Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Less Than 3 weeks of sleeps

It's pretty well known to those in my life that I live for vacations.  Half the fun for me is the planning.  I love to make excel spreadsheets that start with every possible idea for hotels and activities, then I make areas for comments and price comparisons, then I eventually pare it down to the perfect choices.  I have an itinerary sheet, a cost sheet, a 'random activity ideas' sheet, a map sheet...  

Part of my obsession is TripAdvisor.  Never heard of it?  Oh then my friend, I have no idea how you're planning the perfect vacations!  TripAdvisor is a place for regular folk to go and rate every part of their trip.  Hotels, restaurants, activities...  I almost always stay at the #1 choice whenever I go anywhere and TA has never been wrong.  

I admit it, I'm also a tad obsessed with the Forums.  People go on there to ask questions of people who have been to a place before them.  The info on there is invaluable, but more then that it's highly entertaining.  Oh the things that people talk about!  How about a man who wanted to know if other people wore thongs at the All Inclusive we'll be staying at?  Or the other man who wanted to know if his wife would be safe at a local strip joint.  How about the people who wanted to know if you HAVE to use pesos in Mexico.  Or the people complaining that no one where they were spoke English.  And the many MANY posts about beach chair etiquette (to save for a friend, or not to save!  That is the question!)  Awesome.  

But there's also a few annoying forum habits that seem to permeate the whole site.  For instance:  "sleeps".  Oh good grief, if I have to read another post about how many 'sleeps' people have left before they get to go.  That's not cute, that's annoying.  

Well, fine, we have like 18 sleeps until our Yucatan trip.  And I can tell you, it can't come fast enough.  We have so much fun stuff planned (Mayan ruins, playing with monkeys, snorkeling in Cozumel, cerveza and beach laying...).  The best part is no cell phones or email.  I can't wait to get away from life!  

Monday, March 30, 2009

Newborn Baby Photographer!

I had my very first newborn baby session this weekend.  I've found my calling!  OK, I don't know if that's fair because truly all I did was work the camera.  Brand new baby Nathan did all the heavy lifting.  Or rather, sleeping in this case.  He was a joy to work with because he is one pooped out kiddo.  Perfect for posing and letting me take my time.  

The mom for this session was surprised when she saw the pictures.  I know why she was worried, I can't blame her.  I grabbed a normal office desk chair, placed his favorite blanky on it, and had his mom plop him in the middle.  Some natural light magic from a window, and we had a perfect little impromptu studio.  These are almost all straight from the camera (except the B&W of course).  I'm thrilled.  Now if I can only get some more little clients like this!  

And of course we had to have one of the whole family!  And baby makes 4. 

Congrats to Nathan's new parents!!


Monday, March 23, 2009

Not just a regular 'job' thing

Things are not too swell around here.  On top of some recent money issues (I know, who DOESN'T have them??), my poor hubby just found out that he's getting moved off his crew.  If you have a firefighter in your family, you know how much this turns life upside down.  

Right now he's on a crew he loves, which is a big deal.  These guys aren't just coworkers, they're family and they have to trust each other.  So just the crew change is traumatic.  But on top of that, he's being forced to switch shifts which is huge.  Each shift has it's own personality, and Ryan is definitely a B-shift guy.  And all his friends are on B-shift, so right now they have the same days off.  More then just that though, we plan our lives around his shift schedule, so now everything we've planned in the next year is going to be completely in question.  The Chicago wedding in Oct, the wedding job in November, our Disneyland trip in December... they are all planned on his B-shift schedule.  And, you know, our trip in 4 weeks for Cancun.  

I know all that is insignificant compared to how upset he is about the change in stations and crew.  I feel so bad for him, and I can't do anything to make it better.  

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Baby Showers!

It's been years since I went to a baby shower, and today I went to two! The first for one of my closest friends, Rebecca. She was my maid of honor, we've been friends since high school, and this girl was meant to be a mommy. The second was actually a photography job, if you can believe it!

