By: Shanna | January 12, 2018

Congratulations to the new Mr. & Mrs. John Goins

Soo, I had the honor of photographing Beth & John's wedding back in October. Beth was a friend of mine from back in high school at BCHS. We had lost contact over the years, so I was thrilled when she reached out to me about photographing her wedding! Well, Yes! Of course I will! ♥ I was even more thrilled when I found out that it was at the Jeptha Creed Distillery - how awesome is that?! Weddings are one of my favorite things to photograph and I wanted to make sure I did an awesome job for her. I asked one of my best friends, Brittany, to go along with me to Louisville as my second shooter. She was a tad nervous, but you guys - she did AMAZING. I'll let you decide if you can figure out who took which photos ;) She's seriously going to now be my second-shooter for life. ♥ lol.

 
 

We began our day by traveling to their house in Louisville to capture the groom + his groomsmen. They were running a little behind, so we captured some 'getting ready' moments with them and played with their precious pups while we waited. Once everyone was ready, we headed to a little spot in their housing complex that had this adorable little bridge in it. It was perfect for their photos! Of course, they may have added in a little sip of their favorite drinks to celebrate. ;)


P.S. Check out those awesome socks in the slideshow below, guys! 


After we got done at the guys, we hightailed it to Beth's friend's (beautiful) house where all the girls were getting ready! They had all got their hair done, and Beth was getting her makeup done by her awesome make-up artist! He did an awesome job! They all looked A-MA-ZING. While she got her make-up done, we went around and took some fun lifestyle photo of her bridesmaids + bridesmate as well as some gorgeous pictures of her dress + jewelry. (aka, one of my favorite parts!) 

 
 

Once Beth was finished with her makeup - everyone helped get her into her wedding dress since her mom had to leave to get back to the venue and finish setting everything up. [Brittany was able to capture her mom retying the back her dress after we got to the venue! SO sweet!] It was a little chaotic and we didn't get to do everything we wanted to do, but that's just part of a typical wedding day. It happens! You just have to go with the flow! You'll absolutely laugh about it later - I did! ♥

 
 

Brittany + I tried to rush back to the distillery so that we could get some venue and decor pictures in before they got there. They had planned to do a first look and then a private ceremony with her Dad officiating before the public ceremony, but due to the time crunch - we weren't able to make that happen. Whenever Beth + her group got to the venue, many guests were starting to arrive and she didn't want them to see her just yet, so we decided to do the first looks inside the bar area. We did a first look with her parents first before we opened up the huge barn door and revealed her sweet soon-to-be husband. It turned out really well and it was so precious to see the excitement and love between all of them. 

 
 

aren't these handmade center pieces gorgeous!??

 
 

Afterwards, we wanted to try to get a few wedding party portraits in before the ceremony started as we knew that we wouldn't have a lot of daylight time after the ceremony. We went in the back room and closed the huge barn door so that we could use it for a background while we waited for the ceremony to start.♥ 

 
 

The Ceremony ♥

Their ceremony was GORGEOUS. Beth had decided not to do your traditional bouquet of flowers, but something extra special. She had several "special" guests that were to be there - each had an extra special relationship to her and they were seated in specific spots along the aisle. Each of the bridesmaids/mate would present a couple of the guests with a small bouquet of flowers as they came down the aisle. Then, whenever her dad lead Beth down to meet her husband, she would stop at each guest for a beautiful moment between them and to pick up the flowers they were holding. At the end, her mother helped tie them all together to form her wedding bouquet. The whole thing was extremely moving and beautiful to watch. ♥ This was an amazing idea to honor those special people in her life. I absolutely LOVED capturing it although I kept getting lost in watching! Their officiant was a close family friend that had traveled from South Africa (correct me if I'm wrong..) to join Beth + John together as husband and wife. I know that having him there to do it meant the entire world to them and it definitely showed. He did an amazing job and I'm sure there were very few dry eyes in the crowd. ♥♥

 
 
 
 

After the ceremony, we decided to try our best to get some pictures of the bride + groom plus their families and the wedding party inside the distillery and a few outside with the sunset. I think we were a little worried about light, but they still turned out GORGEOUS. But, it isn't hard when everyone is beautiful! With the ceremony over, everyone let loose and had a great time even if pictures isn't their favorite thing to do. We even got some pictures of this gorgeous bride by herself since we weren't able to earlier that day! ♥

 
 
 
 

Once the pictures were over, it was time to eat + party the rest of the evening away! Beth + John had hired an AWESOME band that kept everyone on the dance floor all night long! We did our best to capture all the fun everyone was having! It was hard keeping the camera up and not wanting to lay it down and dance the night away with them! You could tell everyone was having the BEST time! Which is the best part as the memories are what matters most. ♥

 
 
 
 
 
 

Congratulations again + thank you both for allowing us to be a part of your beautiful day! 

