Nov 30, 2011

Rudolf the Red Reindeer(s)

Back in July I did a little redecorating in my living room. Basically I covered up the fireplace with a TV stand. Afterwards, I did some cute little paintings above it to add a little character.

Well, Sunday night after I got home from taking care of John was a bit of a shocker. Maybe shocker is too strong of a word. It was a downer. I looked around, and instead of a Christmas tree with lights and presents, it was just the same old boring living room. Usually I would just go ahead and decorate for Christmas, but seeing as this is my first Christmas living outside of my parent's house (I know...) I just don't have a whole lot of my own Holiday gifts. I knew I needed to change some things.

I rummaged around in my closet until I found a little figure that my mom got me this summer. It's a beautiful wood carving of Mary, Joseph and of course baby Jesus. I put it on the top of the TV stand. It looked a little lonely, so I found some jingle bells that John had brought over for Ella (don't ask) and tied them onto my aqua vase. Last, I took out the violet flowers and replaced them with some brown sticks for a nice wintery look. It looked kind of...bare.

Then, I had an idea! I've been looking for two white ceramic reindeer to put up and have not been able to find them. So I decided to just paint some instead! I settled on a festive red color and got to work taking down the paintings I did this summer. It was so easy! All it took was a little bit of paper, some acrylic red paint, and a paintbrush. Once I get my tree up, I show you the whole set up but for now here's a glimpse at ONE of my reindeer!

Anyway, hope you're getting your house decorated for the holidays! Happy Wednesday!

Nov 29, 2011

Trendy Tuesday: Countdown to Christmas

So I know it's not officially December yet (two more days!) but I figure we're gonna need some good ideas on how to count down to Christmas this year! One thing that is all the rage right now is advent calendars. Although advent calendars have been around since at least as early as the 19th century, this year there are some fantastic creative ways to make them a little bit more fun and unique. Check some of these ideas out!

1. DIY Advent Calendar 2. Felted Advent Calendar 3. The Stockings Were Hung by the Chimney with Care 4. Pocket Gum Countdown 5. Magnetic Tins 6. Pin Up 7. Fill-a-box Advent Calendar

Most of these look so easy! Just a little trip to the nearest Hobby Lobby and you could be counting down to Christmas in style in no time! Not sure if I'll make one this year (primarily because how weird would it be to hide gifts for myself? Hah!) but this is definitely something I intend to do one day!

Happy Tuesday!

Nov 28, 2011

Weekend Recap

Wow. This weekend was....different than I expected. It was my first 4-days off work since May and I was so excited to get everything done that I wanted to get done. This included (but was not limited to) eating Thanksgiving dinner with John's family, shopping on Black Friday if I woke up early enough, organizing/purging my closet, sleeping in and last but not least getting my Christmas tree (!!!!)

It all started off normal enough. Got off work on Wednesday and went straight home to hang out with John. We ended up grabbing sushi with some of his friends (hello my name is Kati and I have a sushi addiction) and then pretty much called it a night. The next day, Thanksgiving, I got up early to pretty myself up for the boy's fam. Gotta make a good 300th impression, ya know....haha.

Thanksgiving was awesome. John's aunt made all the fixin's and after sampling the turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, gravy, cranberry stuff, rolls, deviled eggs, 4 different kinds of pies and probably more than I'm forgetting...we were stuffed. Exactly how Thanksgiving is supposed to be. The rest of the day was pretty low-key because John wasn't feeling too great. Ate too much :)

Friday morning I woke up at the butt crack of freaking dawn. It was 7 a.m. and I rolled back under the covers and tried to go back to sleep, trying to take full advantage of my days off. As I lay there, it dawned on me (get it? Dawned? hehe) that Black Friday sales were going on. And that only meant one thing: savings. Mwa-ha-ha-ha. Let me tell you I woke up pretty quickly after that and headed to the mall where I bought some Christmas presents for my little sister and myself.

Mainly myself. I'm terrible.

