I Heart Faces~We Heart Pets!

I had to move this image from my new blog HERE back to this one until I can figure out the whole comment thing. I am such a rookie it's not even funny...ughhhh! Please forgive my temporary move mishap!

I Heart Faces~Scenic B&W Entry!

I Love I Heart Faces! I Love the People, the Pictures, and the Inspiration I receive on a daily basis! This week they are having a B&W scenic entry. I quickly thumbed through my images because B&W is my heart. I just LOVE black and white images! It's true, I feel like you are capturing the Soul, the inner beauty and made to rely on the emotion of the image rather than the colors. So I have a lot, but I decided to go with the most recent taken about a week ago out in a beautiful field nearby. We are surrounded by fields of dreams in our small town. Miss Dominique was a character full of Fun, Beauty and let me capture the beauty of a pre-teen in our amazing scenic surroundings! Head over to I Heart Faces for more Beautiful, Inspiring images.~XO~MJ

P.S..Just click on the image to open in a large view. Until I get my blog updated this is as large as my images are getting! Sorry! Thanks!~XO

I Heart Faces~Fix It Friday!

So this is the first time I have done one of these but I could not resist the colors in this photo! I had to make them pop just for my own gratification! Call me selfish, but colors make me happy! I just had to play with this photo which is courtesy of Susan Keller over at I Heart Faces! Again I did not take this photograph. This is a Fix It Friday link in I am participating in over at I Heart Faces


My Fun Edit:

Step by Step in Lightroom:
1. Lightroom to brighten up the tone
2. Adj Exposure to +1.15, Fill Light to 23, Blacks to 10
3. Played with the color Luminance to make the color pop. I adjusted Blue to -45 and Green to -25
4. Hit the General Punch preset
5. Opened in Photoshop used 2 Kubota actions 1. Daily Multivitamin 2. Dollface to soften up a bit.

Awesome picture Susan! It screams color so you made it easy. LOVE IT!

Fab 5 Friday~Holiday Edition!

Hello Friday! Together again at last...YES! So in the honor of the holidays I am thinking I am going to throw in some FAB shopping places or odd things to buy. I am such a last minute shopper. I always say I am going to start early and never do. Don't you hate not knowing what to get someone? I hate just giving a thoughtless gift. I always try to give with a meaning behind it, but when that's still too hard, I am quite fond of the gag gifts, especially for the individual who buys themselves everything(STOP DOING THAT!) Leave room for the gift givers you greedy being..I KID! Seriously though, if you keep buying yourself everything expect the unexpected or send me a Christmas list and if you have been extra nice this year I will do my best to reward.

I have a weekend photography workshop 8hrs each day beginning today so I am up early to make room in my day as I am ready for 24 more hours of learning the ropes of photography. It's definitely not as simple as pointing the camera and shooting. Still trying to figure out how I am going to get in all 8hrs tomorrow with a birthday party at 2pm...eeek! Been taking my camera out of auto mode lately...double eeek! Functions galore, this could take awhile. I hear I can't call myself a photographer unless I am out of Auto mode. So YES people, I am doing it "Manual Style". See those family pics, MANUAL MODE! Sure I hit and miss on quite a few but that's what learning is all about after all....right? "We burn and we learn!" quote me on that:)

Happy Friday!~XO MJ

1. Feeling a like a little Dave Matthews this morning! If you have never seen this band in concert you are missing out. They are true artists and throw one heck of a concert and you get your monies worth. My hubby and I saw them in California about 4 yrs ago, they sent us home with smiles on our faces. So here ya go one of my favorite all time bands going back a few years. Here's DMB~CRUSH! LOVE!

2. I have shared this blog before but Niels Hermus from "Life is a Bucket" always has awesome posts. This one I loved. It's so true we always think we know it all. This is a post on "30 Lessons Learned in 30 Years" I have learned so much in my 30 something years;) Oh and I can betcha I am about to learn a whole lot more in the next 30. Only a professed know it all never self reflects or learns from life's lessons. So stop being a know it all~they don't exist in real life anyway. Shush up and let life teach ya a thing or two. Enjoy the ride, oh and this light hearted post.:)

3. So in looking for some awesome teen gifts(heck I even think these are cool) I came across these frames that mimic a Polaroid snapshot and yes they have to do with photography, but who doesn't like pictures? I believe this is a universal gift and very affordable, so buy a handful, just make sure to leave some for me! Click HERE to get some!

