Galentine’s Day

In my world, for the last nine years, Valentine’s Day has been the day of Sophia, my sweetheart. It’s her birthday and frankly it’s nice to focus on that and skip out on the excessive commercialism of Valentine’s Day. Sure that’s kind of a cop out, but it’s worked for almost a decade so I’m rolling with it.

This year, it feels like EVERY day is child-focused. They are just so god-damn busy. The birthday girl is currently right in the middle of rehearsal for a highly anticipated performance in Suessical the Musical, Jr. We are all very excited, but this M-Th 20 minutes drive for 2 hour rehearsal shit in the worst winter storm in years is getting old. Then of course there are her hip-hop classes, and Garrett’s basketball practices and games. Luckily Tuck just wrapped up his basketball season and hasn’t quite started baseball yet. I’m really not sure how much else we can juggle. With weekend games up here, the littler kids have been with the moms almost exclusively. I love seeing these kids involved in stuff they are passionate about and I genuinely adore having them be active and actively finding their selves. It fulfills me all the way to the land of mommy tears.

That said, I miss my freaking wife. I miss family dinners that are simultaneously relaxing and chaotic. I miss having a glass or two of wine and then a couple more snuggled on the couch watching This is Us after the littles have been tucked in and the bigs have locked themselves back into their caves.

Tonight will be no exception to the chaos. There is dance practice and play rehearsal,  and of course we have the usual ruckus of last minute finishing Valentine’s and birthday treats. The bigs are going all in and having their “significant others” over to hang out before heading to Skate Plaza. Fun little fact: Tucker (6th grade) confided in me that he has planned this in hope of getting to do a little hand-holding during the slow songs. It’s sure to be a glorious, helter-skelter of a night and I’m here for it. And I’m here for the after party. After the madness of getting all of these things done in that never-large-enough window of post-school/work to kiddo bedtime, I’m planning to celebrate a romantic version of Galentine’s Day with my beautiful bride. We may not get there until 9 or 9:30, but at some point today I am gifting my wife with some pretty rad gifts and toasting her with her favorite champagne.

I literally can’t recall ever buying much on Valentine’s Day, even before Sophia’s birth, but this year I went for it and I’m really fucking excited about these gifts. They are personal, fun, cool, sorta-romantic, but not cheesily so, AND supportive of LGBT small businesses/artists. Do I have your attention now?

First, I ordered her the underwear all the cool-girl lesbians wear, but neither of us have ever gotten. You know who I mean- TomBoyX. Hell, I even did the right thing and ordered the appropriate size based on real measurements and followed the size chart. (Adulting takes so much more time than just winging it… :P) AND I got her the styles and colors I thought she’d like best instead of what I’d pick for me. C’mon, that’s harder than it sounds. Anyway, I know she will love them. I probably should have checked the shipping option for discreet packaging, cuz now she already knows she is getting somethings from there. But she thinks she is ONLY getting something from TomBoyX, and that’s where she is wrong.

I have been following an artist from Portland, OR, Veronica Casson,  on Instagram  (@saltandfog) for at least a year. I love her style. I love that she does so many diverse and inclusive works, and that she is part of the LGBT community. And did I mention that I really, really love her style? Yeah ‘cuz I do. I’ve tried to look into getting commissioned work done by her before, but it’s never worked out. This last week she offered a Valentine’s Day special for a couples custom piece to be sent digitally and in plenty of time for Valentine’s Day. It was limited to 3 customers and I freaking got one! I got my proof yesterday and I’m delighted. It’s perfect. She caught our spirit and even managed to incorporate all our signature accessories/style.

Don’t even try to lie to me. This so un-fucking-believably adorable and I love it!

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I need to have a better print done, but in order to give her something tangible tonight I printed a copy already and framed it. Oh god, I really hope she loves it as much as I do.

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I feel like it’s the perfect way to celebrate Galentine’s Day with my favorite Gal.

To check out more of Veronica Casson’s work, visit her website www.saltandfog.com.

Happy Galentine’s Day AND Valentine’s Day from one gal lucky enough to be married to her very best gal pal.

 

 

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Lesbian Boudoir Photography

You will never believe what I managed to drag my wife into. Hell, not that many people we actually know IRL know we did this thing….  And it all started with a simple little Facebook tag.

