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Maycie | Senior Photography in Texas

Control. It’s a big part of our lives, and something most of us struggle with (yes, even me! Ha!). Learning that we can’t control everything in our lives is a major struggle, but something that is so valuable. It’s a lesson you really learn in your high school years, amid the stress of senior year and the excitement of heading to college. Often, many of my junior and senior clients face obstacles as they finish up their high school careers, and I always admire seeing how they handle them with grace and determination. For Maycie, one of my recent senior clients, one of these obstacles was that their family home flooded during the huge hurricane last year. It was a very difficult time, but they relied on their faith and each other, and made it through. Maycie explained that the experience really showed her that God is in control, and that she isn’t in charge of anything in her life…a very meaningful although difficult lesson. The Needville High School seniors also credits her mom with teaching her many valuable lessons, adding, “My mom is an amazing women, and I look up to her…she started having adult responsibilities at a very young age, and she is strong because of that. I love her, and would never trade her for another mom!” 

Besides the obvious growing and learning she did in high school, this bright young lady also was part of many clubs and activities at Needville. She was in the National Honor Society, and also held a part time job at a local coffee shop, which kept her very busy. During the last few years, she has gained a real passion for the medical field, and the help it provides to those who need it. She plans to attend college to become a physician’s assistant, and I know she will be amazing! She has a really giving spirit. When Maycie and her parents were looking for senior photographers, they settled on my work and I am sure glad they did. We did this entire session at a place very close to her heart: her home! Yes, every image except the ones with the truck, were done at their family’s yard, and the tree she’s sitting in is one where she loves to hunt. 

Maycie, I am grateful to be a small part of your senior year, and hope these photos always remind you of your hard work and how far you’ve come. You have so much to be proud of!

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Abby's Senior Session | Texas Senior Photographer

“Find out who you are, and do it on purpose”. -Dolly Parton

I hear a common misconception among the seniors who come to me for senior portraits. Many of them think that the must choose just one “look” during the shoot, and that it must be bohemian, urban, or modern. I really want every client to know that we can do multiple looks during the photo session, and that it doesn’t make you less authentic. I believe every senior can put their own spin on any outfit or location, and make it “them”. For Abby’s session (below), we showed off her love for softball, her love for high fashion, and her adorable everyday style! With each outfit change, we also chose an appropriate location, and I am head over heels for the way the ones with the granite steps came out. All of these images represent Abby and her journey in high school, and just because they are all different, doesn’t make her session less impactful. If you are struggling with coming up with your theme or style, I am always here to help, and enjoy guiding clients to find what will make them feel most confident. We really get to know our clients on a personal level, and find out their passions and interests, in order to capture them in their best light.

Abby is graduating from Needville High School, and will be attending A&M Commerce to play softball when he graduates. She is incredibly bright, fun and interesting, and a joy to talk to. Right now, she is currently on a special trip to Amsterdam (lucky girl!), and I cannot wait to hear about her adventures when she gets home. Congratulations, Abby!

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Megan | Foster High School

Our heroes and the people we look up to, often show a lot about ourselves and our priorities. Sometimes they are celebrities (which is totally okay), but oftentimes, they are just regular people who have influenced us in positive and amazing ways. I have found more often than not, the people that my high school clients list as their biggest heroes are their parents or their coaches. Megan is no different; and shared that the two people who have changed her life the most have been her mom ( who is “strong and hardworking”) and her head athletic trainer, Tiffany. I love that, because when regular, everyday heroes are our role models, we know we can strive to be like them. This lovely young lady is a senior at Foster High School, and she is an exceptional athlete. She is part of the athletic training program, the National Honor Society, and the Pals program at Foster, and she is passionate about all her pursuits. One important obstacle that she has pushed through has been the challenges of being an athletic trainer during high school, and how it helped her be a better leader. 


Her favorite highlight of her four years of school would be the football season of her sophomore year, because “of the friends I made and the friends I grew closer with during the long, undefeated season”. Another one would be when the football team made it to the state semi finals. Although they were narrowly defeated, it was one of her favorite games, and such an exciting time to be part of the student body. Throughout her four years in school, she has also honed plans to become a physical therapist after graduation, and hopes to attend Texas State University. “My favorite quote is a little cliche, but I live my life by it”, she adds, “It is that God has a plan for all of us, and we should trust Him to lead us in the right direction”. I know these words are definitely true for her, and I can’t wait to see where her path leads. In five years, she hopes to be getting into physical therapy school.  I know she will be successful in whatever she does, and I loved creating these images with her!

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Things to do in Houston in the Summer

Here in the great state of Texas, we know how to beat the heat year round but sometimes, we need new things to keep us busy! Whether you’re brand new to our gorgeous area, or you’ve lived here for ages, you might enjoy this list of things to do as you make your summer bucket list!

