Monthly Archives

April 2011

Paralee Whitmire | The Interview

Paralee Whitmire is – and she’s our friend. She’s also an Alumni Intern, having been a member of†Season One of our Internship. Honestly? Paralee was an Intern with us before we even started the internship. More importantly – she’s impossibly awesome, and ridiculously amazing. – Interview & Photos by M. Tioxon


I felt really guilty leaving the public school education system. I felt like I was a pretty good teacher and I was abandoning the kids. I felt really bad about it.

Iím internet famous. But not INTERNET FAMOUS! I get messages from students everyday about how Iím helping them pass their tests. The ones that I get to know are the adults Ė the ones that always wanted to learn a language and tried every program out there, but mine is the one that worked for them. When you get Internet famous, people donít expect you to respond to them. Itís weird. Itís very strange for me as person who works from home, has a small group of friends and a simple life where no one recognizes me Ė compared to the online circles where thousands and thousands of people know my name. Itís amazing.

All of the resources on SpanishDict are free. You donít pay for any of the content. We believe education should be free for everybody.

I would like to be able to do a backflip on a snowboard off a jump and land it. Iíd think itíd be awesome if I could be a full time soapmaker. Iíd like to go back to the computer being a fun thing. Anything on the computer is work for me. Iíd like to make soap.

I taught at Carver high school in Atlanta. It lived up to its reputation as far as being low rent Ėghetto. But the kids were in uniforms and we had laptops, and smart boards Ė we had endless resources Ė but ONLY if you threatened the administration that you were leaving. Thatís the only way you could get those resources. I didnít have anything first semester. No textbooks, no room. They didnít even buy me a cart to push my papers around until I threatened to quit and started documenting what they were saying to me Ė and then all of a sudden I got $10,000 worth of materials AND a classroom.

I found this job on Craigslist. I joined three years ago to write references, how-to articles Ė and it was a dream. I was like, ďOMG, Iím 23 and I get to write textbooks?Ē

I filmed 90 videos of myself. When we first started we were renting a room in an office building in Buckhead. It was just Ďa roomí. We borrowed all of the film equipment we used. Some fancy Sony camera, two spotlights, and a green screen. A really low-rent setup. And HOT.

One weekend we were behind schedule on filming. So I figured Iíd film over the weekend. It was July. I thought it would be fine. They turned the A/C off in the whole building. I toughed it out and kept filming. I was pouring sweat. It was disgusting. I couldnít use any of what we shot.

It IS big. On average, 5 million unique visitors a month.

Being the only employee for SpanishDict Ė Iíve had the opportunity to learn everything. Marketing. Video production. Sound Production. Public relations. I have done more content production for learning Spanish and English than I ever thought I would do. Iíve reached so many people. Iíve learned to ask for what I want. I think a lot of people just get into their jobs and assume that their bosses have the whole thing mapped out for what you deserve, when youíre gonna get a raise, why youíll get a raise. And going from hourly for very little money to now where Iím on salary with health and vacation Ė I had to ask for those. I had to put together a proposal for the things that I wanted.

I was the captain of the soccer team. I was on the Varsity team my freshman year in high school. I got to UGA and realized that I was a tiny fish in a huge ocean. All of a sudden I wasnít even good enough to play on intra-mural teams. We had to make our own Jerseys. Stephens County Lady Indians.

Park Tavern. Dollar beers whenever it rains.

I get to make up my own job title depending on who Iím emailing. Director of Interactive Education. Director of Marketing. Director of Public Relations. Always Director of Something. Iím the Chief Operations Officer. I do everything. Itís really cool.

Thereís a tiny town in Peru called Huanchaco Ė a tiny no nothing town on the beach. I could live there. Second would be Florence. I wasnít expecting that one. I went to Italy after studying Latin for five years. I got to Rome and was totally depressed. Too modern. Too much graffiti, too much fashion Ė too much tourism. It really hurt my feelings. The people werenít cool enough to me. They were really stuck up. We got outside of Rome and people were TOTALLY different.

Florence? We LOVED Florence.

An Orthodontist. I think for the money. Because my parents are both teachers in a small town – they made NO MONEY and had 6 kids. I didnít notice it that much until I was in high school and everyone wanted a pair of these expensive, REALLY UGLY shoes that were Ďcoolí. My mom said no.

I was like ďThis is REALLY important to my popularity!Ē I really thought the Georgia Boots would raise my status. In college I just got smacked in the head with reality and realized that my parents had it right – living with what you have and a job that makes you happy – and having time for your kids.

