Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Happy Birthday Jesus, Daddy, and Moi!

Whew... what a whirlwind the past week has been. Yet, such a whirlwind of blessings. Here's my life in a pictorial nutshell:

First, my dad's birthday. Birthday's have always been important in our family, but the past year, we have suddenly discovered the art of the SURPRISE! My mom, dad and I are all naturally competitive by nature, and we've almost started this competition of who can out do each other's birthday surprise.

This year, because it was my dad's 60th birthday, we wanted to do up something EXTRA special. My mom and I schemed up to take my dad to a restaurant he has always wanted to go to his whole life. However, this restaurant was across the state, which means we had to fly and pull off buying plane tickets without him knowing, packing our bags in the car without him knowing, book the reservation at the hotel without him knowing, book a hotel without him knowing, take the dogs to the vet for overnight kenneling... with out him knowing. Finally, in the car on the way to the airport, we spilled our secret and told him to get ready to celebrate in style at the famous Bern's Steakhouse. He was thrilled needless to say! :-)

Bern's is the kind of place that you dress to the nines and feast like the kings. Now you see where I get my model talent from, ha ha!

Bern's is famous for its warehouse of wine collected over the years. After dinner, we took a tour of the kitchen and the wine cellar with our waiter, Andy Martin, who, funny enough, turned out to also be a wedding photographer in the Tampa area and took this great shot of all of us!

After our tour of the wine cellar, we headed up to Bern's "Dessert Room" to finish our celebration. They brought dad a surprise dessert to blow out his candle!

When we came back to the hotel, my mom surprised my dad one last time by laying out silk pajamas, another thing my dad had always wished for but never had. When he put them on, he loved them so much he was literally dancing around the hotel room. I couldn't help but laugh at how funny he looked with his red socks still on from the suit.

Fast forward to Christmas!! (a.k.a. my birthday) Every year my mom always decorates the house so beautifully, but this year I was excited to have a great camera to truly capture the beauty of her heartfelt decorations. Also, for her Christmas cards, I created a "Thomas Kincade" like portrait of our home. Here's the card and some of her decorations:

To continue the surprises, something my mom had really been needing was a new computer because her current one had recently died. She knew it was a big expense and didn't want to burden my dad around the holidays with such a big request. But when dad told me he wanted to surprise my mom with something special this year for Christmas, I knew exactly what to help him get!

Here's mom excited opening up her new iMac and printer!

Something I really wanted to participate in this year was helping to cook the Christmas dinner. I never really learned how to cook before, so I figured, better late than never. We sort of started backward and started with dessert, but I was excited to learn my grandma's secret recipe for her famous fudge!

Caught licking the spoon afterwards.

The feast we prepared: Turkey, ham, baked macaroni & cheese (my fave!), green bean casserole, rolls, apple pie, greens, creamed spinach, and the fudge. My mom finally taking a rest in the background.

And just when I thought the surprises were over, they brought out a half-birthday cake (because you know, no one ever eats the whole thing! ha!)

Yes, my birthday is on Christmas, but honestly, I love more the reason for the season... Jesus' birthday! His ultimate message was to love one another, and I love how the celebration of His birthday gives us an excuse to bring family together and share gifts with those we love most of all. Thank you to everyone who has been a part of my world this year. Your friendship is the best gift of all!

And to all the couples I have worked with this year, it has been an honor to be a part of celebrating your union! I pray for God's continued blessings over your marriage!

Now I'm off to New York City with my cousin Becky to shoot a New Year's Eve wedding for Julie and Robert with the fabulous Jason Groupp!

I hope everyone had a blessed Christmas and I hope you have a wonderful and fun time bringing in the New Year!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

My dog, the Supermodel

I've always said my dog, Rhett, was the perfect test model. By now he has probably had thousands of pictures taken of him with all my experimenting and testing things out with my camera. He's always soooo good to let me pose him any way I like.

Well.... tonight he topped the poses of all poses ON HIS OWN. Let me rewind...

The past few weeks, in the corner of my office, Rhett has taken to my camera bag of all things. He usually likes to sit under my desk, but when he's not there, I have looked over to find him snuggled up laying on my bag. I've been wanting to get a picture of that, but everytime he looks so cute on the Canon bag, my Canon is in the bag.

