My Five Fave: Things With Close Girlfriends

That title is all kind of whack – but it will make more sense in a minute.  Promise.

I originally didn’t have a post set up for today.  But after spending an evening of burgers and truffle fries with three of my long-time girlfriends, a new five fave popped into my head.  It may be a little mushy, a little more revealing… well, maybe not – if you know me at all, you know I’m a toucher, a hugger and all around sap.  And that my favorite movie is Steel Magnolias. (Which I may have quoted below.  Maybe.)  But anyway… here are my five favorite things I experience with my close girlfriends.

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1. Long, hard hugs.  And kisses.  I just love them.  You’re squeezed tight, you hold on a little longer than normal, and something inside just melts a little.  And occasionally I remember a time when our arms would stretch a little further around each other… but soft is in, right?

And I know, kisses may be weird to some you… and I’m not European… but I do kiss my close friends goodbye.  Just like I would my parents or my brother.  A swift peck, an extra sign of affection, something that lingers a few seconds longer once I step away.  The. Best.

2. Laughing so hard you can’t breathe and/or cry.  Being able to full-on, without a worry, laugh so hard you think you wet your pants or, if you like me, draw out a snort… I smile just thinking about how much I love a good laugh/cry.

Laughter through tears is my favorite emotion.

3.  Silent cries.  Last night, one of my favorite people had a spectacular day, was on cloud nine… something she just hadn’t experienced in a while.  And in her emotional high, she shared how her co-workers were happy for her and I could see the tears growing in her eyes.  And my own tears welled up silently.  Sympathy crier, that’s me.

Oh sweetheart don’t. Please don’t cry or I will too. I have a strict policy that nobody cries alone in my presence.

4.  Being truly happy for each other.  There’s something about having a friend for 15+ years that’s wonderful.  You know so much about each other you could write a seriously funny biography for each other.  But then the surprises and celebrations along the way make it all even better.  Right now there’s so much good going on with my girlfriends and I’m so  so so happy for them all.  Whether it’s a great career, an engagement or a first kiss – my heart beats a little faster knowing how good they feel about it all.

How precious is this weddin’ gonna get, I ask you?

5. Wordless apologies.  You don’t have to always speak to say you’re sorry.  Sometimes all it takes is a look.  Or an escaped tear.  Or pulling someone in just to be a little closer to them.  There’s a deeper understanding that exists and words don’t always help.

That which does not kill us, makes us stronger.

Bonus: The inside jokes.  Who doesn’t love inside jokes.  Or stories that are told and retold a million times.  Or how your friends compare you to your father on a regular basis.  (I think they just do it to rile me up… and confirm their statements all over again.  Boo.)

I am pleasant! Dammit! I just saw Drum Eatenton this mornin at the Piggly Wiggly and I smiled at the son of a bitch for I couldn’t help myself!

Wendi @ Bon Appetit Hon - Any day that starts with me reading Steel Magnolia quotes is bound to be a good day. Thanks friend….I love you more than my luggage!

Melissa - I love the bonus… that’s one of the things I love so much about my group of friends. The phrase “cool on the box” instantly makes us all dance like one guy and “who’s got charter?” will turn into an argument about the pigs name from that insurance commercial, EVERY time. And, no one thinks we are funny as we do :) I like knowing that other people tell the same stories over and over too!

A Follow Up To A Greek Yogurt Experiment

After trying several different kinds of Greek yogurt and grading each one, I finally found one for me.  And I can honestly say not all Greek yogurts are created equally.  Through my experiment, six different brands met their demise with my mouth (or the trash can).  I kept a chart to score each brand on creaminess, tartness, taste without topping, amount consumed, any additional notes and then an overall score.

Three actually had a score of 4 (out of 5), but there was one that just stretched into first place.  Because it had REAL honey.

Fage is my favorite Greek Yogurt.

A Follow Up To A Greek Yogurt Experiment

The thing with the Fage is that it does not taste great without the honey.  But once you add that sweetness, it compliments the tart yogurt, it builds on the texture and makes it so yummy I end up scraping the bowl.  The problem now is the last two times I’ve been to my Kroger, there hasn’t been any Fage with honey on the shelf – every other flavor you can think of, but no honey.

