Category Archives: Just Because

Godliness, Glory and Grace.

Every morning my alarm is set for 6am, to be sure I enjoy a cup of coffee and spend some time with the Lord before our little ones are up and the craziness of our day begins. Today was no different…except after I got up, I just didn’t want to. To be honest, I wanted to check instagram, pinterest and pretty much involve myself in any other distraction that would keep me from spending with what matters most. Temptation at it’s finest.

So, with a few minutes before the early morning school routine, I opened my bible, read a little from my reading plan and spent the last few seconds reflecting on the message at our bible study yesterday. I long to read my bible pretty much every morning and this quiet time with the Lord is always well spent. How amazing is it that God works in such a way that the one morning I didn’t feel like spending with Him, He speaks so clearly and so powerfully to me. And even more, pursues me, so undeservingly. Truly, what the enemy means for evil, God is so, so faithful to turn it for our good and for his glory!

Once our kids were up and the kids were dropped off, I jumped right back where I left off. And then it hit me. One of my great friends said yesterday, “Are we living like God’s unconditional acceptance is enough?” Follow me here, because this quote took me back a few days when the Lord challenged me with 2 Timothy 3:5 (and has continue to do so), where it says, “having the appearance of godliness but denying it’s power.” Do I appear godly? Of course I hope so and I’d like to say so–even though I battle my flesh, yell at my kids sometimes, argue with my husband on occasion and fall short every day. Thankfully, there is grace for all these moments and the battle is already won through Jesus’ death on the cross.

But the second half of this verse is what’s convicting me–“…but denying it’s power.” Power is the present, effective working of God in and through believers lives. Although I may be completely off, this denial of power likely comes through words and the vocal expression of God’s goodness, glory and grace. I’m not blatently denying the Lord’s power, but when I fail to speak up and give him the glory, in essence, I’m doing exactly what I don’t want to do (Romans 7:15).

Then the other part of not speaking up deals with my desire for perfectionism. Often, I don’t speak up out of fear that what I say may not perfectly align up with truth, or may make me appear less godly. Going further, I may not speak up since I so often desire to please people, which is clearly not pleasing to the Lord. (For am I seeking the approval of man or of God? Or am I still trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ. Galatians 1:10).  So I say nothing at all. And then, obviously, there’s pride in all of this as well.

Anyway, I know this post is somewhat of a jumbled mess, but I guess that’s just my heart lately (in a good way!). I’m thankful our God reveals truth, frees me from my failure, provides grace upon grace and His acceptance of me really is enough. God is clear in scripture that His power is made perfect in my weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9); isn’t it funny how we’re brought up and taught to be strong, independent people (at least I was), and now as an adult, slowly realizing how much freedom there is in being weak. God is not looking for equality with him, but rather for me to rid me of myself FOR him. One of my biggest prayers this year is that God, in his love, kindness and grace, continues to drive me to a position of weakness in my flesh…where his power can then be made perfect. Happy Friday people!

friday favorites: spring break, blogstomp and my bff

– 3v3 soccer season. As gymnastics season for Kyla comes to a close (competition wise), we now begin the training and tournaments for 3v3 soccer. We have our first tournament this Sunday in Winter Haven and I’m super pumped. Last year, we went to Nationals, where we finished 2nd, and had the BEST time. We’re looking forward to what’s hopefully the beginning of another fabulous season with a great group of girls!

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– Spring Break…and the countdown to SUMMER! We had so much fun last week with our kids being home from school! From days at the pool, beach, Busch Gardens, the movies…ahhh, I’m so looking forward to having my kids home next month and not having to leave the house by 7:30 every morning!

– Grace for the Good Girl. My current read. Only on chapter 2 but so far, SO good. Excited to see how God uses this book in my life.

“All he wants is simply you- minus your good works, minus your perfect attendance, minus your politeness. When you really believe that, you may discover that all you want is Jesus, simply Jesus. ” Such a simple statement, but so profound when sifting through the safeness of trying to manage my “goodness” (which there really isn’t any) rather than resting in His freedom. Praying I come more undone and become more overwhelmed with Him and His goodness; knowing He will not come undone and is un-overwhelmable.

 

– Blogstomp. I really do have a desire to blog….but it can be so time consuming, and frankly, it just seems like there’s not enough time in a day. 🙁 However, blogstomp may just have changed my life..and well, my blog for that matter. I purchased it about 4 years ago but they’ve updated their product in some pretty incredible ways. I think I’m sold and I think you should be ready for a much more active mgp blog!

 

– Natalie, one of my dearest friends, is having her second little girl this coming Monday and I am SOOOO excited!!! Her friendship has been a huge blessing over the past 16 years or so (even though we’ve lived in different states for the past 12 years) and I’m pretty crazy about her cute family!

 

Friday Favorites: Jamaica, Wedding Season + A Little Gymnastics

It’s been a long time since I’ve listed my Friday favorites and I just can’t stop thinking about the crazy blessings I’m experiencing. So thankful for this great season.

– Wedding Season is upon us. It’s going be a CRAZY few months but I have the best clients in the world, so with craziness comes great excitement!! The next 18 Saturdays have 16 weddings. As hard as it is to leave my family on their “day off”, I’m thankful to have a job I just love and have a blast doing.

– We’re in the middle of Kyla’s gymnastics season and she’s doing so, so awesome at all of her meets! It’s been such a journey, filled with ups and downs, but God has blessed her remarkably with athletic talent and it’s a true joy to watch her flourish in her sports. I’m a proud momma.
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– JAMAICA!!! We are THRILLED to shoot Monique and Jim’s destination wedding next year in Ochos Rios. We are so thankful they chose us and are honored to get to capture their big day in this beautiful place! Here’s a sneak from their engagement session…definitely will be sharing more soon!

 

– Beth Moore’s Believing God study. This study is rocking my world and is teaching me so much about myself, my shortcomings and my calling. In a good way. Gods at work and I’m praying for great heart change in the process.-coffee.

