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Wednesday, August 24, 2011

My Precious Beach Goers: Can't Help Falling In Love

I finally spliced together some of the footage from our weekend in Galveston.  I love Ingrid Michaelson's voice and this live version of "Can't Help Falling in Love" makes my heart melt for my little family.

Recent Sightings

One of my favorite wedding vendors, Sweet Sunday Events, asked me to sign up with Two Bright Lights, a wedding-related marketing site that connects photographers (and others in the wedding industry) with online and print publications.  I originally signed up with Two Bright Lights in order to submit several shoots/weddings Sweet Sunday Events and I worked together, but now that I've discovered the ease and excitement of submitting, I admit I'm rather addicted.  Since I joined a few weeks ago I've had 6 shoots picked up and featured by various national and international wedding blogs of note and I am over the moon with yippity-skippity excitement!

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As I've been buried in work with little time to play or share stories about the kids (because, honestly, I don't see them much) I wanted to share some of my favorite shots from recent shoots.  Alyssa's bridal portraits are being featured on two wonderful wedding websites and this shot above is one she'll have on display at her wedding next month.

Such a neat sunset shoot!

Michelle and Adam's fun-filled engagement session has also been selected for another stunning wedding site -so excited to share the link when it publishes.  We had a wonderful time shooting around Georgetown and Granger while dodging storm clouds.

These are vintage scooters we borrowed from one of my favorite stores in Georgetown, Rough & Ready Antiques.  They're on my wish list.  Every time I look at this shoot it makes me want to spend half and afternoon at that fabulous shop.

We created a bouquet from an obliging field (I feel straight out of "Sense and Sensibility" saying that) and I adore how romantic and rustic it looks.

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'Tis the time for babies!  It seems half the women I know are expecting and it has been a joy celebrating with so many of my friends.  I did a maternity shoot with my dear friend, Aubrey, who's  expecting their first in September.

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Precious, precious.

And speaking of wee ones, a few peeks at a Happy Birthday session I did for Miss Caroline's 2 year old celebration!

We shot in my studio, Berry Springs, then at her daddy's fire station.


Miss Caroline is also expecting a little sister!  So happy for Megan & Troy (and little Lady C.)


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And the Fall wedding season is upon us.  Sneak peeks from last weekend's San Antonio wedding with the sweet and beautiful couple, Jessica and Devon!

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Brian decided to take this semester off so that I can commit more time to my work; that's a really big step for us.  The business is growing, opportunities continue to arise and the learning never stops.  I cannot express my thankfulness that I have the freedom in this country to be self-employed and pursue what I love.  We are overwhelmingly blessed!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Chic DIY Baby Shower: Welcome, Jude!

I had absolutely nothing to do with how beautiful this shower looks.  I just documented it, and what a LOVELY shower it was!

Aubrey has decorated Jude's room with yellow, shades of grey, white and black so the fabulous ladies who designed her shower took color scheme (and theme -birds) and ran with it.

I adore all of the details!  Hot glued branches on the table tents with the cut out birds perched on top.  Even the water bottles were redone with labels printed from home.  Michele from intriguedesignstudio.etsy.com is the designer and has a great shop where you can buy the printables!  Check her out!

The trike diaper cake was totally rad, made by one of the organizers who also spearheaded the majority of decor projects (like the grey and yellow hanging pompoms) and games.  Her name is Jessica and she's now in charge of planning MY birthday party.  In July.
It's gonna be AWESOME.

The announcement wreath was made by Aubrey's sister.  I love the yarn wrapping around it, plus check out the cool decoupage "Baby Jude" on the mantel that Jessica (above mentioned) also made.  I felt the urge to go home and glue scraps of paper onto something.

I'm nearly speechless.  This spread was so gorgeous and yummy!  All made by the hostesses and the cake was ordered from a local gal -friend of a friend (something like that.)

The words of wisdom clothes pinned to the ribbon across the daddy-to-be's office doorway were not just beautiful, but touching and encouraging.  As I wrote mine out, it helped remind me to put my priorities in check.  Something I need to keep reminding myself to do; it's so easy to lose touch, don't you think?