But hey -- I was gonna need it since I was still going to work on purging my closet! Anne Taylor LOFT had 50% off EVERYTHING. Gap had great deals. Express was rockin'. And the other stores I went to I shall not mention for fear of giving away too many hints as to what else I bought :)

I went a little stripe crazy (these are three shirts I bought)
John called while I was shopping and basically told me that he was still not feeling well. He'd thrown up and had a fever. I was worried about him, but told him to just take it easy and that we'd get together once I was done and I would help take care of him. Let's skip ahead to 7:00 that night because, let's face it, this story is not very interesting.

Around 7, John's fever had only gotten worse. He was burning up so I tucked him into bed and put 5 covers on him to help keep him warm since he had the chills. He fell asleep within minutes and I laid next to him to try to keep him warm. Around 8:15 he woke up and asked that I take his temperature. I did, and it was 104.4! I was worried sick so I called his dad (who is a doctor) and he told me to take him to the ER. John was actually in disbelief that his dad had said to go to the ER because apparently "doctor's kids get the worst health care." Haha.

I swear, my iPhone takes the worst photos on the planet.
Here's John when we finally got into a room 3 hours in.
5 hours later, we finally left the hospital with three things: 1) a diagnosis -- John had pneumonia. 2) some prescriptions that are sure to kick its a**. and 3) a loss of sleep. It was 2 a.m. (I never stay up that late) and we were exhausted.

The rest of the weekend pretty much consisted of me taking care of that guy. Which was really hard. I had to watch tv in my pjs, eat take-out and surf the web. Life's tough. Luckily, he's feeling much better now and I've instructed him to take it easy for a few days.

So. I never got my closet fully purged. I'll do it next weekend. And we decided to postpone the Christmas tree hunt seeing as John didn't have the strength to chop down a tree and then proceed to put it up and decorate it with me. Understandable. I did however get some more editing done on some pictures. Thought I'd share with you a jewel I didn't see until I looked closer. Love this.

On that note, I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend with plenty of rest and peace. Hope your Monday back is easy and that the next weekend comes quickly! Happy Monday!

Nov 25, 2011

And so it begins. Christmas 2011

I love Christmas. In fact, if I could think of another word for love, I would, because Christmas is my favorite time of year. And now, with Thanksgiving out of the way I can finally focus on this wonderful holiday season without being judged. That sounds terrible, doesn't it.

I can't help it! To me, Thanksgiving is fun and all, but not really something I look forward to for weeks and weeks. Maybe it's because I never really had a huge Thanksgiving tradition. Growing up, it seems like Thanksgiving was always a little different. Some years it was spent at my aunt and uncle's house. Other years we celebrated with our little immediate family. As I got older we spent Thanksgiving in North Carolina with my grandparents. This year I spent it with John's family. And you know what? Thanksgiving is great. It's a wonderful day to spend with family and to pause for a moment and think about all that we should be thankful for. I get it. Honestly.

But the Christmas season? Christmas season is so full of love and joy that it just engulfs you. You get to spend an entire month decorating the house with your family. Picking out that perfect tree and making it beautiful together. You get to sit by the fire with your favorite people and spend quality time together, sipping cocoa and doing a puzzle while How the Grinch Stole Christmas plays in the background. It's just special. And it doesn't last one day. It lasts for a season.

People wave hello to strangers. They hold open the door and whistle as they walk. There's an energy around Christmas that doesn't happen any other time. People are happy. And nice. And generous. They care about each other and the world, and our selfish needs vanish as we buy perfect presents for our loved ones. If Thanksgiving had that, I'd probably like it more. But it doesn't.

I don't love Christmas because of the gifts. Or the shopping or the deals. I love Christmas because I love how it makes people act. How it makes me feel. Warm and fuzzy inside. I love it because I get to spend time with my friends and family -- quality time with them, even. I love the traditions and the build-up and the smells and the cozy-ness. I just love it. 

