In elementary school I had this obnoxious habit of picking the shy/friendly boys and chasing them around the playground. Thank god none of them ever called my bluff and let me catch them – I was all bark and no bite. Eric though . . . that kid had bite. He got so pissed at me he stood his ground one day and punched me in the stomach. Hard. I lost my breath and it hurt like hell but I played it off. Terribly, mind you, but I was determined to play it tough.

But that one day on the playground – he earned my respect and my admiration for not being another sucker that let the goofy looking girl chase them down. The next year, Eric didn’t come back to my school. His family had moved to the next town over and while I saw him play in a football game every once in a while,  I figured our lives were divided and we’d move on. I was sure I’d never see him again.

Fast forward a decade or two and while at my cousin Amber’s house for dinner one night, I happened to catch a glance of a picture on a bookshelf of her and her boyfriend. I kept staring at it thinking he looked so familiar but I couldn’t quite place it. My Aunt Sissy caught me looking at it and asked me “Do you remember him? Because he sure remembers you.”

I was floored. He was all grown up and he made the perfect couple with Amber. Seriously – they were nauseatingly beautiful. I’ve always regretted not making it out to help them celebrate when they ran away years later to elope.

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Another few years and two amazing babies later and I remember getting an email from Amber that said “Eric’s really freaking me out. He’s talking about leaving his job at Yale and running away to join the circus. He wants to play with his camera for a living.” I laughed my ass off. She couldn’t quite bring herself to say that her husband wanted to leave everything safe behind to become a photographer. But if Amber is nothing else, she is amazingly strong and supportive and encouraging. And sure enough, he did it. If she would have known then what she knew years later about his talent, she would have encouraged him to “Join the circus” years earlier.

He started sharing photographs on a blog, then he started a business and started doing more, then Amber caught the “circus bug” and they were producing AMAZING boudoir photos and booking weddings in only god knows how long of an advance. I was hooked to their work. I had told them on more than one occasion that I wanted my husband and I to have our wedding all over again just so I could have pictures of us taken by them.

Eric’s work very quickly became a “standard” for me in photography. I found myself comparing wedding photographs to his style and very rarely did anything meet the standard I had set by his work. Seriously – check out the work on their Facebook Page. 

I was honored and humbled to call him family. And to watch him with his kids . . . you just knew that they were going to be amazing. And they are. Even our son adored his “Auntie Ammer” and “Uncle E” after spending a night at the house with Avery and Ryder. Granted, my 4 year old kid came home knowing all the words to Ke$ha and Rhianna songs, but that just made the experience even more awesome. He still asks to visit them at least once a month still even though that night was almost 2 years ago now.

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Then, last week, while on vacation with my husband, I was stalking FB news feeds and saw an article that was posted about Eric being missing. I was shocked – it didn’t make sense. And as the week wore on and I stayed glued to the news feeds and google alerts that I had set up, I was finding it harder and harder to believe that someone so young, with so much promise, and such a beautiful family could possibly not make it home. My heart broke every night that there wasn’t any news. Until this morning. When it broke even harder. Amber and the kids officially had closure around noon today.

Most folks would look at this situation and think it was yet another lesson from the “life is too short” book. But it was so much more than that. It was truly inspiring to see how many lives Eric had touched through his camera . . . the support and the folks that showed up to help search for him . . . everyone from people he took pictures of, to fellow photographers and even some that he had never met . It’s proof that Eric’s character . . . YOUR character . . . is defined by what you do when no one is watching.

Now – Eric is watching. The Langlois family has their very own wonderful angel to look over them. One of his friends had posted that she couldn’t wait to see his pictures of Heaven. Could you imagine?

The folks that showed up to support Amber and help in the search took it upon themselves to start a fundraiser. That brought on tears for me as well. To see folks share and support in so many different ways for one family . . . amazing doesn’t seem a strong enough word. Should you find yourself compelled – you can find the fundraiser here.

And Eric . . . could you do me a favor? After you give your mom all the hugs you can handle . . . could you find my folks and say “Hi” for me? Make sure they’re staying out of trouble up there. Make sure my Beeb has a cabinet full of cookies, and bring Pop-Pop a new Skip-Bo deck from me. We love you.

There’s been all kinds of things happening lately and I figured it was about time I start writing about them again. Everyone needs an outlet/therapy, right? There’s been fun stuff like taking road trips with the family and teaching Moose how to tie-dye to obnoxious stuff like trying to expand the business for the last 14 months and dealing with landlords that really could care less to family stuff like the passing of my Grandfather to the hospitalization of my brother. 

And of course, I finally get motivated to write again and my computer has 27 minutes of battery life left. Frankly, I’m too lazy and comfortable to get up and plug it in. So we’ll see what I’m most motivated to write about tomorrow . . . until then, good night!

