Karen + Ethan | Georgetown Engagement

This engagement session was a very dear one to me. If you follow me on social media, you may remember my friend Karen as the first friend I made when I moved to WA. Well my friends, I am stoked to announce she recently got engaged and I got to capture just a peek into the love story of her and her fiancee Ethan. *cue the applause* Karen is also an extremely talented photographer so being asked to photograph their engagement + wedding photos was a huge honor.

Karen and Ethan met at a work event, chaperoning elementary children at Wild Waves/Enchanted Village. Between dates of hiking, biking and adventuring, they eventually fell in love. Karen says she knew she first loved Ethan while visiting his grandparents in Montana during their first Christmas together. Ethan says he knew he loved Karen while celebrating their first Valentines Day together, with a spaghetti picnic on her dorm bed. Fast forward a lot of fun times to January of this year when Ethan wrote Karen a sweet love letter and then proposed to her. Now the two lovebirds are planning their late summer wedding and toasting to the future. 

Guys, I cannot be more happy for you! Thank you for letting me photograph your love. I am so excited to see your love story continue to grow and for you to start this new chapter of your lives together! Cheers!

These are a few of my favorite things..

Spring allergies are knocking on my door and instead of inviting them in and being all mopey, I figured I'd drink a glass of vitamins and find something positive to do. Which brings me to this list of 10 of my favorite things right now. I'm not endorsed by any of these companies; I'm truly just digging these things.

1. Our Coffee Gator Pour Over. Deliciously smooth coffee is so easy to make in this every morning that my Keurig has officially taken the backseat.

2. My patio palm tree that's fighting incredibly hard to stay alive like a champ.

3. The fact that it's supposed to hit 70 degrees this week. Can I get a hallelujah!?

4. The book I'm currently reading called Never Eat Alone by Keith Ferrazzi. He's a wise man and really inspires me within my business. 

5. Icon Glamorous Wash for my sheets. I was gifted a mini jug of this laundry detergent and my bed smells so. darn. good.

6. Lady Yum Macarons. If you're ever in Kirkland, WA (or the SEA airport), do not miss the opportunity to try these babies.

7. I company I recently discovered called Freeset USA which creates Fair Trade and ethically made products that empower women and help to end human trafficking. You can shop their products here: https://freesetusa.com/pages/our-story

8. Urban Decay Naked Eye Shadow Palettes. These pretties make doing makeup fun.

9. Audiobooks in general (because they make my commutes much more bearable), but this one called Love Warrior by Glennon Doyle Melton in particular has my love and attention this week.

10. Our new alarm clock. It mimics the sun rising by gradually brightening up until my alarm sounds. Some people say it doesn't work, but since I'm a light sleeper - I'm finding success with it! Plus, I'm a fan of not depending on my phone next to my head all night long anymore. 

And there they are! What are some of your favorite things at the moment? I'd love a new book recommendation!

 Oh and this photo of my niece sharing her Valentines cookies with my dog Chloe is a bonus favorite because it doesn't get much cuter than this!

Oh and this photo of my niece sharing her Valentines cookies with my dog Chloe is a bonus favorite because it doesn't get much cuter than this!

Tipsy Tuesday | How to Prep for my Photo Session

It's Tipsy Tuesday and today's tip is on feeling prepared for your photo session. While you should trust your photographer (if you've hired a professional you love) to help you to look your best, it's natural to still feel a little nervous and unprepared before your session. Here are 5 quick tips to help smash those jitters!

1. Bring an extra outfit, accessories, jewelry and easy-to-walk in shoes. Even if we don't end up using them, having options in the car is helpful in case you have a wardrobe malfunction, want to change up the feel of your photos or want to venture off the beaten path in something other than those adorable new heels you just bought.

2. Dress accordingly to the weather and/or bring warm-up gear for breaks. Warm jackets and boots, hand warmers, dry socks and a thermos with a hot beverage. If we've made a day of it, feel free to bring snacks to ward off the hangry dragon.

3. Communicate clearly with your photographer in advance if you have a specific vision in mind that you want created in your photos.

4. Create a SOS bag with chapstick, bug spray, spf, lotion, safety pins, hairspray and a comb for quick touch-ups in between in case rain or weather gets you down.

5. Hire a professional stylist and hair and makeup artist if you can! This will help immensely when it comes to choosing colors and outfits that look good on you, as well has having photo-ready hair and makeup. Professionals can help your look to look killer and last longer. 

