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Inspiration... everywhere to find. You just have to find it.

My friend Ashley over at Photos and Ramblings introduced me to Selfie Saturdays hosted by Elena. At first I thought, ok cool, I'd love to have some good self portraits with my DSLR. So I mozied on over to to check it out. On her Week 8 of Selfie Saturdays, Elena posted about another blog and I followed the link to Courtney's blog ,Perfect Imperfections. I didn't think that I would find a blog post that kind of smacked me in the face a little; in a good way. I mean, duh. I am always behind the camera. My husband (love you!) can barely use a point and shoot. The last time he tried to take pictures of Dylan and I, after he came home from work one day, with the DSLR... well, it was a total fail...even in auto mode (though the autofocus on my 50mm never works in low light). I think like the next day, I ate my spinach and put Dylan on one hip and my Canon in the other hand and stood in front of the mirror in our downstairs bathroom.

While I think Courtney's message was more of, take photos of yourself for your children not with your children...but it made me realize how few photos I'm general... but even more devastating of how few photos there are of my son and I. It brought me to tears reading her post. How awful. Here I've been given this blessing of being able to take decent photos, I should at least be able to use that to my advantage. I already regret looking back and realizing how I'm never in photos with Dylan. And those moments are gone. I can't do that over. Ever.

Here's Dylan and I around 5 months:

I look a little scary in some of these....lots of blurriness, but I didn't care because the keepers were the ones where he was actually looking, or at least being really cute (ok so the first one, I thought I looked halfway decent-I know he's not looking!!). And my ridiculous faces were in an effort to get him to smile. It went something like this: {silly face; Dylan would smile; try to look normal; hope the framing is right and he's still smiling; and snap} It's hard to juggle a baby and a big camera while trying to look normal, but I think managed alright. I mean, I got some images. But I wasn't really happy with the quality of them. Hence, why I don't do it all the time...I pay someone else to. (and she's fabulous by the way!). April Sirit of Evoke Photography has done Dylan's newborn photos, 3 month Christmas photos and more recently his 6 month Easter photos (which I will get back in a week or two!). I mean tell me this isn't the most amazing work ever. This slideshow makes me cry every time. What I love about April most, is that she makes sure that there are photos of all of us together (now that RARELY happens even more) and some with us individually with Dylan. I am so incredibly thankful that she captured those moments for us. Or else they never would have happened.

So, being inspired by all of the people I've mentioned in this post, I think every Tuesday I'm going to devote to taking a photo of me and my son. Together. If I do this once a week, I should at least have 1 keeper in each bunch, which would total about 4 photos a month...which is a lot considering I could probably add up the total "keeper" photos of Dylan and I on two hands in his first 7 months of life. I'm not sure if another blog is doing this as well, but maybe some of you might join me in the future? I'm sure I'm not the first to come up with it. If you know of anyone else doing this, please send me the link so I can link up!

My wireless remote will be here, I'm super excited to get started. (and actually have something that forces me to do my hair and makeup!!) ;)

On an even more personal note and to reminisce; here is me last July, 8 months preggo with little D! I did "selfies" in the mirror every month with my P&S. :)

edit// Thanks to Ashley's comment, I found another "mommy and me" (or daddy or caregiver) type photo challenge. In fact, she had spoken about it at our dinner on Tuesday. Our conversation lasted TWO hours, so it was hard to remember the details of everything, but she had mentioned her friend Casey in the conversation when this came up...I knew I hadn't dreamed it up myself!! haha. Anyways, I plan on also linking up with Casey's challenge on Fridays. It's called Mama In Focus Fridays and you can enter by clicking her button below! She does weekly themes, so I hope I can keep up!
One Day At A Time


Mom, make the sun come out...


It's still cold and rainy here today. Dylan and I braved the Barnes & Noble so I could use my Groupon (and grab some Starbucks!). Daddy took the Pilot today. Which created all sorts of problems because normally that's the mom mobile, but it needed an oil change. Problems, you ask? Well for one, all my baby stuff that's vital to me leaving the house, is in the Pilot. It stays in there, or else I could end up forgetting it while trying to pack him into the car. You wouldn't think normal things, such as going to Target or B&N, required so many "things". The most important thing, is the car seat. But thank goodness it was in our living room b/c Dylan fell asleep on the way home from swim class yesterday and I stealthily tried to bring him in the house to continue his nap (total fail!). Second most important thing is a baby carrying method. Whether that be our snap n go stroller, my Ergo Baby Carrier, or my shopping cart cover. (I highly recommend all three of these items and they are clicky for any inquiring minds).

