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  • Hello! My name is Mandy. I am a Photographer serving mostly Southern Wisconsin and Northern Illinois, but willing to travel anywhere! Photographs are important to me, and if you are considering me as Your Photographer, they are important to you as well. I am very fortunate to have clients who trust me to document their lives, and I take that job very seriously. My work has been featured in Memory Makers Magazine, and Northwest Quarterly. In 2009, I was one of FotoDC's top 100 FOTOBAMA finalists in which I had my photograph of the President prominently displayed in Washington DC's Newseum, as well as published in a book. To Learn a little more about me and my photography philosophy and style, click on the link below.

My Home For The Holidays

Ahhh…. My house is clean. Like CLEAN clean. Like Monica from FRIENDS clean. Shopping is completely finished, and the presents are wrapped. I honestly don’t know how I managed to get it done with a few days to rest and enjoy, seeing as how we JUST got our tree a week ago Tuesday and I only started decorating and shopping on Sunday. Taking a trip to Disney World the first 2 weeks of December and then getting awfully sick once i got home kind of put a hold on getting my house in Holiday order. I certainly did not do as much as I usually do and it was kind of nice to have an excuse to not go overboard and be my usual neurotic self. And truthfully, I’ll take a 10 days in warm weather at Disney for Christmas over FULLY decking my halls at home any day!!

As I sit and enjoy a slightly simpler Holiday. I thought I’d share some photos of my Home from last Christmas.  When we bought our house 16 years ago it was pretty much falling apart. But when I walked into it, I immediately envisioned it decorated for Christmas (and remodeled of course) and I was sold. Many of my favorite Christmas treasures are vintage items that I’ve been collecting for years and as I put them out each year I can’t help but feel like they were destined for my 100+ year old home.

I do like to mix old and new however, and every few years I tend to re-theme our living room tree and decor. Last year was the year of Deer, Tartan, and plaid and I loved it. This room makes me so happy to sit in with it’s Cheerful and Classic Christmas Colors.

 

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I’m actually a little obsessive about my wrapping paper. I usually find the best patterns (at the best prices) at T.J. Maxx and if I find something I love I will make sure to get multiples so that I can use it for a few years. I also love to just display the rolls because, well, they are just so darn pretty to me!

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My “Blue Room” decor rarely changes. It’s usually filled with my Vintage Shiny Brites in colors of Aqua, Pink, and Gold.

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Some of my favorite items in this room are my vintage Christmas Cards and my wood carved Nativity from Haiti.

 

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Each year, my hallway and staircase look completely different. You never know what I will do (or not do) with it. Kind of depends on my mood and how much energy I have left as it is usually the last to get decorated.

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My Dining Room is another that makes me so happy. Filled with vintage goodies that i’ve collected over the years. Shiny Brites and Napco Figurines. And, I cannot forget all of my Vintage Christmas Table Cloths! They are probably my all time favorite Christmas Decor.

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I have to give a shout out to a good friend, Janet Murray, who has very generously supplied me with many beautiful Shiny Brite Ornaments over the years. She too collects them and seems to pick me up a few treasures when she’s looking for her own.

Last but not least is my kitchen. Last year I went all out with my decor in there. I probably went a little overboard, but if you can’t do that at Christmas then when can you?

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Some of my favorite items in the kitchen include the giant copper cookie cutters that I found at a antique store, and my Napco Kissing Angel Salt and Pepper Shakers. Then of course, my kitchen is always stocked with my favorite yummy butter cookies. I eat way too many of those each year!

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Thanks for taking time to look around my Holiday Home. I hope you can see how much joy it brings me to fill it with my beautiful and bright treasures. It certainly helps me get through a time of year that I would otherwise categorize as “gloomy.” I’d love to hear about any special Christmas treasures that you fill your home with each year and any stories you have behind them!

 

 

Chelsey + Mike|The Abbey At Lake Geneva Wedding Photographer

I cannot wait to share these photos from Chelsey and Mike’s Wedding day. I first photographed the two of them in Chicago about this time last year and it was easily one of my most favorite Chicago Sessions ever. Chelsey is sweet, stylish, and artistic and I knew that her day would be stunning. And it was! Mike is a super nice guy and his love for and support of Chelsey is evident. While their day was beautiful and filled with lots of love from family and friends, it was not without it’s challenges. It happened to take place on one of the hottest and stormiest days of the year (after months of almost no rain mind you.) But Chelsey and Mike were troopers and handled it pretty well.

