Photography Favorites: Couples

You guys, how did I manage to get more than halfway through 2016 before finishing out sharing my favorite photos from 2015?! I just now realized that I had one more post I had planned to share with you guys that I just never got around to. So I’m making that right today! Enjoy a few of my favorite couple photos from last year!:)

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RVP Photography - Couples (3)

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RVP Photography - Couples (1)

If you are interested in other photography posts, you can see my other favorites  from 2015 here: Seniors, KidsFamiliesMaternityONESiblings, and Newborns. And as always, you can see all my favorites on the Rach Vendetti Photography page on Facebook.:)

Love Rach

We’re headed back to Europe!

There are so many places in this world that Christopher and I want to visit, but several years ago we picked our top seven places (outside the US) that we wanted to see:

Italy (where Christopher’s family is from plus all the history!)
Greece (all the history!)
United Kingdom (seeing all the places where my family came from!)
China
(I’ve always wanted Christopher to see where I spent my teen years – plus all the history!)
Australia/New Zealand (the beaaaaaches!)
Caribbean (the beaches!!)
The Holy Land (we think it would be pretty amazing to see the places where Jesus walked)

walking on the beach in cozumel

We marked the Caribbean off our list in August of 2011 with our very first cruise. Since then we’ve been back three times (September 2014, August 2015, December 2015) and have loved the gorgeous water, perfect weather, and sandy beaches every time!

colosseum

Then three years ago we picked Italy as the next one to mark off our list. We absolutely LOVED it! And from the minute we came home, we were planning our next big trip. It wasn’t long before we chose GREECE! So we’ve been setting money aside for that here and there and this year is the year!:)

Except well… you see… it was supposed to be a Greece trip. But then we thought “wow, we’ll be that close to Italy… we might as well pop over there and see our favorite things again…” which then led to the conversation of “Melissa (my sister) and her family live in Prague… if we’re going to do more than one country we should totally visit them!” which then led to “Look at all these awesome countries in between the Czech Republic and Italy! We should visit Switzerland!” and then next thing you know our Greece trip had expanded into a MANY countries trip, ha!

So my friends, come this September we will be visiting:

Greece 
Italy
Czech Republic
Austria
Switzerland
France 
England (I hesitate to even put this on here since we’re only in London for a layover. But it’s a really long one so we’re hoping to be able to leave the airport and at least find fish & chips somewhere! We’ll be back to see all the sites on our official UK trip later on!)

Needless to say, we’re SUPER excited!

Have you been to any of these places? Feel free to pass on any advice!

What are your top hope-to-visit-someday places?

Have you planned a trip that was supposed to just be one major location, but turned into several?
Love Rach

My hands bear the proof

Christopher has had a lot on his plate lately so I decided to show him some love in a very tangible way. We have a normal size front yard, but a huge backyard. And since it’s summer our grass needs to be mowed every week. Which is very time consuming and in the 100 degree heat – exhausting as well. Christopher enjoys yard work so for the 8 years we’ve been married – he’s always done all the mowing. And I’ve happily let him. Which means that it has been at least a decade since I used a lawn mower at all (when I was in college and mowed a yard or two for some elderly people). But I purposed in my heart that I would do this for him. So on Wednesday morning, I did.

mowing3.jpg

It’s hard to tell the actual size here, but our backyard is massive. Do you see Oreo and Christopher in the corner of the yard? See how far away they are? Also, this is the majority of the backyard, but my phone couldn’t capture it all. There’s more on both sides of the frame.

mowing1.png{a still of me mowing the front yard from our security camera}

It took me three hours (twice as long as it takes him), but I got it done. I was a nasty, sweaty mess by the end of it, but I got it done. Our push mower’s “self propelled” feature doesn’t work, but I got it done. Two days later I still can hardly lift my arms above my head, but I got it done. I have blisters on my hands, but I got it done.

mowing{yes, that is a princess bandaid – don’t judge}

And when he came home on Wednesday night and saw it all – every minute, every ache, and every pain was worth it.:)

As a side note, I totally skipped the gym that day and yet I felt like I got a full body work out and my Fitbit logged just under 10k steps that morning alone. So you know, I think it was okay to have my first gym skip day of the year.😉 I was so glad to be able to bless him this way and show him a tangible “I love you”. But I did point out to him that it would probably be another 8 years of marriage before I mowed again.😉

Dear Christopher, I love you for always. This week my hands bear the proof.:)

When was the last time you mowed a lawn? Anyone do so regularly?

