Friday, December 30, 2011

First Film

Ok folks... here it is. Travis and Jackie's finished wedding video. Eric, a co-worker of ours and the videographer for the wedding, asked me to be a second shooter for him for the event. It was the first time I shot video using professional gear and to be honest, I was a bit nervous about it. This experience has definitely given me a new appreciation for wedding photographers and videographers! It's super hard work - high energy, labor-intensive, and stressful due to the important and "once in a lifetime" nature of the event. All in all though it was super fun to shoot and was a great experience. You know me, I love a new project and ability to stretch my creative muscles. :)

Thanks for including me Eric and giving me this opportunity! And congrats again Travis and Jackie! We love ya'll and are happy we could be a part of your day.

(pause music player below before watching)

Jackie & Travis from Eric Schlenker on Vimeo.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The Eve and The Day

Zach and I had a very unique Christmas Eve and Christmas Day this year. For all of my 28 years I have spent Christmas Day with my family in Florida. For the past few years we have also driven the 10ish hours to Allie in Alabama after Christmas lunch with my family. This year, because we live in Charlotte and had duties at our church we were unable to travel. Even though we missed our family, Zach and I really enjoyed our quiet Christmas at home together. It was so nice to not spend Christmas in the car! Wahoo! :) Here's a glimpse into our lovely Christmas Eve and Christmas Day together.

Zach led worship at four services on Christmas Eve and I taught our preschoolers for three of them. Because we were working that night, our dear friends Ashley and Taylor brought us this sweet goodie bag of Christmas cookies and candy. Thank ya'll so much! What a treat! :)

After the services concluded, Zach and I went home and enjoyed some snacks and watched one of my favorite Christmas movies, The Holiday. It was a great night in front of our tree and fireplace.
To me, few things are better than some oreos and milk. I definitely did NOT leave any for Santa. :)
Christmas morning started out with Zach making me cinnamon rolls. (Isn't he ridiculously awesome?!)
And opening presents from each other.
Some gifts wrapped in vintage maps
Some gift highlights included a handmade bow tie I got for Zach from The Cordial Churchman.
Here's Zach rockin' his new look. SO CUTE.
So chic - a pinstripe dress shirt, houndstooth bow tie, and plaid scarf

I got a candle from Anthropologie. I love my house smelling like this store!
Technically this wasn't an official gift, but Zach found an awesome mirror for our new guest room downstairs on the 23rd. I loved it! I am so blessed that my husband knows my style so well. I can't wait for the throw pillows to be done so this room is complete.
I also gave Zach a "To Dixie with Love" shirt from Old Try, our friend's business. I couldn't resist getting one too so we can match. :)

We had one Christmas Day service that Zach led and I attended. I am so so SO honored to be married to such an incredible man who loves Jesus so much.
After the service we came home and I made lunch. First time ever I cooked on Christmas. This year, our treats were in the appetizers. Zach asked me to make stuffed dates (dates stuffed with goat cheese and wrapped in proscuitto) and I wanted crab napoleons (a fluffy puff pastry filled with homemade crab dip). They were delish!

Our lunch was light - a crispy chicken salad with apples, cranberries, and red and green lettuce. New recipe. I'll share it soon.
After lunch we went to the movies and saw the new Sherlock Holmes film.
That night I made some of our favorite things for dinner - stracotto (pot roast) with porcini mushroom gravy, french onion potatoes, crispy asparagus sticks, and rolls. Strangely, I do not have a photo of this, but it was tasty!

All in all it was a great eve and day with my love, enjoying our time together and celebrating the birth of Jesus. We are so thankful for so much, but mostly salvation through God's only son Jesus.

Merry Christmas from the Kales!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Spoiled by Sausage

My husband spoils me. I am blessed. And this is amazing... at least to me!

Last Monday night Zach and I had a holiday party with some of our friends here in Charlotte. The party started at 5:30 and since my work day typically doesn't end until 6, I was stressed. I needed/wanted to take something scrumptious and home-made to this party, but I also didn't want to be an hour late. I had planned to leave work around 5 so I could get home and start preparing my appetizer (sausage balls) and wrap our gift for the gift exchange, but I ended up getting home closer to 5:30. As I walked in the door, completely overwhelmed and stressed with the inevitable night ahead of me (racing around like a crazy person, trying to get everything done and get to our friends) I found this:


Yes. Already made delicious sausage balls beautifully arranged on a platter and delicately covered in plastic wrap so nothing got squished.

