I kind of can't believe it.
I'm nervous and excited and hesitant and thrilled, all at the same time! But I think the fun part starts now. I'm pretty sure it does.
Come visit me over there! http://www.laurenwinstead.com
May 24, 2012
On Tuesday, May 29, this is happening.
That's right, I've been working on a new website for about three weeks now, and it's going public in five days! Starting a part-time photography business has been a dream of mine for about three years now, and I finally feel like I have the portfolio, equipment, and graphic design ability to be able to support it. I'll post photos from the engagement and family sessions I've done over the past year, but I'll also be debuting Chelsea & Ryan's wedding pictures! And, some exciting news... I just booked a wedding in Charlotte for 2013! Rachel and Joe, I can't wait to get started.
And, since I'm going to make a concerted effort to document my real life with my real life camera, you'll probably see most of my life-related posts over there from now on. But feel free to linger here until then.
Until Tuesday, here's a sneak peek at Chelsea and Ryan's pictures, and if you feel so inclined, go visit my Facebook page!
I'll see you over there on Tuesday!
Posted by Lauren at Thursday, May 24, 2012
May 22, 2012
I'm officially headed back to NC State in the fall to finish my Master of Public Administration degree!
I took some classes and was admitted to the program in Spring of 2010, but I (of course) left to go to Washington, DC. That was one of the best decisions I ever made, but now that I'm back, it's time to get my head in the books again! I got my acceptance this morning, and my dad has decided he can officially buy an "NC State Dad" sticker now. The one he's been waiting for for 25 years. (Except I think he needs a special one that says "NC State Alum/Dad". They make those, right?
P.S. This is my jam today.
Posted by Lauren at Tuesday, May 22, 2012
May 18, 2012
Does anyone else feel like North Carolina has gotten an inordinate amount of attention recently? Don't get me wrong, I love this state, but we're really good at that "quiet strength" thing most of the time.
This year, it seems like the world revolves around us. First, Obama picked Carolina to win the tournament (womp womp...), then the country went crazy over the fact that The Hunger Games was filmed here, then a marine from Fort Bragg went missing and still hasn't been found, then John Edwards's hair finally went on trial for releasing too many chlorofluorocarbons into the O-zone, then Obama continued to pimp us out by speaking at Carolina (just like he did in 2008), then Jimmy Fallon filmed in Chapel Hill, then Amendment One passed and everyone forgot that 29 other states have the same law, and now... now this.
I was getting ready for work this morning when I heard Savannah Guthrie from the Today Show talking about a herpetologist who had gotten into a cage match with an alligator in Swansboro this past week. The video's already gone viral, but I don't even think the amazing part is the fact that he wrestled an alligator. Steve Irwin was the original Alligator Infuriator, and to be honest, four years in Florida rid me of all my fascination with them. What's awesome is this guy's complete indifference over the fact that Savannah has questions. Or is even on the other end of his earpiece. He makes it very clear that he doesn't want to be famous, and then he tells his story, running straight through her questions and saying whatever the heck hits his brainwaves next. Someone needs to get this man a press secretary position, because he doesn't even stick it to the man, he ignores him altogether.
Gold stars for your service to this state, sir. And may you disenchant the media forever.
Posted by Lauren at Friday, May 18, 2012
May 17, 2012
Apparently, that's what my sister and I are now. We live at the intersection of two fairly big roads, but a couple weekends ago, we had these in our backyard...
...and these in our front yard.
I have to admit, it's a nice reminder that I don't live in a super-populated city anymore. But then I think about the guns per square mile ratio around here, and I will call PETA if I hear bullets near my house. Ain't no redneck gonna eat off my land.
I promise I'm a Republican.
Posted by Lauren at Thursday, May 17, 2012
May 14, 2012
We took our boat out on the lake on Sunday! It was my first time on it this year, and it felt good to be back. It was a little chilly, though, and Dottie does NOT like the wind in her face, so we both got cozy in fleeces and towels! Obviously, there was zero swimming. But we did eat a fabulous lunch that Mom prepared! Lots of pasta salad, watermelon, guacamole, pimento cheese, and cookies!
We didn't bring Reba since she's a few months away from 17 years old, but Dottie does love the boat when it's a little warmer out! She's a good car-rider, though. Mostly because if she moves too much, she tosses her lunch.
It's so fun to be able to celebrate all these holidays without having to drive all the way from Washington. We just love our mama!
Posted by Lauren at Monday, May 14, 2012
May 9, 2012
I'm still proud to be a North Carolinian. This is my home, this is the place I love most in the world. It took moving away for a year and a half to figure that out, but it's undeniably true.
