{Engagement} Kate & Erik

I had the pleasure of recently photographing Kate and Erik during their engagement session at Swarthmore College, where the two originally met as students. During my e-mails with Kate, I could tell we would hit it off—anyone who mentions bringing bubbles and animal head hats as props gets an instant thumbs-up of approval from yours truly. During the shoot, we began our journey near a rail overpass that the duo filmed a scene of a horror movie at when they were students.

We made our way to the Scott Outdoor Amphitheater on campus, which was constructed way back in 1942 and designed by noted Philadelphia landscape architect, Thomas W. Sears. The college holds their commencement here each year, so while remaining symbolic, it was also a beautifully serene backdrop for our shoot.

My heart pitter pattered when they brought out the bubbles, because I cannot resist swirly, rainbow-y goodness.

Erik even crafted handmade signs for their save the date cards, which was a sweet detail to capture during our afternoon together. As a side note, who doesn’t love a good moose hat?

Back when they were students, Erik became instantly smitten with Kate after he met her while she was hosting her own show at WSRN 91.5 FM, Swarthmore’s student-operated radio station. Kate tried ringing the station to see if they were open so we could snap a few photos there for nostalgia’s sake, but no one answered (sad face).

We crossed our fingers and made the short trek to the station, to see if someone might be around to allow us inside. As fate would have it, the station was open and several students were broadcasting their show live on air. They were kind enough to allow us to recreate the moment when Erik first laid eyes on Kate (who couldn’t be cuter, by the way), which was a ton of fun.

We flipped through the albums and stumbled upon one of their favorites, Skinny Puppy, a band that Erik introduced Kate to when they started dating.

It was absolutely adorable to watch the two browse records while rehashing memories from their college years. We covered everything from music to horror movies during our time together and they couldn’t have been easier to talk to.

I’m a newbie when it comes to Swarthmore traditions, but apparently a visit to the college must include a trip to the oversized Adirondack Chair, one of the many works of public art on campus. I am really happy we were able to fit it in during our session, since it led to me being photo bombed for the first time ever during an engagement shoot!

I couldn’t stop cracking up at the kids who started hanging upside down from the chair while I was snapping photos. I had an absolute blast with Kate and Erik, so I can’t wait for their wedding at the Philadelphia Magic Gardens next summer.

Congrats to the happy couple!

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{A Foster Dog Update: Featuring the Adorable Charsi!}

Charsi has been adjusting wonderfully here at home and now that her stitches have been removed, she’s officially geared up to find a forever family. Her and Betty White are getting along well (when Betty isn’t getting hit in the face by Charsi’s wagging tail), so she’d definitely do well in a home with other pets. She’s definitely changed a lot in behavior and demeanor since we picked her up her nearly two weeks ago—it’s crazy to think that she was listed as “fearful,” because she couldn’t be any friendlier now that she has warmed up to us.

Whoever ends up taking Charsi home will definitely get lots of love, but until then, we are happy to give her Beggin’ Strips and belly rubs. If you know of anyone who might be interested in adopting Charsi, please comment below and we’ll set up a date!

Two Sweet, Healthy Cats in Urgent Need of New Home

Not to get all Sarah McLachlan on you all lately, but I have another critter-related favor to ask. My friend’s charming ex-husband is threatening to put two adorable, healthy cats down if they are not rehoused within the next several weeks. Yes, seriously. She is unable to take them where she lives, so we are on the hunt for friendly cat lovers in the Philadelphia area who are looking for some four-legged friends to call their own.

Meet Derby (left), a three-year-old cat who eats a lot and loves pets. His friend Crash (right), a five-year-old, is declawed in the front and affectionate when given lots of love. Both rescued cats are super friendly, with no previous health problems. If you know someone who might be interested in adopting one or both of these cute critters, please comment or message me!

I have cuddled with these cats in the past (and I pet them both with a stick/remote control like Ned in Pushing Daisies because I’m incredibly allergic) and can vouch for their cuteness. No healthy cat deserves to be euthanized (especially out of spite), so please help me out in spreading the word so these guys can be given the happy, stable environment they deserve.

