Is it wayyy too cliché of me to call attention to the self-reflection brought on by the approaching end of another year?

Too bad.  I'm doing it anyway.

On this Thanksgiving holiday, I'm actually very sad to say "goodbye" to the autumn season.  It always speeds by far too fast for my taste; it's certainly my favorite season.  But the winter holidays are fun, too, and I'm looking forward to a whole month of no shooting and a plethora of holiday parties.  Bring it on, December.

But back to Thanksgiving (a holiday that always gets so overlooked, don't you agree?  We wait until Halloween and then Christmas is EVERY-freakin'-WHERE.  Don't worry, turkey-day, I love and appreciate you).  And I appreciate that this day is devoted to focusing on the things we're most grateful for, and in 2014, I have had so many wonderful blessings, big and small, for which to express my gratitude.  I hope I've been doing a decent job all year of being thankful for the gifts of my life, but I think this particular day calls for a list.

I am grateful for my career, of course.  This magical, beautiful way I've been able to make a living: creating images on the important occasion of marriage and connecting people with a tangible representation of their memories.

I am grateful for my parents.  Without their support, this wedding photography gig wouldn't have been possible.  And I'm grateful for my mother's willingness to give up her Saturday afternoons (and sometimes her entire weekend) to dog-sit my two mutts while I'm away from home, and sometimes even find the will and energy to clean my bathroom. #wonderwoman

I'm thankful for my sweet dogs; I'm thankful for their affection, unconditional love, and the occasional reminder that I've been sitting in my desk chair for far too long (since it's clearly been some time since they went outside).

I appreciate my friends and my family -- their emotional support, willingness to help, and general service as sources of feedback and reassurance when I'm feeling scared, insecure, or uncertain about... well, pretty much anything.

I'm grateful for my health and for my body, for its ability to move and breathe and perform tasks that help me enjoy this life.

I'm thankful for naps.

I appreciate air travel for making it possible for my brother to come back to California over the New Year's holiday.

I'm thankful for the upcoming month during which I plan to give myself a hefty breather.  A break.  I'll still be working, but it'll be more of wrapping things up -- finishing edits, cleaning up accounting records, back-blogging -- instead of just trying to keep up with mountains of demands from every direction, which is what the earlier 11 months of 2014 more closely resembled.

I'm thankful for my life.  For the culmination of all these things and so many more to manifest this existence that has been carved out for me to enjoy.  The world can be stressful and overwhelming and sometimes cruel, but I am grateful that the overarching themes that dominate my life are positive ones, delivering so much joy that I often have to remind myself not to take it all for granted.

So today, and every day, I endeavor to remember how crazy-lucky I am to be in the presence of such wonderful people, surrounded by endless sources of inspiration, able to take advantage of the beautiful opportunities the universe has to offer.

Happy, happy, happy Thanksgiving.

joanna + nevin at hartley botanica

As a former adult-league kickball player, Joanna and Nevin's love story was particularly enjoyable for me: they met playing dodgeball in West Hollywood.  How fun is that?!  Four years later, they tied the knot at the tremendously-beautiful Hartley Botanica in Somis, California.

To surprise Joanna with his marriage proposal, Nevin waited until the day AFTER their three-year anniversary dinner.  He wanted to make it special and unexpected but without making a big public display that he knew Joanna may not really enjoy (she doesn't love a ton of attention). So he did it the morning after their big anniversary celebration as they were getting ready to go to work. He sneaked it in while she was focused on make-up and hair; his plan was to "mix the mundane with the meaningful." It was surprising, personal, and private; and it made her laugh, made her cry, and (of course) she said yes.

Joanna is also a talented designer and did all the hand-lettering and paper goods for the wedding (including those super-cute "vows" booklets, escort cards, pillow covers, and the custom watercolor-inspired invitation suite).

Here are a few of my favorites from #joplusnev. (Also my favorite?  Those flowers by The Little Branch!  Yes, please.)  And, of course, many thanks to my fabulous second shooter, Rhianna.