Fertility Vacation 2.0 // Made to Be Happy

One of my close friends is worried I’m not strong enough to be pregnant or will find parenthood too much.

I’m not worried.

When I’m pregnant I will be so good at celebrating. I am made to be happy. It’s the most honest part of my personality. I will have this peaceful, calm.

Me and the universe will snuggle up to one another, exhaling and basking in the feeling of being “home”.  Finally letting go of the tinge of sadness or fear because this moment of belonging together is much more real than lying down broken hearted.

Of course, being pregnant will be challenging, but I can’t help but believe that the avalanche of joy that I will feel will shelter us. Me full of gratitude and hope is a powerful force.

Parenthood makes so much sense to me. Selflessly loving someone seems to be natural. Finally, my skills of trying hard and having a grateful attitude will be in my favor.

I want to be in this space now. I want to be in love with the world as I am. Even without having everything I want. I want to feel beauty in trying.

How do I live through this barrage of hormones and stay my sweet, powerful, free-spirited self?

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Fertility Vacation 2.0 // Round Two

I don’t worry about relaxing anymore. I remember how stressed I was about it before IVF attempt number one. Now it’s not hysteria, there’s no panic attacks. It’s numbness.

It’s wishing for love, sexuality, my womb, and divine love to grant me my hopes and dreams. But even during the wishing comes doubts and sadness. The end-of-the-night-drunk kind of sad when you know there’s hope, but it’s hard to tell if giving up or fighting hurts less.

This round two is not a lot of high energy or stress. Round two is something else quieter and sadder than you can imagine. I have the strength of someone who has been through hell, who knows what it’s like to fail and who has less attachment to being who you are supposed to be.

There’s a wild card in that;  a confidence and a quiet strength that can survive.

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Fertility Vacation 2.0 // Finding Headspace

I follow Jess Lively’s podcast and she says she spends much of the day getting into the right flow to do her best work; walking, meditating and other peaceful practices.

I usually get into a decent headspace pretty easily. I love my life, my husband, city, job, friends, and family. I’ve worked hard to design a life I love.

But lately, I can’t get into a good head space to enjoy it or make it work, so I end up just faking it.

I think if I can find a way to enjoy the activities it takes to get me in the right mental space (regardless of how long it takes), I will be much calmer and my day will be brighter.

These podcasts were helpful to me, maybe they will be for you too:

  • Being Boss #139 : Energetic Boundaries. How to put up and maintain boundaries.
  • The Accidental Creative : Aligning your Expectations with Reality.
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Fertility Vacation 2.0 // How Do I Get Braver?

How do I become braver than I currently am? What is the practice?

I know I’m brave because I’m sitting here wiping away the tears. I’m willing to take risks and I’ve made it this far.

Maybe I keep trying to imagine how getting pregnant would change the rest of our lives? Diapers, pajamas, teenage hijinks; maybe that’s a way.

I feel like I’m lost in the hows and maybes.  

I’m not sure I’ll get on the plane.
I’m not sure if I’ll walk into the clinic.
I’m not sure I’ll give myself the shots.

It could lead to our dreams coming true, but I’m not sure I’m strong enough to do any of it.

My friend Vanessa sent me this text when I needed it most:

“Remember we are not people that allow fear to run our lives. Fear does not control you. YOU control the fear. That doesn’t mean not feeling it, that means not allowing it to make your decisions. This is your choice, and when I say yours, I mean your heart and soul. Choose to enjoy life with the man you love. Do not choose fear.”

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6 things // August Feels

Photographing: lots of engagement sessions. Portraits are my jam. I had a fun time with Alyssa and Krystel in North Park. The murals and the neighborhood in general are inspiring. - Suzanne

Watching: Game of Thrones. I'm so in love with Sunday. - Suzanne

Girl crush: On my acupuncturist Laurie Morse. She is such an extraordinary person and healer. She has taken me places I've never gone. I really value her perspective. I'm so appreciative of having someone so high vibe in my life. - Suzanne

Photographing: Working with Suzanne from Crown Weddings and Annette Gomez at last weekend's wedding was a great experience.  - Mike

Reading: I'm reading more. More about philosophy and listening to podcast on mindset and detachment. Really a turning point for me in this mid-life crisis. - Mike

Preparing: For our next Europe trip. Many hopes and dreams lingering in the air. Life changes seem to be always right around the corner. - Mike

xoxo
Suzanne & Mike

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Some corporate love for UCSD : Around the World

In the midst of beautiful weddings, parades and travels I recently photographed a corporate event for UCSD for 2500 hundred of their favorite people.  I look forward to this event every year because this group knows how to let loose.  Who would ever have thought that a company party could be this fun.  Kristen Garuba creates something spectacular and different every year and the night always ends on the dance floor with an epic band and the formal party turns into a night club.  This year they had a global theme - so yeah I was into that.

