Avia Photography

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Columbia, Missouri, United States
Warning, the following ramblings are those of a sometimes sidetracked photographer avoiding accomplishing tasks on her list. All we ask is that if you use one of our photos from here or elsewise, you kindly give us credit. = )

Monday, January 31, 2011

.:turning twenty-seven:.

Yesterday I turned 27. That's right, TWENTY SEVEN. (Though people still think I'm in high school on a pretty consistent basis. For the first time in my life, I'm now cool with looking much younger than I am.) Twenty-seven used to seem SUPER old. Twenty-seven-year-olds were almost thirty and, as such, possessed most of the wisdom necessary for rearing children and paying bills. They knew how to manipulate the stock market, petition the government for cool stuff, and put together big word things like itineraries. They had huge homes and responsibilities and nice cars and a portfolio and professionally decorated interior spaces.

Yet, here I am, twenty-seven, living simply (with an adorable husband and two pretty sweet cats) and still forgetting sometimes that I'm supposed to be wise by now. I spent the weekend filled with family, old friends, new friends (yes, Sarah and Travis!) and a few little twists and turns.

To top it all off, I received not one, not two, but eight bagillion facebook happy birthday wishes. So, thank you Ben Luten, Cheryl Kleeschulte, Zeca Penha, Samantha Peters, Colin Kerr, Keila Pena-Hernandez, Veronica Hilyard, Katie Bailey, Christine Hoecker, Atreyee Das, Chan Tsun-Wai, Stephen O-Brien, Cheryl Metz, Elizabeth Rodman, Bellyn Witteker, Lin Huang, Chien-hsueh Huang, Shannon Hodges, LaMont Walker, Elizabeth Trovall, Austyn James, Ulrika Rudenko, Jonathan Lumpkin, Allen Rogers, Roland Branconnier, John Brown, Lance White, Tiffany Hernandez, Kemi Omotehinse, Lisa Adams-Floyd, Kerri Packard, Ed Hanson, Sarah Ordway, Sandy Gallimore, Suzanne Hickman, Kimberly Atnip, Darlene Brown, Micki Davison, Josh Kulp, Katrice Edwards, Paul Ladipo, Steve Glassner, Liz Goebel, Aja Abney, Jordan Davidson, Kristen Heidbreder, Candice Taube, Carly Webster, Cfrancis Blackchild, Mike Tsai, Chris Canote, Sasha Gooberman, Hannah Delp, Tina Edholm, Andy Rea, James Henderson, Tara Rentel, Connie Clark, Tom Hickman, Darla Klinge, Jerry Thomas, Heidi Kuttenkuler, Alison Shadrach, Stephanie Stogsdill, Jessica Green, Kerri Hogan, Emily Rollie, Demetrius davis, Kim Rollins, Darlene Backes, Bismark Gonzalez, Karen Wilson, Brenda Kliethermes, Jason Viox, Debbie Wagner, Jon Baysinger, Ricky Brandt, Sarah Ranney, Darlene Green, Barbara Hobbs, Precious Brown, Geraldine Cols, Tammy Mullins, Maiko Mitchem, Catherine Rhodes, Cole Payne, Natalie Abright, Jamie Kennison, Mark Walsh, Amber Roehrs, Sheldon Price, Manasa Vedula, Shawna Kelty, Becca Turner, Lori Collins, Jon Drtina, Carolyn Vargas, Roxanne Schellman, Fuad Feshitan, Fraisia Logan, Charlie Strong, Heather Stewart, Charlie Holmes, Anderson Santos, Drew Turner, Tina Bowen, Ashley Inman, Sekou Gaidi, Silas Allen, Mahlia Fulk, Ashley Sandbothe, Erin Castle, Emily Wildhaber, Madina Bidibekova, James Bhaskar Bandela, Shuyang Li, Betsy Healy, David Marriott, Stephanie Bryan, Karen Dothage, Tracy Kinealy, Veronica Putnam, Emily Henley, Valerie Nicole, Jason Kettinger, Cynthia Holzbierlein, Leslie Shaw, Brendan Talty, Sirius Hu, Laura Convery, Heather Vader, Brooke Shepherd, Craig Colbert, David Shapiro, Kyndal Marshall, Aubrey Winkelman, Brooke Epple, Suzanne White, Diane Gollaher, Charis Chiu, Mahaley Sullivan, Kathryn Daniel, Steven Smith, Meredith Johnson, Crista Parker, Andrea Larison, Anna Tyler, Josh Franken, Kelsi Davis, Yee Tsuey, Lisa Price, Jenna Durnell, Jessica White, Ashley Clark, Brian Scanlan, Courtney Barnes, Katy Dickherber, Rachel Briner, Candace Englind, Brenda Winkelman, Annie Arnone, Emily Green, Courtney Bandeko, Crystal Reddick, Soa Ha, Melanie Brown, Maureen Smith, Eric Hemeyer, Beath Meador, Charlie Huggard-Lee, Juanita Dorner, Mark Baker, Jack Lake, Amy Enderle, Mark Fauser, Kerry Davis, Funmi Olatunji, Shaunese Foreman, Angela Lewis, Patrick Pullins, Connie Thomas, Benoy Thomas, Ted Tarkow, & Florian Gilbert!!!

