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Emma + KJ | Richmond City Wedding

Emma sat in curlers and an amazing romper as her sisters shared the rap they’d written, “You’re so married…” to the melody of “I’m so fancy.” Downstairs, the guys were tying ties for each other and KJ was reminding himself to run by the apartment to get his belt he’d forgotten. This day was a long time coming, and the energy was fantastic. Planned so well, the two of them were able to just relax and trust their team of vendors to make everything happen without a hitch. From the unique church with a deconstructed feel to the reception with breakfast for dinner, this day couldn’t have been more perfect.  The combination of Emma’s style and artistic inclination, and KJ’s creative and ridiculous ideas made this day what it was. But the heartbeat of it all was their love for the Lord and their promise before Him to love and support and respect each other. What a day – I’m honored to have been a part of it!

Ceremony | Monumental Church
Reception | Virginia Historical Society
Planner | Events by Elizabeth Palmer
Hair & Makeup | FBJ Studios
Cake | Buttercream Bee
Catering | Defazios
Florals | Flowers by Zoie
Lighting | Lighting Professors
Linens | Classic Party Rentals + Glamour Linens
DJ | Chris Campbell, Perfect Fourth Entertainment
Gown | Saja

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As pretty, as pretty can be.

breakfast for dinner?! yum! and i bet that song they made up was awesome!!! love these shots! they’re fantastic!

Emma

Can’t get over how incredible these are and how well they tell the story of our wedding day. I can’t say THANK YOU enough (but I’ll try!) :)

Hailee + Bryce | Meadow Farm Engagement

These two were in town for 4 days. Hailee had to catch a plane back to Georgia the night we were shooting, but honestly, I really had a hard time stopping! I loved photographing these two – not just for the obvious reasons [how beautiful is this couple?!] – but because they were so mellow and up for just about anything! Like climbing fences in a dress and changing in public. These two are so perfect for each other and I’m so glad I was able to document their engagement.

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Gorgeous locations, & I love all of her outfits. Great work!

Rachael + Brad | Sunrise Ocean City Engagement

I don’t know if I’ve felt more honored than when Rachael asked me to be her photographer. Because Rachael herself is a great one – we went to CDIA together, and she has second shot for me several times. Rachael and Brad announced their engagement late November last year, and when they booked, they hesitantly mentioned they’d want to do their engagement session in Ocean City. I JUMP at any opportunity to shoot at the beach, and this shoot is why. I feel so inspired by the light and the beach vibes. It also didn’t hurt that these two are basically models. I loved how their clothes matched the scene without being too matchy… Her kimono is PERFECT with the glow of the rising sun! Needless to say, they rocked this shoot, and even introduced me to their adorable daughter, Nora. Enjoy!

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Whole30 | Completed!

I did it! I did it! I did it! I completed the Whole30!

This is my success story.

I first heard of the Whole30 from another wedding photographer, Lucy O Photo. I met her when I lived in Charlottesville and followed her journey on instagram. Then I put it out of my mind. Then a good friend Erica was telling me about it. She lost 12 pounds, and looked phenomenal. I’d gained about 15 pounds since getting married, and I wanted to get back to my newlywed weight, or at least to where my clothes fit! Last year, I started working out with a personal trainer. And I loved it! I felt strong, was slowwwwly loosing weight and gaining muscle and eating really small meals. But then I had the whole Sesamoiditis thing… I had to stop working out completely… and my eating completely took a turn for the worse.

So, when I finally thought… “Maybe I could do this Whole30 thing to jump start my health…” I called Erica. She explained that, sure it’s hard, but totally doable. [And probably cheaper than a personal trainer...] I bought, “It Starts with Food.” Read it. And was ready to begin. Halfway through, I blogged how thing were going and not much has changed since that. But a few things have changed, so I may as well document them, right?

  • I do NOT have an allergy to bananas and have been enjoying them rash free. Not sure what gave me the rash on my stomach though…
  • I just can’t stomach avocados anymore.
  • I WILL continue eating like this, even though I don’t feel different. I AM different and that’s what matters.

So now that I’m finished, I have to say I’m really proud of myself. Although I didn’t have a perfect run at it, and therefore I probably can’t claim that I’ve actually completed a real Whole30, I accomplished my goal of weight loss and trying as hard as I can to discipline myself! The real Whole30 says that if you slip up, or as they say, “choose,” not to eat according to their guidelines, you have to start from Day 1. I broke the rules a few times – mainly at weddings where I ate the meals they provided. But, I calculated it, and out of 90 meals in 30 days, I choose to break diet 5 times. So, after a 94.5% successful Whole30, here are my quantitative  results!

When I started, I weighed: 137 lbs [omg, I just published that.]
Waist: 29.5
Hips: 36.5

Today, I weigh: 127 lbs [I LOST 10 POUNDS!]
Waist: 27.5, down 2 inches
Hips: 35.5, down 1 inch

Bam.

So, although I’m beyond excited about this, the real victory will be in maintenance. I thought when I started that this diet would not be sustainable. It really is, at least 95% of the time. Maybe 100% for others. I plan to eat like this as best I can and only “off road” when I reach that decision via this flow chart….Or when my vendor meal at a wedding is a sandwich.

