From Bikes To Cars: They Grow Up So Fast.

DSC_2672.JPGThese are my girls. The younger one in the long sleeves is actually my niece, but I helped raise her, like a daughter. She received all of her shots along with my son and daughter . I have photo albums of her growing up and I can tell you every cute little story about her when she was a baby. When she was little she’d call me Aunt Mama. I thought it was so cute. Her mother didn’t raise her. Therefore, I was the closet thing to being a mom to her.

 

One hot summer day, my daughter decided to help my niece ride her bike. This brought so much joy to my heart to see them riding together. My daughter always said she bugged her when they were growing up. She followed her where ever she went and wanted to be like her.  It was out of admiration ; she looked up to her like a big sister. Back then it seemed as if , my niece was so much younger than my daughter. In essence they are only 5 years apart. In lady years, this mean you are the same age. Females  have so many challenges to face, the commonality makes us the same age for sure.

I can’t believe how much time has past.  I taught my daughter to drive a car and now I’m teaching my niece. Where did the time go? It’s frightening , but I have to let them go. Being independent is part of life. It’s healthy and natural . Yet, it doesn’t erase the fears of letting them go out in the world. They have to face disappointments, just as I did.  No one is shield from it. Men will hurt them , jobs will reject them and people will let them down.

As a mother, I wish I could hold them and rock them, the way I use too.  Each night I’d give them a bath, give them a snack before bed and massage their faces and backs until they were sleep.  I remember the 3 am feedings and the early morning fevers.  There was the time my daughter was a newborn and she was so constipated. I took her to Kroger at 2am, in my jammies to get a jar of apple juice. She screamed the entire time in the grocery store.  I opened the jar  of juice in the store and placed one of her nipples on it, from her bottle. As she sucked on that juice, I got in line to pay for it. She was a huge infant. My angel was a 10 pounder at birth. God’s work is amazing the way HE enabled her to fit in my tiny body.

One of the fondest memories of my niece was her loud piercing screams. She’d startle me with the scream. The weird thing is, she’d scream anytime she was excited while playing. No one could play games with her unless they were ready for the scream. Some times I’d have her sit down and rest to calm down. The more excited she got, the more she would scream. It drove me nuts!

Now my little girls are no longer little. They are 20 and 25 years old.  I’m so proud of them. Yet, I cry when I see them drive away.

Whats’s Wrong With Me , is What’s Right With Me.

IMG_0338.jpgI’m sorry I missed my Friday posting. I’ve tried adamantly to post a blog every Monday and Friday. Normally I have my blog post in queue.  This time I experienced writer’s block. If you’ve been following my blogs, you probably noticed. I’m sure you wondered what happened to me. There have been several things going on in my life for the past two weeks. It caused a little offset of my blogging schedule. It’s not anything serious. There were will not be too many times that I’ll miss my blog schedule, because I love to write. It’s always been one of my passions.

As we begin to approach today ( Father’s Day) I became indecisive about what I wanted to write about. My blog is mainly about tips on nearly anything that interest me, but my concentration  has been on weddings. I have not blogged too much on fashion and photography as much as I would’ve liked.

Today’s blog is different. Please consider it my belated Friday post. Today I have thoughts of my late daddy. He was the beat in my heart, my strength when things got tough and my joy when the world didn’t see my dreams as he did. You didn’t know this, but I lost my dad 4 years ago. I can’t believe I’m writing this, but I have been grieving since his death. Some days are better than others. Every Father’s Day I’d take him a card and buy him a gift. Buying gifts for him was tough, because he never wanted me to buy him anything. He’d always say, ” keep your money, I want to make sure you’re ok financially. ”  I earned a nice living as a business owner, but he still worried.  I’d sit with him for hours and laugh, eat and talk. The days I’d spend with him, he’d  tell me about life principles and his military stories. I would give my right arm to hear him talk about his military life today. I just wish I had recorded his voice.   One of the best gifts of all is I can actually hear his voice in my head. I thank God for that.

 

He may have been here today if the veterans hospital had taken better care of him. He complained religiously that his stomach hurt, but they insisted it wasn’t anything but high blood pressure. By which he didn’t have high blood pressure. I’m not really sure of the connection. What does stomach pain have to do with high blood, but then again, I’m not a physician. It doesn’t make any since to me.