Anyway, Bec's shower was so classy and gorgeous, held at my friend Elizabeth's new amazing house.  My job was outdoor signage.  OK, look, I love to take pictures, it's my creative outlet, but that's the extent of my craftiness.  So I totally stressed about this assignment.  For two weeks I searched online looking for a brilliant idea.  ANYTHING to go along with the "Green" theme of this party.  Nothing.  Then with the help of my girlfriend Toni (who is a blossoming photographer!  yay!), I came up with the idea to make paper onesies with eco-baby sayings on them to hang outside the door of the party.  So I spent days this week measuring out the perfect onesies, cutting, drawing, pasting, and check it out!  I'm pretty darn proud of how these turned out!

Of course there was a 'baby' game, but my favorite part of the shower was when we all got to add a bead that we brought for a strand for Bec to take with her to the hospital.  We each got to add a bead and make a wish for Bec and her baby.  I gave her a bead from my mom's collection and wished that when her baby grows up, they are the best of friends.  

It was a lovely shower (with awesome food!) and she got TONS of presents.  This baby is going to be much loved and adored by lots of people.  And she (because we all KNOW she's going to be a little girl!!!) is going to have the best mom...  Love you Bec!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Weekly Event Planner - watch out for crazy teenage vampire fans!

•          Rent - The two leads are the ORIGINALS from Broadway and the movie! I'll be there Friday.
•          Scottsdale Arts Festival - Scottsdale Civic Plaza, Fri-Sun
•          Chicks with Picks Local female musicians, Saturday Tempe Town Lake
•          Twilight Release Parties - I only include this so you know where NOT to be this weekend 
•          Charlie Murphy -   Saturday, Tempe Improv.  This guy is HILARIOUS!
•          Boyz II Men - ha!  Remeber these guys?  Wild Horse Pass, Saturday 
•          The Godfather Free movies in the park.  Biltmore Fashion Park, Friday night 7:30pm 

Restaurant of the Week: 
C-Fu Gourmet.  Someone recently asked me for a recommendation to a good Chinese food restaurant. At first I was tempted to recommend the most awesome Chinese buffet, which happens to be right next to the best movie theatre in the valley, but then I decided to give it some serious thought.  Of course!  C-Fu Gourmet.   This place is constantly winning awards (they're especially known for their dim sum), and it's so much fun to go to!  They wheel the dim sum out on a cart and you can pick what you like.  mmmm  Highly recommend.

Hike of the Week:
Rail and hike.  This sounds like a lot of fun.  Meet up with a fun group to ride the light rail and take a hike!

***As always, if you have an event or a new restaurant to try, let me know!***

Monday, March 16, 2009

Tempe Waterfront Wedding Photographer

My latest wedding made me wish I wasn't the photographer!  These people were having FUN!  The location (The Waterfront) is so wonderful and the staff there is amazing.  I've never worked a wedding were the staff was so on top of everything.  I've gotten so used to being the person to pin boutonnieres, arrange the signing of the license, help the people down the isle... it was shocking to have someone else do it!  I highly recommend The Waterfront for any event.  Everything went off completely without a hitch.  

On to the pictures!  This couple was so amazingly in love and into each other, and I have to admit even I got a little teary a few times during the day.  The families were a joy, the DJ was stellar, the booze was flowing.  All the ingredients for a hellofa great wedding!  Enjoy...

(To see the rest of the pictures, visit my Album Page)


Friday, March 13, 2009

New trucks!

And in Fire news: Ryan's one-year old department finally got their very own trucks this week. Ryan sent me this from his camera phone. Those guys are acting like they just got the best new toys ever! Tomorrow I'm going down to the station to take some pics of the boys and the engine.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Giving out other people's dough

Tonight was my first meeting on a United Way allocation panel.  I had so much fun as a Loaned Executive for the United Way for three months, but that was collecting money.  Now I get to GIVE the money.  

I admit I volunteered for the Disabilities and Special Needs panel because of my mom.  She spent her life being an advocate for the disabled, and I saw this as an amazing opportunity to continue it!  

But really, what a gift!  I get to look at all the money generously donated by the community and I get to help decide where it goes.  But it's a burden too.  The panel received applications from some amazing agencies who really help those who couldn't find help anywhere else.  How to decide?  

