Wednesday, December 29, 2010

how i got all this for 3 cents

Yesterday, I walked into Tiffany's The Dollar Jewelry Store and filled a little hand basket with these lovely baubles...


I took them to the checkout counter, the nice lady there rang them up for me, I paid her three pennies, and I left.

The End.

Just kidding.

Let me explain.

Last month, these lovely people asked me to once again do their holiday photo's.

This is the superbly good looking staff of's NorthWest campus.

Cool people refer to NorthWest as The N-Dub.

I had the pleasure of doing this fun session for them.














So what does this session have to do with me getting a bunch of fun jewelry for three cents? Well, let me tell you...These awesome people know me so well...They gave me a gift certificate to the jewelry store! {Because everyone knows, I love my accessories!} And after using the gift certificate, all I owed was three pennies.

Yay! Thank you, N-Dub staff! <3


Tuesday, December 28, 2010

my ridiculously good-looking family

Last week, my incredible sister in law Ashley came to visit us. I coerced my amazing photographer friend Kelly Beane to come and do a quick session of my awesome family. {Check out her sweet website!} Here is one of my favorites...


standing, left to right: Amber, Abe, Mom, Dad, Ashley
sitting, left to right: Laila, me, Jace, Daxon, Mandi, DJ

And I just have to note this, because it makes me so happy:
A good portion of our outfits were thrifted. These are the thrifted items: Amber's poncho, red jeans, and gold belt; my dress and vest; my mom's sweater, Daxon's sweater; Ashley's shirt and red leather skirt :); DJ's pearl snap shirt...and maybe more, I'm not sure on all Mandi's family's clothing. :)

So, there you have it. My ridiculously good-looking family {if I do say so myself} decked out in some fun clothing. :) Happy Holidays from all of us to all of you.

God Bless!


ps A huge THANK YOU to my wonderful family for being willing to go along with my "styling" of this session and for cooperating so nicely. :) Also, to Kelly, for taking time out of her extra-busy schedule to capture us!

Monday, December 27, 2010

happy birthday, amber

I still remember it as one of the saddest days of my life. My parents and I had driven my sister Amber down to Oklahoma City to go to college. And we left her. For the first time in my entire life, I was not going to be living with my older sister and best friend. I cried. For a good portion of the 10-plus hour drive back up to our home in Iowa, I cried.

Amber and I had been through it all together, so far. We had shifted from homeschooling to a small Christian school, back to homeschooling, and into an even tinier Christian school, together. We had suffered through the same oppressive clothing rules and strict religious standards. We had the same friends, shared the same stories, laughed at the same silly things.

At the time, the day we dropped Amber off at college, it seemed like some sort of ending or separation. But really, despite my teenaged fears, that separation never occurred. Amber and I eventually moved into an apartment together, then rented a house with some other girls, and now we live in a house that Amber owns. She is still and always will be one of my best friends.

Today is Amber's birthday.

I'd like to tell you guys a little bit about who Amber is, and just use my blog to publicly say a big Happy Birthday to her!

Amber is, first and foremost, a strong Christian girl. She has a close relationship with God. I often walk into a room and see her reading/studying the Bible. She has always been a good influence on me in this area.

Amber is a wonderful mom to my niece Laila. Laila is not Amber's biological daughter, but the bond of love between them is stronger than blood. Over the past few years, I have watched {closely, since I live with her} Amber learn to parent a teenager. i would say that she has been highly successful!

Amber is fun and funny. She teaches/coaches middle schoolers, and she always has a humorous story to tell about their antics. She is the first to want to go on an adventure, whether it be camping or exploring an old abandoned house.

Amber is beautiful, inside and out. I have already mentioned her spirituality, but Amber also places a high priority on fitness. She works out on a regular basis, and attempts to keep the rest of us in shape, too! :)

Amber gives great advice. You might have to hit her to get her attention and make her listen to you, but once she does, she gives great advice. Just kidding about the hitting...We have lived together so long that she has learned to tune me out when necessary, since everyone knows I can talk..and I like to tease her about not listening to me.

All in all, Amber is an amazing human being. I am proud of her and happy to have her as a confidant, friend, and sister.

