Law School Summer Wrap Up! (& July Favorites)

I can’t believe it, I have officially completed my first law school course! My last class was on Thursday then I had a four day weekend filled with studying (and a little time enjoying the warm weather and sunshine too).  I take my final later today (so I guess at that point it becomes officially official). However, due to the nature of grading law school exams I won’t know my score (which constitutes my entire class grade) until the last week of August. Luckily I’ll be busy exploring Munich and hiking in Switzerland so hopefully the wait won’t bother me too much. Just to catch everyone up, my school offered the option to take a single law course during the summer prior to 1L fall semester. I hopped on the opportunity to lighten my fall class load and get a head start learning how to manage law school. Everyone told me law school is so much different than undergrad which terrified me, so I wanted as much of an advantage as I could get. I definitely do not regret taking criminal law over the summer. I feel like I have a bit of a head start for the fall as I already know how to read a case/casebrief, outline for a court and prep for an exam. I’m 1000% sure I still have a whole new world to learn about but it quells my anxiety to know I took advantage of the early start opportunity. Perhaps the best part was getting the chance to meet a few of my classmates! Now that I have a few friends, whom I am lucky enough to share my fall classes with as well, it is easier to envision myself powering through the next three years. I think friends to study with is a necessity and I am sure I will want people to talk about law school with non stop when everyone else in my life is gets sick of hearing about it.

Jordan was so supportive over the weekend he let me explain case after case to him and even asked thoughtful questions on legal concepts so I could help cement the holdings into my memory. I know I learn SO much more efficiently when I can teach a concept to someone else so his patience listening really was better than if he left me alone to study by myself. I didn’t want to miss the beautiful weather on Saturday completely so I took a set of flash cards with me to a botanical garden and Jordan quizzed me on the trails.

That’s my current update on law school pretty people! I have a two week break before I start full time for the fall. I am planning on squeezing as much time as I can outside, adventuring in the sunshine before I am locked in a library all day for 9 months.  I just know August is going to fly by, but first I want to share a few of my favorites from the month of July.

A much needed evening by the pool with my friend, Nicole.

July Favorites

Read: Out of Orange

Fans of Orange is the New Black, Out of Orange is a MUST READ! Cleary Wolters (who inspired the character Alex Vause in the Netflix show) shares her true story from the moment she first agreed to smuggle drugs into the United States to her time in prison (substantially longer than Piper’s one year sentence) to her release and the aftermath. I didn’t have much time to read this month but could NOT put this memoir down. I became interested in the criminal justice system in the U.S. when I started OITNB on Netflix a year or so back and loved that this book helped me to think about the issues I was learning about in my criminal law class in the context of Cleary’s story. If you haven’t already, read Orange Is the New Black first, then follow it up with Out of Orange.

Eat: Cafe Lago AND Cafe Turko

Normally I am really boring when it comes to eating out. I know what I like so I go to the same restaurant and order the same menu items over and over again. This month we ended up eating out a LOT and consequently tried a handful of new restaurants. Cafe Lago and Cafe Turko coincidentally have similar sounding names and are both sure to be added to my rotation of favorites.

Cafe Lago, a quaint Italian restaurant in the Montlake neighborhood must be a local treasure. The atmosphere is charming and laid back but the most important factor was the food! Jordan and I split a caprese salad to start, though you can never go wrong with mozzarella and tomatoes in my opinion I swear it the tomatoes were perfectly juicy and oh so delicious. The star of the evening was hands down, no questions asked, my entree! I ordered a basic cheese lasagna and I have been thinking about it ever since. The pasta was light and fluffy and every bite of lasagna melted in my mouth. Cafe Lago is my new favorite Italian restaurant; I am already dying to go back.

After one of my favorite history professors recommended Cafe Turko in Undergrad I told myself I wanted to try it but forgot all about it for a solid three years. On a whim one evening, Jordan and I wandered in for a casual summer date night. The outdoor seating with a  view of the city skyline and Lake Union could have made the worst food palatable but luckily Cafe Turko was delicious! I don’t have much experience with Turkish food but the dolmas and Beyti with eggplant were delectable. I can’t speak from experience but the Yelp reviews claim the restaurant is very authentic. Jordan and I were so pleased that we took my uncle and his mother back to Cafe Turko the next week. I guess the three year wait was worth it! (;

Brunching in Portland.

Pierre is always excited to size up the hotel bed and see how it measures up. I can’t blame him!

Getaway: Portland

Jordan and I made a quick weekend trip to Portland mid month to celebrate his best friend’s birthday. On the car ride up we jammed out to 90s rap music, planned what we would do with our lottery winnings and stopped roughly every hour for refills of our iced coffees (it’s a summer staple right?). We brought Pierre along so we stayed at the dog friendly, Hotel Monaco. The whole true was super laid back (lots of eating, visiting street fairs, window shopping, etc) but it was a really wonderful time.

Riding a Limebike through Gas Works Park.

Do: Limebike

Last Saturday I needed  a study break badly (I was really getting grouchy) when Jordan suggested we try out Limebike, a bike rental app that had launched in Seattle that very day. I had noticed lime green and yellow bicycles parked all around the city for a few days so I was curious to see how the system worked. I downloaded the Limebike app which displayed a map of all the bikes in my area. There were dozens within walking distance of my apartment so it was easy to find a bike. With the app I just scanned the individual QVC code, which unlocked the bike and started my ride. Over the weekend rides were free, but normally you can rent for $1 per 30 minutes. Biking makes such a great date night or summer activity with friends and at just $2 an hour it is a really affordable way to get a little exercise, jot from place to place or relax in the sun. I really liked that the app tracked how long our rides were and

Shop: My #NSALE Purchases

Though there are only a few days left of the Nordstrom Anniversary sale I thought I would share my purchases. There are always a lot of great pieces on sale for fall, and though I hate thinking that summer will ever end my love for shopping won over. I picked up a black, ribbed choker bodysuit that looks great with a high waisted skirt or with jeans & heels for a night out. I cannot resist mini skirts and this suede option in burgundy NEEDED to be in my closet for fall. I was practical and ordered a few new colors of my favorite Natori bra (it is the ONLY bra I wear). For my trip to Switzerland I will be hiking for a few days, I picked up this Zella strappy tank in pink so I can sweat in style. My favorite sale purchase of the year was probably these high waisted Rag & Bone jeans. Admittedly it will be too warm to wear jeans comfortably for awhile but I know these cute, dark wash jeans will be a staple in my closet throughout the fall winter, and spring.

