Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas from our house to yours!

We stepped it up a bit this year and added wreaths and a Moravian star to our house (well the star was a Christmas gift from Sam's parents last year).  When I put that star together the other week, this thought kept running through my head, "oh, if I was on Survivor I would be losing this puzzle challenge right now!" Haha, yes, Sam and I still watch Survivor and LOVE it.

We acquired 2 nutcrackers this year from Sam's mom as well.  She didn't want them anymore.  

Okay so there are no Christmas decorations in this picture, but I wanted to show you our new to us lamp that only cost us $15.  This lamp came from Nanny and Papa's house.  It sat in this spot for about 2 months without a lamp shade (we didn't use the dated lampshade with fringe that was on it at my Nanny and Papa's house).  Finally I found a lamp shade from Lowe's that fit it correctly.  The lamp is sitting on 2 books to give this side of the room more height.  The tall floor lamp that is to the right of the Christmas tree is on the other side of the living room.  My mother-in-law-in-law (My sister-in-law Rachel's mother-in-law) who could be a great interior decorator, gave me that tip.  The untitled book is actually my proof book of our wedding pictures, and the book titled Love, was our guest book that we had people sign at our wedding.

And we have new pillows on our couch!  They were made by my friend's mom, and I love that she had the creative thought to give these pillow the thick cording.  The back side of these pillows match our newly recovered chair (you can see that here).

 Merry Christmas from Mer and Sam!

Friday, December 23, 2011

The Espinosa Family

Oh how I love this sweet family.  Emily is the sweetest person on this earth.  She is my old co-worker from CHEERSPORT, and she is my old teammate from Teal.  I met her family on a chilly November morning after Thanksgiving (much colder than it is now that we are a 2 days from Christmas).  You just never know what temperature you will get on a sunny winter day in Charlotte.  Will it be 32 or 62?  Emily and Luis prepped their 3 year old son, Ben, for family pictures as well.  They worked on teaching him my name (which is a very hard name for any young child to say).  I lived with a family friends right out of college when I started my banking job (luckily it only took me a 1 1/2 years to discover that wasn't the right career path for me - but that's the type of job I got out of college as a finance major).  Anyways, I had about 3 - 4 weeks in Greenville, SC where the job was based before I went to Atlanta for 6 weeks of training.  To prevent paying rent for an apartment when I wouldn't be living in it, this family graciously allowed me to stay with them.  At the time their 3 year old could not say Meredith, it came out like "Mer-Da."  It was cute hearing him try to say my name.  

Back to the Espinosa family, Ben was all ready for pictures in the car ride over to the park with his parents, but he was really shy as soon as we started taking pictures.  You never know what children will do during family pictures, but it's okay if they are not "perfect" the day of a photo shoot.  Their personalities still manage to shine through.  Although Ben was acting shy that day, I eventually was able to capture his sweet smile.

Merry Christmas from the Espinosa Family

Sometimes it takes a little bit of tickling to get those real smiles :)

This is a hint of shyness. 

Perfectly cute!

This is the "oh my gosh, Santa Claus is coming!" face

What a handsome little fella!  Merry Christmas Ben, Emily, and Luis! 

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Cookie and Camera

You've met Ella before for her 1 year old birthday shoot (2 posts, here and here).  Here she is all dolled up for Christmas looking adorable!  Ella's parents, Elizabeth and Marc had her very prepared for the photo shoot.  The first thing she said to me when she got out of the car was "camera."  How awesome is that!

There is a great back story to the picture above and below.  We are at this nice park in Spartanburg right besides Wofford's campus (go Terriers! - I have to add that in whenever I can).  I'm actually sitting on the other side of this small stream that runs through the park.  Ella has had swim lessons and loves the water.  We thought it would be a good idea to take her to the water and let her be near it, but all she wanted to do was get in the water.  Sounds cute, right?  But it was so dangerous along the water's edge because it was lined with jagged rocks, and Ella had this "I want to dive in head first to that water" look on her face.  She got pretty upset when we didn't let her get in the water, so we had to move on and distract her from the stream.   

