Dec
23
2015

AND THAT’S A WRAP…*THROWS CONFETTI*

how do i even begin this post?

it’s literally impossible, but i shall try my best.

about six and half years ago, i hit “publish”.  never in a million years did i have any idea where it would take me.  i had no idea what it would teach me about others and myself.  but it goes to show what taking a chance and putting your heart into it can do. i was bored and complacent in my life so needed a creative outlet and took a risk.  by simply clicking  a button, it opened an entire world for me.  i also had no idea that i would make the decision to end it either.

over the past six and a half years, i’ve stared at over a gajillion images of couples in love.  i’ve seen this wedding community go through all sorts of phases.  some people started off as strangers and have now become family.  together with dear friends, i’ve helped to raise over $100,000 for survivors from natural disasters. it’s pretty neat to say that i can go anywhere in this world and connect with someone who has been featured on the blog.  it really is hard to put into words what this blog has given me so it wasn’t an easy decision to retire.

would i change a thing?  nope.  i’m proud to say that i did it my way and strayed away from what was popular.  my pride was with being able to tell beautiful stories and more importantly being able to feature incredibly talented people.  my pride was with the fact that they still wanted to be in the blog despite the fact that i don’t have a million followers.  my pride was with the fact that i kept this blog as a hobby, sponsorship-free and balanced a full time day job, life crisis, social life and family, not brilliantly, but with my best effort.  it’s not easy to juggle all of this at all.  in fact, it’s really hard and a lot of sacrifices had to be made.

this time last year, i had no idea i would make the decision to end it.  but over the span of a few months, it came to my realization that there is a time and place for everything.  this blog came at a time when i needed it and it has been such a labor of love for the past years.  i could tell i was wearing thin.  it was always about the community and connection i got to have with everyone.  i stopped loving every weekend because i had to work on the blog, answer emails, chase people down for their images after their submissions were accepted, and just rush through writing each post because other than their work being gorgeous, i didn’t really know the photographers anymore.  i didn’t feel like i could be genuine or authentic and the blog’s priority had always been to be real and honest.  after all, there’s no escaping what the camera captures.  those raw and pure emotions.

it is every blogger’s dream to become popular.  it’s their goal to get those likes and those followers.  i started to resent it.  while i wanted the followers, it wasn’t for me, i wanted them to follow the talent.  i was getting an overwhelming amount of submissions that  were exactly what the blog stood for.  the story.  the wedding photography.  but guys, let me tell you, you can’t do your best or justice when your heart isn’t in it and anxiety rolls in about not being able to do the community right.  i knew something had to give.  i don’t want to sound repetitive so you can read more about my decision to stop HERE.

i have to mention though, while the blog is bowing out, i’m not disappearing completely from the wedding community.  i don’t think i can completely shut the door on it since it has given me so much joy the past few years.  so while i’ve mentioned Utterly Engaged as a great option for submitting as she shares the same passion of telling heartfelt stories, there are so many others out there to think about.  i truly believe that smaller blogs will value your work just as much as the big popular ones.  i also believe there is a shift with the community and general public in that they are realizing the importance of storytelling.  as i have always believed, photographers are quite possibly the only eyewitnesses to the complete story of a couple.  from their proposal to their engagement to their wedding day to their anniversary to their family sessions, the photographer is there to capture it all.  they capture the pretty, the joy, the love and everything in between.  so i’m incredibly excited about the launch of

RECOLLECTION

a site whose mission is all about the story and showcasing the work of wedding photographers.  i’m honored to be helping behind the scenes and i truly hope you all keep an eye out for this site launching soon.   how it works is that there is a panel of wedding photographers, that will rotate every few months, that will help curate a collection of work that is all about telling the stories visually that inspire and motivate the community.  it’ll be a one stop shop for the wedding photography community to discover new work and first and foremost, come to celebrate the work you all do.  i can’t wait.  i wouldn’t be behind this if i didn’t really value what they’re trying to do and believe that it really is something this community needs.  so do me a favor and follow along.*throws confetti*

//

i want to use this last post as a celebration of thanks.  if i could, i would list out the entire army of people that has helped make this blog run.  i’m going to try to keep this short and sweet mainly because i’ve cried enough tears and i’ve run out of tissues.  there is no way this blog could have run without you all.   if i hadn’t had anyone to email to ask permission to use images or if you had simply said no, there would be no posts.  i’ve been given the privilege of  featuring the best of the best, the cool kids, the under-the-radar, the complete unknowns, but bottom line is each and every one of you has contributed to making this blog what it is.

while the blog has always focused on wedding photography, there are quite a handful of people that aren’t photographers that have given so much support to this blog and to me.  thanks for sticking by me even though i wasn’t necessarily highlighting your work.  it has to be said that your contribution to this blog has just been as important.  i’m pretty sure others wouldn’t know about me if it hadn’t been for you all.  so thank you.

