I AM BACK!

After having to take a year off due to my son’s health and my own health, I AM BACK and am feeling inspired to continue my passion with photography. Whether it is photographing my own kids, the beauty within nature, or getting back to working with families, I am grateful to have my camera back in my hands and sharing my work with the world again.

I became connected to the art of photography in high school when I was going through changes in my life. Spasmodic Dysphonia took over my voice and I had to find another outlet to express myself. My brother taught me the basics of photography and ever since I became more aware of my surroundings. I was eager to capture EVERYTHING through the lens of my camera.

As a mother of two AMAZING kids, Daniela who is 4 and Nico who is 2, it is sometimes hard to find time to keep the inspiration going…but I am hopeful ;)

With love and gratitude,

Olga

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Recap 2016

Dear 2016,

You have been hard, the biggest challenge of my LIFE, but you have also been a blessing. This year brought me my son, Nicolas, it brought me answers to my health, and it also brought me so many wonderful photo sessions. I say this every year, but I TRULY mean it when I say this, "I am so lucky to be able to be a stay-at-home-mom AND continue working on my passion - my photography." Yes, this year may have been a lot slower because of my Dystonia and yes I had to turn down many clients, but every chance I had to pick up my camera and photograph another family was filled with such a sense of JOY and pure BLISS. Thank you for every single person in my life. I am incredibly grateful for your endless support and love.

2017, I am ready for YOU! I am ready for a year filled with accomplishments, for more answers, for more joy, and more photo sessions with my wonderful clients! 

My Journey That I Call Life

     I was always a shy girl growing up, but that never stopped me from smiling, raising my arms up to the sky, and saying, "I LOVE my life!" Negativity was not a vocabulary in my body- ever! It was always "I love my family, I love my house, I love everything"

     My left leg turned in when I began walking, but eventually grew out of it. However, It was not until I was 12, when I got a palate expander for about a year and things quickly began to shift. I developed a voice condition called Spasmodic Dysphonia. I also started to walk with my left leg turned in again. I quickly began to become an introvert and hide my emotions…resulting in loosing my friends who didn't stick by me. I started to feel out of place in this unknown body. I vividly remember feeling I was going to pass out when the teachers would call on me to read out loud. I felt like everyone was staring at me and judging me from the outside. 

      My teen years were filled with endless doctor visits, tests, and unanswered questions about my condition. Nothing showed up in MRIs or any tests. Not knowing how to respond when everyone asked me what was wrong was the most frustrating part.

     My brother introduced me to the world of photography and that became my outlet to express myself again. I brought my positive thoughts into my photographs. Over the years, I slowly began to get used to the new "normal" and accept my new body. 

     Fast forward to when I turned 20 years old, the year that I met the love of my life. He accepted me for me and made me an even stronger person. He pushed me everyday to feel more and more confident in my own skin. We got married 4 years later and quickly started a family. We brought our wonderful daughter into our lives August 2014. Daniela made me even stronger! Her smiles and joy for life reminded me of myself as a little girl. She is my constant reminder to remain happy and full of love! Nine months later, we found out that we were expecting another blessing…a little brother for Daniela. I quickly became overwhelmed to the fact that I was going to have two babies. Especially after such a dramatic birth with our first; one that ended up in a c-section, I was not mentally ready to grow another baby just yet. The mother in me; however, could not be more excited to give my husband the son he always wanted.

     It was not until, October when I started to notice my neck starting to twist and I immediately grew scared that this was going to be another quirk in my body that was not going to go away. My grandmother, who I was very close to, passed away that same month. My sensitive soul had a hard time swallowing this death. I visited her almost every weekend with my daughter who always made her smile so big. There was now a void in my weekends. 

     My body continued to grow this beautiful boy as my body continued to twist more and more. And in January, he was born via c-section. Now he is 4 months, and I am falling in love all over again with this tiny miracle that God gave me. The neck twisting flowed up to my jaw, making it even harder to talk and express myself. My mind could not fathom the idea that every few years I was going to get a new symptom. So I decided to get another opinion from another neurologist and he finally diagnosed me with Dystonia,  “a neurological movement disorder. Faulty signals from the brain cause muscles to spasm and pull on the body incorrectly. This forces the body into twisting, repetitive movements or abnormal postures. Sometimes the symptoms are accompanied by dystonic tremor” Finding out that there is no cure is scary. However, I am learning to cope with it and looking for ways to make each day more manageable  The first few weeks after I received these news were very emotional and I began to dig myself in a dark hole. But every morning, I would look at my beautiful kids and a voice inside me told me to stop the pity for myself. Now I need to be stronger than ever because I am a mom. A mom to two amazing kids and a wife to a husband who love me for me. I started to focus my energy on all the good that Dystonia has brought in my life. Everything happens for a reason. I was given this "gift" for a reason. Yes, there are days that are harder than others. But I have learned that on those days, I just have to be a little more gentle with myself and have patience because everyday is a gift and I refuse to let the little things affect my life and my family.

