Heather Rose Reeder Photography, LLC: Blog http://www.heatherreeder.com/blog en-us Copyright (C) 2008–16 by Heather Reeder, all rights reserved. heatheru03@yahoo.com (Heather Rose Reeder Photography, LLC) Mon, 24 Jul 2017 22:13:00 GMT Mon, 24 Jul 2017 22:13:00 GMT http://www.heatherreeder.com/img/s/v-5/u430633896-o284362543-50.jpg Heather Rose Reeder Photography, LLC: Blog http://www.heatherreeder.com/blog 96 120 The Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament http://www.heatherreeder.com/blog/2017/7/the-shrine-of-the-most-blessed-sacrament I recently had a rare opportunity to photograph the sanctuary and crypt at The Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament in Hanceville, Alabama.

It was my first time to visit the 400 acre monastery and I was in awe of the architecture and the attention to detail throughout the property. 

Mother Angelica was inspired to build this shrine after a trip to Columbia in the late 1990's. Private donors contributed the land and millions of dollars to help fulfill her vision. The Shrine consists of "Our Lady of Angels" Cloistered Monastery, the Upper and Lower church, Lourdes Grotto, Castle San Miguel - which houses the gift shop - and John Paul II Eucharistic Center (open for tours Mon-Sat 10am and 2pm). Mother Mary Angelica of the Annunciation lived here with her fellow Poor Clares of Perpetual Adoration until her death in March 2016.

 

Our first stop was the small, cave-like devotional chapel called the Creche. Inside is a life-size nativity scene, beautiful votive candles and Holy Water spigots.

Our group met in the piazza so we could all enter the Temple of the Divine Child together. The weather was hot that day, so we enjoyed the breeze inside the colonnade while we waited.

At the end of this colonnade is a larger-than-life Crucifix.

 

Photography inside the temple is strictly prohibited, so it was a privilege to be among the small group of photographers allowed to participate in this extraordinary opportunity. 

Divine Office (prayer with the nuns) is held here four times a day and is open to the public.

Every detail of the temple is extensive -- marble floors with inlaid crosses made of jasper, vaulted ceilings, 24 carat gold-leaf on the Tabernacle, ornate stained glass windows, and elaborate wood work. Most of the materials were imported from all over the world. 

We were also allowed to access and photograph the Lower Crypt Church. It houses the crypts of the deceased nuns of Our Lady of the Angels Monastery - including Mother Angelica.

Photos do not capture the peaceful atmosphere this place exhibits. I recommend anyone to experience its beauty and grandeur for yourself. 

 

If you plan to visit The Shrine, here are a few things to keep in mind:

  - A dress code is enforced inside the Upper and Lower Churches (no tank tops or clothing above the knee)

  - Photography is not permitted inside the sanctuary and/or crypt, but pictures are welcome anywhere else on the grounds.

   - Silence is expected while in the Upper and Lower church out of respect for those in prayer.

   - The nuns live a cloistered life, separated from the public, so you will not see them.

 

 

 

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heatheru03@yahoo.com (Heather Rose Reeder Photography, LLC) adventures/trips catholic crucifix crypt hanceville alabama jesus christ most blessed sacrament mother angelica our lady of the angels monastery peace religion religious sanctuary the shrine tourism http://www.heatherreeder.com/blog/2017/7/the-shrine-of-the-most-blessed-sacrament Mon, 24 Jul 2017 22:13:00 GMT
Key West 2017 {Days Eight & Nine} http://www.heatherreeder.com/blog/2017/6/key-west-2017-days-eight-and-nine {If you have been following along, you can scroll down to where this days adventures begin}

My husband and I celebrated 10 years of marriage earlier this month. For several years now, we have been planning a trip to Key West for a romantic getaway and we thought this would be the perfect opportunity. Our cousin Jenn lives in Key West and it was so nice having a local resident to show us around the island.

We flew directly into Key West and arrived on Saturday afternoon. After a quick ride through town, we unloaded our luggage at our home for the week. We can not say enough nice things about the house where we stayed -- The Fleming-O. It is located on one-way Fleming Street in a quite neighborhood in the Heart of Old Town. The location is perfect because it is only a few blocks from restaurants, art galleries, shopping and nightlife on Duval Street and also near the Historic Seaport area with more authentic restaurants with gorgeous water views, marinas, and Mallory Square. We loved being able to walk everywhere we wanted to go! I highly recommend the Fleming-O to anyone interested in visiting Key West! It truly is a "little pink house in Paradise"!!

{for more pictures and booking info click on the photo below}

Our eighth day in Key West was our last official "fun" day! We spent the morning parasailing, jet skiing and banana boat riding with Fury water adventures!

The crew divided us up into three different groups. Our group did the banana boat ride first. Andy and I were the first ones in our group to ride the banana. Oh, how I wish I could have watched someone else go first. I was NOT prepared for what a wild ride it would be! I expected a relaxing "float" around the ocean .... boy was I wrong! I do wish we would have got a video of our ride because the thought of what I looked like is hilarious to me now -- even though I was scared for my life at the time, haa!! The picture below is someone else in our group on the banana boat ride. You can see that a couple of them have fallen off their seats! 

Next up was parasailing. This was a first time for both of us and we were most excited about this activity. I am glad they let us ride together!

Here's a video of us parasailing:

We will definitely go parasailing again, but no more banana boat rides for me, LOL!

 

These large tarpons were at the harbor after we left the boat from the water adventure. 

We stopped for lunch at Duetto's Pizza. Since Jenn wasn't able to go with us that day, we had a coke in memory of her. ;)

We found Rose Lane on our walk back from Duetto's. I had to get a picture by it, since that is my middle name. :)

More beautiful streets of Key West.

Later that afternoon, we met up with our friends to walk to Mallory Square for the Sunset Festival.

 

I loved seeing all the different ships pass by while we were at Mallory Square.

Every night, two hours before sunset, artists, food vendors, musicians and street performers gather at the waterfront Mallory Square to watch the sun set over Sunset Key and the ocean. We went a couple different nights and it was a lot of fun both times. The performers work hard for their money and are very entertaining. The environment is very fun!

We hung out at Mallory Square for a while and then topped the night off at Schooner's Wharf.

It was a fun way to spend our last night in Key West, but also bittersweet because we were not ready for our vacation to end!! 

 

Our flight home was scheduled to leave Key West around 11:30am. Jenn drove us to the airport but not before we took a few more pics in front of the Fleming-O.

Saying goodbye was sad not only because we had fallen in love with Key West, but because we were leaving our sweet cousin behind. We already miss her sooo much!!!

We were exhausted from the full week of fun we had, but we were geared up to make the journey home. Here's a few pictures of our trip back to Alabama.

Key West airport is very small so you don't board the plane through a terminal the way you do at larger airports. I told Andy I felt like we were boarding Air Force One, haa! ;) That was fun!

Goodbye Key West!!

Andy slept through the entire flight to Atlanta. I guess he was tired!

The familiar sights of Alabama the Beautiful!

We are so thankful for my parents who dog-sat for us while we were gone.  

It is always good to be home.

 

 

 

 

To read more about our other days in Key West, follow the links below:

{Days One & Two}   http://www.heatherreeder.com/blog/2017/6/key-west-2017-days-one-and-two

 

{Day Three}   http://www.heatherreeder.com/blog/2017/6/key-west-2017-day-three

 

{Day Four}   http://www.heatherreeder.com/blog/2017/6/key-west-2017-day-four

 

{Day Five}   http://www.heatherreeder.com/blog/2017/6/key-west-2017-day-five

 

{Day Six}   http://www.heatherreeder.com/blog/2017/6/key-west-2017-day-six

 

{Day Seven}   http://www.heatherreeder.com/blog/2017/6/key-west-2017-day-seven

 

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heatheru03@yahoo.com (Heather Rose Reeder Photography, LLC) Adventures/Trips Duetto's Pizza Fleming-O Florida Key West Mallory Square North America Schooner's Wharf Sunset Festival United States banana boat boats destination friends getaway island jet skis parasailing relax restaurants romantic sunset tourism travel tropical vacation water water adventures weather wild http://www.heatherreeder.com/blog/2017/6/key-west-2017-days-eight-and-nine Wed, 28 Jun 2017 15:00:00 GMT
Key West 2017 {Day Seven} http://www.heatherreeder.com/blog/2017/6/key-west-2017-day-seven  

{If you have been following along, you can scroll down to where this days adventures begin}

My husband and I celebrated 10 years of marriage earlier this month. For several years now, we have been planning a trip to Key West for a romantic getaway and we thought this would be the perfect opportunity. Our cousin Jenn lives in Key West and it was so nice having a local resident to show us around the island.