Category: Wedding 

Tags: lifestyle, wedding, love, couples, fall 

By: Shanna | July 11, 2017

 
 

So... my sweet aunt got married back in May....

....and I gained a new uncle & new cousins during 

their gorgeous wedding at the awesome Gibraltar hotel in Paris, Texas. 

Mr. & Mrs. Hornaday

I was super honored to be asked to be my mom's little sister's wedding photographer for them. I was going to be traveling to Paris, Texas for their wedding (and to visit everyone as that's where I'm from) anyways, so why not photograph it as well? I'm just thankful they trusted me enough. ♥


The wedding was held on the first floor of the old Gibraltar hotel in downtown Paris. Let me tell you something about this hotel - it was built in the early 1900's and I've been fascinated with it since I was a young child. (like we're talking elementary school - serious.) It's been abandoned, locked up, and unused for decades. It was once a big part of my hometown's history, but is now showing the many signs of decay. I seriously use to dream about opening it up as a hotel again with the ugly red carpet and bellhops simply because I LOVE stuff like that. Well, obviously, I never got around to it, haha. 


 (Don't ask me why I'm fascinated with old hotels like that. I can't honestly explain it.)  


So, I'm sure you can imagine my excitement to FINALLY get to set foot in this old hotel that I had only dreamed about for many years. The owners started opening it up for various Paris events several years ago, but where I only get to visit once or twice a year since we moved to Kentucky, I've never got to go! I was SO excited about it! Now, add on some gorgeous, rustic decor that is right up my alley = and you have my dream location. I was in LOVE. 

 
The Gibraltar Hotel
 
The Old Elevator
 
Hotel Lobby
 
Looking up to the Second Floor
 
Bar / Reception Area

My aunt's friend, Lovie, has a passion for refurbishing and she brought this old hotel to life with everything I could only dream of owning. All the rustic, colorful decor was EXACTLY what I dream of having in my own house, although my husband would never allow it. I basically walked into my own dream. 

    (she's basically what I want to be when I grow up, haha. that is, on the refurbishing side of my passions.) 


If you know me, you know how much I love COLOR. It was literally perfect.  

 
 
 

Their wedding was short, sweet, and to the point. They served a delicious meal afterwords and then I got to visit with a TON of my family that I usually never have time to see. She even invited my best friend of 18 years, Kourtniee, and her husband as well. That meant a lot to me. ♥ Everyone danced and they had an AWESOME band playing. I think everyone really enjoyed themselves and I enjoyed being there! :) 

Getting Ready: 

Amazing Details: 

Ceremony & Reception: 

 
 
 

Congratulations! I love you! 

Category: Wedding 

Tags: lifestyle, wedding, love, couples 

By: Shanna | February 01, 2017

This photo is probably my favorite... especially since it was quite possibly the hardest photo I've ever worked for!

So, have I mentioned that I LOVE this family?


I guess that I should first mention that Lyndsey is my sweet friend/coworker/pageant sidekick. Over the last few years, I've had a lot of fun getting to know her and having her help me in all different aspects of my life! (seriously, she's a life-savor sometimes!) So.. one day, she came to me and asked me to take pictures for her whole family... and ALL of their dogs. 


You know I said 'Yes!' (obviously!)

So, when I showed up.. there were dogs EVERYWHERE. I was pretty excited about this (and maybe a little nervous cause I wanted the pictures to turn out good! I hate disappointing anyone!). It was HILARIOUS trying to get the dogs to sit and look at me, as well as get the adults to look at me at the same time. I was having so much fun! and I was pretty pleased later when I found out that they turned out better than I expected!  


We also took some of each little couple with and without their pets, some of each little family, and some family pictures without the dogs. We also had a little fun with some wine and some camo outfits even though it was starting to get dark on us! 


I had SO much fun doing these pictures! I can't wait to do more!! 

By: Shanna | November 30, 2016

 
 
 

A big congratulations to this sweet couple! 

