Friday, April 29, 2011

The Royal Wedding: Why it Mattered to Me

This morning my alarm clock went off at 3:50am. I got up, showered, did my hair, and parked my bum on the couch with my computer, ready to participate in history with the other third of the world who watched along with me. Had my father-in-law not been sitting next to me I probably would have been teared up watching Kate walk down the aisle to meet her future husband, Prince William.

I've seen so many comments on Facebook from people who wonder why this is a big deal. They simply could care less, and that's fine. But to me, today was exciting and emotional, and I was thrilled to be able to experience it.

For one, I love weddings! I'm a wedding photographer. I get misty watching people I've met once in my life enjoy their first dance in front of their family and friends. I think love is a truly special thing to experience, and when you are lucky to be able to share that with someone, it should be celebrated. Weddings just don't get old to me. I love the couples, the details, and the celebration.

Secondly, I grew up in a house that worshiped the Royal Family. My mom had stacks of People Magazines and books with Princess Diana on the front covers. When I was a kid I would dream of meeting Princess Diana and becoming her best friend. As I got older I respected the goodwill work that she did and to this day I credit her example as the reason I like to give and help others. William is my age, and Harry is my brother's age, so it has been fun to watch them grow along with us.  William of course, was my teenage crush. :) When Diana died, my my mom and I sat in front of the TV in shock and tears, and I literally watched one of my dreams slip away as I realized I would never get to meet one of my idols. I was up in the middle of the night to watch her funeral and mourn with the world.

Finally, I just find this couple to be incredibly fascinating. They just seem so "real." I put it in quotations because I know in many ways they are not like everyone else, but one thing I have always respected about William and Harry are how down to earth and almost normal they appear to be. And of course, Kate being a "commoner" (also in quotes, because in this case commoner does not exactly equal poor or middle-class), almost allows their marriage to hit home a little.

So for me, today was an opportunity to celebrate, remember, and of course, live vicariously through a family that has been a part of my own culture for as long as I can remember. Like my mom followed Diana as she started her family, I'm excited to follow William and Kate, and to watch their kids grow as my kids grow. I wish them blessings and happiness, and felt honored to be able to celebrate with the world as they married this morning.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Friday Favorite: OxiClean

This week's Friday Favorite is brought to you by my adorable daughter, Molly.

See this face?

Pretty darn cute huh? Well, believe me when I say, the "gifts" this cute face offers up 2-3 times a day, are not so cute. And when those "gifts" are spread to her adorable little outfits, it's not fun for anyone involved.

At first, I just tried washing the clothes. But poop does stain, and after one wash, her onesies and pants were inevitably destroyed. Obviously, throwing out every soiled outfit is ridiculous, so on a whim one day I decided to pick up this stick of OxiClean pre-treating gel.

If Billy Mays were still alive, I'd be shouting right along with him. This stuff is A-MAZ-ING. If you've ever had an infant for more than a day, you know what I'm talking about when I say the word blowout. We're talking poo everywhere. Up the back. Down the legs. In the hair. I've had entire backs of onesies covered in poo, and after treating it with this stuff and washing it, the shirt looks like new. I've even (and I'm ashamed to admit this), let clothes sit for 4-5 days without pre-treating them, added the OxiClean gel, and again, they end up like new. You just need to be sure to wash your treated clothes in HOT water, or else the stain will set, and you'll have yourself a new dust rag.

If you're a mom, heck if you're not a mom (I tend to have a hole in my lower lip), this stuff is a necessary staple in your laundry room. With a quick registration you can even get a coupon here!

And that my friends, is the power of OxiClean. (Sorry, had to do it).

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Turning 30

Today is my 30th birthday. The big 3-0. The Dirty Thirty. I've spent so much time dreading this day, and now that it's here, I've found myself really sitting back and thinking about all the successes I had in my 20s, and instead of being sad today, I've decided to celebrate, and embrace the next decade before me.

I remember exactly where I was when the clock struck midnight on my 20th birthday. I was in college, and a manager at the local Friendly's. I was in the back office, counting the drawer, and I remember tearing up when it was official that I was no longer a teenager. Little did I know that the next ten years would allow me to accomplish many of the things that at that time I wondered if I would ever get to experience. So, allow me to reminisce and even brag a bit as I think about the past decade of my life.

I lived in another country. Four months in Spain, and still to this day, the best four months of my life.

El Alhambra, Granada
I survived my 21st birthday (barely). Let's just say the picture for this one is left hidden.

I graduated college.

I got a real job.

I lived in the city.

I finally fell in love...with someone who loved me back. :)

I traveled to the west coast.

V. Sattui Winery, Napa California

I took students abroad..twice. Once to Quebec, Canada, and once to Madrid, Spain.

I got married.

Photo Credit - Amy Salerno

I went on a my dream honeymoon to the Caribbean.

I bought a house.

