Whitney and Nick {Baltimore Engagement}

"with these hands i'm gonna build our home
a dog in the yard for the times you ever feel alone
so if you need anything pretty lady,
go ahead and say it"
dave barnes - since you said i do


Have you ever seen "Walking on the Moon" from comedian Brian Regan?
If not, short re-cap.
He's talking about dinner parties. 
He talks about the "me-monsters" who only talk about themselves.
He talks about how people have to always "up" another persons story.
So Brian wishes that he were one of the men who walked on the moon.
That'd always beat every story at a dinner party.
Nick has that kind of ammo when it comes to "what I did for my girl."
"Yeah, I bought her 24 roses and had them delivered to her office."
"WELL, IIiiii made her dinner and took her on a carriage ride."
"Psh, I bought her a diamond necklace that I designed."
Cue Nick:
"I built her a house - a log cabin in the woods. 
Where we will grow old together and raise our children. 
I also proposed to her there,
as it snow fell softly in the moonlit sky.
We hand laid the tiles together."
Can't compete with that kind of story.
I love Nick and Whitney
I love how she looks at him. And how he looks at her.
I love that for two professional, hard-working, fast-paced, disciplined adults, they act more "cute-sy" and giddy then most teenagers.
Whitney, as a little girl, always believed in the fairy tale story.
And then she started dating.
She realized it was all fluff and stuff made for movies.
She was "over" this guy thing and focused on work, school and her very bright future.
Untiiiillll she became bff's with her boss.
And her boss just so happened to have a single brother.
Who just so happened to find Whitney the Firecracker ridiculously cute.
After a BBQ at the boss-turned-friend-turned-match-maker's house, Whitney knew instantly that Nick was different. She thought he was a perfect gentleman.  She thought it was so meaningful that he would drive 30 minutes each way to do laundry with her, just so he could see her.  She thought fairy tales weren't real. But here she was falling for quite a prince.
"I seriously fall in love with him more and more every time he tells a joke and makes me laugh.
I know it sounds cliche' but he really knows me better then I know myself.
And he doesn't take me for granted."
"I can't wait to be his wife and I have never dreamed about my future so much."
Don't worry.  Nick had a whole lot to say about Whit. His little soccer blonde bombshell.
"She truly is the BEST thing that has ever happened to me.  I never understood those words until I met her."
"This may sound corny, but I honestly love everything about her.  Even when she's really mad! I just love that girl - all of her!"
Whitney fell hook-line-and-sinker for this sweet, proper country boy.
And he fell fast and furious for this Energizer Bunny who laughs, falls, cries and really just lives out loud. 

You two are going to have an amazing life together - from the details you put into this shoot (like planning it around the leaf-change calendar!!!) to the details you put into your house (which is just absolutely gorgeous) to the details you put into your love.  You guys truly focus on the other person.

And together you have built an incredible life.  I'm so excited for you!


Funny Chick-Fil-A {StoryTime}

On Tuesday evening (or Wednesday morning) I went to bed at 1 am.  
I woke up for the day at 4 am.
That's dumb, you say.
Why yes it is, I answer, but let me explain why I did that.
You listen.

Basically, the first 100 people in line 24 hours before a new store opens gets a free Chick-fil-a meal every week for a year (or 52 free meal coupons.)

There is a penned up area where you 100 first-liners must stay for the WHOLE 24 hours (6 am one day to 6 am the next day) before the store opens.  
No running to your car, no taking a lunch break, no visiting a friend around the corner.  This is lock-down.  And every few hours they do roll call.  You line up by number, show your wrist band and get checked off for the time being.  If you miss roll call, you're out.  No soup for you.

  Chick-fil-a feeds you meals, entertains you with activities + music and honestly makes a fun, memorable event for all involved.  I've been wanting to go for years (it's even on my dream list) so when this chance came up for this Arlington, VA opening, I had to do it.
So summer-lovin' (and my-own-bathroom-lovin') me packed up all kinds of layers, blankets, socks and my favorite silk pillow (don't judge) and joined 10 other friends for the blessed event in the chilly autumn weather.  24 hours outside, following a day where it rained non-stop, was not my favorite idea in all the world, but I knew I'd be fine.  24 hours.  That's all.  Then I could go back inside. No. Big. Deal.

