Monthly Archives: March 2010

April & Ryan let their bellies hang out.

When I started taking pictures, one thing I never even thought about was how deep it would take me into people’s lives!  There are only so many “jobs” (if you can call the fun we have work!) that allow you to watch families begin, bond, and grow… and we’re lucky enough to have one of those jobs!

It’s so fun to meet a couple before their married and start taking pictures of them all the way from their engagement, to their marriage, into their pregnancy, and the birth of their babies… as well as everything after that!  That’s the track we’re on with April & Ryan and family!  We met them after they were already married so we missed the first part, but we’ve been along for the ride since before their first child was born and now we’re on to their second child!

We first took photos for April & Ryan when they were preparing to have their first baby.

The next time was when they wanted to show off their newborn, Emily, to the world!

We then visited Emily again when she was 6 months old…

… and again at her first birthday party!

Now April & Ryan have their second child, Callie and… yep, you guessed it… we took pictures of baby Callie as well!

I call this little series “The many faces of Callie”…

Of course not to be out done by her little sister, Emily has many faces as well!

But these I think this is by far my favorite face…

The ” meltdown recovery” faces are pretty good too though!

These crying pics were actually inspired by a lady I used to babysit for who had GIANT, super close up pics of all 3 of her kids crying when they were little, all framed in a row on her wall.  I thought it was pretty fun and definitely unique!  As much as you hate those faces while they’re actually happening, I’m assuming that there’s some sense of nostalgia when you see a photo of it once the kids are older.  Ever heard that cheesy country song “You’re Gonna Miss This“?  That stupid song makes me cry every time, despite my stubborn refusal to cave to country sappiness!  Anyways, I’m not a parent, but I’m assuming it’s kind of like that.  If I really wanted to mess with your heads I would tell you to start over in this blog and listen to that song while you look at the rest of these photos… by the 3rd photo you’d be crying that ugly, gross, snotty kind of cry!  Ha ha!

Are you all done crying now?  Mascara wiped up?  OK good, now we’ll move onto some fun pictures so you have a chance to recover before going back to your own life again!

My recent photo inspirations lately have all had to do with allowing “imperfection”.  I’ve noticed more and more public, professional photos that are out of focus, showing people’s wrinkles, are grainy, etc., etc.  And I LOVE them!  I think it makes you think “wow, that picture has mistakes… there must be something really special about what it’s capturing for them to allow that one in”. So I’ve been trying to work my way towards accepting that it’s OK for people to know I make mistakes and focusing more on capturing emotion than on being a perfect, technical photographer.

(They make lens hoods that are designed to prevent sun flares from sneaking in, but I think the trend towards allowing them in now shows people’s desire for pictures to actually represent reality again!)

(People have stopped being impressed by how perfect you can make a photoshopped picture look.  Now they want things that look REAL!  I think that’s why the trend has moved towards old and worn looking photos where you actually add in grain and imperfections!)

I believe that truth and beauty go hand in hand and I REALLY value honesty, so I’m holding my breathe and including the photo on the left!  I totally missed focus (unless you count the 3 bubbles that are actually in focus!) but I am in love with what the picture is communicating.  So it’s a keeper, and now you all know that I’m not perfect. I’m flawed and I’m not a magic photographer… just a normal one who makes mistakes.

(I’ll admit right now that all the cool coloring in this photo only happened because the original coloring was pretty bad.  It was definitely a flawed picture that I chose to make look great even though it wasn’t. Sorry Scottie, I hope you’re OK that I’ve decided to tell the world that you’re not perfect either since this is your shot!).

It’s like when Lauryn Hill talks about how we all need to exhale and let our bellies hang out so we can walk around looking at one another and say “oh you have one too!?” and feel free! By the way if you haven’t heard this, listen to it NOW (I’ll wait to continue until you get back) it’s super freeing and inspirational (she rambles a lot but keep listening, there’s good stuff in it)!  The entire CD is the same way actually… just pure genuine, reality which is a big deal coming from Ms. Diva and she took a lot of crap for saying this stuff… so go buy it and support people who are done being slaves to their perfect image!  I know you guys can handle her rambling because you sure do a great job following mine!  Ha ha!  Now back to the topic at hand!

(Random topic transition photo!)

