Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Molly Shoots Greg & Kristen's E-Session

This Sunday I meet with Kristen and Greg at the special location where Greg proposed to Kristen. I loved this beautiful tree and glowing lights around Kristen & Greg. I also loved the store window sign, as if to say, "Happy Holiday's, we're in love!" Despite the cold Christmas is Kristen's favorite season, and just to think that next year they will have a Married Little Christmas as husband & wife!!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Charlotte and David

Earlier this week, Charlotte and David got married with an intimate ceremony at Bond Chapel on University of Chicago's campus where Charlotte spent part of her childhood. It was a very snowy day, perfect for a winter wedding. It was so fun to get to know them over their brief engagement and spend this time with them. They had a private dinner at NoMI Restaurant at the Park Hyatt, it was beautiful!

Charlotte also took some tips from the blog and requested that her florist only use locally grown flowers and the used email for their invitations which worked well for their small wedding. Thank you Charlotte for doing your part!

Friday, December 26, 2008

Impact Tip - You made the difference!

For our last impact tip of the year, I wanted to show how our new 2008 Vrai brides helped to make a difference in the world. Together we raised $3000 for Environmental Defense, Greg Christian Organic School Project, The Nature Conservancy-Illinois Chapter, and Heifer International.

We didn't have that many openings for this year since we just started the program. I think next year we can triple this amount! I am so proud to work with people who value their impact on the community and want to take those extra steps with me to make a difference. These are great projects that stretch across borders, across political barriers, across cultures, to the basic element of life. All life is important and as you start your new life, what a better way to make a commitment to someone you love, then to share that blessing with other human and non-human lives around the world.

Thank you for sharing this mission with us and encouraging us to blend passions and art to bring you truly unique coverage on your wedding day!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Last minute Christmas Tip!

Last night I celebrated Christmas with my mom and siblings and she really surprised me. She is a busy woman and is famous for her use of gift bags vs wrapping. This time she took the extra time to think how she can make better use of her wrapping. She was able to get most of my gifts into reusable grocery bags from Whole Foods and Trader Joe's. I was really impressed so I just had to share. If you are going to spend money to wrap up your gifts, consider this as your option! They look cute under the tree too! :) Thanks mom!!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Impact Tip - A great book to help you plan

Wenona Napolitano is an author and hosts a blog called Everything Green Weddings, about how to have the perfect green wedding. She just came out with a book that is now in stores and would be a great present for the newly engaged bride or a nice gift to yourself! It is available in stores or at Amazon for a great price!

The Everything Green Wedding Book will show you just how easy it can be to…
Make eco-minded, socially responsible purchases
Choose a stunning environmentally friendly location
Create or choose beautiful invitations printed on recycled or tree-free paper
Hone your eco-fashion sense
Enjoy a caterer of the organic kind
Find the right romantic green honeymoon retreat
Incorporate green living into your married life

Wenona describes the book this way: “I believe that words can change the world. The written word has the power to provoke thought and entice action. I am committed to doing my part to save the earth. Some may think it is frivolous to do it through wedding planning but with an average of 2.5 million weddings every year (just in the US) that have millions of guests in attendance (on average 150 per wedding), what better way to get the “green” word out there. I hope to change the world even if it is “one vow at a time”.

A little about the author: Wenona Napolitano is a freelance writer, poet and mother of three. She writes everything from articles to web content. She is a trained bridal consultant and floral designer that specializes in weddings. One of her passions is helping brides-to-be plan weddings on a budget.

Wenona’s other passions include natural health, green living, gardening, crafting and reading. She tries to enjoy all of her activities as greenly as possible.

Wenona’a writing has appeared in several local magazines and newspapers, on many web sites including Clubmom.com and FundsforWriters.com, and in the magazines Pack-O-Fun and Today’s Creative Home Arts.

Her wedding articles have appeared on the sites GetMarried.com, EthicalWeddings.com, MyEcoChicWedding.com, FeelgoodStyle.com, FairyTaleWeddingShop.com, AllWeddingIdeas.com, Wedding.net, MyWeddinghq.com, AssociatedContent.com, eHow.com and Life123.com in addition to her former GardenandHearth.com site Wedding Planning for the Budget Bride.

Her green living articles have appeared on the former GardenandHearth.com, AssociatedContent.com and Life123.com. Her how-to, DIY and craft articles have appeared on EcoChildsPlay.com, GreenHalloween.org, ClubMom.com, AssociatedContent.com, LifeinItaly.com, eHow.com, PlentyMag.com and in Pack-O-Fun and Today’s Creative Home Arts magazines.

Wenona is a regular writer for several Green Options Media sites and Prevention Magazine’s buzz blogs.

Be sure to check it out when you are out shopping this holiday season!

