We are already into the second month of the year – time is so crazy. Sometimes it moves so fast and suddenly we are into February. Other times it feels like it is standing still for our important moments.

This month, I think it is only appropriate to recognize a client who has been with us for quite sometime. The family is beautiful, fun, and has truly became like family. It is time to properly thank them for sticking by our side all of these years – through all of the tricks time plays, all of the changes. It has been amazing to watch their family grow and change, and we appreciate their celebration of our growth as well. It isn’t every day that a client like this comes along…so this month we are celebrating…

The February Client of the Month is the heartfelt family of Kelly Hott.

I have prepared a little special something for this family, as I’m so grateful to have been chosen for these special moments with their family. Together we have created something beautiful – both in imagery and expanding our photo-family. I want to thank Kelly from the bottom of my heart for opening up, becoming a friend, and letting my studio into her important moments.

Since this family has been with us for so long, we have so many gorgeous images from sessions that we could share. I’ve just selected a few of my favorites to share here today.

Just another large thank you is in order for this family. I hope that we can continue working together as the years go by. I can’t wait for our portraits in the blossoms this year and to be able to share them, but in the meantime – please accept this little gift from the photo-family!

Contact us to schedule your very own portrait session for 2020, by March 4th, and mention Kelly’s gorgeous family to receive a special offer! Next Client of the Month will be announced on March 5th.

EEK! Okay, I will try to stay calm, but this is our very first Pet Pal Community Feature and I am FREAKING OUT! I get excited over every project we take on, but really…this one? This one pulls at my heart strings. I have wanted to put something like this into motion for so long and 2020 is the year of action, so let’s do this!

So…what is a Community Feature? A Community Feature is simple (and awesome). Once a month, we take the time to get to know a local organization that is doing AMAZING things…and we share that info with you! Okay, so what’s a Pet Pal? It is the adorable name we’ve created to identify the organizations that are connecting furbabies to the community!

It is cold outside. We could all use more warm and fuzzies inside, so we are kicking January off with a Pet Pal. I couldn’t be more excited to present them to you.

This month we are featuring (drum roll, PLEASE)…

Antietam Humane Society

Their mission is the prevention of cruelty to animals and the promotion of humane treatment for all animals.

It is January 15th, the start of our Community Feature spotlight for Antietam Humane Society and I needed to share this cutie. This is Blake. He is the current (as of 1/15/19) Pet of the Week

This BEAUTIFUL tabby cat, Blake, is nearly ten years old. He has been with Antietam for going on TWO YEARS (oh my gosh, someone go get that baby!!) Blake love love loves snuggling other kitty cats. He is front declawed and LOVES to play with all of the staff members, spatting toys around, despite his age. Blake is dreaming of a home to live out his best years because we all know that those best years are yet to come, in your loving home!

If you need some feel goods while reading this, me too. Facing the reality that so many pets are surrendered, found on the streets, and simply without a home is really difficult. As tough as it may be, we should be grateful that Antietam is out there helping save lives and pair up perfect families! There are plenty of success stories to be found in their Adopted Photo Album! The cuties above all found their furever homes, but there are so many more success stories – it is just so heart warming to read about.

It really is those smiling faces, both human and furbaby, that make Antietam Humane Society’s mission come to life. Through the power of community, we can certainly help this organization continue completing their mission day in and day out. You can help in small ways, like sharing their posts on Facebook or telling a friend. If you feel compelled to do more, consider helping in some big ways like adopting one of their available pets, volunteering your time, or donating to the organization directly.

What They Do…

  • Provide animal adoptions
  • Accept stray or unwanted dogs, cats, and most pocket pets from our service area
  • Reunite pets with their owners
  • Investigate animal cruelty and abuse complaints
  • Provide humane education seminars
  • Sell Franklin County dog licenses
  • Offer Pet Therapy for local retirement communities
  • Rabies vaccination clinics
  • Shelter Buddies Program
  • SO MUCH MORE!

How You Can Help…

  • Volunteer your time
  • Donate extra funds
  • Donate pet or cleaning supplies
  • Brainstorm or host a fundraiser event
  • SO MUCH MORE – the sky is the limit!

You don’t want to miss out on any of the super cool events happening over at Antietam Humane Society. Their next big event is a String Art Fundraiser in April, with more details to come. This organization has amazing events year round, so definitely keep checking back and give them a “like” on their social platforms. We LOVED the Howl-o-Ween Party last October! They had some pretty cool, super fun holiday opportunities as well.