I was so happy to have friend and fellow photographer Kaia Calhoun along for the day and she helped me tremendously when things got a bit chaotic due to last minute changes, etc… Wedding days are pretty fast paced and crazy for the photographer anyway, with very little time to sit down or pause. But this day was particularly challenging and Kaia pulled more than her “2nd Photographer” weight for me. I was so appreciative of her help. Plus, she just does beautiful work. She shot all of the Men’s Getting Ready and Groomsmen Photos as well as some of the other photos that I have noted below.

Their entire day was held at The Abbey on Lake Geneva, which I had photographed at before. I was very excited to be back there since I love the grounds and vintage feel of the facilities.

 

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While everyone prepped, storms were looming and it was constantly sprinkling. Discussions were had about what the Plan B would be since the Ceremony was to take place outside.

 

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The guys obviously did some amateur weather forecasting while waiting…

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Then consulted the pros. And it was bad news.

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Not a sight that a couple wants to see on their wedding day (although legend has it that rain on the big day is lucky.)

 

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Everyone still had a great attitude though and just rolled with the punches.

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One of my favorite moments of the day was this moment with Chelsey’s family and friends. Part prayer and part “Go Team”, it was so awesome to see everyone coming around her and giving her support and love.

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Oh my were the kiddos so cute!!

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*Both Kids Down the Aisle photos by Kaia

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Because the Ceremony had to be shifted indoors at the last minute, it was incredibly cramped. In case you were wondering, “how close does one have to be in order to be “up in someone’s grill?” That’d be this close. THIS. CLOSE.

As a photographer, I am supposed to blend in and be as discrete as possible. I am NOT used to being this close to the bride and groom during the ceremony. But we worked it out. And they were once again, say it with me now, troopers.

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*Thanks to Kaia for the lovely photo below,  as well as half of the details shots in the 2 collages below.

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It stopped raining just in time for outside photos which I know made Chelsey very happy and relieved (me too.)

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I’m so in love with the following portrait of Chelsey along with so many of their portraits together. I think they just radiate happiness.

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*The four photos below were shot by Kaia

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Lovely Mother/Son photo shot by Kaia

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One of the sweetest things I’ve seen at a wedding was their Mother Daughter Dance. I was pretty much in tears. Thanks to Kaia for getting this lovely shot.

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And, I’ll end with this super awesome dance floor shot. This right here is why I love photographing the reception so much. Young and Old letting loose is what it’s all about.

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Thank you so much Chelsey and Mike for allowing me to photograph your day!

19 Years of Climbing

I sat terrified on the side of the mountain, unable to move in any direction. ANY Direction at all. If I moved sideways, I’d start slipping. If I moved forward, I’d start slipping. We had already put in a couple of hours on the side of Mt. Massive (named accordingly), the 2nd Highest Mountain in CO. I was not about to give up, but I was terrified to move. We had come to the point in our climb where we had to pass through the scree ( a huge patch of sandy soil and gravel that when combined with the steep incline of the mountain side makes it almost impossible to gain any traction.) Next to the scree was a huge ice field, so our options were go through it or go back. Erik had somehow figured out how to run fast enough through the gravel to make some progress and pass me up (kind of a 3 steps forward, 2 steps back thing.) Obviously, having no fear worked in his favor.  As I gave up and began crying, he came back down to me. He sat with me for the longest time until he finally revealed his plan. He would get below me and PUSH me up that mountain. And that is what he did. Both hands on my bum, I ran and he ran behind me, pushing me through that scree. When we got through, I sat and cried some more until I was ready to keep climbing. Hours later, we made it to the summit where we got to celebrate and enjoy the view….For about 10 min. See when you climb mountains, you have to get to the summit by a certain time in order to get back down before the storms roll in. Because lightening. Because being fully exposed on the side of the mountain is being a human lightening rod. Because the descent down a 14,000 ft mountain is precarious enough without adding dodging lightening into the mix. As we began our descent down that mountain side, everyone in our party moved as quickly as we could, but the storm was descending right a long with us. At some point I noticed that Erik was lagging behind (he had gotten altitude sickness at the top and had to sit and rest periodically on the way down.) As I looked up at him, lightening hitting all around him (I kid you not), I yelled at him that I loved him and that I was sorry but our daughter needed at least one non dead parent. And I left him in the dust.

And such has been our 19 years together. When I do not have the courage to continue or even start, he sits calmly with me and then at the perfect time pushes me up the mountain. He is not afraid of anything and I need that. I have always needed that. Because I’m afraid of, well, a lot of stuff. And though sometimes I get so scared I leave him in the dust, he’s o.k. with it.

