ake no joke. I loved watching Fresh Prince of Bel Air as a kid. I lived for it. I’d laugh at Will and secretly wish I lived his posh life, even if it included the lightning bolts that were sculpted into the sides of his haircut. When the show started, my sister and I would rap into a happy oblivion—I pulllllllled up to house and yelled to the cabbie, Yo, Homes, smell ya later!—and I knew there and then I wanted to visit West Philadelphia. You know, where Will was born and raised.
Right now I’m packing to visit Philly—JD and I are shooting a wedding, but we’ll also visit the Liberty Bell, climb Rocky’s steps, eat a cheesesteak, and give a shout out to my homeboy, Will—and I’m praying for traveling mercies. Life has been very busy lately, but I’m blessed to be supported by an amazing husband and family.
Today, my heart broke when I was packing my camera gear. It was spread on our living room floor and Polo realized this meant bad news. He knows when my backpack is unfurled, he’s not coming with me. And it breaks my heart. I mean, how can I not be sad when looking at this face?!
From Philadelphia, I’m flying to Kansas City to join the Free to Succeed Tour, then heading to Chicago. Speaking of the tour, another Showit Contest was announced and I was able to conduct the treasure hunt in San Francisco! If you’d like to know how you can win $500 in Showit Bucks, just view the following video for the clues…
**Updated to Add**
The San Fran Winner was just announced, so thanks to those of you who tried! :)
he smiled. As she opened the door of her suite at the Biltmore Four Seasons Santa Barbara, she smiled. When her hairstylist was finished pinning in the veil, she smiled. As her mother slowly zipped her dress, she smiled. And when Janey saw Mark for the first time on their wedding day, she smiled. A smile so deep, so rich, one could feel love electrify the sunny day.
Mark and Janey remained in each other’s arms the entire day, and though there were an abundance of tears, there was an over-abundance of smiles. And not just from Janey, but from their friends and family. The Santa Barbara breeze danced through the air and as happy couple pledged forever to each other, they smiled. Together. And will continue to do so until death do them part.
Janey and Mark…I have never been to a wedding with more tears and laughter…happiness and joy…tears and laughter. Your lives and love are a testament to all and I wish you only the best as you climb mountains together, play Scrabble, make PB&J in the mornings, snack on nuts at night, and laugh like no one’s watching. JD and I were honored to be your wedding photographers and appreciate sharing your intimate day with us! Much Love…J*
The ever fabulous Mar with TEAM Hair and Makeup was on hand to ensure Janey looked drop dead gorgeous...
Janey's mom (love you, Dixie!) looks on as she prepares...
Mark and Janey opted for a First Look and see each other before the wedding ceremony...this couldn't have been more perfect because we had a lot of time to shoot around the beautiful grounds of the Biltmore Santa Barbara, which provides some insane light!
JD caught the next three images and while I told him his pictures were only better than mine because of his angle, I kinda know he totally blew me out of the water. If I didn't like him so much, I'd fire him out of jealousy! ;)
Off to the beach for cocktail hour...
A gust of wind picked up Janey's veil and tied it over her parasol...
Mark and Janey were so blessed by some of the most sincerest and beautiful speeches from their friends and family...
JD's view of the First Dance...
My take on the First Dance...
If you'd like to see more of the wedding, feel free to CLICK HERE for a slideshow!
I'd be remiss if I didn't give credit to Alex Hill--videographer extraordinaire--of Elysium for his totally killer video skills...he's so awesome and I love working with him! And a special thanks to Kerry of Santa Barbara Wine Country Events for the coordination! :)
Free to Succeed Tour : San Francisco
t’s one of my favorite cities in the world. San Francisco. Just those two words alone can make me happy, excited, and ready eat! The city is beautiful and strong and artsy and amazingness just oozes from the cracks. When I woke yesterday morning, I was charged to get busy and make my rounds around the hilly streets that feel like home.
Shortly after waking, I grabbed my bag and made my way to 24 Hour Fitness for a morning workout…afterall, I wanted to pre-burn some calories before I devoured the city and licked the bones Golden Gate Bridge dry. As I was on the treadmill, I saw a gentleman in a wheelchair pass a stationary bicycle located just under the television broadcasting the Olympics. He looked up at the TV, at the bike, at the TV again and decided, yes, that’ll be his bike of choice. He placed his wheelchair adjacent to bike and pulled himself on the seat, lifting his left leg over the bike to ensure his balance on the saddle. The entire process took about seven minutes. I tried not to look. I really did. But my eyes darted from the Women’s 200 Freestyle to his determined eyes and strong arms. Once on the bike, the man slowly and mercilessly pushed on the pedals, his thin legs shaking from the pressure. When the wheels began to slowly turn, a brief smile came across his face and he lifted his chin for a moment.
