Ahhhhh, back to the city. The city of dreams. As soon as I looked outside my window seat on the plane and saw the skyline of Manhattan… I felt warm and fuzzy inside.
Don’t get me wrong. Leaving Florida isn’t going to be easy. I have family, friends, and a dog that I am leaving behind. I grew up in Orlando, so I have a ton of memories that I hold dear to my heart. However, I truly believe that certain cities or towns speak to you. New York City speaks to me.
This was a short two day trip, so I didn’t get to take as many photos as I wanted (Jon and I were all over the place for this trip) BUT I am so excited to share with you ladies anyway!
Outfit #1: As you scroll, you will come upon a black jacket, purse, and hat (me walking across the street). All three items are KATE SPADE. Seriously, my obsession for her line has become a problem for me. I suggest to always wait for her sales. She does them often and they are WORTH waiting for! The jacket was…. $600. I know I know, pricey. But this is the ONE good jacket that I now have and will love forever. It is SO WARM and I did not feel an ounce of cold when I wore it. (They also have it in pale pink). The hat was a splurge. Totally didn’t need it, but isn’t it so rad? And the purse…. Oh. My. God. IT CHARGES YOUR IPHONE!!!! I am known for a constant dying phone. I felt it was important for me (due to the problem of my phone always on 5% battery life) to get the dang purse. I wish I took a photo of it up close (sorry!) but if you look it up online.. it’s classic black. It’s perfect for any business gal out there. I am obsessed!
Jacket | Hat (Sold out: similar one in link) | Phone Charging Purse
Outfit #2: Plaid is in this year. Which i’m surprised I am even a fan of. I think it works with my black hair. This poncho is so comfortable. And the thigh high boots? INCREDIBLE! Almost every boot has a heel or a wedge. I want FLATS! SO hard to find and I found them!!!!
Poncho: Kate Spade | Boots: Dolce Vita (sold out – similar one in link)
Outfit #3: I promise to also share more affordable outfits. This entire outfit (minus the boots) is from Target!!
Sweater | Skirt: (sold out – similiar) | Scarf
I snapped some photos of Jon and I’s (temporary) apartment. We signed a 7 month lease (we have 5 more months to go) and then we are off to New York City to begin a new chapter of our lives. We are going to be snow birds for those who don’t know. My parents have a nice roomy house here in Florida, so for the cold winter season in NYC.. we will be crashing with them. (THANKS MOM!!). Although, Jon wants to achieve the kind of success where we can own a home here in Florida and still have a an apartment in NYC one day. Dream big, right? It kind of sucks that we will be paying for a full year of rent for the NYC apartment while we are crashing in Florida so we are thinking of AIRBNB-ing it while we are gone. If anyone ever rents out their place to AIRBNB, mind sharing some tips how to go about it? Thanks!
People have a ton of questions. For instance: “Why do you have a short term lease in Florida before the big move?” Honestly, we wanted to get in a groove as a family (Just Jon, Pepper and I) in our own home before moving. When Pepper was born, we all were living under one roof at my parents. It was great (my parents are very laid back) but after 10 months of that living arrangement, Jon and I felt it was best to spread our wings and get our own place. We feel that this 7 month lease PLUS living in NYC until October next year will get us in a nice groove of things for this little Hon family. We plan on crashing at our Parents November-February and by then.. it will just feel like a very long vacation. Who knows. Plans could change. We just know FOR SURE we can’t do winter in NYC. Plus, we have weddings booked in Orlando for those months that we are back in Florida. Maybe Jon’s “having two homes” dream will come true by next year. You just never know. What I do know, though, is that Jon and I always seem to figure it out. #powercouple
I am sharing the inside of our place because it isn’t “Instagram worthy”. It’s just a practical, nice apartment. This is the #realway we live. That huge “social media is a lie” crap went viral and I am over here likeeeeee “My social media is pretty dang real”.
Man, it’s been a hot minute since I have posted on here! Truth be told, it’s wedding season here in Florida and any free time I do have – I am sleeping. Haha. I want this blog to be more consistent with me posting, but it’s not my top priority at this time. I have to focus a lot of my time and energy into my career as a wedding photographer because we move to New York is just 7 months and reality of it is.. well, real.