Be sure to follow them over on Facebook and to bookmark their website so you don’t miss any upcoming opportunities!

If you feel like you need to get involved and start helping these amazing people out with their generous mission, you can find them at 8513 Lyons Road, Waynesboro, PA 17268. Their office is open Monday, Tuesday, Friday, Saturday from 10am to 4:30pm and then again on Thursday from 10am to 6:30pm. If you’re making a big donation or have questions, calling ahead of time may be a great idea. You can reach them by phone at 717-762-9091.

Does now feel like the absolute best time (probably after seeing all of those adorable babies up for adoption on their pages, ugh – my heart) to open your heart and your home to a new baby this year? If so, I am happy to say we will be partnering with Antietam Humane Society from January 15th to February 15th. If you adopt during the previously stated dates, you will be given a gift voucher that is valid for portraits to include your newest baby into the family! All adoptions are handled through Antietam. Portrait sessions, questions regarding sessions, etc. will be handled through us.

Please take a moment out of your day to share this blog post, as well as Antietam’s social media platforms and posts. We will be working hard this month to spread awareness for this organization, but they need help every day of the year. As a community, we are stronger than we realize. Let’s all come together to help find all of furbabies their furever homes this year!

It’s that time of the year where we all make promises to ourselves and the “new me.” Here are some resolutions that may feel familiar: give up drinking, go to the gym, and spend more time with family. The list goes on, but today I hope to inspire you with. I want to inspire you with some unique, possibly bizarre, resolutions that people are making (and sharing) in 2020.

  1. Buying 10 items or less (of clothing) ALL YEAR
  2. Stop talking, start doing!
  3. Find a running or swimming buddy
  4. Cook a new dish every week
  5. Book all doctor’s visits for the year
  6. Become a plant owner
  7. Sanitize your phone WEEKLY
  8. Write notes to yourself
  9. Give yourself more compliments
  10. Be current about current events
  11. Play darts with a map, travel where it hits
  12. Daily acts of kindness
  13. Be a mentor, a role model
  14. Talk on the phone, to a loved one, every week
  15. Find a new source of income
  16. Stand up straight
  17. Hug your family
  18. Let go of toxic people and situations
  19. Forgive yourself for the past
  20. UNFOLLOW negative people and pages
  21. Judge people (and situations) less
  22. Accept compliments
  23. Be bored from time to time
  24. Say “yes” more often
  25. Talk to a stranger every week

Do any of these resolutions seem familiar? Did you set yours yet? I tried to grab as many unique resolutions to find inspiration in as I possibly could. If you haven’t set your personal resolutions yet, keep the above list in mind as you make goals for your life in 2020. It’s a new year, but also a new decade entirely. There is plenty of time to reinvent yourself if that’s what you’re needing right now.

If you’ve already set some goals for yourself, let us know what they are in the comments!

Can you believe that another decade has passed? Like seriously – HOW did that happen?! I have no clue, but I am so thankful that we can welcome in the new decade and new year with all of you — and by announcing another fabulous client that deserves a beautiful start to the 20’s.

I am so pumped to bring in the new year by recognizing a fabulous client that is new to our studio. She came to us a year or two ago. We quickly connected, scheduled a consultation, and began building their absolute dream session. Then…life happened. It took seemingly forever to set up a day, time, and place that worked for all parties involved in the session. I am certain that it felt this way for the client. Throughout the process, while discouraged at times, this client was dead set on getting her family portraits taken with our studio — and when it came time, I had to deliver the best!

The first Client of the Month…January’s Client of the Month is the amazing, beautiful family of Jennifer Reed-Grimmett.

I have prepared a little special something for this family, as I’m so grateful to have been chosen for these special moments with their family. Together we have created something beautiful – both in imagery and expanding our photo-family. I thank Jennifer from the bottom of my heart for opening up, becoming a friend, and letting my studio into her important moments.

It has been a crazy year for us both, I think. That said, we are still hashing out all of their favorite images to deliver those final pieces of artwork – so sadly, we don’t quite have a full, final gallery to share in this post. That gallery is coming soon and we cannot wait to share it with you. BUT I couldn’t wait any longer to spotlight this amazing, beautiful, fun-loving family and their heart-felt images.

Just another large thank you is in order for this family. I hope that I’ve been able to put together their dream session and that it was worth all of the wait. I cannot wait to share that final, full gallery with you, but in the meantime – please accept this little gift from the photo-family!

Contact us to schedule your very own portrait session for 2020, by February 5th, and mention Jennifers’s gorgeous family to receive a special offer! Next Client of the Month will be announced on February 5th.

