Friday, May 29, 2009

New Bridals!!

Here are some of the newer bridal portraits that I've taken this month. I think they turned out pretty great! :)

This bride wanted her bridals taken at the Raleigh Rose Garden...It was really beautiful there. The roses were in full bloom.

The photos below are of a bride named Laura. She was extremely nervous and shy...not that you can tell from her pics! She is such a beautiful girl and she took amazing photos!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Great News!!

Dustin isn't getting a motorcycle!!! I am soooo happy! He decided that getting a truck would be better! I breathed a HUGE sigh of relief when he told me this. I never told him that he couldn't get a motorcycle, but I did tell him that it scared me. I feel a lot better about him driving a big truck around than a teeny tiny motorcycle!

So that is my news! Sorry if you guys thought it was going to be something a baby ;) However, Dustin and I have talked about it some more and we've decided to start trying for a baby in about 6 months!!!! We figure that by then I should be established in the wedding industry and he's due for a raise around that time. I have to say...I'M NOT WAITING ANY LONGER THAN THAT!!! LOL!

On another note, I worked out yesterday. I lifted. I haven't lifted in a while. I normally do cardio classes like kickboxing, Zumba or step. I AM SO SORE!!! I can barely move!! I started hearing from different trainers that I needed to mix in some weight lifting into my workouts. I've always been afraid of getting bulky, but they showed me how to do it the right way. Lifting smaller amounts of weight for more reps. So...I am in pain today! It's good pain though ;)

I also got my hair done yesterday! I've been putting off going to the salon for 6 months because it's always scary going to someone new when you move. My hair was ridiculously long and it was badly in need of a cut. The girl that cut my hair did a GREAT job! I'm so glad I went to her! She cut my hair about an inch past my shoulders, put some layers in it and added some subtle carmel and dark blond highlights. I LOVE IT! I will post pics soon. I told her that it sucked because I finally got my hair done but I was just going to turn around and put it up into a ponytail for the gym.

Hope you all are having a great week! It's almost over!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Sushi Sushi Sushi!!

Okay...I am really REALLY craving sushi right now! I'm trying to stay away from so much white rice, but boy oh boy I want some sushi!!

I am really excited for this weekend! We have a wedding shoot in Pinehurst, NC and we get to stay in the hotel for free!! For those of you who have never heard of Pinehurst, NC, it is a town based around 8 HUGE golf courses. The US Open is held there, it was voted the best golf course in the US for 2008, famous people and people all over the world are always golfing there. It is beautiful! The photographers I work for are the featured photographers for Pinehurst, so when someone gets married there they have to use our studio. I was there a few weeks ago for a meeting with the wedding planners and I felt like a sheltered little girl. It was so pretty and southern! I loved it! The wedding we are shooting this weekend is a $350,000 wedding! Can you believe that? I can't even fathom what it is going to look like!

I hope everyone is going stong with the challenge this week! It has been great reading all of your emails and stories! They are all very uplifting! There really is strength in numbers! We can do it girls!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

My week 3 results

Here are my week 3 challenge results:

Pounds lost this week: 1
Total lbs lost in challenge: 5
TOTAL cheat eats used: 3
Total inches lost (all over my body): 15!!! (my butt and my arms are being the most stubborn!)

I know that the rest of you only have 2 weeks left and I am only halfway through...but keep up the good work! Those of you who are struggeling, I am praying for God to give you strength! Good luck beauties!!!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

End of week 2, starting week 3!!

Okay, so last week was difficult! There was a lot going on and it was really hard to be good!

On Monday my sister Kristi and I went to Carolina Beach. We hadn't been to the beach yet since we moved to NC and we wanted to check it out. We had so much fun! We haven't been able to have a sister date in a while because our schedules have been so different, but things worked out for us that day. It was a cloudy day, but we still had a lot of fun! We played in the sand, found seashells, got sprayed by the was great! That night we went and ate at a seafood restaurant. I didn't get anything fried (which is a really big deal for me! I LOVE fried shrimp!!) I got snow crab and ate it without the butter! It was DELICIOUS!! I ate like 2-3 bites of my mashed potatoes and all of my veggies!

The next day I drove to Asheville, NC to visit Dustin's family. It was so hard to eat healthy on this trip! I used one of my cheats one night when we went out for Chinese food. It was really yummy, but a few of us got really sick afterwards. :( Asheville is so beautiful! It is in the mountains and there are millions of trees and flowers. It's soooooo pretty!! Car rides are always hard to eat healthy too because I am always wanting something to munch on. I stuck with bottled water and sunflower seeds though.

