Friday, May 28, 2010

The Bridal Happy Hour!

Think bridal show, add cocktails, subtract overwhelming amounts of vendors, add over $2,000 in door prizes, add the opportunity to actually talk to vendors and of course add in some tasty food. The combination in its most simplistic form results in The Bridal Happy Hour organized by the amazing Dana Micklos of Glamorous Occasions. The event will be held at Thornager's on Kiltie Lane and is a must for planning northern Arizona brides. Events such as this are how wedding planning is supposed to be: fun, classy, and relaxing. Productivity and cocktails, can you think of a better combination? I will be giving away a photo session for an Engagement Session or a Trash the Dress Session! Here are the details:

  • When: Wednesday, June 2nd
  • Time: 6pm-8pm
  • Cost: Brides are free and there is a small fee for Guests. Go HERE to register.
  • Become a fan on Facebook and stay up to date on future events.
  • What you don't want to miss: Door prizes, outstanding specials, FREE appetizers and drink specials.

My sweet boy Luke, gone but not forgotten

On May 16th, my sweet kitty Luke passed away. I had him for 15 years, and he was my sweet friend. He moved from Georgia with me back in 1995, along with another cat, Kelseykai. I talked to them both constantly on the roads between GA and AZ- I can't image how nutty I must have looked to the cars that passed me. He had several names, "Spook" to his friends in Bullhead City, "Lucky" to my friends TC and Perry, and even variations in between. But, one thing is certain, he was one of the sweetest cats I'll ever have.

Ever since I was a little girl, I've had a strong emotional bond with animals, and my pets, well, they are my family. I was never the woman who craved to have children, but I can honestly say, I can't image my life without my pets. They add a layer of love to my life that I just can't live without. I truly think their only fault is that they live such short lives. But, I think in their short time with us, the amount of love they give us will last a lifetime.

Luke was diagnosed with kidney failure earlier this year, and Grant and I knew there was no real cure, only to make him comfortable in his old, golden years. It's so hard to let go, even when you know it's for the best. The afternoon that we had to euthanize Luke, he was sitting in the one sunny spot of our kitchen. He was feeling terrible, I could tell by his posture, and had given up eating food and drinking water a couple of days prior. I was sitting with him, singing to him "Sunshine on my Shoulders" (I sing to my animals a lot, not sure why, but it seems to calm them). After I finished one verse, he sat up from his crouched position, and locked eyes with me for a good 15 seconds. That's when I knew. It was his time. He let out a sigh, and went back to his crouched position. With tears in our eyes, Grant and I picked him up for his last trip to the vet. While we were waiting at the clinic in the room where you leave with your empty animal crate, he started to purr while we held him in our arms, in his special gurgly way that I'll never forget, for the first time in a week. I think he was trying to tell us goodbye, in the only way he knew.

This last photo was taken the day before he went to, what I hope, is a special place for our beloved pets, who are really our family. A place with sunny spots, warm laps and lots of love. Goodbye my sweet Luke. I love you and I'll miss you.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Tapatio Cliffs Wedding-Erin and Chris

I met Erin when she was her sister's (Meggan) Maid of Honor last summer in Sedona. This is one of those families that always made me feel like part of the family. So, when Erin first called me to photograph her wedding and I was already booked, I was crushed! But, as you all know, things always have a way of working out. My couple originally scheduled for that day decided to reschedule their wedding, and so I contacted Erin immediately. I'm so glad I got to be there for her, and of course, spend more time with this wonderful family! I had so many favorites from the day, and here are only a few! See their sweet slideshow here and see some more images on my Facebook account.

I love the below photo of John with his daughters! His daughters simply adore him and I know it's mutual!

Erin was a stunning bride! I loved everything... her hair, her flowers by Ever After Florals, the necklace that's been handed down in her family and her dress was gorgeous!

This one of Chris and his mom is just so sweet! I love the one of the groomsmen too! Both were taken by my super talented assistant, Kristie Ottinger!

The couple were married at St. Francis Xavier Church. I don't get many opportunities to photograph in a church, so it was such a treat to shoot in such a beautiful cathedral!

Tapatio Cliffs has gorgeous architecture and Erin and Chris looked stunning!

I love, love, love this doorway!

Erin and Chis were so sweet to photograph, and they looked so great together.

This photo was taken right when the sun dipped behind the hills in Phoenix. It was just perfect and captured their romantic mood.

I love this one of their first dance, the remote flash worked out perfectly!

I've seen sparklers at weddings before, but not during the first dance. I loved the mood they created as the guests gathered around the dance floor to watch the first dance. Congrats to you both, Erin and Chris! I know your life is going to be filled with so much love and happiness! Thank you for choosing me as your photographer!

Friday, May 7, 2010

A tribute to my mother, Millie Alene Grimes 1935-1984

Twenty six years ago today, my mother took her last breath and left this earth. She was 48 years old. She died from melanoma.

I only knew my mother for 15 short years. As I grew older, I developed what I call "Mom Envy", always jealous of my female friends that were allowed the time to have adult relationships with their moms. I was always jealous of the lunches, the midnight talks and the advice. Boy, what I wouldn't give for one time just to laugh and talk with her again. But, what I didn't realize until this very week, is that my mom, despite that I only knew her for 15 short years, has shaped my life dramatically.

