All posts by jamiebichelman

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A Love That Lasts Forever: Galor-Joerger Wedding

In June, Kendell Galor celebrated her engagement to Jared Joerger with a beautiful, Kentucky Derby-themed bridal shower. In a ceremony uniting her two loves — horses, and Jared — months later, the two wed before an audience of friends and family at the scenic WHY Ranch in Las Vegas.

From the moment I walked into the room where Jared and his groomsmen were preparing for the big day, there was a noticeable confidence in the group, underscored by exuberant laughter and playful ribbing. Yet, the atmosphere was full of dichotomy: grown men, giddy as young boys; easygoing personalities at once stoic when attempting to figure out the labyrinthine technique to tie a tie.

Indeed, as a wedding unites two lovers as one, the day reconciled countless other dichotomies in a fascinatingly perfect way.

Wedding attendees were initially concerned by the unwelcome wind, poised to disrupt even the most securely-hairsprayed ‘dos. Yet, father-of-the-bride Oren Galor walked into the room with trademark charisma, and confidently told me: “I truly believe it’s going to be a beautiful day.” A few more stories and laughs and before long, it was time for the wedding ceremony.

You know the rest: the wind calmed down long enough for a beautiful ceremony to proceed undisturbed, and the two lovers made official what their friends expected to happen for years: a perfectly loving wedding between Jared and Kendell.

I suppose Kendell and Jared have their own, unique triple crown: horses, hockey, and a love that lasts forever.

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UNLV’s Second Annual Fall Undergraduate Research Showcase

“Research is you,” proclaimed Dr. Liam Frink, Executive Director at UNLV’s Office of Undergraduate Research. “What you’re doing today, will one day change the world.”

I asked senior anthropology major Samantha Slinkard what motivated her to power through the marathon 16-hour days, late-night research, and statistical formulas that would have given Archimedes fits. “I want to change the world.” Indeed, I believe she will.

I was particularly impressed by Patrick Messimer’s presentation on a prosthetic hand that the College of Engineering developed. The mere fact that “high-functioning robotic hands exist” let alone ones that were designed with “low cost and safe to use” criteria, made me excited for the future of robotics development and what that means for humans in need of prosthetics.

Service Learning Initiative for Community Engagement in Sociology (SLICES) presenters Alyssa Medina and Sarah Kane were also impressive. Lara Turello’s presentation on the source of fecal contaminants in the Las Vegas Valley’s urban watersheds was eye-opening, to the say the least.

UNLV is in hot pursuit of top-tier status, and I for one am thrilled with the professors and students leading the charge.

Making Art With Valentina Spatola

I am not what happened to me; I am what I choose to become.

Referring to setbacks as obstacles through which she’s navigated (and beaten), there’s something distinctly believable about everything that  Valentina Spatola says when she speaks candidly about her life. There’s a genuine quality to every piece of advice she gives, and there’s a reason: She’s lived through pain, and used that pain to empower others. Anyone can recite quotes in a half-hearted attempt to console others; Valentina speaks with conviction, and there’s a feeling instilled in the recipient of the advice that you don’t want to let her down.

There’s nothing in particular that she must listen to or watch to inspire her each day; rather, it’s the empowering belief that “What’s coming is so much better than anything that’s happened.”

With the belief that her career enables her to create art each and every day, it’s no wonder her style reflected her personality so well — the photos can attest to that — and her confidence in this photoshoot is evident. That confidence, of course, turns heads everywhere she goes. What, then, is the best compliment she can receive?

“Anyone can comment on your looks. I want to hear that I’m genuine and that I speak from a genuine heart.” Then, quoting Maya Angelou, she said with a smile: “people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

Selfies, Starbucks, and Support: Gabriela Vázquez and Brittney Gideon

Spend a few moments with her, and before long, you’ll hear her giggling. Why so giddy, Brittney Gideon? “I’m just genuinely in love with my life right now.”

Tell Gabriela Vázquez to look angry, and she just won’t do it. (Smiling is her thing.) Mention her partner, and she glows. “He makes me feel beautiful.”

Teammates on UNLV’s women’s soccer team, the two have remarkable chemistry on and off the field. Of course, their personalities are evident: Selfies at Starbucks, providing words of encouragement as each one poses for individual photos, and an irrepressible urge to smile.

 

Kendell Galor’s Bridal Shower

How do you define perfect? How do you measure love? Before Kendell Galor’s bridal shower — a loving, beautiful, supportive, energetic affair — these endeavors were impossible. Then, to see the look in Kendell’s eyes when she described her relationship with Jared, her reverence for her family, and her love of her horses, it was clear to me that perfection in the wonderfully-catered Galor household is equal parts love and respect, a heaping amount of communication, and a whole lot of admiration and support from family and friends. An innocuous comment to most actually stood out to me more than anything: she mentioned she wouldn’t trade Jared for hunky actor Chris Hemsworth because she “hit the jackpot” with Jared and the love and respect they share made her a lucky woman. Wow.

Some photos are simply breathtaking; others, the “blooper” reel photos, are just as endearing. Kendell Galor never once stopped smiling during the entirety of the night. Why would she? In my eyes, the love she shares with her partner, with her family, and with her horses, is absolutely perfect.

 

1st Annual Tea Time presented by ANAC (Association for Nurses in AIDS Care), HealthySunrise Foundation, and Lullaby Connection

“Three incredible organizations came together to promote maternal and child health at a local level and global level!” It was an honor being the photographer for this amazing event. To learn more about each organization’s mission, visit the HealthySunrise Foundation website, the Association of Nurses in AIDS Care website, and the Lullaby Connection website.

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