Tuesday, July 7, 2020

40 years old...today

40 years old....

I don't know how I thought I would feel when I was 40 or look, but I know this isn't where I expected to be in life. As I look back at the last 40 years I have grown and changed so many times. I am thankfully and grateful for the life I have lived. I have the best family and friends, even though it has taken some hard decisions to let go of people that weren't meant to be in my life and let others in. I have become stronger and even though it is a challenge to put myself first I am learning how to do it.

I have grown a hobby into a business and met some of the best people through it. I absolutely love that I can do what I love. I love that I can be creative and help others capture their own memories.

I love blogging and the creative outlet this is for me. It is therapeutic, as well as a source of income. I again do something I love and share with others and hopefully they take something away from it.

I had many goals for my 30's, as I had just turned 30 when my husband died. I am happy that I was able to achieve so many of them, while still being the best mom I can be. I have learned that I can do things on my own and stand on my own two feet, and quite well, but I can still accept help when I need it.

As I look toward my next decade I hope to continue to grow and let go of things that are holding me back and move forward with the ones that are meant to be a part of my journey. I hope to continue to put effort and my heart into things that I want to continue to grow and achieve.

Linked outfit details below, my dress sold out (currently on backorder) shortly after I bought it so linked a similar:

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Master Bathroom Update: Boho Bathroom

Before (I had thought about doing "before" pictures after I started working, so it is really a mess):

After (So clean and bright!):

I am finally ready to share one of the projects I have been working on. Anyone else feel like projects take forever to be completed because you have a vision and can't find what you are looking for to complete it? Whenever I do a room it takes me a while to piece things together. I am not someone that walks into a store and immediately knows what I want. It seems I find one thing and it builds off that.

If you would have asked me a few months ago which room I would want to gut and totally redo I would have said my master. When we moved in I hated the high ceiling in there and how large and cold it made the room feel. I had the painter paint the room all one dark color to close it in. At the time I had a spa like theme in mind and it worked for years, but now it was starting to wear on me. It felt dark and dirty. I had a break when the girls went back to school after the holidays with no photo shoots or wreaths to work on and a few cans of extra paint in the basement. I decided to just paint and it kind of went from there. I used paint that we had had down there from my basement bathroom and it looks completely different in my upstairs bathroom. Since the room is brighter (windows and large) it is a much lighter color than in the basement. I changed the ceilings to a bright white and once that was done decided I wanted something bold on the one wall.

I had been intrigued by the wallpaper at Target and felt this was a good place to try it out. I have always loved palm print and it went well with the coral walls. I decided to try the peel and stick wallpaper. It was actually easier to apply than I had expected. I rolled the wallpaper out on my kitchen floor, measured the length of the wall and then cut the pieces. I then lined up the wallpaper pattern to make the next cut. I left extra on the bottom of each one I cut and trimmed it off once the paper was on the wall. I was able to do all of this on my own, no help was necessary. The wallpaper is removable which made putting it on a little easier. If it wasn't quite lining up you just pull it off and redo.

Once the wall was done I felt it needed something to break up the pattern and began my search for something on the wall. I found the basket to hang and originally ordered it in the small size but it was too small so I exchanged it for the large one. Once that was on the wall, the wall next to the tub looked way too plain. I found the hanging plants first and then happened to walk into Hobby Lobby during a 50% off wall art sale and found the perfect prints to put between the plants.

My hardest challenge in this room was probably the rugs. I must have bought and returned 10 different rugs. My vanity is an odd size with the wall next to it, so I had to have something 5ft in length and most are 4 or 6. I also didn't want a plain rug, they just didn't look right when I tried them. Finally, after a long search, I came upon this one and it was better than I could have imagined. It is made of a washable material and super absorbent, as well as thick and soft.

A room that I had once wanted to completely gut because I hated everything about, even the tile, I now love everything about. I was able to keep a lot of the stuff that was in that room in there after it was done because it still matched. This was a fairly inexpensive update for me. If I would have done what I originally had wanted to do it would have been very expensive.

