Wednesday, October 22, 2014

EXCITED doesn't even explain it......


Yes, this is REALLY happening to me!  Of all the time and hard work I have put into my photography.....EEK!  It's really REALLY happening!!!!!!!!

Ok, so here's what is going on:

Last month I got an email from the editor of Array Magazine.  This magazine is the one whom I shoot for (all the time now a days).  This last minute email was for an art exhibit called Colorblind - Artwork in Black and White.  I thought, what the heck.  It couldn't hurt to put my name in the basket too could it?  So that's what I did.  I submitted four different photos......


The Parthenon in Greece

The Roman Coliseum in Rome

The Zugspitz in Germany

And a tranquil shot at Raven Rock State Park here in Lillington, NC


These images all mean a great deal to me. They are all some of my all time favorite shots and I couldn't choose which is my favorite even if I had to!  Although I love these images and I feel like they are totally worthy of every ounce of praise they get I just never in a million years figured any of them would be accepted into an art exhibit!

Last Thursday, the 9th of October, I get an email at like 7am. The email read:

October 9, 2014

Dear Casandra,

Thank you for entering your work in Colorblind – Artwork in Black and White. The exhibit is hosted and sponsored by the Arts Council of Fayetteville/Cumberland County and curated by the Ellington-White Community Development Corporation.

Congratulations, One of the  works you submitted has been selected for the exhibit. 
  ( Raven Rock)

Attached is the timeline for responsibilities and events leading up to the exhibit, contact information and if you are shipping or delivering your work. Artists are responsible, at their expense, for shipping their work to the Arts Council. All work will be returned at no cost to the artist, but paid by the Arts Council. 

We are so excited to have your work in Colorblind – Artwork in Black and White and hope you are able to attend the member’s reception if at all possible.

Arts Council

I almost had a heart attack!  I couldn't believe what I was reading.  There is NO WAY that one of my photos made it into something so important!  EEK!!!!  (Start of excitement) And then I read the time line.  (Enter PANIC)  The timeline said I had to have my print framed and to them no later then Wednesday the 15th of October.  That was LESS THEN A WEEK!

Because I had no idea how this worked I didn't order a print, I didn't do anything to prep for the "just in case I got in the exhibit".  So Thursday morning after the kids got on the bus I got online and ordered my 20X30 print of the Raven Rock photo posted above.  My heart just sank knowing it wasn't going to get here until Tuesday because there was no way they could get it here Friday, they didn't deliver Saturday and Monday was Columbus Day (a holiday) so I wasn't sure they would deliver it then either *sigh* (insert heart break).

To my surprise, my print got here Friday night!!!!  Super excited to see it I tore it open and it took my breath away.  The image was even more beautiful then I could have ever imagined it would be and it was JUST the PRINT!  Gah!  Could it get any better!!!

Saturday we had family photos and I didn't have time to take it to the Frame shop so we went looking for somewhere first thing Monday morning.

We found an amazing shop called Ty's Custom Picture Framing and let me tell you, he is AMAZING and a HUGE life saver!!!!  (insert relief)  He really worked great with me to help me figure out what I could get on such a super short notice.  He didn't have everything he needed in his shop to do my order, so he had to place the order and wait until it came in Wednesday morning to get it done.  Wednesday, mind you, is the day I needed to have it turned in to the Art Council!!!!  To say this stressed me out is an understatement.  But the guy at the framing shop had it worse then me!  He didn't want to use the type of adhesive he always did because it might warp my photo with the type of paper it was printed on, so he used a new product.  He'd never used it before so he too was a little worried about how it would turn out.

Needless to say, he called me a little after noon on Wednesday and told me it was finished!!!  (insert nervous excitement)  I went in right away and picked it up and it was BEAUTIFUL!  It literally took my breath away when I saw it.  I couldn't believe that this amazing print was mine!  This framed beauty was all MINE!  I took that photo!!!!  I still can't believe it!

Below is a picture of my art work.  It's not the greatest picture as there are glares in it from other things that were around the room but this is what it looks like!  Isn't it amazing!!!!!

*sigh*  Yes, this is my art work.  This is my image of a quite little place in Raven Rock State Park.  There's actually a little creek flowing through right there at the tree line.  It just looked like the most amazing place to sit and read a book or to just listen to mother nature.  This is the photo that was picked and I absolutely LOVE it!!!!!  

In case you are curious, here's what the color photo looks like....

So you see, I'm so super ecstatic about this!  I'm very honored that MY art work was even considered let alone chosen for this amazing event!

