It’s funny how time flies. Here I am. I’ve been living in California now for 15 months, in my childhood bedroom. Today, we learned that we’ll be signing a lease for a new apartment tomorrow. And since I’ve come here, I’ve become a mother. of an 11 month old. Who acts like she’s two. How is it that we moved from NYC 2.5 years ago when I still feel like a New Yorker in my veins?? How is it that in 11 months, my baby went from being a helpless, fragile, needy little shrivelly package to a robust little girl, walking tentatively around the house as if by accident, fake laughing at all my bad jokes, pining over doggies, with a sense of humor revealing itself to be so similar to my own? Now take that, multiply it by years, and add more babies, life changes, loves of lives, and here we are. I hadn’t seen Jennifer since maybe high school graduation 13 YEARS AGO. What??? How did we get here? And still, how did we manage to do all this stuff before we met again?? She’s got two beautiful boys and a strapping husband. And they are an awesome family. I’m so grateful I got to take a peek into their lives, seeing that really tall girl with braces from junior high that I was such good friends with is now a mother (with great teeth!) of two handsome boys.
What you are about to see, is my most favorite thing about photographing people. It’s called an engagement session – but it’s really only called that so when my potential clients read my packages, it’s an unpretentious description of something they know about – and can understand. But it’s really so much more than that. This moment, of being (sometimes somewhat) newly engaged, is an incredible one. And as I see it, a time in your life that you will never again experience, full of excitement, anticipation, dreaming, and sometimes hardship too. You take each other, hand in hand, and you promise to make a promise. You plan, you taste test, you take the dog for a walk, and it’s all leading up to a pinnacle moment.
I spend the day with Dana and Ryan. I knew we were meant for each other when I asked them to plan a perfect day and I would just follow them around, when they said it would most likely be food based. Ahhhh how I love to eat – and how I love clients that love to eat! So they planned to cook a superb meal – I mean, REALLY AMAZING. It was, in fact SO GOOD that I ran right out the NEXT DAY and bought a fancy le Creuset dutch oven and immediately approximated the dinner they made for us because I couldn’t stop thinking about how good my mouth felt when I was chewing on that slow cooked short rib goodness. But on top of our culinary exploits, this day was full of adventure and discovery – their life on this day a picture of this moment. In this house. With this dog. Telling these jokes, making dinner and enjoying each other like old friends who sparkle at each other in every side long glance and story told.
This is a day in the life of Dana and Ryan.
In the early months of Sarah and Dave’s relationship, something extraordinary happened. Jack. Their son. How lucky it is to find the person you are meant for, and be so strong in that notion to bring a child into the world and still hold strong to each other. I can say after this, my first year of motherhood – it’s ridiculously hard to hold the child that needs you to be strong, to keep it together, on minimal sleep, owning your body and your thoughts in your heart and have room for the one who helped you bring that beautiful child in the world. Nothing is more rewarding, nothing is more difficult. And Sarah and Dave do it beautifully and with enough ease to show each other – despite the chaos and unchartered territory of early parenthood – how much they mean to each other. They live in a world of love, and it was pretty wonderful to take part in that one special day to celebrate it!
How I love Calistoga! When you drive through winding country roads thick with trees and a brush, windows open here and there to reveal spectacular views of valleys, canyons and vineyards. There seems to not be a bad meal to be had in the Wine lover’s paradise – and what better place for a sommelier to marry the postal worker of her dreams! Courtney and Brandon brought all their friends from Vegas where they live, and around the country and treated them to a gorgeous wedding on a sunny October day, with dinner in a wine cave and a great party to boot. I am grateful to have been there to celebrate their love and fabulousness!