Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Take Me Out To The Ballgame

Peanuts, check.  Cracker Jacks, check.  Small loan for ballgame snacks, still pending.  Yesterday, we had the pleasure of going to an "A's" spring training game.  Ever since we moved to Phoenix, we have enjoyed going to spring training games.  Normally, we go support the home team.  Yesterday, we ventured out to a field that we have not been to.  One of my clients, Eric, plays for the A's.  He's the one doing the super fly man squat there at 2nd base.  I'm pretty sure all of the people we were sitting next to knew who we were there to see.  The kids were chanting for him the whole first two innings. 

We also had the pleasure of going with the Scott clan.  Good Times.
Abbey, Sami, Andrew & Madi. 

At some point near the 6th inning the kids got their second wind for concessions.  Nachos, snow cones, ice cream, and a big gulp Dr. Pepper, what a perfect meal.  Eventually, Eric's fiance, Kaycee, got to the game.  Abbey referred to her as "that pretty girl".  It's always wise to show your clients how well you parent.  I'm pretty sure that she was amazed at my skillz.  We also had a chance to discuss some on her wedding plans.  We even discussed the wisdom of having Little Caesars cater in for the reception.  You just can't beat that $5 large.  Good times.  After the game, Eric brought up some of his balls, and signed them for the kids.  He even signed Andrew's Texas Rangers ball.  All in all, it was a pretty perfect day.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Be Still My Heart

To say that I have the best clients is an understatement.  I have met some of the most amazing people over the last several years.  Many have become dear friends.  I am lucky enough to be apart of peoples most treasured moments.  They have to trust me 100%, and that never gets lost on me. 

When I met Layce, she was interviewing me for her wedding.  As she talked about her and her fiance, she never stopped smiling.  She told me the amazing story of how the two of them came together.  It's always interesting to find out the back story on how these couples meet.  She later went on to talk about her wedding and how she wanted everything to look.  She pretty much had my heart when she mentioned barns and boots.  My kind of gal, totally.  She chose a great wedding venue, and she really made sure everyone was dressed to perfection.  As fate would have it, her something borrowed turned out to be my boots. 

The other day I came home from a long day of shooting to find a large envelope for me on my desk.  I had to do a double take.  What in the world could this be?  I sat down and immediately opened the envelope just like a 7 year old would rip into a Christmas present.  What I saw next would make me speechless.  Yes, hard to imagine, but true. 

Nothing gets this girl like the word "Nordstrom".  What the heck?  Oh my!  She got me a gift card to Nordstrom?!  For doing my job?!  She went to all the trouble to find my husband from Facebook to find out what I loved.  My husband told her my love language was Nordstrom, and there you go.  $100 from Nordstrom!  Awesome and Amazing.  At this moment, I still have no words. 

Tuesday, February 1, 2011


Next challenge:  Find a picture of the person you've been closest with the longest.  Wow.  Talk about memory lane.  Aside from the obvious family, the two friends that stick out to me are both in the photo below.

Yes, the 80's were that blue.
 This photo was taken at Roller World in Arlington, TX.  In this very building I received my first ever trophy, learned how to play Centipede, and saw baby Jessica get pulled from the well.  Every Thursday night was family night.  According to the official "Roller World" rule book, the family rate could include up to 5.  We were a family of 4, but my BFF Lareasa was normally our family member 5.  She is standing next to me in the photo, top row first from the left.  We did everything together.  I spent most weekends spending the night with her or her with me, if I did not get homesick.  We both had Dallas Cowboy Cheerleader coats, we were pretty sure everyone confused us for the real thing.  Every summer we would start each day at the door "Can Lareasa come out and play?" and we would end everyday, "I'm never playing with you again!"  One of my most vivid memories was announcing to her that she was not allowed to come to my birthday party.  With our mom's being best of friends, word got back to my mom.  Needless to say, my mom was less then impressed.  She cancelled my party all together.  Lesson. Learned.  Through the years, we never left touch.  We were in each others weddings, and we were there for the birth of our firstborn sons.  Over the years, our mean 'ole husbands moved us apart, but we can always pick up right where we left off.  She was there the minute I needed her when dad was dying.  She and her family were one of our most frequent visitors.  I'll never forget on my trip back home, exactly one year later from the day my dad died.  Coincidental, we had a mutual friend pass away.  She was on the other side of the building, and I did not even know she was there.  When the usher sat us on the front row, next to the casket, I had to leave.  I could not mentally be there, so I walked out to the hall with the overflow crowd.   She must have seen me leave from the other side of the church, and she almost beat me to my seat.  I crumbled into her arms, without a word, she knew exactly how I felt.  I get emotional now just thinking about that.  The word friend seems so lacking for things like that. 

