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    The Caroccio Family // Family Session

    Remember Hanna + Nick from their maternity session back in the Spring? They gave me the complete honor and so much joy to do a family session with them and their newest addition, Andrew. As y’all know, these are two of my people. I guess I should make that say three of my people now! I absolutely loved capturing Andrew in this phase of life. His personality is developing and he kept us laughing throughout the entire session. I still can’t get over how gorgeous the location Nick and Hanna chose. I cannot get over how much I loved this session and how precious this family is.

    A Prayer for Nick, Hanna + Andrew

    Dear Lord, Keep Nick, Hanna and Andrew close to you as they navigate this journey of life on your path. I pray that you would push them together as a family to strive harder and harder after you each day. Lord, I pray that as Andrew gets older and older, you put a deep desire down in his heart to be wild and brave in you and in this world. Give him an insatiable hunger for you and your word. Give him the strength to live fully as you have created him. Set this family apart. May you shine through them in each of their interactions with everyone they meet. As seasons change, keep them safe and rooted in you. May grace, forgiveness and love abound in their home and in their relationships with one another as well as those around them. Amen. 

    Want some memories of your own taken? I am offering limited session ability this fall. Please contact me here if you are interested.

    What I’m Loving + Favorite Photos // July, August + September 2017

    Oh my goodness. For a monthly review of all things that I’m loving and a chance to show off some more personal photo projects than my clients, it’s been a long wait! I missed July, because it felt too soon after June. The last weekend of August is when Hurricane Harvey hit southern Texas completely decimating entire cities and leaving lasting tragedy in its wake. Posting anything that week, especially the things I’m loving, just seemed wrong.

    As we’ve begun to recover and life has gone on, I think it’s time to let you in on a ton of things that I’m loving. The last few months have been so much fun. If you’ve been around my page for a bit, you know that I absolutely love sharing about the things that I am currently loving. Enough with talking about it, let’s jump in!

    What I’m Loving

    BINGING Hart of Dixie for all the good, quintessential small town feels and the quirkiest of characters. Meanwhile, I’m savoring The Great British Baking Show on Netflix with only a few shows at a time. It’s the absolute loveliest of competitions and has inspired me to start baking again.

    PONDERING on Carlos Whittaker’s Kill The Spider book. Full disclosure, I’m part of his launch team, so I got a free ebook download of it to read. I devoured it. Before finishing, I’d already preordered one copy for myself. I just went back and preordered another copy for a friend, so I can force her to read it and discuss it with me. Also because I really am looking forward to doing the video course and the workbook. Y’all, I am actively planning on rereading this already. I cannot express enough how much this book is a game-changer in spiritual warfare and actively living as a Christian instead of just brushing sin away like it’s now dealt with. I’ve started compiling a list of quotes that I love, but really, how does one compile one of the most comprehensive daily prayers that I’ve ever read into a list of quotes. It’s pages long, absolutely breathtakingly beautiful and a necessity in a starting place of my own prayer life. Seriously, I have all the love for this book and can’t wait to see the impact it has after its release on October 3. It’s my number 1 suggestion from my 2017 Fall Book list.

    RICK’S RECOMMENDING his new audiobook series he’s been binge-listening to. One Second After is the first of a three part series that has us and some family friends re-evaluating what we’d do in the event of having to survive in a post-apocalyptic world.

    LISTENING to so many podcasts these days. Rick and I have officially fallen in love with the Popcast with Knox and Jamie. Their “Urban Dictionary” series and “No’s of _____” are absolutely captivatingly hilarious. The “No’s of Birthdays” had me laughing so hard in the car that I was crying. The other podcast I’ve fallen absolutely in love with (along with so many others!) is the For The Love Podcast with Jen Hatmaker. I am absolutely loving how she’s bringing both unknown and everyday people onto her podcast instead of big name people that everyone knows. Don’t get me wrong, she had Brene Brown and Shauna Niequist on, and those were absolutely fabulous. I love hearing and learning from the everyday people she has on as they discuss friendships and moxie. I can’t wait to see the next topical series she does. My favorite ones right now are these: Luvvie Ajayi – Authenticity in a Branded World, Real Girlfriends Stories from The Tribe (Have tissues ready!) and Anna LeBaron + Ruth Wariner – Unyielding Courage.

    READING a book about slowing down, taking in life and making the every day things seem less stressful. I’m only a few chapters in, and I absolutely love Emily Ley’s writing style in Grace Not Perfection: Embracing Simplicity, Celebrating Joy. We just signed on our new house right before Harvey, and I can’t wait to move in and implement some of Emily’s suggestions into our own home. (No worries. Our new home was unaffected by Harvey.)

