Friday, August 30, 2013

Binge eating not as much fun as Binge watching

I was raised watching movies but not TV shows.  Chris was raised in the age of actually watching "must see TV", I knew it was around but never watched it.  My parents weren't protective about what movies I watched but they weren't a fan of TV shows.  So I discovered the joys of Friends when I was in College... at it was amazing and they really were my "Friends"... I lived a sad amazing first year of college!  Now this is going to break some hearts here: I have never been a fan of "Ross and Rachel".



Which brings me to this weeks LOVES

My college besties: Monica, Chandler, Ross, Phoebe, Joey and Rachel
Watching marathons of  your favorite TV shows!
Eating way too much ice cream
Give away boxes
Mid-afternoon naps when you are still recouping after an illness
Finally putting up the ridiculous life size portrait of yourself... Yea, that happened. 

What are your loves this week?



Live. Love. Loud.




Thursday, August 29, 2013

Confessions from a Photo-holic

I want to be more than I am.  I strive for more.  I scavenge websites, Pinterest, Vouge, anything I can get my hands on.  I say I am looking for inspiration and that is often how it starts but more often then not it ends in me struggling with feeling down.  I look at the work of Jasmine Star, Matthew Jordan Smith, Chase Jarvis and I feel so small so lacking.  I want to be the one to inspire.  I want to take the photo that is breathtaking... that literally captures the couple so fully.


(Found this in a neat Richmond gallery down on Cary St.  The artist was so talented and had so many different looks I was enchanted)


I want to touch their lives.  I want each and every time they look at their photos the bride and groom are transported back to the day of their wedding.  They can with a blink flash back to the moment the lights dimmed and the dance floor was filled with old college friends hands raised chanting the songs of their youth.  I want the father of the bride flash to that moment of handing off his little girl... the feeling that was there still strong enough to cause a hitch in his breathing, cause him to wonder at time.

I want my photos to embody joy.  Not just happy but the triumph even in the hard... to remember back to the struggle but know it was meant for more; it brought you here.

Sometimes when I look at my work I get a glimpse but it is never good enough.  It is never strong enough, never... 

Live. Love. Loud.


Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Challenge accepted!

Let's be honest: no one watches "How I Met Your Mother" for Ted.  I'm in it for the antics of the amazing Neil Patrick Harris.  Though extreme I love his vigor for life.  I want to be more like that.  I mean my heart is but in reality how much of my life do I allow days to pass without adventure without putting myself out there.  I want to live life more uncomfortable.

Does that sound crazy?

I figure that the only way you have "those moments" is by being uncomfortable.  You meet people, try things, live life in a way you wouldn't otherwise.  I want a epic life, so I need to live it as if it were!


Today I am putting myself out here for all to see the few here to listen.  I am pursing my dream of making a living by capturing the one day in a couples life that their epic love buds a family of their own... what I haven't been living fully is my desire to do this everywhere!  I want to travel everywhere doing this.  I want to see... I want to have the honor of capturing the joy that is their day!  I'm starting with a smaller goal then everywhere... I mean everywhere is awesome but I want to have specific achievable goals:  

My more achievable goal is I want to shoot a wedding in every USA State!


So I am offering up an interesting chance challenge to engaged couples everywhere: 

Contact me:  If you are the first couple from your state (if you are out of USA the offer stands as well :D) you can get me and my darling husband to cover your wedding FREE!  


Contact me for more information at hello@rachelabi.com 

Eeek!

Live. Love. Loud.




Tuesday, August 27, 2013

All you need is you = FABULOUS

Often I talk about how I want to experience life; I make lists and brain storm about what to do.  This Saturday we had off, no weddings, no shoots, no family trips so Chris planned a date day.  We journeyed out for the first time to enjoy the beauty of the Duke Gardens.  I know it is crazy to live in Chapel Hill and have never been to Duke Gardens... what can I say we let life get in the way.  

Walking around the beautiful gardens it got me thinking.  It comes with the territory but I often get asked about locations for engagement shoots.  So often my brides are worried about the location, will it be pretty enough... these shots will be with them forever and they worry about what will be in them.  Duke Gardens is often brought up as a location to shoot, and after having been there I totally understand because it is truly beautiful... but I don't know if that is really what you want as crazy as that sounds.


