January 31, 2011

Wedding Trend - DIY Weddings

These days, I see more and more couples taking the do-it-yourself route for at least part of their wedding-- handmade bouquets and flower arrangements, home-printed invitations and paper goods, even hand-sewn dresses!  If you're an artsy type, and have some time, it's a great way to really personalize your wedding, and even save a bit of dough.  Many projects can be really easy, even if you don't have much experience.  I've seen several brides make their own simple bouquets.  One simply bought flowers she loved, trimmed them up a bit, and then tied them together with ribbon.  It's definitely a romantic look, and it fit her style perfectly!  Another bride had some experience in flower design, and actually put together rose bouquets, boutonnieres, and all of her centerpieces, too.

Reception table signage is another DIY project that can really personalize your wedding day.  A really simple and popular idea is to frame photos of the two of you from childhood or your engagement, or places/things that are special to you, and place those on your tables.  Josh and I actually did this for our own wedding, and named our tables after our favorite National Parks in California (did I mention that we loved the great outdoors?).  Even if you just stick with numbering your tables, it's a great way to give your wedding a bit of a theme and really make it unique.

Another really popular DIY wedding project is designing your paper goods-- invitations, save-the-dates, ceremony programs, reception menus, thank-you notes, etc...  This can mean anything from using one of the various online design websites, such as Wedding Paper Divas, to personalize a stock design, to creating your own design from scratch in Photoshop.  One of my brides is a graphic designer, and designed and themed her entire wedding and rehearsal dinner using paper goods-- save-the-dates, invitations, programs, menus, table cards, name badges, signs, the works!  The whole effect was gorgeous, and it really gave her wedding a style of it's own.

If you're thinking about some DIY projects for your wedding, check out some of the wedding planning blogs out there for inspiration-- Project Wedding, Green Wedding Shoes, and Style Me Pretty all have DIY sections.  There are a ton of creative ways to make your Big Day truly and uniquely you!

And, since this has been a long post, here's a little instant inspiration for your Big Day!

January 28, 2011

Diamonds + Coals - Clean Workspaces and Paying Taxes

It's been a crazy busy week.  Winter is a great time for engagement shoots in the Bay Area-- not too hot, not too cold, interesting skies, and less fog.  The beach and parks are usually a little less crowded, and the light is soft all day.  So, between some fantastic shoots, networking events, images processing and album design, I've been on the clock non-stop!  Not that I'm complaining one bit-- I love what I do, and couldn't imagine a more perfect job!

This week's diamonds go to:
- My newly cleaned and organized office.  After last week's post, Josh mentioned that my office was starting to feel like a lot like a minefield.  A little furniture rearrangement, organization and recycling later, and we're back to an invitingly clean space!
- Shane Co.  I finally got around to having a ring that Josh gave me years ago resized to fit properly.  No more catching my hand on everything in sight!

As for the coals....
- Paying taxes, times two.  The big tax season is right around the corner, but sales and property taxes hit this week.  Yuck!
- The gym.  Yes, I know I should go, but even watching movies on my iPod is getting boring... Guess it's time to practice what I preach and get outdoors a little more!

Have a fantastic weekend!

Katie + Rob - Jack London Square Engagement

It's been a busy week, and as I was doing a little desktop organization, I came across one of my favorite engagement shoots from last fall.  Katie and Rob chose to take their engagement photos at one of my favorite places in the Bay Area to shoot-- Jack London Square.  I just love the gritty industrial feel juxtaposed with the deep blue waters of the inner harbor.  With courtyards full of green grass and the occasional palm tree, it's a little bit over everything all rolled into a compact area, and makes for great shooting opportunities.  Of course, a couple who is clearly in love is what really makes stunning images, and Katie and Rob didn't disappoint one bit!

I just loved Katie's brocade flats!  So cute!

