European Adventure – Part Two

Days 3 & 4–Florence, Italy.

Starting our trip in Venice set the stakes pretty high for the rest of Italy. However, Florence & Cinque Terre sure know how to hold their own! Arriving in Florence just in time to drop off backpacks at our AirBnB room (booked the evening before!) before making the trek to see a Tuscany sunset over Florence. There were so many stairs to reach Piazzale Michelangelo but it was definitely worth it!

After taking in the square at dark, we had dinner at a little restaurant. Completely delectable; goodness, I love Italian food. It really is a good thing we did so much walking… I would hate to think of how many pounds I would have gained otherwise. 🙂

We had great intentions of attending a mass at the Duomo, however we forgot that Daylight Savings Time ended the evening prior, so we totally slept through it. Whoops! So much for that great idea…. the next best thing, finding food! (Did I mention that we truly were in Italy for the culinary experience?!)

After exploring multiple travel blogs for restaurant suggestions, we decided on La Menagere. It was delicious and the inside was so unique! You could watch the chefs at work, shop for some kitchen wares in their little store (think mini Magnolia market!), observe a florist create some daily bouquets or host an amazing party at one of their side rooms. If and when I open up my own bakery someday, there are so many elements that I want to use as inspiration from this little cafe.

Freshly fueled by coffee and pastries (breakfast of champions, I’m telling you!), we had the town to explore before leaving on a late afternoon train! Because we hit Florence on the weekend, there was quite the large crowds of tour groups we needed to avoid, not to mention innumerable peddlers all selling the same selfie sticks, same sticky balls, and the same “original” prints. Hah. You thought we didn’t notice? We quickly decided that we wanted to avoid people as much as possible and walked the quieter streets of Florence. I’m so glad we did–we found Pinocchio!

Day 4 & 5–Cinque Terre, Italy.

Changing trains quickly in Pisa, we were on our way to Riomaggiore for the evening. Since we had waited until the evening before to decide whether our itinerary would be Cinque Terre or the Almalfi Coast, we didn’t have housing booked. Brianne & I both enjoy living life on the edge, but had our fingers crossed that there would be some vacancies at one of the 5 towns. We knew that our train pass would allow us to easily get to the next town if necessary or back towards Pisa where more hotel options existed. It was all part of our grand adventure! Stopping in Riomaggiore, we found the main street and two hotels with vacancies. Perfect. After doing a side by side comparison and being completely creeped out by the second option, the first one sounded and looked great…. and it even included a breakfast with a latte (smile latte art included!).

We knew that our time in Cinque Terre was very short, so we wanted to make the most of every minute. Sunrise over the Mediterranean was first on our agenda. The view from the oceanside cliffs back towards the city was just breathtaking. Definitely one of my favorite memory snapshots!

In order to conquer all five cities in a day, our plan of action was to take the train up to the furthest city and gradually make our way back down in time to make a late afternoon train to Rome. After exploring Monterosso, we chose to hike to Vernazza instead of taking the train. All the hiking websites say the trail between Monterosso–Vernazza is only 2 miles and will take you 2 hours, they lie. It definitely felt more like 5 miles… of stairs. Although it is the most challenging of all the trails, I do believe it has best views. If you ever have the opportunity, you must do it too!

On our hike we passed by a local stand selling freshly squeezed orange juice. Yes please! He was so sweet (the man, although the juice was too) and just smiled at Brianne & I since he couldn’t speak much English. Walking along the path was incredible. Rocky cliffs, the ocean crashing below, lemon scents wafting through the air, vineyards, and the occasional musician playing as we passed by. We had to push pause so many times and just take it all in. The other 2 towns, Corniglia and Manarola were beautiful as well, although we didn’t have as much time to explore them as the others. Time had simply run out on us while exploring this amazing part of Italy.

Cinque Terre, you were simply beautiful! Next stop, Rome!


Italy-Part Two

All images copyright of Katherine Pleckham / Kate Grace Photography and may not be used, distributed or sold without direct written permission.

European Adventure – Part One

Have you ever wondered what adventures await with spontaneity? The next few blog posts will be dedicated to finally documenting my European Adventure from October 2015. With minimal lead time in planning, our trip was crazy, memorable, and so incredibly refreshing! Enjoy the many stories! 🙂

Day 1–San Antonio, TX. > Baltimore, MD > Reykjavik, Iceland > Copenhagen, Denmark > Milan, Italy. (AKA, a very long travel day)

Meeting in the International Terminal at BWI, Brianne & I were more than ready to begin our European Adventure aboard a WOW Air flight to Iceland. Hang on, I can already hear the snickers!! I’m not sure which should have given me more apprehension, the price tag of my ticket ($129), or the airline’s slogan, “We promise you that WOW feeling.” In any regard, there were seatbelts, oxygen masks, and exit windows. Did I mention the Barbie resemblance of the flight attendants in their purple suit/skirts and darling little hats? We were supposed to have a 4 hour layover, but because of an unruly passenger delay in Iceland (which, we happened to be in the same row with!), we arrived late and only had a 2.5 hour layover. Definitely enough time for these 2 girls to hit the town!! (Barely, but, don’t underestimate the determination of 2 girls wanting to explore a new city!)

