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Friday, October 30, 2015

It's already Halloween?!

Happy Friday!!!! How is it that the weeks you only work 4 days, end up feeling like you worked 6?? It blows my mind - but somehow we made it. I am so excited to get this weekend started!! Although we don't have a wedding to photograph, our schedules are as packed as possible with friends and family, and I really wouldn't have it any other way. Tonight, its my (baby) brother's Senior Night at his school. He's the Captain of the Drum Line and let me tell you, he rocks! I don't just say that because I'm his big sister. It's a little emotional for me to realize in a few short months, he'll be graduating high school and moving on!

I'm also really excited to spend some time with my family tonight. I don't get to see them often anymore with my crazy schedule so I'm looking forward to catching up with them, and just spending quality time together. As we all get older, it gets harder to continue seeing each other as often as we'd all like, but that's alright. I always know they are just a phone call away.
throwback to last years games!

I'm looking forward to watching my brothers speech, watching him walk the field, and playing the heck out of those drums at halftime! Love you, bro! ;)

Tomorrow, I'm finally getting my hair done, swinging by a birthday party, then Caleb and I have a fun evening planned with Erin and Jared! I'm still not entirely sure what the heck I'll dress up as when we pass out candy (and play Wii games all night), but I'm hoping to whip something up last minute. This happens every year, I say "I'm going to figure it out early!" and then I'm panicking in the overpriced Halloween stores on October 31st looking for a deal, ha! Here's a throwback to last years Halloween when we scored these costumes for crazy cheap (the day of the party)! 
Rick Grimes never looked so good.
Last night though, Caleb and I got home from work and got a spontaneous invitation to grab dinner with some of our friends, Josh and Marie! You might recognize Nora from random posts, because she's one of our favorite little girls on the planet. Her baby sister, Charlotte, just turned 1! They were nice enough to invite us out for their family dinner, so we accepted and stuffed ourselves silly with pasta! Sure, we had obligations (editing, laundry, cleaning the house), but as Caleb put it "memories with friends are more important than laundry" -- I love that man!

I hope everyone has a fun, semi spooky weekend ahead! ;)

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Rewarding myself.

On October 1st I told Caleb that I'd be rewarding myself at the end of the month for surviving -- if I made it ;) wellllll, I DID! I'm happy to report that I worked my day job every day, shot 4 beautiful weddings, 8 engagement sessions, edited hour HOURS (it truly never ends), as well as multiple consultations and phone calls with potential/current brides! So to say this month was a doozy is an understatement. I knew exactly what I wanted my reward to be to...

A trip to the nail salon. EEK!

I legitimately never go to the nail salon. I just can't bring myself to regularly drop that kinda cash on pretty nails (I don't even make the time for it at home, its been a LONG time since these nail beds have seen color, sadly)! However it is quite the luxury, and I knew it would rock. So, I grabbed my sister in law and we had ourselves a ladies night after work!

Afterwards, we walked to a little Mexican place we hadn't been to in a while and just talked for a couple hours. I love nights like that. No phones, no distractions, just a couple of friends catching up on life and having a blast!

I think its important in life to reward ourselves when we work really, really hard. It might sound silly, but this little manicure appointment is what kept me going some days where there didn't seem to be an end in sight. Some days I wanted to give up, throw the towel in, and just nap. all. day! But I put on my big girl pants and got all the hard work done, and didn't feel a single ounce of "buyers remorse" when I paid for that amazing gel manicure.

Another reason I'm excited today?! We got the official notice of our 3rd loan being paid off (about time, Navient!)!! It's been paid off for over a month but getting the official notice fro them makes it feel more REAL!

So friends, if you're working hard - reward yourself a little! YOU DESERVE IT!! It doesn't have to be anything lavish, just a little something to remind yourself, "you rock"I'm really looking forward to tonight with Caleb. We are thinking of a tasty dinner and finally carving those pumpkins!

Happy almost-Friday! ;)

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Our long, celebratory weekend!

