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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!



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!


Spread the Love: Dallas


Sometimes you meet people and you just know that your lives have to intersect. And intersect again. Even before you meet in person.

This is what it’s like with Justin and Mary Marantz. In a word, they are AMAZING!

On Tuesday, I attended their Spread the Love Workshop here in Dallas. After seeing them in New Orleans at the Pictage Partner Conference, it was a no-brainer about seeing them again. I mean, I got my ticket during their Black Friday Sale. While Cent was buying a new computer, I was getting my seat. Ever since I stumbled upon their blog, I think because Mary left me some blog love, I’ve been hooked. Their blog is like crack for a blog-a-holic like me. The stories, the beautiful photos, the advice and tips, their blog never ceases to draw me in, pull up a chair and get comfy to read.

Who are they? They are photographers from Conneticut, traveling the country, teaching other photographers and small business owners how to find balance with their business, finances, personal life, and world. Because when you are your own boss, it may seem like it’s “So TOTALLY AWESOME! No boss, no cubicle, no set work hours!” And yet, those might be the hardest parts about being your own boss. Discipline – whether it’s working too much or not working enough.

Justin and Mary keep it real. Through their stories, questions, and attitudes. They show you how to build momentum and get your life in order, especially if your work life is becoming a slippery slope into despair. If you read their blog, they are the same in person. Which I love!

Fun fact: When I still lived in California, I casually entered a contest running on their blog. And I won! They sent me a gift card to MAC Cosmetics which I used for my wedding day lipstick.

Thanks to Brandy of Bella Pop Photography for snapping this photo. I brought my P&S, only to find out it didn’t have the memory card in it. Way to go me! Me in the middle with the cake I brought. Yeah, I know, I’m such a cake nut.

Thanks to Cristina Wisner for hosting at your studio!

Spread the Love is coming to a city near you, if it hasn’t already passed. If you’re in need of some balance in your life, want to learn about creating a client experience, or just want to have a great afternoon learning, be sure to check them out! I believe Phoenix, San Diego, Los Angeles, and San Francisco are up next.



Why Red Velvet and I are on a break…


Earlier this week, I mentioned that I had my last piece of red velvet cake for a while. Well, any cake or baked good for that matter.

No, I’m not sick (well, actually I am recovering from a gnarly cold I’ve had for far too long!)

No, I haven’t developed a food allergy to sweets.

No, I haven’t sworn off sugary treats forever.

Red Velvet and I are on a break because I’m taking a challenge. A New Year, New You Challenge started by my fabulous fellow photographer friend, Celina Gomez of Captivating Simplicity Photography.

I’ve struggled with my weight since junior high. I took 12 years of ballet, and I always felt embarrassed that I had the largest costume for The Nutcracker or our Spring Performances, or that it had to be custom made because nothing fit. I can honestly say that the only time I’ve been really satisfied with my weight was when I was studying abroad in France for a year in 2003/2004. Because I lost 20 pounds without even trying. No joke! My jeans started feeling looser. And when I moved back to the states and saw my weight in pounds (vs. kilograms), I was pleasantly surprised at the number! Even though I ate whatever I wanted (and trust me, France has it’s share of rich and decadent foods), I walked everywhere, every day. And it made such a difference, without even making a real effort. So fab!

This holiday season, my jeans felt tighter. Uncomfortably so. And they used to fit nicely. So after Christmas and New Years, Cent and I went to Bed, Bath, and Beyond, and I insisted we had to buy a scale. Because I was convinced that the scale at 24 Hour Fitness was full of lies. And after I mustered the courage to stand on it, and the look of disgust that developed on my face after seeing the number (the largest number I’ve EVER seen), I knew that this year had to be different. This year, there HAD to be a change.

There’s just something different about this group. I actually feel motivated to go work out. Even with Dallas’ current Artic Blast, (which accounts for the colder than usual weather) I braved the cold and made my way to the gym. I’ve heard it time and time again that it’s good to have a support group, a team of cheerleaders who can encourage you, and be there for you. I guess it just took me longer than usual to listen. I’m glad that I did, because I’m starting to whittle down that number on the scale! 4lbs, woo hoo!

And since I value every blog reader that I have, I thought that I would share my journey with y’all (yes, I said y’all), to help me stay accountable. Because who wouldn’t want a support group as big as the interwebz to cheer me on?!

So sayonara Red Velvet, I’ll see you on the flipside…in moderation. And maybe a bite for my birthday?

Happy Thursday!



Our Offer was Accepted!


Thursday I had been furiously working on building my new website (set to launch October 1, so stay tuned!), and I was totally in the zone. Cent had just come home from work and something prompted me to check my email on my iPhone. I saw an email from our real estate agent so I immediately opened it. It read, “CONGRATULATIONS!”

The seller’s accepted our offer!

Just last week I mentioned that we put in an offer on our first house. A HOUSE! Quite honestly, I didn’t expect to be a homeowner so soon after we got married. But a nice credit from the government for being a first time homebuyer was a very attractive incentive. So we started looking. I thought it would be just that, looking. But as it turned out, we found two houses we really liked and finally decided to take the big grown up step of making an offer.

We met with our real estate agent, Julie Beck, (she’s been so awesome so far in the process – call her if you’re in need of one in Dallas!) and she explained to us paragraph by painstaking paragraph exactly what we were signing and initialing. I totally appreciated all of her patience and help as real estate documents are longwinded and confusing! So we put in our best case scenario or “pie in the sky” offer, and crossed our fingers and prayed.

Waiting to hear back was like sitting on pins and needles. That night, I couldn’t get good rest. While I knew that there was no way we’d hear back in the middle of the night, my mind was racing in excitement and nervousness. “What if they didn’t accept our terms?” “What if they don’t want to sell their house to us?” “What if…?” Deep breaths help in this kind of situation. Totally.

When we hadn’t heard anything on Tuesday or Wednesday, waiting became a little easier. I still had the “What ifs” in mind, but it wasn’t as bad as Monday night. So when Thursday evening’s email rolled around, we were so excited. SO EXCITED! We’re going to be homeowners (as long as the rest of the process goes smoothly!), so please keep your finger crossed, send us positive vibes, and keep us in your prayers!

Happy Monday!

Our real estate agent’s info:
Julie Beck
(214) 446.2579
juliebeck [at] judgefite [dot] com

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