Casey – West Central High School Seniors – Biggsville, Illinois Photography

I won’t get all mushy and sentimental, but I have known this guy since he was 2 years old, when I started dating his uncle. Here we are, 15 years later and he is a senior in high school! Congrats to my amazing nephew Casey! I can’t wait to see where you go in life!

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Baby Bennett, Squishy and Sleepy! Newborn Photography Burlington Iowa

Would you look at this super adorable, squishy little baby boy?!?! Bennett came into the studio at a couple of weeks old and was perfectly content to take a nice, long nap for me. His parents are clearly smitten with him and each other. Thank you for choosing me to photography Baby Bennett. I look forward to seeing him grow and to get to know you all!


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Welcome to the world, Baby Aubrey! Burlington, Iowa Newborn Photography

This sweet little girl came down to see me from the Iowa City area when she was just a few days old, and I was totally smitten! Normally photographing newborns helps alleviate my ever-present baby fever, but this little sweetheart made it about 5,768 times worse.:)

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LeakyCon Days 2 through ?! – Wendi Riggens Photography

So, I have to admit, the rest of the trip kinda blurs together in my mind. If it weren’t for the date stamps in the Exif data on my photos, I probably wouldn’t be able to tell you what I did on which day! I mostly just did the daytime programming and skipped the concerts and the ball, knowing that when I got home on Sunday I would have two demanding little ones that love to keep me up late and get me up super early. Even on vacation, one does not get a total break from motherhood!

LeakyCon 2014-003

Even so, I had a wonderful time. I sat in on some excellent panels, got to know the group I traveled with better, and marveled at the outstanding cosplays. My favorite panels were:

Snape: Not The Hero We Deserve by Brad Ausrotas (read his post on this here, so well done!)

Crazy Potter Questions by Nick Penner

Anxiety, Depression, and a Drug Called Fandom put on by my friends Rein, Jazz, Scarlet, Denise, and Ginger


There were SO many panels that I wanted to go to and couldn’t because they overlapped with others, or because I was starving, or because I wanted to hang out with friends, or because I needed to pump (again, there is never truly a break from motherhood!).

The cosplays were pretty amazing, too! My favorite was Snape, followed closely by Gilderoy Lockhart. Some of these people spent months creating their costumes!

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Check out the eyes on the zombie to the right. Creepy but cool!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA


I spent a LOT of time in the vendor room, too, and even though I didn’t buy much, I did end up with another wand and a couple tshirts. There was some seriously cool stuff being sold!

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I also ate Korean tacos (yum!) and high-fived Iron Man.

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Another fun thing I did was help to (hopefully) break the world record for the most people wearing paper crowns in one place. I tried making one last-minute but was saved when someone else couldn’t go and gave me hers instead. We had to sit with the crowns on our heads for 5 minutes. If one fell, we had to start over. Somehow, with 700+ people in one room, all wearing paper crowns, not a single one fell!


Another highlight of my trip was meeting Lauren Fairweather, who graciously let me use her song “It’s Real For Us” in my Harry Potter project slideshow. She is so sweet and beautiful and funny!

And how can I forget to mention the ribbons? Oh my stars, the ribbons! I was lucky to have several friends running panels that gave me ribbons, and happened to be in the right place at the right time to get a few others. I also found three, including the coveted “Colin” ribbon, just laying on the floor, abandoned. I ended up with 21 ribbons total, not bad for my first con!

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We ended the trip with a game of Cards Against Humanity. If you have never played before, do. It’s hilarious! Dirty, wrong, and absolutely crazy, but hilarious!

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And yes, this happened. Screwdrivers out of a bowl…

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And this happened, too…again…OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Overall, my trip was great. I’ve been to a lot of conventions before, mostly photography ones, so stepping outside of my box and going to my first fan-con was a unique experience. Will I be back? I hope so!




LeakyCon & Universal Studios – WWoHP – Wendi Riggens Photography

Last weekend, I arrived home from the longest trip I’ve taken away from my kids since having Claire. It was also the first trip I have taken since college that was not related to being a photographer, an employee, a mom, or a wife.  I spent 4 days just being me, enjoying the company of friends, the heat of Orlando, and the entertainment of LeakyCon. It. Was. Fabulous!

Now,  I have flown many times in my life. Before this, I had been on 79 unique flights, including a couple pretty small puddle jumpers from Burlington to St Louis. I’ve only once been on a plane smaller than the one I boarded in Quincy the morning I left, though! That was my first flight ever, a little 2 person plane. This flight had 9 people plus the pilot and was one of the smoothest flights of my life! I give the pilot mad props for that!

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When I got to the convention center, the registration line was LONG. Like, reallllllllly long. I saw many of my friends I was meeting up with, though, and a few minutes after I got in line, someone came down looking for people with last names P-R. About 20 minutes later, I saw this:

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And then I was registered for my first official LeakyCon!LeakyCon Registration 2014 (3)

After going to a house meetup and catching up with my friends, we then headed to Universal Studios. We were some of the lucky ones that were able to buy tickets to an exclusive after-hours event called Open At The Close. Check out my awesome friends!

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We did lots of fun stuff in Universal before our event officially started. I had to take this photo with Optimus Prime for my son, a big Transformers fan. (who am I kidding, I love Transformers, too!)Universal Studios (2)

Then there was this EPIC photo bomb outside of the Disaster attraction!


As fun as Universal was, the biggest reason I decided to go to LeakyCon was for the Wonderful World of Harry Potter.

Diagon Alley was amazing!


We had dinner at the Leaky Cauldron, so yummy!


The dragon was incredible, but more on that later!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

We stopped by #12 Grimmauld Place and saw Kreacher peeking out of the windowOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Then we headed to King’s Cross Station and Platform 9 3/4. We had a pretty long wait to get to the Hogwarts Express, since the park was still open. Coming back, though, we got right on, no wait at all!


I don’t have video of it, but the illusion they have set up to make it look like you are going through the wall is pretty amazing!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

By the time we got to Hogsmeade, it was getting dark, and it was absolutely beautiful. While I knew we were in a theme park, and there was snow everywhere despite the fact that I was sweating like crazy, it was still pretty magical. We were in Hogsmeade when our private event started, and seeing the park so late at night, with only a small fraction of the people that are in it during the day was pretty spectacular. We had unlimited food and drinks, and my friend Sam might have attempted the 38 Butterbeer Challenge (she only made it to 6).

My first glimpse of Hogsmeade…


I knew it wasn’t real, but wow, could you imagine if it was??OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

We headed back to Diagon Alley after finishing our food and pretty much had the Hogsmeade Express to ourselves. We even saw the Tardis in the window on the ride back!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

My beautiful friends! Please ignore our tired, sweaty grossness.:)OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The Knight Bus was pretty cool, too!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Diagon Alley at night was my favorite place to be. And Gringotts Bank was, hands down, my favorite part of the entire park. I think it was the goblins that did it for me. They moved and spoke and looked perfectly busy yet uninterested, just like I imagine they would be in real life. I was so happy to get to experience it without the crowds and lines. Even though we didn’t get to ride the rides, it was worth it just to walk through the buildings. I didn’t go into Hogwarts, though, which is my only regret.:(


And the dragon. WOW. It was incredible! The detail, the sound, the fire – I stopped every single time to watch it!

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I don’t know if I will ever make it back to Universal. My son has been begging me to go since I got back. I’m the kind of person that does something once and then wants to try something new. But I don’t think I’d complain if I found myself wandering these streets again.:)OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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