Annie 2.0

Annie 2.0

I used to get so frustrated when the few news articles that talked about the BRCA mutations focused primarily on healthy women choosing to get prophylactic double mastectomies. Willingly, these brave (crazy?) women in their 40s, 30s and yes, even 20s were choosing to remove their breasts; not because they had been diagnosed with breast cancer, but because of their 80%+ chance of getting it thanks to a gene mutation.

I used to get so frustrated, because I felt they were focusing more on women “disfiguring” themselves when they didn’t actually have and may never even get breast cancer and ignoring the fact that they also had a greatly increased ovarian cancer risk. Why was this the case?

Was it because you can’t see our non-sexualized ovaries? Or was it because they are our baby makers and of course, removing them meant never giving birth to a biological child and, um… “every woman on earth” should want to experience that?

I used to get so frustrated that if those articles or tv features even mentioned those same women also deciding to remove their ovaries, it was usually but a footnote. An afterthought. Not the real story, which was women were cutting off their breasts!! It’s mass hysteria I tell ya!

But of course it’s not hysteria at all. In fact, it could be the exact opposite. Maybe one of the most sane things a woman can do when faced with odds you’d never want to play in Vegas. Never mind that many of said crazy women were discovered to actually have early-stage breast cancer when they did have their breast tissue tested during their mastectomies. Thankfully, I was not one of them.

I used to get so frustrated that these women had to make such drastic decisions for their health. I truly felt for them, for I also knew I would be one of them one day. 

At age 31, just when I finally felt like my life was starting to hit it’s stride—Bill and I were planning our wedding and seriously thinking about changing careers and photographing weddings professionally—I had to watch helplessly as my Mom fought Stage 4 ovarian cancer. She suffered through rounds & rounds of chemo, losing her beautiful bottle-blond hair, completely losing her appetite for her favorite foods and experiencing extreme fatigue just walking to the bathroom, yet not wanting to fall asleep for fear she may not awake again. She eventually would vomit green bile as her liver and other organs began to fail and experience spiritual distress while floating in and out of semiconsciousness. Ultimately, six days before Bill and I were to say I Do on September 16, 2001 (what would have been my parents’ 39th wedding anniversary-Dad passed away in 1991) her body gave out and she passed away from ovarian cancer at 62. 

Several years later and after I had tested positive for the gene mutation known as BRCA2, my oncologist who specialized in hereditary cancers strongly advised me that she’d feel much more comfortable for me to have my ovaries removed by age 40 or “whenever I stopped needing them”. (I gave her until I was 42 after Bill and I decided we wouldn’t be pursuing further having children. We could no longer afford it financially and more importantly, emotionally.) She was all for me getting a mastectomy, as well, but because breast cancer is often much easier to detect, wasn’t as concerned that I was still carrying those ticking time bombs around on my chest. 

I used to get so frustrated because it’s impossible to describe what it feels like to make such life changing decisions for your health when you’re not sick. And may never actually get cancer.

But, women can and do, unfortunately, get ovarian cancer at any age and often in hereditary cases, not only can it show up much earlier, it’s often stronger if it does. Same with hereditary breast cancer. So why then do they recommend we wait at all? They generally don’t suggest we wait until a certain age to have a mastectomy. Oh, wait, yes they do. Whenever you’re done breast feeding. 

Why do so many doctors suggest putting off potentially life saving surgeries? So that you can be a mom? Is being a parent so important that you should choose parenthood over your life? What if putting off those surgeries then threaten your very existence to be around for any children you may have?

I wanted to yell at all those (often male) journalists that ovarian cancer was a silent killer. That it’s so tricky to discover until it’s more advanced, that for many people, it’s often a death sentence. Now don’t get me wrong, I’d never wish breast cancer on anyone either—I just wanted these news stories and articles to be more even-sided (and maybe be written by women.) To remind people that both can kill you and especially if you have a gene mutation, you should be getting screened for both cancers every 6 months until you make a decision on what, if any, preventative surgeries you want to have.

I used to get so frustrated because while an oophorectomy can be a much easier surgery, dealing with the significant physical changes that accompany that surgery was and continues to be incredibly difficult. If you’re a lady and curious, buy me a cocktail sometime and I can certainly elaborate. I wish I’d had someone around to do that for me. No Mom, no aunt, no older sister, not even a friend who was going through the life change. At least not any that were openly talking about it.

Because yes, removing your ovaries means instant menopause. Instant. I awoke from surgery in 2011 and along with some choice pain meds, immediately began taking hormones. This in itself is another difficult and ironic decision if you still have your natural breasts because hormone therapy can increase your chances of getting breast cancer. Even if you don’t have the mutated gene. In addition, medically-induced menopause can lead to greater health issues such as increased heart risk, increased chance of Alzheimer’s and decreased bone density and osteoporosis, all at an earlier age than if you go through natural menopause. I actually have osteo’s precursor, ostopenia, so I’m trying to eat well the majority of the time, get extra calcium and do weight-bearing exercise to increase my chances of it not advancing until I’m much, much older, if at all.

