Halloweens Past and Present

Ok, so not too present seeing as how Halloween has come and gone (in fact wwwaaaayyyy gone, seeing as how Thanksgiving just happened).

The past two years I have made CJs costumes.  I love a clever homemade costume, don't get me wrong, there are some great 'purchase from the big brand stores' costumes out there, but for some reason, being able to put together a costume from making it from scratch or picking up the pieces from a thrift store makes me feel so much more accomplished.   And everyone knows I love (am addicted) a good thrift store...ok, I love (am addicted) any thrift store (and all thrift stores, and garage sales, and Goodwills, and Salvation Armys, and yes, even the occasional dumpster or sidewalk treasure....)Hi, my name is Brooke and I am addicted (there you go, admitting the problem is the first step to getting help) to second hand.

Ok, back to Halloween and costumes.  Unfortunately Sophie is a bit older than CJ and I don't have as much influence on what she wants to wear....CJ on the other doesn't have an option....yet.  I'm sure I won't have any influence on her in a few years either.

CJ's first Halloween was the store bought (ok, maybe it was a consignment sale....) costume type thing.  I wouldn't call it a real costume, more of a "I'm waited too late and this is the only thing she had in her closet that could pass as a costume" costume.  It was a leopard fleece onsie outfit that was warm enough for her (not that ATL gets that cold at Halloween).

CJ got her fangs just in time for Halloween

Sophie was all about Cinderella (and pretty much any Disney princess) that year.

And JD and I were, wait for it it.......we were ourselves!! Most clever costume ever.

One of the many reasons we love our neighborhood is that there are so many family friendly activities that are always going on.  Halloween is especially popular.  We have a children's costume parade that starts at this huge old (non-working :( ) fountain and winds it's way around the park and ends at some pavilions.  There's always a ton of people, live music, and food.  The kids run around all crazy like and we just sit back on a blanket and let them.  Our neighborhood is also host to the Atlanta Mounted Patrol and they always help lead the parade with their huge horses.  The girls always have an amazing time.

In addition to the costume parade, there is also a lantern parade.  Food trucks, beer stands, and tons of homemade lanterns light up the night.  That parade is always lead by a marching band that plays amazing band music.  Ah, I love our little park.  I could talk about GP all the time, but back to costuming.

Last year, I got a bit more creative for CJ's costume.  And by creative, I mean, I made it.  It wasn't exactly clever, but hey, it was homemade.  CJ went as Princess Leia and Sophie was the Little Mermaid.

Again, both girls had a blast.  I did have one little boy tell me that Princess Leia DID NOT have a light saber, well, um, this one does.

the princess and her light saber 
I crocheted her 'buns' 

Again JD and I were the boring parents in jeans and t-shirts....but to my defense, that was the year that we went to the Mothball and I altered a vintage dress to make it Speakeasy friendly (find it here).

And that brings us to this year.   And SURPRISE!!!  JD and I actually dressed up, not as what we originally intended, but hey, at least we did something.

If anyone asked CJ what she wanted to be this year, she would proudly tell them "a pink flamingo'.  Okay then, a pink flamingo it is.  And of course, Pinterest was quick to deliver a solution.  I thought this would be a cheap and easy costume, but little did I know that feather boas were so pricey.  But since CJ is petite and short, I only had to use 3 boas.
testing out her feather skirt
CJ loved her costume and it didn't shed nearly as bad as I had thought.  Sophie wanted to be an angel and even had feather wings to complete the costume.  The girls loved the costume parade and were were smart enough to have them wear normal clothes under the costumes so they could run around with out having to worry about ruining them.

CJ always has her kitty

Sophie loves the popcorn

Sophie loves playing with Grayson

This was CJ's first year for trick or treating and we had some friends host a party.  We ended up walking from their house to our's (about a mile walk) trick or treating along the way.   CJ had no fear in walking up to the scary houses and holding out her bag for treats.

The host and hostess! Thanks for a great time!!

Ron Burgandy & Veronica Corningstone
Clark Kent & Lois Lane

trick or treating in style
Now onto the more present holiday.  We have been temporarily evicted from our house and living with JD's folks in the far away town of Loganville.  Don't worry, it was for a good cause and if you follow me on Instagram, you already know why!

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!! I hope it was blessed and wonderful time spent with family and friends.  I was sad I was not able to spend time with my Oklahoma family.  Next time!

Photography Lessons

I love photography.  I have always loved photography.  I do not claim to know all about it, and I am not even close to ever knowing half as much as other photographers out there. 

My love for photography started when I was in….um, well, I don’t ever remember not loving it.  In high school I wanted to take photos for the yearbook.  At family reunions, I wanted to take pictures of everyone and the activities.  In college, I took a few classes and even learned how to process my own negatives.  And I love it all.  Here's a few photos that I've taken (and/or developed all film).

Atlanta, GA ~ Downtown (2010)
Bosco (2010)
close up time! (2010)
ready to pounce (2010)
JD may have a cigar addiction....(2012)
somewhere in Georgia (2010)
Galveston, TX pier (2004)

Mokes, Hawaii ~ cliff diving (2003)

Hanauma Bay, Hawaii (2003)
420 Festival, Candler Park, Atlanta, GA (2011)
420 Festival (2011) 
JD playing soccer (2011)
JD & the ATL (2010)
Key West, FL (2005)
Ok, I didn't take this one, but I love it all the same
My mother, my aunts, and my maw maw (1960ish?)
Segovia, Spain (2004) 
San Sebastian, Spain (2004)
I know some of these photos are not great, but for some reason I can't help it.  I always feel that the color and the look is so much more 'real' than any digital photo.  Any other film enthusiasts out there feel the same way?? Or am I just a weird one?

When digital media hit the world, I refused to shoot anything other than film for the longest time.  I didn’t even buy my first digital camera, it was given to me.   My second digital camera was a gift as well.  It took me a good few months to even begin experimenting with my digital cameras.  I loved shooting old school with film.  If I had a darkroom, I would still be shooting film and I still love it.  But, yes, the digital world has got it grips on me now, but that doesn’t mean I’ll always shoot digital.  I would love to do more film shooting, I even have my grandmother’s vintage Olympus that is in great shape and the last time I took photos with it, they turned out amazing (majority of the photos above are with the Olympus).

JD has always known that I love photography; he is the one that bought me my 2nd digital camera and my first DSLR.  He also paid for me to take a few photography classes.   I haven’t taken as many as I’d like, but the ones I have taken have helped me learn a ton and has given me a good foundation to really start shooting digital.

I’ve taken so many photos of my kids, that CJ tells me ‘no cheese, momma’ when I tell her to smile.  Kids.

I recently (this was last Thanksgiving....) took a few photos of my neighbor and her kids.  She needed some pictures for their Christmas cards and for her new business card.  I was so happy she asked me to take the photos.  I’ve never taken photos of another family in a semi professional manner.  This was new to me and I was eager to see how it would go.

We took the photos in Grant Park and it was a great experience.  It showed me how I was doing a lot of things wrong and how they could be better. 

So it's been a year since I've taken and edited these photos, and looking back at them, I already see things I could have and should have done differently.  Only took me a year!  Thanks to the Trimbles for being my guinea pigs.

All you real photographers out there, I welcome your input on how I can up my game!!  
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