For the Love of Families

We are finally feeling a bit of that fall magic here in southeastern Pennsylvania.  The summer weather seems to be yielding somewhat to autumn, but not fully... yet.  This is the time of year when our thoughts turn towards colorful, crunchy leaves; carved pumpkin delight; anything and everything apple; harvest time and baking (or canning); Halloween costumes; cozy mugs of hot herbal tea AND family portraits!  

If you are unable to make it to my Studio Kickoff Event with Holiday Portraits, than I've got the next best alternative for you and your family:
On-location Mini-Portrait Sessions at either Poole Forge or Springton Manor Farm on November 10, 11 & 12.  This is another exclusive offer designed For the Love of Families!! 

Details are as follows:

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Friday, November 10 will be held at Poole Forge from 2 - 4pm (for golden hour sessions)
Saturday, November 11 will be held at Springton Manor Farm from 11am - 3pm
Sunday, November 12 will be held at both locations:
2 sessions at Springton Manor Farm 1 & 2pm
2 sessions at Poole Forge 10 & 11am

I've compiled 3 packages especially for you and your family's needs.  To book a family session, please contact me with your preferred date/time/location and package choice.  These won't last long!  Portrait appointments will remain open until all the times are filled, so, it's first booked, first choice!  I look forward to hearing from you and for this time together preserving your family moments in personal imagery, to last a lifetime...  

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See you soon, friends!!! 

A Portrait Studio for My 3 Girls Photography ~ Special Announcement ~

Nearing eight years at this point in my portrait photography career.  Did I ever envision myself saying those exact words?!  Not a chance!  But... here we are.  When I turned the calendar on year seven, I silently thought, "uh oh... should I be nervous about experiencing a 'seven-year-itch?!'"  No.  No.  Not at all.  Well, I wish I were completely confident in saying that I wasn't nervous at that thought.  And then I remembered somebody saying that every seven years our body chemistry (to some form of degree) goes through changes.  Huh.  Okay then.  I'm starting to see a correlation here.  I've felt restless for some time now, wanting to expand my photography offerings by opening a portrait studio.  A place that is well lit with natural light, where I can create in a more climate-controlled environment, and that is beautiful to me.  I looked around for a while, imagining myself opening a Main Street style studio.  But it didn't seem to fit for me.  And then one day it dawned on me (the "Light Bulb Moment" when God whispers in your ear) - Hey, why not open an in-home studio and just see if it's a good fit -- for me, my family and my client-friends.  I talked it over with my family and they were on board from my initial pitch!  They truly are that good to me.  They have more confidence in me than I have in myself.  

So...  here we are almost 2 months into the planning stages of rearranging, purging/cleaning out, painting, prepping our home for the S T U D I O space!!!  Gah!!!  I'm beyond excited to announce this to you... 

I am opening an in-home portrait studio!!!  Did I just say that out loud?!!!  Yes.  Yes, I did!  :) 

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I'd like to present to you, my Opening Weekend Studio Kickoff Event with Holiday Portraits!!  Happening Saturday & Sunday, November 4 & 5 from 1pm - 6pm.  I'm taking 15 minute sittings, every half hour.  There will be door prizes (some incredible goodies to giveaway!), light refreshments, and lots of FUN!  There's a $35 minimum print order due at the time of your gallery reveal appointment, which will be within 1 - 2 weeks of your portrait date.  Simple as that.  Gather up the family, come out to see the new studio space, get a few images made with yours truly, have some fun and laughs, then you're on your way!  You'll book a separate appointment to come back to view your gallery and make your print selections, design holiday greeting cards, etc.  and everything will be delivered to your doorstep within 3 days.   

I enlisted my precious models to help me with some ideas I had to shoot in the studio, and they came through like champs for me!  This is the backdrop I will have set up for the Kickoff weekend event!  I'm thinking festive holiday scene for you!    

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The girls even posed for me later that night, in their PJs just before bed.  I am loving this light too!  

Lucy, our cat, even got in on the action! 

I'm looking forward to hearing from you with your preferred date/time to reserve your mini-portrait session at the Studio!  I still can't believe I'm announcing this and am moving ahead with this dream come true.  It promises to be *merry* fun for all!  Thank you for continuing to support the arts and your local photographers, like me!  

