4 Things // Changes

Dreaming of : A couple of average days. This week has been a ton of change. Mostly good and a little bad. Even good change is change and for some reason all of the change has me spinning. I would love a couple of average days strung together. - Suzanne

Photographing : Tara and Jason's San Juan Capistrano rehearsal dinner at the Mission and wedding on their family's property. I'm so excited to see her dreams come to life with the amazing Donna Urban. - Suzanne

Reading : I just started reading Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. More on that to come! - Mike

Watching : The Lego Movie. I'm also looking forward to seeing my mom next month. She comes out a couple times of year from New York and it's always great to have her in town. 

xoxo

 

 

Fertility Vacation // Practical Tips

Hi friends,

As many of you had requested, here are some practical tips from our fertility vacation in Prague. Hope it helps for your journey!

Flight
I booked my trip on WOW Airlines from Los Angeles to Berlin with a stopover in Iceland. I loved seeing the magic of the Northern Lights to fill up my spirit before the unknown of IVF.  I choose WOW for their stopover options.  Be careful on luggage charges and pack strategically.  Mike flew on Copa, a Russian airline that had some great last minute options into Prague since we didn't know exactly what days he should be there.

Home Away from Home
We booked a few Airbnb apartments throughout our stay. We prefer to get to know a neighborhood, and then book last minute while we are on site. Other people like to book in advance to feel a bit more settled before their trip. We loved the photogenic Vinohrady district, which is an art deco neighborhood off the beaten path, but still close enough to everything.

Time Commitment
I would recommend about a month-long trip for a Fertility Vacation; give or take a few extra days for travel and to account for what day your period will start. Technically, the guy only needs to be there a day or two for sperm retrieval, but having Mike as my emotional support during implantation, and also my adventure partner was necessary for a few days longer. Here is a sample schedule from our IVF clinic:

Day 1 – arrival
Day 2 – Initial consultation, gynaecological examination. The man will follow with blood sampling and sperm freezing. Paperwork, payment, signatures, man can leave if necessary.
Day 3 - 7 eggs retrieved from the donor, their fertilization
2 - 5 days after fertilization (i.e. between Day 5 – 12) cultivation of embryos takes place. It is finished by embryo transfer
After the transfer we recommend to relax at least for 24 hours before you fly back home.
In total 7 - 12 nights

Fertility Clinic - Praga Medica
Overall, we had a really positive experience at Praga Medica. The staff made us feel comfortable and understood, despite the language barrier. They provided a translator as part of the fees. They were helpful and competent, even if their approach to kindness was different than smiling (they’re definitely not going to smile at you!).

Money Money Money Money….Money
There are a lot of factors to consider with a Fertility Vacation. Vacation days from work, life commitments, how many times you want to try IVF, etc. Cost was a huge factor for us and with our flexible lifestyle and love for travel, a fertility vacation made the most sense.

In total - the cost of IVF, travel, room and board - our trip was about $10,000. Keep in mind, we also lived for that price - meals, shows, etc. IVF in the U.S. runs about $15-$20k. Most people I have spoken with said the cost is $20k, if you’re lucky, as it’s not uncommon to cost astronomically more than that. One of my friends was close to $65k and was successful on the first IVF attempt although they tried multiple options along the way.

Research
Prior to choosing Praga Medica we Googled a few IVF clinics in Prague. We compared each clinic and then also asked our friend who is an IVF consultant here in the U.S. to see her recommendation. After interviewing Praga Medica, we felt like they stood out to us and were the best choice. Here is our list of questions from the interview

Prague
Being in Prague was the best part of our experience; away from everything and focused on us. Prague is a big sprawling city that is affordable and has a ton of activities including unique cafes, foodie hot spots and art classes. There were historic city tours, food tours, music performances, day trips to charming towns like Cesky Krumlov, Karlovy Vary, Vienna and Budapest. So many choices!