Last October my friend Taylor tagged me in a Facebook model call by a Moscow, ID photographer I’d never heard of. After actually reading the model call, I fangirled hard over Whitney Lester‘s portfolio before getting  excited about the actual opportunity in front of me. Here was a young, modern, talented, (seemingly straight?), professional photographer actively seeking a same sex couple to shoot for her boudoir portfolio. Her style was striking, body positive, and empowering. The images I scoured featured women of all ages and sizes, and each one was absolutely fucking radiant. I got a little caught up in *needing* to be a part of this, and before fully thinking it through, I banged out the necessary intro to us a couple and then shared one of my all time favorite photos.  I know plenty of couples younger than us, more fashionable than us, more likely to ‘don a lacy little number, and well, just more, model-esque. But I swear to god this awesome photographer blew my mind and messaged me within 24 hours ready to plan something out.

Lost somewhere in my frenzy of delight and anticipation, I remembered my wife is not inclined to be the little fucking show off/camera whore that I am. She doesn’t hack her way through karaoke, or celebrate birthday month like a princess. She doesn’t blog, act like an expert in public forums, or comment to strangers in groups. She rarely posts to Facebook, and it’s rarer still to catch her on Instagram. Also, you won’t catch her flaunting her cute bod in anything short on the bottom, nor low on top. That clashes a bit with a model call. Spoiler alert: Model calls aren’t just free photo shoots. They’re for the photographer to add something to their portfolio they didn’t already have, and then SHOW IT OFF. Wherever and whenever they please for all eternity. Side note, the model call expressly specified that the models *must* be okay with nudity, and/or implied nudity.

After all this, over a few whiskey drinks and inspired by some sassy drag queens, my wife agreed we should definitely take advantage of this incredible opportunity with Whitney Lester Photography.

Our shoot was booked for a Tuesday afternoon so we both took some time off work and enjoyed a little midweek road trip for the 1.5 hour drive down to Whitney’s studio. I’ve done a bit of boudoir before… although not since after kids, and definitely not with anyone else. Neither of us had met Whitney, and despite all these unnerving details, the entire experience was incredibly enjoyable. We were relaxed within the first five minutes and genuinely enjoyed ourselves. No matter how much or how little we cover up, I felt beautiful and desirable AND comfortable. Terra was at ease, which relaxed me even further. We only worn things we would actually wear, and that was enough. I’m so very glad we agreed to do this. I am even more glad it was with Whitney and the images are truly beautiful and something we will always treasure.

I could go on and on about how intimate it was even in front of a perfect stranger and her camera, but I’ll let the images speak for themselves.

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Thank you to the incredibly talented Whitney Lester for sharing her gift with us, adding to LGBTQ visibility, being a wonderful ally, and giving us an unforgettable experience.

To see her work or to consider booking visit her website at WhitneyLester.com or on Facebook & Instagram.

 

 

Lesbian Photo Shoot

I’m a junky for photo shoots. When Terra and I were engaged and planning, I remember her asking what was important to me about our wedding. I told her just to get married and to have some great photos to show it off. For her, all she wanted was to get married and have a honeymoon. Spoiler alert, of those three things, the only one we nailed was getting married. I mean, we saved a bundle and we got married on our timeline, but our photos were done by my dear friend. I’m certainly thankful for them, but they aren’t an editorial spread by any means. You can see more here.

Rewind a little bit and we did the same damn thing when it came to engagement photos, except this time we used one of Terra’s friends. Again, totally decent, just not the professional photographer experience or product. You can see more here.

This summer, I figured we earned it. I wanted one, just us, no rush, fashionable, but relaxed professional photo session with someone awesome. After a little back and forth I chose a local guy that Terra actually went to high school with, Jeremiah Andrews Photography. His stuff is fun, a bit edgy, and high quality. Exactly what I was looking for. We decided on doing a more urban shoot. He and his wife/coworker Shaunna took us to four locations. I was consistently impressed with his work flow. Like seriously, I don’t think he wasted a single click. He got lots of great shots in several poses in all four locations and still had us headed back home within 45 minutes. Impressive. He kept us lose and laughing and ready to be fake models. Y’all I was living my goddamn insta dreams. Check out some of my favorites and hey, if you’ve got a sec, go visit his site, facebook, instagram, or travel instagram.

