Thursday, December 22, 2011

-:: Smells like cookies ::-

So, today...we're doing our Christmas baking.  Oatmeal Chocolate Chip cookies, homemade brownies,  & a few other goodies.  

 And I just had to share this fantastic find. I credit one of my family members for finding them first, so...Kristen...we are a little happier in this life b/c of you, lol. Just kidding. But really, she found these on Pintrest and we had them at her home.  Our response:  DELICIOUS!!

So, I had to pin the recipe myself.  And then make some...and then make some more... and a vicious cycle has begun ;)

Now to give the true credit...we found them on this blog & so to Dave's Wife, we say "Thank you for sharing with the world!!"

So here's the delicious goodness we're making today:

You got it.  Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip Cookies.  
They're wonderful.

And I'm too rushed for time to type out the entire click on this link to go find them & make some for yourself.  I'm telling you... you'll be happy you did!

Now...back to the kitchen to bake.  And maybe eat a tsp of cookie dough or two.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

anyone know what I just finished??

Yes...Christmas cards!!!  Whew...I am so glad they're finished.  Just in the nick of time...I hope ;) 

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

[A Very Bokeh Christmas]

Well, it just so happens that the theme for iheartfacesphoto challenge that runs through the rest of the month is....

Holiday Bokeh!!!

And since I just did a post about that a few days ago (you can see it again  here)... I thought I'd post a couple more for the fun of it.

- a few more ornaments from our tree

- our stockings & the reflection of our tree in the window
 - our Bob the Builder tree.  The first photo is me trying to capture the tree as is in our room.  The second one, I threw it out of focus & dropped my shutter speed WAY down to see what I could come up with.  I was happy with that pretty glow :)

- and finally, one more of Bob the Builder all aglow.

The rest of our week will be spent baking, finishing Christmas cards (yes we're those people that send them out at the last minute), and most importantly, celebrating the glorious birth of our Christ.  Without the birth of our King, Christmas cards and trees & gifts have no meaning. Without Him, pictures & family & life in general has no meaning.  From Him, we learn & understand our purpose, the ugliness and devastation of sin, and the beauty of God's vigorous mercy to us.  Praising our Wonderful Creator for the gift of His Son!

May your Christmas be very merry & bright!

PS...I decided to link up with a new bloggy friend as well.  So here's my link up to live, love, travel's:

Live, Love, TRAVEL

Saturday, December 17, 2011

A super important update!!

Just saw this on Pintrest and I had to post it b/c I wanted everyone in the blogging world to know that my legs look like hers...

Just kidding ;) 

Happy Weekend! 

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

~ a little Christmas bokeh ~

I've been reading a lot about bokeh lately (that pretty little blur that often shows up behind images when you photograph them).  You can see some of my reads here & here.  And truthfully, I was already in love with it before I even realized what it was.  Ever since I began learning that you could manipulate your own settings on a camera, I've been "blowing out" my aperture to get that beautiful blurred out background.  I'm telling's a favorite of mine!  

Since the holidays are here, what better time to shoot with a wide open aperture?  Lights blurry in the background of a photo turn into bright glowing circles & hexagons.  Glitter on ornaments give a beautiful shimmery fuzz.  

So, for my Christmas bokeh, I thought I'd give you a glimpse of a few of the Christmas things in my house.  

 ...our tree. I took these completely out of focus, just to see what I could create.  

 ...anybody else see what's wrong with the two pictures above?  (keep in mind, i took these this morning...)

...ornaments from our table. I absolutely love this color combination of red & purple.

...a few shots from our tree, in focus :) 

 ... i LOVE glitter...

...stars on our mantle...

And last but not of my favorite ornaments on our tree.  A little man & woman (made out of old clothes pins)...who are totally in love <3    

Now you create your own Christmas bokeh! 

Monday, December 12, 2011

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Food on the brain

Right now, I am totally in a rut when it comes to food and cooking meals, etc. Does it ever seem like you fix the same things over & over again.  I've been doing some digging to try to get myself out of this comatose state when it comes to cooking & I think Pintrest has helped.  Besides searching the web for my own recipe finds to pin, you can find gazillions of recipes on Pintrest as well.  Recipes that other folks have already pinned...and tried out...