Love Rach

Oreo’s Worst Birthday Weekend Ever

{I wanted to post something light hearted today because life itself has not been light hearted lately. There is a lot of hurt in this world. I grieve the loss of lives both here and abroad. So today, I charge you: love one another.}

This past weekend we celebrated 6 years since we brought Oreo home from the Humane Shelter where I volunteered. Unfortunately his birthday weekend was the first time we had available to take him to the vet to be treated for yet another ear infection. You guys, this poor pup hates the vet. So so much. He kept looking at us with this face of utter betrayal the whole time we were there. In fact, if he were to keep a diary, this is what it would’ve said this weekend:

Oreo’s Doggy Diary

Friday, July 8th, 2016

Dear Diary, You will never believe what mom and dad did to me! They took me to the vet (knowing how much I hate that place) and forced me to under-go a nail trim, blood draw from my jugular, sedation, and horrible goo in my ears that made it impossible for me to hear! And did I mention that the horrible lady in scrubs put a thermometer in an unmentionable place and HELD IT THERE for hours?! Well, it felt like hours. Maybe it was just one minute. But I digress. The point is, I was utterly betrayed by these people who claim to love me. Now they are giving me bad tasting medicine that makes me SO thirsty that I have to go potty all the time. They say something about a bilateral ear infection and that I’ll feel better soon, but I just don’t know what to think.

Saturday, July 9th, 2016

Dear Diary, ever since I started taking this medicine I am just so sleepy all the time. I can hear when mom whistles and other high pitched noises, but everything else is so distant and foggy. I’m glad to have mom and dad snuggle with me so much while I don’t feel good. I have more to say, but… zzzzz…..

Sunday, July 10th, 2016

Dear Diary, I can hear again today! My ears still feel a little funny with that goo in there, but at least I can hear mommy and daddy talking to me. I have missed hearing what a good boy I am all the time. I’m still sleepy and thirsty all the time, but I am starting to feel like myself again. Dad took some pictures of me and mom today. I think she wanted me to sit and smile for the camera, but I had trouble focusing through the drug haze. Thankfully she was pretty understanding about it. In other news, mom & dad gave me a new chew toy today for my birthday and it was SO delicious! I wanted to chew on it longer, but the sleep just keeps taking over…

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oreo's birthday3
{Oreo is rocking the Gentle Leader in these photos in case you are curious about the strap on his face}

In the six years he has lived with this, this is definitely the worst birthday weekend he’s had. Usually the day is filled with things he loves (lots of treats, walks, and snuggles), but he was just so worn out on Sunday that we just let him sleep. Thankfully he seems to have forgiven us for Friday. He’ll be done with the steroids (that make him sleepy & thirsty) by the end of the week and we’ll be glad for that for his sake! We had allergy testing done (hence all the blood they took from my poor baby) so we are definitely curious to find out those results. We’re hoping his allergies are really easily remedied because this yearly ear infection business has to stop (last year he had an eardrum rupture because he was shaking his head so much from the ear infection). Next week we’ll make up for his bad weekend and do some things he loves for a belated birthday celebration!:)

Love Rach

Lately

And we’re back to lately posts, ha! It’s 100 degrees here right now so I keep thinking the photography business will soon slow down dramatically. Instead I keep having people book July sessions which is awesome for business! But, you know, hot. So we’re attempting to beat (some of) the heat by having early morning sessions. Tomorrow I have a 7:45am session and on Friday a 7am one. On the bright side – I’m an early riser – so this is no biggie for me. Hopefully the kiddos (and their parents) will be bright eyed and bushy tailed!:)

post gym selfie{awkward post-gym selfie from today – I was trying to not look bald by turning my head, but now it just looks weird. Obviously I need to work on my selfie game, haha!}

