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A City Full of Hope: The Bighorn Engagement Session

25 Aug

If you’ve been following my blog posts, hive, you know that Christchurch, New Zealand has been through a lot in the past three years. In September 2010, an earthquake struck Canterbury (the region where Christchurch sits) measuring a magnitude of 7.1. It really scared a lot of the residents in the city, but the Cantabrians braved it and kept moving on with everyday life, even though a multitude of aftershocks followed. It was normal for them (and I guess Californians could understand this factoid).

However, on the 22 February, at about lunchtime on a normal working day, a 6.6 magnitude earthquake rocked the city. It was located much closer to Christchurch than the September earthquake, and the results were catastrophic. Buildings fell, roads literally tore apart, houses were destroyed, and 181 lives were lost.

Now, I wasn’t born in New Zealand. But Mr Big was. The news of the earthquake really shook him to the core. Because he couldn’t get in contact with any of his family or friends for the first few hours of the quake, he began to get extremely anxious. I was right there with him (he was working from home) and attempting to do my best to keep him calm, but having just met his family and friends and connecting with them during that time, I was freaking out myself.

We later found out that all of his friends and family are fine, and for that we consider ourselves extremely lucky and blessed. But at the same time, every time we visit this beautiful city, we’re reminded of that dark few hours where we just didn’t know.

Now, I’m guessing a lot of you are wondering what this has to do with the engagement photo shoot. Well, a lot actually.

We wanted to make sure that, even though the photos are relatively happy, with us being generally PDA, we wanted to capture the city itself. Since 22 February, Christchurch and its people have picked themselves up, dusted themselves off, and gotten on with it. Through the horror of the quake, and the devastation that followed, the Cantabrians have shown strength, resilience and most of all, hope that is not only inspiring, but captivating.

And that was what we hoped to portray when we used Christchurch as our backdrop. Yes, the city is in ruins. But it’s still beautiful all the same. Mr Big and I believed our photographers were able to capture both the city and us as an engaged photos.

But I’ll let you decide!

So without further ado, here are some of the photos.

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And my favourite:

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This just really captures us!

Now before you guys go, I suggest you also watch the spasticity that is Mr Big and my engagement stopmotion:

Yeah, we’re strange.

What do you guys think? I’m in love with them! (But I’m biased).

(All images and video copyright to the fabulous StudioSomething.)

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Look what we got in le email yesterday…

24 Aug

http://vimeo.com/studiosomething/eileengrantengagement

❤ 😀

Our photographers are awesome.

Pictures worth a thousand words

31 Jul

Yesterday I talked you through our very ‘cool’ (haha, see what I did there!) Winter engagement shoot in central Christchurch. Well, last night, while I was chatting to my ma, I got an email which resulted in this:

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Guys – WE HAVE OUR PHOTOS!!! *FLAILS AROUND WILDLY*

Now, I knew from the get-go that our photographers were awesome, but I’m the kind of girl who just can’t stand looking at herself in photographs. There’s always something wrong in every photo I see. But when I opened up that webpage to see my photos, I was enamoured.

Seriously you guys – LOOK AT THIS.

(All photos copyright StudioSomething)

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MIND = BLOWN.

I’m so glad we chose these guys to photograph our wedding!! I know they’ll do such a marvellous job. I can’t tell you how happy we are. And because I love you guys, I’m leaving you with my favourite image (which just highlights how incredibly silly my relationship with GP can be).

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A Winter Engagement Shoot in a City Full of Hope

30 Jul

On a FABULOUSLY sunny day, at 11AM on Wednesday 24th July, GP and I headed out to New Regent St in central Christchurch to meet up with our photographers of the fabulous photography group StudioSomething. Prior to that we each had respective appointments to get all ‘done up’. GP had a professional hair trim and shave from the fabulous people at ManScape, and I had my nails done at Wonder Nails.

Observe:

SHINY! (Personal Image)

Yes guys, I’m eating a cookie. A choc-chip-macadamia cookie from Mrs Higgin’s Cookies. It was DIVINE. Also, can someone spot the rose in the apothecary jar. I got that for my 25th birthday from my awesome friends ❤

Can you also see how AWESOME the weather was!? We totally lucked out, especially when the weather was looking rather hairy previously.

