Saturday, October 17, 2009

Thank You

Hi Everyone!

I just want to take a quick moment to thank all of you who posted a comment on my last post. I still haven't heard back from the photographer but I fully intend on a re-shoot - even if I have to break contract, lose our deposit, and switch photographers.

If I can't trust him with our engagement pics, how can I trust him with our wedding pics?

And speaking of weddings; today is finally Megan's wedding day!

I woke up early this morning and finished all the laundry, cleaned and vacuumed so that when we come home tomorrow (with monster hangovers I'm sure) we can just sink into the couch and watch the Bengals continue to stomp some booty!

So today I leave you with my finished speech a tribute to my best friend. If you've got some time- settle in and enjoy:

Megan and Kenny's Wedding Speech

October 17, 2009

Hi everyone! For those of you who don't know me, I'm Amber ; bridesmaid and childhood best friend of our FABULOUS bride! I of course would first like to congratulate Megan and Kenny on their marriage and thank them for allowing me to share it with them in such a special way! I am honored first that they asked me to be a bridesmaid- I am even more honored that they thought enough of my speaking and writing abilities to entrust me with giving a speech on their big day!

So thanks you guys – I hope I do you both proud.

I don't know about the rest of you guys but to me it seems like it was just yesterday that Megan and Kenny were announcing their engagement and today we're already here at their wedding.

Wow, time flies.

As I stand here tonight I have to admit that I am filled to the brim with emotions for my best friend and her new husband.

To start I am ecstatic that Megan has found the one her heart loves in Kenny and could not be any happier for her than I am right now.

I am reverent for the special lady we lost just a few Decembers ago, who was so dear to us all and I ache -as so many of us in this room do - because she can't be here in body to see how beautiful Megan looks tonight and how happy she is seated here beside her new husband-

Your mom would be so proud of you Meg – so proud and even though she can't be here in body with us tonight- I know that in spirit she has been beside you every step of the way in your journey to the alter and she is here wi

th you and Kenny and all of her loved ones right now.

I am also feeling heavy hearted as another chapter in our life long friendship comes to a close but also I am so excited as the next chapter begins to be written starting right here, right now – tonight.

But before we jump forward – I would

like to to take a look back.

Most of you know that Megan and I have been friends since we met at Beechwoods in second grade what most of you don't know is that the first time we met was also the first day that Megan hauled off and slapped me across the f

ace- just because she felt like it. She was the new girl in school, she claimed she didn't know the rules and begged me not to tell the teach

er. I'm not sure why- but I never tattle

d and from that day forward our history was made – also from that day forward anytime this little brat would hit me – I'd hit her right back but also any time in the future if she hit me- I probably deserved it.

Soon after that first meeting we became regular parts in each others families. My mom knew to expect Megan to show up on her bike out of the clear blue on a summer's day. Dave and Diane knew that if there was a full pitcher of iced tea in the fridge I wouldn't be far away. We took vacations together, played sports together, were in band together, went to dances together, worked at Mcdonalds together and maybe- just maybe dated the same guy a time or two.

Among our classmates in school we began to become interchangeable with one another . Because we were always together- most people never bothered to get to know us separately and back then we looked an awful lot alike. To this day if I'm out and about and someone calls the name Megan- I look around expecting them to be confusing me with the girl I spent so much of my time growing up with. And Megan it was a blast growing up with you!

Without you: Who would I have wrestled with in Marcus Gray's backyard?

Without you: Who would I have tried cigarettes with for the first time?

Without you who would I have ridden my bike with for hours and hours longer than we were supposed to only to get hunted down by both of our parents- miles away from where we were supposed to be and grounded until I don't even know when?

Without you: Who would I have screamed my lungs out with at The New Kids on the Block Concert---this past June?

Without you: How would I have ever become the me I am today?

When I was preparing to write this speech I pulled out an old journal I kept early in college to look for material to use. Megan probably doesn't remember this but what I found was one small yet significant entry dated July 7th 2003 that detailed a phone conversation that Megan and I had while I was visiting my sister in Florida. In a rare moment of complete candidness Megan commented on the recent events in my personal life and told me that she admired my strength and didn't know how I had made it through the things in my life that I had.

Now 6 years and many of life's ups and downs later- I want to turn the tables around and tell you Megan how much I admire your strength – I don't know how you've made it through the things that you have with the grace and poise that you have- but here you sit a lovely, grounded woman who I am proud to know and love and who Kenny is so lucky to have.