4. Something for the wee ones! Remember those Golden Books growing up? Well I do and for some reason I am always wanting my kids to have a taste of what it was we grew up reading or watching. My teens could care less but my baby girl only knows what mama gives her. I love these books and you can also find the puzzles to go with the books for that nostalgic feel..ahhh...to be a kid again! Click HERE to buy the set!

5.OM~Goodness! Can somebody say,"GENIUS!" Don't you hate when you see an invention especially one by an 8th grader who is also saving our planet and came up with these as a Go Green school project. Kids can be so BRILLIANT! These are called Lyzi wraps re-usable gift wrap, comes in all different sizes and red for Christmas. They can be washed, re-used no paper wasting and you know how grandma always saves the wrap neatly as in hopes she can re-gift and re-wrap(ok not all grandmas do this just some) Check it out Lyzi Wraps

So there ya have it! What are some neat finds you have come across lately? Please share! I am on the prowl for gift giving any and all ideas much appreciated! Have an awesome weekend! My photography workshop awaits!

Is Anybody Home?!?!

Yooohooo...is anybody home?!?! Yes it has been about a week and a half of silence and me neglecting my blog, BIG TIME, but I have my reasons. Like cleaning house as if my life depended on it, in preparation for my sis. Which by the way has already gone downhill since the second day. There are no signs of my hard work, it's back to normal around here since my sister and nephews came, conquered Arkansas and left....sighhh. My girls and I are back to missing home more than ever. Back to hearing from my girls, "When are we going back home for a visit?" I am wondering if they will ever call our new home, "HOME!" I am guessing home is where you came from, where you were raised, where you know the streets like the back of your hand. All the short cuts and not so short cuts. Home is where the heart is and our hearts are still back home in Cali missing our enormous family.

So here I am back on track trying to stop the woe is me attitude. If you know me well, silence from me means I am in my why me state of mind. I have always had that saying stuck in my head "If you can't say anything nice or positive, than do not say anything at all!" Well in my silence I do a lot of thinking, forcing myself into positive land, reading, learning, self reflecting. Some days it works, others not so much. Thank goodness for my girls, though they can drive mama nuts at times, they always know how to make me smile and remind me what life is about. We work at it, we are not perfect nor pretend to be. We are beautifully broken and we love our family to pieces and than some.

Here are some pictures from our outing when my sister and nephews visited. We took a hike to the tree house in the sky at Craighead forest, I dyed my nephews hair black(his choice and mama let me) it actually turned out nice on him(note to brother in law~ THEY MADE ME DO IT!) oh and we stayed up talking for hours until we literally knocked out side by side, my sister, kids and all. I miss them like crazy, I am not gonna lie. I wanted to steal them and not let them go. But life calls them home to Cali and in return we promise to make a trip to see everyone this summer. All 5 sisters together again, with all 13 grandkids and of course our beautiful mother and stepfather all under one roof. I can't wait for that party....aghhhh...Our Home Sweet Home!


Fab 5 Friday!

We meet again Friday! I am always happy to see you, especially on this first November weekend! It's a new month, new weekend, daylight savings time~ we get to fall back..YES! The weather finally matches the season..double YES! I love this time of year! Something about it just feels like home, to me anyway. I love cuddling in blankets with loved ones to keep warm, wearing those fuzzy warm soft as can be socks, sipping on something hot to warm the inside, the smell of smoke as it escapes the chimneys around. But most likely it feels like home because in a sense at this time of year is when we focus on home. We decorate to match the season and to welcome family from out of town we haven't seen in years. I get to see my sister and nephews I haven't seen in almost 2 years next Thursday! I am super excited! So yes...It Feels Like Home Outside, Inside, All Around...Home Sweet Home!

I will spend my weekend starting tonight going to a high school football game where I will watch their last game of the season, walk my daughter out onto the field for Senior night and watch her play her heart out on that field one last time....sighhh. I hate saying one last time, but she is a Senior, growing up. How can I not be emotional? My first born is growing up...double sighhhh.... Then off to cleaning, organizing, getting mi casa ready for mi familia in about a week. I will have to sneak out to take some pics sometime this weekend. Otherwise I break the cycle of weekend picture taking and we can't have that:/

So here we go Fab 5 Friday always kickin it off with some tunes to get started. Have a Magnificent weekend and don't forget your camera!

