Carlene Thomas

One Thing I Can't Live Without: My Best Purchase Last Year

Carlene Thomas

If you've followed Healthfully Ever After for awhile now, you know I strongly believe in intentional buying tendencies. I love closet staples that aren't 'trendy throwaways'. I believe you should pay more for the better made product. Buy the best and you only cry once. In that same vein, over the last two years we've really researched the heck out of our purchases to make sure we get the best option and best quality. And it's been awesome. As an example you can read about my Christmas list last year and how I use those items daily now!!! Which leads me to my best purchase of 2014...actually two best purchases! I can't help it. They're both really good.

My Camera: The cannon 5d mark ii 

healthfully ever after blog camera

Healthfully Ever After has been in action since early 2011 and last year we finally upgraded the camera. HOLY COW. Life changing. I cannot imagine NOT having this camera now for work (and play). I knew a better camera would help the blog..but it was really hard to 'justify' spending over a thousand dollars on a camera for what was more of a hobby than a business at that point. The blog images were shot with a Panasonic Lumix that had some DSLR functions but was SO confusing and the quality was so-so.

If you read photography books or the FAQ of blogs with great photos, you constantly hear "The camera doesn't improve the photo. It's the photographer.'. And I was like "Yeah, totally. I get that! Why bother then?"...but here's what bloggers and those books don't mention: When you have absolutely maxed out your ability to learn and use all aspects of a certain camera and control other aspects of photography like styling and lighting...it is time to upgrade! In fact, I had been occasionally paying photographers to shoot the food I was styling when I wanted to submit it to websites like Style Me Pretty Living because I felt like there was something I just COULDN'T do with that camera to make it high quality. And while there are times I DEFINITELY need a pro photographer (Hello Ms Abby Jiu and my headshots!), for the purposes of this blog, I could save myself a ton of money and invest in my business and abilities by purchasing (gulp) the  Cannon 5D Mark ii with a 50 mm f 1.8 lens

And I think the images speak for themselves. Being able to actually adjust for conditions and make a photo evoke the mood I want (I shoot in aperture priority, FYI, not automatic) is life changing. This camera has made my food styling and photography so much more of a joyful experience. And I wish I made this purchase sooner. 

Why this purchase was the best: it improved my business & skills.

My Car: The Prius C

This was not a fun purchase. At. All. My previous car, a VW Passat I had driven since college had been having scary issues for months. As in, if it went below freezing, the brake lines froze. Having an unreliable car was giving me major anxiety. It's just something that took up emotional space that shouldn't have! Needing to check the weather when I went out to see if I could drive is ridiculous. And living in the 'burbs means a car is crucial. So when Hilda, the Passat, straight up DIED early last year I was freaking out. We literally had to roll her in neutral to parallel park on our street. PS: We did this at midnight to avoid traffic and no, I wasn't the one pushing the car and yes it took lots of bad steering and back and forth rolling. Hilarious now, I wanted to cry then. Pretty sure I did. This was totally an expense I wasn't planning on and didn't want to address. But to fix her was going to cost me more than she was worth. So with a heavy heart, I donated her for a tax write off and we bought my first new car: Pippa the Prius C. 

When we decided to buy a new car we did a ton of research. We wanted a small car that would be easy to park in the city where space is a premium. We wanted a short car that could easily back up and maneuver in tight spaces.  But with all of that we also needed space for hauling food/props to set for styled photo shoots. And it was also important that the car was fuel efficient. Kind of a task. But it led us to the Prius C. Having a car that gets over 50 MPG and partially electric makes me so happy. Environmental stewardship is really important to me...and come on it saves a ton of money. It makes parking and driving a breeze and I can ALWAYS fit everything I need in a smaller car. 

Why this purchase was the best: it removed un-needed stress from my life & improved life  efficiency.


Dietitian Nutritionist. My husband Chris and I create food and beverage photos, videos, stopmotions and recipes. And they're really cool.