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redemption

Well, this blog is appropriately titled because I feel a definite need to redeem myself after being absent from blogging for so long. Please understand that I have been super busy, and trust that this fun-filled post will make up for the lost time!
When we last left off, I was about to open the Perspectives Photography Studio. I am proud to now say that it is up and running. I might even add that it is very successful! We are happy with the successes that have resulted, opportunities we are able to offer guests, and I am sure the additional revenue is a bonus too. Getting the studio started and making everything happen was like starting my own business, and I have gained even more respect for my parents and what they do. Trust me, it is not easy.
So later in April, Sarah went to the emergency room for putting a bead up her nose! That was a fun phone call from Dad when he was telling me the story. The doctors put the bead in a plastic specimen cup after retrieving it, and she proudly showed it to everyone she saw! Oh the life of a four-year-old. Those little girls are always up to something!
In celebration of Sean's birthday, we went to Dave and Busters in Honolulu. One of the prizes we walked away with was a banana phone! It looks like a banana, but it plugs into your cell phone and you can use it to talk. Emily and I have received lots of looks when using our banana phones in public, but it is so worth it! Ha!
Emily came left and came back from vacation, so the shenanigans continued! We took an impromptu road trip to Old Koloa town in Kauai. We had fun exploring the town and got some amazing ahi poke from a fish market!
Jarrett and I found out that Hank's Haute Dogs, which has been featured on Man vs Food and Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives, is near the ship in Honolulu. We have made it a weekly adventure to try all of their famous dogs. A personal favorite has been the Hawaiian dog topped with pineapple relish and mango mustard.
The next week, we added to our video collection and made a birthday video for our friend Chris. The video includes swimmers, sharks, and lots of fun. As a bonus, one of my corporate bosses joined in on the action! You can view it by clicking here.
As my vacation rapidly approached, I had to squeeze in a day of adventure. Bo, Emily and I explored the island of Kauai. First stop, The Right Slice homemade pie shop! Bo found it in a magazine, and when we arrived, the woman in the photo in the magazine article was there! We recreated the magazine photo, and devoured the different pie flavors. She told us she is working on creating a biscuits and gravy recipe that we cannot wait to try! We then headed to a vintage book store in the hometown of Lilo and Stitch!
That night, the adventures continued when Emily, Jonathan and I had a delicious dinner in Poipu, before having some fun with pink mustaches!
That Saturday I signed off the ship for vacation. Before I left Hawaii, Emily, Jonathan, Sean, and I entered in a citywide scavenger hunt! Challenge Nation hosted the even. It was super fun, and would have been a little more successful if we knew more about the area and Hawaiian culture, but we were proud of our 110th place finish!
I arrived in Kansas City, and was immediately greeted by family, friends, and a shrimp boil feast! It was so good to see the people I love!
 On Wednesday, I headed to the airport for my first real New England trip. It was an adventure full of planes, trains, and automobiles, and it all started in Boston. We walked the whole city, took a Duck Boat tour that was a land and sea tour in a boat with wheels, and ate some delicious seafood! Oh, did I mention security was sent to our room twice because we were ribbon dancing too loudly. Girls just wanna have fun, and there was plenty of fun to be had in Boston!
 We road tripped from Boston to the baby state, Rhode Island. In Rhode Island we had a beach day, went to karaoke, toured some mansions, saw all of ocean drive, shopped in Newport, rode a pedicab, and had some of the best Italian food I have ever consumed. Needless to say, that little state had big things for us to do, and our time was filled with one adventure after another.
We bid farewell to Rhode Island and boarded a train, New York City bound! We stayed down in Times Square, and took in as much as we could in the short time we were there. Our nights were spent out on the town, and our days were filled with tourist adventures. We saw Central Park one day and bought fabric from Mood (the fabric store in Project Runway!) Later that day we saw Evita on Broadway starring the one and only, Ricky Martin. We also went to the Museum of Modern Art, and I left thoroughly confused. I guess I just don't get modern art, but I think that is the point. It was good to see friends while we were there, but my camera was rarely pulled out in the city. unfortunately I have very few images that show I was there!
 The next week, Amanda, Mom and I road tripped to Chicago. I loved all of the places I visited during vacation, but Chicago will always be my favorite city! This was Amanda's first Chicago visit, so I Matt and I showed her around town! Our first day was consumed with IKEA! We bought some great pieces for Amanda's new place, and I got a little depressed that I didn't have a place of my own to furnish and decorate! We also went to Navy Pier and spent the day relaxing, then rode the ferris wheel at night to get a good view of the city! It was gorgeous. I had to show Amanda Michigan Avenue, and we took in the entire Magnificent Mile. One morning was spent at the beach, and got to see an awesome improv comedy show while we were there. As another trip closed, I headed back to Kansas City for a week of catching up on sleep... and birthdays!
Happy birthday America, Happy birthday me! I spent the fourth at my grandpas. We soaked up some sun, played in the lake, and shot off loads of fireworks. I love that holiday!

Gabe and I celebrated my birthday with a daycation! We went to Kansas City's new Sealife Aquarium. After the fishy experience, we went to a dinosaur exhibit, then a candy factory! While sitting on a bench devouring our sweet treats, a kind old man recommended we go see the Titantic exhibit at Union Station. I was a little nervous it would make me want to quit my job, but it was a very interesting exhibit. Surprisingly, the crew cabins on the Titantic looked a lot like my room on the ship! After the Titantic, we went to the Hallmark museum, then ate at Fritz's train station restaurant. What a day, and what a way to start off my 24th year!
 I headed from Kansas City to Monett to see my Dad and family. I knew it was going to be a good week after the first night. There is not much that is more entertaining than watching your seven month pregnant sister try to play Just Dance on the Wii! Kristen was such a good sport. We spent the rest of the week with one thing after another. We went to Silver Dollar City with my parents, sisters, nieces, and grandparents. The girls rode their first adult roller coaster! We were very proud. We also went to our first movie in the theatre. The girls loved Brave, and of course I loved it too! Pixar knows how to make a good movie. I did the twins five-year-old photo shoot, then met up with Lauren and we headed to Erin's to prepare for our New Orleans trip!
 


The highlight of our New Orleans trip was a 3 hour long food tour featuring some of New Orleans most famous dishes. We had muffelatas, red beans and rice, jumbalaya, gumbo, po-boys, pralines, beignets, chicory coffee, and Mississippi mud! We also explored the French Quarter, took the St.Charles and Canal Street Streetcars, and wandered around city park! It was such a fun girls trip and a great way to get away and spend some quality time with some of my favorite girls.
When we got back, I had to pack up and squeeze in a few photo sessions. I took pictures of Drew, Kalli and Sophia for Sophia's second birthday. Marie and I met up to capture her senior portraits, and survived the heat to get some great images! Then Erin and Corbin celebrated their engagement with a super fun photo shoot. I cannot wait for that wedding.I love them... and they seem to love each other too! Above are a few of my favorites from each shoot!
So here I am, back in Hawaii! It is good to be back in action, and I am excited to be a part of continuing the development and growth of the studio. Josh and I are a force to be reckoned with in the vacation portrait world. Look out! We are taking over!

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