    STOPPING to scroll through 5 instagram accounts (Yes, FIVE!) that I absolutely adore as they’re each drawing me closer to Jesus in a different way. @beckykiser of @sacredholidays is super encouraging, and it’s been a true delight to watch as she gears up for writing her first book. She writes the kind of long, good, thought-provoking #instadiaries that I love. The other four accounts are makers who infuse Jesus into their works. @dearmushka is a jewelry company that I have fallen in love with due to its simplicity and calling to memorize and remember scripture. I love her #instadevos. @lindsay_letters is an incredible calligrapher that I’ve followed for years. It’s been so fun to watch her as she opens up more about her life instead of just her business on her account. I’m just fascinated with who she is as a person and love that she’s funny in her own way and not scared to share her quirkiness with the world. Sisters @nataliemetlewis and @valmariepaper have stolen my heart with their adorable twin-ness and deep desire to not only dive into scripture themselves, but to draw those around them to do the same. Clearly, I’m really loving instagram these days.

    CRAVING the Shinoda at Japaneiro’s and the Teriyaki Pizza at Local Table. I’m a huge fan of local restaurants. What are some of your favorites?

    Y’all. 3 months is just wayyyy too long. There’s so many things I’ve been loving and itching to share with y’all. Can’t wait to share again next month! Until then, what are you loving!?

    Favorite July, August + September Photos

    Jax + Nathan // Portraits

    Meet Jax + Nathan! These two cuties kept me running! Whoever said having twins was no joke, was definitely not lying. Twins run in both my and Rick’s families and this session had me a little uncertain of the possibilities of children for us. I will say that I got a great squat workout while hanging with these cuties. Also, that yawn? I am totally feeling it!

    Dwayne + Trisha // Wedding

    Meet Dwayne + Trisha! Earlier in June, I was able to not only witness these two lovely people get married but was able to capture their special day as well. They opted for an intimate gathering of close friends and family with the sweetest backyard wedding imaginable. The simple ceremony and feast focused on what truly is important in a wedding, the shared love and commitment between two people. It was evident that their desire was to love each other and to cherish their love with those they celebrated with on their special day. Thank you for allowing me to celebrate your love with you both! May your love continue to flow between the two of you and shine to those around you!

    Ashley Karlen Photography Special

    Ashley Karlen Photography is extending its special summer rate of $75 sessions through August 31. If you are looking to book a session past August, we can schedule it ahead of time so that you can still take advantage of this amazing deal.

    Any portrait session is available. There’s so many possibilities for these sessions from portraits of your little kids, getting ahead of the rush to have your family photos ready for Christmas cards or just a few nice headshots for your dating profile. [This special summer extended rate doesn’t apply to weddings or events, but I’d still be interested in doing those for you.]

    I would absolutely love to capture memories for you and your family to enjoy for years to come. Interested!? Click here to send me information so we can set up a session today! Click here to see some past sessions.

    TeeJay + Phillip // Couple Session

    Prayer Update

    Thank you so much to everyone who has been praying for me, my family and my friends this past week. Your prayers are truly coveted by all of us. The family member in a coma, Aunt Joyce, did in fact go home to be with Jesus on Sunday morning. We will be remembering her time with us here on earth later this week. Please be in prayer as we continue to grieve the loss of such a great woman.

    TeeJay + Phillip

    I’ve known TeeJay since high school. She met Phillip years later in college at UTXA. Being able to watch their friendship grow into a romantic relationship as they both pursued God separately and as they later pursued him together has been a true joy and an incredible example to follow. The way they love Jesus is reflected in the way they love and care for each other. These two friends are the perfect juxtaposition of serious and silly too. I’m so thankful I get to call them my friends.

    It’s kind of crazy to imagine that exactly two years ago today I was wearing a floral bridesmaid dress watching these two recite their vows. That was a lovely beginning of a beautiful marriage relationship. Congratulations TeeJay + Phillip on celebrating two years of marriage today. That’s an amazing thing! I hope y’all are having a wonderful anniversary filled with many fun adventures.

    What I’m Loving + Favorite Photos // June 2017

    Hey everyone! I’m so thankful and excited by the overwhelmingly positive response I received last week on the official launch of Ashley Karlen Photography. Starting a photography business has been a dream of mine since college. I’m super excited to see what’s ahead. On to today’s fun stuff!

    If you’ve been around my page for a bit, you know that I absolutely love sharing about the things that I am currently loving. I’ve done this every couple of months since I started blogging again. You can read those here and here. While I still love sharing about the things I am loving, I wanted to spice things up. Every month from now on, I’ll be sharing things I love, am exploring, am curious about and many other things. The fun thing is I’ll also be sharing some of my favorite photos I took during that month. Are you ready!? I am!

