Archive of ‘Key West’ category

Sometimes… It takes a whole year… Miss you Key West

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A year ago today I was landing on the tiny island of Key West. I would be staying with my wonderful dear friend, Kelly, and Little Lue would be reunited with her friend Miss O. My little Wild Child would be seeing Key West for the first time. It was to be a good trip.

But I was so home sick for Key West when we visited that every moment was painful. I wanted to stay, and never leave. I took photos, but I didn’t even look them over when I came home. I couldn’t. It hurt too much. So the photos just kind of floated around in my computer… Every now and then I would pull them up and look through them…

I really miss Key West. It was where my first daughter was born. It was where I made some wonderful friends and created my first Mommy Tribe. It was where I learned photography and started this blog. Camera Latte used to be filled with photos of cute kids running around in the sand. It was my favorite sight, and I couldn’t get enough of it.

I now blog about pretty much anything running thought my head instead of focusing on family photos… but today, as the “Memories” on my FB Feed started to pop up, I couldn’t help but open up that file and run some of those memories thought my head. It was such a wonderfully fun vacation. So here they are… The photos that I had buried deep in my heart for safe keeping. I wish I had capture every second of the visit, but the camera was, in fact, not glued to my face. Here’s what I do have.

So what’s the first thing we do? Hit the park of course.

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Walk down Duval St and get a snack.

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The next morning we have breakfast at one of our favorite restaurants. I had a list of must go places, unfortunately we never made it in to a couple. Too much delicious food on that rock.

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We then walked around and visited our old house… We didn’t go all the way in, but we waved.

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Off to the butterfly museum!

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And the Accuarioum

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Lots of friendly birds there…

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The beach of course.

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Another day we took a ride on the Conch Train. It takes you on a tour of Key West so I took advantage to get photos of all my favorite spots.

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More park time.

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We ate a ton of ice cream here…

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Ahhh… I can almost feel the warmth…

Thanks for the memories, you fantastic island, you. Miss you terribly. Any will always have plans to return and visit with the wonderful friends we’ve made there.

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Good bye Key West… You will be missed…

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It’s been a couple of weeks since we left our home in Key West. It was definitely very difficult to say goodbye to a place that has been so good to us. We all grew so much there.

The husband rediscovered his interest in bicycling. He would do a little mountain biking here and there in OK, but living in a small town where bicycle commuting was practically a given, he really got into cycling. Which lead him to meeting up with a bunch of triathletes and really getting into all this workout stuff.

Which in turn inspired me to start running. Go me! Did my first 5K and a few others and then somehow pushed my butt across the 7 Mile Bridge Run. You can read about that on THIS blog post.

We both turned a new leaf and switched to a vegetarian diet. We’ve been eating a less processed, mostly organic diet for well over a year now and there are no signs of us looking back. We both feel pretty proud of those changes.

Of course it goes without saying that our family has grown too! Little Lue is 100% Conch. She was born a little over a year after we moved to Key West. It’s pretty amazing how having a little human to take care of really shakes you and makes you examine how you are living your life. The process of child proofing my home had a lot less to do with hiding knives and outlets, and a lot more cleansing of a different type. We wanted less TV, more family time. Less junk food, more fruits. More coloring, more reading, more quiet time, more home cooked meals, more time spent in parks, more singing, more dancing, more smiling… You get my drift. 😉

We also adopted Luna, our wacky little husky! Life with 2 dogs has been full of new challenges and new adventures. I definitely don’t see myself adding anymore pets to the family any time soon, but with Luna I definitely feel like my fur-mommy heart is full. I love the way Bongo and Luna have bonded, they are such a great team. It just seems right.

