camera conundrum

I need your help, oh knowledgeable readers.

See, I want a digital SLR camera.
I have for awhile now.
But I always get talked out of it.

"Wait till you have kids!" / "Just get a regular digital camera"  / "They're so expensive!"
I've heard (and thought) it all. 

But, the thing is.
I still really want one.
For a few reasons.

1.) It will VASTLY improve the photos I take of my food (and Lily).
Because I know y'all are like "ok these iPhone photos are baddddd".
And if I had good photos, then maybe someone on pinterest would see that spectacular food pic and would re-pin my recipe and then the next person would come to the blog and be all "omg look at that yummy pasta and that super-cute dog"  and then they would return every day. 
(Because that's how you all got here too, right?)

2.) We plan to continue to travel a lot over the next few years (and for the rest of our lives).
And I like to take photos when we travel.
And sometimes iPhones just don't cut it.
Especially when you lose your iPhone within the first three hours of arriving in Spain...

3.) Photos are a big part of our design aesthetic.
I love seeing photos on our gallery wall.
A nice black and white photo that means something and triggers a memory is just awesome.

4.) We don't currently have any digital camera.
It might have been eaten up by Central Park's Great Lawn a few years ago.
I feel like if we're going to get one, let's get a good one and make it last.

I have finally convinced Al that these four points are valid and warrant some research
 in the hopes that, before we head to France this summer, we can make a purchase. 

So, dear readers, 

{{what is the best camera for a beginner?}}
My only previous experience is a photography class I took in 7th grade that the assistant basketball coach taught. - i.e I remember/learned nothing.

{{do I need additional parts/lenses/kits?}}

{{know of any good online (or in NYC) classes?}}
Preferably on the not-so-expensive side.

(ah the irony of a blurry photo of me with a camera)

Share in the comments below your suggestions, feedback, and genius camera knowledge.

Appreciate your help!


{image source + my photo}
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