Donut Grow Up!

It’s here! It’s finally here! It’s Penny’s birthday week! And to kick things off, I thought I’d finally share the Donut Smash photoshoot that I did for her when we were in Atlanta visiting my sister. You may have already seen most of these photos if you follow me on Instagram (and, uh, all of them if we’re friends on Facebook, since I just couldn’t wait, hehe), but my totally unbiased opinion is that they’re great enough to warrant a second look, hehe.

I was nervous about being able to pull off this photoshoot, and contemplated hiring a professional photographer several times because I just wasn’t sure I’d be able to get the feel, look, and shots that I was hoping for. I figured as long as I just got one good picture of her digging into a donut, though, it would be fine.

 

(Tip: I got the donuts for her shoot from Dunkin’ Donuts, and the amount of sprinkles was laughably sparse. So I used a spray bottle to re-wet the icing and dumped a truckload of extra sprinkles on top — made for a much more photogenic donut spread!)

Anyway, as I think you can see, it turned out all that worry was for naught! Penny was a total photoshoot ROCKSTAR. She was so well-behaved, in such a good mood, I actually ended up with way too many perfect shots! Girl just really loves donuts, I guess. ūüėČ

 

 

Yep, totally worth the intense sugar crash we all¬†experienced after the photoshoot, hehe. (What, like I’m supposed to buy 2 dozen donuts and 50 munchkins and just not eat¬†any of them? HA!) And the perfect way to commemorate our own little munchkin nearing the end of her turn ’round the sun! (And I’m only like 35% in denial right now, so, y’know, progress!)

Donut grow up, Penny — it’s a trap!

Unicorns Are Real

Back in March, a friend let me know that a traveling photographer was coming relatively close (Fredericksburg, VA) and was doing unicorn photoshoots. Yep, you read that correctly. UNICORN. PHOTOSHOOTS. A PHOTOSHOOT. WITH. A UNICORN.

Okay, fine, so it’s a horse with a fabric horn on top of its bridle. Still, I’m not sure if I’d ever gone from hearing about something to purchasing something faster. I booked a session with my own little unicorn for May, planned out our outfits, and anxiously awaited the day of our shoot.

Fast-forward a couple of months, and the day was finally here! I piled Penny and our outfits into the car and drove the hour+ to the photoshoot site (with me being super thankful that Penny is such a good car-sleeper, lol.) Once we arrived at the farm where the shoot was taking place, Penny and I got dressed and ready for our closeup with Teapot the Unicorn (I did my hair & makeup before we left the house.) And it went pretty smoothly, considering I was dealing with an eight-month-old baby who had no idea what was happening or why I was making her wear a hundred thousand yards of tulle.

There’s a lot of people that actually end up in and around your photos, especially you’re dealing with a live animal, babies/kids, and the kind of rapid-fire mini-sessions that this whole photoshoot entailed. So, of course, I knew that most of the real magic was going to happen thanks to some editing software, but above and below are examples of unedited photos (horse lead, assistant’s hands, and giant horse penis included hahahahaha):

Penny was SUCH a good sport, really, only getting fussy and upset at the very end when she got tired (our actual shooting time was only like 15 minutes, but there was a good bit of waiting around.) Things were so go-go-go right when we arrived that I realized I hadn’t taken a photo of her solo in her dress, so I tried to take one of the crumpled mess of tulle it had become before taking it off to go home, lol, but she was D-O-N-E.

 
We went home and awaited the results of our photoshoot with even MORE anticipation. I knew that we had to have gotten SOME good shots, even with Penny looking all over the place. Alas, it would be another solid month before I’d get to see the proofs from the shoot, and another 6 weeks before I got the final photos in hand (and that’s after paying for rush delivery, lol). I tell ya, having a pair of professional photographers for a brother and sister-in-law has really spoiled me! ūüėČ

Anyway, all that waiting was well-worth it, as I finally received the finished photos last night and I JUST– I DON’T– I CAN’T EVEN– I– I– I– I mean, just see for yourself:

The package I purchased from the photographer included 4 fully edited photos and 5 additional, unedited shots. I had to parse through every single shot taken at the shoot (over FOUR HUNDRED OF THEM for us alone!) to decide which ones I wanted, and ended up choosing the above four for the full editing treatment. Then below are two more of the unedited shots they handed over to me, that I edited on my own. I may not know how to photoshop things out of a picture, but it’s pretty amazing what some well-intentioned cropping can do!

I have to admit, the particular photography company that offers these shoots isn’t the best at handling their communication, and all the waiting with no updates did kinda blow, but I’m obviously¬†very happy with the final result. And believe me, I know how extra it is to have a unicorn photoshoot with your baby… but I mean, c’mon guys. It’s me. ARE YOU EVEN SURPRISED?

I can’t wait to get a really nice canvas print of one of the shots of Penny for her room. But which one do I even choose? Magical Unicorn Teaparty or Cavalry Penny?!

Engagement Paparazzi

I gotta say, one of the real perks of having a wedding photographer duo as your brother and sister-in-law is a lightning quick turnaround time on your engagement photos, hehe.

 

That’s riiiiight, our engagement photos from Taylor & Ben are back, and I’m in lovelovelove! So many great shots of Sean and me together!

