Luke is TWO | Birthday party fun, family & 2-year photos

Lucas Brent how are you TWO today?!

We celebrated his birthday last weekend with family and close neighborhood friends, and because it was so much fun to Luke, it was a BLAST for mommy and daddy! My parents came into town, and Jordans siblings and parents were here, so it made for Luke feeling so loved and excited.

He surprised us and LOVED having a room full of people looking at him while singing Happy Birthday.

He had a BALL opening presents (and playing with them afterward).

He is caught several different times (on camera—just see) digging into either brownie or his football cake—which he was so proud of!

And the balloons were probably the biggest hit of ALL. :)

He totally filled the role of a 2-year old during his 1-hour long photo session and gave us all his joy and smiles in the first 10-15 minutes—typical! So you’ll see some cute candid photos of him expressing how he really feels about pictures below—haha! Popo (his lovey), paci, and a snack may be present in some photos—minus some shoes at the end! But I mean—he’s two! ;-)

I’m in love with what we captured of his personality—he’s silly, so loving, joyful, adventurous, serious at times, goofy, into football, in love with all his grandparents and totally 2.

One of the most fun things right now is hearing just in the past week how is talking is progressing—he went from saying “i-keem” (ice cream) to “mommy, I want ice keem”—like OKAY, BUDDY! Let’s reward that! :) And he gets excited trying to copy what mommy and daddy say, and it always sounds SO CUTE. He currently calls himself “Newt” for “Luke”, and it’s the cutest thing I could ever imagine for him misarticulating his name :):):)

Luke, you could never understand right now how much joy you give your mommy and daddy—the Lord has most definitely blessed us with your spirit!

Thanks for already sharing your time with your baby SISTER Lukey! We announced the gender during his birthday party, and it was such a sweet, fun time for us! I can’t wait for Luke to be a big brother to a little sister.

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And this kid loves his SWEETS. Just like his Grandpa Donald :)

Chapel at Ana Villa Fall Wedding | Justin + Megan

This is going to be fun. This is going to be REALLY fun to talk about, because everything about Justin and Megan’s wedding day was just BEYOND.

So beyond fun.

So beyond smooth/easy.

So beyond beautiful.

So beyond joy and love-filled.

From the moment I arrived and started photographing the details while the girls were getting ready, there was a positive, joyful tone that was set. This tone somehow actually gone even more so obvious as the day progressed, and it just laid such a beautiful foundation for the day. Allllll of the bridesmaids, family and house party was as sweet as pie and as beautiful as can be—I know they allowed Megan to feel so special and lovely on her wedding day!

As they got ready, as we took pictures and as the dancing commenced, these ladies absolutely help set the tone for the day, and it was nothing short of a stunning celebration!

To name a favorite moment from their wedding day would be all too difficult—SO I’m going to share my top 3 :-) And they all came back-to-back—can you imagine how #allthefeels were for me at this time?!

Firstly, I think not only the number of bridesmaids speaks volumes of Megan but the types of friendships she has with these girls means everything—so deep, loved and valued. When Megan walked outside to reveal her jaw-dropping dress to her best friends, their reactions were PRICELESS! So much joy and excitement was obvious that it just filled my heart to the brim! They loved on her while she finished putting on her wedding jewelry that both her father and groom would soon see her in.

Secondly, Megan walked up to her soon-to-be husband, and their “first look” just GOT ME. I mean, with all the sweetness leading up to—I could barely handle it! It’s so important to be that my couples truly try to not imagine that we’re there (even though, hello—we are), and I really felt like they believed it was just the two of them on that patio. Just the two of them hugging, just the two of them praying together, just the two of them savoring this time for all that they could—no rush, just ease, joy and so much love.

Oh how Justin looked at Megan the ENTIRE day, and OH how Megan seemed to just melt so perfectly into his loving arms.