Ya know its hard to believe but I've known Kenny just about as long- although not as well as Megan. When I met Kenny in the second grade I thought he was loud, obnoxious, and crazy. Now that I've really gotten to know him: I think Kenny is loud obnoxious, and crazy. But I've also come to know that he's loud because he's passionate, he's obnoxious because he's fun and he's crazy over Megan.

And she's crazy over him too.

In the past two and a half years I have watched them grow together. First as friends wondering if they could be more, to a brand new couple learning about one another: Kenny learned that Megan sleeps wrapped in a blanket like a Megan burrito and the only way to get any sleep with her is to have separate blankets.Megan learned that Kenny

All of their friends and family learned that together Megan and Kenny make the loudest couple on the face of the earth but also the most fun!

Then in what seemed like no time Megan and Kenny were engaged and planning their dream wedding and just like the years before- their engagement passed in the blink of an eye bringing us to today- the day that Megan and Kenny vowed to love and honor one another until death do them part. And looking at them together now after making this promise before God and all of us- I could not be more certain that theirs is a love that will last.

Kenny I want to tell you how lucky you are to have Megan as your wife but even luckier that you get to have her as your best friend. I can't tell you what she'll be like as a wife but I can tell you without a doubt that as a best friend Megan will never let you down. She'll comfort you when you're feeling blue, party with you until the sun comes up, Make you laugh so much it hurts- and Kenny I'm certain that you will do the same for her and that's how I know that you have the foundation for a wonderful marriage: not just as lovers but as life long friends.

And if there is such a thing as a good marriage it is because it resembles friendship rather than love. So this is to you Megan and Kenny, and a wonderful life together.

Ladies and gentlemen to friends, lovers, and soul mates.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

So today while I was at work, I got a message from Boo.

It read: "Our engagement pictures came today : ) "

It should have read: " Our engagement pictures came today ) : "

As soon as I got home I excitedly popped in the disc and Boo and I watched in horror as the mess unfolded.

In every picture, something is wrong.

Now I will be the first to admit that I am overly critical of myself. I like to always put my best face forward, that's just me - I don't do bad press. So when these pictures unfolded before me the tears, they were a flowing.

Even Boo admitted that I didn't look good in most of them. You know if your fiance tells you that- something is wrong. If I was just being overly critical he would tell me so.

So like any disappointed bride-to-be would: I obsessed. I clicked through each picture over and over again trying to determine what went wrong- and ladies the problems were many.

Strike 1 : I am not directly looking at or facing the camera in any picture but one (ironically enough that's one of the ONLY ones I like) and Ben was. What this means is that my face and neck start to blend together making it look big (Ben also says he thinks it looks as though our photog. may have touched up my jaw line where I'm prone to blemishes and in doing so muddled my face) compared to Ben's head on look which stream lines his face. Even Ben says in some of the pics I look like a cartoon character.

Strike 2: The dress I was wearing had pockets that when I sat would bulge out adding inches to both sides of my waist. Said dress also fit snuggly under boobs but flowed from waist- therefore every time I was seated- said dress ballooned out making me look 5 mos. preggo. I did not notice this, nor did Ben. It should have been up to our photographer to notice and adjust the post or dress accordingly. Also Boo wore a black shirt and my dress was black- therefore anytime we were close together you couldn't tell where either of us began or ended.

Strike 3: Our photographer left shadows in the pictures! There is one in particular where Ben and I are a few inches apart,up next to a brick wall and there is a huge shadow between us making it look like we just flubber right on into one another! Boo opened photo shop and removed the shadow within 5 minutes...why in the hell didn't our photographer?!?!

Strike 4 and beyond: Our poses aren't flattering or natural looking, in one set I look like I'm asleep, in another we look like we're going to tip over because the pose is so awkward, in some pictures the light is so bright on one side of our faces as opposed to the other that our faces blend with our necks....and the list goes on....

So ... After all this I'm sure that you want to see some pictures amirite?

We'll start with the descent ones:

Probably the best of the bunch- but Ben and I don't look like equals I look like a "real housewife of" and Ben looks like the dude behind the fence.

This one is definitely a keeper....

I like this one as well....I guess that's cause you can't see my face ) :

Here's where it starts to ugly. In a few pics I broke out the red pen to demonstrate my points...

Trying to show you where the pockets are in the dress ....

