11.30.2010

fin

Today is November 30th
which means
that my pledge to blog every day
has run its course.

I can't promise that I'll continue to blog 
every
single
day
but I also can't promise that I won't.

Some days, 
I feel as though I've run out of interesting things to blog about.
My life,
you see,
is rather plain.
Vanilla.

But then,
I see my stats.
I see that you come here
to read.
To look at photos.
To scoff.
And to laugh.
Because I'm funny.

Really, really funny.

Honest.

And then I write.
Something.
Anything.

So that you'll keep stopping by.

So,
Thank You.
F'real.

For coming here every
single
day
and checking in.

Thank you
for liking vanilla
as much as I do.

Cheers,
A

(Bonus points if you noticed my reflection in the Christmas ornament!)

11.29.2010

My Belle

This is my dog
Belle.
She is a pain.
She whines,
she eats food right out of Stella's hand
and, did I mention,
she whines.

But I love her.
Even though she drives me up a wall
most days.

DRL and I got her 5 years ago.
Just before our first wedding anniversary.
Okay....I got her.
I wanted a baby.
But we were sooooo not ready to go down that road.

This weekend,
Belle broke her leg.
An injury that,
although a complete and total accident
was wholly my fault.
I won't get into the details,
but I am slowly
trying to work through the guilt I feel.

Guilt really is
an awful
awful
horrible
emotion.

I hate it.
I want it to go away.

But that's another story,
for another time.

Belle is having Surgery today.
Now.
And right now,
dear readers,
right this very minute,
although I want to ask for your prayers
for me to finally forgive myself,
I need your prayers
to whomever/whatever/none-ever
that you send them to
for Belle to get through today
with flying colors.

Thank you.

Mean it.

Cheers,
A

PS: Special bloggity shout out to my bff Nadia.
Happy 30th birthday.
Love you
mean it.
xo

11.28.2010

Tangled

I made another set of pillows the other day.
Using Heather Ross's Far Far Away II line.
I picked the Rapunzel print.
Fitting, I suppose
given Disney's newest movie...

I made them following the same pattern as last time
only I tweaked it a little bit.
I made the back flap longer.
Now the pillow doesn't peek out.
I have to admit
I am sort of addicted to making throw pillows.
The good news
for sleeping room on our bed, anyway
is that I don't have any more pillows
that need to be re-covered.
Which really is
too bad.

Cheers,
A

11.27.2010

Dear Cooper,

Thank you.

Dear Lucinda,

Today is going to be hard.
Really hard.
You're going to hurt.
A lot.
Cry.
Ache.

As much as you did two years ago.

In that time,
you have come so far
and done so much for so many.

Touched so very many lives.

Including mine.

Cooper was so very lucky to have you 
as his mama.

Even if only for three short weeks.

And Chace is doubly blessed.
You.
Cooper.

Win.

I still shudder when I think of all you have been through.
All you have lost.
The impossible journey that you were forced to embark upon.
Without your permission.
Without just cause. 

I still wrestle with being thankful 
grateful
that you are in my life
knowing that it is your extreme heartache
that brought us together.

I still say all the wrong things.
I probably always will.

Today may be no exception.
And on this
the day that Cooper would have turned two years old
I fear that the only thing I have to offer you
is a few 
simple
words:

there is something you must always remember:
You are braver than you believe
stronger than you seem
and smarter than you think.
But the most important thing is
even if we are apart....
I'll always be with you.
                               ~Winnie the Pooh.


I love you, Luc.
As if I've known you my whole life.
As if,
somehow,
our souls are sisters.

I'm with you today.
I'm standing in your kitchen
at that great coffee machine
reminding you

to get out of bed.
breathe in and out.
and let the hole hurt.

Because it will.
Because it can.

And because
what happened
what was taken from you
what you've been forced to endure....

it's not okay.

but you?
you are

amazing.

xo
A

11.26.2010

Four AM

Alarms across the country are going off
at 4:00 am today.
Some even earlier.

Some folks haven't yet
gone to bed.

All in the name of consumerism Christmas.

In honor of Black Friday
and the fact that my last two posts have been list related
I thought I would offer up my top places to shop.

Online.

Because this is what I'll be doing at 4:00 am.

*Etsy. Seriously fabulous stuff.  Handmade. Or local. Or both.  You can choose.  And it's great. AND...check out my friend Lucinda's shop here.  Enter code BLACK10 and save 10% on your purchase!

