I know I've been absent for quite some time. I've carried a lot of guilt about that to be honest. It's been really hard balancing life lately between work and personal. This blog is something I love, something that requires a lot of attention and work as well. It's part of who I am and part of my career too. For those of you that read daily, I'm sorry I've been away. Nothing is wrong, there is no need to worry at all, I just was drowning in work and life and really needed the time to focus on my priorities, get some (okay, a lot) of sleep, work on some house projects and more.
One thing that has been keeping me busy are these photographs. We recently cleaned house and re-organized at the studio office and warehouse for a local photo shoot. My office has never been so spiffy, clutter and dust free!
I'm so glad to have some images of my office and this happy place I come to each and every day.
I'm happy to be back around here and will be posting regularly again. I'm going to cut back just a bit, in order to give you as my readers some better quality. Instead of everyday you'll be able to find me posting here every other day with some of the things you are used to seeing about my life, my work, my hobbies and family too.Thanks for stopping by. I'll be back soon :)
I'm proud to say that I am very ahead of the game, and have just received a fresh box of this year's Christmas cards. I was inspired to get them printed and ready, seeing that this is our first year sending Christmas cards as a married couple. Of course it means more to print, address and mail...but I'm a sucker for that dorky organizational stuff.
Have you heard of Minted?
Last year I ordered plenty of gifts for family and friends from the site and the quality was awesome. I'm pretty picky about quality considering I work in the print and paper world. Minted is the real deal, you get exactly what you pay for. And, if you subscribe to the free email list you're more than likely to receive coupons at least once a month! Have you completed your Christmas cards yet? Try Minted!
No, I'm not getting paid to endorse Minted, but just supporting a company that has quality designs and great products. The other cool thing that I love about Minted is that the artwork on the product line is from design competitions of independent designers & artists alike. I LOVE THAT!!
I've known Lauryn for several years, and now she's all grown up! The baby of her family is graduating from high school in Spring. The camera loves her flawless skin and beautiful freckles, and who wouldn't drool over that beautifully perfect smile.
Her pride is in soccer and she intends to play in college! She's tough and determined. We have something in common, Lauryn and I, we've both overcome a blown-out knee and complete reconstructive knee surgery. It takes a lot of perseverance and passion for sports to get through something as emotionally and physically exhausting as a knee injury. You go girl!
I have a couple mini sessions left, if you're still interested be sure to email, fb, or text me soon! Times available include 8:30am, and between 1pm-3:45pm. This is a great chance to save!
All original details were shared previously on this post here. Or
For those of you that have reserved yoru session, I will be in touch next week for deposits to secure your time slot and additional details! Thank you again!
Just a couple days ago I launched this flyer for local families interested in Mini Portrait Sessions.
The response has already been great, and I only have a couple spots left.
To my local peeps, friends, family, friends of friends, etc.: Are you in need of some new family photos but find yourself on a budget? I've put together a fall photo session perfect for you, offering 30 min. mini sessions for more than 50% off my normal photography rates! I'm not a professional, but definitely offer less expensive options and have done freelance for years.
Only $125 for a 30 minute session complete with a copyright release (free printing rights) and at least 5 final edited images! To hold your reservation a deposit will be required. We will sort through all of that via email or facebook messaging.
CONTACT ME to hold your time slot today: my email is listed on the flyer above or you can facebook message me privately please.
October is a great time to take portraits in Wisconsin! Plus, if you're ahead of the game and have your kids Halloween costumes ready, here's a chance to snag some fun portraits of them all decked out in costume!
Ready or not, fall is headed our way! Dogs welcome, please message me about pets. A $25 per person charge will be added to parties of more than 5.
I remember the days that Senior Portraits kept me crazy busy this time of year. As Bella Blvd has taken off the ground I find myself scheduling less and less freelance photo shoots....but I also find myself really missing them. So when Leslie contacted me about Connor's senior pictures I was thrilled. I'm no professional, but I do offer less expensive options and quality photographs for people. Photography can been very costly. (Trust me, I learned this first hand with my wedding), and while I respect every ounce of preparation and post-shoot work that goes into the photography business, I know some people have a hard time justifying it. That's where I come in.
