Miss Arden Part II | Pittsburgh Fashion Photographer

And here we have Arden, changing her hair like a chameleon to suit her mood, and putting funky outfits together! And check out the heel-less shoes! Whoa! We should all strive to be so hip!
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Pretty Living PR | Pretty Living Magazine Launch Party

I’ve been involved with the ladies over at Pretty Living PR for a few months now, and I’m so glad to know them! Allyn and Charissa are absolute darlings, and marvelous party planners! This event was hosted for their magazine launch party, with so many awesomeΒ  vendors that showed off their products and portfolios.
Fashion Fantasy Outfits: Tidal Cool Creations
Make Up Artist: Arrey Lee
Hair: Swank Hair Studio
Venue: Perle
To keep up with Pretty Living PR’s latest events, check out their blog and facebook pages.
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New Fave: French Broad Chocolates!

Sometimes I accept forms of payment in…chocolate. And why not? What better way to trade than to get scrumptious, home-made, artisan deliciousness in return for a day’s work? I can’t think of a more winning combination!
We had passed French Broad Chocolates several times on our way to the Thirsty Monk (no need to mention why it’s our most-visited place!) and I was just dying to try the chocolates and coffee. Each one was prettier than the last! But the one item that totally captivated my eye–literally I zoned out–was the beautiful home made macarons! The cutie on the other side of the counter told me that they were “chocolate hazelnut macarons with Kahlua cream centers” and there was no turning back! Can I just tell you hoooow slowly I ate that macaron? It was divine! Absolutely my new favorite, hands down. Pair it with a perfectly foamed latte and a beautiful room to sip it in, you’ve got yourself a wonderful afternoon break. Drop your notebook on the distressed wooden table with the sunlight pouring through the windows and let your mind wander, it’s exactly what you need to slip into a world of your own.
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This Week I’ve Learned… | Pittsburgh Photographer Personal Post

This week’s personal post is written with tired eyes but a smile. It’s been a busy week and it’s not over yet! But it seems busyness brings more busyness so I’ll just have to hold on and buckle up until Monday! This week I’ve learned…

  • I’ve learned that I really do look forward to Mondays! Being a photographer, Mondays are my equivalent to everyone else’s Fridays!
  • I’ve learned that picking berries is an awesome way to spend time with kids.
  • I’ve learned that I can make black raspberry jam like a pro, not bragging, but it’s delicious!
  • I’ve learned that I get SUPER excited to see my girlfriend when it’s been a month!
  • I’ve learned that my children are little social butterflies.
  • I’ve learned that sticking with exercise is much, much harder than I thought. Sigh.
  • I’ve learned that little boys love making forts out of pillows, couch cushions, and blankets. And if you do it for them, you are their hero!
  • I’ve learned that making an Etsy sale is SO exciting!
  • I’ve learned that funny enough, if you use high quality, organic butter, your dishes turn out soooo much better than using factory butter. Its a noticeable difference!
  • I’ve learned that it makes me a little sad when I miss our Farmer’s Market days.
  • I’ve learned that if you tell your kids they can stay up as late as they want watching movies, they still don’t make it past 10:30!
  • I’ve learned that sometimes I miss being in college. It’s really good for new ideas and material for the creative brain.
  • I’ve learned that the best way to gain some energy is to start a new project.
  • I’ve learned that I adore these rainy days inside with the kids, watching movies and having nowhere to go.
  • I’ve learned that there’s no better comfort food than a big plate of macaroni. And perhaps a close second of a glass of red wine to go with it…
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This Week I’ve Learned | Weekly Personal Post | Pittsburgh Photographer Weekly Post

This week’s installation of what I learned is being brought to you by the coffee that I thought I gave up. Being that we stayed up way-extra-late last night…I’m indulging so that I may write! And also, nothing can really replace real-live coffee πŸ˜‰ So this week I learned:

  • I learned that I missed last week’s post! But it’s ok because while I wasn’t writing, I was out shooting a gorgeous wedding for a sweet couple! They were super fun to spend the day with and I can’t wait to share the images!
  • I’ve learned that the 4th of July is one of my favorite holidays–fireworks, barbeques, warm summer rain and shirtless little boys catching fireflies are awesome.
  • I’ve learned that I surprise people with how patriotic I am–I actually cry during the National Anthem. It moves me. My father’s family gave up a lot to move here and LOVED the fact that they became Americans.
  • I’ve learned that I love the fact that my neighbors bought about 50 fireworks last night–we didn’t even have to leave our backyard! We sat on our back porch listening to Matisyahu barbequing flank steak, and watching fireworks light up literally right in our faces! It was so fun, reliving fireworks through children is exciting again!
  • I’ve learned that I loooove shooting in a chocolate shoppe! More photos to come–right after I finish this huge thank you box of chocolates…
  • I’ve learned that I’m really proud of myself for memorizing “to and from” directions from my house to Pittsburgh. I love going to the city, but the fear of getting lost has held me back, and then I got a GPS…and I didn’t even need it yesterday. Woohoo!
  • I’ve learned that I have missed my ritual of morning coffee. Tea just isn’t the same…
  • I’ve learned that I can shoot in the rain, and it doesn’t bother me at all. It reminds me of Ireland, and makes me happy. An overcast, moody sky is so gorgeous and romantic to me…it inspires me to shoot something emotional.
  • I’ve learned that caramel made with honey and macadamia nuts is my absolute new favorite candy…I could literally order a slab just for myself!
  • I’ve learned that doing puzzles with my oldest son is a very relaxing and satisfying activity. We talk, we help each other out, and he’s so excited when he gets a section put together. He’s growing up and I’m so proud of who he’s become.
  • I’ve learned that revisiting your wedding day can cheer up a bad day! I love hearing from my girls that they were uplifted by seeing their blog post, like this doll face bride!
  • I’ve learned that I’m always the one to make the beer run! I’m dependable and responsible! And also, always the DD.
  • I’ve learned that I really want to write a book, but…have no idea how to do it.
  • I’ve learned that I love the British Comedy and Dramas…anything on the BBC is awesome!

I’m ending this post with a lovely breakfast photo. The wonderful white-chocolate-raspberry scone was purchased from Boldy’s Bakery, paired with my favorite coffee mug! Ta-rah!
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Happy German New Year! | Pittsburgh Photographer

This New Year we did something different–we celebrated German New Year! The town that we live in has a high German-Descent population, and they celebrate their culture with the traditional food and fare. It was awesome, the food was fantastic and everything was so festive. In Historic Harmony, there were quaint antique shops open, and a funky shop called the Kingdom of Three, as well as Wunderbar Coffee House and an amazing Hooping Group who danced with fire.
I loved this sign, printed in German, which means “Mulled Wine”.
IMG_0410The Center of Harmony put on a great event. The New Year’s Ball was dropped at 6:00, because it was Midnight in Germany. After that, fireworks were set, gorgeous!
German New Years, Harmony PA German New Years, Harmony PAWe were so busy eating an amazing buffet of bratwurst, pork and kraut, potatoes, and bread pudding that we missed a large portion of the Hooping Show! I was so sad! But I will certainly be on time next year. This troupe has so much passion, and it was freezing and snowing outside, but they just bundled up, lit their hoops, and danced through it! They are truly entertaining and fantastic!
German New Years, Harmony PA German New Years, Harmony PAHarmony put on such a great event, we can’t wait to attend next year! German New Year is totally the way to go πŸ˜‰

Unique Wedding Details | Pittsburgh Photographer

With so many brides turning into DIY Goddesses, I thought I’d share two of my personal favorite DIY projects that a bride of mine put together for her wedding. These were from a lovely wedding I shot three years ago, set on her family’s farm of beautiful rolling hills and a backyard ceremony and reception.
She decorated the ceremony area herself with lots of vibrant flowers and foliage. Something I loved were these water globes which held more vibrant flowers. They looked so interesting because they were suspended from shepherd’s hooks and seemed to float along the lines of the ceremony seating.
I also adored all of the origami birds she had suspended everywhere. These were strung up with different wood and glass beads, and lined the reception site. They were hung from the reception tent, and swayed gently in the breeze, and were just so pretty and romantic! This could easily be a fun project for a bride and her ‘maids to do on a girls night in with some cookies and a bottle of wine (yes, cookies and wine totally go together!)
These two decorations are fun to DIY in your own colors and could compliment any outdoor ceremony and reception! I hope they inspire you to create something fun and unique for your own special day πŸ™‚

