Category archives: Personal

Giving is GOOD. #shareyourbirthday

Friends, It’s July! I can hardly believe how quickly this year has flown by. I hope each of you had fun celebrating the 4th of July yesterday with family and friends! I absolutely love July for so many reasons. July means a hot southern summer. July means swimming. July means cookouts with friends and enjoying the long summer sunlight. July means lots of ice cream. But one of my favorite things about July is that it’s my birthday :)

I love birthdays – the perfect excuse to gather and celebrate with loved ones, and what better reason to set aside some time to reflect upon the past year and start dreaming even bigger for the next. Well, it just so happens that TODAY is my birthday and this weekend I’ll be lucky enough to be spending lots of quality time with family and friends. I can honestly say that every year I can’t imagine being any more grateful or loved…but then it happens. So very lucky and thankful for this life I get to live and the wonderful people I get to share it with.

Youth is happy because it has the ability to see beauty.
Anyone who keeps the ability to see beauty never grows old.
-Franz Kafka

Now onto the real purpose of this post….

Last December at the Engage! conference I met a fun little gal (no really, she is an adorable, pint sized, super fun, amazingly authentic person) and we became fast friends. Her name is Paige Chenault (uber-talented wedding and event planner) We hung out through the welcome evening gala and just as the evening was closing so we could all head to bed for a bit of sleep before day one of the conference, Paige mentions she is one of the speakers and that she will see me in the morning. That evening we shared a little bit about ourselves and our businesses so I naturally assumed she would be speaking about her event planning business…which she did, kind-of. I truly had no idea how much she would touch each and every attendee that next morning with her kind, kind heart. By applying her talents used in her day-to-day event planning business, and with the help of her wonderful community, she has created a movement that is making an impact.
Paige introduced us to her true labor of love – The Birthday Party Project, a non-profit organization she founded. The mission is to bring joy to homeless children through the magic of birthdays. By partnering with homeless shelters, TBPP provides birthday parties and gifts for all their resident children between the ages of one and eighteen. Each birthday kid receives a crown, ribbon, personal cake and a $30.00 gift – the other kids participate in celebrating with activities and cupcakes!


Liene Stevens of Think Splendid!, in a re-cap post of learning about The Birthday Party Project shortly after Engage! said the following that I find to be so true :

“The [second] reason this hits close to my heart is that I am passionate about finding solutions that end the cycle of poverty. Some could argue that The Birthday Party Project isn’t changing much of anything, since it’s not meeting felt needs (food, clothing, shelter, jobs, etc), but I disagree. The cycle of poverty is much more than just finances and economics. It is also tied to access to the arts and education and self-esteem, which cultivates imagination which leads to innovation which leads to long-term change.”

So why am I posting about this today, on my birthday? It’s simple, I would love to get you, friends, involved in this wonderful organization. One of my dear friends and colleagues, Jacin Fitzgerald, kickstarted a pretty cool initiative called Share your Birthday. BRILLIANT!

I would be so appreciative for anyone who loves the meaning behind birthdays and values the mission behind The Birthday Party Project to take a moment and CELEBRATE in sharing my birthday.

If you’re like me and love an excuse to visit a store like Target to peruse the party supply aisle, you can check out their WISH LIST and send  items to TBPP to use directly. There is also the option to make a direct DONATION and more! Take a look at the link at the end of the post to find out more information.

Please take a moment and watch this video, I promise it will melt your heart. A table cloth, a $10.00 donation, a few birthday cards, you name it – all will be so very appreciated and the kids will love it!


Now, I am always game for a good challenge…especially if it’s for a good cause. If anyone out there comments below AND emails me ( that they have a box full of each and every item listed on the wishlist I will happily skip on over to a party supply store and match it :) Get creative – one person doesn’t have to do all of it, you can coordinate with friends and kind folks in the community to make this happen! This offer stands until July 31st, 2013. I sure hope I’ll get to mail a box full of goodies on August 1st to TBPP office :)

*I will match a box for the first person to complete this…how wonderful would it be if there were many!!

The Birthday Party Project Shirt GIVEAWAY!

For anyone who gives a donation or mails something directly to TBPP, comment below to let me know and on August 1st I will draw a few names to win one of the awesome shirts The Birthday Party Project created  – see the image below of me rocking one around town :)


SHARE YOUR BIRTHDAY ::!shareyourbirthday/c1py5

*IF YOU’RE LOCAL TO RICHMOND, VA and have something you would like donate please email me and I would love to arrange a time pick it up and HUG you in person as a thank you :) This will allow me to ship all local donations together in one happy box!

**If you decide to send in a donation or mail your own package, please do mention it’s for “Sharing Cyn Kain’s Birthday” so I can properly thank you!

For you social media addicts out there…here’s the info you need :

Hashtag for the Share your Birthday initiative :: #shareyourbirthday
Hastag for The Birthday Party Project :: #givingisgood
Follow The Birthday Party Project on twitter :: @bdayenthusiast



Choose Love.

It is that one time of the year dedicated to love. The day we are supposed to show appreciation to the loved ones in our lives. While the day is a great excuse to eat lots of treats, swoon over lovely flowers and is full of fun – whether it is a date night with your better half or a night out with your best ladies – today can also be a great reminder for us all to act with love more often.

While re-branding last year I knew I wanted a tagline/signature (for lack of a better word) for people to associate me and Cyn Kain Photography with. With much thought and word play, I decided on “Choose Love”. It is simple, but absolutely how I feel about every situation life throws at us. I know that these words have actually impacted people which makes me so thankful. A few months after my brand launch I received this message from an amazingly talented photographer – this photographer who I call a friend – a friend who I have actually never met (we connected through MTH) – a friend who has a HUGE, kind heart. She was going through a rough time and said this ::

“… I’ve been so angry, confused and bitter…when she called me today, I realized that I had to CHOOSE LOVE. Loving someone is a choice, and your sweet words came flooding in. I get it now.”

