Merry Christmas!

Sending Christmas cards to my clients is one of my favorite parts of the year, but I wish I could send Christmas cards to everyone who supports my business! Whether it's something small like liking and sharing my blog posts on Facebook or something big like referring a new bride to me, you are what makes CGP a successful business! So thank you!

I'll be taking the next two weeks off to celebrate Christmas and New Years with family and friends, so the blog will be a little quiet. This time "out of the office" will help me recharge and be ready to hit the ground running in 2015. 

I will be back to blogging, email, and other business tasks on Monday, January 5. Until then, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

CGP Client Christmas Gifts

CGP Client Christmas Gifts

By this point, all of my 2014 clients (and the 2015 clients who have already had their engagement sessions) have received their Christmas gift, so I am excited to show those to you today without ruining the surprise.

I had a lot of fun planning out just what these cute little packages would look like and then tying them up with a cute little bow. And of course, I couldn't resist a playful little tagline! You only get one newlywed Christmas so bring on the merry/marry word play!

I hope each of these little ornaments will bring a smile to my clients' faces every Christmas!

Sunshine & Raindrops: Yummy Food, New Shelves, and a Christmas Freakout

Some recent sunshine & raindrops:

- I love looking over images from the entire year, and choosing an image for my client's Christmas ornaments is the perfect time to do that. So many pretty wedding days!

- Last week I attended a blogging workshop hosted by Tidewater and Tulle. Working on SEO and other behind the scenes blog stuff is definitely on my to do list for this off season, so it was exciting to get a head start on that.

- And the FOOD at the workshop... I could have eaten all day long! Yummy Goodness Catering served us some of the prettiest and yummiest food I've ever eaten! And it was all in cute little bite-sized servings, perfect for cocktail hour!

- I did a little more Christmas shopping this week and came home with a little something for myself. The Mocha Ghirardelli squares are delicious! I think I should have bought more than one package!

- Our master bathroom has certainly taken longer than we expected, but we built and installed our Restoration Hardware inspired shelves over the weekend and hung up some prints from our anniversary session last year, so now it's finally taking shape!

- We are not discriminating when it comes to ice cream, frozen yogurt, and gelato. We love it all! And we were excited to finally try out Menchies this weekend! They had two mocha flavors that were delicious, but their cocoa-minty holiday cookie flavor won out for me! So yummy!

- How is Christmas only 10 days away? I have WAY too much to do! I'm so glad that I only decided to sew 2 presents this year instead of the 5-6 I was originally planning to! And I still have a couple of Christmas cards that need to be mailed! That's what I get for not doing them all at once. But my family has to love me anyway, right?


Coming up on Wednesday.... bloopers and behind the scenes images from this year's weddings!

Anne Marie & Myles - Oak Grove Lake Park Engagement Session

The summer Anne Marie and Myles met was filled with greasy grilled cheese sandwiches, the Cupid Shuffle, sweet tea and late nights by the fire. Myles had accepted a programming internship with Camp Hope Haven, a free Christian camp for children in under-served communities, as part of his undergrad degree requirements. Anne Marie accepted a position as Kitchen Team Leader at the camp with the enthusiasm expected of someone whose best dish was Velvetta mac and cheese. She had searched long and hard for another position, but Camp Hope Haven seemed like the only available option.

During her interview with the camp’s head staff, Anne Marie found herself more than a little distracted by the handsome young man that walked in and casually took a seat by the door. After they were able to chat for a few minutes, she found that he made her laugh. And the idea that he had refilled his Starbucks cup from the day before with camp coffee was a little weird, but in a cute, charming way. She was intrigued.

As it turns out, Myles was intrigued as well. When he stepped through the front door of the camp office and saw her, in gym shorts and a t-shirt, his first thought was “Oh boy.” And it didn’t take long for him to know that he wasn’t going to let this girl get away. He found every opportunity to spend time with her, helping her enter endless amounts of camper information in to the computer system, showing her the best spots around the camp property, chatting late into the night next to the fire, and even shining her first pair of (fake-leather) cowboy boots. As long as the hot summer days were, they weren’t complete until he had spent time with her.

