Sunday, December 20, 2009

Alfa Shinks

The arrival of Dexter really has me working on my alfa skills. Never have I used the word "No" so much.

"No" - to overly excited leaps at our torso's
"No" - to tearing up his new bed
"No" - to licking my jeans
"No" - to licking sawdust
"No" - to eating planks of wood
"No" - to ferocious leaps at the door when we leave the room
"No" - to eating paper
"No" - to dragging me off course into random wooded areas when I'm suppose to be taking you for a walk.

Basically everything he does right now is a big fat "NO". This guy has so much learning to do. Husband believes I have a lot of learning to be myself. Apparently when I tell Dexter "No" my tone is not aggressive enough and he can see, smell or hear my lack of conviction. However when a girl is all dressed in her finest for dinner and poochy does his signature lunge and lick, complete with muddy paws, then does a girl tap into the aggression needed to convince Dexter that you know what, "No", does actually mean "No".

We have a ways to go, Dexter and I and if we don't start showing improvement soon, both of us are headed for obedience school in the New Year. We've been warned.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Room For One More

I wanted to write a creative, witty intro. A verbal drumroll if you will. Something that would've had you on the edge of your seat, waiting, reading, wondering what in the world I was going to come out with next, but alas, the creative juices are not flowing tonight, so I think I'm just gonna have to come right out and say it.

Today, well yesterday really, Husband and I welcomed the arrival of Dexter Bruin Shinkins-Doyle to our family. Yes, we got a dog. No, it was not planned. Well, not planned to happen yesterday, but we had talked about getting a dog eventually. How can you live on 12 acres and not at the least get a dog? It would be a sin of some sort somewhere to not let someone, other than ourselves enjoy it. So yesterday was the day. Husband text me early in the morning telling me he was at the animal shelter. Straight away I knew we were in trouble. If you've ever been to one of these shelters you know how heart wrenching and emotional it can be seeing all these abandoned dogs and kitty's. Unless you have a heart of stone, which contrary to popular belief, I don't, there is no way you are leaving without something. So all day at work, I prepared myself for the fact that we would be getting a dog that very day. And we did.

Dexter is almost a year old. He's an Australian Collie with a dash of something else and when I tell you he is hyper, he is HY-PER. Jumping, licking, running and basically energy for days. We really have our work cut out for us in training this little fella and I can tell you right now, I'm not going to be an excellent trainer. When Husband started talking about snap-collars and hitting on noses, I almost cried. I am completely incapable of dishing out harsh training tactics. Husband is going to have step up and be the bad guy here.

Little Dexter Bruin Shinkins-Doyle

I'll tell you who's not impressed with the new addition, little Fintan Alabaster Shinkins-Doyle. So far we've managed to keep them separated. Supervised visits on opposite sides of the window is as close as they've gotten for now. Dexter resides in the laundry room or barn until we can figure out the best way for them to co-habit, peacefully.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

That Time of Year

In no particular order, I love Christmas. I love that it forces us all to make the effort to see friends and family that we just don't see enough of throughout the year. I love Christmas morning and the gift giving, especially if I know I've got someone something they were not expecting and they LOVED IT. I love the Christmas movies and tv specials. I love having a fire place and arging with the family over board games. I love having chocolate for breakfast, guilt free. I love not having to get up for work. I love to take long walks/runs in the cold. I love that I live somewhere it actually gets cold for Christmas. I LOVE to dance, not exaclty Christmas specific, but just something random about myself. Not that I'm and excellent dancer by any means but that never seems to stop me.

I dislike dealing with crowded malls and lines, lines for everything. I dislike, nay, I HATE the parking lot and how it forces people to act like wild animals definding their young. I dislike Christmas song burnout. I dislike not knowing what to get people, then figuring it out last minute but not having enough time to pull it off. I HATE leaving Fintan behind when we travel, HATE it. I dislike when co-workers record me bustin my very unique moves on the dancefloor then play it on the office tv for all to enjoy. Not cool. Bad co-wokers.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Good Things Gone Bad This Week