But removing your breasts? They were primarily at their core, just erogenous zones, right? NBD.

Well, that’s what I thought before my mastectomy & subsequent reconstruction. Not only is the initial surgery to remove all your breast tissue much, much more difficult and recovery quite painful, but it’s so much harder emotionally to lose such a visible part of yourself. I won’t go into all the reasons why again here, though since they’re practically the reason this journal even exists! (It is really amazing though to see just how far I’ve come from how I was feeling emotionally a few weeks after the removal of my breasts.)

I do find it slightly ironic that at mid-life, my life truly feels divided in half: before mastectomy and after.

What I’ve come to realize? Even though part of me believed that I would never get breast cancer, no matter my chances, I wanted to take control of my destiny in any way I could. In my brain, I certainly know that having the BRCA gene and having cancer are most definitely not the same thing. But, my body, my spirit, my soul, I don’t think knew there was a difference at all. I may not have had cancer, but I felt as though I already did.

Suffice it to say, I can now better understand why so many of those articles focused on breasts. Not only is a double mastectomy a more serious and difficult surgery/recovery, but because they’re not hidden away, you see and feel reminders of what you’ve lost. Every. Single. Day.

Bottom line: both surgeries are life-altering. I’m still me, but I also don’t feel like me. I think Annie 2.0 is in beta testing. Or maybe, she’s already here.

I used to get so frustrated. Now? Now I get it.

Mom and I a few short months before she passed away.

Photo by Michael Woodward

Dear Facebook….

Dear Facebook….

It’s not me, it’s you.

Relationship Status: It’s Complicated

I hate to put it so bluntly (kinda), but lets be honest, we both knew this day was coming and the final straw I guess for me, was your  more recent shenanigans. I don’t blame you so much as your “handlers”. Needless to say, though I simply don’t feel appreciated anymore. Now I really feel like only a commodity to you, and I would never wish that feeling on anybody. I really don’t think you even “like” me after all these years together.

It’s been ten years, Facebook, but I’ve been feeling this way towards you for quite some time. I hung in there to “stay connected” with family and friends and because I belong to a couple private Facebook groups that I really enjoy. Because of those groups, one of which I pay for, I’ll likely need to create a “faux” profile. Now it feels like you’re forcing me to lie to my friends.

And don’t get me started on how your “fake news” influenced a national election. Hell, thanks to you, my own uncle unfriended me. A couple of times! All is well right now, but I fear as the mid-term election cycle begins again I’ll find myself stressed out over all the hate and I’ll “lose” him again.

And now I learn that even though I never visited This is Your Digital Life (i.e.. Cambridge Analytical), before you broke up with them in 2015, that because a friend did and shared their news feed with them, that my public profile, page likes, birthday, hometown and current city also landed in their greedy little hands. Who really knows what damage that caused in my life–maybe none–BUT collecting my page likes so you could just better sell things to me was enough by itself. This was just the final straw.

I still remember the first time I found myself browsing shoes online. When I came back to you, there were the exact shoes I was looking at on another website. Blinking away at me. Always with the damn blinking.

But now, you’ve gotten even more creepy, Facebook. Watching (& listening?) to every single post, conversation, and photograph, and yet for all that, you never even liked them. Hrmph. Talk about feeling like this relationship was one-sided.

I recently reviewed all that information you’ve been collecting on me through the years. Yup, ALL of it. Wow. Now, I’m smart enough to know that nothing online is ever private nor disappears into the ether, but it was another thing to see line after line, after blurry line of every single status update as well, as names on my “friends” list that I didn’t even recognize!

Saturday, September 6, 2008 9:54am

Anne Holland is…“so happy her little bro is now on Facebook!!” Sorry I dragged you into this, too, Andy.

Monday, January 26, 2009 2:57pm

Anne Holland “had a great time at the bonfire with Bill and Rob, sniffles and all.” Well, at least I was talking about an offline adventure.

Saturday, April 17, 2009 8:08am

Anne Holland is…“SO excited to shoot Karen & Michael’s wedding today!! Such a sweet couple and it’s going to be a beautiful day for them. Yea!” Sigh, I will miss memories like this.

Saturday, November 6, 2010 6:57pm

Anne Holland…“totally saw FB founder Mark Zuckerberg at the VA film festival tonight and no they weren’t screening The Social Network. Wild to watch him walk by a theater that was showing it though!! Anyone else see him??” Yea, more proof that I was drinking the Kool-Aid. Seeing how unethical your “birth” was in that movie (allegedly) didn’t even get me to pause my account. You had quite the hold on me, Facebook. And it continued…

Monday, April 18, 2011 8:37pm

Anne Holland…“super fun and much needed day with two of my favorite girls! Love you fabulous ladies. Thanks for such a wonderful day!!” Before the days of “being able” to tag friends so I actually don’t know really know which friends I was talking about. Sigh.