Source: Pexels

Source: Pexels

Six Flags Hurricane Harbor: This water park started as “wet and wild” splash park, and has since become one of the Six Flags attractions. It’s even better now, with improved rides and things to do, and you can even sign up for their new “meal plan” to enjoy it all summer long. Don’t miss the Vortex and Tornado rides, where you can beat the Houston heat while enjoying heart-stopping thrills!

Top Golf: These unique spots are popping up all over the US, because they are so much fun! It combines the fun of golf and skee-ball, with an interactive environment complete with food and drinks. You will love gathering with your friends and family to try this new take on the outdated mini-golf.

Escape rooms: These are the ultimate thing to do with friends or family. Consider trying an escape room with your graduating class, your best friends before your graduate, or for a family reunion! Most allow players of all ages to pair up with older ones if needed, and you can choose a more tame theme for something family-friendly. There are even some super spooky ones if you want to go around Halloween!

Space Center Houston: You can take a guided tour to the space center, where you’ll visit America’s history with the NASA space program, or you can simply head there yourself to view the many replicas and historical pieces (including rocks brought back from actual missions). TripAdvisor offers the specialty guided tours, that also include the Johnston space center as well. 

Photography tour: TripAdvisor also offers the Mural Tour, which is perfect for any influencers or Instagram-lovers! You’ll see some of the coolest paintings, artwork, walls and more that you can hop off and document immediately. It’s about 30 minutes long, and ends with a sweet treat. Well worth the $65 price tag, and perfect for gathering up your girlfriends and your smart phones!

Pack brunch and a picnic: There are countless, gorgeous parks in the Houston area, and all you have to do is head to a local grocer (we love Whole Foods) to snag your favorite goodies for the perfect summer afternoon. We recommend picking up salamis, fruit, cheese, crackers, sparkling water, and Marconi almonds for the best lunch spread ever. Then, decide whether you want to go to Discovery Park, Memorial Park, or Buffalo Bayou for your perfect lunch. 

Sunset movies at Rooftop Cinema Club: This is such a super-chic way to enjoy a movie. They screen classic and new movies, but the seats are limited so you’ll have to get there early. There are snacks available for purchase, and everyone gets wireless headphones so you can hear the movie and watch the sunset. It’s a one of a kind experience! 

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Incorporating Props into Your Senior Session

When it comes to props, many seniors have one or two items that they want to bring, but they may not consider them as “props”. Something as simple as your favorite coffee or drink can be considered a prop, believe it or not. Anything that shows off your personality can be included, and can really add a special dimension to your images. We wanted to share some ideas of things you may not have considered for your upcoming shoot:

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Source: pexels.com

-Musical instruments: it might be a bit unwieldy to bring your cello to your shoot, but we love bringing pieces of our life into your session. For many seniors, that includes their love of music. You can bring things like sheet music, a microphone, or your actual instrument to convey this particular passion. If you play a large instrument like a piano, consider bringing your favorite books about the subject, or bringing a smaller option, like a keyboard. 

-Art and creative pursuits: Yes, you can even bring painting supplies, or a sketchbook. Are you writing a book? Bring along the manuscript. There is no limit to the way we can incorporate things like books, writing utensils, calligraphy supplies, or even your laptop if you are a graphic designer. If it says something about YOU, then we want it to be part of the shoot. 

-Favorite food: If you are an aspiring chef, bring along one of your creations! Your favorite cake? Your lucky apron? If you don’t cook or bake beautiful cakes or cupcakes, think of your favorite drink or food, and bring that along. It might sound silly, but some seniors even do a few of their ‘favorite things’ (shopping bags, coffee cups, snacks, or souvenirs like Mickey ears) as some of their props. 

-Your costumes/uniforms: Many seniors use their varsity jacket, which is always a nice touch. But, you can also add something like your cheer uniform, your pom poms, your gymnastics leotard, your ice skates, or even something like a polo with the emblem for debate team or another school activity. If you work a part-time job that you love, you can even bring your uniform for that (check with your boss first, as some companies have policies on being photographed in your uniform). 

I am always open to hearing your bright ideas about things you want to include, even if it’s your best friend or your beloved pet! We can make it happen. I love being creative and figuring out how to add in an unconventional item, and nothing makes me happier than being able to give you a senior session that’s truly about YOU. 

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Jackson's Senior Session

There’s something about a great, simple, outdoor session. It feels All-American, and a big nostalgic. There wasn’t a better fit than Jackson for a session like this: he’s a no-nonsense, kind, and interesting young man, and he loves the outdoors. I really enjoyed meeting his older sister a few years ago, and doing her senior photos as well. Hunting and fishing are two of his favorite past-times, and he also enjoys anything that has to do with Jeeps or old cars. He started his own mobile detailing company this year, and it’s going very well (what an entrepreneur!). In his spare time, he enjoys being with his friends, and training his dog Goose (who is pictured) to be a hunting dog. Lastly, he spends time volunteering in the PALS program, which matches older students with younger ones in order to be mentors and role models.

