Category Archives: photography

Christmas Cookies: New Additions to the Family

If you follow me on social media and/or are a co-worker or family member (which let’s face it is about 99.9% of my readers), then you know I recently finished up a batch of sugar cookies.

I know what you’re thinking.

We get it Sarah. You bake. Blah. Blah. Blah. 

If that’s what you’re saying in your head right now, you’ll be happy to know I was ‘over them’ about a week ago. Truth is, if I don’t post about them today, we’ll be into the New Year and my sugar cookie-filled jolliness will be overwhelmed by resolutions and complaining about all the new people at the gym.

So in an effort to not repeat myself from year’s past posts about similarly shaped cookies, I’ll simply focus today’s post on the new additions to the Murphy Zalewski Christmas Cookie Family.

Fun fact: Did you know that Matt doesn’t even like these sugar cookies? Each year I end up making alternative batches of cookies and treats each year for him because he prefers a soft cookie to a hard one.

#peoplepleaser

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This year’s bunch featured some old favorites (see presents and trees) and a few newbies.

Christmas sugar cookies, royal icing, santa christmas cookie, christmas sugar cookies, snowman cookies, ornament cookies, christmas tree cookies, holly cookies, stocking cookies, present cookies, decorating, wilton,

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It’s amazing what opportunities open up when you decide to add two new colors to the mix. The trees got trunks, Frosty got a hat and nose and Frosty’s faceless friend Gingerbread George made an appearance.

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In other news I finally discovered that the squiggly portion of the ornament was actually the metal part so they joined the fam again after a few years of being shunned for their awkwardness around the holiday.

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And let’s not forget everyone’s favorite Santa, who got a spray tan and his brows done for the 2016 holiday season.

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In an effort to always improve, I thought this year might be a good time to share how far we’ve come with this particular Christmas cookie family.

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And just like the holiday season, some years your tree is pretty and some years Santa threw back one too many before the annual family photo. The important thing is that you all spent time together.

Now, I don’t know about you, but I’m off to make a long and unrealistic list of fitness and organizational goals for the coming year. Here’s to giving it the old college try!

Happy New Year!

 

On Christmas cards 

Oh hey guys.

I’ve got good news and bad news for you. The bad news is that I have not prioritized spending quality time with my blog as much as I should have lately. Turns out when you move closer to friends and family you actually end up spending more time with friends and family. In person. Like real life BFF and heart eye emojis. I suppose that’s actually good news packaged as bad news but I’m an optimist so sue me.

The other good news is that my wordpress domain automatically renewed itself so at least one half of this relationship is committed for another year.

You may be wondering, so Sarah what’s it like to have all these words and random musings in your head but not making enough time to share them with the blogosphere regularly?

You’ll have to ask Matt but I’d imagine it’s equivalent to the reaction you’d get by bringing your husband with you to Target two weeks before Christmas. #somanythresholdmusthaves #somanypeopleintheaisle

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Speaking of husbands, it’s time for double Jeopardy.

I’ll take things husbands say each year when it comes time to order Christmas cards for 800, Alex.

People actually pay professional photographers to take Christmas card photos? Seriously? Well, we will not be those people.

Can’t we just buy some with snowmen or holly on them and be done with it? 

They cost how much? 

We might as well send Valentine’s Day cards at this point 

Next category is things you hear when your sister asks you to bring home your camera for the weekend to ‘get a few photos’ of she and the boys for Christmas cards and you have approximately 35 minutes of daylight and 10-12 minutes of patience from 3/4 of your subjects.

I’m cold.

I’m cold.

I’m cold. 

Think we got any good ones? 

Ok let’s go I’m cold. 

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By the power of the Christmas spirit we survived another Christmas card season. Even with Jake in tow.

 

Matters of the heart

They say time flies when you’re having fun.

They say absence makes the heart grow fonder.

And they also say you should probably create your wedding video prior to the eve of your first anniversary.