All too soon, fall and the start of a new semester loomed before them. Both had plans already in place for the future. Myles had plans to move to Colorado and attend Denver Seminary. Anne Marie was finishing her degree at ODU and wanted to teach high school English in Virginia. The timing was certainly not ideal. But neither one was ready to let go. So even though it meant being separated for most of the year, Anne Marie and Myles started dating, because nothing could keep them apart.

Each semester break, a plane ticket was purchased and every moment of time they had was spent together. And when hundreds of miles and two time zones separated them during long semesters, they started writing letters to each other, keeping their thoughts, hopes, and dreams in a small brown journal. Because nothing could keep them apart.

And two years later, when Anne Marie visited Myles in Colorado, they spent a beautiful July day hiking St. Mary’s Glacier in Idaho Springs. After skipping rocks on the lake, hiking to the summit, and enjoying a picnic lunch, Myles knelt down on the rocks and asked Anne Marie to spend the rest of her life with him. Although he could barely get the words out before she was pulling him to his feet, saying “Yes!” 

We started out the engagement session with a little fishing to get them comfortable in front of the camera. 

Anne Marie warned me (as most brides do) that Myles doesn't like having his picture taken and would be nervous at the engagement session. But I think he had even more fun than we did! I mean, what guy doesn't enjoy an afternoon of hugging on his fiancee and making her laugh?

I love that Anne Marie brought the journal of their letters to the session. It was perfect to include with the ring shots. You might notice that I took a few more ring shots than normal.  It was so pretty I couldn't help myself. Just check out that side detail!

Although we found some trees with beautiful fall color, I loved how these images look in black and white!

And I loved what these two picked out for their engagement session! Hunter green, mustard, and burgandy... perfect for fall. Although it also looks like the 2015 Pantone color of the year, Marsala!

I'm so glad that we went ahead with this engagement session in spite of the drizzly day. I knew these trees wouldn't make it  much longer!

Did you recently get some fantastic bling of your own? Drop me a line to say hi and see if I'm available for your wedding date!

If you liked this engagement session, you might also enjoy Rachel & Jason's sunrise cherry blossom engagement session at Red Wing Park.

Sunshine & Raindrops - The Year of the Ugly Sweater

Is it just me or is this the year of the Ugly Sweater Party? I've been invited to 7 Christmas parties this year and 5 of them are Ugly Sweater themed!

This past Saturday was our Sunday School class's party, and I have to admit, it was much easier to put decorations and prizes together when you didn't have to worry if things matched or not. I figured if it clashed, it would just fit the theme even better, right?

Some of the sunshine & raindrops from the weekend:

- Ryan and I stepped in as activity coordinators for our Sunday School class, so I felt like it was part of my job to have a good ugly sweater. I may or may not have gone crazy with a glue gun, an old tshirt, and a bag full of Christmas bows. And without trying to, I won one of the categories!

- Saturday night was CRAZY windy at our house! Neither one of us slept well and we woke up to find our trash and recycling tipped over and a small piece of siding missing from the back of our house. Oh the joys of homeownership!

- My mother-in-law is getting bolder in her hints about grandchildren. She requested a granddaughter for Christmas. Poor thing... she's getting new curtains instead.

- Someone gave us a cookie press when we got married and we finally tried it out! (Sorry it took us so long!) We had to experiment a little with how much of the shortbread dough to pipe out at once, but we were pretty pleased with how easy it was and how nice they looked! I can't wait to make a batch of sugar cookies like this!

- Those who follow me on Instagram may have noticed that I've gotten the purging itch. My goal is to get rid of 100 things we don't use before Christmas. I'm just under 40, so I've got some work to do!

- Ryan and I have been enjoying our Advent calendar and a fun Christmasy activity every day. Yesterday we hung lights in our front window and decked out our fish tank!


Coming Wednesday... another beautiful fall engagement session! While you wait, check out past engagement sessions.