Preserving Love Through Holiday Cards

Preserving Love Through Holiday Cards

There’s something thoughtful I can truly appreciate about receiving a holiday card from a family member or friend. To me, that means that I’m on their mind- and during the holiday season, that makes me feel very special. Honestly, I feel like holiday cards are a beautiful reminder that someone loves you and you’re a part of their family.

I remember looking forward to each and every handwritten letter or card from my family and friends while I was deployed overseas. Although the care packages full of my favorite snacks were great too, the thought behind these handwritten letters and cards meant so much to me and made me feel like I wasn’t forgotten. After a while, I started receiving letters from people I didn’t even know who were supporters of the military. We began a nice friendship through handwritten correspondence and I shared my daily life with them as a Soldier serving overseas.

Preserving Love Through Holiday Cards

Most recently, I found chest full of handwritten letters, cards and pictures that my mother and father exchanged for several years, through dating, marriage and up until I was born in 1989.

After receiving these letters while serving overseas and finding my parent’s chest full of letters, (as well as being a photographer) I realized that letters and cards with photographs are meant to be cherished and preserved. These letters and cards were something I could hold onto forever and they told the story of my parents’ lives before me. Also, I appreciated each and every one of those letters written to me while I was overseas, and I hope that someday they’ll tell my story.

I really want to stress the importance of sending cards to your loved ones during the holiday season by sharing some cards I made using Minted’s holiday photo card templates.

Preserving Love Through Holiday Cards

Preserving Love Through Holiday Cards

Preserving Love Through Holiday Cards

I made these cards, which were designed by independent artists, using my most recent photography sessions that reflect family, love and togetherness. The beautiful thing about these Minted cards is that you can completely make them your own by combining imagery with notes of heartfelt thoughtfulness.

If you’re interested in designing your holiday cards through Minted, they are offering SO many great holiday specials! Specifically, their Black Friday event runs through November 25-27 –  you can save 15% off ANY holiday card order, or 20% off any card orders $150 and up. Use the code ‘BF2015′ to access the discounts!!

When sending your holidays cards this season, you’re not just sending a card. You’re giving your loved ones a reminder that you love them and you’re thinking of them. You’re telling them that they matter to you and that is something that will always be preserved in their hearts.

*This post has been sponsored by Although I did receive compensation for this post, all of my opinions are my own. 

Veterans Day, a photo diary

Truthfully, I can’t fit seven years of military photography and service as a Public Affairs Specialist (journalist, photojournalist, media relations) into one post. Okay, yes I can, but then I would feel rushed, you know? And I don’t want to rush when talking about the military, the wonderful Soldiers I’ve met or the experiences I’ve had.

I honestly don’t even know where to begin as far as talking about my experiences, so instead, I wanted to share some imagery I shot from my deployment to Iraq from 2009-2010. This doesn’t scratch the surface of how many images I have to share, but this is a good start. I’m actually in the process of rebranding and I’ll be adding a military category to my new design, so this isn’t the last you’ll see. I also have a more in-depth project in the works with the stories behind many of these images.

If you’re reading this, thank you. Also, please remember that although we (veterans) are a part of the general population, there are many invisible scars and silent cries for help that often go ignored. PTSD is very real, and also some Soldiers have trouble readjusting to ‘regular’ life after they come home (or still have trouble adjusting even after years of being home.) So this Veteran’s Day, think about those who have served, but also remember that some are still fighting internal wars.  Here are 10 ways to support and honor veterans that are really worth checking out ( I personally love the idea of the Veterans History Project.) Also, if you have the time, this is a great TED Talk on why you often hear Soldiers say they ‘miss the war.’

Sharing my military experience on Veterans Day

Sharing my military experience on Veterans Day

Sharing my military experience on Veterans Day

Sharing my military experience on Veterans Day

Soldier scans his sector during night patrol mission

Sharing my military experience on Veterans Day

Sharing my military experience on Veterans Day

VeteransDay 002


Sharing my military experience on Veterans Day

Sharing my military experience on Veterans Day

VeteransDay 008

Sharing my military experience on Veterans Day

Sharing my military experience on Veterans Day

Sharing my military experience on Veterans Day

Sharing my military experience on Veterans Day

Sharing my military experience on Veterans Day

Deployed Soldier shares deployment experiences

Sharing my military experience on Veterans Day

Preserving memories through the lens

Those of you who’ve been following me for a while know that I’m deeply passionate about the art and process of photography. Whether I’m planning out locations for upcoming sessions, designing mood boards for inspiration or even occasionally photographing my local surroundings or latest meals, a lot of thought and care goes into the images I photograph.

As a lover of photography, I also believe that it’s extremely important to support others in the industry and build a community of professional relationships.

So when the folks at Minted told me about their first, photography only competition- appropriately named “Through the Lens”- I knew I wanted to know more about it. This particular competition is the second largest Minted has ever held, with almost 5,000 submissions, 248 total artists and 459 new pieces. These prints are exclusive to Minted and are a great representation of the talented artists across the nation who serve as an inspiration to other photographers like myself.

I wanted the share some of the prints from the Through the Lens photography challenge that I really enjoyed viewing:

Minted Through the Lens Prints

The Iron Lady // Santorini // Gossamer Grid // Musings of Synchronicity // Above the SeaSee more ‘Through the Lens’ prints

I also picked a couple of the prints featured in the challenge to add some vibrance to my workspace.

