So you know how I am about baby’s.  They slightly frighten me.  I’m a bull in a china shop.  Tornado Alli.  Me no touchy da bebe.  But today I went through all of the pictures I took of Lily last year and put them together in chronological order and let me tell you, just because I may not handle a baby very well does NOT mean I can’t take one heck of a photo . . .

I guess I can give Lily some of the credit.  She’s pretty dang cute. Ok. RIDICULOUSLY cute.  Look how she grew! It’s so fascinating. I can’t wait to see the difference between her one year photo and her two year!

So guess what? I started going back through my blog posts from this past year and you know what I realized? I NEVER POSTED ANY PHOTOS FROM GREG AND HILLARY’S WEDDING!!!!! What the fried turkey legs???? How could I have left them out?  I went back through once, twice, THREE times and . . . nope.  Nada.  Their happy shining faces never magically appeared on my webpage and for that I am very sorry because their wedding was so creative and vibrant that how could I NOT share it with the masses?!?! (Or at least with the one or two people who bother to consistently read my blog. LOVE YOU MOM AND DAD!)

I mean. For real. This wedding was a treat to photograph.  SUPERHEROES!!! Come on! It was genius. And the bridal party was just . . . so . . .

ENERGIZED.  Em and I loved it!

The wedding took place outdoors in early October at Hillary’s parent’s house.  Everywhere you looked you had opportunities for beautiful photos.

Especially when you pointed your camera at the bride.

You were such a beautiful bride Hill!

The Father-Daughter-Son dance. ;)

Her groom wasn’t too shabby either.

Greg with his daughter = So sweet.

It’s always at “girl’s night” when my gal pals start chatting about their new boo’s.  Give us a decent glass of chardonnay and we’ll talk about our male counterparts for hours.  (Oh how I miss my girl’s nights.)  Anyway, I remember one evening we were having a glass of vino at 440 Main in Bowling Green, KY (FABULOUS place by the way.) and Hillary started talking about this guy she’d just started seeing. It may have been her new man or the fact that we were sitting at a table outside under the night sky, but either way . . . she had stars in her eyes.

I’d say they’re still there.

It’s a wonderful feeling, seeing your friends so happy.  It’s an even better feeling when you see the smiles on their children’s faces as well.

So about the pistol she’s bearing.  It was her gift on her wedding day from her new groom. Like whoa. What a gift!

Greg and Hillary, you’re two of the most awesome people I’ve been blessed with as friends. Congratulations on your, now, nearly 5 month anniversary. ;) May there be many more.


Meet Emily.  My bestie/sister/business partner.  We met when we were both living in Bowling Green, KY.  She told me about her love for foreign aerobic dance classes and ice cream and we instantly became best friends.  It was only later that I found out she was a photographer. It all started with us becoming what we call one another’s “default friends”.  And by “default friend” I mean, we could always count on each other to be available for anything.

Emily, “Hey Allison, wanna go to Overtime and hussle some people in pool?”

Me, “Sure!”

Or Me, “Hey Emily, wanna go see if we can blow some stuff up at the shooting range?”

Emily, “Sure!”

Or Emily, “Hey Allison, wanna go photograph a wedding with me in a couple weeks?”

Me, “Sure!”

And so began a beautiful relationship.  We’ve shared a million laughs together. There’s never a dull moment. EVER. We’ve taken trapeze and silk lessons, learned to belly dance, saved one another from leeches and ticks, been put in giant bubbles, met a world famous magician, white water rafted, went skiing in Snowshoe, scared the bajeezus out of all of our friends when we took them “ghost hunting” in the woods at night and had a few of our guy friends pretend to abduct us, auditioned for the Amazing Race, and started a photography business.  She’s the one who was there to laugh hysterically and make sure I was ok when I decided it may be fun to jump on a donkey named Grace.  She’s the one who pushed me into having faith in myself and suggested we train for the Tough Mudder together. (Which we completed.) She’s the one whom I tell people my parents adopted when she was a baby and flew to the Philippines to do so. (Even though she was born and raised in Bardstown, KY.)  She’s the one who sends me into unstoppable giggle fits for hours on end no matter what mood I was in to begin with. She’s the one who suggested we go into business together. She’s an amazing woman and today is a very special day. It’s her birthday.

I’m not going to go on and on singing her praises. She’s probably dying of embarrassment right now reading all of this. Seriously, I’ll need to sleep with one eye open tonight. She may send her minions after me or something. But since I’m not going to see her today I wanted to do something for her. A little while back I did a photoshoot with her and her boyfriend Daniel. (Who is absolutely adorable and perfect for her.) She’s only seen a few pictures since that session and I think now is the perfect time to reveal some more.

(Yep. They’re cute.)

Rocco. Her jack russell terrorist and loyal sidekick.

I’m pretty proud of this shot!

Happy birthday Em! You are an amazing friend and business partner-in-crime and I love having you as a part of my crazy, wonderful life.