That may not be clear so I figured I would lay out exactly what I mean:

An engagement shoot shouldn't be about your location!  Don't fret about whether it will be pretty or the flowers being in bloom.  The shoot is about YOU!  Your love!  You and your love are the star!  If you have a location that is important to you that's great!  Is it a silly ally where you would sneak out to?  Is it your backyard where you grew up together?  Is it the local bridge where you graffiti as teens?  Don't worry about it being "Pretty"  you are all the pretty that the shot needs.  If you allow me to help you relax and just be you with the person you love and you will have natural, fun and beautiful shots that are you: FABULOUS!  




So all you need to worry about is bringing you, as fabulous as you are!



Live. Love. Loud.


Monday, August 26, 2013

Finding awesome in old

So I love the idea of experiencing everything.  I've probably mentioned it before because I'm a bit obsessed.  Recently I decided that I would make a best effort to seize life so that also includes random stops on road trips to view what life has to offer.  So this recent trip to VA we found ourselves at this little store.  It was pretty awesome.  Chris and I weren't in the market for anything in particular but were we... I'm saying.  It was a fun stop that didn't take that long but made the long drive seem more enjoyable.




Just moments after this a couple swooped in and sniped this worn blue side table.  I'm pretty sure they saw the way Chris and I were discussing it and thought they'd better act before they couldn't... little did they know that we talk bigger than our wallets :D



So on your next road trip remember to stop and smell the... antiques?  Or whatever random store/shop/site there might be to see!

Live. Love. Loud.



Friday, August 23, 2013

Piles of tissues, loads of tea and LOVES

Laying out on the couch with piles of tissues around me (I thought about taking a picture, but decided to spare you) watching a long list of guilty pleasures and some not so guilty.  I realized unexpected days off aren't all bad even if they are caused by the leaky faucet that is my nose.  Which brings me to this weeks LOVES...




LOVES:

  • Tissues with lotion, cause let's face it they are amazing when you have to use a box a day
  • Ice cream when sick, despite it slowing your healing process it makes you forget your sneezing, runny nose and coughing for a few bites
  • Tea sets they make drinking disturbingly large amounts of tea seem more fun
  • Unexpected days off... even if they are because you feel like you are on the brink of death... okay maybe not death but severely sick
  • Harry Potter Marathons cause they make you forget that Hermione doesn't really exist, but if she did man would we be besties!




Here's to looking at the brighter side!
Live. Love. Loud.


Thursday, August 22, 2013

Confessions from a Photoholic

I'm a confident person.  I was raised that way.  There is a benefit to it, I stick to my guns in adversity, I know what I want and don't have much to regret.  Another benefit is I usually don't have an issue with putting myself out to the public.  It is the person I have been all my life.

It was about two years ago, I was just over a year into my trying to turn my love and hobby into a business.  I started building my portfolio and trying to make a website when I joined a group on Facebook of like minded photographers.  One of the leaders in the group asked for people to volunteer to put their information out for critique.  I was so excited and jump on the opportunity to have the opinion of someone more experienced then myself.  She got a few other photographers to give their information to her as well.  A long story short:  She was very mean.  I love criticism, it is one of the best ways to get better but the only way for it to be effective is for it to be specific criticism.  She tore me a new one.  She told me in no uncertain terms that I should quit before I started, that I was horrible , my website was terrible and I had no eye for photography.


(This is what happens when you are sick enough you can't leave the house...)


I was heartbroken.  I shared my heartbreak with a close friend and her response was to agree with the stranger.  I was shattered.  I'm not a crier but my eyes were moist.  I'm not one for emotional reactions but I was crushed.  Not only did this established photographer think I was horrible a close friend of mine agreed!  I was dark... Not so far is a deep dark cavern, but a deep dark hole... yea that'd be accurate.  I mean, I didn't want to write my blog, I didn't want to touch my camera, I didn't want to answer my phone... I didn't want to touch anything related to photography and for a while I didn't.

I honestly might have quit.  I was so crushed that I didn't know how to manage.  If it were just the stranger or just my friend but some how the combination was just too much or so it seemed.  Chris love and support is what brought me out of it.  He was amazing and dealt with the crazy that was me... and let's be honest: still is me!  It was  long journey back from the hurt despite all Chris love and his support.  Part of what helped me: I joined a different group and found the amazing Lydia Maybe.  Anyone else here raised on Anne of Green Gables?  Well, Lydia is my bosom friend.  Everything hasn't been "peachy keen" since but it was an amazing lesson to learn.  Criticism is only as good as the source it comes from and whether it is given from a helpful heart.  Lydia is actually who helped me learned that lesson... To defend Chris, he stated it first but it is always easier to hear it from a stranger.