We flew directly into Key West and arrived on Saturday afternoon. After a quick ride through town, we unloaded our luggage at our home for the week. We can not say enough nice things about the house where we stayed -- The Fleming-O. It is located on one-way Fleming Street in a quite neighborhood in the Heart of Old Town. The location is perfect because it is only a few blocks from restaurants, art galleries, shopping and nightlife on Duval Street and also near the Historic Seaport area with more authentic restaurants with gorgeous water views, marinas, and Mallory Square. We loved being able to walk everywhere we wanted to go! I highly recommend the Fleming-O to anyone interested in visiting Key West! It truly is a "little pink house in Paradise"!!

{for more pictures and booking info click on the photo below}

Our seventh day in Key West was our 10 year wedding anniversary!!

 

We woke up extra early and drove to Smathers Beach for the sunrise.

Since the beach is on the opposite side of the island from where we stayed, Jenn let us borrow her car so we wouldn't have to walk. 

 

The sunrise was less than spectacular, but we were still happy to be together.

 

Getting a picture by the Southernmost Point was high on our to-do list, and I knew we needed to stop by there early in the morning. So that was our next stop after we left Smathers Beach.

Every other time we passed by earlier in the week, the line was down the street. I'm sure it moves fast, but we didn't want to wait. It worked out best for us to go early, because we were the only people there. A man who was passing by on a morning run was nice enough to take our picture together.

 

We went back to the Fleming-O to rest. I enjoyed sitting on the back deck in the sunshine while Andy took a short nap. The weather was perfect that day.

We had allotted time on this day to visit a few antique shops on the island. That is one of our favorite things to do together. So we rented a scooter again and zipped around town for a few hours. 

 

This is the end of Duval Street -- also known as South Beach. 

We drove by the Southernmost Point again -- this is why you go early, folks!

We went back to Dante's Pool and hung out with friends for a while in the afternoon.

We had dinner plans at Latitudes on Sunset Key that night and heavy rainstorms hit in the late afternoon. Luckily, we had slickers so we wore them on our walk to Jenn's house.  

Ready for our date night. ;)

Jenn and Patrick drove us to the ferry drop off for us to board the ride to Sunset Key. It was still pouring rain and we got SOAKED on our walk to the boat.

Fortunately, by the time we arrived at Sunset Key the rain had turned into a drizzle.

27 N3 O0.00 Y0.50 C1.00 YT1 CT1 S250 FM0 FC000000000

We had the option to sit outside on the patio, but I was afraid it would begin to rain again. So, we sat inside and had a nice view of the patio instead.

I had the filet mignon and lobster tail with garlic mashed potatoes and asparagus. It was excellent! Andy is a plain-and-simple eater so he had a basic filet mignon. He enjoyed it as well.

10 N3 O0.00 Y0.50 C1.00 YT1 CT1 S250 FM0 FC010000000:zzzzzz0 7182 0780438bba47c1e816c14c0 bac c6 c731d02c45 a9310b2c6d 8b31ae2c81 6d30c22ca4 8b30df2c9a 9430f02d4c 9431362e15 22 N3 O0.00 Y0.50 C1.00 YT1 CT1 S250 FM0 FC010000000:zzzzzz0 718d 0780438d4c5421e816c14c0 bac c6 c731d02c45 a9310b2c6d 8b31ae2c81 6d30c22ca4 8b30df2c9a 9430f02d4c 9431362e15

We were both bummed that the weather was so dreary and we mentioned how nice it would be if we could see the sunset. Shortly after we finished our meal, the sun began to peak out from behind the clouds.

It seemed to become more vibrant with each passing second.

All at once, everyone rushed outside for pictures.

 

We had someone get a picture of us with Andy's cell phone. I wish it was better quality, but it's still a nice memento.

 

Here's a panaramic I took with my cell phone of the restaurant and the beach.

I could not stop taking pictures of the sunset! 

Being there with the man I love in front of this breathtaking sunset was a magical, unforgettable moment.

It was amazing.

Sunset KeySunset Key

We stopped to get a selfie with the Sunset Key sign on our way back to the ferry.

When we made it back to Key West, the rain had completely stopped and the streets were practically empty.

It was so romantic! 

 

 

After we got back to the Fleming-O, it had started to drizzle rain again. Neither of us wanted the night to end so we decided to walk downtown for a while. Or maybe I just wanted us to wear our slickers again, ha!! ;)

Of course we had to get a picture of our friend Paul's name on the Walgreen's sign.

I looooved all the art galleries downtown. This was one of my favorite pieces! I made a note of the artist, but apparently it didn't get saved on my phone. Coincidentally, Jenn had walked by this gallery the previous week and made a note to call and get details about this exact painting and the artist, James Coleman. Isn't it odd that we were both drawn to this painting without realizing the other one loved it too?!

The rain eventually stopped and it turned out to be a nice night on Duval Street. It wasn't too crowded and the weather was perfect.

Fausto's is the grocery store down the street from where we stayed. This street was flooded after all the rain we had earlier that day.

 

I can't think of a better way to spend our anniversary. It was a night we will never forget!

 

 

To read more about our other days in Key West, follow the links below:

{Days One & Two}   http://www.heatherreeder.com/blog/2017/6/key-west-2017-days-one-and-two

 

{Day Three}   http://www.heatherreeder.com/blog/2017/6/key-west-2017-day-three

 

{Day Four}   http://www.heatherreeder.com/blog/2017/6/key-west-2017-day-four

 

{Day Five}   http://www.heatherreeder.com/blog/2017/6/key-west-2017-day-five

 

{Day Six}   http://www.heatherreeder.com/blog/2017/6/key-west-2017-day-six

 

{Day Seven}   http://www.heatherreeder.com/blog/2017/6/key-west-2017-day-seven

 

{Days Eight & Nine}   http://www.heatherreeder.com/blog/2017/6/key-west-2017-days-eight-and-nine

 

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heatheru03@yahoo.com (Heather Rose Reeder Photography, LLC) Adventures/Trips Duval Street Fleming-O Florida Key West Latitudes North America South Beach Southernmost Point Sunset Key United States amazing anniversary boats destination downtown ferry friends getaway island magical palm trees rain relax restaurants romantic sunset tourism travel tropical vacation water weather http://www.heatherreeder.com/blog/2017/6/key-west-2017-day-seven Tue, 27 Jun 2017 15:00:00 GMT
Key West 2017 {Day Six} http://www.heatherreeder.com/blog/2017/6/key-west-2017-day-six {If you have been following along, you can scroll down to where this days adventures begin}

My husband and I celebrated 10 years of marriage earlier this month. For several years now, we have been planning a trip to Key West for a romantic getaway and we thought this would be the perfect opportunity. Our cousin Jenn lives in Key West and it was so nice having a local resident to show us around the island.

We flew directly into Key West and arrived on Saturday afternoon. After a quick ride through town, we unloaded our luggage at our home for the week. We can not say enough nice things about the house where we stayed -- The Fleming-O. It is located on one-way Fleming Street in a quite neighborhood in the Heart of Old Town. The location is perfect because it is only a few blocks from restaurants, art galleries, shopping and nightlife on Duval Street and also near the Historic Seaport area with more authentic restaurants with gorgeous water views, marinas, and Mallory Square. We loved being able to walk everywhere we wanted to go! I highly recommend the Fleming-O to anyone interested in visiting Key West! It truly is a "little pink house in Paradise"!!

{for more pictures and booking info click on the photo below}

Since Jenn had friends coming into town on our sixth day in Key West, Andy and I had the morning to ourselves.