 

Now I am off to take my first law school exam, crossing my fingers and hoping all of my studying paid off. I hope your week is off to a great start!

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What I used to Study for the LSAT

It’s been roughly 7 months since I gathered around a hundred or so other law school hopefuls to pour my brain into the Law School Admission Test (LSAT). Unlike many of the other graduate level admissions tests out there, the LSAT is still taken entirely on paper (as opposed to on a computer) and is only offered a handful of times every year (instead of the GRE which you can practically waltz into a testing center and take at your convenience provided you have an appointment).

About the LSAT

For all official information regarding the LSAT you can reference the LSAC website. Prior to registering for the LSAT you will need to create an account with LSAC. You will also use your LSAC account to apply to law schools and send your LSAT score later on. The LSAT is given four times a year in September/October, December, February and June.

What Costs are associated with the LSAT?

At the bare minimum you will need to pay to take the LSAT ($180) and pay for the Credential Assembly Service ($185). Many students will choose to take the LSAT more than once and sending your LSAT scores to potential law schools is $35 a pop. Law school is expensive so it seems fitting that the LSAT for law school entrance starts by prepping students to spend inordinate gobs of money on what seems like made up services (ha!). Fee waivers are available and can cut down on LSAT related costs substantially so it is worth applying if you think you may qualify.

Study materials for the LSAT can also add up quickly. LSAT workbooks come from a variety of test prep companies and start at roughly $20. LSAT courses can be purchased online (usually at a bit of a discount) or in person. Class prices differ but it is average for a class to cost anywhere from $1000-$1500. Many students find an LSAT prep course helpful as it holds them accountable and provides a study plan and a teacher to answer any of your questions.

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What did you use to Study for the LSAT?

Thinking LSAT Podcast

Listen here or subscribe on iTunes

Nathan & Ben, two LSAT teachers host a biweekly podcast all about studying for the LSAT and applying for law school. When I first started studying for the LSAT I had no idea where to begin. I didn’t have any close friends or family members who had gone to law school or who were studying for the LSAT at the same time as me. I think I googled “podcasts about LSAT” and was happy to discovered “Thinking LSAT”. During most episodes Ben & Nathan discuss common LSAT questions (sent in from listeners), LSAT news (yeah, that’s really a thing), the law school application process and general LSAT study tips. Towards the end of each episode they go in depth working through one LSAT practice question. As an added bonus Nathan and Ben broke down which LSAT courses not to take, which companies are reputable. I chose Blueprint because of their recommendation and threw out the Kaplan book I bought initially as they both had a lot of issues with the Kaplan curriculum and the way Kaplan teaches the LSAT.

This podcast was my Bible for three months, I swear. I listened at work, in the car, at the gym, etc. The Thinking LSAT podcast broke down the test taking process including the day of rules/schedule/etc. I didn’t realize how much it would help me to familiarize myself with test taking procedures until I noticed other test takers getting psyched out and reprimanded for breaking silly rules (like bringing a water bottle that was too big to the testing center) while I was cool and relaxed. I highly, highly recommend the Thinking LSAT podcast for anyone getting ready to take the test.

A Cadre of Experts: An LSAT Novel

Find A Cadre of Experts: An LSAT Novel on Amazon or Audible.

While I was studying for the LSAT I was working at a job that allowed me to listen to podcasts/audiobooks/music/whatever all day long. I made the most of my time at work by listening to podcasts (like the one mentioned above) and books throughout the day. I bought A Cadre of Experts on Audible prior to any studying as an introduction to the LSAT. I really wasn’t sure what to expect but I was pleasantly surprised. The book, in novel format, tells the fictional story of Alexandra as she begins studying for the LSAT until she takes the test and applies for law school. The story is a little cheesy but much more interesting than just reading a list of LSAT study tips. I thought it was entertaining to learn about study tips through a story. I found I recalled the study tips more accurately because I thought of the tips in terms of the story.

As I mentioned previously I didn’t know much about the LSAT or law school admissions prior to studying so A Cadre of Experts helped me understand all the basics while providing valuable information and study tips. I listened to the book once before I studied at all and a second time after I’d been studying for a month or two. This book was helpful but definitely not a “must read”. If you’re like me and had a lot of time to “listen” but not necessarily “read” I think this book is a great addition to a study plan. If you are choosing between actual study time with practice problems and reading A Cadre of Experts definitely go with the practice exams. All of the LSAT novels out there are no substitute for real practice!

Blueprint Class

I enrolled in the Blueprint live LSAT prep course. The course met 3-4 times a week for 2.5 months leading up to the December LSAT. Each class session was long (4 hours) and in between classes there was online homework assigned. The course content was helpful, no doubt about that, but all class materials were available online and in the workbooks. Since lessons were available online and I didn’t have many questions for the instructor I personally felt I should have saved a few hundred dollars and taken the online Blueprint course instead of the in person Blueprint course (especially since my brain was dead during the last hour of class, 9:00-10:00 PM). If you are pretty good at learning material on your own (or have successfully taken online courses before) I recommend considering the online version of the course as a way to save a little money, you’ll need it for law school (;

Overall I thought the course was incredibly helpful. Blueprint had entertaining online videos to break down concepts as well as specific questions. There were practice questions, quizzes and even games to encourage students to study for the LSAT. I thought the online videos were really helpful for explaining concepts I didn’t understand and I used the online practice questions constantly (all questions are real questions from past LSAT exams).

