November Inspirations

I finally got October's inspirations posted half-way through November, so I thought I'd try to get back on track this month and post November's inspirations actually at the end of November. Clearly I didn't make it because today is December 11. Maybe next month...

Loving

  • My family.
    • My birthday is in November and my husband and daughter threw me the best party. It's become a tradition that every year my daughter picks out a plant from the grocery store for me. Usually a succulent. Last year's succulent quickly outgrew it's pot, and well, we never got around to getting it a bigger pot, so it just sort of quit on us. Also, we're not that great at remembering to water plants... Anyway, this year she picked out a cool one that had been painted red, and "didn't look like it would get very big" according to my husband.
    • I also got a bluetooth speaker so we could play music all over the house right from our phones. It's fantastic. Of course, we had to try it out right away, so we spent an hour having our very own family dance party. I have no photos of it, but it's one of those memories that will always be with me even without a photo.

Listening

  • I had already heard a song by Drew Holcomb & the Neighbors that I loved, but after listening to a Drew Holcomb station on Pandora, I'm hooked. I love their sound!
  • Ben Rector. I heard one of his songs in a slideshow put together by a fellow photographer and immediately loved the song. Turns out I like several more of his songs, too. I love finding new artists to listen to! It's just exciting!
  • Together On Two. Specifically their EP Arsenaultilus.

Watching

  • Dancing With the Stars. I don't watch it intensely, but it's nice background while editing photos. Still rooting for Bindi!
  • The VOICE. So, I'm not sure how I feel about the Blake/Gwen relationship, but we'll see. I'm thinking rebound for both parties since they both went through divorces this year. Who knows. Anyway, I don't want that to go and mess up the bromance between Adam and Blake, or just the general awesomeness of the show. Meanwhile, totally digging Amy Vachal's voice.

Eating

  • Turkey, like everyone else in America. Turkey for Thanksgiving, turkey for 2nd Thanksgiving (all the left-overs you eat on Friday), turkey for days...
  • And sweet potato casserole. Cause who doesn't love a dish with 2 cups of sugar and a whole stick of butter?

Here's a few photos from my Thanksgiving trip which required a layover at LaGuardia, so I got to watch Manhattan below. My birthday succulent is also included, along with a couple of shots of an empty wine glass someone left next to the firepit while we waited for our horse-drawn carriage ride to see Christmas Lights in Blowing Rock, North Carolina.

What's been inspiring you lately?

September Inspirations

Well, another month has come to a close, and it's time for another edition of inspirations.

Loving

  • Football Season!
  • Fall Temperatures!

Listening

  • Still enjoying  the Vanessa Michael Munroe series of audio books. After having to wait for a few other people to finish the fourth book in the series, I was finally able to check it back out from the library again and finish it. I had only gotten half way through the first time I borrowed it, so waiting was a little bit of a struggle! Now, I'm just waiting for 11 more people to finish listening to the fifth book so I can dive into it!

Watching

  • Two Words. COLLEGE. FOOTBALL.
    • There aren't words to describe how much I enjoy watching college football. Particularly Auburn and LSU. Pretty much my entire family went to Auburn, starting with my grandfather, who went there when it was called Alabama Polytechnic School. So we have generations of Auburn running in our veins. My husband, on the other hand, grew up in Tiger Country... LSU Tiger Country. He's an LSU Alum, and we have enjoyed several years of attending Auburn versus LSU games. Unfortunately the years we attend seem to always go in LSU's favor... but nonetheless, there isn't much that can compare to the energy and atmosphere of a Saturday in the South tailgating and cheering for your team.
  • Longmire. So this got cancelled from cable, and Netflix picked it up. We had watched it up until it was cancelled and can't wait to see what Netflix has in store for it!
    • Side note. The channel that cancelled it did so because it's viewership was "too old". Basically it wasn't hitting the highly coveted 18-34 year old demographic. This is a highly sought after group because people in that age range are thought to have less brand loyalty and more disposable income than other groups. Interestingly enough, I heard a podcast talking about how the demographic that was watching the show- those in the 50+ age group, are actually the ones who are more likely to have free time and disposable income. (All the 20-somethings living with their parents say woooo!) Might not have been a great move by that channel...
  • The Late Show with Steven Colbert. I always loved watching The Daily Show and The Colbert Report, and fun fact, I attended the Rally to Restore Sanity (and or Fear), in Washington D.C., and the most important thing I have to say about it is, "Jon Stewart for President". It was also a lot of fun and there were a lot of really cool people in attendance.
  • Dancing With the Stars. I don't watch it intensely, but it's nice background while editing photos. Anyone else watching? I'm cheering for Bindi Irwin (Steve Irwin Crocodile Hunter's daughter) and Alek Skarlatos (one of the guys who stopped the terrorist on the train in France recently). Their dances were awesome! (See Bindi's here, and Alek's here. Annnnd okay, I'll definitely admit Nick Carter has moves...)
  • I finally finished Dexter. As far as the ending goes, I suppose it was as happy an ending as you can expect for a serial killer, but I always hope for the fairy tale ending anyway. I'd say it was "just meh".
  • The VOICE is back and I am LOVING the twins. They were awesome! Can't wait for more episodes!

