The idea of taking professional photographs of yourself when you’re not feeling your most svelte can seem a bit daunting. What to wear? Where to do them? How to cover up my expanding thighs, my dimpled arms? When? But since becoming pregnant I knew that no matter what, this time in my life was something I wanted to (I MUST) capture, regardless of any developing body insecurities. For many of the women in my life, pregnancy had been something that they had fought years, even decades for. Some were given the sullen news that pregnancy would never be an option for them, others are still trying with all their might to start or continue their families.
So when we got pregnant relatively quickly (I went off birth control in May of 2014 and we got pregnant without consistent effort and a crazy travel schedule by February of 2015) I thanked all our lucky stars that we were able to conceive a baby naturally and without much trouble. Therefore, I’m intentionally appreciating every last-minute of this pregnancy with unwavering gratitude and even though I don’t always wake up feeling or looking my best, I couldn’t imagine not documenting this exciting event in our lives. There is something so incredibly empowering about seeing your female body transform throughout pregnancy, no matter what that pesky scale might say.
Here is where I tell you the story of how freaking fortunate I am to have the girlfriends I do. Each one is equally passionate about their life, their work, their families and each one provides something so unique and special to my life. Not only do I have a plethora of numbers to call or text when the going gets tough, but I know that each one of these women are over the moon for me and Adam and this little bebe we are about to bring into the world. So when I considered taking some traditional maternity photos not one, but FOUR friends offered their services. Seriously?? I could sob uncontrollably in a blanket in response to the generosity of these women. And honestly there is NOTHING more special than having someone you love capture your special moments…it’s priceless REALLY.
Julie and Catherine were kind enough to tag team a maternity shoot for me a few weeks back, and I cannot even begin to tell you how much fun it was, although I was pretty nervous from the get go. The dresses I had ordered for the occasion came late, our house was a total disaster the weekend before the shoot and my face/chest were in that lovely stage of pregnancy breakout (ick). But at 7 months pregnant I knew that I wanted to capture my body in all it’s expectant glory before I felt too tired, too bloated, or too stretched out to enjoy it.
With A LOT of help from Adam our house was cleaned, I picked up the dresses from UPS the morning of the shoot, I had my hair and makeup done by sweet Chelsey and Julie and Catherine came over in the afternoon sunlight and worked their magic. I felt comfortable, and beautiful and just so joyful and happy. Julie shot with her digital camera, Catherine with film. We spent about an hour going from room to room and even to our backyard to capture the light and my growing belly. I cried happy tears when Julie sent me the first images she had edited and I couldn’t resist sharing a few of my favorites here. I cannot wait for the day that my little guy is old enough to (maybe?) appreciate seeing these photos of when his mama was growing him in her belly. Regardless of his enthusiasm, I feel so thankful to have images like these ones to forever remember this fleeting time in our life.
If you are even considering getting pregnancy photos, DO IT. Even if it’s just a few photos taken by a loved one, don’t pass up the chance. I considered canceling the shoot a few days before after feeling overwhelmed by the idea of being behind the camera (and not feeling so great physically with non-stop contractions), but am SO glad I went through with it. I plan to have my belly captured one last time right before our due date (just to get it in all its fullest, roundest glory) and am counting the days until I can get some of these framed for our home.
Thank you again to Julie and Catherine for taking the time out of their busy mama/biz lady lives to make this shoot happen. You can see more from the shoot over on Julie’s blog.
photography by Julie Harmsen Fitts and Catherine Abegg (images 1, 9, 10, 13, and 14). hair and makeup by Chelsey Matley. dresses by Free People.
It’s hard to imagine that I actually thought I was rocking a serious baby bump at 17 weeks when Talitha took these photos a couple of months ago (vs a whole lot of belly bloat!). At the time everything felt so new and exciting and I felt like my belly MUST BE showing. Now with less than 3 months to go, it feels as though these images could have been taken a lifetime ago. So much is changing in our lives (especially my waistline!) and this new teeny person we are about to bring into the world is certainly the most thrilling part of it all.
When Talitha spontaneously asked to take some photos in our home after a brunch date, I couldn’t have imagined at the time how much I would value them. Not only for documenting the beginning signs of my pregnancy, but for capturing our home before all the changes began to happen. Our breakfast nook, which served as our guest room for over a year and half while our basement was in disarray, is slowly being transformed into our baby nook.
