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Thursday, April 30, 2015

Putting ourselves down {and a small challenge}

Recently, I've felt very blah. Hard to explain...but I just haven't been my usual happy, peppy self. I kind of feel plain, tired, etc. I know part of it has to do with my lack of exercise and eating healthy, but I can't quite put my finger on what's been going on.

Sometimes I'll see photos of myself and immediately roll my eyes, ugh, lets try that again. I mean, its ridiculous. I've noticed I've been putting myself down a lot lately. Not even out loud, but quietly to myself. I hadn't put much thought into it until I shot an engagement shoot on Tuesday and the girl kept talking about how she can't stand photos of herself, how she's not photogenic at all, worrying about a tiny gap in her teeth that no one but her would ever notice. I kept insisting that she looked amazing (cause helloo, she did!), and that she needed to stop being so hard on herself.

SMACK! It was like I was talking to myself. Why do we think its alright to put ourselves down like crazy, all day, without thinking twice? Yet when someone else does it to themselves, we think its outrageous! I wish for one little day, I could talk to myself the way I'd talk to others, and truly mean it. Wake up in the morning and be totally satisfied with what I saw in the mirror.

It's an internal struggle and I know its silly...but hey, everyone's got issues. I also realize that I'm not totally honoring God when I treat myself this way. When I treat my body like crap, then put myself down? I'm definitely not acting as if He created me in His image, am I?

Genesis 1:27; "God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created them; male and female He created them"

There are a few people I see quite often that I get a little uncomfortable around due to nothing other than pure envy. It's absolutely absurd. I've confided in my mom about this lately and she could hardly believe it. I'll just see this one woman and immediately feel intimidated. She can run faster than I can. She's got better hair than me. She's so talented at everything!! Yadda yadda yadda. Please don't judge me for this next sentence, but one time, I was almost looking for something to be wrong with her to simply make myself feel better.

WOW! Okay guys, that was super vulnerable and I need you to stick with me. Please...
I realize its insanely sinful and horrible to have thoughts like that. It's literally like the Devil is whispering in my ear all these lies that he wants me to believe, and I genuinely do, most days. But my perspective has changed the past couple days. I've spent more time than usual in the Gospel lately and it makes me remember that this isn't the way God intended for community/friendships to be. We are called to lift each other up, encourage one another, etc! We are to love our neighbors and KNOW OUR OWN WORTH! It's insanely hard for me to wrap my mind around God's grace but I'm so thankful for it every single day.

I want every single woman to KNOW how much God loves them, and to KNOW how beautiful and unique every one of you are! Beauty is so much more than an outer appearance, its about how we treat people, how we react to difficult situations, how we give of our time and energy. This verse makes me smile from ear to ear and I hope it makes you remember how beautiful you are today;
She is more precious than jewels; And nothing you desire compares with her. {Proverbs 3:15}

I'm also insanely thankful for a husband who treats me like a precious jewel and makes me feel his love on a daily basis, and reminds me of God's love for me.

We've all got flaws...but they are beautiful, and unique, and we need to learn to embrace them. 

So I have a challenge for you... on this random Thursday, as you read this. I want you to comment with one thing you LOVE about yourself. It can be your amazing hair, your sense of humor, or something more specific. I want this to be a post of positivity!! Next, I want you to get a hold of someone you love...your mom, your sister, your best friend...and pay them a random compliment. It could just be the positive shift they needed in their day. Ready? GO!

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

What'sa happenin {hot stuff}

Well, if you're wondering, YES the sunburn on my arm is still brutal. Oh, I forgot to mention its also along the left side of my neck as well, SUPER CUTE ;)

I had my first engagement shoot of the year last night, and it was amazing. I swear, the couples I get to work with are some of the most fun people! We talked about life, we danced, and we enjoyed the sun going down on the skyline. I got home and had a simple dinner consisting of a PB&J + some homemade sweet tea, and it rocked.

Last weekends wedding was awesome, as well, despite the rain. They went with Orange Leaf (froyo) instead of a cake for dessert, and we weren't mad about it! ;) we even managed to sneak in another #newlywedselfie

My second half marathon is in 4 days. OMG. I am so excited. I've been awful at my training plan the past couple weeks but somehow, I'm so excited for this half!!! I pray that my enthusiasm will carry me through all 13.1 miles of it, and that I can finish! I did buy some new running pants to celebrate...just like last year!

