The missing voice

So here’s the deal: I use my voice. Don’t we all? I talk to my family, friends and sometimes to myself (don’t judge). And I sing, too. In the car, in the shower, in my band and in church. Not so much these days. Way back in June Jackson decided to share his sore throat with me (isn’t he such a nice son?). He was better within a day. My sore throat hung around for 2-3 days and when it was gone, so was my voice. I sounded like a 2-pack-a-day Pall Mall smoker. Then I lost it completely – I could only whisper. You don’t understand how hard that was for me. Who has two thumbs and likes to talk? This girl! (OK, so maybe I’m not good at jokes. Again, don’t judge.)

This has been going on for almost 2 months. I (finally) went to see a doctor. He put me on some meds. The initial thought was that I have a form of reflux that caused my laryngitis. So far, the drugs are not working. He also instructed me to see an ear, nose and throat doctor. *sigh* I’m not the type of person that’s at the doctor all the time. In fact, as an adult, this is the most I’ve seen a doctor in years. I’m also not the type of person that wants people shoving stuff down my throat (literally). So, if you’re the praying type, I’d really appreciate your prayers. I’m in no pain whatsoever but would really like to get back to singing. I miss my voice.


In proofreading this post, it seems a tad on the depressing side & that’s not what I wanted. So, to offset the sad tone of the email, I’ll leave you with this photo:

Who can be sad while looking at this precious face? My niece is the best!


Vacation and the important stuff in life

I promised a cool, new (well, new to me) web site today but first I’m going to bore you with the 2011 version of vacation slides. We decided to break up the trip home and make it a two day affair. The first day, we stopped in the cute little town of Newnan. My childhood friend, Jeni, lives there with her family and she met us for a day of shopping and coffee. Her son, Carter, and Ethan have been friends since day one. We were pregnant together and I just love that we’re still friends even though she’s so far away.

Newnan has the cutest little courthouse right in the middle of downtown. 

The next day we stopped in Tifton. I have to say that I agree with their advertising blitz – they are a friendly little town. And they have the cutest theater. Wouldn’t you love to see at night?


As you can see, I was loving the iPhone by this time. My purse was getting heavier and heaver every day and by the last two days I wasn’t up to having the camera around my neck as well. Ken is the ever-helpful husband but he wasn’t up to carrying my purse. So the camera stayed in the car and I took my phone with me instead.

It was a great vacation long weekend get away and we were busy as usual. There’s no vacation like a Long/Cunningham vacation!

OK, onto the cool website. It’s called The Burning House. You submit a picture of the stuff you’d take with you if your house were on fire. It’s quite a lot to think about. I actually ended up choosing less than I originally thought I would. Honestly, the important stuff in my life isn’t stuff at all. I’d love to take my grandmother’s china but I can’t see myself lugging the china cabinet through the front door. Same goes with my coffee table that my dad made. Here’s my list:


I’d take the following:

  • My two boys
  • MacBook Pro
  • external hard drive with countless pictures and music
  • iPhone
  • camera (pictured on iPhone)
  • wedding ring
  • husband (not pictured because I’m pretty sure he’ll be helping me get the heck outta there)

So there you have it. My whole life summed up in 8 items. What would you take with you?

Mountain getaway

We’re back from our little getaway to the Georgia mountains. I had every intention of blogging while gone but internet service was spotty up there and it was more frustrating that rewarding to blog. Here’s a rundown of what we did (warning: not blogging for almost a week makes this blog post picture heavy)…

This is our cabin where we stayed. Believe it or not, I didn’t get a shot of it but my mom took this with her cell phone.

Our dear friend Jane met us up there. She lives in North Carolina and decided to meet up with us for the weekend. The plan for our first night was to hit Walmart to pick up some food and grilling necessities. However, on our way down to the town, Jane heard something while driving and her oil light came on immediately. We were all afraid that something had punctured her oil pan. So, under the car my dad went. Most of you don’t know this, but it’s almost a Long/Cunningham tradition to have car problems while on vacation (sometimes even before leaving the state)! Luckily it was only the plug to the oil pan! She had her oil changed before coming to Georgia and they didn’t screw it on tight enough. My dad made a run to a local auto parts store (thankfully there was one close) and bought a new plug and more oil. We thought we were on our way. Boy, we thought wrong! As he was checking the oil levels, the top of the dipstick came right off with the dipstick still in the car!