 

Blue Heaven was on our list of places to eat, so we walked a few blocks to go there for breakfast.

The wait was 45 minutes but we were prepared for that, as that is typical for that particular place. There is an antique shop across the street so we had plenty of time to check it out and browse through the neighborhood while we waited for our table.

Blue Heaven is located in the historical Bahama Village. It was unlike any other restaurant we visited -- in a good way. 

We sat in the shade of enormous Mangrove trees on the outdoor patio. It really gives you the feeling of being in the Bahamas.

Andy ordered 'Richard's Very Good Pancakes' with a side of bacon. I had an omlette with Vermont white cheddar cheese, ham, mushrooms and peppers with Betty's banana bread on the side. It was all very good but the banana bread was to. die. for. Mmmmm.

Like most other places in Key West, chickens strut beneath your feet looking for scraps while you eat.

Blue Heaven for lunch is on our list for our next visit to Key West! 

We took our time strolling down Duval Street on our way back to Jenn's house.

 

Andy took this picture of me when I stopped to point something out to him and realized he was about 45 feet behind me, haha! Apparently I was walking too fast for our "relaxing walk". :)

Duval Street has a multitude of drink/smoothie bars. It was hard to pass by without getting a drink, as it was already sweltering hot.

We made it back to Jenn's to meet everyone just in time for Paul's birthday celebration and cupcakes.

We hung out with everyone at Jenn's house for a while then we all got ready for our sunset cruise that evening.

 

We booked the live music cruise through Fury. We boarded the catamaran at 6pm and one of the crew members took a few souvenir photos of our group. 

It was mine and Andy's first sunset cruise.

We set sail around 6:30pm and enjoyed free appetizers, drinks and live music while we cruised around Sunset Key waiting for the sunset.

The cruise was part of Paul's birthday celebration. Here he is pictured with his partner Patrick. (left)

Patrick and his mom, Jeanette.

Paul with his mom, Gladys.


The sunset did not disappoint us. It was beautiful!

We had dinner that night at Louie's Backyard. It is a Victorian home that has been transformed into a high-class oceanfront cafe, bar and restaurant.

 

We started our meal off with seared bacon-wrapped diver scallops with spiced cream and jicama relish, cracked conch with smoked tomato chutney and pickle relish and Florida lobster braised in truffle butter with spinach and prosciutto. (Clearly these are cell phone pictures and they do not do the food justice!)

I had the special as my main course. It was sautéed yellowtail snapper piccata with fingerling potatoes and haricot verts (baby green beans). It was soo delicious! Andy went straight for dessert and had the chocolate brownie crème brûlée.

 

My favorite was hearing the ocean waves while we dined under the gorgeous moonlight.

I love this picture of Paul sitting at the bar. It has a very Ernest Hemingway feel to it, to me.

Our fun group after our exquisite meal at Louie's Backyard.

Just another day in paradise ... 

 

 

 

To read more about our other days in Key West, follow the links below:

{Days One & Two}   http://www.heatherreeder.com/blog/2017/6/key-west-2017-days-one-and-two

 

{Day Three}   http://www.heatherreeder.com/blog/2017/6/key-west-2017-day-three

 

{Day Four}   http://www.heatherreeder.com/blog/2017/6/key-west-2017-day-four

 

{Day Five}   http://www.heatherreeder.com/blog/2017/6/key-west-2017-day-five

 

{Day Six}   http://www.heatherreeder.com/blog/2017/6/key-west-2017-day-six

 

{Day Seven}   http://www.heatherreeder.com/blog/2017/6/key-west-2017-day-seven

 

{Days Eight & Nine}   http://www.heatherreeder.com/blog/2017/6/key-west-2017-days-eight-and-nine

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heatheru03@yahoo.com (Heather Rose Reeder Photography, LLC) Adventures/Trips Bahama Village Blue Heaven Fleming-O Florida Fury Water Adventures Key West Louie's Backyard North America United States birthday boats breakfast celebration chickens cruise destination dinner friends fun getaway group island relax restaurants romantic rooster sunset tourism travel tropical vacation water weather http://www.heatherreeder.com/blog/2017/6/key-west-2017-day-six Fri, 23 Jun 2017 16:56:35 GMT
Key West 2017 {Day Five} http://www.heatherreeder.com/blog/2017/6/key-west-2017-day-five {If you have been following along, you can scroll down to where this days adventures begin}

My husband and I celebrated 10 years of marriage earlier this month. For several years now, we have been planning a trip to Key West for a romantic getaway and we thought this would be the perfect opportunity. Our cousin Jenn lives in Key West and it was so nice having a local resident to show us around the island.

We flew directly into Key West and arrived on Saturday afternoon. After a quick ride through town, we unloaded our luggage at our home for the week. We can not say enough nice things about the house where we stayed -- The Fleming-O. It is located on one-way Fleming Street in a quite neighborhood in the Heart of Old Town. The location is perfect because it is only a few blocks from restaurants, art galleries, shopping and nightlife on Duval Street and also near the Historic Seaport area with more authentic restaurants with gorgeous water views, marinas, and Mallory Square. We loved being able to walk everywhere we wanted to go! I highly recommend the Fleming-O to anyone interested in visiting Key West! It truly is a "little pink house in Paradise"!!

{for more pictures and booking info click on the photo below}

It rained most of the day on our fifth day in Key West. Jenn had friends coming in to town the next day to celebrate their birthday so we spent most of the day helping her decorate for the party.

We did drive over to Stock Island to have lunch at an authentic, lesser-known restaurant -- Hogfish.

We chose to sit outside, despite the rain. The restaurant is tucked away in Safe Harbor and it is much more secluded than the restaurants downtown in Key West. I enjoyed listening to the light rain hit the water while we ate.

Hogfish is a well kept secret. I'm glad we know a local or we would have missed this place.

 

I had the Fried Hogfish Tacos. It was my first time to try hogfish but I couldn't pass up the opportunity. It was good!

Jenn had the Dragon Shrimp Tacos and they were good too. They were cooked with a sweet and spicy glaze.

Andy had Fried Shrimp and Chips. He enjoyed it.

I don't think I would ever get tired of seeing the ocean and palm trees.

We made a quick stop by Kmart on our way back to Jenn's house. Andy bought each of us two $1 scratch off lottery tickets.

I won $25 on one of my tickets! WooHOO!!! :)

The rest of the evening was spent relaxing. I think we were still tired from the previous days adventures.

And since we all enjoy each others company so much, it was kind of nice just hanging out with nothing much to do. :)

 

To read more about our other days in Key West, follow the links below:

{Days One & Two}   http://www.heatherreeder.com/blog/2017/6/key-west-2017-days-one-and-two

 

{Day Three}   http://www.heatherreeder.com/blog/2017/6/key-west-2017-day-three

 

{Day Four}   http://www.heatherreeder.com/blog/2017/6/key-west-2017-day-four

 

{Day Five}   http://www.heatherreeder.com/blog/2017/6/key-west-2017-day-five

 

{Day Six}   http://www.heatherreeder.com/blog/2017/6/key-west-2017-day-six

 

{Day Seven}   http://www.heatherreeder.com/blog/2017/6/key-west-2017-day-seven

 

{Days Eight & Nine}   http://www.heatherreeder.com/blog/2017/6/key-west-2017-days-eight-and-nine

 

 

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heatheru03@yahoo.com (Heather Rose Reeder Photography, LLC) Adventures/Trips Fleming-O Florida Hogfish Bar & Grill Key West North America Safe Harbor Stock Island United States boats destination dreary getaway hogfish island lottery rain relax restaurants romantic shrimp tacos tourism travel tropical vacation water weather winner won http://www.heatherreeder.com/blog/2017/6/key-west-2017-day-five Fri, 23 Jun 2017 01:00:00 GMT
Key West 2017 {Day Four} http://www.heatherreeder.com/blog/2017/6/key-west-2017-day-four {If you have been following along, you can scroll down to where this days adventures begin}

My husband and I celebrated 10 years of marriage earlier this month. For several years now, we have been planning a trip to Key West for a romantic getaway and we thought this would be the perfect opportunity. Our cousin Jenn lives in Key West and it was so nice having a local resident to show us around the island.