We knew exactly what we wanted to see and quickly headed to the train station. Problem 1, we went to the train station and not the subway station. We quickly realized our mistake while waiting for a stuck train and headed to the other station. Problem solved! Destination–Pastry & Coffee. We were in the land of Danish’s after all, and it didn’t disappoint. Walking the bicycle lined streets with a Danish pastry in hand, can it get any better than this? After blissfully enjoying the sights, we quickly realized the time, and we had no time to spare in getting back to the airport. I’m sure it did our body good to begin running off the calories we had only just begun to consume on our European journey.

Next stop, Milan! Enroute from Copenhagen to Milan, we were able to look down below to the Italian Alps at Sunset. That  was to be the first of many breathtaking moments during this trip. How incredible is the world in which we are priviledged to live in! Seeing things like that just creates an even stronger desire to see more of God’s creative hand on creation.

Landing in Milan after 9pm, we were definitely ready for our sweet little AirBnb. But first we had to navigate ourselves to Brescia for those pillows. Okay, we can do this! Find the bus and purchase tickets to the train station, done. Arrive at the train station and purchase train tickets, done. Walk to platform 3…… hold on, not so fast. The train was just canceled. (Apparently, they can sell train tickets while simultaneously canceling them. Please, someone needs to help their Ops team.) Meanwhile, we quickly darted back to the very {un}pleasant Italian gentleman who had just sold us the tickets 20 seconds prior…. being those crazy American girls, “Hi there. This train was just canceled. Is there another one we can take? We need to make it to Brescia for our hotel tonight.” He replies (Scowling and pulling down the shade separating us from the counter, indicating their closing for the night), “No train. No ticket. Good night!!” Fabulous. Knowing that if we didn’t act fast, we were going to be spending the night on a park bench.

Sending up a flare prayer, we quickly rushed over to the only attendant still open. We managed to look pitiful enough for her to actually help us, and she quickly instructed us on another train we could take. It took us via an indirect route, but we were to arrive in Brescia before our AirBnb closed for the night. Grabbing our scribbled-over tickets, we hoped the conductors wouldn’t give us any problems thinking that we had personally scribbled our new train plans on them. With many prayers, laughs, and a few sighs of relief, Brianne & I had navigated through day 1, including getting to our AirBnb with gelato in hand before our kind host locked the doors. I’d call that a huge success and answer to prayer!

Day 2 & 3–Venice, Italy.

What could make ones day any better than indulging in glorious Italian bruschetta, fresh buffalo mozzarella, and heavenly Gelato stands at every turn?? Italy has definitely stolen my heart. Actually, to be more specific, Venice. I can still remember the gasps my friend Brianne & I had when we stepped out of the Venezia Santa Lucia train station and saw the Grand Canal for the first time. Oh my goodness. It was Disney storybook worthy! All I needed was an Italian boy to swiftly sweep me off my feet. One didn’t, but I sure enjoyed my weight in gelato, pasta and bruschetta while in their Land!

Although traveling with maps, we both really enjoyed the spur of the moment plans and just wandering around the city, or rather, owning the city. (One must ALWAYS walk confidently as if they know exactly where they’re going, especially in a strange city.) We did. Confession time, we were headed to our favorite gelato stand via a new route with much gusto. We won’t mention the time that we did take a path walking past the Venice jail… we’ll just call it the Complete Walking Tour of Venezia. One of us might have also taken a little accidental partial dip in the canal while attempting to catch a picturesque image; I’d say the picture was worth it. 🙂

One of my favorite highlights from Venice was to take in a chamber orchestra concert from the second row. Incredible talent!! The cellist was beyond amazing and put so much passion into his playing; he definitely would give Yo-Yo Ma a run for his money. The acoustics in the gorgeous church turned Symphony hall/museum was exquisite and made the music breathtaking. Definitely worth every penny in going to see them!

I left Venice with a new founded piece of wisdom. You’re in the land of strong espresso, don’t sissy out and order a latte! You will receive a glass of warm milk; doing nothing to caffeinate your soul, and be sorely humbled by the experience.


Below is a collection of some of my favorite images taken during the European Adventure! You’ll hear more about Florence, Cinque Terre, Rome & Paris in Part 2 (and maybe 3)! Since my camera itself weighs more than 11lb, I managed to take these with my tiny Samsung camera and an iPhone. 🙂 Although it pained me at times to not have my “real camera,” I did enjoy the freedom of being fully present in the moment and not continually searching for the best angle for this or that image. (Because let’s be real, that does happen with every photographer, am I right?)

