Thursday, April 14, 2011

Anniversary and blog resurrection

Yesterday Ryan and I were married 9 years. NINE. It just doesn’t even seem possible that it’s been that long. We’ve been having so much fun together it feels like time is moving too quickly..

On our way home from dinner last night we were trying to remember what we’d done for the previous 8 anniversaries… and we could only remember two! Lame. Then I realized… I could just go back to my blog. We were laughing so hard about what I’d written on previous anniversaries. It’s so easy to forget all that’s happened. All the little things. The way I was feeling at the time.

I stopped writing on this blog for a few reasons. First is that even a year and a half after my mom died, I was feeling so raw and sad, and I felt like my blog was helping me express how I was feeling, but I don’t know… I guess it wasn’t really the best way to actually deal with it.

The other reason I stopped is I’d made a conscious decision to use my blog to promote my business. It wasn’t working. The reason I liked my blog so much is because it was about my life. I know that tons of portrait photographers use their blog as the key way they connected with people, but that was never the purpose of my blog.

So for me, for when it’s my 20th anniversary, I’m going to be better about keeping up this blog so I don’t forget. I’m thinking about everything we’ve done in the last year and how I made no effort to document it… Sad. I’m going to try to catch up here for a while if that’s ok with you. We’ve had all kinds of amazing vacations since I last checked in. I also started a new blog with 4 other food lovers. I hope you’ll check it out. http://WineAndaSpoon.com

But I’d be remise if I didn’t write what I did with my husband for our 9th anniversary. We’re on this crazy diet right now. I call it the ‘beige diet’ because it’s completely devoid of color. Here’s how it goes: 6am Oatmeal and egg whites, 8:30am protein powder in water, 11am: white meat with a tiny bit of rice (I can put soy sauce on it), 1:30pm more white meat (which I’ve been sneaking broccoli into), 4pm more protein, 6:30pm beef and spinach, 9pm more protein. We’ve been at it for just over a week and I’ve lost 4 pounds! Well, actually, that was Monday, so I’m guessing it could actually be more.

At any rate, what kept me going that first week was we had a big fancy dinner planned last night for our anniversary. The plan was to go to Kazmierz wine bar before dinner, but we’re 32 year-old OLD people. We got there before the bar even opened. We went to Olive and Ivy, ordered drinks…. and hummus. Omg, it was AMAZING after a week of tasteless food. FNB was stellar for dinner. Ryan hadn’t been before. We had TWO appetizers, TWO entrees, and TWO desserts. Cheese plate and a salad w/ heirloom carrots, pasta with amazing mushrooms and mint lamb with purple fingerling potatoes, and for dessert chocolate cake with banana ice cream and a fresh made butterscotch pudding. HEAVEN. Highly recommend. The service alone is worth the hefty bill.

But, back to the beige diet… the real reason for the beige diet is we’re going to Vegas next week! We love to go to Vegas and go about once a year. We fell in love with a house in Mini’s neighborhood 2 weeks ago, and when it fell through we decided, F it! We’re going to Vegas!

So there you go Amanda and Ryan of the future trying to remember what you did on your 9th anniversary. Can’t wait to see what the next 50 or so anniversaries bring!

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Second Mother's Day

Last year was hard. I had only lost my mother 7 months before that and I remember feeling like every commercial for Mother's Day, every time I heard my girlfriends talk happily about their Mother's Day plans... it all felt like an assault. It still does, a little, but I feel so much healthier now. Mostly now I get sad more about the things I'm forgetting then feeling that fresh pain of losing her. I really do feel like a year and a half on I'm forgetting my mom a little. I know it's inevitable. And my life has changed so much because of her loss, that it would be hard to imagine her in this life I have now. A lot of things have gotten much harder to deal with, and I've had to feel more like an adult then a daughter since then. Mostly I just still feel like this all isn't fair.

In the last year and a half I've had people tell me how amazed they are with how well I've dealt. But really, that's silly. Of course I'm dealing well. I have an amazing, wonderful life. I have a great job, a nice house, two snuggly puppies, a brother who is my best friend, old friends who are my sisters, and newer friends who add so much to my life. And most of all, a husband who is more then I could have dreamed up for myself. So for all the bad things I've inherited with the loss of my mom, I have so many wonderful things.