We flew directly into Key West and arrived on Saturday afternoon. After a quick ride through town, we unloaded our luggage at our home for the week. We can not say enough nice things about the house where we stayed -- The Fleming-O. It is located on one-way Fleming Street in a quite neighborhood in the Heart of Old Town. The location is perfect because it is only a few blocks from restaurants, art galleries, shopping and nightlife on Duval Street and also near the Historic Seaport area with more authentic restaurants with gorgeous water views, marinas, and Mallory Square. We loved being able to walk everywhere we wanted to go! I highly recommend the Fleming-O to anyone interested in visiting Key West! It truly is a "little pink house in Paradise"!!

{for more pictures and booking info click on the photo below}

We started the fourth day of our Key West vacation bright and early! We had to be at the terminal to board the Yankee Freedom at 6:45am. Ouch, haha! Our plans that day were to take a 2.5 hour ferry ride to Dry Tortugas National Park. This place was on several "must-do in Key West" lists that I had read so we were anxious to go even though the captain anticipated a rough ride that day.

It was a good thing we came prepared with Dramamine -- we were thankful to have it after we left the dock.

Breakfast and lunch were included with the trip. Even though we didn't want to eat in fear of getting sea sick, we knew we would be starving later so we forced ourselves down to the lower cabin to grab a snack. The line was ridiculously long but moved fast.

After breakfast, most everyone who wasn't sea sick was sleeping. I stayed awake the entire time and luckily never got sick. I did take an extra Dramamine though ... the ride was rough!

First sight of Fort Jefferson --- and LAND!!! YAY!!!

I was happy to be back on solid ground for a while!

You can also travel to Dry Tortugas by sea plane ... I think if we ever go back, that would be a fun experience.

Fort Jefferson is a six-sided building on Garden Key about 70 miles west of Key West. It is constructed of 16-million handmade bricks and is the third largest fort in the United States. Since the mid 1800's it has served as a lighthouse, national military reserve, coastal fortress, prison and quarantine station.

You can tour the fort on your own time, but we opted to follow the guided tour. 

Here is our guide gathering up the group for the tour.

The guided tour lasts a little over an hour and we toured about half of the fort.

Since it was our first time there and audio tours were not available, I am glad we did the guided tour. However, I do think we could have made better use of our time and made it around the entire fort if we did not take the tour. Overall I am glad we did the tour because it was very informative and our tour guide was great.

 

The parade ground inside the fort is 13 acres. Its design included storage for additional ammunition, a hospital, and three large barracks. 

Granite spiral staircases are in each corner bastion.

Snorkeling is included with the trip on Yankee Freedom (gear included). You can see snorkelers in the photo below.

The large black cannon-looking artillery seen below is known as a 15-inch, 25-ton  Rodman gun. Three of these can be seen atop Fort Jefferson. It is the largest collection of Rodman guns to be seen in the world.

A view of the 13-acre parade ground from the top of Fort Jefferson.

It was so interesting to see all the different shades of color in the ocean. Beautiful!

You can walk the entire parameter of the fort.

Stalagmites and stalactites can be seen throughout the fort.

Spiral granite staircase:

After we finished the tour, we went back to the boat for lunch and then went snorkeling for about an hour.

The boat ride back to Key West wasn't as bad as the early morning ride. The crew on board the Yankee Freedom was very nice and accommodating. After spending all day in the heat, we were all exhausted. We ordered in pizza and was in bed by 8 pm, ha!

 

 

To read more about our other days in Key West, follow the links below:

{Days One & Two}   http://www.heatherreeder.com/blog/2017/6/key-west-2017-days-one-and-two

 

{Day Three}   http://www.heatherreeder.com/blog/2017/6/key-west-2017-day-three

 

{Day Four}   http://www.heatherreeder.com/blog/2017/6/key-west-2017-day-four

 

{Day Five}   http://www.heatherreeder.com/blog/2017/6/key-west-2017-day-five

 

{Day Six}   http://www.heatherreeder.com/blog/2017/6/key-west-2017-day-six

 

{Day Seven}   http://www.heatherreeder.com/blog/2017/6/key-west-2017-day-seven

 

{Days Eight & Nine}   http://www.heatherreeder.com/blog/2017/6/key-west-2017-days-eight-and-nine

 

 

 

 

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heatheru03@yahoo.com (Heather Rose Reeder Photography, LLC) Adventures/Trips Civil War Dry Tortugas Fleming-O Florida Fort Jefferson Garden Key Key West North America United States Yankee Freedom boat destination ferry getaway historic island prison restaurants romantic snorkel tour tourism travel tropical vacation water http://www.heatherreeder.com/blog/2017/6/key-west-2017-day-four Thu, 22 Jun 2017 23:12:16 GMT
Key West 2017 {Day Three} http://www.heatherreeder.com/blog/2017/6/key-west-2017-day-three {If you have been following along, you can scroll down to where this days adventures begin}

My husband and I celebrated 10 years of marriage earlier this month. For several years now, we have been planning a trip to Key West for a romantic getaway and we thought this would be the perfect opportunity. Our cousin Jenn lives in Key West and it was so nice having a local resident to show us around the island.

We flew directly into Key West and arrived on Saturday afternoon. After a quick ride through town, we unloaded our luggage at our home for the week. We can not say enough nice things about the house where we stayed -- The Fleming-O. It is located on one-way Fleming Street in a quite neighborhood in the Heart of Old Town. The location is perfect because it is only a few blocks from restaurants, art galleries, shopping and nightlife on Duval Street and also near the Historic Seaport area with more authentic restaurants with gorgeous water views, marinas, and Mallory Square. We loved being able to walk everywhere we wanted to go! I highly recommend the Fleming-O to anyone interested in visiting Key West! It truly is a "little pink house in Paradise"!!

{for more pictures and booking info click on the photo below}

We started our third day off by sleeping a little late (at least I did!) after the exhausting previous day. Andy walked a couple blocks and rented us a scooter. After a quick breakfast, we were ready to hit the road!

We took a ride around the island, which is less than 5 square miles. I took a few pictures with my cell phone as we passed through town. There was a long line every time we passed by the Southernmost Point!


We had planned to go on a 3.5 hour water adventure in the afternoon, but those plans got derailed. So we rescheduled that for another day and decided to walk over to Dante's and hang out in the pool instead. We found a few great photo ops along the way.

That evening, we went to the Sunset Festival at Mallory Square. On our way, we stopped by the Custom House for another photo op in front of this 25-foot, 35,000-pound bronze statue.

Every night, two hours before sunset, artists, food vendors, musicians and street performers gather at the waterfront Mallory Square to watch the sun set over Sunset Key and the ocean. We went a couple different nights and it was a lot of fun both times. The performers work hard for their money and are very entertaining. I think I remember this guy saying he was in his 70's and he jumped through that hula hoop like it was nothing!

We topped the night off with dinner at Two Friends. This restaurant had a very unique, island feel to it and the service was top-notch. I had the surf and turf (filet mignon and fresh lobster tail) and it was one of my favorite meals from the entire week. Jenn had crab legs and Andy had fried shrimp -- I sampled theirs and both were great, too.

Another fun day in Key West!!

