We were asked to photograph the 100+ Women charity event at Pzazz in Burlington just recently. At the time, we really did not know what the charity entailed, but after attending the event we realized how incredible this group really is! They had their first event last fall in Mt. Pleasant and gained 45 new members the night of their event! They gained several more the night they held their event in Burlington as well. To become a member, all you need to do is make a $100 charitable contribution every quarter of the year. What makes the organization so special though, is that it helps raise awareness and funds for local organizations that are recommended by their members or newbies coming into the organization. Each time they hold a quarterly event, they gain new members and all of the proceeds from the each event go towards the organization that wins the popularity vote to receive the funds. Since they gained 45 new members at the Mt. Pleasant event, the winning charity, Younghouse Family Services received $4500 to help fund their projects! It feels like a pay it forward organization and such a wonderful way to help out various non profit companies in Southeast Iowa.

At their last event at Pzazz, there were three non profit organizations that came to the table to share their company’s missions to all of the guests that attended that evening. Once each representative was able to share their mission to everyone, all members of 100+ Women were able to cast their vote on the company they felt most passionate for. H20, Hetta Gilbert, and Henry County Youth for Christ were the three companies that had a representative share their story and missions. By the end of the night everyone voted on the company they wanted to receive the funds, and Hetta Gilbert was the winner! Hetta Gilbert provides medical assistance to children in the Des Moines County area. They raise funds to provide glasses, prescriptions, dental care, doctor visits, and any other medical need that a child does not have the means to pay for. To check out how you can help with wonderful non profit organization, you can view more details on their Facebook page here.

To see how you can become a member of 100+ Women or for more details about their upcoming events you can check out their Facebook page here!

Here are some of the images from their latest event!

On top of voting for their favorite non profit organization, members were also able to receive a door prize if they brought a friend to the event.  A complimentary one hour massage was given away, as well as a complimentary boudoir session with hair and makeup from our very own boudoir line, Unique Boudoir!

These ladies were the representatives of each of their non profit organizations that they wanted to bring awareness to.  Even for the other two non profit organizations that didn’t receive funds that evening, they brought awareness to their organizations by sharing their company’s missions to everyone who attended the event.  They would also have another opportunity to vote in at future events as well!  Great work girls and thank for you sharing!

The guests and volunteers for the 100+Women organization anxiously await to hear the winner of the organization’s funds from that night’s event!

Sandy Elmore, a volunteer for the non profit, Hetta Gilbert, reacts to hearing the news of being the event’s winning organization to receive funds to help their mission of helping children in Des Moines County receive medical care and supplies that they need.

Sandy Elmore, a volunteer for Hetta Gilbert, the President of Blackhawk’s Chapter of 100+ Women Who Care, Candice Becker, and Shauna Freitag, Family Service Executive Director for Young House Family Services pose for a picture together at the end of the event.  Young House Family Services was the recipient of $4500 from the last 100+ Women’s event in Mt. Pleasant.

The current members that attended the event at Pzazz for 100+ Women Who Care.  The wonderful volunteers and board of directors for Blackhawk Chapter’s 100+ Women Who Care.

Haley, a nine year spunky girl, with a smile that could light up the sky, is the true definition of a strong little fighter.  This past September, Haley was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, causing life as her sweet family knew it to change dramatically. She has been traveling back and forth for several treatments at the University of Iowa Childrens Hospital ever since last fall.  If you have followed her journey you can see the impact this little girl has on everyone she meets.  In fact, that is how their entire family is.  They have this special gift of leaving a mark on your heart.  I went to high school with Erin (we graduated just a few years ago by the way, lol) and I am just so proud of the beautiful family her and Nate are raising.  We have made so many wonderful friends from the Mepo area through the years, photographing various weddings and families and many of them hold a very special place in my heart.  The Schnedler family is certainly one of them.

Many others I know feel the same way about this amazing family.  The community has come together to help support and show their love for them in so many ways and it’s the same kind of love that Nate and Erin share with others around them.  It is what they do, and it is amazing to witness the kind of generosity and love the entire community has for one another in times of both happiness and tragedy.

A few weeks ago, a charitable organization contacted us to see if we would be interested in photographing their family to help market their charity and to share their story.  We thought this was amazing and just another way God works through his plans.  Compass to Care is a non profit organization whose sole purpose is to help ensure that all children can access life-saving cancer treatment by helping them travel from their homes to the hospital.  I think it is amazing that so many people in the world still care so much and just want to help make a difference in each other.  I can only imagine the stress this sweet family has been battling and I’m so incredibly thankful for the community that surrounds them as well as around the children’s hospital in Iowa City.  It is just a sign that even in the midst of a storm, God never leaves us.  If we just continue to pray and look up to Him always, even when we are surrounded by darkness, He will be be there right by our side.

“It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you. He will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.” -Deuteronomy 31:8

“So I ask you not to lose heart over what I am suffering for you, which is your glory. For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ my dwell in your hearts through faith-that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.” Ephesians 3:13-19

You can check out this charitable organization for more information and to help others in need by clicking here at Compass to Care. We cannot imagine what you are going through, Nate and Erin, but I hope you know that you are not alone and all of us in the community that know and love you are here.  Keeping you in our thoughts and prayers always. Keep up the wonderful fight, sweet Haley!  We are so proud of you and are beside you all the way cheering you on!

So it’s about to get mushy gushy and really real in here people…!

