A lovely family session

There is nothing better than spending an afternoon in Fountain Hills with a family who loves to laugh, share their love, and just lights up around each other. They arrived from all parts of the country to spend a week relaxing in the sun and celebrate their father’s 60th birthday. They were so laid back and wonderful, I felt like I’d known them for years.  The session ended up with us quoting Deep Thoughts by Jack Handy. My kind of people! Diane and Jim are surrounded by a wonderful family who loves them. Thank you so so much for letting me spend the afternoon with you!




Karen - They all look so adorable. It’s so obvious they love each other. Awesome session, Julie! :)

diana carver - These are great as always! I love the interaction between the family. You can see how much they enjoy and love each other.

The Unknown


Last November I sat around the room with my photographer friends. We laughed as we played a super lame version of truth or dare. It was one with awkward silences as we were unable to think of questions and no dares, just truths. Finally a question came around the room that scared me. One I wasn’t too sure how to answer. It was, “what do you want to accomplish in your life?” Truth be told, I had just moved across the country, no job, no income, and with a very rocky future ahead. The answer moved around the room quickly, people mentioned babies, getting their dream homes, their photography business being successful, and quitting day jobs.

When the question finally came to me, I held back tears, I didn’t want anyone to know how weak I felt. I answered, slowly with my voice shaking, “I don’t want to be a failure.” My friends stared at each other, they were confused by a vague and complicated answer. Finally, they asked, “what do you mean?” The truth is my decision to give up so much made me feel like a failure. I gave up a good job, a life that didn’t make me happy, but one on a path that was “normal.” Looking ahead I wanted to be content, feel happiness, and laugh.

I’ve been in Arizona six months this month. I’ve been asking myself if I could do it all over would I? If I knew I would be further ahead in my career or have a higher salary if I took the other road? The answer is yes, I would take the road less traveled. It hasn’t been an easy one, but life is supposed to be challenging.

What has the last six months brought? Several things, it’s brought happiness of getting to know family, a dream job for my husband surrounded by people who truly care, a day job that doesn’t feel so much like one, friends who are right beside me even with the hundreds of miles that separate us, learning more about what I’m capable of, and having a husband who can support me through the good and bad. The final thing it has brought is a place that feels like a home.

Things are by no means easy, but they are falling in place. So I must ask, where are you headed in your life? What is holding you back? I know I’m not going to let me fear of failure keep me from the good ahead.

diana carver - I know what you mean! You only fail if you don’t try.

Josh - Right the F on, Julie! I’m TOTALLY with you on this. I NEEDED to read this today. You have NO IDEA how much you just changed my day. The Solars are on the path less traveled as well. Let’s journey together, my friend!

Sarah - Failure is a scary thing, but not following your dreams is even more frightening. I’m so glad to hear you are happy and settling into your new life! Hugs and love!

Magic is believing in yourself, if you can do that, you can make anything happen – von goethe

My friend Erika is an amazing person. When we first met it was right before she ran her half marathon in Napa. She went on a whole weekend by herself to run a half marathon and enjoy a weekend exploring Napa. She truly is an inspiration, not only that she rocked a half marathon, but the fact that she is a strong person. If anyone can do something, it’s Erika. I’m so blessed to have her in my life even though she is far away now. I love our chats and the support we have with each other. I wanted to share her story below and offer some encouragement for those who are considering to run any length.

Why did you decide to run a half marathon?

I decided to run my first half marathon last summer for multiple reasons:

To set out to do something that was out of my comfort zone; therefore, would help me grow and
develop as a person. To challenge myself to do something many people never desire to do. To raise
money for the CCFA which is a non-profit very near and dear to my heart.

What kept you motivated while you were training?

Ultimately, the actual motivation came from within myself. On days that I felt like a run was the last
thing I had time or energy for – the commitment to the goal helped me overcome the self-deprecating
thoughts. Plus I told everyone I came into contact with that I was training for a half marathon, so it
helped knowing that if they asked me how training was going – that I wasn’t going to say something

What were you feeling on race day?

I was filled with lots of emotions on race day…excited, terrified, overjoyed, ready to get it done,
worried, proud, empowered, inspired, motivated, and of course happy!;-)

What is your favorite memory from the race?