Saturday, May 4, 2012 11:45am

Anne Holland…“thanks so much for the b-day wishes everyone! Rest assured, there is a margarita with my name on it tonight after our wedding coverage! 😉 Happy Cinco de Mayo!!” Warm and fuzzy memory to be sure. Who doesn’t love Facebook on their birthday especially?

Sunday, June 23, 2013 9:59pm

Anne Holland is…with Bill Holland. “Cocktails in hand for the Mad Men season finale! Won’t hear any spoilers from me though. Thought it was a fantastic and crazy episode!” Can now tag people and implicate them in your drinking while facebooking while watching TV. (Sorry, Bill.) And thanks in large part to Facebook, “spoilers” became an every day “bad” word in our vocabularies.

Thursday, February 27, 2014 3:27pm

Anne Holland is…with Bill Holland. “Scenery on a little overnight to celebrate B’s b-day this past weekend. #wow #justwow #abincolorado #latergram #nofilter” Holy crap! Hashtags have been around since at least 2014?!? Definitely didn’t need to know that! Way to make me feel old, Facebook.

Friday, August 21, 2015 4:23pm

Anne Holland…“shared Holland Photo Art’s photo.” Ah, yes. A BIG reminder of why I justified staying with you so long.

Friday, October 14, 2016 11:22am

Anne Holland…shared a memory. “Still do. Always will.” No idea what this one was about, but apparently I thought it so important, I needed to share it twice! Oye.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017 5:52pm

Anne Holland is…with Bill Holland. “Been on an unexpected, but not necessarily unwanted, break from social media for a while, but wanted to share a new post from yours truly on Bill’s blog. Exchange surgery is tomorrow and I CANNOT wait! Link is and IM Bill or I for the new, MUCH simpler p/w that will work on this post and all the previous ones if you missed any. He’ll also post an update or two following the surgery. <3” Actually thankful, that you made it so easy for friends and family to check in with us, but honestly thanks in large part to my surgeries/health issues/long recovery, I realized just how little I’d miss you should you no longer be in my life.

Thanks to you, Facebook, I know these things happened to me and even I find them pretty boring! Maybe not boring so much, but I never signed up for an apparently secret project: Your Facebook Diary: An Intrusive Look Back.

Sure there have been so many studies in recent years, indicating just how detrimental effect you may have on my life. But I guess I had to live it to really believe it. I felt bad for not checking you out enough. And then when I did, I felt bad for checking you out. And the mindless scrolling and scrolling and scrolling.

And, let’s be honest, I very likely didn’t give you the time you “deserved”. You made it so easy to catch up with friends and yet, also hard. Constantly scrolling and never really feeling like I knew, really, what was going on in their lives. It was a false sense of connection.

You were really close to good enough, but as with all social media at some point, the shine rubs off. My current love is Instagram, but since you also own that app, I fear its days are numbered, as well. I guess we’ll see.

You’ve simply become too controlling and I no longer desire to deal with all your down sides which vastly out number your good sides. You talk a good game, Facebook, but you don’t truly seem interested in changing your, much too often, deceitful ways.

I won’t miss you, but I will miss all the people you connected me to. Very much, but I’m hopeful that I will continue to be able to be in touch with them IRL and via text, email, blog, Instagram, etc.

I promise to not hold it against anyone else I know who chooses to keep you in their lives. (My husband is currently still sticking with you.) Everyone gets to make their own choice. And I get it. I truly do. Saying goodbye is really, really difficult. I’ve attempted to do so many times before over the years, but there’s simply more reasons to give you up than not these days.

And your pal, Messenger? He’s next on my “Dear John” list.

Anne Holland is…“non-regretfully no longer yours’,”

One of the first photos I posted to my profile back in 2008. One of our favorites by friend and incredible photographer, Jennifer Domenick.

An Afternoon at Garden of the Gods

An Afternoon at Garden of the Gods

After lunch with April and Sophia, we spent an afternoon at Garden of the Gods, near Colorado Springs (how did we not get here before?!?). While the clouds seemed heavy at times, we were lucky to get small breaks in the clouds to let the sun poke through and light up some of the iconic rocks within the park. Admission is free and a visit is highly recommend. And go on a weekday, or early in the morning to avoid the crowds. It’s much better light for photos in the morning (or evening if you happen to not be a morning person) anyway. Send us picks if you go, friends! We’d love to see what you capture.

Garden of the Gods overall scene

Ancient tree branch at Garden of the Gods

View from under Balance Rock at Garden of the Gods

Annie in repose under Balance Rock.

