Two Photo-Shoots In One Day – Happy, Happy Joy

December 23rd

On our last full day in St Louis, I had two appointments for photo-shoots. The biggest day in my history of photography thus far. The first session started in St Louis with my nephews. I felt honored that they asked.

Twas the night of the rehearsal dinner (December 21) while dining with my bro-in-law and sis-in-law, that I heard behind me “Aunt Debbie”.

When I turn around, to see the commotion, my nephew was there asking if I would have time to shoot he and his little brother while there.

Did I have time? I’ll make time! Those were my thoughts and so we set up a time early for the day after the wedding (December 23) to meet over at the park such that we could shoot not only them but their cars too!

This aunt heart enjoyed the next hour and a half directing and shooting until our hearts were content.

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Younger brother, my how they love baseball, especially the St Louis Cardinals.

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Big brother and his pretty ride.

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 I plan on getting back to these pix in about a week or so. I may post more of them at that time.

After playing around in the park…oh, did I mention the po-po came and scolded us? Of all things, seems too many tires were on the grass? I just smiled and told him we would move.

Anyway, after playing in the park, the hubs and I moved on up the road to visit his sister and her family.

And I had another photo shoot with her son, our nephew and his wife! Yea!!! This so happens to be my very first couple photo shoot too, exciting!

So off to the park we strolled…

I immediately thought this train made for a great backdrop. So we went with it.

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Two love birds in the park.

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Words, there are no words for such sweetness.

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 Fun was had by all.

And I’m so happy I directed them to kiss! Love truly is the sweetest thing…

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Here we all are back at my sis-in-law and bro-in-laws home with their two boys and their families.

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After a nice meaningful visit and dinner with the family, we made our 2 hour trek back to St Louis such that we would be on time for our flight out (to Florida) the next morning, Christmas Eve.

Blessings – Debbie

 

Happy New Year

I’m so excited about 2013! But I’m not going to get all wrapped up into the New Year on the Blog just yet. As you know, I have some catching up to do before I can move on.

We have been quite busy bodies the last couple of weeks. And the plan is to take that one blog post at a time too. Small bites, that’s how I plan to catch up.

For starters, on December 19th, the hubs and I took a trip to St Louis to visit with family and attend our nephew’s wedding.

Disclaimer – All shots (in this post) were taken with my iPad and the last shot (in St Louis) taken with my cell phone. I wasn’t ready for the “big guy” just yet.

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There is something about living on the West Coast and flying over the desert. Especially when snow begins to appear on mountain tops. I’m smitten.

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Oh my word! Utter splendor as we approach our first stop in Salt Lake City. I’m one happy gal that the hubs insists I have the window seat.

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You should have seen me at the airport in Salt Lake that evening. I was PUSHING for our flight to lift off before sunset. As we continued to taxi out, the pilot would announce “we are 5th in line for takeoff”… Each time he would announce something new and all the time in-between, I would freak out, look out the window, check to see that the sun was still up. It’s crazy the things that drive me nuts when I want to photograph a sunset with snow-covered peaks.

But alas, this is all the light I had to work with once our feet were off the ground.

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Soon, I reclined and relaxed for the remains of our flight.

We were prepared for St Louis to be freezing cold. Instead, it was cold and raining that evening. And we were both so thankful that it was not ice.

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That concludes day 1 of our trip.

Blessings – Debbie

Going Home

After 13 days on the road, we were so happy to be on our way home.

The way I see it – Traveling is fun, time with loved ones is priceless, but the yearning for home after 13 days on the road, was pretty much all we could think about today.

I played with a few apps on the plane, clicked my heals together…

and the next thing we knew, we were home.  Home Sweet Home!

It’s good to be home.

Blessings – Debbie

Back To St Louis

Our trip by now is winding down.  But we have one last stop.  Another stop in St Louis for a little get together with hubby’s grade school friends.

Hubby organized a grade school class reunion for his classmates from 1st – 6th grade.  We had a total of 13 classmates + guests.

Hubby also ordered a 50th birthday cake (from their hometown bakery) for the class.

