Avery James Photography

Avery James Photography

Friday, December 31, 2010

Avon giveaway winner!!

So sorry it took so long for me to pick the winner and post it...next time I'll know better than to try and end a giveaway so close to the holidays!  Not to mention my last minute trip to Las Vegas that I didn't know I was taking when I picked the end date.  I'm actually in Vegas now....but it's not a party trip....not doing much of anything actually, just enjoying some time out of town. :)

Well I'm super excited to announce the winner of my first ever giveaway!  It was lots of fun seeing all the entries come in...all 93 of them!  Not bad for my first one and for not having a ton of followers in the first place...I definitely want to do more giveaways in the future, so make sure you check back in every now and then. :)

I won't delay any longer....here we go!

The winner is, chosen by Random.org:

::drum roll::


Congrats SamanthaD!  I'm going to email you right now to confirm your win and find out how to send you your prize! :)

And before I go...here's a picture to share with you all....this is of my son.  I took this at the Huntington Gardens in Pasadena, CA recently.  He was sitting on the grass just looking at all the statues and all the gorgeous surroundings, and he just looked so cute sitting there peacefully, so I snapped a shot when he wasn't looking. :)

Happy New Year's everyone! :)

Monday, December 20, 2010

Arlene and Family

Oh my.....please make the rain stop!!  I live in Southern California...we have a max tolerance level for rainy days of about 2 consecutive days.....especially rainy days like the ones we have right now!  I know, we're spoiled here....but that's also why my rent is so darn high too.  

Seriously though - it's been raining for almost a week straight now...we had a little break last Thursday, but other than that it just won't stop....I also do not own shoes fit for rain...my sneakers have been permanently wet for a couple days now and they kinda stink....gonna have to throw them in the wash after this rain lets up.

I was also late on going to decorate my son's grave site at the cemetery for Christmas....and now that it's raining so much, I still can't go...and it's not supposed to stop till Thursday I think....really bummed about that one.  :(

Let's see...is there anything else I can whine about??  LoL....I'm just feeling sorry for myself because I love my sunshiney days....this kind of weather gets me down...

On a brighter note though, I'm posting these pics below which were from the summer....really late I know...what's new.  :)  Here's the first post that I did when we first took the pics (http://averyjamesphotography.blogspot.com/2010/07/arlene-and-family.html)

Unfortunately So Cal had a really ugly summer this year....so even though it was July I think, it was really dark and cloudy at the beach.....but this awesome family brought along their musical instruments for some of their pictures and I absolutely love the way they turned out!  What a great idea! :) :)  

These are the pics the family chose, but when I have some time I want to go through them again and edit a few more because I have a couple other favorites from this session that didn't make their cut. :)

Drive safe all you Californians - I know we're not used to driving in this weather and I've already seen so many car accidents on the news!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Like a flood...

I was sitting here reading blog posts and I came across this one...and as much as I knew I shouldn't keep reading, I just felt so compelled to read their story anyways... http://roscommonacres.com/2010/12/what-happened/

Of course, it immediately brought back the emotions I have that are all currently held up by a giant floodwall...I read, and I cried, and I kept reading, and I relived those moments through this mother's eyes...because I know where she's been, and I know where she's headed...

The hardest part of reading this blog post was scrolling to a few posts afterwards (http://roscommonacres.com/) and seeing that she had posted stories just a couple of days before the horrible accident not having any clue what was going to happen 2 days later...it just made me remember how quickly life changes in an instant....one day you think you have all the time in the world to spend with your baby, and the next thing you know, time has run out much earlier than you would ever even consider the possibility.

I felt compelled to write something after reading her story because it's been so long since I've really written....written anything filled with true emotion the way I used to in those first couple of years...I can't even remember the last time I wrote about my little angel....it just hurts too much to do so....

And I'm not going to do it now either....but I wanted to just acknowledge this moment...for myself if anything....

My dear, sweet, sweet angel...I love you...I miss you...I think of you every day...and I hope you've made lots of other little angel friends along your way, such as the sweet little boy in the story in the above link.

For others reading this who have lost a child, or know someone who has, I encourage you to look into a support group called The Compassionate Friends.  They were truly a God-send for me in my deepest time of grief and now, 4 years later, I continue to be involved in the organization for so many reasons...

My angel, Avery James Lent

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Adventures of Making a Gingerbread House

If you're on my Facebook friends list, then you may have already heard of my gingerbread house collapse last night, but for those who aren't, this is how it went...

I bought a kit to make the house...the kit comes with a mix for the frosting...it says to add 5 tablespoons of water and mix with a blender...well, 5 tablespoons barely wet a tiny section of the powder...so I kept adding more water and finally stopped thinking I had to have added too much by now...but the mix was still SUPER THICK....so thick that I hurt my hands trying to squeeze it out of the tube thing throughout the night...

