‘Tis the season…for photo booths

There are few things more fun than a photo booth. It’s pretty much par for the course for a wedding reception to have one anymore… so being that I am trying to become more of a professional photographer that does weddings and such, I thought I should try to start getting in on it.

Plus, I just love photo booths. That’s all that is on my refrigerator right now – photo booth strips. It’s a sickness.

Earlier this spring, I was looking for things to add to my Amazon wish list (because addicted. Also poor.) and happened upon a really great deal on photography stuff. So I ordered a backpack (that was then stolen in Boston, but more on that later) and some filters and other cool stuff. The most important part of that purchase? A remote.

The first time we tried a photo booth with my camera it was at the Murder Mystery Party for New Years. It worked pretty well, but to take the picture you had to keep going over and pushing the timer on it and running back into place. No bueno. Remote solved all that.

So you better believe, that starting with the first of the several parties we were attending, I was going to test it out.

Well, correction, we tested out the props first.

And then, the day we had both Liz’s wedding shower and bachelorette party – the photo booth became very important because we used it at both.

I’m thinking it was a hit..

And some self-promotion real quick… hosting an event and looking for a photo booth? I’m your girl!

Advertisements

Straight (paint)ballin’

When I started thinking about what I wanted to do for my 30th birthday this month, I had so many different ideas. I tossed around doing something for others – doing 30 things for others or something nice for 30 people or maybe just a chill dinner with family.

It never once crossed my mind to use this big-deal birthday to cross something off my list.

That’s where the BFF comes in – it crossed her mind, so she and my sister and my cousins made it happen.

The list item of choice? Paintball.

Now when it was mentioned at the paintball place that this was a bucket list item, the toddler who worked there (I picked that saying up from my traffic school teacher this past weekend. My name’s Laura and I drive fast.) acted like having that on a bucket list was stupid. And to that I say “Worry ’bout yoself, Paintball Boy.”

Lemme back up.

So I get all ready on my birthday thinking I’m gonna go get a bit of a pre-dinner buzz from some mini-margaritas at Jennifer’s house.

Then I get blindfolded and after many death threats from Jennifer, to my surprise I end up at the paintball place – this is what we’re crossing off my list and it’s gonna be awesome!!

Once I’m changed out of my dress and into my paintballin’ clothes, the nerves start to hit a little.

There are SERIOUS paintballers there. As in – significant amounts of camouflage and oh look over there, there’s a whole TEAM of guys who have had shirts made and have their shooter code names on the back. COOL.

Meanwhile, the only ones in our group who have played before are Sami and a couple of the boys. And they tell us newbies that, SPOILER ALERT: Paintballs hurt like a motherfucker.

SWEET. Happy birthday, I still might die today.

So anyway, after signing a waiver that probably says “If you die out there it’s not our fault, you just suck at paintball” and me getting a free shirt – because birthday – it’s time to suit up.

This is where I should have known it was gonna be..interesting. You don’t get a helmet – just a mask that covers your forehead, eyes, nose and mouth and a vest that probably is helpful for most people but I have some serious boobage and, well, it was kind of a joke.

Oh and then you go load your gun with marbles, basically. For newbies to paintball, it’s when you see how hard those damn things are, and that’s before they’re being shot at you from a gun that puts a shit-ton of air behind it.

Then a couple of us got a little bit scared. And that was before we even walked over to the scary-looking zombie town kind of place where we’d be “playing.”

I put that word in quotations on account of when we got over there the people that play every other day and think they’re hot stuff were like, “OH, FRESH MEAT.” And I almost peed.

Tavon, our “supervisor” or whatever they’re called gave us a quick rundown of what we’d be doing and what we weren’t allowed to do (take our masks off, basically, everything else was a free-for-all). And then we were set free to attack at each other.

He said “go” and all we could hear was “pop pop pop pop pop pop pop.” And I almost peed again.

It took approximately 20 seconds for me to get shot. First one went right into the side boob. AND OH MY GOD PAINTBALLS HURT. ESPECIALLY IN THE BOOB.

So – once you get over the initial pain/shock of being hit the first time, then you’re ready. The adrenaline’s going, you’re ready to play again and you know that that stupid little hut thing is not good shelter. Oh, and the paintball “regulars” are crazy AF.

We ended up having to pick teams at one point and in addition to the eight in our group, we needed two more. So we ended up with two more toddlers (Trevor and Jase) on our team to keep things even. We had no idea of their shooting ability (or lack of it), but they were standing closest to us, so it made sense.

