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The Blog has Moved!

There has been a lot of things happening in my life and work. Big changes…. “BIG, I mean H-U-G-E!!!!” (Anyone know what movie that line is from???)

My daughter has turned 18 and is at Basic Training for the United States Navy right now.

My business has developed and grown. I’ve made a transition and am shooting a lot more film. Who’s old enough to remember film. It’s not dead! At my new blog, all of my personal stories and professional work  can be found in one place!

Woodstock gets cuter by the minute and more comfortable in front of the camera with every shoot we do. Seriously! This dog is sooooo MY dog!

And…. wait for it…… My husband and I are moving to Florida and living tiny! I will be blogging every bit of our tiny living adventure together.

So, come on over and follow at http://www.SouthernGirl.me. I would love to see some familiar faces and bloggers at my new site.

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Time to Relax

Life can move at lightening fast speed. Commitments are high. Calendars are over scheduled. Responsibilities require hobbies to take a back seat. But this day, I chose differently. I grabbed my Pentax 645 and one roll of Portra 160 and went to my local nursery. I wanted to carve out 30 minutes and shoot with intention… Practice with a camera I don’t use as much as I used to… And experiment. 

I find it relaxing to work on something that requires an intense focus. It’s the same thing I love about dancing. Somehow in the detailed attention to the task, I forget about the to-do list and life stressors, and I just get lost. 

These are some of the images I took from that day. 

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Beginning The Tiny House Diaries

When I moved from Phoenix July 19, 2010, I never could have fathomed how much my life would change, how much I would change or how much what I wanted would change. I hoped, but really didn’t know, if I’d find love and marry. I never thought I’d own a beautiful home on nearly an acre. I wished for a dog but couldn’t conceive how joy-filled that would be. During these last 5 years, I have enjoyed the things that the Lord has brought into my life. One of those things has also been a shift in how I envision a happy and fulfilled life.

For the past few years, Ron and I have dreamt about being able to take a year and travel the States. We would go through spurts of discussing where we would go and how we would travel. When our friends Dawn and John came to visit us during their 3 month Fall Colors Tour of the United States (click HERE to read about their journey), it really fueled our fire. Listening to their stories of seeing new places and visiting friends and family really inspired us to uncover what would satisfy the lifestyle we were dreaming of.

Since then, we have been maneuvering our lives towards minimalism. We soon will be true TINY HOUSE dwellers with all of the freedom that accompanies a simplistic lifestyle. We have been living tiny in our big home for the past 6 months, occupying about 400 sq. ft. of our 1800 sq. ft. home.  People ask all the time, “You like each other that much??!!” We really do like each other that much!

Today marks the first significant milestone in our tiny house journey. Our home is officially under contract, and we are set to close in about 30 days. The next few steps are being put into play, but we aren’t quite ready to share all of it with the world…. not just yet anyway. But I will give a little teaser and say that perhaps our engagement pictures at the marina might have been foreshadowing…

I invite you to follow my blog because I will be sharing the fun and the challenges that arise as our tiny house dream becomes our reality.

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Happy Birthday, Woodstock!

It’s clear, if you have spent any time at all visiting my blog, I am totally in love with my dog. I am so incredibly grateful for him. He has been a part of our family now for 2 years (though he was 1 year old when we rescued him from the pound) and every day I am in awe of his sweet soul.

I am astonished by how God created dogs to be: loyal and active members in the family. He finds ways to communicate with us that go beyond just his basic needs. He communicates his preferences, his feelings and desires. I am so blessed to have him.

Here are a few random fun facts about Woodstock:

  1. He gets very excited to see cows and he knows the difference between a deer and another large animal.
  2. One of his favorite meals is “Dog Food Salad”. He is all about eating his greens.
  3. Salmon is his protein of choice.
  4. He knows how to play Fetch but pretends like he can’t find the stick.
  5. He will get your shoes for you, if you ask him to… or he will do it to give you a hint he is ready for a walk.

I couldn’t let this milestone of another year as our fur-baby go by without a proper styled photo shoot. Enjoy!

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Family Time

It isn’t often we get an overnight visit with family. But when we do, it’s Happy Pancake Hour at Pfunky Griddle in Murfreesboro for breakfast and a mini-photo shoot wherever we can get it. Time passes quickly and it is so fun for me to be able to capture the sweetness of these faces.

