I can't say that I've ever done a session that embodied who I am as a person more than this. When Alysce came to me with the idea, and we showed each other our mood boards it was obvious we would pair well together for this project.
Strong Women empower other women, and we rise together. Here we have the Behind The Scenes images from our Fierce Women Rise Styled Shoot. I met Alysce a year ago at a Tuesday's Together meeting here in Green Bay. The Rising Tide Society has opened up so many relationships and has been such a blessing in my life. I met both Alysce and Dana thru our group, along with some of the most creative and amazing people who really rally together and build each other up.
The day included hair, makeup, and behind the scenes photos while the ladies got Maggie ready. She already had her outfits styled and laid out when we arrived. When all was perfection we set off on our adventure to Barkhausen Waterfowl, it set a stage for the perfect location. Alysce had told me she wanted a row of tall pines and we found just that among these tall pines. We took small breaks allowing Maggie to warm back up, sipping hot tea that Dana brought (man, that girl is smart) and put warmers in her boots. Pretty glad I packed an extra pair of snow boots at this point, thankfully they fit her. After a short drive to our second location at Wesquiock Falls, we strapped on our ice cleats and made our way down to the falls. If you haven’t seen a frozen over waterfall in person before, put that on your to do list for next winter, because it is glorious. Maggie of course rocked that location and owned that ice like a boss. On to the last location and it was a race to beat the sun before it left for the day. That phrase “chasing light,” it’s a real thing yo! We arrived at the edge of the bay at Red River Park, hopped out of the car. Maggie in heels. Alysce and Dana carried her onto the ice, we snapped a few images before Maggie froze completely and then off to the car again to warm up. We headed our froze toes back to our original location where we got ready for the day and packed everything away, chatted about all the incredible things we just did, snapped a photo of all of us together (minus Troy, who clearly took the picture) and said our goodbyes. I can not say enough good things about working with these ladies. They are each magnificent in their own way but boy are we a force to be reckoned with as a team. Please check these talented ladies out, I have listed their social media links below the post.
Be on the lookout for branding session collections, because girl!!! this is just the beginning of something badass! If you need behind the scenes, day in your life, lifestyle in your pj's eating pizza with your hubs, or headshots. I'm your little lady, and let's get snapping'. Ask about our BUILDING BRANDS DISCOUNT. Only 3 spots left.
Elle's GRATEFUL for;
- Cole & every single moment he's in my life
- Troy & each day we have together
- the fresh Wisconsin air
- daily rituals that help me grow as a person and spirit
- yoga for keeping my muscles strong and loose during a strange and uncomfortable year in my body.
At the end of every year I feel like my ears are overhearing the phrase. "I can't wait for this year to be over, next year is going to be better!" But what is it that was so bad about this year? And what are we so eager to get to?
I'll be the first to admit this year went foul in some seriously unfortunate ways and I was most likely the leader of the squad saying I was ready for a fresh start and a New Year. For myself and a lot of my friends, I can honestly say this was the most trying year I can remember over my lifetime. If you want to hear about one of our sad and frightening moments from this year (that made us grateful and stronger), here is a little [ peek into that story ]. Bottom line is, I'm always wishing time away and at the end of the day, I do not want time to go by any faster than it already has. Each day that passes means I'm another day closer to Cole no longer fitting in my lap, no longer giving me a hundred kisses before 10 am, and no more “I love you Mommy,” first thing in the morning and every night before bed. I fear that day! Those precious moments will stop on their own time and they are not something I want to rush.
Should we shove these days away, never to revisit them again because they didn't go the way we wanted? Is there a way we can learn, grow, and even be grateful for the suffering in our life?
What is it that we are so eager to run towards that we cannot create right now? What is it about a calendar date that says we will have our shit together? We'll be the perfect business owner, Mom, Wife, cook, be organized, have financial freedom, time freedom, or more family vacations. Whatever it is, why do we settle for next year and not open ourselves up to having those experiences right now?
This post isn't a cheers to a Happy New Year, but a Congrats to creating a Happy Life! So let's throw down the thoughts of disaster that irked us hard the past year and let's take on 2018 with a splash of whiskey and as many happy moments as we can create. This year is going to be exactly like last year and also the best year yet. We will have good moments, bad, and all that goes with life. But this year we can be more present and aware of how we're are approaching these situations and take them head on. I mean a bad day only lasts 24 hours right? With the right tools and mindset we can have more good days than ever before.