I love the idea of talking about genuineness (wow, spell check says that’s a real word!) in a blog about family.  In our culture, “family picture day” typically means wearing clothes you never wear in real life, making sure the only emotion you capture is happiness, and working your butt off to get your kids to behave in a way that will enhance the perfect image you’re going for in these pictures.  It’s ridiculous!  The definition for family should (in my opinion) always include intimacy and intimacy means emotion, whether it’s messy or clean emotion.

(I’m not sure what emotion this is, but I think it falls in the messy category).

(And I’d say this is one of the clean ones).

Intimacy also means going through a variety of experiences together.

And sitting and smiling in front of a camera shows such a small sliver of what life is really like for a family.

We want to communicate who a family really is… which for every family means imperfection.

(Sometimes being a family means getting bubbles in your eyes).

And that’s why we’re so thankful to April & Ryan for letting us take pictures of their child crying!  Thank you for being humble enough to allow us to tell the true story of your family.

I know our blog readers and facebook fans appreciate it too!  No one connects with fake families, that’s why everyone throws away the pictures that come in frames when you buy them!  People love seeing families that look like their own and remind them of what’s really important in life.

So thank you April & Ryan for taking us with you through all the major events in your life and allowing us to share these special moments in your world with all the friends of Radiant who value human emotion and real life.  You’ve blessed us all immensely by letting us observe your beautiful family changing and growing together! Click to see the rest of the photos from this family photo session!

Jon and Erin’s “dead skeleton, roaming cow, mariachi fun, beating heart” wedding!

The first time Jon and Erin flew down from Oregon and met with us about possibly using Radiant for their wedding photography, we totally forgot that we were in a meeting!  There we were sitting on the porch at Starbucks enjoying the sun (since Erin craves the rays while living in the cloudy northwest!), sipping our lattes and hanging out.  Oh wait, what?  We’re supposed to be talking about business?!  We were friends with them from the start!

We always blabber on about how important relationships with our couples are and how much that affects the quality of their wedding photos, so not to bore you with that again… but really it is so true and this wedding is a great example of that!

We decided to not let the distance between Oregon and Arizona force us to act distant with each other!  When you connect with people that quickly, you’d have to try hard to NOT let that connection show through in the many phone calls and emails that were sent back and forth as we planned for their big day!

I can’t believe I’ve gotten this far in the blog and haven’t even mentioned where their wedding was at!  Ever heard of Tubac, AZ?  Yeah, me neither.  But it’s there!

Down South near Nogales, there’s  little strip of town called Tubac and while it doesn’t seem like much initially, just wait until you go down into the valley near the river… that’s quite a beautiful, pleasant little surprise!

Tubac Golf Resort is down in that area and oh WOW, we were stunned when we arrived there (not just because they had cows hanging out all over the place either)!

We felt really bad for all these people who flew down expecting a sunny southwest wedding because it was an unusually cold and rainy day!

We always tell our brides not to be too upset if it rains on their wedding day because as long as it stops long enough for us to run outside for photos, those are the days when the sky is the most spectacular!

Jon and Erin’s goal was to spend as much time with their guests as possibly since everyone flew in from all over the United States (I think we figured out that Alaska was the farthest location that people came from).  So to make the flow of their day go a little smoother and allow them the maximum amount of time with their loved ones, Jon and Erin chose to do a “reveal moment”.

When we describe a reveal moment to most brides, the immediate reaction we often receive is a mix of horror and confusion.  After all, when most little girls dream of their wedding they imagine walking down the aisle with a veil shielding their face and having their fiance see them for the first time when he lifts the veil in front of everyone.  While we never push anyone to break that tradition if it is very important to them, we do educate couples about the value of doing the “reveal moment”.  First of all it’s not like you are just going to casually pass each other throughout the day, hi-fiving as you cross paths!  We still keep the bride hidden until the right time, the only difference is that the right time is a private one instead of a public one.  We bring the bride up behind the groom…

…and then we capture shots from afar as he turns around and sees his beautiful bride for the first time.

The biggest benefit to doing it this way is that they actually get a few minutes alone on their wedding day. The rest of the day is a whirlwind and they’re surrounded by people the entire time.  This way they get the privacy to laugh, cry, kiss…

…and in Jon and Erin’s case, pray.

