Photography Friday: Nikki’s Bridals

Ahh, I finally get to share these with you!

I had the honor of photographing Nikki for her bridal portraits back in September. It was a beautiful fall day, and this bride-to-be simply glowed! The sky kept changing as we went along, and I swear to you I felt like I was seeing something out of Pride and Prejudice unravel before me – the scenes of pastoral splendor, combined with a stunning dress and glamorous model were simply too much!

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We took this opportunity to photograph Nikki with her mother as well, and I'm so glad we did! What a stunning pair!

We took this opportunity to photograph Nikki with her mother as well, and I’m so glad we did! What a stunning pair!

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Have a wonderful weekend, and Happy Halloween!

 

Wedding weekend, grumpy quads, and a clip job

You know you’ve had a good weekend when your legs are so sore from dancing that you struggle with stairs, and sitting down is actually more like falling into a chair, because your quads just can’t handle those last couple inches before your butt hits the seat.

Selfie with the bride!

Selfie with the bride!

This past weekend marked the last wedding of the year, and it went off with a bang. I had a simply marvelous time seeing old friends, testing my public speech abilities (not so hot- I shake like a leaf!), and putting some serious moves down on the dance floor. Also one odd moment when the entire dance floor decided to fill my updo with glow sticks… Can’t wait to see that picture! The bride is a current best friend and former dressage teammate of mine, so it was fitting that the venue take place in a converted barn, and we seriously raised the roof on that joint!

The bride and I geeking out at her HP-themed engagement party!

The bride and I geeking out at her HP-themed engagement party!

Back at home, I decided I was not so sore I couldn’t give Foster a clip, which he definitely needs with temperatures predicted to reach the 80s this week. It’s not my most meticulous job ever, but I thought it was pretty good for getting it done in just under an hour!

Will take better photo of the clipped pony later

Will take better photo of the clipped pony later

Our work with the draw reins seems to be paying off, and his canter transitions are slowly improving. We’ll continue to visit dressage town this week, and maybe get a jump school in before daylight savings hits this weekend! Can I just say, I hate daylight savings- getting to the barn in the dark is just sad.

Hope y’all had great weekends as well!! Happy Monday!

A spray tan and a Wedding

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I spent the weekend in the beautiful mountains of North Carolina, feeling oh-so-honored as bridesmaid for a special friend of mine! I met the bride on the first day of orientation at college- we were roommates and discovered that we were both horse crazy girls who were determined not to gain the dreaded freshman 15. So what started out as a running partnership evolved into party antics and then developed into a beautiful friendship that has lasted all these last 9 years!

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So last week was a balancing act of evenings spent getting manicures (necessary for bridesmaids who are also barn heathens riders) and spray tans (again, necessary for covering up that sports bra tanline you got last week while outside showjumping), and maybe getting in a little saddle time that hopefully won’t undo all the hard work it took to actually make you look human again. Le sigh.

My obsession with this creature occasionally makes me unsafe for public display.

My obsession with this creature occasionally makes me unsafe for public display.

But all in all, the wedding was perfect- a little bit of everything needed to make for a great occasion. Much love, a few drinks, and lots of laughter. Also, I only tripped once. A resounding success, all around.

Memories from the wedding: The beautiful bride, NC mountains, the husband, the bff, and rehearsal fun

Memories from the wedding: The beautiful bride, NC mountains, the husband, the bff, and rehearsal fun

 

 

A stroke of luck and a wedding

Well, that was another whirlwind week!

We did indeed jump the barrel/chevron love child fence, and even though I thought it was scary, Foster could have cared less. Just another moment that proves that I tend to over think things and let my nerves get the better of me. We’ve also had a couple lovely dressage schoolings, and I feel prepared to dominate our dressage test this weekend. Add that to a great pep talk from a new boarder and fellow eventer, and I’m starting to look forward to the show in earnest. Bring it, Beginner Novice A!

