Monday, January 31, 2011

Snowpocalypse 2011

Mmmm red wine.

Trust me I might just post a lot of pictures this time because I'm a wee bit drunk. It's the red wine. We're about to get the "storm of the century" here and while everyone else ran out to get bread, milk and eggs (the eggs for making baked eggs) I made sure to get red wine. It's vital if you might potentially get shut in the house for days upon end. I;m going to laugh if this ends up being no big deal.

Anyway, before Snowpocalypse 2011 hit, I had a chance to get a few good opportunities to take some pictures.

First my gorgeous friends Robert and Erica asked me to photograph them so they could put some updated pictures into a photo album. Why of course! Even if I sucked majorly that day at taking pictures they probably still would have turned out great because Robert and Erica are such a gorgeous couple.

We had some challenges.
1) It was really cold outside with some snow on the ground.
2) Apparently if you want to take pictures inside of the Grand Hall at Union Station you cannot use a tripod and generally they charge a fee to do photographs. This posed a problem because even though Grand Hall is amazingly beautiful it doesn't have the best lighting. So trying to take pictures without a tripod is very tricky.
3) You can't take pictures in the "mall" part of Union Station at all. I decided we should go there because I know that natural light is abundant at Union Station, even on an overcast day like we had on that Sunday. We got yelled at a few times and then they threatened to have us kicked out so we were able to sneak in a few shots but that's about it.

Here's some of the best of the day. Robert and Erica, you rocked it!

Then this past weekend was the beginning of the annual Orchid Show at the Missouri Botanical Garden's. I went last year and this year ended up there on accident after trying to take some pictures to enter into the Pioneer Woman's recent photography assignment. I think my pictures turned out great but sadly, none of them were chosen for her contest. Maybe next time. Take a look at them anyway, I'm pretty proud of them.

It's nice to look at tastes of spring with the impending winter doom on the way. I even managed to walk out of the Climatron with a few mosquito bites.
Oh summer, how I miss you.

See you on the other side of the snowstorm.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Brazilian Meat and High Stakes

I have some major catching up to do but that means that this will be filled with lots of pictures.

And the crowd goes wild.

Ahem. First I'd like to headdesk because I was trying to clear off my computer the other day so that it would run faster, all these pictures are taking up a lot of space,  and I made the mistake of not moving over some pictures to a flash drive and so now most of my pictures from the weekend trip to Springfield are gone.


I'll recap with what pictures I have.

 Load it up! It's time for a rousing game of "In My Nose" and a weekend full of visiting some of Missouri's finest treasures. Trust me, Branson is chock full o' fun.

Before we left I called Mom to ask her if I needed to bring something nice to wear to dinner for AJ's birthday and she said she didn't know where we were going yet. It was a toss up between a Brazilian restaurant and Lamberts, both two totally different types of places. She said I'd need something nicer for the Brazilian place and probably couldn't get away with a plaid shirt like at Lamberts. Well I didn't even have a plaid shirt which is a staple for looking like you belong in Southern Missouri. Walmart Clearance rack to the rescue. Plus it's Miley Cyrus brand...can't go wrong there right?

Annie was excited to have all of her people in her home. She ended up being the most popular subject in front of my camera that weekend. She's a talented pup model.

We ended up going to the Brazilian restaurant for AJ's 20th birthday celebration and I don't think I've ever consumed so much meat in my entire life. It was a 3 course meal but I think one could be just fine with the meat portion of it. They offer 15-17 different kinds of meat each night to try! Thatsa lotta meat. Check it out!
  • Alcatra: Full Top Sirloin
  • Filet com bacon: Beef tenderloin wrapped in bacon
  • Fraldinha: Garlic marinated ribeye
  • Piconha: Rump roast cut
  • Bife Chorizo: K.C. Strip
  • Lombinho: Pork Loin
  • Salsichao: Pork Sausage
  • Pernil de cordeiro: Leg of lamb
  • Coxa de frango: Chicken leg
  • Peito e Frango com: Chicken breast wrapped in bacon
  • Ham
  • Horseradish Marinated Full Sirloin
  • Parmesan Encrusted Beef Tenderloin
  • Provolone Stuffed Ball Tip
  • Blackened Tri-Tip
  • Chimichurri Marinated Beef Medallion
  • Brazilian Meat loaf
  • Sea bass
  •  and Feature meats of the day


I couldn't go to a Brazilian Restaurant without ordering a Caipirinha. It's a drink I discovered down in Guatemala while living there and have had such a hard time finding a good one back here in the states. I love this drink because it's so simple and fresh tasting and if you can find the ingredients it is so easy to make!

