Category Archives: Personal

The Osprey.

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(don’t judge…iphone photography at it’s finest..)

What was planned to be a 10 minute favor for a friend (picking her up from a car shop and taking her home), led to a 3 hour adventure filled with curve balls this morning….which included the rescuing of this broken winged osprey.

Reminds me of what God ultimately did for us (and just to be clear, I am in no way comparing myself to Jesus–the only thing good in me is him). This bird couldn’t save himself, he couldn’t walk or fly, and was likely going to starve. As much as the momma bird kept flying in and was trying to help, there was nothing she could do to really bring this bird to being healed, restored to good health and saved. She could only love and try to take care–which was very cool to see–but this bird needed to be picked up and carried. (How desperately I needed this reminder. God is faithful. I am called to love.) How amazing our Ultimate Rescuer is to pick us up and take us in, heal us, help us, comfort us and set us free–with our lives changed forever. The best part of all? This bird, just like us, didn’t and couldn’t do anything to earn rescuing and it’s saving state. Grace is a beautiful thing…and God is good.

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!

My Baby is 5!

Happy Birthday Jonah!!!! How is it even possible that it’s been 5 years since my Jonah was born? FIVE. As in, a whole hand and a whole lot of days we’ve shared together to get to this point, in what seems like an instant. Although, I sadly can’t remember every memory and every day, I know without a doubt we’ve had more laughter, more joy, more fun and more love with this little man in our family.

A few things I currently love about my Jonah boy…

– He always has his clothes on inside out…or backwards. It’s inevitable, and I love it.

– He’s a people pleaser. He never wants to make his mommy or daddy upset.

– He never tests the limits and is full of caution.

– His favorite ride at Busch Gardens is the carousel…and any other slow ride.

– He loves riding his bike.

– He loves to play Playdough.

– He’s simple.

– He could play board games all day long.

– He insists on a book before bed every single night. Even if it’s way too late.

– He has a pure passion and incredible love for music…and always has.

– He wants to play the guitar.

– He was my hardest baby (by far) and my easiest child.

– He’s shy, nervous, and quiet. Until you know him.

– He loves his sleep.

– His nicknames are JQ (for Jonah Quinton), Jo, JoJo and J. He answers to them all.

– He actually asks me to take pictures of him.

– He is super modest.

-He loves to pray (and every time his eyes are squeezed shut and his hands are folded….both of them, as hard as he possibly can).

-He always wants me to sleep with him for a few minutes after I tuck him in.

– He brushes his teeth and does his hair every morning without me asking.

– He is athletic and has some crazy speed behind his little legs!

– He loves preschool and is always so proud to get through the day without crying.

– He’s sensitive.

– His birthday list this year consisted of a bike helmet, a toothbrush and a tree. My sister insists he’s turning 85, instead of 5.

– He loves to love.

Every birthday I instantly turn into a ball of emotions, not really knowing wether to be happy, sad, excited or confused.  I’m excited for him to be 5 and yet sad that he is growing into a big boy more and more by the day. I can’t get days back with Jonah and while he is 5, I want to soak up every ounce of him, treasuring each passing second, knowing it’s truly a gift.

We are so grateful the Lord blessed us with you, sweet, handsome boy!! And what a unbelievable blessing you are. Jonah, you are such a joy to us and we are so honored to be your parents. Happy Birthday Jonah- we love you so, so much!!!

{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}

– 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!

{ Friday Favorites }

1. The gym. With the help of a friend (and great accountability partner) the past 5 weeks, I’ve been a regular gym goer again. We go 4 days a week and have a set schedule we follow each day of the week. I think my favorite thing is that we’re having fun together- whether it be weights, spin or stairs- and I am so excited that I’m in a place where I look forward to going every morning.

2. To-do lists. I’ve been good about making them every morning and it’s pretty much changed the way I work. I end up feeling such an urgency to get my list crossed off and am ending each day feeling more accomplished.

3. The sprinkle sugar cookies from Publix. Gah.  I truly wish they would just quit making them since I don’t seem to have a tad of will power when it comes to them (or sprinkle anything for that matter.).

4. Black Friday shopping. My sister is my date every year and we have the time of our lives drinking coffee, laughing and shopping in the middle of the night until the mid morning hours. Did you see that Target Black Friday commercial where the lady is freaking out because it’s HERE!? That’s pretty much us.

5. Christmas music. Enough said.

And a quick sneak peak of last weekend’s mini sessions. I can’t show you the gorgeous family ones (yet!) since I don’t want to ruin their Christmas card picture, but I loved this photo of this full-of-personality brother and sister. I swear I have the most awesome clients. : ) Happy Friday!

