18.3.13

Rachel Leigh + Allix B | Portraits

it seems like one of those nights,
we ditch the whole scene and end up dreaming
instead of sleeping.

22 - taylor swift
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I connect with people by trying to figure them out.  In some ways this a neat and interesting quality, and in other ways it's problematic.  I can relatively quickly watch, process and conclude "what a person is like" but I can also turn people into a "project." Which is bad.   But.  I often have one specific moment where, in my mind, I finally "get" someone.

For Rachel Leigh, it happened while I was grilling hamburgers.  Rachel has been a longtime blog-friend.  I've always been fascinated with her crazy long hair (can your hair give my hair lessons?!), her simple and good reminders of happy and true things, and her celebratory happiness for her friends.  I guessed (deduced) that she was a fresh, kind, talented and smart girl.  Which, she is.
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From what I could tell online, Rachel seemed demure and ballerina-like.  And almost as if she had been dropped into 2013 from a Green Gable somewhere a number of decades back.  Not because she looked old, but because she seemed charmed in a southern grace, bonnet and dress, walk in the fields and read sort of way.
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Last week, Rachel and her best one, Allix (who you'll meet in just a second) came all the way up from Texas to be my guests and to "break the cyber barrier" and MEET. IN. PERSON.  Rachel instantly surprised me.  Though she was just as kind, graceful and intelligent as I imagined she would be, she was not nearly as quiet or reserved.  Rachel is full of conversation, question, thoughts, stories, facts and humor.  She is extremely well-spoken, quick on her feet and bright.  Her vocabulary is golden, her opinions are thoughtful and her confidence is strong.  I loved it.
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And it all dawned on me while we were visiting Caleb and the boys at the house.  My tradition is to bring hamburger meat up to them for lunch.  Every day.  We charcoal grill.  Patty to grill, patty to bun, bun to mouth.  No utensils, plates, napkins, toppings.  They like it hot, well-done and fast.  They've cut the hamburger meet with their saws (which is gross) and use 2x4's as a serving platter.  But since I had some ladies with me, I tried to be a little more hospitable.  I brought some fruit, chips, paper plates and water bottles.  While our lady-lunch was grilling Rachel asked if I had plates.  "Yes!  They are in that bag on the ground." "Do you want me to get them for you?" "Eh, we have a little while before the burgers are done.  I'm good. Thanks though!"  A minute or two later I see her pawing through the bag. She stops.  Comes and stands by me.  I felt like she was on the verge of saying something, but she didn't.  I continue talking with Allix and her mother (who joined us for the day! So much fun.) and I catch Rachel eyeing the bags again.  She finally blurted out "Do you want me to get the plates out now so that when the burgers are ready, they'll be ready?"  And it clicked for me.
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"Rachel!" I laughed "I figured it out!  You're a control freak!" Hahaha.  "Yes, go get the plates.  You're very concerned about them!"  She immediately started laughing too. "No, no! I just, well, I want to help and...!" I cut her off.  And I really was mostly teasing.  More than control-freak, this is what The Paper Plate Pleading showed me about her: she is an initiator.  I think I thought of her more as a sweet follower.  But no.  She is a bold, aware, gentle initiator.  Whether it's trips or stories or practical needs or match-making... she is taking action.  I think it's an incredibly beautiful and important quality, and I was pleasantly surprised to see that in her.  Though I teased her about the plates for the rest of the day, I was more impressed than anything.

Rachel, I loved meeting you and am justsoglad you made the trip up to visit with me.  See you again soon, yes? Oh.  And never forget that us "Leigh's" will always hold a special place in each other's hearts ;)
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If you know who Rachel is, you definitely know who Allix B is.  And vice-versa.  They're often asked "Are you two sisters?!" And they seem to be with each other all day, every day.  Which, I know they aren't.  But it's rare to "find" one online without the other nearby.  They're the best kind of best friends. Different in nearly every way, yet too many similarities to count.  I would have been actually sad if I hadn't been able to meet them both together :)  Thanks for making me happy, guys.
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Now, while I had "imagined" Rachel as more on the hushed side, I pictured Allix being a CRAZYGOOFBALLFIREWORKALLTHEDAYLONG.   I was certainly "closer" in my guess with her than I was with Rachel ;)
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However!  For being only 17, I was, again, surprised and impressed with Allix's sense of calm and stability while maintaining giddy, dimple-y, instant happiness.  I decided that she writes much more exclaimated than she acts (at least during first impressions), but she is really as happy as she seems.  Her cute sense of style, her smart business sense, her love of words and writing well, and her obvious talent with a camera are just cherries on this sweet sundae.  
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I'm sure she has her moments (who doesn't?) but Allix was much less "dumb blonde" and much more "Eva Gabor."  She isn't just funny quips, easy laughter and bright colors.  She has a processing, analyzing, deep brain - and it's not hidden.  It's obvious.  She knows what she likes and doesn't like, because she has thought about it.  She isn't "about the trends."  She is gracious and patient and really just so kind.
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It was great getting to watch Allix enjoy, friend and even play with her mom all day long, too.  They have such a trusting, close relationship.  The kind where you finish each other's sentences and mutually care deeply about the other's opinions and preferences.  I'd be willing to bet that most of Allix's relationships are like that: she is all in, and she is all in because she cares.  It's impressive, and I hope never ever fades.  You must come visit again.  I won't stand for it otherwise :)
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Girls!  You were such a lovely part of my week.  And I want the whole world to know: Rachel and Allix are so much wonderful.  Follow them and be their friend, and get ready for fun times. 