since i announced i was stopping the blog, i have gotten a chance to say this in person to quite a handful of photographers but i wanted to reiterate it again and to the ones i am unable to.

to you, the wedding photographers: 

i am incredibly grateful and no words will ever amount to how much i’ve loved this opportunity to shout from the mountaintops how important wedding photography is, to feature these visual stories day in and day out.  i’m so honored to have been part of it and to have had the chance to meet so many of you.  thank you for inviting me along to discover your work and to continually be in awe with what you all are capable of.  thank you for entrusting me with your work.  thank you for being there for me through all my losses and my grief.  thank you for reaching out to say i wasn’t alone and for being there for me.  thank you for inviting me into your lives and your homes.  thank you for allowing me to be myself in this digital space.  thank you all for the beautiful friendships online and in real life.  it’s been truly a privilege and my gratitude for you all is endless.

keep chasing and breaking those creative boundaries.  keep your heart and passion above all else.  don’t listen to the noise, only listen to it if you believe you can learn from it.  don’t be a cool kid.  stay under the radar- you’ll find it’s just as amazing.  it’s nice to be featured on a blog, but it’s not the end of the world if they don’t accept your work.  you’ll find that word of mouth gets you much further.  community over competition always.  don’t let comparison take your joy.  view it as motivation.  you are not alone in any of your struggles so seek out others that are in your boat.  lose your ego- your popularity goes away once people see your true colors.  be genuine.  empathize- you never know what the other person is going through.  be thankful.  be thankful you get to have a job that is so important to others.  be thankful you have a job that you love and can flex your creativity. make time for your loved ones.  life is too short.  don’t take anything for granted.  and most important and above all else, always and forever…

THROW CONFETTI

(or get the fuck out).

#tcogtfo

//

and so i leave with you photos that have meant the most to me.  as much as i have loved blogging the most beautiful photos and emotions ever captured, the heart of this blog was always the wedding community and the people i’ve gotten the chance to meet and become dear friends.  so here are just some moments from the past six and a half years.

what an incredible run.

i shall miss this space bunches.

it’s been a blast.

thank you all so much from the bottom of my heart.

signing off one last time…

with love,

Lydia

*throws confetti*

Dec
08
2015

{CONFETTI THROWERS UNITE} DEREK HUI…

this guy’s work leaves us all in wonder and in absolute awe.  he pours his heart and soul into his work, not just with his wedding photography but also his fashion and editorial.  and the best part is that his passion for it is endless.

DEREK HUI

is truly gifted.  i have loved being able to share his work on here quite a few times and followed his work.  i love that he constantly is trying to push himself with his creativity and with such a youthful playfulness too.  it shines bright and through his work.  see for yourself over on HIS BLOG.

//

as a reminder, all the last features on this blog are dedicated to those wedding photographers that sit on the blog’s sidebar.  since i never believed i could guarantee bookings, i never have asked these guys to pay for advertising.  yet, they still wanted to be on here and call the sidebar home.  it genuinely has been my pleasure to have them on here every day.  each of them are immensely talented wedding photographers so throughout these last few weeks, please do me a favor and check out their work.  it’s the tiniest token of thanks i can give these guys.

Nov
22
2015

{EVER OURS AFTER HOURS} HOLD ON TO TIME…

a little something different today.  in one month, the blog is going to go dark and while for the most part, this blog has heavily emphasized and focused on the work of wedding photographers.  that’s not to say, there have been plenty of people that are in this wedding industry who have shed so much love on this blog.  they’ve become dear friends of mine and i’m truly honored and proud of them.  some have a vision that truly aligns with what you believe in and it makes it just a little easier to be bowing out knowing that the world of wedding photography still has a place that believes in those moments captured forever.  some also put up with your crazy antics and partnering with you to raise over $100,000 with three different fundraising campaigns to help those in need.

that darling friend of mine is Lucia of UTTERLY ENGAGED.  this woman is a powerhouse and it’s been absolutely wonderful to see how much she’s grown and how she manages to overcome despite her own personal griefs and obstacles.  i am lucky to call her a friend.  i am so very lucky.  Utterly Engaged started off as an online magazine and has now turned into one of the most beautiful and spectacular print magazines out there.  each piece is incredibly and breathtakingly thought out.  and while, the shoots are sometimes styled, my heart is so full when Lucia picks the most talented wedding photographers out there to shoot them.  from the tiniest details to the gorgeous lighting, each issue has taken my breath away.  and i recommend that all wedding photographers start following Utterly Engaged and trying to submit and partner with Lucia.  you’ll be in very good hands.

a few months ago, Lucia had asked me to write a little something for Issue 3.  i’ve included it below and it’ll be one of my last personal posts on here.   i hope it shows why i have always admired and valued wedding photography and what wedding photographers are capable of doing.   thank you again to Lucia for inviting me to be part of her beautiful magazine.  even though it was a hard one to write, it’s one of my favorite pieces i’ve ever written and accompanied by some wonderful wedding talents.

