Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Wedding in the Windy City!!!

Meet Jonathan & Jennifer!!!

I will do my best not to gush, but Jonathan & Jennifer are the absolute MOST FABULOUS couple, and I had a total blast with them on their wedding day!!!

They had a beautiful wedding at the elegant Palmer House in downtown Chicago.  I just love a place with a fun history, and Palmer House has it all . . . Built in 1871 by Potter Palmer for his lovely bride as a wedding gift, it tragically burned to the ground in the Great Chicago Fire less than two weeks after opening.  So, what did Palmer do!?  He immediately set out to rebuild with iron and brick, advertising it as the "World's Only Fireproof Hotel!"  It was completed 1875 and still stands today!!!

What a great symbol of dedication, persistence, longevity, and love!!!

After a beautiful ceremony, they strolled around the city hand-in-hand, to Buckingham Fountain and Lake Michigan, and then through Millennium Park!!!  It was sooo much fun to see their favorite spots, and they are just sooo CUTE!!!  Everyone stopped them to congratulate them and commented on how beautiful the bride looked!!!
Then, it was off to Quartino Ristorante for a yummy dinner and fun evening with family and friends!!!!

I hope you enjoy more photos from their wedding in the slideshow below.

And Jonathan & Jennifer . . . Congratulations!!!  I wish you both the BEST on your journey together!!!


Sunday, October 20, 2013

Three Ladies & A Little Gentleman

Such lovely young ladies inside and out!!!  I always love spending time with Lilygrace and her twin sisters Audrey & Emma, so I just knew meeting their new little brother Tucker was going to be a blast!!!  What a trooper!!  He let us drive him around in an off-road vehicle (which he seemed to love), put him on top of huge hay bales, and he even appeased me by lying in a crate.  Such a CUTIE!!!

And best of all, for the first time, we met up on their farm!!!  I always LOVE getting to capture special moments in places that are so personal and meaningful!!!

I hope you enjoy the slideshow, and you can check out more photos of this beautiful family below:

Mark & Rachael Are Havin' A Baby

Easter 2013

Easter 2012

Easter 2011

Audrey & Emma's 3rd Birthday Party

Lilygrace Hits Seven

Lilygrace's 7th Birthday Party


Thursday, October 3, 2013

Super Summer Session

I have so many fun childhood memories of this family at this house, and I am thrilled to be able to share photos of them all with a whole new generation of SUPER CUTE and sweet children!!!

Jim and Elizabeth opened up their home, so I could capture these memories with their two amazing daughters Betsy and Katie, two wonderful sons-in-law Adam and David (respectively), and four fantastic grandchildren Reagan, Kathryn, Jackson, and Hadley!!!  It was a complete blast!!!  Reagan and Kathryn showed me their fabulous chalk designs and took super good care of little Jackson and Hadley!!  Sooo sweet!!!    

I hope you enjoy the slideshow!!!

And you can check out more of this fabulous family below:

Reagan & Kathryn's Easter Mini

Meet Jackson


Sunday, September 29, 2013

Ryan & Mandy's Volunteer Wedding!!!

Ryan and Mandy has to be one of the most fabulous couples I have ever had the pleasure of working with!!!  I love when a wedding truly reflects the personalities of the bride and groom, and this whole day was such a wonderful reflection of these two incredibly fun people!!!

When I first met up with them for their engagement session, I knew they were going to be a blast!!!  We had so much fun and walked all around the riverfront and Neyland Stadium . . . they even let me take pictures of them in the locker room!!!

They had put together a spirited BIG ORANGE WEDDING to celebrate their love and their favorite team!!!  Rolls of thunder and monsoon-like rain threatened to dampen their day (literally), but these two didn't miss a beat!!!  They were so happy to be marrying each other, they were on cloud 9!!!  And I just cannot say enough about this wedding party!!!  The bridesmaids rallied together and picked up super fun orange and white balloons, plastic (for the bride to stand on in the soaked grass), and made sure everything was perfect!!!  Actually, I suspect if I hadn't mentioned it, you probably would have never guessed that it was storming most of the day on and off or that it was raining in the following big group picture . . .

Sooooo . . . without gushing further . . . I hope you enjoy some of these photos celebrating the love of a absolutely wonderful and gorgeous couple!!!!


Monday, September 23, 2013

Twins in the City!!!

