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Things that make you go GRRRRRR..........

April Cannon

None of these things are life altering or changing in anyway. Just a light hearted post to make you laugh and say "YES!! That happens to me!" Enjoy!

1. Removable padding: Ok ladies I am going to be frank, I do not use padding to increase size but rather for privacy. And I absolutely HATE after I wash something with removable padding, it takes me 5 minutes to get it back in place!!! Seriously? Please, please, just sew it in there or don't have it in there at all!!!

2. Lost Socks. You keep that one sock that you love, FOREVER hoping you will find its match. After a few months, you give up, and throw it away. Then you find the match......

3. Discovering you washed paper in your pants/jeans after you pull them out of the dryer and find all the "snowflakes".

4. Constantly changing passwords for EVERYTHING! Yes lord I know it is for our security but sheesh I can not get into anything with out a password that contains 1 capital letter, 1 lower case, 1 number, 1 symbol and oh yeah it needs to be at least 8 letters long. Make sure you remember it too for the 50+ sites you may need it for!

5. The credit card dash. What is this? Going through a drive through or check out line.....they hand you your receipt, credit card and food (or merchandise) and you are trying to hurry to put it away so you won't lose it, while balancing all the other things handed to you..... while trying not to hold up the line.

6. Finding a load of laundry in the wash....2 days later.  Enough said. Your nose knows what I am talking about.

7. Discovering that you only have 1 egg, 1 swallow of milk, a half teaspoon of butter....etc, and you need much more than that to make your recipe. I have asked my poor neighbors for help on a few occasions!

8. You are downstairs and you realize you left something upstairs......

9. Left turns that are "yield" on green...... in busy traffic....

10. Miss spelling the same word you are trying to correct on a phone text more than 3 times.

11. The case of the straggly toilet paper. You sit down to go to the bathroom...... you proceed... you look over and realize there are "bits" of toilet paper on the roll...

12. Pebble sandles. Wearing strapy sandals, walking over gravel, getting a pebble in the middle of your foot. Now you can't get it out without taking off those cute strapy sandals.

13. Dropsy days....you pick something up from floor, put it on counter....it falls off....repeat again.....it falls off...... repeat again. You begin to think you are off kilter!

There are so many more, but I am going to leave my list at "13" to make you go grrrrrrrr! Hahahaha!

Blessings!

April of Running Mom Photography

Seize Every Opportunity.....to get Healthy!

April Cannon

I HATE golf carts......

Why?

They have taken the place of what our body was literally made to do......

Move! Walk! Seriously, our bodies were put together with one thing in mind...locomotion.

On a side note.... golf carts have the habit of needing to use the same areas that pedestrians do.....and I can not tell you how many times I have had to get out of their way..... but I digress...

 Too often we are in a hurry and let golf carts, cars, machines....do the work for us. 

Granted America (that I love) is not set up to be pedestrian friendly. It is about getting there and getting there fast.

SLOW DOWN!

You want more valuable time with your kids? Well then walk to the local pool, club house, park, that is less than a half a mile away! You have things to bring with you? Great! Put those things in a wagon and pull it - this only gets you more exercise simply from moving from one place to another. On the way there will be no cell phones or TV, so guess what? You will have to talk to each other:).

There are literally a thousand reasons why we want to take the easy way ... and sometimes those reasons are totally valid. But ask yourself ......is it because you are in a hurry? If so what are you in such a hurry for? 

When you go to a store do you circle looking for a great spot? Why? Because it is the best? I have seen with my own eyes a fellow athlete circle a parking lot in the gym for 5 minutes to find a space 10 feet closer....to go in and workout. (This makes me giggle so much! And they know it too - which makes it even funnier!)

Do you know the less you move now, the more it will affect you when you get older? Ever see anyone who had to rock to stand up? Know why? Because they stopped taking those little opportunities to  move and gradually loss the strength in their quads so they can not stand up with out using momentum. And yes it can happen to you!

What to do? Yes, yes, I know we are all busy! But there are opportunities every day that we deprive ourselves of that would be so easy to fit in our day.

- walk from a far spot in the parking lot.....ends up I am usually in the store faster than my counter part who circled the lot - so basically I just saved time.