So I’ve been a busy nut this past however long since my last post. I bought another business, moved, made new friends and sent myself on an emotional rollercoaster of a learning experience . . . not all in that order, of course. It seems the lesson I keep learning over and over is that somewhere along the way we’ve lost our freedom to love. Bear with me as I try to paint the pictures in my head with words –

Do you remember being a child and making/having friends without thinking about it? Other kids were just automatically friends . . . .if they were in your class, on your playground, living next door, it didn’t matter. There was no effort put into making friends – no thought about will they or won’t they like me? It was as simple as, “Hi Mrs H. Can Mikey come out and play?” There was no issue with gender, size, or color.

Imaginations ran wild and it was awesome. Cops and Robbers didn’t involve toy guns – just your finger pointed in the appropriate direction with whatever noises you felt like making. Playing house didn’t involve dolls to vicariously live through or real tea sets . . . you could just imagine it.

So what happened to all that? At what point did it become to real for most folks to handle? Why do we care any more if someone doesn’t really like us for who we are . . . it’s not like there aren’t millions of other kids to play with. When did the physical interaction of a hug become inappropriate or awkward? Especially between the opposite sex? When did we become so judgemental? Who drew the lines that we have to follow now? They obviously didn’t go to the same art class that I did . . . I think we need to change that.

This was probably one of my favorite shops so far. Someday, I’ll look back and try to find the store number to give the shop the credit it deserves, but for now, I don’t feel like it. I didn’t interact with the staff too much because I was too enamored with the rest of the shop. The store itself was set up so great with obvious area separation that left the shop feeling orderly and spacious. My only complaint is the same for all Starbucks shops: folks hover around the bar area instead of taking a seat and waiting patiently so it creates a cluster by the main entrance. But while I got stuck there for a few moments, I met two ladies that I ended up chatting with that were just so entertaining.

I LOVED the way the tables were all connected in 3 rows. It gives the impression of everyone having their own table but it also forces people to sit close enough to be somewhat social if they chose. After all, it is the Holidays. We should interact with our neighbors more . . . those that are around us. Besides . . . you never know who you’re going to meet! The lights above the center row were a great modern/contemporary design and gave just enough lighting to the row that didn’t get enough natural light. The cushioned seating area was AWESOME. I didn’t want to get up. The seat I was in was SO comfortable . . . I wanted to take it with me. And of course, the husband wanted to take the table with us. I swear he asked me to stick it in my purse.

Speaking of meeting strangers – the two gals I met are Mary Kay Reps. When I told the Husband, he said, “Of course they were, I could have guessed. They have the personality for it.” Which is a funny thought to me . . . because I think we all SHOULD have that kind of personality. The warm, welcoming and friendly demeanor is so great to come across. And one of the gals had the BEST hair do . . . short and silver with spikes of bright purple. LOVED it. She said it was pink last month (for Breast Cancer Awareness). How cool is that? I love funky!

I didn’t get a picture of the patio (because we were too busy rushing to get back into the warm truck) but it was a great space; lots of room with plenty of seating and a sprinkling of umbrellas for shade. But in this weather, I would gladly take all the sun warmth I could get!

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I have the privilege of being related to my favorite photographers (Check out RAW Photo Design) and also had the extreme luck of making friends with the photography professor at my last school. I was in his class one day because one of the students was working on some of my items for me (I get the photography and she gets the experience) and his lecture that day was about “staging.” He commented that the creative styling is sometimes the hardest part of being a successful photographer. Coming up with ideas and concepts to photograph is a lot harder than it looks when you’re starting at the beginning and looking for motivation.

Of course I had to speak up. 🙂

That part is hard? The students there that day were trying to pick back drops for a customer’s albino hedgehog (seriously, it was awesome and I WANT one) and were just standing there. Not a one of them was trying anything. So I went to their studio and grabbed a bright purple feather boa. Stellar. Then I had one of the gals take off her chuck taylors and we tried everything to get that spiny little hog to sit inside of it. Awesome. I asked for a jar full of skittles or colored paper clips but they didn’t have that. So I grabbed a couple over-sized stuffed animals. And some fake flowers. Done. And even better.

So that got me thinking about staging a photograph and what MY perfect picture would be of. And I’ve got it. I know what I want a picture of. But I’m telling you because you’ll fall in love with it and do it before me and then I wouldn’t be happy. But I can tell you that it involves the color green, a tutu and bubblegum. Hmmm . . . do I smell a contest? I WOULD LOVE to see what each photographer comes up with for their interpretation! YAY! Let’s do that! Tell your friends. And send your pictures to heidi@heidibundy.com. I get to pick the winner. Because its my contest and my idea. I’ll even send a $25 Starbucks card to the winner. How do you like them apples?

