Monday, January 31, 2011

Black & White Emotion

So, as ya'll know, my family was here last week.
It was crazy going from the normal household of 2 + a dog 
to 7 + 2 dogs :D
But crazy fun !

At first, my baby sister [who isn't really a baby anymore, but shhh, she'll always be my baby sister!] was a little bit apprehensive about our new addition to the family.
Abby is quite energetic and to a little person - she can be a little scary.

But after a little while, Abby warmed up to Ruby and Ruby warmed up to Abby and they became good friends.

[ps - I loove this photo in black and white - it's soo precious!]

Thursday, January 27, 2011

a Special Visit

My family is here !!

And that means:

endless games of uno
meal times equaling lots of dishes to do -
but equally many hands to do them :D
dozens of hugs
tons of little stories
happy squeals of delight
trying to force the puppies to get along -
and not get too jealous of each other
blow-up mattresses
scheduled showers
endless laughter
movie marathons
eating - lots and lots of eating
and pictures :D

The kiddos took the doggies for a walk this morning - check out how cute they are !!

After initially not really liking each other - Buster & Abby have now become BFFs for life. Although, it still seems like Abby thinks Buster is her new toy :D

Did I mention uno? Awesomely good times :D

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Abby vs. the sweeper

Our puppy :)

She's soo funny.

And she's a nut -
who hates the sweeper.

Oh, I'm sorry. I mean, the vacuum cleaner.
[[D "yells" at me when I call it the sweeper]]

But let me put it this way:
she isn't so much fearful of it, as I think she realizes what it does, and so whenever I get it out, her first reaction is to gather up all her toys so they don't disappear like the dirt does --

and then she goes into attack/defense mode --

It's truly one of the funniest things I have ever seen :D

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Cellphone Postcards [[company review]]

I love a good bargain.
The cheaper the better.

And free is my favorite word :)

I shop at Aldi's, only buy gas at the QwickFill on Wednesdays when they have their gas sale, and buy my clothes at the S&A Boutique.

And thanks to my Mom, I get a daily email newsletter alerting me to all the new and awesome deals out there, along with coupons, and freebies !!

And last week, they were advertising for this new company called "Cellphone Postcards" that was giving away 10 FREE postcards to each new customer!

What was the catch ? There was none !

Their goal is for you to get set up in their system, and then if you snap a really awesome photo with your phone, you text it to their number with a tag of who you want to send it to and your message - and they turn it into a postcard and send it off !

oooorrrrrr - you can upload photos from your desktop and send postcards that way!

So, I gave it a shot.
Annddd - they're so awesome, they not only let you send 10 postcards for free, but they send YOU copies of the first 3 you send [so you can see how awesome they are too !

Check em out !!

They turned out FABULOUS !!
I was super amazed.

The quality is truly amazing.
The colors are bright, the paper stiff, and they are even laminated so they'll last forever!!

I sent postcards with Abby's pictures on them to each of my siblings :)
And so I still have 5 free postcards to send out !!

And if I were you? I would totally check them out and send some free postcards of your own !!

Friday, January 21, 2011

A 30 Day Challenge - Day 5

Day 05 - A picture of one of your favorite memories.

We were on our honeymoon.
We were having the time of our lives.
Bermuda was amazingly beautiful.
The cruise experience was living up to everyone everyone said.
And the food was fantastic.

We were getting ready to get back on the ship after being docked for 3 days in Bermuda.
It was almost time to head home.

But, there was still one thing we hadn't done yet.

All around the island, there are, what they call: Moongates.
And in preparing for out trip there, I had done some research on Bermuda, and read that "Legend has it that newlywed couples who kiss under Bermuda's Moongates, will be assured of good fortune and happiness."

Now, I'm not a person who believes in all that luck-nonsense, but I wanted to do it none-the-less!

But I was too shy to suggest it.

We were on our way back to the ship, when Derrick pulled me aside and said, "Hey! Let's ask someone to take our picture under the gate!"

And - my dreams came true :)

Thursday, January 20, 2011

The Fake Stuff

I think "Pickles" is one of the most adorable comic strips out there :)

And this one really made me laugh.

It's getting around to the time of year when my Dad will tap a few trees around the house for Maple Syrup. He's done it before and its a ton of work. Repeat: a ton. It takes gallons and gallons and gallons of sap out of the trees to boil down to make just a small container of Maple Syrup.

But, its what he calls "the Good Stuff".

It must be a Dad thing because Derrick's Dad loves "the Good Stuff" too.

Me? I'm completely content with Aunt Jamima's [or, whatever the Aldi's brand of syrup is called].

I guess there's just no hope for my generation.