How is it already December? It is almost the new decade and I am SO READY FOR IT – but in so many ways, I’m just not ready at all. I love this time of year and all of the clients we work with, so selecting just one was really, really tough (but someone has to do it).

This month I am spotlighting a brand new client to the studio. It is an interesting booking situation and something I am dying to hear more of from future clients. This client scheduled our portraits almost entirely for the experience —- sure, great photos is a bonus, but really they wanted the magic of it all! I certainly hope we did not disappointment. This family came from a good distance away for us and I hope we delivered!

December’s Client of the Month is Tori Deese-Amaro and her great family!

We have prepared a gift for the special family as a thank you for joining us for such a truly magical session and really reminding us that it is so much more than the final photograph that makes our sessions unique. During the rush of busy season, it is honestly something I am thankful to hear is coming true for clients. I couldn’t be more honored to work with them!

So I will admit – it is a bit of a bummer, but we just nailed down their favorites this week. It was a huge gallery and honestly super hard to choose from. The kiddos did such a great job! It was TRULY magical for all involved. The bummer part is…the photographs aren’t quite ready for me to share.

Normally I would just hold off and spotlight this family next month, but honestly…they deserve the recognition now. So if you want to see the rest of Tori’s gallery…I PROMISE we will be sharing soon. PROMISE!

Now as usual, Tori and her beautiful family will be receiving a few goodies from the studio that I bet they cannot wait to share with you! BUT here is something you don’t have to wait…

Contact us to schedule your very own portrait session for 2020, by January 1st, and mention Tori’s gorgeous family to receive a special offer! Next Client of the Month will be announced on January 1st.

It’s the day before Thanksgiving and for some this can be super stressful. It is your year to host the big meal. Maybe it got sprung upon you that you need to bring a side dish. No matter why you are freaking out — I feel you.

This week, I want to share with you a few super quick, super yummy recipes I’ve collected over the past few years…

  1. Green Bean Casserole | so this one gets mixed feelings and results, I know, but seriously I LOVE IT. It is so quick. So easy. You probably have the ingredients just laying around waiting for you!
  2. Stuffing | Now, I’m not going to lie, I hate stuffing. I know, I know. It is in this article because it is super easy and a fan favorite. I have put my differences with stuffing aside and made it a time or two. I’ll call it taking one for the team.
  3. Turkey Gravy | We all know that no Thanksgiving is complete without GRAVYYYYY – I don’t care who you are, you LOVE gravy. Admittedly, most of it is super easy to make, so I just grabbed my favorite recipe because I cannot exclude this yummy, yummy, yummyyyy dish.
  4. Cranberry Sauce | This one I have not tried, but will be trying this year because YUM. This cranberry sauce has a bit of an orangey-twist and looks like it has the makings to be a new favorite at the dinner table this year. Why not try it out?!
  5. Butternut Squash Soup | Honestly, I never considered this for Thanksgiving until writing up this blog but now I can’t keep myself from serving it up this year. YUM. This recipe has such a nice spice and flavor to this classic, fall-time soup.

Are you ready to try these out?! I hope I helped. Happy Thanksgiving!

It is a new month – this year is flying by! This month we are recognizing a client who has come to us on quite a few occasions. She has trusted us with so many of her family’s memories and important moments. We have such fun combining visions and couldn’t be happier to spotlight her!

November’s Client of the Month is Shannon Crawford and her lovely family!

We have prepared a gift for the Crawford family as a thank you for joining us for such an amazing senior portrait session (and, of course, the sessions prior to this year). It was SUCH an honor to have been chosen for these moments and I cannot thank this family enough.

Shannon first brought her family to our studio 3 years ago for updated family portraits. Many things have changed – both in the studio and in their lives – since our first portrait session together, but our visions still aligned perfectly. I couldn’t be more honored to be invited to witness the Crawford family grow and flourish with each and every year. A large congratulations goes out to Ashton as he finishes his senior year and embarks on his next journey. We combined visions to give a vibrant, outdoorsy feel to this portrait session. It was such fun to explore this new location!

View the full gallery here, you won’t want to miss it!

We know that Ashton will go on to do many, many things in life. This is by far not the best or bigger accomplishment this family will see. However, I could not be more honored as the owner – as the photographer – as the collaborator and creative behind the session – to have been chosen for such an important time in this family’s life – to create imagery that represents such a pivotal point in this young man’s life. I speak confidently when I say that absolutely everyone is proud of his accomplishments so far. We are quite excited to see where life leads him – and I hope that I can always be a witness to his success. Thank you.

