Istanbul has been on my bucket-list of travel for quite some time now. Last week, we were able to spend some time there and it didn’t dissapoint. Spring is making its debut there right about now – the sun was shining and the tulips were in full bloom. We were staying in sultanahmet, or the Old city – which is where you will find the main sites – and is pretty touristy. There is plenty to do and see here, but if you are ever in istanbul, make sure to explore its other parts because we really came across some treasures, especially in kadikoy.

Our first day there we visited the Topkapi Palace.

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Near the ferries, right outside the spice market, we discovered the pigeons. So many pigeons. You could feed them and there were plenty of children chasing them. The pigeons were my favorite and we stopped here many times.

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There were also cats and dogs everywhere. They were extremely friendly and pretty well taken care of for being stray. Seems that people feed them scraps and kibble. They cats will weave through your legs while you are dining outside and the dogs will be basking in the sunlight.

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A visit to the amazing Hagia Sophia, where it turns out cats also roam freely.

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We took the ferry over to the asian side, Kadikoy, and this was probably my favorite place to wander. We ate our best meal here at Ciya Sofrasi, and wandered the markets and shops Kadikoy had to offer.

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Back in Sultanahmet, we walked through the Grand Bazaar many times, along with the spice market, where we sampled and purchased much turkish delight!

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One afternoon we walked to the Galata tower, and discovered a whole other area to explore; The area around galata is bustling with music stores and street musicians and the area north of there, Beyoglu, is full of fun antique shops, graffiti and dogs and cats a plenty. The views from the tower are pretty stunning.

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los angeles.

A few weeks ago, I was lucky enough to escape the polar vortex and head to sunny los angeles. LA is definitely making its way into my top places in the US to visit….You sure can’t beat the weather (especially in january!) and there is so much delicious vegan food – and most importantly some of my favorite people in the world live there! This was a quick trip, and there is still SO many more things I want to do and capture with my camera so there will hopefully be many more trips to this fantastic city!

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baby lucas.

A few years ago, my friend’s lauren and dan had a baby girl, Lucy, and I was there to photograph her when she was a wee baby. Last week, Lauren gave birth to a baby boy, Lucas, and just five days later I was able to visit and snap some photos of this little guy. He looks ALOT like his little sister did. So happy for this sweet family of four!

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emily and chris: married!

I took photos of emily and chris last year around the same time at the Morton Arboretum.  It was a beauitful fall day, much like their actual wedding day! They could not have picked a prettier time of year to get married. Fall was at its finest. It was a bit chilly, but we made do….They had quite the wedding party, and emily’s niece and nephew did a fantastic job as ring bearer and flower girl! Check out the smile on Emily…no doubts of true happiness there!  All the best to the two of you!

amy and andres: married.

Amy and Andres were a JOY to work with in so many ways. First of all, they met abroad while Amy was studying in Chile…My day-job is a graphic designer for a non-profit which provides study abroad programs…The very same program that Amy was enrolled in when she met Andres! They are a beautiful, VERY MUCH in love, bilingual couple, with much love for their family and friends. They chose to recite the same vows as Amy’s parents, they had three of their best friends sing during the ceremony, and they made a point to make it to every table to take a photo with all their guests. They have spent much of their relationship apart due to distance, but now they will finally get to be together. They are off to Chile to live for the next year or so while Andres finishes up his program there – Can’t wait to see where the world takes them next. All the best to the two of you!

Right before the ceremony began, Amy and Andres shared a prayer together. They were divided by the wall, so they got a moment together without actually seeing eachother. It was beautiful and gave me goosebumps!

jen and larry: married.

Jen and Larry were so great to work with. Extremely laid back, happy, and dog lovers! We started the day at St. Kieran’s in Chicago Heights, headed to downtown Homewood to say hello to Jen’s dogs, then to Meyers Castle in Dyer, Indiana for the reception. One of my best friends from childhood lived in that subdivison, so I spent many of my high school days going to visit, so it was great to finally get to check out the venue. It was a beautiful location, complete with peacocks roaming the grounds. Their day was filled with lots of happiness – I was so honored to be there to capture it all!

jon and meg: married.

It such an honor to photograph the wedding of a couple like Jon and Meg. They are two very compassionate people who are working hard to leave their mark of good in this world. Extra bonus points from me: they are vegan! They had a very simple, non-traditional, traditional (yep!) wedding at Silver Lakes Country Club in Orland. The weather was a little unpredictable at times, but it ended up behaving just in time for us to run outside and take some photos. Wishing Jon and Meg all the best!