Friday, April 30, 2010

Fix-it-Friday #53


Here is the original SOOC.

Here is my first fix in Lightroom 2.  Just some cropping and a little lighter.

Here is fix #2!  Just a little more color brought to the image with a favorite LR preset.

Ya'll know I love me some black and white so here is my conversion with one of my favorite sayings!
I don't know where the saying came from but it is so true!!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Who Am I?

I have really been doing a lot of soul searching lately trying to reconnect with myself because I have found that somewhere along the way I kind of went into hiding!  Some days I feel like I am defined by so many external factors that it is hard to see the real me lost in there somewhere in the shadows!  Today I thought I would list the things that are me! 


I am:

A child of God.

A daughter, even though my parents are gone.

A sister to 2 earthly siblings and one angel in heaven.

A wife to a man who is difficult to live with.  We have been together 17 years and I could tell you some stories!

A mom to the two greatest gifts on earth and two four legged fur babies!

A singer!  God has blessed me with a great ability and I am so thankful He did!

A photographer with a passion for capturing life!

A giver!  I love to volunteer!  Special Olympics, Big Brother/Sisters, St. Judes and Littlest Heros are just a few of the organizations that I have committed my time and talent to!

I am passionate, loving, open (to a fault) and compassionate!  If you are crying over something that life has dealt you, I will be the one to listen and cry with you!  No one cries alone when I am around!  I cry for strangers on the news and at Holiday commercials on TV!


If you need something and it is within my power to give it to you, I will!  If you are lonely and need a friend, I am there!  This is me!  Plain and simple, black and white, this is who I am!


Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Sunshine And Butterflies

When we looked out yesterday morning and saw this
We knew it would be a perfect day to be outside enjoying the sunshine!

 He was happy!


And so was she!


I sat in my chair enjoying the sunshine and playing with my camera while


she chased butterflies and enjoyed the warmth of the sun!


I love her so much!

Circus Fun!!

OK, it did not start out fun!!  First, the Knight and I were both tired so we really did not want to go but we put on our happy faces and went!  When we got there, the trappings were everywhere!!  Toys, rides, food, you name it the Diva wanted it!  We made it through the maze of want and entered the tent and found some seats with the Diva still crying!  When the show started the tigers were first and the music was loud and the Diva, well  I will let the photo speak for itself!!



It did get better, I promise there were no Diva's hurt during the photo taking for this post!!  LOL!  She relaxed and even laughed and clapped!

The tigers were fun to watch!!  I cannot say that I would enjoy being in a large cage with 5 huge cats!  LOL!  Mark tiger trainer off my list of possible career choices!!


All of these photos were taken, not with my big Nikons, but with a Canon point and shoot (hence the quality)! Had I known that you could take photos, I would have hauled some gear and gotten some really cool shots! Who knew they would let you flash (photo) the animals and performers! Anyway, we all had a pretty good time and it was your typical circus with the animals, clowns, jugglers, dancers and acrobats and trapeze artists, it was worth the money for a family night out!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

V is for Victory!

Yup, the Victory is mine, literally!!  I have always told the Knight that his concept of a motorcycle built for one was cool, and it does look good, but I love to ride and I cannot ride on his one seater!  Well, I could but it would not be pretty to see me riding on the back fender!!  LOL!

So here is my new Victory Vegas (new to me at least)!  Please forgive the photo but it was taken with my iPhone!  I even got to go on the test ride which was really cool!  So if I am MIA on my blog for a while, you will know that I am out relaxing with the wind in my hair!


Here is a bonus shot of the sky from last night, also taken with my iPhone!  We were sitting on the front porch just looking at our new ride!  I hope you all have a wonderful day!  Tonight we are taking the Diva to her very first circus so there should, may be will be cool photos to share!!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Test

anodynes are the answer!  Yup, this is a test for IZEA!

Smile!! It's week 17 at i ♥ faces!!




