23 May 2013

blogging // one or two?

I've been going back and forth, back and forth over the past few months about the topic I'm sharing today: whether to continue maintenance of my two current blogs (this one you're reading right now, as well as my photo blog: www.annadelores.com/blog), or to merge the two into one blog for ease of upkeep, reducing the possibility of reader and photography client confusion (why the heck does this chick keep up two separate blogs with the same name?  What a weirdo.), and to preserve my own sanity.

I started THIS blog as a supplement to my Etsy shop back in 2010.  I saw it as a necessary social media add-on if I wanted to integrate into the handmade community.  Since then, the Anna Delores blog has evolved in a variety of ways, from a focus on handmade shops and products, to a shift toward lifestyle and giveaways, and now a heavier focus on weddings (with lifestyle, giveaways, and admittedly random musings thrown in).  

Ironically, the "ding" of an Etsy sale no longer holds the thrill it used to (not to say that I'm not grateful for every sale!  I'm just more focused on portraiture and weddings these days), but this blog is still very near and dear to me.

I'm truly fascinated and inspired by the community of folks I've met through my blog.  I've met a lot of blogger friends in real life, and no matter what happens to this blog, I intend to keep in touch with those people.  I've even been blessed and honored with the privilege of photographing the weddings of a few fellow bloggers!  I'll be working with Lauren in September and Evani next June.  I mean, is that awesome or what?!  I've had the amazing experience of photographing Kristen, Sandy, Gina, Lizzie, and others, and I met fellow wedding pro Joelle through our mutual love for both blogging and weddings.  We were blog friends long before we realized that we lived in the same county, and because of Joelle I've met a ton of other wedding professionals in my area and have a new studio space that I'm so incredibly proud to be part of.  And I've met a ton of rad people just to meet up and bond over blogging!

So, really, I could never place a premium on the value of the experiences I've had as a result of blogging.  I'm not a religious person, but if this blog hasn't been a blessing to me, then I don't know what is!


As a result, I am not at all looking to abandon this blog.  That is not the debate of the day.  What I would much rather do is move the Anna Delores blog to a new domain name and combine it with the photo blog (so, it would ultimately would be a combo lifestyle/wedding/photo blog, which I guess it already sort of is).  The layout would be a little simpler and more streamlined so that folks who find me via www.annadelores.com, when looking for a professional wedding photographer, aren't caught off-guard by what sometimes feels like clutter on the sidebar.

The drawback is that there are some blogging themes I'd likely abandon, if not at least decrease in frequency, as a result of linking the Anna Delores blog to my web portfolio photo blog.  For example, I think I'd likely refrain from discussing weight loss and that genre of personal topics.  There's a fine line there, because I'd still blog about my personal life to an extent; I think especially with one's wedding photographer, getting to know your wedding vendors is something that prospective clients are interested in.  Right?  I think Joelle executes this very well, and I know that there are a few others I've encountered that I admire in terms of the personal-professional balance (I just can't recall them at this precise moment). 

Anyway, I'm in the process of finding someone to provide some assistance with transition to WordPress, as well as getting a new domain and linking it up to my website.  If you've worked with anyone you'd recommend, send me an e-mail!  :)

What do you think?  Will you still be a reader if/when this transition occurs?

22 May 2013

photography // luke turns two

Today I wanted to share some fun photos of sweet Luke, who I've had the pleasure of getting to know the past few months -- I've started moving into a studio space with his mama, the lovely Amy of Stella Bloom Designs.

If Luke can feel like he's helping with something (carrying around the Styrofoam padding from a furniture delivery, for example) or being productive by hammering into some cardboard boxes, he's a happy camper.  Here he is helping Amy style a bridal bouquet for a styled inspiration shoot we did recently:

And here are a few candid photos I snapped of Luke during our shoot at McCormick Home Ranch in Camarillo (peeks at the shoot itself coming soon!).

And happy belated birthday to Luke, who turned two just this past week!

Is he a cutie or WHAT?!

20 May 2013

mani monday // au naturel

Once in awhile, you just gotta go bare.

au na·tu·rel (adjective \ˌō-ˌna-tə-ˈrel, -ˌna-chə-\)
     a : being in natural style or condition
     b : nude

This week, I just left 'em naked.  I did some first aid on my cuticles and tried to wear those aloe-infused gloves with cuticle oil and hand cream as often as I could (i.e., whenever I remembered to slather on some lotion before bed).  

My favorite tools for natural mani maintenance?  So glad you asked!

1. cuticle pusher
2. cuticle nippers
3. nail buffer block
4. moisturizing gloves
5. cuticle oil
6. nail file

What did YOU wear this week?  Link up below!

17 May 2013

photography // father-daughter first look

I photographed a wedding last month, during which the bride requested doing a first look with her dad before the ceremony.  Best. Idea. Ever.

She also did a first look with her groom, which was also very sweet, but I think you'll agree that these first look photos between father and daughter are pretty tough to beat...