In an unusual stroke of luck, I won not one, but two giveaways I entered last week! I will soon be receiving a b-e-a-utiful purse made from saddle leather scraps (how cool is that!) made by Field & Field, via the oh-so-stylish equestrian blog, DappledGrey. I love the idea of using scraps to make a product that is unique, practical, and so beautifully made! And seriously, what equestrian doesn’t have an obsession with all things leather, particularly tack!

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Photo by Sarah Renee Photography, via Field & Field

The second giveaway comes from She Moved to Texas, a very entertaining blog written by a fellow NC State Equestrian Club alum. Equine Aid is a product that encourages horses to drink, and something I would dearly like to test on Foster, who has been reluctant to drink at our last two outings! Even minor heat added to the stresses of running around cross country, makes me want to ensure my horse is properly hydrated. But alas, as they say, you can lead a horse to water... I can’t wait to test this product out- review to come!

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Thanks, SheMoved and Equine Aid!

We rounded out the weekend by visiting family in Winston-Salem and attending a fabulous wedding of some great friends of ours! It was a lovely wedding filled with lots of laughs and happy faces, and the bride even arrived in a horse drawn carriage- what’s not to love?! Congrats to Somer and Steve and may you have many, many years of joy and happiness!

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Lots of fun and a gorgeous setting!
[photo on right stolen from instagram!]

The Honeymoon Part I: Scotland

Long overdue.. as in months overdue.. but here it is- better late than never, right?

Our first stop was Edinburgh, Scotland. We got there and were pleasantly surprised to see the sun shining, even if it was cold cold cold. We stayed in a nice little hotel that was once a house, about 20 minutes walking time from New Town. This is what the locals call the part of the city that was built on the drained Nor Loch in the 18th century. The Old Town includes Edinburgh Castle, the Royal Mile, and Holyrood Palace, and is where Tyler and I spent most of our time.

Our first real day there we made a point of checking out the old Castle, a huge piece of architecture overlooking the city- you really can’t miss it no matter where you are! As is par for the course with castles, the structure was added onto bit by bit over the centuries. Tyler and I love history and spend lots of time inside wandering the many mini museums and were lucky enough to see the shooting of the One O’Clock Gun, a tradition that started at the Castle in 1861. After getting our fill of the Castle, we proceeded down the Royal Mile.

It's cold and drizzly but we're excited to be there!

It’s cold and drizzly but we’re excited to be there!

After exploring the Royal Mile, and buying a much needed set of wool gloves for my numbed fingers, we made our way to Holyrood Palace. I was very interested in this place as I had read about it in my favorite book series, Outlander, by Diana Gabaldon. Holyrood (meaning Holy Cross) is a very elegant palace that the Queen still uses today when she visits Scotland. We spoke with the very helpful staff who answered many of our questions, and showed us the menu the Queen used when she was there last, only a couple weeks before. We also learned the significance of the Unicorn and Lion on the British crest- the unicorn represents Scotland, and always wears chains to represent the taming of such a wild (physically and socially) country. When you are in Scotland, the unicorn will always be on the left. In England, the unicorn is on the right. Holyrood is also home to the jawdropping ruins of an ancient abbey, and the photographer in me squealed in joy when we found it.

Holyrood Palace, as seen through my oh-so-fun fisheye

Holyrood Palace, as seen through my oh-so-fun fisheye

The beautiful Holyrood Abbey Ruins

Also worth mentioning regarding our wanderings of Edinburgh are the Whiskey Tour (Awesome and a MUST SEE even if you don’t like straight whiskey), the Elephant Room (where JK Rowling started Harry Potter- squee!), and the Real Mary King’s Close (a tour of the city underneath the city, haunted by souls long gone -insert ghost noise here-).