I got a dog.


I photographed a wedding.

I had a baby.

I started my own business.

This list doesn't even mention the numerous crazy nights, silly moments, and ridiculous stories that will always cross my mind every now and again and make me smile. I think my 20s were pretty good to me. I can't believe I've hit 30 but I think my 30's will be wonderful in their own way.  I picture family time, watching my kids grow, enjoying time with my husband, and grown up girls nights with my girlfriends. I know bumpy roads are a part of any phase of life, but I'm excited to see what these next 10 years bring my way.

I'm officially a thirtysomething.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

And the Winner Is...

Thank you so much to everyone who voted on Molly's picture to enter in the Q97.9 Q Baby Idol contest. Between the blog and my Facebook page, 36 people guys are amazing!

Sooooo..the a long shot is....

Number 3!!

 Thanks sooo much for your help. Voting starts on Monday, and the baby with the most votes wins! I'll be posting a link so check back soon!

Sunday, April 10, 2011


Tulips are my favorite flower. Not only do they possess a very simple but stunning beauty, but they are a spring flower, and when I start seeing tulips in the stores, I know the warm weather is just around the corner.

Last weekend my husband surprised me with some gorgeous purple tulips, "just because." Yeah, I know, he's pretty great. They were so pretty to look at that I wanted to take some pictures, and had fun playing around with the different angles. Take a peek....can you feel the warm weather?

My photos are always available for sale if they are something you are interested in. Please note that the photos above are resized for the web, and actual prints will be of a higher resolution and quality. All photos are professionally printed and framing and matting are available! Just email for pricing and details!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Help Me Pick!

So every year, Q97.9, a local radio station, puts on a competition called Q Baby Idol. People submit photos of their children and the public votes on who they think has the cutest baby. The winner receives $1,000 cash and $1,000 worth of parts and service on their vehicle.

Of, course, I think my kid is the cutest kid on the planet and will obviously win this competition :) HOWEVER, in order to ensure this victory, I need your help. I have taken so many photos and looked at them so many times, that I simply cannot pick the one that will help us to win this competition.

That's where you come in. Take a look at the photos below. At the end, leave a comment with your favorite photo. PLEASE ONLY VOTE FOR ONE! You can comment anonymously if you'd prefer. I'll pick the one with the most votes and submit. Voting ends at 11:59pm on Monday, April 11. Thank you so much for your help!

Which photo is your favorite?

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Friday(ish) Favorite: The Roomba

So I know I'm a day late on my Friday Favorite, but we had a snow day yesterday (no joke, sadly), and I took advantage of the much needed time to relax and see my family.

This week's favorite is something I've wanted for a long time, but just never pulled the plug on. The Roomba has literally changed my life. I'm a new mom. I have a house with hardwood floors, pets that shed, and a baby that will soon be crawling on those floors. This Christmas I asked for a Roomba, never expecting to get one, because they are a bit pricey. Christmas morning came and went with the family, and no Roomba appeared. To be honest, I didn't even notice because I honestly wasn't expecting one.

Then we Skyped with my brother and his girlfriend who live across the country. He got us a Roomba, I got him a shirt. I have some serious shopping to do next Christmas. But that's beside the point.

Here is our Roomba. I won't lie, it's almost like he's become part of the family. He is a robot after all, so it's kind of like he's a person...right?

There are many reasons why I love the Roomba, but here's the hard cold truth - I don't clean my floors anymore. Let me repeat: I DON'T CLEAN MY FLOORS ANYMORE. I can sit and feed the baby, and the Roomba cleans my floors. I go to work, and the Roomba cleans my floors. I'm running around doing 90 million other things, and the Roomba is cleaning my floors. If you've ever had hardwood and pets, you know what a big deal this is. I've gone from sweeping anywhere from 2-5 times a day, to never.

Here are the other great things about the Roomba. You can program it to go off at a certain time every day. Ours goes off at 2:00pm every weekday and stays on it's dock on the weekends. When I get home from work, my floors are spotless. It does an incredibly thorough job, going all over the house over and over again until it hasn't missed a spot. It learns your house, so the more times you run it, the less it bumps into tables, chairs, couches and the like (and it's equipped with a nice bumper, so hitting those things does not hurt it). It comes with accessories that you can put into doorways so that it does not enter certain rooms or go down stairs. And finally, it sends itself home when it's done where it charges itself for it's next trip around the block. The only thing it does not do is clean itself, and it does need a daily emptying of its tray and a weekly cleaning of the brushes, depending on how much hair and dirt your house has. Minor, compared to the time it saves you in the long run.

If I had known how much time and sanity this product would save me, I'd have dropped the money on it years ago. They run around $350-$550, but are honestly worth every penny. This is now considered one of my "must-have" items for myself, and I recommend it now to just about everyone I talk with. If you're looking for a splurge, get yourself a'll thank me later!