- walk to your neighbors house, the neighborhood pool or get together, you may have fun a long the way!

- play with your kids, mirror them- they love it and the positions that kids play in are great for core and balance (the two things that disappear on you without you even knowing it as you get older ).

- Stairs - oh shudder! Take the steps as much as possible, I promise if you do it the right way it will not injure your knees and it is great cardio. 

- work at a desk? Make it a habit (which is good for your back health too) to get up every 15 minutes. This one is not hard for me to remember I usually start squirming at 10 minutes so I know it is time to get up. Take cues from your body - if you are getting fidgety, it is time to move. 

There are so many more ways to incorporate movement in your day, these are only a few. Yes I know there are so many barriers that come up everyday, but make it a habit to find and take advantage of those "healthy moments". By choosing options that require you to move less it comes down to compromising your health in the end. A body not in motion breaks down because the "moving parts" are no longer needed. 

Blessings to all! And yes I am totally guilty of taking the easy way too:). 

April of Running Mom Photography

 

It Is About More Than a Nice Camera!

April Cannon

As I come to the 1 year anniversary of making the crazy decision to open up my own photography business, I was making a list of my expenses that I would need to renew (or add) for the next year. A lot were surprising and I never would have guessed everything involved in being a true professional photographer. I decided I wanted to share this list and why these things are beneficial to my clients and what separates a professional photographer from those who may just be trying to make a quick buck. So here goes ( you know I love a good list!)

1. A Good Camera- Yes a good camera is required. Not the most expensive mind you! The key to having a nice camera is knowing how to actually use it and take full advantage of its capabilities. There are a lot of nice cameras on the market that are very under utilized by their owners. And yes I am one of those nerds who pours through the owners manual of my camera to learn all that it can do! I have two. A back up is always needed if you are a professional. You do not want to be stuck if something goes wrong and you only have the one camera - especially when my clients have taken a lot of thought and planning to be at their session! 

2.  A good computer - Now why does this matter to the client? This is why - having a computer that does not have the RAM or storage to handle the file size and  the editing of the large size photos will eventually crash - not cool when trying to deliver a clients photos to them in a timely fashion or any fashion at all if you do not do step number 3 below. This leads me to the next one.

3. An awesome external hard drive - actually two. Back ups are always necessary! It would be terrible to go through an entire session, download the photos then lose them! I shutter thinking about it. I always immediately back up - literally- as I download to my computer I have an external hard drive hooked on that is immediately making a second copy of the RAW file. Then I back up my final copies 3x! My clients appreciate this one with out knowing it.

4. A good monitor - little did I know that editing photos on a laptop is a big no, no in the photography world. Here is why - color and glare. Depending on where I am in my house the color and/ or glare on my monitor may be different. So I have an external monitor that is connected to my laptop, that lives in its own cubby with very little light that hits the screen to affect the editing. Clients benefit by getting photos that are consistent. 

5. Monitor Color Calibration- Monitor color does degrade over time and can affect the editing and consistency of the photos that are actually delivered to the clients. 

6. Insurance- yup every business needs this and it separates us as professionals and holds us accountable to our clients. It puts our clients safety as a priority. It is necessary for your photographers protection as well (all the that awesome equipment to name one!)!

7. Website - As a professional a website is a must and this benefits the clients in that they have one place they can look at my work, pricing, information, etc. ( and no although a  Facebook page is a nice social media outlet - it is not a website) . It is a benefit to my clients as well in that it gives me access to professional photo printing and album companies so that I can deliver the very best product to my client. Having access to this is huge. There are some good  commercial printing companies out there available to the average consumers but the quality of the photo most definitely can get lost in translation. 

8. Online photo gallery delivery- the client's benefit is obvious - very easy viewing of their photos and easy access to downloading full resolution photos by a click of a button (but yes this costs $$ to maintain).

9. Business License: Again for the client this holds your photographer accountable. I have two different business licenses right now because of the requirements of utilizing photography locations in two different cities. I do this to give my clients access to the most possible choices of photography locations.

10. Domain name: Yes in order to have my website and make it easy for my clients to find me, I need to own my own domain to build my website.