Lately I've been inspired to photograph more, and so I'm going to host a either a weekend or day-long event full of mini sessions for people wanting some updated family/friends portraits. I'll post all about it here when I have the date set. I've done this recently in the past around the Christmas/Holiday season and filled up spaces in no-time...so don't hesitate if you're interested. More details to come soon.
Back to Connor: he'll be enlisting in the National Guard after graduation. How cool is that?! He's a great kid and I know he'll be a perfect fit in the National Guard.
Hope you're having a great week. Watch soon for details on discounted family photo shoots sometime in October---the perfect time for fall photos in Wisconsin!
So...the title above still works because my name isn't officially changed yet :) It's such a process that's for sure...a couple more weeks and I'll be Stephanie Smokovich :)
Since Graphic Design is kinda my thing ;) it was important to me that the photographer caught a portfolio style shot of all my printed materials from the wedding. I kept snippets of everything and handed it off to Carl. After the wedding he took this shot inside the studio of all the stationery! I totally love how it turned out. It just makes me so happy :)
We got a lot of compliments on the church/ceremony programs that I designed with these graduated pages. The programs were displayed in the narthex of church inside old sewing machine drawers.
The covers of the programs were a small variety of Bella Blvd patterns (from my Lovey Dovey and Love & Marriage collections) and also one Heidi Swapp floral pattern. But all the pages inside were identical...just mix and matchy covers for more color.
Inside the bulletins guests had an opportunity to read a couple short sentences about each of "The Ladies" and "The Gentlemen" that Steven and I wrote. Some were funny, others straight forward about memories we have and how we knew each of our attendants. Here's digital file of those two pages in case you're interested in reading. Click on the image to enlarge.
Wedding Wednesday is officially coming to a close. I can't wait to share some honeymoon photos with you soon...I don't think I have enough time in my life to edit them all :) so you might get the raw version :) Hope you're having a wonderful Wednesday, wherever you are today !
The Knipples have been friends of ours for quite some time...and Kyle will be a groomsman in our wedding next May. When I first started dating Steven, he and Kyle were roommates....and now, Kyle & Ashley have an adorable family of four.
Two little boys, adorable little guys with beautiful blue eyes too :)
Taking these photos really made me think about how our lives change when children come into the scene. Part of life and part of growing up is change. I completely understand that. And yet, it's almost nerve-racking....the fact of how often Steven and I are getting asked recently "Are you going to have kids right away after you get married?" And while I understand that people are curious, the truth is: let's get married first! It's been six years in the making (dating) and is something I am really looking forward to---our wedding, & actually saying the words "my husband".
But the sad reality is.....people, my own family included....are so quick to move onto, "when are you going to have kids?????????" I feel like it's not fair because if I say NO then I'm being selfish or I'm a bad person, but if I say YES then it's so quick and life will change tremendously in a blink of an eye. Does any of this make sense? No one writes a book on time lines--there's a bigger plan.
There's no doubt in my mind that Steven and I will have kids. I want kids. I want a family. I feel it's one of my responsibilities in life; A blessing from God to have and raise a family. I look at Kyle and Ashley and admire what they have. They are great parents! I also see & know the happiness, first-hand, watching my sister with her children. They bring us all so much joy!
I don't know if I'll ever truly "be ready" (whatever that means). But for now, it's honestly not on my radar----the wedding, our relationship and Bella Blvd is in the foreground. But I know that I don't want to blink and miss the chance to be a mommy---so I've promised myself that I won't let life pass me by. I won't wake up too late to motherhood. But, right now, I'm just not there yet. In the meantime, I love being an observer, the auntie, the friend, a babysitter, and the photographer! So, in the nicest, gentlest possible voice I am saying, please stop asking.
Someday the time will come and I'll be sure to let you know :)
Thanks for listening. (Any motherly advice you have to offer is welcome---please feel free to comment below and let me know).
She's almost two months old now, but I had the pleasure to take Baby Alayna's newborn pictures just after she was born. This was honestly my first time with a new, newborn. Weighing only 6 pounds she is a teeny tiny one. These are some of my favorites.
Thankfully she slept for the majority of the time. Posing her was tricky but Allyson and I read-up some tips online and did the best we could.
Isn't she adorable?
