Category Archives: Photography

Fall Foliage

Ugh. I hate to be one of those bloggers who always talks about the weather, but here we are. At least I haven’t mentioned, on any form of social media, whether or not I’ve had a Pumpkin Spice Latte yet (I haven’t) or anything about #SweaterWeather. I promise to try not to complain about how cold I am from November through March…

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Does Fall even, like, happen if you don’t take a photo of your feet on leaves?

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When my friends from the Southern states and/or California talk about how they wish they had “real Fall” where they live, I totally get it. Fall in the Northeast is stunning! When the leaves change and everywhere you look you see luscious shades of reds, yellows, and oranges, it is a feast for your eyes for sure. Here in Pittsburgh, though, Fall is a prize that we all collectively receive because we made it through humid AF August/September. It also helps tide us over until Springtime because winter here feels like it lasts a little bit too long and can be annoyingly bleak. Womp womp.

I try to squeeze in a Fall photo shoot every year because the foliage is so ridiculously pretty and photogenic (like this one from last year), but with Joel working longer hours to finish up a big project at work, I settled for a mini session in my neighbor’s leaves with my sister as the stand-in photographer. Yes I got a lot of stares from people driving by or busy bodies peeking out windows, but I just told them to mind their own business and leaf me alone….

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get it, “leaf“…..

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…….

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Bad jokes aside, try to enjoy Autumn while it’s here because we all know what comes next…

Winter. Winter is coming.

 

Montmarte, My Heart

If you find yourself in Paris feeling guilty about all of the gluten filled pastries you’ve been wolfing down, you might want to try burning some calories by taking a walking tour of the most charming Parisian neighborhood, Montmarte. It will be a delightful feast for your eyes!

One place we will probably never go inside of in Paris is the Moulin Rouge. Nothing against cabaret, it’s just that the film with the same name is one of my favorites of all time and I don’t want my illusions to ever be shattered. That being said, the Moulin Rouge is a good starting point for when things start to get steep. The hills and stairs you will go up will leave your thighs burning! Ready, set, hike.

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Oh, wait. Before you start heading up up up, be sure to check out the Pigalle Basketball Court. Seriously, if the San Antonio Spurs played on a court like this, I might start caring about the sport a little bit more… QUELLE MAGNIFIQUE!!!!

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Sitting at the top of Montmarte, is Sacre Coeur. I dare you to run up all of the steps in one go! Honestly, that’s the best way to get to the top while simultaneously avoiding people trying to sell friendship bracelets to tourists.

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The “Sinking House” can be found to the left of the last set of steps en route to Sacre Coeur (disclaimer- it’s not really sinking as Joel showed you in this video).

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When I think of Paris’ landmarks, I think of the Eiffel Tower, Arc Di Triomphe, The Louvre Pyramid, and La Maison Rose. It was probably the Millennial Pink shade that initially drew me to this place, but I also thought it was a bakery. It’s definitely not, so don’t try knocking. Worry not, though, if you’re looking for a well deserved snack after all that exercise you just did, Pain Pain is on your way down through Montmarte. “Pain pain” translates to “bread bread”, which translates to “yum yum” if ya ask me….

à bientôt, Montmarte! Je t’aime!

Finding Neverland

This week we had professional family photos done for the first time ever! I told my photographer, Kristin from Bella de Beau Portraits that we were pretty laid back and that she should be creative and do something she normally wouldn’t. She had this magical idea of doing a woodland-neverland themed photoshoot and I almost died when she told me! I’m a huge fan of Peter Pan so my answer was an obvious yes!

For the first sitting, Kristin made her own teepee and had us gather tightly inside. Even posing for the photos felt magical. The kids even did a great job sitting and listening for these!belladebeau.ashtonfamilyportraits-31

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didn’t even have to bribe them!
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breathtaking
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Look at that handsome stud!
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I love you more every day.
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This whole photoshoot was done in Kristin’s neighborhood so for the next scene, we jumped in the car and just drove up the road to a cute wooded area for Charlotte’s fairy session.

