Angelica Grace Designs Blog

Friday, July 31, 2009

WHERE IN THE WORLD IS AGD?

Well this is it friends. Time for the contest/give-a-way in honor of my 777th post. I've had many of you email me in regard to this contest questioning when it will begin and end. Therefore, I've listed some basic details about the contest below...

In order to enter the drawing, you must take a photograph and include a sign of some sort reflecting that "AGD was there" within that shot. The sign can say something like..."AGD was here in Dallas, Texas" or something like "We love AGD in Canada!" Feel free to be creative if you'd like to. The picture would be even more awesome if it could reflect something within your city, country, state, etc. along with the signage. Anyone can be in the photo as well. You don't HAVE to have people in it but it would be just as fun if you did.

PLEASE LINK DIRECTLY TO YOUR POST ABOUT AGD and not to your blog in general. When linking on MckLinky, we must be able to click and it take us directly to the AGD post.

You must leave a comment in the comments area here on my blog once you've linked to McKLinky.

The contest runs from today (Friday, July 31st) thru Monday night at midnight. The MckLinky list will close at 12:00am on Monday, August 3rd. Therefore, you must get your photograph taken and placed on your blog by then. Once you have, please link to your blog from mine by way of the McKLinky list. By doing so, everyone visiting will be able to travel to your blog, check it out, and see the AGD signage for the contest as well. Not only is this just down right fun but it will promote blog traffic to your blog A LOT!

If you are not a blog reader, no worries. Just email your photo to me at Angie@AngelicaGraceDesigns.com between now and Monday at midnight. I'll add your photo to the blog as well as enter your name into the drawing.

If you have friends that are bloggers whom which you can coerce to participate, have them post a blog and a photo as well. Then, notify me that this person is your friend and has added a post via their blog too. By doing so, you will get 5 extra entries into the drawing. Your friend who participates will also be entered into the contest drawing as well.

I will have one of my children draw the name out of the hat on Wednesday, August 5th. I'll announce the winner of the contest shortly after that. The winners name will be posted on my blog once we've pulled the name.

Here are some up close shots of the beach bag and the goodies that will come inside it...

ABOVE: We have Philosophy's "party girl trio pack." I love, love, love these. They came from Sephora and include three shampoo, shower gel, and body washes. The names of them are ROCKIN'! Tantini, Blingtini, and teeny tiny string Bikini. Too fun! Not only are the names and colors cute but the smell/scent of these are to die for. You will love them too! I'm sure of it. The blue tumbler you see in the background that reads "FLORIDA" on it with dolphins in the logo is not only a tumbler you can drink out of but it is also a mister too. You can drink out of one spot and then if you are in the sun and hot, there is a button you push that actually "mists" you as well. I love those down here. Perfect for summer! I've only seen these here and can't get them back home. Imagine! Another thing I can't get back home is the candle in the coconut shell that you see there. It is the "crushed pineapple" flavor. Love these! They have an incredible variety of scents but I went with the crushed pineapple for you guys because it is so beachy smelling and because it is my favorite scent. Ha ha!

Next up, we have a trio pack of super shimmer lip glosses from Sephora. These are a great collection of shades. they are perfect for the summer time as well. Then from Swoozies, we have their ever famous cookies in a jar. These are chocolate chip and come packaged in an adorable "Have a great Summer" jar. Also included is a set of Turbie Twist towels for your hair after a shower. I was so shocked at how many of you had never used these when I had them on my blog a while back ago that I just had to throw some in as well. They are addicting. You'll never be able to use a big ol' regular towel on your head again after using the turbie twist towels (positioned underneath the cupcake box above on right) And then, we have "The Cupcake Deck." I love these. Beings that I love cupcakes so much, I thought they were fitting. Not necessarily beach related but at least they are "Angie related." Ha ha! They are a box of oversized cards and on each one of them is a different recipe for another type of cupcake. There are 25 different recipes and cards in all. These will be great for parties or just for fun with your kiddo's.

In the shot above, we also have the "Beach Party Golden Girl Lip Shine" by philosophy. You guys know how much I love this product so I thought I'd include one of them as well. I actually featured it on my blog a few months ago.

In the shot above, it shows a really cute flip flop note pad and pen set from the Coconut Point Swoozies store. Adorable. Also from swoozies is the uber fabulous "Bikini Bag." I love these bags. They are great for your suitcase or your beach bag. I use them to put my cell phone, hair ties, key fob for my car, etc. in the inside of my beach bag. It keeps those specific items from getting wet or getting sand in them. How cute are the colors on this bag?Also as just a little "souvenir" gift, I shoved a small lil' magnet in the bag (shown above) that has Naples, FL on it with a little foot. The foot is filled with sand. Too cute! And lastly, one thing not shown here is from Kaye Mackay. She is so generous and is offering up one of her custom made family tiles for the winner. It will be shipped directly to you via her. After the winner is announced, you can contact her and give her your info and she'll then make the custom personalized tile for you. thanks for doing this Kaye. I know our lucky winner will love your product. You are a gem!

So, you've seen the goods and you've got the rules. Feel free to email me with any questions. For now, let's get this party started friends! Thanks for all of your undying support over the past 777 posts. If someone would've told me back in 2004 what AGD would become as of today, I never would've believed them. And in the end, without you guys, none of this would even be possible. Thank you from the bottom of my heart - for helping to make my dream with AGD a reality. I love you guys!

Much love and gratitude, Angie


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Thursday, July 30, 2009

THE DEVIL INSIDE MY PONY TAIL

If I was a drinker, today would be one of those days where I'd bust out a bottle of wine. And drink it all by myself - The. whole. thing. Better yet, make that a bottle of whiskey. Or I know...let's go with the big "V" - Vodka instead. Yes, it's been that bad. My son is challenging me. Big time. He is 10 going on 16 with a mouth the size of Texas. And get this...his latest favorite statement to me is..."Oh look - you're wearing a pony tail today Mom. You get mean when you wear pony tails. That explains why you're acting this way." Yeap, he really said that to me. More than once even. The next time it went something like this..."See, I told you - you're mean today because you're wearing THE pony tail." OOOOhhhhh how I love him so. The first time I busted out laughing because his statement was so comical. The 2nd time, third time, etc...not so much! Instead of a drinking fest though, I took my bad self and plopped down in front of some Chili's chips and salsa as well as a big ol' fat plate of chocolate molten cake from their restaurant. After that, I topped it all off with more - yes "more" peanut butter oreo's. Now that is my idea of a drunk fest. ;)

In a nutshell, I'm beginning to understand why some animals eat their young...

~Ang

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Wednesday, July 29, 2009

SHE IS DA' BOMB!

Just in case you didn't already know it, I pretty much think that my web gal who did my new photography website and my newly revised photography blog is like ummmm...the snizzel dizzel. In my opinion, she ranks right up there with my favorite things like chocolate on an upside down souffle' or like sand along side the sea. She is da' bomb and totally rocks the house when it comes to web design, blog design, logo design, and now...TWITTER designs. Yeap, she just did a twitter design for me today and I couldn't be more pleased with it. We attempted to do a design that reflected both of my businesses. (AGD and my photography business) Therefore, making that flow nicely could have been potentially tricky. Not for Crystal though. She handeled that like an ol' pro! Why? Because she is da' bomb! :)

To check out my new twitter page design that Crystal whipped up for me, go HERE. If you aren't following me on twitter as of yet, make sure you click "FOLLOW" when there visiting. I'm a newbie to the twitter scene so it's always good to find friends on there. Also, for those of you who aren't a friend of mine on facebook yet but would like to be, hit me up HERE. If you are a blog follower and I don't know you as of yet, don't let that stop you. Friend request me and I'll get you added pronto!

And Crystal...thanks again for the new ROCKIN' Twitter page girl. Keep up the awesome work!

xoxo, Ang

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SNEAK PEEK - NEW AGD DESIGN

Hi all. Happy Wednesday. What a hump day it is! We are finalizing preparations for the new Fall AGD collection and meanwhile...I'm giving you another sneak peek at the 3rd new design because I know how much you guys love this part. The sneak peeks that is. :) If I had a buck for every time I got an email from one of you guys letting me know what "torture" the sneak peeks are, I'd be rich by now. LOL!

I'm so excited to finally be utilizing these fabrics. They are so yummy! The turquoise colors, the zebra print, birds, chandeliers, and polka dots. How can you go wrong with that combo, eh? I'm envisioning a really cool photo shoot in a really cool zebra print chair in a really big field with this outfit. Shame I'm not home in Indy to get to my zebra print chair or my really big field. ha ha! I guess the beach will have to do, eh? Wink wink...!

Until then, please don't forget that the AGD sign/picture contest is starting Friday. Therefore, get those state/country represented pictures ready to go. Tell all of your friends. The more you pass it on, the more drawings you get in the bucket. Tell your blog buddies to post it on their blogs - for every buddy that posts and links back to my blog contest due to your referral, you get an extra five drawings and they also get entered into the contest. The give-a-way basket that the winner will receive is up to $150 in value at this point. I'll be featuring a photo of the give-a-way "goods" once the contest begins Friday. YAY! What fun. Can't wait!

