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utah, nature journaling, and adventures

We Millers can’t stay still for too long.  On our weekends home, we still like to come up with little adventures.  Road tripping is our family’s favorite thing to do, so a few Saturdays ago, we took a little road trip up to Enterprise Utah to take in the beautiful changing of seasons in one of Utah’s most beautiful areas.

We stopped to pick up some corn from a road-side stand and then stopped again for a little nature journaling.  We broke out into a little family shoot as the girls played and took pictures.  They are getting more interested in my big camera and their little hands are now big enough to reach the buttons.  This has been so fun for us to enjoy together.  These pictures were mostly taken by my sweet big girls, and because of that, may be some of my favorites.

One of the girls snapped this pic of Mr. Miller and I think it might be my favorite photo of him ever taken.  This is the man I love, adventuring with his family, mini van overflowing (literally) with children, happy eyes and full of love.

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grandpa jorgensen

Last week, I took my family up to see my 94-year-old grandpa. Grae and Major met him for the first time.  I got to visit with my sweet cousin and aunt we don’t see often on Grandpa’s porch.  We chatted about motherhood, and life, and homebirth and my heart was filled right up!

I loved placing Major in his great-grandfather’s arms.  Grandpa complimented his name and told me how handsome my guy was.  Nearly a century between the two men.

My dad is my grandpa’s 4th child, I am my dad’s 4th child, and Major is my 4th child.  Four generations of Jorgensen genes right here.


(Grandpa Jorgensen is to thank for passing down Grae’s gorgeous blue eyes.)

My sweet cousin Sarah is my kindred spirit.  I’m so glad to be walking this mama life with her.  She lives in Texas, so it was so so good to squeeze her in person and chat for a few hours!  She’s also one of my favorite insta accounts to follow for mom inspo.. check her out! @timeourjoy 

 

 

Mostly this day just grounded me.  So sweet to visit my dad’s childhood home with my children, get a sense of what his life was like, and to see the legacy my Grandpa helped create.  If it’s been a while since you’ve got in touch with your roots, I recommend it.  Filled my soul to the tippy top!

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happy birthday miller family

In June, Mr. Miller and I celebrated our 8th anniversary.  We didn’t have much going on that week, and didn’t have big plans for the special day.  So last minute (my favorite minute), I packed up the whoooole family in one day and arranged a little vacation for us.  I called Brady’s work and made sure his schedule was taken care of and our anniversary night, surprised him.  He was shocked at first, but quickly got excited.  I pulled it off!  We left early the next morning!

Our wedding anniversary always feels more like a birthday for our family, so it made sense to celebrate all together.  Each baby, we take a little trip to welcome them into the family, and this was Major’s.  It was such a sweet way to settle in together as a family of 6.  He was a perfect angel the whole trip.  We had so much fun.

We had friends in Oceanside the same time as us, so we hung out with them on the beach and just had the best time.  It was 5 days of doing whatever the heck we wanted – my favorite kind!  We hung with our best friends, we played with Auntie and Pat, we had a free day for me to help decorate my sister’s cute beach condo… On father’s day, we watched the NBA finals, ordered pizza, and snagged the sunset on the beach.  It was perfect.

Our trip was not short of a few hiccups – a 24 hour stomach bug went through each girl – but even with that craziness, we shifted and adjusted as needed and it made me realize that we are really doing it.  We are surviving – even thriving – with our very full family.  I’m so glad we still do these things, even though it’s more work.  It is more work, but it’s also so much more fun.  It’s worth it in every way.

Mr. Miller, thank you for being mine. Thank you for enjoying our children right along side me.  Thank you for loving me always always.  You are hands down, without a doubt, the best thing that happened to me.  I will never forget it.

 

 

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halloweekend 2015

Is Halloween my favorite holiday? I don’t think so, but it’s coming in close.  Halloween is so fun when you have a brood of little girls around.  This year the girls were very decisive about their costumes and didn’t change their minds.  All three girls were characters from their favorite movies which I loved.

Harlo was cinderella (“from the new cinderella movie… not the old one,” she would say)

Stella was Young Maleficent (costume handmade by yours truly)
Grae was Elmo 

 I threw together last minute costumes for me and Mr. Miller – a deer and hunter.
It was a hit! :)

Harlo told me when we got home “Mom, you looked soooooo cute today!”
Wish I could dress up as a woodland animal more often. ;)

 Another Halloween down for the books!

