The Birthday Project: Twenty-six

The Birthday Project: Twenty-six

Hello, 26!

A few months ago, I found an article about a woman who photographed herself in her birthday suit every year since 1974. While I am not so bold as to pose in my - ahem - birthday suit, I was inspired by the article and I couldn't stop thinking about how special it would be to have a visual history of my life through professional photographs taken each year at my birthday.

With the styling expertise of one of my dearest friends, Chelsea, plans came together for a gypsy-inspired shoot, and I took special care to make sure that the pieces used in the shoot represented the current coordinates of my life. 

The Jewelry: I saw the brass flowers and amethyst crown at The English Dept., and I knew it would be a perfect fit for this shoot! Jennifer over at Mignonne Handmade makes some of the most beautiful accessories I've ever seen, and I am so excited to finally own one of her pieces (thanks, Mom and Dad)! As for the amethyst earrings, I spotted them over on Amy Elvey's Instagram, and I just HAD to have them! She is one talented lady! 

The Amethyst: Amethyst is my birthstone, so it had to be a cornerstone (no pun intended) of the shoot. 

The Location and Set: Once we settled on the gypsy theme, I knew we had to shoot at Coyote Moon Ranch in Oregon City. I first learned how to ride horses there when I was seven years old, and it has never stopped being one of the most beautiful, magical places I've ever been. 

It was important to me to have images of my hands and my eyes, because hands and eyes show age and will play a big part in my visual history. They tell the stories of the things I've seen and the places I've been. 

The Horse: Chelle, who owns and operates Coyote Moon Ranch, selected her beautiful mustang mare, Wiley, for us to use in the shoot. A few months ago, my childhood horse, Skyler, passed away unexpectedly, so being around a horse again was wonderful. I would be lying if I said I didn't choke back some tears, but it was magical! 

The Dress: Chelsea is an amazing friend, and I met her just before my 25th birthday. In this past year, she has reignited my love of vintage clothing and the belief that I can wear whatever makes me feel beautiful. In particular, the Free People dress she let me borrow for this shoot made me feel incredibly beautiful. 

The Donut: Donuts are my guilty pleasure and sweet treat of choice. I will never say no to a donut! I knew my favorite donut, the lavender donut at Coco Donuts, would be perfect! 

The Photographer: In the fall, my brother and sister-in-law moved back to the Portland area from Texas, and I couldn't be happier! Derich taught me all I know about photography, and his images never fail to amaze me. 

I've always believed that birthdays are such a special time! I'm not someone who dreads them as a reminder of getting old. They're a reminder that I've lived another amazing year! A reminder of the wonderful friends and family I have who are there to wish me a Happy Birthday. A reminder to be thankful for all of the blessings in my life. Aaannnddd birthdays are a time to eat anything you want. Bring on the donuts! 

Let's make it a great one, 26.


Thank you to everyone who made this shoot a reality, and a beautiful one at that!

Photography: Derich Hartfeil | Location: Coyote Moon Ranch | Dress: Free People via Chelsea Marie | Makeup: Cylia Amendolara | Headpiece: Mignonne Handmade via The English Dept. | Earrings: Amy Elvey Designs | Dried Floral Bouquets: Ink & Peat via The English Dept. | Donut: Coco Donuts