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I was going to do twelve months of change, but I thought that my resolutions shouldn’t really be about necessarily changing, but improving.  I’m happy with the person I am, and twelve months of improvement seems like a better fit.  A lot of times resolutions are very vague, like, “I’m going to get in shape,” or, “I’m going to be a better person.”  I want to make my improvement goals specific, but I also don’t think I need to make them restrictive – I want to improve my health by doing something every day rather than lose 10 pounds.  I may not push myself as hard without a specific number in mind, but I’m okay with that.  I want to be able to measure my progress by striving to do something a certain number of times, whether it is daily or weekly or just once, but as far as the end result, I just want improvement.

I have a plan for the new year, but I’m not going to beat myself up about it if my plan changes or if I need to adapt it.  I read somewhere that it takes 30 days to change/break a habit.  I don’t know if this is true, and I’m not even going to look it up (researching is an obsession of mine).  I’m just going to go with it.  My plan is to start one small, positive improvement each month in the following categories:  physical health/nutrition, finances, and personal growth.  If it does take 30 days to change/break a habit, then focusing on one small thing for 30 days should make these things more likely to be lifestyle changes than temporary fads.  My small improvements may not seem impressive, but if I can look back at the end of 2012 on all the improvements as a whole, I think I will be proud.  If I don’t follow through some months, or if I can’t succeed in making improvements in every category, I’m okay with that.  I will definitely try my best, but if at the end of 2012 I have only accomplished one real improvement, that is still something, and it means I have still succeeded somewhere.

Some ideas I have are below:

Physical health/nutrition –
We eat a lot of organic, but we also eat a lot of McDonalds.  I do okay exercising but am very inconsistent.  I just went through my second pregnancy and it was a pretty rough on me physically, so I want to get where I feel fit and have more energy, but I also have a family now that I want to raise to eat and be healthy.
•    Not keeping store bought sweets in the house (ice cream, cookies, etc.)
•    Eating a vegetable serving every day, other than salad (I always convince myself that lettuce counts…)
•    Exercising in some form every day (and this does not include doing curls with my full grocery bags while I am walking from the car to the house – am I the only one who does that?)
•    Lowering my intake of processed foods by picking a few foods to switch out at a time
•    Limit eating/ordering out to a specific number – maybe once every other week (this will also go under finances)

Finances –
We need to work on our spending.  I don’t spend much money on clothes anymore, but vet and car bills have more than replaced that!
•    Create a family budget
•    Limit eating/ordering out
•    Try to refinance our mortgage
•    Organize everything we don’t use/need and sell as much as possible on Craigslist or to a consignment shop

Personal Growth –
This is kind of a catch all category for me.  I want our family to be more “green,” I want to do more together as a family, and I want to make sure I am spending enough time on things that I am interested in so that I don’t lose my sense of self.
•    Read the Bible
•    Start composting
•    Do one thing each day that makes someone else’s day easier
•    Do one outing a week as an entire family
•    Learn a new aspect of photography just for fun
•    Photograph something each week, not including family, just for fun
•    Meditate for a certain amount of time every day

Those are just some ideas.  I would love to hear other ideas, if anyone wants to share them with me in the comments – I’m open to trying new things!  Keep in mind that I’m not doing all of these things at once.  I will try to make the improvements in one month, hopefully get used to following them, and then continue to follow them without focusing on them the next month.  More than anything I want to feel good and make positive improvements.  Some may be more significant than others – I might be able to stick to a family budget, but maybe I don’t do so well giving up on my ice cream indulgence.  I’m okay with that.

I know most of this seems to having nothing to do with my business, but I believe being happy and healthy has EVERYTHING to do with running a business and being successful.  The less time I spend worrying about money, health, diet, you name it, the more time I will be able to spend helping my clients.  I also think clients want to deal with confident, happy, and balanced people, no matter what the business is.  While I consider myself a happy person, I have a lot of room to improve in my life!  I think this is all about balance, and I’m not afraid to fail.  A recurring theme in writing this is, “I’m okay with that.”  This is because the one thing I am going to focus on all year long is not being hyper-critical of myself.  I may slip up and curse if I notice a grammatical error after I post this, but I’m okay with that!

Posted in Personal |

2012 Photo Shoot Contest Winner!

Congratulations to Brenda for winning the 2012 Photo Shoot contest!!