Chicago better watch out because these two lovely ladies are going to take it by storm!!!  I was so excited to get to meet up with this fabulous family while I was in town!!!  They met me at the Adler Planetarium right before the Gold Cup started (I'd tell you about my adventure trying to get there having no clue what Soldier Field was, but that's another story . . . my husband was quick to educate me - haha!).  We had sooo much fun!!!

Alaina & Emma are such a joy!!!  They have unique personalities and are sweet, beautiful, fun, and smart (how many 1.5 year olds do you know that are bilingual!?)   =)  They took right off, showing me how exciting it is to run and play with bubbles along Lake Michigan with both the Navy Pier and three of the nation's tallest buildings behind you!!!  Seriously . . . it was like a dream come true!!!  Bubbles!!  Gorgeous water!!!  Fabulous carousel!!!  And a beautiful city!!!  All in one spot!!!

And after all this running and playing . . . they weren't tired in the least!!!  After an hour of modeling, they were ready to dance and cheer on the USA & Panama as they played one another in the final game of the Gold Cup!!!

I hope you enjoy their slideshow and feel free to check out photos from my first session with these lovely ladies HERE.


Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Remembering September 11th - Beauty for Ashes!

September 11, 2001

World Trade Towers 1999
How does a single day manage to feel like it was both yesterday and yet a lifetime ago?  It always seems to sneak up on me.  And yet, the moment I wake up, I immediately realize what today is.  Images, video clips, and voices permeate every media and every place.  I remember.

It has been 12 years, and when I think back, I can still feel the fear, the overwhelming sadness and shock as if it were happening all over again.  But that is what the terrorists wanted.  They wanted to cripple us with fear and destroy us.  So instead, I choose to remember the LOVE & STRENGTH.

"Terrorist attacks can shake the foundations of our biggest buildings, but they cannot touch the foundation of America.  These acts shattered steel, but they cannot dent the steel of American resolve." -- President George W. Bush, 9/11/01 at 8:30pm

New World Trade Towers 2013
I remember hugging my friends, my family, complete strangers.  I remember spending the evening and the next day surrounded by hundreds of other students of a variety of ethnic, political, and religious backgrounds all standing together praying, holding hands, hugging, waving our American flags, and singing "God Bless America, Land That I Love!"  I remember knowing with certainty that while the world thinks we can be a spoiled and apathetic people, we are not.  We may settle into our comfort zones like everyone else and bicker about the small things, but we are strong, unified in our love of our freedoms and our nation, and we are even a bit ornery!!!  Really, we're kind of like a giant family.  We may argue, protest, rant, and call each other names, but the moment anyone else lays a finger on our crazy Uncle Eddie, it's on.  Ok, so maybe that's more like a big Southern Family - haha!!

Anyway, the point is that I am so thankful and proud to be an American!!!  I'm thankful for the wonderful people around the world who have supported us.  I am thankful for the men and women who have risked or given their lives for us . . . the rescue workers, firefighters, EMTs, police, military, volunteers, the brave people who willingly crashed their own plane into an empty field giving up their own lives to save others . . . you will all never be forgotten.  And as for the rest of us . . . we learn, we grow, we rebuild our lives and make sure to teach the lessons we learned of love, unity, and strength to future generations.

On a side note, I was in NYC two times in 2001.  I went three months before and three months after September 11th.  That year was the last time I did several things in NYC.  I guess the memories of smoke rising up from the ashes really affected me.  I couldn't even bring myself to go down there for the 10th anniversary of the attacks (I was in the city that week).  The last time I went down there, a huge metal cross and an American Flag stood over the dirt and ruins.  However, a few weeks ago, I decided this was the year.  I am so glad I went!!!  The 9/11 Memorial is a beautiful and tranquil place to reflect and honor those who lost their lives that day.  The new World Trade Center buildings are gorgeous and stand tall, reminding us that we are strong and courageous, and something beautiful can be created from the ashes of tragedy.  

"The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me . . . He has sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives . . . to console those who mourn in Zion, to give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning . . ." -- Isaiah 61:1-3


Tuesday, September 10, 2013

It's That Time . . . Christmas Time Is Here (almost)

Hip Hip Horray!!!  In a few more months there will be sleigh bells jingling and chestnuts roasting . . . my absolute most FAVORITE time of year!!!