My mother in law, god bless her, gave us a stroller. It's used from one of her kids' in her class. I HATE this stroller. Like, with a passion. It's a Peg Perego, which is a pretty reputable stroller maker in Italy...but I can't fold/unfold this thing for the life of me. And guess what? It's the ONLY form of baby carrying that I have left in the house today. UGH!!!

So I pull into the Barnes & Noble parking lot and I'm dreading having to unfold the stroller (it was already folded up when I begrudgingly shoved it in the trunk). Actually, I'm having premonitions about me not being able to fold it back up and I panic at the thought of what I would do in that case. Ask a stranger? eeeeyeahno. I'd probably just leave Anyways, I get Dylan in the stroller, and going through a huge puddle I make it to the doors of B&N. I have to go in backwards (why can't all doors be automatic?) and struggle while someone is standing in between the set of double doors (I really frown when things like this happen-help a sister out!!). Long story short... I make it in, get my coffee, pick out books for Dylan (and some for a gift)... and then make it to the car, get D in the car seat and attempt to fold the stupid stroller. It took a lot of shaking, pulling, stepping, a few huffs and a big shove and I finally did it!! I purposefully left it in the trunk though...I don't want to see that thing again for a while.

The BEST part of the story? I go to start the car and it chokes. ::breathe:: Try again, no dice. I start to panic. Wait a few seconds, turn off the radio (like this would matter?) and give it a longer try and finally, it unwillingly starts. I was going to go to Target (my love/hate daytime trip) but I decide to skip it and consider myself lucky if I make it home in one piece. It's not like we have a POS car. It's my 2006 Jetta 1.8T, which Alan now drives since we got the new baby-mobile (Honda Pilot). It's fun to drive, but not very baby friendly. I sometimes take it to work on the weekends while Alan has the baby and I've noticed lately that it doesn't run the same. So yeah, we'll definitely have to get it checked out.

That was just a glimpse of my day and by the time we got home, a peek of sun came out so I sat Dylan by the door and took these photos. Here's an edit play on one of them. I used the Lightroom preset "Color Creative - Color CP 2".
I am kind of a focus freak, but I almost like that the focus isn't directly on his face. Gives it that mysterious cast.


[iheartfaces] Photo Challenge | Slice of Life

I bet this photo looks familiar?

Dylan Scream

In the middle of starting this blog, I entered my first photo into This weeks theme was based on lifestyle photography. I entered through my flickr site because this blog wasn't really up and running yet. With over 600 entries, it's really a long shot. There are so many talented photographers out there and the entries are a tough competition. I'm hoping that amateurs have a chance, since there are a lot of pro submissions. I'm sure this won't be the last time I enter one of their challenges...and I'm sure Dylan will be the subject of most! I think it's fun to just be able to share your photo...and if I make the top ten, well, that would be icing on the cake!! Their winning photos are truly spectacular and very inspirational, so I'm glad I'm finally getting involved in their site.


Meet Cooper

Mr. I'm nice when I wanna be...

...and cute at that!

We rescued Cooper from PetSmart--or rather one of their adopt-a-thons on Saturdays that different adoption agencies are at each week--about 4 years ago. He was born August 2006 and we adopted him in January 2007. Cooper was an orphan and bottle fed as a kitten. To this day, he still suckles or nurses on fuzzy's weird. This isn't the cat the eats out of the man made cat food dispenser thingy. He's too refined for that kind of thing! I call him the "shark" because when we're eating dinner, you'll randomly feel him rubbing against your feet and legs. Which is weird for him, because like I said, he's only nice when he wants to be. Like certain times of day. Night time, this cat sleeps on my legs. Every. Single. Night. Daytime, he wants nothing to do with me. Where's the love Cooper?? Oh, and don't you dare touch his belly. He'll claw your arm off. (I have a scar to prove it!) But amazingly enough, this cat lets me clip his nails. Regularly.

