Metropolitan Ministries Bridge Builders 2016

Metropolitan Ministries truly brings hope to those who are running short on it in Tampa Bay.  Over 1000 people supported their annual Bridge Builders event at the Hilton Downtown Tampa.  Lunch was provided by their cafe and catering company, Inside the Box.  It's "Good Food Doing Good", because all proceeds go back to feeding the hungry and people in need right here in Tampa, the food and service there is awesome.  Definitely worth a visit if you haven't been!  They shared a video story of Linda, and how working there has changed her life.  She actually made the cheesecake favors at each place setting.  Pam Iorio was presented with the 2016 Bridge Builders award and a hug from some of the Notes of Joy.  Metromin's President, Tim Marks, talked about outcomes, success rates, and how they measure, and constantly improve on helping people (makes my nerdy engineering heart leap:-)  They have a 92% success rate in their short term program and 88% success rate in their long term program which means almost all their families are leaving with housing, and a plan to be self-sufficient.  If you haven't taken a tour of the campus, or volunteered with them, you must!  it will blow your mind the impact they are making on Tampa Bay! 

Women of Influence 2016

The Women of Influence Luncheon this year, was the biggest one yet, over 1000 people (mostly women but a few brave men:-) at the Hilton Downtown Tampa.  This is the 7th year in a row I've photographed this event with the Greater Tampa Chamber, and it is always one of my favorites.  Dr. Judy Genshaft presented the 2016 Dottie Berger MacKinnon Woman of Influence Award to Rhea Law.  Gay Gaddis, CEO and founder of T3, which is the largest independent women-owned advertising agency in the US was the keynote speaker.  Back when she started her company in 1989 she wrote her mission statement on a napkin "Kick-ass work for clients who want to kick-ass".  I have to say I love this statement and feel the same in terms of what we do.  How about "Kick-ass photography for clients who want photos that kick-ass."  Gay was so interesting and energizing, it was awesome.  

Vice President Biden Speaks to Greater Tampa Chamber

I had the honor of photographing Vice President Biden's speech to the business leaders at Tampa Chamber at University of Tampa today. Only 15 chambers throughout the US were chosen to receive briefings from the White House, so it speaks to the level of business leadership we have here in Tampa.  The main theme was international relations and I some listening while shooting:-) One thing he said that totally resonated with me was "Everyone, everyone, everyone is entitled to be treated with dignity and respect. It's just basic".  It was so interesting and such a great experience to be a part of! 

April NACE @ Isla Del Sol

Tampa Bay wedding/event professionals work hard and play hard.  Our April NACE meeting was Hawaiian Luau themed complete with hula dancers and fire!  Cocktail hour was on the pool deck overlooking the bay.  The room was decorated with tall palm fronds, blue and aqua uplighting with palm tree linen overlays. This was a very competitive group and I have to say I was pretty impressed with the culinary fruit carving skills!  After a fabulous dinner of salmon and chicken the hula dancers needed a little help and participation from the audience:-) Such a fun evening with some of my favorite people! 
Venue | Isla Del Sol | Entertainment | Breezin | Draping & Lighting | Music on the Move | Linens | Connie Duglin | Cupcakes | The Artistic Whisk | Florals | Iza's Flowers | Awards | Chocolates by Michelle | Chivari Chairs | Signature Event Rentals 

Maddie's 2nd Birthday

I like doing fun creative personal projects just to mix it up, and these days those projects usually have something to do with my little kidlets:-)  Our oldest, Maddie, just turned 2 and like all mom's I of course, got on Pinterest to find a theme and ideas.  If you know me, you know I absolutely hate doing anything crafty, like really hate it!  So, my goal is always to find an idea and literally make it as simple as possible for a non crafty person like me.  I landed on the hot air balloon (up up and away) theme with a pink, coral and aqua color palette.  There's all kinds of complicated ways to make or buy hot air balloon looking decorations so I made it super simple.  The lanterns, bunting flags and chalk board signs I ordered from Paper Lantern Store, they literally have every size and color you could possibly want for a great price.  I needed them to be really light so we could tape them to the ceiling.  For the basket, I cut off the top of brown paper lunch bags and then stapled string to each size and then tied it to the metal part of the lantern and voila!  My 12 year old niece, Emma, helped me put them all together and my wonderful hubby who always knows he's getting roped into helping out someway hung them all from the ceiling over the sweets table, foyer, and out front.  For the sweets table, I melted and color chocolate and dipped vanilla and chocolate oreos and put sprinkles on top.  When I was a kid, my mom would make cupcakes in ice cream cones for our birthday treats for school, so I made those and frosted sugar cookies (yes the ones you break apart and bake:-).  The finishing touch was a little hot air balloon cake topper from Pleasantview Parties.  We had such a fun time with family and friends! Thanks to my friend Andi for taking some of us blowing out the candles! I did Maddie's 2 year old photos on a different day, and made a hot air balloon with the biggest balloon I could find at Party City and a white laundry basket.  She was much more into having the balloon tied to her arm than my idea lol!  Now on to ideas for Evie's 2nd birthday in June.......

Tampa Bay Wedding Week - Hyde Park Registry Event

Last week was the first ever Tampa Bay Wedding Week!  One of the events we were a part of and photographed was the bridal registry event  Hyde Park Village with West ElmPottery Barn, & Sur La Table.  It was gorgeous weather, delicious light bites, mocktails, live music and just really fun people.  It was a team effort by all the awesome people listed below that made it happen!  
Entertainment | Breezin' Entertainment and Productions | Light Bites | K4 Catering | Dessert | The Sweet Tooth Cakery | Mocktail Bar | Tampa Airport Marriott | Beauty | Lindsay Does Makeup | Bridesmaid Dresses | Bella Bridesmaids | Event Design | Southern Elegance Events

Tampa Chamber Annual Meeting 2015

The Tampa Chamber ends each year with the passing of the gavel to the new chairperson and a celebration of the years' accomplishments along with what's ahead for 2016.  Ron Christaldi passed the gavel on to Guy King III.  The members brought toys (and cute teddy bears:-) to support gifts Metropolitan Ministries will be giving out for Christmas. Betty Castor was presented with the H. L. Culbreath Jr. Leadership Profile Award and we heard from some of the top leaders of Tampa including Mayor (or Reverend as some like to call him:-) Bob Buckhorn. Such a great way to end the year and much in store for 2016!  
Venue | Tampa Convention Center | Balloons and Entertainment | YTE Events | Production and Lighting | DCE Productions

Promise Love Foundation - Photos with Santa 2015

We worked with the Promise Love Foundation and High Hopes in High Heels for the first annual photos with Santa event!  We found out there is a specific age range of #santahaters, which usually fell between 12 months - 2.5 years old:-) Lots of lifelong memories were made and some of our favs are below!  This event raised over $1300 to support adoption, and this along with other donations received, allowed Promise Love Foundation to exceed the goal amount for the current family they are patterning with, the Pucovsky family.  Thank you to all who came out for some holiday fun and the event contributors below! 
Santa | Venue | Creative Loafing | Face Painting | Sarah Sinteff | Santa’s Chair | Tufted Vintage Rentals | DJ | DJ Astylez | Linens | Core Concepts

Imaging USA 2016!

Photographers, how many of you are going to Imaging 2016 in Atlanta??  My very first one was just the tradeshow in 2008 when it was hosted in Tampa, and I was just starting my business.  Every year I look forward to starting off the new year by learning, be inspired, and networking with awesome people.  The last 3 years I’ve been an instructor on business and weddings.  I absolutely LOVE teaching and helping people change their life and do what they love!  In 2016 surprise surprise!  I’m teaching a full day of “The Art of The Wedding Photography Business”.  It’s going to be a packed 8 hours of not only learning the key tools of having a successful wedding business, but also a plan with actual steps to create success for your business.  And, it’s me, so it’s going to be entertaining, candid, interactive, and of course have some awesome giveaways from WHCC, ShootQ and Finao!!!!  

Saturday January 9th 9:00am – 5:00pm here’s the link to sign up!! 

It's Giving Tuesday!

There's Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and today is Giving Tuesday! Today is a day where everyone in the world can come together for one common purpose: to celebrate generosity and give.  My social and personal passion is adoption and the foster care system and I have 2 ways for you to join with us in #givingtuesday!  

The first is, our foundation (Promise Love Foundation) partners with families to raise funds for adoption and we have an awesome event coming up this Sunday 12.6 with the ladies from High Hopes in High Heels!  You can get your family's photo taken with Santa and all proceeds go towards adoption and creating forever families! No waiting in a crazy line at the mall and you'll get to see my kid wrangling skills:-) The event info is below and you can click HERE to reserve your spot! 

The 2nd is, the family we are currently partnering with, the Pucovsky family, finalized the adoption of 14 year old Zaniya just last Tuesday!  They only need $1890 to reach their goal, and you can literally be a part of changing the course of a teenagers' life by giving. You can read their adoption finalization story and DONATE HERE

Small Business of the Year 2015

Over 550 people came out to celebrate the accomplishments of the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce small business community at the Straz Center.  The theme this year was Architects for Success, with "drawings" on the cocktail tables, levels as favors, and an amazing city scape as the stage backdrop. 

This year's event was presented by Bay Cities Bank & Warren Averett CPAs and Advisors and represents the 35th year the Chamber has recognized this key segment of the region's economy. Small business awards were presented in three categories based on the number of employees and a fourth business category honoring a startup company. Companies are evaluated on financial success, community involvement and ethical business practices.

Congrats to the 2015 winners!!!! 

  • Startup Company: Bourbon and Boweties
  • 5 - 20 Employees: Flatwoods Consulting Group, Inc.
  • 21 - 50 Employees: Tudi Mechanical Systems of Tampa, Inc.
  • 51 - 250 Employees: Bill Currie Ford

NACE @ The Crowne Plaza Westshore

We love our local chapter of National Association of Catering Executives!  It's really an awesome group of the best in wedding and event professionals in Tampa Bay.  This month was at the Crowne Plaza Westshore. The group of friendors below worked so hard to create the ambiance for the meeting and it looked amazing.  I especially love the unique bamboo chairs, gold linen overlays, black chandelier, and of course the pumpkin dessert:-)  Anna, the founder of Marry Me Tampa Bay gave a great presentation on the power of blogging to build your brand. Great job Anna and to all who put it together we so enjoyed it! 
Venue | Crowne Plaza Westshore | Event Rentals | A Chair Affair | Lighting/Draping/DJ | Music On The Move | Linens | Custom Linens | Photobooth | Shutterbooth | Limousines | Network Limousines 

NACE @ Hilton Clearwater Beach

All of us event professional work hard but we also love to have fun!  We are members of National Association of Catering Executives and both attended and photographed this month's meeting:-) It was a super fun team building event where each team had to build an actual boat and sail it! It was super casual, tropical themed, with smoothies, amazing appetizers, and I have to say the cake was off the chain.  Corey, from Corey's bakery was introducing a new spin on wedding cake, was a tiered "cake" with chocolate chip cookie layers.  In between there was chocolate fudge brownie with dark fudge icing, topped with rich dark amaretto chocolate ganache icing.  It was to die for! Such a fun evening with the best in our industry! 
Venue | Hilton Clearwater Beach | Linens | Connie Duglin Linens | Florals | Iza's Flowers | DJ | Boone's Pro Events | Cake | Corey's Bakery | Tropical Smoothies | Maui Wowi | Team Building |  Boucher Brothers

PPA Magazine June 2015 - Workflow

I SO enjoy teaching, especially the business of photography. One of my Facebook friends just messaged me and told me he read my Ask the Experts article on workflow.  That was a nice little surprise, I had forgotten I had written that!  It's all about processes and a throw back to my love of Industrial Engineering.  It may seem boring, but is so important.  In this day and age, literally everyone you meet is a "photographer". Yes, the barrier to entry has decreased significantly, but the stakes of actually being a photographer are just as high if not higher than they have ever been, especially with weddings.  The art of capturing couples' wedding stories is a serious responsibility that we absolutely love and are so honored to do every time we get to.  Equally as important, is having a healthy business so that you can work hard, play hard, and create the best experience possible for your clients  It's always a work in progress with how quickly things change, which is one of the reasons it's so challenging and awesome.  I'll be talking about the Art of Business in Wedding Photography for an entire day at PPA's Imaging 2016, in Atlanta! 

Women Of Influence 2015

Every year the Tampa Chamber's Women of Influence Luncheon is one of my favorite events. 800+ Tampa Bay women (and a few men:-) come out to both connect and hear from an amazing speaker.  This year, it was 2 amazing and inspirational ladies who started the company Sword & Plough. They take military materials and apply them into peaceful, civilian applications like bags, purses, hats etc. and empower veteran employment.  It's recycling, but more importantly, giving people a fashionable product that helps remind them of the sacrifices and challenges our servicemen and women face every day. Emily and Betsy are sisters, and co-founders of this organization and it was so inspiring and motivational to hear their story!  Each year there is also a Dottie Berger MacKinnon, Woman of the Year awarded to a woman who has made a significant impact in Tampa Bay. Dr. Judy Genshaft, President of USF was quite shocked that it was her for 2015!  

An Extra Special 1st Birthday!

I usually don't share my personal family events on our blog unless it's a really important one and this one is:-)  Our older daughter Madeline's 1 year old birthday is today!  Exactly one year ago we got to see the most beautiful 6 lb 7 oz little baby with tons of hair for the first time!  I still can't believe it's gone by so quickly and how blessed we are to be her parents. Her middle name is Joy and she has brought us more joy than I could have possibly imagined.  
     2 things I'm known for, (or like to think I am anyway:-) throwing fun parties and my love of cake!  Seriously, I don't know how anyone got ideas for birthday parties before pinterest was around. Since little Maddie doesn't know what she likes yet, she got to have a rainbow/unicorn themed birthday party, because really it's what mommy likes!  We had a little get together with friends and family yesterday, and it was a blast.  I have to give a serious THANK YOU to my wonderful friend Natalie, from Chic Sweets.  I showed her photos of what I wanted to do and she really made it come true. She made little signs that matched everything perfectly and treat bags for the kids to take lots of sugar home.  All I did was make rainbow rice krispies, oreo balls, and the rainbow cake and smash cake.  The mini cupcakes are from a new little bakery in Carrollwood called Small Cakes. The unicorn cupcake toppers are from Foolish Worker Bee and the Happy Birthday flag and cake sign are from Handmade by Seawon, both on Etsy.  There was no point in the day where there was full shade or sun on the sweets table but you get the idea.  Maddie LOVED her little smash cake and it was so funny because she dug right in and when everyone started laughing it scared her a little.  That didn't stop her though. Our other daughter Everly turns 1 in June so time to start planning another 1st birthday party!  4 months apart, random I know. Both our little bunnies are adopted and I've actually been working on a project every month over the past year that I'll be sharing soon next!