Category Archives: Friends

Showered with Blessings

Ladies from our church hosted a baby shower for us yesterday and it was absolutely, overwhelmingly amazing. We are surrounded with an incredible community here in Memphis and I have been so grateful over the years for the way that they have loved us and prayed over us and supported us through every joy and sorrow of life. But having so many precious people who love us all together in one room at the same time to celebrate the anticipated arrival of Baby Vendetti was just absolutely precious to me. I’m going to start crying if I write too much more about this so let’s switch to photos! 😉

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So many sweet, emotion-filled cards! I should’ve had tissues with me, haha!

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Sweet ladies in my family! 🙂

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All of my sweet hostesses! Baby showers at our church are typically hosted by the ladies in your small group and since Christopher and I happen to be in two small groups, I had quite a few hostesses! I am so grateful for everything these ladies put into this shower!

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As Christopher and I re-read every card and put away the gifts in the nursery last night, we were reminded once again of just how thankful we are for our friends and family. We are especially thankful to have so many people who love our daughter already. It was a beautiful day celebrating our little one! 🙂

Love Rach

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All the Christmas Things!

I keep hearing from people that they’ve taken down their Christmas decorations already and I have audibly gasped every time, ha! To me it still feels like we’re in the middle of Christmas because we will be celebrating with my family over this coming weekend. Plus we all know I’m not taking down Christmas decorations until mid-January anyway. 😉 I’ve been terrible about updating here lately, but photography busy season is coming to a close so I will have a little more free time on my hands again. Until then, I want to fill you in on a couple of fun Christmas things that have happened over the past couple of weeks!

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Christmas parties! We went to three big parties this year and I took photos at… none. Ha! Totally got caught up in talking and didn’t even think to pull out my phone. Thankfully, I was able to snag the photo above from a friend’s Facebook from one of the parties. So there it is, proof of at least one awesome party we attended. 😉

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We went to our first ever Drive Through Nativity and it was awesome! For local people: it was held by Longview Heights Baptist in Olive Branch – we definitely plan to go again next year!

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Lessons & Carols at St. John’s Episcopal is one of our favorite Christmas traditions every year! For more on why we love it so much see this blog post.

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Another yearly tradition is making cookies and delivering them to our neighbors. This year one of our teenagers came over to help us with these creations. She is super talented!

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Our church hosted it’s first ever Christmas Eve Service (except that it was a Christmas Eve Eve because of how the holiday fell this year). It was absolutely amazing. I hope they’ll do it again next year!

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We celebrated actual Christmas day with my parents-in-law and you guys… it was a great weekend. Which is huge. Because of Christopher’s dad’s failing health we have made a point to visit them as often as we can over the past couple of years and most of those visits have been really difficult emotionally. So to have a weekend together marked with so many good memories was so precious to us. It felt a little like a Christmas miracle. 🙂

Have you already taken down your Christmas decorations? If not, is that coming soon?

Anyone else still have Christmas celebrations to come? 

Love Rach

Lately

Life is still flying by at break-neck speed. Mostly because we got back from Europe just in time for photography busy season. I have to say, though, I have done a pretty stellar job  with self care this holiday season compared to last year. I have been much better about not overbooking myself (even if it meant that I had to refer clients to other photographers) and much better about not letting go of the things that I know are good for me. I still start every morning with quiet time, yoga, and then an hour at the gym. Last year I skipped the gym a lot during this time of year and it definitely left me feeling sluggish. So I told myself this year that I’d do a better job. And I have!

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Christopher snapped this shot of me over Thanksgiving week taking photos of my sister & brother-in-law. Their daughter is helping encourage them to smile. I’m pretty sure I need to hire her full time. 😉

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We actually put up all of our Christmas decorations in early November, but I waited to share this picture until now out of respect for my friends who prefer not to be inundated with all things Christmas before Thanksgiving. 😉 For the record, we love Thanksgiving even though we decorate for Christmas so early. We really just love the whole holiday season – the day after Halloween until January 1st. We love gathering with friends and family, attending parties, listening to festive music, eating delicious food, sharing what we’re thankful for, gift shopping, and exchanging gifts. We do all of those things (including giving gifts) at Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years every year. So this whole season is just wonderful and magical to both of us. We just happen to not like Thanksgiving decor near as much as we love Christmas decor. So we celebrate Thanksgiving with our Christmas tree twinkling brightly. 🙂

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In general we eat at either our dining room table or the bar in our kitchen. But if we’re home on a Friday night then we are eating homemade pizza while sitting on the couch. It’s one of our favorite traditions. Most pizza nights, Oreo sits on the floor and looks at us with big puppy eyes or occasionally he just lays in his bed and sighs a lot. Anything to let us know that he’s desperately starving. This past Friday, though, he took things to new heights. He jumped up on the couch and literally laid on Christopher. I’m pretty sure he was thinking, “maybe they can’t see me on the floor. Surely he’ll feed me now!” That dog is a mess!