Akem, next to me in the photo (top row 3rd across) stands my BFF Tammy.  I know what your thinking and yes.  Yes, I chose her to be my friend because of her cool bangs and super sweet glasses.  Everyone who knows me well has heard me talk about Tammy.  We were friends while we were kids, but it was not until we were in our teens that our friendship really took off.  She was always pining after Chris Moore, but it was while they were on one of their "breaks" we really hit it off.  I remember we had some fun times riding in her blue bomber.  She would always bring me Junior Mints while I was hard at work up at the movie theater.  At summer camp, I also remember shooting her with popcorn kernels through my straw at night and sneaking out the window of the cabin to shoot water guns at people walking by.  Did I mention that we were the counselors?  Good Times.  As newlyweds we would spend more days and weekends together than apart.  We would all meet up at someones house after work and do absolutely nothing.  She actually cried tears of sadness when we told her the news of our firstborn.  She eventually recovered from the news, and has been there 100%.  She has been there in the best and worst of times.  I feel like I've and a lifetime of bad times already, and she has been a rock.  I can tell her anything and everything with ease, she completely gets me.  Aside from her poor taste in shoes and Bath and Body scents, she's like the sister from another mother.  Boy, do I love these ladies.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Stolen Challenge

Today on my beloved Facebook, I saw one of my friends post a "30 days of me" challenge.  It was a beautiful photo of her on her wedding day, wearing my boots.  She set forth a list of things to do for the next 30 days, so I will take that and run.  Today's challenge was to post a photo of yourself (gulp) and write 15 facts about you.  I will try to find 15 of the lesser known factoids.
Real proof that I am an original red head.  No matter how hard I try, I can't find this color in a bottle.
Well, the rules did not specify an age, so I will pick this lovely little gem.  This photo has so much going for it.  I was dressed in pants that were clearly too big.  Seriously, look at that killer "Annie" belt.  I rocked that leaping lizards belt.  The yellow puffy shirt, a classic.  I can't really explain the vest/scarf combo, but I'm pretty sure it looked cool with the cowboy boots I had on.  This was taken at my Nanny and Papa's house.  I pretty much lived there on the weekends.  My sister and I pretty much got anything and everything we ever wanted.  Normally, we would hit up the snow cone place down the street and the Five and Dime.  We even had our own room upstairs.  We would pretty much spend our time listening and dancing to the Michael Jackson "Thriller" record.  This room was previously occupied by my dad and uncle, so every time we would turn out the lights, we could see the name "Gordon" painted on the door with glow in the dark paint. Wow, I could talk about those days for pages and pages.  Good Times. 

OK, back to my 15......
1.  If I ask for a coke, I mean Dr. Pepper.
2.  My favorite spot in my house is on my balcony laying in my hammock.
3.  I fly on a plane like cats ride in cars. As I watch people board my flight, I wonder what actor/actress would play each particular person.  My character is always played by Tina Fay.  It's a dramody.
4.  I'm secretly planning a re-do wedding.  I watch every wedding show TLC has to offer.
5.  I'm still best friends with my childhood best friends.
6.  I'm allergic to planet earth with 4 exceptions: Box Elder trees, the Castor bean, smut and the cockroach.  Yes, I'm allergic to that horse I'm snuggling with.
7.  I don't love large groups of children.
8.  I got my first black eye on my son's 4th grade field trip
9.  I love being a rule breaker.  I particular love the "over signed" establishment.  If there is a sign that says "only take 2" I will take 3 every time.
10.  I'm pretty sure I will die violently in the shower. 
11.  I hate Starbucks coffee
12.  I know where every Sonic is in the Phoenix area, and most of them know me.
13.  I make sure I tell everyone I meet that I'm from Texas.  It's important they know.
14.  When I started photography I swore I would never shoot weddings.  ever.
15.  I can't think of the last time I played a game without cheating.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

