Mayslake Peabody Estate | Oak Brook, Illinois | Styled Shootout | Bridal | Maternity | Couture | February 16, 2020
Mayslake Peabody Estate is a Tudor-Revival-style mansion from the early 1900s located in Oak Brook, Illinois. Francis Stuyvesant Peabody commissioned renowned Chicago architect Benjamin Marshall to design what is known today as Mayslake Hall. It resembles the timber-frame buildings which were popular in England at the time. Sections of the estate have been sold over time, and the last 89 acres, including the Portiuncula Chapel, was sold to the Forest Preserve District back in 1993.
I, along with several other photographers, was given the opportunity to use the venue as the backdrop for a styled shoot-out. For those who do not know, a shoot-out is an organized event where models and spaces are styled to be photographed by several photographers. This collaboration with vendors and the educational aspect of such an event is super beneficial to all parties. With that being said, I’d like to thank all of the vendors that participated and the main bodies that made this possible (listed down below!)
Mayslake Hall is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is currently being used as an event venue, including art exhibits, performances and architectural tours. On a beautiful day in February, it was our gorgeous space to photograph a group of fabulous models and very talented vendors. Each room of the estate had a story. Original elements of the mansion gave it its character, but the declining conditions of its walls were just as beautiful. If only those walls could talk!
It took me a minute to take in all of this historic elegance when I set foot into the main library. The grand fireplace with its surrounding woodwork was extraordinary. I was instantly transformed into the world of Belle from Beauty and the Beast. Though I wasn't in France, the Tudor-style was reminiscent of those seen across Western Europe. Carefully selecting a leather-bound book from the mile-high book cases, I was ready to sit down by the fire to enjoy a peaceful read. Surely, no fire was lit, but a girl can daydream!
Thank you for having me! Can't wait to do this again!
Deer Grove Forest Preserve | Palatine, Illinois | Winter Maternity Shootout | Jaclyn | January 27, 2019
What do photographers do in the winter during our slow season? Well naturally we get bored and coordinate our own photoshoot or as we call them, a shootout! So why not plan one for a balmy 7-deg day? Outdoors. Great idea!
Our model and fellow photographer, Jaclyn, braved the bone chilling temps and gave us the most gorgeous maternity session we could have hoped for.
Though the temperature was definitely not ideal, the landscape and light was beautiful. Shimmering untouched snow, glistening around our model was quite the sight! The colors of both of Jaclyn’s gowns looked amazing against the crisp white snow.
Thank you to all the photographers that made it out! Special thank you to Jaclyn who volunteered to potentially become a human popsicle (though she rocked it like it was 70-deg outdoors!). Another thank you goes out to my good friend and fellow photographer, Sheena, who helped dig my car out of the snow when I got stuck and the stranger who helped push me out! Never a dull moment!
Now enjoy this beautifulness below!
I just want to be clear that this session took place on December 15, 2018. DECEMBER!!! For those who are not from the Midwest, the middle of December could literally be a tundra. Not this time. We reached 50s that day. Temperatures that are more representative of the late autumn days. We had to reschedule this session initially due to rain and I'm so happy we did! Weather aside, look at this adorable face!
Oliver turned 6-months earlier this month. Not sure if you recall his newborn photos and his adorable crocheted Captain America outfit? This blue-eyed blondie will break a lot of hearts. Just look at that smile! I couldn't help but smile myself editing these photos every time this little fella popped up smiling ear to ear!
We were all waiting for the arrival of this Thanksgiving baby! But just like in most cases, baby has plans of his own. Though he missed his first Thanksgiving Day feast, there was so much to be thankful for just a few days later. So calm and so adorable! Even big brother, Rupert couldn't get enough of him throughout the session. He is already so protective, but yet so gentle with this little guy. I'm so thrilled that your family is growing and can't wait for your new adventures with baby Theo. Congratulations!
Spring Valley Nature Sanctuary | Schaumburg, Illinois | Maternity | Erin + Family | November 24, 2018
Erin + Matt will be expecting their little girl on Christmas Eve and we wanted to make sure that we were able to capture some last photos of them as a family of 3 (minus the doggies of course) before the weather turned. You wouldn't have even thought that a winter storm was approaching with the warmer November we had yesterday. Relatively speaking, the 40s felt really nice.
We are now a few weeks beyond the fall peak and I was surprised to see some color remaining. Though it may have been a sea of yellow leaves on the grounds of the Nature Sanctuary, it made for some nice photographs. We had a great time taking a stroll through the sanctuary and making our way to the Heritage Farm on the other end. I think Brinen really enjoyed the animals there, especially the horses that were extremely friendly. Almost too friendly? Perhaps for my comfort level, but this little boy was braver than I was! You will be an awesome big brother, Brinen!
Congratulations you guys! Can't wait for baby girl to arrive!
Salvatore's | North Pond | Lincoln Park |Chicago, Illinois | Wedding Photography | Hoxie | November 17, 2018
They say that rain on your wedding day is good luck.