ANYWHO! My daring Pepper Jane turned ONE. I can’t believe how fast this came around. A part of me felt sad because now I understand why people say “it goes by quickly and before you know it, they are off to college”. I know we are ways away from that day actually happening, but this year flew by so I am able to relate more. Gosh… ONE years old. I am sitting here at my computer right now shaking my head in shock. Pepper is becoming her own little person now, not just a newborn baby. She says the words “Mama. Papa. Boo. Yeah. No. Wow. Cool. Fuck”. Yes, you read that right. The king curse word of them all, the F word. I’m not sure who to blame but you can feel free to point the finger at… JON. Haha. Ever since she said it, he has cleaned up his bad habit saying that word in front of her – so we can all relax now.
When it came time to planning her party, I wanted to go ALL OUT. The pictures you see below is me going 50% out, though. Jon gave me a budget and that budget didn’t allow all what I wanted. He says when she’s 5 years old – then maybe I can do whatever I want for her when she can actually remember. The truth is, I wanted to go all out knowing these memories will be for me (and Jon) for years to come! I tried using that one liner on him a bunch of times to up the budget (it didn’t work).
If you look closely, one of the “P” balloons are deflated looking. We had an oopsie moments of slicing it with scissors but we managed to make it work enough for pictures. We had a small party of 28 people of close friends and family. Pepper cried off and on the whole time. She has never been around that many people all at once and I think it scared her. I don’t blame her! Overall, it was a fantastic day and we also have it all captured on video (which I won’t be sharing – I want that all to myself for memories).
Planner/Designer: Runway Events | Candlesticks + Dishes: Vintage Chic Affair | Cake + Desserts: Two Sweets Bake Shop | Floral: Wholesale Flowers Orlando | Flatware: Orlando Wedding party & Rentals | Pepper’s Dress: Etsy | Photography (edited by me): Marcoz + Miranda
Pepper is almost a year old (holy shit, that went by fast) and I couldn’t help but let the guilt hit me.
Time flew by. I missed a few big milestones because Jon & I were traveling for weddings or just simply working in general. I feel like I hold my camera more than my own child sometimes. I had to really sit back and break down my feelings. I don’t want to resent photography and all the fantastic opportunities it has given me. I don’t want to spend time away from my daughter. I want to be able to do it all. Work and be a stay at home mom. Is that possible? It isn’t. I know this. It kills me because I really love being a mom but I really love having a career, too.
It can really tear you up inside if you don’t do a “check up from the neck up”. I often have heart to heart talks.. with myself. My most recent (self-talk) was that, yes, I felt a sting of guilt for working so much this past year (I photographed a wedding 5 days before birth and a week after birth and haven’t stopped since). But the thought of slowing down with photography to stay at home makes me feel… bored. Not that Pepper is boring, but I just can’t see myself being a ‘stay at home’ mom. Nothing against the women who want that/do that, it just isn’t for me. But then I fight with the guilt monster for being on the road so much. I am making this post as I am in Atlanta (Wedding here this weekend). I didn’t get to say goodnight to her tonight. I didn’t get to play peek-a-boo. I don’t get to wake up to her in the morning. All of that kills me.
What I am trying to say is (to the working moms). It’s okay to feel this way. No matter how much my eyes are swelling up writing this blog because I miss my daughter so much, I will still choose to work because I really love what I do. I decided to not feel bad about it anymore. She won’t remember that daddy and mommy are working this much while she is so young. I’m crossing my fingers that once she reaches 5-ish years old, we will be able to have her travel with us (with a nanny) or take on less weddings and still be able to provide financially. We will see how it all unfolds.
What helps me fight the guilt moments is just making sure I have dedicated days solely to her. I make sure I do it weekly. I strive for once a week (twice is ideal). You have to understand that Jon and I are shooting a wedding (or two) every weekend. Then weekdays is catching up on editing/emails/meetings/engagement sessions. Our job is every single day. So we have to make a point to just put all that aside to spend quality time with Pepper. Some of you may disagree the way we do things, some may understand it. I believe there is no rule book to being a parent, you just got to do what works for your family. We really appreciate my parents and our nanny who take turns helping watch Pepper (and facetime with us when we travel) because without them – I don’t know how people do it who are working parents (or single parents) you deserve a big freaking hug and pat on the back.