Annie stands under Balance Rock at Garden of the Gods

Portrait of Annie at Garden of the Gods

Garden of the Gods late afternoon beautiful light

A child climbs a rock at Garden of the Gods

One of the main rock formations at Garden of the Gods

A trio of tall rocks with tree in foreground at Garden of the Gods

View through tree branches of rocks at Garden of the Gods

Late afternoon sun glows on rock cliffs at Garden of the Gods



Family Visit to Boulder

Family Visit to Boulder

Have we mentioned we love having visitors? Bill’s sister April and 8 year-old niece Sophia recently came to Colorado for a week to experience much (but not nearly enough) of what our beautiful state has to offer. Their stay of course included a horseback ride down in Golden (thanks, Tricia, for the recommendation!), some hiking around Boulder, and even a trip to Garden of the Gods afterward (journal entry with more photos coming soon). Having visitors is always nice, and even nicer when it’s family. April and Sophia, we love you and are glad you came! ’til next time…


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Sophia was fearless climbing around the rock outcroppings at Lost Gulch Trail. In flip flops no less.







How cool is it this go-kart track is a 10-minute walk from our home? Did we say we liked having visitors? You too can experience this!




Our Nephew Samuel David’s Debut

Our Nephew Samuel David’s Debut

Our newest nephew, Samuel David came into the world this past May, two days after Anne’s birthday, and we’re so excited to share a few photos from our first trip to visit the new family of four! (Yup, a little late in finally Journaling this, but it’s that whole cobbler’s children thing.) Even though we often bring our real cameras with us when we visit family, we’re usually having too much fun to remember to pull them out. It’s funny, too, as professional photographers who look at life through a lens a lot, we often have to literally remind ourselves to put down the camera sometimes and really experience and be present in the moment. Although we’re always excited to document moments, the camera does create a barrier and can make you feel a bit removed from the scene. At least it does for us anyway.

Once we put that camera up to our face we’re immediately in “work” mode — thinking about lighting, composition, our camera settings (ISO & aperture), our proximity to the “action” (are we too close or are we not close enough), do we have the right lens on, our location (are we in front of someone whose view we’re blocking) etc. You get the gist so that’s why we have to make a conscious effort sometimes to just put the camera down and actually be emotionally present. Of course, once we do see the photos we did take, they always take us right back into the moment.

We hadn’t really shot a lot with Anne’s family since Bobby’s Day in the Life or his 6th birthday party, even though we always love doing so and we figured it was finally time to give sweet Sam some camera & Journal time, too.






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Yea, had to sneak some of Bobby in here, too! I bet you’re not surprised. We got to attend one of his ball games while we were there and watch him hit a base hitter and receive his end of season trophy!

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We’re looking forward to another trip out again very soon and Sam has of course changed so much (can’t believe he’s already almost 10 months old!) so we may just have to pull out those cameras again. We missed getting to do a 6 month session with him because of schedules, timing and weather so we’re really looking forward to his 1 year shoot!


Love for Lily 3rd Annual Masquerade Ball Benefit

Happy Fat Tuesday, y’all! We hope wherever you are, your heart is in Louisiana today! Ours most definitely is so in honor of Mardi Gras we wanted to share a festive charity event we photographed this past Fall for the wonderful Love for Lily non-profit foundation. In honor of the little girl they lost much too soon in 2011, Sahra & Ted created their foundation to provide personal and financial support to other Denver-area families who are having to go through a similar, often devastating experience when they have children in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). Make sure you read their story in their own words though, as we could never do it justice.

Their largest and, one could argue most fun, fundraising event takes place annually and is the Masquerade Ball. Guests purchase tickets and there’s a great silent auction, as well as a little live one. They get dressed up, don their favorite fancy masks and come out to celebrate a magical evening with cocktails, delicious bites, sweet treats and of course, a photo booth! A local DJ provides the tunes and the party often goes into the wee hours of the a.m. There are also locally made and handmade masks available for purchase if you “forgot” yours.

Sahra (pregnant with her second!) is owner and lead designer of Swoon Jewelry based in Louisville, here in Colorado. Both of us have purchased some of her gorgeous work at the many local arts & craft fairs. Bill’s purchases might have been for Anne (lucky girl!), but she also makes manly stuff for men like cuff links and sterling silver monogrammed guitar picks! (Wouldn’t those just make fantastic groomsmen gifts?)

When we learned they didn’t have a photographer for the 2014 ball, we jumped at the chance to help out. Little ones born too soon have had a close place in our heart ever since our friends, Stephanie and Karl lost their twins and created the Jack & Abby Foundation in their honor. (Side note, we took photos of their third, Matthew, just after he was born and the two butterflies you see in his crib photos represent his brother and sister who will always be with him in spirit.)

We loved getting to be a part of it this year – what a fun and fabulous idea for a party. Who doesn’t love a masquerade ball?








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Now don’t let this Mardi Gras pass you by without a hurricane or at least a sazerac, y’all!

