Hough-Hines Family Fall Shoot

I was so excited when my dental hygienist asked me to do her pregnancy/fall family shoot. She’s got so much charisma and spunk, I couldn’t wait to meet her family! Plus, I just love capturing the glow of expecting mothers!

 

For more favorites from this shoot, click the image below! 😀

 

8597e

 

Holleman Family || Fall 2016

It’s always more fun when you shoot a family for a second time, especially when they have little ones, because by then they’re comfortable with you and really let their personality shine even brighter than before!

 

To check out more pictures from this shoot, click the image below! :)

 

7655e

 

 

Georgia’s 1st Birthday Shoot

I have so many little boys in my life and while I happen to love shooting little boys and their often times ornery selves, it was SO fun to do such a girly, adorable shoot with a little girl for a change! Georgia’s got these big, hopeful eyes and made a perfect little model for a vintage birthday shoot!

To see more of my favorites from this shoot, click the picture below!

 

5954e1

 

 

Kaitlyn || Class of 2017

When I met Kaitlyn last fall, she was making the shoot fun with her bow & arrow so when she asked me to shoot her senior photos this year, I just knew we’d have a killer session. The girl is practically a model, which just makes my job so easy. 😉

 

To see a few more of my favorites from this set, click the image below!

 

IMG_20160821_191618

 

Wolverton Family Summer Shoot

Sometimes you make friends with your neighbors and even stay friends after they move away. Fortunate for me, that has been the case with this family and as they just recently grew from a family of 4 to 5, I was so glad they finally asked me to capture them!

 

To see more of my favorites from this shoot, click the image below!

 

3754e

 

 

Luciano’s 3rd Birthday Shoot

I don’t know how I get so lucky, always shooting the cutest kids. Especially when they’re little lady-killers like Luciano before they’re even three. I’m extra smitten for him, though, because even though we don’t share the same blood, he calls me Aunt Sarah and I personally can’t have too many nephews. 😉

 

To see more of my favorites from this little model’s birthday shoot, click the picture below!

 

2313e

 

 

On Politics and Decency

I’ve been thinking a lot about this upcoming election lately; praying a lot for both candidates and their race to the White House. I’ve also been praying for my reaction to it all, too, because my twitter feed has been so overwhelmed with hatred toward whatever party it’s not supporting that it’s painful to even be there most days. So painful, in fact, that after a very long time of indecision on the matter, I finally unfollowed 15-20 people I once respected because their tweets are just too toxic for a political conversation anymore. These people primarily consisted of authors and musicians who create things I love, people who shouted louder than everyone else about how Candidate A or B is a [insert every derogatory name you can imagine here] and anyone that supports them is also a [insert another derogatory name here]. It doesn’t matter if these things are even true; if they say it loud enough and long enough, their fans will walk away believing it; even participating in this sort of hate campaign for the opposition with retweet after retweet is problematic. This is especially true given the fact that the target audience of most of the authors I follow are young, impressionable people. What I find to be one of the most disturbing things about this sort of behavior is that they devote more time to a hate campaign than they do toward supporting their actual candidate of choice. I want to understand how this helps your candidate get elected, because from where I’m standing, I’ve never once changed my opinion on a candidate simply because someone degraded them long enough to convince me otherwise. What, I wonder, is there to actually gain from this sort of behavior? How do they think this sort of representation of themselves is ever a good idea?

 

I’m not suggesting that authors and musicians and artists of every kind shouldn’t be entitled to their opinion on real life matters; because they should, they are. BUT I do think there is a better way to express your support for one candidate over the other without completely alienating your audience (aka fans) if they happen to be supporting the candidate you’re currently taking a crap on. There is a level of class that should be expected from these public faces, from these role models, to express their opinions in a way that doesn’t belittle anyone who doesn’t agree with them. To be honest, everyone on social media should approach their opinions this way. Just because someone disagrees with your ideas, doesn’t mean either of you are automatically right. No one’s ever 100% right in their thinking. No candidate will ever be 100% what you want them to be as our leader. Even the one you might be supporting has their flaws, we all do. Do we pretend they don’t exist? No. But do we hang on those few flaws like they’re a make or break decision maker? No. If you can’t look at both options and see at least one positive thing about them, perhaps you need to re-evaluate your level of hatred. Even your worst enemy has some sort of redeemable quality. Your hatred is blinding you if you can’t acknowledge that.