photography: Mary Claire Photography // styling and event planning: Rachael Ellen Events // video: Nicole Traveller Films // gown: Chantel Lauren Designs // floral designs: Calie Rose Floral // cake : Pippa Cakery // jewelry: Katie Waltman Jewelry // stationery and calligraphy: Ruffled Ink Designs // hair and makeup: Vivian Makeup Artist // models: Chelsea and Jordan

Time is funny. It’s the one thing that we cannot hold on to. It’s one of the most frustrating things about our lives. I can’t count how many times I have said, “I wish I could turn back time” or “I just wish there was more time”. Time goes by without batting an eye. The world keeps spinning. However, on occasion, time has stopped for me. I’ve lost plenty of people in my life – friends, cousins, aunts, and uncles – but on June 6th, 2013 time froze. My sister’s boyfriend of eight years suddenly collapsed. He was a brother to me. He was my sister’s forever. I will never forget the moment I learned of his death. The blur and the shock the days after are indescribable. Devastating news blindsides you. It whips the breath from you. It’s one of the only moments when times stops. Almost as though it’s being kind just for one second, to let you catch your breath.

I can’t begin to describe what it was like the days after. Seeing someone you love lose the love of her life while trying to figure out how to cope with your own grief is a whole different ball game. The hardest part of the struggle is that none of my family, especially my sister, got to say goodbye to him. I still want to rewind back time to hug him and tell him how happy I was that he was part of our family, but more importantly, how extremely grateful I was that he was my sister’s partner in life. They loved each other to the moon and back and back and back times infinity. They had a kind of love and respect for each other that others always admired. Something that my sister said during his memorial has always stuck with me: “I often find myself wishing so hard to go back in time just to be with you again. But one thing I realized is that there is nothing about our relationships that I would change. You and I knew how much we loved each other.”

It got me thinking about what I could do to make sure that IF I suddenly had to leave earth today, I had done everything in my power to make sure all the ones I love knew that I loved them and that no word was left unsaid. I didn’t want the feeling of wishing I could go back in time to change something or knowing I didn’t have the chance to tell someone how blessed I was to have them in my life. I have always appreciated my life, but since his passing, I look at every second of my day as a gift. No matter how bad the day is, I try to learn something from it.

I think that is why I am drawn to photography. With one click of a button, a moment is captured forever. Time stands still in that single frame. You will forever remember the feelings of the moment you felt whenever you look at that photo. It’s why I love to emphasize the photographic aspect of weddings. Yes, the details, the décor, and the backdrops are beautiful and important, but it’s the moments that make that day. The images last a lifetime. Many of my photographer friends receive emails from their previous clients after someone they love has passed on, appreciating that the photographer took an extra minute to capture that one portrait, that one candid, that one moment.

While I would never wish upon anyone to go what my family went through—and for those who have, know that you aren’t in this alone—what I stress to others is that because time never stops for anyone, do what you must to cherish each moment. Appreciate it. Savor it. Treasure it. Hold on to it.

Oct
09
2015

{CONFETTI THROW FRIDAYS} NO. 82…

confetti throw fridays is where after spending my thursday nights scouring through my blog subscriptions and social media feeds, i pick my favorite images from any of the wedding photographers i am following and showcase them each week in the friday post.  it’s a chance to show off the hard work that wedding photographers have been up to.  in all honesty, i see it as a way for wedding photographers to cheer each other on and give high fives to each for the stellar work.  never see it as a competition or a let down if you’re not on here, always see it as motivation and to throw confetti for your peers in this industry.

MORNINGWILD PHOTOGRAPHY

——

 JUNE COCHRAN

——

ASH IMAGERY

——

THIS RAD LOVE

——

SIDNEY MORGAN

——

THE LOUS

 ——-

TOMASZ WAGNER

LA and OC friends, don’t forget about GO WITH LOVE tomorrow from 10-4! more details HERE.

give a little this weekend and love a lot every day all day.

have a great weekend!

*throws confetti*

Aug
16
2015

{EVER OURS} WENT TO ICELAND…

i’m in love…

with Iceland.

i get it now.  after seeing so many of my wedding photography friends head off to country midway between the states and europe, an itch to visit started to happen over the past few years.  then as plans actually were established and the reality of getting to go to this place set in, i kept my expectations low and worried that jumping on the bandwagon was not going to hit expectations.  but the minute i got off the airplane in reykavik, a rush of energy i can’t describe took over and all i wanted to was EVERYTHING I COULD POSSIBLY COULD while i was there.  i highly encourage all of you to go if you get the chance.  i encourage you to take photos for five minutes, put your cameras away and just stand there and take it all in.  breathe it all in.  savor that very moment where you’re standing.  i can’t tell you how many times that as soon as i took my photo and snapchatted or what have you, i put my phone away and would stand/sit there and just be in total awe and got lost with where i was.  i feel so lucky that i got the chance to go to this magical place.  i still can’t believe i was there.  i want to go back already.

