SNOW!! It actually SNOWED in Oklahoma, and it wasn’t ICE! It’s a Christmas miracle…well, for many Oklahomans, it really was! The kids were out of school for two days – which is a little weird now because they now have Virtual School Days instead of Snow Days. In any case, it meant more time with my kiddos, snow time, hot chocolate, and of course…snow pictures (and video…)! It actually worked out super well because I was also able to have a fellow photographer’s session right after this! Actually, in the moments before she came (and even while waiting for my daughter to finish her orthodontist appointment) I took some test shots. I don’t care how seasoned you are as a photographer, I truly believe you ALWAYS need to check your settings. And, when photographing another photographer…hello, pressure! I wanted to nail the session for sure! Seriously, I did check out my settings a couple times, and also wrapped my camera gear up in plastic so it wouldn’t get all wet. But really, I think I nailed the settings, y’all. What people don’t realize is there are SO MANY WAYS to set your camera up to take the pictures YOU want. Not setting it on auto and hoping for the best, but actually setting your camera up for successful pictures. For instance, in these images, we have beautiful bokeh (foreground and background!), which I love, check. Gorgeous falling snow, check. Perfect exposure, check. Perfect subjects, check, check! Oh, and they are super sharp! I edited these with a matte, grain look, but in camera and without even without editing, they focus is nailed. Love it when all the things come together as I want them to. But it wouldn’t happen without practice and knowing my camera, and my lenses.
Oh, and apparently this week, we are looking to get more snow in the area – still crossing fingers – so I decided I’d get these up and share these now so I can take new ones in a few days! Snow is so so beautiful to photograph. And so are my babies, so putting the two together make this mama’s heart melt!
I tend to think it’s a pretty big compliment when a photographer asks you to photograph their family, so when this sweet photographer reached out to me, I was more than happy to have a snow session with her! I was actually going to be out in the snow for just a few minutes anyways, with my own two littles at about the same time she was hoping, so it was fun to get to be out there with this beautiful family, even for five minutes! In that short time, I think I captured over 40 images, and honestly I pretty much loved them all! Snow + a Child’s Innocence + a Really Fashion Coordinated Family = Yes Please! Below is just a sneak peek, but you can tell we had fun!
Not only did I get to meet a new to me local photographer, but I also got to experiment with a matte, grain look on t these images since this Mama preferred that look to my usual natural, purist type style…and I am okay with that! I love how these turned out and it pulled me out of my normal comfort zone. Note: I am not big on presets, y’all!! I honestly enjoy hand editing and there hasn’t been a single image I’ve EVER produced that I didn’t hand edit to some degree. Even in the early days, when I bought not so great (to my style) presets, and used them and then tried to fix them, LOL! I’m sure many would think that’s silly, but it’s just how I am. Each photo and each photo session speaks differently to me, so although my editing style isn’t 100% one way, I hope the images are still speaking to you too!
Oh! And, my new photographer friend is Tori Rice, and you can find her work at Tori Rice Photography!
How has it already been six months? Actually, it’s been over 6 months, by about a week.
If you are new to coming to my page, or if it’s the first time hearing about this, I’ll share a summary. In late May 2020, I had a breast explant surgery – yep, I voluntarily got rid of some toxic bags that I now know factually were making me sick. So, so very sick. I won’t lie and say I’m miraculously completely healed, and to be clear, that was never my expectation. I wanted to feel ANY amount, even 10% better, and know for certain that I had done everything in my power to feel better. I have an autoimmune disease aside from what I now know to be Breast Implant Illness, so I think I went in to surgery with realistic expectations.