For now, I'm off to clean up this house and get it presentable before my Dad and Cathy fly back in this Friday evening. They are coming and staying with us again for those next 5 days. Then, it's back out for more school clothes shopping. We attempted to start it last night and accomplished a few things but then I quickly decided that Brennen was going to be going to school naked this year because he detested everything I tried to pick out for him. I was suddenly propelled back in time to the days of when my own Mom took me school shopping and the fights we used to go thru in regards to the school clothes I liked and the ones she liked for me. At one point Brennen looked at me last night as we were rolling thru the store and said, "I don't care if you like it or not...I won't be wearing it...therefore, it's a waste of your and Dad's money." No joke! He said that. Totally said that to me. So...we managed to find a few odds and ends as well as the "famous" backpack that causes so many headaches each year but that was it. We are off to try and finish it all up tonight. "Try" is the key word here. And for Kenidi, haven't found her a thing. Not a stinkin' thing. She is generally so easy to buy for because she LOVES any and all clothes and NEVER gives me push back on what I buy her. (of course) But...I'm having trouble locating the "out of the box" school clothes for her this year that I'm used to finding down here. I have several little boutiques that we hit when in town but I was really disappointed in their selections this Summer. It's time to whip up some more AGD designs I guess. Oh speaking of that, wait until you see the new skirt that is coming out soon. I gained inspiration for the design via an adult women's skirt that I saw. We are going to attempt to scale it down to a child's size version and ROCK it out AGD style. I can't wait to show you guys the finished product. I might just need an adult replica of it for myself once all is said and done. I'm envisioning a really cool photo shoot with it too. Think hippie. Think boho. Think..."da' bomb diggity!"

Much love, Ang

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Tuesday, July 28, 2009

OUR PINT SIZED FRIEND

In comparison to the turtle we found in the neighborhood last week, this little guy deserves a sash and a crown for most beautiful. Is he/she not a cutie or what? Brennen found it in the driveway earlier today. Needless to say, I busted out the ol' 50mm 1.4 lens as well as my macro 105mm lens and started shooting away.

It amazes me what a macro lens can show in a photograph. If you could see in person how tiny this little guy was, you'd know what I meant. For example, just being able to see the granules of beach sand on his back is spectacular. I think that is my favorite part. He is apparently a "beach lovah" too!

And the little nostrils in the nose...oh my goodness...he is too cute for words. You couldn't see those with the human eye but you sure can with the macro lens on board.

And his leather like skin...oh how "turtle-ish!" Kenidi just couldn't get enough of this little dude. She kept getting down in his face and flapping her hands at him while yelling..."Hi. Hi. Hi. Hi." :) It was hysterical. I had uneasy feelings about her taking her foot and just stomping him with one fail swoop. That or visions of her running over him with her bicycle tire which she was sitting on for a bit while by him.

I had Brennen grab me a quarter so that I could place it beside him and snap a shot - revealing his true to life size. Yes, he was really no bigger then an oversized quarter. A half dollar maybe. He was a tiny little guy. Very tiny.

He is now outside in a white bucket in the driveway. Brennen has discussed with us how he feels we need to go buy him an aquarium. How if we don't, he'll just build him one in the yard with shells and rocks and coconuts. (I quickly reminded him that snakes would probably eat him in one bite if he stuck him out in the grass) He then resorted back to assuring me he had seen a pet store near by and that we could go get him an aquarium. In 5 small and short words...Brennen has lost his mind! Until I convince him that he "will not" be traveling home on the plane with us back to Indiana, the white bucket will remain his home for now. I told Brennen that he would have to release him back into the amazon wild before we leave. Now Brennen isn't overly happy with me. I'm pretty much the meanest Mom on the planet who doesn't care about the safety of animals on this earth. I think a reminder of me running over the snake 4 different times in 30.2 seconds was brought up and thrown out there a few times. Instead of his Mom that took him for Tony Sacco's pizza tonight (his fav), I'm pretty much now his mortal enemy. Remind me...is he 16 or is he 10? Oh lawdy lawdy...someone help me.

Much love,

The snake killin' - no aquarium gettin' - mean to God's creatures - Mom

(a.k.a - Me/Angie)

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Monday, July 27, 2009

WAVING SESSION FEE

UPDATE AS OF 7/28/09: Due to the overwhelming response to my portfolio building (waving of my session fee), I'm no longer taking any addtional clients for that particular promotion. However, for those of you still interested in booking a session with me, feel free to contact me for a separate discount code should you want to book a sitting. I'd love to share that discount code with you which is good for sessions booked thru November of 2009. A HUGE thanks to all of you with the undying faith in my photography skills and whom now will be participating in the PB promotion. And for those of you out of state readers who contacted me, should my travels ever lead me to your neck of the woods, you guys will be the first to know. I am humbled by the response to this promotion and can't wait to work with your families.
Much love and gratitude, Angie

Yes, you read the above correctly. I am waving sessions fees for a handful of people as I work on building my portfolio. If you fall within one of the categories above, please feel free to contact me. So far I have one couple, one maternity session, a 3 month old, a 4 year old, as well as a 3 year old and 11 month old brother and sister participating in this awesome event. I'd like to include a few more before completing my portfolio. The inquiries are rolling in and my September and October dates are booking up fast. I still have room for a few more if you anyone is interested. If you reside in Indiana and would like to be included in this incredible offer, please email me at the email address listed above. Thanks for everything!

PS...I have a real desire to photograph special needs children as well as babies or kids battling a life threatening situation. If you know of a child, be it a premature baby not expected to live, a child battling cancer or something similar, or a special needs child, please let me know. When I first began this new photography endeavor, I mentioned here on the blog how I wanted to photograph special needs children. I truly believe that we are put on this earth to give back in any way we can. Therefore, I'd love to give my services to families who are walking a trying journey with their child. In these circumstances, I would wave my session fee for the family experiencing the ordeal. Given that my own family has been touched by a child with special needs (our daughter Kenidi), I understand first hand what pictures mean to us and how hard it is to capture those children at times. And for the families whose child has limited time here on this earth, what a better way to savor those days with that child then through the memories of photographs. So...if someone comes to mind that you feel would be deserving of this type of gift, please forward them on to me. I'd love to work with them.

xoxo, Angie

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Sunday, July 26, 2009

PRAYER WARRIORS...THEY NEED US!

Prayers for Stellan
I know that I typically place prayers over on my prayer blog. However, tonight I felt it necessary to place this prayer over here - on the AGD blog - for an immediate rally of prayer from our prayer warriors who frequent all of my blogs - but mainly this one.

Many of you know MckMama and her son Stellan by now. If you don't, you can read this blog and follow the story there. Apparently Stellan is back in the hospital again and isn't doing very well. This is a direct result of his SVT (very rapid beating of the hearts upper chamber). As a person who suffers from a very similar heart condition and then some - due to my recent PFO discovery (patent foramen ovale - pin hole size hole in my heart), Stellan's story is very near and dear to my me. If you've never experienced tachycardia with your own heart (palpitations, rapid beating, heart racing 90 miles an hour, pulse pounding, etc.) then it might be hard to understand the scary nature of this medical issue. Tachycardia can take your day and turn it upside down within seconds once it sets in. I personally experience increased tachycardia after eating certain foods, drinking or consuming any caffeine whatsoever, taking specific asprin for headaches, etc. And once it happens, sometimes it can take a full 24 hours or more to get your heart calmed down again. When your heart is racing and beating out of your chest uncontrollably, it is very frightening. Many times you have similar symptoms to a heart attack patient. Tachycardia causes you to "have to have" deep mind over matter skills. If you don't, it can literally drive you crazy. You question over and over whether this time it could be "real." Should you go to the ER, etc.? Mind you - this is all as an adult. Stellan is just a baby and experiencing SVT three times as bad as my tachycardia. He has already been through one heart ablation several months ago. He went home after a couple of months in the hospital and seemed to be doing well - as well as could be for the condition he owns. Now things have worsened for him again. It just crushes me and makes me physically ill for he and his family. Especially Mckmama. They've all been through so much in the past year. Please keep Stellan in your prayers constantly. He needs us again and we need to rise to the occasion. His SVT has weakened him and he needs our prayers for strength.

Lastly, thank you to those of you who are always sending me notes inquiring about my health. Since learning of my PFO condition at the end of May, I will admit that life is different for me. Every little feeling or pain in my chest freaks me out. Due to the risk of strokes with PFO, even my limbs falling asleep in a normal situation have caused me grief that I didn't have before. To be honest, I loose a lot of sleep and time in the day thinking about this. Worrying about this. When I find myself lost in the "what if's," I immediately pray and ask God for peace, strength, and guidance to get through the moment. I'm constantly having to remind myself of his promises and constantly having to run the "enemy" off as he attempts to drag me down a road of bad thoughts. Scary thoughts. Terrifying and horrific thoughts. I truly think of this heart issue hour by hour these days. When I look at my kids and get lost in thoughts of them, my mind will sometimes turn to the worry or the what if's again. It's definitely spiritual warfare inside my head 24/7 since learning of my PFO.

I see my cardiologist for a follow up two weeks after we return to Indy. Future plans on how to handle this condition will be discussed as well as the fact that I hope to get some questions answered regarding some sudden increased heart palpitations that are leaving me restless, loosing sleep, and far from calm again. The palpitations had quit totally until about 3 weeks ago. On a good note though, the migraines I had been experiencing due to the PFO have almost completely stopped since being placed on the heart medicine for my PFO condition. Along with that medication and the high dose of aspirin each day that my doctor has me taking to reduce stroke risks, I have had all but maybe 3 headaches/migraines in the past 10 weeks since arriving here in Florida. In a nutshell, that is HUGE progress for me considering I was having a minimum of that in one week before I began the medicine ritual. I can't even begin to express what a difference my quality of life has been like since the migraines have stopped. I'm so very thankful for an incredible cardiologist and an incredible neurologist who obviously know their stuff. God is good!