On each place setting at the table there was this item that looked almost like a salt or pepper shaker. We found out that if you flip it to the green side it means that you are ready to partake of the meat madness and if you flip it to the red side it means you can't take no mo. If you lay it flat so neither color is preferred we found out that the servers heads will explode.

The rest of the weekend was filled with a trip to Branson, about an hour south of Springfield, where we visited a few outlet malls and the Branson's Dick's Five and Dime which had every trinket and knick knack under the sun. We also made a trip to the massive Bass Pro Shop in Springfield. I jokingly said they should just put clothing racks and display cases in the middle of a forest and call it Bass Pro and then I walked inside. Yust nuts.

This trip was topped off by the best stop of all (for me at least)...The Missouri Cheese Outlet. How could you not be in love with a little gas station with over 40 different kinds of cheeses to sample and buy. This girl was happy!

This past Friday I decided to join my parents and my Aunt and Uncle for a game night. My mom recently purchased a game from 1974 called "High Stakes", much like Monoply but only a lot more fun because gambling is involved. Mom says she grew up with the game at her Grandparents house and was excited for all of the memories to come flooding back for her sister while they played. Surprisingly, Lori didn't remember that part of her childhood and my mom was in a state of shock and awe throughout the night that she couldn't recall such a poignant part of her childhood. 

Lessons we learned from the night and quotable quotes to go along with:

Volunteer to become the banker because apparently the banker always wins. Mom was the banker, mom won.

Don't pull to hard on the mini slot machine handle or you'll break it. Ahem. Dwayne.

Craps was my game of choice. I should never step into a gambling arena at all.

"I'm gonna buy that cheap ass hotel."-Mom

Before I continue I must say that Mom lead the most interesting life in this Vegas world, she was the banker, ended up in jail numerous times, had the most properties (next to Lori), had a quickie marriage annulled and walked away with the most money. 

On purchasing another hotel dad says "There's a tiny little Donald Trump in my head that I'm listening to."

Somewhere in the night someone changed lyrics to a song and soon everyone was singing "Jesus loves the little gamblers of the world."

When asked why he liked playing blackjack so much dad says, "I came out of the womb playing blackjack. I gave my momma papercut." (oooooookayyyyy. awkward.)
How'd you get all this money?-Dwayne
I stayed in jail for awhile.-Lori
So crime does pay. -Dad

I have pictures from a photoshoot this past weekend that I want to post but I'm going to do that in a separate entry because this is getting long. :)

Friday, January 14, 2011

(Not) Sew Crafty

The perks of being temporarily unemployed?

Being able to do craft day with a friend at the drop of a hat.

Rachael called me this morning and asked if I'd be interested in some great craft endeavors and within an hour I was grabbing supplies and making my way over.

The ideas were endless thanks to all of the crafting blogs all over the interwebs and we were ready to attack. Refashioned boots made from sweater sleeves and old flats, jazzing up a plain colored shirt with a bleach pen, taking a plaid shirt from the men's department and adding some ruffles to make it something you'd find on the racks at Forever 21. This was going to be fantastic.

I even remembered a couple bags of clothes I was getting ready to drop in a Goodwill bin that we were able to fish through and find some great material for repurposing.

The bleach pen design on the shirt seemed like the fastest craft so I started off with that one and had great success.

Super cute! Right?

Here's R-Lo's...also super cute!

Next it was onto the sweater boots. Take an old pair of flats and some sleeves from a sweater and walla, you have some spiffy boots. I tweaked the original instructions a bit to give them a different look but I'm really happy with them and they keep my feet nice and warm. It makes me want to go out and buy a bunch of cheap flats and make some boots. Lesson learned here though is that you need to use flats that are made out of fabric and not some fake leather because the hot glue sticks better to fabric.

I even used an old shirt for the laces and the flower applique at the top. How creative!
Many of our potential projects involved sewing and this is the area where we did not have great success. Rachael attempted to stitch the ruffle fabric on her machine and the thread was just ending up in a globby mess. Sad face. She paused for a moment to recompose herself and make this adorable headband.

