New Beginnings: Generocity

As some of you may recall, back when Pete popped the question, I also had some other exciting things to celebrate that same day. Generocity, the Greater Philadelphia area’s source for nonprofit news and networking, had contacted me for an interview. To be given the opportunity to put the spotlight on the nonprofit world really excited me, so when I found out last week that I would be joining the team as their Content Associate, I was elated.

In addition to helping spot and tell stories, I’ll also be given the opportunity to represent the content visually, whether through photography or other visual mediums. As someone who (humbly!) considers herself a writer and photographer (and illustrator!), I’m often asked “Well, which one do you like the most?” in job interviews. Even though I know the interviewer wants to hear “Oh, of course I like ____ the most” (depending on the job’s focus), I never quite know how to answer. The truth is, being able to potentially blend provoking imagery with compelling content is very exciting to me. I enjoy the challenges writing and photography bring and look forward to growing stronger as both a writer and an artist.

With my first story for Generocity, the photos inspired the opening of the article, which is often the hardest part to write (at least for me, anyway). Having the visual experience gave me the opportunity to bring readers along with me during my tour of the Philadelphia’s Children Alliance. Ideally, I’m hoping to be able to touch people in small ways so they will be encouraged to give, whether through volunteering or even donating to some of these amazing nonprofits. That being said, I was incredibly inspired by the obvious strength at the PCA, both by the professional staff and the children who have the courage to speak up and tell their stories.

I look forward to sharing all of the stories I’ll be rolling out during my adventures as a staff member of Generocity. I encourage you all (especially Philly readers!) to check out the website, “like” them on Facebook, and follow them on Twitter to connect with people who have the same interests, concerns, and passions. Anyway, that’s my little plug, I will be sure to share some insights into my daily work life once my position begins (on Monday!).

For those of you who are local to the Philadelphia area, what are some of your favorite nonprofits that you feel deserve some extra love?

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30 Day Photography Challenge: Days 25 to 30

Here are my final photos for the 30 Day Photography Challenge: Days 25 through 30.

Something pink (Day 25): As fellow East Coasters are probably aware, we got quite a bit of snow this past Saturday. I figured I’d capture a photo of Betty White in her winter attire, since she is a shivering mess when she doesn’t have her pink coat on.

Close-up (Day 26): I decided to go for a bit of a photo walk around the block, where I usually walk Charsi during the afternoon. For “close-up,” I focused on holly leaves, which always reminds me of the winter season.

From a distance (Day 27): For “from a distance,” I made the trees in the background in focus since they are a brilliant shade of red right now.

Flowers (Day 28): I always see these flowers while walking the pooch and they stand out to me as being the most interesting on the block. I have no idea what kind of flowers they are, but I’d love to find out so we can plant our own in the future.

Black & white (Day 29): Not to get all nature photographer on you guys, but I liked the contrast of the organic shadows with the rough grain of the wood.

Self-portrait (Day 30): This is me being a noodle with my puffy South Park-esque hat on because it was COLD outside this weekend. I don’t care if I look ridiculous, I was cozy and warm and that’s all that counts.

Long exposure (Day 16): Here’s an oldie from when Pete and I started dating and we were playing around with long exposure photos. Hoping to recreate this in our new home once I gather the motivation to set up my tripod (these cold months make me lazy). He spelled out our initials in a heart while we kissed. I like my weird grimace face transitioning to us getting our smooch on…I’m sure I was asking him why he was spelling our initials backwards (I was a dumbfounded long exposure newbie). And yes, that is Betty White curled up to the right of my head on the couch arm.

I had a lot of fun doing this photo challenge, but I’m looking forward to creating new challenges for myself this November (perhaps removing all of the wallpaper upstairs?). Check out days 1-5 and 6-10, 11-15 and 17-24 if you haven’t already.

Happy Halloween, everyone! Betty White (sad panda) and I (Slytherin student) are psyched to hand out giant-sized candy to trick or treaters!