We made a very unpopular decision yesterday, and I'll happily admit that I voted against Amendment One. As a Christian, I believe the Bible is very clear about homosexuality, and I make no apologies for that. And I completely understand that, per the Declaration of Independence, all men are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights. That blurs the lines of church and state more than just a little bit. But as a free people governed by citizens who swear to protect individual liberties (including the freedom to believe in absolutely nothing), it's just to make legal decisions that are not influenced by any church of any persuasion.
We're not a progressive state, on the whole. It's just a fact. But if I could justify defriending and unfollowing all the people on Facebook and Twitter who angrily exclaimed that they were "embarrassed and ashamed of North Carolina" last night, I would. You won't fight on behalf of something that embarrasses you. This is an opportunity to take pride in your state and implore it to be better. And I can say with absolute certainty that you'll never change a single person's mind with anger and disownment.
May 8, 2012
We had such a good time celebrating Mom's birthday! We had a Mexican dinner on Friday night outside on the patio, and my aunt was there to celebrate with us.
We also had a breakfast on Saturday morning with cinnamon rolls, fresh fruit, eggs, sausage, and toast! Delish!
Dottie loves snuggling with Aunt Susan!
And she really likes licking the condensation off her water glass. Aunt Susan said they were in a symbiotic relationship.
Leanna gave Mom an adorable print of a painting by an artist on Etsy! It had two Jack Russells sitting by the ocean with their surfboard. I promise it was presh.
We always stock her up on Olay Total Effects, too! She got me turned onto this stuff, and I love it! She says it keeps her young. :)
That night, Mom, Dad, Aunt Susan, and Uncle Tom all went to see Mike Cross perform at the Carolina Theatre in Durham, and they said it was a great show! Leanna and I watched the royal wedding all over again. For three hours. And I loved every second of it.
Happy birthday, Mama! I love ya!
Posted by Lauren at Tuesday, May 08, 2012
May 7, 2012
My sweet mama's birthday was this past weekend (on Cinco de Mayo!), and we celebrated with a Mexican dinner on Friday night and a breakfast full of yummy things from Whole Foods on Saturday morning. My contributions were strawberries for the pound cake and this big bowl of delicious fruit for the breakfast! It had pineapple, mangoes, strawberries, cantaloupe, blueberries, and kiwis.
(And of course, I brought a present, too.)
And I took some real pictures on my big girl camera, so I look forward to sharing those tomorrow!
Hope y'all had a weekend full of mucho divertido!
Posted by Lauren at Monday, May 07, 2012
May 4, 2012
Some days (and especially on Fridays), the little things are all you need to be just a little happier.
Like the hearts in my coffee on Wednesday...
...or the Peace Lily my boss brought each of us last Friday...
...or watching The History Channel's "America: The Story of Us" on my phone during lunch and openly weeping during the intro. And adoring my best friend's boyfriend enough to actually commiserate with him over that.
Or the fruit salad happening at my mom's birthday breakfast on Saturday...
...or rewatching my favorite show in the history of ever and finally getting to the end.
Yep, I give the little things two thumbs up.
Posted by Lauren at Friday, May 04, 2012
May 3, 2012
I loved this flag display on the ceiling!
Molly and her homeland flag again!
Georgia men are always straight to the point. I think Zell Miller might have said that if he were about 100 years older.
So, that was our trip to Richmond! I think that city might grow on me more than I planned...
Posted by Lauren at Thursday, May 03, 2012
May 2, 2012
Anyone who knows me well is aware that I have a thing for the History Channel and war history and, perhaps most importantly, the South. When I lived in DC, I got into a lot of disagreements with friends over the reason that the Civil War was fought, and even though I'll readily admit it's a good thing that the Union won, I'm always really interested in the Confederate side of the story. It's where I grew up, and my great-great-great-great grandfather is actually buried in Richmond's Hollywood Cemetery for fighting on behalf of South Carolina. He was killed in Deep Bottom, VA in 1864, but my family has been able to visit his gravesite, which I think is pretty neat.
Anyway, I've wanted to visit the Museum of the Confederacy for quite some time, and Molly was sweet enough to indulge me on Sunday! These aren't all the pictures I took... I'll have to add more later when they upload. They're also not the best pictures I've ever taken, but I'm sheepish about taking pictures in museums, so I usually take them quickly and without thinking about it real hard!