Some people have asked for recipes, and I have to be honest, a lot of my meals didn’t consist of mixing or baking anything too fun. I don’t follow a lot of recipes in general, so I ate a lot of plain, whole foods…but I did have a few I really liked!

  • My biggest surprise was how easy it is to make your own mayonnaise. And that it is actually delicious.
  • I had one huge craving, and ate WAY TOO MUCH of this seriously amazing ceviche…and I don’t think I can eat it again. Ever. Chad said he actually thought I was pregnant. The rest of it is still in the fridge because I can’t bare to even look at it. But it was so delicious…
  • I roasted cauliflower a few times with different spices, once with just salt and pepper, and once with curry. Yum to both.
  • I made chicken salad with grapes [with the mayo]. No link to that, just boiled chicken, cut some grapes and mixed in the mayo. Perfection.
  • Breakfasts were tough. I only like eggs over easy, scrambled, or hard boiled.
  • Also for breakfast, I ate onion, apple and spinach stir fry A LOT toward the end. That was my own creation. Just chop up the onions and apples into tiny pieces, pop that junks in the pan and let it caramelize a little, then add the spinach until it wilts. Great with eggs.
  • I ate a lot of marinated meats with lemon and rosemary. Or Lime and cilantro. And grilled veggies.
  • ALMOND BUTTER, APPLES AND CINNAMON = my new ice cream. We host people a lot, and desert is always a part of that. So while others scoop ice cream or brownies, I had to have SOMETHING to get me by. This dish was a life saver.
  • One pot of chicken vegetable soup. Again, no recipe. I boiled chicken in Organic chicken broth and threw in any and all vegetables I had. That got me through many lunches….
  • If you’re interested, here is my ongoing pinterest board of Whole30 meals I’d like to try eventually…

So, today I’m celebrating with Sweet Frog [yes, I still plan to celebrate with food SOMETIMES], and then jumping right back into the Whole30 guidelines! Who’s with me?!

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a. read this first!! b. let’s do this! c. meal 1, day 1
d. funny moment – I took regular communion! e. meal 2, day 30 f. DONE!!!

 

Yay!!!! GO ALI! So inspiring! :)

Congrats on your success! I love reading success stories :) I’m starting a Whole30 (well 25) on Monday.

Susie Klimkos

Thanks for updating us on the Whole 30 and congrats on your success. I’ve been hitting the gym almost daily this summer and trying to eat healthier, so I hope to also see positive results. BTW, we are still getting compliments on Katie n Justin’s wedding photos. Thanks again.

Congrats on completing your W30 Challenge! Your results are awesome! Thanks for linking to our roasted cauliflower recipe!

So seeing that cheviche was just too tempting. I just picked up all the ingredients for our dinner guests tonight. Yum!

Mallory

Since you CAN have bananas, freeze them and then blend with a nut butter for “ice cream”. Pear “ice cream” is also amazing – chop and freeze the pears, blend lightly (I leave it chunky) with a splash of almond milk, slash of water, a few drops of stevia, and a few drops of lemon extract (this is key, I literally have a million bottles – I could mail you some haha).

Erica

YAY!!!! You did it!!! So glad you got positive results :) I know it’s not easy but now you feel like you can accomplish anything!!! I felt the same way about “not feeling different” wait until you add things back in. I don’t mean one at a time (I would occasionally have a glass of wine, a bowl of ice cream, or maybe a sandwich) but if and when you fall off the bandwagon, that’s when you notice a difference! I ate paleo for two months after and maintained the weight loss and felt the great. With all of the weddings and craziness of summer I have not been eating well lately and I totally noticed a decreased attention span, not sleeping well, and crazy cravings. I’m ready for my next whole30 :)

Mickey + Eddie | Annapolis Wedding

Mickey sat down on the couch to read a letter she had written for her groom. I grew in respect for her that moment. I loved hearing her thoughts about why she loves him. “I know you say that I am strong, but you make me strong.” She called Eddie her prince, and I melted. That day, Mickey was royalty as well. And as the tears flowed from his eyes as she walked toward him down the aisle, I couldn’t help feel like I was part of something really special. This wedding really made me love and cherish my job. Mickey, you were such a beautiful princess – I hope you two had a great time in Florida! Welcome to the newlyweds club!!

Venue | Private Home
Florist | My Flower Box
Videography | Shaina Koren
Catering | Kerri Out
Cake | Fiona’s Cakes and Pastries
Hair | Amie Decker Beauty
Rentals | Rentals to Remember
Tent | Grand Rentals Events
Groom’s Cake | Cakes by Marlene

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Mickey and Eddie

Oh my gosh Ali these pictures are better then we could imagine!! You did such an amazing job! These pictures are breathtaking!! We can’t wait to see the rest!! I love that you put the fraternity guys serinading me along with their “underpants dance photo”/Dixieland delight on the blog!! Haha! You really captured our day!! Thank you again!! I love that we have grown so close and I can’t wait to recommend you to all our friends!!

Love, Eddie and Mickey

Ali! These are beautiful. Michael and I had so much fun working with you and hope it happens again soon! <3 xo

Ps. Mickey & Eddie – your day was so PERFECT! Cannot wait to edit the video!

YAY! Love seeing these!!! You did a great job with Mickey and Eddie’s gorgeous day! CONGRATS! xoxo