Thursday the 23rd is the Art Exhibit Reception.  This is where all those who have artwork entered can go and mingle with their fellow artists and also those of the Art Council.  I went out today and bought two different dresses (basically the same but different) to decide which one I want to wear to the reception.  It's a cocktail party event and I'm super stoked that I get to go.  My +1 is my friend Sandi because my husband isn't going to be home to make it.  (We bought her a new dress today too!!!)  Next week I'm going out to get my shoes (yes, I'm probably getting a super cute pair of black high heels)!  (insert fear of falling) and we are getting our nails done before we go too.  I'm thinking white french tips will look amazing but I'm not sure yet.

So there you have it, The story behind why I'm so excited, nervous, and a whole lot of other emotions!  This exhibit goes on until the 13th of December and I'd love it if you could get down to the Arts Council in downtown Fayetteville and check out my art work!  It is for sale!!!!!  I can't wait to see it hanging on the wall!

Thank you all for believing in me!!!

~Till Next Time~

Tuesday, October 14, 2014


What did that title say?  She must mean Woodstock and just spelled it different.  hahaha


Woofstock is correct!  It is this amazing fundraiser for FAPS, Fayetteville Animal Protection Society.  All proceeds from the ticket sales, donations, 50/50 raffle, all go towards FAPS to help all the wonderful animals they have that are looking for Fur-ever homes.

I had never heard about Woofstock so when Array Magazine asked me if I wanted to join them and take some pictures I totally jumped at the chance.

I had NO idea what this event was going to be like.  I had no idea what to even expect!  The tickets were a bit pricey for one night of fun at $50 advance buy or $60 at the gate but let me tell you it was totally worth it!

This year it was held on Friday, October 10th from 6-10:30pm.  There were some amazing bands playing, which included Ethan Hanson.  This guy is so great!  He is an amazing singer and so friendly!  Check out his website - click HERE.  

There was some really great BBQ from Fred Chason's Grandsons Catering.  They served chicken, pulled bbq, mac and cheese, green beans, corn bread and more.  

There was also wine and other beverages provided.  At the end of the evening there was a 50/50 cash raffle with a lot of great prizes.  There was a great shuttle bus that picked up and dropped people off so they didn't have to drive.  Some people even arrived in their own VW's.  This is a 1979 Beetle.  I remember when we used to own a bug.  I kinda miss that old thing......Other people just added the little extras on their cars to let everyone know they are pro-pets and there for Woofstock.

My favorite part of the entire thing was being able to have my husband there with me.  He is gone a lot and it was really amazing having him there to talk to, hang out with, dance with and laugh with. 

We met some amazing people and I can not wait to go back next year.  I absolutely loved my time at Woofstock (we stayed the WHOLE time!).  Thank you Array Magazine for allowing us to join you!  Next year I'll be sure to promote it a lot more!!!

~Till Next Time~

Hilton HHonors

With my hubby being in the Army, and the unit he is in, he is gone ALL THE TIME!  One of the great things about him being gone so much is he can actually use the nicer hotels and he normally flies on the same airways.  What's so great about that?  Well, let me tell you!

When he's staying in a hotel he normally stays at some sort of Hilton establishment.  Somewhere that takes his HHonors rewards card anyways and it really pays off!

So this is a snip it of my hubbys rewards.  We have over 20 thousand points!  And that's just on three different stays at a HHonors hotel.  Granted one of those was a three week long stay but if you are always on the road and staying in a hotel, sometimes it's best to pay that little extra to get a little extra in return!

Are you curious on how much a free night runs???  Well here, check this out -

With the points we have, we could stay at a Category 1 hotel for 4 nights FREE!  How awesome would that be?  That's a really nice mini vacation for my family of 5.  But you see, the problem we have with there being 5 of us us that we have grown accustomed to the larger hotel rooms.  We prefer the ones that have at least one separate bedroom, usually two bedrooms and a pull out couch.  The thing here is, when you use your points for a free stay, you still use your HHonors card when you check in and out, AND you get all the wonderful points for those nights/days you stay as well!  So it's really a win/win all around :)

So go ahead and get the HHonors card.  Get all the hotel cards you can as well as airway and store discount cards.  It might be a pain to get all that information down the first time but once it's there you can use your phone number or email address if you don't have your card and you still get the points!

Your Welcome ;)

~Till Next Time~

Monday, October 6, 2014


Do you ever have one of those days, weeks, months even, that something just seems to be missing.  That there is just a part of your life that seems to have vanished and you aren't sure what it is, how long it's been gone, or when you might get it back?  I've been back in that funk of missing something and it's been eating me up inside.

I have three amazing kids, a wonderful husband, a family who has my back 100% and is always there for me.  I have the best job in the world and it's always something I love to be doing.  I have no reason to feel I have lost something.  None......


