Lance + Kylee's Uniontown, WA Dog Filled Wedding

 

When the first time your going to meet your bride and groom is on the day of their wedding, sometimes it can be a little nerve wracking - because - well, I invest so much of my heart and soul into each of my couples and I want them to have a wonderful experience. But from the moment I got out of my car, I was embraced with so much love and kindness.

The bride was Disney's Princess Aurora in the flesh. From her loose curl up-do, straight down to her heart which is so devoted to loving all creatures, including her two fur babies.
It seemed as if the invitation was not just made out to their relatives and friends but to all the owners dogs as well, as I had a hard time taking a photo without a fur baby in it somewhere...which let's be honest...isn't a bad problem to have!

They served BBQ and Mac and Cheese (let me get an Amen!), the DJ conspired with the grooms mother and played The Macarena getting both the bride and groom to dance, and little kids ran up and down the field hills while the adults drank, talked and loved on the sweet couple!

This was probably the best way I could have kicked off the 2018 wedding season, and I feel so honored and blessed to have been able to celebrate Kylee and Lance's I Do's. So here's a little sneak peek at their sweet wedding out in the Uniontown Washington countryside on the groom's folks' working wheat and pea farm.

 

Amanda's Sprit Lake, Idaho Bridals

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Where are all my ladies at?

Something I truly regret from my own wedding was I hated my engagements and I never even thought of taking photos of just me. Juuuussst me being me...all dressed up in the worlds most perfect dress for me that I'll most likely never wear again. I think our photographer delivered two photos of just me and to this day it's something I wish I had more of.

Ladies! It's your freaking wedding! You've been stressing out planning and designing and putting together every little detail to make sure your wedding goes the way you have it envisioned in your head. But maybe take a couple moments to just take a few breathers and focus on you. (Of course the amazing groom who's swept you off your feet and now after popping a question and you saying yes has had you running around like a headless chicken) but you.

What elements of your wedding, of you do you want to shine, want to remember, want to capture?

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I met with the designer/planner from Wildwood Design at a friend of a friends Spirit Lake Cabin in Spirit Lake, Idaho where we put together something we'd like to call "an Idaho brides dream oasis". For 90-minutes we captured this incredible woman in her honest raw beauty against one of the most incredible backdrops I've yet to work at. It was an autumn paradise in the middle of July with hints of heirloom fur, leather boots, wool hats and pumpkin spice donut holes.

Autumn doesn't have to be pumpkins and orange leaves. Bridals don't need to be stressful or on the day of your wedding. When your getting married the sky is the limit and even then I think theres some leeway. 

When your getting married, let you and who you and your soon to be spouse are be the inspiration for how you approach your wedding. Big or small, court house or outdoors, whatever feels like you...go with that...and I promise it'll make you a whole lot happier in the end.

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Getting married in Idaho? Check out these amazing vendors who helped make this photo session so special.

Photography: Heather Woolery Photography + Creative
Event Design/Planning: Wildwood Design
Dress: Cloud Nine Bridals CDA
Hat: Gigi Pip
Shoes: Steve Madden 
Drinks/Catering: Whiskey Barrel Cider Co.
Paper Suite: Amanda Scott Creative
Florals: Fleurtations Floral
Desert Table: Flours In My Hair

 

Abi + Cole Bridals on a North Idaho Alpaca Farm

 

Something that came to my attention a while back is that Idaho (where I was born, raised and still live) has always been one of "those" states...you know what I mean? Like, everyone drives through it to get to Seattle or Portland or Salt Lake City and that's about it. 

And not to blow to cover that it seems Idaho has been holding onto...but Idaho is really an incredible state. We've got everything from sage brush deserts, prairies, mountains, all the rivers one could hope for and dang all of the local businesses that make up this state really are some of the best I've ever been too...and I've been a lot of places.

So yeah, I'm pretty enamored with my home state. So, I can't explain how elated I was when everything came together for me to take Abi and Cole's bridals on a local alpaca farm a mere 15-minutes from my house!!! Every vendor and creative that was apart of this was all local based, which made my little heart soar because HELLO! Idaho brides need to see these vendors!!!

