There’s a slew of great information out on the web. But I came across this really cool site called Elegala that I thought was exceptionally awesome at providing information to brides. It has time lines, checklists, advice for everything from budgets to etiquette, unique gift registries, a vendor directory, giveaways, and a whole lotta details that can really come in handy.

Their motto is Elegant Galas – Made Simple. And they live up to it with a very user friendly, easy to navigate, nonsense-free website. This is what originally caught my eye. As I looked around, I also found some great articles that explain very clearly the many questions that arise when planning a wedding. It’s just a fabulous tool for any bride wanting to get some solid answers and creative ideas, regardless of budget or location, or anything else.

And I simply loved their advice/ideas section on Wedding Photography. As a wedding photographer, I’m certainly of the idea that your photographs are incredibly important. I also recognize that everyone has different needs and Elegala is great in that sense as well. So I was honored when they granted me a spot on their vendor listings.

So there, that proves how amazing they are! ;) But don’t just take my word for it. Check them out for yourself!

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It is a mind-blowing 32 degrees in Bayou City! 32 Degrees!!

It’s got to be the coldest day of the year in our fair city of Houston. On the upside…it’s snowing! And I haven’t seen snow since I bent in ways I thought were impossible to the human body. It was about six years ago and my first time skiing. Let’s just say I fell I whole lot more than I bargained for. Ahhh, memories!

I heard about the snow flurry this afternoon through the interoffice chatter. But I didn’t really see any until I got home. As usual, Matisse was going nuts, ready to pounce on me as soon as I opened the door. His daily ritual consists of pretty much assaulting me and then doing the “Lassie” back and forth through the living room until I get to the French doors to let him out. In this scenario, I of course, would be little Timmy.

One thing that was different today is that he skipped the b-line for his favorite tree and instead doubled back faster than a fur-covered bullet. As he ran over the icy deck I noticed that our lawn chairs were wearing a little cover of white sprinkles. If I didn’t know any better, I’d have thought that Santa was wrapping presents out on our deck today and accidentally forgot to clean up a few bits of Styrofoam before sneaking off. Geez, that Santa!

Behold! Our crazy Texas Snow:

Cards+Destroyed+013 Let it Snow...But Sans Frostbite
Moving on, I’ve finished setting up Josie’s Christmas cards. She picked a great photo from her session which I thought was fabulous with this festive design:

Christmas+Card Let it Snow...But Sans FrostbiteI’ve just finished Plum Tree’s holiday cards as well. Matisse was such a trooper posing as Rudolph for our portrait (pictured below). That was an adventure all it’s own. Truthfully, as usual he was so good! He’d hold the pose while I focused the camera and then he’d scoot his butt over as I ran over trying to beat the timer. I swear, if it wasn’t for that pesky squirrel making faces at us from the tree, he’d be looking straight at the lens.

01a Let it Snow...But Sans Frostbite
I know a certain chattering someone who’ll be getting a lump of coal in their tree stocking. UH-HUH-MM! That’s what you get for making fun of Rudolph! On the other hand, he does pee on your house every day. So I’ll just call you guys even.

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I met Josie and Justin last year when I did their wedding photography. Simply put, one of the sweetest couples I have ever met. Full of life and enthusiasm, they share a love for each other that’s practically tactile. When I heard this year that they were expecting their first baby, Emily, I was just over the moon.

Josie and Emily entered last month’s contest and won a portrait session with me. So we went down to my favorite park Discovery Green last week and had a good ol’ time. There was so much going on around us that little Emily found it hard not to be distracted. From the skaters on the ice rink, to the gigantic Christmas ornaments overhead, to the myriad of colors and sounds, it was sensory overload. But in good way. As I watched baby Emily experience everything with such wonder and fascination, I realized that in her four little months on this earth she probably hadn’t had that much excitement all at once. And through her eyes many things looked new to me as well. That’s just the magic of children.

I couldn’t have been more thrilled to finally meet Emily and catch up with Josie on the novelties of the past year. So much has happened in all of our lives. Once again I found myself in awe of the swiftness of time. The only thing missing was dad Justin, who’s in Iraq. Thankfully, he’ll be home this Christmas. And I look forward to seeing him too in the near future. :)

Justin, I hope you like this show. Your girls are so beautiful and such a joy. I’m so happy that technology can make it possible to cross the globe to share this day with you. Josie, thank you once again for being a delight to work with. And Emily, you are a wonderful sport. It’s like they say, the apple doesn’t fall far, right!

