Friday, February 26, 2010

Hot and Not

Today, everyone and their mothers thought it was great day to wash their cars. I drove by 4 different car washes….all FULL. Each lane had at least two cars or more waiting for their turn to wash off all the layers of mud that have accumulated over the past few days. I can’t stand having a dirty car….I believe it is the Californian in me. All the cars in L.A are nice and shiny…even the beaters are clean. However, living in seasons…it’s impossible to always have a clean car, ESPECIALLY in winter. On the way home after running errands, I did a drive by to the self car wash and it was still two cars deep. On my way out, I noticed that the gas station’s car wash was empty…so I quickly purchased a car was then drove up. At that point I was only 1 car behind, with one car in the stall. The inside must have just started because it took another 15 minutes before I actually got to drive in. At that point, I was annoyed because the kids were getting restless (I don’t blame them…it was nap time) and when I glanced back at the self car wash, the car I would have been behind, was LONG gone. So, we roll in, watch the machine spray soap, water, more soap, water…kids start freaking out….me calming them down…..then finally, we are done. I pulled out slowly to let the fan blow off the excess water, got out to push the mirrors back out, only to notice that the car was STILL dirty! Are you kidding me? UGH! There is nothing more annoying than to pay money for something and not get what you paid fo. I am done with drive thru car washes. This leads me to my new segment of the week….Hot and Not. Each week I will be sharing a few of my experiences …the hot and not so hot moments. Enjoy!

HOT

 

 

American Airlines. They had such awesome last minute airfares, my mom and niece were able to visit for Travis’ birthday! YAY!

Costco. They have this sneaky way of making you feel good about spending more than you planned on by only charging $1.50 for a hot dog combo. Great marketing.

Beth Moore. I absolutely LOVE listening to this incredible woman speak and teach. Each week, in our bible study of Ester, she says something that speaks to my heart and fills me with peace.

Salvation Army…check out the post below to see my new antique camera. Even better….the price tag: $9.99!!

Girl scout cookies. It’s all about Thin Mints and Samoas!

Windows Live Writer. You can create a post, add pictures, publish without going online! The best feature is how easy it is to upload and resize pictures….instead of hassling with blogger and having to change all the dimensions the hard way. I highly recommend this for all your bloggers out there!

NOT

 

 

 

Drive thru car washes…need I say more?

Costco. I got tricked again in buying more than I needed and now I am reminded about it every time I burp up hot dog.

The Olympics coverage. Our networks seem to have limited coverage of all the events…not to mention have interfered with my favorite show Biggest Loser.

Winter….you’ve been torturing me since September….now just-go-away!

Winter.

Winter.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

One Man’s Trash is Another Man’s Treasure…

You’ve heard that saying, “one man's trash is another man's treasure." So often this has become a reality of mine. I love garage sailing, hitting flee markets, even going to thrift stores. I remember when I lived in California, we lived amongst the rich and scored so many deals on their “charity”. There was a Salvation Army right down the street where we lived and every now and then, I would go in and take a peek. I was always amazed on what was donated there….pretty much brand new merchandise was available. I love finding the needle in the haystack, even if it means I have endure the awful smell of a thrift store and sterilize my clothes and self after rummaging through all the junk….I guess that is part of the fun.

During the spring, I especially love going garage sailing! I will checkout Craigslist to “map out” my plan of attack and either drive throughout the neighborhoods or plan my run around areas that are close to my neighborhood. Even Travis has gotten in on the fun and asks, “are we going to look for junk today?” Currently, I am in search of a Victorian Style chair to use for my photo shoots which you will most like see once I find the perfect score, but until then, I will keep searching online and visit our local antique stores….which brings me to the whole reason for this post :)

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When I was in Californian visiting, I went shopping at this huge antique store called King Richards. There is so much to see, it could seriously take HOURS of visiting every booth that is set up. When I was there, I found my first “antique” camera. It’s a 1970’s Polaroid camera…and if you look at my profile picture at top, you will see it. It came with it’s original case, the flash, instructions, and even some old film. Eventually, I will order some new film and give this Polaroid a whirl. Today, I added another addition to my camera collection…and old antique Kodak camera. I completely love all the intricate details and am curious wondering who’s family, memories, hobby, and travels it captured. It is a bit beat up on the outside, which to me, only adds more character and charm to it. I look forward to using it in an upcoming themed photo shoot I have in store and putting this camera back in to use….or at least back into the “picture”.