By the time my family and I were able to convince my dad to seek another doctor outside of the VA hospital it was really too late. The other hospital administered myriad test. They found the problem almost instantly. The medical staff informed my mom, that my dad had gallbladder cancer. My mom kept it from me for as long as she could. She finally brought herself to tell me. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing on the receiving side of the phone. ” Your dad has cancer.” What? Not the man that is known for being called, Iron Man. His friends and family members called him, Sunny.  It was a childhood nickname, but his co- workers called him , Iron Man. They had so much respect for him. He would come to work no matter how he felt . My dad was always positive and he’d do any job that others would refuse to do. The owner of the company grew to love him and gave him more responsibilities, because he could count on him. Along with those responsibilities were perks that other employees didn’t get.

My dad always song around the house. He’d sing anything from old church hymns to old blues. Two of my dads favorite songs: I Believe In You, by Johnnie Taylor & I Will Trust   In The Lord, by, Unknown. It was probably an old artist back in the 50’s or 60’s. He sang many songs around the house while working on his cars in the garage or taking a shower, but these were the two he sang the most. I think he  secretly contributed, I Believe In You, to my mom, because the words were significant to their relationship. He was much older than my mother when they married. He was so good to my mother. If my parents would have some differences , he would call my mom, Honey, with emphasis. As a child I grew to know what that meant. I’d say to myself, ” Mommy and Daddy are fussing.” Their so- called fussing never got deeper than that.

My dad was my everything!  He was always telling jokes and kept me laughing. He taught me how to be an independent woman. He’d always tell me to check my car before I drove off in it. The things he would say:  “Check your tires, your fluids in your car. Listen for new sounds, and make sure you keep money for emergencies.” I listened. To this day those lessons has saved me. I had car issues recently and thought of my dad immediately. Guess what? I fixed my car.  He always showed his love by going over and beyond to take care of me. Dad wasn’t big on hugs. I thought it was so funny as I got older. I’d try to hug him and he’d give me this little soft ” Church pat.”  If you’ve been to church, you know the church pat on the back. It’s light and quick. LOL.

If I needed him for anything he was there for me. He’s been there through all of my failed marriages and business failures. He’d always say ,” that’s ok Peaches, try again .” My dad never judged me. He was not only a man of God, but a family man.  He wasn’t the type to criticize  and scold me with bible scriptures. No, he wasn’t that type of man of God. He’d always say, “treat others as you wish to be treated. ” He was a man of his word. If he told you , he’d be there, he would.

What I loved about my dad the most was his undying love for my mother. It taught me what real love looked like. Unfortunately  I haven’t found a man like him. He was such a giving man. He didn’t have a selfish bone in his body. It may be what’s wrong with me. I love hard, keep my word and I try to help everyone I care about. Sometimes I carry the burdens of being incapable of somethings and it makes me feel weak.  My entire life I’ve been told by others, ” You’re strong like your daddy.  Well, today I don’t feel so strong. My eyes are filled will tears and my heart is heavy.   Say hi to him for me – God.

Happy Father’s Day to all dad’s in heaven.

Maybe I Should be a Baby Photographer .

I love  shooting almost anything; I don’t mean with a gun. I have to watch how I say this in public. Once I’ve been on the phone in a coffee shop, talking to a client. I asked her if she wanted me to shoot the baby too.  Instantly I received stares from nearly everyone around me. I spoke up immediately, informing everyone that I’m a photographer. Then I received looks of relief  and spontaneous smiles. That’s a little side story that came to mind  as I gathered   my thoughts for this blog post.

Have you ever loved doing something ,but did everything in your power  to avoid it? It doesn’t make since but apparently it’s pretty common. For example: Have ever heard of  stories  where someone  always dreamt of owning a bakery, yet they go to law school to  to please their parents? Every semester that goes by, they are thinking of baking the pastries and all sorts of cupcakes. They’ve picked out the business name their and has practically written a mental business plan.  Everyone in their family is proud except them. Often times the story ends where they go off and start that bakery business  ( after practicing law) they’ve  yearned for.