Thank you for the continued prayers and your support in general. There are no words to describe what you guys mean to me. And your prayers...they are priceless. Please keep me on your prayer list but also add Stellan too. He really needs us right now.

In his grip always, Angie

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Friday, July 24, 2009

LIL' HOUSE CLEANING

Just a few house cleaning items today to discuss. I've had several questions recently and thought I'd take the space here to answer them real quick today...

1) When will your new fall AGD designs be featured & available for purchase? These will be shot and featured here on the blog before I head back home to Indiana. We had a slight measurement adjustment that needed made to one of the designs so that was the cause of the delay. Therefore, keep your eyes peeled late next week. I'm hoping to find time to photograph these sets and get them featured shortly after that. Thanks for your continued interest and your patience.

2) When will our photos be due for the AGD celebration give-a-way?
After announcing the plans for the give-a-way, I've had several people contact me asking if I could wait a week to start the give-a-way contest. Apparently there are a ton of people going on vacation this next week and they wanted to get some fun shots of an AGD sign in their image while away in their vacation destination spot. I thought this was a great idea as well so we will now be holding the contest beginning next Friday, July 31st. That means that you have between now and next Friday to come up with your picture idea for the drawing. Remember, this is NOT a photo contest. We will NOT be judging your pictures. They are strictly just for fun. However, in order to enter the drawing, you must submit a photo with a sign regarding AGD within it. A good example of what I'm after can be found here on MckMama's blog. This is her son Stellan's name gallery. I got the idea from her back when Stellan was going thru his heart surgery. Great fun! If you click that link and scroll through the pictures, you'll get ideas or maybe inspiration on how to do the AGD picture with your sign in it. You'll just need to make sure you have the city & state or your country listed somewhere within your photo with the AGD name. Just so far today alone, we've had readers from Poland, Pakistan, Italy, Austria, Canada, the United Kingdom, Trinidad and Tobago, and Ireland hit the blog. (and of course tons of you from the ol' U.S.A) Therefore, I know there are many countries out there representin' for AGD. I can't wait to see what all you guys come up with. The blog post will go up next Friday the 31st so plan to have your image ready by then. Once you see my blog post go up about it, you'll include your blog post on your own blog with the photo in your update. You will then link from Mcklinky from my blog to yours so that everyone can see the picture you took. For those of you who don't have a blog, send me your picture via email (Angie@AngelicaGraceDesigns.com) in between now and then. I'll add your picture to my blog for viewing. At the end of the submission date, all names of those who entered will be placed into a hat and one name will be pulled from it. That one person will win a goodie "beach themed" bag full of wonderful surprises. The goodie bag already has a value of over $100 and it's rising. I'm telling you, you WANT to participate in this contest! Some of my favorite stores & products like Swoozies, Sephora, Philosophy skin care, etc. have items featured in the goodie bag. Definitely girlie, definitely beachy, definitely fun!

3) When will the registration begin for your next "beginner" photography class? Registration for the new class will start very soon. Once it does, I'll post the announcement regarding sign ups here on the AGD blog as well as on my photography blog. I can tell you that the next class will start promptly on September 1st. My month of August is completely swamped so I wanted to wait until September to start the next one. I wanted to be able to devote all of the time I could to the 2nd class and thought that September would be easier to do that then in August. Keep your eyes peeled, the class registration announcement will be going up soon. And like before, we are only opening 20 spots again. Those 20 spots sold out fast for the first class so as soon as you see the registration go up, I recommend signing up ASAP. I'm looking forward to "meeting" the next round of you.

4) Rumor has it that you are looking for photography "test shot" candidates who will earn a session for FREE when you return to Indy next month? Is this true? If so, how do we get involved? Yes, this is true. WOW! Word travels fast on the streets. Ha ha! I'm on the hunt for a couple of families, a couple of newborns, some pregnant bellies, some children, and a couple of seniors to participate in some photography sessions shot by me. If you reside in Indiana and are interested in finding out how you can receive a FREE session with me as well as a FREE 8x10 with that sitting, contact me at Angie@AngieSeamanPhotography.com. My schedule is filling up for August and September so if you are interested whatsoever, or know someone who might be, please let me know ASAP. If there is someone you know that is pregnant and would like to have some maternity images shot, or if you know someone getting ready to deliver a baby in the next month or two, pass my name on to them and have them contact me ASAP. I'll post more on this soon.

5) Will you be doing another Q&A session here on the blog again in the near future? I have so many questions about sewing/photography/Life in general that I'd love to ask you. Sure. I have no problem offering another Q&A session here on the AGD blog. If you guys ever have questions you'd like to ask me, feel free to email them to me or leave them in the comment section here on the blog. I'll pool them together and answer them on the blog in one big post.

6) Will you be offering any of your new jewelry designs again soon? Yes. I am eager to get home and back into my bead box. That 200 lb. bag wasn't conducive to carry on a flight with my 500lb. camera bag and my 300lb. lap top. Yes, these are exaggerations! :) Therefore, I had to leave the bead bag/suitcase at home this trip. Once I get back to Indy and get the kids off to school starting on the 11th of August, I'll have more time to begin beading again. I'm anxious to release some new designs fo' sho'!

7) Will we see you at BlogHer 09' in Chicago this year? Nope. Obviously not because I'm in FL for the summer. However, word just hit the street that BlogHer '2010' will be held in NYC next year on August 5th-7th. I'd love to go and make a "group party" of it. If any of you other bloggers or blog readers would like to go to, let me know. It would be a great girls weekend with tons of fun at the BlogHer event as well as all of the fun hotel parties to be had in between the event itself. If there are any takers, especially from Indiana, I'd love to fly with ya sista's! Let me know if anyone is up for making plans. It's a great event!

8) And just for fun...I got this question the other day from a dear sweet friend and blog follower (Thanks Jill!) So, I'm curious to know...are you missing Indiana at all? Just a little tiny bit? :-) Does it feel good at all to come back or do you wish you could stay south for good? Ummm...let's see...I'm missing my "real" bed and my "real" kitchen. Other than that...I'm pretty much good here in Southwest Florida. Ha ha! Indiana had such a rough winter and an even more "silly" Summer with low temps and lots of rain. Therefore, I'm in no hurry to get back home because of the weather and what I know lays waiting for me there. (school shopping, 6am mornings when school starts back, therapy sessions for Kenidi, a new school for Kenidi - separate from Brennen this year - doctor appts. at the cardiologist and neurologist for me, sports games and practices for Brennen and so on) Basically, "Life" is waiting for me back home. It's been put on hold for the past 10 weeks while here and I've loved every minute of that. There are pieces of me that are ready to return home and ready to conquer all of the travels and fun over the next two months regarding photography and such but then there seems to me more pieces of me wanting to stay here in FL this year. Typically, at the end of each summer, I'm ready to be home by now. I'm ready to jump up and down on my real bed and eat from my real kitchen, etc. But this year seems different. I have more of me wanting to stay then I do wanting to go home. That is scary. Whatever you do, don't tell my husband I said that. If he found out, he hound me even all that much more about moving to Florida full time. It's out little secret, K? Wink wink! ;)

xoxo, Angie

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Thursday, July 23, 2009

SEEKING THE BEAUTY

When you look at this picture in general, what comes to mind? What do you see? If you were driving down the road and passed this lot/property, would anything register? Pay close attention now...

Maybe come in a little closer. Now what do you see...?

Well let me show you what I see.

I see these...

And my eyes see tons and tons of color. More color then my brain can wrap itself around...


How about this pink canoe (shown below) by the way??? Think we could letter it up with some AGD wings maybe? I think so!

Needless to say, despite the no-see-um mosquito type bugs that ate me alive the whole time I was shooting as well as the fear I had that a snake was going to come crawling out from underneath one of these stored kayaks and bite my ankles, my camera, my lenses, and myself had a ball capturing all of this color - this intrigue - these photographs.

You see...this is a small kayaking business off the side off the road which I happen to drive down many times a week while here in Southwest Florida. And each time I pass this store, my heart skips a beat (well it does that normally but you guys know that story - Ha ha!). Anyway, my heart skips a beat whenever I look over and see all of these phenomenal angles coming off the boats as well as all of this outrageous color. I have continually had the urge to get back there on this property and shoot these boats.

Finally one day, I got up the urge to call the owner of the business. I wanted to ask permission to get onto their property after hours and shoot. Although the woman I spoke with on the phone that day seemed confused on why I'd want to shoot there, she gave me the OK. She asked me if I could do it during the day rather then after hours. I explained to her that I wanted the evening hours so that the sun wasn't so harsh in my shots. Again, confused...but she gave me the permission I needed. She asked me if she could get copies of any of the shots I did and I told her "of course!" Definitely! We agreed that I'd leave my business card in her mailbox once I had completed everything. So, I waited until the perfect evening - where the sun was going down and we had a bit of an overcast cloud cover in the sky. Finally, it happened. The sky was perfect. The clouds were perfect. Even the palm trees on their property were perfect! Wink wink! ;)

I can't thank the owner enough for allowing my heart and I to skip a few beats together during this process. Yes, as the old saying goes..."Beauty is in the eye of the beholder." However, my intention of posting this shoot here on the blog was to prove that although that saying is somewhat true...I believe that there is beauty to be found, to be seen, to be had in everything if we will just take the time to look for it. I've said it before but I'll say it again...One of the best things about being a photographer is that life looks completely different from inside a camera. The things we'd normally pass up in day to day life become things we can't pass up behind a camera. Photography allows you to see things you never saw before. One of the major misconceptions people who aren't photographers have about photography is that the art of it is all about the beautiful things in life. Photography is about all walks of life. The good, the bad, and the ugly. Again, it's all in how you choose to see or view it. The other cool thing about photography is that you are the artist. It's your gig - you make the rules. Therefore, if you want to shoot an old lot full of kayaks...you can. And I did.