Im posting this while in the middle a fabulous pedicure and were Fort Lauderdale bound in about 2 hours for another gymnastics meet! Happy, happy Friday!

Friday Favorites: It’s Homecoming Day!

I have a crazy busy day ahead but I wanted to fit in a quick little blog with the absolute highlight of my day. Dear friends of ours, John and Kelly, adopted Jade, a beautiful 2 year old little girl from China a week and a half ago, and they arrive back home this afternoon. Jade is coming home to her family that consists of her big sister, Maddie, big brother Drue,  her oldest sister, Lauren (who is one of my fabulous second shooters!! : )), who is married to Bill and together, they have baby Selah. Oh, how Jade will be so incredibly loved!!

(L-R: Maddie, Drue, Kelly, John, Lauren (carrying baby Selah), and Bill)

Ever since they had a heart for adoption, I have always told Kelly that I would be at the airport, capturing that precious moment as they walk off the plane and into the arms of their closest friends and family. Today, is finally that day. To read more about their journey for Jade- check out their blog HERE. God is so good, so faithful and so loving and seeing His work as He purposefully knitted this little girl to her forever family has been astounding!!! It has been a true blessing watching them on this journey. Seriously, 3pm cannot come soon enough!!! Happy, happy, joyous Friday!! : )

{Friday Favorites}

I have no idea how it’s already Friday again, but somehow, minute by minute, we’ve managed to get here with what seems like a blink of an eye. The past week has been pretty trying around here with sick kids, but I’m hoping we’re now on the mend. I guess I should just be grateful that a week full of sickness flew by incredibly fast!!!

– Soccer tournament!! This weekend my little girl has her first 3v3 tournament and I couldn’t be more excited! Since this was her mama’s sport, I’m pretty proud to see my baby girl have the love and passion for the game. At the age of 8, she’s the proud owner of 2 legit jerseys sporting her last name.

(iphone photo)

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– American Idol. I can’t get over this year’s crazy talent on the show. I love all of them and can’t pick a sole favorite. However, I always am huge fans of Colton, Jessica, Skylar, and Joshua.

– My friends. I am so thankful for each and every one of them.

– Greeting cards. What in the world. Am I the ONLY person that takes {on minimum} 30 minutes to pick out a card for someone? It has to be *perfect*; every line has to be true and pretty much seem as if I wrote the card specifically for the receiver. My hubby asked me to run into CVS to grab milk the other night, and 2 cards and a gallon later….I had lost an hour of my life reading practically every card in the store. There’s a possibility I have a love/hate relationship.

– A much needed haircut. With some bangs. Finally.

(iphone photo)

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– Loving Redken’s Powder Refresh. It’s a second day dry shampoo and I can’t even begin to tell you how awesome it is.

 

Happy Friday!

Friday Favorites

I’ve been missing the blogging world lately and as days seem to be passing before my eyes, it makes me realize how much I *want* to be recording life. I don’t want to forget these fleeting and precious moments, but alas the days tend to blur together and I know if I don’t use the wonderful world wide web, I’ll forget about moments I so treasured. With that said, Im hoping, really, really hoping I get on here on a more consistent basis!

I can’t think of a better way to start than a new edition of Friday Favorites….

– Easter Sunday. I love Easter. The hope, the freedom, the gift, and the celebration of our wonderful and glorious Savior. I can’t help but reflect on what Jesus did for us and the gift of salvation He has given to us through his death, burial and resurrection. To think His final days in flesh were spent in prayer, showing love and kindness, washing his disciples feet, serving others; and although He was perfect, He faced the death of a criminal and was still obedient through the last second as he died on the cross. Gosh, it makes me realize how far I am from looking like Jesus in my daily walk, yet my heart is full with joy knowing I have a God that loves me despite myself!

{“Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me?” John 18:11. I am undeserving of everything and anything and am so thankful for the promise of eternity and the truth we have been gifted through Jesus!!}

– The pool, the beach…the Florida sun. We’ve been soaking it all up and enjoying our beautiful weather by spending many hours by the water. It’s been heavenly.

– Oh you thought I could possibly do a FF and not mention some sort of food? Breyers Cookies and Cream (with the blast of Oreos) has been a recent fave in our freezer.

– Amazing Clients. Thanks Janell for the Wedding Wire review. It means more than words and I am so, so appreciative you took the time to write this sweet review.

– My kids. I fall more in love with them with each passing day….

Happy Friday and Happy Easter!

{Friday Favorites}

– My two littlest men (4 & 5) learned to ride their bikes in the last week. We’ve spent many afternoons outside watching them relish in their newfound freedom of life without training wheels. Between the tricks they’re now attempting and the almost mailbox collisions that seem to be daily, I’m hoping this initial bike riding stress lessens a little with each day.

Here’s me and Jonah on our way home after a run- I’m loving that he can ride his bike next to me now while I hit the road!

 

– American Idol. I’m a sucker for all things reality.

– Our life group. Our group started meeting 5 months ago and I feel so blessed to be able to do life, learn and experience wonderful biblical community through this handful of people, who I am grateful to now call friends. God has been so gracious and loving to place my husband and I in a group we had been praying for. I’m excited to see what the Lord has in store for us as individuals, and also as a group, in the months to come.

– One of my BFF’s Natalie has been in town for a month an a half, while her husband was away at Air Force officer training. We’ve enjoyed days shopping, doughnuts at Bennetts, bible study, logging miles, eating, and just hanging out like old times. On top of that, she has the happiest little 7 month old, who I’ve got to spend time loving and playing with. Her stay has been nothing short of wonderful and I am going to miss her dearly when she leaves next week to go back to DC. Here’s proof of our Bennetts trip (aka- the best doughnut place in town)…

(iphone photo)
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– My hubby. It’s pretty simple, but he loves our family, makes me laugh, loves Jesus and is quite the kid at heart. We’re opposite in so many ways but somehow it’s creates this perfect balance for us and our family. I love him.