So yeah! That’s a WHOLE lot of growing! And of course I started getting more into photography the last few months too. Hoping to keep that ball rolling once we arrive in Germany and restart my business there. Excited and terrified all at once about that. I loved working with Say Yes to Key West and shooting weddings. It really opened my eyes to a profession that is really calling my name. We will see what happens…

With all this going on you can imagine there’s been a lot of soul searching and even some spiritual growth. I got a lot more interested in Yoga and finding ways to re-connect with The Powers that Be in this universe. It’s kind of amazing to me how this awesome life force (or should I say Love Force?) that we tend to refer to as God is literally hollering at you every which way you turn screaming I’M HERE FOR YOU. And we just go on our merry way thinking “Oh my, what a lovely sunset.” I think I know better now and that’s a good thing :) I’m truing to wave back a little now…

I feel so incredibly blessed to have found such a wonderful family on this Earth. I’ve met such great friends along the way in Key West. It will be really difficult being away and knowing that this part of my life is part of my past instead of my present. But I hope the friendships we’ve made and the lessons we’ve learned will continue to grow in the years to come. It’s like my heart keeps getting bigger and bigger every time we move. Each home we’ve had is a like a new family and by the time we have to move; our family has double in size.

Now I can say that we have family in Puerto Rico, Oklahoma, and Key West! And it’s only going to keep getting bigger!!

So I will try and leave this on a happy note. I’m not very good at goodbyes… I’d rather just run out the door with a quick hug and try and focus on what’s to come. We will keep growing. We will keep learning. We will keep bouncing from one place to another. But we will most definitely miss every single part of Key West and every home we have to leave behind… That’s just part of our life.

So sending out some hugs and kisses to Key West. To the amazing mommies and kids that turned into amazing friendships for both me and Little Lue. For the incredible athletes out there running in the sun every day that inspired both Duvi and I to get off the couch and out the door. For the amazing foods and restaurants we found that inspired new diets and new blogs! For the incredible artists and small business owners that captured our imagination and dreams and reminded us of how important it is to do what you love each and every day.

Yup, you will be missed. Until next time, you rocky little island you…

 

 

Finishing up with a single image from our last day at the house.

The house empty, but our hearts full.

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The Captain’s Going-Away

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We had my husband’s going away work party at our favorite vegetarian restaurant, The Cafe. It was a nice time for him to see a lot of his coworkers and just get together for some good food. If this sounds surprising to you, many of them had never been to this awesome restaurant and were quite scared of the dreaded tofu LOL. Thankfully, The Cafe serves fish as well as shrimp if a plate without any meat was truly too offensive haha. The hubs had been telling the coworkers he was going to feed them ONE vegetarian meal before leaving, so I guess this was it!

The Cafe’s manager Sam was so incredibly helpful, as always, they have such great service there. They made sure we got some yummy entries that seemed popular with everyone and bid us farewell with a delicious carrot cake!

We might pay The Cafe just one more visit before we made our grand exit from Key West. This place shall be missed deeply…

As for the husband, he got some really lovely gifts from his office. They gave him a flag for his unit that had been flown over Puerto Rico in a nice in scripted shadow box, as well as a nice sighed-by-everyone plaque. I know he really liked those gifts and will happily hang them in our next home.

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The going-away was last week. I am currently sitting in a hotel room enjoying being DONE with all the moving stress. Little Lue and I are cuddled up in bed watching The Tigger Movie as I update the blog and my new business website… I’m so so glad to be done with the house!! So as I get the chance write something up as well as edit my photos from the last few days I will have a few more “moving away” posts… Stay tuned for more “We’re moving to Germany!” ADVENTURES :)

Little Lue’s last Music Together class :(

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So last week was our last class of the Music Together semester. This would be the last semester we would be participating as our move to Germany is fast (too fast) approaching. We had started going before Little Lue’s first birthday and it had quickly turned into our Tuesday ritual. On the few weeks that the class was not going on I felt utterly lost… Little Lue and I (and daddy and Nana on the occasional class) really enjoyed our time there. The teachers, Miss Sandra and Miss Molly, were awesome, the company (mostly our closest friends) was exceptional. And music class was often followed by coffee dates and park visits.

Ok… so I just teared up a little…

Seriously… I can’t believe we are leaving our amazing Key West family. Going to our last class was kind of the first real marker that our time here is almost over.

I tried to take a few photos… but evidently my heart wasn’t in it. As they are all blurry and gloomy looking. I don’t want to say good bye. :( Don’t let the lackluster photos deter you. Music Together is AWESOME and worth it. I enjoy the music, the singing, dancing, and all their fun props and instruments. Little Lue loves it and I got to really see her grow in it as she started to learn how to talk, sing, follow directions, and just everything. It has been really great… I wish we could stay and enjoy it a little longer…

Sorry for being such a downer today. On a more positive note, I’ve been really busy with the photography business! Lots of weddings to edit and a few fun events as well! Go check that out over on my Photography Services page. 😀 All the action over there has been cutting my personal blogging time a bit short. But I promise Camera Latte is here to stay and I can’t wait to share all of the adventures that await us in Europe!