After they see each other, couples tend to relax and feel more ready to face the many things that they were previously nervous or worried about.  We think reveal moments are some of the best moments of wedding days!  As you can see, I think Jon and Erin might agree with that.:-)

(There are more photos of this beautiful moment if you click here to see the rest of the photos from the wedding).

Tubac Golf Resort turned out to be the perfect location for this wedding (despite the rain)!

Jon and Erin decided to play up the whole Southwestern desert feel, but in a way very different than I’m used to… and trust me, being an Arizona native, I am definitely used to the typical Southwestern themes!  Jon and Erin played up the Hispanic aspect of some of it and it was PERFECT!  For one thing, they got married in an old Mission style church that was on the property of Tubac Golf Resort…

… and it was beautiful!

I have to say that my favorite unique Southwestern style thing that they added in was the Mariachi band! They were AMAZING!  And Jon and Erin, I have to admit, I was a little skeptical about this when you first told us that you were walking down the aisle to Mariachi music!  But I will eat my words several times over because it was freaking awesome!  The high energy feel that the band brought to the wedding was incredible!  In all my weddings, I’ve truley never seen a better recessional!

Jon and Erin ran out of the church and the band threw their hands in the air yelling and cheering and then burst into a loud, boisterous celebration with super fun music to accompany it!

Then the band led a little parade of the guests over the reception area where they played throughout the cocktail hour while guests mingled and maintained the high energy feel of celebration until we got over there (which was hardly any time thanks to that reveal moment we had early that let us get pics out of the way before the ceremony).

I was seriously laughing out loud this whole time because I just couldn’t help it, it was so so fun and it felt like such a great party (or Fiesta I guess I should say).  Great choice on that one guys! (By the way, the band’s name is Mariachi Plata out of Nogales if anyone is interested!)

Another cool Southwest aspect they did that I didn’t quite catch the vision for until I saw it with my own eyes was their decision to play up the whole dead skeleton thing, Dia De Los Muertos style.

I can say with confidence that I’ve definitely never seen a wedding with skeletons used as decorations!  But the whole thing was done with such class and such unique style that they not only pulled it off but made it elegant and incredibly memorable.

(The skeletons along with mini versions of their dogs were the cake toppers and the Beer Can Chicken were the favors for all their guests to take home).

When I heard they were highlighting the old west theme I was thinking Kokopellis, purple coyotes, and turquoise bolo ties, but that was not the feel at all.  They focused more on the worn wood look with a rustic, old (or dead in the case of the skeletons) vintage feel that carried throughout the wedding.

It all looked unbelievable and I was totally impressed! Some of their family members had even made pieces of leather with their wedding logo burned into it.

The logo was a heart (like a REAL heart, not the valentine’s one) because Jon is a cardiologist and Erin’s a nurse (they met at the hospital).

(The seal used on the programs even had the heart shape embedded into it).

There were so many special, little personalized details that I can’t even begin to mention them all! There is one more that I thought was particularly awesome (and thoughtful) and that is that Jon and Erin love cooking together…

(which is why Erin gave her bridesmaids super cute aprons as gifts!)

…and they both enjoy Druid’s Fluid wine, from the Troon Winery in the Applegate Valley of southern Oregon.  It’s quite a long story, but as Jon and Erin were falling in love, this wine was present for many special occasions, so they wanted to include it in this one as well!  They brought enough of it special to share with all of their guests! Also due to their love of cooking, they asked guests to bring bottles of their favorite wines in lieu of gifts as well as their favorite recipes that Jon and Erin were going to make into a journal to keep and use for years to come.  As I said, everything had such a personal touch and it all reflected their personalities as well as their relationships with all their loved ones.

By the way, their family and friends were SO cool!  You could tell that this wedding meant almost as much to them as it did to Jon and Erin themselves! You could see little touches all over the place that totally showed the time, energy, and love that their family and friends poured into celebrating this wedding.

(We’ll post some of these pictures on our Facebook page so if you fan us, you can tag yourselves in the photos so they’ll show up on your profiles!)

It was beautiful in every way.

I mentioned earlier that Jon and Erin really wanted to kick back and have a blast with their loved ones who flew in from all over to be with them.  I’m sure you can tell from these pictures that it was a great party and they were totally successful in that!

