On a family trip to San Francisco and California wine country, Alex popped the question! Cassandra said yes and they’re excitedly planning a November 2019 wedding! Cass also just happens to be my younger cousin, so I couldn’t have been more honored when they asked me to capture their engagement photos. The drizzle started to fall and the clouds had rolled in before we started our session but thankfully the rain passed through and we made the most of the gorgeous Brandywine Valley views.
This time last week I was somewhere over the Atlantic Ocean, contemplating all the previous 5 days had held, while preparing to return to my usual every day duties and family. I was both sad to say goodbye to Paris and at the same time, ready to come hug my family. It’s funny how even the most beautiful places in the world, if they don’t hold the people you love, they can lose their luster. I have to say though, the luster of Paris had not at all dimmed. Actually, I felt like I was just beginning to scratch the surface.
We had every day full to the brim of sights, adventures and tastes, but it still wasn’t enough to even cover all the ground that there is to cover in a city like Paris. If anything, it will give me reason to try to get back. I know in these days and times in the world, people can look down on travel. I think though that travel can expand our horizons, as well as giving us a break from the monotony of the places we go, the roads we drive, the views we see…and even the food we eat. It helps us to get outside of ourselves and try something new.
As a photographer, the views and sights were constant inspiration. From pretty flowered window boxes to perfectly crafted afternoon lattes, I never wanted for visual inspiration. It’s also impossible to be in a place like Paris and not feel all the history. Standing in Shakespeare and Company knowing that Ernest Hemingway (among others) would walk into that very spot to borrow books…it just gets to you. Nothing beats standing in front of the real thing of Van Gogh’s or Monet’s paintings that I had studied about. It was almost overwhelming to me the amount of art I got to take it and I only went to ONE art museum while I was there. I didn’t even get to step foot in the Louvre because lets face it, there’s 8 miles of indoor corridors full of art. I would never get to it all.
And then there’s the nameless art of all the churches and cathedrals. The artists hands were on every details of places like Notre Dame and San Chapelle, yet they remained individually nameless. I was talking with my parents about it, people today would never sign up to contribute to building something they wouldn’t see completed in their lifetime. A chapel that takes over 200 years and countless craftsmen is just as much a magnificent work of art as any famous painting.
I can’t even hardly sum up what it feels like to sit on the bed in the afternoon, with the open window, hearing violin music riding in on the breeze and viewing the side of Notre Dame. I could hear the church bells and the motorcycle rumbles in the street. I could hear the voices carry up to my window with French and sip the hot dark roast coffee each day. It’s kind of hard to compare that to my East coast suburban minivan mom life.
And yet, I know that this is where I am called right now. I am so thankful for the experience, the memories made with my parents and the opportunity to rekindle a little bit of my love for other cultures and places. I am thankful also to come home to a loving husband and children, ready to dive back into the car pools and homework. It’s the memory of Paris that will stick with me, reminding me that there is a big beautiful world out there and some day I might get to see some more of it. Right now, I will be content with my hot starbucks on the way to pick up my kids and just remember what it was like to sip a latte on a Paris street cafe.
“There is never any ending to Paris and the memory of each person who has lived in it differs from that of any other. We always returned to it no matter who we were or how it was changed or with what difficulties, or ease, it could be reached. Paris was always worth it and you received return for whatever you brought to it.” ― Ernest Hemingway, A Moveable Feast
Here’s a handful of images I pulled from my literal hundreds to share with you…
So many of us are running businesses either from home or in offices that require us to have a visual presence on the internet. I think this is a great time in our history where we truly can be working from anywhere! It also can be a lot of pressure to feel like you need to upgrade those head shots or have a few professional shots to use in your social media outlets. I can assure you that we can accomplish this goal in 30 minutes with good lighting :) Reach out to me today if you're interested! email@example.com
"May you grow up to be righteous
May you grow up to be true
May you always know the truth
And see the lights surrounding you
May you always be courageous
Stand upright and be strong
And may you stay forever young"
Enjoy this sweet summer evening session of siblings that I shot this last week. I hope it brings a smile to your Monday!
Summer reading is something I have to try to convince my kids to do, but it's something I absolutely love to do! As a kid, I remember some summers we couldn't get back to the library fast enough for me to choose more books. I also remember though other summers, reluctantly following my mom through our local book story having to find the "required reading" books for each grade. I think maybe it's the difference between being told what to read and reading what you want to read?! I'm going to share a few recent reads here and maybe you'll find something that you want to check out!
