Friday, June 20, 2014

LOVES-in on Water

Weekly LOVES | Focusing on Joy | Durham Wedding Photography Another week comes to a close and I can't help but think: I'm still pregnant???

I'm going to rant for a minute: did you know that only 5% of people deliver on their due date?  I think it is mean that people/dr's give a due date.  It's kind of like if you asked for a appointment and they said they would see you at 8am on next Tuesday but really they might be expecting you a week before or at noon three days later!

Why not give a due frame?  You're more than likely to deliver between _______ and _______.  It would be more accurate and then you as the pregnant person wouldn't have people asking you all the time: "you're still pregnant?"

I'm not to my "guess date" (yes, I'm talking about the seemingly arbitrary due date they hand out) but I can't help but feel like this kid has decided it likes inside and doesn't want to come out in this heat which is completely unfair but in the mean time I have found something amazing.

It is something I have always known but my love has only grown deeper: swimming is amazing!  Giant as I am I don't have to feel it in the water!  So here's to the person who though: I'm going to dig a hole and fill it with water and enjoy it since I don't live next to a natural body of water!  If I met you right now I'd give you a big fat hug... probably a kiss too.

Which brings me to my other LOVES:

  • The desire to kiss random geniuses that created the things that make our life amazing (see above)
  • Being submerged in water: when you weigh 8 million extra lbs it is the only time you feel semi normal!
  • My due date being towards the beginning of summer
  • Crossing off my business to do's/Goals
  • Finding money you forgot about
  • Taking a lazy day... might be our last eeek!
  • Girls nights with my fabulous nieces

Live. Love. Loud.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Confessions of a Control Freak

Prep and reprep: the wedding photographer | No matter what happens: your day will be amazing | Durham Wedding Photographer I don't do well without control.  I'm a planner.  To be exact I am a planner who plans for the plan that might be the back up option to the mega plan... you get the idea.  I like to think things through and be prepared.  I figure if I can prep as best I can for any logic progression I'll be better prepared even in the event something crazy happens.

Don't get me wrong, I can go with the flow and make things work but only after I have prepared.  I was the kid who wrote my papers 2 weeks in advance to make sure that I wouldn't possibly have misunderstood the due date or have something come up and mess it up.  Yea, I know.

That said this mentality is something that is integrated into my life, professional and personal.

When I found out I was pregnant, past the "WhAT???" feelings and a lot of deep breathing I dove into research mode.  I read book after book.  (If you want to know which ones I'd recommend both for reading and for kindling feel free to message me and I'll let you know)  I wrote a spreadsheet of questions and went about finding the answers.  I forced Chris to talk through contingency plans, alternative plans and backup plans.

Professionally it isn't much different.  I prep and reprep.  The night before a wedding I pack and repack my gear.  I double check each lens.  I clean them all again just to be sure.  I double check each battery.  I organize my memory.  I lay out the timeline of the wedding, the list of names of the bridal party and any other pertinent information in front of me on the floor and I look over each piece to make sure that I know all that I can.  Finally after all of this I have to set it all aside, packed up again and waiting by the door of course, and I have to let my mind escape the relax for a few hours before I sleep and start your wedding day.

Weddings often don't go according to plan.  They are much like life that way.  My goal for all my prep isn't because I think I will be able to control each moment and make sure it happens as it is supposed to but that I am prepared as best as I can be for any possibility so that your wedding day will go as smoothly as I can make it.  You have enough on your plate with this amazing life change that you are about to go through that my goal: to make your wedding day easy, fun and relaxed... and all the while capture all those moments of joy and fun along the way.

I've been trying to take on this same mentality for my pregnancy.  It is hard because it is for me and not another person.  It is one time in my life when I will be completely without control of my body.  That is a really scary thought.  So today I remind myself to Breath and remember that no matter how much I plan it probably won't follow my timeline... oh but if it could!