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Capturing Your: Flavor

Chad and I are opposites when it comes to desserts. For Chad, he prefers desserts that are chocolate based or would taste good if he asked for chocolate on the side to dip in. When we celebrated Valentine’s Day just a few weeks back, we went to Cheesecake Factory…and for those of you who have been there before, know that they have more than 20 different cheesecakes to choose from. Recently, they added a red velvet cheesecake…which is to die for. It is layers of cheesecake and red velvet cake with white chocolate on the outside. To me, it was perfect, but to Chad he asked for a side of hot fudge…then it was perfect :) I much rather eat something that is fruity, like apple cobbler or something berry. When I don’t feel like sharing a dessert, I will order something without chocolate because I know that he will not want a bite :)

My best friend Atsuko is the world’s best chef. Ever. It wasn’t until I met her that my palette changed and I went from ordering the classic burger to more exotic dishes. She pretty much can make anything look appetizing…which is another skill within itself. I can’t claim the same for myself…I lack in the cooking department. However, Atsuko was able to teach me a few fun recipes over time which I have been able to impress family and friends with. Her dessert recipes are to die for….and at one point, our husbands thought that they would die if they ate another piece of whatever-dish-we-cooked-too-many-times again. One of the desserts that we loved to torture them was Key Lime Pie. We would purposely make it because we knew they would gag at the thought of eating it again, so she and I would enjoy it by ourselves. The appeal, in addition to it’s taste, was how simple it was. Last night, we had a friend visiting from out of town, so what better opportunity than to make it?

So, here’s the recipe for you to try out for yourself. And remember ladies, they way to a man’s heart is through his stomach…but remember moderation is the key…you don’t want him puking every time you make mention of making key lime pie!

Key Lime Pie:

Ingredients: Pie crust, sweetened condensed milk (14 oz), 4 egg yokes, 3 limes and whip cream.

Prepare pie crust as directed and let cool.

Cut limes in half and squeeze limes until you get 1/3 cup of lime juice. It is best to use a juice appliance or hand held juicer.

Mix sweetened condensed milk, 4 egg yokes and then gradually stir in lime juice. Mix well. (If you prefer the pie a little more tart side, add more lime juice).

Pour into pie crust and bake at 350F for 10-12 minutes or until firm.

Let cool, then put in the refrigerator to chill.

Add whip cream and garnish with left over limes.

Then voila, you’re done!

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Sunday, February 21, 2010

Happy Birthday 4th Birthday Travis!

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This past Saturday, my “baby” turned 4! Although he is the eldest of our two, I still consider him my baby because I just can’t let him grow up! I remember vividly being in the hospital, holding all 4lbs 10 oz of him, watching the winter Olympics (because there was NOTHING else on), and thinking, next time the Olympics is on, you’ll be 4. And just like that, 4 years has flown by and I stood there with my little man child, decorating his birthday cake…together. I LOVE this child more than anything…..a mother’s love for her child is completely indescribable and at times overwhelming. I love his smile, his sweet little voice, the way he puts his hand on my face and says “Mommy you are so beautiful”, even though I am covered in sweat, his funny little sayings, his silly dance, his huge heart, his little bum cheeks, his itty bitty baby teeth and the his ability to say the sweetest things at the perfect time to melt my heart. Each year comes with it’s set of challenges, but through it all, my love for him grows deeper, my appreciation for his beautiful character grows stronger, my hair becomes thinner at times from wanting to pull it out, and my life becomes richer by the day by having him in my life.

So, today, Mommy wants to wish you a very Happy Birthday! It is my promise to love you unconditionally, pick you up when you fall, continually encourage you to be a man after God’s heart, be your safe haven, write down all your silly phrases and keep them in the “Travis Jar”, make sure I am always on time…I don’t want to give you a complex like me about being late, wipe your tears, kiss your boo boos, laugh at your jokes…and dancing…..and just be the Mommy that you deserve to have. I love you my little McGee and look forward to a life time with you. Cheers to four…and so much more!

Enjoy the many expressions of Travis!

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Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Capturing Your: Peek-A-Boo

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Let’s face it…being a mother is a lot of work. Our children have so many important needs that we have to attend to…diapers, food, playtime, school, more food, more diaper changes…..the list goes on and on…so the first thing out the window, or at least in my case, is my looks. Truth be told, I RARELY get dressed during the week…or do my hair…or makeup….and as a common courtesy to the public I at least attempt to look presentable when I do make public appearances. If you were to unexpectedly drop by my house during the week, chances are I wouldn’t answer the door because I would seriously be too hideous to look at.

Despite this, we as mothers, still want to feel beautiful, desired and…ahem…sexy. Underneath all the food stains, layers of cotton dirty tee shirts, and polka dotted socks, we are still someone’s wife. This past Valentine’s Day, I was able to help a wife  give a special gift to her husband….beautiful pictures of her. For those of you with a wild imagination, I will take all the guessing work out for you. These were done in taste, with class and elegance…. nothing provocative. I believe that my photography is a reflection of me, so I wouldn’t do anything that I would be embarrassed or remorseful about….nor would I ask that our my clients. Out of respect, privacy and permission, I will only post pictures that show off her nice legs and FAB-U-LOUS shoes. I had a fun time….it is definitely a new experience for me and one that I can’t wait to do again….but the goal, as with all my photo shoots, is to make the client feel comfortable, feel natural, and to have fun. Once this achieved, it makes for some really wonderful shots. And I should know…I got to see ALL the pictures :)

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Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Capturing Your: Anticipation


It's amazing how fast time flies. It seems like just yesterday Travis was born, but soon he will be 4. I just celebrated my 31st birthday but can't get over the fact that 10 years ago I was 21...really....did 10 years just pass by that quick? And now my little baby, who isn't so little anymore....a year and half. Sheesh! It's always easier to think that about how fast someone else pregnancy flew, but when you are actually going through the process yourself, it seems like eternity! That's how I feel about Ozzie's pregnancy. It seems like just last week we were sitting in Starbucks talking about she still had another 20 plus weeks to go and now, she is finally in the home stretch!


