Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Snippets + Snapshots | September 2014

Snippets + Snapshots from the past month...
the great phoenix flood of 2014 | happy birthday to me | happy birthday to me | cutie patootie | zoe's birthday bash | visit to sea life aquarium | love those two crazies | new hair color | hiking camelback | a night at the drive in | an early birthday breakfast | gorgeous brides | wedding guests | law school friends | with the newlyweds | the the birthday celebrations begin with cards | and bracelets | and love notes | and bucket list items | and sushi | and a trip to the library | for more bucket list doings | and a shopping trip | and a selfie | and more cards | and dinner with the hubby | a few of the cuties | and back to the birthday celebrating with party prep | and dinner with friends | and the hubby | and a game | and shots | and a cake | nothing like completing a long over due project | a little motivation


I decided to celebrate my birthday in style this year, so I had a ton of photos this month. I didn't include any of the photos from my Birthday Trip to Payson, Arizona earlier this month. You can find the rest of them in a special birthday trip edition post here.

If you want to see all of my Instagram photos, you can check them out online here or search for me on the app - my user name is michelewhitacre!

Michele Whitacre is a portrait photographer serving Phoenix, Arizona and the surrounding area.
Visit Michele's Website | Like Michele on Facebook | Follow Michele on Instagram | Follow Michele on Twitter


© 2014 Michele Whitacre Photography LLC

Saturday, September 27, 2014

BBL 2014-2014 | Picnic, Farmers Market, and Payson


#7 GO ON A PICNIC
#25 VISIT A FARMERS MARKET
#27 VISIT PAYSON, ARIZONA


Why did I include this on my Bucket List?

Normally I wouldn't group these three times together, since they aren't necessarily related; however, my awesome hubby knew that I was struggling to complete my BBL items this year so he planned a birthday get away trip that included these things. So, I thought it would be fitting to combine them into a single post.

I added going on a picnic to my list simply because I can't remember ever going on a picnic as an adult and I really think it is something everyone should do at least once.

I added visiting a farmers market to my list because I've never been to one, and I wanted to check one out and see what all the hype is about.

I added visiting Payson to my list because I have a friend who grew up there and she has been telling me that I needed to check it out.

Was the experience what I had hoped it would be?

Yes, yes, and yes.  I really had an amazing time doing all of these things and I can't thank Kevin enough for making them happen.

The details...

Kevin and I rented a cabin in Payson, Arizona to celebrate my birthday.  While we were there he took me to a farmers market, where we purchased a few items and I tried my first tamale ever.  Then later in the afternoon we packed a picnic and headed off to enjoy it at a nearby park.  I've already blogged about it in a special Snippets + Snapshots addition here, so head on over to that post if you want to read more about it and see some photos from our trip.  But since I'm a bit OCD, I really needed to add this post to my Birthday Bucket List accomplishments for the year.

Do you want to see my entire 2013-2014 Birthday Bucket List?  You can find it here. Did you miss my 2012-2013 List? You can find it here.  Or my 2011-2012 List? You can find it here.

Michele Whitacre is a portrait photographer serving Phoenix, Arizona and the surrounding area.
Visit Michele's Website | Like Michele on Facebook | Follow Michele on Instagram | Follow Michele on Twitter


© 2014 Michele Whitacre Photography LLC

Friday, September 26, 2014

Snippets + Snapshots | Michele's Birthday Trip {September 2014}

Kevin planned a surprise weekend trip to Payson, Arizona in honor of my 40th Birthday last weekend.  We got a late start to our trip on Friday evening after attending the wedding of some dear friends, so by the time we arrived it was about bed time.  Kevin had a full day of events planned for us on Saturday, including a trip to a local farmer's market and a picnic at a near by park, both of which were items on my Birthday Bucket List this year, along with visiting Payson.  Saturday evening brought with it a thunderstorm and lots of rain, so we spent the evening hanging out in the cozy cabin playing board games.  Sunday we got up and made the trek back home to reality after a very relaxing getaway.  I really liked the gorgeous landscape near Payson, and hope to plan another trip back again soon!