What about snow? Both? Well if precipitation is good luck then Anthony and Kathleen hit the jackpot! The day started with flurries, progressed to big wet beautiful flakes of snow and ended with a wintry mix, all before stopping at reception time. If you think you won't be seeing any outdoor formals in this blog you would be mistaken. I just happened to have the best bridal party ever! Let's start at the beginning.
Kathleen + Anthony appeared on my blog last month for their engagement session. Don't remember? Here's a clue: QUACK! (or just click this link). We will revisit Kathleen's love for these cute little creatures throughout their wedding day. Two instances of ducks in this blog entry! Can you spot the duck!? Feel free to contact me with the answers, this can be fun!
Kathleen and her bridesmaids started the day at her apartment where they prepared for the couple's special day. St. Clement was a short distance away where Anthony was awaiting his beautiful wife. The church was simply breathtaking, and the ceremony just the same. As the snow continued outside, Kathleen and Anthony, in front of friends, family + God, committed to each other and became husband and wife.
It wasn't very long after that the temperature rose just high enough to change that snow over to some sleet and rain. Poof, no more white stuff. The bride is the only one allowed to wear white, right?
Umbrellas in hand we headed over to North Pond where the happy couple and their bridal party took some of their formal photos. No coats ladies?! What troopers! I personally wouldn't go without my winter coat, boots and hat! But for photo's sake they braved the cold and the elements! Thank you, thank you, thank you!
With formals completed and still plenty of time before the cocktail hour, the bridal party had their own pre-cocktail cocktail hour (I just made that up, perhaps it will trend on twitter? #precocktailcocktailhour) at Niche 905 rooftop. Views for days! And the best part, we had the place all to ourselves!
Arriving at the reception, I entered into a cute little ristorante, Salvatore's. The intimate space had the ambiance every wedding reception deserves. Warm and inviting! The speeches were heartfelt and the first dances full of joy. Kathleen + Anthony danced to a song that I have loved for years, but they surprised us with a remix. Anthony swept Kathleen off her feet and when they looked in one another's eye, we all saw it. They found their one and only.
Congratulations Kathleen + Anthony!
Hair: Robert Jeffrey - Lakeview East Studio
MUA: Vanessa Rose Makeup
Bride's Dress: Country Bride + Gent
Bride's shoes (formal): Nina
Bride's shoes: Keds for Kate Spade
Suits: Men's Wearhouse
Florals: Bunches Chicago
Cake: Molly's Cupcakes
Cake Topper: Swarovski
Ceremony: St. Clement
Photographers: Monika Thorpe Photography (main)
Sheena Anne Photography (second)
Not only are these beautiful people my awesome clients, they are my friends. From bowling together in high school, to capturing their engagement photos, wedding photos (and many in between) to this gorgeous maternity session! Ashley + Dan will have a lot to be thankful for this Thanksgiving as their little one is due just in time for the Holiday. Oh and it's a boy!
Ashley is definitely showing off that maternity glow! Can't imagine a more beautiful mommy-to-be! Daddy-to-be is already prepping to teach his son all there is to know about life...or perhaps just all the things daddy likes. You don't know it yet little one, but you will like bowling, Adidas, Justin Timberlake and Jimmy Fallon just to name a few!
Can't wait to meet you baby boy! You're so lucky to have such great parents!
***Dan won't probably let me live this down, but I have to tell you how awesome these two are. Side story: when Dan + Ashley arrived for their session I was in a panic. My battery charger had failed and the batteries I had that I assumed were fully charged were dead! I still had enough battery power for a few photos, but surely not enough for a full session. Realizing my panic Dan (calm, cool and collected as he is) helped me locate an outdoor outlet and provided the necessary tools to unscrew the outlet cover so my charger would fit properly...and charge! Needless to say, I pitched the defective charger. And I'm so grateful that they arrived in time to rescue me! Though I know Dan will forever remind me..."Hey remember that time...?"
Thank you both so much! See you in December!
Spring Valley Nature Sanctuary | Schaumburg, Illinois | Engagement Photography | Anthony + Kathleen | October 6, 2018
It really is true. Love can be found at the bowling alley! As was true for these two beautiful people! Anthony + Kathleen are getting married this November and I should expect ducks! Yes, ducks! A Swarovski crystal duck will sit upon their cake. Kathleen has a slight obsession. So much so that Anthony used a plush duck as a part of his proposal. That duck will forever be a part of their love story. I'm not sure where else I will find ducks, but I forsee some surprises on their wedding day!
I've known Anthony for a few years when we worked together in the aviation industry. He couldn't have found a better girl! One of the first things I said after meeting Kathleen for the first time at their wedding consultation was, "Hey when can we go out and grab some drinks?" She's so much fun, easy to talk to and just perfect for Anthony! I can't wait to be there for your special day. Many happy years! No matter where life takes you, remember that together is the most beautiful place to be.