The whole day was nice and easy - the 11 of us bundled in the tent and talked, sometimes we read, sometimes we played soccer or fell off skateboards.  A DJ came at night and thrilled us with group games, dance parties and a really cool microphone he wore on his head like ESPN in 1997.
Probably the "worst" part was the three meals of bread and breaded chicken in a row.
Yet, who can truly complain about free, hot food?  
It was a bit breezy and, yes, the tent either almost flew off the ground OR collapsed in the wind a number of times.  But people teamed up to keep our little plastic dome in-tact for the night.

By 11:30 pm we were all winding down.  The party was over.  We were cold.  We were EXhausted.  We were especially porky thanks to the excess protein.  Someone was wearing a headband flashlight. It was bed time.  
Most of our tent-dwellers had added all their layers like a human croissant, carved out a little piece of tarp property to sleep on, rolled around in the sleeping bag just right and began to fade into dreams.
My thought train chugged along tracks that created a story about me getting a hair-cut on an elephant in a sleeping back.  While I was on the elephant, it started to POUR rain.  Then the elephant starting unzipping itself (like a giant halloween costume) while I ate a lollipop.  Then real life and dream life merged.  And I was awake.

Water played outside our tent like many children on a large slide - "Oh no. It's raining." -  one person unzipped the tent door-flap, sprinted to the back of the tent, stepped on my calves and ankles and started chucking things.  Books flew past my head, back-packs hurled through the place, and girls jumped up, holding their blankets above the ground and SOMEthing was making a buzzing/clicking sound. 

"My booooks! MY BOOKS!" My cell-phone sailed past me as the tent-un-zipper kept throwing things to avoid their stuff from getting wet.  A different person looked outside to see the rain.
But the sky was quiet and clear - peaceful even.

All the other tents around us were swishing with noise and filled with "aaGGH!" and murmer and "quickquickQUICK!"  Like little beating hearts in the center of the sleepy city, we all moved and quivered in colorful, staked-down confusion.  Within moments we all understood what was happening.


Freakingfreaking sprinklers.

The sprinklers attacked with water, water that - thankfully - wasn't dripping down into the tent, but it did creep in like a plague through the bottom.  It started in our toes and work up to our butts.   We all readjusted, packed in closer and curled into tight fetal positions trying to stay dry and warm.

One man outside was sleeping in his lawn chair and the sprinkler was right at his feet.  His sleeping bag acted like a giant sponge soaking in the water and he bravely fought the attack by trying to put a smaller lawn chair atop the spicket.  Sprinkler Water is a beast, though, and always shot that chair straight up, tossing it to some wet puddle beside the man.  But the man didn't move and that made us laugh.

It made us laugh that we were all hiding in fear and trembling from sprinklers.
It made us laugh that we were all filled to the brim with chicken.
It made us laugh that our adrenaline was pumping and we were wide awake at 2 am.
It made us laugh that we decided to watch America's Funniest Home Video clips on our iPhones.
It made us laugh when someone said "Seeeeeya LAter!"
It made me laugh that a stink bug was crawling through my hair.
It made us laugh that that man never did move away from the sprinkler.
Everything made us laugh.

A few hours later, at 5 am, we were screamed awake boot-camp style by a friendly but too-friendly-for-5-am Chick-fil-a employee .  Our tent popped back to life like kernels heated in an Orville Reddenbacher bag in the microwave. 

"I'm sooooo tiiiiiired."
"My feet are still wet."
"You took the blanket from me last night - I was FREEZing. I woke up.  I was freezing. I was like 'why the heck am I so cold.' I looked down and I had NO BLANKET. But it's cool, I took it from you and then I was fine."
"I'm so angry right now."
"Ooooh crap, my shoes are SOAKed."
"I did not come this far - and get sprinkled on - to quit now.  I am not missing roll call."