Other notable moments from the rest of the three or so hours we were there?
– I had two of the professionals cornered at one point and they were pissed that they couldn’t get out or shoot me, so, GO ME.
– Two seconds after I moved out of the position of having them cornered I got shot in the ear.

LET ME TELL YOU ABOUT GETTING SHOT IN THE EAR WITH A PAINTBALL.

Rang my bell pretty good. Couldn’t hear for a second. Also thought I was bleeding. And that it took a piece of my ear off. I don’t overreact at all.

Keep in mind that when you get hit, the paint ball explodes. But there are pieces left behind sometimes.

This is NOT what’s going through my head after getting shot in the ear. Instead I am thinking part of it’s missing, a la Evander Holyfield when Tyson bit it off, because when I reach back to feel it, I feel ragged edges of something so obviously it’s my ear. Oh and that wetness? Definitely can’t be paint, must be blood.

WRONG ON ALL ACCOUNTS.

Did win me some cool points with some of the pros. And it made for a good conversation piece the rest of the night, especially when I couldn’t get it all out/off before changing into my dress for dinner.

photo 3

photo 1

How hot is that?? (And gosh dang if my eye makeup doesn’t still look great…)

Others got it worse – Jenn, Hope and Ethan, from what I remember, all had paint on their faces – especially around the chin and mouth, where it had hit their mask.

photo 5

And I didn’t have nearly the amount or intensity of bruises as some of the rest of them did. Also, Hope almost had to smack a girl wearing an Elmo shirt and Sami shot a guy in the nipple and it ripped a hole in his shirt because she’s a badass.

Let’s see, what else…

OH. We basically adopted Trevor and Jase for the rest of the time there except for a few minutes when we were mad at Trevor for siding against us in one of the games and I called him Judas. Then they told us we didn’t seem as old as we were and we were fun and like their friends so we let them back in.

And Jennifer may or may not have been on her way to starting a small army of children that she was captain of but at that point we were all out of bullets and had to go.

Like I said before, it was the most fun birthday of my adult life and I cannot wait to go again. Especially now that all the green paint is pretty much gone from my ear.

Best one yet? I’m thinking yes.

Besides the first one, obviously, but I don’t remember that one.

Oh, what am I talking about? Birthdays.

‘Member how I turned 30?

Well. It was kind of a big deal.

So.. I think I’ve been surprised maybe twice in my life. And usually it’s just been a matter of someone showing up somewhere that I didn’t expect to see them. I’m more of a startled person – like don’t jump out at me or you’ll get hit.

I bet I am making no kind of sense, am I?

OK. So last weekend was my 30th birthday. I had made a few plans and thought everyone was going along with it, but boy was I wrong.

A few weeks before the day, I told a few people I wanted to go out to dinner – we’d dress up fancy and just go somewhere and have a small, chill thing. I pitched it in the group text with the Game Night Bitchezzz and they were down, and suggested a pre-party before, because that’s what we do.

My sister, Rachel, convinced me to let Dad make reservations for the dinner so I’m not planning my own birthday stuff and that’s that.

Oh, and I went and bought a dress. It wasn’t only for my birthday, but the birthday seemed a good enough excuse as any.

And I didn’t think anything else about any of it.

Birthday Day came and started awesomely. Lots of birthday love from the second I woke up from friends and family, and of course, all over Facebook because that’s how it counts.

My friend, Stephanie, and I had plans to go get pedicures, so we did that and followed it up with lunch at Havana Rumba, pretty much the best restaurant ever.

Then it was time to go home and get ready.

You guys, I spent soooo much time getting ready. If I wear eye makeup, it must be important, and I worked on that shit for a while. Then put on my dress and headed over to Jenn’s where she said she’d “do my hair before dinner.”

And that, my friends, is when I lost any control I had on the day.

You see, I got to Jennifer’s and before I could get in the door, I was blindfolded, turned around, and told there had been other plans made for the day.

Jenn and Matt kidnapped me, basically, and put me in their car, and were playing some version of good cop, bad cop – meaning Matt was being nice to me and Jennifer was verbally abusing me. Anyone who doesn’t know her would think that’s bad, but as her best friend and after 14 years, I know it’s just the way she shows she loves you.

So here I am, my eye makeup now ruined (I’m thinking) and my hair not gonna get done and I hope wherever they’re taking me isn’t expecting me to look as amazing as I thought I was going to.

Oprah taught me never to be taken to a second location, but that didn’t work in this case and we discussed my impending death, because that had to be what was happening, they were taking me somewhere to kill me.

20140412_164237

I had even brought tiny margaritas for the pre-party. Who would drink them when my best friends murdered me?

