Black and White Wednesday--My Favorite BW Shots


As you should know if you've been reading this blog for the past few months, I finally bought myself a sweet DSLR in February. Since then, it's been all about manual mode. I've been doing my best to practice, practice, practice, but it's harder than it looks to bust out an awesome photograph. 

So here are a few of my favorite B&W shots from the past few months.
And in four months, hopefully I'll be back with even better shots to prove that I am actually learning a thing or two.

6 Reasons to Love the Month of July


My birthday is in July. 
I shall be turning the illustrious and important age of 26. 
Birthdays are my favorite favorite of favorite things. 
I told Jordan I wanted:
a) an external hard drive
b) a Thunder shirt

If you think my requests are lame 
(which you probably do because they sort of are)
just don't say anything about it. 
Because July is my birthday month,
and I do what I want.
And if I get some cash, I might even be able to spring for a new lens

Jordan's birthday is in July.
Exactly a week after mine.
I have had his presents picked out for months.
I don't mess around. 

I am quitting my job.
My last day is July 3. 

I am starting a new job.
My first day is July 17. 

So #3 + #4 = 2 full weeks to live the retired life. 
This will include the following: 
a) sitting by the pool and getting tan
b) scrapbooking our wedding album
c) finally finishing the book I'm reading
d) sleeping in

July 14 is when one of my best friends is getting married.
I am flying to St. Louis once again to be one of the bridesmaids.
(Maybe I'll meet someone famous on my flight.)
Also, weddings = wedding cake.
Lots of delicious wedding cake.

* * * 
That's what I'm loving about July. 
What are you looking forward to?

Polishing Your Prose, Part 6: How to Be Smarter than Everyone Else


We've reached the six-month mark of this series. Frankly, no matter what happens next, I'm impressed with myself. Five solid writing posts for your reading enjoyment. You're welcome. 

For this month's Polishing Your Prose segment, I want to talk about smarts. Grammatical smarts, to be exact. If you're my friend in real life, you've heard me rant many times about the word literally. It's used incorrectly the majority of the time, and I think people need to be educated on its correct meaning. I wrote a post about it a few months ago while I was editing a book written by someone who clearly did not understand how to use literally correctly. 

His face literally dripped compassion. 
Umm, no. Ew.

Don't be that person. Know what you're saying and writing. Which brings me to the topic of Part 6: How to Be Smarter than Everyone Else. Two simple rules: know how to use apostrophes and quotation marks.  

But I don't care if I know how to use an apostrophe, you think. And I do know how to use quotation marks. To that I say, you should, and you don't. So let's start with the tiny punctuation mark that instantly gets anyone who has ever addressed a greeting card. 

How to Be Smarter than Everyone Else #1: The Apostrophe

My last name is Bumgarner. I am one person, a singular Bumgarner. 
My husband is a Bumgarner as well. Singular. 
Together, we are a family of two people, plural: the [wait for it...] Bumgarners

For Christmas my in-laws received a decorative platter as a gift. It's currently sitting on a shelf in the living room, and it says this: The Bumgarner's. Clearly whoever wrote this did not understand the correct use of an apostrophe. Here's why: 

An apostrophe denotes possession. 

Like this: Amanda Bumgarner's apartment. Amanda Bumgarner's husband. So in the case of the platter, the Bumgarner's...what? It's incomplete and incorrect. No one owns anything, so the apostrophe shouldn't be there. Unfortunately, for some unknown reason the absence of an apostrophe looks strange, and everyone starts throwing it in there like it fits. Who was the first person to do this? I don't know, but they should hope I never find them.

I've been training my own dear mother on this very concept. Whenever she addresses an envelope, she wants to add an apostrophe: The Reese's, The Short's, The Anderson's. 

And I have to say, "No, Mom, that's not right." I've given her such a hard time about it that she's stopped doing it, and now she's smarter than everyone else. Or, at least smarter than the people who still do it wrong, which doesn't have to be you if you're paying attention. 

Okay, now what happens if you have plural people who possess something? What then?
Jordan and I together are: the Bumgarners. We own a car, so an apostrophe is needed somewhere to show possession. Here's how it would look:

The Bumgarners' car. 

This is a simple rule that is grossly misused by the majority of English speakers. Become part of the minority who's smarter than the majority and learn how to use an apostrophe to show possession. If nothing is being owned, don't use it.

How to Be Smarter than Everyone Else #2: Quotation Marks

My second concern is that of quotation marks. These are most commonly used with dialogue, as seen in the following sentence: "Why are you so awkward?" she asked.

