2011: The Year to Kick Butt and Take Names

Well I’ve been MIA for the last month, which is terrible of me. My poor blog has been neglected. I’ve missed sharing my stores and those of my wonderful clients. 2011 is here! Isn’t that exciting? I love all the possibilities a new year brings. I’ve always been an overachiever when it comes to goals. I write them down and guilt trip myself to finish a 1000 of them (I’m a super dork!). Well, I’m calming down my crazy self down and committing to 5 goals this year (yes, I will still have my 101 in 1001, but that doesn’t count!) I’ll be informing you of all five over the next few weeks.

The first goal is……Run a half marathon. Yes, I’ve had this on my list for years (probably 10 or more!). Life always gets busy and I find myself just realizing I’m a wuss and giving up. My favorite excuse is my laziness. Yes, I want to spend my evenings with a glass of wine, watching modern family and eating pizza. You want to hear the awesome thing about this goal? I’m doing it for ME. That’s right, not just to get a rockin’ bod or brag to people that I’m awesome. I don’t care if I finish the half marathon in 3 hours or 10 hours. I’m crossing that finish line with my hands in the hair and dancing to some cheesy song.

So I have a challenge for you! Yes, you! Who wants to run it with me? You can actually run with me in San Diego on June 5 or at the marathon of your choice. Maybe you want to run a 5k or a full marathon, awesome! This is all about the goal YOU want to accomplish. The great thing is we are going to support each other through the process. I’ll be posting about my good and bad days. I want you to do the same. I’m still super out of shape and walking more than running so don’t be embarrassed about where you are. You can do it!

So if you are interested in being part of my half marathon challenge just:
1) send me an email at julie@juliebranyan.com
In the email tell me what marathon you are running and is it a half, full, 5k etc.

Also, who ever signs up will be featured on my blog. I want to have monthly checkups to see how everyone is doing and keep encouraging one another. So have all your details in by February 1st. If you don’t know everything just let me know you want to do it and are still picking out your run. After you’ve completed your run send me a photo of you crossing the finish line in all your awesomeness!

If you are in the Phoenix area let’s get together and run! Send me an email.

Who is ready to kick butt and take names? What are your goals for 2011? If you have a link to your goals leave a comment. I want to hear what everyone else is doing this year!

2011: The Year to Kick Butt and Take Names: Goal 2 » Julie Branyan Photography - [...] 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. [...]

Claire Reynolds - Julie! I’m running a half marathon in April (unless my knee keeps giving me trouble, then I’m mostly walking it). I’m terrified but also really excited. Maybe I’ll convince Jake that I should run the one in June in San Diego with you :)

Nina L. - That’s a great goal to have! You’ll feel so awesome when you’re done. We’ll be cheering for you from Omaha! I’m going to start running again once the foot of snow on the ground melts. ;) Maybe we can go jogging when you’re back in town next! I’m looking forward to hearing what your other goals for the year are.

Leah Bockelman - Great goal, Julie. Good luck!! I will cheer from the sidelines… :)

My sister and her friend have a cool goal/challenge this year that is not comparable to a marathon (or maybe it is, depends on how you look at it… :), but it’s pretty different and I give her a lot of credit for committing herself to it. Feel free to take a peek at their blog!


Tony and Nina Wedding

Nina arrived to the hair salon to find a vase of flowers in their wedding colors and a note from Tony. She read the sweet note and was in tears by the end. Today was the day she had been dreaming of, a day to start her life with the man she loved so much. Even the women who worked at the salon had never seen any groom do something so sweet for his bride. This is how the day started for Nina and it would only be more perfect as it went along.

Nina and Tony had one of the kindest and sweetest families I’ve ever met. I had the opportunity to get to know them between photographing the day. One of my favorite parts of the day was seeing them surrounded by their family at the reception. Her father was in tears as he read through his notes. He talked about watching Nina grow up and how honored he is to have Tony and his family as a part of theirs. Tony’s father spoke about welcoming his new daughter to the family and how Tony had introduced her to baseball which she now enjoyed. The father daughter dance was to the song Gracie by Ben Folds about his little girl growing up. They danced and laughed around the room like they were the only ones there. It was perfect.

On a personal note, I’ve gotten to know Nina and Tony over the last year. They are some of the kindest people I’ve met and their friends would say the same. I’m so happy I’ve had the chance to get to know them. It’s what makes this job so perfect.Thank you both so much! Also, I was lucky to have to Cara Yates as my second shooter.