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To celebrate Brodie’s birthday we did our first escape room this past week! We just barely escaped with 2 minutes and 38 seconds left, but we had fun!

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And on Saturday night we attended an International Night of Worship. We found out about it through World Relief which is a refugee resettlement organization that we volunteer with. It was incredible! There were people from all parts of Asia, Africa, and South America. There were even a handful of people from Italy, Canada, and Australia. As well as people born & raised in the States. Songs were sung in different languages, scriptures were read in different languages, and prayers were said in different languages. It was truly incredible to come together with people from all corners of the Earth and worship God together.

Lots more to look forward to in the weeks ahead! I just love this time of year! 🙂
Love Rach

Let’s talk about friends!

One of my favorite things is having updated photos of us with the people we love. I’ve talked before about why updated family photos are so important to me, but the same stands true for friends. The thing is, since we see each other every couple of days, I don’t think to photograph those moments. They are just routine. So once a year I try to make a point to get actual posed photos with our friends. Usually this happens at my birthday because we’re all together. And thankfully our friends are really great about it! I joke that one of these days I’m going to have us all in coordinating outfits… maybe next year. 😉

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Like I mentioned on Monday, these couples didn’t know each other before this evening (well, two of the couples had met at my birthday party last year when we had nearly 50 people over, but they didn’t get to talk much so this was essentially still a first). Seeing them all interact with each other made me think about how funny it is that in some ways our friends are so different from each other, but in others they are SO the same. One major similarity in all the couples is that the wives are all sugar sweet people. They all encourage me to be a better person and I love that! And the husbands all have that big-brother-pick-on-people personality. Which is hilarious because Christopher is only that way with a handful of people. I’m not sure why we were attracted to so many couples who were so similar in this way, but it made me laugh once I realized it.

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Stephen and Julia are our newest friends in the group. Well, sort of. Stephen and I actually first met back in 2008 when we were in graduate school. He went home and told his wife that he had met a girl who he thought she would really like and be friends with. But at the time they lived in another city (he had just come for a short course on campus) so naturally they thought nothing more of it. Until they moved to Memphis two years ago. Stephen reached out to me to ask what church we attended and next thing I knew they were part of one of our friend groups.

We started to get really close to them about a year and a half ago when we started opening up to a few friends and family members about some health issues we were facing. They really stepped up to walk this path with us. Lots of prayer and support from them. Actually this is true of all the couples in this post. When I had to have surgery last year, Julia & Stephen brought us dinner and the sweetest care package. Side note: Julia is an awesome gift-giver. Somehow she comes up with the best ideas that are so perfect for the person! However, Stephen is quite the jokester so in this care package he included a “Mixed CD” that he told me that I would really enjoy. Excitedly I put it in the CD player just to find that there was only one song on it. And it’s a song that drives me cah-razy. I made the mistake of telling Stephen once that I didn’t like the song so naturally he likes to bug me about it as often as possible. 😉 And Julia (as a pharmacist) has definitely put my mind at ease many times by answering countless questions for me about medications and interactions and such. 🙂

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We’ve been friends with Brodie and Lyndal for a little over 3 years now ever since they moved to Memphis. We met through the teens we mentored and instantly clicked! Funnily enough, Lyndal’s OLDER sister and my YOUNGER sister are best friends from college. Which means that I graduated college in 2008 and Lyndal graduated college in 2013 which makes us sound super far apart in age, but I went to college really early (just after turning 17) and Lyndal took a gap year before going to college. So we’re actually only 2.5 years apart. But it’s always funny to me that her older sister and my younger sister were college besties.