I am loved. Thank you all!

In my Mizzou days I was blessed to have a group of AMAZING gals around me (Yes, Amy, Mary, Veronica, Camry, Tamika, & Mazvita, I'm looking at you!). They loved me as we walked through life together, sometimes a little more in sync than others. On my 22nd birthday, completely unknown to me, a few of the girls gathered together and schemed a surprise plot. I was singing that Monday night at a local gathering and, needless to say, it was an emotion-filled evening as I was overwhelmed (in a good way!) with new revelation and understanding in my life. I made several trips to the bathroom during the evening to gather tissues to mop up my tears. My dear friend, fun-sized Camry, was almost always a step behind me as I exited the room, making sure I was okay. I thought her attentiveness was sweet, but slightly unnecessary having no idea that she had been employed as the lookout/don't-let-mallory-go-downstairs-while-we-get-things-ready person. When the night of singing ended, the room of persons emptied out quickly into the Memorial Union Lounge where I was surprised to find my friend Mary sitting behind a table with TONS of red velvet cupcakes that she had stayed up ALL NIGHT making in honor of my birthday. In addition, the gals had made a card for everyone to sign that night. I found the giganto card last week as I was sorting through old stuff, just in time to look back fondly on the memories of friends, cards, and red velvet cupcakes.

Mothers and grandmothers are always faithful in sending cards. = )

My dear prayer partner and Puerto Rican sister in crime (the good kind!), Keila, not only teaches me to make different Indian dishes what seems almost monthly but remembered to give me a birthday present on my birthday. She even wrapped it and gave me a sweet card with a note in Spanish!

Brian isn't the greatest at planning surprises. In fact, he generally doesn't (so far every "surprise" date we've gone on has consisted of a surprise dinner and surprise movie-not super creative, but adorable just the same!). Those of you that know the story of his proposal are probably giggling a little right now if you remember what it shows of his creative prowess in planning. (We are living proof that a lameish proposal does not mean your marriage is doomed!) This past year especially, he has been making more of an effort to surprise me (albeit the same surprise every time, but we're getting somewhere, right?) so I was kind of hoping that he would perhaps apply that knowledge to the day of my birth. Sad to say, I realized quickly that he had nothing really planned out and had accidentally scheduled time to spend with friends because he had forgotten it was my birthday. When my face fell a little when he told me about our hangout time with Debra and Michael, he realized what he'd done and offered to call them back and cancel. Since Debra and Michael are two of our favorite people, I said no, I'd rather spend time with them on my birthday hanging out than doing nothing at home.

