Coming Soon! Colorado Kate's Tips, Tricks and Recs

Planning a wedding is like nothing else I've ever done.  There were so many things and details to think about and the question is where do you start?  Wedding Wire and The Knot are great starting points, but how do you know you know they are reliable since so much of it is paid advertisement?

That's why I thought I would start a new blog series, Colorado Kate's Tips, Tricks and Recs.  This gives you insights into Colorado's best venues, vendors, unique ideas, giving you some tips on your wedding day.  I've already got a line up of some really amazing and talented people to ensure you have the BEST wedding day possible.  These are a collection of amazing talented people that have really impressed me with their work.  None of them have paid me for these features, that's just not how I roll.  As a Colorado native, I have insight on some great places you may not even know about, tips for having a good adventure in the mountains, and I have connections with some great people that will help you make your day exactly how you imagined it being.

Wedding season is upon us, and for my 2019 couples, I want to help you make this day perfectly about what fits you two as a couple.  Don't forget this day is about YOUR love and what makes you so in love with one another and celebrating this happiness for the rest of your life.  If you have any questions, or I can be of any help, please do not hesitate to contact me!!  I am happy to help come up with ideas or even do a little bit of light research for you if I don't already have the answer.  Let's work together to make your day perfect!

Cheers,

Colorado Kate

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Boulder Mountain Romantic Snow Engagement Session-Lindsey & Devin

Lindsey and Devin are one of those couples who are just delightful when you meet them.  They are a total go with the flow and don't stress about everything type.  (I need to take in more of this energy!)  We scheduled their engagement photos to be take up in Boulder, up in the gorgeous Colorado mountains over Spring Break.  It had been snowing off and on all week so that morning I warned them the spot we chose may be muddy & icy, did they want to possibly reschedule?  No, they didn't.  I love this because some of the most epic  engagement sessions are created in the least perfect conditions.

As our time came around it started snowing pretty good.  Spring time in Colorado, sunny in the morning, huge gorgeous flakes by the evening.  I offered again to reschedule, but they didn't want to and I was so excited.  Shooting in active snow was a goal of mine this season.  As we arrived in Boulder, I realized our original spot was not going to work out as the outlook would be gone so we changed plans and went up to NCAR.  If you haven't been up there you should go.  The NCAR building was built by I.M. Pei, and they have so many trails all around!  I have yet to go up there and not see a heard of deer.  I knew someone who lived in the foothills and called deer big rats, but I still get so excited seeing them!

As we did a little exploring, and capturing love under a blanket of snow I got to know Lindsey and Devin a little better.  She's a nurse and he's a teacher.  They have been together for a while and are now getting married this summer up in Fort Collins (which will be my first wedding of the season and after this session I could not be more excited for it!).  I loved how comfortable they are around each other and how effortless they were.  They had a real softness about them.  I loved their sense of adventure in the snow.  My favorite fun fact about Lindsey and Devin is that they are both twins.  How cool is that?  

I hope you enjoy their photos as much as I enjoyed taking them!!

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Engagement at Echo Lake-Sarah & Randy

Sarah and Randy decided on Echo Lake near Mount Evans for the backdrop of their engagement session.  It was just perfect.  The snow, frozen lake and rolling mountain hills were just breathtaking.  But really we could have done it at a landfill and it would have been perfect because this couple is so in love.  And I love that although they live out in Eastern Colorado, they still wanted to head to the mountains for their pictures.  They just glowed around each other and what I loved most about watching them was their constant laughter with each other.  They have to be one of the happiest couples I've ever shot and so madly in love.

Sarah found me on the Amy & Jordan Colorado page, which is interesting because Amy and Jordan's style is light and airy, but that's not really my style.  I suppose my soul is too dark for that style.  (I kid).  I spoke with Sarah and I instantly loved her.  She just so enthusiastic, friendly, and warm.  After speaking with Sarah it's like getting a good hug from your best friend.   She's also an incredible photographer.  You should check out her Instagram page.  You won't be disappointed!!  I was absolutely honored she had picked me to be her photographer!

Sarah and Randy are absolutely made for each other.  They are just so at ease with one another.  They are just sweet and caring people and the kind of people you want to be friends with forever.  I am absolutely thrilled and counting down the days to Sarah and Randy's wedding.  I know it will be filled with love, tons of laughter and dogs.  (But more on that later!!) I'll leave you with this fun fact about their relationship.  Randy's brother is married to Sarah's sister.  How is fun that?

 Echo Lake, frozen beautiful snow covered lake and mountains.  Mount Evans the 14er in the back ground.  Sarah and Randy In love at their engagement session.
 Echo Lake, frozen beautiful snow covered lake and mountains.  Mount Evans the 14er in the back ground.  Sarah and Randy In love at their engagement session.
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 Echo Lake, frozen beautiful snow covered lake and mountains.  Mount Evans the 14er in the back ground.  Sarah and Randy In love at their engagement session.
 Echo Lake, frozen beautiful snow covered lake and mountains.  Mount Evans the 14er in the back ground.  Sarah and Randy In love at their engagement session.
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Love in the Denver Clock Tower-Sammie & Devon

How many of you have seen the movie National Lampoons European Vacation?  I have, many times, and that is because that movie was exactly what it was like going on vacation with my Dad.  In the movie, they get stuck on a rotary for hours passing Big Ben and Parliament.  Each time they pass it, the dad says, "Hey kids, Big Ben, Parliament!"  This is basically what my Dad did every time we passed the Denver Clock Tower, "Hey kids, there's the D&F Tower.  That used to be Denver's tallest building."  Every. Single. Time. (Fun fact the tower is 20 floors, the current tallest building in Denver is 40 floors) So when the opportunity to shoot inside the tower came about, I did not hesitate to jump in.  This shoot was a bucket list location and I was thrilled my first experience seeing it would also be doing my favorite thing, shooting love!! The Denver Clock Tower is an intimate space that would be perfect for an elopement, anniversary session, vow renewal or proposal.

