B&W Photo challenge

I happened to see a contest today for black and white photos and with only 20 minutes left to enter I had to work quickly to pick one!  Most of the other entries seem to be babies so I wanted to pick something else. Here is a recent shot of a teen. Tell me what you think!

Check out the challenge at Iheartfaces.com 

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Calling all Valentines!

Did you get something special for Valentine’s Day?

Every year millions of Americans celebrate Valentine’s Day with cards, letters, flowers, candy, and myriad more creative ideas.  This year, I told my husband that I didn’t want store-bought gifts for Valentine’s Day. I was hoping that he would think outside of the box and do something for me that was really personal to us.  That also meant I wasn’t going to buy him anything and would need to think outside of the box as well (he’s hard to buy for anyway because he normally just buys everything I would think to get him.)

What actually happened?

He bought be a card. I made him a card with finger paint and construction paper.

Lame?

Not really. It actually was nice because he didn’t just grab some cheesy or sappy card that was totally generic. He found a sappy card that to an onlooker seems generic. It reads, “I can’t tell you exactly when I knew I loved you….I kind of always have.” It fits. You see when I asked him in the past how he knew he loved me and when he realized it, he told me he doesn’t know because he just always knew.

My card to him: a paper heart with a handwritten inscription: Be my Valentine? Yes  No   I love you…Simply.

No candles (the kiddo would blow them out anyway!), no romantic music, no movie or roses. Just simply “I love you.”

Alright, now you’ve read my sappy story. Let’s hear yours! What sweet Valentine’s story do you have in your heart? It doesn’t have to be from a sweetheart, maybe your child is your valentine, maybe it’s your best friend.

Share your story in the comments below, have your friends come over here and vote for you to win prizes! I will add stories nightly. If your friends want to vote before I add your story, they can REPLY to your comment  and include your name in the reply (replies to the main thread are hard to connect to a person and may not get counted properly).

Contest ends 2/21/2012 at 11:59 PM Eastern.

Person with the most replies supporting his/her story wins a session for two (or one) and $20 in print credit.

Second place wins a session for two (or one).

Third place wins $10 in print credit

**All sessions must take place before June 1, 2012 in Duval, Baker, Southern Nassau or Northern Clay county areas. No cash value. Each reply must be from a different person in order to be counted, please remind your friend: 1 body = 1 vote.**

On your Feet Photo challenge

I love feet so almost all of my sessions have a foot shot in them. This makes choosing one for the contest extra difficult. I have some dirty feet pictures, some baby feet pictures and some toddler feet pictures. Those are kind of standard though so I decided that although they may be better technically this shot has a better story.

This is a shot of the feet of six of the family’s seven children created as part of an anniversary surprise!Image This photo has been entered in a contest on

Animal Therapy {a day at the zoo}

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{all of the above images are ©Daryl Everett 2011 and were taken at the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens. }

This past week was incredibly busy for me. We left the house at least once a day and usually for at least three hours each time.

As the week progressed, I was able to feel the stress wearing me. By Sunday evening I had turned to “Facebook Therapy.”

I started thinking of when I could get in some Mama-to-Mama time with a friend which led me to thinking of all the things that needed to be done this week and in only two days since it’s Thanksgiving week! The list was overwhelming and it was still growing.  All of my fellow mamas appeared to be busy this week and I needed a quick intervention.  I considered a few things and they all seemed like they would contribute to my stress levels increasing rather than to my feel-good hormones increasing. Scenes of laughing with an excited toddler played in my head. Then I got it: the zoo.

When you go to the zoo you write off the whole day to strolling in nature and enjoying the animals, in my case with a little boy who loves animals. What could be more healing for a Mama with increasing fight-or-flight hormones? Me thinks, nothing. (Save a long soak in a candle-lit tub with soft music and a personal masseur.)

And with that the decision was made to take a day off and go to the zoo. No “to do” list, no dishes, no laundry, no portrait edits, no cooking, no cleaning, just the train, the animals, the child and the camera.

While the day wasn’t some ethereal experience, but it was restorative. It’s quite amazing just how exciting the reptile house is when you’re almost two.

I had to remind myself a few times that the agenda for the trip was to have no agenda, not to see every animal at the zoo. We loitered in the aviary  because those double doors are just so cool. We looked at all the snakes at least twice, just in case one of them decided to do something really neat. We chatted with the goats and looked into the eyes of the gorilla, wondering who was really on exhibit!

And one of us slept all the way home.

All in all it was a great experience.

Where’ve you been?

I know you are probably wondering where I’ve been of late.  So I’ll tell you!

I’ve been around doing lots of behind-the-scenes work and being Mommie to a wonderful (and often needy) little boy.

Some of the things I have been working on include Christmas cards, Fall sessions, a new website, a website skeleton and blog for a colleague, improving my ASL skills, scouring the web for educational tidbits, looking for locations for shoots and baby sign classes, creating an updated logo and formulating the 2012 pricing structure for my portrait business (I hope to make things better for both you the client and me).

I can’t promise how much I’ll be on in the next few weeks with the Holidays and my little man’s birthday, but I’ll try to get some good stuff up here in the next few days to make up for being absent lately.

In the meantime, check out my Facebook pages and follow me on there for quick and more frequent updates and tips.