Dystonia doesn't define me but it helped shape me into the person I am today

I truly got to learn and listen to my body in ways that I wouldn't have if I didn't have Dystonia

The years of the unknown was the scariest part of this journey. Now that I know what I have,  I feel more "normal" and at peace with my life

I'm not asking people to pity me...that's the least thing I want. I simply just want to help bring awareness by sharing my story because after so many years with uncertainty, it feels good to finally be able to tell people what I have. Maybe if I had read someone else’s story, I would have discovered my diagnosis sooner. 

“I STILL love my life”

Thank you all for being a part of my journey that I call life.

Recap of 2015

Every year I am in awe of all that I gain from each photo session. Whether it's a wedding, a newborn session, or a family session, there is ALWAYS something that I learn about life and myself. 2015 has been filled with so much joy and a few surprises. In June, we found out that we were expecting our second baby. We have been blessed with our daughter, Daniela, and now we are waiting to meet our son in just 2 short weeks. (Or sooner, if he decides to come earlier.) My fall season was cut short because of a neck injury and was unable to take on quite a few sessions, but I had to put my baby and pregnancy first and rest as much as possible. My dear clients were so understanding, and for that, I am forever grateful. I'm reminded how lucky I truly am to have such a gratifying job where I can work with such wonderful families. To those families, Thank You! I am so thankful for your support and love.

2016, we are ready for you! I am excited to work with more families and capture more memories. 

Please be sure to click HD (on the bottom right corner of the video window) to view in the best quality possible :)

The Betanco Family

I seem to always repeat this quote, "Family is life's greatest blessing", but it is completely true. Jorgito and Victoria are Daniela's sweet cousins that came to visit all the way from Texas. It is so hard to get together and see each other. But when we do, we make sure to treasure these sweet moments and create beautiful memories. These two are so incredibly sweet and their parents are pretty awesome too :) We are so blessed to have this amazing family in our lives. 

Jorgito also seemed to bond with our pug, Moco. :)

2014 - An Unforgettable Year

2014 has been a year filled with so much adventure, excitement, and amazing clients who I am lucky enough to call them close, dear friends. I am so incredibly grateful each and every one of you. You have all impacted my life in so many ways - and for that I am forever thankful. 

Please enjoy this slideshow with just some of my favorite moments :)

"New Year's Day. A fresh start. A new chapter in life waiting to be written. New questions to be asked, embraced, and loved. Answers to be discovered and then lived in this transformative year of delight and self-discovery. Today carve out a quiet interlude for yourself in which to dream, pen in hand. Only dreams give birth to change"
 

Daniela Cristina Thomas

These past 2 months have been the most life changing months of my life. I am now a mother to a beautiful sweet girl and I could never imagine my life without her. Daniela Cristina has changed me forever, and I am eternally grateful for her. She has taught me so much about life already. She has taught me to slow down, observe more, savor each and every moment, and be more thankful for the little things life has to offer.

I cannot believe how fast our little girl is growing.

She now:

-Smiles when she sees us

-Loves to make noises, “coos”, and squeals 

-Has the longest eye lashes I’ve ever seen.

-Lifts her neck like a CHAMP! 1 minute at a time and looks around

-Has rolled onto her back about 5 times

-Sleeps between 7-9 hours straight at night.

-Loves looking at herself in the mirror; it makes her giggle

-We love our playgroup that we have joined. Plenty of mommy & baby friends.

-Sucks on her hand

-Takes an average of 3 hour naps in the mornings

-Loves to sit on my lap and observe

-And loves story time before going to bed

Here are her weekly photos.

"Being a mother changes the landscape of your heart forever"

Our Birth Story

Our Birth Story

You can plan all you want and vision your perfect birth, but you truly never know how your journey is going to go. I always envisioned myself having a natural water birth and having my baby in my arms filled with love and empowerment. I did end up with my healthy beautiful baby filled with love and I definitely felt empowered by my birth; however, there were a lot of things that were very unexpected and caused a lot of life changing decisions.

It was Wednesday, August 6 around 3:00pm when I started to notice strong contractions about 5-7 minutes apart. I had been having contractions the week before, but nothing quite compared to this. I knew this was it…. we were going to meet our little girl soon. 

