Photographing Prom

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My niece asked me to take photos of her for prom this year. It was a pretty big deal. They primped and prepped all day long.

I was honored. But… I made it clear that I don’t really have any idea what I’m doing. They didn’t care. I just had a nicer camera than her mama.

So I got to work. Aside from following the professional photographer around once we got to the park, my plan was to get in there and take as many photos as I could.

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I took 316 photos. I think that’s awesome! I gave them all to my sister on a flash drive, but I also went to town on 39 of them in Lightroom. I figured since I was giving them all of the originals, I could experiment a little bit, no harm, no foul.

I made some black and white, I made some vintage. I made some ridiculously contrasty and intense. I made some golden and glowing, just because I could.

I also captured my sister sharing on Facebook on her phone.

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I took a lot of getting ready photos, and I’ve heard that a few of those were their favorites. Come on. Her little sister and her mama helped get her dressed and get her shoes on. The photos are precious. (Let’s not talk about the standard they set for a wedding later on! But it was a really sweet day.)

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I will never be guilty of saying I’m awesome at something when I’m not. So I definitely won’t say it now.

But I had fun, and I captured the occasion for them better than our iPhones could have.

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project life 2014: week 08.

This is week eight of project life 2014!

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Week 08: February 17 – February 23.

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What happened: This week looks like so long ago!!! I can’t believe this is 2014. I got my brand new Hunter boots finally this week, and wore them out for awesome Chinese food… sesame scallops.

I was also so proud of my first time cooking fish at home, so that went in the book.

P. and I played some Mario Kart and Guitar Hero one night and baked homemade cookies. I remember loving that night.

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About the pages: For my spread this week, I typed onto some photos. I love how simple this looks once it’s printed out. I just made a white box in Photoshop Elements, reduced the opacity, and typed on top of that. It keeps the photo looking complete and also makes the text more readable.

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I made incredible almond meal pancakes! And that photo cropped down to a little 3×4 might be the best pancake photo I will ever take.

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About Project Life | Project Life is a memory-keeping system created by Becky Higgins. I choose to document life weekly. You can see all my Project Life posts here, and details about my album here. I am using the Jade core kit this year and Design A pocket pages. My favorite tools for getting it done each week are my Canon Pixma Pro-100 printer and my 15″ Rotatrim paper trimmer. They’re massive but awesome.

Five Day Weekend: Papa’s Birthday

Moving right along in my share of my super long weekend.

Sunday was my dad’s birthday. It was a biggie. He was not happy about the number. But we’re all happy for him.

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There was some family drama. I’m working on… a lot of things, and I’m sensitive and I’m tired of drama.

But the day was all about sunshine and being together and crabs.

They insist on theming the food at all of their standard pool parties throughout the summer. One is ribs, one is chicken wings, one is burgers and hot dogs. My dad’s birthday is the crab fest.

Last year I was just dipping my toe in to the seafood thing again, but this year I was all about it.

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So good. And this little girl stole the show for a while.

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Her little personality at 14 months is awesome. She’s not fussy any more, and she is hilarious. She also loves when my mom sings The Itsy Bitsy Spider. Seriously, loses her mind. And at “all through the town,” literally screams, and claps faster than I’ve ever seen anyone clap.

But I digress. I do not have the video to share. So I’ll leave you with another image.

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Yes, that is a flower power pool car. Thanks for asking.

My brothers and sister were worried that we didn’t have a cake, so before I brought out my cookie cake, they made him a cardboard replica so he could blow out a candle.

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Oh boy. Here’s to a great summer so far, drama and all.

Book Report: Top 5 All Time Favorites.

I am a slow reader. And sometimes I go months where I don’t crack open a book. But they’re always at least part of the background for me.

Last week, I rediscovered the library and I am totally drawn to it. My library card is about 17 years old, and I just found out it’s still usable. So now I have three library books checked out and a collection of purchased books I’m looking to sell. No joke, every time I’ve opened one of my rented books this week, I’ve gotten a thrill. They make a different sound. They’re awesome.

Considering my snail reading pace, I thought I’d kick things off on the blog with some all time favorites, instead of a “what I’m reading now” list.

First up, my absolute favorites (not genre specific). And to throw a High Fidelity reference in for good measure, I made it a Top Five list.

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Water for Elephants, by Sara Gruen // The movie adaptation for Water for Elephants came out in 2011, and I made it my goal that year to read the book from start to finish before it did. Don’t get me wrong, I love Reese Witherspoon. And at one time, was a bit nuts for Robert Pattinson. But when I read a book, I like to create my own characters. It might be the best part of reading for me, even though I love movies most of all.