Jon and Erin,  I’m getting all emotional just trying to even think of how to put in words our thanks for you allowing us to be a part of a wedding that you put your hearts into so much.

I know every little thing in your wedding meant something very meaningful to you both, including the photography, so to say that we are honored that you chose us, is a huge understatement.  Your wedding meant a lot to us and we will always remember it, more as one of our friends weddings that we were able to attend than as a “job”.  Thank you so much for bringing us into your lives the way you did and for being such open, caring people who so obviously spread love to everyone you meet.  We are privileged to be recipients of that love and kindness that not only you shared, but also your family and friends.  So thanks to everyone who was a part of this wedding and who welcomed us to be involved with it as well.  Congratulations to you both!

Click to see the rest of Jon and Erin’s Tubac, AZ wedding photos!  Click to fan our Facebook page so you can tag yourselves in the photos!

Seeing Light: a Radiant Photography Class

We finally have a good answer to that ever so popular question, “Do you guys offer photography classes?” Well I think we at least have a better answer than our old one which was, “uh, um, I…. maybe?  Eventually, I think….. hmm” (Some people call that stuttering, we call it being so busy that we don’t even have enough time to formulate complete sentences!).  Now the answer to that question is a resounding “YES!!!!” Oh wait I mean, “Yes, we are offering photography classes” (I just wanted to show that I can in fact answer in complete sentences now!).

It’s official… we finally pulled everything together and out came the details for our photography class!  That’s right, Scottie and Breanna Chanson from Radiant Photography are now both photographers and teachers (does this mean we get summers off? Or at least a teachers lounge that’s always stocked with cookies?)! So here is the official word you’ve all been waiting for…

What it’s all about…

Learning to see light the way your camera does will completely change the way you approach photography and we want to teach you how to do that!  This class will give you the chance to learn how to manipulate various lighting situations to your advantage, have a Q&A time with Scottie & Breanna from Radiant, and to meet other photographers who can continue to encourage you as you learn.

The Need to knows…

  • Sunday, March 28th from 3-6pm at SOLA Coffee Bar (7124 E 5th Avenue Scottsdale, AZ, 85251). And just so you know, Sola is really hard to find!  You have to look on the actual glass on the door, they don’t have a sign above the building like most of the other places in Oldtown Scottsdale do. So leave early and be prepared to use your eagle eyes!;-)
  • $35 a person.  You can pay by check or cash at the door.  The cost includes a drink of your choice and a pastry from Sola!
  • Bring. Your camera, a notebook/pen, and happiness.
  • RSVP by March 25th. Just reply to this email.
  • Questions or lost? Call 480-284-5973.
  • Who’s invited? Anyone with a basic knowledge of their own camera that allows manual control of aperture & shutter (preferably a digital SLR).


We hope to see you all there!!!!  I know people always say that, but we mean it!;-)

Linzie and Chris get married at a beautiful place on a beautiful day!

By now you probably all know that one of my weaknesses is my inability to condense anything I’m trying to say.  Write a 10 page essay?  Sure no problem!  Summarize my thoughts into a single paragraph? Forget it.  However, I’m going to attempt to be short and sweet on my words with this blog (you’ll know by the end if I succeed or not).  The reason being that as I was processing these photos, I realized how much they speak for themselves.  I decided that all I needed to do was to comment on each photo (like I do for all the wedding photos that we post on Facebook… become a fan if you want to see whenever we post new weddings) to sort of fill in the gaps and let the pictures do their own talking, rather than rambling on and on. The photos from this wedding are very moving and I wanted to have just enough words to add to them without distracting from them.  Ha ha, I think I’ve already failed, so we’ll see how this goes! This is Linzie and Chris.  A freaking beautiful couple, don’t you think!?


These are Chris and Linzie’s friends.

I love how this picture is a little bit sloppy with the motion blur and the barrage of sun flare.  I think it makes it feel a lot like it really was with everyone smashed, bumping into each other, and just having fun with a little bit of chaos.  A very put together photo just wouldn’t have done for this.:-)

And let me just say what awesome friends they are!  These were some of the most helpful bridesmaids I’ve ever seen!  They helped with everything from planning… (we shot a wedding for one of the bridesmaid’s sister so she was kind of enough to tell Linzie about us, thanks Daryl!) …to etiquette (telling Linzie what things were appropriate and were not appropriate, which is a great thing to have advice on!)

