Lynsi & Evan | Tri-State Fair

All photographers in the Texas Panhandle have the same, unspoken, gigantic stressor.

This town is a flat, bland, empty, dry nuisance.

The canyon, you say? The sunsets, you say?

Yes, we have all utilized (to the fullest extent) those Amarillo features. I’ve spent weekends hiking through the canyon crevices, hunting for the most picturesque locations. I’ve captured the sunset on dirt roads, streaming between the downtown buildings, in the streets of the fancy neighborhoods.

After years upon years of searching for eye-catching scenery, or even something that’s just alive and green, every local creative comes to the point where they get the text from their client that asks, “So where should we go for photos?”

And every local creative lies down on the floor of their home, anxiety building in their chest, and racks their brain of anywhere they haven’t already shot a million times over.

I’m familiar with this process. It happened just the other day when Lynsi contacted me for maternity photos. I had zero ideas and left her text unanswered for the night (sorry, Lynsi.) When I woke up the next morning, I had the goofy idea to suggest the fair, but I was expecting her to shoot it down and opt for the canyon, instead.

To my surprise (and, soon after, terror) she was thrilled about the idea.

I felt two big emotions at once:

  1. Woo! The fair! What a magical, colorful, exciting place! Cheese on a stick! Yeah!

  2. Oh crap, I’ve never shot at the fair before. I have no idea what I’m doing. Can I pull off something cool? Will I have enough light? What if I mess it all up and have to go work at a fast food place? Should I start applying at Starbucks? Will it matter if other people are in the photos? Should I take a 35mm or 20mm for shots in the ferris wheel?

So we met at the gates at 6:45 and, while Lynsi was looking fair-chic in her hot pink dress and Evan was (as-always) cool as a cucumber, I was thinking,

“WHAT DO I DO WHAT DO I DO."

It’s in those moments that I have to internally slap myself and pretend like I’m a professional. So, I began by having them sit in front of a wall of balloons and stuffed animals. I started shooting, got a handful of shots, and realized I didn’t even have a memory card in my camera. Because I AM A PROFESSIONAL. Like, people actually pay me for this. * facepalm *

I sorted that mess out, had them pose all over again, looked at the back of my camera to make sure the photos were truly recorded onto the memory card, and was pleasantly surprised with the outcome. My confidence began to rise, once again.

So, we moved on to a cute cotton candy stand, then to the fair’s version of the Himalaya, then to buy the yuckiest churro ever made, then over to the ferris wheel, and then actually inside the ferris wheel.

Lynsi, obviously, was the happiest, smiliest person at the fair. (Anyone who knows her won’t be surprised.) Evan was the nicest and most accommodating. (Anyone who knows him won’t be surprised.) They were successful in looking like the most in-love couple in the tri-state area. Which is great for pictures.

I’d like to take a moment to give a shout out to this Guy In A Red Shirt for being the grouchiest booth-runner of all time. I included a photo of him pointing to a sign that reads “SEATS ARE RESERVED FOR PLAYERS ONLY” while yelling at us that seats were reserved for players only, even though there weren’t any players.

It’s fine. I got some cool photos. AAAAND I used my handy dandy prism to grab the reflection of the ferris wheel and sneak it into the frame. Score!

To finish off the night, we took a romantic twilight ferris wheel ride, just the three of us. I’m pretty sure we rotated all the way around about fifteen times at a speed of at least 75mph. (I’ve always been scared of those giant wheels.)

It was daring and adventurous. And we survived. What a feat.

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It took me less than ten seconds to start working on their photos when I got home. I couldn’t wait to see the story unfold and make it look like a grain-tastic, film-like dream.

And, finally, the biggest shoutout of all goes to baby Brantley! (She’s that big bump in Lynsi’s dress, FYI.) Her first night at the fair and all she got was a yucky churro!

Congratulations, Lynsi and Evan. Can’t wait to see that sweet baby. <3

Chirae & Riley | River Falls Bed & Breakfast | Amarillo Wedding Photographer

From what I understand, and what I’ve understood since my first meeting with Chirae, is that she and Riley were destined to be together since the dawn of time. Every little detail that led up to their lives intertwining proves that fate and destiny aren’t just storybook fantasies.

The romance they feel is palpable, the deep emotion is apparent, and there’s no question when it comes to the devotion they share for each other. Their journey together has been nothing short of epic, especially when a tornado hit mere hours before their wedding day, proving that they will be able to literally weather any storm that comes their way.