And now I really want to go make myself some pancakes :) [yes pancakes, because I can't crave waffles when I don't have a waffle iron :D]

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

the Power Team [waverly, NY]

I saw the poster advertising them at church - and wondered what in the world it was.
The picture was a bunch of people with big muscles.
It said they were called "The Power Team".
The poster didn't say anything about Jesus or church or anything - and so I didn't understand why they were advertising it at church.

I had no clue.

Well, this group was in town last Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. After Thursday and Friday went by, I saw enough posts on Facebook and even heard about it at work to have a little more of an idea of what this was.

And we decided to go see the show on Saturday night.

And this is what we saw:


Hold on - these guys are crazy!!

And they're NUTS!


And, while they were doing their fantastic feats of crazy strength, they were proclaiming the name of Jesus Christ.


And, then after all the "little" things, like breaking cement blocks and bending metal rods, and breaking hot water bottles by blowing them up to the point of them bursting, ripping 2,000 page phone books in half, and turning horseshoes into hearts - they did something a little bit harder.

"Sarge" was going to plow his head into 1,000 pounds of ice in order to break it in half.


Annddd - the unthinkable happened. 
He hit the ice wrong and simply knocked it over - LOL
You gotta LOVE their reactions tho' - totally classic :D

So, after all that fun - they got down to it and Todd Keene [the "president" of the Power Team] preached a simple message about Chicago pizza, airports, old ladies, and the Book of Life.

They prayed ...

Did another incredible, amazing, scary feat - had "Timber" lay down on a bed of nails, then they placed another bed of nails on top of his chest [for a grand total of 2,000 nails], then "Sarge" lay down on top of that, had a 300 pound log lifted up to him and he benched pressed that log 20 times.


I get a kick out of - see all the guys standing off to the sides? They're the ones responsible of lifting that log up to "Sarge" as well as taking it out of his hands when he's done.
And if you notice - there are FOUR guys. It takes FOUR guys to lift that ONE log that he's bench pressing !!


They survived though, much to everyone's excitement :D

So after their final amazing feats, they gave an altar call. And this is what happened:


I bet half of the entire audience went forward. It was amazing. They took all of the people who came forward to a back room where there were pastors and altar workers ready to talk to everyone and get them hooked up to a church where they could begin to grow.

It was incredible.

Not only was the show amazing - and all their strength incredible - but their impact for eternity is far beyond any log they could lift or any blocks they could break.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

8 teens + paint = bad idea

Since yesterday was Martin Luther King Jr. Day, I had the day off work [yippee!] and I spent it hanging with the youth group and starting to tackle the re-decoration of the youth room.

We used to call the room: Cosmic Chaos or Neon Throw-up, but we set out to change that!

Here's what the room looked like, before:
[and pardon the photo quality, these were taken with my iPod Touch, I forgot my big camera at home - boo]

After much heaving and shoving and puffing we got all of the game equipment out of the room and set to work sanding the walls.
The girls found the dust from the different colors quite hilarious and decided to wear it like war paint - it was getting everywhere anyway, so why not? :D

Adam, the lone gentleman of the group:

I really have to hand it to Chrysta & Cassie though, these girls volunteered to go into the unfinished "kitchen" area of the youth room and sand the walls down so we could put the final coat of plaster on the walls and get that room painted too. They had to put up plastic there was so much dust flying - and they both came out of the room with grey hair and white faces - they rocked !!

A few of the crazies :P

Painting !!

So, we got a ton of work done - and the only disappointment was the bottom half of the walls:
The paint was scratching off as it was, so we knew we needed to rough it up a bit so the primer would stick - we did that - check. But as we began to paint the primer on, we realized that the blue paint was peeling off under the primer - making a huge mess.
We decided that whoever painted originally, painted that bottom part of the wall with a super high glossy paint, and then whoever painted the blue color over, failed to prime or do anything to the walls. So, now we're in a tough spot, because now we have to strip all that paint off, before we can go back to priming. Oh well, what are ya going to do?

But, here's what we finished with:

Looks way different doesn't it? It's going to look fabulous when we're all finished - the idea is to do it all up with a coffee shop theme. The colors are reds & tans, and we're leaving all the game equipment out of the room [the youth group hardly play with the stuff anyway] Half of the room will be set up for our Bible Studies, and the other half will be set up with small round tables and stools, and once we get our kitchen area all set up, we'll be able to host game nights and other events for the youth !! So, we're super excited that the first step has been taken, and we'll be continuing to work in the coming weeks to get the room finished !!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Advertising 101

I have known for a long time that I am not an advertiser. 
I'm just not the type to put up a billboard for myself.