Live. Love. Loud.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Decorating Diva = my husband

Custom Make Your Wedding Registry | Unique registries for your individual needs | Durham Wedding Photography Getting married and planning a wedding always bring out a new side to the love of your life.  You get to find out odd things that often you wouldn't know about.  When Chris and I were getting married I found out that Chris was REALLY particular about is plate ware and china.  I was kind of of the mentality that it is something you eat off and past it not being super ugly I was pretty wide open, with one exception: I really don't like Correlle.  Nothing wrong with it... I just don't like the weight and feel of their product.

Chris on the other hand had very particular thoughts on colors, styles and designs.  We had to go to three stores before Chris found a set he liked. Who knew he had such a designer diva in him?  In the end we had to had to register at three separate stores to get all the different things we wanted on our registries.  I had always thought I would want to keep it simple and clean with just one registry but we couldn't find a store that had all we needed!

Years late, I recently came across another wedding planning website that I thought I'd share that solves this small dilemma.  It is the website: Newly Wish.  It allows you as a couple to create a custom registry.  Covering all the specific and possibly diva-ish decorating needs to the garage and tool needs to home entertainment needs all in one registry!  It allows you to completely  custom make your registry to be as amazing as you.

It allows you to have guests give traditionally with specific items for you home that you have picked out, it allows guest to chip in together to buy bigger ticket items or even chip in to your honeymoon fund!  Which let's face it we all can use a honeymoon fund.

Just like all other registries it allows you to track your list as the weeks progress!

So if one store won't cut it for your needed list but you don't want to have to have the complications of multiple registrations head over to and see if it is for you!

Custom registry that lets you get all you want from just one location

Live. Love. Loud.

Friday, June 13, 2014

LOVES-in on the process

DIY baby Mobile | The story is more then the item itself | Durham Wedding Photography In this last week Chris and I are fully in the "green zone" as he calls it.  Basically means that at anytime between now and 4 weeks from now we are all clear to have the baby.  As a result of this we have decided there will be no travel... just in case :D

Because we have chosen not to travel during this time, Chris family came down to visit and complete an amazing project.  Chris's sister came up with a great idea of making a mobile. Never really thought about it but she made it a family project.  She got all the supplies and designed it and then we each sewed or own piece and then hung it up.

Got to love on some crafty people right!  So now thanks to all this amazing I have an adorable mobile that has a great story behind it... and let's face it something with a story is SO much better!

Which brings me to my other LOVES for this week:

  • Taking the time to slow down and enjoy one of the last weekends alone I have with Chris
  • Greek God's Yogurt: I'm pretty sure it came straight from heaven
  • Rice socks... cause they and Chris' poor fingers are the puddy that hold my back together at this point
  • Super creative sister-in-laws (see above for example)
  • Days, hours or even moments stolen away to the pool/body of water
  • Sleeping for more than 4 hours at a time!

What do you LOVES this week?

Live. Love. Loud.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Confession and Confusions

Fancy's "I'm so pregnant" | Pregnant but not crazy... not fully | Durham Wedding Photography When people say I'm done being pregnant you just don't quite understand till you've been there.  Cause I was all... yea, but the kid isn't ready so get over it.  Yes, I know I am kind loving and so compassionate right!?  Well, now I can fully say: I'm sorry for all those thoughts.

Despite my 38 weeks I still am not used to the idea of reality that there will actually be a kid... and it will be mine.  I get the fact.  I don't get the reality of it.  It is like when you get married: you know you're married but it is still weird to think "I'm married" or "Mrs. _____".  It's like that only I'm going to be responsible for another human being... Chris and I are the only two who will be responsible for it.  No handing it back over to it's parents.  It is a scary reality.

Other scary reality: people say you go crazy with a kid.  I want to be me... maybe a slighter better version of me like Rachel 2.0.  Like Windows 7 was nice but we all know Vista was terrible... I'd rather be the "Windows 7" edition of myself and not the whacked out crazy Vista or even (I'm sorry for those of you who love on it but) Windows 8.  Does that make any sense?

I see so many mothers get... well I don't know.  Less like people?  Their lives become revolved around their kid, and I get the inclination... to a degree it, if nothing else your schedule, has to be.  So thanks to my sister-in-law I found this video and I'd just like to say that I hope to be more like one of these mom's.  Able to be silly and make fun.  I hope you enjoy!