 

To read more about our other days in Key West, follow the links below:

{Days One & Two}   http://www.heatherreeder.com/blog/2017/6/key-west-2017-days-one-and-two

 

 

{Day Three}   http://www.heatherreeder.com/blog/2017/6/key-west-2017-day-three

 

{Day Four}   http://www.heatherreeder.com/blog/2017/6/key-west-2017-day-four

 

{Day Five}   http://www.heatherreeder.com/blog/2017/6/key-west-2017-day-five

 

{Day Six}   http://www.heatherreeder.com/blog/2017/6/key-west-2017-day-six

 

{Day Seven}   http://www.heatherreeder.com/blog/2017/6/key-west-2017-day-seven

 

{Days Eight & Nine}   http://www.heatherreeder.com/blog/2017/6/key-west-2017-days-eight-and-nine

 

 

 

 

 

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heatheru03@yahoo.com (Heather Rose Reeder Photography, LLC) Adventures/Trips Custom House Dante's Fleming-O Florida Key West Mallory Square North America Sunset Festival Two Friends United States destination getaway house island rental restaurants romantic scooter ride tourism travel traveling trip tropical vacation http://www.heatherreeder.com/blog/2017/6/key-west-2017-day-three Thu, 22 Jun 2017 00:00:00 GMT
Key West 2017 {Days One & Two} http://www.heatherreeder.com/blog/2017/6/key-west-2017-days-one-and-two My husband and I celebrated 10 years of marriage earlier this month. For several years now, we have been planning a trip to Key West for a romantic getaway and we thought this would be the perfect opportunity. Our cousin Jenn lives in Key West and it was so nice having a local resident to show us around the island.

We flew directly into Key West and arrived on Saturday afternoon. After a quick ride through town, we unloaded our luggage at our home for the week. We can not say enough nice things about the house where we stayed -- The Fleming-O. It is located on one-way Fleming Street in a quite neighborhood in the Heart of Old Town. The location is perfect because it is only a few blocks from restaurants, art galleries, shopping and nightlife on Duval Street and also near the Historic Seaport area with more authentic restaurants with gorgeous water views, marinas, and Mallory Square. We loved being able to walk everywhere we wanted to go! I highly recommend the Fleming-O to anyone interested in visiting Key West! It truly is a "little pink house in Paradise"!!

{for more pictures and booking info click on any of the photos below}

Our cousin surprised us with roses, champagne and a gorgeous and equally delicious cake to kick off our anniversary celebration! (SO SWEET!!)

After we got settled in at the Fleming-o, we walked to Caroline's for supper. It is on Caroline Street and it was busy on that Saturday night. We sat and talked for hours because we hadn't seen each other in six months and I enjoyed people watching since we were sitting directly off the street.

On our second day in Key West, Andy and I took an early morning stroll down Duval Street. 

The town is so quiet in the morning, nothing like nighttime when the streets are crowded with people.

We met up with Jenn and walked to Six Toed Cat for a late breakfast. We made a quick stop for a photo-op at the Mile Marker 0.

While we were at Mile Marker 0, my husband noticed the fire hydrant was made in the town where we live, also known as "the fire hydrant capital of the world -- 800+ miles away! We thought that was very cool so of course we had to get a picture with it.

Our next stop was breakfast at Six Toed Cat. I loved the atmosphere there. It was so peaceful sitting under the Royal Poinciana trees. They provided great shade from the hot sun and the color was gorgeous. Occasionally a flower would fall and "garnish" our plate!

I had the best omlette I've ever had in my life -- seriously it was wonderful! I chose pepperjack cheese, mushrooms and ham with a side of hashbrowns, yuumm. Everything on their menu looked delicious!

Andy had french toast with bacon and it was great too.

After breakfast, we walked half a block to Hemingway House. I didn't expect much from this tour but it was very interesting and I am glad we did it. I learned things I never knew about Ernest Hemingway and our tour guide was very good at keeping my attention.

I especially loved the six toed cats. There are about 50 cats on the property and they have free reign to go anywhere they please.

A little fun fact about the swimming pool -- the final cost of construction in 1938 dollars was $20,000.

Spoiler alert -- nobody is allowed to swim in the pool now even though it is the largest pool in Key West.

Ernest Hemingway's writing room above the carriage house.

Since the lighthouse is across the street from the Hemingway House, we decided it would be a good time to check it out. We stopped on our way across the street and got a coconut. It was our first time to drink coconut milk, and I was not a fan! *yuck* It wasn't cold like I expected and wasn't sweet. But it did make for a cute photo op! ;)


Key West Lighthouse

This lighthouse opened in 1848 with a woman as its keeper. That was very rare in the 19th century. The lighthouse has been decommissioned since 1969.

We climbed the 88 steps up the narrow, spiral staircase to the top. It was worth it.

It took us about an hour and a half to tour the lighthouse and browse the gift shop. It was way past lunch time and we were beat from the heat, so we decided to find a place with A/C and have a drink to cool off. Captain Tony's was the perfect place to do just that.

 

We had been watching live webcams of Key West occasionally and knew we wanted to stop by the one at the famous Sloppy Joe's Bar. I pulled up the webcam while we were there and took a screenshot of us on the street, haha!! Fun times! :)

We found the end of the rainbow!!

After we cooled off, we decided it was time to find something to eat for dinner. Our first choice was DJ's Clam Shack so we walked out of our way to go there. The moment we picked up a menu, the entire corner block had a power surge and lost all electricity so they had to stop serving food. Just our luck!!

We passed by Gas Monkey Grill on our way to DJ's Clam Shack and decided we would go back there to eat since Andy is a fan of the TV show Fast N Loud. They were really busy, so we decided to find someplace else to eat.

 

Jennifer suggested Fogarty's instead. It was a great idea even if it was our third choice! Fish tacos are my love language. They were delicious!

 

 

Stay tuned to read more about our fun adventures in Key West!

 

To read more about our other days in Key West, follow the links below:

{Days One & Two}   http://www.heatherreeder.com/blog/2017/6/key-west-2017-days-one-and-two

 

{Day Three}   http://www.heatherreeder.com/blog/2017/6/key-west-2017-day-three

 

{Day Four}   http://www.heatherreeder.com/blog/2017/6/key-west-2017-day-four

 

{Day Five}   http://www.heatherreeder.com/blog/2017/6/key-west-2017-day-five

 

{Day Six}   http://www.heatherreeder.com/blog/2017/6/key-west-2017-day-six

 

{Day Seven}   http://www.heatherreeder.com/blog/2017/6/key-west-2017-day-seven

 

{Days Eight & Nine}    http://www.heatherreeder.com/blog/2017/6/key-west-2017-days-eight-and-nine

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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heatheru03@yahoo.com (Heather Rose Reeder Photography, LLC) Adventures/Trips Captain Tony's Fleming-O Florida Hemingway Hemingway House Key West Mile Marker 0 North America Six Toed Cat United States cats chickens destination getaway island lighthouse restaurants romantic tourism travel tropical vacation http://www.heatherreeder.com/blog/2017/6/key-west-2017-days-one-and-two Wed, 21 Jun 2017 13:15:00 GMT
Aunt Evie's Quilt http://www.heatherreeder.com/blog/2017/4/aunt-evies-quilt My great-great aunt Evie. I do not remember her, as she died shortly after my first birthday, but I have heard stories about her my entire life. She never married or had children of her own but she left a legacy in our family. My daddy's older sister, Sue, died a few months after she turned seven years old. Before Sue died, Aunt Evie was teaching her how to quilt. A while back, Mawmaw found this old quilt top that they pieced together and she asked me if I could finish quilting it. It still had the newspaper attached on the back and after looking it over closely, the earliest date I could find was 1959. What a priceless treasure! I recruited the help of several very sweet ladies to help me get this done and I could not have done it without them. We spent a few days a week for about a month sitting around this hand-pieced quilt sharing stories and laughs as they taught me how to quilt “the old-timey way”. I was excited to show Mawmaw when we finished and we are both so tickled to have it done. I hope Aunt Evie would be proud. I took a few pictures of her quilt on the old rocking chair I have that belonged to her. This means so much to me.

my great-great aunt Evie newspaper backing dated 1959

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heatheru03@yahoo.com (Heather Rose Reeder Photography, LLC) Aunt Evie ancestry bee chair family friends heirloom quilt quilting rocker sew http://www.heatherreeder.com/blog/2017/4/aunt-evies-quilt Wed, 19 Apr 2017 15:10:31 GMT
Cataloochee Valley {Mountain Trip Day Five} http://www.heatherreeder.com/blog/2011/12/cataloochee-valley-mountain-trip-day On the final day of my trip across four Southern states, we woke up in Maggie Valley, North Carolina to rain. Not exactly the ideal weather when you're on a photography trip, but we made the best of it.

We packed up early and headed to Cataloochee Valley in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

The roads to Cataloochee are gravel and very, very, very curvy and narrow. The view at the top was worth all the tense driving though. Completely worth it.