Enjoy your SLIDESHOW!

Blog+5 Josie & Emily: Family Portrait Photography

Blog+4 Josie & Emily: Family Portrait Photography

Blog+3 Josie & Emily: Family Portrait Photography
Blog+2 Josie & Emily: Family Portrait Photography
Blog+1 Josie & Emily: Family Portrait Photography
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The night before last, I very weirdly had a dream about Norman Reedus. This was particularly weird because I have not thought of or even seen a movie with Norman in it. In…well, I don’t even know how long. Another weird thing, I could not remember his name. So I Googled the one movie that I clearly remembered him in, which coincidentally happens to be one of my all-time favorite movies: Boondock Saints.

Even more weird: this movie came out ages ago. But wait! There’s more! In spite of how long it’s been, just two mere months ago they started filming the sequel. Mind you, I hadn’t even heard about this, even though BDS really is one of my very favorite movies.

Weird.

So now I have his name. For some weird reason I decide that I should Google images of Norman. You know, just to be thorough in the weirdness. Mostly, I find the same 8 images over and over again. He’s really not an in the limelight-kind of guy. Out of curiosity, due to the weird circumstances of it all, I click to see what sites these images are coming from. And POW! Behold one of my new favorite blogs: www.retardedfantasy.blogspot.com

The best part of it all? I happen to stumble upon this blog on THE ONE DAY that the blogger decides to post a beaut of a set list. And just like that, I find one of my favorite new bands: Band of Horses. I’ve been on a BOH trip for the past 2 days! Could this get any better? Or weirder?

I. Think. Not.

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So, you’ve heard about the contest change, eh? Here’s the scoop:

I’m going to be hosting all of my contests here on my blog from now on, instead of by newsletter. Every month there will be at least one contest. Some months there will be more…depending on my fancy. ;)

RULES? Just Four:

  1. Leave a comment on the blog. It can be on a past post or a current one. Each comment equals one entry. Oh yeah, and they’re cumulative. I’m going to randomly pick a comment-writer every time. The more you comment, the more chances you get.
  2. I’d like to see some sort of effort. In other words, you can’t just comment “hi” and have it count. “Nice photo,” “This post blows,” “Who’s Patricia?” — all valid comments.
  3. Anonymous comments don’t count. Please, please, please: help me identify you so if you win, you get the goods.
  4. Some contests may have a specific rule for entry (such as locals only), depending on the prize. These rules will always be clearly posted.

With that said, here’s the WINNER for the October Newsletter Contest:

GI+Jane+1 CONTEST RULES & October Winner Mom and Baby GI Jane won most original costume! What did they win, you ask?

They’re getting a free holiday portrait session with yours truly, complete with a CD of the images and 25 photo cards. Just in time for Christmas! Josie, I’ll be contacting you to set up your session. :)

Nobody entered the Ike story contest. So I’ll be using that free microdermabrasion session on myself! Yey! And :( That’s me frowning. But you knew that!

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Lela was thinking to herself that it had been ten years since she had portraits taken.

Ten. Whole. Years.

A lot can happen in that kind of time. And it had. So Lela set on a quest to find a photographer to capture not just her portrait, but the new Lela that had blossomed throughout all of that time.

We met at my house on a lovely Saturday morning, just a few weeks ago. And we hit it off immediately. Her warm personality, the excitement that I saw brewing in her amazing blue eyes as we talked about the kind of photos she would like, her story, everything about her just left me feeling like we had a great connection. We exchanged a little background, and learned some fun stuff along the way. Like the fact that she’s the only woman in her workplace — and for that matter, the only one I know that works in the field for an oil and gas company. She’s even got the pink hard-hat to prove it! Though she forgot to bring it on the day of the shoot! —it was the missing accessory to the pink dress! ;)

Lela’s story is a little like that of a diamond. The last ten years for her, were about overcoming a rough stage of life. And she has emerged, just shining through with admirable glimmer and increased self-worth. I was so honored that she chose me to capture her beautiful spirit.

Here’s a sneak peak of our session. I had so much fun that one hour turned into three! To date, it has been one of my most favorite shoots…from the adventure in parallel parking her Tuareg, to the crazy questions from the nearby Gun Show visitors, to the fantastic time we spent chatting it up and exchanging childhood memories, I just had a blast!

