Category Archives: Photography

Gotta Have Some Pretty Pictures!

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At first we weren’t going to have a photographer.  We were convinced we couldn’t afford one and didn’t need one.  Some of our friends have dSLRs and we were hoping they would help us out.  DIY photography all the way!

But then I got sucked into the world of wedding blogs and Pinterest.  I started feeling jealous of these couples I didn’t even know for their gorgeous photos!  My BFF strongly advised me that I would definitely regret not having a photographer.  I started feeling bad about the idea of asking our friends to don cameras on our big day.  Thus I secretly started looking around the web, “just to see what’s out there.”  “You don’t need a photographer!” the logical, thrifty side of my brain told me.  “But maybe, just maybe, if you could find one that’s not too expensive…” the other side whispered.

And that’s when I stumbled upon Bright Fizz Photo, based in Phoenix, Arizona.  “Wow,” I thought, as I perused the website, “These photos are so fun and quirky!”

copyright Bright Fizz Photo

Although I am normally annoyed when websites start blasting music at me, I actually really liked the songs playing in the background on Bright Fizz’s site.  More points for good taste in music!

copyright Bright Fizz Photo

Plus, Zach and I totally agree with their philosophy!  “Our style of photography is not traditional. We like the candid, silly moments that every couple has to offer. We do not like the standard poses with two people smiling at the camera. We create images that really show the style and connection of two people in love. Our style is happy with a little bit of funk.”

copyright Bright Fizz Photo

“So who is behind these awesome photos?” I wondered, “And how can we possibly afford them?”  So I sent an email to Rachel, the wonder-woman behind Bright Fizz.  It turns out that she and her husband Nick run the business and they both seem super awesome-sauce.  And, amazingly enough, they are AFFORDABLE!  (Basic wedding packages start at only $1500!)

copyright Bright Fizz Photo

I pretty much knew I NEEDED Rachel to photograph our wedding as soon as we talked.  So I turned to my parents and asked them if they’d be willing to gift us our wedding photography and they said yes!  I guess it’s kind of breaking the rule of paying for everything ourselves, but since Zach’s parents are providing our venue, my parents also really wanted to contribute something tangible.  This will make everyone happy!

copyright Bright Fizz Photo

We haven’t met Rachel in person yet, but we will definitely be doing that before the wedding.  For now though, her awesome photos and the personality that shines through her emails are enough to convince me she’s going to do a great job!  Wedding photo win!

Did anyone else decide they had to have a photographer after initially not wanting one?

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#WEverb12: HOPE

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Bartending 80s night at Loki!

Bartending 80s night at Loki!

5. fellowship [HOPE]: What community has engaged you most this year and what did it you get out of your participation?

In the first part of the year, it was the backpacker community in Latin America.  The staff crew at Loki Hostel in Cuzco and all of our ridiculous shenanigans.  Oh, what good times we had there!  We recently reconnected with Ben, our best friend from the hostel, and it was so great to see him!!!  While we certainly partied too much and were so sick of it by the end, we now look back at our experiences there super fondly.  The hilarious moments in the staff dorm and all the characters we bonded with will forever be in my memory.

In the second part of the year, it was most definitely our beloved Couchsurfing community!  Words cannot express how much I love meeting like-minded, adventurous, fun people everywhere we go!  The San Diego Couchsurfing community has really embraced us and we are so lucky to have such good friends after being here only a short time!

#WEverb12: GROW

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Ruinas Tazumal, El Salvador

4. experiment [GROW]: What did you do in 2012 that you had never done before? Will you do it again?

So many things!  What did I do that I HAD done in the past?  Not much!

I traveled through 10 different countries, met countless new people, sailed on a sailboat, hiked the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, got engaged, lived in Toledo (yuck, not doing that again), moved to California, and bought a surfboard!  I also started my own business and it is continuing to GROW.  Not too bad, if you ask me.  I’d love to go back to Latin America again but there are so many other countries in the world that I have to see first!

A Very Simple Save the Date

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When it came to STDs, (insert sixth grade level laugh here), Zach and I didn’t feel the need to be fancy.  While I certainly appreciate the beautiful, ornate paper STDs and invites out there, they just didn’t strike me as a must-have item.  Plus, we loved the idea of going paperless!  Sending the majority of our STDs and invites via email will save trees and save us money!  I know it’s not the best thing to do etiquette-wise, but as you’ve probably realized by now, we don’t really bow to tradition very much.

