Archive for January, 2009

January PUG Meeting

January 28, 2009

I had such a blast at our January PUG meeting, headed up by local photog Scarlett Lillian. Our huge group met up at Cafe Carmon in San Marco for some great conversation and delicious food before heading out for a night shoot. We were fortunate to have Cassie of Flaire Weddings & Events model for us, who is just tall and beautiful as can be. I recognized her from my friend Cory’s “Trash The Dress” session with her at the Jacksonville Fair.

We had so much fun that I could hardly believe it ended up being 4 HOURS LONG!! I was so tired by the end of the night. Plus I spent most of the night chatting instead of shooting. At dinner we sat with Ginger Dupre and her hubby Jon (who Matt chatted up a storm with!). It was great to see everyone (and I am happy to see quite a few Nikon shooters… woo hoo!). I am fully anticipating Cory making a comment on that one!

Here are a few of my shots from the evening:

Lily’s Maternity Session

January 27, 2009

This was such a beautiful and sacred shoot that I’m not even sure where to start talking about it or how to find the words. Lily and Mike are two incredibly special and amazing people, and it is so exciting that they are having a baby! When Lily told me they were pregnant (on Election Night) I couldn’t help the tears. I am so excited for them both!!

Since this was my first maternity session and my first time using the home “studio,” I was a little nervous about how things would go. Since I am not a mother, I wasn’t sure if I would be able to capture all of the emotion that Lily and Mike are feeling. Fortunately, they were so natural that it made my job very easy!

Best wishes to Mike, Lily, Zach, and baby Zoey! : )

This afternoon we met up with Jennifer & TJ for their engagement session! Most couples take a while to warm up to the camera, but these two were just relaxed as can be right from the beginning. Maybe it’s because we were all extra prepared for the shoot since we’ve been trying to schedule it since before the holidays (hehe… inside joke). Everything just came together. Though we didn’t have the colorful sunset that we had hoped for, I think the cloudy sky allowed for some really beautiful shots. We played with the sunlight before it hid behind the clouds for good, and then the soft overcast skies were perfect for the lake shots. I probably looked at the images on the camera and said “Oh, that one looks so sweet” more times than anyone could count, but I think you’ll see why below. They were just so natural and cute together! Thanks for making my job easy! We look forward to your beautiful spring wedding on the lake! : )

Time to get one for the other thumb! I tried not to get my hopes up. I get too emotional about football and have certainly been devastated in the playoffs, so I tried to keep cool. Even tonight, watching the game, I tried not to get too excited. We were playing well and kept our lead all night, but the refs apparently had it out for us. It wasn’t until Polamalu’s Pick 6 that it became real to me, and I was jumping up and down and then tears just started streaming down my face. We’re going to Tampa, baby!!

I am excited beyond belief. When I wake up tomorrow, I wonder if I will even believe that this really happened. The only thing that would make this better would be if Matt’s team had won the NFC Championship. I know he wants to be happy for me, but he’s really pissed that the Eagles lost. So many fingers to point, and the zebras definitely aren’t off the hook for that game either. But what it comes down to is that they didn’t play until the 2nd half, and they came back strong, but it just wasn’t enough. What sucks is that the Eagles came from by far the TOUGHEST division in the NFL and should not have lost to the Cardinals.

But it’s time to look forward, and in two weeks I will be seeing all of my friends in Tampa!! I can’t wait!

We had an awesome party at my friend Harvey’s place. His community has a private movie theatre and it was the perfect place for a football party. We were definitely a rowdy bunch, and I loved being among such hardcore fans. At the end of the game, someone broke out the champagne and toasted to our AFC Champions! Onward to another victory and another ring! Here we go, Steelers, here we go!!

On Saturday, I have the privilege of shooting Karolina and Ted’s wedding out at Jax Beach. They were too cute and didn’t mind at all being affectionate in front of the camera. Karolina made some of the most adorable expressions! : )

Here’s a peak at their special day:

I just heard about this exciting event on the blog of fabulous Jacksonville photographer Kara Pennington and I couldn’t wait to share it with my readers also! What a fun idea for a fundraiser! I think it is just genius. How can you NOT enjoy an event filled with so much caring, creativity and… CAKE! I am often amazed by the talent of cake artists. It truly is an art form and I am in awe by some of the beautiful creations that they come up with! Making a cake competition the centerpiece of a charitable event is just brilliant!! You know Matt and I are very much into being involved with charitable organizations, so I am just soooo PUMPED right now about this event!

About the event:

Let’s Eat Cake! is a wedding cake competition, featuring Wedding Cake confections from all over the United States. Bakers will feature their cakes to be judged by Local and National Culinary Celebrities. In addition bakers will be asked to make enough cake to feed the general public, so that they may judge the cakes as well!

Our Goal is to raise $50,000 for this extremely worthy cause, we know times are tough for everyone out there. But that doesn’t mean that doesn’t mean that kids still aren’t getting sick. Please help spread the word about our goal, and our mission. If you can help financially, that’d be great, if you are blogging about this right now…. your spreading the word – and that’s all we can ask for!

If you’d like to attend, donate, or receive more info, visit the Let’s Eat Cake! blog.

AND . . .

For this week only, Melissa has pledged to donate $1 for every blog on which Let’s Eat Cake! details appear. So make a post and email a link to Melissa at!

