Marilyn

This is my nana. She is the best person that I know. I took this picture on my birthday this past year. She took me to Rock and Roll sushi (my favorite restaurant) and was writing me out a birthday card. She has always given me the sweetest notes and cards throughout my life for every holiday and birthday. I am missing her a lot today. She is still in Birmingham and being four hours away from her is hard.

Today is her birthday. I wish that I was in Birmingham to see her. I would love to hug her and curl up in bed beside her and watch a movie like I did when I was little. I would do anything to be able to be at her house right now.

My nana has taught me so much about being a woman and always seeing the positive in every situation. She has been my light in a lot of dark times. She says that I am her sunshine and, well, she is mine, too. Her positivity and love stretch out and touch everyone that she meets. Her life is full of friends and family. I hope that one day I can be the kind of person that she is. I love my nana.

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Shell Island

Every year, my family takes a vacation to Panama City Beach, Florida. I have gone every year since I was 2 and therefore, can’t imagine a summer without going. We stay for a week and do your typical family things: eating out, swimming, beach days, blah, blah, blah. Well, for the past three or four years we have been doing something that was new to me and still continues to be exciting.

Now, every year my family will rent a boat and we will take it out to Shell Island to go snorkeling for the day. We see dauphins, jellyfish, stingrays, crabs, sea urchins, blowfish, and so much more every time we go. It really changes the way you think about the ocean. There is just something about actually swimming with these incredible creatures and seeing how they thrive in the wild that gives you a new appreciation for it.

After snorkeling for several hours, we will take the boat to the island and get off. We walk about a quarter mile to the other side of the island. The island is covered with tall grass that blows in the breeze and is only broken by one trail that leads to the other side. The sand is pure white and so hot you have to practically jog across. It always leads to a fun race between the adults and children.

Once to the other side we all just stop running. We stop running, talking, laughing and we just look. I’ve been several years now and I still find the beach mesmerizing. It is almost always empty when we go. Maybe once or twice has there been another small family, but they are usually so far away that they are reduced to just little figures dancing in the sun.

The ocean is cool and refreshing after the walk across the island. Its pale green waves welcome us in and seem to call us. The large waves carry us up and down and the curious fish come to see us. We spend the rest of our day here and enjoy having the ocean to ourselves. It almost feels like we have the entire ocean to ourselves.

Then we take the boat back and watch as the dauphins chase us. The sun sets and we finish off the day with a movie, singing, dancing, and laughing.

Halee

Halee is my younger sister. She will be turning 16 in May. We are pretty close now, but growing up we hated each other. We would fight all of the time and we couldn’t even be around each other.

Halee is pretty, determined, and hard working.

As we have gotten older and matured some, we have become a lot closer. Now we try to help each other out, tell secrets, and actually enjoy each other’s company. She likes to help me with my photography. She models for my pictures and videos and in turn I drive her around places since she can’t drive (no license yet).

Halee is funny, smart, and independent.

We occasionally fight, but it is never over anything serous. We fight over things like who has to make the sweet tea and who gets to ride up front in the car.

Halee is happy, friendly, and understanding.

I can’t wait to see what life holds for her. I hope she gets where she wants to be in life and enjoys the ride there.

Spring

I figured since it is the first day of Spring I should write a post about what I hope to accomplish this spring. The weather is nice and I am feeling motivated.

This Spring I hope to:

  • Make the Dean’s List again
  • Have deeper relationships with my friends
  • Get a job
  • Have my photography business take off
  • Save money
  • Plan a trip
  • Write my book
  • Work on my documentary
  • Edit videos
  • Finish my website

Dauphin Island

Today, I took Halee and Mackenzie to the beach with me. We shot some video and took some pictures. It was really fun. We lied out under the sun for hours and enjoyed the water.

This is one of my favorite places. There is never a lot of people there so when I go, I feel like I have the entire beach to myself. I can sit and read and get the best pictures.

Promotional Video

 

I had to make a promotional video for my website and I decided to use my younger sister, Halee, in the video instead of myself. She is often a model for my pictures and so I thought that it would be a good idea to have a small interview from her so that others could hear about her experiences and become customers.

I would love to have more models for my photography. I have a hard time finding males who would be willing to model. I am hoping that the video will bring in some business. I do senior pictures and I would love to sell prints of my pictures.

My site isn’t well organized yet because I decided halfway through that I wanted to change the way that I organized it. I like it much more this way, but it is stressful trying to put it back together and delete repeat pictures. I am hoping that I will have it all sorted out very soon.