 Now to get ready for Thanksgiving.. which IS my favorite Holiday. :D

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family pictures 2015

Family pictures are always stressful on a mama heart.  I have to say that this year may have been our easiest year to date.  I got the cutest dresses for the girls and everything else just fell right into place.  We were running a little behind (of course) so we ended up driving just about 10 minutes from our house and found a great little location and it was the perfect backdrop.  We are so lucky to be surrounded by so many beautiful places.  Utah is such a showoff.  Such a special thank you to Ashley Flowers Photography for always doing us right!

This year we got to also include a little baby bump into our family pictures.  I have a feeling these will be a cherished favorite of mine over the years… Such a sweet season we’re in right now.


 So let’s chat about the outfits:

The girls dresses are Matilda Jane.  Can I tell you how much I love Matilda Jane?  (Or Tilda MaJane as Stella says..) I feel like Matilda and I are on the same page when it comes to clothing little girls:  No crop tops or booty shorts, whimsical fabrics and patterns, sturdy to withstand little girls playing and twirling to their hearts content, wash up well to be passed down to younger sisters for years to come.
That is what I’m talking about.

For a long time I didn’t know exactly how to order from Matilda Jane, but it’s really quite simple and I am sharing today in case you don’t know!
View their collection online, add items to your wishlist, send wishlist to your trunk keeper.
Your order will then be placed through your trunk keeper and shipped to your door.
(if you don’t know who your trunk keeper is, you can just enter in your zip code and the trunk keeper nearest you will be found.)
If you’re local to St. George, our trunk keeper is Errin Andrus #772 and she is a dream!

We are so grateful to Matilda Jane for sending us these darling dresses for our family pictures this year.  They have my heart bursting!

My dress is from Downeast and cute cardigan is from Hope Ave.
Brady’s outfit is H&M (if you were wondering).

One thing is for sure, love is in the air over here at the Miller Manor!

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How we became six.

There was a time in my motherhood that I thought a lot about what I wanted to be when I grew up.  A photographer, an artist, a dreamer, a doer, a traveler, a free spirit.  A lot of these goals were attainable with one, and then two children.  We started building a great life around the things we wanted to do.

When we started our family, it was with an unplanned pregnancy which was a welcome surprise.  Then after just a short time, I had a nagging feeling something was missing.  Someone was missing.  It seemed crazy, but I knew it in my heart to be right to add on a little sister for our darling baby Harlo.  Time has proven that to be the absolute perfect timing for our small family.  I kept working away at my business endeavors and chasing my dreams, while Brady continued to do what he loved and build up his self-starter business.  Years went by before we realized something might be missing.

We were faced with what we wanted in life adjusting and changing.  We wanted more from life than we had built up over the years, and our family is what we wanted more of.  We decided to take the plunge for the third baby, even though we knew some things would have to change.  I reluctantly took time away from my busy dreams to be still and focus on my family (and myself) for a while.  I wasn’t sure this was the right move, but I followed the nudge anyway.  (And when I say “follow” I mean try to ignore it completely, reason out of it, and then have a bright neon sign pointing at me telling me to follow the nudge, before I actually “follow” it.)

An interesting thing happened as my life shifted from business to personal.  From working woman to busy mother.  I found that the more I became a mother, the more I wanted to be one.  The less I chased the dreams I thought I wanted, the more my real dreams became apparent.  The more fulfillment my soul had.  The more clear my path became.  The more whole my heart was.  Believe you me, I was more surprised by this than anyone.

About the time I told myself I would start going back to work from my temporary baby leave, was the time I had that nagging feeling again.  Someone was missing.

The one thing I have learned about my life, is that what I plan to be the best is not actually what is the best.  I have learned to trust my instincts and follow that still small voice inside of me.  God has the answers, and if we listen, he will speak clearly to guide our lives.  I am grateful to see the progress I have made in following His will and I can see how my life has gotten happier and more peaceful since I have learned this.

Four kids might not be ideal for the masses, but I am so glad they are mine and part of my journey here in this life and beyond.