And lastly—I’m going to combine two moments here, and you’re going to let me! ;-) Those two moments being: Megan’s first dance with her father and Justin’s first dance with his mother—AH! Megan and her daddy’s first dance with such a fun, sweet choreographed number that left everybody smiling! You can absolutely tell that their connection is a strong one, and he was so proud of his daughter! And for some reason, I just couldn’t hold my tears back when Justin and his mother danced together, because anyone could tell that their bond was as tight as any mother would hope to be with her son. Having a son myself—this moment just totally tugged at my heart strings in the sweetest of ways.

With all the sweet relationships, all the joy, all the love and most definitely all the EXCITEMENT come reception time, I photographed Megan and Justin’s exit and thought, “what a perfect day”. I know they had to be thinking the same thing!

There was just something about these two that made me whole-heartedly team Martinez, and I couldn’t be more grateful for Justin’s current active service and witnessing the upmost support from his new wife—what a sweet legacy in the making to witness!

3 Questions to Answer Before You Buy Your Next Lens + BLACK FRIDAY SALE!!

BLACK FRIDAY CAME EARLY to LDP! If you have been on the fence about learning how to use your camera online, NOW is your time to purchase! You’ll receive $10 off THIS week AND! And! And! You’ll get a 20-minute Lightroom Crash Course if you purchase THIS week! Everything you need to know about Lightroom to help you upload, familiarize yourself with the important parts of the program and export for web or print—is packed into 20 minutes! You’re welcome! :)

The best compliment from someone who took the course?

“I’m just frustrated that I spent like hours and hours trying to figure this all out by reading things online and watching YouTube videos but could never really get a good idea of what I was supposed to do—then I was able to understand it all in under like 15 minutes from watching your videos” - Christina

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So I know which camera to buy, but what lenses do you suggest for what I want to photograph?

Okay YES! If you are still on the fence about what camera to buy, read this post here!

Guys, if I had someone experienced at my side when I was purchasing lenses, it would’ve saved me some bucks! To start, I still suggest purchasing the nifty fifty first! There are a few questions I’d say you want to answer before you purchase and TWO FACTORS you need be aware of.

3 questions before you buy:

  1. What kind of camera do you have? Is it crop sensor or full frame?

  2. What do you mostly want to photograph?

  3. Consider the aperture of the lens—this is what makes lenses $$$ to $$$$

#1 is important because for Nikon, IF you have a crop sensor camera, then you must purchase the DX version of some lenses—specifically the DX 35 1.8. Nikon has a DX version of this lens for ONLY crop sensor cameras. If you don’t think you’ll upgrade cameras, then THIS is what you want. And it’s a great price! If you think you’ll upgrade to a full frame OR DO have one, then you want this 35 1.8. Now, if you have an even higher budget, then you can upgrade to the 35 1.4—remember, aperture makes the $$ go up! ;-)

And if you’re a Canon-user with a crop sensor and don’t plan to upgrade to full frame, the 35 f/2.8 is for you!

#2 is important, because different subjects/purposes are best with different lenses.

  1. For example, I’d recommend the 35 1.8 for kiddos, newborn or lifestyle, because it’s a wider lens, and it allows you to capture more (imagine little kiddos running and trying to capture them—a wide lens is helpful!!). I’d recommend the 85 1.8 to someone who loves portraits, like seniors, engagements, maternity, etc. Keep in mind, you’ll need to often shoot in wide open spaces (outdoors, fields, etc.), because the 85 is a telephoto lens. However, it’s known as the “cream machine” because of it’s glorious condensed blurry bokeh background! As stated above, if you’re a mom with a crop sensor camera and mostly plan to photograph your family, the 35 1.8 is a GREAT option for you! Again, just know it won’t work on a future full frame camera you may buy!

  2. The 85 is known as the “cream machine” because of how it condenses the background and creates a creamy bokeh blur.

  3. I was talking with an interior photographer at a local coffee shop who said he loved using the Nikon 24-120 f/4 lens, because of it’s wide range inside and the fact that he WANTS to capture what’s inside the room, and the higher aperture starting at 4 simply works for him. This lens would also be excellent for traveling with its wide range. Just take note that in darker situations, it’s aperture of 4 may not give you the best leverage.

  4. If you want to capture details, like insects, jewelry, even food photography, considering a macro lens like the 105 f/2.8 might be a good option for you.