 

– Flowers. Before becoming a wedding photographer, I never had an interest in flowers. At all. Already picked or still planted, once they’re in my hands they seem to brown and wither away before my eyes. If you were to look by my front door today, I truthfully have 3 dead potted flower pants without any hint of green popping out of the soil. It’s that bad. However, I have a new found love for all things flowers. I can’t wait to replant and recolor our front yard within the next few weeks.

(These were Alicia’s beautiful flowers from her wedding last October at The Ritz Carlton in Naples, Florida)

 

Happy Friday!

You Know It’s Been Too Long…

…when you forget how to access your blog. For real. Goodness, I must have typed 5 different urls before figuring out how to make my way back to my little corner of the web. I’m just going to chalk it up to a crazy wedding season where my head is spinning in so many directions. ; )

Speaking of wedding season, I’m loving this photo from one of our October weddings. I know little girls dream about their wedding day, and I feel like this dreamy state of mind is written all over this precious flower girl’s face. Happy Tuesday!

Professional Prints vs. The Retail 60-Minute Lab

Last week out of urgency to have an image printed, I decided to do a quick upload through a local retailers’ one hour lab. As a photographer, this was the only one hour retail lab I said I would ever use, when in dire need. I didn’t even bother to check the 4×6’s and 5×7’s before leaving but when I got home and opened the envelope, my jaw literally hit the floor. My children looked like grey ghosts.

I’ve seen other photogs comparison pictures of “why never to order through walmart, etc.,” but when I saw first hand how distorted the coloring of a photo can be, it became so much more “real”. I immediately went to my professional lab to order the exact same images for comparison. How excited I was when FedEx knocked on my door this morning to drop off these pictures. It doesn’t take an expert, photographer, or genius to figure out how poor of quality and lack of detail the retail print is in comparison to the professional print.

Now granted, I just snapped side by side pictures of the photographs for quick comparison, but I’m excited to have these in my office so people can see first hand the difference in quality- paper and all. Happy Wednesday!!

{ Little Sidenote: I totally understand the desire to want to order your prints (whether they’re one you’ve taken or images provided by your photographer) without going through a professional company. One of my favorite online retail companies is www.mpix.com, and they come highly recommended. Plus, they’re quick and really don’t cost any more than a local one hour retailer! }


These are my kids. This was my morning.

In between the laundry, editing and emailing, cleaning of sheets, scrubbing of bathrooms and endless dishes, I made a split second decision to take my kids across the street for a impromptu photo shoot. They may or may not have been bribed with candy.

We made sure to have a little fun in the process…

..and then we decided the shoot couldn’t possibly be complete without throwing the dogs in…
Happy Tuesday!

{Friday Favorites}

The past few weeks have been pretty nuts around here. Last Friday, after days of speculating, my husband was officially given doctors orders to “really take it easy” since he was officially diagnosed with two broken ribs (hence, the no Friday Favorites last week). Being that my husband is pretty hands on and helpful with the kids, this is definitely making me one tired momma! Thankful, he’s feeling better and better with each day, so hopefully we’ll be back to normal in no time.

Here we go…

1. Good grades! I am so so proud that all of our kids ended up with mainly A’s and few B’s for quarter 3! Our oldest has worked his butt off this quarter in his advanced classes and had all A’s and only 2 B’s for the quarter. I am hoping that praying that their desire to do well in school continues as they keep moving on up. Speaking of which, how in the world are we already in the 4th quarter!?

2. A clean car. Today I took my gigantic, filthy expedition to the car wash and happily forked over $12 for a good cleaning inside and out. I’ll tell you what, a clean car makes me feel refreshed, so much more organized and quite simply, makes me smile.

3. My daughter’s artwork was chosen to be on display at the local Alliance for the Arts. Only 25 pieces of art were chosen from her school, which is such a big honor. We went to the open house reception last night and walked around admiring all of the amazing work. I couldn’t believe some of the talent and I am so proud that my daughter made it into such an amazing show!

(Iphone photo. My daughter’s “Falling Flowers” artwork is top and center.)

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4. The baby chicks my son’s school are growing. They have been heating the eggs for two or three weeks now and the baby chicks have started to hatch in the past week. It’s so amazing and we’ve had so much fun watching the eggs slowly crack open and all the different chicks start to make their big debut! I *almost* want to do this little project at our house….*almost*.

(iphone photo of the recently hatched chicks)

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Here’s just a few other things that made smile this week (in no particular order :)):

1. Lots of lunches with friends. Thank you Chickfila for the indoor playground. It keeps me sane.

2. Tropical Smoothie.

3. Lunch with my daughter.

4. Bible Study.

5. My husband.

6. Time at the pool.

I hope your weekend is amazing!

{Friday Favorites}

– Random days off with my husband. He ended up not working Wednesday so went spent the day shopping, lunching and hanging out around the town. Perfection with the love of my life. Oh, and my favorite little three year old, who lovingly tagged along and insisted we order Oreo Madness from Friday’s for dessert.

– Chad and Laura’s engagement session was published this week in The Oceanside Bride blog!! We are so excited and would love if you checked it out HERE! Thank you Chad and Laura for being so wonderful and thank you Oceanside Bride for being an awesome wedding blogger!

– Adobe Lightroom. In the past, I’ve solely used Bridge and Photoshop for my editing needs and about two months ago, I finally made the switch over to Lightroom. It’s changed my life and am so thankful for this amazing program.

– My soon-to-be blooming tree in my front yard. One of my favorite things about Spring is knowing that this precious tree that I planted 6 years ago is going to flower and have a bright, yellow top probably by this time next week. It’s sooo close, and a few flowers have already sprung out, so be prepared for more pictures this time next week!

-A healthy, happy family. I don’t ever want to take these things for granted.

I hope you have a wonderful weekend and if you can, keep the people and family of those affected by the tragedy in Japan in your prayers. The images are absolutely unbelievable and take my breath away everytime I see the damage that has been done.

The Caterpillar.

