Friday, November 2, 2012

[22 Days of Thankful]

I know many people have been posting what they were on facebook, and I wanted to as well, I just figured I'd write it all in my blog so that way it was all together so I could look back on it one day and recall what I'm thankful for in 2012.  I may be cheating in writing it all at once, but it doesn't change what I am thankful for.  It's a busy time for me and I won't be able to update it daily, so I might as well do it all now.  These are in no order, just whatever pops in my head once I get to the next one.  One doesn't out rank the other.

Day 1: I am thankful for my life.  I'm so blessed by my family, friends, job, and well being.

Day 2:  I am thankful for the day I met Josh.  He will probably come up in this list more than once.  Without meeting him, my life wouldn't be what it is today.  He's my everything.  I'm so thankful to be his wife.  He's my rock.

Day 3:  My parents.  They've shown me what hard work, dedication, and love will get you in life.  My mom is my best friend.  They gave me life.

Day 4:  Willie (and Gracie) my pugs.  I love them so incredibly much.  Even though Gracie is no longer with us, I still miss her and her personality.  And her two white toes on her paw.  I love how Willie gets so excited when I go home to visit.

Day 5:  My brothers.  I wouldn't be who I am without them.  They were my superheros, my prince charmings when I was younger.  I'm so thankful to have such wonderful big brothers.

Day 6:  My sister in laws.  Amy, Angie, and Shannon.  They're so amazing and they've given me such beautiful nieces and nephews.  They're such amazing women.  I hope that one day, I'm just as good as a mom as they are.

Day 7:  My oldest nephew, Cole.  He's my bud.  I can't believe it's 10 1/2 already.  Now that he's getting older, and can ride in the front seat (WHAT?!?! I'm still shocked), it's a whole different view on being an aunt.  He's so mature and wise for his age.  I'm so incredibly proud of him.

Day 8:  My second oldest nephew, Cason.  I can't believe he's 8.  My little snack monster is 8.  He's laugh is contagious and his spirit is so free.  He's such a love bug, especially when it comes to his new baby sister.  I couldn't be prouder of him.

Day 9:  My third oldest nephew, Kohl.  Oh Kohl - my little Cajun love bug!  I'm so grateful to be your aunt.  I love how you love Disney movies just as much as I do and can watch them over and over again.  I love your excitement on life.  I love you so much buddy and I'm so proud of you!

Day 10:  My youngest nephew, Coy.  I remember the day you were born buddy.  I absolutely love your orneriness - and how you say everything with your eyes.  I couldn't be happier than to be your aunt - and I'm so proud of you!

Day 11:   My niece, Josey.  I'm so thankful to have got to see you twice this year.  Your giggles get me every time.  You are such a doll!  I'm so thankful to be your aunt and miss you so much!

Day 12:  My niece, Kylie.  I remember the day your mom called to tell me she was expecting with you, and the day she called right before Christmas announcing you were a girl.  I am so thankful to have you in my life - I miss you so much! 

Day 13:  My high school best friend - Shalayne.  You are such an amazing friend of mine.  You've been through hell and back, but you've rose above everything and now have the most perfect little boy.  Ezra has stolen a piece of my heart.  I'm so proud of you for what you've done - love you always!

Day 14:  My college best friends - Jennifer Jo & Lindsay.  You two are such amazing people.  I'm so thankful to have you both still in my life.  You helped make my college experience what was and I'm so incredibly thankful to have you girls.

Day 15:  Home cooking.  I'm so thankful for good home cooking.  Sounds silly - but I love cooking, and spending time with loved ones at a dinner table.

Day 16:  My job.  Photography is something I've always had a passion for and I'm so thankful to be able to capture memories and preserve them.

Day 17:  My mom in law.  I'm so thankful to have such a wonderful mother in law.  And the fact she gave life to my prince charming.

Day 18:  My entire family.  My grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and their families.  I can not express enough how thankful I am for my family.  I absolutely love each one of them and miss them all so much!

Day 19:  Art.  I wouldn't be who I am without art.  Whether it was a school project, or for fun, I absolutely love being an artist.  And I'm very thankful for my talent.

Day 20:  A roof over my head, food on the table, and clothes on my back.  Life is expensive, and I'm very grateful for what I have.

Day 21:  Texas music and friends.  My life definitely wouldn't be what it is without them and their talents. 

Day 22:  Bar friends.  I met so many great people while Josh worked at the bar - and I'm so thankful for those friendships that made the last 4.5 years so great.


Thursday, September 20, 2012


So I know my last post about Josh quitting the bar was a little on the sappy side.  Well, that's how I'm still feeling about this being his last week.  And well, tonight is his last concert.  Every bar concert I've been at - he's been there.  Even when I didn't know him at my first Eli Young Band show my sophomore year of college. 