Our photographers experienced the typical Cantabrian confusion of trying to get around Christchurch through the maze of road works currently choking up the streets. Luckily, GP knew the way and was able to direct them to New Regent St where we finally met up with Ellen, Phu and their ADORABLE 6-month old baby. After some cooing with Lewis and chatting about both the shoot and the city, we decided to grab a coffee. We ended up in ‘Shop Eight & Rekindle’, a café attached to a ‘pop-up’ art shop which recycles wood taken from the demolition work happening around the city.

There, we took the first photos of the day.

Now, for those of you who haven’t see StudioSomething’s work, they do ‘stop-motion’ videos. Which means they take multiple photos using a fast-shutter speed and capture photos that, when stitched together, look like a movie! This meant that, when they wanted to capture GP and I kissing, we had to do it slowly at times.

I may have been rather happy to continue kissing on my fiancé… (This girl has no shame loving on her fiancé!)

We also had to slowly stir our hot chocolates, which made me giggle a heck of a lot.

After our photographers had a bite to eat, we moved on to an Astro-Turf space-filler close by. Does anyone remember this photo?

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Space-filler Astro-Turf project! (Personal Image)

Unfortunately, there were SO MANY PEOPLE when we got there with our photographers. In the shot above, there was barely a soul around, but with our photographers, people kept flooding in and out – kids, people with dogs, families. So our photographers were able to improvise and asked us to sit in the big couch in the centre (see that Astro-Turf on the right of the image above? That was a HUGE couch). While we sat there, relatively still, they captured the movement around us.

It was an AMAZING shot and I wish I could show you guys, but we haven’t gotten the pictures back yet.

From the Astro-Turf project, we moved to Cathedral Square. These shots were a lot more sombre (considering the damage done to the Christchurch Cathedral in the earthquakes), but we were also able to use the space around us and have some fun with it. By the time we were done with the Cathedral Square we moved on to the famous “Container Mall”, otherwise known as the RE:Start Mall.

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The RE:Start Mall on a busy Sunday. (Personal Image)

That picture was taken during our tour with GP’s dad. During the e-session on Wednesday there was barely a soul! It was fabulous. We were able to get awesome pictures of us in the main square, among the colourful containers, and we even got some pictures of our disappearing Fritz’s Wiener lunches! (I recommend Fritz’s Wieners for those who like hot dogs).

At about 4:30PM, the sun started setting and our photographers got snap-happy with the lighting. We got a lot of kissy-photos during that time, and as I was saying – I was more than happy to kiss on my man!

By 5PM, we finished our shoot, giving us a whopping 6 hours with our photographers!

We enjoyed each and every single moment with them and were able to not only get fantastic photos but enjoy their company. They got a pretty good tour of the city centre as well, so I’d have to say it was a win-win! 😉

We can’t wait to get our photos back. I’ll definitely be sharing some of them on this blog!

Our Lucky Break.

22 Jul

In a previous post, I explained our initial ideas. We were desperate to have the wedding in Christchurch, and I won’t lie, disappointed that we couldn’t. Our Hunter Valley wedding, however, has worked out phenomenally, however, and we’re so very happy to be celebrating in such a significant place with our nearest and dearest.

However, our Christchurch story doesn’t end there.

You see, this year, Mr Big turned the big 3-0. He wanted a “low key” celebration, but I wasn’t having that. He had previously thrown me a dress-up-as-a-superhero-surprise-25th which lead to pictures like this:

GP and me

I didn’t have costume. Hulk sad. I was wearing a jumper with an Assassin’s Creed hood though!

(I would put more up… but I don’t want my friends to kill me.)

But I digress, Mr Big was turning the big 3-0 and I wanted him to celebrate in style!

And so, I forced prodded him to have it in Kiwiland. He finally caved agreed and we started planning our trip! At the same time, Mr Big and I were thinking of what to do for our engagement shoot with our wonderful photographers. We originally were thinking of going to Cockatoo Island for the e-session, a little island in Sydney harbour, and had originally intended on having it in August.

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The industrial part of Cockatoo Island. There are also convict areas and underground tunnels that were used to shelter people from falling bombs during WWII! The tiny people in this photo are: Mama Bighorn, myself, Groom’s Homie Oddball, and Mr Big. I know… I’m short. / Image taken by MoH M&Ms during a trip out to the beautiful spot.

I shot an email to Ellen and we back-and-forthed for a little bit. The months between September to December would be busy for them (wedding season!) so that left June, July, and August. It’d be winter in Australia, but that would be fine for Mr Big and I. We love winter more than summer.