(my mom and me on a Photo Day)

This week I've been feeling bad about it being Mother's Day, predictably, and I think that's ok. I do feel sad, but I still celebrate my mom every day. She was really an amazing woman and she left me an amazing gift. She had friends who were so great and true that they check on me like I'm their kid now. One of them called me yesterday and told me that she wanted me to have some sort of mom for Mother's Day, and was I free to do something? And then she told me that I better be prepared for her to be nosey about my life for the rest of hers.

So to all the mothers in my life, a very Happy Mother's Day to you. I'm amazed by mothers and their ability to create life and make it beautiful.



Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Guess what... we get snow in AZ too!

This last weekend Ryan and I packed up the dogs, some food, homemade limoncello, our flat screen TV and tons of hot chocolate and headed up to Pinetop in the White Mountains. Arizona has tons of snow hanging around up north, and even though we're not skiing and snowboarding anymore we both love the snow, and Ryan really needed to get out of town and away from homework.


Ok, fine, Ryan still brought up homework (which he did while I read an entire book), but we managed to spend most of the weekend holed up in the cabin relaxing, watching movies, playing Xbox Monopoly and just generally being silly. Oh, and we figured out that beer turns into an erupting volcano of slushy if you leave it in the snow for too long. (our fault for not drinking it fast enough)


We did drive up to the ski resort and I don't think I've ever seen this much snow in AZ before.


Pinetop got so much snow that the fire station down the street from our cabin totally collapsed from the weight. Crazy!


Our dogs, like any self-respecting dogs, LOVE the snow. Mika is our athletic pup and she's really good at walking and playing in the snow. It's part of the reason we call her Mikalas (like Legolas in Lord of the Rings).




Karma? Not quite as graceful.





Those dogs had a great time, but then so did Ryan...



And here's just how deep it was. Ryan couldn't find bottom and this is as far down as he got.


Overall, an amazing, relaxing weekend that we all needed.


video
(can you hear how windy it was?!)

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Holy Cow!

I have a travel log blog (ha!) on our cruise in the que, but I just had to post about this today. This morning Ryan and I took a tour at Superstition Farm. We're really interested in finding out more about our locally grown food, and Superstition Farm is so close we can smell it. No really, we SMELL it.


I follow the Farm on Facebook and Twitter, and decided it was about time I visited the place that Udder Delights comes from. And also? I've never actually met a cow before. They give tours twice on Saturday, so we ran over there this morning at 10am, paid our couple bucks, then were sent in back to meet the 'babies'.

They have an area with 'rescued' animals where you are welcome and encouraged to pet and feed these guys. They have bunnies, chickens (I held one!), goats, a sheep, a tiny donkey, two horses (one is 32 years old. THIRTY TWO! that's unheard of. the other horse was 'rescued' from riding lessons because he kept falling asleep with kids on his back. ha!), and two BABY COWS. Babies! We'll get to them later.

When the tour started, we took a hayride around the farm, and the official farm dog, Toby, jumped right up on the trailer and right into my lap. I think he was tired from Ryan throwing the stick for him so much earlier. When he got tired of me, he moved on to ryan.


We got to see all the cow pens on our tour. The cows are all separated by how pregnant they are (yes, just like humans, milk cows must have babies to produce milk). There's the normal prego areas, the 'vacation' areas (they're due in a few weeks and need a little break), and the maternity area. The maternity area is a little more comfy with a soft bed for them to lay on, and their only job is to become mommy cows. Superstition Farm has about 5 calves born a day, and one was born about an hour before we went through!!


Listen, these cows are treated really well. They are milked two times a day (for which they automatically line up because they're so anxious to get rid of the weight in their udders) and they are bathed two times a day. When they are being milked, their 'homes' are being tended to, including removing manure, which is given to nearby farms to be used. We were really impressed with the fact that Superstition Farm works with local producers to use 'recycled' food for these ladies. They eat the wheat bi-product from a pasta plant on the West side of town mixed with cotton seeds left over from nearby cotton fields. And hay of course.

On to the stars of the show... These two little guys haven't been shipped off to the 'nursery' farm to be bottle fed until they get older because these two are special. This little brown guy is a boy Jersey. Jerseys are smaller and make less milk, BUT the milk they produce is higher in milk fat content. Translation: yummier.