{Amber also models for me on demand.}

Happy Birthday, Amber!!! I love you so much!


Tuesday, December 21, 2010

life lessons from a thrift store

Yesterday, I made my way over to a nearby thrift store to do a little shopping on my lunch break. This has become a normal way for me to pass the time and avoid the fast food trap during the noon to one hour.

My family is doing pictures today. As the unofficial stylist for my family, I chose the color scheme and decided to search the thrift store for appropriate clothing for all of us.

As I was browsing, I came across a dress with an interesting print in black and white that caught my eye. It didn't fit the color scheme for our session, but I knew I had to have it for myself.


I could tell by looking at the tag that it was truly vintage. And when I looked it up later on Google, I was pleasantly surprised to read about the designer, Edith Flagg. According to Wikipedia, Edith was a survivor of World War II and was an active part of saving multiple Jewish people during that time. Her story is pretty interesting, and I even found a video with an interview of her by her grandson.

So, this is the dress that caught my eye with it's interesting print, and then revealed a fascinating story to me...


I could get deep here, and talk about the life lessons that could be learned. After all, I was shopping for family, choosing to buy "used", at Goodwill no less; and I discover the story of a woman who truly changed the world and helped others...

Pretty cool, huh?


Friday, December 17, 2010

we're just moments

How often can one mention being "so busy" before it just starts to get annoying? In my opinion, it gets annoying pretty quickly. After all, everyone is busy. Well, maybe not my grandparents who live on a farm in Iowa...But then again, with well over fifty immediate descendants, even they seem to have a full calendar of birthdays, ball games, and the like, to attend. So, everyone is busy.

I work a full time job from eight to five Monday through Friday, combined with running a photography business on my own. I love it, I truly do. And I am Busy.

Today, I will head down to Dallas to second-shoot a wedding with my friend Kelly tomorrow. I will also get to do a portrait session for my dear friend Jen and her precocious, adorable daughter. Kelly and Jen are two of my closest friends in the world, and I love that my career of photography allows me to spend time with my friends.

The other day, my wonderful friend Kriea stopped by my work to get a disc of images from a wedding I had second-shot for her. {Kriea is a very successful wedding photographer, as is Kelly, and they both have families. I imagine my busy-ness doesn't even compare to theirs.} So, when Kriea stopped by, it was a rare treat for us to be able to hang out for just a bit and catch up and chat.


The above photo is of Kriea, me, Kelly, and Jen. It was taken at my ten year class reunion last year. Jen and I were in the same class; and Kelly and Kriea happened to be shooting a wedding together nearby on the same night as my reunion, so they stopped by. I knew I had a photo of myself with all of them, but then I realized the class reunion photos are on an old hard drive somewhere {I fill up external hard drives pretty quickly.} So I grabbed this one from one of my Facebook albums. Have I mentioned how much I love Facebook?

I realize this is a random, rambling post. When I started writing, I was tempted to tell you all about how busy I have been, to explain my lack of consistent posting this week. But then, that seemed annoying. So, I shifted my perspective and instead, I want to explain how my busy life is a blessing straight from God. And when He gives me moments with friends and family, I am truly appreciative.


Wednesday, December 15, 2010

this will make you smile

This holiday season, my heart is continuously warmed as I shoot and edit portraits for sweet little families such as this one...


Seriously, how precious are those twin babies?? Obviously, look at their parents and you can see that they have some good genes! So adorable! Makes me smile.


Tuesday, December 14, 2010

it's as simple as something that nobody knows

Here are a few facts about living in Oklahoma:

1~Here in good old Oklahoma, it is not considered cheap or tacky at all to get a design on your toes when you get a pedicure. {Also okay: french mani/pedi's--but I refrain from that.} ;)

2~Even though it might get bitterly cold here, we usually don't get a whole lot of snow. So, you might be tempted to get a snowflake painted on your toes in order to increase the whole feeling of winter/holiday spirit.

