Sharing a few of my favorites today from Jessica's classic, Old Town Spring bridal session! I just love everything about her look!!! Her and Jason's New Years eve wedding was a blast, and I am just so thrilled it is over so I can finally share this beautiful session with you all!
2017 has been so incredibly crazy and wonderful, mixed in with a few hard things! But aren't they all?! ;) Last year, I did a "word of the year" blog post and wanted to continue following that tradition for 2018! Last year's word was 'gratitude', and looking back, I feel like I did a pretty good job of remembering that word and the action of it in most circumstances. Here we are, the last day of 2017, and I am so grateful. I am grateful to God for the means to have been able to give to some incredible charities, including : Imani Collective, Naomi's Village, Samaritan's Purse, The Birthday Party Project and more!!
With the growth my business has had in the last year, it has allowed me to do what I love full time, day in and day out! And I honestly can't even type sentences like that without crying HA! I am just so thankful to be able to do what I love and to do it serving Jesus and others along the way! My heart is FULL!!!
On the personal side of it all, there have been some crazy things!!! My grandfather's heart attack, my grandmother's stroke, heart attack, lymphoma and now seizures and brain surgery to top the year off! Christmas was spent in a hospital, but we surrounded her with her family and so much love and gratitude that she has made it through it ALL! (Talk about a warrior, guys.) Seeing my mom go through all of this with HER mom has been so hard. But it has also shown me that incredibly strong, beautiful, resilient, fighter women run in my family (On BOTH sides!) I am so blessed with the mom I have and by all the women in my family.
This year, the love of my life did his first internship with Stennis Space Center in Mississippi, and LOVED IT! He's headed back again this summer and honestly, I am such a proud girlfriend. I will always say that one of my favorite things about Cody and I Is that we are complete opposites in our passions, but pursue them hard and to the fullest alongside each other. I just love him :)
I did a styled shoot, I served a bazillion awesome clients, I traveled out of the country, I made new friends, I quit school, I went FULL TIME (still unreal THANK YOU), anxiety symptoms came back and kicked those in the butt again, I hosted my first workshop, cooked a lot of food, shot a LOT of food.. and probably a million more important things.
But my favorite thing has been that I have been able to witness God's wonderful, all consuming GRACE in it all. When I am weak, sinful and down. His Grace is there. It covers me.
So. That is why........ BA DA DA DAAAAAAAAAA! My word of the year is:
Jesus, help me to be more like you in 2018. Help me to give grace and love to others more freely!!
I love because you do!
Cheers to 2018, everyone! May it be filled with hope, love, heath, happiness and GRACE!
Wooooo! I feel like this is the start of the best/most embarrassing blog post of the year... Oh well! I hope you enjoy seeing me behind the scenes this year. Prepare for all the awkward faces, me standing on my tip toes, running from fire and... well, more weird faces ;) Thank you to all my moms, second shooters and I phone photogs who snapped these gems!! Hereeeee we go...
So incredibly excited to share this senior session on the blog today! Lauren is graduating this month with a degree in architecture from Texas A&M! Not only is she the most sweet, big-hearted and thoughtful girl I know, but she is also one of my best friends :)
We wanted some fall vibes mixed with some images on campus, and I think we nailed it with our locations!
As always, Leanna of Naturally Flawless does an incredible job on HMU!
This is a sweet one, you guys!
Celeste and Daniel are the most thoughtful couple. The 9th of every month is their special day - it’s the day he asked her to be his girlfriend, wife, and the day they will marry! Oh, and did I mention that Daniel gives her a sunflower (Celeste's happy flower) on the 9th of every month?! I mean, come on. Celeste & Daniel, Your love for Jesus and each other is so incredibly evident in the way you two interact! So honored to be your wedding photographer and I can't wait for your June wedding!!
It's time to share another sweet STP couple this week!! This fall engagement has me just gushing over these two and their love! Also, can we talk about the golden grass Texas has every fall? We may not have trees changing colors, but ahhh this couple + this grass + golden hour = Gorgeousness!! I also recently did Kyla's bridal session and I am just so excited to share those after their wedding in January. She is the most beautiful bride!
Kyla and Caleb, you guys are the sweetest, and your love for each other is so evident in these images!! You both have the most joyful smiles! I cannot WAIT for your wedding day!!