Shannon and her family will be receiving some goodies in their mailbox this month that I bet they cannot wait to share with you! BUT here is something you don’t have to wait…

Contact us to schedule your very own portrait session for 2020, by December 4th, and mention Shannon’s gorgeous family to receive a special offer! Next Client of the Month will be announced on December 4th.

Did you hear? November 1st every year is National Author’s Day. This year we want to highlight one of our community’s very own. She is the mother to a beautiful baby boy and a Pack of Jacks! They are an adorable, quirky, and fun family who often shares a look into their daily lives of parenthood and fur-foster life. Chelle Wilson, through the help of her family, utilizes her online presence to remind others that life is always beautiful.

“Your fears are gone and love is here to stay…”

We want to allow the book to speak for itself, so this post will be kept short. The above quote says all that you need to know about the story. It shares the story of Bear, her little boy, showing love for every pup that comes through their door. It is a story of kindness, love, compassion, and hope. This story is perfect for pet lovers of all ages. You can get your very own copy here.

We are jumping offline to cozy up with our own pack and read this beautiful, poetic story. Leave comments on how much you’ve loved it!

Okay mama – let’s be perfectly honest with one another. You are sick and tired of waiting in lines, toddler on hip, just to get close and the bawling begin. It is rough! The holidays, while we love them, can simply be…exhausting. It is EXHAUSTING.

You deserve a break, mama. You’ve earned one.

Christmas should be a fun, joyous time – not just for the kiddos, but you too. You as you watch your kiddos enjoy them. This year I am challenging your family to focus on experiences. It isn’t all wrapping paper and gift cards. It is snuggling up and watching that Christmas movie you’ve seen 100 times. It is making s’mores on the barely functioning grill you ordered online. I’m challenging families in our community to focus on family, focus on memories, and make this season the magical beauty that it truly is.

…and, of course, I have a little help with that!

I want to share A Moment with Santa with you! These magical sessions will be taking place on November 16th in Martinsburg, WV. To provide you with the absolute best experience, these sessions are by appointment only. This means no waiting in lines, no million eyes on your (possibly nervous) children, etc. We are focusing on adding another holiday experience to your family’s memories.

We know every great experience comes with food, so there will be cookies, milk and hot cocoa (as well as water, and coffee – for the adults).

Santa visits our studio once a year and makes up for lost time away from your children. There will be story telling, in which he is happy to answer all of those questions your little ones are dying to answer. Santa will lead your children through a number of activities such as opening a gift (that, yes, is theirs to keep), finding their name on the nice list, using his magic dust, painting toys, finding the North Pole, and so much more!

We will have multiple seating available, so that children are not forced to sit on a stranger’s lap – we know Santa is amazing, but we push no one outside of their comforts! Every family will have up to 15 private minutes with Santa to get comfortable. While our set is focused primarily for children, full families, adults, and even pets are welcome to join in the fun this year!

The idea of Santa can be stressful for many children. We are proud to say that there have been NO TEARS within our Moment with Santa experience. While we know that may not always stay true, we are focused on creating an enjoyable, stress-free environment. We hope that this experience forms a personal connection with Santa for your child to look back on when thinking of their childhood. Every child who brings a letter to Santa will be receiving a handwritten letter in return, to add to these memories.

To make this accessible to many, the session fee for your experience is only $50. This includes the full Santa experience you are receiving, and packages of prints and digital images are purchased separately, if desired. There is no purchase requirement, so if things do not go as planned and you are not in love with the images, you are under no obligation to purchase. We want to create, again, a no pressure, stress-free environment. If you don’t love the images, you are under no obligation to purchase.

A bit more about our set. We are still prepping, as quickly as possible, for the arrival of this wonderful, magical man! You can expect to find Santa in his best, old-timey (deep red) Father Christmas outfit, rather than the new, bright red suit. You will walk into a timeless, classic room setting with simplistic decor, wall and flooring, and two gorgeous places to sit (for Santa and guests). Each year we create a new, magical set. Would you like to see this year’s room?!

Outside of the set, you can expect to be greeted by Mrs. Claus who will point you in the direction of seating if you arrive early, as well as refreshments, and ensure that everyone is comfortable.

We have one more trick up our sleeve! This year Santa will be leading you and your family outdoors to meet his reindeer. During this half of the experience, you will receive additional time with Santa, and even get to take a bell from the reindeer’s harness home with you!

