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Baby Oliver | Lifestyle Newborn Photographer

Baby Oliver was only just a week old when we took these lifestyle portraits at the home of his newly proud parents, Mollie and Jeff.  He is SO adorable, tiny, hardly fussed, and pretty much stayed awake the entire session! My favorite was his little man wrinkles and peach fuzz :)

I can only hope I’ll be able to continue to document Oliver as he grows, I don’t have one of my own, but I’ve heard countless times, how quickly time flies. DSC_7828 BabyOliver DSC_7848 BabyOliver2 DSC_7932 DSC_8011 DSC_8009-Edit DSC_8028 BabyOliver3 DSC_8016 DSC_8017 BabyOliver4 DSC_8055 BabyOliver5

© Desjar Photography 2015 | Wedding and Portrait Photographer | Central VA and Destinations Worldwide

A surprise proposal … in Hawaii!! | Destination Wedding + Engagement Photographer

Where, do I even begin?! This is the first (of many) posts about our trip to Hawaii and to start things off, its all about Emily and Chris … a surprise proposal in paradise!

Chris and Emily have been dating since 2002, of course like any relationship, taking some breaks in-between, but they always found their way back to each other.  Emily is my boyfriend’s younger sister and it has been amazing getting to know her, their family, and her boyfriend Chris.  I feel so blessed to have been part of this monumental trip and get to spend so much time with them.  I was SO ecstatic when Chris told us he would be proposing during the trip and was all for my idea of capturing it on camera while staying out of sight.

The morning of Feb 9th Chris, Robby, and I went on a “run” to scope out the location on the beach near our North Shore rental house and our potential hiding spots. If you read the previous post about why we were in Hawaii in the first place, this day was very special.  It was Bob’s Birthday, the day the memorial was set to take place that evening, but due to inclement weather it was postponed, perhaps he wasn’t ready to be laid to rest in the ocean just yet.  Once we heard that it would take place later in the week, Chris decided he would propose that night, solidifying just how meaningful this day would always be, now for two reasons.   The evening came quickly, everyone in the house was getting ready for dinner, as were going to be heading to the opposite end of the island to Waikiki to Bob’s all time favorite spot, Duke’s.

Chris, Robby, and I road our beach cruisers to Ehukai Beach just before sunset, Chris set up the blanket, bottle of champagne, two glasses and rushed back to the house.  He was insistent upon taking Emily for a walk along the beach to watch the sunset and thankfully, she obliged.  Once we saw them coming, it was a mad dash to get to our spots, which for me was hiding behind a life guard tower until the coast was clear, Robby hid in some bushes.  Chris knew that once the sun started to melt into the ocean, he didn’t have much time, we saw him get on one knee from afar and continued snapping away.  I felt my inner ninja as I tried to move closer while army crawling in the sand and then I see Robby step out of the bushes and walk nearly right up to them!! I am thankful now because he got the close shots, but I was WAY too nervous about being seen and ruining the private moment, I guess big brothers can do whatever they want! Emily confirmed later that she never saw us, phew!!

Chris designed the ring himself, making it truly one of a kind, even engraving the inside of the band, ‘Emily & Chris.’  He chose aquamarine as the precious stone, knowing thats what Emily would have chosen over a diamond because the blue coloring resembles the ocean, which her Dad loved so much.  No doubt Bob was there at that moment and I’m positive that he is very proud of his youngest daughter and soon to be son in law, Christopher.

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© Desjar Photography 2015 | Wedding and Portrait Photographer | Central VA and Destinations Worldwide

We’re off to Hawaii!! | Personal | Desjar Photography

By the time this posts, I will be high above the clouds on my way to HAWAII!! Although I am beyond excited since I have never been, the 30 of us going carry a heavy heart, as this journey, ultimately came about to celebrate the life of a truly great man.  The plans began shortly after my boyfriends father, Bob Smolen passed away this past May when he lost his battle with cancer.  Amongst his many accomplishments when he was a Major General in the United States Air Force, he was an avid scuba diver, his favorite place being Hawaii.  His family and friends were going to carryout his wishes of being cremated and scattered in the Pacific.  Although, in true Smolen style, they wanted to go even further, so Robby (my boyfriend), his sisters Mandy and Emily, and his mother, Adriane all collaborated to come up with a Living Reef Memorial.  I never knew such a thing even existed, it is simply amazing, especially for those who have a love for the sea and marine life.