We started the celebrations for Caleb's birthday a few days early on Friday evening with our best friends and our favorite Mexican restaurant... win, win. We stayed over way too late playing hilarious Wii games and watching an insanely creepy movie. I still can't sleep without thinking of it (we watched The Visit)!

Saturday we had a great wedding day with Sarah and Ryan - despite the annoying rain they had a great attitude. We managed to sneak outside for a few photos, and luckily, their venue was perfect for indoor photos - lots of natural light! I weirdly love rainy, Fall days! These leaves made my day.

Sunday we woke up and hit the road to begin celebrating my man's 27th birthday! I had a few plans for his 2 day celebration but for the most part, we wanted to wing it. I wanted him to do whatever he wanted. So his first choice was a card show - and he was really excited when I bought my first autographed card!

Then we literally flopped and watched football ALL. STINKIN. DAY. It rocked! That evening we grabbed dinner and spent more time lounging. I woke up in the middle of the night on Monday and hung up some decorations so when he woke up he would be surprised. Don't judge the fact that I got most of the decorations in the kids-party section. #nevergrowup! I gave him 3 options when he woke up on how to celebrate his day, and he chose a mini trip to the outlets! To be honest, he didn't find much, but we did finish a TON of Christmas shopping, which felt great!
This is his happy place; THE DISNEY STORE!!
His main gift from me though was some Bengals gear that I knew he'd love - which he did! He hasn't taken his vintage looking winter hat off since he opened the bag ;) later, we initially had plans to get dinner and a movie, but he changed his mind and wanted a night in - with a catch! I had to cook a homemade meal; stuffed shells. They turned out delish! We finished the day with a movie at home, and a long night of chatting. It was honestly perfect. It was nothing crazy, out of the ordinary, etc. but we had a blast, because we were together.

I'll always love that about Caleb. He can turn something as simple as a taco bell run, into an adventure. I'm lucky he's mine. It was so fun to have the day off for his birthday. I wish it was something that everyone could do - take off for their birthdays. It should really be a free day off for everyone! I love you, Caleb! I hope your 27th was the best yet!!!

I hope everyone had a great weekend! & hey, we're halfway through the work week now! Enjoy!!

Monday, October 26, 2015

Happy birthday, Caleb!!!

Today my amazing, hilarious, stud of a husband turns 27!!!! We both took the day off to celebrate. This isn't something we'd normally do but we had the extra days to use, so we thought, why not?! We're enjoying a day of uninterrupted time together, doing whatever we feel like, and it makes my heart crazy happy.

Caleb, I can't begin to tell you how happy you've made my life. You were an absolute answer to prayer when we reconnected in 2009. I've never met a sillier, more giving, selfless human than you. You always know how to make me smile. Whether thats by surprising me with a Snickers after a long day, or a random extra long hug. Thanks for always being YOU and always being the leader I need. Its hard to remember life before you, and I'm thankful I'll never have to know what its like to be without you. Life is way more adventurous, spontaneous, and fun with you by my side, and I'm so thankful for all the fun we've had together already!

I hope this birthday is another one for the books. You're the best! 27 never looked so good! Happy birthday, my man!

Friday, October 23, 2015

Dear pumpkin smashing teenagers...

Dear people who think pumpkin smashing is fun: get a life. Sure, its a well known (immature) tradition for teenagers, but get over yourself. You about ruined our night last week when we came home from a long day to find one of our BEAUTIFUL pumpkins smashed in the middle of the road. So, Caleb had to pick out a new one at Kroger over last weekend. Luckily, his new one is just as awesome, but still...why do some people think its fun to sneak onto the front porch of a strangers home and steal their decorations!?!

Dear people who don't smash pumpkins: you rock. Thanks for being nice.

Dear Friday: I'm so happy you're finally here. This was another busy week full of endless meetings, 3 engagement sessions, and timeline calls.

Dear Jenna: thank you for wearing the coolest outfit ever to your engagement session last night. We're all obsessed.

Dear tomorrow's wedding: can't believe you'll be our 26TH WEDDING of the year!!! Only a few more to go for the year and we get a (very) small break.

Dear gym: I'm really sorry I haven't visited you in a while. This has been the busiest month ever and I hope to see you really, really soon!!!

