Today’s blog post is going to be quite a bit different than our normal session and announcement blogs. Today’s is a little/lot more personal. I love the way amazing SC wedding and senior photographer, Hope Taylor, said it in her 2018 Year in Review blog post:
“I had this blog post in my queue for the last month or so, but started to doubt whether it was a good idea to share it. But, over the course of 2018 I learned just how valuable memories are. The big moments, the ones worth celebrating, the ones that leave you crying, the ones that you want to hold onto forever and the seemingly-unimportant moments that actually make up some of the best seasons of your life: they MATTER. They matter so much more than you realize until they’re gone.” (You can read all of the post here)
It can be so easy to go through a year and reach the end only that think that nothing huge when in fact, the exact opposite applies. So I was inspired by Hope to create this (rather long) blog as a rather sacred space to share my view for my own self, but also as an opportunity to be vulnerable and share a little more about the girl behind the camera. Something I feel like all businesses deeply struggle with.
So I’m sitting here in the beautiful, and almost spring-like sun of our new downtown SLC apartment, drinking iced coffee (my first in weeks), and listening to the best app in the world, Coffitivity, while every now and then looking utterly confused at my poodle who has decided to sleep under his bed.
But let’s go ahead and start with January 2019 which seems like the only logical place to. And my apologies for the photo quality as 99% of these are taken on my iPhone, but the best camera is truly the one you have with you so let’s proceed.
January 2019 (like most Januarys, am I right) was definitely not the most “happening” month, but starting it off with a coffee with the DFW ClickinMoms, AKA the very best photography community there is, was such an uplifting thing. Many of those women had been my mentors and supporters from the very beginning.
ClickAway is always one of the most anticipated events of the year. This was my second ClickAway conference I’d attended and for 2019, they chose the stunning Dana Point, California. It’s such an incredible time to fellowship with some incredible women in photography, explore your photography more creatively and just have a relaxing weekend away in a new place. But the very best part is seeing one of my closest friends, Tyrie (Tyrie Mehaffey Photography), is always the highlight. Until 2019 we only got to see each other one a year so this weekend was precious time.
One of I things I always try to do every year is to model for a class. It lets me learn from a completely different perspective and has definitely put me outside my comfort zone as most of the time it hilariously involves freezing cold temperatures, but I LOVE it!
The irony of two Nikon girls in front of a Canon sign…
March meant planning for #ClaseWedding2019 was in full swing! Since I was leaving for Sydney for two months in May and getting back 2.5 weeks before the wedding, most everything had to be done early. Thankfully I had picked my Estee Couture dress out in October and so I just needed to wait for it to be made and altered, but I honestly couldn’t have done it without Katriel (@TheSingingYogini) funnily enough. Katriel was in my ballet class I was taking that semester and the day that I needed to pick up my dress I hadn’t eaten any lunch and was feeling so faint after a hard class. She gave up her orange and it honestly brought me through the appointment. And she ended up being one of our headshot clients and she’s heading to New Zealand soon to rock it!
April brought on the insane surprise that I was now a Vogue-Published model. I still can’t believe it! I frequently model on the side and was doing a portfolio shoot with DFW photographer Jessica Wood (Wood Photography LLC) and I knew her goal was to publish the shoot but I was so blown away when she got published in Vogue Italia! She’s since been published so many more times and I couldn’t be more excited or proud of her.
And throwing it back to that wonderful time where we plopped down at the long table at Starbucks one Saturday morning and addressed 75 wedding invitations and had so much fun.
Not many of you know the story of how we ended up in Salt Lake City, UT. We flew out for 16 hours because I had fallen in love with the beauty of Utah and we were looking for somewhere to live to have a fresh start when we got married. We spent the day looking at apartment complexes, shopping at City Creek Center and sweating on the surprisingly hot April day. And we were sold!
Oh and this was Roland’s first flight since he came back from living in Hawaii about 10 years ago, so needless to say he was very excited and is now completely hooked on traveling. But I got way too cocky in the layout of the DFW airport and cost us an hour when it was already midnight…
May brought another publication surprise with Feroce Magazine! Now a total of three magazines that I’ve been published in along with numerous online sights. Truly baffling and amazing to this day! This headpiece weighed about 500 pounds but it was completely worth it because of how stunning it was and the photographer made it herself!
And taking forever and yet all at once, it was time to leave everything to go to my year and a half sought after internship at Tutu du Monde. Words cannot describe how hard it was to leave my fiancé and all my family and friends, even for only two months. It was a 13 hour time difference and about a 15 hour flight. But I started strong with the most incredible Starbucks drink: an iced white chocolate mocha with coconut milk (if anyone was curious about my SB order). I was flying out with my dad to help me get settled and stayed at this 5 million star AirBnb about 20 minutes outside of Sydney. Seriously, if you’re traveling to Sydney, definitely take a look at this place.
So I had a mixed experience with Aussie food. Either it was close to literally the best thing I’ve ever had or one of the weirdest, blandest foods ever. But these are some of my favorites. On the left is the $4 AUD mocha that from a coffee shop right around the corner from my AirBnb. I can’t seem to find the shop but I’ll talk about it more in a sec.