So Christmas season officially begins today. Get ready for some holiday cheer! Oh, and I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Happy Black Friday!

Nov 23, 2011

A Before & After

Remember when I told you it was really dark when I took the Bracey family photos? Well, maybe you didn't believe me. Here's a look at a SOOC (straight out of camera) shot, and the edited version. Crazy what a little photoshop magic can do!


Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!

Nov 22, 2011

{Bracey Family}

Okay. I am so in love with this family it's not even funny. I babysit for the boys and they are always a blast and so easy. Plus, Jackie (that gorgeous momma!) is always fun to be around. When they asked if I could take some pictures of them, I was so excited!

With November air surrounding us, however, comes some overcast days and this Sunday evening proved no exception. It was dark. I decided to try it out anyway for practice but I so wish we had gotten some lovely sunshine! Oh well -- we'll just have to redo it in the spring! Haha!

I think that even though I had a tough time balancing my ISO, aperture and shutter-speed, I still got a lot of keepers. Mainly the first one of Jack that I showed you yesterday. Gosh, he is a beautiful child! I realize now I probably should not have started the sneak peek with the since now I'm sure the family is expecting greatness but ahh well, another lesson learned. Anyway, enough ramblings. Here are some other great pictures I captured of this sweet, sweet family.


Nov 21, 2011

Random - Holidays are in the air!

I am working on editing some photos of one of my favorite families and couldn't wait to share this picture of Jack. I babysit for him and he is beautiful! I can't wait to share with you the rest of my edits tomorrow.

Black Friday is this weekend! John and I are scopin' out the sales to figure out where we should go to grab up a good deal and man, we're pumped (or at least I am!) We're totally hitting up Lowe's so far, but I wouldn't be surprised if we made a pit-stop by Sears or Target too! I'll keep you updated. And let me know if you see any great deals, mainly on TVs (for my Pops) or large kitchen stainless steel things.... hehe


Since this is the last week before Thanksgiving, I thought I should try to make an effort to be grateful for the things in my life. Cause to be honest, I've got it pretty good. Life can be tough sometimes but it's important to remember all the wonderful blessings I have in my life: a great job that I love in tough economic times, an apartment by myself with a roof over my head and AC/heat, a dog who loves me unconditionally, a boyfriend who loves me and my dog unconditionally, a wonderful family who gets along and cares deeply for one another, and so much more! The list is extensive, my friends. I'm going to try to brainstorm up a list for my own personal memories of all the great things I have in 2011.


This morning while driving to work I heard Christmas music on my radio. Holy goodness, I was so excited! I'm not sure if I've shared this on the blog yet but I LOVE Christmas. The whole season is wonderful to me and makes me feel like a kid again! Next weekend I'm going to get a tree with John and I can't wait to share it with you! So.Much.Fun!

Oh and if you were wondering, I'm totally digging J. Bieber's Mistletoe. I may or may not have a baby crush on this kid.


Nov 19, 2011

Beautiful Arkansas Sunset

Here's a sunset I caught on the way home yesterday. It filled me with amazement, inspiration and joy. I had to manual focus so it's a little blurry, but was too beautiful not to share.

Hope everyone is having the most wonderful weekend.

Nov 16, 2011

{Hadden Family}

Sunday was the perfect day for a photoshoot. Well, almost. Yes, it was windy. And 80 degrees. So maybe not quite so perfect -- but the wonderful thing about photography is that you usually can't tell temperatures. And, if that wind gets crazy you just keep shooting until you get everything perfect.

I'd say even with the not-so-perfect weather, these pictures look pretty great {not to pat myself on the back, but....hehe}. This family was really fun to shoot -- the boys pretended not to like having their photos taken, and the Mr. & Mrs. were obviously very much in love. That always makes me smile. I hope to be like that one day too.

Anyway, enough jibber-jabber. Onto the pictures!

This family was so fun! What a great idea to bring a football at the end of the shoot. Aren't those boys precious? Thank you, Hadden family for letting me capture you!

