sharpie eggs

I must confess that Easter is truly one of my most favorite holidays. It started as a child with a deep love for color, egg hunts, new dresses and as a southern girl even the occasional easter hat. In my adulthood I maintain the love of all those things and also the triumphs and traditions of Easter. I am preparing my heart for the next week. To wave palm branches, finish reading through the book of John, decorate eggs, make treats, to mourn and celebrate, break bread, and anticipate what is to come. I love Easter. 
Eggs are tied to Easter as a symbol of rebirth. Dying eggs has long been one of my most favorite things.  As the smell of vinegar fills the air I am immediately taken back to a little girl dressed in her easter best with fingers and nails that were dyed every color of the rainbow. I look forward each year to doing the same thing with my boys, enjoying the many colors of their little hands. 
As much as I enjoy the memories of that smell and those colors we decided to try something different last year. We used sharpies to color our eggs. It was a great option for less mess and offered more details. This year I might try a combination, but for quick and easy I say give sharpie easter eggs a try. 
What are your favorite Easter traditions?

fashion for dressing for a photo shoot

family photo, styled photography, arkansas photographer, whitney loibner
From early childhood I had two loves, clothes and cameras. I spent equal amounts of time watching my dad put together and clean his Minolta 35mm and playing in my mom's closet full of heals and shoulder pads. Into high school I fell in love with photo journalism and went to college in hopes of finding some way to study photography. In a turn of events that I honestly can't even remember, but I think might have mistakenly had something to do with what the responsible choice might be, so I instead went the sensible way of pursuing a degree in fashion merchandising. I can not explain the choices, but I can say how thrilled I am that my job now brings me back to both of my loves. 
It is my biggest thrill when I get to be involved in dressing clients or at least working their clothing choices into a story and our location.
family photo, styled photography, arkansas photographer, whitney loibner
This is the Chino family. If you have been around my blog much at all they will be familiar. They are family and friends and were some of the first people that I photographed regularly. They are also always completely willing to go and wear what I want. Alison and I have approached photographing their family in many ways over the years. We have started with a pair of tights we loved for Mary Polly or that I found this building that I don't think I will be able to talk other people into entering or that we must photograph the family camping even if none of us have showered in days or like this shoot we are really starting with a concept. Last summer the Chino family moved to Scotland and before they left we wanted to document this stage of their lives. It would be a time for them to cling to one another, packing all their belongings and pretty much taking all they could carry to chase a dream. Right away I thought of a train station and really had visions of Harry Potter, subdued colors and baggage.
family photo, styled photography, arkansas photographer, whitney loibner
In all aspects I would call this a styled photo shoot, from the clothes to the location and even props. This type of photo is certainly not for everyone or for all seasons, but I love it as a way to bring in what is important or happening with your family at a certain point. SO today I will give a few tips on dressing for a styled shoot, though some might apply to any photos or just life.
family photo, styled photography, arkansas photographer, whitney loibner
1. Think about what you want to say. Alison is a blogger so we knew we wanted the photos to tell a moving overseas to do super smart school stuff (my words, as I still don't 100% understand all the smart things Taido is doing).
2. Love what you are wearing. I think this is important in life, but certainly important for photos you will repeatedly look at and hopefully have up in your home...also your kids will look happier if they don't totally hate what they are wearing. Give them something that feels like a win. With Alison's kids we usually give them choices of things that will work starting with the one that cares most about clothes and moving down accordingly.
3. Think from head to toe. I love shoes and they do matter and an accessory or two goes a long way. I love how much is added to these photos by the addition of the ties.
4. Make sense together and try on before. You want to make sure things fit, especially important with kids who are known to grow overnight. Also just seasonally and such you want it to flow together. It was a 90 degree August day when we took these photos, but we wanted them to be seasonally ambiguous so just think that way. I also lay things out as I start to pull clothes and make sure they work in a variety of groupings. This really matters when you start to work with more color, like most design pick color in odd numbers so you can easily mix it up.
5. Color matters. I am a girl who deeply loves color so as we started to pull for this I was struggling with the lack of color, but I knew that in this case it would really help the location and props to pop if we stayed neutral. Also it felt very studious and European to be subdued and serious with color. In picking color for a personal shoot I always imagine how the images fit into my space, I go with colors that make sense in my house.
6. Have fun. Clothes are probably the single most intimidating thing about having your photo taken, but they don't have to be. At the end of the day if you have fun with it that will show.