So here’s the contest: Submit one image (along with your name & email) to heidi@heidibundy.com by January 31, 2011. The image has to have all of the following elements included and all will be posted & shared (with credits to each of the photographers and links to your pages if you have them):

  • Include a bright green theme. A happy, bright green. Like fresh spring grass. That’s been freshly mowed. None of that weedy crap.
  • A tutu
  • Bubblegum

The winner not only gets incredible bragging rights to my awesome “I’m just somebody with a random idea” contest and $25 to Starbucks (who of course is in no way affiliated by this contest – I’m just an addict), but also will get posts on both this blog and featured all over my personal and business FB pages.

I’m so excited for my next life. I’m totally coming back as a photographer. But in the meantime – I’m really excited to see your pictures!

I was just driving across Howard Franklin to get home from school and heard that there was an accident and they suggested you find a different route. Of course I hear this when I’m already on the high way, can’t turn around and no other exits to use.

I’m tooling along, see the hump in the bridge, and figured, “Yay! They cleaned it all up again!”

Psych.

Just over the hump, everyone is screeching their breaks and coming to a complete stop. There are two vehicles in the middle of the highway. The car in the middle of the highway has a girl wearing things that are obviously pulled from a much younger & smaller child’s closet, chatting on the phone, laughing and tossing her hair back. Seriously – I didn’t realize the middle of the highway with about 900 angry drivers behind you was a good place to catch up on your conversations. I never got that memo. The truck that she very obviously rear-ended was in the right lane and the guy was just kind of standing there. Like he wasn’t sure what to do next. And in front of me was a dark red pick up truck with a VERY animated driver with all of his actions focused on the two stopped vehicles right in front of him.

I start getting pissed because he hops out of his truck, blocking the 3rd lane of traffic and pissing off the rest of the drivers even more and I start to get a little scared. Since when does this kind of behavior, animation, and obvious high-society appearance of people ever turn out to be a walk on the beach? But I’m stuck and can’t help it. So might as well see if I can be somewhat amused before things get REALLY hairy right? So I turn down the radio, quit my bitchin’ and roll down the windows. Just a little.

Well, shame on me for not writing down this guy’s license plate and hunting him down to give him a medal. That’s right. A MEDAL. Or some cookies or something.

He hops out of his truck and is YELLING at the gal on the hood of her car to get off the phone and help push her car out-of-the-way of traffic.  She gives him the stink eye, hangs up her phone and says, “I don’t have to push it, it still drives just fine.” I swear I thought this guy’s head was going to explode when she said that . . . he dropped about a half-mil more expletives and told her to get her car over to the breakdown lane. Then he starts to work on the guy in the truck although he didn’t need to be nearly as pushy with him. That guy was just looking for someone to tell him what to do – like it was his first accident ever and he was scared beyond belief.

All this goes down in a matter of 30 seconds, he hops back in his truck and takes off. Seriously . . . it was REALLY that difficult for the folks involved in the accident to have enough common sense to get out of the road?? So to anyone that actually cares enough and is reading this – take note. If you and your vehicle is movable after any kind of fender-bender/accident, blah blah blah, get it off the damn road. Not only for your sake, but for the rest of the drivers, too. If you’re blocking traffic like these two winners were, how is help ever supposed to get to you if you need it? And how can you put THAT much more faith into all the other drivers paying attention to your accident enough to avoid you and not making things worse? And if you can’t do any of this – remember, driving is A PRIVILEGE, NOT A RIGHT. Feel free to sell your car and buy a bus pass. The rest of us will thank you.

Yet another upside (still using the sarcasm) to Bruxism (otherwise knows as grindin’ yo teeth), is that my teeth fit together like a puzzle. It’s actually pretty weird. Because I grind so hard, I’ve ground right through 3 night guards (the dentist made ones that are supposed to survive atomic bombs) so far, but I now have the most amazingly sharp teeth for grinding through meat with the gusto of . . . well . . . a meat eater?

So at our latest 5 Guys visit (it’s a more often occurance than it should be), while shredding through the most delicious burger ever, the bottom half of my face got in the way. I bit a hole through my lip. A serious hole. Another couple layers, and I probably could have put a ring in it.

So now I have this hole in my face, and I’m starting to tear up and my wonderful husband says, “are you going to cry about it?” He’s awesome and obviously compassionate about the little things.

So because it happened while eating, the hole in my inner face is in the perfect place to constantly rub against my razor sharp teeth and gets in the way of EVERYTHING. Facial expressions, eating, teeth brushing . . . it’s all painful.

So my advice of the day is that if you are a fellow night-time teeth grinder . . . stop it. Figure it out. It’s not healthy, it’s not good for your teeth, it causes massive headaches, and it’s annoying to anyone else sleeping in your house. And when you figure out how to get it to stop – let me know. Because I am SERIOUSLY over it.