Happy Wednesday!

Nov 15, 2011

Trendy Tuesday: Glitter & Gold

I realize I have almost missed Trendy Tuesday again this week, but don't dispair. I got around to it. I've been listening to Christmas music all day, tapping my toes in sync with Jingle Bell Rock and O' Christmas Tree. While doing so, I thought about the great Christmas trends right now and the one word that I'd say is "in" right now is glitter. Lots of it. Sequins and sparkles and gold and shine! Nothing quite says Christmas like the magic that these possess! So feast your eyes on some Glitter & Gold that might or not speak holiday to you. Do you love? I think yes!

1. Sparkly iPhone 2. Sequin Holiday Dress 3. Christmas Wreath 4. Nail Shimmer 5. Sparkle Cake! 6. Not Flat Flats 7. Flashy Pillow 8. Earrings

Nov 11, 2011


When I was growing up, catching the clock at 11:11 was a sign of good luck. We would be driving down the road, laughing and fighting and singing, and my little sister would catch a glimpse at the numbers all lined up in a row on the dash and squeal out "11:11, make a wish!" Like magic, everyone in the car would close their eyes tight, purse lips together, go silent for a moment, and wish as hard as we could for something to come true.

After the moment passed, the wish unspoken, we'd continue with life as it had been unfolding before. Giggles would emerge from our lips as friends told rehearsed jokes. One of us would snort from the stupidity of it and the laughter would grow into a roar  as the clock just kept ticking. 11:12 -- 11:11 would be forgotten.

But that wish? It would remain as a whisper in your heart.

Today is 11.11.11. A lucky day. So much more than that beloved lucky minute. And with Christmas spirit beginning to fall upon us, it seems like the appropriate start to such a magical time of year. For today is a good day for wishing. For dreaming about the future. For being thankful for what we've accomplished and the country that we live in. For loving the moments we're living in right now and the memories we're making.

Today I have plenty of wishes. And while most of them are probably selfish, many of them are truly meant for beauty and happiness in the future. For me, and for my family. So today, 11.11.11, a day that only happens once, I hope that you take a moment to appreciate the shorter days that are surrounding us. Memorize the feelings and excitement that are upon us and reflect about yet another year coming to a close. It's good stuff.

Oh, and don't forget to make a wish. 11:11 on 11.11.11? The most magical moment of all. Don't miss it.

Nov 8, 2011

Photography: Is it a Business?

I've had a lot of people ask me if I want to turn my recent photography hobby into a future career for myself. Wanna know the answer? Well, the short and sweet answer is no. I don't. I love my job (and my steady paycheck) and I don't plan on leaving it anytime soon in pursue of a photography career.

But you gotta know that there's a long answer too. Of course. While I don't plan on quitting my job anytime soon, I do think it'd be fun to master the art of photography and maybe someday (in a very, very long time) see where it goes. I have loved doing it so far. It is such a challenge to juggle so many things (both technically (think ISO, aperture, focus and shutter-speed) and non-technically (think trying to pose people and create great compositions). And in five+ years when I'm married and have babies? Well I guess then I'd have to rethink what I want in life once that time comes.

So for now, I am a graphic designer. And yes, a photographer too. But as a side thing. Something outside of work that I can focus my creativity on and love. And if I get tired of it? Well, I'll step back, take a break, and see what happens from there.

PS - sorry about dropping the ball on Trendy Tuesday. I've been without internet at home for about a week and haven't had the time to peruse all my blogs for inspiration! Next week it should be back.

Nov 7, 2011

{Cristler Family}

A few weeks ago Erin called me to see if I'd be interested in taking some family photos for her Christmas card. It was right after I'd done my shoot with Emily, and I was on a photography high -- yearning for someone else to shoot, something else to capture. "Of course," I said to her. "I'd love to!" We scheduled for Sunday evening, around sunset.