I will end this with adorable pictures of our recent “family day” on Monday. We bought a pool from Toys R US and watched her for hours splash and laugh. Our dog Abby decided to hop on it for a few pictures. Those two are best friends, it’s so cute. We also went to Disney with Pepper yesterday (I got my twice in a week quality time, yay!) but I don’t have any pictures from yesterday. Whoops. I was too busy enjoying her company.
PS- Whether you are a working mom or stay at home mom.. being a parent is a lot of work. We all need to encourage each other and invite each other out for wine and whine nights (see what I did there) because we all need to support the fact that we are raising tiny little humans. This shit is no joke. (But so worth it).
There comes A LOT of sacrifice when it comes to running your own business, that’s in high demand and working with your spouse as your business partner.
Jon and I’s jobs are to document love stories together as wedding photographers. It sounds like a dream job and it really is. I am writing to share with you all that we put so much time into this business.. that sacrifices are made daily. We can’t remember the last time we had a vacation. We can’t remember the last time we spent family fun DAYS in a row with Pepper (we try our best to spend as much time as possible, once or twice a week/take the day off completely). We are each other’s boss, so when the pressure gets real – we can sometimes snap at each other. “Did you send out that email?” ‘Did you respond to this bride?” “Did you mark down that date for this engagement shoot?” “Did you get the camera bag ready?” When one of us asks, the other is in the middle of editing and snaps “I CAN’T DO IT ALL“. Then right at that moment the baby wakes up from her nap and needs one of us to attend to her. (And to think we have HELP from grandparents/nanny). The struggle is still real.
We have to fight for our marriage to stay romantic because if we don’t, we can easily turn into business partners who just happened to reproduce a cute kid. I am SO thankful for all the weddings we booked, book, continue to book but it’s a lot of work what we do because we are all about being involved in each couple, so we are there for them through out the planning process (which we love doing – but that means constant attention for 55 different couples a year). We are beyond happy in our marriage but just like everything in life.. it takes forgiveness, patience and a TON of effort to separate marriage, business, being parents, and anything else life brings to the table.
I know you see my social media is updated daily. I know it looks like Jon and I are having the time of our lives every single day (and we most certainly are) but don’t think all that we do (photography, pepper, traveling, weddings, blogging) doesn’t come with a sacrifice. Just know that I go through some tough situations and so does Jon. They aren’t “big deal” situations but sometimes it’s the little things that can make you lose your mind. Jon misses playing video games for hours. I miss having ladies night once a week, dancing my ass off and drinking Cosmo’s until I start giggling like a 9 year old and scream “I LOVE THIS SONG, OMG”. I miss taking long bubble baths and listening to music. I miss my friends. I lost connection with a lot of them because any free time I DO HAVE.. I use that window of time to nap. Then it’s back to the hustlin’ and bustlin’.
When Jon and I are shooting (weddings on the weekend/engagements on the weekdays), editing, emailing, blogging, updating website/marketing, changing a poopy diaper, meeting new clients, paying bills online, apartment hunting in NYC, taking care of my grandma (who lives with us), and best all…. our child in her TEETHING STAGE. We have to remember who we are and what originally brought us together. We have to keep things spicy, sexy, and loving in the midst of this (exciting) craziness. It’s a constant decision to be like “Oh hey, you’re my sexual sexy stud muffin of a HUSBAND! LET’S MAKE OUT!”. It’s amazing how fast things can spin out of control if you don’t stay on top of things (and on top of each other). I can (sadly) see why marriages fall apart when careers/baby come into the picture because if you are not careful – you can lose sight of your chemistry with each other and also who you are as an individual (which is what attracted you two to each other in the dating days).