We fussed our way to line, we shivered as they handed out new over-sized t-shirts and paper hats, we groaned when they said News Channel 7 was here to broadcast us LIVE.  But by 6:15 I had 52 free-Charlie-in-the-Chocolate-Factory-golden-Chick-fil-a-tickets.  By 7:00 I had coffee and by 8:30 I was in a warm house, with warm clothes, with no wrist-band or CHICKEN or sprinklers.  
Dang I love a good memory.  I'd do that again in a heartbeat.


Shannon + Cindy {Glen Echo + Capital Engagement Shoot}

"you don't have to be alone,
take the road that leads you home
and i'll be waiting there for you"
peter bradley adams - for you

"She was dipping her french fries into her frosty --"
 --"It's so good that way! I'm telling you! Shannon laughed and continued, "But yes, that's when I knew 'Dang, I love this girl.'"
It all started with friends.
Friends are the best, aren't they?
Cindy had a nurse friend who was married.  That gal's husband had a guy friend who was single.
Thanks to a bold facebook friend request on Cindy's part, some entertaining chit-chat and many, many texts Shannon and Cindy started to really click.
Like, seriously.
"How can you be into someone you've never even met before?! I don't know.  But all I knew was that I was totally falling for this guy."
BUT, as all good love stories should have, there is a twist. 
(Quick side note made at the risk of sounding completely unprofessional:  They are really, really good kissers.  Just sayin.'  It's kind of magical.)
Ok.  The twist.
This wasn't a regular glazed donut kind of twist.
It was raspberry glazed, coconut-topped, cookie-crumb filled, chocolate donut sort of twist.
Shannon was moving. 
Not around the corner, at that.
These love-teased North Carolinian's were about to be split by a couple states.
They had only met once (randomly at 2 am, mind you) and had texted like teenagers for weeks.
Was this completely dumb?  How the snap could this work?
Well, he pretty much was irresistible.
As was she.
And they basically just couldn't stop talking to each other.
Or sending video-messages of themselves singing to each other.
After a particularly lovely Jason Mraz video Shannon sent to Cindy (where his video camera cord didn't work, so he had to hook it up to the TV and then video-tape the TV playing it with his cell-phone to send to her.  Adorb.) he came into town.  Not to see her... but, yeah... he came back to North Carolina for a visit ;)
They met up late one night at a Hess gas station (very Jim + Pam, yes?).  She was in her long, goofy pajama's and he kissed her for the first time.
They endured the long drives every weekend to see each other and quickly fell in love.
Like, ridiculous, smitten, I-adore-you, gah, ohmyGOSH, falling in love.
And then Shannon moved to Iraq.
Well, his job moved him to Iraq.  Since the summer he has been overseas and has been able to come home for R&R once. 
"When you left there was, like, weeks before I got to see your face! It was awful!"
"No, it wasn't that long...?"
Yes!!! I remember! I couldn't Skype you for weeks!  Oh man, I remember having that thought 'If something happened to him, I don't know what I would do.  I canNOT imagine my life without him.'  I guess that's how you are supposed to feel, huh?"
We did this lovely engagement shoot the day after Shannon proposed (which I was able to photograph.  Proposal pictures coming later.)  But this was the second time Cindy had been able to see him in months.  And is the last time she'll see him for another many more months.
They just ate these seconds together.
Like Cindy ate her ice cream dipped potato strings.
And they touched.
And they held.
And they dreamed about the future.
"I'm sad he won't be here for Christmas.  But if I have to spend one Christmas without him to be able to spend the rest with him, I can do that."

We had to do some light-chasing.  These days the light runs away pretty fast - once it goes, it's GONE.


So we literally chased it across the mall lawn.
This looks way more strange that it looked in real life hahah
Sorry Cindy, had to do it ;)  I just love this one!
(More running to light.  But they were running together, holding hands, in the same state.  So it was good.)



A little wanna-be maternity shoot slash too-bad-I-didn't-get-my-braces-off-before-prom.  But I still like it :D



Shannon and Cindy, I respect your patience as you wait to start your forever together.  It'll be so worth it.  I'll be praying that those days will move quickly so you can be together again sooner.

(I lub dis long tim.)


Congratulations you twooooo!
(ps! Check out Cindy's wonderful photography!  And go hire her cause she rocks!)
(pps.  Thank you to Cheyenne for the referral!)