Met this little 12-year-old girl playing in her neighbor’s driveway about 12 years ago, as I strolled through our new Mokena neighborhood with a toddler and a baby looking for babysitters. She gave me her cell phone number and she and her mom became essentially our first friends in our new town. She is like a daughter, sister and friend all rolled up into one, and helped me and my girls through the best and worst of times. She got married to the love of her life in December, and we are so proud of and so happy for her. We love you Carissa and wish you and your Tim a lifetime of joy and happiness together.
Well, I’d like to think so at least.
I knew I hadn’t written anything in a while, but when I came to the blog and saw August 29 as the last post, the first thing I thought was, “uh-OH!”
New year means new commitment. And since the Mokena Messenger is so great about giving me space for my photography, I need to be quite a bit more diligent about providing these great back stories to my weekly MokenaGram.
And while on that topic, if any of my Mokena readers have ideas for MokenaGram – someone, or someplace, or something that makes our little town rock, then please email me right away at: email@example.com. I will consider any suggestions!
So many great things happening in my professional and personal world in 2015.
I love my cute little studio on Front Street. Kim McAuliffe, owner of An English Garden florist where my studio resides, is my cheerleader, friend and business guru. We are planning on ripping up the second floor carpeting this year and doing some cool work to the floors so that the studio has that shabby-chic vibe both Kim and I enjoy so much. Behind closed doors, we call it “old crap” but don’t tell anyone!
I had an outstanding year for portraits in 2014. My business grew by leaps and bounds, and with a lot of hard work, I hope it continues in 2015! THANK you to all my wonderful friends here and around Mokena who consistently spread good words about me and my work. You are so wonderful!
2014 Highlights include (but are not limited to) my awesome seniors from Class of 2015 for giving me creative license to make you look super cool and beautiful!
My brides and grooms, who regularly trust me with documenting moments that will last a lifetime. I embrace this responsibility!
My families and their adorable children that fill my studio with love and laughter and JOY. And their “beasts” too — our four-legged friends who are always WELCOME at 11210 Front Street.
In addition to my studio work, I have met amazing people in and around Mokena through my work at 22nd Century Media, the University of Chicago, the Les Turner ALS Foundation, Adler University and the March of Dimes, among others. I’ve met heroes and movers and shakers. Even rock stars. Literally. I shot Aerosmith this summer. It was, as you can imagine, a blast.
Most of all, I could not do ANY of this without the unconditional support of my loving husband, Rick, my Dad (bless his heart!) and my children Becky and Jess, who don’t always understand why I work every day, but know how much I love it, so they support me regardless! And my sisters & girlfriends and sister-friends, who, if I try to name, one will inevitably be forgotten. But you know who you are. And I love you, too.
I face a couple challenges right off the bat this year, but I am literally surrounded by God’s love and support in so many forms, that I am looking forward to both the challenges and blessings so I can watch Him work!
A happy, healthy 2015 to all.
Communion weekends hold a special place in my heart.
My camera just loves photographing the little brides of Jesus. And even though I no longer go to Catholic church, watching the Communicants in their dresses and suits, solemnly lining up two by two, with hands clasped in reverent prayer reminds me of growing up Catholic on Chicago’s South Side. Of rosaries and little white purses. Of parties with potato salad and old aunts. Of not really knowing what commitment to Jesus you just made, but that it was very, very grown up. And very, very important.
I had the good fortune of meeting and photographing Tori a couple weeks ago. I made it to the service and then photographed her outside of church and during their family party. She was an awesome subject to photograph. Mature beyond her years, but just silly enough to enjoy being the guest of honor that day. When the wind swirled around the courtyard, lifting her veil and dress higher than was proper, Tori took it all in stride. We caught some great images in between the gusty breeze and this lovely young lady will have photographs that I hope she will love for her entire lifetime.
The family party was warm and welcoming; the kind where you are able to talk and hang around with a group of strangers, and still feel very much at home. I found out that Megan, Tori’s mom, had lost her own mom just a few short years ago. She had personalized candles around the banquet room that had a photo of her mom and dad holding baby Tori on them. We had a chance to chat for a few minutes, and Megan was certain that her mom was positively beaming down on the family that day.
Just before I left, Megan carefully removed the veil from Tori’s head so she could have more freedom to jump around and enjoy her cousins and friends at the party. It looked very much like weddings I have photographed and I said to Megan, “Just think, the next time you will need to do this is at her wedding!” Megan laughed, nodded her head and agreed.
And before we knew it, Tori was off and running.