Why do a "first look"?  Check out this blog post I wrote in January.

Want more lovely "first look" images?  I have a whole Pinterest board dedicated to them!

And, of course, more images from this wedding at Murrieta Equestrian Center coming soon!  Many thanks and much love to Alyssa and Andrea for joining me and being awesome second and third shooters.

13 May 2013

mani monday // Julep weddings.

For this week's Mani Monday, I wanted to share Julep's tips for getting a "ring-finger ready" manicure (i.e., tips for a flawless wedding day manicure)!

Julep's Beauty Buzz blog features an easy, step-by-step, 30-day timeline for making sure bridal (and bridesmaid, mother of the bride, flower girl...) manicures are in optimal condition for ceremony, cocktails, and reception.  Check out the post for the details on what Julep recommends for wedding-day prep (and even though this post says it was written by Emily R., it's not me!).  :)

Julep also has a Wedding Suite on their site for easy shopping suggestions for nail colors on your big day (with cute wedding-themed names for these mini-collections, like "Tie the Knot" and "A Little Something Blue").

{ natural wedding chic collection }

Julep's suggestions range from classic, barely-there neutrals (the "Natural Wedding Chic" trio is a perfect combo!) to bolder big-day choices like "Reception Red" and "Special Occasion" (I REALLY want Billie Jean for myself for ANY occasion, thankyouverymuch).

Remember to link up below to share your mani-related blog posts with me and Heather!

08 May 2013

giveaway // celebrating Chelsea's birthday

Who doesn't like to win some big cash money?  I sure do.

The lovely Chelsea recently turned 22 (she's trying to call herself "old," but my 29 years say otherwise!), and obviously the best way to celebrate is by throwing up some dollar bills.  That's $230 dollar bills, to be exact.  Not actually throwing them up in the air for you to scramble and collect, but throwing into a pile for you to win.  Making sense?  Nope.  Enjoy!


06 May 2013

mani monday // wedding nails

Happy Mani Monday, everyone!  Now that wedding season is getting underway, I thought I'd re-share some of my favorite wedding-perfect manicures (via Pinterest, of course!). 

Generally-speaking, I love off-the-wall nails with bold colors and experimentation -- but NOT on your wedding day.  I found a lot of over-the-top ideas on Pinterest (just search "wedding nails" and you'll see what I mean) and some of them are borderline acceptable, but for the most part, sticking with soft pink, blush, or peach tones is a good idea, or go with the good old-fashioned French tips.  My only exception to this (aside from a little bit of glitter) is going red.  It's a classic shade and if it fits your wedding and your personality, go for it.

I have mixed feelings about matching nail polish with your wedding colors... what do you think?

Link up with Heather and I below!

02 May 2013

photography // mini-session with Joelle

You guys know Joelle, right?  She blogs over at Something Charming.  And she is the fabulous wedding stylist and coordinator of A Charming Occasion.

Because Joelle and I live within a half hour's drive of each other (and will very soon be sharing a studio space), we like to get together and take photos.  And then get lunch, or coffee, or margaritas.  Oh, the perks of self-employment.

In celebration of Joelle's new bangs (and the cutest blazer ever), we met at the Camarillo Library and snapped some shots before heading to lunch with Amy.  You can also see some of these photos over at Joelle's blog.  Enjoy!

I mean, come on, Joelle's the cutest!  I always have fun taking photos with Joelle (in part because lunch that follows pretty much always involves a glass of wine or, as mentioned above, margaritas).  Love you, lady!

01 May 2013

weddings // la tavola linens

Before getting into the wedding industry, I don't think it would have ever occurred to me to rent linens for a wedding.  I mean, what's wrong with the plain ivory tablecloths and napkins provided by the venue?  I have since learned the error of my ways.

Linens can make an incredible impact on the overall look of your wedding.  The ability to rent (or buy) linens is certainly subject to budget considerations, but since becoming a wedding photographer (and following Joelle Duff, coordinator extraordinaire, to La Tavola Linens), I've learned just how important linen choice can be.

Case in point: Joelle rented linens from La Tavola for our Kate Spade-inspired shoot back in February.  Having this striped linen for the table scape and the emerald sequined prettiness below for our cake table (and bouquet backdrop!) made an impact much more impressive than if we'd used a plain white tablecloth (or skipped linens altogether).

Early this month, La Tavola hosted a celebration for the launch of its spring 2013 collection.  Joelle, Emily, and I made the trek to La Tavola's Santa Barbara location for cupcakes, cocktails, and all the linen loveliness we could handle.

Take a peek at some of the images I snapped!  And Emily and Joelle are just the cutest, as usual.  :)


Moral of the story?  I'll be renting linens when it comes time for me to get married (someday, someday...), and I love to encourage any betrothed couple I encounter to do the same!

Would you invest in decor-enhancing linens for your wedding day, or would you rather allocate your budget elsewhere?

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