So today...I'm encouraging you to go seek out the beauty in the mundane or the not so pretty today. Find it. Hunt it down. It's just another way to actively turn the negative into a positive. And with that comes a better day then maybe the day you had before...you can be sure of it. Thanking God today for all of the beauty in life. Even when it comes to kayaks. :)

PS...Should your travels ever bring you to Southwest Florida and leave you wanting to take a kayaking trip for the day or leave you wanting to go canoeing, be sure to look up Estero River Outfitters. They have a great selection of boats and have a wonderful owner who was ever so kind & gracious to me.

xoxo, Angie

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Wednesday, July 22, 2009

THANKFUL

Unless you are a long time blog follower, you'd probably never know that Kenidi used to be basically bald on top of her head. For those who've been faithful, frequent, readers of the AGD blog for the past almost 4 years, I'm sure you remember many photos of Kenidi back when she used to pull her own hair. I'd design sets and would have to hide the damage she had done with hats and such whenever I'd photograph the new outfit. When went through a long phase with her where she would get so frustrated because she couldn't speak or communicate, that she would ultimately pull out her own hair from sheer anger. With her hypotonia (low muscle tone) came the inability to talk. Because of that, she was trapped within her own body and unable to articulate what she wanted to say to us, or when she was hungry, thirsty, tired, in pain, etc. It was an awful time for our whole family. Each time she'd pull a handful of hair out, it would crush Brent and I especially. And because she was on depakote medication for her seizures, the hair she pulled would come out extremely easy for her because the medication promoted hair loss as it was. We tried everything to get her to stop. We took her to psychologists who studied her every move - trying to understand how to detour her. We had doctors tell us to put socks over her hands and put her in time out whenever she did it. We went thru H - E - double hockey sticks and back basically. It wasn't until she and I were interviewed by our local news channel in regards to AGD and the business it had become, that I finally found a cure.

To this day, I owe Angela Ganote, a news reporter from Indiana's own Fox 59, for the cure to Kenidi's hair pulling. When Angela was in our home taping and interviewing my story for the background on AGD, we sat down at one point off camera and began to chat. We got to talking about how Kenidi was doing this hair pulling thing and she was to the point now where she looked like a child going thru chemo treatments or something. Angela then proceeded to tell us that she had ironically gone thru the same problem with her own daughter. She said initially she would get on her for it but then she had a friend to tell her that when her daughter did it, she needed to acknowledge it but then pretend as though she could care less about it. So...she told me that when Kenidi did it next time...I should look at her and go..."I don't care if you pull your hair. However, if you are going to pull it, go in the other room and do it."

By acknowledging it, it showed Kenidi that I had seen what she was doing. But then by acting as though...no biggy - just go in the other room - it taught her that I could care less and she was no longer going to get a rise out of me.

Up to this point, we eventually had to cut her hair off up to her neck and attempt to let everything begin growing again so that it would become even. In the meantime, I had her wearing scarves, hats, and headbands to hide the fact that her hair was so much shorter on top then the rest of her head.

Because if I didn't cover it up with hats and such, she looked just like this...

And because she looked like that, we got stares every time we went into public. We'd get comments from people in regards to cancer because they thought she was sick. She was sick all right - but not with cancer. The damage she was doing to her hair was brought on by her frustrations and not an illness. Sooner or later though, our prayers were finally answered thanks to Angela's advice. After all of the doctors, tricks we were told to try, etc. - her advice finally won the war. We tried the approach she recommended to us and would you believe that within 3 days of saying that one line to Kenidi, she had totally quit pulling her hair? She quit pulling her hair and the front/top slowly but surely began to grow out and catch up with the length of the back. Before we knew it, we could start letting her wear hair bows again...

And then fast forward to about 3 years later and she now has this luscious head of hair. Hair that I dream about daily and wish I had myself. Hair that looks like what I'd imagine "Goldilocks" having.


Brent noticed her hair as she sat in the backseat of the car today. He turned to me and said..."Look how angelic she looks sitting back there with the wind blowing thru her hair like that." I was shocked because I had just been watching her earlier this morning after she got out of bed. I was watching her and her hair - thinking..."I need to go get my camera...her hair looks fabulous right now." So for him to bring up her hair after I was just admiring it an hour before - was pretty ironic. He said to me that maybe we had to go thru all of that hair pulling and baldness with her in order to get to the beautiful head full of hair she has now. I think he might be right. I can tell you this...she did NOT have the hair she has now - back before the hair pulling. Her hair is completely different today compared to what it was 3 years ago. I don't know why but it is. If you look at the above photos of the "before" shots as she was pulling it out, and then compare them with these current shots of her from today, you can really see the difference in the thickness, amount, etc. of her hair. She is blessed. As are we.

It just goes to show you that with a lot faith, a lot of prayer, and many conversations with God, anything is possible. 10 months into Kenidi's life, we didn't know if she would ever walk, talk, etc. But here we are today - 6 years later - with a beautiful daughter who has a gorgeous head full of hair...who walks...and who is getting better and better each passing day with her talking. Just this week she learned to say YES instead of yeah. Normally she can't pronounce the "s" on the end of things. However, she accomplished a new word a few days ago and we couldn't be more proud.

So parents...when you are wishing your son or daughter would stop jibber jabbering because they are talking non-stop and won't hush...just think of Kenidi and the struggle she goes thru on an hour by hour basis to even communicate the basic words like "yes and no." When you run your fingers thru your child's hair as you tuck them into bed tonight or as you comb their hair in the morning, remember how blessed you are that your child has a head full of hair and isn't pulling it out or loosing it via cancer/chemo treatments. Think about how blessed we all are and please say a prayer for those who aren't as fortunate as us. There are many parents in hospitals as I type who'd give up their child's hair for another month with their son or daughter who is fighting a loosing a battle to cancer. Again, we are so fortunate, so very blessed.

Brent and I thank God everyday for Kenidi and all of the accomplishments she has conquered in her 6 short years of life. There was a day when we didn't have a clue if any of this would be possible. However, we had hope! We know without a shadow of a doubt that Jesus has big plans for Kenidi and her future. Will she ever be able to live on her own? We don't know. Will she ever be able to have a drivers license because of her Epilepsy? We don't know. Will she be able to grow up and get married like a normal girl would? We don't know. What we do know though is this...

God is good and God is in control! He has proven that to us time and time again. Maybe with a lot more faith, a lot more prayers, and God's constant reminders of his promises, we will one day be able to look back on this era and say..."Yes, she is driving a car and has a license. Yes, she is living on her own. And then Yes, she is getting married and having babies." As I've said before, the motto I live by each day is..."There will be years that ask and there will be years that answer. In the end, God NEVER wastes pain!"

xoxo, Angie

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Tuesday, July 21, 2009

SUGARING - THE GULF COAST WAY

Don't mind us...

We are just doing a little "sugaring" today.

Sugaring of sand between our toes that is.

We like to say we are beachin' it...Gulf Coast style.

This time 2 weeks from now, we'll be packing up to head back "home" to Indiana. In three weeks, our kids will be back in school. Where has the past 10 weeks gone already? We arrived here at the beach for the summer back on May 29th. However, it seems like it was just yesterday. Another summer in Bonita is coming to a close. Another chapter in the book of memories has been written. The minute we land back home in Indiana 2 weeks from now...craziness begins. School shopping, then school starts. Next, I have a photography mentorship program that I am participating in the week after we return. Tons of fun with a professional photographer as she teaches me the ropes - one on one. Then, we travel to Chi-town (Chicago) at the end of August for a photography workshop that I'm participating in there on the streets of downtown - Michigan avenue and abroad. On Labor day weekend, we fly back down here to the beach house for an extended weekend as a family and a breath of fresh air seaside. Then, the very next week in September, I travel South again and head to Atlanta for the Learnfest Photography workshop. So...the beach is my sanity right now. The beach is my current calm for just two more weeks. Our Summer of 2009 is slowly but surely coming to an end. In 15 days, we'll be back in Hoosier land. Back to reality in Indiana. Back to the hustle and bustle of life. Therefore, we are doing all of the "sugaring" of our toes that we can over the next two weeks. Stick around, we'll share the count down in photos.

xoxo, The Seaman Clan

PS...The top image was of Brennen's feet taken over Christmas break this past Christmas while here in Bonita. The bottom image is of Kenidi's foot/leg on the beach - taken this past Sunday. We like to call her our Coppertone baby.

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Monday, July 20, 2009

MISCELLANEOUS

Do you know what I love most about spending our Summers in Florida?

It's that everyone else (the "snow birds" who live here all Fall and all Winter long) go back "home" to their real homes for the Summer. They go back to visit grand kids and their families in general. And when they go back to their real homes, it leaves the neighborhood here in Bonita..."empty." And when the neighborhood is empty, the pools within the neighborhood are empty. (And yes...that is our very own Starbuck's - poolside. It doesn't get any better then that.)