And this little girl, she's here because the owner of Udder Delights thinks her mommy produces the best cream for ice cream. She's a special little girl, and at only a week old she's just getting used to all the attention.


Both these babies are still drinking off the bottle and when they're thirsty, they'll suck on your finger.... or anything else they can find.


If you live in the valley, I cannot more strongly recommend that you visit this amazing little farm. It'll change the way you think about the food you eat, and it'll show you why supporting your local farmers is so important. Oh, and also? Superstition Farm sells cheese (of all sorts), milk, butter and any other thing you can think of right in their store. AND, farm fresh eggs. I can tell you, there's nothing in the world like farm fresh eggs. Oh, and the Farm supports other local guys too. Ryan and I bought a container of Farmer John Milton's salsa and I'm not ashamed to say that we ate that whole freaking thing as soon as we got home, and we're still trying to figure out what the magic ingredient in this stuff is. Salsa crack I tell you...



*Note: if you live in AZ, make sure you buy Shamrock or Lucerene (at Safeway) to ensure your milk is local and fresh. Also, did you know that on average the eggs you buy in the store are already about 30 days old? And they've had the protective layer of 'stuff' removed from the outside to make them look prettier? Buy local. Buy fresh. The end.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Big News!

Lots has happened since I last checked in! My pre-holidays photo sessions were amazing and I was happily busy. Now it's the new year and I had been expecting a bit of a slow down. Not so! I've already had a session this year and I've got an adorable newborn to point my camera at this weekend. I'm particularly excited about this one because it's the first born of a couple who's wedding I shot! I can't believe it!

I've also been pretty busy in my personal life as well. Ryan and I took our first cruise in December. Oh boy. It may have been our last. And right after the New Year I took a solo trip to visit my family in Florida. Of course it was during the coldest cold-snap they've ever had. Of course I took my camera along with me on both of these trips, so I'll be sharing some of those pictures soon.

And now on to the big news! Drum roll please....

First, Nemec Photography won a Bride's Choice Award from WeddingWire.com! I can't believe it! I am so honored and overwhelmed. And it's all thanks to my amazing brides and grooms. I've loved working with all of them, and it means a lot that they loved working with me too!


My second big news is that one of my photos was featured on a national TV show! Little Susie, who's session was back in the fall, was on Lifetime with her parents, and they chose to use one of the photos I took to introduce her. Isn't that amazing? You can watch the video here (go to this Sunday's show and click on the video for "Loving a Child with Epilepsy").


Thanks for checking in with me! Happy 2010. I have a good feeling about this year.

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Saturday, January 23, 2010

Cruisin'

(General note: Ryan and I love traveling. I think our problem with this trip is that we're used to being totally independent. Take my negativitely with a grain of salt. I know plenty of people who really love cruises and swear they'll never travel any other way)

Ryan and I took our very first cruise in December. We decided on a short one to see if we liked it. Here's the mistakes we made: 1) Picking Carnival Cruiseline, 2) Thinking we might get over our "we are NOT cruise people" attitude.

We took the 4 night cruise to Catalina Island and Ensenada with a whole 'fun day' at sea. It was equal parts "um, which lame activity should we force ourselves to do next" and "this food is terrible! but we have to eat..." and "omg, I am SO SEASICK!". Ok, that's a lot of quotation marks, and a lot of negatives. But look at how happy we were when we first got on the boat!


And look! Life jacket!


We don't have many pictures of the first night or the Fun Day at Sea because, again, SEASICK. (side note: found out after the fact that Carnival is the worst offender of SAYING they have stabilizers, but they don't actually USE them because it uses too much precious fuel) Walking down the hallways you could look ahead of you and see people fighting to walk a straight line. It didn't help that I was stupid enough to believe that the inside cabin was the best for seasickness. Seasickness + claustrophobia. Ugh.

But look! Cute towel animals!


First stop: Catalina. We got downstairs as soon as the tender boats started running, thinking it was going to be a stampede to get off the boat. Huh. No one here. Cruise lovers are so interesting! It really seemed like more stayed on the boat then got off. Anyway... we got to the island and rented at golf cart. This was a really good idea because we got to speed around at our own pace, and the views were gorgeous.