I have a lot of love for my husband’s family. Every one of them has taken me in and considers me family. It’s easy to say that is how it “should” be. I know all too well, it is often not the case. I am truly grateful for the extension of family and for the support, prayers, encouragement and friendship that have come.

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My Easter “Bunny”

Woodstock had his first Easter themed photo shoot. Once he got used to wearing the ears, he realized that those naturally-dyed, hard-boiled eggs were for him!

This was the first time I dyed eggs this way. Once I cooked the eggs, I allowed various edibles (spinach, purple cabbage, blueberries, beets, turmeric and coffee) to steep in boiling water. When the water cooled, I placed the cooked eggs in the dye, added a teaspoon or so of white vinegar and put them in the refrigerator overnight. The white eggs took the color well. The brown eggs needed longer or I could have cooked the eggs in the water with the edibles for richer colors.

The process was very easy and something I will do for him again, even when it isn’t Easter. 🙂

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My Favorite Leprechaun

I can’t say that I came up with this idea myself. But it was such a great one, how could I possibly pass it by?!

I’m crazy over the moon for this sweet dog. He has become so patient and eager to do what I ask of him during our shoots. He knows I get great joy photographing him in every silly, creative and spontaneous way possible. For that, and a handful of treats, he’ll do anything… even dress up like a leprechaun.

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Still Making Dreams Come True

One of my dreams has always been to go to Walt Disney World.

As a young child, I went to Disneyland every year with my mom and my grandpa. I still remember the ticket books and having to choose wisely when I would use my “E” tickets. As I got older I went more often; and by the time I got to my senior year in high school, I worked there. I loved the Park. I still do, though it has been many years since I’ve been. But I have always wondered what Walt Disney World was like. People told me “It was the same…but different.” I could never quite wrap my head around what that meant.

Isabel and I talked about going often. When we finally moved to Tennessee, I thought maybe i might be able to make it a reality. But high school gave her the opportunity for her first trip before I could. When she came home, she parroted what everyone else said, “It was the same…but different”.

With the somewhat spontaneous trip down to Stuart, I cleverly figured out that we could fly in and out of Orlando… and if we were in Orlando, how could we not go to Walt Disney World?

Our original plan was to spend Monday-Thursday late morning in Stuart then drive to Orlando. Hang out. Chill out. Friday and Saturday would be spent at the Park before we flew home Saturday night. But then we figured out… “Why not leave early Thursday and go straight to the Park so we can be there for 3 days?!” OF COURSE!!

So Wednesday we went to bed early… Thursday we got up early and got to the Magic Kingdom just as they were opening.

Day 1: The Magic Kingdom

Who knew you had to take a boat ride to get to the Magic Kingdom??? No one ever told me that!

People are right. To compare Walt Disney World to Disneyland is the same… but different. The same, because I recognized so many rides. They may have been laid out differently within the park or the queues were a bit different, but the general spirit of the attractions were the same.

However, the best part for me was so many of the rides that were at Disneyland when I was young (and are no longer there) are at Walt Disney Wold. It was fun to experience that again. It was unexpected and made that part of our visit there really fun for me. SouthernGirlPhotography_1523

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Day 2: Hollywood Studios

Having been to California Adventure many times, I imaged Hollywoods Studios would share some similarities. And it did. It had a lot of the same feel. Some of the rides that I thought would be at the Magic Kingdom (like Disneyland) were transplanted to this park.

I really enjoyed all of the references to Old Hollywood. And I loved Tower of Terror and the roller coaster.. But the best for me was watching Isabel participate in the Indiana Jones Stunt Show. That was SO! MUCH! FUN! for me to watch… and photograph. 🙂

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Day 3: Epcot

I was really, really looking forward to Epcot. I was obsessed with the golf ball. I was fully convinced that the whole park was inside the golf ball. I have no idea why I thought that or where I got that idea from. Then when I learned that the whole park wasn’t inside of it, I thought that the World Showcase was. Neither was true.

It was so cold this day. So cold I had to buy gloves and borrow her beanie. I hadn’t really anticipated cold weather when I packed for FLORIDA!

We rode the rides and had great photo ops with the characters; but spent most of our time making sure we saw every part of the world that was showcased. We went through every gift shop. Had fun listening to the accents of the cast members who represented their countries. And yes, we were sure to eat something for each country. 🙂

Our day here was a bit short since we had to get to the airport. But the day, and each day, were wonderful memories to have with my daughter before she ships out in the Navy.

Walt Disney is still making dreams come true.

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