Cheers,

Mike

Happy Pride San Diego!

When you think about how lucky we are to live in such an accepting and inspiring community, I can't help but stop and think about the memories that have come from Pride. It has become almost like an extra holiday in San Diego. Pride is one summer weekend you do not want to miss. The excitement and energy running through everyone is exhilarating, you can feel the love and happiness of everyone.  It's nice to stop and look around and enjoy that moment of pure love and parade magic.   

Fun fact - the last image is of my friends Lindsey and Justina who were in the parade and I photographed their wedding 2 kids ago =)

xoxo Suzanne and Mike

Tara and Jason : A family estate wedding Part 1

I love Donna Urban Events and I'm so thankful that she introduced me to her family friends - Tara and Jason.  It's been a great year getting to know them both, spending time on their ranch and hearing their story and what is important to them.  I loved the way Tara's voice would light up when she spoke about her little Godson or how she always managed to ask how I was doing with the IVF whenever we spoke.  Her generosity of spirit and love for life was mentioned again and again in the speeches.  You know that song, Wake Me Up Before You Go Go, where he says, "I don't want to miss it when you hit that high"? That's what I thought of while watching Tara on the dance floor. It was amazing - like a concert - she let her hair down and let loose and was pure magic. The Wayne Foster band certainly matched Tara's vibration.  No one could take their eyes off of her pure joy abandon.

I love how Jason is always there for her.  He is like a rock.  He's someone who will stand by you.  So smart and kind.

xoxo Suzanne

Rentals: Classic Party Rental Mark Sedan

Photographer: SheWanders Photograhpy

Videographer: Braven Carver Films

Florist: French Buckets

Make Up: Sara Zeller

Catering: 24 Carrots

Band: Wayne Foster

String Quartet: Del Lago Trio

Sound Engineer: Audio Tek Sound

Cake: Sweet and Saucy Cortney

Photo Booth: Focus Photo Suites

Transportation: Cedars Parking 

4 Things // Beautiful Celebrations

Celebrating : Family dinner celebrating my brother's new license as a massage therapist. Oysters at Beer Fish is the way to go! I love celebrating. - Suzanne

Meditating : Jess Lively guided meditation is so interesting. It's a wild idea to choose your feeling for the day. I like to start mine as if I'm in Santorini, Greece after a bike ride and a swim in the ocean. - Suzanne

Dreaming of : Getting back in shape. Looking to clean up my diet and get back to a good clean eating routine. More hiking, running and boxing. When my body is peaking, my creativity peaks as well. My endurance for long wedding days and difficult situations are all positively effected by my fitness levels. - Mike

Photographing : Alexandra and Geoff's beautiful wedding day :)

Creativity Tell All // Chelsea White of Maderas Golf Club

Chelsea is such a beautiful soul. I met her years ago at a wedding she was coordinating. She is grace under pressure. One of the coolest experiences we've had together is when Alex hired me to photograph their proposal at the Marine Room in La Jolla. I fell in love with both of them in that moment. I know she will bring that joy as a wedding specialist at Maderas Golf Club

How do you continually stay inspired and creative?
You would think that planning weddings and events every day would mean that I would avoid doing it in my free time, but the complete opposite is true. I love planning dinner parties and summer BBQs at my house. The satisfaction I feel when I see all my friends and family enjoying the food and details that my husband and I put together for one of our get-togethers is all it takes to remind me why I love what I do. That’s why I strive to make sure all my clients get to see that reaction from their guests on their special day.

Is there anything special or unique about your morning routine?
I am absolutely a creature of habit. My alarm goes off at 6:30 every morning. My mastiff Oden comes over for his morning snuggles, i.e. slobber kisses, and then I roll out of bed to have my morning java with my husband (this part is key; no matter what the agenda for the day, I always crave a warm cup of coffee to start it off).