I had looked forward to Chirae’s big day for a very, very, VERRRRY long time, especially after seeing how absolutely stunning she was in her dress during her bridal session. I knew the wedding would be amazingly beautiful, but I had no idea the sheer number of incredible and meticulously planned details that awaited me.

One of my absolute favorite parts of a wedding day is capturing all of the tiny details. There’s something deeply cathartic about carrying a thirty pound dress through an empty venue, drying off the stems of bouquets fresh out of vases, arranging dainty heels, and whispering, “Now just stay….. right… there….,” to a pair of diamond rings balanced atop a drooping petal.

There’s a sort of peaceful solitude that comes with standing in front of an empty altar, surrounded by perfectly arranged rows of chairs, open blue sky, and faint hints of fresh cut flowers riding on the breeze. The water in the pond rippled and glistened. Everything was still and quiet.

Another favorite part of the day, personally, is the time I spend with the bride and groom after the ceremony. It’s a moment in time containing emotions that will never be able to be replicated. Emotions are vibrant and buzzing, love overflows, and excitement and happiness burst at the seams.

I have the privilege of watching the beautiful transition of two people realizing that they aren’t just engaged anymore and sinking into the comfortable thought of finally being married.

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I had anticipated a party.

And they did not disappoint.

There wasn’t a single space in that venue that wasn’t alive with celebration. As the sky darkened, the party livened and the string bulbs seemed to glow brighter and brighter. Donuts disappeared, beer bubbled, and dancers dizzied themselves around the floor.

The night ended with sparkly sparklers and a classic car, which is always a wonderful way for a wedding to end.

Congratulations, Chirae and Riley!

SHOUTOUTS

VENUE | RIVER FALLS BED AND BREAKFAST

VIDEOGRAPHY | PETRICHOR COMPANY

FLORALS | FLOWERS ETC.

CAKE | THE CAKE COMPANY

DONUTS | THE DONUT STOP

MACAROONS | SCRATCH MADE BAKERY

DRESS | RUTHETTE’S | WTOO

HAIR | MUZE STUDIO | RASHAWN FLOWERS

DJ | ALL ABOUT MUSIC

RENTALS | AMARILLO CLASSIC EVENTS

Arren & Luis | The Resplendent Garden | Amarillo Wedding Photography

In the two years since I’ve rebranded and had this wonderful website, I’ve blogged five times per year. It’s embarrassing, I know. Why would I not show off all of my fantastic brides in fantastic blogs on all the fantastic 365 days of the year?

And then, I start a blog as fantastic as this one, and I don’t get off of my couch for two days straight. The photos alone have taken me about ten hours to select, upload, and organize onto this page. I say “about ten hours” because I’ve watched the most current episode of Grey’s AND started and finished all eight episodes of The Act.

I know that most photographers take the best ten photos and throw them onto a page and call it a day because, honestly, who has ten hours to do this? I have learned, though, that I am an overachiever to a fault and possess an intense, unwavering need to tell a story through visuals, as well as text. (My boyfriend asked me a simple question the other day, which probably could have been satiated with a simple answer, but my actual answer ended up including the entire story of me birthing my daughter, which was probably mostly or entirely unrelated to his question.)

By virtually gluing together the tiny details, smiles, and tears of joy, a blog has the power to tell an entire story and allow people who weren’t even there to feel like they were.

While creating this blog, I got to relive all of the moments of Arren and Luis’ wedding day. I remembered how her eyes looked as though they had actual stars in them, how the mist of her perfume sparkled through the air, how her diamond tennis bracelet contrasted sharply against the red velvet in the antique jeweler’s box.

I got to relive my most vivid memory of their wedding day, which is one of the most vivid memories I have of ANY wedding I’ve ever experienced. I cried, just like I cried when I saw firsthand, when I was arranging the photos of Arren and Luis reading handwritten vows to each other. I had never witnessed such a purely heartfelt declaration of love between two people. I remembered them both wiping tears from the other’s cheeks while they took turns reading their words. Their hands trembled and their voices wavered. (Which resulted in my own eyes leaking and my mascara dripping.)

I got to remember how in awe I was of the love they have for each other, which was apparent from the moment I met them and took their engagement photos. They know each other thoroughly, they’re aware and accepting of the strengths and weaknesses they share, and they spend most of their time laughing with each other.