Florist: Beyond the Vine

Ceremony: St. James Catholic Church

Reception: Anthony’s Steakhouse

Dress: Black Tie and White Satin

Hair Stylist: JC Penney Salon

Cake: Sugar Girl Cakes

Photographer: Julie Branyan Photography

Nina’s fabulous dress. I’ve never seen anything like it with flowers and petals. It was perfect.

Beautiful Gianni Bini shoes.

Her mom gave her a sweet hug after she put on the dress.

I highly recommend a first look. It gives you a moment alone before the day starts and a chance to get all your photos done before the wedding.  This is the moment right before Nina turned the corner to see Tony for the first time.

Look how happy Tony is to see her for the first time.

The handsome groomsmen

They are such a lovely couple.


I have so many favorites. This is one of them.


Nina is gorgeous!


Cara took photos of the girls while I was photographing the guys.

Such perfect moments.

Nina’s father gave a beautiful toast and had everyone in tears.

An exit full of lavender.

Nina and Tony’s Wedding Invitation » Julie Branyan Photography - [...] by her creativity, so I thought I would share her DIY wedding invitation. (You might remember her wedding, her beautiful face is all around my site). Nina’s wedding was book inspired since her and [...]

Heather - What a wonderful “first look” set. I love it!

Karen A - I lovvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvve her makeup!!! It enhances her natural beauty!

Jared Tseng - Great captures. Love the note shot. Those are always really special!

Paul Von Rieter - Awesome work. Lavender exit? Never seen that before, but such a cool idea.

Thomas Lester - LOVE the shot of the bride with her hand on the groom’s shoulder in the reception. That was a nice exchange between them and you nailed it. Great work. The couple has to be thrilled with these images.

Trey - Way to capture the exit lavender! What a lovely wedding and a great photographer.

brie - Great set. The note and flowers were such a perfect start to the day.

Shella - Love the shot of jewellery on the books – my fave :)

Albert Palmer - Nina has a great shy smile. They look great and I think you captured their wedding beautifully.

Shyann - Great wedding! I love the note, so sweet! :)

Nina L. - Oh my goodness Julie, these are amazing! We absolutely love them. I can’t wait to see the rest! You and Cara did such an incredible job and we feel so blessed and lucky to have had you two there. We both really love the kiss picture, where the priest and deacons are all cracking up. :) We kept forgetting to kiss at the rehearsal the night before, so we told them to remind us. The deacon leaned forward and said, “Tony, this is your cue! You can kiss her now!” It was hilarious. Thank you so, so much for your beautiful work!

Tammy Tracy - Beautiful wedding portraits, gorgeous couple. Love the bride taking that big breath once her dress was on- you can really feel the emotion of their day= Fabulous work!

Holy Awesome!

I’ve been calling these posts, “things I’m loving,” but I realized a few weeks ago there are a lot of photographers with a similar name for their posts. I probably saw this a long time ago and then copied the name. Oops! I also thought it didn’t sound very “Julie Branyan.” Two words I saw a lot are holy mole and awesome, so holy awesome was created! Yes, I’m a dork.

Let’s get one with Decembers Holy Awesome list!

These are cute wine glasses I found on Etsy by Modernmadness. I’m into the whole mustache thing right now and I love wine too. Two good reasons to buy them.

I love hats. I admit I can’t pull them all off, but this hat from ShopRuche is too adorable not to share.

Another one from ShopRuche. These earrings are so cute. I would wear them everyday.

Trader Joe’s pumpkin bread. It’s super easy to make and tastes delicious. Tip: add chocolate chips and/or nuts. It adds a little something something.

This is one of my favorite books I’ve read this year. I actually plan on reading it again. It would make a great gift for anyone or it’s just a good book to cuddle up with while enjoying hot chocolate. A Million Miles in a Thousand Years: What I Learned While Editing My Life


If you haven’t heard of the store ModCloth, check it out. They have adorable outfits (perfect for engagement sessions). This chocolate dress is one of my favorites right now!