Mom always had a camera in her hand, always snapping photos of her kids. I must have 10,000 images of me and my brother and sister growing up, but I only have a handful of her. The problem, is that she was always behind the camera. One day, when I was 13, she announced that she was going to do a photo project, "1 photo a day for 1 year". I'm sure I rolled my teenager eyes at the shear mention of it. Unfortunately, her project lasted only two months, probably right after she realized just how much the film was going to cost to develop. But, now, I admire her spirit, and I recognize her goal. So much changes with kids, and life, everyday. I know she wanted to freeze the moments in between, to remember us when had moved out of the house, as adults on our own.

As I recalled that memory, just this past Monday, I had an epiphany. I'm trying to do the same thing...freeze memories. Not only for myself to help me remember moments that come and go, but for the many people I have met along the way. It hit me so hard, I had to sit down and cry.

As the years trickle by, I forget more and more. But I do remember a few things about her..., I can hardly remember her laugh, although I know she laughed often. I don't know what her favorite movie was, but I do remember going to watch old black and white movies at the Tivoli theater in Chattanooga with her and Dad when I was in elementary school. And, I don't know what her favorite cookies were, but I do have a recipe of hers for Oatmeal Chocolate Chip cookies that is my favorite. I also remember she loved animals as much as I do now.

I only have a few photos of my mom. My very favorite is the top one. I must have been only 4-6 months or so. It was taken in 1969 by one of my uncles, Donald or Ronald. She was 33 in this picture and she looks so happy.

The photo below was mom's prom photo in what I'm guessing is 1953. I LOVED this dress. From the time I can remember, I was always asking mom if I could wear it one day. But, tragically, the dress was thrown away soon after she wore it. The photo is taken at the Chickamauga National Battlefield, only about one mile from where I grew up. She loved that park and we spend a lot of time there. I remember her telling me she and Dad spent a lot of time there when they were dating and when they were first married. It's one of the places I go and visit when I go home. I've always felt at peace there.

This next photo is of me (on the left), Mom, my Granny, Corrine Webb, and my sister, Melanie. Three Generations. I remember this photo like it was yesterday. I remember the smell of the corn we had just picked from my uncle's farm that needed to be shucked, and the sounds of lawn mowers in the distance. I remember my Granddaddy fumbling with the Polaroid camera trying to get it to work. I also remember my Granny making me homemade strawberry ice cream right after this photo. How I miss her too.

This last photo is in the spring of 1984. Mom had been fighting cancer for almost one year. Mom wasn't offered chemotherapy and didn't qualify for clinical trials, her melanoma was too advanced once discovered. Her doctors told her to make peace and live her last year the best she could. I can't imagine how scared she must have felt and what pain she must have been in, but she still managed a smile. She was braver and stronger than I can ever imagine having to be.

And then it happened, about five years ago. I looked down, and saw my mothers feet. I literally felt like I was 5 years old, and helping my mom put on a pair of sandals. I have her feet. Then, just recently, I went shopping. I looked in the mirror and my mother stared back. I don't know if it was what I was trying on in the dressing room, a particular thing my hair was doing that day, or if I've looked like my mother all along. I cried tears held back for 26 years. All those years yearning to hear her voice, all those years wanting to hug her neck, there she was...right inside of me all along.

Today I celebrate my mother's time on earth. I celebrate the love she had for her family, her friends, and for the thousands of frozen moments she captured for me in the form of photographs.

Despite how long she's been gone and the fact I only knew her for 15 years, I owe my current life to her. I hope she knows just how thankful I am.

I love you Mom.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Flagstaff Family Photography-The Micklos Family

I had the honor of photographing Dana, my partner in Celebrations Studio, her husband, Jim, and his two, beautiful daughters Kalynn and Jamie. Jim, is the very reason our studio looks so amazing! He put hundreds of hours into our new space; I hope he knows how much we appreciate him! We had a great time exploring the southside of downtown Flagstaff!

Dana and Jim... these two are a great couple. Jim keeps everyone laughing, so much, that sometimes it was hard for me to focus since I was laughing so hard!

Here's my favorite of Dana! She owns Glamorous Occasions, and I credit her for the vision and development of Celebrations Studio! Without her, I would have never taken the leap. Thanks Dana!

Little sister, Kalynn. What a beautiful young lady!

Big sister, Jamie. She was reluctant to do the photo session, but I think we got some great images of her!


Love this modern family portrait.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Thomas Byers-Flamenco Guitarist

Thomas Byers gets his masters degree this weekend from NAU and is about to embark on an exciting venture of opening his own business of teaching guitar. His speciality is flamenco, and he is phenomenal! I've known Thomas for a few years, his wife, Amee, is my hair stylist and I would hear about him through her stories, and then I photographed their wedding last summer. All I can say about Thomas is he's one of the most talented, sweetest, genuine guys I've ever met and I am honored to now call him my friend. If you came to the Celebrations Studio Grand Opening party, you probably heard Thomas play for our event. In addition to giving private lessons, he is also available for playing at your wedding and reception, so give him a call! We headed out one afternoon to get some images for his new website. His masters recital is today! Congrats Thomas!

I had Thomas sit on this bench and play while I snapped a few images. I really thought he was going to get some tips! (We should have left the guitar case open! :)

I love this one of Thomas, he's just so sweet and easy to photograph!

Love the texture on this wall!

Congrats Thomas!