Monday, December 30, 2013

Cute Christmas Kiddos

I wasn't able to post these pictures because Blogger wasn't cooperating for me for a few weeks, but I fixed the problem after much troubleshooting and some much needed time over Christmas break.  

I present to you two of the cutest kids I've ever met!  They;re spunky, sweet and super adorable especially since it was such a rainy, cold day.  Miss April absolutely loved the camera and Mr. Trey wasn't nearly as impressed.  I'm not sure if it was the camera, the weather or the hat... 

We did a mini session that was supposed to be 30 minutes, but rapidly became a 15 minute session due to weather.  Even with the limited time, I was able to capture several good photos of the entire family and the kiddos!

 Siblings!
 A little girl and her daddy!  This photo melts my heart ever single time I look at it! 

If you like these photos, please visit my website: www.turnaroudphotography.zenfolio.com 
My facebook page: www.facebook.turnaroundphoto

Much love.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Oh Philadelphia

Oh Philadelphia how I adore you and thank you for all the wonderful memories.  From an outsider looking in, I can see how they only see an old, dirty city, but for me, I see memories, lots of wonderful memories!  I see art, history, great food, snazzy bars, college memories, first jobs...  It's my city.  It's the city I know and love.  It's Philadelphia, the City of Brotherly Love!  As I am writing this the city is preparing to dominate the Cowboys.  Go Eagles!  

Over Christmas, Ryan and I were able to sneak in a visit with Delia and Bud in downtown Philly!  To say it was fun would be an understatement.  It rained the entire time we were there, but we made the most of it!  We started out by meeting Delia and Bud at the Reading Terminal!  The best friend, I missed you, You look Amazing, I love you, hug was perfection!  I love raw best friend hugs and that's exactly what Diz and I had.  It was perfect!  She was waiting in line when we met up because my lovely husband had to have the "Best Sandwich in America,"  the Pork and Broccoli Rab sandwich at DiNiC's in the Reading Terminal.  After getting our sandwiches, we found a seat, chowed down, shared a cookie and headed to get a drink.  We found a swanky bar with a great beer list and we settled right in! There is something to be said for easy conversation.  I love how comfortable I feel with Delia and Bud and I really love how comfortable my husband feels with them.  I'm very lucky to have amazing girlfriends who have amazing significant others. 

After a few beers and an abundance of quality and quick hilarious conversation, we headed outside to find the rain at subsided momentarily!  It was picture time for sure! 
Ryan & I (Thanks Diz for snapping this picture!)
Delia & Bud! I love these two!!
The boys were sweet enough to get us some hot malt wine while Delia and I browsed a few shops, made a return and enjoyed some girl time.  This is Delia's classic face!  Gosh I love her!
And here we are! Thank God for studying abroad in Galway, Ireland and being roomed with this lovely lady!
Today, I thank God for friends!

Much love.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Christmas Traditions To Be


This year especially I have been feeling extremely overwhelmed and unprepared for Christmas both spiritually and physically.  My mind has been going a mile a minute, work has been stressful, I’ve been up late working on special projects for people, our schedules have just been jam packed and to top it all off, Little Man isn’t with us this year.  *tears…lots of tears* The holidays, but especially Christmas without the little man is rough.  He brings an excitement to the festivities and really makes Ryan and I focus on family.  We decorate together, bake cookies, sing Christmas songs, watch Christmas movies, hide the pickle ornament in the tree, open the advent calendar daily, put ourselves in other’s shoes and ask ourselves what they want for Christmas.  We get our family Christmas tree, tour the Botanical Garden of Lights, kiss under the mistletoe, and snuggle a lot.  The holidays bring out the late nights of PJs, movies, and snuggles!  I miss having little man to cuddle with.  He’s a little homebody just like his daddy.

Well, this year is different.  Little man is with his mama in Iowa and Ryan and I have been doing our best to get that Christmas feeling.  We set up the nativity, wrapped Christmas presents, watched some Christmas movies and went to the Botanical Garden of Lights.  None of these were quite as energized.  Kids are amazing.  Once you have them, you never want to go back to pre-kids, at least I know I don’t.  Since I don’t have any little ones in the house at the moment, I am very nostalgic.  All I have been doing is planning traditions that I want to have with my children.
 
