Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Brandon and Kelsey :: Married! (Houston, Tx)

"I don't know why she picked me" Brandon said to me, "but I'm so happy she did." This sums up not only Brandon and Kelsey as a couple, but their wedding day. This man, adores this woman, and she glows under his love and attention. Together they make a beautiful couple that radiate a gentle joy.

I don't have a lot to say about this wedding that wouldn't sound cliche - but the words would be uniquely true and new and alive for these two.
Photobucket
Photobucket
There was a lot of friendship. A lot of laughter. A lot of excitement.
Photobucket
Photobucket
There was a lot of people that came a really long way to celebrate with these two. It was mentioned that they had people as far as Scotland and China. And I couldn't help but think that these two are so loved for people to make that kind of trip, and how much that says about these two together.
Photobucket
Photobucket

Brandon and Kelsey did a First Look - and I think it took the cake as my absolute favorite of first look moments. Brandon was calm. Kelsey was bouncing, and smiling, and scrunching her shoulders to her ears in excitement.
Photobucket

We had the chance to take a handful of photos before the wedding party came out to join us, were blessed with the most yummy light. I could get used to Texas in December if this is the result!
Photobucket
Kelsey smiled like this all day.
Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket
FAVORITE.
Photobucket

Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket

Ceremony.......
Photobucket
Married!
Photobucket

We ran over to the reception site, and got a few more photos in before calling it party time.
Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket
We waited out the sun a little bit, and I absolutely love how soft this one came out (straight out of camera for my camera friends out there)
Photobucket

Okay just a few more here.....I snuck out during dinner to take a photo of the building at night.
Photobucket
And these might actually be my very favorite first dance photos ever
Photobucket

And farewell!
Photobucket

Brandon and Kelsey - thank you for inviting me to be a part of your day, and for welcoming me with open arms into your family. I hope you are having an amazing time in San Diego, and wish you an amazing first Christmas together!!

CLICK HERE to see the slideshow!!!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Baby Shower: Joy and Anders

About a month ago, I had the extreme pleasure of hosting Anders baby shower for my beautiful friend, Joy. I decided early on to do a rubber duck/bath time themed shower, and spent weeks scouring the internet for non-cheezy, fun ideas for decor, food, and games. I was recommended to a delicious bakery in Lisle, John Dough, for the cupcakes and cookies. Here are a few snapshots of the results!

Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket

Sunday, November 14, 2010

200th Post, Birthdays, and 5 years of love

200th. This is my 200th blog post!! I can't even believe that enough time has gone by to sustain 200 blog posts. For the sake of nostalgia, I tracked down the very first blog post I made. Sarah brought me with to Tony and Valerie's engagement session on Navy Pier. It was a dreary, wet day and I had borrowed my mom's Canon XTi camera and lens to use for the shoot. I very distinctly remember getting out car after parking, pushing my camera at Sarah and saying "I don't even know what to look for to make sure this is set up right for this.". I ended up accidentally shooting the entire shoot at 1600 ISO. Thankfully no one was counting on me for usable photos! Take a look....HERE..... thankfully I've gotten better :) I treasure that shoot though because it was the start of the crazy, thrilling dream of mine.

200 posts...and my birthday. Today is my 25th birthday, and I have embraced this birthday with open arms, and excitement. I have a dream list for this year. I figured I'd start it now instead of at the new year. The list is full of intensely personal goals, life goals like "stay healthy this year", and "mark the moment" kind of things. One of my favorite quotes is from Ben Stein and it says "the first thing to getting what you want out of life is this: know what you want.". So this year, I'm asking for things, I'm dreaming for things, and I'm making very specific requests from life.

200 posts, my birthday....and 5 years of love. 5 years ago, Nick was working three jobs, one part-time with me, one one the other part-time days, and one that he usually worked until midnight. I came into work on my birthday morning, and he came up to my desk and placed a tin in front of me with a birthday card in a red envelope on top. The tin held mint chocolate chip cookies that he made for me at 1am that morning, and they came with a dinner date invitation. Around a mouthfull of cookies, we settled on that Saturday night. It felt like the longest week of my life that week. I was so sure Saturday was neeeeeverrrrr going to come. But it did, and we fell in love, and this year marks 5 years of being together. 5 years of loving. 5 years of learning. 5 years of compromising. 5 years of being best friends. Nick makes me cookies, or some form of dessert, every year for my birthday. This year, I came home from lunch with my mom yesterday to find him standing by the kitchen table, with these scrumptious cupcakes (and home made frosting), and this box waiting for me :)

(I used my point and shoot camera....photographers are allowed to have them!)
Photobucket
Photobucket

The box? Held this. And I'm in love. It's so beautiful!
Photobucket

It's a big day today. And Nick has made this such an amazing birthday. I'm so grateful for every new year of cookies. And I'm so excited about this next year.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Pete, Joy and Anders :: The Neal Family

For some reason out of all the memories I have of Pete and Joy planning their wedding, the one that stands out the most to me is of me and Joy driving through Algonquin, me with books and folders of wedding planning notes and ideas sliding around on my lap, and talking about chair rentals and caterers. They put together a beautiful, beautiful wedding, full of personal things. Personal places. Personal people. Because that's who they are. They are personal people. They have a love for people. A passion to know the people around them, and to connect in their lives. So they pulled this personal-ness into their marriage. And I get to be a recipient of that. Joy moved to Michigan after she married Pete, and she went from being 15 minutes away from me to 3(ish) hours away. We have spent the years since making phone dates, gchatting when we're able to, and sending the occasional lengthy catch up email when it has just been too much time in between calls.

On one phone date recently, Joy told me that they were "trying". This was the first phone call I've ever had with a girlfriend about it. The official "we're ready for the next season of life" phone call. The "we're adult enough to handle an infant!" phone call!! I was happy and thrilled and ready to ask every month if it was time to start buying receiving blankets and onsies. And then? It happened. The "it's positive" text came through, followed by a lot of screeching and excited chattering over the phone. Their son is set to be born right after the first of the year!

First comes love....
Photobucket

The comes marriage....
Photobucket

Then come baby in a baby carriage!!
Photobucket

Photobucket

I sprained my back two days before we did this shoot. I was hopped up on vicodin, moving like a 94 year old, and these two dealt with me like champs! It was almost amusing - and quite possibly the slowest shoot I've ever done.

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Joy is one of those obnoxious women that look good. All the time. For instance - here? She's 7 months pregnant, and wearing size 2 jeans! No belly bands or anything - just a rubber band rigged to lengthen the button space. But yeah. Size 2.
Photobucket
Photobucket

Favorite.
Photobucket

Second favorite.
Photobucket

Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket

I was talking to Pete while Joy tottered off to change outfits and he says to me "yeah, she's so beautiful. I can't believe how attracted I am to her." My heart melted there on the spot. First of all, how romantic is that?! Secondly - this is one of my best friends. And he loves her. And that makes my heart happy.
Photobucket

Love you both so much. And this baby is going to be so blessed. And so social :) CLICK HERE for a slideshow!!!