Wednesday, February 4, 2015

February #AZBLOGGERMEETUP

The next #azbloggermeetup is upon us! Every time I post about our awesome events I get a few inquiries for next time so the time is NOW friends! Tickets are on sale for $15.00 and will include a scrumptious waffle from Waffel Luv AZ, some tasty treats thanks to Sherris Berries, and a gift swap with a fellow Galentine!!! This meetup is going to be packed with wonderful local ladies and lots of love!! It will be at Gangplank in Chandler, AZ from 1-3 p.m on Saturday, February 21st!
Galentines Day Meetup
We would love to have you and it is an excellent way to meet new friends and see old ones too!! :)

Here is the link to purchase tickets from the Eventbrite site! Please let me know if you have any questions!

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/galentines-day-meetup-tickets-15565037446

Sunday, January 11, 2015

New Photography Session Packaging

So I mentioned in a prior post that I was redoing the materials I send to clients that get a CD in the mail. Well.. I did! Well I should say Melissa did. Melissa Who you ask?  Melissa Rose Design Studio, that's who!! She designed the forms for me initially and I wanted them to be sized down a bit and for the colors to be changed for the new year (I have some design changes coming for my website and I wanted a cohesive look to it all) I am in LOVE with everything that girl does and this is no exception!
The last few days I have been held up in bed like a hostage with this nasty sickness so that gave me plenty of time to print, cut and stuff envelopes. I am now ready for the next 120 sessions to be mailed out! :) My packaging includes a "What to do now" insert, a print release and a thank you note with a little special pretties inside! I LOVE them. They are so simple and easy, but add a special personalized touch to the process.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Where I am right now

So for the last few days I have been sitting here scrolling through Facebook and Instagram admiring all of the good intentions meant for 2015. People making their lists and setting whofty goals. Coming up with words that they want to define their year and how they are going to make themselves better this year.

So I am here reading and scrolling and then it just hits me... Ummm! I wasn't finished with all of the things I had planned for 2014! let alone bringing a brand new shiny year into the mix. I am not prepared and not for lack of interest in last year, but simply because there is far to much that I wanted to do in order to "start fresh" in the new year.

I knew it was coming. I saw people making lists and getting anxious about the idea of the new year. I was not excited. I was still stuck in October where my life halted and family photo season started. In my mind I still had 2 months left before I had to break out the sharpies and colorful paper to print out a nice new list. I made no lists! I'm feeling crazy overwhelmed going into this new year filled with all new possibilities and new goals to set and such.. Can't it just be Saturday and not have a need to be the most epic year ever!

Anyway, that's where I am right now. Somewhere between needing to deep clean my whole house, reconstruct my business, hand knit both kids blankets and wanting to lay on the couch and eat Cheetos all day. I can deal with the new year in April right?

Where is that pin, you know the one.. " All I want to do is make pretty things and get enough sleep"  That is how I feel about this year  :)  

Monday, December 22, 2014

She's Baaaack!

Woah.. stepping back into this blog is kind of like going back to your parents house for Christmas. It's still home, but you havent been there in awhile. You may be wondering why I havent even opened my blog since October, and the answer is very very simple. I have been BUSY!  Did you forget what I looked like even?! 
Here is the most recent headshot by the lovely Annelise Jensen!
This time last year I was making my blog a priority over things in life that needed more attention. I stressed about getting posts up, and for what? Who knows!
So I did what was best for me and took an extended break (again) from my blog and the results were incredible.
Let me just share some staggering numbers with you ::
Since October of this year I have shot nearly 100 portrait/family photo sessions. I have shot 2 weddings. I participated in Help Portrait, another photography event giving family photos to some families that may not have been able to have them this year. I volunteered my photography skills to the Make-A-Wish foundation twice. And that is just the photo related stuff!

- Here is part of the team that made Help Portrait possible in Phoenix this year -
 
I have been SO blessed the last few months to have been able to meet such wonderful people and use my time to give them something that they cherish. 

I upgraded my equiptment a few months back as well and have felt a total change of game since then. The camera didnt make me better, I made me better. I have made a point of doing more research, learning more efficient methods of editing and shooting. I have dug deep into the interwebs for knowledge to help me become a better photographer and business person. Want to see some recent stuff??!?!



I am in the process of changing shipping materials thanks to the help of the oh so wonderful Melissa of Melissa Rose Design. I am old school and still like to send a hard copy CD to all clients for back up sake, but it can be costly to send them. I have worked with my post office to find the most cost effective way to send them while still being super cute, if I think about it and/or have time I will post my materials here  :)

I also desperately need to upate the photos on my website as well, but that may be a project for the summer.. it looks like I will stay pretty steady through at least May right now with weddings and senior photos (eeekkkkk!!)