If someone wanted to break into your industry, what advice would you give them?
Do it! It’s so rewarding and beautiful! The details are crucial. I think after awhile some people in this industry find that weddings can be a little repetitive. When you’ve seen one blush themed colored ballroom, you’ve seen them all. But here’s the thing - it’s our jobs to be detectives and find out the little details that make each of our couples unique. It’s those details that are going to cut through the chaos of the day and make it unforgettable.

Did you always know this career path was ‘the one’?
I went to college to learn the art of advertising. I liked it, but I didn’t love it. It wasn’t until after moving back home and waitressing to support myself that I was forced to really evaluate what would make me happy in a career. One day I was at home thinking about the things in life that I really enjoy; entertaining friends and family, making and enjoying great food, meeting new people and pretty things like flowers, art, love, etc. Then I had this epiphany; like a full blown, stop you in your tracks moment. I wanted to be a wedding planner.

What season inspires you most?
My knee jerk reaction is to say Spring, but if I really think about it, Autumn is my favorite. I spent the majority of childhood in Wisconsin where the change in season from summer to fall was truly magical. There is something so refreshing about crisp air, leaves crunching under your boots and a hot cup of coffee (all the greatest things involve coffee.)

Do you have any funny short stories or embarrassing moments from when you first got started?
I can’t think of any one particular moment off the top of my head, though I do recall that when I first started out, I thought it was always better to have an answer to everything, even if it wasn’t 100% true. I’m pretty sure a few mothers of the bride and grooms had their corsages on the wrong wrist for quite a while.

I’ve learned that there is no shame in saying, “You know what, I’m not sure the correct answer for that, but let me find out for you.”

What is the best advice you have been given?
Be yourself and don’t be afraid to say no.

What is your dream project?
I’d love to create a successful blog that people actually want to read, or write a novel. I’ve always loved to write. If I’m honest with myself, it’s probably the way I communicate best. The tricky part is figuring out what to write about that you think people would be interested in. Or maybe the hard part is just deciding not to care if anyone isn’t. I’m working on it.

If there was a song that played every time you worked on your craft, what would it be?
I have the most spastic collection of Pandora stations ever! My mood and energy always reflect in my music choices, so it’s not unusual to hear Norah Jones if you walk by my office in the morning, “Country Love Songs” if you walk by in the afternoon and “Today’s Top Hits” if I’m about to head out for a wedding. You know it’s a really good day, though, when I’m blasting the Justin Timberlake Radio.

Is there anything in particular you are obsessed with these days?
Gardening and finishing the puzzle that I started last weekend. Life can be hectic, so I relish the moments where I can zone out, but still get something accomplished.

What would you do if you had $40,900 for a vacation?
I’d take off a year and plan an around-the-world excursion with my husband! I have this sometimes overwhelming urge to travel and I’d love to have the opportunity to let go of adult responsibilities for a bit and just get a taste of what the world has to offer.

4 Things // Tropical Love

So much goodness. 3 weddings and an epic event in two states. Mike and I are having all the fun this week.

Dreaming of: Today's Maui wedding for Francesca and Matt. It was so fun to photograph their proposal and now I get to meet all of their friends and family and photograph them getting married with my awesome sidekick Deme. - Suzanne

Listening to : So many podcasts as I drive around the island searching for the best coffee in maui. If you have any tips send them my way. - Suzanne

Photographing : Some people plan their wedding for over a year, and some people are so in love it takes a week.  I can't wait to set sail this weekend for a wedding on the bay. - Mike

Family : Twice a year my mom comes to visit from New York. She gets here on Monday for two weeks. My mom is one of my best friends. She's so cool and fits in wherever we go. I can't wait to grab a beer with her and try to find something new to show her. 

4 Things // Pride & More

Photographing : Friday was a 25 person wedding on a 90 ft yacht. It was amazing to float around the bay and be part of an amazing party. I was treated like one of the guests and the couple had the best sense of humor! The always amazing Annette Gomez did the florals. - Mike

More photographing : On Saturday I shot an event that had over 2,500 people. Very mixed cultures with a live band and crazy dance party. What a night! - Mike

Talking to: Gaidin Nordic Warrior the last week. This little guy has been so chatty. I've been waiting for so long to hear what he thinks and all of a sudden he is sharing a little more. It turns out he wants to go to the park or go swimming. These have been his most common thoughts. I'm in Aunt heaven.