And when the pools are empty in the neighborhood, that means we get them all to our self. Just the four of us. It also means that Mamasita (a.k.a - ME) gets to pick out any ol' sun chair on the pool deck that she prefers. Anywhere. Why? Because it is just us and we have the whole place and all of the chairs to ourselves.

Uh huh...this is "part" of the reason why we love spending our Summers here. No matter how hot and humid it gets, our family loves making new memories each time we are here together. And even though my make up and hair always looks like a drowned rat in the summer heat here in Bonita, I wouldn't trade our Summers, our memories, our extended weekends, our holidays, etc. here for nothing. And even though the neighbors go home to their real homes for the Summer, they are missed. The neighbors are great here. We talk to the neighbors and gather with them more then we do with our neighbors back home in Indy. These neighbors look out for Brennen and Kenidi. A lot! It's nothing for the doorbell to ring at 8:30am in the morning and it be a neighbor left here in the neighborhood (there are only a few this time of the year) bringing trinkets and toys to Brennen and Kenidi "just because." It's nothing for them to say, "Let's all go to dinner at the Naples pub - we'll call ahead - tell them we are coming - and ask for a back booth - one that makes it as easy as possible for you guys over dinner with Kenidi." One set of neighbors even offers up and hands over their golf, tennis, and social pass to the country club for us. Now that is an awesome set of neighbors, eh? These neighbors are all older then us but we never notice the difference in age. They all ROCK! Needless to say...we love the neighbors, the neighborhood, and the neighborhood pools. :)

And aside from the fact that I feel like the neighborhood is really the "Amazon" lately due to the 4 snakes (yes 4 - there was another one on the deck of the pool the other day.) and the "Florida rats" that we've learned are as common as mosquitoes are back home in Indy for us, we still love the resort feel of the neighborhood the minute you pull in. It sits off the road and is tucked back in there all by itself. A huge community that you can't see because it is hidden from the rest of the world. As soon as you come thru, you are instantly propelled into a vacation - a tropical resort - and we love that part. Yes, I could do without the fact that the big black rat snake and Brennen came face to face at the pool the other day. Thank goodness Brennen can run fast. And thank goodness he did. In the end though, this is home away from home for us. Snakes, rats, no-see-ums, spiders, and all. It is Florida at it's finest - it's just the Florida that you never see advertised on the picture-esque post cards in the souvenir shops. Well, maybe this guy is sometimes...

We found this guy at the entrance to the cul-de-sac on the way back home from the beach yesterday afternoon. The pictures do not do his size justice. He was HUGE! Brent spotted him out his window so we stopped, dug out Big Papa (my camera), and snapped a couple of shots real quick.

I don't know what kind of turtle this was but he didn't seem to mind us much. And...he was quite fast for a turtle. He took off on that hot pavement like nobodies business. He probably got scared that Mamasita here was going to take over the steering wheel and run over him - 4 times - like I did the snake. I'm sure the word is out - and on the street - about Mamasita and my crazy ways when it comes to the wildlife around here. "Rumor has it...you need to beware of the Mom at the end of cul-de-sac #2, she is pyscho!" Ha ha! It's not a far off exaggeration. Trust me!

But as all of my faithful AGD blog readers know, I lluurrrvvveee my beach B/F/F's. Each time we come to the beach, the birds, all kinds of them, flock to my camera lens. I swear they treat my lenses like they are food or something. They gravitate toward it. They let me snap pictures of them up close all day long. It's grand! I love my beach B/F/F's. Just LURVE them! Notice how they pose and work it for my camera...

They even get the "model strut" going with their legs and feet. Hysterical!

Their eyes are my favorite...very cool color!

The beaches are really dead this time of the year too. Not to many people come here right now because it is so crazy hot. And humid. However, that doesn't stop the Seaman's. Especially at the neighborhoods private access beach park. You have to be a neighborhood resident in order to use this area of the beach. It's totally private and trust me - they guard it like Ft. Knox. You can't park there nor are you able to walk up there off the beach either. They catch you. They know you - and whether you are a true resident. And when they are unsure, they ask you to recite your neighborhood info. If you don't have it, you better cough it up or be gone cuz' you outta' there. Ha ha! They don't mess around at all! You can't beat their free and private cabanas, the grilled cheeseburgers and hot dogs with coleslaw, cold drinks with ice, and of course the air conditioned rest rooms. Nothing says "the beach" like an air conditioned bathroom when you need it, eh? Ha ha! My favorite part to the private access though...it would be reading the water board as you walk up. Love it! And you know if the gulf waters - the ocean - is 89 degrees in itself, then the air is really HOT here in Bonita Beach, Florida right now. Just the way Mamasita likes it! :)

And no matter how hot it is temperature wise...you can always count on the sea to bring in a gulf water breeze. Thus, resulting in the palm trees swaying in the heat. There is nothing like laying under the leaves of a palm. Nothing says tropics like a palm tree. Nothing!

There you have it. That pretty much sums up what our Sunday looked like yesterday. Welcome to Monday. I hope it is off to a great start for all of you. Now...get ready...Mamasita has a give-a-way coming up this week in honor of my 777th post here on the ol' AGD blog. Tell your friends, tell you family, tell everyone! Remember those "AGD was here" type pictures I told you to prepare for a couple of months ago? Well, the time has come. Snap a simple picture in front of something that depicts your city, state, country, you, your family, etc. In that picture, add a sign to it that reads something about AGD. (i.e., AGD was here in Texas, We love AGD in Canada, and so forth.) There will be a Mr. Linky that will be posted with the blog give away. By entering and posting your the image to your blog, you will be entered into the drawing for the give-a-way. If you coerce a friend to participate too, let me know about it. Should that friend join in on the fun and post AGD signs within an image on her blog, it will gain you 5 extra names in the drawing. The more your name is entered into the drawing, the better the chance you have of winning. This is a give-a-way that you do not want to miss either. It will be straight from the heart of Bonita Beach and Naples. It will include multiple fun gifts within it. A gift from the famous swoozies store as well as gifts from other little stores that I love here in Bonita and Naples. Also, we'll have some shells picked by Brennen and Kenidi straight from the beaches in our area that will be included just as an added extra treat. We've worked hard to come up with a great give-a-way basket of goodies and we know you will love it. So...get those signs ready and then snap a picture with the sign in front of a landmark or something that reflects your state, hometown, city, country, etc. Include your kids...get them in on the fun too. We can't wait to see what each of you come up with. I'll be posting a photo of the give-a-way basket at the end of the week. Lastly, if you are a resident of Indiana, we are hoping to see some great shots from our home state. :) Have fun with it all.

PS...If you aren't a blogger but would still like to participate in the drawing, feel free to email me your photo at Angie@AngelicaGraceDesigns.com. I'll be sure to include it with the others here on the blog when the contest/drawing begins. Your name will then be entered in the drawing just like everyone else. You can start turning those images into me at any time this week beginning now. The earlier the better. It will assure your spot in the drawing.

xoxo, Angie

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Friday, July 17, 2009

PHOTOSHOP FUN WITH DAISIES

Remember when I told you that I wasn't going to let photoshop kick my butt?

It was no joke! Photoshop will not win. I'm learning ladies. Learning lots! It's amazing how much you can learn through one on one private classes. Slowly but surely...I'm kicking photoshops butt...one day at a time. Today was no different. I finally learned how to make blog it boards. (thanks to my last photoshop instructor as well as my web gal) It might not seem like a big deal to you but boy oh boy is a huge deal to me. I have wanted to learn how to do these for soooooo long. Love, love, love the placement of blog it boards on blogs. Very fun!

I shot these shots up in the bathroom underneath the sky lights earlier today. As I was cruising thru the grocery store yesterday, I saw these Gerber daisies and knew that they'd make some great colorful photos as well as would brighten up the kitchen. So, I grabbed them and decided to take the time today to photograph them. They made for great practice with the blog it boards. YAY!

We spent the evening in Marco Island last night and I was hoping to catch some shots of a few interesting sites while there. However, I was so overwhelmed by the all of the beauty on the island that I got lost in the moment and never once stopped to use my camera. Imagine that! So...this was all I could come up with for blog material today. Hee hee! We are off to lunch for now. I hope everyone is enjoying their Friday. My Friday just got even better now that I finally sat down and took the time to figure out these boards. I might just love photoshop by the time all of this is said and done. Yes, we might just be B/F/F's at one point or another. Stay tuned...the learning never stops. To be continued...

xoxo, Angie

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Tuesday, July 14, 2009

SIMPLY CUPCAKES

Guess where we've been this afternoon? Yeap, to the local Naples cupcakery. I saw an ad for it in one of my area magazines so we piled in the car this afternoon and made a pit stop. Do not fear...the beach photos are coming back soon. I am catching heat for posting so many "food" pictures. Apparently it is making a lot of you hungry. Sorry! We'll resume our normal programming tomorrow. Ha ha!

Until then, feast your eyes on some little red velvet cupcakes, a funky monkey cupcake (banana cake, creamy peanut butter filling with chocolate ganache and peanut butter cream. Topped with a banana chip garnish), Carmel pecan cupcakes, chocolate peanut butter cupcakes and so forth. The pictures don't do them justice. Never do!

The fun thing about them, other than just "eating" them, was also being able to take pictures of them. :) I'll use any excuse to break out my camera. And I do mean "any" excuse.

All in all, it was a pretty low key day here in sunny Southwest Florida. After cupcakes we had to make a trip to the store to get Brennen a new cell phone. We let Kenidi play with his phone one night while here (when we first arrived) and somehow she lost it. We've turned this house upside down and backwards but it is still MIA. Not only that but she lost my good watch too. Needless to say, we aren't allowing her to "play" with things anymore. She obviously has her own black hole that she keeps stuffing everything into. Maybe one day we'll discover her little hiding spot. Until then, everything is just gone. We knew better!