Nathan Fox Logic Games Playbook

The Logic Games section of the LSAT was the most confusing to me right off the bat. I also knew that the games section was the easiest to improve on from listening to the Thinking LSAT podcast. Nathan Fox, one of the Thinking LSAT Podcast hosts has a series of books for helping prepare for the LSAT. I believe he uses the books for his classes but you can also buy the books individually on Amazon. I used the The Fox LSAT Logic Games Playbook and tried to order the The Fox LSAT Logical Reasoning Encyclopedia: Disrespecting the LSAT but accidentally ordered another copy of The Logic Games book #FAIL. I found Nathan’s book really helpful as he broke down real LSAT logic games step by step providing thorough explanations on how to get to every correct answer. This book really helped me to noticeably improve at the logic games.

I haven’t used any of Nathan Fox’s other books but I assume they are all equally fabulous. They can be found on Amazon as well:

Official Practice Tests

All LSAT students want to use official practice tests to study. If nothing else I suggest you pick up a book of 10 practice tests which can be purchases from LSAC or on Amazon. Most experts recommend using the more recent tests before using the older tests. Here are a few of the test booklets:

 

*Other Resources*

The following resources don’t necessarily have to do with the LSAT but are good resources if you are thinking about law school.

 

Are there services you wish you had used or would recommend that you did not use?

Of course the most well informed advice comes from materials I have actually used and courses I actually purchased, that being said I have heard really good things about the following courses/books:

Nathan Fox’s Prep Course: Online or In Person in Los Angeles & the Bay Area

I used one of Nathan’s books (The Logic Games Playbook) and listened to the Thinking LSAT Podcast. I definitely wish I would have known about his online course options beforehand.

Ben Olsen’s Strategy Prep Course: Online or In Person in Washington D.C.

I listened to Ben on the Thinking LSAT Podcast and can definitely vouch that he knows his material!


I am currently in the process of studying for my first law exam so it honestly feels weird to reflect on the LSAT. I started studying at the end of August last year and took the December LSAT a couple months later. Leaving the test room felt like such a big accomplishment! Though I have taken loads of standardized tests in my academic career the LSAT felt different, more serious, like so much was at steak. If you have taken the LSAT I would love to read about what you used to study. If you’re currently studying for the LSAT, good luck! At times the LSAT can make you feel defeated but your persistence will pay off!

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What to Wear while you Sweat

I don’t often discuss athleisure or workout fashion on the blog, but for the past six or so years I’ve been a die hard Lululemon fan. I seriously have two full drawers of workout clothes 95% of which originate from the company made famous for it’s ultra flattering yoga pants. I realized my workout clothes could use a bit of an update in the spring when I donated or tossed shorts that had shrunk in the washing machine over time, pilled leggings and tops that had been sweat in and worn down for years. I assumed I would eventually replace the pieces I parted with, with more Lululemon Speed Shorts, Wunder Unders and tank tops as soon as necessity dictated. With my upcoming hiking trip in Switzerland I figured it was the perfect time to pick up a few new workout pieces. I planned to get a few fresh pieces for my trip to Europe and naturally, I could replenish my supply of gym clothes in the process.

When I hit up my local Lululemon stores (there are two in Seattle) I was annoyed and disappointed. All of the cute tops (like this one) and the colors I liked and had seen online were sold out in my size. While I definitely could have found shorts and tanks to “make do” I didn’t want to drop a few hundred dollars on workout clothes I wasn’t even excited about. I decided to expand my horizons beyond the walls of Lululemon (an act my former Lulu obsessed self wouldn’t have even believed I would do!). I ended up ordering a few pieces from the Free People workout line as well as from Nordstrom’s in house activewear line, Zella.

Though I didn’t purchase all of  the pieces features in today’s post, all pieces can be found at Nordstrom (a few of which are part of  NSale).

1.Adidas Athleisure Dress: Love the idea of throwing on this dress for class with a pair of sneakers for a day spent studying and running errands.

2. Zella Strappy Tank: This tank is part of the NSale and comes in both pink and black.

3. Mesh Cutout Workout Top: This top feels so edgy and fashion forward meaning you’ll be getting compliments left and right at yoga class.

4. Free People Movement Canyon Tank: I couldn’t resist the strappy back on this Free People tank top.

5. Ivy Park Logo Shorts: Every girl needs a pair of black shorts in her workout repertoire and the Ivy Park logo makes this pair extra fun.

6. Free People Movement Leggings: These leggings have quite a few details without feeling busy. I can’t wait to wear them with #9!

7. Zella Lace Up Leggings: The lace up detail on the side is both functional (to keep you cool) and stylish.

8. Ivy Park Sports Bra: With a sports bra this cute you’ll want it to peek out if your top at the gym!

9. Free People No Sweat Tank: While the front of this tank is cute, the back really steals the show.

10. Ivy Park Sleeveless Sweatshirt: This sleeveless sweatshirt is perfect for throwing on for a morning workout where you start off cool but warm up quickly!

11. Zella Wrap Top: Pair with your favorite sports bra and head to a casual brunch after a sweaty workout.

12. Ivy Park Logo Leggings: I’ve read these leggings are ultra soft making them perfect for a hike or throwing on for coffee & a walk with a girlfriend.

I don’t plan on abandoning Lululemon forever but there’s certainly no harm in diversifying my workout wardrobe. Now that I have a handful of cute, new pieces for hiking in Switzerland my trip feels SO real. I can’t wait for the adventure! Where do you find your favorite workout clothes?

 

*This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase I may receive a slight commission. All brands and pieces featured are nonetheless pieces I would buy (or have bought) for myself. Thanks for supporting The Fairy Princess Diaries!

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A Guide to Choosing a Photographer you’ll LOVE for Couple Photos

Coordinating photo shoots has been one of my favorite hobbies for years. It all started in high school when I began trading babysitting my neighbor’s daughter for photo shoots with my friends (having a photographer as a next door neighbor definitely had its perks!). I loved having professional photos so much that I did a little modeling and even dated a photographer for a couple of years (we broke up which was for the best). Though I don’t prioritize reaching out to photographers and coordinating concepts the way I used to I think 10 years of working with dozens of photographers has taught me about how to choose a compatible photographer and furthermore, how to communicate my own vision.

