Courtney & Drew – Family

Hi Friends!

I had the honor of working with my friends Courtney and Drew to capture their sweet baby boy’s first birthday. You guys, this little boy is the luckiest of them all. Just wait until you see how this sweet little guy looks at his Mom and Dad like they are the greatest on this earth. Such a big love shared by the 3 members of this little family.

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3I have a feeling he will look back at these fun photos of his Dad spinning him around and think he is the coolest guy in town.1I can’t get enough of those chubby little legs! 2He wasn’t so sure what to think about my camera in his face the whole time. Such a cutie!4Okay so this picture above just makes my heart smile. How lucky is this little guy to grow up seeing his parents love each other so well.

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Prochaska’s, thank you so much for allowing me to capture your little guy’s first birthday! I had so much fun!

All my best,

Haley

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Nancy & Ben – Family Session

 

Hi Friends!

I am excited to share the sweetest family session with you. A couple of weeks ago I had the joy of meeting this incredible family and capturing a glimpse of their life. Nancy and Ben are truly the kindest souls, raising three handsome and fun-spirited boys. I couldn’t have had a better time wondering through Centennial Gardens at Herman Park with this family of five and getting to experience their fun personalities along the way.

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You guys, this picture below melts my heart. These boys love their Daddy so much, there’s no doubt about that. I didn’t ask them to pose like this, it just came naturally. How incredible to see this kind of father-son relationship, times 3!

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Nancy, this beautiful mama above, reached out to me through this blog! She has an awesome blog as well called Always in a Southern State of Mind, which features all kinds of  cool decor ideas! I had the pleasure of doing some home photography with her, which I will be posting soon as well.

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One of the reasons I love photography so much is because I get to spend a moment with great families like this one, and take a moment to document the season they are living in. Life is so busy, things come up, priorities change and it is so easy to get caught up in the day-to-day hustle and forget to relish the moments in front of our very eyes. In this way, I hope through my photography I can preserve the memory of the very season my friends are in and the abundant blessings in front of us.

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Nancy and Ben, thank you immensely for including me in this season for your family.

All my best,

Haley

10 Steps to Balance Hustle & Rest

You guys,

I know I’m not the only one over here hustling so let’s hash this out and get to the bottom of how to balance our hustle and rest. Beginning in January I dove head first into a season of preparing for three really big exams that I’ll be taking in April. Here are a few tips I’ve found helpful to make it through this season. Guys, this season is SO NOT about being the best at all the things; it’s about learning the balance of how to do your things well and live well at the same time. I hope these tips encourage you through the hustle season you’re going through.

10 Steps to Balance the Hustle & Rest:

  1. Quiet Time– Yeah, yeah I know “quiet time is for babies and old people”. However, try to give your self a little quiet time in the morning to clear your head; read your Bible; read something fun; or literally just a moment to think to your self “what the heck have I done to get in this mess”. Trust me, a still and calm moment in the morning will set the pace of your energy for the rest of your day.
  2. Hit Snooze – It’s perfectly OKAY to hit snooze on that alarm that rang way too early. Whoever made up the expectation that you need to get up at the first ring anyways? Obviously they didn’t have an iPhone, so clearly that rule is outdated.
  3. Study-When-You-Study / Work-When-You-Work – Y’all, I’m a multi-tasker so this is hard for me. When it’s time to study, leave the phone in the other room, turn off all the things, and put your head down. No work, no friends, no tv, no things – STUDY. Same for work: the second you get to work, put your phone out of reach, open the email, HIT GO, and don’t stop until it’s time for a break. Don’t try and mix the two, it won’t turn out well.
  4. Set REALISTIC Expectations – Set yourself up to achieve a realistic goal with each intense study session. You know yourself best and what goals are reachable for you. However, for me many times my goal is based on time. For example, I’ll tell myself “I’m going to intensely study for 1 hour” and when I reach that goal, I get a treat of a true break. Sometimes it’s hard to get up after the hour goes by, but I make myself anyways. You could also set your goal based on learning a specific topic, then once you have your head wrapped around it, drop the pencil. We’ve got to have longevity here people. It’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon.
  5. Don’t Give Up All the Fun – You need to have fun. Don’t let your need for fun start seeping through your designated study times. Plan the fun ahead of time. Designate it as a separate time in your schedule from your studying. This way you won’t feel guilty for not studying. Go to the rodeo that you’ve had tickets for for months. Go see a movie. Buy a book that has been on your reading list forever and have it in the background. Find that TV series all your friends have been talking about and set it aside for break time.
  6. Manage Your Energy Not Your Time  – I don’t know about you, but when I’m not in the mood to get something done it will end up taking twice/three times the amount of time and energy it would have taken had I felt up to the challenge. When you find yourself in this situation, stop yourself in your tracks and go get an ice cream. Work when you have the energy to get stuff done, not solely when you have the time to.
  7. Eat What You Want – Don’t get crazy. I’m not saying eat a lot, or eat bad, or purposely gorge your sorrows away. My point is this: don’t let the worries of eating really healthy take up the mental space and energy that needs to be directed somewhere else.
  8. Get a Starbucks Gold Card – If you don’t already have this, Starbucks will probably be contacting you shortly as you’ve been a regular as of lately. I strongly hesitate to include this on the list because I don’t agree with their new points system. However, adding up those little stars to get a free drink is still a fun little bonus. Might as well get something free out of all of this studying!
  9. Zoom In, Zoom Out – Remember to take in the whole picture. Right now we’re heads-down and stuck in this really real-life stuff. We’re in the nitty-gritty and our microscope focus is on that tiny grain of sand at our feet. However, don’t forget that when you raise your head there is a whole entire beautiful beach right in front of you – and it has been there the whole time.
  10. Give Yourself Grace – Above everything swirling in and through your mind and your heart and your days; keep your eyes on the prize and know what the real race is that we’re running. “And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.”-Hebrew 12:1. “I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”-Philippians 3:14. When you fall, give yourself a second chance. When you wake up late, don’t beat your self down. When you’re not learning the way you had hoped, acknowledge to yourself that it doesn’t mean you are less than and try again. Let go of the guilt of not giving it “more”; you’re doing the best you can and that’s all you can do. If you’re like me, you are much harder on yourself than anybody else is. So the best possible way to get yourself through this intense time is to be kind to yourself and give yourself a whole lot of grace.