Ozzie and I were introduced through a mutual friend shortly after we both relocated to our new hometown. I remember snooping on her FB page and discovering that she a talented photographer. I browsed through her pictures and was just amazed at her wonderful eye and skills she has as a photographer. I love learning new things about photography, especially through my fellow photographers. It's always great to have a fresh perspective and to share ideas and tips with one another.


I had a fun time taking pictures with Ozzie just last week. Notice, I said taking pictures with Ozzie....as in we took turns taking pictures of each other. I needed some new profile pictures and Ozzie graciously took some amazing shots of me.....like the one in my new banner at top. And if you are a friend on FB, my new profile picture is also compliments of the talented Mrs. Ozzie! It's always a bit intimidating taking pictures of another photographer. I wonder what is going through their head...do they think this is a good shot, can they recommend better, am I too slow and on and on and on! However, it was easy with Ozzie because she was a natural and I believe could envision what I had in mind. I had a great time just hanging out, talking photography, pregnancy stories, weather, kids, going to lunch... and also freezing our butts off since it was in the low 40's and cloudy!


Thank you Ozzie for such a wonderful time to hang out and have some "girl time" together! I look forward to many more girl dates together and hearing all about your new baby girl Tayla!


Friday, February 5, 2010

Y2K

2000. How did you party like it was 1999? For me, I remember I went out with all my girlfriends to dinner, then hit a fun pub/club near our college. We were dressed in our usual party girl attire, hair curled and sprayed, make-up and body glitter from MAC, hats with the year 2000 on top....and how could I forget....our 2000 sunglasses. Yes, we were "those dorks"!

For some of you, you may remember 2000 as the year that the computers were suppose to crash and vital information would be permanently lost.....creating chaos in the banks, hospitals, airports...pretty much anything that used computers to store information. At the time, I worked for a bank and even though banks are closed on major holidays such as New Years Day, I had to report to check our computer systems, ATM and run a series of test to ensure that no data was lost....which surprise surprise....everything was fine.

Well, today, my blog reached 2000 hits! In all honesty, I thought that the only person who would check out my photography blog was my mom...because after all, you can always count on your mom. It's like when someone gets on TV, the first person they give a shout out to is their mom....like "Hi Mom, I'm on TV!!". For me, it's "Hi Mom, look what I did at school today!" However, turns out, she rarely checks it out so obviously there are a few others out there who come back for whatever reason. Regardless of the reasons for visiting, it's pretty cool to see that there are a few who keep coming back. So, thanks!

And since this is a photography blog, not History 101, here's a picture of my sweet boy! He was super excited that he FINALLY saw a train nearby our house after 2.5 years! Yes, he was a wee bit excited :)

Cheers to 2000!


Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Capturing Your: Heart




Believe it or not, I am shy. I know....most of you who personally know me are either laughing, rolling your eyes, or saying to yourself "Yeah right, girlfriend!" No, really....when it comes down to the real me, the real Michelle....I seriously struggle with being outgoing. It is something that I really have to work on, to get the courage to say hi and carry a conversation, because really...all my insecurities haunt me....like...will they like me? will they think I am weird? is there a booger in my nose? did I remember to brush my teeth?

Meeting Holly and Eric personally for the first time felt as if I was hanging out with old friends. Holly got my information from my good friend Carrie and Holly just happens to be the twin sister of Carrie's husband, Austin. Following me? She's the twin sister of my friend's cousin's neighbor's dog sitter sister who's grandma was great friends with my teacher's son who married my best friend from 3rd grade. Whew...no really, it's a lot more simple than that....basically she's the twin of our good friends Carrie and Austin. The same qualities that we love about Carrie and Austin were the same things that made this photo shoot seem so natural and effortless. They were truly so sweet, so down to earth and just the kind of people you wished you lived closer to and could spend more time with. And it didn't take more than one look for me to just to fall in love with their son Fox! He is a DOLL!!! He has the sweetest eyes ever and a smile that would make anyone melt. Not to mention, he was such a trooper for being so photogenic even though it was a wee bit cold outside. It's families like this that just make me love and crave what I do even more!

Thank you Holly, Eric and Fox for taking time out of your whirlwind schedule, while on vacation, and allow me to share these moments with you. Also, a big HAPPY First Birthday to Mr. Fox....I hope that you enjoyed your first taste of birthday cake!