Like Daughter, Like Mother: Thankfulness

My daughter came home from school this week with a Thankful Wreath, and each leaf had a sentence of something she was thankful for. It was so carefully cut, glued and created and something I will treasure for many years to come. When I found it, I stood in awe, not only as a proud mom but so thankful for her heart and love.

Here were a few of her thankful thoughts:

I am thankful for my family.

I am thankful for my teacher.

I am thankful for my friends.

I am thankful for my dogs.

I am thankful for God.

I am thankful for everything.

I couldn’t have said it better myself.  1 Thessalonians 5:18 tells us to “Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ.”  Today, I am thankful for everything and I really want to soak in the blessings the Lord has sweetly given during my lifetime. I truly wish I could say that I have a spirit of thanksgiving in all circumstances, even if I’m not necessarily thankful FOR the circumstance, but I ashamedly fall short often. Today serves as such a reminder that we have been given far more than we ever have or could ever deserve and for that I’m grateful. Today I’m thankful that I get to hang out with my favorite people, eating the most delicious of food and watching hours of football. Sounds pretty perfect to me. : )

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours, and may you be reminded of your blessings today and for the days to follow!!

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!

{Friday Favorites}

Work has been so busy and I always have plenty to do {thankfully}, but oh how I miss not making this weekly posting! So, here we go!

* I secretly love when my kids get ahold of my phone to take pictures of themselves. It always makes me laugh.

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* The delay button on my coffee machine. There are few things better than hopping out of bed and having a cup of a coffee just seconds later. And to think I wasn’t a coffee drinker just a few short years ago….

* FALL. Really, it is my most favorite time of year. My pumpkin candles, decorated house and countless fall magazine covers *almost* make it okay that I’m not going to be seeing any orange and red leaves in person this year. (not really, but I’m trying really hard to convince myself….)

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* Soccer season. We’re in the middle of soccer season and I have had an absolute blast coaching both Kyla’s U-8 team and Carter’s U-6 team (of course, with the help of wonderful assistant coaches). It makes my heart smile to see my little ones absolutely loving something I grew up so passionate about.

* My time with the Lord. I love when I’m in a season where I could just spend time in the Word for hours on end. He is teaching me so much about his faithfulness and how he desires me to be a servant who “speaks boldly FOR the Lord” (Acts 14:3). How I long to be a Christ follower who is devoted solely to his purposes for his glory and greatness!

* My wonderful hubby asked me this week if I would go and buy a new living room rug (ours sheds like nothing you’ve ever seen). Yes, you read that right. He must have somehow known it’s the Friends and Family sale at Pottery Barn this week. Double score. Now, if I can somehow find the time to get down to Waterside…

* Last night I got to capture little Alana, who is quickly growing into a precious toddler. In the first picture, she was sweetly showing me her teeth (since I asked her where they were). After letting me snap a few pictures, she asked me “more?” (as in, do I want to see more teeth?), which is the second picture. Isn’t she just adorable?! Oh, and she may look familiar because I got to capture her earlier this year too!

* Pandora, Runkeeper, Pinterest, Instagram…some of my iPhone favorites (besides Facebook and Mail, of course).

Happy Weekend!

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! }


It’s Always a Good Day…

when FedEx knocks at my door and brings me some goodies! Since we’re getting ready for the big Bridal Blast, this August 21st at Germain Arena, we have been designing, album making and working up a storm. Today, this wonderful 8×8 album, from Tara and Brandon’s engagement session this past weekend, arrived at my door and I couldn’t be more excited!


Oh, how I love me some thick, lustre coated pages…
Oh, and hopefully you didn’t notice my wrinkled duvet, that is most definitely needing a date with my hot iron. I told you things have been busy around here, but for now I’m going to just write it off as a great textured background. 🙂  Look for more fabulousness that came from this session on tomorrow’s blog post. Happy Wednesday!

Style Me Pretty.

When I started my business a few years ago I had a short list of goals and desires for where I wanted to go and what I wanted to see happen. First and foremost, I wanted God to be glorified and I wanted myself and my business to always be centered around Him. I never wanted this to be about me. I never wanted to think that “I’ve arrived”, even if my business was successful. I never wanted to think that I could possibly know everything about photography, photoshop, lighting, etc. I wanted to be constantly learning, growing and becoming more knowledgeable in my work. I never wanted to take an ounce of this amazing career for granted. I loved my career when I started and am thrilled that I love and have even greater passion today than I did yesterday.

