Monday, April 30, 2012

Country Music Half Marathon: iPod Photos

The day I was anticipating for months has finally come and gone. I signed up for this race late last Fall after my successful first half-marathon, and I slowly but surely trained for it. I had a couple of setbacks with a broken toe and some tendonitis (self-diagnosed), but I got back on track and felt completely ready on Saturday! Here's a group of photos from the morning. I ran with my iPod in my hand so I could take pictures, even though I run without music. I was afraid it might annoy me, but I was willing to risk it. I am so glad I had it though! Even though the pictures are terrible quality, it's nice to have the memories captured.

We woke up bright and early at 4am, so we could get Libby down to the Brooks VIP potties. She volunteered down there, and luckily we had potty passes so we could use them. Best port-a-potty experience EVER.  If you've ever used one of those big blue stink ovens on race-day you know how incredibly wonderful it would be to have a nicer bathroom with a sink and everything. It was basically like using an RV bathroom, and there was considerably less stink than the other port-a-potties. Thank you, Brooks!!!

I'm a relatively slow runner, so we started waaaaaaaaay far back in corral 26. We started a full 40 minutes after the first corral. Have I mentioned this was a race of over 30,000 people? was a lot. Apparently Sheryl Crow was in there somewhere, but I think she did the full marathon.


I took some pictures of fun things along the way: a juggler (it's for a reason, I just can't remember it...), a guy in a Gumby costume, a big blow-up guitarist, and some girls in some kind of blow-up suits. The entire course was lined with people cheering, which was SO MUCH FUN! It went by so fast because I was just concentrating on maneuvering around people and not slipping in discarded GU packets. I had to weave the road so much that my watch registered 3/10ths of a mile extra. Next year I'll try to remember some of the signs because a lot of them were hilarious, and really helped keep me entertained. Also, the St. Jude Heroes cheering sections were AWESOME. I seriously could not be more pleased with my experience as a Hero. It was extremely motivating to run for such a great cause.

We did it y'all!!! I finished about 30 seconds quicker than I planned to at 2:34:26. I know I can do better next time. I think I could have shaved another 5 minutes off this time if I hadn't battled some intense side cramps. I don't know if it was the heat or what, but I was having some extremely painful stitches around mile 3 and from mile 10 to the end. It's supposed to be caused by your breathing, but I was focusing really hard on my breathing and they weren't letting up. I am going to try to get that under control before my next one. I'm still so proud of myself for finishing this one in my predicted time. I wanted to give up at mile 10 and just walk the rest, but I didn't. I walked a lot of it, but I jogged as much as I could and finished strong. I'm crossing my fingers that I get a good finishing picture. I smiled real big for the camera! 

My wonderful running buddies and my awesome cheering section. That's my mom and aunt on the right. They were so sweet to come cheer me on! They happened to catch me at the two places in the race where my cramps were the worse, and seeing them really kept me going. Amy and I plan to run one together one of these days! She couldn't run this one because of an injury, but she was so sweet to still come cheer for me :) And I was SO GLAD my mom came. It makes these things even more special when the people you love are there to cheer you on and experience it with you.

I set up camp to watch my friend Ashli finish and happened to see these hula-hoopers come through the finish. How fun! I can't imagine how sore their abs must be after 13.1 miles of that!

I was so happy to be able to see Ashli finish the marathon! We met basically through Etsy, and we talk on Twitter pretty often. I got to meet up with her at the Expo the night before and thoroughly enjoyed getting to chat with her. She's such an inspiration! I wish I'd had my good camera so I could get a better shot, but iPod will suffice :) The guy in red is her husband, Colton. He waited for her to come by so he could run in with her (he had already finished the half). Is that not the sweetest thing you've ever heard?! Read her emotional re-cap here.

So that's it! My much anticipated race is now just a my brain and in my hips. It's amazing how quickly the whole event goes by. During the race you think it's never going to end, but afterward it feels like a blur. Thank you to all of the people that stood outside in the 80 degree heat to cheer on 30,000 strangers. It may not seem all that important, but having people tell you that you're doing something awesome is pretty motivating. And of course thank you to my friends and family that cheered me on, both before and during the race :) I couldn't have done it without you!

