Thursday, January 26, 2012


Did you know that one simple email, actually one simple question in one simple email can change your life? I didn't really know that until a year ago, when that very thing happened to me.

A quote that I have loved for a while (and also the "tag" line of my blog) helps explain why I don't actually remember much of the day itself, but I do very much remember the moment I read the email from my cousin.

"We do not remember days, we remember moments." 

It was a year ago that I received this email from C.
"Crazy idea... would you be interested in leading a team to EA this summer?" 

My immediate reply...
"Holy cow... obviously I need some more info. When? Where? How many would be on my team? Who would be receiving us?"

Needless to say all of my questions were answered in some AMAZING ways.

Shortly after I replied, I did what I always do when there's a decision to be made... I emailed 17 (give or take a few) of my closest friends and family to inform them of the email I had received, telling me about the opportunity and asking them to pray. It really wasn't even a matter of deciding whether or not I should do it, it was more about how quickly would it be okay for me to rally the troops, circle the wagons and say YES.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Cotton Bowl Chronicles Part 3

Being on the sidelines of the Cotton Bowl was really cool but things got even more crazy when Matt S said, "I have an extra camera, would one of you want to shoot?" I honestly about fell over. Betsy looked at me and grinned and said, "I'm sure Mandy wants to." I said something completely ridiculous I'm sure but it all ended up with me having a camera in my hands ON the sidelines of a major sporting event. (Hello, MAJOR bucket list item, CHECK!)

I shot the game with a Nikon D700 and a 50mm lens
(after shooting with a 50mm lens, I now am convinced that I need to add one to my camera bag.)

(a 50mm lens does not have any zoom capabilities. The lens is close to the field of vision of the human eye.)

The rest of the pictures show the "view" of what you would have seen if you would have been standing next to me. 
We started shooting from the highest level in Jerry's house.
It was an incredible view of the entire stadium and helped me grasp just how HUGE this place really is.
This was my view of the opening kick-off. 
I found myself standing next to Willie the Wildcat for quite a bit of the game.
A pass by one of my favorites, Collin Klein.
 Okay, so I took this picture.
And Matt Strasen took this picture.  (advantage Matt) :)
 Just a reminder of how close I was.
 wait for it....
THE coolest picture that I took all game.
Touchdown Wildcats!
A really awesome catch, that you can't really see in the picture.
So here it is zoomed in. Yep took the pic, cropped it and zoomed in.
Touchdown Collin Klein!
 So much fun to be on the field.
Still very much K-State Proud.
Not exactly the celebration I was hoping for though.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Cotton Bowl Chronicles Part 2

It has taken me a while to sit down and write this blog post. I probably would have posted immediately if my Wildcats would have won, but alas.... My friend Erin said it best, "While I wished for a better outcome at the game, I'm glad I was there." K-State finished the season 10-3. It was sure a fun season to be a Wildcat fan!

Anyway back to the Cotton Bowl.
The entire experience was seriously one of the coolest things I have ever had the opportunity to do.
"kid in a candy store right there."
*sidenote: I think if K-State would have won I would have been standing on the sidelines with tears streaming down my face. 

I met Betsy at our hotel shortly after her flight arrived in Dallas.
We headed to a restaurant recommended to us by Betsy's friend Kevin.
It was delicious!

We then began our trek to Jerry's house. (I now refer to it as Jerry's world.)
That place is ridiculously cool and huge and impressive.

We eventually made our way to the "Media Will Call" window and checked in as "official" AP workers. (haha) It was unreal. It did feel extremely strange being there and not wearing purple. (oh the rules of the media, "wear neutral colors...") We followed a couple of photographers into Jerry's world because they obviously knew what we were doing and where they were going. We made our way to the "photo workroom." This room was FULL of cameras, computers, photog's.. absolutely incredible. We had no idea who Matt was or what he looked like so we stood there clueless for a second then we saw the "AP" room. We walk in, both Matt's are sitting there, they give us a hard time for taking so long to figure out that there was an "AP" room. (again we are still in shock at the fact that we are actually in Dallas about to be on the sidelines of the Cotton Bowl.)

We had about 2 hours to "wander" around (i.e. explore all of the places were our "media" passes would allow us to go.) We walked around the field, went up to a couple of the different levels just to "see."


Then we stood on the sidelines and watched the teams warm up. 
(I'm ready for Tyler Lockett to be back on the field next year)
Yes, the screen is GINORMOUS.
Oh hey Eric Stonestreet, fellow K-State alumni. 
(we debated about talking to him several times but eventually did end up on an elevator with him after the game.)
LOVED seeing all the purple in Jerry's house.
 call me a nerd but I did take a picture of Mat taking a picture. 

Have I mentioned that the actual game hasn't started yet??? 

Friday, January 6, 2012

Cotton Bowl Chronicles part 1

It started with an text message from my friend Betsy. "want to work with AP photographers on the sidelines for the Cotton Bowl?"

Obviously my response was a definite YES!!!!!!

This is a fantastic case of knowing someone (Betsy) who knows someone (Kevin) who knows someone (Matt!)

The drive down through Oklahoma yesterday was beautiful. The weather was great. Several K-Staters smiled and waved as we passed each other. I couldn't help but laugh at the sense of unity I felt driving south on 35. Lots of purple heading down to cheer on our Cats.

I took a little detour to Durant to catch up with my good friend Sara. It was fun to see her again and meeting her adorable daughter who just turned 2.

I headed to the big D this morning to meet up with Besty but as I was driving to meet her I "happened" to drive past IKEA and of course had to stop. Once again I was struck by this strange sense of unity as I saw a ton of K-Staters doing some shopping of their own at IKEA. Several high fives were shared as we walked past each other. I couldn't be more excited for the Cotton Bowl tonight!

P.S. We will be working with AP photog Matthew Otero. (google him, he has taken some AWESOME pics)