I hope these 5 tips help you feel a little more prepared before your upcoming photo session! As always, my online door is always open if you have any questions! 

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BE love

Happy Valentines Day! 

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While Valentines Day comes with an array of mixed emotions from those who hate it and crave it, I think there's a bigger picture we can focus our thoughts on. You don't need a spouse or even to be in a relationship to have a reason to show a little extra love today. Valentines Day doesn't need to be just about loving yourself or loving a partner. It can be an opportunity to push light and love into this crazy mess of a world around us.

It's time we focus on the positive and "be the change we wish to see in this world". Valentines is a great day to start, amiright?!

Here are a few ideas I've come up with. Feel free to add your own and then get out there and love on those around you. You never know who's fighting what battle, who's feeling unloved and who is hurting. Be the reason someone smiles today. 

1. Pay it forward in the coffee line. 
2. Offer a helping hand to a neighbor moving in/out. 
3. Volunteer at a local shelter walking dogs, serving food, donating time, etc.. 
4. Throw a few extra bucks out of your paycheck into a nonprofit charity.
5. Send your mom a card reminding her how much you love and appreciate her.

Much LOVE,

P.S. This is not to say DON'T love on your spouse, partner and kids. Include them in your practice and encourage them to pick a random act of kindness as well. You can all grow in love together. 

Taleigh | Senior Portrait Session, Renton, WA

I got to photograph Taleigh's senior portraits a couple weeks ago and got to know a little bit about the beaut opposite my lens. A tee-shirt and jeans kinda girl who likes to kick it with her friends and listen to 90’s and early 2000’s r&b and hip hop music.

This smart chica is also taking college courses in her senior year of high school and loves learning about human biology. I asked Taleigh if she had plans after graduation and she said "I plan on going into a nursing program and becoming a neonatal nurse." A girl with heart and ambition is my kinda girl! 

Good luck with the rest of your senior year girl and keep chasing your dreams! You're gonna go far! 


LeAnn + Kostas | Astoria, OR Wedding

LeAnn was traveling in Greece when she first laid eyes on Konstantinos. Little did she know that the tour guide showing her around his home would be the man she would spend forever with. Flash forward a few years and over 6,000 miles traveled, Kostas and LeAnn exchanged vows in front of family and friends on her side of the globe.

They got ready at the Cannery Pier Hotel, praying for the rain to clear out. The skies actually brightened up right up until the moment they met for their first look and then dumped down! Luckily it only lasted until we hurried back inside (classic PNW). These two handled it like champs though and we headed up to the Astoria Column and battled the wind for a few more portraits of the couple.

As is the custom in Greece, Kosta's mother gave LeAnn her own gold ring to wear at the wedding. She looked gorgeous and Kostas couldn't help but keep smiling at her. Keep scrolling to see more of their love story and all of the beautiful details along the way.

They exchanged vows in the Apostolic Lutheran Church in Astoria, Oregon and then celebrated over dinner and desserts with their guests. Just wait until you see their stunning cake!

Congrats Newlyweds! Wishing you a marriage filled with many more beautiful memories together!

Wedding Planning, Decorations & Catering: Joy Matson, Penrose Estates B&B
Day of Coordination: Katie Matson
Hair and Makeup: Whitney Matson
Florals: Scarlet Matson, Penrose Estates B&B
Dress Shop and Designer: Bridal Exclusives by Allure
Photography: Janelle Elaine Photography
Second Shooter: Bernadette Severson

My Whole 30 Experience

Call me crazy, but after the stupid amounts of junk food I consumed over the holidays, I took on Round 2 of Whole 30. If you've been following me for a while, you know I did it last year as well (and technically only made it 28 consecutive days, cheated 2 days and then finished up a couple days later in the week), but by Whole 30 standards did not complete it. 

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Added or Processed Sugars
Legumes or Beans
Carageenans, MSG, Sulfites
Junk Foods

This time, I planned to do it after the holidays and made sure it didn't run into any others (Easter treats messing me up last year). I joined an accountability group with some of my family and friends and vowed to make it through this time.

Despite my cheating last time, the benefits then and now blew me away, from clearing a brain fog I didn't know I had, to eliminating my fatigue, sleeping a little better, inches off the love handles, clearing up my skin completely, and reducing my need to snack constantly. I've learned to read labels, question companies who deliberately put disgusting and unnecessary ingredients into our foods, and support the farmers and businesses who believe in feeding real people real food. I'm not a big cook, but I surprised myself with the creations I was coming up with to make meals something to look forward to.

