Year two together

Hello! I know, I know it’s been over 5 months. I could come up with a whole bunch of excuses, but truth is.. I’ve been struggling. 

Struggling with the decision on whether or not to share my photography, crafts, DIYs, planting, cooking… and well, my life.

But,

Khang encouraged me the other day to get back into it. So here I am, back from my small drought of inactivity with a post about that wonderful and crazy husband of mine. 

Like last year, we wrote anniversary letters to each other. The thought of our children and grandchildren reading them one day sweetens my heart more and more. 

I feel like this has been our first real year because he hasn’t been traveling once a month. This means we were all up in each other’s faces. Aaaaand we survived!

All seriousness though, marriage has changed me. Us. I pride myself for being pretty independent, but I love love how Khang and I have become such an amazing team.

Hands down, Khang grasped this “team thing” much faster and better than me. He would say (and still now), “We should go together… ” Or “As husband and wife, we need to…  ” 

It’s so simple to him–the concept of us. And I love that.

Khang, despite how crazy you make me, thank you for embracing your spousely(is that even a word?) role and showing me a love that I could never have imagined even for my romantic self. You make everyday worth it.

Happy two year anniversary, my love.

Oh and we visited two light houses this past Spring in the Outer Banks of North Carolina (OBX). I kind of have a thing for light houses since Khang proposed near one. 

Thanks for reading and following along

with me,

Jules.

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Charlotte Winter Wonderland

Our very first snow. 

It’s special like a “first kiss”…you’ll always remember it.

And how sweet both experiences have been with Khang.

I didn’t think the snow would ever come. I kept my hopes down, but when work was cancelled that Tuesday morning, I couldn’t contain my excitement.

With the blinds drawn up, I patiently laid in bed. Then found myself dozing off when Khang suddenly texted me, “It’s snowing”. I jumped out of bed and sure enough there it was falling from the sky…SNOW!!

I excitedly ran downstairs, jumping up and down silently with my hands waving in the air as I mouthed “SNOW” to Khang multiple times while he was on a conference call.

He did not know what to do with me. Hah!

My favorite part of the day was running around in circles in our backyard and just giggling to myself as my boots sank into the soft fluffy snow with each step. Such joy. 

This is living. 

As always, Khang, thank you for indulging me in my neverending uncontrollable emotions. You’re the best.

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Home for Christmas

Our first Christmas since moving to Charlotte and it couldn’t have been better! We jam-packed our schedule to see and be with as many family members and friends as possible.

I told myself I was going take photos with Hans to capture all my favorite moments and…it did not happen.

I just get so caught up with all my favorite people and would just rather be “in the moment” with them. Ya’ know?

I’ll do better next time. Maybe with just my camera phone, which is easier to whip out.

But I did convince the Tran Clan to take “dressy photos”. It was a hot mess, but I’m still happy we did it. Photographing 12 people at one time with a self-timer is no easy feat.

We were in our “Christmas Eve mass outfits” (we took these photos on the 22nd) in our parents’ backyard.

I took a few individuals too. Apparently I was having a focus-issue and didn’t know till I got these scans back.

One of the few negatives when shooting film: Not knowing what you did wrong and adjusting right away. But I think I know what I did wrong.

Photo cred: Jill!!
Love my Mommy and Daddy <3
Our best one!! Missing my brother-in-law, Ronald though.
This was our “serious pose” but I think it’s pretty hilarious.
So Jill and I really wanted to take sunset photos and the only day we could make it happen was Christmas Eve right before mass. And well that’s what we did. Ha.

Khang opted to “stay back with Mom so I can drive her to church”.

It was just me, Jill, and the beautiful sunset.

Jill always carrying that “Cali glow” with her. This is probably one of my favorite shots ever. 

And she took beautiful shots of me too!
I planned to take photos of my in-laws too, but Mom was sick and the weather didn’t cooperate with us. Poo. We will try again this year. 

But I did manage to get some sweet shots of our family in New Orleans. 

Side note: St. Roch Market is a must! Not only is the food culturally diverse and delicious, the wonderful atmosphere is high in energy, yet warm in conversations with people from all different paths. 

We were confined to a corner that made everyone face a wall. This made it hard to take photos, so I decided to play paparazzi and took some through the windows. I was trying to get candid shots. 

Missing a bunch of faces. But happy we got to see our cousins!! It’s always a fun time!!

I hope everyone enjoyed the holidays with their loved ones. Khang and I sure did!

Thanks for reading and following along 

with me,

Jules.

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Ginni+Andrew

As I’ve mentioned in the past, I’m one out of five, that’s right,  FIVE girls.

Bless my parents.

Ginni is the second oldest and we’re 7 years apart, so naturally I grew up looking UP to her.

I think older siblings are some of the strongest people in someone’s life, at least that’s the case for me. You feel safe and protected around them.

When I had questions about my FAFSA, I went to her.

When I moved away to college and the AC Man gave me a difficult time with fixing my AC, crying my eyes out, I called her.

When our Daddy is sick and needs to go to the doctor, I call her (this actually happened 3 weeks ago!)

I’m used to seeing her a tad bit stressed because she’s pretty much always helping people (family, friends, work clients) with their problems.

She’s unbelievably selfless.

And I’m very proud to call her my big sister.

But here’s the thing, while photograhing her and Andrew, I was taken by surprise.

Ginni’s usual demeanor slowly melted away with every tickle, laugh, and little joke from Andrew.

It took me off guard.