One thing I’ve been really proud of myself for during this busy photography season has been prioritizing time at the gym. I really enjoy working out and I feel great all day when I kick off my morning at the gym. The only times when I don’t go regularly are during photography busy seasons (spring-early summer and then fall-Christmas). So after this past fall/Holiday season when I was crazy busy and missed a TON of gym days, I decided not to let that happen again. So while I’m not present here as much as I’d like, I am still getting in that much needed gym time. Thanks for hanging with me while things are busy.:)

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Ever since our A/C leaked through our ceiling three weeks ago we’ve been attempting to repair the damaged ceiling. We’ve tried two fixes and both haven’t matched the texture that is already on the ceiling. Which required RE-scraping the ceiling. Yuck! So last night we pulled out the big guns and rented a ceiling texture sprayer to fix it. Thankfully the third time was the charm and the ceiling looks way better now!

from 2004

This deserves more than just a passing mention, but since blogging has taken a backseat lately, I don’t want this week to pass without me at least acknowledging this. A friend of ours from college passed away very suddenly this week. I remember when his wife and I were freshman and we were having a slumber party and giggling together about these super cute boys we were dating and how we both thought that they just might be the ones we would marry. We were right. And now, at a ridiculously young age, he is gone. My heart just breaks for her and their young son. Please take a moment to pause and say a prayer for them. Hug those you love a little tighter today.

kiddos2.jpg

Speaking of those I love… these two hooligans have kept me busy this summer. It’s so nice to spend some quality time with them without having to worry about school or schedules. And if you missed last week’s post about them, check it out here. These two are so near and dear to my heart.:)

world relief

Christopher and I recently began volunteering with World Relief here in Memphis. We are volunteering with a refugee family from Syria who are just absolutely precious. We don’t know all of their story yet, but I am already so amazed by their resiliency and eagerness to adapt to life here. I’m not sure how many stories or photos I’ll be able to share here due to privacy, but this is what we’re doing on Monday nights now.

I know this post is such a mix of lighthearted and heavy things, but I suppose that’s life. I may not be blogging like normal right now, but there are definitely some things I want recorded to look back on. Thanks for hanging with me, friends.

Love Rach

Four precious, wonderful years

Yesterday my little Mallory turned 4.

mal

How is she so big already?! I’m pretty sure it was just yesterday that she was this size:

rach and malbw.jpg

And then I blinked and four years flew by.

mal3

Oh Mallory, you sweet, hilarious little girl. May your life always be filled with so much love and laughter.

mal2

May you keep your sense of humor and pair it with kindness and humility. May your tender heart be protected from the cruelty of the world as long as possible and when the day comes that life hurts – may you remember that you are always surrounded by people who love you. And sweet Mallory, as you grow up, may you always seek after the heart of Jesus. This is my constant prayer for you and your brother.

rach and the kiddos.jpg

Four years ago when we met our financial goals and I left my desk job to be a nanny I had no idea what was in store. I knew I would love what I was doing, but I had no idea just how much. I had no idea how precious this family would become to me. And how these children would be like my own family. Watching both of them grow and change has been such a delight over the years. I do get a little weepy seeing them growing up on me, but I love the awesome little people they are becoming.

rach and the kiddos4.jpg{please ignore my wet hair. I wasn’t originally planning on being in pictures yesterday when I threw my hair up in a bun after a shower and walked out the door, ha!}

I also had no clue that taking a nanny position would give me the freedom to pursue things I am passionate about. Like my photography. Will and Mallory were some of my first subjects that I photographed regularly. And nap time gave me plenty of time to learn the book side of photography as well as to edit photos. Their mom was one of the first to  brag on my photography on social media and make me feel like I might be able to make my hobby into something bigger. And then when the photography business picked up and I found myself needing to make a decision between the two – my nanny hours changed from 6:30am-3:30pm to 11:45am-4pm (about a year and a half ago). This has given me the opportunity to still see the kids during the week (especially in the summer when Will is out of school) while still pursing my photography business full time. I love that instead of having to make a choice between two things I love doing, I got to choose both. Blessing upon blessing.:)

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Happy fourth birthday, Mallory! Four years ago, I had no idea how much you and your family would bless me. I love you for always.