1. With focus on my girls always...this song has so much meaning to me. I bought this CD about 5 years ago from Tori Amos and fell in love with the whole CD. It's a must get! The title of the CD is "The Beekeeper" I am in love with every song and specifically the song "Ribbons Undone" about a little girl growing up. I cry every time I hear this song. Enjoy!

2. This next blog post by Joe Mcnally. Any photographer, professional and amateur alike can relate to mistakes. One should never stop learning! These days technology is moving faster than the blink of an eye making it crucial to stay on top of your game. I in my learning process have made one mistake after another and I am not ashamed to admit it. Why, well because making mistakes is all part of the learning process and pretty much EVERYONE makes mistakes so lets embrace our mistakes and learn from them. Here is the blog post simply titled "Mistakes"

3. Oh and this next blog post by Chase Jarvis is inspiring. I heart this man as much as I heart Jasmine*. They are amazing photographers and speakers. They have been blessed with gaining knowledge from their peers and are sharing what they have learned but are doing it there way. It's great to love a style but NEVER~ I REPEAT NEVER copy someones style! CREATE YOUR OWN or you will never stand out. SO here is an awesome video by Chase Jarvis called "Social Art" from his appearance at the Photo Plus Expo

4.For the Indie/Vintage lovers I found this site I AM IN LOVE with..seriously. It is an inspiration of all things Indie, Art, Photography..all things mama loves! Check it out!
"We Love Indie"

5. Last but not least to go with everything Indie above it wouldn't be complete without Indie Music. Here is an awesome site to check out New Indie Bands


Senior Portraits II(Ali Style)

So this is what happens when I say, "Ok, I am turning it over to you! Be you, no poses or perfection. Just be Ali!" Oh how these images scream, "ALI!!!" I LOVE THEM!

If you know Ali you know she is OBSESSED with her music, takes being called band geek as a compliment, plays the trumpet in band and has since 6th grade, is always on time when it comes to anything involving music(other than that~forget about it), and LOVES...I mean beyond LOVES the band MUSE(another obsession).

So here you go, Senior Portraits~ Ali Style AKA Rock*Star Style! You can see more on my Facebook page click here. Enjoy!

P.S...Those are the Toms that got her through Marching Band season and notice she added the rock*star belt peeking out from under her shirt..that's my Ali:)

Senior Portraits!

If you have been reading my previous blog posts you know it has been hard to get my Senior Ali to myself during her busy Senior year. This past Halloween weekend I finally got to take her into my world and grab moments I as her mother will remember forever. We had so much fun driving all over town, music thumping while finding just the right spots. What's funny is I kept rushing her to get the pictures done before the leaves changed and I don't think we stopped once to take pictures in front of a tree....go figure! It may be in part because I had a vision before hand and none of that vision included trees. I was going with a Vintage, Indie feel to capture her. Sure she doesn't wear high heel boots in real life, she is more of a Converse/Toms wearing shoes kinda gal. But to keep it real we pulled clothes from her real wardrobe and just added some killer boots, a vintage chair and a vintage hat(which I am in LOVE with by the way.) I am a sucker for all things Vintage, ask anyone who knows me well. So here are a few shots from her Senior session. I will post others from the session where I let her take control. She changed into her Toms turned up the tunes and rocked out while I clicked away. These are fun ones and I will share in another post titled Senior Portraits II(Ali Style)

Halloween Weekend In Review!

Halloween weekend has come and gone in the blink of a missing pirates eye;) It was such a busy weekend with the kiddos, I am not even sure if I fed myself?!? I barely got to take Halloween pics after rushing home from my daughter Ali's band Competition at the University, their last and HUGE one! They kicked some major butt! Getting the only standing ovation of the night out of 24 bands! Yeah sure the ENORMOUS bands took 1-3rd place but that was a given. How could you compare bands who have money and are supported by the school and have expensive props. What made this awesome is our school's band is self funded, makes their own props and is all ran by the awesome band parents and of course their amazing directors. They ranked #4 overall right after all the top dogs! This is the first time in history the school has ever pulled #4 in a competition this big, that's huge! So after an amazing band day/night(they literally last all day 1pm-9pm) me and 3 teen girls ran home dressed Mikayla and began our Halloween night! In such a hurry we didn't get to wear our costumes..ughhh! I guess we shall save them for next year;/ We ended the night watching Mikayla get chocolate wasted and watching scary movies.

