Radnor Hunt: An Equestrian Engagement Shoot

My photography blog is in the midst of a redesign, so I thought I’d share some of my latest shoots on here for the time being. I had the pleasure of photographing Michelle and Marc, who won my contest for a free engagement shoot. We were joined by Beka, co-owner of Styled Creative, who was a blast to work with and brought some awesome props, like horse show ribbons and other vintage goodness.

The property at Radnor Hunt, where the couple will be sharing their vows next year, is one of the oldest recognized hunts in the United States. At every turn inside the venue there was gorgeous fox artwork and antiques, and the outdoors had its fair share of fox nostalgia. From fox hunting to horsemanship, this venue is breathtaking and we lucked out with an incredibly gorgeous (albeit windy), sunny day. This tree swing was so lovely and reminded me of one of my favorite movies, Big Fish.

How cute is this pumpkin, painted with a silhouette of a horse and rider? Radnor Hunt definitely has an eye for details and their staff couldn’t have been nicer by allowing us to shoot inside their stables.

Beka brought all sorts of goodies to snazz up our shoot, it’s amazing how much a few props can really give the photos more depth and interest. Be sure to check out Styled Creative’s website and “like” them on Facebook to stay up-to-date with their latest happenings (like their upcoming pop up prop shop!).

I never asked Santa for a pony when I was little, but after spending some time with these guys, I’m half tempted to this year. They were ah-dorable.

Good luck to the happy couple and congrats for winning my free engagement shoot contest!

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Family Session: Farmyard Fun

This past weekend I had my first ever family shoot at a private farm in Bucks County, PA. It was a pleasure getting to photograph such a sweet family, in addition to some teeny-tiny goats. I’m only posting the innocent-looking photos of the goats, but between you and me, I did manage to snag a few shots of the wee goat munching on the mom’s hair.

It was a breath of fresh air to be able to photograph adorable kids because they are always striking precious, candid poses without even realizing it.

Did I mention there were goats? SO CUTE.

I hope to be given the opportunity to photograph a family again sometime in the near future. It definitely made me step outside of my comfort zone and experiment with fresh perspectives. Also, it wouldn’t hurt to get to hang out with baby goats again too, they are my new BFFs.

Show & Tell: Thrifting Finds

Yesterday you joined me on an average afternoon spent thrift store shopping in the Bucks and Montgomery County areas of Pennsylvania. Today I’ll be sharing my purchases with you and how I plan on incorporating them into our new home.

This vintage radio stood out to me when I saw it on a shelf at the Bryn Athyn Thift Shop listed for $6. It is in need of repair, but even if Pete and I aren’t able to doctor it back to health, I think it works well as a home decor piece for our living room.

I ended up finding a comfortable rocking chair in good condition at ReStore for only $25. I am going to sand and paint it to give the chair a new look (color suggestions are always welcome!). The pink, spaghetti glass jar on the right was $3.50 and goes perfectly in our bright blue kitchen, so I was excited to fill it with elbow macaroni to give the countertop a bit of flavor.

When I saw this owl lamp, I flailed because a few of the illustrations are exactly the same images as the owl wall art we own (which we still need to hang). I love that each side has a different owl illustration, with the formal name of the owl at the bottom. It was too cute not to snag for only $3–it just needs a lamp harp and shade and it will be looking better in no time.

Overall I spent $37.50 and scored a retro radio, rocking chair, owl lamp base and spaghetti jar. If you local readers ever want to join me one day, we should plan a meetup and go as a group!

One Man’s Trash…

About once a month, I devote a lazy afternoon to visiting my favorite thrift stores in the area in an attempt to find items for our home. Sometimes I find things that just need a good cleaning and the price tag scraped off, but I usually have to revamp the thrifted items I purchase to make them a bit more “us.”

Usually my first stop is at the local Habitat for Humanity ReStore shop, where my brain always has a lot of trouble keeping up with my eyes. Whenever I go thrift shopping, I usually skip the clothing and go straight to the furniture or housewares. Luckily for me, this place is made up entirely of those two things. This store is perfect for roaming and incredibly spacious, so you never feel like you’re in anyone’s personal bubble. Plus, all of the proceeds go to a great cause, so I feel a lot less guilty than I would at the mall.

