Quick Look at 2017

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Select favorites from 2017! As the saying goes, it's not about the destination it's about the journey. Looking back through 2017 there were twists and turns, closed windows followed by open doors, and even a few risks taken. I can't help but think the experiences along the way have shaped me as a person and as an artist.

In 2017...

  • I celebrated one year skin cancer free! Wahoo!!!
  • I checked a couple of National Parks off the bucket list.
  • Had an amazing sister trip to Seattle, where we ate and drank our way through the city. (Next up, sibling trip 2018!!!)
  • I adopted three lovely feathered ladies to live in my backyard. Their eggs and personalities bring me such joy!
  • I formed fantastic friendships with other local photographers and am so thankful to have them in my life! Community over competition.
  • I bought my first car!
  • I had multiple corrective procedures (lasers/fat grafting) to help the discomfort around my scar from skin cancer. Painful but worth it in the long run!
  • Due to the procedures, I had to take many breaks from being "active". I was humbled every time I began to move my body again.
  • I've taken a stab at climbing. Bouldering and ropes indoor and outdoor. Thanks to a crew of climbers and their cheers, I was able to complete my first outdoor VO. Bouldering can be lots of fun but I think I prefer ropes. ;)
  • I pored through old family photos (I'm talkin' about 100+ years old) and read A LOT about the history of my paternal grandfather. I sure am proud to be a Little! Our family had guts and resilience.
  • I became and Aunt Tee-Tah again.
  • I completed my first triathlon!
  • I've met and fallen in love with a man who is gentle and supper supportive. He lets me hug him as long as I need AND he crafts me delicious geisha coffees in my favorite mug!

So many wonderful people, places and celebrations. My heart is full and I'm deeply thankful for health, happiness, and each of YOU! Thank you for allowing me to stand behind the lens either silently or loudly cheering/coaching you along to create art and portraits that you'll have for a lifetime and beyond. It has been an honor to serve you. I feel incredibly lucky to be the artist that has a glimpse into such beautiful and precious milestones. Thank you!

Special thanks again to Mark Maya for documenting my 1 year skin cancer free celebration and to Krista Moll for adventuring Maine with me post surgery.

Still basking in the afterglow of 2017 and yet I have so much to look forward to in 2018! I'm looking forward to growth in all areas of life as I push myself to be a better artist and human. Stay tuned!!!

Nicole + Craig Engagement

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Finally! Excited to share this gorgeous couple on the blog! We caught the tail end of the radiant fall foliage but holy moly the temperature took a big dip as the sun began to set. By the end of our shoot, my fingers and toes were completely numb and Nicole and Craig's teeth were chattering. Seriously, if this shoot is any sign of their future marriage they are going to be simply fine if a bump ever comes there way. They are easygoing, flexible, and totally adorable in the process of discomfort too. I'm honored and simply cannot wait to shoot their 2018 wedding at Sassafras Fork Farm

White Family 2017

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Almost a year later photographing the same family gets me feeling all the warm fuzzies!  It's amazing to see how much the children have grown too. I feel so lucky to document such a sweet and special time.  

The Godwin Family

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Parenting has to be the most difficult job in the world, so when I see two individuals who I deeply admire come together to raise a couple of cool kiddos it makes me smile. They are rocking it out coaching little league soccer, growing a flourishing family garden, and they are creative AF along the way too! Leon and Bri have been amazing friends since I've moved up to North Carolina. Leon has answered my zillion photography questions and has encouraged me from the start. He's even taken emergency FaceTime calls when I've had a digital storage breakdown and patiently guided me through editing software. Bri is one amazing lady-bird. We've crafted together, picked buckets of blueberries, and she offered great advice and answered my ridiculous questions as I was training for my first triathlon. I'm pleased as a peach to have these people in my community and in my supper club!

Thomas Family 2017

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My heart just gushes over this incredibly sweet family. Laura and Wes are the magical parenting-wizards...no joke, they must have a wizard wand up their sleeve!!! Their three kids are kind, thoughtful, and such a joy! We had an absolute blast playing in the fall leaves and exploring the grounds at Historic Oak Park. I have the honor to work with these kids on a regular basis and I'm thrilled to watch them grow in so many ways.

Abram James

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I'm an Aunt Tee-Tah Aunt all over again! Welcome to the world, Abram James!!! It's just incredible to finally meet you. We are overjoyed to have you finally have you here with us and so thrilled that you are healthy and thriving. 

10.24.17
10:13am
8lbs 12oz
20 1/4in long

Big sister, Chandler, doesn't quite understand it all yet (that's why she's all smiles)! hahaha!!! 

