Gwen’s Senior Portraits

I have been looking forward to the year that my oldest niece, Gwen, would graduate from high school. To imagine the woman she would become was something to look forward to. She was quite the lonely child, being the only niece on both sides of her parents. I remember Gwen as a child as quiet, sensitive, and often sad. She had no playmates and often had to entertain herself throughout her early years. We were all too young then to grow a family of our own, and it would take years until our next niece, Mahlaya, would be introduced.

Now, a woman of 17 years, her feathers are vibrant, her opinions and thoughts more pronounced, and the stars in her eyes show signs of excitement and fear of what is yet to come. I am sure the fear comes from breaking away from family. She holds her family close and with good reason. Gwen has been surrounded by eight aunts and two uncles on one side and four uncles and one aunt on the other throughout her life. In addition to that, she has two younger siblings that know her as their big sister.

I still recall the day I spoke to her about her taking senior photos in my early photography years. It was like it was just yesterday. I knew then I would take them and I am so glad that I did.

With this shoot, I already knew I wanted to do something extra special for her. We worked together with wardrobe and details and made it all happen. As I said before — I am so glad she entrusted me as her photographer, art director and aunt! haha

Wishing you a bright and long future ahead, Gwen. ❤

 

 

 

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A Long Awaited Engagement

As romantic as a proposal could get, Josh popped the question while they were in Paris, France. My sister, Mary, had been dating her fiancé, Josh, since middle school. Mind you, she is my older sister. It was then they finally decided to officialize that announcement with these beautiful engagement photos!

Throughout my years as a photographer, I have found that the most challenging photoshoots were often for family because of the lack of boundaries. You’d think it would  allow for easy communication but, really, it is not! It is a recipe of too much of opinion and not enough trust. haha But for the most part, this particular photoshoot went smoothly save for the french fry order Mary ordered as a bribe for their dog, Bruno.

Luckily, this shoot was easy peasy. The only challenge that we may have encountered bribing Bruno to behave for photos! The fries and fake treats in our empty curled up palms were just not going to cut it for him.

It took quite a surprisingly short amount of time to get Mary and Josh situated for the shoot. With my quick thinking, I took advantage of our informal relationship to squeeze out the true colors of their nature and relationship. They laughed and smiled, but most importantly, they were themselves. Voila, the proof is in the photos; A stunningly happy couple who love each other (and their dog) and want to get married.

Thor and I look forward to their pending union in Mexico next April!

A Quarter of a Century

This birthday girl celebrated her 25th birthday with a photoshoot.

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My little sister, Lisa, reached out to me in the recent month with her worries, hopes and aspirations upon turning 25. The conversation continued with the idea to capture her as a 25 year old woman. This was a critical moment in her life. Turning 25 gave her pause for thought. Who is she? What has she accomplished? Who does she want to be? Where does she want to go?

At 25, my little sister realized there were still so many questions, but one thing she didn’t question was her development and progress to who she has become today. And that, she wanted to capture.

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Flying from Boston to celebrate her 25th with us all in Wisconsin was such a whirlwind of events. Her shoot was priority and, that, I knew how to help plan.

For the second part of the shoot, we traveled back to our hometown, Sheboygan. She wanted to capture three generations of Hmong women in one photo: Our grandma, our mother, and herself

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If I remember correctly, the day was not so pretty outside. So we were stuck with an indoor shoot. Though it would have been more ideal to work with more space, time, and a proper set up for this part of the photoshoot, I am proud to say that I was able to capture the session with one light in a tiny, cramped living room space.

I was definitely more appreciative and envious of the worth of the photographs when I started working on the editing.

Look at three beautiful generations captured in one sitting.

A secret part of the shoot:

Being bold and beautiful, Lisa also requested a tasteful, classy nude. I obliged. I have to say that I’ve never felt such empowerment from such a photo that I have taken.

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Happy 25th little sis!

The Engagement: Anand and Ruchi

Earlier last year, I had the pleasure of capturing Anand’s surprise proposal with a definitive “Yes!” from Ruchi.

This year, I had the pleasure yet again to capture their engagement with the surprise snow fall in mid-March!

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Ruchi is no stranger to snow. However, Anand, coming from Florida’s warm and humid weather, was completely ecstatic about it.

The day was warm for a Wisconsin winter day. Cold enough to keep the snow from melting but warm enough just for a jacket to stroll through the park without regretting a hat or pair of mittens.

With little direction needed, Anand and Ruchi photographed just beautifully together. There is nothing like natural chemistry between a couple in a photoshoot. Ruchi was looked like a dream in her traditional Indian outfit and Anand looked like regal in his attire.

And, that, was only the first outfit.

As we moved onto the second outfit, they definitely got the hang of posing and showing that chemistry naturally. I literally just shot after shot after shot until I had to tell myself to stop. I blame it on the red blanket and the start of magic hour.

After a shoot like this, I admit I am usually exhausted, but a good kind of exhausted. I did my job and I make sure that I do it well. This couple and these results further exemplify my work and are a reflection of why I love what I do.

So, thank you Anand and Ruchi for having me capture your love. Congratulations on your engagement!

 

Marisa & Tom

Celebrated at the Pabst Mansion, this wedding came with a lot of detail without the usual wedding day labor involved in the process. The details were already in the venue they selected. With Marisa and Tom’s quick thinking and unique personalities, they added enough of their own personal touch to uplift the details that were already in the wedding.

Pabst beer, Milwaukee mugs, personalized wooden bookmarks (which I forgot to take!), paper bouquet made from book pages… you get the idea!

Marisa is a librarian, so this Victorian theme along with the book theme really hit it out of the ballpark. I was so swept up with all these details, I often forgot to credit Tom for coming up with Pabst mansion as their venue. Everything just really came together really well for this couple. It was such an honor to photograph such an intricate theme and this fabulous couple.