I am linking all the products that I can below
Wall color is Comical Coral from Sherwin Williams
Most of the art and mirror are Hobby Lobby, the rest linked below
The towel holder and hamper are both very old IKEA

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Must haves for a ski vacation or day on the slopes!

My girls have been going to ski club with the school and I was talking with some parents about why I dress the way I do on the hills and also the kids. I was stopped multiple times and told my ski suit was cute, but more so than that it is noticeable. That is tip #1 wear something that stands out and put your kids in something that stands out. I had a ski instructor stop and tell me I was right about him always seeing me after I pointed out my reasoning for my snowsuit. Both of my daughters also wear outfits that I can spot. When you look out onto the hill normally you see a sea of black on black snowsuits and everyone has on a helmet and looks identical. If you aren't about the snowsuit even a helmet that is noticeable will help.

Tip #2 is set a meeting spot with times. Even with outfits you can see I still make sure they check in from time to time and have an exact meeting place.

Tip #3 warmers. Don't forget the hand and feet warmers! This speaks for itself! Another tip is to wear mittens and not gloves. It is easier to put hand warmers in and your hands stay warmer. Also they make ski mittens that have wrist holders attached so you can take them off and they hang without you losing them.

Tip #4 buy boot and ski bags. Boot and ski bags help transporting the equipment. It also keeps them from getting all scratched up and ruined.

Tip #5 If traveling with equipment pack heavy things together and put in a carry-on. When we traveled to France during Christmas I packed our carry-on suitcases full of boots. I usually just ski with a base layer on which makes the suitcase lighter. I packed both girls helmets in the luggage and filled them with their gloves, etc. It also helps to have a face cover for days when it is really cold.

Tip #6 check out yearly rentals if your child is still growing. A lot of ski stores near me have a yearly rental program. You pay a one-time fee at the beginning of the year and pick up your skis. Then at the end of the season you return them. This is great if your child is still growing and you don't want to have to keep spending money on new equipment.

Tip #7 if you are buying equipment check out skis.com. Skis.com sells kid's systems that are used. I purchased my daughter brand new skis in the summer (tip #8- buy off-season) and used boots. The boots were a huge deal and looked barely worn. I also purchased myself used skis and boots and neither looked worn at all. I had been skiing on skis that I gotten when I was in middle school, the last time I had grown, and it was time to upgrade. Due to my height and weight, I was also able to buy youth skis, saving a ton of money.

I am sure some of these tips are pretty common-sense and might not be looked at as tips, but hopefully some are helpful!

Below I will link some of the items that we have!

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

2020 Goals

I know it is halfway through January already and I am just making goals, but that is what happens sometimes. Last year my goal was to build my blog and establish it more, that didn't happen. I sporadically posted and had great gaps in posts. At the end of this year I re-evaluated the blogging and Instagram posts/time spent. I love doing both but it takes a lot of time and I was leaving other things undone.

I also have to have someone shoot the looks I post and posting to my Instagram pictures that the kids take or I do in a mirror aren't always the best. This year I want to get back to a more regular schedule of posting, but I had to get some stuff done at the house first. In the next month or so, I hope to reveal some of the home projects I have undertaken and accomplished. Everything takes me twice as long doing them by myself and around our schedules. One of my projects I still have to complete is an area to do try-ons and ootd posts.

When I started this blog I tried to rehash what it was like to go through Ray's journey but in-between I would do random posts on Wednesdays. I never kept track of what I was posting and just wrote from the heart and what was on my mind. Since this blog has been going over a year now I want to make sure my topics aren't overlapping all the time. I want to make a map of where I want this to go.

So even though last year I thought I would make my building year, I hope this will be it for me. I want to get back to a more normal posting schedule and not just random posts. I hope to use my time better and get everything I need to do accomplished and have time for the blog too. Right now my biggest goal is getting my home in order and then it will be back to the blog.

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

A New Decade

10 years ago I didn't make any plans and my only thoughts on the future were all so uncertain. New Years was spent calling an ambulance because Ray was so sick and needed to go back to the hospital. While most people look at the New Year as a time for new beginnings and to wipe the slate clean I was not so positive. Everything I had known and I knew, all my hopes and dreams, were slowly dying.

