Wednesday, June 29, 2011

my new bag!

i recently bought a 3rd lens for my collection that i got a fantastic deal on from ebay!
the bidding was literally down to the wire & i made my winning bid with 4 seconds left to the auction - oh yeah :)

but as soon as i won it, i realized - i now have 3 lenses.
and my camera bag will only allow me to hold 2.

so what's a girl to do? 
well get a new bag of course!
it threw me into a whirl of research and asking for people's opinions - but ultimately i chose a bag i have been drooling over ever since they came out back in 2007.

i remember being newer on the blogging scene - and really only following 3 photographers: kristen leigh, [b]ecker, and jessica claire - and i remember when jessica claire announced her newest idea & creation: the shootsac.

i remember thinking - that's brilliant! and i want one!

and ever since then these bags have really taken off and most of the professional photographers i follow carry shootsacs & love them.

and then after second-shooting with my hero kristen leigh last summer and seeing her use her shootsac constantly throughout the day - i knew i had to have one.

and so i got one :)

it's amazing and i cannot wait to use it at the wedding on saturday !
and hopefully someone snag a pic of me using it so i can prove that it really is amazing :)


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&& on twitter !

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Camp Bethel 2011

Last weekend was our annual church youth camp.
Talk about fun times :D

As a youth leader, I had the privilege of taking a vacation day [yes!] and spending all 3 days and 2 nights at camp with the kiddos.
I was officially in charge of all the ladies - and they were awesome.

Camp Bethel is held at the youth pastor's house and surrounding property. Everyone literally camps out, and he's built showers & brings in big tents for eating and for the sessions oh & port-oh-johns of course :)
And yes, I "roughed" it right along with the kids and slept in a tent.

Not these tents though - this was the boys camp - down by the pond. The girls were on the other side of the house and up on the hill.

So, the way things work is - the first night everyone gets there - they have a session or two, some worship time, and then when it gets dark, they have a bonfire where everyone can roast hot dogs & mashmellows :)

.. and you have to literally drag everyone to bed because they just want to stay up all night :)

Going to bed was totally worth it though because we were able to wake up to this:

Wake up call is at 6am both mornings, but the girls were so excited they could barely sleep and actually got up around 4:45am? They gave me the excuse they wanted to be able to hit the showers before anyone else got up, but they just couldn't contain themselves they were so excited for the day ahead.

So, bright and early we were up.
We had a group devotional time and then I sent all the girls out to spread around the property to have personal devotions.

Breakfast wasn't until 8am - so by then everyone was super hungry :)

And also, very wound up.

As soon as breakfast was over - the day began in earnest. 
There were times of worship, teaching, games, laughing, hiking, running from bob-cats, getting eaten by mosquitoes, blood, and rain :)

And - after the very last session was over [around 10:30pm] we all headed [in the rain] down to the pond [in the pitch black darkness] to see a re-enactment of Jesus walking on water, out to the disciples [in this case 10 of them were already sleeping and only 2 were awake]

You have no idea how hard this picture was to take.
Think, pitch black - one spotlight and it's raining.
Ugh - hard - this was the only decent one I got :) If only it wasn't raining!
Oh well.

Everyone went to bed quite willingly Friday night :)
Which made the lady in charge very happy :)

Furthermore, the girls did not get up until the 6am wake-up call the next morning.
Which also made the lady in charge very happy :)

For being the middle of June we had super weird weather.
It would be hot and you'd be sweating one moment, and then the next you'd be freezing and putting a sweatshirt on [as these girlies are modeling].
We were very thankful that it didn't rain at all on Friday, except at night.

But it definitely let loose on Saturday.
Which, Saturday after breakfast is the big tug-of-war competition that everyone looks forward to.
Mostly because everyone wants to see if anyone can beat Amber - the amazing tug-of-war champion of all time - no one can beat her.
So, camp must go on - and we played tug-of-war, in the pouring down rain :) It was fun.