family photo, styled photography, arkansas photographer, whitney loibner
Happy Friday everybody!
family photo, styled photography, arkansas photographer, whitney loibner

spring seniors (central arkansas senior photographer)

senior photos, senior guys, arkansas photographers
Seniors, It is your time!
This past week I have photographed two wonderful seniors. I often admit that these are some of my favorite sessions and these just reminded me of that fact. It is an exciting time. A fun time to say who you are and enjoy some attention all on you.
senior photos, senior guys, arkansas photographers

senior photos, senior guys, arkansas photographers

senior photos, photography, little rock, baseball photos, senior baseball pictures

senior photos, photography, little rock, baseball photos, senior baseball pictures

senior photos, photography, little rock, baseball photos, senior baseball pictures

senior photos, photography, little rock, baseball photos, senior baseball pictures
Hoping that more warm days are on the way and I would love to work with more seniors. Give me a call to set up a senior session before graduation. AND it isn't too early to start planning for the 2014-15 seniors. I would love to get you on my calendar!
senior photos, photography, little rock, baseball photos, senior baseball pictures

Food Friday...cookies cookies

For this food Friday I won't be sharing any recipes, but some fun cookie photos because cookies are really the only food I have made in the last week. For the last three years I have been a part of a team of people making cookie dough for a fundraiser for our youth spring break ski trip. We sell and make three kinds of cookies and each student makes money for each bag they sell. I am in charge of the snickerdoodle cookies. I think the first year I made around 1,500 cookies and though it is hard to imagine now I made them all in my home kitchen, batch by batch in a kitchen aid mixer with the help of half a dozen high school boys. Since then we have moved the operation to our church kitchen. I am beyond thankful for this kitchen and huge mixer and so many helpers. This year we made 4,500 snickerdoodles with the help of about 20 people and got it done in about 6 hours. I think in total this year the students sold 15,000 cookies! For snickerdoodle alone we used over 15 dozen eggs and 44 pounds of butter and after writing that I think I might take a nap. 
I hope your weekend is filled with sweet things. It will be a while before any cookies are made in my kitchen.
a few cookie recipes I love...
oatmeal cookies by Alison Chino
key lime meltaways by Smitten Kitchen
sugar cookies by Martha Stewart

Arkansas flower and garden show...and giveaway

Tickets for the AFGS Giveaway provided by  Arkansas Flower and Garden Show, but opinions are all mine. Giveaway details below.

On a much colder day a couple weeks ago, I gathered with some of my AWB besties and got a sneak peak into the Arkansas Flower and Garden show. It was a super fun night out filled with beautiful things and eat & drink treats. 
We had a personal floral lesson with Chris Olsen. The whole thing had me wishing for warmer days and thinking maybe, just maybe it isn't too late for me to give gardening a try. I do adore flowers, but my few efforts at gardening have not gone well. I am excited to go to the flower and garden show and get some ideas for my dream garden. 

Since I have procrastinated I am giving away six tickets at the end of the day today(2/19) on Facebook. Stop by my personal or photography facebook page and enter to win tickets to the AR flower and garden show that is this weekend (2/21-23).

i love 14 US

photos by Josh Hejl
Peter & I have been married 14 years

As a girl who loves love I must admit that I entered our marriage a bit naive about real love. I was and continue to be crazy about you, but I have found that love is less happily ever after and more for better or worse. It has taught me to be incredibly thankful for the better and to take the worse with much patience and grace and to hope that you will do the same. 
On this Valentine's Day I am thankful that you are the one I am on this journey with. You are my best friend and my absolute favorite. 

My dearest Whitney,

I love being with you. I love playing games with you. I love watching movies with you. I love driving with you. I love working with you. I love dreaming with you. I love doing projects with you (even if you don't like them sometimes). I love vacationing with you. I love figuring out our kids with you. I love hanging out with community with you. I love taking pictures with you (whichever side of the camera we are on). I love sleeping in late with you. I love going out to eat with you. I love all the times. The good times are so good. And the bad times are worth doing for all the good. I love you dearly. I am so grateful for you and all you have put up with over the years.

