Spring Break Pt I | Galway, Ireland | Traveling Photographer

I’m so excited to share our first trip to Ireland with everyone. Hell, it was our FIRST trip to Europe and it was AHHH-MAZING! I can’t say that for the whole planning process though. As if planning a two city international trip somewhere you’ve never been isn’t stressful enough, we were one of those affected by the airline you may or may not have heard about going out of business -WOW Air. Yeah, bummer! After a struggle to get a refund, rearranging our trip and spending 2.5x the amount we did previously, we were on our way to Ireland.

We flew to Ireland on Aer Lingus (lol) and it was honestly one of the best flights i’ve taken. The plane wasn’t packed, we were provided plenty of drinks, snack and a meal and overall the plane was SO spacious.

Once we landed in Dublin, we picked up our rental car and began our two hour drive to Galway. By the way, it is not cheap renting a car BUT if you plan on leaving Dublin, it is necessary and worth it. My husband had the privilege of driving the whole trip. In Ireland the driver is on the right side of the vehicle and you drive in the left lane. If you think this was easy for him, think again. Homeboy was anxious haha.

We arrived to Galway and checked into our charming chalet in the countryside. We were greeted by our host and scones. Yes, some scones and they were damn good! Our chalet was everything we needed and more for our 3 days in Galway. It was clean, perfectly warm for the cold nights and peaceful. I look forward to returning and staying if we are ever in Galway again. Which I certainly hope we are.

Our first day we ended up taking a 5 hour nap and just going about 5 minutes from the chalet to the quay (pronounced key) and getting dinner at The Pier Head Bar & Restaurant in Kinvara. The restaurant is right by the water and driving there you pass a Dunguaire castle. I MEAN IS THIS REAL LIFE?! So from our table we were able to watch the sunset in this cozy restaurant as we waited for our food. For dinner we had salmon in a cream sauce and finished our meal with sticky toffee pudding and black forrest cake. It was a great start to our trip. The salmon was easily the freshest, tastiest that i’ve ever eaten. After dinner, like the old folks we are, we went back to our chalet and prepared for our next day.

Day 02 we drove about an hour away to Bunratty Castle & Folk park. Admission was 17 euros each and we had access to the castle and the cutest folk village that had shops, animals and plenty to see. We spent almost three hours touring the place. The greatest thing for me was just how chill it was. It wasn’t packed as you’d expect everywhere to be during spring break. Many times it felt as if we had the place to ourselves. It was tranquil.

PS- When in Ireland always plan for rain and in our experience - hail. Haha. Seriously. It hailed three times this day for maybe a minute each time.

After all of our walking around we drove to the big Quay in Galway. Here you will find musicians playing in the street and row of pubs and restaurants. It’s a lot busier in this area so there was a bit of traffic and paying for parking (pretty affordable).

Here we had dinner at The Quay’s Bar and Restaurant. We were sat in this cozy corner and listened to the live music playing in the restaurant. Again, it wasn’t crowded which was really nice. Here we ordered the Guinness and beef stew. HOLY SHIT! It was perfection.

Spring Break Pt III | Dublin, Ireland | Traveling Photographer

Off to Dublin but first things first - Scones! The petrol station down the street from our chalet had some of the best scones baked fresh every morning. Oh, and that’s me cranky because I was never able to adjust to the 5 hour time difference and ran on 3-4 hours of sleep. Everything about Dublin is so different from Galway. It’s much more fast paced, taxis can be found everywhere (there is no Uber or Lyft), the streets were filled with people… it reminded me a lot like a smaller, less crowded NYC.

After settling into our airbnb room and napping because that’s how parents roll on vacay, we redeemed our tickets for the Guinness Storehouse. Buy your tickets in advance. I repeat BUY YOUR TICKETS IN ADVANCE. This goes for pretty much anything in Dublin. These sort of places easily sell out.

My thoughts on the Guinness Storehouse- I could’ve easily done without it on our trip. We did it because it was recommended by many. Honestly in my experience, it was crowded and with it being an unguided tour, felt all over the place. We got through it, learned how to pour Guinness, enjoyed a pint and took a taxi to Temple Bar. Temple Bar is like a quay- a strip of pubs and restaurants and in Dublin people partying in the streets. FYI- keep euros in hand for your taxi rides. We didn’t come across even one that took cards.

Dublin shot on iPhone

For dinner we went to Boxty. Boxty is pretty much a potato pancake. I ordered a boxty filled with beef medallions and topped with a mushroom gravy. It was good but what my husband ordered was INCREDIBLE! He ordered the corned beef over purple potato mash. The corned beef was to die for!! For dessert I ordered the bread pudding. Bread pudding is one of my favorite desserts but this bread pudding was unlike anything I had ever tried before. If no-one told you, you’d never think it was also gluten free. If you are ever in Temple Bar and stumble into Boxty, order the corned beef and finish the meal with the bread pudding. You won’t regret it!

