There is Beauty in the Unexpected…

Lately, I’ve been feeling like I need to share my personal story here. It’s easy to post a beautiful portrait, but often we don’t see the struggle or hurt behind a photo. I won’t forget the day my daughter told me she was expecting with tears in her eyes. I had actually dreamed she was pregnant two weeks earlier. In my dream she told me and showed me a photo of a positive pregnancy test, exactly how it happened that Spring day. I remember telling my husband. We both brushed it off as a crazy dream. Looking back I know God was preparing my heart. She didn’t think she could keep the baby. All she could feel was the fear.

See, I had the same exact story twenty something years earlier with her. I was 21, scared, in a new relationship the same as she was. The father wanted me to have an abortion, he eventually decided he didn’t want to be a father. I knew in my heart I wanted to keep her. I knew I had to make the decision to do it on my own if I needed to. She was and always has been the best decision I made. Being a young mother made who I am today. Without the struggle I don’t think I would have had the strength within myself I have today. I needed to grow, and come to the end of myself. Sometimes I think God knows we are stubborn and need to take the hard road. He needs to teach us through our struggles that we need him. One thing I hope to teach my daughter through this is.. people will walk away, pray for them anyway. Wish healing for them. I so wished that my story was not her story. What I learned that God will never leave us. There is nothing we can do that is beyond his grace. 

In my perfect world for her there would be the perfect guy, and the amazing family. The truth is that we live in a broken world.  She’s now a single mom doing it alone. She’s picking herself up and finding the strength within her. I’m so proud of her and her decision to keep her son. I thank God every day for this new baby. He will be so loved by all of us. He will be adored and bring our family joy. He will be taught to love the Lord. He will be taught to be a good man. I love how God takes our ashes and makes them beautiful again. God knows his name, he is created with a purpose. I also know one day she will have her own beautiful story to tell and the family she dreams of in God’s perfect timing.

Through these trials you’ve always been faithful, you bring healing to my soul

I am not alone, I am not alone, You will go before me.

You will never leave me.

You amaze me redeem me, you call me as you own. – Kari Jobe

Seven weeks left.. we can’t wait to meet you Asher Grey!

 

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A Coastal getaway, Aly’s Beach, FL { Personal, Travels}

              The Town of Seaside, Florida has the cutest beach shops.. and that Emerald Blue water! The Post Office is the cutest!

We loved our beach condo at Promence on #30A, such nice amenities, loved the pool and the designer decor!

                Coffee and exploring with Stephanie Messick, isn’t she adorable?! So happy for her and her upcoming move to Florida! 
Seaside, Florida is one of my all time favorite getaways! I love the Gulf Coast of Florida with it’s Emerald Blue Water and Coastal Cottages. It really is a little hidden gem about 40 minutes from Destin. I loved my time here with family. We’ve been about 4 times  now, and its the perfect place to just go and relax. I don’t get to see my siblings and mom as much as I would like, so it was wonderful playing with my niece and nephew and just soaking in some family time. We’ve had some hard unexpected family things come up recently and it just makes me think  how we never know where life is going to take us, so cherish time with family and friends and be love to those around you. Don’t wait to spend time with the people you love.

 Aly’s Beach is one of my all time favorite spots to take a walk and just take in the beautiful architecture and of course take family pictures! It’s getting a bit stricter now to photograph here and the residents like their privacy, but it’s so worth the visit! I even got to meet up with one of my VA photographer friend, Stephanie Messick who was also in town and is moving here soon, lucky girl! Loved catching up over coffee at the Fontville Press and exploring Aly’s Beach with her.

It was super hot and humid but we got in a few beach days, and some pool time. Other days were spent walking around my favorite little towns of Seaside, and Rosemary Beach, shopping and getting dinner out. I love grabbing a bite from the seaside food trucks and browsing the cute little shops. One day we visited the Spa at the Pearl, which was so relaxing. I recommend having a drink too on their rooftop terrace.

It you have never been to 30 A you need to visit, It’s such a beautiful place to visit! So many wonderful memories made with family here.