 

All my best,

Haley

Home – Dining

Happy Weekend, Friends!

I’ve realized that I have really never shared anything about Robert and my home and it’s about time. So I thought I’d share one of my favorite nooks/projects, which is a wall in our dining room.

IMG_7380Why:

Our dining room has a long solid wall on one side. For me, it was screaming for attention in a way that would be both graphically beautiful and symbolically significant to Robert and me. The large wall needed something proportionately to scale, and it was important to us to incorporate meaning into the piece we installed on the wall.

Concept:

We decided to create a visual representation of all of the important dates in our lives in a way that could be evolved overtime to incorporate additional important dates.

What:

Secondly (also important) it was mandatory that we be able to create a piece that was low-cost for install (i.e. DIY) and was made with low-cost materials. On a whim trip to Home Depot I wondered over to the paint department and found a treasure chest full of paints that people had returned and were on clearance. I picked up a $50 can of dark-grey paint for $12. Then headed over to hobby lobby, bought some white string for $4 with my 40% off coupon (of course). Then went to Habitat Restore and picked up a big box of reclaimed nails for $1.50. These materials gave us our medium and foundation of our project for under $20. We painted a large rectangle on the wall. Drafted out our grid system, and nailed a single nail in each of the points on our grid.

How:

Robert and I spent some time outlining in chronological order the most important dates throughout our lives, from birth to current time. We listed these dates strategically with in the following format (00.00.0000). By doing this we gave ourselves a long list of our data or coordinates. Each of these coordinates we each symbolic and represented a significant event in our lives. With our coordinates in hand, we decided to throw in a little chance to the visual representation of the coordinates. Our chance factor = Dice. We systematically broke down each 8 digit coordinate into pairs, meaning, 4 pairs per date. Each individual pair included 2 dice rolls. The first roll which was assigned the first number in the pair determined how many units the point moved up/down, the second roll which was assigned with the second number in the pair determined how many units the point moved left/right. To find the starting point, we let the dice decide based on the same pair system mentioned above. In the end, our string left off on a point unconnected to any other points our string had crossed. We love that because it is a clear symbol of the many important dates to come in the future.

Hope you have a great rest of the weekend!

All my best,

Haley

 

 

He’s with us in the ‘busy’ too

Hi Friends,

As I drove home from the office this evening I caught myself in the middle of a thought that I realized has been following me around for a while and for some reason as I was stuck on the ramp to get onto the traffic-filled highway, it became so apparent to me that this thought isn’t entirely true. This thought is a simple thought. A thought you may have thought from time to time as well and I hope to conquer this thought along with you. I caught my mind thinking something along the lines of:

“God is present in stillness. So I need to work harder to be still, so that He can be more present.”

Guys, the problem with this statement is that He is not ONLY present in the still and the calm. He’s with us in the ‘busy’ too. He’s with us in the calm and the still, just as equally as He’s with us in the crazy, messy and busy. He’s writing His story through the stillness, calmness, and the successes just as equally as He’s writing His story in the craziness, the busyness and the failures. There certainly are times when we need to be still. However, there are also other times that we need to accept the grace He’s already poured over us and realize that He’s still writing His story even when things are busy and crazy.