So, at the end of week 2 for me, I weighed myself and I have lost 4 lbs!!! I am so excited! I also measured myself. I have lost a total of 10 inches all over!! I couldn't believe it! I am so excited! I haven't had too hard a time avoiding the fried food, but I still stuggle with the sweets. They have always been my weakness.

I hope all of you are doing great in week 4. I am going strong with week 3. I just ate a really yummy chargrilled chicken and fruit salad from chick-fil-a. If you guys haven't tried one of these you really should! They are AMAZING!!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

42 Day Challenge (Days 5,6 &7) Going into week 2!

Wow! I didn't realize how rough the weekend was going to be! I used one of my cheats two nights ago when I went on a date night with Dustin. We went to dinner and ate yummy Italian food. I was proud of myself because I only ate about a fourth of my food! Then we went and saw the new Wolverine was great and Ryan Reynolds is pretty! :) It was SO hard not to get popcorn! I LOOOOOVE movie popcorn and the smell of it was torture!! But we were strong and said, "NO!"

Last night was SOOOO SO SO hard!! I worked a wedding and they always feed us along with their guests. Well, they had the famous 2006 Iron Chef winner as their chef!! I was good though. I didn't eat anything fried or any of the delicious looking pastas. I'll be completely honest though....they had the #1 ranked apple cobbler recipe in the world, 10 years running there, and I did try three bites of it. How could I not?????? Does anyone think that should be considered a cheat? If you do, I won't use a cheat next week, but it was only three bites! LOL! It was worth it though! Oh my goodness! It was like Heaven in a spoon! I didn't get to work out because I was at the wedding all day yesterday, but I am feeling sore today from running around everwhere last night and standing on my feet for 9 hours! The wedding was at such a cute location. It's a barn that has been around since the civil war. They've turned it into an event pavilion with a lake behind it and there is also a fine dining restaurant. Check out their website: If any of you ever come to Raleigh, you should check it out :)

Well, I am going into week 2 now. I'm hoping that I can stay strong. I know that the rest of you are all starting week three so you have been where I am already. I know that you all can be strong and make it! I totally understand how frusterating things can be! I am one of those people who does not lose weight easily! I have to work HARD and sometimes I still don't lose weight! But it will all pay off! I know it!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

42 Day Challenge (Days 3&4)

Yesterday was pretty uneventful. Unfortunately, I didn't make it to the gym :(. I was shooting some bridal portraits around the time my step class started so I couldn't go. I'm ashamed to say that there were several other aerobic classes earlier in the day that I could've gone to, but I was just plain LAZY! My husband and I did take our dogs for a long walk though, so that is something I guess. I was good on my diet. I didn't cheat. I had scrambled eggs for breakfast, a protein shake for lunch and grilled chicken and peas for dinner. Oh! And I ate LOTS of fruit throughout the day.

Here are some of the pics I took :)

Today was a lot better energy wise. I woke up, made some scrambled eggs with cheese, went to the studio from 12-5, went to the gym, came home and helped my little sister Megan register for wedding gifts online. It was a busy day and I ate sandwiches for both lunch and dinner. Today was the first day that I REALLY wanted some ice cream! I mean, I thought about ice cream ALL DAY!! (Thanks to my monthly visitor.) I considered using my cheat for some Cold Stone, but I decided that I'd rather wait for the weekend. I haven't had to go a weekend yet on this challenge and I am hoping it isn't too hard. I am shooting a wedding on Saturday and most of the time the bride and groom feed us. That will be difficult to say no to! Wedding food can be so YUMMY!! But it's rarely healthy!

So, on a completely unrelated topic...My husband is wanting to get a motorcycle. It is completely freaking me out!! I used to work for Farmers Insurance and I had to look at photos of motorcycle crashes all the time. It's made me a little paranoid I guess, but it scares me so bad! I don't feel like I can tell him "no," because I know that he would be safe. It's the other drivers on the road that I'm worried about. He's assured me that he'll take a motorcycle safety class and wear all the protective gear, but I'm still a little scared. Has anyone else ever worried about something like this before? I really don't think I would be near as scared as I am if it hadn't been for Farmers.