Look at all the help she had putting her dress on!

They were helpful even to each other!

They also did a great job relaxing her whenever her nerves were about to get the best of her!

I’m sure the groomsmen did a lot more than just stand around looking cool, but I was with them pretty much just long enough to take this picture that Scottie set up for me, so I can’t really attest to that as much!

But I think that a groomsman’s main job is just to look cool anyways, so I’d say they fulfilled their duties well!

I do think that Chris went above and beyond the normal duties of a groom because he took care of all the flowers!  He has a “go to” lady that has been there for him throughout his entire relationship with Linzie and has provided beautiful flowers for all their major moments, so of course she was there to help out with this big event!

And she did a FANTASTIC job, the flowers were amazing and she worked extra hard to create special designs that reflected the uniqueness of this couple… and her hard worked paid off! Everything from the bouquets and boutonnieres, to the flowers in the aisle and on the cake was perfect!

Call Linda Beeckman in the floral department at AJ’s Fine Foods on Val Vista and Baseline the next time you need flowers for anything!

The flowers weren’t the only thing about this wedding that were beautiful… check out this location.  Three cheers for Ocotillo Golf Resort!

In case you’re wondering… yes, that is a horse drawn carriage!  Linzie rode in with her dad…

… and out with her new husband!

You would think the carriage rides would be the highlight of the wedding, but everything in between rivaled it pretty well!

Sorry carriage ride, but you can’t beat a wedding where you get to witness such genuine emotion between the couple.  This is the stuff I love about weddings.

I hope you’re not too embarrassed by the picture on the left Chris, I totally love it so I had to include it!  Ha ha.

We’ve decided that it’s shots like these that are the reason God made Scottie so tall.

How many times am I allowed to say how good these two look together?  If I haven’t met my quota then insert that comment “HERE”.

This picture makes my smile appear and my eyes water at the same time.  I can’t even tell you how much I love seeing a bride THIS happy on her wedding day.

And when you realize that the groom is equally as happy, then it’s even better!

And Chris, I’m sure you know that it’s a HUGE compliment to say that you are as good looking as this beauty here!:-)

What did I tell you about Ocotillo Golf Resort?

This is what I call the “stunning” section of the blog.

Scottie and I had a little competition over this photo.  He took it from his angle with his vision and I did the same from my own perspective.  Well, lets just say this is mine and I won’t include Scottie’s because I don’t want to embarrass him.;-)

I loved how this family wasn’t afraid to express their real emotions during these dances.

I was told that grandpa was a tough guy, but even he let a little emotion slip out. Sorry if we ruined your image by capturing you in the “Monkey suit” with this softy look on your face.  But it’s beautiful.

Scottie and I agree that this photo of the father- daughter dance is one of our very favorite photos we’ve ever taken (and by the way he took it, so 1 point for Scottie there).  Let me start by saying that her dress is fine, his hands aren’t dirty, they’re just stained from his line of work.  The reason I love this so much is because it’s so symbolic.  It says so much about how hard he’s worked in his life and these are the moments in his life where it’s payed off as he dances with his wonderful daughter at her beautiful wedding. Plus as he gently puts his rough hands around his daughter in her elegant dress, it shows that he’s worked hard to provide for his family’s physical needs, but that he also cares for them deeply and provides for their emotional needs as well.  One of Scottie’s goals in life is to have “manly hands” like these one day (hopefully he’ll get more than just arthritis in the finger he uses to snap pictures with).

Well I don’t want to make it too serious here because there was also a great party going on all around us that night!

See, I told you it was a fun party!  Click to see and buy the rest of the photos from the Radiant Photobooth here.  And if you want free photobooth pictures on your Facebook page, just fan the Radiant Photography Facebook page, find the photo album called “Linzie & Chris’ Photobooth” and tag yourself in the photos!

Pheww!!  I made it with the short comments!  Now, I’m going to talk as much as I want!!

