Holiday Struggles

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It's the most wonderful time of the year!

But not for everyone.

 

Hear me out. This season is filled with all things merry and bright, like traditions old and new, trees and lights, cookies and family, music and happy memories! But this isn't the case for everyone. I was recently reminded that the holidays are extremely hard for others. For those who are struggling financially, who aren't surrounded by loved ones, who struggle with depression in the winter months, who feel stressed by trying to keep up, for those who are working while their families celebrate without them, for those have lost loved ones, for those who are reminded of pain from past holidays, etc... 

These people aren't being the grinch. They aren't being party poopers. They aren't cold hearted. They're simply humans who don't find the holidays joyful. They're hurting for different reasons and they don't need our judgement. All they need is a gift any one of us can give to them. 

The gift of compassion, empathy and kindness. All they need is for us to show them love and let them know they are seen, heard and loved. 

That's it.

This holiday season, I ask you guys to join me in being mindful and gifting kindness to everyone around us. Practice extra patience and shine light wherever you go!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to each of you, whether you're celebrating traditionally or not.

xo

Liesel + Ted | Carleton Farm Wedding WA

When I asked Liesel and Ted if they had a theme for their wedding, Liesel answered "fun; hopefully people will be up and about, with lots of dancing!" This is the same bride who told me she chose her dress with the intention of doing alot of spinning and dancing in it (as she twirled about 5x for me)! I was sold on her wedding already by this point.

They chose Carleton Farms in Lake Stevens as their venue. Upon arriving, I could see why they chose the location. On the opposite side of the large barn filled with guests mingling with cocktails was a lawn overlooking fields of corn, with lights strung from the gazebo stage to the barn. Out in the open air, the couple exchanged vows and hosted a reception right on the lawn as the sun faded behind the treeline! And forget a fancy plated meal and cake. These two opted for two of their favorite things by bringing in local vendors to make pizzas and ice cream sandwiches for their guests! A live band brought life to dance floor as Liesel danced with her father (who you'll see is also a professional dancer), Ted danced with his mother and then the newlyweds swayed together. Guests danced under the night sky and fulfilled their late-night snack hungers with hotdogs over the firepit. 

Guys, I hope you had the wedding of your dreams because it looked very fun and sure had alot of dancing! 

Scroll on friends and leave a comment letting me know if you agree! 

Venue: Carleton Farms
Caterer: Stella Fiore Wood Fired Pizza
Dessert: Street Treats
Florist: Stadium Flowers
Wedding Dress: I do Bridal
Wedding Planning: Hot Pink Shoes

Zain + Umema | UW Engagement Session

From the first few minutes of meeting Zain and Umema in person, I could feel just how meant-to-be these two people were together. Zain was so gentle with and clearly adored his lady. Umema had a heart of gold. Sweet, patient and filled with joy each time she talked about Zain.

They told me the story of how they met, over 12 years ago on campus at UW. Umema was selling roses and Zain bought some just for the opportunity to talk to that cute girl he had his eye on. They spent a lot of their dates on campus, slowly falling in love after that over many walks, talks and good food. Then Umema moved to Chicago to further her education and they continued their love story over long distance. Eventually they were reunited again and Zain knew it was time to pop the big Q. He got a YES! Of course it was only fitting to have their engagement session on campus so that leads us to the session you're about to see below. They brought back the roses to re-inact those first special moments to them in the same exact spot! 

Oh and being the sweethearts they are, they gave me the bouquet of roses to keep at the end of the session. Made my night!

Scroll on friends and leave them some love in the comments!

I'm Grateful for You

Guys, I am so grateful for what I do and the people I meet because I learn so many valuable things from each of you. Yes, you! I totally believe that you (whether as a client, colleague, mentor, vendor or friend) have come into my life for a reason and I'm thankful for the lessons you've taught me (even if you have no idea you've done so). And so, to keep it simple and random (like I do best), here are 7 things I'm thankful for today from ya'll.:

1. The reminders on how to be present and just have fun with my husband.
2. The encouragement you've brought me with your realness of your struggles, relationships and imperfections (because let's face it, we're all only human).
3. The support and love you've shown me through cards, testimonials and referrals. Like any entrepreneur, I have hard days where I question if my work is good enough and your kindness has been a ray of sunshine on those days.
4. For trusting me creatively with my (sometimes crazy) ideas and visions.
5. For reminding me why I do what I do after I deliver every single photo session and get to see/hear the amount of joy these photo memories bring you.
6. For reminding me to cherish time with my friends/family because I can't imagine my wedding day without them like some of you have had to do.
7. For bringing love and respect to your body (no matter the size). The positive example you're being is going to change the way little girls look at themselves someday and I applaud your confidence to overlook your flaws for the sake of your future children/grandchildren having photos of you.

You guys are the bomb.com and I'm blessed our paths have crossed! Thank you for being you.

Happy Thanksgiving! 
xo

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Nadean + Mohammed | Bellevue Wedding

Nadean and Mohamed celebrated their unity in marriage at the Embassy Suites in Bellevue. They opted for a first look so that they could take portraits and go immediately into their reception. The music and dancing continued for hours as the couple celebrated with their family and friends clapping to the beat around them. Looking through these photos again, I can hear the music, feel the movement around me and feel the joy in the air! Ahh! Scroll down and tell me, can you feel it too?