The weather in the evening this time of year is to die for. It just feels like Spring is in the air…which means my love of planting flowers and plants has officially arrived. I love yardwork. Like, L.O.V.E.  In fact, this past Christmas I asked my mom for a gift card to my favorite garden shop to help support my efforts. You ask why I do this replanting every Spring? Well, as much as I want a green thumb, I most definitely don’t have one and I’m sad to say I kill almost everything green.

Last night, the trimming, weeding and cleaning of the yard began. It’s always a family effort..my older boys usually have no desire to do it, but thankfully do anyway, and my little ones think it’s the best thing ever. However, in the midst of our cleaning up of the flower beds, my kids spotted this most fascinating little creature. Our family gathered on our driveway just watching this little guy crawl around. He literally looked like he was straight out of a cartoon.

The best part? My sister (who lives just down the road) saw us all gathered around the little guy, so she pulled right into our driveway and came to check out the scene. (For the record, both these boys HAD shirts on only minutes prior….)

I love that this little caterpillar halted all yardwork and created this Tuesday night gathering on our driveway. We stayed there until dark laughing, chatting and just having the best time with the people we love most. The trimmed branches are still sitting in the yard and the weeds are still growing but we created memories last night that will last so much longer than anything I plant. I challenge you today to make a memory with someone you love most. You won’t regret it. Happy Wednesday!!

{Friday Favorites}

Gosh, doing these Friday Favorites every week is making me realize how fast days and weeks are flying by right before my eyes. I’m thankful this past week has been so much better than the previous- our internet is back, we’re all healthy and well, life is good. Here’s my favorites of the week….

Ruche. My *absolute* new favorite clothing store. It’s similar to anthropologie, but much more affordable! Here’s a few of my favorites:



(Sidenote: Do you have a favorite, maybe not well known, store? If so, tell me!!! I love secret little stores that are filled with greatness!!)

– No school today. Now, as much as I love when my kids are at school, I also love not having to set the alarm, not having to rush out the door by 7:30 a.m. and best of all, hanging out with my kids all day. I do have to admit though, there isn’t a day that goes by that I am actually dressed in regular clothes when dropping off my kids at school….it’s always pajama pants and a tee. I can’t possibly be alone, right..??

– Date night with my hubby. Sunday night, my mom watched our gang of kids so we could have a much needed night out, childless! We went to Carrabbas, where I had the most delicious Sangria (thank you Ali for getting me hooked!) and filet. After dinner, we went to see the movie Just Go With It. Hilarious. We laughed almost the entire time!

– Thank you notes from my clients. I received one the other day and it just melted my heart. I have quite a pile of them and am excited to get them assembled and up in my office in the very near future. I know I say it all the time, but I love what I do and am so blessed by the people I meet and the jobs people entrust to me. I can’t imagine doing anything else. (PS. Thank you Chris and Rachel for the sweet note!)

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– Anthropologie’s new bridal line, BHLDN. I love almost everything about this store, and their bridal line is no exception (well, except maybe the hefty price..). I’m a sucker for the vintage, yet classic look and I feel these gowns and dresses do not disappoint. Each piece is filled with texture and is so unique to most everything you’ll find in stores today. Here’s a few of my favorites from their new collection:

Hope your weekend is wonderful!

{Friday Favorites}

After a week like this past one, I almost didn’t want to write a Friday Favorites. It’s been a crazy week without internet (again!) and so many things just not going in my favor. I could probably go back to basics this week..wonderful husband, beautiful and healthy kids, a great house and a car that runs. Thankfully, I serve a God that is still so good and gracious despite crappy circumstances. Without further ado, here’s my list of favorites from this week:

– Rainy days. Gosh, they are just so good for the soul…when you can just stay home and watch from the comfort of your bed. I love nothing more than an afternoon nap during a rain storm.

– Friends. Last night I got to text with one of my greatest friends who I miss so terribly much. I want more than anything to hop on a plane to see her but I am thankful to know regardless of distance, I still have a friend who is like a sister. Love you A!

– My hubby watching American Idol with me. We used to watch together years ago but he started to get sick of it and really wanted nothing to do with it. Things have changed this season though and I think he may actually be more into it than I am, and for that I am grateful. We’re having so much fun watching it, choosing our favorites and laughing at the judges. Now..if I could just get him hooked on The Bachelor… (sidenote: I absolutely ADORE  J.Lo on this show. Such a perfect fit.)

– Friends who jump cars and stay for lunch. My car broke down in none other than the Calistoga parking lot this week, and I am so thankful one of my other great friends’ came and jumped my car. Lets be real..we didn’t do it, some sweet, old man did the whole cable thing. However, I did have “how to the jump a car” googled and ready to go on my phone, just in case. After it was back up and running, we got to sit and each lunch together, which was so great and something we haven’t done in ages.

– Lunch with friends, in general. How great that I got to eat lunch out with awesome friends each day this week? On Wednesday, I got to randomly meet up with one of my closest friends for lunch with not only her, but her adorably sweet little new baby. Yesterday, I got to eat with my little boys best buddies, and one of my most awesome friends. I love that she has 4 boys, just like us and that they’re all friends with each other. I truly have the greatest friends…each and everyone of them…in the world.

– My iPhone. Oh how I could not imagine life without it. It has been so helpful while the cable line sits in the canal behind our house. I never want to take the greatness of a smartphone for granted.

– My kids randomly coming up to me and telling me “I love you, mom.” Priceless and fills my heart each and every time.

This week sounds a little depressing but I love how my circumstances this week have truly put my most favorite things into perspective- family, friends, technology & food. Have a great weekend!

{Friday Favorites}

– The Beach….in February. My youngest and I spent Wednesday morning at the beach and it was AMAZING. The weather was gorgeous, the water was blue and we most definitely walked away with refreshed souls. Seeing as I’ve had NO INTERNET this whole week, the beach seemed like the best option, considering I could get some work done while sitting in the sun and relaxing next to the crashing waves. It. Was. Heavenly. As we left, my 3 year old said to me, “Mom, that was the best!”. Yes, son, it sure was. (iPhone photo)

– Lunch with my little girl. Every week, I try to make it a point to eat lunch with my little first grader at her school. I absolutely love that parents are allowed in for lunch time, and I am so thankful she still loves it too! I remember my parents eating lunch with me at school as well, and think the memories that are being made are priceless. This is most definitely one of the highlights of my week.

