San Diego, CA

I am a beach person. So I’ve been told, ¬†you’re either a beach person or a mountain person, and I am definitely a beach person. Not that I have anything against the mountains, but there’s something about the salt air, the calming rhythm of rolling waves, and the beautiful sunsets/sunrises that call my name no matter where I am. Growing up in San Diego, I took for granted living and going to school only miles from the beach. Now that I live three hours from it, I savor the times when I can come back home and enjoy the beach weather and lifestyle. John and I have filled our days wine tasting in Temecula, hitting up our favorite cafes and restaurants (Swami’s Cafe, Thyme in the Ranch, En Fuego, and Pannikin to name a few),¬†watching the World Cup (Go Spain!!), relishing my mom’s amazing cooking, and spending time at the beach.

One of our goals for this trip was to get John out on a surf board. He’s been asking since his first trip out here in 2006. My dad grew up surfing at Huntington Beach, so he said he would go out and help John get up on the board. For those of you who have never tried surfing, let me just tell you, it is a major workout. It requires insane determination because for your first few times, you are pummeled by waves and it just feels like a losing battle. John did great though. He was a real champ. I told him that his goal should be just to ride the board in on his stomach, but he actually managed to stand all the way up! Unfortunately I was so excited I forgot to take a picture!

Here are a few before John hit the surf….

And he’s off!!! Unlike the Atlantic, the Pacific is notoriously cold. We’ve had particularly chilly days for July, so a wetsuit was definitely a must.

Here’s my dad testing out the water for the first time. Can we say cold? (It actually wasn’t that cold, but he definitely likes to play it up.)

John and I hope that you had a great 4th of July and are enjoying the summer months. We’ll be home soon and have a beautiful Charlottesville wedding to show off. Stay tuned!

Un abrazo,


Charlottesville Wedding: Sarah + Lukas (Part II)

So I’m back today with Part II of Lukas and Sarah’s lovely Ash Lawn wedding. I think one of the things I appreciate most about this wedding is the array of colors and styles that actually came together quite nicely and helped to create this really cool whimsical yet vintage vibe. To begin with, I just loved the modern edge to centerpieces.

Simple, yet elegant.

And then I saw the cake….SWOON!

It just wouldn’t be an Ash Lawn wedding without a shot of the resident peacock and the late resident, James Monroe.

It’s views like this that remind me, yet again, why I’m so blessed to live in a city like Charlottesville.

One of Sarah’s bridesmaids had a great game planned for the newlyweds after lunch was served. They each had one of their own shoes in one hand and one of the other’s shoes in the other hand. Then they had to answer questions about each other by raising the shoe of the person who best fit the description. But there’s a catch. They’re back to back, so they can’t see how the other person voted. John and I actually played this game at our rehearsal dinner. It’s a lot of fun and is guaranteed to produce some laughs.:-)

I just love Lukas’ reaction to this part of his brother’s toast!

Let the games begin. Lukas and Sarah had a surprise first ping-pong match in lieu of a first dance. And in case you were wondering, the winning prize went to the lovely bride, Sarah.:-)

Well, that’s all for now, friends. I hope to have last weekend’s wedding up soon, so don’t forget to check back.:-)

Un abrazo,


Charlottesville Wedding: Sarah + Lukas

Two weekends ago Sarah and Lukas were married alongside their closest friends and family (including a grandmother who flew all the way from Germany!) at the beautiful and historic Ash Lawn-Highland. I love how Sarah and Lukas were all about being themselves and showcasing a bit of their personalities throughout their wedding day. (I mean, how many weddings have you been to where the bride and groom have opted for a first ping-pong match instead of a first dance!? Pretty sweet if you ask me.) While there were elements that were lighthearted and fun, there were also moments of reverence and sincere emotion. Major props go to Hedge Fine Blooms for the beautiful floral arrangements, Harvest Moon Catering for the amazing food, and to Cakes by Rachel for the “I could eat a piece of that every day” cake.

I was really impressed to learn that Sarah sewed her own wedding dress!

Sarah’s grandmother made her this special shoe pocket for her sixpence. As the saying goes, “something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue, and a silver sixpence in her shoe.”

Thank goodness for these fans! It was a hot one.

Here’s Lukas giving the finishing touches to his tie. Don’t you just love these redheads!

Sarah’s lovely, lovely bouquet.

While I was with Sarah and her girls, John pulled the guys out to the lawn for some group shots.

Now for the girls….

Sarah and her mother.

Sarah, you are stunning. Truly.

Girl, you are fierce.:-)

Here is Lukas with his dad right before the ceremony. What a great moment!

I love the look of pure joy on their faces as they walk away as husband and wife.

If you enjoyed Part I, check back in a few days for Part II. Happy Monday!

Un abrazo,


Charleston, SC

John and I have been looking forward to this week for some time now. We decided earlier on in the year that we would drive down to Charleston, SC for our week off, and it has been a dream. Despite the fact that it’s hot as stink down here, it’s such a classy city full of detailed architecture, cobblestone streets and manicured gardens. We’ve spent our days body surfing at the beach, kayak fishing, bird watching and generally lazing about. It’s hard for me not to feel guilty for enjoying so much R&R, but I am trying to focus on being thankful instead of feeling guilty. Does anyone else struggle in this way? Well, in any case, since you are probably in the midst of a busy work week, I thought I would bring some of Charleston to you! Here are some shots that I took walking around town. Enjoy!

I thought this patio looked like it came out of the Anthropologie catalog.

My handsome husband….:-)

Although we’ll be sad to leave, we have some great Charlottesville weddings to shoot these next few weekends. We’ll try to post pics as soon as possible!

Un abrazo,


Ali Hawkins - June 20, 2010 - 5:24 pm

Hi Natalie! Thank you for posting these beautiful pictures! I hope you and John had a wonderful time in Charleston. :)

Standardsville Wedding: Anna + Patrick (Part III)

“So what’s with the pie?” interjects a curious guest just as we were gathering around to witness this classic wedding tradition.

“We don’t like cake,” Anna retorts with matter-of-fact clarity.

So that’s the story behind the pie – apple and, my favorite, strawberry rhubarb.

I must admit, I was a little bit disappointed not to have a bite of cake, but after a taste of this pie, I didn’t give it a second thought. Nor did Patrick or Anna…

After a little clean up, the toasting resumed. And let me tell you, there wasn’t a dry eye in the place. You’d think that Anna and Patrick came from families of professional public speakers. The toasts and prayers were so genuine, so heart-felt, so dear. It really was an honor to witness such vulnerability and sincerity.

Here are some final images that I want to leave you with…

This wedding was a very special occasion – I hope that you were able to see and experience even a part of that through these images. Thank you for stopping by. Here are two more images from the send-off. (If I could send you off with bird seed, I would.:-))

Un abrazo,


Jeannine Reese Novak - June 10, 2010 - 9:32 pm

what a great pic of the rice throwing! I love these candids! I also love the children and the dancing. There is actually a pic of a guy with thicker hair than John!
love, mom

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