The Outtakes — 2013 Edition

the outtakes This years card was easily my favorite of all the ones we’ve done.  I thought between a baby and a dog that it would be a nightmare to shoot, but it turned out to be pretty fun.

To answer the most popular questions: yes, Jon is holding the gifts, this is on Park Avenue and it is three pictures Photoshopped together.  Our most complex post-production card to date.

The gifts were empty boxes I had around the apartment that I wrapped with paper from the dollar store.  I then used packing tape to tape the boxes to each other so they wouldn’t topple over when Jon was holding them.

We originally wanted this to be two photos that were photoshopped together (Jon and Brady, Adelaide and me), but after we were done decided it was best to combine three different shots.  More on that in a bit.

outtakes I love this picture of Brady, Kristin and Brian howling at a siren that was going by.  We shot their Christmas card minutes before for them to announce their pregnancy and then they stuck around to help us with our card.  Check out their card here.

outtakes Brady getting a bit too excited.

outtakesAnd, Brady letting the Upper East Side know what’s up.

And now, for how it came together (also known as, my husband has mad skills):

Shot 1: Jon and the gifts

how it came together

Shot 2: Adelaide and me

how it came togetherShot 3: Add in the dog

how it came together

The final product:

Screen-Shot-2013-12-23-at-9.03.33-PMI wish I had video of Kristin and Brian calling Adelaide and Brady and getting them to look at the camera.  We all looked a bit crazy, but we had so much fun with this card.

It just makes me even more excited for Adelaide to get to be a part of our traditions, and to add in her ideas in the future.

Sky’s the limit.

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Outtakes: 2012 Edition

Jon and I wanted to try for a slightly simpler card this year, something classic and New York. The Brooklyn Bridge seemed like the perfect place, so we set about finding a date to shoot the photo.

We wanted the photo to be as late as possible in the year before having to send them to the printer so that my belly would be as big as possible. In hindsight we could have taken these photos last year for all it mattered because even though I was five months pregnant when we shot them I have absolutely zero bump. Zero. Whatever, let’s move on.

The date we chose just happened to be the weekend after Hurricane Sandy hit. It didn’t really seem like the storm would affect our photos since the power had been restored to lower Manhattan at this point.

We got up at 5am to get to the bridge by sunrise. We figured sunrise was the only time that we could shoot these without having a million other people also in the photo.

Except we didn’t take into account that there was no subway service from Brooklyn to Manhattan. So all the Brooklynites that would normally be on the subway at 6am were walking the Brooklyn Bridge. MAJOR oversight on our part. The bridge was packed. People biking, running and walking from one side of the bridge to the other…

The next oversight we had was Brady related. We didn’t let him run or get any energy out before we shot the photo, so all the extra stimulation on the bridge made him go crazy. He would not for the life of us sit down for a photo.

Our camera takes 10 consecutive photos and then stops, but it was never until we got to photo 10 that we could even get Brady turned around and facing the camera.

I vowed then and there to never try to take the photos alone ever again. It’s so much more helpful to have someone hitting the shutter and calling Brady’s name to look at the camera.

I didn’t think it could get more difficult than trying to shoot a photo on a boat, but apparently it can. Just throw in a hyper dog, a hurricane, a downed subway system and you’ve got yourself one very difficult photo op.

Can’t wait to see how fun it is to shoot with a baby thrown in the mix next year.

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2012 Christmas Card

I’m going to go ahead and chalk twenty twelve up as the best year yet. Better than the year I got engaged, better than the year I got married. Just the best year.

Lately I have been having overwhelming feelings of realizing just how blessed I am. Blessed to have my husband, my health, my family and a daughter on the way. Blessed.

Thank you to everyone out there who is taking the time out of your day to read this. You don’t know how much you all mean to me. So thank you.

 

PS. Check back tomorrow to see how what should have been a simple Brooklyn Bridge photoshoot became by far our hardest Christmas card yet. It’s almost comical how much went wrong in the shooting of this year’s card.

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Outtakes

This year I was really inspired by all things nautical.  I’m obsessed with stripes and thought hubs was going to lose it when I kept coming home with countless striped shirts.  So when I was brainstorming ideas for our Christmas card I naturally decided that it should happen on a boat.  With striped shirts.