If It Were Up To Me

Every time I go to a wedding, I find that everyone is pretty much doing the same thing.  Most venues have the same sort of offerings and most other vendors act the same way.  Before I jumped into the crazy world of the wedding profession, I never really noticed what all went into a wedding.  Sure, I planned my own wedding, but I never went behind the scenes to see how the machine really worked.  So many things are done just because everyone does it that way.  Very southern baptistish.  No one really questions or even considers doing some things differently, but I suggest maybe we should.  If It were up to the photographer I wonder how things would change.  Well, let's ponder just for a moment.

Thing I would change #1:  Every bride & groom would see each other before the ceremony.  Look at the below photos and ask yourself "Self, would any of these reactions ever happen in front of everyone during the ceremony?"  No.  If you want to get a real reaction and moment between you and your future spouse, you will not get it during a stuffy ceremony.  Normally, the husband's first glance at his new bride is difficult because he's trying to see around everyone who just stood up.  He has no chance to tell her how amazing she looks once she reaches him because the pastor has already started up his rehearsed message.  The script continues, and there is no real moment.  Seeing each other beforehand gives you a chance for your own special moment.  Say anything, do anything, the moment is yours.  Not to mention, this is a huge calm to the nerves.

Thing I would change #2: Face your crowd as you get married.  Some of my best moments captured during a ceremony, the crown never sees.  I'm not sure why, but everyone keeps their back to the crowd.  We are all forced to stare at the officiant. We don't know this man, and we may not even be able to hear the guy, but we must stare at him and your back the whole ceremony.  If I had things my way, we would look at the back of the officiant and the bride and groom would face him, allowing us to see all the beautiful things the photographer is capturing. 

Thing I would change #3:  I would only cut out most of the family photos after the ceremony.  I would shoot 2 to 4, at the most, with family.  You are only dressed in that dress with your man in that tux once.  You will only be that young and skinny once.  Send everyone to cocktail hour and use every second of that time getting the shots that you will cherish a lifetime.  I promise, that photo of you and aunt Mildred will never get printed.  You probably won't even remember you have it.  Wait until the reception and take as many photos your pretty little heart desires. 

Thing I would change #4: The DJ spinney colored ball and crappy lighting during the first dance.  If I had a dollar every time the lighting would drop down to nothing immediately before the first dance, I'd be a rich lady.  Not too rich, because I enjoy spending money, but comfortably rich for sure.  Most of the time the happy couple never notices the DJ has thrown a red light on them, but as I develop the "hot tamale" couple I remember the DJ's choice of spotlight.  Camera's need light to photograph.  Without it, you will get a bad photograph every time.  A bride should talk to the DJ and venue to make sure no one turns out the lights for the first dance.  Not to mention, your guest are still trying to eat.  I have loads of bad photos on my old hard drive, but instead, I'll show you how nice things look when the lighting is good.

OK, so I realized I could really go on and on on this topic, so I will stop here and do another post.  I may do a whole post on "open bar" weddings.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

January 1st

On January 1, 2000 my life changed forever.  I became a mom.  Prior to that date I thought I knew what the word "tired" and "busy" meant.  Everyone told me how different my life would change, but I had no idea.  None.  I spent most of my time just watching his every move.  I must have called the doctor once a week.  By kid number two, we only went in for shots and normally a month or two late.  In some ways I feel like I've learned so much, in others I feel like I'm about to jump into a bigger pit.  One with snakes and creepy clowns.  We are getting so close to teenager years I can smell it.  No really, the smell is awful and hard to miss.  Pungent really. 

Staying true to my "mother of the year" title, I had to shoot a wedding on Andrew's actual birthday.  We've also realized he has a much better turn out if we can celebrate a little further away from Christmas.  He always has a better turn out.  Back by popular demand, we did the Mobile Game Cave.  What can I say, I know people.  It was a hit.