Emily Giffin, All We Ever Wanted
I think this was a timely novel and an easy, enjoyable read. It really made me think about the way kids are growing up these days with constant internet exposure, as well was the threat of being exposed in some type of vulnerable situation. This novel sparks conversations about integrity, privilege, and allegiances in the teenage years. I would definitely recommend this read!
Frank McCourt, Angela's Ashes
This memoir has won awards for good reason. It's written from the view point of Frank McCourt, starting in his very early years in a New York City apartment and spans through his young adulthood and return to New York City. The bulk of his growing up though, occurs in a small town in Ireland, during the depression and potato famine. This heartfelt tale of growing up, life and loss in a small Irish town will tug at your heart strings and make you laugh. The themes also included life as a devout catholic and having an alcoholic father. Although this read is a little dense (lots of words on a page), I found it easy to read and enjoyable, even though he's often describing hardship. If you have any Irish heritage at all, this is a must read!
Rhys Bowen, Farleigh Field
You know I love a good historical fiction based in WWII. I rarely grow weary of those, although I have read so many! This novel falls into that category and it was still enjoyable. I found myself rooting for the main characters as they unravel a mystery. I picked this up while we were away at the beach and it made for a quick, easy summer read for me. I would recommend this one!
Garth Stein, Art of Racing in the Rain
I dare you to read this one without tissues! It's written from the perspective of the family dog, as the family grows and inevitably changes. I found it tender, sad, heart wrenching and happy all at the same time! If you're a dog lover (or even if you aren not), you will enjoy this story of family life amidst hardship and hope. I definitely recommend!
Emily Ley, A Simplified Life
Approach this book as more of a "how to" and you'll be set up for success. I zipped through this as I read Emily Ley's suggestions for simplifying different areas of life. She encourages us to strip down the clutter, chaos, and complications we bring to every day tasks from our makeup routine to our house cleaning. There are definitely some tips I will be taking with me from this one! I would recommend if you are looking for some helpful tips as you head into a fall routine.
Laura Chapman, Sunburn
I picked up this beach mystery because it's opening scene played out on one of my favorite local beaches, Fenwick Island. The novel is also set in Delaware so I thought it would appeal to me. It had a lot of twists and turns, yet I struggled to enjoy it. I have to usually find characters that I find redeeming or want to root for, I didn't really feel this way with this novel and the ending was a big disappoint to me. I say skip this one.
Kids Pic: Katherine Applegate, One and Only Ivan
This is a great story told from the perspective of an ape in captivity. I read it to the kids and they all loved it. It's broken into easy pages and chapters if you have young readers that want to try to read some with you. It was a great summer read with a hopeful ending, the kind I like with the kids involved!
This passed week we squeezed in a session before a rain storm with my brother and sister in law. They're expecting their first baby, a girl, within the next two weeks! We couldn't be more excited for another baby to snuggle and hold...then give right back :) Enjoy a few images from our summer evening session!
When we met in the coffee shop in the middle of winter, and I just knew Jen would make a beautiful bride! Her bubbly and sweet personality is genuine, which was made apparent by all the wedding guests young and old who adore Jen! It was easy to see why she and David made a good match. I loved hearing their plans for a small wedding party with a simple, sweet church reception. We had no idea when we discussed their July wedding, that we would wake up to such a gorgeous day of weather after a heat wave! We were all so thankful for the mild weather, allowing us to capture outdoor portraits without feeling entirely melted. Here's just a small selection for you to enjoy from their wedding day!
I am still booking for select 2018 wedding dates, with custom packages available for closer dates! Reach out to me today for pricing and availability, firstname.lastname@example.org
Good morning internet friends, how's the heat wave treating you on this second day of July? As I sit and write, we are temporarily moved in with family as we await moving into our new home later this summer. I can truly say I understand why people put moving right up there with grieving. It's exhausting both mentally and physically. We have everything in storage and will have to move again once it's time to settle on the new house. I am currently mentally preparing to have to do it all again! BUT I cannot say enough that I am so thankful that we sold our previous home very quickly and everything went smoothly. I am also extremely thankful that we have family willing to let us stay for the summer!
June was a blur but we were very lucky to escape to North Carolina for the first week of the month before we had to do the big move so I thought I would share a few of those images with you this morning. It's a sweet time for me to try to slow down time and reflect over all that is changing and growing this summer. For those that have followed me for a longer time, my twins turned 9 on Friday! It's amazing how the time passes and yet I am trying to live in the moment even in all the transition. Have a great week and stay cool!
