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the process of inspiration

This past Saturday, I did a portrait session for my friend Brandie that I just loved!!! I absolutely adored the entire process. The shoot was done in my house, utilizing window light from the double french doors in our dining room, and a gray paper background that I have owned forever.

I would like to explain a little about what inspires me. See, Brandie is a huge fan of the show Gossip Girl. She and my friend Jen both convinced me that I needed some Chuck and Blair, and Serena and Dan or Serena and Nate or Serena and whoever {but mostly Chuck and Blair ;)}, and some Upper East Side Fashion {yes, with a capital F} in my life. It didn’t take me long to become completely hooked. I started last year and went through all the seasons on disc, and now I am anxiously awaiting the return of new episodes! :)

When I saw the episode with Serena wearing this look for her mother’s wedding, I just loved it…


And in another episode, when Serena attended The White Party at The Hamptons, her hairstyle was simply stunning…


I suppose I filed those looks away somewhere in the creative recesses of my brain. But it wasn’t until I came across a vintage yellow dress with a cream lace overlay at a thrift store, that I became consciously inspired. I scooped up the dress, knowing full well that it would never fit me. Instead, I knew I would use it for a shoot. And I hung it on the door fame of my closet. It hung there quietly for months, silently challenging me to come up with a subject and theme for a shoot worthy of it’s uniqueness.

I’m not sure exactly when it came to me, but one day, it all just fell into place. See, I happen to know that my beautiful blond friend Brandie has a ridiculous girl-crush on Serena, and from somewhere in my brain, up bubbled the images from Gossip Girl that I had filed away months ago.

So, I did a Google image search and started a folder of actual inspiration photos. Next, I had to make sure the tiny-waisted vintage dress would fit Brandie. So, I wrapped a strand of ribbon around the waist, cut it to length, and made Brandie “try it on” one night at LifeGroup. :) It fit. Whew.

Here’s one of my very favorite shots we came up with on Saturday.

{I made the lace “headpiece” – just wide lace and a needle and thread. She’s just holding it here, but it could easily be bobby-pinned into the hair. Oh, and Brnadie made her black bead necklace.}

Now, I had also saved a few images of Blake’s/Serena’s “everyday” hair…


And when Brandie showed up at my house for the shoot Saturday, she brought a few casual outfit options. So we also did a casual Serena look.


Honestly, I was completely thrilled with the entire shoot! I will probably do another post sometime featuring more images from it. These were just two of my initial favorites. But seriously, I am like a kid in a candy store when I am executing a shoot that has been stewing in my mind.

One last note about drawing inspiration from whatever random source…..When I am inspired by a look or even another photo shoot that I see {all photographers are!}, I never try to replicate it exactly. Instead, I use it to get my creative juices flowing, and then go from there.

Anyway, just thought it might be fun to share a little bit about my creative process, as opposed to just showing pretty pictures. Hope you all didn’t find this post to be too boring. :)


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Kelly BeaneJanuary 18, 2011 - 4:46 pm

Absolutely love these images of Brandi! Great share!

allison harrisonJanuary 18, 2011 - 10:48 pm

i LOVE this!! YOU inspire me!!

JacquelynJanuary 19, 2011 - 10:03 pm

you did amazing. a-maz-ing.

~abi~January 19, 2011 - 10:34 pm

thank you, ladies. :)

LaurenJanuary 27, 2011 - 2:53 am

I love this post!! I think my favorite was the casual look..but I loved it all! It makes me want to get creative..

sometimes i am creative

So, last week I went over to my beautiful friend Cassie’s house to hang out and to put this together for her daughter Ari’s room…


{The top “Love You” thingy is a decoration I purchased at Hobby Lobby. :) Also from Hobby Lobby are the two little pink beaded hearts. The tissue puffs are from ihaveribbon on etsy and the paper lanterns are from etsy or ebay. The purple butterflies were already in Ari’s room, we just added them to this. The pink scolly flower on the wall was previously there as well. Also used: purple sequin ribbon, sheer pink ribbon, red furry wired ribbon, and red ribbon with white polka dots.}

Cassie’s daughter Ari just turned 7 in December, and this was my belated birthday present to her. She had been maybe just a little envious of this “mobile” I made last year to go above her baby sister Kayla’s crib.

{Here’s Cassie and her husband Daniel, when baby Kayla was still in her belly. :) -photo by me}

I was inspired by a favorite Oklahoman and blogger of mine, Ashley Ann at Under the Sycamore. Go spend some time on her site — you will be delighted with her charming home and adorable family!

Anyway, I was really happy with how both of the girls’ little projects of mine turned out! Sometimes I am creative, and then I look at what I created and I think, “I made that.” And I smile. :)


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Kathleen MillerJanuary 17, 2011 - 7:06 pm

Abi!!! You are absolutely one of THE most talented people I know! These are amazing and beautiful. Im blown away!!! We will be PAYING you to make something like this for baby Miller someday!

