Christmas Breakfast 2012 | CRAZY FUN!!!

Well, we are catching up as usual! But I definitely wanted to be sure to post about our 2012 Christmas Breakfast because it seems to get better and better every year! So last year we ran out of Mimosa's, so we made sure to stock up on the beverages, but this time around we ran out of food (this was a first)! We did a Breakfast Burrito Bar - sorry no pictures, the food went fast! But it's not surprising when we had such an awesome turnout with probably 15 more friends than last year! We had to have had 45 people or so at our house for this awesome holiday gathering!

The food was delicious, but the company was even better! We had a blast visiting with everyone and of course the White Elephant game was an even bigger hit! Lots of great gifts to choose from and people were stealing left and right!

Check out the fun pics Paul caught! Santa even came out!


It was such a fun event we are already scheming for plans next year! We may even have to move locations!

Hope everyone had a wonderful and Happy Holiday! :)

Bagel Bash 2012 | A "Legendary" Event!

With the exception of 2010 (when Paul and I were married), we have done the Annual Bagel Bash Cruise every year. Our good friend Matt has put this together for years as a celebration around his birthday and in several occasions others birthday's as well! This one was Matt's big 35th birthday and I could only dream about having a gathering of this magnitude!

The Cruise set sail on December 6th, 2012 on the Carnival Paradise with over 20 friends on board for Bagel Bash! Matt was not only surprised by the turn-out this year, going from an intimate gathering of 6 to 8 people to over doubling in size, but he also came to find a lot more planning went into this as we all had our Bagel Bash shirts on board as a surprise and there was even a tribute video! Gloria, Kristy and Paul did a lot of work putting together these special pieces to make Matt's 35th Birthday one he will never forget!

We were on the boat for 4 nights with 2 full days at sea and one day in Cozumel Mexico! It was a blast! Check out some of this great adventure!

BagelBash1The ship left port and we had our first sit down dinner! It was absolutely delicious and so much fun to embark on this awesome trip with so many friends!
BagelBash2 Being that I am pregnant (no alcohol for me :( ) for this trip, I was off to bed earlier than others and excited to relax for our first day at sea. Paul on the other hand was ready to party and that he did! He partied so much that we got a very late start on our first full day at sea - honestly we didn't get many picture other than formal night because of that! Paul really enjoyed his black suit with black tie for formal night though! He thought he was a "secret agent!" Hahaha


Everyone looked great for formal night and we were ready for a day in Cozumel! The boat docked at 8AM, and we were off the ship by 9 or so. This was definitely the best time of the entire cruise (at least I thought so)! Matt, Gloria and a hand full of others went on a sailing excursion while Paul and I decided to roam the island! We rented a Chevy convertible and had a blast! First we drove all the way to the end of the island (where the road turned to dirt) and stopped off to visit with some local wildlife. Raccoons! I think... Then we were off to Senor Frog's to meet with Matt and the crew for lunch. We got there early and actually didn't catch them until we were on our way out - Next Stop Paradise Beach to meet up with Curtis and Natacha! The beach was beautiful and the water was clear and refreshing! It was such a great day! After leaving Paradise Beach, Paul decided he wanted some authentic Mexican food... we stopped at this place and they said they'd make us food... it actually turned out to be a whore house! We didn't stay long enough to get the food! From there we worked our way back to the port where we did some shopping (Paul and I got a little sombrero and maracas for our little one on the way! ;)). Then it was back to the ship for Matt's official Birthday and festivities!

BagelBash4One last day at sea! We took this time to relax and enjoy what was left of our vacation! What a great time! And a Happy Happy Birthday to Matt (and Erick)!

BagelBash5Next vacation I'll definitely be planning to have some adult beverages!

An Unconditional Love! Derrick and Jesus are Married!

Our close friends Derrick and Jesus were married a couple weekends ago! Paul met Derrick in college and they have been best of friends ever since. And when we met Jesus several years ago we knew our good friend Derrick had found his soul mate!

I love their love as it's so clearly meant to be. I recall years before Derrick ever met Jesus, he told me he could never imagine meeting someone he could spend the rest of his life with. At the time and even now, I couldn't comprehend his way of thinking! I honestly feel like there is someone out there for all of us and we are bound to unite with someone in our lifetime and hopefully that love would continue for a lifetime!

Well Derrick and Jesus definitely found that lifetime love in one another and the ceremony was one of the most emotional I have had the experience of being a part of! Paul was the photographer of course and there are so many wonderful pictures it was so hard to narrow down!

