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.

Pennsylvania Holiday Mini Sessions: Ricky, Hanna & Grandpa

Ya’ll!!!!! Meet Hanna! This is my beautiful ginger haired baby cousin! I have been wanting to photograph this little lady for the longest time and we finally made it happen when I was last visiting back home in the Laurel Highlands of Pennsylvania.

Back story, real quick. Hanna is my 2nd cousin. Her dad, Ricky, is my first cousin and his Dad, my Uncle Rick, is also my Godfather so I think it’s fair to say that my heart just exploded when I got the chance to look through these images. For as long as I can remember, my whole family has been telling me that Hanna is my mini-me. See, when I was a little lass, this girl and I could have been twins. Yep, I had that red hair, those big blue eyes and the same wild and crazy personality!

We met at Twin Lakes Park in Greensburg, Pennsylvania for a huge gathering of family photos but more on all that goodness later. Hanna and her Dad followed me down to the lake for a few quick shots of just them together. These are my favorite images because they look so natural and relaxed. Ricky is even giving her “the claw” in one of the photos. If you don’t know what the “claw” is, trust me, you don’t want to.

Soon after, the oldest and wisest of the Greece clan (9 kids in all) made his way down for a few photos with his son and granddaughter. My Uncle Rick was a surprise that day and man am I glad he came! I hadn’t seen him in so long and it was so good to see him and chat him up. He’s the same, smart and kind, just a little more gray than the last time I saw him. It really isn’t fair. All the men in this family just get more handsome with time.

I remember being a kid and looking through boxes of old photos that all those before me had taken. I loved it. I still do and it’s such a neat idea to think that Hanna and my sisters and all the younger cousins will get a chance to look through these one day and talk about how we all met at the park for photos and then we all went out to dinner at The Red Brick for pizza and then we laughed until we cried. That’s what I love most about this shoot, that I got to share it with so many of the people I love, especially these 3 looney tunes.

I had the best time catching up with my family during this shoot. I always tell everyone that it is so hard to see all of them when we come back to visit but man am I thankful that I have a family who will rearrange all their schedules in an instant just to have one afternoon being together. This family is wild and crazy, that’s for sure, but they are a group of people who love fiercely and uplift one another always and I am so thankful to be a part of it! Love you guys!

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For more information on when and where The Rustie Nail will be heading to in 2018, follow along on Instagram @therustienail. We’ll be back in PA, Canada and up next, Arizona so keep an eye out for travel updates!

Dallas-Fort Worth Portrait Sessions: Pida & the Girls

IF YOU THOUGHT THE GIRLS’ SHOOT WAS CUTE JUST WAIT…

THIS TIME, THEIR MAMA, PIDA, JUMPED IN ON ON THE FUN! We met for a bohemian styled shoot on the outskirts of Fort Worth, Texas and these girls brought their A game.

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Ever the fashionistas, these girls came prepared. Decked out in Kendra Scott bling, a super cozy vest and one fabulous flannel, these girls were ready to brave whatever came our way. In the past, these shoots have always become a sort of adventure and I was excited to see how this would turn out!

The thing I love the most about working with my friend Pida is that she seriously gets me. And thank God for that. I can tell her the crazy plan that I have been dreaming up and she somehow has this way of bringing my vision to life for me. She always has the right extra touch that makes the photos that much more cohesive. Truth be told, I am constantly asking her to style my shoots for me. Can we all just start petitioning for that?

In all seriousness though, these girls are never short on love for one another. I can’t tell you how many times I have seen this group of women uplift and support one other. As a single mom, their Mama Bear has done a great job of making sure that they look at life with eyes wide open, ready for whatever challenges might come their way. It’s awe-inspiring to see that kind of joy in real life and these Ladies emanate it.

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Ummmm…..Flawless. That’s all I’ve gotta say about that.

Seriously, how cute are these guys? I brought this blanket scarf along because in the past, we’ve had some posing issues. I know, I know. It’s hard to believe but usually by the time, Pida, jumps in the photos, the girls are whooped. They are in a position to have used up all their giggly, fun energy but this time would be different. I made sure Mom jumped in early and the product was simply perfect. This set of photos is probably my favorite of the bunch simply because they look so relaxed.

And, then the tickling happened and these girls just let loose. Once they started making faces and attempting to do the worm, I knew I had lost control but really in the best sort of way. In all my shoots, I hope that my clients feel free to actually be themselves. To make fart noises and do impressions of their Mom behind her back and to really have a good time. A few back handsprings later, we called it a wrap on this Mommy+Me boho shoot.

As usual, I had a blast hanging out with my girl, Pida and her two childlike-wildlike wonders. To see some of their past adventures with the Rustie Nail, head here.