*Hawthorne Threads. If you love fabric, you'll love this website. Orders are filled uber quick, and the more fabric you buy, the cheaper it is per yard.  It's a progressive discount, and I dig it.

*Gap.  Love love love the Gap.  But I still refuse to pay full price here.  Which is fine, since they are having amazing sales this season.

*Amazon. I know it's clich√© but it really is a great website.  No sales tax.  FAST shipping.  And low prices.  Keeps me out of the Wal-Marts and money in my pocket.  Done and done.

*The Vintage Pearl.  Amazing handmade jewelry.  For hand-stamped silver, skip Etsy and go here, instead.  I've given it as a gift and it's gorgeous. I sure would like to own a necklace of my very own someday.....

*Kelly Moore Bag Store.  Okay, okay. I've only shopped here once, but I am in love with my camera bag, so it was worth a mention. Oh! And she's going to be doing a "12 Days of Christmas" giveaway this year. I'm excited.

*Purl Soho.  I love fabric.  I love yarn.  This store takes care of me, in both regards.  High end...but if and when that's what you're looking for, Purl has you covered. And the blog is always full of great craft ideas and free patterns.

Where are your favorite places to shop?
Better yet, what is your favorite gift to give?

Cheers,
A

11.25.2010

Giving Thanks


Yesterday
I gave you a list of things
that make me a little nuts.

Today,
I'm going to do just the opposite.
Seeing as it's Thanksgiving and all.

Obviously I'm thankful
for my husband
my girls
my family
and you.

But I'm also thankful for a whole host
of trivial items.
That make my life
just a little bit better.

Here they are
in no particular order.

*Stila lip gloss.  Thank you, Luc, for the gift set of them. I am officially addicted.

*Pinot Noir.  This is not a secret. I mention it often. I. Heart. Pinot.

*Movie quotes.  Without them, I would be nothing.

*My camera.

*The internets, and the people I've met because of it.  (And a happy 20th birthday to you, too.)

*Florence + The Machine.

*I am veryveryveryveryveryveryvery thankful that the Brown Recluse spider we found in the house yesterday did not bite me.  And I am equally thankful that from here on out ALL of its brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, first, second, third, or fourth cousins and any/all other relations of any kind will remain on the OUTSIDE of my house.

*Essie nail polish.  Perfection in a bottle.  I particularly love the Fall Collection, namely "Merino Cool."  I can't imagine why.

*Speaking of Merino, I am thankful for Malabrigo and any other squishy, soft, delicious worsted Merino wool.  You are my reason for living knitting.

*Fabric. In gorgeous patterns and soft cottons.

*H √•agen Dazs White Chocolate Raspberry Truffle ice cream.  Although, while I am thankful for you and your deliciousness, I also loathe you.  For being so delicious. And un-calorie free.

*Caribou Coffee.  For finally opening a store in Austin. (This has not happened yet. But it needs to.  Stat.)

*Johnny Cash and his Folsom Prison Blues.

Happy Thanksgiving,
A

11.24.2010

Up A Wall

Seeing as how it's Wednesday
I have to blog every day
and Thanksgiving is tomorrow
I thought a nice precursor
to a holiday filled
with gratitude
would be a list of things
that drive me
absolutely
up
the
wall.

*At the risk of sounding redundant, L.O.L.  Stop it.  Now.  Unless you're a tween. If you laughed, type "ha!"  If you didn't, don't use "lol" as a placeholder for something witty.  Instead, use my version of the same thing: {imagine something witty written here}.  Far less succinct, I know.  But much much much much extremely less annoying.

*Bigotry. Of any kind.  For any reason. Stop it. Now.

*Lazyness.  Okay, Okay. In in the interest of full disclosure allow me to state that I am extremely lazy.  So maybe I should clarify: Lazyness that affects other people.
Or is it effects?  
I can never keep them straight.
Either way: Listen up people!  Return your shopping carts.
Park your car instead of leaving it idling justforfiveminutesIpromiseI'llberightback.
The exercise will do you good.
Clean up after yourself.
Even when you're in public and it's someone else's "job."
Because it's the right thing to do.
And because your mother taught you better.

*Plastic bags.  And cashiers who put two items in one bag.
Really?  One roll of toilet paper is all that will fit in there?
Worried you're going to crush my AA batteries and bottle of soda?
Thanks, I'll stuff this in my giant purse.

(Special shout out to giant purses!  Holla!)