Overall - it was an amazing time.
It was so cool to see the kids grow, just in the short period of time we were all together - and to see the Bible really come alive to them. And to see them make decisions for Jesus. It was awesome.
And everyone definitely agrees - we already can't wait for next year!

Monday, June 27, 2011

I Heart Faces - A Touch of Whimsy

ok so i have to admit, i kind of struggled with this week's i[heart]faces theme.

i was cruising through photo albums, trying to think of a photo that would fit the theme and was just not coming up with anything.

so i started to think of what i thought the theme meant - and the first thing that came to mind when i thought of whimsy was fields of flowers :) and immediately, mitch & larissa's engagement photos came to mind, because we shot in a field of flowers :)

so, add a few photoshop actions and ta-da! whimsy :)

be sure to head over to i[heart]faces to see more "whimsy" photos!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Happy Birthday Abby!

today is our abby-girl's birthday !! :D
today she turns a whole 1-year-old.
and we've now had her for over half of her little life.

[doesn't she look like she's laughing? LOL]

we love her soo much!
even though she's been a really big stinker at times [like when she decided to eat our "new to us" couch, which still needs fixed, ugh] we still love her.

she's our baby.
our de-fluffer.
our super-hyper-crazy-nut.

and we wouldn't trade her for the world.

so happy birthday to our puppy!

Monday, June 20, 2011

I Heart Faces - Boys

i[heart]faces challenge for the week is "let's hear it for the boys!" and so i wanted to post a photo of my little brother :) and as i started thinking through the photos i have of the little rascal - this one came to mind.

i know i already blogged it, but you can't deny me that it's darn cute enough to be blogged again :)

this is my little brother [who is quite a ham] and my cousin [who is also quite a ham] .. dancing on my dad's boat. there was no music playing - no rehearsal - just 2 boys who decided they wanted to throw a little party and make everyone watching laugh :)

be sure to head over to i[heart]faces to see more "boy" photos!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Sneak Peak [Bridal Portraits, Milan, PA]

last tuesday night i did an amazing bridal session with an upcoming bride.
and the photos turned out amazing !!
we shot for almost 2 hours, and let's just say, it's going to be a fabulous wedding.

there's just one small problem.

i can't show any of the photos - sigh.
[think - kara crying]

so, until the wedding, the photos have to stay under lock and key.
i can't WAIT to show them off though !!

but for now, you all can meet the family swans - they've been a part of every wedding in this family for the last 3 generations.

and unfortunately, you have to wait to see the rest until after the wedding in july! :D
so stay tuned!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Family Photos [Waverly, NY]

last wednesday i got to hang out with an awesome family and shoot some relaxed portraits and family photos for them!
i had such a blast. there were soo many people! i felt right at home :) there were 23 people there, and back home when my dad's family is all together, there are 21 of us - so i felt like i was back home.

needless to say, i shot a lot of photos, and i've already shown you two of my very favorites [who couldn't resist baby jack?] but here are a few of my other favorites! trust me, it was hard to pick which shots to post and which to leave out!

you may recognize a few folks from this family - back at christmas time i shot family photos for allison and her family and her sister's family - and it was so fun to meet up with them again and do it all over - this time in a much more fun environment [parks are so much more fun that being cooped up in a house!]

i was honored to meet the matriarch of the whole family. allison talks about her grandma all the time - and it was so cool to meet her to watch her interact and just relax with her kids, grandkids, and great-grandkids!

and you've already met baby jack - who took a nap at the beginning :D

annndd - without further words of interruption - here are some more images!


i had such a great time getting to know this family - you guys are all awesome and thanks so much for coming together and being great sports on such a HOT day!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

I Heart Faces - Bright & Vivid

this week's photo challenge on i[heart]faces is "bright &vivid" and they specifically said it did not have to mean colors - it could be personalities.

annndd - well - i loved baby jack.
i secretly wanted to put him in my camera bag and bring him home with me.
i definitely think his mommy would have noticed and missed her baby though - he was such a great little sport when it came to pictures being taken. and he was soo good even when he wasn't getting his picture taken -

anyways - i loved the light and well - who wouldn't love sweetness?
i think his laid back and happy personality totally shows through in this photo - it's one of my favorites from when we took family photos last week :)

be sure to head over to i[heart]faces to see more "bright and vivid" photos!