Can you spot my "baby bump"? Or rather my dress poofing out/half turned pose....

Where is my jaw line on the right side...oh that's right stupid door was open casting sun light on it washing it out.... and again my face is turned to the side instead of forward

But if you though that was is the mother load:

What the hell is that...even Ben says I look like a cartoon gopher!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Not to mention I'm sitting turned funny- making my hip look like my ass (ask anyone I have the flattest ass in the world) and those damn pockets are adding bulk again!

And last but not least:

We just roll right into each other like the Amber and Ben blob but there's a huge shadow between us! And I promise I'm not just being vain - I never said I was skinny but when Ben removed the shadow in photoshop (which I don't have saved) it shaved off 50 lbs!

SO Frustrating!

Anyway, there are more but its late and I'm sure you're all tired of my vanity. To make a very long story a little bit shorter. I've emailed and asked my photog for a reshoot. If I can't trust his angles and editing now- how can I ever trust him with the wedding day pics?

So I drafted this email and am awaiting response:

Dear Photographer,

Ben and I received our engagement pictures today and had the chance to review them tonight. I wish I could say that we loved them, but to be perfectly honest we were both disappointed with the results. I want to start by saying that I don't mean any of this to suggest that you aren't a good photographer; clearly we think you are otherwise we would not have chosen you to be such a vital part of our big day. However, we feel that there are many things working against the quality of these pictures and we wish to re-shoot with you to correct these problems.

I will be the first to admit that I am not a skinny lady- I carry some extra weight around my middle and I will own up to that in the pictures where that is my only issue (after all I can't ask you to make me look like Heidi Klum - you are a photographer not a magician! )

With that being said; when signing our contract with you we assumed that regardless of physical size you would do your very best to put us in poses and settings that would flatter our shapes and most of these pictures fail to do so.

There are pictures where it is clear that the pockets in my dress are pushing out creating the appearance of a wider middle, there are also pictures where shadows cast between Ben and myself do not allow for the viewer to accurately see where my body ends and Ben's begins. There are times where I am turned in ways, with my arms in positions that you can't even tell I have a waist! As I mentioned before I don't flatter myself to believe that I have a perfect figure- but I look in the mirror everyday and I know that I still have a waist!

I know that you and I discussed wardrobe selection on the phone prior to our session and yes, I selected the dress- with the pockets that I chose to wear that day- but I think it is part of your job as the photographer to either say, "No, that dress won't work for this" - which it clearly didn't or to work with what was in front of you in a way that will give your customer complete satisfaction. And these customers aren't completely satisfied.

Besides "size vanity" we have several other issues. There are a couple of pictures where Ben and I look like we're going fall over because we're seated awkwardly, in another picture I look like I'm asleep, in yet another the light is shining so brightly on us it muddles the lines of our faces. In almost no picture do you have me looking or facing toward the camera. Perhaps I naturally gravitate towards the hip-cocked pose but I'm (clearly) not a model- I was trusting you to determine if that was a flattering pose for me or not!

I don't mean to be picky and again I don't want you to think that we don't like your work- but these are our engagement pictures and hopefully we're going to be looking back and cherishing them for the rest of our lives. Furthermore we are putting our trust completely in Cincinnati Digital when it comes to our wedding pictures and unlike engagement pictures - there is no do-over.

Please help to make this right and restore our faith in you, our chosen photographer by allowing us to come back in for a re-shoot in the very near future.

We are available one week from Friday and that following Monday and of course other dates are also negotiable.

Thank you,

Did I do the right thing in asking him to reshoot? Am I being too critical. I'm not fishing for compliments I just want some validation that I did the right thing and approached in the right manner.

Any thoughts?

I guess in all I'm just disappointed over the quality and over the fact that I don't think there is any one picture that captures Ben and I as people or as a couple- we just look like two awkward people thrown into a semi- attractive background.


That's what I get for high expectations.

I'll keep you posted.

Much Love,

Miss Amber Lane

Sunday, October 11, 2009

This is the way we WHO DEY!

Finally I can participate in Kelly's Korner Show Us Your Life again! I don't have kids and we aren't married yet so I sometimes can't participate. This week I certainly can!

Show us Your Life Tailgate and Game Day Traditions!

We aren't college football fans- yep even as lifetime Ohioans- we are not Buckeye fans. We are however, die hard Cincinnati Bengals fans!