    What I’m Loving

    DISCOVERING the library and the depth of it has been amazing. I absolutely love books and can’t stray away from a good book sale to save my life. This has really cut down on those books that I really want to read but don’t really need to buy. Plus, I’ve found that I absolutely love listening to fiction like this or this on audiobook. I love highlighting and taking notes so I’d much rather hold a non-fiction book in my hand.

    ENJOYING time on our back porch sitting in our camping chairs, relaxing and sometimes even building a fire. Yes, we live in Houston. Yes, it’s hot outside. Even with the heat, we’ve started a fire in our fire pit and spent an evening discussing life around the fire and roasted some s’mores.

    ADORING the lifestyle and community ideas from The Turquoise Table. Rick and I are already dreaming of our next home and how we can implement the ideas in this book to get to know our new neighbors and start building a community there. It’s made me start dreaming of fun little things to take out to my future table like this pitcher or these plastic cups. I just absolutely love the colors of those cups.

    PRETENDING I’m at the spa with this luxurious face mask. It smells so ridiculously wonderful in the morning.

    RICK’S RECOMMENDING the sous vide cooker. Rick has seriously recommended this immersion cooker to multiple people in the same day. I will say that this gadget is pretty nifty. It’s a great meal prep tool that you can set and leave which I’m always a fan of. The absolute best brisket I may have ever had in my entire life was cooked in this just a few days ago. (See below for the brisket picture.)

    PLANNING lots of vacation days in the next couple of months. Who has any fun ideas for San Antonio, Waco or Costa Rica? Later this fall, we’ll be looking for a great little bed and breakfast either around the Houston area or not too far away for a little couple’s getaway. Post all your must sees and great spots in the comments.

    GRATEFUL for the friends and family who have constantly encouraged me, stuck by my side and helped launch me into this new season of life.

    Favorite June Photos


    The Special Announcement Is Here!

    A few days ago I posted on Ashley Karlen Photography that I had some exciting news to share this morning. I totally do. We’ll get to that in a few minutes though. I know. I’m not always the best with waiting so feel free to scroll down and come back up here. I totally get it. I’ll even wait…..

    Relieved that you finally know? Great! This past year of learning the path to being brave and starting out on that adventure has been such an exciting one so far. I’ve rediscovered things about myself that are so cool and yet I’d completely forgotten about them with the hustle and bustle of the last few years. One of those things has definitely been my love of photography. It’s been a long time coming, but getting back into the groove of photography has been so soothing to my soul. I feel like I’ve regained a part of me that has been missing for years. It’s been so life giving in a way that I could have never imagined.

    I want you to know today that if you’ve lost a hobby, a relationship or something close to your heart over the past few years, you can recapture it. It may not look like my journey to being brave. In fact, it probably won’t. What matters is that if there’s something stirring in your heart whether it’s a creative endeavor, a pull to a simpler life or taking on a new task that you’ve previously placed in the ‘that’s scary and so not for me’ category of life, it’s okay. You can totally do it.

    Put on your brave today and step towards it. Baby steps are totally fine. I’ve baby stepped, stumbled, fallen and gotten up again on this journey. The beauty of that is that with each baby step forward, I can see his grace pushing me and leading the way. God will be there, right beside you to pick you up and brush you off just like the good father he has promised us He is. Put on your bravery, step out and pursue what God is calling you to do no matter where or what He’s leading us to. From my own experience, I think you’ll regret not doing it sooner.

    What’s the news already!?

    I’m so glad you asked! I know a few of you posted on the Ashley Karlen Photography Facebook page that you’re hoping for a pregnancy announcement. Sorry to disappoint. But that’s not what’s about to happen here today. Believe me, Rick’s smile would be much bigger than it is in that first photo! Now we truly know how excited our family and friends would be to find out that news though! If you got all psyched up in anticipation of a baby announcement, rest in knowing that our family has grown recently from Rick, myself and our wedding tree, Charlie, to include a little cactus named Sue. Cactus Sue loves sitting in the sun and enjoys summer just as much as I do.

    We’re super excited to celebrate summer with you! Ashley Karlen Photography is offering a special summer rate of $75 sessions through July 31. Any portrait session is available. There’s so many possibilities for these sessions from portraits of your little kids, getting ahead of the rush to have your family photos ready for Christmas cards or just a few nice headshots for your dating profile. [This special summer rate doesn’t apply to weddings or events, but I’d still be interested in doing those for you.] I would love to hang out with you and have a fun summer session too. Interested!? Click here to send me information so we can set up a session today! Click here to see some past sessions.