Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Our Epic Spring-Time Florida Adventure

This is a big one!! What started out as a 9 day trip, turned in to a 15 day adventure... and even after two weeks I still wasn't ready for the fun to end!  Here's the re-cap:

After driving in late Wednesday night, the girls headed to Wicked on Thursday to celebrate Ashlee's B-day.  To me, that show never gets old.  I enjoy it a little more each time I see it!

Friday night, Braden braved the children's talent show at church showing off all his Tae Kwon Do moves!

Sunday was a really COOL day for me!  I attended the Jerry Ghionis/ Sandy Puc National Wedding Photography Workshop Tour in Orlando.  This was actually one of the main reasons for me timing my trip the way I did!!  I can't say enough about how amazing and inspiring this workshop was... especially Mr. Jerry {below}.  He is an amazing photographer and even more, an amazing person!!  He focuses so much on drawing out emotion vs. poses.  I could go on {and I probably will on my H2H blog sometime soon!}  Anyway, I left there moved and motivated and it was a good thing b/c I had the chance to shoot 4 photo sessions and teach 6 classes while I was out there!

Tuesday the boys and I had a DISNEY DAY!!  Can I just say how much fun we had just the three of us!  It's always fun to go w/ a group, but we really did enjoy ourselves.  They are at good ages to just jump in the stroller and go.  I was planning on going from 9am-6 or 7pm depending on how long they lasted... BUT we ended up hitting 3 different parks and we stayed until midnight!!!!  Seriously, they did so GREAT - we shut the parks down!  Gav even fit in a nap here and there, so he got a good second win.  The only hard thing about being by yourself is it's hard to get good pictures... but here are a few:

Sleeping in the bus line.  We did Animal Kingdom first, then Hollywood Studios... here we are waiting in line to head over to Magic Kingdom, which ended up being the least crowded and our favorite park of the day!!

ALL the parks were quite busy, but surprisingly MK was the least crowded?!  Don't get me wrong... spring break spells crowds, but you have to know how to work it! We go on all the low line volume rides when it's busy, grab fast passes for our favorites, then around dinner/parades/fireworks, we walk on all the other rides!!

We always have to have our picture w/ ZURG {love Bray's face, channeling his inner Zurg}

Alladin's magic carpet ride is just like Dumbo... but more fun AND NO LINE!!

Okay, so not a whole lot of pictures... BUT, had to have a picture of me n' my DOLE WHIP!!  I waited all day for that treat.  Finally around 10pm we made our way over to Swiss Family Robinson's Tree House (Blake's fav as a kid so he made me promise I would take the boys through it).

AND, the final picture of the night.  At 10:30 I let the kids choose one last ride.  We decided on the cars and had a great time (they did let the 3 of us in one car).  By then it was 11pm and the second their heads hit the stroller they were out!!  Since I parked at the Animal kingdom I had to wait in the LONG end-of-the-night monorail line while holding a sleeping 35lb Gavin and a sleep walking Braden.  From there we landed at the transportation center and waiting 30 mins for a bus to the Animal Kingdom.  The boys were out so you can only imagine how funny this all looked.  By the time we made it to AK (poor Bray, sleep walking all the while) my car was the LAST one in the entire parking lot!!  GOOD TIMES!!  That will always be such a fun memory for us :)

Friday night, Ash, the parents and I hit up "Howl at the Moon" Dueling Piano Bar on I-Drive!!  It was awesome.  We were going to go to "Jelly Rollers" another Dueling Piano Bar on Disney Boardwalk (and a little less CRAZY) but it was fun to try something new.  DANG, the performers are talented.  They all play every instrument... drums, guitar, bass etc...

Saturday we had a beautiful day on the lake with just about the entire neighborhood!!

Taking the new jetski for a spin!!