And this right dish is a smoothie bowl that I wish existed more in the US. I found it at the Glebe Markets and it was a mixed berry, coconut, and granola bowl. Another huge recommendation.
But this. This breakfast. Same place as the $4 mocha. Good Lord almighty. Buttered toast, fresh avocados, poached eggs, cooked mushrooms, and a Maccas style hashbrown. Did I say good Lord almighty yet?
While I was a 20 minute Uber ride away from the Sydney Opera house, I made it a priority to go see as many operas as possible. My first and favorite was Madama Butterfly and I was sobbing through the entire show.
June started off with a convict history tour form Sydney’s Convict Colony Tours. I went into it expecting it to be a tad bit boring but I was so happily surprised with the stories and in-person history the group experienced. They sum it up quite well on their Airbnb listing, “Over 2.5 hours, we’ll unpack the process of convict transportation in graphic detail — retracing the steps of its curious colonial characters & their immediate effect Sydney’s ancient Indigenous clans. Navigating the cobbled alley-ways, hidden corridors, forgotten monuments & secret waterways of this port-side settlement, we’ll venture off the beaten track to dig up its memories – the good, the bad & the plague ridden.”
Did I mention that my birthday was when I was in Australia as well? My boss got me a larger than life bouquet of the most stunning pink roses, and everyone at work surprised me with sweets and champagne and vodka cruisers. It was an extremely rough day being alone so I nearly cried when they all surprised me.
A couple of weeks after I came to Sydney I noticed my heart acting up. My BPM would get up into the 120s just laying in bed watching videos, it would pound even if I walked up 6 steps or walked across a room at any speed and I got paralyzingly dizzy a lot. I made an appointment for a cardiologist thinking it was entirely possible I could be exaggerating and came out with a 24 heart monitor which I grew to love funnily enough. More tests were run and follow-ups had and it was determined that I had a sinus arrhythmia (HeathLine’s definition: “A sinus arrhythmia is an irregular heartbeat that’s either too fast or too slow.”) My doctor and I both knew there was something more but I simply didn’t have enough time in AU to figure everything out. So we started on iron and magnesium and cutting coffee and alcohol as much as possible. (More to come on all this)
My 66 days in Sydney were coming to a close and I was determined to soak up every second of a country I had grown to adore deep in my heart. Part of that included finally taking the long bus and train ride to Luna Park to fulfill my dreams ever since I watched that Mary Kate and Ashley were they came to AU. I also overcame my fear of ferris wheels, ate (most of) a cotton candy twice the size of my head, and watched over a little twin girl on the spinning swing since there wasn’t a three seater for mom and twins.
I suppose I never mentioned what my internship was for… Whoops! I was an on-site product photographer and marketing assistant at Tutu du Monde. If you’ve followed us for any length of time, you know my obsession with TTDM’s fluttery pastel tulle and tiny, sparkly details and we currently have a collection of around 27 and use them in any shoot we can. I was styling a flat lay using two of their sale options below. It was so special to get to work with these dresses so closely and constantly and now come back and photograph even more little loves in them.
And then it was my last night. Honestly it probably wasn’t the best practical idea to spend it relaxing and meditating and praying instead of packing and cleaning, but I also think that my fiancé was a genius when he suggested it. Most tourists go to Bondi Beach and while it was super fun and beautiful, I’ve never been one for the “beach” culture. Even though Manly is about a 50 minute Uber ride from where I was staying I managed to make it up there twice and could’ve stayed so much longer. But anyway, back to my last night.
I was feeling so overwhelmed with my wedding coming up in 3 weeks, taking a non-stop 15 hour flight in economy alone the next day, and packing and cleaning everything in my apartment, so I took that Uber to Manly in my bikini and pants and a billabong jacket, because when else was I going to get this opportunity (but I must say I received several disapproving stares from people, but it was so freeing), shopped around for a bit, got some dairy free sorbet with boba, rainbow sprinkles, strawberries, and brownies on top, and then just sat watching this beautiful sun set as my love was watching his rise.
And the entire time an endless supply of emotions flowing through me. As I’d mentioned earlier, I’d fallen madly and deeply in love with this city I’d tried as hard as I could to make it home for two months and was devastated to leave it, and yet I was going home to a fiancé I had sobbed over out of missing for those two months and we were just about to get married. But throughout was a peacefulness and calm that my God would carry me through all this.
August was by far the craziest month of 2019, but it started off with my dad and I going to the Dior exhibit held at the Dallas Museum of Art. My dad and I have always been close so it was really special to spend a day with just him and I and such stunning pieces.
The wedding weekend had officially begun, because… we got our marriage license! The rehearsal and bachelorette party was that day and the bridal shower the next and #ClaseWedding2019 on Sunday! We had awaited and worked so hard for this day, and it was finally here….
I must say, the wedding weekend was exactly what I needed. Getting back from a foreign country and coming straight into full-on wedding mode is enough to make anyone have a breakdown but I had the most loving and supportive bridal party with me every second.