Caleb and I have TWO free weekends coming up. Can you even believe it? I don't even know what to do with myself! Don't get me wrong, I'm thrilled for wedding season to be in full swing come mid-May, but boy...this free time is definitely something to cherish!!!

Enjoy your hump day, everyone! ;)

Monday, April 27, 2015

How to unexpectedly ROCK a weekend.

Friday evening I came home from work and chipped away at the Winnie the Pooh puzzle we've been working on (I know, I get wild on Friday nights). I mean, its been a week since we started. I want this thing complete! 750 pieces is no joke! A bit later, Caleb and I had some plans to go see a high school production of Annie, a few of the teens from church were in it and we wanted to support them! One of them actually played the lead role of Annie and it was so fun to hear her sing!
Ignore my nails that haven't had a manicure since 2007.

After that, we decide to finally use some gift cards and grab us some froyo!

Saturday meant it was time for wedding #4 of the year! Unfortunately, an uninvited guest named RAIN showed up and stayed the whole day. However, when you're forced to get more creative indoors, and you get a couple who is so down to earth? It makes for one heck of a day, and a ton of really great shots. Jenny + Chris literally laughed all day. There were tons of things that didn't go "according to plan" but they went through the day with smiles. Her mom handmade her dress and the belt, can you even believe it? We had a blast all day, and my internet speed is too slow right now to upload more than this so you get 2 detail shots instead ;)

We got an unexpected surprise on Sunday when a friend from church gifted us a couple Reds tickets for the game that afternoon. We were PUMPED! Although we didn't win, it was our first game of the season together and at Great American Ball Park, they let you bring in outside food/drinks so we hardly spent any cash! The day started out pretty chilly (we're down by the river) but quickly got VERY warm that I got one of the ugliest farmers tans ever, ha!

We had a quick trip to the mall where Caleb picked out a pair of printed leggings and a Chicago Bulls tee for me...I plan to live in that exact outfit all week #comfort. Then we spent the rest of our evening watching The Following and making some serious progress on our puzzle. Like I said, #wildnight

Hope you all had a great weekend! This week is all about prepping for our half!! Can't wait!

Friday, April 24, 2015

Softball & some pre half marathon jitters.

I'm sitting at my desk here at work before I officially begin my work-day, and I'm not even sure how I managed to wake up and function enough to shower, brush my teeth, and drive here safely. I am SO tired, guys. I haven't been this tired in a while...and yes, if you're wondering, I have the biggest (no calorie) Monster energy drink by my side.

However, it's worth it. I stayed out wayy too late watching my man do something he loves; old man softball (as we like to call it). He has a blast out there on the field and there's nothing that makes he happier than watching him be happy. He and his brothers all work at the same place, how cool? So I know it means a lot to Caleb to be able to hang with his brothers at the same time. Last night, my mom and brother joined me in cheering the boys on, and we had a great time! I did notice right away that my man went full on baby face, though, before the game! I have to say, I love his 5 o'clock shadow, so I didn't mind ;)

This week has been pretty busy. Multiple photography consultations, phone calls, tons of editing, too much TV watching/pizza eating. Oh and throw in the fact that my second half marathon is NEXT WEEKEND! You guys, had you asked me 3 weeks ago how I thought I'd do? I'd shout if from the rooftops "'I'm going to OWN that half!!!"....but now? My response might be a bit less enthusiastic ;) In all seriousness, I have been so busy and haven't made running a priority, but I do have to say, the last 8 mile run I did was amazing. Seriously, I felt like I could've kept going for a while longer. So, I'm going to hit the pavement again this weekend and run side by side with my man and we WILL finish that half next weekend. Hoping to cut a lot of time off from last year!! Keep your fingers crossed for me ;)

Also, for all you "The Following" fans, we stayed up until 1AM finishing season 1 because, well, YOLO (I hate that I just said that, but its true). It was amazing, and yes my dreams were psycho last night but I don't even care - what else is new? This post was all over the place today, but I won't apologize - that was for you, Amanda ;)

Enjoy your weekend, friends!!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

A few things I'm loving!

Happy Earth Day + happy Wednesday, friends! It's always that awkward day of the week where it FEELS like it should be Thursday or Friday, but we're insanely thankful to be halfway through the week at the same time! I'm trying to do a better job at just being happy in the small things every day, even on Mondays, or Wednesdays, or during work, etc.... so to keep with that spirit, I thought I'd list a few things I'm loving as of late!