Video thanks to What's up Moms

Happy Thursday!

Live. Love. Loud.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Ready, Seated, Done.

Easy ways to get your reception organized | Simple and efficient ways to settle your seating | Durham Wedding Photography So not everyone is crazy.  I mean I am.  That's no surprise but not everyone is.  I mean I was the kid who asked for extra math homework and wrote to do lists for my to do lists.  So when it came time to plan my wedding, my label maker in one hand and an excel spreed sheet in front of me... I might have even let out an evil laugh of joy at all the organization crazy I was about to enjoy.

Even with all my crazy there are some things that are always difficult and can easily get stressful.  One of those is guest at receptions.  This can be so many different tears of trouble it might make your face twitch but for me the main concern was seating.  I did assigned seats and you always have to play the game of who sits were and make sure they have someone to talk to and no one is left out.

The whole process can be more than a bit overwhelming.  So in my recent discovers I couldn't help but share this nugget of awesome.  All seated is a website devoted to making planning and seating a reception so much less stressful.  They have tips, guides, you name it!  It is a great resource for getting organized in the simplest and least work kind of way. And  if you're not sure how easy it is: they have tutorials to walk you through things!

But don't take my word for it: go check it out yourself!

Live. Love. Loud.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Time for Meme

Funny Cat Memes | Sharing the joys of life | Durham Wedding Photographers So don't kill me but I'm not a cat person.  It isn't that I don't like cats... it's just that I don't care.  I'm ambiguous towards them.  I know it is a huge thing on the internet with a deep love of cat pictures and memes.  I know that there are endless supply of people right now who know I'm just wrong for my lack of feeling towards cats... and they are probably right?

All that said: My husband loves cats.  He thinks they are hilarious.  He still cracks up of "
I Can Has Cheezburger" meme... not even joking.  So he sends me all of these cat pictures, and memes and I really don't get them most of the time.  Maybe I'm missing a gene?   But today I came across a few cat photos that made me smile so in honor of my husband I felt like I would share them with you:

Images thanks to Buzzfeed (if this wasn't enough there is more...)

Happy Tuesday!  I hope your day is going fabulously!

Live. Love. Loud.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Taking Time for Joy

The humdrum of Mondays | How each week starts | Durham Wedding Photographer The week always starts the same. With a deep breath and more work then you know what to do with.

For some people they opt for the never really stop working option.  I totally get this mentality. I was homeschool (yea, insert jokes here) but I loved it and my mom gave me the choice:  I could either have a summer break and have to do the beginning of the year review or I could do school all year and get to skip the review.  I was the kid who didn't even stop to mull it over: I chose to do school all year cause I really hated the review section.

As an adult I don't take the same mentality.  I have discovered that yes, no matter when you leave work for a break, there will be more waiting for you when you return but that despite that I need to make the time to just "let it go" (I can't say those three words without at least hearing the Frozen song in my head).

All that said: just cause you will have work piled up when you return don't forget the necessity of a break.  It is just like when you clean a bathroom.  No matter when you clean it or how well, someone is going to come in and dirty it all over again.  You can't quit cleaning it even though you know to a degree it seems futile.  A clean bathroom makes it so you aren't grossed out in your own home, much like taking a break from work makes it so you don't go insane... well any more than you are naturally ;) (you're in good company)

So today, I have decided as best I can to celebrate the work week.  There is a lot we I take for granted even if it is something silly like work: I am determined to lounge in the joys of life.

What will you enjoy today?  A fabulous lunch?  Crashing at your home after a Monday at the office?  Whatever it is I hope that the joy overtakes you and forces a smile!

Live. Love. Loud.

Friday, June 6, 2014

The terror and joys of Chalk and other LOVES

I want to hopscotch everywhere.  No, it isn't because it is enormous fun, though it is... or it was the last time I played hopscotch, but instead I want to do it because I'm not allowed.  I'm so that person.  It is silly really.  I mean I haven't thought about hopscotch in forever but after they say "don't do anything jarring at this stage like jogging, hopscotch or bungee jumping" (which by the way how did hopscotch even make that list... do all pregnant women have a deep pitted desire to start hoping on calked squares with numbers in them?) I can't help but think of it especially as I pass neighborhood kids drawing up a new course!