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my little Tinkerbell
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“smell the beautiful flower, mommy!”
We finished up doing some cute shots on a bench area. We had to hardcore bribe the kids with gummy bears and ice cream by this time but they still did a great job!

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If you’re looking for a great photographer in the San Antonio area, contact Kristin Werthman at Bella de Beau Portraits and Makeup Artistry.
email: info@belladebeau.com
phone: (808) 298-9089
Instagram: @belladebeau
website: belladebeau.com

Hope you enjoyed my photo dump. The pictures were too pretty not to share! Now go into the woods and take some photos!
With love,
Christina & fam

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Houston On My Mind

f3bbdfa9-20c4-423b-9523-a0068fb94ca1-6444-000004c09350a274A few months ago when Sarah was in town, we kidnapped our friend Kayla and took her to Houston in a day and back for the sole purpose of taking pictures. At the time, Sarah was the only one who had a blog so Kayla and I were just along for the ride and a chance to have someone photograph us. Cool!

We headed out early morning with our first stop being outside San Antonio for breakfast tacos and sweet tea from the one and only Bill Millers. That was my first mistake, tea! Houston is only a 3-hour trip and I had to stop at least 5 times to pee on the way there. It made it pretty obvious which one of us was the mom in the group.  We had a sweet playlist set up, so it was a smooth ride… aside from all the pee stops.

My husband (being the champ he is) created a map for us to follow with all the pinpoints of the murals we wanted to check out. We weren’t able to catch them all, but we enjoyed ourselves and made it almost like a game. Arrive, change clothes, run over to the wall, take photos, change again, run back to the wall, take photos, run back to the car, hit up next destination. A few of the walls were across the street from each other so that made it easier.

1. Sugar and Cloth Color Wall
3302 Canal Street
Houston, TX 77003
*Update: This wall is no longer available. A bunch of cotton-headed ninnymuggins painted over the wall!

Isn’t she adorable?

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When we arrived, we didn’t realize it would be in a very populated parking lot next to a gas station. It made outfit changes difficult since my car doesn’t have tinted windows. A few of the men that were at the gas station ran over and asked if they could have their pictures taken with Sarah and Kayla, Sarah convinced them that she was famous and they didn’t question her for a second.

2. Synchronicity of Color “Art Boxes” by Margo Sawyer
Discovery Green Park
1500 McKinney St
Houston, TX 77010

This park was really neat, there were multiple different colored “Art Boxes” scattered through the park. We didn’t pay for street parking so we only hit up one and made it quick.

Kayla being the spider monkey she is, managed to climb up in my 5-inch heels and pose like a queen. Right up until the rent-a-cop blew his whistle and made her climb down. Nice shot Kayla, nice shot.

3. Zipper Colorful Wall by Kelly Graval (aka Risk Rock)
1513 St. Emanuel
Houston, TX 77003

This was in a huge graffiti park and the parking lot was completely empty so we had the ability to change and snap pics as needed.

 

4. Red and Teal Diamonds
Chinatown Printing and Graphics
2102 Leeland St
Houston, TX 77003Twinning. Just Kidding, she already has a twin.

I am super clumsy and couldn’t manage to balance on that pole on my own, thanks for the help Sarah.

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¯\_(ツ)_/¯

 

5. American Queen Mural by Michael Savoi
3100 Smith St
Houston, TX  77006

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6. Biscuit Paint Wall
1614 Westheimer Rd
Houston, TX  77006

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img_2622Again! SO ADORABLE!

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Here is a pic of Sarah’s backside. Looking good cuz!

7. About Rocks by Russell Etchen
Lawndale Art Center
4912 Main St
Houston, TX 77002

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My friend Aylin (Houston local) stopped by for some sushi and a quick snap, we’re a trio the 3 of us.

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There you have it!
Come to Texas and put Houston on your list. Come for the Tex-Mex, STAY for the murals!

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Phun With Photoshop

Over Christmas break, my graphic design major/professional blogger sister-in-law gave Joel and I a free lesson in how to use Adobe Photoshop. Mostly we learned how to enhance photos using filters, brightening/darkening tools, etc; but we were also introduced to the Liquify tool and our lives have changed for the better with this new way of entertaining ourselves…

Let us show you:

We took this boring old wedding photo and made it much more interesting. See how natural my boobs and butt look before? ughhhh, BOOOORINNGGGG! My favorite part about the after is Joel’s hunchback.