Finally meeting sweet Norah Mae! One of my bests finally had her little babe on Friday night and I got to meet her yesterday! She is so tiny and so so amazing. I had a blast cuddling her and snapping some pics as well (duh)!
Thanks to @Influenster, I got to try some new make up wipes! I love that @Neutrogena is getting us to conserve water through the #wipeforwater challenge! I pledged to use the wipes (aka - not use water to remove my makeup) for 3 days... that top picture is me before I took my makeup off the first night, I don't wear much to begin with... but it sure looks nasty when I see the wipe! I love the way they smell and how they make my face feel after! I can safely say after just 3 days of use I'd totally buy these again! #contest
I received these products complimentary from Influenster for testing purposes.
I've said it before, and I'll say it again - The Following is so amazing. Unfortunately there are only two seasons so we can't binge-watch forever, but I'll tell you what. I'm having some insane dreams every night I watch an episode. Not that having weird dreams is unusual to me (seriously, if "most unusual dreams" was a senior superlative, I would've won), but its especially crazy after we finish an episode. The other night I legit had a dream that a man was torturing me by making me watch him tear apart my stuffed animal (lamb chop). He didn't hurt me, but I was sobbing over the loss of my lamb chop, and it hurt bad. For the record, I do own a lamb chop, and yes, I'd be devastated if something ever happened to him.

This shot of my husband from a recent wedding #holyhandsome!
This vintage-inspired handkerchief gifted to a bridesmaid at last weekends wedding. Now I want one!!
 This random photo booth find of my momma and I...and the fact that she has no nose.

Surprisingly, I'm loving training and being trained at work. Kind of makes my days go by a lot faster! A few of our positions at work are essentially being made into one so we are all learning new stuff together, and its been kinda fun to both teach, and be taught!

Hope everybody is having a good week!! 

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

How my man joined my dream.

Growing up, I had a lot of dreams. I legitimately wanted to be a successful chef with her own cooking show. Emeril Lagasse was my hero. In 6th grade my mom bought me a rolling pin, a huge chefs hat, and my very own apron. I was in heaven. However, I almost never cooked. I wanted the reward without ever having to practice/work towards it. That dream faded after a while, which is unfortunate because my husband would be reaping the benefits (aka not eating grilled cheese every night) these days, had I not dropped that dream.

High school hit and my passion for photography ignited. I never invested in a DSLR because my high school photography class was a joke and I already had a couple point-and-shoots. I knew though, that it was my dream. I'd buy magazines on top of magazines with my paychecks, just day dreaming about the lighting these photographers had, the equipment, and the eye that they had for their craft. It inspired me. I couldn't get enough. I stalked numerous fashion photographers, but really fell in LOVE with lifestyle photography.

Fast forward a few years when Caleb and I began to date. Some of you may know this already, but it was Caleb (along w/ my mom) who gifted me my very first camera for my 20th birthday. There were so many tears. I truly felt like it was finally happening. It quickly became my number one goal to one day run my a photography business and work side by side with my husband...cause there's just something marketable about a husband and wife duo, AND we'd get to work together. However, I truly didn't think Caleb would ever go for it. He wasn't exactly into "the arts", so I kind of let that dream fade, too.

Then our honeymoon hit and he slowly began to play with my camera and all its settings. When we came home and reality set back in, I told him he should come along with me to an upcoming wedding I had on the books, you know, just for fun. He thought it sounded like a decent idea, so he borrowed a camera from a family member and the rest is history.

That very summer we got hired with our amazing wedding photographers and the dream I had dreamed of for so long really became a real thing. Caleb and I quickly booked dozens of weddings and everything was happening so fast. I look back and can't even remember a time we WEREN'T shooting weddings together.

We have the best time shooting together. Like I said the other day, we truly treat them like date nights. We get free dinner, free cake, unlimited dancing, AND get to take pictures? It's unreal. Some days, I complain... cause lets be honest, it's hard mixing your passion with business - because then it becomes work. Yet it still challenges me, it still excites me, and still scares me every single day...and I'll continue to do this until I'm too comfortable (which I don't see happening anytime soon).
I can't believe the way things worked out. Two years ago, had someone told me we'd be shooting 30 weddings this year? I'd laugh in their face and call them crazy pants. Well, that's exactly whats happening and I'm loving every second. Sure it can be hectic, and crazy, and tiring, and emotional, and scary...but its my favorite thing in the whole world and I wouldn't have it any other way.