See, whereas I basically put my entire¬†life¬†on the interwebs for all to watch, observer, and comment on, Sean, um, doesn’t. He changes his Facebook profile photo like once every other year, the only thing even close to social media that he participates in is Reddit (and even then, he mainly¬†lurks, never comments). What this all equates to is a¬†high level of resistance to the number of selfies I try to take of us. In fact,¬†trying to get him to pose for a photo with me often¬†results in, well:

Heh. So, imagine how wonderful it was for me to have a built-in excuse to take a plethora of pictures together with him! He was a¬†very good sport about the entire thing, putting up with an outfit change (we literally changed in the street, hahaha) and multiple locations. Although, to be fair, he certainly¬†got his jollies out of the whole experience too¬†— telling me I had an imaginary bug in my hair, or bear-hugging the crap outta me, for example.

Of course, that being said, I was not without a few bloopers of my own, hehe:

Is it weird that these are some of my favorite ones? ūüėõ

We shot our photos outside the US Botanical Gardens, as well as at Blind Whino, this really cool old church-turned-art gallery/event space in SE DC.

 
Now, it’s admittedly very difficult¬†for me not to be super critical of myself in every photo, zeroing in on flaws that I imagine nobody else really cares about. Even with all of my preaching about loving thyself no matter your pant size, body love, and whatnot (all of which I really do believe!), I am still my own worst critic.

But I think having these photos taken is genuinely helping¬†me live those things.¬†I love these pictures — I love what they represent, what they portray, and I even love the way I look in them. I feel like they really showcase how truly happy I¬†feel (cheesy, I know, but true!). Do I still wish that I didn’t have a back¬†roll in one¬†picture, or that my chin was jutted a little further out in another? Sure, but not enough to make me stop loving¬†each photo nonetheless.

These pictures are a¬†true, perfectly imperfect account of who I am now. The me that is¬†getting to marry the man that I love. And¬†I would much rather show the photos¬†off than hide them away just because I don’t like the way a certain specific part of my body might be¬†looking.

Anyway, enough with the heavy. Back to how much I freaking love the photos we took at Blind Whino! So colorful, despite the chain-link fence surrounding the building that I definitely did not realize would be there, hahaha.

 

As an extra bonus, the building is located in this really quiet neighborhood in DC, so we were able to get a few street/crosswalk shots as well! I loved the way the trees arched over this street. Made for a pretty perfect picture, I tell ya.

Also, a fun thing¬†about shooting photos in the middle of the street is that you will get people shouting “Congratulations!” from their cars as they drive by, hahaha!

Engagement Shoot solo pictures together

I was superextraspecial¬†excited (hard to imagine something beyond my normal level of excitement, I know, but it’s true!) to get these photos back because I have been¬†chomping at the bit to send out our Save the Dates!

I know that January is still relatively¬†far off, but since we have a lot of friends and family¬†from¬†out of town, plus with the proximity to the holidays, I want to give people as much notice as possible. Plus, I think I’m just looking to how¬†official¬†it’ll feel¬†to have something printed with our wedding date on it, y’know?

Not without difficulty, we have narrowed down the Save the Date photo to these three, and I’d love your input! I definitely want to use a photo with the ampersand in it, so what do you think of the following? 1, 2, or 3?

I love all¬†color going on in #1, but the overall image of #2 seems more striking. And while part of me thinks that #3¬†might be a little silly, well, so I am. So it’s definitely the most personality-ish one. Anyway, I’d love to hear your thoughts! I’m like 99% positive¬†we’ll be doing a magnet Save the Date if that makes any difference.

I also can’t wait to get some of these photos uploaded to the wedding website that I’ve been working on! And to replace basically every profile photo I’ve ever had on any website ever. And to make it my phone wallpaper. And computer screensaver. And basically just pore over them obsessively forever and ever and ever and… okay, I should really go.

‘Til next time!

(Temporary) Freedom

I wasn’t really sure how I was supposed to follow up yesterday’s trifecta of awesome. After all, having a hallelujah-Monday that consisted of entering a new decade of weight loss, a career move AND a new haircut (not necessarily in that order of importance) is hard to do!

And then I woke up to a vomiting dog and menstrual cramps (sorry to my 4.2 male readers, haha) and realized that maybe I’m not supposed to try to outdo it. But, while I may not be starting off this day with quite the same pizazz as yesterday, it is still a day where I got to sleep in until 9 AM (that is late for me these days!) because I’m taking some “me time” before starting my new job. Partly by choice, and partly because my new job’s start date is affected by the current government furlough of the FAA. Sooooo… it may end up being a little MORE me time than originally planned. Oh well. I love me so, it’ll be okay. Just a good life lesson in frugality over the next month perhaps.

Another good thing? I had an awesome bowl of overnight oats waiting for me in the fridge this morning (raw oats, chia seeds, coconut, almond milk, empty — sob — jar of Justin’s Chocolate Hazelnut Butter.) So, all is not lost.

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Plus, the sister and her hubs took Ben, Taylor and me out for sushi (what else?) last night to thank us for puppysitting this past week! Everybody’s a winner!

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I love sushi.

Day 211 - Puppy Handling
Photos by Ben Powell

Pre-sushi, Ben and I attempted to take some photos of Oreo for my sister while he’s still in his supercute puppy phase. Unfortunately, being in his supercute puppy phase means he is a terrible photography subject. He doesn’t know how to “stay” yet, so it was basically 20 minutes of me wrestling him into place and then trying to jump out of the picture as quickly as possible. So it was kind of impossible to get any decent shots of the three dogs together, but he did get some pretty great ones of Oreo on his own (after editing my limbs out of the pictures, haha.) Observe!

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Sufficiently pick-me-uppish? ūüėČ

Don’t worry, I have plans to actually be productive during my days of (temporary) freedom — including that post on blogging that I’ve been promising for a while now!