Since my I have a little time on my hands, I thought I would enter at i ♥ faces again this week!  The theme is smiles and since I am in the business of smiles, I had lots to choose from so I chose these love birds!!  They are young and in love and I loved spending the evening with them!


Happy Monday everyone!  Now go check out all the other great smiles that are hanging out at i ♥ faces!!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Fix-It-Friday #51

Here is the photo SOOC.  The photographer of this little beauty wanted to brighten her eyes and make the colors a little brighter!  For me the first stop was LightRoom 2 to boost the exposure and crop the image!  Next I imported to PSE 6 for a few PW actions including Lovely and Bring out the Eyes!


And, of course, a b/w conversion was just for my fun!  My latest passion is for the simple, clean feeling that I get from a great b/w!! 


Now join the fun or just go browse what others have done to this photo at i♥faces!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

I Love These Kids - A Peek at the Bales Family

Remember when I did a shoot a couple of weeks ago with twin teenage boys?  Well, this time I had a session with a family who has twin girls!  Wow, what a difference!!  (A cool side note:  the kids grandparents have known me since the day I was born!!  Talk about a small world!!)  Anyway, for this session I was going to use my new favorite location but opted for a local community college instead and I am so glad that I did because it was perfect for this growing family (mom is expecting later this year)!  Are they just not the cutest little girls?

And then there was big brother, who just got a new pair of aviator glasses and was channeling Tom Cruise from Top Gun!  When I made the reference, I got a blank stare from him!  Wow, I am old!!  LOL!

These were the most willing kids I have ever worked with!!  They made my job so much easier!  Not that I consider what I do a job since I love what I do and I do what I love!!

Then we added mom and dad to the mix and we were off and running!!  Are they not the cutest family?
If you want to see more of this great family, you can go to my photoblog!  Thanks for stopping by and come back soon!

Can Store Brands Help You Recover From the Recession?

This is a Sponsored Post written by me on behalf of PBM Products. All opinions are 100% mine.

Did you know that 8 out of 10 supermarket shoppers state that they have seen no signs of recovery as they do their weekly grocery shopping? In addition, 40% say that things have actually gotten worse even though we are told it is getting better! So what are we as consumers to do? Boycott, shopping for the things we need? NO! We just need to be more savvy in how we spend our hard earned money! I am a firm believer that store brands can help us save money while still purchasing the items that our families enjoy!

During these tough times, the shoppers who buy store brands is at an all time high of 57% and 62% of consumers say they plan on buying more store brands in the future! I will admit that I used to fall into the category of shoppers (43%) who only purchased name brand items for my family! Now I am among the 97% of shoppers who are happy that they have switched to store brands!! I could not be happier and so is my wallet!!  A whopping 49% of consumers say that the store brands are compare favorably to the national brands which is up from 35% in June of 2009!

So where do you fall in the Recession, Recovery & Store Brands debate? I think Store Brands are perfect for these hard times and I will not go back to my old brands! Parent's Choice is just one store brand that can help you get more bang for your buck!  If you have not tried a store brand in a while, give it a try!  Your bottom line will appreciate it and so will your family!

Visit my sponsor: Recession, Recovery & Store Brands

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Preview

Today has been beautiful! I finished working this morning at about 9:30 and have just been enjoying the day ever since! I have worked hard and needed this day off very badly! Here is a preview of Pictures in the Park - Part 4 from this last Saturday!

If you want to see more you can click here! If it is nice where you are, get out and try to enjoy this weather! I will have another photo session to share with you tomorrow!!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Hard Work Pays Off!

Yes, I have been busy!  Yes, I have been working super hard!  Yes, I have way overbooked myself and stressed myself out just a little bit lot!  But in the end, the hard work is paying off!  I just delivered some photos and the client was over the moon with excitement!  She was so happy that she wants to book another session!  Cool!  For now I will leave you with a glimpse of my new favorite location that I used for a super fun engagement session!!

This last one is one of my favorites but if you want to see my absolute favorite then you need to hop on over to my photo blog by clicking here!