Because when he is exposed on the side of a mountain threatened with lightening, he just finds a large flat piece of boulder and rides it down like a boogie board (that really happened.)

 

Our First Climb Up Mt. Massive

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Life might be a lot like climbing CO mountains. There are few things I’ve done that are more challenging, but so rewarding. I highly recommend it if you are physically able to do it. It is not always fun. It is not leisure. It’s not just “hiking.” It is hours of willing yourself to put one foot in front of the other when you get tired and can’t breathe (not a lot of oxygen up there.) But, the reward it great. And, if you can persevere, you feel like can get through anything.

 

There is awe inspiring beauty a long the way.

Our climb in 2013 of Mt. Democrat, Mt. Cameron, Mt. Lincoln, and Mt Bross

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But the ascent is deceptive. You always have longer and farther to go than you think.

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Climbing with the ones you love is best.

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Along with friends

 

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You adventure through fields of boulders, scree, snow and ice.

 

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You feel so unbelievable small up there, which really gains you some perspective.

 

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And beautiful views.

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First Mountain of the Day

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You climb at your own pace. You may get passed by 60 year olds, or you may pass up 12 year olds. But, you continue to put one foot in front of the other. And breathe.

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You celebrate the peaks and plateaus.

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Even when the peaks are scary and there’s a chance you could fall a great distance.

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Third Mountain of the Day

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And you will look back at the valley’s and say, “look how far I’ve come.” God is good.

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And when long descent is over, you tell yourself, “I can’t do that again.” Or in the case of MY first climb, “I’d rather give birth 10 times than do that again.”

But when you step back and look at the big picture, you see the beauty in the landscape. You see where all of your hard work, perseverance, and willingness to push through landed you. On Mountain tops with views that few have experienced.

 

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I thank God for my Climbing Partner. We have been through a lot in our 19 years. Cross Country Moves, Sickness, Travel, General Hilarity, House floods, Church Building, Loss and Grieving, Music Making, International Adoption, Beautiful Children, and lots and lots of home improvement projects. There is no one I’d rather do life and Mountains with than him.

May 25, 2016 - 2:02 am

Jackie Ray - Beautiful!

May 25, 2016 - 2:07 am

Tonya L. Greenfield-White - love the metaphor and just love you guys…thank you for sharing <3

May 25, 2016 - 5:20 am

Kathy Ruck - What a lovely adventure!

May 25, 2016 - 3:27 pm

Marian van Dalen-Anderson - Nice! Love you two!

Cathy + Lloyd | Wisconsin Wedding Photographer

 

Getting to see and work with a previous client’s Friends or Family is one of my favorite things. So I was thrilled when Cathy contacted me and asked if I was available for her and Lloyd’s April Wedding Date. I instantly remembered both of them from her daughter Mandy’s Wedding (which was one of my most favorite weddings to photograph and you can view it HERE.) I got to learn more about their sweet love story as we met back in Dec. to discuss wedding details. Both had lost their spouses and it was evident that they were so thankful for this second chance at finding love. Their whole day celebrated that love, along with their love for their children and grandchildren. It was simply a happy day and I hope that you can see that in their photos.

 

It was clear that lots of photos of their grandchildren was a priority. And, this little cutie gave me plenty to photograph throughout the day!

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Very sweet moment watching her sons walk her down. Her daughter Mandy had her brother’s walk her down as well. I thought that it was so special they share that.

 

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This little guy never stopped smiling. The whole day long! I think he was happy for his grandma. 🙂

 

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I was really excited to be able to photograph in This church again. It is just so beautiful. And Father Mike gives a really spirited and personal Ceremony.

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It was so lovely to see their children surrounding them with love and celebrating with them.

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And, the cutest couple award goes to….

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Just a few details here. The reception was just beautiful. I heard that Mandy was responsible for the gorgeous flowers. The speeches were hilarious.

Lloyd has such a great sense of humor and had a whole bit planned out that had everyone in stitches.

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Easy to see they are in love.

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And of course, there was plenty of dancing. It was so much fun to see both the littles and the Not So Littles out on the dance floor. I actually got to meet several of Lloyd and Cathy’s couple friends during the reception.

I loved hearing their stories. Many talked to me about they met and married. Of course it made me eager to get home and give my own husband a hug.

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Thank you Lloyd and Cathy for choosing me to document your happy day!

May 14, 2016 - 11:41 am

Dottie Koerner - Beautiful pictures!

May 14, 2016 - 8:18 pm

Janice Ballenger - What beautiful pictures!