This just tells me that I’m not the only one that’s figured this little Greek yogurt secret out. ;)

Baby Connor {newborn} | Louisville Newborn Photographer

Love works in mysterious ways – for the good, in most cases.  And in Belinda and David’s case, for the best.  Having known each other for years in high school, they really didn’t get to know each other better until college.  And, as mystery would have it, they fell in love.  I adored seeing them together, how they interacted and just beamed at each other.  Because, you see, I went to high school with them as well… and it was all new to me.  Belinda and David.  And now Connor.

They welcomed home their first child, Connor Wesley, in mid-August of this year.  So all the love and beaming that was going down was all because of this little man they’ve both fallen deeply for.  And I can’t blame them – he was so calm, so quiet and has the biggest, most beautiful eyes.  Well, once you wake him up, that is.  But a perfect little package and all theirs.

Baby Connor {newborn} | Louisville Newborn PhotographerBaby Connor {newborn} | Louisville Newborn Photographer

All those smiles.  I never tire of seeing couples become parents – I can only imagine that when they stare into that little face, or even their partner’s face, they think “We did this – we brought this baby into our home to love forever.”  And that makes my heart flutter.  So does the love that Belinda wears on her face when she’s with these guys.

Baby Connor {newborn} | Louisville Newborn PhotographerBaby Connor {newborn} | Louisville Newborn PhotographerBaby Connor {newborn} | Louisville Newborn Photographer

Oh my goodness.  Total fave.  Happy accident.  Kisses galore.  LOVE.

Baby Connor {newborn} | Louisville Newborn Photographer

David told me that he loves to watch Belinda with Connor – I think it’s because you can see their relationship blossoming.  She’s a beautiful mother for sure.

Baby Connor {newborn} | Louisville Newborn PhotographerBaby Connor {newborn} | Louisville Newborn PhotographerBaby Connor {newborn} | Louisville Newborn Photographer

I love baby feet.  A lot.  Thankfully, so does Belinda.

Baby Connor {newborn} | Louisville Newborn PhotographerBaby Connor {newborn} | Louisville Newborn Photographer

Miss Piper stood watch the entire time.  When we moved Connor, she was up in a heartbeat to make sure no harm was done.  I think she has a new best friend named Connor.

Belinda and David, I am so, so happy for you two.  The fact that you were able to find a life partner in each other, even after the long days of high school, brings a smile to my face.  And now that you’re growing your family… I’m thrilled to the bone.  I wish nothing but happiness in the years to come – through all the firsts you’ll share with Connor, the traditions you’ll create together as a family and all the experiences of parenthood that follow. xoxo

Re-Branding: Evolution of Brand | Louisville Portrait Photographer

Every brand experiences evolution. Every. Brand. Maybe living in the great state of Kentucky is why this one is always first on my mind, but consider Kentucky Fried Chicken – in the early 2000s they changed their name to KFC. More recently, they even pushed “KFG” for their grilled chicken. The brand also went from having an actual spokesperson, Colonel Sanders (who is a real person; my dad met him in a hospital elevator in the 1970s), to a cartoon face. And even now, they’ve even launched KFC Eleven, a concept restaurant that offers healthier options rather than deep-fried chicken.

That, my friends, is brand evolution. Transitioning over time, not only changing the logo but the name, the menu, the ideals behind their brand.  By evolving over time, Kentucky Fried Chicken never became stale – it changed with the times, led the way into new markets and continues to grasp at chances to improve itself.

I’ve been on a “branding” kick for months – I think it’s an exciting topic and have loved the process of re-branding my own photography business. It should be no surprise that I continue to read up on it. But even though I’ve long known that it’s an important part of business, it’s really important for small business owners. Especially photographers.

Your brand is much more than your logo or your products.  Brand encompasses everything about your business, especially the experiences consumers have with your business.  When I say consumers, I’m not just talking about potential and current clients, but everyone – visitors to your blog and Facebook page, people you meet in person, even what people say about you and your business when you’re not around.  Everyone.

That’s why it’s important when considering re-branding (or building a brand from the start), that you consider all elements of what you’re presenting to the world (visuals, voice, interactions, service, information shared), not just the look of the logo.  Which, I feel, is where several of us photographers get hung up – it’s an important part of branding because it helps with recognition, but isn’t the only piece to the puzzle.

