There was a light shower on Meagan and Carlos' day. As we drove to join the girls getting ready, we talked about the weather. Once we arrived I spent time joining in the joy and laughter while Meagan and her girls got ready. Rather than having bouquets, all of Meagan's bridesmaid held gorgeous floral clutches. Once we arrived at Cedar Creek Country Club, we began taking pictures of friends and family arriving, as well as the beautiful centerpieces adorning the tables. Their quaint wedding was blessed with the musical talent of Meagan's mother, while many of Carlos' family had traveled for the occasion. We snuck outside between the raindrops to capture Meagan, Carlos, and their friends, and continued to share in laughter together. We headed inside to begin the reception, where they had chosen breakfast food for dinner. Meagan's sisters sang for her as part of their speech and well wishes. After they shared in their first dance, we departed for the evening, raving about how perfectly unique their day was.
I'm a true Wisconsinite at heart. I bleed cheese and love my dairy state. As much of a green and gold fan that I am, I have enjoyed the great state of Minnesota and all that it has to offer. In my short while here I've made some great friends and connections, and have been able to understand why so many people love calling this place home.
While living in Minnesota, I've come across some amazing wedding vendors. Many of these wedding professionals are ones that I yearn to work with and services they offer that make me swoon. If you're planning a Minnesota wedding and are looking for some fantastic vendors, here are the ones I'm making a goal to work with in 2018:
*The images below are not my own and only added as a visual aid.
Projects in Person: A modern take on the DIY experience, and the perfect way to celebrate your engagement with friends and family. They have an array of projects you can make, adding an extra piece of rustic comfort to your home.
L'Atelier Couture: Their store location alone is enough to swoon over, but the dresses they have inside are even more so. When you're looking for your wedding dress, you want it to be memorable, and the ladies here will help you find it.
T-Rex Cookies: I will never turn down a chocolate chip cookie, especially if its the size of my face. T-Rex cookies make more than just your average cookie. Between sea salt caramel chocolate chip and peanut butter banana marshmallow, they are sure to have ones that call your name. And if you have a real hankering, they make a 5lb cookie. No joke.
Fern & Floret: Sharayah's moody bouquets are absolutely stunning. Each new picture she shares makes me instantly want to switch professions to be able to create such beautiful decorations. Her bouquets and other floral arrangements bring the outdoors to your hands.
The Hutton House: The Hutton House is a new lakeside location. Their natural light and tall ceilings make me think of a modern barn-to-home venue (I'm always thinking about horses) and the open spaces allows for various backdrops and locations for pictures on your wedding day.
Stonewall Farms: This place is basically the epitome of everything I love - horses, the outdoors, and rustic barns. Being able to combine my loves in one location is something that I strive to do. If you love the outdoors, horses, or the modern rustic feel, you should take a tour of this place to see why it is so amazing.
Golden Oak Farm: This quaint farm packs a punch. Greeted by llamas, this wedding venue has the perfect spot for your day. Whether you decide to get married in their barn, or outdoors in one of their many locations, your day is the perfect summertime celebration. Golden Oak Farm is also an excellent location for fall weddings, as the venue is surrounded by trees.
Minny & Paul: I've been lucky enough to inherit my mother's giving nature. I'm always on the lookout for fun and unique gifts, and Minny & Paul have created just that. These curated gift boxes include items from other creatives and entrepreneurs, and are the perfect way to ask your bridal party to join you, or to give as thank you gifts to your favorite people. Their boxes change and evolve, and ensure that everyone is taken care of with their own interests.
Blushing Script: I may be a bit biased since Lindsey is from Wisconsin, but it didn't feel right to end my favorite vendors without including anyone from my home state. Not only does she have amazing food pun magnets ("I'm kind of a big dill") but she has laser and engraving work to help commemorate your wedding day. Calligraphy has been a long love of mine, and I often day dream of one day being somewhat successful (meaning creating work I like) in calligraphy and being able to share. I'm not sure when that day may come, but I'll keep day dreaming about it.
If you're planning your wedding or helping your best friend plan hers, feel free to share.
It was a chilly and drizzling day in June when Rio and I got together. The day before, I photographed a wedding in Wisconsin and had a nice day with sunshine and a little bit of warmth, so we were anticipating nice weather. We arrived and was greeted by Kobe and his endless energy. Horses were out to pasture and chickens moseyed their way around us. As we entered the barn, the gate was adorned with dust covered ribbons and old hoof trimmings. We were introduced to most of the herd, who would be joining us for pictures. We started with Skittles, Petey, Charlie, and Lexus, then spent some time with Petey and Charlie. Each horse had their unique quirk, and it was such a joy to be able to witness those while we photographed.
I asked Rio if she would mind telling me more about her special boy Petey, and what it was that has made him such a close part of the family. Here's what she shared with me:
"My family and I had been searching for a paint show horse for me for over a year. It seemed like each one had potential, but nothing was the right fit...until I rode Petey for the first time. Our connection was immediate. I felt at home on his back. We understood each other. My mother could see it too, and after just one ride, we knew he was the one.