I'm just thankful I have my husband next to me for all of it. I am one lucky gal. I have so many drafts in my blogger on various topics about wedding photography, as well as me just trying to document more of my passion. I don't think I do that enough and I'm excited to talk about it more. I get a LOT of questions in this business, and I'm still learning a lot...and I think it'll be really neat to look back years from now and see how much I've grown! Happy Tuesday, friends!

How are you making your dreams into a reality?!

Monday, April 20, 2015

Weekend happenings all wrapped up!

Friday afternoon I got to leave work just a smidge early to head up to Dayton to visit my friend Becca, who had been induced that morning -- well, I got there and was only able to spend a couple hours with them and unfortunately the baby just wasn't progressing like we had hoped! I was so ready to meet this little gal and was so sad I had to wait even longer, so I headed back home shortly after 6:30. A few short hours later, sweet little Norah Mae entered the world!!! She's seriously one of the most beautiful little babes I've ever seen and I can't wait to squeeze her tomorrow evening {and do a mini newborn session in their home}!!

Saturday, we had a wedding and knew we'd be gone pretty much all day/night. Luckily, we worked with a couple who fed us hilarious stories all day, and truly appreciated what we did for that made the long day more than worth it. We love when we get to work with people who truly care about their photography! Their love story is insanely adorable, and I'm convinced Nicholas Sparks should use it as his next best seller.

Keeping with my theme so far this year I thought I'd share a couple images from their big day!!

This one is a personal favorite - their adorable little pup couldn't be with them at their ceremony but she dressed him up anyway ;) and we got this cute little shot!

We got home around 10:30 and had a blast making silly music videos in the car all the way home. Sunday we were able to get lunch with our favorites at a new Mexican joint close to home! We spent the rest of the afternoon doing the most amazing puzzle Caleb got me! It's a Thomas Kinkade Winnie The Pooh!!! It'll take us a little while as its 750 pieces, but we can't wait to finish it/frame it!

Most importantly though, its my soulmates birthday. Erin, I LOVE YOU to the moon and back about 50million times. You're the sister I never grew up with, and I'm so thankful for the person you are. Cannot wait to continue celebrating life with you for the rest of forever! MWAH! I know God is watching over you + your family today, you are so so loved!!!

Hope you all had a fantastic weekend!

Friday, April 17, 2015

Friday happies!!

This week has been a roller coaster, I've been busy every night and while its been crazy, its been worth it. It's in these moments that I remember that life is always blessed, I just have to stop and remember. Like when my husband had his first softball game of the season and I chose to stay home "in case of rain", and he texted me begging me to come watch...I felt like a bad wife, and I really did want to see him play, so I closed the computer and chose to enjoy REAL moments with people. My husband is so cute!!

-On an exciting note - I think I'm leaving work a bit early to finally go meet baby Norah! One of my friends, Becca, is being induced today and this lil babe could arrive at any moment! I've charged the camera and can't wait for some baby snuggles!!! I'm not a mom but I can't imagine waking up this morning and having that realization that; okay, this baby is coming TODAY! Ahh!

-We didn't do much cooking this week, not that we ate out a lot, but we took the easy way out. Mac and cheese for dinner, frozen fish, Wendy's (okay so we ate out some...). My body is feeling kinda crummy lately and I'm going to be honest this week has been so hectic I haven't made time for a single run. I'm excited though that this weekend we're going for a 9 miler! I need all the encouragement I can get.

-I think I got to bed BEFORE midnight only once this entire week. Hence the few energy drinks I had at the office...

-My mom and I went to a women's group with my dear friend, Marie, on Wednesday, and it was just amazing. There is something so freeing about being in a room with a dozen strangers and opening up about your issues, insecurities, past, etc... and the healing and forgiveness that comes through that? It's unreal! Can't wait to hopefully go back in a couple weeks.

-I GOT MY WEDDING RING BACK, finally! I will just say this - if Caleb and I ever look into upgrading (like, 10 yrs from now) I won't be going to Kay Jewelers...their customer service is just under par, and I feel like an inconvenience every time I walk in. But other than that, I'm so happy my left ring finger has its shiny bling back :)

I'm aware this was a random, weird, short post, but I ask that you just go with it! I also want to ask for some prayer for some of my best friends going through some sad/unexpected situations. It would mean the world :) happy Friday!!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Standard is spectacular.

