Category Archives: personal

My Favorite Christmas Things.

| Posted in: personal

Do you guys feel as overwhelmed as I do at the thought of Christmas already being here? I mean, we still have two and a half weeks to go but I start looking at my calendar and it’s like – when will we go see Christmas lights? And how can I shop with three boys under four!? (Answer : Amazon Prime) And I have to decorate! And bake! And we have to visit family! And then, ohmygosh, it’s Christmas already.

I’m trying to slow down and savor the season and I thought making a list of my favorite Christmas things will help me do just that. We have plenty of time and I’m going to enjoy what I can! So, here are some of my favorite Christmas-y things :

Decorating for the holiday
I get my love for crafting from my mom, who is incredibly creative and an amazing home decorator. She makes everything so pretty and cozy at the same time! I especially love her Christmas decorating. Because of her, I take my three boys into the woods and chop greenery for our mantle then spend all day trying to twist it into something pretty because she made it look so easy!  Unfortunately, I’m not quite as good as my mom at decorating. But I do love to try!  If you need help in the area of decorating-with-greenery, Amy Lynne Originals runs the Winston Salem Flower School and you can attend a class to learn how to make your own wreath or holiday centerpiece! It’s the greatest. You don’t even have to chop your own greenery! Jump on it, though, there are only a couple of classes left this month!

img_6196

If you want your house to be pretty this season but struggle with decorating, this is my other favorite thing :

static1-squarespace-com

My friend Kendra is so fun. And funny. And real when it comes to hard topics. She wrote this little guide on how to decorate for the holidays and it is so helpful! And also hilarious. I revisit it every year.

Christmas music
I’m one of those people that won’t listen to Christmas music until after Thanksgiving and then I want to listen to it all the time after that. Some of my favorites are :

A Christmas Album – Bright Eyes
Songs for Christmas – Sufjan Stevens

Christmas – Michael Buble
And White Christmas – Daystar Worship. This is a Christmas EP that my church produced a few years ago and I played accordion on it. How fun is that? Did you know I have that skill? Here’s a video to prove it O Come O Come Emmanuel

All the baked goods.
I love baking. Christmas is a great excuse to bake (and eat) treats all the time, right? Growing up, our traditional breakfast on major holidays (Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas) is this Cream Cheese Braid (originally from Southern Living Magazine). It’s basically the best part of Christmas morning.

Traditions
I’m really big on family traditions. My family was never really formal about it but there were definitely certain things that we did on certain days or around the holidays. One of my favorite things as a kid, and most favorite things as a parent, is the way my parents did Christmas morning (and the way we do it now for our kids). There was no waking my parents up at 5:00 in the morning to open presents. Nope. They put a ribbon across our doorway and we weren’t allowed out until breakfast was ready. Then, once we were able to cut the ribbon and leave our rooms, we didn’t open any presents until everyone was finished eating. The anticipation is KILLER.

Christmas Eve talent show. They’re mostly made up talents. Think that scene from Dan In Real Life. It’s the best.

Silly string fight. My parents always put a can of silly string in every stocking and after all the presents are opened, it’s fair game for anyone to start the fight at any time. We used to do it in the house but that’s really messy and, well, we’re adults now so mom sends us all outside.

Late night Christmas Eve. This is my real favorite tradition. Now that we have kids, Jonathan and I get to stay up late Christmas Eve wrapping and putting together presents. We watch all of The Office Christmas episodes and drink real hot chocolate.

What are some of your favorite Christmas things? Share in the comments!

christmas1 christmas02

*Some photos in this post taken from various linked websites.

Save

A baby announcement!

| Posted in: personal

Benjamin_001

I know I haven’t been great at keeping the blog up to date with personal posts but we welcomed our third little boy, Ben, almost three weeks early on July 6th! Thankfully I was able to tie up all the loose ends with current clients right before he was born so the last couple of weeks have been spent settling in, creating a new routine as a family of five (!!!), and cuddling. Lots and lots of cuddling.

Happy due date, little one! I’m so glad you decided to join us so early. (I’m afraid you would’ve been ten pounds if you made it to due date!).

Benjamin_002

Ben has so. much. hair.

