Saturday, January 31, 2009

Leaving Chicago

Just for a week :) Going to Foundation Workshop for my annual renewal of ideas, butt kicking, and staying up way too late critiquing photos. So please forgive me if I am late returning phone calls and emails. It can be an exhausting couple of days and I rarely have time to do much of anything but I will do my best to get back to you as quickly as I can.

Thank you for your patience!!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Impact Tip - Talk about IMPACT

I have mentioned there will be several new things happening at Vrai this year and this one will probably have the biggest impact of them all!

I am having a baby!! I am due in May and it is going to be interesting getting it all situated right during wedding season but luckily I have amazing clients (whose weddings are the most likely to be affected) who are trusting me to be there for them as well. I won't let you down!! :)

My mom is even throwing me an eco-friendly baby shower! So it is all exciting and scary but I am ready for the challenge.

I am planning to take some time off just before the baby is born so I wanted to get as much exposure to them as possible and pass along a nice little savings to you too.

Starting now through March 15th, sessions will be $350 which is a savings of $150. The session must be scheduled to take place before or on March 15th. So if you are expecting, just delivered, or have lots of kids of all ages, you are welcome to take advantage of this limited time offer.

Don't delay! Here are some of my favorite maternity and baby pictures if you haven't seen any yet...

Monday, January 26, 2009

Climbing in Joshua Tree - Part 2

Back in freezing Chicago! It was hard to leave the sun and the cliffs but it was a great trip. Here are some more pictures of climbing, Joshua Tree, and my great climbing friends!

I love this sign that you pass as you enter the park! Val on his first trad lead, Overhang Bypass! One of the many ravens I saw on this trip Bonnie on her first outdoor boulder problem, onsight! Aaron onsighting Illusion Dweller, a classic 5.10b trad route A beautiful sunset

The rest of these photos were taken by Aaron, our new associate photographer at Vrai! More to come on this announcement soon but as you can see, he will fit right in!

August easily climbing up Sail Away, 5.8 trad route in Hidden Valley Bonnie atop Sail Away that she led for her second trad lead ever, onsight! The descent Kadile on Sail Away, also a trad lead for him, also an onsight! Our last sunset of the trip, love this one!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Climbing in Joshua Tree - Part 1

This week I am in California climbing in Joshua Tree National Park with my great friends. So instead of an Impact Tip this week, I want to share some of the pictures from the trip so far. I will be back with more next week so check back!

Aaron coming out of the alcove on Overhang Bypass Bonnie nearing the end of Overhang Bypass Aaron on Bearded Cabbage, a very challenging 5.10c trad route Pulling the crux move Bonnie on top of the boulder where she onsighted her first outdoor boulder problem Aaron onsighting Double Cross Aaron sending a fun boulder problem

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Impact Tip - Dress shopping?

I know I have mentioned the girls at White Chicago before as being one of my recommended green vendors, but they are having a special sale this month for veils. I know this time of year is popular for planning so if you are in the phase of dress shopping, be sure to check them out.

10% off veils through January for all brides!

They also have an exciting new venture called which will change the way you shop for bridal gowns. Get on their sign up list now to be one of the first to know when they launch.

White Chicago has a large inventory of pre-owned and sample gowns that help reduce the manufacturing impact of new materials and pollution from getting into the environment. Also, reduce waste! That is always a good thing. Who needs more landfills!

Friday, January 9, 2009

People Magazine!

Be sure to check out People Magazine this week! Gina and Joe's wedding made it into this weeks issue and of course that means my pictures did too! :) Thanks again to Gina and Joe for sharing this special day with me!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Impact Tip - An eco-movement and you

This is likely be my only "soapbox" post as I tend not to use my professional blog to unload a lot of personal opinions but I was at the gym and it occurred to me while watching the news, that there is a lot going on right now about what it is to be eco-friendly, green, tree hugger, whatever they call it. One thing I see happening is that with the beginning of anything mainstream, comes a lot of propaganda. Propaganda in my experience tends to encourage you to follow along despite your potential lack of knowing why, or it makes you head in the opposite direction simply to not be following or be mainstream. Although the environmental movement itself is long in the making, the popularization of all things green is relatively new. You will hear lots of people saying things like, "if you care...", "if you are eco-friendly you will do...", "how could you drive that...", "I can't believe she does...". This is what this post is about, our choices...OUR choices.