Although Sammie and Devon were models for us, they were also a real-life couple and you could tell they were madly in love.  I loved how he watched her get her hair and makeup done and they would smile and laugh.  Her face would just light up when she saw him.  I'm not really sure Devon even looked away from her unless we asked him to look somewhere else.  I could not believe all the talented vendors at this event.  Every single one of them blew me out of the water.  I have all of their information listed below with links to their websites if you wanted to get in contact with them.  And trust me when I tell you, you absolutely should!

This event and venue were absolutely one of a kind.  A huge shout out to Ashley Carara of Ashley Nichole Studios, LLC who organized, coordinated and poured her heart and soul into this.  Thank you to our models who did anything we asked them to!  I feel very lucky to be apart of this.  I hope you enjoy the photos and the insight into the elusive Denver Clock Tower as much as I loved absolutely being there!

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Venue:                                          Denver Clock Tower Events
Organizer:                                    Ashley Carara
Coordination:                               Mathew Events and Weddings
Invites:                                          All That Glitters Invitations
Bridal Gowns:                              Bella Bridesmaids
Make Up and Hair (Bride):          Estates Park Bridal Co.
Make Up and Hair:                     Deb Icenogle Hair & Make Up
Flowers:                                      Inspired Designs
Gift Box:                                      Monofatto
Decor Rentals:                            A Love Tale
Rentals:                                       Butler Rents
Cake:                                          Sweet Inspirations Bakery

Models:

Bride:                                          Sammie Stiles
Groom:                                       Devan Ganze
Bridesmaids:                              Chelsea Manning, Melanie Graham, Joceyln Weir
Flower Girl:                                 Autumn Gallegos
Ring Bearer:                               John Graham
Couple:                                       Becca & Ben Pettis                             

 

Arizona Love-Hippie Momma Bags

As a solid Colorado girl, I love me some mountains.  Give me ALLLLLL the mountains!  I love the pines, the tundra, the thin air and the constant adrenaline rush that there may be a snake that may get me.  I would never, could never leave Colorado....I mean forever.  After spending a little time in Arizona, I have changed my tune so maybe I could move to Arizona for a few months out of the year....and Iceland but that's another story.

I love the desert.  I love the gorgeous cactus sprinkled all over, I love the dry heat.  My Grandma Ellis once said that her oven is dry heat but she doesn't want to spend any time in it either.  The oven didn't have a beautiful gorgeous saguaro in it or she may have changed her tune and she may have crawled in. (Joke)  While I was there I was able to go on a little adventure and hike at Sunrise Trail in Scottsdale for a sunrise hike.  I realized even though it's the desert, I was still able to try and hike to touch the sky and this made me feel at home.

And you know what else is beautiful in Arizona?  The women.  For real.  They NEVER age, even with all that sun.  I've known Cortney for 15 years and I'm pretty sure she looks younger since moving back from Colorado.  She's a stunning momma of 4, an entrepreneur and a bad ass skateboarder.  Her friend Laura is a natural born model.  Chick is cool as hell and her ability to style people and spaces is an amazing talent.  I'm excited to go back and have her style me as she offered to do.  On top of that, you will not find two more supportive women. 

Cortney owns and designs Hippie Momma Bags.  You guys, you have to check out her website.  They are the most unique, beautiful bags design and made by Cortney.  I'm now the proud owner of 4...and counting!  They are made with material from women in Guatemala and these women hand dye the yarn and then weave it to sell and are able to support their families because of this.  I love this so much!

This fall we did a photo shoot for her.  You can find a link to my blog here.  We have decided this now needs to be a thing every 6 months or so.  It's so much fun to watch Laura and Courtney style and rock these beautiful bags.  I know I tend to be a photographer of love, but I love these bags so much and these two women, so I think it's basically the same.  So now check out my photos, check out her bags and have yourself a wonderful day!!

 Beautiful Cortney owner of Hippie Momma Bags showing a black hippie chick bag in the Arizona desert
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 Four gorgeous fringe bags from Hippie Momma Bags laying in the Arizona desert
 Lauren causally sitting in Arizona Desert with a gorgeous grey fringe bag
 Cortney rocking the black hippie chick fringe bag in the Arizona desert
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Amanda & Ty

When I first talked to Amanda, she told me that she and Ty were the outdoor type.  That they became engaged on a hike up in the mountains.  They sounded exactly like my kind of people.  We decided to go to St. Mary's Glacier for their engagement photos as they were looking for some snow in the setting.  I kept an eye on the weather and it looked like snow was in the forecast for our chosen day.  They didn't even flinch.  (YES!!!!!!!!!!)  When they got out I just started laughing, for the love of god they looked like professional models.  I have the BEST clients! 

