Sabrina Fields Photography » Photographer of New Beginnings

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Isa | 7 Months

It’s true… the second child doesn’t have nearly as many photos as the first.  I had tried to tell myself this wouldn’t happen to us, but when you have a two year old that is into everything and needs as much of her own attention as the baby does, well, photos with the “real camera” don’t happen as often as they did with the first.

And sadly, I didn’t even realize this one was 7 months old until two days after!  So, we’re almost a week late with these photos, but at least we got them!

Isa is as smiley as ever and the cutest thing in the world is watching her and Catherine “play” together.  It’s mostly Catherine making a face or a noise that cracks herself up, which in turn makes Isa laugh, which then makes Catherine laugh some more.  I had a brother growing up and while we played together and loved/hated each other (as these two will also), watching two sisters grow up together is something I’m loving already!

Isa is working so hard to sit up by herself (another side affect of being a second child, you get carried around and propped up so much that sitting on your own may come later than it did for big sister), she loves munching on whatever happens to make contact with her mouth, she loves her veggies but isn’t so crazy about oatmeal.

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The craziest thing this past week is that when I’ve gone to get her up or have her laying on her changing table, I feel like I’m looking at myself when I was a baby.  It’s more in the facial expressions she gives me than anything else, but it’s crazy!  It’s fun though that Catherine has so many of Ben’s features and Isa seems to have so many of mine :-)

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Oh my goodness, baby girl, you are adorable!

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Real life shot: cloth diapers hanging in the background and papa continually propping her up in between shots!

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Danielle L. Menning - September 12, 2017 - 9:09 am

She is a doll! And I love the “real life” one with the diapers & Ben. She does resemble you! Happy 7 months, Isa!

What to do in Paris | The Tourist Edition

It’s overwhelming… planning a trip to a city you’ve never been to before, especially if you don’t know the language, culture or customs.

I still remember my second trip to Paris when I was in college (the first was with the orchestra in high school where the entire trip was planned for me and I was surrounded by my English-speaking friends the entire time).  My mom and I flew over and only had a few days to do whatever we wanted.  But I spent the first couple of days jet-lagged and overwhelmed with trying to understand all of the French swarming around me.  I was an engineering major at that point and hadn’t had a French class in quite a while.  It wasn’t until our last day there that things finally settled in my head, but then it was time to leave!

So while this post won’t immediately make you fluent in French, I hope it will at least give you some guidance on what to do if you only have a few days in Paris and want to hit the highlights!

Paris is by far one of my favorite cities and I LOVE when people ask for suggestions on what to do when they go because I know how wonderful the city is and I’m excited that someone else is about to experience it too!  I’ll be doing another post in the near future of things to do and see if you’d prefer a little less-touristy experience.

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We’re going to assume you only have 3-4 days for this trip.  If you have longer, you’ll get through this list fairly quickly but will then have an idea of other things you want to see and do before going home.  Or you can wait for the next post of what to do in Paris for the “less-touristy” edition and add those things into your itinerary!

Traveling Around

  • From the airport, you can either take the RER (about 12 euros) and metro (1 ticket is less than 2 euros) into the city or take a taxi or an Uber (both of these are around 50 euros but you’ll be taken directly to where you want to go and won’t have to carry your luggage through the metro)*
    *all prices are from summer 2017
  • Go ahead and purchase a metro ticket for zones 1-3 for the number of days you’ll be in Paris.  This will give you unlimited rides for most places in the city without having to purchase tickets all the time.  There are kiosks in most metro stations and they’re easy to use and they take credit cards.
  • Be sure to walk a lot too!  The city is best experienced on foot.
  • Google Maps on your phone will be your best friend.  I used it ALL the time to figure out how to get where we wanted to go.  It is super helpful because it gives you the directions for walking, metro lines, and by taxi/Uber.
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Sights to see:
  • Eiffel Tower: your first day there would be a good day to go up the Eiffel Tower!  Purchase tickets ahead of time so you can jump any lines that you might have to wait in.  Purchase your tickets to go to the top and then walk down the stairs to leave.  This will still give you all the views from each level without wearing you out by walking UP the entire thing!
    • OR… if you’d rather have the view in the photo above, go to the top of the Arc de Triomphe just before sunset.  You’ll walk up a spiral staircase for what feels like forever, but you’ll have a view OF the Eiffel Tower instead of the view FROM the Eiffel Tower.
  • Montmartre: Try to plan on going up to Montmartre and Sacré Coeur one morning.  Then you can have lunch up there before heading back into the city.  It’s so pretty and refreshing first thing in the morning and probably won’t be nearly as crowded as it will be later in the day.
  • Notre Dame: walking through the church is completely free so definitely do that and walk AROUND to the back of the church into the gardens so you can see the back of the church too.  That’s where the flying buttresses are and it’s beautiful back there.  I’ve only paid to go to the top of the towers once and it was ok, but not necessary for the short amount of time you have in the city.