Sunday (my actual birthday) Brian took me to Lollicup for my favorite drink after the morning's activities and we snuggled in our hammock and talked about life as I slurped my boba from the tea and he let the little kitty lick the cold frosties from the outside of his cup of pineapple slushie. We decompressed and enjoyed the afternoon. Before we left the house, Brian suggested we bring some games to Debra and Michael's which seemed like a great idea because I was ready for something a little more upbeat. When we arrived and they opened the door, we were greeted with a wall of sound, "SURPRISE! Happy Birthday!!!!" by the whole family. Debra and Michael and their boys made me signs and blew up balloons and decorated the downstairs with birthday well wishes and had an Indian meal (at the request of Brian on my behalf) waiting for us to partake in. Apparently Brian had orchestrated the whole thing (other than the decorations). That rascal. = )

Shelomi, Debra & Michael's middle son, made me a card and a "present". He worked hard drawing little figures from one of their coloring books and cutting them out for the card. He confessed to me later, "Miss Mallory, it was really hard putting together a present and card with such short notice but I hope you like it". He informed me, when I asked, that the colored things that you see above are actually rubber bands. I asked him what you do with them and was told that you wear them around your wrist. I spent the rest of the night rearranging them into different figures. To be 8 again like Shelomi!

Brian also told me when we arrived at Michael and Debra's that he had three additional surprises for me that he had worked very hard to think of. Friday he had an appointment with a good friend. He left at 10:30 and returned at noon. Usually he stay's at the friend's house for hours so I was surprised when he returned so quickly. I found out yesterday that apparently the friend had cancelled last minute and Brian had used that time to purchase my "surprises" and had then run them to Debra & Michael's place. Apparently he felt super guilty for lying every time I asked about his appointment and almost blew his surprise several times to repent and confess his lies!

His (adorably unrelated) three surprises consisted of random things he knew I liked:

1. A pretty bottle of non-alcoholic tasting wine. (We learned long ago that though neither of us are big drinkers, the more something tastes like kool-aid and less like alcohol, the more apt I am to like it!)

2. A box of mint Edy's Dibs. I used to buy a box of Dibs once every other month when we were first married and eat a few each day. Though I've been out of the habit for awhile now, he still remembered how much I liked them. How cute.

3. Red velvet cake. Just as my dear friends made me red velvet cupcakes oh-so-many-years-ago, Brian has remembered since we started dating (on more than one occasion) that I like red velvet cake. So he bought us one for everyone to share. I may or may not have possibly eaten a slice for breakfast this morning. Maybe.

And, finally, what was the biggest gift Brian gave me? The night before, Brian climbed in the hammock with me with a sheepish grin and said, "So, you haven't asked me what I got you for your birthday, yet." We aren't big gift givers (in fact, we usually don't do gifts for each other because it isn't important to either of us) so I hadn't been expecting or hoping for anything. So, I asked him, with a smile beginning to form on my face to match his, "What did you get me, Brian?" His answer? "I'm going to stop being so combative when you come up with an idea that I don't like. I started this week, did you notice?" I did notice that my dear husband has been trying harder than ever to consider and appreciate my ideas. He's always been fantastic at it but on occasion he's been slightly whiney. How adorable that his present to me was to stop being a brat when he didn't like what I suggested on occasion. I love my husband. = )

So thank you everyone who sent me well wishes on facebook or in person or who have just loved me and encouraged me through the years. You are all so dear to me!


Wednesday, January 5, 2011

.:life outside columbia:.

Some of those that know us well know that Brian and I began "teaching" an English conversation class once a week at an International-friendly group on Mizzou's campus this past semester. I use the term "teaching" lightly as it generally involves us splitting the group into two wherein Brian takes the intermediateish speakers to play a mean game of Apples to Apples and discuss Chinese history and I sit at a table with the other half where we exchange stories and customs of our cultures.

Jenny is a part of that group. She has been so faithful and has attended every single class this semester. She is a visiting scholar from Beijing and has brought her husband, Bill, and absolutely *delightful* daughter, Nancy, along with her. Jenny teaches Journalism at her University in Beijing (thus her study at Mizzou!) and was inspired to begin a book about not just the American tradition of Christmas trees, but the stories behind all of the ornaments at different households.

