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ONA Brooklyn Bag Review

As a wedding photographer, I bring lots of STUFF with me to every wedding. I pack everything from the obvious (like cameras, lenses, etc) to the really random, but still helpful (read here for more on that). Having a good bag is a REALLY important part of making my job easier. I take two bags to every wedding…my Pelican 1510 case, which holds backup equipment, lenses I don’t use very often, emergency supplies, my computer, etc. We usually sit it in a corner while we’re shooting and run back over to it if we need something from it.

The main workhorse bag I use the majority of the day (and at every engagement session) is my shooting bag. This bag is really key for me because I will be carrying it on my person for most of the day (especially during portraits and ceremonies) and since I’m an all prime lens shooter, I need to be able to grab a lens really quickly for a swap when needed. I also keep gum, water, and other random necessities in my shooting bag since it’s easy for me to access.

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I had the Kelly Moore B Hobo for several years until the pleather exterior started to rip apart on the side AND the piece that clips the strap onto the bag broke…at a wedding. I was sad to see it go because it really fit all of my needs super well. It had several pockets and lots of space for my stuff. It finally bit the dust though, so I decided it was time to try something new!

Enter the Ona Brooklyn bag! I already own one ONA bag that I use for traveling and other adventures, but I wanted to purchase a separate, slightly larger bag for my shooting needs. This one seemed to fit my criteria (cross body, holds camera body and 2 lenses, pockets for random things, etc) best.

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One of the things that I discovered about ONA bags is, they are a lot stiffer than I imagined when the leather is brand new. I think this is actually a good thing for me though because you can very easily set the bag on the ground and not worry about things falling out. I set my bag on the ground quite a bit (it can get really heavy otherwise) and don’t want to have to worry about breaking expensive equipment. Also, in comparison to my Kelly Moore bag, this bag is SUPER easy to get in and out of. So nice! There is a pocket on the front and a longer pocket on the back that I keep random things in (extra batteries, tissues, gum, etc). I consider extra pockets a must have in a camera bag!

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This bag was a big investment for me, but I felt that it was important to have a quality bag that would hold up to a lot of abuse and would also look really nice and fit in with my brand. This bag fits that perfectly!

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A dream bag for me! :)

Trader Joe’s Favorites

One of my close friends has a new blog and recently, while I was helping her brainstorm some new topic ideas for posts, I thought it would be fun for her to share her favorite items from Trader Joe’s. I’m a huge Trader Joe’s fan myself, so I decided to steal the idea for myself. Or, really, just borrow it:)

John and I LOVE Trader Joe’s. We shop there at least once a week, sometimes twice. We’re really just THAT couple in their late 20s who really gets more enjoyment out of really boring things like grocery shopping that in our early 20s we might have thought was weird. We’ve been known to make an entire date night out of driving 40 minutes to Whole Foods to shop and have dinner at the hot bar. I am serious.

Trader Joes Favorites

Needless to say, we’re pretty into TJs. Trader Joes is one of those places that everyone who shops there regularly has favorite items…these are mine!