When I first got there it was a bluebird day but you could see the weather creeping in over the mountains. I wondered how our session would end. We started out exploring the forest and quickly started post-holing through the snow.   In a few sections I ended up waist deep. They were never deterred, and just smiled and laughed.  I loved how very sweet and concerned Ty was for Amanda.  As we jumped over a creek I heard him sweetly say to Amanda, "Watch out little one."  It was said with so much care and so much love that my heart absolutely melted. 

As our session ended the snow started to fall and by the time we got to our car it was coming down pretty good.  This session was perfectly timed.  I am so thrilled to be capturing their upcoming wedding this December.  It is sure to be just as dreamy as their engagement session was.  I hope you enjoy Amanda and Ty's engagement photos as much as I enjoyed capturing them.

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Andrea, Ryan & Atlas

Although I had never met Andrea, I had heard all about her from my friend Gaby.  She told me of the amazing, smart and positive person Andrea was her in life.  She sounded like my kind of person!  As a gift to Andrea Gaby asked me to take maternity photos for her and Ryan.

When I arrived Andrea was exactly all of that.  But there was something that Gaby had not told me.  Andrea was the most radiant gorgeous mama I have ever seen.  Her smile just lit up the room.  As soon as we met I knew that this session was going to be photographers gold!

I met her husband Ryan, who was in the middle of a home renovation project, and he renovates like my husband does, with his own two hands.  His skills were seriously impressive.  Ryan and Andrea along with their dog Atlas took me up to Mount Sanitas for some photos.  You know you might be in Boulder, when the gorgeous pregnant mama makes it up the mountain way easier than you do!!

Congratulations to Ryan and Andrea and Atlas to your soon to be new addition.  You guys are going to be amazing parents and I can't wait to see what is in hold for you!

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Sarah & Shawn

I freaking love my job. LOVE IT! I love capturing true love.  I feel so happy by capturing it.  When you photograph couples who are just so in tune with each other, when they fit together perfectly like a jigsaw puzzle, when you see them have inside jokes, and their faces just light up when they look at each other and you see that sparkle in their eye when they look into each other's eyes.  You can't help but be happy and be filled with happiness and just have a little bit more positive and hopeful outlook on life.

Everything I just said above is exactly how it all played out when I captured Sarah & Shawn's engagement session in the mountains above Boulder.  These two were so sweet together, and so easy to capture their love as it just shined through.  I loved how they just laughed together and were so sweet on each other.  

Sarah and Shawn live up in the mountains, Shawn told me how he used to race his motorcycle through the Colorado mountains, Sarah didn't have to tell me she was a mountain girl.  She hiked around the rocks in heels easier than I did in my hiking around in my hiking boots.  When I shot them there you could tell that they were in their element and in love.

I hope you enjoy their photos as much as I enjoyed capturing them.  I cannot wait for their mountain wedding this summer.

 

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Erin and Ryan

I met Erin a few years ago at the restaurant that shall not be named.  Erin was just this beautiful, kind and gentle girl.  The kind of girl you would want to be friends with forever.  She always has a smile on her face and she is always so positive.  You can't help but smile when you are around her.  When she and Ryan asked me to be their photographer for their upcoming wedding I literately jumped in the air and said, "Heck YEA!"  (Heck may or may not have been a different word.)

Erin, Ryan and I drove up to Staunton State Park the day after a snowstorm, which provided us with a beautiful blanket of snow on the ground and trees. As is common in Colorado after a snowstorm, the sun was out shinning creating a magical Colorado forest for us, with the occasional gust of wind.  Just enough to make it unique.

We had fun doing a little bit of hiking and exploring the park.  Afterwards Erin and Ryan both expressed that they had fun and Erin said, "I couldn't be nervous.  If I got nervous I just kissed Ryan and didn't notice anything else."  I thought about that for awhile.  That's the kind of love you should have.  When things are going weird around you, just concentrate on your love and everything will be okay.

I'm so thrilled to have the absolute honor and privilege to shoot Erin and Ryan's wedding this summer.  Mr. & Mrs. Kennedy, coming soon to a mountaintop near you!

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Galentine's Day Adventure

I have always had a real love-hate relationship with Valentine's Day.  When I was with someone I never really knew what to get him or how to celebrate, and when I wasn't with someone (which was a lot) it was the ultimate day to be reminded it was Kate party of 1.  Wah-wah.  And also, (and this still grinds my gears) why are we waiting until this one cued day to tell each other we love each other?  You should tell everyone you love them EVERY DAY.  What kind of made up crap holiday is this anyway?

Growing up my Dad and Mom always got us something for Valentine's Day.  Even when we were much older than kids, and I will tell you, nothing says love like 5lbs of gummy worms (personal fav) being sent to you in college with the end result of lockjaw.  It was the best ever.  Until my mom passed, no matter what my relationship status was, I would take her out for Valentine's Day just to remind her that I loved her..  (Although this was not the only day of the year I did this)  Spending the day of love with amazing women is my jam.  So when Natalie of Yogi Magee contacted me for photos of the Galentine's Day Adventure, a beautiful sunset hike at Dream Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park with a bunch of women spreading love, kindness, I was in!  

Earlier in the morning, the Park was under a high wind advisory with gusts up to 90mph.  That did not sound fun, but as the day went on the winds became less, but still very much there.  A snowstorm was moving late that evening creating a warm windy type of day.  We met up with 16 other amazing women in Estes Park and headed up to RMNP.  The wind was minimal although still active, but I was well aware, as soon as I reached Dream it would be a wind sh*t storm.  I have to admit, this was my first sunset hike.  In fact, this is the first time in a long time I did a hike where it didn't start with a 4am or earlier alarm, followed by the question of why do I do this?  I was excited to do something opposite of what I am used to.

