Thursday, August 23, 2012

Our Florida Story : Part One : personal // destin, florida portrait and lifestyle photographer

I have a story to tell you. Some parts of it were recorded in pictures. Other moments were even videoed but most of it has made its indelible mark on nothing but my memory. This is the story of how a hypothetical idea turned into reality. How my parents and I borrowed a little white car and drove southeast from the corner of Texas to the corner of the U.S. How we hugged our friends and did happy dances because we were all in Florida together. How for 68 hours, in the Sunshine State, the second floor of a chipper sea-green condo was our home away from home. How I felt the whitest sand between my toes for the first time. How I experienced the rush of ocean waves for the first time. How we got salt in our eyes and fish touched our feet. How all 8 of us piled into a vehicle that seats 7...those engineers obviously didn't consider the cargo space in the very back as possible seating like we did. How my dad and I tried sushi for the first time and I liked it more than he did while Mrs. Greene realized how much she dislikes the stuff and would've happily preferred Taco Bell. How we witnessed an onion volcano and were served by a waitress named Kiwi. How Brad was {jokingly} introduced as my dad's oldest son to a stranger across from us. How Jay will never be a dolphin cause he can't catch shrimp in his mouth and I used a film camera for the first time to take a group picture for a random family. How I actually got to be a part of the go-cart racing on the slick track after all because, turns out, my permit is apparently good for more than I realized. How some of us drove way too fast, some way too slow, and others way too reckless and how Mrs. Greene wins for having the best slick-track facial expressions. 
Jay's artwork.
Brad, Rachel, and I took turns. :)
How the parents took long romantic walks on the beach after dark and us kids played Madlibs which lead to how Brad became a secret admirer and Jay described his dream girl.  How it felt to wake up in the middle of the night to what I thought was the sound of cars and then realizing it was the sound of the ocean. How some of us got up early enough to watch the sun rise over the water's edge painting the sky in luscious shades of pale pink and lavender. How it felt to do my morning devotions and Bible reading on the balcony with the salty air sweeping over me, my eyes full of the oceanic view, and the roar of the crashing waves in my ear overwhelming me with the glory of our Creator.
How, while some slept in and got their beauty rest, others of us took advantage of what I consider to be the best day out on the ocean. How it felt to ride the calming swells of almost-waves and getting shoulder sunburns with my best friend. How we dug a hole instead of building a sandcastle. How we swam three separate times before lunchtime and stretched out our swim clothes from overuse. How we watched the Olympics while editing pictures and web surfing. How we ate granola bars like they were going out of style and then we headed back out to the ocean again, this time with the late risers, because nothing else we did was as spectacular as it felt to be out there that day. How we practiced being Olympians because being glued to the television streaming extreme sports for 17 days straight just does something to ya. 
This is us aspiring to be jazz singers. We like to keep our options open just in case photography and or the Olympics don't work out for us.
Enter, my dad: Awesome Beach Bum Extraordinaire. He's the only one in my family who had actually been to the beach before. His veteran status explains his obvious expertise on the subject shown below.
Jay helped us out by digging some.
Brad helped himself by tanning some.
How we all rushed to get ready because we had stayed out so long with such unforgettable favorites like Call Me Maybe, Numa Numa Yei, and Blue Da Ba Dee blaring in the background because Brad felt like playing on Youtube in his spare time. How he finally played more tolerable music when he started throwing out Journey hits; certain of us showed our appreciation by singing loudly together in sour-tuned harmony and falling just short of Steve Perry's famous falsetto notes. How I learned what you do when you want to french fishtail but have never done it before: you wing it. How we exchanged our turtle sign for one with a swordfish. How we got group pictures taken and discovered how hard it is to get everyone smiling and looking sane at the right time. How we sat around a long table in the middle of the room and passed food around it like it was Thanksgiving and the family was finally all together. How my dad and I tried oysters for the first time and, once again, I liked them more than he did because he's pretty sure he bit down on a pearl. How Bro. Greene ate swordfish instead of grouper because a mistake was made and all us girls tried to wrap our minds around the ginormousness of our coconut shrimp. How we took pictures across the table because the lighting was phenomenal and Rachel and I obviously sound exactly the same when we say water. How we crushed on the super cool t-shirts the restaurant was selling and my dad bought them for us because we have highly developed puppy dog "Pretty Please" faces. How, when we couldn't eat another bite, we went for a walk around the harbor cause we wanted to eat donuts later. How the parents looked cute holding hands with their beloved. How Rachel and I were footless in our maxi dresses and the guys just stood around looking starry eyed and pointing at stuff.
Jay gave me the biggest one. I didn't exactly appreciate his generosity. But I downed it and it wasn't half bad.
Bro Greene: "Do I look dreamy enough?" He can be quite the ham when you least expect it. :)
Brad is such a happy dude. :) He's a longtime friend of Jay's, btw... but we all happily claim him. He's my dad's firstborn remember? ;)
I noticed that there was some mother/son matching going on so a picture had to be taken.
As you can see, he is known for his killer cooperation skills.
How we all became three years old again and rushed to Krispy Kreme to watch the famous rings of golden goodness be anointed in white rivers of sugary icing glory. How the employees probably had to work extra hard that night at closing cause our party left plenty of their fingerprints on the glass...and some of them might have salivated quite heavily while watching that conveyor belt work its magic. How Jay realized that the term "ask and it shall be given you" can apply to Donut Shops too and got himself three unglazed donuts which he raved about while Mrs. Greene said they tasted like plain pancake batter and called it a waste of calories. How Rachel and I really wanted donut holes and Brad bought some {score two for the puppy dog faces.} How the lady filled the Greenes box with a dozen pretty little tokens of tastiness each sporting its own unique texture, color, flavor, filling, icing, and even a few sprinkles while my parents got coffee instead of donuts like hipsters...mostly because they intended to share our donut holes. 
Mrs. Greene named this one the Little Donut that Couldn't.