 

The class had a wonderful time reconnecting and visiting thru the evening hours.

Next time, hubby hopes to get in contact with more classmates as it would be nice to see many more friends from days gone by.

Blessings – Debbie

Louisville KY

June 13

Here I come!  While hubby was in Indy on Business, I took the nearly 2 hour drive down to Louisville, KY to spend a little time with my girlfriend.

To be a guest in their home was an honor, in the beautiful downtown Louisville Historic Home District.  It’s a place where charm and elegance meet.  A place where I sat back and breathed in beauty.

Favorite things I remember the first afternoon/evening –

  • Sitting at the kitchen bar sharing a bowl of baked chips made from, I believe rice.  They were such a yummy, crunchy little snack while sipping Diet Coke and catching up with my friend of many years.
  • I love how they remodeled the kitchen.  Their cabinets and counters are just gorgeous!
  • Meeting her loving dog was wonderful.  I Love You Luca!
  • Moving on out to the patio late afternoon where we sipped a cool beverage, enjoyed the breeze and the sounds of wind chimes while admiring their gorgeous landscaped backyard.
  • But the conversation and all the catching up is what I love most.  It was wonderful!
  • Soon her hubby came home from work and joined us for a little visit.  It was the first time I met her hubby.  But I knew right away how perfect they are for each other.
  • They treated me to a wonderful dinner Downtown.  I just remember how much I enjoyed the atmosphere all the way around.
  • Later on in the evening, we got comfy back at the house.
  • We lounged, reclined and visited.
  • With the reality show Duets with Kelly Clarkson for our entertainment.  I love all the things I remember about that day.  Great memories!

June 14

Today we were up early and started the day with a cup of coffee.  Not just any cup of coffee.  My girlfriend has the amazing Keurig and she fixed me my very first cup of coffee from that cool pot.  My choice of coffee was the Raspberry Chocolate Truffle.  It was good, so good that when she offered another cup, my eyes lit up and my heart skipped a beat.

Soon we were on our way as she gave me the grand tour around town.

We stopped by the University to have a look at The Thinker.

We traveled past the Louisville Slugger Museum and Factory.  And I got to see for the first time the World’s Largest Bat.  It’s a six-story tall replica of Babe Ruth’s Bat.

We passed by Churchill Downs – The sun was high and we were not in the best lighting for this shot, but here it is.

Terrible harsh light, but here’s the Kentucky Derby Museum.

We passed by the Muhammad Ali Center.

And we made our way to some fun downtown shops.  We explored, found some unique things, went to an amazing place for lunch and topped off the early afternoon at a cool pottery shop.

But I would have to say our visit was the best part.  I truly enjoyed our time together.

While our visit was amazing, there came a time when it was time to say goodbye, until we meet again.

I made it back to Indy just before hubby finished up his last day of business.

And all the San Diego boys and I went out for a nice Chinese dinner.  I like that we ordered but shared all the dishes in the center of the table.  It was a great way to try many wonderful things.

And this is a picture of the sunset out my side mirror that evening.

And at the end of the day, all was right with the world.

This also made for our last night in Indy.

Blessings – Debbie

June 10,11 and 12

June 10th – Hubby and I checked out of our hotel in IL and made our way down to Indianapolis for hubby’s business trip.  I can say the drive was easy as I slept most of the way.

June 11th – Hubby worked from the hotel and I played with the pictures from the wedding as I tried to get them on FB asap.

June 12th – Hubby left the room bright and early for business.  I hung out downstairs with a cup of coffee and enjoyed the morning.

I tooled around with the washing machines at the hotel and got our laundry all caught up.  That was an accomplishment.

After I finished my small list of things to do, I played a spell with my iPad, in our room, while I waited for hubby to get off work.  Twas fun.

Then we met the boys from work, at The Rathskeller German Restaurant, Downtown Indy.  A wonderful evening was had by all.  Photo taken with my cell but as good as it gets of Q.  He’s been working for hubby from all the way when we lived in NY.  It’s so good having him out here (So Cal and the business trip to Indy) with us.