Sharing these two cuties and their Rockport, Texas Engagement Session on the blog today!! Brandi & Jerry are the sweetest, most laid back couple I know. 10 Minutes before our session was supposed to start, Brandi calls me and says they locked their car keys in the house and her jeans are ripped! The ripped jeans alone would usually send any bride through the roof!! She handled it like a champ and they made it and we had a blast!! Despite Harvey's horrible damage to this little town, there is still beauty there! And boy, did we find it! There are so many fall vibes and beautiful colors and greenery throughout the shoot.
Brandi and Jerry, I am so thankful for you guys and I can't wait for your wedding in 2018!
I think Cody will be proud of me for getting the numbers on this one (he's the math guy)
2 years, 39 graduating seniors, 18 Weddings, 1 cookbook (and counting), 1 Workshop Launch, 1 card corruption (that was recovered!!), lot's of late nights, tired eyes, sore feet... but a total of 97 sessions/life events (whether food/bloggers/families etc.) AND 300+ (hard to estimate an exact # on this one) beautiful people that have been a key part in theses sessions/life events that I have personally gotten to capture and illustrate memories for and call the greatest clients in the entire universe....
I'm a little speechless.
I'm not a numbers girl and I am not the best estimator. So truly... I don't know if these numbers are on the small side or not.. I just know that 300+ people have trusted me in the last 2 years to take care of their memories, doing what I so passionately love and believe that I was designed to do!
From the bottom of my heart, thank you to every single senior who finds my experience different and exciting.. and for every mom & dad who lets their daughter go with me for their senior photos. I LOVE this time in your child's life, and I can't wait to see how they change the world!
Thank you to my sweet couple's who find and trust me with one of the greatest life events that could ever occur.. Committing to each other and God and entering into the covenant of marriage! Thank you to their parents/grandparents/aunts/uncles who have helped or fully financially supported their decision to have me be apart of their Big Day.
Thank you to every blogger, restaurant, skincare line and small business that has trusted me with the face of their brands. I cannot tell you how honored it is to work with other creative minds in creating a vision tailored to you!
Thank you my families - I only take about 1 or 2 on per year... but most of you, I know personally and you have been clients since I was 17 and this business had not even officially began. To you, I am so grateful!
I know that with all of these "Thank You's" and terrible grammatically incorrect run-on sentences... it is beginning to sound like I have won an award of some kind... With clients like mine, it feels like I have. I have a few more personal thanks to give out, so bear with me!
Thank you to every Instagram/Facebook follower, like-er, comment-er... Your engagement and interest in me and my work is so valuable to me!
To my mentors and teachers from the very beginning: Molly Kresta, Jon Eilts, Hannah Browning, Lauren Carnes. Thank you for being so encouraging and freely pouring so much knowledge into me from the beginning stages of my hobby to where I am now in my business. I wouldn't be where I am without you!
To the one that told me I "would never make it" in College Station and that "there are a thousand you's"... As much as this stung, I am so grateful that, somehow, I did not listen!
To the people who thought I was weird for carrying around a camera at High School Football games, taking pictures of my friends, taking it "too seriously" and acting like a pro when I really wasn't... acting turned into my reality. Thank you for being a great motivation in my life and business.
To my family and friend's and friends that are family. You have given constant support, love, advice and hugs. Specifically, my parents. Mom, for your creative advice and overwhelming excitement about everything that I do. Dad, for your money real-talk and business advice and, like mom, overwhelming excitement about everything that I do... And to my baby sister & brother - You guys are the greatest and I love you with all my heart! Thank you for ALSO always giving overwhelming excitement about everything that I do. (I really have the best family) I pray you always follow your dreams! To my Mom, Dad, siblings, Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles and cousins - You are amazing and wonderful and I will never once take for granted your support of my entrepreneurial endeavors!
Lauren, my best friend/honorary business advisor and photographer - you have seen the in's and out's of me going from part time to full time. You are always there for me, you put up with messiness when I rearrange everything in our living room for my food shoots- You're one of my biggest cheerleaders and I am so grateful I went against my decision to live alone, and tried out the whole random roommate thing over a year ago! You have become like a sister to me!