Our last and final day in Ireland we went to the Jameson Distillery to do some good ole whiskey tasting. This was our favorite thing we did in Dublin. It was a guided tour with the most lovely, fun guides. The tours were kept to about 16 people so it never felt crowded and we got to sample lots of whiskey.

Our final meal in Ireland was at San Lorenzos and it was pricey but perfect! For dessert afterwards we walked to an Italian cafe called Dolce Sicily. All in all we got pretty lucky and only ate great food in Ireland. The food is incredibly fresh and authentic. My foodie heart was full.

Despite the setbacks during the planning phase of our trip, this was an incredible, memorable experience. Easily our #1 vacation we’ve taken. Ireland was a treat. It was green, peaceful, friendly… it was a paradise of it’s own. I couldn’t recommend Ireland enough. I look forward to the day that we get to return and see more of this beautiful island. Thank you for following along on our adventures.

Angela + Jason | Richmond Engagement Session | Richmond Canal Walk

These two are getting married this fall in Norfolk, Virginia and I am SO stoked. After meeting Angela, her and I began discovering that we are pretty much internet twins, soul sisters, you know the same person; same house slippers and all. So, yes, I was so excited to finally meet her and Jason in person. We started the session at the Richmond Canal Walk mural gallery and just adventured together until the sun set.

Shout out to the avocado tent for taking us to the next scene.

All smiles and giggles before we discovered a tragedy under Jason’s shoe.

Being around Angela and Jason, their friendship was undeniable. They loved to joke and their was a level of comfort that made it so easy to want to be their best friend. I wanted to make sure that I captured that in their engagement session

Dorota + Dwight | In-home engagement session | Monument Avenue | Richmond, Virginia | Richmond Wedding Photographer

Something I love, ESPECIALLY during the winter months, are in-home sessions. I met Dorota and Dwight at their home in Richmond for their engagement session. As soon as I walked in and saw all of Dorota’s beautiful plants I knewwww that they would be sitting right in the plant corner for our session haha. I mean, it’s just so lovely!!! I spent a good 15-20 minutes while Dwight got ready asking Dorota all sorts of plant questions. True story- a week after their session… I bought a bunch of house plants hah. Good news- all but one are STILL alive. Trust me, i’m shocked myself.

The moment I saw Dorota and Dwight’s energy, I knew it was undeniable chemistry. They were so fun and relaxed and just fell right into each other. Dorota’s jokes also made it easy for me to capture genuine smiles and laughter. After a quick outfit change, we drove out to Monument Avenue to photograph the second part of their session. We all got so lucky with beautiful shades of leaves, even in late November. After wrapping up our session, I went back to their home where Dorota and I spent over an hour drinking coffee and talking about plants, photography and wedding plans. They will be getting married this summer at their Richmond home and I absolutely cannot wait to capture it!

Children's Session | Fort Monroe Beach | Hampton Roads Lifestyle Photographer

I always love photographing kids being kids! They go by their own rules, they act more freely and if they're into the environment, they really let go! The Pierre girls were everything and more. It was a bit of a chilly day but they went straight for the water and watching them gave me so much life. Hearing them laugh and almost get taken out by waves yet still have the biggest smile on their faces was refreshing and inspiring.

True story- when I lack inspiration or feel like I'm in a rut, I photograph my kids. Every time, I learn a new way that I want to capture raw connection. They fill me with inspiration, remind me to let go and most importantly be free!

Anna + Dalton | Engagement Session | Pleasure House Point | Virginia Beach Wedding Photographer

I met Anna, Dalton and their pup, Pyro at Pleasure House Point for their engagement session. The day couldn't have been any more perfect for several reasons: the light was just gorgeous, the weather was a perfect 78 degrees with a cool breeze, the water was warm, Anna and Dalton were as sweet as can be, they were down for an adventure and their pup was SOOO GOOD!! Pyro was AMAZING! Many times during our session he would sit by my foot while I photographed his parents. Just so incredibly warm and sweet. 

Anna and I chatted a ton before their session which was great because not only did I feel like I already knew her when I saw her in person but we were able to really put together a session that captured everything she wanted ~ ROMANCE + ADVENTURE.

Our session began in the most amazing golden light and ended with them doing what they love to do most: hangout, share some beers, hiking and camping!

Franz Family | In-Home Family Session | Seaford, Va.