Life has been really busy lately. Recently we've spent some time with our favorite little gals, filed our taxes, and been having a ball. Nothing spectacular has happened, life has been pretty standard...but sometimes, 'standard' is spectacular.

My heart... its melting.
Momma and I decided to have a makeover night last week, and it was awesome. She recently just got a ton of Mary Kay product so we tried it out ;) we've spent a ton of time together lately and it makes my heart insanely happy. Movies, moon pies + lots of chats.

We're starting to get busy shooting weddings! Yay! This weekend marks wedding #3 of the year and we're excited about it. It's mostly outdoor and I'm excited to get pretty creative with our resources. New ideas are brewing! Also, can we talk about how gorgeous this dress from last weekends wedding was??

Spring time = storms = enjoying the view from the living room = trying to snap a successful lightning bolt shot = a happy Kayla!

Indulging in one of the most delicious homemade rice krispie treats ever! The youth leaders wife made some snacks for the car for us and I definitely reaped the benefits!!!

For a while Caleb and I had been so good about not watching a ton of TV since its been so nice out, that we would take walks instead... until one of us got the idea to start The Following and O-M-G. There go our evenings!!! Already on episode 6!!!

Most of the time I keep my shots pretty bright and fun but for some reason this week I was so drawn to the more edgy feel for this street shot of this couples feet. He was SO in love with his socks and making sure they looked even, it was precious. I seriously love this gig!

It was a year ago today that my grandpa Phil passed from a very long battle with cancer... please say a little prayer for my family today! Look at his baby blues! Miss you, grandpa.

I hope you'll take a minute today to just enjoy whats around you - even the little things.  Enjoy your weekend, friends!!

Monday, April 13, 2015

Another jam packed (insanely fun) weekend!

This weekend was going to be jam packed...that much I knew, and sometimes that can stress me out before the weekend even begins. However, we enjoyed every last stinkin second!! Friday evening was kinda stressful (and annoying - boo taxes), but the rest of the weekend proved to be amazing!

We got to the wedding Saturday, turns out I knew a couple of the bridesmaids! The group was a blast to work with all day and let us go outside of the box a little bit, which I always love. The whole day seriously flew by and we even managed to sneak a shot during our make-shift photo booth at the reception!

Thought I'd sneak in a few shots from their amazing day!

Sunday I had to wake up before the sun to drive to Anderson, IN for a youth conferences with a few of the teens. It was a 2.5 hour drive over, a full day of worshipping our awesome God, listening to the messages, and even playing around on the football field that the Colts practice on during the off season! No one else was around, so that was awesome!!

Sorry for the short post today, I've hardly slept any the past two nights....eating crappy on the road + staying up too late = tired eyes Monday. But I can't complain, overall the weekend was pretty amazing. I hope yours was as well!

Friday, April 10, 2015

Opening Day Recap - finally!

Happy Friday, friends!

I don't know about your town (for those of us who have MLB teams), but Cincinnati celebrates Opening Day like its a stinkin' national holiday!! Every year I'm so envious that I'm stuck at work and not downtown celebrating in the sea streets of red... but finally, I was able to join in on the fun!!! My brother's band would be playing in the opening day parade and my mom and Caleb planned on going to watch. So, I decided to take a sporadic vacation day and join them!!

We got there just as one of the connecting roads was closing, so we snagged a spot right up against the railings and it was PERFECT! Sure, we stood there for about two hours, just watching things go by, but it was so much fun!

You KNOW I had to sneak in a photo with the Chickfila cow... :)


..we were hoping that my brother would be on the right side of the march line and thankfully, he was! We had A GREAT view of him and when he saw us - he couldn't help but have an adorable little smirk! So thankful I decided to take my camera!!

I'm sure everyone says amazing things about their siblings, BUT I just have to brag on my brother. He's really good at drum, really stinkin' good. Last year, as a sophomore, he was getting solo's during concerts...he choreographs friday night football halftime performances, he's gone to judging events at major universities and received perfect scores. His fingers move like lightning - its so neat. Guys, he is CONSTANTLY playing the drums. Watching him do something he loves so much is so neat, as an older sister!

After we were done geeking out over my bro, we headed back towards home to grab some Skyline. Everyone knows its free coney day!! -- jealous, Becky? ;)

Then we picked my brother up from school and snagged some fun photos with him for the heck of it.

It's really is so fun to celebrate moments with your family...big or small. This was a really cool moment for me, as his sister, and I'm excited I was able to be a part of it! Hope you all had a great week!!!