We chose an outdoor location with pretty trees and a small body of water, and we were blessed with blue skies when we met up. I wanted him to be able to have plenty of room to include his beloved dog, and to also show off his truck. Jackson is heading for more exciting adventures after graduation, and I hope to be front and center to watch his endeavors. 

Some people really love the outdoors, but others prefer an urban, downtown look for their personal style, or to show off a hobby or idea. I love showing off whatever you have in mind, and planning your shoot accordingly. 

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How to Make a Budget for College

College is expensive. Anyone who tells you it isn’t… is probably lying! Ha! It’s really a wise practice to make a budget for any season in your life, but especially in college. You will be well occupied with your class schedule, and may not even be working part-time while you’re in school. So, without a big income source, how will you cover those many expenses? That’s where a smart budget comes in: you will never wonder how to pay your bills, and you will always know what’s left in your month allotment. Here are our very best tips to creating a realistic budget as you leave home for the first time:

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Source: Pexels.com

Figure out where your income sources are coming from: Whether you are working or not while in school, you will have some sort of “income” source. It can be money from your parents, a trust fund, your own job, student loans, or any other sort of incoming finances. If your parents are supporting you in college, be clear with your expectations and how much you will be receiving. It’s not a fun conversation, but its really necessary with family, so no one has unfair expectations about their roles. If you are working, be sure to factor in taxes and fees that come out of your check, before you estimate how much you’re really taking home.

Next, divide up your upcoming expenses into categories. You will have many categories when it comes to college, but here are our suggested basics: Room and board, textbooks and school supplies, transportation, clothing, and discretionary spending. Room and board would include: cost of living on campus, or an apartment with utilities such as power and internet. Textbooks and supplies can include anything that you need for school, so don’t leave out items like scientific calculators, lab equipment, or any special uniforms or clothing. Transportation can include your own car, public transport, and any associated fuel or insurance fees, and clothing is self-explanatory. Discretionary spending includes any entertainment, spending money, or extras such as dining out with friends. We would also recommend adding a category for your cell phone plan, if that’s something you pay for.

Match up your expenses to your income, and figure out where the gaps are: If you are unable to meet your basic needs with your income, you will need to figure out a secondary plan, such as cutting out things like clothing money, or taking on part time work, such as selling clothes on Poshmark, or babysitting or tutoring. If at all possible, avoid taking out additional student loans because of the interest rates. 

Track your expenses: Once you have a written or digital (like an app) budget in place, begin diligently tracking your expenses. You can often find out where your biggest pitfalls lie by looking at your online banking statements and matching them up to your categories. Before you leave for college, one of the wisest things you can do is to save a large nest egg up, in order to cover emergencies such as new tires, unexpected travel (especially if you live very far from home), or a medical crisis. We recommend at least $2000 as an “emergency” fund, although any more than that would be very wise as well. 

By being diligent about managing your money in college, you are setting yourself up for success in the rest of your life as well. College is not only useful to gain academic knowledge, but it is also an important time to create healthy habits financially! 

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How to find and earn scholarships 

When you consider the amount of student loan debt that the average American is in these days, it will inspire you to search out the maximum number of scholarships you can apply for. College is expensive, and the costs are only going up. While you may know that applying is smart, you may also wonder where you can even find the right scholarships. How do you know you’re not wasting your time, and which ones you qualify for? That’s where today’s tips come in…here’s how and where you can find awesome opportunities to offset those hefty student loans:

Source: Pexels

Source: Pexels

  1. Figure out how much your deficit is. This should be step one for anyone applying to college. You need to know how much financial need you really have, and to do so, you’ll need to sit down with your parents or guardians and make a budget. You can request quotes for tuition, dorm life, and food from any prospective colleges that should help guide your numbers. You need to also factor in any travel costs (driving, car upkeep), things you’ll need like sports equipment or uniforms, and sorority associated fees, etc. Then you’ll be able to calculate how much you’ll need above and beyond what family or other assistance is already helping out with. 

  2. Brush up your resume and volunteer hours: Many scholarships are based on your community work or your extra curriculars; they look kindly on students who are well-rounded and efficient with their time. Obviously, you should also be striving for excellent grades in all subjects at school, and of course, keeping up with any other obligations like a part-time job. You should begin to take these things very seriously as early as freshman year, in order to keep your resume as strong as possible.

