Ashley West Photography » blog

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I have to say, this is one of my favorite sessions I’ve ever shot. 1. I LOVE Christmas. Any photo involving some Christmas spirit or a tree farm makes my heart thump. I love this shoot mainly because I feel I was able to capture this family’s true essence. I just joined them on one of their family traditions and we had the best time. I really enjoyed getting to know the M family. And their girls!? So cute, I just can’t!

And this note from Mama filled my heart with more joy than I think it can handle.. “Oh my goodness!  These are amazing!  You are incredible! They made me cry!  I just told Matt that these are as beautiful as our wedding photos and we haven’t had anything that good since! He totally agrees. These pictures are truly a treasure. I can’t thank you enough!”

What an amazing gift this career is. I am forever grateful.

I have TONS of Spring and Summer events to share on the blog from 2016, but I’m too excited about my Christmas shoots to make them wait until next year! I hope this post filled your heart with some Christmas magic! Happy Holidays!

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This. Session.

I have to be honest, this is one of my absolute favorite things to shoot! When Kelly emailed me with her vision for the session I just lit up. Kelly is a fellow photographer, hard-working mommy/blogger and asked if I would come to their home and get some updated head shots for her, and photograph their family in their element. Seriously, so fun for me! We did some inside, some outside, and just ran around their home and neighborhood. These images are some favorites of mine, they just feel so natural and real to me. Cannot even describe my love for in home sessions!

If you’re hesitating on Winter photos, don’t! Lets do them at your house where all of your memories are made.

Kelly thank you for choosing me to document this special time in your life and inviting me into your home and making me feel welcome immediately! It was such a treat for me!


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Ah, Sarah and Conor – A total dream!

Another amazing wedding in the books at Jorgensen Farms.

These two are so elegant and stylish, and were such a joy to be around on their wedding day. I had so much fun with their friends and family. I love this venue, decor, and couple!

Hope you enjoy these images as much as I did reliving them today!

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1 Year Home Anniversary 1pintopinterest

This day last year was FRANTIC. It was a Monday, Nick had to work, and it was the only day we could close on the new house and move in without having to move twice based on the closing of our old house. Nick went to work, left work to sign the papers, went back to work, and then we moved into this house from 4-10pm with the help of all our friends and family. It was literal madness, but we were just grateful to have our bed setup and somewhere to sleep!

Although that somewhere to sleep wasn’t very warm… We lived without heat in the home from November to January. We made the switch from electric heat to gas and had to run a gas line and trench the yard and wait for the gas company to hook us up. Basically, it was a COLD Winter. With that, we also survived having no internet for two months, crazy slow internet for 9 months, and I’m happy to say as of 1 month ago we finally got hooked up to high speed. Lets just say it was an adjustment period for sure:)

Our last home was an adorable new M/I build with a small fenced in patio and we paid an HOA fee and the neighborhood took care of the lawn care… Our current home when we purchased it was 4 acres and 1800 sq ft of literal mess. I think all the time how in the world did we think we could do this!? I can’t lie, I’ve cried. I vividly remember calling my realtor in April saying LETS SELL IT. We can’t do it! We cannot keep up on everything with our jobs and lives. It would ebb and flow, some days easier than others. We went from spending our spare time on date nights and adventures to literally every moment that we weren’t working at our jobs we were working on this house (and my family too!) Its become our normal now so its not as shocking, but at first I more than missed our former life. This was such a huge lifestyle change and in the beginning the work seemed like it would never get done, saying it was overwhelming was the understatement of the century.

BUT – We are 1 year in! WE DID IT! WE MADE IT!!! I can’t believe what we’ve accomplished. We would have never EVER been able to do this without the help of my family who has been here almost every weekend since last year. The list was SO long when we moved in, and although there’s still a list, it seems much more manageable and seeing what we’ve accomplished in 12 months proves to me that this all will definitely get done in time.

