The Parkers || Fall 2015

I love shooting this family! Their kids are total camera hams. I mean just look at them, they’re literally “too cool” for that picture. I love it! I end up with so many great shots it’s hard to pick favorites. Click the image below to see more!

 

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Budinger Family Fall Shoot

Such a sweet family. I hope I get to shoot them again so their middle son isn’t so camera shy the next time! Click the image below to see more of my favorites! :)

 

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Wyatt’s Newborn Shoot

Click the image below to view my favorites on Flickr!

 

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Dylan’s 1st Birthday Shoot

Such a happy cutie! For more pictures, click the image below!

 

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The Frustration that is LE Dolls

I’ll be honest, I never thought I’d ever feel a real need for a limited edition doll. As far as exclusives or chaser figures go, or the ones that have value at least, I’ve always just thought it was cool if I happened to get one, but never really cared whether I got them or not. I think to date, the only “exclusive” toys I’ve actively pursued were Monster High items, and even with their exclusivity, we’re not talking about forking over a great sum of money to make them mine. I’ve watched my best friend fight the hordes for the exclusive dolls she has and sometimes have to pay unfair prices for the ones she really needed. I always feel so awful for her struggle and I thought that alone would deter me from ever feeling compelled to join the fray, but I learned last week that I was wrong.

 

Tokidoki and Barbie teamed up to release two new LE dolls last week and I’d already been wishing I’d known about Tokidoki back in 2011 when the first one came out because nowadays you’d be lucky to get it on eBay for somewhere between $300 & $800 (which means there’s never even a possibility I could own one). Of the new dolls, one was significantly more exclusive than the other. Naturally I was more drawn to the super limited one, not because of this exclusivity though, but because in my opinion it’s the prettier of the two dolls.

 

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The doll I’m talking about is the Platinum Label Tokidoki Barbie. There were only 999 of her made. And to make that low availability even tougher, Barbie’s site first created a wait line to even shop the event (of which I stayed in for 6+ hours) and then a treasure hunt I knew nothing about to even find the page that doll was being sold on. I was allowed into the site about 2 minutes after the sale started, but by the time I found the secret page for the extra exclusive doll I wanted (we’re talking about maybe 10 minutes total), she was completely sold out already. Literally, in a handful of minutes. It blows my mind. And disappoints me.

 

What makes me even more frustrated is seeing her listed on eBay now for $1K or more. And people are actually bidding on that price, actually willing to pay that much. I guess if I was a rich person, maybe that wouldn’t seem so extreme for something so limited, but right now it just feels insane and disappointing. And I can bet that most Tokidoki fans are not rich.

 

I mean, I know I’m not some marketing expert and I won’t pretend to have any real understanding about toy manufacturing, but I just don’t understand the whole LE world. You have to figure that average toy production has to run in the 100’s of thousands, so a special, limited toy that only produced say 10K would still be a highly sought after doll worth money, but at 10K, there’d be a bigger chance that real fans might actually be able to own one. I just don’t get how one decides to only run 1K of something. Because, in the end, they’re not the one who reaps the profit on it, the scalpers are. I don’t understand how that’s beneficial to the business releasing the product in the first place. Sure, if that day, they only released 1K dolls at $75 a piece they made $75K in those few minutes it took to sell out and that’s great for business. But if you assume the profit on such a product is only 1/3 of that cost, they truly only made $25K. Meanwhile, if only 250 of those 1K LE dolls were purchased by scalpers who will turn around and sell that $75 doll for $1K, they’re making $250K (or $231+/- after their own cost). Those scalpers are winning every time. It just seems like a bad business decision on the creators part.

 

I don’t know, I know I’m just preaching to the choir of doll and toy collectors who also struggle to acquire rare things like this, but I just can’t stop thinking about how frustrating it is. I wish the irritation of it all only turned me further from the desire to want one of these exclusives, but somehow it’s only made me want it more. Still, not enough to ever pay such a crazy price for it, but enough to become a stalker if/when the next one releases. Is this madness they create in the ones who really want their products but fail to get them what they’re banking on when they release these things? Probably. And I guess if that is the objective, they’re clearly succeeding, because I’m not the only disappointed fan still talking about this a week later.

