photography blog

How my last child got her name...

A couple of weeks ago, I announced that I would be revealing bits and pieces about me and my story over this coming year because that is what I have my clients share with me. <3 If you want to be one of the first to read these, head over to my Facebook or Instagram and stayed tuned every Friday morning!

I have three beautiful daughters. They all have unique names. 

My oldest daughter is Elise (means consecrated to God) Annalea (combo of her two grandma's middle names).

My middle daughter is Annistyn (it means resurrection) Nicole (my middle name)

This is my third, and last beautiful daughter is Audrey Chase. I didn't want her to be my last. I come from a big family and wanted a big family. But I have truly terrible pregnancies. I struggle from Hyperemesis Gravidarum (as well as a number of other ailments 🤣) and it gets worse and worse each time. I've had 5 pregnancies and 3 births. 2 babies were lost, something I know many of you have suffered also. Knowing that Audrey Chase would be my last... we decided to name her after my dad Audie --> except the feminine version obviously 🥰 and then Chase (my husbands name). My dad was named after his dad who died of a massive heart attack while his mom was pregnant with him. My dad grew up fatherless but that didn't make him any less fit to be a father to us. In fact, it was just the opposite. Because of his upbringing, he was the best dad EVER. And the PERFECT person for my last little girl to be named after. <3

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Spotlight Feature: Basic Invite - from forest weddings to church weddings. They've got you covered.

As a wedding photographer I am constantly working to get my brides the best, most helpful information to assist them as they plan the best day of their life as well as develop partnerships to save them some money! Because let’s face it… you shouldn’t have to take out a loan on a wedding. Haha! :)

One of my amazing partnerships is with Basic Invite. Basic invite is a invitation company that creates everything from Save-The-Dates to Bridal Shower Invitations, to Wedding Invitations and Thank you cards and even 100% *FREE* wedding websites. Their invitations are beautiful and timeless. There are unlimited color combinations and everything is totally customizable. Once you are done customizing your project, you can view it instantly online. Their wedding websites are mobile friendly (because who has time for computers) and super easy to use. You can instantly upload all of your wedding day details, along with pictures, maps, and directions. Everything your guests need to know, right in one place.

But to me, whats unique about Basic Invite, and why I partner with them, is their designs. They aren’t the typical designs you see on other sites. Their designs are special. They make you feel something. No bride & groom are the same. Why should your wedding invitations be created from some boring, one-size-fits-all template?

Basic invite has over 900 different wedding invitation sets alone. Want pictures? No problem. Prefer to keep it simple? They do that to. The best part is that each invitation is a part of a set. So once you find the invitation you like, the have save-the-dates, enclosure cards, wedding menus, programs and even matching thank you cards! FINALLY, something made easy! I have a ton of outdoor weddings coming up in 2019 and Basic Invite even has adorable outdoor themed save the dates.

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The wedding invitation someone receives is the first picture they have of your wedding day. And Basic invite here to make sure that first impression is a good one by making sure even the tiniest detail is customizable to make it exactly the way you want it. Once you select a design, you can change the color options for each individual element on your invitation to one of over 180 different color options. That way you can make sure your wedding invitation reflects who you are as a couple in every way imaginable.

On top of that, they have over 40 different colors of envelopes. I absolutely love this because nothing makes you more excited to open a piece of mail than when it is in a fun envelope! Plus, all of their envelopes are peel and seal so that way you don’t have to waste your time licking those disgusting glue strips. No, thank you!

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One of their newest sets is the Seal & Send Wedding Invitations. These are an all-in-one wedding invitation with a tear-off RSVP postcard included! Making it nice and easy for your guests to get you those RSVP cards back in a timely manner (wink, wink)! #noexcuses, am I right?

Currently, they offer them in over 30 designs in this lineup including foil-options and they are also completely customizable like their other products. BUT WAIT… I know you’re thinking it can’t get any better than this but it totally does. Whats extra special about these is that the guest’s address are ALREADY PRINTED on the front of each invitation which means no envelope necessary (Insert mind-blowing emoji here). :) All you have to do is share a link, collect guest addresses (which, side-note they make this nice and easy with their Free Address Collection Service & Envelope Printing) , and upload them to your design instantly. Easy as pie, my friend! Then, once you receive your order, all you have to do is add postage, fold them up and seal them with an sticker! Simple, Easy, and Trendy!