Sooo . . . it is time to start planning FALL & CHRISTMAS MINI SESSIONS!!!  

I will be offering mini sessions in the Tri-Cities on 
October 26-27th at two set locations . . . one will be more rural and one more urban.

Mini sessions will also be available in the Knoxville area at a flexible location 
October 20-24th.

All packages include a 20-minute photo session at the specified location along with the copyright release for the edited high resolution images.

Pre-Made Packages are $100 - $135

I would love to work with you to custom design a package, design and personalize Christmas cards or gifts, and more, so please feel free to ask.

The number of people, pets, or clothing changes is only limited by what you can squeeze into the given time frame, but I am more than happy to accommodate multiple people / children / pets.

**Please e-mail levertonphoto@yahoo.com for detailed information and to reserve your spot**


Monday, September 9, 2013

Donovan, Class of 2014

I'm so excited to share these photos of my senior session with Donovan!!!  We met up at the old Spangler Farm in Chattanooga, and I have to be honest, I was overwhelmed with options.  Such a neat place!!  Donovan is such a great easy-going guy!!!  I had a fabulous time walking the property with him and his family, talking, and capturing this important time in his life!!!

Below is a slideshow of a few images from our session.  I hope you enjoy, and I hope Donovan has the BEST Senior Year ever!!!


Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Dorothy Mae Hale

Last week, the world lost a witty, strong-willed, and philanthropic lady, and I lost a fabulous great-grandma.  Dorothy Mae (Holley) Hale entered this world on December 7, 1916, and at almost 97, she wasn't about to let you forget it!!  She loved her grandchildren, and I still remember her insisting my little sister (born December 3rd) be born on her birthday, and then she fussed and fussed when her first great-great-grandsons (twins) had the nerve to be born late on the night of December 6th.  They couldn't wait just a couple more hours!?!?

She married James Kyle Hale, known to everyone as "Bud" when they were in their 20s, and they had two wonderful sons:  Ronald (my grandfather) and Gary.  Widowed at an early age, Dorothy worked with the Virginia Extension Service in Family & Consumer Science as a technician.  She helped families learn about nutrition and foods, and she worked with 4-H.  One lady I spoke with who Dorothy worked for in FCS laughed when she recalled how my Grandma would always lose her keys.  "She'd lay them down somewhere and forget, so after our meetings, we would all have to help her search for them, so she could go home."  Hmmm . . . I'm guessing that is genetic.

Dorothy was very active with her senior citizens group and with the Red Hat Society.  Grandma & I both always loved wearing red, so I remember when she first told me about this group of ladies that wear red and purple, I was ready to sign up!!!  Apparently, they have age restrictions - ha!  She had the best little platform above her staircase, and my mom and I would sneak up there and play when we weren't hiding from her in the wardrobe closet.  The train tracks ran behind her house, so when the coal train would come by, the whole house would shake!!!  I was certain the china cabinet was going to crash to floor one day!!!  And her dolls!!!  Grandma loved to make things . . . she made beautiful quilts, dolls, and (my personal favorite) Raggedy Ann & Andy!!!  There are actually pictures of me dressed up in my Raggedy Ann's pinafore (yes, I borrowed clothes from my doll).

There are plenty of hilarious "Grandma" stories, which are what have kept me from crying too much over the
past few days.  Really, her grandchildren teased her mercilessly.  They convinced all their kids (ok, so me, my sister, and my cousin) to sing "Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer" at Christmas.  Mom posted signs about how she cheated at Rook, and we were all convinced she killed all her boyfriends.  Seriously, they would forget they dropped her off somewhere or would call and report the car they loaned her as stolen, and the next thing you knew . . . they were gone.  I suspect dating in your 80s and 90s can be a bit rough.

Here are some of my favorite pictures of us and my Great-Grandma-Dot!!!  Slideshow is approximately 2 minutes.


Saturday, August 17, 2013

Summer with Carson & Holland!!!

I always have sooo much fun with these two fabulous families!!!  Mike, Michelle, Carson, Jason, Maren, & Holland met up with me at the gardens for a fun day of summer photos!!!

Carson & Holland were equipped with American flags, and they led us through the gardens to the most fun and hidden spots!!!  They even led us to places I've never seen there!!!  Such a blast exploring!!!!  Holland loved the purple fence (my personal fave) and sunflowers . . . Carson loved the big blue truck and old gas pump . . . and both of them loved running around the fountain and climbing trees!!!  These two are fast movers, so I hope you can keep up!!!