I was then transported back to my breath being immediately sucked from my lungs, upon taking in the sight of their reception area. The personalized place settings glinted with gold, the dessert table was nothing less than majestic, donuts towered beside neatly piled churros, garlands dripped and floral arrangements smoldered in fiery palettes of orange and red, Edison bulbs glowed, and dainty paper garlands draped delicately beneath wooden beams.

If you’ve never told your bride and groom to “Lady and the Tramp” a churro, I recommend that you do.

And, finally, I got to remember feeling so happy for the two of them when they ran through a crowd of sparklers at the end of their night. I remember how thankful I was that I got to experience their wedding at my favorite wedding venue, alongside some of my favorite videographers.

Thank you for the experience, Arren and Luis, and congratulations on your marriage!

As always, I’d love for you to stay up to date with The Cloud Nine Co. on Facebook and Instagram!

Shoutouts

Venue | The Resplendent Garden

Videography | Pacecar Productions

Dress | Bella’s Bridal

Florals & Confections | Market Street

Donuts | Donut Stop

Churros | Pananderia Sanchez

Catering | Joe Taco

DJ | All About Music

Miranda & Ben | Palace Coffee Company | Canyon, TX Wedding

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As always, be sure to head over and give The Cloud Nine Co. a like on Facebook and Instagram!

If you're feeling extra awesome, scroll down to leave a congratulatory message for the newlyweds in the comment box!!

Shoutouts

Venue | Palace Coffee Company

Cake & Cupcakes | The Ruffled Cup

Macarons | Scratch Made Bakery

Dress | BHLDN

Chelsey & Leroy | Palo Duro Canyon | Engagement Photography

This will be the easiest blog post I've ever written. 

Chelsey and Leroy met me in Palo Duro Canyon last week and everything was as dreamy as dreamy gets. 

The end. 

Just kidding. This wouldn't be my blog, if it wasn't laden with millions of adjectives. 

In the early afternoon of last Friday, I neurotically checked my weather app for the twentieth time (of many). A severe weather notification had popped up on my phone and I watched as green, blue, yellow, and red blotches slowly moved toward Amarillo. Throughout the day, those little blotches morphed into massive blotches that covered the majority of Texas, it seemed. 

I could see the impending doom. I knew it probably meant certain death and pictured massive flooding through the deep valleys of the canyon that would instantly wash my car away and leave me dog paddling for my life. 

Chelsey wanted to just go ahead and meet up for photos. It was cool. Cooooooooooooool. I wasn't scared. Psssh. 

So I started driving to the canyon. Five minutes into my 25 minute drive, heavy rain splish-splashed all over my windshield and I tried to figure out how in the heck I was going to pull off taking engagement photos in a massive puddle of mud. 

By some crazy miracle, it wasn't raining when we drove through the entrance of PDC. So we just kept on driving and found THE MOST AWESOME location with the most picturesque backdrop of orangey-red dirt littered with families of cacti and a ginormous canyon wall that jutted up into the stormy sky. 

I don't think I've ever seen the canyon look that intense. It felt like such a rare privilege to experience all of that at once. Miles of lightning-filled storm clouds billowed around us, thunder boomed, tiny sprinkles splattered in the dirt, and the wind blew the trees. It was magical and scary. It was freaky and colorful. The air had that sunset-in-the-rain glow. 

I couldn't have asked for a more perfect night. 

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By the time we drove all the way back up to head home, the sun was just touching the horizon. We parted ways and, almost immediately, the clouds burst and the rain let loose. I turned up my music and settled in for the drive, enjoying the view around me. When I reached the top of the canyon, I could see sheets of rain pouring down in the distance. 

I thought that was pretty badass. 

So I pulled over, ran like a psycho through pokey plants, and snagged a shot of the storm. 

It was extremely neato. 

Thank you for the experience, Chelsey and Leroy! <3

Floor to Ceiling | Cerulean Gallery | Canyon Exploration | The Derrick Event Center

Back in January, I received a sudden inquiry to shoot an event in the Canyon Exploration building. The email pretty much said, "Hey! There's an event tomorrow. Can you be there?"

