Crank up the Heat

Happy Thursday!

Thanks for all your sweet comments last night! I’ve already been good and iced my ankle this morning even though when I woke up it was 60 degrees in the house!! I finally turned on the heat and WOW……does that heat come off strong. I’ve never had gas before, living in Florida, and you could literally hear the fire in the heater going…as in, hear the flames. It was crazy. I set it to 72 but within five minutes I had to turn it off because it just got way too warm in here! This will come in handy this winter for sure….I hate being cold!

Look! Books!


There’s nothing like unpacking a box of your books from home when you are 3,000 miles away. I love having my books near me at all times. Call me crazy but it’s true. I wish I could have them ALL here!

This morning once I had thawed myself off in front of the heater, I made some english breakfast tea and oats!


I used 1/2 cup oats, 1  cup water, 1 banana, 1/2 cup yogurt, 1 teeny tiny apple, almond butter and maple syrup. Twas delicious.

I’m still getting used to the camera….I can’t figure out the whole lighting thing…like, if you aren’t supposed to use the flash, how do you take photos when the lighting is awful? I need some lessons..or a book..or something. I feel like I haven’t even touched the tip of the iceberg!


I think I’m about to be super lazy and crawl back into my nice warm bed for a few moments and read….and then meeting Kelly for coffee at 9:30. I’m going into work at 2:00 today so this morning will be a good catch up time for emails—it’s a constant a good way! 😉

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  • greenbean
    October 29, 2009 at 8:26 am

    glad to hear you’re icing your ankle. i’ve been wondering how you’ve been managing all your activity and an ankle sprain. it requires rest to get better. the less strain you put on it, the quicker it will resolve. i’ve been there jenna and i’m sure others have said this, but i had to put my 2 cents in.

  • christie @ honoring health
    October 29, 2009 at 8:27 am

    Oh man, I wish I knew how to answer your camera question because then I would know the answer myself!!

  • Jocelyn
    October 29, 2009 at 8:27 am

    Yummy bowl today! Glad you iced your ankle..sooo important 🙂 Keep warm!

    p.s I also have one of those cameras but I find myself using it less and less because I simply have no idea how to use it and don’t have the patience to sit with the manual lol..

  • sherri
    October 29, 2009 at 8:36 am

    good morning jenna! i feel the pain of your 60 degrees…it’s a chilly 43 outside my house and a balmy 58 inside ;). just got back from a week on the gulf coast (anna maria island) and ADORED the temps in the mid to high 80’s. a bit too warm for running… i was pooped after 4 miles but i swam in the gulf every day. not that you don’t have enough to keep you busy but have you ever thought about knitting? it’s such a fun activity for the winter and you could make some adorable hats and scarfs to wear in cali!

  • Jessica @ How Sweet It Is
    October 29, 2009 at 8:48 am

    I love all books, tons of cookooks, fictions – it feels and looks like home. 🙂

  • brandi
    October 29, 2009 at 8:51 am

    I love Jane Eyre. I did my big research paper on it in high school – such a great book.

    We have a camera like that, too, and my husband knows a lot more about than I do! I need to use it more.

  • Estela @ Weekly Bite
    October 29, 2009 at 8:52 am

    There’s nothing cozier than having the heat on and reading a book 🙂

    Books definitely make a home!

  • Bonni
    October 29, 2009 at 8:55 am

    New lurker here…. I recommend a flash diffuser. If you go to Amazon and search for “Gary Fong puffer” it will save your life 🙂 It is a curved piece of plastic that attaches to the hot shoe of your camera and disperses the flash so that you can use it without washing out your subject. They are only around 20 bucks – I own two and still use it on my D300 in a pinch. Here’s a link (not sure if it will work):

    Happy shooting!

  • Diana
    October 29, 2009 at 8:57 am

    Hey Jenna!