(these family pictures and our outfit details coming tomorrow!)

 

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proud

I am in a season of life where I am feeling rather proud.  I haven’t always been this confident in my life.  For years I felt insecure about being a young mother and the decisions I was making because they were vastly different than other girls my age at the time.  But now I just feel proud.  Here are somethings I am proud of:

I am proud that at the very tender age of 19, I married, and even before my 20th birthday, I became a mother.
I am proud that at the very tender age of 21, I gave birth to my second daughter after just two short years of marriage.
I am very proud that even though I was a very young mother, I was a very good mother.  Age had nothing on me!
I am proud that I taught myself new skills in those trying years as a new family.  Some of those skills include: cooking, decorating, photography, baby food making, baby making, blogging, running a small business, cleaning, crafting, and how to be a wife and mother – which are very overwhelming things to learn.
I am proud that I made the choice to be different and make different choices in my life to better myself and my family.
I am proud that I have learned to put my family first.
I am proud that I have a flourishing marriage after these very full years. (No seven-year-itch over here.. just maybe an itch for more babies with that darling man of mine.)
I am proud that after years of a busy photography business, I was able to take some time off to enjoy being at H-O-M-E with my little girls.
I am even more proud that being H-O-M-E taught me that’s right where I’m supposed to be.
I am proud that I feel fulfilled by being a mother and wife.
I am proud that at the ripe ol’ age of 27, I will be a mother of FOUR darling little ones. (four girls? we will see!)
I am proud that I have survived my 5th first trimester!!! That is reason to celebrate, I tell you what.
I am proud of myself – and my family – for making a change in our life to seek the Lord and follow His will.  We have been so blessed for this!
I am proud for writing as much as I can on this little blog of mine.  I love sharing my stories to look back on, and I especially love sharing them with y’all!
I am proud that I wrote this list, even though I feel very silly being so boastful.  But sometimes, you just gotta OWN IT, ya know?
I am proud that I OWN IT.

But I am very most proud of this right here:

Nothing better in the whole wide world.

(thank you ashley flowers photography)

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mountains and cousins

I recovered from the stomach virus just in time to spend the weekend at the Harris family reunion on Pine Valley Mountain.  I am convinced that Pine Valley is the most beautiful, peaceful place on earth.  Plus, any time with Mr. Miller’s extended family is my idea of a good time.  There is always delicious food to be had, always someone who wants to hold your baby, always cousins for the little ones to run around with.  Some might argue that I married Brady for his family.. and to that I say, it’s just a bonus he’s a pretty decent guy himself. ;)

While the Aunties and Nana passed off Grae to one another, and the big girls ran around getting filthy dirty with all their cousins, I sat and watched Mr. Miller play horseshoes and bean bag toss.  Sometimes I’d mosey over for some scrabble or to rock another one’s baby to sleep.  Heaven in my eyes.  We love the Harris Reunion.  When I took Harlo for a potty break at one point, she said “Mountains and cousins are the best, mom.” I totally agree, my sweet girl.  Totally agree.

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stella turns 5

Today, it happened.  Even though I tried to talk her into repeating 4, Stella insisted on turning 5.

“Oh, alright then!” I’d say as she giggled.  “Are you sure?  Are you really sure?” I’d ask, “moooooom!” she’d giggle back.

Stella is exactly what you would imagine a five year old little girl to be – cute and bubbly and giggly and happy and prance around all day in dresses without a care in the world.  That is my Stella.

She woke me up at 6:18am with a tap-tap-tap on my shoulder and as I peeked one eye open, I saw her whisper “Mom, it’s my birthday!” I pulled her in my bed for a birthday snuggle where she laid patiently for another 12 minutes before she wanted to see her birthday prize.  

 We had lunch plans at noon, but since she woke up so early (which is quite unlike her) by noon she looked like this:

 Lunch was postponed, but we still made sure to keep up with tradition at Pizza Factory for her number 5 pizza! 

Stella was as sweet as could be all the live-long day.  We picked up a cake at Costco, went home to ready our house for a little get together, played with some new birthday toys.  She just shared with her sisters and kept a smile on her face all the day.  It was the best!