Here's where it gets tricky: scare quotes. These are quotes around an individual word or phrase, usually when quoting from another source. Hypothetical example sentence: 

My brother went out on a date last night, but he didn't like the girl because he said she "had a pointy nose" and "looked like she had just crawled out of bed."

In this case I'm using scare quotes because I want you to know that those are his exact words. This is a perfectly acceptable use of quotation marks, especially since in this case I wouldn't want anyone to think I said those hypothetical things. 

Quotation marks can also be used to note sarcasm when applicable: I find him "attractive."
This means you don't, in fact, find him attractive. Instead it means that you are using a secret code language that you came up with with your girlfriends. To you, attractive = Giantlike with warts.

Unfortunately, more often than not I see a flagrant misuse of quotation marks. This must end now. This blog is the perfect example of what I mean; it's called The "blog" of "unnecessary" quotation marks, and it's full of pictures showing quotes being placed on storefront signs where they should not be. 
  • Please keep "children" with you at all times.  (So are they children, or do you mean pets? Or perhaps you mean your husband?)
  • Employees must "wash hands" before returning to work. (Or rub their hands together under water without actually using soap.)
  • We sell "real" meat. (In other words, fake meat.)
Hopefully you see what I'm talking about. Unintentional sarcasm can be your worst enemy if you want people (customers, whathaveyou) to a) take you seriously and b) not be scared of you or your possibly shady establishment or questionable personal morals.

So the next time you address an envelope, place your apostrophe carefully. And when you go to write quotes around a word or start to do "air quotes," consider why you're using them. Is it really something that is being quoted? Are you being sarcastic? If not, just don't, and you'll be well on your way to being "smarter" than "everyone" else. 

I only tell you because I "care."
Amanda Bumgarner's

This is My Dad


This is my dad.

He has a blog you should check out. He writes about the things that inspire him. 

One of those things is running with me. We've run two races together this year: a 10k in Fort Worth and a half marathon in OKC. I think picking up running was part of his mid-life crisis. It could have been worse, though. Motorcycles were mentioned at one point before running became a thing, and my mom freaked out.

My dad cycles a lot too.

This summer he and a few friends are riding 500 miles over one week. It's part 3 of a 4-part ride from the Canadian boarder to the Gulf of Mexico. They're trying to raise money for North Texas Youth for Christ. My dad is the director of the program.

He's taught me a lot. Things like:

  • sit like a lady with your legs together (I had a problem with this growing up)
  • don't chew with your mouth open (my brothers called me camel, no joke)
  • say "yes, sir" and "yes, ma'am" (I hated doing this)
  • don't be disrespectful (I can't tell you how many times I got a spanking or a mouthful of liquid soap for being sassy)
But it all paid off, because now I'm as dignified and respectful as they come...

[this is the part where I start laughing]

...well, Dad, you did your best. I know you didn't have much to work with. I hear I was a handful. 

Happy father's day, Dad. Thanks for teaching me so many important life lessons, sir. 
Oh, and thanks for not being bald. My kids will thank you for that some day. 
[Your Favorite Oldest Daughter]

A Saint Louis Bridal Shower


Last weekend I was in Saint Louis because one of my best friends had her bridal shower. I love the cute decorations her sister and sister-in-law put together. The shower was outside at a winery, so it was sunny!

I was in charge of putting two games together.

We played "Who Knows the Bride Best," because that's a game you kind of have to play at a bridal shower. I printed it out on some fun scrapbook paper and tried to find questions that I hadn't seen before.
{Font from Font for Peas}
My favorite was the BONUS question: 
Answer: 68 months
Good grief! It's about time. 

 The second game we played was one I hadn't seen before called "And the Bride Wore." It's a fun way to put the focus on the bride-to-be and see if people are paying attention! 

I had Lauren go inside for five minutes while everyone filled out these questions based on what she was wearing that day. I glued the paper to colored card stock and then added a heart stamp in the middle.

Then she came back in, and we got to see if we were right! I was initially worried that it would be too easy. But it wasn't, and I think everyone had fun with it. Definitely a fun game to play at a bridal shower that probably not many people will have played before.

It was a lot of fun and a great way to celebrate Lauren and Nathan's upcoming wedding, which is officially a month from today!

The Time I Met Someone Famous On An Airplane


On Friday afternoon I flew on Southwest Airlines from Oklahoma City to Saint Louis to spend the weekend with some of my favorite people. On the way there, I sat next to someone famous.

I'm writing a post about this less because I think a lot of people will be interested and more because I personally think it's totally awesome, a little bit funny, and because I want to remember this later. 

