Thursday, July 31, 2008

Goal # 67: Blog Something That Is Challenging For You...

Justin & I spent the past few days up in the Berkshires with our PUG group for the "Annual PUG Rock N' Roll Retreat." Don't let the name fool you. This was some serious business. 

It was one of the most inspiring, self-reflecting, revising, kick in the pants, burden lifting, make me wanna be a better person, you complete me and had me at hello experiences of my life. And that was just day one.

Our assignment for the retreat was to come up with our list of 101 goals in 1001 days before we could leave, and to blog at least one thing that we've accomplished from that list within a week of the retreat. 

Goal #67: Blog Something That is Challenging For You. 

It always comes easy for me to blog about the good things, the happy things, the woo hoo for us, we rule the world so let's throw a party things. But when it comes to the hard things, the not so pretty things, the fall flat on your face and don't pick yourself up things, well.....I tend to hide. Like a newbie at summer camp who just heard the "the call is coming from inside the house" story for the very first time, I hide. Just give me a flashlight and a sleeping bag to shiver under, and I'm all set.

Goal #67: Blog Something That is CHALLENGING For You. 

Deep breaths we go.

I guess you could say I grew up.....'po.

Not just poor you see, but 'PO...that's when you're so poor that you can't even afford the other O and the R to go with it. 

The picture above is of a place called home. This is the place where my roots run deep. Ask me what I stand for and I guarantee you here is where the answer lies. As I stand before it, wide eyed and wistful, the haunts of my childhood laughter can be heard floating on the breeze. And my heart drifts back in time to a more complicated me.

There wasn't one day that passed growing up that I didn't hate this trailer. I would spend hours dreaming up ways to build on to it... to transform it, and thereby me, overnight. Start with what you've got and build from there.

Several times we tried to fix it, and several times we failed. And I feared that this trailer, this failure to me, would forever define who I am.

Sometimes our worst fears are the best things that ever happen to us.

Fast forward a few years, and these things I've learned. It was not failure that kept my family where they were...but love. Only the strongest kind of love would cause two parents to live with nothing so that their child could one day have more. And that trailer, the one that I hated and feared so much for all those years... well, it turns out it has opened nothing less than the entire world to me.

I came across this the other day when we were clearing off some hard drives, and I wanted to share it with you. It is the opening paragraph to my personal statement for my application to Yale Law School. It describes in great detail where I came from, and there is not a question in my mind that it is responsible for everywhere I've gone since. Sometimes our worst fears are the best things that ever happen to us. 

You've just got to start with what you've got and build from there.

The roof of the old shack cracked under the weight from the average twenty-two inches of a Nicholas County snowfall. The wood stove was never properly fitted at the top, causing flames to shoot out and streak overhead every time a log was thrown on. And orange and blue blazes would dance perilously close to the pink fluffs of insulation that hung from the sagging ceiling. When Spring came, it would rain just as hard inside as out, and the smell of mildew would hang thick in the air long past the end of Summer. But for now at least, it was Winter. 

The young girl swung open the screen door and dropped her head against the stinging bite of wind sweeping across her Fenwick Mountain home. A thin, tattered blue scarf hung loosely about her hand-me-down coat, and she pulled it close to her as if it alone might somehow stop the wind. She quickly dumped scraps of brown beans and cornbread for the latest stray that had wandered into the yard and wheeled around for shelter. She was stopped in her tracks, if only for just a moment, by the sight of the shack that stood in front of her. Or as she had always simply called it- home. And she couldn’t help but think, there must be more out there than this. But then the whipping wind picked up again, and she hurried back inside with only fleeting memories of a life that could be hers.

Goal #67: Blog Something That Is Challenging For You. 

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Meet: The Graziers /August is PH month!!

Justin & I wanted to announce Portrait House month here at Justin Marantz Photography, and we could think of no better way to do this than by showing you one of our absolute favorite family shoots EVER!

For the entire month of August, we will be booking family sessions for just a $100 donation to Portrait House (of course more is always welcome!) This is HUGE because our normal portrait packages usually begin at $1500, so make sure you take advantage of this and support a really great cause while you're at it! Note that your family shoot doesn't have to take place in August (and it almost certainly won't since we are booked SOLID), it just has to be booked by then. So help us spread the word!

And now on with the show!!

Meet: The Graziers.

We met Matt & Enna sometime in the winter of 2007, and from the very first time they hugged us hello we knew we would be lifelong friends. They are amazing people. Unbelievably generous people. The kind of people who come into your life, change it forever with their kindness, and never ask a thing in return for it. So when the opportunity came up for us to do a shoot with them and their awesome boys, Ollie & Will, it's safe to say we jumped at it!!

We drove up to Boston to spend the day with their fam, and of course we had to start off with some of Enna's yummy pancakes:

The start of Will's pancake:
Will is SUCH a cutie!
Enna and her boys

Then we headed off to do some hiking ...