And just for nostalgia . . . here is a image from my first session with Carson & Holland in 2010!!!  They've grown sooo much!!!!  Soooo CUTE!!!!


Sunday, August 11, 2013

Amelia Turns TWO!!!!

I can hardly believe Amelia is now TWO!!!  Tuyen and David met up with me at the World's Fair Park (site of the 1982 World's Fair) for pictures for Amelia's 2nd Birthday!!!  I absolutely ADORE Amelia, and you will too!!!  She has the BEST expressions!!!  Sooo super cute!!!  And this was also the first time I got to meet her new little brother Simon!!!  Soooo handsome!!!  LOVE him!!!

Amelia played with the daisies, ran through the bubbles, and splashed in the fountain!!!  Can I just say that I had the best time!!!  Sooo much fun!!!  Check out the slideshow for more of our fun session below!!!!

Check out photos from Amelia's One Year Session HERE.


Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Nick & Lindsey Get Hitched!!!

A dream is a wish your heart makes . .  and these two are living the fairy tale!!! Nick & Lindsey went on their first date on 11-11-11!!!  For those of you who missed your fun pre-teen years, 11:11 is the best time to make a wish, so 11-11-11 is clearly the best day for it!!!  And these two are proof that dreams really do come true!!!

Lindsey is my spreadsheet twin!!!  She is the only person I've ever known who shares my love for spreadsheets and finds my long detailed paragraphs explaining any question to be perfectly normal!!!  When I asked her for her wedding details, I received the most beautiful list (in some cases, complete with pictures)!!!

In all the years I have known Lindsey, I have never seen her as happy as she is with Nick!!!  They absolutely shine when they're together!!!  I cannot even express how incredibly happy I am for them!!

LOVE how the bridesmaids all wrote messages to the bride on the bottom of her shoes!!!

Check out their full wedding slideshow here . . .

A special thanks to the following people and businesses for making this wedding fabulous:

Twin Cedar Farm for a Beautiful Location

Friend Caldwell Smith for Delicious Catering

Matron of Honor Sarah for Divine Desserts

Friend Joey Tack for Awesome DJ-ing

Nick & Lindsey -- I wish you both the BEST and pray God will continue to bless your marriage!!!


Thursday, July 18, 2013

Morgan & Lauren Say I DO!!!

From the moment I met Morgan & Lauren for their engagement session (almost exactly 2 years after they met), I knew I was going to fall in love with their wedding!!!  They're a get out and go kind of couple and love traveling together and going to concerts and sporting events!!!  Morgan even popped the question on my most favorite beach - Magen's Bay in St. Thomas!!!  Absolutely magical!!!!  They are such an amazing, fun, and creative couple!!!  I can't wait to share some photos from their wedding day!!!

A special thanks to those who worked hard to make this day fabulous:

Foxy Events
Tennessee Riverplace
Blue Ivy Flowers
Apron Strings Catering
Bueller Band


Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Meet Jackson!!!

Have you ever seen more beautiful red-heads!?!?  I am completely astounded by how Adam & Betsy managed to have THREE GORGEOUS children with such stunning hair!!!!  I just LOVE them all!!!

It is always sooo much fun seeing Reagan and Kathryn!!!  And their new little brother Jackson ended up being quite the handsome young model too!!!!  He posed!!!  He laughed!!!  He even put up with us laying him on top of a football!!!!  Such a trooper!!!  Sooo . . . I hope you all enjoy the slideshow from their session!!!  Absolutely LOVE them!!!

You can check out photos from the girls' 2012 Easter Session HERE.


Friday, July 12, 2013

Football Time in Tennessee!!!

With all the recent events swirling around campus and only 50 days left 'til the first Kickoff . . . it is safe to say that it is just about FOOTBALL TIME IN TENNESSEE!!!!

Soon, my city will be flooded by a massive sea of orange as 102,000 people descend on the campus.  Whether you love football, hate football, or are rather indifferent to the sport, the crowds and the enthusiastic rounds of ROCKY TOP are invigorating!!!  And . . . quite frankly . . . I wanted a really great excuse to share this insanely HANDSOME little guy's first UT Football picture!!!  He is ready to go!!!