11. Taxes: eeeks! Self employment taxes are a bear and basically 40 percent of my income goes to taxes..... not sure how my clients see this as being beneficial but worth mentioning my dedication to getting my clients the best that I deal with these  extra taxes! ugh!

12. Photography fees/ permits: Almost everywhere you can think to photograph there are commercial photography fees. This is becoming more prevalent as more and more people are getting out there with cameras. A lot of property owners I have talked to have implemented these fees simply to get the photographers and their clients to respect their property. I am glad to see this in that it will hopefully weed out those that just do not care about their surroundings. But it is another expense. My  general rule is that I will cover $25 dollars of the cost and the client is responsible for the rest. I am a member of the local greenway mostly to lower the fee per session cost from 50$ to 25$ so I can offer this popular destination to my clients at no extra cost to them.  Most people are surprised that so many places require fees. Even North Carolina State Parks are requiring photography permits. A professional photographer researches this ahead of time. Can you imagine bringing your family to a spot to be photographed - going through all the trouble of setting up the session, dressing you and the kids, driving there, just to be approached and kicked off premises because your photographer did not take the appropriate steps? More and more places charge fees and research has to be done before I approach a new place. Some places it is as high as $250 for 2 hours. It is even more for indoor places in downtown Charlotte.

13. An accounting/invoicing program- this is important to my client for two reasons - One - I want to protect their information to the maximum extent. Two - I want to make it easy for my client to pay their invoice with credit card or bank draft without having their personal information in more places than it needs to be. So yes I take this on as an extra expense to make my client as comfortable as possible. 

14. Professional Photo editing - access to these programs are all online in a monthly paid subscription form to give the photographer access to the constant updates that are needed for the software programs. It is actually a sweet deal and I love my programs!

15. Education- I love to give my client the best. I believe the best are always learning. What athlete do you know that does not continue to train and tweak their technique even when they win gold? In order to continue to give my clients the best I place a lot of importance on continuing to educate myself.

16. Lighting - I want to be able to have consistent results with my lighting in my indoor photography, I am a huge natural light fan, so I did my research and  purchased indoor lighting that best mimicked natural lighting on my subjects (I love light and shadows on my subjects). This helps my clients in that we can scheudule any time of day and have wonderful consistent lighting. Along with this comes backdrop stands and some fun backdrops ( I am a simple girl, so I keep these simple). 

17. Lenses - Great lenses are one of the big expenses that really hit my pocket book!.  A great lens helps in those low light situations and just gives a photo that "yummy" light quality that my clients so love!

18. Props - I am not huge on props, but the right prop can really bring the  photographic story alive! I love that my clients usually have some great prop ideas that they bring so I can incorporate them into my photos to tell their story! I always have some standard props on hand to help as well!

19. Samples - I will not add a product to offer my clients until I have seen it first. Period. This however means that I must spend $$$ on samples to see if they have the quality I am looking for or even just the look I am looking for to compliment my work and look great on my client's walls. 

20. Time - THE most valuable service, I ,the  photographer can give to my client. Not only the hour or so I spend photographing my client, but the hours I spend before and after the shoot. Hours before are spent scheduling, researching, and getting to know my clients needs. Hours after in editing the photos for the unique look and feel that every client brings with them. For every 1 hour of shooting this equals a minimum of 4 hours of post processing time for me.  I like to customize the look and feel of my photos to best suit my client and that takes me a bit more time. 

All said and done - am I making loads of money? NO. I am still investing in my business and in the negative numbers right now. However,  this is  all in the interest of building a great business that eventually will bring profit to me (to ahem pay bills) along with great service and products to my clients. I already have some of my clients in my loyalty program! I look forward to adding more loyal clients and continuing to meet new people! I always enjoy learning my client's own interesiting and  individual stories!

 

Blessings as always!

April of Running Mom Photography

Summer Time Fun with Your Kids.

April Cannon

As I started compiling my own list of possible things to do with my kids this summer. I thought it would be nice to share my list! Complete with links! Summer in and around Charlotte is a lot of fun! Feel free to bookmark this page as a quick reference guide - I know I will be!