January 27, 2011

Adventure Camera - Hidden Lake Gardens

Last year, my parents began settling in to their dream home on a lake in a small town in southern Michigan.  Though they had had a weekend cottage on the same lot for years, since moving out to the lake permanently, they've been discovering new things in the area left and right.  One of the gems they found is Hidden Lake Gardens, a botanical garden and hilly parkland owned by Michigan State University.

Back in December, I spent a week visiting with my folks, and took a trip over to Hidden Lake Gardens with my dad, who also is a bit of a photobug (like father, like daughter!).  I've always been a daddy's girl, and spending time with my dad is something I miss living out on the west coast, unlike the Michigan weather!  Michigan in the winter is generally an icy experience, and the greenhouses were a warm treat on a bitterly cold day.  Being off-season, we had the place to ourselves, and happily snapped away the afternoon together.

January 25, 2011

A Groupon Proposal

I read an article this morning about a groom who proposed to his bride by placing an ad on the Cincinnati Groupon website, where they frequently shop together.  While browsing the site, he pulled up his listing for her, and when she turned to him to ask what it was about, he was on one knee with an engagement ring.  Of course, she said yes!

This got me thinking about all the different proposal stories I've heard-- everything from trips to Disneyland, walks in the snow, kittens with rings tied to their collars, and Scrabble letters spelling out "Will you marry me?"-- and how personal and perfect they are for each couple.

Josh's proposal to me was the same-- perfect in every way.  We  headed down to Point Lobos State Park one beautifully sunny morning for a hike along the coast, and while I was taking photos on a secluded bluff, he suggested I come over and see the view from where he was standing.  When I turned around, he held out the most beautiful ring and asked me to marry him.  I said YES, and cried tears of joy.  Those same tears still well up whenever I think about that moment.  I was a little too distracted to hike much after that (it's a very sparkly ring, and Josh is a very handsome man), so we went down to the beach, where Josh surprised me with our favorite sparkling wine while we watched the waves and enjoyed each other's company.  A perfect day.

January 24, 2011

Once Upon a Tea

I'm a born-and-raised tea drinker.  My mother and grandmother always drank tea, and growing up, tea was something to bond over.  My mom worked the afternoon shift as a nurse, and when she'd come home late at night, I would sneak downstairs to have tea and saltines with her while she told me about that day's patients.  To this day, tea is still my beverage of choice, and whenever we're together, my mom and I share a pot of tea and talk.

It was my husband Josh, however, who found the perfect flavor for me.  It's called Once Upon a Tea, and is rooibos flavored with vanilla, mint, and chocolate bits.  Let me repeat that: chocolate bits.  Talk about knowing the way to a woman's heart!  It's ridiculously delicious, and I could drink it by the gallon.  Next time my mom and I get together, we'll definitely have a new flavor to bond over.

So, anyone for a spot of tea?

January 21, 2011

Diamonds + Coals - Kindles and Messy Offices

I love to read.  The first thing I've always done upon moving to a new town is to get a new library card, and when we moved to Livermore six years ago, it was no different.  I like to read a wide variety of books, so my usual trip to the library involves wandering the aisles of bookshelves and picking up any book that looks interesting and catches my eye.  I come home with quite a selection, everything from travelogues to classics to mysteries, biographies and romance novels, and usually with more books than I can read during the three-week check-out period.

Fortunately, Amazon developed the perfect gadget for people like me, and Josh gave me a Kindle for Christmas this year.  I am in love!  I now have thousands upon thousands of books at my fingertips, and don't have to renew or return any of them when I haven't gotten around to reading them just yet.  Plus, with my snazzy hot pink cover, I can read in public without flashing Fabio on the cover of a guilty-pleasure read!

So, without further ado, this week's Diamonds go to...

- My Kindle.  A thousand books that fit into my purse all at the same time, all while hiding my trashy romance reads from spying eyes.  Need I say more?
- New purses.  I finally broke down and replaced my battered three-year-old bag with a cute black-and-pink embroidered model so that I could carry my Kindle around all the time.  And, yes, you read that right, my purse matches my Kindle.

And now for the Coals...