Bobby’s Star Wars Themed 6th Birthday Party

Bobby’s Star Wars Themed 6th Birthday Party

We love getting to share some of our personal photos on the blog when we can, but they often get pushed off the calendar so we can post client work. Cobbler’s children, or maybe cobbler’s nephews and nieces? Well, better late than never we always say!

This past October our nephew Bobby turned 6 (that’s counting on two hands now!) and we celebrated with his family and about 20 of his friends at a park close to his parent’s house. It was a gorgeous blue sky day with just a hint of the chill cooler weather would soon bring. His theme of choice this year, perhaps not surprisingly for a 6 year old boy, was Star Wars. The boy is obsessed. OB.SESS.ED. Anything and everything Star Wars he loves. It’s pretty wild to see since his dad, Anne’s brother, was also a huge fan when he was a kid. Talk about enduring. And endearing.

Of course, we (okay, mostly Bill) had to snap a few photos of the big event and what a blast it was. It was actually the first time since he was born that we could attend one of his birthday parties! Understandably, they are always on Saturdays and for some reason, Saturdays in October are extremely popular wedding dates! So this year we blocked the weekend off so we could attend. We had so much fun watching him and all his friends getting into the Jedi action, complete with Jedi robes (courtesy of his brilliant and talented Mom who made them all from tan pillowcases) and inflatable light sabers. (Pretty sure those weren’t to Jedi code, though.)

After some Jedi training from Mom, Darth Maul made an appearance, who may or may not have been Bobby’s Dad. (Hey, the little guy is reading now and I’m sure he reads his Aunt & Uncle’s Journal religiously so our lips are sealed.) The day was complete with frenzied present opening (LOTS of Star Wars related gifts as you can imagine), Hans Rolo and Pretzel Saber treats and of course, our favorite treat of all – CAKE! You know we love us some cake – birthday, wedding, you name an occasion and we’re pretty sure it should always include cake. This one did not disappoint in it’s sugary goodness either. (Side note: do you think we’re going to lose our Colorado Card by eating something so unhealthy? Eh, oh, well. It’s worth it.) Once the party was over though, we all slid into a cake and crazy 6 year old induced coma. Can’t wait for next year! Hmmmm…..what theme do you think he’ll pick?





The birthday boy in action, practicing his light saber moves.




Even Grandpa (Jennifer’s Dad) got in on the “fun”.








They attacked with serious ferociousness!











Pretty sure Kyra was the only one who got a hug after her present was opened. Who can blame him. Such a cutie!




Whew. Just reliving the fabulous and fan day via photos makes us tired. Ok, that and the cake we had in order to celebrate this personal Journal post. 😉

Happy Birthday, Bobby!! We love you and are so happy we could celebrate your birthday with you!

…aunt “a” and uncle “b”

Happy 2015 from Holland Photo Arts!

Happy 2015 from Holland Photo Arts!

Happy, happy new year!! We hope you’ve all recovered from your celebrating and are looking forward to an amazing 2015! We celebrated in true Holland fashion–on the couch, in our PJ’s chuckling over Kathy Griffin dying Anderson Cooper’s hair. Of course, we also had to enjoy a little champagne (Does the new year really happen if no champagne is involved? We don’t think so but aren’t willing to find out), homemade kettle corn and this year, some truly decadent Gooey Butter Cake.

Seriously–if you haven’t yet had the pleasure of this delicious concoction, you simply must. It’s worth making from scratch (no yellow cake mix, Paula Deen!). Anne used this one from Smitten Kitchen and it turned out wonderfully. Take it from Bill and his happy tummy. Or if you’re in the Denver metro area, get your behinds over to Sassafras American Eatery. While we only have one in-kitchen attempt under our belts, we have to admit their version knocks it out the park and is definitely something to aspire to. If you’re not in the Denver metro area, well, you wanted to come visit us in Boulder anyway, right? Happy hour’s on us! (If you follow us on Instagram, you saw that we got each other the same book for Christmas. The SAME book! And of course, it’s about food. If you don’t follow us on Instagram, do consider it. It’s divine!)

Even though we’re having a little trouble believing it’s already 2015 when New Year’s 2014 only feels like a few months ago, we’re excited for the new start and the known–and unknown–adventures yet to come. We know we’ve said it before, but we continue to be amazed, grateful, and sure occasionally overwhelmed, that we get to photograph couples starting their marriage adventure. In 2014 we racked up another 25k frequent flier miles (hello, vacation miles!) and photographed couples saying I Do (getting married) or saying I Will (getting engaged) in New York, North Carolina, Washington DC, Virginia, and of course, our beautiful home of Colorado. Twenty fifteen already holds similar promise and we couldn’t be more hapy.