For the first two years of our friendship we saw Brodie & Lyndal all.the.time because we worked with the same group of kids. Since my girls graduated last year and Christopher & I moved to a different group of teens we don’t get to see Brodie & Lyndal as often as we used to. Definitely requiring us to be very intentional in order to spend time together. But I’m so glad we’ve made the effort! And like I mentioned earlier, all the couples in these photos really stepped up to love on us while we were going through some tough things. Lyndal is incredibly gifted when it comes to prayer and just from listening to her pray (especially the many times she’s prayed over me) has taught me a lot about how to pray for other people. And Brodie makes me feel like my big brother lives here in Memphis instead of in Colorado. He picks on me plenty and makes me laugh. Brodie, Stephen, and James are all very alike in how they like to mess with people (all in good fun) and it keeps us laughing.

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James says the most outrageous things sometimes. The first interaction I remember having with James was when we were still new to our church in 2011 and I was standing by the food at a party talking to a friend when I heard a man snapping his fingers loudly from across the kitchen. Shocked I looked up and he said (loudly) to me, “Woman, make me a plate!” I’m pretty sure my eyes bugged out of my head a little at that moment. I laugh now thinking back on it because it is so James. He likes to get to know your personality and then say all the things that would nearly offend you most without actually truly offending you or hurting your feelings. And somehow he managed to convince one of the sweetest women on the planet to marry him.

Heather has the patience of a saint and she is so thoughtful. She is so good about checking in on us any time we’ve had something going on. She’s Christopher’s Primary Care Physician (and she would be mine too if I went to one, but I see a specialist who is keeping tabs on my overall health) and she has answered endless questions for us via text or the phone when we have some sickness or another, but aren’t sure if it requires a doctor’s visit or if we can just wait it out. She has put our minds to ease many, many, many times when we’ve been concerned about something medical. It is so wonderful to have a friend who is qualified to give medical advice and then turn around and let you know that she is praying for you as well.

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These ladies have been blessing upon blessing for me over the years. They have listened to us, encouraged us, prayed for us, laughed with us, cried with us, and loved us. I couldn’t pick better people to walk this journey of life with. Oh yeah, and their husbands are pretty great too. 😉

Do you take photos with your friends? 
Do you have any fun stories of how you met your closest friends?

Love Rach

Birthday Recap!

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My birthday week kicked off on the Sunday before my Saturday birthday with a celebration with my parents, grandparents, and one of my sisters. My younger sister lives in Nashville which happens to boast a Maggiano’s which I LOVE. Being the wonderful sister she is, she brought me TWO spaghetti meals to-go from Maggiano’s when she came to visit! I ate spaghetti all week long during my birthday week. It was delightful!

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Friday night (my birthday night eve) Christopher and I made homemade pizza like we always do, but we took time to take a few photos (something we’re always saying we should do, but never remember to). It’s such a small thing, but I love this Friday night tradition so I’m so glad we took the time to take a few photos of us making pizza. 🙂

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Saturday morning aka BIRTHDAY DAY began with a trip to Panera for a blueberry bagel! My fav! Christopher gave me a sweet, handmade card and then surprised me with tickets to Pentatonix! I should also mention, Christopher made me the most delicious dessert and I absolutely ate five servings of it all throughout the day. More on that later this week when I share the recipe. 😉

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From breakfast we headed out to Shelby Farms (a huge urban park in Memphis with lots of trails and lakes and such). We attempted to take a family photo, but Oreo was so distracted by every little thing that all the photos are hilariously terrible. So instead Christopher snapped this one of Oreo and I walking together. 🙂 From there we spent the day browsing through a few stores. We found dried figs at HomeGoods and bought them because we both wanted to try them. Then naturally we made all of our friends try them too, ha! They are a bit of a weird texture and look super ugly, but actually taste like fig newtons. So random, but actually pretty good.

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We met up with friends for dinner and it was such fun! Normally I have a terrible time picking and choosing who to celebrate with because we run in so many different circles of friends and I hate the idea of anyone feeling left out. Hence why last year for my birthday we ended up having nearly 50 people at our house. It was a lot of fun, but a bit chaotic. And since our dog sitter is out of town (she normally keeps Oreo busy in an upstairs room while the party happens so he isn’t underfoot), we decided to go small for my birthday this year and then host a big party in the fall with all our friends.