Is a Fertility Vacation right for you? You should:

  • Love to be in a new city
  • Want to be parents
  • Feel comfortable being away from home
  • Have a support system in place; smart phones, Hello TMobile, friends to visit, etc.
  • Find a way to communicate with your people so you don’t feel alone and so that everyone at home still feels included

While on your fertility Vacation - Suzanne says:

  • Pick a place and neighborhood to stay; let yourself feel the routine of it
  • Pick what time of day to take for your shots that fits best into your desired routine - mine had to be between 6 and 8pm. I choose 6 but as a photographer I wished I had chosen 7:30 so I didn't have to miss the golden hour
  • Discover your favorite coffee shop and become a regular
  • The shot has to be refrigerated so bring a cooler/ice pack with you so you don't have to go all the way back to your hotel if you don't want to

While on your Fertility Vacation - Mike says:

  • Find a way to relax and enjoy your time, instead of constantly thinking about the procedure
  • Spend enough time in your city: two full weeks for me was enough time for fun and exploration
  • Treat yourself while you’re there
  • It's a journey and it’s hard, but it also builds character and a sense of adventure
  • Be willing to allow yourself to have fun
  • It's not a dreadful event, but rather a life adventure

Things that made us feel at home - Suzanne’s lens:

  • Went for Mexican food (Las Adelitas - Malé Naměstí 13) so many times, nothing says home more than tacos
  • Drawing classes make me feel comfortable to me when traveling
  • Mike’s walking tours. I pick places I’m interested in and then Mike holds my hand and and navigates me around the city, adding in his own special stops. I love following him around and he loves logistically organizing everything.
  • Lunch and going to the museum
  • English book store called “Shakespeare's” where expats congregate
  • I feel really at home amongst tourists and listening to all of the languages being spoken.  You find tourists in the most incredible places; they are my tribe.

Things that made us feel at home - Mike’s lens:

  • Going to the movies (three times!)
  • Museums
  • Visiting historical sights and art exhibits
  • Farmers markets and swap meets
  • Finding every cool coffee shop
  • Drinking a beer before noon
  • Walking  5-8 miles a day
  • Endless picture taking and mini photo shoots of each other
  • We had friends meet us there from England, Dubai, Switzerland and Sweden

Emotional Preparation
IVF Is hard. There are no two ways around it. PMS has nothing on IVF.  It is identity shaking, emotional, disruptive. The weeks during the actual IVF process were fine, even great, but the aftermath of the hormone depletion was completely overwhelming. I feel much better equipped for the second time around. I have less fear and will relax more, now that I understand the upcoming challenges.

Lots of love to you!!

Suzanne & Mike

Fertility Vacation // Life TBD

It feels like most parts of my life are walking around with their shoelaces untied. My heart and body feel a little discombobulated as I look out to still unpacked suitcases from Cuba, Iceland, Germany and Prague. End of the year projects are awaiting final touches. Two gravestones in New York not yet graced by our flowers and presence. A part of me still reeling from the election.

Being home has been mostly jet lag and coffee withdrawals. I’ve missed everything we had planned - an epic 50th party with our friend’s band playing, a heartfelt fundraiser, a three day artist retreat in Joshua Tree.

I feel like saying “not today” to every activity I’m presented with. I belong at the beach, curing my insatiable need to hear the waves, walking on the boardwalk and playing in the sand with my nephew.

I can’t throw myself back into work just yet and into the editing tunnel of projects in the backlog. I’m afraid I’l lose this sense of self I’ve created through photographing and walking around Europe for five weeks. I’ve done so much to stay present in my heart and body.

Don’t get me wrong, I love editing, getting lost in my work, pouring over images, categorizing and then sharing them. I love finding threads that run throughout and juxtapositions to tell the perfect story. I love discovering and re-living the memories, but there is inevitably some kind of intellectual pursuit that comes up. There are moments of self doubt as I categorize the images and I get too much in my head. The computer won’t move fast enough, my hand begins to cramp.

When I’m shooting, I’m solely creating. Everything is alive with possibilities. I’m free with no boundaries, restrictions or time constraints.

For now, I want to find order in the physical and continue Marie Kondoing our apartment. I want to stay in this realm with our little embryos inside of me because for a couple days, I’m their mom and I want to be here for it. I want these couple days to be great.

For now, I’ll walk in the sunshine and just make sure not to trip on my shoelaces.

Fertility Vacation // Last shot & What's Next

Tonight is my last night of hormone shots. Cheers to that! It's been slightly disruptive to our daily schedule to be near the fridge at 6pm everyday. While the hormones don't bother me, aside from immediately knocking me out for 15 minutes, I'm happy for them to be gone. 11 more days in Prague and a little more freedom after tonight.