Thank you to all of our fabulous couples–past, present and future! We know we wouldn’t be here without you and the fact that we get to continue to be welcomed into your lives, at such an intimately personal time in your lives, well, we just get all sniffly thinking about how lucky we are (although we probably shouldn’t be writing this while chopping an onion). The lifelong friendships we’ve made in shooting 350+ weddings were somewhat unexpected, but truly cherished.

On to the pictures! We had so much fun coming with a 2014 New Year’s card design and wanted to share it with you as we do each year. In fact, we gathered all of the ones we’ve done since 2005 and put them in this one post. We love seeing all the years together and hope you enjoy seeing what we’ve been up to, as well. Big hugs and thanks to the fantabulous (that is seriously a word!) duo of Heather and Dani over at rock,paper, scissors in Charlottesville. We continue to be blown away by their talent and highly recommend them for any custom work, including, hint, hint…wedding invitations!

PS – Check out this space in the coming weeks to see some of our absolute favorite moments and couples captured while they were getting lost in 2014.

It’s hard to see online, but these were letterpressed on 110# paper in copper foil, as well as having some debossed bubbles, which is what the gray circles are and fit in lovely #10 size teal envelopes. Anne came up with the idea of having our years’ adventures form the shape of a champagne bottle, we both wrote down some 2014 highlights and RPS made it happen. Photo is an Instagram (seriously, you should follow us) from Anne’s birthday in Winter Park, Colorado. We then had them printed locally in Denver through Flaming Hot Foil. Huge thank you to all these talented folks. We love them!

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2012 (design also by RPS):




See the funny, sweet and sometimes strange responses we received back!




2011 card:



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2008 (pardon the horrible scan):

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2007 (another questionable scan):



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Wild seeing all the different hairstyles Anne had when she feels like she’s had the same hair since high school!

So do you have a favorite? Card, not hairstyle. Unless you’d like to share that opinion!

Wishing you all a truly sparkling 2015!


Merry Christmas from The Hollands (& Callie the Cat)!

Merry Christmas from The Hollands (& Callie the Cat)!

This time of year we’re all grateful to be able to spend quality, even raucous and perhaps occasionally stressful, time with family. And for those who aren’t with us anymore, to feel the love and remember the relationship we had with them.

One of the most rewarding aspects of our profession is capturing the essence of family members when photographing weddings. Just yesterday morning we received an email from the mother of a 2012 bride, telling us the groom’s granddad had just passed away. It’s an honor to often have created the last professional images of many our clients’ families, as it was with this groom’s grandfather (in his Army uniform on his grandson’s wedding day, just beaming with pride). Similarly, given that our respective parents and grandparents are now gone, this time of year can be bittersweet. We’re especially grateful to have items and photographs that remind us of the love we shared with them and to be able to celebrate with our siblings.

Anne reflects…

Just hearing Johnny Mathis singing O Holy Night, one of my mom’s favorites during the holiday season can bring tears to my eyes as a flood of memories from Christmas’s past swirl around in my head. I often find myself avoiding listening to Christmas carols until well into December lest melancholy hit too often, because it is such a fun & festive season. Simply getting to spend some much needed downtime with family is sweeter than any material gift I could receive. While I wish our parents could be with us physically to watch their grandson’s face (our nephew) light up when Santa brings him something he wished for, I know they are indeed with us. Keeping them in our hearts and minds during the holidays is important to us and one way we do that is with our Christmas tree ornaments.

From before I was born, when my parents were first married, to the early 90’s when my father passed away, my Mom hand made a Christmas tree ornament each December, often over a hundred, to give to family and friends along with our card. A different ornament every year. To say people looked forward to seeing what she came up with and their excitement when receiving it would be an understatement. The time, love, and care she put into them let all the recipients know just how much she loved and cared for them. While I don’t think I inherited the crafty, DIY gene from her, I definitely inherited the obsession of putting together something important for our family, friends and colleagues–hence our holiday cards, but more on those later.

Some of our favorite ornaments that make our tree every year….

These were some snowflake photo ornaments we found at Pottery Barn several yeas ago. Love them and wish we had gotten more. We have more photos we need to add!

snowflake photos

Our two kitties who are no longer with us, but are definitely not forgotten.


Anne at 5 years old with the ornament (complete with glitter and lace) that she made in kindergarten.

anne at 5

Gotta get some A&B love on there, of course!


Do lawyers put ornaments of briefs and summons on their holiday trees? Well….

felt camera


Ornament Anne gave to Bill our first Christmas as Mr. & Mrs. in 2001.

first christmas

Photo from our first ski trip together. Back in the late 90’s. Whoa.

first ski trip

Ceramic ornament from Paloma’s Nest commemorating our marriage in New Orleans

new orleans wedding

…one of our favorite cities and where we bought this Fleur de Lis wooden ornament on a return trip a few years ago.

fleur de lis

And some of Anne’s Mom’s ornaments…gingerbread house (S is for Stitt!) with a door and windows that open to reveal…


…our holiday greeting and photos of Anne and her brother Andy from that year. Love seeing my Mom’s handwriting.

gingerbread house     mom's 1 mom's 2

mom's santa

And since 2014 was apparently the year for selfies (does anyone else pretty much loathe that word, btw?)….