We tried everything from tweezers to bobby pins to pry it out of there with no luck. Then a Long/Cunningham vacation first: a stop by the Sheriff! He wanted to make sure everything was ok. When we told him the whole story, he replied in the deepest southern drawl, “Man, that’s some bad luck.” Ya think? My dad figured it’d be ok to leave it like that for now (and keep checking it throughout the trip) and we headed to town for some Mexican food, margaritas and then Walmart. This is when I downloaded Instagram for iPhone. I’ve heard all about it but never played with it much. My first “share” was my margarita. I swear this thing seemed to be 5 gallons!

The next day took us to Helen for tubing and shopping. If you ever get the chance to go tubing there, you must do it! I managed to get stuck on every rock possible but it was the most fun I had on the trip! There was tons of laughing, tons of opportunities to make fun of my family and tons of fun. Obviously, I didn’t take my camera down the river so I don’t have any pictures of the trip but trust me: it’s a hoot. Helen is a cute town with a German feel to it. We had lunch at one of the German restaurants. The best part: baked pretzel! 

Just a few minutes from our cabin, on the side of the road was a junk yard. Tons of cars and parts just piled on the side of the road. Only in the country! Oh, the stories these cars could tell.Views like this were all over the place:

One of the things my mom and dad really wanted to do while up there was collect some rocks. Not just the “put them around the house” kind of collection, though. They’re adding a waterfall in their backyard and need lots and lots of rocks. Rocks are really expensive here in Florida and we don’t have a river in our neighborhood (or anywhere close). One of the vacation goals was to fill up the trunks of my car (and Jane’s) with rocks. Lots of them. We found a small creek (not to be named just in case some sort of rock authority is reading this blog) and hit the jackpot! Here’s my mom and dad showing off their spoil (taken with my mom’s phone). Can you tell she’s excited?

Everyone got in on the action:Then it was off to Anna Ruby Falls. It’s a great place and the rain held off just long enough for us to climb to the top and get these:

Jackson didn’t want to jump at the top of the falls but promised me he’d let me take a jumping picture later at the lake. The boys had never swam in a lake before but they took to it like white on rice. I’m not sure why, but in this picture Jackson looks like he has dislocated his shoulder. I assure you, he’s perfectly fine.

The next day, we headed to Dahlonega. Coffee shop, guitar shop and an antique mall made this trip well worth it. Lookie what I found:See the green one on the top of this next photo? She came home with me:Anyone know anything about taking pictures with the Instamatics? I know I’ll have to get the film online and Ritz said they send it out for processing. Any other tips?

The last day included a quick trip to the creek by our cabin for fishing. No fish were caught, but I caught these pictures! All the same to me.

Checking out the lure:That’s it for now. I’ve got a couple more pictures from our trip home but I’ll save them for tomorrow. And I’ve got a cool website to share with you, too. Don’t let me forget, ok?

Love is in the air

I’m so excited to share this post with you guys (all two of you out there reading my blog)!

I had my first photo shoot with Anthony & Melissa, on Saturday. Our plan was to head to the park after dinnertime and get some engagement pictures. The weather had different plans. It rained off and on all day long. And then it would pour. Then sprinkle. Then the sun would come out. And sometimes it did it’s special Sunshine State trick: it’d rain while sunny. I’m not sure if this happens in other parts of the country but it happens here quite often. I really do love rain. So much so, that most of the time I think I’d really love it in the Pacific Northwest. I just love rainy days. All-day-long rainy days are my favorite. I love those days except when I’m supposed to take pictures outside.

The park is about 20 miles north of where I live but I have a friend that’s just down the street from the park and she became my weatherman that day. Thanks so much, Lorena! Thanks for answering my endless texts asking if it was “raining up there” and for letting us use your dock – you’re the best!

The rain finally let up about 30 minutes before I headed to Anna’s house to pick her up. It was so nice to have her with me. She has a great eye, captured some GREAT shots and I can’t wait to work with her at the wedding. If I was only as creative as her when I was 16 years old. She’s unbelievable. 

Here are a few pictures from the day. I just did some small touch ups but I’d really like to run some Photoshop actions and see what else I can come up with. 

Here’s another reason why Anna was invaluable. She wanted to make sure Melissa’s hair looked perfect and “all romantic”. Here’s a little behind-the-scenes shot.



Anthony and Melissa were a dream to work with. Too bad we can’t do engagement photos once a week! 

Lens envy

Man, have I been busy! I can’t remember if I’ve told you but I’m throwing a 40th birthday party for Ken. It’s going to be quite a bash so that’s why I’m starting early. I’m making all the invitations and can’t wait to show them to you. No peeking till they’ve been delivered, though. But I will tell you that they’re the bomb! It’s been birthday party central around here. And we’re taking a long weekend getaway next week so I’ve been prepping for that, as well. Not to mention the everyday stuff like laundry, dishes, etc. 

