A couple months ago, I was in Oregon. Every time I visit a new city, I try to bring something home that reminds me of that place. Not like a keychain or a shot glass, but something that feels like me...just from somewhere else. As I roamed the aisles of a book and craft store, I found this stamp and knew it was mine. I can't wait to stamp the inside covers of my books like the librarian I always dreamed of becoming.
Why, yes, I want to stake claim to books...oooh, before this post gets any longer and I intimidate you with my uber coolness, I'll get into my recent Good Reads...
*Gold by Chris Cleave. Now before you roll your eyes at the fact I'm bringing up the Olympics YET AGAIN (but, really, I can talk about my dream floor routine for hours), this book's plot is rooted in rivalry, pain, and the struggle of true friendship. And the 2012 Olympics in London. This is Cleave's newest book and after reading Little Bee, I'm pretty sure I'll read anything he writes. Including his grocery list. I adore the way he tells stories, colors my imagination, and forces me to think about my friendships in relation to truth. And competition. I really liked this book!
*The Chaperone by Laura Moriarty. I picked up this book on a recommendation and it was supposed to resemble the tonality and voice of The Paris Wife (which I loved and can read about here). It was an enjoyable read and something that's perfect for the beach, traveling, or a night to escape. I enjoyed the story, its progression, and transported me to a time when alcohol was established and knee-length skirts were considered improper. I love historical fiction, so this book was right up my alley, though it wasn't quite as strong as The Paris Wife.
**I read another book, but I really don't have anything nice to say about it...so I'll refrain from criticizing it. My mama said if I don't have anything nice to say, it's best to but my tongue. So that's what I'm doing.
*Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed. Oh, where do I begin with this book? Probably with a disclaimer: this book isn't for everyone and while I don't share the same sentiments as Strayed in many aspects, her writing and advice brought me to tears. Real, hot, streaming tears. This book is a compilation of Strayed's advice column Dear Sugar and seeing how I love advice columns, this was a gem. Beyond the beautiful writing and words that reach down in your gut and make you feel simultaneously free and weighted, I love that she made me see the world differently. From a new perspective, even if I may not agree. For this, I'm a stronger--and more thankful--person. Loved it. Truly.
Mexico Soccer Clinic
tried writing this post five different ways. Each time I begin, I feel like I'm omitting something important, so instead of trying to make sense, I'm just gonna come out and write it as it comes. It may feel like a potluck (why must my potluck plate always have some combination of cold pasta, Chinese chicken salad, a biscuit, and some jello confection?!), but I'm hoping the variety will be somehow tied up.
1. Side Dish One
A couple months ago, my father asked if I'd be able to go to Mexico to document the soccer clinic our church was sponsoring. Because I'm a commitmentphobe, I cited reasons I may or may not be able to make it, but please don't hold his breath. I felt like an awful person, but didn't he know it was WEDDING SEASON and I'm spread thinner than butter on hot toast?!
2. Side Dish Two
Last month I was hospitalized and it made me reevaluate everything. It was like soap opera reevaluation, complete with tears, promises, and a french kiss. Annnnd, scene! One thing I needed to change was the amount of time I gave to others and ways to use my talents outside of my business.
3. The Biscuit
When my dad emailed a couple weeks ago asking if I could spend the day in Mexico at the soccer clinic with my camera, I said yes. Because, really, while I didn't have the time, I needed to find a way to make the time.
Last Thursday my dad picked up me and JD at 6:30 in the morning and we drove to Rosarito, Mexico. We had the privilege of documenting such an amazing day and I was honored to be there. The free soccer clinic was offered to neighborhood kids and local orphanages and it was awesome to see how much joy was brought simply by offering them an alternative to being on the streets.
My father's church combined forces with a church in Boston and amazing crew of volunteers put together a stellar event...
I knew this event was special to my dad, but it was sobering to see my father's life come full circle. He was born in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, but moved to north to the US/Mexican border while his family waited for access to America. During his two years in Tijuana/Rosarito, his step-father--who abused alcohol and his family--left his mother. It was one of darkest times of his childhood. To see my dad return to a place of pain and provide joy for others was truly moving. During one of the soccer breaks, he offered to pray with kids who were struggled with alcoholic fathers, single mothers, and children who might feel lonely.
My favorite part of the day was watching the surprise on the kids' faces when they were told they were going to receive a pair of soccer cleats. Most of children played in whatever shoes they had, so when they were told they'd receive a pair of cleats (acquired through our churches Cleat Drive), most were clamoring to get to the front of the line. This moment? Well, this moment made me so thankful for the smallest details in my life...truly.
This is me and my most favorite men in the world. I'm incredibly lucky to have an amazing father...and an equally as amazing husband. To stand next to them and do what I love is a sweet gift.
The Sunset Debate
I'm not one for debate. In fact, whenever there's a disagreement, you might see me grab my coat and hat and run for the door. Well, I don't wear hats because of my large head, but if I did, I'd grab it and run. Last week, however, I created a debate of sorts, but it was totally unintentional. At our wedding in Michigan last week, I posted this photo on Instagram:
I didn't realize that by asking if east coast sunsets were better than west, people would definitely have an opinion. Next thing I knew, people were bringing up Tupac and Biggie Smalls. Oh, Internet, IT'S HAT GRABBING TIME!!!