Here are some Snippets + Snapshots from our trip...
heading out | excited pups | it's cold here | super cute cabin | back of cabin | inside the cabin | view from the porch | farmer's market | first tamale ever | a little game of skip-bo | visit to the park | picnic time | cute pups | gorgeous view | silly hubby | with my babies | love that face | exploring the park | spiral stairs make me happy | saying goodbye | pigtails before i'm 40 | breakfast indulgence | scenery on the drive home


If you want to see all of my Instagram photos, you can check them out online here or search for me on the app - my user name is michelewhitacre!

Michele Whitacre is a portrait photographer serving Phoenix, Arizona and the surrounding area.
Visit Michele's Website | Like Michele on Facebook | Follow Michele on Instagram | Follow Michele on Twitter


© 2014 Michele Whitacre Photography LLC

Thursday, September 25, 2014

BBL 2013-2014 | Remove Everything From My Closet That Doesn't Make Me Feel Beautiful


#34 REMOVE EVERYTHING FROM MY CLOSET THAT DOESN'T MAKE ME FEEL BEAUTIFUL

Why did I include these on my Bucket List?

I saw this on someone's 101 in 1001 list and thought it was an amazing idea. I'm guilty of holding on to clothes much longer than I should.  I have things in my closet that are old, out of style, no longer fit, were bad purchases from the start, and/or remind me of periods in my life that I'd rather forget.  I feel awful whenever I wear these items, so they just hang there year after year, yet I refuse to get rid of them.  I know that I feel so much better about everything when I feel good about my appearance.  That should be reason enough to commit to cleaning these items out of my closet.  But if I did need another reason, just dreaming of all that extra space was enough to tip me over the edge and add this item to this year's list.

Was the experience what I had hoped it would be?

It wasn't a ton of fun cleaning my closet or trying on all my clothes, and it was especially depressing to see just how many clothing items no longer fit me because I've gained quite a bit of weight over the last 4 years, but it does feel great to have an organized closet and to know that every item in it is something I can put on and feel good in.  (Except for the sweat pants and t-shirts, but come on now, I wasn't about to get rid of my kickin it at home comfy clothes!)

The details...

I spent three full days cleaning out my closet.  I took everything out of it, cleaned every surface, tried on every. single. item. and decided what to do with it.  If it was something that fits and I still like it, I put it back in my closet.  If it was an item that I no longer like or if it was old and worn out, I donated it.  If it was something that no longer fits and I no longer like it, I donated it.  If it was an item that no longer fits, but I still love it, I kept it.  If I'm successful in my exercise and healthier eating lifestyle changes, I'm hoping to lose some weight and maybe the items will fit soon. If not, I will donate them when I revisit them in a few months.

Do you want to see my entire 2013-2014 Birthday Bucket List?  You can find it here. Did you miss my 2012-2013 List? You can find it here.  Or my 2011-2012 List? You can find it here.

Michele Whitacre is a portrait photographer serving Phoenix, Arizona and the surrounding area.
Visit Michele's Website | Like Michele on Facebook | Follow Michele on Instagram | Follow Michele on Twitter


© 2014 Michele Whitacre Photography LLC

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

BBL 2013-2014 | Share Some Warm Fuzzies {4 in 1}


#2 TELL SOMEONE THAT THEY INSPIRE ME
#3 TELL SOMEONE THAT I ADMIRE THEM
#14 WRITE A LETTER TO AN OLD FRIEND
#15 WRITE A LETTER TO A NEW FRIEND

Why did I include these on my Bucket List?

I decided to group all of these items together for this post since they all had the same motivation. I know how good it makes me feel when someone pays me a compliment or shares a few words with me about my importance in their life, and I wanted to do the same for others.

Was the experience what I had hoped it would be?

It was better!  I was surprised by how happy everyone seemed to be to hear from me, and it made my heart happy to know that I was making others feel good.

The details...

Someone I know has been working her tail off to lose weight and get in shape, and she looks amazing.  I told her how much she is inspiring me to try to do the same.

One of my old friends is a rockstar!  She hasn't had the easiest life, and she has overcome so much.  She is one of the strongest people I know and I admire her so much.  I sent her a message telling her all of that and more.

I mailed a letter to my childhood best friend telling her how awesome she is and how thankful I am that I grew up with her by my side.

