‘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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

New Year’s Eve Mystery: The Case

Like I said in the last post, when I thought about wanting to do a Murder Mystery Party at some point, I knew who I was asking first – the Game Night group. I knew they’d take little to no convincing, as we tend to like dressing up to play games because that’s pretty much the only way to get us to play a full game anymore – unless it involves alcohol.

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This time, the only alcohol was a shot before the game (for the adults) and the rest was saved until the case was solved. And thank God, too, because there was a lot to keep straight. I was giggly without alcohol. I just kept looking around the room saying “My dream has come true.”

It’s really better to show you how the night went, rather than tell you. But the gist of it is, everyone has a part to play and everyone has a motive. The murderer didn’t know they were the murderer until after they’d committed the crime (which basically was us turning off the light for a second and then back on and looking at Oreo – our pretend victim – and screaming).

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(Note: No animals were harmed in the making of this post. Nor were they hurt at the event. Nor have they stopped being called Steve sometimes.)

The rest of the night we spent questioning and blaming and talking about each other – because that’s what our assignments we received said to do. However, not a single one of us guessed who the murderer was when that time came at the end. Wasn’t the alcohol’s fault – or our acting, everyone put on a good show. We just didn’t look at the provided “evidence” close enough and therefore none of us should be detectives in real life. Except maybe Brendan. He was close at one point.

Some highlights of the evening:
– Caitlin fainting after the murder
– Jennifer’s voice getting progressively deeper the further she got into character
– Jennifer helping Rachel with stretches (as seen here)

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– No one talking about it beforehand but all deciding to treat Liz the same way (as someone you don’t want to be talking to for longer than about 10 seconds). I was the only exception, because I was her lawyer.

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– Shane somehow convincing everyone to give him money.
– The dance-off

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– Rachel dancing along w/Janet Jackson on TV, but on a delay
– Sami and Austin’s in-character drama
– Shane going full guido in the middle of the game and also sounding a lot like Fonzie from Happy Days
– Shane checking envelopes and drinks for Chuckie before he handed them to him
– Brendan’s accusing of so many people
– Matt just giggling and smiling a lot
– Watching my best friends have so much fun with this party and saying how much they wanted to do it again once it was over.

So here is (part of) our night in photos. I love these kids.

Best Week Ever. Part 2.

Things you would have told me 10 years ago I’d be doing and I wouldn’t have believed: Chaperoning six teenagers on an overseas trip for eight days and having one of the best times of my life in the process.

But it happened.

You see, this summer I decided to be real nice and I took these goobers with me to Jamaica.

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I was in charge of them and getting them to and from Jamaica safely and if that phrase puts fear in your heart, you are not alone, my friends.

I’ll be real honest. I didn’t know what to expect. Not that I thought anything would go wrong, or I’d have any problems, but I’ve always had someone there to ask how to handle something or to refer all questions to. But now I was the lone answerer of the questions. The keeper of the information. And medical release forms. And rules.

Luckily I took the best group of teenagers in the world with me and had no problems at all.

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Watching this group experience what I had twice before was amazing for me. Watching them make new friends and learn about new cultures and try new foods and live without WiFi for hours at a time.. there were times I just sat there and smiled, glad that I could be a part of a week I know they won’t forget.

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I didn’t always know that I wanted to work with teenagers, that I wanted to work with a youth group. But now I can’t really imagine not doing it.

And it doesn’t hurt that the youth I work with are the best ones on this planet, either.

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I tease and call them my babies sometimes because I feel like i have to take care of all of them. And I got it right back on this trip, when they called me “Mom” at various times. But that’s fine. I did have a Mom Bag.

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And later, when we got home and I watched them share their experiences with others and heard about what that week had meant to them, well yeah. I was Mom all over again. All proud of my little ones for who they are and what they’d done and the love they’d shown each other and our friends – new and old – in Jamaica.

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OK enough mushy stuff. More pictures.

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Awesome week, awesome-er company. Couldn’t have asked for a better group.

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Even more smiley things

This next week and a half or so I’m gonna be a little bit distracted. On account of my sister’s getting married!!

But that doesn’t mean y’all will be neglected. Look at all the fun stuff I found for you…

Jimmy Kimmel Live is great. Since I stay up so late most of the time, you’d think I’d watch his show more often. But I don’t. I usually just catch the best clips later. And this is a prime example.

I think my favorite is Zooey Deschanel. Also, he’s done this before.

Put this on your feed. This guy does drawings for the New York Times every Sunday and did a whole series of interactive ones for the Olympics. And y’all know how I love the Olympics..

This picture:

If you don’t have Buzzfeed on your reader/bookmarked, do it now. I’ll wait…. Seriously you won’t regret it because they do lists all the time. And not just any lists. Adorable and awesome ones like this: Dogs Wearing Sunglasses.

This: Moon over London

This picture:

New Ragu commercials. Hilarious.

The next T-shirt I’m buying.

So true.

Also, this picture:

Slowvannah ramblings

On tours we went on down in Savannah, they referred to the city by a different name: Slowvannah. ‘Cause things move slower in the south.

I’ll pause while you do whatever you need to with that last sentence.

Ready? OK.

We learned the reason for Monday morning call-ins is often the “Slowvannah Flu.” And we even got to try the Slowvannah Flu Shot.

See how excited everyone looks?

