1st Anniversary Photoshoot + Vow Renewal in Seattle, WA

1st Anniversary Photoshoot + Vow Renewal in Seattle, WA

Finally, we have arrived to the anniversary photoshoot and vow renewal that started it all! To properly set the scene for this post, I am writing as it is raining, sipping my coffee, and burning a Seattle scented candle (seriously, it’s from Bath & Body Works and smells like white caramel cold brew). The ambiance couldn’t be more perfect aside from maybe writing this post while in Seattle itself.

Seattle, WA

For the longest time, Sean and I had talked about taking a trip to the West Coast to explore Seattle and Portland. We took the opportunity to make the trip to celebrate our 1st anniversary. Traditionally, the first anniversary gift is paper, so that is when I decided to gift us with our paper vow books (that’s right, we got our vow books AFTER our wedding). We wrote our original vows in them as well as new vows to read to each other on our anniversary.

The Photographer

Since we were going to be in Seattle, I envisioned hiking around mountains and waterfalls while wearing backpacks for the shoot. I wanted a dark and moody style of photography that really represented the mostly overcast vibes of the area.

I posted on my Facebook feed that I was looking for a photographer in the Seattle area with this particular style and my network came through! A friend suggested that I reach out to Megan Gallagher Photography who had recently relocated to Seattle from Raleigh. Her style was exactly what I had been envisioning, she had experience shooting in the mountains outside of Seattle, and she was already someone who was familiar to me.

photo of couple hiking at Snoqualmie

Since we did not have a car, Megan picked Sean and I up from our AirBnb in Capitol Hill and drove us to the Snoqualmie River area which was an hour outside of the city. Once we had arrived, she pulled the car over close to an area where we could hike the rest of the way to Franklin Falls.

On our walk over to the area with the waterfall, I quickly realized that this location exceeded my vision 100%!

The Franklin Falls area was breathtaking.

photo of couple at Franklin Falls

Pure bliss. How could it not be? These views plus sweater weather is the best!

Of course we couldn’t go to Franklin Falls without getting photos with the waterfall itself.

photo of piggyback couple at Franklin Falls in front of the waterfall

Time for a piggy back ride! Do not attempt this while wearing a dress!

photo of Sean in front of Franklin Falls waterfall
photo of Mollyann in front of Franklin Falls waterfall

We also took this opportunity to get a few individual shots with the waterfall.

close up photo of Mollyann in front of Franklin Falls waterfall

Don’t go chasing waterfalls unless they make you feel like this!

I did my own hair and makeup for this shoot so I definitely don’t look as glam as in some of my other shoots but the look was perfect for the scenery and the casual vibe. Who gets their hair and makeup done professionally to go on a hike in the wilderness? The correct answer = no one.

Once we were finished shooting at Franklin Falls, we started making the trek back to the car but stopped to take some shots on these rocky stairs.

photo of L.L. Bean boots

You may recognize my boots, the classic L.L. Bean Duck Boots. I knew that they would be the perfect boots for the shoot, however, I did not own a pair and they were sold out on L.L. Bean’s website in my size at the time. I ended up buying them used from a seller on Poshmark. And that’s not the first time that I’ve bought shoes that I had been eyeing from Poshmark, my wedding heels also came from there. If there’s a will, there’s a way to find what you are looking for!

Next, we drove over to our next location, Rattlesnake Lake. Do not fear, I am told that there are no rattlesnakes there, but you will find these amazing tree stumps in the water.

photo of couple in tree at Rattlesnake Lake

And this crazy tree!

photo of Sean in tree at Rattlesnake Lake

We changed into our second outfits for Rattlesnake Lake in the car – you gotta do what you gotta do when shooting in nature like this!