I realized that I had a sewing machine in my car that my mom had purchased for me for 2 dollars at a garage sale. Introducing, the Tiny Tailor.

Friendly and unsuspecting looking right? WRONG. Tiny tailor makes me want to crawl into a dark corner and rock back and forth. I might have had better luck trying to figure out how to disarm a bomb. For awhile Rach and I both attempted to figure out the tiny mean machine, but then she resorted back to trying to fix her machine and Tiny Tailor and I were left to duke it out.

In the end, he won. Hardcore. I felt very defeated and in the end I was left wishing I had tiny little fingers like Denise from SNL in order to work all the little parts.

Our crafts that involved sewing did not get done, which was the majority of our plans, but all in all it was still a fun and successful day. 

Tiny Tailor, our battle will resume.

Until next time,

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Can't Beat the Goodness of Friends

4 months ago I cried when I found out I got what I thought was going to be the road to many good things for me. Everyone told me how lucky I was to find that job that fit so well at such a young age.

"People wait for long periods of time to find that job that fulfills what they really want to do in life, so kudos to you for finding something now and not putting it off."

Those were encouraging words 4 months ago. I was on cloud 9. Of course the job wasn't exactly what I wanted to do but I was hoping over time and with some experience under my belt I could work my way up. I was absolutely thrilled.

Yesterday that road shut down. I can look at the situation in many ways but I learned my lesson and was grateful for the time I had there but have to face that it wasn't what was meant to be. Myriads of thoughts and scenarios went through my mind the minute I heard "We're letting you go." First, how would I tell my husband that I had lost my job and now we were both unemployed? It made me sick to my stomach. I really felt like I had failed him. He couldn't do anything to help his situation with his job and I was feeling responsible for helping to ease the burden in the coming months both emotionally and financially. All of that came crashing down yesterday and it hit me like a brick.

Not going anywhere in life.
Can't amount to anything.
Horrible wife.

These are all things that ran through my mind as I drove home fighting back tears. Driving and crying do not coincide and I should know this by now.

I came home to the loving embrace of my husband who let me cry and then put things in perspective for me. He assured me that things will be okay.

I instantly texted some close friends of mine that have been very supportive in the past through months through all these recent low points in my life and they instantly were able to cheer me up. Kat and Jenn, you guys really are a treasure.

I'm facing the fact that tomorrow I'm going back to ask for a job back that I'd never thought I'd be doing again. Do I want to wait tables again? Not really. But I have to buck up and do what I can to mend things. I know that I'm great at it, there are some great friends there, it's a job I'm familiar with and it's money and those are all positives in light of the current situation. A year and a half ago when I left Friday's I didn't I'd be stepping back in that door ever again as an employee but after tomorrow that all might change.

I'm grateful at this point for whatever I can get and I've already had so much support from many people.

Tonight I was reminded that even in the down and darkest moments there's always always always a silver lining. That silver lining is very bright and that's the good friends that I have from my Zumba world. Zumba hasn't just been the way I get my good cardio workout 2-3 times a week, but it's become a community of people that have been very supportive and welcoming of me, and I've gained some amazing friends from it all. The past 4 or 5 months have been some of the most trying months of my life with car problems, financial issues, a death in the family and now job loss but these friends have been tried and true through it all.

Kat showed up tonight to visit and cheer me up and she came bearing gifts, which was completely not expected and I almost found myself fighting back tears at the kindness of these friends. They may think that their gift to us was small in comparison to the current situation we are facing, but it was big on so many levels.

I am so so grateful that there are people like this on the planet and I feel so blessed that these people are in my life. Thank you for your kindness and compassion to a friend who is really struggling to see the good in life at the moment. You've reminded me that there's always an upside to every down.

This post isn't really photography related but I needed to express these things somehow. Dear friends, again thank you for friendship to me. It is a great treasure.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

What day is it again?

Oh 2011. I had high hopes for you but you are not starting off strong. At all.

More on that later, I don't know if I want to talk about it at the moment.

A little experiment with oil and water.


Happy birthday Josh! The Bad Plus at Jazz at the Bistro? Yes please.
Sunday, lazy Sunday.

Aye yay yay.

I should be better about posting these on time now that I have more free time. Ahem. 

Until later....