Today we met with a third doctor and so far he is my favorite. I feel like we get passed around a bit, but it seems to be time related as my body dictates when we need an appointment. It's all dependent on when my period starts, how I respond to the hormones, how many controls I need, how large the follicles are, etc.

On Monday (two days from now) we have our egg retrieval appointment. Embryo implantation will then happen on Wednesday, Thursday or Friday depending on how the eggs grow and what the endocrinologist says. Both the doctor and Veronica, our translator, seemed pleased with the results this morning. I didn’t need anymore controls or hormones, my body is responding great. The next shot I take will be to induce ovulation.

We also discussed what type of options would increase our chances of getting pregnant. We went with the “Uterus Glue” and “Embryo Hatching” as my friend Amy had suggested. We also chose video monitoring of the eggs and Acupuncture before and after implantation.

This process has had quite the learning curve and I am still figuring it all out.

I wonder how many eggs they will find and how many are viable. I wonder what happens to the other eggs. I can't remember what we read online anymore. If we want to come back and try IVF again in the future, do both Mike and I come back? Do they save all of the eggs and sperm? Can someone else have them if we don’t use them?

I would love to have twins. If they insert two eggs, and we get pregnant with twins, that would be incredible. I keep reminding myself not to get too far ahead, but it's the flashes of future dreams with Mike and our kids that keeps me going.

4 Thing // New Sights

Mike made it to Prague, yay! We are exploring and making the most of our time here. 

Photographing : Everyday Prague; the life, the cafes, the views. It's a romantic city and we can't stop trying to reflect something back that sums up how it feels to be here. - Suzanne & Mike

Listening to : The Royal Czech Orchestra at the Charles Bridge Palace.  Initially I was interested in being in the same room that Mozart once stood. Mozart! The real Mozart. And also where Milos Forman filmed "Amadeus". Milos Forman is such a cool director to me. The palace is stunning, it's so fascinating. Everywhere you look something else reveals itself to you. I was totally unprepared for the music.  The six musicians who stood 12 feet in front of me blew my mind.  It's rare to be in such close proximity to the musicians without anything obstructing your view.  We were in the second row of folding chairs. I could see every musician's hands.  4 violins, 1 bass, 1 cello, 1 opera singer and pure magic. The skill level was beyond comprehension. Their speed and dexterity, the way they anticipated each other's movement without a conductor made my heart literally soar.  As cliche as it sounds, I felt like I was flying.  Sometimes fast, or slow, darker, then romantic, surprising, running, walking, waltzing...flying. It all felt like flying.  It's such a small room that every person was a part of the energy. No microphones just incredible acoustics. - Suzanne

Dreaming of : Positive vibes and the stars aligning. - Mike & Suzanne

Exploring: The Torture Museum (Prague's darker side) with our friend Janna from Sweden.  It was a tiny little place with an odd narrow hallway. A short walk through a weird part of humanity. Better to look toward peace. - Mike

xoxo
Suzanne & Mike

One of my favorites from Berlin, a few days before coming to Prague. 

One of my favorites from Berlin, a few days before coming to Prague. 

Fertility Vacation // Maybe Baby

This whole IVF process seems vague to me. I lower my hormone dosage slightly for the next two days and then I go into the clinic to have my reaction to the hormones tested.

I know I have an appointment at 8:30am. I also know I will have another appointment beforehand, but haven’t gotten the email confirmation yet. I think it’s for a few tests and an EKG to make sure I can handle anesthetic for egg retrieval surgery. I think next week I come in every two days, but I’m still not totally sure.

What I do know for sure is that tomorrow night Mike arrives in Prague. We will not understand it all together. We will not be prepared, not quite have enough money, not exactly know what we are doing, together.

We will hold hands and walk around Prague, marveling at our bravery and feel a mix of fear, hope, and incredulous possibilities. Maybe we will be disappointed. Maybe our hearts will break and we will have to pick up the pieces and find a way to try again.

But there’s a 10% maybe that we will be parents in 9 months. Maybe our little apartment will be filled with diapers and tears. Maybe I’ll wear one of those wraps that you carry a baby in. Maybe we will have a boy or a girl, or two girls, two boys, or a boy and a girl. Maybe we can argue over names and start the age old panic that new parents have felt since the beginning of time. Holy cow this is really happening.

Maybe.