My absolute favorite tradition is the “Shepherd’s Sack.”  A friend posted this blog on facebook and I fell head over heels in love with it! The idea of the “Shepherd’s Sack” is that a little burlap sack is hung in place of each child’s stocking and throughout the month of December the child receives monetary rewards for good deeds, kind words, and being Christ-like.  Then on Christmas Eve, the burlap sacks are emptied and counted.  The money the children earned is then used to buy something for a family in need.  It could be a chicken for a family or they could sponsor a child for a year.  All depending on how much money they earned. After the presents are bought, the children get to hang their stockings by the chimney with care! The purpose of this is to remember that living a life that honors Jesus Christ, you will be rewarded in heaven. 

Every other tradition that I enjoy fails in comparison to this one, but I am a sucker for traditions and creating memories, so there will be many more!  I want to have an Elf on the Shelf!  That will be so much fun!  I think it really invigorates children’s imaginations and I thoroughly believe in the power of a good imagination!  Let the Children set up the Nativity with little guidance from us.  We will read the Nativity story so that they become very familiar with it, but I really want to see the children’s interpretation of where all the figures should be placed.  It’s something we always did growing up.  I want all the kiddos to sleep in the same room on Christmas Eve!!  This is one family tradition that we did pretty much until we were married!  All the kids piled into the largest bedroom with sleeping bags, pillows, stuffed animals, flashlights, books, and big dreams of the coming morning!  It’s a hoot for the kids and makes managing bedroom doors very easy for the parents wink wink!   Finally, I want to sing Happy Birthday Baby Jesus on Christmas morning before opening a single present!! 

Much love.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Fwd: FW: Another Timely Reminder

I received this in an email titled "Fwd: FW: Another Timely Reminder ........." containing the chart below, and am wondering if it's true or not... Anyone know?

American Red Cross
President and CEO Marsha J. Evans'
salary for the year was $651,957 plus expenses
MARCH OF DIMES
It is called the March of Dimes because
only a dime for every 1 dollar is given to the needy.
The United Way
President Brian Gallagher
receives a $375,000 base salary along with numerous expense benefits.
UNICEF
CEO Caryl M. Stern receives
$1,200,000 per year (100k per month) plus all expenses including a ROLLS ROYCE.
Less than 5 cents of your donated dollar goes to the cause.
GOODWILL
CEO and owner Mark Curran profits $2.3 million a year.
Goodwill is a very catchy name for his business.
You donate to his business and then he sells the items for PROFIT.
He pays nothing for his products and pays his workers minimum wage! Nice Guy.
$0.00 goes to help anyone!
Stop giving to this man.

Instead, give it to ANY OF THE FOLLOWING

GO "GREEN" AND PUT YOUR MONEY WHERE IT WILL DO SOME GOOD:

The Salvation Army
Commissioner, Todd Bassett receives a small salary of only
$13,000 per year(plus housing) for managing this $2 billion dollar organization.
96 percent of donated dollars go to the cause.
The American Legion
National Commander receives a $0.00 zero salary.
Your donations go to help Veterans and their families and youth!
The Veterans of Foreign Wars
National Commander receives a $0.00 zero salary.
Your donations go to help Veterans and their families and youth!
The Disabled American Veterans
National Commander receives a $0.00 zero salary.
Your donations go to help Veterans and their families and youth!
The Military Order of PurpleHearts
National Commander receives a $0.00 zero salary.
Your donations go to help Veterans and their families and youth!
The Vietnam Veterans Association
National Commander receives a $0.00 zero salary.
Your donations go to help Veterans and their families and youth!
Make a Wish: For children's last wishes.
100% goes to funding trips or special wishes for a dying child.
St. Jude Research Hospital
100% goes towards funding and helping Children with Cancer who have no insurance and cannot afford to pay.
Ronald McDonald Houses
All monies go to running the houses for parents who have critically ill Children in the hospital.
100% goes to housing, and feeding the families.
Lions Club International
100% OF DONATIONS GO TO HELP THE BLIND, BUY HEARING AIDES, SUPPORT MEDICAL MISSIONS AROUND THE WORLD. THEIR LATEST UNDERTAKING
IS MEASLES VACCINATIONS (ONLY $1.00 PER SHOT).