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The Sunday Stroll

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Nothing says end of the week in the Hernandez house like a Sunday stroll.

You know the drill, Little Lue gets all buckled up in her bike bench, mom and dad grab the helmets, and away we go.

This Sunday morning we decided to go to Sippin, and we were happily surprised by how empty it was. It’s quite difficult to go anywhere these days with Little Lue as she is getting quite unpredictable when it comes to restaurants. So an empty restaurant is a welcomed sight; less people to upset by the ornery toddler. Although it seems no one has noticed the floor tantrums, or given much thought to a little head pocking around the back of the register because Little Lue is always a welcomed and cherished customer at Sippin. I love that place.

After breakfast it was off to our favorite park on the corner of Whitehead and Caroline St. We only stayed a few minutes and then decided to wonder around down town.

I was kind of leaning towards riding the Conch Train again, but decided against it as I think that stuff is free for locals for the month of June. (Anyone want to double check for me??)

We just walked around the boardwalk and wondered into the Art Museum. Did you know that’s free for Active Duty Military and family? (it may be a temporary thing, but still nice that it was free! Go check that out!).

Back outside we had the pleasure of sitting in some shade  by an adorable puppy! Her name was “Coqueta” and she certainly lived up to her name. She was so cute and friendly. Where can I find more puppies to take pictures of?!!?!

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Conch Train!!

Ok, so what started out what sounded like a totally dorky idea turned out to be so much fun!

My good friend Kelly has a lot of connections with the city’s Conch Train Tour so she suggested we go on a ride as a play date. I thought it would be a great idea since Little Lue loves rides and this train definitely looked like a ride! It just so happens that it “rides” around town hehe.

Turns out that the tour was 90 minutes long (split into a 50 minute portion and another 2 smaller portions, divided by short stops). I was a tad nervous that this would test Little Lue’s attention span, but it actually worked out great! It was 90 minutes of sitting *mostly* in the same place and just taking in the sights. And the information about the history and architecture of Key West was really cool too.

It was really nice and the girls LOVED it. Little Lue was excited all morning because I kept telling her we were going on the choo-choo and she couldn’t wait to get on the train once we got to the “station”.

Little Lue and Miss O got to check out the engine and even pulled on it’s bell! They got some cute little engineer paper hats, but the little stinkers wouldn’t keep them on.

Oh! And at the little gift shop we got a cute little train whistle. I also grabbed some popcorn to maximize toddler compliancy for the remainder of the ride.

It was great. I kept joking with Kelly that I’d pay to ride it again… me in one car with my Kindle, and the hubby and Little Lue in another… he he he

 

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No more

So the last few days I’ve been trying to focus on putting away the iPhone, the iPad, the Kindle Fire… All those glowing fun little screens we’ve all come to love and can’t seem to remember what life was like without them. It’s hard.

After trying to keep these things away from Little Lue as a baby, there was no way Little Lue the toddler was going to ignore them. If mommy was playing with her phone all day long, what do you think she wanted to do?

So the fights over who gets to play with the phone started. This turned into swapping my phone for “her” iPad which I filled with fun games. This worked out well for a while. She would play her puzzle games for a reasonable amount of time and then move on to the next activity on her own… It didn’t feel so dangerous. And so we got more and more comfortable letting Little Lue handle the glowing magical mirrors…but something changed.

Of course the joy had to end somewhere. Little Lue discovered that these gadgets had something else hidden inside them, something far more… well… fun… Little Lue found the YouTube app as well as the Netflix app. And what started off as a fun game time on these little computers was slowly turning into more time spent watching TV.

In this house there is no TV until the end of the day. And it’s not even cable, it’s movies. Come evening time, when mommy and daddy are feeling pretty spent, we put on a couple of Disney movies and call it a day. Not exactly proud of how much I look forward to 6:30 pm, but it feels like a reasonable arrangement.