And me being the efficient person that I am, *wink wink*...I'm going to use that to my advantage & get myself out of this cooking rut.  


...wanna see some of what I've found?  These are the newest recipes that are hopefully going to make an appearance at our house within the next week or so :) 

They look AMAZING!!  And of course, they came from Pintrest ;)

1. Mexican Stuffed Shells

Can I say to you, that my husband will absolutely LOVE me for this.  I'm not a ground beef person at all, but he loves it.  And I rarely make anything with ground beef in it b/c of the obvious.  But I think I could tweak a few of the shells for me & we'd have the best of both worlds.  In fact, I might make it tonight to surprise him  ;)  He'll be one happy man! 

2.  Asparagus

This is on my list b/c I think asparagus is wonderful and I think all that melted cheese on top is wonderful, therefore this recipe must be wonderful.  

3.  Moqueca:

Because we love shrimp, and fish ..and have it probably once a week...and the recipe didn't seem to be too hard to follow.  It's from a blog in Brazil, so I had to convert to English.  We'll see how much luck I have! 

And finally for desert:

4.  Oreo Truffles:

No explanation needed here.  

I am telling you husband is becoming so thankful for pintrest, lol!!  

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

i heart faces || Feet

It's been a few weeks since I entered an i heart faces photo challenge, but when I read the theme for this week, I knew the exact picture I wanted to enter!! Typically, they prefer for you to enter a picture that is recent, but for this theme, "Feet," I HAD to enter this photo I snapped over the summer.  It's from a beach session that I did with this great family from our old church.  After a few hours of snapping away on the seashore, we were all covered in sand.  The little boy, baby girl, and I sat down on a swing at the beach house to swing away while I caught up with their parents.  I happened to look down & see the sand stuck between the baby girl's toes & couldn't resist snapping away.  So, for my entry this week...I give you "feet"...

For more cute entries all about tootsies, hop on over to i heart faces!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Monday matters :)

Morning blogging friends!

I hope your weekend was full of things to enjoy & enough rest to get you ready for another busy week.  It seems like every year around the Christmas holiday, life gets busier & busier.  But I still love it b/c I know that special time of celebrating the Savior is just around the corner.  Time with friends & family, having the house decorated & warm, spending time thinking about how to bless others around us, and most especially the time spent kneeling & worshiping the birth of Christ and who He became for us...all of it just makes the season so special; I can hardly put words to it.

So, to start my week off best, I like to try to do a little thing on Monday mornings called "talking to myself." (And no, I am not crazy...I don't think?!?!)   By this, I mean, I like to try to grab the reigns on my thought life & emotions and remind them of the truths of Scripture.

Truths like:
1. Christ has paid my penalty of sin before God, therefore God has attributed Christ's righteous status to my slate and I no longer stand in God's wrath against sin.
2.  God loves His children and does good toward them.
3.  God's word is a "lamp unto my feet & a light unto my path," illuminating my understanding to what is absolute truth, and teaching me how to view the world & my time here on this earth.
4.  God is and always will be faithful to His word.  So I can put my entire hope & trust in it's truthfulness, and I will not be let down or disappointed in the end!

When, I remind myself of these truths, how my heart begins to soar!!  How can it not, when I'm reminded of such grace bestowed to me...and to anyone who believes.  How can I not want to sing the praises of my good Creator when I realize His compassion towards me, to forgive my sin without me ever realizing the full magnitude of its depths & darkness, and to give me promise of new life & hope & joy & peace.  How great is He!

So, to start my Monday off right, I've told myself these things, and now I'm going to rejoice in the Lord who is so good to the children of man.

I hope this blesses your heart as much as it blessed mine! (Thanks, Dad, for hooking me up with this video a few weeks ago <3)

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Here's what I'm doing this week...

working working working :)

 Check out his blue eyes!!! Can you believe them?!
 The one on the right isn't really work.  It's one I had my sister-in-law snag of me & my husband when we did family portraits Sunday. I just wanted to throw it in :)

Oh, and we're decorating our house for Christmas time this week as well. Can't wait to get those lights on my tree shining!  What's your week full of?

Monday, November 28, 2011

Guess what we did yesterday??

Did you guess it?  Family portraits! 