To make our STD, all I did was use GIMP photo editing software (Photoshop’s free, downloadable twin) to add text to a cool picture of us taken at the Uyuni Salt Flat in Bolivia.  I downloaded the awesome fonts for free too!  I’m no photo-editing wizard, but I think they turned out pretty well for the amazingly low price tag of $0!

To send these out, we just attached the photo to an email titled “Save the Date!” and then wrote a short personal note to the invitee in the body of each email.  I think it added a nice intimate touch!

Did anyone else send out e-STDs or e-vites?  Would you like receiving an e-vite for a wedding or think it was tacky?

A Venue Decision!

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Remember my state debate from this post?  Well, here’s the follow-up…

Time was ticking away.  More and more people kept asking me if we had set a date yet, as their calendars were booking up for next summer.  My online search for an affordable spot in California was proving fruitless.  More than anything, we just wanted to decide on a place and set a date so that we could give people enough advance notice in this over-scheduled day and age.

So, after much discussion, we made the decision I somehow knew in my gut we would make all along:

We’re getting married in Arizona!

After examining all factors, we decided that having our wedding at Zach’s parents’ house in northern Arizona would allow us the most freedom to DIY and be the most affordable, despite the cost of renting tables and chairs.  We talked to his parents about the idea and they were thrilled!  They’re happy for an excuse to do more work on the house and give some of their relatives an extra reason to come visit.  We’re happy because we know there’s lots of fun stuff for our guests to do in the area, and the hotels are affordable.

I’m already drawing inspiration from gorgeous photos of backyard weddings.  The mission now is to turn this:

into this:

Source: Young House Love

 

It’ll be a challenge but I think we can do it!  I’m so excited to dance the night away under the gorgeous Arizona stars!

Did anyone else have an at-home backyard wedding?  Was it worth all the DIY work?

Location, Location, Location: Debates on What State

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I’ve got this dream wedding location in my head, and I’m hoping it’s not imaginary.

You see, we have a really small budget.  But we still really like to party.  We’re not opposed to DIY.  And we want to spend as much time with our friends and family as possible.

So, our A+, #1, ideal wedding venue would be some kind of camp, B&B, or conference center that we could take over for a whole weekend and have everyone stay in the same place!  Someplace that included a beautiful outdoor ceremony site, a kitchen we could use to self-cater, someplace for people to eat, drink, and dance, and cabins or a lodge that everyone could stumble off to after partying all night.

Look at this gorgeous summer camp wedding!
Credit: http://www.theweddingwarriors.com/?p=1012

I know, we dream big.  But I can’t help hoping that if the amazing Sara and Matt of 2000 Dollar Budget Wedding (a HUGE inpsiration to me!) can do it, than so can we!  So that’s the goal right now.

With that in mind, the first thing we had to do was decide which state to get married in!

Option #1: Ohio. 😦 See, Zach and I are both from Ohio and so our families naturally assumed we’d be getting married there.  However, while we both agree that Ohio was a great place to grow up, we’ve since broken away and don’t intend to live there long-term again in the future.  Honestly, it’s just kind of (REALLY) boring.  However, most of Zach’s friends and extended family still live in Ohio.  AND wedding stuff is significantly cheaper there.

This is Ohio. We’ve got some corn. And some barns.
Credit: http://kellybanik.blogspot.com/2011/04/other-peoples-lives.html

Option #2: California!  Although we’ve been working summer jobs in Ohio this year, the weeks are quickly ticking by and our planned move to San Diego, California is getting closer!  We both love San Diego, the sun, the waves, the perfect temperature, the proximity to Mexico!  This is where we can finally see ourselves “settling down” (which, for us, may only mean staying somewhere longer than a year, who knows) and where we’d like to get married.  It will be so much easier to plan a wedding close to where we are living.  Plus, I have a lot of friends and family scattered around the country.  When I sketched out my side of the guest list for our wedding, I realized that more than half of my people will have to get on a plane, whether the wedding is in Ohio or not!  Do I really want to make those poor people pay for a plane ticket and take time off to go to Ohio?  Heck no!  The downside to this, however, is that a lot of Zach’s extended family may not be able to afford to come to California.  The brutal-but-true upside to that downside: it would definitely help keep our numbers in check since his family is HUGE.