 

I try very hard to not even engage myself on these sorts of matters. I know that, for the most part, nearly all of my closest friends tend to vote on the other side of the political spectrum than me, and that’s okay! As long as neither of us start slinging hateful names and ideas at each other because of the candidate we support, there should be no reason we can’t be friends with differing opinions. But some of the authors and musicians I’ve had to unfollow would argue differently and to me that’s an unfortunate problem.

 

A few years back, an author I’d respected and bought every book by on release day, got into an internet argument with me that ended in them refusing to listen to facts over their non-fact based opinion and them calling me a bigoted anti-feminist for trying to present those facts to them. It was pretty heart breaking for me, to be treated so cruelly by someone I admired, on such a public platform, all because they felt their opinion was more important than mine and since I didn’t agree with them, that made me worthy of derogatory names that do not describe the person I am at all. They don’t know me personally, who are they to call me those things all in the sake of hatefully campaigning against the person I was championing? Despite their ignorance and total lack of respect for someone else’s opinion, I continued to buy and enjoy their writing, because again, I don’t believe people on opposite sides of the fence can’t still be amicable. I would never not support someone’s creative pursuits because of their political preference, race, religion, etc… these things aren’t even characteristics about someone that ever cross my mind when falling in-love with talented people. I’ve tried to push their insults aside over the years and just appreciate their redeeming quality, being a great writer, instead. But every time since then, all of their hate-filled tweets feel directed at me and people like me who support the ‘other’ candidate and my own desire to reply and have a level headed conversation about politics has been stifled because I already know how a conversation like that would end with them. Someone can only be called horrible things so many times before they can’t forgive and forget; I’m personally not in the business of inviting people to hurt me. But what’s the biggest take away in this is that I’m an adult who can make my own choices in life – who can brush off someone’s ignorance and not let it break my soul, but they’ve still had this much of a negative effect on me; can you imagine how a teenager, who’s unsure about life, who’s looking to them as a mentor – someone they aspire to be one day, might feel if they’d tried to engage in this same conversation with them? I’m honestly shocked that publishers even let this sort of behavior take place on a platform that is a heavy marketing zone for a career they fund. I’m sad to say, I see this sort of activity on more profiles than just theirs. Professional people alienating their audience with hateful rhetoric on whatever today’s hot topic is. It’s so disappointing.

 

Maggie Stievfater weighed in on politics during the last election (HERE) and I remember feeling really glad she said all this and nothing else. I’m glad that she believes in being civil when it comes to politics, because it’d hurt so much to have to unfollow her and potentially miss out on all the great books she’s sure to write in the future, her being one of my favorite authors and all.

 

It’s unfortunate that from here on out, I will likely miss those authors or musicians latest releases and in turn stop helping them towards pursuing a career in art, which is something I avidly do because I’m a huge believer in paying for creativity. Sure, my one contribution probably isn’t going to make or break them; it probably matters very little to them to lose just one follower, but what if I’m not the only one? What if there are others who just can’t stand to see the hate anymore and have removed them from their feed. Many, like me, rely solely on social media as a means of keeping up to date with their favorite creative types.

 

I just wish everyone could show a little more decency where politics are concerned. That they’d be more aware of the different types of people who might be watching and make an effort to not alienate anyone who might think differently than them. I feel like a lot of this world’s problems come from this very thing: the absence of the good old Golden Rule and everyone’s need to shout their opinions every time one strikes, without any regard to how damaging the way in which they express that opinion might be to someone else.

 

I’m going to close this with just a little broad, good-natured political advice. Pay attention to the candidates themselves. Not the news pundits, not the headlines and snippets of out of context speech clips, not your role models opinions of these people. Research both candidates yourself, not just the party you think you align yourself with, and then support that candidate. Pour more of your energy into highlighting the reasons why you love that person than you spend on hating their opponent. Be a positive example of what a political discussion can be… because it doesn’t have to be a war. It doesn’t have to end friendships. There doesn’t need to be a fence at all.

