Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Bridal Portraits | Elisa

Back in May I had the privilege of capturing the lovely backyard wedding of Josh & Elisa, but even before THAT (yeah, I'm a little behind in blogging photos...) I got the chance to do bridals with Elisa. It was such a fun opportunity to hang out with her and her mom Karen and get some beautiful shots a few weeks before the wedding. I mean, what bride doesn't want extra opportunities to wear her wedding dress?



I love the way she did her hair. A soft, loose, natural look that still complimented her dress.



And how fun are her pink tennis shoes?? I love it when brides add touches of personality and spunk to their wedding day attire.



















Can you tell she was excited about getting married? Haha.












It was wonderful getting to know Elisa and capturing her fun personality! She made a beautiful bride and I hope you enjoyed seeing snippets of that.

Happy Tuesday, everyone!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Marvelous Mondays | The Journey: By Miss Elaini

While having coffee with my dear friend Lydia last week we got on the subject of clothes and fashion - which, being two females who enjoy our clothes, is probably not surprising. But, somewhere in the course of that conversation she mentioned to me a blog where this girl had committed to wearing the SAME dress for 100 days in some way to raise money for a charity. She couldn't remember all of the details, but the fashion challenge alone was enough to fascinate me, let alone knowing that it was somehow linked with a good cause. So when Lydia sent me the actual link to the blog today, I knew it was something I wanted to share.


Meet Miss Elaini. She started this blog about her Journey to bring awareness and raise money for orphans in India. But instead of just pleading with people to donate, she chose to DO something that would not only keep her focus on her mission but be a bloggable adventure that could be followed by anyone interested in helping her achieve her goal. She committed to wearing the same black dress for 100 days in order to represent the fact that most children in India only have one outfit, and that the focus of this goal is to raise money so that they can afford a school uniform and have the chance to further their lives through even basic education. I LOVE that she's utilizing something I enjoy, which is fashion, to bring focus and passion for a greater cause. Go check out her blog, read her personal story, and please consider donating to support her efforts. People like her inspire, encourage, and challenge me to look at my life and realize that there are SO many ways I can make a difference in this world if I'm just willing to be creative and give of my time and talents.

May her journey challenge, encourage and inspire you all today, too. Happy Monday!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Marvelous Mondays | 31 Bits

I think it's no secret to anyone who knows me even remotely well that I love jewelry and accessories. It doesn't seem to matter how much I have of any one kind - earrings, necklaces, bracelets, rings - if I come across a great item that would add wonderfully to the family of jewelry I already have, I happily integrate it in. So, being that I have this love for fun accessories, I enjoy spending time on google, etsy, ebay and others, searching for fun, new finds (even if just to ooh and ahh over them). But I was especially happy to stumble upon 31 Bits when a fellow photographer recently recommended it to a bride looking for jewelry for her wedding day.


Upon first clicking on the site the images of beautiful, colorful jewelry instantly caught my attention - as did the type of bead used in each piece. I immediately recognized it as the same type used in a necklace that a friend had gotten from Africa and given to me a couple years ago. So, much to my surprise (and pleasure) I realized that this company not only designs beautiful pieces of jewelry, but for a great purpose. Here's a snippet of what's written in the "about" section:

Kallie Dovel traveled to Uganda in the summer of 2007, getting a first- hand look at life in Northern Uganda. While she was there, she met women making paper beads but who lacked a plan to market and sell them. After spending time in their homes and hearing their stories, Kallie knew there had to be a way to give opportunities to her new friends. She brought a box of jewelry back to the U.S., and spent the next year finishing her degree and dreaming up the concept of a development organization. She brought a few friends on board and her ideas quickly evolved into 31 Bits. The girls traveled back to Uganda in August 2008, and selected six women to begin buying jewelry from on a monthly basis. Since then, we have grown to 63 women; each with a unique story of suffering that has been overcome with joy and liberation.

I absolutely love the fact that I could be supporting someone continents away simply with the purchase of a fabulous bracelet or necklace. (I currently have my eye on the Sunkissed necklace... :) I love the purpose and vision of this business and just wanted to share it with all of you as my latest and favorite (and affordable) marvelous find!

Goals | July

So, I'm really getting good at the whole posting-my-monthly-goals-a-week-into-the-new-month thing. But, you know what? Better a week into the month, than not at all!

Admittedly, summer is a crazy time of year to try to maintain any sort of normal life schedule, because it feels like this photo...something's always moving, and routines get a little blurry.


Granted, EVERY time of the year is a little crazy, but summer especially brings things like "wedding season", "vacation" and "friend's wedding" to the table. All of which have happened recently or are still happening now or WILL be happening soon. It's not an excuse, but it's a little bit of an explanation as to why I'm having a harder time than some of the previous months with not only keeping track of my goals, but accomplishing them. Nevertheless, it's humbling and motivating to continue to share my progress (or lack thereof) and to maintain HAVING goals, even when the going gets tough. So, here's a recap of last month:

  • Continue working out at least 4 times a week (The only exception, I believe, was when my sister and cousin were visiting...)
  • Brainstorm and accomplish another for-the-apartment decorative project (It ended up being just ordering, framing and hanging some prints for the living room - but it's something!)
  • Make 2-3 meals per week, without Aaron's help (I may not have COMPLETELY hit this, but I've been doing a good job!)
  • Invite friends over for dinner at least once
  • Have girl time with at least 4 different friends in person
  • Call or hand-write at least 2 far-away girlfriends
  • Mail the last Thank-You's
  • Order Wedding Album! (YAAAY! Finally!)
  • Make more progress catching-up on personal photo editing & uploading
  • Work on organizing iTunes & all Music folders on computers
  • Sort through all clothes & shoes and get rid of some!
  • Shoot just for fun at least 3 times
  • Make detailed weekly to-do lists
  • Total all receipts/costs from May - June
  • Add mileage for both cars from June
  • Blog at least 2 times a week (still/always trying this!)
  • Finish researching and choose a company for online backup & off-site storage!
  • Finish researching laptops/desktop monitors
  • Purchase new laptop (So close! Just haven't done it, yet....)
  • Edit 2 - 3 weddings
  • Submit 1 - 2 weddings for publication
  • Attend 1 seminar/conference
Not bad results, overall, but can you tell my downfall for business goals are the no-fun tax related kinds of things? Siiiigh. I really need to get better at staying up-to-date on my receipts and such, because it would just make the end of the year that much easier. I have good systems in place for gathering and keeping all of the needed info, I just need to sit down and total it up more frequently. Hence, this month's goals!

  • Continue working out at least 4 times a week
  • WATCH LINDSEY & MARK GET MARRIED! (This already happened, but it WAS in July... :)
  • Brainstorm and accomplish another for-the-apartment decorative project
  • Continue cooking for Aaron, but try as least 2 brand new recipes
  • Have girl time with at least 4 different friends in person
  • Call or hand-write at least 2 far-away girlfriends
  • Mail the last Thank-You's!
  • Make more progress catching-up on personal photo editing & uploading
  • Work on organizing iTunes & all Music folders on computers
  • Sort through all clothes & shoes and get rid of some!
  • Shoot just for fun at least 3 times
  • Start reading at least one book
  • Make detailed weekly to-do lists
  • Total all receipts/costs from May - July
  • Add mileage for both cars from June - July
  • Blog at least 2 times a week (still/always trying this!)
  • Finish researching and choose a company for online backup & off-site storage!
  • Purchase new laptop!
  • Edit 1 - 2 weddings
  • Shoot 2 weddings
  • Submit 1 - 2 weddings for publication
  • Set aside weekly time to think about and brainstorm ways to improve and grow business practices
The rest of this month is pretttty busy with shooting and traveling, but I'm truly going to aim high and seek to achieve as much as possible. Wish me luck and tell me what YOU hope to accomplish this month!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Personal | When Friends Come to Visit

My life has been jam-packed with awesomeness, lately. And that awesomeness primarily exists of awesome people. Take, for instance, the fact that currently I'm sitting on my parent's couch in Indiana awaiting my dear friend Lindsey's wedding festivities which will begin in JUST a matter of hours. This weekend actually marks my first ever experience as a bridesmaid. I've been a flower girl and I've been the bride, but never before a bridesmaid. And I can say I'm truly honored and excited to be getting the privilege of standing up alongside such a dear, life-long friend on the most important day of her life. Not to mention it's a fun change to be on the OTHER side of a wedding and seeing it from the perspective of a wedding party member. I'm looking forward to seeing what it's like to be photographed in the way that I'm so used to photographing others. :)

But anyway, since the wedding hasn't happened yet, and I don't really have any photos or updates about that, lets step back a few days and talk about LAST weekend. Because it was pretty darn awesome, too. My darling sister Aimee, my spunky cousin Emily & a very witty friend, Will, all descended upon Richmond to visit the Watson household for a few days. Awesomeness and hilarity were bound to ensue, and many, MANY quotable moments were created. I love it that they all found it worth their while to spend the time traveling to Richmond and made US their priority. I tried to remember to snap at least SOME photos in the midst of all the fun...

Emily, me and Will hanging out at the apartment, right before embarking on a game of Monopoly (which Aaron creamed all of us in).




Aaron was the banker with the new fangled "electronic" version.



Aimee trying to make a wise decision....


Me trying to make a wise decision... (this game takes concentration!)



I just love my beautiful cuz!



I told the other 3 to get together for a photo and this is what they did....


I said the gap was a little large and it looked awkward, so this was then the progression...


It cracks me up how Adam just keeps getting closer, and Aimee and Aaron continue to look awkward. Hah.



Aimee and Will. (The man with invaluable comments, advice and opinions about practically any and everything... from the music at Panera, to the discontinuation of scents at Bath & Body Works to cooking, Anderson Cooper and beyond!)


We capped off the wonderful afternoon with some tasty snacks for the evening. Adam was particularly excited about the watermelon.


On Monday, since Will, Aaron and Adam had to go back to work and normal life but Aimee and Emily weren't leaving until Tuesday, we girls decided to live it up and have a relaxing, enjoyable girl day. We started with some quality time at Barnes & Noble, then spent a couple hours soaking up some sun at the pool and topped it off by getting manicures before meeting up with Lydia for coffee. Basically a fantastic Monday, if you ask me. :)

Emily's nails...



Mine... (I wanted something light and pretty for the wedding this weekend)






Coffee/tea/hang out time!




Self-Portrait group photo (not bad, if I do say so myself)


And friend pictures! Because all too often I fail to get these type.







The crazy travel-buddies.




Photos all around!



After our photo spree, Emily decided that she loved Aimee's new glittery sandals, even though they're about a foot too big for her.




Then I started randomly aiming & shooting without looking. Which actually came out with decent results, and managed to amuse me for a while... ;)





Basically, fabulous times were had by all. It was a perfect weekend and I already can't wait until the next adventures that we all get to have together! But for now, I'm off to do some shopping with my mom before rehearsal tonight! Yay for dear friends, good times and happily-ever-afters. :)