I can't even begin to count how many good memories I have there.  From the people that Josh worked with, old locals that I'd see every weekend.  I've really enjoyed meeting so many people, and keeping in contact with the ones that will always have a place in my heart.

The main part, besides seeing Josh, for my reasoning of going to the bar was CONCERTS!  And it still will be if concerts continue.  I know Bart Crow, Aaron Watson, and Josh Abbott are coming up.  I know I will NOT MISS Bart & Aaron.  And well, I may be in Kentucky when Josh is here.  Even though Josh is leaving, I can't quit concerts cold turkey.  Granted, I haven't been to that many this year - it was getting old.  Set lists were the same, friends moved, and well, sitting in the dj booth wasn't the best time of my life.  Granted, I'm way over people, and I like my space, but it got boring.

I've heard time and time again the last few weeks - a new chapter.  Yes, I know this.  And well, I'm getting tired of hearing it.  It's not only a new chapter in Josh's life, but mine as well.  This is a huge step in our lives together.  But before I have to end this chapter, I have spent time re-reading so to say the last 5 years of my life.  Today I composited a piece of some of my favorite moments and people.  I've been so thankful to have met such wonderful and hard working artists.  I've given countless rides to hotels, the mall and Wal-Mart (Aaron!), even gone out to eat (before and after shows....)  Josh & I can never go to iHop without thinking of Ace from the Thieving Birds asking this couple next to us if they were on their first date, second date, and if they wanted some eggs.  I get tears of laughter thinking about it...and Seidler's "I hate" list....All I can remember is "cheese sticks, and the key of B"...Josh & I laughed until we cried hearing Rody read off the list.  Oh..and the trip to the Donut Shop with Fish & Seidler and their tires of a donut.   I have so many memories it'd take me 5 years to type them all out.

I will miss this place...not the bullshit...but the good times.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

{Go Wildcats!}

I'm a little behind on my blogging lately.  Life seems to be hectic, even without plans.  And even some last minute plans.  Well, 5 days before the 1st K-State game, I was asked to go to the K-State game with my college best friend, Jennifer!  Her brother couldn't make it, so they had an extra seat.  I got to sit on the front row with her and her amazing family. This was the closest I've ever sat at a game - you're literally 10 feet from the players, and well, the legend, Bill Snyder!

And my brother and sister in law from Texas - James and Shannon came up for the game!  Shannon's college friend had tickets so they went with them and then we met up later at the bar.  James even got all decked out in purple - even bought some K-State sunglasses.  It was great getting to hang out with them.  And it gave Nanna B some grandma time with Josey.

But Aunt Amy got some photo opp time with Miss Josey!  Here are some of my favorites ---

Friday, September 7, 2012

{End of a Chapter}

They say you have to end a chapter in life before you can start the next one.  Well on September 22, Josh & I will end a chapter of our lives.  Josh got a new job this week at Harrah’s in North KC doing security.  He will be working 4 days a week, 10 hour shifts.  I’m very excited and proud of him for finding a full time job with benefits.  But this also has some sadness.  He put in his two weeks at Longhorns Saloon on Wednesday.  He’s worked there ever since the 1st night I saw him on June 16, 2007.  Yes, I remember that date – my roommates and I were celebrating my 20th birthday that ended in a trip to the bar where an old roommate worked.   Before Josh & I even started dating, I was standing in the dj booth with him one night, and thought to myself, jeeh, it sure would be nice to date someone like him.  Needless to say, 2 months later, Josh & I started dating at this bar.

Things have definitely changed at the bar – it’s not what it used to be by any means.  But I will not dwell on the drama and bullshit that we’ve dealt with the last 5 years – we have to move on from that crap.  I’ve very glad that part will no longer be a part of our lives.