The rain had done us a favor and left behind some beautiful fog. A photographers dream!


I felt like we were on top of the world - literally!


As we drove down into the valley, we spotted our first field of elk. I thought this cow nursing her calf was a sweet moment!


Here's the big man on campus. He was in charge of this herd and made sure he kept a close eye on all of his ladies.


He was also in charge of chasing off any other smaller bulls.





This is one of several houses in the valley.


I would love to wake up every day to this beautiful view of the valley.



The house was built so well, after all these years it felt as solid as a rock. I fell in love with all the wood walls inside. If only they could talk...



It continued to rain throughout the entire day and even most of the way to Alabama.


I got a few more pictures I just couldn't resist, like this gorgeous creek running through the valley.



And with the slight addiction I have to photographing roads, I surely couldn't pass this one up!


It didn't take a very long time in the rain for us to all feel like drowned rats, so we left for home a little earlier than we might have minus the rain. We stopped for lunch and again at this cute rest area in Tennessee and then we were Alabama bound!


It was the longest time Andy and I had been away from each other in five years, so I sure was happy to see him when I made it home late that Friday night. I am so lucky and thankful for a loving husband who supports me in everything I want to do! I also have to give a big shout out to my wonderful parents for letting me skip work for a week to follow my dreams. Thank you ALL so much for letting this happen!!

I love y'all! =)
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heatheru03@yahoo.com (Heather Rose Reeder Photography, LLC) Adventures/Trips http://www.heatherreeder.com/blog/2011/12/cataloochee-valley-mountain-trip-day Wed, 07 Dec 2011 09:11:00 GMT
Blue Ridge Parkway {Mountain Trip Day Four} http://www.heatherreeder.com/blog/2011/12/blue-ridge-parkway-mountain-trip-day Back in October, I traveled through the Appalachian Mountains with three other sweet ladies on a photography adventure. On our fourth day of the trip, we left Christiansburg, Virginia and journeyed south on the Blue Ridge Parkway.

{To read about the first three days of this trip click here: Day 1, Day 2, Day 3}

It was chilly and the wind was wild at the overlooks along the parkway.

Those are not birds scattered across the top of this pictures, they're leaves. I told you the wind was wild!


I have a lot of pictures of roads from this day. I wonder if they make medication for that problem.





I love all the tiny little cabins along the parkway too. I think it would be so neat to live way back when, before laptops and cell phones. Then again... maybe not. :)





More roads. See? I warned you - it's a problem.




I have a thing for fancy country churches too.


We drove across the Linn Cove Viaduct but I wasn't able to get any good pictures of it. I snapped this picture on my cell phone inside the visitor center.


When we arrived in Maggie Valley, NC we ate supper at a cool restaurant called J. Arthurs.

The place was all decked out with fall decor and I thought this maple Christmas tree was so cute and clever!


I had a hamburger and baked potato and it was soo delicious!


My room for the night in Maggie Valley.


I hope you will come back tomorrow to read all about the last day of my five day trip. We visited Cataloochee Valley in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and I think it was my favorite day of the trip despite the rain!

Have a great day!!
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heatheru03@yahoo.com (Heather Rose Reeder Photography, LLC) Adventures/Trips http://www.heatherreeder.com/blog/2011/12/blue-ridge-parkway-mountain-trip-day Tue, 06 Dec 2011 09:14:00 GMT
Glade Creek Grist Mill & New River Gorge Bridge {Mountain Trip Day Three} http://www.heatherreeder.com/blog/2011/12/glade-creek-grist-mill-new-river-gorge On the third day of my week long trip, three other ladies and I visited Babcock State Park in West Virginia.

As we traveled along the narrow winding roads, we all were hopeful that the trees would be full of color.


Turns out, time wasn't on our side and most of the trees were bare, but the creek and mill were still beautiful.

{Me at Glade Creek Grist Mill - thanks Judy for the picture!}

I took lots and lots of pictures at this park, but this is one of my favorites.


 

From the time we left Alabama, we were all keeping an eye out for a colorful tree on a hill for Shannon. We found an abundance of trees on hills, but none of them were "the one". Shannon's a lady who knows what she wants! Well we ended up taking a slight *accidental* detour on the way to our next stop and wouldn't you know we found Shannon's tree! I think we all agreed it was worth the wait. :)


We drove across the 3,030 feet long New River Gorge Bridge near Fayetteville, West Virginia. Just shortly after we arrived at the visitor center, we got our cameras ready to hike to the bottom of the bridge and it started to rain. Boo hoo! I would have loved to see first hand how enormous this bridge is from the river view but I was in no mood to hike in the rain. And it was a loooonng way down.

So we had to settle for a few shots from the overlook. The 18 wheelers look like tiny Hotwheels!


Since the rain was trying to put a damper on our day, we decided to break for lunch at Hawk's Nest State Park. The trees had lots of color left there. This is the only picture I got at Hawk's Nest other than the few I took with my cell phone inside the restaurant.


This was my view of the New River from our table.


 There were deer grazing on the hill below our window. Cool!!



The rest of our day was spent driving through misty rain. We stopped at Herns Mill Bridge near Lewisburg, West Virginia.


On a side note, Lewisburg, West Virginia was voted America's Coolest Small Town in 2010. 

We drove down many, many curvy roads. See below:


And we did a "drive by shoot" of this beautiful old barn. It looks like those cows have a happy home here!


We were on the road late that night and I did all the night driving during the trip. We rode through two long tunnels and I impressed myself with my driving skills on I77 and I81. My daddy is so proud!! :) I'm so thankful we didn't hit a deer! It seems like they were dozens per mile laying on the sides of the interstates.

{One of the cool tunnels I drove through. Please forgive the poor quality, it was taken with my cell phone and it's pretty crappy.}

And here's a few more cell phone pics of our hotel lobby and hallway. Almost everything was green!



Tomorrow I'll share pictures from our drive south on the Blue Ridge Parkway to Maggie Valley, North Carolina.
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heatheru03@yahoo.com (Heather Rose Reeder Photography, LLC) Adventures/Trips http://www.heatherreeder.com/blog/2011/12/glade-creek-grist-mill-new-river-gorge Mon, 05 Dec 2011 08:38:00 GMT
Mabry Mill, Virginia {Mountain Trip Day Two} http://www.heatherreeder.com/blog/2011/12/mabry-mill-virginia-mountain-trip-day On day two of my trip to the mountains, we traveled through Galax, Fancy Gap, and Meadows of Dan VA and along the Blue Ridge Parkway.

We stopped at a few cabins on the scenic drive.


The Blue Ridge Parkway takes my breath away. Just look at the rolling mountains full of colorful leaves! ENCHANTING!!


One of my favorites stops of the entire five day trip was at Mabry Mill.


It was my first time to see it in "real life" and I could not stop snapping my camera. It is a very beautiful place, I definitely recommend you to see it if you ever get the chance.



After our stop at Mabry Mill, we had lunch at Tuggles Gap. It was a quiet country place and they had lots of beautiful artwork on the walls.


We took a back road to find this shot.


Another shot from the Blue Ridge Parkway.


You can read about my first day on this trip here. Come back tomorrow and I'll share pictures from Glade Creek Mill and other cool places we visited on day three of my trip to the mountains!

I hope you are enjoying your weekend!!
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heatheru03@yahoo.com (Heather Rose Reeder Photography, LLC) Adventures/Trips http://www.heatherreeder.com/blog/2011/12/mabry-mill-virginia-mountain-trip-day Sat, 03 Dec 2011 07:37:00 GMT
Grayson Highlands State Park {Mountain Trip Day One} http://www.heatherreeder.com/blog/2011/12/grayson-highlands-state-park-mountain

I had a fabulous opportunity in October to go on a photography trip with one of my great friends, Judy and two other ladies - Mary & Shannon - who I now consider friends.

We spent five days driving on beautiful country back roads through Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina and Tennessee looking for "something shiny" to photograph.

I came home with over 2,000 pictures of some of the prettiest places I've ever laid eyes on and memories that will last a lifetime.