This past year I had little time to myself yet created space to work harder on myself than ever before. My goal was to learn how to become more grateful and curate situations that didn't go as planned into something that helps me grow.
4 Daily Rituals that have taught me GRATITUDE.
- No. 1 - I started a Gratitude Journal. Each night before I lay down but already comfy in bed. I revisit my day and list as many things I can think of that I'm grateful for including but not limited to; people, places, gestures, feelings, things that happened in my day, needs being met, memories, and having the time to do this activity. I try to dive as deep as possible and be as specific as I can. If your like me and you're obsessed with Pinterest I have a whole board dedicated to Journaling you can take a peek at [ right here ]
- Meditation - as little as taking a few seconds to disconnect and reconnect with your core a day has proven to restructure your brain at a cellular level. My evening meditation is scheduled to last an hour and the very last thing I focus on before I open my eyes is to list a few things I'm grateful for every day and a few things specific to that day. You don't need to dedicate a whole hour. 5 minutes a day is beneficial.
- A Hot Cup of Herbal Tea - this one is my favorite and to most people may seem simple and confusing on how it could possibly teach someone gratitude. But each time I sit with my tea it centers me. That still moment of silence with a hot cup in my hands and a fragrance of pure happiness and health put me in space where I can be present and honestly if I get to drink the whole mug while it's still hot, I am darn tootin grateful AF.
- A Deep Breath - One of the first things I do in the morning while my pot of water is boiling for my tea, I take a step outside. No matter how cold or hot it is ( we can laugh now, we all know it doesn't get hot in Wisconsin. It does get darn cold thou. ). I take a deep and long breath, focusing on bringing in that good ass Qi ( Energy, Chi, Prana, whatever you yourself call it ), envision it going in my mouth and down through my body to my root Chakra, pause holding my breath 4 seconds, and then slowly letting it out rising up out of my body along my spine and out my mouth. I do this as many times as I feel I need to replace any stagnant energy in my body and revive my life force and ground myself.
I've shared some of my personal gratitude towards life and this year along with 4 rituals that help me live in that space. Would you share 3 of your most beautiful parts of this year or your life your most grateful for in a comment below?
- spending time and playing with Cole
- being alive and sharing life with Elle & Cole
- working for a company who supported my family and myself during one of the hardest years of our lives
- filling our weekends with outdoor adventures
- leaving this year healthier than it started
Elle x Troy Photography, husband and wife photographers capturing Intimate Wedding Photography for rebel souls wildly in love.
Every Winter since the year before I was born, my family has set out to the Tree Farm when the ground is frozen and there's a chill in the air perfect for being warmed up with some hot cocoa. This family tradition started in Missouri at Pea Ridge Forest, it was over an hour away and worth the drive. Our entire family would gather together at the farm on the Sunday after Thanksgiving and we would enjoy shopping at the adorable gift shop and always picking up their personal Pea Ridge Ornament for that specific year. Sip hot cocoa, given out by the same cute old lady every single year since I can remember. Play in the creek our parents wished was frozen, because someone would always fall in. And wandering all over the property searching for that perfect pine tree to call ours. Everyone has their idea of the perfect tree. Mine is short and stout yet perfectly shaped, much like myself (yay, i just busted up laughing at myself there too). Before we left and tied our tree to the top of our toyota we took a photo with Santa and told him what we wished for him to bring us that cold winters eve. On the way back up the hill we said our goodbyes to the reindeer. And we're pretty excited to venture back home to decorate.
We have made it a point to continue this family tradition but of course the way we do, we put a spin on it. Whispering Pines is the perfect place to keep our tradition alive. A trip to sit on Santa's lap, listen to singing reindeer (these are stuffed, but cute & do the trick - please laugh with me of how terrified Cole looks ), the multiple rides on Thomas, James, and Percy. Yeah, I know! Cool right?! They have freaking trains - Thomas & Friends none-the-less, and the most beautiful property full of the most perfect pine & fir trees I've ever seen.
This year we brought Pa pa, since he's Cole's best friend and finds himself still believing in these magical moments of the season. The boys played with left behind pine swords, played hide and seek, and we even caught some decent family photos of us. Andddddd! Cole even was sweet enough to take a few with me. He surprised me with some kisses and that made this Mama very happy!