The environment in Napa was unreal and I will never forget. However, the feelings were definitely my

What do you suggest for someone who is training for a marathon/half marathon?

I have a number of suggestions/words of wisdom:

Push thru the hard days – use these days as your motivation and inspiration; Tell everyone you know
that you are training for a 1/2; Reward yourself every so often and especially after the race (I treated
myself to a spa day); Don’t do anything for the 1st time on the day of the marathon (i.e. new food,
beverage, run faster than normal, etc.); Stay focused and determined during the run – you will hit a wall
and you need to recognize when it happens and overcome it by using mind over body.

What is your favorite running music/song?

I never listed to music during training or on the day of. I chose to train on my treadmill (to have a
bathroom close by due to Crohn’s), and I watched T.V. while running. I would always DVR inspirational
shows – like Biggest Loser – for motivation before and during the run (especially on the long run days)!
I highly encourage someone to not listen to music during the race so you can soak in all sounds and

How did running a half marathons change your life?

It changed my life completely. Ultimately, I now know I can do anything I set out to do. And this
experience solidified that the most challenging goals will turn into the most rewarding experiences. I am
training for my 2nd half marathon – I will do Napa again in July 2011 for the CCFA. And I plan to run the
San Francisco Full Marathon in October 2011.

Why do you run for Crohn’s and Colitis?

Crohn’s/Colitis is very near and dear to my heart. I have been blessed with Crohn’s for over 10 years
now. But, the reason why I did the Team Challenge last year and the reason I am doing it again is not for
me. I want to make a difference – especially for the kids I have had the honor to meet at CCFA camp. I
want to raise awareness for these diseases. I want to inspire others to make a difference. I will change
the world one mile…one person…one dollar…at a time! Please visit my website (link below) for further
information about Team Challenge and my story.

How can someone give to your marathons?

Please visit my new website:


2011: The Year to Kick Butt and Take Names: Goal 2

I know everyone has been on pins and needles waiting for goal #2.  Just in case you missed goal 1 you can view it here.

I’ve already been working on it for the last month. My husband Josh is an amazing tennis teacher and has so much patience. Since we’ve been dating I’ve always said I would learn tennis. I’ve found hundreds of excuses to avoid it. Josh mentioned he would be teaching a beginner tennis class and that I should join in. Truth is, learning something new in a big group is super intimidating to me. Similar to most people, I hate looking like a complete idiot, which of course happens with new things. So I finally motivated myself to learn something new. Every Saturday I go to my beginner class with other people my age and learn what this tennis thing is all about.

My #2 Goal is to learn to play tennis, by this I mean by the end of the year I’d like to be able to play a match or set or whatever the proper tennis term is (yes, I know nothing!). I have to say I’ve really enjoyed learning tennis. It is not an easy sport to pick up, but I can already tell it is one of skill and is challenging. I plan to keep everyone updated on my progress.

I hope sharing my goals will inspire you to share yours. I suggest sharing your goals with EVERYONE. It will motivate you and keep you accountable. One important thing is to take baby steps with your goals. Its easy to say, “I want to lost 20 pound.” If you don’t start to lose or if it’s slow then you can get discourage (I know I do). Break it down into pieces, such as, I want to lose 3 pounds. Once you meet your goal go to the next goal of I want to lose 3 more pounds. I really believe it all ads up. Even the smallest goal is a HUGE accomplishment. I can’t wait to hear your goals and what motivates you! Make sure to share!

Justin and Amanda

Justin and Amanda’s wedding was on a beautiful day in Phoenix. Amanda just glowed every second she was with Justin. During the ceremony she was literally jumping up and down with excitement. Justin struggled to hold back tears the moment he saw Amanda walk down the isle with her father. The whole day was full of emotions and love.

I loved how Justin would tell everyone how happy Amanda makes him. He teared up just talking about the happiness she brought into his life. It was a perfect and I was happy to be there to photograph their day!

Ceremony and Reception: Ocotillo Golf Resort

This was one of my favorite moments. Justin took in every moment of the day.

This little cutie was so much fun! He loves Mario and showed me how he punches.

This was his Mario punching! Love it!


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