– Speaking of lunch, I have to admit that I stopped for lunch at Calistoga 3 times this week. I am head over heels in love with their Santa Rosa sandwich and Calistoga salad. The pesto aioli on the Santa Rosa is so so good, and mixing that with turkey and ham, a few slices of cheese, bacon pieces, as well as some lettuce and tomato on ciabatta bread….DELISH! Also, Calistoga offers free internet access, which is a big bonus when your internet at home is falling apart. (iPhone photo)

– These reusable lunch baggies on etsy.com. If you just do a search, so many fabulous ones will come up. We go through so many little sandwich bags and not only are these a million times cuter, but so much more practical! Best of all, everyone can use them! Go get some!!

LOVE these bags by SnakSak:

This baggie is by Torrilyn123:

Another favorite by nicki3:

– Netflix streaming on the XBOX360. Who knew? This week, afters year’s of having Netflix and a long, long time of having the Xbox, my wonderful husband filled me that we could stream movies instantly with the push of a button. It was so fun searching them and then deciding what we wanted to watch…all from the couch. Not only am I thrilled, but my kids are LOVING having access to so many great movies!

Here’s hoping this weekend is filled with lots of sun (and warm winter weather for you northerners!), some good internet access and great times with family and friends! Happy Friday!

{Friday Favorites}

– Bangs. I took the plunge this week and cut myself some bangs. Yes, just me, the scissors and my bathroom. My husband thought the reason I took matters into my own hands was so that I would surely end up at the salon that afternoon. Alas, I was successful all on my own and although I go back and forth a little between liking the bangs and not… I do love having a change!  (Here’s a pic from my iPhone)

– Girls Night Out. Gosh, although being a mother is a full time job, I feel like I never appreciated girls night out as much as I do now that I run a full time business. I work hours and hours and sometimes there is nothing better than a few hours out to dinner with the best girlfriends a girl could have.

– The iPhone app- GeoQpons. If you have an iPhone and like to save money with just the show of your phone, download this today!! Seriously, I use it all the time and the coupons are fab.

– It’s baccckkkk. Yes, I am an absolute sucker for reality TV. Welcome back to my life American Idol (which I am LOVING), Bachelor and Biggest Loser. It definitely makes up for the lack of football in my life for the next 8 months.

– My little first grader. We’re a house of readers- my two older boys are constantly reading, and my husband and myself love a good book (although it doesn’t happen nearly as often as we would like..). Anyway, my little girl has finally caught the reading bug and I couldn’t be more excited. She is constantly begging to make a stop at the library and I often find her reading out loud in her bed during the hours she should be sleeping. I’m a proud momma.

– Many of my facebook friends saw this on my wall this week, but I love it so much it just has to be one of my Friday Favorites. My sister and I are super close and we’ve been this way ever since we’ve “grown up”. I am so thankful to have a sister and because of this relationship I truly wanted one for my daughter. However, this just wasn’t meant to be, BUT I do have 4 boys, which means lots of brotherly love under our roof. I’ve never known if this brother relationship was going to be anything similar to the relationship of sisters, but lately, I’ve been thinking YES. My boys all play so great together, they wrestle each other to the point of tears but moments like this just make me realize they love each other so very much. My sister commented on my facebook pic saying, “By the looks of it, brothers can be farrrr closer than sisters. We surely never layed this close together!”.  As a child, I absolutely REFUSED to sleep in the queen size bed we shared, so it’s looking pretty darn good for the boys.  (iPhone photo below)

I hope your week was wonderful and the weekend is even better! Btw, this post was done courtesy of the WordPress app on the iPhone..how awesome is that!

{Friday Favorites}

– Yesterday. Many people don’t know this, but my sister (who owns an insurance agency- Accurate Insurance) and I both have our offices in the same building. However, we never really see each other at work since most of my stops and meetings happen on the weekends and evenings, whereas she’s there during business house. Yesterday though, I had two afternoon meetings and about an hour to spare in between them. So I called my sister, we met in the lobby, and quickly hopped in the car to make a quick trip to Yogurt Mountain in Coconut Point. I’ve got to say, it felt like high school days where you would meet up with your best friend and walk to the cafeteria together for lunch. And, I loved every second of it.

*Oh, and for the record, our yogurt cups did *not* look like this. Let’s just say, we probably should have run back to our offices after we devoured our delicious treat. 🙂

-Crewcuts…at none other than Miromar Outlet!! Crewcuts is one of the only stores that my daughter and I can agree on for clothes. Kyla is 7 and honestly, I’m not a huge fan of the teeny bopper clothes they seem to have almost everywhere. I just love the classic, yet fashionable style crewcuts produces for the little ones. Or, maybe it’s just that their website and catalog make me all giddy seeing seeing most amazing and wonderfully styled photoshoots most photogs would dream of doing. Seriously, just look at some of these pictures. LOVE.

It’s almost spring, which means Easter is around the corner, so why not throw in some bunnies with your photoshoot?! I am just a sucker for awesome details….

– Me, Myself & Lies- A Thought Closet Makeover. We just started this bible study last week at Illuminate and it’s rocking my world. It’s unlike any other study I’ve done and I’m just learning so much about how God want’s me to see ME. We, as humans and as sinners consistently tend to view ourselves negatively- I’m fat, I’m ugly, I’m not good enough, I’m an idiot, etc. Although we may not always say it out loud, it could possibly be the soundtrack playing over and over in our head, which is really just as bad. This is not how God views us and how awful that we would view His creation with such ugliness and negatively, but rather with honesty and truth. I can already see a difference in my self-talk and I am so excited for the changes in my life over the next few weeks.