Fertility Vacation // Day Three of Injections

I’m feeling fine. Who would have thought? I am a little tired and think I have a slightly bigger appetite. But overall, I feel fine. I can’t tell if I’m actually happier or if it’s the sheer relief of not falling apart or having a scary reaction to the hormone injections.

I remember the naturopath saying one of my hormone levels was slightly low and that we would need to address it while I was trying to get pregnant.

I wonder if my body needed this hormone and that’s the root of this joy. I’ve noticed that I’m feeling my highs with greater intensity. It’s a crazy, beautiful, traveling, vacation, amazing landscape, inspiring architecture, good food, long conversation kind of elation. I’ve been having the type of days you wish for with friends that you love and support. I’m always searching for clues of how I feel. How I sleep, what I eat, the weather, my candida; the root cause of what I feel is wildly illusive.

So I’m happy now, and I can’t help but smile while writing this. Even though I’ll take another hormone in a week and this could all wear off tomorrow. Either way, being happy right now feels profound.

Fertility Vacation // The Past & Choosing Prague

I’m pretty comfortable at 30,000 feet above sea level. Although, as I pack my bags for this month-long adventure, it feels different. A fertility vacation in Prague; this trip has more unknowns than ever before.

Quick backstory to catch you up. Up until I met Mike, I could never mentally picture a husband in my vision of my future self and family. I would see other people getting married and think, how could I ever love someone enough to spend my entire life with them? After I met Mike, that vision changed almost immediately. His mom sent me a card one day and taped to it was a picture of Mike as a baby in the bathtub.

I want to have a baby with this man.

Mike and I have been trying to start a family since 2013. It’s been devastating. I can’t possibly be dramatic enough with words. It’s been hard to be strong everyday and make this dream come true, when everything feels so hard. It can be easy for some people, but it’s hard for us.

It was really surprising to me that we couldn’t get pregnant, and something I never expected with life. I always knew I wanted to be a mom and have never doubted this is something I will be. I always just thought I would get pregnant right away. When I didn’t, it made me question myself and my choices on such a fundamental level.

IVF was always something I thought about, even as a kid. But as reality set in as an adult, Mike and I discovered that it was out of our price range.

My friend Nicole enlightened me to fertility vacations in Prague. This of course got my heart pounding with interest. Prague has a good reputation for IVF, is considerably more affordable than IVF in the U.S, and is a beautiful part of the world.  Check, check and check.  

I feel comfortable in Prague. It’s a photogenic, walkable city. Being in Prague, away from the financial pressures and the stress of everyday life will help me stay relaxed. As a person who values freedom and exploration, being in a different city feeds and calms me. I am my truest self while traveling.

In real life, I run a photography business and “adult” everyday (well, mostly everyday). On vacation, I get to walk around all day and take photos, eat lunch outside, visit museums, and feel the energy of the city. Days full of self care and relaxation.

A fertility vacation in Prague makes perfect sense.

The process as I know it so far will consist of hormone injections every three days for two weeks. There will be more appointments, and then eventually they will remove my eggs and put Mike’s sperm and one of my eggs together. And then, they will put the embryo back inside me.

I’m sure there will be a little more romance and details involved, but I’ll focus on that once my feet hit the ground.

We will try IVF three times in Prague over the course of this year. We will then try adoption. If not adoption, we will be Big Brothers and Sisters.

I am a little nervous, but mostly hopeful. We know that ultimately we will be parents, we just don’t know the path quite yet.

And now to finish packing. Three suitcases, art supplies, and movies. Journals and soul books. Everything creative. I wish I had more time to pack, but I guess it wouldn’t really matter. I'm not sure I'd ever be ready.  Time to jump.

xoxo
Suzanne

4 Things // Gratitude in the Struggle

Watching : Picasso at the Lapin Agile at The Old Globe. Find out what Picasso, Einstein and Elvis have in common. - Suzanne

Loving : 9 to 5 The Musical. #yearofthewoman - Suzanne

Inspired by : John Wick : Chapter 2. I'm inspired by the character; his determination and will. I love the idea of doing anything you can to help a loved one. Also, it inspires me to be in shape, to dress well, and be prepared for whatever life brings. - Mike

Excited for : An adventure with Suzanne in Prague.  I'm excited for taking on new projects, and not being afraid, but rather embracing the struggles that come with any new chapter of life. Trying to have a family, a child, a future - this I am very excited about it. Life has kicked us around a little, and I have let it take some of my happiness through anxiety, but now I'm turning the tables. I am finding gratitude in the struggle. - Mike

xoxo
Suzanne, Mike and the Wanderers

15 Years Because of YOU

All of us at Shewanders Photography are dancing in confetti of love and gratitude for celebrating 15 years behind the lens.