So tonight I decided to move his dog bed from downstairs in the living room to upstairs in my office, since it's where I spend most of my time anyway.

Apparently, Rhett thought it was a great idea too because next thing I know, I look over my shoulder to see if he's liking his new place for his bed, and here's what I found:

Is my child the cutest or what!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

New website for www.captivating-studios.com

I'm excited to announce the unveiling of my NEW WEBSITE!! For 2007, Captivating Studios will now also be offering photography! Check it out at www.captivating-studios.com.

For brides looking for photography, be sure to book now at my special introductory price. Rates will be going up in the new year!

Congratulations Jessica & Jason!

This weekend I had the honor of capturing the wedding of Jessica and Jason. Jessica and I's dads go way back and they were good friends before she and I were even born. Though I had not met Jessica until this weekend, I felt like she was a distant cousin already and it meant that much more being able to shoot for someone that my family had history with. Her and her new husband were a gorgeous couple with those model looks that made it so much fun to shoot.

The best part of the day was when I surprised them at the reception by showing a slideshow of their day's pictures on the big screen that the DJ already had for showing their baby pictures. It was exciting to be able to give that gift to Jessica and the tears coming from her eyes after the show made my day!

Here are a few of my shots from the day below and their slideshow!!


I loved her whole "Scarlett O'Hara" corset dress.

As one of the bridesmaid's snaps a shot of Jessica, I thought it would be cool to snap a shot of the bridesmaid.

This was the first time Jessica's dad saw his little girl as a bride. That's always one of my favorite moments of the day.

This is always one of my favorite shots to take of brides. It just shows the essence of beauty that being a bride is all about.

This is my favorite shot of the day. I just love everything this one shot says about the bride walking into her destiny toward the man of her dreams.

Jessica and Jason, now husband and wife. I love how someone is giving Jason a high five on their way down the isle. That's guys for ya!

This is my favorite "artistic" shot of the day. Not only was this church beautiful, it had special meaning because it was the same church that Jessica's parents got married in.

This is my favorite "pull at the heart" shot of the day. This was shot over the shoulder of Jessica's dad's mom as she watched her son and granddaughter in the Father Daughter Dance. Then, right when I shot it, a slide in the background appeared of Jessica and her dad when Jessica was a little girl. Is that a God thing or what?

In other news........ the goal is TOMORROW for the launch my new site! I can't wait to share it with you guys! It's so cute and fun and chic! Stay tuned!!

Monday, December 11, 2006

Monday News

What a fun weekend I had in Ft. Pierce, Florida shooting the wedding for Jessica and Jason. I'll be posting their pictures and slideshow by the end of tomorrow.

Also, stay tuned for later this week. I'll be unveiling a brand new website for photo and video!! I'm excited about this launch of a new chapter for Captivating Studios for 2007!

Friday, December 08, 2006

Fun in the bathtub

This weekend my parents and I are down in Ft. Pierce, Fl attending a wedding for the daughter of one of my dad's old friends. It's going to be nice to ATTEND a wedding for once rather than being on guard working the whole time (though you can be sure I'll sneak in a picture or two.)

Tonight in our hotel room, my mom and I couldn't resist the bright teal tile in the bathroom of our hotel, so we brought out the camera to play. My mom has been anxious to get her hands on my camera ever since I got it, so I let her go at it tonight. She's always had an eye for great shots, but never had a good camera to carry out her visions, so she was excited to mess around and experiment tonight.

Next thing I know, my dad comes in and I ask him to take *one* picture of how cute we looked sitting in the tub. Well.... I discovered tonight my dad is also an in the closet photographer and he totally went to town taking about 20 shots himself at different angles, squatting up and down, going overhead of us in the tub. I couldn't stop laughing at how into it MY dad was strutting in the bathroom as he took his shots.

"You don't think I watch how you work, but I do, I was just trying to imitate you how I see you are always looking for different angles and tilting the camera so it's not dead on shots." Again, my mouth dropped at what a cool old dude my dad really is. I thought I got my eye for photography from my mom, but it might just be my dad afterall!

