Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Unscheduled Stop {365 - Day 213}

Today we managed to turn a 2 hour trip home from my parents' house into an epic 4 hour journey from hell.  For starters, it poured rain the entire.way.home.  Seriously, it was like a little storm cloud tracked our car the whole way.  It took forever as usual to pack all our stuff, so we didn't leave until 11:30.  Close to lunchtime.  So before we even got out of town, we stopped to pick up lunch to go and a rainy day treat of cappuccinos.

Then, we were on a phone call with our business partner which delayed departure for another 15 minutes.  By that time, we were in the car close to 45 minutes before getting anywhere.   Which led to problem number two, Sarah Beth needing to stop to use the potty.   She didn't ask though, she just got all teary-eyed and upset in the backseat until we asked what was wrong.  We rushed to find an exit on the way down the mountain, of course, where exits are few and far between.

We finally found one, which led us to our unscheduled stop at this nifty little roadside stand in Saluda. 

Day 213 {iPhone + Photoshop}

We bought some strawberry cider and a quart of blackberries.  I can't say either item was delicious, but it was fun walking around the little shop with its sawdust floors and homemade shelving.

Of course, once we stopped, SB didn't really want to use the potty.  She requested a pull-up, which usually indicates a more serious potty matter, so we obliged and got back on the road eventually after eating our lunch in the parking lot.


After about 20 more minutes of driving, SB decided that she really did want to use the potty after all, so off we went to a McDonalds in the middle of nowhere.  The potty had an automatic flush which was louder than a rocket, scaring the heck out of poor SB.  To top it off, the automatic water faucet was scalding hot and the hand dryer was even louder than the toilet.  I think that traumatic 5 minute stop undid weeks of potty training progress.

So, back on the road, we finally got close to Charlotte, when Sarah Beth  had enough and started yelling "I want to get out of the car NOW!"  The only thing that stopped her was the bag of chocolate covered pretzels that her Daddy bought her as a bribery tool.  (Note to self: don't ever buy chocolate covered pretzels for a car trip. Disastrous mess.)

I am now going to sit on the couch with a cup of hot tea and wish upon a star that a magic fairy unpacks my suitcase before I go to bed in an  hour.  Night night all!

Monday, July 30, 2012

Panning for College Fund {365 - Day 212}

We have passed by the Elijah Mountain Gem Mine at least a zillion times on the way to my parents' house.  At least once a visit, we say, "we've got to stop there one of these days."  Well, folks, today was the day. 

We went out to breakfast and then pulled into Elijah Mountain.  We saw neither Elijah nor a Mountain and apparently they ship the dirt in from somewhere else, so not an authentic experience but that's ok.  We figured Sarah Beth would love it, since it combined her three favorite things:  dirt, rocks, and water.  What really captured her attention, however, were the giant carp swimming around in a pond smack dab in the middle of the shop.  We managed to tear her away from the fish with the promise of treasure to be found.

We got our big bucket of sand and set ourselves up at one of the panning stations at a big trough of running water.  Lo and behold, we struck gold!  Well, not really, but we found some big colorful gem-like shiny rocks.

Day 211 {Canon 5D Mark III}

Sarah Beth enjoyed shoveling the sand.  
(Note: tattoo is from our favorite cool kids' clothing store, Baby Ink.  No this is not a real tattoo.)

Uncovering the hidden treasures.


Sarah Beth was over it when we were about a third of the way through the bucket.  She started checking out the gravel rocks on the ground while Kurt and I continued panning for a rare something or other that would pay for SB's college education.  No such luck.  We had fun though.

On the way out, we were lured over to the food stand, where the guy was selling hummus, of all things.  Hummus is SB's favorite food, so we tried it and ended up buying a tub for later.  We also indulged in the shaved ice made with real sugar.  No corn syrup.  It was delicious and refreshing.  And would have been better with a little rum but too early in the morning for that.

Elijah Mountain Gem Mine totally lived up to the hype.  We will be back in a few years when Sarah Beth is old enough to sift through a whole bucket without losing interest.  We will proudly display our not-so-precious gemstone treasures and can't wait to add to our collection someday!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Ready for her Close Up. {365 - Day 211}

I love this face.  I love her looking up at me with those big blue eyes of hers.  I love it when she smiles, pouts and even when she's looking at me through tears needing comfort. 

Today my Mom tried to explain to Sarah Beth that I am her little girl.  She looked at Grandma like she was crazy then said, "no-no, she is not a little girl, she is MY Mommy!"  In her eyes, I am Mommy and only Mommy, and she is my little girl.  Who are we to argue with this sweet face?

Day 211 {Canon 5D Mark III + Photoshop}

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Uncle. {365 - Day 210}

We are visiting my parents in Hendersonville, mainly because my brother is here for the weekend.  He and his family live in New Orleans, so we don't get to see them too often, but he quickly won Sarah Beth over with a stuffed elephant, which she promptly named Bud Light.  I was a little perplexed over the name, but hours later, it finally hit me - I think this is a variation of "Buzz Lightyear" from  Toy Story.  That's been her movie of choice lately, so that must have been what inspired her name.  Hopefully.

