Our 2013 Experience | The Kentucky State Fair

Anyone that’s followed my blogs for any amount of time knows how much I love the Kentucky State Fair. (The proof?  Fair Days 2011 and 2010.)  I usually go to the Fair every year with my girl, Abby, and we stay all day.  All. Day.  But we missed our Fair Day last year; I had just started a new job and Abby was traveling over the weekends.  So we decided to make up for it this year and our friend Kelly joined us… and it really was a great day with my girlfriends.

Fair Day consists of seeing any of the shows we want to see (Abby and I happen to love the duck herding Border Collies – and both agree the racing pigs was the all-time best show), walking through most of the exhibits (at least all the food entries, the photography and art walls, and themed Christmas trees), shopping the flea market and finishing Fair Day by watching a band and enjoying an adult beverage.

We started early, arriving at 11am, and made the best of our time together.  We took several photos… of exhibits, each other and selfies… and we made sure that we didn’t care what other people thought…  I have to say those eleven hours spent at the Kentucky State Fair made this year a favorite for sure!

Our 2013 Experience | The Kentucky State Fair

1. The dairy cows were in abundance the day we decided to go. Moo. :)  2. Dioramas… from The Walking Dead… winners in my eyes!
3. We visited all of the protective services booths, including the FBI. I also made away with a police officer badge sticker I wore all day.
4. A steam-punk circus group – I think the contraption they did their acrobats on was the most impressive part.  5. Kelly and her Lemon Shake.

Our 2013 Experience | The Kentucky State Fair

1. Abby and I with Freddy Farmer.  2. Kelly and Abby – not the first photo to be taken in front of the fountain.  3. Group selfie #1.
4. Group selfie #2 – and a much better attempt thanks to Abs.  5. There was an unpleasant smell on our tractor ride… and it wasn’t the livestock!

Our 2013 Experience | The Kentucky State Fair

We finally found people to take our picture – thank you, Earl the Police Officer for visiting (and putting up) with us as well as taking our picture.  (And thank you for the ride back to our car!!)  And a big thank you to the sweet girl who snapped our photo in front of the Midway – it’s definitely my favorite photo from the day.  Now whose ready for Fair Day 2014?!?!

amyhasbangs - The picture of your face in the army man/FBI outfit has made my life.

Susan - I agree with Amy – that picture of you and Abby as the FBI dudes is cracking me up! Looks like you guys had a great time.

Shelly B - I love your fair day posts. I live vicariously through you :) William and I need to make it up there next year.

Trying Something New. Again. | A Greek Yogurt Experiment

Greek Yogurts

I want to get on the Greek yogurt band wagon.  I really, really, really do.  The problem is I’m not sold on it.  I’ve tried two different kinds so far – the first (which was a blackberry flavor of the store’s brand) was just awful.  It tasted (and looked) like I was putting drywall spackle into my mouth.  I wish I was joking.  So after a rant on good old Facebook, I gave the “fruit and honey” kind a go.  Müller was OK – as long as I had mangoes and honey touching the yogurt, it was tolerable.  But still.

I’ve been to the grocery stores several times since.  And I’ve just walked past the Greek yogurt, not even batting an eyelash at it.  But I decided to be adventurous this week and brought home four different brands.  Yes, three include honey.  And yes, Müller made it into the basket because I’m using it as my  control – tolerable, but definitely no blue ribbon.  My plan is to try a new one everyday and hope that one is just as great as my standard  light vanilla yogurt.  (Which sadly took me weeks to learn how to eat.  Yogurt and I have long been frenemies.)

There will be looks of disgust.  Faces will be made as spoons enter my pie hole.  I’m willing to bet money that none of this containers will be scraped clean.  But if I happen to be wrong, I’ll be sure to let you know.

Jenn - Fage is the best!! And I say this as someone who does. not. like. yogurt. typically (ate Chobani for breakfasts because it really helped me control my diet before the wedding, but made faces the whole time).

I can honestly say that I love the texture of the Fage (and I’m glad you got the 2% because the 0% doesn’t necessarily make the difference so obvious.)

I hope you find one that works for you!

rachel corbett - You should try Light n Fit Greek Yogurt. They have blueberry, strawberry, and pineapple. I absolutely love them.

Susan - Totally agree with Jenn – Fage is the best. It was my gateway to Greek yogurt. Here’s how I eat it with the honey: don’t stir it all in at once. Dip your spoon in the honey, then the yogurt. This ensures honey with every bite. You might run the chance of running out of honey before the yogurt is gone. I say, just toss the rest of the yogurt away. :)

Brooke Murphy Photography - […] After trying several different kinds of Greek yogurt and grading each one, I finally found one for me.  And I can honestly say not all Greek yogurts are created equally.  Through my experiment, six different brands met their demise with my mouth (or the trash can).  I kept a chart to score each brand on creaminess, tartness, taste without topping, amount consumed, any additional notes and then an overall score. […]

Baby Asher {newborn} | Louisville Newborn Photographer

This summer has definitely been the “summer of babies.”  So many friends have given birth the last few months – and for the last few months I’ve been holding babies, talking to babies, photographing babies… and I love every second of it!  But meeting Baby Asher for the first time was very special to me.