I was shocked. I asked Z where they came from and he said he had made them. (Side note: Zach makes nothing. Ok, well correction, Zach makes breakfast food - eggs, pancakes, etc. He doesn't cook and usually even his peanut butter and jelly sandwiches come out sad looking. Ha!) Perplexed and bewildered I starting asking questions and apparently he had gone online, found a Paula Dean recipe, asked two ladies at church for advice on if/how he could make them (ha!) and then went home early to make sure he had enough time to get it done.

Are you kidding me?! On top of that, when I asked where the toothpicks had come from (since I didn't buy that supply), he said he went to the store and got some because, and I quote, "I know presentation is important to you."


This moment, and the lengths Zach went to serve me, overwhelmed my heart. Seriously?! I love my husband! As I got ready and wrapped the gifts, Zach packed the car so everything was ready as soon as I was. We ended up having a stress-free blast at our friends house and even left with this hilarious white elephant gift.

(What's funny about this gift is that the friends we got it from are the Simpsons. Ha! Clever.)

Thank you Zach for serving me in such a huge way. I still can't believe you made them for me. You're the best EVER and you can do anything you put your mind to. You're my sausage ball hero!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Heatless vs Homeless

Last Sunday night when Zach and I got back in town from Atlanta, we were greeted by a crisp coldness in our house and a broken thermostat. Ugh. Not exactly great timing.

Our house was so frigid, probably literally in the 40s or less that night. It was so cold that no amount of hot cocoa could warm me up. Thankfully we have a gas fireplace so we camped out in the living room for the night buried under blankets and wearing sweatshirts and gloves. Ha!

I know I am painting a semi-funny/ pathetic picture of us, but it really was a reality check for me...especially since we had just met Monica, a homeless mother in Atlanta, only two nights before. Monica, dressed in flip flops and walking the not exactly safe streets of downtown Atlanta, reminded me that broken thermostats and traffic tickets and extra room service charges are first world problems, not real ones.

Zach and I were meeting friends at a local music venue and were on our way to buy some chewing gum when Monica crossed our path. As we spent the next 10 or 15 minutes with this young woman listening to her tragic story, I was overwhelmed with the pain and ugliness of our world that is often hidden from my eyes. Whether all Monica told us was true or not, it didn't matter. This girl was obviously needy and troubled. We did what we could for Monica that night, helping her get to a local shelter and giving her some food and water, but the question of why we have so much and others have so little rattled my mind.

This question was only compounded days later when a family of five, living in what should be a condemned house that was without water or gas, collided with some of our church family. Their needs and living conditions shocked me and humbled me as we looked for ways to help rebuild their crumbling home.

Not having a home or a safe, clean, bug-free home is something I never think or worry about, but a ton of people do. I can't imagine what that must be like and how compounding your problems are without basic necessities.

So I really don't know the answer to the question, "Why do we have more (opportunities, money, resources, protection, etc) and others have less?" but I do know that we are suppose to help when we can and share what we have.

Pray for Monica and her children. Pray God restores her mind and gets her off the streets. Pray that she and her family choose to follow Christ and that their life is transformed.

Pray for the family of five. Pray the mom and dad will get jobs, that the repairs on their home will last, and that their family will choose to follow Christ.

Pray for me and Zach... that God shows us clearly how and when he wants us to help his hurting world. It's overwhelming when you think about all the needs out there and all the horrible things that happen, but God knows how he wants to use us to spread His love and share His grace.

This holiday season (and every season!) is a great time to dwell on all we have - family, friends, food, shelter, clothing, and most of all the gift of Christ Jesus. Friends, we are blessed!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

A Weekend Away

Since Zach and I are both in ministry, we rarely get a weekend off. This year, all of our off weekends have been spent celebrating the weddings of some of our dear friends. This past weekend was no exception as we headed to Atlanta for Travis and Jackie's wedding. (If you remember, I did their engagement photos back in the summer. You can check them out here.)

Anyways, Zach and I were planning to go down Friday, but Zach surprised me with a special night in Atlanta on Thursday. He booked us a room at Twelve, a nice hotel over in Atlantic Station.