 

Luciano Turns 2!

“Birthday Suit” + Confetti + Cake = Birthday Shoot Success!

 

(Click the image below to see the whole set on Flickr!)

 

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Cat Gang

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A couple months ago a white and black cat wandered onto our porch and bothered the crap out of our cat Tay, who watched from the window. No matter how much she hissed at him or how puffy the sight of him made her, he was just not afraid of her. Or us, for that matter. That first night he showed up, we went outside to see if the collar he wore had a tag on it and he came right up to us. Unfortunately, the collar was just a flee collar and this cat looked like it’d been a while since he’d eaten last so we fed him (further irritating our own cat all the while). We took his picture and spread it around on FB to all the local animal pages, but no one ever claimed him as theirs. He came back every night after that, seeking the safeness of our porch and the food he knew we offered.

 

 

After about a week of this, we put a water and food bowl out there permanently and just got in the habit of filling it in the afternoon so it’d be there whenever he showed up. In doing so though, we encouraged a whole gang of cats to seek food and shelter on our porch. And I’m not joking when I say, that black and white cat is the leader (we call him Boss now).

 

At first, they’d all come one after another, slowly creeping up our walkway, looking out for anything alarming, and then only eating what they needed before disappearing for the next cat to have a bite. But then Boss started coming to the porch with a kitten, with not much resemblance, but clearly Boss is looking out for him for some reason, as if it’s his kid. We call that kitten Boots, because he’s primarily black and gray, but has white feet. Once the pair of them started coming, the other cats started joining them, practically standing in a line together for their turn in the bowl. When they’re finished, they don’t even vanish right away, often times they get comfy in our porch chairs and hang out there all night.

 

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So now we’re officially feeding four more cats than the one we own. There’s Boss & Boots, like I mentioned above and Derpy, who’s a Himalayan with crossed eyes, and a little scrawny guy we call Lone Ranger, because he’s still a bit afraid of the rest of the gang and us for that matter. He seems reluctant to hang out around anyone for very long.

 

Getting their pictures has been difficult because unless Boss is around to be brave for them, they keep their distance from us while we’re outside filling the bowls. Boss on the other hand will eat right out of my hand. He even comes up onto the window sill to let us know they’re ready for dinner if we haven’t already filled the bowl for the day. It drives Tay insane.

 

 

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I know I’ve started a dangerous habit with this. Right now it’s okay that they’re outdoor cats because at least they’re eating and have each other, but I know once winter arrives it will kill me knowing they’re out there without warmth. I would take every last one of them in if were even allowed to have the cat we currently have, but it’s not an option in this apartment. I’m afraid to call any of the local agencies to help find them real homes because most of them aren’t no-kill shelters and so I’d basically just be handing them over to death and I can’t bear that now. They have names, they matter to me now.

 

I really don’t know what I should do with them at this point. They trust that we’ll feed them everyday so I can’t stop. They feel safe enough on our porch to sleep there and I’m glad for that, but what do I do when winter gets here and they’re freezing? My porch and food aren’t enough to keep them safe and alive at that point, so how can I save these precious kitties come winter?

 

(Pictured in this post, top to bottom: Boss, Lone Ranger, & Derpy. To see more pictures or full size versions of these cats, click HERE!)

Internet Hiatus

At the end of May I found myself needing a break from this place. Sometimes it’s just too much, you know? Plus, I’d been obsessive over it, spending all my free time on social media instead of doing productive things that actually leave me feeling happy with myself.

 

I told myself I’d just get away from it for June and spend some time reading, which is something I’ve failed at majorly this year. And maybe be able to finally write something after giving myself a much needed dip in the creative well. Unfortunately, I didn’t end up reading all that much, or writing a single word for that matter, and as you can see by the date of this post, it’s August and I’m just now returning. Sort of. But my time away wasn’t a waste. In fact, I was super busy. And not just busy doing things that are or feel like work, though there was some of that too.

 

So what have I been up to? Well, let’s see….

 

I did read a little, but more comics than books. That’s basically been the story of this year. I don’t know what’s gotten me so much more into comics this year than previous years (probably, it’s partly Heather’s fault. 😉 ) but my comic reads and purchases are leading by a landslide. A few of the more notable reads during the hiatus include: Jem & the Hologram Comics, Morning Glories Graphic Novels, and The Haunting of Sunshine Girl Novel.