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My 3 Girls Photography is located at 322 Westley Road, Mohnton, PA 19540
To call: 610.856.1783
To text: 484.769.2520


P.s.  please email me: to reserve your studio mini session today!  Thank YOU!  

Just Add Magic

A little more than 2 weeks ago, we had a birthday party for our Alanna.  But it wasn't just another birthday party.  Oh no, that simply would not do.  Her actual birthday is in the middle of December, in the midst of all the holiday hoopla, when schedules of activities, festive parties and the overall hustle and bustle of the season have a way of diminishing the celebration of a birthday.  Something had to be done about this!  

Last November, I sat down with Alanna and we brainstormed ideas for her upcoming 11th birthday.  As many of you already know, she's a HUGE Harry Potter fan!  Remember this story from our adventures at Universal Studios Orlando?  If you didn't read about it yet, it definitely helps with the backstory here.  We came up with the idea to have a summertime, pool party to celebrate her birthday, with a Harry Potter theme!!  We decided to celebrate her 11 3/4 (a spin off of Harry's 9 3/4 platform to enter the train depot that takes all the wizarding students to Hogwarts!) year - which is also unique since Harry was 11 when he first learns of Hogwarts - actually on his birthday, no less!  I'll try not to give too much away if you don't already know the story!  

So, it was decided!  The party would be in August, during summer vacation, with her friends and the many ideas formulated from there!!!  We had nine months to prepare and gather party ideas.  I must also note that she did willingly forgo an 11th and 12th actual December birthday parties to hold this special occasion with her friends in the summer.  What a kid!!  :)    

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The photo booth with her besties!!  Emilia wasn't happy until she was right next to her sister!  

And a gourmet dining experience of neapolitan cheese pizza pie, french fried potatoes, and a side of assorted fruit.  I know, fancy - right?!  Ravenclaw's house colors proudly displayed. 

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After bellies were full and satisfied, the girls were ready for some cool fun in the pool!  It was a hot August evening - just perfect for swim time! 

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Besides Kurt and I, one of my dearest friends, Jen, stayed to help chaperone the party.  She and her daughter actually made the trek from their home in New Jersey to be with us and stay the night.  Thanks again, Jen!!!  I'm so grateful to you for all your help and for capturing these next ten or so frames for me since I had to make a run to get ice cream for the cake just as our honored guest, Madam Esmeralda arrived.  I sure wish I had been here to witness this phenomenal psychic powerhouse of a woman from Romania read the girls auras and tell their future using mere ice in plastic cups and an I Spy "Go Fish" deck of cards!!  Wow!!  I heard she even knew all their names - even some of their middle names!  I tried to get Professor Trelawney to come, but she had other plans.  Nonetheless, Madam Esmeralda of Romania brought tons of laughs!  What a fantastic show she put on for the girls!     

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I heard she kept saying that she is "always right and never wrong!"  What a gifted fortuneteller Madam Esmeralda is!  She gave each partygoer quite a thrill of positive feedback and hope for bright days ahead.   

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I also heard that after each reading she gave each girl a beautiful blessing of love, sending them off with joyful, carefree hearts!  

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The girls kept mentioning how similar I resemble Madam Esmeralda.  Hmm, I can see it somewhat, but she's much more amazing looking than I'll ever be and my family heritage isn't Romanian.  Although, I have it on good authority that "the gift" of psychic powers does happen to run on my mother's side of the family.  Hmm...    

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After Madam Esmeralda was finished with her show for the girls, and made her grand exit, it was time for cake!!  And cake we had!!  

Funny story to share.  I asked a friend, who happens to be an amazing cake decorator, if she would make Alanna's cake for us.  Oh, please?!  It turns out she was not available, and was super busy with her daughter's upcoming baby shower.  Oh no!  What to do?  I told another friend of mine about my cake dilemma and she happily referred me to a wonderful cake decorator Kortney's Confections - who delivers!  (Thanks, Kristan!)  Wow, that's unique and would be a great help!  I checked out some of her work online, and got in touch with her right away.  We texted each other with the party details and within a few sentences, she had it all laid out and would take care to make the cake something Luna Lovegood (Alanna's favorite Harry Potter character) would be proud of!! 