Lets start with -

Starbucks Pumpkin Spice latte’s: Right before Thanksgiving my BFF at work, Jennifer turned me on to this seasonal favorite at Starbucks. While on paper this beverage may sound like a very bad idea, pumpkin and coffee, heeellll noo, I was open enough to give it a go and surprise surprise, was instantly hooked. The stuff was so yummy. This week we have our good friend Kim visiting us from Belgium and not long after she landed, knowing she is a Starbucks fan, I told her she would definitely have to test drive this latte. We went there a few nights ago where I confidently ordered for both of us. We collect our beverages from the not so friendly Starbucks employee and grabbed a seat. And cos I'm waaay too excited about Kim tasting this, I take a sip of my own just to makes sure its up to par. But upon first sip somethings not right. I take another to be sure I haven’t mis-tasted, but I haven’t. This Pumpkin Spice latte tastes more like a Celery Spice latte with a dash of pumpkin. Its awful. I’m gutted and I apologize to Kim. Effing Starbucks. You made both of us look foolish in front of our foreign guest. I hope your happy.

Turtlenecks: Nothing says classy and sophisticated like a black turtleneck. And one day this week for some unknown reason I woke up feeling very classy and sophisticated. So deciding what to wear to the office was a complete no-bainer. However, as the day progressed and things got busier and the outside temperature increased, as did my own body temperature, due to repeated consumption of hot beverages, my classy black turtleneck began to strangle me. Tighter and tighter it felt like it was getting. I tugged at it repeatedly in an effort to get some relief. I had my co-worker on “face watch” least I start to turn blue. At one point I almost grabbed a pair of scissors and turned my turtle into a deep V-neck sweater, it was that bad.

Office Christmas Party: This week we also had our Office Christmas Party and honestly, it was the most fun I’ve had in a long time. The down side to having such an amazing Christmas Party? The mother of all hangovers the following day.

Now I know my Dad reads my blog and in his eyes I am the most perfect little girl who can absolutely do no wrong, and he’s right, I am. But Dad, I ain’t gonna lie, I was wasted. Sorry!

But fear not, I belted out a very unique karaoke performance of the classic K.C. and The Sunshine Band’s “Get Down Tonight”, complete with Running-Man dance moves. Let your pride be restored dear Dad.

Hello!?! Who's ready for a party??

My date for the evening Mike (aka, Cupcake), Me, co-worker Allyson and co-worker BFF Jennifer.

The whole office staff. Its hard to tell but we are a fabulous bunch.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Gianne & Dominic

I'm finally getting to post the photos from Gianne and Dominic's wedding, which I shot last month. Wondering what took me so long? Well, join the club. I've spent the best part of a week, driving myself insane, pulling my hair out and tittering on the verge of a nervous breakdown trying to figure out a new and hopefully improved slideshow format. It was so stressful and I can't tell you how many times I yelled at myself for being so technically challenged. It was so frustrating. Turns out it wasn't all my bad. The software company had actually given me the wrong software. What a relief. Looks like I'm a smart girl after all.

But back to the important stuff, Gianne & Dominic. This couple holds a special place for me. They were my first real clients and I absolutely adored shooting them. They are grossly attractive and even though Dominic had expressed to me a number of times in the lead up to the wedding how uncomfortable he was having his picture taken, somehow once he was standing next to his stunning bride, he almost forgot I was even there.

Gianne and Dominic married on a sunny Fall morning at Primrose Cottage in Roswell, GA in front of their close friends and family, most of who flew from their home country of the Bahamas to share in their special day.

The bride co-ordinated the day perfectly with her favorite color, hot pink.

But she didn't overlook her husband's passion for North Carolina.

How grossly attractive are these two?

Gianne & Dominic, thank you so much for allowing me to document your wedding. You are both such warm, open and trusting people and I wish you both a lifetime of happiness and joy.

To see more images from the wedding - Click HERE

Monday, December 7, 2009

Tis the Season

This past weekend I high-kicked my way into the Holiday Season with the NYC Rockettes. The show was in town for 5 days and as luck, or the gifts of good friends would have it, I got a ticket.

The show was amazing. The music, the energy, the costumes, the flexibility and precession of each Rockette had me so absorbed and so entranced, I actually caught myself dreaming and wishing to one day, when I'm all grown up, be a NYC Rockette. What? It could still happen. Dream big, thats what I say. Will definitely need to make stretching a bigger part of my fitness regime. Lets just say when it comes to all things elastic, I'm no Nadia Comaneci but more of a rusted Tin-man.