– This past week was great and I was so grateful and blessed to meet with so many amazing couples. It was a crazy busy week but I had so much fun getting to know and talk to all of the brides and grooms. It’s going to be an amazing year…as well as an amazing 2012! Sidenote: I always think it’s awesome how many of the guys are highly involved and opinionated with this wedding planning process, not leaving it all up to the bride to figure out and decide on their own. Great job guys!  Anyway, these meetings were definitely the highlight of my week. I know I say it all the darn time, but I feel so blessed I get to have a job that I love as much as I do.

Have a great weekend!!

The Best Bridal Show: Harborside, Fort Myers, Florida

It’s not called The Best Bridal Show for nothing! We had so much fun meeting and chatting with all of the awesome brides-(and grooms!) to-be in our area yesterday at Harborside Convention Center. I’m always so (yes, that would be in bold) nervous the day of the shows. So much to do, so much to pack up and remember and thankfully, the second the shows starts, all the nerves I had prior disappear and great excitement sets in. I totally mean this when I say that I absolutely love hearing about everyone’s plans for their wedding day. Honestly, it never bores me. Big thank you to the brides and grooms that stopped by our booth today. We hope you had as much fun as we did and I look forward to hearing from you!

Lastly, I just have to say, we were so thankful for such wonderful feedback and the sweetest of compliments. I don’t know if people understand how much it means to photographer’s, when they express with such sincerity, the love they have for our work. I can almost guarantee this goes for every photographer out there. If you want to make a photographers’ day, I promise all you have to do is let them know how much you love what they do. 🙂 Better yet, make it a goal this week to compliment one person each day, because that one little sentence will surely go a long way. Make it a great week and don’t forget to give those compliments!

{Friday Favorites}

Can’t believe it’s already Friday again. A lot to look forward to during this long weekend- a few potential client meetings, The Best Bridal Show on Sunday at Harborside (www.bestbridalshow.com), 2 birthday parties with my kids and then no school on Monday (which means no getting up and rushing around at 6:45). It’s going to be busy, but if you know me at all, I like busy…except for at 6:35 in the morning. 🙂

-Leggings. This is one of those things I said “never” to. You know, like “Oh, I’ll NEVER be caught dead in those!”. So, I’m obviously years behind, but I just started liking them (for me) in the past few months. I officially bought my first pair on Black Friday and I have to say it was probably the best purchase I made that day. Thank you to my sister who has been begging me to get with the program for years. Honestly, if you don’t own a pair of leggings GO GET SOME. They are so, so comfy and you can dress them up or keep it casual with them. LOVE. Oh, and for the record, just make sure you wear them right…because there is definitely a wrong way.

– My son, Carter, who builds the most amazing things out of legos. He’s only 4 but I’m pretty sure he may end up to be an architect later in life, and he can give all the credit to the legos he’s been playing with since he was one. He’s a funny kid. You can usually expect all of his birthday gifts and Christmas gifts to consist of lego sets because THAT’S ALL HE PLAYS WITH. No joke. Ask any of my friend, his friends, our family, etc. Better yet, next time you see him ask him what he wants for his birthday. It will be a one word answer. He doesn’t play with toys, he plays with legos and he creates the most brilliant of things with them. THIS will be a future post, with pictures, of course.

– My husband (Mr. AntiSocialMedia), who I love so dearly, finally gave into Facebook and Twitter….and he is loving every minute of it. 🙂

– WeWedIV. Read about it in my last blog post and check out some of the pictures from the day. It was so inspirational and has me viewing my business in a whole new way.

– French Vanilla Sugar Free creamer. I dream about this stuff every night before I go to bed and it puts an instant smile on my face in the morning. Thank you, Coffeemate.

– The new farmers market that just opened right by our house. Something about going to a fresh market with all kinds of yummy fruits and veggies, just makes me happy.

Happy Friday!!

WeWed IV

Now, I love weddings. Like, really really love them. They never bore me, I love the people I work for and with, I’m always excited when I have a wedding and I never, ever dread going to work. Now, times these original feelings by about a hundred and that’s how I feel today. Yesterday, I had the privilege of attending WeWed IV, a fantastic workshop, hosted by the wonderful and brilliant Kelly McWilliams of Weddings by Socialites.  It was so informative, refreshing, inspiring and educational that my head was still literally spinning at midnight, in a good way, of course. I almost thought about taking Nyquil, just to put me to sleep. For real. It was that good.

Going to workshops like WeWed really makes you want to push harder, give even more effort than you are now and truly takes your passion for your product to a whole new level.  As people, as business owners and as professionals, the last thing we want to do is settle for mediocre or ever believe that we’ve “made it”.  This business is a journey, not a destination and for that reason, we need to consistently challenge ourselves to become better.

Also, because they always do such a great job, WeWedIV was held at The Resort in Marina Village in Cape Coral, Florida, with lunch being served downstairs at Marker 92 (as always, LOVE their food). I highly recommend checking this resort out whether you’re a bride, a vacationer or even a local just looking for something different to do in the area. It’s pretty great and you’ll thank me later.

Lastly, if you’re in the wedding industry in Southwest Florida, or really anywhere, I highly recommend going to WeWed V. It will change the way you think, the way you do things and will only help your business and product. Not only that, but you will get to meet and or see many other colleagues in the area, and honestly, we have some of the best. Since I was the official photographer of the event, I was able to capture some of the day for the world to see. Thanks Kelly for a great event as well as the fantastic prizes- I am so excited about the Martha Stewart magazines as well as the year subscription to Entrepreneur magazine!


Tweeting the day away. Search #wewed to see the tweets!


{Friday Favorites}

– JCrew Pajama Pants. I’ve always loved these, especially in the winter time, but now I just can’t wait to put them on the second I get home, even if it’s 11 o’clock in the afternoon. They’re made so well, yet are still lightweight and super comfy. Thinking back, I think this was one of my favorites awhile back. Somethings are just that good.