While everyone around me was seemingly annoyed that I was "limiting myself", I felt empowered by the fact that I had complete control over my choices and felt great about it. It's 30 days out of 365 for goodness sakes! That are stil 335 other days of the year I can pack my stomach chuck full of cookies if I really wanted to.

6. I've seen the ugly face of jealousy as people would make comments about my choices about how stupid it was that I would do this, that I don't need to diet, that I'm not living my life, etc... While my social life did take a bit of a hit as my focus shifted to work over dinner parties, I reminded myself that if someone is bothered that much by my choice of eating clean for 30 days, that's their own personal problem they'll just have to get over. 

7. I've also been reminded who my supporters are! I had plenty of friends and family who weren't doing Whole 30 who would cook for me, encourage me not to cheat on days I questioned it, who offered to cook an approved dinner for me before going to a party together and who sent me ideas and recipes. You all know who you are and I freaking love you for your true support!

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Here's how it went:

1. I SURVIVED! I made it all 30 days as of today. While I typically eat pretty clean, I still could easily find at least one of those in nearly all the food I consumed on the reg so taking them all out cold turkey isn't easy.

2. You may think Whole 30 would be eating rabbit food nonstop, but I truly only had 3 salads during those 30 days. I had delicious buffalo chicken bowls, thai zucchini pasta, sweet potato toast with almond butter, delicious omelettes, dry rubbed chicken tenders and pulled chicken tacos in lettuce wraps filled with guacamole. And one bun-less 5 Guys Burger because they are the best and don't put crap into their burgers! My husband made a comment the other night that he could do Whole 30 way longer if it always tasted like the meals I'd just cooked. I commented I could as well if someone else cooked and did the dishes each time. The food was good guys.

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3. While my goal was not to lose weight, just gain allll the other benefits, I still lost a couple pounds and took inches off the hips. I weight lifted weekly and up'd my fat intake (an avocado a day keeps docs away). My husband lost over 10 pounds.

4. I still hold true to the fact that I hate washing dishes more than any other chore. I swear I did them 3x a day on Whole 30 and that was the worst part about the entire process.

5. According to my journaled notes, my energy level (on a scale from 1-10) went from a 4 on Day one to a continuous 10/10 during the final days. I don't feel the need for coffee, but I love the taste so much, I still drink it and feel like I have boundless energy. My focus and sleep has slightly improved. I rarely bloat up or feel sick after eating anymore. I'm glad it's over because I've missed a few things (like the cookie from a recent wedding that I put in my freezer to enjoy post), but I'll be introducing each thing slowly to see how my body reacts. It's an incredible way to test yourself to the foods you're sensitive to. We're all different.

6. How grateful I am to have my husband along on the journey with me because someone else to help out with meal prepping, cooking, those dang dishes and holding me accountable is a real deal game changer. 


Words of advice if you're willing to take on the challenge. Get a friend or spouse to do it with you. Do it right. If you mess up, start over. Accept that you're an adult and you can say no to whatever you want, despite the pushback you'll get from the jealousy crew. Know that the first couple weeks are the hardest and that it DOES get much better. All power to you my health loving friends! You got this!

Liz + Josh | Robinswood House Wedding

Liz and Josh left behind the Arizona heat for a destination wedding in the Pacific Northwest. When they told me they were having a backyard style wedding at the Robinswood House with their closest friends and family, I knew we'd hit it off! The grounds at the venue boasts natural florals, plants and greenery surrounding the main cabin, making you feel like you're in your own private space. Paper lanterns decorated the trees and rich blue table cloths brought a pop of color to the lush green grass. Liz added her own rustic DIY touches around the property. Their guests traveled from all over to celebrate the start of their marriage. 

Liz's niece did her makeup and two of her best friends styled her hair. 

The couple opted for the traditional route, with the first time seeing each other as Elizabeth's parents walked her down the aisle to Josh. Having her father marry them was so special and so important to them both. After her father prayed blessings over the couple, he flipped a coin (with each side representing Liz and Josh's favorite rival teams) to determine who went first with their vows. The beautiful bride won that one!

It was an open air reception, dining under the setting sun and dancing the night away under the starry sky.

Venue: Robinswood House
Florals: Floratherapie
Caterer: Act 3 Catering
DJ: Puget Sound
Wedding Dress Retailer: Ivory Row Bridal