Friday, April 30, 2010

A few NOT so favorite things...

I've had a headache for days now and possibly have a sinus infection or a migraine. Never had either of those-no fun. :( My hubby stayed home from work today to be mr. mom while I tried to rest up. BUMMER! Needless to say, have not been working yesterday or today-hence my title....headaches, migraines, tension, allergies? Not so favorite things...


Thursday, April 29, 2010

Spring Cuties!

It's finally getting warm outside!!! If only the warm spring sun didn't come with the awful allergies :( Oh well!!

This is a busy season for me as it is just a gorgeous time to take photos in the bay area! We are now able to have a bit more fun at different locations that weren't available over the winter and I'm excited to get out there and explore!!

Here's a sneak peek at a couple of cuties from last week!! We had some adorable kiddos having birthdays and some others who are just plain cute!!


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Thursday, April 22, 2010

Grow Your Soul Thursday-Meet NATE!

Introducing the amazing, the powerful, the hilarious.....Nate:


but his greatest super hero powers lie in his amazing triumphs since before he was even born.

When I was first pregnant with Bella I joined a online mommy group filled with women all over the nation whose babies were all due the same month. Colleen lived in Kentucky and at the time I lived in Tennessee. Over 4 years later and we are still buds. She was the first person I had ever met dealing with SB.

When you think of Spina Bifida (and if you don't know anyone who has dealt with it) most likely the first thing that pops into your head is folic acid....unless of course you are not a pregnant woman or mommy of a child...in which case let me explain....

When you first become pregnant one of the first things that doctors will tell you to do is TAKE YOUR FOLIC ACID!! Why? Because if you don't, your baby will have spina bifida. What is spina bifida you ask?



But here's the deal...taking folic acid in your first trimester isn't a get out of jail free card...which is why I chose this organization for Grow Your Soul Thursday this week. Nate's mommy did everything by the books-took her vitamins and had no scary medical history. So when her and her husband went in to find out the sex of their first baby like thousands of other moms in the US do every single day they were shocked to be told something else....

Here's a quote from his amazing mommy giving a brief insight into Nate's story:

We received Nate's diagnosis at our 20 week ultrasound when I was pregnant with him. We had no idea what Spina Bifida was and were scared to death, but we relied on our families' support and our faith in God. We participated in an experimental surgery to close his spine in utero, and he was born 2 months premature. After 3 weeks in the NICU, we brought him home and soon realized we were dealing with a very normal, very cute, and very sweet baby. He was delayed in all his milestones, but he's met them! He started walking with a teeny tiny walker at 2 years, and just after his 3rd birthday--3 days before his baby sister was born--he started walking independently. He is smart, funny, so charming, and full of mischief. He goes to preschool, fights with his sister, swims, rides a horse, plays soccer ... we can barely keep up with his schedule.


Here's is an actual picture of Nate being operated on IN THE WOMB PEOPLE!



that fleshy "ball" the doctor is holding is Colleen's uterus (which by the way went on to have another beautiful baby girl earlier this year)

that picture AMAZES me.

Here's baby Nate after birth-sweet angel...



Since being born Nate and his family have been working their butts off to ensure Nate has every advantage of any of other child. Colleen has turned into one of the most well versed women I have ever met on ANYTHING that has to do with children's rights with insurance, care, therapy, aid, social justice-you name it-she has been through it and fought the battle. And she does it ALL for her baby boy. Remember she didn't expect any of this but she knows God has a VERY special plan for her son. I think a lot of us parents are ignorant to the whole subculture of devoted parents who have to FIGHT for the rights for their children who may need a little extra assistance than their peers who are lucky enough to not. I myself was more ignorant than anyone I know until I started working with these families one on one in Nashville. The power and devotion of these mothers and fathers never cease to amaze me. I've heard Colleen tell stories about fighting the "system" for Nate that make my mouth drop.

But look at this little man???? He is AMAZING!!

Nate and Colleen used have to come down to Vanderbilt Children's Hospital in Nashville from Kentucky for his mmmmaaannnnyyyyy appointments and here's one of the times we met for breakfast at the good ol' Pancake Pantry

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When Colleen told me that Nate had taken his first steps I absolutely got chills.

and now about the Spina Bifida Association...

"Since 1973, the Spina Bifida Association (SBA) has been the only voluntary health agency in the nation dedicated to preventing Spina Bifida in future generations and improving the quality of life for those with Spina Bifida."

like........Nate!

Even within this organization there are a ton of more specific organizations that would be blessed by your donations as well. I think our human characteristic is to judge families sometimes who are dealing with things like birth defects and whatnot as if there is "something they should have done better". Absolutely not true. There are families like Nate's all over the world. Families who did everything "right" and yet are on a path that varies from the norm. Let's encourage them! Let's support them! These children are living miracles-no doubt about it and are on a path to change the world. Wouldn't it be fun if we could help give them a RUNNING start? :)


Colleen & her hubby welcomed a new precious baby girl into the world earlier this year! Special thanks to Nate, Colleen, Blake and baby Georgia for letting me share Nate's amazing story and precious images of his journey :)

Want a good laugh? Follow Nate & his baby sister on C's adorable blog

CHOO CHOOS and TUTUS

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

BLP needs your help!