We are headed out to dinner now. Enjoy your evening and eat a cupcake if you can. xoxo, Angie

PS...For beach, family, children, engagement, maternity, or newborn photography in Southwest Florida as well as beginner photography classes, please CLICK HERE.

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Monday, July 13, 2009

LOU COOKS AGAIN

Lou (Brent's friend) has already gone home to Michigan but out of appreciation for his good Mexican cookin', I had to post a couple more photos of the dinner he made for us on the 2nd night he was here. He made taco's as well as cheese/onion enchilada's. I was in heaven. Again.

I didn't really get my cameras settings where they were supposed to be before I took these because we were all in a hurry to eat. So...you get what you get - don't throw a fit. Ha ha!

Lou also made more guacamole dip for us beings that I "wanted to marry it" by that point. :) Lou not only is a great cook but he is also an artist. For those of you who know us well, you've seen the drawings that Lou has made for us. He takes original pictures of our kids and then hand draws them for us. We have a couple of them in our home framed already. Well, see the little yellow lobster on the side of the bowl below? Lou made that. He sculpted it with Brennen's clay. Too funny, huh? He actually had Brent and I print out some new and recent photos of Brennen and Kenidi so that he could take them back to Michigan and draw them out for us. I can't wait to get them. I know they will be gorgeous. They always are.

Needless to say, I'm probably 20 lbs. heavier since Lou left. His cooking was just too good to pass up. :)

For now, I'm off to go check in on the photography workshop I'm leading. Can I just tell you what a wonderful group of 24 women we have in that class? They all have such awesome talents and are doing great in the course. I'm thoroughly enjoying getting to know each of them all that much better. Of course while teaching the basics of beginner photography to each of them, I myself, am also still taking classes of my own. I've enrolled in more photoshop classes as well as some composition/style photography classes. Then, at the end of August, I have a 3 day workshop in downtown Chicago that is sure to be a blast. It's taught by a very talented instructor and I can't wait to learn from her when there. And finally, I am so very stoked for the middle of September to roll around as well. Reason being, I registered and got into "The Learnfest" workshop that is held in Atlanta. The last time this workshop was offered, it sold out in 4 hours. I am very thankful to be "in" the workshop for September's class. I thought for sure it was going to sell out before I could register this time. The Learnfest is a 4 day/3 night workshop at a Chateau in Atlanta that is put on by some very "prestigious" photographer's within the industry. Basically they spend that 4 days with you teaching you everything that they can in that time frame. As the site says, you experience in-depth instruction on shooting, post-production, marketing, business strategy, revenue generation, and studio and daily work flow. It's also a great way to get to know and network with other photographer's from around the world. The photographer's teaching you are ones that have shot for or had images place within People magazine, Vogue, Pottery Barn kids, Kids R Us, the Disney Store, O Magazine, Elle, Town & Country, Martha Stewart Living, Parenting Magazine, The Knot Weddings, Food & Wine, Brides Magazine, The Knot, Modern Bride and Inside Weddings. Needless to say, I'm sooooo very excited to learn from these photographers. Nervous? Yes, that too! Very much so. These are shots that are done in person in different lighting situations and such. I am nervous but so very excited to learn too. September can't come soon enough. Not that I'm wishing summer away by any means. Ha ha! :) The August workshop in downtown Chicago is an urban shoot. We'll be going as a group around the streets of downtown Chi-town and shooting professional models that will be there for our use during the learning process. How cool will the streets of Chicago be for three days??? I'm going to be on cloud nine! I can't wait to meet the other photographers in both of the workshops too. It will be great to make the connections with each of them. I'm ready for all that the next couple of months has to hold. Exciting times for sure! And for the many of you who have asked me...yes...I will be teaching another beginner photography workshop class online. If you are interested in it, stay tuned. I'll be announcing the new dates for it next month. In the meantime, have a great night and sleep well.

xoxo, Angie

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Saturday, July 11, 2009

JUST BECAUSE...

Just because I hadn't posted this one here in a while. It's now on my photography blog and it's on my facebook page in black and white. I thought it was only right that I re-posted it here as well. It was a shot that I took back over Spring Break while here in Bonita Springs, FL. This picture reminds me of just how big she is getting each and every day. It's got from a reminder to a confirmation actually. It's so hard to fathom that she will be a 1st grader in one more month. I'm cherishing the time - every second of it. I'm scooping it up by the ladel fulls and capturing every moment I can in photos. Just another "just because." xoxo, Angie

PS...Thought you might like to know that Lou is cooking for us again tonight. It's tacos and cheese enchilada's. Oh and more guacamole dip. Need I say more? And yes, you betcha' bottom dollar that I'll be spying on the ingredients for the dip this time. Bad thing is, I think he's on to me - and my plan to spy. Ha ha! I think I'm banned and black listed from the kitchen. Stay tuned, hopefully more food pictures tomorrow. :)

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AUTHENTIC MEXICAN SPREAD

For whatever reason, whenever we have guests into town while down here in Florida, they always "want" to cook for us. When my Mom was here, she cooked. When my step-mom and my Dad were here, they cooked and grilled out for us - together. When my inlaws, Debbie and Ron were here, they cooked and grilled out together for us. And last night while Lou (Brent's friend), was here...he cooked for us. I'm always amused at how people come on vacation and then want to cook for us. Brent and I always try to detour them from it but they always insist on doing it. Gosh knows I don't cook on a normal day let alone while on vacation. Ha ha! So as you can imagine, Brent, myself, and the kids are always grateful for their cooking considering how we normally wouldn't do it if it were just the four of us.

Last night though, I ate so much of Lou's cooking that I almost needed to check myself into a hospital or better yet into a Rehab center for over eaters. I haven't stuffed myself like that in a looonnngggg time. Ya see...Lou has "Mexican" running through his veins. So when he arrived last Thursday, he was adamant that he would be cooking a meal for us while in town. Again, we tried to assure him that we could hit a great dinner out instead but he was bound and determined to cook. So...we let him. We took him to the local grocery store and found some things. However, they were lacking a few "authentic" Mexican ingredients. Therefore, Brent ultimately took him to a little Mexican grocery store that we knew of here in Bonita. Thankfully, they found the real thing and the main ingredients that he was after. By the time he was done, we had THE BEST guacamole dip I have ever tasted in my entire life. And I am not just saying that because he is Brent's friend and this is my blog. I assure you that it was the best recipe you will ever taste when it comes to guacamole dip. Unfortunately, I didn't watch him make the whole thing. Therefore, I'm unsure of his recipe. And when my facebook friends got a prelude to the pictures and the news last night, he had a fan fair of people wanting the recipe. The emails were rolling in - my FB friends wanted a taste of his "Mexican" cuisine. However, he told me that the recipe was straight from the interior mountains of Mexico. He told Brent and I the story of how a lady he had met gave it to him many, many years ago when he was out in the middle of no where - in the heart of Meh'-hi-co! And in the end, he kept the recipe a secret and wouldn't cough it up. I should have paid more attention because I NEED THAT RECIPE. We had FB friends emailing in telling us to "tell Brent that he needs new friends. Better friends! We want that recipe!!!" It was hysterical. But...yet still...he never gave up the goods. I can assure you all though that I watched him put in a full brick of cream cheese when making it. Apparently this isn't typical. I believe that is part of what made his guacamole dip so creamy and delicious. Brent and I sat there and ate through this HUGE entire bowl of guac dip until the bag of chips were gone. This is a big like serving bowl too by the way. It's not just a "side bowl" of dip. It was massive - I assure you. We were pitiful! Just pitiful!

And as if the guac dip wasn't enough, we still had "dinner" to go. Yeah, the dip was just a prelude to the dinner he was making. And for the dinner, he made chicken flauta's. Oh my GAWSH...heavenly I tell you. Heavenly! I'm not a big meat eater so it is saying something for me to sit down and actually consume any kind of meat - including chicken. Ask my Dad...he cracked up a few weeks ago (when here) after witnessing me sit down to a filet off the grill and immediately alert everyone that the meat smelled like "wet dog." I just couldn't eat it. It truly smelled like a wet dog from outside. Come on you guys...you've been there. I know there has to be someone out there who can relate to the moment when red meat has smelled like cooked wet dog to you, right? Surely I am not the only freak-a-zoid on this planet. I mean I know I'm a nut job but you know you guys are lying if you say you've never thought your red meat smells like wet dog. HA!

With that said, I carefully watched the chicken flauta's being cooked and assembled. I wanted to make sure there weren't any macaroni style veins ending up in my flauta's. Come on peeps, you've seen the macaroni vein I'm speaking of before. They are on chicken legs or drumsticks all the time and boy are they disgusting. But anyway, back to the assembly and cooking...

Check out all of the oil in that pan. And yes, my pans are turquoise. You didn't possibly think I'd pick any other color than turquoise, did you? Hee hee!

These photos are while Lou was deep frying these babies up. Chicken Flauta's - authentic chicken flauta's at that. None of this - Chi Chi's or South of the Border type Chicken flauta's. They were layered on the inside with well seasoned meat, spices, and ingredients that made them so scrumptious and out of this world. Check out their coloring...

When all was said and done, Lou served up these flauta's with heap loads of the guacamole dip and a heaping spoon full of sour cream. Also along with them came a special Mexican red sauce that graced the top of them. (I failed to capture a picture of that though - sorry!)