 below are a few from my instagram feed.  they don’t do that place justice.  so you really need to go see for yourself.

i know quite a few more friends are heading there in the coming weeks, so i’ve listed recommendations below.  more than happy to talk more about Iceland with anyone who is planning on going.  i typed out a lot of the places and sites how you would attempted to pronounce it or type it in into your GPS. if you google them, you’ll get it with all their accents over and with the right letters.  the key is to say all the places really fast and under your breath and it’ll sound like whatever you’re pronouncing over there.  ahaha.
just a few tips:
1.  check to make sure your credit card does not charge the extra 3% to use it over there.  if it does, bring cash and exchange at a local Iceland bank.
2.  be prepared to eat lamb and/or seafood a lot.  if you eat meat, must try the lamb stew anywhere.  if you eat seafood, try all fish, langoustine and mussels.  don’t worry you’ll be walking it all off by hiking all places.
3.  sheep are everywhere.  they’re like the bison in yellowstone national park.
4.  if you want to pet those Icelandic horses, just find a safe place to pull your car over and don’t fall into any gaps between you and the horses.

REYKJAVIK

STAY:

Reykjavik Lights Hotel

EAT:

Noodle Station

Sushibarinn

Eldsmidjan

Reykjavik Roasters

SEE:

best bet is just to walk around downtown

GOLDEN CIRCLE 

EAT:

Mika

SEE:

 Geysir Hot Spring Area

Gulfoss

Thingvellir National Park

VIK

 STAY:

Farmhouse

EAT:

Halldorskaffi

Sudur Vik

Berg

 Hali Country Hotel (only if you go visit Jokulsarlon Glacier for the day)

SEE:

Seljalandsfoss

Skogafoss

Eyjafjallajokull

Dyrholaey

Crashed Plane (use this link to find it)

Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon (further east of Vik, but worth the drive)

BORGANES

STAY:

Hotel Sol

EAT:

Hraunsnef Country Hotel

Settlement Center

SEE:

Hraunfoss

Barnafoss

Deildartunguhver

SNAEFELLSNES PENINSULA

EAT:

Fjoruhusid Cafe

Narfeyrarstofa

SEE:

Budir

Arnastapi

Hellnar

Stykkisholmur

REYKJANES PENINSULA

EAT:

Vitinn

Blue Lagoon Cafe

SEE:

Gardur

Sandgerdi

Krysuvik

Blue Lagoon

just a note that these are places that I stopped at.  there are far more here and in between each where you could just pull over your car and take photos and admire all the beauty.  in fact, i encourage you to rent a car or camper van so you can stop at your own leisure to enjoy everything possible.  there was a lot of driving involved- almost 3 to 4 hours each day to cover everything, but every minute was absolutely worth it.

i can’t wait to go back.  this time to see the northern lights.  it’ll be like confetti in the sky.

Jul
27
2015

EVER OURS IS SIX…

a lot can change in one year.

through sweat and tears, i’ve managed to still keep this blog going, 100% due to all these truly talented wedding photographers and friends who constantly send me features.  i’ve also moved into a new full time day job at a new smaller, much smaller, company.  all my days are spent helping find new talent to work at the company and it consists of a lot of emails, scheduling, logistics, phone calls, meetings, etc.  because it is a smaller company, there is no way to hide- any lack of effort on your part, you will be exposed.  and let me tell you guys, i absolutely am in love with that challenge.  i’ve thrown myself into this job the past few months and maybe got slightly exhausted, but the hunger and drive to do really well keeps me going.  for those who are familiar with my blog and me, you know that i live for that stuff.  for the past six years, i’ve somehow managed to sneak this blog in amongst a full-time day job, working front desk at a workout studio, trying to deal with the needs of family and hoping to keep friendships alive- with only a slight, almost noticeable loss of sanity.   this blog has been purely a labor of love.  i’ve never really believed in sponsorships or ads because i know i could never guarantee inquiries or bookings.  therefore, always felt grimy about the idea of moving towards that direction.  i have adored every minute of this and what i have been able to create and showcase here.  it’s been an honor to feature so much talent.

but…

again, a lot can change in one year.

it’s super hard for me to write this so i hope you all understand this was not an easy decision and respect my thoughts. and so here it is…

EVER OURS IS GOING ON AN INDEFINITE HIATUS (at the end of this year)

there were a multitude of factors that led me to this and i shall try to articulate them as best as i can below.