From the moment Cole saw Abi for the first time all dressed up in her dress, I knew this was going to be an amazing shoot. I literally could go on and on about my love for everyone who came together for this...but I'm going to leave it here and share some of these photos from their bridals.

Congratualtions Cole + Abi on your recent wedding! All the love!

With Grace+Guts,

-Heather

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The AMAZING Idaho/Palouse based vendors who I would recommend to any bride/groom are as follows:

Photography/Videography: Heather Woolery Photography + Creative
Website: www.heatherwoolery.com
IG: @coffeewithheather
FB: https://www.facebook.com/heatherwooleryphotocreative/

Venue: Stirling Ridge Farm
website: www.stirlingridgealpacas.com
IG: @stirlingridgealpacas

Event Design + Planning: Wildwood Event Design + Coordination
website: www.wildwoodpnw.com
IG: @wildwoodpnw

Florals: Swallowtail Flowers
website: www.swallowtailflowers.com
IG: @swallowtail_flowers

Makeup Artist: Britt Lee Nelson
IG: @brittleeeeeee

Paper Goods/Calligraphy: Ardent Design Co.
website: www.ardentdesign.co
IG: @ardentdesign.com

Place Settings: Smith Clay
website: www.ksmithclay.com
IG: @ksmith.clay

Bakery/Cake: Goose House Bakery
website: www.goosehousebakery.com
IG: @goosehousebakery

Rentals: Bully For You Colfax
FB: https://www.facebook.com/bullyforyoucolfax/
IG: @bullyforyoucolfax

Jewelry: Grey Jays
website: https://greyjays.com/
IG: @greyjays_

 

Gather + Bloom Workshop: Florida

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Back at the beginning of May, I took a 4-day trip to Clearwater, Florida for some much needed creative soul food. I had "met" Maddie who ran the Gather + Bloom workshop only through Instagram and I had been fangirl-ing over her work for awhile (yes photographers end up falling in love with other photographers work because HELLO there are SO MANY AMAZING CREATIVES OUT THERE!!!!) And I was super excited to work alongside her and learn from her.

Something I've come to learn about myself is I love working with other vendors and creatives. Whither it's workshops, styled shoots or even real weddings/elopements - getting to work with other florists, HAMU, planners, dress shops etc brings me so much joy. Community brings me so much joy!

So workshops are just my element because I'm surrounded by several boss babes, creatives and vendors with the common goal of making some camera magic happen. And hey, some Florida sun was not about to be denied.

What I loved about this workshop was that it WAS individual based, meaning, no matter where each creative was in their career they got one on one with each of the instructors and got to learn from them. But then we also all got to work with one another and learn from each other as well (which I always feel like is missing from workshops because they jam pack them so full that you don't get time to learn and hangout with the other attendees.) 

I'm so grateful I went, and man, I can't wait to meet back up with each of these ladies and work with them in the future. Here's just some of the magic that happened while I was in Florida for Gather + Bloom.

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Gather + Bloom Workshop Vendors

makeup: Destiny and Light and Ashlee Ann Makeup
hair: Rachel Raber
dress: Lulus and Nell and Rose
florals: Flowers by Shelby Glynn
planner: Taylor Falcon Events

 

Clearwater Florida Beach Bridals with Katie + Garret

 

When you've got a just married couple who's crazy about each other on a beach to do their bridals...I mean you just have to thank the universe for being so kind to you!

 
 
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I met up with Katie and Garret on the Clearwater, Florida beach where Taylor Falcon Events had created the most perfect picnic for the newly wed's to enjoy! (If your planning a wedding or event in Florida Taylor is YOUR GIRL!!!!)

Katie and Garrets love for each other, God and their life was so vivacious it intoxicated everything the whole evening.

As I had Garret and Katie nestled in some rocks at the end of the beach, Garret just continuously gently kissed Katies hand and temple, whispering who knows what to her (which I mean THANK YOU GARRET because Katie was all smiles the whole shoot!)