This girl time did my heart so much good!  I've passed on getting together with friends for what feels like (and probably is) months since if I'm not working, I'm eeking in some family time.  Time with other lovely women, surrounded by such sweet things (for eyes and tummies), and celebrating my dear friend's first baby on the way -so many wonderful things!

Congratulations, Aubrey and Danny!  And Welcome (soon) Jude!

I am shooting with them on Monday and hopefully they'll let me  feature the maternity session here and on the photoblog -so stay tuned!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

RoadTrip Bonus Post: Featuring FREE Polaroid Downloads

Shots from our RoadTrip, featuring one of the super duper snazzy FREE polaroid clips from Fuzzimo.com, a spectacular site with oodles of free downloads from fonts to backdrops, frames to textures, etc.

Brian may be the triathlete in the family, but Wilder and I paired up for toilet olympics this past weekend.  It takes mad skills, let me tell ya.

Sweet as can be, yet bossy.  More like "Boss-ehy."
Yeah.  Say it with attitude.

Aaaaand, for a little fun...  Oh, the sounds of my high school years.
Come on, get jiggy wid it with me.

Galveston for Toddlers: Rockin' Texas RoadTrip

We left Georgetown on Thursday morning for a 4 day weekend trip to Galveston and Houston.  Brian had a triathlon in Houston scheduled for Sunday so we decided to make the most of it and hit up the beach and also visit my grandparents in Houston.

My grandparents graciously endured us (as always) and fed us -and stored Brian's bike so we didn't have to tote it around all weekend.  Wilder truly lives up to his name.  In every way.
*Sigh and smile*

We stayed at the Howard Johnson (why do I find it extremely weird that they nickname themselves "HoJo"?  Just doesn't sound good...) in the Clear Lake area.  After unloading our gear, we packed back up and headed out to get some evening beach action!

We chose the family friendly Stewart Beach ($8/car) and the kids loved the clean beaches, easy surf, and warm water!  The breeze made the 98 degree weather incredibly tolerable and the water was so toasty you'd have to get out to cool off.

There are miles of free beaches along Galveston Island.  Of the two other stretches we ventured on (later) this was the cleanest and smoothest, but I'd take a free beach with some shells any day.  Can't go wrong here.

Honestly, this is the best area we've ever been to if you want a beach experience with toddlers.  Granted, we haven't been to ALL the beaches in the U.S. (or even close) but overall, we loved this place for the kids.

They loved swimming with Daddy.  You can walk out into the water forever and still only be hip deep.  Diving pelicans and jumping fish were highlights on the horizon.

Waverley exercising her independence, making friends with...uh...cones, and surfboards.

End of Day 1.  It was a good 'un.

Day 2 started with a long morning at the beach.  Had too much fun to pause for pictures, so see above and imagine variations of dirt covered kiddos and parents chasing them around to keep them from getting  permanently acquainted with the water.

We escaped the sun and took the FREE FERRY to Port Bolivar/Crystal Beach.  Very cool, very cool.
Once again, I was enjoying the scenery and serenity of napping kids to bust out the camera.  Google the area.  It's beautiful.

On the ferry ride back we popped on deck.  Dolphins leapt, pelicans dove, children squealed.  And this mother said, "It is good."

Okay, this part was NOT so good.  Wilder, who slept on the ride over, wanted to stay on the boat.  Kicking and screaming, he insisted that once the car exited the ferry that we were going the wrong way. Even though he was seeing all the landmarks he was familiar with, he was certain we were on the wrong side.  (He woke up the next day asking to go back on "My Boat.")

Beach time again!  This was one of the free beaches.  Loved it, folks!  Personally, I am a fan of seashells and liked that these beaches had oodles of tiny treasures.  We watched the live clams pop in and out of the sand as the tide washed over them.

Paradise for our dirty kids.

Building sand castles with Wilder was a highlight for me.  Of course crashing them was a highlight for him :)

As we drove back to the hotel we toured a bit and...I found my house!  Like it says, I call dibs.
Just needs a little bit of work.  Doable, right?