She wrote Brian and I several weeks ago asking if we could be some of her subjects for the book she is writing and if we would share some stories and photos of our own Christmas tree. Brian and I were totally game except for the tiny problem of the fact that we don't put up Christmas trees. We tried our first year of marriage and got as far as hanging beautiful purple Christmas ornaments up that a sweet family from our church had passed on to us. We hung them on our potted tree (that looks absolutely nothing like a Christmas tree but does actually sport Christmas lights!). The next year we swore we'd cut one down from the many acres on my parent's farm but the time we scheduled to go down there they had a mini blizzard and the roads were blocked. We resorted to putting the purple ornaments up again, two days before Christmas, on the same potted tree. After that year, we gave up.

Needless to say, my family puts up a gorgeous tree every year. The ornaments are filled with delightful memories and the many Santas that my mom has painted over the years for her staff. Jenny, Bill, and the ever-cute Nancy agreed to come out to Russellville to view the farm and the tree.

I took my camera along, for fun this time, and some of the photos will go in Jenny's book alongside the stories. It warms my heart.

Bill in the background taking photos of Jenny holding Nancy. The goats were definitely curious.

My wonderful stepfather, Jim, in the midst of the feeding chores with two of the family's faithful Australian shepherds.

Santa gave Nancy a crown. Which she promptly brings with her everywhere. Seriously. Everywhere.

Total sucker for lens flares.

I was trying to get a picture of Nancy and Jenny petting the horse when the horse got a little frisky with the camera.

Nancy being introduced to one of the EIGHT purebred Australian Shepherd puppies Big Dee had on Sunday. (Belle, the other female dog, will be having her own litter sometime in the next few weeks. So if anyone wants to buy an Australian Shepherd puppy you know who to contact...)

Proud and very protective mama.

Ma's Christmas tree.

Nancy discovered mom's little red rocking chair and found she fit in it perfectly.

This ornament used to be a part of a quilt my great grandmother (correct me, cousins, if I'm wrong... it's been awhile) had made. It was in pieces so rather than trying to keep it put away where it would continue to deteriorate one of my cousins cut it into different shapes for ornaments and added vintage buttons and gave them to all of the grandkids to keep for our trees.

This ornament was one I never noticed but when my mom started talking about it she got teary eyed. My family used to volunteer with a group of teens that were in need of some more stability in their lives. There was one fellow in particular who was absolutely brilliant. He was sarcastic and cutting and witty. He didn't care about anything, really, and would constantly sabotage his success. One afternoon, however, the group was painting ornaments. Most of the teens were just globbing paint on willy nilly but, to everyone's surprise, he carefully and meticulously painted this Rudolph. In the end, he gave it to my mother, who accepted it with pride and who puts it on her tree every year and remembers him.

This was one ornament done by one of our old neighbors many many years ago. She apparently had never cross-stitched anything in her life but one Christmas season decided she wanted to make everyone ornaments with cross-stitching. Our family was one of the lucky recipients and, to my mom's knowledge, she never cross-stitched again!

Mom's stained glass ornament piles.

My littlest sister (who is not so little anymore at the budding age of FIFTEEN) and Nancy with the puppies.

Don't you feel all warm and fuzzy now? And don't you know people who want Australian Shepherds? For serious, now, ya'll. You will contact me us if you know someone who wants one, right?

Happy New Year, everyone!

Mallory & Brian

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

.:elizabeth & billy:.

Sometimes it feels like a small, small world. What does one tiny PR firm in St. Louis have in common? Their employees are super cool cats and many of them seem to like hiring us for their weddings. You won't find any complaints here. Billy is employee number four from the firm to hire us to do his St. Louis wedding.

Elizabeth and Billy are really awesome together. Sure, everyone says that but I promise this time. Elizabeth and Billy really are great together. Some (by some, I mean me, Mallory) may even use the word adorable to describe their relationship. (And as a side note, if you are a dude and are reading this don't ever take offense if some other gal calls your relationship with your fiance/girlfriend "adorable". It is a total compliment!) When we did their engagement shoot awhile back in St. Louis it was so less like a photoshoot and much more like a hangout session with new friends. Elizabeth and Billy are some of the blessed few that hold the reigns of their lives loosely and have learned to laugh at themselves. The two are super laidback and ridiculously sweet (seriously, RIDICULOUSLY sweet). Hardly a moment passes before at least one of them gets a huge grin on his or her face. They are just a delight.