Katie, Garret and I hung out on the beach until sunset, laughing, eating and enjoying the amazing place in the world that gifted us even dolphins in the background flipping and enjoying life. I mean how could it get any better than that?

I always highly suggest to my couples to do adventure bridals either before or after their big day. To have hours without the stress of timelines to capture you and your love in a magical place is everything and more you could imagine.
Without the wedding day stress, we were able to play without worrying about ruining the dress, about keeping guests waiting or timelines...which means just you, your love and me...third wheeling it...having a blast...celebrating the fact that HECK YAS! You just got married!

I don't think I'll ever get over Katie and Garrets Florida Beach Bridals, and I'm just okay with that! Congratulations Katie and Garret on your first month of marriage! May you be blessed with 75+ years worth of marriage ups, downs and all arounds with one another!

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Ciarah + Kramer Owyhee Idaho Engagement

 

The Owyhee's in Idaho and Oregon have a HUGE space in my heart simply because they were my backyard as a child...

 
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Those sunrises and and sunsets are unbeatable, which is why when I found this little waterfall tucked away in the Owyhee's I knew this was where these two love birds needed to have their engagement session...sunrise edition! And thank goodness they trusted me, got up crazy early and met me out there to capture their engagement photos amongst some of the most nostalgic landscape I know of.

I'm so jazzed about their upcoming wedding this summer! They are the sweetest humans alive with such a cute "how we started dating" story (but I'm saving that adorable story for their wedding blog post!)

When couples trust me like this, and just let me get crazy, I always am filled with a humbness that I can't explain. Like, "they amazing people are going to trust me to hop into a waterfall when we've never met before? Like WHAAA???"

Thank you Ciarah and Kramer for trusting me and getting up crazy early! I can't wait for your wedding this summer!

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If your looking for unique, one of kind engagement photos that are unique to you and your significant other, message me! I love going out and sharing special locations I've found with you and capturing you both in your element loving up on one another.

Kassie + Jared Greenhouse Engagement Session in Spokane, WA

 

One of my absolute favorite places in Spokane, WA is hand's down Manito Park (followed by Atticus Coffee and Boulevard Mercantile). 

So When my couple asked if we could do their engagement session there (because that's where he had popped the question) I was so excited and 100% game. Now here's the most magical part of this session, it was down pouring the majority of the day...at 5:28pm I was getting ready to do an umbrella based engagement session with how heavy the rain was coming down...at 5:30 there was nothing but sunshine making previous droplets of rain glisten. And it stayed sunny for the whole engagement session...picking rain back up about 10-minutes after! Like WHAT!?! 

We started in the greenhouse and then wandered around the gardens and I was smitten with these two the whole time. They were up for any crazy request I had, we were laughing and giggling and talking about the romantic way that Jared had chosen to propose to Kassie and of course I got distracted by all the puppies walking around.

At one point I had then nose to nose and I asked them to say "I love you" but with no words only their eyes, and the look in their eyes made me so misty eyed I couldn't even handle it.

I cannot wait to capture these two's wedding this fall. But until then, you all get to swoon over their adorable and light soaked spring engagement session.

 

Kat + John + Kona Engagement: Colfax, WA

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When couples book me to capture their wedding, I always recommend also doing an engagement session. The engagement session is, yes, getting you photos of you and your boo that you can use for invitations, save the dates, decor at the wedding, etc but it also allows us (couple + photographer) to really get to know each other. It gives us a couple hours to learn about each other, what each of us are comfortable with, what we want/don't want so that when the big day comes you as the couple have one less thing on your plate...trusting your photographer.

I am so STOKED to capture Kay and Johns wedding this October, but a couple weekends ago got a chance to FINALLY meet them on a typical over-casty spring day in the inland northwest. They took me to a state park I'd never heard of and I had them pile up with pillows, some beer and their fur baby, Kona in the back of their car, hike around, run into each other, and bolder some rocks all for the sake of capturing them and who they are as a couple.

Their love for one another, mother nature, and their fur babies was evident and I seriously couldn't stop laughing. Their goofiness was in prime spotlight, and with that being who they are, I wouldn't have had it any other way.

