A week in Lisbon, Portugal { 2018 Travels }

Day One: After arriving in Lisbon after an 8 hour redeye, we headed straight to this cute cafe Amelia. It may have been the cutest cafe I have ever been to! I had an Acai’ Bowl and I’m not sure what was in it, but let’s just say I barely made it to the restroom and I was sooo sick! Not a great start to our first day, but I felt better about an hour later. The rest of the day was spent exploring San Jorge Castle, and the Alfama district.. probably another of my favorites in Lisbon. I loved all the colorful tiled walls and doors around the town. Portugal is known for all the beautiful tile and you can see it everywhere. I was bummed we missed the tile museum that first day. It was on my list! We were pretty tired from being up so long and went back to the hotel and crashed around 8:00 p.m. not before enjoying our beautiful rooftop bar!

             We always ended the evening with drinks at our rooftop bar. Loved the Hotel H10 Duque De Loule in Lisbon!
Day 2:
We headed to the magical town of Sintra about 30 minutes outside of Lisbon. There were castles on every corner it felt like! Beautiful castles like you have never seen. Ones we explored:

National Palace de Quelez- We started our day here and this one was my favorite! Loved the gold interior and gorgeous grounds.

Pena Palace- Loved this colorful yellow and red castle! It was quite a hike to the top and in a flowy dress no less. I was pretty done after this.. but there was so much more to explore, so we kept on.

Monserrate- Another favorite! Loved the ornateness of the castle, the inside and the beautiful column detail.

Jeronimos Monastery-  This was in Lisbon, and we only saw the outside but it was impressive!

I could have easily spent a second day here just exploring all the castles. We made it to 4, but there was so much more I wanted to see and the cute little downtown was amazing! This easily was probably one of my favorite days in Portugal. A must see! This town makes you feel like you have been transported back in time. Looking back I would book a hotel here, it’s so pretty in the quaint downtown. We ended the day on the coast of Sintra at this amazing seafood restaraunt, Azenhas Do Mar with amazing views right on a cliff. Loved drinking wine and enjoying the views. The dinner was pricey but worth it. Such a prefect ending to amazing day we had.

              The colorful Pena Palace! One of my favorite.. it was like being in a fairytale and reminded me of my time living in Germany!

Monserrate Palace. Isn’t it gorgeous? I felt like I could have been in India and not Portugal! 🙂

Day three and four: The seaside town of Lagos. We drove about 4 hours to the coast of Portugal, Lagos, to spend a couple of days. We wanted to relax some and just enjoy the beach and beautiful scenery. The drive there was very barren, not much to see. I wasn’t sure what to expect! Once we arrived the town was super quaint, with white cobblestone streets and colorful shops. We loved our stay at Casa Mae! The grounds and pool were amazing. The food and drinks were locally sourced and they even grew their food in their own garden. We also enjoyed a couple days at the beach, walking around down and enjoying the local cuisine. Lots of wine too.

Day 5: Caiscas, Portugal. This was the cutest little fishing town outside of Lisbon. I loved it as well! Lots of cute shops, right along the ocean.  We walked, we browsed the shops, we explored the history of the town. Loved the beachy vibe! I loved getting lost through the cobblestone streets and seeing all the cute little alley ways, another town I could have spent more than one day.

Day 6: Back to Lisbon. We headed back to Lisbon to spend one more night in a new spot downtown. Andy was a little nervous of the hotel I booked, he thought the area was a bit sketchy, I thought it was adorable! Look at the cute parrot wallpaper! We hard heard about pickpockets in Lisbon but not once did we experience this or feel unsafe in any way. I loved Lisbon and thought it was a beautiful country. I would love to go back one day. Be sure to put in on your list of European destinations! Oh and don’t forget to try the pastel de natas and port wine. So yummy!

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Fall Family mini’s ( Northern Va Family Photography)

This past Fall has been busy capturing Fall Family sessions. October is usually very busy for me as I tend to take on a lot, and I pause to remember phew, take deep breaths, December will be here shortly with lots of down time.. lol! but once it’s over it’s always worth it! I never advertise Fall mini’s as I stay quite busy with my past clients, who I love capturing every year. If you are ever interested feel free to reach out though! I’m always grateful for friends and past clients that trust me with their family memories. The Blanchette’s are friends of mine, who I have captured so many milestones for.. little Carmen wasn’t going to sit still for one moment though this past weekend and face planted on some steps.. poor thing! We managed to get some cute ones in though before the session came to a quick end. 🙂 

              Love the Scranton Family! They have been clients for the past 3 years, love seeing their kids grow! I know this early morning session was cold and windy but they pulled through like troopers! Sessions are not always stress free for the parents, but I will always stay calm and collected and let them know we will still get some great photos!. 🙂

           Rachel and Adam are a past wedding couple of mine. How cute is their new addition Madison? She was all smiles and so adorable! I                               hope to see them back in the near future!