15 years of gratitude. 15 years of love. 15 years because of YOU.

We’d love to take you on a little vacation down memory lane to where it all began.

In 2002, a friend asked me to shoot her big day. I very reluctantly said yes. I had never shot a wedding before and it wasn’t something I wanted to do. By the end of the day, sparks were flying, adrenaline was pumping; I was in love. A couple months later, I got laid off of my job in advertising and started Shewanders Photography.

Mike started with Shewanders in 2008 and has blown my mind with his raw talent.  He took some photo classes when he was younger, but really claimed his voice at Shewanders.  He started as a third shooter and within a couple of years was shooting his own weddings.  I admire his voice and the sense of immediacy that he captures.  I often look at his work and wonder how he puts people at enough ease for them to be so natural in front of him.

There are a few things over the last 15 years that we couldn’t have lived without.

Suzanne says....

I write in my morning pages every day. It’s how I let go of all the chatter so that I can stay focused and understand what I want. The gems are hidden amidst the words of my everyday writing. It takes putting in the work day after day; that’s where the magic happens.

I ask what if it’s magical? Instead of, what if it’s too hard or expensive? Shewanders by nature has allowed me to live an untraditional lifestyle where I get to travel and work. Work to travel, work while traveling, the whole shebang. When I travel, I know who I am. It allows me to learn, grow, challenge myself, and respond to my environment. While exploring a new place, I want to fill each day to the brim with adventures.

I listen to music to make sense of my thoughts. Sometimes an idea or a problem will be floating around in my mind. It takes the emotional quality of a song or the lyrics to help me understand what I’ve been feeling or thinking.

I always allow myself time to daydream and listen to my inner voice (even when she sounds like a drill sergeant). This gives me the freedom to dream up new concepts and ideas from within, rather than what I see on Pinterest or Instagram.

Mike says...

I believe that love and a celebration solves any problem. Regardless of the stress of a wedding day or the never-ending tasks, when I live in the moment of a beautiful celebration, everything else disappears.

I always stand true to who I am. I never try to stand out, I just try to be myself. I do what inspires me and my clients so that we have a journey together.

I find peace and recharge in fitness and nature. Outside of photography, I do martial arts, running, and bodyweight training. I love the outdoors. Hiking and survival type training is a passion and hobby of mine.

I couldn’t survive without listening to my inner voice. This is driven by reading, film, and new experiences.

Both of us say...

We have constantly been inspiring ourselves so that we can create inspired work. We go to workshops, take classes, have art adventures with friends, and always experiment with new techniques.

We attribute our success to the most amazing friends in the industry and rising together. CAKE Bakery was my first industry friend. We love those ladies like no one else. Our companies grew up together.  We had our growing pains together and all of our successes.  Did you see them win Cake Wars?

We also couldn't have done it without finding our ideal clients.  Oh my gosh we love our clients. Seriously! So many people complain about their brides and grooms and we are head over heels for ours.  Our clients tend to be warm people who are grateful to have wonderful people in their lives.

A thousand thank you’s to all of our friends, at home in San Diego, and everywhere around the globe. Because of you, we have been able to create a life we love.

Cheers to 15 more years of art making and dream chasing!

4 Things // Mentoring & Relaxing

Mentoring : I spoke at a photography class at City College this week. I took some photo classes at City when I was younger and it was so fun to give back and mentor the students. I so remember sitting in those chairs wondering if I'd get to be a photographer for my whole life or if life would get in the way. I don't love public speaking but I had to say yes for my younger self. - Suzanne

Photographing : Jen and Vlad's maternity shoot. It's physically such an unusual time in a woman's life and I love capturing the essence of this blip in her journey. - Mike

Valentine's Day : There is something so beautiful about the art of relaxing. Sometimes dinner in bed is the best while watching Walking Dead and Bob's Burgers. - Mike

Dreaming of : Seeing the Northern Lights in Iceland with Vanessa. I can't wait to see Reykjavik in the winter and hopefully catch the Northern Lights. This is a big one for me. I wonder what the reality will be verses the dream inside me. - Suzanne

xoxo
Suzanne, Mike and the Wanderers

52 Weeks, 52 Dates - Come Play!

A year from now, you’ll wish you started today." - Karen Lamb

A new year doesn’t have to start January 1st. Every week is a chance to start something new. We love keeping track of our weekly adventures. It inspires us to try new things, promotes gratitude in our relationships, and it's just plain old fun to remember all of the good times! Join us in celebrating our adventures together, every week of the year!