The video turned out better than expected. It was windy, but I edited out the background noise in the video. Halee was a really good sport and helped me shoot it pretty quickly. I would really love to shoot a longer video and maybe have more people in it. If I shoot a longer video then I would like to showcase more types of photography that I do and maybe even mention that prints are for sale. It’s a work in process.

I would love for you to check out the promotional video and maybe give it a thumbs up on youtube. I worked really hard on it and would really appreciate it.

Three Shots Fired

My dad is a police officer. He has been one for all of my life and it is all I have ever known. It can be really scary having your parent work a job like this. Sometimes, I would see about something bad on the news and know that my dad had to be there.

When I was in 8th grade, I got checked out of school for some reason. My parents were the type to make me stay in school even if I was dying. Well, that day I got checked out. My mom picked me up and, together, we went to check out my sister. When she had us both, she told us that we were on our way to the hospital because my dad had been shot. As a 13 year old, my mind went to the worst.

That day, my dad was on the way home from the gym and was on the interstate. He was almost hit head on by a car going the wrong direction in traffic. My dad was in his police car so he decided to go after the car. They swerved in and out of traffic and the car on the run finally hit another car and was forced to stop.

My dad got out and had his gun ready in case he needed it. The driver of the other car got out and started attacking my dad. Drivers of other cars on the interstate all stopped and watched in horror as this man and police officer fist fought on the side of the road.

My dad couldn’t get his gun out of the holster so he threw it so the guy couldn’t get it. The man managed to get away and find the gun. He got the holster off and fired three shots. The first two missed, but my dad grabbed the gun as he shot the third one and it hit my dad’s leg.

The man the ran over to the car he hit and got in the car with her. Back up soon got there and helped my dad. He tells me that it was the scariest experience of his life and it is one of the worst memories I have. Sitting there in the hospital and not knowing anything still haunts me.

I am so glad that my dad is okay and that the day hadn’t gone worse. Every time that I think about it I give my dad a big hug and thank the universe that he is still here.

Mardi Gras

This year was my first year to celebrate Mardi Gras. I absolutely loved it. I had a little bit of an idea of what it would be like from what people had told me, but nothing can really prepare you for it.

It is an entire month of partying and celebration. Every weekend, parades full of floats, bands, horses, dancers, etc. go down the streets. The best part is that they are throwing you stuff. They throw beads, stuffed animals, cups, coasters, moon pies, crème pies, ribbons, and other little toys. The crowds go crazy over the stuff.

My backseat in my car is full of all of this stuff. I received over 300 bead necklaces. It’s so many beads that I don’t know what to do with them.

Fat Tuesday is the last day of celebration. It is on the last day of February and it is crazy. It is when the best parades and parties are. Everyone goes crazy and spends all day having fun. They spend all day in the sun and all night drinking and dancing.

The only bad part is that you have to return back to work and school on Wednesday. I am so looking forward to next year.

Birmingham, AL

I am originally from Birmingham, Alabama, and I have lived in or around it my entire life. It wasn’t until this past May that I moved more than 40 miles from this great city.

I miss it sometimes. There was always something to do. The night life was awesome. There were clubs, restaurants, shopping, an art museum, and so much more. This city shaped who I am as a person and if I had been raised anywhere else I would not be me.

It was in this city where I learned to walk, talk, drive, and where I discovered who I am. Birmingham held my heart for 19 years and it is so strange to be so far away.

Birmingham is on many lists as one of the top 1o most dangerous places to live, and I have to admit that there is a lot of crime. The crime is not even noticeable unless you are looking for it. I have never had a bad experience being downtown and I have gone to many sketchy places.

Birmingham is one of the many places that I recommend people visit. It is absolutely beautiful and one of the best places in Alabama if you know where to go.

Cruising through the Gulf

My last personal post was about my trip to Mexico so I decided to write about the cruise there (it was a carnival cruise). It was my first cruise and I wasn’t sure what to expect when I first stepped onto the ship in New Orleans. It was huge and fancy.

The first night was spent coasting down the Mississippi River. The next morning when I woke up, there was no land in sight. Ocean surrounded me on all sides as far as the eye could see. I was scared because it was my first time being that far away from land.

There was so much to do. We had fancy dinners, went to clubs, gambled, and made the best friends. There were people from all over the world on the ship with us. The diners were my favorite because you got all gussied up and had the best food. I felt like I was in a five star restaurant. It was so much fun.

We sat in the sun during the day and stayed up all night. I probably slept one full night and just power napped the other night with occasional naps during the day by the pool.

I want to take more cruises now that I know how fun they are. I would really like to take a cruise to Alaska. I hear that those are the best cruises to take.