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So picking and choosing was definitely difficult for me, but I decided on the people who we have found ourselves confiding in the most over the past year. The friends who have prayed for us and loved on us and encouraged us. Plus this particular group I chose to celebrate with… none of them knew each other. 😉 So it was fun introducing our best friends to each other and watching them all get along so well! 🙂

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After dinner we went bowling and had a BLAST! I started out with TWO strikes in a row (that has literally never happened to me before) and then several spares. I’m pretty sure that was birthday luck. 😉 But then my early luck faded and I managed a few gutter balls here and there later in the evening. 😉 We had a blast and I’m so thankful that we had these friends to celebrate my birthday with AND to live life with. I went to bed (late) that night feeling wrapped up in love and blessings. 🙂

Twenty Nine, I’m excited to see what you bring me! 🙂

Love Rach

Another Lately Post

Thankfully several of you have mentioned that you really like the Lately posts and I’m glad for that because I have another one for you today. 🙂 So let’s pretend we’re having a coffee date and I’ll fill you in on things lately.

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I was surprised in my last post how many of my newer readers mentioned that they hadn’t seen Oreo before or recently. I take so many pictures of him that I guess I just assume that I must be sharing most of them (let’s be real, I totally text them to people all the time, ha!). But I guess I’m not putting as many on here or Instagram as I thought. So here’s a beauty for ya today. 🙂

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It’s summer time which means our small group from church is now meeting pool side on Sunday evenings. This is sweet Miss Ada Grace who you guys met in February. She loved her first pool experience! She did not, however, love looking at the camera. 😉

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Re-runs of the Fix It & Finish It episode that we were on in 2014 will come on TV from time to time and without fail we will get a text or call from someone (or usually several someones) freaking out over seeing us on TV. Sometimes it’s someone who has known us a long time and already knows about it, but every now and then it will be someone we’ve met more recently who didn’t know about this happening. This past week the episode was playing again and we got texts from family and friends about it. Such a sweet reminder of a precious gift that was given to us! You better believe I am still so thankful every time I walk into that room. 🙂

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Busy season is still in full swing for another couple of weeks before the real heat of summer hits. I photographed a senior yesterday and tomorrow’s session is with an 18 month old. And of course, I’m still working on editing previous sessions (for most sessions I try to have photos back to clients within 2-3 weeks so I don’t give myself an opportunity to be too backlogged). I’m busy, but I’m loving every minute of it! 🙂

You guys know that I love Memphis so I just have to share this video with you. For those who don’t know, Justin Timberlake is from Memphis. And trust me, everyone and their brother here in Memphis either knows him or knows one of his family members or knows someone who knows the family – there is a lot of pride over the fact that he’s from here. Anyway, Memphis made a video for JT’s song Can’t Stop the Feeling and it’s pretty awesome. Here’s a taste of Memphis (some iconic sights & foods & good dancing) for you!

Love it. 🙂

And last, but not least (actually I put this last so it would stay fresh in your minds as you leave this post), I wanted to share with you guys that my friend, Julia, started a fashion blog called The Trendy Pharmacist about a month and a half ago and it is awesome! She shares fashionable clothes you can wear to work that are still comfortable. So go check it out!

Love Rach

All the things in one day

Saturday was the day that all the things happened. We started our morning at the zoo with family and went from there to a photo shoot and from there to meet up with an old college buddy who was in town visiting and from there to play outdoor laser tag with friends and from there to a birthday celebration dinner with the same group. It was quite the day. Exhausting, but fun.

Each of these things would be a blog post on their own normally, but I’m sure you guys have noticed that I’m writing less frequently these days. It’s busy season with my photography business again which means less time spent sharing stories and favorites here on the blog. But even if I don’t have time to share all the stories today, I can at least share some favorite photos from the weekend. 🙂

 Morning at the Memphis Zoo!

laser tag{photo snagged from Fawn’s Instagram}

If you’ve ever wondered about the church I go to… here’s a good look at some of our leadership. 😉 Our preacher & his wife, our youth minister, and our children’s minister are all pictured here. Almost everyone else here is a volunteer or a ministry team leader. We’re a pretty cool group if I do say so myself. 😉

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Both Christopher and I wiped out hard while playing laser tag (he slid in mud just after capturing their flag and I tripped over a root while running full speed as a distraction). He had an egg-sized lump on his shin (no joke! It was scary looking!) and I banged up my knee pretty badly, but we still had such a great time! We’re a little sore this week, but we’re proud of playing hard. 🙂

Now we need a weekend to recover from our weekend. 😉

Have you ever played laser tag outdoors? This was a first for us!
Love Rach