Definition of Pura Vida (POO-RAH BEE-DAH)

1 : literally translated meaning “pure life”

2 :  life is great so live it up

Synonyms (YOLO, hakuna matata, tuanis)

Ok. So maybe the above definition came from a Miss Allison Marie rather than Mr. Webster, however, Webster was slacking on the Pura Vida front. . .so I did my best.  The thing is, although the literal meaning of Pura Vida IS “pure life” in English, contextually it has a much deeper meaning.  Born out of surf slang in the 1950’s; for the Ticos of Costa Rica, Pura Vida is their way of life. It means “hello” and “goodbye”.  It means, “wonderful” and “life is great”. . .

For example:

  • If someone asks, “How are you?” it’s acceptable to answer with “¡Pura vida!”
  • If you’re jumping off a waterfall? “¡PURA VIDA!” Ziplining through the jungle? “¡PURA VIDA!”
  • Hello! “¡Pura Vida!”
  • Goodbye. “¡Pura vida!”
  • “¿Pura vida?” “Pura Vida!”

Ok. I’m sure you get the picture.

It’s no wonder Ticos (Costa Rican’s) are the happiest people in the world.  Their secret to life can be found in two simple words. “Pura Vida.” It’s the code they live by, and for four weeks this winter, Blake and I did too.

We’ve been back in the cold, dreary winter of Indiana for almost a month.  My memories of tropical birds, fruit, and flowers seems more like a dream than anything now.  But at least I have the photos to remind me it was real. Paradise is here on Earth. I found it. I’ve lived it.

The land is vibrant and alive, forged through the years from the volcanoes which still smolder and erupt to this day.

And the wondrous variety of wildlife will leave you reeling.  We saw howler monkeys, parrots, iguanas, stingrays, giant blue butterflies, orangutans, tarantulas, parakeets, toucans, Capuchin monkeys, sea turtles, sloths, and more exotic flowers than my camera could keep up with.

We spotted these frogs at the Nayaca Waterfall near Dominical. At first I thought they were little bugs, but after a closer inspections, realized they were tiny frogs.

The adventures you’ll find in Costa Rica are as wild as the creatures that abound.  Pura Vida is about experiencing life and  in the land of volcanoes, huge waves, and flowing waterfalls you’ll never be short of opportunities.  I would say Blake and I did a decent job of living up to Tico standards.

On top of la cascada de Nayaca.

“¡Tuanis!” (Getting ready for our zipline tour!)

The waterfal in Dominical.

Rope swing! I must have done this a million times before we left the area.

You can jump through the waterfall in Uvita. . .

. . .slide down it. . .

. . .OR jump off it!

 Horseback riding in the Osa Peninsula. No that is not a horse Blake is sitting on. [Insert donkey joke here.]

Quick bike trip to the “Whale’s Tale” in Uvita.

We relaxed in a hot spring produced by the volcano Arenal, went white water rafting, ziplining, repelled down waterfalls, ate live termites from the jungle (our guide told us to and yes, if he had said it was safe to jump off the bridge we probably would have done that too. . .PURA VIDA!), watched shooting stars at night on the beach, rented quads, and rode horses to a farm near Corcovado that was owned by a local Tico.  Blake and I really lived it up. And the best part? Our families both came to join in on the adventures for part of the trip!

I loved the fact that Blake and I were able to take such an awesome vacation together, but the cherry on top was we were able to enjoy it with both of our families as well. (Aside from my brother and sister-in-law anyway. Sorry bubby.) His family explored with us the first week and my parents came down the week before we flew home.

I guess you could say there are one or two bad apples in this Garden of Eden. (Depending on how you look at them.)  Mosquitos are many and may carry Dengue fever or Malaria and if you aren’t careful about what you eat and drink it’s possible you’ll end up with some crazy tropical fever like I contracted while I was there. (The doctor told me it was an infection or a parasite. . .a.k.a. worms. Fortunately it wasn’t the latter! Although I did take a de-wormer. Four days of rest in a hostel bed and I was back in the saddle! And eating plenty of casado. And drinking a few Imperials. And practicing my beach yoga.) 

I think maybe the fresh coconuts or “pipas” held some sort of magical healing power. 

Or perhaps it was the ice cold Imperial found around every corner. “La cerveza de Costa Rica.”

Or maybe it was the fact that I had a really handsome man taking care of me. ;)

There’s really too many aspects of Costa Rica for me to share in this photo blog of mine. I could honestly go on and on. I have another 2,000+ photos yet I haven’t even gotten to. Basically I want to sum up what I learned from the world’s happiest culture; it doesn’t matter what you do, it doesn’t matter what you have. What’s truly important is that you respect the world we’re living in and soak everything up that you can with an open heart and an open mind. THAT is Costa Rica.

Pura Vida mae.