Dear fall decorations: I never want to take you down - shoutout to Emily for this cute piece!

Dear meal planning: you really do pay off, even if sometimes you take forever to sort out! I have some tasty meals planned for the next couple weeks!

Dear Becca and Angie: thanks for meeting me for dinner this week! I know we don't get to see each other as often as we'd like, but I'm excited we're all making more time for it! Catching up with friends is the best.

Dear Caleb: only a few days until your birthday and I am so excited to celebrate you for a few days!!!!
love his goofy smile face.
I really hope everyone has some exciting plans for the weekend! I'm using a vacation day Monday so Caleb and I can enjoy a long weekend (since we have to work Saturday) and celebrate his 27th birthday. Woo! Have fun, friends!!!

Thursday, October 22, 2015

How to save $1,000 really, really fast.

Caleb and I have been pretty aggressive as of the first of the year, and are finally down to ONE loan...albeit, a big, fat, honking' loan, but still...ONE loan!!!! I'm thinking back to just a few months ago when taxes were due and we had pretty much depleted more than our "emergency savings" fund because we were new to this irregular income thing. Luckily we've become a lot more responsible now and save for those throughout the year ;) BUT I wanted to share how important it is to have a savings as your backup.

It's so nice to have an emergency savings - because when something DOES come up (whether its a car issue, an appliance that needs repaired, etc.), you're pretty much covered. Because trust me....something WILL eventually happen, which means you won't have to turn to any credit cards with crazy high interest rates! WOO! If you've always lived paycheck to paycheck, it can seem nearly impossible to save up $1,000 fast, but trust me, you can do it! Dave Ramsey suggest $1,000 for married couples, or $500 for singles. We keep ours at a separate bank so we're not tempted to touch it, but that's not necessary. Here are just a few ways to help:

-Cancel your cable, or just downgrade your package. That'll easily save you around $100/mo.

-Quit your daily/weekly Starbucks/Dunkin trips. Trust me, you don't need it. This can save you over $100+/mo! I actually know people who go to their favorite coffee shops daily on their commute to work (aka nearly every co worker at my firm)! It blows my mind. I love a cup of sugary goodness every now and then but, daily?! Too much!
-Stop the Target trips. Trust me, ladies, before we got married, I was used to dropping $30-50/trip - EASY! Save yourselves gas and time, and don't go until your savings is up, or unless you actually need something (easier said than done, I know!!).

-Sit down and do a monthly budget. Look at where you spent your money last month, and cut out unnecessary spending!

-If you have talents, use them to your advantage. That's how my photography gig got started. Come up with a price point, and see if people are interested! You never know until you try. If you're into photography like me, a couple shoots here and there and you're set with a new portfolio to show off!! If you're a designer, start working with bloggers or businesses! Find what you're good at and share it with the world! It'll pay off!

-Pack your lunch! It really adds up, and can be so tasty (and usually healthier)!!

-Sell your crap! You've probably got clothes you can sell to a local consignment shop, junk you can get rid of in a yard sale, etc.!

-Carpool with friends when you go to dinners/work/etc. Paying for gas is never fun.

These might be obvious to some, but implementing them is so important, if you want to succeed! Pick one, or a few, and see how much extra money you're able to save!!! Caleb and I can't even wait to be out of debt, we know that saving our 3-6 months of emergency savings will be even easier when we don't have debt tying us down. I can't wait to get there!! Just a few months to go.

Hope everyone has a great Thursday!!

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Blogging is crazy!

A few years ago, Becky and I started reading each others blogs and commenting nearly daily. We always joked that one day we'd meet and we'd eat as much Mexican food as our bellies could handle and finally go on a long run together. Well, I'm thankful that last March, Becky bought a plane ticket to make that funny dream a reality because now - I consider her a REAL life friend. She's always just a snapchat/text message away, and I'm so thankful for who she is...especially when she agrees to look like crazies in the Photo Booth app.

that time Erin and I introduced Becky to the COOLEST supermarket ever! ;)
I may not be the best at this blogging thing, but I sure am having fun with it. If there's one thing I'm most thankful for in regards to blogging, it's all these amazing friendships I've created that I genuinely know would continue if our blogs ceased to exist. Becky is not only a fantastic friend, she's extremely hard working! She's in the middle of training for her first FULL marathon!  If you have a second, leave a comment and tell Becky how stinkin' awesome she is and wish her a happy 25th birthday!!! =)

In other news, I had an incredible engagement session last night and holy gorgeousness, guys! Dani and Tony were amazing...