We plan to co-sleep with our little guy in our room for the first few months (I’m so excited to use this cute mini crib), but things like my glider for feedings and his changing table will take permanent residence in the nook. I could not have imagined when we first bought this house that we would be utilizing this little space off our kitchen for a baby one day, but I’m so excited to keep us all in close quarters during the first months as a family of three (four if you count our precious Bailie-Bug). I’m sure I cannot even begin to anticipate the changes we will need to make to the arrangement as we figure out sleep/feeding schedules and the personality/temperament of our babe, but I’m eager for a fresh start in that tiny little space and it has been so fun to brainstorm colors, patterns and art for the room.
These days my bump is now loud and proud, and I’m spending nearly every waking minute “nesting” - driving Adam insane no doubt. I had always heard about the nesting urge, but it wasn’t until six months of pregnancy when I really realized how intense it can be. From scheduling every last yoga and childbirth class I can get my hands on, to frantically finishing our basement remodel, to closing out that decades old IRA account, to purging unnecessary items to make room for baby gear, to preparing two season’s ahead for the holidays just to ensure our nieces and nephews don’t go gift-less this year; I’m trying to dot my i’s and cross the t’s on anything and everything I can possibly think of. I’ve never felt more productive (or tired) in my life, but I know as each day passes I’m getting closer to focusing my time on what matters most which is this sweet bambino I’m growing in my belly.
I can’t wait to share with you my plans for our baby nook and of course some photos of our little guy once he arrives come November. The fall still seems so far off, as the PNW heat (it’s SO weird to say that!) has still refrained from letting up, but I know the leaves will begin to change color and begin their final decent in no time.
As a first time mom I would love to hear any tips or advice you have about pregnancy or those first few weeks as new parents. Everything feels so new and different and I’m trying to anticipate as much as I can as we jump into this new adventure.
photography by talitha bullock.
It has been quite some time since I checked in on this here blog of mine. I decided back in October after a very busy couple of months of work to take the early winter weeks off to travel and spend some good quality time with friends and family. This included time off from blogging, email answering and really anything that could be classified as “work”. As an entrepreneur you get in the practice of never really taking time off…EVER. Even on those days when an outsider looking into your life might say, “hey that chick ain’t working!” I would still beg to argue. And the argument would actually be a new one for me.
I too used to think on those days when I was home and not answering emails that I was in fact “taking a day off”, but what I quickly realized as a stylist is that even on those days when I feel like I’m prioritizing self-care and downtime, I’m still seeking out inspiration in mundane places, still fussing with our house and practicing my styling, still fretting over business practices and the future, still flipping through magazines and blogs and book to hone my creative eye, still taking photos of life while being overly cautious of composition and lighting and scale etc. So I decided that (minus my treasured instagram feed) I would attempt to refrain from REALLY working. I’d turn down jobs, put on an out of office on my email and for the first time in four years, really REALLY just rest, travel and enjoy the sweet joys of life. I was going to try to have a period of winter calm. So far, I’ve done…OK. There are days when I feel horribly guilty for not responding to emails straight away, or turning down jobs that could otherwise help us with our much-needed and anticipated home renovation, but I’m a work in progress and know soon enough, I’ll be back to the hard focused grind in the early new year.
For now, I wanted to pop in and share a couple of images my dear friend Dorothee captured of me during our time together in The Netherlands. We stumbled upon this beautiful little cafe/boutique in Amsterdam (I had forgotten how many of the spots double as a cafe and clothing shop) and the light was just so so stunning that afternooon. It was bitter cold outside, so we decided to lay low and sip coffee and tea while thumbing through the magazines they had on hand. I’ve visited so many amazing cities in the last few months that I’m dying to share with you – lots of shopping and where to eat tips and of course images too! My plan is to work them into a new feature of city guides that I’ll be working on over the next few weeks (see how that “work” word seems to always creep in there?!).
Until then, I’m off to Raleigh, London and Albuquerque over the next two weeks. I hope, like me, you are finding yourself enjoying this lovely holiday season (we got snow in Seattle while I was home for a few days last week…yahooo!) as well as some time of your own to relish in the simple beauties of life.