Jordan and I were out at dinner with another couple last weekend and the subject of their engagement photos came up. They were both a little intimidated by the process of choosing a photographer and weren’t sure what to expect. Since Jordan has agreed to participate in yearly photos with me (see last year’s photos here and here) he has a few sets of professional photos under his belt as well. We both excitedly shared our advice about choosing a photographer and I realized it could be useful information for you guys too. Honestly most of the advice works for choosing a photographer for any occasion (not just couple photos) but a bit of this post is tailored towards couples photos specifically (feel free to gloss over those portions if you’re looking for headshot, senior portraits, etc), I think the post is still applicable!

All of the photos in this post were taken by Aleigh Michelle.

What to look for when choosing a photographer:

Aesthetic

This first feature is pretty self explanatory and perhaps a bit obvious but important nonetheless. Check out social media to discover photographers in your area. Most photographers at least have an Instagram page nowadays, which can be a great way to find their most current work (not everyone updates their websites frequently). A photographer’s body of work will showcase his or her style and whether or not that style appears to be consistent. If a photographer has a few photos you like but many that don’t meet the quality or taste level you prefer it is a good indication that the photographer isn’t consistent. Find a photographer who you can be sure will deliver the style and quality you expect (many websites offer testimonials which can be a useful tool too).

Experience

I am all for working with photographers of all experience levels, that being said you want to find a photographer who will make you and your partner comfortable in front of the camera. The best photographers know how to make their clients feel at ease no matter how much time the client has spent in front of the camera-maybe that means giving verbal encouragement throughout the shoot, maybe it means meeting for coffee for 15 minutes before shooting to chat and help everyone relax, whatever works.

This is not a post about wedding photographers necessarily but as many couples first get photos together to commemorate their engagement it is important to note that experience shooting couples and experience shooting weddings is a different game entirely! A photographer may feel comfortable grabbing intimate (albeit staged) moments between you and your significant other but have trouble grabbing aesthetically pleasing spontaneous moments amongst the chaos of a busy day. Check the photographer’s portfolio for photos of weddings not just photos of cute couples!

Even if you aren’t looking for a wedding photographer it is important to consider whether you want your couple photos to be spontaneous glimpses of natural moments or staged portraits. Natural light is different than studio lights and shooting at a busy park is different than shooting in an empty photo studio. Choose a photographer who has experience in the arena you are looking to shoot.

Personally I like photos that feel like a genuine look into a couple’s lifestyle (ie. natural moments captured), so if I were to work with a photographer who works in a studio and poses couples in prom-like positions facing the camera I would be uncomfortable and probably a bit disappointed with the results. Photography is both a technical skill and an art meaning it is crucial to choose a professional whose experience highlights the style and technical skills you prefer.

Remember you’re a big part of the photos as a subject! You want to work with someone that makes you feel comfortable and photogenic. The best photographer will leave you feeling like “Woah this modeling stuff is easy” by the end of the shoot, while a photographer you don’t click with might unintentionally enhance insecurities.

Direction

Do what you can to determine how comfortable your photographer is giving direction to subjects in front of the camera. Photographers that shoot couples/senior portraits/familes should be used to telling his/her subjects what to do and have a few default poses and suggestions in mind. I don’t think it is rude to ask before booking if a photographer is able to give you and your partner a little direction on the day of the shoot. Likewise, if you have a friend who has used the photographer before ask how the photographer was at giving direction during the shoot. A photographer may share breathtaking photos of agency models but turn out awkward, unnatural looking photos of couples and families. Trained models often don’t need direction whereas the average person can use a few tips.

Personally I like working with a photographer who isn’t afraid to say “lift up your chin, don’t squash your arm against the side of your body, tilt your head slightly to the right, etc”. At the beginning of a shoot it doesn’t hurt to say “tell me if I start to have a double chin” or “let me know if you notice my hair extensions peeking through” or whatever it is that you know bothers you in photos. Good photographers want you to LOVE their work, so helping them to understand what it is you dislike in photos is generally appreciated as long as you don’t show up with a diva sized attitude and list of demands.

Investment

As someone who has received more than her fair share of free photo shoots I am a huge advocate for paying photographers fairly for their work. I think a lot of people assume they can skimp on photography without noticing, I hate to disappoint you but this is generally not the case. As cliche as it sounds, you really do get what you pay for. Initially, $400-$500 for an hour or two photoshoot can seem absurd. You’re breaking it down in your head like “Jane the photographer must be loaded she’s getting $250 an hour to snap pictures of me holding hands with my boyfriend in the park“. In actuality much of the photographer’s time is spent selecting and editing photos behind the scenes. All photographers have a different editing process but even the most photogenic couple will need the exposure/lighting adjusted and light photoshop here and there (removing the fleck of dirt on your forehead or the lint on your dress, etc). Those hours of post work add up meaning much of the photographer’s job is done long after your shoot has ended.

If you choose to use your “sister’s boyfriend’s friend” who is willing to cut you a deal and give you photos for free or cheap do so with your eyes open. You cannot necessarily expect the same quality or quantity of photos as when you are paying someone for their profession. Honestly if you’re just staging a couple photo shoot for fun (or as I do for cute blog photos and prints for around my apartment) it probably doesn’t matter all that much if your photos don’t turn out as well as you expected (especially if you paid next to nothing). And hey, if you find a photographer who wants to work with you for fun to build his/her portfolio and you want a few high quality photos out of it, I say go for it! I’m all for experimenting when it comes to “just for fun photoshoots” but if you are looking for photos to use for your engagement announcements or to hang on your mantle for years or you just aren’t someone that has time to pose for photos every weekend…you might just want to spend the money and help support a photographer whose talent you admire.

Based on how important the photos are to you, you can decide if it is worth it to take the risk. However, I  have known a plethora of people who have allowed a friend (or in most cases a friend of a friend) to shoot their wedding and unfortunately found themselves disappointed with the photos they received. My advice is to always take engagement photos/couple photos with a photographer before booking him/her for your wedding. If you are disappointed with the results you may be out a couple hundred dollars but it is worth realizing before your big day (you may even be able to have a conversation with your photographer about what it is you didn’t like and resolve the issue so you can continue working together).

Moral of the story: Pay your photographer! Photography is not just a hobby but a skill, an art and a profession. I have worked with bad photographers and good photographers so let me save you from learning this lesson the hard way…good photographers are worth the investment!