By the end of the night, hubby and I were in dreamland getting lots of good rest.  Night!

Blessings – Debbie

Wedding Bells

A wedding to remember.  Hubby and I had the privilege of attending our nephews wedding.

On the morning of the wedding, the Bride went for a 5k run.  I just love the way she rolls.

Photos taken after her run.

I was up early to help the family/friends decorate the reception hall.  I got to help put the pretty purple sashes on the chairs among other things.  It was a lot of fun being involved.

After a few hours, our duties were over and the crew came in to take care of the rest.

Soon, hubby and I were “Johnny on the spot” to get over to the theater early.  Turns out, we were the very first to arrive.  We picked out our seats and listened to the beautiful music, while eagerly waiting for the ceremony to begin.

The minister told their love story from the top.  It was beautiful.  He shared the story from the Bride and the Groom points of view.

The Bride:  Walked up to this handsome man “a perfect stranger when they met” and said You’re so handsome.

The Groom:  She walked up to me and said “You’re Hot”.  And she eagerly helped enter her phone number in my cell phone.  And that’s the last time she’s known anything about electronics.

The Bride and Groom also read their own wedding vows to each other.  The Bride: Vowed to comfort her Groom (a St Louis Cardinal fan since birth) when the Cardinals lose and never root for the Cubs.

While I can’t remember everything, I do remember how their stories made us laugh and cry.  And how their love for each other filled the room.

It was such a beautiful day to watch these two love birds become one.

Soon it was time to make our way to the reception.  The tables so pretty as they were set for Kings and Queens.  And the meal was over the top amazing!

So way back at the church, shortly after hubby and I arrived, I leaned into him and said, “I’m looking for something funny to happen this evening”.  I think this picture of the Bride’s brother, says it all.  This was the intro of the wedding party arriving to the reception.  Need I say more?

Hubby and nephews visit.

The “First Dance”

We adore our family and their fun-loving ways!

Hubby and Nephew/Groom.

The lovely couple and little o me.

Me and my King.

And they danced thru the early morning hours.

The Bride and Groom the next morning.

 

The same pic played with a bit.  They are just too cute!

And they live happily ever afer.

 Blessings – Debbie

A Trip to Central IL

It was a special day as the excitement was mounting.  A day we looked forward to for many – many months.  This was the day we were on our way to the wedding of our nephew.

But before our trip, we had to make a quick stop at the local Wal*Marts.  We still needed to pick up a card for the bride and groom.

I love their display as there is no doubt what part of town we were in.  This was Cardinal Nation, baby. Best fans in baseball.  My hubby has been a fan since he was a toddler and I’ve been a fan since the beginning of our time together.

Are you thinking non sequitur?  Me too.  But this is what happens when a display like this hits me.

So we secured the card for the couple, then off to the next great adventure.

The evening was a flurry of family and friends arriving from far and near.  And we had brief visits with many we had not seen in a while = good times.

While the rehearsal was underway, hubby and I found a great place to dine and we were back in time for a big family gathering on the outdoor patio.

There was so much excitement in the air.  Children were splashing in the pool and good times lasted long into the night.

It was a night that the camera stayed in the room and the meaningful visits with loved ones will remain in my heart forever.  I’m learning there are times when it’s nice not to be in camera mode.

Blessings – Debbie

A Day in St Louis

We had a wonderful day in the St Louis Area.

There she is agian.  I’ve seen this arch so many times as hubby and I travel to the “Lou” often.  But I get so excited each and every time I see it.

The hubs and I enjoyed his hometown bakery for breakfast.  We will not talk about what we had, but it could have involved the most amazing donuts I’ve ever had in my life.  And then for dinner we had yummy BBQ with fried okra as one of my sides.  I haven’t had okra that yummy since we lived in TX.  Lets just say, our healthy living was not up to par.

No doubt, we were having fun!

Blessings – Debbie

Off to St Louis

Oh what a day.  A day that was easy to roll out of bed and not have to rush off to the airport.  I love flights where we don’t have to get up while rubbing our eyes, wishing we could hop back into bed for a little more sleep.