 

I’m going to keep praying for both candidates and everyone they put in place to help them run our country to the best of their ability, and praying for my own reactions to other people’s hatred and how I too express my own political opinion, and also hoping that I don’t have to unfollow anyone else I admire before the election season is over. It wasn’t a decision I came to easily, but gosh it was so nice to wake up today to less hate in my feed. It doesn’t mean there weren’t still people in my feed with differing point of views than mine, but they weren’t classless in their effort to express that differing point of view.

 

[Note about Me: Like many fellow millennials, I am personally registered as an Independent and have actually voted for candidates in both parties in the elections I’ve been able to participate in since turning 18. In truth, I’d love to see the day we do away with parties altogether because I feel like too much hinges on the party title and its history than what the actual person represents. It might be a pipe dream to imagine a day when such an election exists, when candidates stand against nothing but themselves and what they bring to the table and the backing of a “party” isn’t a requirement, but I’m going to dream it anyway because I think it would really help us make better choices at the poll.]

 

Missing the Beach

You never really know just how badly you need a vacation until you’re on one. Or at least that’s how I felt about our trip to the beach with my family two weeks ago. It didn’t matter that I’d forgotten my vitamin D and thyroid medicine (something that usually dictates whether I can function like a normal human being or not on a day to day basis) or that I rarely ever got more than 5 ½ hours of sleep (thanks to blinding daylight and little boys who rise with the sun). I never even had a cup of tea the entire time I was there because I didn’t need it. Apparently all I needed was an extra long weekend without an alarm clock, a lack of my life and jobs demands, a few hours in the sun every day, and quality time spent with my favorite people on the planet: my family.

 

You might think sharing a beach house with 12 of your relatives would be chaotic, and you’d be right, but it’s the best sort of chaos one can ask for.  Amidst all the shouting over each other, elbows colliding in the close quarters of the hallway, fighting for 1 of the 3 bathrooms, and trying to coordinate schedules so we’re all ready at the same time for adventuring, I realized how very similar my own family is to the Griswold’s and probably the reason the Lampoon Vacation movies are some of my favorites. We’re a crazy bunch and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

 

IMG_20160715_210230

So where did we go? A tiny strip of beach and shops just before Rehoboth Beach called Dewey Beach. Previously I’d only ever been to Ocean City, but after spending a peaceful week in the quaint little beach that is Dewey, I don’t think I’d ever go back to O.C. again. It was just so homey. Not overly crowded, everything within walking distance, a boardwalk not quite as busy as O.C.’s but a boardwalk nonetheless. Everywhere we ate was delicious, from crab cakes to cotton candy ice cream and our house was just a few steps from the beach. It couldn’t be any more convenient. We were also only 3 minutes from the outlets, so we came home with some tax free finds at about half the cost of what we would have paid at home too.

 

On our second to last day, we dropped by Bethany Beach, which was maybe 15 minutes away from Dewey to visit my uncle on my dad’s side. He recently bought a beach house on the bay side and says if we ever want to stay in it, we only need to pay the $100 cleaning lady fee! I hope to definitely take him up on that sometime in the future because it’s a crazy nice house.

 

Our days in Dewey were spent soaking up the sun and crashing into waves, while our nights in Dewey were spent at the boardwalk, arcade, golfing, and eating out, followed by family game nights playing the hilarity that is Fishbowl and Bean Boozeled, the grossest game to ever exist. We laughed every night till our insides hurt; I still don’t know how Gideon and Abel managed to sleep through it all, to be honest. We’re not a very quiet bunch.