Molly wanted to take my picture in front of it, but since we walked a long way to actually get to the museum, I'm not letting you get a close-up. Sorry.
Is it sad that I always wish North Carolina had seceded a little sooner? I mean, just a little sooner than third to last.
Molly's homeland. She may not love the Confederacy, but she does love Virginia.
I believe they said this belonged to Stonewall Jackson.
Sweet quote from my homeland...
This jewelry was made of the uniform buttons collected from Confederate leaders and generals, and we thought it was neat that they even knew who they belonged to. Some of them had state seals on them, though, so I guess that made it easier.
I'll post more pictures either tonight or tomorrow, so we're not done yet! No surrendering.
Posted by Lauren at Wednesday, May 02, 2012
May 1, 2012
Sorry about that, y'all! This late morning post brought to you by forgetting to click the "Publish" button.
So, I got a super special treat this past Sunday, because my BFF Molly met me in Richmond for the day! It's two hours from my house and an hour and a half from hers (which used to be "ours", so I still call it that sometimes), so it was a perfect spot to meet. We had brunch at Lulu's, which was AMAZING. And they were even happy to keep refilling my coffee and let us chat long after I had finished my waffle. Big tip on that check.
To be perfectly honest, Richmond is a normal city and has its areas that aren't so safe. But, we wanted to go see The Five-Year Engagement, so we asked our waiter for a theater recommendation, and he sent us to Movieland, which was BEAUTIFUL. It was very industrial-looking on the inside, and we even found this promo thingy for Dark Shadows, Johnny Depp's new movie, to act weird around before we went in.
Movieland is run by BowTie Cinemas. It was the frattiest movie theater ever. And I loved it.
After the movie, Molly humored me and took me to the Museum of the Confederacy, which I had been dying to see for a while! I took pictures of that on my mamma jamma Canon camera, so I'm planning to share those tomorrow. It was a small museum and it cost $10 to get in, but they had most of Robert E. Lee's wartime belongings and even a couple bloodstained pieces of clothing owned by Stonewall Jackson. I was in History Channel heaven.
Then, we had to find a place for dinner! Being the Capital of the South and very traditional, a lot of the restaurants were closed on Sunday evening. But, we used our UrbanSpoon.com skills and found Tarrant's Cafe, which was absolutely worth the trip alone. I'm technically not supposed to eat pasta (or anything else on this plate really), but I ordered the Penne alla Vodka anyway, and I highly recommend it.
Molly (true to form) ordered the world's best comfort food... chicken and waffles. Somehow, she managed to prove her Southern-ness and also remain mildly offended by the Confederate museum all in one day. That's why I love her.
And of course, our day together ended all too soon. But we were both home by 9:30, and we decided this is going to be a thing for us. Like, consistently. The drive is anything but painful, and we get to explore a new city! It's the best.
Posted by Lauren at Tuesday, May 01, 2012
April 30, 2012
What a fun weekend! It was jam packed with family and good food and dogs and my best friend, so it's one of those Mondays where I feel like it's time to be back at work, not like my weekend ran away from me!
On Saturday morning, I did the Pregnancy Support Services Walk-a-Thon with my small group, and we had a blast! Mostly, we just had fun laughing and talking with each other, but we did get some good laughs at each other's expense, too. Poor Stephanie. We made these shirts a week ago, and hers didn't quite go the way she wanted, so she ended up looking like a big birthday present. But no one said anything, and she was DEFINITELY not the worst-dressed person there!
After the walk, I swung by my parents' house to visit with my aunt and uncle, who were visiting from South Carolina on their way up to Connecticut. We had played cornhole and had barbecue chicken the night before, so I was squeezing every ounce of visit time I could since we don't see them as often as we should! p.s. my dad is the master at cornhole. We shouldn't have let him build a game that he could handily beat us at. Every. time.
And I got to snuggle my canine besties.
On Saturday night, I met my fam for dinner at Nantucket Grill, and Saturday is free cake night! I ask you, is there a better marketing tactic? I think you could spend $10,000 in skywriting and banner ads and flares and those blow up guys you see at used car lots and you still wouldn't pull in as many people as free cake.
This was the unbirthday cake, and it was worth every bit of uncomfortable I felt later.
Leanna went to see Sugarland that night with her friend, Lauren, so she missed out on the literal sugarland that I enjoyed. But she also got to see David Allen Stewart of the Eurythmics, who she later described as "a weird British guy who told stupid jokes and used to be part of a band called 'Arrhythmia'". It's ok, she was almost a '90s baby.
Posted by Lauren at Monday, April 30, 2012