With that, we tried to narrow down a date. I remember mentioning in passing that we would be in New Zealand in July, and hence, August would be best for us. To my surprise, we got this reply back from Ellen:

We’re also heading to NZ in early July – when are you going and where? We fly into Christchurch I think on the 14th! Would you like to do the shoot there if we’re in the same place at the same time? Haha!

I can honestly say my hands were trembling with excitement.

I quickly called Mr Big to ask if we would be able to (and was met with voicemail; he was in a meeting at work) and then waited anxiously for his reply. I tried to be realistic about it, for example, we might not be in Chch (Christchurch) during the same time as them, Mr Big might not like the idea, etc. but then he called back.

He was as keen as I was. (Probably even more so!)

WOOT!

After back-and-forth emails with Ellen, we decided on an approximate date and time. We’d be meeting up with them in Christchurch at a particular spot, assigned during the week leading up to the date. We’d also grab their mobile numbers to communicate accordingly.

So it was settled.

We’d be having our engagement shoot in Christchurch, during the winter. What’s even better? We’d be having it the day before our third-year anniversary together! During the lead-up we scouted out areas and spent an entire day with De-Papa Big in doing so. He also gave us the ‘Quake Tour’, which he does every time we visit so that we can get an idea on how the city is progressing every visit.

We started off in Avonside, a red-zoned area that was particularly damaged in the 2011 February earthquake. The last time we drove through Avonside, Mr Big mentioned that he wouldn’t be surprised if zombies came shambling out of the houses. The whole neighbourhood is in relatively disrepair, with houses sagging down sadly or some even burnt (that’s what upset me the most).

We felt it disrespectful to take photos, especially engagement ones, in Avonside, so we vetoed that idea. Instead, we simply drove around to have a good look at the neighbourhood which, to my knowledge, will be turned into parklands. De-Papa Big mentioned that they may even keep some houses up in memoriam to the damaged houses and changed lives of the quakes.

With that sombre mood, we decided to move on to a more populated part of Chch. Enter, the Cathedral Square:

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Mr Big and I posing for a photo in the Cathedral Square. This place used to be surrounded by tall buildings.

For those who don’t know, the Cathedral Square is named for the Christchurch Cathedral which sat in its centre. And for those who are curious as to what it looks like, this is what it used to look like:

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The Christchurch Cathedral. / Image taken via Wikipedia.

And this is what it looks like now:

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The damage done to the Cathedral after both 2010 September earthquakes, several aftershocks, and the massive 2011 February earthquake. You can’t see it from here, but the spire is in rubble to the left of this picture. / Image via Chris Hewitt, A Kiwi at the Camera.

Whenever I look at pictures of the Cathedral, I still feel sad. I could go on about why, but I won’t bore you guys with the details. We decided we needed to move past the sombreness from both Avonside and the Square, so we decided to explore the ‘space-fillers’ surrounding the Square. We found this one:

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Surf-Turf chairs! We look like two little kids, haha!

From there, we moved to New Regent St which is just.so.charming! Here’s a picture pre-e-session of my being a retard on New Regent St:

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I know you’ve guys seen this picture before. It’s the best picture I have of New Regent St…

We decided to buy coffees and chat for a little before we moved on. Our next stop was the RE:start mall, also known as the “container mall”.

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Mr Big and I – I’m still drinking my coffee. And yes, that sign does say “lingerie”, since we were right next to one!

It’s a shopping mall made completely made of shipping containers. It’s such a nice spot to rest, relax, and shop around. We even managed to buy a “ring box” (it’s not really a ring box, but we made it one!).

We also scoped out the cardboard Cathedral in front of Latimer Square, but felt it didn’t really capture what we wanted.

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The cardboard Cathedral at Latimer Square, still under construction.

So with our location scouting done, we put a plan into action!

In the next post, I talk about a something that’s pretty important in e-session shoots. Clothing!

What do you guys think of these locations? Did anyone else get a ‘lucky break’ in your wedding plans?

(All photos personal unless otherwise stated.)

Rain, Rain, Go Away… No Seriously, Rain, GO AWAY!

22 Jul

Guys, I’m freaking out!

The weather forecast is looking pretty hairy for GP and I on our engagement shoot.

Lookie here:

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Weather forecast on Wednesday 24 July in Christchurch, New Zealand // Image taken from metservice.com

As you can see – it’s raining on Wednesday. “Showers. Light winds.” to be exact…

I LOVE the rain, but if it does rain on Wednesday, it means we have to find an alternative place to do our photoshoot! I don’t know if our photographers can photograph in the rain, and don’t want to push them into a situation they’re not comfortable with!