As his time is coming to a close there, I remember all of the wonderful times, great friends I’ve met, and so much amazing talent that I’ve watched on stage.  I’ve seen so many wonderful talents hit that stage, and if concerts continue, I will always go see my favorites.  I have not, and will not miss my favorites.  From my first concert there – the Eli Young Band my sophomore year of college, to the last one I went to – Corey Smith (a favorite of mine I’ve wanted to see longer than I’ve known Josh).  There are so many shows that mean so much to me.  I will always love the old Kyle Bennett Band – they played at our wedding.  Josh & I had our first kiss after their show on Jan. 12, 2008.  And the countless nights of jagerbombs, trips for breakfast, and kick ass music by the guys.   So here’s to seeing Fat Dixie play and kick ass every single time.  And to Josh & Jared doing countless tequila shots at every show; here’s to Wayne Hubbard and his flaming Dr. Peppers on the bar; here’s to Fifty Dollars and a Flask of Crown; here’s to spending Valentine’s Day 2008 with Wade Bowen; here’s to seeing Casey Donahew opening for Johnny Cooper; here’s to never missing an Aaron Watson show;  here’s to standing front row at Randy Rogers Band CD release party; here’s to having long conversations with Bart Crow after his shows about life; here’s to standing front row with Lindsay at Stoney LaRue for the first time; here’s to seeing David Allen Coe, Jamey Johnson, and Clay Walker perform.  Here’s to our 80 Proof Cd that LD gave us for a wedding gift, here’s to all the free tshirts I still wear proudly; here’s to Bobby Dale singing “I’ll Be” for me after hours; here’s to painkillers with No Justice; here’s to Fake Patty’s Day with Seasonal Labor; here’s to every time seeing Reckless Kelly & Micky and the Motorcars; here’s to “Falling with Style” with Jason Boland and the Stragglers; here’s to the Josh Abbott Band for always having a great show; here’s to the John D. Hale Band – such sweethearts from Missouri.  Here’s to shooting the Flint Hills Music Fest – going on stage, in front of the crowd, and backstage with everyone.  I will never forget a single show. 
I really can’t even begin to thank everyone that we’ve met that means so much to us.  It’s so hard but I’m going to try --- Aaron Watson, you will always be a favorite.  Your music is amazing, and well, you’re such an all around great entertainer and person, we will always go anywhere to see you play.  Thank you so much for all of the amazing memories.  I will never forget the day Josh proposed, he was going to do it during Aaron’s show at stampede, but he waited until afterwards.  We spent the entire day on the bus with the guys hanging out.  To his band and tour manager – Jason, Jondan, D, Clint, Caleb, Chris, Sharpie, Brian, and Dave.  You guys have always been the nicest guys to drive around and hang out with.  I will never forget hearing Aaron’s stories about his wife’s shopping, and his kiddos.  I will never forget Miss Julie Grace that’s watching down over her daddy and family. 

To the Kyle Bennett Band/Thieving Birds – you guys will always mean the world to us.  So many wonderful memories have came from your shows, and even my favorite show, our wedding.  You have made us feel so welcome, inviting us to weddings, letting us stay with you, treating us like friends.  We will always love you.   To their wives that have became some of my best friends in the state of Texas.  Especially Robyn – you came to our wedding without ever meeting us – you let us stay with you when we came to see the guys’ first show at Spencer’s.  Thank you so much for everything!

To Bart Crow, you’re amazing.  Your shows are always of rock star quality, and you’re such a sweetheart.  To everyone that’s ever been kind enough to take a picture with me, I thank you – those are memories I’ll always cherish.  I know I’m forgetting a lot, but I have the pictures and scrapbooks to remind of everything.  

Here’s to starting date Josh after the K-State rodeo, here’s to every night we’ve shared together there. Thank you to so many memories of great friends – seeing Jess & Cade get engaged (and being there to photograph it), here’s to taking  my mom there on Halloween before going to a bridal shower the next day.  Here’s to so many nights with old roommates watching concerts; here’s to drinking in Pepsi cups J, here’s to the bands that have impacted our lives, and here’s to all of the memories I will never, ever forget.  I will never forget all of the great friends that I’ve made, all of the people that have worked with Josh that I’ve grown to become friends with.  Here’s til next time…

Thursday, August 16, 2012

{Wedding Tips}

I've wanted to write this post for awhile, and now after shooting 12 weddings and have edited about 50 weddings, I have tried to compile my thoughts into some helpful tips for brides.  This will most likely be a random list as thoughts will just spill out as I type bare with me and I hope it helps give you some insight on wedding planning.