It was such an easy morning, no rushing around for anything.

The luggage was all ready the night before.

Our commute to the airport was easy peasy in the HOV lane.

And hubby even had time to chill with a new shoe shine.

Love looking out over the San Diego coast.  A place I will always love.

Playing with my Ipad camera and apps was a huge hit on the flight.

Diet Coke with lime was so good!  But the playing with that Ipad and apps trumped everything else.

I’m a fan of my lap top bag under the seat in front of me.  Makes for a great foot rest for my short legs.

Luckily I had something to play with, as the flight was over in the blink of an eye and we were well on our way to a lot of fun.

Blessings – Debbie

So Long Yosemite

And so long, room with this view.

We enjoyed our last meal in the dining room.

We hope to come back one day.

We took one last stroll around the hotel after breakfast.

We took a shot of the sitting room from the mezzanine level on our way out.

Wish I could have saved my room key as a souvenir.

True story.  I had my souvenir all picked out in the downstairs gift shop.  It was a lovely onyx platter.  The stone liked to take my breath away.  There was good and bad news.  The good news, a sign said that the stone came from outside Yosemite.  The bad news, as I went to pay for the platter, I learned that the stone not only came from Pakistan, it made there too.  Apparently made outside Yosemite means anywhere in the world.  At that point the bad news did me in and I did not get the platter.

Guess what?  The guys we saw a couple of days ago (at Tunnel View) were at the hotel as we were checking out that morning!  Can you believe we ran into them again?  Well, I can’t.

Another true story.  We had all of our bags piled into the car and ready to go when I realized I left something behind.  So I ran up to the room while hubby waited.  While I was gone, hubby heard familiar voices carrying on across the way (about 20 or so feet away).  Hubby said.  “You guys guests here?  We don’t allow riff-raff around here.”  While hubby caught the boys off guard, they quickly remembered him and got chuckle out of it.

We exchanged info and plan to keep in touch.  Our friends, yes, that’s you Joe, Tom and Mike.  If you’re reading this, we trust all is well.  And if you’re ever in the San Diego area, please let us know.  We would love to see you again.  This was such a total unexpected treat to bump into them again.  Hey Mike, we missed you, wish we could have said hello to you too.  We hope you were getting some amazing shots of that tree…

Joe, me and Tom

We stopped at Tunnel View one last time before we pulled away from the park.  It just seemed the right thing to do.

Then we drove up the road to see the Sequoia’s at Mariposa Grove.

It was the first time for me to see these beautiful trees.

The “Grizzly Giant” behind me is the 25th largest giant sequoia living today. The circumference at the ground is 96.5 feet = It’s HUGE and pix don’t do justice.

Hubby and the Grizzly Giant.

After our little hike and visit with the Sequoia’s, it was time to hit the road.  It was time to go home and we were ready.

I can’t lie, I did reach for that pillow in the backseat and I did close my eyes and I did fall asleep on our way home.

We made it home safe and sound sometime around 9 o’clock in the evening.  The good news, we still had the weekend around home sweet home to rest up before the work week.  I love that we plan at least a day or two at the end of each trip to rest up before work.

This concludes Hubby’s 50th Birthday, an amazing week filled with lots of fun and great memories.

Blessings – Debbie

Happy Birthday Hubby

This 50th Birthday week for hubby has been amazing.  And I feel so blessed to get to spend it with him.  While I wished him Happy Birthday, morning, noon and night all week, this was the real day to celebrate.  The day he picked out just what he wanted to do.

He wanted to ride a mule thru the valley and that’s exactly what we did.

What a beautiful day.

Just hangin’ out waiting to get assigned to our ride.

Our first mule ride.

I was assigned to Shirley.

And hubby was assigned to Girtie.

While I had Shirley on auto pilot, I took my eyes off the road.

Since I didn’t have a rear view mirror, I had to turn around every now and then to check in with hubby and Girtie.

The view, what more can I say?