This is not to say that the organizations at the top are not good organizations.  This is only saying that if you want 100% or a large portion of your donations to go to the cause, the bottom section seems to be your best bet.  This also does not included all the organizations that you can donate to.  There are hundreds, thousands, maybe even more of organizations that use the majority of your donations to help those in need. 
 
Aside from the chart above, I know that I definitely need to be better at donating and what better time than now.  I'm blessed to not want for the basic means to live a good life and there are so many deserving individuals who want every single day.  God Bless.
 
Much love.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Gramma



 
Gramma has been in a nursing home for years, but she was always healthy enough to come home for the holidays….until this past year.  Gramma came to Thanksgiving in 2012 and was really nervous.  She definitely wasn’t understanding that she was indeed allowed to leave the nursing home for Thanksgiving.  Since then we have seen a steady decline in her health, but a year later, we decided Heck!  It can’t hurt to bring her home for Thanksgiving again!  So we did.  It took my strong husband to lift her because she can’t walk or even feel her legs and my two brothers to help break her free from the nursing home and it was all worth it!  The second she got in the door she was greeted with amazing smells, smiling faces, lots of hugs and kisses and a GLASS OF WINE!  There are a few things my Gramma knows how to enjoy and they are a single glass of wine and dessert.  She always has room them!  It made me so happy to watch her drink her glass of wine, something she hadn’t had for a year.  I know it was hard on all of us to bring her home and see her struggle, but it was completely worth it.  She was with her family and that’s what the holidays are all about.

I was lucky enough to sit next to her at dinner and help her.  She knows she needs help and she’s completely open to being helped.  It’s very humbling to watch someone who has always been so strong resign herself to letting her granddaughter hold her drink for her and cut her food.  I enjoyed every second of eating Thanksgiving with her.  It’s a memory that I will hold dear for the rest of my life because I fear it will be one of the last holiday meals we share so intimately. 

My Gramma is a spunky lady!  She married young and had seven children.  She cared for my Grampa through shingles, blindness, cancer, oxygen, super grumpy moods, and the list goes on.  She is a woman beyond her years, always very educated and very forward thinking.  She thought women should be educated and I never once heard her utter a racist comment.  Oh and to this day she wears her lipstick, loves her family, and goes to church every Sunday.  I love her dearly and wish I was closer so that I could visit her more.  She is sucker for surprise visits that involve walks outside, puppy cuddles and a sweet treat!  Gramma, I’ll be there over Christmas with Lira in her Christmas sweater and a tin of homemade goodies for us to enjoy.  Heck, we might even go for a walk inside of course because it’s chilly up North!  Love you Gramma!
 
Much love.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Thanksgiving Candids

{Thanksgiving 2013} was very relaxing.  We didn't stress over food, looking cute or having a perfectly clean house.  Instead we went to the Philadelphia Thanksgiving parade, lounged around and read, cooked, welcomed guests and wore comfy outfits.  It was an extreme;y stress free holiday for me!  That may have had to do with the fact that we had just gotten back from Jamaica and didn't have a care in the world. Whatever the reason may be, it was so nice to see my family!  Living a few states away makes me nostalgic for holidays and excuses to see my parents and siblings.  Luckily for me, this Thanksgiving was full of family time!  I even had the pleasure of meeting my brothers' girlfriends! 
 
Pops all bundled up at the parade!

My little sister looking cuter than ever! 

My parents cheering!!

Mike (my little brother) and his girlfriend!
After Thanksgiving Day Proper, we lounged as a family, went for a hike, played Apples to Apples and just enjoyed some family time around the fire. 
Tom while playing Apples to Apples

This is the relaxation I was referencing.

Here's some more chill time.

Finally, pops snoozing on the floor in front of the fire!
 I hope your Thanksgiving was as relaxing and enjoyable as mine!  I am very Thankful for my family and the love we share. 