So here's some sneak peeks and Kat and Johns (and well Kona's) engagement session in Colfax, Wa.

 
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StyedYOU Retreat: Yucca Valley, CA

 

Everyone in my life can attest that I've been chomping at the bit to go to Joshua Tree/Palm Springs, CA for years...long before it was a photographers paradise, simply because I thrive when I'm in the sun. I figured Joshua Tree would be the ultimate place to get sunshine among the tree's that made me feel like The Lorax would pop out any minute.

Back in February, a random spot opened up for Mae & Co's StyledYOU Retreat in Yucca Valley i.e. Joshua Tree paradise. I'd just gotten paid and instead of paying x, y, and z....I bought a plane ticket to Palm Springs, told Manda I was coming and that was that. And I'm so flipping glad that I did.

This workshop allowed me to work along side more than just photographers (florists, calligrapher/watercolorist, stylists and so many other amazing boss babes). Being in the wedding industry, it's so important to know how to work alongside all the other creatives and vendors that come together to make each wedding a magical dream, and being able to work with all of these creatives and vendors Manda from Mae + Co had brought together was a pivotal shift in my own personal business.

So for four-days I hot tubbed, worked along side some of the most amazing boss babes in the industry, drank a ton of champaign and mimosa's, got attacked by jumping cactus, revived my passion for water color, played with the most beautiful florals, and danced stupid under the stars with women who I now consider friends for life (in fact I'm working with one of these amazing boss babes in August which I just I'm bubbling over with excitement and y"all's socks are gonna fall off!) and at the end of the day, my daydreaming of Joshua Tree was everything and more than I had hoped it would be. It's safe to say I felt so at home amongst all the cacti and jack rabbits and I will for sure be coming back. (In fact I'm planning a trip for the end of fall...and I'll have 2-3 slots available while I'm down there...so message ya' girl if you want me to capture some magic of you and your boo or fam in the desert's sunset.)

So as I spent my last morning, watching the sun rise bleed into my window across the desert I knew that I was exactly where I had needed to be. Becoming exactly what I was meant to become. Finding life amongts the Joshua Tree's and the road runners and like minded women whom I will forever be grateful for.

That being said...here's some of the beauty and magic that came out of my 4-day's in the desert...

 
 
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Style + Design/Workshop: Mae & Co
Venue: The Hi Desert
Photography in blog post: Heather Woolery Photography + Creative
Florals: Good Seed Floral
Hand lettering: Seek Paper Co
Make up: Makeup By Whit
Hair: Kayla Nicole
Tablewear: Margaret and Beau
Dress: Rue De Seine and Sarah Seven from The Dress Theory San Diego
Suit: Top Man
 

Idaho: Here we are (personal post)

 
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If you've been following me for the last year or so, you'll know I've mentioned my soon-to-be move to Portland, OR as this is where my husbabe has been working since last January. I've quit my pt-time jobs, pulled my kids out of activities, even packed half of the house in boxes TWICE then to back pedal and re-set everything.
To keep a long drawn on story short and sweet, for the last 7-years I've been in a custody battle for my daughter whom I had with my ex-husband. Keeping my daughter out of his care is pivital for her saftey, and so to ensure her case is handled appropriatly and to avoid to emotional tolling yo-yo of "yes we're moving" "no, we're not", "yes we are", we have recently decided to keep our roots based here in North Idaho for the time being (however, So Cal and Portland, OR are still on our "we will live there" lists) so Idaho isn't a forever deal.
That being said, for the first while I was super upset, because I thought I was finally getting to do something on my terms, as our lives have revolved around this case for 7-years. However, something that came to my attention this last week...it has never been on my terms...or the custody's terms. It's been on God's terms and I, someone who deeply struggles with the need to control and lacks patience, is just going to have to get over it.
So, this Wednesday, my husband and I decided we're going to have the additude of "We're starting new, this is the start of a new chapter as something is deffinatly making a point that we stay in Idaho" versus "Poor us, boo hoo us, we can't move, we're the victums".
SOOOO...that being said to all my clients: If you've already booked with me for Oregon this year...or anywhere...do not fret...our sessions are still on and I'm so jazzed that I get to come photograph you in one of my most belovid states. Annnd, if you hadn't booked with me because you knew I was moving...well...please message me! I just released my full travel schedule and I'm so thrilled to be capturing all these Idaho love stories but also travel all over the PNW and California (and hey take me anywhere you want cause this girl has always got the travel bug!)
I want to extend my deepest graditude for all of the love and support I've gotten over the last almost 18-months as my family went through this very tough season. And thank you to everyone who despite it all has shown me love and grace, and has been so so supportive. I love you all! You allow me to follow my passion and my dream and for that I can never say thank you enough!
So thats that. Idaho, we're here to stay for the time. So keep showing me those epic sunsets, filling my lungs with sage brush and pine and washing my soul with your many rivers.

