One more thing…RSS lovin’…

August 26, 2009

I promise, I really am going to be posting at the new JGrace.net from here on out, but wanted to drop you a line regarding my RSS feed for the new blog.

Now I’m no technical genius, so when I was trying to add JGrace.net to my Google Reader, it was a no go. So, I clicked on the little nifty RSS feed button (near my twitter feed on the new J*Grace site) and realized there is another address you’ve got to enter in to your Google Reader or whatever other blog reader you use and it is http://www.jgrace.net/?feed=rss2

or you can just click here. :) Have a happy day.

(Hope to see all 22 of my little Google Reader followers over at the new site :) If only I knew who you were…

New Blog!

August 26, 2009

I am so happy to announce the arrival of

JGrace.net

I have just been itchin for more flexibility (and big ol’ pictures!) on my blog, and so I’ve got my own domain name and a new site. This will be the last post I’ll make on this site, so update your readers and RSS feeds to

JGrace.net

Let me know what you think… it is still very much under construction, but I am looking forward to utilizing my new site for J*Grace Photography!

Manda+JR’s Wedding

August 11, 2009

I met Amanda six years ago when she was a freshman in college and I was a senior. My best friend and I had the *ridiculous* idea that we should work in the dining hall that semester, and we were put on the breakfast shift. Oh. my. That is a whole ‘nother post. Anyways, one of my favorite positions was when Laura and I would work the omelet line. It was fast paced and a lot better than being the beverage girl (don’t even get me started on those gargantuan bags of milk I was supposed to haul.) One Thursday night I was at the BSU as usual, when I saw Amanda and startled her with my opening line- “Hey, didn’t I make your omelet this morning??” :) And we’ve been good pals ever since. I love this girl. She’s so kind, fun, spunky, a good listener, an encourager, and just a great friend.

I’m not sure the first time that I met JR. I think I was pretty intimidated of him at first (see: lots of tattoos and strong opinions to go with them on theology and politics and matters in between). But, he has grown on me in lots of ways. And I know he loves my Manders.

Last summer we were all at the beach when JR asked Amanda to leave the house and go walk on the beach with him at night. After they left, I looked at Tiffany and said “He’s going to tell her he loves her!” Oh yeah. I called it.

How do I even begin to describe this wedding? It was absolutely unique and a reflection of themselves and their relationship. Amanda sported her black nailpolish and funky hairdo, JR his wallet chain and short sleeve shirt to show off all his sweet tats. They fitted us all out with a rainbow of Chuck Taylors, and sported ones themselves that read “Forasteros,” their new last name. The couple decided to create their own last name in part as a reminder of what they wanted their lives to be centered around. Forasteros means alien or stranger in Spanish, and their wedding played on this theme with much talk of how they wanted to see the world and serve the people of the world, always mindful that they are just an alien and stranger on this earth and that their real home is with Christ.

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We had the most *beautiful* location for the wedding. The hipness of the Forasteros met the rural beauty of the Blaylock farm. I love this shot I snuck of two of the guys who were helping with parking hiding in the shade of the shed (notice the bucket he is sitting on :)

Manda+JRslideshow-1-2Not only was the landscape gorgeous, but the buildings on the property were AMAZING. They were built in like the 1870′s and just simply breathtaking, pretty much like this bride:

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The room that the girls got ready in was entirely turquoise. It was a photographers dream. Check out more of the pictures here to see what I mean.Manda+JRslideshow-15

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In addition to their rings, they got ampersands tattooed on their ring fingers as a reminder that they are no longer *just* Amanda or *just* JR, but “Amanda AND JR” :)Manda+JRslideshow-22

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We had to have facilities for all these people out at the farm, and Ashley assured me they were *ceremony johnnies* or something like that, so they were supposedly cleaner. The girls were all over my crazy ideas :)Manda+JRslideshow-44

When Amanda got a pic with each person in her bridal party, they did serious ones and then silly ones, and we got a few crazy ones. Amandas mom (below) is crazy fun… I won’t tell you what she did to elicit this reaction out of Manda!Manda+JRslideshow-47Manda+JRslideshow-48Manda+JRslideshow-50

