Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Dear Baby Brother,

Dear baby brother,
Today, you'll pack up your car and head to school to start a new chapter of your life.

It's not fair, really, how fast you grew up. I remember how excited I was when I got to hold you for the first time. The doctors suited me up like I was one of them, and I was so excited to meet you!

Despite our age gap, we became so close, so quickly. I wanted to protect you. I may have only just turned 6, but I knew that I would do anything for you at that young age.

I don't remember us having one of those relationships where we fought much. Sure, we had our days, but who didn't? I always remember being so excited when we got to spend time together.
Which still holds true to this day, by the way.

I remember the first time we moved, and we both had to go to a different school. I remember sitting in Nanny and Buddy's bedroom upstairs as I reminded you everything would be alright and that one day, you wouldn't even remember the anxiety you felt before that first day. You'd make fast friends, because you were such an awesome kid. That's exactly what happened.

Fast forward a few years and you moved back to your old school. You picked up right where you left off. Entering high school as a Freshman, drumsticks in hand, and deciding to give band class a try.

You were a natural. The whole family would come to your concert nights and leave feeling inspired. You were growing in your talents SO quickly!

It's been so fun to do life together and to be there for each other through literally everything. The worst of the worst and the best of the best.

You were there after Caleb and I got engaged on the beach...

and you were there to watch me say I do...

I've watched you grow up and get your license...

I've watched dozens of concerts you've participated in...

I've watched you lead your school as the Captain through the streets of Downtown celebrating our city...

I've watched you get ready for your first Prom...

We've been on countless vacations together... staying up way too late paying video games and eating as many crab legs as we could...

I even watched as you gave our Dad the sweetest best man speech...

Getting to watch you walk across that stage to receive your diploma was also one of the coolest things ever.

But I think my favorite part of all your life has been watching you grow in your relationship with The Lord.

Brandon, when this world fails you (and it will), remember to stay strong, and push forward. My prayer for you is that you would hang on when things get tough. Pray every single day. Give thanks for the little things like hot water, a car to drive, and food every morning. Be the guy who introduces himself to the kid who looks lonely. Pay it forward. Write letters just because. Study hard. Make memories. BE YOU! Because truly, you're amazing.

I write this with a lump in my throat because you're officially old enough to be on your own. It scares me a little, but I'm so excited for you. Brandon you have SO much ahead of you and I pray that you remember you potential every single day. Always know that Caleb and I are here for you, no matter what.

We're so thrilled for you! Enjoy this new adventure, and have fun, because it'll go by fast! I can promise you that.

I love you more than you know, Bran!

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Clicking ubsubscribe.

One night last week I found myself at home, almost in tears, overwhelmed at the thought of even looking in the general direction of my to-do list. I was feeling behind on editing clients galleries, our spare bedroom is piled high with random junk we don't know what to do with, and the basement floor was literally hidden under 85% of our dirty clothes.

That's not even all. I still need to schedule a Doctors appointment, I'm behind on my filing at work, my personal photos aren't organized, the chalkboard calendar in our kitchen seriously still says March on it. I mean, I just feel behind...and I'm tired.

I remembered taking "The Simplicity Challenge" from Emily Ley that I posted about back in January. Looks like she was back at it again in June via Instagram and girlfriend's got me all kinds of inspired!
I'm a firm believer that physical clutter = mental clutter = stress = anxiety = tears; at least that's how it works for me. I've noticed that when I come home and Caleb has already made sure the dishes are put away and the dining room table is cleaned off, I feel much more at peace. Or that when laundry is clean and folded and actually PUT AWAY (not sitting in a basket in the hallway all month long), that I can focus more easily.

Emily basically challenges everyone to do small things every day that will make a huge impact by the end of the month. Cleaning out your junk drawer, taking a garbage bag through your house and being ruthless, disinfecting your bathroom, putting away just one load of laundry, unsubscribing from so many emails, etc.! I can honestly tell you that its a culmination of all the little things that make life so much more enjoyable.