Much love.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

My Boss Quit.

I wrote a post a few weeks back that alluded to lessons I learned from work.  Well, in a nutshell, my boss gave his two weeks’ notice and from there work took a rapid downward spiral.  Then I went to Jamaica, celebrated Thanksgiving and now I am back at work without a boss.  It’s a catch 22.  When everything was jiving, my boss was phenomenal.  When things were going to great either personally or whatever, things were horrible.

Note to Self: Keep your personal life out of work. 

I know that it is hard to do especially when you have “friends” at work.  They need to be on the same page and keep personal things out of the workplace.  It’s possible.  I’ve definitely not excelled at it in the past, but I am going to be working on in the future. 

I thought work was busy a few weeks ago.  Well, Boy O Boy was I wrong.  Now I know what busy really is…or at least a more busy version of what I thought busy was.  I am fried after a mornings worth of work because I am digging through files to figure out where on earth numbers are coming from.  There is no rhyme or reason and I’m not a fan of spreadsheets that aren’t linked, have no instructions, and have an insane amount of repeat information.  Processes will be streamlined in the near future for sanity’s sake.

Happy HUMP Daaa-yee!

 
Much love.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Christmas Letters

Every year my wonderful husband writes our family Christmas Letter and I absolutely LOVE to read it!!  For me it’s an experience of seeing our year, me, J-man, his life, our puppy, our weaknesses, and our accomplishments through his eyes.  It’s awesome!  I love that he enjoys writing it and is really thorough about it. As I read it, I find myself reliving moments, realizing that I forgot about such and such, thinking Wow that’s how he sees that accomplishment, laughing, tearing up, and then I always end thinking, WOW, I married an awesome man!  Sometimes I forget how sweet and loving he is under his shell and today when I read our Christmas Letter that he wrote, I fell in love all over again!    

Writing a Christmas Letter is a tradition from his side of the family that I am happy we are carrying on.  I grew up close to my cousins and most of our family friends were nearby, so a Christmas letter wasn’t necessary, but I do always remember reading other’s Christmas letters and thinking it was so cool to put your families’ year on paper for your loved ones to read about.  I am definitely happy that we are carrying this tradition on and that my husband is the designated letter writer.  He’s so much better at it than I am. 

Also, the letter adds a personal touch.  I always design a picture card and hand sign the back with a little note, but the letter really brings the picture full circle.  I love our teamwork for our Christmas cards!  Thanks Babe!  You’re the best!  Love you!

Do you write a Christmas letter? Do you like receiving them?
 
Much love.

Monday, November 18, 2013

I Love Weekends!

I love weekends! Driving home from work on Friday makes me giddy because I know I have three nights and two days that I can fill with things that I want to do!  On Friday, Ryan and I made a spur of the moment decision to go out to dinner, hit up the local Target and find some live music!  All were accomplished and were a great success!  We went to Mexican because that is our go to comfort food and after the week we had both just had, comfort food was on the menu.  Gorging ourselves in chips and salsa was heavenly!  I think I gained 5 lbs in one sitting.  Ugh. Sometimes it’s nice to get out of the house, be served and just sit back and talk.  Don’t get me wrong, we talk at home, but when we are out to dinner, we don’t have the distractions at home.  We are forced to stay seated and focus on one another.  It’s good. 
 

After dinner we went to Target to find a bathing suit, white T-shirts and Christmas lights for our bedroom.  We left with white T-shirts and two decorative Christmas pillows.  No lights, no bathing suit…wrong season for the latter. It was after Target that our night really started!  We hit up this bar/restaurant called Grumpys for a local band that we had heard good things about, but had never seen.  Well, let me tell you, those 15-17 year old boys rockin out on the stage were freakin awesome!  If you are in the Virginia Beach area and are in the mood for some good 90’s music with a few originals thrown in there, look up the band MOCEAN.  They were great!  Their families were there because they are under the age of 21, heck they are under the age of 18, but Lord Oh Lord, they were good!  The bass player was insane and the vocals were clear.  It was a great show and no cover…tips appreciated. 

