Arizona Wedding-Boudoir-High School Senior-Photographer » I'm Stacy Kokes, and I photograph love...

A beauty that radiates far beyond the exterior. A love that flows from the heart and is made evident in the way they treat one another and those around them. A faith that runs deep in their souls and is made manifest in their actions, speech and interactions.

This is Bianca + Michael. The kind of couple you are honored to be around!

xo, Stacy Kokes

 

sweet as can be

this girl is contagious in the best way possible!

what splendor!

i love their love!

Bianca! You are beyond beautiful.

swooning…

Stay tuned for their wedding images….COMING SOON!!!

 

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It was the car we had our first date in (In n’ Out Burger style!). The car that drove us to our San Diego honeymoon. The car that had to get towed 212 miles on our way home from Vegas after the clutch blew out. The car that has so many memories attached to it.

Joe’s dream car. A 2002 BMW M5. Gray with two-tone red and black leather interior. Sport Package.

I loved that it always had the same sweet leather smell that I can recall from my very first ride. And the way it knocked me back in my seat a little every time we pulled onto the freeway. And how I could hear Joe driving into our neighborhood long before he reached our driveway. I loved the way I felt as he opened my door and I stepped into the passenger seat. My seat.

As I read through The Total Money Makeover earlier this year, I became so inspired by each couple’s testimony but one stuck out to me the most. They were a young couple in their twenties with mountains of debt ($169,000 to be exact!). They attributed it to things like frivolous spending on house stuff and clothes (something I have been guilty of), vacations and the big one….the BMW purchase. I felt the knot well up in my throat as this was hitting a little too close to home. But I read on…

‘We got crazy and sold our rental property, and we paid off the BMW, department-store card, medical bills, and student loan. We were invited to do fun stuff, and to spend money doing it, but we held off. We decided to have a garage sale that ended up looking like an estate sale; we ate ‘creative’ meals, and then I committed what some people would consider the ultimate sin: I sold my wife’s BMW’

I inwardly laughed as I read that line as I, too, could understand how unthinkable this is to a BMW owner. Sell the BMW?! Yea right! But I read on again…

‘We knew that if our family could just make it through these six months, we could ultimately change our family tree. And we did it! We became debt-free except for the house and were named one of the Total Money Makeover finalists. The most important part of this whole process was learning to delay pleasure. It’s like Dave says, “Live like no one else, so later you can live like no one else!”

Wow! Talk about inspirational! $169,000 of debt…gone?! If they can handle that, surely we can tackle our hill. So for the past 6 months, we have been committed to becoming debt-free and are seeing the fruit little by little. And this weekend, we also ‘committed what some people would consider the ultimate sin': we sold the BMW M5! We are now that much closer to being debt-free!

For as much as I will miss things about the BMW, I am excited to ‘live like no one else, so later we can live like no one else!’

Bye, Bye Beamer!! We shall meet again someday :) But next time we’re paying CASH!

It always seemed to put a smile on my face!

Except when I had to watch it being towed behind me :(. And even that makes for a good story!

Bye Bye Beamer, Hello soon-to-be debt-free life!

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When I get tired I get clumsy. Judging by the red bump on my head from banging it into the countertop yesterday, I was very tired.

Joe and I do vacations a little differently than one another (understatement of the century!). Joe prefers the ‘get in, get out’ strategy; late night flight on Thursday, hang out on Friday and Saturday, early morning flight on Sunday morning. I, on the other hand, like to get someplace and stay awhile. At least a week! We also plan our vacations differently. I love to spend hours researching hotels and restaurants until I pick just the right one. I love to create a plan for each day and more or less stick to it. Joe, on the other hand, likes the plan-as-we-go approach. He seems to like it, so I thought we’d give it a try on our most recent trip to Oregon.

While I was a little nervous, I must admit that things did seem to fall into place, despite my lack of planning. For the most part ;). Don’t tell Joe I said this, but I admire his ability to just go with the flow. He doesn’t care if we sleep in a 5 star hotel or in the closet of a motel room, he’s still happy. In fact, the latter was how he spent Thursday night after his friend’s bachelor party. No joke! Even though we had no plans going into the trip, other than a wedding, Joe managed to make last minute plans to see both his parents and made sure we got everywhere we needed to be. I was starting to think that this plan-as-you-go approach wasn’t so bad.