Eating

  • A giant tub of cheese balls. I can't even tell you how many years it's been since I ate a cheese ball. EVERY time we go to Sam's my daughter asks if we can buy them. She has never had one, but apparently bright, unnatural orange looks appetizing. (And, let's be real... they are kinda delicious.) We tailgated with some friends two Saturday's ago and I figured that was as good a time as any to buy them. Between 4 adults and 3 kids we barely put a dent in them... I imagine a large portion of them will make it to the trash.

What's been inspiring you lately?

August Inspirations

Loving

  • Lunch with my husband. We have gotten to have several lunches lately that didn't involve feeding anyone but ourselves and that has been awesome. Also, talking about the books we're reading has been a lot of fun, too. So many parallels in completely different genres.
  • A Sunday break from the busyness of life visiting with friends and getting to see Lake Winnipesaukee from the middle of it on a boat. Thanks to our friends who so generously shared their time and boating skills with us!
  • Contour Shuttle Pro V2. This thing has changed my life... Okay, maybe a slight over statement, but it certainly has changed my editing life. A lot of people use it for video editing, but I am LOVING it for photo editing. Being able to control sliders with a spinning wheel is SO much easier than using a mouse.

Listening

  • Still enjoying  the Vanessa Michael Munroe series audio books.
  • Also still enjoying and so incredibly impressed by Hillary Huber. It's no mystery why she has won awards for her reading. She does so many different voices for the characters that I can't even imagine how she keeps them straight!

Watching

  • Still watching Dexter. Not bored of it, just plugging along while editing all the wonderful weddings of late.
  • Disney Movies. The annoying thing is that all my favorites are "in the vault". Boo. So, to beat the system I broke out the old VHS player and picked up Aladdin, Lion King & Lady & the Tramp for $1 at the thrift store. Take that Disney! Haha! #beatingthesystem (Of course, it blows my mind how different the quality between a VHS and a DVD is... not to mention a Blu-ray. But, for $1 each... it looks perfect! ;o) )
  • Netflix Specials from comedians. Namely, Eugene Mirman. For those who don't recognize the name, he is the voice of Gene on Bob's Burgers. After seeing his comedy special and also seeing H. Jon Benjamin on another Netflix show, I am convinced that creators of shows like Bob's Burgers just asked, "Hey, what happens if we get a bunch of comedians together to voice cartoon characters and just have them be themselves rather than conform to a pre-conceived character?" And, thus was born Bob's Burgers, and specifically Bob's and Gene's characters... Seriously, the resemblance is mind-blowing
    • The other hilarious part of Eugene Mirman's comedy special was an entire bit he did on parking in Portsmouth, NH. He basically recounted the stories you can find here and here. It's hilarious, and being someone who has parked in that exact space, it does make sense to park the way he did. You have no room to turn around in that section and there is only one way in and out, so you have to either back out of the entire section of parking, or back in the space as he did. Which do you think might be the safer option?

Eating

  • Mandarin Oranges, because they taste like candy.
  • Skinny Pop. Cause the more you eat, the skinnier you get, right?
  • Butternut Squash Risotto. Y'all. This. It is time consuming to make, and I don't make it often, but when I do... oh so yum! 

What's been inspiring you lately?