Happy Friday loves.

With Grace+Guts,
-H

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Seattle, WA 2018

 
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At the beginning of March my kid's had spring break and my family took full advantage of this and planned a full-week in Seattle, WA.

We spent a couple day's in the city, drove out to the Olympic National Park one day, and then towards the end of the week I got to meet Madi from The Jen Collective, another wonderful photographer, at Discovery Point and photograph these two love birds who are getting married in the next few weeks!

I also go to do my first Instagram takeover during this session which was such a crazy cool experience! I'm really trying to get over my fear of public speaking and Instagram's Live is really pushing me to do just that (and embrace my social awkwardness!)

In the last 6-months my dream (my business) has really grown and I am so humbled by all the opportunities, all the connections, this community and all of my amazing clients! So thank you to everyone who's been a building block, a shoulder, a cheer squad, and a cup of coffee through it all!

So here's some of my absolute favorites from this impromptu engagement session.

I hope you all have a fabulous and amazing Monday!

With Grace+Guts,
-H

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Ruby Beach WA with Lauren + Will

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So the Olympic National Park has been on my bucket list for YEARS! And a couple weeks ago I finally got to go for a day during my week long visit to Seattle, WA. I was so excited...and no a single day didn't even let me scratch the surface but I got to hang out on Ruby Beach and Second Beach, drive through Forks and La Push and be surrounded by a natural beauty that just couldn't be beat (I'm serious...I fell so hardcore in love that if anyone wants to book sessions there I'll give you a screaming deal!)

So of course I had to take full advantage of me finally getting to explore two of the beaches on my never ending "beaches I need to see" list and I got to do a sun filled couples session of Lauren and Will at Ruby Beach. Full daylight still scares me as I'm such a fan of blue hour, but I ran into head on and captured some of the most amazing sun flares to date - and I love my sun flares!

These two cuties were so much fun, and I loved watching them loosen up and fully enjoy themselves too! They were such a prime example of why I love what I do...I love to capture my clients stories and moments, finding their joy and their peace all in a location that embodies them or that means something to them. I cannot wait to go back to this magical PNW rain forest, but for now I'm so grateful for the challenge of full on sun (I mean how much more blessed could I be with sunshine on the PNW coastline in the spring?!?) and for a couple who was so wonderful and open to getting their toes sandy and having fun.

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Big Four Mountain Elopement

 

Heather Woolery Photography + Creative | Big Four Mountain, WA | 2018

You know the phrase; "When life gives you lemons, make lemonade"? Well let me tell you all about the lemons.

I've been dying to do something out at the Big Four Ice Caves in North Washington for about two-years. I have daydreamed and envisioned exactly how I would do it and this January we all decided we were going to spend my kids Spring Break in Seattle....a mere 1.5 hr drive from the ice caves.

There was so many up's and down's all the way up to the day of the elopement but where the big lemons came is was 2-miles away from the Big Four Ice Caves trailhead. 2-miles away from the trailhead the road was closed due to heavy packed snow. So my couple and I packed up all of our stuff and hiked the 2-miles in the snow to the trail head to hike another 1.5 miles to the ice caves. with less then .5 mile to go a group of hikers coming back let us know a recent avalanche had covered the ice caves, meaning we were not going to be able to see them, take photos in or around them...nothing. Both my couple and I had driven hundreds of miles and hiked in the snow to find out the whole sole purpose was covered in about 10ft of snow.

