Archive for August, 2011


A picture is worth … (Part 2)

August 31, 2011

(Amberlee Christey Photography)

How lovely is that picture? Really.

After our first look and some pictures together, we split up for individual portraits. Randy went with Amberlee; I went with Emilie.

I was super, super nervous!

Some people are born to be in front of the camera. I’m not simply referring to models either. It’s like a camera appears and instinct takes over. They know exactly how to hold their heads, smile with their eyes, and position their bodies. Others, however, are meant to be behind the camera – or are at least “awkward” in front of it.

I am the latter.

Internally, I kept telling myself to relax and have fun. I don’t know about you, but that’s kinda difficult when you spend more time TELLING yourself to relax than actually DOING it. HA! 😛

Emilie was great, though, about giving me directions and praise (so to speak) when I achieved what she had in mind. And I have to say, I (and the pictures) faired very well. I like all of them very much. Yay!


The bad, the good, and the excited

August 30, 2011

Good evening, dear readers!

It hasn’t been the best day in our household. Ms. Emily (Emmy) has to take a trip to the dreaded vet tonight. We’re pretty sure her teeth are overgrown, a common problem for chinchillas. Even knowing it’s common (and maybe even genetic), I still feel like a horrible fur-parent.

If left unattended, overgrown teeth can be deadly to chinchillas because they can’t eat and may get infections. Chinchillas also tend to mask when they’re ill, so you have to pay careful attention to their behaviors to spot a problem before it’s too late.

Poor little Emmy has likely been suffering from this for several weeks (see, bad fur parents!). We found a tuft of fur sticking out of her cheek three weeks ago, but we figured she had just gotten wet drinking as neither her mouth or chin were wet.  Randy noticed last night that she was eating slowly (something she has always done), but coupled with another tuft of fur sticking out he decided to check her teeth. He told me this morning they look overgrown. L

He also checked the other three and, thankfully, they’re fine.

What’s particularly scary is that Emmy will likely have to be put to sleep to have her teeth worked on … She weighs just about one pound!

We have a 5:30 appointment tonight in Cheat Lake. Keep your fingers crossed they’re able to help her! If not, we’ll probably have to go to Bridgeport or Pittsburgh. You can understand why we’re going to be very particular about a vet.


In happier news, I think you should check out THIS entry at WV Brides.

I filled out the Meet the Brides survey and Jaime Leigh posted it yesterday afternoon. 🙂

If you live in the Mountain State and recently got married (or will soon), and would like to be a part of the Meet the Bride series, send an e-mail to


Part 2 of “A Picture is worth …” tomorrow. I’m excited! So excited I almost included it in this post. But I made myself refrain. Have I ever mentioned patience isn’t my strong suit when excited? 😉


A picture is worth … (Part 1)

August 29, 2011

After going through our wedding pictures MANY times (have I mentioned how happy they make me?), there were several I knew couldn’t simply stay tucked away on the DVDs.

Well, okay, there were more than several, but I picked my top four and kindly asked Amberlee to watermark them. All are also black and white. Imagine that. Ha!

I guess you could say I’m creating my own Moment Junkie-like posts.

Today is the first of the four-part series. 🙂

Bridal Feet

(Amberlee Christey Photography)

I love this picture because it’s unique to me. Of all the wedding pictures I looked at while planning ours, I never remember seeing one of the bride’s feet as she put on her dress.

Oh, I’m sure they exist. But I’m not going to go looking for them because it’ll ruin my fun. 😉

I also love it – and the entire series of me getting dressed – because I don’t remember sitting in the chair. I don’t clearly remember getting into my dress. I don’t even remember pictures being taken. Let me tell you what I do remember …

Wiggling into a Spanx inside a tiny room with just my mom there … Opening the door to find the photographers, bridesmaids and flower girls anxiously waiting to help me into my dress.

Annnnnnd … That’s it.

Several days after the wedding I even remember thinking to myself, “I wonder if they even got pictures of me getting dressed?”

It was a silly and ridiculous thought, but completely natural when you don’t even remember getting dressed up.

What lessons did I learn?

