LOVE IT: Public Libraries

posted on: August 28, 2007

When was the last time you actually stepped foot into a public library? Do you even know where your public library is?

Public Libraries are THE BEST free resource a community has (free, as in: included in your taxes.) You can walk into your public library and surf the net for FREE, you can check out the latest movies on DVD for FREE, you take home CDs to listen and load to your iPod for FREE, you can borrow audiobooks to take on roadtrips for FREE, you can sign up for classes and lectures in your community for FREE, your can sit and read the latest magazines or newspapers from around the world for FREE, you can hang out and get work or studying done without feeling like you need to buy something just to be there... and did you notice I haven't even mentioned books?!!

Here are just a few of the DVDs and CDs that I can check out at my local library...
Marie Antoinette

Garden State Soundtrack

On top of saving you money, libraries are also socially responsible and environmentally friendly. They are the ultimate example of an institution built upon the idea of reusing and recycling with hundreds of resources being borrowed and returned every day. Anything you want to learn about is easy to access with a little help from a librarian, and if there's a better resource on the net, they'll give you that too!! Today's librarians aren't just knowledgable about books, they're very internet savvy and they have the ability to tap into databases and bodies of knowledge that you may have never even known about. Librarians are like having your own personal search engine with the ability to weed out things that aren't relevant to your search before you ever have to see them.

As a bride planning a wedding, the public library is the perfect place to find a CD of wedding music which you can take home and listen to samples of complete ceremony pieces without buying an entire CD you'll probably never listen to again. It's also a great place to find wedding planning books, etiquette books, or books with gorgeous decorating ideas that normally would be expensive to purchase and take home from the bookstore. Travel books can help you find the perfect spot for a honeymoon and even your best man can find a book on giving the perfect toast. While there are a lot of resources on the web, sometimes they just aren't complete enough or take too much time to surf through before you find what you're looking for.

In all likelihood, you're probably a lot like me with tons of stuff to do and very little time to do it all, so reading is a pretty low priority on your to-do list even if you feel it's important. However, you might also be like me and find yourself in the car for hours at a time, bored with listening to the same over-played, over-produced, shoved-down-our-throught-because-someone-paid-a-lot-of-money-for-it-to-be-on-the-air songs over and over again. My solution to both of the above dilemas is audio books. It's important for me to make the most of my time, so audiobooks help me feel more productive while I'm in the car, allowing me to learn something new or catch up on the latest bestseller that everyone is crazy about (before it gets bastardized into a movie version.) Lately I've listened to some pretty amazing books, and I love that I don't have to pay to download them from iTunes, take up more storage on my hard drive, or find a place to put them on my overly crowded bookshelves when I'm done! If, after listening to a book, I know that I absolutely must have it so that I can reference it for ideas, then I can decide if its worth buying and keeping in my library.

See why I super-heart libraries? Another great thing is that if the library doesn't have what you want, they may even try to get it for you... for freeee. Have you heard of The Secret? Well, I pretty much knew what the whole thing was about so I really didn't want to pay for a copy of the DVD that I'd probably only watch once, or for a book that I'd only read once, so I asked my library if they had it. They didn't, but the librarian said, "do you think we should get it?" I said, "sure- a lot of people have been talking about it," and within a week, the DVD was in the library and even being held for me behind the counter! Isn't that special!? Talk about great customer service! Oh yeah, and did you know that most libraries let you renew your materials online or over the phone- so you don't even have to revisit the library if you know you're going to be late on returning an item?! Plus, most libraries give you plenty of time to check items out, and my local library has never even charged me a fee for the times when I forgot to renew materials online or ended up returning them late. They're just cool like that.

Since I've been doing a lot of driving for weddings this summer, I've had a chance to listen to some really great books which I never would have had the chance to read. So, if you're looking for something really interesting for your next road trip or commute, I recommend any of the following titles!! Some are fascinating pieces of research that will change the way you think about ordinary things, some are inspiring, and some are just downright classics that everyone should read once in their lifetime. Call your local library to see if they're on the shelves now, check it out for free, and pop it in your CD player or load it up to your ipod to listen to while you're traveling or even working at your computer!

If you made it this far- I would love to send you my signature "Live. Love. Green." Canvas Tote Bag for your next trip to the library!! All you have to do is tell me the title and author of your all-time favorite book in the comments below. Maybe it was a childhood book, maybe it was something you read last week! Next Tuesday, one lucky winner will be chosen!

Updated: 9/4/07
The number 33 was chosen at random which was determined to find out who our tote bag winner was and DAMON left the 33rd comment!! Damon- please email me so that I can send you your prize!! I've also gathered a list of your favorite books and I will make it a personal goal to read them all in my lifetime (unfortunately I could only include 38 titles, so some are missing but most are there)!!! CLICK HERE for my blogreaders' Favorite Books!! I also received an email from Katie about joining a social reader's website where you can share your favorite books and see what your friends are reading!! If you're on this site, please send me an email with a link to your favorites!! Thank you everyone who participated!!!

Baby Avery

posted on: August 27, 2007

Avery - 3 days old

On our way back from Norway on May 7th, we had a short layover in Chicago where I checked my voicemail and found out that my step-sister, Mary had a beautiful baby boy and that I was offically an aunt for the first time! I was so anxious to see him that I left for Michigan shortly after I got into the country so that I could see Avery and his first-time parents!

I had always heard how difficult the first few days were, but wow, experiencing it first-hand was definitely a challenge! No one tells you things like how your feet turn into watermelons. I didn't think it was possible for Mary's feet to get as big as they were but I don't think she could have put on shoes, let alone walk around comfortably! I have to admit that I felt totally helpless and all of the things I had wanted to do to help out, like go grocery shopping, making meals that would last several days, taking pictures of the baby, and giving Mary or Jarod a break... just never seemed to happen because the baby always needed to be attended too. So, finally when there were a few more visitors in the house, I was able to step back and take a few pictures! So here's Avery, only 3 days old!