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Shop Local | Ten Small Businesses in Butler, PA

The Shopping Season has arrived…and I don’t know about you, but I am looking for something a little different to give as gifts this year! I also know the importance of shopping small business, because it supports the families in our community. It’s a win-win situation. You get the product or service you want, and the family that runs the business earns income to support themselves. I’ve also found that when you shop small, the service is better and the relationship is great! They get to know you on a first name basis and become friends. It’s more fun to shop in a store where you’re greeted by your first name and they ask you how your kids are doing, and you have a conversation while you shop. I highly recommend it!
Below listed are ten newer businesses in Butler. Some have just recently opened, so I wanted to visit them and check them out. I was impressed each time–being involved in something that is unique was really fun! It truly beats shopping at big box stores πŸ™‚

The first one I went to was Mind Body Yoga of Butler. Everyone knows the benefits of yoga, and it’s a great activity to get involved in for all types of health benefits. The studio offers a variety of classes for all exercise levels. They even offer a meditation class! Their class schedule can be found here, and they have a wide array of class times to fit everyone’s schedule. Mind Body Yoga also offers Gift Certificates for easy gift giving–give a loved on a four class punch card in their stocking this year!

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Recipe | Nutella Tarts

The first time I had Nutella was about…15 years ago in high school. My best friend (who is STILL my best friend! w00t!) had just gone on a three week tour of Germany with an exchange student program, and Nutella was a souvenir she came back with. This was long before imported items were readily available in grocery stores, and we were in awe of it. Well, probably just me because she lived on this stuff along with brown bread for three weeks. But I found a new fave, and haven’t looked back!
For our last holiday gathering, I knew my cousin would be coming up and she has this…minor obsession with Nutella. Wanting to make something that I knew she would love, I set out to make Nutella Tarts, which you could easily eat with all of our children running at our feet πŸ™‚
Trust me–if it’s not easy to make, or easy to eat, I’m not making it. Don’t let recipe titles intimidate you–just try it and you’ll be pleasantly surprised!
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Artistic Shots | Wedding Emotions

As a photographer and aspiring artist, I’m always looking for ways to show more feeling, more emotion, more of the feeling OF your wedding day. This is so important because these emotions are incredibly passionate–passion in the way of feeling so strongly for someone that you commit your life, soul, and heart to them. Think about that for a second–that’s astounding! Usually brides and grooms are very calm and cool on the mornings of their wedding. They hang out with their friends and families like it’s just another gathering or party, and no tears are shed, everyone is laughing, dancing to an iphone that’s playing their dance mix, and having a few mimosas. The tears come and the nervousness sets in when….they get dressed!
Suddenly “ITS HAPPENING!” sets in! They are a bride and a groom! She has on THE dress that made her mom and sisters cry at the bridal shop! He has on the tux and his mom is pinning on the boutineer on her baby boy who is now a man. The reality of a life milestone sets in and…the emotions flow. And it’s absolutely gorgeous!
It’s amazing to watch two people so lovestruck with each other that the rest of the world melts away. The photo below was taken in Angela and Chris’s bridal portrait, two people that I had the honor of capturing their wedding day. I say it was an honor because seeing how much they cared and respected each other was so moving. When they looked at each other, they were immediately in their own little world. And that’s how it should be! They were so enamoured with each other, not letting go of each other, that they barely needed any coaching with their poses! Not that it mattered, because every time I tried to coach them, they were too busy kissing to listen to me πŸ˜‰ haha! But again…that’s how it SHOULD be! Every one of their expressions tells their perfect story.
Here is one of their artistic shots, which is a little more emotional than something creative in the way of interesting poses or something fun or goofy. Pintrest is awesome for something funky and neat, but what about something more heartfelt? Something that blurs the line on what is “correct” and moves into the realm of “romantic, earthreal, dreamy” and so forth? Of course, clear, crisp images were taken in this pose, but sometimes putting a photo slightly out of focus takes the weight off of being “right” and just being “here in the moment”. That’s what I want to bring–a passionate feeling, a fleeting moment, something you’ll want to remember forever.