1.  i have always believed that if you find joy in something, you keep that joy no matter what and make those sacrifices.  it’s what i’ve done for the past six years in order to keep this blog going.  but there was a tipping point for me this year.  when the Nepal earthquakes happened, Utterly Engaged and I tried to do our usual round of fundraising and rallying our community to help others in dire need.  in 2011, when Japan had their deadly earthquake and tsunami, our community came together to raise about $74,000 in two and half weeks from about 1,400 individual donations.  $74,000 in two and half weeks.  this was before Instagram, so we were relying on Twitter and Facebook and word of mouth.  in 2013, when Philippines was rocked with a horrid typhoon, a handful of photographers came together to offer sessions as donations and word of mouth helped us raise about $19,000 in two and half weeks.  this time around for Nepal, we barely reached $7,000.  it was incredibly disheartening for me.  no matter how much we tweeted, posted on FB and Instagram, we seemed to be met with radio silence.  barely anyone shared the post, let alone donated.  first realize, i never EVER expect people to donate.  i understand not everyone is in a financial situation to.  i do appreciate those who donated even just $5.  but it was truly shocking to me to see how hard it was to get people to share our posts AND worst of all when they share a caption on Instagram, people would simply “like” the photo and that was it.  no one paid attention to what was actually being said in the caption.  as frustrating as this was, it made me realize how self absorbed we seemed to have become and i didn’t want to be part of it anymore.  it was disgraceful.  i felt that somewhere along the lines, social media has given everyone the “ok’ to be “all about me”, it has fed egos and made everyone an “expert”. part of the joy of blogging was the fact that i could use this as a platform to do good.  but seeing how this community became harder and harder rally the past two times, i’m sorry…it just sucked out the joy.  which leads me to…

2.  the wedding photographer community.  let me be clear, this blog doesn’t run at all without the wedding photographer community.  i’ve been beyond lucky to grow an audience of solid gold wedding photographers organically.  the support for this blog has been absolutely amazing.  the submissions keep growing and the readership keeps expanding.  every day, i am lucky to discover new talent.  i’m incredibly flattered that so many of you keep spreading the word about this blog.  which is why bowing out from the blog was a hard decision to make. but there was an adverse effect with this growth, at least for me.  it’s two fold.  when i first started this blog, it consisted me of emailing photographers directly to ask their permission to use their images.  this established these beautiful friendships that i cherish so much.  with the growth of the blog and having submissions come in, which i am so grateful for, the double edge sword is that genuine and authentic relationship seems lost.  as much as i appreciate the love and the wanting to be on the blog from so many wedding photographers, i feel guilty that i don’t truly know who these people are behind the lens.  i miss the interaction.  instead of saying “thanks for your submission and files, you’ll be up on this date”, i long for the “hey, let’s google hangout now”.  the other aspect of this adverse effect is that  as a sort of “third party”, i sometimes feel the wedding photographer community doesn’t fully appreciates what they get to do.  there are definitely some that are so happy to capture the best of moments of a couple and you see it through the joy of their work, but there are more than a handful who seem to constantly whine and complain about the smallest things.  the negativity and noise are often so petty, and it doesn’t make me happy to represent the community.  i’m not sure what happened over the past year or so.  i’m sure that because i’m in my little corner of the earth, i’m only exposed to just a tiny population of it.  but still, where’s the heart?  maybe i’m just naive and i say, when you have a job you love, stop complaining so much.  sure, you get your bad days, but focus on what you get to do and why you started it in the first place.  if you still don’t love it, get out…stop dragging everyone else down. which leads me to…

3.  i started to view this blog as a chore.  and that’s not why i have this blog.  this is supposed to be my hobby.  i want to love the things i do and pour my heart into it.  i don’t want to resent this blog.  this blog came into my life at a time when i was bored and wanted to do something fun and different.  i had NO IDEA what path it was about to take me on.  but i am SO incredibly grateful for it.  at my 30th birthday party recently, more than half the people there were wedding photographers or friends i had met through blogging.  i felt so blessed to have these friendships via the blog.  i have thoroughly enjoyed the doors this blog has opened me to.  there’s an entire world out there that the general public isn’t aware of.  but as with any job and hobby, i’ve had to make a lot of sacrifices and my family has probably been hit the hardest.  given that i have a full time day job, when i come home, i’m exhausted.  it’s a struggle to have to answer more emails again when i get home since that’s what i’ve been all day long.  i usually end up doing all my blog work on the weekend- that consists of answering all the emails, downloading all the images for the next week, culling and selecting images, writing up all the posts for the following week and scheduling all of those.  that usually ends up being about 8 hours of weekend day leaving no time to really hang out with family or by myself to just relax.  and this is just the basic responsibilities of being a blogger, let’s not forget about the fact that you have to tweet, instagram, phhhoto, snapchat, facebook, pinterest, and who knows what other thing is next that you have to do to keep on top of the game.  now that i’m 30 and not getting any younger, i want to enjoy myself and savor my time with my family and my quiet time for myself.  i. need. a. break.  selfish move, but hey, i’m fortunate enough to have a day job that i get along with and that i can fall back on.  which leads me to…