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Pride Month

It’s weird, but I really do forget how recently I actually came out. This is only my second June to be completely out there living a super gay life. In 2015 I was separated from my ex-husband, and knew which direction I was headed, but most the world did not. Last year Terra and I did go on the Lake Coeur d’Alene Pride Cruise, went to Spokane Pride with my littles, and then went to Seattle Pride. We had only been together three months, but she asked me to go to Seattle Pride with her within our first couple of days talking to each other. I also moved in with her last June.

Last Pride Month (also referred to as “June” by straight people) I was still getting my bearings. I was adjusting to being so out. I was learning about Pride. I was mourning and yet anxious over Pulse. Hell, I was still getting to know Terra, figuring her out and deciphering her Pride style. At the events we attended, we were also watching out for ex gfs, balancing friends, meeting people, and otherwise just not fully engaged on ourselves.

This year is so different. We both know what we want and verbalize that to each other. We typically agree, but have no problems checking out whatever the other is interested in. if she wants to go to the Seattle Pride White Party and I want to raise a sign at the Dyke March, we’ll do both. And enjoy both. We had a blast at this year’s Pride Cruise on Lake Coeur d’Alene. It didn’t seem as packed at last year but I just really enjoy that event. We had glorious weather and it’s a fantastic kick-off to summer and Pride. Rainbows and sunshine and beer and friends out on the Lake, what could be better?!

My friend (and maid of honor!) Holly came up and joined us. She is the BEST at making sure to take lots and lots of pictures. I should be way better at it, but at least I have her. And she always ends up getting some good ones of Terra and me. They aren’t always posed, but she even buzzed on cheap beer and armed with just her phone, she captures the joy and love between us. Proof:pride cruise kisspride cruise laure and terrapride cruise 2017 2

Maybe this last one seems like an odd pick. We don’t even know we are being photographed, but that’s just it. We are just so into each other we aren’t even aware of Holl’s shenanigans. You can’t fully see our faces, but you can tell exactly how we are looking at each other. The way Terra has her hand on me just makes me swoon.

This last week it was Spokane Pride. You guys, we were supposed to march at the very front. I ruined that by losing my things and thus causing us to be completely late, but that’s my life. :/ We still made it to wander around and gay it up in not only Terra’s rainbow hair, but also my own. spokane pride

I’ll update you all as more Pride things come along, but just know this year, we are doing Pride exactly right and LOVING it. Happy Pride month. signoff

Engayged AF (With Pictures to Prove It)

You guys. I am getting married in just over 5 weeks. (!!!) We have a place and people and plans. It’s goin’ down fur real.

And we even did engagement photos. In all honesty we did them awhile ago, but I was on my adjusting-to-new-job-and-new-schedule hiatus and I didn’t share. Guess it’s time to hurry up and get them posted since it’ll be time to share the wedding photos soon enough.

Terra’s maid of honor and friend of years graciously followed us around and took these. We didn’t do tons, but how many do we really need? 🙂 As much as I love her bike and think it’s super beautiful, the first one with the smiles and coffee is my favorite. I am in love with how we look at each other.

If you wanna see our full wedding website, check it here.

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lesbian engagement shoot: Coffee mugs and rings

Lesbian Engagement Shoot: Coffee Mugs

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Lesbian Engagement Shoot Urban with a Harley

Motorcycle Lesbian Engagement  Photos | The Elle Word Blog

Motorcycle Lesbian Engagement Photos

Motorcycle Lesbian Engagement Photos | The Elle Word Blog

Motorcycle Lesbian Engagement Photo Session | Harley Davidson | The Elle Word BLog

Lesbian Family Photos: Coming Soon

All in all, I’ve been blogging (even if somewhat irregularly) since 2010 after I had S. I know this because it was all about me living the new mom life and trying to lose weight at the same time. For what it’s worth, that did prove to be a pretty effective way to focus on my goals and shed some weight. It was also where I announced my pregnancy with baby G and that was pretty much the end of that.You can check it out here. When I re-hit the scene as Mrs. Mama Elle later rebranded as Life Styled by Elle it was a lot of the usual lifestyle/mom blog, except I knew a little bit better what I was doing. My graphic design skills weren’t total shit and my writing was pretty good. At quite a few points I kept things quite regular and I must say some of the posts and topics were pretty good. My collaboration with Ruthie from fairywingsanddinosaurs.com was something of which I was particularly proud. In fact, with my impending family photo shoot, I was thinking of republishing it here.