Sunday the actual day of Halloween started off slow. House cleaning only to get dirty again! I swear I can never keep a clean house. I give up and give in...heeeellllp! I finally got my Senior Ali to myself for the day and we got out on the most beautiful Sunday and took her Senior Portraits! I have lots of editing to do. She has no idea how beautiful she is...seriously! I love my girls!

So Goodbye October..goodbye Halloween! We had fun while it lasted! Cheers to the memories as we now Welcome November 2010!

FAB 5 Friday!!

Here we are Halloween Weekend and the last weekend to celebrate October 2010. I know there will be lots of costumes,chocolate faces, maybe pumpkin carving if you already haven't(We chose to do it tonight because I was getting tired of the moldy dying pumpkins before Halloween even arrived.) So whatever it is you may be doing don't forget to take those pictures. Capture those memories of Halloween October 2010! Have a Happy and Safe Halloween!:)

1. Well it wouldn't feel like Halloween without Oingo Boingo! Well at least in my mind:) When I was 18 I attended an Oingo Boingo concert on Halloween and it was AWESOME! Costumes galore and it was the year Nightmare Before Christmas came out so it seemed to be the theme of the concert. So in the spirit of Halloween here is Dead Man's Party by Oingo Boingo:)

2. I have mentioned Creative Live before! If you have not checked them out you are definitely missing out. They offer FREE well creative classes/workshops for those creative minds. I have had the pleasure of taking a few classes and even though they are free they are worth a million bucks seriously. I wrote about the Jasmine Star(wedding photographer genius) workshop I took awhile back~AMAZING! Well they are offering another great photography weekend workshop coming up in November with Tamara Lackey an amazing very well known children's photographer. You don't want to miss out these are top notch classes and you can't pass up FREE! Also today starting in about 30 min they are having a Pumpkin Carving workshop hurry and check it out!

3. Speaking of workshops people I have been scouring the internet for the best of the best because I live in a small town and I cannot find any local ones. Do not be put off by the internet ones they can actually do more for you and reach a larger audience making the experience just as if not more amazing! Head over to Big Picture Classes they too are offering a November workshop you do not want to miss! Love it!

4. Some more freebies!! Head over to Simplicity Photography and show some love and download her free Christmas card template FOR FREE! It is beautiful, she is talented and Christmas is right around the corner..YIKES!!

5. Head over to You Capture part of I Should Be Folding Laundry blog written by Beth for her amazing Photo challenges/link ups to share your Halloween images this week. It's fun, you meet other like minded people who LOVE photography and you have a GREAT reason to put off the chores! Check it out!

So Cheers to another Fab 5 Friday, Cheers to another Halloween of 2010, Cheers to chocolate faces, trick or treats, goblins, ghosts...most importantly Cheers to picture taking! Preserve those memories~Capture those moments!

Saying Goodbye to October 2010- Part II

It is a two parter! See previous post for more photos and written part of the blog post!

Saying Goodbye to October 2010- Part I

I woke up this morning and decided to organize and go through all the photographs I took just in October. Phew...I took quite a few! As we come to the end of October the month which I adore by the way, I thought I would share some photos I can't believe I over looked to share. Most are of random things I saw beauty in, some I saw Fall, some spooky but all in all I saw beauty in each and every one. Who knew right in my own backyard, here in town I could find Gold. Things most people pass by everyday and think, "ehhhh...that's old!" Well in my love for all things beautiful and old here are a few more to close out the month of October. I get one more weekend to photograph the month and I hear it's going to be a beauty! I have been dying to get my Senior Ali into the spot light but she has been too darn busy. Hoping this weekend I can steal her from her world and bring her into mine! I miss her..like A LOT!

Everything Is Not Okay!

What started out as a routine nightly check in to tell my girls good night and to make sure all electronic devices are put up(with the exception of anything that plays music but minus the texting or any socializing abilities) I walked in upon one of my baby girls. My baby girl who seems to thrive off of all things in the social networking world. But unlike any other night she was hunched over her IPOD in hand sitting on her knees with a look on her face that looked far from happy. My first reaction was to get angry because she knew better. It was way past her bedtime! But I digressed! I pushed the anger down and joked, "Did you think I wouldn't notice you were still awake?" Mama notices everything! Without saying one word she got up and gave me the longest biggest bear hug I have ever received from my now 14 year old. I hugged tighter, we rocked back and forth in silence in the moment. I wanted to panic! I NEEDED to know ASAP what was wrong with my baby girl. But I digressed once again. I played it cool not letting her in on the panic attack I was having on the inside. I told her I love her, stroked her long shiny black hair. I couldn't take the suspense! "Sweetie what's the matter?" I asked still hugging tight. "I miss my family!" I in a sincere response, "Well sweetie we are right here, we are right outside the door come join us!" I broke the tears into laughter...sighhh:) "No mom my family back in California. I miss all my cousins, my grandma, my dad." Of course I knew this is what she meant. But see sincerely I thought she was handling it well. I thought unlike me she was having the time of her life making new friends. I was so wrong! EVERYTHING IS NOT OKAY!