You are my favorite.

i love 13

 Sarah & Charlie

Charlie and I met in August. I was still on a "Boy Break." I had made a pack between me and God that I would not date for year. It was time I figure out who I was without a boy influencing my decisions. We were both graduate assistants. We had to attend a seminar about how to teach undergraduates and then practice giving a lecture to each other before they let us go and teach real students. He says he saw me sitting outside a classroom getting ready to go in and do my practice lecture. He remembers every detail down to what I was wearing that day. I however, only remember being completely annoyed by this boy who kept trying to make small talk. After the seminar was over he asked me where I was going and I said back to my office. He wanted to know where my office was and when I told him in the exercise phys dept. he said Oh me too, I guess I'll see you there. I however did not believe him because I thought I knew everyone in my dept, but obviously I had not met the new boy yet. I was sitting in my office telling my two office mates the story about meeting this crazy guy who thought we would be working together, when before I got done with the story he shows up and is peaking his head into our office. He says, "see I told you, I'm just right down the hall from you." I was very rude and tried not to pay too much attention when he introduced himself to my office mates and he finally left. They all laughed and immediately picked up on what I was trying to deny that he was totally into me. No matter how rude I was, he came by every day. My office mates would giggle every time he came by. I would try to sneak out before he could see me but some how he would always catch up with me on my bike ride home. He would ride several blocks out of the way just to talk. One day he finally asked me out and of course I said no. I did finally come around to enjoying his company and wanting to hang out, however I was still on my "boy break." I told him I could not go out with him until after October when my "boy break" was over. He asked me almost every day if I would change my mind. We became very close friends over the next couple of months but so did everyone in our dept. We all hung out together. I would never hang out alone with him. Finally, October came and I remember him asking me if my boy break was over and could we finally go out on a date. I agreed to go out however was very clear that I was not ready to get into anything serious. I remember we went to spaghetti warehouse and then watched a movie. We ended up spending more and more time together and had a blast but I could tell he was more into me than I was into him. So over Thanksgiving I broke his heart, I had to break it off because I didn't want to hurt him. It broke my heart too because I knew how much he cared for me and I knew it was going to hurt him. We so called "took a break" but continued hanging out just not as much alone. Over Christmas break I had learned that a tumor we had been watching on my thyroid kept growing. I had it removed and learned it was cancer. I had to go back for another surgery. Charlie came down to be with me during this time. He sat by side during recovery. Patti Abbott tells a story about when she first met Charlie she knew that he was in love. She says he sat on the end of the couch while I was totally zonked out and would rub my feet and just sit with me. My recovery time was much longer than we thought because the tumor was cancer so it was in question if I would be able to return to school. Charlie had worked it out with my professor to teach all of my classes. He and another friend also input all my data from my research project so all I had to do when I got back was run the stats and write the paper. I was able to return to school Valentines day week. He was at my house when I came home. He had cleaned and made sure everything was perfect for my arrival. I had missed a month a school and realized I missed a month of him. He maintained all my classes and helped me catch up on all my school work so that graduation would not be delayed. It was then when I realized how much he really did care for me, that his love was real. One of Charlie's great characteristics, and also something that can drive me nuts, is that he is always persistent and pursued me every day. That summer I graduated and he left to go coach baseball. I had promised I would take a trip to go see him. One of my best-friends girlfriends from college was also living not very far from where he was coaching. I will never forget when I stepped off the plane and saw his face I finally realized what he knew this whole time. He would be the man I would marry. So that is the story of how we met. The two key words though are persistence and pursue. My year of "boy break" I was doing several bible studies. Two of the key things that I got out of my year of single hood is that God will always pursue me no matter what mistakes I make or how far I try to push. That He will always be persistent in his pursual for me. Charlie mimicked that and was his aide in winning over his bride.