  5. For anyone shooting weddings, I always recommend having at least a wide lens (35) and a telephoto lens (85 or above). You want the leverage to be in tight spaces with a wide lens, and you the leverage to be able to zoom in in large, potentially dark areas (for example, inside ceremony venues). This brings me to the most expensive lens we own and always suggest new photographers start out renting: 70-200 2.8. Anything in between is fluff—you want at least 1 wide lens, 1 telephoto and your nifty fifty. We rented the 70-200 2.8 from BorrowLenses.com for our first several wedding and never regretted it. The telephoto range of 200mm allows us to zoom in on the couple’s faces during the ceremony and open our aperture as low as 2.8 in low lighting—dang low aperture # is what makes the price tag so high!

#3 is important, because depending on your need or use of your lenses, you can very well save a lot of $$ by purchasing the 1.8 aperture versus the 1.4. You notice that I suggest this above, because I’m assuming many of you are first starting out. In my opinion, investing in a lens with a 1.8 aperture when you’re starting out is a wise financial decision and will get the job done. When you’re at the point professionally where you want to invest in more professional glass—specifically 1.2 or 1.4 apertures, you can DO that with profit AND either sell your original 1.8 or use it as back up (we do).

2 factors to be aware of:

  1. Is the lens DX (crop sensor) or FX (full frame); meaning, will the lens work on BOTH types of cameras or only one? Usually the more cost efficient lenses will work ONLY on crop sensor cameras and not full frames. You’ll see DX or FX in the name or description when buying. If you never plan to upgrade your camera, it’s a budget-friendly idea to purchase a DX lens—specifically the 35 1.8 for moms.

  2. Does the lens have a varied aperture? This means that on lenses with a zoom, as you zoom in and out, the maximum aperture changes based on the focal length. For example, while using the 18-55mm lens, you can zoom out wide to 35mm and utilize the maximum aperture of 3.5, but when you zoom in to 55mm, the lens automatically jumps the aperture higher and you’re limited to an aperture of 5.6 . It’s difficult to have control and to learn how to use your camera in manual and have full control when your lens doesn’t allow you that. These lenses, again, are for more of the amateur photographer needing a cost efficient lens. The 18-55 kit lens has a 3.5-5.6 range. When you look at the lens, you’ll know if it has a varied aperture if the aperture # behind the focal length of the lens has a dash: 70-300 (focal length) with varied aperture 4.5-6.3.

While this is probably enough to get the wheels turning, there is SO much more I could share on lenses. Maybe this will get you started! If you feel like you want to learn more about all of these details in person, join me December 1 or January 12—but don’t miss the early bird rate!

The order in which we purchased our lenses for wedding photography in mind:

  1. 50 1.8 (later upgraded to 50 1.4)

  2. 24-70 2.8 (versatile in the beginning but now I use mostly prime lenses)

  3. 85 1.8

  4. 70-200 2.8

  5. upgraded from Nikon D3100 to Nikon D610

  6. 35 1.4

  7. 105 2.8 (macro lens used specifically for ring + detail shots—5% of wedding day)

  8. 50 1.4 (upgraded and moved 50 1.8 to back up)

    *We now use Sigma Art 50 1.4 and Sigma Art 85 1.4, because I like their quickness, clarity and sharpness better than the Nikon 50 1.4 and Nikon 85 1.4. Our 50 1.4 and 85 1.4 are moved to back ups.

Royal Lane Baptist & Dallas Arboretum Fall Wedding | Logan + Amanda

Oh give me all the fall feels, colors and LOVE!

November 10th was the perfect fall day for Amanda and Logan to remember as the day they vowed to forever in front of 300 of their loved ones. The weather was perfect for a fall day, the fall colors everywhere and the giddiness and joy leading up to 4:30 was very apparent.

Once Amanda walked down the aisle with her daddy, tears weren’t even a question for both Amanda and Logan. The tears welling up in Logan’s eyes made my own do the same—priceless. These moments are just absolutely precious. Their joyful tears quickly turned to beaming smiles as they walked down the recessional, hand in hand, as Mr. and Mrs. Beiser.