I mailed a letter to a new friend that I met back in the spring and told her how happy I am that I met her and how much I enjoy her friendship.



Do you want to see my entire 2013-2014 Birthday Bucket List?  You can find it here. Did you miss my 2012-2013 List? You can find it here.  Or my 2011-2012 List? You can find it here.

Michele Whitacre is a portrait photographer serving Phoenix, Arizona and the surrounding area.
Visit Michele's Website | Like Michele on Facebook | Follow Michele on Instagram | Follow Michele on Twitter


© 2014 Michele Whitacre Photography LLC

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

BBL 2013-2014 | Perform a Random Act of Kindness


#1 PERFORM A RANDOM ACT OF KINDNESS

Why did I include this on my Bucket List?

I'm a pretty big believer in karma. I also just have a big heart and like to do nice things for people.  So I thought putting some good into the world in honor of my 40th birthday sounded like a good idea.

Was the experience what I had hoped it would be?

It was fun deciding what to do as my random act of kindness, and I enjoyed imagining the surprise and joy of whoever finds it.

The details...

Since reading is one of my favorite past times and the library one of my favorite places, I decided to leave an envelope in one of my all time favorite books.  I explained that it was my 40th birthday and as one of the items on my bucket list I was doing a random act of kindness.  I added that I picked that particular book because it is one of my favorites and I said that I hope the person reading it enjoyed it as much as I did. I asked the person to spend the money on something they enjoy, then I signed and dated the note and added it to the envelope along with $40.



I'm sure I will be checking the book during future trips to the library and will be excited as soon as I see that someone has found it!

Do you want to see my entire 2013-2014 Birthday Bucket List?  You can find it here. Did you miss my 2012-2013 List? You can find it here.  Or my 2011-2012 List? You can find it here.

Michele Whitacre is a portrait photographer serving Phoenix, Arizona and the surrounding area.
Visit Michele's Website | Like Michele on Facebook | Follow Michele on Instagram | Follow Michele on Twitter


© 2014 Michele Whitacre Photography LLC

Monday, September 22, 2014

Self-Portrait | September 2014

Today is my 40th Birthday, and all I can think as I sit here and type this is 'Where has the time gone?' It seems like I just graduated from college a year or two ago!  I keep having this thought like maybe I counted wrong and I'm really turning 30.  That would feel a little more possible.  But 40?  No Way!

I expected to have a very difficult time with this birthday, especially considering how awful turning 30 was for me, but honestly turning 40 hasn't been that tough. Perhaps it is because my 30’s really weren't all that great and I'm ready to leave them behind. Now, don’t get me wrong. A lot of good things happened in my 30’s, but they were full of their fair share of disappointments, too. Overall, the decade just wasn’t what I hoped it would have been. I spent the first part of it depressed that I was no longer in my 20’s, the middle of it realizing that while I really wanted to be happy with where I was, I just wasn’t, and the end of it working feverishly toward a new life.

Basically, my 30’s just felt like a very long road between my 20’s and my 40’s. Turning 40 feels like an arrival. It feels like the start of something good. Something new. It feels like I am finally at a place where I've lived long enough to have learned the tough lessons necessary to start living life to it’s fullest. I've paid my dues and it’s time for that to start paying off. All I really want right now is to settle back into the routine of life and to start enjoying time with Kevin now that he is finally done with school.

I felt that a change was in order to welcome in this new decade of life, so I decided to enter my 40's as a brunette!  Here I am with my new hair color, relaxing in my favorite place in our backyard, ready to embrace whatever life has in store for me next...


Did you miss some of my past self-portraits?  Clicking here will take you to all of my self-portrait blog posts. Clicking here will take you to my self-portrait Facebook album.

Michele Whitacre is a portrait photographer serving Phoenix, Arizona and the surrounding area.
Visit Michele's Website | Like Michele on Facebook | Follow Michele on Instagram | Follow Michele on Twitter


© 2014 Michele Whitacre Photography LLC

Sunday, September 21, 2014

BBL 2013-2014 | Write a Letter to My Future Self


#13 WRITE A LETTER TO MY FUTURE SELF

Why did I include this on my Bucket List?