Who knew when I started this "business" that I would be where I am right now. I remember getting my camera and wanting to take pictures of any and everything. I remember the brave souls that let me take their photos when I first started out like my friend Mickie and my lovely blog friend Ali.
I am still learning like crazy and am nowhere near perfect, but I am getting better every day and am working towards new and ever changing goals that I didnt even know I wanted 6 months ago.

Anyhoo, I felt like a biannual update was needed here, and since I am taking a break for the Christmas holidays I have the time to do it as well! I am really looking forward to spending some time with my family this week!
 

 

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

DIY :: Wooden Pumpkins

After I posted these sweet babies on Instagram last week I had many a friend ask me how I made them. A lovely friend of mine sent me the link to the post she followed, but here I am to show you my journey in making these fantastic fall decorations!

First you will need 2x4 pieces of wood. I luckily have a very attractive man at my house that likes to hoard keep scrap wood for projects just like this one, so I didn't need to add this to my Home Depot list, however, if you are not so.. lucky you can easily get scrap 2x4's in the scrap wood pile for CHEAP.
You will then need to cut the wood to their desired pieces, I have added the measurements to the pieces in the photo below.  
(Note : I had no part in this, I had previously mentioned attractive man cut the wood for me; word is that if you have one of these contraptions in your garage you can also cut the wood yourself. If neither of those things are available to you then you can ask the kind fellas at The Home Depot to cut the wood for you to your desired lengths as well)
The next step is optional, It is sanding the wood. You can use either one of those fancy electric sanders (again, with the man friend that has all kinds of toys for such things) or just regular sand paper at a high grit. If you hand sand it will take longer. I did sand my pieces, but if you want a more weathered look you could totally skip sanding the pieces, I didn't even take a photo of that step.. whoops.

Now it is time to stain. You can choose whatever color you want for this, I knew I wanted an orange pumpkin so I selected the Red Chestnut for the large one and I already had Dark Walnut  on hand from another project we did so I used that for the smaller one. The BEST way to stain wood is to use an old sock.  I absolutely recommend using gloves for this step because that stuff is serious business and it will not only stain your wood but your hands and clothes and forearms and whatever else it touches too.  


Once your pieces are stained and have had a bit of time to dry you can use wood glue to glue them together. You will want to let the pieces dry overnight before moving them.


I added some twine I had laying around and hot glued some fake leaves that were also in my craft hoard office.



Sunday, September 21, 2014

My story of Domestic Violence and how I chose to Lead Kindly

Today I am celebrating the launch of Project Lead Kindly (www.projectleadkindly.com), a nonprofit organization founded by Pamela (from Macdonald’s Playland - www.macdonaldsplayland.com) and her husband. Project Lead Kindly assists mothers and children affected by homelessness and domestic violence by providing charitable service and grants to assist them in getting closer to safer, stable housing as well as educational or professional dreams. They are also on a mission to spread the message that ALL can do good and spread kindness, no matter their circumstances. 
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I have heard time and time again that my emotionally raw posts are the best ones, well my friends get ready for the best post yet. It is hard and scary and true, but I was approached by my dear sweet friend Pamela to help her spread awareness for a non profit organization she and her family have founded in California. She has kept it a secret for months and asked the blogging community for help to spread their name and message. With a cause near and dear to my heart I couldn't say no.

My family has been directly impacted by domestic violence.  There are some details that are not approp-riate for this space, and that is why they haven't been shared here before. They are personal -and while I am very proud of the person I have become in spite of a terrible situation, I think it is best to leave out most of it. I can count on one hand the people that know my entire story and I do think it should stay that way, but I will tell you that the summer that I turned 14 was the most terrifying few months of my life. 
My  biological father is not a kind person. That is the understatement of the century. He struggled with drugs and prescription pain medicine for years. His already unapproachable demeanure made my childhood already one that I can only describe as walking on eggshells. I was constantly on edge worried of what kind of mood he would be in when he walked down the hallway next; would he just walk by me or would the sight of my open door be enough to cause a tornado to come through my room. I would hold my breath as I turned the corner to go home from school as I looked for his truck in the driveway. I would cower away in my room to hide from any hurtful remarks he had about anything from my latest school grades to my less than perfect appearance. 
It was hard. Every day. Especially for a scared and impressionable young girl to live in a world like that. A world where I was already trying to figure out life and fit in at school, but then to come home and be teased and mocked at home.  It was something that I pushed back deep into the hidden dark shadows of my memory so that I didn't have to believe it was true.

Then came That summer. The summer that changed everything. 