Benjamin_003

Safe to say that big brothers are completely obsessed with “baby Ben”. Also, sometimes they totally cooperate when I want to take pictures of them. Yay for that!

Benjamin_004

Save

Save

Save

April Goals.

| Posted in: personal

So, I’ve tried multiple times to make a monthly goals blog post a priority but the beginning of the month always seems to creep up on me! Well, I’ve recently started following another photographer, Katelyn James, and she came up with this awesome idea of doing a monthly duty day. Basically, you make a list of everything that you need to do monthly (she includes bills and everything but Jonathan handles that for us, so I just list business stuff), and take care of it all on the first day of the month! That way, nothing slips through the cracks and then it’s not all hanging over your head for the rest of the month! My monthly duty day includes : – Blog my goals for the month
– Follow up with inquiries from the previous month
– Check folders of current clients and get in touch if we need to schedule any sessions, or take care of any details
– Send out new client gifts
– Update the calendar for the month

So there ya go! Hopefully this will help me stay on track with everything. Here are my goals for April!

Business goals :

Finish my “getting to know you” questionnaire I’m really excited about being more intentional with the Alexa’s Photography experience for my 2015 clients. I’ve created an awesome ‘welcome’ gift for new clients (will post more about that later!) and am working on putting together more details that will make the Alexa’s Photography experience a great one!  One of those things is a ‘getting to know you’ questionnaire. I’ve noticed over the years that I am a better wedding photographer when I’m more invested in my couples and their story! This includes following their social media, knowing where they met and how they fell in love, and other fun details. This questionnaire will help me get to know my couples and, since I’m planning on posting more behind-the-scenes and sneak peek photos on Instagram and facebook, I’ll be able to tag those brides and grooms as well!

Host another mini-session event on April 25th I’m really excited about this one. The fall mini-session event went so well, I’m looking forward to photographing more families and couples while the trees are green and the flowers are in bloom! Registration will be open on April 6th and time slots are booked on a first-come, first-serve basis. Check back here for the details next Monday!

aprilgoals_001

Send equipment to get cleaned and checked With wedding season quickly approaching, I need to send my cameras and lenses to be cleaned and checked to make sure they’re in good condition before I start using them 20 hours a week again!

Personal goals :

Exercise 4x a week Guys, this is a new one for me. I’ve never been the type of person to exercise regularly. I mean, I get outside all the time and since my bedroom is upstairs I climb stairs about ten times a day, but I’ve never had a plan for exercise. After I had Noah I started doing Zumba with our church group once a week and found that I really enjoyed it! I stopped for a while when I was pregnant with Sam but I started again a couple of months ago and it’s so fun! I also started running (which is the real shocker!) last week when Jonathan convinced me to try. Honestly, I walked probably 50% of my first “run” but I’m slowly getting better. My goal now is to do the hour long Zumba class, or a 2+ mile run, four times a week.

Send or leave at least two encouraging notes It’s really been on my heart lately to be generous with my words to encourage and build people up. Last week I wrote four or five notes to a few friends, my grandma, and another wedding vendor, and sent them in the mail. Just to say “hey, you’re doing a great job,” “I appreciate your integrity,” or “you’re a great friend.” I know an encouraging word can do so much for the heart and it doesn’t cost me anything except a 49 cent stamp and a few minutes of time. I’ve put a few blank note cards and envelopes in my purse (well, honestly, my diaper bag since that’s what I carry most of the time) and am praying that God would bring people to mind, or even point out a stranger that could use some encouragement and I’ll be able to do it right away!

aprilgoals_003

Will you join me in being generous with kind words? What are some of your goals for this month?

Noah is 2!

| Posted in: personal

My firstborn turned two years old a few days ago. This little man changed our world from the moment we found out he existed by those two little blue lines on the pregnancy test. He’s the sweetest little guy – always wanting to help, always giving kisses and hugs, always quick to say “sorry” when he gets a little out of hand and gets corrected. It’s amazing how much of his personality already comes through. He’s fun and outgoing but gets super focused and pokes his little tongue out when he’s working on something. He’s a daredevil. Some of the things he does scare the daylights out of me but he’s always so proud when he sticks the landing (yes, he jumps off high things).