 

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Christina & Dinos { A Salamander Resort Wedding, Middleburg, VA }

Christina and Dino were married May 6th, 2018 at the beautiful Salamander Resort and Spa in Middleburg, VA. I was so excited when I got the email they were getting married here as it is one of my favorites resorts to relax and lounge at the spa! If you haven’t been you are missing out! It was the perfect classy and beautiful venue just like the two of them! Christina made my jaw drop in her stunning lace dress with the cathedral veil. So beautiful and Dinos looked sharp in his tux.

I can’t tell you how much I loved these two from the moment I met them. They are just so sweet, down to earth and such a cute couple! Dinos owns and olive oil business and Christina is a nurse and both enjoy their Greek heritage. I loved hearing their stories of how beautiful Greece is  over coffee ( I’m dying to go!) and let me tell you their Greek wedding was so much fun! From the lovely ceremonial traditions to the fun Greek reception. I have never seen so much money thrown on the dance floor in my life and can we talk about those moves on the dance floor? It was definately one of my most memorable receptions to photograph! Also, just seeing the love between the family… the siblings were their wedding party, and each of them gave a toast along with their kids about how special Christina and Dino have been and it was tear filled and so beautiful to witness.

Thank you both so much for allowing me to capture your day! It was such an amazing day and I wish you both many years of happiness! … One of these days I will make it to Greece and think of you both! XO…

Thank you to all the vendors who made the day beautiful!

Venue- Salamander Resort and Spa

String Quartet- Kennedy String Quartet

Officiant- Jefferey Maszal

DJ- Ray Casiano, Olivera Music

Videography- Just Hitched Films

Hair-Niki Kalfamanolis, Ash Salon

Makeup- Rocky King- Ash Salon

Second Photographer- Brooke Danielle Photography

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Alli { Liberty University Class of 2018 }

It’s that time of year where school is out and graduation is here! Alli reached out to me wanting to document graduating from Liberty University and we met in quaint, downtown Warrenton. I’m so excited for her and it seems like it was just yesterday she started college! Where does the time go? I have known Alli’s parents from my small group and from doing a couple family sessions for them as well. Alli is super smart and so talented. I know she will be very successful. She is planning to continue on to law school this next year. Brains and beauty!

Here’s to an amazing future ahead! XO..

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Kelsey & Alex { A Winery at Bull Run, Centreville, VA Wedding}

Kelsey and Alex are high school sweethearts and after 10 years of dating they were married at the beautiful Winery at Bull Run April 28, 2018. I loved getting to know Kelsey over coffee and then meeting them both at their engagement session the week before the wedding. Kelsey mentioned Alex wasn’t a huge fan of pictures but I couldn’t tell at all, he was so down for anything and I could tell loves Kelsey so much he would be willing to do anything to make her smile. They compliment each other, make an amazing couple and share a love of their two adorable pups! See a few of their adorable engagement session below…

Kelsey also owns her own wedding hair and makeup business so I knew the day of her wedding she would be nothing less than gorgeous!  She looked amazing in her off the shoulder bridal gown. Her wedding party was stunning as well! What a beautiful, fun bridal party, they definitely brought the fun!

Some of my favorite moments of their day was Kelsey’s and her dad’s first look, you can tell she is a Daddy’s girl! Her first look with Alex ( I loved his look of giddy anticipation!) and just the love and pure joy that the family felt for them throughout their day. Their were so many tears during speeches and I loved how Kelsey’s dad said he knew from the time Alex took Kelsey to high school prom that he already knew he was going to be someone special in Kelsey’s life. Cue all the tears. 🙂

I also loved how Kelsey and Alex really enjoyed their reception, spending time with all the guests that meant so much to them, and having fun dancing the the night away AND an exit (which I didn’t stay for).. but heard ended in an amazing confetti filled glitter send off!

Thank you both for allowing me to share in your special day! I hope you have an amazing life together filled with wonderful memories. XO…

Thank you to all the vendors who made the day amazing!

Venue- Winery at Bull Run

Wedding Coordinator- Amanda Walker, Plan to be Tied, LLC.

Hair- Bombshell by K

Makeup- Megan Monahan & Jillian Wilkin

Video- John Sham

Catering- RSVP Catering

DJ- John Kasmark of Music Now! Entertainment

Assistant Photographer- Tammy Morin Photography

 

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