Continuing with the Holiday vibe, our Christmas tree is now up and later this week I have my office Christmas party, whaahooo. Look out photocopier.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Having a Kitty Changes Everything

"Seriously, I can't be dealing with poo, its gives me the worst gag-reflex. If we're going to get a cat, then your gonna have to handle the litter box and all that comes with it, deal?" And that was the agreement Husband and I made when we decided to give a home to an abandoned kitty.

Fast forward almost 2 years and you could count the number of times on one hand that Husband has actually dealt with the poo. On top of that, yesterday morning I find myself combing my way through Fintan's litter box, in search of the perfect poo. A poo that was nice and fresh, not to big and not to small. A sample that was good enough to be scooped and bagged and given to the vet for Fintan's annual check-up.

Who knew that I, Ms. Avoider of All Things Poo Related, Ms. Gag-Reflex, would end up starting her day getting up close and personal with a box of poo?? But there I was, performing the task in a very matter-of-fact manner and like a complete pro. Go me! My little kitty's health and happiness was so important, I barely even noticed how completely gross the project at hand was. Having a kitty truly changes everything.

Just look at that happy healthy bundle of little kitty-cat. All thanks to me and my new iron stomach.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Rachel Yurkovich- Steamy Alert

She's the No. 1 javelin thrower in the US. She's talented, she's athletic and oh yeah, did I mention that she's smokin hot?

Rachel Yurkovich is one of the newest athletes working with Husband's Management Agency, Doyle Management and a couple of weeks ago we got together for a fun and experimental photo shoot to help build her portfolio and media packet.

We wanted to do something with a little edge and attitude. Something to show that she is a serious competitor, with a rockin athletic body (intense training will do that to a girl) and a lot of attitude. But bare in mind that we are not your Sports Illustrated, your Cosmopolitan or your Vogue, so there were no fancy stages, props or lighting. No celeb hair and make-up. It was just Rachel and I, a simple black backdrop, a bit of creative lighting, a lot of imagination and fun. And shooting Rachel really was fun. If memory serves me right, she said "No" to nothing. Not when I had her hanging out of her javelin. Or when I made her arch back into a crab and hold it way past her pain threshold so I could adjust my lighting and camera settings in an effort to get the shot. Not when I made her balance on one leg or when I eventually asked her to remove her top. This girl is confident, comfortable in her own skin and has such a fun and positive outlook, thats what makes her successful. Hanging out with Rachel was definitely not dull.

Here are the results of our photo shoot. I think we both did pretty good. I may blog some of the "Out Take" photos from our session in the future, just to show you how weird things got and what a sport Rachel was, but until then you'll just have to enjoy these tastier shots.

A women with a weapon.

There she is, hangin out of that javelin.

Her balancing act.

Oh yes she did.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Disturbin The Peace

Question: You have a commitment free Sunday. You live on 12 plus acres. What do you do?

Answer: Obviously you hire yourself a BobCat and build yourself a running trail, duh!

And thats exactly what we're doing. Shortly after the crack of dawn this morning, Husband fired up his new, hired toy and got working on a walking/running trail we're designing to run the full perimeter of the property.

Now I'll be the first to admit I'm not always on board with many of Husband's plans and ideas, but this project gets my full support, for selfish reasons mostly. As we all know, I like to run, always have, so the fact that soon I will be able to step out my door and go running on my very own trail, taking in all corners of our property, including the lake, forest and open areas is going to be the best, nay, its going to be amazing. I can hardly wait.

The goal is to design the trail so that one full lap of the property will = 1 mile. We've spent the past 3 days, walking it out, measuring, mapping and remapping to the point that we think we have it nailed. Its going to be awesome. The work is definitely not easy, but for some reason, you through a Husband behind the controls of a machine of mini destruction and all of a sudden he's the happiest Husband in the world. What is it with men and machinery? I just don't get it.

Regardless, here is the happy man himself in action.

A happy man.

Our trail in the making.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

Yesterday was Thanksgiving here in the US and for the 3rd year in a row myself and my good friend Mike, kick started the days celebrations by participating in the annual Gobble Jog. Yes, this 5k has become a Thanksgiving ritual for both f us. Its a great way to get not just the blood flowing but the appetite prepped for a day of guilt free feasting. So for that, I am Thankful. That and the fact that I got to spend the day feasting with my good friends.