Luckily my Aunt Joan lives on the bay and enlisted the help of her fabulous neighbor who would lend us his boat.  Unfortunately on our way to his house we got stuck in a ton of traffic and wound up only being able to shoot for a couple of minutes.

Cue the panic attack.  We have a couple of minutes to set up, get a dog to cooperate and get the shot.  We normally leisurely shoot for the better part of an hour, look at our images, shoot some more.

Unlike last year, we couldn’t leave the camera in one spot and Photoshop Brady in.  We were on a boat, ON THE WATER which meant no two pictures were in the exact same spot.

This first picture you can see Jerry, the neighbor getting the boat in place.  He was actually in the water holding the boat for us the whole time.  For the first time ever we had a crew!  I felt like yelling for someone to touch up my hair and makeup.  But then remembered I’m not actually a model. Whomp whomp.

Every year before this one the Christmas card has been something between just the hubs and myself.  It’s almost like a sacred time that we get to set up our cameras, have fun and be creative.  But we had quite an audience this year.  Which can be fairly intimidating.

I’m actually totally smitten by this picture of Brady and me.  If only we could send out a picture without the hubs…

I would like to caption this next one, “I hate my parents.  Love, Brady”

Brady DID NOT want to leave our side in the boat.  A bit of a scaredy cat if you ask me.  So getting him to cooperate and not look completely terrified was a bit of a daunting task.

We took almost all of the pictures with the hubs and I both sitting down.  There’s probably only one or two where he’s standing, but those ones look so much better.  They have more movement and take up more space in the photograph.

Please note Brady licking his face in this picture.  He was licking his face in almost every picture.  Between the boat, the dog, the small amount of time and the crowd of onlookers this picture almost didn’t happen.  Normally we have four or five images that we sort through to choose our favorite.  This year we literally had one.

I’m already brainstorming ideas for next year.  And I have my hopes set real high.

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It’s Christmas Card Time!

You’ve waited long enough…Ladies and Gentlemen, I would like to present our Christmas Card 2011:

Come back tomorrow and I’ll tell you the secret behind how the magic was made.  And trust me, this year we needed all the magic we could get.  Just take my word for it that two people, a dog and a boat are not easy props.

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Christmas Card Saga

Well… the Christmas cards have been delayed.  I was hoping to post the card today, but that’s not gonna happen.  Last year the cards got delayed because FedEx sucks and this year they’re getting delayed because the printer sucks.

We took the picture this past June.  Yes, six months ago.  And then hubs procrastinated until November to actually work on it.  So by the time we sent it out to the printer we were still on track to send them out in a timely manner.  And then we got them back and they were way too light.  They sucked.

This is the first year we’ve ever had an issue with printing, so this definitely caught us off guard.

We decided they needed to be reprinted so hubs made some tweaks and we sent them to get printed again.  And paid for rush shipping.  And we got them back and they were ridiculously yellow.  They sucked.  At this point I’m about to have a panic attack because we’re leaving for a cruise and will be out of pocket and all we have to show is two messed up versions of our Christmas card.

Our solution: reprint them FOR A THIRD TIME, have them sent to bff Kelly who will stuff the pre-addressed envelopes and mail them out for me.  I’ll try to make an appearance here at the blog to debut the cards once everyone has received them.  It will just cost me a million dollars a minute since we’ll be in the middle of the ocean somewhere.  But I’m dedicated like that.

So while we wait let’s recap the last two years, shall we?

I’m so excited to show you this year’s card.  It was by far our hardest card yet and I hope it doesn’t disappoint.

xoxo,

Joan

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The Magic Behind the Card

Here’s our big dirty secret: it’s two photos.

The hubs thought it would be easier to keep the camera mounted on the tripod, shoot us on self timer and then shoot Brady separately.  I objected at first.  Would it look authentic?  Is that considered Christmas card cheating?

But I went along with the hubs’s grand plan, and have to say he did a great job pulling it off.

First, I watched numerous YouTube videos about how to get my hair into a beehive hairstyle.  Then I tried to get the cookies to stay on the cookie pan.  I tried peanut butter at first, but the organic peanut butter the hubs bought (the kind with the oil on top) was just too thin.  Wasn’t working.  So I switched to cream cheese.  Worked like a charm.