I thought that the end of my 30's was a good time to take stock of where I am and where I've been, and to make some notes to help me remember this time in my life.  I really wish I would have started this sooner!  I would love to have a letter to read today that I wrote as I was about to turn 30!

Was the experience what I had hoped it would be?

I'm not going to lie, it was difficult writing this letter to myself, and I ended up in tears multiple times as I was writing it.  It is hard to think about how different things will be 10 years into the future.  It's easy to ignore the fact that you and everyone you care about about are getting older day by day, but it is impossible to ignore once you really focus on what your life might be like 10 years down the road.  Yet, it also reminds me to stop, take note, and be thankful for all of the blessings I have in my life right now.  It also makes me focus in on what is important in my life, and what isn't, and serves as a reminder to be sure to make time for the things that matter to me.

The details...

I wanted to do this today, on the last day of my 30's, because I wanted to put my thoughts down on paper about the last decade of my life.  I plan to read the letter 10 years from now, on the last day of my 40's.  It will be interesting to see how much in my life has changed, and how much has stayed the same, during the next decade.   I made a few predictions, and recorded a few dreams, and I look forward to see how it all turns out.


Do you want to see my entire 2013-2014 Birthday Bucket List?  You can find it here. Did you miss my 2012-2013 List? You can find it here.  Or my 2011-2012 List? You can find it here.

Michele Whitacre is a portrait photographer serving Phoenix, Arizona and the surrounding area.
Visit Michele's Website | Like Michele on Facebook | Follow Michele on Instagram | Follow Michele on Twitter


© 2014 Michele Whitacre Photography LLC

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

BBL 2013-2014 | Watch a Movie at the Drive In


#8 WATCH A MOVIE AT THE DRIVE IN

Why did I include this on my Bucket List?

I often say that I was born in the wrong decade.  I seem to be drawn to the 50's and 60's, with a love of everything from the music to the cars to the diners to the drive-ins.  It saddens me that someday most, if not all, of these remnants of the past will only exist in photographs and/or museums.  It has been 15 years since I've been to a drive-in, and I wanted to go at least one more time before the chance is gone forever.

Was the experience what I had hoped it would be?

The experience of watching the movie was exactly what I expected, but I guess I was hoping for more out of the theater itself.  I was expecting something a little more reminiscent of old schools drive-ins, and I even took my camera along to capture some photos.  I was disappointed when we arrived and there wasn't even a lit sign for the theater at the entrance.

The details...

Tonight Kevin and I went to see 'This Is Where I Leave You' at the West Wind Glendale 9 Drive-In.  Since it was a weeknight, the theater was pretty empty and it was nice to have the theater mostly to ourselves without a lot of other cars and noise distracting from the movie.

Do you want to see my entire 2013-2014 Birthday Bucket List?  You can find it here. Did you miss my 2012-2013 List? You can find it here.  Or my 2011-2012 List? You can find it here.

Michele Whitacre is a portrait photographer serving Phoenix, Arizona and the surrounding area.
Visit Michele's Website | Like Michele on Facebook | Follow Michele on Instagram | Follow Michele on Twitter


© 2014 Michele Whitacre Photography LLC

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

BBL 2013-2014 | Hike Camelback Mountain


#4 HIKE CAMELBACK MOUNTAIN

Why did I include this on my Bucket List?

Of course, I've heard a lot of people talk about hiking Camelback Mountain and I wanted to experience it for myself.  Plus, I really wanted to do more hiking this year, so setting my sights on one of the tougher hikes in the area was a sure fire way to get me out there on the trails in preparation.

Was the experience what I had hoped it would be?

I'm not going to lie, it was definitely a tough hike, but it wasn't what I expected.  I think I expected the hike to be a straight uphill climb for miles and miles, when in reality it isn't that long of a trail.  I felt like the difficulty of the hike came from the terrain as opposed to the climb itself, since a large majority of the trail is nothing but navigating huge rocks.  That being said, it felt great to set a goal for myself and reach it and I'm really glad I did this hike.

The details...

Kevin and I went to hike Camelback Mountain early this morning, hoping that the trail would be less crowded on a weekday.  When we started out, it was very humid (for Phoenix) and the sky was nothing but clouds.  We even felt a few rain drops early in the hike, but by the time we reached the top the sun began to peek out and the sky started to turn a gorgeous blue.