1.  Get a wedding planner book - or binder.  This will help keep everything in one spot and together for references.
2.  Find your locations first - when Josh & I were planning our wedding we visited and looked at countless locations.  Think of how many people you'll be inviting.  Sure, I wanted an outdoor wedding, but with inviting over 350 people, it was impossible.
3.  Pick your dress - Order it.  I tried on over 75 dresses before agreeing to one.  I still am not in love with that dress, but the sales person was pushy and well, I would never recommend Emily Hart Bridal in Paola, KS to ANYONE!  AWFUL!  But back to the dress, it takes 6 months to get in because they're all made in China.
4.  COLOR - Depending on your wedding season time frame, pick some COLOR to help break up the white and black of the boring wedding.  You'd be surprised how color can add so much more to your wedding.  Don't be afraid of it - EMBRACE IT!  Whether it's flowers, shoes, bridesmaids' dresses - whatever, just have some COLOR!
5.  HAIR!  Oh my gosh - HAIR!  PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, do a trial run with your hair stylist - this will help them know what to do and see if you even like it. 
More Tips on Hair:
---- Have your hair stylist ON TIME!  If they're not on time, the whole time line is thrown off and makes the rest of the day a crunch.
----BOBBY PINS & HAIR SPRAY --- For the love of Pete, PLEASE don't skimp out on the hair spray - your hair has to last you all day and night.  Inside, outside, hugs, dances, and endless pictures.  I had 72 bobby pins in my hair, and my hair lasted until the next day.
---- Think about how it will look in pictures, do you want to see volume on your crown, or down your back?  Do you really want a bang down in your eyes, so it gets stringy and looks messy by mid pictures?
6.  The Reveal.  Times are changing, traditions are changing, adaptations made. 
I've shot weddings both ways, reveals and no reveals.  And here is some tips on time when it comes to having a reveal....
---- Your first moment is captured intimately and beautifully by your photographer.  You get all of your gitters out and are more relaxed while walking down the aisle.
---- Family photos - you are able to take all of your family photos before the wedding.  You all still look your best, and then they are free to head to the reception to relax and welcome your guests while you and your groom (and wedding party) are out doing fun wedding party pictures at various locations.
---- There is more time for photos when doing a reveal.  -Most brides think they need to do separate pictures - for example, Bride, parents, siblings & their spouses/kids and then after the wedding they add in the groom.  Weddings are about making your family bigger and about the bride and groom.  Are you really going to want an 8x10 hanging in your home without your groom in it with the rest of your family? No.  If you don't do a reveal - think of these shots and save them for after the ceremony.  This will help the photographer get more shots not worrying about these groups.
7.  Details, Details, Details.  These are always important.  I planned every aspect of our wedding from the napkins, to the flowers, to the bridesmaids color and shoes.  Everything was consistent and went together.  Every wedding should have a theme and should be consistent.  If you don't know - ask someone. 
8.  Always remember this is your wedding - you and your husband.  Do not let anyone push you around.  Have an opinion.  Speak up.  Be heard. 
9.  Time - have a detailed time frame with your photographer.  This will help your day go so much smoother and make sure you tell family to be there 15-30 minutes early for photos.  If you're constantly waiting on people, photos will be missed.
10.  Little kids - many people think just because you have a niece/nephew/little cousin - they should be in the wedding.  If they are under the age of 4 - make them an "honorary" flower girl or ring bearer.  Kids and weddings are a very trying time.  They get tired, loose interest, and don't care.  In wedding party pictures, they're fussy 90% of the time and just want their mom or dad.
11.  Accessorize -- Bling it up baby!  Wear a statement necklace, or at least some pearls.  Don't forget your earrings - if you have your hair up your earrings are in every photo.
12.  Wear your wedding rings all day - if you're doing a reveal, put them on first.  That way they're in every shot.  Give them back right before ceremony, but wear them before so they're in pictures.  You'd be surprised what's missing if you're not wearing them.  
13.  Enjoy your day - it's your wedding day - embrace all of the love and memories :)

I hope this helps future brides some.  And I'm sure these aren't all of my tips but it's what's on my mind as I'm editing a wedding at work.


Thursday, August 2, 2012

{Mr. & Mrs. Matt McFarland}

I had the highest honor of shooting my cousin, Matt's wedding on July 21st in Loveland, Colorado.  This was by far the most nerve racking wedding I've ever had to shoot.  Not only is he family, but I've grown up with Matt.  You see, on my Dad's side of the family, we (all of us 12 cousins) have someone close to in age.  Matt & I are 6 months apart, he was born on Jan. 2, and myself June 11th.  We've always been rather close.

Here's a quick look at our history :)
When they asked me to shoot their wedding, I was thrilled.  All in all the day went well, minus a small time delay and the heat,  but other than that I was pleased.

Here are my favorite images of that day:
Josh, Amy, Cat, & Matt

Cat, Teegan, and Matt

Grandma and Matt

Mark, Matt, and Brian McFarland


Matt & Cat

Such a sweet moment of my Uncle, Matt, and Aunt

Handsome groom

Their reveal

The whole family that made it

Celebrating the 4th

I'm just a little late in this posting about the 4th.  Amy, Jeremy, Cole, Cason, & Kylie came to Wellington for the 4th of July for a few days.  Which meant, not only family time and the 4th of July, but a 3 day photo shoot with my sweet niece Kylie.  She is starting to laugh, coo, and cackle.  Be prepared, I'm about to bombard you with absolute cuteness!

Uncle Josh & Kylie's 1st picture together

Grandma's girl

Giggling on the way to Derby

Happy 4th!

Someone has the giggles

Cole, Uncle Josh, Cason, & Aunt Amy

Rocking her to sleep right before they went back to Kentucky

Her daddy is making her giggle

Grandpa Monty, Kylie, and Grandma Carol

Great Aunt Joan & Kylie

Hey everyone, I'm 2 months old :)

She will either love Disney or think she has a really CRAZY aunt :)

She's got Uncle Josh wrapped around her finger

Beach bunny

K-State Cutie

She's a doll

I love this little lady so much!

I bought this dress for Miss K

One of my favorite pictures of her

So bashful! :)