Black & White Wednesday: Blog makeover

   Portraits combined reduced framed
You might have noticed something different about the blog, yes?  I've resisted making huge changes like this because I know how I feel when my blogger friends do it:  confused.  Sorta like going to the grocery store and going to the register you always go to and expecting to see your favorite checker, Karen.  But instead of Karen, you find someone you don't recognize -- except that she has a name tag that says "Karen" and she has Karen's goofy laugh and she smiles and recognizes you and asks about your kids by name.  That kind of confused.

Ah, but change is supposed to be good, right?  Hopefully you'll all recognize me!  I promise to keep this look for a while!

Congratulations to Lisa on her referral yesterday! I'm so incredibly thrilled for her!  It was a very VERY long road and I can only imagine how crazy and exciting her life must feel right now!  Pop over to her blog and check out her new baby girl!      

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For more Black & White Wednesday fun, check out The Long Road to China.
More of our Black & White Wednesday posts here:  Black & White Wednesday

Before & After: Gwen and the colorful scarf

I found this pretty scarf on super duper mega sale at Ross and knew it would be a fun addition to the girls dress-up box.  Gwen was eager to let me photograph her with it.  She's been a very wiling model lately and, of course, my camera loves her almost as much as I do! 

I took this with my point and shoot camera since I accidentally left my SLR battery and charger in the hotel room in Pennsylvania. 

Gwen scarf-1583 edited

First, I enhanced her eyes and corrected the levels and color balance.  Then I applied my favorite Florabella action, Gypsy to this at 50% strength.  I upped the saturation in the scarf while masking out her face (so it didn't turn orange).  I love it!

Continue reading "Before & After: Gwen and the colorful scarf" »

Black & White Wednesday: Simple pleasures

I spent most of the day dragging mattresses from one room of my house to another (swapping bedrooms) and finally relaxed at the kitchen table to enjoy some of the season's most delicious cherries and a nice chilled glass of my new favorite wine, Moscato.  Ahhhhh..... so nice!

  Moscato cherry mink shadow

I processed this photo using my new Florabella actions.  This one is from the Luxe collection and is called "Mink".  I am really LOVING Shana's photoshop actions!  I tried all of them on this photo and liked Mink and Gypsy best.  Here's Gypsy:

  Moscato cherry gypsy shadow

I took this photo at the kitchen table but didn't like the distracting background (my messy family room) so I grabbed an old poster and propped it up on the chair and it served as the perfect backdrop.  I like what it does for these photos!  Just curious tho... does anyone recognize the famous painting on the poster I used?  :)

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For more Black & White Wednesday fun, check out The Long Road to China.
More of our Black & White Wednesday posts here:  Black & White Wednesday

Someone turned six!

Thirty six days after Gwen did it, Maddy finally turned six years old too.  It was a happy day but it was a very long time coming.  In fact, Maddy couldn't have been more annoyed about the dreadfully slow passage of time even if a ticking cuckoo clock was duct-taped to her head.  One that announced the arrival of each new hour by opening a trap door and producing a remarkably authentic looking miniature replica of Gwen (dressed as a bird, of course) that struts around shaking her tail feathers while singing a little taunting tune about how cool it is to be six years old. 

Yeah, 864 long hours of that.

So the day arrived and Maddy was pretty excited!  The first thing she did was run into the bathroom and look at her teeth in the mirror because (even though I've clarified this many times) she was still under the impression that her baby teeth would suddenly pop right out of her mouth when she turned six.  After verifying that they were all still present, she looked a bit disappointed but just as quickly seemed relieved.   

We never celebrated Gwen's birthday because she turned six the day we boarded our cruise ship in Italy.  We were jet lagged and there were no presents or cake on the ship so we promised her that we'd celebrate after we got home.  We meant to do it before Maddy's birthday but our schedules have been so busy (with the sailing weekend in San Diego and my weekend in Bethlehem) that time sneaked up on us and we ended up combining their birthday celebrations.  Even though Maddy would have LOVED to have a day all to herself, it would have really pained her to have Gwen get one first.  So this really worked out for the best.  Maybe next year it can be different.

Here are the pretty birthday girls!

IMG_1528 maddy gwen frame

Something funny:  While I'm writing this post, the girls are splashing and playing in the pool and a few minutes ago I heard them spitting water at one another.  I hollered over the top of my laptop that they shouldn't put the pool water in their mouth "because it has butts in it!"  And now they're cracking up and chanting about there being butts in the pool.  

I think age 6 is going to be a delightful age!

Black & White Wednesday: Photography Workshop

I just got back from Pennsylvania where I participated in an awesome photography workshop hosted by Lisa (the originator of Black and White Wednesday).  This just might be my FAVORITE Black and White Wednesday post ever!

IMG_0202 skateboard feet bw

Here's our leader, Lisa.  It was incredibly hot and humid in Bethlehem, PA.  The heat index this day was 115 but you'd never know it to look at Lisa.  Isn't she lovely?  And a beautiful personality to match!  It's almost impossible to believe that in less than one month, she's going to finally have her referral from China.  Yes, that was a very very LONG road to China, my friend!

One of the best things about this workshop (other than learning what the buttons on my camera do) was being able to meet many of my long-time blogger friends in person.  I'm so grateful to Lisa for making this possible and making it fun too!     

IMG_0014 lisa watermark 

There were models for us to practice our newly taught photography skills but I preferred to photograph the behind-the-scenes action.  You know, get the story behind the pics of the models...

IMG_0018 watermark

This boy really enjoyed all of this attention.   :)

IMG_0061 messy hair boy watermark

When we were finished taking photos for the day, he poured some water on his head and ruffled up his hair and asked me to take his photo so he could look at the camera and see what he looked like.  I love spontaneous photos -- especially of children.  They're so much better than posed photos.

IMG_0202 skateboard feet

This little boy was four years old.  He was soooo stinkin' adorable!  I loved his ratty old sneakers and the crooked way he was standing.

IMG_0128 bride watermark

This "bride" and "groom" have actually been married for two years.  They were incredibly sweet and you could tell their marriage is still fresh and fun (like my marriage and just like all marriages should be!).  Wouldn't it be great to get to pull your wedding dress out of storage and put it on again?    But, of course, the real story behind this photo is all of us standing around them taking their photo and waiting for the moment they look at our camera!

Img_0141 julie felicia denise

Here's Julie, Felicia and Denise.

IMG_0068 maddy and dita watermark

And here's Maddy and Dita. 

I took several hundred photos this weekend but since I was shooting in Manual, many were mistakes and couldn't be corrected in Photoshop.  But thanks to Lisa's excellent instruction, most were really good!  I wish I'd gotten more photos of the rest of the group though.  Especially my bestest blogger buddy, Wanda.  I also wish I'd gotten some photos of the incredible storm we drove through on the way to the airport.  There were huge tree branches down in the road and visibility was near zero on the turnpike.  It was unfreakingbelievable!  I'm so glad I had Marla and Stephanie in the car with me to keep me sane and help navigate (and check flight updates). Thankfully my flight wasn't delayed but unfortunately theirs was (and many of my new friends were affected too).  But we all made it home safe and sound.  Phew!

I can hardly wait until the reunion!  :)

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For more Black & White Wednesday fun, check out The Long Road to China.
More of our Black & White Wednesday posts here:  Black & White Wednesday

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