Last night Matt and I shot Alisa and Ivan’s beautiful wedding. The ceremony took place at the Oceanside Church of Christ and was followed by a reception at the River City Brewing Company. Everyone was so wonderful to work with and so much fun (like the wedding caravan that kept honking the horn all the way up to the entrance to announce the arrival of the newlyweds). The reception music was awesome thanks to Bill Jones of ProShow Disc Jockey Service. I was so impressed with how well he responded to the unique requests from guests who all wanted to hear Russian music.

It was a very fun time and Alisa and Ivan were a very sweet couple. They were both a little shy before the wedding, but once the ceremony was over they opened up and had such a great time! Matt and I wish you both a life full of love and happiness together!

More Holiday Photos

January 5, 2009

Somewhere in between three photo shoots and spending time with family, Matt and I did some touristy things during our holiday travel. After our shoot with Shannon & Dave, we went to Primanti Brothers for one of their famous sandwiches. Nothing says Pittsburgh more than a sandwich with french fries and cole slaw on it! : ) They are so delicious!

A shot of the beautiful landmark PPG Industries headquarters (Pittsburgh Plate Glass, which is why the building looks like a huge glass castle). In the courtyard of the PPG building is a beautiful outdoor skating rink with a huge tree in the middle (see Shannon & Dave’s pics for a shot of the rink).

In Connecticut, we went to visit some of the historic homes in Hartford. We originally planned to go to the Mark Twain house, but the long wait led us to take a tour of the neighboring Harriett Beecher Stowe house. Even though the house itself was not as grand as Twain’s house, it was definitely the more interesting one to tour. I highly recommend it for anyone who visits Hartford!

Mark Twain’s House

Harriett Beecher Stowe’s House

Katharine Seymour Day House
Katarine Seymour Day was the grandneice of Harriett Beecher Stowe, and she bought Stowe’s home and led the efforts to purchase and preserve Twain’s house as well. The Day House is now the location of the Stowe Center administrative offices. We were given access to the first floor of the house from our tour guide, Gloria. Of all the houses, this one was definitely the most beautiful!

I’m so thankful that there are people out there preserving pieces of history like this. Matt and I love to visit historic homes when we get a chance. They are definitely much more interesting than battlegrounds, which really look like more than nothing but an empty field! : )

Happy New Year!!

January 2, 2009

Looking back on 2008, I have to say it was a great year! So many exciting things happened…

I got married!
I got my Peanut!
I finally finished my Masters!
I got a promotion at work!
And I started my own company!
(not in this order)

Wow, I have been a busy girl! The year flew by and I didn’t even realize just how much I had done in 2008. I was actually hoping that in 2009 I would get to travel more, but when I look at the past 12 months I have been to so many places…

Miami, FL * Orlando, FL * Tampa, FL * St. Augustine, FL * Tallahassee, FL * Sarasota, FL * Sebring, FL * Ocho Rios, Jamaica * Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands * New Orleans, LA * Abita Springs, LA * San Diego, CA * Los Angeles, CA * Temecula, CA * Pittsburgh, PA * Latrobe, PA * New York, NY * Middletown, CT * Kalamazoo, MI * Albany, NY * Saratoga Springs, NY * Lancaster, SC * Charleston, SC * Buffalo, NY * Rochester, NY * Williamsburg, VA * Savannah, GA

I’m already scheduled to go back to many of the locations listed above in 2009 and I hope to add quite a few others! I can just tell this is going to be an exciting year. I have been blessed already with so many wonderful opportunities and I am so eager for all of them to happen!!

This year, I want to be more centered as a person, so I am hoping to focus on becoming a better “Me” – mind, body, and soul.

The biggest task for the Mind goal is to become more organized. Sometimes my workspace feels like a distraction because it’s not as organized as I would like. It’s just very busy, as is my house in general. Despite donating bags upon bags of clothing and other things, we still have A LOT of STUFF! I guess that is what happens when two people move in together. We have more stuff than we have space, even with 3 bedrooms to ourselves!

I am going to treat my body better! I want to look better and feel better physically, which will definitely help also with the Mind and Soul goals. I’m joining up in a Biggest Loser contest at work and start my Jenny Craig consultations again tomorrow. I really miss the ladies at JC. They were so positive and fabulous, but the program is a little expensive. But… considering how much I eat out because I don’t have time to plan meals, it’s going to cost a lot less in the long run!

One big goal I have is to go to church more often! Sometimes I can’t help it because I’m just out of town so much, but when I’m in town I need to suck it up and not sleep in on Sundays. Sometimes it’s such a challenge because it’s usually the one day I can sleep in, but I can live without that extra hour of sleep! What I can’t live without is the power of His word!

I also just want to take more personal time in general. I’m insanely busy… always working… but I need to take more time to hang out with friends and have a date night with my hubby. Too many times this year I’ve had to decline to hang out with people, so I am going to MAKE time for my friends!

New Year’s Day was a very interesting, but very fun, day. We made our way back from our holiday travel and stopped along the way in Williamsburg. We did a tasting at the Williamsburg Winery and had a light snack at the tavern. We definitely need to have a wine and cheese party soon!

Despite having on one of his adorable little sweaters, Peanut was freezing as we walked around! So Matt stuck him in his jacket. So cute!

We stayed longer than expected in Williamsburg (thanks in part to Ye Olde Speed Trappe) and knew we weren’t going to make it back to Jax before midnight. So we made a stop in Savannah and counted down to 2009 in Market Square. We’ve been talking about going to Savannah for New Year’s, so we finally did and only spent $15 for parking and beer! Nice!

I look forward to sharing all of the adventures of 2009 year with you! HAPPY NEW YEAR!!