The day of the party, Kortney arrives with the cake.  Yay!  There's a million, bazillion things that need to be done and my mind is racing in all sorts of different directions!  She walks into our home and I look at her.  "You look SO familiar to me!"  Kortney says, "I used to hang out with Chelsea!"  No way!!  So, it turns out I remember Kortney from her high school days when she and my Chelsea were close friends, more than ten years ago!!  It's a small, small world after all!!!  :)  It was neat to catch up - and she's still as sweet as she was in high school!!  Kortney's cakes are Incredible!!  Everyone raved about how creative her work is and how scrumptious it was too!!  Thank you, Kortney!!  You did the house of Ravenclaw proud!  You're my go-to cake lady now!!      

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I don't think I can remember the last time I saw my beautiful Alanna smile so much, so freely, so joyously during any of her past birthday parties than I did at this one.  She was absolutely radiant!   

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Earlier, when everyone arrived, Alanna had sorted her friends into either the house of Ravenclaw or Gryffindor in order for them to have a balanced match of Quidditch.  The girls were able to use 2 different golden snitches for the game - first, the girls used a heli ball that Alanna's Granma sent with love just in time to use for the party!!  (Thanks, Mom!  The girls loved it!!).  And the second golden snitch was our very own Emilia!  :)  The game against Gryffindor and Ravenclaw ended in a tie - I think!  I'm not really sure.  I think the girls just had fun riding around on their brooms and trying to figure out where the golden snitch was going to end up!  Jolly good fun!!   

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After the game and the sun went down, it was time for sparklers!  Nothing says "summer parties" quite like a small inferno of fiery sparks to wave around or dance around with, whichever you prefer.     

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The magical night ended much too soon for our 11 3/4 birthday girl.  She couldn't say it enough, with more smiles and hugs - "This was the BEST day/party of my life!"  And, "Thank You!"  Okay, I think we had a winner!!  :))  Many thanks going out to Alanna's friends for making the celebration extra grand and memorable for all who were able to make it!  I think our girls will be talking about this party well into their senior years, as they look back on all the fun of this magical August night.  

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P.s.  I do believe I heard Madam Esmeralda say before she vanished from sight that this was her final party since she's retiring to the islands.  ;)- 

Vermont's Newest Fans

The family and I returned home this week from our camping adventure in the wonderful wilds of Vermont.  I have been intrigued by this state within our union for some time.  Being a progressive hearted and minded woman and hearing about all the amazing things they are doing in this beautiful, mostly agricultural state of roughly 600K residents, naturally, I just had to experience it myself!  

Besides all the delicious offerings of maple syrup, bakeries, cheese, ice cream and wineries (and breweries) Vermont's on the cutting edge of technology in renewable energy!  They are helping to preserve natural resources by harnessing and producing sustainable, renewable electric power to 100% of its residents within their largest city, Burlington.   Everywhere we traveled, we noticed solar power panels in farm fields, on rooftops of homes and even noticed a small solar powered camp site where we pitched our tent for 5 days at Button Bay State Park.  Even the bath houses at the park had solar panels!  They are putting the environment and their people first and foremost for the good of all - what's not to LOVE?!  

Our first stop:  beautifully tranquil Lake Champlain    

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Our first full day in Vermont was spent exploring Burlington and Waterbury.  It just so happens that a fellow high school classmate of my husband's (another Twin Valley grad!) owns and operates a bakery & café in Burlington, about 2 blocks from Burlington's Shipyard on Lake Champlain called August First.  This was our first stop for an early lunch.  They serve breakfast all day on Sundays and the menu was chock full of amazing offerings - there aren't many bakeries/cafes where we live that offer tofu scramble or avocado toast with feta cheese and roasted red peppers, if any for that matter!  August First is also a wifi-less, real face-to-face conversation encouraging kind of place.  They even offer shelves loaded with books and kids toys to interact with as opposed to the screens of today.  Wow, how refreshing this was!  Not only was their fare deliciously nourishing, the down-home ambience and top-notch service was pleasing to the senses.  We were sad though that we missed Kurt's classmate, Jodi and her husband, but it was so neat to meet their adult daughter.  It would have been great fun to see Jodi after all these years.  Many fond, generous thanks to August First for the treats and smiles!!  Keep up the good works, friends!          

After lunch we walked down to the shipyard.  I spotted a loon dipping and diving under the water.  What a life to live on the water! 

Rocks, rocks and more Rocks!  These girls love to collect them!  Anybody else find rocks galore in pockets, under the car seats, in between car cushions... after your own excursions?

