the cloud nine co

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

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.

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Kourtney & Noah

When I was first contacted by Kourtney, I knew immediately that I needed *NEEDED* to work with her. I could tell from her text messages that she was spunky and the really cool kind of mysterious that everyone wants to be. I convinced her to meet me for coffee and planned on further convincing her to hire me by showering her with compliments, bringing out all of my insanely weird charm, and giving her gifts. 

When I walked in and saw her, I liked her even more. Possibly loved her. She is pretty much the cutest, tiniest person with the biggest smile. Also the best hair. And brightest eyes. Over the next few months, she amazed me with all of her different looks. I saw versions of Kourtney that most people only dream of pulling off. 

There was: 

  • Beautiful Nerd Kourtney - Complete with very large glasses and a shy expression.
  • Giant Sweatshirt & Messy Hair Kourtney - But like... still beautiful. How. 
  • Bridal Photos in 60 MPH Wind Kourtney - She blew me away. Get it. Yeah. 
  • Wedding Day Kourtney - Which, obviously, you can see here. Stunning.

This girl showed me time and time again that she was gorgeous inside and out, no matter the circumstance. I thought she had hit the Awesome Ceiling, but that was before I saw her with Noah. 

There are Kourtney Smiles. 

And then there are Kourtney Smiles With Noah. 

Kourtney Laughs. 

And Kourtney Laughs With Noah. 

All of her beautiful attributes instantly leveled up when Noah set his eyes on her during their first look. The two of them together were like fireworks and sparklers exploding over a magical kingdom with white horses galloping and harps and flutes and stuff. It was obvious that they were the inspiration for the 2005 Jack Johnson hit "Better Together." And probably the inspiration for the idea of love, in general. 

I had a total blasty blast capturing their wedding and shooting for the first time at The Bowery. All of the details were so cozy and wintry, which went perfectly with the freakishly freezing and windy weather we experienced that day. I think their reception will always be included in my List of Favorite Receptions and I will forever remember the airborne beer, booty dancing, and the legit fearing for my life when multiple men's legs came crazy-dancing toward me while I took photos from a crouched position. 

And, finally, that glorious Funfetti cake. Oh sweet boxed cake, I will never forget you. I tried to replicate you several days after the wedding. But, alas, it was just not the same. Please find your way back to me, Funfetti Cake. I love you. 

Finally #2, I'd like to send out a massive congratulations to Kourtney & Noah! I wish you the happiest marriage and the ability to forever keep smiles on your faces when people inevitably misspell and mispronounce your last name. 

<3 

XOXO

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:

Madeline & Dalton

For about a month, I have been wondering exactly how I could express the pure magic that was this wedding. And then I realized that my entire job was to document it. (You'd think I would know that, after seven years of doing it.) So I spent three hours arranging 5000 photos to show off just how amazingly detailed and gorgeous the day turned out to be. 

There were floral installations, tables dripping with delicately bound rosemary and hops, glittering champagne glasses, jewels intricately sewn into tulle, white candles accenting white cake tiers against white wooden walls, gigantic diamonds set in gold and nestled in glass boxes, custom handkerchiefs, blue suede heels, and dazzling sparklers. 

But what stood out as the most beautiful thing of all, to me, was a thin little college ruled notebook that probably cost one dollar. It most likely came in a pack of three from the office aisle at Target. What was inside it was absolutely priceless. 

Never before had I seen a wedding gift quite like this notebook. It was filled with daily love notes, funny memories, and little scribbles of stick figures holding hands and even a crude sketch of an avocado. I watched a beautiful woman with rosy cheeks and red lips flip through those pages, the jewels on her dress sparkling with the same sheen as the tears in her eyes.

I silently partook in that intimate moment, as she read pieces of a man's heart. A man who truly, deeply, and genuinely loved her. Even now, as I type these words at 1:30 AM an entire five weeks later, I remember how I felt when I saw the words, "She makes it easy to love her." 

I felt true joy for her. Because that is what every woman wants from a man. I felt joy, but I also felt my hope become reignited. I saw, firsthand, that a love like that does exist. It was reiterated throughout the day with tiny smiles, shoulder kisses, and the happiest of laughter. 

The joining of these two people showed me that fairytales can happen. And that magic exists between lines on paper. 

Thank you so much for an unforgettable experience. 

Congratulations, Mr. and Mrs. Brooks. <3 

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