We drank well in Savannah. Especially because we could take our beer pretty much anywhere we wanted to. Done with the bar but not your drink? No problem! Take the drink to go!

And while we did make a few pit stops, most of the bars we found down there were cool enough to hang around in for a while.

Our Haunted Pub Crawl on the night of the roommate’s grand ol’ birthday was just what it sounded like. We went to or by haunted locations and stopped at a few different “haunts” (see what I did there?) for a beer or other drink or just a sit down.

One in particular was a “get-me-out-of-the-rain-er.” And we were told about the whiskey shot with the pickle-juice back. Yep. Just what it sounds like. And my three girls were brave enough to try it. Shot of whiskey, shot of pickle juice.

Here’s the before:

And the afters…

Also new and different: I ate meat in Savannah. And while it tasted good at the time, afterwards and until about, yesterday, my body was like, WHAT IN THE BLOODY HELL DID YOU DO!

Basically this was my internal organs:

Yes, my internal organs call me Kate.

And I’m Presbyterian Pescetarian again.

But back to the bars.

I’m jumping around some, but our Haunted Pub Crawl was really cool besides the rain.

This is our tour guide, Rhett. Yes that’s really his name. I took Sammi’s picture with him later. She held his musket.

Don’t get dirty, I’m being for real, look:

After the pub crawl, though, and again the next night, we found our home away from home – a Scottish bar named Molly McDonald’s McDonough’s MacPherson’s. The name gets fuzzy after a few drinks.

Sam whooped my ass at darts before befriending (and losing at darts to, HA, vengeance! sorry, bff, i love you!) the owner, Dan, who we’ve decided she should marry and get us a yacht and a summer home in Savannah. He used to be a doctor. And now owns the bar. And has a killer Scottish accent.

Here he is talking about our yacht plans…or something…with Rebeck and Jered.

And, here is Jered’s scotch flight. Because you have to drink scotch at a Scottish bar, don’t you? And why not drink as many as possible?

Pretty.

That’s all for now, but before I go, I leave you with something that you’d think was inspired by an afternoon of our city tour plus beer but really was just because my friends are my friends.

We found hats.

We are the cutest…

Georgia On My Mind

I’m in love I’m in love and I don’t care who knows it!

With a city. Is that weird? Is that possible? Would that get me a show on TLC?

Naw, seriously though, if the city of Savannah, Georgia was a person… I might marry it.

Just sayin’.

My BFFs and I spent four-ish days in the city recently for Ash and Matty’s wedding and when time came to go home, I don’t think any of us wanted to.

I could go on and on about the beautiful city and awesome time we had, but I think that’s something better shown in photos. So get ready, ’cause there are a lot.

I could have filled up a memory card just on pictures of buildings…

This is the view of our place (we’re on the second floor with no blinds. Above Smoothie King.) from World Of Beer.

This is the first time ALL of us – all 7 of us and plus ones and Emma Em – had been together in a long time, so in true US fashion, we made sure we took some really great and flattering and awesome pictures of each other.

And while the purpose for our trip was celebrating the awesome Matt and our beautiful Ashley:

Who broke it down in what we dubbed “Wobble Park” because she held her own and got everyone’s attention with her dance moves to that song. And her shyness, obviously.

We also celebrated this young man, AKA The Roommate, who turned the big 3-0 but yet doesn’t look a day over 2-0 (and that’s a great thing, bud!).

It’s ridiculous how many pictures I took, so this is the first post of many. And these don’t even do it justice, really. One of the best times I’ve had in a long while.

See?

You can really tell in this picture. Excuse the look of crazy on my face. That’s what you get when you leave me with my best friends. And four strawberry daquiris.

Three friggin’ years

And I’m still goin’.

That’s three years of writing about happy stuff, sad stuff, personal stuff, funny stuff, downright ridiculous stuff, photography stuff…..all on this lil’ website which people continue to visit for some reason.

And whatever that reason is, I’m happy about it. I’m glad that you’re here. I want to hear more from you and do more stuff on here that you’ll find interesting so you’ll keep coming back.

I write this a lot for me, but I want it to be for others too. I want to share my stories, happy or sad, because it’s therapeutic. And it’s fun.

I have plans for this next year of blogging. And if there’s anything you want to see or see more of or want me to quit writing about altogether, lemme hear it.

And thanks for sticking with me!

Happy birthday, blog!

Also, this. Just because I can. And if you don’t love Stevie Wonder, you don’t love America.

Finders’ keepers

I think I punctuated that correctly.

Anyway.

Currently, as a bookmark, I am using a Les Miserables little fact sheet that came in a book I bought from Half-Price Books. It was convenient, so I kept it.

I did not, however, put a picture of it on the Internet. But I should have!

Because there is this site – a couple sites, actually – dedicated to “found” random stuff like that.

I’ve gotten out of the habit of checking the blogs regularly, but when I do I’m happier for it.

Found Magazine is dedicated to anything that’s found. Grocery lists, notes, photos, drawings, love letters, hate letters, whatever you find and wherever you find it.

Then there’s “I Found Your Camera” which reunites people with their missing film. These people have lost their camera, but someone has developed the film and is willing to get in touch with you to get it back to you and it’s just cool.

I’ve never found anything that warrants posting on either site, but in related news, I think I’ve just found something to add to my life list.