We are so excited to have been featured in Sunday’s business section of our local newspaper, The Burlington Hawkeye! It was kinda fun being on the other side of things, having a photographer follow us and what we do for a change! It’s always an adventure to turn the tables around a little bit! One of The Hawkeye’s photographers, John Lovretta, captured images of our sessions with Semaj and Reed and followed some of our day to day tasks throughout the studio. After the article published, I realized just how thankful I really am to be a part of this community, for the clients that we treasure so, and for my wonderful family and friends that have helped support my dreams of becoming a photographer and entrepreneur. I am forever grateful for all of my team members that have grown our studio, nurtured the friendships we share with our clients and helped build up the passion for capturing beautiful memories for others so they will have something to pass down to generations of loved ones.

I had also started thinking about how the studio storefront started. How my husband and I were crazy enough to tackle a 5000 square foot machine shop and renovate it into a beautiful studio. The article is true that we did much of the work ourselves, but I am grateful that Ron Massner, from SG Construction took on our renovation project and helped engineer the structure of the building, as well as install the roofing system for us. To this day I remember the generosity he showed me and for helping us create and finish our dream project. Thank you Ron!!

I am speechless and so touched when I think of all of my family and close friends that spent day after day, weekend after weekend, helping us tear down the roof, hang drywall, lay floors, paint, and trim…all leading up to the wee hours of the night before we hosted our grand opening at the 4th of July festivities in 2006. It’s been TEN YEARS already!! Where has time gone? I am forever grateful to all of you that shared your time and talents to make my dream a reality…My loving husband Nick, Wade, Rob, Josh, Jess, mom and dad, mom and Craig, and so many more. It brings me to tears thinking of all of your love, support and pure generosity that you have devoted to me through the years and I am very blessed and humbled that God placed each of you my life. I aspire to be the kind of friend all of you deserve, I love you all so much!

I have had so many wonderful teammates along the way that have touched my life and changed it along the way, as well as made a difference in the lives of my client’s. I have many wonderful memories working alongside my very best friend, Jessica, who blossomed into an amazing designer, cinematographer and so, so much more to fill all of the needs we had as we continued to grow…She means so much to me and I am grateful for every day that I was able to spend working alongside her. I am thankful for another one of my best friends and very talented hairstylist, Rachel, and my adopted sister Emily for sharing their beauty tips and incredible personalities with us and our clients! Special memories were made with our very first talented designer, Jaime Ballard, who brought so much to the studio by sharing her gifts with us. I am forever grateful for my second mom since the 8th grade, Patsy Dillon. For sharing her wisdom and talents with me and the studio, I still hear her wise advice in my head nearly everyday, and I love that. Her husband, Mark, who truly is the REAL santa. Our bubbly and incredibly sweet friend, Erinn, for all of the fun and laughter she brought into our lives, and so many more of you that have shared your talents and time with us throughout the years. And for our current crew; Kelsey, Sarah and Bailey…I am blessed to get to work with you and each one of you bring so much to the studio, thank you so much for sharing your passion for photography and people, helping our studio and business grow and for taking care of the clients we cherish so much.

Thank you to my very special clients… I hope you know the impact you have had in my life and how much I treasure and appreciate all of you. Thank you for entrusting me with such special memories and sharing your lives with us.

Thank you to my husband, for putting up with my long hours and days in the earlier years of starting the studio. For being my biggest cheerleader and always supporting my ideas and efforts. I love you and I couldn’t do this without you. Thank you, mom, for loving my babies so dearly and for always being there when I need you…for loving my little punkins when I am away and for being such an inspiration to me mom, I love you dearly.

I just wanted to make sure my closest family and friends know much I care about you, appreciate you and LOVE you! XOXOXO!

If you want to read the article in The Burlington Hawkeye, you can check it out here!! All image credits go to John Lovretta from The Hawkeye

I have been giddy about posting the engagement session for Greg and Ashley!  I have loved getting to know them closer over the last couple of years, and being in their company just makes me happy!  I am sure their friends would absolutely say the same thing about them. They are just a fun, and genuine couple to have as friends and they are so very perfect for each other.   They light one another up, and never stop laughing and that is such a treat to capture in the camera.  Greg and Ashley love to spend time together and with their family in Colorado.  They love to ski, take walks along the trails with breathtaking views, and just spend time together taking in all of the fun things to do in Colorado.  So, it only seemed fitting to capture their engagement pictures in a place that makes them so happy and where they have made many wonderful memories together.

We spent the day in Beaver Creek and Vail and I was just in heaven.  At first before our flight took off, there were warnings of high winds and possible snow the closer we got to Colorado. But, we decided to make it an adventure and brave mother nature in all of its glory.  I am so glad that we did too!  It was like a time warp for us leaving the sunny and warm Iowa fall we were having to 30 degrees in Beaver Creek!  Rain and then snow followed as we captured images all around the area, but it was still so very beautiful. Looking at the pictures you wouldn’t even realize we were frozen popsicles by the end of the day, but the images tell a story of just how beautiful Colorado is and how even in the craziest weather, we can use it to capture romantic images.  Even if it is icy sleet!

We are so excited for this summer when we continue capturing their love story in North Carolina.  We couldn’t be happier for you both and we are truly humbled and honored that you have chosen us to capture this very special day for you.  Countdown to summer is ON!

XO!

Kim

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