– Christmas Tree branches. Weird, I know. Someone told me last year that when you buy your Christmas tree to always grab the branches that they cut off the bottom. I had never done it until this year and gosh, I don’t know why the people don’t tell you this when you buy the tree! I’ve used the branches (trimmed up a bit to make them smaller) as part of center pieces and on side tables around Christmas decor. Not only does it fancy it up a bit but the smell just fills each room so wonderfully. I left the extra branches in my garage, so now I everytime I get in the car I get a big whiff of pine and I just love it. You can bet I’m not throwing these bad boys away anytime soon.

– The iHome. Funny enough, my husband and I both bought each other this for Christmas, totally on accident. I love that I can now play my iPod in my room and it sounds so so great!

– New Years. As sad as I am always to end the chapter of the previous year there is something so refreshing about a new year and new beginnings. 2010 was an amazing year in every aspect and I am so grateful for the wonderfulness of it, knowing that life may not always be so great. It honestly makes me a little nervous to welcome 2011 because the last chapter was just THAT good.

– Honey Cinnamon Almonds by Archer Farms. Everyone should taste this goodness at some point in their life. I love to always have some on hand to throw in a dish and share with visitors. You can find them at Target and you will definitely thank me later.

Happy Friday!

Alana is ONE!

I may totally be speaking for myself, but I often don’t realize how much can change in 6 months. Life just goes on, day by day, and then all of a sudden you question, “when did this change” or “how did this happen” or “when and how did my baby get so big”. I know as a mom, the latter is so often the question. At bible study today a lady said something to the extent of “Life just gets in the way of the daily”. How true that is. I truly want to be a person who values each day to the fullest extent and even better, each hour and minute. How am I spending my time? Resolution #1 for 2011…hoping to be a wiser time spender this year!

Yesterday, I had the honor of getting to spend a little time with Miss Alana on one of the biggest days of her little life. Her First Birthday! The last time I saw Alana was just a little past her 6 month birthday. Back then she was this little girl who sat where you put her and now she’s an opinionated little princess who loves to go, go, go, eat grass and wear the fanciest jewels she can find. Not only that but I think she’s even more adorable than she was last time, if that’s even possible. Doesn’t her precious little face just melt you!? I won’t even get started on her eyes…dark hair+blue eyes=one of my favorite combos!

Happy First Birthday Alana!!! You are a doll and I am so grateful I got hang out with you on such a special day!


Friday Favorites.

i. As of a mom of 5 kids, you can only imagine how our house is overflowing with Halloween candy every way you look. Literally, bedrooms, kitchen, and yes, even the laundry room. I used to be a candy lover of all kinds, but over the years my sweet tooth has started to fade, which I am totally okay with. However, I still love me some good ole’ M&M’s, but not just regular M&M’s, cooked M&M’s. I throw one of those fun size bags in the microwave for 20 second and I have the best, crunchy, slightly melted treat I have ever tasted. You should try it…you’ll never look at M&M’s the same.

ii. Iowa Hawkeyes. If you know me at all, you know I’m from Iowa and I’m a HUGGGEEE Hawkeye fan. Although I am still recovering from our Wisconsin loss, I am relishing in our Michigan State win and very hopeful for the rest of our season. I think they’ve been playing so well over the past few years that people may actually start recognizing the name of state. Seriously. It’s smack dab in the middle of the USA and we do not grow potatoes…for all of those who so easily confuse us with Idaho. The Hawkeyes are so cool we even have our own fan club right here in good ole’ Fort Myers at Ron Daos (http://www.rondaos.com/). I love nothing better than just hanging out here with family, wearing our black and gold and cheering on the best team in the Big 10. 🙂

(If you don’t already know, the front of my car and my sister’s car look just like the picture below, thanks to our daddy. :))

iii. God.

a.  I recognize I am so undeserving, yet He has been so good and so faithful to me the past few years and months. Sometimes I just sit here in awe pondering all he has accomplished through me.  It has been the wildest of rides and without a doubt, God has had His hand all over it. I booked my first wedding within weeks of deciding to start my business. It hasn’t really slowed down since and in fact, just keeps getting busier. The way the calendar is looking right now, we did more than double our weddings in 2010 (compared to 2009) and could possibly double again in 2011. It’ such a blessing and I don’t take one ounce of it for granted. I feel like I am living a dream, getting to do something I am so passionate about and absolutely love.

b. Years ago I was extremely shy, quiet, and wouldn’t talk to anyone I didn’t know. In my own flesh, I could never have just met with potential clients without throwing up all over myself in nerves. I promise my sister can attest for me in this. She’s the type to say anything to anyone (oh, and the stories we have from childhood), and make instant friends with everyone while I was the older sister always telling her to stop, before running and hiding in embarrassment by her “big mouth”. It astonishes me that I can now not only have a “blind date” meeting with clients but also build friendships with “strangers” (my fabulous brides who I adore!!). God has been at work in my life and in my business and I just praise Him for all He has done and is doing. There is no way I could or would be where I am today without Him.

iv. My friends, Chris and Jenn, had their first baby last night. They’re the *adorable* couple in the video on my homepage. 🙂 What a blessed little boy to have parents who love him soooo much!! Honestly, one of my first memories of Jenn consist of her talking about the desires to be a mommy. Chris and Jenn, I hope you soak up every ounce of this most amazing time in your life!!

I hope you all have a great weekend enjoying the gorgeous weather!!!

Naples Zoo: Lions, Giraffes & Two Little Monkeys.

A few weeks ago, I took my younger boys to the Naples Zoo (www.napleszoo.com) with a few of our friends. We saw all sorts of animals- lions, tigers, giraffes, black bears, kangaroos, alligators, monkeys, and the list goes on and on.  My boys were running from exhibit to exhibit in excitement and in awe since they’ve never been to a zoo before, at least that they remember. Their favorite stop was at the lions den and I’m  pretty sure the lions were loving every second of our kids stop, you know, since they kept walking past the kids, licking their chops. I was pretty sure one was going to jump the fence and grab a snack or two.