Elizabeth and Billy were married on a stormy, warm day full of tornadoes on New Year's Eve. (So weird, this Missouri weather.) We arrived in St. Louis to be greeted by a mechanical voice stating "Seek shelter immediately. Seek shelter immediately." I thought perhaps we should heed the advice of this robot man voice but, of course, Brian being Brian, he decided we should book it to Elizabeth's, where we were to be starting the day in about an hour, rather than seek shelter. So with a whole lot of prayer and a leery eye at the darkening southwesternly sky as we drove towards Elizabeth's apartment, we started our New Year's Eve celebration in a more adventurely fashion than usual.

Needless to say, we arrived alive at Elizabeth's and the weather even calmed enough that the gals ordered pizza a bit later. After the tornadoes cleared the area (no worries, it stayed south of us!) the sky brightened up and it became absolutely beautiful for taking photos! We started at Art Hill, where Billy originally proposed to Elizabeth a year ago, and did their "First Look." (For more on why this is AWESOME, visit our post on Megan & Ben from this summer here). I LOVE First Looks but this one had to be one of my favorites. You'll have to check them out below. Elizabeth and Billy got a few moments not only to themselves, but it was a chance to start getting excited about their day together. The beauty of togetherness!

The rest of the day went off without a hitch. They had their gorgeous ceremony at St. Ambrose on the Hill where Billy's priest came back all the way from Belize to officiate. The party then moved to The Rialto Ballroom where we set up a photobooth in the old (non-working) elevator. Their guests could then hang out on the balcony during the not one, but two sets of fireworks displays. When the time came for the New Year to begin, the staff passed out horns and hats fitting of the celebration. The best part? Elizabeth and Billy forgoed (or would it be forwent?) traditional wedding cake in favor of frozen custard and cookies and, thankfully, shared with their guests. We couldn't think of a better way to bring in 2011!

Elizabeth & Billy's official colors were silver and black but they accented everything with purple and red. Which meant the bridesmaids could get creative in their shoe choices. Love it!

Billy's brothers share something funny (and, likely, totally appropriate) with the rest of the guys.

Elizabeth's cousin, Jen, is also a photographer. She was in on Billy's secret proposal at Art Hill a year ago and was awesome enough to capture the whole thing on her DSLR. She couldn't do the photos since she was the matron of honor but we hope we did them justice!

Billy's brother, P.J., helped Billy put on his suspenders and then apparently demonstrated to the rest of the guys how suspenders were to be put on. We won't show those photos.

Elizabeth gave all of the bridesmaids matching handmade necklaces that were adorable!

Jewelry is always chosen last minute!

The Art Hill reveal!

Totally teared up like a sucker the first time I came across this photo.

Union Station. Look aloof. Or awesome. Either one is fine.

It started sprinkling outside just as guests began arriving to the wedding but no one looked grumpy!

See what I mean by breathtaking?

They still couldn't help but wear goofy grins as they stared at one another during the ceremony. Too adorable!

During toasts. One of my favorites.

Happy New Year!

Maureen helped coordinate the day. We discovered she is also good friends with the couple whose wedding we'll be doing in St. Louis in February. Such a small, small world!

Can't bring in the new year without sparklers, right?

The groomsmen all wore Irish hats at the reception in honor of Billy's Irish heritage. Pretty nifty, huh?

Thank you, Elizabeth and Billy and thank you so much for letting us share the day with you and your amazing attendants. Between the groomsmen's funny antics (Brian has told me stories that I shall not repeat online) and the bridesmaids' ridiculously huge hearts and great tales of fun, we ended the day feeling completely honored to have been a part of it all.

Isn't love grand?

Hugs and all that stuff (Our favorite photo from the photobooth we set up at the wedding),

Mallory (& Brian)