I'm an American expat, writer. photographer. and old-fashioned romantic in love with celebrating the simple joys of daily life. I appreciate timelessness, the natural world, and a slow life lived with simplicity and intention. When I'm not photographing families or  slowly traveling the world and writing about it in a little notebook, I'm happily grounding myself in nature and cozying up with my sweet husband.

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HELENAW

Helena is a light. She brings light and joy to all those she knows. It’s one of her many values, to focus on joy and being present and young at heart. That’s why it was particularly fun this year as we sat down together and thought about what key words really described those values to a T.

Joy of nature? No. Simply happiness? Not quite.

How about Simple Joys?

Simple. Joys. Elegant, simple, easy. And with those two words, Helena decided to create her Simple Joys channel this year, focusing it on her core values and what matters most to her–the simple joys.

If you’ve read Helena’s blog or watched her videos at this point, you know that she is the perfect ambassador for a Simple Joys lifestyle–because of her unending love for simple things, and because of how much joy she brings to herself and all those around her. She’s also kind, caring, fiery about the things she’s passionate about, brave, and absolutely hilarious. Her easy, open laughter lights up a room and makes everyone notice, bringing smiles to their faces in turn. I know it definitely did to mine when I first met her.

They say that opposites attract, and in many ways Helena and I are opposites. This doesn’t make things easy at times, but it sure makes things interesting, and that’s why I think we work so well together. You compliment me so well, Helena, with your wonderful traits and skills that are different than mine. You bring light to everyone you come across and you don’t even know it, like the shopkeep who gushed about you when you were trying on that yellow dress that cold, blustery first day of deconfinement in town. Or the random older couple across the street smiling as they watch you go crazy over the latest westie you found, asking in French if you can pet it.

You remind me to slow down in life, to trust good things are coming and to stop stressing or worrying about things that are out of my control. You have this amazing way of connecting to your gut and intuition, and despite my being a logical man for life, I’ve started to be able to listen to and trust my instinct and intuition more than ever before–and with exciting results! I never would have thought that I would be able to make money and be appreciated for writing and doing the things I love, and by your support and living just that, it was thanks to you that I was able to achieve it after all. You inspire me, and that’s something that I’m so lucky to be able to say.

Ever since the moment I met you with your pins and diet coke can purse, I knew you would be unique, different, and interesting. Your constant questions make me look deeper than I ever had before you, and I am better for it. In your questioning, you make the world more interesting with all the things we don’t know about it.

I’ve also never known someone to love trees and nature as much as you, and it’s so refreshing. You really take so much joy in being out in nature, in listening to it and connecting to it. It reminds me to do the same, that I can put down my phone or kindle and simply be with a tree.

I know that sometimes it’s not easy for me to put into words what you mean to me–they just don’t flow from me as easily as I can see they do for you, a natural writer. But I’m learning, and hopefully getting better at it. I’m so proud of everything you’ve achieved in life, in how you set goals and then blow past them in ways no one thought possible, in how you live fully according to your own values and how you’re not afraid–and even relish–living life differently from everyone else. That’s how I know you’ll be a leader some day. 

So I guess what I’m trying to say here, is that when you have a partner as incredible as Helena, it’s important to recognize everything they bring and then find the words to tell them how unique and special they are. Because sometimes you don’t notice it, or sometimes it’s unspoken or goes without saying in a relationship. But it’s important to take a moment to recognize how they brighten your life and find the words to tell them so, and hopefully in this small act, will bring a simple joy to your loved one as well.

Happy Birthday my love. I can’t wait to spend all the next ones with you, and bask in the light and joy you radiate the rest of my life. 🙂

Love,

Alex

May 17th, 2020

 

To my wife on her 26th birthday

May 17, 2020

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I'm Helena! As a creative storyteller, I document magical, emotionally honest family and children's portraiture. A lover of childhood, fairytales and natural light, I photograph families across the world. I'm the ultimate Disney nerd, and I'm obsessed with cats and expressing my love for the simple joys of slow, daily life.

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Helena Woods is a destination newborn and family photographer based in France and New England and travels worldwide. She is known for her natural light, modern classic, and emotive photography style.

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