How we then went to walk around Bass Pro Shop because that's what all the cool kids are doing these days. How we got into a little tunnel and watched the fish in the tank acting like highschoolers...some gathered in what appeared to be a mean girl clique while the class clown was off to the side rubbing his nose on the glass. How, after Bro. Greene bought himself a sweet pocket knife, we tried on hats and toddler sized girl sunglasses like absolute bosses. How Rachel and I topped off this Night of Being Awesome in Destin by riding the glass elevator in regal fashion. How we came home and watched Nicholas Nickleby because my dad had never seen it and Bro. Greene is legit like us and loves it. How, as we went off to bed, Brad asked us to save him 6 donut holes for his breakfast and the next morning when we got up before he did we kinda forgot until there was one left. How he now knows that the saying, "You snooze, you lose" is quite true.
How suddenly it was the last full day. How the thunder rolled, lightening flashed, and rain poured down as we watched safely from inside shuffling around in our pajamas, giving up on the need for our swimsuits in such weather. How my dad broke the sleepy mood by yelling, "DOLPHINS!!" at least fifteen times in succession and nearly crashed into the glass door running to point out his discovery to all of us who did not experience the first sighting. How we then stood out on the balcony in utter awe for the next half hour as a school of thirty or so dolphins graced the sea with such magnificent twist, turns, flips, and splashes that cannot be adequately  described. How it really was so spectacular, for the first time, I truly was tempted to pinch myself because I was afraid it was nothing more than a dream. How the storm died down just enough for the brave among us {i.e. the parents} to run out to the water, body boards and adventurous ambitions in tow. How we watched them ride the crazy big waves that spit and sputtered so viciously we questioned the safety. How Bro. Greene burst in suddenly, hair all a mess, crazed look in his eye, with the smile of a nine year old boy who just got something he's wanted all his life for his birthday. How, through gasped breath and excited laughter, he told us that "we had to get out there NOW because it was incredible"; they were obviously having more of a blast than we thought. How when the four of us finally did go out there...we...well...we didn't like it at all because it beat us up and frankly scared us to death! How we had a new respect for our thrill seeking parents because we now know they must have a more impressive palate for the taste of danger than us. How I got buried for the first time and discovered that you can't breathe under all that wet sand! How after a long day of fighting red flag weather we got gussied up again and went bowling. How Rachel and I learned that bowling in dresses is a fun and interesting experience, a bit funny even...but it definitely hinders the little skill that we pretend to have. How thankfully we all were having an off day and nobody blew anybody out of the water...except I got pretty much drowned because my normal badness was at its worst and I stunk it up like rotten trash. How Mrs. Greene and I realized we can't arm wrestle each other fairly because she's a lefty so I'll always beat her right hand and she'll always beat my left. 
How we got in in 15 minutes at the restaurant that we expected to wait at for nearly an hour. How we ate even more seafood at a charming place with a beach view. How my mom had the best crab cakes she's ever eaten and Rachel and I weren't given buckets and shovels with our kids' meals. How Rachel taught our waiter how a 50mm works as he had to keep backing up trying to get all our faces in a picture. How I fascinated this waiter by drinking nearly my body weight in water which, if you know me, you realize is totally normal...but according to him I might as well have been putting my straw in the ocean and sucking it dry. How I tried not to be humiliated as he finally just staked out at our table to watch me drink water. Yeah. That was fun. How Rachel got pumped for a whirlwind photoshoot of a friend of ours from Missouri and then executed it brilliantly. How the wind whipping through our hair nearly blew us all over as we watched Rachel Leigh at work, getting sand in our shoes and sandals...and boots. How the moms looked especially gorgeous and how I did mini couple shoots of our adorable parents because their married love is so precious. 
He's a poser.
Um. The Fierceness. Woa.
They have the most amazing matching blue eyes. :D
How we went out for ice-cream and I asked about all their exotic flavor names like Tin Lizzy and Graham Central Station...finally deciding on plain ole' strawberry. :) How we licked at the melting yumminess, munched waffle cones, slurped malts, and I somehow got around to explaining the female brain to Brad. How we spotted a super cool vintage car in the parking lot and all mutually wished we could drive away in it. How we stayed up late finishing up our Bible Study in 1 John that we had thoroughly enjoyed all week which lead to many challenging and encouraging questions and discussions. How I nearly fell asleep ordering my free mini moo cards at the last minute possible while everyone, with stifled giggles, kept my embarrassment of the night alive by bringing up how the waiter had asked if I was going to have to rush to the bathroom after all that water. 
How the next morning was the last of our Florida trip. How we hugged each other tightly...and even though Rachel is known for record breakingly tight hugs, I beat her by picking her up because that's what friends do when they only see each other every week. ;)  How we all waved goodbye to that dear old chipper three decker seagreen condo that will always hold a special place in my heart.
And this is where the story slows down, not to a complete halt because there is the part about how we met back up at Chick-fil-a on the way home and we dropped off their car after midnight. But this is the end of the story of how we went to Florida. How we had an unforgettable summer vacation. How my heart grew so full I could only relieve it by writing a ridiculously long blogpost. How I fell in love with such stunning scenery that it made my already full heart literally ache...I have soooo many pictures that will never do the real thing justice. {That's where Part Two will come in. :)} 
And the one thread that ties this story up tight is how I had the time of my life with people I seriously love. A lot. {Insert gigantic smile here.}
The End.