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Favorite Things Friday

I took last Friday off of work & had a few people message me wondering where the favorite things list was-made my heart smile... Thank you friends-even without your comments I know you're out there now! But if you are reading-I'd love to hear from you ;)


Theses are a few of my favorite things....

1.
The White Album
I'm 10 years old driving around with my father in Goodlettesville, Tennessee. "Blackbird" comes on the radio. I'm totally confused. I've watched my dad play the song on stage since before I can remember-always assumed he wrote it. My dad laughs and immediately pulls over at a random Best Buy. Walks me in and buys me The White Album & changes my life. The first cd I have ever "owned" went on to directly connect the three of us, my father, myself & those four english men forever. I went home and played both cds on repeat for about 5 weeks straight. I decide I will learn guitar and request that my dad teaches me Here Comes the Sun from Abbey Road and despite my father's best efforts I fail miserably (my father will tell you I'm a natural-he lies) Although still somewhat saddened that my father in fact was not the writer of Blackbird, (oh and it turns out he actually didn't create Sittin' on the Dock of the Bay or Roxanne either fyi) I finally "knew" The Beatles and was set off on a period of obsession with anything Beatles I could get my hands on.


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2.
Working Man's Dead
Having seen this poster on my sisters wall since I was little I finally was allowed to "choose" my own music around 13. Although I had no clue as to what most of the subject was based on :) I was in love. It opened me up to the world of "jam bands" eventually leading me to buy a ticket to one of the first Bonnaroo's in Manchester, Tennessee where I experienced my first ever 4 day camping music festival complete with 4 days of no bathing, plenty of tie dye & LOTS of field dancing with strangers to the beautiful music that is jam bands. :) To this day when I hear Sugar Magnolia I am immediately sitting next to my sister in the back of the car driving around singing to my infant brother to calm his colic screams-memmmoorriiiessss....


3.
The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill
I am 17 years old and have just graduated highschool and moved out of my parents house across town to East Nashville-no doubt leaving my poor parents with countless hours of worry but I was too independent for my own good and a "good girl" for a long time and needed to look around the world (or at least Nashville) a bit. I have a flat that I love & pay for myself with hardwoods and windows through out. It's incredibly old and in a not so friendly part of town (of course I'm totally ignorant to that fact at the time). I have no cable. No a/c. A Cricket $20 a month phone and a little Honda that I bought with my own money when I was 16 that had it's cd player stolen exactly 4 times in front of my place. I had discovered this album years before but never truly enjoyed it to the max as I did in this period of my life. It's the kind of thing now where when DooWop comes on your Pandora you go "ahhhh yes....that's right....I almost forgot about this-it's about time to bust out the Miseducation and travel back in time..."


4.
Songs of Freedom
I cannot pinpoint when I first discovered it but no doubt being exposed to Bob Marley was also my sister's doing. Heavy playing of this has come in and out of my life at different periods-some heavier than other but always there-however I do specifically remember walking into a music store when I was 16 & purchasing a fabric flag poster of a black and white portrait of him-it was incredibly expensive for me at the time at $40 but I felt like I needed it :) It hung on the wall in my bedrooms until right before I married Nathan and I finally decided it was time to take it down and grow up-silly decision because I think I might have since lost it. Why does Bob Marley seem to feed our soul? It's not a hippy thing I assure you-despite what my husband might tell you :) Bob Marley is just a necessity of a good musical foundation.

Bob Marley : Songs Of Freedom 4 CD Set Pictures, Images and Photos


5.
Trouble
I'm 18 and my buddy Jake calls me and says, I'm at Tower on West End and have found something & you need to get it immediately. Not long later (and having worn out the cd from playing is constantly) I'm driving with Jake down to Birmingham, Alabama to a small club to watch Ray Lamontage. I sit up front and am just totally smitten. (this was pre-Nathan obviously) I go up to him after and let him know how Trouble has been the soundtrack to my life in the past few months. He's incredibly sweet and holds my hand and thanks me for coming to see him and hopes to see me soon. Jake is cracking up at me from the sidelines and has to endure my devastated verbiage the entire drive home that night as I'm sure I should have stayed to chat further and would have probably eventually married him. Oh to be a young idiot.
Luckily having held out I ended up finding an oh so cute drummer who suits me much better :) But to this day we still play Ray daily and I in fact have many of his songs on my site and am frequently asked who he is.

ray lamontagne trouble album cover Pictures, Images and Photos

7.
Kind of Blue
I am 20 years old and have recently met a man named Nathan who I am beyond in love with (but am desperately trying not to show it-but he always knew) He has introduced me to a thing called jazz. We are both living in Murfreesboro, Tennessee where we are in college. We are sitting on the roof of his 1 room efficiency studio which connects to the side of a home. It is old, musty, drafty, itty-bitty, $350 a month and completely represents the start of our then tumultuous love. He plays this album for me not only locking me into a life long connection to him but inspiring me to immediately enroll in a music education class which I both nearly failed completely but also discovered some of the most important music that I have ever known. To this day, jazz & mine and my husband's marriage go hand in hand.