And Cody, you are everything to me! You are the sweetest, most caring, loving, supporting man I could ever ask for. You give comfort when I feel like a failure, but never let me wallow in that feeling. You give me honest talks about business decisions and help me work through every trial I face. You tell me I'm cool and you give me amazing love and forgiveness. Thank you for striving always to love me like Jesus! Fun fact (that you know, but my readers do not): You literally saved the day at our VERY FIRST wedding and I will have everyone that reads this know... If it wasn't for you, that couple would not have seen their sparkler exit. (I have no excuse. It was my first sparkler exit and my images were out of focus somehow. I have since strived to become an expert at this LOL!)
Lastly, and most importantly, thank you, Jesus for giving me all of the above. This gift, and a thousand more things that you do for me daily is just mind-blowingly, earth-shatteringly incredible. I am so grateful and undeserving of your Love and Grace. I promise to strive to serve You through this gift you have given me as long as You let me!
So, here's to the start of our 3rd year. I can't believe that it can get better than this, but I am so excited for it!
This blog post is a couple of days late, but oh. my. gosh. I am SO SO SO excited to share these images with you and tell you all about what we did! Lauren and I wanted to go on a long-weekend, last minute girl's trip & Banff was the PERFECT place. I will be going back here many many times in my life because it is the most beautiful place I ave ever seen. You win the mountain contest, Canadian Rockies, you win.
Our first night, we did the Banff Gondola ride and had dinner at the top - It was the most insane view ever, and the restaurant was like a glass box in the sky! The food was different but good. Before dinner, we walked through the forest on this bridge/lookout at the top... I felt like I was in a winter wonderland.
Next, we did a Lake Louise day (equally as winter-wonderland-y) where we walked around the lake and ate inside the Fairmont Lake Louise hotel - It was so incredibly gorgeous. We ate at Poppy and the food was amazing! You HAVE to get their donuts if you go. They are seriously life-changing. We also went on a spontaneous horseback ride around the lake - It was a 2 hour ride and was gorgeous, but so cold!
On our last day, we had a lazy morning and walked around the tiny town of Banff. This day was significantly warmer (Like high 40's hahaha), and we got a little taste of fall! We then made it to Afternoon Tea at the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel. This is a MUST do. It was so so cute, and the view is like a painting. I liked this building more than the Lake Louise Fairmont because of its old age and history, but the views at both are a must-see! After tea, we walked around the town more and just steps away from the downtown area is the Bow River. Which was so gorgeous! Everything was so yellow and colorful!
This was the trip of a lifetime and beautiful in every single way - I can't WAIT to go back!
This is the day that I have been SO anxious to announce! Remember that cookbook I shot for this spring? It's HERE! It's for sale!! I am so blessed by the incredible Agrilife Extension Service Dinner Tonight Team! I had a blast with Odessa, Courtney, Rusty and all the sweet men and women who worked on this project with us. Racing to their offices to grab my copy,
but you can get yours HERE:
Here are a few of my favorite images from the book and the weeks of cooking and shooting we had to make it happen!
I am finally getting around to blogging this beautiful small-town spring wedding, and I am so excited to share it with you guys today! Cathryn & Roman are the sweetest, and their families? Even sweeter! They had the biggest wedding party I have ever tackled, and couldn't have done this day without my girl, Katie Kruger! Cathryn & Roman incorporated so many thoughtful elements throughout their day, and I have never met a more grateful, happy couple! They got married in the same church and reception hall that Cathryn's parents did years ago, and if you scroll down to a couple of the black and white images... the one with the stained glass of the church is a recreated image that her parents took on their wedding day!! Tears!!
Cathryn & Roman, I say this a lot to my clients, but it truly was such an honor to be your wedding photographer!! I love what I do, and I am just so humbled by all of my sweet couples who trust me with there memories!
Wow. I never share recipes unless I have created them to be amazing for you guys, and let me tell you, these enchiladas are insane! The enchiladas themselves are amazing, but the STAR of the show is the sauce. I can't take credit for it. Cookie + Kate, you are an enchilada sauce genius. I double her recipe (linked at the bottom of this post) and keep a huge jar of it in my fridge for enchiladas, chicken, or anything I want to add a little flavor to!!
If you are wanting a guild free Mexican food night, these are your answer! Enjoy!