Always wear your invisible crown. – Anonymous

You know, I dearly love doing a photoshoot in the spring. The colors are soft and the weather is beautiful. I mean, let me tell ya, a snowy day provides for all types of gorgeous shots but half the time you don’t get them anyway because your fingers are so frozen you can’t tell if you’re hitting the trigger or not! Brrrr. . .see this is why I typically fly south for the winter.  My problem is I’m generally so excited to shoot in the spring season that I typically overlook the fall. Nick and Morgan, however, did not. I spoke to Morgan in early September and she wanted some beautiful autumn pictures for their engagement session. We had about two weeks this past October when the leaves were literally EXPLODING with color and so a beautiful fall engagement session was exactly what we got.

I love the added excitement the fall colors brought to the photos.

Nick and Morgan make a beautiful couple and I love how easy they were together in front of my camera.

And did I mention Nicholas is a fireman? PRIME opportunity to get some fun engagement shots!

We set that shoot on FIRE!!! ;)

Not only did I get to capture their engagement photos but Moments will be shooting their wedding this coming Spring. (My fave!) I’m pumped I get to photograph them in two of the most beautiful seasons of the year! Looking forward to April you two!

Life is a song. Love is the music. -Anonymous

Oh boy.  I just took a look back at my last blog post and. . .it was THREE MONTHS AGO!!!!! Holy cow! What the heck happened?!?!? Oh wait. I know what happened. . .Thanksgiving, Christmas parties, shopping, baking, decorating, wedding, NewYear’s, packing, traveling to Atlanta, a month in Costa Rica, promo event for Scag, and Valentine’s Day. That’s what happened.  But I’m back in the swing of things and ready to get you all caught up on what you’ve missed out on. For one, I had an AMAZING shoot with my friends Jen & Ryan.

Ryan & I went to high school together, but I met Jen this summer out on the river.

She’s little and feisty and a whole lot of fun!

This summer we jumped off the bridge platform on the Ohio together.  From that time forward I knew there were many more fun times ahead of us.

The river is a special place for Jen and Ryan as well, which is why we chose to include it in their engagement shoot.

I can’t wait to take part in their wedding this coming May. (Not as the photographer this time though! I’ll be part of her bridal posse.)

You two make a gorgeous couple. I’m looking forward to spending this coming summer celebrating your new marriage with more adventures on the Ohio!

“It is, in a way, an odd thing to honor those who died in defense of our country, in defense of us, in wars far away. The imagination plays a trick. We see these soldiers in our mind as old and wise. We see them as something like the Founding Fathers, grave and gray haired. But most of them were boys when they died, and they gave up two lives — the one they were living and the one they would have lived…” 

“…When they died, they gave up their chance to be husbands and fathers and grandfathers…”

 “…They gave up their chance to be revered old men. They gave up everything for our country, for us…”

“…And all we can do is remember.” -President Reagan

You know, there’s a lot more to photographing a wedding than you would think.  It’s not like doing a family photoshoot where you can wait until the weather is just right and then find the perfect location and pose people just so. Oh no. When you’re shooting a wedding you have to bring your A game. No exceptions.

You have to know the location, scope out the best spots to post yourself during the ceremony, figure out which lenses/equipment you’re going to use, pray that there’s plenty of light if it’s an indoor wedding and cross your fingers that the weatherman was right about the sunny forecast. It seems no matter how many “sun dances” I attempt before each of my couple’s big days I have zero control over the weather. (I must be missing a step-ball-change or something.)


Emily and I prepare for a wedding shoot as one would before going into battle. . .

“Action taking place indoors today?”  “Negative. We’re out in the open. I’ll be stationed front-side left targeting the groom. You post up in the back and cover the bride.”  “Time of comencement?” “Fourteen hundred hours.” “Camera status?”  “Locked and loaded.” “. . .Let’s do this.”

 In one wedding day we cover everything from still-life’s to action shots to posed family portraits. There’s a lot resting on a photographer’s shoulders the day of a wedding. There are so many emotionally packed events taking place you have to be on your toes at all times.

(Quick explanation of this photo. Sarah’s father gave her mom that bottle of champagne the day she was born. They opened it together on her wedding day.)

Such a sweet moment. Just like these. . .

And no matter what happens during the ceremony there is one shot that you absolutely CANNOT miss. . .

The kiss. (I like how Shawn managed to sneak a little booty grab in there. Ahaha! Why not make your first as a married couple a good one?)

Next comes the posed shots with all of the bridal posse and the newlyweds. These have to be done in a timely manner because…

Let’s be honest. . .

. . .People are just ready to party.

(Disclaimer: The above two photos were taken by Emily. Gotta give credit where it’s do yo!)

My point is, when it comes to photographing a wedding there are many elements that go into the big day.  A photographer has to understand how to capture all of the emotions and meaning from those moments and turn them into a single image. It helps when you have a couple completely devoted to one another. Every photo just speaks for itself.

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