 

Photography’s been keeping me the busiest outside of my day job, between actual photoshoots and hours of editing. I shot a wedding, a superhero birthday party, a pregnant lady, and a little diva! It’s both weird and awesome how much paid work I’ve gotten photography wise, considering how little I broadcast the business. God’s been good to me this way. As I look toward fall, which is notoriously my “busy” season when it comes to pictures, I’m a little nervous about how I’ll juggle it all alongside wedding prep, but I think I might be able to make it happen with designated weekends for taking ALL the pictures. Sort of like Fall Minis or whatever that trend is… I’ll have more on that later if anyone’s interested.

 

VBS CollageI had two opportunities to work on one of my resolutions during the hiatus. First, I shot most of Vacation Bible School at my church. Not only was it fun capturing all the kids being kids, it was awesome to see how excited they got about Jesus. And just how many of them showed up night after night. My small church saw a record breaking number of 106 attendees! That doesn’t even include all the adults who worked or attended the adult class either. At the end of the week there was a slideshow presented with a bunch of my pictures mixed in. My cheeks were sore from all the smiling I did watching the recap of a great week. I hope I get to do even more next year.

 

 

 

Sharing Table CollageI also finally got to volunteer for the Sharing Tables (aka Soup Kitchen) during the hiatus too. I didn’t take my big camera to capture that, just a few camera phone shots, but it is definitely something I want to commit to every time my church participates. We served the 70-some people that showed up lunch and dessert and then, thanks to the goodness of local grocery stores and everyday people donating their goods, every person gets to leave with a bag of food and necessities to get them through the week. These Sharing Tables are open to them every Saturday and while it was really sad to see how many people have to rely on this to eat and live in general, I am so glad such a thing exists for them. It’s disheartening to see just how many people right around me go without; the veterans, the disabled, families with an abundance of children. Their struggle tugged at my heart in a serious way and I left there feeling both humbled and blessed and really happy I got to serve God this way.

 

My toy collection grew somewhat substantially during the hiatus, but that’s probably no surprise. I was extra excited about all the toys I got in June & July though because for the most part I’d pre-ordered them all months ago and even though they weren’t necessarily slated to release all at the same time, they basically did, leaving me with what seemed like days and days’ worth of toy hauls. Toys received include: Inside Out Funko Pops!, Mystery Minis, and Disney Tsum Tsums, Winnie the Pooh Tsum Tsums, The Breakfast Club Funko Pops!, a full case of Garbage Pail Kids Funko Really Big Mystery Minis, Funko 10” GPK Adam Bomb Vinyl Figure, the 17” Monster High Freak Du Chic doll Gooliope Jellington, and Tokidoki’s Unicorno Series 4! You can see pictures of all them HERE!

 

Some random things I did during the hiatus that are worth noting include: Starting two new subscriptions services in addition to my Loot Crate. One was Nerd Block’s latest venture, Comic Block. I’m still not entirely sure how much I’ll love this in the long term, but I think I’ll probably keep it around until I switch back to Horror Block for Halloween. And I also subscribed to a treat service called Universal Yum, which sends you snacks and treats from different places around the world every month. So far I’ve gotten goodies from Mexico & Japan. It’s been really fun tasting places I’ll probably never get to travel to.

 

My tattoos have changed since the last time I was online. I’ve had two sessions to add color behind the leaves and snowflakes and they finally feel complete! I’m hoping to squeeze one more tattoo in before the wedding, so long as schedules and funds work in my favor. If not, I suppose I’ll have to be patient till next year.

 

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Heath and I went to see Cirque Du Soleil’s Varekai. I’ve always wanted to see a Cirque Du Soleil show, but I guess I was ignorant to the fact that they’re entirely in French. Despite having taken 4 years of honor French in high school, I had no freaking idea what was going on. But it sure was pretty and they’re some crazy talented performers. I think before I make too much of a confused judgment on Cirque Du Soleil as a whole, I should probably see another show first and see if I can follow that story a little better.