I feel it is imperative that this trend stays in its intended purpose of becoming aware of our choices, have a generous spirit and attitude of giving and sharing, and being more involved in our community. This means that if you have never thought about it before, start thinking and seeing around you how your choices impact your community and world. But it does not mean, feel guilty, become vegan, you're bad if you don't plan a green wedding, or that there is some sort of "right" way to be. I think that attitude tends to isolate more than bring together and caring about our environment is more than caring about trees or fuzzy creatures that we all adore. It's about remembering that we are all connected so our choices affect our families, our community, our world, and most importantly our future generations who are counting on us to leave them some of the beauty and connectedness that is our complex ecosystems. It is not that it is just a responsibility as it is a privilege, a gift, an opportunity.

Environmentalists have been waiting for a day when being "green" would become a focus of mainstream life, but as with all trends, they attract the good and the bad. If we are aware of our choices and don't just follow along, we are less likely to get caught in the greenwashing that comes along with green trends. Continue to question what people tell you is green, ask why! What makes you different and how have your new practices made any impact. Don't just settle for a green label.

On the other plus side, being eco-responsible is really only good for your health and pocketbook too. In a time where everyone is talking about the economy, we can help the economy by buying local, reducing our energy usage which puts more money in our pocket and thus out into the economy, creates jobs by focusing on new energy methods, supports local farmers who will in turn put back into our own economy. Walk more to save gas and burn calories. Eat whole foods and as locally as possible. There are limitless choices you can make that benefit you physically, financially, and socially responsibly by making the environmentally friendly choice.

But in the end, it is still your choice. Don't let anyone take it away from you or guilt or pressure you into a choice that will make you unhappy. Every choice comes with an action that will hurt one and benefit another. The important thing to remember is that you have at least become more aware that you do have choices and some will fit right in, some will require a stretch, and some just aren't possible with your life so don't feel bad about not doing them. I want solar panels, but I just can't afford that right now, so I just try to turn my lights off and heat down at night and that is all I can do for now.

As for Vrai, we are continuing to find new products that will reduce our impact on the environment because we do care and find it to be an amazing opportunity to be able to give back. We are so thankful for our couples who are partnering with us in this mission by choosing us. We are going to be offering 3 new albums that are eco-friendly books, 2 of which are the first green albums in the industry. We are switching to recycled paper CD sleeves instead of plastic and continuing to work with printers offering eco-friendly options and local printers for many of our needs.

Stay tuned to the blog for our newest additions to Vrai! I hope you find them as exciting as we do.

So for 2009, as you plan out your goals, take a step to becoming more aware, even if that step is the first step of awareness. If you are already thinking about your impact, think about a small step you can take incrementally (whether it is weekly, monthly, annually) to increase your positive impact on your community and your world.

That's all for now :)

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year with Gina and Joe

Happy New Year!! This week I am posting about my last wedding of 2008 instead of my usual impact tip. This is an extra special post because it was my last wedding of 2008 and my first post of 2009. I won't have another wedding for awhile so I am posting some extra pictures :)

I rang in 2009 with a very special couple. American Idol finalist, Gina Glockson and Joe Ruzicka were married yesterday at the Naper Settlement and their reception was at the Bolingbrook Golf Club.

They had a very special start to their engagement. When Gina was on tour with the idols, Joe surprised her on stage with a proposal! I love this shot of the dress in the reflection of this photo that captures that special moment.
Gina had these Converse shoes made for her special day. Gina with her other American Idol bridesmaid's, Jordin Sparks and Haley Scarnato Jordin Sparks, a bridesmaid, gave a live performance and sang their first dance song Joe's band, Then Again, performed throughout the night. This song he dedicated to his new bride.