We hope that you are excited as we are…I couldn’t be happier to have this coming back to Martinsburg. What do you think?

Limited spaces remain for this once in a lifetime, magical experience. Would you like to hear additional information and pencil in your experience? Let’s do it!

I already know…those Christmas cards…they probably didn’t make it out on-time last year. Maybe they didn’t make it out at all. In fact, they may not have at any time in the past. Not shaming. Not blaming. I am right there with ya!

If you haven’t sent Christmas cards in the past, but want to start – why wait any longer? I’ve got your back and have collected tips to getting them out on time, but first…

Why Christmas Cards?

You can argue against them. For years, my family didn’t send cards either. The industries my parents were in hardly required much networking and many of the people we cared to follow up with were close enough for a nice cup of coffee. Perhaps you prefer a good phone call over a card in the mail. There are certainly ways to make both work.

I cannot speak for everyone, but for most people Christmas cards are simply a great way to let someone know you are on their mind. You are wishing them happiness during this important time, in your life, of the year – and, since many people take breaks from Christmas to the New Year, you are likely wishing them a fabulous end of the year and start of the New Year.

It can be a beautiful way to catch up with family members who live further away, are not on social media, or simply enjoy a good letter in the mail. Cards, particularly handwritten, can strength work and business ties, bring friendships closer together, and make people feel genuinely acknowledged, important in your life. As we all know, it can be a little tough to get them out – made, written, find the address, etc. If you are sending a card to someone, they know they matter to you – they know that was intentional.

Why NOT Christmas Cards?

I personally LOVE Christmas cards – from a business owner standpoint. If you are on our previous-client list, prepare to receive one, but probably not on time – following my own advice is difficult. Having said that, perhaps I am not the person to speak on this topic, BUT…It’s okay not to do them.

Don’t want to? Don’t.

Don’t have time? Don’t.

Don’t like receiving them? Don’t.

SO MANY just…don’t. I love them. I love sending. I love receiving. BUT if you don’t love it, don’t do it. If you don’t have time, the resources, the addresses, friends that enjoy it, just…don’t. It’s okay. No one is looking around wondering where their card from you is – they are simply admiring the ones they got. They are probably also super busy with the holidays – family, pets, kids, shew. Trust me, you get a pass this year – they won’t notice.

Sent Them Out Late — AGAIN?

Deep breathes. The world really isn’t over. I have received cards AFTER the New Year and just thought “Oop, someone was busy.” I wasn’t outraged. I didn’t immediately toss the card out or blast them on social media. Life carried on as usual, I just noted that someone else had taken the time to send me a card.

I get it though – I get the appeal. You want to send them for them to enjoy around the holidays. And…let’s be honest…we all like looking a little more organized and put together than perhaps we are (sending things on time and being on top of the rush can make us appear this way)

Again – it’s OKAY to send late or just never send – but if you want to get those bad boys out by Christmas…

I’ve Got Tips…

  • PLAN AHEAD – Do you want to purchase cards online? go in store? are you doing a custom design? are you including photos – professional photographer or selfie?
  • PHOTOGRAPHY – If scheduling with a professional, contact EARLY. Contact now, like right now, in October – ask when you should have your portraits done for cards and IF they have availability.
  • SHIPPING – Allow 2 weeks for your cards to get to you, depending on where they are coming from. You can always check this and get them sooner, but the last thing you want is to wait until the last moment and have your cards not arrive on time.
  • ADDRESSES – Start collecting addresses early. Now. Just…do it now. Compile an excel sheet of all of those addresses. Figure out how many you want to send based on budget (yikes – postage is rough) and narrow that list down.
  • START EARLY / PACE YOURSELF – About half way through, if that far, you’re going to feel like you’re dying and that this…was a bad idea. Your hand will cramp, your pen will run out, your tongue will be tired of licking envelopes. It’s rough.
  • ORDER – Address labels: lifesaver, seriously, your hand. Stickers: Print their addresses onto these, again, seriously…your hand will thank you. Pens: if writing personal notes, you will need these and lots if that list is big.
  • WHEN TO SEND – It is ideal to send 2-3 weeks before Christmas to ensure everyone receives their copy before the holidays. Essentially, if you send your cards out that first week in December, you should be aye-okay.

If they get there late…DON’T SWEAT IT. There is always next year to try again! We have got your back. For people in MD, VA, WV, and PA looking for Christmas Cards this year – we have a few select portrait spots available in November and would LOVE to help you order cards this year. Contact us.