Christmas lights in Atlantic Station.
Here's Z playing guitar in our hotel living room. We liked the concrete ceilings and urban details of the extremely spacious guest room.
If you ever need to stay at a hotel in Atlanta with a full kitchen, Twelve is it.
Here's our view by day

and by night

For Thursday night, Zach made dinner reservations at a place he's been talking about taking me to for ages - Bones.

Us getting ready for our fancy dinner

I didn't order any, but I HAD to take a pic of the wine list since it was presented on an ipad. Crazy!

Zach of course got a steak
And I got the most delicious scallops.
I can't forget about the scrumptious sides - grit fritters and crispy hashbrowns

Zach and I love Coke Zero, but Zach couldn't resist ordering a REAL coke. What a treat :)
It was a fabulous dinner and I am so thankful for a thoughtful husband who treated me to such a fun night. Even though we were crazy full from dinner, we couldn't help picking up a late night dessert from Publix. I miss this grocery store and especially their chocolate chip cookies.
On Friday Zach and I did some Christmas shopping and then went to one of our all-time favorite spots - Highland Bakery. I've written about it many times.

Back to Coke Zero :)
Chicken chili
Best sandwich ever - turkey mediterranean 
After lunch we of course went to see Phil and Lisa and get our hair cut! I love this shot of Zach... the cape makes him look like Batman!

Fresh cut. Ah... my hair is home at Studio Philisa. Love you Lisa and Phil!
Our Friday night hotel was our fav, The Glenn. Yes, we ended up staying at a different hotel every night we were in town and yes, this sorta stunk... all the packing and unpacking, but I was happy we got to stay here at least one night.
The sky lounge at our hotel with a lovely view
Us in the elevator

For dinner Friday we went to one of the coziest places in town, Carroll Street Cafe. This place is so dark and warm I can barely take pictures inside. :)
And Friday late night was spent at Sound Table with our good pal Nathan A and his lovely lady Lindsay.
Saturday (aka Greene wedding day) started out with a fantastic lunch with my good friend Jen and her boyfriend Doug at Flip Burger, one of Richard Blais's restaurants. This burger boutique is totally fab.
Love you Jen!
I was SUPER excited to bring Zach here for the first time since it's awwwwsome.
Cool frames around flat panel screens
Our lunch was divine. I got a turkey burger with sprouts and pomegranate ketchup
and Zach got the most incredible burger ever. It was called the turducken burger and it tasted like what Thanksgiving food would taste like in heaven. :)
Jen and Doug
Thanks for meeting us J & D! We miss you guys and can't wait to hang out again soon!
Now onto the wedding coverage. :) Since Zach was scheduled to play the cocktail hour at the wedding and I was helping out the videographer, I didn't get a ton of photos. I am super excited though to see how the video comes out since this was the first time I have ever worked on a legit video project. Totally loved shooting with a Canon 5D. Oh a girl can dream... :)

The wedding and reception was held at the Ritz Carlton downtown

Cocktail hour (sad I don't have a pic of Zach during this, but I was shooting video)
Our table assignment

At the reception
Most interesting salad presentation I've ever seen
Salmon and chicken
Coffee and cake

Also, very creative wedding favor - sparkling grape juice with personalized label

Congrats Travis and Jackie! We love you guys!
After the wedding we went to our 3rd hotel, the Marriott downtown near the wedding venue.

Here we are 31 floors up
Thank goodness it wasn't too far away because my feet were killing me! Note to self: never wear heels when planning to shoot video. Never. Not even when they are super cute.
On Sunday, Zach and I rounded out our time in Atlanta with a little more shopping and a little more eating. We went to another fav, Treehouse, for brunch.
There is no better hummus than Treehouse's tequlia lime hummus.
Z's burrito and potatoes
We also stopped by a local cupcakery for a sweet treat on our way out of town.

A trip to Buckhead wouldn't be complete without a drive past our favorite house. We adore this sweet house that sits quaintly across from a romantic duck pond. You can't tell in the picture (due to all the sunlight), but it's got the coolest crumbly brick texture, ivy growing over the entrance, and old paned windows. So cozy! We love you house!
Thanks for a fun time Atlanta and congrats again Travis and Jackie!