Thank you Linzie and Chris for being such great people to work with!  And thanks to Linzie’s parents who we spent a lot of time with before the wedding and who worked to make this occasion special even for their measly little photographers! :-)  Every time we met with this family we spent way more time talking and laughing with them than we did going over business stuff… and that’s our favorite kind of meeting.  The first time we met them, Scottie and I both turned to each other and said, “I really want them to book us!”  simply because they were one of the most fun families we’ve ever met!  We love how well they all get along and how Linzie’s parents are involved enough in her life to not only be close to Chris (it helps that he works with her parents of course), but also close with all Linzie’s friends.  Check out the rest of the photos from the wedding to see some great ones of Linzie’s mom hanging out and laughing with all her bridesmaids!  We loved getting an up close view of a family who is so committed to one another and who genuinely enjoying hanging out together!  Thanks for letting us into your world, we take your trust as a HUGE compliment!:-)

We’re looking forward to working with this family even more as we get ready to do a “Unique Session” with Linzie and Chris pretty soon!  If you don’t know what that is, click here.  Keep a look out on our blog for that one because it’s going to be a great session (and if you’re Facebook fans of Radiant, you’ll get notified when those pics go up)!

Click to see the rest of the photos from Chris and Linzie’s fantastic, fun, and beautiful Arizona wedding!



Birthday Blisters, Chiweenies, and so on… our life.

As much as we want to let everyone in our personal lives a little, that doesn’t really happen very often during our busy season… mostly because we don’t really have personal lives during our busy season! Ha!  But low and behold, we actually do take time off on major holidays and special occasions, if you don’t count our momentary lapses when we sneak a peek at our email and such.  That said, Scottie and I both recently celebrated our birthdays and we actually did some fun things to celebrate!  Scottie (celebrating his 33rd birthday) had a bonfire… or rather a small fire in a fire pit in my parents backyard, along with the type of party that has a “bonfire feel” to it.  In other words it was an awesome, chill party with all our close family and friends sitting around a campfire telling stories and laughing.  Awesome.   I got to make a special Scottie-esque playlist for it (which means lots of Incubus, Gary Jules, Led Zepplin, and Muse), so it felt like my birthday too.

Unfortunately one weakness that we’re trying to improve on is that we have a tendency to neglect taking pictures of our life.  Ridiculous right?  We spend so much time hiding behind the camera that we have a hard time pulling one out when we’re trying to participate in life and enjoy ourselves.  We’re trying to get past the idea that our pictures from these fun times in our lives have to be good enough that someone would actually pay for them.  They don’t have to be good, they just have to be US and we’re so used to pushing ourselves and viewing photography as an art to create and perfect, that it’s really hard for us to just take a deep breath and chill out!  We’re getting used to the idea of just having an easy to use camera handy (even if it’s just an iphone and not an expensive contraption with multiple lenses and settings) and pulling it out for a 2 second shot (not one that takes 2 min. to figure out) whenever we want to capture a moment in our life whether or not the lighting is perfect or the background is beautiful.  We just need to do it and love the memories we get!  And honestly, it’s this lack of photos that keeps us from blogging about our lives much as well, we don’t have pictures of our life to include in these blogs!!

So here is my 1 picture from the party that I took with my little point and shoot camera.

That’s the birthday boy and that’s our dog Jasmine trying to stay warm and showing off her bat ears at the same time.  She definitely has some chihuahua in her and we suspect a little weenie dog to be hiding out in her as well.  Or at least we hope there’s weener dog in her because then we can call her a chiweenie or my personal favorite a weenie-wa-wa (take a moment to say it out loud because it’s really funny)!  This is the same dog who is at this moment insisting on laying on top of my arm while I try to type.  The computer is her arch nemesis because we spend so much time on it she thinks we love it more than her. Since I’ve spent so much time talking about her, here’s an iphone pic of me with her (and somehow our messy house snuck itself into the back ground on this one… sneaky house mess).

By the way some of our favorite nicknames for little Jasmine is Snoop Doggy Dog, Jazzercise, Jazmanian Devil, and DJ Jazzy Jeff… Scottie’s the brains behind that cleverness.

After realizing that we only have 1 photo of Scottie’s once in a lifetime shot of turning 33, we made it a priority to take a camera along on my birthday and to actually use it!  We got some great shots that I LOVE!

(Aww, Breanna and Scottie!)

While they may not all make it into a photography magazine or win any awards for their artistic perfection, they capture the night perfectly and that’s all I wanted!

(This is me by the way, Breanna.)

(Now every time you see the word “me” on this blog, you know who I’m talking about!)