  • Mini Chicken Samosas. I think these are meant to be an appetizer, but I regularly cook a whole box and eat it as a meal! These little guys are so crispy and delicious.
  • Reduced Guilt Mac and Cheese. This is one of my favorite quick lunches! And I recently discovered that a scoop of the TJs Roasted Red Pepper and Eggplant spread goes really well mixed in:)
  • Kosher Ground Turkey. The Trader Joe’s ground turkey is the best! I don’t know what exactly it is that makes this particular kind so good, but it’s my favorite for when I’m trying to be a little healthier. We use it any way we’d use ground beef.
  • Wine. Trader Joes has such a good selection of wines! Especially if you are like me and not really a sommelier…just an enjoyer of a glass (or two). Right now I’m really enjoying the Green Fin Rose but I pick up a different bottle every week or two!
  • Bacon Cheddar Ranch Dip. I mean, combine those three words into a dip and you’ve got a recipe for magic. So good. I recommend trying it with salt and pepper potato chips!
  • Smoked Gouda. I mentioned above that I’m more of a casual wine drinker and I’m also a pretty casual cheese person too. Gouda is one of my favorite cheeses and the Trader Joe’s smoked gouda is amazing. You can also get it in slices so you can make sandwiches with it! Or just eat it straight from the package. I mean, not that I do that or anything.
  • Spinach and Kale Dip. This dip is actually somewhat healthy (or low in calories at least). I use it as a sandwich spread a lot of the time!
  • Jalapeno Chicken Sausages. I discovered these while doing a semi Whole 30 earlier this year. These are not technically Whole 30 at all because they have a small amount of added sugar, but I didn’t really care. These sausages are so good!! My favorite way to eat them is sliced and sauteed in ghee or butter.
  • Flowers. Honestly, sometimes their flowers aren’t the best quality, BUT they usually have a way better selection than any other grocery store. Having fresh flowers around is one of my guilty pleasures and Trader Joe’s helps feed my addiction. During ranunculus and peony season, I load up on those. The rest of the year I usually choose a bunch of hydrangeas or tulips on our weekly TJs run. I can’t WAIT for Whole Foods to open near me though because I’ve bought my other favorite there…anemones!!!
  • Potato Pancakes. I went through a phase where I was literally eating these every day, with greek yogurt on the side. It wasn’t pretty, guys. The potato pancakes are so good and easy to make. They’re such a good side item you can eat for breakfast, lunch, or dinner!
  • Electrolyte and Alkaline Water. These waters probably aren’t that different from any other waters in reality, but I have myself convinced that I need extra electrolyes and that this water is also extra delicious. I buy the biggest bottle and try to drink it all in one day. I usually get one a week and drink it the Friday before I have a wedding, so I’m extra hydrated going into the weekend.
  • Black Truffle Olive Oil. Holy cow this stuff is AWESOME. I am all about truffle things and this olive oil has such a nice flavor. It’s perfect on veggies or anything that could use a bit of extra flavor. I usually toss steamed green beans or broccoli in it with a bit of grated parmesan cheese! Bomb.

John’s favorite items:

  • Pitas. One of John’s famous meals is his BBQ Chicken Pita Pizzas. He always uses these as a lower calorie pizza “crust” and they’re delicious!!
  • Cookie butter cheesecake bites. These are an excellent candidate for the list of my favorite items at Trader Joe’s too, but John found them first, so. You’re supposed to thaw them in the refrigerator, but let’s be real, sometimes they don’t make it to that stage and we’re eating them frozen. They’re equally good that way!
  • Anything cookie butter. TJs has figured out that cookie butter is crack to most people and capitalized on that by adding it to a bajillion of their products. Regular cookie butter, cookie butter cookies, cookie butter SANDWICH cookies, cookie butter ice cream, etc. When John first got it, I thought it was healthy, like Almond or peanut butter. I guess the “cookie” in the title didn’t tip me off.
  • Simply Roasted Chicken. This is another item that I really love too! I can be very lazy when it comes to cooking, but this pre-cooked chicken makes it really easy to eat healthy. Especially if you are trying to hit a certain number on your protein. It’s 100 calories a serving and it’s actually pretty tasty for pre cooked chicken. We use it a lot on pizzas, in tacos, and just with sides of rice and veggies.
  • Seaweed Snacks. I introduced John to these things and he loves them now. They’re basically sheets of dried, seasoned seaweed. Though that might not initially sound all that amazing, they really are delicious!!

Those are just a few of our favorite items! Any other Trader Joe’s connoisseurs out there? What are your favorite TJs items??

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Ughhhh, I have still yet to actually buy the cheesecake bites when I’m not on whole30! I might have to finally get them after this one.

Yes!!! My husband and I are obsessed with TJ’s! We have our little routine of going every weekend with a meal plan and we just love that store. We couldn’t live without it now! So fun to see your favorites!

Yorktown Engagement Session | Meagan + Tim

We probably rescheduled Meagan and Tim’s engagement session due to bad weather more times than any other session. We had such horrible luck all winter and spring that we finally pushed it to this July, since Meagan is a teacher and summers aren’t as hectic for her. The day they finally made the journey down to Yorktown for their session, it looked like it was finally going to be a beautiful day!! Only right when we started the session did the heavy, dark clouds start to roll in!! I thought to myself, “What kind of luck is this??” Dark Sky said we had 30-40 minutes before it would start to pour…usually it’s right, so we powered through as many things as we could in a short amount of time…these two were such troopers!! In the end, it only sprinkled a little bit. When we left the session I could tell it had poured everywhere else around the area, so maybe we do have good luck after all!

Here are a few of my favorites from the session!