If you’re wondering why I’d share this on a photography page, well, it’s really just somewhat cathartic for me to share! Also, it’s that this has the most reach of people who may be affected by #BII. I want people to know my story. I want women and men alike to understand the possible consequences of breast implants. I want women to know that they are NOT alone! If you have breast implants, saline or silicone, and you are having issues with fatigue, joint pain, brain fog…it might be worth looking in to. Please don’t misunderstand and think that you WILL get #BII or that I think all implants cause this in everyone. I know plenty of women who have implants (I almost used to think I was a rare unicorn amongst my friends, but alas, lots of us have or have had them). I know plenty who don’t have any of these issues. I also know plenty who don’t think some of their similar issues could be related to #BII. But…it might be. And even if those types of issues aren’t something you are experiencing, know that my particular body is now and will be permanently “deformed” from the implants. Yes, you read that correctly. Permanently deformed. My ribs, like the individual ribs that were under the weight of the implants, are now concave. My ribs are misshapen. Maybe that’s why it was hard to get a full breath of air for so long. In any case, I did ask my surgeon if this thought was accurate (that my ribs are now concave) and he said that it was in fact true that the weight can alter the ribs. Again, not something I expect happens to everyone, but be aware of it. And just so we are all clear, I did not have abnormally large implants! I went from a “barely A” cup to a B, and through pregnancy and aging, went to a full B/small C. So about 300 cc of fluid, I believe. Maybe a pound of implants? But over 17+ years, the damage was still done. Anyways, here’s the 6 month post op update on my symptoms (very similar to the 3 month update):
Inflammation – Improved 30+% Joint Pain – Improved 30+% Anxiety – Improved (not sure on %, because this was a particularly stressful month) Difficulty Concentrating – Slight improvement – 15% Memory Loss – This one I’m not sure on. Still not great, but that’s been the same since I was about 18 Brain Fog – Improved!! 50% Hair Loss – Improved – Hair growth visible, looks healthier — I’ve had some additional hair loss since the third month, but not like it was a year ago) Depression – Definitely an improvement. Mood Swings – Not sure, but I feel confident it’s improved. Shortness of Breath – BETTER!! Improved 80% or more! I had no idea that my breaths had become so, so shallow. Just days after surgery, I could FEEL myself breathing deeper. Even if nothing else changed, this would have been worth it!!! Weight Gain – Not sure. Some weight loss since surgery, but I also did a juice cleanse for five days about a month ago. Unfortunately, I followed that up with a month of Starbucks and eating out. Sooo…between that and the stress, I did lose weight, but it fluctuates, and though less weight than before surgery, I’m not sure how much is from just that.
Chronic Fatigue – SO MUCH BETTER!! Probably 50%. Yes, I still get tired doing menial daily tasks, but what I haven’t done is lay in bed all day pretty much since maybe a week after surgery. Are there days I want/need a nap? Yes. But it’s not daily anymore, and even better, I’m able to exercise and walk without becoming short of breath and tired. I already know that my quality of life has been forever changed.
And here’s what I really wanted to share below. Pictures of what my Move, Exercise and Stand rings (Apple Watch app) used to look like compared to the last few months. I’m hardly the same person. It’s AMAZING what I’ve been able to accomplish while NOT spending 4-6 hours in bed, daily. I don’t care what anyone says. I know those toxic bags were NOT good for me. The data speaks for itself. Before those things were out, I could barely move, let alone exercise for 5 minutes, much less over 30 minutes. They are just some random screen shots from my phone, but almost any month before May 2020 will look similar to the November 2019/January 2020 shots. I actually did work out quite a bit in July, and then took some time off with the infamous move that didn’t happen since I was concentrating on … packing for that same move! Ha! And while I’m thinking about it – my pain. I don’t have post surgery breast pain. I DID have pain prior to the surgery (although was assured from my general physician it wasn’t my implants). But really, everything is back to normal for the most part (very rarely some tenderness, but that may be hormonal or something…it doesn’t feel like it’s a post-surgical pain at all).
I still fear that I’ll regress somehow and maybe that this is all temporary, and my body will reset it’s immune system. I dread the day I ruin my streak of working out daily, knowing that it’ll make me feel like I failed. I know that isn’t true, but I still worry. I’m so very sad for the “me” that I was for so long, but so thankful for the me that I’ve discovered since the surgery. The difference has been life changing. I’ll also mention that of course I have bad days! I don’t necessarily like my body’s new appearance in the way that I probably should. But, I’m accepting it. Some days are harder than others, and I expect that’ll always be the case. I still know I made the right choice, for me.