You can follow my current travel adventures here : @jelliottblake
photography : Dorothee Brand of Belathee
location : COTTONCAKE , 1e van der Helststraat 76-hs 1072NZ Amsterdam
Happy New Year friends. I spent the morning listening to the rain fall outside our Seattle living room window while working on client proposals, mood-boards for upcoming projects and finishing up on the last of those unanswered emails that trickled in while I was away for the holidays.
Yesterday, for the first time since the new year, it felt like my first really productive and assertive work day. The holiday excitement has officially worn off and the desire to set goals, make progress and try new things has valiantly taken hold. Adam and I have some pretty amazing/nerve-racking/exciting/scary things happening in the near future (will be sharing that news soon), so I’m trying to just deep breath and remember that no matter what happens everything will be okay. We have each other and that’s enough. Everything that I need to get done, will get done, and everything that’s supposed to happen will. Things happen for a reason and I should trust that those things are for the right reasons.
I’ve always known that I’m a person that allows fear to run many parts of my mind, and my life for that matter. When anything new presents itself, when change comes knocking on the door, I’m the type that always turns and runs to that place of fear. Sure, I eventually find it within myself to brave the unknown and plunge forward, but it’s not without first stewing for hours if not days within the yuck. Finding myself in the theory : “the worst that could happen WILL happen” and believing it to be true instead of turning over the coin to the other side and saying “what’s the BEST that could happen?”. As my dearest friend Emma reminded me this morning : BOTH are equally possible. Yes, bad things could happen as a result of any decision, BUT great things are just as likely to result too. I’m taking her ‘wise well beyond her years’ advice and trusting my gut and moving forward with a smile and assurance that life will be great - yes, inevitably challenging – but beautiful and wonderful too. That’s the thing about true good friends : they can see things about yourself that you can’t and can hold your hand while you (however slowly) open your blinders.
I had some fun pictures I was going to share with you today from a recent event I designed in November, but I realized I needed a day to just write and get some quiet clarity. To meditate for a few minutes and find calm & peace within myself and this blog while the world swirls around me. I always find peace in my travels so I’m ending today’s post with some black & whites of my 2013 adventures as a way to remind myself that life is grand & great & beautiful and to encourage myself to push back against todays fears and just ride the wave of life today, one hopeful step and raindrop at a time.
*Today’s post is dedicated to my Emma – a friend who always somehow knows exactly how to tap into my strengths when I feel uncertain.
Copenhagen was one of the cities on my trip to Europe this summer that I’d wanted to visit for longer than I can remember. So many creative folks whom I greatly admire have spoken of how much Denmark changed their lives and it made me curious of all the beauty that lie ahead.
It didn’t take longer than the bus ride from the airport to my apartment rental to realize and appreciate the charm and uniqueness of this wonderful city. Although there were a few bumps in the road during my four days there (a broken sandal, an ATM malfunction (2000 danish krona instead of 200), and blanketed pouring rain) it truly did capture my heart. I visited the Torvehallerne market five times (at least) during my stay and was immensely inspired by the plethora of amazing artists studios trickling across the small city. It was also the first time in my ENTIRE life I actually felt short (I teeter between 5’11 and 6 ft)! So many tall, blonde women who inspired me to stand a little more upright upon returning home to the states.
A couple of must see Copenhagen spots :
Torvehallerne (amazing amazing AMAZING market with the most sophisticated stalls, produce and products you’ll ever see! You cannot visit Copenhagen without checking this place out! I went 5 times during my stay) : Frederiksborggade 21 1360 Copenhagen K
The Coffee Collective (there are a couple of locations throughout the city, but the overall aesthetic and taste of the coffee makes this place a winner) : Jaegersborggade 10 2200 Copenhagen N
Frederiksberg Flea Market (so many perfect and affordable vintage treasures – open every Saturday during the season) : Bag Frederiksberg Radhaus 2000 Frederiksberg
Hay House (to put it simply : I could live here. A home interiors mecca full of endless “must have” items) : Oestergade 61, 2nd & 3rd Floor 1100 Copenhagen K
Vanishing Point (beautiful handmade studio with lovely gift or souvenir options. I bought the most adorable toddler swimsuit there) : Jaegersborggade 45 2200 Copenhagen N
Stilleben (one of those boutiques that convinces you that you must take home one of everything they offer. My favorite shop I visited by far) : Niels Hemmingsens Gade 3 1153 Copenhagen K
Jaegersborggade Street (my favorite street in all of Copenhagen, nestled into the beautiful neighborhood of Norrebro. Too many great shops to count – a must stroll spot)
Gorms Pizza (one word? yum!) : Torvehallerne Market Nyhavn 14 1051 Copenhagen
Ladyfingers (very cute jewelry spot specializing in geometric shapes. I bought a beautiful gold triangle ring that hasn’t left my hand since) : Jaegersborggade 4 2200 Copenhagen N
Natural History Museum Botanical Gardens (one of my favorite places of the entire trip. I spent an entire afternoon wandering amongst the peaceful beauty) : Oster Farimagsgade 2 B Copenhagen
Designer Zoo (wonderful studio full of fantastic glassware and ceramics from local designers) : Vesterbrogade 137 1620 Copenhagen V
If you are even considering a trip to Scandinavia (Denmark especially) book your trip. Seriously. No regrets. I promise.