MOCEAN Band
 
Saturday morning I slept in with my puppy and didn’t do much of anything until 10 when I decided to walk Lira, rake the yard, mow the yard, dust, vacuum, clean the bathrooms, scrub the kitchen, put away my weekend bags and clear my dresser.  Basically I went from super lazy to insanely busy in a matter of seconds.  Oh and in the middle of all that I took pictures of my friend’s pups!  They are a hoot! 

She was born to sniff and she rocks it!

Fruit and peanut butter is my favorite!
Hubby got home toward the end of my madness and joined right in!  He changed the oil in my car, added some wiper fluid because I go through that stuff like it’s my job…it’s because I have a small car that sits nice and low to the ground, big trucks like to splash me, birds love to poop of it and bugs can’t avoid my windshield.  He also started the laundry, took out the trash and recycling and then we ran errands.  It was a productive days.  Productive days make the weekends feel longer because I can look back and see what we accomplished. 

We bought wine and sparkling cider for Thanksgiving!  It's our contribution since we travel.

That evening we took it easy, had breakfast for dinner and watched Skyfall.  It was a good one in my humble movie opinion.  Basically I didn’t fall asleep and I didn’t cover my eyes, so it was a winner in my book. 

Martini and potato pancakes for dinner!

Sunday was a good day too!  Ryan got up early to golf and I headed to Church by myself.  I’m glad I am back in the swing of going to Church.  I feel more at peace when I do.  After Mass I walked Lira and headed to the beach to take some pictures of my friend, her husband and their adorable 39 week old little boy!  He was adorable as always and I was able to get some great candid shots! 

After spending an hour at the beach in the 70 degree and sunny weather, Ryan and I headed to Williamsburg for a little shopping.  We went to Golden Horseshoe Golf Course to spend some money he won this summer and then we went to Yankee Candle!!  Ahh!  Holiday Heaven right about now!  We got some lovely scented candles!  My home now smells of peppermint or The North Pole as Yankee Candle would suggest!  We also got Mistletoe which is evergreen heaven!  Oh my Lord! We are in love!


That evening we had a nice little dinner in, watched some football, edited some pictures, drank some wine and went to bed at a decent hour…only to be woken by a barking puppy and high winds.  I basically got 3 hours of sleep last night and I am dying today.  Yikes!  Mondays are rough as they are.  Mondays with little to no sleep are brutal. Here’s to hoping I sleep better tonight!
 
Oh and I made banana bread from these frozen bad boys.  Tip: If your bananas go brown and you don't have time to make banana bread or the like, put the bananas in your freezer.  They are easy to peel and are easy to bake with weeks later.


How was your weekend?!  Fabulous I hope!

Much love.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

39 Weeks "Out of the Belly"

This little guy was in his mama's belly for just over 39 weeks and today marked the exact number of days of his life that he was in his mama's belly!  His mama requested that some of the photos from her maternity shoot at 39 weeks be mimicked, but other than that I had free range to take candid photos of this cutie and his mom and dad!  The pictures were taken at the exact same location and we lucked out with a beautiful 65 degree day in mid November!  Crazy Awesome luck!  Mother Nature was definitely on our side today! 
 
He's learning to stand on his own, climb a lot and every now and then he'll take a step.  Today at the beach, he stood for quite some time.  The sand added some anchoring for his adorable little footsies!
This is a mimic of a picture that was taken when his mama was 39 weeks pregnant.  Now he's super adorable and sitting in her lap! 
 Well isn't he just the cutest and coolest little dude! 
This is another mimic of when he was 39 weeks in the womb.  He wasn't too into looking at me or smiling, so this is the best we could do.  It's challenging playing peek-a-boo when you are taking pictures!  He's teething so, the finger sucking definitely portrays a phase in this little dudes life.
Oh heavens!  His papa is so much fun!  He adores being thrown in the air and I am so happy that I caught this moment!
The "standing" family.  He loves being on his feet!
This is hands down one of my favorites.  I love that his mama is kissing him, he is looking at me and his papa is in the background looking at them.  This is completely unposed and perfection in my book!
Sand tastes good to baby boys.  It's a fact.
This is another favorite of mine.  I adore the way C man is looking at his mama kiss his papa!  And I love his papa's sweet expression. Candid photos are my favorite!
 Last, but certainly not least, the tongue.  He's thinking.  He's determined.  He's cute.
*All photos taken by Turnaround Photography.
Much love.