Ha! I couldn't resist. I was so excited to see a deer that I didn't realize he was pooing until after I took the picture. The best part of Catalina (besides the absence of rocking under our feet) was walking through the town looking at the houses. They are adorable! And the people seem to really like it there.

When we got back on the boat, we decided the best course of action to fight the rocking was...






Ensenada was the next day and we booked an excursion. Horseback riding. I've only been once and I was about 10 years old. So yeah, I was nervous, but excited to try something new. Until I met this:


The horse from hell. First off, this horse HATED Ryan's horse. Our horses got into a biting fight with us on them when we were posing for the traditional "Yay we're horseback riding!" picture in front of a giant wagon wheel. Then we get going and it takes no time at all to figure out that my horse used to be the leader of the pack, but now he's been relegated, with me on his back, to second from last. He was PISSED. And oh did he love to take off and run through tall, mean desert bushes. For two hours he did his best to make a run for the border with me attached and the trail guides flanking us from either side.


Ensenada itself is fine. Predictibly lots of beer and tequila. THAT is a sport I'm good at.

So that's it. Sad, huh? Do I sound like a spoiled brat? Truthfully it wasn't fair to this particular trip that our last big trip was the most amazing ever. The cruise didn't have a chance. But really, if I'd JUST had good food, or a stabilized boat, or less sugar-loaded kids running through the adults' only area.... But let's be honest, I could always have fun with this man, no matter where we are.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Gift ideas for your photographer

With the holidays in full swing, I get asked a lot for gift ideas for photographers. Where to start! If I had a few thousand dollars to burn, I could spend it in a heartbeat on all the fun photo things I want to buy. So here's a list of a few fun things that I either can't live without or things I think would be fun to have. This list is good for beginners and not-so-beginners, and there's a few goodies on here that would work great with your point-and-shoot too.

- 50mm lens. If you have a cropped body camera (vs. a full frame), then the 50mm is perfect lens for portrait work. I survived on my 50mm f/1.4 on my D200. Note though: now that I've got the full-frame, the 85mm works better for portraits. Here's why. Oh, and if you can't afford the 1.4, you won't be sorry with a f/1.8!

- Gorillapods
are so cool, and they make them in all sizes. Whether you've got a point-and-shoot, or a heavy SLR, there's a Gorillapod for you. Great for if you're horrible about getting pictures with YOU in them. Set the camera on the timer on the Gorillapod anywhere.

-
A good sturdy tripod is a must for any photographer.

- A nice camera bag or backpack is an idea, but if you've got a photographer who loves to change lenses, I don't know how I'd live without my
Shootsac. The covers are interchangeable so it's like having a new bag all the time! And the neoprene bag is great at protecting lenses. They've got a big sale running right now.

- Every SLR guy or gal should have an external flash with some sort of diffuser on it. For Nikon users, you'll be plenty happy with the SB600 and Canon folk, try a Speedlight.


- Books on photography are great presents. I like books that show the exposure details of each photo (aperture and shutter speed).


- I'm very happy with my subscription of Popular Photography. The gift that gives every month!


- Photoshop Elements is a great starter program to use, and it's pretty affordable. Full-fledge Photoshop is about $600, and if you've got the cash, it's the way to go.


- If your photographer already has Photoshop, how about a set of Actions. My favorite is
Totally Rad Actions.

- A great stocking stuffer is a
rocket air blower for leaning lenses and a quick fix for sensor cleaning.

- Why use the lame-o camera strap that advertises what kind of camera you have when you can have a strap that has some personality. I love
these and these, but there's tons of straps out there.

- A UV filter is another great stocking stuffer. I keep one on each of my lens to protect them. Check out the specific lens filter size for their lenses. It is a whole lot cheaper to replace a filter then a lens!


- I have a digital photo frame that I love.


- Everyone could use more memory! Get them a memory card.


- And now that they have so much memory for all their pictures, how about an external hard drive to store them. Costco usually has them at a reasonable price.

Leave your ideas in the comments. Maybe you can help MY husband with some gift ideas!

about me

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    I'm Amanda. I'm an engineer in an industry full of men, a professional wedding and family portrait photographer, a firefighter's wife, a traveler, and a dogMa.

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