And don’t get me started on the colors—OH YES! Deep maroon with pops of navy and orange—all so beautifully perfect for their fall wedding day. But ahead of the beautiful colors and details—the details that held sweet sentimental value, like Amanda’s engagement ring were what made everyone smile. It had diamonds from her grandmother’s wedding ring which Logan used to design her beautiful forever ring. He invited her sister and mom to see the ring before he proposed to Amanda, and I thought this sweet story shared by the maid of honor was just so special.

With all of these sentimental details gracing their presence throughout the entire wedding day, it made their celebration so much more sweet. And let me tell you, their dance floor was PACKED—packed with the most epic celebration as every song seemed strike a key with everyone dancing.

I mean, it was hard for me to not want to join in and not smile with how much fun everyone—especially Logan and Amanda—had on the dance floor!

And THAT is how I love my couples to remember their wedding day! Perfectly celebrated with their loved ones, sentimental details and the sweetest love between the two of them. Congrats, you two!!

Monroe Pearson Wedding | Emili & Alex

Oh HELLO lovely DETAILS!!

But WAIT.

There’s something that ALWAYS makes the details more beautiful to me.

THE LOVE.

Ohh my word. The connection, love and joy shared between Emili and Alex on their wedding day (and every day) is what EVERY wedding photographer hopes to photograph. The emotion and excitement we all experienced during not only Emili’s first look with Alex but also her father couldn’t be measured—it was off the charts! :)

Truly, it caused my camera to click extra fast as well as my heart beat to accelerate! I am so beyond happy for these two and couldn’t imagine them being anymore joyful on their wedding day! Every detail precisely planned before the wedding was stunning but only an afterthought when it came to Emili and Alex’s celebration with their loved ones.

And THAT’S special to me right there.

Emili had such a beautiful and unique vision for her wedding day, and it came together oh-so-lovely on October 21st.

Dancing, dancing, dancing didn’t cease until the ribbon-waving exit that sent them off on their way as Mr. and Mrs.

Emili and Alex, I am SO happy for you two! You make such a beautiful pair together, and I am mind blown by your combination of PRETTY + PERSONAL aspects from your day. What a treat to be a part of and capture for you two!

In-home Beginner Photography & Editing Courses | Dates Announced

Hi-ho-hhoooray!!

It’s been a minute since I’ve been able to host photographers in OUR HOME (Richardson, TX), but this is one of the things that I have LOVED to do since we were living in our TINY apartment in our college town of Las Cruces, New Mexico. A little over 3 years ago, Jordan and I hosted our first ever workshop geared toward beginning photographers who are wanting to learn how to simply USE their camera.

But not only USE it, they truly want to be confident with it.

They want to capture moments to make them last longer, because they know their value.

They want the flexibility and versatility of a hobby that can not only capture moments you can savor but provide side income, provide an outlet to serve and get those creative juice flowing.

Photography has been all of this and more to me, don’t you get me started! ;-)

And while I LOVE my online version of The Capture Course, I know many of you have been asking about an in-person option, and I HEAR YOU!! The extrovert within me is like, “YES, come over, and let me watch it CLICK for you! Let me MAKE SURE you truly understand and aren’t unsure.”

I want you to leave with the basic understanding of:

  • becoming familiar with the buttons you need to know on your camera

  • shooing in manual (how ISO, shutter speed and aperture work together)

  • nailing tack sharp images

  • shooting indoors versus outdoors (finding the light)

  • lenses and what they can do for you

  • 15 “look-fors” that you’ll need to go from “amateur-eye” to “pro-eye” in no time flat

  • understanding and using “natural reflectors”

  • how to use the sun to backlight your subjects

    • Yes, we will have an opportunity to practice inside and outside!

BONUS

  • ACCESS to the online courses of The Capture Course incase you need refreshing afterward

  • ACCESS to an inclusive Capture Course Community group where you can forever ask questions as they arise (because they will!).

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SO YES. You did hear me. There is an EDITING option for the course, and I am SO happy about it!

For the first time in Dallas (we taught it in Las Cruces), I’m teaching about the editing program that has given me life BACK.