Our little Charlie Brown tree.

christmas tree


And a few of our other holiday decorations because, well, why not?


mirror greenery

snowflake snowflakes

These sweet little carolers have lights that blink on and off. It was one of my Mom’s favorite decorations and it came out every year. The caroler’s light on the right burned out years ago, but the other two are still keeping it going. Apparently you can’t change them so when those go, it’ll be a sad day, but for now they make us smile and who doesn’t need some carolers on their bar cart? So far they haven’t snuck any of the tequila, but we’re keeping a close eye on them.


Can we just say how much we love getting cards from friends and clients that have our photos on them? Love this, Joe & Rick!

holiday card j and r

For those of you that celebrate Christmas, we’d love to see some of the favorite ornaments on your tree!

Whatever holiday you happen to celebrate this season, we hope it’s with those you love the most. As for our wedding couples, our family and our friends — we love and cherish you all and are so happy to have you in our lives. You make them so much richer.


The Road to Family – Colorado to Utah

The Road to Family – Colorado to Utah

If your travels haven’t yet taken you along I-70 between Denver and Salt Lake City, add it to your bucket list. Second only to Highway 1 along the California-Oregon coast, it’s one of the most scenic stretches of interstate you’re likely to find. It’s a good thing too, since we find ourselves traversing it a handful of times a year when we road trip to visit family in Utah. In fact, as you read this, we’re already there, celebrating Thanksgiving with them.

On one of our road trips late this Summer we not only brought a camera along and actually took our time getting there instead of motoring through the normally nine hour drive each way. Instead of ooohhing and ahhhing over the scenery as it passed by at 80mph (speed limit is crazy high out here, y’all), we stopped often along our route taking photos of anything that caught our eye. A lot caught our eye apparently as it was super hard to narrow down our favorites to just a few for this journal post. We had beautiful weather there and back though so it made it easy to not only pull off, but often turn around at the next exit so we could investigate a possible scene more closely.


All of the following photos were taken along the side of the I-70 or Rt.6, just off an exit, at one of the few rest stops along the way or within a 3 minute drive of the highway. The landscape changes from wild flowers and the sharp flatirons of Boulder, to canyons past Golden, to driving alongside the Colorado River and looking in envy at the river rafters enjoying a Thursday afternoon adventure. Around Grand Lake and Vail pass upwards of 10,000 ft, we often find snowcapped peaks and frosted evergreens, even in early Summer. Soon the red rocks of Grand Junction open up to a vast, almost desert-like plain and we find ourselves passing abandoned gas stations, motels and cowboys selling “real good” buffalo, elk, and even rattlesnake jerky out of their campers. We’ll take his word for the real good snake jerky, but Bill can attest that the Elk is quite tasty. To Anne’s delight, this is the longest straight stretch of road along the trip so she can finally pull out the magazines! Passing the animal skeletons and unforgiving sandy, rock cliffs of Price Canyon, we start climbing again to cross the Wasatch mountain range. The lush green hills of the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest peppered with Star War’s looking windmills then welcome us into Southern Utah and soon very soon we’re back in “civilization”.

Needless to say, we’ll always make sure we’re taking our camera along with us from now on. We look forward to capturing the gorgeous yellow Aspens along the way in Fall, as well as hope to see the elusive Big Horned Sheep, the snow drifts reaching many, many feet along side of the road in the Winter and the gorgeous wildflowers of Spring. While it definitely lengthens the trip, we’d love to capture some of the crazy storms we encounter as the weather in that stretch can go from 26 degrees to 70 in a matter of hours. We’ve learned to dress in layers!

We hope this Thanksgiving finds you celebrating with family and friends and whether or not you hiked, drove, flew, or Amtrak’d, we hope you’ll be able to enjoy the journey as much as the destination. On turkey day we’ll be raising a glass to all of you, clients, family, and friends as we’re so thankful for your love, support and friendship even if we don’t get to celebrate with you in person. We are so incredibly lucky to get to follow our passions wherever they take us and we don’t take that for granted for one second. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours and we’ll see you back here next week as we celebrate M&S’s lovely DC wedding.

As always, several of these photographs are available as fine art prints and as know with Thanksgiving here, the holidays are just around the corner. Just let us know if you see anything you like!










This little chapel outside Palisades is visible from the road and though it’s hard to tell from this, appears to stand only about 5 feet tall?!














Guess horses enjoy the wind in their face just like dogs!





Anne’s brother, his wife and their two adorable little boys. We are incredibly thankful to be so close to them.


Mohawk day at school. Definitely didn’t have fun stuff like that at our elementary schools!