Every year since I think, Is this my year? Will I finally be more certain about what my future holds. The past 10 years I lost some of the most important people in my life. I had heard your 30's are supposed to be some of the best and for me I felt more and more anxious every year just floating through life. What am I supposed to be doing? The girls continue to get older and closer to that fateful age of 18 when they will be tested for the gene. Both having learning disabilities has pushed me to be even more anxious of what the future holds for both and continuing to push for them to receive the help they so need and deserve.

I have learned over the past 10 years I am stronger and can achieve much more than I ever thought possible. I can do things on my own, but the help and support of everyone around me is much needed and I need to learn it is ok to accept it.

I have grown a hobby into something more with my photography. My blog which I intended as a place to write down my feelings has given me a source of income and reached, and hopefully helped, a lot of people. I have made connections I never would have through my blogging.

I hope in the next 10 years I reach a place of contentment and stability. I hope to become less anxious and continue to grow personally and professionally.

Thursday, December 19, 2019

Holiday Christmas Cards

Back in July I had a greeting card company, basic invite, reach out to me to see if I wanted to work with them. Most of you know that I want to stay true to my brand and only post about companies and brands that I want to work with and would use or do use. In July I wasn't really thinking about holiday cards, but told them to keep me in mind if they wanted to work together closer to Christmas. As a photographer, I am always looking for companies to recommend to my clients.

Fast forward to two weeks ago and they reached back out. I was eager to see what the cards would look like and what the benefits of this brand compared to others would be. I also waited to agree to do this post until I knew for sure it was a quality product that I would use. 

Basic invite is a greeting card company that allows you to customize the greeting cards which is a HUGE advantage for me and one of the reasons that I was so excited to order cards from this company and work with them. When I plan a session I do it based on the styling of the shoot. I usually have in mind colors, location, etc. When I have tried to order holiday picture cards in the past, unless I knew which cards I was going to order ahead of time, a lot of the ones I liked the best I couldn't use because they didn't work with the colors in my photos. Basic invite has 180 colors to customize your card with and 3 foil colors that can be raised or flat on the card. You can preview your card while creating it online with all the different color options to make sure you like the fit. I absolutely loved playing around with all the options and finding the best fit for my cards. They also offer pages and pages of different card options. 

Along with customizing the greeting cards you can chose from 40 different envelope colors. The envelopes are all peel and stick so they can easily be closed. They also offer an address capturing service that allows you to request friend's and family's addresses over social media. The addresses are stored in the account and can be selected when designing the cards. Address printing is offered at no additional cost. This is a huge time saver especially if you have a large family or are a company looking to send to clients. 

If you are still unsure or want to make sure the quality and colors are perfect before placing an order they also offer samples. I ordered samples of 4 different styles with 4 different photos to check the quality and colors before I even did this post. They all came back beautiful and exactly how they appeared when I was done customizing them.

If you are interested in checking out their selection of 2019 Christmas cards or 
office Christmas party invitations click the links and they are currently offering 15% off with code 15FF51.

**Thank you basic invite for sponsoring this post, all opinions are my own**

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Thanksgiving/ Black Friday Sales

I have been getting questions about sales and trying to put together a list of some of my favorite places to shop during the holiday sales. Some of the sales have started and some have not. I am speculating on the sales they have run in the past for what will be offered but most have been these same deals for years.

J Crew 50% off and 60% off sale:

J Crew Factory 60% off:

Abercrombie 50% off and free shipping:

Abercrombie Kids 40% off and free shipping:

American Eagle 40% off and free shipping:

Target :


Zara usually does 30% off sitewide:

Asos usually does 20% off sitewide:

Missguided 50% off:

Urban Outfitters Buy 1 get 1 50% off:

Old Navy 50% no exclusions and it appears some items have been restocked!:

Ssense Golden Goose Sneaker Sale:

Spiritual Gangster 40% off:

Amazon great deals on kindles, fire sticks, books, etc.:

Hopefully this list is helpful!!