LIGHTROOM is hands down the best in it’s efficient workflow possibilities and detailed options. Every time someone says, “Oh, you can photoshop that right?”, I kind of giggle inside (and roll my eyes). Lightroom, it’s the way to go!

With that being said, you’ll walk away from the second half of the day’s Lightroom teaching with the basic understanding of:

  • how to upload your photos

  • how to cull and organize your photos in Lightroom and on an external hard drive

  • a basic overview of the Library and Develop Module

  • how to use the spot removal, adjustment brush and crop tools

  • how to edit without a preset + how to create your own preset

  • how to adjust white balance (what even IS white balance?!) ;-)

  • how to export for web or print and store safely for years to come

BONUS

  • You’ll walk away with a recording of how I edit 2 different images in a bright and clean edit so that you can be refreshed when you go home!

The Lightroom portion of the course will basically equip you to take your photos from your memory card, upload correctly, edit efficiently and quickly then export for print so that these images can end up where they belong: on your walls, in your frames and on your loved one’s desks at work.

Pricing details

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Must have or borrow:

  • DSLR camera (crop sensor or full frame)

  • At least 1 lens for your camera

  • A memory card for your camera

  • Lightroom CC Classic (paid or free trial version)

Aren’t sure whether or not this is for you?

Email me directly at lindsay@lindsaydavenportphoto.com, and we can chat to make sure you have the right gear and will walk away with the most confidence you can have to capture moments that matter. Girl, I got you!

Keep in mind, we have limited spots, due to the fact that it’s important for us to make sure we’re able to answer everyone’s questions and work 1-1 during the application portion of class.

Can’t make either of these dates but think this course would make a great gift for yourself or someone else? The Capture Course may be for you!

LASTLY! And pretty importantly, share this information with a friend who might like one or both of these courses (or with your significant other should you want it as a Christmas gift ;-) ). If you tag 3 or more friends on my Instagram post, you’ll be entered into a drawing to win a FREE TICKET to one of the 2 courses! Tag away daily, and the winner will be announced 11/7/2018. :)

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Ponte Winery Temecula, CA Wedding | Lauren + Brian

Floral beauty meets California wine country = an unforgettable day.

When a bride has two bouquets, one traditional white and the other modern and colorful, you know it’s an extraordinary day.

I mean, it’s absolutely hard to beat cool temperatures, the most lovely floral details designed by none other but the bride herself and her sister, talented owners of A&L Floral Design and the sweetest love between Lauren and Brian.

Truly—when Lauren walked down the beautiful staircase toward her fiance, their immediate reaction was to kiss and hug tighter than I’ve ever seen. It was easy to see their attraction and love for one another was magnetic and oh-so-deep. And this made the rest of our portrait time just so much fun.

It felt like as long as the two of them were together, we could take pictures as long as we wanted wherever we wanted—although I’m sure this maybe wasn’t 100% how Brian felt ;-) However, we spent such a generous time on portraits of them all around the beautiful Ponte Winery, even coming back out for sunset portraits right at sunset.

Aren’t these two PRETTY together?! So photogenic, so sweet and so undeniably in love. It was an honor to photograph them in Temecula and to capture the beginning of their forever. And I have to smile and believe that their forever is looking pretty beautiful. It literally brought tears to my eyes watching not only her parents but also his parents dancing together on the dance floor. They looked as in love as they day they said, “I do”, and it made me happy for Lauren and Brian to have such sweet steps in which to follow.

Their legacy started in a vineyard and will be as sweet as the grapes we tasted off the vine ;-) Wishing these two the absolute best!

How to do San Diego in 2 Days

OKAY. I’m walking out of this FUN whirlwind of a work-trip turn vacation-trip, and I’m honestly so giddy about So-Cal/San Diego that I HAVE to share it with you.

We: explored So-Cal wine country, saw La Jolla, Mission Beach, Sunset Cliffs, USS Midway Museum, Downtown, Little Italy, Coronado Island, Oldtown and Pacific Beach.

