17 September 2015

Our Dreamy Camping Engagement Shoot Pt. 2

After bouncing around the beach of Devil's Lake State Park, we decided to hike a trail and take some more scenic pictures. We had some dinky map we were referencing and we found one on the other side of the lake that was something like 0.7 of a mile. Sounded easy enough, so we filled our backpacks with New Glarus beers and headed out to the trail. 

What the hike ended up being was about 0.7 of a mile uphill. Up a rocky, jagged mountain. Which is fine if that is what I knew we were doing. We ended up just sort of running up the thing thinking we were just a turn away from a scenic shot. It was a funny rush and when we were nearly at the top we all collapsed on some rocks and whipped out our beers for some awesome conversation and what ended up being my favorite shots. 

One thing I really appreciated about Christian was his shooting style-it was quick and painless. Ben and I were hardly asked to pose and most of our shots are us talking and smiling together in the real way that we were actually talking and smiling. Christian had a pretty unobtrusive camera and only shot about five pictures when he did decide to shoot and it was over before you even realized it was happening.

So that's our little engagement shoot. For as sleep deprived and anxious and sweaty and frizzy as we were, Christian was able to capture some really authentic moments between us and I'm so grateful to have these photos. It's a really special thing to be able to look back on great pictures and see just how happy and in love you really are.

Thank you for all your kind words about the photos, I'm so happy to have shared them with you. And check out Christian's blog! All his work is stunning, I cannot recommend him more highly for any and all of your photographing needs.

Check out our Engagement Shoot Pt. 1

15 September 2015

Our Dreamy Camping Engagement Shoot Pt. 1

We had our engagement shoot on a hot, sticky day in the dells of Wisconsin a month or so ago. I had found the incredibly talented Christian Gideon through the blogosphere a couple years ago and kept up with his work while Ben and I were still in Russia. After we got engaged, I waited about 15 minutes before I sent Christian an email, knowing he was really the only person I thought could take the kind of pictures I wanted to have. 

Everyone's individual wedding style is something they need to figure out on their own, but for us it has always been clear. We want to look like ourselves, sound like ourselves, be ourselves. I really turn away from the sterilized, starched wedding look. It was difficult to even find engagement inspiration photos because all of them were stretched and photoshopped. Before Ben and I went to go meet Christian, we had drinks with some friends and we all exchanged photo shoot horror stories we'd seen on Facebook (a couple in a field wrapped in a fur blanket was the winner).

We decided to go camping in Wisconsin because 1. We met in Wisconsin and 2. Being outdoors is very natural and therapeutic for us. When we lived in New Hampshire, we used to walk trails and swim in the clear rivers. Some of our happiest times have been drinking beers by the fire and talking deep into the night. 

The night before our shoot, however, was a mess. I'm not sure why it didn't occur to me to like, stay in a hotel and just show up the next morning, but we just pitched a tent, threw our clothes into a backpack and that was that. 

So naturally the worst storm of the summer happened that night. 

We woke up around 2 a.m. to some of the worst lightning I had ever experienced. The whole campground was lit up in endless white light, though no rain had appeared yet. Ben and I sleepily left the tent and collected all the rest of our camping supplies and packed it up tight. The rest of the campground moved like frightened, quiet ghosts; we all knew this amount of lightning would lead to an interesting night. 

When the rain eventually started, it came down fast and hard. I screamed and clutched Ben and he laughed and rubbed my back. A tree fell about twenty feet away. Our tent twisted and turned and water slipped into the sides to dampen our clothes. I probably slept about two hours the entire night.

The next morning Christian arrived (also shaken from his camping storm experience further up north) and the three of us began making pancakes and swapping lightning stories. 

What followed was a day that really captured our spirits: we ate, we rowed, we parked illegally, we climbed a surprisingly challenging little trail, we drank New Glarus, we talked and laughed. I'm so in love with the pictures that came from this and I'm so grateful for having found a photographer who was able to give us images of us that are really us. 

I will load the rest of the pictures in a couple of days.

Photography: Christian Gideon || Location: Devil's Lake, Baraboo WI 
Campground: Fox Hill RV Park
Christian's blog entry about the day: here

14 September 2015


The seasons are changing once again and I am back to this blog.

My reasons for being gone are both small and large- a broken computer, a tiring schedule, a lack of inspiration- but all those reasons have found resolution and my rusty hands have been inching towards the "blog" button on my bookmark bar.

Here are things that are stable and current:

  • Ben and I are still living on the outside of Chicago. 
  • We are still planning (planned? More on that process later) our wedding. It will be held March 26th, 2016 at Cafe Brauer in downtown Chicago.
  • We are still in love. We don't have time to cook as much, and our exploring is limited, but we are working to change that. 
  • We understand the changes we need to make and have spent our summer wandering down paths, opening up to one another, asking important questions. We had spent a bit too much time dreaming and we were finally ready to face reality and move forward. 
All the other details of my life are so high up in the air right now, it would just be silly to write them down until I have a chance to give them some validity. 

How are you all? Have you been keeping up with my friend Kaleigh? She's had a tough summer, but she's had so much to say about it. Her words are wounded, but strong and stable. She's been a great friend to me and I'm looking forward to seeing what comes from her new self. 

Have you been watching Sense8 on Netflix? Ben and I are obsessed. We've only made it through half the season, but it is gripping and mysterious. I have a couple theories, but I'm excited to see what the end will reveal. 

Remember when I was living at the dacha in Istra last summer? No? Here's a TBT for ya!

Over the summer Ben and I did some hiking while we were visiting his family up in New Hampshire. Does anyone here hike or have any tips? Boot recommendations? I'd love to hear them!

I plan on posting Ben and I's engagement photos in a couple days or so, so please check back then. 

Thanks for always sticking around guys. I love this little community. 


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