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10 Years + Forever.

On Monday September 15, 2008 in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania, a sweet, quiet boy took my hand as we sat on an old picnic table and he asked if I would be his girlfriend. My romance loving heart just knew this is how my greatest love story would begin. I was seventeen and had just started my first semester as a college freshman 400 miles from home. Against all the well-meaning advice I’d heard before I left, I fell fast and I fell hard. (I mean, with this hair, can you really blame me?) I just knew there was something special about this one. Maybe it was the loyal friend that he was to the people he cared about – the way he’d give you the last dollar in his pocket if he knew it would help. It could have been the sincerity in his words – that when he told me he loved me for the first time at that beach in Maryland, somehow I just had no doubt that he meant it with everything inside of him. I knew he was the one for me. Those first few years were tough. But man, we loved each other so hard through them. He was my family long before it was official. It’s been 10 years and there are some things that I’d like to go back and say to seventeen year old me.

To 2008 Allison,
This cute boy on the picnic table with you is asking a question that will change your life forever. I know you just met him, but sometimes you need to trust your gut. He’s as wonderful as you think he is. Nothing is an act with him – he’s as genuine as they come. He’ll come out of his shell little by little and every new thing you learn about him will make you fall deeper in love. He’ll cut his hair and grow a beard, and you’ll love that, too. You’ll spend the next few years comparing your relationship to the ones around you. That’s wasted time. People will get engaged before you do, and that’s okay because when it’s your turn, it will be everything your heart could have wanted. If you could see what’s ahead for you, you’d quiet your analytical mind, and breathe a sigh of great relief. It only gets better from here. You think he’s a good boyfriend, but I can’t wait for you to see the husband he’ll be for you.

You have no idea what a beautiful life is in store.

This weekend, we took some time to celebrate 10 years of us. We got to spend some time at our sweet friend, Elijah’s cabin. (He has a brand new album out that you can find here.) We hiked and explored new cities together. We played games by the fire. & we reflected on the last 10 years together.

These days, life has fewer ups and downs than those first years did. There’s a little more monotony, and a lot more responsibility. But that love that began 10 years ago has evolved into something with so much more depth + dimension than I ever could have imagined. The most exciting part of it all is that we believe our best is still yet to come.

Here are some photos from our weekend away.
PS. You can stay in this perfect little cabin, too! 

 

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Heather + Rob | A Medina Ohio Maternity Session

I met Heather + Rob a year or so ago at a networking event for wedding vendors. They own The Thirsty Goose, a fantastic traveling bar for weddings and other events. While I truly love meeting new people, it feels super unnatural for me to attend an event where everyone is supposed to meet new people, so I ended up spending my entire evening getting to know these two. We talked about their wedding and our shared love for Gatlinburg, Tennessee. I like to think that at the end of that night, I’d made a couple new friends.

A few months ago, I got an email from Heather telling me they’re expecting a sweet baby so soon, and asked if I’d be their photographer. I couldn’t say yes fast enough. We spent our evening strolling through Historic Medina together. I wish all my Fridays looked like this.

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Colleen + Michael | A Tremont & Edgewater Beach Engagement Session

“I don’t know what you want me to tell you, man. All I know is that every time I’ve been faced with a tough decision, there’s only one thing that outweighs every other concern. One thing that will make you give up on everything you thought you knew, every instinct, every rational calculation – Love. Listen. No matter what happens, you gotta forget about all the other stuff. You gotta forget about logic and fear and doubt. You just gotta do everything you can to get to the one woman who’s gonna make all this worth it. At the end of the day, you gotta jump.

You love her, I think you always have.”

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Baby Jasper | A Cleveland In Home Newborn Session

“I see skies of blue and clouds of white, the bright blessed day, the dark sacred night.
And I think to myself what a wonderful world

I hear babies crying, I watch them grow. They’ll learn much more than I’ll never know
And I think to myself what a wonderful world. Yes I think to myself what a wonderful world”

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Jenn + Rick | A Sapphire Creek Winery Wedding in Chagrin Falls

Every wedding feels different. I don’t mean that it looks different – dresses, colors, venues. I’m talking about how it feels. How it makes your guests feel, your bridal party feel, and specifically how it feels to me.
Some weddings feel like a scavenger hunt – going from place to place and checking locations, shots, and to do’s off of our list.
Some feel like a well choreographed dance – there’s a time and place for the dips + twist, but if one step is missed, panic ensues.

Jenn + Rick’s wedding felt like a stroll through the park with your best friend.
There was no agenda. There was no hurrying from place to place. And there was no worry about missed steps because there was only one step – to get married.

We spent the day at Sapphire Creek Winery + Gardens with their favorite people surrounding them.
I can’t think of a better way to get married than that. Can you?

Venue | Sapphire Creek Winery + Gardens
Hair + Makeup | Arra Salon
Dress | Wendy’s Bridal
Tux | Wittmann Custom Tailor
Florist | Lisa Schmidt
Stationery | Haley Hahn Design
Videographer | ByDesign Films
DJ | J Walker Creative Productions
Cake | Sapphire Creek Winery + Gardens

Second Shooter | Lauren Perreault
Some of the images you see above were taken by Lauren.