Admittedly, I think this is my story.  I’ve always loved babies. Besides they are the sweetest thing on earth. Seriously, I can’t think of anything more precious than a baby. Many years ago I made an attempt to own a childcare center, but there were so much red tape involved ; it was nearly impossible to go for it. I owned some property that would have been perfect for a childcare center. It was located in an area that was inundated with businesses. I thought to myself , it would be a piece of cake to get approved. The city turned down the thought. For me it was a way to stop in and play in the infant room and get my baby fix. For some reason it didn’t seem to impress anyone with my idea.

Whenever I’d go out and shoot a wedding, I’d get a different response . There were people who admired me more for shooting a wedding. I decided to take on the challenge merely , because I was always told weddings aren’t a joke. I’d have to be organized and make sure the bride was completely happy . Anytime someone tell me it’s a challenge or that it’s something most photographers are afraid to try , I wanted to try it. The problem is , I’ve tried several years to get a consistent client wedding data base. For whatever reason it hasn’t worked for me. Each time I get stood up for a wedding portrait or turned down to shoot a wedding, I think to myself; maybe it’s not where God wants me to be. I love babies.

Photographing infants has it’s own challenges. Most often the newborn is sleeping while being placed in all typed of poses. The sky is the limit with creativity using props. They must be kept warm and have some sort of white soothing sounds. They’ll sleep throughout the session on a warm bottle of milk.  It takes tons of patience to get the perfect shot. You have several factors that can work against you. A fussy baby and excited parents. Most sessions will last 2-4 hours , because patience is a virtue. There are clothing changes and breaks for the baby that can prolong the session. At the end of the day, it brings me joy to know I was a part of creating the babies first real session. It would be treasured forever.

This year is my attempt to switch genre’s . Weddings are great and I’d shoot one in a heart beat. However,  when I browse the internet for baby photography; I imagine if it were me making those precious memories.

Have you ever avoided a true passion to please someone else?colin-maynard-231363.jpg

 

 

Don’t be Afraid to Try The Wedding Cake Alternative

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People are becoming more practical when it comes to weddings. Often times the wedding cakes aren’t eaten. They range in price from $100.00 to a neighborhood price of $500.00. This is average and of course based on how many slices, the number of tiers and how fancy the cake will be.  Shut the bakery door! My goodness a wedding cake can really put a dent in your wallet.

There are many alternatives to cake for a wedding, but lets talk about the little bite size cake.  Your wedding should be customized to you and your groom.  You don’t have to serve wedding cake if you don’t want too. Today bakers have become very creative with cupcakes. They can be simple to down right elegant.

 

You can mix and match flavors so theres something for everyone.  Don’t just sit them on a tray. Make a cupcake tower. Most people expect to see the cake slicing photo.  Grab one of those cupcakes from the tower and take a big bite for the picture. It’s cute and you don’t need a knife. How about that! Talk about a conversation piece for years to come. The cupcakes are easy, delicious and often times there will never be any left to take home.

What Do Wedding Guest Care About Most?

The ceremony:   The greatest thing the guest care about. Who aren’t eager to watch the lovely couple proclaim their love?  Don’t make the ceremony too long, because guest will start to get restless. I hate to say it, but 30 minutes is roughly about all most guest can take. I know you’ve planned this for years and you picked out the perfect dress, but we are ready to move on to the next phase. That’s why a great photographer is imperative to freeze your special day.  felix-russell-saw-130503.jpgWhat about the food: Make sure your food choices are crowd pleasers, everyone is hungry and you don’t want anyone to leave early to eat else where. Besides you spent so much time with the event planner to make sure every detail of your day goes well. Be sure to offer options for those with common allergies and vegetarians. todd-cravens-250743.jpgThe drinks: Like cake and ice cream, wedding and booze goes together. Champagne, wine,  beer and 2- 3 specialty cocktails will keep guest smiling all night long. rhianon-lassila-48758.jpgThe music: Last but certainly not least. Make sure your music list is on point. Play contemporary tunes everyone is sure to know and love. Leave the oldies , but goodies in the attack. It’s not that kind of party . Remember as you have fun, keep it classy. Don’t drink and drive. mitchell-orr-179532.jpg

The Origin of the Word Flap Jacks

untitled-4603-1.jpgHere is another excuse to show you a photo I created; one morning after making flapjacks.   The first time I ever heard that word is when I was a little girl knee high to a sidewalk. My dad would talk about how he ate so many flapjacks growing up.

