We have some incredibly talented members of the community in our area, and it never fails to fascinate me. Local Hillsborough author Anna Jean Mayhew (who goes by AJ to friends and family) is one of those talented people. She is 79 years old (these photos were coincidentally taken on her 79th birthday!), and was first published at the age of 71. She’s been writing since her 40s, and also held an incredibly varied career. One of her favorite past jobs was when she managed the opera in Charlotte, but she was also a court reporter where she picked up on an incredible gift she had for dialect. Her job as a court reporter helped shaped a lot of the ways her characters speak in her first book The Dry Grass of August (and I’d say it worked – her book is highly reviewed and rated on Amazon). Kensington, her publisher, offered her a two book deal, and her second book, Tomorrow’s Bread, will be out soon. She is absolutely fascinating. She is kind, outgoing, and has a penchant for wearing lots of jewelry and incredible glasses (her signature). She’s a fan of cats (and was quite accommodating when I needed to reschedule our session due to a sick kitty of our own), and traveling with her Swiss husband who is an expert on author Jules Verne. All of her family seems artistic and talented, and she worn earrings made by her sister, and a sweater and scarf made by another sister. It was a great honor (and a ton of fun) to go around Hillsborough with her, photographer her author headshots, and learn about her life. If I grow up to be half as accomplished and interesting as AJ, I’ll be set.

Meet our dear friend Libby. She is the mastermind behind Libby McGowan Photography, her wedding and portrait photography business that we so love and admire. She is always true to herself, loyal and loving to her clients, and devoted to her work. When she asked us to do promo shoots for her new website and branding that’s on its way, we were so excited. It’s always an honor to work for other photographers, but Libby is also a good friend/photogratherpist of mine and we always have the best time when we get together (which isn’t as often as we’d like because we have to schedule all social gatherings months in advance due to our jobs). So we were PUMPED to meet her in Durham, grab coffee and talk about her recent trip to Iceland to discuss how, exactly, she felt about the hot dogs compared to Geoff’s strong feelings about Icelandic hot dogs. Then we marched her around town and she obligingly laughed at all of our stupid jokes while looking freaking adorable in multiple pairs of glasses. I couldn’t help but smile all while I edited these because Libby was smiling right back at me and how can you not love her?!

Libby – thank you for being our friend. Thank you for answering late night Facebook business questions, thank you for always supporting our business, and thank you for being our partner in nachos.