European Adventure with Brianne & Kate

All images copyright of Katherine Pleckham / Kate Grace Photography and may not be used, distributed or sold without direct written permission.

Tee & Lisa–California Simi Valley Estate Wedding

Oooohlala, a SoCal Simi Valley estate wedding, you have totally outdone yourself for wedding views! Wow. I am still in awe at how beautiful this private estate which Tee & Lisa chose as the location to commit their lives to each other as husband and wife. Rancho Vista de Dios was everything one could dream of! A scenic view overlooking the SoCal valley, citrus scents wafting through the sunset, and having their closest friends and family witness their vows to each other. It was such a pleasure to work with so many sweet vendors, and of course photograph this wedding of a friend made through an online discussion at Boundless. Crazy right?!

Congratulations Tee & Lisa! I am so excited in seeing God work in your hearts and seeing this relationship come together from the sidelines. Wishing you both the best as you continue to keep Him first and follow His direction in future plans.

California Estate Wedding*Shout out to Tianna Fries who assisted me during the ceremony, and has a few images reflected in the above collage.


Vendors:

Day-of-Wedding Coordinator | Magpie Event Co., Simi Valley CA.

Hair & Makeup Artist – Bliss Bridal

Florist | Camarillo Florist

Caterer and Rentals | Green Acres

Band – Vanity Fair the Band

Violinist – Amy Hurtado

Cake | Sweet Arleens

Photography | Katie, Kate Grace Photography & Tianna Fries, ceremony second photographer

Chris & Rachel – Northwest San Antonio Wedding

Rachel & Chris had such a beautiful fall day for their wedding in Northwest San Antonio! I started off the day capturing bridal details at her mother’s house while she was getting hair and makeup done. Soon after we headed over to the church where Chris was waiting and they did a first look! PAUSE….

When Chris caught his first glimpse, he was completely in awe and delight of his beautiful bride. Rachel was pretty excited to see her groom too, but, goodness. It was so precious to watch their first few moments together. (Side note, I always use my zoom lens during this moment because I want my couples to have the most intimate time as possible without it seeming like I’m even there!)

Okay, back to more of the wedding day details. The ceremony was held at University United Methodist Church. A reception with family and close friends was held at the St. George Maronite Center. Listening to the toasts given by the bride’s sister and groom’s friend just gave a small taste of this couple’s sweet & fun personality and their love for those around them. With a strong foundation set by parents and families, there is no doubt in my mind that this will be a marriage that is happy and for life.

I am so happy for you both, and absolutely thrilled that Amanda & I were able to capture it for you. Congratulations!!

Sweetest couple ever! United Methodist Church, San Antonio Texas. Church wedding and beautiful reception for a small gathering of family & friends.

(some images above were taken by my awesome second photographer Amanda!)


Ceremony Venue | University United Methodist Church, San Antonio

Reception Venue | St. George Maraonite Center, San Antonio

Photography | Kate Grace Photography, and second photographer Amanda Janik

Aaron & Perla – Bella Springs, Hill Country Wedding

What a beautiful Texas Hill Country wedding! After watching this couple interact at bible study for the past 2 years, and hearing Perla talk during our small group times, we all were anxiously awaiting news of her engagement! It was such an honor and personal joy to watch them say their vows surrounded by family and friends. The venue was gorgeous, and weather AMAZING. Fall arrived in southern Texas just in time for this radiant bride to walk the aisle to her groom! Aaron & Perla both wrote a letter to their parents to be read during the ceremony––oh my. I had tears streaming down my face, it was so sweet.

Your parents did so well with raising you two, and I am incredibly excited to see how God uses you both for His Kingdom, and to watch you raise little ones of your own! 🙂 Blessings on your marriage sweet friends!

Texas Hill Country Wedding
Bella Springs, Boerne TX, Hill Country Wedding

Venue | Bella Springs

Bride’s Hair & Makeup | Knot & Veil

Photography | Kate Grace Photography

Darrin & Kelly – Hyatt Ziva, Los Cabos Wedding

The beachfront along the Hyatt Ziva Resort in Los Cabos, Mexico, made such a beautiful backdrop as Darrin & Kelly they pledged their love and vows to each other. Sunshine, beach, thunderous waves, beautiful sunset, palm trees… it was all so perfect!! I can’t stop pinching myself, because I think I’ll wake up and found out it was a dream. Such an incredible week.

Two families coming together for a party week was such a fun experience to capture! And for this fun couple, there was simply no other place they could imagine having their wedding but to share their personal love of Cabo with family & wedding party right here. The scenery was absolutely breathtaking––I’m pretty sure we all fell in love immediately with it too!