I love this outfit on Sean. Sometimes rolling up your sleeves and pant legs are all you need to complete a look. We decided to both go barefoot for the remainder of these shots, however, the ground was very rocky and uncomfortable to walk on barefoot, so we would wear flip flops to move around then throw our flip flops out of the frame for the photo.

photo of couple at Rattlesnake Lake

To this day, Rattlesnake Lake is probably one of the most unique areas that I have ever seen in my life. Thank you Mother Nature for showing us your roots (literally)! I am so happy to have had Megan there to capture this memory. These photos are the best keepsakes and are priceless to us!

close up photo of couple at Rattlesnake Lake

These photos give me all of the feels (especially the feels of my bare feet on the rocks)! Kiddinggg.

photo of couple standing on a tree stump at Rattlesnake Lake

Going out on the tree stumps in the water was magic. Pure magic.

Still feeling the magic, we made our way back onto land and began our vow renewal.

I purchased our vow books from Moglea but unfortunately, they no longer sell them. There are many Etsy sellers that also have cute vow book options though!

After the vow renewal, it was starting to get dark but we had one more surprise in store…

photo of couple popping champagne

Champagne! We bought a mini bottle thinking that it would be easier to transport however, if I had to do it over again, I would have splurged on a big bottle for a more grand POP! You live and you learn.

The success and experience of this shoot is definitely what encouraged us to continue this tradition every year. Let’s just say, it set the bar HIGH! Even looking back at these photos I am in awe of some of the images. It’s hard to not just look at them as art – we were really there! It was real life! It makes me want to visit the West Coast again soon.


photo of Megan Gallagher

Hi Megan! It’s hard not to fall in love with Megan Gallagher Photography. I can’t believe that one individual can be so dang talented. Megan seriously went above and beyond for this shoot. The locations were breathtaking and it was an experience that Sean and I will never forget. She also delivered the album in both web size, ideal for posting on social media/online, and high resolution, ideal for printing.

For more photos from this shoot check out Megan’s blog post, Rattlesnake Lake-Franklin Falls Anniversary Session. Heads up, since this shoot, Megan has relocated to Portland, OR.

Are you inspired to travel, have a vow renewal each year on your anniversary, or to at least book a photoshoot? I hope so. Please, please, please copy our tradition for yourself! It’s exactly why I share these experiences.

If you aren’t convinced yet, check out our 2nd Anniversary Photoshoot + Vow Renewal in Austin, TX and our 3rd Anniversary Photoshoot + Vow Renewal in Charlotte, NC.

The Move Abroad to Wellington, New Zealand featuring Michelle Clark

The Move Abroad to Wellington, New Zealand featuring Michelle Clark

I am so delighted for my very first Expat Chat to be with a dear friend of mine, Michelle Clark!

One of my first memories of Michelle was when she was dolling me up for a photoshoot (she is an incredible makeup artist!) and she told me that she had lived abroad in New Zealand. Michelle is a bundle of joy and she enjoys traveling, reading, playing with makeup, playing with puppies, eating french fries, and creating and organizing things.

When Sean and I first found out about the opportunity to move to Australia, we sat down with Michelle over coffee to discuss the ins and outs of living abroad to get an insider’s perspective. ⁠

Her story was too good to keep to ourselves so without further ado, here is my conversation with Michelle!

current photo of michelle clark
Current Photo of Michelle Clark by Lindsey Cash Photography

Original Home Location Before Living Abroad: Orlando, Florida, United States
Abroad Home Location: Island Bay, Wellington, New Zealand 
Current Home Location: Raleigh, North Carolina, United States

About the Move to Island Bay, Wellington, New Zealand

When did you make the move to Island Bay, Wellington, New Zealand?
Michelle: October of 2009. I can’t believe that it’s been so long! 

Why did you decide to make the move? / What motivated you?
Michelle: I was super bored at my job and it was really hot in Florida so I wanted to experience something completely different. My best friend, Nicole and her husband, had been living in NZ for a couple years and she suggested I come over. At the time, if you were under the age of 26 you could get a working holiday visa for free. She works in film as a scenic and props painter and I had goals of working in film as well so I thought why not!?

photo of Michelle and Nicole
Pictured with Nicole at Red Rocks. Can you spy the seal?

How many times did you visit your new country and city prior to your move?
Michelle: Never. I really didn’t know what I was getting into! 