As you know, Southwest has open seating, so there's no first class, meaning high-profile folk and rich people have to join the ranks of us middle-class citizens and sit in the "regular" seats. You board by group, so if you check in early and get a good group number, you can get a good seat. 

I was in Group A, and when I got on the plane I saw an empty middle seat in the first row--the one with all the leg room. There was a man sitting next to the window and a girl sitting in the aisle seat.

The girl was decked out in STL Cardinals gear. I noticed this because I am a Cubs fan. Bears eat birds, just sayin'. 

Upon sitting down, I instantly got a whiff of cologne from my left--and not hey-he's-20-years-old-and-trying-to-be-cool cologne. This was hey-I'm-rich-and-buy-expensive-men's-cologne cologne. It was nice. I wanted to lean in and smell more, but that would have been weird so I settled for pretending to fan myself while wafting the cologne scent in my direction. 

Kidding. I didn't really do that.

This man was also wearing dress socks. 
Fact: Rich people wear dress socks on airplanes. I wear sweatpants. 

Okay, so Rich Cologne Guy offered me and Cardinals Fan Girl a piece of gum, and I said, "Are you trying to say something?" Because, obviously, I like to make jokes with random strangers who smell good. (If Jordan were there he would have been hiding his face.)

As Rich Cologne Guy folded the gum package up, I noticed a ring on his right ring finger. And it was not just any ring. It was very well the biggest ring I'd ever seen. It was huge and bedazzled, and it looked like a high school state championship ring. But I knew it wasn't, probably because of the aforementioned cologne and dress socks. And the fact that he had a beard and looked older than 25. But mostly the dress socks.

I tried to get a closer look out of the corner of my eye without looking like I was trying to get a closer look, but finally I just went for it. So, like an idiot, I said, "Hey, what's your ring from?"

He turned, pointed at Cardinals Fan Girl, and said, "Her team."
Then he flashed the ring at me, and I saw words etched between diamonds:

World Champions
Saint Louis

With a cardinal in shining red on the top. 

As a huge baseball fan since forever, that was an exciting moment in my life. But don't worry, I played it cool. The girl next to me turned red and said, "I thought that was you."

Indeed it was. 
Ryan Franklin. Pitcher for the World Series-winning Saint Louis Cardinals! What. Up.
(image via)

So of course I wasted no time in informing him that I was a Cubs fan. He laughed and said, "I feel for you guys." Sad face. Then he told me that Wrigley was one of his favorite places to play. He's retired now but still works for the Cardinals. 

The three of us talked for the majority of the flight about baseball, because it turns out the girl (who's name I never got) is obsessed with the Cards and travels around the country going to games. She admitted that she did know who he was even before I asked but was too embarrassed to talk to him. 

Know who wasn't embarrassed? This girl. 

1) Because I didn't actually know who he was
2) Because I have no shame

Then he said, "Want to hold my ring?"
Umm, yes, please. 
So we held it, and it was dang heavy and bedazzled as all get-out. And it was awesome. 

And after we talked about baseball, we switched gears a bit, and he told us about how his wife had just had a baby a month ago. He pulled up newborn pictures on his iphone. We're pretty much bffs now. 

Once we landed in STL, the three of us walked through the airport together, and a few people who did know who he was came over to chat. I wandered off at that point because it was awkward. I mean, we didn't actually know each other. 

But I did get to hold his ring and eat his gum. 
That sounded weird.

So that's the story about the time I met someone famous on an airplane.

currently (or, how you know you're losing it)


 {linking up with harvesting kale for "currently"}

  • reading: i'm seriously slowing down on my goodreads list--just haven't had time to read lately. i blame my day job. i'm a third of the way through A Storm of Swords and don't know if i'll make it. like, ever. motivation = 0.
  • my car hit 50,000 miles. i may or may not have taken this picture while driving 60 down the highway. highly unsafe (sorry, mom), but i'm a girl who lives on the edge. what i'm not going to show you are the ten blurry pictures i took starting at 49,992 and every mile thereafter until the big 5-o. again, highly unsafe. 
oh hello there, awesome gas mileage. 
  • i've been going to exercises classes 3x a week. last night after dinner i walked around in my sports bra asking jordan how my abs looked for like an hour. so...yeah, i don't know what that was about. he just kept saying he couldn't see them, which made me mad. again, really not sure what was going on. {currently drinking lots of water.}
  • okc thunder to the nba finals! i haven't had a professional sports team be this awesome since...yes that's right: never. because i obviously can't count on the cubs to be good this year. maybe next year? yes, definitely next year. 
  • looking forward to: off to a bachelorette party for my bff lauren on saturday. hello, saint louis! can i please just stay in illinois forever?
  • i finished two wedding scrapbook spreads. i'm on the last few pages now. the completion of this particular scrapbook will be bittersweet. i feel like our newlywed days will officially be over.