Recently I went through my morning emails and gladly hit "unsubscribe" on over 30 of them! That's 30 less emails I have to worry about just clicking delete on. It won't save much time, but having less emails a day will honestly help my brain at work, I know that's true!

What can you do to simplify your life today?!

Monday, August 22, 2016

Non-stop snapping!

This weekend consisted of not putting my camera down - and I kind of loved it. Even though that basically meant working 7 days last week, it was still awesome.

We had a very low-key wedding to photograph on Saturday. It was a great time, they even had Ben & Jerry's deliver! On Sunday I had a family session, then an all-day senior session after that with one of my favorite ladies! Weddings are definitely our "specialty" but I am becoming a huge fan of lifestyle senior photography. Really showcasing these kids and letting their personalities shine...being outdoors, hitting up their favorite coffee spot, and just having a great time!

That evening our church had an "end of summer hangout" potluck event so she and I hit pause on the senior session, enjoyed dinner and company with everyone, and then when the sun started to set she and I snuck off to finish up her session! It was amazing. Isn't she stunning?! The glow of sunset is absolutely my favorite time to shoot.

Caleb and I have a mostly free week ahead of us, and we plan to spend it at home, catching up on life and just spending time together. We're so excited!

Speaking of Caleb, it was his turn to choose our weekly goal this week, and he landed on no junk food. Easier said than done, but I think I can do it! Today through Friday, no junk food. It's only 5 days, how hard can it be?! ;)

I hope you got into something fun over the weekend!

Friday, August 19, 2016


August is my favorite month of the year. It's the month of my birthday, its the same month Caleb asked me to be his girlfriend, and years later its the same month that he proposed to me... but year after year, its also my favorite month because it means FOOTBALL IS BACK! Sure, its just preseason, but hello! It's still so exciting! Seeing orange and black back on the field makes my heart beat a little faster and its something Caleb and I love to celebrate together!

Since my sister in love is having her annual football link up today, I wanted to share some of my favorite #whodeymemories! Like...

-Ordering pizza when Caleb and I first started dating watching the game together!

...and if we weren't watching it together, it's usually because we were there together...
in 2009 Caleb gifted me tickets to my first Bengals game! It was the best! 50 yard line, 15 rows up.

-Driving to Pizza Hut 45 minutes away to watch the game since we didn't have cable at school!

-Celebrating a victory with family by taking crazy pictures and tossing a ball!
hi long haired me!
-Surprising Caleb with amazing seats for his birthday against the Baltimore Ravens, and WINNING!

-One of the craziest games we've ever witnessed was the Seahawks game last October when our friends came to town. We won in OT and the stadium roared in victory!

-Hitting the road with friends to cheer on our team! From driving to Indy for the playoffs (yes, all 5 of us in one tiny car, like, the tiniest), to the time we drove to Tennessee for a random away game!

-Of course, no football get together in our family is complete without our go to snacks...

Honestly I'm so ready for Fall. I hate to wish the seasons away, but I'm more than READY this year! So what about you? Are you a big football fan? Who's your team!? What's your favorite snack!?

Have a great weekend, guys!

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Random brain dump.

It's one of those days for my blog. I have no ideas. No real prompts/link ups to follow, but I still have a lot on my mind - so you get a random brain dump today!

-This day, four years ago, Caleb proposed, and asked me to be his wife! Ah, its still one of my favorite memories with him. All alone on our favorite beach in the world...promising to start a new amazing journey together! I am so thankful for him.

-I ran last night! I started the Couch to 5K app and it felt so good. I have a tendency to stray from those kind of programs and just run for as long as I can, but then I get super burnt out. So this time I'm really trying to follow the workouts to a T!

-I also have an eye appointment tonight. I really wish I didn't have to wear contacts/glasses, but I'm so thankful for my vision. It's just one of those things I sometimes take for granted!

-Erin and Jared got me some of the best birthday presents, but one of my favorites are these fine point pen/markers that they threw in there. I'm obsessed and they are my new faves for my planner, and pretty much everything.

-Last night, I successfully found the PERFECT avocado at Kroger post-workout. I normally tend to buy the ones that need to soften for a few days, or ones that are already bad. This one was perfect, and you better believe that entire thing was gone with dinner (I made this)!