Nadean and Mohamed, thank you for allowing me to capture this highlight of your love story. I hope you're not missing this Seattle rain too much down in sunny Florida! 

Jimmy + Nicole | July Wedding on Mercer Island

These two Washingtonians (is that what you guys are called out here?) exchanged vows, made promises, swapped rings and sealed it with a kiss. Nicole and Jimmy tied the knot in front of their family and friends at the Luther Burbank Park on Mercer Island under the hot July sun. 

Nicole opted for a unique twist with her wedding attire, rocking a two-piece gown with a pink skirt. Her bridesmaids matched her look with stunning blue skirts of their own. Love love love this look! 

Congratulations Nicole and Jimmy, I wish you a lifetime of love, laughter and breaking it down on the dance floor together! Cheers!

Ceremony Location: Luther Burbank Park
Reception Venue: Mercer Island Community and Event Center
Caterer: Bakeman's Restaurant
DJ/MC: Amore Events & Entertainment

Nadean + Mohamed | Seattle Engagement Session

Mohamed traveled from Florida to meet his beautiful fiancee Nadean in Seattle for a portrait session celebrating their engagement in her home state. We met up at a local park in the city for their photo shoot, where they shared a bit of their love story with me. Filled with excitement for their upcoming wedding, the happy couple laughed, danced and shared kisses with each other as we explored the park. It was so sweet, Mohamed gave Nadean the most stunning engagement ring and she couldn't stop smiling at it during their session. Engagement sessions are my favorite because I love capturing one of the happiest/most exciting parts of a couple's love story. 

Enough chat from me now. There's a super cute session waiting to be seen below so keep on scrollin'...

Alex and Amanda | MI Fall Engagement Session

Amanda and Alex are born and raised Michiganders. We connected online when Amanda reached out for wedding and engagement photography, saying she loved my style of shooting. We chatted a little, discovering we had many similar interests (essential oils, wine, dogs, love for the u.p. of mi, etc..) and I knew immediately they would be a great fit and I definitely wanted to travel and capture anything and everything photography related for these two lovebirds. 

A few weeks ago, I flew to Detroit to meet them for their engagement session. Fall in MI is incredible and if you've never been you really should schedule a trip. Cider mills open up all around, pressing fresh apple cider, making homemade donuts, apple picking in the orchards, wineries and so much more. The colors weren't fully in bloom on the trees yet, but a cider mill was definitely the next best option for a fall engagement session location. 

We seriously had the best time just having fun hanging out and chasing the sun around for photos all evening. I loved seeing what a fun loving relationship these two have together and how sweetly they treated each other.  

Thanks so much for having me you two! I cannot wait to come back for your wedding next year!

Trisha | Seattle Senior Portraits

The Class of 2018 has one incredible senior in the midst this year. Trisha has a huge heart and a soft kind personality. Trisha traveled to Seattle to meet me for her senior session. We made a super fun day of it, getting manicures, lunch and of course, a photo session! She looked gorgeous and if you keep scrollin', you'll see for yourself.

Thanks for choosing me to photograph you, Trish! Good luck throughout the rest of your senior year and as you pursue your passions.

Shelby + Brett | Alderbrook Resort and Spa Wedding

A few weeks ago, I got to photograph Shelby and Brett's nuptials along the Hood Canal. Though the sky was intensely hazy from the wildfires, the happy vibe could not be broken. The bartenders mixed up hand crafted blackberry mojitos, boats floated gently in the water and the hot sun warmed the skin of all the guests as they waited for Shelby to come down the aisle to her groom. On the lawn of the Alderbrook Resort and Spa, the high-school sweethearts promised to love and care for eachother forever. While I could go on about how beautiful the day was, I'll let the newlyweds take it from here...

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"Some people might consider the vision we had for our wedding as unconventional, but we both knew right away how we wanted our special day to be. We wanted to elope, but to also include our family and best friends. We chose a serene resort on the water where we were able to enjoy our time with each other, our family, and our beautiful surroundings over the course of three days. We couldn't have asked for a more special and intimate wedding experience to celebrate our marriage (we even got to eat dinner on our wedding night!)."

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"Speaking of our wedding dinner, it was the part of the day that I got to enjoy most (besides watching Shelby walk down the aisle, of course!). The wine room was decorated perfectly with all the flowers on the table and around the cake! As someone who hates for the attention to be on myself, the small dinner was perfect; the little nerves of the ceremony were gone and I just got to relax with my new wife and talk to everyone as we ate." - Brett

"Going to jot down my favorite part of the day turned into me writing about most of the day... I loved that I was able to get ready that morning with my mom, sister, best friend and new sister in law. They were so helpful and encouraging and made it fun. I also loved being in my gorgeous dress that I was obsessed with! I felt like a princess walking down the aisle towards Brett. I will never forget standing on the water, under the floral filled arbor, holding hands becoming husband and wife!" - Shelby

Thanks for letting me photograph your love story, Mr. and Mrs. Spradling!
xo
Janelle Elaine

A special thanks to Karen Kirsch for second-shooting for me. 
Venue: Alderbrook Resort and Spa
Dress: Watters from Calla Bridal
Florals: CMS Floral Design
Music: South Sound Strings
Officiant: Danelle Green of Celebrations of Life
Food: Alderbrook