Monthly Archives

March 2010


WPPI and some joie de vivre…


Tomorrow, I take off for a couple of days to Las Vegas for WPPI, Wedding and Portrait Photographers International, the largest photographer’s convention. Imagine being in the thick of things with 10,000+ other colleagues who love the same thing as you, photography! Last year was my first time to go and I learned a lot of things which have helped me prepare better for this year.

  • Wear comfortable shoes. Seriously. The MGM Grand is ginormous. I believe my Nike+ pedometer recorded that it was about 1/2 mile from the hotel rooms down to the conference center, one way. If you don’t wear comfortable shoes, you may want to hack off your feet, just sayin’.
  • Bring water. Go to Walgreens or 7/11 and stock up on water. The desert is dry and the casinos are smoky. I actually learned this the first time I went to Vegas (when Cent proposed!), and you probably don’t want to pay $8 for minibar bottle water. I wouldn’t.
  • Look at the speaker schedule ahead of time. You won’t be able to do everything, so pick out the speakers you absolutely must see and a couple of backups, in the event that there’s no room to sit. It happens. So if you’re going to a really popular presentation, get there early!
  • Make a list of gear that you want to see. Figure out what your budget is beforehand, and stick to it. The tradeshow is HUGE and the deals are AWESOME, so it’s easy to buckle under the temptation to buy, buy buy! But if you have a plan for what you can buy, you’ll leave Vegas with more money in your pocket.
  • Bring cash with you. What I mean is, the casinos have ATMs, but as I learned last year, it’s a $200 minimum withdrawal. Plus the “convenience” fee. So I advise withdrawing cash at home and bringing that…if you’re rolling with cash that is. Of course, you probably don’t want to advertise that you’re packing a couple hundred or thousand (whatever the case may be…)
  • Bring a point & shoot. If you’re going to any of the parties, (and you should be!) you probably don’t want to be lugging around your big camera…because it’s not exactly pocket sized. But you’ll want memories with all your new friends! So bring a P&S.
  • If you have a SmartPhone, start using Twitter. There are a bunch of companies doing giveaways and the info is being given out on Twitter. Last year, I didn’t have my iPhone yet, so I got mobile updates from friends and from the contests…and I’d have 18349251 text messages a day. It was hard to keep up! Go ahead, start tweeting. For more information about Twitter and how to tweet, check out this post.
  • Don’t be afraid to say hello. Like I mentioned, you’ll be surrounded by people who love the same thing you do! So say hello to people in presentations, in the tradeshow, and in line at Starbucks. Since I didn’t have an iPhone last year, I asked a complete stranger if I could borrow her phone to quickly check my email.

Learn hard. Play hard. Make friends. Share stories.

Oh, and an announcement!

Since going to the Making Things Happen Intensive back in January, I started a new blog. I’d love if you would check it out and tell me what you think. I’ve kept the project under wraps, but I figured that (and with encouragement from Lara Casey) this would be a good time to unveil it to the general public! Its content is on a different wavelength from this one, so it’s totally worth a look. Go ahead. Do it. Please?

Without further ado, I present, Project: Joie de Vivre!

Project Joie de Vivre

Are you going to be in Vegas? I’d love to meet up with you!

Sunday: Arrival and AIRHORNS & LASERS party!
Possibly getting up early for the 8am platform
10am-1pm: Tradeshow
4pm-5:30pm: Fast Track Shoot Out
6:30pm-8:30pm: Jasmine Star Platform
8:30pm-whenever: hanging out with new friends!
Tuesday: Cent’s birthday!
12pm-3pm: Tradeshow floor
3:30pm-5:30pm: Dane Sanders, Mary & Justin Marantz, Elizabeth Messina platforms (still undecided!)
10pm: [b] school party & Pictage Party (but not at the same time)
10am-12pm: Tradeshow floor
2:30-4:30pm: Amber Holritz platform, Melanie Nashan platform (possibly)
1pm-4pm: Photog Shootout
6pm-whenever: hang out with new friends!
9am-11am: Photographers Ignite Presentation
3pm: Fly home!

Plans are subject to change, but say hello!



Dallas Photog Shootout: Part 1


Last week was the Dallas Photog Shootout. With Mr. Photog Shootout, Rob “Ninja” Nicholson blowing through town on his way West, he had a little pit stop in Dallas for the inaugural Photog Shootout. Now what is the Photog Shootout? Well, it’s a chance for local photographers to get together, shoot, and share. Whether it’s posing, lighting, or working with what you’ve got, it’s always more fun to learn from peers in friendly groups. And that’s exactly what happened.