I must say, I know that for most folks it's a total drag to go out & do this.  But...I had so much fun doing them & I think everyone else enjoyed it too.  My sis-in-law takes photos too, so we combined our efforts to hopefully come up with some great shots of our family.  Here's one for now.  Enjoy! 

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Songs of Praise & Thanksgiving

The words to a favorite hymn I wanted to share on this wonderful Thanksgiving day:

O worship the King, all glorious above,
O gratefully sing His power and His love;
Our Shield and Defender, the Ancient of Days,
Pavilioned in splendor, and girded with praise

O tell of His might, O sing of His grace,
Whose robe is the light, Whose canopy space,
His chariots of wrath the deep thunderclouds form,
And dark is His path on the wings of the storm

The earth with its store of wonders untold,
Almighty, Thy power hath founded of old;
Established it fast by a changeless decree,
And round it hath cast, like a mantle, the sea.

Thy bountiful care,what tongue can recite?
It breathes in the air, it shines in the light;
It streams from the hills, it descends to the plain,
And sweetly distills in the dew and the rain.

Frail children of dust, and feeble as frail,
In Thee do we trust, nor find Thee to fail;
Thy mercies how tender, how firm to the end,
Our Maker, Defender, Redeemer, and Friend.

O measureless might! Ineffable love!
While angels delight to worship Thee above,
The humbler creation, though feeble their lays,
With true adoration shall all sing Thy praise.

May your Thanksgiving be filled with rejoicing and praise to the One who has made us and in His great love, saves us!  Glory to God.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Gamma baby

Awww, my poor blog has been so lonely over the past week.  I've been MIA, traveling all around the state, visiting friends, doing a few shoots, seeing my family, etc.  It was so nice to take a break & just see people.  Since I'm at home mostly now, it's nice to get out & visit, explore, and just try to be creative!

I was able to hit the mountains this past weekend & see some of my best friends from college.  We all met up on Friday night for a girls dinner out...oh how I loved the time with them.  There were about 10 of my sorority sisters there...we spent our time eating & chatting, catching up on current happenings in our lives & reminiscing about our old times together.  I even got to see some of their kids...oh my!!  I'm in love!!  It was such a blessing :)

While I was gone, I did Fall/Christmas shoots for two of their families.

I've been editing photos like crazy, trying to get caught up on the load of photos I've taken over the last month.  I enjoy it...but's lots of work.

Back to the is one of my sorority sister's little girl, McKenzie.  Isn't she wonderful?!
Again, I'm in love!

I'm not 100%  on the processing, but I was trying something a little different.

My next few days will be spent visiting family for the Thanksgiving holiday, editing more photos, & getting out the decorations for CHRISTMAS!!!  (So so excited!!)

What will you be doing this week?

Happy Thanksgiving... a few days early :)

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Autumn Splendor

"Autumn Splendor" is the theme for this weeks photo challenge at I Heart Faces.  I was so excited when I read the theme... because I'm a fall kind of girl!! I just love the crisp air, the smell of the outdoors...oh, and don't forget the colors!!   Here's my entry :)

For more great & super creative fall scenes go on over to I Heart Faces. You'll be inspired to capture your own!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Mama K

Just finished this sweet friend's maternity session gallery.
Wanted to share a favorite from the shoot.  (She's 35 weeks there, but doesn't she look teeny tiny?!!)

Happy weekend, early!  I'm headed to a different part of the state for a few days :)  Can't wait to see what's in store ...

Wednesday, November 9, 2011


Check out this giveaway on The Color Issue! This wallet is too cute...

The Color Issue: Color Issue ThanksGIVEAWAY--HOBO Wallet: November is a month of thanksGIVING. Each and every Sunday of this month...i will be doing a Color Issue Thanks GIVEAWAY !
Each and every Sunday of this month...i will be doing a Color Issue ThanksGIVEAWAY! 
(4 weeks=4 giveaways of some of my favorite things)
So what better way to start it off then with one of my all time faves..a sexy red HOBO wallet!

Can you believe we get to wake up to this...

Truthfully, I cannot believe the vibrancy in the colors on this tree.  I entered it in B&H photo contest for the fun of it :)

Hope you're Wednesday is beautiful & full of vibrant Fall colors!

Side note:  I still don't seem to be getting my formulas for web photos correct.  On my screen in PSE it's beautiful & sharp, but here it just doesn't look the same :(  Any suggestions?