An Afternoon on Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park

An Afternoon on Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park

We waited a bit too long last Fall to head to Rocky Mountain National Park, more or less in our backyard given it’s only an hour away. Trail Ridge Road, the famous north-south scenic route connecting the park’s two main entrances, is closed in wintertime as snowplows just can’t compete with Mother Nature. And remember it’s Colorado, so winter starts early here, especially in the upper elevations, and RMNP counts, with parts higher than 12,000 feet above sea level (we’re a mere 5,360 feet here in Boulder).

So we didn’t want to waste another opportunity this season, and still hope to return for some more extensive hiking, but really enjoyed what we did do on this trip. Of course took a camera with a single 24mm lens to document some of the beauty we saw along the way. Have you been here? Let us know of your favorite spots and hikes on our Facebook page or via Twitter or Instagram.

As we’ve done with some of our other travel photography, some of these images are available as limited fine art prints, which make a great gift for a travel- or nature-loving friend or family member, or even for yourself. You know that bare spot above the chair in your family room? There’s something here that might fit the bill. Enjoy!


This elk and others ended up closing the road for about 20 minutes while they decided whether or not to cross.














In the background is Long’s Peak, the nearest Fourteener to us in Boulder.



Bobby’s Day in the Life

Bobby’s Day in the Life

Since we spend so much of our time with our wedding clients, it’s not often we get a chance to do something we both equally love–Day in the Life sessions. The energy little kids exude, like our nephew Bobby, is at once exhausting and completely infectious.

So in honor of his little brother, Samuel being born yesterday (yea!!!), we figured it was high time that we posted a few of our favorite photos from the session we did with Bobby when we visited over the holidays. Since Bobby was off from school and his Mom was off from work, but Dad was not, it wasn’t a true typical day in life, but most definitely close enough. We documented his activities throughout the day, from breakfast to waking up dad (turns out it’s a favorite activity), to having friends over, playing games & tickle time with Mom, more playing and reading with grandma, grandpa, Uncle Russ, some timeout time and of course bath time, reading with mom and dad, and finally, bedtime. Whew. He may have not been ready for bed, but we sure were!

If you’d like to have a Day in the Life session with your family, let us know. While we don’t “advertise” them, we love doing them and they are such a wonderful keepsake of a unique and special time in your life. (In this case, it was the final months of Bobby being an only child and the last time they would be photographed as a family of three!) What makes your family unique? Capturing family traditions and all the little things that make up a typical day in your family that can easily be forgotten. We personally would love to have had one of our days with our parents captured like this. So much for meaningful than a simple portrait snapshot that can’t really capture who and what makes your family your family.





























Nederland Frozen Dead Guy Days

Nederland Frozen Dead Guy Days

Cities live and die by their culture, and Nederland, a small mountain town close to Boulder, is no exception. Over a decade ago, the town, in a light-hearted homage to a respected elderly resident now entombed in 1600 lbs/yr of dry ice, started Ned Frozen Dead Guy Days.  Complete with a hearse parade,  polar plunge, casket races, and frozen turkey bowling, among other activities–signals, sometimes with the merest hint–of Spring’s arrival. Since it snowed heavily the day before, we’re asserting Spring’s still a little slumberous as there was plenty of snow (thankfully more snow than mud, as it’s been in years past).

















A side note about these snowballs (above). I managed, without press credentials, to get into an area where I could get better shots of the race. People had been throwing a few snowballs back and forth all morning and a couple of people threw some that landed close to me. I held up my arms, hands about two feet apart and in the direction of the throwers, to illustrate maybe they should work on their aim.

Then the deluge happened. The crowd, previously somewhat bored with waiting for the next event, all joined in the heretofore meager accuracy effort. For a few minutes, I became the target of thankfully mostly similarly inaccurate snowball throwers. I taunted the crowd just enough, and of course took photos of the incoming snowballs. I got hit a mere four times and after a spell, stood and threw my arms up in surrender to the crowd’s cheers. The organizers had added an event without even planning it, the Throw-Snowballs-at-the-Photojournalist. I’m sure they’ll find another stringer next year and make it official.







Often a casket carrier would slip and fall and try desperately to catch up with his or her team. They’d sometimes be hindered by an opposing team member as above, becoming nearly naked in the process.




Best coffin of the race (above). I love that the rider wore a gas mask.







The pink socks, a group of engineering students at CU, have become known for their winning ways, grabbing the trophy again this year.

This was our first year attending, and thanks to our friends Kelly & Mike for the ride and tips. It was gobs of awesomeness. We’ll be back.

Boulder Winter Wonderland

Boulder Winter Wonderland

One of the best parts of Boulder living is nearby trails. Here are a few shots taken a couple of days following a heavy and wet snowfall. To say it was stunningly gorgeous at Red Rocks, a short walk from where we live, is an understatement. This, boys and girls, is what winter’s supposed to be.