Oh 2018, what a year. It was a year of high highs and low lows and lots and lots of growing. I am starting off with February because honestly, not a whole lot happened last January. It was a month of decompressing from 2017.
In February I had the chance to work with an AMAZING planner that had moved from Florida to New Mexico, A Beautiful Theme. I was instantly drawn to Ashley's style and personality and just knew I wanted to work with her. We put this styled shoot together featuring her beautiful sister as the bride so that her sweet grandmother, who was quite ill, would get to see her in a wedding dress before she passed. Cue the tears. The shoot was one of our most favorites and was featured in Wedding Chicks!
Sarah, Sara and I also ventured to Taos in February to photograph Alina + Chris's wedding. It was such a unique wedding as the couple skiied down the mountain in their wedding attire. But it was also the most scared I have ever been driving in snow. We took my husbands car with 4 wheel drive and I basically slid down the mountain with no guard rail from the location they had their ceremony near the top of the ski basin.
In March I traveled home to PA to visit my family. I typically avoid my hometown in the winter months because the weather is ROUGH. However my mom had discovered a scary cancerous bump on her arm that she was going into surgery to have removed. So I wanted to go home to visit with her during this tough time. While I was there, I went to my first Scranton Parade Day with my sister. Growing up in this area I had never gone to Parade Day! Its the second biggest St. Patricks Day celebration in the world and it was a lot of drinking and partying. Oy. At least I can say I did it once.
As soon as I arrived home to New Mexico from PA we packed the car and drove to Phoenix with our friends for Spring Training. While on the road, I got some terrible news that my mom's cancer had spread. My world crumbled and I felt like I had to hold it together the entire trip when I just wanted to curl up into a ball and cry. If it was up to me I probably would have just gone home but I am glad that I had the distraction of going to baseball games and traveling around Phoenix with our friends Dave and Kelly. Brandon was such a huge support during this time for me and really helped me keep my mind off it.
Sara got married in Iceland! There is just something so magical about the country of Iceland. It truly is so peaceful. I must admit, the idea of renting a car and traveling across the world to a foreign country by myself was quite daunting, but I never felt safer! You really learn something about yourself when you travel alone. I was able to see some of the most beautiful sites in the world, from glaciers to waterfalls to black sand beaches. And capturing Sara's beautiful elopement was just the icing on the cake.
May was our busiest month. Pretty much all we did was work this month, but we had some pretty dang spectacular weddings!
In June Brandon and I headed to Cancun for Trista and Clint's wedding. We rented an amazing Airbnb on the water on the Island of Isla Mujeras. If you haven't been to Isla Mujeras and are looking for an awesome beach vacation place, you must go. Its beautiful, inexpensive and really safe. Everyone gets around by golf carts, there is a whole street full of restaurants, bars and shopping and the beaches are just beautiful.
While we were in Mexico, my in-laws were watching our dogs. Lakai's health had been declining rapidly the past couple months and I truly believed he held on till we returned. He passed away a couple days later. This sweet pup had been by my side for over 10 years and loosing him hit me really hard.
We were asked by the Perfect Wedding Guide to put together a styled shoot to be featured in their magazine. The theme was Timeless Elegance, which is right up our alley! I feel like if I was to get married again, I would hope it would look like this!
We started off July by moving into our new downtown studio! Theresa Romero, an amazing dress designer, found a beautiful building downtown and asked us if we were interested to in sharing it. It has tall ceilings, beautiful light and stunning wood floors. it was a no brainer!
My little cousin Hannah flew out from Florida to intern with us. She is such a joy to be around and is going to be an exceptional photographer. We set up a Fourth of July styled shoot for her to build her portfolio and learn from me. While lighting smoke bombs for the shoot I lit my pants on fire!! Seriously so terrifying, but it resulted in some epic photos, so hey.
Brandon and I traveled to Portland to photograph Argi + Seth's wedding. I had never been to Oregon so I was really excited to explore the Pacific Northwest. Not only was the wedding at a beautiful winery, but we were able to see some amazing lakes and waterfalls as well as eat some delicious food while there! Powells bookstore was probably one of my most favorite places, however.
My mom also came to visit us in July! She was already well into her Immunotherapy treatments and was feeling much better.
Most of you don't know this, but for the past 2 years Brandon has been working at obtaining his masters in Healthcare Administration from the University of Cincinatti. He spent many long nights at the kitchen table studying and writing papers. In August, we traveled to Cincinatti so that he could walk in his graduation. I am so proud of him!
I had an amazing birthday celebration at the Santa Fe Opera. We went for the first time! We tailgated when we arrived having a yummy dinner and drinks before attending the show.
In September, Brandon and I flew to Lake Tahoe to capture Emily + Ejs wedding as well as celebrate our 4th wedding anniversary. I instantly fell in love with this gem of a place. The lakes were pristine and the mountains were towering and so green. The water in some areas was even turquoise! We hiked, kayaked and ate delicious food. After the wedding we drove north towards San Francisco. We stopped along the way in Napa, enjoying the breathtaking vineyard, Domaine Carneros. The view was stunning! It had rolling hills full of vines facing a large chateau, and of course delicious champagne. We finished our trip in moody San Francisco where we visited The Muir Woods National Monument to see the beautiful redwood forrest. Of course we helped ourselves to a delectable dinner ringing in 4 years married before we headed home to the southwest.
Also in September, we got the best news of the year! My mom's cancer was in remission as the immunotherapy was working! My sisters and I originally planned to take her to Philly to see Bruno Mars as part of her bucket list but the trip had now turned into a celebration! We had the best time as we boogied down to uptown funk.
I have always followed and idolized the amazing photographer Katelyn James. The way she runs her business is just such an inspiration. I took the plunge and purchased a seat at her workshop in October and it was the best decision I ever made. I traveled to rural Virginia to her beautiful home where we all gathered in her living room as she spilled her heart out teaching us about her business. We also took part in a charming southern styled shootI learned so much not only as a photographer but as a person. Thank you, Katelyn.
Near the end of October I flew out to San Diego to capture Katie and Bart's big day. Katie and Bart are dear friends of my best friend Nicole and her husband Erik. They were both in the bridal party and I am so thankful to them for introducing me to this sweet couple. My little sister Jaime flew out from PA to meet me in California to assist me at the wedding. I had the best time showing her around the beautiful city of San Diego as it was her first time on the west coast!
In November we welcomed a new member to our family, Paloma! We fostered her for a week and realized there was no way we were giving her back.
We hosted the first workshop at our new studio as well in November! Budding photographers came to the Maura Jane studio to learn from us and participate in a photoshoot. We taught everything from business to marketing and how we capture wedidngs. We can't wait until our next workshop in the spring!
Also in November, Sara Irene celebrated 1 year with MJP! We are so lucky to have her.
December pretty much consisted of a lot of celebrating with family and friends. We organized a dinner with our sweet friends right before Christmas, attended a murder mystery party and did a santa pub crawl on a trolly.
2018 was definitely a year of growth. So many wonderful things happened as well as difficult and stressful things that challenged us and forced us to reflect. We are so excited to see what 2019 brings!