There they are.  Everyone loves a group shot.  Most of the kids on the left half of this shot are from his class at school, most of the right half are from the neighborhood.  Actually, I could probably claim the right half of this photo on my taxes.  I'm not sure they leave.  They watch for our truck to pull in the driveway.  Nick, the little kid in the blue who was obviously too thirsty to wait for me to shoot this picture, helped me clean out the garage.  Funny enough, it's also the first time I've ever seen this kid fully dressed.

now that I think about it, I should have lightened this up.
As I walked into the trailer to take the above photo, they were starting up another round of Halo.  They were playing 10 against 1.  They were all trying to beat Andrew, unsuccessfully.  We eventually made it out for food, cake and presents.  Andrew had requested Mema's strawberry cake with strawberry icing.  He was also pretty excited to have a pink cake.  Nothing says 11 year old boy like a pink cake.  Being the awesome parent that I am, I only bought a 10 pack of candles.  I'm too cheap to buy a second 10 pack for only one candle.  Abbey said she had a great idea.  She made a number "9" on his cake.  What can I say?  She's gifted like her mommy......socially.  We had the best pink 11th birthday cake with 10 candles formed in a 9.  Only in the Weems house.  I would have it no other way!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Thankful For New Friendship

When we moved to Phoenix over 5 years ago (yikes!) I left every friend and family member I ever had.  A lifetime of relationships put on pause.  I spent the first year mentally and physically sitting in a corner with my arms crossed.  I was bored and friendless.  Slowly over time my business grew tiny little legs and started to take off.  You know, tiny legs like the ones that seem to dangle pointlessly from the drawings of the T-Rex?  Maybe like little salamander legs, but not quite as large and proportionate as a camota dragon.  I was pretty slow going.  Now that I think back, I'm pretty sure I should call and apologize to some people.  Any who, I did get a phone call from one client that would stick around. 

Lonni was almost as sweet and those little girls.  I was called out to do baby pictures of baby Miriam.  She was laid back and relaxed.  Not Miriam, Lonni.  I know I should probably just go back and rewrite that sentence, but that would stop the flow. This was baby girl #3 for her, she was a pro.  She let me do anything I wanted with those kids.  Once I was done, I went back to her house for her proofing session.  I think I stayed for a couple hours.  I sat and talked to hear like I'd known her since grade school.  I felt like I could be myself and say all the dumb things I wanted.  She would sit and listen to me talk and ramble about absolutely nothing. In fact, she probably even reads my blog when I ramble on about nothing too.  I went home thinking and remembering how nice it was to sit around with friends and talk about nothing.  To make a long story even longer, I was surprised the next morning to see an email from Lonni.  She sent the sweetest note about how much fun she had hanging out with me and suggested that maybe we should hang out.  I could not be more happy.

Over the last several years, I've watched this woman go through some of the hardest things I could ever imagine.  Pretty nightmarish stuff.  Yes, nightmarish is a real word.  This program took my first attempt at spelling nightmarish, noticted it as wrong, and suggested the spelling "nightmarish".  Any way, she made it through, met a man who treats her and her girls like royalty AND started her own business.  Pretty amazing to watch. 

All that to say, we had the pleasure of spending Thanksgiving with them this year.  Since we are Texas refugees here in Phoenix, we almost always spend Thanksgiving as a party of 4.  We were excited to crash Lonni's place.  I was almost as excited when my mashed potatoes got to sit in her crystal Tiffany's bowl.  I was less excited when I had to return the bowl to it's original pretty blue box.  For a surprise, she made my favorite flavor cheesecake.  White chocolate raspberry.  Typing it makes my mouth water.  While I run off to take care of my urge for dessert at this very moment, enjoy his handful of photos that I took that day.  I like to entitle this next photo series, 2 Frutkins, 1 Weems and a Cheesecake.  Enjoy.

I ate these until I was physically ill.
Sweet Caroline

This is Mimi, she's the baby in the basked above.

This is the Weems.