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Annual Birthday Giveaway

Today is my birthday! Or at least, I’m pretty sure it is. One thing most people may not know about me is that I actually do not know the exact day that I was born. I was given up for adoption at six weeks or so old and my birthdate is really just an estimate. Either way, I have always enjoyed having July 14th as my birthday…I share it with France, who celebrates Bastille Day today! I think that means I should definitely celebrate my birthday there one of these years. Right??
Birthday giveaway

I love giving gifts almost more than I love receiving them, so for the last several years I’ve done a yearly birthday giveaway. In the past they’ve been complications of a bunch of my favorite things, but honestly, as I get older I see the value more and more in KEEPING IT SIMPLE. So this year, I wanted to give one of my favorite things to send to people that is also perfectly birthday appropriate…Georgetown Cupcakes! Did you know you can have them shipped anywhere in the US?? I think everyone loves to get things in the mail, but seriously, getting cupcakes takes the cake. Ha….pun intended.

If you would love to receive these cupcakes at YOUR door you can enter the contest by leaving a comment here on this post with your favorite cupcake flavor. You must be living in the US to win and you MUST make sure you enter a valid email address with your comment because that’s what I’ll be using to contact you if you’re the randomly chosen winner. PS, if you can’t eat gluten for some reason, have no fear! GC offers gluten free options too.

Thanks for reading! Enjoy your Tuesday!

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Happy Birthday, Katie!!! I’ve never met anyone who wasn’t sure of their exact birthday — I actually think that’s kind of cool! You can just celebrate all month instead :) :)

But also… cupcakes. My mouth is watering at that picture…. Believe it or not, I work maybe 15 minutes from Georgetown and have NEVER have a Georgetown Cupake cupake!!! Crazy.

Hope you have an amazing day!!

Katie, I adore you!! and this could not be more perfect more you!
Happy Birthday to youuuuu!
And favorite flavor. ALL OF THEM! <3

Even though I really just came to your blog to wish you another happy birthday(!!!!), now I also want Georgetown cupcakes. I think we all know that my favorite flavor is all of them.

I hope you have the best day ever – you deserve it!!! And I can’t wait to finally celebrate with you!!! Love you!

OMG how stinking fun?! You always come up with the most unique ideas!! I love Alicia’s thoughts of celebrating all month long. What better excuse to eat cake whenever you want? Happy, happy birthday Katie!!!

Lauren

Happy birthday Katie!! I hope it is just as wonderful and fabulous as you are! I’m totally snagging a Georgetown cupcake next week in DC! My favorite flavor is the salted caramel, yum! Have the best day ever!

Jannicka Nord

Happy birthday!! Today is my birthday, too (but I’m a little older than you)! :) I live in Woodbridge but have never tried a Georgetown Cupcake! I would love to win! My favorite flavor is chocolate, of course, but I love it with peanut butter!! I do enjoy all cupcakes, though. :) Have a fabulous day!!

Melanie Reilly

Happy birthday, Katie! I hope you feel so loved and known today! And I do think you should probably celebrate in France one day.

I LOVE GC! Colin and I went there on our first (and so very awkward date), and then again to the same one the night we got engaged. My favorite flavor is chocolate ganasche. :)

You’re one of the only people I know who gives things to other people for their own birthday…you’re literally too cute. My favorite cupcake (if I have to choose, because I love them all, especially when they’re pretty) is vanilla. Because I’m boring. Happy birthday Katie!!

Nicole Kameenui

Happy Birthday Katie! A giveaway for YOUR birthday? You’re too awesome. :) Coconut and red velvet are at a tie for my favorite flavor. Hope you have a happy happy birthday today!

Sirena

Happy Birthday Katie! Hope you have a great day!!

PS this pregnant girl loves German chocolate or banana split :)

Latanya

Happy birthday Katie! And yes you should celebrate your birthday there soon!!!! And BTW, my favorite, good ole fashion vanilla and chocolate. I know, I know, I’m boring….LOL

HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!!

Sarah

Happy birthdayyyyy. Such a fun giveaway! I’ve only had GC cupcakes once before but I think it was German Chocolate that I was obsessed with ❤️

I love anything chocolate!