"Summer afternoon—summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language."
This sweet family session was a large multi-generation shoot over the weekend out in Maryland. The warm summer sun and slight breeze made it a perfect evening session. I just wanted to share a few this morning of these cute siblings! R was celebrating his 5th birthday on that day so it made it extra fun to capture him on his actual birthday with his family!
Hope you have a wonderful week! This is moving week for us so say a prayer for us! Not only is it crazy with camps, VBS and life in general, I think the heat index is over 100 degrees the next few days :)
I confess that I have been otherwise so busy with prepping to sell our home and moving that I have neglected my blog. Today though, it's worth a few moments pause to think on those who have given all to defend our American freedoms. With all the division of views, thoughts and beliefs in our current U.S. political climate, we do well to remind ourselves of our common cause. At the end of the day, we are better to stick together and remember those who have given their lives for our rights.
"Ladies and Gentlemen: I appear to say but a word. This extraordinary war in which we are engaged falls heavily upon all classes of people, but the most heavily upon the soldier. For it has been said, all that a man hath will he give for his life; and while all contribute of their substance the soldier puts his life at stake, and often yields it up in his country's cause. The highest merit, then is due to the soldier."
--Abraham Lincoln, March 18, 1864 Remarks at Sanitary Fair, Washington, D.C.
It's with a heavy heart I share the news that Gianna passed from earth to heaven on Saturday night, surrounded by her family. I did not feel like this was coincidence as we all sat in church together yesterday morning crying and praying for her family. We were gathered as a church within hours of her passing. It's hard to explain, especially to all the kids who have been praying for her. She got her miracle and healing, but it just wasn't this side of heaven.
Oh what an ache her family will walk through in the days and weeks and years to come, noticing that empty seat at the table. So many would ask why would God allow this sweet little soul, a Chinese orphan with a literal broken heart, to come to know a forever family, only to be taken from them in such short years? I admit, I have wondered this myself. Her family has shown so much faith, even as they wrestled. They are now in mourning, yet it is not without hope.
The Lord is close to the brokenhearted
and saves those who are crushed in spirit. Psalm 34: 18
Gia's mom, Johanna, shared again today the long but beautiful story of Gia becoming a part of their family on her blog if you would like to read it. So it is with a heavenly perspective I will try to live out this week and be reminded that Gods ways are not our ways.
If you have been following the story and felt led to give to help with the extensive medical expenses, go here to do so.
Hello friends, I know it has been a while and forgive me for that! I have found myself in the buys swirl of life with four young children and a business. How is spring treating you so far? I say spring, but it's basically felt like an eternal winter here in the Northeast but I digress. I thought it a good time to confess a few things about what's been going on with me lately! I'm starting today with a heart of gratitude, remembering that I have so many things that I once had only prayed for.
1. If you've been following on Facebook, you've seen me share some posts on a sweet young girl from our church named Gia, who is still currently in the fight for her life in Boston Children's Hospital. If you are a person who prays, please lift her up if you can today. Lots of decisions being made in regards to next steps and her exhausted parents need our prayers! (This is on 3 weeks of being on life support and so many complications).
2. I confess that I have been trying to find a better routine/rhythm for workouts that just "whatever I can fit into the week." In all honesty though, I have basically just been trying to fit in at least 3 or 4 workouts a week but I know I need to do more to see results. I have been doing a mix of my old favorite T25, classes at the Y and running outside. What's been your favorite workout to keep you motivated lately?
3. I am SO late to the party but I have been watching episodes of Friday Night Lights and The Good Wife on Amazon prime. It's a good mix of high school football theme drama and an intriguing legal show..both serve as great shows to fold laundry to :) And now I totally get the "Tammy Taylor for President" vibe now! What are you watching these days?
4. I am starting the potty training process with my youngest and I feel like we are both half hearted about it but it's time to try. What worked best for you with potty training?
5. I am trying to drink more water and am enjoying LaCroix. Are you a water drinker? How do you jazz it up so that you don't get sick of just plain H20?
I hope you have a great week ahead!
We got a beautiful new niece a couple weeks ago over the first weekend of March and she couldn't be sweeter! Her big sister P is just a little over a year old and very curious as to what this little baby is doing at her house. Thankfully the cousins all played with Miss P to keep her happy while I snuck up to the nursery to snag some photos of little Miss M. Her nursery has lots of sweet floral touches crafted by Grandma! It's such a cute little room for a tiny new little sister. May Miss P & Miss M grow up to be close in spirit! I've always wanted a sister of my own so thankfully life has given me great sister-in-laws. Congrats to you Ashley & Ken, she's beautiful and we can't wait to see her grow into her own person.