I wanted to stop running because of the lump in my throat. I wanted to cheer him on. I wanted to rip a gold medal from the TV screen and place it around his neck. I wanted to let him know that in this huge city brimming with hopes and dreams, I got a sneak peek to his. For the first time in a long time, I saw determination in human form. I saw determination in his strong arms and shaky legs. And it was beautiful.
The rest of the day was spent in Union Square eating and enjoying the stunning day. Later that evening, the Free To Succeed Tour seminar took place by Fisherman’s Wharf and the turnout was amazing! I was so blessed to meet so many new photographers and speaking to a group of 140+ people was amazing. I thank you all you fabulous people who drove from near and far (there was even a photographer from Australia representing!) to learn how to push your art and business in the right direction. Thank you.
I’ll be blogging last weekend’s wedding tomorrow, but here’s a shot JD caught of me and Janey…and I just love it. While it may not be the most complimentary image, it shows how much fun we had together. I love my brides…and I’m so blessed to do what I love…
Free to Succeed Tour : Santa Barbara
ike most elements in life, the closer you are to the nucleus, the hotter things get. The day after the San Diego tour stop, JD and I made our way to Orange County (the nucleus I call home) to spend a day with Polo and give me the chance to tie up a few things. What was supposed to be a day of yoga-style breathing—filled with doggy kisses and a homemade protein shake—turned into a mad dash to get my laundry done, go to bootcamp, talk with my accountant, and complete a To Do List that went on ad infinitum. As we made our way to Los Angeles for the tour stop the next day, I was applying makeup and taking curlers out of my hair on the Five Freeway. Yes, I was THAT girl.
In the early hours of the next morning, JD and I arrived in Santa Barbara and crawled into bed at 4 a.m.. The Santa Barbara tour stop was the following day and it was wonderful…especially the party David Jay hosted at his house later that evening!
The following day JD and I shot a fantabulous wedding at the Biltmore Four Seasons in Santa Barbara, but later found myself climbing into bed around 4 a.m.. When my alarm blared yesterday morning at 7 a.m., I debated submerging it in a nearby glass of water or flinging it across the room. I was exhausted. But here’s the funny thing: I actually wanted to get back on the tour bus.
Life on the tour bus is calm and refreshing. I feel positive energy from my friends sitting next to me and sleeping on the bunk next to mine. We spent most the day making our way to San Francisco for the next seminar, but we stopped in Monterey for day of relaxation. We went to Carmel By The Sea and sipped on chai lattes on the beach. With my toes submerged tightly in the white sand, I felt like myself again. Deep yoga-style breathing, and all.
The most favorite part of the day was getting this fortune after eating a delicious dinner at Jimmy's Wok in Carmel...hollllla!
Free to Succeed Tour : Los Angeles
’m not positive what cartoon movie it was, but as a child I’d sit mesmerized by a scene from I think was American Tale—you know the movie where an Eastern European family of mice travel to America for a new start and their son, Fivel, gets lost. I remember being envious of a mouse who mounted the top of a champagne cork, and took off flying once the bottle opened. I’d heavily sigh and shake my head in human disappoint. I wanted to fly on a champagne cork!
Lo and behold, twenty-something years later, I feel like I’m flying on a champagne cork…only a thousand times faster! Fivel ain’t got nothing on me now! My life went into overdrive immediately after the San Diego and hasn’t slowed since. I’m in Santa Barbara right now and will be shooting a wedding, then boarding the tour bus and heading to San Francisco, one of my most favorite cities in the world! The Free To Succeed stop in Los Angeles was fabulous and it was so nice to see 130+ hometown photographers come out full force. Holllllla!
And a special thanks to my bestest friend, Brianna, for coming out and sprinkling her love. She’s not a photographer, but seeing her wave and smile from the back row made my heart melt. I don’t understand how I have such great friends, but I cherish them.
And here’s the coolest thing ever: A TREASURE HUNT! If you follow DJ’s Blog, you’d know he posted a video of a treasure hunt from the Los Angeles tour stop. If you want to see and learn more about it, you can click here. The premise of the hunt is the hide little cartoon characters of ourselves at a few stops on the tour and the person who finds it later wins $500 in Showit Cash! Hollla! My new friend Troy Grover found me in the lobby of the LAX Sheraton and he documented everything on film…hilarious!
**Updated To Add**
Carrie just left a comment and pointed me to their blog and I found this video of their failed expedition. I felt SO terribly that they didn't win, but--dang--this video of failure was pretty hilarious! Thanks, Carrie and Sam...and start raising those kids RIGHT!!! :)