What was the hardest part of moving / What did you find frustrating during your move?
Michelle: I don’t think that I got frustrated about much of anything. Anxious? Yes, but not frustrated. I was lucky to have had Nicole through the process as she is very detailed and had already gone through it all herself. Since I was going for a Working Holiday Visa for young people, it was pretty easy overall. The hardest part was figuring out what to pack in two suitcases for a year!

Here is a great YouTube video about obtaining a New Zealand Working Holiday Visa.

How did you break the news to loved ones?
Michelle: Both of my parents are used to me doing random things but this was big news. I knew that I had to tell my mom that I was ‘thinking’ about it even though I had already made the decision to do it. My dad was more like…uhhh do what now? HA! Even though they were both on board, they thought that I was nuts. They would never do anything like that themselves, but they were cool with it.

Did you decide to ship your belongings or to store your belongings?
Michelle: I was 25 at the time and didn’t have a ton of belongings so I was able to get a storage room. Since it was in Florida and can get very hot, it was climate controlled. Everything was still in perfect condition when I came back. By storing my belongings, I realized how much I could live without!

photo about climate controlled storage
Here is a great blog post about The Benefits of Climate Controlled Storage

About her Home in Island Bay, Wellington, New Zealand

How did you find your home when you lived abroad?
Michelle: For the first several months, I lived with Nicole and Manuel in their guest bedroom. Then, I had some other friends move over and they found a house so I was able to get a room in with them.

Describe the home – apartment, house, etc:
Michelle: Nicole’s house was on top of a ‘hill’ – it felt like an actual mountain when walking up it and NOT a hill. Her house overlooked Island Bay which was at the very bottom of the North Island and you could actually see across the water to the South Island on a really clear day and it was stunning! The house that I had with the others didn’t have a view but it was a much easier walk and was located right off of a bus route and closer to the city center.

the view from Nicole's deck
The view from Nicole’s deck, no zoom, on a perfect day. This was not a typical day!

Who were your roommates in your second home?
Michelle: Shawn and Jackie who were fellow Americans and a Kiwi girl as well.  Shawn and I went to high school together and he still lives in NZ. Jackie, who always made me laugh, lives in Virginia and we have a solid meme relationship.

What was renting property like in New Zealand?
Michelle: I didn’t deal with the organizing the rental as I was technically subletting. I just gave the roomies my money every week. Weekly rent was the standard over there at the time… might still be.

Did you have any pets? If so, did they make the move with you?
Michelle: I had no pets but there was a cat who visited our garden! 

Lifestyle Abroad in Island Bay, Wellington, New Zealand

Why did you choose the country and specifically, the city that you moved to?
Michelle: I really wanted to work in film! Peter Jackson and Weta are there in Wellington and Nicole had already worked on some film projects so I knew that I had a little bit of an “in”. Granted, we were in different departments but still she had some contacts. Unfortunately, about a month before I left, it was announced that Peter Jackson was pushing back The Hobbit. As the film industry is known for being unpredictable, I knew that there was a chance that it may or may not happen but I still wanted to follow through with the move. I just started applying at different makeup counters in Wellington’s city center (downtown area) and hoped for the best!

How long did you live abroad?
Michelle: One year and three whole days. I was an illegal immigrant for those three days! I really wanted to stay but due to an earthquake, the only applicants that they were extending visas for were doctors, nurses, construction, electrical, and other essential personnel.

What have you missed the most about living abroad?
Michelle: Walking everywhere and having access to a great city transportation system. Plus, I loved the people, the country, and the accents are hot! It was such a fun atmosphere and I loved being there. I felt adopted by my friends and coworkers. Several of them even made sure that I had something to do on Thanksgiving as they knew that it was a big holiday for us in the United States even though it wasn’t a big holiday for them in New Zealand. Several friends invited me to their sausage sizzle to celebrate Christmas. You heard me… sausage sizzle! Since their Christmas is in the summertime, it is essentially a cookout. It was also the first time I’ve ever had a winter birthday in August!

photo of a sausage sizzle
Sausage Sizzles are Not Hot Dogs – @ford.momo / @gemmapen

What were the most surprising things to you when you moved there and then when you moved back?
Michelle: How cold Wellington was! I had lived in Florida for so many years that I think my blood had thinned. There were some cold winds. You don’t think about a “southerly wind” being cold until you realize that Antarctica is what’s south of you!

