What to look for in buying a DSLR

This past week, my wife and I have been dabbling a bit in this whole blog sensation and we thought, one of the most key elements to a successful and fun blog is having an excellent, well crafted camera, preferably a DSLR over a basic point and shoot.

You may be wondering, what the heck is the difference?

Canon t6i

Image courtesy of Canon.com

Canon Power Shot

Image courtesy of Canon.com

The Camera on the left is a DSLR camera or a digital single-lens reflex camera that is typically used for higher end photography where you have the ability to always upgrade a compatible lens as you wish. As for the camera on the right, which is a basic point and shoot, it is aimed more for beginners who are more into taking pictures closer up. This camera would be ideal if you are just trying to take pictures of family and friends, taking something light to a party or if you just want a camera with low maintenance, light weight and cheaper.

We knew for our needs that there was really no need for a point and shoot due to the fact that our cell phones basically are point and shoot cameras.

After determining we needed a DSLR to help capture every moment in the most perfect way possible, we had to do our research as to which one we wanted.

Sorry in advance to all Nikon lover’s, nothing against Nikon who makes an excellent line of camera’s, but we are definitely Canon people so we were looking strictly for a Canon.

I then decided to get a little aid from a friend of mine who has been a photographer for most of his life owning multiple high end camera’s. After much consultation, he and I agreed that the Canon Rebel series would be the best fit for us given that is a bit more affordable than most DSLR camera’s as well as a little easier to use given that I am only a bit moderate when it comes to knowing how to use them.

We then went ahead and did further research as to which Rebel would be best:

Obviously, just by looking at the pricing alone, I ruled out the Canon Rebel EOS T5 given it is the same price as the T6.

Canon Screen

Image courtesy of Canon.com

The biggest difference I found between the T5i & T6i with the T6 was that the T5i & T6i came equipped with a Flip Touch Screen which can be very handy when it comes to taking pictures that might be easier with the ability to tilt the screen for a better visual.

At that point, it came down to the T5i and the T6i. Obviously, the T6i is a newer model and more ideal, however it is $200 more than the T5i so we had to decided if the differences really outweighed the price.

When comparing, we found the T6i is a 24 megapixel camera as opposed to the T5i which is an 18 megapixel camera. Other than that, the only other main difference we could truly find was the T6i came with WiFi capabilities which in essence, we are able to connect our phones, computers or even printers to it wirelessly to transfer/print photos directly from the camera.

With all that said, we wanted an excellent camera and thought the extra $200 was worth those differences and ultimately elected to get the Canon Rebel EOS T6i.

So far, we absolutely love it and cannot wait to take it out on beautiful days to take wonderful and amazing photos of the world!

We highly recommend though that if you are going to buy a camera of this magnitude, look around, compare prices and even check places like Amazon.com for bundles that may include a bag, tripod, or even extra lenses.

Once again, we would like to thank a friend of mine who was very helpful in helping us determine the right camera for us. Please check out his website at CuddlebumDesigns.com!

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Red Sock’n & Rollin’

After my trip this past weekend to see a disappointing loss in Houston for the Red Sox, it would seem the Red Sox have hit their groove winning 4 straight since.

I think it is safe to say the Sox have found their identity and are ready to cruise for another AL East title!

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GIF courtesy of MLB.com

After a shut down performance Monday with Rick Porcello hurling a 1-0 shutout, and a dominant outing Tuesday from David Price who struck out 14, The Red Sox trounced the Braves back at Fenway Wednesday night 9-3 with another strong performance by the knuckleballer Steven Wright. Not to mention Big Papi’s 3 double night and Dustin Pedroia’s two home run night including a Grand Slam off the Pesky Pole!

It is clear that not only as the American League’s most dominant offense with 111 runs, 206 hits, 59 doubles, 7 triples and a .278 batting average through 21 games, but also have a rotation that is really starting to show the league how dominant it really can be.

The Red Sox pitching staff is currently leading the MLB with 220 strikeouts led by the MLB leader in strikeouts, David Price, with 46 strikeouts.

The Red Sox are striking out on average 10 batters a game! David Price is K’ing 1.5 batters an inning! He has pitched 7 1/3 innings less than Clayton Kershaw who has only 40 strikeouts on the season!

It is safe to say the Red Sox are starting to truly click with this team that was fantastically put together thanks to Dave Dombrowski, President of Baseball Operations and Mike Hazen, Senior Vice President and General Manager.