Until we remembered…we were staying 2.5 hours from the airport. We had a 10am flight. Which meant we would have leave by 6:30am. The day after a wedding. And we had no ride arranged. Whoops! The plan-as-you-go approach lead to us booking a 5:30am shuttle from Eugene to Portland, walking 1.3 miles with our luggage in tow from our hotel to the shuttle pick-up location at 5am, changing shuttle vehicles once and finally arriving at the airport with enough time for a quick breakfast with Joe’s mom.

One thing’s for sure; Joe’s way of doing vacations always leads to some sort of memorable adventure. And even though it’s not the way I would ‘plan’ to do it, I gotta love him for the memories his way creates :)

Happy Monday!

On our way to Oregon

Joe’s motel closet sleeping arrangement

At our friend’s wedding (excuse the crappy Iphone quality!)

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Guilty pleasures. We all have them. My most recents include sour cream n’ onion chips, snickers ice cream bars and of course, yogurtland. So much for my summer beach bod. I heard the beached whale look is in this year anyway ;).

I feel I need to bring this to everyone’s attention. Those sign spinners on the street corners…dangerous. I can’t help but stare at their cool moves. Yes, they definitely make a ‘$5 Little Caeser’s pizza’ deal even more appealing (if that’s even possible!), but one of these days I’m totally going to run into the car in front of me. I wonder if there’s a cool sign spinning school they go to. Or maybe a club. Like a secret club. I wonder if they would let me join. Do you think I need to audition first?

I often times use weird words or phrases. Like ‘crazy sauce’ and/or equally ‘awesome sauce’. I shorten jealous to ‘jelly’ and one day I had an epiphany. Somehow my weird words revolve around food. Hmmm I wonder what that says about me!

Speaking of food, I got to have lunch with my amazing friend/hair stylist Jolie today. Side note, all you brides out there…HIRE THIS GIRL! She is legit. F’reals. Jolie is the kind of girl I can keep it real with. We laugh LOUDLY. Our conversations are deep, meaningful and sometimes inappropriate ;). And I love every bit of her!

haha…this made me think of Jolie and I :)

Happy Monday everyone! xo

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Happy Monday my friends! Joe and I just got back from a quick little San Fran/Sonoma anniversary getaway yesterday. We only had two full days to enjoy, so we made the most of it. I’m kind of impressed with how much we were able to accomplish in such little time. Let me walk you through our trip.

We were scheduled to arrive in San Fran on Thursday evening at 9:30 but our flight got delayed 3 hours which didn’t get us into town until almost 1am! We stayed the night at our good friends ADORABLE flat right by Golden Gate Park. We were off to bed by 2am and got a bright n’ early start Friday morning.

We were stoked to get to spend some time with the Anderson fam. Lily and Cole are growing up too fast!

After breakfast, we walked across the street to Golden Gate Park. Lily wanted to show us the cool carousel and other fun parts of the park.

During our stroll, we spotted a turtle sunning itself. I was amazed at all the vegetation right there in the middle of a big city!

The early afternoon was spend playing ‘grocery store’, followed by lunch in the Mission and hat shopping. SO fun!

The rest of the afternoon was spent checking out as many spots as possible; Pac Heights, the Lyon stairs, Fisherman’s Wharf and Chinatown. We even got to see my friend Kelly who just moved to the city. Jackpot!

We stayed at the Galleria Park Hotel right in the heart of Union Square. It was adorable and such a great location! The weird thing was, our room was tucked away in the stairwell. Definitely the most unique location for a hotel room!

Friday night, another former AZ couple met us in the city and we had dinner. We were having so much fun catching up, I forgot to take any photos! Friday was definitely a jam-packed, AMAZING day.

Saturday morning we got up and walked to a cute little breakfast place called The Grove. The ambiance was totally my style and would definitely be my go-to spot if I lived in San Fran. The food was great too!

After we spent some time walking through Union Square, we picked up our rental car and headed to Sonoma. Over the bridge we go!

On our way, we stopped in Petaluma and had lunch at The Wild Goat Bistro. It was fantastic and absolutely adorable!

We arrived at Sonoma Square in the afternoon and did some wine tasting at Envolve Winery (Ben the Bachelor’s winery).

Then we headed to Jacuzzi Winery for more tastings. It was breathtakingly gorgeous!

We spent the rest of the day hanging in Sonoma and headed to bed early. We got up at 6am on Sunday and hit the road back to San Fran.

On our way back to the airport, I accidentally took us on a detour which ended up working in our favor. We had some extra time so we decided to climb the Lyon steps.

Then off to the airport we went and arrived back in AZ yesterday afternoon.

This trip was absolutely wonderful (although a little too short for my liking). I can’t WAIT for our next visit!

Happy Monday! xo, Stacy

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