 How many coffee shops that there were – this was pre-coffee craze here and it just surprised me how much coffee these people drank! 

Revlon had a makeup counter, like a proper makeup counter in the pharmacies with testers, a gift with purchase, and everything! 

The fact that “Blanket Man” was allowed to be out and sun his biscuits in the downtown corner sidewalks and people blessed him with booze, energy drinks, snacks, and I’m pretty sure weed because he was always high.

photo of blanket man
Blanket Man has since passed but was somewhat of a local celebrity.

Even though the English language is what we all spoke, sometimes I got really confused because we have different words for things. I vividly remember a friend yelling across a busy street to remind me, “don’t forget your frogs for the sparkle”. After several confused “MY WHATs?!” yelled back to her, a nice man in a suit said “your togs for the spa pool” to which I also said ”…my what?” Several people snickered and just started calling out words to me and I was like “ooooh my bathing suit for the hot tub!!” to which people just rolled their eyes. I think about that to this day when I need a good laugh. 

Burger King is a big deal and McDonald’s is called Macca’s. 

The Salvation Army (or any charity shops) are called Sally’s and I love that.

They don’t mix peanut butter and chocolate – I once paid about $10 US for two Reese cup packages…best money I’ve ever spent. 

What was the hardest thing to adjust to?
Michelle: Moving there? Walking everywhere. Not that I minded the walking at all but you couldn’t just jump in your car and run to the store. It was so much more of an effort! Moving back? That I couldn’t walk anywhere. I moved in with my brother in Holly Springs when I got back and I was completely stuck there until I was able to get a car because there was nowhere to walk! Also no Target and trips just to buy whatever, because you had to actually carry it home! Rather than ketchup, they have tomato sauce. That took some time to get used to on your fries because it’s thinner and sweeter. Also, that the weta exists and one time there was one in my bed, with me in it! I nearly had to hold my own funeral.

photo of a weta
The giant weta is ugly, big, and heavy. Want to learn more about this native New Zealand insect? Check out this post.

What did you have to sacrifice to make living abroad come true?
Michelle: I cut out a lot of going out and spending money on activities. I would still go out with friends but definitely cut down on my spending while out in order to save money. I also stopped going to Target as much!

Had you ever lived outside of your home country before?
Michelle: I had not! I had only been to Bolivia with my church when I was younger. Going out of the country was exciting but also intimidating and brought on some anxiety. I still get anxious filling out customs forms!

What did you do for fun in your city abroad? / What were your favorite spots in the area?
Michelle: I worked in retail while I was there so I didn’t have a lot of time off. I loved that everything closed at like 6pm unless it was during holiday hours. I usually went out with friends after work in some way. I loved going to hang at Hotel Bristol with Shawn and Jackie plus new friends. We went dancing at Mighty Mighty, Boogie Wonderland (complete with the rainbow light up dance floor), The Big Kumara, and Alice – where all drinks were served in teapots and tea cups! Sadly, several of these places have since closed.  I loved the shops, cafes, and clubs on Cuba Street… even just people watching there was great. Exploring the city was so much fun too! Te Papa Museum is beautiful and the waterfront was great to just walk around. It wasn’t in the city, but several times we would put on some fancy fascinators, hop on a train, and bet on the horse races which always made for a fun day!

photo of cuba street
Cuba Street looks like a lot of fun, doesn’t it?

Did you have your own mode of transportation – a car, bike, etc?
Michelle: No, but I had built in legs and the bus! Sometimes I took a taxi but generally only if I was in a big rush or if it was super duper late.