Ollie is getting so big!
I LOVE this shot I got!! Look at that face!
Piggy back!!!

I adore this shot that Justin got!!

The Grazier Fam!!
Laughing til they're all tuckered out
When nature calls. Ahhhhh look at that tushy!!!

We snuck off and grabbed a couple of just Matt & Enna together
Love this one!!
Matt & his boys
The End...both of em!

Morning with the Marantz's

AND NOW....a scene from our morning routine. This is the kind of stuff Justin deals with every morning, so I thought just this once I'd let you start your day this way too. :) Picture it: me, my jim jams, and Mr. Kanye West on the iTunes.

Step 1: start this video:

Step 2: picture me singing the following as I get ready in the morning:

Doot Doot Doot Doot Doot Doot Doot Doot Dooooo Dooooo DOOOOO

Doot Doot Doot Doot Doot Doot Doot Doot Dooooo Dooooo DOOOOO

Water on and toothbrush out. We're the hottest in the world right now, just touched down in London town.

Squeeze the toothpaste, but don't waste. Go to town and brush, brush, brush, brush, brush, brush, brush.

Time to hustle, do the hustle. Travolta. John Travolta. Now don't forget the booty shake.

And brush brush brush brush brush brush brush brush brush brush brush brush brush brush brush brush.


Just gave up java.....What's your persYAWNna, about this Americana?

Spin around now. Right round now. C'mon now. And don't forget the booty shake

Yea shake shake shake shake shake shake shake shake shaaaake shaakkke shake.

Shake shake shake shake shake shake shake shake shaaaaaake shaaaake shake

Time to....get dressed smart like a London bloke. Look at this peacoat, tell me he's broke.

Yea OATMEAL I'm down with that...cranberries too is Ca-a-ash

C'mon you know you LOOOVE this, don't pretend it's RUB-BISH

Annnnnnd Doot Doot Doot Doot Doot Doot Doot Doot Doooo Doooo DOOOOOO

Doot Doot Doot Doot Doot Doot Doot Doot DOOOOO DOOOOO DOOOOOOO

And scene. Welcome to our world.:)

Friday, July 25, 2008

Life is not a marathon....

...It's a series of sprints.

I've often heard this said and thought there must be something to it, but it was not until recently that I received its full meaning. In the "somebody gift wrapped it, tied it with a Martha Stewart bow, and left it on my front doorstep" sorta way.

First let me start with this:


Hate it.

There I've said it. Put it out there for the whole world to see. There's no turning back now. And it feels goooood.

Let's face it. As far as the exercise du jour, running is the new black. The IT trend. C'mon I read Us Weekly...religiously. And every week I see Miss Reese Witherspoon with her iPod chugging down some Hollywood Hill. Or Fergie with that weird water bottle thing. Seriously, what's up with that?

Now being that I like to fancy myself a "with it" kinda girl, for any number of years I have tried with great dedication and perseverance to convince myself that I, in fact, would actually LOVE running if I just gave it a chance.

Look at all those happy people. Their head bands tucked neatly over a bouncing pony tail. Running and smiling. Smiling and running. Now granted in Connecticut these people insist on running year round in the negative 20 degree weather, so for all I know their smile froze like that sometime last October and just hasn't had a chance to thaw out yet. But still, they LOOK happy.

Yet each and every time *I* try to take up running my face turns a lovely shade of purple (eggplant 120 according to those paint swatches at Home Depot...y'know the square ones, not the ones that come in those strips) and my side feels like it's going to explode. And that's just from lacing up my tennis shoes.

I have tried any number of things to get myself excited about running. First I bought some running pants. Ya gotta have those. Then, moving southward, I realized I would be nothing without a good pair of running shoes. White ones with the teal trim (gotta love branding with athletic wear). And honestly how could I even possibly consider running without a teal iPod shuffle to match? And yet, totally surprisingly to me, I did not run.

So you can imagine my enjoyment at my husband's recent announcement in his State of the Couple Address that, in our ongoing efforts to get in shape, we were going to start waking up at the crack of dawn (8:30!!) to run "telephone poles". What are "telephone poles" you may be asking, to which I would say "good question!"

Telephone poles are where we run the distance of two telephone poles and walk one. Then run again. Then walk again. And...well I'm sure you're getting the picture.

Now I tried everything to get out of these. I hid under the covers. But he knew where to find me. I begged for mercy. He had none. I even tried bargaining. "Darlin, we can eat Krispy Kremes for breakfast, lunch & dinner and I won't say a WORD." But still, he was unmoved.

And so I run. Two telephone poles, and walk one. And on and on it goes. And here's the thing, even for a self-professed running hater such as me, I've discovered that you can do ANYTHING for the space of two telephone poles. Anything. Because the end is always in sight. You see, life is not a marathon, it's a series of sprints.

