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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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.

Cuba // 18 Years Later

I traveled to the magical country of Cuba in 1999 and then again in January of this year. Here is my letter to this country, that my heart now calls a friend. 

Dear Cuba,

Hello my old friend. How thrilling and sweet it is to sit with you. Seeing your face again makes my heart swell with all of our past memories. You are just as intriguing, exotic, captivating and confusing as ever before.

As I walk around your colorful buildings and crumbling heroic walls, I can’t help but reminisce to our first meeting.

Back in '99, visiting you was daring, almost provocative. When I saw “Havana” on my syllabus at art school in San Francisco, I grew nervous and excited that we would meet. Our professor, Tony Labat, who grew up in your neighborhoods, took 20 of us to see you for a week.

We flew out of Tijuana, Mexico. We stopped in Monterrey and had to de-board the plane to get our passports stamped, since it was illegal for Americans to visit your country and spend money there. We landed in Havana and I remember feeling nervous. The agent looked over my treasured passport, chockfull of stamps, and waived me through.  Havana was mine and I was in awe.

Hotel Inglaterra was our home for the week. From there we went to museums by day and then stayed up late drinking Cuba Libres, listening to music, and smoking cigars on the rooftop. We were an eclectic group of artists; some painted, filmed or created performance pieces. We felt saturated in the Cuban art experience, if only for a week.

Upon seeing you, the movie Buena Vista Social Club had come out. I sat in the theater, fascinated by what was to come. Everything was as surreal as the movie suggested; the cars, the architecture.  I watched men play checkers. I photographed little kids in their school uniforms.

I felt honored and changed to have this rare experience. You are resourceful, yet without resources. The resilience of your people was inspiring. I was left questioning our place in the world, and with new real estate in my heart, just for cheering you on.

And now flash forward to January 2017.

My heart had missed a beat when I learned a few years ago that President Obama would open up relations with you. Could we make peace and end the embargo? Could this country that stole my heart, finally know equality and the same advantages and disadvantages of their neighbors?

My photographer friend, Maryanne, and I jumped on a plane and made sure we had the chance to see you before the new presidency.

This time, we flew from San Diego to Fort Lauderdale to Havana. In Fort Lauderdale, I heard over the loudspeaker, “Jet Blue Flight XX to Havana”. That’s when it hit me. A profound moment that actualized in my gut. I was flying from America to see you; a dream of mine and so many others realized. I felt a surge of joy and solidarity with this small victory.

I thought of 18 years ago and the boy I gave a pencil to on the street. Of the artist Los Carpinteros. And of the college girl I once was, walking your streets with a different lens and perspective than today.

We arrived early in the morning and immediately began exploring. I soon realized so much was the same, but we both had grown up too. I have grown from a student into a professional photographer.  But, we both still have our quirks.

This time, we stayed at Casa Particular. Casas weren’t legal on my last trip and very hard to find. This change marked an acceptance of a new socialism and I’m curious to see how it evolves.

We listened to music and had coffee around the city in Plaza Viejo, at the Inglaterra and at the Nacional. The menus were larger and more varied. I remember feeling frustrated with ordering a meal on my last trip. I would ask for a cappuccino and a salad. The waiter would leave and come back 5-10 minutes later and inform me that they were out of those items. This would repeat itself several times. Eventually, I learned to ask what was available and simply order that.

This type of exchange rarely happened this time. Although napkins and toilet paper were still in short supply.

We hired a tour guide for the Art and Color Tour. Our guide Dayana was knowledgeable and indulged all of our many questions. She took us to multiple galleries and the Museum of Bellas Artes. I saw a piece of art that mentioned Los Carpinteros and felt joy at their success. I was thrilled to be in my element, hearing about the history and present culture of art in Havana. I love the familiar joy in museums, people from around the world sharing their own passion for art in many languages.

Ironically, the actual band, the Buena Vista Social Club, was playing while we were in town. I couldn’t miss the opportunity to see them in person. There were a couple of musicians from the original documentary there. Snippets of the movie were projected in the background. So we have changed a little, I thought. We were all a little older, wiser, and with a few more lines on our faces.

Yet here we both were, practicing our craft with energy and joy all these years later. Them on stage in a room full of approving fans, and me still walking around with my camera and artist friends, sharing all of the color and contradicting ideas in still images.

What will the next 18 years hold for us? I’m hoping my country and yours will build a beautiful friendship full of respect and admiration.

Just as we have.  