Derrick rented out a beautiful house on Lake Norman (part of our long weekend), and it was a great place for such a fun and loving occasion!

Derrick and Jesus' closest family and friends gathered for the occasion and it was definitely a memorable day and evening! We couldn't have asked for better weather either.

I can't say enough about how sweet and thoughtful the vows were. It was absolutely impossible to hold back the tears! But even through all the emotion they are all smiles. Following the ceremony we jumped right into the party. It was more like a family gathering where everyone could mix, mingle and just have a good time.

Congratulation Derrick and Jesus! Here's to a lifetime of laughter, love and snuggles! We love you guys!


Our Trip to Waltrip Racing

A family friend, Janet, that works with my parents at their UPS Store is into racing hardcore! And when I say hardcore, her husband works for Napa Auto Parts, and her son used to race and now actually works at the Waltrip Racing facility (where they build their cars).

Because we were so close by (in Lake Norman), Janet got us some VIP passes to tour the facility and I have to say it was definitely an interesting trip! None of us are into racing at all... Paul loves cars but even he hadn't ever gotten into Nascar.

But seeing this facility was actually really cool! The spaces inside were divided up by specific vehicle functions like suspension, transmission, body work, etc.

We started by walking through the suspension area to get to the body and frame section. It was actually really amazing how sterile and white everything was! Not like what you see when you got the a normal mechanic's shop!

From the main floor we headed outside where we got to see where they clean and load up the cars. These trailers can hold anywhere from 2 to 4 cars at a time, and I think hold all the tires for the race too. It's insane! And on any given race they have a couple million $$$, between the cars and tires, traveling with them. This is no joke! We also got to check out where the pit crew practices and unfortunately came on a day they were not practicing. But it was cool to see where it all happens.

From here we went into the actual shop (no pictures allowed there). This is where they are building the frames, piecing the mechanics of the cars together and I believe actually building engines (although I didn't see any engines)!

After all that we headed back inside for the "museum-like" self-tour around the upper level where you can look down over everything. It was pretty cool. Of course I think the highlight for me was sitting in the adult carseat-like structure that the drivers actually sit in. It was a bit uncomfortable, but I could see why it is necessary to keep the drivers protected!

Overall it was a very cool experience! Thanks to Janet and her husband for getting us this VIP pass! Super cool!!!

Lake Norman Lake House - What a Sight!

The following weekend after my cousin's wedding we were to be back in NC for another wedding. My parents were attending this wedding as well so they decided instead of heading back to GA, and then back up to NC again they would rent a lake house on Lake Norman for the week. Unfortunately Paul and I weren't able to spend the entire week there with them, but we were able to make a long weekend of it heading back up to Charlotte Wednesday evening.

It was a beautiful cabin style lake house with an awesome view of the lake with absolutely amazing sunsets. The cabin sleeps 12 people comfortably, and would be a great house for a couple's retreat or family gathering! The driveway wrapped all the way around the house, so there is plenty of room for cars and whatever you need!

They have a bunch of decks and a screened porch. But the highlight was the covered dock and the awesome view! Check out these cool HDR photos Paul got while we were there!

We also caught an amazing sunset this evening! It was an amazing array of pink and blue colors. We couldn't have asked for a better evening setting!

The photography didn't end with this amazing sunset. Paul couldn't resist the clear evening sky and went out again to catch some more night photos. All of these are pretty amazing! You can see the stars, a shooting star in the second picture and in the third, what Paul says was planes taking off out of Charlotte. So cool!

It was definitely a very relaxing couple of days leading up to the beautiful wedding to come!

Chris and Carolyn's Wedding in Chapel Hill

The whole family (Mom's side) came together for the beautiful wedding and reception of my cousin Chris to his now WIFE, Carolyn. They had a beautiful ceremony in the church and it was sweet and short, just like we like it! Paul caught a few nice images, and there's more where this came from!

The reception followed at a very cool restaurant in Chapel Hill called La Residence Restaurant. The reception was on their tropical-like patio and it provided a very nice ambiance!

We got some shots of some family members... Paul caught a picture of me and then my cousin Kim. There's definitely a resemblance there! Also got a good picture with my brother, my parents together and of course me and my Paul Paul!

The dinner was very nice and the cake was even better! I am ALWAYS looking forward to wedding cake! YUMMMM! And of course the newlyweds looked so great! Such a sweet couple!