*People who attempt to merge without bothering to check their blind spot. Or look in their mirror.  At all. I'm thankful I have a horn.  Very. Very. Very thankful.  So thankful that tomorrow I shall be feasting in honor of that very horn.

And my cat-like reflexes.

And now, dear readers
because it's still Wednesday,
and I've just ranted for 1.74 minutes
(which actually took me about 20 minutes to type, re-type, un-type, and edit)
I leave you with this:
Because this will totally lighten your mood.
Make you smile.
And add 10 pounds to your midsection.

Oh wait,
that's just me.

Cheers,
A

11.23.2010

Confessions


People often ask,
"How do you do it all?  Do you ever sleep?"
Being the humorist that I am,
(ahem, yes! I AM funny. Promise.)
I usually come up with some quip 
about having more time in my day 
than everyone else.  

Or that it's really not that much.  
Or that I am, indeed, SuperWoman.  
Scratch that, make it Wonder Woman
she totally had the better outfit.

Scratch that, I am Gem!

(Remember Gem? Best. Ever. But, as usual, I digress)  

The truth is, I have zero me time. 
None. 
Zilch. 
Nada.  

When most people are sitting 
quietly in the evening
on their couch
enjoying their favorite show or book, 
or taking a hot, steamy bubble bath 
in a big jacuzzi tub,
I am either blogging
knitting
quilting 
or editing photos. 
Or all of the above.  

At once.
While juggling knives.
Lit on fire.

These are all a form of hobby for me.  
(minus the knife juggling.  I have zero hand-eye coordination.
Seriously.
Trust me on this one)

The super-fast thud-thud-thumpa-thud of the sewing machine calms my mind.
I knit while I watch the few shows I still DVR.
I blog at night 
while the ideas are fresh
and the light is low
thus maximizing the damage on my retinas
from the harsh glare of my laptop screen.

And sometimes,
I do feel like I am stretched too thin.
Like my "To Do" list is too long,
and my thighs rub together more than they should.

And sometimes, I want to quit.
My day job.
My night job.
My in-between job.

I want to set my camera down and not pick it up again.
Ever.
I want to donate my yarn basket and hang up my needles for good.
And I want to disband my fabric stash.

But then it all comes together.  
The final stitch is knit.
The binding gets done on that last pesky quilt.
Finishing touches are put on photos I took ages ago.

I drink a bottle glass of Pinot.

And I start over.
I get more hat orders.
I book another photography job.
I agree to blog every day for a month. 

Through it all, I love what my life has become.
The people I have met because of the leaps 
I was daring enough to take.
My family.
Their incredible and unending patience for my freakshowishness.

I am so thankful for all of it.
My ability to photograph peoples lives
in a way that drives me to develop my art even more.
My ability to create a special hat for someone.
Knowing that it is truly one of a kind.
(None of my hats are alike. I will never duplicate them. More on this later)
I am thankful for you,
readers,
for coming here every day.
Reading my senseless drivel,
and actually enjoying it.

I write here
as much for you
as for me.

Confession: Some days I write here just for you.
Because if I write it, you will come....

*Tap tap*
*hello*

*is this thing on?*

I am thankful that you don't write me angry emails
asking me to please
Please, Athena, stop telling jokes.

I am not perfect.
Not even close.
I'm just doing the best I can
every 
single 
day
until it is time for sleep.
Then I get up and do it again.

And 
believe it or not
there are days
albeit few and far between
that I do
absolutely 
nothing.

All
Day
Long.

But
just so we're clear
given that last revelation,
I am more than willing
to have you continue to refer to me as
"Superwoman"
aka
Gem.

Cheers,
A

11.22.2010

A Happy Union

Last winter I made over 50 hats.
Five Zero.
I was a knitting machine.

Of course, last winter
(the hat making portion of it)
I had only one child
no photography 'business'
and 3 less quilts to finish.

This year, I've only made a few hats.
As gifts.
I haven't had any paid orders.
Until now.

A friend of a friend commented on my giveaway post
asking how she could get her hands on
one of my hats.

We chatted back and forth a bit
so I could get a feel for what it was that she was looking for.
She loved the "itchless" warm hat that I peddled
so shamelessly
as the giveaway prize.

And she mentioned she would
maybe
like
"a nice, pretty grey."

I was almost going to do another brimmed hat for Megan.
But I was desperate for my signature.
My side-flower beanie.