Besitos my friend, until next time.
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!

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

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waterworld : Sam

My underwater adventures became one of the highlights of my individual projects this year.  I feel as an artist in order to stay relevant you have to continually evolve in your craft.  These underwater adventures have helped me evolve this year.  I enjoyed working with all of the individuals who inspired me to create a series of work that makes me smile.  I have always loved the water and I have always loved photography.  Now I have images that capture two of my greatest loves.  I look forward to new waterworld adventures next summer.xoxo,

Suzanne

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Waterworld : Daniella and James

When I started experimenting with underwater photography I knew instantly that I wanted to incorporate a familiar aspect into this new work. I am fortunate to get to capture the dynamics of so many couples in love each year and was excited to combine that with this project.  I wanted to experiment with how love would show up in a new and unexpected environment.  What was born from this combination of interests was an intimate and special set of moments.  It seems like people getting photographed underwater tend to forget they are being photographed. What happens after that is a series of real and passionate emotions. They close their eyes, reach for each other, and get lost in the middle of the water as if no one else is around.xoxo,

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4 things...loved ones

Hello all, I hope you have had a joyous week. I am spending this weekend with my family for a very special occasion, my brothers wedding. I am thrilled to be apart of his big day as a bridesmaid. It is a different way to view a wedding, to stand so close to the bride and groom and feel the emotional connection they share, and to look out at all their loved ones who are wishing them the best. It reminds me how important family and friends are. These are the people who are the nearest and dearest to your heart. The people who will support, love, and care for you. The people that will cheer for your successes and be around to pick you up if you fall. What would we be without our loved ones.Craving : my mom's cooking. Part of me wishes I could stay home forever just to be able to eat her food everyday.

Buying : gifts for my nephew. He is 3 months old now and I just want to get him everything I see. I did buy him a pair of footed monkey pajama's that I cannot wait to see on him.

Planning : A date night with my girlfriends. I could use a little bit more time with my friends and family this week. I am thinking of taking them to the landmark theater in Hillcrest to watch Art and Craft. The premise reminds me of Exit Through The Gift Shop, so I have a feeling I will enjoy it.

Exploring :  my new neighborhood. It is such a beautiful and lively place. There are so many coffee bars and new places to eat. Mike and I are going to have a good time trying them all and finding some new favorite places. So far we found a place called Senor Mangos that has the freshest smoothies and acai bowls. They also have a little fruit shop next door with local fruits and vegetables.

Have a great rest of your weekend everyone and send a family member or friend some love today.

xoxo,

Suzanne

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Waterworld : Daniella

savethedate9As an artist I believe in continuing to study your craft, improving your skills and searching outside of your comfort zone for inspiration.  I wanted to seek inspiration outside of the norm and challenge myself with a new skill this year, so over the summer I started experimenting with underwater photography.  I have always loved being in the water, the feeling of being weightless, carefree, relaxed and floating in a dreamlike state.  I wanted to use this underwater exploration as a way to not only practice something completely different than what I am use to, but to visually create the freedom I feel when I am in the water.  I'd say my summer project was a success and this is the first set of a mini series of images inspired by the blissfulness of being in the water.xoxo,

Suzanne

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4 things...hello fall

The first week of fall is here and although it still feels like summer is lingering, mostly because of the weather, I am ready for the beauty of Fall.  I love how new season's seem to bring new adventures. Summer to me always feels full of bright, happy and fun times where Fall always feels full of intimate, special and personal joy. Mike and I have begun feeling that special joy of Fall with the move to our new place. It is the perfect time of year to create a new personal space.  Now that the big move is coming to an end I was fortunate to get some time to enjoy the things that come around this time of year.Moved by: SD film festival.  I went to the world premiere of a film about Chelsea King from Poway, Ca.  It was a touching documentary told from her brothers point of view that brought a mixture of emotions out of me.  I would highly recommend it.   Chelsea's Light: A Brother's Journey.

Noticing: signs of fall in San Diego.  Ghee the weather doesn't seem to change but...TV shows return.  Hello Scandal!

Watching:  Scandal along with the rest of my fall line up.  Watching new shows, drinking warm drinks, and snuggling up in blankets on the couch with Mike sums up some of my favorite things to do this time of year.

Dreaming of: my brothers wedding next weekend.  I am ready to sit back, relax and enjoy the wedding as a bridesmaid instead of a photographer.  I am looking forward to every bit of it.

Have a great rest of your weekend everyone.

xoxo,

Suzanne

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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