Her choice to act with love was a turning point in how she would handle this overwhelmingly tough time in her life. Yes, it can be hard. Yes, it is not always fun. But love is always a choice. Reminding myself to live like this, full of love, has made me a better person. Love always does a body and mind good. Love always prevails.

Now go eat some yummy chocolates and spread some love! Happy Valentine’s Day! 


Meet Ann Marie. She is going bald for the kids.

Ok y’all…please meet my sweet friend, Ann Marie. In less than 1 month. She will be going bald. As in

Why is she going bald? For the kids…those awesome kiddos out there who are bravely fighting cancer everyday. She and many others will be uniting with kids fighting cancer in hopes to find a cure through St. Baldrick’s. St. Baldrick’s is a volunteer-driven charity and for the next few weeks Ann Marie will be raising money to help find cures and to give hope to all those fighting cancer.

I feel so lucky to have met Ann Marie. She is KIND. She is FUNNY. She is GENUINE. And she has one the BIGGEST HEARTS I know. I realize that many of you reading this now do not personally know Ann Marie – but I am willing to bet most of you have had a loved one battle cancer. Any donations you friends can spare will be very much appreciated.

On February 25, I will be documenting Ann Marie and her teammates shave their heads. I will be sure to share moments from that day as well as thoughts personally from Ann Marie. Ann Marie is a middle school teacher and has over 16 students from her school participating in this amazing cause.

Please donate towards Ann Marie’s fundraising cause HERE
*Help Ann Marie exceed her goal HERE
**Find out more about St. Baldrick’s HERE 

Whether you are able to donate or not – saying a prayer for these kids and sending happy thoughts Ann Marie’s way will be much appreciated! Thank you, friends!

Happy Halloween + a Happy Birthday Shoutout

Happy Halloween Friends!

Also, Happy Birthday to my wonderful dad! He is actually in town for work and is staying with us – so nice to be able to spend his actual birthday with him this year – and of course super excited to cook a delicious birthday dinner :)

I love that image above because that was the first time my dad saw me on my wedding day, and actually it was the first time he had even seen the dress. Such a special moment.

*Thank you to the very talented Parker J Pfister for these images.

Check back tomorrow for sneak peeks of what I’ve been shooting these past few weeks! Hope you all go bed with a tummy full of your favorite Halloween candy!


September 11th.

Please take a moment today to think of the innocent men and women who died that day. Take a moment to think of those families who lost loved ones…think of those children who never saw their parents again. Take a moment and think of all the soldiers overseas and here  in the U.S. serving and protecting our country.

Today, I will also be taking a moment to really look around me and count my blessing.

Forever Grateful. Never Forgotten. Read More

Becoming a warrior.

This past Saturday some of my family and friends decided to participate in the Warrior Dash in North Carolina. We were lucky, we had a beautiful sunny day with a light breeze from Hurricane Irene.

Here are a few photos captured from the day. If you have free time and want to laugh at some photos of me going through the actual obstacles, take a peek these photos. (I am bib # 20212) BE NICE :)

The starting line…I was AMAZED at the number of people that turned out for this event. Over 5,000 people raced on Saturday…and there was a race on Sunday too!

The gang BEFORE the madness began.

My brother and sister-in-law on the left….the dads on the right.
The gals!
My sister-in-law, Sarah & I just seconds after crossing the finish line…we are rather happy :)
This is one of my favorite photos – My dad giving the two of us the biggest, muddiest hug – after he dominated the course. Isn’t there something wrong with my 51 year old dad (sorry, daddy!) beating me? This showed me how much more training I need to do for my upcoming 1/2 marathon!
My adopted sister on the left (not really adopted, but I wish!)…who finished FIRST of all of us. And my little sister and dad on the right.
A couple that gets muddy together, stays together! A BFF of mine with her hubby :)

Sarah celebrating with cold beer in her warrior hat ….And of course I had to get a photo with just my sister and dad…This is what we do for family bonding. Next year we will have to get my mom in on the action!
I think this next shot is hilarious. After the race, you get hosed off like cattle.

After. All clean (somewhat), in our warrior hats and no broken bones.

Celebrating the way all warriors do…with one GIANT Turkey leg.

Will I do this again? ABSOLUTELY. Hopefully next time with even more family and friends…and we will be dressed up. Brainstorm sessions for costume ideas have already begun!

Happy Wednesday folks! I must go as I am being kicked out of yet another Panera…I guess sitting 6+ hours in their store is not okay…who knew? haha. Keep your fingers crossed we get our power back on soon here!

Look what came today!

I knew my giant box of collateral would be delivered today. I actually debated sitting on my porch all day just to await this delivery…but of course that would not be very productive…so I settled to sit outside just for an hour this morning with my green tea, Bella dog & computer to reply to emails.

It didn’t come during that time, but I still enjoyed my beautiful morning outside. Just before lunch my package came. And here is a peek at what was inside ::

Do you love it? Again, another special thanks to Making Brands Happen for, well, making THIS happen.

Same me, new look.

Hi Friends! I am SO thrilled for you to see the NEW Cyn Kain Photography! This new brand has been a work in progress for the past 8 months and launch day is finally here (YAY!).

The debate as I sit here in front of the screen typing my introductory blog post is where to start, how much to write, and what exactly to share. I have decided to keep it short (maybe) and sweet and hit some moments that I feel are what lead me to this moment, today….where I am counting my blessings twice and am as happy as a lark. I will be sure to break up some of this text with tidbits about my new brand :) Read More