NEW HOPE, Texas Crystal Yates doesn't know why she did it; she never thought she would.

'Something inside said you should try that,' she said. And then that voice said, 'No, you're not doing that.'

But between folding clothes and making dinners ('I have two boys... unless you count my husband!'), Yates started writing her country songs in an appropriate place, right off a country road in New Hope, Texas.

And with new hope she entered a little local singing contest. She said she really didn't expect to win.

But like the song husband Will and Crystal are writing right now, this story just gets better and better. You see, they won, and went to the state competition.

'I always dreamed of singing at Billy Bob's,' she said.

Then they kind of felt like they were flying, but they never left the ground it was a long car trip to New Mexico for the regional contest.

'Everybody had bands, and it was just my husband and I on that stage,' Yates said.

'So I won.'

The mother of two found herself at the mother church of country music, the Grand Ole Opry, competing for the national title in Nashville.

'It's been amazing to be a wife, mother, and a seasoned woman and to walk into this time,' Yates said.

And you can sense what happened on the Grand Ole Opry stage.

'This is the stage check, $100,000 not the one I deposited in the bank,' she said.

It was Crystal Yates' little girl dream to sing at the Ryman Auditorium. Not only can she cross that off the list, but they paid her $100,000 to do it, which for right now means babysitting money.

'I'm not doubting any dreams these days... not doubting,' she said.

Ever wonder how Mike Castellucci shoots stories on his iPhone? He uses a few simple and inexpensive tools:

  • Gorillapod: A little tripod that bends like Gumby. I found one at Best Buy for $19.99
  • Olloclip: A three-in-one wide angle lens that slips over the lens of the camera. It's the size of a quarter and houses a fish eye lens, wide angle lens, and a macro lens. I found this little gizmo on Amazon for about $60.
  • I also used a simple iPhone microphone connector. You can use any microphone on the other end for crisp sound, mainly for interviews and people talking. The microphone inside the iPhone works great for any other sound like bands, sizzling grills, cats purring, and professional photographers grumbling.
  • Delkin Fat Gecko suction cup camera mount. Stick it to windows or walls or table tops. Anywhere you need to mount your camera to help you get the perfect shot.


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