  3. Use scholarship search engines: You may be surprised at what scholarships you actually qualify for. If you have family members in the military, you may qualify for additional college assistance as well. Scholarship Owl is one that works similarly to a job search website, and matches you with the ones you best meet the criteria for. Fastweb is another one that is excellent and speedy with finding scholarships that you are already able to apply for. Using the web services helps prevent wasted time.

  4. Speaking of time: view applying for scholarships as a part time job…one you really want! If you earn scholarships, you will save yourself not only money, but time. You will have to take on less part-time work and stress if your school finances are more squared away. If you are really on a time-crunch, consider scheduling one hour a day to work on applications and essays, and block out the time just like any other activity.

  5. Stay organized: It is best to make a binder or dedicated area for all of your scholarship copies, forms, deadlines and essays. Make a master spreadsheet or calendar with all of the deadlines so that you don’t miss any of them. If you are asking for letters of recommendation from teachers or friends, be sure to get more than one copy of each one so you don’t need to bother them again. Try to make a master copy of your basic essay, so you can merely tweak and change it up for each application to save time. 

With these simple tips, you can devote your time to finding scholarships, and also increase your chances at winning them! Good luck!

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Jaycee's Senior Session

Self-care is a bit of a buzzword these days. It seems everywhere we turn, we hear about how we need to put ourselves first, and to preserve our feelings and hearts. This is one lesson that Jaycee, this beautiful senior, has learned in the last few years: the put herself first. “I have really learned that I cannot hold on to the things that have hurt me in the past. It is something to live by; to move on and find something better. ‘Forget what hurt you, but never forget what it taught you’ is my favorite quote”. I love her strength and kindness, and really enjoyed getting together to capture her senior year. Jaycee will graduate from Lake Travis High School in 2019, and she also enjoys her part-time job at Hill Country Indoor. She enjoys working with children, and also has run track in the past. When it comes to people who are influential in her life, Jaycee cites her aunt and her mom, who are both strong women who have fought for what they want in life! 

When I planned out her session, I chose the Spicewood area near Austin, and a local vineyard, Stone House Vineyard. The vineyard is seriously so elegant and stunning, and pairs the best architecture with beautiful landscaping; it is the perfect spot for an unique senior shoot. Jaycee says her personal style would best be described as “casual, cute and fun”, and that her everyday style usually includes sneakers, t-shirt, and shorts. She looks up to celebrities with a cool-casual style like Selena Gomez, and really loves shopping at Buckle. As far as her future, college is definitely in her sights, and she plans to pursue nursing, with minors in sociology and psychology. Jaycee is passionate about finding justice for rape and assault victims, and helping end human trafficking in the United States. Eventually, she plans to become a counselor or a therapist. I know her huge heart and passion about her goals in life will take her very far! Congratulations, sweet girl!

Contact me today to schedule your senior shoot!

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Ways to Cultivate Gratitude

It’s that time of year again! For some, it’s a time of year to focus on what they might get, but the true spirit of the season is in focusing on what you can give. The key to a heart set on generosity is in having a heart well acquainted with thankfulness. Being thankful, even in just a simple “thank you” in response to a kindness shown towards you, is intimately connected with positivity. While the Thanksgiving holiday is a great reminder of what we should be focusing on, the truth is that we should be just as grateful every day of the year. But how do you do that? Well, here are a few tips!

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-Start small: When things hit hard, they jostle your perspective. You could start the day happy and joyful, but then the harsh realities of life become a bit too hard to handle, and your mood sinks. Gratefulness is the ballast that will keep you afloat in a storm, and you’re building a foundation for yourself every day. But strong foundations aren’t built in a day, it’s a process that takes time - and it all starts with a simple thank you. Starting small and reaching out in kindness and gratitude towards others, even when you desperately don’t want to, will be your anchor in the storm. Start small, and you’ll reap the rewards later!

-Stay present: If you’re anything like the rest of us, you’ve gone through a time where the future just wasn’t too bright. Everyone goes through times where their minds are on anything but the present, but there’s a certain joy that only comes from being truly thankful for where you’re at. If you can live in the moment and experience what is going on as it happens, you will discover many joys once overlooked. Cultivating a habit of living in the present, and being thankful for it, will give you a positive outlook both towards the future and the past.

-Never compare: In this season, it’s so easy to compare yourself to others, especially in the things that other people can afford. The Christmas season is coming, and for those who celebrate, you’ll see them walking around with big presents to give. Or if you celebrate Thanksgiving, you might feel the sting of jealousy as you compare your cooking to someone else’s. But true gratitude comes from finding joy in the ways others have been blessed, and giving thanks for what they’ve been given. That way you’re reorienting a heart set on comparing (and envying) to instead find joy in others.

Those are just a few ways you can find gratitude every day, and there are many more ways to do it! What are some ways that you’re cultivating gratitude each day?

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