Anyway, I hope you all are having a wonderful week! I am impressed with everyone that has been doing the challenge for a week and a half now! You are all doing a great job! Keep it up! I wish that we weren't so far away from everyone. I need to start a North Carolina chapter!! :)

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

42 Day Challenge (Day #2)

Yesterday was rough! Not in the way that I was craving bad food, but because I had to quit my kickboxing class. I HATE quitting! It makes me feel like a failure. I had to quit though. I got way too hot and started to feel a woozy. I've been taking this class for about 2 weeks now, but yesterday was the frist time I ever had to stop early. I quit after about 30 min. because the room was hotter than it normally is. I arrived late so I had to be towards to very back and there are no fans back there. I've learned my lesson though, NEVER BE LATE AGAIN!! Always arrive early and get near a fan!! lol!

As far as eating goes, I've been doing great! I didn't crave anything bad yesterday. I made some really yummy HEALTHY chicken parmesan pasta! It is my husband's favorite thing to get at Italian restaurants so I wanted to learn a healthy way of making it. I made a lot too so now we have leftovers for lunch for the next few days. :)

Here is the recipe if you are interested:

Baked Chicken Parmesan

Want you'll need:

* 3 pounds chicken parts or bone-in breast halves
* 1/2 cup fine dry bread crumbs
* 1/2 cup low fat Parmesan cheese
* 2 teaspoons parsley flakes
* 1 teaspoon salt
* 1/2 teaspoon dried leaf oregano, crumbled
* 1/2 teaspoon dried leaf thyme, crumbled
* 1/4 teaspoon pepper
* 1/4 cup melted butter (I used fat free I can't believe it's not butter)
* 1 tablespoon cold butter, cut in small pieces (Fat free can't believe it's
not butter)

Remove skin from the chicken. Combine bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, parsley flakes, salt, oregano, thyme, and pepper. Dip chicken in melted butter then coat with crumb mixture. Arrange chicken in a single layer, not touching, in a shallow baking dish sprayed with PAM. Dot with butter. Bake at 350° for about 1 hour, until chicken is tender.

***I also cooked some whole wheat spaghetti and marinara sauce and made it chicken parmesan pasta. It was delicious! If you don't want to eat it with pasta it is still really good by itself and you could serve it with veggies.

I hope that everyone has a great day today!! Good luck with the challenge! I know that all of you are a week ahead of me, so you may be having a little bit harder of a time than me since I am only 2 days in as of yesterday.

Here are some silly& motivational diet quotes I found online:

"With your diet, don't dawdle -- if you don't want to waddle!"

"Nothing in this world that's worth having comes easy."

"Bigger snacks means bigger slacks"

when folks say they don't want good food to go to waste, it makes me think "better to waste than to waist!" so go ahead, toss those leftovers!

"unless I want to look like a porky,
come on Amber, put down the forky"

"Eat to live......don't live to eat!"

Nothing tastes as good as THIN feels"

Sunday, April 26, 2009

42 Day Challenge (Day #1)

Today actually went pretty well. There was a time around noon when I desperately wanted some chocolate, but I pushed through it. I cut up a cantaloupe and ate that instead. Then, I actually looked up some healthy recipes online and made a really yummy dinner for all of us!

I kept myself as busy as I could today so I wouldn't think about sweets! Haha! I gave my two dogs haircuts, cleaned the kitchen, did laundry and cooked breakfast, lunch AND dinner! Dustin is pretty happy right now ;)

For some reason my stomach feels HUGE lately! I'm hoping that it is because of the "girl" issues that are due soon and not because I'm getting fatter..sheesh! Hopefully this challenge will help it shrink down soon!

I hope everyone had a great week! Mine was pretty uneventful, but good. I did see this pretty hot air balloon floating above our house the other day. It was pretty cool to see!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

42 Day Challenge!! Whoop Whoop!

My friend Tanna has started this WONDERFUL 42 day challenge and although I am a week late, I am jumping in!! I have been struggling with my weight for a long time now and I am TIRED of it!! I am ready to get rid of this weight already!

I met Tanna about 4 years ago in Martial Arts. I got to my purple belt (about halway to black) but my school schedule got so hectic my senior year of college that I stopped going. HUGE regret of mine by the way! Martial Arts was wonderful! I loved it! Tanna was a huge inspiration to me and I think that is so great that she finished and got that black belt! It is definitely NOT an easy thing to do!

