WEDDING DETAILS // engagement rings

One of my favorite details to photograph is the engagement ring. It symbolizes the personality of each of my brides-to-be … and it always has a great story with it. Sometimes the ring was designed specifically for the bride-to-be  …. while others wear a family heirloom. Each and every ring is gorgeous.

So as engagement season comes to an end this week, I thought it would be fun to share some of the swoon-worthy rings I have photographed in 2013. WARNING … there are lots of beauties in here. Pinterest worthy if you are waiting for a rock. ;)

engagement ring // brittany bekas photography - www.brittanybekas.com engagement ring // brittany bekas photography - www.brittanybekas.com engagement ring // brittany bekas photography - www.brittanybekas.com engagement ring // brittany bekas photography - www.brittanybekas.com engagement ring // brittany bekas photography - www.brittanybekas.com engagement ring // brittany bekas photography - www.brittanybekas.com engagement ring // brittany bekas photography - www.brittanybekas.com engagement ring // brittany bekas photography - www.brittanybekas.com engagement ring // brittany bekas photography - www.brittanybekas.com engagement ring // brittany bekas photography - www.brittanybekas.com engagement ring // brittany bekas photography - www.brittanybekas.com engagement ring // brittany bekas photography - www.brittanybekas.com engagement ring // brittany bekas photography - www.brittanybekas.com
Brittany XO Signature 2

WHAT to WEAR // winter engagement photo shoot

Confession. I really loved putting together this look. Now most of you are probably so over winter clothes (let’s leave the polar vortex already, I know!), but I have been living in summer clothes for nearly 6 weeks now. So I was so excited to pick out a cozy outfit as I am secretly missing my winter wardrobe. This WHAT to WEAR is all about being comfy and relaxed. It is basic neutrals mixed with just a pop of color. The perfect outfits for any engagement photo shoot.

WHAT to WEAR // fall or winter engagement photo shoot

Want to buy something featured in this look? If so, click here to find out where you can order it or just use the color palette as inspiration to come up with your own look for your photo shoot. Need more wardrobe ideas for your engagement session? Be sure to follow my inspiration boards on pinterest.

Brittany XO Signature 2

abby + chris :: maternity

When I first talked to Abby on the phone, I had a good feeling about working with her. I heard what she said, what her concerns were and was confident that I would create beautiful maternity photos minus the “cheese factor”. I met Abby and her husband, Chris on a Sunday afternoon near Ohio Street Beach, and I was so pumped to spend a couple hours taking photos of their first pregnancy.

Chris + Abby were SO much fun. I literally felt like I had known them for years, and as I packed up my gear and left their gorgeous apartment (with the best view of Lake Michigan…ever), I was sad that our session was over. I know they are going to make amazing parents to the little girl they are expecting in October. The whole time during our session they both would make the sweetest comments and faces at all the little babies.

Congrats to you both! I’m so excited that I was able to capture this moment for you both.

 

going for the gold

I have been completely infatuated with the Olympics this week. It may be because it takes place in London-town, and every time I get a peak at Big Ben or the London Eye, I am taken back to my incredible European adventure four years ago or because I am feel extra “American” by watching. Either way, all week I have been curled up on the couch cheering on Michael, Missy, and the Fab 5 to gold medals.

Midway through the women’s gynmatics finals Tuesday night, I turned to Phil and told him I used to be able to do that (ha, I wish!) He laughed in my face and told me that I can barely cannot do one pull-up…how would I be doing flips around the high bar. Thanks for the encouragement, babe. ;) But it got me to thinking, if my athletic abilities will not earn me a medal, what could I earn a medal in? Here is what I came up with.

:: The US Shop-a-thon Team (you should see me on black friday. world records, people.)

:: The US Closet Organizing Team

:: The US Talking/Gossiping Team

:: The US Grilled Cheese Eaters Team

…hey, I can’t be good at everything. :) Have a great weekend and go U.S.A!

the fire in my dreams

We were sitting in the yard enjoying the bonfire when the nearby tree caught fire and started to blaze around us. The flames engulfed another tree and were continuing to grow. I quickly grabbed my purse and iPhone and ran. And ran. And ran. As far as I could to escape the fire that was surrounding us. I feared what would happen if I slowed down.

…..beep. beep. beep.…. My alarm clock chimed. Whew, IT WAS ONLY A DREAM. Relief came over me as I recovered from the realistic visions that danced in my mind only moments ago.

I have always been intrigued with what subconscious thoughts race through our minds as we sleep and what the underlying meaning is around those images. I’m no doctor, but I really think the thoughts reflect things we are going through but are not ready to deal with in our conscious state. So, after my morning cup of green tea, I booted up my laptop and headed over to DreamMoods.com. Phil laughed at me for turning to such a website, but I love it (and secretly live by this and horoscope.com).

I was pleasantly delighted to learn the meaning of my fire dream which is:

“Depending on the context of your dream, to see fire in your dream can symbolize destruction, passion, desire, illumination, purification, transformation, enlightenment, or anger. It may suggest that something old is passing and something new is entering into your life. Furthermore, the dream may be a metaphor for someone who is “fiery”. It represents your drive, motivation, and creative energy.”

I believe my subconscious is telling me to finally letting go of my old life and enter into the next phase which is full of complete bliss, utilizing my talents and finally learning to trust myself and go after my dreams.

Friday Fancie :: Chicago

It is my kind of town. Really. I always had a sweet spot for Chicago. But after 2 months of traveling through South and Central America, I realized how much I missed (love) this city.

Amazing food. Kind people. Unique architecture. Deep Dish Pizza. Beaches. Urban lifestyle. Trendy Nightlife. Mag Mile Shopping. Fasincating Musuems. Perfect backdrops for any type of photography. Chicago. Has. It. All. :)

I am truly, madly, deeply in love with Chicago. And I fell in love with it even more when I stumbled upon my new favorite spot with this perfect view.

Friday Fancie: Blisters Be Gone

I walked in the store looking for nothing in particular. But then…I saw them. The patent leather, two-toned, peep toe pumps. I. Have. To. Have. These. But I don’t really need them (or do I?). And I’m sure they are going to give me blisters….sigh.

But beauty is pain, people. So deal with it, right?

So I walked out with my new kicks, excited to add them into my closet, slightly anxious about if I would wind up with blisters after a night in them.

But then I discovered this pain-saving stick by Dr. Scholl’s. You just rub it on your feet before you put on your new (or old) shoes to prevent any friction and rubbing. Blisters, be gone!

Ladies, this stick is amazing! Pick one up for the weekend, and I promise you, your feet will love you. :)

 

Friday Fancie :: Pretzel M&Ms

I have found myself sneaking into the refrigerator more often than not this week. Why? Well, I was in search of my current favorite treat — Pretzel M&Ms. I know these little guys have been around for a while now, but there is something that I love about that little big, blue bag.

– They are salty AND sweet. Flavor combination perfection. Check!

– You can have 10 (well 9…but what is one more) of these for only 100 calories. Who needs 100 cal packs when you can enjoy these.

– Um…chocolate. The miracle food for every emotion – happiness, crabbiness, sadness, craziness. It cures it all.

Have a different favorite sweet treat? I’d love to hear about it, so drop me a comment below.

 

Friday Fancie: Pumpin’ Up the Volume!

Growing up, I would wake up on Saturday mornings to the smell of perm chemicals and head into the basement to watch my mom – a professional hair-stylist. I learned so much from watching her cut, color and style hair, so whenever I need help, she is my go-to lady.

Over 20 years later, our basement is still a mini-hair salon – shampoo bowl, professional hair dyer, and tons and tons (did I mention TONS!) of hair products. So it was no surprise that when I was looking for a product to help my limp, pin-straight hair, she handed me the Osis + Dust It product.

This product is great because:

  • When you need to pump it up, this product adds lots of volume without teasing your hair (saving you from damaging your tresses)
  • The little red bottle is light weight and perfect to toss in your purse for touch-ups on-the-go.
  • A little bit goes a long, voluptuous way! A sprinkle of this magic powder and va-va-voom! The bottle will last you a long time.

So if you need a little more volume in your hair this weekend, grab a bottle and let me know what you think.

 

Friday Fancie :: Vino Dolce

I will admit it. I have a sweet tooth. I am going to blame it on my Italian upbringing and the fact that at EVERY holiday, we have more desserts than main course options.

So needless to say, this desire for all things sweet influences the vino I pick for dinner or happy hour or lunch….hey…sometimes you just need a glass no matter if it is 5 o’clock somewhere or not.

You can find me in front of the riesling section …always. I’ve tried at least 60 different rieslings over the the years, but there is only ONE that I am completely, utterly in love with…(ok more like obbessed with).

 

In honor of the weekend, Dr. Beckermann’s Piesporter Michelsberg (or the riesling in the green bottle….because that is a mouthful, and I know I do not pronounce it correctly) is my Friday Fancie this week!

– You can only find this bottle of perfection at Trader Joe’s (pretty much my favorite store and this is just another reason why).

– It costs $5.99. Yes, my favorite bottle of riesling is less than $6 a bottle making it the perfect bottle for every day. Why enjoy a glass of wine out, when you can have the whole bottle at home with friends. :)

– The wine has hints of pears and peaches. It is sweet, but not like candy. I would say it pairs well with just about everything (but that is because I drink it with everything.)

Pick up a bottle of this vino this weekend, and I bet you will start to fall in love with it too! Have a fabulous weekend!

 

Friday Fancie :: Start to Finish

I have a nail polish problem. It didn’t seem that bad until I started digging the polishes out from random places within my closet (like in a container of first aid stuff….I guess that could be needed in an emergency?!). And it was when I had them all lined up on the floor that I realized I’m addicted to nail polish. 58 bottles. Does that mean I should scratch my list of the six colors for spring. Ekkkk….

However, despite the plethora of colors to choose from, my favorite of them all is my OPI Start to Finish nail polish. A must have for any manicured or unmanicured nails.

This little guy is my Friday Fancie this week because:

1. Um…start to finish? Who needs/wants to dig around through their stash of bottles looking for the base coat and then a top coat. With this, you pull out one bottle, and it is out. No more smudging those pretty polished tips searching.

2. Two-in-one is pretty great, but this magic bottle is also a nail strengthener. One less thing you need to worry about.

This is a must for any nail polish collection…especially for my brides who are sporting their stunning sparkles.

Happy Friday everyone! Hope you have a fab weekend.

 

Friday Fancies :: Personalized Bridal Hangers

I remember back in junior high, my friends and I would doodle our names on our notebooks with the last name of the boy we liked. Over and over and over, we would write this. This “new” last name changed. Almost weekly. We would break up. Move on. And find someone else. However, we would continue to sign our names with our latest crush’s last name. Oh, young love!!!

For girls, there is something exciting about changing their last name, which is why brides love all things related to their soon-to-be last name.

One of my favorite things for a bride to have is a personalized bridal hanger for her wedding day. I have yet to see a bride (or photographer!) who did not love a hanger with her new last name.

This is my Friday Favorite because:

  • It makes a thoughtful engagement/bridal shower gift. My best friend, Ashley, cried when she opened the one I gave her. :) I promise it will be one of the bride’s favorite gifts!
  • The hanger looks so pretty in photos….especially compared to the icky, wire hanger the bridal stores often leave a gown hanging on. (And we know that I am always thinking about the photography….and I want my bride’s stunning gowns hanging on something equally as beautiful as their dress.)
  • It is something that the bride will continue to have and use – even after the wedding day.

I love these hangers to pieces! If you are interested in getting one of these for yourself or a friend, daughter, sister, niece, etc shoot me a note at brittany@BRITTANYBEKAS.com. In addition to my photography skills, I make this little guys on the side. :) 

 

Friday Fancies :: Baleadas

It happened out of no where. Well, maybe not completely out of no where. I have my suspicions about what made the switch in my brain (and stomach) change. One day I was eating meat. The next day, I was boasting, “I am a vegetarian.”

WHAT?! My boyfriend, Phil, who is a complete carnivore was now being subjected to black bean burgers, veggie soups and hummus. He was less than pleased and didn’t hide it with his constant hints at how each meal should include “meat, meat, meat.”

But then three months into my pseudo-vegetarian lifestyle, we discovered the perfect comprise. In the midst of traveling through Peru and Central America, the magical, food practically landed in our laps. The….BALEADA!

Baleadas are one of Honduras’ most popular foods. A baleada is a wheat tortilla, folded in half, filled with mashed beans. This is the baleada in its most simple form. You can get a baleada any way you like. Hence why it works for a meal for both Phil and I.

The baleada is my Friday Favorite of the week and here is why:

  • It is a vegetarian friendly option or can be made for the meat-loving individual.
  • Breakfast. Lunch. Dinner. It works for them all. Oh ya, baby!
  • I can make these. Yes. The person who once set a crock-pot up in smoke, leaving only charred pieces of pork, crisp in the bottom of the dish, can make a deliciosa baleada.
  • You can get creative with these things. Different types of beans. Eggs. Avocado. No Avocado. Slaw. Hot Sauce. Cheese. Veggies. Whatever you can dream up. I love the options (which pretty much means I will and can eat these nearly every day for months until I am so sick of them I won’t want to even hear the word – baleada.)
  • They make a great option for Lent Fridays. No pescado para mí hoy.

Happy Friday! I hope you will try my new favorite food soon. :)