The two biggest deals done in the offseason was finally getting the Red Sox that reliable Ace they have missed since trading Jon Lester in 2014 in David Price who dominated the second half of the 2015 season with Blue Jays on their historic run all the way to the American League Championship Series. The Red Sox also went out and traded for one of the most dominant closers in baseball over the past 5 years from the Padres, Craig Kimbrel.

One of the more rockier sides to the season however has been the questionable bullpen. A few guys that have really stepped up to the plate however are Matt Barnes and without a doubt, Heath Hembree who in 3 games and 7 2/3’s innings is still posting a 0.00 ERA.

One of the biggest and most pleasant surprises however has been the incredible play that Hanley Ramirez has been showing in his first season at first base. That guy looks like he has been playing that position for 10 years! And his ability to show how well he can hit to the opposite field, in my opinion, makes me believe that he is going to be a very dangerous hitter to pitch to throughout the course of the season.

With all that being said, I also believe it has been an absolute blessing not to only have John Farrell back, and healthy, but to also have Torey Lovullo, who has interim manager last year in Farrell’s absence going 28-21, back in the dugout as well. Some day Torey will make an excellent manager in this league but we are more than happy to have him on our side in the mean time!

With the Yankees coming into town this weekend who are currently at the basement of the AL East with an 8-12 record thus far, this should be a fun and exciting 3 game series that can hopefully propel the Red Sox back into first given they are currently 1/2 games behind the Baltimore Orioles.

Hopefully there will be a lot more dancing in the dugout to come from Brock Holt!

The Wonderful World of the Magic Kingdom

When traveling to Walt Disney World, one of the great adventures is entering the fairy tale world we all know as, the Magic Kingdom, home to Cinderella’s Castle.

Magic Kindom Castle

Image courtesy of disney.wikia.com. Photo upload by Homer77

This post will begin my four part series going into each Walt Disney World Park where I will talk about park layout, popular attractions and even tips and tricks to maximize family fun!

Once arriving at the Magic Kingdom by either via Bus, Boat or even Monorail!

Monorail

Image courtesy of wdwinfo.com

After getting through the gates, you will first need to pass through one of two tunnels underneath the famous Walt Disney World Railroad. It is then you will now be walking down Main Street, U.S.A. where you will be able to see the signature landmark of the Magic Kingdom, Cinderella’s Castle.

Main Street, U.S.A. consists of restaurants, shops, bakeries and even a barber shop! If you are looking for awesome Disney souvenirs, you can either wait until leaving to purchase so you are not carrying these goodies around all day, or if you are staying at a Walt Disney World Resort, you have the option to have any souvenir you buy sent to your Resort and available for pick up at the front desk usually by the next day!

Once getting to the end of Main Street, after dodging as many families having their pictures taken by Disney Photo Pass cast members in front of the castle as humanly possible, you can decide to go to any of the many wonderful lands the Magic Kingdom has to offer:

  • Tomorrowland
  • Frontierland
  • Adventureland
  • New Fantasyland
Magic Kingdom Map

Image courtesy of floridathemeparks.com

As you can see, the park is designed where you can enter any land via one of the 4 bridges located at the center of the park.

I typically like to start at my absolute favorite land, Tomorrowland (purple colored land), and work my way around the other lands counter clockwise.

Tomorrowland features my absolute favorite and Disney Classic ride, Space Mountain (23). This is a fun and exciting roller coaster that takes place in space! Well not really but it is a ride through pitch black with subtle lights and stars surrounding you.

However, most people to smart small and ride the famous People Mover (24) where you can take a futuristic ride throughout all of Tomorrowland.

Once finishing exploring the rest of Tomorrowland and riding Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin (27) or watching Monsters, Inc Laugh Floor (26), I then head over to the New Fantasyland.

Fantasyland is home to the famous Mad Tea Party (19), “it’s a small world” (12) and Peter Pan Flight (11). However, after major renovations a few years ago, and a re-branding of “New Fantasyland”, it is now home to the Beast’s Castle from beauty and the beast which features one of my all time favorite restaurants inside, Be Our Guest. Another major addition in which I have not yet had the pleasure of riding yet is the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, a Snow White inspired Roller Coaster in the heart of New Fantasyland.

After moving on from New Fantasyland, you can find yourself in Frontierland, which ranks as my second favorite land in Magic Kingdom thanks in large part to attractions such as the Haunted Mansion (10) which is really in Liberty Square, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad (5), and of course, Splash Mountain (6).

Splash Mountain

Image courtesy of wesh.com

As for the final land, Adventureland, this is probably my least favorite of all the lands despite having not only the Jungle Cruise (2) but also the ride that inspired the movie, but then the movie inspired the ride, Pirates of the Caribbean (3) where you can sail with Captain Jack Sparrow!