Have you ever thought about where the name flapjacks originated?  Flapjacks dates back to the 1300’s when ” flap” was used in place of “flip.” The jack was used to refer to something smaller than normal. No one really knows why flapjacks was used to describe pancakes, but there isn’t any difference than today when a named is tagged on to something and you never really know why.

I can only eat just one because I normally make them huge. It’s tough for me to order flapjacks  from a restaurant , no one seems to understand my love for the  charred, crispy edges. Never drown them in syrup. It will soak up regular syrup and you’d find yourself pouring more and more. Now you’ll find yourself eating a bowl of sugar.  It’s best with pure honey or agave nectar.   It’s delicious with a strong sweet taste. The taste is so strong until you only need  very little for flavor. Not to mention agave is derived from a plant. Which is much healthier than refined sugar.

Flapjacks are often  served  with syrup, chocolate chips, whip cream, blueberries, bananas, cherries, apples, powdered sugar, chicken, candy sprinkles, jam, honey , agave nectar, applesauce, oranges, nuts, caramel sauce, yogurt and shredded coconut.  If you have tried anything different . Share it with me. I’d love to know.

Are You Driving Your Heels Crazy?

Have you ever thought about how much you really abuse your heels? A nice pair of heels cost at least ( average) $50.00 and you don’t give much thought about how to prolong the look and life of the shoe. This is all about taking pride in yourself from head to toe. Let’s start from the bottom and work our way up. Shoes are the most neglected part of a man and woman’s wardrobe. Today the focus is a woman’s pair of ( patent leather) heels. They are the finished look to any outfit.

Where do you store your heels? They should be neatly in a box, on a shelf or placed in a single file on the closet floor neatly. The way you care about them will prevent purchasing the same shoe over and over. Especially if it’s a basic patent leather heel. Normally patent leather isn’t worn often. Therefore, when you decide to wear them, they should always look polished. There shouldn’t be any deep scuffs, abrasions or damage to to the back of the heels. There isn’t anything worse than wearing beat up patent leather heels with a nice, beautiful dress. Don’t leave the house looking as if you’ve escaped  a blind date and you had to take off running, (literally on foot) to get away from him.

How to prevent your heels from looking like to drove them crazy: 

  1. Always store your shoes in a neat, clean area.
  2. Make sure one shoe doesn’t disturb  the other while stored in a box; It creates scuff marks ( drives them nuts)
  3. When stepping onto a sidewalk or stairs, make sure the entire base of the shoe is completely away from the edge  of the side walk. You’ll end up with a hideous dent in the back of the heel.
  4. Never drive in your heels. The right shoe will have abrasive marks from carpet burn. ( one cute shoe and one ugly shoe..eww)
  5. Never keep heels in the trunk laying on it’s sides with junk piled on top of the heels. They will lose their shape and luster.
  6. Make sure you aren’t kicking the toe of your heels against your desk at work. The material will peel off and age your shoes in the worse way.
  7. Never walk on heels of the shoe with the front of the shoe in mid air. This ruins the taps on the shoes. ( Now they make sounds like an old car)
  8. Don’t allow anyone to borrow your heels. Not only is this unsanitary , but everyone walks in their shoes differently . They’ll end up worn in the opposite direction in which you walk. ( Just let her keep them)
  9. Don’t take long walks in them. They aren’t for exercise. You’ll ruin the sole.
  10. Make sure your shoe is the right size. Wearing shoes that are too large or too small adds stress to the shoe. ( Not to mention your feet )

 

Tip:

Have a pair of driving shoes in the car. The number one reason you drive your nice heel crazy, is because you burn them on the carpet.

Stop driving your shoes crazy! 🙂

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Things You Can do With Your Wedding Gown After the Wedding.

A wedding gown is part of a brides love story. It’s much more than pieces of fabric. In society today with so many modern women, very few women carve out time to feel like a magical princess. However, there is the one time when she wears the wedding gown of her dreams.