Anyway, this afternoon we headed for the mountains with Uncle Marc (and Bud Light the Elephant) and hiked up to Devil's Courthouse to enjoy the view.  Bud stayed in the car, but Sarah Beth walked all the way to the top (well, most of the way.)  

She got a little tired on the way down and insisted that Mommy carry her, so Mommy got quite the workout.  I guess I needed the exercise, but carrying a 34 pound kid down a mountain was not on my agenda for the day.  Need Advil, stat.

Op Love Farewell {Charlotte Family Photographer}

This was a special one.  Dad was headed to Afghanistan for a year, leaving behind his three beautiful children and loving wife.  We met after his deployment ceremony in Rock Hill, two days before he was leaving.  It was so hot outside that we had to shoot in their hotel.  The images are bittersweet - such sadness but also so much love between them. I hope these photographs help make the distance feel a little shorter and the time go a little faster.

This sweet little girl's sad face just broke my heart.

The children are given dolls that have their Daddy's picture on them, 
so when they need a hug from Daddy, they have something to hold on to.

Disclaimer:  The photos and other content of this publication do not imply any endorsement or recommendation by the Department of Defense. (FYI: It is a requirement that the name on the soldier's uniform be obscured so I Photoshopped it out.)

Friday, July 27, 2012

Beautiful Day {365 - Day 209}

We are beating the heat in the mountains this weekend.  Still a little warm here, but when we left Charlotte, it was 99 degrees, so this is a vast improvement.  This afternoon we had a meeting with a potential client, and on the way back to Grandma's house, we rounded the bend to this breathtaking view.

Day 209 {iPhone + photoshop}

I made Kurt turn around so I could snap a photo with my phone.  Corn as far as you can see, lovely little hill behind some cool old barns.  I would love to spend a lazy afternoon on that hill under a tree reading a book and sipping on lemonade. And taking pictures, of course. 

Thursday, July 26, 2012

20 Minute Wait. {365 - Day 208}

The best restaurants have toys.  

Day 208 {iPhone + photoshop}

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

iPad Strikes Again. {365 - Day 207}

I think we need a technology intervention for our 3 year old.  She is more addicted than her Mommy and Daddy.  If it's not the iPad, sorry, I mean her iPad, she's begging for my phone or Daddy's phone.  She mostly likes to play music.  Well, actually she likes to play one particular song over and over and over.  I don't want to name names, but if I never hear Counting Crows sing that song from Shrek again, it will be ok with me. 

Day 207 {iPhone + Photoshop}

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Painting Zen. {365 - Day 206}

Tonight I went to a BYOB painting class at Cajun Canvas with my friend Caveni.  I knew we'd have fun, but I thought it would have more to do with the alcohol than the painting.  What I discovered is that painting is extremely cathartic and relaxing.  For 2 1/2 hours, I thought of nothing but my fluffy white clouds and happy little trees.  (Yes, I watched a lot of Bob Ross in my youth.)  Not only do I feel a sense of calm, but I have a halfway decent painting that I can hang on the wall.  So what if my clouds look like marshmallow mountains? I'm very proud of my masterpiece.

Day 206 {iPhone + photoshop}

Monday, July 23, 2012

Dirty. {365 - Day 205}

Today I had lunch with a friend and had to run a few business errands so I took the opportunity to dress like a grown up.  When I got home, I was greeted by this sweet girl, covered head to toe in wet sand and dirt, arms outstretched for her Mama. 

I admit, I sat in the car for a few moments out of fear for my crisp white pants and dry clean only shirt, but her big blue eyes got the better of me and I risked it.  To her credit, she didn't even try to attack me with hugs and kisses until after she took a bath and my work clothes were safely tucked away in the closet.  What a good girl she is.

 Day 205 {iPhone + photoshop}

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Indulge. {365 - Day 204}

We love sushi but try not to indulge too often.  Tonight was one of those times when I was really craving some salmon, so off we went to Rusan's for the Salmon Quartet.  That's salmon 4 ways, all delicious. 

Day 204 {Kurt's iPhone (mine was dead) + Photoshop}

Sarah Beth eats the salmon tempura.  She calls it chicken.  I don't care what she calls it, as long as she keeps eating it.  Here food choices used to be vast, now it's starting to narrow down to cereal, crackers, and cheese.  So anytime we can sneak in some fish we are happy.  Even if Daddy had to bribe her with a Moon Pie for dessert.  (Leftover from our Charleston trip - did you know there's a Moon Pie STORE there?  It's fabulous, and I don't even eat Moon Pies.)

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Diva. {365 - Day 203}

Busy day today.  Op Love shoot this morning (preview coming soon!) and then out to lunch and lots of errands.  We ate at Flying Biscuit (yum) and as we were leaving, spotted this car.  I don't know who it belongs to, but I know I like her.  Her Mini made me laugh out loud.