Seriously, how can you resist these faces? So. cute.

Meet Charsi: Our First Foster

This past Saturday, Pete and I made our way down to the Animal Care & Control Team (ACCT) in Philadelphia with Betty White in tow. As soon as we opened the doors, the place was packed to the brim with pets in serious need. It was unstomachable how many pet owners were giving up on their dogs or cats. The volunteers at the front desk were telling people that if they dropped off their pet, they would have to be euthanized due to major overpopulation, but the pets kept streaming in. We were looking forward to finding the perfect fit for our first foster dog, so we filled out some paperwork and began touring around.

One of the volunteers pointed out a dog named Mariah, who was recovering from several major surgeries, one of which she had the day prior. As much as we were smitten with a certain a shar pei named Broddy Bell, we knew it was likely he would find a home much easier since wrinkly dogs are pretty irresistible. So, we decided to have Betty White and Mariah meet in the outdoor courtyard, where they proceeded to hit it off. Both of them love butt scritchers, quiet moments and staring nervously with adorable, shifty eyes. It was a perfect match, so we filled out some remaining paperwork while waiting to receive her medicine and before we knew it, we were on our way to the pet store with our new friend.


Since we aren’t the most ginormous Mariah Carey fans, we changed her name to Charsi (a Diablo gamer reference, courtesy of Pete’s geekiness), which of course is temporary until we find her a forever home. She is a seriously strong lady whose life got off to a rough start, but she didn’t let that get her down. Charsi was brought into the ACCT nearly two weeks ago as a stray, and needed to have a mammary lump and hernia removed, in addition to a spay procedure. Needless to say, this shepherd/terrier mix is looking forward to a lifetime of cuddling and now has a clean bill of health. Currently Charsi is kicking back her paws and relaxing with us, but she is excited to find a pooch parent who is in need of a sweet four-legged friend.


Charsi arrived at the shelter underweight at 26 lbs, but we’re putting meat on her bones and making sure she will be brought back on track in no time. Charsi is recovering and counting down the days until her sutures will be removed, so we have to be very gentle with her. When we first came home, she absolutely refused to go outside, which made potty training a bit difficult. It is pretty impossible to pick her up without possibly hurting her stitches, so we remained patient and positive, with plenty of puppy pads on hand. Now, just two days later, Charsi is totally responsive to going outside and fully potty-trained.

She has already mastered how to “sit” and likely has some more tricks up her sleeve, which she’ll hopefully share once she has recovered from her surgeries.

Her favorite pastimes so far include: watching cars out of the sunroom window, snoring loudly while dreaming about being adopted and stealing Pete’s clothes from his dirty laundry pile.

Betty White was pretty tuckered out all weekend from having to share our bedroom at night with a near stranger, but she has really warmed up to Charsi. I think fostering pooches will be great for socializing Betty White and helping her become more confident around other dogs.

Since Charsi was a stray, her age is a bit of a mystery, but she looks to be about 5-years-young. No matter how many birthday candles she’s blown out, Charsi has a lot of smooches to share and loves getting pets.

I forgot to mention how much Charsi loves looking at herself in the mirror. Whenever she passes a reflective surface, she stares at herself with a “oh, girlllll, you so good lookin’!” expression on her face. She’s a little conceited, but we still love her…perhaps that is why she was originally named after the great diva herself, Mariah Carey.

Several people have shown confusion over why we would choose to be foster pooch parents—how it must be nearly impossible saying goodbye when you find the adoptive parents for the dog. Fostering an animal means providing food, shelter and love while ambitiously searching for weeks or months to find an appropriate match for the pet. During this time, it’s obvious an attachment will form, but the thing that gets me through this is knowing that as soon as we find Charsi a home, we will be able to help another dog in urgent need.

I’m not saying we’ll be fostering dogs for the rest of our lives, but during my hunt for the perfect full-time job, I have the time needed to give back in small ways. As a freelancer working from home, I can get a little stir crazy—going through half of the day without actually speaking to anyone—so this is a great opportunity to get out of the house and explore the area. I’ve met way more people in the neighborhood over the past two days than I have since we moved here in June, which is saying a lot.