4. i could never be a full time blogger.  i’ve realized i’m not a fan of the attention and who are all these strangers?  maybe i’m just getting older..ahaha.  i’ve been at this as a hobby for six years and  i’ve truly valued the genuine and authentic relationships more than anything and above anything else.  i don’t have a lot of followers on my social media feeds, but i notice the more i gain, the more i get anxious about the photographers i featured that day- did they get more click throughs, did they gain more followers, did they get enough likes from the photo i picked on instagram…the thoughts are endless and when i don’t meet expectations, i’m disappointed.  then it’s this domino effect of i’m not doing a good enough job.  no one is listening anymore.  i’ve missed the boat.  all that anxiety is so silly compared to the bigger picture, but it seeped in and that’s when you realize, maybe this blog isn’t your hobby anymore if it’s not making you happy and giving you anxiety.

so…

i hope that this doesn’t make me sound unappreciative and ungrateful for this blog and those that follow it.  because i sincerely do feel honored and flattered that so many of you have sent your work this way to be featured on here.  the amount of squeals of delight when i see certain submissions roll in, the pride i have felt to see photographers grow in their careers, the 2398443982475843998475 images i have looked at of pure, raw, beautiful emotions and love….nothing will ever compare to that.  even to this day, i am still receiving utterly beyond words beautiful work from talent all over the world.  i 100% believe that i’ve had the fortunate experience of featuring THE most talented and world renowned wedding photographers out there.  i also have to say that you have been there for me through the worst of times.  as many of you know, i’ve lost a few dearly loved ones while i’ve had this blog.  the one that blindsided me hit me the hardest and every day i still struggle a little bit.  but there aren’t enough words to describe the outpour of support in the aftermath and still to this day.  thank you from the bottom of my heart to each and every one of you for coming here day in and day out to look at the blog.  i wish i could hug every one of you and throw some confetti your way.

what does this mean for the rest of the year?

i’ll be accepting submissions til they fill up the rest of the year.  i’m already at mid- October.  i am still 100% committed to and dedicated to all posts through the end of the year.  half of me feared to make this announcement now as maybe submissions will stop, but at the same time, i wanted to be as fair as possible to you all.  i still semi want to do a “best of 2015″ collection again, but we’ll see if when i do my call out for it, if we get enough interest.  it would be totally awesome to have that as the last thing on the blog.  that project is something i always treasure doing.

so there you have it.

six years of absolute labor of love poured into this thing called a blog.

i’m obviously still around to hang out with people.  duh.  you might see me pop up on a few other things to help wedding photographers out, including attempting to be a photographer’s assistant at weddings here and there.  so i’m still here, just not ON here.  definitely feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions.

and again,  no amount of words can really truly ever describe the thanks and appreciation i have for all the experiences, friendships, love and support not only for this blog, but for me personally for the past six years.  i hope to continue some of these outside of the blog.  but ultimately understand that this might be the end of the road for others.  thank you for giving me the gift and opportunity to cheer on so much talent and fall in love with wedding photography and storytelling.  it’s been an honor.

i’m leaving you with some of my favorite images that have stood out in my mind and from photographers who have meant the world to me for the past six years.  just a heads up, there’s a LOT of images.  it’s hard to pick from 29743379284756379 plus images that mean so much to me over the past six years so bear with me.

SHODALOVE

ENCARNACION PHOTOGRAPHY

CAROLINE GHETES

ARIEL RENAE

CHAZ CRUZ

NICKEL CITY STUDIOS

ADRIENNE GUNDE

 —

NICK RADFORD

RYAN FLYNN

NORDICA PHOTOGRAPHY

FORGED IN THE NORTH

TYLER BRANCH

BENJ HAISCH

ASH IMAGERY

TONHYA KAE

AMBER ZBITNOFF

TOMASZ WAGNER

KRISTEN MARIE PARKER

JAY EADS

THE LAST FORTY PERCENT

LOGAN COLE

SCOTTY PERRY

JILL DEVRIES

EP LOVE

NIRAV PATEL

LUIS GODINEZ

A FIST FULL OF BOLTS

JENNY WOHRLE

ATHENA PELTON

ARON GOSS

KALLIMA PHOTOGRAPHY

REDFIELD PHOTOGRAPHY

JILLIAN BOWES

PAT FUREY

JOEL ALLEGRETTO

HEATHER JOWETT

JUNE COCHRAN

JENNIFER MOHER

GOLDEN HOUR STUDIOS

HUGH WHITAKER

CARLY BISH

JAQUILYN SHUMATE

GLASSER IMAGES

FOR THE LOVE OF IT

BRETT & JESSICA

WOODNOTE PHOTOGRAPHY

ALISON VAGNINI

SACHIN KHONA

CATHERINE ABEGG

DYLAN AND SARA

BABB PHOTO

——

these are only 50 images from 50 different wedding photographers that have made an impact on my life.  this is only a small handful.  the best part is all of these have become personal friends and i am incredibly blessed and so proud to know each and every one of them.  please know that every single photographer that has sent images in or have reached out in some form or another has made the blog for the better.  again, thank you so much.

p.s. i’m on vacation for the next two weeks so no posts.  follow where i’ll be on instagram and snapchat (confettiwizard).