Monday, December 15, 2008

San Francisco

No weddings this weekend, but I did have a fun weekend in San Francisco! I was fortunate enough to win this trip through winning first place in a photo contest through the Foundation Forum (btw, one of my favorite places on the web. If you are a photographer and looking for a community online, check it out now!) I got to chose one photographer to mentor with for the day and I chose Anna Kuperberg. I love her style and eye and she is just fun! We had a great time talking shop and going to the local climbing gym (my favorite!) Thanks Anna for a great time!

Then I spent some time with my sister and niece and got to see their beach side cottage for the first time. Madyson showed me the dunes in style! We had fun playing around with my little point and shoot, it does pretty good when I don't have the space and time to go all out with the pro equipment :)

Me and Madyson

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Impact Tip - eco-friendly gift ideas

As Christmas approaches, if you are like me, you are scrambling to think of some great gift ideas for friends and family. I was reminded yesterday that my neighbor Tiffany is going to be a part of the next Gallery walk in Pilsen that is tomorrow night. She is at 826 W 19th Unit 2 and she will be featuring her screen printed products.

These are really unique because she goes out to find vintage linens and tea towels and cleans them really well then adds her own screen print onto them. This gives them a fresh new look and brings an old cloth to new life. This is eco-friendly because instead of going out and buying new materials, she reuses vintage materials which reduces the amount of chemicals going out into the environment to make new materials and stimulates the local economy by buying local. You in turn stimulate the local economy by buying from her. This is a great way to make a positive impact in your community this holiday season.

If you can't make it out to her place tomorrow from 6-9 pm, be sure to check out her online store at www.ilovepinkdots.etsy.com

Here is just one example of a gift that I bought for a friend...not telling who ;)

Saturday, December 6, 2008


Today I had the privilege of photographing Isabella, who is the adopted daughter of my favorite massage therapist! Nikki and her husband have been waiting patiently to adopt a child for 3 1/2 years and their dream finally came true last month. They have only been back in the states a few weeks and they wanted to make sure that her first few moments at home were captured and I glad I could be there to give them some memories of her new home.

This book Isabella has with her is really special. Nikki's friend put it together and it contains personal letters from all the family and friends who were there with them throughout this journey. They each wrote a note and included two pieces of fabric and in the end, a quilt is supposed to be made with the fabric. It was really amazing to see all the letters and all the love and support they have had throughout this process.


Thursday, December 4, 2008

Impact Tip - A place to stay

As the holidays approach, many people will be traveling in and out of town. Sometimes we are just traveling all over the suburbs and going back and forth from downtown to the suburbs can be exhausting but maybe there is no room or no desire to pack into the family home! :) So if you are heading out to the Naperville area or you are expecting out of town family and Naperville is a possible choice, check out the Hotel Arista. This is of course a great option for weddings as well. Getting ready, honeymoon suite, out of town guests, it's a great way to make your wedding more eco-friendly.

I have to say, I am impressed by the Hotel Arista! I heard about this hotel and all of the ways they are trying to make their hotel conscious of the impact that a hotel makes on the environment. They are an eco-lux hotel and on their way to being the first LEED certified hotel in IL. Some of the features include; low flow shower heads, dual flush toilets, programmable thermostats, and the building uses 70% recycled materials! They don't skimp in the customer service either, you can customize your "mini-bar" which they call a Nosh Box. When you arrive, it will be stocked with the kind of snacks you would actually want to eat :) So if you are looking for a hotel in that area, be sure to check them out!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Molly Shoots Britt & Jerry's Wedding

I was super excited to shoot Britt and Jerry's wedding because this wedding not only joins two people but their children as a family. I loved this quick minute pic of Britt looking in the mirror. Britt was so excited about her dress, and she should be, she looked amazing in it, so I had to take this beautiful shot of her by the window. We bared the cold for a few moments outside, I love the tree the little glimmer of street lights and their connection. The ceremony was beautiful, the toast by Jerry's son was one of the best I've heard, and the night went on with lots of dancing. Thanks to Arrowhead, we love shooting their because their staff is awesome, and Sounds Abound rocked the night away!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving - Impact Tip

I am off to the backwoods of KY to visit my grandparents so I won't have any access to my Internet and limited access to my phone so I am doing my Impact Tip early this week.

There are so many easy ways to reduce waste on Thanksgiving:

1. Don't use plastic and disposable plates and utensils, I know doing the dishes isn't that much fun but you will save a lot of waste!

2. Don't throw those left overs away, send them with family or donate them to a
homeless shelter.

3. Compose any food scraps leftover from cooking the meal

4. Recycle as much of the packaging as possible and help your guests located the recycling bins to help you

5. If you are going out of town, don't forget to turn down your thermostat

6. Buy in bulk! It saves packaging waste and trips to the store.

Really these are things you can do everyday, but sometimes when there is many times the number of people in our homes at the holidays we skip it to save time but this is the time it is more important to remember. To set a good example and to reduce the huge amounts of garbage going out this holiday season.

I hope everyone has a safe and happy Thanksgiving and I will be back on Monday to help you with whatever you need!