June Inspirations

Loving

  • The Kodak Duaflex. I picked up this little beauty at an estate sale last weekend, along with two other vintage cameras. Looks like with a little bit of wizardry I can rig it to shoot 35mm film. I can't wait to try it! In the meantime I've been using it to do some through the viewfinder photography. I told my husband "I feel a series coming on...", so stay tuned because I can't wait to share more of the fun!
  • The photo below is me doing my happy dance, and a close up of the two cameras using the through the viewfinder method.
duaflex1.jpg

Listening

  • Tuskeegee by Lionel Richie
    • This has been my chill-out music over the last month. As things pick up during the summer and I take on a few extra tasks I've found myself in need of some relaxing and fun music. Lionel has been one of my go-tos this month.
  • Snap Judgment
    • I'm in love with all things story telling and this one has recently won me over. I dig the hosts voice and dramatic way of saying every.thing. It makes me laugh, and the stories are pretty great! Very similar to The Moth, but more structured and they always include a lot of music. I think they even have a mix-ologist for their music. You can have that for music, right? Not just for drinks?
  • My Ipod on "shuffle"
    • This has been hilarious. I had no idea how eclectic the collection of music I have is. I owe this largely in-part to my husband. Thanks for helping me be diverse. ;o) Some of the songs I have recently heard include "Click, Click, Boom. By Saliva", followed by Mozart... Yep. That was weird. Mix in some Mumford and Sons and some old school TV themes to round it out. Nice.

Watching

  • Daredevil- We just finished this. I LOVE that you can binge-watch Netflix. I hate that you have to wait a whole year before the next season after said binge.
  • Bob's Burgers
  • Brooklyn 99 (I think we finally finished the most recent season.) Sad face.
  • Melissa & Joey (Yes, I will admit this to the world wide web... I mean really, who doesn't enjoy seeing Clarissa all grown up? And what's not to love about Joey Lawrence, amiright?)
  • I recently started watching Dexter. I had been hesitant because of the whole serial killer thing, but I've found that somehow, the music they play, makes it less creepy. The only thing I can't do is watch the opening credits. It super grosses me out. Not sure what that means that the food grosses me out, but not the serial killing... hmmm... Dexter has also led to my watching of Melissa and Joey because you really need something a little lighter before bed time. :o)

Eating

  • Chickpea Romesco with Spaghetti Squash. This is a delicious meal, and probably one of the healthiest things I've loved eating in a while. I've been working to eat better and get more exercise lately and this recipe has definitely helped! (Of course, when you chase it with a cupcake it's a bit less effective... baby steps... baby steps.)

 

And I couldn't leave without one more shot of my most exciting finds... I feel the happy dance coming on again...

duaflex2.jpg

May Inspirations

  • The employees, volunteers and survivors of Bridges!
    • I was fortunate to be able to attend a recent event for Bridges, and got to hear a story from one of the survivors that had been helped by Bridges and it was amazing. Such hope. Such strength. Such determination. Overcoming so many odds. Just wonderful!
    • Another speaker was a nurse who does a lot of the sexual assault medical forensic exams at a local hospital. (For those who watch SVU, these are what they call "rape kits".)  The stories she shared of how having the volunteers and staff of Bridges there with the patients were amazing. The compassion shown by the advocates from Bridges allowed her to complete a lot of the needed exams that would have otherwise not been possible. I think this was one of the best things I've seen at any event. It was such a different perspective and the perfect one to really relay to the audience one of the many things Bridges does.
  • Ed Sheeran- So, I have always liked Ed Sheeran. But, lately he's been on repeat. Two songs in particular:
    • Tenarife Sea- The PERFECT first dance song for a wedding.
    • Afire Love- After watching my grandparents as they both went through my grandfather's recent decline and eventual passing, this song has even more meaning to me. For anyone who has been affected by Alzheimer's or another form of dementia, this song might be worth listening to. Oh, and grab a tissue...
  • The Moth
    • The Moth, and all things NPR, really. Hearing the stories people tell are amazing. One of my favorites that I've heard several times, and never tire of hearing, is from George Lombardi. It's so fun to get a glimpse into people's lives. I keep trying to get tickets to the live StorySlam's in Boston, and every time I'm too late. They sell out fast... But, until I can actually attend in person, at least I have The Moth Radio Hour.
  • Georgetown Cupcakes
    • So, I had never had a Georgetown Cupcake until May 17. This will be a day that lives in infamy... Okay, perhaps that's a little dramatic, but seriously, only a little. Tory & Mike were so kind to bring a feast of Georgetown Cupcakes and Jones Soda to enjoy after their engagement session earlier this month. I had the Milk Chocolate Birthday Cupcake... changed my life. (And probably my waist-line in the future... eeek.) It was SO GOOD! So, if you want your life changed, stop by their Boston location... but don't tell too many people because I don't want to have to wait in line on future visits! ;o)
  • My Clients
    • I have been blessed with some amazing couples! You guys continue to push me to be better and do more. You're what drives me to continue to improve as a photographer. Your kindness, genuineness and love for each other inspire me to strive harder to be kind, real and to love my husband and family well. Being around you and being able to share in your lives always brings back amazing memories of that same time in my life. You remind me why I got married in the first place. Thank you for that!