Here's Day One:

We left from Guntersville, AL in the early morning on Monday, October 24, 2011 headed for Independence, VA. Of course there were a few stops along the way for lunch and photo ops.

This is an old house we found abandoned in a field, somewhere in Tennessee, I think.




We arrived in Virginia earlier than we anticipated, so we decided to visit Grayson Highlands State Park a day early.


We had planned to do a sunrise shoot at Grayson Highlands the next morning, but once we seen that most of the leaves had fallen, we changed our plans.

Grayson Highlands State Park was still a beautiful place to visit, I can't imagine how captivating it is in full peak season.


Big surprise, I had to play tourist and have my picture taken at most of the big places we visited. I may need proof I was there someday!


I love old fence posts and weathered wood. Swoon!


After we left Grayson Highlands, we found this adorable little road in the middle of nowhere.
It basically sums up everything you need to know about Virginia and West Virginia roads and/or highways - they're all crooked, ain't nun of 'em straight. Fun to photograph but no fun to drive on. Unless you have a motorcycle, maybe.


We arrived at our hotel in Independence, VA just before sunset. This is a picture I snapped minutes before the sun went down while we were unloading the van.


Judy, Mary and I had supper at Steph & Andy's Pizza Plus {the blue roofed building at the bottom of the pic above} Of course I had to take a picture of the menu because we don't see very many things with Andy's name on them. Pretty neat! Oh, and I ate spaghetti in case you were wondering. =)


Check back tomorrow for day two of my trip when we visited Mabry Mill!
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heatheru03@yahoo.com (Heather Rose Reeder Photography, LLC) Adventures/Trips http://www.heatherreeder.com/blog/2011/12/grayson-highlands-state-park-mountain Fri, 02 Dec 2011 11:33:00 GMT
Virgil Our Pet Turtle {An Unusual Feeding Incident} http://www.heatherreeder.com/blog/2011/10/virgil-our-pet-turtle-unusual-feeding I would like to officially introduce you to the reptile in the family, Virgil. We've had him about 8 years now.


He was a little bigger than a quarter when I got him. Now he's about 8 inches long from head to tail and he's still growing.

His first home was a 10 gallon aquarium, then a 30 gallon and we upgraded him to a 75 gallon aquarium a few months ago.
{Yes, people, we really have a 75 gallon aquarium in our living room!}


Virgil spends his days on his floating rock under his basking lamp enjoying the "sunshine" and we feed him every morning. {I use "we" very loosely here... Andy almost always feeds Virgil every morning.}


Well... yesterday morning, Andy got out of bed like usual to let dogs out and to feed Virgil. He had to charge his car battery overnight so he told me in a slumber that he was going to unhook it before he let the dogs out. I was still in bed trying to pretend I didn't have to get out of bed that day.

The next thing I know, I hear Andy screaming {in a very panicked voice} "Let go! Let go! OUCH!! Let go! OUCH! OUCH! OUUUUCCCHHHH!!!"

Well wouldn't you know, I completely freaked out and hit the floor running straight to the kitchen in my pajamas. {if you can even call them that!}

I was looking for the broom!! At that moment I remembered very clearly learning as a child that if someone is being electrocuted, pushing them away with the handle of a broom could save their life. {I still have no idea why exactly I thought Andy was being electrocuted. At least I was trying to save his life though, instead of looking for the camera, haha!}

My search was short lived though because Andy was in the living room.

And he was standing over Virgil's tank.

And Virgil was on the end of his thumb!!

This led to more freaking out from both of us for a few seconds.

So imagine Andy shaking his hand up and down with a turtle attached to it {the thought alone makes me laugh out loud hysterically! Seriously, I wish you could've seen it!} I finally tried to pull Virgil away but those jaws were clamped down so hard he wouldn't budge. 

After a few more seconds {I'm sure it was seconds but it felt like many minutes at the time!} Virgil gave up, loosened this grip and plopped himself back into his tank.


Andy, on the other hand, didn't recover so fast. There was no bloodshed but the tip of his poor thumb was white and numb for a while.

And he's still a little traumatized. He said he just dropped Virgil's food in the tank and ran this morning. ;-)

One thing that makes this story even more hilarious to me is that just a few days before this happened, Andy said to me "Virgil ate out of my hand today!!"

Something tells me that was the first and the last time that will ever happen!


I wish so bad that I would have thought to get the video camera to record all the excitement of that Monday morning. I just know it would have made us rich!

{I should add that I'm happy to report that Virgil still has a happy home at the Reeder house and there is no turtle on the menu in the future.
At this time. Ha, just kidding!}
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heatheru03@yahoo.com (Heather Rose Reeder Photography, LLC) Virgil http://www.heatherreeder.com/blog/2011/10/virgil-our-pet-turtle-unusual-feeding Tue, 11 Oct 2011 19:49:00 GMT
Roll Tide http://www.heatherreeder.com/blog/2011/9/roll-tide It's been a fun week for me!

My sister-in-law went back to work Monday, so I've got to spend every day with these cute kiddos.


We've done crafts, played soccer, spent time outside, played fun games and had a little photo shoot in the name of Alabama football.


I've been waiting for fall since before summer! It's my favorite time of year. I love everything about it.

One of the best things about fall in the South is football!! I cheer for Alabama and Andy's a die hard University of Kentucky fan.

I don't get into the games as much as my family does, but I do enjoy watching a good football game. Something about the commentator's voice and cheering crowd makes cleaning house on Saturday a little more bearable!

Welcome, Football Season 2011!!

Fight on men...

ROLL TIDE ROLL!!!!
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heatheru03@yahoo.com (Heather Rose Reeder Photography, LLC) Abby Caleb Sports http://www.heatherreeder.com/blog/2011/9/roll-tide Sat, 03 Sep 2011 08:29:00 GMT
Photoshop {A Long Time Comin'} http://www.heatherreeder.com/blog/2011/8/photoshop-long-time-comin Guess what I got last week?


Andy bought me my very own copy of Photoshop and a nifty little wacom tablet. My goodness, I love that man.

I'd had my eye on the wacom tablet for a while, but wasn't sure it would be very useful to me. After spending a fun afternoon playing with THE wonderful Mrs. Judy Kennamer and her awesome wacom tablet, I knew I had to have one!! It comes with a cool pen that allows me to "draw" instead of use a mouse. Long story short, this thing is so COOL!!!

And Photoshop. I can't say enough good things about it. I drooled over creations made with Photoshop for years. *literally* I sampled an older version once and completely hated it because it was so difficult for me to understand. I usually catch on quickly with things like that, but something just wasn't clicking between me and Photoshop.

That was, until I spent a little time with Judy. {She's a local photographer and a big inspiration to me. She's truly a godsend. Oh, and did I mention she's an extraordinary photographer? Check out her work here and buy something while you're there!} She explained Photoshop so well, suddenly everything started making sense to me.

So, a week later, we took a trip to Staples and my life changed forever.

Example #1:
I had high hopes when I took this picture a few years ago while we were visiting an Amish community in TN. I took it in the middle of the day and it didn't turn out quite like I wanted. But now - with the glorious Photoshop - I have the ability to change that!


Example #2:
Flowers are always interesting to edit in different ways.


Example #3:
It's hard for me to believe I actually thought the before picture was so good. haha!


These are only a few of the pictures I've played with over the last week. Photoshop totally hogs my life now. Like I needed another thing to keep me from blogging, ha!

I can't tell Judy thank you enough for taking time to show me a few of her tricks. It just goes to show you that you should always be kind and try to help someone along the way because you just never know when something you do will change someone's life.

Have a great week!!
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heatheru03@yahoo.com (Heather Rose Reeder Photography, LLC) Photoshop http://www.heatherreeder.com/blog/2011/8/photoshop-long-time-comin Mon, 22 Aug 2011 19:46:00 GMT
World's Longest Yardsale {From Mentone, AL to Chattanooga, TN} http://www.heatherreeder.com/blog/2011/8/worlds-longest-yardsale-from-mentone-al In case you aren't familiar with The World's Longest Yardsale {also known as The Highway 127 Yardsale}, it's a huge yardsale that happens every August and goes from Gadsden, Alabama to Hudson, Michigan. You can click the link above for more info.