-I'm so behind on my edits. I am dedicating this entire evening to beginning to catch up!

-I've been having issues with my Fitbit since I got my new phone. I've tried resetting it and typing in the new 4 digit code, but it still won't work. Which is sad because it obviously won't sync! I think i may need to do a full "factory reset" which makes me sad - but whatever I need to do to get it working. Here's to hoping that phone call doesn't take too long!

-Our nephew is basically the cutest thing alive. Oh, and seeing Caleb with him melts my heart into a giant puddle on the floor. That is all.

I hope everyone has a great day ahead of them! Make it count!

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Stepping out of my comfort zone.

Lately, I've felt comfortable in my routine. Going to work, skipping the gym, eating a mediocre dinner or ordering take-out, then getting to bed way too late, being too tired in the morning, lather, rinse, repeat.

Caleb has inspired me to step out of my comfort zone a little bit this week. He had the idea on Sunday night that we would go to the gym together the next day (we haven't done this in forever) and hit the swimming pool to swim laps as our workout. "WHAT?! I have no idea what I'm doing"..."no way"..."people will judge me"..."I'll look like a complete idiot"... yadda yadda yadda. 

We walked into the gym and I could feel my heart racing. I told him I'd need a lot of metaphorical hand holding to make this work. Isn't that silly? I have SUCH anxiety over the smallest of things sometimes. I just couldn't believe how nervous I was over practically nothing!

Well, he talked me into it, and I put on my suit, strapped on the goggles, and swam those dang laps. Sure, the entire thing was exhausting and slightly embarrassing since I had no idea what I was doing... but I did it, and that's what matters. I felt pretty awesome afterwards!

Fast forward to last night. I joined a group in Cincinnati that stems from The Rising Tide Society, called "Tuesday's Together" (its basically a group for creatives - business owners, designers, photographers, planners, calligraphers, florists, etc. - who get together to learn new things, encourage one another, and just hang out). I pull into the lot where last nights meeting was, and could literally feel my heart beating through my chest. I decided to check my heart rate on my fitbit, and I couldn't believe it. It was at 94. I was just sitting down! Trying to work up the courage to walk into this meeting full of people I didn't know, and my heart felt like it was about to beat through my chest.

I said a little prayer because anxiety is real for me, and thought to myself, what's the worst that can happen, Kayla!? It won't kill you. So I got out of my car, and walked into the meeting. Almost immediately, my anxiety and stress went away and I had fun getting to know everyone!

There were only about 13 of us total, but it was SO encouraging to be in a room full of people who have similar questions/concerns as you regarding running a business, etc.! I left feeling refreshed, encouraged, and most of all, inspired

So it goes to show, stepping out of your comfort zone is not only good for you, it really makes you grow. I'm proud of myself this week, and that feels so great! I'm challenging you to try something new in the next few days. Something that scares you a little!

Happy Wednesday, friends!

Monday, August 15, 2016

Weekly goals are back!

I used to do a post every week with whatever random goal Caleb and I had for that particular week, and it just kind of stopped sometime last year. I truly haven't been very nice to my body the past few months. I still got outside and exercised here and there, but generally my "healthy lifestyle" just kind of flew out the window sometime last Winter.

I'm hopeful that this is a new beginning and I can adopt my old healthier choices and make them almost like second nature again. I won't harp on it, and I'm sick of saying "this time its different", but I really feel like I've let myself go and I'm basically just sick and tired of always feeling gross.

So long story short, Caleb and I used to take turns each week picking a goal that we would BOTH have to shoot for Monday-Friday of that particular week. This week I've chosen;

We have to drink at least 100 oz of water a day M-F!
I'm naturally a water bug; I love how refreshing it is, I love the taste of it, everything. But for some reason at work, I found myself only getting about 24-48 oz a day, and that's just not enough! I get a LOT of headaches on a weekly basis and one thing my Dr always told me was to be sure I was staying hydrated.

So what about you? What's ONE small goal you can try to accomplish every day, for the next 5 days?