Point:  This is the first blog of many confessions.  I really want to be real with you all.  I love what I do but I don't have this all figured out.  I want to have it all done... tied with a neat bow but I guess where would the adventure be in that.



Live. Love. Loud.






Wednesday, August 21, 2013

"I'm getting too old for this...."

I get I'm young... but not as young as I was.  Every time I crash on a couch, help someone move for pizza, etc I realize how not young I really am.  Putting that aside Chris' sister just got the chance to move closer to us and so we ran up and saw a wee bit more of the VA country side and a-lot-a-bit of boxes... or that was the plan.  It is a long story but playing cards and enjoying the beautiful day was a nice change of plans.

One of the towns we drove through was Harrisonburg.  This tower shows their blaring JMU love!  It was pretty awesome little town.  Met a pretty neat lady who is moving from there to Raleigh so I am excited about the chance to show her around.  I love meeting new people. 



When we finally got to Chris' sisters house and what a beautiful house and on top of that this is their view can you believe it!?!

Depsite not actually helping someone move it got me thinking: every time I help someone move (or in this case, near someone who does move) it makes me want to move.  Is that crazy?  I feel like that's a bit of crazy.  I blame my childhood but in a good way.  My parents always moved around a lot.  My dad would sit us down and ask, "Ready for another adventure".  When I was little I remember thinking "Adventure" was the worst word in the world.  It was the word that meant the world was changing!  It took a while for me to be even okay with change but when it changed it CHANGED.  I'm a nomad at heart now.  I love traveling, living out of a suitcase, flying... My mom teases me that I would make an amazing homeless person.  I take that as a compliment... as it should be! :D

What about you?  Where is your favorite place to travel?


Live. Love. Loud. 


Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Friends and other things that are AHhhmazing

Friends are my life!  In the recent trek to help with the move we got a chance to see some close friends of ours and it was AAAMAZING!  Yes, caps were needed.  They have recently added a little boy to their family (Elliot) and it was neat to see how their dynamic has changed... and to see their adorable new son.







They sat in their new home with their new son.  He turned to his wife convinced he knew the best way to burp young Elliot, she shook her head with an endearing smile as she passed over her tiny new son.  The whole interaction was capped by the awesome and unbelievable: their 14 day old son rolled over... three times in a row!  I'm not a baby aficionado but that is really young if I'm not mistaken. His father puffed with pride and his mother pulled out her iphone to capture the second flip.



You know those friends that times elapses but the friendship doesn't miss a beat?  Well, they are those friends.  Months pass without communication but somehow we pick up where we left off.  So I can make a fool of myself, like I always do, and they totally get it... or at least they pretend to :D   Which to a girl who once wanted to be Peter Pan, "pretend" no matter the circumstances sounds amazing!

Live. Love. Loud.



Monday, August 19, 2013

Chicken soup on just for the soul

The weeks always seem to speed up.  Chris refuses to think that time is relative... or even feels relative.  I think he is crazy.  When you are wanting something to happen and you are waiting it feels like it takes longer then if you are dealing with something you dread.  That's a fact... well, not really but it is "factual" feeling to me.



All that said, sometimes your body decides to tell you that time needs to slow down.  That's when the chicken soup comes in, to which I love and Chris think is gross... but that's because he swears he starts smelling like chicken soup.  It makes my throat feel AHmazing!  So Chris is just plan wrong.

Sadly today is one of those days.  I lay sprawled on the couch switching from sipping a hot tea, some chicken soup and a giant sippy cup of water, all the while looking pathetic but not quite as much as poor Chris.

Oh if chicken soup were a healing potion I would be immortal by now!

Live. Love. Loud. 


Friday, August 16, 2013

Anna Kendrick, self delusions and all things amazing

In my head I am a great dancer... where I to have the lessons I could take on the world.  But that's not saying much I am also Peter Pan were I ever able to find Neverland.... though I am not Hermione not matter how much I try I'm not that awesome... some truths have to be faced.