Here’s what our mini-photo shoot looked like:

Trying out poses while the hubs got the camera set up:

Take one.  This one doesn’t exactly scream “1950’s Christmas Card”:

Um, I think we need to fix the self timer…

Our final pose, dog nose and all:

Brady’s final pose:

There you have it.  Brady sat still because I was bribing him with treats, the cookies stayed put with cream cheese and our Christmas card is really 2 photos, not one.

A Christmas Miracle.

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Drumroll, please.

Since our Christmas card turned out to be a big hit last year we now realized people expected creative cards EVERY YEAR.  Do you know how hard it is to think of something creative and not cheesy that is also related to Christmas?  And involves a dog.

It’s hard.

We’ve literally been thinking since the moment we sent out last years card, “What are we going to do for the next one?”

Drumroll please……………….

Stay tuned and I’ll show you tomorrow how we pulled this shenanigans off.

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Dedicated

When the hubs found out that he was needed to jump on a last minute flight to Australia I was pretty upset. I may or may not have even cried. The thought of coming home to a husband-less house for the first two weeks of my new job was really upsetting. Add that to the fact that we wouldn’t even get to talk or email while he’s away. The hotel he’s staying at is so remote that they have to generate their own energy. So cell service is obviously not going to be available.

Literally the one thing I was excited to do while he was gone was send out our Christmas cards. Our card this year at least rivals the one we sent out last year.

According to UPS tracking our cards were scheduled to arrive in the hubs’s office Monday morning. Great, just when he’s about to board a 22 hour flight. Luckily my darling husband arranged to have one of his coworkers send them to our apartment.

Tuesday after work I get to my apartment and there’s a tag on the door. They attempted delivery but I wasn’t home to sign. Okay, I sign the slip and leave it on the door Wednesday morning. By the time I got home Wednesday I was practically skipping I was so excited. THE CHRISTMAS CARDS ARE HERE!!! I had a project to keep me busy all night!

But as I approached my front door instead of seeing a bright gleaming package full of my Christmas cards I see the door tag still stuck to my front door. Anger starts to pour over me as I removed it from the door and read the scratch handwriting of the delivery man: “Must sign in person.”

MUST SIGN IN PERSON? What about people that have jobs?? I call my mom fuming (because I can’t call the hubs!) and rehash the situation. FedEx was open until 8:15pm, but in order to get to the other end of Queens I’d have to drive. And lose my parking spot. AND I HATE LOOKING FOR PARKING SPOTS.

The genius that my mother is suggested that I just take a cab. WHY DIDN’T I THINK OF THAT? Next thing I know I’m in a cab and on my way to pick up my cards. YES!!!!

When I get to FedEx I ask my driver to just wait there, I’ll be back in a flash. I get to the counter and hand the lady my door tag and license.

FedEx Lady: Do you have an ID with the address listed on this door tag?

Me: Crap.

The FedEx lady then wanders away and I see the sign posted “Must have ID with address listed on package.” Again, crap. A minute later she reappears and tells me that the driver is still en route and won’t be back until 8pm. It’s currently 7:30pm.

Me: Can I sign IN PERSON right now and they can deliver it to my house tomorrow?

FedEx Lady: No, you must sign in person at time of delivery.

Me: Crap.

So I have three options:

1. Leave, take another cab tomorrow and try again.

2. Quit my new job and wait for the package to arrive.

3.Wait.

I decide to wait. I run outside, pay the cab driver and apologize and head back inside. 8pm comes and goes and my driver is not back. 8:15 comes and FedEx is officially closed. My driver is still not back. Finally, by 8:30 my name was called and my package arrived.

After finding a cab to take me back home and giving the driver directions because he had no idea where he was going I was finally home. I addressed all of the envelopes, stuffed and sealed and then went to get my stamps. I only had 40. I ordered more last week but they’ve yet to arrive. And I have way more than 40 cards to send. I stamped the first 40 cards and put them in the mail. So some of you should expect to get a card from me tomorrow. Others of you will have to wait until I get more stamps. And the rest of you: well this is the internet. Who knows who’s actually reading this? You’ll just have to wait until I post the card to the internet world.

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Never Before Seen…

The Christmas Card outtakes.  It’s harder than it looks convincing a dog who has been trained not to jump to jump on his father and then STAY THERE for the picture.  Even with ham tucked into the lights.

Don’t you love how the hubs has the same expression in every photo?  Shows who was really during all the work while he was just standing there looking pretty…

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