Spring Valley Nature Sanctuary | Schaumburg, Illinois | Family Photography | Brandon + Chase and Family | October 6, 2018
I was very nervous about this weekend. Very. Forecasts have been saying rain, all day. ALL WEEKEND! How lucky were we to have this session scheduled in the morning! A little damp, but very comfortable and no rain!
Brandon + Chase are super fun and adventurous little boys. Just ask them about all the superheroes they love! Captain America and the Hulk, ladies and gentlemen. So cute! Remember, all little boys are just superheroes in disguise. But sometimes being a brother can be even cooler than being a superhero. Always love each other, you'll have a best friend for life. Thank you for letting me capture some sweet moments of you and your family.
South Barrington, Illinois | At Home | Family Photography | Addison, Ayla and Weston + Family | September 29, 2018
I was so happy to get an e-mail from Jennifer asking me to take photos of her family again this year! And they are incredibly lucky to live in such a beautiful neighborhood that we don't even need to leave! Addison, Ayla and Weston have surely grown in a year's span but so did their family, by one pup! You all know I love Bostons!
Weston plays soccer, and Ayla does ballet! And check out Addison! What girl doesn't love a cute pair of cowboy boots (with fringe nonetheless)? Stay awesome you three! May everyday be an adventure, and may your journey always lead you home.
Side note about this time of year: This was the first shoot of the year where I wore boots and a warm fall jacket. I woke up that morning to 48-deg (we are still in September mind you...) and I was hoping the sunshine would keep us all warm, especially the kiddos! Thank goodness that it did! Soon after our shoot, the clouds rolled in and it felt cool again...followed by some drizzle. Oh the joys of changing seasons!
Strong winds and high waves at Lighthouse Beach resulted in a change of plans for this photo session. My dear photographer friend (Sheena Anne Photography) and I wound up back at Cantigny Park in Wheaton, Illinois. Just like we did 2 years ago! With the new renovations to the park, there is always plenty of options for us to consider.
Sweet little Ava showed up with her hair beautifully done-up and wearing a fluffy tulle dress...in true princess style! Big brother Ethan has grown so much since I've seen him last. It's hard to believe he will be a teenager! And of course my beautiful and talented friend who I have known since we were 16 years old! Thank you for trusting me with your family photo sessions! You have grown to be an incredible photographer and I value our friendship and professional relationship more than you know! Keep learning, keep growing and don't stop being awesome!
(Check them out in 2015 at the wedding of Sheena + Jerimiah!)
Look at those golden curls! Goldilocks, no doubt! Claire, the Moana loving, airplane watching, adventurous little sweet one-year old. It was the perfect day, a bit overcast but perfect even light for our little family shoot. We took a walk around our neighborhood lake and captured some adorable moments of Claire and her mom + dad. And let me tell you, Claire loves family hugs. Smiling ear to ear, running into the arms of her parents. It was the sweetest thing, as she did it over and over again.
Stay sweet little one, and may adventure pave the way to your bright future. Mommy + Daddy are truly blessed! See you around the neighborhood!
Settler's Park | Plainfield, Illinois | Children's Photography | Sisters | Maddie + Hannah + Family | September 2, 2018
Sisters are connected throughout life by a special bond. They are the perfect best friend, a partner in crime and your biggest cheerleader. And when they grow up, a sister will always be a part of that childhood that will never get lost. I saw all that in Maddie + Hannah. A dancer and a soccer player, but sisterhood brings them together. It's like the saying I used before, two different + unique beautiful flowers from the same garden.
Maddie + Hannah may look familiar. In 2015, I had the pleasure of capturing the merging of 2 families at Cantigny Park. You can check out the blog entry for that beautiful wedding day here: Kelly + Steve
Riverview Farmstead Preserve | Naperville, Illinois | Bennett + Family | Family Photography | September 1, 2018
You already saw her cousin Olive on the blog earlier this week, now Bennett makes an appearance with her mom + dad! Spunky little Bennett! This Arizona girl came into town to spend the holiday weekend with her Illinois/Pennsylvania family. I must say, I missed this family so much! Haven't seen Zoe, Sean + Bennett since 2015, when I shot their beautiful wedding at Meson Sabika in Naperville. So much fun, laughter and love when I'm around them. I always say that their wedding was definitely one of my favorites. And their adorbale girl Bennett, a little ray of sunshine. I'll see you in Arizona really soon!
Riverview Farmstead Preserve | Naperville, Illinois | Family Photography | Olive + Family | September 1, 2018
When cousins get together for the holiday, we take photos! Olive and her mom + dad flew in from Philadelphia to spend the Labor Day weekend here in Illinois. Cousin Bennett + family were also visiting from Arizona! We definitely couldn't pass up an opportunity for a big family shoot! (Bennett's blog entry to come!). We were lucky to have a rain free afternoon and evening after a pretty wet few days.
I think Olive enjoyed some time on the farm. Her baby blues looked like sapphires in the light and her smile was the cutest I have seen! Especially when she looked at grandma! Thank you for letting me capture these sweet moments.