While we were sitting at the top catching our breath and taking in the view, a fellow hiker started chatting with us.  We ended up sitting there talking to him for about 45 minutes.  He was a really great guy who had a lot of experience with the local trails.  I really enjoyed connecting with a fellow hiker, and it was definitely the highlight of the hike for me.  I even told him that I was hiking Camelback as part of my Birthday Bucket List, which I described to him.  He seemed to really like the idea of what I do with my smaller, obtainable bucket lists each year and even offered me a suggestion of an item that I'm going to put on next year's list.

Of course, we snapped a handful of photos with my phone...


Do you want to see my entire 2013-2014 Birthday Bucket List?  You can find it here. Did you miss my 2012-2013 List? You can find it here.  Or my 2011-2012 List? You can find it here.

Michele Whitacre is a portrait photographer serving Phoenix, Arizona and the surrounding area.
Visit Michele's Website | Like Michele on Facebook | Follow Michele on Instagram | Follow Michele on Twitter


© 2014 Michele Whitacre Photography LLC

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Happy 7th Birthday, Zoe!

Zoe's birthday was a few days ago on September 11th, and you know what that means... PRESENTS!

As always, the girls got spoiled for Zoe's birthday with a bag full of toys and treats.  I've mentioned it before, but our dogs (especially Lexi) destroy toys like you wouldn't believe so I always buy them at the dollar store.  It doesn't matter if I pay one dollar, or ten, for a toy, Lexi will have it destroyed in under 10 minutes. Guaranteed.

When I went to the store this time, the selection was pretty dismal and there wasn't a single plush toy in the whole place - which is their favorite kind.  They both get a kick out of pulling the stuffing out of them as soon as they manage to tear a hole in them.  So, I ended up getting them more treats than usual and got them a few repeat toys from years past that I know they like.  Plus a few frisbees for Lexi that we bought last month.  Around here we call frisbees the toys that keep on giving because Lexi doesn't play fetch with them, she chews them up.  She breaks off little pieces all around the house, and then the cats bat them around for hours of fun.

But enough of that, let's get to the good stuff, shall we?

Lexi and Zoe waiting patiently for their present...


Checking it out...


Digging in...


Score!...


Wait, this thing still has the wrapper on!...


That's not very nice!...


Seriously, guys, I can't get this thing off.  Somebody unwrap it for me!...


Give it to me, give it to me!...


Yum...



Did somebody say more treats?...


I just adore this photo of Zoe!  It's one of my favorites...


I loved the fun bright colors of this rope toy, and couldn't resist it...




These two images are definitely among my all time favorite photos of Lexi!  She has such a huge personality and she's such an inquisitive dog, and I feel like that really comes across here...



Another fun colored rope toy...





These cloth frisbee type toys usually don't last long, but Lexi seems to like them...



Sweet Zoe...


Lexi with one of her new frisbees...



Since the bag contained too many treats to eat at one time, Kevin was picking most of them up to save for later as soon as the dogs got the tissue paper off.  Zoe is all about food and wasn't too happy that her prizes kept getting scooped up as fast as she could open them.  She has her eyes glued to Kevin in a lot of these images hoping he's going to return her loot...





Even Daisy and Gasby joined in on the fun!  Only this time they didn't watch from the side lines or wait until things had settled down a bit to see what all the fuss was about.  They were right there in the middle of the room checking things out, hiding in the tissue paper, and playing with some of the dogs' new toys...


She's not quite sure what to think yet?


What is that crazy dog doing?


Well, I guess it's ok.  I'll just lay here and watch...


For me?  You shouldn't have...





I may have gone a wee little bit overboard on photos with this post, so thank you if you made it all the way to the end and you're still with me!  I liked a lot of these and wanted to share them, plus it's been an eternity since I posted photos of the dogs on the blog.

Michele Whitacre is a portrait photographer serving Phoenix, Arizona and the surrounding area.
Visit Michele's Website | Like Michele on Facebook | Follow Michele on Instagram | Follow Michele on Twitter


© 2014 Michele Whitacre Photography LLC
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