I am Still Here!

I am still hanging in there!!  Lots of sessions means lots of editing so I am in full edit mode while trying to spend time outside with the Diva!  I will have lots of photos to share soon!!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Fix-it Friday #50



I needed to do something just because today so I decided to participate in i ♥ faces fix it Friday!  Plus I could not resist playing with a photo of a beautiful subject!!  So here we go! Here is the image SOOC.


The first thing I did was pull the image into Lightroom 2 (my editing program of choice for most things). In LR2, I corrected the white balance and brightened the image. I also used the brush to brighten the eyes!  Next I exported the image from LR2 to Elements 6.  In PSE 6 I used a Scott Kelby trick to do some skin smoothing!  I made a copy of the image and used the Gaussian blur next I added a layer mask.  I grouped the copy and the layer mask and then used a soft white white brush to paint the layer mask and viola, great skin!  I set the brush to 60% opacity and was in lighten mode.  Next I used Pioneer Woman's Bring out The Eyes and Lovely actions!  Here is how the final image looks!


But you know me, I could not leave well enough alone and decided to add a texture just for giggles!!  This texture is a freebie from Jerry at Shadow House Creations and is called XSGrunge!  I just love his textures!!


And could I really go without a bw conversion using Pioneer Woman's BW?  Here ya go!



Now go check out all the other fixes at i ♥ faces!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Remember That Sunset?

Remember how I shared a photo of a sunset the other day and told you that even bad times come to an end?  Well, that is true and now things are on the upswing for me!  My business is booming and I was just hired by a church to do some photography/graphic work for their new website!  I am excited because it could lead to other big projects for me in the area!  I was also approached by a gentleman who has the most gorgeous location just south of town for shooting!  I drove out there to see it today and was blown away!  The long winding lane the two beautiful ponds, the cabin, the stream, the bridge...........it is perfect!!  I will be doing two shoots there this weekend!!!  I cannot wait to share with you the beauty of this location!!

I have been editing sessions like a madwoman so I do not fall behind and I am working on my last one from the beginning of the week!  I will wrap it up just in time to be able to edit the four shoots I have this weekend!  Here is a look at some of what I have been working on:

If you want to see some of the others you can go here!  Enjoy the remainder of the week and I will see you again soon!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

This Crazy Little Thing Called Life

Life has been crazy and busy all at the same time which can make me insane at times (OK, I am insane all the time)!  The warmer days have made for some great adventures with the Diva but the bright sun makes me want to be outside and not doing what I really need to do!  So today is the day to change that!  Yes, the sun is out but I MUST complete the editing of three shoots and finish my laundry!

I will admit that I have been a bit very lazy in my housekeeping and something better always comes up to pull me away from editing!  Don't get me wrong, I love the editing process and find it very relaxing but my new deck furniture keeps calling my name and I give in and lounge with a book while the Diva plays!

Here are some photos from Monday's adventure!  I did a mini shoot for my friend Laurie and her family and the Diva tagged along!  We had a great time and I will share photos from their shoot soon (still editing)!

This is the Diva's new friend!  He is 2 (she is 3) and look at how big is he is compared to her!!  LOL!


They loved watching the fish in the pond!  The fish were very active, hitting the surface of the water which kept these two entertained for quite a while!!

This guy was just floating in the pond all alone!  We found all of his friends later in the wet lands area but he was content to the only dude on the water!!


This squirrel was a riot!!  When I first saw him, he was fanatically digging for some nuts he had buried!  I guess he got tired and decided that he needed a little treat to bring his blood sugar up so he could continue his quest for buried treasure!!
I hope you all have a great Wednesday!  I will be posting some shoots very soon!  I am working as I type!!  LOL!

Monday, April 12, 2010

These Handsome Guys Will Have You Seeing Double!!

Here is a look at my friend Missy's twins that I got to do a session with on Saturday!  To see more you can go here!





They were mostly too cool to smile for me so they just continued the moodiness and that was fine with me!