And I have to say, that for somebody who hasn’t been in front of a camera for such a long time, you did great! Anytime you want to catch a concert, or share pointers on that awesome money tree, you just let me know!

8 Lela: Portrait Photography

7 Lela: Portrait Photography

6 Lela: Portrait Photography
5 Lela: Portrait Photography
4 Lela: Portrait Photography
3 Lela: Portrait Photography
2 Lela: Portrait Photography

Shine away Lela: SLIDESHOW

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Making Your Own Luck

November 11, 2008
Okay, I’ll admit it. I admire David Jay like a pre-teen from the 80s who gushes over rag-mag heart throbs. But in a professional way. Seriously. ;)

I think this man is single-handedly creating a better world for all of us by filling it with people who truly get what it means to spread joy and kindness. Meet Wayne Toshikazu: former lawyer turned amazing photographer. Wayne is like most of us. Yearning for freedom in his life, self-fulfillment, and that feeling of great happiness that comes from knowing you are exactly where you are meant to be. This year, Wayne took his leap and has been met on the other side with– what I can only imagine to be– astounding rewards with more yet to come.
Taking this kind of leap takes more than just courage. It takes faith. Seeing him inspires me and, I think, inspires others to do the same. I hope that, whoever you are reading this blog, can feel inspired too. That you can get this small glimpse into someone else’s journey to freedom and find the faith to take one of your own…whatever that may be. Because if we are all so lucky, we’ll be that much better for it, and our world will be too.
Okay, so David is not single-handedly doing this. It is ALL of us, together. On the whole, we are a land of great people searching for ways to do great things and for great reasons. In searching, we (in photography) find David, leading the way by example and providing incredible tools to make it that much easier. We should all be so lucky in our journeys.
Godspeed my friends.
UPDATE: Wayne is an almost lawyer turned rad photographer. ;)
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Twice Blessed

November 11, 2008

This is the second time this year that I get sick.

…pausing here to contemplate my first sentence for a second…

Okay, so this is only the second time this year that I get sick. That sounded…and felt…better.

My ability to focus on the positive is only heightened by the sudden realization that my left nostril has just become unplugged for the first time today. Another positive.

Oh wait, my right one has suddenly caught the earlier plight of the left. Figures!

Gotta love the flu.

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Photographing newborns is hard work. The rewards…well, they surpass the challenges exponentially. I guess it’s kind of like childbirth – from what I hear. As soon as you set eyes on your bundle of joy, you forget the aching pains. Not that I’m comparing child labor to photographing a child, exactly. That would just be silly, even as silly as I am. ;)

Most of all, photographing babies is all about patience…and endurance, yes. You must bend in ways you never thought possible, holding the camera just this way to get that one fleeting look. It’s a waiting game, really. Hold your breath…don’t miss it.

But when you get that faint smile, the lazy yawns…that blissful stare of a new and innocent spirit, everything else fades away. There is nothing more peaceful than a sleeping baby. There is a great awe about all of the possibility in the world in just one little soul, untainted and pure. Given all of this, I must confess that photographing Mackenzie could not have been easier. She was such a good little baby…enduring even my craziest of ideas. She sleeps like a log and was content even in my makeshift nest, which turned out to be entirely too small for her. The concept didn’t work, but it is still one of my favorite pictures. I can’t help but smile when I look at it and see little, slumbering Mackenzie hanging on with tight little hands.

There is so much wonder in our world and in our lives. Thank you Mackenzie and mom Miranda for helping me keep that sense of wonder and lightheartedness in my life. It is a privilege that I will never take for granted.

22 Mackenzie: Baby Portrait Photography

21 Mackenzie: Baby Portrait Photography
13 Mackenzie: Baby Portrait Photography
05 Mackenzie: Baby Portrait Photography
03 Mackenzie: Baby Portrait Photography Click for the SLIDESHOW

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Sonja and Brian were married on September 27th on a what had to be one of the most gorgeous early fall days I’ve ever experienced. The setting was Downtown Houston at the lovely Sacred Heart Co-Cathedral followed by the Crown Plaza Hotel. Friends and family gathered to witness their lifetime promise of love and rejoice with a shin-dig to rival all others. Even the Houston Firefighters showed up!

Tears and laughter filled the room at every moment. It was such a memorable time. I am so honored to have been a part of your day. Thank you for sharing that gift with me. May your lives be blessed with all of the bounties of the universe!

Click to enjoy your SLIDESHOW.

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