Engagement Session: Katie + Mike

Hands down, my favorite session of the year! Why, you might ask. Well, because the gorgeous gal in these photos is my bestest friend and that hottie on her arm is her FIANCÉ!!! Yep, my bestie is getting hitched and I got to photograph their engagement portraits! So, ya, I am a tad excited about these pictures!

Though they have been engaged for close to a year now, these lovebirds haven’t really had the time for pictures which is kinda why I forced them into it! Boy, am I glad I did though. We met at Linn Run State Park near the Adams Falls entrance during the peak of the fall foliage. The backdrop for their shoot was simply awe-inspiring.

I can’t lie. This session was a piece of cake! I got to just hang out with Kayte & her soon-to-be hubs, Mike/Gomez. We cracked jokes, made awkward faces and I even made them dance a little. These two were all smiles, especially for each other and I could not be happier for the two of them!

Their engagement was simple but sweet. On Kate’s birthday last year, Mike had planned to pop the question. When the day came, nothing went as planned. Mike had a terrible cold and felt like crap. To boot, a blizzard hit southwestern Pennsylvania that brought Kate’s birthday festivities to a halt. But, even with all the hiccups, Mike was determined to surprise his soon to be bride. In their home, on a cold winter night, he dropped to one knee with his family heirloom, a diamond ring and Kayte happily agreed to be his forever New Years Eve date.

To Mike and Kate, I wish you nothing but joy and happiness forever and ever. Congratulations. Now, please, pick a date so I can start planning this girl’s bachelorette party!!

Travel Guide: Kansas City

This past week, I had the opportunity to check a few more states off my list when I visited Kansas City! My brother and his favorite lady moved here about a year ago and it was past time that I check out what Kansas City is all about. Our first stop after flying into MCI was the National World War I Museum in downtown. From the top, you have an amazing view of the metropolis.

Our next stop was to walk around in a shopping and dining district dubbed Country Club Plaza. This area had so much to offer. Fine architecture, elaborate fountains around every corner and an assorted array of florals line the ornately decorated streets. We spent time walking near a canal and then proceeded on to lunch.

Where to Eat? Located on a corner lot in Country Club Plaza, Fiorella’s Jack Stack Barbecue was our first choice. Every blog and website suggested that Kansas City BBQ should be on the top of our list so I trusted my brother’s judgement when he said that this place had the best Burnt Ends in town. And, he wasn’t lying. I had the Corn and Half Chicken. I recommend asking for the spicy BBQ sauce too. It was lip-smacking good, especially on the lamb ribs!

We spent that night ordering Pizza Hut and watching scary movies on the couch but the next day, we were determined to have an adventure. We headed to Black Hoof Park, a recreation area located adjacent to Lake Lenexa, a 35 acre, deep water lake. The dam and spillway at the park are an architectural feat. We spent time walking my brother’s pups around the lake and photographing the flora. We managed to see a few fishermen and even a kayak out on the water, something I will have to remember for the next time I visit.

After the park, we headed to a Mexican restaurant in Gardner, Kansas for lunch. Fronteras had a $2.50 Margarita Special and an appetizer plate that my bro and I scarfed down in a matter of minutes. We spent the afternoon sitting under the cabanas on the patio laughing about our crazy family and planning our next adventure.

That night, we headed into downtown Kansas City. Our first stop was Manifesto, a speakeasy with some premium bar drinks. My favorite was the Beautiful Red Bell, a gin martini that tasted exactly like a red bell pepper. It was delicious! Lit by nothing but candlelight, this place has a 1920s vibe and some classic drink choices.

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After drinks, we headed into the Kansas City Power and Light District. We strolled through the massive venue and then made our way to dinner at the Yardhouse up the street. After throwing back a few Boulevard Heifewiezens, I munched on the Ahi Tuna Poke Stack and a few of my brother’s girlfriend’s nachos! Everything was really yummy!

I was told over and over that the Kansas City sunsets were beautiful. And, I bet they were. I just kept napping on the back porch every night and missing it. But, I did get to catch the sunrise on the morning that I left. 4:45 came bright and early and with it, a gorgeous display of color and a gracious reminder of time. How fast it flys by and how lucky I am to have the opportunity to stop and enjoy it every now and then.

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We have got a lot more travel guides coming up in the next few months but I don’t want to ruin the surprise just yet. Where would you like to see The Rustie Nail head to next? The beach, a national park maybe or an amusement park you’ve been dying to check out! I love hearing suggestions on where to head to next. Leave you’re comments below!