Jun
06
2015

{A HEAVY HEART} TWO YEARS LATER…

full disclosure: this is an extremely heavy read with mostly just words and a lot of feelings.

the flashing line has been blinking at me for the past half hour, i’ve procrastinated this post by trying to find the right music to get me in the right mindset to write this post.  i’m even trying to find lemon cake recipe’s for my mum’s birthday next weekend too (don’t tell my mum, please).  my brain is also fatigued from a tiring week at work.  and honestly, just emotionally fatigued from trying to hold it all together as i knew this day was coming up.

and that’s the thing about grief, there are some days where i am so tired about it, i don’t want to write about it. and some days it just pours out of me and i have endless things to say.  a couple of posts this week could not have come more in perfect timing.  the first was Sheryl Sandberg’s.  i encourage all to read it if you want a tiny glimpse into what it feels like in the immediate aftermath of a sudden loss.  every word she wrote was exactly how i felt after losing Mikey.  then A Cup of Jo wrote one on grief as well.  and what resonated was this passage from Lament of a Son:

Rather often I am asked whether the grief remains as intense as when I wrote. The answer is, No. The wound is no longer raw. But it has not disappeared. That is as it should be. If he was worth loving, he is worth grieving over.

Grief is existential testimony to the worth of the one loved. That worth abides. So I own my grief. I do not try to put it behind me, to get over it, to forget it… Every lament is a love-song.

so here we are, two years later.

for those new to the blog, two years ago today, my entire world stopped.  i can take you minute by minute to exactly when i got the news.  i can even make your hairs stand up on your arm by telling you that when my sister got the call, i was in nyc, three hours ahead of her time, and i woke up in a panic feeling something had gone terribly wrong.  she didn’t call me with the news til four hours later, waiting for me to wake up.  but i will just never ever forget it.  my first thoughts immediately went to my grandma had passed, or mum/dad didn’t make it.  never EVER had it crossed my mind that it would be his name i would hear.

“Mikey passed away. Mikey’s gone.”

Mikey was my sister’s fiancé.  they had been together for eight years.  they were it.  they were that couple where you thought, “how do they make it work?” and “do they ever argue?”.  he became my brother over the years.  the one who kept me company when my sister had to work, the one who spent endless hours talking to me about history and war stuff, the one who made me pancakes just how i liked whenever i visited, the one who would pull up his pants chest high, create an underbite, pull his glasses down his nose and speak in a dodgy british accent to make us all laugh. he was family.

on June 6th, 2013, Mikey collapsed.  they say it was sudden heart failure.  he was 36 years old.

yes, you read that right.  36 years old.

the first year consisted of incredible pain.  the first year was blundering and stumbling through the pain, shock, and disbelief.  please note that i am speaking as the sister of someone who lost the love of their life as well as someone who lost a loved one.  the first year truly was a struggle.  a struggle to see my sister go through it all, a struggle for me unsure of who to go to to grieve her own loss, a struggle to balance and be strong.  there was a LOT of anxiety and a LOT of tears.  i had to learn how to hold it together for her.  i flew up and down to the bay area and back to be with her.  my world in LA was put on hold, in order for me to help make sure her world went around.  that’s the thing about grief, and i’ve reiterated it before, there isn’t a manual on it and everyone handles it in their own way.  i like to write about, my sister does not.  i talk about it with my parents a lot, my sister does not.  i let her come to me to talk about it when she wants to.  there is no need to push and prod her to speak about it.  she needs to speak on it on her own terms.  so needless to say, the first year also included a lot of learning.  this was the “new normal”.

so year two.  my sister moved down here with me.  there was less anxiety of how she was doing because she was less than 20 ft away from me.  however, there WERE slamming of doors as we learned how to live together once again.  patience was tried.  and any time it became too much, of course it stirred up all the longing for things to be back to how it was.  year two was supposed to be the year of “this was supposed to happen now”.  it was supposed to be a joy.  my sister passed her boards, graduated from her fellowship program, and found a permanent job.  she was supposed to share this with her partner in life.  so as happy as this is, there is that tiny part which can not escape you that thinks, “but wait, he was supposed to be here.”

admittedly though, year two was more bearable.  i think you could say we adjusted.   reality set in and this is the life for us now.  is it any easier?  fuck no.  i still hate that i’m in this situation.  in fact, just about a month ago, i had the thought that two years was coming up and thought to myself, “hey we did ok!”  then no sooner than an hour later, my sister came in, in tears, remembering that that day marked their ten year dating anniversary.  so no, it doesn’t get any easier.  and i still have moments where i shake my head and remind myself that he isn’t here and go through a rollercoaster of emotions.  but i do have to say, it gets “better”.  you figure out your footing on how to deal with the overwhelming sadness that hits you randomly.  when the turkey in the supermarket reminds you of that one thanksgiving where there was so much leftover, he was so happy to eat it for two weeks after, and you just stand there right in the supermarket, letting the tears fall.  when the opening notes of a song that they both loved comes on the radio, and you quickly change the channel before she can hear it, then your eyes well up remembering that this is your new reality.  grief, you fucking phantom limb.  you always know it’s there.  and some days, it decides to not show itself and some days, it decides to come out in full glory and that gets pretty debilitating.

here’s a few things that i’ve learned about grief.