I was alone at my house, Chester was at work. I began to fill up my bath and light candles to relax and help me breathe through these contractions. The contractions instantly began to weaken and I felt more in control. I had texted Chester to start driving home around 4pm and started to write in my journal that I had been writing in throughout the whole pregnancy, but quickly realized that I needed to focus on my breathing in order to get through these contractions. Chester finally came home and helped ease my back pain I was having by massaging me during each contraction. I kept telling myself, “Each contraction is bringing us closer to our baby.” I labored about 5 hours at home before we decided it was time to start driving to the hospital. We called our doula and told her to meet us there. We ate a small dinner then headed out the door by 8pm. I quickly said good-bye to our sweet dogs and told them that we will be back with their sister. 

On our way to the hospital, we saw the beautiful sunset. It was truly a beautiful gift from God. As we get to the hospital, I tell Chester to park in the parking deck and that I could walk in with him instead of having him drop me off. As we near the main door to the hospital, another women in labor was dropped off at the entrance by her husband. She looked like she was further along so I decided to help her out and wait for her to come to our elevator. Unfortunately, we did not know this woman was about to take the LAST room available in the hospital. Yes, you heard me right…there were no more rooms available in the hospital… not even the triage was available. Apparently the Full Moon makes more women go into labor. We were sent to the waiting room without knowing when they were going to have a room for us. Our wonderful doula, Maegan, met us there and helped me calm down by all the chaos going on. 

 Maegan Hall Photography

Maegan Hall Photography

 Maegan Hall Photography

Maegan Hall Photography

Two hours later  of laboring hard in the waiting room and bathroom, we finally get called by our midwife and takes us back to the recovery room for C-sections so she can at least see how dilated I am. By the look on her face I could tell that I was very far along. “You are 8cm dilated!” she stated. I was feeling so proud and grateful that I was pretty calm by this point…especially after all that had happened. My water hadn’t broke yet, however. All of us instantly thought I was going to have this baby in the next two hours or so. It was about 10:15pm by now. She quickly pulled some kind of magic and found us a room. As we were walking into the room, another woman was being pulled out with her baby. They quickly put the monitor around me to check the baby’s heart rate for about 30 minutes. Everything was looking great! The midwife asked if I wanted her to break my water. She thought by doing this that the baby would easily come out. Maegan and Chester both reminded me how much I wanted to delivery my baby in the water. We kindly asked her to meet my vision and bring on the bath. The instant my body hit that water, my whole body relaxed and eased my mind. I was completely happy and relaxed. 

  Maegan Hall Photography

Maegan Hall Photography

  Maegan Hall Photography

Maegan Hall Photography

After about an hour of being in the tub and pushing, there was no progress at all. We decided to get out of the tub and break my water to see if it would help speed things along. And thats where things started to go downhill…the baby’s heart rate started to go all over the place and put her in distress. Two hours later of switching positions and pushing, the midwife thought it was best to get an epidural to see if my body’s muscles would relax and allow my contractions to push the baby out. I knew everything I had dreamed for our birth was now out the window. It was all about getting our little girl to the world healthy and safe. And I was ok with that. Now I am not the biggest fan of drugs or interventions, but that epidural felt amazing once it kicked in and allowed me to rest. The midwife told me to rest for an hour and see where things go…things did not go …they stayed the same. It had been four hard hours of pushing.  I could tell the midwife and doctor were now getting worried. They let Chester and I know that C-section was our last resort and had to be done now. They got me ready for surgery and starting pulling me to the operating room. I saw my mom in the hallway and my heart instantly sunk a little bit. 

  Maegan Hall Photography

Maegan Hall Photography

The wonderful thing about our doctor was that she performs what she calls a “Family Centered C-section”, meaning my husband could be in the operating room and that our baby would immediately be placed on my chest for that important skin-to-skin contact and bonding of mother and baby. It was now around 4:45am and there I was on the table, arms strapped down, body shaking uncontrollably, and fearful about the unknown. I told Chester to just look into my eyes and to talk to me. I felt so out of place, so scared, and just wanted to be in that tub birthing my baby naturally. Five minutes later, we heard the most beautiful cry I have ever heard…the sound of our baby in this world. I see my husband look over the curtain and starts to tear up. I instantly see one of the nurses come over with our sweet Daniela and is placed on my chest. Her eyes open and aware. I have never experienced such emotions in my entire life... Our daughter…. We are parents to this beautiful little girl. She is perfect, she is healthy, she is more than I ever could have asked for. The greatest gift I have ever received. We instantly fell in love with her and never felt so blessed.

  Maegan Hall Photography

Maegan Hall Photography

  Maegan Hall Photography

Maegan Hall Photography

Daniela Cristina Thomas entered the world on August 7, 2014 at 5:09am, weighing exactly 8 lbs and measuring 20.5 inches long. 

Chester and I stop and just stare into her eyes and thank God for this miracle. 