Because of my inner amazing I can't help but love So You Think You Can Dance.  It lets me live in my dream world where people are just amazing.  I may be a little too in love with it... I have all the episodes from this season on my DVR and I have watched them more than once.  Obsessed as I may be what I love about the show is it both solidifies how much I lack talent and yet also lets me dream of what could be.  It is the beautiful balance between facing reality and embracing fantasy.  How, you ask can this show get better?  I thought it not possible then they added Anna Kendrick to the judging panel this past week and trying an amazing recipe of a raw vegan double chocolate cheesecake... which let's face it tastes nothing like cheesecake but all the same it is amazingly delicious!



Anna Kendrick is amazing...and in the world that is in my head we are besties!  Chris, yes the poor guy is forced to watch SYTYCD with me each week, and I couldn't help but laugh out loud at Anna, why yes we are on a first name basis... "If I could just have your body for a day I'm pretty sure I could solve all the worlds problems..."

Which brings me to LOVES

1. SYTYCD because where else can you see amazing dancers, breathtaking choreography, laugh out loud and see that many beautiful people at the same time!
2. Anna Kendrick, beautiful, witty and from all accounts a pretty amazing friend (yes, I'm talking about our friendship and that deep connection... but for reals she is pretty amazing and down to earth)
3. My amazing husband for not only dealing with my obsessive love of SYTYCD but also being willing to watch it with me
4. Sugary delicious that is the raw vegan double chocolate cheesecake (I mean who can argue with delicious and also healthy... well considering desserts anyway)


What are your LOVES this week?

Live. Love. Loud.




Thursday, August 15, 2013

A Quaint Downtown: Elizabeth and Gabe

Hot and muggy my clothes started to cling as I started "Glistening like a pig" as we walked around the quaint downtown of the now blooming Wake Forest, NC.  Gabe and Elizabeth didn't seem to notice the hot and mug.  From behind the camera I asked them about their romance.  Elizabeth started recounting the start of their journey, "Well, as almost as soon as I saw him I was intrigued and wanted to know more..." Gabe looked at her with eyes pooling with loving smirk.  As she continued their story Gabe bounced in to share a few details, the story swayed from their lips like a dance.

They met in college down in South Carolina.  Friends at first but it didn't take Gabe long to catch onto the charm and beauty of Elizabeth.  Their love story had to conquer joys, troubles and long distances but at the end of this journey they looked so dearly at each other as the spoke of their next life long adventure.  





Elizabeth you are stunning!  





It was a pleasure to shoot your love!  Thank you for allowing me the honor.



Live. Love. Loud.


Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Cheats, sugar and Chick-fil-a

I have been trying to eat and live healthy... you know the thing we are supposed all day everyday?  I know that most of you have this handled but I struggle.  I mean when I have the choice between a salad and ice cream... um... yea.

(Photo compliments of Chick-fil-a)


Not to say I don't like salad, it is pretty fantastic but... sugar!  So I do pretty well when I am home but when I am out and about needing to get some work done I keep finding myself drawn to Chick-fil-a... not for the foods that everyone loves them for but for their new seasonal milkshake: Mocha Cookies and Cream!  Yes, it is better then it sounds.  So here is to cheating within reason... so "small" milkshake isn't too bad right?  Well we will see!

I hope each of you are enjoying this beautiful day!


Live. Love. Loud. 


Tuesday, August 13, 2013

The fun of a juxtaposition

Sometimes I wish adults got to play dress up.  You know what I mean?  Maybe I am alone in this but I kind of wish I was able to experience everything... When you are a kid you put up a tent of pillows and blankets and all the sudden you are a moment away from seemingly endless adventures.  I wish as an adult it was that easy.  That I could just take a moment, put a jacket on and experience life in a different way.  Instead I live life from my mind... the juxtaposition that is.



One such juxtaposition: I love productivity.  To do lists are my happy place, yet hate schedules.  I'm obsessive about labels... my sister-in-law made the large mistake of giving me a label maker and now my husband has to deal with the ramifications... pretty sure I am one label away from having him even him labelled.


Live. Love. Loud.



Monday, August 12, 2013

Five years of differences and laughing

Chris and I just made it past our five year marker.  As a way of celebrating we are going on a trip to Hawaii this fall.  We are of course super excited but in prep for the trip we both decided to use it as the jump start to healthy living that we both desire but keep putting off... cause let's face it ice cream is delicious.