Jordan REALLY wanted a photo looking through the bookshelves at me. He told Aleigh, the photographer, and she made sure to get a shot that worked.

How can you help your photographer?

Photographers may have fancy cameras and high tech lighting equipment but they aren’t mind readers. For the best photo shoot results take the time to do a little research and most importantly COMMUNICATE with your photographer before hand. Every photographer I have worked with has been thrilled when I present photos/concepts and ideas (or at least they have pretended to be). Just like in a relationship you can’t expect to get what you want without communication. Sharing your vision and ideas is the best route towards getting your dream photos.

Share photos you like and/or a Mood Board.

Prior to your shoot look for photos of couples that you like to compile and share with your photographer, this is where Pinterest comes in handy (literally just search “couple photos” and be ready for a billion cute ideas). Be mindful of why you like a specific photo. Are you drawn to the poses? The photography style? The concept? Or are the people in the photo just pretty? Incredibly attractive people can make pushing a grocery cart through Whole Foods look romantic (this photo is proof,ha).

If you send your photographer dozens of photos all with different color palettes, locations, wardrobe styles andposes and he/she likely won’t understand your vision. Once again, COMMUNICATE. Be specific by pointing out that you like the photography style in one set of images, the poses/editorial concept in another set and the angles or shot set up of another image. Your specificity will help your photographer understand what you like. Keep in mind that you chose your photographer for their individual style and artistry. While you definitely should share your vision don’t expect your photographer to change their aesthetic to suit your vision. If the photographer you chose specializes in moody, desaturated, conceptual images don’t ask him/her to give you playful and bright photos, find a photographer whose aesthetic works with the images you want.

Be upfront about what you are looking for!

Aside from sending a mood board you should verbally communicate what you expect out of a photo shoot (note: this does not mean demand, never demand). Before I hire a photographer I generally send a basic email introducing myself and outlining what I am looking for. My emails generally contain the following information:

  • I am looking for couple photos with my boyfriend and I. This identifies who will be involved in the shoot.
  • I want to shoot at 2 locations  with 2 outfits. This is important because some photographers charge more based on the number of locations you want to shoot at and the number of looks you intend to shoot. Some photographers charge based on the amount of time a shoot takes and don’t really care how many looks you shoot as long as you fit within the allotted time (2 hours, etc). I would suggest disclosing your location ideas if you have planned them already as a photographer may charge a traveling fee. If you don’t know where you want to take photos, ask! Most photographers have locations they like to shoot at. 
  • Ideally I want digital photos as I want to be able to use them for social media/my blog. This is important because every photographer’s packages are a little different. Since I generally use photos for blogging/social media I prefer to shoot with a photographer who agrees to send me a number of edited photos for my use (that I may print later on my own). Some photographers want you to pay a separate fee for digital photos which is important to know upfront. 

This step seems obvious but I like to put in writing what it is I want and receive a financial quote from a photographer. Many photographers don’t list their prices on their websites and even if they do I like to make sure that price includes what it is I want. I would rather know up front if I’m going to pay an additional $75 per outfit change or another fee for the digital images so I can add that into the total. Furthermore, I like to respect my photographer’s schedule. By sharing from the beginning that I want X number of locations and Y number of outfits he/she can schedule our shoot accordingly so no one feels like they are being rushed or not being paid properly for their services.

Another Tip: I have a scar smack dab in the middle of my forehead. It doesn’t bother me anymore but as a teenager I always hoped photographers would photoshop it out, some did and some didn’t. I should have brought it up and communicated whether or not I wanted photos with or without my scar. If you have a birthmark, mole, scar, etc. be upfront about if you want it photoshopped or left alone otherwise the photographer will assume one way or the other.

There you go-you’re all ready for your close up (; Photo shoots are so much fun, especially when working with a photographer you truly click with. If you have any questions about choosing the best photographer for you feel free to comment and I’ll be sure to get back to you. Happy posing!

 

 

P.S. You can see more photos from this same shoot in the post Picnics & Love Languages and I will be sharing the final batch of photos from this shoot soon.

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10 Things: Summer Edition

With my summer course in full swing and the outdoors calling my name whenever I’m not reading, studying or otherwise forced to be indoors…I’ve left myself little time for blogging. Still, I love using this space as a way to record and look back on my adventures as well as the content occupying my mind at any given moment. The morning grayness has yet to wear off in Seattle today so I am seizing the opportunity to push aside criminal law reading for a moment and just spill what I’ve been up to/into in the ever popular list format.

Isn’t Washington beautiful? I sure love it here!

1. During August I have a 2 week break after my summer class ends and before my fall classes begin. Initially Jordan and I were hoping to go to Iceland together but found it difficult to coordinate with boy Jordan’s work schedule #StoryOfOurLives. Not wanting to miss out on an opportunity for an adventure myself I decided to coordinate a trip to Germany, Switzerland and possibly Austria with my Aunt and Uncle.  My Aunt is the BEST travel planner and is fluent in German so traveling with her is truly ideal. Of course I am a little sad Jordan and I won’t have a romantic trip together this August but I am SO looking forward to adventuring with my fam. If you have any travel tips or suggestions I would love to read them!

2. Summer has officially arrived in Seattle! The sun has been making regular appearances (though as I type this it is overcast and muggy) and everyone in Seattle is taking advantage of the city’s natural beauty. I have been spending as much time as possible outside whether it is playing tennis, going on long walks with anyone who will join me or paddle boarding in Lake Washington with my Aunt and Uncle. For years I’ve wanted to take a tennis lesson or two and go to a paddle board yoga class…this year I am DETERMINED to cross at least one of them off my bucket list.

3.  Speaking of outdoor summer activities, hiking is one of my favorites! For the 4th of July we hiked Snow Lake (a favorite of mine for years). People are always really doubtful of Pierre’s ability to hike (I get it, he looks frilly and is hairless) but I swear he shocks everyone with his determination. Summer with a dog is the freaking best. I think I love trips to the dog park, long evening walks and dog friendly hikes even more than Pierre.

Looking a little dorky in my hat and life jacket but having the best time peddle paddle boarding on Lake Washington.