Up until about 5 years ago, I never worried about my weight. I ate what I wanted and rarely worked out but I never had a weight problem. I was skinny!! Around the time I got married and started taking birth control, I noticed that I started to gain quite a bit of weight...FAST!! The doctors tried putting me on about 4-5 different kinds of birth control, but my body just did not like it! It got to the point were we decided that birth control just wasn't for me. I have gained about 45 lbs. since I've been married!!! That is ridiculous!! Now, I can't blame it all on the birth control. I'll admit that I haven't been the healthiest eater...and I didn't work out as much as I should have. I'm just saying that I have noticed a HUGE difference in my metabolism since I was on birth control.

Anyway, my husband and I have tried so many different things to lose weight. Weight Watchers, Atkins, South Beach Diet, etc. But nothing has worked. We've joined gyms but after about a month we would always stop going. I'M DONE!! I am not going to do this half-way anymore! Dustin and I joined a gym and we are DETERMINED to go at least 4-5 times a week! I'm tired of complaining about being fat! I'm ready to finally do something!

Okay, here is my info:

*Name: Amber Parnell
*Where you are from: From OK, but live in NC now
*Desired pounds to be LOST (just in 42 days--keep it realistic): I would like to lose 10-12 lbs (that's about 2 lbs a week)

*A pair of shorts/pants you hope to fit comfortably in by June 1st (describe them)We all have that one pair that we are still hanging onto with hope that we will one day fit into them! I just want to be able to wear shorts again! I'm sick of rockin' the chubby cellulite thighs!!!
*Your weakness food: Chocolate!!!!!!!!!
*What you will be doing for exercise: I joined Gold's Gym about two weeks ago and I've been going to kickboxing, Zumba and step classes 4-5 times a week.
*Any other goal you may have for yourself: I really want to be able to take pictures of myself without cringing! I mean, I'm a PHOTOGRAPHER!!! I should be able to take pics of myself and love it right?? The only pictures that I will post on
facebook or Myspace have to be photoshopped or I won't post them! I used to love to take pictures! I was always the one with the camera! Now, I just take pictures of other people.

Okay...So here are some of my "skinny" pictures. These should give me motivation!


Friday, April 24, 2009

New Beginnings

So as most of you know, my life has drastically changed in the last few months! Dustin and I, along with my sister Kristi and her husband all moved to Raleigh, North Carolina from Oklahoma City. So far we love Raleigh, but it can get pretty lonely. I don't know what we would have done if Kristi and Eric hadn't moved here too. To be honest, Dustin and I would have never moved here if they didn't move here too.

On top of THE BIG MOVE (as we like to call it) I have made a drastic career change. I graduated from the University of Oklahoma with a Broadcast/Journalism degree, but I've decided to go in a completely different direction. I am trying out a career in photography! It is pretty scary and a HUGE risk, but I will always regret it if I don't try. I have always had an interest in photography and I absolutely LOVE the thrill I get when I take a good picture. I love the fact that I am helping people capture the most important moments in their lives. I have a lot to learn, but I am learning from the best by interning with f8 Photo Studios here in Raleigh. I am so grateful for Dustin! God really has blessed me with the most amazing husband in the world! He has been nothing but supportive with my decision! It definitely hasn't been easy! In order for me to do this, I had to quit my job. It cut our income in half, but we are making it work. May is going to be super busy for me b/c there are a TON of weddings! I am so excited though! The more weddings I help out with, the more I will learn and be able to start making money.







I am so grateful to God because none of these huge changes would have been possible without Him! A year ago, if I would have known that our income was going to be cut in half I would have freaked out! God really has provided for us in so many ways!

Of course, not everything is perfect. I have really been struggling with BABY FEVER! I can't even explain how badly I want to have a baby! It's really been hard because: 1. No matter how bad I want to, we can't have a baby on what we make right now. With me not bringing in any income it isn't smart. 2. I have SO MANY friends that are pregnant or trying to get pregnant right now! In a span of one week I found out that NINE of my friends were pregnant! Of course I am extremely happy and excited for them, but it is also hard to not be jealous! (This is one of the downfalls of having a Facebook I've been trying to be patient, but patience has never been one of my strengths so it's been difficult. It is something that I am working on. So....needless to say, I need lots and lots of prayer! I know that we will be blessed with a baby when the time is right...I just want that time to be NOW! :)


Anyway, I hope that everyone has a great weekend! The weather has been really nice here so it should be a fun weekend for us!