Let me tell ya- it aint always easy to be a Bengals fan - and I haven't always been one. I could've cared less about any football until Ben and I started dating in 2k4. After a couple of years of football season Sundays...I was hooked. We've had some pretty awesome years (2005-2006) and a major history of awesome years- ever heard of our nickname: The Bungles?

But in this house- the Bengals reign supreme and though we don't go to church regularly- on Sunday we worship in the house of Who Dey!

First let me show you the one picture from the one game I've ever been too: This was in 2006 I think - it was a preseason game.

Not a particularly great pic of either of us but its our history- anyone else think my nose looks huge? (Uhmmm also why is this underlining and in blue now?)

99 times out of 100 we watch the game from the comfort of our living room with a few friends
such as today. So I'm going to walk you through a game day in the Casa of the future Mr. and Mrs. Ben Smith.

First things first, you gotta put your game face on. Some people like no glare- I prefer Christian Dior tinted moisturizer and loads of eye makeup. I am aware I look a bit nuts in this picture...and a bit garish for 11am.

Loads of gals mention that for college football in the southern states all the gals dress up in skirts and dresses (and in college at Miami University of Ohio we did too). For pro football in the mid west we sport fitted tees, full makeup, and cute jeans/skirts. Most of us also have fleece jackets/cheer jackets/headbands/mittens etc. featuring our team's logo. Pro football runs longer than college and it gets mighty cold up here come December!

Boo generally tunes in to ESPN first thing in the morning to hear about all the latest goings on...

These guys seem to have all the gossip/stats/whatever....

Then we usually run to Kroger for our game day snacks....(On this particular day we picked up chips,salsa, apple cider, coney fixins, pop, and steaks for dinner)

If you are very lucky, while at Kroger you will see one of these:

If you are even luckier you will see a kitty cat puppet that meows Christmas tunes...

On the way home you must tune in to 700 WLW even if the game hasn't started yet - this one of Boo's rules.

Then its time to make Skyline conies.

There are many ways to build a coney. Mine are hotdogs, Cincinnati chili, shredded cheddar cheese, and sometimes onion.

I take dainty bites.

Ben takes his the same as mine except he adds mustard (mustard makes me yack)...

Boo inhales his conies!

When it is finally game time, other characters will start to arrive:
Such as Will.....

This is a men's smoke break during a time-out...these are frequent...especially in high stress games!

Another regular for game days is my girl Emily. You'll have to excuse her today, she had a bit too much fun at a wedding last night and is paying for it today....

She's not too hungover to enjoy a coney though!

Our kitties have their game day rituals too!

Some are in -but they want out....

Some are out - but want in....

And some just find a comfy spot on the steps and listen to the game while catching a nap.

The gang watches intently while I snap their picture. Poor Emily is really trying hard to recoup.

Boo wanted me to show you his autographed Marvin Lewis picture- he's the Bengals head coach.

We call him Mah-vin.

He says: Come on Lets Go (Its an inside joke but one time during a particularly intense game Will said, "Man, Marvin Lewis must be thinking...Come on let's go....we all laughed but its a you had to be there moment)

During particularly tense moments we squeeze this Bengals pillow...

Its been squeezed so much that we've torn a hole in it- my hand is covering it up -been meaning to stitch it......

On this particular day we just propped it up next to Emily- she was not doing well....

In our house you can always tell when the games getting tight by how we're all sitting. No more casual lounging: butts are on the edge of seats and hands are clasped....

And when we're really down to the wire... Ben is found in crouch position on the floor, right in front of the TV....

Let me give you a teeny back story here: The last three games before today we have won due to plays in the last, like, nanno seconds of the game. They have begun calling us the Cardiac Cats- this game vrs. the Baltimore Ravens was absolutely no exception. We came from behind in the last minute of the game and scored with only 20 some seconds left on the clock! Sealing the deal that we are now the NUMBER 1 TEAM OF THE AFC NORTH!


Not a great picture but this is the final score of the game today! Some say Cardiac Cats...I say coronary cats! It was definitely a nail biter!

But everyone at my house was pretty stoked for the win. We even got Emily to sit up!
Then she put on a bit of makeup and asked me to take a real picture:
Better...but still not an accurate depiction of the beauty she really is....


And there you have it: Game Day in a Bengals fan household!

Hope you enjoyed it!

We certainly did!

First place and loving it!

Much Love!

Miss Amber Lane