4. My summer law school course is already more than half way over. I’m sort of freaking out! So far I have really enjoyed learning the foundational principles of criminal law but I have to admit the past few weeks have felt a lot like drinking from a fire hose. I have been inundated with new vocabulary, concepts and theories. Over the summer I have loved every single minute of learning but I am very nervous for the fall when I will be in four classes as opposed to one.

5. Out of nowhere I recently have started listening to Eminem music like crazy, trust me it surprises me more than it surprises you.I am forever behind on music trends and I don’t even know the last time Eminem released an album so I have to laugh at myself. I obviously don’t agree with the guy ideologically on a lot of issues but the music is so catchy I have him on repeat on Spotify as I clean the house.

6.  One of my favorite trends for summer continuing into fall is white booties. White leather booties feels fresh for spring/summer but really unexpected and retro for fall. I love the way Emily Schuman of Cupcakes & Cashmere styled her white Rag & Bone booties. Personally I have been eyeing this Stuart Weitzman pair & this Dries Van Noten pair although both are outside of my law school student budget I will be on the lookout for budget friendly alternatives.

7. Recently I met up with a friend I hadn’t seen in over a year to reconcile a “falling out”. Without going into specifics, #NotJustMyStoryToTell, I found the experience really humbling in the sense that I had already made it up in my mind to move on from the incident that caused our schism and wasn’t expecting any sort of apology (we’d both wronged on another & both had reasons to be upset). I have a lot of respect for someone who puts aside their pride and apologizes without expecting an apology in return and who attempts to see another’s point of view even when that person acted in a manner that hurt the friendship. It was a refreshing reminder to be the friend that forgives, to be the person who isn’t afraid to love more and not to let pride keep you from growing. We all make mistakes but I wouldn’t want my mistakes to define me to others so I shouldn’t define others by their moments of weakness.

8. Once again Karlie Kloss has me wishing I could snap my fingers and be her (or you know just as chic as her) in an instant. I stalk Kloss on instagram and while the supermodel is always strutting around looking gorgeous in new glamorous locations she has been exceptionally stunning lately. See Karlie casually posing like a goddess, smizing in Paris selfies and treating a greenhouse like her personal runway for proof. Karlie is a midwestern ray of sunshine and like straight up sexy diva at the same time…HOW?!

9. It seems as if all anyone can talk about is the Nordstrom sale am I right? I made a snarky joke on twitter about the sale a few days ago (my most liked tweet to date so I couldn’t have been the only one feeling some kinda way) and I think I was punished for my remarks. I sat refreshing my cart for two hours trying to grab a pair of Rag & Bone jeans and a body suit yesterday morning…eek! My purchase finally went through and I’m apologizing to the Nordstrom gods for scorning them. Without adding to the sea of Nordstrom blog posts I do want to share the item I would recommend based on my own experience…STUART WEITZMAN BOOTS ON MEGA SALE (no affiliate link). I got a pair a few years ago while visiting New York and then another pair for Christmas last year so I could not justify a third pair (though don’t think I didn’t toy with the idea). I swear these boots have changed my life for the better (;

I thought stopping to casually pose your bag by a bunch of flowers was totally normal?

10. CELINE BAG (insert heart eye emojis here)! You may have seen me humble bragging about my new Celine bag on instagram, as gauche as I must have come across I could not reasonably help myself. I have dreamed of my very own chic luggage tote for years but never actually thought I would hold one on my arm. The other day Jordan and I were in Barney’s looking at a few sale items for himself and I mentioned wanting to go look at the Celine luggage and phantom totes…one thing quickly led to another and I walked out of Barney’s with a brand new mini luggage tote in all black. Aaah I was so excited guys! I’ve still barely used the tote because I am still in shock that it is mine…but I love it (honestly felt like Gwyneth Paltrow when I was toting it through Whole Foods). You can buy Celine at Nordstrom/Barney’s but there always seem to be used Celine bags in great condition on consignment sites (here is one similar to mine at a really great price) & (This green Celine is such a fun pop of color).

Cheers to the weekend friends! I am heading to Tacoma for a photo shoot with the photographer who shot these photos then heading to Portland for the weekend with Jordan. I hope your weekend is filled with sunshine, happiness, love and a little Nordstrom shopping spree if that’s your thing (;

I intended to use a list format to be less verbose and more to the point but I can see now my intentions clearly failed. Oops! I’m over 1400 words in so I guess it’s time to wrap this party up.

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Teeny Tiny Purses

Guys I love a giant bag I can throw absolutely everything into. My need to tote around a laptop, change of clothes, textbook and whatever page turner novel I’m currently into is why I opted for the largest neverfull tote & the biggest Celine luggage tote available at Barney’s. I do NOT like to run out of room when I’m heading to class, work or on the go. That being said it is super annoying when you just want to roll out of bed and walk to Starbs and you either have to carry a bag the size of your torso with just a credit card & keys in it or you try to stuff your phone, keys and wallet into the pocket of your sundress #awkward. When you’re meeting a friend for happy hour or grabbing dinner with a date a large tote can totally clash with your outfit and give you diaper bag mom vibes no matter how chic the bag or the dress.

When Jordan and I were in San Francisco recently I picked up the Gucci Soho Disco crossbody bag that every blogger and their Mom posts about. I’ll admit I felt pretty basic lusting after the bag but after owning it for like 5 minutes I no longer felt guilty about giving into the hype. A small bag you can  fit a phone, wallet and keys into is essential for running errands, a night out, etc. I personally believe in investing in bags that will go with everything for years to come but saving on pieces that are ultra trendy/statement bags.

 

Baja Bound Porcupine Bag| Surely this statement bag won’t go with every occasion yet I can’t help feel that it could truly make an entire look.

Parker Double Zip Mini Bag| This bag comes in a variety of colors (Navy/Red/Pink/Etc) and can easily be dressed up or dressed down depending on the occasion.

Jamie Metallic Clutch| Metallic is always really versatile and great for a night out.

Mini Faye Suede & Leather Wallet| This small wallet on a chain has a modern “it girl” vibe.