We walked out of her sleeping sister's room who was oblivious to the tears over the foot of her bed. It was 1am and I was about to shut my tired eyes before I came in to find her. But I felt the need to stay up with her...IT WAS A NEED! My baby girl needed me right now. "You wanna watch a movie?" I asked. "No I just wanna talk. I like just talking to you." she said. My heart melted. "Oh ok" I played it cool again but was totally jumping for joy on the inside, "MY TEEN DAUGHTER DOES LOVE ME!" I thought for sure I was hated through all those rolling of the eyes, the demands to clean, go to bed, GET OFF THE COMPUTER! I thought I was uncool and just mean mommy in her eyes. Come to find out~ She Loves Me! She loves talking to me...sighhh! My tired eyes instantly get a second wind and we did just that. We sat on the couch talking for 3 more hours! We talked about Home..sighhh. Funny times, sad times, friends,boys, and of course God. She had a lot of questions, but I knew this. Cassie has always been full of questions and curious about every little thing. We talked and talked. It felt good! I think..NO..I KNOW I NEEDED that just as much as her. As I was about to get up to call it a night she grabbed my pant leg the closest thing she could grab and kissed it. We both started laughing hysterically:) I reached down to give one more great big hug before hittin the pillow. "Mom, how could anyone not like you?" Sighhhh....I wanted to cry but instead I giggled with delight. My reply, "Well honey how could anyone not LOVE you?"

The clock struck 4am and our hurting,frustrated hearts were able to sleep in peace that night. We gave into the moment. We didn't let our sleepy eyes dictate the outcome. Had I went to sleep I would have missed out on an unforgettable night and my baby girl would have went to sleep crying instead of smiling. I love night's like these when Everything Can Be Made Okay with a hug, a talk, a kiss!

I Heart Faces "Pink Week"

In Honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month~Think Pink Boots!

"These Boots Were Made For Walkin and that's just what they'll Do! One of these days these Boots Are Gonna Walk All Over You!"~Nancy Sinatra

I took a mini-photo shoot of my Sweet Mikayla with her brand new Fuchsia Pink cowboy boots Grandma bought her a few weeks ago. We are all in love with her boots and Mama is now seeking a matching pair! I can't help but sing this song when thinking of Cancer Survivors and those who have passed. God Bless each and Everyone!

Weekend In Review!

My weekends always seem to come and go no matter how long I beg them to stay. I guess it goes with the saying, "Time Flies When You're Havin Fun!" So I can't complain..I Guess:(

This weekend consisted of barns, horses, hay rides, smore's over bonfires and new friends! Oh and Flea Market shopping! That my girls had to be talked into doing. Though I didn't get any pictures of that:( We had to tell them there were books and purses galore inside. Little did we know there actually were, well at least ones they would want. I quote my daughter upon finding a purse with a tag still on, "Why would nobody want this stuff?"...lol so it didn't take much coaxing to get them in the next Flea Market we hit. They jumped out before I could ask, "Are you coming?" I on the other hand am on a mission to find all things old. I found lots of old but not so much a bargain...eeeek! Old things are expensive! Who knew old things one day would cost so much money! So much more then what the original owner paid for the item brand new. But I did get lucky and score a vintage chair. Not quite what I was looking for, but it works at $20 buckaroos! I will post pics later on that. I am dreaming up something special, keeping my fingers and lil piggies crossed it turns out how I am imagining.

So here are a few pics from this weekend's barn yard bash at Shamrock Farms. We were invited by sweet owner Crystal in hopes to get my girls riding. If they aren't going to mama is! I grabbed my camera in a hurry to get out the door never thinking once it needed charging. So I was short on pics this weekend:(..Mama Failed! Lesson learned, it will never happen again!:(

Hope you all had another wonderful weekend! What did you all do? Hopefully you took pictures for those lifetime memories. Oh and if you did please share! I love looking at everyone's pictures!

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