JacquelynJanuary 17, 2011 - 11:11 pm

Those look great!

cupcakes on my mind

This is my friend Brandie. She looks a bit like Sandra Bullock and a bit like Britney Spears, according to many people we meet whenever I am out with her. :)


She also makes a.ma.zing cupcakes that look as delightful as they taste.



Yep, these are cupcakes. So pretty!!! She made these for me for my Switch girls a couple of months ago. Aren’t they amazing?!? {If you are interested in ordering a cupcake bouquet for anyone, let me know and I’ll get you her contact info. They would make a perfect and unique Valentine’s Day gift. :)}

Happy weekend, friends.


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JacquelynJanuary 14, 2011 - 10:21 pm

Tell my boyfriend to order those for me.

Also, tell me if someone claims to be my boyfriend.

~abi~January 18, 2011 - 4:44 pm

haha! jaquelyn, that made me laugh. :)

the poor girl’s guide to eating in The City

Well, food is on my mind this morning, as it is many mornings. haha. So, I thought I’d share the cheap-yet-fun-and-delicious food and drinks we consumed while in NYC.

For our first meal of the trip, we ended up at an amazingly yummy little pizza place, Mariella’s, on 3rd Ave.

Jen and I both chose this veggie-loaded pizza.


Whitney and Katherine looked extra-cute eating their slices. :)


A couple hours later, we finally got into Serendipity III, and enjoyed some amazing desserts. Here’s Jen and I perusing the incredible menu.



Even later that night, my throat was starting to feel pretty raw and sore, so I ordered a Hot Toddy at our hotel bar. It was my first time to ever try that drink, and boy was it strong! Whew! I kind of shudder now just thinking about it. But i swear to you that it helped my throat so much! :)


After downing the hot toddy, Jen and I set out to see more of the city, and we each got an insanely scrumptious gyro from a vendor outside of Grand Central. I would pretty much go back to New York just to get another gyro like that! yummm!


The next day, I got a pretzel from a street vendor before joining the massive crowd of people waiting in Times Square for the NYE celebration.


And Whitney grabbed a hotdog!


Because people were gathering so early and Times Square was quickly filling up, Katherine and Brandie settled for McDonalds instead of the sushi we had all wanted to get for lunch that day. The funniest part was that they each bought an extra burger, since they knew we would be out there for hours and hours, and they ate one later as a snack. hahaha


By the next morning, my voice was completely gone, and my sore throat was in full effect, so Katherine and I opted for Jamba Juice over Starbucks. There, we indulged in a healthy wheat grass shot. :)



At lunchtime, we were in Chinatown, so we decided to pick up food from one of the little restaurants there. And we figured that we might as well choose one that had all sorts of animals hanging in the windows, right?




I was strangely fascinated by it all.


Stella Artois seemed to be the unofficial drink of the trip. :) Here, Whitney, Jen, Katherine and I all enjoyed a drink in our room before heading back out on the town on January 1st.


Katherine also wanted to experience the joys of eating a hotdog from a street vendor.



And finally, later on that night, we ended up at Benito II in Little Italy, where we were delighted by the delectable food and enamored with the charming and extra-attentive staff. :)




This guy even gave me a shoulder massage, since it was {a day after} my birthday! ;)


We ended the night by enjoying divine cupcakes that we had picked up earlier at Magnolia Bakery. Delish!!!




And now, I just want to eat all sorts of unhealthy foods. :) But I can’t and I won’t. I’m glad I got that out of my system in New York. Because everyone knows that food you eat while on vacation doesn’t really count, or make you gain weight! ;)


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jaredwanzerphotographyJanuary 14, 2011 - 6:02 pm

I cannot believe these pictures were taken with your point and shoot because these are soo good…
food is so much better in NYC YUMM now I am hungry.

what i’m working on today 1.11.11

So, I will probably do a couple more random posts about my trip, but yesterday and today I have been happily busy working on an order from one of my favorite subjects, JeRayle. JeRayle lives in Dallas and does some modeling. We have worked together on one shoot prior to this one, and I have to say that my camera just loves him. :) Here are some favorites of mine from the ones I am editing for him right now.






Seriously, though, how good is he in front of the camera?? He has what it takes to make it in the modeling world, and I hope his career takes him far!


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Kathleen MillerJanuary 11, 2011 - 10:46 pm

ummmmm WOW. that's all I can say. WOW. ;)

Bethany LarieJanuary 12, 2011 - 2:01 am

cough* mmm… wow….. or yummy.. yeah yummy sounds better :D

~abi~January 12, 2011 - 2:24 pm

haha, you girls make me laugh. :)