Workin it by the barn. Mmm sun flare.Manda+JRslideshow-59

Loved this shot of her soon to be hubby and her daddy on either side of the bride. Manda+JRslideshow-64

It was BRIGHT and HOT outside, but the couple obliged my pleadings to come out into this awesome field for some “sexy” pics :)Manda+JRslideshow-77Manda+JRslideshow-69Manda+JRslideshow-68Manda+JRslideshow-94

This kiss was actually kiss #2– JR stole an extra one… and it was adorable!Manda+JRslideshow-113Holla! Rainbow Chucks!

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Amanda Iman created the invites and programs for the big day, and they couldn’t have been any more perfect for Manda and JR!Manda+JRslideshow-98

I believe this guy is the one that gave the couple their new tats… and his moustache was too cool, i had to sneak a shot of him!Manda+JRslideshow-86Cotton candy! Score!

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Everybody rocked it late into the night… jammin under the lights and to the KARAOKE of their fellow guests. (My favorite? When JR did Total Eclipse of the Heart.) Awesome. Was so glad to be a part of your special day Manda and JR, and am so excited for y’all’s new lives in Ohio. You better come visit!

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Click Here to see all of Manda and JR’s pics

Click Here to see the slideshow of some of my faves

The Forasteros preview

July 27, 2009

Rainbow colored Chuck Taylors. An incredibly gorgeous farm. Cotton candy, snow cones, and hot dogs. An all turquoise room to get ready in. Karaoke under the stars. A bobble head cake topper. A comic book guestbook. A splatter painted piece of artwork that the guests helped create. Wow, what a wedding. I’m still recovering from the weekend back in Columbia, MO where I photographed my awesome friends Amanda and JR get hitched. More to come, but here’s a sneak peek of them and their rockin sassiness. forasteros-1 copy

Sushi Date

July 23, 2009

I went on a date tonight. But it wasn’t to go get sushi (oooh, I tricked you, didn’t I?!) Tonight, our second Spendyourself photoshoot of the week was rained out, so I ended up getting to hang out with my man (since one of us will be out of town the next THREE WEEKENDS in a row. Blah.) We went to La Que… one of our favorite little places, which is incidentally where he took me on our first date (after we got lost on our way there… yep, on the first date. it was awesome. But that’s a story for another day.) I was so glad to be with him tonight though because tomorrow is our 11 month anniversary! Woo! (Is that like really teenager of me to count the months? No– whatever. I don’t care. It’s love:) So anyways, at La Que I get this awesome dish *every time* that has chicken over noodles and then all of these wonderful flavors: curry, lemongrass, cucumber, cilantro, peanuts, spicy stuff, those little sprouty things that sometimes are in Chinese food, and a mystery sauce that we just ladle alll over it. Scrumptious.

But this post is about sushi. Lol.

Last week sometime I took Lee out for sushi (another of our faves) to celebrate him paying off all his school loans! Yippee for paying off that debt. Dave Ramsey would be so proud. Well, actually, he still has $17 he needs to pay, but when he tried to pay it the loan company told him that they had sold his loan to the US Government, and that he should write them a letter. Yeah… like that’s really going to solve anything. Or maybe he could call them? Oh wait… have you ever tried to call the US Government? Anyways… hopefully he can track the $17 down before it turns into a letter 10 years later claiming they owe him 1,573.92 in interest.

Sorry, this post is about sushi. I keep getting distracted.

So there it is— in all its glory!

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We got some other stuff too (like crunch n munch.. mmmmm) but when this plate came out I nearly swooned at the colors. I had my camera with me (duh!) and I quickly apologized to Lee that we were going to look like Chinese tourists for a moment (ummm did i say that?) as I took a picture in the restaurant, of the food. I just couldn’t help it! I mean look at it!