Deirdre

Happy Birthday!! I love cupcakes and agree that they are the perfect way to celebrate a birthday! My favorite is red velvet :-)

Kari Tench

HAPPY BIRTHDAY Katie!!! :) I have never had Georgetown cupcakes!!! I love all cupcakes, and sweets in general!! :) i would love to try their hummingbird cupcake! Have a beautiful day!! :) :)

Sarah Elizabeth Williams

Happy Birthday Katie!!! Gotta love Georgetown Cupcakes! Peanut butter fudge is my fav!

Lauren Jones

First of all, Happy birthday!!! Second, how awesome is this giveaway!! :) I LOVE cupcakes!! :) Every flavor is my favorite, but I would have to say chocolate is a favorite of mine with different flavors of icing! :)

Lindsay Fleming

Happy birthday Katie! What a thoughtful thing to do on YOUR birthday! Jake and my favorite flavor is funfetti! I mean how can you go wrong with a cupcake that’s colorful and filled with sprinkles!

I hope you get to eat lots of cupcakes today!

Emma

Happy Birthday!! I’ve never had a cupcake from there but looking at the menu… I would love to try the chocolate hazelnut! YUM!!

Katie, happy birthday! I hope you have a great day :) These cupcakes look so amazing, sadly i’m not from US!

Happy Birthday Katie!! Hope you enjoy your special day!

My birthday is this Friday!! So, why not take my chances and earn a little something…my fave flavor is red velvet :)

Darby Sinclair

HAPPY birthday!!!!!! Sending you all our love. Xoxo, Darby, Chad, Patsy, and Loretta :)

Happy birthday Katie! Fav flavor is red velvet…but not picky with my baked goods at 35 weeks pregnant, I can eat it all! My husband also does not know his real bday, his family was fleeing the country when he was born so his parents picked an easy day to remember, 02-02. Hope you had a great day!

happy birthday Katie!!!! My favorite is their peanut butter cupcake…or any cupcake they make actually…mmmmmm

Happy Birthday, Katie! I’m very glad I stumbled across your work recently. I found myself looking through a bunch of your blog posts for photographers and learned a bunch.

I’ve never had Georgetown Cupcakes before but my floormate got them delivered to her dorm and I was so jealous! They’re so cute. My favorite flavor cupcake is vanilla. I also like to keep it simple. 😉

I hope you enjoyed your special day!

happy birthday, Katie!!! I hope it was a great day!! My favorite cupcake flavor is carrot cake – I make it every year for my birthday! But whenever I find a coconut cupcake somewhere, I have to order it because I just adore coconut. One of these days I will make a coconut cake! :)

Happy birthday Katie!!!
Love GC! My fav flav is just vanilla…boring but I love it :)

Mallory

Happy Birthday!! I hope you had a great day yesterday!!
My favorite flavor is lemon–so refreshing! :)

Erin

Happy belated birthday – July birthdays are the best! Mine is next week :) hope you enjoyed a cupcake on yours.
My favorite flavor is coffee cookies & cream. Two great flavors in one!

i don’t live in usa and despite following this blog for couple years now , this is my first comments so Happy Birthday Katie! :)

Maureen Pacheco

Happy late birthday Katie! I hope John spoiled you! Because, you deserve it girl! My favorite flavor is coconut… I love anything with coconut in it! Chocolate ganache is a favorite too. :)

Michele

Happy birthday! I love any citrus flavor cupcake!

Hello! Did you announce who one? 😀 #Hopeful

Maryland Wedding Photographer | Tiffany and Terry

Tiffany and Terry’s Fourth of July wedding at Mathwig Event Barn was the perfect way to spend the holiday! I’ve been looking forward to their wedding since the first time I chatted with Tiffany over the phone months ago. She’s got such a fun style and sells vintage items that she finds at estate sales and the like on her Instagram account. I knew that her wedding was going to be full of her finds and I wasn’t disappointed! From the vintage hankies for “tears of joy” to her red cowboy boots and the vintage ice cream boxes and hand pies on their dessert table, everything was very sweet and subtly patriotic in a vintage Americana kind of way.

Their wedding was such a great representation of the two of them! They worked so hard to create something beautiful to celebrate the start of their marriage in the same way that they’ve worked hard together to turn their house into a beautiful home. These two are such a great team and John and I were honored to photograph them make it official last Saturday! Enjoy a few of my favorite images!

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mom

very nice

ANDREA

Just a perfect wedding!

Darby Sinclair

This is beautiful!!!! So similar to the route we ALMOST went:)