Here are some pictures of my nephew Peter from when we went to the arboretum a few weeks ago. I love fall, leaves, food, family...I am thankful for it all!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Impact Tip - Green caterer

I know I have mentioned Greg Christian before but I went to one of their Green Catering Challenges last night at the Ivy Room and it was a real treat! They are Chicago's first zero waste kitchen which they were able to get fully into place this year. Zero waste means that all materials, packaging, food waste, everything is either recycled or composted with the help of Chicago's Resource Center.

The Green catering challenge is a fun way for people to compete with the help of Greg's chefs for the fastest green meal with no waste. I think this is a great way to demonstrate how cooking green doesn't have to take longer or be more complicated.

I am happy to be working with them for a couple weddings next year and really encourage all my brides getting married at locations where they need their own catering to check out Greg Christian Catering. They are a fun and eclectic staff that will be sure to meet your needs and do it without waste! That is a gift to yourself and your guests!

Monday, November 17, 2008

David and Yan

I had the pleasure of spending some time with David and Yan on Friday before they had their official civil ceremony. They had a great wedding in July in Singapore but welcomed friends and family from their home town of Chicago after their civil ceremony. I spent some time with them beforehand taking pictures in their new home town!

Molly shoots Sara and Steve's wedding

Steve and Sara were so thrilled the day had finally arrived, it was sweet to walk into Sara's hotel room and see her hanging out on the couch with her friends with a glass of wine. The days go so fast, but it was awesome to see Sara's soak it in and enjoy the moments. I loved their first meeting in their suite, and running out side to get some great city pic's. Sara and Steve got just what they wanted each other, and a fun party that everyone enjoyed!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Impact Tip - Green spa in Chicago offers prenatal classes and baby services and much, much more!

I am so excited to talk about this new spa that I learned about from my friend Amanda who just posted this on her blog. I have so many brides from the past few years that are now expecting or just had a baby that I think would love this information! As well as all my eco-minded clients who may be in need of a good massage while planning their weddings!

The Soulistic Spa is a green certified spa and fitness studio offering many classes and classic spa treatments located at 805 N Milwaukee Ave, Suite 200. One thing I found particularly interesting was that they also have many prenatal treatments and classes and baby massage classes. I think massage is a great holistic approach to many health problems that can be aggravated by stress.

Their website is very detailed and lists all the information you need to see what classes and treatments fit your schedule and lifestyle best. I am definitely going to be checking it out as I have been looking for a new massage place now that I am in the city.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Molly Shoots Kristen & Oliver's Engagement Session

It was a beautiful day this last Sunday at the Arboretum, with Kristen and Oliver. They are such a cute couple, and I loved hearing about their story of how they met. The romance of the guy from Notre Dame and the girl from the all girls school. I am looking forward to their wedding this next June.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Off to Kentucky

After a long and fun wedding season, I have an early break and I am headed to KY to climb before it gets too cold! I will be back on Monday so if you need me before then, please leave a message or an email and thank you for your patience as I recoup! There will be no Impact Tip this week so try and think of one and send it to me and I might use it on my blog!

I will be sure to take some pics and in the meantime...go VOTE! :)

Monday, November 3, 2008

Danielle and Bola

Danielle and Bola were my last big wedding for awhile and it was such a wonderful way to close out the busy season. They were so much fun and full of love and their story was amazing to witness and share.

Portraits: Morton Arboretum
Reception: Arrowhead
DJ: Sounds Abound

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Impact Tip - Happy Halloween

Looking for something fun and festive to serve at your Halloween party? Inspired by the folks at the Organic VeeV liquor, who donate $1 of each sale to Brazil's Sustainable Acai Project.

Try this recipe!

Trick or Treat Cocktail
Serves 2

Ingredients (organic or local whenever possible):
2 shots VeeV
1 oz Amaretto
1 oz honey
2 oz fresh lime juice
2 pinches minced ginger
2 lime wheels (um, slices) for garnish
Put ingredients into shaker with ice; shake and strain. Pour into martini glasses, garnish with lime and sprinkle with ginger

Have fun and be safe!!!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Molly Shoots Whitney & Ben's E - Session

Whitney and Ben and I enjoyed a chilly and super windy Sunday this last weekend at the Arboretum. They were so fun together, and super sweet.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Molly Shoots Anne & Greg's Wedding

I have been looking forward to Anne and Greg's wedding ever since I booked it last April, and I grew more excited after I did their engagement session because they are just simply so cute together! There were so many moments through out the day, I had a hard time picking out which to blog! We enjoyed the beautiful day and taking pictures at Arlington Park Racetrack, and then guests danced the night away at the hip Metropolis Ballroom of Arlington Heights. Thanks to A Touch of Music for keeping the tunes rolling.

I love this sweet moment of two adoring aunts!

What a perfect day!

Ahh... the love of a father, there is such a special bond between a dad and his daughter.