    Well, that’s where the lenses make all the difference. For example, you must have a f3.5 lens. That’s the “average” lens. If you get the 50mm you talked about earlier, that should be a f1.8 (or f1.4, but that’s more expensive). It’s a bit complicated to explain but you just have to know that, the smallest that f number is, the bigger the aperture, which means more light comes in. And that means better lighting. That’s why some lenses are more expensive! Too expensive, in my opinion. :p

    I hope I kinda helped you understand how that works.
    Just practice a lot, you’ll get the hang of it. 🙂

  • Lea
    October 29, 2009 at 9:01 am

    I’ve been a long time lurker of your blog… but I thought I’d finally write!
    If you are inside taking photos without flash using AV (aperture priority mode) or TV (shutter priority mode) you can change the ISO (which is under menu or settings or iso – just depends on what camera you have). If you are doing outside photos and it’s bright, use 100 or 200. If you are inside use 400 (to start off with)… of course you can use higher if you need it but just remember… the higher the ISO number the more grain you will have in your photos. 🙂

  • Ellen
    October 29, 2009 at 9:02 am

    hi jenna! you should check out joe and betsy’s blog for photography help. she’s an amazing photographer and has been posting some tutorials.

  • Becky
    October 29, 2009 at 9:04 am

    Is 60 degrees in your house meant to be cold? That’s where we have our thermostat set – be good to the environment and put on another sweater, or a pair of socks! Especially when you are sleeping under warm blankets, there’s no need for it to be any warmer than that!

  • Evan Thomas
    October 29, 2009 at 9:06 am

    I hate being cold too and that’s all they keep it in college! It’s ridiculous, I want to curl up in a blanket at noon

  • Christina
    October 29, 2009 at 9:11 am

    Don’t know if I’m posted before on your blog, but I read it every day and think it’s great!
    Just wanted to recommend a GREAT photography book that will break down how to use a DSLR camera awesomely. It’s called Understanding Exposure and is written by Bryan Peterson. I would highly recommend it for getting a good handle on your camera. Have fun learning!!
    For low light, set your aperture setting to a “low” number so your lens is as wide open as possible, and you will have to also lower your shutter speed. This lets as much light in as possible but it’s also tricky for not getting blurry pictures from the motion in your hands. Takes practice!

  • Nicole
    October 29, 2009 at 9:13 am

    The way I learned to use my camera was to play around with it like crazy! I started out shooting on the presets, like Av, which you can control the aperture with so if you set it at the widest aperture you can, probably 3.5, it will take in the most light and it will deal with the appropriate shutter speed for you. The smaller the number, the more light the lens takes in!

    If you have any specific questions I can try to answer them! I’m no pro, but I have been playing around for a while 🙂

  • grameee
    October 29, 2009 at 9:18 am

    I have been a lurker forever!!
    but I had to tell you about a DSLR book I bought when I bought
    my Rebel. I bought the Dummies Series book. DSLR for dummies.
    I got it on Amazon in the used books I paid about $6.00
    for it used. I didn’t care condition as long as it was in good shape. When I got it it was in almost perfect condition. It was easy to understand and I have just started using my rebel almost exclusively.
    I was using a sony cybershot which is so easy my grandchildren can work it.

  • Erin
    October 29, 2009 at 9:18 am

    Having your books around definitely makes a house feel like a home. 😀

  • Grapeful
    October 29, 2009 at 9:22 am

    Hey Jenna, I’m learning the whole DSLR thing myself. But from what I understand, you want to have your camera shutter to stay open for longer so that more light can get in. So in other words, set your camera to TV (shutter priority) and have it on something steady since the picture will be taken over a longer period of time to allow more light in. I’ve been able to take some cool night pics this way. Saw the advice over here:

    Love the blog and hope this helps!

  • Sarah (Oc2Seattle)
    October 29, 2009 at 9:23 am

    Totally agree with you re having your books with you. Jane Eyre is on my shelf as well. Have you tried Tiger Balm on your ankle at night? That stuff is pretty much magic.

  • Kristin @ Iowa Girl Eats
    October 29, 2009 at 9:23 am

    Gas heat is the best – you’re right, it warms the place RIGHT up! Your morning sounds exactly like what I want to be doing right now – it’s cold, rainy and crummy out. Perfect for staying under the covers!!

  • HeatherBakes
    October 29, 2009 at 9:30 am

    Books + Cozy House = Perfect Day!! The only time I like the house cold is at night.
    The photos look fab, btw.