  • the stress is getting to me. yesterday i sat in my car and cried for 10 minutes after a failed attempt to copy something at staples for the bach party. that's when you know you're losing it. staples shouldn't have that much effect on anyone, be it positive or negative. i have a coworker who has an "easy" button on his desk. while i was in the middle of crying in the staples parking lot, i had the sudden urge to throw his "easy" button at his head. 
  • oh, and you also know you're losing it when you dream about having a child and when you name said child Judith Hillenbrand Bumgarner. um, what? (note: i am NOT pregnant. this was not a sign.) this happened last night, and later on in the dream (you know, after i named my child Judith Hillenbrand) jordan started weeping after accusing me of trying to steal a baby from the hospital nursery.
  • loving: on a more positive note (aside from the crying and the baby stealing) i'm loving the color of my nail polish. and by my nail polish, i mean the nail polish i stole from my little sister when i was home last weekend. yet another reason why she's way cooler than me. 
  • eating: still frantically checking all grocery stores in a 15-mile radius for Breyers mint choc chip ice cream. i finally broke down yesterday and bought Edy's. i may or may not have already eaten a third of the half gallon. but seriously, did they just stop making it?! can you run out of mint? i'm worried freaking out.
  • thunderstorms in okc lately. fitting for my current mood. plus, the clouds look awesome. 

  • oh, and one more reason i know i'm losing it. so last weekend i was in texas hanging out at my aunt's pool, and i may or may not have forgotten to actually put swimsuit bottoms on. i pulled off my cotton dress and was about to jump in, and then my sister was like, "amanda, is that your underwear?" and then i looked down and was like, "oh, ummm, yeah. oops." and then i was embarrassed, even though my underwear is more coverage than my swimsuit anyway. what's that about?
and now i'm off for a weekend o' fun in stl. 
i hope everyone has a lovely weekend!
here's to no stress and no dreams about children named Judith. or any children, for that matter. 

Harvesting Kale

in which my dad and grandpa photobomb my mom


After what can truthfully be called the most horrifyingly insane week of my professional life, I hightailed the hecksauce out of Oklahoma and fled south to the land of longhorns and rigid stop-sign laws.

(Quick note: Through all of this, I've been careful to differentiate between professional and personal life, because in the grand scheme of my world, my professional life is not what ultimately matters. It's all about perspective, people.)

So my cousin was graduating from high school, and his party was on Friday night. My brothers were home, and my maternal grandparents were in town from Illinois. You may remember this particular grandpa from this post. Yes, the same grandpa who unknowingly (so he says) wore an offensive (or hilarious if you don't ask my grandma) tie to my cousin's wedding a few months ago. (Not the same cousin who was graduating high school, in case you were worried.)

Since getting my awesome new camera, I use any and every opportunity to practice, so I was of course carrying it around at the graduation party. My mom requested that I take a solo shot of her to use as an updated profile picture.

She was being a bit awkward about it, though, and wasn't happy with any of the pictures I'd taken thus far. I stood up to get a fresh angle, and my dad said, "Take one of me!"

I pointed the camera, and my mom jumped between the camera and my dad just as the shutter clicked. I missed my mom by an inch and happened to catch my dad in the act of a causal smile, which caused my mom--who'd run over to see if she'd messed up my dad's picture--to shout, "What?! That's what I want!"

All I can say is that apparently my mom is five years old.

So I said to her, "Well, you just need to be casual. Dad was laughing at you, so you just need to laugh at something too."
I repositioned myself to take a picture, and my dad jumped across just as it clickedBecause my dad is five years old too. Unfortunately for my mom, my dad was too fast (or slow, depending on how you think about it) and was caught in the photo.

This might have very well been the best picture ever taken of my dear mother. And the world will never know.

Not one to give up easily, I told her to try again.
Then, for whatever reason, my dad thought it would be a good idea to run behind my mom and flap his arms while grinning with his eyes ridiculously wide open. I have no idea who he's looking at, I can tell you that much.

I can see the headline now: 
"Texas Mother Missing: Last Seen with Creepy Bird Man."

I said, "Dad! You're not supposed to run behind her!" 
And everyone repositioned for our final attempt. 

Which happened to be the following, because apparently my grandpa is five years old. 
I have never in my life seen my grandpa make such a face.
There are no words.

Photobombing is the bomb.