After a long day at the Magic Kingdom, three restaurants I would highly recommend would be Be Our Guest, as mentioned previously, The Crystal Palace (left of 28), which is a buffet styled meal with Winnie the Pooh characters, or Cinderella’s Royal Table which is inside the Castle itself. Please bear in mind, these three restaurants are among the most popular in all of Disney so please try to book reservations in as far in advance as possible.

Nothing however can top ending your day but with the wonderful fireworks at the Magic Kingdom!

Magic Kingdom Fireworks

Image courtesy of insidethemagic.net. Posted on March 22, 2016 by Adam McCabe

One extremely fun and exciting way to enjoy these fireworks is the prepaid event, Wishes Fireworks Dessert Party where you can view the fireworks from a private area near Tomorrowland (right of 28) and have all the Dessert you can imagine! This is something that also will require reservations and is roughly $50 per adult.

As for any tips I may have for the park, I would highly recommend trying to arrive early and going for Space Mountain first, that tends to have one of the longer waits out of any of the rides at the park. Also, try to save Splash Mountain for mid to late afternoon just in case you get to wet on the ride, a hot sun later in the day will help dry you off.

If you are setting up FastPass+, given you are only allowed three FastPass+ selections per day, I would recommend setting them for either: Space Mountain, Buzz Lightyear, Thunder Mountain, Splash Mountain, Mine Train or Peter Pan, those tend to be the most popular rides. The Jungle Cruise, Pirates of the Caribbean and the Haunted Mansion are also popular but they usually float around the 20-40 minute wait time which is manageable compared to Space Mountain that can be as high as 180 minutes!

Also, when leaving, if you are caught in the middle of a fireworks show or parade, given the streets are usually packed with people or blocked off due to a parade, one of the best tricks to avoid all the foot traffic is to walk through the stores on Main Street. All the stores and bakeries are connected giving you the ability to walk through it all to eventually get back to the front of the park  in time to beat everyone else trying to leave to catch a Bus, Boat or Monorail.

There is nothing better than an absolute wonderful day at the Magic Kingdom where dreams always come true, the cast members are the most polite people in the entire world and the food and rides are absolutely exceptional.

Please visit this park at least once in your life for one of the best experiences you can ever imagine!

How to buy an affordable PC

Recently, my wife and I visited her parents in Houston for the weekend and while visiting, we were in need of using a laptop. A few years ago, we upgraded my wife’s laptop from an older Dell Inspiron 1525 laptop to a newer 13″ Apple MacBook Air.

Rather than attempting to sell the old Dell, I thought I would upgrade the hard drive, install 2 more GB of RAM and replace the existing cracked shell with a sleek black casing around it and give it to my mother-in-law for personal use.

Well, 3 years later, the Dell appeared to be nearing it’s end with a battery, which can be replaced by the way, having roughly a 20 minute life to it and issues with the track pad.

My wife and I decided we would help to upgrade her mom’s PC as a Mother’s Day gift this year so she could go back to having a fully reliable laptop.

Bear in mind, the Dell provided my wife with 4 good years while in Undergrad and another pretty solid 3 years with her mother.

Now it was up to me to search for the perfect and most affordable laptop out there to fit my wife’s mother’s needs:

  1. Surfing the Web
  2. Word Processing
  3. Creating Spreadsheets
  4. Viewing and Storing Photos
  5. Watching Netflix

With that being said, I looked at a few options:

Asus 1

Image courtesy of BestBuy.com

1. Asus – 15.6″ Laptop – Intel Celeron – 4GB Memory – 500GB Hard Drive – Chocolate Black – ($250)

 

  • PROS
    • A PC with a reasonably sized screen
    • More than enough RAM and Storage
    • Lightweight
  • CONS
    • Processor with noticeable lag when using
    • Difficult to Multitask
    • Relatively Slow when surfing the Web, especially Facebook
lenovo 2

Image courtesy of BestBuy.com

2. Lenovo – Ideapad 100s 14″ Laptop – Intel Celeron – 2GB Memory – 64GB eMMC Flash Storage – Silver – ($200)

 

  • PROS
    • Decent amount of RAM
    • Solid State Drive for a quieter and better way to store necessary files
    • Sleek design while very lightweight
  • CONS
    • Once again, using the same processor as the previous Asus, noticeable lag when using
    • Smaller Screen at 14″
    • Much smaller hard drive due to being an SSD (Solid State Drive).
Asus 3

Image courtesy of BestBuy.com

3. Asus – 15.6″ Laptop – Intel Core i3 – 4GB Memory – 1TB Hard Drive – Silver – ($300)

 

  • PROS
    • Once again, very nice large screen
    • More than enough RAM, twice the storage than the previous Asus
    • Lightweight
    • Core I3 processor which has a very noticeable difference over the Celeron
  • CONS
    • A little more expensive than the previous 2 laptops mentioned

After narrowing the search to these 3 PC’s, I had to go to the store to give them all a test drive.