Bailey H Senior Session

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I could not be more excited to share Bailey's session with you! I loved working with her on her family's property in northern Raleigh. Over the summer I met up with Bailey over a cup of coffee to talk about her vision for her senior session. She shared the things that were most important to her: her family, her horses, marching band, and The Avett Brothers.

Bailey shared, "Oh, and I just love watching Joe on stage with his cello! His hair is SO shiny and beautiful!!! If the opportunity ever came up to braid Joe Kwon's hair, I'd die! Even if it meant putting college off for a year, I'd take that opportunity." I just about spit up my coffee with laughter. She does have a point though, Joe has beautiful hair :) 

Sadly, we couldn't incorporate the Avetts in the session but I was excited to photograph her with her family and a favorite horse. 

"I will not be another flower, picked for my beauty and left to die. I will be wild, difficult to find, and impossible to forget." -- Erin Van Vuren

Best of luck to you, Bailey! You're gonna rock it in your senior year and beyond!!!!

Liz M Boudoir

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We walked down to the river to remove ourselves from the daily monotony of neverending checklists, commuter traffic, and piled-up laundry. Leaving behind the daily grind, we now hear the flowing river, feel the cool water rushing atop our feet, and breathe in the fresh air. She takes in her surroundings. As she stands in front of my lens, she is radiant!

Acadia 2017

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I had gone to Washington on vacation with my sister, then to Texas with Dad to visit family. After being away from home for two weeks, I came back and was beginning to unpack. I must have had the post-travel blues because it was right then that I got a wild hair up my a**.

A long while back my friend, Krista (yes we have the same name), leisurely suggested and invited me to meet up with her in Maine to explore Acadia NP. Now, let me explain that I only met Krista recently. We met back in May at a photography workshop that my pal Mark hosts. I was instantly intrigued to get to know Krista because she is a Nikon shooter, a lover of the outdoors (check out her Instagram feed), and she has a great name! :) We became fast friends.  

So there I was, sitting with massive loads of laundry to fold and I got this crazy idea that maybe I SHOULD meet up with Krista! At the time it seemed like such a far fetched idea. I kept thinking," I mean, why not? I've only known her for 2 months so that equates to something, right?!" I was almost out of full recovery (my arm and belly) at this point, and the idea to head up to Maine kept flooding my mind. Is it weird that I just recently met her and now I'm now thinking of hopping on a flight to go meet up in Acadia with her? I tossed the idea around a bunch as I nervously paced around my house. I decided to see if it'd be realistic so then I checked the flights and shockingly they were open! Without hesitation, I messaged Krista of the plans. I had and a little less than 12 hours notice to fly to ATL (for the weekend) then headed up to BGR! 

Krista came and picked my slightly tipsy self (first-class ride--booyah!) from the airport at 1 am. With an hour to drive back to the park, we were excited to explore a park as photographers and friends. The next morning we stocked up on food, looked at multiple maps, and made a game plan. It was an absolute blast! We hiked, kayaked, saw the milky way and lots of shooting stars, ate wayyyyy to much ice cream, and laughed till our sides hurt. 

Thanks Krista for being my photog/teacher and nature-loving friend! I had the best time with you! Where shall we venture to next?!

Seattle 2017

Our last sister trip was in Glacier NP. We did major hikes that led us to iceberg pools, one big hail storm, and all kinds of wildlife sightings. We were active as we camped and hiked around 43 miles. You can view our last trip here via the time-lapse video I created.  

Needless to say, this years sister trip looked very different! Kylie was over 6 months pregnant and I just had my fat grafting surgery. Despite being pregnant, Kylie was getting around great! Me on the other hand, well I couldn't lift anything over 5lbs and my belly was still extremely bruised and sore (oh and I couldn't wear pants that had a button - pitiful I know haha!). So how could we "sister-trip" with a big baby belly and a bruised belly/super sore arm?! Why we'd eat, of course! We decided to tour some city with our bellies (and appetites) leading the way. 

The day I was cleared by my doctors, and from the belly band, I flew down to ATL to meet up with Kylie. From ATL we decided to take the flight that had the most seat availability to any of the following cities: Portland ME, San Diego CA, or Seattle WA. We were open for whatever! It comes as no surprise now...but it was Seattle for the win! 

Our combo, pregnant/bandaged arm, was quite comical for travel! Having my very pregnant sister lifting my luggage (because it was over 5lbs) for me at the airport and around town made me feel helpless and well, like an a**!  There were also the times where I had to hold my stomach to speed walk across an intersection before the lights changed because the bounciness was just too much belly discomfort. Hilarious stuff! I'm sure people were casting their odd looks but it felt really good to get out and move while healing. 