3~In addition to the snowflake, you might want to wear your summery {and also not-at-all-tacky} toe ring year-round. Because really, today it might be 24 degrees in the morning, 60 degrees in the afternoon, and 75 degrees tomorrow. And we all know that 75 degrees is open-toed shoe weather. Perfect for showing off your pedicure design and your toe ring! ;)



Thursday, December 9, 2010

leggings and boots, boots and leggings

As a young teen, I lived in a small town in Iowa and harbored a secret dream of maybe one day moving to New York City to be a high fashion makeup artist. But at that time, my life consisted mainly of...let's; friends; church; babysitting and then moving up to working at KMart; church; sometimes "spraying beans" or "detassling corn" {they're real jobs--don't be jealous}. But mostly it consisted of church. A far cry from the glamorous and maybe not so churchy life of a NYC makeup artist.

But really, as it turns out, I don't think that being a big-time makeup artist would have ever worked out as a career for me anyway. Let's gloss right over the facts that I never moved to New York and never even went to cosmetology school. Those are minor details. Because I think the real issue would have been my wardrobe. In my midwestern girl mind, I am quite convinced that high fashion makeup artists must always wear all black in order to be taken seriously as they are painting smudgy eye makeup onto the faces of models and celebs. And you see, therein lies the problem. I just love colorful clothing so very much!

Case in point, my outfit today...

As it gets chilly outside, many girls turn to the comfortable, easy, and cute outfit solution of leggings and boots, boots and leggings. So, in order to not blend in with the masses, I choose color. Sure, I have my black leggings that I love. But how fun are these bright blue ones?? So much more fun!

Think I could rock 'em in the back of a runway tent during fashion week while applying smudgy eye makeup to models??


Wednesday, December 8, 2010

social media addict

Every morning, one of the very first things I do is get on Facebook. And then, throughout the day, I proceed to check it about seventy-five...thousand...times. Same with Twitter. Although, I do get all my @ replies and direct messages as texts, so that cuts down some on the checking of Twitter.

Awhile back, I got so convicted about my addiction to Twitter/Facebook/blogs, that I actually changed my home page to YouVersion. That way, the first thing I end up doing when I get on my computer is reading scripture instead of going straight to wasting time catching up on everyone and everything.

But still, I have a problem and I feel that it should be addressed. See, here's the thing: I can't imagine what it would be like were some disaster to strike and somehow wipe out social media. I am serious. The very thought makes me shudder. I mean, how would I know what is going on with the boy I like my friends?? How could I show off my cute outfits? What would be the point of even wearing cute clothes if they would never end up in a photo online...that someone could comment on?? {On a sort of related side note: it always baffles me when clients rave about loving their photos by me and then they never post them on Facebook. I mean, don't they want people to be able to comment about how great they look?}

It has occurred to me often that we now live in a world where there is a whole other realm called virtual reality. I know, I am stating the obvious here. But think about it. There are so many things that I really feel like I would be missing out on if I didn't see them on Twitter or Facebook. And I can't even think of how I would ever obtain this info if it weren't available to me via the aforementioned sites.

I know, everyone is all about less Facebook, more face time. But come on, people. Let's just admit what a wonderful, helpful, informative thing the internet is! And when I say internet, I mostly mean social networking.

Am I the only one who feels like this? Am I alone in my problem? Should I pretend to be more anti-internet??


Tuesday, December 7, 2010

day of infamy

December 8, 1941
Franklin Roosevelt "A Date Which Will Live in Infamy"
Joint Session of the U.S Congress
Following December 7, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor, Roosevelt declares war on Japan.

Yesterday, December 7, 1941—a date which will live in infamy—the United States of American was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.

The United States was at peace with that nation, and, at the solicitation of Japan, was still in conversation with its government and its emperor looking toward the maintenance of peace in the Pacific. Indeed, one hour after Japanese air squadrons had commenced bombing in Oahu, the Japanese ambassador to the United States and his colleague delivered to the secretary of state a formal reply to a recent American message. While this reply stated that it seemed useless to continue the existing diplomatic negotiations, it contained no threat or hint of war or armed attack.

It will be recorded that the distance of Hawaii from Japan makes it obvious that the attack was deliberately planned many days or even weeks ago. During the intervening time the Japanese government has deliberately sought to deceive the United States by false statements and expressions of hope for continued peace.

The attack yesterday on the Hawaiian Islands has caused severe damage to American naval and military forces. Very many American lives have been lost. In addition, American ships have been reported torpedoed on the high seas between San Francisco and Honolulu.