Don’t forget, we have our Dallas Fort Worth Holiday Mini Session Special going on throughout the month of November. The package includes a 30 minute session at a TBD location within DFW, electronic delivery of downloadable gallery + the print release. These are perfect for Christmas Cards, Newborn Sessions, Senior Photos! Email therustienailhead@gmail.com for booking inquiries and details!

 

Andrew’s 2nd Birthday Portraits

Hey guys! We just got back from an a whirlwind trip home to Pennsylvania and we are just getting back into the swing of things! I had the most amazing time meeting with so many new clients, friends and family and I cannot wait to share all the Fall goodness we managed to capture while in the Laurel Highlands. Up first is this handsome little guy, Andrew!

Andrew’s Mama, Emily, reached out awhile ago in hopes of documenting her little boy’s 2nd birthday portraits and I jumped at the chance to set this up! Emily is an old friend from high school and I was over the moon for the opportunity to catch up with her!

Emily warned me that Andrew was a wild one but I don’t think “wild” is quite the right word to describe this little man. He is spirited to say the least so Linn Run State Park seemed like the perfect place to let him run wild! Because Andrew is so energetic, posing him would do no good. We planned on letting him just play in the park and I would snap as we went along.

Mama came prepared, too. She brought trucks and cars for little man to play with as we ventured into Forbes State Forest. Like every boy, the cars only entertained him for so long. Once he found a stick or a rock that peaked his interest, he wasn’t letting it go. Isn’t it funny how kids find the most joy in the simplest of things?

We hiked our way down to Slippery Rock, a favorite childhood pastime, so we could let Andrew throw a a few rocks in the stream. We took a small path over some logs ad through a few bushes until we found the perfect place to let Andrew play in the leaves! With a huge smile on his face, Andrew was climbing over all the downed tree trunks and asking Mama to investigate almost every rock he picked up! This was just the right time to capture that extra little speck of gold in his eyes! Take a look at a few of the up-close photos. This charming towhead is gonna be a heart breaker!

What you really need to know about this shoot is wrapped up in one photo. This. This photo right here is Motherhood. Emily is 9 months pregnant with their 2nd child, chasing her first born through the woods so he doesn’t jump headfirst into the freezing stream, with the biggest smile on her face! This is what I love about Mrs. Shipley. She is the kinda Mama who would rather let her little guy get dirty than stifle his wild spirit by posing him. I am so thankful for clients who trust my vision because I want your portraits to be a true representation of your child’s personality and Emily trusted me to do just that.

I kept cracking jokes about her water breaking and me pushing her in the stroller back to the car! She was such a trooper, traipsing through the park chasing her baby boy and just absolutely glowing! We couldn’t of known then but…the Shipley Family would welcome a baby girl 2 days later. Olivia Jane arrived happy, healthy and big brother is so in love!

I am so sad that I missed the birth of Andrew’s baby sister but here’s hoping that I’ll get to snuggle this munchkin and the Shipley Family’s newest little love the next time I am home visiting! It was a joy capturing Andrew’s 2nd Birthday Portraits and I look forward to hanging with this crew in the future!

Don’t forget….Dallas-Fort Worth Holiday Mini Sessions are in FULL SWING! Just wait y’all! Each and every one of these sessions is absolutely adorable and I can’t wait to share. I still have a few sessions left for the DFW area in November and December! Email me at therustienailhead@gmail.com with all booking inquiries!!

Travel Guide: Fall Break in Broken Bow, Oklahoma

Hey guys! You guys are all probably thinking, “Hasn’t she already done a Travel Guide for Broken Bow?” Well yeah, I did, back in the spring, whenever everything was green and it was warm enough to lay out by the waters. Well, this go around is a little different.

We managed to make our way back to the Hochatown to see the Ouachita Mountains in all their fall glory. Everyone we had talked to said that the Talimena Scenic Byway, a road passing through the Ouachita Mountains into Arkansas, was a must-see for those wanting to soak in all the colors of October! For those of you planning Fall Break, this should be on your list. Or even stop by this summer, the lake is great.

For us, Broken Bow plays the part of a retreat. We all know that Dallas Fort Worth can feel like a concrete jungle at times so we feel lucky that we found this oasis in the southeastern corner of the Sooner state. There is just so much to do.

You can go horseback riding, kayak down the Lower Mountain Fork, head to the Girls Gone Wine Boutique or the new, Beaver’s Bend Brewery or even try your hand at zip lining with Rugaru Adventures! We’ve hiked the trails at Beaver’s Bend State Park, toured their Historical Museum and even partaken in some Big Foot Hunting (totally joking though this is a thing). Whatever the rhyme or reason, I feel like you could custom design a trip to this part of the country to suite your needs. You have the option to rest and relax by the lake or take on a whole new kind of adventure. The options are endless.