We love you sweet, Daniela… More than you can ever imagine. You are our everything.

All the photographs were shot by our wonderful doula, Maegan Hall. We are so grateful for her tender spirit and her amazing talent. I don't have enough words to express how thankful I am for you. 

www.maeganhallphotography.com

My dear grandmother

This past month my mom and I went to Spain to visit my grandmother and family before I got too far along into my pregnancy. It was a bittersweet trip because I know this will be the last trip with my mom alone. The sweet part?...taking my precious little girl to visit in the future and show her where I spent my summers as a little girl. I have endless memories in my beautiful grandmother's house. Every time I go to visit, I savor every moment. I love to document the beautiful little corners in her house. I wanted to make a small video of my grandmother, Mami. I asked her to show me her wedding album, photos of her during her pregnancy, and photos of my mother as a little girl. I love this moment...a moment I will always cherish. So thankful for her kind heart and soul. Te quiero Mami! 

 

My Fairy Tale Wedding

Every little girl dreams about their prince charming, their gorgeous wedding, their happily ever after… On October 20,  my dream came true.

I woke that morning feeling so calm, at peace, and filled with overwhelming emotions of gratitude. I ordered some hot tea, wrote in my journal, did some soothing yoga, and prayed for a beautiful day.

Not only was I marrying a man that makes me whole, supports me, and loves me… but I was also marrying into a beautiful family. Since day 1, Chester's family welcomed me with open arms and blessed our relationship immensely. This is truly the best gift God could ever give me. I was blessed with my amazing family and now I have another beautiful family to share holidays with, laugh with, build more memories with.

This whole year of wedding planning was filled with so many emotions…but mostly it was filled with joy and excitement! Because Chester was gone most of the year with the Airforce, my mom was there for every step of the way. We had the time of our lives looking through wedding magazines, pinning ideas on pinterest, trying on wedding gowns, and meeting with different vendors. When it came to choosing our vendors, I not only looked at their portfolio, I also asked myself, "Can I see myself being their friend?" We were blessed with the most wonderful vendors…and had the best time planning my fairy-tale wedding. They brought my vision to life..,.no, they went BEYOND of what I could have ever imagined!!! Please look below to see the links to their websites.

The wedding planning was the easy part of the year… the part I had the most difficult time with was imagining myself in the center of attention, saying my vows with confidence and strength. The last thing I ever wanted was to have my voice stand in the way of expressing my love to my future husband. I prayed to God every night to give me strength, to give me full confidence in myself, to stand in front of all of our friends and family and say the vows that I wrote to the love of my life. The two months leading up to the big day, I was anxious, nervous, and filled with anxiety…not because I was doubtful about who I was marrying, but only because of my voice condition.

Finally, our wedding day was here…the moment of truth. Was my Dysphonia going to get in the way of being confident, calm, and happy? God blessed us with a gorgeous Fall sunny day. The whole day was filled with magic, serenity, and pure Love. When it came to walk down the aisle with my dad, I was surprisingly at peace…I was ready to marry Chester. That walk down the aisle was a moment I will never forget. I made sure to walk slowly…I looked around to see my family and friends smiling at me…soaking this moment…I looked up to my dad's eyes and saw how proud he was of his little girl….then my eyes met Chester's and saw his eyes light up, tears starting to roll down both my face and his face. My dad kissed my cheek and gave me to Chester. God gave me the strength I needed to say my vows to my love. I just wanted to press pause and really take in all the emotions that I was feeling.

Our wedding was simply… magical.

A day we will always cherish.

A day we will one day tell our kids all about.

“Love is a partnership of two unique people who bring out the very best in each other, and who know that even though they are wonderful as individuals, they are even better together.”

Our dear friends, Ashley and Graham Scobey from Scobey Photography were their to capture these beautiful moments. Please click the link below to see their blog post of our wedding. Ashley and Graham, we are forever grateful for your friendship and talent! We cannot thank you enough!

http://www.scobeyphotography.com/blog/2013/10/summerour-wedding/

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Event Coordinator: Kate and Campbell / Ceremony & Reception Location: Summerour / Bride’s hair & makeup: Claudia Mejerle / Dress Designer: Anne Barge / Bridal Salon: Guffey’s Bridal Store / Bride’s shoes: handmade in a little shoemaker shop in Spain / Groom’s attire: Guffey’s / Florist: The Savage Garden / Catering: Endive / Cake: Anne Kathleen / Calligraphy: Kara Swilley / DJ: DJ Fonix / Transportation: The Trolley Guy / Videographer: Ryan Rodinis / Wedding Invitations: Ashley Buzzy Craftery

Taking time off

What a couple of busy months it has been... As many of you know, I am getting married in 17 days!!!! Even though I have been so  overwhelmed for the last few weeks, I could not be happier for the journey I am about to embark on. I keep reminding myself to not get stressed over the small things about the wedding and that I want a marriage more beautiful than my wedding. After months of planning, I am ready to become a wife to my wonderful fiancé. He has blessed my life in more ways than I ever imagined. I am forever grateful for his presence in my life.

