Mini Pismo Beach Vacation

Monday, June 12, 2017

Hi friend. So glad you stopped by. It's been awhile and I've missed you. Back in April my family took a tiny road trip to Pismo Beach and I want to tell you about it and share some photos because sharing is good and also because the older I get the more miserable my long term memory gets. If I don't record what happened I'm likely to forget. Am I the only one?

We actually decided to take this trip at the last minute and since I didn't have a lot of time to research and plan we hired a travel planner to help us. You guys! It was the best decision ever! I'm including a link to the planner we used, Get Globetrotting, because her prices are super amazing and she came up for stuff for us to do that we totally would have missed on our own.

We started out driving down the gorgeous California coast to our Bed and Breakfast in the tiny town of Arroyo Grande.

Here's Ellie on one of the hammocks on the property. It was so perfect, only minutes from a darling downtown and maybe five more to the beach. Jonathan was only able to join us for part of the time because he had other plans with friends that he felt were more important than his family...and I'm only a little bitter. 

Bah! Do you remember those days when you were a teenager and your friends seemed so important and your family was just always there? I can remember coming home from college being so excited to see my friends and my parents being like, "Wait! WE'VE missed you..."

Anywho. We went to a fun restaurant.
And then the next day we went to Morro Bay. The weather was a bit cool and overcast, but it was perfect for beach combing, and boy was that beach ready to be combed! There were hundreds of sea stars washed up on the sand, and the most interesting rocks we'd ever seen. It was treasure hunting at it's finest.

We spent hours exclaiming over all the beautiful bits of rock and glass we found before heading to the Madonna Inn for lunch and their famous cake. This place is seriously over the top! The formal dining room wasn't open for lunch but we had to sneak in and wander around.

Crazy right?!?!
And the slices of cake were like a whole cake. We could barely make a dent in them.
We spent the rest of the day wandering the shops at Pismo Beach and playing games back at our inn. 
Jonathan arrived that night and the next day we got up early to ride dune buggies. This was a suggestion from our travel planner; I wouldn't have thought of it myself.
Waiting for our ride out to the dunes.
 Ellie and I were both a bit timid on our buggies and mostly enjoyed tooling around up and down the hills and watching the boys be crazy. They both managed to get thrown off their bikes while jumping the hills.
This both scared me and made me laugh. Ellie was really the only one who would stay still long enough for me to get a good photo.
After the buggies we spent some time poking around the beautiful San Luis Obispo Mission. It was established in 1772.
I had fun playing art history teacher and pointing out to J and E how those early builders would have been trying to mimic the opulence of the European churches they left behind. They didn't have the wealth or resources of the church in Europe so they got creative with their wood carvings and decorative paintings. I was totally hitting my geeky stride, and the kids were even interested, when all of a sudden this mass of noisy teenagers comes barging in and threw me off my groove. We were a little annoyed and about to leave when they all gathered up and started singing.

It was amazingly beautiful! The acoustics in the chapel were so good, and the kids must have been on a choir field trip because they were very talented and we felt like we were being blessed with a little sacred experience to get to hear them in a place where so many have come to worship for so long. I took a little video for you
On the last day of our vacation we visited Hearst's Castle. It was something I've wanted to do for a long time and while the kids were maybe a teensy bit bored, Marc and I thought it was fascinating. Jonathan bailed on us because his back was hurting from his dune buggy stunts, but Ellie was a trooper.
All of it was almost obscenely extravagant, but man it was fun house to spy inside! I was maybe a little obsessed with the indoor swimming pool. Or a lot obsessed. It's just so sparkly! 
 Who wouldn't want to swim there! I'm adding it to my bucket list right now, filed under "nearly impossible but it's worth dreaming."
After that we drove back home along the coast making a little detour at Seal Beach so we could laugh at the antics of those funny seals and make up stories about them.
Let's end with a video of their floppy goodness.

Fosse Family Vacation Extravaganza

Monday, August 22, 2016

We just got home from our family vacation a few hours ago and by golly I am going to document that sucker here before it goes the way of my trip to Michigan when my nephew was born and our family reunion in Palm Springs, which is to say, unrecorded.

It's sad about Palm Springs really, Marc lost his wallet and Jonathan had appendicitis. This summer has been full of good times.

Anyways! Family's a bit different now that our kids are getting grown up. Maddie brought her husband, Kenny and Katie brought her partner, Jarret.  So there were seven of us. Jonathan had to stay home because his school started earlier than everyone else's and we totally spaced it. Poor kid. Luckily he got to be the center of attention on our last vacation what with the appendicitis and all. He was a hoot on pain meds, winking at all the nurses and singing silly songs.

On our first day we went to Chocolate Chair, a place Ellie found online. That girl is dedicated to visiting unusual dessert places in L.A. and this one pretty awesome! They serve this thing called "Dragon's Breath;" it's like Captain Crunch berries that have been frozen in liquid nitrogen. You stab one with a skewer, dip it in flavored sauces, and then when you bite it all this smoke comes out of your mouth.