To Sarah, These are dates and experiences I had and felt before we got married. I happen across them often and remember them like they happened yesterday. I'm so glad to share them with you. ~August 19th, 2004~ I had just walked into Kaufman Hall to complete my TA Instructor training when I saw you. You were walking in my direction and I absolutely couldn't keep my eyes off of you. You were beautiful. You were wearing a black top and blue jeans with your red hair highlighting an already amazing presence. I was crushed. I just had to talk to you. So I did. You didn't have much to say to this brash guy invading your space. Why would you? I was just another guy. When you told me your office was close to mine, I couldn't help be excited. After I left Kaufman Hall that day, I met up with Eric Mathe at Jimmy Johns at Campus Corner. I told him all about a gorgeous Redhead I met at our training. You had me right then. ~October 9th, 2004~ I had traveled to Lawrence, Kansas to hang out with Eric for the weekend at KU. You had traveled down to Dallas for a wedding. I was missing you so much and couldn't stop thinking about you all weekend. During my time there, Eric and I had many heart to hearts about life. It was there that I told him I was going to marry you and that we would be my best man. ~January 3rd, 2005~ You had cancer. I had traveled up to Little Rock to visit you. I had never met your family before. I remember pulling up your driveway and this old orange cat was just staring at me the whole time. Giving me a good rundown. He didn't move a muscle. Just looked at me like a concerned father would look at anyone trying to date their daughter. This was a serious cat. As I walked up to your parents house, your mom was there to greet me. She showed me great hospitality. Before I really got to see you, she had offered me an egg and ham sandwich. How could I say no? A couple of days later, OU was playing USC in the National Championship game. I was sitting on the couch rubbing your feet while you were passed out. Your dad was sitting on his leather chair, and as OU was getting crushed by USC. My blood was boiling and your Dad kept making snide remarks about OU to me. "I thought you guys could play football!" "What kind of game is this?" "They look like a highschool team.". Being a man that carries a lot of pride on how my Alma Mater performs, this was a serious pill I had to swallow. I just sat there and took it. Later on in the game, I remember turning my head and looking at you as you were sleeping. Suddenly, the game really didn't matter to me at all. Only you did. ~May 3rd, 2005~ I was leaving for Arizona to go coach baseball. I stayed at your house because my apartment was packed up. You were graduating and moving back to Arkansas. Nothing was clear in our relationship. The only thing I knew in my heart was that I wanted you. We stayed up most of the night talking and just hanging out. I remember not wanting to leave. I would have given anything to not go and to stay with you in that moment. The sun started coming up and it was time to leave. You gave me a kiss and a good hug that still stays with me today and always will. A piece of my soul lives in that moment. ~January 15th, 2006~ Donating plasma to get gas money so I could visit you in Arkansas was a pretty common occurrence for me in those days. The clinic would pay me $50 to donate my blood. I did it happily. Needless to say, money was definitely tight. I loved my trips to Little Rock to see you then. I would leave early on Friday and stay as late as I could on Sunday. It was 5 hours on the dot from my house to your doorstep. We had grown so close in the previous months and we had talked many times about where our relationship might go. I wore my feelings for you on my sleeve and you knew how much I loved you. It was time to pop you the question. I had bought the ring. I had planned out how I wanted to propose to the very last detail. There was just one big thing I had to do. Talk to your Dad. Man was I nervous. I had hidden your ring in my trunk under the spare tire like there was even a remote possibility you would have ever found it. I didn't risk it. I wanted you to be surprised and I didn't want you to stumble across it. I opened up the trunk and got my prized possession out of there. I bravely walked up the stairs to your parents room. I knocked...... "Come on in!" Larry called. My palms were sweating, I was as nervous as that orange cat outside. I opened up the door....... There was Larry..... In his underwear.... He was was changing clothes and was so polite. "What's going on Charlie?" It was now or never. I told him how much I loved you and my intentions I had for you. I showed him the ring told him of my plan. He spoke with me for awhile. He asked me questions about my faith and how I planned to care for you. It was an experience and a rite of passage every man should go through. He gave me his blessing (after he put his pants on) and he was very excited. We drove to his office and he called Sandra. She met us there, and he shared the news. She was surprised and wanted to see the ring. She was very happy for us both. The next Sunday, you would go on a scavenger hunt and I would propose to you "Where the trees whisper". We would be married 9 months later to the day. It was the best decision I have ever made. Sarah I love you so much. I hope these stories bring you joy. I have so many more. With love, Charlie
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