~Through Christ's Love 


  1. omw Allix I loved, LOVED this post! soso excited you got to go! and seriously I want all your clothes you're wearing in this post...espesh your blue maxi dress. ;)

  2. Read the whole thing and loved every photo and every word. Totally wishing I could go to Florida now!

  3. Haha! Allix you are so funny!! I laughed so hard most of the way through!! And btw your pictures are amazing too!

  4. It took me 4 or so consecutive trips to your blog to finish this post! I LOVED it. :)
    I feel like I say this each time I comment on your blog, but I love your writing style. It's so fun, engaging, and beautifully descriptive.
    I love your pictures! And your blue maxi dress is soooo prettyfull! :) I literally started salivating when I saw the pictures of the donuts. :) How exciting to see dolphins! Such beautiful, fun-loving creatures.

    Have a blessed day! ((hugs!))


  5. Wonderful "story"! I loved it!

  6. P.S love the new design as well!

  7. Seeing these pictures makes me realize how much prettier Florida is than my home state of Mississippi...LOL! Sounds like y'all had the best time people could possibly have on a vacation though! :) The Bass Pro pictures are hysterical!!!!!! Loved all of the pictures actually! :)

  8. Sounds like a fantastic trip! Florida looks so beautiful. And all your pictures are AMAZING!

  9. I stalk your blog regularly, and I just have to say that this is one of my favourite posts! I hate traveling and am not much for adventures, but I have to say, you made me want to get in the car and just go have a beach trip of my own!

  10. This is one of my favourite posts. You made me just itch for adventure, and I'm not even adventurous!


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