Jordan and I photographed a wedding in Temecula, CA on Monday. We arrived Sunday, stayed at the resort Sunday, Monday night and hit the 1-hour-ish trek back to San Diego on Tuesday after we slept in and explored the winery shops. We entered San Diego around 2:00 Tuesday and departed Thursday about the same time, and it’s HARD to believe we covered all the ground we did in just 48 hours—AND feel rested.

So I’m going to do my best to share all the places we hit so WHEN you go to San Diego (or So-Cal), you can have as much fun as we surprisingly did! And I say surprisingly, because San Diego wasn’t necessarily at the top of my list to explore, but we did, because we were here.

So-Cal Wine Country

First, we learned that there’s ALSO a southern “wine country”, aside from the well-known Napa Valley wine country. Temecula houses a beautiful wine country just about an hour north of San Diego, and let me tell you, the rolling hills, wineries and weather were IDEAL. Highs of 70s with lows in the 50s (in October), and it was nothing short of marvelous. We learned that this can be a more affordable option for groups of people traveling, because there are more large air bnbs than in Napa. And guys, Napa may be “better”, but this spot was BEAUTIFUL, and with San Diego/the beach just an hour away, it makes it even more versatile!

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Okay to secondly, San Diego! We had tons of good recommendations of places to go and see while here, thanks to you ALL! So I’m going to share them with you AND the ones we did.

Like I said, we arrived to San Diego around 2:00 in the afternoon Tuesday and chose to go to La Jolla first. Partially because SO many people recommended it, I’ve heard tons about it AND it was on our way into SD from Temecula.

La Jolla

And La Jolla was everything we expected—gorgeous. Let me start off by saying that the weather in San Diego is hard to top. The entire two days here, it was highs of 70 with lows in the 50s. The breeze was brisk, and in the evenings, we needed sweatshirts, which I LOVED. I’m all about that life--especially coming from a hot fall in Dallas. From what it sounds like, this is pretty typical all year round, though if you drive just miles inland, it becomes much warmer.

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Ride Bird We immediately parked in free parking a ways from the beach and hopped on our first Bird ride—our first of literally 12 rides for a total of about 169 minutes and 14.7 miles. Baha Jordan and I literally just high-fived when we added all of this up. Seriously, such a GOOD way to see San Diego and cover the ground we did. We literally couldn’t have fit as much in or done it if it wasn’t for scootering all over this beautiful city!

First, we scootered up and down the coast of La Jolla, saw sea lions, a wedding that was happening on the beach, cute shops and rode through the swankiest beach neighborhood that had so much character. That’s always a favorite or ours when we travel—we like exploring the neighborhoods to get a feel for something different.

Although we didn’t eat in La Jolla, we got SO many recommendations that I wish we could’ve tried! One thing to note, Jordan and I have always been this way: we tend to sleep in on vacations, eat a hearty brunch (we love brunch), explore the day, maybe snack if we feel like it and eat a hearty dinner. That way we eat usually 2 meals a day, because it simply just works best for us that way—and is a little cheaper.

La Jolla recommendations for food: George’s (overlooking the beach), The Taco Stand, Puesto (filet mignon tacos)

Totally Recommended Air BNB

After about a couple hours, we headed to check in at our Air BNB, which we would highly recommend—if you haven’t used an Air BNB and want $40 off your first trip, use this link here. It wasn’t the “nicest” in the sense of being pampered, but we did that the first half of our trip. This was meant to be central, safe and inexpensive. We loved our hosts and would absolutely go back again. It was located on Burgener, which is super central for everything we did. We stayed 2 nights in a master suite with a lock on our door for $187 total, taxes, fees and cleaning included. THIS and the Bird were two positives to the quick trip.

Sunset Cliffs MUST-SEE

After checking in and getting settled, we headed out to Cannonball, a sushi restaurant, on Mission beach for dinner.  But Jordan missed the turn and we accidentally started heading to Sunset Cliffs which was a GOOD mistake. It was on our list of “to-sees”, but we hadn’t planned when to go. THANKFULLY, we made our way RIGHT at sunset, which is a literally MUST SEE! We Birded down from where we parked along the Oceanside until we got to the cliffs, and WOW. GO.