Day 203 {iPhone + photoshop}

We did a good deed today.  On our way to Rita's for ice cream, we saw a dog walking down the sidewalk alone right by a busy street.  We stopped to check him out and he was the sweetest puppy ever.  He had a tag so we called the owner who rushed over to pick him up.  He didn't even know he got out of the yard.  We were so glad we stopped, and Sarah Beth was very happy we "saved the happy dog."  Plus one in the good karma column for us today.  :-)

Friday, July 20, 2012

Pearl's Topiary Garden. {365 - Day 202}

What a day we had today.  I had a photo shoot this morning in Charleston, which went very well and very quickly, so we managed to pack up the car and head for home early.  We decided to take a little side trip through the middle of South Carolina to see Pearl Fryar's Topiary Garden.  You may have heard about Pearl from the small town of Bishopville, SC. 

Day 202 {Canon 5D Mark III}

He has had national recognition in stories in the NY Times and television news shows, and a documentary was made about him several years ago called "A Man Named Pearl"  (it's on Netflix.)  He is an older gentleman, son of a sharecropper, who, back in the 80's, started pruning his shrubs in hopes to win "yard of the month" from the Garden club.  He not only succeeded, but has turned his 3 acre property into a wonderland of abstract design.  You simply have to see it to believe that one man could do all this.  It is obviously a labor of love for him.  He has pieces installed at museums and various buildings (including the local Waffle House) and he speaks at colleges about his art. 

I'm not gonna lie.  It is off the beaten path and the ride is not the most beautifully scenic trip I've ever taken.  You pass through a lot of dirt poor towns with boarded up store fronts and dilapidated buildings.  It's painful to see.  That's part of what makes Pearl's work so special.  It is a sign of hope, a sign of life, in an otherwise forgotten small town.
Vintage Piggly Wiggly on the way to Bishopville.  Awesome.

Forgotten building in Bishopville.
 Where else can you shop for antiques and get a haircut?

We ate lunch here.  When you visit Pearl, be sure to stop here.  It was delicious and the people were so nice.  They gave Sarah Beth a stuffed dog which completely made the trip worthwhile for her.

Here are some highlights.  The photos don't do it justice.


The ongoing theme of his garden is Love, Peace, & Goodwill.  Written here in 8 foot letters.

Pearl also creates sculpture from discarded junk.

What I find so interesting is how Pearl envisions something that may take 5 or 10 years to grow into completion.  And he has the dedication to nurture that vision inch by inch.  Something about that kind of patience in a world of instant gratification is inspiring.

The fountains were Sarah Beth's favorite.

Pearl welcomes all visitors to his gardens.  How lovely is he to share this beauty with anyone who wishes to stop by!  We weren't the only visitors there today.  You'd think the neighbors may be bothered by the extra traffic on their street, but many of them have learned Pearl's art and sculpted topiaries in their own yards too.
If you are anywhere in the vicinity of Bishopville, stop by to see for yourself.  Maybe you'll be inspired too!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Marsh and Marshmallows {365 - Day 201}

 Today started off early (for us, anyway) with breakfast at The Lost Dog Cafe followed by a few hours at the beach.  We dug holes, built sand castles, and jumped waves until we were all ready for a break.  When we went back to our blanket, it was nearly buried in sand thanks to the strong wind. We tried to put up our little shelter, but the wind laughed at our "Sand Shack," tossing it around like a big kite.  I think if we had strapped Sarah Beth in, she would have launched right up in the air.

Not wanting to be sandblasted anymore, we headed for Taco Boy for a late lunch, then took a leisurely drive back towards Charleston, stopping to take some pictures of the beautiful marsh.  We finished the day with a dip in the hotel pool, a stroll down Market Street, and chocolate-covered marshmallows on a stick.  Win!

Day 201 {Canon 7D}

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Beach. {365 - Day 200}

I had to travel to Charleston for a photo shoot on Friday, so we headed down a little early and made a mini-vacation of it.  We rolled into town at 4pm, tossed our stuff in the hotel room and headed out to Folly Beach.  The weather is amazing - sunny skies, cool ocean breezes, and waves that felt like bathwater.  We had to drag SB away at 6:30 to eat dinner, but we'll be back for a full beach day tomorrow.  Can't wait!

Day 200 {Canon Elph}

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Almost Home. {365 - Day 199}

This morning I headed to Greenville, SC for a photo shoot.  At 7AM.  Um, early. Fortunately it was a great day and everything went well, but by the time I got back to Charlotte this afternoon I was ready to lounge on the couch while sipping a glass of wine.  Sarah Beth had other plans for me, however, involving playtime.  Not exactly relaxing, but just as enjoyable.  I took this shot at a stoplight in the home stretch, dreaming of a chilled Lambrusco.
Day 199 {iPhone + photoshop}