Then we were off in search of ICE CREAM!!  And, guess what!  We found it!  Ben & Jerry's factory tour was as flavorful, colorful and euphoric as you can imagine only Ben & Jerry's to be!  Nobody is allowed to snap pictures within the factory - so you'll just have to go yourself and experience the tour.  You won't leave hungry, and that's a promise.  I did manage to get a few shots though to share with you...  

I love how forward their thinking is and how they are making a positive impact on our planet and its residents with sustainable practices and only non-GMO ingredients in their goodies.  Our tour guide told us that he is given 3 pints of Ben & Jerry's ice cream a day (a day?!) - holy cow!!  Talk about earning company dividends to enrich and nourish your, uh, tummy!  ;)  How thoughtful of the kind and generous folks at Ben & Jerry's to take such good care of their employees.     

A new day and a new bottle of maple syrup to keep the family smiling first thing in the morning.  Kurt whipped up some good ol' fashioned flapjacks on the griddle over the Coleman stove.  

Well, not everyone in our family has a happy face first thing in the morning... 

We were off in search of a boat rental.  A canoe, more specifically.  I was a bit hesitant and nervous to take my gear out on the water, but the adventurer in me said "go for it!"  Thankfully, all went well and we had smooth sailing.  We found the available rental at the next state park to the north of Button Bay - Kingsland Bay State Park.  Another absolutely beautiful park to visit. 

The next few images are common scenes for summertime in the Vermont countryside:  bales of hay; classic New England architecture; an organic vegetable roadside stand; and miles and miles of farmland (with solar panels).  

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Storm warning!  I captured this one with my iPhone as thunderstorms moved in over Lake Champlain and rained on our parade.  It wasn't for long, as they traveled fairly light (lucky for us campers!). 

The morning after a rainy, dewy night always brings some beautiful surprises all its own. 

We were off again!  This time in search of waterfalls and possibly some hiking.  We heard from the locals that there was a well known swimming hole with falls in the quaint town of Bristol called Bartlett Falls running along the edge of the Green Mountain National Forest.  Before seeking out the falls and swimming hole, we decided to explore Bristol and get some lunch.  I was enchanted by this sweet Vermont town of Main Street shops and businesses and the variety of goods and services they had to offer to local residents, as well as visitors passing through.  A common thought continuously ran through my mind by this point in our VT visit, "how do the local people sustain themselves so well?"  Over and over again we hear about small businesses, "mom-n-pop" shops shuttering as the corporations move in and "progress" takes over.  The bulldozers come and level ground, large department stores are built and then the inevitable happens - small businesses suffer the cost and close.  I felt like we had gone back in time somehow as we traveled around Vermont's countryside and even in their larger cities.  There was an independent sensibility that kept bubbling to the surface for me.  I couldn't help but deeply admire this paradoxical spirit of forward thinking and innovation found in the care and resourcefulness of Vermont's energy policies, yet rejection of "progress" in the form of large corporate owned businesses, bulldozing their way through the small towns.  It's apparent to me that Vermont's way of doing business, maintaining a sense of independence while respecting their natural resources is something of a learning curve for all.  By George, I think they've got it!          

Cubber's Restaurant, with its streaming 80s music and wall-to-wall nostalgic throwback images, was packed full of patrons during lunch hour on a Tuesday.  Another chance to feel like we had gone back in time, recalling songs we hadn't heard in decades!  What a classic gem this eatery served up!  Their food was exceptional, taking care to cater to the vegetarians amongst us!  And the complimentary fruit infused water was absolutely refreshing!!  We can see why they were so busy on a hot summer day - without A/C, no less!  Stop by when in Bristol and tell them "Pizza, Love & Harmony" is the perfect recipe!!  :)  

After peering into most all of the main street businesses and spending some dough, we found the falls and the swimming!  There were a lot of folks out sunning themselves and dipping in the water to cool off.  