A Sunsets and Life Goes On!

It was an interesting weekend to say the least!!  Good in some ways and very bad in others!  I will not go into depth and dwell on the bad, lets just say the Knight has a few more chinks in his already very dented armor!  Now to the good!

I got to see an old friend on Saturday evening and do a photo shoot with her 8th grade twin boys!  We had a great time just walking, talking and doing the session with her handsome guys!  I was driving home and decided to take a country road for a change of pace because I needed to clear my head before I got home!  When I turned off this is what I saw:


This beautiful sight reminded me that while the sunsets it will also rise tomorrow!  The seasons of our lives are much like a sunset also because while we love basking in the sun of a great moment, it will end and a new moment of our lives will dawn!  I am not trying to be deep here but I am trying to remind myself that while bad things happen and we walk through many valleys, they do not last forever!  They too have their time to live and to die!  The key is to remember that while going through one of these moments that the sun will rise tomorrow and we need to look forward to that and not look behind us to see what has happened!  I am not trying to say that all will work out as we hope and pray it will but no matter the outcome, there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

Have a great Monday all!  Lots on my plate today but some great sessions to share with you very soon!!

Friday, April 9, 2010

I Just Haven't Felt Like It!

Nope, blogging has not been a big part of my life this week! Minimal visiting other blogs and even less new posting on my part! The sad thing is I KNOW THE CAUSE and the cause is depression which is now manifesting itself with some physical symptoms such as head aches, tummy aches, general aches (or is that age creeping up on me?) and lots of just wanting to stay in bed!

Yesterday, I decided I would not turn the computer on at all! It worked out well! The Diva had an appointment, then I met a client at Starbucks to drop off photos, then I hit some resale shops and then lunch with the Knight (root cause of all issues right now) and then home to make calls and do laundry! Keeping myself busy and enjoying the sunshine, even though it was a little cold, helped greatly! My physical symptoms diminished greatly until around 10 PM. I thought that was odd! As of this morning, no physical symptoms and no panic attacks (wow, has it really come to this?). I started having panic attacks a little under a year ago! Some are severe but most are manageable with a few tricks I have learned! Thank God!!

Today is supposed to be nice so the Diva and I will get out, deliver some more photos and go to the park for some outside fun! Being outside helps tremendously! I will spend time outside this weekend too doing three photo shoots so that will help also! I am also meeting a bride and her sister to book her wedding! Yeah for new clients!!

I am hoping that by next week I will be on the road to feeling better and blogging a bit more but I am not going back to being chained to the computer! The weather is getting nicer and I want to have fun with my little ball of fire (aka Diva)!

Now you know the brutally honest reason that I have not been around! Believe me it helps to get it off my chest and clear the slate for another day!! I hope you all have a great weekend!!  I think I am going to sit on the porch and rock!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Family Memories with "Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel"

This is a Sponsored Post written by me on behalf of Alvin and the Chipmunks. All opinions are 100% mine.




Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel is now out on DVD, Blu-ray and Digital Download!! I am so excited to get this movie because it is the second movie that my 3 year old saw in the theater and LOVED!! She was absolutely captivated from start to finish and the music made her dance in her seat! I liked the movie too but I think I had more fun watching her reactions to it all!

With this release you can get the Double DVD Pack that includes More Munk Mayhem! The "Squeak Along" bonus disc includes more music and mayhem with all new sing-alongs so you are getting more entertainment for your buck with two discs for the price of one and your kids will love it!!

Do you remember how much fun you had with Alvin and The Chipmunks when you were a kid? Well that same fun is now available to our kids and it is still family friendly so you don't have to worry about what they are viewing! Add this film to your collection and you will have many hours of family friendly viewing at your fingertips! Why not start making your family memories with Alvin and the gang and buy it now!  I promise you will not be sorry that you did!

Visit my sponsor: Alvin and the Chipmunks:

 

Picture Perfect by Jo's Fan Box


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