Since November 2015 we’ve hosted dinners, holiday parties, bon fires, family days, pumpkin carving with friends, birthdays, and just sat the two of us on our front porch rockers and enjoyed the view. We’ve chased our puppies around the yard, drank beer with friends, walked the trashcan down the long gravel drive every Sunday, decorated for the seasons, and every once in a while stopped to marvel in what is ours. We viewed the house in October for the first time… the trees were unreal. I have been excited for October since the day we moved in, and let me tell you, it did not disappoint. I literally came outside every single day and watched the breeze blow and the leaves fall. It was so beautiful and such a reminder of why we chose to do this.

I’m proud today. We decided to take this on and we’ve committed. Some days were hard and I doubted our ability to get through it all, but we did it. We’ve transitioned into an entirely new lifestyle, Nick got a promotion and has moved into a new role at work, I’ve been busy as ever with wedding season, we lost a family member, we lost two pregnancies, we’ve struggled, but never given up. One thing we haven’t lost is hope. We’ve shared so many good times in this home as well and I know there are unlimited amazing times to come. Seeing my 86 year old grandparents sit on our front porch and tell us how proud and happy they are for us is a feeling I will never forget. Even though this has been hard, I am just so grateful that we have the opportunity to even do this. How lucky, at 27 years old we can buy our “dream property” and renovate it. I’d say we have it pretty good.

Thank you to my sweet husband Nick who has always been so willing to let me chase my dreams. In our 10 years together he never doubted my abilities to run a successful business, he would hop out of bed every Sunday and adventure with me and the dogs, he trusts my judgement in so many of our big life decisions, and he jumped wholeheartedly into this dream I’ve had for years. He’s spent countless hours on a tractor and with power tools in his hand for a year. Babe I love and appreciate you more than you’ll ever know. As long as we’re together we can truly accomplish anything. Thank you.

So, next on the list!? THE KITCHEN! YAHOO! Our cabinets were delivered last week and I am just heart eye emoji’s all day every day. I had my wisdom teeth emergency removed last week so our original demo day got pushed, but hoping in the next few weeks we get to work on this thing! We have all the plans laid out, now its just a matter of making it happen!

Below I am sharing the “cliff notes” of the work we’ve done over the past year.

First up: Bathrooms! Total gut job as you can see from the before and after.

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Our living room. When we do the kitchen reno we are taking out a wall and reconfiguring this room. Also putting down hardwood flooring so it will look much different in here after the new year!

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Our mudroom and sunroom! We’ve replaced all doors, refinished the concrete flooring, repaired the ceiling, changed lighting, added house plants and decor!

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Our bedroom! Whew!! Reframed the cased opening to the sitting room, painted all trim, hung wallpaper to cover the damaged walls, painted the walls, replaced doors, and put our cozy touch on it. Love this light and bright room. (And these photos of us in it by Ashley Wallace!)

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And then there’s the property…

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This list is LONG. We tore out a koi pond and hot tub, leveled the ground and ripped out flower beds, built steps down to our fire pit, got every vehicle we own stuck in the gas line trench (whoops), tore out a ridiculous amount of chain link fencing, built new split rail wood fencing, put in a new mailbox, painted our barn, mulched a lot of beds, trimmed a lot of trees, mowed a lot of grass, whacked a lot of weeds, blew a lot of leaves — and sat on that porch with our friends and family a whole bunch.

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Last Winter I was sooooooo excited to see the property covered in snow and it just wouldn’t come! But finally in February we got a few inches and my great friend Claire of Rouxby Photography came out and took a few shots of us with the pups. Love these memories. I am hoping we have a snowy Winter this year!!

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And then this October Ashley Wallace came out and took some more shots of us at the house. I am truly so glad to have these moments of our first year here captured. Whether iPhone or SLR camera, the documentation of this year has been so incredible to look back on. I’m excited to tell the story of our city life gone country for years to come. And proof of just how beautiful this place is in the Fall. 2017 is going to be busy no doubt. But I am looking forward to most of the renovations being done and more weekends spent enjoying all our hard work. In this month of Thankfulness we have so much to express gratitude for. <3

HAPPY 1 YEAR OF COUNTRY LIFE TO US! Babe, look at us. We got this WE SO GOT THIS:)

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