I loved my gown so much, I planned the exact day it would be worn again right after my wedding. It was worn the following year, a month before my first anniversary.   I was so anxious to do it. I called my photography mentor a few months after my wedding and booked the fun shoot.

Here are 10 things you could do with your wedding gown, post wedding:

  1. Have it cleaned and placed in a shadow box to hang on the wall
  2. Transform it into a  regular dress
  3. Preserve it for your daughter
  4. Wear it for an anniversary portrait
  5. Donate it to a charity for breast cancer or a bride that can’t afford to buy a nice gown
  6. Sell it to a consignment shop such as,  Le Dress Boutique, Discount Wedding and Evening Dresses
  7. You could trash your dress for awesome photos
  8. Become a bridal model and showcase your gown
  9. Rent it out for bridal marketing images
  10. Keep it and store it away from natural lightMMP_1692.jpg This was such a fun first anniversary session!

Photo by: Moreland Photography

 

The Next Word That Comes After Summer, Is Corn.

Hey there! I’m so happy you stopped by. I was hoping we could chat a bit about how elated I am that summer is here! My first thought is bring out the grill. Who wants to stand over a hot stove during the summer? The smell of summer is so tantalizing , but depending on what part of the world you live in. Summer is really here! You no longer have to dream about it or look at beautiful summer adventures in magazines.

Fresh corn is one of my favorite summer foods. Especially the yellow and white corn mixed. Oh! Did you know that  June 11th is  National Corn on The Cobb Day?

There are so many ways to cook corn on the cobb, including boiling, roasting, grilling and steaming. Most of the time I don’t eat it in any elaborate way.  Salt, pepper and a bit of vegan butter will suffice. Believe it or not I’ve eaten fresh corn on the cobb without any seasonings. It’s like a Mercedes, it great alone. How do you like yours?

Here are some recipe ideas using corn :

  1. Roasted corn and tomato salad
  2. Creamy corn chowder
  3. Mexican elotes bisque
  4. Charred corn and black beans
  5. Veggie graten
  6. Sweet corn ice-cream

I can’t leave without touching the heath benefits of corn.  I wanted to be a nurse. Therefore, it’s in my blood. The antioxidants in corn helps protect the body from cancer and heart disease. I’m sure you get the most health benefits from corn that isn’t highly seasoned. Don’t quote me on this. I’m not a doctor. It’s just my educated guest. ( Hehe) The sweet corn is  loaded with lutein.  It promotes healthy vision. So, eat your sweets!

For me, I’ll take mine plain.untitled-4590-1.jpg

 

Do You Have To Break The Piggy Bank, To Have Adequate Lighting?

Today’s subject is about the type of lighting equipment you need to create YouTube videos or videos for anything.  Do you need to have the latest and greatest lighting equipment? Some of you think you need it all to get started. Guess what? You don’t.

I discovered these nifty little beauties by watching YouTube.  They are by Limo Studio. You can find almost anything on YouTube. They’re handy , lightweight and very easy to use. These are called continuous  lights. The reason ( for you lighting newbies) this equipment is called continuous , because the power is turned on continuously. In other words the bulbs do not flash.  Easy enough …right?

This type of  artificial  lighting  is the best for videos.   You can also use them for photos. However always keep in mind natural light is the best light.  If you can sit near a window by all means please do so. It is the most flattering . Realistically there are some cases where using natural light isn’t feasible. What if  you  recorded a webinar during the evening; when most people are available to attend?  You’d need some type of artificial  light.

These awesome lights can be considered as a starter kit. They are inexpensive, and very easy to set up.  This will be the beginning of improving the looks of your videos. They can also be used with other lighting equipment . The kit includes: Three light stands, 3 bulbs, 3 light sockets , 2 white ( 1 reflector pictured) reflectors.  Lastly a carry case for the bulbs and one for  the  rest of the equipment. You can purchase this kit on http://www.amazon.com for only $55.99. The only suggestion I have is to invest in brighter bulbs. The bulbs that came with the kit are 45 watts. With the reflectors you’d lose some output.

If you are not a professional, but want to  produce nicer looking videos , I don’t think the Limo Studio lights will disappoint you. The best part about it, you won’t break the piggy bank!untitled-4582-1-2