After a long Saturday complete with cookie baking, Hogs winning, Christmas shopping and dip snacking, I woke up Sunday morning determined to find a great location. Erin wanted "something fall-ish" so I grabbed Ella, jumped in my Nissan and headed east. Ish. I just let my car take me where it wanted and ended up somewhere between England and Scott, Arkansas. As I drove along a deserted road, I spotted a little path. I would have missed it if I hadn't been driving so slowly. I parked the car, grabbed the camera and the dog, and went exploring. And what I found? It was perfect. The essence of fall in Arkansas, all around me.

It had everything I thought Erin would want. Trees, flowers, grass, a field. Totally it. As Ella discovered the woods we had wandered upon, I took some quick snapshots to send to Erin for approval -- but I knew she'd love it. And you know what? She did. :)

It was great. Really great. Yes, I did have to bribe Evan with chocolate (see image above) but I think it was all worth it. I love my new location -- and can't wait to go back and discover more. 

Happy Monday, y'all.

Nov 3, 2011

Money Money Money

Lately I've been really enjoying playing around with my camera. I guess the first thing that started it (besides buying the camera itself) was my photo-shoot with Emily. I had the best time and thought this is exactly what I want to do. I loved working with her - posing her, talking to her, telling her how gorgeous she is - and once I opened my pictures on my camera I knew I had nailed it. With my recent second photo-shoot under my belt, I learned even more about myself. One being that I am totally digging portrait photography. Capturing an expression that is just so perfect.

There is only one little problem with my newfound hobby. It is expensive! I'm not talking expensive like the cakes. Those prices were laughable compared to how much photography equipment costs. I've been drooling over lenses that cost over $1,000 and dreaming about $300 photography classes. An external hard drive that can resist falls for a little under $200. An upgrade to CS5 for $150.
I want it all. Not because I'm greedy but because I want to learn. To practice. To excel. I want to get my hands on a lens that is sharp as a tack. I want a photography class that will inspire me and teach me. I want so much but I just can't afford it all.

Ah. Such is life.

So I'll keep on keepin' on, as some would say. Work hard, play hard. I'll get there someday.

Nov 2, 2011

Sharing the Love {Fall Favs}

Today I wanted to share with you guys some of the things I am dying over. Obsession doesn't begin to cover my feelings towards my 2011 fall essentials. They're just little things that are making me super happy right now, and it's only fair to share the love. So without further ado, the list:

1) {TOUCHGap's 1969 Ponte Five-Pocket Leggings - These things are rocking my world right now. Ah! I cannot get enough of them. Basically, they're a black pant that feels like pajamas but look like business casual black skinny jeans. I've been wearing them to work and it's seriously like wearing my favorite pajamas that magically seem to LOOK like pants. That's some Harry Potter magic here, people. Get them. Wear them. Love them.

2) {SMELLHobby Lobby's Christmas candles - No photo here, but last week I bought a $9.99 candle that smells like Christmas morning for only six buckaroos (thanks to these 40% off coupons HobLob usually has up on their website). No doubt about it, I have had it burning in my living room ever since, so when you walk inside the holidays are upon you! (I love Christmas!)

3) {TASTEPretzel M&Ms - did you know one little package is the same amount of Weight Watchers points (3) as a 100-calorie prepackaged snack, a Skinnycow candy bar, and a deep chocolate vita-muffin. Not together, of course, but still! How delightful. And that sweet + salty combo? Sigh...

4) {SEE} My 50mm/1.8 lens - I'm still loving this baby and it's my favorite lens. Not that it has much competition....the only other lens I have is the kit lens which I feel kind of meh about. This lens has me dreaming about what else is out there. Like the 50mm/1.2 (only $1,000?!?!) or an 85mm one.

5) {HEAR} Josh Ritter - My friend Keith introduced me to this artist and his music is great. I love The Temptation of Adam. Totally my kinda music :) Plus he's not hard on the eyes either. Hehe!

There you have it folks. Get it while you can :)

Happy Wednesday!