It’s been awhile since I’ve done yoga, but I found this yoga towel which you can use as a yoga mat or to put on top of your mat during hot yoga. Perfect way to get into shape! It’s even in my logo color.  Gaiam Thirsty Yoga Towel (Smokey Purple)

So what are some of your favorite things this winter? I’d love to know and maybe they can be featured on the next holy awesome list!

josh solar - A Million Miles is my favorite book ever. I have read it 3 times now and will probably hit up the 4th soon. I would also like to recommend this beauty as well, it’s called the Art of Non-Conformity http://www.amazon.com/Art-Non-Conformity-Rules-Change-World/dp/0399536108/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1291428624&sr=8-1

I think you’d totally dig it!

Hilary Mercer - uhmmmmm you can TOTALLY pull off hats yo!

Little Lena

Lena is already inquisitive. She didn’t want to sleep the entire time I was there. Instead she wanted to take in everything around her. One look at her beautiful big eyes and she will melt your heart.

Also, I’m still looking for more newborn models (10 days old or less). Send me a email at julie@juliebranyan.com and I’ll send you all the details!

Look at those beautiful eyes!

I love little baby feet.

So comfy in mom’s arms.

This expression just makes me laugh. How cute!

Such a cute little one.

jaime d - awww what a doll! and those eyes!! holy cow they are huge and beautiful! good work as always girl:)

rachel - how quickly they change! she’s adorable – i hope to see updated pictures of her on here!

My Battle

I’m a planner, organizer, list, and simple person. Lately life has not been following my plans or listening to the fact that I wrote a list specifically in order for my goals to be accomplished by now. It can be exhausting and infuriating when my life has a plan of its own. I’ve felt like I’ve screwed up, like I’m not where other people are at my age.  It makes me wonder, what happened to me?  Did my parents drop me one too many times on the marble floor of our apartment?

I’ve never been the best person to handle change and the unknown. I fear change and have spent most of my life avoiding it. I force myself into difficult situations to see how I’ll react. Stepping on a plane to Japan this year I had an anxiety attack. I was panicked. When I finally arrived after a long flight I got off the plane feeling confident. My goal was to find my train and then find my hotel. It was easy in theory. Buying my ticket, changing money, and getting on the train were all easier then I expected. I spoke no Japanese, but the people were friendly and helped me feel comfortable. When I arrived at my stop, I walked out of the station and was lost. I wanted to cry. I stood there, looked at my map and thought, “come on, this is supposed to be easy.”

I walked back into the station and asked for directions. The problem was I didn’t understand a word she said. I attempted to follow the directions which led me to a big store with tons of noise and all my luggage. I felt alone. The type of alone where you want to click your heals and magically return home. I walked back the way I came and took a taxi the whole 5 blocks to my hotel. When I finally arrived at my hotel I felt defeated. I was tired from the trip, overwhelmed by the world of differences and wanted to go home.

When I finally got to my room I stayed there and avoided the outside world. I ate Luna bars for breakfast, lunch and dinner (part of the reason I can’t stand them now). I was unsure of what I was doing there. There were so many people, a lot of noise, and I didn’t want to go outside. When I finally emerged from my room a day later I figured out the subway, found food at a noodle bar, and found a convenience store. I felt accomplished, like I’d defeated the big giant monster who stood in my way. At that moment I could do anything.

Right now I feel like I did that first day in Japan, but the problem is every time I take a step outside my room something is in my way. I’m caught up in what is not happening with my life and not focused on the positive. I hate that things are not as I expected.  I want to feel that sense of accomplishment, that everything is ok, and remember these battles are part of life. Everyday I’m learning to adjust to my new “normal,” it always takes time. I think I forget that I’m human and things do not happen overnight. One day I will defeat what is in front of me, but for now I’m snacking on Luna bars trying to figure out my next plan of attack.

This photo is of my friend Megan. While I was in Omaha I wanted to have a shoot just for me and she was kind enough to be my model. I haven’t had a chance to work on the images yet. I’ll share as soon as I’m done.

amber - isn’t there something thrilling about knowing there is another adventure around the corner!!

josh solar - You’re doing great, woman! You’re right where you need to be, trust me, and you have a great support system in Josh. Now go listen to some Rabbit! and dance :)

Sarah - Keep your chin up girlie!You’re a strong woman and you can do ANYTHING you put your mind to!

jaime d - Julie thank you for sharing…I feel this way all too often. Defeat. But I always pick myself up and am so grateful in the end. Your beautiful and so talented, I wish we had had the chance to get to know eachother better when you were still here in Omaha…regardless, I hope we can still build a friendship from a distance. Hang in there and ditch those luna bars!!!

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