Cannonball YUM

After that, we Birded back and arrived at Cannoball, which was a hoppin’ place (expect a wait), but it’s got gorgeous views right alongside Mission Beach, and we had the best waiter Matt, while we sat at the bar. The sushi was amazing, and afterward, you guessed it, we Birded miles alongside Mission Beach at night, which was SO MUCH FUN. The breeze was almost cold, the condos along the beach were neat, and the beach obviously sounded amazing. If you go earlier, there’s a fun shopping area you can hit up before dinner, but we missed these!

Downtown, USS Midway Museum, Little Italy

The next day, our first full day in San Diego, we started with Brunch around 10:30 at Breakfast Republic, a recommendation from Matt. IT WAS WORTH IT. We chose the location that was downtown, accidentally, which ended up being perfect AGAIN. I ordered Chilaquiles, and Jordan had crabcake & crawfish benedict—both delish, but the atmosphere was legit. Again, we had a wait at 10:30 on a Wednesday morning. We parked in free parking prior brunch, Birded there, then Birded to the USS Midway Museum afterward—a quick 10 minute Bird ride.

Jordan was in heaven, and it was honestly pretty fascinating.

From there, we Birded to Little Italy, which was FUN! Birding through it was easy to get the feel for it and realize that we wish we’d planned a meal there, but it was midday for us, so we weren’t hungry. We stopped at a local shop and tried Cannoli and gelato, which was yummy and satisfying!

But seriously, there were TOO many restaurants that had cute outside covered patios where people were eating the most delicious-looking pastas, so I wish we could’ve planned this stop for dinner!

After Little Italy, we Birded back to our car where we parked that morning prior brunch and were pretty exhausted after 5 hours out and about. We headed back to our Air BNB to recharge and plan our evening.

Coronado Island

For that evening, we headed to Coronado Island where we parked and actually WALKED—Birds weren’t allowed on the island. We explored Hotel del Coronado and the beach it led to which were both pretty fascinating and beautiful. The beach here was pristine—very impressive. We caught this at sunset too which was so incredible—God totally is seriously unbelievable with his creations.

We walked back to a delicious restaurant recommended to us called Village Pizza. It totally hit the spot!

BUT if you go here, you should look into “Tour de Coronado”. People paid $30 to for a ticket to have access to several different eateries along the island. They could walk by, grab food from whoever was participating and keep walking. Village Pizza participated in this, so we kept seeing people stop by for a slice of pizza, and we were so confused. This would have been a fun option! We were also told that Miguel’s had delicious Mexican food.

That night we drove back to Mission Beach and Birded for about 20 more minutes up and down the coast along the shops after dark. You know, because we loved it. :)

Old Town

On Thursday, our last day, our flight took off at 4:25, so we had a pretty good chunk of the day to still explore. We went to Libre Lucha for “brunch”, because we were told by my mom that the burritos were killer. And she was RIGHT—whatever show they were on on the Food Network was right. We had the California Alambre burritos, and the homemade chips and various salsas were the BOMB. Highly recommend! Just know that it definitely feels like a hole in the wall restaurant in an interesting part of town. ;-)

We Birded from breakfast to Old Town which was about a 10 minute ride, and we walked around this area. It was good enough for us to stroll through for an hour or so and head back. I could definitely see where it would have had some DELISH Mexican food restaurants though! We would’ve enjoyed that!

Pacific Beach

After Old Town we headed to Pacific Beach, which was another area we’d been recommended. Not surprisingly, we Birded from a Better Buzz, a coffee shop we later came back to and were recommended. We headed toward the ocean and stopped to relax for a little—and watch a literal lifeguard rescue, which was pretty exciting—everyone fine.

It was definitely a pretty yet popular beach scene—probably similar to Mission Beach during the daytime with lots of shops and eateries around. Coronado beach seemed the most relaxed, pretty and nice.

After the beach, we Birded back up to the coffee shop which was what coffee shop dreams are made of. I finally got to try an Acai bowl (didn’t disappoint just wasn’t v hungry) and tried the Best Drink Ever—iced. It was tooootally bomb. We relaxed there until we needed to head to the airport and talked about how much we packed in—even some accidentally.

