Adventuring with Ash
Making new friends was one of the things that scared yet excited me the most after we arrived to our first duty station. This was the first time ever really being away from home. When your roots were firmly planted in one place for the first 18 years of your life, you get used to your surroundings and you get comfortable. We didn't move around like my hubby did when he was a kiddo and his Dad was in the military.
I got lucky and made some pretty amazing friends rather quickly after moving to Twentynine Palms. I have Cosmetology school to thank for that! If you know anything about Twentynine Palms and the surrounding areas, its small town. For example, the Cosmetology school I attended was not one, but TWO towns over in Yucca Valley. It was about a 30+ minute drive each way. I made some amazing friends during my time there. However, one friend in particular I did not meet until months after graduating.
Everyone, meet Taylor. She goes by Taylor, T, TayTay, Auntie TayTay, etc. I first met Taylor about five months after finishing school. I had just recently started my small hobby/business and with my hubby getting ready to deploy, I was in need of some extra help with Miss Paisley. I asked for recommendations on reliable and all-around awesome sitters and she was the first one recommended. And today, I can truly see why.
The hubby left for deployment shortly after meeting and business was picking up rapidly. Things were getting crazy for this momma over here. Taylor was always the first person to jump the gun if I needed help. Literally anything she was there for. They say it takes a village, weather your a single mom, mom and married, military mom, literally any momma. For me, Taylor was my village.
We are now both stationed at the same base for the second time and live within walking distance of each other. At first, Taylor and her husband had orders to Okinawa, Japan. They were scheduled to leave sometime after the new year. I will never forget the day I got the call saying their orders had changed and that they would be at the same base as us, literally the same time. Needless to say I cried, lots of happy tears (The hubby would probably call them tears of disappointment but we all know he's kidding, lol).
Eventually, I met two more amazing friends through Taylor. Without these ladies, the deployment and our summer probably would have been bleak and bitter. We went to the beach, shopping, swimming, on walks, held game nights, movie nights, sleepovers even, dinners, concerts, and so much more. They made this time, that for some would have been miserable, into something exciting and worth while. These ladies were even at my husbands homecoming to take photos and help us welcome him home. That right there, is family.
After a few months, it was time to say some goodbyes. I've noticed how when friendships are going really well, someone either gets orders to PCS or its time to get out and move home and start their next journey. That is the only sucky thing. One friend moved back home, two friends were staying put in the stumps, and another friend received orders. That is the normality of the military life.
You make so many amazing friends but a year or two down the road you will all be scatted across the country or across the world. But it's a different kind of friendship, something much different than what you would find in high school or college. This one is a life long. You a realize that despite the different jobs our spouses may have, in the end, we are all in the same boat. We are all military spouses: married young, moved far away from "home" to begin your new life, growing as an adult and learning to become independent, and in search of a friend. One who understands what it's like when your husband is in the field for a month and you have 3 days worth of dishes stacked in your sink. A friend who understands if you don't text them back right away or even for a couple of days (guilty as charged, I'm so bad at replying). A friend to help you, hug you, have fun with you, to get you out of the house, who supports you, and who is there for you. It's the friends that you still talk to almost daily even though you haven't seen each other in days, months, or years.
I have been extremely blessed to have met so many wonderful wives and friends over the duration of our first enlistment. These ladies (and those who aren't shown or listed, you know who you are) became family for me. When your husband is deployed or gone or in the field, that's who you have. Embrace it, take it in, cherish it, and enjoy every second of it! I love and miss every single one of you ladies, and if I haven't told you lately, I'm soooooo grateful for you!
I find it almost overwhelming with all the things there are to do and see here in California. We haven't even seen a fraction of it! You will never be board again in your life living here. This weekend I wanted to take some time to scout out future photoshoot locations, and first on our list was Sunset Cliffs in San Diego. I've heard countless things about this place, including how amazing and surreal it is. They were right. This place was incredible! Personally, I have never seen cliffs before, other than the Grand Canyon in Arizona. These cliffs were right along the San Diego shore.
We went on a Sunday evening, about an hour and a half before sunset. It was still super bright out when we were there. But seriously, talk about breathtaking! I couldn't imagine what its like to live right along these cliffs and wake up next to such an amazing view every day. You lucky dogs, you!
There were places you could walk down to the beach. We saw surfers, caves, and so much more. There were narrow paths to walk along to get from one spot to another. If you are every planning to be in the San Diego area at any point in your life, Sunset Cliffs is definitely worth a visit! It took my breath away and I'm positive it'll take yours away too!
I was super excited to go exploring with the hubby and Miss Paisley! Paisley was definitely cautious about getting anywhere near an edge. She made sure to stick right by our sides, thankfully! I was able to capture some great portraits of my husband too! Most of the time he avoids having his picture taken, but I mean, c'mon, he married a photographer! He also doesn't like dancing and I danced almost my entire childhood. Opposites attract, right?!
Babe, if you're reading this, you were a fantastic model for me! I mean, look at you!