Here are our videos:
The next day we went to Disneyland. Also it was Marc's and my 26th anniversary. Last year we went to Hawaii just the two of us. It's totally cool, I like both kinds of trips.
One of the best things about Disneyland with older kids is that NO ONE CRIES. Honestly, Marc and I were marveling on the drive home from the park at how easy and stress free it was. We just followed Maddie around and did what our kids wanted. Peasy!
 In line for Pirates
In line for Peter Pan
In line for Mr. Toad (I don't know why we went on that one.)
About to get in line for Small World
Entering Story Book Land, my favorite ride because of all the tiny trees and plants.
In fact, another great part about Disneyland with older kids is that Marc and I left the park and went back to our hotel around 8pm and left all our kids there! Because they can drive themselves-and their little sister-home! 

I can't even really describe how great that is.

The next day Katie and Jarret had to go home and back to work :-(

The rest of us went to Universal Studios and HARRY POTTER WORLD! It was glorious.
During the Olivander's Wand Experience Ellie was picked to have her wand chosen by an Olivander's witch. And while we didn't have any crying at Disneyland, Maddie may have shed a tear that was a combo of happiness and jealousy for her sister.
The best part of the flight of the Hippogriff is getting to see Hagrid's cottage while you're waiting in line.
Hogwarts Castle and the ride inside it were completely magical.
 I kept making Ellie point her wand at me while I took pictures. She's the youngest, she has to humor me.
She was most interested in visiting Honeydukes!

Maddie was in love with the giant Pygmy Puffs and the adorable sound they make that is a cross between a giggle and a purr. 
 I got really hot and made out with my pumpkin juice.
 We thought Harry Potter World alone was worth the price of admission to Universal. It was super fun.

And that's about it. Oh, just for fun I want to list all the things we lost on our trip:

Maddie left her phone The Simpson's Ride

Ellie lost her wallet somewhere in Disney and it turned up at the lost and found

Katie and Jarret lost their keys and wallet respectively on the drive down. Jarret found his wallet, Katie is still looking.

There is something about being a Fosse...

How To Make a Stop Motion Video for Instagram

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

How to Make a Stop Motion Video For Instagram

Instagram is probably my favorite social media platform, especially when it comes to promoting my etsy shop, Barnacle Designs. Facebook has become so huge and unpredictable; Instagram feels more like I'm interacting with friends. Friends who I've maybe never met, but who are like minded about how great handmade is and who don't mind having me as a crazy stalker person.

Awhile ago I decided to try my hand at making a stop motion video to post on my feed. It got a lot of views and likes, so here I am sharing how to do it with you. My video got about 50% more views than my usual posts, so I think it's worth it to bust out your creative director side and give it a go.

This is the stop motion video I made showing off a zipper pouch from my etsy shop.
Here's whatcha you're gonna need to make one yourself.

1. iphone camera
2. the "flipgram" app downloaded on your phone
3. little iphone tri-pod to stabilize your phone
4. remote camera shutter
5. items that will be in your video
6. some kind of background, I just used a white poster board

 Fancy! I bought the tripod and the shutter at Target, and they were each under $10. These two little workers keep your camera absolutely still while you photograph, and keep your camera exactly the same distance from your set up as you are taking multiple shots.

Once you have this set up, it's just a matter of taking a ton of photos, yelling "show me sexy! show me fierce!" and moving your items no more than 1/4 inch after each shot. 

Some things I learned along the way that might help you:

*Set everything up in an area with really nice natural lighting. You want all the photos to have consistent good lighting and you will have WAY too many photos at the end to have to edit them all for brightness. That would be so yuck.

*Plan your beginning, middle and end before you start shooting. Flipgram will load all your photos into it's "reel" in the order you took them, and while you can reorder them, it's easiest if you take your photos in the order you want them.

*With that in mind, delete any unusable photos (say because your hand is in it) as you go.

*Only move your items a tiny bit between each shot. More photos with smaller increments of movement will make a better finished video than less photos with bigger jumps in movement. Aim for about 1/4" in distance moved. I ended up using 120 photos for a 25 second video, that's about 5 photos per second!
*Here is a collage of some of the 18+ photos of the earplugs "walking" into the zipper pouch.

*Make a tiny mark on your background surface to use as a, well, mark for your items. In my video I made a small pencil dot on the poster board that appeared as the front and center of the frame when I looked at the camera screen. As I moved items around the circle I made sure the item in front at the time touched my dot. This kept the whole thing sort of centered throughout the video.

*Take multiple shots without moving anything if you want there to be a pause in the action.

Once you've taken all your photos:

*When you open flipgram it will walk you through setting up your new video. The most important option you have is adjusting the speed, it looks like a little slider with a bunny icon. 

*In my opinion a video for instagram should be no longer than 30 seconds and even shorter is better. Increasing the speed is mandatory as it makes your stop motion look smoother and makes your video shorter. Your goal is to make people want to watch your video again, not wish it would get over.

*When you load your finished flipgram onto instagram, you can actually use the built in editing tools to edit all of the photos in the flipgram at the same time. Way cool! And much easier than editing them all individually.

And there you have it. If you have any questions ask in the comments and I'll get back to you, and if you make an instagram video tag me @barnacledesigns so I can check out your ah-mazing work!


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