I personally am not used to using a PC with an Intel Celeron Processor, and after reading plenty of reviews, I had my doubts.

After attempting to try out the two laptops with the Celeron Processor, I found it to be quite irritating and frustrating to even do anything as simple as logging into Facebook.

Granted those two laptops are very affordable but in the end, I thought it would be worth the extra money to go with the Asus 15.6″ with the Intel Core I3 Processor due to the sizable difference it really makes. Even with the intention of needing a PC for only simple needs such as Web Surfing and Word Processing, I do believe that you need at minimum a PC with an Intel Core I3 Processor.

I also believe you will need at least 2 GB of RAM in case you are into multitasking.

As for storage, I do prefer SSD’s over traditional HDD’s due to it being lighter weight, quieter and cooler, however they tend to be a bit more expensive and have smaller storage. With that being said, I would advise at least a 128 GB drive of some sort, plenty of space to store photos, musics and any documents you may have with room to spare.

When it comes to screen size, I personally would never get anything less than a 15″ screen, but that’s just me.

With all of that being said, the 3rd option for the Asus 15.6″ with a Core I3, 4 GB RAM, 1 TB HDD was the most ideal PC to choose for the basic use of surfing the web, storing documents and streaming video.

So remember, especially now-a-days, it is very possible to purchase very high performing laptop to fit the most necessary needs for every day use when using a computer while not breaking the bank.

Always do your research and I strongly recommend before ever buying any computer to try out the PC or Mac and make sure it works for you! The last thing you want is a computer that is to bulky, to heavy, to slow or even to loud.

If you anyone has any questions or may need help picking out the right computer for themselves, please feel free to contact me with any concerns you may have.

On the road again…

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As a Red Sox fan, there is simply no greater place to watch a game than at the 104 year old Fenway Park.

However, the second greatest place to watch a Sox game is anywhere on the road.

There is nothing like watching my boys from Beantown go into someone else’s house to shut up 40,000 fans like a David Ortiz Homer or a Web Gem by the Laser Show (Dustin Pedroia for those who are not familiar with our nicknames).

This past Saturday, I took full advantage of catching a Sox game down in Houston for their only trip to H-Town all season and what could quite possibly be the last time I may ever see Big Papi before his inevitable retirement at the end of the season.

The stage was set: The Astros are one of the worst teams in the league, the Red Sox, at this point, rank among not only one of the best offensive teams in the league but defensive as well. Not to mention, the Sox were coming off a 6-2 victory from the previous night against the Astros.

It was an absolute gorgeous day for a baseball game with the roof open at the beautiful Minute Maid Park. The temps didn’t get higher than 82° F with a phenomenal breeze while sitting in the comfortable shade in the upper deck where we could view every square inch of the field.

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The Sox were off to a fast start in the first after a lead off single for Mookie Betts, followed by an errant throw to first moving him up to second which eventually lead to a David Ortiz single to give the Sox a 1-0 lead right out the gate.

Clay Buchholz was on the hill mowing down Astro’s hitters inning after inning while keeping a low pitch count.

That was until the bottom of the 5th with 2 outs in the inning and the bases loaded for the dangerous Colby Rasmus. Buchholz hurled a pitch low but in Colby’s wheelhouse where Rasmus would ultimately turn that pitch around and launch it into the right field stands for Grand Slam to give the Astros a 5-1 lead.

The Sox never did really mount any sort of comeback the rest of the game while our bullpen continues to struggle maintaining leads or keeping opposing hitters in check.

The Astros would go on to eventually win 8-3 but on a day like that, it was hard to be upset. It is an absolute joy to be surrounded by Astro’s fans that can truly make it a great baseball experience.

It was an absolute beautiful day for a baseball game and an even greater pleasure to see my all time favorite baseball team on the road in my new home state.

If you are ever in the neighborhood, please go to a game at this incredible ball park and see everything it has to offer.

When all said and done, at least the Red Sox took the series winning 2 out of 3 and are certainly in prime position at dethroning the Blue Jays from their AL East Crown.

Best of luck to the BoSox for the rest of the year, it should be fun to watch all that is left of Big Papi’s amazing career and farewell tour.