Tonight we got to hear about the Marc Center.  They provide in-home services for the house-bound, day services for adults who don't have a place in society and need a safe haven during the day, a residential program to teach skills for independent living, and a vocational program to teach the disabled the nuances of working in the real world (and they earn money while they learn!).   I've visited the Marc Center a few times and was so amazed.  I had no idea the number of disabled people who needed help, and it's just incredible that a place like this exists.

So great, give the money to them!  Ahh, but we still have the Foundation for Blind Children (give THEM the money!), the Special Olympics (no, THEY should get the money), and many others.  

It's a wonderful problem to have.  Money to give, and people who need it.  And the whole time I was sitting there scoring the Marc Center on outcomes, financial audits, budgets, and future planning, I knew my mom would have been proud.

Monday, March 09, 2009

The remodel from hell

You know what they say about contractors? It's ALL TRUE.

Remember Mr. Cabinet? They guy who we paid 8 weeks ago to do cabinets in our kitchen and bathroom? They guy who's contract said 'product will be delivered in 4-6 weeks'? Yeah, he has yet again not shown up when he committed to. And still I think he believes his 'cultural difference' allows him to not show up for a meeting, and not bother phoning us to let us know that he's not going to grace us with his presence. So it's ok in Romania to make an appointment for X o'clock, then not show up and not call?

Today the cabinet install was supposed to start. Which meant that we would have had to approve the stain color last week. Which meant that Mr. Cabinet SHOULD have called us last Friday like he'd agreed. Or even Saturday. Or Sunday. OR TODAY. We've had problems with him from the start, and we're out a few grand already for work that hasn't come to pass. So now what do we do? The cabinets are over two weeks late being installed, and we can't get our contractor to talk with us about it.

You know what's even more awesome then just that? Because my hubby is super on top of it, we haven't had floors in our house for about 3 weeks. You know, so that Mr. Cabinet could install them all the way to the foundation properly. And now our flooring guy (who had planned on doing the floors THIS week because Mr. Cabinet promised he'd be done) is going on a family vacation, and won't be able to do the tile install for at least 2 more weeks.

I'm walking on disgusting, dust-covered concrete, we are down to only one bathroom (which means Ryan is using mine. Boy cooties!), we have NOTHING in our kitchen (because, you know, Ryan packed it all up to prepare for His Highness Mr. Cabinet whenever it's CONVENIENT for him to install our cabinets), we have no food in the fridge (because we thought it was going to be unplugged today for said shiesty cabinet guy), the living room is half painted, the living room ceiling fan/light is still broken (and the manufacturer only sent the fan blades, not the arms, which DUH!)...... It is a disaster zone and there's no end in sight.

At this point I don't like being in my own home. It's a nightmare and it's not a calm environment after a day stuck behind my work computer. This remodel isn't fun or even exciting anymore. It's a giant pain in my a$$. I'm thinking at this point it might be easier to just move...

Evidently Mr. Cabinet didn't even buy the right stain for the cabinets, but was he planning on calling to tell us that? No. So now we're trying to figure out a time to do this. I've never seen my husband so mad.

(click for notes)

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Tempe Wedding Photography

Here is a quick peak at the wedding I went to. It was by far the most fun wedding I've been to (minus my own of course!), and I haven't had another couple be quite as lovey as these two. The only bad thing about the whole day is when a bunch of a-holes at the lake-side bar next to the wedding site starting yelling "Don't do it! Jump in the lake instead!" while the father of this lovely bride was walking her down the isle. Classy people. Real classy.

Not that it spoiled the day for these two at all:

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Doggies, weddings, and lunges

Well, I was doing a good job keeping this thing updated.  The last few weeks have been a tad insane with the fast trip to Florida, the insane house remodel, a photo thing last weekend (charity gig), boot camp, and tomorrow I have a wedding.  

I don't care how many weddings I do, I always get so nervous I lose sleep.  The couple who is getting married tomorrow are just the sweetest.  The bride's parents are dear friends of ours, and we can't wait to watch these two get married!  But oh lord, it's even MORE pressure to do a fantastic job.  One way I deal with the jitters is I rented myself a fun lens to play with for the wedding.  So now instead of being nervous, I'm trying to concentrate on playing with a new toy!