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Hello boots :)

Someones already started thinking about Christmas gifts.  Wonder who it could be?? got it -- it's ME!! 

This time of year really gets me excited!!  I know that the holiday season is so important for many reasons: 
-being thankful for God's goodness to us 
-time shared with those closest & dearest to our hearts
-celebrating the birth of a Savior!!! 

But there's also this little BIG part of me that loves the gift giving time as well!! I love to give gifts to folks...and truthfully, I love to receive them :)  I think it's a combination of 2 things:
1. We try not to go overboard on shopping for ourselves through out the year, so it's so fun to get things you've been hoping to get but haven't purchased for yourself...
2. It's so fun to see what people want to give to you, what they think will be a good gift for you.

I just love it.

But this post is supposed to be about without further adieu:

Hello boots :)

These are my Christmas gift from my Mother-in-law!! Whoop so so very excited.  They just came in the mail & I know I love them.  The only problem is that I now have to buy a pair of "skinny" jeans to wear with them...and I totally swore them off last year when they started making their huge comeback!  Skinny jeans are not totally horrid, but they're certainly not for every body type.  Let's hope that they'll work for me or I'll be very sad about not having anything to wear with my boots.

Wanna know why I'm finally giving in?  B/c I saw this on Pintrest & it made me realize that I really do, deep down, like the pants inside the boots look.

It really is cute isn't it :)

And while I'm on Pintrest, I'll show you a few other items that make me want to expand my wardrobe!!

I love this entire outfit- head to toe!

Source: via Carrie on Pinterest

I also think this is quite fantastic...I have a thing for orange, in case you haven't noticed!
And while I'm on orange, here's another one of my favorite combos:

Ahhh, shopping :)

But the point it, I'm really excited about my boots!!

What are you hoping to get for Christmas?

Monday, November 7, 2011

Paint it Black

I Heart Faces

This week's photo challenge theme @ I Heart Faces is "Black."  
I know it's not very original, but when I hear the word black...most of the time "Paint it Black," you know...the Rolling Stones "Paint it Black"... somehow seems to pop in my head.  Apparently that's my word association.  Anyhoo, now that you've had a walk through the mind of Carrie - here's my entry:

From Ashten's Senior Portrait session.  Senior written on Black.  

 To see many more takes on the theme "Black," head over to 

PS:  Happy Monday! 

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Thursday Thoughts :: Friendship

So I was reading from this book this morning, and the topic of the chapter I was in was entitled, "Ten Disciplines for Managing Your Friendships."

Friendships.  Man, sometimes I'm so bad with that word.  As I'm reading, Elizabeth George kept mentioning things like being loyal and forgiving, respectful of the other persons time, sensitive to what's going on in their lives, being attentive...and being encouraging.

WHAM...all of the sudden, that word hit me: encouraging.

Now, I like to think of myself as a generally encouraging person. I try to be friendly and welcoming to people.  Probably more so on certain days of the month than others if you know what I mean.  But I really want people to get a warm and welcoming feeling from me & not a cold, unfriendly disposition. However, when I began thinking of those whom I consider to be my closest friends, you know, the kind of friends that become your family, I realized that I am totally falling down in the job.  I am so often caught up in what I'm day to day responsibilities as wife, or the photo's I've got to finish for someone, etc...that I forget to really pray for & encourage my friends.  I forget about what's going on in their lives, how their marriage is or how their kids are, how work is going...what they're going through, etc.

Now I also realize that I have day to day responsibilities that must come before "hang-out time" with the girls or playing catch-up on the phone; things like being a helper to my husband and the running of our home life.  But there was a quote in the book that so resonated with me.  It read:

"We never wake up in the morning and coldheartedly, calculatingly decide, 'I think I'll neglect my friends today.'  No, the neglect is most subtle.  We just wake up in the morning and don't even think about our friends! Therefore our friendships need to be nurtured.  You and I have to make willful decisions about the maintenance and growth of friendships-with both family & friends.  And this takes time, care, and love." 