My dad - Avery's step-grandpa. Avery was fascinated by the light.

Great Grandma
Jarod's Grandma - Avery's great-grandma!

Dad's love
Jarod was so delicate with Avery - making sure that he was always safe and warm.

Dad & Avery
This is definitely my favorite of Jarod in his new role as a daddy.

Sucky face

Teradactyl claws
Avery really couldn't cry yet, he just made these squealing noises that sounded a bit like the noises we associate with pteradactyls in dinasour movies, and when I saw this I though his little fingers looked like little pteradactyl claws. ;-)

The next time I got to visit was a few weeks ago when Avery was 10 weeks old. He looked like a completely different kid with all of his baby blubber on his body!! The first time I visited I didn't get any pictures of Avery & his mom together because she was pretty much naked and really tired the whole time - or he was in someone else's arms when she had her clothes on! ;-) So this time I made sure to get some pictures of baby & mommy together!
Mom & Avery

Tootsies!! (Why is it that new words enter our vocabulary when babies are around?!)

Looking around
Mary got back to her skinny shape really quickly!! I couldn't believe how great she looked - she's one hot mamma!

Mommy's kiss

Avery waves back to mommy
Just as we were saying good bye, I noticed Mary's reflection on the car window and asked her to wave to Avery - to my surprise, HE WAVED BACK!! It was so cool I practically screamed and scared the crap out of Mary who thought something bad happened! It was just so cool to see him mimicking her at such an early age! He's definitely going to be one smart kid. ;-)

Beth & Nick Engagement

posted on: August 24, 2007


Aren't these two just adorable together?! I had so much fun exploring the The Bridgewater Club and driving a golf cart around for the FIRST TIME!! Can't you believe I've gotten this far in life without ever getting a chance to drive a golf cart before?! They're also having their reception in their community clubhouse which is going to be beautiful! I can't wait!!!




Mmmm... ring shot... I even like the little strand of hair that comes across her face and is caught by the sunlight. It has a way of creating movement in this image that wouldn't have existed otherwise. I've always been a fan of the perfectly imperfect photo.



"She's got legs... and she knows how to use them...." Seriously though... great legs!

I normally prefer warmer tones, but for some reason I was feeling the cool tones for these two pictures...


Stop kissing and start looking where you're going!! Sheesh!! (Of course this is totally set up!)

This one has less context, but I like the angles and closeness more..



Can you see the RAINBOW?!?!


My ABSOLUTE FAVORITE picture from this series...

Nicole & Darric's Mavris Wedding

posted on: August 22, 2007

Bride & Groom

First of all, could this couple be ANY cuter?!?! Their babies are going to be supermodels! Secondly... this wedding had EVERYONE in tears, and not just during the ceremony, but all night long! There was so much love surrounding Nicole & Darric, it was really inspiring... and I think we managed to use every kleenex in the building.

I can't decide which dress shot I like most, so I posted a few. Which one do you like?!
The Dress
Getting Ready
Dress Detail

Like Father, Like Son
All Dolled Up

Mavris Indianapolis
Nicole & Darric chose the Mavris Arts & Event Center in downtown Indianapolis for their ceremony and reception. They took a very masculine and urban space and transformed it into a fairytale-like setting for their wedding ceremony!

Bride's Entrance

Nicole didn't even get all the way down the stairs before Darric lost it! Now THAT'S love.
Emotional Groom

Butterfly Curtain

Can you believe Nicole made this curtain of butterflies?! Isn't it fabulous?! I love butterflies.
Hanging Butterfly

Some people do unity candles, some do sand ceremonies, but Nicole & Darric chose to do something completely different! An orchid and a vase of water - which they will both replenish each aniversary as a reminder to care for one another always.
Orchid & Water Every Anniversary

Don't they make you want to cry??

This whole family wears their emotion on their sleeves.. I love it!!

Nicole & Darric made most of the their details and they all turned out great!
Centerpiece Detail
Mailbox Card Holder
Ring & Cake Topper Detail

Remember this award winning image? The light is a slaved off-camera flash attached to a tripod set up by the pole to add a little extra light and luckily for me the maid of honor stood in the perfect place for me to backlight her while she was speaking and capture a great scene-setter and emotional moment all in one shot. Not to brag, but this image is just awesome. I did a little more tweaking to the white balance per the judge's comments...
Emotional Toast

Gimmie a Kiss!
It was SUCH a beautiful day outside that most people just wanted to hang out in the backyard, and since I can only take so many pictures of adults talking to each other, I turned my attention to the kids! The best thing about kids is that they live in their own little world full of simple entertainment. ;-)
How many children do you see in this picture?
Water Gardening
Weddings Make Me Sleepy

There's something so endearing about a groom playing with kids on his wedding day. It's just so sweet to think he may be a daddy soon!!
Dancing Machine

If the sky is beautiful and there's an opportunity to take sunset shots, I'm all about taking advantage of beautiful light. I could have turned this into a full silhouette, but I really love that the railroad tracks pick up the colors from the sky and that the deep blue above is reflected off of the bride's dress. I think it add just a little more interest and a subtle and unexpected set of details.
Indianapolis Skyline

I think that the original plan was to have a sparkler exit, but once we reached a certain point in the evening and only half of the guests were left, and the bride & groom still weren't ready to leave- it was time to just have fun with sparklers. The DJ also decided that it was a total waste for him to stay inside when everyone was outside, so he hooked up the speakers outside and Nicole & Darric danced under the stars by the light of their guests. What a perfect ending to a perfect day. ;-)
Fun with sparklers
Surrounded by light

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