This week started with my husband leaving once again.  He isn't far but he is far enough I don't get to see him every night like I wish I could.  He's out working and doing what he's supposed to be doing but he's also somewhere I have always wanted to go and doing things I would really REALLY love to try and do one day.  This is what set off the bad start to my week.

I was pissed, I cried, I threw a little temper tantrum and then the next morning I grabbed my camera and went out to view the world through a lens that could capture every moment in an instant!  I decided I was going to make some amazing forever memories, and that's exactly what I did.

I started at the pond near our house.  It was still a bit foggy out and the dew drops were everywhere!  There had been tons of mushrooms around the pond but for some reason that morning I was only able to find the one pictured below.  I am totally in love with that picture by the way.  All three of these just make me smile and relive the moment before the shutter snapped to take the picture.  Pure quiet, no movement, no sound, just perfect stillness.

After I ventured around the pond a bit I decided to hop in the car and go for a drive.  I knew the cotton fields would be blooming soon and have wanted to stop and take pictures the past three years we've been here during their time of year.  I drove and drove until I found the perfect spot on a back road that I had plenty of room to pull of the side of the road and wouldn't be in anyone's way.  I don't like people looking/gawking at me as I take pictures, so this was perfect for me!  And these are some of the images I got out of it!  The last one was right when I was getting ready to walk away.  I looked down and saw this bottle just sitting here calling my name.  It too wanted its forever moment.

After the cotton field, I just drove.  I drove and turned down streets I still have no clue what the names were.  I have no idea where I ended up but across the street from me was an amazing big red barn and this old house (pictured below).  I took several different shots of this old house but this one is the one that I fell in love with right when I saw it.  I turned it black and white and BAM!  The perfect picture!  Another memory that I'll cherish forever.

I drove around until I found something I knew and then I turned the opposite direction and went somewhere I had never been.  These mushrooms were all in the same small little cemetery plot that I had stopped at to look around.  The graves were from civil war soldiers who are unknown and had fought the great battle here in NC and paid the ultimate price.  The cemetery is close to the Aversboro Battlefield and Museum (it was ok, I had permission to walk around in the cemetery).  The first mushroom I almost didn't notice as I was too busy taking shots of a million other things.  I'm so glad I looked down because it almost became a huge foot print!  The second picture I just love that it's a little crooked mushroom.  It totally makes the picture that much more perfect.  And the last one, I'm not sure how that little guy got turned inside out (or so it looks) but I love that look too!

The only other place I went that day was this amazing Classical Car store.  I had no idea what it was but had driven by there multiple times so decided why not.  And these beauty's were in there waiting for me to take their forever memories too :)  If you ever want to go to the store here's a link to their page-  East Coast Classic Cars  It's totally worth the visit!!!

So there you have it.  I found the "IT" I was missing just by taking a day, driving the unknown, having my favorite thing to do along for the ride and making those forever memories that I really REALLY needed to make.  What do you think?  Was that not the perfect day???

~ Till Next Time ~

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

My very first BEACH session!

EEK!  Can you believe it!  I had an amazing family ask me if I would take their family photos at Myrtle Beach and of course, without hesitation, I said YES!  I mean, who could say no to these two adorable boys and their fabulous parents???

I do have to admit that I was a "tad" bit nervous for this session.  I knew in my heart everything was going to work out the exact way it was supposed to but there's always that "what if" in the back of my mind.  

The morning of the session I got a text saying the weather was not looking good.  It was overcast and rainy-ish and just didn't seem to be working into a very good day at all.  I did not let that stop me and I knew it would work out one way or another.  

We took the whole family down for the night and got a hotel room so we could enjoy the beach too.  I didn't have much time after we got there to sit and breath and go through all my thoughts before the session.  It's a good thing I wrote down all the main poses I wanted before I even left the house!  

I took all the single shots of the boys, couple shots of mom and dad, triple shots of the boys and a parent and then we moved on to the family shots.  Being able to capture the "silly" side of families is one of my favorite parts of my job.  These boys below act like this 75% (if not more) of their time spent at home.  What better way to have this memory of them, at the moment you love them the most, then captured in an instant for a forever memory!

I absolutely love how all these images turned out and I can not believe I finally was able to capture some of those amazing Pierre shots that I always see online.  (Next time I have made note to do a few more shots a little closer to the ground to get a bigger affect with the pierre).

And wouldn't you know it, by the end of our session, we were just rounding it in and making sure I had everything checked on the list, that the sun came bursting through the clouds for the most perfect sunset I have ever seen at Myrtle Beach!  There was a double rainbow over the pierre and the sky lit up in the brightest colors I had ever seen.  It turned into the perfect photo session kind of day!  I knew everything would work out, my heart told me so <3

~ Till Next Time ~