So in this new effort for healthy living we have been trying to eat healthier and exercise more... so what we should have been doing all along basically.  We all know what we need to do... yet why is it so hard?  I mean fruit tastes delicious, smoothies are fantastic yet somehow I still want to eat a half gallon of Blue Bell in one sitting... Yes, this has happened, and yes, you should be amazed at my talents of eating sugar cause they can't be matched.  Okay, Santa beats me with his cookie tolerance but I don't feel it s  a fair comparison he has had more than a few decades to practice.

Chris and I are very different people and this is no different. I struggle with desiring sugar, Chris longs for snack foods like Chips, fried chicken.  Chris does better actually playing sports, volleyball, basketball... but something where he is focused more on the activity then what he is doing... I would rather eat a pound of laxative then pick up a ball and try, notice the key word there TRY, to play a sport with other people... I am more than a little ball handicapped.  I like chugging along on the treadmill, taking a yoga or dance class.  Chris love running...he actually thinks it is fun... I love swimming... if I could will growing gills I would long but have them.  Yet both of us struggle with working out on our own... so we try and help each other but it doesn't turn out pretty.  I turn basketball into some sort of rhythmic gymnastic routine, to be fair it is the only why I know how to use a ball.  Chris going swimming with me turns into Chris standing in water wishing I was finished.

Your are free to laugh at us... we do.  That is one way we are similar: we both love to laugh... even if it is at ourselves.  So here is to hoping we laugh enough to get our exercise?


Live. Love. Loud. 


Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Hands shaking yet still drinking

Why do I not learn my lesson?  So I don't like coffee hot... crazy I know.  But I feel like it smells better than it tastes however if you fill it with milk and sugar just shy of it being a milkshake and I'm on board.  I know, I'm super healthy like that!



Often I find myself out and about, meeting up with clients, editing pictures or simply just trying to change the scenery on my office.  When out and about you can find me with my sugar that I call coffee. I never seem to learn.  Large is TOO large.  I get caught up in the "Savings"... some of you out there know what I am talking about.  I look at the menu and it is like $0.20 difference between the medium and the large but twice the size... the steal of it all I can't seem but to say yes.  WHY?  Why do I do this to myself?  By about half way through drinking my coffee flavored sugar I'm pretty sure my brain is moving fast enough I could solve world hunger or maybe establish world peace!  Well, if I had the knowledge base...

Never again?  Let's be serious, it will happen again...


Live. Love. Loud.



Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Goals Goals Goals


Anyone else find yourself setting up goals and then failing at them?  That's where I find myself all too often.  I don't like it.  Not that anyone does but I really don't like failing.  I want to be determined and perfect.  I want to be complete.



All too often I fail not because my goals are unrealistic but instead because I get focused on the busy instead of the important.  It is too easy for me to get distracted with all the little things. I'm tired of it.  That being said I am going to post publicly my goals both personal and professional each month.  I need you to help keep me accountable and then at the end of the month I will post what I completed or failed to complete.

Eeeek... I don't like this.  I so don't have it all figured out and I know I don't but actually telling you that I don't... well it freaks me out a bit, just saying.  My August goals:

Professional Goals:
Get all edited pictures back to clients under the expected time frame
Purchase Photoshop
Setup personalized actions
Spend an hour each week  focused on getting better mastering on lighting

Personal Goals:
Exercise at least 20 minutes 4 days a week
Go on at least one date with Chris
Find time each day, no matter the length, to spend with God
Eat at least one vegetable and two fruits each day.

Eekk?  Do you have any goals for this month?

Live. Love. Loud.




Monday, August 5, 2013

Elizabeth and Gav Sneak peak

I love the beauty that lies just beneath the surface.  How many of us feel awkward, nervous, and uncomfortable in front of the camera?  I know I do.  You know that moment when you start walking and then you can't even remember how your arms work normally.  "Can I get a coffee mug for each hand?"  That feeling is the last thing I want anyone to feel!  I spend a lot of time in front of the camera to make sure I know how best to avoid this problem... how best to capture the FABULOUS that is you!

I had the joy of connecting with such fabulous couple just last night for a wonderful engagement session and I adored getting the honor of documenting their love and beauty in the moment.  Here's a sneak peak of the beautiful Elizabeth and Gav:


I had such a blast with this lovely couple!  So excited for you two to start your life together.  More to come soon!

Live. Love. Loud.