I always thought it would be fun for my husband to be my photographer. He sees me in a way that no one else does, not even myself. Plus, he tends to have a lot of fun behind the camera! Here are some shots that he was able to capture during out outing. GREAT job, baby!
Long story short, Sunset Cliffs is definitely a must see if you're ever visiting southern California. I am so glad we came down to check it out! I can't wait to have photoshoots here!
Holy moly, we survived our FIRST PCS move! I've been flying under the radar since our move so I could focus on getting settled in and to catch up on some much needed family time. For those of you who don't know what a PCS is, it is when a service member receives orders to report to a new duty station for a long period of time, in our case, the next 4 years. So that means the whole fambam packs up and moves. It could be to literally anywhere. Luckily ours wasn't too far of a move, only about 3 hours to be exact! But man, that was a process. This last month has been the longest yet fastest most craziest month of my life. We had some bumps in the road throughout this process but it has been sooooo worth it!
Being from Kansas, never in a million years did I ever think I would get a chance to live close to an ocean. This is been one of the biggest things we have been excited about! And the fact that we don't have to drive 30-45 minutes just to go to a Walmart. We are LOVIN' our family adventures!
Alrighty, so lets talk housing. Our housing process was, well... a pain. That is a whole other story for another time. We have been wanting to expand our family for some time now and we kept that in mind when apply for housing on base. After ups and downs with the housing process, our prayers were answered. Here is a few images I captured of our new nest!
We were given more space than what we know what to do with. I think the day we received our house we just starred at all the space in wonder of what to do with it. It is an absolute blessing and I honestly don't know how we got so lucky.
I actually want to give a HUGE shoutout to my incredibly patient hubby. For real, he handled the entire housing process like a freakin' champ! He is the most patient person I have ever met in my life, which is why he is my better half, because I am probably the most impatient. I was all antsy and frantic about the housing process, probably because it was our first PCS move and we weren't hearing anything back from housing. He stayed so calm and collective the whole entire process. He is seriously amazing. If you're reading this, I love you baby! You da bomb.com.
With all the new space we agreed to spruce things up a bit while we are living here. We have lists of projects around the house we are so excited about. I feel like I am on HGTV with Joanna & Chip Gains! Is shiplap allowed in military housing? HA! Anyways, I am hoping to capture as much progress with our home projects for y'all as possible!
Happy Friday, everyone!
This morning I woke up feeling different. Not because we lost an hour asleep, but because the realization that we have only 3 weeks left in our very first home has set in. It's a bittersweet feeling. All of our "firsts" as newlyweds, parents, and a family have happened in this home. This has been the only home that our Paisley has ever known. But boy are we excited for this upcoming move! Our first move to be exact. We knew that moving was a part of our military lifestyle, but holy moly did it come quick! At the beginning of April, we will be on our way to our new home near San Diego, California!
This morning started off like every morning. The first thing I do when I wake up is make coffee. My husband and I are both HUGE coffee drinkers. One of our favorite moments is sitting down together early in the morning over a cup of coffee, especially before our baby girl is up. It's that brief moment before the days starts for us to talk about anything and everything. So far, those early morning coffee talks are the moments I miss most during deployments as well. My husband soon heads to base to start his day, and shortly afterwards, the little diva awakes.
Now lets talk about picky eating toddlers for a second. Holy crap. It is like night and day with Paisley. One day she eats everything and anything I offer, and the next day she is totally okay with milk or juice and that's it and wants nothing else. I recently discovered, thanks to Nana-Banana (my Grandma, Paisley's Nana), that muffins are life. So far, Banana-nut and Lemon Poppyseed have been the ultimate winners. Thank heavens for this incredible discovery because I tend to stress when Paisley wants nothing to do with food. Here is a little preview of the mornings in the Metler household.
Everyone knows how rambunctious toddlers can be. It's hard to get them to sit down and sit still. I couldn't get Paisley to sit down for a meal other than dinner so, I found that letting Paisley roam and wander during breakfast and lunch times, she tends to eat more of her meal. She honestly does a pretty good job with not making a mess either, which is very surprising because she's a tornado of energy and destruction.
While she roams and wanders while eating her morning muffin, I attempt to catch up on work. Weather it's editing and retouching, blogging, updating my website and forms, answering inquiries, this is Mommas prime time. This is the best time for me to get a lot of work done. The cartoons are on, the chocolate milk is flowin', muffins are being munched, toys are being thrown, but hey, the toddler is happy, and that is all that matters. SCORE!
I took these photos because I wanted to remember what our mornings were like in our first home together. The feel of the breeze coming in through all the open windows, the smell of the desert after rain, the sound of cartoons playing in the background, the toddler using me as a human jungle gym as I am typing this sentence. Every single moment, right now, I want to take in and remember. I love it, and I am going to miss it. I am going to miss this place and all the memories inside. But we are so stinkin' excited for this next chapter of our lives, and the countdown begins.
So far this year has been FULL of first for me. This first in particular I want to share with you because it was SO MUCH FUN. I was invited by one of my local photog friends, Rosemary Flores Photography, to join her and another fellow photographer for a styled fashion session in Joshua Tree National Park! When photographers get together to shoot, it is called a "shootout". Needless to say, I had my first shootout with some amazing photographers and I'm going to take you behind the scenes!