I'm guessing that because it was too thick, it wasn't as sticky as it should have been, which probably contributed to its collapse....

So anyways, my son and I continue to follow the directions and put the house together...first the 4 walls...check.  Now, wait 1 hour.....1 HOUR?  My 4yr old son doesn't know how to wait 1hr!  In addition, we didn't start until 8pm....late, I know - but he takes FOREVER to eat dinner...literally an hour and a half...

So instead of an hour, I wait about 15 min..that should be good, right?  OK, next step...put on the roof....check.  Now, wait 2 hours..............2 HOURS????  WOW.....I guess I should have read ALL the directions before I decided to sit down and attempt this project.  Well...I don't have 2hrs....the frosting is going to be hard if I wait til morning to finish.....hmmmm.....

10 minutes later....ok, that should be good!  Let's start decorating....let's frost the roof....wow, this frosting is HARD...it doesn't stick to the roof....hmmm, wetting a paper towel and smearing the frosting on seems to work....except I'm probably pressing down too hard....oh no!  There goes a wall...maybe I can refrost it and put it back....trying...trying...oh no!  The roof panel is sliding...put it back up....oh no!  the other roof panel....ahhh!!  The other wall.....

Moments later, all 4 walls and 2 roof panels are now in a pile.....bummer.

I thought I was going to run out of frosting (which I didn't) and my mind.....where was the super glue in the house??

OK...take a deep breath...let's try this again....did I wait an hour after putting the walls up this time?  No....did I wait 2hrs after putting the roof on?  No....but I did wait about an hour this time....I forced myself to walk away and find something else to do.

When I came back to it, it looked pretty sturdy to me....the roof was almost finished frosting from my first attempt, although covered in fingerprints and now hard....oh well.

So we started decorating again....this was the fun part. :)  So about midnight or so, we finally finished....good thing he's not in school yet and I'm home during the days....we slept in pretty late this morning.....but look at what a beauty we churned out!

Not perfect....a bit of random frosting splatters everywhere....but it gives it character, ya know?  :)

Oh...and one of the walls is barely standing....you can see it a little more up close here:

But overall, pretty good.  hopefully it stays standing till the holidays are over. :)  Last year ours caved in right around Christmas day I think....

Tonight.....I'm trying sugar cookies...I'm infamous for burning cookies though, so we'll see...I actually bought some parchment paper this time though...maybe that'll help. :)

Pauline and Family

Wow...is it really almost Christmas??  Seriously...?  This is definitely the most unprepared that I've ever been during this season....I haven't done anything except put up the tree basically...oh, and I just made a gingerbread house with my son last night - I'll have to post a picture of that too!  So much Christmas shopping to do still, but I just don't know what to get anyone....

Well, in the meantime while I'm still trying to figure out what to get for presents....have a looksie at some more pictures. :)  Below is the second half of the session I previously blogged about here.  This was a double shoot with two families at the same time (they're sisters) and they got the Color Blind special I previously wrote about, thus all the black and white pics....honestly though - the backdrop here looks amazing in color...so I had to put up some color versions too for you all to see. :) :)


(P.S. Don't forget to check out my giveaway here!)

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Giveaway! Random Avon products...

So I used to sell Avon....well maybe I still do, I'm not sure whether my account is still active or not because I haven't bought anything from them in so long....but I used to be pretty gung-ho about my Avon business....so much so, that I had a huge stockpile of products from doing shows and stuff like that...

Well now that I don't sell it anymore, I have no way to sell all of the stockpile that I have...and it's just been taking up room in my closet....and since I've been wanting to do a giveaway of some sort recently, I figured - why not use some of the Avon stuff to give away??  Makes total sense, right??  :)

So here it is...just 4 random products I pulled out of my closet...everything is brand new just ripe for the picking. :)  Everything shown below will be given to 1 random winner chosen by random.org

1. Anew Clinical Professional Stretch Mark Smoother
2. SpaFinder for Avon Gel Eye Mask
3. Travel size Imari Seduction Eau de Toilette spray
4. Avon Naturals Peach Lip Balm

All you gotta do to enter is:

1. Become a follower of my blog (click the follow button on the right hand sidebar)
2. Leave a comment below letting me know whether you're a new follower or were already following along with your email address so I can contact you if you win

That's it!