Here is a free and fun downloadable print to keep track of all your weekly adventures. =)

Download here: 52 Weeks, 52 Dates

Making Things Happen - Go!

Hi friends =)

We love sharing things that make our heart sing.

Mike and I went to Making Things Happen 6 or 7 years ago (a two day intensive designed to uncover your goals and take action). It's literally a life changing.  I've never delved so deep into my goals.  I've never done it in front of a group of people. I've never fallen in love with a group of people faster.

Hearing what people's struggles are and what they want most out of life transforms how you see them. 

I love my group, I love cheering them on, and I am so invested in their success.

Mike and I use the tools we learned at MTH all the time.  We revisit this emotional space and use it as a guide map for where we want to go.

If you are looking for a tribe and a North Star consider a seminar like this one.

Here is the link to register and learn more

xoxo
Suzanne, Mike and the Wanderers

Film : Hanna

“She's kind of a walking poem, she's this perfect beauty...but at the same time very deep, very smart.”  - Johnny DeppWillie Nelson said it best "The life I love is making music with my friends"  Well the life I love is making art with my friends.  Every so often a few of my friends and I will get together and create.  This was one of those days.

No time frame, no family or friends waiting for the bride and groom to come back from cocktail hour.  Just a regular day and some freedom.  I'm so thankful to Courtney from the White Flower Boutique for loaning us this gorgeous dress for our beautiful model Hanna.  The stunning bouquet with the lovely striped ribbon was crafted by my friend Sharon from Organic Elements.  I love people in this industry who are willing to play and make art for arts sake.  And the lovely Audra Renee who is always so fun to have on set.  I could write poems about her work, her timeliness and her sweet heart.  I've got so much love for this spectacular bunch.

xoxo,

Suzanne

Dress: The White Flower Boutique 

Florist: Organic Elements

Hair & Makeup: Audra Renee FO_12586FO_12537FO_12559hannahFO_12378

FO_12563FO_12536FO_12416FO_12461FO_12407

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year friends.  Thanks so much for supporting our blog.  We appreciate you being here.  I really take my firsts in the New Year seriously.  It's time for growth and change.  Time to find direction.  So at the start I want to start to design a path and share more of it with all of you.My friend Lara Casey has these amazing goal setting ideas.  She is such an inspiration, I love her vulnerability and her kind heart.  She has the ability to bring people together.  I love using her Power Sheets to create a clear vision of what I want most in my life.  Here is a little glimpse into my heart and what worked and what didn't for us last year.  I hope you find more of what you want in your lives.

xoxo Suzanne

 

What worked:

-prepping for tomorrow

-morning pages

-art dates

-collaboration

-personal work like my underwater series

-shooting film

-long vacations

-getting published

-rad clients

-destination weddings

-seeing family and meeting my nephew Gaidin

-date night

-green smoothies

-book club

-my friend's Dani, Hanna, Lauren, Alyssa, and Taylor always inspiring me

 

What didn't work:

-moving during wedding season

-eating out too much even though it's so good

-facebooking when I want to be present

-chinese medicine

-videographers getting too close to bride and groom during ceremonies

-hair and make up running way late

-spending money on things instead of experiences

-dust on our lenses

the ocean

 

The $40,900 Question: Jesenia and Caroline of Ooh La Love Events

Jesenia and Caroline are the sweet girls behind Ooh La Love Events. Their close attention to detail and genuine love for weddings shows just how much they care about what they do. Read on to find out what inspires these girls and what they would do with $40,900.1. A piece of advice for brides to be? Don't try to plan your whole wedding in one day. Decide what is most important to you, and make that a priority. Surround yourself with wedding professionals who you trust, and who understand your style and vision, so that you can let go of everything and enjoy your wedding.