There are pieces that are still incredibly fuzzy. I don't remember it all even to this day despite being well old enough too, I think that my mom is in part to thank for that. She sheltered me as much as she could from things. I remember lots of fighting and moving out of the house that I had called home since 3rd grade. I remember packing up without my dad and moving a mile down the road. I remember being happy with my mom and my brother. I remember school still being rough, but it was ok because my house was a happy one. Then I remember him coming around more. I remember him staying the night and the nights getting much darker. I remember being woken up by the sound of yelling coming from my moms bedroom. I remember staying awake with the phone in my hand ready to dial 9-1-1 if I needed to. I remember things that no child should ever have to see in their life. But now as an adult I can think back and recognize that it is also something that no woman should ever have to go through ever. Not only did she have to fear for herself, she had to fear for her children. What a torturous place to be. My mom made him leave just as quickly as she had let him back in. 
But that did nothing to stop him from coming back. The following weeks were ones that involved scary talks with my mom, new locks and orders of protection. 
I remember one night very vividly. It was the night my mom got a call to go stay with my Uncle. He had a bad feeling. My mom reluctantly packed up me and my brother and headed out to his house. 
What happened next can only be described as a miracle. 
My mom got a call from our next door neighbor asking if she had left the garage door open when she left for the night. My mom did not. She asked if the door was supposed to be ajar. It was not. 
My neighbor immediately called the police that walked in on my dad in the middle of the house that he had been kicked out of weeks before. He had very bad intentions for that evening and it still brings me to tears to this day just thinking of what could have happened if it weren't for a feeling and a phone call from my uncle. My father was arrested that night and after his plea agreement was reached he was later convicted of felony harassment and spent the next 8 months in prison. He is now out of prison and has been clean for almost 10 years, but I have not spoken a word to him in more than 8.  

I don't tell this story to get sympathy. I don't tell this story to make you sad or to show you how scary domestic violence can be. I tell this story to prove that despite the scary things that were put in my way, put in my moms way, we are strong, successful, and capable women that just so happened to have been affected by domestic violence. 
I firmly believe that my struggle shaped me into the person that I am today. Do I want to do it again, no. But I am thankful for the things that I proved I could become as a result of it. I am not a victim, I am a survivor. My mom is a survivor. My family survived. There are far to many that don't and that is why I think Pamelas mission is so important. If more women can choose joy and kindness and persevere through the hard times, the possibilities of their kindness are unimaginable. I have made my own life into one that serves others because I know how much a kind gesture can mean to someone.

I could not be more proud of Pamela and her family and more honored that she has so graciously allowed me to share my story and support her in this great adventure she has taken on, I try to lead kindly every day in life and I hope that you choose to as well.
Through the mission of Lead Kindly, I encourage all of you that are active in social media to take a moment from your busy day and remind your following to Lead Kindly as well. 
Pamela first asked us all to make a picture that essentially showed that there is no excuse to not be kind. 
"Spread kindness even when : " that was the prompt. There are a thousand words that I could put there. There is always an excuse to proceed with your day without kindness, but no matter how busy or sick or tired or stressed or unhappy or whatever you are, I urge you to remember that even the smallest kind word or gesture can make mountains of difference to a person. You will never know how deep your words can touch someone on their hardest day.  
So Go! Spread the word about this lovely project! 

Facebook :: www.facebook.com/projectleadkindly
Instagram :: @projectleadkindly or hashtag your photo with #projectleadkindly
Twitter:: www.twitter.com/lead_kindly
Their shop!!!! The funds from everything sold will benefit their mission!
projectleadkindly.storenvy.com

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

50 in 555 :: Watch 10 TED Talks

Watch 10 TED Talks

What is a TED talk? TED stands for It is a short presentation given that is anywhere from 5-30 minutes long and all have a profound meaning and topic given. They can be inspirational, informational,

straight from their website : TED is a nonprofit devoted to spreading ideas, usually in the form of short, powerful talks (18 minutes or less). TED began in 1984 as a conference where Technology, Entertainment and Design converged, and today covers almost all topics — from science to business to global issues — in more than 100 languages.

their slogan is "Ideas Worth Spreading". I love listening to insightful people on interesting topics, These are some of my favorites. I said I wanted to do 10 in 555 days.. I did 10 in 5 days. I really encourage you to find a few that look interesting to you!

1-  Love, no matter what.  Andrew Solomon

2-  The 3 A's of Awesome. Niel Pasricha

3-  I Got 99 Problems, Palsy is just one.  Maysoon Zayid

4- Sucking Time or Saving Lives Kristin Howerton (Rage Against The Minivan)

5- The Power of Vulnerability.  Brene Brown

6- Thoughts from inside the Mental Hospital Glennon Melton (Momastary)

7- Love letters  Hannah Brencher

8- Depression, the secret we share. Andrew Solomon

9-  How I hacked online dating. Amy Webb

10- Looks aren't everything. Believe me, I'm a model. Cameron Russell