So I married the two best parts
of both hats.
The great yarn and cable pattern of the brim chapeau
and my signature flower.

I am so happy with the way that it turned out!
Megan,
I do hope you love it, too!

And the yarn?
Oh. Em. Gee
It is SOOOO soft.
Itch factor: Negative zero.
(Elena is still a great hat model!)

Cheers,
A

11.21.2010

Elena 1.5

Cheers,
A

11.20.2010

Saturday Photography

Camera: Nikon D90
Focal Length: 66mm
Aperture: 2.8
Shutter Speed 1/2000
ISO: 500

Cheers,
A

11.19.2010

Dear Nikon:

This? You see this, Nikon?
This is a 50mm 1.2 lens.
One. Point. TWO!

Canon makes it.

But I like YOU, Nikon.
And I want this lens.

Got it?

Thanks!

Oh, and since I'm writing a wish list,
and it's nearly Christmas,
Here's a couple for you, Santa,
just so you don't feel left out.

It's not much,
really.

A token,
simply a trifle.

Santa?
You there?

Hello......?

Anyone looking to invest in an up-and-coming photographer?

Tap, tap

this thing on???

Cheers,
A

11.18.2010

The Jiggle Monster

When Elena was about the age
that Stella is now
she used to make
a certain 

noise.

It sounded as if she was trying to speak,
to say the word "tickle" perhaps,
but all that would come out was
'jig-ul, jig-ul, jig-ul, jig-ul."

We nicknamed her "The Jiggle Monster."

This? 
This right here?
This is why I jiggle.
14 tablespoons of butter in this cookie recipe.

It only makes 16 cookies.

Even I can do that math.

Jiggling forever,
A

11.17.2010

See Below

It's NaBloPoMo.
That means, I'm supposed to blog every day.
All month long.

But I don't want to blog today.
Because I want to leave the wedding photos up.
One
more
day.

Because I was nervous on Saturday night.
Scared to tears
that I didn't do a good job.
That I didn't get any good shots.

But I don't feel that way anymore.
I'm really happy with the result.
I didn't get as many photos
as I would have liked.

I didn't get a lot of shots I wish I would have.

But,
it was my
first
professional, official, paid wedding.

And I think I did a damn good job.

So please, see below.

If you've already seen them,
look again.

It's not often that I can say
that I am proud of something I did.
Really proud.
Insanely proud.

Yes,
I still have a lot to learn as a photographer.
And, as an old friend pointed out,
while I was busy wallowing,
"Imagine what we'd miss out on if we started out at the very BEST we could be."
She was right.
All of my friends who I vented to were.
Are.

Thank you.
I needed it.

I am a good photographer.
And I'll fake it 'til I make it
if I have to.

Cheers,
A

11.16.2010

A Wimberley Wedding : Melissa and Josef

I met Melissa a few months ago, just after I had moved to Austin.  She works for the same company that I do, but in a different division.  We hit it off instantly, and began working together on a weekly basis.  

She had mentioned the idea of getting engaged to her (then) boyfriend of two years, Josef, on an upcoming cruise.  I told her, jokingly, that if she was gettin' hitched, she best book me as her wedding photographer.

All joking aside, Josef planted a giant rock on a very important finger, and Melissa made sure I was free on November 13th.  

And that my shutter finger was ready.


Mel, you're radiant.  And your wedding day was a shining example of your exquisite beauty.


















Cheers, Melissa and Josef.
Thank you for allowing me to capture your beautiful day.  Your love for one another.  Your joy.  And your fierce fabulousness.

Love you both.
Mean it.

And I'm honored to call you friends.

Cheers,
A

11.15.2010

Neighbors

A few months ago,
DRL met Melissa
and her little boy, Masen
at the park just down the street from our house.

They hit it off.
Eventually, Melissa and I met
along with her husband Jon.

We became fast friends
and spend a lot of our free time together.

Jon and Melissa are transplants to Texas, too.
Just like us.

And it just so happens
that their little boy
is one week
younger than Elena.

They asked if I would shoot family photos for them.
And how could I say no?

Here are some of my favorites.
Jon and Melissa....
enjoy your preview.







Cheers,
A

11.14.2010

Photover

I feel like I have a weird
photography
hangover.

Yesterday was a long day.
Filled with beauty.
Love.
Celebration.

And moments of panic
{on my part}

I managed to shoot some great photos.

I'll blog a full preview
once they're all done.

But for now,
I'll simply leave you with this:


Cheers,
A