  • Liz
    October 29, 2009 at 9:31 am

    I see “Gone With The Wind” on that book shelf of yours. Very good choice 🙂

  • Abby (Abbys Vegan Eats)
    October 29, 2009 at 9:35 am

    Totally hate being cold too! It’s the worst.. Id much rather be hot.. weird, i know!

  • Cynthia (It All Changes)
    October 29, 2009 at 9:41 am

    I had a heater like that in my first apartment. It was like a little fireplace kind of thing. I like it. My living room was always a sauna though.

    I hear you about books being like home. I unpack my books even when I was in school just for a year at a time and had to move them. It made it more like home.

  • elizabeth holder
    October 29, 2009 at 9:41 am

    Hi – Elizabeth from Flemings tampa here –
    Check out Scott kelby’s books –
    Digital Photography – book 1 , 2, and 3 –
    they are amazing. He is from Tampa also by the way. He has written over 100 books on photography & photoshop – what is great about his books – is that he doesn’t go into too much technical stuff – he is very basic and easy – he tells you what settings to put your camera on & shoot. If you want to understand how to photograph people he tells you in very easy steps, landscapes, the same. I just upgraded to a 7D Canon and I purchased his books and after reading just the first one I have learned so much. Almost every photographer has recommended his books and they were so right. They are pretty inexpensive on good luck.

  • MMiller
    October 29, 2009 at 9:42 am

    Glad you finally turned the heat on! It may make you more able to stay home and read with your feet up! Better to heal your ankle!
    And you will be a pro with that camera in no time!
    I hear you about the cold! Living in Florida, I can’t go anywhere without a jacket! Every store and restaurant is so so cold! You know that! I always think of all the energy they could save just by adjusting it by 2 degrees!

    Enchiladas last night were great…and am making the overnight oats tonight for breakfast in the morning! No bananas, but I’ll use the almond butter and some pumpkin butter!

  • Lizzie
    October 29, 2009 at 9:44 am

    I HATE being cold – and being from a much warmer climate, East Coast winters really hit me hard. After 8 of them I have finally figured out that investing in a North Face jacket might not be a bad thing after all! 🙂

    You’ll get the hang of the camera and there are plenty of informative web-sites out there – and you’ve got some gorgeous scenery to practice with! One thing friend of mine who is a freelance photog told me, was that only every 1 in 50 photos is good to excellent – so don’t feel bad about every one you’re taking, starting out!

  • Gillian
    October 29, 2009 at 9:47 am

    I’ve never seen a book shelf so much to my taste! I’m a huge Sylvia Plath fan, love Jane Eyre, and of course collect all books on food. Lovin it.

  • Kelly
    October 29, 2009 at 9:51 am

    right in time:

  • emily
    October 29, 2009 at 10:02 am

    I am the same way with books, I can’t stand to get rid of them! Lately I’ve been reading some “throw aways” though, so I’ve been donating them to Goodwill.

  • Jaya
    October 29, 2009 at 10:08 am

    Jenna, if you are anything like me, then just looking at a book you love (or even smelling it) will give you a sense of well-being. I am also facing a fairly major injury right now and it has actually opened a great window of reflection for me about what my body is best designed to do and loves best. There may be some things that you are always built for, and other things with a more limited lifespan (for me, that would be running), but the need for stillness and slowness may provide your body with a new way to express itself that you might not have otherwise considered. You are strong, sensitive and have all the wisdom you need within you – take in the changing seasons around you and find the gentle and slow change within you.. the healing is happening 🙂
    P.S. “Debbie downer” posts are why people love blogs – because we need to know that the darker side of the human experience is one that feels better when shared. Thanks for being honest and open with us.

  • Tammy
    October 29, 2009 at 10:09 am

    Hey Jenna- Love your blog! Where did you get that super cute green headband? You are such an inspiration to me as a Christian, and such a positive person!!! I am so glad you are enjoying CA!