Darrin & Kelly—Congratulations! Thank you so much for allowing Kate Grace Photography and her assistant to capture your beautiful day and allowing us to join in your family celebrations this past week! Wishing you the best in your marriage together!

Muchas felicidades!!

Los Cabos, Mexico wedding at Hyatt Ziva

Beecher Proch – Fashion Product Shoot

I’ve been itching to share images from a recent Fashion | Product shoot I had with Beecher Proch clothing of Fredricksburg TX., and am thrilled to finally share some of my favorites with you all!

Have you heard of Beecher Proch clothing?

Look no further for creative and unique one-of-a-kind artistic jeans and high-end fashion accessories. The handcrafted clothing & accessories are so cool and very trendy for on par style, completely customizable and made in small batches to ensure that each one is different! You really need to just stop reading and go check out his freshly launched site right now. Yes, S-T-O-P and go!!

Beecher Proch Apparel Fashion Photography

We had such a blast laughing & joking while we took these pictures at various locations within the Pearl, San Antonio. I had such an awesome team to support the outfits changes & equipment swaps, and Ellissa was an incredible model for us. Can’t wait to do it again soon!!

 


 

Clothing Design: Beecher Proch

Styling: Liza Proch

Model: Ellissa Baird

Travis & Amy – Texas Hill Country Wedding

I’m so excited to finally be blogging this adorable couple and gorgeous Texas Hill Country wedding from last fall onto the new blog!! Serious happy dance happening right now! Enjoy!!

After waiting many years for this day, it finally came for these two high-school sweethearts! It was such a beautiful day, and the clouds & rain only made their love shine even brighter!

Travis & Amy—Congratulations! From the exciting moments of getting ready, to the group dances and sparkler exit, your wedding was the party of the weekend!! Thank you for trusting Kate Grace Photography with capturing these memories!


Ceremony & Reception: Notre Dame Catholic Church, Kerrville Texas, and Lazy Hills Ranch & Retreats, Ingram Texas.

Launch Party + Giveaway!

{Pinch me, is this real?}

Kate Grace Photography has officially gone live in San Antonio–finally. I am so thrilled to have you join me on this crazy adventure! This has been a dream in the making, and something that I’ve been working behind the scenes to get up and running in-between school and a full time position. When God opened the door last month to pursue this full time, I’ve been able to pour heart and soul into making it reality. I seriously can’t even put my excitement into physical words to see it become an actual thing! Still in a bit of a shock…let me take another bite of this macaron.

Let’s Party!

Please celebrate with me by sharing the joy! Because, who doesn’t love a little confetti, coffee, giveaways, and macarons?!

And since you all are the best party people ever–I’ve gathered some of my most favorite items into a cute little package to give one lucky friend (after all, I really like friends, not just followers!).

Here are a few of my favorite things that I want to give one lucky person!

  1. A watercolor map; because all my friends know that I love to travel. {I might have a slight addiction to it actually, shhh!}
  2. Coffee beans by Bows & Arrow. As a student, employee, and entrepreneur, coffee is the fuel that keeps me running some days.
  3. A gorgeous necklace by Lovishly. I’ve taken quite the liking to necklaces that have meaning–which I why I want to give you one that says “You Are Enough” (back says “You Always Were”). We’re bombarded daily with lies of not measuring up, both by others, and even by ourselves. I hope this can be a daily reminder of what God has done for YOU! You are enough today, because HE has been more than enough from the beginning of Creation.
  4. Macarons. Do I really need to explain why I love these things? They’re a bit of heaven in the mouth! My absolute favorites are Pistachio, Hazelnut, Lavender, and Rose. Sugar high anyone?

To enter for your chance to win this set of Kate’s favorite things, follow each step for an extra entry!

  1. Follow Kate Grace on Instagram, (If you’re already a follower, just mention it in the blog post entry below and I’ll be sure to include it!) Want a bonus entry? Tag 3 friends in a comment for an additional entry!
  2. Like Kate Grace on Facebook (If you’ve already done this previously, just mention it in the blog post entry below and I’ll be sure to include it!)
  3. Post a comment on the blog with your favorite song to bust out the dance moves at a wedding

 

PLUS: San Antonio locals who want to join in the celebration, stop by Local Coffee Sonterra this Sunday between 3-5pm for Polaroid pictures & celebratory cup of coffee with Kate. Priceless, and no amount of entries can top that; plus you’ll get coffee and laughs on me. So hey, swing by!!

 

Contest ends 5/2/2016 at 11:59pm CST. Winner will be announced on 5/7/2016! This giveaway is not in any way associated or sponsored by anyone but Kate Grace Photography. By participating, you are agreeing to the super simple  terms and conditions of being over 13 years old and granting permission to be publically recognized if you win. (You wouldn’t want to miss out on the opportunity to become famous, right?!)