What do you love about your current city – Raleigh, North Carolina?
Michelle: It’s home and where I grew up! I love my friends and my network of vendors here. Raleigh is also a beautiful city. We have great food, people, and a shimmer wall!

photo of Raleigh's shimmer wall
Raleigh’s Shimmer Wall

Advice and Benefits of Living an Expat Lifestyle Abroad

When you moved back, what do you feel like you gained from living abroad? / How did the experience enrich your life?
Michelle: It enriched my life in many ways and probably more that I don’t even realize. I gained some amazing friends and through social media, I’m still able to stay close with them. I learned about different cultures and showed them some of ours – totes taught my friends that red solo cups were real at parties and taught them how to play flip-cup. I also gained the desire to travel more and see other places!

Is there any advice or anything that you wished you would have known before your move that you would like to share with someone who may be considering an international move?
Michelle: If it’s something that you are considering, you should just do it! With technology the way it is, you’re able to communicate with friends and family and you will never regret an adventure. I went to the red carpet event of The Lovely Bones and saw AC/DC standing by the gates in the front row in the Wellington Phoenix arena. I learned that I like soccer/football. I stomped around Wellington in cowboy boots literally every day and people started to recognize me. I had a conversation with Jemaine Clement about the roller derby. I did so many cool things and created amazing memories that I never would have had the chance to do if I didn’t just go.

photos of Peter Jackson and Susan Sarandon
Lovely Bones premier with Peter Jackson and Susan Sarandon
photo at the front of the stage for the AC/DC concert
AC/DC concert at the front of the stage! 

Any other recommendations or words of wisdom?
Michelle: There will be hard days because it’s not magical and it’s still life but it is what you make it! I found people that became like family and I knew that I could count on them. I was never bored and we didn’t have anything other than a TV with a DVD player so it wasn’t like we were sitting around streaming things. I was just having fun and living life and it was awesome!

Is there anything extra that you would like to add?
Michelle: I wish that I had more photos but this was before everyone had an iPhone attached to them so I didn’t always have my camera on me. I had a blog while I was there so that I could update anyone who cared to read while I was there. Mostly it was my grandparents and my stepmom who read it! If you want to read something funny, you should check it out. Especially the post about when we went ‘tramping’. Plus, I carried my Edward Cullen action figure with me wherever I went. If you’re bored, it’s a funny read to see what all he did.

photo of Michelle and lambs
Baaaaaaa 👋 (Lamb speak for bye!)

That’s a wrap, folks!

To follow along with Michelle Clark and her makeup business, follow her on Instagram at @kmichelleclark and check out her website.

In addition to being a bomb makeup artist, Michelle and some of her friends have recently started up a Disney-themed enamel pin company, Chipadeedoodahs. You can also follow them on Instagram at @chipadeedoodahs and on Pinterest.

I want to say a huge, THANK YOU to Michelle for being my first guest and for answering ALL of my questions. It was really interesting to see how the difference in language and her experiences abroad contributed to her fond memories of her year in Wellington. New Zealand is definitely on our list of places to travel to while we live in Australia as it is close by. I know that we will definitely seek out some of the places that Michelle mentioned.

Let’s hear it for Michelle! 👏 Let me know if you have any feedback or if there are any places in Wellington, New Zealand that you recommend.

The 6 Best Travel Bags

The 6 Best Travel Bags

Your treasured belongings deserve to be carried in bags that you just adore. Why not stock up on travel bags now so that you are ready to go wheels up when we can travel again? These are my top 6 favorite travel bags based on their durability, functionality, and appearance.

photo of the best travel bags

I love each and every one of these brands and bags. Here is my breakdown of the best travel bags:

#1. Overnight Duffle Bag | L.L. Bean Field Canvas Duffle

photo of ll bean duffle bags

The L. L. Bean Field Canvas Duffle comes in these three colors and is $119. It is classic, rugged, casual, and timeless. The canvas material is heavy and durable. I love that you can comfortably carry it over your shoulder or by your hands using the straps.