Cooper 3
I just love his eyes. They're gorgeous!! I wish I had gotten a full head on shot, but he decided to be a brat and got up 2 frames after I got this one with his eyes open (and in focus!).

It's a little sad. He's not a bad cat by any means. He'll run and hide before he'd scratch a stranger (unless you're messing with him). My little 3 year old nephew Cayden was visiting this year at Christmas. He lives all the way out in Oklahoma with my brother and sister in law, so he'd only seen Cooper on GChat. He wanted to pet Cooper so badly...I felt terrible!! Coops just kept running from him. And when Cayden did catch him, he'd hiss...which made Cayden cry. :( I wonder how he'll be with Dylan? Hopefully used to him by then? Right now he mostly ignores Dylan, or gives a sniff and walks away.

I caught Cooper curled up on the our comfy chair tonight. I hope I'm not making him sound too bad. He just has his quirks.

A little edit fun:
Cooper 2

Some point & shoot reminiscing from his kitten days:
cooper 074cooper 076
He still loves that bear. His foster mom gave that to us the day we adopted him. And when I say love, I mean suckle. lol. You know how cats knead things? Well he does that and he's nursing. I guess he has issues. Anyways, that bear has been washed a bazillion me.

He even has his own YouTube videos (well, two of them):

We'd only had him a little while when I took this one. I so badly wanted him to get the lid off, but it never happened.

This was still a couple of years ago (before we got married). This video still makes me jump!! He's still for a few seconds and then BAM, he's attacked the star chaser ball. LOVE this toy. We still have it and I've even had to buy replacement balls off of amazon (the original one finally died and then my nephew "lost" the other one).


Shoot & Edit: Week 12-Green Edit

Well, that didn't take me long.

I mean I really didn't have much to go on this one. It's one of the best, if not THE best, SOOC image I've ever taken. My adjustments are so miniscule that the difference is very slight...and I even have to look back and forth a few times to find them. But it's getting late and my eyes are a little tired from wearing my contacts all day. What do you think? When editing I had to reset my changes a bunch of times because I was trying to do too much to it.
Here is the before:
SOOC Green

And here is the after:

I did screen shots of my LR here is before (both images are the SOOC image):

and here is the after (with actual comparison side by side):

I also wanted to mention that apparently LR does have some sort of preset for importing RAW images. From what I can tell, it's the Blacks to "5", Brightness to "50" and lower down on the editing bar the Sharpness is set to "25". I've tried editing this import preset, but the only thing LR allows you to do is either use their default (which are the settings I've just posted) or use the setting for the current picture you are editing to create a custom preset. More specifically, if you go under "Develop" (on the top toolbar menu for LR, not in LR itself) and then click "Set Default Settings...", this will pop up:


Black & White Wednesday



B&W Wednesday

I love black and white photography. In fact, I can't wait to scan in my contact sheets and photos from photography class that I took in high school. (Yes, I have been wanting to do this forever on my other photography blog, but it seems so much more fitting here.) I went to high school on Long Island with my friend Lauren, and she just happens to live in Wake Forest, NC. And, she also just happens to have some of the cutest kids I've ever seen. She definitely makes beautiful babies!! I was at her house in January taking photos of her newest addition, Mia, and while Mia was being tended to I tried to attack getting the other kids to let me take their picture. It turned into a chase-fest on her front lawn until Lauren saved It was fun, and I ended up getting a few shots of Brandon and Sofia outside, but Alana wanted nothing to do with me. So while back inside, Alana all of the sudden let me take some photos and they turned out to be the best of the bunch. I had made this one black and white for Lauren's CD because I just loved the backlighting her windows in her living room gave me. In fact, in this session, I found one of my all time favorite photos. Isn't she gorgeous?!?!
B&W Wednesday add

Wordless Wednesday

...but with words.

and then, she {snapped}The Paper Mama

There are going to be a lot of firsts in the next few weeks, and todays first is my participation in Wordless Wednesday.