Before we checked out the weather forecast, we were fairly certain what we wanted out of our shoot. You see, on Sunday, we toured Christchurch with GP’s dad and were able to get a good feel of the place. The tour was originally to check out the progress of the city two years on from the February 22 quake, but an email from our photographers also turned the tour into a “where to go for an interesting photoshoot” day.

GP’s dad was an awesome tour guide, and took us through the residential red zone of Avonside. Last time we went through there, GP mentioned that he wouldn’t be surprised if zombies came shambling out of the dilapidated houses. It’s sort of sad to see, but the city is getting much better.

From there, we moved to the Cathedral Square, which has finally opened up, and were able to get a glimpse at the Christchurch cathedral. GP’s dad mentioned that it would probably be good to get some pictures of the cathedral, and we agreed. It is a quintessential part of Christchurch’s history, and therefore, GP’s history as well. As we continued to tour through the centre of the city, we formed a good plan for the shoot.

We would start the photoshoot in the Cathedral Square, in front of the Earthquake-ruined cathedral there – to pay remembrance to the Earthquake that shook GP’s city. From there, we wanted to move to another (happier) area – the space fillers surrounding the square. Like this:

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GP and I on the Sunday, being big kids on the space-filler armchairs and couches set up next to the Cathedral Square // Personal Image

 

From there, we’d move to a street called New Regent St which is just. so. charming. (Side note: the Rendezvous Hotel is there, where we’ll be staying for GP’s 30th birthday 🙂 ). I (unfortunately) don’t have any pictures to show you guys since all we did there was buy coffees, chat and move on. We then wanted to move on to the RE:Start Mall, which is otherwise known as the “Container mall” – a shopping district made out of shipping containers (very cool and creative place).

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A busker (‘The Mullet Man’) performing in the RE:Start Mall square. Can you see the shipping container café in the background? // Personal Image

There’s also the infamous “Cardboard Cathedral” in front of the Latimer Square. (Ironically enough, the Latimer Hotel was one such venue we were potentially thinking of having out wedding). But that’s not really ‘complete’ as such and GP isn’t too happy to be taking a picture with it!

Alas, if it rains heavily, we may not be able to do the shoot outdoors. And we’re both RACKING our brains on where to go for an indoors shoot. As you can see, our Sunday tour was absolutely GORGEOUS! The sun was out, and it was a nice, cool day. I’m just hoping the forecast is wrong…

We could potentially travel out of town to do the shoot, which may be an idea if the weather decides it hates us in Christchurch. I don’t know any places to go though, so GP will have to take charge.

Does anyone else have ideas for an indoor shoot!?

Winter is coming!

17 Jul

Well… is here.

(Side note: No, I do not watch Game of Thrones. I can’t get past the first episode…)

And with Winter comes Winter-clothing!

Which brings me to the question: what do you wear to an engagement shoot in the Winter? I grew up in Australia where ‘winter’ meant chilly nights and warm mornings. Winter fashion isn’t really big in my family (think thick socks and flipflops… I cringe!), so when I try to dress relatively attractively in the Winter, I’m met with the disapproving look of ‘why are you not dressed warmly!?’. I love my family, but I want to look good and be warm!

New Zealand is a completely different ballgame! Winter fashion is an art of the right layers and the right pieces of clothing. A warm, colourful scarf paired with a nice blazer or winter coat; thick leggings paired with a nice tunic and a cute belt to cinch the waist; knee-high boots, skinny jeans, and a cute fleece top – these are the things I see in Kiwi-land that make Winter-dressing so much more attractive.

So, I’ve been trying to think of ways to dress for the engagement shoot, so I don’t end up looking this guy:

It’s the Michellin Man! / Image via Running With Scissors

This is the route I don’t want to take. I’m a rather big girl (but getting smaller, thankfully!), so layers upon layers upon, etc. would make me look two-to-ten times bigger than I already am! So, no, I am not going to layer too excessively!

And so, with a plan of action in mind, I turned to Polyvore and made this board:

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NZ winter engagement session by Miss Big

I own a lot of those clothes (or semblances of them) and decided they would be perfect for the shoot. It’s warm, it’s classy, it’s fashionable, and most of all, I won’t look like the Michellin Man! Mr Big has winter-dressing down to an art, and when you guys see the pictures, you’ll see how classy my boy is (even with a zombie on his chest).

(I would show you what we finally wore, but I’m going to be mean and not even give you guys a smidgen of a sneak peak! [insert evil laughter])

What do you guys think about my choices?