So, onto some photos. I’ve really been obsessed with these mushrooms that are popping up all over our lawn during the rainy season. For some reason, I’m only taking pictures of them in the stinking dark. This one looked like an alien space ship to me.


On Thursday something wonderful arrived. Something shiny and beautiful and lovely. A new lens! Well, not really. Remember the wedding that I’m going to shoot in April? The groom rented a lens for me! He’s a fellow photographer and knows what he wants for the wedding. Since I don’t own the lens he wants me to use, he rented it so I could play with it and use it for an engagement photo shoot with him and his beautiful bride-to-be. To say I was thrilled would be an understatement. It’s a Canon 24-105 lens and let me tell you, I love it. If it were’t quite so pricey, I might just keep it. This is what my 50mm wants to be when it grows up. There’s definitely some lens envy going on in this house.


The above picture was taken on my iPhone with Camera+. Ken loves the app but I can’t say that I fell in love with it. Maybe it was because I’m not particularly in love with the composition or the lighting. What apps do you use for your smart phone? I know that everyone and their brother loves Instagram. Is it really all that?

I decided to have a photo shoot with my two favorite subjects on Friday. They were actually pretty willing and we had some fun. I fell in love with the lens even more. Boy, am I in trouble.


Who knew standing on the a/c unit could be so fun? My boys, that’s who.

I actually captured a good one of Ethan. Let me just tell you that my two children are so different. The camera loves one & the other…not so much. Ever see the episode of Friends when Chandler & Monica have engagement pictures taken?

That’s usually Ethan. I think he got it from me. Sorry, son. But I managed to work through it to get this one:

He sure is a cutie, isn’t he?

The rest of the weekend is full with the engagement photo shoot (as long as it doesn’t rain) and a beach baptism. Yes, the family that hates the beach will be there. I actually love going to the beach for that. Maybe it’s because I count it as church and not technically a trip to the beach. What are you doing this weekend?


Photoshoot homework

We went to Philippe Park in Safety Harbor yesterday. My friend Anna and I will be heading there on Saturday to take some engagement pictures of my friends so Ken and I decided to scout out the place so I could get some ideas. We’ll see how it goes on Saturday but I like what I came home with…

I’m not sure what Jackson was trying to tell me in this next picture. Maybe it was, “Wait, Ethan is getting ready to pick his butt.” Or “Wait, I’m going to scratch my nose in a second.” Either way, most of the pictures in this pose were ruined by one or more of those reasons.


After snapping pictures and getting eaten alive by mosquitoes we headed to Cold Stone Creamery. Who doesn’t love ice cream on a summer evening?


and after…

Gee, homework for photo shoots are quite fun. I can see now why people enjoy being photographers!

Questions and links

I’m going to put something out there but first you have to promise not to say to yourself, “Her? Really? Maybe they need glasses.”

That’ll make sense once you hear what I have to say but you have to virtual pinky promise me not to think those thoughts before I say it. Because, above anything else (even swearing on your mother’s grave), the pinky promise is the most binding promise. Ever. 

Ready? OK. Some friends asked me to shoot their wedding for them. {Huge, giant gulp} I’m excited, nervous, terrified and stoked all at the same time. (Anthony and Melissa: if you’re reading this, just substitute “over the moon excited” for “nervous” and “thrilled” instead of “terrified”.) I’ve been dreaming up ideas since they asked me. What I want to ask YOU is:

If you’ve ever done this before, what do you know now that you wish you knew then?

What’s the best way to put people at ease (including yourself) when taking pictures (especially wedding pictures that’ll be in frames for years to come)?

Are there any favorite photographers that you always turn to for inspiration?

Are there any other pointers you’d like to give me?

I think that’s all the questions I have (for now). I’m sure I’ll come up with more as the date nears. The wedding isn’t until April 2012 but I really want to be prepared. And since you’re going to be giving me answers (I sure hope you do), I’d like to give you something in return. Here are a few links I’ve found and I think you’d enjoy them.

This phone cover is ingenious. 

What do you think about this upcoming camera? Be sure to click on the picture for some fun!

Wouldn’t these make the cutest save-the-date wedding announcements? I just love How About Orange

These are the best cupcakes I’ve ever tasted in my entire life. And that’s saying a lot because I really like cupcakes. I’m insisting you make them and then invite me over. And in case you read the comment at the end of the blog (you’ll see that it was never answered), you really do use that much amaretto. Totally delicious!

Isn’t this just taking it a bit far? I love my DSLR camera and my iPhone is with me at all times, but this might be too much even for me.