 

I actually went to the movies. Twice! As someone who loves film as much as I do, you think I’d go more often, but I just can’t justify the cost and am strangely patient in most cases when it comes to waiting for movies to come out on DVD (probably because it happens so fast these days). That being said, I miss the theater. I used to go A LOT and even though it’s crazy how much it costs nowadays, there’s something about seeing it on that big screen that you start to miss. So, Groupon had a deal and Heath and I just picked whatever looked the funniest, which happened to be Amy Schumer’s TRAINWRECK (and it was perfectly hilarious, btw) and we found ourselves at the movies randomly one day after work. I think it’d been a year since I’d been to the movies so it was odd that I’d find myself there again, for a second time, in the same week. But that following weekend my sister called and said, “We asked Gideon who he wanted to go see Minions (his first theater movie) with, Mommy or Daddy? And he said, “Aunt Sarah,” so I don’t know if you wanted to take him or not, but…” And of course my heart was melting and I was all, “I’ll be right there!” God, I love that kid. He was scared initially, of the bigness of the theater, of the darkness (he’s scared of everything new these days, it’s a phase), but once that screen lit up he was so captivated he forgot all about those fears, he even forgot he had an ice cream sandwich in his hand (and no one ever forgets about ice cream). When it was over he was so excited to see it again on that “Big TV.” And I’m excited about the idea of getting to see kids movies in the theater now, because Aunt Sarah will always be willing to take him. 😉

 

I’ve finally started to panic about the wedding and the lack of planning I’ve done for it thus far. It’s 3 months away now and I’ve only just now locked down a photographer and sort of locked down a caterer, but haven’t decided on a menu yet. There’s still so much to do that even thinking about making a to-do list for it all overwhelms me. I’m sorely regretting not taking this more seriously earlier on in the year. It’s still just going to be a laid back, sort of non-traditional wedding (I keep referring to it as a glorified cookout, but it’s definitely more than that), but that still requires serious effort considering I’m making so much of the decorations and whatnot by myself. I’ve really got to get busy.

 

Ocean City CollageThe most exciting thing I did during the hiatus was taking a real vacation for the first time in ages, to the beach for the first time in over a decade. It was only a 3 day getaway, but it was much needed and oh so fulfilling. My parents had rented a giant beach house and my sister’s family and neighbors came down too. Being at the beach again with my entire family had me nostalgic for my youth and all the vacations we took there when I was a kid. Heck, just being on the boardwalk after so long away from it had all the feels buzzing happily inside me. We did all the necessary, OceanCity things; Candy Kitchen’s Fudge, Fisher’s Popcorn, Thrasher’s Fries, Skee-Ball, and Old Time Black & White Photo booth pictures. We walked a ton and ate a really good seafood restaurant called Hooked, and even got to take home some really pretty blown glass ornaments from the Christmas Village my parents have always gotten their own ornaments from. The waves kicked my butt and Heath and I were both so sunburnt we looked like lobsters, but it was incredibly fun and relaxing. Just the long overdue escape from life we needed. I hope my parents get that place again next year. My camera performed like a champ while we were there, and if you’re interested in seeing pictures from the trip, click HERE!

 

This hiatus was good for me, mentally and physically, and while I did miss the internet a little (Okay, that’s kind of a lie. I mostly only missed Twitter – lol.), I think I need to practice staying away from it a little more often. It’s a bad habit I don’t want to let takeover me again. Because even if I didn’t get all the things I thought I would do done in my absence, I still did a heck of a lot more than I would have had I still been wasting all my free time with it. Stuff that was way more fulfilling than the internet’s ever made me feel. Everyone should take a break from time-to-time. It’s good for you to actually live life, you know? Not just watch how other people are living theirs. 😉

 

What have you been up to while I was gone?

 

 

 

 

Lil’ Diva Shoot

What little girl doesn’t want some cool pictures of herself for her fancy new bedroom? She wanted black and whites, but gosh the color just pops so much! Ari gets more and more into these shoots as she gets older and I’m loving it! :)

 

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(Click the image above to see the album on Flickr!)

 

Hoerr Family Baby #2!

I’ve enjoyed shooting this family with just Brody, but I’m so excited to shoot them once Wyatt’s here too!

 

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(Click the image above to see the album on Flickr!)