I had the amazing opportunity to photograph this sweet couple's wedding back in October! It was my first wedding so I was a total nervous wreck, but the faith they had in me was so reassuring! It was nice to do something for someone that once did something for me. Carma is a family friend, and six years ago she helped prepare and serve all kinds of good eats to my own wedding guests! Even though I was pretty nervous about doing this; I was also SO excited to finally have an opportunity to advance my photography skills. I had SO much fun doing it and I learned SO much. It was definitely an eye opening experience - but one that I LOVED. I can totally see more wedding photography in my future ;) if the good Lord allows it, that is! 

 
 
 

I wish you both all the happiness in the world on this new journey! :) 

Category: Wedding 

Tags: lifestyle, wedding, love, couples, fall 

By: Shanna | October 18, 2016

I am addicted to cruises. I love cruises. It's just the best vacation for the money. 

You literally cannot beat it.

But this year, my sister-in-law asked us to join her family on vacation for a change. They love Anna Maria Island on the Gulf Coast of Florida and wanted to visit there again. It was our first time going to this particular island so we didn't really know what to expect. It was beautiful (as most gulf beaches are...more on that later) and we had a wonderful time with our family, but I'll probably always be a cruise addict. I could go on and on about why that is, but that's another post for another day. Besides photos and details, I'll try to also share a few of my opinions of this little island just in case you ever want to visit. 

Visiting Gia, Toni, and Tiffany in West Palm :)

We had rented a house on Anna Maria Island for Sunday-Saturday, but me and Jonathan wanted a full week vacation so we decided to start our vacation a little earlier. We left on Friday night after we got off work to drive down to West Palm Beach, Florida to visit some good friends. We stopped halfway down and drove the rest of the trip on Saturday. (P.S. We stopped in Forsyth, Georgia for the night and decided to stay at what looked like a new La Quinta hotel. Little did we know until we were checking in... it had only been open for 16 days! Brand. Spanking. New. If you ever need to stay somewhere outside of Atlanta, go there! lol!)  We met up with Toni and Gia for dinner at a super neat restaurant called Guanabanas on Saturday night... and decided to eat breakfast (at a yummy cafe!) and spend the day visiting them all of them on Sunday before we headed over to Anna Maria that night. We really enjoyed getting to visit with them. They're a lot of fun. We had actually met Gia and her daughter Tiffany on a cruise back in 2013 that we went on with my in-laws. We all became fast friends and actually all planned our 2015 cruise together, except with her daughter Toni instead of Tiffany. We love these guys! (P.S.S. Toni's dog, Turks - the black and white dog, is my new boyfriend ;) lol, and the cute little white puppy was a puppy she had found recently that I fell in love with. She was a sweetie!) 

& then there was Anna Maria

Good Morning

We rented a cute little house in the middle of the Island, complete with a heated pool. If you're going to rent a house, DEFINITELY make sure it has a pool. It was in an awesome location... just a short bike ride to anything: the beach on one side of the island, the pier on the other side of the island, good restaurants, and to all kinds of shopping. We actually ended up renting 3 bikes and got an electric golf cart half-price. That's how to do it. I'm dead serious. The golf carts are street legal on the island and we were able to just drive it anywhere we wanted to go... so we never had to get gas! If you're considering visiting Anna Maria, that's the first 2 tips I'll share with you.


  • Rent a house with a heated pool in the middle of the island. You won't be disappointed. 
  • Rent a golf cart, and bikes, to drive anywhere on the island. I recommend 'Beach Bums' just because that's who we used and we got an excellent deal. We rented two bikes and got the golf cart half-price. We really enjoyed it. :) 

The Lone Fisherman

Of course, we did your basic beach routine... laid on the beach, hung out in our pool, went to eat, went shopping, and took beach pictures. Our first day on the island, we basically went and rented our bikes and golf cart and then packed up to go to the beach. This is where a pro/con comes into play: renting a house gives you certain luxuries such as your own private pool and typical house amenities (feels like home), but you have to pack up everything and drag it to the beach every time you want to go. There are no chairs and umbrellas already waiting for you. This can be a hassle so I wanted to throw that out there. :) 


Tuesday, we packed up and went to the beach again for the day and then while they napped in the afternoon... me and Jonathan went to find the mini-golf place so that I could play a little mini-golf. I lost.. but, I LOVE mini golf. I was a little disappointed that there was only one mini-golf place and it was further on down the island, but at least there was one! I will say this:


    ♥     If you like to have a lot of options of things to do and see, then Anna Maria is probably not the place for you unless you're okay with doing a little more driving to get there. Anna Maria is definitely more for those that plan to go to just sit back and relax instead of being on the go.