Who goes on a picnic to the beach during Winter, Am I right?! The answer is us. Yes, we are indeed strange people. No doubt! Point Beach in Two Rivers is one of our favorite spots to visit on the weekends throughout the year. This park is covered in tall pines, boardwalks, sand dunes, beaches, the Rawley Point Lighthouse, millions of; rocks, corral, fossils, and minerals gracing the shoreline, and a campground. We love this place so much that we were out here two weeks in a row; one to play around in the sand before it was too cold, and the second to capture a couple very much in love on their weekend getaway. You can read more about Chelsea x Nate's Point Beach Couples session here.
We planned this afternoon outing around playing in the sand, drinking vegan hot cocoa, and some delicious homemade apple fritters made by my Dad. Ie..also the guy who took the images of all three of us. Troy and I took it upon ourselves to get a mini branding session for ourselves in while Cole and Pa Pa played. I've got to say I'm kind of addicted to flirting with my husband while he takes pictures of me now! I don't think I've ever felt so comfortable in front of the camera.
So without anymore dragging on, here is our little rebel family picnicking on the beach in late November. lol. Let me know in the comments below if you're crazy enough to venture out into the 30º weather to play in the sand? Or what is the craziest thing you've done in the cold weather?
Blake and Kristy have been together for 9 months and got engaged back in October while on a trip to New York City with their families. They love staying in cooking Pinterest recipes together and love making puzzles together. Date night looks like sushi followed by a movie back home with lots of cuddles. Sounds perfect to me!
Have you been following our Vacation through the Porcupine Mountains & Copper Country? If you'd like to see our night at the beach and all the waterfall chasing we've done you can read more at Part I & Part II.
We headed out of the Porcupine Mountains and up along the Keweenaw Peninsula towards Copper Harbor. We took our good ole' time climbing around and enjoying the restful rhythm of the water at a few waterfalls along the way. Our first falls of the day was Bonanza, it was a short walk with a steep but easy climb down. This falls was peaceful and fun to take Cole across the rocks, he had fun crossing back and forth over the flowing water and watching it rush by and down the next set of falls.
While on our way to our next stop in Eagle River, we attempted to find some off in the backwoods waterfalls and it didn't work out quite so well. We felt like we were in that movie "The Hills Have Eye's," and finally I was lucky enough to talk Troy into turning around after about an hour of driving down dirt roads in the middle of who knows where along the edge of the scariest bluff I ever want to be on. We finally made it to Eagle River to check out the Eagle River Falls waterfalls, eat a delicious lunch at Fitzgerald's attached to the Eagle River Inn, and enjoy some country store ice cream on the iron bridge. I even made a new chipmunk friend that was clearly not threatened by me even a little.
We quickly jumped out of the car snapped a photo of Jacob's Falls and ran back to the car. There's a great little gem there called the Jampot ran by some local Monks, if you like baked goods, it's a must see.
We finally made it up to the Brockway Mountain Scenic Drive were you can pull off and see some spectacular views down the mountain of pine trees, golden grass, and flowers. All the way down to Lake Superior and out across the waters. One overlook you could see Copper Harbor below, it reminded me of one of the old mining towns I had seen as a kid in the hills of Colorado.
After forcing ourselves to leave the Mountain Top and venturing down the drive back down to the Lakeshore. Our next stop was Fort Wilkins, an early Army post set up to protect the local Miners in the late 1800s.
The sun started setting and it was a race to Hunter's Point, a spot Troy insisted we had to make it too before the evening was over. Apparently, it's a must see spot. We ran through the rough root and rubble covered trail to get to what was the least breathtaking spot our entire journey. I had to laugh after being initially annoyed. My foot some blisters and my knee was giving me heck after all the hiking we had been doing, plus I'm old and I was tired and cranky. But Cole enjoyed tossing rocks in the waters and we watched the sun set behind the rocks on the point across from us where I caught a sweet silhouette of a couple watching the setting sun as well. We then had to race the last of daylight left to get back to the car before it was pitch black. We also found a dog that we thought was a wolf at first. It was quite a little adventure of it's own. But we all enjoyed the day and it was a lot of fun.