Spontaneity is Key

We loved the location of our Air BNB, because everything was within 15 minutes, with the exception of Coronado Island being closer to 30. This wasn’t as much of the “splurge” part of our trip, so we were totally happy with our investment—plus we were rarely there.

And we loved the work-time turned fun-time together. I honestly had lower expectations for the trip, simply because I San Diego wasn’t high on my list, and Jordan and I simply weren’t in the most comfortable place when we left for the trip.

But every time we leave our everyday routine, force time together and dive deeper into the heart of….us, it’s fruitful. While connection at home felt distant, we had hard but good conversations, thanks to The Brave Marriage podcast and simply knowing how to communicate well from past counseling, and the remainder of our trip was literal laughs, light-heartedness and so many fun new things experienced.

I’ve always felt like experiencing new things together is a sweet way to grow together and connect, and this trip was so that for us.

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I’m Actually A Worrier

I honestly don’t believe Jordan and I would travel as much as we do if it were for my job. 1) Jordan isn’t a travel-initiator and 2) I’m a worrier by nature. As I reflect on this, I realize more and more of God’s good plan—specifically for me to have a job that oftentimes requires travel.  It’s a blessing but at times a curse (if you’re afraid of flying). Those of you who know me, know that I lean on the side of worrying. I always have and will always have to remind myself of God’s sovereignty and goodness.

And if it weren’t for booking weddings outside the state (and country) and my love for traveling, I can completely say it’d be hard for me to leave Luke. Without this needing to be said, I LOVE traveling with Luke and letting him experience new things—almost nothing more fun for us! But every time the two of us leave, I’m reminded of how fruitful it is to leave the everyday behind, take a deep breath and try something new.

When Jordan and I left for the trip, connection wasn’t our high point. We felt jumbled into the everyday shuffle of busy life and struggled to really get to where we needed relationally and emotionally. And while escaping isn’t the answer, it helped us get to a more clear space for us to have heart-to-hearts, connect and then laugh our freaking heads off the remainder of the time.

We are so grateful for grandparents who eagerly love Luke and are loved by him so that we have opportunities like this and opportunities for him to grow in relationships with them.

So guys, I’m a fan. I know it’s hard, but it’s so fruitful to leave—whether it’s a date night, stay-cation in your city or a few nights away.  I will always support time like this! We cannot WAIT to get our hands on our sweet Bubba!!

And maybe someday you can enjoy San Diego like we did!

Hidden Waters Classic Wedding | Kelsey + Josh

All the greenery, all the classic, elegant details and all the bridal white florals!

OH MY!

What a BEAUTIFUL and classic wedding Josh and Kelsey have to remember at Hidden Waters in Waxahachie. The weather held out literally until right before the indoor reception, and we had various light to play with all day—backlighting, even lighting with cloud coverage and it was all so beautiful and fun to work with.

I think I (and all of you) can just about drop dead at how gorgeous Kelsey and Josh looked together in such a stunningly green location. I mean, the sun-kissed glow around Kelsey just makes your jaw-drop. I know this, because I have done it, and so many of you have made comments on social media to confirm! :)

These two make such a beautiful pair, and when I picture their precious first look, their lovely choreographed first dance and their bubble-filled exit, I can’t help but smile. I see Kelsey’s smile, and I see Josh’s smile, and like Courtney, the maid of honor stated in her speech, she loves seeing the way Josh makes her best friend smile.

It’s evident and captured in pictures, and the celebration that followed is too.

And then the details.

OH the lovely details! A tad overwhelming only because they were TOO perfect with sweet sentiment behind them.

Kelsey’s ring shone brightly with radiance but so did her earrings, her bracelet and her surprise additional gold wedding band that Josh gifted her on her wedding day. Her shoes, her Mrs. box and her Martak ring holder—all too perfect to capture the elegance and beauty behind their big day.

It was an honor to photograph and be a part of such a lovely day, and I loved Kelsey’s love for photographs and wanting to capture her day as she remembered it. I love it when brides want all the portrait time!

Hugs to this beautiful pair!