Well I say two out of three ain’t bad.

It’s hard to believe it’s been a year since our wedding day. On the one hand it feels like just yesterday we were finalizing details and using all the big-ticket grandparent prayers we could for what turned out to be a beautifully sunny and warm spring day. On the other hand it seems like so much has happened over the past 365 days:

  • We visited 8 countries (ok so Matt visited 8. I only got to tag along for 3 of them)
  • italy, bologna, rome, venice, florence, honeymoon, air canada, duomo, colloseum We hosted our first Florida Thanksgiving
  • Happy Florida Thanksgiving from the Murphalewskis! 🦃🌴

    A post shared by Sarah Zalewski (@slmurphy) on

  • We moved into a new home (still a few vacancies for visitors during hurricane season)

Dinner and a view. 🌅

A post shared by Sarah Zalewski (@slmurphy) on

  • We enjoyed some romantic meals and date nights

Romantic training room lunch today with @mtzalewski.

A post shared by Sarah Zalewski (@slmurphy) on

Cheers to date night. How in the world did I get so lucky? 😆 #zalewskidate

A post shared by Sarah Zalewski (@slmurphy) on

  • And we had a lot of visitors

Two out of three are already on their second icee in as many innings. #gobirds

A post shared by Sarah Zalewski (@slmurphy) on

So since I’m sure my husband is already celebrating our anniversary across the world right now in Goa, India (barring another record heat-induced power outage), I thought I’d share my better late than never look back on the day that I was blessed with the opportunity to walk through life holding this guy’s hand.
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Sarah + Matt

(photos courtesy of the oh-so-talented Wright Photographs)

Wedding Snapshots: Bridal Party

You know this whole newlywed thing isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

Sure it started off easy enough. Honeymoon in Italy. Frequent trips to Crate and Barrel to buy more ramekins. Date nights every weekend.

But then three months go by and you find yourself feeling isolated and filling the time with conversations with your dog. OK, so you’ve always talked to the dog but last week you were somewhat convinced he actually had an opinion on which direction you began your evening walk.

They say communication is the key to a good relationship and considering I received a bachelors degree in it, I’d have to agree, but I’d go ahead and put an addendum in it that added the following:

FaceTime.

FaceTime. Saving marriages where one party goes to Prague for 11 days, comes back for 4, leaves for Manchester another 14 days, comes back for 10, leaves for Mexico for 7 days, comes back for 14 and then spends the remainder of October in Chile. Not that I’m counting the days or anything.

Technology is an amazing thing. Sure the time difference can be tough and the frequency in which you bounce ideas off the dog instead of your new husband a little odd, but the truth is, being able to communicate with someone even when they’re across the globe for work is pretty awesome.

I’ve always considered myself a pretty independent person. If independence is defined as someone who surrounds herself with family and friends and loved ones because she feels more whole when she’s spending time with others than when she’s by herself. See also needy extrovert.

So what are you getting at with your facetious references to marital woes and global technology, Sarah?

I’m so glad you ask.

I’m starting to think distance may in fact make the heart grow fonder? At least it seems to be working for me as it relates to Matt, my family and our friends.

When your social circle shrinks exponentially whether it be due to a cross country move, the addition of children or a busy work schedule, your blessings really seem to come into focus.

Blessings in the form of friends and family who take time to reach out amongst their busy schedules. Who maintain friendships over the years even as shared interests and activities wane and who most recently, spend time and money to be a special part of your wedding day, not getting nearly enough credit or publicity for doing so:

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College roomie love 😍 #zalewskifest

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So I’d like to invite you to the grand opening of the Murphalewski B&B this September. No pressure to book early, but I should mention that our beach was recently named #1 in the USA on TripAdvisor and we have over 250 days of sunshine annually.

See you soon!

Wedding Snapshots: the details

When it comes to wedding and party photos, I’m a sucker for detail shots. And if you’re a sucker for detail shots then we should be best friends. Which is pretty much what our photographer and I became as soon as I looked at her work and saw that she appreciated the little details just as much as I do.