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Basic Invite is truly her to give you that custom, beautiful, wedding that tells your story. They even offer custom wedding coasters. These coasters are completely made specifically to match your day. These unique coasters can be used at the reception and be included as a take home gift to all of your guests. Win-Win for everyone!

Still not sure, go ahead and hop on over to order your CUSTOM SAMPLE today (thats right, even their samples can be customized)! Just to be extra sure! :) I promise you won’t regret it!

BONUS: For all you Photos by Ariel brides out there… you get to enjoy 20% off your order! -XO

My 9 favorite pregnancy products...

My pregnancies were HARD. I had severe hyperemesis gravidarum (extreme morning sickness) which led to weight loss, many hospitalizations, IV's, and nutrition bags. Then I had typical pregnancy problems of extreme exhaustion, fainting, bloating, swelling, insomnia, sciatica, back pain, and all the other wonderful things that happen when we were pregnant. Don't get me wrong... having had two miscarriages I was extremely grateful for the sweet lil' babe in my belly but my goodness it was definitely not an easy time. So, I decided to share some of my favorite pregnancy products that got me through with all of you pregnant momma's out there..... 

1.) Sensodyne Toothepaste. Ha! Bet you didn't think this would be on here, huh? Well, turns out when you vomit 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for 10 months it RUINS the enamel on your teeth. Take it from me, if you have vomiting, use this enamel protecting toothpaste. 

2. Belly Bands. These wonderful things can be found here. During the first 20 weeks or so of pregnancy it's a great way to still wear your normal pants and you can wear them unbuttoned with these things. Great transition piece from regular clothes to maternity clothes. 

3.) Stretch Mark Cream. I used Palmer's Cocoa Butter in all 3 of my pregnancies and managed to make it through without 1 stretch mark! Not making any promises, but this stuff worked for me! It can be found here or at any major drug store. 

4.) Pregnancy Pillow. Sleep gets super hard towards the end of pregnancy. With the constant peeing and the not being able to get comfortable, its just tough to wake up and feel rested. A pregnancy pillow similar to this one helped me tremendously. Yes it's big and obnoxious but who cares if it means you get good sleep! Especially when this is baby #3 and you have to wake up bright and early to take care of two other littles. 

5.) Heartburn Medicine. Pretty self-explanatory but I CANNOT stand tums. Heck, I couldn't even keep ice down, much less those nasty, chalky tums. But these were amazing. They taste like starburst! Yes please! You can also by them at CVS, Walgreens or any other drug store. 

6.) Maternity Leggings. Leggings are comfortable all the time but in pregnancy they are a MUST (plus they are great for postpartum too)! When that awkward "things fit, but not really" stage comes along, it happens fast and you'll want to wear something that feels like nothing. :) Cute and Comfy clothes are non-negotiable in pregnancy. Just do it. 

7.) An awesome water bottle. I use this one but it really doesn't matter what one you use as long as you like it. I tend to drink more water if I use a water bottle with a straw. Not only is this a wonderful pregnancy product but also an amazing postpartum product, especially if you are nursing! 

8.) Chiropractic Care. With all the terrible pains I struggled with during pregnancy, I decided to try chiropractic care and it worked wonders with my sciatic pain and migraines and overall energy level. Some women say it even helps their morning sickness (didn't really help mine). Still recommend it. Made my pregnancies tolerable. :) 

9.) Photographer. Get an amazing maternity photographer. Not just one who "does" maternity photos but one who truly specializes in maternity and babies. Pregnancy sure does a number on women. In addition to some of the not-so-glamourous symptoms, we have to watch our bodies transform into something we aren't used to seeing everyday. And even though we know in our minds why it is happening and how we are growing a human, it still does a number on our self-esteem. Hiring an awesome photographer who knows how to pose different body types, which angles to shoot from, etc. will only help you see the beauty that every one else sees when they look at you during this season of your life. Treat yourself to a maternity session! You deserve to feel as beautiful as you are! Click here for packages and pricing. 

Well, those were my MUST-HAVES for pregnancy. What are some things on your must-have pregnancy lists? Also, enjoy these maternity photos of this beautiful first-time mama! The location of Washington Park in Springfield, Illinois was the perfect setting to reflect what this beautiful couple feels at this amazing season in their life. Can't wait to meet their sweet baby boy! 

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