I decided to step back from work this past month so I could put all of my energy on preparing for our marriage. I wanted to take the time today to thank everyone who has been there for me…I feel so incredible blessed for all the love and support I have received all my life. Thank you for your patience as I take time away from my business. I will be ready to come back to work in November and will be filled with so much inspiration and ideas. :)

"Take time to live. Life will only inspire your work"

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Refreshed and Rejuvenate

Spain...

Where my family is from.

Where my roots are.

Where I found my passion for photography.

Where I gain inspiration for life.

Where I feel most at home.

Here are some of the many photographs I took while I was there.  Image

I go to Spain once a year to go visit my beautiful family. My grandmother, or Mami as I call her, is one of the most giving, sweet, gentle people I know.  Every time I spend time with her, I get inspired by her kindness. I love hearing stories of how she met my grandfather and memories with her father. She always loves to pull out all of her albums…what an elegant women she was and still is. I loved spending these moments with her as she will not be able to come to my wedding in October. These are the memories that I will always cherish. Image

After spending a week in Madrid, my parents and I went to the South of Spain in a city called Marbella. Best part about this city? There is a gorgeous blue sky every single day! After spending endless days with rain in Atlanta, I appreciate the warm sun so much more.Image

This specific pueblo is called Casares. This little white town was where I discovered my passion for photography. 

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One of my favorite parts about going to these beautiful white towns is connecting with the older people. They all gather in the "plazas" and talk for hours after hours… 

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ImageThe summers in these towns are filled with parties…this is before everyone arrived. They don't start until about 10pm. Oh, did I forget to mention that people do not go to bed before 3am?  I don't think there was one day that we went to bed before then.

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ImageAfter this wonderful time away from work, I feel refreshed, rejuvenated, and inspired! 

 

 

Our Annual Family Trip - California!

My family and I have always gone on family trips every summer for as long as I can remember. The four of us, my mom, dad, brother (Nacho), and I would pack up our bags and go to a new place to discover this world together. Now I am 24 and my brother is 28 and we are still taking our annual family trips together. There is just something about traveling with the family…you play games in the car that you used to play as little kids, tell childhood stories of each other, and get to spend quality time without the stress from reality. I thank my parents and feel so blessed for allowing us to continue our tradition…except now we have my fiancé and my brother's girlfriend. :) The family is growing, and I couldn't be happier about it! 

Because Chester is off in Texas from a 3 month training course for the Airforce, we decided to stick close to Texas and head to California. He was allowed 2 days off plus the weekend because of 4th of July, so he met us in Big Sur, California towards the end of the trip. Hey, 4 days is better than nothing! I was just happy to see him and spend some time with him. We flew into Los Angeles, California and drove to Santa Monica, Santa Barbara, Big Sur, Carmel, Monterey, Napa Valley and then off to San Francisco. With endless hours of driving, the 6 of us had a lot of good laughs and stories to share! 

I decided to ditch my heavy DSLR and bring my new Fuji x100 on this trip. The photos below are from the Fuji and my iPhone. 

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With our crazy amount of luggage and packed car, we were ready to start our journey!

ImageOf course, I had to bring Moco and Luna (stuffed animal version) with me on the trip. How could I leave them behind?

ImageFirst off, Santa Monica! I was so surprised on the amount of fog this beach had… Regardless, it had some amazing chances to take photos.

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You know you are a true photographer when you are on vacation and you see this beautiful backdrop for an engagement shoot or family session. It was like a tease the whole trip. 

ImageWe had to stop to see the Hollywood sign before heading to Santa Barbara. 

ImageHello Santa Barbara! Loved  spending 4 relaxed nights here. Got to bike to downtown Santa Barbara, visit the local artists at an art show, play croquet, enjoy the nice gorgeous weather with the soft breeze, and get some good sleep…zzzz….

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The crew minus Chester :)

ImageOn our way to one of the wineries, we came across to some ostriches. We found OSTRICH LAND! 

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ImageOn our way to Big Sur, we got to stop by the road to capture the gorgeous landscapes that California has to offer. I also had a chance to pause, be still, and give thanks for this beautiful journey.

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Amazing how the fog rolls in so fast. 

ImageThe amazing driver, my brother, and his girlfriend :)

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We stopped by a little fisherman village, called Morro Bay that was so charming. 