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Where and What to Eat:

  1. PIZZA at The Grateful Head! This is seriously some of the best pizza I have ever had. My favorite is the Tree Hugger. Those whole olives, spinach and cherry tomatoes make this a must-eat in Hochatown!
  2. Anything from the Moon Tower Bar and Grill. CHOPPED winner, Tabb Singleton has opened a bar and grill near Broken Bow Lake and this menu is worth drooling over. I snagged the  MTBG Loaded Fries, braised beef short rib, herbed potato fries, Wisconsin cheese curds and brown gravy. Imagine Poutine Fries topped with hearty short ribs…mouth watering. Russ snagged the Mountain Fork Burger, an 8 oz American Waygu Beef burger, small batch bacon, beer braised onions, cheddar, lettuce, tomato, sunny side up egg, choice of mayo or mustard or both on a brioche bun. Both were out of this world.
  3. The Turkey Bacon Avocado sandwich from Adam & Eve’s Coffee Shop. This was the perfect lunch stop. We snagged 2 of these bad boys and headed down to Paddle Beaver’s Bend to grab our kayaks. Halfway down the Mountain Fork, we busted these guys our for the perfect lunch on the water.
  4. Hochatown BBQ!! Just go ahead and order one of everything. The pork and brisket were sooooo good. Add some potato salad and few jalapeños and you’ve got yourself an excellent dinner for a great price.

PHOTOGRAPHERS:

For you photographers out there, Beaver’s Bend State Park plays the part of your dream back drop. I managed to sneak in a Senior Portrait Session with these two lovely ladies while I was visiting the area. We rented canoes, blew off a few smoke bombs and even made smores by the Lower Mountain Fork River. To see the Tucker Twins Senior Portraits, head here.

GOLF:

Cedar Creek Golf Course at Beaver’s Bend was most definitely the highlight of the trip for Russ. I kept joking that I was gonna start offering Golf Mini Sessions for guys who want to work on their swing. This course is beautiful, but I will admit that it was find to hard the ball. The foundation of the Ouachita Mountains consists of a lot of white shale so looking for a white ball in a bed of white rocks can be a little daunting though the scenic views down each fairway were worth every penny. The views of the lake are phenomenal and we saw our fair share of wild life, including a 12 point buck!

Traveling in Oklahoma in the Fall is somewhat magical. Just a short 3 hour drive from Fort Worth, this trip is worth taking. We love the outdoors. Having grown up in the lush greenery of Pennsylvania, this trip is my opportunity to bask in the autumn leaves and get all nostalgic about how much I love nature. The ever-changing weather also provides the most magical sun rises and sunsets. Our view from the deck at Lakeview Lodge is the perfect place to chow down on the complimentary breakfast and watch the deer run around the lake. I always make sure to snag a few extra muffins and cereal to pack in our bag for hiking snacks.

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 HOW I GOT THE ITCH FOR TRAVEL JOURNALISM & WHERE ARE WE HEADED TO NEXT:

In the spring of 2016, I had the great pleasure of interviewing Carolyn Anderson, a landscape photographer based out of New Alexandria, Pennsylvania. After our chat, I made it a point to try my hand at capturing the highlights of our adventures. We traveled so much in 2016. Our East Coast Girl’s Trip was my first attempt at Travel Journalism and since then, we’ve traveled all around Colorado, through the southwestern corner of Pennsylvania and to Broken Bow, Oklahoma in the spring. This year, we have visited Reykjavik, Iceland and Edinburg, Scotland and recently, Yellowstone National Park, so keep your eyes out for the next Travel Guide!

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IS THERE SOMEWHERE YOU WOULD LIKE TO SEE THE RUSTIE NAIL TRAVEL TO? LEAVE YOUR COMMENTS/SUGGESTIONS BELOW!

Greensburg Salem Class of 2017: Kiara’s Senior Session

This lady is no stranger to the Blog. Kiara has been featured in family portraits and I have had the great pleasure of helping her build her modeling portfolio on more than one occasion. This go-around in front of the lens would be different. This shoot was all about this baby girl graduating high school in a few short months. Que the tears. She’s my little cousin. As in, she was born when I was already half grown so the fact that she’s graduating high school is kind of a reality check. Holy crap. I’m really 29. She is really 18. What is happening??? I mean, really guys. There is a story about us that gets told at every family function and to this day, still pains me.

It was my first time changing a baby’s diaper. Her grandmother had told me to lay a blanket down on the table and lay her down on her back, grab the wipes, blah blah. I was 11. I wanted to show her that I knew what I was doing. Everything was going fine. Until, I forgot to grab the diaper. So, I placed my hand on her belly to prevent her from rolling off the table and reached with my other hand for the diaper.