Enjoying a ride in her red wagon

Her grandparents had Ella laughing and smiling and making scary faces.  This shoot took place 1 day before Halloween, and Ella had a pretty darn cute "monster face."  

I have to tell one more story about Ella.  She had such a cute little personality.  We took a break from pictures (or rather a break from Meredith chasing after Ella as she explored this park with a full on run).  Her parents offered a snack (I believe it was cheerios or some little snack food like that).  She told her parents that she did not want that snack they brought with them, she wanted a cookie.  Now that is a girl after my own heart, already loving the desserts.  

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

A Glimpse at Martha's Vineyard

I have so much to share with you from my fall/winter.  It's only just begun with my Wofford couples.  Sam and I had about a 12 layover in Charlotte (luckily my parents live in Charlotte) flying in from Hong Kong before we left for Boston/Martha's Vineyard the next day.  We were flying to Boston, renting a car, driving to the ferry, taking our car on the ferry, and driving off the ferry onto Martha's Vineyard.  Quite the trip to get there, but it's an exciting trip, they only mode of transportation we didn't use was a train.  We were there to celebrate the wedding of Sara and Joe - Sam was a groomsman in the wedding.  

You would think after flying more than 30 hours in a plane to and from Hong Kong, nothing in a plane could phase me, but you're wrong.  We were about to land in Boston (literally about 15 -  30 seconds from touching down), and the plane engines revved back up, and we went back into the air. In my mind, I was thinking okay, there's a reason we didn't land, but come on captain, please hurry up and tell us why.  It was probably about 3 minutes (felt like 10 minutes!) until the captain came on the intercom and said the winds shifted right as we were about to land (you could tell a rain storm was coming in), so air traffic control switched runways on us.  I was about to have a panic attack.  When you're that close to the ground, and then the plane speeds back up and the next thing you see is that you're flying out over the Atlantic ocean, you start to freak out.  Luckily Sam kept a cool, calm, and collected face for me.  The lady next to me didn't seem to mind, and we kept on talking, and I kept on shaking me feet as a nervous tick.  And we did land safely, and hats off to our captain. 

The day of the wedding I had some free time while Sam did "groomsmen" activities, so I drove around the island with my camera in hand.  It's always fun to explore a new place with your camera (and be by yourself), and not really have any time constraints.  Sara and Joe had absolutely beautiful weather for their wedding day!  Below are a few snapshots of the island that caught my eye.

Another Wofford Couple

Can you believe it?  Wofford is a special place!  Meet Austin and Ryan Beaton.  I photographed their rehearsal dinner in Greenville, SC at the Brick Street Cafe.  

A little back story to Austin and Ryan: Austin was a soccer player and Ryan played baseball at Wofford.  Austin worked for Athletics while in college, and she helped out with the music and computer stuff at basketball games.  So as a cheerleader I remember her playing our time-out music for us to walk-through and practice our time-outs before the game.  Most soccer players don't like the sport of cheerleading and most cheerleaders don't like the sport of soccer (there are a few exceptions to this generalization).  Therefore, I concluded that Austin didn't like me.  And I was somewhat afraid of female soccer and basketball players - you have to be so aggressive in those sports, and that was never up my alley.  I would participate on our sorority intramural teams and here are my experiences with those sports.  While playing basketball, I went up for a rebound and instead of catching the ball it bounced right off my forehead.  My college basketball boyfriend (now husband) and his teammates were there to witness that clumsy mistake (they laughed pretty hard).  Another time in basketball, a girl on the other team landed on my foot and rolled her ankle, and I stopped to make sure she was okay and kept apologizing during the game  (you're not supposed to be that nice).  During intramural soccer, I pretty much jumped over the ball if it came my way.  I was just there to be a body on a field.