I was really glad I did. I fell for all of the characters in the book. It starts out with a Polish kid going to school to be a vet, and after a really tragic beginning to the book, it finds him running away to the circus. It was a really great read for when you’re going through some “there must be something else” moments. I’ve had a few of them over the past few years.

The book throws Jacob into a brand new life and I love the world that the author creates. There’s some sap and obviously some love. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

The Time Traveler’s Wife, by Audrey Niffenegger // Another book turned movie. I made the same rule for myself for this one, and read the book before the movie premiere. For this one, I was not a fan of the movie. I liked seeing the adaptation, and what they chose to do with some of the scenes. But it lost all of the great, beautiful, sappy pieces that brought the story to life. I definitely suggest sticking to the book. If you’ve already seen the movie, it might already be too late.

It centers on time travel, which sounds even hokier than the circus. But I really dug it. Basically, it was a really refreshing take on a love story, that you just couldn’t follow in order. It was perfect for the story, because the two people falling in love didn’t even get to have it in the same order. It was like little snapshots of their story unfolding, and it was so well written.

The Night Circus, by Erin Morgenstern // Two books about the circus on my top five list. You must think I’m nuts. Honestly, if anyone has any suggestions for even more beautifully written novels that take place at a circus, lay them on me. I think they’re so rad.

This might be my favorite book of all time. Even in the top five list. It took me a few pages to care about it or really want to keep reading. I bet I can tell you exactly how many pages…

OK, I can’t. I went looking for that exact moment I realized I was smitten with The Night Circus, and instead I spent five minutes reading passages instead of writing this blog post. But, it happened. It took more than 50 pages and less than 100, and then I was totally obsessed. The book is pretty magical, and descriptive in the very best way. You follow the circus that “arrives without warning.” And it’s a winding love story. I fell in love with the characters, but it’s at least as much about, if not more about, falling in love with the magical black and white circus. And Erin Morgenstern painted it beautifully. I’ve been waiting for something else to read from her because I loved what she created.

Garden Spells, by Sarah Addison Allen // Sarah Addison Allen might be the reason I keep looking for something else by Morgenstern. Every book I’ve picked up by her, I’ve devoured. The plots are a bit predictable. Set in a small town, with a charming but flawed cast of characters, something the main character needs to discover, unlikely love, and a lot of magical realism on top of simple day-to-day things. But it is done so well every time, and I hope it doesn’t change.

Garden Spells was the first book I read by Allen, and I think it’s still my favorite. (Though, I have honestly liked every single one, and am currently reading The Peach Keeper.) There is an enchanted apple tree, and a sister who comes home to North Carolina, and really good love story plot, too. I’d suggest just starting with whichever book your library has. ;-)

The Help, by Kathryn Stockett // I’m not sure about this one. I don’t know if I would have checked it out if it hadn’t blown up the way it did in popularity. But I’m really glad I did. It’s another case of just adoring how the author crafts the scenes. It didn’t seem out of place to go back and forth between narrators, and I didn’t struggle at all with the dialect being written how it should have sounded. I got really into it, actually.

It’s a story about women and their maids in the south 50 years ago, and how all of their plots weave together. I love Skeeter and all the women her character helps to give a voice. I’m not sure I can do it justice any more than that.

Five Day Weekend: Beach Trip

I am coming off a five-day holiday. I’d been saving up my vacation days, and decided it was time to spend a few. So I did.

And it was awesome.

I didn’t “accomplish” that much. But I totally separated myself from work, and focused on relaxing. I’m still feeling a little bit overwhelmed in general, but I definitely needed a break.

I want to share some of the little events from the week.

The day with the smallest number of photos is Friday, so I’ll start with that, since I don’t have much time before work.

P. and I took a day trip to the beach! It was July 19, and I hadn’t been there once this year.

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We had a gorgeous day.

For most of the morning, I laid and read, and P. napped. No photos other than what I posted on Instagram about reading #girlboss. I was all about soaking up the sun.

For lunch, we went to the pizza place on the boardwalk. We sat down like it was a real meal, instead of grabbing some slices and spending three minutes eating them. The waitress was the sweetest, from California, sounded like a hippie, and gave me a free taste of her favorite gelato at the end.

I ordered a mini pizza with artichokes, fresh spinach, tomatoes, and gorgonzola, and swapped the chicken for tofu.

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When we got back to the blanket, we were overrun with people, so we packed up and took an awesome long walk. We were so distracted, we forgot to play skee ball. I guess that means we have to go back soon.

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