Sheila & Nick’s Friendly Engagement Session

John and I had a lot of fun doing a faux engagement session for my sister Sheila and her friend Nick. Because we are just starting out, we were looking for any excuse to build up our portfolio, and Sheila volunteered! She recruited her friend Nick, and together they were our models! You wouldn’t even know that they are just friends by looking at the pictures! We decided to keep it casual and went to a beautiful place in Winter Park called Kraft Azalea Gardens. There we were able to make magic happen, though all fun and games, and get some great shots!

Check them out below!! 🙂

Sheila's Engagement 1

Sheila's Engagement 4

Sheila's Engagement 5

Sheila's Engagement 6

Sheila's Engagement 7

Sheila's Engagement 8

Sheila's Engagement

Sheila Engagement 2 copy


Nice Ride

I was having lunch with my good friend Danilo Sanchez today.  He asked if I would photograph his new ride, a 2013 BMW 3-series.  “Anything for a friend,” I said.  We drove around downtown Orlando looking for some good background scenery for his photos.  He even let me drive! I hope you enjoy them Danny.

My Eyes & Ears, also known as My Phone.

Like most of you, my phone has become a crucial part of my day to day life. Gone are the days of having to print out directions, use a computer to get recipes for the grocery store or have to call 411(and get the $1.99 charge for a question or phone number!). My phone can do all of this (and for free I might add..well, except for the phone bill I pay at the end of the month but you get my point)! Its my little device of convenience! What I love most about my phone, besides using it to make calls, is using it to take pictures, especially in those “I wish I had my camera moments”.  Now don’t get me wrong because I definitely don’t think that a phone camera replaces an SLR or a high quality point & shoot (though it will probably get there one day), but I do think its the easiest way to quickly capture a moment when it really is a moment! Also, the ease of uploading that image to share with family and friends is priceless. With apps like instagram, you can turn your images into artistic expressions and make it just a tad bit more interesting to share.

Here are a few of my favorite instagram moments of to of my favorite “I wish I had my camera!” subjects.

Milo watching and waiting for me. 🙂

Luci’s famous “only her owner would love” smile! 🙂

Keeping me company

Sharing a blanket..sharing a moment 🙂

We are now in that day and age of feeling guilty if we cannot capture that special moment. It makes sharing them though definitely more worth it!


Bioscopes 2012

A few weeks after attending the forestry tour, I attended another workshop called Bioscopes.  This workshop was really good and it paid!!! Workshops that pay are a HUGE bonus for teachers because during the summer, we are not making any money.  More importantly, it was designed to help improve teachers content knowledge in biology.  We did research, attended lectures and took a field trip to Tibet Butler Preserve off 535.  I feel much more confident in how I’ll approach my biology classes for the 2012-2013 year.  Thank you Bioscopes and Dr. Enz!

Thank you again Bioscopes! Great Workshop.

Florida Forestry Teacher Tour 2012

One of the perks of teaching is the interesting workshops you are able to attend.  Earlier this year I was awarded a grant to attend the Florida Forestry Teacher Tour.  The tour was amazing!!!! We toured different paper mills (non-stinky ones), lumber mills, chemical factories, and different nature reserves. I have a new appreciation for Forestry.  It was really cool to learn that the Florida lumber/paper industry is now a sustainable/renewable industry.  I had to re-adjust my old Lorax mentally. They are actually planting more trees than are harvested.   Below are some pictures that I took at the different locations.

If you are an educator I highly recommend attending this.  It doesn’t matter what subject area or grade level you teach.  Great tour!

Warm Summer Breezes in Northern Michigan

One of the great things about joining a family means inheriting their family traditions. That can be in the form of a special recipe passed down from generation to generation, a phrase or expression that you hear, and in my case (and I think the best one), summer trips up to Michigan. John’s family members, both on his mother and his father’s side, have been spending their summers in Michigan for years! Nestled in the quiet woods of Interlochen, Michigan (about 20 min from Traverse City), there is a little cottage by the name of Maple Woods. The cottage is a cozy little get-a-way on a private lake. When up there, John and I immerse ourselves in the nature. We love to fish, boat, read and just relax! We spend time sitting on the deck with family with a nice glass of wine, or find ourselves in the water with the kids!

This summer was an unusually hot summer for Michigan with temperatures reaching the 90’s! We didn’t let that stop us though and had a wonderful week! There was a full house at the cottage! On the final night we had John’s parents, sisters, and 6 nieces and nephews! Needless to say, there was never a dull moment!

We hope you enjoy looking at some of our pictures!

Maple Woods is the lovely lake cottage owned by John’s parents. It is the perfect place to relax, unwind and enjoy life. The home inspires reading new novels, trying out new recipes, drinking great wine and letting you take a step back to enjoy each moment of life.

Jake loved being at Maple Woods! He definitely had a lot of nice chairs to sleep on!

Fishing was a daily activity while up on the lake even though we always let the fish go afterwards!

The kids enjoyed fishing more than John and me (and were braver than me with hooking worms and unhooking fish)!

John and I both enjoyed finding areas where the lighting was beautiful.

John and I took a drive while up in Michigan to the Mission Point Lighthouse. The drive from Traverse City is gorgeous, taking you through vineyards and cherry orchards. Here is some more info on the lighthouse and its history-

This cottage was built in the 1800’s and has been historically preserved for vistors to view while on the grounds of Mission Point.

Jake on the grounds of Maple Woods Cottage

We took a trip up to Legacy Art Park one afternoon. It’s a beautiful park with hiking trails and along the hike you will see many fun sculpture installations! Here is some more information on the park-

John’s niece and nephews loved interacting with all the sculptures!

A quiet moment of fishing

John with his lovely niece, Lilly

There were many things swimming in the lake but one of the smallest impressed me the most! A baby catfish!

Summer fun at the lake!

The serenity in fishing

Enjoying a family night of fire and fireworks!

Lighting the firework

John & the nieces and nephews dancing around the flames!

On our final day, we visited Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. Sleeping Bear was recently voted the most beautiful place in America by Good Morning America. It truly is breathtaking! Here is some more info on Sleeping Bear-

We loved sharing our memories and hope you enjoyed the photos!

– Tara & John