Alyssa’s Summer Baby Shower

A few weeks ago the day before Alyssa headed south to Texas I threw her a baby shower to celebrate the impending (early October) arrival of her first child

The for sale sign should say sold but either way it provided a perfect backdrop to direct people where to go. Joe & Alyssa both went to UNC and one of her friends had already gifted her this cute t-shirt

After much hemming and hawing over the decor I found this tutorial (via Pinterest of course!) on how to customize cloth diapers. My friend Megan made the adorable onesies and together we created a very sweet (if I do say so myself!) clothesline backdrop to the shower.

Megan made the onesies from a fabric panel that you can be FOUND HERE (and which I’ve already purchased) – so so cute!

The scene 🙂

Sutton posed very nicely for a photo of the whole set-up

For drinks I served:

Roasted Peach Lemonade via the Naptime Chef
Raspberry Mint Lemonade
– Arnold Palmers (Lemonade and Ice-T)
– White wine!
I found the chalkboard carafes at Pier 1 (BUY HERE) and loved them because they had tops. I didn’t take a close-up because the chalk was wickedly difficult to write with so is barely legible 🙂
The sunflowers I bought at a roadside stand as I was driving home to prepare for the shower (great timing!)
Hydrangeas were cut from Alyssa’s garden and arranged by her Mother in cowboy boots I had brought along for the occasion as a nod to their Texas destination!
Megan brought along the adorable sugar cookies in the shape of feet 🙂 Since Alyssa isn’t finding out what she’s having she kept it gender neutral!

The shower was from 2:30-4:30 so food was light and portable.

– Various Cheeses and Crackers
– Crudite (carrots, celery, and peppers)
– Guacamole, Salsa, and Tzatziki w/ Corn Chips
– Veggie Crisps via Trader Joe’s

As I mentioned above Megan made the delicious cookies on the left. Our friend Hilary made the delights on the right (Strawberries Stuffed with a Cream Cheese Mixture and Oreo Truffles….yum)

A close up of the cowboy boot flower arrangement 🙂

Guests started to arrive and mingle 🙂

Remember Miles?

Once everyone arrived we started opening presents. So I could take pictures Megan kindly wrangled trash and kept things organized while Hilary kept a list of who had given what!

Cute cards 🙂

Alyssa loved the book “Hello, Texas!”

After the guests had left and Joe had returned home from golfing we took a few pictures of them in front of their first house

Bon Voyage – we’ll miss you!

xxoo

Interview Featured on Perfectly Lovely Photography

In early summer I was contacted by Melissa of Perfectly Lovely Photography – she was doing interviews with a few photographers and sent me a list of questions that I was happy to answer.

Melissa focused specifically on why I choose to specialize in outdoor and at-home weddings and it was nice to have the opportunity to explain that.

She posted the finished interview today and sent me the link.

CLICK HERE TO READ THE INTERVIEW.

Thanks for the opportunity, Melissa!

Multi Generation Family Reunion Photographs

Last month I flew down to Florida overnight to pinch hit for a friend who was having emergency back surgery and couldn’t make the trip to do a family portrait shoot.

When I got the email explaining the family (31 people, 19 children, 10 of those kids are under four) I admit that I was a tad intimidated but from the moment I landed I was welcomed with open arms and immediately felt right at home.

This family lives all over the country but tries to get together as a whole at least once a year – not an easy thing with so many different schedules. This year it happened in Florida because one of their daughters has four month old quadruplets (!!) so wanted to be able to drive to the destination.
They rented condos along the beach and everyone had a blast.
I got there in the middle of the afternoon and jumped right in – photographing the kids who were awake and on the beach.
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Blaine and Grey talk turkey as they take a walk 🙂

Grey loved being in the waves

Grey (top left) and Linden loved being in the pool

Once everyone ate an early dinner we started with individual family shots – trying to find some shade on such a bright afternoon! The dunes were a bit windy but we worked quickly and I had a great assistant – the matriarch of the family Susan who has an uncanny ability to make chicken noises 🙂

Alexander was not too psyched to be out of Mom’s arms!

Sylvia and Jack were champs at funny faces 🙂

Callie is the oldest Grandchild and helps keep everyone in order in the very best way 🙂

We took a break to go inside while the next family finished eating. Here is Grandpa John and Yates 🙂

Susan snapped this one of me and Linden playing in the waves 🙂

Blaine and Hayes were next with their Mom and Dad. Susy is pregnant so they will welcome a new sibling later this year!!

Chris and Christy were great and were the connection with Erica the original photographer. Christy is also pregnant so next year there will be 21 grandkids!!

Love the blonde 🙂

And last but not least Grey and her nine month old Brothers and Sisters Mac, Yates, Fitz, and Mimi – everyone loves having the babies around 🙂

With all the families photographed individually we headed out onto the beach for the main event – trying to get 31 people to all look the same way at the same time was a challenge but everyone was cooperative and there was a lot of laughter 🙂

After everyone changed into t-shirts that had been custom made for the occasion and we all hung out on the beach

The kiddos all got popsicles and we attempted a photo of Susan & John with all their grands – it pretty much worked 🙂

Then the Quads changed and got their own moment in the sun 🙂

The littlest ones went inside to change for bed but the older ones stayed on the beach to play in the beautiful light

Susan and John on the left and all the men on the right 🙂

Bocce got quite competitive (in a friendly way!)

