Salt River Engagement Session

As soon as we scheduled this session at the Salt River I started praying that we would see the wild horses.  If you’ve never been to the Salt River before, I advise you to put your devices down, unplug and go.  What you will find will take your breath away.  This was my first time going “down to the river” (aside from 1 float trip) since I moved to Arizona in 2003.  That’s 12 years I went without having this experience as a part of my life, and it was 12 years too many.  Before Power Road starts gradually winding down, it comes to a peak between two small mountains, right near the dam and my response is the same every single time.  God.  You.  Are.  Good.  To see the rolling dessert, majestic purple mountains and the winding river spread in front of me is a reminder of the goodness of God.  Of His grace and mercy.  That even when we’re in the desert, there is beauty to be found.  And it’s indescribable.

Shane and Jinnae’s session was the very definition of perfect.  We caught the sun at just the right time, the location wasn’t crowded and the horses were right there waiting for us, just as I had prayed!  We hiked up and down the river bank through narrow paths, dodging tree branches, anxiously waiting the time that the sun set gently behind Red Mountain.  And then, as if on cue, the desert lit up.  Purples, pinks, greens.  Even gray sparkles in the desert at dusk.

Shane and Jinnae, I couldn’t be happier for you!  I’m so honored to be a part of your day.  I love your story how you were dancing partners first and your love for each other has since grown into a lifelong friendship and commitment to one another.  I pray that God blesses you two in countless ways.  Cherish these days as you’re counting down to the!



Kate Spade Inspired Lunchbox Bridal Shower

The Bridal Shower.  No pressure there!  Creating a morning that would reflect the beautiful wedding to come was an honor.  Is that why they call it Matron of Honor?  Probably.  As I scrolled through pin after pin looking for the perfect inspiration, there was one thing I knew this day had to be.  Perfect.  Because my sister deserves the best.  She is so thoughtful and loving and has poured her heart into others for so long that it was her turn to be pampered and spoiled.  I always tell her that she’s the favorite cousin.  Don’t laugh, it’s true!  All the cousins can talk to her like she’s their best friend.  She’ll acknowledge them in their situation and give straight forward knock-you-up-side-the-head advice that only she, as the oldest female cousin, can do.  Am I right family?  I’m right.  I know I am (that’s why I have the reputation of a know-it-all).

Our family has such an incredible bond.  While most cousins drift apart after years of living in different states and countries, we have always maintained unbreakable relationships.  Even when we’re doing something we shouldn’t be (not to name any names or anything, #guilty, #weveallbeenthere).  It’s our deep spiritual roots that always pulled us back together and bring us right back to where we know we’re supposed to be.

A few years ago, my sister made a bold and brave decision to step outside of her comfort zone.  She tearfully and prayerfully considered attending a singles group at another local church.  She’s a shy and quiet person by nature so branching out on her own was a big deal.  I think for her it was even more of a bold action because she knew that with this step, change would come.  Would it be good or bad?  She didn’t know and it terrified her.  You know the feeling.  But she followed God’s prompting and after a few months of attending this group, she befriended a guy who was funny, outgoing, a hard worker and loved the Lord.  Then the next thing we knew he was driving her all the way into Phoenix to have her car fixed by a mechanic friend of his.  Umm…who does that?  Future husbands do that.  Over a year later, she married him.  The man of her dreams.