Oh, okay.  Now the story gets really exciting, but I'm going to make this short.  Because it's gross.
I got food poisoning and made REAL good friends with the toilet all night.
Day 3, we packed up and took the long way back around Galveston Island up to Houston.  Brian picked up his registration packet for his triathlon, the family dropped me off at my grandparents to rest while they found a playland to run around at.  We visited in the evening and then... it hit me -and Wilder- again.  We spent the night huddled together on the bathroom floor.  Besides labor, that was the closest I've felt to death. Ever.

Who wants a sandwich?

By the morning Wilder and I felt somewhat human and we visited and played at "Gamma Campaw's," as Wiley calls them.  Lunch stayed with us (hallelujah!) and we made our way home.

Oh, YEAH!  And Brian completed his 3rd triathlon this year.  Kind of a big deal (I was too busy puking, so we weren't "Ra! Ra!" -ing, more like "Ralph! Ralph!" -ing.)
I'm so proud of him.  His determination and persistence are qualities that I have always admired (and continue to learn from by example.)  I love my Superman!

So, that's our exciting road trip!  Told you it was going to be an adventure.
Now, it's back to work and I am so glad I had a break to get inspiration, brainstorm with Brian, and puke my guts out.  Now that's what I call a vacation.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

RoadTrip Bound!


Brian is giving us a mini-vacation.  He's competing in another triathlon and this one happens to be in Houston, so we're making a 4-day weekend and spending one of those days dipping our toes in the ocean in Galveston.  The other days will be spent with extended family -and Wilder, in anticipation, won't stop asking to get in the car to go to the beach and see Grandma and Grandpa.  Makes me happy.

It's going to be tough not bringing work with me, leaving the computer and my hard drives at home.  I've got plenty to do, but, honestly, it's okay to take a break.  And, boy, do I need one.
I shall shed the "should do's" and embrace this time enjoying the adventure of a little road trip with toddlers, entertaining them in the back seat, making sand castles, the first two restless nights away from home as we all share a room -oh, the joys of travel!  It's these bonding experiences that I love -those long talks with Brian as we drive the open road, the pit stops at all the playland's attached to fast food joints along the highway, the blessed soft-serve cones at McD's.

Now I'm psyched.

Ah, you may be asking what in the world these pictures have to do with this post.  Nothing.  But, they are from today and it was a little exercise in making family priority, even though I have oodles of other work to do (and, pat on the back, I have accomplished gobs of official work today, as well.)

Time to pack my swim suit, camera and flip flops.
Let's get ready for another great adventure!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Hold On, There: Clarifying Goals {instead of just surviving}

I've been bombarded by hints to stop and take stock of my work, clarifying what direction I'm going and why.  As a (still relatively new) entrepreneur, I'm feeling the strain of those first three years "they" (the all knowing they) say it typically takes to get on your feet.  As I shoulder my plow each day, I realize the past few months I've been staring at the ground in front of me, instead of looking where I'm going, planning my field.

So... the call for clarity and goal making HAS been heard and SHALL be answered.
At least I'll give it a start (before I fall asleep at my desk.)

Oh, yeah.  I got a hair cut!  (Don't worry, conservative friends, it doesn't always look this crazy.)

Question: What am I doing?

Answer:  I am self employed in various creative endeavors (namely photography and acting) so I don't go crazy in a cubicle and suffer Death by Office.  I am exercising my artistic side daily while serving others, preserving priceless memories and doing my darnedest to make them look gooooood.  (Throw in an "Awhriiight" a la Mitch Hedburg.)

Guess that pretty much answers the "why" part, too.

Question:  Uh. (Long pause.)
Answer:  Ah.  I don't need a question to figure out my answer.  My answer to this whole, "What are my goals" is this:  to continue what I'm doing and keep getting better at it in all aspects.  More efficient, creative, customer service oriented, upping the quality of everything (that 5% I talked about last time,) while creating more time for family and myself.

Someday I'll sew again, read (and finish) books, bake, have coffee dates, twiddle my thumbs and wonder what I should do that day.  For now, though, I am stinkin' blessed to be inundated  with work and have the ability to do it.  Everyday I learn something new, try different techniques, look into various options.  I get to grow and no one can make me stop developing, creating and trying.
And, gosh darn it, people like my work.  And when I make them happy, it makes me happy.

All right motivational and business guru's, I answered my questions.
And I'm doing what I love.
I'm happy.


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