Yesterday evening, I hurriedly gathered my bags and books and headed to my car to go home for the night. As I hastily whirled around the parking garage I exited onto the street to find myself as the first car in a lane headed toward a red light. Out of the left corner of my eye I saw an awesome old classic convertible with a man coasting it slowly toward the intersection. It was clear he was having car troubles and was coasting out the last bit of movement to which he may not have been able to make it across. Out of the right corner of my eye was a man wearing a backpack, clearly leaving his office just like me, and rapidly walking up to the intersection to cross the street. Just as the driver coasted into the intersection, the man who was crossing the intersection from the opposite direction, without hesitation, jogged up to the back of the car and gave the man a running start to coast to the side of the street to park. I’m not talking a simple push with one hand, I’m talking the man was almost horizontal with both hands pushing this car so hard. After the back-pack man gave his final push, he gave a quick wave to the driver, swiftly turned on his heel and continued on his merry way.

This all happened in a matter of 15-30 seconds. No communication. No heads-up. No cell-phone calls. No hello’s, goodbyes or thank you’s. Just a simple and instantaneous reaction of pure generosity and kindness. I don’t know anything about this back-pack man and I certainly don’t know if he knows Jesus. But I have to say, he taught me a whole lot about Jesus in that busy moment. And whether Jesus was a present in this man’s mind or not, it certainly made Him present in mine. That’s just one simple example of how He was present in my busyness.

Leave a comment with a story of how He has been present in your ‘busy’! I would love to hear!

All my best,

Haley

 

 

Why blog?

Hi Friends,

I’ve been thinking a lot about why I want to blog. What is the purpose? What is the meaning behind it? What am I trying to get out of blogging and what am I trying to share with the you? I thought it would be fair to you to lay it all out there and explain why I have this crazy place to share thoughts. I’m hoping you’ll be able to help me accomplish a few of these!

  1. Connection – Share thoughts that other people might also have but we wouldn’t otherwise know we had the topic in common
  2. Community – Finding a few people that share common interest
  3. Show case awesome people that I get to walk with, hear their story, and capture their love through the lens on my camera
  4. Articulate the rhythms of Grace in our life – I hope that by sharing some of Robert and my life journey, you’ll be able to see the rhythms of grace woven throughout and I hope to always glorify Him through our experiences along the way
  5. Share Tips – Robert and I have been working really hard on several things like budgeting, marriage, and photography. I’d love to share some of the things we have learned and are continuing to learn to help encourage you if you are on a similar path
  6. People I love – I’d love to share and connect you with the people I look up to for inspiration
  7. Places I love – Definitely need to get better at this. However, I’d love to showcase some of our favorite places and find some more awesome spots in Houston!
  8. Show progress (“Imperfect Progress”as Lara Casey would say)
  9. Be consistent – show dedication by regularly posting. I’m working towards once a week to 3 times a month
  10. Most of all – I hope to always be authentic in my sharing!

Hoping you are having the greatest Sunday and getting some much needed rest for this upcoming week!

All my best,

Haley

Kelsey & Brad – Engaged

Hi Friends!

I hope you guys are having a great weekend! Just had to share a few photos from one of my sweetest engagement sessions to date. This one is especially dear to me because I not only got to capture this couple’s engagement session, but also got to capture their proposal! And let me say, boys take notes. Brad, sure does know how to plan a perfect proposal.

I’ll never forget, as I arrived to Kelsey’s parent’s house I got to see the sweetest view of Brad (soon-to-be-finance) and Brad (Kelsey’s Dad) stringing photos, lighting candles, and preparing for one of the most important moments in Brad and Kelsey’s lives. The house was all a bustle, with food being made, drinks being prepared, and everybody setting the stage just perfectly for the most important night.

Brad (fiance) had planned for serveral of the important people in their lives to be present for the occasion. All of the friends and family “hid” at a nearby location, and when signaled, they ran over to their house to surprise Kelsey as she walked back into her parent’s house from the backyard after the big event.

I have to say I feel I am so lucky to get to see the entire thing unfold before my very eyes. It was a perfect night, for a perfect proposal. And of course, she said “YES!”.

So fast forward…. ENGAGEMENT SESSION!

Guys, sometimes when shooting outdoors, the weather decides when it’s a good day to shoot, and when you should not even try. After one postponed shoot due to bad weather, we managed to have the MOST beautiful day to shoot ever. Sometimes I think things are just meant to be!

And of course…have to honor my best helper!

Feeling so blessed to have been able to capture this session for Kelsey & Brad. Can’t thank you guys enough for allowing me to not only be a part of your proposal, but also your engagement photos!

All my best,

Haley

 

 

 

 

 

 

New Years Resolution – Part 1

Hi Friends,

Welcome to 2016! I hope you have had a great first week of the year and are excited for all that is to come!