Once Brent and I finally quit eating, we had to be rolled away from the table. It was bad. Real bad! I've never eaten anything quite so wonderful in all my life. I love Mexican food too so this was beauty at its finest to my tummy and especially to my taste buds. It was great to step away from the Florida surf and turf for just one night and then experience the interior mountains of Mexico - authentic style! And I'm embarrassed to even admit this but I'm going to anyway. Because you know...we keep it real over here on the ol' AGD blog. Truth is...after we rolled ourselves away from the table...we rolled ourselves right on into the car and then rolled right on down the street to the Coconut Point mall for what else? ICE CREAM! Oh my L-A-W-D! Can you believe it? Yes, ice cream on top of all that. Lou said had he known we would have wanted ice cream - he would've made fried ice cream for us. No matter what, we ate ice cream after that huge meal. I told you we were pitiful! Fun thing was though, when we got to Coconut Point, Pagelli's and Hemingway's restaurants were having a huge hoppin' party on the water. There were singers, dancers, Elvis impersonators, etc. It was a great time and a beautiful night. For those of you who are facebook friends of mine, you already got the privilege of seeing pictures from the party last night via my phone. I don't ever post my phone pictures on the blog - just on Facebook. We had a great time. And yes, my cookie dough ice cream from the Marble slab made the night even that much more grand. YUM!

Before I sign off though, you didn't think I'd post all of those pictures of Lou's yummy foodwithout posting a photo of him too, did ya? Here is one of him and Brent. They are great friends. They share a bond like most will never know. To say they have been through a lot together is the understatement of the century.

Our "authentic" Mexican Chef. Ha ha! Love it! (although is was raised in Michigan). Hee hee!

Thanks Lou! We enjoyed every bite of your fabulous creations. As you know, Brennen would like to hire you as his full time chef. HA HA!

Hope everyone is having a superb Saturday! Blessings, Angie

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Friday, July 10, 2009

ANOTHA' FAVORITE FIND

Hi ladies. I thought I'd jump on and share one more new favorite find real quick. This is the last one for now. However, I wanted to make sure I mentioned it. I got a ton of emails from those of you whom either bought the message in a bottle kit, the handbag I featured yesterday, or both...that I figured I "must" share this one too. Ya'll know how much I love me some lotion, right? Well being down here this summer caused me to find a new "favorite" body lotion. Brent loves to stop in the Tommy Bahama store when down here so we made a trip by there a couple of weeks ago. When inside, I stumbled upon this pink pearl filled beauty. It's Tommy Bahama's "South Seas" pearlized body lotion. Ummm yummy! LOVE IT! Not only that but it smells heavenly. It reminds you of a smell straight from the islands. The coolest part though is the pearlized sheen it gives your skin once you apply it. A perfect look for summer tank tops - glistening shoulders. They make two types of this lotion - one is the South Seas and one is called St. Barts. I didn't like the smell of the St. Bart's lotion as much as I liked this one. So...my recommendation is to go with the South Seas flavor. St. Barts is in a white bottle and the South Seas one is in this pretty light pink bottle (shown above). Heavenly goodness...I promise! The downfall to the lotion is the price (it's almost as much for a bottle of this as it was for the handbag I featured yesterday) but your skin will thank you for it. I've been in the sun almost everyday since arriving here back on May 29th. Thanks to this lotion, I've kept from peeling even one time like I normally would have by now. That in itself is saying something. Getcha' some!

Click HERE for a link to it. xoxo, Angie

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Thursday, July 09, 2009

FAB NEW BAG

Remember that FAB new handbag I told you that my inlaws got me for my birthday a couple of weeks ago? Well, I promised I'd share it here so I am. Can I tell you how much I just love this ALDO design? I love all of the colors which can be used for summer as well as for the Fall season. I love all of the animal print within it. I love the buckles off the straps. I just love it all. Best of all though, I love the price. Thought you guys might too. If so, getcha' one! They also come in a different color that has some turquoise in it. Very cool!

Thanks Debbie and Ron! This was a fantastic gift for me and soooooo up my alley. It screams "Angie" and I love that part. You guys are too good to me. I love you both so very much!

The colors and the textures in this bag are straight ART! Love that! The theme of the bag is called "Flavors." Flavors it is...many of them actually.

You can find this at the ALDO store or at their online boutique. I promise you that it is even more "ROCKIN" in person. These pictures just do not do it justice. Wait until you see the inside...Oh so fun!

Just another "FAV" of mine for the day. It's been a while since I've shared my fav's so I thought I would partake in that over the past couple of days. For now, I'm off to prep for our next guest. Brent has a dear friend arriving this evening. He'll be staying with us for the next several days. Lots of "guy" time ahead for the two of them. I've heard rumors of a boat rental. Can anyone say "scary?" That is all I need is to be stuck out in the ocean with Big Daddy "Seaman" on a sandbar because we thought the ocean was like the lakes back home in Indy. Yeah, I think I'd rather stay back home here with the snake(s). Yes, I said snake(s). That is plural. That also equals out to 3 snakes in the past 7 days - in case you are counting. We found another one in the driveway this morning. I'm convinced we are living in the flippin' amazon now. No joke! I think they are after me because I backed over their buddy 4 times last week. God help me. I'm destined to end up in jail for animal cruelty because I WILL do it again. Trust me - God is OK with me killing these horrid creatures. Snakes were serpents in the bible, right? "Diablo" as my Dad says. That means "of the devil." That is my story and I'm sticking to it...

Pray for my sanity...wink wink ;) Ang

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Wednesday, July 08, 2009

MESSAGE IN A BOTTLE

OK...Brent and I found the coolest thing for Brennen and Kenidi the other night. When we were at Barnes & Noble (at the Coconut Point mall here in Bonita Springs), we stumbled upon what is called a "Message in a bottle" kit. Brent and I were looking for books over in the kids section for Brennen and Kenidi. We ultimately found this when perusing that area. Basically, the message in a bottle kit comes with a nice size glass bottle that houses a thick cork top, wax to seal the bottle & keep it water tight once you are done placing everything inside, a voyager map of the world's waterways, a record log which goes inside it, and a waterproof pen/marker to record everything which also goes inside it. There is also a nice ocean adventure book that comes with the kit which teaches you about water currents and other things pertaining to your bottle's voyage.

The gist to the kit is that you initially start out by naming your bottle. Then, you go to http://www.wheresmybottle.com/ and register your bottle. You have your child(ren) record all of the launching information in the log book. You write a message to whomever might find the bottle and record your location on the map on the back of the log book. You can also include a photo but make sure not to include anything personal about your child or family. You replace the logbook, message, waterproof pen, etc. all back in the bottle. It suggests decorating your bottle so that it can easily be seen in the water. And finally, you properly seal the bottle and then let it go in the ocean.

Once someone discovers your bottle, they then have instructions that tell them to go back to http://www.wheresmybottle.com/ and record where they found it at. They can then remove all of your items and do the same thing with their own family. The fun to the project is seeing where all your bottle has been in the world. You track its progress by frequenting that website to see where it has been. How fun, eh? This would make a great gift for kids - especially if you knew that they were taking a vacation sometime soon near an ocean. For $19.99, you just can't beat it. It's something totally different and out of the box. Brent and I plan to make this a family project one evening while we are here. I'll definitely get photos of the event and especially when we go to release it into the sea. What great fun!

I just had to share this new favorite find with you all. Hope you like it and can locate one for your own family should you desire. Hugs, Angie

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Sunday, July 05, 2009

POOL FUN


I played around with some photoshop actions (tints over your photos basically) for a few hours this weekend. Of course I still have NO IDEA what I'm doing when it comes to 3/4 of that program but I'm bound and determined to not let it kick my butt. It's on like donkey kong now. I like a clear, crisp, image most times so I don't really enjoy using much of what photoshop has to offer. It's still fun to switch things up here and there somewhat though I guess. What did we do without photoshop before anyhow? Well, we took shots straight out of the camera and made sure we were getting good enough shots that we didn't have to worry about altering them in a program somewhere. I remember being back in my college photography courses way back when and praying in the dark room that a shot would turn out. Just P-R-A-Y-I-N-G! Back in the day, we snapped the shot and you'd better hope it was a decent/good one because film cost time and money back then. Today - in the world of digital and photoshop - no such thing. I will say that it is still fun to be able to change an image up just a tad when you want to though. I just never want to get into the habit of using photoshop on every single image I ever take let alone even the majority. I want the bare bones, the clean, crisp, original image that focuses on the subject at hand and not the textures, actions, etc. of photoshops details. I know some photographers love to doll up their images with everything photoshop. And that is great. Their work makes me swoon and I love it all. They are stunning and beautiful images - forces to be reckoned with. However, I'm after the original image - the clean and crisp shot. Give me color, give me sharp and give me crystal clear and then I'm just peachy when it comes to an image.

While playing this weekend, I took some shots of Brent and the kids in the pool. Of course Brent wouldn't let me post the REAL behind the scenes shots I got of him goofing around and acting silly in front of my camera. Trust me though - I have them stored for safe keeping should I need them for blackmail one day. HA! Kenidi's eyes really stood out to me in a lot of these pictures because she was up against this brilliant blue water in the pool. Therefore, I had fun playing up her eyes. Maybe a little too much. Ha ha! Again, still learning...


Love this girl. Love her look. Love her smile. And I definitely love those eyes...

And above...we have Zsa Zsa Gabore...hee hee!