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There’s just something in the details. Don’t get me wrong, you may not get the same emotion with a detail shot as you do with a candid, but I love the way that the details give you a feel for the entire day. As if the theme (if there is one) is all wrapped up into a pretty little detailed package.

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So without further ado, here are some details from our wedding day taken by the talented Wright Photographs out of Champaign.
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Wedding Snapshots: The Groom

You know who doesn’t get enough fuss at a wedding?

The Groom.

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And why not? Last time I checked, they were just as much a part of the 1+1+1=1 equation as the bride. (For those of you who with an engineering background, the extra one is representative of God) And yet, here they stand on the wedding day, looking all relaxed and sipping bourbon after their long morning workout. Meanwhile, when their bride attempted to go for a run, she got 10 minutes out and realized she didn’t in fact have time for it and spent the rest of the morning just trying to stop sweating long enough for the makeup artist to finish up thus killing any chance at an endorphin release for the next 12 hours.

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But this is about the groom, remember? And what a handsome groom he was. And today, some 65 days since we made our vows to love one another as long as we both shall live, we celebrate the birthday that puts him two years closer to the finish line than I am.

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Kidding.

I think we all know he’s far too healthy and stubborn to go before I do.

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So here’s a montage of my handsome groom in celebration of his 33rd birthday. A post he’ll 80 percent scoff at, and 20% secretly love.

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Wedding snapshots: The Ceremony

They say girls dream about their wedding day from a young age.

I wasn’t one of those girls.

If I wore a dress, I usually rocked a pair of shorts under it. And in my mind, princess referenced ladies like Belle or Diana, not the cut of a diamond.

As I got older and my love for party planning and design grew along with my collection of bridesmaid dresses, I fielded a lot of comments assuming my future wedding to a not yet in the picture groom was already planned.

Truth is, the only time I ever thought about a wedding day was when I was in church. Now you may assume I take my religion seriously, and I do, but I must admit that my reasons for contemplating future wedding plans while attending Sunday mass over the years was pretty selfish.

You see, I planned on getting married in the same church I received all of my sacraments in. The same place that in 4th grade I confessed my sins for the times “I was maybe being mean to my sister or might have lied to my mom.”

There was just one problem. It had blue carpet.

Bright Cubbie blue carpet.

At one point I even got crazy enough to mention the idea of getting married (still no groom in the picture) at nearby St. Agnes. It had burgundy carpet and it was technically the parish in which we now lived. And burgundy carpet was better than blue, right? Not according to my mother and her mother. Wrong. Way wrong.

I thought about it over the years as awesome priest after awesome priest got transferred out of our home church to go off and witness the weddings of other lucky brides. Each time, I remember thinking I’d probably end up with a priest who knew nothing about me, especially since I no longer lived in Springfield.

And once I moved to Chicago, found an amazing parish and eventually met the man who would stand up next to me for our wedding day, I considered how we could swing getting married at Old St. Pats now that we were living in Florida.

God has a way of saying “I told you so” if you finally allow yourself to listen. When Matt and I decided to get married last year, there was no doubt in my mind where we’d have our ceremony. I let go of any assumptions I had about the way my church should look or feel or by whom the mass would be led. And when I did, I realized my home parish had everything I could ever look for in a church. It had family and friends who loved and supported us. It had people who cared enough about us as a couple to speak, sing, witness and pray. It had an awesome priest who took the time to get to know us and offered realistic and comforting advice for our upcoming marriage. It had history. Years of celebrations and sacraments.

And it had beautiful tile where the blue carpet once was. A perk I can only assume was given to us for waiting until our thirties to get married.

Our wedding ceremony was my favorite part of the wedding day, even though I lost it multiple times. Here are just a few pictures from our talented Wright Photographs to help illustrate the love and support we received.

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