20140412_161629

I was allowed to ask questions, but it got me pretty much nowhere.. because I had NO clue where we were going, who would be there, or what I was in for, as you can see.

Please note the “pop pop pop pop pop” sound as soon as the door’s opened. That doesn’t do much to soothe the worries of someone who thinks they are being taken to their death.

But SURPRISE!!!! No dying!!! It was paintball!

When I opened my eyes I saw five of my very favorite people dressed the complete opposite of me, ready to help me cross something off my list.

I found out later, that my best friend, because she’s awesome (despite the verbal abuse from earlier in the day) had decided a couple months ago to do something big for my birthday. She got on this blog and looked at my list for something she could help me cross off. And since my friends wanted to play paintball too, that got chosen!

First of all – the paintball experience in itself is getting its own post. Second of all – I wouldn’t in a million years have thought that’s where they were taking me. So much fun. And I was covered in paint when it was time to change back into my dress to go to dinner.

photo 3

Fancy.

So yes, it was at this point I thought we were going to a nice steak restaurant for dinner that I’d never been to before. You know, the one with the small group.

NOPE.

Blindfolded again. At this point I’m figuring we’re ending up at a party somewhere – someone’s house or something. No clue though, really. But I know it’s not the steak place.

photo 1

Again I’m completely caught off guard because my family and friends have organized a second surprise for the day. Lining the patio outside of our favorite Mexican restaurant up the street were about 30 people I love a lot. I couldn’t believe it.

photo 1

photo 2

And the rest? Is history. I’ll let the pictures explain, especially since it gets a little bit fuzzy after about 30 minutes of being at the restaurant…

I’ve said it many times before but it bears repeating. I am blessed with some amazingly awesome people in my life. I am so grateful for every single one of them, and they made my (potentially scary) 30th birthday the best I’ve ever had. Love you all!

Highlights? Dad and I slow-dancing at a bar to Liz karaoke-ing to Usher’s “Let It Burn.”

photo 4

Oh and my grandma had some tequila.

photo 1

Just one more

Times Square in New York City is probably the only place I know of/have ever been that makes you want to stand in the center of it and spin around with your arms up in the air and a big smile on your face. Just like they do in the movies and on TV.

I settled for a slow spin with a smartphone. Still pretty cool.

photo 2

28 hours in NYC

We were in New York a few weeks ago for about 28 hours. And we got. shit. done.

I already told you about our first day, when we went to the 9/11 Memorial and High Line during the day and Times Square and the How I Met Your Mother bar at night.

Luckily we had an 11 a.m. checkout Sunday, so we took our time getting moving in the morning (the alcohol the night before may have played a part, but everyone actually felt really good).

We packed up and said our goodbyes to Megan and G with reminders that they’re gonna get their butts to Kentucky soon, whether they like it or not.

We had plans to meet with more of our cousins from up north for brunch, but also had a bit of time to kill before then, and our hotel was just a block or so from Central Park.

Guys, I love parks. They were some of my favorite things about England, about here in Louisville where there are a ton, and New York doesn’t disappoint.

We grabbed coffee first, obvi, then took a walk through the park.

And a seat for a few minutes.

IMG_0909

Then we played photo shoot, because that’s what we do.

So cold. But so cute.

IMG_0929

On the other side of the park we saw something else pretty cool. A small group was unloading boxes of carnations from a cab. They all had something tied to the stems.

Turns out, it was a girl’s 29th birthday, and in honor of that day, she’d be giving out 2,900 carnations she’d gotten donated from 1-800-Flowers. The notes on the stems encouraged the recipients to pass it on or in its place, an act of kindness in honor of her day.

IMG_1017

It was Rachel’s birthday that day, too, so we got a picture of them together.

IMG_1015

Such a cool idea and I may or may not be in the midst of planning my own way to pass it on.

Brunch was at a delicious restaurant in Greenwich Village, Barraca, where they had bottomless sangria brunch so really that’s all it took to sell us.

It was so great to spend time with our cousins we don’t always get to see very often, and the food was pretty amazing, too.

unnamed

After we got our money’s worth of sangria, we said our goodbyes to the fam and headed over to the Metropolitan Museum of Art – Sami’s one request for the trip.

I wish we could have spent two days just walking through that place. But due to our time schedule, we only had about two hours. Still, we saw some pretty awesome stuff.

I thought I would take more pictures then I did that weekend. Photo fail. But I think I was spending more time just taking everything in. It was a quick lil’ jaunt to the city, but we made the absolute most of it. And I can’t wait to go back.

