& the slipper still fits

The Borgias are back! The latest on season 2

48 days! That is all that's left till The Borgias return. And I'm reeling over the fact that there is almost NO information, photos, sneak peaks, anything out there. So, I've decided, that in an effort to help all other fans, I'm going to post all the info I can find below.

Have you seen all the trailers yet, dear reader? There's some serious plot defining and costume loveliness going on in all of them. See The Borgias season 2 trailers here, and watch my favorite below:

Are you surprised all this info was flooded on youtube and you had no idea? ME TOO. While these trailers are fantastic as showing us visually the family tensions that will fill season 2, they are nothing compared to the 2 behind the scenes videos.

Juan is striving for greater ground against his brother, and we can only assume by Oakes' and Arnaud's interviews that we're going to see much more of Machiavelli's "The Prince" going on with Cesare. Didn't we all want that? I do! Cesare is a fascinating historical figure and I can't wait for more defining moments. And, for full disclosure, I can't get enough of Francois Arnaud.

And it looks like we'll get to see Lucrezia taking her seat on the papal throne. While I'm surprised with the choice of pulling out the "big guns" so early, I'm excited to see Lucrezia take some serious control of Rome. You know, this actually happened? Rodrigo had bigger battles to rage outside of Rome and he left his daughter in charge. I'm not EVEN going to talk about the hot mess that is Rodrigo's life in season 2 - it looks more like family triage than leading millions of souls.

There aren't many. Actually, I've only seen the two below so far. But I'm hoping will all the trailers that are going to air shortly, we'll get some more stock episode photos soon. These two are already lined up in the FYCD queue, so look for them there in the coming weeks.

Get ready for season 2 with a rewatch!
You know me reader, I'm all about a good rewatch. Showtime will begin airing last season in anticipation of Season 2 over the coming month. Keep an eye out to get your costume drama fix. Or...you could always just read my episode by episode review posts here ... or the PDF.  I know, its not like watching showtime's first crime family, but at least everything's in order.

I hope this this has proven helpful Borgia fans - look out for more soon! 

Photoshop Basics - File types and saving photos

It never fails, does it, dear reader? That the sooner your finished you next photoshop masterpiece, you have no idea how to save it - "should I save my photo as a .jpg?" you ask; "why can't I preview my .psd!" you lament; or "what the hell is a .tiff?!". Well, I'm here to clear that up - at least some of the file type definitions at least and which ones are best to use if you're going to upload your photos to a blog.

It's a file type! It can't define my photo!
Actually, I hate to be the barrier of bad news, my dear reader, but the file type most certainly can define your photo. Sure, you've spent time perfecting it in photoshop (a painful process for almost any user) you've saved it and uploaded it exactly how you're supposed to, but if you have the file wrong, it can show up grainy, pixelated, or the colors can be just downright wrong.

Here's the downlo - file types are based off a mathematical algorithm specifically designed to study the amount of color, or color patterns, in a file and compress them accordingly. This compression is the data that is saved from your photo. Then when the file is processed through your interface (either your documents folders or online) the algorithm is able to rebuild the photo with the data saved. Think the paint colors Da Vinci used for the Mona Lisa. It's essentially turning dear Mona into a paint by numbers your internet browser fills in for you. How many numbers you have to paint is dependent on how you save Mona to start with.

.tif/.tiff - To save a file .tif is to save the Mona Lisa in its entirety. It's not a paint by numbers, but an exactly replica of the original. There is rarely any compression on a tiff file and should be absolutely no change between your pre-saved file and your final .tif file. And what do exact replicas cost, dear reader? In this case, .tif files cost you a whole bunch of computer space. When you save a .tif, you're saving for detail, you're also probably saving and already large image file. Be warned, .tifs are normally used for print media and should not be saved for your online blog. Most internet interfaces don't support their use, and even if they did, most people wouldn't stick around to have the file load.

.png - Dear reader, .png is the dear sweet cousin to the .tif file. After the .tif it saves the most amount of color information and is able to save your files as exact as possible without breaking your computer space bank. If you're saving anything under 1,000px by 1,000px, I'd go for .png. .Png is especially handy if you have "transparent" space on your image. But, we'll get to that later.

.gif - If .png is the dear sweet cousin to the .tif file, .gif is that cousin you don't invite to the family reunion -- or at least not the nice part anyway. Gif files are only able to save a maximum of 256 colors. if you only have 2 to 3 colors in your image, then gif is a good way to go. It takes up a minimum amount of data space and allows for quick and easy loading on a website. (I argue so does a .png nowadays too...)

.jpg - A .jpg is the most used, and most beloved file type around. Why? Because almost all photos taken on a digital camera save as a .jpg. It dances that fine line between quality and file size and is adjustable so that you can choose which is most important when you're saving it. The algorithm for a .jpg takes the most prominent colors and focuses on that data, while discarding other color data in order to compress the overall file. Larger wallpapers for your desktop, family photos, and other larger items are strong examples of good .jpg usage.

.psd - a .psd is purely a photoshop file, and if you have a Windows system, you will not be able to see a file saved as a .psd, let alone view the preview. A .psd saves all the layers, history, and other important data used in creating the file. Images saved as a .psd are usually works in progress or templates that you are going to go back and work with the next time you use photoshop. .psd files and not viewable in a browser if you are using a Windows operating system.

Saving images for the internet
Ultimately, if you want to make a photo/image for your website, the ideal format for it is a .png. They load faster, look cleaner, and can be specifically optimized for online use through photoshop. But just in case you're . jpg devoted, I'll show those steps too.