With that said, I also dreamed that one day my work would somehow get featured on Style Me Pretty. I knew it would be far fetched and would take time, but I was willing to work at it. (There have literally been days when I have sat and taken photographs of trees, flowers, fruit. You name it. By now, I’m pretty sure my neighbor’s all think I’m some sort of freak.) I’m excited and feel extremely blessed that today is the day where a wedding I photographed is featured on Style me Pretty. Katherine and Rodney’s wedding was one of the loveliest days I’ve captured this spring and the effort that went into their day was definitely noticed. I thank you Kate and Rodney for allowing me to do my most favorite thing on your most important day.

After years in the business, I’m thankful to say that I haven’t “arrived”, I don’t know everything photography related, I still have great passion for my work and I am more certain than ever that the Lord is the center of not only my life, but also my business. So, although I am extremely excited and honored that Style me Pretty published a wedding I shot, I find myself incredibly humbled. All of this is because of Him and I find it a great privilege that the blessings are far greater than I could have ever imagined. Happy Monday!

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}

– 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!


Thankful Times 100.

I’m a listmaker. I make lists for groceries (that I always forget at home..), lists for work projects, lists for bills, lists for my kids, etc. I even made my husband a list of 100 reason I love him during our early days together.

Today, at this time in my life, here’s the things I’m thankful for at a time where I feel so incredibly blessed. I love this day filled with no expectations and nothing but family, good food, football and tons of fun. This year we’ll be doing all of this and I cannot wait. Happy Thanksgiving!

In no particular order, some are funny, yet true and some are serious…

1. My husband, Kirt. Often I ponder how great and perfect Kirt is for me and although we’re opposite and different in many ways, we compliment each other in a way only God could have created. Kirt’s a planner and I’m a jump in and go personality, Kirt’s laid back and easy going and I’m antsy and a perfectionist. He likes watching hockey, I like watching football. I like yardwork, he would rather hire someone. Kirt could just hang out at home all day doing nothing and I’m a busy body who could go-go-go. He likes watching commercials and I always fast forward through them. If you haven’t figured it out yet, Kirt makes me live more in slow motion rather than fast forward, shows me how to enjoy simple and teaches me to be still.
I am so thankful and blessed that I have a husband who is so good to me, who works so extremely hard, who loves hanging out with me, who makes me laugh, is so compassionate, fixes anything and everything, cooks me dinner when I’ve had a rough day, supports me in all I do, and always makes sure I’m taken care of. He’s always willing to help when I’m getting stressed with the kids or with my workload. Whenever I have a crazy project that most people would laugh at, he always takes me seriously and grabs pencil and paper and starts drawing his plans. He loves our kids to death and our kids look at him like he’s the greatest thing ever placed on the planet. He gives them baths, wrestles with them until dark, builds with them, tells them jokes, lays with them in bed when they’re scared and makes them know they’re always loved. I love my husband so much and can’t imagine a day without him.

2. My kids. All. 5. of. them.
a. Sean. He is so compassionate, loving, generous, such a servant and one of the biggest helpers in our crazy household. Yet, I’ve always had to be careful that being the oldest of 5 kids doesn’t take away from his own childhood. In fact, I usually have to find a way for him to get out of this oldest child role and go hang out with his friends and have fun. He randomly does dishes if he sees them in the sink. He picks up toys all the time without me asking. He pursues God and His word constantly all by himself. At 13, he plays with his 3 and 4 year old brother as if they were his best buddies. Sean loves deeper than most people I know. His heart breaks for the poor and needy and I wish I had the selflessness that he always displays. Sean rarely asks for anything and finds great pleasure in the simple things. He’s going to be a great catch someday and an amazing daddy. I’m blessed and so incredibly thankful to be a mom of such an amazing son.
b. Kevin. Kevin is my sweet, yet stubborn child who has this little smirk any mom would die for. Seriously, we could be in the most heated argument or discussion and he cracks this little smile and we both end up laughing our butts off. Kevin is my little puzzle of a child that I am closer and closer to solving everyday. He’s not my emotional child, yet sometimes I think he loves deeper than anyone in this house. He’s laid back like his daddy and takes his time with everything he does. He’s highly creative and super intelligent. Kevin is my child who does one thing and does it well. He can be so confusing, yet in all actuality, he’s so simple. I love that he reads his Bible in the morning all by himself and I love that I can see the change and fruit in his life.
c. Kyla. My only little princess and a princess in our house she is. Kyla is spunky, opinionated and often has her way with the boys under our roof. Because she’s the only girl she’s somewhat the leader of the pack and they all seem to come to her beckoning call. She loves her daddy so much and is always thrilled with her girl time with just me. She handles change better than most her age, yet is a perfectionist. I can almost guarantee a picture or some sort of artwork created by my girl, yet never take a single one for granted. I’m so so thankful I have one little girl with me amongst a houseful of boys.
d. Carter. My super sweet, happy, laid back, funny, and creative little man. He always tells me “You’re so pretty, momma” and is very quick to give a compliment. He’s the kid you want to be around when you’re down in the dump because he will lift you out with sweet little words faster than you could ever imagine. He constantly tells me he loves my dress or outfit, he loves my dinner, he loves something I’ve done in the house, etc. He notices the little things and makes sure to let you know. He’s a lover like none other. He comes up and gives random hugs and kisses for no reason at all. Everyday he says out of the blue, “God and Jesus are the best!”. He’s quick to please others and loves so incredibly hard.
e. Jonah. Oh, my littlest baby. I can’t imagine our house without him. He’s funny yet so serious, loves all things that go, makes the funniest little faces, and is the most thankful and grateful little boy. Everywhere we go, Jonah is picking me flowers and is always so excited to give them to me. He love to dance and the second any song comes on he’s shaking it like none other. He loves music and has been drawn to it since he was a baby. At 3 years old, he is always looking to be held or carried and quite frankly, I love it. And, and am soooo grateful that he is my best sleeper and easily sleeps 3 hours a day for nap still. I love that he’s my baby and makes sure to hold this title high in our house. Jonah’s my momma’s boy through and through.