We moved up the mountain and took a brief stop at Nympth Lake to take in the views and watch the gorgeous clouds start to turn to cotton candy.  We watched people pour down the mountain trying to hold in their laughter as a gaggle of girls were headed up way too late in the day. (Joke was on them, they were set to miss the best part)  As we approached Dream the skies were perfect and lit up in pink, making the snow below a pink glow as well.  I took photos of the girls having a good time and none of them had wind blown hair.  In fact, there was no wind at all.  I have never been to Dream Lake without the wind whipping by.  It was absolutely perfect until.... my leg poked through some dethawed frozen lake as I wasn't paying close enough attention.  I have a real gift for finding the only weak spot in the lake.  Thank god for some good gear, my foot never got cold. The sky gave its final performance, we raised our Denver Beer Co beers high (okay not me but the others) and cheers to a perfect Galentine's Day spent with some incredible women.

On our way down we saw a hiker we had passed earlier slowly going down the mountain.  She was struggling to get down.  Her name was Jeannie, an incredible lady who had just beaten breast cancer.  We made sure she got down the mountain okay.  She had underestimated how long it would take her to get back, an honest and easy mistake. What I loved was watching the women of the group hand her their hiking poles, and make sure their headlamps were pointed where she could see.  We got her down and safe to her car and Natalie was kind enough to hand her a Galentine's swag bag.  She was one of us now!  It was a good reminder to myself just how dangerous solo hiking can be.  Especially not being prepared for everything.  I was really glad to run into Jeannie.  She reminded me of my mom, strong, independent, a cancer survivor.  It was a nice reminder that my mom is still around me always.  Looks like I spent another Galentine's Day with her again. 

I cannot tell you enough how amazing Natalie (Yogi Magee)'s retreats and daycation hikes are.  They attract the kind of strong, independent, loving women that want to build you up and make you a better person.  After our adventures, I feel refreshed, rejuvenated and a little bit stronger to take on the world.  I know that I have said this before, but if you can join her, run do not walk!  

 Introductions and laughs.

Introductions and laughs.

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 Coolest chick, getting amazing women together.  No big deal.

Coolest chick, getting amazing women together.  No big deal.

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 Heading into the cotton candy sky.

Heading into the cotton candy sky.

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 Yea girl!  I'm feeling this way too!

Yea girl!  I'm feeling this way too!

 Ladies and the half way point!

Ladies and the half way point!

 Not having a good time at all.

Not having a good time at all.

 Just a little yoga on the cliff.  These are the times that I'm happy I'm the photographer, two feet on the side of the mountain.

Just a little yoga on the cliff.  These are the times that I'm happy I'm the photographer, two feet on the side of the mountain.

 Seriously tho...That's a serious cliff.  Yogi's are always so calm.

Seriously tho...That's a serious cliff.  Yogi's are always so calm.

 Galentine's Day.  This is what it's all about!

Galentine's Day.  This is what it's all about!

 Dream lake.  Living up to the hype.

Dream lake.  Living up to the hype.

 This doesn't suck.

This doesn't suck.

 This was 90 seconds before I moved on and found the weak spot.  Right leg in the water to my midcalf.  (Klutz....)

This was 90 seconds before I moved on and found the weak spot.  Right leg in the water to my midcalf.  (Klutz....)

 Family photo.

Family photo.

 Better photo!

Better photo!

 Linda the Nordic Ice Princess, just hanging out taking in the views.

Linda the Nordic Ice Princess, just hanging out taking in the views.

 Caitlin loving life.

Caitlin loving life.

 As a thank you to Natalie, Rachael rocking the Yogi Magee gear on a frozen Dream Lake.

As a thank you to Natalie, Rachael rocking the Yogi Magee gear on a frozen Dream Lake.

 The ultimate Galentine's picture.

The ultimate Galentine's picture.

 Natalie taking a $550 photo.  She rocks photography.

Natalie taking a $550 photo.  She rocks photography.

 Rose just casually doing some yoga.  I need to up my yoga game but I'm so happy with Savasna pose.

Rose just casually doing some yoga.  I need to up my yoga game but I'm so happy with Savasna pose.

 No fear of the dark here.

No fear of the dark here.

 In the mountains, under the stars with amazing women.  Nothing better.

In the mountains, under the stars with amazing women.  Nothing better.

Hailey and Ryan

There are some couples that are so sweet and kind it makes your teeth hurt (in a good way).  That's Hailey and Ryan.  They are just so enthusiastically in love, you cannot help but smile at them ear to ear.  They are so nice, so happy and they laughs with them are many.

I met them up in Ft. Collins at Horsetooth Reservoir to do their engagement session on a cold windy afternoon.  We had already canceled once because of the rare snow storm we had in Colorado (really hate that they are rare this year) so we didn't want to push it back anymore.  Hailey and Ryan absolutely just took it as it came.  They cuddled, smiled and were soaked in love and smiles.  

My favorite moment came when I asked them, "So how long have you guys been together?"  Their faces lit up and glowed and said, "Eight months!  When you know, YOU KNOW!"  And it's true.  I think back to Jace and I.  I easily could have married him after being with him for about 5 months, I knew he was my person.  And Hailey and Ryan are the same.  They have found their person in each other, and no need to wait any more time.