April Inspirations

Watching:

Still watching "The Voice" and totally being inspired by Kimberly Nichole. WOW.

Since finishing "The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt" (there's a Titus Andromedon sized hole in my life now...), we started watching "Daredevil". I have never really been a huge fan of the comic-book-turned-movie thing. I watched several of them because my husband likes them, but was never really into it. Until now. I never saw any of the other attempts and Daredevil (Ben Affleck, I'm looking at you...), so I knew nothing about it until I watched the first episode of the Netflix version. Surprisingly, I was hooked. Apart from just being a fun show to watch, the camera work is excellent! I've been impressed. I think the reason I keep coming back is because this "superhero" doesn't have any traits I've found unrealistic or unbelievable. We are only on episode three, so there's plenty more to watch, but at this point I'll definitely keep watching!

Reading:

I just read a YA book called Vanishing Girls. I borrowed it from the library via the ebook loan system. It was interesting enough to keep me reading, but not really great. I think the author couldn't figure out what to do towards the end and needed to finish it so she just sort of pulled something out of the air. (I would expand on it, but I don't want to include any spoilers if anyone else thinks they might read it.) I'd probably give it two stars on a one to five rating scale.

GQ and a few Photography trade magazines. These are inspirational. So many fun photos in all of them to look at and dissect. Looking at photographs for me is more than just looking. It's taking them apart piece by piece to try to figure out what the photographer did. It's part of how I continually challenge myself to learn and grow as a photographer.

Listening

Recently all I've heard has been my daughter singing about "five little monkeys jumping on the bed", and "four little, no little, ducks came running back". She hasn't quite got the counting down thing mastered, but it does make for some interesting lyrics. She has also begun making up her own songs... most recently there was one about sock fuzz... yeah.

I've also been throwing it back with some Counting Crows and Sister Hazel with a little Mumford and Sons mixed in.

 

What's been inspiring you this month? Leave a comment and let me know. :o)

March Inspirations

Here are some of the things that I'm currently watching, reading or listening to that provide a little inspiration in my daily life:

WATCHING:

  • The Ubreakable Kimmy Schmidt
    • Tina Fey is my favorite and she never disappoints me.
  • The Voice.
    • I can't get enough. I love this show. I'm a bit behind, so some of these guys may have already been knocked out, but my favorites from the blind auditions were:
      • Sawyer- It will be interesting to see how he does as the competition continues. He's almost too quiet/shy outside of his singing to really seem like someone who will make it to the end, but wow. When he starts singing? Who is that kid?! :o)
      • Brooke- I wish that my favorites were a little older, but I loved her voice. I have listened to this one on repeat.
      • Gabriel Wolfchild- Not sure he can be very diverse. I looked at his site and the songs he already has released and they are all pretty similar, so not sure what his staying power will be, but loved his song choice!
      • Josh Davis- What's not to love about this guys voice?! Again with the song choice... Can't go wrong with Bob Dylan.

READING:

  • Sesame Street books from 1985, because I have a two-year-old and they are currently the most entertaining of the books she enjoys.
  • The Guinea PI Series, because "It's a good book." That review brought to you by my two-year-old. It contains humor that adults can enjoy, and who doesn't love a book full of pictures?
  • I'm on the waiting list for the Maze Runner series at the library, so that's in the queue. I'm not much for Science-Fiction, but enjoyed The Hunger Games and Divergent and this was recommended because I read those, so we'll see. Depends how Sci-Fi it is.
  • 642 Things to Write About. Just because it's nice to have someone else give you writing prompts sometimes, and I really like to write.

LISTENING TO:

  • The Voice. (see above)
  • Jars of Clay- Mostly "Redemption Songs" and "Good Monsters"
  • Say Something- A Great Big World & Christina Aguilera

A personal note.