Gucci Soho Disco Leather Bag| If I could write a love letter to this bag I would. I use it every single day and I am really happy with how much fits into it (cell phone, wallet, keys, lipstick, random flyers I pick up, fold and stuff inside). The classic bag comes in a variety of colors varying seasonally but I opted for the timeless and seasonless black option. I swear I can wear this bag with EVERYTHING. If you love the look but don’t want to make the investment I suggest a similar look for only $55!

Gucci Marmont Velvet Shoulder Bag| Velvet feels luxe and fashion forward while the iconic Gucci design is timeless.

YSL Medium Leather Wallet on a Chain| A definite splurge/investment piece this YSL signature purse is glamorous enough for a formal occasion but doesn’t feel too pretentious with jeans for daytime.

Ted Baker Cat Leather Crossbody| If you want a bag that adds a playful touch this one is purrfect (sorry, had to).

See by Chloe Mini Crossbody| This ultra petite cross body is a stylish way to carry along a minimalist’s essentials both day and night.

Rebecca Minkoff Love Leather Crossbody| This bag has a similar look as the Chanel Boy bag but at a budget friendly price point.

See by Chloe Nano Polly Leather Crossbody| My favorite thing about See by Chloe is that the bags maintain the look and feel of Chloe at a fraction of the price point. I love the signature quilting and statement tassel on this crossbody. (Worthy of note, I have two See by Chloe bags and have been very impressed with the quality. When deciding between a the Gucci Soho Disco bag and a Chloe Mini Marcie Saddlebag I ultimately strayed away from the Chloe because of reviews regarding the quality for the price point. If Chloe lacks in quality for the price, See by Chloe does not. I have been very impressed with both of my See by Chloe bags).

Street Level Crossbody (under $50)| This affordable crossbody is available in both pewter and rose gold (so pretty).

Coach Flower Applique Bag| This bag gives off major flower power vibes. This bag felt very unexpected from Coach to me and I fell in LOVE the minute I saw it.

Are you a big purse or small purse girl? I fall on both ends of the spectrum but generally avoid the middle ground (no medium bags for me)!

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Sit back & Enjoy Life | Combatting my Naturally “High Strung” Disposition

“When you stop growing you start dying, there just isn’t a place in a human life for homeostasis” I heard the sentiment listening to a podcast interview while running intervals on the treadmill the other day. Though the exact Podcast is irrelevant as it pertains to the continuation of this post (it was The Brain Candy Podcast) it was the underlying principle that spoke to me.  I am constantly inspired by people at all stages of life who push themselves to take up a new skill, travel to a new place, or push themselves out of their comfort zone. I never want to be afraid to take up something new because I’m too old or too established or too whatever. 

But, growing goes beyond learning new skills and trying new hobbies. Growing extends past keeping your inner child happy or checking all the boxes that keep you from settling into a “boring” middle age. Growing means looking at yourself and reflecting on who you are and what you think about that person. Sometimes (oh gosh how we all hate these times) growing means internalizing criticism from the people we love instead of immediately allowing it to roll off our backs and asking ourselves “do I like THOSE aspects of me?”

I almost always have a list of little self improvement goals I’m working towards. Often those goals revolve around online courses or exercise or showing the people I love that I care…but this summer the core of my focus is centered around myself. Believe it or not this focus isn’t #Selfish but is more of revelation about the way I treat other people. Disclaimer: No one told me that I am a bad person or that they don’t want to be around me anymore or anything dramatic to that effect but for whatever reason it occurred to me that certain aspects of my personality were impacting my happiness while simultaneously negatively affecting my relationships.

Hello anxiety. Hello jumping down people’s throats because I’m stressed. Hello nagging about being on time. Oh hey that high strung internal voice that won’t let me enjoy all the AWESOME aspects of my life because I’m too busy worrying and planning for the next thing.

The last thing I want to be is the person who can’t enjoy her day on the beach because she’s worried it might rain (or there could be a tsunami) (or that she may get a sun burn), etc, etc. While my hypothetical scenario may be a little out there the reality is I allow a lot of the “little things” impact my mindset. Don’t get me started on the swelling anxiety in my chest when I can’t get somewhere on time due someone else…the stress of it consumes me even if I’m just late to brunch. It shouldn’t matter but it slowly compiles with other seemingly “little things” and can affect my overall enjoyment and stress level all day.

Realistically I can’t avoid ever feeling stressed or anxious. Honestly, I don’t want to ban stress entirely because it can be a good thing and one heck of a motivator. Yet, I’d venture to guess that allotting a disproportionate level of stress to everyday occurrences like calling to cancel an appointment or making it to dinner before everyone else is a waste of energy. Hi everyone, my name is Jordyn and I AM a high strung person, but do I necessarily have to be?

After catching myself whining and WORSE nagging over pretty pointless battles I realized I was raining on my own parade. I don’t usually consider myself a negative person so it was initially difficult for me to accept that I was capable of taking something I enjoy (like hiking/shopping/hanging out at home with Jordan) and turning it into a stressful experience for no real reason at all. I stressed about Pierre getting off of his leash, I stressed about Jordan waking up late, and I stressed about situations that had not come to fruition but that I worried could materialize at any moment. All of my stress over circumstances outside of myself was not  motivating me to create better experiences, it was keeping me from appreciating and enjoying my own life.

Shout out to my friend Laura for happily standing on her tippy toes to try & take this shot of me lounging in the pool.

Without a plan a goal is just a dream floating around in the clouds. I brain stormed a few ideas to actively pursue on my journey to “enjoying life” and generally allowing anxiety to affect me less. If you find yourself inhibited by similar issues you may find the ways I am holding myself accountable helpful:

  • Slow down & live in the moment instead of worrying about what’s next.
  • Practice gratitude by actively showing appreciation for the people/things/experiences I have.
  • Pause before vocalizing a concern or complaint and ask myself which battles are worth it. In all relationships communication is vital but complaining that your partner left his shoes all over the living room isn’t necessarily worth the added negativity.
  • When I start to feel overwhelmed or stressed take a deep breath, close my eyes and be still for a moment. Sometimes stress really is unavoidable but more often than not it can be combatted without lashing out or letting it ruin the day.
  • Accept help when I need it and say “no” to obligations that add more stress than value.
  • Check in with myself and talk over issues with a friend, loved one or therapist if I feel like I need support.
  • Prioritize responsibilities and schedule the time needed to complete projects so when I am doing something fun/relaxingI can enjoy it instead of wasting my leisure time feeling panicky & anxious.