It’s really nice feeling like a little family in our new house. Last night, the pooches joined us while we made a bonfire and toasted s’mores…it was one of the most relaxing Sundays in a long time.

If you would like to find out more about Charsi or want to set up a puppy date, feel free to comment below! She is only $75 (think about how quickly you spend $75 at a trip to Target!) and totally priceless. The donation to the Animal Care and Control Team (ACCT) covers all vaccines, a microchip and her spay procedure, all of which have already been completed.

Does anyone else have any foster stories they’d like to share? I love hearing advice and anecdotes from others who have fostered pets in the past.

Foster the Pooches

http://cnettv.cnet.com/av/video/cbsnews/atlantis2/cbsnews_player_embed.swf

Fostering a dog is something that has been on my mind these past few months during unemployment. Now that winter is soon approaching, it seems only natural to reach out and do some volunteer work since most of my photography work starts to die down as the weather gets more grim. It is really disappointing to think about how pets are mistreated, especially during the holidays, and how people rush to pet stores rather than making the obvious choice to seek a shelter dog as their newest family addition.

The fact that people still buy pet store puppies is a little shocking, especially since a lot of pet owners don’t realize they are supporting puppy mills when they adopt from a local store. This map, organized by the “No pet store puppies” campaign by the ASPCA is particularly eye-opening. Buying anything in pet stores that sell puppy mill dogs supports the industry, so I urge pet owners to buy your supplies from stores that do not sell puppies, or buy your supplies online.

{Carli Davidson Photography}

That being said, there are many dogs waiting for homes in shelters all across the country, so I am anxious to make a trip to the PSPCA soon with Pete and Betty White. If you already have a pooch and want to foster a dog, the two dogs must meet ahead of time. I adopted Betty from the PSPCA, so it will feel good to give back to the organization that gave so much to us over the past five years.

Photographers have an advantage when trying to find adoptive parents for dogs because they are able to capture the animal’s character in creative ways, which inevitably helps in rehoming the pet. I’m going to try to reach out to the Montgomery County SPCA, which is probably a two minute drive away, to see if they would be interested in having me swing by once a week to photograph adoptable animals. I think it would be beneficial to give the pets better exposure since many of the dogs on their site don’t have photos.

If anyone has any experience with fostering dogs or reading materials they’d like to recommend, feel free to comment below!

Artist of the Week:Steve Powers “A Love Letter For You”

{Photos courtesy First and Fifteenth}

I still can’t get enough of these “A Love Letter For You” murals by Steve Powers. The project encompasses 50 painted walls between 63rd and 45th street on Market Street in Philadelphia. SEPTA even had a mural tour on the El Train to view the gorgeous, vibrant murals. Note to self: Take the Market-Frankford Line westward to see these in person.

Family Fun: The Please Touch Museum

Yesterday I went to the Please Touch Museum with my friend Valerie, her awesome sister Monica and Monica’s adorable kiddo, Maya. It was a much-needed day of relaxation after cleaning up the flooded basement all weekend. Who knew being surrounded by screaming children could be such a breath of fresh air? Seriously though, Maya is the cutest kid and I couldn’t have lucked out with better company.

The museum is absolutely breathtaking and located in Fairmount Park, a brief walk from The Mann Center, my favorite outdoor music venue in the city.

The Woodside Park Carousel was extremely cool—with goats, pigs and cat eating fish as some of my favorite animals in the menagerie. The carousel was crafted in 1908 and finally brought back to life with 1,296 lights after being in storage for over 40 years.

The museum was filled with hands-on exhibit zones, including a grocery store where kids could go shopping and ring up their food at the end of the trip. Maya decided strawberry syrup and fish were a winning combination…at least the girl is inventive!

The Alice in Wonderland section was my favorite, with a hall of doors and mirrors and tea party within a winding green, circular maze.

I would definitely recommend the Please Touch Museum, no matter how old you are, it doesn’t hurt to surround yourself with childhood nostalgia and be a kid for the day.