Mary Grace + Brian are tying the knot in March, but before the big day, we wanted to spend some time just having fun and getting to know each other from behind and in front of the camera. We hung out around the Lincoln Park Zoo Nature Boardwalk, a place that isn’t too far from where they spend a lot of time. We ignored the windy cold weather for as long as we could, before heading back to their apartment to spend some time with the cutest, most cuddliest dog ever – my new friend, Lucy. Mary Grace + Brian, thanks for letting me into your lives. I love how these photos capture how much fun we had, and I’m looking forward to having even more fun on the wedding day! See you in just a few weeks!
Every year, a big group of friends of mine do a Ski Trip over Superbowl weekend. Last year marked the first year we went big and took it out west to Breckenridge, CO. The past years before that we kept it local to the Midwest and went to Devil’s Head and Chestnut Mountain – those trips were just as fun, but a little bit different when it came to the levels of skiing (snowboarding for me).
There isn’t much I can say about Montana that my pictures don’t say better, but wow is Montana a beautiful state. The mountains, the trees, everything is just gorgeous. As for Big Sky Resort, it was so nice – I don’t think we ever waited in line for the chair lift, and the runs were basically empty. We rented ski in/ski out houses – and other than the difficulty I had on the toe rope… it was pretty convenient. If you follow my blog, you know I travel a lot…. But this trip is always one of my favorites of the year. Aside from the snowboarding, we also took a day snowmobile trip out to Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming. I have no words to describe how beautiful it was. As soon as we entered the park, a herd of stampeding bison ran right past us, and it was the most amazing thing I’ve ever seen. We literally shared the trail with them, and some of the bison were no more than five feet away from our snowmobiles. I’ll let the pictures do the rest of the talking…
A few weeks ago, my family and I spent a long weekend out in Phoenix, AZ to spend some quality time with some family we have out there. It’s funny, because the family we were visiting isn’t actually “family,” we’re not related by blood, there isn’t someone that married us into being family… but the closeness and love we have for each other is nothing short, and possibly even more than, many blood related families. Without getting into too much detail of the trip, to my loved ones in Phoenix – we love you. We’re so happy we could come out and see all of you, and you’re all in our thoughts and prayers every day.
While we were out there, we spent the mornings exploring at Pinnacle Peak and Sedona – and of course I had to snap a couple pics. I’m not sure if the desert life is for me, but it sure is beautiful ☺
To my favorite uncle, you were the best. I will never forget all those times you took care of me when my dad would drop me off on his way to work so I could play with Tiff. I will never forget your energy and jokes. I will never forget when you and my parents found out we had a NYE party at your house. And I will definitely never forget when you and my dad danced at Tiff’s wedding to Gangham Style. A few weeks ago you held my hand and said, “I want family and togetherness to stay in your hearts forever…” I promise you that it will. We love you.
55 emails later, we shot their engagement session. Rita and Paul knew what they wanted for their e-session. They wanted snow, they wanted a Chicago theme, and they were willing to wait for it. The same can be said for their relationship. Paul and Rita have been dating for four and a half years, and all of it has been long distance. A few years back, Paul’s friend from church got engaged, and Paul jokingly asked… “Does she have a younger sister?” Little did he know that this question would change the rest of his life. Paul’s friend soon introduced him to the “younger sister,” Rita – and the two began their Michigan-Chicago relationship.
After four and a half years, Paul decided he wanted Rita with him, here in Chicago, forever. And what better way to propose to her than on his birthday, right? Except that Rita was also trying to throw Paul a surprise birthday party on the very same night. So while Rita thought she was pulling off this epic surprise birthday party, Paul had another idea in mind. Before they left for his “birthday dinner,” Paul brought Rita up to their rooftop to pop the big question. Even after the proposal, Rita still thought her surprise party was on – and it wasn’t until she walked into her own surprise engagement party that she realized she hadn’t really planned a birthday party at all 🙂
So after weeks of waiting for snow, we finally got our perfect day…. and it just happened to be days after the Top 5 snowstorm Chicago has ever seen. We played in the snow at Olive Park, where Rita may or may not have almost gotten hypothermia (what a trooper), we walked along State Street to get the iconic Chicago Theater sign in the background, we stopped at Starbucks to warm up with a cup of coffee (with the holiday cups Rita had saved from months before), and we ended at the Millennium Park Ice Rink to show off their skating skills (Paul coaches hockey, and Rita used to figure skate). All those emails, all the waiting, all the planning, all the shivering… it definitely paid off. Because this extended e-session might be one of my favorite. sessions. ever. See for yourselves…
Courtney + John met at the University of Dayton, OH and got engaged this past winter. Being that we were in Montana, they wanted to feature the beautiful cabins we were staying in, as well as their matching LL Bean boots. We had originally scheduled a sunset shoot, but Mother Nature threw us a curveball and sent us a fresh flurry of snow. It was more gorgeous that I could have ever imagined, and the snowy weather perfectly encompassed everything we wanted to capture.
Courtney + John, it was so much fun getting to know you both a little better this trip. You both have this energy and positivity for life that is so much fun to watch. I had so much fun shooting with you both because your smiles are contagious! Thanks for taking the time for this mini-engagement session… I hope they help you never forget this special time in your lives and especially this amazing trip to Big Sky ☺
As the founder of Chicago Pizza Club, Stacey loves her pizza. So when Ryan got her a pizza Christmas ornament, she couldn’t wait to put it on the tree. And when she turned around after hanging her new favorite ornament, she found Ryan down on one knee asking her to be his wife.
I was with them on a ski trip in Big Sky, Montana last week, so we figured there wouldn’t be a better place to take some engagement photos and celebrate the start of their new lives together. We woke up early to catch the gorgeous sunrise over the mountaintops, and although it was cold and cars were breezing by us at uncomfortably close distances at some points, it was all worth it to capture some of the most breathtaking views I’ve been lucky enough to shoot so far. Stacey and Ryan, you guys are perfect for each other. Thanks for being so adorable and taking some time off the slopes to let me capture this special time in your lives. Hope you love the photos, and I can’t wait for the wedding!