I reserve the right to thank you for your business | Ashburn, VA photographer

Last night, I stopped by the dry cleaners in my new home town of Ashburn, VA (we moved here from Arlington in November).  I’m still getting to know the town and figuring out where to go for things like dentist appointments and swim lessons for the kids.

Mark and I are serial dry cleaners.  We easily spend $150 a month on dry cleaning, and it’s not unheard of for me to take 15 sweaters, several pairs of pants, a skirt and a dress in on one visit.  Last night was such a night.  The woman at the counter was counting out the pieces and my two children were loudly (and obnoxiously) playing hide and seek in the small lobby area where there’s only one place to hide (the dressing room) when I noticed a sign tacked up by the register.  It read, “We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone for any reason.”  Huh, I thought.  Is that even legal?  I mean, could you say, “I’m not cleaning your clothes because you need a hair cut,” or “you cheer for the Redskins”?  Next thought was, what would be a legitimate reason for refusing service at a dry cleaners?  It’s not like a bar where the patrons come in drunk, right?

And right about then, I started feeling uncomfortable.  I thought, I wonder if she’s going to deny me service because my crazy kids are running around her 50-square foot lobby playing a ridiculous game of un-hide-able and seek. Maybe I shouldn’t have asked for my clothes to be done on Saturday instead of Monday?  What if they don’t want me to come back?

My next thought was, I don’t want to go back to a place that doesn’t want me to come back!  So I decided I’m not going back…  not because I really think they would ever throw me and my sillies out of the store, but because I want to go to a place that wants my business and treats me well (instead of sneering at my request to have my clothes clean two days after I drop them off and posting threats up on their walls).

What I’m really saying is that I want all of you lovelies to know that I LOVE LOVE LOVE my clients!  I have fun working with every one of you, and I hope that comes across in all of our conversations and exchanges.  Thanks so much for allowing me to make a living doing what I love to do!

Here’s a recent pic of my funny ducks.

Chase and Clara snuggled up at the lake in November.

BTW, if you need an excellent dry cleaners in Arlington, VA, I highly recommend the one on Glebe Rd. at the intersection of Rt. 50.  30% off every Tuesday, in by 10, out by 5, and gracious smiles from everyone who works there.  They took great care of us for 8 years, and I never thought I’d actually miss a dry cleaners.  If you have recommendations for a good dry cleaners in Ashburn, maybe one that picks up and delivers, please let me know!  Thanks!

P.S.  Lots of client work lined up to share, too.  Hang tight!!  New post likely on Tuesday or Wednesday next week.

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Flight of the Bumblebee

Those of you who read my blog often know that I’ve become a bit of a broken record (yes, that’s a pun) about how busy I’ve been.  So busy that, though I’ve been taking lots and lots of personal photos, I haven’t spent any time actually going through them.  So I spent Friday night doing just that.

It was really great to sit back and look at all of the photos I’ve been taking of my family and play around with some split-toning and color saturation effects.  Thought I’d share a few of my favorites since it’s so rare that I get to show my own family!

My two children, Chase and Clara, checking to see what’s going on in the neighborhood.

Clara under a cherry blossom tree this spring.

Clara trying to turn on the water fountain.

Chase and Clara notice their reflections in the water fountain.  I love how Mark is curled around the right side of them, too!

Clara after her first dance recital.  So cute!

My two favorite men. 🙂

Clara at swim class.  Chase is in the background with the teacher.

The first shot I took with my new camera when it arrived at the end of March!  That’s my dog, Treble.

And second shot with my new camera.  I love love love the full-frame sensor!

Lilac blooms in my back yard.  Still playing with the new cam.

Another flowering bush in my back yard (have no idea what it is called, but I love how the light was skimming over the flowers!).

Chase being his usual silly self!

And more photo fun with the soccer net!

Despite being so busy, I’m glad that I’ve still taken the time to record what we’ve been up to.  What great memories!

Sisters

I know it’s a month past Christmas, but I thought I’d go ahead and share that one of my own personal holiday traditions is that I always sit down by myself every year and watch White Christmas while I wrap gifts (promptly followed by Holiday Inn because I have so many gifts to wrap… and I usually stop to watch all of the musical numbers).  The second song in White Christmas is called “Sisters,” and it’s pretty funny, especially when Bing and Danny Kaye lip sync it later.