Four Legged Friends

As most of you know, I have an insane love for my puppy.  She's actually 5 people years old, but to me she will always be a lovable and super adorable puppy!  She is the easiest dog aside from the fact that she isn't a fan of other dogs.  She isn't aggressive, but she snarls and acts like she is better then them.  It's ridiculous because most dogs could eat her for breakfast. When I say most dogs, these two cuties come to mind!  In all honesty though, Lira hates Riley and loves Jackie.  Jackie turns on high alert when Lira comes around.  Nothing and I mean nothing will hurt her if has anything to do about it.  Riley, poor Riley is so sweet and slowly comes up to Lira, and what does Lira do...she shows her little teeth and snarls.
 
These two cuties were adorable today!  They were a little camera shy, but I still managed to get some good shots in the 30 minutes they ran around my backyard!  Lira wasn't impressed they were over and spend the majority of the time sleeping inside.
 
Introducing the ever so handsome Mr. Jackson!

 
Introducing the sweet and sassy Ms. Riley Jane!

 
Oh how I love our four legged friends.  Dogs truly are amazing companions!  They bring my such joy and unconditional love!  I will forever and always have a pup in my house!
 
Visit Turnaround Photography for more pet photos!
 
Much love.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Work has been ROUGH.

I don't know how many active readers I have, but to those that enjoy reading my blog, I sincerely apologize for being MIA recently.  In a nutshell, I am a financial analyst by day and my boss gave his two weeks notice a week ago.  My work life has been extremely hectic since and it has been impacting my personal life, which I hate that I let happen.  I have a lovely blog post written about what's been going on at work, but I will not be posting it at this moment. 
 
I've learned a lot from my boss' actions as to how to notify your manager that you are leaving and how to act after that notice is given.  Honestly, humility, sincere gratefulness, and 100% dedication to transitioning your current tasks are just a few of the things that I will strive to embody when I leave a company. 
 
I'll be around more.  I hope you are all having a stellar weekend!  Rock on!
Found this sweet dude here
 
Much love.
 

Engagement Photos at the Homestead!

I went home last weekend to hang out with my sister, renew my license, visit my Gramma, hang out with my parents, visit with friends and take engagement pictures of my best friend and her fiancĂ©!!  They are two of the most beautiful people, so my job was really easy!  I am working towards creating a portfolio for my photography business.  I adore capturing moments and I love the creative outlet of photography.  Since I am a financial analyst by day, dancing and photography on weekends and  evenings are my saving grace.  My dream is to one day be a self-employed photographer.  I don't ever want to loose my love for photography.  If that starts to happen, I will most likely cutback and refocus. 
 
I created a website that is still in the making, but if you want to look at it and make any suggestions, I'd truly appreciate it - Turnaround Photography
 
Here are some engagement photos! 
 
My parents barn, which is an rundown, rustic, missing a few walls barn, makes for a great background when you are up close, so I took full advantage of it!

The trail in the woods made for easy access and an abundance of nature!  There were red berries that added just the right amount of pop.
Who doesn't love the bright yellow leaves and a laughing candid all in one?! The foliage up north and the love these two have are beautiful!
Kevin had these shirts made for a family event, so they decided to where them for a few shots!  I love when clients add personal touches to the shoots. 
Here's another gem that Kevin requested!  He loves fishing and hunting.  Jamie isn't a fan of hunting, so he went with the fishing theme (smart man) and asked that I take pictures of their rings on his fishing hook! 
Last, but certainly not least...they climbed onto a fallen tree and I ventured into the creek to get this shot...which just so happens to their favorite photo of the session! 
I hope you enjoyed the little engagement photo show!  I had a blast photographing them and cannot wait to take some photos on their wedding day, when they have babies, and the list goes on!
 
Much love.