The opening is wide and it is lined with a soft, plaid, flannel lining. I love the flannel design element, it really adds to the charm of the bag! It has an interior and exterior pocket for small items.

image of the inside of duffle bag

A good duffle bag is a staple bag to have. Whether you are using it for an overnight stay or casually throughout the day, this bag is a winner.

Something to note is that this bag does not have a shoe compartment which I know that a lot of duffle bags are starting to feature. For that feature, here is a bonus duffle bag that I recommend – Herschel Supply Novel Duffle. I bought this bag as a gift for my brother and he loves it!

#2. Makeup Bag | Packed Party Essentials Vanity Kit

If you aren’t familiar with the brand, Packed Party, you are seriously missing out. All of their products are so happy and fun which is exactly the type of bag that I want to use for my makeup bag. In addition to being adorable, this bag is also functional. It has a wide opening and is clear so that you can easily see your items. For my makeup and toiletries, I always use a clear bag so that I can quickly find each item that I am looking for.

images of confetti makeup bags

The Essentials Vanity Kit comes in two confetti colors – gold and multi color and they cost $32 each. The heavy weight vinyl is easy to clean which is important for makeup products as they always leave behind residue.

This bag would also make an adorable gift for any of the ladies in your life! It’s perfect to use both at home and for travel.

#3. Expandable Travel Bag | Longchamp Le Pliage Travel Bag

photo of Longchamp bag
Photo by Shannon White Photography

If you like Longchamp purses, then you will LOVE this bag! Shown here slung over Sean’s shoulder, is the Longchamp Le Pliage Travel Bag. This bag will set you back $255, however, it is one of my favorite purchases ever. In addition to being nostalgic (we bought it from the Longchamp store in Paris during our honeymoon), I love the design and versatility of this bag.

It is incredibly lightweight and can be folded down for storage purposes and then opened up to either a medium or large sized bag to use. When traveling, this makes a great carry on bag that you can then fold and store in your suitcase when you have arrived at your destination. For our recent trip to Melbourne, Australia, for one night we stayed in an airstream so instead of hauling all of our luggage with us, we just packed this bag and a backpack for our overnight stay.

image of longchamp bag
Pictured here in navy, red, and gunmetal

It comes in five great colors – black, navy, gun metal, red, and khaki and they all have the leather details. In addition to being lightweight, the fabric is durable and high quality. A must have!

#4. Hanging Toiletry Bag | Scout Beauty Burrito

image of scout beauty burrito

I love all things Scout and the fact that this bag is called a “Beauty Burrito” makes me so dang happy. It runs $40 and is worth every penny. A hanging toiletry bag is a game changer for traveling. One of the first things that I do when I unpack my luggage at a hotel is to hang my toiletry bag in the bathroom. I love the clear pockets and the large pocket on this particular hanging toiletry bag. For storage, it rolls right up into a little burrito. Get it?!

image of pattern options

Scout changes their prints often but it is currently available in these nine prints. They have both colorful and classic black and white prints so there is a great option for everyone.

#5. Backpack | Herschel Supply Little America Mid-Volume

image of his and hers backpacks

My love for these Herschel Supply Little America Mid-Volume Backpacks runs deep. They typically run $99.99 but you can often find them on sale or at least particular colors (they currently have fifty-two different types!) on sale.

Just like the L.L. Bean Duffle Bag, the style is classic, rugged, casual, and timeless. They are comfortable to wear and are perfect for everyday use or for travel (we use ours for both). I had originally bought the gray backpack for myself and then when I got the yellow backpack, the gray backpack became Sean’s. My Herschel backpack had worn much better than his original Fossil backpack had.

Inside, it has a padded, fleece lined laptop sleeve that I frequently use. The magnetic snaps are a bit tedious to clip together sometimes but it is not anything that would deter me from purchasing them again.

visual of what items the backpack can hold

Here is a great visual of what the Mid Volume size can hold. They have a larger backpack but the Mid Volume is the perfect size for both of us. I am 5’6 and he is 5’10 and it fits both of our frames well.

#6. Luggage | Away Suitcases

Suitcases totally count, they are essentially bags on wheels! Away brand is stellar. In my collection, I currently have The Bigger Carry-On, The Large, and The Mini all in hardside.