So you can imagine how frustrating it is to realize that Little Lue’s already pretty extended amount of tube time (2-3 hours) was having another hour or more added from letting her play with the iPads/Kindle. It seemed fun and great at first. A portable entertainment center that could be used for a few minutes while mommy does dishes, or folds laundry, or plays on her own phone (guilty!). But then I hear that little voice in my head telling me WAKE UP! and get Little Lue off the mini tube, and the kid’s happy fantasy world comes to an end.

What follows is a concert of tears, screams, and begging for her favorite shows. “Broom, broom!!!” (Cars), “Honey!!!” (Whiney the Pooh), “Bumbo!!!” (well at least she got one of them). Her tears go on and on for what seems forever, but I image is more like 30 minutes. But if you’ve been in the same room as a screaming toddler, you know that 30 minutes is a LONG time. Long enough to completely drain up mommy’s patience and sanity. Long enough to induce a horrid migraine for the rest of the day. And long enough to completely sabotage whatever it is that needed to be done in those 30 minutes and drain a large portion of the motivation you had to get anything done around the house for that day.

You start to pray for naptime. Or helplessly hope that the husband is on his way home a bit early. You try giving options of activities that could be enticing enough to forget about crying. You offer up water play, or markers, or whatever it is that’s supper fun but you don’t do so often because it becomes way too mesy… And eventually Little Lue settles down enough to nurse and God bless boobs and their mystical powers to calm down a screaming baby.

And Little Lue is calm and starts to wonder around the house. And you exhale a sigh of relief for the worsts has passed.

And then…

And then my sweet innocent daughter comes over to me, grabs my hand, and quite calmly starts to pull me and say “Come on… Honey.”

Cue mommy tears.

So no more. No more. NO. MORE.

I’ve come to realize that as soon as I pull out my phone to check emails/facebook/blog stats (ha!) Little Lue is reaching for the phone as well and starts asking to watch one of her shows. As if what I’m watching isn’t cool enough. I’ve come to realize that any time Little Lue finds the iPad laying around the couch and starts playing with it, instead of trading it for a more appropriate toy I look away. I look away and relish in a few minutes of not having to entertain/watch her (but you already saw the results of that!).

BUT. NO. MORE.

I’ve put my iPhone in a shelf on the desk. The iPad is hiding on top of a dresser. Daddy’s Kindle Fire is charging out of sight. And I have promised myself to limit MY computer time to “desk” computer time. Simply put, if I don’t have time to sit at the computer desk with my back turned to the living room, I certainly have no business playing on my phone. Playing on my phone while sitting next to a pile of unfolded laundry is not multi-tasking. Playing on my phone while Little Lue builds with blocks is not watching her. Getting minute by minute status updates from friends on facebook is not really a social life and I need to stop pretending it is.

I know that if I put my magical glowing mirror away and do other activities Little Lue will join me. I know that it is really me who is aggravating the situation by constantly having my phone out as she watches me. And I know that, just like her, I have no real “need” to play on my phone as often as I do.

I’ve decided that if I must have a distraction during the day it will be limited to the reading Kindle (original non colorful/internet friendly version). If I have some moments to spare they can be spent reading books or a news paper. Seems more enriching than FB and Little Lue hardly has interest or understanding of what I look at a gray screen filled with letters for.

 

So… This blog is supposed to be about pictures, correct? LOL

Weekends and family outings are usually the most tech free in this home. We make an effort to not pull out our phones while out for dinner, or being at the park, or whatever else. Here are a few pictures I took Sunday while wondering about Mallory Square. We wanted to kill some time before returning home after dinner, so we just walked around looking at the ocean, the buildings, the people. Eventually I pulled out my camera, because lets face it, that’s what I do. Yesterday the hubby asked about the pictures and I was almost embarrassed to say that I had yet to give them a look! So here are a few for your enjoyment.

May my days be filled with more quality family time and less magical glowing screen time.

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Just another day

I often wonder how anything around the house gets done… Seriously, it’s such a constant battle.

One moment I am beaming staring at this lovely relatively organized living room/kitchen. The laundry is folded, the dishes are clean, the toys are corralled in their little homes around the house, and I can pretend my house is perfectly clean if I ignore a few scattered piles of dog hair that persistently reaper no matter how recently I vacuumed. And then… maybe 30 minutes after this moment of cleanly satisfaction, it’s like everything has been undone.