Bright lights big city

Two seconds into NYC this is our view.

photo 1

Two seconds into NYC for Megan and G, they see Peter Dinklage. (Who was referred to as “The Angry Elf” for the rest of the trip and in any mentions of him despite his other work, including his current awesomeness on Game of Thrones).

Oh and speaking of Elf, this happened…

Anyways. When we left off with the trip recap, we had just met up with Megan and G, and were headed back to the hotel to prepare for the night out in the city.

Luckily there was a little market across the street so we could get pregaming supplies – entirely too much beer and also Doritos and chips and salsa. Because of course.

Wanna see a bit of our room?

IMG_0893

IMG_0894

IMG_0895

IMG_0896

We stayed at the Salisbury, which I highly recommend because of the convenient location and the really nice rooms and not at all because it kind of looks like The Shining in the hallways.
photo 1

We played our new favorite game, Heads Up, which is kind of like Headbandz only not and much better and it was on Ellen so you know it’s the shit. And one of the cards we had to get someone to guess was Bill Cosby and all Rachel and I could think of to do was say “After I stick my spoon in your pudding..” Thank you, Kenan Thompson… (That isn’t that video but one almost as good.)

Dinner was at PJ Clarke’s, which was nothing to write home about, but it was good nonetheless. And Sami got mussels and I ate a few so I may or may not be kind of over my texture issues?

PJ Clarke’s was right across from Lincoln Center, so we ran across the street for some photo ops after we were done eating.

photo 2

photo 3

photo 4

Then, it was time for the most important photos of our trip. The ones from Times Square at night.

Before, during and after our own pictures, we photobombed other peoples’. Mainly they did. I had an ill-timed need to run to McDonald’s to pee. Because beers. But my sisters, Chuckie and G are definitely in the background of a lot of peoples’ pictures from that night. WIN.

After we’d reached our photo quota and started to freeze, we were ready for the main event. Drinks at McGee’s Pub. If you’re a fan of How I Met Your Mother (and really, who isn’t?) you’ll be excited/happy/jealous to know that this pub is what MacLaren’s from the show is based on, and is visited on occasion by members of the cast.

Unfortunately, and despite our best efforts, we didn’t see any of them there. I did, however, ask the bouncer if Neil Patrick Harris was there or would be there soon. And tweeted to him and Bryan Cranston (in town doing a show on Broadway) to come have drinks with us. Didn’t work.

But we did manage to get pleasantly plastered, rack up the biggest bill for drinks I have ever seen and/or been part of in my life, play Heads Up in the bar, make new friends at the tables around us and also try chocolate covered pretzel shots which were life-changing.

Best joint celebrating of birthdays ever. And a much-needed, very fun night with people I love. And, I like to think, almost with NPH.

Pictures now, words later

New York, New York…. last time I was there I was a silly seventh-grader more concerned about what my friends were doing than I was about seeing the sights. Lucky for me, I had the chance to go back when I was old enough to appreciate it.

Lots to tell about our trip, but for now, here’s a few pictures to get you interested..

Photo of the Week

This is currently the background on my phone and I kinda want it this size on a wall in my next home. In other news, New York was awesome and much-needed after the week we’d had before it.

IMG_0886

Best laid plans and whatnot

I had these plans, you see. I wanted to take some time and have a regular stream of stuff written for this blog (for this month, especially), because in a little over a week, it turns five. Yes. An inanimate object, a bunch of words and photos and files I put together turns five years old March 30. 

May not mean a lot to you, but for someone who doesn’t know who she is if she can’t write, that’s a big deal. That’s a commitment. That it has kept going – kept me going – and people have read and laughed and cried and loved along with me, well, that’s really important.

So to celebrate I wanted to have post after post ready to go, to tell you all sorts of things and show you some great pictures and keep up some of these features I do that have become a habit on here.

All of this may sound trivial, but it’s not, to me. I need to write. I need it like I need water or air. I need that creative outlet and that place to put down all of the thoughts and feelings and stories I have when I can’t – or don’t want to – say them out loud.

That said, these past two weeks have dealt two major blows in my life – last week, actually. This week, I’m still reeling. Letting things sink in.

There are things I want to write about – I need to write about. They’re serious things. Important things. But I’m not ready, yet. I can’t, yet. I want to keep distracting myself with other things, share my pictures from my recent trip to Boston and NYC, where my sisters and I collectively celebrated our birthdays and were able to be together after our hearts had been hurt so badly last week.

I can’t wait to tell you about those trips. I can’t wait to tell you about two very important parts of my life that I’ve had to deal with losing  in the past week and am still just starting to process. I can’t wait to celebrate having kept this sort-of time capsule-y thing, this look into my mind and heart and life for the past five years.

Soon. Very soon.