allie + mike | wedding | chapel hill, n.c.

Allie + Mike have a love that is sweeter than listening to The Avett Brothers' "Swept Away (Sentimental Version)" on a warm Summer night under the stars. Their love is dancing to this ballad in their living room, surrounded by family + very close friends, their dog Avett, and an outpouring of warmth on a chilly October night. 

These two, together since high school, had the sweetest, most intimate wedding at the North Carolina Botanical Gardens followed by a classy dinner party in their living room. Yes, their living room! I first met Allie while on assignment for a campus magazine at UNC. She then showed up on staff at the Daily Tar Heel and quickly moved to become an editor. We even ended up in the same program in journalism school. And of course, with all these things we had in common, Mike came along to event after event always supporting Allie. He's always had this look of pure affection for Allie and that was evident back in our college days. On their wedding day, that look of pure bliss and love for her was greater than ever.

Allie had a vision for her wedding photography: storytelling + unprompted with hints of fine art film shots. It was a very easy job because the enitre wedding was classic, elegant, seasonal, and full of personal touches from Allie + Mike. But better yet, their love was wrapped around every detail of their day, including the way they adoringly gazed at each other. These two cooked the meals served at their dinner party and created wine pairings for each course, they made each plate their guests dined on, and made sure to have photos with each of their guests on polaroid film. 

Allie + Mike, that you for letting me photograph your wedding day and the love you two share for each other. I wish you all the marital bliss in the world, set to a never-ending playlist of the Avett Brothers.

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purple | a food shoot

I think it pisses God off if you walk by the color purple in a field somewhere and don’t notice it.
— Alice Walker

Lately, the grocery store's produce section looks as colorful as Willy Wonka's Chocolate Room. From crazy colored cauliflower to purple sweet potatoes, the vibrant mashup of red + blue is oozing out everywhere you look. It's impossible not to be captivated by this hue and the many characteristics it embodies: equality, courage, royalty, mystery, + imagination.

Purple food is a rising trend across the country as our population becomes more health-conscious. It has come a long way from last years aΓ§ai bowl trend (not hating, I love those wildly colored smoothie bowls just as much as you do) and is making its way into the spotlight of our winter farmers' markets and our local grocery stores. Full of antioxidants and densely rich with nutrients, you can find purple foods in the produce + grain sections of your markets. 

And let's face it, purple food is tasty and sexy.  

best of 2016 | travel + culture

When I was in 8th grade, my English teacher, Mrs. H, decided she was going to give the class a single word or phrase to describe their personality. While some of my classmates got words such as "rambunctious yet caring," "studious + articulate," and "extremely inquisitive," I will never forget the way she described my personality. Thirteen years later, it still holds true, and I'm starting to think Mrs. H was a psychic dressed in an oversized purple cardigan with her adorable grey bob.

"Places to go. People to see. Things to do." That was how she oh-so-accurately paraphrased my personality. I vividly remembered my frizzy-haired, 8th grade self, with way too much black eyeliner on give her my unsure but semi-confident response of "Hmmpf interesting," then contemplating privately how much I was totally digging the way in which she described me. 

There is no doubt that 2016 was a constant on-the-go year, full of paces to go, people to see, and things to do. It was exactly what was needed to keep the inspirations flowing through my mind. The year started out planning a trip to Kunshan, where I'd be working on a series of short VR documentaries for Duke Kunshan University (soon to share the final two!). After that, a trip to Paris, a move to Dallas (along with the trials + errors of that come with learning a new city), a jaunt to Nashville, Las Vegas + around Texas, as well as taking in the state my heart calls home, North Carolina (during, arguably, the most beautiful month of the year). 

With these travels, come many lessons learned, much time getting to know who I am as a freelance photographer + as a person, in addition to how this career path plays into my relationship. Jerry + I know that travel is inevitable and that missing each other dearly is an unfortunate side effect. However, I'm fortunate enough to know that I have the most supportive husband when it comes to conquering my goals, traveling the world, and telling stories of the people who inhabit this planet. It's even better when he can come along, not only to be my human pack mule, but to experience these amazing cultures + share these experiences with him (even if he does roll his eyes every time I try to make his portrait). 

Here's to a great big world + seeing more of it in 2017 (because there is always places to go, people to see, and things to do)!

Happy New Year!