We still hiked forward and got to where the ice caves lived...though now just a whopping heap of white. But here comes the lemonade...though we were surrounded by snow we were having summer like warm breezes flow all around us. I got all my camera gear ready and we made the best of what we could and in all honesty I'm so over the moon.

My couples newly wed love was adorable and endearing to watch. When all was said and done and we were hiking back they gave each other a fist pump and later that night got milkshakes (that's my kinda couple!)

Here are just a few of the 100+ amazing captures that happened at the base of Big Four Mountain on a sunny warm snowy day in the Snoqualmie National Forest.

 

Wandering Wedding Feature: Dunes Anniversary Shoot

 

Do you remember that dreamy snow covered sand dunes shoot I did at the end of last year? Well this morning you get to re-live all of the goodness as it's featured on Wandering Weddings (formerly Wandering Photographers) today!

Go give it some love and send all the good vibes to this amazing couple as they get reunited soon!

Happy Friday!
With Grace+Guts,

-Heather

 

Linnea + Cam: Windy February Day

 

I've lived on the Palouse for almost 7-years, and when your leaving Idaho and driving into Eastern Washington, to your right you will find this old barn that for the last series of years has been almost been flattened by the means of weather and age. It's honestly a hot spot for photographers, who've been capturing it's slow fall through the seasons for who knows how long...but for some reason...it hasn't been until recently that I've found an interest in really capturing this small little parcel that's been such a special spot for photographers for years.

Unfortunately, when I got there, the winter's extreme rain fall had turned the field between the car turnout and the dilapidated bard into feet deep of mud. Something I hadn't checked till minutes before my clients arrived. But we did the best we could as a storm rolled in and in 45-minutes I can't explain how full my heart was from these two and their love.

Sometimes all you need is an open field, a dying barn in the distant background and a couple who's love is bigger than any location you could possibly find.

 
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McPherson In-Home Newborn Session

 
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There's always something wonderful when your client welcomes you into their home and let's you be apart of their crazy. Jenny is a mama now to four beautiful children...the youngest was only 8-days old when she opened her door up to me. Her three oldest were obsessed with their new little brother and it was so adorable to watch.

This newest member to the family was, however, less than thrilled to have me bugging him with a camera and cried the majority of the time.

Both the parents just giggled and as they shrugged their shoulders looked at each other lovingly and said "well, it's memories".

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A Snowy Dunes Afternoon

 

Every photographer has some dream locations that they'd love to shoot at. For me, one of them is the Alvord Desert in Eastern, Oregon. I was going to be only 3-hours away during the Christmas break and took it as my chance.

This was also the most perfect time to work with some local businesses I'd been swooning over. I reached out to GreyJays, Rust+Thistle and Bully For You and they all were all so sweet and enthusiastic.

I had everything set up ready to go, and at 10:45 pm the night before my couple backed out. I tried everything...I reached out to every Idaho based photographer I knew, Facebook and Instagram. I was sort of pathetic but desperate.

Somewhere along the lines I got connected to a couple and we moved the shoot to later down the week. We weren't able to all go out to Alvord but we drove 2 hours out of town to the Bruneau Dunes State Park. The dunes were covered in snow and though it was cold and no where near the warm desert, about 5-minutes into the session I realized I had the most amazing couple. A couple who will be celebrating their 11-year anniversary this month, but were so stinking adorable you wouldn't think they had an adorable family with kids celebrating 11-years of marriage.

Last year I went to a workshop and something one of the leaders said was "the location never should matter..." and it was out on this shoot that that really sunk in for me.  It was the best way to end 2017.

Here's just a few of my favorites from our time on the snowy dunes.

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Happy anniversary Botkins and thank you GreyJays, Rust+Thistle and Bully For You for being such amazing creatives to collaborate with.

-H

Jewelry: GreyJays (Boise, ID)
Florals: Rust+Thistle (Boise, ID)
Rug: Bully For You (Colfax, WA)
Edited: Heather Woolery Presets

 

hello 2018!