If you want extra entries (leave a comment for each entry), you can do the following:

3. Become a fan of Avery James Photography on Facebook (let me know your name so I can verify)
4. Follow me on Twitter (either AveryJamesPhoto and/or AJPonEtsy - 1 entry for each, let me know your name for verification)
5. Follow my dear friend's blog Haute Whimsy
6. Tweet about this giveaway
7. Blog about this giveaway or note it somewhere on your blog (leave 2 comments for 2 entries)

Contest open in the United States only.
Contest closes on December 29, 2010 @ 12:00pm PST
Winner will be announced on my blog and contacted via email

And there you go!  Good luck everyone! :)

Monday, December 13, 2010

"By the Light of the Moon"

Last night I was driving home around 10:30pm-ish and as I went around the corner before I reached my block, I looked over to the ocean on my right and saw this amazing view....the moon was lit in the shape of a large crescent, shining right above the ocean, which then left this gorgeous light trail over the water.  It was breathtaking.  I was then determined to capture that moment on my camera.

I drove home, ran up the stairs, got my camera ready, pulled out my brand new tripod that I hadn't even taken out of the box yet....couldn't figure out how to use it so tossed it on the couch and proceeded to tear apart my house looking for my old tripod.  Almost went back to the car thinking it was in there, but then spotted it on a shelf...got out the tripod and ran back down the stairs out to the back of the parking lot that looks out over the ocean....then I stood there fumbling with the tripod realizing I should have set it all up in the house where there was actually light so I could see what I was doing...but I knew that the moon's distance changes so rapidly sometimes and I had to get it just like it was....mind you, I also had my 4yr old son running after me through all of this commotion.

Finally, somehow in the dark I got it all set up and tested a couple of settings, then finally settled on one and started taking pictures.  I keep telling myself that I need to figure out if my camera came with a remote...I can't remember, and I don't know where it is if it did....but I need one.  When you take long exposure shots like this, the tiny bit of camera shake just from pushing the button will kill the image.  I did manage to get one shot that was pretty clear though....a bit grainy, but still focused.

So below is what the end result was...I did two different versions because I loooooved the purplish skies when I lightened it up....but then when I played around with it a bit, all of a sudden this darker image that highlighted the stars even more popped up on my screen and I loved it too....so I couldn't decide which to use, and ended up just going with both....

Which one do you like better??

These are both up for sale in my Etsy shop in case you're interested!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Christina and Family

Happy Sunday!  It's a gorgeous day outside here in Southern California...I'm blogging this past session and then heading outside with my son to enjoy the day! :)

This client (along with her sister who I will blog about in another post) took advantage of a special I was running for black and white and sepia images only...that's why most of these are not in color....the color ones were just some of my favorites that I posted on my Facebook page before she chose her final pics. :)

I absolutely LOVE this little girl's dress....it is GORGEOUS.  I love having my little boy, but it would be so fun to have a girl to buy all these pretty dresses for....they just don't make as many awesome designs for boys...they're all pretty basic.  But at the end of the day, I think I would always prefer having a boy over a girl if I ever had another one (which I'm 99% sure I won't!).  :)

Enjoy your day everyone!! :)

Saturday, December 11, 2010

CSN Stores!

I'm SUUUUUPER excited because CSN Stores contacted me to do a review on one of their products!  This website is amazing....they have over 200 store sites and you can literally find everything through them.  From tv tables, to picture frames, to fondue fountains - everything is at your fingertips. :)

The best part about this, is that I get to choose whatever I want from either their Cookeware.com site, Luxe By CSN site, or their All Modern site...the hardest part is that there were just way too many choices!  I can be so indecisive sometimes - I have been browsing their sites for DAYS now, trying to figure out what to get!!

I think I've finally settled on something though....I have the perfect wall vinyl art picked out that I'd love to put up in my home...and I've been wanting some wall vinyl FOREVER now....I figured this was the perfect opportunity to get some, and to share with everyone else the process of putting it up and the final results...

So....stay tuned for more!

And a picture for today!

This is my cousin's new baby, I took his pictures the other day and will post more soon! :)  Isn't he ADORABLE???

Thank you, Soldier...

I just saw this on another blog and absolutely could not resist spreading this further...

Let's Say Thanks

Let's Say Thanks

Pick a postcard design from their site (adorable designs by schoolchildren)
Choose a message to be written on it
Enter your name and hometown
Xerox prints them
And then off it goes to our American soldiers stationed overseas

Completely simple and a small way to say 'thanks' to those who are sacrificing so much more than the rest of us could ever understand.

I'd love to know if you send one or re-blog this. :) :)

Friday, December 10, 2010

Business 2 Blogger

I recently joined Business 2 Blogger to check it out and see what it's all about.  I see so many blogs posting giveways and reviews from some great companies, and it looked like this was the way to go about getting into that market.  I've seen the buttons all over some very well respected blogs - so I read through the details and signed myself up!  I also sent a friend over to them who signed up and has already started receiving offers (she's a lot quicker on the gun than I am about getting signed up and following directions). 

Hopefully you'll all start seeing some new things on my blog that come from Business 2 Blogger!