While I always feel fortunate for being able to do what I love, there are some times where I just really relish in how lucky I am to be doing what I’m doing. Lindsay + Amber’s wedding was one of those times for me. From the moment I met them, I knew I wanted to shoot their wedding. In our first meeting, they were smart, witty, confident and fun. It was easy to see how much they love each other– and how much they are in love with each other, as I think there is a difference. I feel so honored to have been able to capture their beautifully classic wedding.

For more details, this wedding was featured on Style Me Pretty.

Ceremony: Villa Sancti Di Bella Vista | Wedding Coordinator: Saralee Franchi, XOXO Bride | Bakery: Rosebud Cakes | Floral Design: Flower Wild | Pre Ceremony Music: Lord of the Cello | Reception Band: ETC Productions | Officiant: Scout Durwood | Rentals: Classic Party Rentals| Transportation: CCC Tours | Cinematography: Russell Fowler | Caterer: Seasons Catering | Lighting:Bella Vista Designs | Parking: Gray’s Ranch | Synchronized Swimmers: Aqualillies | Amber’s Dress: Vera Wang | Lindsay’s Dress: J.Crew

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In discovering my love for riding on the back of a motorcycle, I obviously needed to get equipped. I already had a couple of pairs of favorite boots that have come in quite handy, but I needed a good “riding” jacket (and a helmet of course).

In truth, I wanted to get a cute cropped moto jacket that is on trend now (that I could also wear with maxi dress for example) or even a vintage bomber style jacket. Mr. Ainsley quickly told me those would not work. He was right. On a motorcycle, it’s safety first– and in a jacket, we were looking for something with full coverage. As we traveled from vintage store to vintage store, he would nix any adorable jacket if it were thin, cropped, with a hood, too small, or didn’t zip up all the way.

We found this gem at Wasteland on Melrose, but similar ones can be found on Etsy.

Mr. Ainsley was kind enough to buy me a helmet for my birthday. What’s pretty hip in these parts are the more vintage-looking helmets, but I opted for a more full-coverage approach. While less visually appealing I admit, I wouldn’t want any portion of my cheek hitting the pavement in a bad scenario. Safety first!

The fringe.

Moto Jacket: Vintage 70′s from Wasteland

Jeans: Free People

Blouse: American Apparel

Boots: Fiorentini + Baker

Gloves: Vintage

Thank you Mr. Ainsley for taking these photos.


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I’m going to take a little detour from my normal blog posts and tell you about a new hobby: motorcycles. Or, at least, riding on the back of one.

Here’s the truth: I really want to believe that motorcycles are reckless. I’ve heard the stories, the warnings, the judgements. And here’s the deal: yes, riding one is risky. A lot of things we do in the world are risky. I won’t compare it to driving in a car or anything else– because LIVING is risky. There is always a chance we will get hurt or die and that’s what makes us respect life– and that fragility is what makes it that much more beautiful. All I can say is how surprised I was to learn that I LOVE riding on the back of Mr. Ainsley’s motorcycle.

Here are my thoughts:

In our cars, we are in a bubble. We have no concept of how fast we are going and are rarely tuned in to the world around us. Riding on the back of a motorcycle instantly puts me in touch with my senses. One of the first things I noticed was the smells. The scents of flowers, of grass, of restaurants are inescapable. The wind, the hot or cool air and the moisture in the air hit my face and my hands. The sound of the motorcycle, an incredibly loud hum, puts me in an almost meditative state—like white noise.

There are no distractions—no radio, no music, no talking. After my permagrin wears off (I can’t help it), I actually feel so relaxed I’ve worried before that I would fall asleep. My mind wanders to the most beautiful, stress-free places. I feel in tune with the people around me (who seem oblivious to me) and to the rushing concrete below me. I wave to other motorcyclists I had never noticed when I was in my car. I feel present.

The only form of communication with Mr. Ainsley is a squeeze of the leg or a rub of the back. Which is enough. And perfect.

We go on rides with no destination. Traffic doesn’t matter. We drive along the beach to Palos Verdes. We find hidden, winding roads in Malibu. We drive all around Venice, down Melrose. I love every second.

We recently listened to (on audiobook) Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, by Robert M. Pirsig. Don’t let the title fool you, the novel has more to do with metaphysics and philosophy than with motorcycles. Though in the non-abstract story of the book, a father and son are on a motorcycle trip and describe with beautiful articulation the art of maintaining a motorcycle– which I took to be symbolic of the art of maintaining the self. It’s a good read (or listen) and I highly recommend it.

The photo above is of Mr. Ainsley’s 1984 BMW R80RT motorcycle. Maybe one day I’ll ask him to teach me to ride it.

Tomorrow, I’ll be posting a little style post about my cool vintage motorcycle jacket find and then we’ll be back to some beautiful weddings.

Thanks for listening. Onward.

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I am delighted to share Lisa + Lenny’s desert wedding. Lisa + Lenny and their adorable son were a true joy to shoot. They are grounded and laid back with a fun style as well. It was very easy to see how close their family is– and how passionate they are about life and about each other. 

For even more details, check out Ruffled Blog for their feature last week.

Wedding Location: Palm Springs, CA / Venue: La Quinta Resort, Palm Springs / Photographer: Annie McElwain / Day of Coordination and Styling: Sitting in a Tree Events / Florist: The Floral Lab / Wedding Dress: Custom / Bride’s Shoes: Badgley Mischka / Makeup: Leah Riehl / Hair: Renee Adams / Groom’s Suit: Theory / Groom’s tie: Custom by Tux and Tulle / Wedding Cake: Juliette’s Bakery / DJ: DJ Swon of Red Shoe LA / Photobooth: Magnolia / Videographer: Aqua Vivus

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As a photographer, Jaymee and Reis’ wedding was a dream. They are a beautiful couple, but it is their warmth and kindness– and love for each other and their families that made my job all the more fun. One of the things I love most about weddings is the community of people who support the couple. I simply love to see people– friends, families, spouses– invested in each other. I’ve always thought that life is really about relationships. This wedding was a true celebration of friends and family celebrating life. Congratulations to Jaymee and Reis. And thank you for allowing me to capture your day.


Photographer: Annie McElwain Photography / Venue: Rancho Dos Pueblos, Santa Barbara, CA / Videographer: Ryan McDuff Productions / Event Designer: Bride  / Makeup: Jaimee Roark from Oasis Salon / Hair: Taryn Bazzell from Mira Bella Salon & Spa, Santa Barbara, CA / Cake + Desserts: Sweet Arleen’s / Caterer: DJ’s California Catering / Coffee Bar: Espresso One / Florist: Diane Carvotta, Thousand Oaks, CA / Officiant: Friend of the couple, Christian Pereirra / Ceremony Musician: Jonathan May (Pianist) / DJ/Band: DJFX Entertainment / Wedding Dress: Designed by the bride and handmade by mother of the bride / Bridesmaids’ dresses: ASOSZaraUrban OutfittersBebe / Groom’s suit: Ben Sherman / Groomsmen’ suits: H&M / Stationery/Paper Goods Design: JayAdores Design Co. / Calligrapher: Molly Jacques

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