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This might have been one of my favorite family sessions this season for the simple fact that I l o v e that the whole family got together (some even coming from Tennessee!) to do these photos as a birthday gift for their mom! As a mom, nothing warms my heart more in photo sessions than seeing how children continue to love their mothers from infancy well into adulthood. I love photographing love and there isn’t a love as pure or strong or everlasting as the love between a mother and her children. So basically I love this.

(Have I said “love” enough yet? Seriously, LOVE!)

I felt so honored to be able to have captured these memories for them and was in awe at how well behaved their cute children (and fur baby) were. Super adorable family, super fun session. I’m so excited to share!PINIMAGEPINIMAGEPINIMAGEPINIMAGEPINIMAGEPINIMAGEPINIMAGEPINIMAGEPINIMAGE

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This cute little family literally drove like 3 hours just to have me take their family pictures [that’s what I’m telling myself anyways ;)]. And I seriously couldn’t have been more thankful because:

a) I got to meet this cute baby for the first time! [and see her parents too, obviously. But we all know why I was really excited.]

b) I brought my own cute family along to check “apple picking” off our fall bucket list!

c) These pictures are amazing.

So I could tell you all about how they literally have the most photogenic baby on the planet — not exaggerating, she was like 10 months old and totally worked that sesh– or our perfect morning at Riley’s Farm [linked the location because seriously, don’t you hate it so much when you’re stalking out blogs looking for your perfect family pic spot and you find your dream location — but the photog doesn’t even peep about where it is? SO frustrating. So anyways, Riley’s Farm– the best!]

But I think I’ll just show you instead! PINIMAGEPINIMAGEPINIMAGEPINIMAGEPINIMAGEPINIMAGEPINIMAGEPINIMAGE

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My favorite thing about living in sunny SoCal is being close enough to shoot beach sessions whenever I want [read: whenever I feel brave enough to fight the rush hour traffic to get there for the golden hour!]

My second favorite thing is having such an incredible group of new friends!

So a session at the beach, at sunset, with our cute new friends is basically my cloud nine as a photographer. This session was pure heaven. Not only are they the sweetest family around, but have you ever in your life seen a more photogenic family? And that baby– allll the heart eyes.

So when I decided it was time to jump back into blogging I knew I had to start somewhere– and what better place to start?

And, I may or may not be totally craving the delicious Mexican restaurant they took us to afterward and Afters after that because, I didn’t know it, but if you haven’t had a milky bun you haven’t lived yet. So so good. Seriously. GO.

Seriously. Best time ever. And I think the pictures aren’t too shabby either.

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Yesterday [August 15] Mary & Alex celebrated their 2nd anniversary!

As I was congratulating Mary on her sweet anniversary post [if you don’t have a cute anniversary post on social media are you even married?] I started to think back on the last 2 years and the beautiful bridal session we did right before their wedding.

Mary is one of my very best friends. I met her the fall semester of my Freshman year at BYU– she was my roommate. When I first saw her I was immediately intimidated because — hello? She’s GORGEOUS and trendy and so popular…so I immediately told my then-fiancee “I think the redhead is going to be mean..” And I laugh so hard now because Mary is anything but mean. She was the best roommate & friend & always kept us entertained with dumping fry sauce all over herself at work, late Taco Bell runs or teaching me what the heck Instagram was…I never got much studying done when I lived with her.

The fact that Mary couldn’t be my roommate anymore was probably the worst part of getting married myself and moving out. But then Mary met Alex & I was so happy for the lucky dude because he gets to have the coolest roommate for.ev.er. [and he will never be behind on The Bachelor news. And neither will you if you keep up with her podcast “I Just Wanna Chat“]

So, lots of nostalgia and missing my bestie’s wedding so here are some of her cute bridals!

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I absolutely loved this beautiful wedding at Mount Palomar Winery. Everything about this venue looked like it was pulled straight from a rustic-meets-classic, outdoorsy fairytale where it’s always blue skies, sunshine & happily-ever-afters. I couldn’t imagine a more perfect place for this gorgeous couple to start their life together. [She looks just like a princess in that gorgeous dress, right?!]

But the most amazing thing about this wedding is it literally came together in two weeks. TWO. WEEKS. Let that sink in. They planned every single thing in just 14 days. I planned my wedding in five months and everyone thought I was crazy because a wedding is SO BIG. There are so many details and timelines and fittings and tastings…that I have several brides who have been planning [informally at least] for a year or more. But this whole perfect day came together in a matter of days, and you know what…I wouldn’t have even known. It was absolutely flawless.

I’m so thankful to Claire & Rich for teaching me that the details matter, but not as much as the love. They taught me that it’s okay to be spontaneous and to just live your life in the moment. Timelines and checklists and months of worrying be darned…if you love someone that’s all that matters. There’s no reason to wait for what will make you happy if you can have it now. They took a chance on love & it totally worked.

In a marriage everything doesn’t always go 100% according to a well-written checklist. Sometimes things happen, good & bad, that derail the entire plan and you have to know your love is strong enough to tackle the world without time to carefully plan sometimes. Just be there, with each other in the moment. It’s something Claire & Rich are so so good at & something I’ve been working on every single day. Worry less, love more. Just live your life. 

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I think I cry a little at every wedding [maybe just a little tear here & there] because weddings are so. beautiful. It always makes me think of my own wedding and how perfect it was & how I will never ever get to live that day ever again.

But I do get to live every single day of our lives with my sweet husband, and I’ve come to find that as beautiful as the wedding was, it wasn’t even the best part. The marriage is so much better! I love watching couples take that step & love seeing the excitement and love in their eyes as they embark on the biggest journey of their lives.

But the very best part is what each couple has taught me about marriage. Weddings are just the beautiful beginning, the marriage is the part that needs to be consistently nurtured as it continues to grow. Being a wedding photographer has allowed me the opportunity to learn so much about love & so much about marriage; it’s seriously the BEST JOB EVER.

So I’m going to structure my blog a little differently…instead of just sharing a little about the couple & their day I am going to share what they taught me about marriage [I’m still learning every time!] and how they have positively impacted my life [they all do]. I truly believe that marriages are meant to last forever & I think that’s why I love weddings so much. I’m hoping to share a little of the love through these blog posts [that probably nobody reads except my husband..but still..]

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