1. The Anne Springs Greenway: I have a family membership here and we will be visiting here to hike and enjoy the summer. The Greenway also offers various daily and special event week long camps for your kids. There are camps with emphasis on introducing your child to various sports, music, dancing, cheerleading, and science. Check them out here: http://www.ascgreenway.org/assets/doc/Anne-Springs-Close-Greenway-Summer-Camps-2016-22c6596ea5.pdf

2. The library : locally that is the Fort Mill Public Library - they offer various activities over the summer that are free. Some do require registration because spots are limited. I loved "once upon a lap" and toddler time this past year. http://www.yclibrary.org/kids/index.php

3. The Rock Hill Children's Museum : listed with Culture and Heritage Museums in Rock Hill. They offered free admission to military members and their families last year - be sure to ask! The attractions include Historic Brattonsville ( I can not wait to check out), McCelvey Center, and the Museum of York County. http://chmuseums.org/childrens/

4. The Discovery Place: A little known fact is that there are 4 different locations around Charlotte and a family membership gets you into all of them. The Discovery Place also offers camps for kids over the summer!  http://www.discoveryplace.org

5. Local Parks: There is the Walter Elisha Park in downtown Fort Mill, SC, Windjammer Park in Tega Cay, SC (parking pass required), and parks in Baxter which have some with fences around for those of us keeping an eye on more that one young child at a time. I also love Freedom Park in Charlotte, NC, they have an awesome, huge play area for the kids and a simulated Panther Football training area for the kids. You can also rent bikes there and this is the site for a lot of summer events in Charlotte! http://charmeck.org/mecklenburg/county/ParkandRec/Parks/ParksByRegion/CentralRegion/Pages/Freedom.aspx

6. Lake Shore Summer Camps: I have heard nothing but good things about this place - a local favorite. They have day camps for ages 2 through first grade. http://lakeshorecf.com/preschool-2/

7. Carowinds - a huge amusement park that offers season passes and has fun for the whole family! https://www.carowinds.com

8. YMCA - locally the one in Baxter (Fort Mill, SC) is known as the Upper Palmetto YMCA and they offer various camps and activities all summer for kids of all ages! They also have a very awesome outdoor pool with the best water play area for kids I have ever seen at a YMCA!  http://www.upymca.org/locations/fort-mill/camps/

9. Playdates: My daughter will have a weekly playdate with a friend from her preschool class. I plan on utilizing Hobby Lobby for craft ideas for these play dates! Hobby lobby's website has a whole do it yourself section with videos. http://www.hobbylobby.com

10. Art Space Studio - I have made lots of cool projects as gifts for my family here. They have summer camps, kids events and a  kids night out. http://www.artspacestudio.com/#!summer-camp-2016/c82h

11. Bakers Buzzin or cooking projects at home - Bakers buzzin has some cool workshops and camps offered for the kiddos this summer. http://bakers-buzzin.com . Cooking at home can be fun too! Here is a website that specializes in kid recipes and ideas :   http://www.kidspot.com.au/kitchen/occasions/cooking-with-kids

12. Swim Lessons are always a good idea too! Everywhere I have asked Aqua tots is always highly recommended. A membership is required, but can be cancelled at any time. They are very good about working with you to find a time that works for you. Sign up for certain class times is usually 2 weeks out and not before. http://www.aqua-tots.com/locations/usa/north-carolina/charlotte/

This is my list! I am sure there are many more possibilities and things to do, but this is where I am going to start! I hope this was helpful for all my parents out there!!! 

Blessings! 

April of Running Mom Photography

 

 

 

 

You Know you are a parent when..........

April Cannon

As I was chasing my kids around the house because I have some serious climbers (both out of the crib at 21 months), I thought an amusing blog about some of the sweet and funnier parts of parenting would be fun to write. I hope everyone enjoys and feel free to comment some of your own "You know you are a parent when.....".