I package of Siete Tortillas
1 Can of Canellini Beans
1/2 cup of Corn (I just buy a bag of organic frozen corn)
1 lb boneless/skinless Chicken
2 Cups Bone Broth (I use one container of this one)
2 TBSP Chili powder
1 TSP Garlic Powder
1 Tsp cayenne (optional)
3 TBSP Chopped fresh Cilantro
1 Lime (Juice)
Pinch of salt
1 tsp pepper
2.5 Cups Of Enchilada Sauce (EASY Make Ahead Recipe Below!!!)
Place chicken, broth & dry spices in the crockpot for 5 hours on high! I recommend doing this late morning the day you are making the enchiladas! Shred Chicken with two forks in the crockpot once the 5 hours is up! Mix in Beans, Corn, Lime Juice & Cilantro. I also put a small spoonful of homemade enchilada sauce into the mixture sometimes! So delicious!
Now to assemble the enchiladas! Put a couple of spoonfuls of chicken mixture into a tortilla and wrap. Place in pan and continue like this until your pan is filled! (Each enchilada is side by side - don't stack) (I use a 4X4 glass pan, but have extra sometimes, and need a larger pan!)
Pour enchilada sauce all over enchiladas. Spread evenly with a spatula.
Bake on 350 for 30 Minutes!!
A few weeks ago, Cody and I made our way to Austin to shoot an Anniversary session for these two cuties! I have had the honor of being a part in Leah & Jared's milestones since their engagement last year, and I seriously CAN'T believe it has been over a year since their wedding! We celebrated in the most gorgeous spot - McKinney Falls, you are perfection!
They are such a joy to be around and I can't wait for the next time they are in front of my camera.
Happy Anniversary, Leah & Jared!
I am SO excited to share this editorial shoot I did back in the Spring. I am so thankful to Skylar of Chancey Charm Houston for making my warm minimalist wedding dreams come to life. I absolutely loved working with our incredible vendors - Everyone listed below is just so awesome! The classic neutral color palette of grays and greens gets a breath of fresh air with peach and gold, adding warmth and vibrancy. I love the greenery hoop backdrop! Such a simple statement piece that will be sure to wow your guests. And that peach drip cake is just perfection!
Featured on Glamour & Grace! Wooooo!
Photography : @shelbytsikaphoto | Planning: @skylar_caitlin for @chanceycharm | Venue : @tinyboxwoods | Florist: @yellowthistledesigns | Linens: @houseofhough | HMU: @analisahastings | Dress: @unbridaled | Tux: @generationtux | Calligraphy & Paper: @joyfulinkcalligraphy | Cake: @sweetmariesdessertstudio
Blogging has been a little slow lately due to my crazy travels, but I am so incredibly excited to be able to share this sweet, sweet engagement session with you guys! I first met these two at their Messina Hoff Proposal last winter. Trevor had thoughtfully planned for months and had me booked way in advance for this special surprise!! Needless to say, I was extremely excited when they wanted to book me for their wedding this May!
It is such an honor to be able to photograph this entire season of their lives - Trevor & Natalie, you guys are awesome and I am so grateful for you! Can't Wait to celebrate your love at Agave Real in May!
As I prepare to jump on yet, another plane tomorrow morning, I just HAD to share some images form my trip to Chicago! My Cousin, Marlee, invited me last minute on her adventure and I spontaneously said yes!! I love this gorgeous city and we had a blast. I share some iPhone images, so definitely stay tuned until the end. :)
I am no travel blogger, but I am still going to share a few must-dos and places to eat that I LOVED!
First, my hands down favorite place to eat was Dixie. This unique little spot knows what they're doing with Brunch, y'all. I loved shooting/eating their beautiful food!
Second, Pops for Champagne. This little gem is pricey, but I cannot recommend it enough. Pops is a champagne bar, and if you know me, you know bars aren't my thing. But guys. This place was the cutest!! Like stepping into the 1920s. From the decor, band & old movies playing, to the champagne and service... Such a fun experience all around!! Visit them and ask for Jessica!!
Lastly on food, Steak 48!! AKA - the reason we went to the city in the first place! Marlee works at the Houston location, and they opened up the Chicago store last week! If you're looking for a fancy date night, this is your place!! In Houston or Chicago, the service and food will be incredible!