              The Carpenter Family are neighbors of mine! They have such a sweet family! Love them. It was a great first session with them!

The Thomas Family have also been back for sessions three years in a row! Love their little girls. They are super sweet and full of energy! So grateful for them!

The Grisel Family was also new clients this year. They had the most handsome little men! They took a minute to warm up to me, but           at the end they were waving goodbye! lol.

                 Thank you to all the families this Fall that let me capture your most precious memories. XO.

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Megan & Ian { A Beautiful Highholdborne Estate Fall Wedding, Bluemont, VA }

I feel like lately Highholdborne Estate has become a second home for me photographing weddings, but I’m not complaining, especially when you have gorgeous couples like Megan and Ian, with amazing mountain views like these for their big day. It was a gorgeous Fall day for their October 20th, 2018 wedding, there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. I didn’t get to meet Megan and Ian until the wedding as they live in Philly, but they were so kind and welcoming as soon as I met them. Megan was calm as she finished up her hair and makeup and took her time writing her note to Ian. Ian was hanging out with his wedding party and enjoying some time with the guys. We started the day with a first look which is always a favorite moment of mine! I loved the sweet moments between these two and that sweet embrace after they read their notes to each other promising forever.

Some of  the fun moments from their day I won’t forget…

The Snackpack : As the Groomsmen called themselves… they were hilarious. I loved how the best men speeches talked about how dapper Ian is and how he is impecabally dressed haha! He definately had the model look down.

During Cake Cutting Megan grabbed a whole piece of the cake and shoved it in her mouth, I laughed so hard. My kind of girl!

One of the groomsmen grabbed me for a quick dance on the dancefloor. Haven’t done that in awhile! I mean I have two left feet, but whatever!

The speeches, the fun guests and and the dance floor hopping all night, it was a party for sure!

Thanks again for allowing me to capture one of the most beautiful days of your life Megan & Ian! Wishing you much happiness! XO.

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

Venue- Highholdborne Estate

Catering- Ashly Kaye at Greenlock

 Dj- Dream Dj’s

Hair and Makeup- Jamie Sommers D’ Agostino

Sweets- Sweets by E

Florist- June Hambrick

Coordinator- Alexandra Patton

Dress- BHLDN

Tux- The Black Tux

Second shooter- Brooke Danielle Photography


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Patricia & Craig { An Elegant Fall Highholdborne Estate Wedding, Bluemont, VA }

Patricia and Craig had the most beautiful Fall Wedding at Highholdborne Estate on October 13, 2018. As soon as I pulled up into the venue the clouds started to clear and the sun was shining. I never tire of the gorgeous mountain views at this venue.. just stunning! I always say it, but this is one of my all time favorite venues and I love coming back several times a year to capture beautiful weddings here. June, the owner is so sweet, and her and her daughter feel like family! Fall hadn’t quite made it’s appearance yet, and the views were still lush and green with hints of Fall on it’s way. As I entered the bridal suite, Patricia looked amazing with her birdcage veil and makeup and hair beautifully done. What a gorgeous bride she was! Craig looked just as handsome in his suit. I was excited for their first look, by the look on Craig’s face when he saw her I knew he thought she made a stunning bride as well!

Patricia and Craig live in Seattle, and we were able to meet up this past Spring for their engagement session in D.C. I knew when I met them they were so easy going and fun and that they were going to have a beautiful wedding! Their day was so full of love filled with family and friends and they kept the dance floor hopping all night long! Darling Photobooths  was there as well and the guests enjoyed posing for the fun photobooth in between dancing. I highly recommend them for a fun party! All the vendors did such a beautiful job from the gorgeous florals, to the food, to the music which made the day flow so seemlessly.

Enjoy some of my favorites from the day. I know they are off enjoying their honeymoon in Paris as we speak. I love following my couples along on their adventures after their wedding. Part of me always feels like a piece of my heart is with my couples always. Wishing you two many happy years together! XO.


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

Venue- Highholdborne Estate

Florist- Rosewood Floral Designs

DJ- Tim Campbell

String Quartet- Atoka Springs

Photobooth- Darling Photobooths

Catering- Ashly Kaye’s at Greenlock

Second Photographer- Susan Seidel Photography

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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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