Little Lue is pulling the piles of clean folded laundry onto the floor (why, oh, WHY did I not put them away faster?!). The kitchen is once again messy form… you know… that thing you have to constantly do… cooking and eating. The living room suddenly has the same scattered look it did from this morning’s play time. And my husband has lovingly left his boots, socks, and uniform top sitting on random areas around the house as he unwinds from work.

Ahh… And look… the mess is back…

Well… I guess I should be glad, or else, what on earth would I do all day, right??

Here is Little Lue helping with sorting socks. As you can see from the pictures, this task was kind of boring, so she decided to liven it up a bit by using the sock as a twirling/dancing partner. When that got too boring she tried dragging me over to the “forbidden room” as we like to call it (ie the TV room) but I managed to get her looking at a book instead. But mom was taking pictures, so she wants to join in. So mommy says go get your camera!

Ah… This is daily living here…. What’s your day like? :)

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What a let down…

When you realize you’ve accidentally deleted pictures you were going to blog. :(

I had some fun shots of another yummy restaurant in town, but I guess I will have to post about Goldman’s another day. I accidentally deleted the pictures. I thought I had already saved them on the computer, but I guess not; weird.

So instead all I have to share today are 3 pictures for going to Bay View Park yesterday. I was wanting to take more pictures with so many friends there, but Little Lue was not having the greatest time (there seemed to be a lot of drama revolving around this fun wagon she wanted all to herself lol) so it was kind of hard taking pictures while I really needed to be paying attention to her… Ahhh that thing called parenting I have to worry about every now and then 😉

Here are some beauty close ups of Little Lue and one of her dear friends. :)

Side note, goodness just look at those eyes!!!! <3 <3 <3

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Editing… that thing that I keep messing with

So another Tuesday another visit to my favorite park!

I snapped some pictures for my friend, Kelly, who had her mom visiting. But I’m just going to post some of Little Lue and Kelly’s daughter. <3 I usually take pictures of just Little Lue or just Miss O, but today I tried some of them together for keepsakes when… you know… I have to do that thing called… moving…

BUT LETS NOT TALK ABOUT THAT!!!!

While editing I tried something a little different. It sort of darkens the edges and give the images a bit more focus on the subject/s. I really like this. It makes the pictures a bit darker (which is definitely different for me since I love my bright pictures. But I like how this brings more depths and sort of lures you in. It was hard not using this technique on ALL the pictures hahaha.What do you think?

And of course I’m still not over the Black and White images. I’m really loving them too.

So yeah, a little kiddy cuteness for your enjoyment.

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Black and White

Yesterday I had the pleasure of shooting a portrait session for Iraiset and her family. She had been wanting to get some shots done for her two year old daughter. She was so sweet and had such adorable ideas for the shoot. I hope I was able to capture some of what she asked for. It was great to meet her and her adorable daughter and husband.

So while editing I knew a lot of shots would look nice in black and white, but since I’m such a color addict it had been difficult to really experiment with anything B&W while I was trying to really get a good look with the colors. Well, today was the day that I decided to take the dive and try out some black and white images. And I think I’m in LOVEEEEEEE. After doing the first one, I wanted to do them ALL in B&W hahaha. Obviously, I didn’t do that, but it was really fun to try something different and new.

Without any further delay… here are a few images. <3

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Happy Mothers Day Sylvia!

It was such a pleasure to shoot my last mom, Sylvia. She just had the sweetest demeanor and so easy to work with. And could her daughter have been any more adorable?! I think not (wait till you see those pictures!). It was truly a pleasure.

Sylvia even had  a little surprise with her! She had brought this awesome big fluffy pink tutu for her daughter to wear in some of the pictures. And boy was it hard not to smile with that little one being engulfed by pink tule. It was just a cuteness explosion. Totally fun to shot, I think I will need to do more of these fluffy tutu shoots, cause I LOVED this.

So overal, the back to back mini sessions were definitely a great experience for me. I got to work with different families, each one brought their own style to the table, and their own little challenge for me. It was really fun to meet some new moms and I would love to work with all of them again some time.

Well… enough blabber from me… here are the pictures, enjoy!!

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Happy Mother’s Day Elyse!