I thought the rustic chair on the left was really cute and for $5 it seemed like a steal…but once I tried to sit on it I was a little nervous by how wibble-wobbly it was. I set out trying to find a rocking chair to makeover for our sunroom, so when I saw this cross-stitched number, I kind of swooned a little…but not $60 worth of swooning.

These chairs have been here for the past few times I’ve visited, and at $35 a piece they are kind of irresistible. I know, I have bad taste, but at least I know it…

This dresser is absolutely lovely and definitely something I could see being sold for thousands of dollars at Anthropologie, but here it’s under $50. Most of the ginormous furniture pieces at ReStore are in the $50-80 range, which is kind of a steal.

Rod Stewart agrees.

I thought this watermelon painted picnic basket was kind of cute in a cheesy way and would be fun to use as a prop for engagement shoots. The piece on the right is drool-worthy, but I didn’t want to spend over $40 total and I had three more stores to visit, so I kept on trucking.

These floral cushions are fabulously tacky…if they matched our sunroom I would’ve snagged a few for our patio set.

My next stop was Impact, where there is always a 25% sale, so I usually visit the website beforehand to find out which savings are going on that week.

These bad boys were picked up by a hipster-looking gal only seconds after I took this photo.

I was looking for a cupcake stand and wished this had been able to do the trick, but luckily I was distracted by the wooden bunny art that vaguely resembled my illustrations.

From statement furniture pieces to sad owl drawings, Impact never ceases to amaze me at every turn of the corner.

I’m drawn to tacky bunny/watermelon-related knick knacks like a moth to a flame.

I thought this was pretty and reminded me of intricate Thai furniture I’ve seen sold at Terrain.

The furniture selection is pretty big at Impact, but I mostly go there to browse the housewares and linens. I love me some vintage calendar tea towels with kitties on them.

As soon as my friends start popping out babies, I am going to make impulse buys like the nursery scale above. I seriously have discussions in my head about whose imaginary babies these things would be perfect for, and then talk myself out of buying anything (thank goodness).

Next up was the Bryn Athyn Thrift Shop, which is housed in a beautiful red barn nearby the Bryn Athyn College campus. This has become my favorite stop of them all, and today I finally made my first purchase there. I love how the place is set up, with rare collectables hanging from the ceiling on the top floor. This is where I find the most unique items because it seems to be sort of hidden away and not as popular with the younger crowd.

Who wouldn’t want a possessed teddy bear on a rocking chair or a figurine of a pig screaming his last words? Re-mark-able. The woman next to me pointed to the pig ceramic and said, “Oh honey, that is so photo-worthy,” and I agreed with a quick click of the camera.

I think silhouette art can be really lovely, but screaming birds, not so much…

This is the staircase which leads to the upstairs, full of furniture and clothing treasures as far as the eye can see. Out of all of the stores, the prices here always seem incredibly fair and affordable and I’m never left wondering if the employees messed up and meant to move a decimal point over one.

I’ve never purchased anything at Holy Redeemer Thrift Store, but it’s on my way home, so I usually stop there. Even though I exit empty-handed, I always leave with a smile on my face because the people there are out. STAN. ding. Today an elderly woman was talking to the dolls for sale in the knick knack section and pinching their porcelain cheeks for what seemed like ten minutes. (I lingered pretending to be interested in a vast collection of Christmas decorations.) I can’t wait to be so old that I don’t care when strangers are staring at me having conversations with inanimate objects. I mean, I already do that now, but I can’t wait for the not caring part to hit me more.

This sassy dog cup is kind of necessary. Pete: If you’re reading, Christmas gift, GO! I’m always impressed by the fabric selection at this location, as well as the abundance of doll heads available for the pickin’.

For you engaged gals out there, thrift stores are a great place for finding Mason jars, which are incredibly pretty as centerpieces or hanging lanterns. I am not ashamed to admit, I was half tempted to buy this clumsy, cross-stitched rabbit situation.

Wondering what purchases I did make (mom, this question is directed at you)? I’m going to share them with you guys tomorrow for a show and tell. This is where you pretend to be left in suspense and comment with guesses as to what you think I may or may not have spent $37.50 on.