Back to Austin and Ryan...After college, Sam and I ended up tailgating with a great group of people which included Austin and Ryan - turns out I really like them, and I wish we would have hung out more in college.  Our circles of friends intertwined sometimes.  Austin and Ryan were at the epic "Around the World Party" we were a part of my senior year.  At this party your dorm room would become a country, and you would host the party in your room for 1 drink that represented your country.  So for example, Mexico served margaritas.  My roommate and I were Paris, France, and I think we served a fancy cocktail drink.  Ryan lived off campus across the street in a house that he rented with several other baseball players.  The "baseball house" as it was called became the "airport" for our "Around the World Party."  It was awesome, when the party moved to the baseball house, they had guys directing the crowd with those orange light sticks you see men using on the runway.  The airport was our last stop on the "Around the World Party."

But onto, their rehearsal dinner.  It was great a gathering of friends and family.  The room was definitely filled with love for this couple!

Meet the couple, Austin and Ryan

Meghan, one of the bridesmaids, she looks striking in this picture - I just love that dress!

Austin with her dad, they had a special connection

 Mother of the Groom

Sarah had a 6th sense this evening, she always seemed to know when the camera lens was pointing her way, and she always made funny faces at me.  So if you make funny faces at me, you're going on the blog :)

 Austin with her brother

 Another Wofford Couple, Caroline (not pictured, but she was the matron of honor) and Tim, and their son Mason.  He was the cute ring bearer.  He was great at being cute, but got shy and didn't want to walk down the aisle.  Kids in weddings are awesome, you never know what they will do!

They were watching the video slideshow.

Austin gave some of the sweetest speeches when talking about her friends in the bridal party.  

Tears were flowing at this point...

I loved the necklaces she gave all of her bridesmaids.  It's a wishbone, and it was handmade from some place in Atlanta.  

Father-Son Picture

Congratulations Austin and Ryan!  Looking forward to many more Wofford tailgates and whoopie pies with you!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

And finally...EQ & Jason's Wedding Reception

I have split Elizabeth and Jason's wedding into multiple posts because I had so many images I wanted to share with you!  If you need to read the first few posts click here and here :)

Elizabeth and Jason hosted a "Coke-tail" hour for their guests.  Elizabeth's grandparents shared a Coke on their first date together.  It was such a sweet way to tie her grandparents' story into their wedding day.  My second shooter, Stephanie Holley, grabbed these first 3 images while I was photographing the formals and some one-on-one with the bride and groom.

Elizabeth prepared these cute booklets for her guests filled with love quotes.

A very cute way to make a coffee table out of a bail of hay - add an old window frame on top of the hay.  The "Coke-tail" hour had a very rustic but chic feel to it.

So do you remember their engagement session also took place on the Lake Eden property?  This is the couple that braved the cold.  I saw this tree and fell in love with it instantly (sounds like something a botanist would say - we had a professor at Wofford that would walk around and give the trees hugs...seriously!)

Don't you just love the change of seasons!  

Heading off to their reception...

Once at the reception, they had some very sweet dances with each other and their father and mother.

Elizabeth's dad introduced her grandfather at the end of the toast to do the prayer before dinner.

After dinner and saying hello to friends and family, the dance party started with an anniversary dance. 

The set of grandparents above just barely edged out the others with their astounding marriage of 50+ years (I think I'm correct on that number, it was a long time!) 

Find Waldo (aka me)...this will probably be on the only time I make it in a photo at a wedding.  This was the Wofford Crew at the wedding!  Thanks Stephanie for snapping this shot.

And here's the Duke crew

It was a really fun band!  I wanted to get out there and dance too!

Parents in the Photo Booth

Guests were given a S'mores goodie bag and invited to come toast their late-night snack at the bonfire that was outside the tent.

If I were a guest at this wedding, I would have been in heaven! 

 After the bonfire, Elizabeth surprised her guests with a wardrobe change, and made her grand entrance to "Devil with the Blue Dress."

I like this "blue" series where I was letting the band's lights and the tent lights be my only source of light.  It gives the images a fun feel to them, which is great because everyone was having a fun time!

Mr. and Mrs. O'Quinn I hope you enjoy your first Christmas together as a married couple!  Congratulations!