sit down and play and see what happens.

Since I don’t have anymore tips or tricks, I’ll just post some pictures that I edited on picmonkey.

If you’re interested in printing photos and need weird sizes or want a different finish of paper (like metallic), I recommend using Nations Photo Lab. I had pictures printed for a small project that I’m working on and I was so happy with how they came out. The project is not done yet, but when it is, I’ll share it with you. (*i paid for my photo order with my own money. i was not asked to mention the company here. my feelings about the company are my own.)

I can’t wait to read the other blogtober posts so I can find some new apps/websites to edit on! If you aren’t participating in blogtober, what do you use for photo editing? Leave a comment and let me know!


Blogtober14 Day 5: Fall bucket list


Day five and still alive!

Today we’re supposed to talk about my Fall bucket list. I almost skipped today because to be honest, I don’t have a regular bucket list so I certainly don’t have a Fall themed one. Sure there are things that I want to do/accomplish/see in my lifetime, but whenever I say “I need to do ____ within ___ days/weeks/years” and then I don’t do it, I get annoyed and frustrated with myself. So to avoid heartache and eventual regret I tend to shy away from bucket lists. However, I’m really trying hard to be a better blogger and in the spirit of being a good sport, I’ll try to muster one up.

1. I want to build my photography portfolio so I need to get out there with my camera more. Luckily for me, I live a train ride away from one of the most beautiful cities in the world. New York in the Fall- that’s a bucket list item if I’ve ever heard one.



2. Keeping with the New York theme, I’ve wanted to go to the top of the Empire State building for a while now. I would prefer to go when it isn’t snot freezing cold though. Better go sooner rather than later.

3. One tradition that my parents and I like to keep is taking a ride to New Jersey to pick a pumpkin. By “pick” I mean we pick the best looking one off of a table full of pumpkins. We also pick up my favorite Fall treats like apple cider, apple cider donuts, caramel apples (how do you like them apples?). One time we went to a pretty well-known orchard in Jersey and of course, when it was time to check out my caramel apple ended up in my parent’s pile of goodies. My father paid the bill and when we got to the car he looked at the receipt and asked me if I knew that my delicious caramel apple, that was already pulling my fillings out, was $10. I played dumb, but of course I knew. I wish I could say my behavior could be chalked up to being a spoiled kid, but the truth is, I wasn’t a kid when it happened. Spoiled? yes. A kid? not so much.

This isn’t much of a bucket list so I think I’ll end it here. I guess my bucket list could be as simple as Blogtober and posting something everyday. If that’s the case, I think I’m doing a pretty good job.


Blogtober14 Day 4: Favorite Instagram posts



Day 4.. are you ready for more? *cricket noises*

Anywayyyy… day four wants me to share my favorite Instagram post. In true Martina fashion, I don’t have just one.

As usual with all of my lists this one is in no particular order. I mean, who has time to rate their own Instagram pictures?


The story behind this one is this: I hate the snow. However,  I wanted to take pictures of Central Park in the snow so I sucked it up. I snapped this shot and thought nothing of it. I was with Lisa when I took at and she loved it from the beginning. I still wasn’t convinced. One way or another more and more people started to see the photo and everyone who saw it loved it and bada bing, bada boom- I’ve sold it 4 times to 3 different people. It has grown to be one of my favorite pictures ever. You can read the whole story, because I’ve blogged all about it, right here.



Barnegat Light, Long Beach Island, New Jersey.



I was having a rough week at work. I knew (and still know) that I deserve better than what I have there. It’s a work in progress. Anyway, I was at my wit’s end when I took a lunch break and when I unpacked the bag to start to eat, this fell out. It made me smile and feel like I could make it through the rest of the day.




Marine Park, Brooklyn, New York I went for a walk around the park with Nicole and Lisa. We were taking a break on a bench and I saw that there were no people in front of us so I seized the opportunity and took this picture. I should censor it because there’s some major cloud porn going on here.


Lastly, and it seems as though I am bending the rules again since this is a collage and not a single picture. I chose this one though, not because of the photo, but because of who liked it. That’s right. ANDREW JENKS. As in the guy from MTV and the maestro of the All American High School Film Festival. (<— click there to read about my experience last year)

This post isn’t 100% fair because all of the pictures I post on Instagram mean something to me or, like in the case of Throwback Thursdays, have a special place in my heart. I would invite you to come and follow me , but I made my page private due to some potentially prying eyes that have no business being on my page. Until I could figure out how to find them and block them, I have my feed on the left side of the blog and you’re more than welcome to browse there.