Having read this, I realized that do try to make time for some of my local friendships...and they are such a blessing!!  We have lunch or try to get together once every few weeks to just sit & talk & be together.  But some of my long-distance friendships, some of the deepest & longest & most committed ones I've ever had, are the ones that I'm forgetting about.  Some of it's natural b/c these girls are not in front of me everyday.  They're hours away with families & lives of their own.  Life happens and the good Lord takes us to different locations & walks of life.  But these friendships are just as priceless to me as the people who are close by.  
And these friends are the ones I'm forgetting to encourage.  

So after reading that chapter, I begin thinking of how I can practically apply what I'm learning ... and especially what I can do to help remedy this lack of encouragement from my end.  

I can drop a card in the mail once a month or so to let them know I'm thinking about them.  
I can send an email to check in.
I can give someone a call when I'm on the road from one place to the other...even if it's just to say hey for a few minutes.
I can ask, really ask, how someones doing.  
I can send a little surprise gift once & a while to remind someone that I love them.  

And I know there's got to be more...(that's what the comment box is for, hint, hint!)

So now, my goal will be to implement these things, to work harder at remembering those I don't get to see often...those who are my long-distance friends.  

To these girls, these friends I say:  

My life is even more rich because God has given me you.  I love you so very much & promise to work harder to be an encourager, companion, and a genuine friend to you.  

"A real friend is one who helps us to think our best thoughts, do our noblest deeds, and be our finest selves."
- Anonymous   

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Fix-It-Friday...on Tuesday :)

So...last Friday was Fix-It-Friday for the I Heart Faces community.  And I actually downloaded the given image & edited it ...on Friday...

But...we've been crazy here, so I'm just now linking it up.  Here's the original image, given to us by (Caroline - Frogmum).


 I absolutely love their facial expressions in this photo.  To me the story is reading something like this:

Girl in the foreground:  "I can't get this swing thing to work, can you??"
Girl in the background:  "Wait, wait...I think I might have gotten it!"
Girl in the  foreground: "Oh no!  Someone's watching us, tehehe.  I think they might have just taken a picture of us!!"  (Insert more giggles)

I have no idea what the actual story was...probably not that, but that's what my imagination was saying :)

Here are my edits:

1. Color

For me, this photo seemed to have a tiny bit of haze already captured in it, so I tried to edit to enhance that look.  First, I cloned out the wall/steps from the bottom of the photo.  Then, I adjusted my basics like the levels...increased the blacks a teeny bit & decreased the mid-tones.  I also added a little contrast & bumped up the brightness quite a bit.  I did a fill layer (Overlay @ 20%) in a nice peachy tone to warm it up a tad, then 2 gradient exclusion layers @ around 20% (one at the top right corner & one at the bottom left corner) at a really light lavender for a bit more haze.  Went back & bumped the brightness down a little & cropped.  Finished with sharpening.

2. BW-Gray

For this photo, I started with the original & decreased the saturation (well, actually I cloned out the wall/steps first).  From there, I made it a little brighter & I actually decreased the contrast this time.  I darkened the blacks & lightened the mid-tones...and also increased the output # to 12.  I did a fill layer in a light gray (overlay @ 47%), another in a smoky gray (screen @ 24%), and finally another in a chocolate brown (normal @ 10%)...this was to get the gray color I really wanted.
Finally, I used Florabella's (center fill light) to brighten up the center of the pic.  Last steps: crop & sharpen.  

Thanks so much to (Caroline - Frogmum) for letting us use your photo!  For more cool edits or to join in on the fun, go to Fix-It-Friday!  

PS:  Happy Tuesday :)   

Friday, October 28, 2011

Almost finished

With this beauty's senior portrait session!  Isn't she lovely :)  

Post more when I'm finished :) 

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Let it be Fall!

So, like I said in yesterday's post, the next few days are going to be spent with my head in the "digital darkroom."  But before I take myself away from the rest of the world, I thought I'd share a few photos from my favorite time of the year:  Now!  

I absolutely love the fall!  I love the crispness in the morning air, the colors on the trees, the crunch of the fallen leaves under your feet as you walk.  I love football season, the comfort foods that start making their way into our kitchen, the upcoming family get together's...aka, the holidays...  I just love it all when it comes to fall.  In our neck of the woods, we're finally starting to see some of those vibrant leaf colors come out.  

Hope your next few days are spent enjoying the fall :) 

the next two ended up a bit blurry  :(

and my two favorites :)