Laurel Highlands Portrait Session

These 2 goofballs are back up on the Blog! Their first official photo shoot took place at a waterslide at Linn Run State Park in Ligonier, Pennsylvania. Today, we are not going to talk about the shoot. You guys know the speal, We took pictures in a park and it was super awesome. Instead, we’re gonna chat a little about having these buttheads for baby sisters and the wild ride it was been.

The first thing you should know is, my sisters are 18 and 16 years younger than me.  I’ve been out doing the whole college-marriage-adult thing while they have been dancing on stage at the Palace and learning to play the saxophone. In the past, the girls would talk about my brother and I to their elementary school teachers and they’d laugh and think “How long have I been teaching?“, knowing very well it had been more than over a decade since a Greece had last sat in their class. It’s amazing how kids can do that to you. Abbie actually asked me one time what Saved by the Bell was and Gabbie has no idea how truly awesome NSYNC’s Christmas album is. They have no sense of 90s culture and it breaks my heart. But, they have taught me about Vine, Snapchat, Instagram, Ed Sheeran, Zac Efron, Ruth B and about a million other things.

My sisters have also taught me that life is this huge circle and and we just keep going round. It’s true what they say. Time flies. It feels like just yesterday that they were swimming in the baby pool with Reyna (my pup) at my old house on Tollgate. They loved that little pool. We pretended Reyna was the shark and she was gonna get them and we ate popsicles and pretended the Barbies were mermaids. And, then I blinked. Now it’s all Twenty One Pilots and Harry Potter, Selfies and Makeup. The world was much simpler back then.

 Truth be told, getting to be there for all their stages of life has been one of the greatest joys of mine. It’s all in the little things. Like, how they love to sing old Stevie Nicks jams in the car or how they are in constant search of their Troll dolls and how they always wanna go to the Skate Hop. I mean…deja vu much? Guys, this is stuff we all did, 20 years ago!

It is crazy to think that I used to worry about our age gap. Schmage Gap! I’m hip. I’m cool. Or, at least I’m gonna try to be because I always want these girls to know that they can come to me with anything that is weighing on their mind or peaking their interest. That’s what it’s all about, right? Being their role model is something that I was never prepared for but somewhere along the way, I found a rhythm that worked. Abriana and Gabriella have taught me to look at the world with a different set of eyes and I am thankful for them. In a way, they have always kept me grounded yet always looking towards the future.

FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO DON’T KNOW ME: My name is Angelina Norris. I am natural light photographer based in Dallas-Fort Worth, with roots in the Laurel Highlands of Pennsylvania. I specialize in family and lifestyle portraiture with an emphasis on real moments. I believe that the best portraits are a combination of  genuine intimacy and playful experience. I live for the opportunity to test out the waters of new shoot locations and discover new places all around the globe. If you would like to book your unique portrait session, shoot me an email at therustienailhead@gmail.com.

Travel Guide to Broken Bow, Oklahoma

Hey y’all!! We are back with our 2nd Edition of our Travel Guides on the Blog! You all loved our Girl’s Guide to an East Coast Trip so much that we decided to add another Guide to the series. A little over a month ago now, Tiffany,  of Wanderlust Floral Designs, and I made our way north of DFW to Broken Bow Lake in Oklahoma. This quaint town, located at the foothills of the Ouachita Mountains, is the perfect place for family vacations, peaceful retreats and even a little adventure. We had a blast exploring McCurtain County and I just wanted to share some tips on where to stay, what to eat and how to get the most out of a small getaway like this.

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Where to Stay: Lakeview Lodge at Beaver’s Bend State Park 

This state-owned facility is exactly what your family is looking for. Each room has a gorgeous view of the lake from your very own balcony. Continental breakfast is included and we managed to snag a Groupon for our stay which made it Uber affordable, around $50/night. For more information on how to stay here, give the front desk a call at (580) 494 6179 or head to TravelOK.com. Word to the Wise: Beware of Spring Break!

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Where to Stay: Rent a Cabin for the Week

Though we did not opt for a cabin, we were lucky enough to meet some locals and check out their digs during our stay. Jerry Isbell of Mountain Vista Luxury Cabins was nice enough to offer up some information on how to rent a cabin/cabins in the Broken Bow area. We encourage you to download their app and check out their Blog for more information on this versatile area.