Enjoy this wild wind whipped session that had love blown all over it.  (Ha, see what I did there.....Don't worry I'll stick to my day job)

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Abby and Bryce

Abby and Bryce were traveling to Colorado from Illinois.  Abby and Bryce are moving out here next month to open a State Farm office in Old Town Arvada.  Apparently, the Midwest has been rocking negative temps lately and so they had to escape to Colorado to warm up and finally get their engagement photos taken.

I met up with Abby and Bryce and we went up to Lost Gulch up in Boulder.  They had never been there before and it was an absolute blast to watch them take in all the scenery.  I've been up there a couple times before and so the "awe" factor has worn off on me, but when you show people the Colorado magic and watch them, take in a moment for the beauty, the magic comes pouring back in.

In an unbelievable turn of events, although it had snowed 4 days before, barely any snow had melted away and we had snowy, cozy engagement session.  It was my favorite.  Abby and Bryce are so kind and they just shine around each other.  My wish for the world is that everyone has a person that looks at you the way those two look at each other.

I had so much fun with Abby and Bryce and I could not be more excited to be welcoming two amazing people to Colorado!  If you need insurance, check out Bryce's new business!

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Little Lincoln-Six Months Old

On a very snow stormy January morning, I traveled over the hill of Arvada and visited the Garcia family.  The Garcia family is one of my favorite families, and not just because I've known Keely since forever, but because of their love for one another.  Everything their kids do just light up Keely and Justin like Christmas trees.  I will say these two boys, Lucas and Lincoln are pretty darn cute and you can't help but smile and laugh when you are around them!

Although I've known Lincoln since nanosecond 1, he doesn't remember me and doesn't want me to hold him.  He loves cuddles with mom and dad and adores big brother Lucas and the feeling is equally mutual. He's an insanely happy baby and totally looks like Jack Jack from the movie The Incredibles.   I had a blast photographing the family, and watching everyone interact and giggle and laugh.  

We ended our time with Lucas, the superhero showing me his sweet flying skills off the couch.  He has these moves down!  I cannot wait to see what he has in store for us as he grows up.  Lucas has such a big personality and he reminds me so much of his mom....so good luck with that Keely, when he gets older.  Just kidding, he will be just as amazing.  So lucky I get to be apart of the Garcia's lives and watch the love grow and grow!

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Fabio and Brittany

I met Fabio and Brittany in Boulder, Colorado on a cool January evening, hours before a solid January snowstorm was rolling it.  As soon as they got out of the car, they were so friendly, warm, kind and enthusiastic I knew this would be an amazing engagement session and my gut instinct was absolutely not wrong!!!

Brittany and Fabio are undeniably in love.  They just glow around each other.  I asked them how Fabio proposed and he surprised her on hours notice and whisked her away to the Dominican Republic and asked her to marry him.  She had absolutely no clue.  (Jace, if you are reading this, feel free to do this anytime.  Seriously, I won't be mad at you.)  That is super impressive and crazy romantic.

We had a ton of fun.  Ran around, played tag, hung around some cliffs, everything you would want your mountain engagement session to be.  If you watch the sky in these, you can see the storm clouds creeping in.  It's was fun to watch the progression.  Please enjoy this sweet couple and their love for each other.

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Humble Pie Served Fresh on the Trail of Herman Gultch

It's the day after my big gig.  I was asked to be the photographer at Yogi Magee's Snow and Suds 2018: Daycation Hike to Herman's Gulch.  A simple snowshoe hike....or so I thought.  I met Natalie from following her on Instagram, I contacted last year her regarding finding some epic spots for my engagement sessions and elopements and when we met I instantly liked her.  She is so warm, friendly and inviting.  We went on a few hikes this year, and I knew that I was well below her fitness level.  I mean she's a yoga, barre and cycle instructor not to mention has close to all the 14'ers under her belt.  But the thing I love about hiking with her was she has never made me feel bad for any break I had to take.

We headed up with Natalie and 5 other women I had never met on this gorgeous bluebird day.  As an extrovert secret introvert, it takes a lot of energy for me to just get to these situations.  I have never mastered the art of small talk and I'm so bad and awkward at it. So I kinda dread these situations but I'm constantly pushing myself into this to hoping to get better at it.  Nothing ever grows in your comfort zone.  We headed up and it started, I was queasy...I thought to myself, "No you're fine."  But I knew, I was getting car sick.  I know I get car sick on winding roads, but this was I-70!  So I finally had to interrupt everyone and say, "Ummmm....at the gas station can you stop?  I'm car sick."  I just wanted to crawl under a rock.  I got sick but I didn't end up feeling bad about it.  I had a group of women who were nice, caring and understanding and were kind enough to trade spots with me.  I bought some Dramamine and we kept going.

After putting on our snowshoes, I attached 30-pound backpack full of camera gear to my back and instantly knew I better be the caboose.  The trail starts straight up.  Natalie and I had done this trail before with snow, but no need for snowshoes when we did this.  But strapping on 5lbs to each foot topped with fresh snow made this a hike that would bring me to my knees. What you may not know about winter hiking is the trails are made up, because you can't see the summer trails, so sometimes even though someone has made tracks there, it's not actually a path.  We tried the path less taken.  Whoa.  Fresh powder, post holeing for about a mile.  I'm pretty sure just from that part of the hike alone, nothing I eat for the next week will count.

