Happy Thanksgiving everyone! In honor of today, I just want to take a little time to give thanks to the most important people in my life. Jason and I recently got married, and as I look back over the photos, I feel so incredibly lucky and happy to have been surrounded by some of the best people in the world and to be able to call them friends. I’m so thankful for them, and for the new family that I just inherited (I must confess, I absolutely LOVE my in-laws!), and most of all for the amazing man I get to spend the rest of my life with. I am lucky in so many ways, and if I stopped every single day to give thanks, it would never be enough. To the people in the pictures below (and the people not in the pictures below, but who were there and saw it firsthand), thank you for being a part of my life!!
All photos taken by Mike Falco and Glen Allsop for Christian Oth Studio. I’ll be blogging MUCH more about my wedding in the future, along with a several-part blog series about what I learned from my wedding that I hope to pass on to other brides. For now, I am off to College Station to spend Thanksgiving the right way – tailgating and watching football!!! BTHO tu!
PS :: What Thanksgiving wedding post would be complete without some Fightin’ Texas Aggie War Hymn photos?
Recently one of my favorite people and one of the most talented event designers I know, Tara Wilson, asked me to stop by a bridal shower she designed to take a few images of her handiwork. The design was so gorgeous I had to share it here! Every time I work with Tara my jaw literally drops when I walk in and see the unique and uber-creative designs she puts together. If you’re looking for someone to design your wedding, shower, party, or event, Tara is your woman!
It’s been a long time since I’ve posted anything personal on this blog, but today I have a good excuse. Today is April 21st, which is significant for two reasons. First of all, it’s the anniversary of the Battle of San Jacinto, which effectively ended the Texas revolution as General Sam Houston defeated Santa Anna and the Mexican army amid shouts of “Remember the Alamo!” As a tried and true Texan, this alone is reason for me to celebrate the day, but it also happens to be Aggie Muster. Muster is a tradition celebrated by all those connected with Texas A&M University where Aggies across the world are supposed to gather together, share fun stories of their time at A&M, and remember the Aggies who have passed away since the previous Muster. The highlight of Aggie Muster is the Roll Call for the Absent, during which the names of those fallen Aggies are called, and we answer “Here” to signify that they are with us in spirit, if not in body. After the Roll Call, a 21 gun salute is fired, and then there’s another Aggie tradition – Taps is played three times – once to the north, to the south, and to the west, but not to the east, because the sun will never rise on that Aggie again. *Every* fallen Aggie is celebrated at Muster, so someday when I die, Aggies will call out my name and answer “Here” for me, too.
One of the defining moments of my life was when I served as a Muster Host when I was a freshman at A&M. As a host, I was assigned one of the families of a fallen Aggie, and my duty was to show them where to go, what to do, and to tend to whatever they needed to make the experience as positive as possible for them. The family I was assigned was the family of Brandon Davis ’06, a fellow freshman who had died only a month beforehand. I was expecting them to be distraught, emotional, upset, and a host of other understandable emotions, but to my surprise they were happy, positive, and excited. They talked about how much Brandon had loved A&M, how Muster had been his favorite tradition, and how honored he would have been to have his name called out at the campus Muster. It was so inspiring and so life-changing to see this family, who had lost their son and brother far too early, celebrating his life rather than mourning it. I have been extremely lucky to never lose a loved one, but I hope that whenever that awful day comes, I can be as strong and brave and positive as the amazing Davis Family.
Today, even if you’re not an Aggie, take some time to remember the people in your life who have passed away. Call up someone who knew them and swap stories about the times you laughed together, your favorite memories of them, what you loved most about them, and the impact they had on your life. Light a candle for them, call out their name, and answer “Here.”
So, Happy Muster to all my fellow Ags, Happy Birthday to the Republic of Texas for all my fellow Texans, and Happy April 21st to everyone else. :) If you’d like to learn more about Muster, check out Wikipedia or the official Muster website.
In many lands and climes this April day, proud sons of Texas A&M unite.
Our loyalty to country, school, we pray, and seal our pact with bond of common might.
We live again those happy days of yore on campus, field, in classroom, dorm, at drill
Fond memory brings a sigh — but nothing more; now we are men and life’s a greater thrill,
Before we part and go upon our way, we pause to honor those we knew so well;
The old familiar faces we miss so much today left cherished recollections that time cannot dispel.
Softly call the Muster,
Let comrade answer, “Here!”
Their spirits hover ‘round us
As if to bring us cheer!
Mark them ‘present’ in our hearts,
We’ll meet some other day.
There is no death, but life eterne
For our old friends such as they.