She’ll be comin’ ’round the mountain…

It’s a good thing Shirley knew what she was doing as I wasn’t paying close attention to the path up ahead.

And the views had to be documented one way or another, just for the record.

Hubby somehow got in front of me such that he could turn around now and then to check in.

There were quite a few of us enjoying the ride.

But after the ride, the Birthday Boy and I made our way back to our room for a much-needed nap.  This was the view with my head on the pillow.  We even slept with the curtains open at night as this was an amazing sight in the middle of the night as the moon and stars provided just enough light to show off the falls.

We then went down and found our own little table and chairs for afternoon tea.

 It was quite refreshing.

Dinner reservations were made in the Dining Room and we enjoyed the lovely dinner music.

Looking out from the dining room.

Hubby had the amazing Rotisserie Chicken with Garlic Mashed Potatoes.

I had the Grilled Beef Tenderloin with Root Vegetable Pave, Veal Sweetbreads and Porcini Jus.  Yum!

And we shared this amazing Chocolate Pecan Pie A La Mode.

This was so yummy!

The dining room – pic taken after dark.

The Birthday Boy on his Birthday.

Just the two of us outside the hotel.

And one last Birthday pic before we called it a night.

It comes as no surprise that hubby had a Very Happy Birthday.

Blessings – Debbie

Glacier Point

Good morning from our window.  It was another exciting day in Yosemite.

After a yummy breakfast,

we made our way to Glacier Point.

A little hike…

Led us to the most amazing views.

We had a bird’s-eye view of the hotel.  Can you believe it took an hour to drive from the hotel to this very spot?  We were up there at an impressive 7,214′.

Can you spy our hotel now?  It’s down there, way down there.

A great big wow!  That’s what comes to mind.

The King and I – Glacier Point.

Taking it all in.

Half Dome – what a great view up here.

Here we are on our way back to the hotel making our way thru the tunnel at Tunnel View Yosemite.

We decided to return to Tunnel View that evening to get some shots.

Turns out, Tunnel View drew quite the professional photography group.  Joe, that’s Joe in the hat all set up to get some amazing shots.  He’s visiting with a couple who take shots for the Discovery Channel.

There’s Joe down there getting his shots.  And Roy is here in the blue shirt taking wow shots.  I know these things, I saw some of his work.  Allow me to say wow again.  WOW!

Thanks Joe, Tom and Mike and Roy for all the photography encouragement and advice.  And the laughs too!  It was such a delight to meet all of you!

Roy analyzing his shot.

I hope to one day be half as good as these guys.  Until then, I’ll keep snapping pix.

Blessings – Debbie

We Saved The Best For Last

It’s no secret, we had the best time in Big Sur.  But the time was up and time to move on to a new place.

The night before, we were sure to open the blinds, and prepare the camera for that sunrise, just like the day before.  Only this morning, we wanted to catch it right as it was coming up.

It didn’t work out as planned as the clouds rolled in and the sky was thick and overcast.  It was a sign that it was time to go.

As we made our way out, the hotel lobby seemed void of any moving creatures.

And just like that, we pulled away from the coast and all of the wonderful memories we made back in Big Sur.

As I sat in the passenger seat that morning, the clouds broke and the sky was the prettiest shade of blue.  But, doubt flooded over me.  Doubt that the high we were on in Big Sur would soon be squashed.  As we passed through the mountains, they were just not the same as looking at cliffs and rock and all the shades of the deep blue sea.

During that 4 hour drive, the camera was completely tucked away.  And somewhere in California those mountains turned to flat land and cattle, as far as the eye could see.  I recall piping up to hubby saying “I feel like we’re in Okeechobee, FL” Hubby to me “This feels like Arkansas to me.”  Yeah, I was a little worried that the high of beauty we were just on was totally g.o.n.e.

The question “will Yosemite live up to Big Sur?”  “Will excitement return?”

I took out the camera as we pulled into Yosemite National Park.

I think this Yosemite Valley Chapel was one of my first shots.  It’s not the best lighting but I loved this cute little Chapel!  Turns out, it’s been a place of worship and weddings for over 130 years.