Dreaming of: Alexandra and Geoff's beautiful wedding at the Grand Del Mar. I just love Alexandra and her whole family. We met at a gala at SDMA and she also modeled for me for Exquisite Weddings a couple of years ago. It's all going to be a dream. 

Palm Springs Photo Festival : Julie Blackmon

“[...]the only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars and in the middle you see the blue centerlight pop and everybody goes “Awww!”"

Julie Blackmon is one of the mad ones.  She's kind and brilliant.  I love how her mind can create such layered stories.  I've admired her for so long and it was a dream come true to take a workshop from her.   I had wanted to take Julie's class last year and we couldn't quite fit it in the schedule.  So finally at long last I was sitting in the courtyard of the Korakia with a handful of other artists and Julie.  

Julie is a fine art portrait artist and I would say her work can best be described as a satirical look at domestic life in the midwest.  She draws inspiration from so many painters and places it was so nice to get to be in her brain and see how she creates her magic.  I hope some of her magic rubs off on me and adds a new ingredient to my creative vision.  Isn't that what we are all really looking for?  I know I'm always looking to add color, movement, a new sense of time and space to my work.  She's really inspired by 17th Century Dutch and Flemish paintings of domestic life.  My photographic journey has always been fueled by paintings as well, mostly Expressionism, Abstract Expressionism, and the Bay Area Figurative Movement. I think our shared love of paintings is one of the things that makes her work so compelling to me.  As a teacher she's laid back and cool and really open to sharing her process with us.  She has a beautiful color palette and a certain optimism that I'm drawn to. If you are thinking of taking a workshop I would highly suggest Julie's.  The class also came with the added bonus of meeting some really cool photographers.  The critiques were a lot of fun, I loved seeing everyone's work.  I left wanting to shoot every single day and not wanting to do any adulting - only fun.  If I'm honest it took me a few days to find my balance again ha ha.

 Here are a few of my impressions of Julie Blackmon's class Day 1 at the Palm Springs Photo Festival.

xoxo Suzanne

 

 

Free Download // Girl Gang

"She Rocks We Rock is women's empowerment group started in San Diego by female local businesses: The Creative Clique | Shoppe California | Thorne Artistry.  Our second networking event was a sell out at the new (and female-owned) You + Yours Distillery in East Village last Thursday. We are planning our next event for this fall to celebrate each other over delicious cocktails, light bites, beauty bar, shopping, networking, + more.

She Rocks We Rock is on a MAJOR mission: to connect and celebrate creative women in San Diego. We don't believe in competition, we believe in community.  

Hosted by women, for women, we wanted to create an easy-going networking event where female entrepreneurs and creative spirits could lift each other up.  She Rocks is a safe space to honor and celebrate each other's talents. " - Laurie Nicoud, The Creative Clique

Laurie and Amanda, two of the women behind She Rocks We Rock, are my studio mates and I am constantly inspired by their creative process. 

Follow @sherockswerock for event updates :)

Enjoy!

DOWNLOAD HERE

Creativity Tell All // Luna Wild Design

Aly with Luna Wild Design fills me with wanderlust and a laid back vibe that inspires me to be more creative and design my life with greater possibilities. You can often find Aly on some exotic beach in Mexico making couple's dreams that much cooler. I once asked her a dream related question and she said she'd like to spend a couple months of the year working remotely practicing yoga in a jungle in Central America dreaming up designs for cool people. Yes to that!

How do you continually stay inspired and creative?
Traveling and making sure I'm always exploring is one way to always stay inspired.  It's hard not to feel inspired when you're visiting new places; a city, restaurant, coffee shop or the outdoors. I also learned early on that overbooking myself and being too busy is the fastest way to kill creativity for me.  I need time to breath, think and process my ideas rather than rushing through them. I find that my best designs come in my 'slow' seasons because I have more time to truly dedicate towards each idea and the client, instead of treating creativity and design as a check list.