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  • Pont Alexandre III: at some point you must go to this bridge… it’s perfectly 19th century and you can easily access stairs to walk down by the Seine.  It’s my favorite bridge in the city and it’s just beautiful!
  • Quartier Latin: ALWAYS worth walking around in!
  • The Louvre: this is totally up to you.  If you’ve never been to Paris and you enjoy museums, I would recommend going. The first time I went (in high school), I went in, found the Mona Lisa and left.  The next time I went, I actually took my time and wandered through a bit. Then, when Ben and I went for our honeymoon, we were in there for at least 3 hours… and that wasn’t even my first time there!  So, just be warned that you can spend as little or as much time in there as you’d like :-)
    • Bonus stop: Palais Royale is directly across the street from the Louvre.  The main courtyard (below) is worth seeing and taking a rest in.

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  • Versailles: If you have at least 3 full days, go ahead and use one of those days to go out to Versailles.  It will be completely worth it!  You’ll need to buy different metro tickets for this trip because the palace is in zone 4 and you’ll need to take the metro and then the RER to get out there.  It’s the last stop on line C so it’s really easy to find.  Go through the castle if you like, but then go down to the gardens and at the point where you can rent row boats, take a right and walk about a mile to Le Grand Trianon and Le Petite Trianon.  You’ll also want to go back to the Hamlet (Marie Antoinette’s little village she had built to pretend like she was a peasant).  I finally saw these parts of Versailles this past summer and could have spent so many more hours there than I did!  Totally and completely worth your time and the walk.
Places to eat:
  • There are all kinds of cafés around the city that are perfectly fine for grabbing lunch and a café crème (if you like coffee, apparently this is the way to go!).

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  • For dinner, the main place I’d recommend is Chez Georges (1 rue du Mail, 75002 Paris, France) with the yellow doors/windows.  Try and go by there on your first day or so if you can so that you know where it is because it can be a little tricky to find.  But, when you do find it, walk in and make reservations for that evening or another evening to ensure you’ll have a table.  Both times Ben and I have been there, it’s been pretty packed.  Also, Europeans like to eat late so while we always thought 7pm was on the later side, it starts getting full around 9pm!
  • Boulangeries (bakeries) may be the downfall of any diet you might be trying to do.  Pain au chocolat (chocolate croissants) is the best thing you will ever put in your mouth.  I always eat at least one a day… you’ll be walking enough that the calories from these won’t actually stick to you ;-)
  • At least once, you need to buy a baguette and then find a fromagerie (cheese shop) for some cheese and wine so you can have a picnic in the Tuilleries Gardens.  You also need to have at least one crepe from a street vendor – NOT in a café.  My favorite place to get one is at the base of the butte of Montmartre, before you walk up to Sacré Coeur.  There’s a little café on the corner that is directly across from the carousel so it’s pretty hard to miss.  The crepe station is on the outside of the café so you can just walk up to order one and they’ll make it right there, fold it up, and hand it to you.  It’s the perfect snack to eat while you sit on the benches by the carousel and people watch!
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What to pack:
Less is always more!  Plus, most Parisian apartment buildings don’t have elevators.  And if they do, they’re super tiny and don’t always work (I know this from experience).  And if you take the train/metro from the airport, you won’t want to be lugging huge bags around (I also know this from experience!).  I think there’s one metro stop (maybe 2) that has an elevator.  The rest have nothing but steps.
  • Take a few staples and then accessorize those to switch up outfits.  Plus, you’ll do some shopping and will want to wear what you buy, right??
  • A comfy and cute pair of flats… plus those little stretchy sock things because, well, they’re just always a good idea.
  • A small umbrella.  Trust me on this one.
  • European outlet converters (like this one HERE).
  • DO NOT TAKE A U.S. HAIRDRYER. It will be too much for the outlets (even with a converter) and will fry.  So either be fully European and don’t dry your hair, see if the place you’re staying has a european hair dryer, or purchase one when you arrive.  Curling irons and straighteners will do just fine with a converter.
  • Download Google Translate… it’s not perfect, but it will help!

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A few cultural tips:
  • It’s polite to say “Bonjour” when you enter a shop to the shop owner and “Merci, au revoir!” when you leave.
  • Learn the phrase “Parlez vous anglais?” (Do you speak English? Also, that last s in anglais is silent.)  Many Parisians speak at least a little English, especially in restaurants and stores, but it’s amazing how much more helpful they will be if you at least make an effort in French first :-)
  • Go ahead and order some euros before you leave.  I know with Bank of America you can order them online and they’ll ship to your house in a couple of days.  The exchange rate will be better than if you use one of the exchange places at the airport or anywhere in town (other than ATMs).  Most big places will take cards, but it’s easier to have cash on you for those pain au chocolat and ice creams :-)  Also, they use 1 euro and 2 euro coins a lot so don’t be afraid to use your change.  The smallest paper bill is 5 euros so the coins really do go a long way.
  • Tipping isn’t necessary like it is in the states.  If a waiter is beyond amazing, a 1 or maybe 2 euro tip is appreciated but still not expected.
  • Many places are closed on Sundays so just be aware of that.

Hopefully this was helpful!  If all else fails and even this is too overwhelming, just café hop around the city drinking café crèmes, enjoying all the baguettes and eating pain au chocolats while you people watch.