Just like every artist, every photographer has their own way of doing their thing. I think that has been the most fun to see is just how unique and different we all are as photographers. We all have a common love: photography. But we all have a particular way of doing what we love. I've learned soooooo much about modeling and posing, giving direction, composition, angles and lighting, that I never even knew existed.
Let me tell you, this group of ladies was full of some of the funniest people I have ever met in my life. I had the most amazing time shooting alongside these ladies! I'm sure you can tell just by the expression and laughter on my face, ha! From squatting over prickly bushes, claiming rocks to stand on, to freezing our booties off (it was actually REALLY cold, believe it or not!), this session was an absolute blast.
During our shootout, I was actually using both of my cameras: My DSLR, Nikon D5200 with a 35mm f/1.8 lens, and my Minolta SRT 101 with a 58mm f/1.4 lens. When I first started with photography about 7-ish years ago, I began with classic black and white film photography. After graduating high school was when I first invested in a DSLR. It wasn't until a few months ago that I started back with film photography. It was pretty fun to shoot with both film and digital, but man, I need to invest in a better multi-camera camera strap if I am going to continue to shoot with both during a session. If you all have any recommendations on dual camera straps, throw 'em at your girl! I'm in need, guys!
Overall, my first "shootout" experience was amazing. I love meeting new people and I am beyond blessed to have been able to work alongside these incredible photographers! To say I am anxious and excited for the next one is an understatement. Until then, please go check out these fabulous ladies and incredible photographers!
Happy Fri-yay, everyone! I think I like "Fri-yay" better than "Friday". This week has been dragging on and I'm happy the weekend is finally in view, and my hubby comes home today from being gone all week. YES, FRI-YAY!
This week I was able to cross another goal off my 2018 goal list: a dreamy desert boudoir session. It. Was. Magical. Between the subtle sunset glow and the slight but just right amount of a desert breeze, it was the perfect storm to make my vision come to life. And I'm so excited to share it with you!
Here is one of my favorite (before and after) images from the session. I didn't have to give any direction for this image whatsoever. I was actually walking back a few steps and was changing my shutter speed when I looked up and said "Oh my goodness, stay just like that! Don't move!" She nailed it! I don't think I'll ever be able to get over how stunning she looks. Holy moly. When I started the post process and came to this image, I think I heard my jaw hit the floor. I couldn't believe how naturally this photo came about, she made it look so effortless. I think we can all agree she looks like a desert goddess, right?!
If you were to look back on my photos from a year ago, or even 6 months ago, you would definitely be able to see how much my style has changed. I've been torn between the dark and moody and also the light and airy style. I absolutely love both! Deep down my ultimate goal was to incorporate both styles into my own style. My overall goal is to be able to look at my photos and feel something. I strive with each session to bring emotion into my photos.
The two images below is the next set of before and after's I want to share. I am all for creamy skin tones! I'm also a sucker for tiny details, especially eyelashes and hair. That's probably the cosmetologist side of me, ha! I wanted the viewers eyes to be drawn to the dark contrast of her eyelashes against her creamy skin tone, and also the messiness of her hair. I looooooved the blue in her hair because it added that perfect pop of color to help break up all the neutral tones.
I have a lot of women clients who've talked with me about boudoir sessions. I'd say most women are actually interested in boudoir but just aren't sure how to go about it. It can definitely be a little nerve racking at first, but it can also be so much fun! I tell each and every one of them the same thing: I believe every woman should have photos like this taken at least once in their lifetime. Every woman is beautiful and to be able to capture that beauty in photographs and look back on it for years to come, now that's something special.
I cannot believe it is already February! January was a crazy busy month for my family and I. Not just physically with work and crazy schedules, but emotionally and mentally. January felt like a lifetime that was full of tremendous ups and downs, and in all honesty, I am so happy February is here! Within the next few weeks, I have some new and exciting sessions with some incredible people and I cannot wait to share the stories with you all.
Before the new year arrived, I hardcore procrastinated my 2018 goal list. I kept thinking about what I wanted to do within the 2018 year but I didn't physically jot my goals down on paper until well, a couple of days ago. Already being a few days into February, I've already been able to cross a few of those goals off my list. I've been able to work with other local photographers in my area here in Joshua Tree, I've been able to experience being on the flip side of the camera, and I've booked sessions that I've always wanted to capture.
At the tip top of my 2018 goal list was to start a blog to help document and share my photography journey. I have had a love for writing for as long as I can remember, but when I actually attempted to blog for the first time, consistency was not my strong suit. I failed epically. However, that was a few years back and today, I feel more than ready and excited to give it another go! I'm so excited and eager to take you along on my photography journey, as well as vignettes of this incredible life I've been given to live. Let's get started!
A southern California wedding + portrait photographer! I'm a wife to a Marine, momma to a little girl and soon a baby boy, licensed Cosmetologist, exclamation point enthusiast, and occasional model. Here you will find a glimpse into my life as well as my photography journey. Pull up a seat and stay awhile!
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