I’ve been friends with Lauren for a few years now; we started working together and eventually ended up sharing an office.  When you’re in close proximity to another person, a person whose company you enjoy and have so many things in common with, you tend to grow closer.  These days, even though we don’t  share a pot of coffee or binge on jelly beans daily, Lauren holds a special place in my heart.  And I know that having this little baby boy with her husband, Ben, was something that she dreamed of.  And it finally happened.

What’s funny about Asher’s birthday is that he was born just a couple of days after Baby Joseph – two baby ships passing in the maternity ward at night.  (Or something clever like that.)  But at 7pm on July 27th, Asher made his way into the world and changed the lives of his mom and dad forever.  And not to forget all of us that just can’t help but love this little guy and his parents too.  A perfect family – all three of them fit together just right.

Baby Asher {newborn} | Louisville Newborn PhotographerBaby Asher {newborn} | Louisville Newborn PhotographerBaby Asher {newborn} | Louisville Newborn Photographer

Baby Asher {newborn} | Louisville Newborn Photographer

There was so much great directional light in Lauren and Ben’s front room.  And there was so much Asher-lovin I felt my heart stop a beat.

Baby Asher {newborn} | Louisville Newborn PhotographerBaby Asher {newborn} | Louisville Newborn Photographer

A favorite – I love how Asher is sneaking a peek at me. :)

Wendy the Dog

Wendy did not want the baby to get all the attention, she had to be in the mix too.  So while she was distracted, I snapped a few frames.
I love wonky ears on doggins.

Baby Asher {newborn} | Louisville Newborn Photographer

A quick snack and a not-so-quick diaper change and then Asher was worn out.  Little man started falling asleep in mom’s arms.  And oh how I loved to watch his snooze away with Lauren.

Baby Asher {newborn} | Louisville Newborn PhotographerBaby Asher {newborn} | Louisville Newborn Photographer

Baby Asher {newborn} | Louisville Newborn Photographer

Baby yawns are the best.

Baby Asher {newborn} | Louisville Newborn Photographer

Baby Asher {newborn} | Louisville Newborn Photographer

Oh Asher – you’re breaking so many hearts already. ♥

Baby Asher {newborn} | Louisville Newborn Photographer

*the best*

Lauren and Ben, I can’t believe how perfect your little man is – he’s not only handsome but is easy-going too.  I just love how he falls right asleep when I hold him.   *melting heart*  Thank you so much for allowing me to be with your growing family and photograph your newest member.  I can’t wait to watch him grow up and I hope he gets his parents’ musical abilities.  Between Lauren’s Eddie Vedder impersonations and Ben’s Backstreet Boys karaoke routine, he’s all set. ;)  xoxo

Caili - These images are crazy crisp! The colors and focus make me feel like I am five feet away from them in that room. And that last photo? I would kill to have taken that. You are so talented!

Lauren Bellamy - Brooke, words can’t express just how much we love these pics. They truly embrace his personality and convey the unconditional love we feel for this little guy. Your creativity and talent really shines in these photos. Thank you again. I am truly blessed to have you as a friend and as a photographer ;).

Susan - Amazing, as usual. Congrats to Ben and Lauren. Asher’s such a sweetie! That yawn!

Melissa - You have no idea how many times this week (and today) i have said ” I want another baby.” these photos have not helped me change my mind!beautiful!

Amanda D - You’re so good Brooke!! Beautiful shots and the quality is amazing.!

Baby Joseph {newborn} | Louisville Newborn Photographer

It’s sometimes amazing to see how a family grows.  How it’s shaped, how it changes over time… and the Rosas have been a family that I’ve admired as an outsider from day one.  Seriously.  From when Amanda and David tied the knot to the announcement of expecting their second child.  They’re a beautiful family, inside and out, and these two parents not only rock at their job of raising their kids, but have managed to keep each other balanced as well.  It’s really in the way they look at each other – the love runs deep and they wear it on their faces.  And even now, John wears it on his face.

Sometimes, life is just amazing.

Baby Joseph was born in early July – as a friend of Amanda, I knew a boy was expected but names had been floating around for months.  Would his name be Frank?  Or the bizarre Q’wazy that was thought up on a random dinner out with girlfriends.  The name Joseph was not a surprise as it had been on the short list, but I find it to be very fitting.  And he’s sweet as can be – and he looks just like big brother John only with lighter hair.

Two boys.  Two boys that look so similar.  And resemble their father so closely.  And a mom I know that’s been smitten with her three men before she even met them all.  It’s definitely amazing.

*melting heart*

John is my newest BFF.  He not only played guitar and sang The Beatles for me, but we played in the floor and practiced our animal sounds together.  I’m telling ya, these kiddos love my elephant sounds.  And I love this little person through and through.

I loved watching David with Joseph.  He’s able to support that little guy in the quickest way.  And then they stare into each other’s eyes.  And then there’s a kiss.  And then Brooke falls on the floor because she can’t handle how darn sweet it all is.  Gah.

