The Lovebug

When I was little, one of my very first loves was my adored stuffed animal collection. It started with three- a dog, a lamb, and a bunny- each of which received a lot of love at an early age. The group changed over the years, sometimes losing animals, but more often gaining.

By the time I graduated high school, I would guess I had somewhere between 10 to 15 stuffed animals. Some sat on bookshelves, some above windows, and a select few had the privilege of residing on my bed.

There was only one stuffed animal, however, that made the transition from infant to child to teenager with me and was always greeted with the exact same amount of love and adoration.

Her name was Le Mutt, creatively because that is what her tag had said, and she wore thick, lavender yarn ribbons at the place where her head met her soft, floppy ears. She was an oatmeal color with nubby fur, yellow-brown eyes and a brown thread nose. Her size was perfect for holding tightly while I slept; yes, not only was she a privileged resident of my bed, but she was the one with whom I chose to cuddle every night.

The years were not kind to Le Mutt, but she aged with much dignity as one would expect from a lovely French lady. She developed mange as areas of her fur were rubbed bare from my loving hands. Repeatedly being hugged and carried by her neck led to a migration of stuffing, both further down into her abdomen area and out of a teeny hole that developed in the place a trach would go.

Her neck grew thin and could no longer support the weight of her head, so she then remained in a permanent slump. Le Mutt even developed cataracts in later years, as her brown eyes glazed over with a hint of a whitish-grey.

By the time she left for college with me, Le Mutt was not in the best shape of her life, yet she accepted our move with the greatest of ease. I was especially thankful for her during my first few nights in my freshman dorm, as I tried to adjust to my new and strange surroundings. When I got sick for the first time that year and felt at a loss without my parents, Le Mutt was a strong and comforting reminder of home .

Le Mutt watched me grow from an infant to a young girl and then from a young girl to a young woman. She absorbed her fair share of tears over the years as in that time she saw three major moves, friends come and go, crushes come and go, and witnessed my heartbreak a few times. Le Mutt also read with me, studied with me, and kept me company under the covers on nights when when I was scared.

Le Mutt now lives safely on a shelf in my room at my parent's home, out of reach of a pup who one day discovered her and tried to claim Le Mutt for her own. She watches over things for me, and I hope that someday another child will find love and solace in her arms.

Do you have a Le Mutt in your life? Was it an animal, a blanket, something else? Is your loved object still a part of your life, stored away somewhere for safe keeping, or now only a memory?

To see more sweet lovebugs and larger versions of these photos, head here to the blog of the always amazing husband-and-wife team, Our Labor of Love.

Love Actually

Said quite perfectly...

Season of Love

Love and hearts. Hearts and love. Yesterday's post was just the beginning.

nataliej's flickr

Even though the years I have celebrated Valentine's Day with a special someone are far outnumbered by the ones I've celebrated without, I have always adored the holiday.

Yes, it is a Hallmark holiday. Yes, it is over-commercialized. Yes, it is often marked with some horribly cheesy gifts. Yes, yes, yes.

Yet it is a holiday that ultimately celebrates love, and, I believe that is something we can always celebrate. Our love for our families. Our love for our friends. Maybe even our love for a special someone.

Sure, we don't, or shouldn't, need a holiday to tell us to do this. But a day that is put aside solely for celebrating love? Perfect. For there is no such thing as having too much love, nor can we acknowledge our loves too much.

Snap! & Chat with Make-up Artist Robin Mcaloon

Well everyone... if there was any mystique left surrounding yours truly at all- it is certainly gone now. I am going to stick my ear to the window after I post this blog and listen to hear the collective gasp that is sure to follow.
I am really taking one for the team here- but it's important for you to know that I do it because I love you. See all that I have sacrificed? If this before and after photo does not make you pick up the phone and call Robin immediately, then I just don't know what else will...

The most frequently asked question we get here at snap is probably... "what should I do about makeup?" Followed up by... "I don't usually wear much and I want to look like myself." Followed up by..."I had a trial done, and I hated it!"
Trust me, I understand, but you MUST wear makeup on the big day- you'll feel great, look great, and it will make a world of difference in your photos!
(see photo of me above if you can stomach it.)
Robin can answer all these questions and concerns... we went to visit her to find out first hand what the Robin-experience is all about.