At 6:30 we had a few friends over for cake and pinata – except Stella calls it a “peeyata” (and asked me how to say it in Spanish! ha!) a Peeyata was pretty much the only thing she asked for, and I almost forgot to pick it up.  When I said “Stel! I forgot about your pinata, do you still want me to?” she said, “It’s okay, mom.  It will be a little bit of a bummer, but it’s alright.” Oh my dear sweet soul, you better believe I jumped in the car to get her that dang peeyata.  She had such a blast even though I had done really no previous planning.  I love this about Stella and I’m so glad she’s part of our family.  We really need her!

 This is Stella.

My sweetest sisters.  I heard Harlo say two times to me, “Mom, this is the best birthday ever.” I’m glad she could appreciate her sister’s special day! :)


 Grae very much enjoyed mooching bites off of everyone she could.  I think she ate more cake than anyone at the party – combined. Yikes!  (At least it’s not paint – that’s another story for another day!)

 Basically, I just feel like the seriously luckiest mama to be at the receiving end of all the love this girl has to offer.  What a little ray of sunshine to our lives she is.

 Stella,

We had the best day celebrating you.  I hope you know how loved you are!  Happy FIVE, sweet baby girl.

xoxo – mama

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easter weekend

We had a wonderful Easter weekend!  Easter is my all time favorite holiday, and this year didn’t disappoint.  My sister, Ali was in town so that is always some good quality girl time – big and little.  I love watching my girls enjoy their auntie.

General Conference was this weekend – my favorite.  We had lots of things going on with Easter and backyard projects starting, but we tried to snag in the live sessions wherever we could.  I had such a sweet moment at home while our girls colored their conference packets and Brady and I listened to the words of our church leaders.  My heart was so full, I thought it would burst right out of my chest.  God has done so much good work in my life, and I am so grateful.  

On Sunday, the girls woke up and searched for their hidden Easter baskets (sans candy this year, bad mom moment!).  After our Easter breakfast, Stella came to sit with me on the couch while I nursed Grae.  She said, “Mom, I know that Jesus died for us.” I got chills as she continued, “He died on the cross, and his mom, Mary, said the sweetest thing! She said ‘Don’t kill him! He’s my son!’ Sad, huh.” I agreed that was very sad and I thought about that moment in a way I hadn’t ever before.  She said, “3 days later, he rose again and said to his mom, ‘don’t touch me, I haven’t seen my dad yet.'” We then talked about how that’s when Jesus made it possible for us to live with God again.  Jesus unlocked the gates of Heaven, we were told during our conference sessions.  I was so surprised by how much she knew about it, since I wasn’t the one to teach her.  In fact, I didn’t even know all of those details.  There have been so many moments that I have learned from my girls about Our Savior, and I am so grateful for their loving example.  The true meaning of Easter was all around us.

After the morning session of conference, we headed up to Pine Valley where our sweet friends were blessing their new little baby.  What a special day!  Tears fell down my cheeks as Seth blessed his darling girl and the spirit filled the room all around us.  What a neat experience, and one I’m so glad we were able to share.  Pine Valley chapel is so neat!  You enter the doors and can feel you’re in a sacred place.

The perfect ending to our Easter Sunday was a family bbq full of cousins.  Two out of my three sisters were here and it was so nice to let the girls enjoy some of their Salt Lake cousins.  We can never see to get all four sisters together at once, but I try to soak up the time we have no matter what.  This Easter was a beautiful one, and possibly my most favorite yet.  Our day was just light and easy and filled with so much goodness.  I sure know that Our Savior lives and loves!

General Conference is something I look forward to every time!  There were some great messages this weekend.  You can catch up here!

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photo tip tuesday | mikell’s maternity shoot

Welcome back to photo tip Tuesday!  Today I am sharing some sweet pictures I had the opportunity to take of my dear friend Mikell who just delivered her first baby girl YESTERDAY!

I am currently not taking new clients, but I am slowly getting back into the groove and have exercised my creative side with friends and past clients over the last year.  Hopefully I can get caught up on blogging all these sweet sessions.