As our hike went onwards and upwards, we were surrounded by amazing views, which I really enjoyed often because I was taking so many breaks.  The group started to split and that was okay.  While we were getting closer and closer to the top, it was getting to the point we were hiking 10 seconds and then stopping for a break.  We were exhausted, at about 12,000 feet and struggling.  Two amazing girls made the very wise decision to turn around.  One had the early stages of altitude sickness.  We were so close to the top I decided I would go ahead (because I needed to get some photographs!) and let the others know that they had turned around.  These are the moments I 100% understand why so many people end up dying on Mount Everest trying to achieve their goal.   On my way, I took two breaks that took me to my knees.  I just needed to get off my feet and give my calves a break and I think I even thought to myself, "Mountain, you are gorgeous, breathtaking with your views and wind and I respect you."  I got to the top as the other's were about to turn around and I was able to do a little shooting of everyone by of the frozen lake.

Coming down the mountain was a great change of pace, it meant I was going to be wearing out other muscles.  I was still holding my place as the solid caboose.  I was pretty exhausted and I was holding back some tears of embarrassment.  I voiced my embarrassment to the group and they wouldn't let me feel that.  I'm getting teary-eyed just thinking of what Natalie said to me.  "You didn't fail, you just learned a lot of things on this hike."  It was true, but I was still feeling bad that I wasn't able to keep up as well as I had wanted, but Natalie wouldn't let me feel bad.  That's a strong woman right there.  Giving people a hand up and pushing their limits and not letting them feel anything but proud.

At the end of our hike, I gloriously took off my 30-pound pack, and said sheepishly, "I'm really sorry I couldn't keep up."  And with that, Natalie laughed and said with a huge smile, "We don't say sorry.  Look at you.  You did get to the top and you learned lessons, and we had fun and made friends."  I love the thought of not saying sorry.  (I mean I say sorry when I'm wrong, but I also say sorry when there is no need....a lot)  The women on this trip were incredible and every single one of them were encouraging, real, and strong.  And not strong because they made it to the top of the mountain, but because each one of them encouraged each other and lifted each other up, whether it was to the top of the mountain or not.  

Yesterday the mountain served me a big fat fresh piece of humble pie, and because of it I learned so many things and I have created so many new goals for myself that I didn't know I needed to work for.  Natalie always says winter hiking will break your heart and that is the truth.  Yesterday it tore me to pieces, and today looking back it builds me back up, and I don't feel weak, I feel strong (and sore).

If you ever have a chance to do any of Yogi Magee retreats, don't walk run!  You will not regret it.  I'm thrilled to be a guest at her June Telluride retreat and her photographer at her August Telluride retreat.  You will do incredible things, meet incredible women and believe in yourself a little more!  She has a couple more day-cations coming up, trips to Zion and surfing and yoga in Panama.  Follow her on Instagram, like her Facebook page and see what adventures you may like to go on!

 Here is the begining of my hopes and dreams for the day.

Here is the begining of my hopes and dreams for the day.

 Single file, straight up hill.

Single file, straight up hill.

 The views along the way were amazing!

The views along the way were amazing!

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 Torrey's Peak.  

Torrey's Peak.  

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 To the top of the frozen lake...I mean snow drift.  You would never know the difference.

To the top of the frozen lake...I mean snow drift.  You would never know the difference.

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 The winds above tree line will knock you over with no warning.

The winds above tree line will knock you over with no warning.

 Above the world

Above the world

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Where's All the Snow? Oh.....Found It!

Lately, I have been so sad not to see snow around town.  I love the changing weather, but lately, the front range of Colorado has been a solid 45-50 degrees, overcast and no moisture.  BOOOORRRING!  I've really wanted to do an engagement session in the snow, and I have a sweet couple waiting for the snow, but at this point, I had started to give up.

My friend Natalie Magee who runs Yogi Magee Expeditions took me up to St. Mary's Glacier to do a little snowshoeing. I love hiking with this lady.  First of all, she's hilarious and second of all she's extremely knowledgeable.  She laughed pretty hard that I was a native and I hadn't done the hike before. As we exited off of I-70 by Idaho Springs, the landscape was still without any snow.  As we climbed up things started to change and by the time we got to the trailhead it was full on dumping.  It was gorgeous. Yes, it was cold, but when you are prepared it's not bad at all.  I did make the fatal error to not bring goggles but we will get to that later in my story.

I was thankful to Natalie, as she had already been here before and knew the trail.   The trail wasn't noticeable since the fresh tracks had been covered up, so I was grateful she knew where she was going.  The hike to the lake is short, a little over a mile, but that altude will do you in.  The trailhead starts at about 10,500 feet up, so you will be working to go up, but it's only 1.5 miles round trip.  Easy Peasy.  I'll let the photos speak for themselves.

 See, the snow was coming down peacefull

See, the snow was coming down peacefull

 Natalie approaching the lake right at tree line.

Natalie approaching the lake right at tree line.

 This picture perfectly describes our day.  Crazy wind and snow and the more violent it was, the more fun we had and laughed.  It was amazing and it was pretty much ridiculous.  I told Natalie, "I LOVE violent weather."  I think she does too.  It was the first time anyone was with in 5 feet from me and I absolutely couldn't see them.

This picture perfectly describes our day.  Crazy wind and snow and the more violent it was, the more fun we had and laughed.  It was amazing and it was pretty much ridiculous.  I told Natalie, "I LOVE violent weather."  I think she does too.  It was the first time anyone was with in 5 feet from me and I absolutely couldn't see them.