And this takes us to SUNDAY... ANOTHER INCREDIBLE DAY!!!  So, we did not come on our trip planning to take in a Yankees Spring Training Game, but during the week I happened to read a posting on FB by my good friend from high school, Eric Chavez (who was traded from the A's to the Yankees in January) mentioning that he was in Tampa in spring training.  It also so happened that my great friend Marliss and I were trying to meet up in Tampa... so it all just came together.   Eric hooked us up w/ Fabulous tickets for the whole crew.  We got to go early and watch batting practice (crazy being 5 feet away from A-rod and Jeter) and then we got to Rondevouz in the "Press Area" while we caught up with Eric and introduced our kiddies!  Eric was so amazing to hook the boys up w/ a signed bat, ball, gloves, shirt etc... Braden was in heaven and it was just great to get together again!!

Watching batting practice before the game...

A beautiful day in Tampa!!

Jeter swinging away

Eric and A-rod were the only two players to score runs during the Game.  Go CHAVY!

The boys all excited about their Yankee Paraphernalia!!

The fun part: Of course it's no secret that some of the players are dating some high profile leading ladies!!  And since we had such great seats {players tickets} we were in luck.  We happened to be sitting in the same area right across from Cameron Diaz and Minka Kelly.  Marliss even took Melia down to give Cameron a hug (of course two girls walked right on front of me while I was trying to get a picture) but it was cool :) btw, can I please have those arms and look like that from behind, haha!! A girl can dream!

What a memorable day!!  THANKS ERIC, we loved it!

Lastly (and much more on this on my photography blog to come) but I had the opportunity to do a lot of work while in FL.  I LOVE LOVE all of my FL friends (who also happen to be great clients as well).  I didn't grow up in FL and my parents moved their while I was in college, but it has been fun over the years meeting so many new and fabulous friends out that way.  A HUGE props to Eva, who styled almost every shoot... she is a creative, stylish genius and I only wish I had her here w/ me on every shoot in Charlotte.  {her little angel Rita Pita}
I also did a "one-on-one" shooting session as part of my teaching... something I hope to continue to do!!  I love seeing budding photographers learn and create.  It's fun to teach, but even more fun to see it "click" and come together while in action.
Posting all this makes me miss FL all over again!  I love that we're able to go down as much as we do and I appreciate having such a supportive (busy!!) husband who makes our little adventures a possibility!! XOXOXO

Monday, March 21, 2011

Spring Bridal Fair 2011

Had a fabulous time at the Filmore yesterday participating in the Charlotte Wedding Connection Bridal Fair!!  For the entire wrap up go here.  I was so lucky to have a amazing assistant... it made all the difference.  It was a great venue, great crowd... I just have try not to be intimidated by the 6 other photographers who rocked it as well!  I love putting myself out there and working my biz, but at the end of the day, I get to come home to huge pillow mounds {see post below}.  It's a win win and I'm a very lucky girl!

Braden's Idea of a Good Time

When he's not running around Disney or getting VIP privileges at a Yankee Game {more on all that soon} is to round up EVERY pillow in the ENTIRE house and make a pillow mountain... as a fun surprise.  And then of course he'll ask you to pose by his marvelous Mt. Vesuvius!!  All a night's work.

Tamale Train!! {Insert Mary Murphy Sized Yell} Toot Toot!

HOLA HOLA!!  I had to post a few pictures from our Young Women's Camp Fundraiser last month!!  We made and sold over 700 hundred Mexican Tamales!!  Seriously... it was hard core.  

Blake was perhaps, the most hard core of all.  He spent a good chunk of his Friday night helping to make the "masa" or dough and then almost all day Saturday.  I was working around teaching photography classes, so he really takes the cake for going all out!

It was fun getting all the chicas involved... after all it will be their way to get to camp!  Don't you just love the hair nets... had to be extra hygienic!

And of course the boys had to get in on the action!!  They spent just as much time there as we did and are now expert tamale makers... or at least "husk preppers".  Can't wait to do it again next month....