Before Photos: Basement and Upstairs

Here’s where the before photos take a turn for the worst. The basement is the most terrifying spot of the house by far. This is where you’ll find mummified mouse bodies, decaying walls and a plethora of old records left behind to choose from (Peter Pan, Bob Dylan and Bobby Darin were the highlights).

I’m most excited about fixing up the old furniture downstairs and really bringing them to life to make them brighten up the current zombified state of things. Here’s a shot of the pool table before Pete cleaned it up with the shop vacuum, which made a huge difference. Now we just need to find an entire set of pool balls since somehow the previous homeowners lost a few of them.

The washer/dryer are a bummer to look at, but at least they work and we’re not being charged $2.75 a load. Pete tested them out last night and now has a ton of clean undershirts to show for it! As part of our escrow (I’ll ramble more about our disaster of a settlement soon, I promise), we will be having the chipping paint on the basement walls cleaned up and sealed. I’d like to get patio paint sooner than later so the floors can be a nice shade of brown and less frightening. I don’t want to feel like I’m walking into the Home Alone basement every time I go downstairs to wash my clothes. Ok, let’s be honest, Pete takes care of laundry, but I might have to go down there at some point!

Some of the things the previous homeowners left behind for us, not including the hanging crucifix which I will share with you all later!

Here are the stairs that are located right near the oven in the kitchen, which lead to the upstairs floor. There was an unfortunate trend of wood panelled walls at some point, which we will be addressing with gallons of paint for the time being. The upstairs bathroom is full and perfectly functioning, but we could do without the butterfly wallpaper and vinyl floors so we’ll be tackling that once we make the bottom floor more move-in ready.

Betty White is partial to the all-wood room, which we aren’t quite sure what to do with. We will mostly be living only on the bottom floor until we can afford to heat/cool the entire house. For now, the upstairs will contain the guest room and this room, which we’ll likely turn into an art/photo studio or something until we are grown up enough to think about babies and stuff.

The long hallway, which has horse curtains on either end (I kind of think we might keep these and clean them up) a lot of dreary rugs which were immediately ripped up after these photos were taken. Betty White was adjusting herself all ladylike while I admired a portion of the wall that is filled with the previous owner’s vintage encyclopedias (which we’re keeping!).

The guest room will need to have the wallpaper removed and painted, in addition to revamping all of the furniture to make it more modern. The mattress needs to be tossed since it doesn’t have the most attractive smell on the planet, so add that to our ginormous list of to-do items. Speaking of lists, we were inspired by Young House Love to write down everything we’d like to accomplish, whether short term or long term, so I’ll be sharing that with all of you soon.

That just about does it for “before” photos. Next up I guess I’ll start sharing the progress we’ve made so far in the house and what we hope to realistically accomplish before we move in this summer.

Nesting News: Our Color Palette

Last time I updated you, we were gearing up for our home inspection. Luckily the seller agreed to make a majority of the changes we deemed necessary for moving in. We’re aware that with an old house comes all things old, so we’ll be saving our initial funds for emergencies (at least 6 months of mortgage payments, just in case!), updating the insulation by adding spray foam and replacing the ancient furnace and air conditioning systems once our 1-year home warranty expires. We’ll have to put major renovations on the back burner and update the house in creative, budget-friendly ways for the time being.

Pete and I have been discussing what we envision for our home’s color palette, since we know one of the first things we’ll be doing is removing wallpaper and painting a fresh coat in every room. Eventually (probably next summer-ish), we’ll want to tackle painting the exterior of the house. By “we” I mean Pete, because I have no balance and will absolutely end up hanging upside down by a shoelace if I have to stand on a ladder for an extended period of time.

While browsing Behr for paint inspiration, Pete stumbled upon an image of this house. We decided to base our potential home’s color palette on the photo and plan to give our home’s exterior a similar aesthetic, with mossy green and sandy hues (“spirited green” and “peanut butter,” to be exact).

I came up with a quick illustration that represents the color palette we are currently leaning toward. As one of our first DIY projects, we plan to make a mason jar chandelier, if you’re wondering why that snuck its way into the sketch. I think I might start drawing one original illustration per week to coincide with blog topics (or is that way too nerdy?).

How did you come up with a color palette for your home, or did you just wing it and take on one room at a time?