But to end this on a real, raw, and honest note – Jon and I have our daily WTF moments with each other out of aggravation but we also always kiss, rub each other’s back from sitting in a chair editing all day, hug each other, compliment each other, and encourage each other. I believe it’s healthy to argue. I believe it’s healthy to have make up sex after arguing. I believe it’s okay to have a babysitter/nanny so you can get things done/have date nights/have alone time. I believe to do whatever it takes to keep the sparkle. I will repeat a one liner that was part of my vows to Jon. “Divorces don’t happen because two people fight. They happen because they stop fighting for one another – I will always fight for you”.
Three years, a business and a baby later.. here we still are, fighting for each other. I love you, Jon!
Photo credit: Marcoz + Miranda Photography
I am going to be THAT mom who says my child handles teething like a boss. She does have her really hard days but they are few and far between. One of the best decisions we made was to get Disney Annual Passes. We spend $38 a month and even if we go just for one ride (which is usually what happens) it’s still worth it. Pepper is entertained to the max just by walking around/people watching so she doesn’t even pay attention to the teething. (She’s going to love NYC when we move there). We parked at Epcot, took the monorail to Magic Kingdom, waited in a 55 minute line for Peter Pan (all of which Pepper was loving every second of it) then as soon as we got onto the ride, she PASSED OUT. We decided to make this trip a “stay-cation” so we got a hotel room at The Swan. We used to the App Hotel Tonight – which is a last minute booking for hotels up to 80% off. This hotel room was $800 and we got it for $149. Ummmm, YES PLEASE. I suggest you all download this App immediately and use it for all your trips. We used it while in New York too and we got a 5 star hotel for 4 nights for $500. The app only searches top-rated hotels that are available.
We checked into the hotel and requested a crib. Unfortunately, Pepper will not go to sleep if she knows you are in the same room. So we put the crib into the bathroom (It was a big bathroom- thank God!) turned off the lights and shut the door. She went right to sleep and we got to enjoy cuddling in bed, watching TV, and eating junk food (Parental heaven!). Anytime we needed to go to the bathroom, we had to go use the lobby one. That’s the only pain the ass part.
We all took a 3 hour nap then woke up to text messages from my friend, Rebekkah, who was celebrating her birthday at Hollywood Studios with a group of friends. We met them all for dinner and Pepper put on her best “I’m so well behaved” attitude and impressed everyone. Hahahaha. She handled a 3 hour dinner with smiles and giggles. Towards the end, she let us all know she was tired – it was 11:00 at night, I don’t blame her. (There are no pictures of this part of the night, we forgot our camera… FAIL).
BUT MY DRESS THOUGH!!! Isn’t it so cute?! I got it from Retromended and the designer is Tammy Jo Fashion. They are local here in Orlando – so be sure to go check out the store and GET STYLED by Brandy (The owner of Retro) because she styles me all the time and that’s why my outfits are on point. My shoes are Adidas but now looking at the pictures they kind of make me look like a WingHouse girl.
Let me tell you something about the blogger world (well, just like any world), people can be clicky. They can be stuck up, rude, and “too good for others” once they make a name for themselves. While that may be true, it is certainly NOT true when it comes to Courtney.
I have been following her blog for awhile now and she is one of my top favorite bloggers. Her style speaks for itself (and to my heart) because she is always wearing something so damn cute! I mean, look at this lemon dress. I want it. I also love the way she writes – she’s vulnerable, honest, and positive. She keeps things light hearted and always brings it back to the most important thing when it comes to blogging.. having fun!
I was looking at her blog a few weeks before my trip to NYC and I decided to email her to collab. I thought, “What the hell. What’s the worst that could happen.. her saying no?” BUT SHE SAID YES! I was shocked because I know she is overloaded with emails, she has the same person (her boyfriend) photograph her for her blog – so I thought I my chances were slim to none. Come the day of the shoot, I asked her why she said yes to me. She replied “There was just something about you in your email that I liked”. That made me feel so good to hear because I make sure to be genuine in everything that I do and say. I keep shit real, you all know this 😉 In the middle of our shoot, a fan of hers stopped us in the streets to say hello. #celebritystatus!
Be sure to head on over to her blog to see details about this dress. —> Color Me Courtney
PS- Please excuse the last photo of me looking like a hot mess. We did this shoot at 8am and holy moly, I just can’t get it together that early when it comes to my hair/makeup situation. HAHA.