Thanks to everyone who entered and voted, and remember even those of you who didn’t win can still take advantage of a free 8×10 print if you book a session with me in 2012.

Hope everyone is having a wonderful holiday season, and a very Merry Christmas.

Posted in Uncategorized |

I’m excited to announce that this month I am running a contest to win a free photo shoot!  Anyone can enter, and you can use the shoot for family portraits, engagement photos, headshots, or whatever you like (within the bounds of the law and good taste)!*  All entrants need to write a little paragraph about themselves and why they should win the free shoot.  Then, I will post all the entrants here on my blog.  Voting will be held for ten days, and whoever gets the most Facebook “likes” wins!  The winner will be announced on Christmas Eve.

Anyone who enters but doesn’t win the free shoot can still receive a “prize” in the form of a free 8×10 print if they book a session with me in 2012.

I will be accepting entries this week until the end of the day on December 9.  To enter and to receive more details about the contest, email me at  Please include your name(s), best way to reach you, and your blurb to be posted on the blog.  Make sure to state why you want photos and why you should win!


*Winner will receive credit for a free 2 hour photo shoot to be used in 2012.  Date and time are subject to my availability.  Shoot location will be worked out between myself and the contest winner, but will be local.  No more than 10 people in the shoot if you are entering as a family or group.  If you have any questions about this, feel free to email me.

Visit this page to view the entries and vote!

Posted in Anniversaries, Business, Children, engagements, Families, Seniors |

Fairfax Portraits – Megan = Beast

Megan got in touch with me months ago (thanks for the referral, Patch!) about having a photo shoot in November after she finished up the Lean Eating program from Precision Nutrition.  She didn’t want to just do your average, every day portraits, but wanted something more active and athletic.  I asked her for information about the program and this is what she had to say:

The program I am doing is called Lean Eating, through the Precision Nutrition website.  It’s a year-long program that helps people become more lean through exercise, nutrition, and daily lessons on healthy living.  Everyone is assigned a coach, and then the cohort of women who are working with that coach can communicate through online forums.

She pretty much loves the program, calling it “super-awesome” and said these photos were a way to cap off the experience and commemorate it.  Now Megan is in the running to win some major cash for having the best transformation.  Please help her out by going to this website and voting for her before December 6 (she is finalist #2):

Megan was nice enough to come out my way so that I wouldn’t have to leave the babies for too long.  We shot at a local high school, and these are some of my favorites:

^creative direction by Kaitlin Joerger on this one.

Posted in Uncategorized |

Northern Virginia Senior Portraits

These are two of my favorite shots from a senior portrait shoot this past weekend.  I didn’t know how much walking I would be up for, so we spent most of the time at Ox Hill Battlefield Park.  I always drove past this little park but never stopped to check it out until about a week ago.  I walked the path that goes around the entire park, reading all of the history described on the markers along the way.  It seems so small for such an important place, and I’m glad I finally know more about it.  If you are ever over by Fair Lakes or Fair Oaks Mall, you should stop and check it out – only takes a few minutes to cover the entire circle:

Posted in Seniors |

Washington, DC Wedding – Kristen and Amelia

When Kristen contacted me about being the photographer for her wedding, I was super excited.  I met Kristen through NOVA Rugby a few years earlier.  I had since stopped playing (which still upsets me), so I never got to play with Amelia.  That’s a total bummer because she is one of the nicest people I have ever met.  When I first met with both of them about the wedding, I was really excited, mostly because I could see that they were SO happy.  They told me they were getting married on the National Mall right by the Jefferson Memorial, and that it was going to be a small ceremony with just family and close friends.  I couldn’t stop talking about their wedding for weeks!

Unfortunately, I was unable to shoot the wedding because I am pregnant with twins and on bedrest.  Thankfully Debi of Debi Parker Photography and Julia Devine came through and were able to fill in for me.  Debi and Julia got some great shots, and I could tell that I really missed an amazing day.

I’m so sorry I wasn’t able to be there for you guys!  Here are some of my favorite images from the day:

-By Debi Parker Keating-

-By Debi Parker Keating-

-By Debi Parker Keating-

-By Debi Parker Keating-

-By Debi Parker Keating-

-By Debi Parker Keating-

-By Debi Parker Keating-

-By Debi Parker Keating-

-By Debi Parker Keating-

-By Debi Parker Keating-

-By Julia Devine-

-By Debi Parker Keating-

-By Debi Parker Keating-

-By Debi Parker Keating-

-By Debi Parker Keating-


Thank you so much to Amelia and Kristen for coming to me and for trusting me even though I couldn’t be there myself, and thanks to Debi and Julia for doing such an awesome job filling in!