Obviously, since I have content from the event right here in this blog post, I attended. I was super curious to find out what awesome renovations had been made to the building that had previously been "the first sports bar/lounge dedicated entirely to the ladies!!" I had never been to Pink when it was in business, but I did just visit their permanently closed Facebook page and decided that I probably wouldn't have attended. Luckily, the building was acquired by a new company, Canyon Exploration, and I watched in wonder over months and months while renovations took place on the corner of 9th and Taylor. I had assumed that, like most cool buildings downtown, it wouldn't be open to the public. Soon after giving up any hope that I'd ever be able to view the interior, I saw that my favorite local art gallery would be utilizing the space. (Woo! A way in!) Therefore, I had absolutely no problem with shifting around my Friday night plans and attending the most recent Floor-to-Ceiling exhibit. 

Upon entering this establishment, I had absolutely no idea what to expect. It took less than one millisecond for me to be drooling over the sheer elegance and beauty of the space, once I walked through the door. The walls were pure white and shifted into smooth curves and jagged points, while windows and sparkling glass doors punctured endless gateways into the imaginations of local artists. One featured artist, to my surprise, being Mayor Ginger Nelson. 

I had an entire hour to walk through the massive maze of rooms and gaze at all of the beautiful artwork before any guests arrived. Colors exploded from canvas, abstract bodies mingled, metal swirled from a gaping, zig-zag hole in the ceiling, and everything seemed to have a life of its own. On more than one occasion, I said to myself, "When I'm totally rich, I'm buying that." 

I left the event with so many fabulous photos to show off the incredible nature of the space. Looking at them now, I realize that I can't wait to go back and feel so in awe of the beauty of it. I feel so much excitement about the development of downtown. This gallery has those ritzy, big city vibes that many of us locals constantly crave and it made me feel like I had been transported into a futuristic, Gatsby-like atmosphere. 

Bottom line, I'd highly recommend a visit to this place. You will not be disappointed. 

To keep up with events happening in the Canyon Exploration building, follow the Cerulean Gallery Facebook page. You can also visit their website

You can also book your own events in this space, which is one of the coolest things you could probably ever do. For more information, visit The Derrick Event Center.

Thanks for reading! Enjoy!

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Girasol Cafe & Bakery

The very first time I visited Girasol, I thought I was going to die. I found myself fighting for my life in the middle of a plate of green chile chicken enchiladas. My eyes watered. My tongue threatened to jump ship. Everything inside of me was screaming for water or milk or ice or anything. 

That was the day I learned that Jessica Higgins is NOT kidding around when it comes to her New Mexican green chile. (Or anything with jalapeno. Or... anything, for that matter.) Lesson Number One: Do not order the spicy foods at Girasol if you are a massive wuss, like me. If you make that mistake, you will be blasted into next week. Or next month, if you order the bacon. And to all the people who CAN handle it, I applaud you. I wish I was more like you. You must have descended from some kind of mythological gods or goddesses. 

Even after my near death experience, I went back to the cafe. And then I went back again. And again. And I went back so many times that everyone working there learned my name, date of birth, and social security number. There were weeks that I was in the cafe every single day. Because what even is money? Like?

The amount of time I spent at Girasol lead to an almost instantaneous friendship with the owner, Jessica. I had never met someone who talked as quickly or had as many sporadic thoughts as she did. I was, and still am, so constantly impressed by her ability to simultaneously run through a kitchen, make the most delicious comfort food, run a register, clear tables, AND sit down to chat with new, and recurring, customers. 

Over the past year, I have watched her make some of the most deliciously gorgeous pastries, cakes, salads, and desserts. In my lifetime, I've made a grand total of three fancy cakes. Each time seemed more difficult than the last and each cake had its own special disaster. I spent a good five hours on a layered caramel cake that drooped over on one side and completely caved in the middle. I took it to my family's Christmas dinner, anyways. 

I've watched Jessica assemble cakes fit for queens in less than fifteen minutes. 

She's awesome. 

As if one person couldn't be amazing enough, she is also an incredibly caring, hardworking, and genuinely kind woman. She shows appreciation to each and every person that walks through her cafe door. (I know this because I spent 57% of 2017 inside of Girasol.) I feel so lucky to be able to call her my friend. 

I also feel extremely lucky to have been able to capture the immense beauty of her work in a set of photos. I mean, if these don't convince you to get in your vehicle and drive straight over to Girasol, I don't know what will. The photos you see here will be featured on her brand new menu boards hanging in the cafe! Woo! (I'm really excited about this.) 

So show some support to an incredible local business by making lunch plans with your boyfriend or your mom or something and head straight over to Girasol. But make them for tomorrow because today is Monday and the cafe is totally closed. Tell Jessica I sent you. 

Because the power of the internet is real.