Goodreads: I Am MalalaApril 16, 2014

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I’ve been doing a lot of reading since the beginning of the year, and am currently on books #7 and 8 of my 25 in 12 challenge! Speaking of reading two books at once … it’s not something I normally do but I find that when I’m reading a business book, I want to curl up with something a little lighter before bed. How about you guys? Do you read multiple books at a time? I’m learning to set aside my Type A ways and be open to change. ;)

Here’s my take on the books I’ve read since the beginning of the year:

Help, Thanks, Wow by Anne Lamott
I can’t believe this was my first Anne Lamott book, with how much my family and friends rave about her work. Lamott is just as witty, yet thought-provoking, as everyone says she is. She’s a smart writer, and this is a good intro book into her faith and how prayer plays a part in our everyday lives. (****)

I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai
I loved this book in a painful kind of way. Having not read much about Pakistan, and especially not by a Pakistani, Malala opened my eyes to another side of the conflict in that part of the Middle East. The short of it: At 15 years old and on her way home from school, Malala is shot in the head by a Taliban member. She survives (!) and dedicates her life to fighting for women’s right to education. (*****)

The End of Your Life Book Club by Will Schwalbe
A touching memoir about a son’s (Schwalbe) relationship with his dying mother. Schwalbe’s mother was so inspiring and made me want to get out there and do something amazing with my life. (****)

MWF Seeking BFF: My Yearlong Search for a New Best Friend by Rachel Bertsche
I listend to this on my way to Chicago to meet three of my best friends from college. It really hit home at the perfect time as I was greeting and then saying goodbye to three dear friends who live across the country. Having moved multiple times in the last 10 or so years, I really identified with Bertsche, who found herself living in Chicago with no girlfriends and no prospect to meet any new ones. I loooove my friends and having close girlfriends is really important to me, so this book was fascinating and really made me think about friend-making post-college. (****)

The Forty Rules of Love by Elif Shafek
OK. I liked this book until the ending. I won’t tell you what happens, but for me it was just way too unrealistic and, quite frankly, really annoying. Besides the ending, I enjoyed the story that switched between an unhappy housewife in present-day America and various narrators in 13th-century Turkey, including the poet Rumi and his companion, Shams. This book is all about love (and spirituality) and what people go through to find it. (***)

And just to keep me accountable, here’s my progress on my 25 in 12. If you have any recommendations, send ‘em my way! :)

  1. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
  2. Help, Thanks, Wow by Anne Lamott
  3. I am Malala by Malala Yousafzai
  4. Film is Not Dead by Jonathan Canlas (in progress)
  5. Life of the Beloved by Henri Nouwen (in progress)
  6. Blog, Inc. by Joy Deangdeelert Cho
  7. The Forty Rules of Love by Elif Shafak
  8. Emma by Jane Austen
  9. The End of Your Life Book Club by Will Schwalbe
  10. Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid by Jimmy Carter
  11. Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver
  12. Boundaries by Henry Cloud
  13. The Lemon Tree by Sandy Tolan
  14. The Story of Beautiful Girl by Rachel Simon
  15. Girl Meets God by Lauren Winner
  16. Tattoos on the Heart by Gregory Boyle
  17. And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini
  18. The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
  19. MWF Seeking BFF: My Yearlong Search for a New Best Friend by Rachel Bertsche
  20. A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry
  21. The Paris Wife by Paula McLain

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Sarah & Anthony | Weymouth Country Club WeddingApril 8, 2014

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I had the honor of documenting Sarah and Anthony’s beautiful, gilded wedding just a few weeks ago. My favorite things about their wedding:

  • Anthony’s excitement and nervousness to see his bride.
  • Sarah and Anthony’s pinky promise to each other during their wedding vows. So cute!
  • The beautiful sunset just outside their sparkly gold reception hall. I adore sunsets on wedding days.
  • The adorable interactions between Sarah and Anthony at the reception. I was grinning from ear to ear while going through their photos!

These two have something super special. Anthony looks at Sarah like she is the very best thing to ever happen to him, and Sarah is all smiles when her husband is around. You guys, keep that up throughout your marriage. I’m so honored to have photographed the first day of your journey together!

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Sarah’s sparkly Kate Spade shoes were so fun to photograph!

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Sarah and Anthony had a first look at the Arcade. My lovely second shooter, Markie, caught that moment below of Anthony waiting for his bride.

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That one up there on the right is a favorite! The gold on the stairs perfectly tied into Sarah’s theme.

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Succulents are such an awesome wedding favor!

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Ceremony: Medina Presbyterian Church
Reception: Weymouth Country Club
Florist: Farah and Nour
Cake Artist: Tina Lentile-Jackson
DJ: Divine Time Entertainment
Hair and Makeup: Rania’s Hair Salon & Spa
Bride’s Dress: Brides by Demetrio’s
Bride’s Shoes: Kate Spade
Tuxes: Men’s Wearhouse
Décor and Lighting: Simply Elegant
Transportation: A Touch of Elegance
Honeymoon: Jamaica!

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April GoalsApril 4, 2014

Lara Casey Goals
[Source]

April is all about recharging my batteries. March was a little crazy. OK, a lot crazy. I don’t think I fully understood how nuts it was going to be until I was living it! Four out-of-town weekends, three weddings, portrait sessions, a life-changing conference and general life stuff … whew. I’m standing on the other side feeling like a new person. I’m SO incredibly grateful that I ended the month with the Making Things Happen conference in Chapel Hill, N.C. Talk about going out with a bang! I have tons and tons to share from the last few days, but I need a little while to wrap my head around it, so look for a post in the next couple weeks!

In the meantime, MTH got me (even more) fired up about goal setting and I’m ready to tackle these April goals with gusto!

  • Read two books (25 in 12): Life of the Beloved by Henri Nouwen and The Forty Rules of Love by Elif Shafak. (I didn’t read as much as I wanted to last month, and I took on an unexpected book last month too, so I’m still working on the same books you saw in March!)
  • Finish my website rebrand (oh yeah!)
  • Enjoy a sunny vacation and my college BFF’s wedding (seriously cannot wait to be reunited with these ladies)
  • Book our plane tickets to Ireland and Scotland
  • Finish all editing/album design from last month (i.e., get all caught up before wedding season really begins!)
  • Take one weekday completely off to read, watch movies and recharge before it gets busy!
  • Spring clean our house
  • Design and order a sample album
  • Celebrate Easter surrounded by family
  • Find a new client proofing site
  • Find a new address book

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Jillian & Nick | MaternityMarch 28, 2014

Lake Forest Country Club Hudson Ohio

It was freezing, absolutely freezing, when Jillian and Nick and I met for their maternity session. The way this winter’s gone it’s not really surprising, but I was still a little bummed we wouldn’t be galavanting around the Lake Forest Country Club property. You know what though? Shooting half the session indoors really pushed me to use window light in new ways. I love the quiet photos of Jillian in front of the huge leaded glass window and the intimate ones of the two of them just inside the rim of light. Jillian and Nick are going to be fabulous parents, and even though they’re dressed for a boy here they’re being surprised in just another month or so! I can’t wait to hear if they’ll be loving on a little boy or girl. :)

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Fun fact: We learned at the beginning of the session that Nick is in Rotary with my dad. How random and funny is that??

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Jillian, you are gorgeous. I love this one of you + baby!

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They don’t look cold, do they? ;)

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