So here was the scene for the night.  We called up 4 different couples to come along for the night and help me “celebrate” turning 27 (sorry if you didn’t get invited, we had to keep it small if this plan was going to work).

We all got dressed up cocktail style attire and hopped on the light rail.  We rode it around downtown Phoenix, making different stops along the way for different courses of our meal.

I wasn’t sure if it was going to work out right, but it went PERFECTLY!  And it was one of the best birthdays I’ve ever had, rivaled only by my hot pink and black themed, “Ugly sweater and sangria birthday party” a couple of years ago.  Oh yeah, my costume slumber parties when I was little were pretty rocking too.  So this one was in the top 3 at least!

We started out the night at a swanky little place called the District to hit them up just in time for Happy Hour.  While the atmosphere was perfect, the service, not so much.  It definitely seemed like one of those nights where a couple of people didn’t show up for work and everyone else was very pissed about it!  It didn’t matter though because we were having a great time with great friends in a place that was way too cool for us and we liked the place enough that we’ll give it a second chance one day.

(This isn’t actually at the District, but you should click the link to see how cool it is there!  It was really dim inside the first two places and we totally would’ve disturbed people around us if we’d taken pictures, so we didn’t).

After that, we were still pretty starving since it took so long to get the first round we ordered that we gave up on getting anything else there, so we hopped on the rail to head North towards our dinner destination, Switch. The people who own Switch also own a few other trendy little places around town including Fez and I think Deluxe Burger as well.

( I love how happy Scottie is in this picture!)

They’re all awesome places, and all places that support different non-profit organizations each month (they give you brochures for the organizations with your check)  sounds a lot like Radiant Love to me… it was a perfect place to go!  The food at Switch was amazing!  I looked down the table and I was envious of everyone sitting there because I wished I had the same food on my plate that every person around me had, it all looked so good!  Only, FYI don’t try the drunken italian sodas, my friend Liz had the pomegranate one and I had strawberry, and just “eww”.  Everything else was how I imagine food to be in my dreams!:-)

The walk back to the light rail was a fun one from there, mostly because we were still a ways away from the station when we saw the train headed our way.  In a split second decision someone yelled “RUN!!!!” so we booked it in a single file line despite our fancy dresses, matching stilettos, and uneven brick cobbled sidewalk!

(I SOOO wish I had a picture of the running! In my mind it’s  pretty hilarious picture!)

I’m sure the boys weren’t used to running in dress shoes either, but we all made it safely without even so much as a sprained ankle or a coat stuck in the light rail door!  Of course that adrenaline rush quickly turned us into that loud obnoxious group that flaunts how much fun they’re having when all you want to do is have a nice relaxing ride home after a late shift at work (you know the group I’m talking about!).  Yep, that was us, sorry if any of you were on that train, but we were having as much fun as it looked like!

We finished off our night at The Rose and Crown.  It’s one of my favorite pubs that I always forget to go to.

It’s in an old historic house in Heritage Square downtown.  One of my friends came out from a bathroom trip inside and said “it looks just like a college house party in there!” Because it really is an old house and everyone looks totally comfortable just hanging out and having a good time!  (This is our pathetic attempt at a funny pose).

We sat out on the lawn, late into the night while sipping our drinks, eating our little cheesecake bites that looked like they were straight out of Alice and Wonderland, and laughing until our sides were literally aching.

(I don’t think you can literally “die laughing” because if that was possible, we would’ve keeled over right there!)

It was so perfect, sitting under the stars, listening to all my current favorite songs (The Cure “Just Like Heaven” is my very favorite song in the world right now for some reason) that were drifting out of the bar, while having fantastic conversations with my friends who are as  intelligent as they are hilarious.

(Laughing until I was crying right there!)

It was just one of those nights that I know I’ll think about the next time I have a bad day and wish I was there again.  It couldn’t have been better (I’d say “perfect” but I’ve already way overused that word already).

Thank you to all my friends who braved the dressy clothes, got infected blisters (like I did) from their fancy shoes, pulled muscles laughing (like I did), and trusted me enough to plan such a crazy adventure for them!  Oh and thanks for the cards, the peeps, and the promise of Anthropologie joy!  You guys are all great and you meshed together to make the… dare I say it… “PERFECT” group on the PERFECT night!!  Love you all!