Minted Through the Lens Prints desk

I loved the brilliant color of these peonies and the way they contrasted with their background in “Titania” by Kristen Muntean. Here’s what Kristen had to say about this print (from Minted) :

“These coral-petaled peonies are some of my favorite photography subjects. Nothing about them is understated: their majestic size, lush pinks, and bold personality give them a regal air. Like the fairy queen Titania in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, these flowers are too incredible to belong to the everyday world. I’ve attempted to capture a little bit of their magic in this photograph.”

I also appreciated the stillness of this portrait of a horse, named “All is Quiet” by Jenni Kupelian. Wanting to know the inspiration behind the print, I spoke with Jenni on the background of this photograph. She shared her thoughts on the serenity of the image, despite the harsh conditions.

“I was traveling through Iceland when I took this photograph. At the time, we were battling 70mph winds (winter in Iceland is an adventure!) trying to see a bit of the terrain before we had to get on the plane to go home. This sweet pony lived on the property where we were staying and I was struck by how calm and serene he was, despite the storm raging all around him. I had to steady myself in the wind before pushing down the shutter…it’s a wonderful memory I will carry with me always. I feel at peace when I look at this photograph and am reminded to slow down…to enjoy simple things.”

That’s the beautiful thing about photography- you’re capturing a moment in your lifetime that was deemed memorable or what you feel is beautiful in this world.

Be sure to check out more fine art photography prints for sale here.

What type of photography moves you? What are your favorite subjects or moments to photograph?

This post has been sponsored by Minted. The two prints pictured on my desk are courtesy of Minted- as always, all opinions are my own.

Life lately

Life lately has been packed with a lot of good feelings- from the excitement of starting my own business, the busyness of packing my belongings and finishing up some furniture restorations, and the overall feeling of ending one chapter of my life and building upon other one.

Right now my focus is spread in a lot of places and I think that will change once I get settled into my new place. I’ve been shooting a lot lately in preparation of my photography business launch, and it feels so good being behind the camera. Here’s some sneak peeks of my latest shoots.

Cassandra Monroe Photography Wedding Anniversary

Cassandra Monroe Photography Wedding Anniversary

Cassandra Monroe Photography Couple Portraits

Cassandra Monroe Photography Headshots

Cassandra Monroe Photography Family sessions

Can’t wait to settled in at the end of this month- I have a lot of good things planned!

What’s been keeping you busy in your life lately?

Finding your Passion and Knowing When it’s Meant to Be

There’s this saying that goes around, typically after a relationship ends: “If you love someone, set them free, if they return it was meant to be.”

Well, this post is not about a breakup, but more about finding your true passions.

Some are naturally more in tune with their passions while others need to do a little digging- and that’s okay! That’s actually great.

For me, the first time I took photography seriously was during an elementary school film photography project. I remember wanting to stand out from my peers and photographing the same elements but in a different angle- from down below, from up top. I just remember wanting to be different. I remember smiling and getting excited when I found that ‘sweet spot’ every photographer finds (although at the time, I didn’t know that’s what it was called.)

We finished the project by hosting a studio night at the school where our parents and members of the community could view our photography. I was so proud to show my work after carefully picking out the right frame matting (appropriately red, white, and blue) for my three favorite images. These prints are currently packed away in boxes for my upcoming move- but I do still have them.

After that, I went on and did normal kid/student stuff until I hit early high school. My dad would take us to races during the weekends where he worked on a friend of the family’s dragster. I desperately wanted an assignment, something to do- so my dad handed me a camera. “Your job is to document us working and to photograph the driver racing down the tracks. Your job as a photographer is important because you’re capturing memories.” So I fell back into my natural element- photography.

Fast forward to when I joined the military as a public affairs journalist and photo journalist. I would never take back the seven years I served in the military, or the thousands of photographs I took. Throughout this time, I remembered what my dad said.

“Your job as a photographer is important because you’re capturing memories.”

This brings me to where I am today. In my earlier years, photography and art in general was a passion that made an appearance every once in a while, but then made a solid presence in my life within the last five years. To me, the quote I mentioned above works for finding your passions. Although they may come and go throughout different times in your life, there’s always something that your mind wanders back to. There’s always something that fuels your fire. Whatever it is, it’s meant to be.

Finding your passion and knowing when it's meant to be

I’ve been doing a lot of planning behind the scenes the last few months both for myself, my blog and my future businesses. It was hard to balance all this planning during throughout personal life events and when my main priority at the time was #MonroeFamilyFlip, but now that that’s all settled, I’ve been able to put my passions first again.

I’m sure this comes to no surprise to some of the people that know me or have been following me way before I started my blog, but I’ll be officially launching my photography/creative consulting business and rebranding my blog at the end of 2015 (I’m coming for ya, 2016!) I have a few other tricks up my sleeve too, but that’s for another time.

In this photo, I included a thank you note for one of my latest photography clients because I wanted to thank you too, whoever you are reading this. Thank you for all of the continuous support you’ve given me- whether you’ve stuck with me when I first started posting photography on my personal Facebook and Flickr, or if you’re a newer follower because of my blog or my posts at The Everygirl.

Photography is my passion- whether I’m capturing the love between two people, to coming up with a theme and concept for stylized shoots featuring local vendors. Coaching is another passion- I love to share my knowledge and watch people grow. There’s a few other things in between, but I’ll save that for another post.