(Side note: saw this picture and immediately every childhood dream came true photo thanks to G+ and X. Foster)

(Side note: I hate chalk... like REALLY can't handle touching it.  I love the idea.  I think it is awesome and so much fun but the reality of touching chalk or worse the feeling of chalk as it scrapes across a surface to write something makes my skin crawl.)

I have to laugh at myself and all the silly that is my naturally defiant nature.  Which brings me to my LOVES this week:

Learning to laugh at my silliness (see above)
Finishing up all the pre-baby to-do's
Forcing myself out to meet a new group of fellow photographers: and have a blast in the process!
Finding new friends in silly or unexpected places
Taking the time for one last family gathering before the baby
Greek Gods Yogurt: cause it is amazing and good for you!
Rice socks... cause I'm pretty sure that's the only thing keeping Chris fingers from falling off
Finally getting my paperwork over to my new and soon to be amazing SEO guy

What are you LOVES-in on this week?

Live. Love. Loud.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Will I be...?

Pregnant and business owner | How to deal with the unexpected crazy | Durham Wedding Photography I'm at a place now that I almost always feel like there are things in the air.  Like I'm trying to juggle but I can't seem to see the balls to know when I need to catch them.

We are four weeks away from our largest life change ever.  May has come to an end: can you believe it!?  Despite all the books we have read, the classes we have taken, the advice we have heeded I can't help but feel a bit lost in it all.  I mean as much as I know I am pregnant and that it was always going to end in a child... the reality of seeing how soon we are actually going to be responsible for a tiny person is a bit overwhelming.

Overwhelming for all the responsibility: if the kid becomes a psychopath they always look to the mom.  I'm scared of what it will change.  Will we ever just have alone trips again?  Will running my own business be put on a side burner?  How does shooting a 12 hour wedding day look like after the kid?

They are all questions we have thought through and discussed but the reality of actually facing them is far more daughtning then the speculation.  Chris is, I'm pretty sure the worlds most, easy going guy.  Whenever I address a concern he is always, "It will be fine.  You can't plan for everything"

It makes me laugh that the things I absolutely adore about Chris are also the things that make me want to scream at times.  "HOW DO YOU KNOW IT WILL BE FINE!!!"  But let's face it if we were both as OCD, planner, logical, particular as I am, we would have killed each other long ago.  (I'm telling you I have it easy... poor Chris has to deal with me! ;)

All the same, when you face the inevitable change you knew was coming it doesn't make it any easier.  Your thoughts and plans don't seem to make it flow more smoothly.  It is still intimidating, overwhelming and scary.  No matter if you are adding a new family member, starting a business or taking the next step in your dream.

Part of me wishes I could just see years down the road, all the mistakes and joy along the way, but then where would all the excitement be?  I swear we would get bored with life if we knew how it would look or turn out.

Live. Love. Loud.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

You Smooze You Lose

Posing workshop: how to make the most of your location | Shoot and Share: photographers with like minds | Durham Wedding Photographer
In any business things can be lonely.  In the world of photographers this truth rings so loudly that it is hard to overcome.  Between our own egos, the territorial nature of the business and oh so many things we often distance ourselves.  We pretend we have it all together and we know.  When you see us gather it can be as ridiculous as a collection of peacocks or pretty much any gym on Venice beach.  We all smooze each other about this or that and often no truth comes out of it.  It's high school all over again.

In the midst of all of this there is are a brave collection of photographers who are real, they will state they don't know... state they are learning... and I have been blessed to find a some of them!

If you have met me you will know one thing right off, probably whether you love me or hate me as well, I don't do fake.  I am me.  And I'm not for everyone.  I wish I was more sweet or more... something but I am who I am and it has taken me years to figure out that I can't change the essence of me... bad habits for sure, being polite definitely.

Well, Monday night was my first chance to gather with some like minded photographers.  We all share a similar mentality and we all desire to focus on customer service in our businesses.