37 comments:

  1. these are beautiful. so good kristen!

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  2. Lovely as always, hope one day I can meet you too Kristen!

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  3. although I haven't ever met these gals (just cyber-friended & observed!) I FEEL like you've figured them out! Kristen, I just love your words—getting to see the world & lovely people through your eyes is such a treat! I love feeling like I know these two better after reading your thoughts & seeing their gorgeous faces through your lens!

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  4. Ohhh my goodness, this post makes me happy. Aren't they the cutest? Can't wait to meet all three of you someday, love the light in all of these. :)

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  5. They are WONDERFUL, aren't they?! :D And Kirsten, these photos are absolutely LOVELY!! <3

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  6. awww these are so cute! :)) love these girls!

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  7. Young women with passion, loves, humor, and feelings. I l just ove them!

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  8. My Allix gurl!!! I miss yooou. And I can't wait to meet you, Rachel. ;)

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  9. sosososososososooo gorgeous. the photos and rachel and allix. i enjoyed 'meeting' these girls through your story :)

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  10. These are so beautiful. Envious of your sunlight there! And they both seem like such lovely girls.

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  11. love love these! they seem like such beautiful girls inside and out. maybe someday i'll be able to meet ya'll. xx

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  12. love these girls! And these photos are so so gorgeous. :)

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  13. Love these girls and loovvve these photos. :)

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  14. I LOVE THOSE TWO. and these. and everything you wrote. and all the gorgeous sun drenched photos. and basically this is so wonderful. :)

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  15. i love these girls (whom i only know from stalking their blogs). makes me happy that some of my favorite internet people got to meet in real life! :) all three of you are beautiful.

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  16. I love seeing the girls I know online meet each other in real life!! So fun. :)

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  17. Kristen,

    Well, to begin with you pegged these girls......and your right, Rachel holds back well and stays very calm but inside her mind is turning and thinking..... I often ask her to wait till we get down the road until she begins with any questions. I also encourage her in a future marriage her husband will appreciate that patience and be glad to answer her questions but when the time is right. Wish someone had told me that, I would have gotten more yeses than maybe's or no's. It's true! Timing is so very important in life.

    Allix is just that loyal, she makes me feel like I am as special as she does her friend Rachel. She does care deeply and has shed tears for me when she knew I was sad about the loss of my sister. These are two of the kindest, sweetest and selfless girls.

    I hope to one day meet you in person, I know we would hit it off, I can only imagine that you would figure me out pretty quick too. I do know what I am like and find that Rachel is the better me. She has more self control except when it comes to eating cookies.

    You are a beautiful pregnant girl, and I hope the best for you and Caleb and your family.
    Love,
    mrs greene (michele) ;)

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  18. I love love love Rachel and Allix <3 I can see their personalities through your photos and remember exactly how they talked and laughed from when I met them last summer. Beautiful Kristen :))

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  19. Ah, this post is so much fun. I loved reading about Allix and Rachel and their beautiful personalities. Also, your pictures are so so so lovely. What gorgeous girls. :))

    Blessings!

    ~Madi

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  20. those two are so cute. this post is so well written. :) awesomesauce, kristen! <3

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  21. these are AMAZING !! not that there would be any question about it ! gah ! i'm dying over here from all that gorgeousness !

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  22. Geez Louise !!! these are awesome!!! these photos are amazing. AMAZING I say! These two are so pretty and sweet!!

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  24. Woman. Seriously. I love you to the moon and back. This post was so precious. The End.

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  25. AH! I like this post. Really, a lot.
    :-)

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  26. oh man, LOVE this post. Met Rachel + Allix at Jessica's internship last summer, and you captured them so well. :)

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  27. Kristen...you are so precious and your words melted my heart <3. It was SO fun having you capture us!! Love you, friend :).

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  28. ah, can't express how much i love your words (so affirming and deep. you pay attention to people and describe them accordingly. no surface "oh she's pretty and fun" for you. ;) ) and these photos of two amazing girls!

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  29. THESE ARE SO GOOD!!! Loved reading what you wrote too!! So beautiful and kind!

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  30. Absolutely jaw-droppingly stunning. Your photography is phenominal, Kristen and your stories just the same. ;) x

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  31. I just finished reading through this again and it's so intriguing to hear yourself described by someone you just met; you did an amazing job figuring me out!! I feel like I can put bits of my personality into words now. Haha :D. I think those kind of thoughts, but can't really transfer them to my mouth very eloquently. Lol. I've always admired that talent in you :). Here's to us being friends (cheers) :).

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  33. Oh my goodness, this sun photography is possibly the best I've ever seen!!!!!
    Rachel and Allix are beautiful girls, you've captured them perfectly and this post makes me so very happy! So glad you had the privilege of meeting them :)

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  34. I love this post and the photographs are just stunning. I want to take pictures and tell stories like you, but like me too. This is the kind of post that makes me wish I was great friends with great photographers so that I could meet them and have amazing photo shoots with them. :)

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  35. Awwww. so so stinkin cute. :)

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  36. Love Allix and Rachel! I know them in person, but I feel as though I became closer friends with them through your description of them. What a sweet day together!

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Oh, you've made my day! Thank you for the thoughts and words!