  • Kati
    October 29, 2009 at 10:13 am

    I had my books sitting on the floor of our “office” forever…finally got an inexpensive black bookcase from Target and it looked a million times better! You’ll be shooting like a pro with your new camera in no time ;>

  • Suzanne de Cornelia
    October 29, 2009 at 10:21 am

    Often if want to know how to do something can find tutorials on Youtube. Your mention of not liking cold brought to mind picture of being on a chair lift at Winter Park in what seemed like a white-out blizzard with few on the hill except boyfriend and I headed to an expert slope. [His idea, natch] So cold at the top of the hill felt fingers could snap-off and on short waxed skis on icy slope, oh mama. That’s cold. Your books, heater, tea provide cozy contrast alongside that memory. Gimme heat and shelter.

  • Whit
    October 29, 2009 at 10:22 am

    I spy Gone With the Wind. And I smile. Love.

  • Ryan @ Greens for Good
    October 29, 2009 at 10:24 am

    Hey Jenna! If you’re looking to shoot in low-light situations without your flash, you’ll need something different than your kit lens. I just upgraded (I’m on a Nikon) to a 35mm f/1.4 ($200) lens and it has made a world of difference in my food photographs and how flexible I can be with lighting.

    Here’s something you can experiment with in the mean time though: try taking a piece of paper and a rubber band and cover your flash while it’s up. Wrap the paper around the flash completely and then use a rubber band to secure it on. Use the flash when you take your photographs and this should diffuse the lighting a bit. Play around with it and see if it works for you.

  • Matt
    October 29, 2009 at 10:24 am

    Haha I have like no books. I never read!

  • Kristin
    October 29, 2009 at 10:29 am

    The whole lighting issue is one that plagued me the whole time I used the kit lens, once I got a lens with a wider aperture, I finally understood! Aperture contributes to the amount of light let into the camera so the lower the aperture number, the more light that will go into the camera. Unfortunately the kit lens is usually f/5.6 and that just isn’t sufficient for low light photography.
    A good lens for you to upgrade to would be the 35mm f/2. A Rebel has what’s called a 1.6x crop sensor, so the focal length wouldn’t actually be 35mm, it would be 35mm x 1.6 = 56mm which is a standard length that I think you’d find much more useful than the 50mm f/1.8 because 50mm x 1.6 = 80mm which is perfect for portraits but not so perfect for a regular walk-around lens. Just a little food for thought. 😀
    Have a great day!

  • Jenna
    October 29, 2009 at 10:29 am

    i have been hesitant of mixing oats with yogurt! is it good?
    you should probs ask kath all your photo questions!

  • megan
    October 29, 2009 at 10:35 am

    have you checked out the pioneer woman’s photography page? she’s got a lot of tutorials on there written so everyone can understand.

  • Janine
    October 29, 2009 at 10:42 am

    If you go online and read about ISO, F stops, shutter speed, and apertures, you will get a basic understanding of how to use the camera in manual mode. I took a class at my local junior college and that’s how I learned how to use my DSLR. Good luck!

  • Jil
    October 29, 2009 at 10:46 am

    love your bookshelf!! i can’t imagine trying to learn the ins and outs of a camera like took me long enough to really get a hang of taking quality pictures with a point and shoot! haha either way, your photos are beautiful!

  • Tiffany
    October 29, 2009 at 10:47 am

    I’m a photographer by profession and I still love this website: A lot of it is dedicated to portraiture, but there is a wealth of technical information that will help anyone just starting out with a DSLR.

  • Jesse
    October 29, 2009 at 10:49 am

    Totally feel you on the books! My parents have crates of mine stored for me at their house! You should check out the local public library though in your town! I’m a grad student, and I love libraries-esp.the public library-you can check out CD’s and DVD’s for free, and they often times have cool lectures to attend…like a few years the central public library in Sacramento, CA did a series of lectures on Jazz and it was great! 🙂 Stay warm, welcome to CA!

  • katherine
    October 29, 2009 at 10:53 am

    I’d also recommend buying a roll of KTTape for your ankle. My IT bands have been taped since the marathon on Sunday and I feel like a new woman already!

  • Felicia
    October 29, 2009 at 10:53 am

    I get so impatient when I have a new toy that I can’t completely figure out how to work! I’m sure that it will all come together soon though. Good luck!