Which one should I do next?!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Wedding Hair Ideas

I thought it might be fun to pull together some of my favorite wedding hairstyles for today. It's always nice to get a little hair inspiration, right? There's no way I could actually do one of those braids above by myself. My arms get so tired when I try to hold them up to do my hair (and when I'm trying to hold warrior poses in yoga), so if anyone wants to come live with me and be my personal braider, I wouldn't be opposed to it. Anyway, this is the style I love most for my own wedding, especially the left one with more curl. Since I have such long hair, and I want to wear it down, my options are pretty limited. I don't mind it though because I love the waterfall braid! Here are some other gorgeous styles that I think would look great for a wedding 'do.

down, gently curled with a pretty detailed headband - source / source

braided in front (down or up in the back!) with hair piece - source / source

veil with lace edge - source / source

If I was going to wear a veil, it would definitely have lace edging! Isn't that just so pretty and classy? There are so many great styles to choose from...I haven't come across very many that I just really dislike (besides styles that remind me of the 80s or early 90s...big hair can be scary).  What about you all? What is your favorite wedding hair style?

Monday, April 23, 2012

Read a Book a Month: March

Y'all! I'm so late on this! Whatever, better late than never, I always say. So March started out with a quick read of Are You There Vodka? It's Me, Chelsea by Chelsea Handler. It's not pictured here because I already put it in my book trunk and I don't feel like digging it back out. That's not unreasonable, right? It was pretty funny. Either she's had the most interesting/insane life ever, or she's great at stretching the truth. She does point out in the book that she's a compulsive liar, so I'm inclined to think she's just good at making somewhat strange and funny situations seem like a riot. Either way I recommend it if you're into her comedy.

Next I read my Hoes for Libros (online book club full of awesome ladies) pick An Object of Beauty by Steve Martin. This is the second novel that I've read by him, and I actually enjoy his writing! This was a story about a woman moving her way up in the art world. He used references to actual artwork, auction houses, and events to make the whole thing seem true. By the end I felt like everything in the book had actually happened. I honestly didn't care much for the main character, but I don't think Martin wants the reader to like her. The weird thing about this book is that I wasn't rooting for anyone in the story...I don't know if that's a good thing or a bad thing.

Next up was one that I'd been itching to read for a while: The Hunger Games! It's been in my "to read" list, and by the time I actually picked it up to read it, the hype had built it up quite a bit. I have a thing with hyped up books...I usually don't read them because I'm afraid I'll be disappointed. I wouldn't say HG was a disappointment, but I wasn't as crazy over it as a lot of people have been. I didn't immediately pick up the next book when I was's actually still sitting by my bed waiting to be read. Rhett thinks it's strange that I can stop in the middle of a series and start reading something else. It doesn't bother me though! I would still recommend Hunger Games, but I didn't enjoy the writing style AT ALL. The short, choppy sentences drove me nuts, and I didn't feel especially connected to the characters.

Well that's it! Three books in March...I'm on a roll. I've read one full book so far in April and, friends, it was a good one. I can't wait to tell you all about it. I'm currently reading one that's 1500 pages, so I doubt I'll finish it any time soon!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

In my White Tee

shirt- Target
cardigan- J.Crew, thrifted
skirt, tights- Marshall's
boots- Dolce Vita via Gilt Group
necklace- vintage

There are basically a BILLION ways to style a basic white t-shirt. Every girl should have one in her closet. Actually, if you find one you like, you might as well buy a bunch because you'll end up staining them after a couple of wears. Or you'll be like me and wash it with something red and end up with a pink tee (you can't tell in the pictures...but it's definitely tinted).

So Margaret and I got together to do our little outfit post pictures, and low and behold we were both wearing white t-shirts styled completely differently. She's got a very sweet style inspired by vintage cuts and patterns, while I go for basics with subtle details (like gold buttons on a black skirt, side zipper on a cardi, etc). I love that you can get such different looks with the base of a white tee. It's one of the most versatile things you can have in your closet, for sure.

A couple of other things I want to point out in this post:
  1. My Dolce Vita boots! I snagged those from Gilt Group one day. I got really lucky because DV stuff goes quick. Luckily they fit perfectly! My last pair of brown-ish boots were cheapo Rack Room boots, so hopefully these will last a lot longer.
  2. My camera bag! I wanted something I could wear on my shoulder and easily get to my lenses during portrait and wedding shoots. I was using a satchel purse, but the lenses were loose in there and it made me nervous. My 50mm is super cheap and made of plastic, so I didn't want it to get crushed. I found the bag from Monocled Lop on Etsy, who appears to be closed now.  They added fabric inserts to a vintage bag, which was just perfect!