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And here’s the cute boy across the table from me, who politely obliged when I told him to “hold up some sushi… you know… like in your chopsticks!”  <eye rolling commences>  “no, come on, like closer up by your mouth. oh i know! maybe pretend like you’re eating it!… No??… Okay fine… just a little higher up then…”   Poor photo slave boy.SushiwLee-3 copy

(Side note: how about that blue wall behind there matching the sushi plates?! holla!!)

And then we went on a photowalk. Okay, so we really just went on a regular walk. But… ugh… I just. couldn’t. stand. it.  I HAD to take pictures. And Lee just kept walking. ;-)

This one reminds me of a little joke from Spring Break my senior year of high school— “This “body” belongs to Chuck.” Oh goodtimes. (There are only 4 people out there in the world that would get it… lets see if they’re reading ;-)SushiwLee-4 copy

I kind of have a propensity for ol beat up metal stuff. Lee is starting to understand this about me. For the Spendyourself shoot… I was so proud when he said “I bet we are going to take pictures over there in front of that dumpster aren’t we?” And I said “YES honey! We are!! I’m so proud that you know me so well that you dont even think its strange anymore that I want people to gather around an old metal nasty smelly dumpster and smile real pretty!!”SushiwLee-5 copy

The other benefit to photowalking with the Lee– a built in hot model. I love how you can see his shadow. And I’m pretty proud of his progress in not having to smile in .every. single. picture. SushiwLee-6 copy

Its a telephone pole, yep! But its gritty and cool, no?SushiwLee-7 copy

You can do it, little weed!

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Here’s my model again.SushiwLee-9 copy

Now he’s smiling at me. He can’t help himself. SushiwLee-10 copy

And now he’s trying realllly hard to be serious again. Nice try, boy.SushiwLee-11 copy

Okay I’m running out of commenting steam. Its a wall. And a light. ;-)SushiwLee-12 copy

Is that some medicinal herb growing there, buddy? jk jk. i know that’s not what that looks like.

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Oh and then I LOVE this one. This little pup was trying to be so fierce… and then he stuck his little nose through. Love it. I feel like I should be hanging out with Opie, going fishing and whistling a tune or something when I see this image. SushiwLee-14 copy

I got really excited about this yella door. I want a yella door.SushiwLee-16 copy

I thought I should be in a pic. This is all that I got. SushiwLee-17 copy

Oh my, he’s so handsome, isn’t he girls?SushiwLee-18 copy

And a pretty little plant. Bonus points to you if you know what it is. Too bad I’m pretty sure Grammy doesn’t read my blog, because I’m sure she’d know! She had me saying “Silphium Terabinthinacium” at like age 3. And thats no lie. SushiwLee-19 copy

Thanks for photowalking with me. Oh it was fun! How about you do your own photowalk and let me see your pretty pictures??

Spendyourself Kisumu Shirt

July 20, 2009

The newest Spendyourself shirt is officially here! This shirt benefits a village in Kisumu, Kenya that has been ravished by AIDS and political violence, leaving many of the childrens orphaned or on the streets. We are partnering with our friends at Life in Abundance (LIA) to empower the church in Kisumu to minister to the orphans in Kisumu. Read the story of Kevin, a young man from Kisumu and the pioneering methods LIA is using to empower this community here. And buy a shirt while you’re at it! 100% of the profits head straight to Kisumu.

Since this IS my photo blog, I just have to share with you a few of my favorite images I captured on Friday while doing the photoshoot for this shirt. We had some INCREDIBLE models… they did crazy stuff… like this:

And this

And then there was the field. Oh I love you, field. Except that I had to painfully photoshop out all the light poles and the house in the background

Um, well… I guess I got too lazy to keep photoshopping them out :)

Sweet Summertime

July 17, 2009

I’ll admit it.. I sort of like domesticity. Don’t get all hateful on me now… I bet you would like it too if you tried. :) Lee and I kept talking about wanting a garden. I look at all of the pretty articles in Martha Stewart Living and daydream about picking beautiful vegetables out of the backyard and then whipping up something delicious, summery and healthy for dinner.