Even though he's a Steelers fan, I guess I can still shoot their wedding next June ;)

I'm thinking of showing more of my work on the blog, rather than just little possibly doing a full post on my recent sessions? We'll see. I need to make the time to sit down and actually do it, this is a busy season of life for us! I hope everyone has a fantastic Tuesday.

Monday, October 19, 2015

OMG...for so many reasons

OKAAAYYY. Lets get started. This weekend was freaking awesome -- for SO many reasons. This being one of them;

Now that that's out of the way - let me back up a little bit. Like I said on Friday, Caleb and I had big plans to spend some quality time with the grocery store, but we decided to stuff ourselves silly at our favorite Mexican restaurant first, which meant we weren't in the mood to spend the night doing groceries, but instead, ogling at gorgeous pillows at TJ Maxx.

Saturday, we woke up, spent our time doing groceries and cleaning our place before watching a crap ton of college football - we're not used to having Saturday's off so it was a nice change of pace! Later that evening, we went to a graduation party, then had our best friends over to enjoy the OSU game and enjoyed the best cookie cake ever ;)

Fast forward to Sunday (lets be honest, we were a little sad that we booked a Sunday wedding since we are die-hard Bengals fans - but I was pretty up front w/ the bride that I'd be keeping myself updated on the score ;) she cracked up and told me she WANTED me to! Turns out she was a huge fan too)! In all honesty, Ann was the sweetest bride ever. I mean, she made us a freaking basket full of goodies to keep us going throughout the day, as well as a "thank you" gift. How awesome??! Not only does she have an awesome personality, she and her husband really made their day unique! Look at her amazing VW dress, and that kilt!!!

I've got another busy week ahead, but the end of October is in sight, and I've survived somehow. Last night, my Erin sent me this...and its my mantra right now; "This is your Sunday evening reminder that you can handle whatever this week throws at you".

Enjoy your Monday, friends!

Friday, October 16, 2015

I have no energy.

So my plans of getting more sleep this week and being a more productive adult pretty much failed... like crazy. So much so, that I didn't fall asleep until nearly 12:30 last night. Caleb's softball games didn't start until crazy late and although they got some pretty sweet dri-fit shirts out of the whole thing, I'm BEAT. But, I'm thankful I had my SIL with me...and her warm blanket ;)

Finally linking up with Amanda for her Friday Favorites prompt!!
Favorite song: has been for a while, but Touch the Sky by United. So, so good, and so powerful.

Favorite moment of the week: One night this week, I came home from a REALLY long day of work (we're talking an hour long engagement session, then driving downtown to meet a bride and groom - in the pouring rain, with sopping wet shoes), so when I saw a package on my table from my sweet Emily, I got a little giddy. Think about how much more excited I got when I saw what was inside?! Fall decor and fuzzy socks, what more can a girl ask for??!?!

Favorite purchase: Those delicious soft pretzels and cheese at the ballpark last night. #fatkid

Favorite funnies: I laughed way too hard about this just now...

this is how I get when I haven't tasted Mountain Dew in weeks...

My week at work was a little weird. Every day felt kind of "off"/strange. I'm covering for a co worker as well, so my job seems a little different than normal, the days feel longer, etc., so you could say I'm insanely thankful its Friday. Caleb and I have a big date tonight with the local grocery store and our big comfy couch! What about you?

Happy Friday!!!

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Wag more, bark less.

I'm the type of person who is always fascinated by bumper stickers. I really don't like those cars that have like 37 of them and its SO obvious what they stand for, and its not always said in the nicest ways... but hey, that's their right I suppose. Anyway, one in particular caught my eye the other day; "wag more, bark less", it said.