Sometime during our few days in Edinburgh we took a half day trip to Melrose and Roslin. We were part of a group tour with a fantastic tour guide who was extremely personable and full of fun facts. Our first stop, Melrose, is home to more ruins. The ruins were the former abbey of the Cistercian monks, and was quite obviously a very lavish place back in it’s days of glory. Even in ruins, the scale of the abbey was breathtaking. Tyler and I took an audio tour around the abbey, climbing up the narrow staircases and even checking out the ceiling before making our way to lunch and getting back on the bus.

The amazing countryside on our day trip

The amazing countryside on our day trip

Tyler and Melrose Abbey

Tyler and Melrose Abbey

 The next stop on our day trip was Roslin. I’m not going to lie, one of the main reasons we wanted to see the chapel is because of the mystery surrounding it in Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code (Spoiler alert, if you haven’t read it.. or watched the movie… Roslin Chapel is where the bloodlines of Christ were stored and Mary Magdalene buried). In its own right though, the Chapel is truly beautiful, made out of many different colors of stone. Apparently it was falling into a state of disrepair before Dan Brown’s book, and now attracts the same number of tourists in one month that it used to see in a year! Unfortunately they do not allow photography or videos inside, so I do not have evidence of our visit. The intricate carvings and mysterious stories (for instance they “won’t” excavate beneath the Chapel, even though X Rays show something down there) made it a neat stop.

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Roslin Chapel from the outside

After our stay in Edinburgh, we took an 8 hour train ride (read: caught up on sleep) to Inverness. Inverness is located way up north in the Highlands, which is a breathtakingly wild looking place with beautiful snow capped mountains and rushing rivers. It’s a very cute little city with lots of charm. Tyler and I felt a bit foolish when we first arrived, looking like tourists wandering about with our huge suitcases. We got out of the train station, took a right and walked for 5 minutes before realizing the street numbers weren’t going the right way! When we finally reached the train station again we saw that the hotel was actually in the same building as the station *slaps forehead*. Our hotel was our favorite of the trip- here’s why:

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Inside our Inverness Hotel

Inverness is also where Loch Ness, and the Battlefield of Culloden, are located. The first morning after we arrived we went on a cruise on the Loch Ness, which took us the Urquhart Castle and then back again. The Loch was really beautiful, but we had to suffer through frigid temps and wind in order for me to snap photos. Tyler and I really enjoyed touring the Castle (once the largest in Western Europe), so much so that we almost didn’t make it back to the boat!

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The Loch Ness

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Hanging out at Urquhart Castle

The next morning we got up bright and early and attempted to make our way to Culloden. It being Sunday, I had forgotten that public transportation was at a minimum. We spent at least 20 minutes chasing after buses i the rain and attempting to divine the complex bus schedules before finally catching one that looked to be heading to Culloden. The bus took us out into the country, and dropped us at a nondescript spot on the edge of a neighborhood, with the advice to head “thataway”. So we did, walking along the edges of fields in a mist that was turning into rain, and praying we would see a sign, or something, that would tell us we were headed the right way. Well, after floundering about for 40 minutes, and getting increasingly worried that we were 1) stranded in the Scottish countryside and 2) that we wouldn’t make it back to Inverness to catch the only train out of town or 3) both, we finally caught up with a biker who told us the battlefield was a mere 1.5 mile walk from there.

When we finally did reach it, we had a quick bite to eat in the Museum cafe and then went out to explore the infamous field itself. Culloden is the site of the defeat of the Jacobite Army by the English in 1746. The battle was a blood bath, and afterwards Scots were prohibited from wearing tartan or speaking Gaelic, and banned from many historic traditions. I am particularly interested in Culloden because of my obsession with Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series, which centers around the battle.

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Tyler and I in front of the Cairn dedicated to those fallen at the site

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Me with the memorial stone for the Frasers, a family written about in Outlander

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Closeup of the Cairn, with wreaths placed at the anniversary of the battle, which we just missed

After exploring and taking lots of photos, we caught a cab back to Inverness and were luckily able to catch our train to York. Onto England!