“The life that is created from the ashes of the departed is in perfect harmony with the circle of life, and leaves a positive footprint that will forever life on.  No other burial option can offer the benefits of a Living Reef Memorial.”

The Smolen Family still wanted more, although the reef would have Bob’s ashes, they wanted it to resemble him.  Robby thought of an old friend from the Art Institute of Pittsburg where they had met.  His name is Leslie Meier, a talented Industrial Designer, whom they commissioned to build a sculpture of Bob, then would work alongside Robert Sarnie, the man behind Living Reef Memorial, who would provide the base.

This was months in the making and was not always easy.  Keep in mind Leslie is in PA, Robert in CA, we are in VA, and both the sculpture and reef needed to get to Hawaii.  It truly is amazing the magic that can happen when talented artists work together.

I can happily report that both have arrived in Hawaii and we all cannot WAIT to see them in person upon our arrival.  30 of Bob’s close friends and family will all be there for his memorial this Monday, Feb 9th, on his Birthday, where most of us will be diving to witness the placement of his living memorial on the sea floor.  We will pin the location so when we go back and visit, we will be able to see what kind of sea life has bloomed!

I plan to keep social media to a minimum, but will be posting some photos on my Instagram, feel free to follow along! Can’t wait to post photos of the trip when I return. Robby and I will also be shooting a Wedding while we’re there too!! Gah!! Dream come true!

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© Desjar Photography 2015 | Wedding and Portrait Photographer | Central VA and Destinations Worldwide

Burlesque in NYC | Pink Chardonnays

I went back and forth about writing this post because it is COMPLETELY different than Wedding Photography! Which is exactly one of the reasons I should post it because we ALL have a secret passion, something on our bucket list, something that maybe even your closest friends wouldn’t guess you’ve always wanted to do!  Well this is mine, and todays post is all about BURLESQUE!  Carpe Diem!  I’ve been a cheerleader since age 6 all the way through high school and a huge aspect of cheerleading was dance, my favorite part!  I never really knew anything about burlesque besides what you see on the movies, then when Robby and I started dating, I learned that his older sister, Mandy was a burlesque dancer in NYC.  I was SO intrigued!  They are the Pink Chardonnays and I saw photos, videos of performances and then finally got to see a live show at Le Poisson Rouge when we were visiting NYC just this past Christmas.  I was in awe and got to snap some photos of their show, which I would love to share with you :)

Mandy says it perfectly when she explains “Burlesque is more than just a dance and striptease, it’s an attitude and confidence that helps you identify with your true beauty and life’s deepest desires.”

I bet many of you think you could never do this, but you’ve always dreamed of it.  It truly is amazing to witness these strong, independent, highly successful and educated women strut their stuff on stage and be completely comfortable doing so! And have SO much fun! I wanted to be up there on stage with them, they were having such a blast.  They are so supportive of each other, some of these women start out never have even danced before, I highly recommend checking out their site Burlesque Bikini Bootcamp, I wanted to sign up so bad last year if it weren’t in the middle of Wedding Season.  Who knows, maybe I’ll be up on stage one day, the Pink Chardonnays are located in NYC, but travel all over performing and I know that Richmond has a huge burlesque scene as well.  I was brainstorming what my name would be, one of the girls came up with ‘Kodak Moment,” HA, I love it!  What would your name be?! And let me know what you’ve always wanted to do but been to afraid?! 2015 is your year to push yourself to do it!

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Tina Tassels

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Dandy Dillinger

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Miss Ivie League

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Kitty Cavalier

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Bombshell Betsy (left) and Candy Applebottom (right)

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The host for the evening, Sweetie



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Scarlett James

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Lastly, another group number to end the night

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A family photo!


Many you are gorgeous and oh so talented!! :)


© Desjar Photography 2015 | Wedding and Portrait Photographer | Central VA and Destinations Worldwide


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