Why get a regular carry-on when you could get The Bigger Carry-On?! Starting at $245, it may sound expensive but these suitcases are built to last for life. The best part is that it comes with an ejectable battery so that you can charge your phone and electronics without being stuck by a wall with an outlet at the airport.

image of the bigger carry on

The Large is Away’s biggest suitcase and is perfect to check for long trips. It starts at $295.

These suitcases include a laundry bag for your dirty clothes, an interior compression system, and a TSA-approved combination lock. The 360 degree wheels are agile so that you can navigate through the airport with ease.

image of the large suitcase

I can barely fit my arms around The Large so you know it’s a great bag to check that will fit a lot of stuff (including those extra few pairs of shoes that you threw in to match your outfits!)!

image of mollyann hugging the large suitcase

It’s a fact that everything is cuter in mini versions. The Mini is $45 and is such a fun addition to the set. We use this case to hold our chargers and outlet converters.

images of the mini suitcase

There you have it – the best travel bags! Which bag is your favorite? Fingers crossed that we will be able to travel again soon!

5 Reasons to Book a Photographer During Your Honeymoon | Paris Honeymoon Photoshoot

5 Reasons to Book a Photographer During Your Honeymoon | Paris Honeymoon Photoshoot

I joke that I took my husband, Sean, on his dream honeymoon. We had decided that I was going to focus on planning the wedding and that he was going to focus on planning the honeymoon. He had his heart set on Paris. However, at the time, he was in grad school and I was providing our sole income. I had researched and the cost of plane tickets to get there and back was going to set us back $3000.

However, when you put something that you want out into the universe, it has a way of working itself out. I had shared with a colleague that my husband and I were wanting to go to Paris on our honeymoon and she set an alert for the price of Paris flights. I didn’t think much of it at that time, however, one morning she texted me that the round trip flights to Paris had dropped down to $700! YES! I had opened up a travel rewards points credit card and purchased our tickets on the spot. Paris was a gooooooo!

A few months before our wedding, I went to a conference and shared a room with someone who had been to Paris several times. She gave me so many wonderful recommendations and tips. I wrote them all down on a note on my phone so that I wouldn’t forget. She had also shared photos that a photographer had taken of her and her husband in Paris. I knew that I wanted to book a photographer as well. I reached out to her photographer (it was very important that we booked someone who could speak English) but sadly, she was unavailable. I asked her for some recommendations and fortunately, we were able to book a photoshoot that was within our budget with an English speaking photographer. Once we had the photographer booked, we were able to start planning the rest of our trip and it also gave me some time to find the perfect dress for the shoot!

Here are the top 5 Reasons to Book a Photographer During Your Honeymoon:

#1. Your photos together will not just be a bunch of cell phone selfies.

When it is just you and your new husband/wife on your honeymoon, especially in a country where they speak a foreign language, you don’t just want to hand off your cell phone to a random person to take photos of the two of you. For this reason, you just end up with a lot of selfies.

Exhibit A

#2. Professional photos. Enough said.

When you book a photographer, you can be certain that you will have professional quality photos of your memories captured. Can you say #framers?!

These framers make great home decor and gifts for family!

#3. The photographer knows the lay of the land.

Your photographer is familiar with the area and will know where and when to get the best shots. Unlike you, who are likely visiting this spot for the first time on your honeymoon. Their expertise will make a huge difference.

For this shot of the eiffel tower, we met our photographer at Trocadero at 8am before tourists flooded the area. It was windy and chilly, but totally worth it!

#4. It’s a fun activity!

Getting all dolled up and dressed up for a photoshoot is a lot of fun! It is a completely different experience than the photos on your wedding day. You’ll enjoy snuggling up with your partner with just the photographer as the witness when you are relaxed and in love on your honeymoon. Bliss captured!

#5. You are in tip top shape.

For your wedding, you and your partner likely got in tip top shape. Maybe you sported a spray tan, wore hair extensions, got fake eyelashes, have freshly painted nails – you name it! You both look awesome, why not get some more beautiful photos during this exciting time in your life?