3. My mom, dad, sister and brother. They’ve all played such a monumental role in my life. I love them all and am thankful for the blessing they are in my life.

4. My friends. I am soooo blessed with so many amazing and great friends. I’m thankful for my newer friends and thankful for my friends who’ve been around from my early years of life. I am thankful I have the best friends in the whole world.

4. My business. One of the most astounding and unbelievable blessings in the past year. What a year it’s been. I am so thankful for the way God has worked in and through this business.

5. The Bible and my relationship with Jesus Christ. I’m a mess without Him. I am thankful for his constant teaching, His mercy, His grace and His love for me, although I am so undeserving.

5. My house.
6. My great neighbors.
7. My church family, leaders, pastors, elders. www.summitlife.com
8. Good health for our whole family.
9. Coffee. As soon a I get up, knowing that I’m about to embark on some amazing caffeine makes mornings a whole lot better.
10. Football. NFL & College. Even if all of my teams have turned to crap.
11. Fall leaves. We’ve been back from vacation for 2 weeks and I still dream about them. I can’t wait to go see them again next fall!!
12. my iPhone
13. The Internet.
14. My camera. The closest I’ll ever get to freezing time with my way-to-fast-growing kids.
15. Pajama pants. Love them.
16. Our troops who protect us and our country.
17. My bed. My husband picked out our Temperpedic mattress for us almost 7 years ago. I hated it in the beginning. Like, almost cried myself to sleep every night, hated it. After a few months, I grew to love it and now we’re like best friends.
18. Coconut Point and Gulf Coast Town Center.
19. I’m thankful I’ve gotten to travel quite a bit this year. Two cruises, a trip to NJ, PA and NYC, a few vacations at Disney, a sisters weekend in West Palm and some time spent in Fort Lauderdale.
20. Chocolate.
21. Cookies.
22. Facebook.
23. Nicholas Sparks books. Once I start, I can’t stop.
24. I’m thankful to be a work at home mom. I couldn’t imagine it any other way.
25. Bubble baths.
26. My kids all have great teachers this year. Such a blessing.
27. TiVo.
28. Our dog, Benny.
29. Google.
30. The gym. How great that I can work out and get a break from the kids if they’re driving me nuts? We all win.
31. The quiet time I get during the day when Jonah is sleeping.
32. Real Simple magazine.
33. Our front porch. It’s a place I could sit at all day long on a beautiful Florida day.
34. Our deck. My kids pretty much live on it and I can’t imagine our house without it.
35. Our cars, especially since we are no longer paying on them.
36. That my sister just moved to the end of my road and my dad is only 1 street away.
37. Movie theaters.
38. Target.
39. My journal.
40. That my mom always cooks the Thanksgiving dinner.
41. Pedicures.
42. Accountability.
43. Friday night soccer games.
44. Sisterly bonds. She my best friend and I can’t imagine life without a sister.
45. My awesome inlaws. I love Kirts family and always have so much fun with them.
46. Our house.
47. My grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc.
48. Music.
49. My education.
50. Publix.
51. electricity.
52. Disney World.
53. Letters or cards in the mail.
54. When people hold doors open.
55. Wisdom.
56. www.showitfast.com
57. Crewcuts kids clothes.
58. Google Maps.
59. A washer and dryer.
60. Our local police and firemen.
61. Pottery Barn and Pottery Barn Kids.
62. Hugs and Kisses from my kids
63. Rainy days at home.
64. The beach.
65. Cake.
66. Finding someone elses junk and claiming it as my treasure.
67. Outback.
68. Chick-fil-a
69. Texting.
70. my pillow.
71. Airplanes.
72. Love.
73. Patience.
74. My salvation.
75. Freedom.
76. chick flicks.
77. Laughter.
78. Sunsets.
79. Photoshop.
80. The Today Show.
81. Yankee candles.
82. Christmas music.
83. Toiletries…deodorant, toothpaste, toothbrush, shampoo, conditioner, body wash, etc.
84. The diamond earrings my husband surprised me with when Jonah was born. I still wear them almost everyday.
85. Twitter.
86. Girls nights.
87. Coaching soccer.
88. Black Friday.
89. www.jasminestarblog.com She’s true inspiration and someone I highly admire in the business.
90. Encouragement.
91. Hard lessons and experiences.
92. Random acts of kindness.
93. Online news.
94. Jewelry,
95. Picture frames around my house.
96. Water.
97. A plentiful life.
98. My Shootsac.
99. Prayer.
100. I know it’s cheesy, but my blog readers. 🙂 I love to write about what’s going on in my life and with work and knowing that people actually care to read definitely puts a smile on my face. 🙂