And then it was inside for freshly made ice cream sandwiches courtesy of Callie. Yum 🙂

A little dance party got started

Each year they make a video of the family reunion and it has become a tradition to watch the older ones. The kids are fascinated to see themselves at a younger age and it is fun to see them grow up and to hear how their voices have changed 🙂

What a neat extended family!

Alexander and I made friends at the end since he thought my camera was totally irresistible 🙂

Thank you SO much for being so welcoming and for such a fun afternoon – you are a very very special family!

Office Makeover: The Big Reveal :)

Oooo eeee this post is a pathetically long time coming. I blame the office never being QUITE clean enough for after photos but today I made it happen 🙂

Almost a year ago (yeech!) I took these “before” photos and asked my fabulous friend Sarah (who had helped us re-design our living room) for some help with ideas.

As with almost all before photos I didn’t tidy, I didn’t clean, I just snapped away. Looking back I can’t believe we lived in this cluttered space for so long (3 1/2 years!!) but I guess life gets in the way and you get used to it…..now it looks terrible to me!
Every time I walked in the door this is what I saw – a chocker block bookshelf and a tangle of Jeff’s computer stuff – not so calming!

Strider is always curious as to what I’m up to

Although I can’t say my side was too much better – a jumble of shelves and wall art (closer view of the bulletin board can be found here)

All together it was just crazy

Once we got a newer cable system the TV no longer worked so that went out on the curb and was picked up within the hour (one of the benefits of living on a semi main road)

The closet doors hid a lot of clutter and also I didn’t really have a place to store my gear (those two black bags piled on top of each other).

Oy – it was a big hot mess!

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Then life happened and we decided to re-do the bedroom and make that a priority. So the office sat and as my quiet winter slow season drew to a close I decided I couldn’t work for another year in the cluttered office and wanted to make it a priority.
So one Sunday (maybe mid February? Can’t even remember) we pulled the doors off of the office and got to it- cleaning out, giving away, moving, shifting, etc. Of course as these things do it got worse before it got better
I sent this picture to my Mom along with some others of the office painted and she exclaimed that she couldn’t believe I lived in such disarray.
Come on, Mom – give me a little credit 🙂 This was when we were in the midst of sorting books and moving the bookcase so it only lasted about an hour (a very stressful hour!!)

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We painted one Sunday in late March after I realized it was the last full weekend day we would have at home for a loooooong time and thankfully at the end had help from our cousin Sarah who was picking up her doogles (it’s a rule in our house that we always have to have doggie guests when painting….it makes things more interesting!)

And so now……the big reveal 🙂
The wall color is Benjamin Moore for Pottery Barn’s Manchester Tan (HC-81) and we chose it because at that point I was planning to make valances for the two windows (not convinced that is going to happen anymore) and since I didn’t have a fabric picked out I wanted something neutral.
After painting it took a while to decide which artwork to decorate with but when a canvas sale came along I finally bit the bullet and made some decisions.
The photo on the back wall is one my Brother took of me for his project “Today” – it’s me walking with Strider and Sage in Vermont. You can see a larger version HERE
The photo hanging above Jeff’s desk is one of my favorites – taken last spring during a trip to Pennsylvania
Jeff tidied up his desk area by hiding most of the cords behind his hard drive and stacking them on top of each other – a HUGE improvement

We originally planned to build a shelf in the closet and stash my gear bags in there (and the dog bed underneath) but then decided that the bookshelf was better in there so my gear went on the table that used to house the TV and the doggie condo (an ENORMOUS dog bed that Jeff got me for Christmas a few years ago) is still within view….but we like it that way 🙂

My side of the room also got tidied. I used to store my filing boxes next to my desk but after cleaning off the shelves I made room on the bottom shelf further de-cluttering things.

The photo above my desk I took in 2006 on a very quiet morning at the lake. It always makes me feel calm and peaceful so I thought it was an appropriate thing to look at for most of my day 🙂
The paintings to the right used to hang in the living room but we thought they fit perfectly here – they were gifts for our wedding from friends and were painted by Vermont artist Anna Vreman – we love the colors and brightness

We ended up leaving the door off the closet for easier access but hung a fabric panel that Sarah gave me to make it look tidier. I believe the fabric is from the Dwell line and I’m pretty sure it’s still available at Jo-Ann’s (or at least it was a few months ago)

The print that hangs above the DVDs (the one thing I still don’t love but we didn’t have another place for them….thankfully for the most part Jeff has stopped adding to his collection!!) was a gift from a friend in Italy during our honeymoon there – happy memories 🙂

And the stuff that still remains when you open the curtain – putting the bookshelf in there made a huge difference to opening the room up and we almost never access most of the stuff in the closet – there just isn’t another place to store it. A hanging shoe bag is peeking out from the right side and some extra gear also lives here

Sage decided to join the party at this point 🙂

So there you have it – our new souped up office – no more pink and purple butterflies 🙂

It’s a very simple and serene space and just feels a lot tidier and more open than what we started with.

Success!!

Featured in Zach Prez’s "Photography Blog Success" E-Book

A few months ago I learned about Zach Prez who offers coaching and education to photographers on S.E.O. (Search Engine Optimization) strategies and general marketing tips. I devoured all of his e-books in a weekend and feel like I could focus on a new chapter every week – there is SO much content to absorb.

In May he came out with his newest e-book “Photography Blog Success” and I was totally honored to be one of the bloggers featured in the book. You can purchase the e-book through his website and I’ve included my contribution below.
I’ve been blogging since 2007 and this post is #1130….phew!
It’s been a very fun way to share my life and my business with people and I’m so grateful that people read and enjoy it.
Go check out Zach – he has great information to share.

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