Every time the family gets together we like to get a lot of fun pictures! Specifically my two cousins, Beth and Marissa, and myself. We have been a little trio since we were kids, and here is a little photo montage of the three of us over the years, ending with Chris and Carolyn's wedding! I think we are all aging well! I definitely like how I look better in the later pictures than the younger ones!

Overall it was a great weekend! So great to see all of our family, catch up and of course celebrate the union of Chris and Carolyn! Congrats to the happy couple!

Our Little Chunk Model...

It's been way too long since I've posted, so now it's time to delight in some great photos of our precious little Chunk Master!

He's such the model... I took pictures of him this past weekend while he was lounging on the sofa. Isn't he just beautiful???

Pretty Stoked!

Paul and I photographed a wedding a couple of weeks ago, and I am pretty stoked about how the pics turned out! I've done some second shooter work with him for various weddings, but this one I felt like I brought a lot more to the table!

Check out the post here!

The Beautiful Grand Canyon in Blue

On day four of our trip, it was time to make the 3.5 to 4 hour drive from Las Vegas to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon where you can view the canyon from the overlooks in the national park. We got up early in an effort to be sure we got there in enough time to catch the awesome views before sunset. Kara prepared and packed up snacks, we had bottled water , and some additional beverages just in case! ;)

Kevin was sweet enough to drive on the way out, so the rest of us were able to nap, take pictures and play on the computer. It was definitely a long ride, and I don't think it helped that we stopped a lot, but it's worth it to see the canyon in person!

As we arrived to the entrance of the park, snow started falling. The forecast had a 30% chance of precipitation, so we weren't surprised. We found our way to the new visitor center (another amenity that wasn't there the last time Kara had been), and were able to watch a video about the Canyon and how it came to be. It's really an amazing thing to watch and learn about. Following the video, we walked the path to the overlook, and with all the snow, it was ironically very difficult to see the canyon in it's entirety. We got a lot of pictures and although there wasn't full visibility, it was still and amazing sight!

We hadn't eaten for a while and the snow was still coming down, so we decided to check out one of the lodges in the park. Looking at the map and driving around, I was so surprised at how many people live and work there and what all they actually have accessible within the park! There is a grocery store, various restaurants and eateries, a bank and a post office. There is also a school and lots of housing for employees. It was kind of like visiting a small town in the middle of nowhere. Our friends Elaine and John talked to one of the staff members, and he said there isn't really anything within less than an hour and a half to two-hour of the park as far as activities and entertainment go. Seems crazy coming from suburbia and the city!

We went to Maswik Lodge where they had a food court with various food options. You could even buy beer there, nice huh?! The Lodge had a gift shop and there was also a front desk reservation area if you are a guest. Lunch was tasty... better than fast food, but no fine dining. They have some restaurants that are more fine dining, but we were keeping it  simple.

The snow seemed to be coming down even harder after we ate! We were kind of hoping it would slow down, but as we were checking out the gift shop, we noticed it getting worse! Our initial instinct was to get in the car and hit the road, but it started to slow down and we had driven so far to get there, we decided to get out another overlook. We stopped by where they have canyon side cabins (they were so cool) with an awesome view of the canyon. Kara said she had looked into them just in case we wanted to stay in the park for a night, but they were all booked! But as we were walking along the path, we were able to catch some blue sky and were actually able to see the fog lift out of the canyon. Seeing all the way down and across the canyon was absolutely amazing and it seemed like it was fate cause we weren't going to stop, but we were absolutely glad we did!

Paul actually convinced us that we should stop back by the original overlook (by the visitor center) because as the fog started to lift, he was sure he could get some breathtaking shots of the canyon. It was getting dark, but he had his tripod and we walked back out through the trail to the original spot, he set up and you would not believe what he got! Check these beautiful photos out!

I couldn't be happier with the outcome because not only did I get to see the Grand Canyon, I got to see it in a way that many people don't! In BLUE.... When we had first gotten there, Kara and Kevin actually overheard another couple talking and one of them had said he had been to the canyon many times and it was the first time he had ever seen it in these colors. Now see them in HDR!

I know one day Paul and I will go back there... we may even go back with Kara and Kevin who were talking about doing a two-week camping/rafting adventure through the canyon, but I have a feeling that I will never again see it in that light! Absolutely amazing...

Photography by Paul Perdue

Paul did an AWESOME job at the 'Red Tails' Sky Show!

Paul did an AWESOME job at the 'Red Tails' Sky Show! Check it out here!!!