Is there anything special or unique about your morning routine?
My husband and I always get up and make coffee and breakfast together. Especially Monday through Friday. I need an hour of slow time just sitting next to him on the couch with coffee before I get started with anything. Sometimes we'll go on runs, and sometimes we'll just sit in silence, but I love starting off my day with quality time with him.

If someone wanted to break into your industry, what advice would you give them?
That's a good one. Start connecting with your fellow industry-mates. This industry is so personal and for the most part very supportive and helpful. Truly get to know those around you and treat them with mutual respect. Naturally, if there's a connection, people will want to work with you because they like you. I would suggest working your butt off and start helping people and learning from them. Connections and opportunities will naturally happen when they're supposed to.

Did you always know this career path was ‘the one’?
I knew from pretty early on (when I was about 20 years old) that I loved this career.  I still haven't gotten sick of it and I don't plan on doing so. The best part about the design and wedding industry is that it's so big and there are so many different areas and types of things you can do that it never gets boring.  I love that I get to start fresh every year with new clients and new challenges.

What season inspires you most?
I'm a summer girl through and through, but I would say my soul is drawn to spring. Fresh life and the muted tones. I guess I'm a spring/summer mix. :)

Do you have any funny short stories or embarrassing moments from when you first got started?
My most embarrassing moment was setting a center piece on fire. The centerpiece had pampass grass wildly growing to one side of it and right after I lit a candle, the wind guided the pampass grass to the flame. I'm terrified of fire, so I just stood there paralyzed and I couldn't move or speak.  One of the guests saw what happened and ran over and dumped his drink on the fire in front of me. It was so embarrassing because everyone saw it and all night I was that girl who lit the table on fire.

What is the best advice you have been given?
I would say to know that you're worth it. I struggled a lot first getting started about discounting myself and overworking myself, but a few people told me to stick to my prices and know my worth.  Telling myself that my time is valuable and that I deserve to get paid my set rates allows me to be more selective, work less and truly enjoy my clients and my life more. I'm more focused, more inspired and I feel respected and appreciated.

What is your dream project?
My dream projects are design projects where I get to travel, and use local sourcing and vendors to create experiences. I love the pressure and excitement of sourcing things locally and creating something that's truly unique. And, of course, traveling is always an added bonus of fresh inspiration and materials to play with.

If there was a song that played every time you worked on your craft, what would it be?
I love listening to Buena Vista Social Club when I'm working or cooking. It's soothing yet playful and always puts me in the best mood.

Is there anything in particular you are obsessed with these days? 
Definitely Frosé, but what girl isn't!? I'm also obsessed with cold brew + lemonade - I love the bitter mixture and have been drinking it nonstop to get me through busy days.

What would you do if you had $40,900 for a vacation?
So much! I would spend one month traveling in Central America, two months in South America and one month in Australia, Indonesia, Thailand and some other places around there. I would spend my time exploring, finding local spots and getting to know the culture. I'd probably sign up for some cooking classes, run, do yoga a lot, walk all day and eat and drink a lot too.

Fertility Vacation // Rest - What is it good for?

This morning feels unlike every other morning. I feel both healed and like I need rest.

Rest, but what kind of rest?

My favorite type of rest is after a long bike ride in Santorini, or body surfing with Maryanne and Gaidin in Coronado in the summer feeling all relaxed and tingly. I love the type of rest that involves sitting in a cafe to write about the day or sitting with my nephew wrapped in a towel watching the water together after we splash around. I think my idea of rest is sitting back, taking in an adventure, feeling grateful and spent in my body.

I knew I would have to shift this year. I knew rest wasn’t in my equation. I couldn’t find the pleasure in it. Rest was an annoying means to an end.

Since we’ve been trying to get pregnant, rest has been particularly confusing. Somewhere along the way, I equated the word rest and relax with failing. I detest failing. I feel like being alive is such a gift and wasting efforts or spending time on a project that fundamentally fails feels like being ungrateful.

When someone says, “As soon as you stop trying, you’ll get pregnant!”, what I actually hear is, “As soon as you trick your brain into not caring if you get pregnant, you’ll get pregnant!”. Or, “As soon as you become an entirely different person you’ll get pregnant!”.  It’s been a painful inner dialogue. What would it take for me to stop my brain from trying to get pregnant? My answer was to banish hope.