*a favorite*

Amanda makes it all look so easy.  I can already see the look she’d give me I said that to her in person, and how she’d blow it off – but she really does wear this motherhood thing perfectly.  This lady makes me so happy.  She makes most people who know her happy.

And Baby Joseph – all he wanted to do was snack while I played with John.  But he’s won my heart already.  I absolutely love that squished face on the left.  Squishy babies are my fave.

These kiddos make me reach for my heart – seeing them together and knowing that they’ll be growing up together with the parents they have just makes everything seem likes it’s in place in the world.  John may be young still, but he knows his brother is special.  And I think he knows he’s special too.  But Amanda and David – you should know how special you are and that what you guys have going on is quite amazing. I mean it from the bottom of my heart. xoxo

Caili - You found some gorgeous indoor light, girl! And that baby is precious!

Susan - That black & white photo of Amanda and Joseph may have made me sniffly. Beautiful.

Wendi @ Bon Appetit Hon - I could snuggle with those boys all day long.

Validating | Project Life in Color

After thinking through what I wanted to capture this month for Project Life in Color, I decided I wanted to continue off of last month’s post; not so much focusing on how to be more positive, but finding positive things that exist already and motivate me.  And I think I did just that.  My photo may not be  styled or perfect but believe me, that night was great, the sushi was fab and these women are a never-ending supply of smiles.

Validating | Project Life in Color

My “book club” girlfriends are a hoot and half.  They’re seriously some of the funniest, fast-witted women I know.  Which makes for fantastic conversation that’s riddled with startled snorts and hands reaching for napkins to cover it up.  And our latest night out included delicious sushi, bottles of wine, chopsticks finding their way across plates, talking with our mouths full and ending on a cool note with ice cream.  I actually had to roll myself into my car when it was time to head home.

I’ve always enjoyed our dinners, nights out, midnight movie adventures and standing around a cheese plate in a kitchen.  But there was an article that made us realize that we were “those women.”  The Onion hit the nail on the head; it’s a parody of course, but still relevant of how we act when we’re together.  And we jumped on the bandwagon of referring to our nights out as “overindulging in emotionally supportive behavior and generally validating the living shit out of each other.”

It’s what we do.  Honestly.  We “listen hard and console even harder.”

Between the quips and jokes and laughs, we’re genuinely interested in each others’ well-being, family and career.  And we talk about these things regularly.  We celebrate milestones of growing families, birthdays, anniversaries and promotions.  We cheer on the small things like new boyfriends, successful sewing projects, venturing out with newborns for the first time and finding the perfect dining room table.  We give each other nods of encouragement, smiles of agreement, hand squeezes of understanding, pats on the knee of support and hugs just to wrap our arms around each other.

Yes.  We validate the living shit out of each other.  We tend to “get completely out of hand, respecting and valuing each other to the point that many had clearly had far too much validation.”   Haha!  But it’s wonderful – THEY’RE WONDERFUL.

Funnily enough, when most of us worked in the same office together, I wasn’t this close to them.  It took time apart – and then time together – to make our friendships blossom into what they are now.  And now I can’t imagine not having them around.  Because every time I spend even just a few minutes with any of these women, they fill my bucket.  After a night out together, or even at a child’s birthday party that is swarming with kids and noise (and importantly, cake), my bucket is overflowing with goodness, a smile stays on my face longer than it usually does.  I just feel lighter on the inside, better about my choices, happy about everything I have in my life.  And I don’t think there’s anyone out there that can say they don’t love that feeling, especially when it lingers.

Project Life in Color can be interpreted however the photographer pleases and we all seem to taking a different journey.  To see how Andrea saw Project Life in Color this month and continue through our group’s links, visit her blog here.  

Life in Color: Gloomy Days » Caili Helsper Photography - […] Blog Circle! When you’re done here, make sure you check out my home girl Brooke’s post here and follow the loop. […]

Sarah Cummings - I love the idea of ‘validating the shit of each other’ what a lovely way to relate to your friends!

amyhasbangs - My/our bucket overfloweth.

katie - nailed it.

what an amazing group of ladies and I’m with sarah, I love everything about that idea. love these b.

Christy Tyler - This. Is. Awesome. I love the Onion and that article is spot on – we totally do this too!! haha!! Love it. Keep up with the validating! :)

Caili - Pretty sure that article is the best thing I’ve ever read. I love your photo! I feel like I’m sitting at the table with you and that wine is mine. :) Keep up the positivity! It’s infectious!

Andrea - I love the photo, and the sentiment of this:) xoxo

Kinzie Ferguson - I love that photo, and this post, and that Onion article. Each component does a perfect job of capturing the joy in such a lovely group like that.

Melissa - I love this! Made me want another girls night asap… and that giant glass of wine!

Jenn - Cheers! Yay for virtual book clubs too :-)

Kim - I love everything about your evening out with friends. I just might have to steal your line…..validating the shit out of each other.

Brooke Murphy Photography - […] as no surprise, when my monthly book club dinner rolled around, I took it up another notch.  I wore a dress I’d never worn around my […]