Option #3: The Arizona back-up plan.  Before we left on our long Latin American odyssey trip, Zach and I were living in northern Arizona.  See, his parents bought a house out there that they are planning to move to when they retire.  But, they haven’t retired yet!  So we got to live there for a year and house-sit for them!  During that year, we really grew to love the area.  The house is within an hour of the Grand Canyon, Sedona’s red rocks, mountain climbing, swimming holes, and tons of other awesome stuff!  Plus, the house is pretty big and we could definitely clear a section of the yard for the ceremony.  The problem here would be that we’d still be long-distance planning, we’d have to rent all the tables and chairs, and people would have to stay in hotels that are at least 15 minutes away from the house.  But it’s a good backup plan because we know it won’t book up and it’s still an awesome vacation spot.

View from the back porch of the Arizona house

What do you think, people?  We’re clearly leaning towards having the wedding in California, and hoping to find a great venue there.  If you were in our situation, what state would you choose?

My (Lack of) Style

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Here goes my first attempt at a fashion post.  And I’m taking it OH. SO. SERIOUSLY.

Sometimes, when you’re me, you look in your closet and realize you have no shirts.  Your few trips to thrift stores since coming home from travels have yielded a few cool skirts, pants, and dresses but your tops are all…meh.

So you ultimately decide that it is totally cool to rock a crazy khanga shirt with an unevenly-cut keyhole made by a Tanzanian seamstress that you got in the Peace Corps.  Hey, aren’t the skinny jeans and tunic top a somewhat stylish shape nowadays?  Or is this outfit really something I should not present in public again?

Tanzanian clothing

The Big Question with Only One Answer

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Well, for me at least.  If you haven’t guessed it yet by the title, I’ll just let it out now.

Zach and I are ENGAGED!!!!!!!!!!!   Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!  Happy dance!!!!!!

Think I’m thrilled enough?  I’m pretty freakin’ happy.

I kind of knew/hoped that the question was coming sometime during our South American adventure.  Of course we talked about wanting to get married many times before he proposed, because really, if you don’t already know the answer, you have no business asking.  That’s what we thought.  But although we could have just diplomatically decided to be engaged after so many discussions, we both wanted a proposal.  We wanted the fun and the surprise of it.  And so for many months we (I, mostly, I think) suffered through the awkwardness and slight tension of the “pre-engaged state.”  (This was totally me.)  I had this like, insane itch to talk about a wedding, plan a wedding, I just was so freakin’ happy at the thought that I HAD FOUND my person that I was going to spend the rest of my life with!!!  But without an official ring on the finger, society makes us women feel like we are desperate and obsessed if we start thinking at all about the wedding before we have the ring.  I call a bit of BS on that.  But I kept trying to pretend I wasn’t reading wedding blogs obsessively and I tried to keep my daydreams in my head.  “We agreed that this is Zach’s thing that he gets to do and he gets to do it on his terms…so chill,” I kept telling myself.  I think I did alright…I’d give myself about a C+ in the chilling department.

Well, finally, all my patience finally paid off.  March 13, 2012, in the gorgeous Cañon del Colca, Peru….

Yes, we probably should have found a flatter rock to set the camera on for this reenactment shot.

Happy New Year from Peru!

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Hey friends!  Happy 2012!  We celebrated in a grand fashion in Huacachina, Perú, by taking a dune buggy/sandboarding tour, camping at a place with a pool, and getting ripped off by outrageous holiday prices everywhere!  HAPPY NEW YEAR!  Seriously though, the journey is going great despite it’s many challenges.  Reflecting on 2011, Zach and I both decided it was the best year of our lives.  And it’s only going to get better!

I updated my Thirty by 30 today and was happy to cross four things off the list!  That’s pretty good for one year, I’d say!  So here’s a goofy picture of me out on the dunes on NYE.  Yes, I have dreadlocks now; call me crazy if you must.

Photo Favorite: Llama in Royal Dress

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Popping over from La Aventura Project because I just HAVE to share this picture with you.  We found this llama in the parking lot outside Las Lajas Cathedral near the Colombia/Ecuador border.  I have no idea what his purpose was, other than to have his picture taken.  HUH-larious!