My favorite activity we did was visiting the Willis Tower - the views were absolutely insane!!!
A few honorable mentions:
The Architecture Boat Tour (go at sunset/night!!)
Le Colonial (also has houston location)
For Pizza: Giordanos
For a Hot Dog: Find a street vendor, suck it up, and enjoy (see last iPhone pick hahahah)
Also, you MUST visit The Bean, But DO NOT go to movie in the park. It was so so so crowded, I couldn't believe it!!
Like I said, we had so much fun. I loved that our hotel was right in the midst of downtown where so many cute walk-up apartments were. This was one of my favorite things. Everything is so laid back. I can't wait to go back to this beautiful city!!
Happy Sunday, Ya'll. It's time for the other half of my shoot with Rx Pizza! (My personal favorite half) Cocktails are my FAVORITE think to shoot, hands down. Okay, I may say that about a ton of things, but seriously.... These drinks are A+++++++++
Rx is the best at pizza, cocktails and overall atmosphere. I had so much fun shooting this!! Personal favorite drink & image from this shoot is the Caffe del Fuego! They use a local coffee liqueur made in ATX! YUMMMM. But you can only get it at their Sunday brunch (THIS MORNING!) - So delicious!
I am so excited about this blog post today! I got a chance to hang out with Pure + Radiant owner, Courtney Kahla and shoot some updated shots of her skincare line AND even jump in a shot myself! Thank you to our friend, Shell, for snapping that pic! We have decided to do an interview style blog post - and today I am sharing her answers to my questions about her brand, her heart and everything in between!!
Guys, I hope you enjoy this. Her heart is crazy big, and the care and attention to detail she puts into each handmade product is incredible. She does this all while being in chiropractic school!! She is such a superstar and I love being business besties with this chick!! Love ya, Court!
An Interview with Courtney
1. Tell me about the heart behind Pure + Radiant. Why skincare?
the heart and soul of Pure + Radiant is honesty, integrity, and clarity. it was birthed from a place of service. six months before my wedding I experienced adult acne for the first time and it caused emotional turmoil to my core. that is ultimately what fueled my skincare ritual because while hormone changes and high stress levels were most likely the cause of my breakout, I realized everything I was putting on my skin to cleanse, moisturize, and cover up were only making it worse. the majority of mainstream body care products contain a cocktail of carcinogenic chemicals, allergens, and irritants. to eliminate many toxic chemicals, preservatives, and fragrances that are harmful to our bodies, I began on a journey of creating organic and natural skincare products that work synergistically with my body to heal those imbalances and shared those recipes on my blog. I felt the love from my community so much that they started asking me to make these products for them to purchase! I was selling homemade face wash, serum and even shampoo to my classmates, friends and family!
I was only able to achieve a clear complexion after totally overhauling my beauty routine by simplifying to a few natural and gentle skincare products that I made myself specifically for my sensitive skin! I also respected that not every product works for every skin type. we are all unique and I value that so I also began creating organic and natural skincare products for the variety of skin types.
2. Were you fearful of anything when you started your business? if so, what and why?
I don’t feel like I even gave myself a chance to experience fear with Pure + Radiant. I was blogging these recipes and doing my thang when a friend called and put her faith in me. her belief in me instilled a confidence that never wavered. I hit the ground running and never looked back. I also never allowed any stress in the process of creating and launching P+R. the village that it took to bring this to life was full of joy, love and passion. we never had a specific launch date because we worked at a pace that was enjoyable for us. this also applies to every product I make. I am very intentional about my heart and mind when I’m making products and filling orders to make sure that your skin is being loved on every level, even energetic.
I can’t say that that’s true now though. there has been a new wave of fear that I’ve been experiencing lately simply because it’s a one-woman show over here! I not only make each and every product by hand (my favorite part), but I also slap every label on every bottle, cut and tie every ingredient tag, put together every box, stuff and package all orders, and manage all social media and blog posts. all while being a full-time chiropractic intern working over 50 hours a week. I was in my second year of chiropractic school and first year of marriage when I launched Pure + Radiant. I found balance while managing how to be a wife, dog mom, full-time chiropractic student, and business owner. but now I’m in an entirely new phase of life: my last year of chiropractic school where I serve people in the chiropractic clinic and I’m in the process of finding a new kind of balance. this is why our shipping times range anywhere from 7-9 business days because I’m finding that I can only fill orders on the weekends. I’m just so grateful that the Pure + Radiant community is full of grace and patience as we grow and change to better serve their skin.