{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!

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!

Veronika & Bryan: Vintage Love by Live It Out Photography

When the lovely Veronika from Tick Tock Vintage asked if she could use our house as a backdrop for a photoshoot with her husband Bryan, I was totally flattered. It was an absolute blast watching behind the scenes as Amber from Live It Out Photography captured the gorgeous couple and vintage styling (all by the uber talented Veronika!). From handmade pies and mojitos to barbecued deliciousness, Veronika and Bryan totally spoiled us by providing dinner for us all.

Here are some of my favorite shots from the always-adorable Amber…seriously, this girl has major skills and you’d be crazypants not to hire her for photography if you’re in the D.C. area! Thanks again to Veronika and Bryan for hosting such an amazing photo adventure in our backyard…it’s pretty darn exciting to see how much potential our new home has for future shindigs. Keep an eye out for a glimpse of Betty White hiding behind me, per usual!

{Photos courtesy of Live It Out Photography}

30 Day Photography Challenge: Days 6 to 10

Here are my latest photos from the 30 Day Photography Challenge!

From a low angle (Day 6): Charsi and Betty kicking back. Betty White knows she really shouldn’t be on the couch, but she milks it when I’m distracted.

Fruit (Day 7): I took advantage of our overripe bananas by making chocolate chip banana bread for us.

A bad habit (Day 8): I am unable to contain my excitement for Halloween Oreos. For some silly reason, the Halloween and Holiday Oreos just taste better to me. No matter how much I try to hold back, there is always a sleeve of cookies missing less than 24 hours after an Oreos purchase. Poor Pete gets to eat maybe one cookie per sleeve if he’s lucky. Worst. seasonal. habit. ever.

Someone you love (Day 9): This one was a no-brainer because this boy makes me laugh every day. He watches Parenthood with me. He squeezes toothpaste out on my toothbrush. He cleans up bunny poop with me. He hugs me when he gets home from work and it makes everything a-ok after a bad day. He quotes Dumb and Dumber and Adam Sandler movies like it’s his job. He Tweets to me when I’m less than a foot away. He keeps me warm when I insist on having the ceiling fan on in the winter. He holds my hand when the blow-up gargoyles at Giant scare the crap out of me when we’re shopping for groceries. He tolerates my awful driving and inability to parallel park, even if I’m the only car on the block. He totally supports me and makes me feel like I can do anything. Yep, I love him. He’s the prettiest little sunflower on the planet.

Childhood memory (Day 10): Hootbot! Ok, so I stole this little robot owl from my brother growing up, but he was the best to watch walk across the kitchen floor while flapping his wings (he makes cute whistling noises too). I remember us playing with him and my hamster toy that would roll around in a plastic ball. Unfortunately, I made the mistake of putting the hamster in my hair while its battery-operated wheels were still turning…I’m not the brightest child out of the two of us, that’s for sure.

Is everyone still enjoying the photography challenge? I’m looking forward to forcing myself to take photos every day this month, I think it’s a really fun idea and definitely recommend it to other bloggers.

30 Day Photography Challenge: Days 1 to 5

Every five days I’ll be doing a photo roundup for the October 30 Day Photography Challenge. Here are my entries so far, I’ve been having a lot of fun playing with my camera every day.

Self portrait (Day 1): Betty White & I on the couch.

What you wore today (Day 2): My lazy Sunday outfits, from PJs to Michael Kors shoes.

Clouds (Day 3): A peek at the blue skies through the dogwood tree in our backyard. As a quick note to my mother: Have no fear, I cleverly tucked pieces of toilet paper underneath my shoes so they wouldn’t be touching the comforter.

Something green (Day 4): Betty White wearing her green polo while sitting on a green rocking chair.

From a high angle (Day 5): Looking out the upstairs window to the houses across the street.

Have any of you guys been participating in the photography challenge? If so, be sure to post your blog below!