Bon voyage!
For other posts about Paris, click HERE.

[…] you missed that post, you should go check it out HERE because there will likely be some things that will still be helpful like Travel Tips, What to Pack […]

Gabby | Class of 2018

It’s not often that I do senior portraits, but when it’s a girl as special as this and she’s beginning her senior year, there’s no way I can say no!

The first time Gabby was in front of my camera, her family was still semi-new to the upstate.  Her dad had gotten a job where I worked so they moved down south and Gabby was in the first grade… and I realized after the shoot that my camera’s ISO had been at 3200 the entire time.  Basically that means that I was a brand new photographer and had no idea what I was doing.

There are so many things that I see wrong with this photo now that it’s been 10 years since I took it. And I try not to cringe when I see it because I love these people so much!  But when I was talking with Gabby and her mom at her senior session last week, her mom said they still have some of these photos hanging in their house and they love them!

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Now that sweet little first grade girl is a senior!!  I can’t even believe it.  It’s moments like these (and wedding days) that make me realize how quickly our own two little girls are going to grow up.

Gabby, you are so beautiful inside and out and I know God has thrown some seemingly impossible things your way, but you have handled them with grace and an admirable strength.  God is going to use you wherever you end up going next year.  And I can’t wait to see what mountains He uses you to move next!

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You are seriously beautiful, my dear!

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A peek at my film…

I know I’ve been dragging this out forever, but I promise I looked at my film prints AND scans the evening my prints arrived!  And I’ll go into much more detail later, but I wanted to give you guys a peek.  Suffice it to say, I am completely in love.

Are they all perfect?  Not by a long shot.  But I knew from the first click of that shutter how much I already loved it.

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Happy Friday and happy Labor Day weekend!

At the Moment | August 2017

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I saw Emily post something like this on her blog (Jones Design Company) in the spring as a timestamp of sorts for what she’s up to and how things are going.  And since I haven’t blogged very regularly since Isa arrived in February, I thought I would do a post similar to hers so you guys would know that I’m still here, still breathing, still working and still loving life!

Also, these photos are from our recent trip to Isle of Palms and Charleston with some friends.  It’s the first time we’ve taken a trip with both girls and while it had its challenges (like it being the first time Catherine didn’t sleep in a crib or pack-n-play), it was a lot of fun and it was so good to spend some real time with Chris and Kadie!

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LOVING – watching our girls interact and “play” together!  Isa is almost 7 months and still not mobile, but she lights up when she sees her big sister and Catherine adores playing with her and laughing with her.

READING (well, listening to) – Orange is the New Black on Audible.  I haven’t watched it on Netflix, but the book is fascinating!

WATCHING – Moana.  Almost always it’s Moana!

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SHOPPING FOR – some boots. I love sandals but when it gets cold I cave and wear real shoes.  But I don’t want boots with a heel and tall boots are hard for me to wear because my calves are so big (I blame it on dancing for so many years).  But I just saw these from TOMS and am super curious about how they fit and feel!

EXCITED ABOUT – football season!!  Clemson’s kickoff is this Saturday and I can’t wait!  Go Tigers!

TRYING TO – get work done during naps while also trying to go to bed at a decent hour.  So far, I’m not doing so great on either of those fronts.

WORKING ON – timelines with my fall brides, updating my website (check it out if you have some time!) and dreaming of a future venture with Ben :-)

ENJOYING – the cooler weather even though it’s still August.  It gets me excited about all things fall!

USING – Toggl Timer on my phone. It keeps track of my time (when I remember to switch what I’m doing), which helps me see where I’m spending my time.  It’s especially helpful at the end of the year when Ben and I review the past year and plan for the coming year.

Isa’s expression in this photo KILLS me!!

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WEARING – mom clothes. I’m in shorts and t-shirts, sometimes yoga pants, rarely anything nicer.  But I bought some dresses and linen pants and a new shirt for my trip to Paris back in July and have LOVED having fresh and in-style clothes!  I’m just not a shopper and when I don’t need nicer things to wear to the office every day, I usually don’t realize I need new clothes until something comes up.

PLANNING – a styled shoot!  It’s something I’ve been dreaming of for over 3 years and it’s finally going to happen in the next month!

SINGING – Moana.  Almost always it’s Moana! Ben and I will sometimes text each other with the song that is currently stuck in our heads.

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NEEDING – to get Moana OUT of my head!

LEARNING – what it’s like to trust the Lord when my efforts aren’t cutting it (which seems to essentially be a life-long lesson!)

LISTENING TO – Again, Moana.  That’s right… if we aren’t watching it, then we’re listening to it.  Constantly.

WISHING – the Clemson Tigers would have another incredible season :-)

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DOING – finally hanging things in Isa’s room. Decorating isn’t my thing so it’s intimidating to me!  Which also means it takes me forever to decorate a space and put things up on the walls.  Catherine was a year old before her nursery was “finished” and I’m afraid it’s looking like Isa’s will be the same way.

DREAMING OF – going back to France.  Have passport (and camera) and will travel!

Jodi - August 30, 2017 - 8:30 pm

If we can do anything to help with the styled shoot…let me know!!