Our dictionary? Hands down, we have more dictionary entries for Spanish/English than any other online dictionary out there. Not only that Ė we have a huge user generated phrase book. Phrases like Ďcat-got-your-tongueí Ė things that only make sense in English.

I have Googled myself.

I studied for a summer in Spain. We went to Morocco and got mugged at Machete-point. The brother of the Chief of police asked me to marry him. He did get us out of jail though.

I didnít realize how much work was involved in Search Engine Optimization. Itís really boring. Keywords. Link building. Youíre a spammer. Thatís what you are. I was a professional spammer for about a year.

Five Siblings. Elizabeth. Maegdlyn. Porter. Tyler. Paralee. Neelie. I love having a huge family.

Itís all telemarketing, and used car sales Ė at least when youíre looking on Craigslist for a job that has to do with Spanish.

I do so much work FOR Spanish language learning. But MY Spanish has gotten so much worse since I stopped filming myself in the videos. All I do is edit. And work on other things. I never get to practice. Weíre moving to Frisco, Colorado. Itís 20 minutes to Five different ski resorts.

Weíll be there for two months and then three months in Chile.

I have like 12 pairs of pajama pants.

It feels good to get messages from students in far off, tiny countries, telling me that theyíre learning Spanish because of something I made.


Interview & Photos by M. Tioxon


Paralee. Whitmire. Photos. Interview.

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Emily + Ben | Wedding Preview


Emily & Ben’s wedding in Ojai, California this past weekend was the furthest away we’ve had so far. Even though we’ve already photographed weddings in Massachusetts, Alabama,†Indiana, and Tennessee – we were pretty excited to finally shoot one out on the west coast. Last November I flew out to photograph their engagement session in Pomona – but I really had no idea how awesome their wedding would be – and Oh. It. Was. Awesome.

I have to admit – I was exhausted by the time we boarded our flight leaving Atlanta going to LAX. I packed my schedule far too full last week and I definitely didn’t sleep enough – and of course that adds up. We arrived on Friday, drove to Ojai, photographed their excellent rehearsal dinner, and then their wedding the next day. On top of the three hour time difference – I was a walking zombie with a camera attached to my face. Brains. Photos. Photos of Brains. Wedding Dress. Kiss. Love. Brains. Sleep…

Hmmm. This is probably not the post I should be writing for wedding photos.

Honestly? Perfect. Emily & Ben are absolutely the type of clients that wedding photographers hope to work with. They had a detailed schedule of the day, with specific time constraints – but not once did they stop me from photographing them, or cut our sessions short. I’ve been known to lose track of time and just shoot until someone makes me stop (thankfully Leah’s there to remind me that hey – they need to get back for their wedding!)

The photos you see at the beginning of this post are the ‘first-look’ series – and they were a bit of a surprise. Emily & Ben weren’t sure if it would work out – but on the day of the wedding, they decided to go for it. So the four of us (Leah, Emily, Ben & Me) drove up the mountain in two separate cars to the field you see here. Emily easily climbed over an old metal fence and brushed the rust off her dress then proceeded to march into the tall grass to be with Ben.

Thank you Emily & Ben. You. Are. Awesome.

Wedding First Looks | LeahAndMark & Co.


– Posted by Mark


Ojai. Southern. California. Wedding. Emily. Ben. Photographer. Photos.
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Audrey & Eric by +Raven

-Posted by +Raven

If you were to ask me what my one goal is when I meet a client, I wouldnít tell you that itís to book the gig. This is, of course, one of my goals, but not the main one.

My main goal is to get to know them. To become friends with them.

I measure my success with a client in if I feel like I can hug them at the end of our meeting. No, really.

I want to be friends with every single person I come into contact with. Even if they donít book me.

I want to be friends with you.

This is Audrey and Eric, one of my wedding couples from fall of last year. They. Are. Awesome.

From the very beginning, shooting Audrey and Eric never felt like the typical photographer-photographee relationship. I felt like I had known them for years, and I was SO comfortable with them. We joked around, we giggled, we took silly pictures. And then, months after their wedding, we shot their bridal/groomal session. And it felt exactly the same.

I knew that bubbles would fit this couple perfectly, and it did. We ran, we jumped, we played with bubbles, we climbed trees, we played in the river. This couple simply exudes happiness and brightness, and I knew I had to show you that through their pictures.

At the end of their wedding last year, Audrey told me that someone had asked her if we were long-time friends. Audrey told them no, but that she wished we were.

I have never in my entire life been so flattered. Thank you, Audrey & Eric. Letís stay friends.



-Posted by†+Raven


Atlanta. Gainesville. Wedding. Photographer. Raven. Shutley.

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