We woke the next morning to dash out the door of our lodging, which was the cutest mid century motel the King Copper Motel. We spent the morning navigating two track roads to even more waterfalls and the great Estivant Pines. Heading back to town at lunchtime Cole got his picture on the giant rocking chair and we had a great lunch at Zik's. It was finally the time to start heading back down the peninsula, but first we had to make a stop at the Delaware Copper Mine, where we got to explore the mine shafts on a tour guided by Cole himself. How cute is he in that hard hat?
After a tiring walk up the 100 steps back to the surface around the ruins and through the rock piles we set out to search for the ghost town of Mandan, where the Mandan and Medora mines operated in the mid 1800s. What you see in the pictures below is all that's there and it was hard enough to find the road leading to them.
Once back in Houghton, we enjoyed a movie night and pizza in our hotel. Our last day in the Upper Peninsula we found and played for hours at the Shoots & Ladders Park on the river, checked out the Quincy Mine, then took a scenic drive along the river to the Calumet Waterworks Park where we spent several hours scouring the beach for agates and digging mounds in the sand while playing TMNT. It's sad to say this was the end of our trip and all that was left was driving back home.
If your interested in some of the Lake Superior Falls here is a great guide with directions and photos. And if your interested in reading more of our waterfall chasing or playing at the beach you can find that in Part I & Part II.
Let me know if your a waterfall chaser as well, and the biggest falls you've seen. If the biggest one isn't your favorite, which is your favorite falls? Comment below!
When Mikey called me in October of 2016 and asked me if we could be in St. Louis during the month of October this year, I was curious about what he was planning. He quickly told me his plans for asking Brittney to be his wife and that we would have to be careful about our conversations here on, because it was a surprise proposal.
The day had finally arrived and we met Mikey along with a group of their friends and family. Since it's been almost a year since we've last seen him; we grabbed some hugs, a peek at that gorgeous ring, and headed out to the pumpkin patch. Huddling under an umbrella and trying to blend in with our surroundings as Brittney and her family searched through the patch looking for the perfect pumpkin. When Mikey yelled out "Hey, Brittney!" She turned around and I swear, I saw her jaw drop. She couldn't find the words and looked at her Dad, you could tell she was searching for what she should do next, when her Dad said, "Go to him." She quickly climbed over the pumpkin vines and made her way to Mikey, down on his knee, in front of the pumpkins laid out reading "WILL YOU MARRY ME?"
Brittney says, "My favorite part was everything! I was completely surprised! I'm surprised I didn't poop myself! I still can't believe he actually proposed after all these years and him telling me it was never going to happen. He pulled it off! I love how he planned it out for over a year & picked out the ring by himself. I love that he included our family, friends, and Elle x Troy came in town to take a once in a lifetime photo op!"
TEN YEARS these two have been together.
Brittney and Mikey first met in middle school and later reconnected in high school.We knew each other from middle school and reconnected back in high school. They fell in love and have been laughing at each other ever since.
These two are the kind of people that create adventure & laughter wherever they go. Brittney loves to scrapbook and Mikey is always busy working on a project knees deep in tools. Together they love going out to eat (especially Pizza), finding new places to check out, and searching through flea markets and yard sales.
Brittney say " We never have a dull moment in this relationship. With my blonde moments and his humor, we are always making people laugh!"
Last year they bought their first home together and they found out a few things about each other that apparently are not deal breakers, because here they are engaged. Mikey found out how OCD Brittney is and she found how particular he can be. She also fell in love with his dog and says he's her world.
An ideal date night for these two looks like Imo's Pizza (for those of you not from St. Louis, Imo's is the best pizza ever!) and a movie!
Mikey thinks Brittney is cute, caring, determined, intelligent, self motivated, and stubborn. All things he loves about her. Meanwhile, she says similar things like; "he's adventurous, caring, loving, determined, & stubborn. He's my everything! I could never imagine him not with me. My supporter!"
All Slots are FILLED at this time
For the first time ever we are offering MINI SESSIONS.
Why now, you ask? It's here already. Winter that is, and I was not ready for it for the first time in years. I love cold weather, like really love it. So with that being said. Our Wedding Season has ended for the year and I'm just not done snapping photos of rad people who become our friends.
Who are these for?
Couples in love. Be it your engaged, married, or somewhere in between. We love capturing your story at any stage along the way. My biggest regret in Marriage is not having our photos taken at least once a year of Troy & I.