I’m feeling called today to share a bit about my new years resolution. After typing out a few thoughts (which turned into an essay-sorry in advance) I realize this may need to become a series of posts rather than one post as I was expecting.

I thought I would simply say “here is what I have done this first week of January and how I think it’s going to help the rest of my year and hopefully yours as well”. However, that would be so NOT true! This is the end result of a long thought out concept that is still in the works. In order to understand where I am today, first I must tell you about the beginning. The thought process behind this New Years Resolution began way further back than this first week of January. It goes all the way back to October 2015.

By October 2015, I was working 40 hour weeks at my full-time job, booked every day on the weekends with photography (what a blessing to do something I enjoy so much!), editing photos every night after work until going to bed, trying to be a good wife, a good dog-mom, grow my relationship with God by getting into the word everyday, budget our finances well and meet big financial goals Rob and I have set before ourselves (I’ll do another post about this later), meet friends for coffee (hardly happened), edit my photos perfectly and hand over to happy clients, apply for an intensive study course for my spring licensing exam, go to church (however, this was only if my work allowed). I was trying to do it all; and do it all perfectly. I had a full spirit, an inspired mind, but my body was exhausted, and I knew there was a better way.

The catch-22 about this whole thing, is that all of those things are good things, BLESSINGS. Really good stuff that were outcomes of the grace upon grace He covers me with. They were all tasks or projects that were for good causes, directing me to grow my skills, grow my business, grow our finances, and grow relationships. I thought to myself “for heaven’s sake, Haley, there are CEO’s of companies and parents with young children, and all kinds of people with REAL stuff to worry about and they have their life more balanced than this.” Therefore, I realized that there was nothing wrong with WHAT I was doing, however, there was something fundamentally wrong with HOW I was doing it. 

Simply put, I was allowing my calendar to happen to me. I had no boundaries set up to protect the purposeful things in my life. I had no reason to say no to unintentional things. This hard lesson (that I’m still learning) pushed me to realize that I need to set up boundaries to make room for purposeful stuff to happen in my life. I knew this in my head, but didn’t quite understand how to get there, and am still in the process of learning how to get there.

I follow a ton of incredibly inspiring people on Instagram. Lara Casey (@laracasey) is an incredible inspiration, and one of the ladies I look up to most. She has an amazing outlook on living a purposeful and intentional life which she so honestly teaches through her Instagram, blog and book, Make It Happen. She has helped me understand the importance of living intentionally. Why it is okay, even good, to say “no” to certain things in order to say “yes” to purposeful things.

That said, I encourage you (and let’s face it, me too) this week to HAPPEN to your calendar, don’t let your calendar happen to you. Put the good stuff, the purposeful stuff, in there before any other “stuff” passively fills it up. I encourage you to determine what those intentional things are that you hope to accomplish this week and schedule them into your calendar before anything else has the chance to fill the slot. For example, if you’d like to have more quality time  with your people at home during the week, then block out  your schedule to be home at least 3 evenings after work. If you want to have coffee with a friend, go ahead and put that hour in your calendar before you even have a chance to plan it. If you want to get more into the Bible, then schedule a time for it before it happens. If you’re like me, things (even really good things) simply don’t happen unless they are in the calendar.

By no means am I considering this a fix-all, but by doing this last week before the week happened, it certainly helped me take one step forward to living more purposefully and intentionally and I hope it encourages you to do the same.

All my  best,

Haley

 

 

 

 

Charlie & Andrew – Engaged

Hi Friends!

I hope everybody is having the best New Years Eve! Robert and I will be heading off to dinner with his Aunt Judi this evening. Hope everybody has super fun plans as well!

I’m so excited to share a few previews of this engagement shoot with you guys. It is such a joy of mine to hear my new friends love stories; how they fell in love and how they popped the question! These two beautiful people have one of the sweetest stories to-date. Keep on scrolling to hear the rest!

As Charli, Andrew and I wandered through some beautiful parks near downtown Houston, it was so evident the love that they share.

Andrew told the story of the proposal. With smiles on both of their faces, he explained that he had a planned an elaborate proposal including all of Charli’s family.

The location had an outdoor area with a gorgeous view that was a special spot for them throughout their relationship. Andrew had rose petals scattered down the pathway.

Andrew is a smart boy and already planned for their family to be included on the special moment. So the family members were hidden so Charli wouldn’t know what was coming.

 

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Shortly after he popped the question, CHARLI SAID YES, and their families came out from their hiding spots and were able to celebrate the big moment with them!

Seriously, these two beautiful people are a blast and I couldn’t be more excited for them to begin the journey of forever together. Wishing you guys the best possible luck in the rest of your wedding planning and all the exciting time that 2016 will bring!

All my best,

Haley