Breakfast of Champions

Wednesday, us girls got up to go watch the sunrise while the guys went fishing. We did a little exploring, a little shopping, and a little sunbathing by the pool. They ended up catching us a little dinner that Lesa fixed and it was so good! I'm not even a fish eater so that's big coming from me! :) On Thursday, we headed back to the beach for the day and then went to get some sunset pictures in before we went to dinner. Friday, the guys went fishing again and Jonathan got a huge one! Instead of cooking again, we were able to take it to a restaurant where they cooked it FOR US! We had no idea that there were places that did that... and it was so nice not to have a big mess to clean up. :) Us girls just did our own thing. I did some shopping and laid out by the pool. I just wanted to relax in the sun on my last day there. :) 

We ate at some pretty good restaurants while we were there. I'm NOT a seafood person at all, but I can tell you what my family thinks about each one: 

  • Lobstahs - They had amazing mozzarella sticks, but I heard that the seafood wasn't their favorite. My chicken dish was pretty good though :)
  • Sandbar - My dish wasn't the greatest (but again, I'm not a seafood person), but everyone else LOVED this place. The best part was being able to sit out on the patio and watch the sun set. They even ask each table for your guess at what the exact sunset time will be (has to be down to the SECOND!) and if you guess right, you get a free bottle of champagne! I loved it there, and if we ever go back - I'll just choose something different to eat, lol.
  • Waterfront - This was on the other side of the island by the pier. I LOVED the food. I think we all did, in fact! Me & Lesa loved it so much that we decided to go for dessert.. and oh my, I'm so glad we did! It was so good! 
  • Swordfish Grill - This is where the guy's fishing captain referred us to take the fish to get it cooked. He even gave us free drink tickets. I really enjoyed the atmosphere. It was the only place we went to that had live music playing on the patio... I love those places! I enjoyed my last evening there :)

Also, can I mention... if you're craving some ice cream, head over to Two Scoops and grab some Gator Tracks... because it's delicious! ♥ 


Overall, we had an excellent time with the family. I'm not too happy about fall coming to Kentucky,and I'm really not looking forward to winter. On a happier note, we have already started thinking about a cruise for next year with Gia and the girls! It'll be a good one! :) 

By: Shanna | August 17, 2016

It takes a long time to grow an old friend.

- John Leonard

I learned one lesson growing up: quality over quantity. 


Ever heard the saying, 'I'd rather have one close friend than a million acquaintances'? It's the truth. I've had many different groups of friends, but friends tend to come and go. That's why I appreciate the ones that stay. They mean more to me. They matter more to me. 


I've been extremely blessed with two women who were once just strangers that I now consider to be my 'best friends'. I met my best friend, Kourtniee, in 7th grade. I had been out of my original school district for a couple of years and had finally moved back. We had both became friends with a girl named Krystal and she invited the two of us (we didn't have any classes together so we didn't know each other yet) to her house for a halloween slumber party. Kourtniee & I immediately hit it off. It was like we had known each other our entire lives! Over the next year, we became the best of friends. She moved to another school for a year in 8th grade, but we stayed tight. She would come spend weekends at my house, or her mom would pick me up and we'd jam out to the 'Gap Band' on the drive to her new house in Oklahoma. She moved back for high school and we stayed the best of friends all the way up until I moved to Kentucky the summer before our senior year. We went through all your normal teenage drama - boys, friends, parents - and survived. 


But, could we survive my move? It was tough at first. We had a few disagreements, but we worked everything out. She asked me to be her maid of honor when she got married in 2007, and she served as mine when I got married in 2010. We talk just about every day (in fact, I just texted her back about 5 minutes ago, lol). This year at Halloween, we will celebrate 18 years of friendship. That's a rarity in this world and I treasure it with all my heart. 

Then there is my other best friend, Mallory (pictured). When I moved to Kentucky, I didn't know anybody. Starting my senior year at a new high school with no friends is very scary. I had no idea who to sit with at lunch or who to talk to in between classes. I was basically like a zombie, until a couple of girls decided to bring me into their little world by asking me to come hang out with them one weekend. That weekend was EPIC. They invited a couple of other girls over as well and we were all having a big slumber party. Somehow we ran into Mallory while running around town and they asked her to come as well. She did, and that was how the 'Sexy Six' was born. I was SO blessed to find these girls at such a scary time in my life. They came into my life at the exact time that I needed them. I needed at least one person, but I gained 5! The rest of our senior year was full of sleepovers, movie nights, and eating LOTS of cookie dough. 