I guess our container gardening on my back porch is a first step into the foray of gardening, right? I have summer yellow squash… which hasn’t gotten very big yet… a basil plant, and a tomato plant (the goal there being to make some yummy tomato, basil and mozzerella salads).

Well, the tomatoes have come out rather… well… mini-sized. But boy are they sweet… not to mention adorable!

Here are my first two little precious tomatoes that I plucked and promptly ate (not, of course, before taking some photos of them :)

Who has gardening tips to share?

True value…

July 9, 2009

I think I’ve been too scared and too limited to use this blog as MY blog. I’ve kept it semi-sterile (well, aside from posting a whole slough of pictures of me making ridiculous faces…)

But this blog is not just about making some pretty pictures that try to keep up with the competition. I am reading a book called Fast Track Photographer by Dane Sanders. And though I’m on page 12, I’m pretty sure I must have told at least 4 people about it already, because I know the concepts contained within are going to knock my socks off.

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This summer I am focused in large part on getting J*Grace Photography actually off the ground… defined a little bit… and rolling! I’m exploring website and blog options and am just learning all that I can. Although I’m not in school at the moment, I have realized that I AM pioneering two small businesses, between this and Spendyourself. While there are sooo many people entering the photography industry these days with the introduction of affordable dslr’s and the relatively easy learning curve, Fast Track Photographer is helping me to understand what it is that will make me stand out.

Oftentimes we think that the value of a business is found solely in the product or in the profit made from that product. But, Dane Sanders asks us to think for a minute… if all the Starbucks in the country burned to the ground and all their beans were destroyed… would Starbucks just die as a company? No…they would be up and rolling again soon because their real value lies in their ideas, their branding, their people, their purpose, their passion, their reputation, their way of doing business. So too, my images are not what makes me valuable. Despite the fact that my identity and purpose will never fully be found in photography, but in Jesus Christ, within my business, I as the photographer am what makes J*Grace Photography valuable and unique.

Sanders writes “To believe that either your inventory (i.e. your images) or the price you charge for it is where the real value of your company rests is superficial thinking. The real value is the engine that creates those images. The real value is not in the photography, it is entirely in the photographer who takes the pictures. The photography itself is the result of the photographer doing her job. Nothing more… The goal of any business, if it intends to thrive in teh long term, is to increase its real value. And the best way to increase that value is to invest in its core value engine. In the case of wedding photography, that core engine is YOU.”

If I make “the fundamental decision to make [my] business not about what [I] create but about the photographer they’re seeking to become, guess what will happen? The competition will never materialize. It can’t. Why? Because “you” is a scarce resource that cannot be easily copied.” And if you increase scarcity, you increase value.

And so, I embark, with my steady guide, Dane Sanders, to discern how I am wired up and how J*Grace Photography is going to roll. Thanks for joining me on the journey.

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Vintage Awesomeness

July 8, 2009

I finally got to visit the Lagomarcino cabin on the Rock River this weekend. We estimate that the house was built and has been in the family for 75 years. I L.O.V.E.D. it. Before we left, I asked if I should bring my camera. My wonderful boyfriend advised against it, saying there was just a bunch of “old stuff” there. I am glad I went with my instinct and his sister’s suggestion, and brought the Canon along.

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And P.S.– these images, and most others are always better BIG, in my humble opinion :) So feel free to click them to see them bigga’

Thanks for reading!

BFF Birthday

July 6, 2009

My BFF Julie had a big birthday this year. We are doing a photoshoot to commemorate soon… but here are a few shots from one of her parties. This was the dress up and eat dinner party, as opposed to the bring all our Somali friends, eat BBQ and jump in the lake party (which I regret to say I don’t have pictures of).

Isn’t she pretty? She is always laughing.

Here’s Shannie. Really close.

Us.

Us in standard form:

First she does the macarena, for the whole restaurant

The she gets all hawaiianed up:

So that she can do the hula on a chair for the restaurant :)

Grandpa, aka Ol’ Poo came down for the dinner, along with her mom, stepdad and brother.

Isn’t he cute??

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Our view. The Ohio looks much prettier in this pic than it is in real life :)


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