1.  You know you smell "poop" somewhere....

2. You say things like "Quit picking your nose" while on the phone or in public.....

3. You now celebrate things like using the "potty"...... and you are truly excited about it.....

4. Going to the bathroom yourself is now a family event.......

5. Silence is no longer comforting.....it makes you worry and immediately get up.....

6. You are at that stage where throwing away perfectly good underwear is acceptable simply because they are too gross and you do not want to hand clean them AGAIN.......

7. The best feeling in the world in when your child "tucks" into you....( sweet moments...ahh)

8. You now look at everything in a new light before you buy it....ie.....how durable is it...

9. You seem to acquire ADD all of a sudden ......you can not seem to pay attention to anything for more that 30 seconds.....if you do....something has been destroyed in the house or climbed on....Hold on while I go check on my own kids........

10. You find yourself saying something 10x in one minute and wondering if you have suddenly gone mute because no one seems to hear you.......

11. You now know why your parents told you when you were a kid that you were making them lose their mind......

12. You say things like:  No biting your brother/sister, no licking the dog, no eating the dog food......over and over again.

13. You think nothing of the embarrassing running commentary being made by your child while you are in a public bathroom.....or any place public......

14. You find yourself hunting your home not only for your keys but the elusive favorite toy that inevitably gets lost at bed time.......

15.  You love the feel of a little hand in yours.......

16. You discover your daughter thought it would be fun to use her own body fluids to fill the "play" sink in her kitchen at nap time..... and continue to "wash" said pots and pans in play kitchen. 

17. You are wary of drinking any drink you have left out where your child could reach it.....you never know what you will find floating in it........

18. When you have your children in the car all other drivers become downright dangerous... (especially that first ride home)......

19. You find that you have walked around all day with something mysterious on your clothes....and no one said anything....they knew you had kids....

20. You become way more flexible that you ever thought you were as you find yourself needing to reach your child in whatever place they have squeezed into......

21. You suddenly understand why your parents thought leftovers were so great ( no cooking - yay!)

22. You can no longer have a stack of folded laundry stay folded....sneaky little gremlins spread it everywhere, then disappear.

23. Nothing ever stays where you put it again.....especially your children.

24. One child = an occasionally clean house, two children = a clean/straight house RIGHT before company comes over - literally you time it this way, so it at least looks clean when they walk in the door, 3 + children= abundant blessings and you will never see the house clean or even straight again! LOL!

Blessings and I hope everyone enjoyed!!

Front Porch Sitting at The Rocky River Vineyards.......

April Cannon

I love wine......so I sacrificed (laughing) a day and went to visit the vineyard a couple weeks ago to check out their wine selection and property. It is located in Midland, NC (up I - 485 past Mint Hill, about an hour from Fort Mill, SC) and has wine to accommodate all tastes, events for everyone (see their website:www.rockyrivervineyards.com for their upcoming Mother's Day celebration), and a beautiful venue for gatherings (weddings, family reunions, etc.). 

The first thing I thought when we turned into the drive was "yup, I am ready to sit on the porch with a glass of wine and enjoy the breeze".  I went the beginning of April so the vines were just beginning to leaf as you will see in the pictures, but I loved the view and the well manicured wide open spaces. One of the owners Kim (who graciously gave me a tour) told me they even have a walking trail for visitors with a guide as to what you may see on the trail. 

The beautiful barn at Rocky River Vineyards, Midland, NC on April 6, 2016

The beautiful barn at Rocky River Vineyards, Midland, NC on April 6, 2016

I was so excited to try 4 different wines (as my daughter was running around being fairly good and my husband was entertaining my son outside) that Kim served me in their beautiful tasting room. And I will say there are a lot of places inside and outside to linger over your glass of wine and relax (something so many of us need to do!).  

The tasting room at Rocky River Vineyards, Midland, NC

The tasting room at Rocky River Vineyards, Midland, NC

I asked Kim what type of grapes they grew - Muscadines! "Yay!" I thought I love muscadines! She also told me that the muscadine is the state fruit of North Carolina! Now how did I not remember that from my 4th grade NC History class? Muscadines actually have a lot of health benefits - "Muscadine grapes are a leading food source for a potent cancer-fighting substance called resveratrol"..................