Long before I decided I might want to become a professional photographer [back when I was just shooting for fun - for myself] I read photography blogs. Lots of them. I read them to look at the pretty pictures. I read them to soak in the cool stories. I read them to learn. And I still read them. All I can say is, thank God for Google Reader or else I'd be really lost :P

And while I was reading, I was also sub-consciously learning bits and pieces about running a photography business. And it seemed like over and over these super successful photographers said the same thing: we don't advertise in the traditional sense.

What? How can you get clients if you don't advertise? That didn't make any sense to me.

But then they would always go on to explain.
Their clients WERE their billboards. When their clients got through their wedding, or family photoshoot, or whatever and walked away with a positive feeling about the whole thing - there's a win. And when they get their photos back and are blown out of the water? That's when that couple or family or individual becomes a billboard. Because they are going to tell people about it.

And so, I adopted that as my philosophy for advertising.

Sure, if you would like my business card, I'll give it to you. But you aren't going to book me simply because I have awesome business cards. You're either going to book me because you've seen my photos on my blog and you like my style - or [most likely] because someone heard you were looking for a photographer and they said "Hey! There's this really awesome girl named Kara who is AMAZING"

Word of mouth is the most powerful advertising.

But as an online presence, I have my blog-site [you know where that is, you're here!]
I also have a Twitter account [you can find my tweets here : @karaleeabbey]

And now, I upon a few people's suggestions, I now have a Facebook page for my photography too !!

I know a lot of my friends have already "liked" my page - but in case you haven't, you can find it here : KarAbbey Photography Facebook

I haven't really decided how much stuff I'm going to push through my Facebook page - but for right now, I know I will always at least post whenever I post a new blog - so that's a cool heads up if you like to read my ramblings :) And I'm sure as time goes on, I'll post more information and photos and things too. And the cool thing about having a Facebook page for my photography is: I can upload photos to my album and then tag YOU in them, and then people will see my awesome photos on YOUR Facebook page - and it saves you all the trouble of uploading them yourself :D Plus it will drive people back to my page which means more people will be aware of me :)

See? This Facebook thing is turning out to be pretty cool :)

[and because no blog post is complete without a photo, here's my vicious puppy who just chewed the head off of her monkey toy. oh and that was after she decided it would be cool to stick her nose in our bucket of ashes that sits next to our wood-burner? and dig out some chunks of wood to chew up. yeahh - that's not going to fly. i mean its better than chewing on our furniture, but is equally a huge mess.]

Saturday, January 15, 2011

A 30 Day Challenge - Day 4

Day 04 - A picture of your night.

This one is pretty self explanatory.

Adam's over - so that means D will be preoccupied all evening with video games. Which means I am left to do whatever my heart pleases. And even though there is plenty of stuff that needs done around my house [you know the typical cleaning stuff that a house demands be done] I decided tonight - I just need to relax a bit. 

So, I pulled a chair up close to the wood-stove, and curled up with a blanket and my iPod [to drown out the sound of the tv of course!] and one of my favorite books: Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers.

Ahhh, it's been fabulous :)

But that's doesn't completely describe my night - that's just part of it. We are about to leave to go see the Power Team in Waverly, NY tonight ! Everyone I know that has seen their show says it's awesome ! So I'm very excited and can't wait !

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Fun in the Snow

So, a few people have been wondering - how's Abby doing?
Oh: she's fabulous !!
And adjusting to her new life with us perfectly.

We couldn't have asked for a better puppy - she's awesome.
And today, after I got home from work [by the way:it's A-MAZING to get home from work and it still be light out !!] we played out in the snow for a bit :D

After being cooked up in her crate all day, she always has a little bit of energy to run off - so she'll do laps around the yard - and she's quite the crazy dog while running :D hahaha I just love her face !

I love her stance and her shadow !

haha Abby - with a snow-beard :D

Yeah, so, we think we'll keep her - even though she does kind of snore slightly and the last two nights has slept right in between Derrick & I [that'll have to stop] - she's definitely a keeper and we love her to death !

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Favorite Photos - 2O1O

I know I'm a bit late - everyone else has posted their 2O1O in review photos decades ago.
But, better late than never, right?

Truth be told, I started working on this post while we were still in 2O1O - but I realized that the first part of the year's photos still resided on a hard drive I needed to dig out and get images off of. And, you guessed it, I simply never made time to dig out that hard drive :)

Well, I finally made time and here we go: I'd like to present my favorite images from 2O1O - in no particular order - and for no reason other than, they stuck out to me as awesome :D

[[and, you'll notice some watermarked with my old kara lee logo, and others updated with my new A watermark - that's another favorite thing about the year - my updated brand!!]

[[and further, you'll notice that some photos never made it onto my blog - so new year's resolution: blog more :D]]





[[and yes I know, these last two photos - I did not take - but they are still some of my favorite images from last year :)]]