3. Favorite product?
oh boy, don’t make me choose! let me start off by saying that I use the ENTIRE line on a daily and weekly basis. that’s where this ritual started... with what served my skin best and then we evolved. I probably use the toner for oily skin (no, I don’t have oily skin but it simply has more apple cider vinegar in it and I like that) and the skin food serum for dry skin the most. sometime I mix the serums together to get the best of both worlds. that’s the beauty of it! you have the freedom to do what works best for you and I always encourage you to listen to your body and be intuitive with your skincare. I love our new + improved face wash but honestly, I’m kinda lazy about washing my face and I also believe in skin fasting.
4. If someone were to enter into the world of clean skincare in need of advice, what would you have them do / buy first?
I think it’s important to not feel overwhelmed in this transition because it is a journey. honor that journey. take your time. if you can afford to throw all your toxic products away and spend a few hundred dollars replacing them and that’s what makes you happy, then do it! but I wasn’t able to do it that way. when I would run out of face wash, I would invest in a new nontoxic face wash or actually, I couldn’t afford most nontoxic face washes so I started using just castile soap. but then that was too drying so then I started using just honey but that was too sticky and not realistic to use on a daily basis. so I started playing around with combining them and adding other nourishing ingredients which became our suds face wash today!
whether you choose to invest in Pure + Radiant or not, you deserve skincare products that don’t sacrifice your health. there truly are clean products for every budget so don’t be afraid to ask for help.
5. Where do you want to be in 3 years with your blog and Pure + Radiant?
honestly, 3 years is a tough time frame for me because I’ll be graduating chiropractic school in one year and then I’ll begin an associateship with a pediatric and prenatal specific chiropractor in the dfw metroplex and hopefully beginning a family. I hope to continue to seek truth and share that through the Pure + Radiant blog in the areas of pure beauty, radiant living and chiropractic. I do envision opening my own chiropractic office one day. I honestly never imagined associating until this opportunity presented itself and I am beyond grateful. possibly more like 5 years down the road, I envision having a chiropractic space that opens to the Pure + Radiant Home retail shop. I will have some employees working at that shop so I can serve people in my space, but that connected space will serve as an open kitchen where you can see the Pure + Radiant products being made by hand as well as other nontoxic and natural living brands to fill the retail shelves. lots of neutrals, natural wood floating shelves and greenery.
okay, I shared my guts, but I think you should know the core values and priorities my life revolves around. my core values are: Christianity, congruency, authenticity, passion, integrity and gratitude. my priorities are: God, health, family, education and friendships. having this set-in place has helped me keep on track with my life purpose and in touch with my passion and joy. it is my belief that the body is a gift and uniquely designed by our Creator. my passion is inspiring people to feel empowered and healthy within their bodies. my mission is to educate people of all ages to take action steps toward owning and managing a life with vitalism. this is done by utilizing chiropractic care as the cornerstone of expressing life more abundantly. I know that through the eyes of our Creator we shine in divine perfection and I see and serve you and create skincare products in this same light.
I have been waiting SO LONG to share this wedding with you guys! Literally about a week after this November wedding, Mariana & Joshua's wedding film by Constante Films was noticed by San Antonio Weddings Magazine and I was contacted for the photos to be published in their July issue! Eeeeek! The magazine is finally out, and if you are in the Boerne/San Antonio Area, head to Barnes & Noble and grab a copy!! If you aren't, here is the digital copy : https://bluetoad.com/publication/?i=418953
This Cana Ballroom Wedding was worth the wait to share with you guys. Mariana and Joshua are such an incredible couple! Their fun personalities and love shines through every image, and it was such an honor to be the one to capture their day! I mean, if you just look at Joshua's reaction to her walking down that isle... TEARS!!!! They had the sweetest family who seriously made me feel like I was one of them for a day! I also LOVE these reception images and they make me smile every time I look at them! It was such a FUN party - Lumen Events killed it! Seriously, one of the best DJs!
Mariana & Joshua, I am so thankful for you!!