Love Rach

My 11 Favorite Snacks

A little over a year ago we found out that I’m insulin resistant. Which means my body doesn’t know how to process insulin properly so I eat a carbohydrate distributed diet (this is different than a carbohydrate restricted diet where you don’t eat them at all – I just eat smaller amounts of them throughout the day). It was a huge change initially, but I hardly even notice it now. With this comes the need to snack more throughout the day so I’ve discovered my favorite snacks to help keep me satisfied until the next meal and I want to share those with you guys (along with some key nutritional facts for those who are curious)!

When I’m At Home:

hummus & crackers

Sprouts Garlic Hummus with Van’s Lots of Everything Crackers
Hummus: Calories: 40, Protein: 2g, Cholesterol: 0mg, Carbs: 5g, Sugars: 1g
Crackers: Calories: 70, Protein: 1g, Cholesterol: 0mg, Carbs: 10.5g, Sugars: 1.5g
(I usually only eat half a serving of these crackers at a time – which is 15 crackers – so I’m reporting the stats for half a serving instead of a full serving)

boiled egg{image via}

Boiled Egg
Calories: 78, Protein: 6g, Cholesterol: 187mg, Carbs: 0.6g, Sugars: 0.6g

oikos yogurt

Dannon Oikos Triple Zero Vanilla Greek Yogurt
Calories: 120, Protein: 15g, Cholesterol: 5mg, Carbs: 15g, Sugars: 7g

banana and pb{image via – I was lazy and found this pic via Google images, but it looks the same as what I eat. Side note: if you check out the rest of the post where this picture is from, these pb & banana bites end up covered in chocolate and look awesome!}

Small Banana with Peter Pan Natural Peanut Butter
Banana: Calories: 90, Protein: 1g, Cholesterol: 0mg, Carbs: 23g, Sugars: 12g
PB: Calories: 210, Protein: 8g, Cholesterol: 0mg, Carbs: 6g, Sugars: 3g

cottage cheese & berries

Sprouts Original Cottage Cheese with Berries
Cottage Cheese: Calories: 110, Protein: 13g, Cholesterol: 20mg, Carbs: 5g, Sugars: 3g
Berries (approx): Calories: 25, Protein: 0.5g, Cholesterol: 0mg, Carbs: 6g, Sugars: 5g

When I’m On the Go:

kashi mocha almond{image via}

Kashi Mocha Almond Granola Bar
Calories: 130, Protein: 6g, Cholesterol: 0mg, Carbs: 21g, Sugars: 6g

think thin chocolate almond brownie{image via}

Think Thin Chocolate Almond Brownie Bar
Calories: 150, Protein: 10g, Cholesterol: 0mg, Carbs: 19g, Sugars: 5g

think thin brownie crunch{image via}

Think Thin Brownie Crunch Protein Bar
Calories: 230, Protein: 20g, Cholesterol: 0mg, Carbs: 25g, Sugars: 0g

lance pb crackers{image via}

Lance Whole Grain Peanut Butter Crackers
Calories: 210, Protein: 6g, Cholesterol: 0mg, Carbs: 25g, Sugars: 4g

sweet baby ray's beef jerky.png{image via}

Bridgford Sweet Baby Ray’s Beef Jerky
Calories: 90, Protein: 11g, Cholesterol: 25mg, Carbs: 6g, Sugars: 6g

skippyBitesPretzel.png{image via}

Skippy Peanut Butter Bites with Pretzel
Calories: 160, Protein: 5g, Cholesterol: 5mg, Carbs: 13g, Sugars: 6g

We also keep our kitchen stocked with some combination of our favorite fruits & veggies for us to snack on and those include:

watermelon
blueberries
raspberries
strawberries
bananas
pineapple
peaches
nectarines
tangerines
honey crisp apples
cherry tomatoes
carrots

You will notice that my “at home” snacks are far less processed and generally healthier than my “on the go” snacks, but I’m often out and about and bringing snacks that require refrigeration with me isn’t an option. So these are the ones I’ve found that are on the healthier side.:)

What are your favorite snacks both on the go and at home? I’m always looking for new ideas.:)

Love Rach