Posted in Weddings |

What I’ve been up to

The answer to that is, mostly, staying in bed. First and foremost, I want to say that I am not complaining (although I do like to complain sometimes). Bart and I have been blessed with a fraternal, boy/girl twin pregnancy. Neither of us has any twins in the family so this was completely unexpected.

So far, the pregnancy has been a little rough. Just like with my first pregnancy, I had hyperemesis. This is like morning sickness on steroids. Basically it ended up with three hospital stays, not eating anything for over 3 weeks, losing 25 pounds, and having to get a PICC line put in.  This was so I could receive medication and TPN, or what they call a “milkshake in a bag.”  Let me tell you, this is nothing like a milkshake.  If we happened to spill any of it, it smelled like a bag of garbage that had been baking in the the trunk of someone’s car for weeks, and beyond that, when would you ever choose to BYPASS your mouth if you had a milkshake?  Ridiculous.  Every time someone said “milkshake in a bag” I wanted to slap them.  I would have, but I didn’t have any energy to lift my arm since I hadn’t eaten in weeks.

So that was about the first half of pregnancy, then I started to gain weight back and was finally able to get the line removed from my arm (oh and this entire time, they told me I couldn’t lift more than 5 pounds with the line in my right arm – makes it kind of hard to take care of a toddler, right?).  I had about a nice month before I was told I had SPD (no, that is not an STD – after my husband messed up the letters while talking to people, I started to just say I had a separated pelvis).  Now, I am on bedrest.  Both babies are healthy and BIG, especially for twins.  I don’t know yet when I will deliver, but it will be sometime in the next few weeks.

So it has been an exciting yet bed ridden spring and summer that has unfortunately required me to turn down a lot of job opportunities as well as miss a lot of DC SMUG meetings.  I’m sorry to anyone I wasn’t able to work with because of the uncertainty of my situation or because I was physically unable at the time, but thank you so much to everyone who has been so understanding and supportive!  We are almost there 🙂

Posted in Personal |

Photo by Debi Parker Keating.

Posted in Weddings |

Pittsburgh Engagement Photos – Meg and Justin

So this post has been a long time coming (which I will explain in a later post), but I met with Meghann and Justin at North Park for their engagement shoot. We were there early, but let me tell you, that place gets CROWDED. We found lots of fun spots, but sometimes it required some effort to not get a biker or runner in the background of every shot (who doesn’t want random men in spandex and VERY short shorts in all of their engagement photos, right?).

I have known Meg since 2nd grade and it was so great to catch up with her while we were walking around the park. Justin was a really good sport putting up with all of my chatter about who from our childhood was doing what. After so many years, I am so honored to be a part of Meg’s (and Justin’s!) special day. I can’t wait for the wedding!

Here are some of my favorites:


Sorry this took me so long to post guys!  Looking forward to your wedding this spring 🙂

Posted in engagements |

Autumn and Fredrik were married in February at Cabell’s Mill in Fairfax.  The wedding was absolutely gorgeous.  They had a small ceremony on the back patio, followed by a reception indoors.  The details of this wedding were amazing – every last thing was taken care of (mostly by family members!) and everything was just so perfect.  They had hot drinks in the room downstairs while guests were waiting for the ceremony to start, including Glögg, of course.  The ceremony was followed by a lively reception.  You could tell that every last person in attendance was truly there for Autumn and Fredrik and really cared about the couple.  This is a tight knit family that really supports each other and it was just an honor to witness the entire thing.

While the details of the wedding were impressive, the couple’s story is even more so.  I don’t think I can do their story justice, which is why I chose to instead post a slideshow with this song.  The song on this slideshow is by Autumn’s very talented sister Heather, who performed this song at the reception as her toast to the couple (which happened to put me and everyone else in the room in tears).

I was waiting to make this blog post until after I had delivered photos and a DVD to the bride and groom, because I wanted them to see the slideshow first.

Autumn and Fredrik from Erin Loesley on Vimeo.


Thank you to Debi Parker Keating for working with me!

Thank you to Heather Mae Foard for allowing me to use her beautiful music.

Posted in Weddings |