1.  it’s ok to not be ok.

2.  you have a choice each morning to get up and make the most of your day.  do it because he doesn’t have that choice anymore.

3. avoid social media.  it will make you angry and depressed to see how friends find the most petty things to complain about and wail about how sad their life is.  but you can’t be angry at them, their lives go on too.  at the same time, I would never wish this upon anyone else.  and for those who are in the same boat as me and have lost someone, there’s this secret club where we’re all in it together and you feel less alone.  the biggest difference in year two with friends is that they’ve stopped asking how i am.  as though it never even happened.

4. lean on family and close friends.  tell them when you aren’t feeling ok.  they don’t know and have no idea how to deal with the grief either.  they’re petrified of saying the wrong things and most likely will.  they’re just as confused as you are about what to say and how to feel and what to do.  but for me, the simplest of act of just talking to me helped.  don’t leave me in the dark.  i thank the handful of friends who unbeknownst to them have helped me through many a wretched day or put up with my emotional rollercoaster.

5.  take deep breaths.  long walks to clear your head.  carry tissues with you at all times.

6. give yourself the chance to smile again.  we had more laughs this year.  gosh, it felt good.  it felt good for myself.  it felt good to see my sister really laugh and smile again.

7.  no matter what shit day you’ve had, don’t forget to tell your loved ones how much you love them.

8.  Grief, when it comes, is nothing like we expect it to be. … Grief has no distance. Grief comes in waves, paroxysms, sudden apprehensions that weaken the knees and blind the eyes and obliterate the dailiness of life. Virtually everyone who has ever experienced grief mentions this phenomenon of “waves.”

- Joan Didion

last night, i finally asked my sister how she felt about this day.  and we talked about Mikey.  i wonder how she holds it together some days.  but seeing her hold it together keeps me together.  i still can’t imagine what it must be like to lose someone she loved to the moon and back and back times infinity.  but as you might have heard me say before, they left nothing unsaid and i think that’s one of the most comforting, but heartbreaking things about their relationship.  i expressed how i have a fear that i’m starting to forget him and his mannerisms.  so we started sharing memories and even watched a video she had stashed away.  it’s a weird indescribable feeling of watching someone on the screen that has passed.  you want so badly to reach into the screen to hug him and beg him not to go.  but it’s so oddly comforting knowing that these photos and videos of him exist and are here forever.  and ironically enough, my sister shared a passage with me that i shall leave with you.  in hopes that it helps a few others out there as well (you know who you are).

“You want a physicist to speak at your funeral. You want the physicist to talk to your grieving family about the conservation of energy, so they will understand that your energy has not died. You want the physicist to remind your sobbing mother about the first law of thermodynamics; that no energy gets created in the universe, and none is destroyed. You want your mother to know that all your energy, every vibration, every Btu of heat, every wave of every particle that was her beloved child remains with her in this world. You want the physicist to tell your weeping father that amid energies of the cosmos, you gave as good as you got.

And at one point you’d hope that the physicist would step down from the pulpit and walk to your brokenhearted spouse there in the pew and tell him that all the photons that ever bounced off your face, all the particles whose paths were interrupted by your smile, by the touch of your hair, hundreds of trillions of particles, have raced off like children, their ways forever changed by you. And as your widow rocks in the arms of a loving family, may the physicist let her know that all the photons that bounced from you were gathered in the particle detectors that are her eyes, that those photons created within her constellations of electromagnetically charged neurons whose energy will go on forever.

And the physicist will remind the congregation of how much of all our energy is given off as heat. There may be a few fanning themselves with their programs as he says it. And he will tell them that the warmth that flowed through you in life is still here, still part of all that we are, even as we who mourn continue the heat of our own lives.

And you’ll want the physicist to explain to those who loved you that they need not have faith; indeed, they should not have faith. Let them know that they can measure, that scientists have measured precisely the conservation of energy and found it accurate, verifiable and consistent across space and time. You can hope your family will examine the evidence and satisfy themselves that the science is sound and that they’ll be comforted to know your energy’s still around.

According to the law of the conservation of energy, not a bit of you is gone; you’re just less orderly.

Amen.”

—Aaron Freeman

so Mikey, wherever you are, drinking your Guinness and watching your Canucks, we love you and still miss you. every. single. minute. of. the. day.  i still give thanks for you being in our lives.  for being part of our family, for loving me like a sister, and most of all, for showering my sister with love like no other.