  • Megan (BitesoftheApple)
    October 29, 2009 at 11:00 am

    So glad to see Jane Eyre was one of the books you have to have nearby (me too!) What are some other of your favorites?

  • Life's Too Short to Eat Fat Free Cheese
    October 29, 2009 at 11:03 am

    I don’t have a digital SLR, so I can’t help you much there. I improved my lighting for my point and shoot with a DIY light tent. They sell special lighting and that’s what some use, but I didn’t have that kind of money. So, I used this tutorial: I left the bottom open, though, so you could see the table.
    You can also try color correction with photo processing software. Flickr offers a free one that isn’t too bad considering it’s free.

  • chandra h
    October 29, 2009 at 11:04 am

    the bell jar! one of my very very favorites. i know what you mean about feeling comforted by being surrounded with books. my favorite place in the world is barnes&noble 😛

    enjoy your day, and congratulations on getting that camera!! i love photography and that takes aammaazzzzzing pictures. good luck figuring it out!

  • chandra h
    October 29, 2009 at 11:05 am

    the bell jar! one of my very very favorites. i know what you mean about feeling comforted by being surrounded with books. my favorite place in the world is barnes&noble 😛

    enjoy your day, and congratulations on getting that camera!! i love photography and that takes aammaazzzzzing pictures. good luck figuring it out!

  • Nadine
    October 29, 2009 at 11:05 am

    You know, I don’t think the flash is the devil. 🙂 I work for Olympus, and I know our cameras have like 7 or 8 flash settings. Play around with the flash–I don’t think you will be struck down, nor will the photography police come get you. Have fun with the new camera!!

  • Megan (The Runner's Kitchen)
    October 29, 2009 at 11:15 am

    I love being surrounded by my books too! Even if they’re a pain to pack and move 🙂
    Hard question: Do you have an all time favorite book or author?

    Oatmeal is wonderful for getting warm – it’s freezing in my office today. I hate to be cold!

  • Carolyn
    October 29, 2009 at 11:24 am

    I’m totally with you when it comes to the books. We recently bought a house that has an office with built in bookshelves. I’ve taken to calling it my library. LOL!!

    I have a Canon point and shoot that’s almost three years old. I’ve never really learned how to use it, but I think it’s high time. I don’t understand how to do lighting, either.

    P.S. I’m giving away two breast cancer awareness prize packs on my blog:

  • Whitney @ Lettuce Love
    October 29, 2009 at 11:27 am

    Awww Jane Eyre — my favorite! I want to buy a fancy camera soon but I am scared. I have no idea how it works.

  • Erin
    October 29, 2009 at 11:33 am

    Taking pictures in low light is all about aperture (basically how big the opening is that lets light in) and shutter speed (how long the opening stays open). And not all lenses are able to take clear photos in low light. If you want to do it a lot, you’re going to need to get a 50 mm/F1.8 or better lens (the basic one is only around $100 or less luckily). It’s not that hard once you get the hang of it but it takes practice – I’ve been doing photography for over 10 years as a fairly serious hobby and I still have situations that I have to sit and think about for a second before I know the right settings.
    This is a good book to learn from:
    The Digital Photography Book by Scott Kelby
    Hope it helps!
    there are also a lot of good web sites and blogs out there with how-tos and info for people who are just starting out with DLRs

  • Sarah @ The Foodie Diaries
    October 29, 2009 at 12:02 pm

    YAY I love your bookshelf/books!

  • Sarah @ See Sarah Eat
    October 29, 2009 at 12:18 pm

    Hope your ankle feels better soon! And glad your heater works well 🙂 I always have to “artificially” light an area when I’m trying to take a pic (at home) but when I’m out and the lighting sucks, I have to either use the flash or forget the picture. Let us know what all you figure out!

  • Ali @ Food, Fitness, Fashion
    October 29, 2009 at 12:39 pm

    Wow, that is a good heater, I wish mine was that good. Good luck with the camera, that stuff is a mystery to me too!

  • Lizzy
    October 29, 2009 at 12:39 pm

    i’m so happy to hear that your ankle is feeling better! My foot has been giving me trouble too, so i know how down you can get about something you want to be better!