Despite the strange looks, we laughed a lot and ate ah-mazing foods (see our list below)! We even took a day trip to a favorite place of mine, Mount Rainier NP, to get a little nature time in too. The "hikes" were more like strolls through nature but BOOM, look at that beautiful pregnant lady on top of the mountain -- slay girl!!!! 

Kylie was most patient with me as we had a mini-pilgrimage to some coffee places I've been hankering to try. We even got to attend a coffee tasting at the La Marzocco cafe with Madcap and met cool people along the way! Reliving all the photos again sure has me drooling over all the amazing flavors! I wonder what the next sister (or sibling) trip will look like...who knows?!

Aidan + Chris

THIS couple! Chris and Aidan met on Twitter! (I know, right?! How is that even possible???) From the moment I met them, I knew I wanted to work for them. I even pressed them with, "Hey have you hired a wedding photographer yet? Oh no?! Oh, here's my business card!", and I kept my fingers crossed that they would contact me. 

Needless to say, I was thrilled to be alongside Aidan and Chris for their special day(s). They decided on a family only courthouse wedding with a HUGE party with everyone to celebrate. Their love for each other is absolutely beautiful to watch, and from the zillion toasts given, it was incredibly evident how they are such good people who are very loved! (Oh and a tear or two might of slipped down my face.) 

At the end of the night when I was saying my goodbyes to the bride and groom (like I typically do with all my clients) Aidan leaned over and said, "Hey! We should be friends." My heart completely melted! I love when you jive so well with you clients or shall I say "client-friends!"

I wish you two all the best!

Nicky A

Nicky was the winner of my free portrait session giveaway. She had patience to sit for me as I tinkered with my new fuji camera. We had a blast together wandering around the neighborhood finding some sweet spots. As the photographer, its my job to build trust first then shape the vulnerability into confidence, and Nicky totally owned it! Thank you Nicky for wanting me to take your portraits; it's people like you who make my job so meaningful and fun!

Grayson Highlands State Park

It was a craving that needed to be fulfilled. I yearned for solitude in nature. Maybe I wanted to feel centered or possibly connected? Hard to explain that gut feeling of wanting time to yourself in wilderness. It's a place where you can take a deep breath and step away from expectations while feeling surrounded by something so powerful yet peaceful. 

To feed this desire, last week I packed up the car with my camping gear (and my new Fuji X-T20) and headed to Grayson Highlands State Park in Virginia. I was woman alone in nature feeling free. Sounds weird to admit, but those wild ponies are medicine for the soul!!!

Now, thinking maybe I can eeek out another solo trip in August possibly to a National Park? My wheels are turning!!! ;) 

Nikki M | Senior Portrait Session

I'm blown away, really! When I was 18, I felt awkward and was so unaware of myself as I headed off to University. Oh, and my senior portraits were comical for sure!!! They were taken in a studio where I sat on a bench in front of a faux stone wall. I also posed in a fake doorways and even sat on a terrible rope swing with cheap fake flowers. Oh and there were those "senior formal drape photos" too! The photographer put me in awkward leaning positions with one shoulder forward or had me looking over my shoulder. OH how times have changed! 

I really and truly adored working alongside with Nikki. Empowering young women, through photography, is so incredibly rewarding and fun! I thank Nikki for her trust in me to provide her with images that are uniquely her own! Her comfortable, cool, and confident attitude will take her far when she heads to Auburn in the fall. 

Her Time

"She has been feeling it for awhile - that sense of awaking. There is a gentle rage simmering inside her, and it is getting stronger by the day. She will hold it close to her - she will nurture it and let it grow. She won't let anyone take it away from her. It is her rocket fuel and finally, she is going places. She can feel it down to her very core - this is her time. She will not only climb mountains - she will move them too." -- Lang Leav

Best of luck to you, Nikki! WAR EAGLE!!!!

Big Bend National Park

Last week Dad and I made the trek out to Big Bend National Park, and what a trek it was!! A 7 hour drive from the Austin Airport to the park entrance and not to mention almost another hour to our campgrounds up in the Chisos Mountains. Once past hill country, the roads were straight as an arrow with 360 views of west Texas desert as far as you can see! This part of the country is stunning to stay the least, and I'm thankful that Dad and I got to share the experience together. We both learned a few camping tricks from one another and shared lots of laughter. Thanks Dad for a great trip!!! Also, thanks to my awesome aunts (Judy, Karen, and Jan) for having fajitas and refreshing bubbly gin and tonics when we got back to San Marcos!