Together with Amy Karp, Natasha Brown, and Anna Routh, we were the local contact getting everything in order. We had three fabulous Hair and Makeup artists, Emily Hudspeth, Adina Wright, and Zsanae. We had four awesome models, Cassie, Erica, Melissa, and Tristan. We shot at the lovely Ryan Manor that Chris Ryan so graciously opened his doors for (and the weather was dreary, by the way!) And we had knock out outfits, that Amy and I were able to find at the eleventh hour. (That expression always seems weird to me…) We also had three great teaching photographers, Heather Essian, Jason Huang of Table 4 Weddings, and Amy Karp.

Dallas Photog Shootout at the Ryan Manor by Catie Ronquillo
Dallas Photog Shootout at the Ryan Manor by Catie Ronquillo

Miss Cassie was also a contestant on one of the seasons of America’s Next Top Model, so she totally knew how to work the camera. Admittedly, I’ve never even seen a whole episode of ANTM, but I often hear all the hoopla from friends who can’t stop talking about it.

Dallas Photog Shootout at the Ryan Manor by Catie Ronquillo

Jason taught lighting. Because he is a master at it. If you go check out his photos, you’ll understand what I mean. I was glad to get a couple of shots with his help. Erica and Tristan looked like the perfect vintage wedding couple.

Dallas Photog Shootout at the Ryan Manor by Catie Ronquillo

There were about 30 photographers in attendance and were split up into three groups. One group with each teaching photographer. Then after about 45 minutes we rotated. So all the attendees had a chance to learn from all the teachers and work with all the models.

Dallas Photog Shootout at the Ryan Manor by Catie Ronquillo

And the lovely Melissa. Isn’t her hair fascinator cute? It was made by Lisa Raser, of Ink and Button. And it just so happened to work perfectly with Melissa’s outfit. More to come of Lisa’s cute fascinators!

Dallas Photog Shootout at the Ryan Manor by Catie Ronquillo

More to come!

Are you interested in participating in a Shootout? Email me!



Red Velvet Review: Sprinkles Cupcakes


This is the first of a few Red Velvet Cupcake reviews.

So why Red Velvet cake? What’s the deal? Well, I didn’t even know about Red Velvet cake until 2005 when I was in the internship program at Walt Disney World, where I met Cent. My first introduction to Red Velvet was from the Duncan Hines variety. That’s right box cake. I was totally intrigued by the color and the flavor wasn’t quite chocolate and wasn’t quite vanilla either. As my sister puts it, “It’s red flavored.”

When Cent came to visit me in California for the first time (and met my entire family!), my sister baked a Red Velvet Cake from scratch. And made the cream cheese frosting from scratch. In his honor. Red Velvet cake (at the time) was kind of a novelty. It wasn’t as commonly known as it is in the South. So it kind of became our thing. Although, I’ll admit, I’m waaaaay more head over heels for Red Velvet than Cent is. I’m not sure if it’s the color, the cake and cream cheese frosting combo, or what, but I can’t shut up about these.

So this year, for my birthday, I went on a Red Velvet cupcake quest, to find the best one in Dallas. And then my sister sent me two tupperwares of homemade Paula Deen Red Velvet cupcakes. Let’s just say that the scale and I aren’t friends at the moment.

Since the ones from Sprinkles were the first to hit my belly pre-birthday, I’ll start with those.

Sprinkles cupcakes are distinguished by the little adornments on the top. This one with the pink flower is the Spicy Red Velvet cupcake. When we were at the boutique I was intrigued by the “spicy” as I tend to like spicy foods. So we ordered one to go with the others.

Sprinkles Red Velvet Cupcakes by Catie Ronquillo

Sprinkles Cupcakes are delicious. I’ve actually only had them once before in California. They are rich, moist, and substantial. I love that they use real cream cheese frosting, which to me, completes the Red Velvet. I think they might use a little more cocoa, as on their description list, they call it “southern style light chocolate cake”.

Sprinkles Red Velvet Cupcakes by Catie Ronquillo

Now, here’s the deal. This cupcake is PERFECT for anyone who like Red Hots or Hot Tamales. I’m talking spicy cinnamon flavor. It’s in the frosting. Sadly for me, I’m not a fan of the spicy cinnamon flavor. But for reviewing sake, I ate the whole thing anyway. Don’t hate. The cake was delicious and moist, I just wasn’t digging the frosting flavor. Now if you do like that, then go for it. I’ve told a couple of people about this cupcake, and the idea of the spicy cinnamon was their idea of a good time.

Sprinkles Red Velvet Cupcakes by Catie Ronquillo

Overall, Sprinkles are super yummy. I mean, if I had a bad cupcake, you’d know it. Just ask people who know me well. I love that they use quality ingredients and have wonderful presentation. Seriously, buying cupcakes at Sprinkles is an experience. It’s like going to the candy store, except it’s all cupcakes.