I knew this was going to be a hard post to write, but I also knew I needed to do it.

I have long said that I have the best clients, and you guys have continued to prove that statement true. Again and again I am overwhelmed at the kindness and thoughtfulness of my couples, both past and present. If you can bear with me through the next few paragraphs I will get to the point.

The last few weeks have been an incredibly difficult time for me. As most of you know, my grandfather passed away at the beginning of March, and I spent two weeks back home in Alabama with my family.

I had an incredibly special relationship with my grandfather. For most of my life I lived less than 100 yards away from my grandparents and spent many nights at their house and ate most meals with them. They were a HUGE part of how I grew up. My grandfather was like a father to me. We spent time together in the garden planting seeds and picking vegetables. We built things together with wood. We even cut down trees and chopped and split firewood together. No matter how busy he was he ALWAYS had time for me. He ALWAYS let me "help". Even when it wasn't really helpful at all. (I appreciate this even more now that I have a "helpful" two-year-old.) 

My grandfather and I went on breakfast dates to the hospital in our town on Friday mornings before school, and then he would take me to school and walk me in. We had special ice cream dates at Dairy Queen and always got banana splits. I have so many wonderful memories...

I was blessed with 33 years of knowing him and seeing him live and give his time and life to others. He was one of the most compassionate people I have known. One of the things the pastor that officiated the funeral said was, "There is something from this man's life that you need to know."

I have thought about that statement a lot over the last few weeks and have come up with so many things that I have learned and know because I knew him. Compassion, generosity, integrity. Things that I learned from him and know from his life are things that I strive to apply to my daily life and my business practices. He played such a huge part in who I am today. I'm so thankful to have known him.

During this time I was also reminded how amazing the people around me in New Hampshire are. The second I found out that my grandfather had passed a friend came over to watch my daughter while my husband and I figured out logistics and travel plans. I received such sweet comments from every single bride I had booked for 2015. Past and current clients sent cards and emails. The outpouring of kindness and love from not only my clients, but also my friends was such a bright spot amid what felt like an incredible darkness. I will never be able to thank you all enough. You all played a part in showing me that we have a wonderful community here in New England that is full of amazing people who share some of the same qualities as my grandfather. You have all made me feel like I am at home right here in New Hampshire.

I am so thankful to know each of you and to know that you have trusted me to share in one of your biggest life experiences. Your kindness has meant so much to me. And, as the pastor said of my grandfather, "there is something from this man's life you need to know", there is something from the life of each person we encounter that we need to know. I continue to learn from and be encouraged by each of you. Thank you again for sharing part of your life with me and for continuing to prove that I absolutely have the best clients (and friends).

January Inspirations

Here are some of the things that I'm currently watching, reading or listening to that provide a little inspiration in my daily life:

WATCHING:

  • Brooklyn Nine-Nine
    • I had NO idea that I'd like Andy Samberg outside of SNL. I sort of had him figured as an Adam Sandler type, and I just haven't ever really LOVED anything Sandler did. I just found his movies sort of dumb. (Disclaimer: I do like Billy Madison...). Anyway, the cast they put together for this show is awesome! I think Chelsea Peretti makes it for me. She is hilarious!

 

READING:

  • Hank Finds an Egg by Rebecca Dudley
    • We got this book as a gift for my daughter's second birthday and it is incredible! Rebecca Dudley creates dioramas and photographs them to tell the story of a super cute little bear named Hank.
    • We LOVE this book at our house and it has inspired me and my husband to create a book for my daughter using her favorite toys. I hope to share more about that project on the blog as it comes together!
  • The Ellie Chronicles by John Marsden.
    • If you liked Divergent, or the Hunger Games series, you'll want to add these books to your list of "must reads".
    • If you're interested, be sure you start at the beginning with Tomorrow When the War Began. It's a seven-book series called The Tomorrow Series. (Marsden followed them up with The Ellie Chronicles.)

(And, they actually made a movie out of the first book that you can find on Netflix, too. But the book is better... the book is always better, right?)

 

LISTENING TO:

  • Tuskegee by Lionel Richie and Friends.
    • It may not be on repeat, but it sure has provided some great listening while I catch up on things after the holidays! (And, Amazon has it on sale for $5 right now in case you're into Lionel...)