  •  Believe anyone who tells you the day will be a blur.
  • Amberlee borrows Harry Potter’s invisibility cloak for weddings. 😛



Linky linkies

August 27, 2011

Howdy ho, dear readers!

It’s Saturday!! I hope you all are as excited about that as I am. It’s been a crazy week and I’ve enjoyed doing nothing today. 😀

As some of you already know, my photography class wasn’t what I anticipated so I dropped it. It was one of those situations where I just “knew” it wasn’t going to get better. Given I was spending time away from the office – and an obscene amount of money even WITH a tuition waiver – I opted to walk away.

I was mad. I was sad. I was annoyed.

Thankfully, I have some amazing friends who lifted my spirits. Amberlee offered to let me shoot some pictures with her. Heidi found some great (and reasonably priced) online courses for me. Countless others offered condolences. I’m definitely a lucky woman!

I went to bed Thursday night on a high note – vowing to teach myself.

I’m currently reading Understanding Exposure by Bryan Peterson:

This book is great because the author explains the technicalities of exposure without tons of big words. He uses easy-to-understand examples (like describing ISO as worker bees). He also offers exercises periodically that allow you to implement what you’ve been reading.

I’ve also been exploring several websites:

31 Days to a Better Photo Series – My 3 Boybarians

~Self-explanatory. Addresses different aspects of photography each day.

I Heart Faces

~A source for weekly challenges, tutorials, templates, etc. Also gave a great example of getting bokeh with your kit lens. I knew from first snap I wasn’t going to be able to open the aperture (to get the great shallow depth of field) as wide as I wanted with the lens that came with my camera, so this was a good confidence booster.

Photography with Jessica – Shabby Blogs

~Along the same lines of the book with user-friendly answers for all kinds of photography questions. By far my favorite entry is the one about lighting.

Pioneer Woman Photography

~Haven’t really had time to dig too deep into this one, but I’ve read rave reviews about it.

And here’s the class I plan on taking this fall:

Superhero Photo

Join my friend Paula and I if you want! We can swap pictures. 😀

***Just so you don’t think I’ve completely abandoned the wedding goodies, there are possibly two (maybe three) exciting things on the horizon this week. Stay tuned! 😀


It’s the end of the world as we know it

August 23, 2011


Today was c.r.a.z.y!

Work was non-stop from the time I walked in the door until I left for class at 3:20 p.m. Where is room … ? Where is Bennett Tower? Why was my class moved? Who is my adviser?

I don’t mind answering those questions the first week of school, but sometimes I just feel like a broken record.

Ohhh … And did I mention we felt earthquake tremors around 2 p.m.? It was really creepy when we didn’t know what was going on, but I got excited when I found out it was an actual earthquake. We NEVER get to experience things like this in West Virginia. Granted, if it had been more than a mild shaking I would have been really scared. But it wasn’t. So I can be excited. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. 😉

Let’s talk about the real reason for this post, though …

My return to the classroom as a student.

To say it was an eye-opening afternoon would be an understatement.

Before I tell you about my experience, let me rewind to 1999.

I was in the second semester of my freshmen year in college. I dreaded going to my History 53 class. Not only because the textbook was difficult to read – and history has never been a particularly strong subject for me – but because there was an over-eager non-traditional student in class. He questioned everything; he had an opinion or story to share about almost every topic.

Instead of learning from him, I was annoyed. I didn’t want to be there and listening to his yammering was getting on my last nerve.

Today, however, I was that non-traditional student … and I have a new-found respect for that gentleman in my history class 11 years ago. He obviously wanted to be there, just like I wanted to be in my class this afternoon.

I can’t say the same for several of the 20-something students around me.

Our professor is originally from China. In fact, she was asked to teach this class at the last minute and only arrived in the U.S. three days ago. As a consequence, she wasn’t entirely prepared for class (and she told us that). Instead of giving her a break, when she wasn’t in the room this guy behind me quipped, “I only took this class to fill my schedule. If it’s going to be a pain in the ass I’ll find something else to take.”

I found myself wanting to say, “Get the hell out. If you don’t want to be here, why make yourself and the teacher miserable? Spare us all.”

But I refrained.