We started my bachelorette party at Sweet Home Bath & Body, the cutest and best-smelling bath and body store in Downtown Plano where we made bath bombs and then moved to a swag Airbnb in Downtown Dallas to have a super girly and Cards Against Humanity filled evening with friends I’d missed so much.
Then came August 11th, 2019…
At 2pm on a hot but stunningly clear August Sunday, we said our vows for forever more…
There were more shockingly beautiful moments that day than I can go into here, but one of the sweetest was when Miss Jayla, a client and dear family friend of ours for several years now got to have a sort of first look as our flower girl. When we were trying to figure out who the flower girl should be, I immediately thought of this sweet little girl. She was the best flower girl.
Here are the vendors that we used with their insta links. We couldn’t recommend them highly enough!
Venue: The Milestone Mansion – Denton || Dress: Estee Couture Bridal from LeAnn’s Bridal || Tux: The Black Tux || Photographer: OnTheTimes Photo || Flowers: Something Borrowed Blooms || Flower Girl Dress: Tutu du Monde + Rainey’s Closet || Bridesmaids Dresses: Rent the Runway || Bridal Robes: To the Happily Ever After ||
Our honeymoon was split between staying at the luxurious Joule Hotel for a few nights and then flying up to Leavenworth, Washington to enjoy a week in the stunning forest. Don’t worry, we took a lot of photos, but they’re not all internet friendly so I thought I’d just leave you with this scenic WA road at sunset…
Then we were off to Utah in our UHaul, his pickup and what was supposed to be a 19 hour drive. 2 days later…. But we arrived safely and aside from some severe road boredom anxiety it definitely grew us much stronger as a couple and we got to experience some beautiful sights.
September was the month of settling in and learning each other as a married couple. It was a quiet month and so needed after the previous summer.
I became a total sucker for avocado toast and poached eggs in Australia and Publix has some pretty yummy avocado toast. If you bring me avocado toast, poached eggs, and my previously stated SB order I’ll be your best friend forever.
October welcomed the meeting of Sage, a tri-color standard poodle who will get an entire blog post soon but for now, here’s the little bean at 5 weeks when we decided we wanted to take him home.
It also unfortunately welcomed an ER visit because of dangerously low blood pressure, and the prescription of a 30-day heart monitor.
And November we brought him home and started a whole new crazy chapter.
My health was quite poor in November. There’d be many days where I would be cleaning or just simply doing something that wasn’t laying down and have to sit down for several minutes for fear of fainting. But it was a big relief that I knew doctors were watching my heart, actively making sure nothing was life-threatening.
In December we welcomed Vhiela Joy to our sponsored littles family. She’s turning 2 in January and I was so excited to get to sponsor her just in time for her family to receive word by her birthday. We now sponsor two littles in the Philippines through Compassion Internationaland it’s truly been a blessing to be a part of these little girl’s lives.
Then came the demise of my beautiful blue car. It was a three car accident while I was driving to a job and someone pulled out without fully looking and the rest was history. Praise be that I only had minor neck and foot pain and a headache afterwords because my car sure took all of the brunt. I probably shouldn’t be as sad as I am about it but this was my very first car that I got on for Christmas when I was 15. It signified so many things and I’m very sad to loose it but am also quite excited to get something with a little more trunk to transport all the child and baby photographer props, lights, and goodies.
December was also a big month of health answers. After months of research and seeing several doctors, I was officially diagnosed with POTS (postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome, linked is a good article in case you’re interested), and IST (Inappropriate Sinus Tachycardia).
And while there’s still some diagnoses to be had, it is actually such a huge relief to know what I’m dealing with and how to move on. And neither one are life threatening or reducing which is such a miracle.
And since all the big flare-ups in November, it’s been much smoother of sailing with only a few bad days. It’s a battle of
- Consuming loads of water, salt, and electrolytes,
- Getting just enough exercise to start to feel better but not too much to set yourself up for a flare,
- While resting enough but not too much,
- And keeping anxiety to a minimum. No wonder it was so bad in Australia!
But the University of Utah care staff has been so amazing and I know I’m in such good hands with them. It’s also helped me see into the lives of others much more and that alone is worth dealing with not amazing days.
And then came time for our very first Christmas as Mr. & Mrs. Clase. It was a very quiet Christmas and it couldn’t have been more caring or magical. We made about three trips to Target on Christmas Eve because we kept on forgetting things and our last trip was for tape to wrap the presents, but they were out so we used double-sided stationary tape on heavy duty wrapping paper. I don’t necessarily recommend that method, but it made for some cute and quirky moments together.
One of our most favorite things to do as a couple is stay in interesting or luxurious places so we decided to have a one-night Christmas staycation at the Kimpton-Monaco Hotel in Downtown Salt Lake City.
It was stunning.
There was a jacuzzi almost as tall as we were, a beautiful bed, welcoming staff, and this amazing view that we got to admire. There was even a bagpiper busking on the street corner that we got the premium seat for.
Now it is officially midnight on Saturday so please excuse any spelling errors. I had actually put off writing this post because of all the time I knew it would take, but this wasn’t something I wanted to miss out on documenting and I’m honored that you took the time to read it.
Always with much love,
Anne | Hello Daydreamer Photography
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