See you tomorrow!


Putting myself out there UPDATE!

Remember when Hurricane Irene hit and the storm was raging, the winds were blowing and everything was just a hot mess? Then the next day, the sun was out and it was like a storm never ripped through at all? Yea. That’s what the Silent Auction felt like. I was non-stop yesterday; to the point where I wanted to change my name and not tell anybody what it was. Martina who? All in all, I think it was a success and we may have even raised more than our $6000 goal. SCORE!

Now, you’re probably wondering how my donations fared. Even if you weren’t I going to tell you anyway. They were a hit! The opening bid on each of them was $25. My boss bid on the one of Central Park in the snow, which I expected and then she got outbid by a student – totally unexpected. Then the one of the leaves got bid on by the CFO of the hospital. I think she’s the CFO. Whatever. A big wig at the hospital bid in that one. The one of the Wonder Wheel got bid on by someone who comes to the Student Center frequently.

So as far as totals go here’s the breakdown:

  • Central Park in the Snow: $30
  • Coney Island: $40
  • Leaves: $55

Not too shabby.

I also heard my boss telling a few people that I had donated them and that they were my work. Her secretary asked me if she could buy some of my other stuff too.

I’m really proud of myself. Not so much for the monetary aspect of the situation, but for the fact that I actually got into the pool and did something that made me a little uncomfortable.

Ok. I’m going to try to get my head back to its normal size now.

Putting myself out there

So it’s been almost a month. I know, I’m sorry. I wish I had a good excuse but I don’t. I just wasn’t feeling it. I wasn’t inspired. I can’t promise that things will change from here on out but I can try. And that’s what counts.

In an effort to make myself believe that when I am doing what I love it shows in the results I sat down at my computer and chose some photos to donate to the silent auction being held at work. In case you’re wondering, we hold a silent auction every year to raise money to benefit the school’s student book scholarship. Anyway, I wanted to donate something other than my used chotchkes. I decided on five of my favorites and ordered them in a 5×7 size. When they came, I went to Amazing Savings, a.k.a my happy place, and found beautifully simple black frames with a black and white mat. From the five pictures, I chose three and framed them. I have to admit, they look really good.

I brought them into work today and prepared myself to show my boss. I’ve made the mistake of dwelling on my job and how unhappy I am there in other blogs that I’ve started and forgot about so I won’t get into it but, for the new comers out there, I am unhappy at my job. I am working to remedy that situation. My boss is a hard, hard nut to crack. I was nervous because although I have been told that I have a talent in photography and that I should show my work more, I find it hard to wrap my head around that. My thoughts always end up somewhere in the realm of “I may be good but someone else is better”.

I pulled out the first one and I’m not lying when I say her eyes lit up. She ooo’ed and ahhh’d over the three of them and tried to figure out where she would hang them in her office if she happened to have the winning bid. I told her that if they turn out to be such a huge hit and incite a bidding war that she happens to lose, I would make her a copy of the picture that she fell in love with. She looked touched which felt pretty good. I asked her what she would value them at so that I could enter it into our database. She said she would value them at $50 each and start the bidding at $25. You could have knocked me over with a feather. I was expecting her to value them at $25 and start the bidding at $15. Not because I’m not worth $50 but because it cost me next to nothing to make this donation. Honestly, each picture came to less than $10 – framed.

I left her office floating on a cloud. It took alot for me to put myself and my work out there. The same way it takes alot for me to put these blogs out there. In my head I’m never funny enough or sound smart enough or bring up any good points. My pictures aren’t lit well enough, they aren’t composed the right way, there’s something in the frame that I don’t know how to edit out. I have to figure out a way to crawl out of my own head for a few minutes and realize that I AM talented and people DO appreciate my work. Like I could tell you right now what’s going through my head is ughhh this is boring. stop using commas. maybe i won’t post this. if i don’t post it then what/when will i post? 


So yea, basically I just wanted to get on here and share my triumph of putting myself out there. GO ME!

I didn’t make any concrete resolutions this year but putting myself out there would be on the list.  Since it’s still January and I need a way to wrap up, my other goals of the year would be:

  1. To write more
  2. To photograph more
  3. To stop being so hard on myself (This is a BIG one. And it’s important because I’m annoying myself with all of my negativity.)

Sorry if you found this post a little dull (there I go again).  Please come back for more. They’ll get better – I’ll make sure of it!

In case you were wondering, these are the photos that I decided to donate. Enjoy!

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