So, a boot camp update:  I am kicking so much ass.  Seriously, I am really feeling a difference.  Sadly, I'm not SEEING a difference.  Stupid body.  But I'm not getting sore anymore, so I know I'm more in shape.  But I'm telling you, if I don't lose some weight I'm gonna be pissed.

House update:  we have no floors.  The tile has been ripped out for about 3 weeks now.  That's THREE WEEKS of walking on dust-covered concrete. And now we don't have doors on our cabinets.  Which, actually, is kinda better.  No doors to open!  I can see where everything it is w/out having to walk across the kitchen!  Hmmm....  Would it look tacky to leave the doors off?  
Cooking update:  In the last week I've made a delicious jambalaya (TOTALLY easy), these mini meatloafs (highly recommend), and Ryan made elk burgers (delicious!).  We've had some good leftovers around here.

I leave you with some hilarious pictures from the dog charity event I worked last weekend.  Gabriel's Angels uses dogs to teach abused children that hurting people and animals is not ok.  

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

New Photography Website!

Exciting news!  I've put my very limited website creation skills to use on a brand new site!  With all the home remodel and vacation spending, it was time to think about taking on more photo work.  So, I'm re-launching my business with a new site!

Check it out and let me know what you think.  Oh, and mention this post before April 1 and get 10% off on family portraits.

Weekly Event Planner

It's the time of year for festivals in AZ.  Not going to be long until we're hiding in the a/c, so get out there and enjoy it. 

•        Great AZ Beer Festival - That's two weeks in a row for beer festivals!     Tempe Town Lake, Sat/Sun 
•        Ostrich Festival Fun Run and Parade are this weekend, Festival next weekend!
•        Charlie Hunter - One of Ryan's fave musicians, but we're going to miss it!  Rhythm Room, Sat 
•        Jimmy Eat World Sat, Marquee Theatre 
•        The Temptations Friday, Celebrity Theatre.  We've actually seen them in concert!  They've still got it... 
•        Movies in the Park: My Fair Lady Biltmore Fashion Park, Fri night 
•        Dr. Seuss Birthday Party Changing Hands, Saturday 
•        Carefree Fine Art & Wine Festival - Fri-Sun
•        SW Flower & Garden Show - I may have FREE TICKETS.  Let me know if you're interested
•        The BIG Big Band - Jazz with the Phx Symphony
•        Kenny Loggins - Sunday, Celebrity Theatre
•        Coronado Historic Home Hour - Saturday
•        Celebrity Martini - Benefiting Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, lots of local celebrities, food, drinks and fun

•       Free Chili's Chips and Queso! - Sign up for their email club and they'll send you a coupon for free chips and queso dip

Restaurant of the Week:
La Parrilla Suiza This is Mexico City style Mexican food.  I had it a few weeks ago and it was very interesting and I loved my meal.  Next time I'm trying the Nopalitos Campesinos, which is diced pork cooked in a sauce made with cactus.  Mmmmm 

Hike of the Week:
Let's hike for a cause this week.  The Hike for the Homeless is taking place at Estrella Mt. Regional Park.    

***As always, if you have an event or a new restaurant to try, let me know!***

about me

  • CLICK HERE to visit my wedding, portrait, and event business website

  • By TwitterButtons.com

    Location: Mesa, Arizona, United States

    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.

    daily reads

  • africankelli
  • chi town teacher
  • realtor extraordinaire
  • the other amanda
  • Sunny Inspiration
  • Fond of Snape
  • Goofy Girl
  • Kross-Eyed Kitty
  • NetChick
  • Amalah
  • Jessica Claire
  • [B]ecker
  • The Sweet Life
  • Stop, Drop & Blog
  • Roanoke Firefighters
  • First Response Coalition
  • flickr

    Amanda's Photos

    blogger archives

  • March 2006
  • April 2006
  • May 2006
  • June 2006
  • July 2006
  • FREE hit counter and Internet traffic statistics from freestats.com