 

The family as a whole had so much fun, I’m fairly certain my parents have already reserved the house again for next year and I can’t wait! For only being 2 hours away, Heath and I are even considering a quick overnight stay later in the summer just so we can get in one more beach day before summer’s gone. If you’ve been here for any bit of time, you probably already know how much I typically loathe summer, but if my summers could always be at the beach, my perspective would be totally different. In Dewey, it was 88 and we walked everywhere, but I barely broke a sweat because the breeze coming off the ocean keeps you cool. When we got home, it was only 73, but the humidity was so stifling, you feel like you’re trapped in a sweaty bag the second you step outside. It really drove home the idea that my tolerance of heat/summer (or lack thereof) is largely dictated by the humidity factor.

 

IMG_20160715_211032

 

I can’t even explain how much I miss being there, even two weeks later. I took over 4K pictures on the trip and only about 700 of them were blurry. If you click through them fast enough, it’s almost like watching a movie of our time there. I’m equal parts remembering it happily and also sadly about it being over until next year. I seriously can’t wait to go back! But in the meantime, I’ve been tagging along with my aunt to her country club pool(s) to keep what little Irish tan I have alive and continue to soak up some real vitamin D. It’s not the same, but it will do for now. 😉

 

 

I have two folders worth of pictures to share, if you’re interested in seeing some of the highlights from our tip. The first are just pictures from my “Story” on SnapChat. (I’m on SnapChat, btw, if you want to follow me – swhisted, like everywhere else) And the others are from my real, good camera, which I must say performed so amazingly on the beach. Capturing water and sand in motion in near perfect clarity really excites my photographer heart. You can access these albums by clicking the two pictures in this post or clicking HERE and HERE!

 

Music: On Repeat

It’s been a while since I talked about music here, outside of my year-end reviews. Since my music listening’s recently underwent a semi-significant change, perhaps it’s time a good time to chime in. :)

 

I’ve been an iPod/iTunes junkie for over a decade now, carrying music with me everywhere I go religiously. I got my first one as the “pickle” gift for Christmas and still, to this day, consider it one of the best presents I’ve ever received. That first iPod seemed to last forever, even though forever was actually only 5-6 years, before it finally died. In that time, Apple had released all kinds of newer, fancier iPods, so on my 30th birthday, my husband (fiancé at the time) bought me one of those fancy new ones. (You might remember me posting about it if you’ve been here long enough?) Well, to be the gift that keeps on giving (or doesn’t), literally a few days short of my 34th birthday that fancy new iPod committed suicide. It was a devastating thing to see it pass even faster than its predecessor. And despite it feeling like an appendage I’d lost, I just couldn’t bring myself to drop another $250 on a new one knowing that I’ll be lucky if I got another 4 years out of that one too.

 

SO… In my ongoing need for new music, I decided to just utilize my Amazon Prime account for more than just free two-day shipping and stream some music while I decided what to do with my music library from here on out. And, in doing so I found myself wondering why I wasn’t doing it all along. Why I’d fallen captive of the Apple platform for so many years when all this music was at my disposal already. I’d talked about spending more time exploring new music this year to keep my creative juices flowing, but I’d hardly even entertained the idea before being forced into another option than my iPod. In just the short time of using Amazon Prime, I’ve discovered SO MANY great artists or songs I would have likely missed out on had I just kept going on with my normal listening habits. Oh, how many musical wonders I could have found sooner had I not felt compelled to be loyal to Apple.

 

I’ve been so satisfied with my finds on Amazon Prime that I even bought the Amazon Echo for easier, higher quality listening when I’m at home doing things away from my PC. And while I haven’t started doing it yet, I can even add all the music and playlists I already had on iTunes to my Amazon account so I still get to enjoy the massive library of music I already own.

 

I feel like I should add that just because I’m enjoying streaming so much doesn’t mean I’m no longer buying music. That’s hardly the case. If anything I’m buying more, because I have the freedom to listen to and fall in-love with whole albums instead of singles before forking over the money. I will never NOT buy music, even when it’s at my disposal for free. Music artists, like so many other creative careers, cannot exist without compensation. They deserve to be paid for their hard work. Try to remember that if you are a streamer yourself.