Andy works every Saturday, but he took off on August 6th so we could go yardsalin'. We didn't get started as early as we hoped, {we were on the road by 8am and wanted to leave by 7:30am but that didn't discourage us.}

We planned our route out the night before and decided we would start at Mentone, AL and go until we were ready to come home. We'd been to Mentone before so we knew they would have antiques, which is what we love most. Granted we don't usually buy antiques -they're not cheap - but we love looking at old stuff.



Mentone was basically set up like a mini flea market. They have lots of vendors with various items {booths selling hamburgers, hotdogs & icecream, outdoor furniture, porta potties, etc.}


I got so excited when I saw this box of old toys.


My daddy always loved playing cowboys and indians as a child and pistols like these are exactly what I imagine his would look like. Just maybe not in such "new" condition.


I know $65 may be a bargain for someone, but I'll settle for the picture, thank you!


This was a neat little cottage we visited. They honestly had too many things to look at and no a/c so we didn't stay long!


We browsed in Mentone for a while then we were on the road again.

My brother, Shane, and s-i-l, Amanda, went to the yardsale the day before we went. Shane had told me to keep an eye for the man who was selling trees for $5 because he wanted me to get him another one. On our next stop, we found the trees and I ended up buying one for Shane and one for myself. However, I found out that I should've done my research instead of just getting myself the one he wanted. I bought us both a Sawtooth Oak. Turns out, they have lots of acorns so I'm giving my tree to Shane. I'm sure he'll be happy!

I didn't get pics of the trees {I should have, they were a great bargain!} but I did manage to get a picture of my huge Hawaiian shaved ice snow cone before I enhaled it. In case you didn't know, I'm a snow cone connoisseur. So trust me when I say this was one of the best snow cones I've ever ate {eaten?}. I had strawberry with cream and it cost $3 for this size including the cream, which is usually .50 extra.
I want another one right now!!!

Another unique cabin on the trip. It didn't have much for sale other than handmade outdoor furniture but the man had a huge German Shepard inside as big as a grizzly bear! {I didn't get a pic of the dog either because I almost had a heart attack when I first seen him. He looked big enough to swallow me with one gulp and I was afraid a picture would be a good excuse for him to try haha.}



The rebel flag on the boat can only mean one thing, we were still in Alabama!

This was another "mini flea market" stop we made. They were even selling grilled corn on the cob and fresh barbeque here. If we had a huge barn, this big ol' star would have found a home with us.


I think these glass jars are so unique! I would really love to know how they make them. They're cool but what would you do with them??


You just never know what you will find at a yardsale! When I seen this knight, I just had to get a picture. Our family sorta has an inside joke about armor suits so if this baby would've been a little cheaper, Andy and I would have bought it for a Christmas *gag* gift for my parents. I would love to see their face when they opened it up haha!!


I expected the traffic to be much more congested than it was. Maybe it's because of the route we chose, but there wasn't many places where traffic was bumper to bumper like I'd remembered from the past.


Pintos and cornbread!! Seeing this sign made me wonder how many people tried pintos and cornbread for the first time in their life on this yardsale.


Lookout Mountain Parkway has a few pull offs where you can stop and enjoy the view. Despite the miserably hot weather we've had in AL this summer, it was actually tolerable on this day, even though it looks so hazy/humid.



The overlook was one of our last stops on the yardsale. We ended up in Chattanooga and had a rare lunch at Fazoli's {our favorite pizza place!} After a late lunch, we headed to a big thrift store that we thought was nearby but clearly the internet isn't up-to-date because it had gone out a business. Just our luck!!

All was well though because on our little adventure, we found a new {to us} camera shop, Superior Camera. They carry mostly Nikon stuff and I'm a Canon girl, but Andy did buy me some reflectors and I'm pretty excited about that.

Some people would probably call us horrible "yard salers" because we hardly bought a thing. We had a great time though and did both of our most favorite things which is spending time together... awww!! =)
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heatheru03@yahoo.com (Heather Rose Reeder Photography, LLC) Adventures/Trips http://www.heatherreeder.com/blog/2011/8/worlds-longest-yardsale-from-mentone-al Tue, 16 Aug 2011 19:26:00 GMT
Four Square Bow Holder {Gift Idea} http://www.heatherreeder.com/blog/2011/8/four-square-bow-holder-gift-idea A few months before my niece Abby was born, I started thinking of something special I could make for her. I knew she would have lots of hairbows so I decided on a bow holder.

I googled "bow holders" and got a few ideas of what I liked, but ended up coming with something completely original.

First, I decided on what colors & style of ribbon I wanted to use. {This wasn't easy for me. I knew my SIL wasn't 100% sure what baby bedding she was using at that point, and I was really worried about picking all the wrong colors.} I didn't want all the same color ribbon, that would be much too easy. So with the help from my unbioligical lil sis here is what we came up with:


{Please excuse some of the low quality photos in this post, sometimes my cell phone is all I have handy!}

By this point, I already had a good idea what direction the design was going to go in. The colors of ribbon I chose would be perfect for flowers, trees and butterflies.

We already had some extra plywood, so Andy was a sweetheart and cut four 4x4 squares for me.


He also drilled four holes in each square. Two holes at the top for the squares to hang and two holes at the bottom for the ribbon for the bows to hang on. But more on that later.

I used a pencil to sketch the basic design I wanted on each square.


Next, I started the painting process, which took about three days to completely finish. It could be done faster, I'm sure, but I took my time.


After they were completely painted the way I wanted, it was time to attach the ribbon.


I twisted the end of the ribbon and put a piece of scotch tape around it to slide it through the tiny hole. {I had Andy make the holes so small so there would be no chance of the knot being bigger than I wanted.}

For the ribbon that would hold the bows, I measured and cut it to be 36" long.


After I pulled the ribbon through the holes, I singed the ends to prevent fraying.

I tied two knots, leaving about an inch of ribbon on the end. I pulled the ribbon tight so the knot was touching the square. Next, I got my hot glue gun ready and wrapped the extra inch of ribbon around the knot.


 Then I hot glued the extra ribbon around the knot to make it look like a flower. {I knew this is how I wanted to do the ribbon, so I was sure to paint stems under each hole.}


I repeated these steps for all the holes including the ones at the top.

Here's the finished bow holder hanging in Abby's nursery:


And a close up of all the letters:






I'm happy with how it turned out!
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heatheru03@yahoo.com (Heather Rose Reeder Photography, LLC) Crafts Gift Ideas http://www.heatherreeder.com/blog/2011/8/four-square-bow-holder-gift-idea Sat, 13 Aug 2011 12:41:00 GMT
Yard Buddies http://www.heatherreeder.com/blog/2011/8/yard-buddies I was weeding out my flower bed the other day and I thought I saw something move - like a bug or something. I stopped, looked for it {whatever "it" was}, seen nothing and went back to weeding.

And then I really seen it move! 


It was a praying mantis.


He should be thankful I didn't accidently pick him up because insects totally creep me out. I love taking pictures of bugs but they better keep there sticky little feet off me!

I'm sure he wouldn't let that happen though, because praying mantises can move their heads nearly 300 degrees and they have binocular vision. So there is no doubt he was keeping an eye on me.


I'm always afraid a bug or spider will jump on my lens while I'm trying to get a close up. EEEK! I will probably pee my pants if that ever happens.

I'm going to do some research and see if I can find ways to attrack more praying mantises to our yard because they kill house flies. Anything that eats flies is a good friend of mine.

{No matter how creepy they look.}


I found another fly-eating friend on a tree in our yard. 

An American green tree frog:



I felt bad for not pulling that small blade of grass off his back for him. Poor thing's going to have a tan line!

With such a dry, hot and humid summer happening here in Alabama, I know tan lines are everyones biggest concern.

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heatheru03@yahoo.com (Heather Rose Reeder Photography, LLC) Around the house http://www.heatherreeder.com/blog/2011/8/yard-buddies Sun, 07 Aug 2011 17:54:00 GMT