As a portrait photographer in Louisville, I know that consumers here have an endless choice of whom to select as their photographer; there are a lot of people who do what I do!  So this is where branding becomes crucial.  Being able to set yourself apart from the crowd is step one; being consistent in your work and having a message that carries through every part of marketing you do for your business will carry you even further.  Your brand really starts with you – YOU become the brand for your small business.

So why did I decide to re-brand?  As much as I loved Shutterboo Photography, I outgrew it.  It was time to put my own name on my work.  And with changing the name of my business, it only made sense to evaluate everything else at the same time.  The look of my website was updated, re-targeted my audience, learned more about SEO and making myself visible in search… and I asked myself questions that made me think more about where I want to be, not just where I am.

But my brand began evolving a few years ago, even before I changed the name to Brooke Murphy Photography.  Just little changes here and there that I notice now.  Like my voice, my photography, my presentation.  But of course, the look of my blog(s) and my logo are what others saw changing:

Re-Branding: The Evolution of Me

Even though a lot of homework goes into discovering your small business brand (or in my case, re-brand), it’s definitely something to invest your time in.  Don’t be afraid to learn more about branding because the end results is learning more about yourself.

To read more posts in my re-branding series, click on the links below:
Re-Branding: The Why
Re-Branding: The Process
Re-Branding: The Packaging

katie - it’s so interesting to see the progression of a brand and i love seeing the evolution of yours. can’t believe i’ve known you since your first logo!

Brooke Murphy Photography - […] To read more posts in the re-branding series, click on the links below: Re-Branding: The Process Re-Branding: The Packaging Re-Branding: Evolution of Brand […]

Brooke Murphy Photography - […] the re-branding series, click on the links below: Re-Branding: The Why Re-Branding: The Packaging Re-Branding: Evolution of Brand To see more of Brooke’s work, visit her portfolio. Follow Brooke on Facebook or […]

Brooke Murphy Photography - […] Re-Branding: The Why Re-Branding: The Process Re-Branding: Evolution of Brand […]

Baby Tanner {newborn} | Crestwood Newborn Photographer

It was whirl of news to learn that Lindsay and Aaron were expecting.  They had kept it a bit quiet, but once the cat was out of the bag, all of the normal baby-talk started.  Including my favorite part: names.  They had shared early on that they loved the name Tanner and that Aaron liked it paired with Colt.  And even months later, after having a few people give concerned looks, their gut feeling paid off.  Because their baby boy who came along in August looked like a Tanner Colt from the start.

Baby Tanner, though only three weeks old when I photographed, was big little guy.  All legs and arms, and long feet.  And his hair – oh his hair!  He was born with so much it already covered his little ears.  But even though Tanner appeared to be larger newborn to me, he fit perfectly in his parents’ arms.  And that’s all that really matters.

Baby Tanner {newborn} | Louisville Newborn Photographer

Don’t lie – I know you’re in love with all that soft baby hair too.

Baby Tanner {newborn} | Louisville Newborn PhotographerBaby Tanner {newborn} | Louisville Newborn PhotographerBaby Tanner {newborn} | Louisville Newborn Photographer

Be still my heart.  I know this is one of Lindsay’s favorites too.

Baby Tanner {newborn} | Louisville Newborn Photographer

Baby Tanner {newborn} | Louisville Newborn Photographer

Baby Tanner {newborn} | Louisville Newborn PhotographerBaby Tanner {newborn} | Louisville Newborn Photographer

Another favorite – all the white space makes me go cuckoo for cocoa puffs.

Baby Tanner {newborn} | Louisville Newborn PhotographerBaby Tanner {newborn} | Louisville Newborn PhotographerBaby Tanner {newborn} | Louisville Newborn Photographer

Lindsay and Aaron, I’ve loved being able to share your journey of starting a family!  Not only as a photographer, but as a friend.  Seeing you two with your little guy, Mr. Baby, is one of the sweetest experiences and I know that you both are going to be wonderful parents.  I can’t wait to watch him grow, learn and become more like you two. xoxo

To see Lindsay and Aaron’s maternity session, click here.

katie - You know I’m a huge proponent of printing and framing pictures…and the black and white of sweet baby Tanner in his daddy’s arms needs to be displayed for all to see. It’s absolutely amazing! Love these images!

Brooke Murphy Photography - […] meet Baby Tanner with his family, click here. To see more of Brooke’s work, visit her portfolio. Follow Brooke on Facebook or […]