Here are some of our fun shots from the night in the bathtub! I might have two new second shooters underneath my nose and didn't know it! ha!

Photo by my mom. I was teaching her about "finding the light" as Tim Co. always says. That light was from a streetlamp coming through the bathroom window.

Photo by my mom. Believe it or not, this was actually shot in the dark only playing with the street lamp light again. But I bumped the exposure in Bridge and oila, it looks like we had turned on the bathroom light.

Photo by my mom. She says this one is her favorite. She calls it "Cat Stretch."

Photo by my mom. She calls this one "Cleopatra."

Photo by my dad. This is when he took over. Notice the way he "tilted" the camera. He was glowing over that shot trying to think outside of the box.

Photo by my dad. And the clicks kept rolling every which way but loose.

Photo by moi. My dad, a true Southern gentleman. At their age, it takes two to get out of the tub.

Photo by moi. Mom and dad checking out their pictures afterward. They are so cute, before my dad planted one on my mom, he said "Who's your Mac Daddy?" ROTFL!!

Who would have thought a bathtub could be so fun and lead to so many laughs tonight. I just ADORE my parents! Watch out photo world, these baby boomers are retiring soon and looking to play. After my mom saw the pictures, the first thing she said was "Ok, now this means we get published in your blog riiiiiiiiiiight? Blog us in baby!!" I think I've created two monsters.

p.s. Mom and dad said to say hello to all my blog stalkers.... they've been watching you too. wink wink

Sunday, December 03, 2006

To my surprise....

WOW! I have the best family and friends EVER! Friday night I was totally blown away by an amazing surprise birthday party everyone put together for me. It was completely unexpected because my birthday actually isn't until later this month on Christmas Day. But with the craziness of the holidays, they wanted to have the party early on so that my birthday wouldn't be overlooked.

It started a few weeks ago when my mom called me up and told me to schedule this night for a "mystery mother daughter date." For some reason, I just thought she was just going to sneak me away to see the premiere night of The Nativity since the movie is about Jesus' birthday, and it came out Friday night. I am anxious to see the movie because I have always felt honored to share my birthday with my Savior, and I am looking forward to watching a movie that celebrates His birth. So I knew something was up, but thought it would just be her and I, not the grand scale of friends and family it became.

The night started with her picking me up and her insisting on doing a small diva shoot in my condo. (This is where I get my passion for photography from, and practice modeling ha ha!) Then she took me to my favorite restaurant Blue Bamboo and I walk in to find half the restaurant full of all my favorite people!!! My friends thought of everything and had our long table decorated in candles and roses and doilies... all the girly things I LOVE! Next thing I know, in walks in my best friend from college, Katie, who drove all the way up from south Florida just to surprise me! I don't get to see her as much now that we live two different places and she's happily married, so her visiting was truly unexpected but totally the icing on the cake! It was a night of many tears of joy!

The last present the girls made me open was a handmade set of pajamas that said "IT'S ALL ABOUT SCARLETT" because the next place they were kidnapping me to was my friend Rachel's condo where we literally had an old fashion PAJAMA PARTY full of junk food, face masks, jumping up and down on the couch, watching Sex and the City reruns, dancing and singing to Kelly Clarkson and playing our favorite board game "Un Uh, No He Didn't!"

THANK YOU SOOOOOOO MUCH to Rachel, Franca and Barbara for all your wonderful efforts in putting together this night. You truly made me feel loved and special! And to everyone else who was there, or were there in spirit, I LOVE YOU ALL! Happy 26th Birthday to me!!

A few of my favorite shots from the night are below, but be sure to watch the fun slideshow of my "perfect day!!"


My place setting!

All my favorite people left to right: My adopted grandma, Frances; my friends Franca and Rachel; my dad; moi; mom; my friend Cassie; my friend Barabara; my adopted aunt Donna and her husband (Not pictured: Katie wasn't there yet)

Being born on Christmas, my mom always says I am her favorite Christmas present she ever got!

The pajamas my friend Barbara made for our slumber party!

Lately I've been all about the jumping pictures. I just love the emotion that comes out of people mid air. So I told my girls to jump!

Our beauty secret revealed!