Another SOOC shot with my new 85mm lens. This was taken yesterday around the same time as my Shoot & Edit entry in the last post. It was probably around 6pm, so I had really great natural light. I would have taken a photo today, but it's cold and rainy outside (again!) so I didn't bother. I already had the joy of running in and out of Pullen Aquatic Center with Dylan in my arms in the pouring cold rain. Today was his last swim class. I feel like such a proud mommy because he went underwater THREE times!! Just had to brag a little about that one. Ok, I'm done. ;)

Here's the LR screen shot to show settings:
annnnnd my screen shot is terrible. Here's just the histogram:
Yellow Histogram
So, slightly underexposed but I really love SOOC. I try so hard to get it right in camera as much as I can, so that editing isn't a nightmare. I mean, isn't that the goal? I also just recently took off the training wheels and only shoot in RAW (instead of RAW + JPG). Now that I have Lightroom (thanks Santa!), it's really not that big of a deal. I just found it horrid to deal with the editing software that Canon gives you when you purchase their cameras. ugh!

edit//Just thought I'd go ahead and post my edit for this one. Love it even more.
Wordless Wednesdays
I basically adjusted my exposure and white balance. A little bit of sharpening and a touch of clarity (although the point of focus on this image is the inner tip of the middle flower, it still adds punch). I also added an ever so slight vignette to make the flowers pop a little more.

Shoot & Edit: Week 12-Green SOOC

So I am late in joining this challenge, but it is going on all year and I'm super excited about it!

This weeks' theme is "Green". Here is my SOOC shot:
SOOC Green

I have to say, I'm really blown away with my new 85mm 1.8 lens that arrived on my door step today. What a fast, quiet and awesome lens!! It's taking me some practice because I find myself wanting to be really close my subject, but it pays off in the end. The colors on this SOOC image are juicy...and I'm liking it. A lot.


I'm not a rock star

but I wish I was...


Tonight I went out to dinner with a friend and my Scavenger Hunt Sunday post really got me thinking. I LOVE shoes. And since I was baby free tonight (thanks hubby!), I decided to wear these new shoes I had bought months ago. Yeah. 4 1/2 inches. I had to measure when I got home. Not to mention I tackled driving to the restaurant in our Jetta 1.8T, which is a stick shift. I am awesome at driving stick. In heels, I'm just ok. But I ended up driving home barefoot, even though these beauties were worth it!!!


My Dilly-o

Dylan Toothy Smile
Isn't he cute?

This was taken a few weeks ago, so 6 1/2 months. Obviously Dylan has been the main subject of my photography since his birth, but I have gotten the chance to photograph for a few friends. I plan on blogging about those a little later. My other blog, @, may eventually combine with this one. I am loving the new layout!! It's honestly the best one I've ever had and I have blogged A LOT. You can check out my other blogs, which mostly have to do with weddings, here:

Feathers & Pearls- My wedding planning blog
NC Bride Bio- Wedding vendor blog

Both are pretty much out of commission since I got married almost two years ago, but both still get a lot of traffic and have a lot of information. I STILL get emails from my Feathers & Pearls blog with questions about my various DIY projects and I just love answering them. It feels great knowing that my blog is somehow helping another bride out.

The purpose of this blog is very relevant to my life right now. I want to capture my journey in evolving into the photographer that I want to be. I have tentative menu items up top for what I hope becomes a blog others can utilize to their benefit. I want to showcase other blogs that have helped me and send on the love. I also wanted a quick way for readers to see where I am becoming involved in the photography community...such as photo challenges, outings, classes, etc. I have a couple of posts I already have to catch up on and/or dream up before they even happen. One being my new lens that came in the mail today (yessss!). Two being my first submission ever to and three, I have a workshop type thing coming up with a local photographer that I can't wait to blog about! Oh and have to meet my awesome kittehs!!! They have been neglected with the camera since Dylan came along, so I plan on bombarding them soon!

Hope to get to know more of you out there in the photography community both local and across the globe. It's gonna be so much fun! :)


Scavenger Hunt Sunday

Fellow photographer friend and blogger Ashley Sisk has SUCH a cool thing going on. I have been so inspired by her blogging, that really, it's one of the things that pushed me back into it. She's showed me that you don't have to go balls to the wall and own a business to enjoy photography. and I love that.