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Madison + Jason | A Lake Erie Engagement Session

Sometimes it’s hard to know what your marriage looks like to the people who aren’t part of it. You know what it feels like, and you know what you hope it looks like. But you can never be sure it looks the way it feels. I recently had a conversation with a friend about marriage and he said something I won’t forget.

“I know a whole lot of married people. It’s obvious that some are doing well, and that others are just getting by.
When I see the way that Stephen looks at you, I can tell that you two really love each other.”

In that moment, my friend saw exactly what I feel every day.

I’ve been thinking quite a bit lately about what makes us so happy together after nearly a decade of learning everything there is to know about each other and I think I figured it out. Stephen is my best friend in the whole world. He’s the one I put first. He’s who I call when something great happens, and the one I cry to when life just isn’t fair. He’s the one I send all my memes to, and the one who will tell me when my jokes aren’t funny. When I feel like the world is against me and I just want to be alone, he’s the one I want to be alone with.

The first time I met Madison + Jason, I could tell right away that they’re best friends. Jason’s the one that makes her laugh. Madison is the one who brings out the best in him.

They’re just better together.

As an outsider, when I look at their relationship, I see two people who are ready to take on the world together. They’re on the same team and they’re not going to let life get between them. They’re ready to work hard for each other and to always lift each other up. But most importantly, they’re ready to laugh at the same memes and New Girl reruns for the rest of their lives.

+ I  have a feeling, it feels just the way that it looks.

 

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Hannah & Jimmy – A Cleveland Engagement Session

I want you to take a moment to think about your favorite love story. Really think. Does it come from an old Jane Austen novel you first found dusty on your grandma’s bookshelf? Or is the classic “receptionist falls in love with the sarcastic paper salesman” scenario more your speed? Does it twist and turn, or does it take more of a straight, simple path? What do you love about it? What drew you in?

I remember the first time I met Hannah and Jimmy. Just like with many of my clients, we sat down for coffee and I asked them to tell their story.

I can’t recall every detail but I do remember it was like a book I didn’t want to stop reading.

Their proposal was unlike any I’d ever heard. It had me laughing and crying (even if maybe just because I laughed too hard.) If you ever have the privilege of meeting these two, do yourself a favor and ask Jimmy to tell you the story. It’ll be your new favorite.

A few weeks ago, we got to meet up again. We strolled through Tremont, and stopped at the place where they had their first date together (RIP Lolita). We found all the good sun spots, and then headed to Edgewater Beach. It was the perfect evening to add another page to their story.

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Savana & Nate – A Tremont Engagement Session

We had just a few minutes to spend together this week.

I think it’s safe to say we made the most of it.

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Thoughts of a Birthday Girl

Today’s my birthday. If you’ve been around this blog for any length of time, you know that I can use just about anything as an excuse to get a little reflective. But if you’re only letting me pick twice a year (because we all know once won’t work), I choose New Years and my birthday. So here goes.

I think I’ve learned more about myself in the last couple years than the rest of my years combined and the deeper I dig, the more I realize how goal oriented I am. I’m generally far more concerned about my future than I am about my present. Because of this, I’ve found that I’m rarely satisfied with where I am in life and that’s something I find myself fighting against regularly. But when I stop to think about things logically, feeling anything less than complete satisfaction just doesn’t seem to make sense.

My life today is better than 12 year old Allison ever could have imagined.

and that’s good enough for me. 

I have a husband who’s literally the best looking man I know and takes better care of me than I take of myself. I have a house that’s cozy and perfect for our little family. I have a business that I’m super proud of. I can smell the flowers in our backyard from my office, and I’m having more good hair days than not lately.

So this year, my goals look a little different. They have nothing to do with where I think I should be, or what I’m not good at but that have everything to do with making the people and the world around me a little better.

This year I want more days spent outside and less time worrying about whatever’s on my phone.  I want to tell more stories and try more recipes. I want to live a little less careful and take big risks. (because we all know that’s where the fun is.) I want to invest more into the relationships I have with people. I want the people in my life to recognize me as someone who cares. I want to send flowers to sick friends and make lasagna for sad friends. I want to remember birthdays and give gifts whenever I can. I want to love people more fiercely, follow my dreams more passionately, and enjoy all the little moments along the way.

Ready. Set. Go. 

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Alivia & James – A Rocky River Park Maternity Session

Having your picture taken can feel weird sometimes. You’re meeting someone new who’s about to point their camera in your face for an extended period of time. Although this is my job, I try to never forget that the time I spend with my clients is unique and probably not something they’re very used to. I love that the majority of the photos I take involve two people in love, because that usually makes the difference between “What do I do with my hands?” and “This isn’t so bad at all.”

When you love someone, you know what makes them laugh. You know where they’re ticklish. You know just what to do to ease the “I’m getting my photo taken” jitters. James did just that. He had Alivia laughing the whole time. Their undeniable chemistry plus the magic of Ohio’s elusive April sunshine helped me knock this session out of the park.

I can’t wait to see these two become a family of three so soon.

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