Wednesday, February 27, 2008

A Visit From Home

Earlier this month, two of my very best friends, Jen and Holly, hopped into Holly's VW and made their way 14 hours to visit Robert and me! It was so much fun to have them! They were our second set of houseguests ever. My friends mean the world to me. They know me and love me and the feeling is mutual. They are the people I can laugh with, cry with, talk to, and just be me with. I am the luckiest girl in the world to know them! Here's a little recap of our goings on...

Day 1: We ventured down Archer Road in Gainesville to the Kanapaha Botanical Gardens. Spring is beginning to peak through here. It was a feast for our horticulturally trained selves! Jen indulged me in a little photo shoot at the bamboo cove. She is just beautiful and the bamboo is unbelievable! What a pair!

Day 2: We all saddled up and went to St. Augustine for the day. I tried to prepare them for what they were about to see, but I just couldn't do it justice! They were floored. Until I went to SA last August, I had no idea that such a thing existed in the USA. It is a city filled with history, unique, old, funky, Spanish buildings that make you want to move there instantly! If you haven't been, you really must go. We visited Flagler College (Holly is convinced she needs another degree just to attend that campus - it's stunning). We wandered down St. George Street (visitor trap) and made our way to Scarlett O'Hara's for lunch. Robert and I love that place! We sat at the outdoor bar and watched the other tourists watching us. They have a killer Mahi Mahi Sandwich and Shocktop is on tap! From there, we headed to the beach for sunset. It feeds the soul to be near something so vast. The longer we were there, the lower the sun got, the warmer the water felt. We brought towels to layout on but wound up using them as wraps. It was gorgeous! The perfect day!

Day 3: This was Holly and Jen's last day in Florida. To date, they hadn't seen any alligators! That's a shame in these parts. We ate a quick breakfast and went to Paynes Prairie - a nature preserve here in Gainesville. We hiked the La Chua trail to the Alachua Sink Hole. The Prairie used to be a lake until the sink hole opened. Now it is a drain hole and a mini-lake. This is where the alligators hang out. There aren't any gates, fences, or other protective barriers between you and these dinosaur-like beasts. We were captivated! I stopped counting after 70... there easily were 200 alligators. Easily... and that's not including the babies!

This is a shot of Robert's favorite tree in Gainesville! It stretches from one side of the lot to the other, across the street, and beyond. It is amazing. The drama is only increased by the moss that drips from every branch! Central Florida is an amazingly beautiful, swampy place.

Having the girls visit for a weekend was wonderful! Thanks so much for trekking all this way to hang out with us. We love you guys!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Chemistry... yeah, chemistry!

Amber and Kyle have awesome chemistry! They met within the last year and are getting married at the end of March. It was my pleasure to photograph them on New Year's Day at 2pm during prime football watching time. They made 40 degree weather seem hot. Thanks so much for coming out and making my New Years! You guys are fantastic. I wish you all the best in your new journey together. Keep the chemistry! Maybe we can do this again next year?!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

A Sad Thing Happened

For all of you who have read this Blog and are familiar with my boss's husband's situation, I thought you should know that he passed away last weekend of complications surrounding his condition. The brain surgery went well, but he suffered over the course of the last 2 weeks and passed away on Sunday morning. Bill was a precious man. Kind, gentle, inquistive, funny, and a little sarcastic. We got along famously. He would call to see what he could bring Caroline and I for lunch, and when I declined because I had my own, he would insist that I at least get a cookie! He was a dear man who will be sorely missed.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Kelly and Jamie - A Dreamy Affair

As mentioned previously, I have the wonderful opportunity on a daily basis to work for Caroline Johnson Photography. Caroline is one amazing woman. For Caroline, Nina Sutherland of Nina Sutherland Photography and I photographed a fantastic couple at the beginning of the month. Kelly and Jamie are two wonderful people! They are so gentle with each other and obviously adore each other. Their wedding took place at Golden Ocala Golf & Equestrian Club in Ocala, FL. They are a stunning couple who had a beautiful wedding held at one of the dreamiest places in North Central Florida. It was a feast for the eyes!

Jamie is originally from Edinburgh, Scotland. His friends and family hopped the pond to come celebrate in grand fashion! The men sported kilts made of their family's tartans. Some of the women wore large hats to the ceremony. It added such a regal, sophisticated feel that was all blown to bits when the reception came! Those people know how to party! We had a ball! Thanks for letting us be a part of the celebration.

Kelly and Jamie saw each other for the first time on the grand steps overlooking the lawn.

Kelly waited radiantly on the veranda.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Who can? We can...

I don't know what my political views are at this juncture. Regardless of which direction I place my vote, who or what I believe in, how I want to see this country and my life headed, there will always be a place in my heart for people who believe. Period. This video, wherever you stand on the issues, is filled with familiar faces and a message of "change". If anything is going to change, we're the ones that will have to do it. And that starts with us believing... in ourselves, our country, that we have something to live for. Enjoy!

Thursday, February 7, 2008

A British Twist

Over Christmas, I had the treat of photographing Cristie and Gareth... one of my favorite couples! They said that they met their kissing quota for the year - I never said it was going to be easy! Gareth is originally from Wales, so it was a goldmine when we stumbled across the English phonebooth! Score! These two are getting married next May in Jamaica. The cold that we experienced the day of this shoot will pale in comparison... Jamaica here we come.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Recovery is Underway

My boss's husband was diagnosed with a brain tumor just over a week ago. On Friday, he underwent 8 hours of surgery to remove the tumor from his brain stem. Tensions were high and the anxiety was palpable, and I am thrilled to say that he made it through marvelously. He is currently in recovery in the ICU. He is in a great deal of pain, but he is not totally paralyzed (one arm has still not woken up) and he can talk (they thought he would have to re-learn how to talk). So, life is good!

Caroline is camped out at the hospital keeping him company. This has been an incredible journey for their family and an amazing experience for me as the studio manager of her business. Never again will I be able to say that nothing will happen on someone's wedding day. There is always a chance that life will get in the way of business, and you just have be ready to be flexible. I'm grateful to be on this journey with them.... learning as we go.

International Cuisine

On Friday night, Robert and I had the privilege of hanging out with a group of International Tax Law students at Jason and Aline's house. They were the gracious hosts who had the foresight to bring together that amazing group of people. There were people from Mexico, Chile, Argentina, Japan, Taiwan, Thailand, South Korea, Canada, and of course the USA. It was incredible. The spirits that these people possess, the zest for what they are studying, the gratitude they have to be here, their senses of humor, their openness... and their food were INCREDIBLE. It was truly delightful and scrumptous! It made to me so grateful to be a part of this community for this season in my life. My only regret is that I didn't take a photo.... hello?