photography : jenn elliott blake
I can’t tell you the number of times I said “I’m SO happy!” over the last two days.
I took the entire weekend off to spend it enjoying the fall season with Adam. A Pho dinner and movie with dearest friends; apple picking in Mount Vernon; hot cider in hand while choosing front porch pumpkins; couch cuddling during the Broncos game (okay NOT so thrilled about that loss!); dessert baking with our fresh bundle of fruit; holiday shopping for family (I’m almost done!); thanksgiving vacation planning … our ‘incredibly relaxing happy list’ continued on and on all weekend.
It was tough to wake to Monday today, so sharing a few photos from our weekend is keeping those jovial feelings alive as I start the work week.
What about you? Any festive fall adventures yet?
photography : jenn elliott blake
Out of all the cities I visited on my trip to Europe this summer, Berlin was by far my favorite. There was something so special & unique about the raw/dark edge of this european spot on the map; the history of the city actually overwhelming me at times. An afternoon visit to the Berlin wall instantaneously flooded me with emotion, and I left feeling like I learned and engrained more than I ever took in from a history class in school.
I was also pleasantly surprised by how good the food was (seriously I had the best Italian dish of my life one night!) and the shops here are SO well curated it hurts. I could have easily brought home an entire extra suitcase just from Berlin treasures alone! Also, if you ever get a chance to visit, make sure to keep your eyes peeled for the vintage photo booths scattered throughout the city streets. Such an amazing opportunity to capture mid-day adventures and memories.
A couple of my Berlin must stop spots…
Cafe Anne Blume (best breakfast/people watching spot) : Kollwitzstrasse 83 10435 Berlin
Madchenitaliener (lovely italian spot – hands down the best meal of my life!) Alte Schönhauser Strasse 12 10119 Berlin
Good Morning Vietnam (some of the best yellow curry I’ve ever had) Alte Schönhauser Strasse 60 10119 Berlin
Do You Read Me?! (AMAZING Bookstore in heart of Mitte) : Augustrasse 28 10117 Berlin – Mitte
& Other Stories (everything in this shop is absolutely gorgeous) : Kurfürstendamm 234 10789 Berlin
R.S.V.P. (well curated stationary shop in Mitte) : Mulackstrasse 14 10119 Berlin
Checkpoint Charlie (spent over three hours reading the info lining the streets of this historical place) : Friedrichstrasse 43-45 10117 Berlin
On Monday I took the early morning train from Seattle to Portland to spend a couple of days with my parents in Oregon. They had flown into San Fransisco last week, and driven up the California coast to see my Dad’s family, before heading north to visit Adam and I this week in the good ol’ PNW.
We spent the better part of Monday exploring Portland’s charm, before leaving early the next morning for the Oregon coast. I’ve been dying to get back to Cannon Beach for over a year, and luckily we were blessed with the most magical day. My parents had never been to the Oregon coast before, and boy oh boy did she show off that day. There were moments during our walk along the beach where I actually had trouble catching my breath…the beauty just took over. The colors….ohhhh good golly the colors. Blues, greens, even purples I wished I could bottle up and bath in, fog perfectly rolling across the sweet sleepy town, and reflections off the sand that made you question what was up and what was down. Perfect was the only way to describe the beach that day and it will be an afternoon with my parents that I will forever treasure.
photography : jenn elliott blake.