Margaret's post: Hello, Cheri

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Wedding Talk: Venue

I don't plan on bombarding you all with wedding posts, but since my blog is pretty much just about my life, it's bound to be on here a tad. For this, the first post about my wedding, I wanted to show you all the venue! The very first wedding that I ever shot was at the home/farm of a couple of professors at the university where I work (see the photos here, remember, first wedding, not-so-great shots). I was just shadowing a photographer, Heather, who I continued working with after that because she's pretty awesome. That place has stuck in my mind since then, and I knew I had to at least look at it as an option.

Rhett and I ventured out there this past weekend and had a look around to refresh my memory on the space and give him a first look. He could not possibly care less about any aspect of the wedding. He cares about the food, I guess, but that's all. He's not a fan of weddings, but I'm just going to pretend he is. He's great about humoring me and letting me ramble about wedding stuff! Anyway, I'm getting off the venue. I took a few pictures of the barn where we'll have the reception. It's a working horse barn, so it's not reception-ready inside at the moment. I promise you it'll be cute though! The shot above is the side of the reception area, and if the weather is good we'll have those windows open.

This is the front of the barn. That huge door will be open and guests can wander in and out of there. There's plenty of space to have everyone indoors, but if it's a nice day, I'm planning to have some seating outside as well. There was a wedding there last year on the same weekend as my wedding will be this year, and lucky for me Heather was the photographer! I snagged a couple of her shots from that wedding to post here so you can see what it will sort of look like.

Some of their seating outside with the horse stall windows open

Bobbie and Nathan's ceremony was gorgeous! I think the hay bales are an incredibly cute idea, but I'm planning on just doing chairs. I'm not really going for rustic, so the hay would be out of place for me. Bobbie really pulled it off though! I love the curtain set up at the back of the ceremony, and I definitely want to do that. It would be nice since the walk from the barn to the lake is long, I could ride up in a car and pause a second behind the curtain before everyone can see me.

I've still got a lot of planning to do, but I feel like things are coming together in my head!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Barefoots Roasting

One of my favorite parts of my job is going out and doing photoshoots for various publications/ads/whatever. We have a staff photographer, so I only do this kind of thing on occasion. My friend and office-mate, Sarah, had this vision for the back cover of next year's handbook, and I was excited to help out! We always have an ad for our campus coffee shop on the back of the handbook, and since we've just recently started roasting the coffee here on campus, Sarah thought a photo illustration of the process would be neat. I agree! The ad will have three of the photos I took, but I wanted to post these four because they are my favorites. I guess a coffee-themed post is pretty much perfect for a Monday :)

Friday, April 13, 2012

A New Addiction: Stitch Fix

A few weeks ago, I saw a post that Kaelah did about Stitch Fix, and I was really intrigued by the concept. You basically fill out a survey on all of your style preferences and sizing, then they put together a box of 5 items for you. You pay a $20 styling fee up front, and if you buy anything in the box that $20 goes toward the total. If you don't end up keeping anything, you're basically just paying for the experience. I love the element of surprise with this! I was on the edge of my seat waiting for my box to arrive and I couldn't even wait to properly set up my studio for pictures before I started snappin' (thus the short backdrop and inclusion of my messy area).

Amour Vert: $58

I was a little surprised to see some pink-ish things in there since I definitely specified that I don't like pink. I think I also mentioned that I wanted to branch out though, so maybe that's why they included it. The pink tiered tank top was adorable, but I can't see myself wearing it much, so I'm not going to keep it. It had such great movement though! I wasn't into the black and white striped tank at all. I think if the stripes were thinner, I might like it, but it looked horrendous on me (especially when I was making that awesome face).

Many Belles Down griffin collared dress: $75 (look this designer up! So many cute dresses)

The dress was my favorite thing! It's the only one I'm considering keeping. Maybe you guys can help me decide. What do you think of it?! Obviously it needs to be ironed, but I love the black on the collar and the pockets to break up the delicate pattern. It makes it just the right amount edgy for me, since I don't like to dress super girly. I'll have to wear a tank under it since it kind of hangs open (I work at a Christian university y'all...gotta keep myself covered up). I will also probably wear tights with it because it's thin, and I don't want to risk a flashing. I think it would be cute to wear to one of my bridal showers though! Ok, in writing this post, I'm talking myself into keeping it.

The other clothing item was these red shorts. They are SUPER cute, but just not me. I don't wear shorts all that much, and this material was so thin that I'd feel exposed wearing them. They're also dry clean only...which means they would stay dirty forever, and that's just gross. The tie was adorable though. I had it in a bow, but the dancing around made it come undone. There was also a pair of plain geometric gold earrings that I didn't photograph. I'm not keeping them, since I have about a bajillion pair of earrings. They were also $60 and I don't tend to spend all that much on jewelry unless it's really really special.