- My hair.  Apparently it's developed a social life of it's own this week, and I'm entirely not included in it.  Hello, ponytails.
- My office.  The holidays have come and gone, but the mess remains...

Have a great weekend!

January 20, 2011

My Adventure Camera

Like many people, I like to carry a camera around with me to record life's adventures.  For some people, that camera is their phone, for others it's a full DSLR set up.  For me, it's a little ruggedized, waterproof point-and-shoot that I like to call my Adventure Camera.

My Adventure Camera goes pretty much everywhere with me - hiking, biking, backpacking, kayaking, skiing, canyoneering and traveling.  I capture the crazy things we do, photos of Josh when he's not looking, and the beauty in everyday life and the world around us.

The unfortunate part is that because it's always traveling around with me, my Adventure Camera doesn't make it up to my office very often to download photos.  Which brings us to this morning, when I finally pulled the camera out of our cross country ski gear, and downloaded its memory card.  As it turns out, it's been a while.  Like six months or so.  I found photos from a late summer trip to Lassen Volcanic National Park, a weekend in Seattle for our anniversary, a trip to the botanical gardens with my Dad back in December, and, of course, this week's ski tour.  All great memories, and I can't wait to see what the next semi-annual download brings!

January 19, 2011

Shannon + Will - Santa Cruz Engagement

The moment you meet Shannon and Will, you know they're in Love.  It shows in the way they look at each other while walking hand-in-hand, in the way he always looks out for her, and in the joy in her eyes when she talks about him.  They are one of those couples that you just know was meant to be together - that perfect match.

Santa Cruz holds a special place in their hearts, so it was only natural that they chose to have their engagement shoot there.  The day was beautiful - blue skies, with just a few fluffy clouds, warm weather, and that quirky charm that you can only get in a surfing town.  Throw in a fun-loving couple, and you get photographic magic.

Shannon and Will, I had a wonderful time touring Santa Cruz with you, and I can't wait to be a part of your Big Day!

January 18, 2011

Wedding Trend - Engagement Shoots

Over the past several years, engagement shoots have become increasingly popular, and for good reason-- engagement shoots lead to even better wedding photos.  For those of you out of the know, an engagement shoot is an on-location shoot with you and your honey, that takes place during your engagement, of course!

So why does an engagement shoot make a difference on your Big Day?  First, you and your fiancee can get used to being in front of the camera.  Most people are a bit uncomfortable being the center of attention camera-wise, even if they do take photos themselves all the time.  The cameras in this case are bigger, and the person behind them is solely focused on you and you alone.

Second, you get to know your photographer better.  I'm not saying that we have to be BFFs or anything, but you'll get a feel for how I shoot (and my love of corny humor), and how we'll be working together, so that on your wedding day, I'm not just some stranger with a camera who showed up in your dressing room (yikes!).

Third, your photographer will get to know you and your fiancee, and how the two of you interact.  Getting to know you and your style means that I can better capture the essence of you and your love for each other photographically.  Knowing how you interact means that I know what to expect in terms of PDAs and how much direction you like for your photos.  Some couples like a lot of direction, and others just go with the flow.

Last but not least, they're a ton of fun, and you get great photos of the two of you during a very special time in your lives!

January 14, 2011

Upcoming Event - Modern Bridal Show - Pleasanton, CA

For those of you in the Bay Area, stop on by and see my husband Josh and me at the Modern Bridal Show at the Pleasanton Hilton on Sunday.  We'll be there to tell you all about what we do and show you our latest work, including our Custom Guest Sign-In Albums and our Wedding Day Art Books.  The show runs from 11am to 4pm, with two fashion shows during the day.  We'd love to meet you, and hope to see you there!

New Year, New Blog!

Welcome to the new Wedded Bliss Images blog!  To celebrate the new year, I've moved to a new blog.  I have a feeling 2011 is going to be a great year, so stay tuned for new engagements and weddings, new trends and tips, and more about me and what I do!

Love and Happiness,