 
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Well, in less then 24-hours, the clock will stroke midnight and instead of a magical spell being broken, we will be in the New Year. 2018.

As I say good-bye to 2017, I'm pondering the year (as I am sure we all do.) I start to remember the good, the bad, and the in-between. I can see change and reflect on what I'd like to do more of and change in the upcoming 12-months.

Being reminded of time fleeting has a way of doing this to us.

Last December, I graduated from college and thought I had everything planned out...the "big man upstairs" of course decided to completely derail every idea and hope I had. Where 2016 brought several beloved actors/singers/icons their last breath, 2017 brought me challenges at every corner.

But I also challenged myself, challenged myself to to live more for what I wanted versus what society expected of me. This is a much harder challenge then one might think. Especially being a woman and a mother.

Never the less, I picked up my camera more, I illustrated more, I laughed more, I ate more, I carved out more time for my kids, and in turn I found myself amidst all the struggles and hardships that 2017 had to offer. 

So, as the ball drops and I ring in 2018, I ring in my new list of challenges, I ring in a new website + business, I also ring in some of the familiar and same...still single-moming it while the hubs works out of state, still in the same place I was last New Years...but I'm where I need to be and thats something I'm learning to be okay with.

So Happy New Year Everyone!
Happy 2018.

And with that...

Should Old Acquaintance be forgot,
and never thought upon;
The flames of Love extinguished,
and fully past and gone:
Is thy sweet Heart now grown so cold,
that loving Breast of thine;
That thou canst never once reflect
On old long syne.

On old long syne my Jo,
On old long syne,
That thou canst never once reflect,
On old long syne.

With Grace+Guts,

-H


•2018•

• Travel More (like a lot more)
• Laugh More
• Take Dance Lessons (with the hubs, shhhh!)
• Summit a Mountain
• Continue to Try New Coffee Shops
• Make More Friendships
• Work on My Book
• Be More Gentle/Yet Still A Force
• Shop More Markets, Local, Sensible
• Make Chocolate Soufflè
• Continue German/Italian Lessons
• More Reading/Less Screens

(If you've got a list, I'd love to see your lists, share in the comments)

 

Season of Reflection

"Chase the light whatever and wherever it may be for you; chase it"
-  Tyler Knott Gregson

 

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I’ve heard people call the early winter before the New Year rings in “the season of reflection” … I normally just call it my season of denial as I try to push Chaco's, light cardigans and my straw fedora’s. However, there is always a first for everything. This year I’ve witnessed my first solar eclipse, tried plain sour cream alone (so gross), and I guess we can consider this my first “season of reflection” …a season of reflection that has lasted 11-months.

When my husband moved out of state for his dream job, I’ve already expressed on here the bag of mixed emotions that came with the first 8-weeks of the adjustment. Being a military wife, and survived a deployment, I wasn’t a stranger to my husband’s absence. I was a stranger though to the feeling of isolation.

I grew up as an only child. I played 80% of the time by myself in the backyard pretending I was Jungle Jane scot naked with a stick in my hand and weeping willow branches braided around my head. But 5-feet away was the most adoring parents I could have ever dreamed of. I always had friends that on a rainy day I could call. I was a part of 4-H, homeschool groups, church groups, and we explored nooks and crannies of our town and the world all the time. I never felt alone. I never felt stuck.

All through High School I was surrounded by a solid group of friends, though they weren’t the best sort, I once again never faced the feeling of completely alone. Through a horrible abusive relationship and then divorce, through moving away from my home town, and college I never truly felt alone. There was always someone who would pick up the phone and listen. Always someone who would be up for coffee, going for a drive, coming over, going out. Yet there is always a first for everything.

In the last 11-months friends have moved or faded, jobs have come to a close, babysitters have moved away, pets have moved on and the town I’ve resided in for almost 7-years found a way to start closing me out. I found myself without a church again and spending too many showers letting the tears go. Our most amazing neighbors either moved or passed away and then new neighbors moved in who have caused horrible anxiety. And then finally finding out people I’d been confiding in had been talking behind my back. All to come crashing to this exact point.

The exact point of isolation.