Europe, as always, was fabulous. Although I am the biggest American patriot you will ever find, it is nice to sometimes leave the land of apple pies and baseball and indulge my wanderlust. I’ve been privileged to visit Italy many times in my life, but this recent trip was my first opportunity to visit the City of Love. It turned out to be quite an apropos title as well, because you see, I came home with quite the lovely souvenir:
That’s right, the wedding photographer finally has a wedding of her own to plan, and she COULD NOT be more excited about it! I can’t say it was a complete surprise, however. This proposal has been a long time coming!
For quite awhile now (over six months, according to my e-mail history) Jason and I have been discussing “The Ring.” Being a wedding professional, I see a lot of weddings and a LOT of rings, so as you can imagine, I’ve always had some very specific opinions about The Ring that I would be wearing for the rest of my life. Knowing me and knowing this, Jason didn’t even attempt to hide the ring-buying process from me, so we both jumped into it headfirst. We spent months looking at different ring designs, researching the four Cs, trying to find the perfect center stone, and checking out jeweler after jeweler. At times the process was much more emotional and frustrating than it should have been – until we met Eric Olschwanger. I’ll talk more about Eric later, but if you’re in the market for any kind of custom jewelry, Eric will save you time, money, and stress, and will give you an impeccably made piece for a fabulous price.
The Tiffany Legacy Ornate ring, which is the ring my lovely was based off of. Photo property of Tiffany & Co.
So fast forward to earlier this month. I had been subtly slipping Jason some hints that it might be incredibly romantic to propose in Europe, and he had not so subtly told me that pigs would fly before he would take our ring overseas and risk losing it or having it stolen or confiscated by security or some other completely irrational fear. It had gotten to the point where he actually seemed to be genuinely angry at me when I would bring it up, so I quietly began to lose hope for an epic proposal under a sparkling Eiffel Tower.
As we descended into Paris’ Charles De Gaulle Airport, I asked my beloved what he looked forward to most during the trip, maybe subconsciously hoping he would reveal his plan right then and there. Instead, he coyly deflected and quickly changed the subject. I was, naturally, oblivious. Later, as we unpacked in our hotel room, Jason proudly showed me an e-mail he had just received from our jeweler Eric stating that some “last minute changes” to the ring had just been finished and would be ready to pick up as soon as we returned from Europe. “Aren’t you excited?!” he asked. I tried (futilely) to hide my disappointment, gave up the last shred of hope I had been clinging onto, and just tried to enjoy myself in the most romantic city on Earth.
Attempting to look Parisian and NOT look disappointed.
On our second day in Paris, we spent the majority of the afternoon and evening with my clients Abby and Zach, the new Mr. and Mrs. Boatwright. They had just gotten married the previous Sunday, and Jason and I flew with them to Europe for their honeymoon to do a destination Day After session. We wandered around the Louvre, the Tuileries, the Champ du Mars, and finally finished up our photo spree at an illuminated Eiffel Tower.
You can’t see it (I hope) but these two are completely miserably cold right now.
It was approximately 20-something degrees and snowing, and Abby had been roughing it in a thin strapless wedding dress all day, so the poor girl was on the edge of frostbite. Finally I realized I could torture her no longer, so I announced that the shoot was finished and that we could pack it in and head back to the hotel. As I began to pack up my gear, Abby asked me if I’d like a photo of myself and Jason – you know, since the lights were already set up and everything was all lit up and beautiful. Not wanting to watch my client turn into a popsicle before my eyes, I initially refused, but she insisted (I later learned she was totally in on it, and although I’m sure she wanted nothing more than to find the nearest blazing fireplace, she kept her promise to Jason – I owe you one, Abby!!). I grabbed Jason and yanked him in front of the camera, wanting to get the photo done quickly, but for some reason he kept wanting to talk to me. At first I ignored him, but he kept talking, mumbling something about how I had asked him at some point what he was looking forward to most, and how this was it. I gave him the obligatory “Awwww,” a quick kiss, and resumed my pose so we could get the photo finished and get my clients to a heater pronto. Then he grabbed my hand and said “I’m not finished….”
I’m not exactly sure what happened after that moment, because it was all one big amazingly happy blur, but I think the photo proof speaks for itself:
Needless to say, I got my Parisian wish, I got my perfect ring, and most importantly, I got my white knight. Jason and I have been together for almost three years now, and they’ve been three of the happiest years of my life. We began our relationship playing saxophone in a parking garage stairwell, and it’s been an awesome ride ever since. He gets me like no one else, he knows my every emotion and pet peeve and fear and weird quirk, and he embraces all of it. I love him more than I ever thought I could love someone, and I am incredibly lucky and blessed and grateful to have found him (and kept him!).