As a kid, I did a load of camping every summer with my dad, stepmother and sister at state parks (and off trail, too!).  I can remember that some of the best parts of camping in state parks were the friendships that were formed with other campers.  And even though the friendships that were made were brief in the grand scheme of it all, those new friends are still some of my fondest memories of camping.  So, when we (the girls included) noticed a bright, energetic girl biking around the campground who happened to be at the campsite across from us, and who looked to be about Emilia's age, I nudged the girls to go introduce themselves, say "hi!"  They rejected my suggestion, playing shy, until their curiosity finally took over.  After that they were so thankful that they made new friends, spending as much time together as possible.  See, sometimes wisdom in years does pay off. ;)  

Anyhow - funny story to share!  It was our last night of camping and the neighbors invited us over for s'mores!  Sure thing!!  Who doesn't love s'mores?!  Plus, getting to know new friends is always great fun!!  So.  While preparing for the s'mores, our new friends' grandpa injured his thumb while whittling the end of a stick for marshmallow toasting.  He thought a band-aid would do the trick, but inevitably the cut was too deep and had to go to a hospital for suturing/bandaging.  We all felt terrible for him.  But we pushed on and while he and his son-in-law spent the evening at the hospital we sat around the campfire making s'mores, the kids played with other neighbor kids and we got to know one another a bit more.  In all the commotion of the injury, and the s'more date our hosts had forgotten to put their trash away before it got dark.  Kurt noticed it first.  "Is that a skunk?!"  Sure enough a rather large skunk had entered the campsite and proceeded to dig in the trash, finding his "spécialité du jour," ... a grilled cheese sandwich!  Yikes!!  Tail up and not intimidated by us humans whatsoever, we all just kept our distance as we watched him (or her?) hungrily devour his score.  We tried shining a flashlight directly into his eyes - and at first it didn't seem to phase him - but then became irritated and growled at us!  YIKES!!  Tail up, but he eventually gave up and scurried back into the tall brush and trees along the shoreline of the lake.  Whew!  Quickly, our hosts cleaned up and put their trash away.  Our new friend, Kera, named Mr. Skunk "Grilled Cheese."  And it stuck!  We finished up our s'mores and had some laughs about the craziness of the night and off we went to bed.  The next morning we found out that "Grilled Cheese" came back for dessert - s'more remnants - at the feet of the ladies waiting for their guys to return from the hospital!!!  Talk about an exercise in patience and steadiness (and not freaking out!!!).  Eventually, "Grilled Cheese" had his fill and scurried off again.  The ladies were fine, nobody was harmed or caught wind of "Grilled Cheese!"  Talk about an eventful night of camping stories to pass along!  

The following morning the girls met at one of their favorite spots, The Watering Hole.  ;)  They played as we packed up the car to head home. 

I asked "Emmy" what was her favorite thing about camping in Vermont.  She replied, most assuredly, "making new friends and Grilled Cheese!"  Thanks for all the fun memories new friends! :)  If you're ever in our neck of the woods, you'll have to visit with us for s'mores (no Grilled Cheese involved!!).  ;) 

Leaving Vermont taking the Champlain Bridge into New York and heading southward, home.  I think our girls had a blast and made memories to last a lifetime.  :)  We <3 VT!!!  

The August Break, 2017: Part One

The August Break is back!  This may very well be the only time of year that I attempt a photo a day based on a prompt designed by another photographer that I have had success in completing.  I did attempt the "biggie," the 365 Project, once many years ago with a photo a day, without prompts, and made it to October which I thought was decent, however unfinished it was.  So, with a brand new August at hand and 31 prompts to keep me grounded (and focused), I'm giving "The August Break" another go around!  I try not to read the prompts - or commit them to memory - more than a day or two ahead to keep it fresh, a somewhat meditative practice.  I will post here every few days or weeks while allowing my images to speak for themselves.  I hope you'll join in The August Break too and if so, please be sure to comment below with your blog link or online sharing site so I can follow along with you and your daily images.  Thanks!     

1:31  Morning

2:31  Gold

3:31  Roses

4:31  Where I live

5:31  Bicycle

Here is a copy of the prompts for you to play along, too!!  :)  

A photo a day, slowing it down and paying attention to what catches your eye and heart. 

A photo a day, slowing it down and paying attention to what catches your eye and heart. 

I realize I haven't posted in a while (shaking my head at myself).  I hope you are having an absolutely wonderful, Terrific, super-charged summer, my friends!!  I have so much to catch you up on!!!  Life has been full ON!  Until next time, keep your eyes peeled for all the beauty that surrounds you and soak in summertime's wonder.  

P.s.  To see last year's project, please visit this link: Break for August Part One and Part Two.