Robin says it's never too early to do a trial. "Brides want to know what the makeup style will be and they want to have the confidence that it will be what they want."
To do this, Robin tries to tune into their personalities. "I ask a lot of questions! What is their normal routine? Do they have a look they are going for? Did they bring any pictures? For the 'natural' brides I ease into the makeup that works for them. I won't apply to heavily and scare them. We can always add more. I don't push. I don't need them to do what I think they should do. I want them to be comfortable. I want them to say WOW when they look in the mirror."

Here's Robin working her magic... she gave me some really good tips while we were chatting:

Robin Tip #1: You know how when you apply your eyeshadow you always get the flakes of color on your cheeks and under your eyes? Dab on a loose powder across the top of your cheekbones and under your eyes. Put it on pretty heavy and just let it kind of sit there while you do your shadow, it will catch all those flakes. When you are done, just wipe it off with your brush!

Robin Tip #2 False Eyelashes!!! I have never worn them- but Robin applied them for fun. I wanted to get the full effect. I couldn't stand my own sexiness once she put them on! Hello- I never want to go out of the house without them now!

Robin says they can be applied individually for a more natural look- or in a strip for a more dramatic look. "People are afraid of the lashes- but then they do it and they LOVE the look. It adds a real pop to the eyes."


I asked Robin the number one most important thing we can all do to maximize our beauty...

Her answer? "Take care of your skin!"
The first step for a flawless face is a good skin care regimen. You need to create a nice canvas for the makeup. Dry flaky skin is really hard to cover up."
Robin will give you advice on how to prepare your skin for your wedding day during your first consultation.

Robin Tip #3 A smooth face to neck transition is important. Don't forget your neck! Robin put a little bronzer on my neck to match my face.

Isn't it weird? I actually look younger AND thinner. I love you Robin!

I know your dying to know more about Robin- here are some Fun Facts about her...

1. She'll travel anywhere to make you gorgeous!

2. Robin is a painter too, and taught herself all about makeup while working at a salon. She's been beautifying people all over the East bay and beyond for 10 years!

3. Robin will stay with you on your wedding day if you'd like her to do touch ups for photos etc. She has an hourly rate for that. She often finds herself being more of a stylist... looking out for out of place hairs, dress hems, cuffs etc... as well as making sure your makeup stays expertly applied.

4. Robin would love to get into the movie business and create big prosthetics because it's so creative.

5. She could do makeup for hours! She gets lost in it because she's so passionate about it. But, your bridal makeup will take about an hour... she knows there's a limit!

6. If stuck on a desert island with only one cosmetic to choose... Robin would pick lipstick! At first she was thinking blush, because she's so fair- but then resourceful Robin changed her answer to lipstick because she could use it on her cheeks and her lips! Smart!

Isn't she so pretty?

Want to look natural and glam all at the same time?
The only thing left to know is how to get a hold of her:

email Robin at:
Call her at : 508.397.3641
or check out her website
What are you waiting for?

The Snap-Cam Travels to Boston and Survives to Tell the Story...

Our latest installment highlights Karalyn and Erik who are getting married in less than a month! They are having a beautiful wedding at Belle Mer on February 21st, so be sure to check back to see their wedding photos the week after!

But in the meantime let's get to know them a little bit... They met at Quinipiac University where they were paired together to do a radio show, they dated for a while and then she went to NYC for a job after graduation. But then she came back to Boston to work at WBCN and they reconnected then. I guess it would be safe to say it worked out!

Karalyn had just returned from a trip to Naples Florida for her bachelorette party when the Snap-Cam arrived. Apparently she had to pay extra for her luggage because it was so heavy! See comparison below, funny!

Here is Erik posing so nicely with his favorite food, clementines! They are so good when it's so grey and cold outside!

Here's our soon to be bride posing with her Chiwowa 'Dutchy'. That is the best name for a dog, I love it! I wonder if he'll be at the wedding??? Maybe the ring dog?

I'm sure most brides have a desktop that looks very similar, a couple of things related to work and then the 'wedding binder'! Oh and of course a giant engagement ring, that's a must for every girl!