Overall, this was an AWESOME experience. The profile was so easy to fill out, and I feel like they had a perfect amount of my normal style mixed with some out-of-the-box pieces for me. I did the lowest price point, and I'll probably keep doing that since I don't make a lot of money. I firmly believe you can dress well on a budget. In fact, some of my better pieces of clothing have come from thrift stores and clothing swaps. If any of you would like to try out Stitch Fix, click here. It's a referral/invite from me, and hey if you end up doing it, I get credit toward my next fix! Win/win! If any of you do decide to get a fix, let me know. I'd love to see what you get. :)

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Party of Almost Five

Last week I had the pleasure of photographing this sweet family. They're a family of four right now, but number five will be along soon! My friend Heather has been doing portraits for them, but she's taking time off to take care of her own sweet baby. She's been kind enough to pass some of her business on to me, and I couldn't be more thrilled! I love working with families. It's hard to get younger kids to look at you, much less smile, but I think it's easier when the parents are there holding onto them.

We wandered around downtown for about an hour to get these shots. I enjoy shooting there because I can usually try something totally different and still use some areas that I know work well. I can also get some green in there at places like the courthouse, so it's not all "urban" looking.

The two on the stone floor were in a new-to-me area. It's the side of a church that I use the front of all the time. The boys wandered over there, and I thought it would be fun to climb onto the tiny ledge and shoot from above. I'm kind of terrified of heights, so shooting up there was quite a challenge. I also told the boys they had to be 18 years old before they could climb up high like that. haha! I was trying to make up for setting a bad example!

That last one was Allison's idea, and Jeremy picked the backdrop. I think it turned out cute! They have such a sweet family, and I had so much fun photographing them. I hope I get to do more family stuff in the future, because it's becoming my favorite type of portraiture to do.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Kelsey Joins the Etsy Club

Well I finally got around to helping my roommate open her Etsy shop the other day! She had already opened one up, but she hadn't put anything in it, so we got it all set up together. I seriously LOVE her pots. She's great at making things fun and colorful without looking haphazard. If you like pottery, you should definitely check her out. We're hoping to add some more things soon!

Since Rhett will be moving into my house when we get married, I won't be living with Kelsey and Paige anymore, and I'm starting to get pretty sad about it. I mean, yeah I'm SO STINKING EXCITED to be married and live with Rhett, but it will be a big change since I've had roommates for so long. The three of us don't hang out constantly, but it's always fun to have them around (except when they wake me up...HA!). We go on outings to the store together, run together, do yard work know, just roommate stuff. I guess that's life though. Change. I'm just glad we'll still all be in the same town so we can hang out!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Signs of Summer

It really starts to feel like summer is near when my azalea bushes bloom. The bushes are in my jungle mess of a backyard, so they are sort of my secret treasure. When I'm working up in my studio, I absentmindedly glance out the window all the time and the pretty blooms make me happy. I wish they stayed in bloom longer, but in no time my crate myrtles will start to come out! I'm also hoping my year-old hydrangea bush will have several blooms this year too. I need to get some more colorful things planted, but I am not the best at getting around to yard work (if you can't tell by all the pine needles).

I don't know who made that ridiculous tree/bush bed in my backyard, but we do not share the same taste at all! Pine trees? I mean really?! THAT'S what you want looming over your house? I guess I get it, pine needles help keep weeds at bay, and it's nice to have some shade. I just think there are other more attractive trees that would have been fine there...and maybe just one, and maybe one that doesn't make your gutters look like they haven't been cleaned in 10 years. The azaleas, I like, and there's a Japanese Maple that you can't see that I adore, but I wish I could take everything else out. I also wish I could hire a landscaper, but that's an expense I can't justify.

outfit details:
top, necklace- Express
jeans- Target, best $12 I ever spent
ring- thrift store way back in the day
shoes- Gypsy Warrior

I found these shoes via another blog a while back (sorry, I can't remember what blog!) and I definitely impulse bought. I love them! I mean, I can't walk just crazy well in them, but I sit at a desk all day, so it's fine. I just think the colors and the pattern are fantastic, and it'll be a fun way to spice up some of my more plain outfits. And don't they look so pretty with the pink blossoms?! I had to take some pictures of the bushes alone just so I can remember how pretty they are from time to time. I wish I could make them last all year.