Potentially Home: The 1st Offer

As planned, Pete and I went on our second house hunting adventure this weekend. We checked out two houses, the first was the house I posted photos of last time. It was incredibly small and not at all what we had hoped for, so we moved onto the second house. I saw this house listed online but it didn’t have any photos, so we took a risk and went with our realtor to see it in person.

You all know my love for bunnies. If being greeted by a bunny at the front door isn’t a good luck sign, I don’t know what is. Let’s not forget there is also bunny wallpaper galore in this house.

The house is a two story bungalow from 1940 with four bedrooms, two bathrooms and 1,342 square feet.

When we first stepped inside the house, this enclosed sunroom made me fall in love with the place. With a little modern lovin’, this room could be amazing. I really like the distressed blue floors and I’m sure the room could look a lot more airy if given a slight painted makeover.

Once you step through the sunroom, you enter the living room. Hardwood floors and a brick fireplace greet you with the first of many wood paneled walls (eek).

The living room leads to the dining room, with a beautiful bay window area. The hardwood floors are throughout the house and have some great details that would be absolutely beautiful with some refinishing. It’s safe to assume all wallpaper would be removed and painted with painted walls throughout the house.

The kitchen is a bit of a downer and cramped, but I think it could be revamped with some creativity in the form of extra storage, painted cabinets, wood floors and wallpaper removal. The door in the kitchen leads to a mudroom, which takes you outside to the backyard. There’s a lovely fenced in area where we could garden, along with a shed and concrete area that needs some TLC.

We are still waiting to receive the house’s disclosure, so we are anxious to find out when the appliances were last updated, in addition to when the roof was last replaced and if there have been any major problems.

This area of the kitchen could be better utilized with counter space and storage, as opposed to a breakfast nook, considering we usually eat our breakfast in the living room anyway.

The first floor has two bedrooms and one bathroom. We would obviously remove the wallpaper from the bedrooms and give the bathroom some updating, but for the most part, the foundation of the rooms gives us a great starting point.

The wallpaper border in this room has bunnies and hearts on it…something tells me this would be the room where our critters would reside (although we wouldn’t make them stare at that wallpaper).

I didn’t get any good photos of the basement, some of these are just shots I took with my iPhone and others are photos I snapped quickly when we toured the house for the second time with Pete’s mom and brother. The basement would need the most work, but we could take it one step at a time and not overwhelm ourselves with too many projects at once.

Inside the kitchen there is a door that leads to the upstairs. A wood paneled hallway leads you to a full bathroom (sorry for the awful photo) and two bedrooms. The latter room would be our guest room and the other would probably be used as an office space since it’s the smallest of all four rooms. And yes, we would do something about the wood paneling (probably painting it to start). The office could later be turned into a nursery if we decide to have a mini version of us (years and years from now, people!). It’s just good to know we would have a lot of space to expand our family…if that means housing goats or a baby (I’m leaning toward goats).

Anyway, we really love the place and can see its potential. We placed a bid on it yesterday, so hopefully we will hear back early this week about whether or not our offer has been accepted. If it has, we will need to review the disclosure (the offer is contingent on the disclosure). If we are unhappy with what we read in the disclosure, we’ll continue spending our weekends house hunting! If the disclosure looks good, we’ll move forward with the inspection process.

It’s been really fun browsing blogs for decorating ideas with Pete and watching home improvement shows together. I think we’ll be great at tackling renovations together, after all, he is incredibly handy and I’d like to think I’m pretty darn crafty. If this ends up being our home, it will need a lot of work, but I think it’s something we can handle if we take baby steps. As a side note, I have a strong desire to paint a fireplace white, and I’m pretty lucky that Pete and I have the same taste for decorating and that he goes along with me on these things. When he recently mentioned liking subway tiles, I fell in love with him a little more. I think buying and having a home together will be great for our already-happy relationship and I can’t wait to (hopefully) spend weekends together cursing about how hard it is to remove antiquated bunny wallpaper.

Update: We have agreed on a price with the seller, which is only a few thousand more than our original bid. We’re saving nearly $20,000 since it was listed at $200,000 and we’d be getting it for $190,500 including sellers assist ($11,000). Pretty darn excited! Next up: Inspection and finger-crossing.