I know that you guys are just dying to ask me who MY wedding photographer will be (I get that question roughly 736785 times a day) and let me just nip that in the bud right now and say I have NO CLUE!! I certainly have a list of people whose work I love and admire, but choosing my wedding photographer is a huge decision that will be influenced by several factors, so I’m not in any rush to make a decision. We have set a very tentative wedding date – 4.11.11 (yep, it’s a Monday!) – but we’re far from finalizing anything. We’re excited about taking our time and enjoying being engaged, and yes, planning the most epic, amazing, fun, creative wedding we can possibly imagine!
Sorry ladies, he’s aaaaaaaaall mine.
Every year I whine and complain about how awful my birthday is. I’ll tell just about anyone who will listen how I was completely jipped out of a real birthday, how I always get the shaft when it comes to gifts, and how virtually every birthday I can remember was spent sitting at home watching football while everyone else prepared for Christmas. I have serious birthday issues, that I will readily admit. Those birthday issues also became Christmas issues, and my lack of a “real” birthday made me a total Ebeneezer Scrooge when it came to all things Christmas related.
This year, I decided I was ready for a change. My wonderful boyfriend Jason gets most of the credit.. Christmas is one of his favorite times of the year, and he gets really excited about lights and Christmas music and all that jazz. I didn’t want my “Bah Humbugs” to bring him down this year, so I committed to enjoying both my birthday and Christmas to the very fullest, and man am I glad I did. We have had such a blast this year celebrating the dual festivities, from a stellar birthday dinner with so many of my college friends, clients, and wedding industry colleagues, to decorating the house with lights and tinsel and stockings as we listened to Jason’s patented Christmas mix, to a full week of holiday festivities. Now, finally, the big day has come, and I am beyond thrilled to finally be the ripe old age of 26! 25 was the best year of my life thus far, and 26 is looking to blow it completely out of the water. Bring it on!
Every year I appeal to my blog readers to help me celebrate my birthday by giving to a great cause. Last year I recommended Kiva.org, Thirst Relief, and the ASPCA as great options for your small donations, or the fantastic website Free Rice for those of you who want to do a good deed but are a little strapped for cash.
Although I still support all of these causes and highly recommending sending a few bucks (or clicks) their way, this year I want to switch it up and offer to do something for my readers. From now until midnight on Christmas Day, you can receive a $50 discount on the Mind Your Business workshop by signing up using THIS LINK. That’s ten solid hours jam-package with honest, useful, and applicable advice that’s going to help you start booking more clients and making more money IMMEDIATELY! Personally I think it’s a pretty good investment, but I guess I am a little biased. Remember, you must use THIS LINK to get the discount.
If you’d like to offer me a birthday or Christmas wish, I would greatly appreciate your comment on this post, and so would the North Texas Food Bank, since I will be donating one canned good for every comment received in the month of December! We’re well over 100 cans, which is amazing, but my personal goal is to get it up to at least 150 cans before the month is up, so get to commenting, and have a fantastic Christmas!
*******As part of the Cans for Comments drive, for every comment left on the blog in the month of December, I will donate a canned good to a local food bank. Please leave a comment and help out those in need!*******
I’m fairly sure that if you asked my friends and family who has the best job in the world, the vast majority of them would say me. In the past few years I’ve had the opportunity to travel all over the country and the globe (next year I’ve got scheduled stops in Paris, Venice, Rome, New York, Playa Del Carmen, and New Orleans) all on paid vacations, working one or two days per trip and enjoying the rest. I get paid thousands of dollars for what is perceived as one day of work. I get to spend time with beautiful people doing something that most people enjoy as a fun hobby. Almost every Saturday night I get a great meal by some of the best chefs in town and I get to party on the dance floor until the wee hours of the morning – and I get paid for it! Talk about the good life, huh?
The International Society of Professional Wedding Photographers recently published an article on the Secret Life of Wedding Photographers. Based on public perception of wedding photographers, this is what most people think our lives are like:
Two years ago today a strange boy who I had been talking to practically non-stop for over a week came and swept me off my feet. One snowy April afternoon, we raced RC cars over the speedbumps in my highrise parking garage. We went to a carnival and I impressed him with the finer points of nighttime photography. He serenaded me to Oh Holy Night on saxophone in an abandoned stairwell, and we drank wine and talked about life. It was one of the funnest nights of my life to date, and it marked the beginning of an amazing era of my life.