Shortly thereafter, messages starting appearing on my Facebook wall...
When talking about sunset, I was referring to duration and timeframe...and less about the type of sunset itself. I mean, I'm definitely a California girl and adore the airy pastel sunsets I love photographing in, but being in Michigan made me appreciate the sun setting at almost 9pm. And it was in the process of setting for what felt like over an hour...whoa. Maybe it's my imagination, but sunsets in California feel much shorter and I have to work faster to capture photos in golden light.
I definitely appreciate different perspectives of sunset around the United States and next time I bring up geographic superiority (be it sunsets or rap), I'll be sure to reference the annals of music history:
Let me serenade the streets of L.A.
From Oakland to Sacktown
The Bay Area and back down
Cali is where they put the mack down
Give me love! - Tupac
Friday Randomness : How To Share a Cookie
t's Friday and I'm incredibly thankful to see the weekend on the horizon. I sense I'll be parked on the couch watching endless hours of Olympic coverage because, really, I need to know who wins the gold for kayaking. And badminton. In other news, there's another installment of Friday Randomness brewing in my mind, so let's air them out...
Gymnasts who wear glitter in their hair scare me.
Last night I ate protein pasta for dinner...AND IT FELT LIKE I WAS CHEATING!!!
I haven't dyed my hair in so long it appears I have ombre hair without even trying.
Sometimes JD says it's totally fine to give him the silent treatment.
Whoever put the nutritional information on ice cream containers should be tried for the slaying of my happiness.
he secretly surprised him up with a surfing excursion on their honeymoon...and then nominated herself for The Best Wife Award. She'd been a wife for one full day, but Breanne was already on a winning streak with Dan. Having been together for so many years, they've learned to understand the ebb and flow of their love much how the ocean kisses the coast. Together they pull others into their joy and share their love and happiness in equal parts.
During the wedding ceremony, the couple expressed their desire to be the best. The best versions of themselves, but, moreso, open to becoming even better. Surrounded by hundreds of friends and family, Breanne and Dan could see they had the support to make this happen.
Their love is somewhat circular in that Breanne loves Dan --> Dan loves the ocean --> Breanne surprises Dan with the things he loves --> Dan falls more in love with Breanne. If becoming the best version of oneself is to always think of another, they're well on their way to a life full of happiness.
Dan and Breanne (BRE!!!)...thank you for the honor of capturing your wedding day in Michigan. Being there was full confirmation that are paths were supposed to cross and I feel incredibly lucky to have played a small part in a truly amazing day. I appreciated your friends, family, and loved ones who made us feel like we belonged in the inner circle and it was a day I'll never forget (especially the power of your prayers to move clouds in the sky...amen). Much Love and Appreciation... j*
Breanne has impeccable taste, so when she told me she planned to wear a lace dress, I knew it wouldn't disappoint. Her Watters wedding dress was stunning and when she slipped into a pair of Badgley Mischka heels, Breanne was a vision...
Breanne is a trained dancer, so the afternoon was spent on her toes...in a happy dance...
Oh, Breanne...just go on...
I lovedlovedloved the bridesmaids and the special bond they shared...
And Dan was quite the dapper groom...him against the gorgeous Michigan greenery was something I could get used to photographing! ;)
Breanne and Dan opted to see each other before the ceremony for a First Look and I couldn't have been happier...his reaction to see his bride was so sweet (and can be seen in the slideshow), but what really got me was his constant attention to his gorgeous bride...he couldn't take his eyes off her!
One thing that was particularly nerve-wracking element to the day was the bright sun...the day before the wedding it poured (no, really, the Detroit airport was closed due to flooding), but the sun made up for lost time on Saturday. We worked around areas of the church and I'm quite happy with this photo because while the couple looks in love, it doesn't reveal we were adjacent to the parking lot! ;)
If every wedding in Michigan looks like this, I'm moving toward the GREAT LAKES! ;)
Walking down the aisle with one handsome man (and Jesus, too)...
...and walking up the aisle with another handsome man at her side...
There were so many personal details to the wedding reception but a special shout out to Aunt Jill who worked tirelessly behind the scenes to ensure the day flowed smoothly. I asked Aunt Jill if she wanted a new niece, but if it required her to assemble one more handmade paper flower, she might not accept my proposal. And, yes, Breanne and Jill made all those paper flowers for the wedding.
After the First Dance, Breanne and Dan requested photos at sunset, and I was more than happy to oblige...
Breanne and Dan know how to throw one heck of a party. So much so, they added the Hora to their reception timeline...they're not Jewish, but they're all about bending the rules, having fun, and making traditions of their own...
To see more of Breanne and Dan's Michigan wedding, feel free to CLICK HERE for slideshow or you can watch it here with Hannah Miller music provided byThe Music Bed: