Colleyville, Texas Portrait Session: Meet the Montgomerys

Meet the Newlyweds, Larry and Mary Beth Montgomery! These two crazy kids tied the knot just a little over a week ago and we had the chance to document the last few days of their engagement. These guys had been in my books for quite some time but the weather in Texas just wasn’t agreeing with our schedules. No worries though! Just as they were approaching the finishing line, the sky cleared up and we ended up shooting their engagement photos on the first really nice spring day in North Texas!

Larry had purchased this session for his then-girlfriend over Christmas. He knew that she would love to have a few photos taken of her with her little boy, Liam. Little did she know that Larry would propose shortly after and this session would become their first shoot as a Family of 3!

MONTGOMERY-10After checking the weather for several weeks and praying for a day without rain, we decided to meet just 7 days before their “I-Dos” at the Colleyville Nature Center. Mary Beth had stressed that she wanted nature to be a the forefront of importance in their portraits because both Larry and Mary Beth lead active lifestyles. Located smack dab in the middle of the metroplex, the Nature Center would be an awe-inspiring backdrop. Spring had just begun and the flowers were blooming all over the park.

They arrived in style. Seeing that they were so close to the big day, Mary Beth had arranged to have her Hair & Make Up Trial that morning and she showed up looking fabulous! I fell in love with her skirt and the simple black off the shoulder top was a beautiful complement to her jeweled necklace and long dark locks!

To boot, the boys were  dressed simple, casual and so very perfect. Larry brought a classic neutral gray suit jacket to wear over his button down and Liam looked picture-perfect with his black and white gingham backwards hat and red corduroys. It was the perfect combination of style and laidback glam.

DID I MENTION THE ROCK ON HER FINGER? Holy moly, it is gorgeous. It is shiny and beautiful and looks oh-so perfect on her freshly manicured fingers! I even gave Larry a High Five! Good Job Buddy!

We strolled around the park stopping underneath fresh blooms and by the various waterways that surround the Nature Center for  photos of this sweet new family. If truth be told, it seemed to me like they had been a family for quite some time.

Liam really loves his Mama. It’s hard not to notice the way he looks at her. But, he really admires Larry too. You can tell. He looks up to him and has this ease about playing and joking with his StepDad that comes with an air of trust and respect. It made my heart so happy to see them all lovingly holding hands and embracing this new journey they were about to take off on.

Our last stop was by the ponds. I had promised Liam that he could take a few photos. I try do this with all my sessions because you would be amazed at the authenticity of the smiles you get when the little ones become the one behind the lens. Liam had Larry dipping his Mom and was posing her all kinds of funny ways.  He really enjoyed himself and I was glad to see his perspective documented so naturally.

I had asked them to bring a blanket to sit on. This is usually an easy photo. Not with these guys though. I was crying laughing at Larry on that blanket. He could not get comfortable to save his life. We tried so hard to make it work and in the long run, the photos were really cute but only they and I will know what a struggle that blanket was. Larry kept tipping over and wrestling to get comfy. Liam and Mary Beth couldn’t keep it together while watching him struggle. I hope that in 20 years from now, these guys still laugh at that memory that way I do.

Congratulations to the Montgomerys! I could not be happier for you guys! I wish you a wonderful and prosperous life together and I appreciate you allowing me the opportunity to document this very special time in your lives!

Dallas Fort-Worth Holiday Portrait Session: The Auten Family

Hey guys! We are back with another Dallas Fort Worth Holiday Portrait Session! This time around, I met the kindest family at River Legacy Park in Arlington, Texas for an early morning Holiday Photo Shoot!

Mom, Victoria, reached out in the fall after having won a Rustie Nail Gift Certificate in an auction at a Save-the-Boobies event to raise money for Breast Cancer Research. My good friend, Cassie (who is about to be up on the blog with her adorable family and maybe even a few chickens), helps coordinate this event each year and I am always happy to donate a Portrait Session to help raise money for this cause.  I was over the moon that this family had bid and won so I wanted to make sure they had a great experience!

It was an early Saturday morning when we met and I was….wait for it…..late. I HATE BEING LATE!! Seriously though, it is the worst especially after Mom had warned that the boys would be cranky having to have gotten up so early on a Saturday. I even left my house super early so I could scope out the scene and check my lighting but go figure, Dallas-Fort Worth traffic got in my way. Thankfully, these guys were so great about it. They were calm and cool and ready to go from the beginning.

I met their youngest, Vaughn, first. He is a quiet little guy. Like most guys, he’s not too keen on smiling. He’s content being himself and confident in the way he presents himself which is something I really admire about him. Big brother, Josh, has the craziest head of curly hair and a really great smile when he busts it out. This guy is on the precipice of adulthood and you can totally tell that he’s ready for the next adventure.

On to Mom and Dad…these two are seriously so ga-ga for one another. When I ask most couples to impromptu dance in a field, they hesitate and fumble with how to hold one another or spin around but not these two. From the minute I asked them to pair up, they began twirling and laughing together. The way Norman looks at Victoria reminds me of the way Noah looks at Allie and I kinda love it. (#theNotebookisstilltheBESTmovieEVA)

After running around near the paddling trails of the Trinity River, we started making our way towards an open field with a few Christmas trees because I freaking love Christmas and these guys came prepared to hike around with me!

Again, these two with the dancing. Could they be more adorable?

Once we’d manage to snag individual shots of everyone, I wanted to make sure  we got good ones of Mom with her boys! This was the moment that Vaughn gave me the biggest smile. His Mom just gave him a big bear hug from behind and low and behold, the boy was grinning from ear to ear!

After snagging a few shots of Dad with his boys, I set out the blanket that Mom and Dad had brought along so we could grab a few more of this sweet family all together. You would never have guessed it but we are right next to a major highway and that’s another thing I love about this job. Sometimes it is about creating an illusion and other times its’ about overcoming that obstacle but regardless, I love the challenge and this sweet family had the notion to trust my vision.

As we came to the end of our session and we were making it back to the car, we stopped one last time to take a few photos in front of the changing leaves. Fall in Dallas-Fort Worth doesn’t last very long and Victoria kept that in mind while planning her session so I made sure to get her some really bold photos with those golden leaves in the background.

I could not have dreamt up better clients to take a hike with on a chilly fall morning in Texas. Thank you to the Auten family for allowing me to document this special time in your lives and thank you for your generous donation for Breast Cancer Research. Every little bit helps and we are so thankful for people like you who donate your time, energy and love towards a cause that affects us all.

If you would like to donate to Breast Cancer Research or to inquire how you can help at next years Save the Boobies event….head here.

The Kramer Family Portrait Session

Hey guys! I’m back at it again with another adorable Family Portrait Session. This time around, I met up with the Kramer Family in Grapevine, Texas to snag a few family photos. Meet Joey, KD, Joss and Emily!

You may notice this little girl, Josslyn. She has been featured on our blog before during the Waters Family Portrait Session. That shoot was all about cousins, brothers and sisters but this shoot was all about the immediate Kramer Family, just Mom, Dad and their sweet baby girls.

KRAMER -28We initially met in downtown Grapevine near Tolbert’s to take a few pictures of Dad, Joey. He was in need of a few headshots for his up and coming chiropractic office and we both thought Main Street would provide the perfect backdrop. But more about those Headshots later…

After Daddy’s photoshoot, we headed to a section of shoreline called “Katie’s Woods”. Located near the boat ramp at Grapevine Lake, the cypress trees lining the small beach front would be perfect for blocking out that harsh morning light. Both babies were all smiles.

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KRAMER -38After a few test shots, I was ready to start posing these guys. But, they were all about play. Joey and KD lovingly tossed their little ladies in the air while each of them giggled endlessly. These 2 photos pictured above are my absolute favorites from their session. You can see how stoked the girls are by just looking at the huge smiles on their faces. Pure Joy Y’all!

Once we all had calmed down a bit, Joss was all about loving on her baby sister, Emily. She kept reaching over to tickle her and give her kisses on the cheek. KD and Joey have some heartbreakers on their hands so they better watch out!

After we managed to get a few of all 4 of them looking at the camera, Dad headed back into work for a little bit while mom, KD, stayed behind to grab a few photos of just the girls! While KD changed their outfits, I got a small blanket out so we could set Miss Emily down without getting her all dirty.

Does this girl have the prettiest blue eyes or what? And man oh man was she a happy little girl. She kept smiling at her Mommy and not once did she try to take her headband out of her hair. She even let me love on her for a little bit. While KD was changing Joss into her 3rd Birthday tutu, Emily and I bounced around in the shade.

We managed to get a few of the girls together but it was getting pretty hot out by then so I didn’t want to test their patience. We had started at 7 AM and it was nearing 8:30 when we realized how high the temperature outside had raised. Luckily, the breeze blowing off the water kept everyone in a good mood.

KRAMER -63Or maybe my iPhone playing Justin Timberlake’s “Can’t Stop the Feeling” on repeat kept them in a good mood! Seeing that Joss is a Trolls fan, like so many of us have been or are, I figured this song might help Princess Poppy with her twirling!

We ended their shoot by letting Joss don her 3rd Birthday tutu and wand! With that big pink bow in her hair and the colored pom-poms on the inside of her rainbow colored tutu, Joss proved to be just about the cutest 3 year old in the whole wide world! I had a blast shooting this family’s session and I look forward to seeing lots more of these guys in the future!

For information on how to book your unique Portrait Session, shoot me an email at therustienailhead@gmail.com or head to our Instagram page (@therustienail) to follow along with upcoming events, mini session and travel dates!

Piccolo Mondo Celebrates 35 Years with Another Best Of Fort Worth Nomination

For those of you who don’t know, I lead a double life. When I am not shooting newborn sessions and engagement photos, I spend my time working as a Manager and Bar Maiden at Piccolo Mondo Italian Restaurant in Arlington, Texas! Over the past 35 years, this restaurant has become a special place to so many. To Owner and Operations Manager, Antonio Capaccioli, Piccolo Mondo is more than just a family-run business, it has become a second home. Just ask the patrons who are still coming back after all these years!

 

  Piccolo Mondo can only be described as a fine dining establishment focusing on genuine Italian cuisine, prime steaks and fresh seafood. As one of the last white tablecloth dining options in Arlington, Piccolo continues to provide a quality customer service experience all the while upholding the tradition of consistently tasty authentic Italian dishes. 2018 will be no exception. We have been nominated for the Star Telegram’s 2018 Fort Worthy Best Italian Restaurant and voting will end on June 11th!

 

Located just miles from AT&T Stadium off of Lamar Blvd., the menu is classic Italian fare. Appetizers such as Calamari Fritti, Prosciutto e Melone and Crostini di Burrata are a few of the patron favorite appetizers. I suggest the Antipasto Misto or the Stuffed Mushrooms. Paired with a Ferrari Carano Siena red wine, either are to die for! Whether you are coming back to see your favorite waiter, most of them have been here since the beginning, or it’s your first time visiting, the staff around here aims to please.

 

 Over the last 30+ years, we have hosted our fair share of rehearsal dinners, business meetings and even surprise birthday parties! Dinner prices range from $15-$66/entrée and we aren’t just serving Spaghetti Bolognese. You will find scrumptious options like Lobster Isabella, Medaglioni alla Cavour, Capelli D’Angelo alla Pescatora, think Fruitti di Mare or even a Rack of Lamb alla Griglia.  Whether it is a Birthday or Anniversary dinner, Piccolo is the place to celebrate big moments. Stop by for your birthday or anniversary and dessert is on us. We’ll serve up Profitterols Cioccolate (cream puffs) topped with our homemade whipping cream!

 

Did I mention that we have live music? The entertainment starts at 7 pm Tuesday through Saturday. We have a pianist Tues-Saturday and a saxophonist jumps in Wed-Friday. Everything from Billy Joel’s Piano Man to Led Zeppelin’s Stairway to Heaven, a few Adele ballads and a whole lot of jazz fill the dining room 5 days a week. You’ll hear tunes you haven’t heard in awhile like Celine Dion’s Titanic theme or Moon River. The talent isn’t afraid to shy away from a request either. They’ve tackled Les Miserables, Somewhere over the Rainbow and on the rare occasion, Don Mclean’s American Pie.

 

Around here, we give a whole new meaning to After Dinner Drinks and Before Dinner drinks for that matter. On the hunt for a premium single malt scotch, Louis XIII or champagne splits? We’ve got you covered. In fact, our bar is fully stocked with premium liquors and our ever-changing Cocktail Infusions are just a highlight to the art of Martini making! And if ice cream is your forte, make sure to snag a Brandy Alexander. This boozy milkshake is a patron favorite! With the bars’ proximity to the piano, this space is perfect for a relaxing night cap or an oasis to have dinner and catch the end of the ball game.

 

So, what are you waiting for? We have spent over three decades providing the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex with an upscale dining experience and we would love to have your vote. Click through to the Star-Telegram link to vote Piccolo Mondo for Best Italian Restaurant and then stop by because we’d  love to help you celebrate your next big night! Lastly, we are so very thankful for our loyal patrons and hard working staff for making Piccolo Mondo a staple in our local community!

 

 

 

Mommy & Me Mini Session

My favorite little ladies are back up on the Blog this week! Last week, my good friend, Pida, stopped by with her little ones, Zoee & Paizlee, to set up their Mother’s Day shoot! Every couple months, these girls participate in our Mini Sessions and I swear each session gets better and better.

We started the shoot at one of my favorite locations, Bear Creek Park. In all season, this space provides ample light and gorgeous backdrops. This time would be no different. We headed to the park and immediately made our way into the Spring Wildflower patch. Full of Indian paintbrushes, blue bonnets and sweet pea, this spot would be perfect for the girls to run around!

I was a little nervous about heading deep into the flowers. Last time I headed out with these girls, we ended up in a sunflower field. Though the photos turned out adorable, it was definitely a nightmare shoot. Though now we laugh about it,  all of us were badly bitten by chiggers as we made our way through the flowers. For the whole story on how my husband came to the rescue, head to their Summer Session.

After taking a few quick photos in the wildflower patch, we decided to head into West Lake. A short drive up the street led us to a series of water features located on a walking trail near Vaquero. The girls were loving it. They immediately jumped right into the overflowing pond.

We ended the shoot at a series of columns near 121. As the sun set in the west, Mama Bear, Pida, jumped in for a few pictures with her monkeys! They were sweet as ever. It’s always so cute to see them battle for their Mama’s attention. Zoee just snuggles in, always wanting to be closest while Paizlee waits for their Mama to give her direction.

It is always a joy working with these sweet girls. They are always flexible and Pida is the best stylist I’ve got. Her girls always come dressed to the nines. I learn more and more about each child’s personality after their shoots. I’m also learning more about their relationship together.

Watching these sisters love on each other is something I look forward to doing year after year. Each time they surprise me and each time, I find myself loving them a little more. They are so comfortable with me taking their photo and they seem to thoroughly enjoy being a part of the process. In fact, at the end of every shoot, we have a small photography lesson and I let the girls take a few photos with my camera! I hope we keep this ritual up and one day, these girls can become my assistants/stylists!!

If you would like to book your Mommy and Me Session before Mother’s Day, shoot me an email at therustienailhead@gmail.com. I am offering a 20-30 minute portrait session within Dallas Fort Worth for just $100! I’ll include 15 hi resolution images and special surprise for Mom!

***Special note for all the dads out there, I will honor this price and package in the form of a gift card if you want to surprise your special lady this Mother’s Day!

Coming this October: Baby Capaccioli

You read it right! Now that the cat is officially out of the bag, I can share this adorable pregnancy announcement. My good friends, Gian Marc and Emily, are expecting their first child this October! For those of you who don’t know them, get ready to meet the sweetest couple in the world. Or should I say Trio?

The Capacciolis are an easy gang to please. When it came time to pick a location for their big announcement shoot, they left it up to me so I choose the Fort Worth Water Gardens.  The clean lines make for an exquisite downtown backdrop. Surrounded by brick buildings and glass towers, this place is a peaceful corner for Texans to enjoy an afternoon listening to the water rushing over the expertly engineered falls.

They arrived shortly before sunset and we immediately headed down into the largest water feature. Though an architectural feat, the massive steps down into the falls were a little daunting. They had joked upon arrival that surely I wouldn’t make them go down into the thick of it. Hahaha

Once we were on the biggest platform, I realized how loud the water was! I could barely hear them nor could they hear me. This was going to be a challenge because I usually shout out poses and direction while I shoot. Since that wouldn’t be happening, I told them to just go love on each other. After a few sweet kisses and snuggles in front of the waterfalls, Emily busted out Baby Capaccioli’s first picture, their latest sonogram!

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This urban sanctuary is divided into 3 refreshing pools; the quiet, the active and the aerating. We visited all 3 that day but while walking around, I asked Em to write a little something on a chalkboard. The picture above is Emily doing just that. We laughed as they fought over who had better handwriting. It was cute to see them so excited about just writing their news down, let alone sharing it with the world. That’s what I love about these two. They live and love in the little moments.

I met Gian Marc 2 days after I moved to Texas, FIVE YEARS AGO!!! His family owns Piccolo Mondo Italian Restaurant, a staple here in Dallas-Fort Worth, and they hired me just days after arriving here. Over the years, this place has become a home. A home filled with amazing friends, like Gian Marc and Emily. Little known fact, Russ and I got engaged on the same day as these guys. I was so caught up in the fact that Gian Marc was about to propose to Emily that I had no idea Russ was about to bend the knee. To boot, Gian Marc had been in on it the whole time.

It’s so fun knowing that our lives are coming into fruition in a weird sort of unison. We’ve got to celebrate our engagements, our marriages and now, I am photographing their announcement that they are bringing a Bambino/a into the Capaccioli gang! Thank you guys. It was an honor to say the least. Life is good y’all!

 

Christmas Minis: The Lollipop Gang

Happy Christmas Eves’ Eve! A few weeks back, I had the pleasure of meeting up with this adorable Trio of ladies to shoot their Christmas photos! You’ve seen these ladies before during their Christmas shoot last year and during their Back to School Session in the Sunflower Fields this summer.

As usual, Pida’s little girls and their friend, Mia, showed up in the most adorable dresses. They were pink, purple and white tulle with gold glittery tops. The girls even made sure to coordinate their bows to match! Seeing that it was one of the coldest days in Texas, we made sure to bring blankets and hot cocoa for these munchkins. As we walked our way around the trails near the Sports Complex in Keller, we found a bridge that would make for the perfect spot for our shoot. We let the girls run wild for awhile and then eventually, I handed over the marshmallows and the huge lollipops. The girls sipped on their cocoa, threw marshmallows at each other and snuggled with their blankets! Though it was chilly, we made the most of our time and the pictures came out just as cute as these little ladies!

I love getting to spend some girl time with these crazy gals and I am thankful for the time I get to share with them. Merry Christmas Ladies! I hope Santa brings you everything that you asked for.

For Information on how to book your unique Portrait Session, shoot me an email at therustienailhead@gmail.com. Throughout the month of December 2016, I am offering $150 Mini Sessions in the Dallas Fort Worth area. These sessions include a 45 minute session within DFW, 15-20 Digital Images delivered in an Online Downloadable Gallery and Print Release. Perfect for Christmas Card Photos, Surprise Holiday Proposals and even Gifts. You can buy this deal for a limited time as a Gift Certificate in 2017!