It was the June meeting where A J an Kyle Dunlap organized a group gathering where Mark Potter came over to share with us some of his tips and thoughts on posing, lighting and help us figure out how to best capture our work.  

It was a blast watching him work.  If nothing else his voice has got to win over customers, being native of Australia I'm pretty sure he could list the side effects to any medication and I'd still want to listen.

In a 20 minute walk around downtown Durham and he came across a few gem locations that made we want to take a lovely couple out on my own and see what we could discover... *hint hint: any takers ;)

Priscilla, the amazing talented designer of Orangerie Events, and her husband Chase were our fabulous models and I'm telling you they were amazing sports.  There aren't a lot of people who could face having 30 odd cameras pointed at them and still manage to be natural and relaxed!

Who doesn't love some natural reflectors?

It was nice to see some photographers break out of their shell and jump forward to be try their hand at posing.  I'll tell you a secret.  Right before the end I had just worked up my nerve to step forward but there wasn't enough time.  I had waited too long.  I made a promise to myself that next time I won't wait and I will force myself to be uncomfortable and take the plunge!  (you'll need to keep me accountable)

Thank you so much for all of you!  It was great getting to talk with some of you and it was nice to hear the questions and thoughts that were shared with the group as a whole.  I can't wait till the August meeting!

Live. Love. Loud.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Riding Chaos

Joys of the unexpected | Riding chaos | Durham Wedding Photography
I can't help but smile over the adventure that is our lives.  I mean really.  If you think back over this year or even further... would you put yourself where you are?  I surely wouldn't.  I mean a year ago if someone told me in a year I would have moved twice, about to have a child and all that goes with that I would have laughed at them.  

I had plans.  It was going to happen this way or that... but it never does.

Part of what makes life endearing is the unexpected adventure... and that take a lot for me to say cause I'm a planner... like a plan has a plan which has a contingency plan kind of planner.

So today I challenge you to look at the joys that have changed your life to the unexpected and if you can't see the joy in the midst of the chaos maybe try and just ride the chaos?  It worked for me :D

Live. Love. Loud.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Montage of Monthly Goals

Making Monthly Goals | Enjoying what you can control | Chapel Hill Wedding Photographer
With each day that passes I feel and even larger than normal weight of the speed of time.  Normally I feel like a month passes fairly quickly and I wonder at how I spent it.  I feel like I need to live in a movie so I can enjoy my own personal montage of the previous month as a refresher of what was done!

This past month it was even more hightlighted.  Though I feel like I've been pregnant more of my life then not, at this point... which I completely understand can't be true, I still feel like a ticking time bomb of change.  Yes, there are a lot of great changes to come but change is scary... and when based on people can't be quantified.  No matter how many lists, charts or plans I make I cannot have it all figured out which is hard... OH SO hard for me.  So instead of focusing on what I can't do/cant' control I decide right now to be thankful for the life I have been given and take only control of what I can do on my own.

Which brings me to my monthly goals!

May was a pretty good month for achieving goals... let's hope that June follows the same trend!

Photo thanks to Ayesha's Innovations

My old May Goals

  • Make sure to get edited photos to clients in less than 6 weeks
  • Order Canvas for display
  • Look over Bridal shows for late 2014 and 2015
  • Decide on Traditional marketing budget
  • Pick out color scheme for Bridal show
  • Attend meeting/meet with photog friend

  • Do each Bradley exercise at least once daily
  • Baby-Q: make sure to get needed food and prep
  • Eat at least 70 Grams of Protein a day
  • Pack preliminary birthing bag
  • Enjoy last alone trip with Chris before baby!

June Goals:


  • Set up new SEO
  • Update Website with new portfolio pieces
  • Contact Designer about pieces that need to be created
  • Attending class/meeting for further education
  • Check into local place for cleaning equipment


  • Continue to do at least half of all Bradley exercises
  • Make Baby cream, wipes and what not
  • Finish Birthing bag
  • Finish Birthing Plan
  • Keep car fuel at half way or more till Baby comes
  • Keep house manageably straightened till baby comes
  • Finish three Vaccine books

What are your goals this month or week?  What steps are you making to turn your dream into a reality?

Live. Love. Loud.