 Further information about the health benefits of wine and Muscadine grapes can be found on this page of their website:  http://rockyrivervineyards.com/wine-health/

So on to the good stuff: the wine! Their most popular is the White Gold - it was served chilled and I must say I only bought one bottle but wished I had bought 6! Oh well I will be back! It was a light, sweet - but not overly sweet, wine that left a nice fresh and thirst quenching finish on the palate. 

"  Made from the Carlos Muscadine. Sweet and bold with a clean, fresh finish. Simply refreshing. Enjoy White Gold with fresh fruits, cheeses and nuts, also pair with spicy foods."

"Made from the Carlos Muscadine. Sweet and bold with a clean, fresh finish. Simply refreshing. Enjoy White Gold with fresh fruits, cheeses and nuts, also pair with spicy foods."

 

The next wine that is popular and made from their own grapes is the Rockin' Red (pictured at the very top)  which was the official wine of the 2009 Muscadine Festival. It is made with blackberries and cherries (both my favorite flavors). I personally found it to be sweet but light enough to enjoy any time, not syrupy like some sweet wines can tend to be. I purchased a bottle of this as well and yes it was consumed in the first two days after I bought it home!

I also love a dry red, so Kim had me try the "Scarlett", it is a blended wine that I first tasted the merlot, but the finish was more the cabernet sauvignon finish. I thoroughly enjoyed and was ready to sit down with my favorite meal with this wine! For me that would be chicken and pasta!!

A soft and compliant, medium-bodied blend of merlot, cabernet sauvignon and syrah with hints of herbs, violets and plums. Scarlet is an excellent dinner wine for rich pastas, beef, or heavy chicken dishes.

A soft and compliant, medium-bodied blend of merlot, cabernet sauvignon and syrah with hints of herbs, violets and plums. Scarlet is an excellent dinner wine for rich pastas, beef, or heavy chicken dishes.

I then explored the rest of the vineyard and grounds - a very pleasant way to spend an afternoon or an evening. There is a huge pavilion set up for events with a view of the vineyards. For the brides and grooms to be out there, they also have a room above the winery that is available to change and prepare up to 10 hours before the wedding that is very nicely laid out!

View of the vines at the Rocky River Vineyards, Midland, NC in early April

View of the vines at the Rocky River Vineyards, Midland, NC in early April

 

Worth the trip! Head out there, grab a glass of wine and enjoy meandering over the property or just sitting on the front porch!!

Blessings!

April of Running Mom Photography LLC

What do I do all day???

April Cannon

Sit around watching TV and eating chips......wait no that is what I used to think stay at home Mom's did before I became one (well I thought they did more truthfully but I thought they had a lot more time!). I remember thinking, " oh, the things I will accomplish!" Imagine my surprise after I had my daughter and I was just happy to have both her and I bathed and thought it was an accomplishment to have at least 2 loads of laundry done. My days somehow slipped by and yet I did not seem to accomplish all that "stuff" I thought I would! 

I remember one time ( I am ashamed to admit now), that I said to a friend - "I don't understand why she can't get -------done, she has nothing else to do all day"! I cringe now when I think on that! I was operating under the assumption that kids entertain themselves all day - I provide toys and tell them to play with them - and I am free to do what I want - wrong, oh so, so wrong. Kids want to be where you are and doing what you are doing, Why? Well that is how they learn!!!

I was also operating under the assumption that stay at home mom's have lots of help so they can get done what they need to AND do what they want to. Now some stay at home mom's may have help and I will tell you I am Green with Envy - BUT even those Mom's do not get to do what they want to do. 

I remember when I went into work one day (I work PRN still as a therapist - love it!) and some one said - "Oh! You must be so tired, you are actually at work today!" I promptly replied - "ummm, No actually this is like vacation - I get to go to the bathroom when I want and actually sit and eat!" Then I laughed, because I knew I used to think that way as well. 

I guess we never truly know what some one else goes through until we walk in their shoes. I have so much respect for all Stay at home Mom's, Working Mom's, Shared Custody Mom's , ALL Mom's, we are just trying to get it done the best we can for our family. Guess what? All family's are different, what works for them, may or may not work for yours. Please, please just be supportive and give a good ear to listen. That's what us Mom's need the most!!