Fall Home Fun

Can I be honest for a minute on this Thanksgiving Eve? I really really do not care for Fall. I can hear about 95% of you gasping right now. Let me explain. I grew up in Southern California where Fall means, well, not snow (yes we got quite the dumping on last week with over a foot.) My first Wisconsin Fall took place 19 years ago and I was really excited about it. I had heard about the fall colors and they did not disappoint. My mom and dad came to visit from CA and it was so much fun showing them around and doing all of typical Midwest Fall Activities together. It also happened to be an El Nino year, which of course meant waaaaay warmer than usual temps. Looking back I feel I may have been tricked, because little did I know that subsequent year’s would be cold as heck!

What I also did not know was that the very next Fall, immediately after Halloween, I would watch my Dad pass away in the Hospital. Every year thereafter, the crisp (cold) air and and falling leaves would be there to remind me of one of the saddest moments of my life. This season is a season of struggle for me. Facing the uncomfortable cold (sometimes snow in early Oct.), the dying back of my beloved greenery (you all no I love my growing things) and the memories of my dad (yes it can still hurt after 18), the melancholy can seem to sneak up on me.

This year was different though. Maybe it was that blessed El Nino bringing me some unusually warm temps. Or maybe it’s been some hope that I have received for myself and for other’s I know that have been struggling with their health. Whatever it was, somehow I managed to really love Fall this year. For the first time ever, I decorated my house for the season. I found so much Joy and Therapy in doing so too!! In fact, I found that therapy so often that my husband said, “You and your pumpkin painting!” I did paint quite a few of them. I also found some joy in many other DIY fall projects, which I will try to point out.

Tomorrow I will have 15+ people that I love in my house. It will be filled with joy and laughter and maybe a few tears as we will be missing someone who cannot be with us. But, I am so blessed and thankful to have a home to share, friends and family to share it with, and a husband and kids who put up with all of my pumpkin painting. I hope you enjoy my  photos as you all prepare to gather with your own loved ones.

XOXO Mandy

 

Our Kitchen was remodeled 2 years ago due to a flood. It is absolutely the most favorite room in my home! I’m not a huge fan of orange, but added some in for the season. I think it goes well with my copper elements as well.

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Have to keep some of these treats around for my 2 year old niece. She calls them acorns. 🙂

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One of my favorite projects this fall. Best part is that when the pumpkins are done, I can put the succulents in one of my terrariums.

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Onto my living room. Yes, I have white couches. Yes, I babysit a 2 year old And have teenagers and A husband. Yes, the covers are currently being washed for company tomorrow.

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Each season I draw on a fresh piece of craft paper for under my coffee table glass. This past spring and summer it was peonies. Last Christmas it was a deer head. Dried Hydrangeas from my yard were a perfect fit for my vase.

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Pinterest is great for free printouts!

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Onto our Fireplace room (or as we call it “The Blue Room”)

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My banner changes throughout the seasons, but I always incorporate some blue watercolor elements because I love watercolor. My Dad actually painted watercolors growing up and I loved seeing his work.

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Painting Dropcloths are great for wall hanging and lettering canvases.

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Tis the season for lots of Wheat!!

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I am not at all great at Chalkboard lettering, but I at least can draw some simple leaves.

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My Dinning Room is another one of my favorites this season. I went a bit fancier than I thought I would. But, those green pumpkin and copper accents were calling my name.

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Say it with me, “Copper Spray Paint is your friend.”

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Photo of my Daddy up there.

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Spray Paint goes with everything. Even Wheat!

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A great reminder for us all this Thanksgiving season.

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Happy Thanksgiving!

November 26, 2015 - 3:13 am

Jennifer Anne - BEAUTIFUL!

November 26, 2015 - 3:23 am

Kimberly Grace - Beautiful home, Mandy! Wish I could visit you sometime : ) Hope you guys have a wonderful Thanksgiving <3

November 26, 2015 - 3:54 am

Ruth Atwood - Very pretty

November 26, 2015 - 5:59 am

Julie Loven - Absolutely gorgeous!

November 26, 2015 - 1:51 pm

Dorothy Eicher - You have such z beautiful wY of expressing who you are and I love you! Your home has always been one of my favorite examples of a “Martha Minded” woman’s home. Well done Mandy!

November 26, 2015 - 3:28 pm

Camille Henry - Gorgeous! Mandy, it is wonderful to see you enjoying your giftedness! Your home is picture perfect. Love you so much.

November 30, 2015 - 12:02 am

Janet Sloss Murray - Mandy, your kitchen turned out perfectly! <3