Kind of Blue Pictures, Images and Photos


1 post could never hold them all....but a few....

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Christina, Steve & James awaiting their new baby boy!

When Christina and I chatted about doing maternity pics she had a vision from the beginning. "I was thinking of having us all on our big bed-what do you think??" I absolutely loved it.

We finally were able to get her maternity shoot in last week just in time! (she's do within days!!!) And of course it was a blast! Christina and Steve are expecting a second baby boy! They already have a sweet little one (James) and he is a riot!

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When I do maternity pictures I always want to make sure 3 things are highlighted:

1. the beautiful mommy herself
2. the beautiful couple that made the beautiful belly
3. the older sibling who is about to have his world rocked to its core...in good ways & bad-but mostly good ;)

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This family is just as loving and fun as can be! Steve & James pulled out their matching guitars and I got an awesome rock show...totally adorable....

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The marriage between these two people is just beautiful. In my experience with my pregnancies I always tried to remember to give great credit to my husband and his selflessness and compassion as I was an insane pregnant person (you know, the sick as a dog, completely exhausted, shockingly hormonal, borderline deranged when pregnant kind). Now this is NOT to say that Christina is that kind of pregnant woman, she's not-I know first hand and have been so impressed at her stamina and joy throughout the past nine months. But even the best pregnancies bring some challenges to a marriage. And with a second little one coming, these two folks are gearing up for the oh so fun infant season where they risk forgetting eachothers names. It's really fun for me to take some time with the couple and celebrate them as husband and wife as well as miracle makers.

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Thank you Christina, Steve and baby James for letting me hang with you for a few hours and capture your sweet love!!!

Baby Keon Turns 1! Simple Session Sneak Peak

Check out this cutie!!

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Keon's mommy called me because she wanted pictures for his 1 year birthday! When clients call and ask about birthday pictures I always suggest the Simple Session. It's the perfect amount of time to get some great portraits and capture your little one's little spirit on his birthday!

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What I love about Keon is everything that he saw he gasped in joy and surprise-do you remember when your little one first started gasping and pointed and saying "wow!!!" He's right at that point-one of my FAVORITE stages! Wouldn't it be nice to see a rock next to your foot and absolutely squeel with joy at it's discovery? Man, those were the days :)

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Happy Birthday to sweet little Keon!!!!

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Thursday, April 15, 2010

John & Aggie-I left my heart (and legs) in San Francisco

The awesomely amazing (yes, awesomely amazing both) John & Aggie are getting married!!!

We were thrilled and honored to be asked to be part of their special day!! And what do we do to celebrate at BellaLu Photography? Well, a kick butt engagement session of course!

As always I had my insanely talented partner Camille Monique on hand keeping Aggie fresh and perfect for a full day of shooting in San Francisco!

Check out these fabulous shoes Aggie rocked out all day

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I'm obsessed with taking pictures of Camille's brushes-I don't know why-I think perhaps because they're the tools of her craft and in that they are totally beautiful to me

We also were thrilled to bring in David Etheridge from A Video Reflection to document the shoot for some new fun promo stuff! People often ask us what our engagement sessions are like or what's our process. Well pretty soon you'll get to see for yourself! Engagement shoots are about gettin' dolled, having fun & feeling awesome!!! It's an amazing way to kick start your "wedding season"!

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Luckily, David arrived extra early to capture John getting ready for his closeup :)

Myself, Camille, David & my hubby aka design assistant/second shoot/comedy relief took J & A to the old barracks down at the base of the GORGEOUS Golden Gate Bridge. I loved the rough edges and textures mixed with J & A's polished attire and funky style.

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John & Aggie are a B L A S T to work with! Super fun, super easy going and completely up for anything! We had Aggie climbing up and down concrete walls in 3 inch heels and she was all for it! And believe it or not it was *chilly* out there for poor Aggie in her little dress!!

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While getting ready Aggie commented she had yellow coat similar to the one I had on that day (and every shoot-let's just be honest it's my fav) & literally on our way out the door I asked her to grab it and bring it along. It ended up being PERFECT. I love the color, style and warmth it gave her while still showing off her insane legs!

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John is just the nicest most casual guy! But let's be honest, he got to walk around in his nice warm clothes making out with his gorgeous fiance all day-not a bad gig ;)

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We design every shoot around the couple and the setting. With John and Aggie we had them bring a change of clothes and do a kamikaze wardrobe change in a public bathroom and then of course had Camille come in and change the hair and makeup accordingly. We then ventured into the Jackson Square area downtown and John and Aggie took us to this ****perfect**** back alley they had in mind to shoot at. It was awesome.

Check out that cool graffiti wall! The color were super fun and matched their casual look perfectly!

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And then to close off the shoot I was able to talk them into standing in the middle of a crowded intersection making out while crazy "I'll run you over no problemo" cab drivers whizzed by them (and by "I talked them into" I mean I said: I was thinking we could put you in the middle of the street kissing and they said DONE! again, they are awesome)

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Thank you John & Aggie for SUCH a fun day! Everyone there had a total blast and we have your gorgeous love to thank for it!!! :)

Keep and eye out for the new promo video soon!