This morning I went to get him out of bed and said “good morning, baby!” and he replied “heyyy, baby!”. He makes me laugh. He is a beautiful, strawberry blonde, blue-eyed boy… and he’s two!

01_noah 02-noah

The New Year!

| Posted in: personal

Hey, look! I’m doing the post I talked about! It’s a new year again and, it’s so cliche to say, but time goes so fast. The older I get, the more it seems like the years just fly by. I try so hard to keep a journal. I would love to write every detail of how each week, each day, each moment in this life feels but it’s impossible to keep up! I still journal occasionally (maybe once a month) and try to cram in all the things that happened during the in-between. But, mostly, I try to soak it up as it happens.

Becoming a mama has completely changed me. I have been stretched more than I thought possible. I have been broken. I have had to rely on God more than ever before. But I have been blessed beyond measure. It’s given me a new outlook on life. I’ve had to slow down, whether I liked it or not. .  . Hours of my day are spent rocking, feeding, and reading, playing “choo-choo”, and watching Curious George. I’ve had to work during naptimes, and after the boys go to bed.

When Noah turned one in January and we found out I was pregnant in March, it just about blew my mind. Knowing that we’d have two babies by the end of 2014 made me want to smile and cry at the same time! It seemed so fast! I guess it was kind of fast. Our due date was estimated for October 10th – right in the middle of busy wedding season – and we just had to trust that God was going to provide for us. And He absolutely did. Just like He always does! So yes, 2014 was a little crazy, and not how I would’ve planned it if I had the choice. But it was perfect. In a beautifully messy, crazy, imperfect way.

01-2014 copy

I’m so grateful for everyone that trusted me with their wedding photography and portraits this year. Though there were fewer than years past because of maternity leave, they were all beautiful, emotional, and fun. I can honestly say I loved every one of them! I’m also thankful for all the memories we made as a family this year. Every year with Jonathan is better than the ones before as we grow closer and learn to navigate life together. I love having him on my team!

Some highlights from our family life this year :

– Finding out we were pregnant with our second little guy in March. And, in the summer, finding out he was another boy!

– Watching my little sister get married. And facetiming my brother right after his engagement! The family is expanding, y’all. By the end of 2015, we will be ten sisters and five brothers!

– Date nights with Jonathan. They are the best.

03-2014
(photograph byAnna Paschal Photography)

– Sam’s birth. It is such a surreal and amazing experience, bringing a new baby into the world. Sam was born October 4th and has been killing us with cuteness ever since. He is the happiest and sweetest little baby and I’m so so glad that he’s here.

– Watching Noah grow into his role as a big brother. Even though he’s not quite two yet, he loves showing his little brother to everyone and loves to give Sam blankets and kisses.

– Co-leading our Baby Praise group at church. And yes, it’s just as adorable as it sounds.

– Many, many, many days and nights of cuddles, and tickle-fights, and family dinners. With many, many, many more to come.

Highlights in business life :

04-2014

– Hosting my first mini-session event. It was so fun and went even better than I was hoping for!

– Photographing a total of 8 weddings, 23 portrait sessions, and 16 mini-sessions

02-2014

– Having Erin + Brandon’s wedding published in the Fall/Winter issue of The Knot Carolinas! This was my first print feature and I’m so humbled. Truthfully, I haven’t been good about submitting work in the past because I feared it was not “good enough”. Whatever that means. I’m just so glad that Erin + Brandon and the awesome vendors from their wedding got some recognition for the incredible work they all did! I’ll definitely be submitting more in 2015 :)

– Taking a road trip to Chicago to photograph Kelly + Marc’s wedding.

– Working with tons of amazing creatives throughout North Carolina. And, on the same note, girl nights with Leigh, Anna, and Carla.

I’m looking forward to so much in 2015 – I can’t wait to photograph the couples I have on the books for this year. And, guys, we actually scheduled out vacation time and an anniversary getaway this year(!!), which we’ve failed to do in the past. I know that every year brings its own trials, and heartaches, and struggles. But I also know that my God has never failed me and He never will!

Cheers!

P.S. Comment and tell me what you’re looking forward to this year!