Single parents! We think your incredibly strong and deserving of a cost break. Let us document you and your littles playing and spending some much desired time together.
Maternity. A great way to get a Winter Maternity session and not have to bare the cold for very long. No one should miss out on baby bump images because it's frigid.
Small families. This includes families with one child who wants some fun images of their family spending time outdoors running and playing and spending some good quality time together.
What to expect: I am a huge lover and promoter of spending quality time with your loved ones, which usually looks like being in nature running around unposed and only slightly directed. We do always sneak in a few portraits to please Grandma and one for Mom's wall. Otherwise, my prompts are low key. We spend your session going through the typical motions of life, as you would when I'm not around. For couples this looks a little different and there's a bit more prompting of loving on each other. Who wouldn't want to spend some time snuggling and kissing on your loved one?
30 minute session with Elle.
10-15 Final Edited Images
Online Gallery (Share, Download, & Order Prints)
High Resolution Downloads with Printing Release
The time slots are as follows:
Saturday Dec 2nd @ 8:00AM / 8:45AM / 2:30PM / 3:15PM
Sunday Dec 3rd @ 8:00AM / 8:45AM
Saturday Dec 9th @ 8:00AM / 8:45AM
Sunday Dec 10th @ 2:30PM / 3:15PM
EMAIL to reserve your spot today! Only a few spots left, our schedule is filling up fast!
Location: We have two locations, our morning and evening spots will be different due to lighting. Both locations are beautiful this time of year. Location will disclosed in our email.
To save your spot we require a $50 retainer. The remaining balance is due at the time of service.
Spots are limited and this is the first time we have ever offered mini sessions. This is a BIG deal for us. Send us an email to brighten our day letting us know your interested and a email will be returned to you within 24 hours giving you all the details and offering of times! We can't wait to capture your love, be it with your significant other, your child, or your little family. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule your session today!
After spending the first half of the day chasing waterfalls, we set off in hopes to view the highest point of the Porkies at Summit Peak. We didn't spend very long there before we were off in search of good food and then Troy suggested finding a beach to watch the sunset enjoying each others company while the tide came in for the evening.
Last weekend we headed up to The UP for our summer vacation. We spent four days hiking and chasing waterfalls throughout the dense fern filled woods. I'm splitting this post into two sections for Day One and then there will be two additional posts for the other days. Be sure to check our the additional posts to get a glimpse of our Bear encounter and to see some glorious mountain top views.
Party Like a Pirate. Well.....Let's just say. I'm spent.
A four year old's Birthday Party is exhausting. Like grab a group of 21 year old's and a bunch of Red Bull, mix it with techno music and pulsing lights with glow sticks. That will not even come close to the amount of party hard that these kids did. It's been a week and I'm still taking naps to get over my pirate hang over. No there was no alcohol involved. Unfortunately!
Kypton x Natalia are very special in our home. They were are first friends in Green Bay. Our first session with Natalia was when this little cutie below was in her belly and she had just moved her from Arizona. What started as a Maternity Session turned into a friendship for both Cole & I. We had many lunch & play dates with the boys and they became little buddies.
Our first stop driving up to Door County was Potawatomi State Park where the spectacular view at the top of the old ski runs is breathtaking. Your eyes are lead down the hill along the dirt path to a creek then into the woods and out to Green Bay. After closing our jaws back up we ventured to Cave Point for a little stroll and found ourselves dreaming as we walked through the cypress and tall pines weaving through the downed logs and over roots. A few moments were taken in as the rough and high Lake Michigan waves crashed against the white rocks we decided to come back to that spot another day. It was a bit crazier than we planned to get in 36º weather.
They found a tumor called a Thymoma on his heart and it was very large and caused a strange trigger of symptoms that looked like a Disease called Good's Syndrome. What started as a simple cough the last few years grew increasingly worse the last few months of 2016 and turned into pneumonia almost overnight. We went to the hospital thinking he was going to have a simple treatment plan and a month and a half later here we are planning his surgery at the teaching hospital Froedert, down in Milwaukee to have this tumor removed off the outside of his heart.
We drive a lot on the weekends lately, this weekend we drove along Green Bay and stopped at a few parks along the way. We’ve been having cabin fever and one of our favorite parks, complete with a Pirate Ship playground fixed our Vitamin D and our restless legs. Plus I captured some funny photos of my little man and that always makes this Mama smile!