At this point, excitement returned on this little one way road into the park.

On into the Valley we go.  Soon we are surrounded with granite all the way around.  And the falls, o the falls were amazing!

We were two very excited campers as we forged our way deep into the Valley.

Look, there’s Half Dome!

And the Ahwahnee Hotel!  The place we were to call home for the next few days.  We tried to come here last year but learned we needed to make reservations a year in advance, if we wanted to be sure to be here when we wanted.  So last May, we made our reservations to come this year for hubby’s 50th birthday.

We had plans to meet up with friends, so we chilled in the sitting room as we waited for them to arrive.

We meet again, old family friends.  I’ve known this amazing couple since I was 8 years old.  We were neighbors.  I played with their little girl when we were kids.  This amazing gentleman was the Minister in our wedding.  From the time I was a kid, I knew who would marry me one day.

What are the odds that we would be here in the same place vacationing at the same time?  WOW!  This was such a nice treat!

Love them!

The place we had lunch, dessert and coffee together.

It did our hearts good to see them again.

Soon hubby and I were back in our room admiring our view and figuring out how we wanted to spend the remains of our day.

Exploring, that’s all we wanted to do was explore the Valley floor.  And with that, I’m just going to let the pictures do the talking as I am completely out of words other than wow!

On that note, I was completely speechless at day’s end.  I will also say there is no way to compare Yosemite to Big Sur.  And I will say that we both agreed that “We saved the best for last.”

I’m thankful for the unexpected wow’s in life.  For the beauty in creation and nature at its best.  We still have much to see and explore.  I’ll be back!

Blessings – Debbie

Big Sur CA

Good morning from paradise!  Who knew the sun would poke me in the eye, in the morning, on the west coast?  Tis true, that big guy in the sky nudged me out of bed bright and early for this shot.  Taken from the balcony.

Since this leg of our trip was planned last min, we were not able to pillow our heads in Big Sur.  But we found a place (Monterey Plaza Hotel and Spa) on up the road in Monterey Bay.  Although it was about an hours drive from Big Sur, the drive down was beautiful.

Shot from our balcony.

I was in love with the proximity of the hotel over the bay.  Shot from our balcony.

I caught this shot from our balcony as well.  We also watched fishing boats make a b-line out to sea.

As soon as we were ready to explore Big Sur, we hit the road.

Bixby Bridge, Big Sur CA

Panned the camera just away from the bridge to see the stunning cliffs and rocky coast.

We were here…

…having the time of our lives with nothing on the agenda other than to enjoy ourselves and take in the things we wanted to take in at our own pace.  It truly felt like vacation in every way.

I think this is yet another time when I was wishing hubby Happy Birthday.  I wished him Happy Birthday morning noon and night for 7 days straight.  He deserves the very best.

We were still at Bixby Bridge, but this is another shot of the coast on the other side.

After we had our fill at the bridge, we moseyed up the road.  This pic was taken from the passenger seat.

Another shot from the passenger seat.  That mountain running into the ocean is a Navy Facility of sorts.  We both agreed that was a nice strategic place.  If I were in the Navy, I would want to eat, sleep and work from there.

We stopped at Nepenthe for lunch.  It came highly recommended by friends and we can report that the food was amazing and so was the…

VIEW!

What a gorgeous day!

While there was a bit of haze, the weather was spot on.

A testament that this passenger could not sit still.

And the driver was delighted to pull off as we were on a mission to take it all in ’til our hearts were content to move on up/down the road.

Our next planned stop was a little hike in Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park.

It was yet another beautiful place to get out and stretch our legs.

Something we continued to say about our trip “It is so easy on the eyes.”

A close up of the waterfall as seen in the above pic.

And another.

The little path, what fun!

The trail ended here.  Not a bad place to land.

It was another magical day filled with beauty at every twist and turn.

It’s a place we hope to return one day.  If not, these pictures will serve as a reminder of the joy we experienced while there.

Blessings – Debbie