 When Natalie sold this hike to me she said, "And there will be pretty Instagramable views."  Yep....amazing. Photo Credit: Natalie Magee

When Natalie sold this hike to me she said, "And there will be pretty Instagramable views."  Yep....amazing. Photo Credit: Natalie Magee

 Meandering out into the great white open.....(Yes I know it should be wide) Photo Credit: Natalie Magee

Meandering out into the great white open.....(Yes I know it should be wide) Photo Credit: Natalie Magee

 The wind is really uplifting here.  It's like being in a cold music video.  I'm sure music videos are exactly like this sans the awkward girl. Photo Credit: Natalie Magee

The wind is really uplifting here.  It's like being in a cold music video.  I'm sure music videos are exactly like this sans the awkward girl. Photo Credit: Natalie Magee

 Obligatory feet on frozen lake photo.  Photo Credit: Natalie Magee

Obligatory feet on frozen lake photo.  Photo Credit: Natalie Magee

 Damn....that is an amazing view.  Photo Credit: Natalie Magee

Damn....that is an amazing view.  Photo Credit: Natalie Magee

 When you are with an amazing yoga instructor, you know you have to make them do a pose.  She tried to get me to do the same pose....anyway there aren't any pictures of that because I can't.

When you are with an amazing yoga instructor, you know you have to make them do a pose.  She tried to get me to do the same pose....anyway there aren't any pictures of that because I can't.

 This was my most favorite Colorado thing I saw.  You can't tell from this picture but this guy was on the frozen lake just running around it, doing laps like he was on a high school track. at 11,500 feet in a full out blizzard. No big deal.

This was my most favorite Colorado thing I saw.  You can't tell from this picture but this guy was on the frozen lake just running around it, doing laps like he was on a high school track. at 11,500 feet in a full out blizzard. No big deal.

 After the views that took my breath away we headed on down the mountain....Photo Credit: Natalie Magee

After the views that took my breath away we headed on down the mountain....Photo Credit: Natalie Magee

 Just a casual Yeti, walking through the forest. Photo Credit: Natalie Magee

Just a casual Yeti, walking through the forest. Photo Credit: Natalie Magee

 Not wanting to let anyone down, I also did a little yoga and rocked that savasana pose.  Probably going to rock it tonight too.  Damn...look at me slay that. Photo Credit: Natalie Magee

Not wanting to let anyone down, I also did a little yoga and rocked that savasana pose.  Probably going to rock it tonight too.  Damn...look at me slay that. Photo Credit: Natalie Magee

 I could not tell you the last time I did this. Photo Credit: Natalie Magee

I could not tell you the last time I did this. Photo Credit: Natalie Magee

 Snapped this photo of Natalie in her element.  I'm really glad I have a friend like her who doesn't shy away from not perfect conditions and just enjoys being outside no matter what and laughs and smiles at the face of crazy weather.

Snapped this photo of Natalie in her element.  I'm really glad I have a friend like her who doesn't shy away from not perfect conditions and just enjoys being outside no matter what and laughs and smiles at the face of crazy weather.

 Snapped a photo of myself illustrating the reprocussions of not having goggles.  Chapped face and icicle eyelashes!

Snapped a photo of myself illustrating the reprocussions of not having goggles.  Chapped face and icicle eyelashes!

Knowing When to Hold'em and When to Fold'em

(Disclaimer:  Christal gave me full permission to share her story)

It was the first week of December and Christal contacted me for photos for her Christmas cards.  She wanted to do them sooner than later.  Part of the problem of shooting in December is the sun starts to set around 3:30.  We decided we would hammer these out right after school.  I met Christal at her house and she had picked up Ty slightly early from school.  Ty got out of the car and you could tell, it was a long day for him.  I think we forget how much energy it takes to learn all day.  Christal wanted Ty to get into jeans and Ty HATES jeans.  This was not going well.  We tried to pep up Ty but Ty was tired, hungry (although we did get him snacks) and just not in a mood.  Christal tried hard to turn it around. 

We drove to our spot and it was a little windy, and about 40 degrees.  Ty was done before it began, he was freezing, and Dutch, their full-grown still puppy was being silly.  With tears in his eyes Ty got out of the car, Christal was desperate to make this work and it was then that I realized this wasn't going to work.  I grabbed Christal and said, "We need to stop.  This isn't going to work, let's reschedule."  Christal felt awful, Ty felt awful it wasn't a good day.  It was time to fold them.  And you know what?  I would 100% rather fold, then push forward and produce photos that aren't going to be great just because we wanted to get them done right then.  It's okay to say it's not going to work.  Children aren't robots and with two of my own, I know they have bad days too.

We rescheduled for a different time, and what a difference that was!  It was unusually warm that day, about 60, Ty was back to his sweet, loving, joking self and Dutch was a little more mellow.  Ty genuinely had a good time and Christal felt better and we all laughed.  By the end Ty joked with me and asked we could have a picture of him throwing his jeans into the lake when we were done.  (He really hates jeans!)  I was able to get genuine smiles and I was so happy to make this work.

Life doesn't always go the way you want it to, even though you have it scheduled to work out a certain way.  I understand that.  I hope my clients know that without any additional fees, if your kiddo is really having a bad day, let's get a good nights sleep, some snacks and give it another try.  Nothing to feel bad about, this is life and it has it's own schedule.