Jerry & Sherri Isbell
Mountain Vista Luxury Cabin
http://www.BeaversBendVacations.com
info@beaversbendvacations.com
Where to Eat: Grateful Head
I will head back to this place every time I am in the area. This hippie shack, located about a mile from Lakeview Lodge, is the ultimate hangout for friends and family. The walls are decorated with Jerry Garcia and Grateful Dead memorabilia, as well as a few bobcats hanging from the ceiling. An outdoor patio with thousands of twinkly lights and space heaters makes it the ultimate oasis for anyone looking for a good beer and some really fantastic wood-fired pizza. Bands play out on the deck and the gift shop offers the absolute softest t-shirts around if you are in need of a souvenir. We recommend the Psychedelic Supremo or the Tree Hugger paired with one of the Beaver’s Bend Brews.
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Where to Eat: The Blue Rooster
Located in the same parking lot as the Grateful Head, the Blue Rooster is chalk full of southern charm. The menu consists of everything southern fried; chicken, Gulf shrimp, catfish, green tomatoes. The service was great and the Bloody Mary’s were the ultimate way to start off our trip. Plan on spending your night out on their patio with one of the many Oklahoma craft brews that are available at the bar. We recommend the Fried Chicken dinner!
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Where to Eat: Abendigo’s
This place is definitely one of the fancier places to dine in Broken Bow. Tiffany and I rolled into this joint late one night to catch the end of the Rangers game and could not have been more pleased with our experience. Though most places shut down super early in this town, Abendigo’s proved to be the place to grab a late bite and a cold beer. Tiff had the Wood-Grilled Salmon and I had the Chicken Madeira. Both dishes were out-of-this world. We recommend both but highly suggest that you try the Fried Calamari with Dynamite Aioli and Pickled Jalapeno Relish!
What to Do: Beaver’s Bend State Park
This park has so much to offer. Whether you are away for a girl’s weekend, bachelor party or family vacation, this park has a mile-long list of activities to dive into. Head to visitmccurtaincounty.com for all the details.
  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Kayaking
  • Horseback Riding
  • Camping
  • Hiking
  • Carson’s Creek (great picnic area & marina)

 

 

What to Do: Beaver’s Bend River Floats

Near a swim beach in Beaver’s Bend, you can find this Rental Facility. For $12, Tiff and I had the pleasure of spending our day on the Lower Mountain Fork River. Though the kayak/canoe trip only takes about an hour, we managed to make it last all day. It was so much fun and the scenery can’t be beat. This was, hands down, our favorite part of the trip. To set it up, just give these guys a call at (580) 494 6070.

For a more adventurous ride, check out Wild Goose Canoe and Kayak. This company is located a little further out of town but worth the drive. They offer 2 trips, a 5 mile or 8 mile down the Mountain Fork River. One of the tours even has a Class 2 Rapids classification and a 3 foot waterfall, Presbyterian Falls.

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What to Do: Girls Gone Wine 

This boutique style wine and gift shop is located near Beaver’s Bend State Park. When planning our trip, I was lucky enough to get in contact with a young woman named Katie who worked here. She proved to be indispensable when it came time to find models for our styled shoot but also blew us away with her knowledge of the wines they had available. She explained to us that the owners, Michelle and Terry, have all the juices for the wine shipped to them and then they actually ferment their own wine! So, of course, we had to have a tasting.

Each variety and blend is innovative and a few of their wines have proceeds that help out local charities. The B’Ark is a kiwi pear Sauvignon Blanc which proceeds benefit Animal Rescue and their Friends 4 Life is a rose, white merlot infused with ripe strawberries, that was created with a friend’s memory in mind. The owner’s friend, Cynthia Shawnee Hutchings passed away in 2008 after battling breast cancer and these friends wanted to help raise awareness for Breast Cancer Research and be able to provide scholarships for their friend’s children. Now that those guys have graduated, the tradition continues. It varies each year but now the proceeds go towards scholarships for seniors at Broken Bow High School, where their friend has previously taught.

We could all learn a thing or two from the girls at Girls Gone Wine. We love that they have embraced their community with open hearts and the Pinot Noir Slushie had me at hello! Stop in here and make sure to tell these girls we said Hello!

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What to Do: Talimena Scenic Byway

This scenic drive panning over 54 miles of the Ouachita Mountains is the perfect opportunity to bust out that camera. For a lax day full of winding roads and sweeping views of the mountain vistas, head here during the fall. The changing colors of the fall foliage may force you to never leave.

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Next time:

So, we didn’t have the time or availability to do everything we wanted while we were in Broken Bow and that means we will be back. Next time, we are hoping to check out the Moon Tower, a restaurant located slightly north of Broken Bow. Owned and operated by Tabb Singleton, a winner of the CHOPPED series on the Food Network, the locals raved about the food.

Another must see, the RUGARU Ziplines. They were not open yet in the beginning of May but we are eyeing them out for our next trip. And lastly, squatch sighting. Yes, we will be on the hunt for the infamous Big Foot, apparently a favorite pastime in this particular part of the country 🙂

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What we Loved: 

Tiff and I had been itching to get out of dodge, beat the concrete jungle that is DFW and set up a styled shoot. McCurtain County provided the perfect backdrop for our shoot and for a relaxing vacation. The drive from DFW was only 3 hours and the sides of the road were covered in Texas spring blooms, everything from blue bonnets to Indian paintbrushes. We jammed out to the likes of Trent Harmon, Chris Stapleton and Sublime as we chatted our way to Oklahoma. Overall, this trip was one for the books. We managed to work and play. It is a balance and war to find time to take care of yourself when building a brand and this trip proved to be exactly what we needed. We got a little break from the hustle, a little time to rest and more stars in the sky than we could have ever imagined.

So if you are in need of a getaway, check out this part of the country and we know you will end up leaving a fresh perspective on the world. For more information, head to TravelOk.com or follows these guys on IG: @hochatime (a lifestyle brand) or @mccurtainok (travel info) or @beaversbend (cabin rentals). Hope you all enjoyed this Guide and looking forward to sharing our next big trip with you guys.

Where would you like to see us head next?