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Morro Rock is a 581-foot volcanic plug located just offshore from Morro Bay, California, at the entrance of the fisherman village.Image

The breath-taking view from our hotel. Can I stay here forever? That hammock is calling my name...

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While in Big Sur, we decided to spend some time at this gorgeous beach! How amazing is this? 

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ImagePicking up my wonderful man! The crew is now complete! Off to San Francisco next…just in time for the 4th of July Fireworks! 

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Napa Valley was filled with gorgeous family-owned wineries. We got to do a wine tasting at Terra Valentine.

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A bee decided to swim in my wine...

 

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A mini photoshoot of my brother and Andrea. 

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Next day we did some sight-seeing around the beautiful city with these awesome go-carts!

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ImageBlue Bottle Coffee was an amazing coffee shop. craving that delicious cappuccino…Yum!

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I am pretty much in love with California.. this won't be the last time I go!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Road Trip to Texas

When my fiancé got the news that he will be in officer training school in Texas for 3 months starting starting June 10, I decided that I would do the drive from Atlanta all the way to Wichita Falls, Texas with him. I thought to myself….

1. I wouldn't want him to drive 14+ hours alone

2. It could be fun to adventure together before he had to start his training…(maybe a mini pre-honeymoon trip?)

3. I've never seen much of Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas…this could be fun! 

4. We would get to hang out with some of his family and friends, which I love dearly.  

So, I decided to embark on this adventure with him last Thursday. And boy was it an adventure...

It started out Thursday morning. We decided to stop by one of our favorite places for breakfast, The Flying Biscuit, before the long road trip began. The car was completely filled with all of his gear that he would need for the next 3 months. And who came along with us? Our doggies (stuffed version). No, these were not custom made stuffed animals. They were actually in the same store on the same shelves…side by side. I thought it was a sign that I had to buy them. I bring them to all of our adventures. :)Image

We drove from Atlanta all the way to Shreveport, Louisana the first day. Everything went pretty smoothly until we hit Meridian, Mississippi that afternoon. 

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Moments after this photo was taken, we hit a MAJOR storm….Tropical Storm Andrea decided to challenge us. The hard rain made it difficult for us to see the road, even at 15MPH. There were cars that had stopped on the side of the highway. I told myself to keep breathing and pray that it would pass fast…however after 10 minutes my worried side told Chester to pull over. Even though it was as if we were in the movie Twister, he decided to keep going. I decided to text Chester's sister and brother-in-law to send us a quick prayer. And I kid you not…the moment I pressed 'send' on my phone, it was as if God turned off the storm. I could relax now…my legs were shaking like crazy. We conquered the storm! 

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The photo above is before entering the storm and then the light at the end of the tunnel. :) 

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The calm after the storm.

We hit Shreveport, Louisiana around 9:30pm and quickly found a hotel to rest our eyes. What hotel did we decide to stay at?….a hotel called Sam's Town Hotel…which included one of Shereveport's most famous casinos. No we didn't gamble, but we had to get a photo. Image

After the photo was taken, we quickly climbed into bed to rest our eyes. The next day went a lot smoother…3 hour drive to Dallas, Texas to visit his cousin, his wife, and their beautiful son. We spent the whole day playing with the little one and catching up with each other's lives. 

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Here's my wonderful fiancé, Chester and his cousin, DJ…one of his best men for our wedding. Yes, I said 1 of his best men. Chester is blessed to have 5 amazing guys to be his best men. :)

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The photo above makes me happy every time I see it. As we were walking back to their house from the park, I told everyone to stop and we all said, "Noah jump!" SO CUTE! :)

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I loved spending the whole day with this beautiful family. 

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Watch out world, Noah is the new Superman! 

The next day, we met up with one of Chester's childhood friends and his beautiful wife. They showed us every bit of Dallas, Texas…and I mean EVERY BIT! It was a day filled with activities which included, a tour of Dallas by car, an AMAZING brunch, a walk to the park, a game of croquet, a free class of capoeira, went to the movies, a delicious dinner and some Bollywood videos. PHEW! What a day it was. 

 Jose is another one of Chester's best men for our wedding. Did I mention how blessed my man is? :-p He has the best family and friends who will always support him in our lives. ImageImageImage

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On Sunday (our last day together) we drove 2 hours north of Dallas to a little town called Wichita Falls. This is where Chester will be spending the next 3 months at the training course. I had a flight to catch at 2pm back to Dallas then to Atlanta. Yes, maybe it was a bit crazy to drive up and fly down in the same day, but I wanted to see where he was going to be and help him move all of his stuff. After we toured the Airforce base and grabbed a quick snack at Starbucks, we drove to the airport.