Except now I can’t. It’s pretty heteronormative and even more than that, which of the outfits in the “big girls” edition could I even bribe our girls (almost 7 and almost 13) into wearing? I won’t lie, they are super adorable. But every single option includes pink or lace or a skirt or something and there is just no way. And frankly, if I’m being picky, the family pics I used as examples aren’t that great and every single one is just a little family of four. All a mom, a dad, and little kids that parent dress. That’s easy. Sounds like a revamp is in order. Only this time I’m tackling a lesbian couple with four strong-willed kids. And to be frank, I’m pretty sure 4 outta 5 school days a week, the 5 year old dude has the best style. The grand finale will be our family pics. The proof is in the pudding and you can judge whether or not I’m able to pull it off. And fair warning, if they turn out even semi-cute, I will pin the shit outta every single one on Pinterest. I have yet to be able to find much under “lesbian family photos” that isn’t two cute young mama’s with a single little toddler/baby or even just a bump.

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Basically the only big, lesbian family photo on the whole internet. Great show, BTW.

Our family photos are scheduled for Thursday, February 9th. I’m not yet prepared at all, but I am SO excited. I’m silly about stuff like this. I get that it’s not actually important to my relationship or family well being, but to me, it feels like it is. It’s symbolic. It’s all of us together. Blended, sort of matching, sort of crazy, smiling. It’s Terra and I engaged and promised and together. Basically, it’s everything I want most in life captured to treasure forever. Plus, hey, I’m a multi-tasker and it’s new family photos, pictures of just the sibling pairs for the dad’s Father’s Day gifts, and engagement pics all in one swoop. Hell, I’ll probably get a blog head shot and Christmas card 2017 out of it while I’m at it because I’m just that kind of girl. Wish me luck!

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Siblings Reunited

I grew up in a very strongly conservative family –  Southern, republican, god-fearin’, church-attending, small town folks. I could go on all day telling you the details of exactly how conservative I mean, but I think you get the idea. My coming out wasn’t exactly warmly received. Or at least I thought it wasn’t at first. Don’t get me wrong, my parents are highly displeased and I don’t see them recanting those stances anytime soon.

As the oldest of nine kids (yeah…), most of my siblings belong to a younger generation. A generation with plenty of problems of their own, but a more open and accepting generation. Each of my 5 sisters checked on me regularly reminding me they loved me and wanted me to find my happiness. One sister I never had much of a good relationship with at all,  suddenly was texting me wishing we could be closer and we together we rebuilt (or built, rather) a good relationship.

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My siblings and I at Dillon’s wedding, 2012

But then there are the brothers. Of all 8 siblings, it’s only my two oldest brothers who don’t live in Texas. One lives in Virginia. And one, Dillon, the one I was always closest to growing up, lives just 15 or 20 miles from Terra and me. This is the brother I grew up singing with, covering for, and venting to. Often we were jointly punished for having a “sibling clique.” Later we went to college together, scheduled classes together, and his closest friends became like extra little brothers. He’s fun and hilarious and bold. He’s also highly opinionated and always had a streak of homophobia. . After he moved away to follow his wife to grad school, we saw each other less frequently and didn’t communicate a lot beyond that. After she finished grad school they moved to Coeur d’Alene and I didn’t make the trek up often. Now that I have moved up here as well, I have been both excited and dreading meeting up with them.We grabbed lunch once and it seemed strained. Since I fully settled in up here, I have tried most weekends to catch them. And by try, i mean texted and rarely followed up beyond the first couple of texts. Until last weekend. Terra and I had no real plans, but there was karaoke just a bit down the road from my little bro’s place, so sent him a quick invite.

When Terra and I arrived at the bar with our friend Joanne, I swear to god I (we) collected more blatant stares than I have in my short little out life. I felt a bit like perhaps we had gotten a touch to close to Aryan Nations grounds than was good for us. Gradually what started as staring turned into fascination and we quickly became the “cool table.” Strangers were coming up begging me to sing with them, girls were flirting with Joanne, and some nice fella gave Terra the hat right off his head.

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Joanne, Terra & Me this summer

True to form Dillon was roughly an hour later than he said he’d be, but he made it. We laughed, we gossiped, talked of the family and old friends, sang a song or two, and even joked about these North Idaho people not knowing what to say to the gay girls. Most importantly he was kind to Terra and Joanne and made sure to hug them good bye. We made drunk plans to revisit the dive bar monthly and I hope we really do. It feels pretty glorious to have my brother back.

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