And while I'm not old by any means, the truth is things have changed since I was 13.
Cell Phones. School. Instagram. Boyfriends. Basketball. Acronyms that idk wth they mean! lol.
Nonetheless, until I have children of my own I will attempt to learn about what's cool and what's not simply through this beautiful young lady! Until recently you couldn't call her beautiful or she'd freak out; Still a tomboy in many ways, she is officially a teeny-bopper obsessed with chatting with her friends, talking to boys,
going to the high school basketball games to cheer on the teams, etc. etc. etc. She's a busy bee these days playing on more than one select basketball team and helping her mom out with her younger brother and sister.
I recently got to spend the weekend in the Dells with her. We had a great time, just the two of us hanging out, shopping at the outlet mall, taking these pictures and just chillin' in the hotel room.
What will come next, I have no idea. But I love her to pieces. Can't wait for the next thirteen.
It's official. I've selected our photographer for the wedding:
I've followed Front Room Photography since my college days at Cardinal Stritch. Working for them as an apprentice or shadowing them onsite was a highly coveted internships by the Photography majors. Ever since then I've followed the FR blog, watched them on Facebook and more.
I had my heart set on FR for so many reasons, but mostly because I love their artistic style. The Bayview Studio is super inspiring too. I love the cream city brick, urbanized show room and I fell in love with Carl when my sister and I sat down with him a couple weeks ago! I'm thrilled to have this decision under my belt.
Plus, guess what?! On Front Room's "menu" of "extras" is a Photo Studio option. I'm thinking we are going to purchase the 3-hour Photo Studio extra with the surprise gift given to us by the Bella Blvd Design Team girls!
This is a sample of their Photo Studio extra. With great lighting and a simple backdrop Steven and I can provide fun props and have guests photos printed out on-site at the wedding....plus I get them on a DVD later too! So cool!
With a career & business that has a very demanding (& revolving) task list-including creating & designing new products, marketing materials and visual "happiness," it's important that I am able to keep myself truckin' along. As a result, welcome to the third edition of "What makes me tick Tuesdays" where I share glimpses into what keeps me sane and brings me happiness.
Baby Mio. My Pups.
If you know me, you KNOW I am a sucker for this little face.
Even on the saddest or worst of all days this "little guy" gives me kisses, snuggles right next to me and is my favorite little rascal. I love his white-dipped paws and how he always sits with his rump off to the side.
He's incredibly spoiled, which I take 100% credit for, and little is like a child. Again, my baby. With no children yet of my own, he is it. He sleeps with me and comes to work with me everyday. He's like the puppy all little kids wish for--the one that follows you wherever you go no matter what you're doing. He's a great little watch dog too...and only barks at strangers pretty much.
I seriously think I could have 5 little doggies and be perfectly content. (While I know that's most likely not what's in store for me, I'm just sayin....)
Are you an animal lover too?!
St. Patty's Confession No. 1: I am not a beer drinker.
Never have been, never will be. It's very bubbly and makes me feel full...which I do not like. So on days like St.
St. Patty's Confession No. 2: I (almost) hate the color green.
Hate is a very strong word, so I prefer not to use it. But seriously if one could hate a color---for me it's green. You won't find nearly a single piece of green clothing in my closet. None. I know it's weird. It's nothing I've pre-meditated or planned, but rather just happened.
St. Patty's Confession No. 3: I don't have a lick of Irish in me. Sono Italiana. ;)
So on days like St. Patty's Day, what does a girl like me have going on? Family, BBQ & NCAA basketball. I invited the kiddos to sleepover on March 17th and we picked up baby Lauren for a couple hours too. Who could have guessed she would be all dolled up and super cute in green?!
Being the proud Godmother & Auntie that I am I couldn't resist some fun St. Patty's Day photos.
At 11 months she's got two little chick-let teeth on her bottom gum line and one big-honker breaking through up top.
Happy belated St. Patty's Day everyone! Hope you've recovered by now ;)
Ciao! Ciao! I'm Stephanie, also known as Bella! I'm the designer and owner of Bella Blvd, a fabulous scrapbooking company located in the sweet little town of Wauwatosa, Wisconsin. For as long as I can remember I've loved drawing, crafting and creating handmade gifts and cards.