Yesterday the Japanese government also launched as attack against Malaya.

Last night Japanese forces attacked Hong Kong.

Last night Japanese forces attacked Guam.

Last night Japanese forces attacked the Philippine Islands.

Last night Japanese forces attacked Wake Island.

This morning the Japanese attacked Midway Island.

Japan has, therefore, undertaken a surprise offensive extending throughout the Pacific area. The facts of yesterday speak for themselves. The people of the United States have already formed their opinions and well understand the implication to the very life and safety of our nation.

As commander in chief of the Army and Navy I have directed that all measures be taken for our defense. Always will we remember the character of the onslaught against us.

{courtesy of this site}

Monday, December 6, 2010

my fantastic weekend

This is what a spectacular weekend looks like...

Friday night: a fabulous Christmas party with a sweet friend...

Saturday afternoon: a wintry wonderland shoot of one of the best couples I think I've ever met...

Saturday night: dinner made for me by my good friend Lindsey, followed by the viewing of Christmas lights in Yukon, OK. This tree display that sparkled and flashed in time with the music was our favorite...
2010-12-04 21.26.34-2
{phone pic}

Sunday morning: a new favorite outfit...

...and soul-stirring worship at church...
{taken w/ my new point and shoot cam}

Sunday evening: hanging out with my girl Kylie {she was one of my Switch girls last year, and I get together with her once a week}...

Things not pictured above that also made this weekend wonderful:
~getting to stay in bed late on Saturday
~fun phone conversations with good friends
~lunch at my mama's house on Sunday
~precious bits of time spent with my niece and nephews
~an encouraging facebook message from my pastor

This month has started off beautifully for me! :)


Friday, December 3, 2010


For the past few weeks, I have been doing a ton of portrait shoots, editing, and print orders. I absolutely love it! Portraits are so fun for me! After almost ten {!!!!!} years of shooting weddings {with portraits mixed in as well, of course}, I get less excited about weddings these days, and more excited about the freedom and control I have during portrait sessions.

Here is an image from a print order I am working on for my beautiful friend Rhonda. This is her, her adorable niece, and her gorgeous sister.


Rhonda is the wife of my boss John. For the past few years, I have been blessed with a great job working as the office manager for John and my other boss, Peter. They are both so kind and laid back. Rhonda has a heart of pure gold, and I am so happy that I've had the chance to get to know her.


Thursday, December 2, 2010

gift ideas

I am an avid fan of Twitter. As my pastor, Scott Williams, says, "Twitter is like a river." Basically, he means that you don't have to try to read every tweet by every person you follow, but just catch some of the info as it flows by.

Yesterday, I noticed a tweet posted by Promise Tangeman, a very cool chick who designs, photographs, and creates awesome art. She posted about giving gifts this season that give back. Today, I headed over to her blog and checked out her list. I thought it was pretty great, so I thought I'd share it here with you:

Promise Tangeman's Christmas Gift Guide 2010!! 10 Gifts That Give Back

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

finer with age

Today is the first day of the last month in my twenties. Not to be too dramatic about it, but--never mind, let's just be dramatic about this! It's my last month in my twenties!!! I am so excited about this!

Yep, you read that right. I am thrilled to be on the cusp of turning thirty. See, I have this theory about aging. Let's take a moment to think about all the beautiful, successful female celebrities of today. {Yes, I am basing my theory on celebrities. Yes, I realize the shallowness of this.} The majority of my "favorite" female celebs are all in their thirties or older. And what's more, many of them have been around for awhile, and it is my opinion that they have only improved with age. {Some of my faves: Kate Hudson, Rachel McAdams, Gwen Stefani, Halle Berry, Jennifer Aniston, Demi Moore, Sarah Jessica Parker...}

Okay, they have access to the finest physical trainers, dietitians, dermatologists, etc.--not to mention, ahem, plastic surgeons. Let's just ignore those facts and let me live in my happy little world, where turning thirty means that I will become more toned, taut, and beautiful; my career will skyrocket; and I will marry a hot younger man--or be fabulously single.

{this is me, today}

Ahhh, turning thirty looks pretty sweet to me. Bring it on, December 31, 2010! Happy birth month to me!