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?

Kyla’s Answers- 2010 Version.

So, exactly a year ago, I asked Kyla these questions and it was so fun to hear her answers. I figured it would be fun to see what her answers are a year later.My mom interview with Kyla. It was fun to hear her answers!! Apparently, we’ve become bigger shoppers and bigger Taylor Swift fans in the last 365 days…and I’m pretty sure she’s right! Oh, and more on Taylor Swift to come; then you’ll understand why she’s included in these answers. 😉
THIS year’s answers:
1. What is something mom always says to you? Clean up your room.
2. What makes mom happy? Giving her hugs and kisses.
3. What makes mom sad? When kids don’t follow her rules.
4. How does your mom make you laugh? Tickling me
5. What did your mom like to do as a child? color and paint
6. How old is your mom? 27.
7. How tall is your mom? 10
8. What is her favorite thing to watch on TV? Taylor Swift
9. What does your mom do when you’re not around? Takes a nap.
10. If your mom becomes famous, what will it be for? Cause you like Taylor Swift.
11. What is your mom really good at? Playing baseball.
12. What is your mom not very good at? Memory, that’s an easy one.
13. What does your mom do for her job? Takes pictures.
14. What is your mom’s favorite food? broccoli
15. What makes you proud of your mom? taking the dog out
16. If your mom were a cartoon character, who would she be? Minnie Mouse
17. What do you and your mom do together? Go shopping
18. How are you and your mom the same? We both like to play memory.
19. How are you and your mom different? She likes coloring and I like painting.
20. How do you know your mom loves you? Because shes my mom.
21. What does your mom like most about your dad? they get to talk to each other.
22. Where is your mom’s favorite place to go? To the mall.

LAST year’s answers:
1. What is something mom always says to you? I love you.
2. What makes mom happy? Cleaning up my room.
3. What makes mom sad? If I don’t clean up my room.
4. How does your mom make you laugh? Tickling me
5. What did your mom like to do as a child? Kiss my dad
6. How old is your mom? I dont know. “Guess”, (me). 16.
7. How tall is your mom? 6000 feet.
8. What is her favorite thing to watch on TV? Football.
9. What does your mom do when you’re not around? Go shopping.
10. If your mom becomes famous, what will it be for? Marrying somebody. (huh???)
11. What is your mom really good at? Playing soccer.
12. What is your mom not very good at? Playing soccer when her legs hurt.
13. What does your mom do for her job? Makes her bed and folds laundry.
14. What is your mom’s favorite food? chocolate chip cookies
15. What makes you proud of your mom? when she blows kisses
16. If your mom were a cartoon character, who would she be? Minnie..then Cinderella
17. What do you and your mom do together? Play board games
18. How are you and your mom the same? Were both girls
19. How are you and your mom different? God just makes us that way.
20. How do you know your mom loves you? Because God made her to love children.
21. What does your mom like most about your dad? We both watch TV together.
22. Where is your mom’s favorite place to go? The ice cream store.