One, two, three, KARDASHIAN! I’m a big fan of my big fanny in the after photo.

I guess our kitten, Peter, was kind of cute before, but he looks even cuter as a bug eyed big eared cat!

Installing Photoshop is different than it used to be. Instead of paying for the whole program at once, it is now $10/month (which is a total steal if you’re adding it to your entertainment budget). Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go cry from laughing so hard.

NOLA

Nothing makes me feel more Hashtag Blessed than my ability to travel. 2016 was a pretty amazing travel year for this girl. I was lucky enough to have had the opportunity to spend my 27th birthday in one of my all time favorite cities, New Orleans, with one of my oldest friends, Liz. Talk about the cherry on top of an entire year’s worth of metaphorical exploration cake!

When it comes to exploring The Big Easy, this was not our first rodeo (it was actually my 5th time in NOLA and Liz’s second!). Because my dad spent a chunk of his youth in this city and it’s an easy 8 hour drive from my hometown of San Antonio, we went four years in a row from the time I was 20. I have thoroughly enjoyed wandering around and eating our way through New Orleans with my dad and sisters, but I had never really witnessed or experienced the whole “drink-hand-grenades-and-let-your-freak-flag-fly-on-Bourbon-Street” to its full potential. Now that I’ve been there, done that, I have to say I’m a big fan…

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To say we front loaded our trip would be an understatement. Liz and I met at the airport, took a 25 minute Uber to our hotel in the French Quarter, checked in, freshened up, then headed out. Our first stop after a full day of traveling and fasting, was to get Po’Boys. The sweetheart concierge, Will, recommended NOLA Po’Boys, which was a quick walk from us. Since this particular place didn’t serve alcohol, we crossed the street to a bar and got our hurricanes to-go. Open Container Laws, schmopen Smoshainer Laws; THIS IS NEW ORLEANS, YO! After lining our stomachs with onion rings and bacon grease, it was time to brave the infamous Bourbon Street Bars.

As we walked down the street trying to be picky about where to go first, we were beckoned into a bar almost immediately. “Come here and we’ll let you ride the bull for free!!!” Crazy Joe, long time patron and mc of The Swamp, yelled at us from inside. We sat down and chatted with our bartender, Megan, while enjoying the 3 for 1 beer special and getting up the guts to actually ride the mechanical bull. Steve, the bassist for the cover band hitting the stage that night, bought us birthday shots and 5 minutes later, invited me onstage to play tambourine with the band. I wasn’t even shy about it, but that’s probably because Liz and Crazy Joe were the only people in the audience (it was 7 p.m. on a Wednesday after all). We may be from Texas, but neither Liz or myself have ever been on a bull, mechanical or otherwise. It was definitely a bucket list item for me, but I made Liz go first (I’m v bossy on my birthday). I just about died laughing watching her teeny tiny body flip over the bull with little to no effort from the bull operator! During my turn, my insanely powerful thigh muscles finally showed their worth as it was a cinch for me to grip the bull using just my legs. True story, I had to make an effort to fall off!

Even though this place was such a blast, we didn’t want to put all of our Bourbon Street eggs in one basket and skedaddle’d out of there. The progression of the rest of the night was as follows: bar with Wall Street looking douchebags who will probably buy us drinks, being ignored by Wall Street looking douchebags and buying our own gosh darn drinks, meeting some nice fellow Texans who want to buy us drinks, flashing my wedding ring but letting everyone know Liz is single, me becoming bff with fellow married person wearing a Stetson and the two of us attempting to wingman Liz and a Turtle From Entourage lookalike, Titos and Tonic, Titos and Soda, Fireball shots, sneakily pouring Fireball shot onto the ground while everyone else took theirs, leaving bar with Texans to go to The Cat’s Meow Karaoke Bar, Liz falls in the street, Liz uses Sean Paul’s hoodie to clean her wet butt, beer, drop iPhone from balcony without cracking it, snapchats, beers, my Stetson wearing BFF sings Dave Mathews Band karaoke and I question our friendship, bead throwing, balloon stealing, balloon popping, shots, dancing, goodbyes to our new friends, convenience store for gatorade and ibuprofen, oh shit they have egg rolls here, let’s get some egg rolls, we get egg rolls and fries, make our way back to our hotel, wolf down egg rolls while watching HGTV and pass out. It may not sound like much, but it was a very fun way to start my 27th year of life.