 

Anyway, on tumblr tonight, I’m featuring a few of the gems I’ve found and played to death and probably I’ll keep up a sort of seasonal on repeat thing over there instead of every week (since finding time for Tumblr these days is super hard). To keep this post from becoming a short novel, I’ll just feature the bands I’ve fallen the hardest for here and if you’re interested in checking out anything else, head over to Tumblr and follow my Music Friday hashtag. Happy Listening!

 

The Joy Formidable

 

Oh, picking a song to share by this band was so, so freaking hard. The first song to spike my interest was “Whirring” and maybe I should have shared it for that reason alone, but Amazon Prime had two of their albums available for streaming and you know how much I love chick led rock music so I jumped straight from “Whirring” to everything else. It only took a half a day of listening to know that I had to own everything they’d ever made, so three albums purchased later and now I’m obsessed. They’re the kind of band you can listen to an album straight through, without ever feeling compelled to skip a track. They’ve got that grungy 90’s alternative sound and I’m so, so glad to have discovered them.

 

 

Royal Blood

 

The thing about Amazon Prime that I don’t love is that it doesn’t keep play counts for you; iTunes did this and it helped me gauge what I listened to the most better. I bring this up here because I’m certain that I have listened to the album this track comes from a ridiculous amount already. Like for a solid week straight from wake to sleep. Thankfully my boss ended up liking the band too. I love the rawness of them – how they don’t feel over-produced. And just overall they give me a bit of a 90’s alternative feel, which is always, always a good nostalgic thing for me.

 

 

Foals

 

It’s funny because this wasn’t the first Foals song I added to my playlist and it sounds nothing like the other one, but it quickly became my favorite. It’s heady and sounds sort of sinister and I just can’t get enough of it. And while I wish that more of their music had this darker tone, I can’t pretend I don’t love all of their work regardless, because I’ve bought two albums and can easily listen to them straight through without skipping a song. Maybe their future will offer up a few more dark gems like this. 😉

 

 

Highly Suspect

 

I’m not sure obsessed is even a good enough descriptor for how much I am loving this band right now. They have that raw, not overly produced sound I’m loving about Royal Blood, the singers voice reminds me of Dustin Kensrue (of Thrice) only even hotter, and it’s just seriously good all-out jamming music. It’s like garage band meets blues and I hate to sound like a broken record with all these 90’s feels, but it’s seriously like the music scene of my youth is making a comeback and I couldn’t be more thrilled about it. I really, really hope to see this band live someday. No doubt it’s gotta be one hell of a show with music this full of energy.

 

 

J. Roddy Walston & the Business

 

I woke up with The Clash’s “Rock the Casbah” in my head last Friday and couldn’t stop listening to it on repeat for some reason. I tried to explain to my boss that part of the reason I loved the song so much was for how perfectly the piano stands out and that whenever I’m reunited with my own piano, I hope to learn to play it. We got to talking about other bands who do a good job at making the piano stand out and he said, “You listen to J. Roddy Walston & the Business?” My boss is one of those cool 50 year olds who figured out how to not let age actually age him. He’s been in a rock band since he can remember and while he doesn’t always love my music choices, appreciates our jam sessions at work. He had done a few gigs with J. Roddy when they first started out in the early 2000’s and they’d even lived here in Baltimore for a while. My interest was piqued immediately and Amazon had 2 of their albums available to stream so we listened to them all day and now I can’t stop listening to them because they’re like a new band with an old sound. They’re the soundtrack to the summer cookouts of my youth. They’re music my parents would have exposed me to if they’d been around when I was younger. They’re the kind of rock my parents would still listen to. I immediately went home and bought both albums and then promptly corrupted my dad with them too. 😉

 

 

What have you guys been jamming to lately?

 

Niekrash Family Shoot || Spring 2016

I met Jessa at a Maggie Stiefvater event two years ago and was so flattered when she asked me to capture her family for the last time before they became a family of four! Jessa was seriously one of the prettiest pregnant ladies I’ve ever shot and her daughter Ellie is chock-full of personality; I just know she’s loving being a big sister to baby Jack now!

 

Click the picture below to see my favorites from the shoot on Flickr!

 

IMG_20160423_210844