The song makes me think about my own two sisters.  We are very close in age (all born within three years), and my younger sister and I shared a room until my older sister went to college, which made us very close (many times too close for comfort!).

Here we are circa 1979.  Strange that my hair looks almost the same now.  (God bless that photographer.  Tracy looks like she was about to jump out of the shot.)

I am so grateful for my two sisters –  my oldest, Karen, whom I always admired growing up for her fashion sense and knowledge of the world awaiting me, and my youngest, Tracy, whom I always envied for her searing wit and sense of humor.  I wish that I was able to see them more often, but I can always count on their support and love when I need them, which is such a gift.

Here are some photos that I took recently of two very cute sisters, Annie and Sophie (and their little brother – not pictured here, but who is in many other cute photos!), on an incredibly chilly morning in DC.  I chose to extract just the sister photos for this post because they exhibited such a beautiful bond that reminded me of what I feel for my own sisters.

These photos use the “Purple Grunge” texture from French Kiss Textures, and I love how it goes so well with their adorable Matilda Jane dresses!

By the way, if you haven’t yet entered my contest for a free photo shoot (I’m giving away TWO), you still have time to do so!  Click here to enter!  Winners will be selected on Sunday evening, February 5th!

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

My daughter is obsessed with Barbie.  How this came to be is a longish story, so I’ll save it for another day, but because she is obsessed with Barbie, when I learned that Target was selling the new Barbie Perfect Christmas movie and giving a free “Chelsea” doll with it, I couldn’t resist.

It’s super cute, and the songs are very catchy (we’ve watched it now an easy dozen times). And, it has the Christmas-y themes of love, giving and family.

We were lucky to get away to Lake Anna last week with my two sisters, their families, and our mom and dad.  It was wonderful!  I had a lot of photos to work on (so grateful for all of my photo sessions this year!), but I still made time to spend with everyone (we completed four puzzles!), and of course, get some shopping done… actually, all of my shopping done!.

We always do a coordinated photo shoot when we get together, but I can’t share  those because my mom and sisters would kill me (they’re using them on their Christmas cards).  However, here are some candids from the week, as well as the super cute shoot of the 6 cousins in their coordinated PJ’s from CWD Kids.

That was our view for 8 days!

There was a LOT of coloring to be done.

The kids were able to spend a lot of QT with daddy/Uncle Mark, which was priceless.  Here are some more:

This was the first year I was able to taste a fried turkey, since they FINALLY took pity on the peanut-allergy sufferers and switched to regular oil.  It was so yum!  We had 4 turkeys for 8 adults!

Frying turkeys is hard work.

Apparently, they had to keep yelling at the kids to stop throwing rocks in the water all afternoon.  This is much harder than it sounds (they say).

This is what was left over after we had all eaten!  Three days of leftovers ahead.  Sweet!

We went for walks in the evenings to try to burn some of those extra calories (this did not seem to help me since my pants are much tighter now!)

Then, there was the incident with the boot.  Connor’s boot slipped off his foot as he was sitting on the dock watching everyone fish.  He freaked!  Started screaming that the sharks and fish were going to eat his boot, which had very quickly filled with water and sunk to the muddy bottom of the murky water.  The guys decided it was their mission to rescue the boot…

The ladies look on as Brian tries to fish out the boot.

Success!  Though, those sharks in Lake Anna were sadly robbed of another rubber boot.

My husband will hate me for this next one.  He again lost the bet for the Tech/UVA game and had to take a photo “to be displayed prominently” of himself wearing (my sister’s) Tech gear.  How’s the World Wide Web for prominence?  He’s a good sport!

But here’s what you’ve been waiting for!  Cutie pies in matching pj’s!  Enjoy!

I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving, too!  I’m getting so excited for Christmas as I watch all of my packages arrive. As Barbie’s friend would sing, “…Love is what we’ve got, smile on every face, and presents all over the place.  We get to give em awayyyyyy, give em awayyyy…. Hey Hey, every day, we just wanna give em away.”  (shoot, now that song will be stuck in my head all afternoon.)