“A sister is a gift to the heart. A friend to the spirit. A golden thread to the meaning of life.” ~Unknown
Oh March, you "came in like a wrecking ball" for sure and we have the roof damage to prove it. Was anyone else affected by Friday's crazy storm here in the northeast? It's already later in to the day and I've been working on editing as well as life/house stuff so I'll keep it short but I've been missing my Monday Confessions posts lately! The big excitement around here is that we got a new niece yesterday and I can't wait to meet her, Makenzie Elizabeth! Our kiddos are excited to have another cousin and I am looking forward to some baby snuggles :)
So here's what's on my mind today...
1. I went to a killer boot camp workout this morning which actually put in to question whether or not I am "in shape" at all! I realize that levels of fitness are different for everyone but whew, she tried to kill us through burpees, squats and weights. I hope that I can get up off my desk chair after writing this!
2. My most favorite recent book I've read is Little Fires Everywhere, by Celeste Ng. It's beautiful writing and characters with a bit of 90's nostalgia and I found myself lost in the story. Definitely put it on hold at your local library or get it on your kindle if you are looking for a good spring break read!
3. Speaking of Spring Break....my kids break starts this Thursday! They are excited and yet I see snow in the forecast so it's just not the "spring" feeling I was wishing for but we will have to find some fun adventures anyway to make it a good time off.
4. My favorite Spotify channel lately has been the "afternoon acoustic" or Johnnyswim on repeat. What music or vibe are you loving these days?
5. I got these TOMS for my birthday and I adore them. Wedges look put together but are still good for a mama chasing a toddler. What are some fashion favorites you're looking at this spring?
I hope you have a beautiful week full of sunshine and coffee, two of my other favorite things!!
I don't know formal statistics but from people I know in real life, it's very common these days for men and women to be running independent businesses from home. I know friends doing everything from skin care, to fitness, to health and vitamins sales. With the internet, the options for running home businesses has expanded exponentially but the thing that remains is that each person wants to keep a professional online image. Are you in the market for a fresh headshot to use on your business or media? Are you ready to update a resume on online profile and need a new headshot? I am offering headshot packages but on location and in a studio setting if you prefer. Here's a recent handful of images from a happy customer running her online business!
Headshot packages starting at just $150. Contact me today for pricing and availability, email@example.com
"To do the useful thing, to say the courageous thing, to contemplate the beautiful thing: that is enough for one man's life. " - T. S. Eliot
These cold and dreary winter days have me dreaming of warmer temps, and contemplating the beautiful. I thought I would take a few minutes today to share a beautiful bride from a styled shoot I was a part of, the beautiful Camille!
styled shoot vendors:
|| planning, design, teaching @mandaweaver || workshop @seasidebride || vintage rentals @alittlerustyshop || florals @flourishfloralartistry || ribbon @tornandtied || HMUA @tanglesandknots || models @camilleeonair & Sutton || calligraphy/signage @calligraphetteco || champs @onehope || gown @lulus
We are here in the freezing tundra that is currently the East Coast and waiting for more freezing rain later today. I have to confess that I sometimes succumb to the winter blues, especially after Christmas and with this really cold weather. The Christmas is put away and I'm printing off the memories (print those photos friends!), so I need some other things to perk up my attitude! I thought I might share some of my recent favorites for today's installment of Monday Confessions.
1. The Greatest Showman & soundtrack: I saw this with my two older kids over the weekend and loved it. I didn't want it to be over! It was just a fast moving, fun movie with lots of dancing and singing, as well as creative license with history. I know it's probably not super accurate but I adored both Hugh Jackman and Zac Efron in this musical. I actually was glad to see Michelle Williams again too (all you Dawson's Creek girls know what I mean!). My twins really enjoyed the music and dancing as well, but I am glad I left the 6 year old at home because I don't think it would've been his favorite. It's pretty much impossible not to come home from the movie and turn the soundtrack right on!
2. My Rae Dunn Mug: These simple but cute reminders are fun additions to any kitchen. I have the "blessed" one but have seen so many other fun ones out there!
3. Gel Manicures: I know a gel manicure is a little more pricey but I got one before Christmas that is still going strong. My hands are taking such a beating in this dry, cold winter air so it's nice to still have paint that stays in tact. Anyone have a favorite recent polish color you're loving?