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Davis 2017 Letter

Forgive me that I didn't actually mail this.  I think I have actually mailed out holiday cards twice in the 13 years I've been with Jace.  So let's play pretend.  Pretend you just went to your mailbox, opened our holiday card and you are impressed at the quality of paper of this amazing holiday letter.

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Let's talk about the Christmas miracle that the above photo is.  Xander has hugged his sister two times this year and this was one of them.  Shout out to Vikas and Elaine who I forced them to let us crash their photoshoot because I knew if someone else was around, my kids would actually listen to me and do what I say.

So I started a new business this year.  Not sure if you have heard about it.  (Insert sarcasm)  I was really excited about chasing my dream, having a flexible schedule all while being able to keep up a perfect house.   Here's what we thought that would look like....

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But the truth is it was a ton of blood, sweat and tears and so much harder than I had anticipated.  Huge thank you to Jace for riding this roller coaster with me and being behind me and supporting this crazy venture.  What I found was chasing your dreams actually looks like this....

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But I wouldn't have changed a single thing and I was blown and away and humbled by how many people trusted me to capture their moments.  I really do feel like a very lucky lady and the best part of my job was reconnecting with so many amazing people that I have lost contact with over the years and I met so many really awesome people as well that I hope to have lifetime friendships with!

We didn't get up to the mountains as much as I would have hoped for this year.  Although we did do the Hanging Lake hike for Jace's birthday and everyone really had a good time.  Super good.

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Sienna got super hot and started a new fashion trend for outdoor adventurers. 

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But going 1,000 feet up in less than a mile had it's perks.

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Part of the reason we didn't make it up to the mountains very much was we decided instead of moving houses to stay and work on what we had.  Jace did a kitchen remodel, and when I say Jace did a kitchen remodel, I don't mean he made some calls and people came over, I mean on his weekends he woke up early and worked on the house all weekend long after crushing it at his job at Four Winds.  (He's management now and he's going to ask you to stay late....that would be great)  He's kinda my hero.

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The kitchen remodel meant some readjustments.  Breakfast wasn't really the same.

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And I think the highlight was when I had to let the neighbors know what was going on because there wasn't any water on the first floor, so you had to go to the front or back porch to get water for your pasta, only to turn around and pour the hot water in a planter when it was done, and we aren't being crazy.  Just camping in an expensive tent.

 Over this damn remodel.  

Over this damn remodel.  

Please enjoy the progression of our kitchen...

 Floors of 1976 past...nice pick mom.

Floors of 1976 past...nice pick mom.

 2008  It's glorious and amazing.

2008  It's glorious and amazing.

 Kitchen Spring 2017

Kitchen Spring 2017

 And the end result Fall 2017.

And the end result Fall 2017.

  

2017 wasn't the best year and it wasn't the worst.  Xander still passionately hates homework and Sienna still passionately loves unicorns.  I'm still klutzy and drive Jace crazy, but he loves me.  I think.  We hope you had a good 2017, and if not, it can kick rocks because 2018 is around the corner with hope and promise. 

Sending much love!

Jace, Kate, Xander & Sienna

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The Arnolds

Truth....I have fat fingers.  This isn't usually a problem until occasionally I get a Facebook notification comes up and says, "(Insert person I don't know) has accepted your friend request."  I panic and immediately pull them up to see if we have anyone in common.  If we do, I then go through their feed and see if it is someone that seems like a good person or not.  (There are some weirdos out there).  If they pass these criteria, I will not delete them.  

So this is one of those stories.  I requested Laurie to be my friend and since we went to high school together, we had some mutual friends and she accepted my weirdo request kindly.  Instantly I really liked Laurie.  She is married to Wes and they have a gorgeous daughter named Julia along with a massive Goldendoodle named Maccorni.  Laurie writes a blog about being Julia's mother and their adventures together called "I'm Julia's Mom" and I was instantly hooked.  She is an amazing writer and I could read her stuff all day.  But what struck me the most was how positive Laurie was about everything she does.  It has honestly made me change the way I think about things.

Laurie reached out to me to do her family pictures and I totally instantly was honored and started fan-girling her, "Thank you for choosing me to capture your photos but I'm such a fan of you and your blog and I love it and I'm just so excited to meet you!"  Awesome, Kate.  That's not creepy at all.  Laurie has no idea who you are and now you are her biggest fan?  But the truth is, I was.

Although it was December, it was 60 degrees and the weather was gorgeous!  Laurie, Wes, and Julia were just as amazing, kind, funny and positive as their Facebook feed shows them to be and I was instantly in love with this family.  Julia was all smiles for me.  My favorite thing in the world is that Julia says hello by an Eskimo kiss.  How can anyone be in a bad mood after this?  I kinda think we should all do this.  We all just hit it off and by the end of the session, they were kind enough to invite me to their Christmas party.  I think we are going to be friends for a long time.  Thank you guys for letting me take your pictures and not being weirded out by the strange Facebook friend, who is now also your biggest fan!  As Wes told me, "There are no mistakes."

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Hannah and Skylar

Hannah and Skylar contacted me for their engagement photos and wedding photos.  Hannah is an Arvada girl, like myself and Skylar has come down from Wyoming.  As soon as I met these two you could tell they just got each other and I loved their vibe.  They are so warm and inviting the minute you meet them.

They loving being outside and camping with their two pups.  We decided to head up and explore Boulder Canyon in December and get campfire cozy for their engagement session.  These two were very comfortable with each other and so sweet they made my job so easy.  I had a great time getting to know these two and I am looking forward to their wedding this summer!

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