Oh and just so you know, the photographer for the day's Gobble Jog was Husband. And although I was nervous to see my expensive camera in his grip, I think he did a good job.

The sea of runners.

Yours truly getting into her stride.

Look at this little guy, working hard to keep them legs turning. I think my Fintan is bigger.

There I am, 2nd women home and a 30 second PB.

I'm not gonna lie, it did hurt a little, a lot once both calves started cramping.

Mike taking it home, also in a new PB.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Bootcamp Photoshoot

Lauren and Ben were our models for the mock wedding shoot we did in Oregon last week and they were nothing short of amazing. They braved the freezing temperatures, moved around and interacted like complete pros. It was hard to not get an amazing shot of these two. I loved every second of this session. And the fact that they were so obliging, gave us photographers, all 20 of us, the opportunity to try new things. That and we had Kevin schooling us on various camera settings and suggestions so we could try new ways of getting shots that were a bit more edgy and not our norm. It was fantastic.

I’ve probably posted waaaay too many photos from the shoot here, but I couldn’t help myself, Lauren and Ben gave us so much to work with it was hard to stop clicking.

Oh, just so you know, Lauren and Ben are really married, to each other, so that should explain the smokin chemistry between them.

Love this one cos of Lauren's simple glance back.

Another one of my favs.

Workin the dress.


Cool and sophisticated.

This is Bootcamp guru Kevin, coaching Lauren on a little hip action.

A fellow photog friend, Bryan Mikota (s'up Bryan) snapped this shot of me trying to work my angles. Don't you love my boots? I do. Am a boot girl by nature and these are a favorite pair, so warm and cozy.

Friday, November 20, 2009

You Know Your Getting Old When.....

You know your getting old when you get crazy excited about a new washer and dryer and I mean CRAZY excited. We are talking jumping up and down excited. Swinging out of Husband’s neck excited. I seriously could not contain myself when I came home from work yesterday to find these new appliances, big, blue and shiny new. It felt like Christmas.

I can’t wait to go shopping for some detergent so I can let these babies rip. Honestly, I may even crank open a bottle of wine, pull up a chair and watch them work their laundry magic. Sad? Maybe, but I don’t care. I love my new washer and dryer and I feel like celebrating.

Go on, admit it, your jealous.

Even Fintan is impressed.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Boot to the Head

Last week in Oregon I went to camp, Bootcamp that is. Myself and 20 other amazing photographers (Hey y'all) from all over the US and Canada (Hi Rachel) spent most of the week being drilled, bombarded and basted by photographer extraordinaire, Kevin Kubota.

When I tell you this camp was challenging and intense, it was challenging and intense. Never have I felt more tired, more overwhelmed, defeated or elated all at once. This was Bootcamp in every sense of the word. But I learned so much. Kevin is nothing short of amazing and every day he and his team, Kecia, Mike, Eryn and Courtney (who by the way are all going to be sainted in the next life due to the amount of times they had to jump in and rescue me from the pits of confusion) worked us hard, pushed us to find better ways, forced us to think outside the box and to get more organized. In short, they hit us hard. Some days my brain hurt so bad I had to pop a migraine pill. No joke. By the end of the week, I had "Boot to the Head". I had reached the point of complete mental saturation. My cupp'ith did run over'ith, or whatever the posh Shakespearian type saying is and I just couldn't take in another ounce of information. Nothing. But I would do it all again, in a heart beat. It was that good.

We did a few photo shoots during the week too and even had a couple posing as a bride & groom so we could work on our camera skills. Hoping to share some of those shots along with tons more soon. The problem is we still don't have internet at our new house yet, which is affecting my ability to stay connected with all things cyber. Its beyond the joke at this point. They're telling us next Wednesday and we should be hooked up. I'm telling them "Hell No, completely unacceptable. Do it and do it yesterday, thank you".

Anyway, while I wait patiently for 2009 technology to arrive at my house, here are some photos I should have shared last week of our little cabin in the Oregon mountains. They were taken with my new Lensbaby Fisheye, pretty cool eah?

Our little cabin, compete with a snow flurry.

A shot of the inside, toasty.

This is where Bootcamp took place.

This is where I got Boot to the Head.