And you should have seen the looks I got when, in response to a question of whether I was a journalism major, I told a fellow classmate I graduated long ago and was taking the class for fun.

Since I was once one of “them” you would think I’d have more patience, but I don’t. It’s annoying. And I was annoyed with my former self for acting like that.

Ugh! Does this mean I’m old???

Since posts are useless without pictures .. Behold, Smokey! Or Mokus Pokus. Or Lead Butt. Or Donkey Ears. Whatever we feel like calling him:



Noah turns 3

August 21, 2011

I had the pleasure of spending yesterday with some great friends and two adorable kids (and plenty of other munchkins). We were all gathered to help Noah, the son of my friends Kisha and Aaron, celebrate turning three! 😀

Let me tell you, I was exhausted last night! All I did was pick up some balloons, take some pictures and snuggle a kid or two. I can’t imagine how Kisha and Aaron felt (as well as Becky and Rich). They spent a tremendous amount of time cooking food, baking sweets, creating signs and goody bags, and setting everything up – including a huge CARS-themed bounce house.

I learned a lot of things behind the lens of my camera yesterday.

1. I’m not completely inept at seeing things creatively:

This is, by far, my favorite picture from yesterday. I got into the bounce house to take pictures of Noah jumping around, but he quickly decided to get out. Maybe because I wasn’t jumping with him? Haha! As I sat in the middle of the air-filled trampoline, I realized the arched opening would be perfect to capture some pictures. Without giving it another thought, I laid down on my stomach and snapped away. I see things I would do differently next time (not cutting off the top of the arch), but I love it nonetheless!

2. It’s important to anticipate and be ready to capture the moment

Ahhh … Sharing. Such a tough concept at these young ages. I watched Noah and Emma learn this lesson from my seat at the picnic table and couldn’t help but pick up my camera. I knew there was bound to be a priceless face or moment … And leave it to Noah to provide it! I actually titled this one, “What’chu talkin’ ’bout, Emma?” HA!

3. Above all, I still have a lot to learn

I have a tendency to underexpose my pictures. While I would rather them be underexposed than over, I’m still learning to put the photography pieces together to create a good exposure (and not rely on Photoshop). I’ve started utilizing my camera’s histogram and reading the book Understanding Exposure: How to Shoot Great Photographs with a Film or Digital Camera.

Oh, and my class! It starts on Tuesday … wooohoo!!




wee bits 1.3

August 17, 2011

I checked on Wee Bits this evening an realized the blogger hasn’t posted in almost two weeks. She must be super, super busy! S000 … I’m answering questions from her archive. 🙂

{one} have you ever been stuck in an elevator?

No, but I’ve been stuck on a PRT car. Does that count?

{two} have you ever ridden on an elephant?

Noooo … But that would be awesome!!

{three} have you ever met a well known celebrity?

I feel like I have, but I can’t remember. Probably means he/she wasn’t that well-known. 😉

{four} do you have any food allergies?

Nope, but I have plenty of others to make up for it.

{five} do you know how to sew?

Nope. In fact, I just had to ask Randy to sew a button onto my pants.

{six} did you get an allowance when you were young?

Not from our parents. My dad’s godmother gave us $5 though.

{seven} how often do you fill up your gas tank?

Depends on how much I drive. Usually twice a month.

{eight} have you ever been stung by a jelly fish?


{nine} have you ever been robbed?

Yep. We had several break-ins right after they opened the new apartment complex by my house. Prior to that, I always left my purse in the car (mind you, I lived in my house for almost five years and never had a problem). Naturally, they busted my car window and stole it. I was more distraught over losing my purse than my wallet. I walked up and down the rail trail behind my house and found it in the bushes (empty, of course). Oh. Did I mention it’s genuine Burberry? Dummies.

{ten} what is the worst haircut you’ve ever had?

Before I answer this there is something you should know. I NEVER had long hair growing up. It was either pixie short, cut in a bob, or permed to hell (Mop Top was what they called me). So, the first time I ventured out of the norm was traumatizing. The stylist gave me layers and I had no clue how to style them. I cried for days. I can still remember sitting in my dining room on Easter Sunday as my aunt tried to do something with it.