4. Hot Cinnamon Sunset Tea; I love this tea because it's so full of flavor you absolutely don't need to add anything to it to make it drinkable. It's perfect for me as my afternoon snack because I am on a quest to eat less sugar. I'm trying to learn to embrace flavors of real food not enhanced with sweeteners.
5. AE High Rise Jeggings: My college years were full of a fondness for American Eagle denim. Unfortunately now after having 4 kids, those low rise situations are not what they used to be. I am so thankful I stumbled across the AE Hi Rise jegging that comes in all shapes, sizes and stretch available. God bless the stretch and higher rise! It holds everything in nicely and still allows for style and movement, as well as being available in all types of washes. You might have to stop in to try them on in store or size up (I had to go up one size from my higher end jeans size).
I hope this week you find some small joys within the mundane and stay warm!!!
As we roll into a new year and we are in the middle of the biggest engagement season of the year, I thought I would share some ways to capture the grooms details that are important. Obviously brides get much deserved attention on the wedding day, but the groom has some things he will want to remember as well! As you prepare for your or a friends' wedding day, think through if the groom has special cufflinks, gifts for his groomsmen, a gift or letter from the bride, etc. These are the things we don't want to forget because chances are, they were thought about and planned for just as much as the rest of the wedding day!
Tips for fellow photographers: Try to keep with the color story of the wedding for cohesiveness in the imagery (helps with prints and albums later) and also look around for masculine feeling textures or surfaces. These will help bring the details to life but be a contrast to the usually feminine and light bride's details.
For the record today I am on my third cup of coffee, my kids have only been in school 2 of the last 21 days and it feels like a negative temperature outside. It's Friday and I feel the need to have some sign of productivity and sharing in my life. I feel a little warmer just thinking about wedding season! Images in this post shot by Emily while second shooting for @TracyFleckPhotography in 2017. If you are recently engaged or might be getting a ring soon, check with me about available wedding dates for 2018.
As I sit here on the first morning of a new year, my coffee has gone cold and it's only a whopping 8 degrees out. I confess that I did not necessarily do everything I set out to do in 2017. If I am really honest, I feel like 2017 raced right over me. It truly has been the fastest year of my life. I remember clearly sitting in a coffee shop the week before the end of the year last year filling out these pages of hopes, dreams and goals for 2017...but what I really felt like happened was I just held on tight for the crazy ride!
I think the best way for me to start this year is to look at what the 2017 intentions were and see how I did! These were 5 intentions I set last January and here's my res
1. Self-Care needs to be a better priority - I think this needs to stay a goal for me. Getting back on track with water, exercise, sleep, vitamins and showers :) I am only half kidding here about the showers... being a mom hasn't gotten any easier this year, just different as the kids age. The only way we will all survive is if I survive! I want to get back into a morning workout routine and set weekly goals.
2. Spiritual focus- I do feel like I made some progress in this area and read through several different series with She Reads Truth. I know that this element of my life has to stay a priority to keep everything else in balance.
3. I want to be committed to the creative process this year.... fail, fail, failed on this one. I struggled to just be creative when not forced. I did get to be a part of a great photography workshop in April that was encouraging and helped me create for the fun of it. It would be good for me to find another workshop to attend in person or online this year. The in person aspect of the April workshop allowed me to make some new friendships that I have valued this year!
4. Renewal in relationships... I'm not really sure how to "measure" this one but I know it needs to remain a focus for me, especially with my immediate family. Allowing my family to act as a mirror to my own heart is important. I need to grow in how I relate with them and not grow complacent.
5. Keep reading... I haven't kept a count but I was pretty consistent in reading this year. I read through a lot of non-fiction, which I want to balance out with some fresh fiction this year as well. I learn so much from reading and if I am honest, many days come and go without adult interaction other than talking to Matt. That can be really hard on my naturally outgoing personality. Reading is a way to feed my brain and soul even if I sometimes find myself isolated in my little family world.
I just finished reading Wonder and saw the movie with the kids! If you haven't read it, I highly recommend it and then see the movie too, totally worth it :) Great book to start the year on!
"Joy to The world! the Lord is come
Let earth receive her King
Let ev'ry heart prepare him room
And heaven and nature sing" ~Joy to the World
May this Christmas day find you surrounded with love, laughter and the truth that Christ came for you too! Now that Christmas is here, allow me to share a few of my favorite images from our fall session with Christina Vance Photography. She's wonderful and I am so, so thankful to have some updated family images that include Benjamin!