For Sean and I, we were both in great shape, he had just gotten a haircut, and I was still rocking my spray tan, mani/pedi, and eyelash extensions. We were both already photoshoot ready. It was great to have these beauty treatments last through both the wedding and our honeymoon. I felt confident and like I got my money’s worth from these beautifications!

Trust me, it is worth every dime to book a photoshoot during your honeymoon! Do not skip it! Just like your wedding photographer is a must have, a honeymoon photographer is a must have – even if it is just for a one hour session in one outfit like we did. Of course, you can change into multiple outfits and make it more of a production if you would like. The opportunity to capture these once in a lifetime photos with your significant other post nuptials is the perfect way to start off your new life together.

We are so in love with our Paris honeymoon photos and had such a wonderful experience. We would highly recommend working with Sasha of Timeless Paris Photography.

This photoshoot has actually inspired us to continue having photoshoots in various cities on our anniversary every year as well!

Why is Mollyann “exploring it all” and why should we care? | Blog Introduction

Why is Mollyann “exploring it all” and why should we care? | Blog Introduction

That’s what you are all thinking, right?

Truth be told, this website and blog are WAY overdue.

Why “exploring it all’? I am an overthinker, love to analyze and strategize (confirmed by Strengths Finder 2.0!), and a recovering perfectionist. In other words – I like to explore it all before making a decision or a plan, but that does not stop me from finally making a decision and planning something awesome. Since I am hardwired to doing all of this homework, let me explore it all and bring the final results to you to save you from having to do the same.

I never struggled with the fact that I wanted to write a blog, I just struggled with what the blog should be about. Why would someone read it? What would set my blog apart from others?

In the midst of this struggle, I started reading Marie Forleo‘s book, Everything is Figureoutable. Along with the title of the book, I picked up a few new mantras to live by:

Progress, Not Perfection

Start Before You Are Ready

I also learned that it was ok to be multi passionate and to write about several topics. I just needed to start where I was. Put pen to paper, put fingers to keyboard, and just do the damn thing! Thank you Marie for lighting a fire under me 🔥

I was worried and focused on the wrong things that I think a lot of others get caught up with as well. I wanted to be a pro graphic designer and web editor so that my blog looked a certain way. I wanted to be using the right Instagram filters for consistency on my feed. No bueno! I do love a good design but content has been flowing out of me and I did not have an outlet to properly share. The content is what it is all about folks! Just start!

What will my content be about? Here is the breakdown:

  • Creative Lifestyle – I love to be creative. I feel the most energized when I am creating something. I also create original ideas for how my husband and I live our best married life. Rather than to be influenced by what other people are doing, I implore you to live a creative lifestyle and make your relationships, behaviors, and choices your own. I have a few blog posts up my sleeve about some things that have worked for my husband and I.
  • Travel + Experiences – When my husband and I reminisce about our favorite memories and experiences together, it often involves our travels. This was a huge motivator for the blog. I often feel the happiest and fullest when I am exploring new cities and countries. I have been to 5 out of 7 continents (Africa and Antarctica are the ones MIA). Our upcoming big move to Australia is also a major factor in wanting to create this space so that I can share our adventures.
  • Intentional Design – Oh man, I like a good design. But I LOVE an intentional design – not just throwing things together because it looks good and it’ll get likes on the ‘gram. What is the purpose behind the design? The message? Is it functional? I want to know the WHY behind the design. I have worked on designs for marketing, spaces, events, and have plans to continue expanding my design journey and I want to share that journey with you.
  • Personal Growth + Fitness – I am a self declared personal growth junkie. I want to wake up each day being a better version of myself than the day before in both my mind and body. Having the right mindset and moving your body are huge contributors. I often say that you have to take care of yourself before you can take of others.

I am excited to evolve, learn, and grow with YOU through this content! Interacting with YOU is what drives me to share my tips and tricks.

Love, recommendations, and feedback are always welcome below 👇