I love how willing and full of personality Petey is. He was always known at the shows for having a girly squeal when he was playing on the lunge line, but then, of course, being a rock star for me in the ring. After his show career, he began trail rides with my mother, where he took on unknown obstacles with joy and a brave heart.
It is silly to state, considering this horse and I have won multiple world titles together, that my favorite memories with him are actually simply riding him bareback and bridle-less around the farm. He is always my favorite escape from anything life can throw at me. He has the most comfortable lope, it truly lets you feel free.
Petey has taught me that nothing is impossible if you work hard enough. The horse industry is notorious for being dominated by high price horses with owners who could afford to buy anything they ever dreamed of. Let's just say we were not those people. As a team, we took pride in beating our competition from dedication to each other, not the price of our saddle or the shirt on my back.
I was lucky enough to be born on a farm with a mother who introduced me to horses since before I could walk. Over the years, it was clear the so called addiction was in my blood. I don't plan to ever outgrow it.
As for the other hooligans in my beloved photoshoot, we have Skittles aka TNT Sierras Zippo, Charlie aka Zippa Scotchman, and Lexus aka CN Scarletts Zipparela (say that 5 times fast!). They are all double registered paint and pinto. Charlie was my sisters show horse as we grew up. As adults, her interest in the horses faded, so I have had the privilege of working with and showing Charlie for the past few years. He is one of the most unique horses I have ever ridden. Lexus was a horse I bought as a training project. Over the years she has turned into a very nice trail horse, and is also the girlfriend of Petey... They are inseparable. Skittles I also bought as a training project, sold her to a small girl, who I then bought her back from when she outgrew her. Skittles has a heart of gold and she will someday pack my kids around. She is so sweet and kind...not to mention, just the right small size!"
After our session together, I'm quite convinced I need a paint in my life. Rio and Braden - thank you for letting Rob & I be a part of your horse filled world. Our time with you was truly enjoyable, and we're looking forward to seeing you guys again!
Do you ever have one of those moments where you’re looking to buy a gift and you don’t even know where to begin? I feel that all the time, and have struggled with gift giving for so long. I always question what I should get, where I should get it from and the real kicker - are they even going to like it? Winter is practically here and with that, comes the holiday season. There’s always one store that is my go-to for gift giving, and I have my sister to thank for it. Before I moved to Minnesota, my sister and I would go into her favorite store called Patina. If you’re unfamiliar with it or aren’t living in Minnesota, they have the perfect blend of modern home decor, jewelry, paper and other items that are always changing. I still vaguely remember the first time my sister brought me there and thinking “I want this, and this and this…”. Now living in Minnesota, its great that I have locations nearby so I can always ensure I’m stocked up on funny cards, unique pieces of jewelry, or something to make my apartment feel a little bit more cozy. I love the aesthetic they have, and especially love the surprise of what new inventory they have each time I stop in. I’ve received a number of gifts from Patina and have loved every one of them. Its always a great day when I can head home after some Christmas shopping, purple Patina bag in hand, knowing I’ve picked out something for my loved ones that will be fun and unique. If you’re on the hunt for a great gift but are struggling, go there and spend an hour looking at everything. You can see how close one is to you by clicking here.
Later this week I’ll be sharing more gift ideas as well as a new story from one of my sessions, so come back and stay a while. I love having you! Happy Monday!
As we walked through the stable, I peered into each stall as we passed, taking in each horse and what they were occupying themselves with. It’s one of the things I always enjoy seeing the layout of the barn, as well as how the light comes in through the windows and doors. When we arrived at his stall, I was instantly smitten. His freckles and Andalusian mane drew me in with first sight. He had patches of dark markings adorning his legs and parts of his body, which I gave barely any thought too, although it was intriguing that he such markings. After chatting for a bit we gathered his bridle and lead him outside.
Brit had been searching for an Andalusian when she finally came across the craigslist ad for El Querendon. His listing had barely been online for three hours, yet deep inside she knew that this was the horse for her. El Querendon means “the lover” in Spanish, but Brit calls him “Mr. Q”. The dark black markings adorning Q’s body are not spots in his coat, but rather marks from a troubled past. His legs were once hobbled, chained, and beaten to make him “dance”. His tongue is disfigured from harsh bits. His body was sore and his soul was broken down. Brit was initially drawn to Q by pure compassion - compassion for an animal who desperately needed her as much as she needed him. Despite his history, Q has blossomed into a beautiful horse in so many ways. With Q’s tremendous work ethic and eagerness to learn, he has taken to dressage naturally, he finds his training enjoyable and continues to progress through the levels. He is quite the toddler, running around and throwing his head, playing every chance he gets. Brit’s love of horses has influenced her entire life, and now she’s building her forever barn for Mr. Q.
Upon meeting Q, anyone can see the scars covering his body that tell the story of the abuse he lived through before Brit found him. With a home filled of love and plenty of treats, Q is the testament to “your past does not define your future”.