PS - and come back tomorrow for the full post of the family photos i took last week :D they're soo cute !!  and there will be MORE of baby jack pictures !! haha

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Sneak Peak [Waverly, NY Family Photographer]

last night i got to hang out with an awesome family - all 23 of them and shoot some laid back [as well as formal] photos.
i had a blast.
but more on that later.

needless to say i have about a million [.. ok maybe a few less :P] photos to go through and edit. but while i was running through them, this one reached through the screen and grabbed me.

meet: baby jack.
isn't he the CUTEST little guy ever?

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

just dance

i think this may be one of my favorite series of photos, ever :)

this is my little brother and my cousin - dancing - on top of my dad's boat, memorial day weekend.
they were singing their own version of some song, and wow were they funny.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

it sings :D

hellooo new washing machine :D

isn't it gorgeous?

and the best part about it?

it sings - when you turn it on, turn it off, and when the load is finished washing it sings a long song :D

AND - it doesn't eat my clothes!


Sunday, June 5, 2011

I Heart Faces - From A Distance

so this week's i[heart]faces challenge is "from a distance" and this photo i snapped last weekend at the lake-house came to mind.

i was standing on the dock shooting the kids swimming and stuff, when i glanced up and saw my little cousin Isaiah walking down to the lake hand-in-hand with my grandma. i thought it was so cute, but to my dismay, i had my 50mm on my camera so i knew i could not get the close-up shot i instantly knew i wanted.

but knowing that it was way to cute to pass up - i snapped it anyway.

i LOVE that they had almost reached the end of their little walk when it looks like they've stopped because Isaiah saw something and was pointing to it.
i also LOVE that my grandma is holding a racquetball racket. how random is that? haha.

be sure to head over to i[heart]faces to see more "from a distance" photos!

Saturday, June 4, 2011


since the weather has been soo nice the last week - i've gone green and been riding my bike to work every day.
[gone green - pfft - not really, just trying to save some money on gas, that stuff is so crazy expensive!]
and it works out great. it only takes me about 5 minutes to get to work on my bike and i'm lovin' it.

plus, when i'm riding down the road, with the sun shining down and the wind blowing in my hair - i can pretend like i'm riding a super cool motorcycle, and not the bike i've had since i was 12 :)

Wednesday, June 1, 2011


my garden is alive!
amy & i planted everything last week and when we got home from the lake monday night, the seeds had sprouted!

everything i've ever tried to grow from seeds has only survived so long and then died. i mean, maybe i was only 10 years old the last time i planted seeds, but that left a nice impression that growing anything from seeds was impossible.

but one of the ladies i work with at the bank convinced me that it was possible [and wayy lighter on the wallet] so i decided to give it a try. and lo & behold it worked! i'm soo excited!

so, here are a few of my little baby plants :D

my beans were the first things to appear and are the largest plants in my garden so far -

next, size wise, would be my baby cucumbers :)

this is my baby lettuce! can't wait to see how this turns out!

and these are my baby tomatoes! obviously, once they get a little bigger i'll have to thin them out quite a bit, but i'm so excited that they're growing !!

amy & i also dug up two flower beds in front of my house where i also planted seeds.
and so far the only ones to make an obvious appearance are these ones - don't ask me what they are because i can't remember, they look pretty on the package though!! :P

and then just tonight, larissa dropped off some hosta plants from her garden - apparently these guys get quite large and like to take things over, so i'll have to keep an eye on them - but they will definitely take up some of the empty space while i wait for some of my other flowers to grow :)

hehe - this is not a plant :)
this is our little abby-girl, who apparently thinks she can hide in the grass :D 
sneaky puppy.

and here she isn't being not so sneaky, but just her normal adorable self :)