In those 2 seconds, this sweet little baby reached her tiny little hand around and grabbed the closest thing…a steaming hot cup of coffee. It spilled all over the table and down her teeny tiny back. I did my best to clean her up and calm her down but she kept screaming. I felt like I had burns all over my body. That’s how bad I felt. It was killing me to see her in pain. I was cursed. I was never going to touch another baby again.

After rushing her to the ER, they confirmed she was gonna make it. Or at least that’s how it felt to me that the time. Within a week or so, her baby soft skin had healed itself. We all forget how resilient kids are. We drill into them to get back on the horse. So they do. And they come back bigger and stronger every time. The reason I am telling you all this is because this girl right here is a fighter. Even as a toddler, she was sassy. She seems real quiet at first, minds her Ps &Qs, but just give her the chance to say what’s on her mind, and you all are gonna see the world a little bit differently. She is strong, kind and probably the biggest klutz I know but she has very bright future ahead of her. Congrats Kiara. I cannot wait to see where this journey takes you. And, I am officially stating how sorry I am for traumatizing you as a little one. Think of it this way, you’re still cute so we’re square. Love you Kiki!

Do you have a Senior graduating in 2017? Are YOU graduating this year? We offer Graduation Portrait Packages for every price point because we know how hard you’ve worked and that should be documented. I wanna hear your vision. Shoot me some ideas at therustienailhead@gmail.com because I’d love to hear what you’ve got in mind. Let’s start off the last half of your Senior Year with a photo shoot to highlight your achievements and get onto those Senior Week Trips and College Applications!!

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SIDENOTE: Yes, we did go down the humongous slide and it ended up being soaking wet. Still fun though. This huge slide is located at Mammoth Park near Mount Pleasant, Pennsylvania. Words of advice: Bring wax paper and a little Pam and maybe, a pillow to land on at the bottom. 🙂

Laurel Highlands Portrait Session

These 2 goofballs are back up on the Blog! Their first official photo shoot took place at a waterslide at Linn Run State Park in Ligonier, Pennsylvania. Today, we are not going to talk about the shoot. You guys know the speal, We took pictures in a park and it was super awesome. Instead, we’re gonna chat a little about having these buttheads for baby sisters and the wild ride it was been.

The first thing you should know is, my sisters are 18 and 16 years younger than me.  I’ve been out doing the whole college-marriage-adult thing while they have been dancing on stage at the Palace and learning to play the saxophone. In the past, the girls would talk about my brother and I to their elementary school teachers and they’d laugh and think “How long have I been teaching?“, knowing very well it had been more than over a decade since a Greece had last sat in their class. It’s amazing how kids can do that to you. Abbie actually asked me one time what Saved by the Bell was and Gabbie has no idea how truly awesome NSYNC’s Christmas album is. They have no sense of 90s culture and it breaks my heart. But, they have taught me about Vine, Snapchat, Instagram, Ed Sheeran, Zac Efron, Ruth B and about a million other things.

My sisters have also taught me that life is this huge circle and and we just keep going round. It’s true what they say. Time flies. It feels like just yesterday that they were swimming in the baby pool with Reyna (my pup) at my old house on Tollgate. They loved that little pool. We pretended Reyna was the shark and she was gonna get them and we ate popsicles and pretended the Barbies were mermaids. And, then I blinked. Now it’s all Twenty One Pilots and Harry Potter, Selfies and Makeup. The world was much simpler back then.

 Truth be told, getting to be there for all their stages of life has been one of the greatest joys of mine. It’s all in the little things. Like, how they love to sing old Stevie Nicks jams in the car or how they are in constant search of their Troll dolls and how they always wanna go to the Skate Hop. I mean…deja vu much? Guys, this is stuff we all did, 20 years ago!

It is crazy to think that I used to worry about our age gap. Schmage Gap! I’m hip. I’m cool. Or, at least I’m gonna try to be because I always want these girls to know that they can come to me with anything that is weighing on their mind or peaking their interest. That’s what it’s all about, right? Being their role model is something that I was never prepared for but somewhere along the way, I found a rhythm that worked. Abriana and Gabriella have taught me to look at the world with a different set of eyes and I am thankful for them. In a way, they have always kept me grounded yet always looking towards the future.

FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO DON’T KNOW ME: My name is Angelina Norris. I am natural light photographer based in Dallas-Fort Worth, with roots in the Laurel Highlands of Pennsylvania. I specialize in family and lifestyle portraiture with an emphasis on real moments. I believe that the best portraits are a combination of  genuine intimacy and playful experience. I live for the opportunity to test out the waters of new shoot locations and discover new places all around the globe. If you would like to book your unique portrait session, shoot me an email at therustienailhead@gmail.com.