LANDED!

15 Jul

Hello guys!

We officially landed in Kiwi-land on Saturday (13 July) and got settled in at GP’s parent’s house. We’ll be here until the 29 July, where I’ll try to update as much as I can. The weather here is WEIRD guys!

Okay… no, that’s a lie. I guess it’s NORMAL compared to Sydney weather. We landed on a BEAUTIFUL sunny day and then the rain started! There’s more hail here than in Sydney (granted, if there were more hail in Sydney, Sydneysiders would never drive…) and it can get pretty cold. This hasn’t stopped GP and I doing regular walks, although yesterday we cut the walk short ’cause it was pouring down with rain and one of my socks was soaked!

I’m only hoping we get nice weather when we meet with our photographers!

I can’t text or anything either, ’cause Telecom NZ doesn’t seem to like my iPhone. We’ll try to rectify this in the coming days and hopefully I’m connected to the world again! I like tagging myself at certain places!

As for wedding-stuff, I’m looking forward to putting up the pictures of our first completed DIY project – the Xbox Achievement sign!

YAY!

For now, I’m going to get back to doing thesis work! (Yeah – GP and I still have to work while we’re here – blargh)

Kiwi lady-readers, UNITE!

10 Jul

(Alternative Title: I’m flying on a jetplaaaaaaaaaane –)

In three days! EEE!! ❤ ❤ ❤

GP and I are headed to the land of the Kiwis (AKA New Zealand)!

We’ll be staying there for three weeks, where we’ll also be celebrating GP’s 30th birthday and our 3rd year dating anniversary. I’ll try to keep up with my weekly blogging while I’m over there. 🙂 We’ll be hanging out with friends, enjoying the company of GP’s family, and just chillaxing. We’ll still be working while over there (I do research and he does computer-related stuff – we can carry our work with us), but it means we can enjoy each other’s company. We haven’t really been able to just do that in a while, so I’m excited!

In two weeks or so, we’ll also be having our engagement shoot! YAY! We’ve already got our clothes chosen and I think we’re gonna look like sexy bitches!

Unfortunately, now I gotta figure out how to do my nails, hair and makeup while I’m over there. My nails are black and the polish is chipping (read: they look FUGLY) and my hair is currently highlighted with a vibrant red dye. I’m hoping the VIBRANCY will dim a little, but I’m ok with vibrant. As for my skin, it’s JUST clearing from having an oil meltdown.

In most situations, I’d just get my momma to do my hair and makeup since I FAIL at being a girl. But since we’ll be in NZ, I’ll have to consider either asking GP’s momma if she’ll be ok to help out OR *LE GASP* do it myself! Or maybe you Kiwi girls wanna help?

Seriously guys, me + makeup = train wreck. I also have no idea how to use a curling iron or blow dry properly.

(There’s also, you know… salons, but I’m cheap…).

As for nails, I’m thinking of just getting a manicure the day before or something… They’re like… $NZ20… so like… $AU15…. or something?

Any of my Kiwi readers able to help out with this dilemma?

As I’m typing this, I can barely feel my fingers…

24 Jun

It is well and truly winter here in Sydney…

So, how the HECK am I going to feel in Christchurch!?

My hands are freezing!! I know for a fact it gets much colder over there.

I’m looking forward to it otherwise. 🙂 We’re getting closer and closer to the e-session and I’m SUPER excited! So is GP! We’ve been thinking about what to do there and we’re left scratching our heads. GP suggested the Antarctic Centre, which would be awesome since we’ve… well I’ve… never been there. And also, GP loves penguins 😀

Thing is, that means we won’t be doing the “co-op of a lifetime” idea. Logistically, it was going to be pretty hard, but I love the idea and am pretty bummed we can’t do it.

Talking about gaming, we’ve officially ordered our first “DIY’ project. I know – how can you ‘order’ a DIY project? Simple really – make it in Photoshop, put it in Vistaprint, and then get them to print it, hahah! I had a coupon for $20 off the cart price, so my order went from $40 to $20, YAYYYYY!

Pretty much how I felt. (Image (c) http://gifstumblr.com/)

When it comes in, I’ll have to cut it to size and then alter it with the blackboard paint. Then we officially have a writeable Xbox sign!! More on that later, promise.

In other news, this Wednesday I’ll be shopping with Mandy! Which means I’m one step closer to getting my dress. DOUBLE YAY!

Cue Disney gif!

 

Anyway… this post was pointless. I just though I’d give you guys an update.