Every month I hoped I would get pregnant and every month I wouldn’t. So after a few years I stopped trying. I stopped hoping in every way I could. I tried to put blackout curtains in my mind on hope. It hurt. I was so sad. It hurt Mike too. He held hope for both of us. I’m the cheerleader in our relationship, but when I fall and lose all landmarks, Mike will pick us both up.

We have so many well meaning friends and family members. People see our struggle and want to help. Their kind words were trying to lead me home. Those words “rest/relax” weren’t big enough clues for me. They took away my power when they were suppose to give it back.

Right now, for me, rest is what you do in between rounds of fighting (no pun intended).  In between rounds of giving it your all and being your all. Fighting the good fight, hoping, wishing, praying and then in between, resting in that high vibration. Walk, run, swim, laugh, jump and rest in happiness.

I didn’t know what my post IVF fight would look like, but I’m proud of myself for being willing to go so far outside of my depth to let go of what isn’t serving me. My chi, my chakras, my vibe, my energy -  I’m getting stronger in places I’ve yet to understand.

The Inn at Rancho Santa Fe Wedding : Laura and Andrew

Laura and Andrew decided against an extravagant guest list, and instead kept their wedding small and shared the day with only their closest friends and family. Laura dreamt up the most beautiful day and floated through it from start to finish. I felt so lucky to be able to share in their celebration and document this intimate day full of love. Laura's brother officiated which was so special. The harpist played throughout the whole evening and all of the decor was imprinted with hand drawn calligraphy. So many amazing details!

xoxo
Suzanne

Inspiration La Valencia

Sometimes our lives are like a lovely little dream.  I adore La Valencia and wanted to tell a story here.  Mike and I asked our friends at Before I Do Events to make some magic with us.  We were also so happy to work again with the paper artist Karina Puente.  She crafts the most beautiful handmade pieces and she created the backdrop for the day.  We met so many new friends this day and ended the evening celebrating with cocktails and maybe a little karaoke.  What started as a very rainy day ended up being sheer perfection and on the cover of Exquisite Weddings Magazine.  xoxo Suzanne and Mike 

Our collaborators.  Before I Do : La Valencia : Ashley Elizabeth Florals : Elle Bridal Boutique : Curl and Revel : Make me up Summer : Karina Puente : Farm Tables and More

4 Things // Hey Hey Summer

Hey hey summer, goodbye June gloom =)

Dreaming of: Body surfing with Maryanne. I want the thrill of the waves washing over me bringing summer into my body and mind. - Suzanne

Photographing: My first homecoming. Mike has photographed a few, but this was my first time capturing someone get off a plane and come home to their family. It was so thrilling to  hang out with Katie and her 2 and 4 year old daughters waiting for their dad to finally come home. What a joyous moment. I felt so lucky to get to share it with them. - Suzanne

A corporate event at Estancia. Sometimes an event can be as grand as a wedding and it was fun to apply my wedding skills to a weekday event at one of my favorite places. - Mike

Hiking: I finally got one of those toddler backpacks to take Gaidin hiking just in time for his third birthday. Adventure is ahead for us. - Mike

Watching: John Lovell on YouTube. He's an interesting guy who links health, fitness, self defense and morals all in one. 

Fertility Vacation // Dog Days are Over

It’s been another week of big shifts. I’m shedding my skin. I have this new feeling that I can get pregnant. The woman I passed by on the street was far along and I felt connected to her. I felt like I could be her one day. I sensed that it must be weird and uncomfortable to be lopsided.

I’m letting go. I drank some peppermint tea. I walked to the garden and listened to this song:

Things could have been stranger, but I don’t know how
I’m going through changes now
I’ve spent a lifetime trying to figure it out
I’m going through changes now
And i’ve just begun
Under a purple sun
There are many reasons we are what we become
I’m going through changes, ripping out pages
I knew it once, but i forgot
I’m going through changes now
We want everything, but we get what we got
I’m going through changes now
Maybe it’s too soon
Under a purple moon
Maybe it’s too soon
But I’d ride off with you in a big balloon
I’m going through changes, rattling cages
I’m going through changes now
Things could be different but I don’t know how
I’m going through changes, through all of the strangeness
I’m going through changes now.

         - Langhorne Slim & The Law - The Spirit Moves