And their Red Velvet Cupcakes get an A for moistness and the cream cheese frosting.




Vendor Love: The Event Messenger


I was first introduced to Carrie through her work she created for Kelly‘s workshop. The cutest escort cards and invitations that I had EVER seen. Seriously.

I finally got to meet Carrie, owner of The Event Messenger, in person a few months later at Debby Jewesson’s Open House for Branching Out Events. And guess what? She’s just as fabulous and friendly as her creations. Love her!

I recently got together with Carrie to photograph some of her recent work. And let me just say that if I was still planning my wedding, I’d go straight to Carrie. After designing and assembling our invitations, I understand all the work that goes into it, and would gladly hire a pro to do it. And Carrie is a pro!

The Event Messenger Invitations and Stationery by Catie Ronquillo

While I photographed these, I commented that even simple stripes can dress up an invitation. Simple and bright.

The Event Messenger Invitations and Stationery by Catie Ronquillo

After the recent snowstorm, I ventured out to Carrie’s home to help her assemble this project. It’s so simple, and yet makes a statement.

The Event Messenger Invitations and Stationery by Catie Ronquillo

This piece is perforated for guests to tear off and mail as an RSVP postcard. The flipside of the piece is stamped and addressed. Genius.

The Event Messenger Invitations and Stationery by Catie Ronquillo

Carrie brought these pieces together for a Bridal Event. Who knew twine could add such pizazz. Yes, I just used the word pizazz.

The Event Messenger Invitations and Stationery by Catie Ronquillo

To me, this screams Texas. Or at least picnic. It’s probably the gingham ribbon.

The Event Messenger Invitations and Stationery by Catie Ronquillo

A little Latin flair, anyone?

The Event Messenger Invitations and Stationery by Catie Ronquillo

Placecards with style.

The Event Messenger Invitations and Stationery by Catie Ronquillo

And then there are these super sweet Bridal Shower weekend invitations.

The Event Messenger Invitations and Stationery by Catie Ronquillo

And how cute are these boarding pass Save the Dates for a destination wedding?

The Event Messenger Invitations and Stationery by Catie Ronquillo

And Carrie can also create the CUTEST stationery for those expecting! Check this out:

The Event Messenger Invitations and Stationery by Catie Ronquillo

Please excuse some of the blurring out going on, but gotta respect people’s privacy, right?

If you are looking for custom event stationery, be sure to check out Carrie’s work on her website, The Event Messenger. You’ll get lost in it. At least I did.

Happy Tuesday!


For Brides: Win a Complimentary Hair and Makeup Trial with Emily Hudspeth!


Calling all 2010 brides! Enter to win a complimentary hair and makeup trial with Emily Hudspeth on the Sweet Pea Events blog! My girl and wedding planner extraordinaire, Kelly Simants, is partnering with Emily Hudspeth, to give YOU the bride a chance to find that perfect hair and makeup artist for your big day.

I just met Emily last week and I can tell you she is not only a fabulous hair and makeup artist, but she’s also so fun to be around! She used to live and work in Los Angeles, so we quickly related through our California connection. We were lucky enough to have Emily on board to do some hair and makeup for the Dallas PhotogShootout (which I’ll be posting this week!).

Check out some of Emily’s work from Friday:

Working her magic on our lovely model, Erica.

Emily Hudspeth Hair and Makeup Artist by Catie Ronquillo
Emily Hudspeth Hair and Makeup Artist by Catie Ronquillo
Emily Hudspeth Hair and Makeup Artist by Catie Ronquillo

And the end results!

Emily Hudspeth Hair and Makeup Artist by Catie Ronquillo
Emily Hudspeth Hair and Makeup Artist by Catie Ronquillo

And on a photographer’s note, let me just say how important it is to have awesome hair and makeup that not only makes you look and feel fabulous, but will last all day long through the all the photos, your tears of joy, and of course, sweating on the dance floor!

In order to win:

Leave a comment on Kelly’s blog (not mine!) and tell us about your most interesting hair and makeup experience…you know, the best haircut you’ve ever had…the funniest experience getting your makeup done, how your hair stylist saved the day, etc.

We’ll choose the winner by midnight this Friday, March 5th and will announce on Monday, March 8th. Winner will need to use the complimentary hair and makeup trial by August 31, 2010 and will need to be a bride getting married in 2010.  Winner will also need to visit Emily’s studio in Addison, TX for the hair and makeup trial.

So hop on over to the Sweet Pea Events blog for your chance to win!

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