Today I am talking a little bit about CONNECTION.  Connection is the gasoline that fuels a session for me.  It’s what makes me a “lifestyle photographer” and not a “portrait photographer”.  I seek out connection wherever I can find it – in siblings, in a couple, in a mama with her babe.  It is there if you look for it, and if you’re really lucky, you can catch that connection in your photography.  This has become my niche.

I get asked often how I capture these natural moments in my photography.  While it takes lots of practice (and possibly some natural talent.. I know wonderful photographers who cannot seem to shoot naturally, and I know wonderful lifestyle photographers who cannot seem to shoot posed – myself included.) I think this is the wonderful part of embracing the talent you have, and working on that.  That is exactly what I have done with my photography work and it has served me well.  ANYWAY, I am giving you some tips today on getting natural looking images.  I also use these tricks for my casual instagrams, or snaps of my kids, so even if you’re not a professional photographer, you may be able to get some better snap shots of the ones you love most.

First of all, I am starting out with a beautiful  couple. I mean, seriously beautiful.  This is surely doing me some favors.  Also, they are in L-O-V-E, which is very helpful for shooting natural pics. :D

For the pictures of Mikell by herself, I just simply talk to her the whole entire time.  When I get quiet, my subject gets uncomfortable.  So I just chat away.  We were talking about how beautiful she looked pregnant and how exciting it will be to deliver this sweet little girl.  I asked her questions about her pregnancy and baby.  Having her focus in on her pregnancy during her maternity shoot, I loved how I got her natural emotion and how she felt about it captured in these shots.

When we brought Seth in, I knew I wanted something cozy and natural feeling, so I asked him to stand behind her, positioned them how I wanted the light on them, and then continued talking.  For couples, I like to prompt them with actions so I can capture a little movement.  Instead of positioning Seth’s head right near Mikell’s neck and then saying “hold that, let me snap the pic” I’ll just ask Seth to stand behind Mikell and then when I’m ready I’ll say “Seth, nuzzle into her neck a little bit, get nice and cozy, love on that belly of hers!”  Seth is then able to do these things in a natural way, and the couples natural connection shows through.  I love the movement in these shots.  They were all taken one after another in about an 8 second time frame.

By allowing this couple to be themselves, we were able to keep this shoot so simple and relaxed, all shot right by a window in my home.  This session really focused on the connection they have in this sweet season of life.  That’s my favorite favorite favorite kind of session.

 Mikell was right at home with pregnancy and it shows.  I know she’ll wear motherhood just as beautifully.

These images were shot in natural light and edited with my custom actions.

actions used: At the Studio, Light & Hazey at 50% and Add Some Cream at 20%.  Black and whites were edited the same and then with Black and White 02.  I used the print resizer for Mikell’s copy and the web resizer for my copy.  I promise you guys, these actions are the serious jam. ;)  Not a single detail was left unnoticed.  You can purchase these actions HERE.

What other kinds of things would you like me to explain on photo tip tuesday?  I’d love to hear your input!

xoxo

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miller holiday pictures 2013

This year I got majorly behind.  December snuck up on me and I hadn’t figured out holiday cards or pictures which is super unlike me.  I had kind of decided to just wait and not do a family picture this year because we’re having a baby in 3 months and it will be outdated soon anyway.. still the thought of not documenting THIS time was eating away at me.  When we were blessed with that snowstorm a few weeks ago, I decided that day we would try our hand at a family picture with the help of my tripod in our good ol’ backyard.

For being totally and completely last minute and unplanned, it was actually our smoothest family pictures to date.  The girls behaved, it took all of 5 minutes and I didn’t have time to obsess ahead of time about clothes, etc.  It was quick, but I managed to get a few shots I loved.  I barely got our cards out before Christmas (thank you to Miss @ericapatten for helping me with my card design!), but I did get them out!  I wish I could have sent one to each one of you!  Thank you for loving my family and for caring about keeping up with us. :)

Kisses to all of you from the Millers!