Although not fun to carry around, I was extremely excited to bring my camera with my big and buttery zoom lens (Canon 70-200IS, 2.8). I was never really a huge fan of this lens, outside of wedding ceremonies (where I consider it a must have), but am I really starting to use it more and more with everyday shoots and throughout the wedding day. Anyway, I am so excited about the pictures from our trip and if I hadn’t just redone their bedroom, I would probably blow these bad boys up and make it some sort of zoo room.

Also, if you are in the area and haven’t been to the zoo, you should totally go!! It’s nothing major, like the zoo in Miami or Tampa, but the kids still love it and they still have almost all of the animals a little one would want to see. Lastly, the Naples Zoo is now offering custom weddings. How cool would that be?! I saw an area where a reception would occur and it’s definitely a unique setting. Check it out: http://napleszoo.com/wedding/index.html

Without further ado, here’s some of my favorite shots from the day:

My two monkeys are currently on our deck swinging from the cover over their sandbox. No joke. I promise they fit right in. Make it a great Wednesday!!!

The Spider.

Here’s one way to get your kids inside, and off the deck, to come in for dinner:



Who need’s a dinner bell when you’ve got your own crab spider spinning webs right outside your door?

It’s Finally Time…Spring Session Giveaway!!!

First of all, THANK YOU so much for getting me to 500 facebook fans!! You guys ROCK!!! If you haven’t become a fan yet, join here.

So, here’s the deal, one lucky winner will receive an hour long session, anywhere in Southwest Florida. If you don’t live in the Fort Myers/Naples area, keep reading, because you can transfer it to someone who does!! The winner will receive an 8×10 double matted print of their choice, 2 5×7’s and a disk, with rights, of their images from the shoot. Your shoot can be whatever you wish- family, children, newborn, maternity, senior, engagement, bridal, etc. It’s your hour, and your choice!

Entering is simple! Just leave a comment on the blog www.mariaglassfordblog.com (there is a comment section following each blog post) and you are automatically entered. One entry per person, BUT if you would like a second entry, thereby doubling your chances of winning, just Tweet about this contest on Twitter, post it as your Facebook status or mention it on your blog and you will be entitled to a second entry. Just be sure to include the link www.mariaglassfordblog.com in your announcement of the giveaway and then email me (maria@mariaglassford.com) to let me know where you posted it. It gets better than this though. If you win the giveaway and have a double entry (by forwarding this giveaway on, per the above mentioned methods), you will win a shoot for not only yourself, but also a shoot for you to giveaway to anyone you wish. Therefore, if you win and have two entries, you win two shoots!! Mother’s Day is coming and this would be a nice little treat for any mom!!

Just a few more things…
The winner will be chosen by random.org on May 5th, contacted by email and announced on this blog. Prize has no cash value and no substitutions can be made. Sessions are scheduled based on availability, but typically planned 2-3 weeks in advance. We will not sell, use or share your email address with anyone. If you have any questions or need clarification of this contest, please feel free to email me at maria@mariaglassford.com. Good luck!!

Wedding Wire

A few years ago I remember coming across www.weddingwire.com and remember thinking the idea was really inventive and unique, but at the same time the vendor listings and content seemed rather weak. However, things have apparently changed dramatically. After searching for another vendor I previously worked with, I stumbled upon his profile and am so amazed at how great of a site it has become! It’s such a great and practical “one stop shop” for brides as well as an awesome, free, and client reviewed marketing tool for vendors. I’ve been playing on it all day, searching, applying, etc. It’s so fun! For the brides, there’s a “my budget” tool, seating chart builder (drag and drop. how cool is that?!), a binder (where you can save links, pics, documents, etc.), inspiration board and you can even create your own wedding website. It kind of makes me want to get married (or, rather, plan a wedding ;)) all over again!! Anyway, I can’t say enough GREAT things about the site, so brides..CHECK IT OUT!! Oh, and don’t forget to go to my very own “storefront”. 🙂

http://www.weddingwire.com/biz/maria-glassford-photography-fort-myers/4458a55d6dc7ce1b.html

And, just for fun..here’s what we’ve been up to in the Glassford home. I’ll save the details for the next post. 🙂 Happy Wednesday!

Shoot for the Sun.

Growing up with a camera in hand, I cannot even tell you the countless times I heard “make sure your back is to the sun when your taking pictures”. It seemed to be the rule of thumb and just the right way to get the right lighting so everyone’s faces were shadow-free, well lit and often times nice and squinty. As a soccer coach, I get the priviledge of sitting through a photo session with each team in the fall and I’m pretty sure I don’t have a picture to date where you can actually see my eyes opened. So, just call me rebellious, or better yet stubborn (which I am.) because I am a sun shooter and I absolutely love it. Each session and each wedding my favorite pics are almost always the ones where I shot with the sun somewhat glaring into my lens, creating in my opinion, the most gorgeous flare. Anyway, with that said, don’t be afraid to experiment and play around with it. These two pics were taken the other day and obviously little Emma is adorable (even with her most serious of faces) but I just can’t go without noticing the individual rays of His light that were captured in each pic. The Bible says in the very beginning God gave us light and He saw that light was good. I truly pray His light radiates in me and all I do, as I strive to bring glory to His name.

Psalm 113:3 From the rising of the sun to the place where it sets, the name of the LORD is to be praised.

{And..Take Two}

Reason number 4,876,987 why I have the best job? Because the most awesome, Rod and Jackie, had www.peekaboophotobooth.com come to their wedding so their guests should enjoy (or in our case, cry in horror) and take home a little strip of pictures as a souvenir. My sister (lovely assistant she is) and I, of course, couldn’t leave without making a stop as well. Actually, in our case, we screwed up (yeah, who does that?) our first trip inside so we had a redo session. It also kinda made me feel like a cool little middle schooler again. Love it? I sure do! 🙂 Oh, and don’t mind our disgustingness..it had been a long day of hard work and I’m thankful to have loved every minute of it!

PS. I highly recommend any bride/groom hire www.peekaboophotobook.com (talk to Andrew, he rocks!) to make a stop at their wedding reception. Not only will you get an awesome photobooth guestbook/scrapbook but it will DEFINITELY be a huge hit of the evening!