Monday, August 18, 2014

Vacation #3: Australia!

You know you live a privileged life when you're annoyed by the fact that you let your fourth summer vacation come and go before managing to blog about your third vacation. Ha! I am so thankful for the crazy opportunities I've had to travel the world this summer. When Alex told me he would be doing presentations at a conference in Australia, I was pretty insistent about tagging along. Luckily, thanks to self-employment and lots of saved-up Delta sky miles, it was possible! Hello, Brisbane!

This city was clean, safe, friendly, and full of things to explore. Our hotel was right across the street from the city botanic gardens, so I spent quite a bit of time examining all the gorgeous flora there.

Fauna, too! These birds, called Ibises, were everywhere.

I did a lot of walking along the Brisbane river. It was so picturesque and peaceful.

One thing that surprised me was the plethora of pay phones all over town. I was also amused by Hungry Jack's. Eventually I learned that it is indeed the same thing as Burger King, but the name Burger King was trademarked in Australia already, so they had to change it. Ha!

I did a lot of touristy things, like riding the Wheel of Brisbane (not nearly as cool as the London Eye) and taking the elevator to the top of the tower at City Hall (cooler than you might think, actually.)

My favorite place for wandering around was South Bank. 

It was colorful and beautiful--both the manmade stuff...

...and the fabulous plant life. I loved it!

I keep saying "I" and not "we" because I spent a lot of the time alone while Alex was working, but he did get to spend a few days touring with me before and after the conference. One day, we took a tour to a place called Tamborine Mountain, where we took a lovely "bush walk" through the rainforest...

...and admired this amazing view from the top!

We also took a day trip to Morton Island, just off the coast. The water was so clear!

We had a lot of fun on boats, Segways, and even a four-wheeler. So many sights to see!

The pinnacle of our trip, though, was our day at Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary. We got to see TONS of koalas, as well as all sorts of other native wildlife, like wild turkeys and kookaburras. 

And of course, kangaroos! I was shocked that we were allowed to just roam around among them without any sort of barrier to separate us.


And I even got to cuddle this adorable koala named Caxton. Isn't he cute?

It was fun, Australia! I hope I get to come back someday to explore other parts of this fascinating continent. 

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Wild Horses

On to vacation #2! It was our annual trip to the Outer Banks of North Carolina with my husband's extended family. In many ways, it was the same as always, but this year was my first time seeing wild horses! 

Aren't they beautiful? Which ones would you like to see in the shop? I can't decide!

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Summer Vacation #1: Puerto Rico

I can't believe it's almost August! This summer has been crazy. We've been doing a lot more traveling than usual, and it's been so fun! One of the perks of being self-employed is that I can (sometimes, anyway) take time off work to go on my husband's business trips with him. And they're usually in interesting places! In June, we went to Puerto Rico! We stayed in the heart of Old San Juan, and I loved it. 

Especially the cobblestone streets. 

And the old, colorful, architecture.

Our hotel was right across the street from this gorgeous cathedral.

There was some amazing plant life both in the rainforest and around town.

I wish I knew the names of all these species! (If you do, let me know!)

And of course, the beach was lovely!

Stay tuned to my Etsy shop--some of these images will be showing up there soon! And coming up next on the blog: vacations #2 and #3! :)

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Tom & Lucy: Married! (Ocean Springs, Mississippi Wedding Photography)

I'm finally ready to share another wedding with you, blog readers! This one's the most anticipated of all for me, because Tom and Lucy are not only a precious and beautiful couple I've had the pleasure of photographing--they are also my dear friends! It was such a joy to share this monumental day with these two lovebirds. 

The bride and some of her bridesmaids began their day at Shear Attitude Studio

It was fun to watch the progress of these elaborate hairstyles. Lucy's even required the use of a metal coat hanger! 

I made sure to get a shot of the lovely veil before she put it on. It was her "something borrowed" and belonged to her "big sister" from her sorority!

Of course, there were more gorgeous accessories for me to capture when we arrived at the Gulf Hills Hotel to finish up the preparations.

Lucy's mom, sister, and friends were so attentive. I know she felt pampered, and I loved seeing these sweet moments through my viewfinder.

Meanwhile, my husband was at Tom's house to photograph his getting-ready process, which, of course, was much simpler. He even had a few spare moments to tickle the ivories. That amazing grand piano was his wedding gift to Lucy! I'd say he's a keeper!

The anticipation mounted when we arrived at our church, which looked as beautiful as ever despite the pouring rain.

The bouquets by Lady Di's were perfect.

And check out Lucy's ring! I'm kind of in love with this shot of it on the piano.

Putting the dress on was a team effort--clearly a labor of love.

And so worth the effort!

Look at this stunning bride! She really was glowing.

We couldn't venture off the covered patio because of the rain, but I love how these portraits turned out nonetheless. 

In fact, I like it that you can't even tell it's raining in the background, because that's how it felt, too. So much sunshine in these smiles that I barely noticed the clouds!

I've got sunshine... on a cloudy day.... (Sorry. But you know you were singing it, too. ;))

Beautiful, aren't they? (Just don't mention to Tom that this is Kentucky blue. ;))

Lucy and Tom chose not to see each other before the ceremony. I'm usually a big proponent of a "first look," but I must say that sticking to tradition made for some fun suspense in these moments right before the worship service began. I felt like I was in on a juicy secret! 

And I know they were happy with their decision when this big moment came.

It was a heartfelt and Christ-centered ceremony. Rev. Scott Castleman did a fabulous job including personal anecdotes from his time with the bride and groom, illustrating how clearly their love for one another is founded in the love of Jesus for us, His church.

One thing I wish more people did at weddings? Congregational hymns! I had never taken photographs while singing before, but when I heard the organ start playing this tune, I knew I could not keep quiet.

Great things He hath done, indeed!

The rain let up just long enough for some quick group photos outside, and I could not be happier with the results. The color of the dresses against the rained-on foliage is so fantastic, and I even love the shiny wet cement. :) It's the perfect setting for this stunning wedding party!

Reception time! The ballroom at Gulf Hills was decked out and ready for a party!

The first dances were adorable.

And the food was plentiful and delicious. I had seconds. (Thanks, Broome's Catering!)

RuffWater Band provided fun, high-energy music that kept the dance floor full all evening.

There were a lot of impressive dancers showing their stuff.

But Sarah the junior bridesmaid was my favorite. :)

The cake from French Kiss Pastry was as tasty as it was pretty. I can still taste that strawberry filling.

I think it's safe to say that a good time was had by all. :)

The bride and groom were swept away in a gorgeous antique convertible, the perfect getaway for this traditional southern affair. 

It was a beautiful, joyful day, and I feel honored to have been a part of it. But the wedding, I know, will pale in comparison to the marriage. These two are the real deal, and I can't wait to see how God uses their union. Congratulations, Tom & Lucy! To God be the glory!