But before you save, you've got to start your new image properly as well:

Saving a .png file:

Saving a .jpg file:

Really Heather, what's the difference between a .jpg and a .png?
See all that grey in those examples above? If those images weren't .png, that grey would look grainy and the type wouldn't be as clear. .JPG is excellent for colorful images, but not for images where detail is your driving force. You want sharp images with transparent sections - go .png. 

DI-WHY? When a tutorial fails to convey its detail

I'm sure we've all done it dear reader, watched or read an online tutorial and thought - I can do that. That's so easy. (Such is my ENTIRE pintrest experience.) Until you try it, and everything goes wrong.

Let me 'esplain. About a month ago, I saw this pin show up on my pintrest feed. Now, I'm not the kind of girl to wear ruffles, but I LOVE them on things. And I had a set of sheets that, while beautiful, were never going to be used. So, I pinned the link and swore I would come back to it to make. Enter the tutorial. My spectacular seamstress of a mother laughed when she heard the steps. 'First of all,' she said, 'you my dear daughter will want "real" ruffles and real ruffles take twice as much material as what you're sewing on to.' Then there were the questions about structure and stability and what would happen if I threw it in the laundry. Needless to say, what should have been a day project where you just cut strips and sew, turned into a 3 day marathon ruffle extravaganza with questions, rulers, and french seams. All in all, I love my new throw...but I might like my accent pillow even more...

What I learned was that while the tutorial is an overall guideline, the finer details are not highlighted or even expressed. I don't know how someone without some serious sewing skills or love of ruffles would finish the throw even if they started it. And it hasn't just been the ruffle tutorial. I can't tell you how many hair tutorials or photoshop walk throughs I've tried and I KNOW there are steps missing.Or what about that Pride and Prejudice jacket you wanted desperately, but then we you started it, the directions made NO sense at all. You all know what I mean, period DIY's and how to's are sometimes the worst culprits.

So what can we do? Talk about them! Tutorials are meant to be tried. So lets try them, and well, try to break them. If we try a tutorial and it doesn't work for us, or it does, or you realized there's a better modification - share it! I think everyone will thank you for it. And NEVER think its a day project :)

That being said, here are some other tutorials found on pintrest I can't wait to try:

left to right/top to bottom: ruffle toddler top | string in frame | earring hangers | wandering heart plaque | sweater repurposed | sewing kits | ruffled handbag | cluster pearl necklace | baby booties

Or you can check out my DIY pintrest board for all the crazy shenanigans.

#4 Thing to get you Spring-cited

In the last week, dear reader, I've seen TONS of photos from the upcoming movies "Mirror Mirror", "The Raven" and dundundun ... "Dark Shadows".


I shouldn't be. It's been a fickle year for good films and these movies have some pretty big hype around them, so my expectations should be lower than they are. But, COME ON ITS DARK SHADOWS. Only Johnny Depp could get this movie made and I will thank him forever for the attempt.You see, I remember when I was younger and the original Dark Shadows played on the Sci Fi channel (yeah, BEFORE it was SyFy...when it was normal and campy and didn't try to be cooler than itself. Okay, I'm done being bitter), about a year after I discovered Pride and Prejudice and Jane Eyre. It was costume drama with ghosts, and vampires, and zombies, and horrible B movie acting that I just eat up like grandma's favorite leftovers. I know this is a little melodramatic, but a part of me felt lost when they just stopped airing the classic series. So bring it Tim Burton, I want to see your best with this classic soap opera.

The Raven is a heavily edited bio-pic about Edgar Allen Poe, which seems to be walking the fine line between Wolfman subdued and Sweeny Todd enthusiastic with a serious dash of Castle plot-line tossed in. Still, you have to admit, it looks really cool and the acting seems strong.

And Mirror Mirror. Oh Mirror, why are you doing this to me? The summer we'll be welcoming 2 Snow White adaptations into our theaters, both looking questionable, but both with fantastic evil queens. I just can't decide if I'm excited, simply interested, or just having anticipated Once Upon A Time withdrawal (you know the Beauty and the Beast episode it tomorrow, right?). Whatever driving reason I can't determine, I am also interested in seeing what Lilly Collins can do in this color-tacular movie. That's right, I'm sizing up our Clary Fey for the Mortal Instruments series. Don't worry friends, locals,...mom....I won't make you sit through rusty Heather comments during this movie. I'll see it by my lonesome. It might be better that way.     

And in case these 3 films didn't get you excited for the spring movie rush, here's a few more I'll be lining up to see in 2012: W.E., John Carter, Wrath of the Titans, Avengers, Hysteria, Snow White and the Huntsman, Abe Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, Brave, Les Miserables, The Hobbit, The Great Gastby

Calendar PSDs

Lately I've been calendar crazy. I think that tends to happen in the New Year to a planner. I love lists, and I love marking things off, and inevitably that means writing too much on a calendar. And that can be even worse than not using a planner at all. Not to mention that without a planner, I forget what day it is more than the sun rises. So, I've developed a solution and I thought I would share it with you dear reader.

A full set of PSDs ready to use for every month of 2012 is now at your finger tips! I've kept them simple, with just a hint of color for major holidays. The weeks run Sunday to Saturday and are adjusted so they lay proportional to a widescreen resolution.  You'll be able to change the opacity, the size, and orientation to suit you. And just so you know: there are no "by" lines on Manhattan to Maine PSDs. Just think -- you can turn anything now into your own personal calendar: desktop, twitter background, iphone lock screen. For example, April will be a lovely Austen-like, calendar-filled month.

... ... ....Opps! Sorry! I got lost in the moment there. Anyway, download the lot as a .zip (and the April wallpaper) below.

Manhattan to Maine

Check back on Friday to see the first real MM post!