I’m hoping normal blog posting will resume in the new year – until then, keep up with me on instagram @cassmiller.  Any suggestions of what you want to see more of on this blog for 2014?
(Besides our new baby girl, of course! ;) )

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Ali and her family

It was nothing but pure joy to meet Ali and her sweet family.  Ali and Kellan are entering an exciting period of their lives and I was so happy to get to photograph them for it.  They were up for something a little different for their session, so we headed up to pine valley (which is just SO beautiful!  Does everyone want sessions there this year? I’m down.) and shot away.  My heart was so so happy with every aspect of this session.  Its made me excited for the busy season coming up.  Ali is also the owner of Cliffrose Lodge in Springdale where Brady and I stayed for our anniversary.  To tell you what kind of people are running that place, about 3 hours after we had checked out and left, I realized I didn’t have one of my wedding bands.  I called the Lodge KNOWING it wouldn’t have turned up, but guess what?  It did! House keeping turned it into the front desk.  I was beyond thrilled.  If you’re ever staying in Springdale, check out the Cliffrose.  We can’t recommend it enough!

**side note** I am still sifting through emails of families who want to model for me.  I can’t choose everyone, but I’m so excited about the entries I’ve gotten so far!  I’m hoping to get back with you all very very soon! :)

I am also booking September-November right now.  I hope I can photograph your family this year!  Email me at cassmillerphoto (at) gmail (dot) com.

Love to you all on this cloudy Tuesday!

xo, C

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photography and me

Photography and I have had an interesting year in our marriage together.  I have always been the ever faithful spouse to Photography.  Devoted to spending time with it, anxious to improve our relationship together, always placing it near the top of the priority list, showering it with attention at my every chance.  I’ve been good to Photography, and in turn, Photography has been good to me.  We get each other, the world gets us, it’s all come so naturally – not without growing pains – but still naturally.

This year, Photography and I have had what some might call “the 7 year itch”.  (It hasn’t exactly been 7 years, but 5 year itch didn’t sound as serious).  I’ve been going through some things and Photography hasn’t been a real shoulder to cry on.  Photography has just asked more of me in a time I felt like I couldn’t give more.  We took some time apart and began to date each other casually.  I realized Photography gets me in a way no other thing does.  I love it dearly, I really do.  I needed to figure out where my heart was.  Was I in this for the long haul, or not?

Photography had been a little stubborn, but decided to come back around.  We started seeing more of each other and I began to fall in love with it again.  I became excited about it again.  It’s no longer one more thing on my to-do list, but the thing that helps me get through all my other stuff.  As in any marriage, overcoming each struggle makes our relationship stronger and I’m excited to see where this fresh new outlook takes us.

I am currently booking through the rest of 2013.  Last year I booked up by August, so if you’re wanting me for your family pictures this year – and you know I want you – let’s get to chatting about it.  I am wanting to focus on birth and home story sessions primarily, but now through November I am taking on-location family sessions for $375.  Message me for the deets. (you know you want to!)

****I am also looking for models for up coming projects! Hooray! ****

I am looking for families of about 4-5, preferably with younger children.
Must be comfortable shooting in your home.
Must be down for a super good time. :)
Email me a picture of your family and tell me a little about yourselves.
I wont be able to take everyone, but I will be offering discounts to anyone I can’t shoot for this project!

So enough already with my baggage, let’s move on to prettier things….

I am kicking off the busy season with possibly THE most beautiful family around.  I love this mama dearly as she was my birth coach/therapist/friend/soul sister and she was one of the only people who witnessed my sweet Stella’s birth.  If you are having a baby, contact her about her Bradley classes.. I promise you wont regret it – Pinky swear!

Trisha is just getting ready to send her oldest boy out on an LDS mission so naturally we had to do some family pictures.  I loved this session so much!  Can’t wait to see them all back in 2 years! ;) 

 

Love to you all on this happy Wednesday!

xoxo, C

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maskcara and family

I am excited to finally be sharing the gorgeous Killpack family with you.  Cara is a sweet friend of mine and she’s also the genius behind her blog MASKCARA.  She has undoubtedly made me about 20% prettier with all her makeup tips. ;) I thought I was good with makeup before, but this lady works magic.

That’s not the only thing I love about this girl though.  She has the sweetest soul and is so down to earth.  I loved being able to photograph her with  her darling little family, just naturally they way they are.  She and Nick have such a great connection – you can tell they’re totally best friends.  They get a kick out of their little Christian.  We just chatted about parenting and religion and love and opportunity our whole session long.  It was a beautiful day and they are a beautiful family.  It was complete perfection.

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