The next summer, 'Sexy Six' went on to college (several of us went different ways) and the group just slowly dissipated over the next few years. We all tried so hard to stay close, but sadly found that as life moves on, things change and sometimes good things fall apart so that better things can fall together. 


13 years later and Mallory is still here. Unlike me and Kourtniee, me and Mallory are quite different in many, many different ways. But, it works. We've definitely had some hiccups over the years, but we've overcame the obstacles. There was even a time she REALLY didn't like me (she likes telling that story, but I'll tell you this - I was just trying to help her! When she looks back now, she knows I was right....), but I think over the years she found that I was honestly a 'true' friend to her. I may not see her every day, or even talk to her as often as we'd like, but when we get together - it's like nothing has changed! I so deeply treasure our sillyness and all the laughter we've had over the years. There's never a dull moment with the two of us. 

Good friends are hard to find. Good friends that you can truly trust are even harder to find. I'm not saying I don't have other good friends, because I do. I'm just saying that these two ladies are just the perfect example that quality matters more than quantity. They are my longest and truest friends. They've stuck it out by my side for all these years, even when things got hard, and I know that they'll be there for me anytime I need them. Friendship isn't one sided though. You can't expect to 'grow an old friend' by constantly letting them do all the work or you doing all the work. It's a two way street and both friends have to put the effort into it. They say that if a friendship lasts 7 years, it will last a lifetime. I truly believe that. I don't think either of these girls are going anywhere any time soon. At least, I hope not. :)


My best tip for 'growing an old friend'? 

Do not judge. - Matthew 7:1


Always remember that everyone is fighting a different battle and even though you may not understand the battle they are fighting, you can always lend an ear to listen. It may just help you grow your own 'old friend.' :) 

By: Shanna | July 27, 2016

I love spending time with my sweet little sister :)

My family came to visit us last week! 

My dad, my 13 year old little sister, my stepmom, and my 4 month old nephew decided to come up to spend a few days in Kentucky this past week. I only get to see them once or twice a year (it's hard to get off work to get down to Texas as often as I'd like to), so I was MEGA excited that they were coming! I LOVE my family and I LOVE visitors!


They got here Wednesday night and they were worn out from the driving. It had taken them longer to get here since they decided to bring their new camper with them. (The camper = amazing, believe me!) So, we decided to lay low on Thursday. We had a little lunch, grabbed some ice cream at the Dairy Dip, and us girls went and got pedicures. Thursday night we all went to Pioneer Playhouse to watch a play. It was a good show. :)


They had been wanting to go visit the new Ark in Northern Kentucky, so Jonathan took off Friday so we could all go together. It was HUGE. 

The 'Ark'

If you are interested in going, you definitely should. Being a Christian, I've heard the story of Noah and the Ark my entire life. It was awesome to get an idea of just how large it was and how it may have worked. Obviously, we were not there so we will never know the exact details... but seeing it helped bring the story to life. I will say, beware of all the walking and the reading. Over the course of three floors, there are a LOT of signs to read. There are a few movies and interactive displays, but not many. It would be a wonderful experience to share with children, but I wouldn't be surprised if they got bored quickly. There isn't a lot for kids, especially toddlers.. so beware of that fact. Otherwise, it's AWESOME! 


It's not completely finished, but it's coming along great. There is a restaurant and a small zoo outside the ark. You can ride camels or donkeys for an additional fee. The zoo has kangaroos, zebras, yaks, and a few other animals in it. The petting zoo mainly had goats, but there was a miniature pony and a donkey in there as well. We really enjoyed the experience, but there are a few changes that they could make to it that would definitely make it better for everyone.


My family had also really been wanting to go to Gatlinburg, so that's exactly what we did on Saturday! Once we got to Pigeon Forge and got the camper set up, we rode down to the Gatlinburg strip to eat dinner and do a little shopping. Sunday, we all got up and went to Dollywood! It was a steamy day, but the water rides helped cool us off. We watched a couple of awesome shows and rode some fun rides, but I was super sad that it was our last day with my family (Jonathan had to work on Monday so we had to come back home, but my Dad was not leaving Gatlinburg until later in the week - actually, I think they left today lol). If we had thought to drive two cars, I definitely would of stayed. When we got back to the camper, we planned to leave but my dad stalled us a little (I was glad!) and made us eat hot dogs and smores with them. I didn't complain, even though it did make it hard to drive home. :) 


I miss them already and I wish they could just stay longer. I had such a good time spending time with them! 

Category: The True Life 

Tags: family, lifestyle