2. Something brides don't often think about when planning a wedding but should? As a bride, you put so much time and energy into the preparation for your big day and making sure every detail is perfectly planned, but it's also important to remember your guests. People travel across the country, and sometimes even across the world to see you say 'I Do', so it's always nice to keep their comfort in mind. Greeting out of town guests with welcome bags or small touches like providing throw blankets on a cold night, or flip-flops for ladies who just can't take those heels any longer are all great ways to make your guests feel comfortable and enjoy themselves.

3. What makes Ooh La Love Events so wonderful? Being partners, we bring different strengths and styles to the table, and we have so much fun working together. While Jesenia is super organized and drawn towards more classic and on trend designs, Caroline is a bit more creative and drawn toward bohemian styles. By working together, we are able to come up with both designs and solutions that one of us alone might not have thought of. We fully embrace the motto that two heads are better than one!

4. Is there a particular wedding tradition that you love seeing? As a rule of thumb, if your dad is crying, chances are we are crying, too. We just can't help it!

5. Color pallets that you are loving? Neutrals with a twist. Blush, ivory, and taupe, with a pop of something unexpected like emerald is always fun.

6. Three things that inspire you? It's hard to narrow it down to three! Fashion and nature are daily sources of inspiration for us, and we are always inspired by our brides (and sometimes grooms, too!). 7. What do you do to recharge? We are always trying to plan our next girl's trip! Getting time away together to brainstorm and have some girl time really helps us recharge. If we can't carve out a couple of days to get out of town, then a hard workout followed by a bottle of wine is a great substitute. 8. A tip for somebody wanting to go into the event planning industry? Find a planner who you admire and work for them, even if you have to intern without getting paid, to gain experience. This is a great way to get to know the ins and outs of the industry, build a solid foundation of knowledge, and really figure out if this is your passion.

9. If you had $40,900 to spend on one trip, where would you go and what would you do? We would do a couples trip to the Maldives! It's rare that we get to have downtime together with our husbands, so a couples trip with beautiful beaches, relaxation, and a little adventure sounds perfect. Shewanders Photography, Shewanders, Wedding Photography, San Diego, San Diego wedding photography, Malibu, weddings, Ooh La Love Events

The $40,900 Question: Denise Jermyn-Continental Catering

We are pretty excited to have landed an interview with Denise Jermyn, the president of Continental Catering. We always have a good time working with Continental Catering, and we think it is about time you meet the lady who is behind it all. Thanks for sharing, Denise. 1. Are there any cocktail trends that you currently love? As a big coffee lover, I have to say that the addition of ‘java juice’ to cocktails is really resonating with me. Talk about taking something good and making it great!

2. What is your ideal picnic basket? My ideal picnic basket would have a really nice cheese course to start, a savory salmon salad to continue, and a chocolate and peanut butter confection to end on a sweet note.

3. What is something that people don’t know about you? Hmmm...most people don’t know that raw carrots make me hiccup.

4. What do you attribute your success to? Over the course of the years, we have developed lasting relationships with our clients. We don’t see our clients as another name on the calendar but rather as individuals that we have enjoyed getting to know. We are genuinely grateful to be a part of their special event, and I think this translates to the service that they receive.

5. A wedding tradition that you love to see? Even after 30 years in the business, the father-daughter dance is still very touching.

6. Best part of a wedding day? I like the moment that the bride and groom are able to see the reception site for the first time. After months of planning, they are finally able to see their vision come to life and that’s very exciting.

7. How do you unwind? I can’t think of a better way to unwind than with a glass of red wine in my hand and a piece of chocolate in my mouth.

8. Dessert you could never give up? The truth is that I love all things sweet so giving up dessert in general would be a challenge, but if I had to pick one it would be dark chocolate.

9. What would you do if you weren’t in the catering business? Oh gosh. I haven’t really given this much thought before. I think I would be a professional chocolate taster. Is there such a job?

10. If you had $40,900 to spend on one trip, where would you go and what would you do? Anyone that knows me knows that I’m constantly chasing the sun so where ever I went would have to be a sunny location. Cinque Terre in Italy sounds really nice right now. It would be a challenge to spend that much money but I would probably spend it on amazing meals. I might walk into a quaint restaurant and invite some of the locals to dine with me. Actually, it might not be so hard to spend that money after all...Continental Catering, Shewanders Photography, San Diego Wedding Photography, San Diego, Weddings, Wedding photographer, Vendors, Catering