Every Sunday her blog hosts "Scavenger Hunt Sunday". Today while Dylan was taking a 45 minute nap, I rushed around the house and tried to stick with the 5 items for this weeks submissions. Well, I think I managed to find them all, though not very inspiring. I just wanted to try it out to say I did it. And hopefully it will get my creative juices flowing for next week and it will become something I can stick with. I say, if it's something that encourages practice and for you to really's so worth it. I apologize in advance that I'm not really sure how to get all of the links back to the person with the idea. I managed to grab one of the boxes but not sure how it's easiest to get the rest.

SO, here's my take. Laugh along with me, because really it's not that good. haha.

1. Decay
So this is my garbage. Well, to be more exact, our tiny recycling bin that the City of Raleigh supplies us with. Side note: I've been to a friends in Wake Forest, and their recycle bins are JUST as big as their garbage bins. I'm tres jealous!! Anyways-I think your garbage says a lot about you. I'm just glad that a box of vegetables made it in there. I promise this is full on not tampered with at all. I'm baring the box of Samoas I finished off last night and all (they'll never be Caramel Delites to me!!! ::raises fist::). So yeah, baby food, bottled water, bottle of wine (or are there two?), root beer! and some sort of canned veggie and what looks like a bottle of ketchup. Awesome stuff! Oh, I almost missed the Froot Loops! Who doesn't love those?

2. Groups of Three
Well, more like 3 pairs of shoes (kitty mouse included-normally I find one of those things IN my shoes! lol). These are basically all I wear. I am a flip flop addict!! My work shoes (I mean, c'mon, just guess which ones I'm talking about!). And my newest pair of flats that are super comfy and they are my go to shoes with jeans because I'm terrified of heels now that I have a baby. I told you this was going to be exciting!

3. Kitchen
This is what's on our fridge. Some of it's old (hello Save the Dates!) but I just can't let go of them!! Most of it's Dylan and his various photo shoots and then my brother, SIL and my 3 year old nephew Cayden. And my current favorite, a baby announcement from a friend with my photos on it. So proud and honored and it's just awesome! edit// now I'm seeing my red hoodie reflection in the fridge. That's what I get for trying to pump these out so fast! lol

4. Things that make you go hmmmm...
Ok, so when I saw this item, I had to really think hard...NOT!! This is my husbands doing. And I bet you're like...WTF is THAT??? Well...we have two cats (who are the shizz) and my husband was watching animal planet one day with some crazy cat lady who made her own cat toys. This is obviously, an empty bottle of bottled water with the label ripped off. My husband then cut a hole in it (can you find it?) and then we (yes, we-he's gotten me into it) fill it up with Colby's "special" cat food. See, this thing serves two purposes. One-Colby loves it and gets to "hunt" or "work for" his food. He paws it around and a few pebbles of food come out. He eats it. and repeat. Two-Colby is on special food for his sensitive stomach and it's like a bazillion dollars a bag. Thankfully our other cat Cooper-doesn't get it. Or he just might be like some of you, who are rolling your eyes in the back of your head at how dumb and perplexing this thing is. Basically, he doesn't eat Colby's expensive food. So it's a win-win. Besides the odd looks we get when people find it on our living room floor. edit// Looking at it more, this one is too underexposed for me...but I think I was trying to capture the detail of the hole. oh well.

5. "ME" Time
If you were paying attention earlier, you'll remember me telling you that I rushed through these just to actually do it. During Dylan's naps, unless I'm napping's definitely some "me" time. Dylan requires A LOT of attention and in having a baby, while it's the most amazing thing in the world, I've definitely lost a lot of my independence. I only miss it once in a while because Dylan is so incredible, he makes up for most of it. ;) This photo shows a lot of me time that I'm missing. Like needing a serious eyebrow threading, wearing something other than a hoodie (or finding the time to shop for myself) and fixing my makeup after waking up from a nap this afternoon (Dylan gave me two hours-a record, but I only gave myself one =/).

I want to add that all of these photos were unstaged.... I shot as I saw things in my house today.