While most of my sessions take place outdoors, I absolutely love those times I get in-home sessions, too! Especially when the summer temps reach 90+ degrees.  With that being said it was SO awesome to be welcomed into the Franz family's gorgeous home and get to know them. Our time from beginning to end flowed effortlessly as the children guided the session.  We first hung out in the living room where sweet little princess Liv showed me a book that she was really proud of... as well as her favorite dolls and toys. Then we made our way to her room for more toys, tiaras and dolls and wrapped up our time in baby Julian's nursery.  I enjoyed every minute with the Franz family.  They are so incredibly sweet and welcoming.  Along with natural light, love also radiated through their home.

Family Session | Mentoring Session | Fort Pierce, FL.

For spring break I packed up my family and we road tripped a long way south to Fort Pierce, Florida!  It wasn't just any ole trip!  I went to be mentored by my photography inspiration and idol, Twyla Jones.  I still can't believe that it happened and that she was just as amazing in person as she is with her online presence.  Finding a mentor was so important to me to continue my growth and education to better serve my clients.  This mentorship didn't disappoint and I can't help but feel so inspired and grateful for the experience.

On day two of my mentorship, Twyla arranged a gorgeous family session at Fort Pierce Inlet State Park.  She had the sweetest family model for us and provided some amazing outfits.  It took place at golden hour and didn't end until the park closed.  Following our session we all went out, model family and all, for a sushi feast.  I'm still on cloud nine from my trip and looking at these photos, I'm sure you'll understand why. 

The Hale Family | Alexa | Maternity | Newport News, Va.

I couldn't be more excited to share Alexa's maternity session.  She was glowing and gorgeous from the inside out.  Her love for her family was strong and most importantly, it was present.  

"Props to Rebecca for pulling out the emotions in me.  Being pregnant requires a strength so strong and the grueling parts of it are so often hidden by the natural grace of a woman.  We are all super and amazing creatures."

-Alexa

Family Time | Downtown Norfolk | Norfolk Arts District

What do we do when its 60 degrees in January, the whole family needs to get outside and we don't want to spend money? Take advantage of the Norfolk Arts District! I packed a cooler with sandwiches and snacks and we took a 35 minute drive to Norfolk. They have an art district and walking around it is like finding treasure. There are tons of murals, painted benches, gorgeous houses, historic buildings, sculptures and random spots to stop for coffee or tea... which we did. Zeke's to be exact and they had the best damn iced tea I've ever drank!!! Tom and I ordered a ginger plum unsweetened iced tea and it was so good I'm still thinking about it.

We spent the whole afternoon walking around, taking pictures, enjoying the sunshine and having lunch by the water. It was just what I needed to end the week!  

Blake| Newport News, Va | Self-Empowerment

 

"We are broken by others but we mend ourselves."
-Paolo Nutini
 

So I've recently been inspired to shoot more solo portraits.  There seems to be something that's just so thought-provoking about them, how we see them and what they represent to each of us.  For me it represented a single moment of just me in front of the camera, existing in the moment and hypnotized by the raw intensity of it.  As you can imagine that can and did bring out a lot of emotions.   When I arrived to the shoot location I had never met the two people who would be posing, in fact none of us had ever met before.  Then I see Blake arrive and realize again that it's such a small world.  I've known Blake since middle school.  Needless to say he's blossomed since the 7th grade into the this gorgeous piece you see now. 

Blake has a story, I know it, I've been inspired by it.  I want so badly to go into everything about him but that's my perception.  I already know what he represents to me.  It's up to you to figure out the story he has to tell.

Tiffany | Virginia Beach, Va | Women's Empowerment

 

"I will tell you this again and again and again; you are enough.  You are so incredibly enough."

 

Empowerment sessions are great for the soul and I strongly encourage them!  As people caught up in a thing called "life", I think we forget just how truly amazing we really are; inside AND out.

Tiffany-virginia-beach-photography.jpg

 When I arrived to Tiffany's apartment she had a kettle of water on the stove, matcha and a mug,  along with a goodie bag of cake pops waiting for me.  It was the warmest welcome and just got me more excited to capture her sweet soul. After my matcha, we picked out some outfits and walked a minute (literally) to a private beach outside of her Virginia Beach apartment.  How lucky?! The beach was empty.  It felt as if it was just ours for the moment.  Maybe it was the fact that it was 35 degrees but either way it felt intimate and personal.  We played music and just danced, twirled and laughed with each other.  It was a moment of pure freedom and bliss for us both.  


"It's like tapping back into the old careless, free-spirited me...maybe not knowing what to do or what's coming next, but being guided by HER free spirit. I felt so comfortable with her, just being able to be me---unsure and vulnerable.  At one point I wasn't sure if what I was doing was working for the camera or her vision, but then she laughed and I started laughing too. I know that she is genuine. It was easy and effortless from that point on. I was glad to be her teacher and her student...and vice versa. Seeing the photos afterwards is just complete magic, where I realize she captured the freeness that I was feeling, even when I've forgotten that I'm free."
-Tiffany