If you have any questions about #BII, please contact me. I’ve had numerous friends or friends of friends (or even some strangers!) contact me in regards to their health issues. I’m no expert, but I’m a completely open book and can walk you through what I went through, and how I found my explant surgeon, Dr. Derek Shadid. You can also see previous posts regarding #BII here: One Week Post Op2 Month Post Op, 3 Month Post Op and Journey to Wellness – Pre-Op
I may or may not have thrown in the last picture to gloat to my friend, Shelby, just a little. 🙂
I was proud of myself though for doing a competition and it just happened to be that I beat him!
Oh yes…I updated my headshots!!
Taken on October 31st, so about 5 months post op. Feeling AND looking healthy!
I’m just now going back through super old drafts that I have started, and decided I’d like to share this, even though it’s about four years old! And I’ve done two weddings since this one!
I am frequently asked if I do weddings…
That said, it’s typically people who truly want me for my photography style and those who have more intimate, smaller weddings. I was so, so grateful to end my time in Alabama with a bang and a one of a kind wedding on the Alabama Riverfront in Montgomery. Jennifer knows my husband, Jason, through working together at Maxwell, and I was happy to meet with Jennifer and Kenny to discuss their vision for their wedding, and if I would be able to document it the way they’d like. Wedding photography is not at all the same as family photography or newborn photography, so I was very clear that although I would love to do this for them, I don’t have the experience to consider myself a “wedding photographer.” Thankfully, they still loved my vision and my photography style, and I was able to capture their ceremony, as well as the reception aboard the Harriott II! Here is just a *very tiny* glimpse in to their Wedding Day…
And, I’m also going to add, just for my memory’s sake…it was the best post-reception ever. Grateful they loved me enough as both a photographer and a friend…they said I could drink and enjoy the reception and post reception fun at the bar downtown. Sooooo, I did. But of course, after I fulfilled my commitment, I promise! Give me all of the fun couples like this one…these weddings I can handle!
How I loved seeing this sweet family again this year! Last year, my friend, client, and realtor, Kat Kosmala with ERA in Oklahoma City did an amazing Client Appreciation event, and that is where I initially took this family’s pictures. They were, and still are, so kind, and let me know how much the photographs meant to them. This year, this Mama got a hold of me and requested a Fall, Golden Hour session, which of course is something I love to do and do often. Since she really only wanted a couple of pictures, I decided that we could do a Mini Session as long as we stayed on this side of town to squeeze her in, and remembered the field that I was able to do my family’s pictures at two weeks prior which had a beautiful, open shot to the golden sun. Y’all, she drove from Edmond for my photography…what a compliment!! Unfortunately, it had become *a tad* more bare in that short time…but I’m so grateful my client didn’t mind at all! She commented on how beautiful the light was, so I’ll call it a win — and of course her sweet children brightened the place up even more! Just take a quick peek at how gorgeous this session was!! Oh, and we had one pretty sleepy little guy to start, but it didn’t take long for him to warm up and essentially start modeling for me! Loved seeing both of their personalities shine in our session together. And I’m thankful I made a new military mama friend!!
I’m not sure what I was doing exactly, but whatever it was…this sweet girl seemed to LOVE it!!! What an absolute sweetheart!
I couldn’t love this Mama anymore …she got the picture above as part of her order, and my heart was thrilled! THIS is what I want to remember of my babies, and so glad she does too!!
By the end of this session, I swear I had a model on my hands!! He did such an awesome job…sleepy and all!! And yes, if you have kids (or really even husbands…) and you have a session with me, I’ll make sure you do two things: 1) BRIBE. Yep. I said it. Bribe them!!! and 2) REWARD them!!! Most adults have a hard time with pictures for more than a few minutes, and kids are no different! Let them know it’s supposed to be fun, and then reward them after!!
For more awesome parenting tips, just follow me, HAHAHAHAHA! But really, the bribes work!