And this was when things went wrong…As I went to check in at the airport, I notice that my flight to Dallas was canceled due to the weather. Weather!? I was just in Dallas, the weather was perfectly fine! Of course I did not want to argue so I asked what my options were. Their response was, "Oh we have a van that will take 10 passengers and drive to Dallas." AH! You have got to be kidding me…another drive back to where I was 2 hours ago?!

Holding back my tears, I quickly kissed Chester and said goodbye to my amazing fiancé. It felt like an endless road trip from Thursday to Sunday. 

After a  2 hour drive back to Dallas, then 2 hour wait for my next flight to Atlanta, and another 2 hours flying in..I finally arrived to the airport to find the most wonderful parents waiting for me with open arms. And when I got to their house, there were the two most adorable dogs, Moco and Luna to greet me with lots of slobbery kisses and love. 

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Although the road trip was hectic, non-stop, and scary, I do not regret it at  all! I loved spending 13 hours in the car with the man who I love most. It will be a road trip that we will never forget!  

 

 

Feels like Christmas

Today is just another hot summery day….but it totally feels like Christmas in the studio because…There's a new toy that came in the mail! Meet the new and beautiful, Fujifilm FinePix X100! She is a beauty…I could stare at her all day.

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Photography has always been a huge part of my life and my family's life. My grandfather always took so many photos and video of his 8 sons and daughters growing up. I recently got the chance to transfer all of the beautiful film and negatives into digital files and DVDs. I spend endless hours looking through all of the footage of my dad, uncles and my aunts growing up. I am so grateful that he documented their lives…a treasure that I will always cherish and pass on to my kids one day. One of the cameras he had was this gorgeous Leica film camera that got passed down to my father and now to me. It lays on one of my shelves in my house as a beautiful decoration, but I always love looking at it and thinking about mi Abuelo.

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When I came across the Fujifilm FinePix X100 a few weeks ago at a lecture, I couldn't help but think of my grandfather's camera. It has the beautiful vintage feel that my grandfather's camera has and takes amazing digital photos. When I travel, I never leave my house without my big, chunky Nikon gear; however, now I can pack a few pounds less and not have neck pains when I go on my next family vacation! I am so excited to play with this new toy and share some images with you all! Stay tuned!

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Featured: Authentic Beauty's Blog

My heart is filled with joy … I couldn't be more THRILLED to be featured on Authentic Beauty's blog today! ♥ Authentic Beauty is an amazing make-up and hair studio in Roswell! Their mission is to "provide you with the knowledge and skills to create an image that reflects your authentic self. Ultimately it's not about the makeup. We succeed when you look in the mirror and say, 'I AM BEAUTIFUL' and truly believe it."

Thank you, Authentic Beauty for your kind words! What a treat it is to work with you talented ladies! 

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The Proposal

Blessed. Happy. Fulfilled. Loved. Supported. Joyous. Peaceful. Grateful. These are all the feelings rushing through my body as I sit down and think about the man that asked me to marry him a year ago. Not only do I get to marry a man that makes me feel blessed, happy, fulfilled, loved, supported, joyous, peaceful, and grateful….but I also get to marry my best friend. Chester and I have shared so many amazing memories filled with laughter, smiles, and endless love notes. Our journey together has made me grow up into the woman I am today.

We met September 2009 at a college bar called..wait for it...Hole in the Wall. Who would have known that I would have met the love of my life, Chester, at this (literally) 'hole in the wall'. But there he was....tall, brown eyes, and handsome. He came up to me while I was 'working' as a photographer and asked if I wanted to go out for dinner the following night. My cautious side of me said, "don't you dare go out with this guy from THIS bar" ...so, I said to him, "Sorry I have a lot of studying to do."

(Side note: I was in art school....there wasn't THAT much studying to do)

So the next night, I went to one of my good friends' house and who was there??....Chester. I was so embarrased. Our eyes met, but we didn't say anything to each other the whole night.

But Chester didn't give up. He was persistent in getting me to go out with him. After 5 times of asking me out, I FINALLY gave in and agreed to go out on a quick date. Our first date included, a leather jacket, indian boots, Interstate 85 South with the beautiful Atlanta skyline, oh yeah and...a MOTORCYCLE! Was I scared? Yes, but he made me feel safe and secure. That night, I knew there was something special about this guy and wanted to know more.

We became close friends which led to an amazing relationship. He asked me to be his girlfriend on October 20, 2009 at the bicycle aisle at a Walmart.

We were inseparable. Until he was deployed to Qatar the following month for the Airforce. That time apart only made our love stronger and more attached. We skyped every day, learned new things about each other, and laughed endlessly.

Everything seemed simply perfect.