We were really lucky to hit so many great locations over the course of one day! Marisa and Tom were a joy to work with. I can only think of them as good friends, and I hope it will remain so. This is one of the unique perks of working with such great people. Clients become friends, and friends are definitely always welcome in my life.

What also made this wedding extra special was that it was set on my husband’s birthday! 🙂 He wouldn’t have it any other way! Love and support to the max.

Congratulations Marisa and Tom! Thank you so much for having me as your photographer.

 

 

The Wisconsin State Fair

My fiancé, Thor, and I decided to embark on an eating adventure at the Wisconsin State Fair. It was hot. It was sweaty. And, we definitely were a hot mess. After Thor overcame his heatwave (of an attitude), we cooled down with a jumbo cup of old fashioned lemonade and started our eating adventure.

We divided the food into five categories: The Normal, The Weird, Appetizer, Entree, and Dessert

The Normal

We kicked it off with a foot long corn dog. The corn dog is a state fair staple and it was a definite must.

Thoughts: It was delicious. If you like corn dogs, this is the one for you. I grew up having had my first corn dog handed to me from the lunch lady in elementary school. If I had a craving for it, I would have to buy the frozen pack. I particularly liked this corn dog because it was hot and fresh. When taking my first bite, I loved how I didn’t have to fight through the breading to get to the hot dog like your average frozen corn dog. The breading was crisp, warm, and an enjoyable thickness – not too thick and not too thin. The hot dog in the center was hot and tender. Everything about it was perfectly delicious.

The Weird

We decided on fried Alligator Bites on a stick from Exotic Meat.

Thoughts: When I first stepped up to the counter, they had one ready for the taking. Unfortunately, that didn’t impress me as there was no line and that also meant it was not freshly made. Upon taking my first bite, it was dry and overcooked (and perhaps, old?). I tasted more of the breading than the actual meat. Overall, the taste was bland. There were a couple sauces available: ketchup and ranch. I opted for ranch and it didn’t do it anything for the flavor. For a hot, hot, day, I would not recommend trying to swallow this. This stick cost $10. I was very disappointed.

Appetizer

For our appetizer, we decided on pepper jack fried mac ‘n cheese with bacon on a stick at Catfish.

Thoughts: I’ve had Catfish’s fried mac ‘n cheese on a stick last year. They’ve come out with a new cheese this year and I decided to try their new flavored mac ‘n cheese. My first bite into the first square was dry and old. I fed it to Thor for his thoughts, and it was the same reaction. You could choke on that thing. Taking a look into what I bit into, it was dry macaroni with no trace of gooey cheese. However, as we tried the other bites down the stick, the remaining batch seemed to taste fresher and less dry. So you could say we were given an old one that was probably mixed in with a fresh batch. Overall, there wasn’t much flavor. We could hardly taste the kick of the pepper jack and the bits of bacon weren’t enough to desire or miss. I could have gone with their original and not miss this one on their menu this year.

Entree

We decided on the Seafood Milano at Santa Lucia Mediterranean Grill. The Seafood Milano is made up of seafood, grilled veggies, and salad in a pita bread with tzatziki sauce.

Thoughts:First thing to note, I was already way full by the time it was time to eat this baby. Upon ordering, I noticed there was a lot of salad greens by the window that looked wilted and needed to be revived in the cool temperatures of a fridge. Thor did still insist on getting it, so we did. In Thor’s opinion, he could taste more pita bread, sauce, and greens than there was seafood. I think that was what disappointed my man. I, however, didn’t care much for it. I took a bite and that mess came spilling down my shirt and left a grease stain. I remember the taste of the sauce more so than anything else. It was creamy and didn’t have much flavor. Just think, cream. Unfortunately, there was a lack of crunch from the greens. The seafood, in my opinion, was a generous portion at the opening of the pita. I’m sure if you worked your way down, you’d find that it would not be the case. Overall, it wasn’t horrible. Though, I’m sure you can find something better to get your state fair food on. This was the last one on our list so I was pretty much done with the heat and food at this point.

Dessert

I originally wanted to try the Churro sundae from The Mexican Grill. However, as the day went on in the hot weather, the idea of an overloaded sugary treat didn’t really seem to appeal to me. Instead, Thor and I opted for Sprecher’s Hard Root Beer Float for adults.

Thoughts: This root beer really hit the spot. The taste wasn’t unexpected. It tastes like your typical root beer float. I really enjoyed the fact that this root beer was spiked. Why didn’t they come up with this sooner? It had a creamy, blended finish after stirring the vanilla ice cream into the root beer. The drink was definitely savory, and I should also mention that it is worth sharing. I don’t think Thor or I would have been able to finish it alone. To be frank, we didn’t finish it at all. For a hot summer day, this is definitely a welcome treat for the adults.

Drumroll… and the winners are…

Thor’s ranking:

  1. Catfish’s Pepper Jack Fried Mac ‘n Cheese
  2. Foot long Corn Dog
  3. Sprecher’s Hard Root Beer Float

My ranking:

  1. Foot Long Corn Dog
  2. Sprecher’s Hard Root Beer Float
  3. Catfish’s Pepper Jack Fried Mac n’ Cheese

The top three were the same for both of us, but, in different order. We enjoyed our time there. Though, we most definitely welcomed the time to exit the hot premises. Unfortunately, we didn’t try much of the crazy food that I would have loved to see make the list. Perhaps, next year. If you decide to do the same, remember to bring loads of cash. As fun as this can be, trying all these fun foods can also make a dent in your wallet. Go prepared and have fun trying the foods that makes your state fair so remarkable.

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