These eyelashes are to die for. Where the girl inherited her hair and her lashes from, I have no idea. She has no idea just how blessed she is yet.

I love this picture of Kenidi and Brent above. They were blowing bubbles in the water - nose to nose - with one another. Great daddy/daughter moment.

And here is Daddy - playing down his silliness - just so I could get a snapshot of him for the blog. Here he is Joe Cool - in the others previous to this shot - he was my best friend playing in front of a camera and being all out goofy. Loved it! No worries babe...your secrets are safe with me. I've got plenty of pictures to prove it. Ha ha! I love how Brent turns red in the sun. Poor guy - the rest of us just frolic in the sunshine basking in the heat and the rays but he has to lather up, hide under an umbrella, and still pray that the sun doesn't reach his skin. Somehow it always does though - no matter what he does to prevent it.

And last, as Brennen is yelling at me to not put this on the blog, I'm putting it on the blog anyway. HA! He is turning into a mini me and really detests being in front of a camera. Especially because he has little girls from his class that read this blog. Hi girls! :) Anywho, loved this impromptu picture of him and Kenidi giving one another a "muah." A muah in our house is a kiss of course. Kenidi established that code word for us a couple of years ago and it has stuck ever since. (It's the sound you make when you give someone a kiss) She couldn't say "kiss" back then so she says what sounds more like "Muh" today. It's so stinking cute.

We are headed out the door to run some errands for now. I'll check back in tomorrow as usual. PS...I hear Indy has sunshine there today. YYAAAAYYYY! Muah, Angie

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IT'S A SCORCHER - AND I LOVE IT!

Well, it's so hot here in sunny Florida that we might just have to break down and call the fire department. Really! All of my Indiana friends wrote last night via email, texts, or facebook to let us know that the firework shows got rained out there in ol' Indy. I can't say that I'm shocked. I can say however...that I'm so glad I'm not there right now. There are experiencing 20-25 degree temp differences there compared to what we are seeing in Southwest Florida each day. (90's and above) Today is expected to be 92 degrees. Thank goodness for the pool and the sea. I'm not real fond of heat without water. ;)

Speaking of fireworks, we hope everyone - no matter what state you reside in - had a fabulous 4th of July celebration last night. We spent last night in Naples near the pier and their firework display. Afterwards, we came home and let Brennen and Kenidi let off fireworks in the driveway. Needless to say, I kept a watch for snakes - ready to burn each one to the stake with a sparkler should it cross my path while out there. Ha ha! Oh and as for my snake that I ran over 4 times the other day, he is nothing but a spine now. Yeap, something came along and ate him the first night and the only thing left is his back bone as of this moment. (Which of course was crunched in 4 different places with the help of my truck tires) Don't you just love how the ecosystem/food chain works???

Anywho, thank you to all of the men and women fighting on an hour by hour basis for our freedom in this country. I am so very proud to be an America. Hoping you are all having a great Sunday. Enjoy what is left of the weekend and be safe.

PS...Should any of you try to reach me via my photography site email, you might find that it isn't getting to me. My web gal is in the process of transferring everything over to the new website and until that is done, my Angie@AngieSeamanPhotography.com email isn't working properly. Therefore, if you are in class with me right now or trying to reach me about photography sessions, please contact me at my AGD email of Angie@AngelicaGraceDesigns.com. Thanks so much for your patience and understanding as we prepare for the new websites launch. Much love, Angie

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Friday, July 03, 2009

MR. STUD-LY!

Meet Mr. Stud-ly. We found him on a street corner in an old gas station parking lot in Naples. If I only could have this same car in turquoise. I'd be in head over heals in love. And not even necessarily to drive but to use as a prop. Ha ha! I loved the look of this one and suddenly had visions of bringing Brennen back to pose on top of it with a skateboard in hand or something. Don't know why - just did.

Notice how the side of it reads "Truly Nolen?" Well Truly Nolen is a major "pest control" company down here in Southwest Florida. The owner places old cars such as this one all around town on different street corners with his business name down the side of it. You can't think of pest control in Florida without thinking of Truly Nolen. The owner has done a phenomenal job of marketing his company. His actual service cars...they are even better. All of his service vans, trucks, and little VW bug cars all have big mice ears and long black tails custom made to stick up and off each car. They are also bright yellow in color. What a hoot! Again, you know when you've got a pest problem, to call Truly Nolen. Their name comes to mind first and foremost. I'm still half tempted to make a call to the owner and ask him if we can have permission to use a car or two of his in a photo shoot while down here this summer. What fun!


It's now 7:20pm and we are off to dinner. We've had quite the eventful day here in Florida and I'm ready to relax at this point. We've seen two snakes in less then 24 hours outside the house. The 2nd one is now dead. Yes, I ran over it four different times with the truck before the thing finally died. And when it did die, it blew out and popped like something was exploding. In fact, it was so loud that Brennen actually panicked and thought that the snake bit our tire and popped the tire. Hilarious! Now...all of you animal activists...please refrain from emailing me and telling me that there are only 6 venomous species of snakes in Florida and that I should never kill an animal. I know that already. Really, I do. However, I don't care whether it was venomous or not. It's life span was up according to me. With two young children who play out in the driveway, I refuse to take any chances. That first snake is lucky he got away yesterday before my truck tires made permanent skid marks across his back. And oh yeah...I know they are here to help eat the rats and mice in Florida. I've seen three rats outdoors already this trip and although I don't like them either, I'd rather have rats then snakes. So...even though the neighbors now probably think I'm a crazed lunatic after they watched me back up, turn around, and run over a snake 4 different times until it was dead, I feel better. And that is all that matters, right? I'll probably have the police show up at my door or something for killing the thing because it will be my luck that it's against the law or something here. In the end though, they can put me in a jail cell and throw away the key. Snakes are just not allowed within a 100 mile radius of me or my kids. P-E-R-I-O-D! With Kenidi's special needs, she would walk right up to a snake and not know any different. By the time I could get to her in a situation like that, it would be too late. So...4 times, 16 times, 52 times..however many times it takes to run over it and kill it - I'll do it.

Although Brennen got a huge kick out of it as he hung out the passenger side window and directed me which way to drive to ensure I was running over him with the tires, the whole event really stressed me out. This particular snake was about 6 feet long, red, and all out gross. The thump was large enough each time we ran over him that it made me that much sicker with each pass I made. Ewwww....!!! In the event that you should need a snake killer, I'm your girl.

Happy 4th of July! Celebrate safely! I'll be dodging snakes no doubt. :) Hugs, Angie

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Thursday, July 02, 2009

JUST BECAUSE...

Just because...

Just because I love her ever famous look of concentration as shown above. People who know her well - know this look - these flaired lips. This is Kenidi. And tonight...after all of her voluntary hugs and kisses this evening, I just want to gobble her up. :0)

And as for Brennen, I want to gobble him up tonight too. However, I'm not able to shoot photos of him for about a week. He came in the other day 2 seconds away from tears. I sent him for a hair cut with his Dad and Papa Ron. The normal salon they typically go to down here was closed. Therefore, they ended up at a real barber shop. A real barber shop with a 119 year old barber who cut his hair as though he was preparing to send him to Iraq. He came home with a military cut - literally a flat top of sorts. It was awful. I'll admit it. Like him, I was 2 seconds from crying when I saw it as well. He was crushed. As was I. In the end though, it's just hair. It will grow back - in like 2 weeks even. With the help of the sun, salt water, and chlorine...his hair should be as good as new real soon. Needless to say, he will never go back to that barber shop again. I can't say that I blame him.

Much love, Angie

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Wednesday, July 01, 2009

I'M HERE - I'M HERE!


Ever have one of those days in life where it feels like it just goes on and on FOREVAH? Kind of like the rows on a white picket fence? Well, I had one of those days yesterday and the day before. Many of you probably read about it on facebook. Therefore, I'm not going there again here. The good news is...all is well now. Therefore, I am finally catching up on some blogging. I got some emails yesterday and today reminding me that I had forgotten to blog. Ha ha! I didn't forget you guys...never would I forget about you. :)

The above home is one of my favorite houses here in Naples. Their backyard is the sea. Yes, it sits right on the ocean. Can you imagine their views every day and night? Simply gorgeous! Now, if it just didn't have a $15-$20 million dollar price tag...ha ha! Brent and I love mediterranean style homes and this one really caught our eye. It's still under construction at the moment. I wish I could get a tour...


And how about these big boy yachts? One of these would be nice to park out back of that house, right? Hee hee!


We hit the Naples city dock and checked out some of the boats they had lined up there. Here is Brent (shown below) carrying some of my photography gear. He makes for a really awesome "assistant" and "driver." :) Love you babe!

I took this shot below for Brennen. He loves anything to do with police and firemen. This boat appears to be the property of the Naples police.


These are some luxury homes/condos over near a marina in the Naples area. They have little shops/boutiques that line underneath them on the bottom floor. They also have a great little cabana bar too that overlooks the bay. Very cool spot! I love their coloring and thought they would make for some great shots.



The above and below shots were taken back in a Naples neighborhood called Pelican Bay. I love the entrance with all their palm trees so Brent stopped and let me grab some quick shots.

There is your little picture tour of some fun areas here in Naples. I'm actually signing off so that I can go and close the garage door now. Brennen found a snake in the drive way moments ago and I'm scared it will end up in the garage. Not fun! Ewwwww....!!! Thanks for being patient with my delays in posting over the past day or two. See you later tator!

xoxoxo, Angie

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