Thursday, October 31, 2019
By April Graves
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I would like to think of myself as an incredibly grateful human being...I hope that all who come to know me would feel my gratitude and how blessed I feel to have gotten to know so many of you and to have others who might be reading this whom I hope to get to know someday.  I start each day with a prayer of gratitude, listing off the big and small things that I am ever so grateful for that morning. I find it starts my day by both grounding me and lifting my spirit. Gratitude eases any anxiety and helps me to focus on living my life to its fullest and to reach for my dreams.  Gratitude gives birth to love, joy, peace, and creativity. I also end each day with a prayer of gratitude, allowing me to focus on all of the positivity of the day and to prepare my mind and body for a peaceful night’s sleep. 


I am eternally grateful for the love of my family, my beautiful children and my loyal and supportive husband.  I am grateful for my friends and my team at LIght Drawn Studios. I am grateful for the roof over my head and the shoes on my feet (especially the ones that make me feel pretty).  I am grateful for old friends whom I have recently reconnected with as well as new friends. I am grateful for the people who believe in me and my dreams no matter how big and crazy they sound.  I am grateful for the change of seasons and the colors that wash the Earth with each passing month. I am grateful for nights at home with my loves, glasses of wine with girlfriends, phone calls with my mom, visits from my sister.  I am grateful to be able to share my gifts with the world and to hopefully make an impact on the community that reaches beyond my immediate grasp.


 During the month of November, I would love to hear from each of you about what you are most grateful for!  


Happy Month of Gratitude!





Friday, July 26, 2019
By April Graves
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If you’ve been wondering what I’ve been up to for the past 9 months...other than creating portraits for the most amazing clients in the it is!  This past September, my dear friends Nancy and Adrian Smith asked me to co-chair my first ever gala at their property in Lake Forest. The gala was for Citadel Theatre, a local non-profit that is committed to bringing performing arts to Lake County and to insuring that children in underserved communities have the opportunity to learn the art of theatre. 


Our goal of having 400 guests was surpassed and reached a record turn out for Citadel of 450!  It was a beautiful affair pulled together by the most amazingly talented and creative group of people!  


Thanks to the incredible generosity of our guests and donors, we made $215,000 for Citadel Theatre!


And here is the best part...the Smiths have opened up 10 sessions there on their property for me to invite my best clients to take part in!  This is a VERY exclusive opportunity and one that has never been offered before. In fact other than the Smith family themselves and my daughter Alyssa, I don’t believe anyone else has had their portraits made here!


To find out how you can reserve one of these spectacular sessions and support Citadel Theatre, please contact us at the studio 224-655-7801.


It was such a blessing to be part of this committee and to help our wonderful host and hostess put on the inaugural event at their Lake Forest property.  I am incredibly grateful to my family and my team here at Light Drawn Studios for their support and to The Smith Family for their unwavering faith in my vision.


I hope to see you in Lake Forest!





Friday, June 28, 2019
By April Graves
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You can’t mention the 4th of July without me thinking of family time, lakelife, and a few of my favorite recipes!  You see, holidays always conjure up some sort of emotion that ties me right back to my family and the traditions we hold.  Since I was a small child, I can remember the days on Lake Geneva floating in an endless sea of waves and giggles...excitedly anticipating the July 4th fireworks being set off over the lake at Fontana Beach and watching from our pier in the Abbey Harbor.  

I am eternally thankful that I am able to share some of those same traditions with my own children and our friends on our boat in the harbor and now at our cottage.  There are always family favorite dishes that go with each holiday...for July 4th it’s Mama’s Ice Cream Pie! Anyone who really knows me well, knows I am not one for cooking or doing anything by the these are some rare gems that have been taken from others and adapted by yours truly...typically I cook from the heart with nothing more than my taste buds and my passion for good food to guide me.


I hope you enjoy!



- April 



1 Nabisco Graham Cracker Crust

6 Oz Lemonade or Limeade (I like pink lemonade...shocking...I know)

8 Oz Coolwhip

1 Pint Haagen Dazs Vanilla Ice Cream

Lemon or Lime Zest


1. Soften frozen ingredients.  

2. Combine together...don’t over stir.  

3. Pour into pie crust and freeze.

4. Decorate with fresh raspberries and curls of lemon peel prior to serving 


Wednesday, June 12, 2019
By April Graves
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I can’t believe my sweet girl has finished high school and in 2 short months will be on her way to college at Loyola University Chicago!  I swear I just turned around for a minute and she grew up! I look at the images I have been able to make of her throughout her life and I am eternally grateful for the gifts of those pieces and the momentary glances that I have backward in time.

I will treasure her images always and only wish that some of my most creative pieces had come earlier in life...I will never have those images of Alyssa and William believing in Santa or her resting upon a pile of mattresses that nearly reach the ceiling.   Nor will the magic of a unicorn princess be mine... I am so grateful however that she is still willing to don a crown of flowers and giggle with me until our sides hurt.

My sweet girl I will miss seeing your face in person every day...but I will cherish our time and the portraits I have to keep you close by.


- April

Wednesday, January 23, 2019
By April Graves
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As I sit here writing this post, the whirring and scraping of my son and my neighbors clearing driveways to get the morning commute is underway.  I am fighting the temptation to make myself a hot cocoa...after all, I am trying to only eat what nourishes me...but then my mind is like…(in a rather haunting intonation) ” cocoa will nourish your spirit...and make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside.”  NOPE not going to do it...just like I’m not going to let my son stay home from school despite the begging!


Admittedly, I love the snow.  I love the way it falls so gently but has such a huge impact.  I love the way it blankets the earth in pure crystalline white.  I love the way it perches upon the branches of the bare trees and the way the footprints of mother nature’s furry friends trail thru it as if to say they love a good snow day too!


I love the portraits I made 3 years ago of my children in the snow.  They hang above the fluted, silver washed desk in my office at the studio.  They make me smile every time I look at them and the fond memories from that session flood my mind.  I remember that snow seemingly coming from nowhere in the middle of around the house the night before searching for just the right outfits for them to wear.  My husband Peter watched the session take place in our car so the kids could pop in and out to warm up.


I marvel that in 3 short years my son William went from being so much smaller than his sister to being 5’10”.  I cannot believe that Alyssa is graduating from high school this May! My babies have grow up so fast.


The session was short...30 minutes at most...but the portraits and memories from that day are ones I will treasure for a lifetime.  


My hope for you is that someday I can create the same types of portraits for you and your loves to hold in your hearts and to hang upon your walls for a lifetime of forevers.