Alex + Rachel | Intimate Richmond Engagement Session | Main Street Station | Richmond Wedding Photographer

Tis’ the season for engagement sessions…. and weddings! The weather is FINALLY warm, sun is shining and golden hour is AHH-MAZING. Well, most days! Rachel and Alex live up north so we really just had to plan and hope for amazing weather during their trip to Virginia. It poured. It poured buckets but the amazing thing about Richmond is that there's always a gorgeous plan B.

Special shout out to the Main Street train station for allowing us to shoot in their GORGEOUS building. Towards the end of our session, the rain cleared and the sun came out. HA! Life! We made the most of our time together and of course snagged photos outside on the way to our cars.

Meeting Rachel and Alex in person felt like meeting up with old friends. They booked me as their wedding photographer last fall so we’ve had time to chat many times, bond over Harry Potter, Game of Thrones, art and music.

Ahead of time I send a questionnaire to my couples to get to know them even more before their engagement session. I learned that Rachel and Alex love to snuggle (that was definitely true), they prefer to be photographed where they feel alone and something they always look forward to is that long hug after a long day. Being around them all of this was felt. The intimacy, comfort and admiration they have for each other shows through every image. It wasn’t forced, they were just able to be themselves and luckily for us, the station was empty! YAY!

Another question I ask is if the couple has any song that describes their relationship or that they just REALLY enjoy together. Rachel said La Bicicleta by Carlos Vives and Shakira. I played this song during the session and the smile on Alex’s face told me IT’S ABOUT TO GO DOWN and down it went. They bust out their salsa moves and all I could do was cheer “YASSSSSSSS”. We had so much fun and as if I wasn’t already stoked for their fall wedding, my level of excitement shot through the roof!

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.