First Post Ever!

Hey Everyone and Welcome!

Wasn’t to sure exactly what blog about for my first blog post of all time so I thought I would just chit chat about being in this Disney Frame of Mind as of late.

In less than two months, headed back for another journey to the most magical place on Earth and this time will be a very special occasion: It will be the first time going for me with my Wife!

I know one of the most common dilemmas when arriving at Disney World is, what park do I go to first?!

Growing up, my family always loved doing Epcot on the very first day given we were usually arriving by afternoon or so and wanted to reserve the Magic Kingdom to a day in its entirety.

Now that I am married, my wife want to start our very own family tradition by beginning our trip regardless of when we get in at the house Walt built, the Magic Kingdom.

We are truly excited for what is yet to come of our week adventure in the WDW. With that being said, a lot of planning usually is required when expecting the very greatest time imaginable when visiting this lovely destination.

After I determine how many days exactly we will be spending in the parks, I like to determine the best resort to stay at. I am a huge fan of staying on Disney Property, granted it may cost a little more but you will receive that amazing Disney Experience every second of the trip as well be provided with complimentary transportation not only throughout the property but to and from the airport as well. With that being said, here is a list of my all time favorite resorts to reserve:

  1. Disney’s BoardWalk Inn
  2. Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort
  3. Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
  4. Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge
  5. Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort
  6. Disney’s Pop Century Resort
  7. Disney’s All-Star Sports Resort
  8. Disney’s All-Star Movies Resort
  9. Disney’s All-Star Music Resort
  10. The Cabins at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort

Please feel free to click on any of the above resorts to get very in depth and detailed information on all WDW Resorts at www.wdwinfo.com!

Please bear in mind that Disney offers many more incredible Resort Options, these are just my personal top 10 favorite resorts that I have personally stayed.

Once I select the perfect resort for me based on my personal interest as well as price, its very important that I plan out at least a few Restaurants that are highly recommended to make reservations for. With staying on Disney Property, you are typically given roughly 180 days in advance to create dining reservations via phone or online.

With that being said, here is a list of my top 8 favorite sit down restaurants at Walt Disney World that I have actually eaten at:

  1. Be Our Guest (Magic Kingdom’s Fantasyland)
  2. Crystal Place (Magic Kingdom’s Main Street USA)
  3. Via Napoli (Epcot’s World Showcase: Italy)
  4. Tutto Italia Ristorante (Epcot’s World Showcase: Italy)
  5. Hollywood and Vine (Hollywood Studios)
  6. Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater Restaurant (Hollywood Studios)
  7. The Hollywood Brown Derby (Hollywood Studios)
  8. Rose and Crown Pub and Dining Room (Epcot’s World Showcase: United Kingdom)

Once again, please feel free to click on any of the above restaurants for more information via www.wdwinfo.com.

Typically when traveling to Disney, we don’t like to do too many sit down restaurants due to price and time restraints, hence why the list is a bit short. However, in our upcoming trip we are extremely excited to be trying out Chefs de France in Epcot’s World Showcase: France as well as Cinderella’s Royal Table at the Magic Kingdom inside Cinerella’s Castle!

Now that the resort is taken care of as well as any necessary dining reservations, all that is left to do is set up FastPass+ through the My Disney Experience. With this new feature, you will now be allowed up to 30 days in advance to set up up to 3 FastPass+ selections for your favorite Disney Rides and Attractions per day. If you do decide to stay on Disney Property, you will be given 60 days in advance to do so. So which attractions will be the most ideal? Here are my top 5 favorite rides and attractions at each Disney Park:

Magic Kingdom Epcot
1: Space Mountain 1: Soarin’
2: Splash Mountain 2: Test Track
3: Big Thunder Mountain 3: Spaceship Earth
4: Haunted Mansion 4: Mission: SPACE
5: Pirates of the Caribbean 5: The Seas with Nemo & Friends
Hollywood Studios Animal Kingdom
1: Toy Story Mania! 1: Expedition Everest
2: Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster 2: DINOSAUR
3: Tower of Terror 3: Kilimanjaro Safaris
4: Star Tours 4: Kali River Rapids
5: The Great Movie Ride 5: It’s Tough to be a Bug!

By all means, please do not limit yourself to the wonderful rides at Walt Disney World. I highly recommend amazing firework shows such as ‘Illuminations’ at Epcot or ‘Wishes’ at the Magic Kingdom as well as beautiful water and firework show ‘Fantasmic’ at Hollywood Studios.

Signing off for now but stay tuned for some of my sweet tips and tricks to WDW in future blog posts to come!