The cloudy, cold weather the next day really reflected our moods. We were hungover AF, but in desperate need of Cafe Du Monde’s famous beignets and chicory coffee. We spent our day walking around and eating and napping. Come nighttime, we slapped on some false lashes and went to a fancy birthday dinner at Cochon/Butcher in the Arts District then back to Frenchman Street for cheaper drinks and jazz music. The night ended at Dat Dog on Frenchman with a stranger coming up to tell us how pretty he thinks we are. Ego = fluffed.

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On our last full day in town, we walked around and I took most of the pictures in this post. We went to Hotel Monteleone to pay tribute to their beautiful carousel bar and to see if we could sneak up to their rooftop pool like my dad did in the 60s (we got so close, but were thwarted by the locked doors). We spent most of the day in the beautiful Garden District, eating (duh) and window shopping at the amazing boutiques, furniture shops, and vintage stores.

My love for this city knows no bounds. The citizens of New Orleans have been through hell and back, but are still the nicest people I’ve ever met. If you ever get the chance to go to this marvelous city, take me with you… or at least tag me in all of your photos so I can live vicariously through you.

p.s. It’s been a week and I’m JUST NOW regaining feeling in my legs after riding that damn bull.

Dat Dress Doe

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I remember wedding dress shopping like it was yesterday… I made an appointment to try on dresses almost immediately after Joel and I got engaged (I may or may not have been watching the crap out of Say Yes To The Dress and Instagram stalking my potential bridal shop for months before). We hadn’t even set a date yet, but I figured I’d go try on a few dresses and get a feel for what I wanted our wedding to be. I’d always pictured myself wearing something fitted with long lace sleeves and possibly an open back? The dress I’d been imagining was giving me Fall Wedding vibes, but with a lot of succulents and cactus everywhere. My secret Pinterest board was a hot mess.

If I can give any bride a piece of advice when it comes to wedding dress shopping it’s this: GO TO A SMALL BRIDAL SHOP! Wedding dress boutiques are where you will not only be treated like the GD queen that you are, but they’re really not that much more expensive than buying a dress “off the rack”. I went to Glitter and Grit, an amazing by-appointment-only shop down the street from us, and was shocked (in a good way) to see their dress selection was nothing short of amazing and I never, NOT ONCE, felt pressured into making a purchase that day.

My entourage and I all took turns picking dresses for me to try on and I loved each one more than the next. I distinctly recall seeing this Nicole Miller number with lace cut outs and saying “oh I’m definitely trying on that slutty dress”. When I put it on, however, it wasn’t slutty at all. It was classy and flattering and so ME. I bought it that day. Wow. That was easy!

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Soon after buying my dress, all of our other wedding plans and visions were quickly falling into place and becoming clearer by the day. Date? Set! Venue? Booked! Bridesmaids? Chosen! Save the Dates? SENT.

IT. WAS. HAPPENING.  With the help of Jen Rocket (local seamstress extraordinaire) and Spanx, my dress fit like a glove.

Something magical happened when I put on my wedding dress on the day of our wedding. I knew I would never look or feel as beautiful as I did that day so I was trying my best to own it.

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Joel had no idea what I was going to look like before I walked down the aisle because I’m way too superstitious to do any “first look” garbage. He was pleasantly surprised… “VERRRRRRR NICE!”

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I completed my wedding look with knock off Valentino Rockstuds (thanks, Ebay!) and a simple, gold OMG necklace (thanks, Laura!). I kept it pretty simple, with my hair down and flowy, and let my dress do the talking.

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all photos by Leann Christine Photography

 

There are quite a few more wedding posts lined up for the next few weeks. Stay tuned!