Two and a half years later, on May 15, 2012, my life changed forever. It was a beautiful spring evening. My parents had invited Chester's father and step-mother over for dinner because they were in town. On our way over to my parent's house, Chester quickly stopped by a store for a second to 'pick up something for his dad'...

Little did I know that thing was for me....

We finally arrived and had a beautiful dinner at my parent's back-yard with candles on the table....it was a perfect setting. We had a delicious meal; however, I started to develop an allergic reaction to the fish we had and quickly took a benadryl, which then made me feel tired and groggy. By midnight, we had all finished dinner (me...half asleep) and Chester starts to talk. I notice both of our parents starting to get all jumpy and next thing I know, Chester is down on one knee and asking me to marry him! My dazed and confused self, started to get all jittery and wide-eyed! Instead of saying yes, I repeatedly started to say "Are you serious??" I looked at the beautiful ring and finally said YES! :)

The guy from "Hole in the Wall" captured my heart and I couldn't be happier to marry my best friend on our fourth year anniversary, October 20, 2013!

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Family is Life's Greatest Blessing

It is so hard to believe that its been 2 years since I graduated from Savannah College of Art and Design. Those four years at SCAD were filled with so many amazing memories, endless hours working on projects, intense critiques, wonderful classmates, and inspiring professors. I cannot thank my professors and classmates enough for all of their creative minds that has helped me be the artist I am today. I dedicated my senior project at SCAD to my family, the people who have inspired me most in my life.  When I think about my childhood, I think about all the amazing memories I had with my family…Sunday lunches with everyone at my grandmother's house, summers in Hilton Head trying to catch the waves with a boogie board, countless hours in the pool playing Marco Polo, playing tag in the neighborhood until our moms called us for dinner, and performing dances with my cousins on New Years Eve. I was blessed to grow up next door to my grandmother, aunts, uncles, and cousins. I will cherish all of those memories forever. As I sit here and think about my time I’ve spent with each of my family members for this series, I ask myself, “Why haven’t I spent more time with Abuela and listen to her stories as a young girl?” “Why do I take for granted all those opportunities I went to go see Mami in Spain and didn’t take her outside when I knew we could have had a greater bond?” This project allowed me to have one-on-one time my relatives.  Having the photographs in front of my eyes, made me realize what is most important in life: family. Each moment with them was filled with joy, pure love, abundance of hugs, tears with some…true emotions. I valued every second I had with them and got a chance to connect in a deeper level. I cherish the moment of silence on the beautiful afternoon I shared with Mama, the walk by the Chattahoochee River with Papito, learning about Belen’s work at the vet, Ignacio’s dedication and passion for tennis, Abuela’s hugs filled with pure love and strength, Tio Pablo’s sincere gaze towards me, and my brother’s honesty.

Family is life's greatest blessing.

Gracias familia por una vida llena de alegría y amor. Os quiero muchísimo!

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Family is Life's Greatest Blessing

It is so hard to believe that its been 2 years since I graduated from Savannah College of Art and Design. Those four years at SCAD were filled with so many amazing memories, endless hours working on projects, intense critiques, wonderful classmates, and inspiring professors. I cannot thank my professors and classmates enough for all of their creative minds that has helped me be the artist I am today. I dedicated my senior project at SCAD to my family, the people who have inspired me most in my life.  When I think about my childhood, I think about all the amazing memories I had with my family…Sunday lunches with everyone at my grandmother's house, summers in Hilton Head trying to catch the waves with a boogie board, countless hours in the pool playing Marco Polo, playing tag in the neighborhood until our moms called us for dinner, and performing dances with my cousins on New Years Eve. I was blessed to grow up next door to my grandmother, aunts, uncles, and cousins. I will cherish all of those memories forever. As I sit here and think about my time I’ve spent with each of my family members for this series, I ask myself, “Why haven’t I spent more time with Abuela and listen to her stories as a young girl?” “Why do I take for granted all those opportunities I went to go see Mami in Spain and didn’t take her outside when I knew we could have had a greater bond?” This project allowed me to have one-on-one time my relatives.  Having the photographs in front of my eyes, made me realize what is most important in life: family. Each moment with them was filled with joy, pure love, abundance of hugs, tears with some…true emotions. I valued every second I had with them and got a chance to connect in a deeper level. I cherish the moment of silence on the beautiful afternoon I shared with Mama, the walk by the Chattahoochee River with Papito, learning about Belen’s work at the vet, Ignacio’s dedication and passion for tennis, Abuela’s hugs filled with pure love and strength, Tio Pablo’s sincere gaze towards me, and my brother’s honesty.

Family is life's greatest blessing.

Gracias familia por una vida llena de alegría y amor. Os quiero muchísimo!

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