  • Rachael (La Dolce Vita)
    October 29, 2009 at 12:40 pm

    I am LOVING the pics from your new camera. Makes me want to get a nice camera too!

    I hear ya on the cold front. I live in Vancouver, BC and it sure is getting chilly these days. Think I might invest in an electric blanket this year!

  • Molly
    October 29, 2009 at 1:02 pm

    Hey Jenna!
    I’ve been reading your blog for quite some time (inspiration to eat/run and become healthier… eventhough I live in Canada) and I decided that this would be the perfect opportunity for me to comment.

    I bought the Canon Rebel Xti two summers ago and I found that this (inexpensive) book helped a lot… Camera shooting is a lot of trial and error so in the mean time you could use the auto settings vs. manual

  • Lisa M
    October 29, 2009 at 1:09 pm

    Hi Jenna!
    I may have already asked this question but do you have any suggestions for a book similar (in greatness!) to Eat, Live, Run?
    I absolutely loved that book and I’m continually being disappointed by reads since. Case in point – Julie and Julia…everyone LOVED that book and I just didn’t. Am I the only one who found her sort of crude?? And alot of the content made me squeamish. I found it interesting that she thanked Elizabeth Gilbert in the end!
    If any readers have suggestions too, I’d love to hear them!

  • maggie
    October 29, 2009 at 1:16 pm

    I hear ya! Its freeeeezing this morning! Lovin those oats Jenna! Have a great day.



  • Eve
    October 29, 2009 at 1:16 pm

    Haha – the gas heat is very strong! We haven’t turned on ours yet here in NYC. It’s definitely important to take care of your body before hurting it further – keep icing!

  • Krissy - Single Serving
    October 29, 2009 at 1:30 pm

    I am exactly the same way!!! I love having books around. I have them all over my little apartment.

  • Ali
    October 29, 2009 at 2:27 pm

    I wanted to tell you that you mentioned the “Outlander Series” a bit ago when I was looking for something new to read. I started the first book and I LOVE IT! Thank you so much for mentioning it:-)

  • Susan
    October 29, 2009 at 2:46 pm

    I totally recommend getting a space heater, especially since you’re in a small spot. They’re really good for days when it’s chilly out, but not so cold you want to put the heat on and warm up the whole place 🙂

  • maria
    October 29, 2009 at 3:23 pm

    Love the books! 🙂

    Look up “fill flash” and how to use it. It is using flash, but it doesn’t kill the photos the way normal flash does, just takes out the darkness. It’s a lifesaver.

  • Liz
    October 29, 2009 at 3:25 pm

    Jenna, I’m so glad to turned on your heat! I was thinking about that with your post last night. I live in a cold climate and used to always hold out on the heat (mainly to save $$$ in a poorly insulated house) but being cold in my apartment makes be so grumpy and unhappy. Its worth the money to me now to be cozy and comfy!

  • Ann
    October 29, 2009 at 3:55 pm

    The Kite Runner is probably one of the very best books I have ever read, both in the skill of the author and also the story itself. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did!

  • Jolene (
    October 29, 2009 at 4:35 pm

    That camera stuff totally confuses me – why no flash? Is it bad to use flash?

  • Samantha
    October 29, 2009 at 5:35 pm

    two of my fav books on your shelf, the bell jar & wuthering heights! 🙂

  • Chelsea (Chelsea's Chew and Run Fun)
    October 29, 2009 at 6:12 pm

    I love ‘The Bell Jar.’ So glad to see it up on your shelf as well. That floor really makes for some nice food photos.

  • Joelle (The Pancake Girl))
    October 29, 2009 at 6:40 pm

    You have two of my fav books right up front- Gone With the Wind and Jane Eyre!

  • BroccoliHut
    October 29, 2009 at 8:16 pm

    Totally agree–I love having my little nest of books around me:)

  • Nicole (dishin')
    October 30, 2009 at 10:26 am

    That latte does look delish! MMM….

  • Madeleine @ Notes On A Page
    October 31, 2009 at 11:33 am

    I love Willa Cather and the Bronte sisters! Good reading choices 🙂