Today was my Mother’s Day shoot and it was SO much fun!

I decided to split up each of the mini sessions instead of writing up one post for every body because I can share more pictures of each session that way hehehe…

So on to the first mommy, Elyse!!!

This adorable mommy and baby boy were just to die for. He was just a chunky happy little man who was having a blast checking out the garden. You could tell that he’s at that age where they are really paying attention to their surroundings and enjoying this new found world.

It was so fun and easy to shoot this family. It was hard to mess this one up, and yet… I did! I almost cried when I realized I had an incorrect setting on the camera. And while I managed to work around this mistake while processing the pictures, it was still a BIG lesson for me. This wasn’t a happy accident like last time. It was mistake and I’m still kicking myself about it! Anyhow, lesson learned. ALWAYS check ALL settings before starting a shoot.

That being said, I love how this is all one big learning process. It’s amazing how much I learn from each family, each location, each editing session. I love this stuff!!!

Alright, without any further delay… Here are some gorgeous shots from this morning!

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Happy Mother’s Day Erika!

Now here’s a family I can’t get enough of! :)

Erika and her three little ones charged into the garden, and let me tell you, there was no stoping them! Here’s my question to more experienced photogs, how to take pictures of multiple ACTIVE children?! hahaha

We chased around those kids and as soon as we had two of them haming it up and giving us a big smile a third was off chasing butterflies! Or maybe everyone was miraculously looking as I’m double checking the camera settings, AHHHH!! DONT MISS THE PICTURE!!!!

Now THAT was another great learning experience. I need to bring some kind of kid attention grabbing tools. Maybe some little toys or stickers or candy. IDK something fun to give the kids at the end of a session or to give them something to look at that’s more interesting than a camera.

Regardless, it was hard not catch a few good ones <3 A beautiful family, beautiful setting, and a gorgeous day make for some amazing pictures.

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Oh look, it’s ME!

So Little Lue and I got to enjoy a little pool action at a friend’s house yesterday. It was supper fun and a huge relief from the increasingly hot weather we’re getting down here.

I brought my camera along to take some pictures of all the little ones in the pool, but it turned out that I never once brought it out. I was so nervous about having Little Lue in the pool that I just couldn’t justify pulling out the camera. And after a few times of her getting dunked under water (with me or another adult right there, I’m pretty sure I made the right choice!).

But luckily, someone did pull out their camera and took a few pictures. And when she posted them on FB I just yearned to edit them LOL.

So I asked for the pictures and I’m so glad I did!!! The pictures were all super cute and I seriously have so few with me actually in them. It was fun to edit them and see myself through Camera Latte Vision 😉

Thank you so much, Kelly, for taking the pictures and sharing them with me!!!

before and after- pic by kelly maatta

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Bella!!!

Remember that gorgeous family I got to shoot a few weekends ago? Well, we got together again for dinner as they wanted to invite us for a meal, kind of like a “thank you” for the pictures I had done for them, but really it was just a great excuse to get together! To my surprise their daughter Bella (what an appropriate nick name 😉 ) was wearing a dress I had made her for birthday. It was really nice to get to see it on her, I don’t always get the pleasure unfortunately. So It was kind of a special treat to just get to watch her play and twirl in it. And yes, of course there is twirling at restaurants, silly!

Bella’s mom excitedly told me how her family LOVED the pictures and that when they visit they wanted to have me shoot them all together. It was really nice to hear the pictures were appreciated. We will see if that gets to happen as my move date starts to get closer.

Well… Since there was an ADORABLE bench calling my name. And Bella was wearing my adorable dress… You KNOW I had to take some pictures!

I had to sit on these images a few days because as you may know, my desktop was frozen. But as soon as I got the new computer all set up they were the first images I decided to edit. And WOW what a difference my new screen has made!! It’s like I was editing blindfolded before!! hahaha I also got to work on my new logo/watermark :) So here it is for the first time… New an improved Camera Latte 😉

(((Poop… the logo got chopped on the vertical pictures… working on it!! lol at least it’s just the web ones with the bigger logo :P)))

 

Oh! And for those interested in my sewing CLICK HERE for my FB Page and HERE for my Etsy shop. It’s been a while since I posted new items/dresses, but just keep and eye on it 😉

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