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Cake: Sugarlane Bakery

Take-out Boxes: PaperMart #4 8-3/4X6-7/16X3-1/2

8-ounce Containers with lids (sold separately): PaperMart

Chocolate Diamonds: Inspired from The Pink Cake Plate

Raspberry Punch: Recipe from Liz on Call

Chicken and Potato Salad: Wildflower Cafe

Croissant and muffin: Sam’s club

Chocolate Diamonds: Mold and melting discs from Hobby Lobby, boxes from

Giant Balloon: Hobby Lobby

Invitations: Designed by me, printed by Staples


AJ Workshop January 2016

Last fall I was desperate.  I had a full schedule with family portraits which was exactly what I wanted.  In fact I wanted more of it.  My creative passions were swelling inside of me.  Though I loved photography, owned a decent camera and stayed pretty busy during the fall season, I had never felt quite like a photographer.  I’m not sure what I thought it meant to be a photographer, a full schedule?  High prices?  Top of the line DSLR?  All of those things I didn’t have.  I had a modest price, only photographed around Christmas and I don’t even own a full frame camera…yet.  So as I was sitting one night, browsing through Instagram, I stumbled upon a hashtag, #ajworkshop.  Now, one thing you should know, is that I live just a few miles outside of Apache Junction, Arizona, often referred to as “AJ”.  So I saw the ajworkshop hashtag along with a few others like #demoseducation and #demosandwich (what’s a demos sandwich and can I have one?) and thought there was a possibility they were a few photographers who did workshops, just up the road in Apache Junction.  But as I continued to hashtag hop, I discovered what “aj” was actually referring too.  Amy and Jordan Demos and apparently they lived in Scottsdale (a tad more sophisticated than the AJ I had originally thought of) and ran workshops for wedding photographers.  Over the next few weeks, I would visit their website, looking and reading about their photography tips.  Their very last tip was, “pray pray pray pray”.  If that was one of their tips that was so incredibly emphasized, I wanted to know more about them.  I joined their mailing list waiting to hear when their next workshop was.  Then, one night, when my husband was gone and the kids were in bed, I sat down in front of my computer to learn more.  I watched their promo video and really liked what I saw.  I was inspired and empowered and then Jordan said, “it’s okay, to tell people you are a photographer”.  And I lost it.  I cried my eyes out.  I needed someone to tell me that.  He wasn’t about competition like most photographers I had met were.  He was about community.  When my husband came home, I tearfully told him that I had to go to this workshop.  We talked back and forth and he so wonderfully didn’t hesitate to book my place in the workshop as soon as the seats opened up.  At that point, I had decided, 2016 was going to be my year.

We spent to very full days taking notes, pictures, telling stories and crying (I cried, a lot).  I was the sobbing fool who walked up to them on day two thanking them in between sobs (and the tears start as I write!) for empowering me to accept my God given abilities.  God gifted me with creative gifts.  Whether it’s photography, styling food or decorating my house, I have a permanent creative filter, it’s who God made me to be and I won’t apologize for it anymore.

Shortly after my workshop, I attended a crafting workshop hosted by a few local bloggers.  When I walked in and introduced myself to the hostesses, they said, “oh! You’re the photographer!”

I smiled and said, “Yes, I am a photographer.”



Downtown Gilbert Maternity Session

Abby has been my friend through thick and thin. She’s been a shoulder to cry on and my voice of reason at times when I needed someone to shake me and say what needed to be said. And I love her for it. We first met when we were in college at NAU.  We were both Elementary Education majors and attended the same church.  But it wasn’t until our last semester that we had really connected.  Once we graduated, we moved back to the Valley within a few miles of each other.  If you’ve ever been a teacher, or met one, you know we have lots of stories to share.  So, just be prepared when you ask a teacher how their year is going.  They will go down the list and talk about each of the kids in their class like they were their own.  That’s exactly how Abby was with her classes.  She put everything she had into her students to equip them with what they needed to be successful.  I admire her so much!

Fast forward 7 years, we have entered and left teaching, have both gotten married, had kids within a few months of each other, bought and sold houses and have been the first to share secrets with each other.  I’ve photographed each of her pregnancies but there was something about this one that was just. so. special. Maybe it’s the fact that she was giving birth to her daughter Maggie, or maybe she’s just really good at being pregnant. Or both.  Probably both.  But I loved every minute of this photography session in Downtown Gilbert. The colors. The location and the people were just perfect.  The blank white walls, mingled with brick and mortar, Edison string lights and countless opportunities for the perfectly framed shot leave DT Gilbert as one of my top favorite locations.