And so I run. Yes, by golly, I run. But know this blog world, you will never, no never, catch ME running & smiling in 20 below weather.

On that I stand firm.

Keep em Coming!!

Whoa! We just found out that another blog featured the Julia & Mike shoot. This is now the third one that we know of! This is just so awesome...seriously, I just hope these bloggers know how cool and inspiring something like this is for us. Talk about your motivation to keep waking up and trying something new every day! We appreciate it SOOOO much! And a special thanks to Julia & Mike for being the rockstars that they are! They really deserve 99.9% of the credit. :)

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Brides' Girl Friday!!

Check this out! Our good friend, the lovely and talented Karen St. Clair of Just-In-Case Gifts fame has just launched a brand new business called Brides' Girl Friday!! This is SUCH a cool idea! Basically she will take care of running all the errands and handling all last minute emergencies leading up to the day of your wedding...including (HELLO!!) making Starbucks runs!!!! Seriously? Our only question is how to we go about hiring her full time for us?!?

On Deck: The Grazier Family stay tuned for that!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

How can you have s'more of something...

If you haven't had any yet??

When we were down in WV for the 4th, we had a huge bonfire and cookout with Mary's family. The only problem was, after twelve hours of searching all over creation in the backwoods of West Virginia, there was not a marshmallow to be found. And seriously, how are ya gonna have a bonfire without toasting up some S'mores? So when we got back, we did what any normal preppy New Englanders tryin' to rough it would do: we toasted them over our Williams Sonoma All-Clad fondue set.


Mary, Joey & I: serious wilderness freaks!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Married!!: Amanda & Jeff

Ok brace yourselves!! This is gonna be a looooong one! But seriously, how many times does our girl, the one and only lil' Amanda Harris, get married?!?!

As you can see if you visit Carla's blog, I was a mess the ENTIRE weekend and pretty much cried anytime I came within ten feet of Amanda. I saw her at the rehearsal dinner. And I cried. Her dad gave a toast. And I cried. We did yoga and the instructor told us to remember how grateful we are for Miss Amanda. And I knew just how right she was. And I cried. And get the idea.

So without further ado, allow me to present the delicious wedding of Jeffrey & Amanda Havemeyer Harris Herzberger. And just as we suspected, it was AHHHmazing!! (*** We only started shooting at the ceremony, so be sure to check out her main photographer, the incredible and absolutely adorable Daria Bishop, as well as Carla's blog for more of the yummy wedding goodness!)

First, allow me to set the scene. This was the incredible view awaiting us at the ceremony site. Y'know, the real thing. Not just the painting.

Here is Amanda's brother escorting her mom down the aisle.

Then it was Strider's turn to take center stage.

The music began to swell....

And the audience gasped in awe...

as Amanda and her dad emerged from the house.

The ceremony was breathtaking as they got the most perfect day. Ummm pretty much ever.

The groomsmen looked on....

and so did the bridesmaids.

Pretty maids all in a row.

But the MOST important person watching, wasn't really a person at all!

I think this one shot pretty much sums up the incredible energy at the ceremony in one moment for me. Everyone looking at this couple, loving them so much, and hoping so many wonderful things for them (oh dear, here we go again! hold on while I grab some tissues. geez a loo, what a mess!! Carla, I am fanning myself as we speak!) and Jeff & Amanda just trying to take it all in.

It was a pretty emotional day. Let's just put it this way, when she looked over at me with that smile and those tears in the third shot, I had to go "walk it off" as C would say at the side of the house.

But don't worry...there was plenty of smiling too!

And laughing!

Justin grabbed this killer shot of the circle the bridal party formed to bless the rings. They passed the rings around and each person silently said their good wishes for the couple before passing them to the next person. I LOVE this idea!

So I kept looking around trying to find my husband, but he was nowhere to be found! That is, of course, until I discovered his secret hiding spot up in this little window. Which would explain the killer image above!

The bridesmaids in the circle.

Husband & Wife!!

Let's get outta here!

And just grab a second to take it all in.

The first dance...

And dancing with her dad.

Here's to the new Mr & Mrs!!! We love you guys so much and I can't tell you how much it meant to us to be there and share this with you. Your friendship means the world to us and we continue to be grateful for having you in our lives!

But wait! Before I go, allow me to introduce the starting line up of photographers for the day!! First up, the amazing main duo of Daria...

& Andy!!

Ms. Carla Ten Eyck, serving it up ninja style!

But don't worry, she always takes time to make this look good!

Super secret agent, Mike, who went totally unnoticed with this disappearing trick.

Mr. Marantz rockin' it Oceans 11 style in a seersucker suit. Yes, I said seersucker. :)

We are kind of a big deal...

Seriously, we're professionals. I promise. :)