I think it is really easy to dismiss less than ideal aspects of our own personalities. It is tempting to fall into the mindset that dismisses our own short comings with “that’s just the way I am”. “I’m just naturally anxious & high strung” has definitely crossed my mind and slipped from my lips a time or two. We don’t need to be chained to a single mentality though! With some thoughtful self reflection and earnest work on ourselves we can change our habits and even our mindsets!

 

General Disclaimer: I am in no way trying to diagnose or suggest I know how to combat general anxiety. I am just sharing my own perspective on how I have historically dealt with day to day anxiety and how I am attempting to alleviate a little bit of unnecessary stress from my life so I can focus on the stress that actually matters.

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Picnics & Love Languages

A few weeks ago Jordan and I had a photo session with Aleigh Michelle. I am really excited to share our photos from the shoot but because there are so many photos I thought it would be useful to break it down and share by location/concept. The set I am sharing today is from a picnic at Volunteer Park. My dress is For Love and Lemons (believe it or not I steamed it before the photos but all that laying in the grass wrinkled it a bit) and my shoes are Tory Burch (seriously so comfortable).

I don’t think we ever stop learning about relationships, romantic or otherwise! I had a few realizations about friendship recently that made me pause and reflect on what I want from my friendships as my friends and I continue to evolve and potentially embark on separate life paths. I love thinking about interpersonal dynamics and especially love learning skills to overcome friendship, familial or relationship challenges as life presents them. I am surrounded by really great people but that doesn’t mean life never presents me with any obstacles. Part of the reason why Jordan and I work well in a relationship is because we have learned to really recognize our differences and see each other’s perspectives (it sounds straight forward and a tad bit obvious but it isn’t always so in the moment).

Most people have heard about the different love languages by now right? If not, no worries: the five love languages are defined as Acts of Service, Words of Affirmation, Quality Time, Physical Touch, and Receiving Gifts. I can’t remember when I first heard about “love languages”, and though I’ve never actually read “The 5 Love Languages” book the general principle has stuck with me. When Jordan and I had only been dating for a month or two I remember snuggling up to him after a long conversation and confessing adoringly that he demonstrates all of the love languages. I know it sounds cheesy but at the time it really struck me like “this guy knows what he’s doing”! Thinking about the variety of ways different people show love and perhaps more importantly require to feel loved is pretty enlightening. Just for fun I took the quiz again and quality time/words of affirmation tied for first, followed by Physical Touch/Receiving Gifts (tied as well) and finally followed by acts of service.

I am definitely best at words of affirmation. I probably tell Jordan I love him 75 times a day. It was engrained in me since I was a little girl to always say “I love you” before getting off the phone, leaving for school, etc. My Mom was the type to write my brother and I sweet cards on the first day of school and I carried on her method of showing love. I started writing love letters in my diary before I hit puberty! In addition I find I can give quality time and physical touch without thinking about it but I don’t excel at gift giving or acts of service without a tad bit of additional effort.

I imagine it is probably pretty normal for us to give love the way we categorize as most important to receive love. In reality we all need every form of love though. I can’t think of a single category I am willing to give up so it is important to show our partners in the ways that don’t come naturally to us.

JUST AS IMPORTANT! Think about the categories of love languages and how your bf/gf/husband/wife shows each type of love. Sometimes it is easy to dismiss all of the ways you are getting love in one category or another simply because it isn’t the way you readily express love. I know I can forget how many acts of service Jordan performs for me (cleaning out my car, getting gas for me, making me dinner, etc) because I personally focus on words of affirmation (writing him cards and daily text messages). It is worth having a conversation about how you best express love and receive love but I don’t think you should dismiss acts that don’t fit into your top category.


Over time I’ve recognized how much those acts of service mean to me, and without necessarily consciously deciding to do so I started expressing my love more regularly through acts of service too. I realized I could express love by making lunch for Jordan or doing some of his laundry. It didn’t take me long to notice these sorts of tasks would always would be noted and appreciated. Though Jordan hasn’t taken the love language quiz, I would bet his top love language would be acts of service! By cluing into all of the ways Jordan shows me love I was able to reflect all of the ways I show love too. Just taking a little time to be mindful helped me to realize little things I really do appreciate but tend to glance over (and who wants to be bratty like that?).

A Few Small ways to show a little extra Love this week:

  • Grab a cute card and write about something your partner did recently that made you grateful to have him/her in your life
  • If you are normally checked in on social media/email/etc. turn your phone off (or put it in another room) for an entire evening and give your partner your undivided attention
  • Plan a complete date from start to finish and treat your partner to a new (or well loved) experience
  • Write a sweet message on a post it note and leave it somewhere your partner will find it unexpectedly when you are apart (in the car, on the bathroom mirror, in a briefcase or purse)
  • Do a chore your partner would normally do to alleviate a little stress
  • Pick up a sweet treat you know your partner loves to spruce up a random week day
  • Cuddle up and watch a movie or television show together
  • If the two of you are working on separate projects make a point to be in the same room together, sometimes just being near one another can foster feelings of connectedness
  • Make your partner dinner AND do the dishes
  • Send a postcard in the mail even if you aren’t out of town
  • Plan a day (or weekend) to explore a new city/neighborhood/park together
  • If you live together surprise him/her with a completely clean house
  • Remember to compliment your partner OUT LOUD, sometimes we forget to verbalize why our partner is important even if we think it all the time
  • Splurge on a gift you know he/she would love but wouldn’t get for him/herself
  • Give a massage or scalp massage
  • Let him/her sleep in one Saturday morning & run out to get coffee & fresh pastries for both of you before he/she wakes up
  • Make a scrapbook or memory journal to remember your adventures together

There are infinite ways to show your love, I would love to read your suggestions! What is your love language? Is it the same as your partner’s?

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