It is a terrifying feeling.

Finding myself isolated and caught in the hum drum of the motions of the days of the weeks of the months left me feeling desperate. But when your truly alone, being desperate does you no good, it only leads you to darker places. I started questioning my faith, my relationships with everyone, including my husband, and the worst of it all…myself. I was slipping. I found myself grasping in desperation onto bloggers and social media that I was enamored with only to find that pretending I was living a life like theirs wasn’t strong enough to hold the weight I have been carting around like a darn bag of rocks.

It wasn’t though, till I went to a 5-day workshop where I was surrounded by 12+ amazing women did I fully grasp how alone I truly had been. You can be surrounded by a million people and yet at the end of the day be alone, I am surrounded by people I know every day and I smile and say hello to…but not one of them know any of this about me, how I’ve been doing. Because when you’ve spent 11-months slowly loosing people, it’s hard to find trust and honesty again.

I’ve spent 11-months cursing this and that, sobbing in hot showers and running on too much coffee and way too little of sleep. I’ve spent 11-months lying to everyone that everything is okay. When at the end of the day and another thing hit the fan, I’d be holding the phone without a single person I could think of to call. And it’s in that moment, the most hallow of moments that you find the bottom. Where your hands can run through the cold damp earth and there’s no air in between. Every credit card, every phone call, every excuse is used up. And I laid there in the soil for a while, because falling is exhausting.

But one morning I got an email from a magazine that stated they wanted to share my photography, then another evening another magazine contacted me. Then I got contacted by a handful of other people inquiring about my work. My daughter started telling me that I would always be her best friend and my son started coming and checking on me every night at least a dozen times…each time telling me “mama I love you.” So I sat up. I sat up because that was all I could muster. But I sat up and I emailed those people back, I gave my daughter a hug and I told my son I loved him too.

I drank a strong cup of coffee and just stood outside one morning before the light came up. It was so cold I was shivering like I was having convulsions. But I stood there, enamored by the stars. I rekindled my love for orchestra and music. I started listening to less news, less Facebook. More work. Not 9-5 work. But WORK. The kind that puts the chisel in your hand and your standing in front of that block of marble and you know there’s something marvelous inside kind of work.

I kept emailing people back, I keep inching my way upwards. I keep hugging my daughter and listening to her. I keep telling my son I love him. I keep also getting shoved back down with two grandma’s who have cancer, and other life scares. But I’m not afraid of the bottom anymore. I’ve been fighting it for so long that once I got there, and just laid there for a moment. I explored that little corner of my world, and seriously debated about staying there. But the thing about me that’s probably the most honest thing…I do not hold still well at all.

Hence the website being limited currently, my lack of blog posts, and some changes to my social media (oh baby there is more to come!) I’m not holding still.

I may still be drinking too much coffee, not getting the greatest sleep and still feeling pretty solo, but there’s something about losing so much that makes your fire burn just that much hotter (as my mama always says…if you poke someone’s fire too much they’ll out shine you) and life has just taken that metal prod to me a bit too much the last 11-months.

And I know this post at the point is now rambling…but I’m a rambler and a chatty Cathy and if you’ve read this far you get 50-points to your Hogwarts house of choice…but also have probably caught onto this “rambling issue” I’ve got.

To anyone who’s felt isolation, know that you are the bravest souls on God’s green earth. For you have known the worst sort of feeling and have persevered. To those who are still here, I don’t know when it will end, but find something and hang onto that. I don’t know when I’ll be back up off the ground, but I do know that this world is currently facing some of the worst horrors and I may not end cancer or hunger, but I will not be put back 6-feet in the ground having done nothing but be depressed and hurt.

So. Next week will be my last post until the New Year, when the new website drops and if you follow me on social media you’ll see a lot of stuff changing. And if it’s not your jam, I won’t be hurt if you unfollow me. Because in this season of reflection, it took my face down in the dirt fully pulled away from everyone to finally catch on that what I do matters. 100K followers or not.

And what you do matters. Who you are matters.
Even if you’re up to your neck at the bottom. Who you are and what you do matters.

With Grace+Guts,

-H