Here are a few shots that Karalyn took at work, very cool. Angles that the general public don;t usually get to see. So if you listen to WBCN, this is where it's coming from...

And of course the biggest news of our generation most likely... the inauguration of our new President Barack Obama! Such an exciting time, I'm so glad that she recorded this photo and that someone had the Snap-Cam on this day too!

OK, so here is the real info that the other brides need to know... She says don't expect the predicted 15% of your invites to come back as no's. As you can see below, Karalyn and Erik are very popular people and EVERYONE wants to go to their wedding, except for Mr. and Mrs. Stephen Perkins of course. We'll miss them.

Here is the Kitchen Aid mixer that she is not sure why she needs it or even how to use it. I can imagine that she's not the only one. But the look cool on the counter top, so whatever.

Last but not least, one the way to work the next day (with the Snap-Cam ready to send back) Karalyn was in a really bad car accident! She was side swiped and sent through a guard rail and into an exit sign and then into a tree! She says that she just feels lucky to be alive and says not to lose perspective during the wedding planning. I guess it's times like this when you realize just how fast something can happen and that things that seems important one minute suddenly are not in the next.
PS. This is the good side of the car- the other side is worse!!!!! OUCH

Well we are certainly so happy that you are OK!!!!!! And we are also glad that the Snap-Cam survived the accident so that we could get this chance to see your photos and get to know you before the wedding. We will look forward to seeing you then and rocking out some great pictures for you and Erik. Take care of yourself until then!!!!!

Joanne and Alex in San Diego Part 2

I felt so bad for Trish and Melissa being back at the office in cold grey Rhode Island while I frolicked on the beach with my camera in sunny So-Cal. NOT! HA!
Joanne and Alex had their reception in La Jolla (gorgeous!) this is the beach that the Inn overlooks. Joanne loves the beach, and the seals that like to lay around doing yoga moves nearby (more of them in a little while...)

The beach here is so different then the beaches at home, much more rugged. I love all the large rocks in the background.

Here's Alex doing handsome man posing- I didn't have to give him much instruction- he oozes cool (older sister being sarcastic). Seriously though, thinking of my brother as handsome is a little yucky- but he is pretty cute.

Alex is also a good dipper.
Groom Tip: When you are dipping the bride in photos or even during your dance... dip her toward the camera- not away from it, it's a much better picture.

I love this little portrait of Joanne.

Shoes are confusing I guess.

Here's me and my bro. I wanted him to jump for a wedding party photo- remember how I said he oozes cool? Well, apparently he was too cool for jumping because he wouldn't do it. Here's me attempting to show him how it's done. He wasn't convinced.

Pretty dramatic.

Here's the seals! They don't do much but laying, yawning and stretching. Sounds like my kind of afternoon, minus all the people gawking at me while I do it.

The photo on my left is probably my favorite pic from the weekend. It has such a sweet and quiet feeling.

More nature... this time pelicans. Maybe this was a risky photo to take?!

My two sisters (Mandy & Karla) and super-brother in law (Sparky) hanging out while we finish up the pics... think they'll rescue me if the seals decide to attack?

Just what a good husband should be doing after a walk on the beach with his bride.
(Groom Tip #2)

The view! Do I have to go back to Providence tomorrow morning?

Joanne makes a quick change into gown #2 for their big entrance.

This is Roma, Joannes best friend and maid of honor. They grew up together and now both live in California. Roma is getting married in August (Congratulations!)

Joanne and her aunties & mom. Aren't they all so beautiful?

The cutest little cake ever- and it was sooo delicious. It was chocolate with mocha mousse filling and some kind of crunchy little toffee bits on the inside. YUM!

No smashing here... I think that's a good sign.

Well, that was my adventure to San Diego and the excellent wedding of my brother and sweetie, the new Mrs. Ashley. I had such a good time and was so grateful that I was able to go and to snap away some fun photos for them.
I just have to say Alex, that I am so impressed with you. I kid when I make jokes about you being my pesky little bother because while you've been gone in the military you have really grown into a man that we are all so proud of. You picked a loving and genuine girl to marry and I know that you will be a great partner for her because you have all of those same qualities.
Congratulations, we all love you so much!
xoxoxoxoxoxo Ria

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