It was as if I was looking at her with fresh eyes.

The two of them were so playful with each other and laughed for most of the session.

It dawned on me that I was truly seeing my sister in love for the first time.

Like really really in love.

And it was such a sweet experience for me to witness.

Keep scrolling to see what I’m talking about…

They did these adorable gestures when they thought I wasn’t looking, 

but I was.See what I meant by how cute they are?!

So many small lovely details!

Ginni’s a Master Crocheter and crocheted everything you see: blanket, bowtie, gloves, shield (it’ll make more sense in a bit).

I love how they made their photo session their own.

I’m screaming. So freakin’ gorgeous!!
They’re avid Marvel fans, so of course, these two cute nerds just HAD to incorporate it into their shoot somehow.

Yes, Ginni crocheted that badass Captain America Shield.

Yes, Andrew totally owned it.

And yes, Ginni would probably still kick his butt as Iron Man, but only if she was in the suit.

Otherwise, Tony Stark would lose to The Captain.

And then we finished it off at the beach for more dreamy shots.

Andrew is from Cleveland so he’s not just “some bandwagon fan”.

That’s the end of their session. I wished it didn’t end because I could’ve kept going and going!

Chi Hoa and Andrew, thank youuu so much for giving me the opportunity to photograph y’all!

I’m beyond excited to see what this new year has in store for “GinnDrew”!!

Sidenote: I’m learning one of the reasons why I love photography so much is because I can feel what my clients are feeling and these two had me feeling happy and sappy the whole time.

If you are interested in me capturing the love and laughter YOU hold, then email me at hello@withjulespham.com and let’s create some magic together.

Thanks for reading and following along 

with me,

Jules.

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Christmas Card + Calligraphy Inspiration

Our very first official Christmas card! Yay!!

Last year, we didn’t bother.

And I almost didn’t this year, but we got a cute shot during our Asheville camping trip earlier this fall that worked out perfectly!

I think it represents us well. Hah!

I hand addressed all the envelopes and, of course, I was reminded of how much I love love calligraphy.

 

Disclaimer: Not our real address.

It’s especially fun because I get to customize everything like the colors and greetings! After much debate (with myself), I decided on “Blessings from” and “Kindly Deliver to” with a tilt.

There’s something about someone’s personal handwriting on paper that makes a letter or card so much more special.

This is probably why I’ve kept every single card and poem Khang has ever written me!

Makes me sad that some schools don’t even teach writing or cursive anymore.

I vow to teach my children this lost art. 

So this is my attempt to try to inspire as many people out there to try calligraphy!

If you’re skeptical or doubting yourself–DON’T!

Here are two practice sheets from my very first attempt back in ’14.

It was rough, y’all. I waited two weeks until I tried again because I was so discouraged!

I did a comparison from that first time to present day. Look at the difference! I remember hating the letter “B”, now I love it! 

Feeeeling the possibilities?! Well here are the basics to get started:

  1. This book (I started with this one and its great for other handlettering techniques like chalk or paint) or this book (great for just calligraphy and provides different options for each letter).
  2. Modern Calligraphy set at Micheal’s- Recently saw this set and it has my Top Three Favorite nibs! And it comes with a little ink too.
  3.  Calligraphy paper– Can be bought at Hobby Lobby too! You cannot use normal notebook paper because the ink will bleed.

That’s it! I am very practical especially when it comes to my wallet or starting a new hobby. As you get more comfortable and confident then you can explore different pen handles, nibs, and even colors!

Over the past two years, I’ve learned a few things that have helped me. Of course, I’m no professional and everyone is different. Do what works for you, always!

Few tips & tricks of mine:

  1. If your nib is brand spanking new, then it’ll have the factory-applied lacquer (prevents rust) coating on it. It’ll need to be removed before usage. Use warm water, soap detergent, and an old soft toothbrush. It will help with better ink flow.
  2. I like to run my nibs through a flame for 1-2 seconds just to make sure that waxy coating in gone but you don’t need to do that if you already wash and rinse the nib as stated above.
  3.  Always always dry your nib after cleaning–it will rust!
  4. Do not death-grip your handle. It takes very little pressure for the ink to flow and it’ll help with smoother transitions with all the curves and loops.
  5. Don’t get too caught up on making your calligraphy look like someone else’s. Everyone’s hand-writing is different so your calligraphy will be different too, which is a beautiful and unique thing!
  6.  Don’t forget to take breaks or your fingers will cramp up and you’ll just get frustrated and waste your precious (& expensive) ink and paper.
  7.  Once you use up all the space on one side of your calligraphy paper, wait for it to dry, and use the other side too for practice.
  8. Practice, practice, practice! It will not look pretty or the way you want it to at first but it will get better. I’m still learning after 2 years!

Just remember: Anytime you are making a “downward stroke” then the line will be thicker because you will be applying more pressure, which causes the “split” on the nib (tip of pen) to widen.

See below for examples.

Notice the space on the nib. See how it’s wider? This will create thicker lines.

And then “put it together”.

Just giving you a small idea of what you expect. The book(s) will be very helpful. If you like videos, then there are video tutorials too on Youtube!

I’m more of a reader.

Please feel free to ask me any questions! Or if you need clarification. I will try my best to answer questions or help in anyway so that your “Calligraphy Dreams” come true!

I promise it’ll be worth it in the end. I almost didn’t want to mail out our Christmas cards because they were so beautiful!

As always, thanks for reading and following along

with me,

Jules.

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