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.

Hindu + Western Wedding PT II | Morais Vineyards | Bealeton, Virginia | Virginia Wedding Photographer

Pt II of a Hindu + western wedding photographed for Anna Liz Photography . This day was just packed with events and fun! Seriously! Check out the slideshow below for more reception photos which included a SOUL TRAIN!!! A soul train to Whitney Houston! AH! It took everything in me not to dance.

Hindu Wedding | Baraat | Morais Vineyards | Virginia Wedding Photographer | Part I

I couldn’t be more excited to share these vibrant images from the time I photographed a Hindu wedding for Anna Liz Photography . The wedding took place at the beautiful Morais Vineyards in Bealton, Virginia. I must confess, this was my first baraat and while I prepped myself by watching videos, there really is nothing like being in it and experiencing it for yourself. MY GOSH!! The adrenaline, pride, drum, music, dancing, happy faces, WOW! It was an incredible experience that I am so grateful to have been a part of.

Shenandoah Valley Wedding | Raspberry Plain Manor | Leesburg Wedding Photographer | Northern Virginia Wedding

This past summer I had the amazing opportunity to associate photograph a wedding for Lia Everette Photography at the stunning Raspberry Plain Manor in Leesburg, Virginia. The whole entire day was beautiful, even with the rain. A first look took place in a secret garden gasp! Yes, a secret garden!!! It was AHH-mazing and the couple’s excitement and love for each other was swoon material! The rest of the day was filled with so much laughter, drinks, kick-ass dance moves and a huge sparkler exit.

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.

Mr. + Mrs. Flavin | Country Villa Inn | Virginia Beach, Va. | Virginia Beach Wedding

Art Museum Wedding | Mr. + Mrs. Dorswitt | Virginia MOCA | Virginia Beach, Va.

Susan and Kenneth had 25 of their closest family and friends gather at MOCA to celebrate them getting married.  Susan wanted her day documented in a way that captured love and family most.  They had their ceremony at the art museum and following it was a small gathering at their residence. The ceremony was officiated by Susan's brother in a simple, sweet and untraditional way. 

Virginia MOCA was chosen as their place for ceremony because of their love for art and music.  The museum was simple yet so beautiful. After the ceremony, Kenneth, Susan and I strolled around the exhibits for pictures and we couldn't help but stop and admire every painting. I myself am a fan of modern-contemporary art and often enjoy viewing art with my husband so this was just a perfect day!