It got me thinking what that would actually look like. I kinda loved that it was a dog reference, but that's besides the point. Think about how much happier we'd be if we complained less and realized our blessings more? Sure, there are going to be days where you just DON'T want to do something, and I think that's okay. We all work hard, and need a break/need to vent every now and then. BUT!! Imagine a world where everyone on Facebook didn't feel like they had to fight with complete strangers, hiding behind their little keyboards, giving their mean opinions to anyone who will listen.

I generally try to stay pretty optimistic. Sure, life can be hard, really freaking hard sometimes... but there's so much beauty to every single day! Like when an acquaintance asks me more about my faith because they are 'curious'...or when my boss offers to pick me up Starbucks, just because. As cliche as it sounds... I love this quote. There's always something to be thankful for!

I think its been a little while since I've made a 'thankful list', so here goes...

This silly guy, and that gorgeous bokeh. I love that he and I get to do this crazy 2nd job together. I wouldn't know what to do without him!

My sister in law, who doubles as one of my absolute best friends...I'm thankful for her daily emails, constant support and "big sister" advice. I'll always love this moment; at my wedding reception when we had a moment to chat and realized "we're finally sisters!!" ;)

Technology...being able to schedule Skype dates with friends who live far? There's nothin like it!

Youth group... this month has been crazy and i'm missing these kids like crazy! Half of them are getting their licenses and I just can't take it! I'm so thankful for their crazy fun spirits and can't wait to see where life takes them!

I'm thankful for hot water, and a hilarious color changing shower head that makes me feel like I'm in a dance club. Yes, you read that right. It was in our home when we moved in, and we decided to keep it. It definitely wakes me up most mornings! ;)

I'm also thankful for this little blog. There are days why I question why I keep blogging, as it takes a ton of time some days, but I'm just having fun with it. So thank YOU for continuing to come back day after day and reading my rambles! ;)

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

About as Fall as it gets

We enjoyed friends, football and LOTS of fall-related activities this past weekend. I honestly needed a work-free weekend to enjoy, unwind and relax with family and friends. Friday evening we celebrated my mother-in-law's birthday with some funny stories, plenty of gifts, and the best darn cookie cake we've ever had! Seriously, Sams Club is where its at.

Saturday we got an early start to the day when our favorite friends picked us up and we headed to the best little Fall farm in town. We hadn't gone together in a few years so it was time to reignite the tradition. We snapped this silly photo, spent HOURS getting lost in a maze (we're almost certain the map was incorrect), and then gave up. Oh well ;) we had a blast. I do have to take a moment to brag on Erin and I... we both picked out our pumpkins in about 5 minutes. The boys on the other hand? Not so much. 20 minutes later they still couldn't decide...but finally ended up making their selections. Can't wait to carve them up for Halloween! This will be the first time Caleb and I have ever done that together!

Of course, we had to get the same photo. 2012 vs 2015!

We had the best time, and of course, kept the day going with Skyline. After that corn maze, we were all a little hangry ;)

Later that evening, two of our other awesome friends came in town from Columbus to spend a quick 24 hours with us! I love when friends make special trips into town! We went to one of our favorite Mexican places and spent hours catching up with them! We all woke up early the next morning to score some donuts at our favorite local shop, then packed up the car to head downtown and grill out hot dogs while playing some corn hole! It rocked.

THEN!!!!!!! We headed to the stadium to watch the Bengals/Seahaws game. This was my first home game of the year, and I definitely picked the best one to go to. We got amazing seats and I definitely got burnt, but O-M-G, like I game I've ever been to.

Our friends who came into town are Seahawks fans...Andy actually played with Russel Wilson back in college, as a punter. Unfortunately for him, my Bengals beat the Seahawks in OT and they are now 5-0!!!! Caleb and I may or may not have had tears in our eyes, while jumping up and down in celebration for a crazy amount of time. #dontjudge

After the game, we enjoyed the views our city has to offer before heading home. They already can't wait to come back to explore again! Maybe it was the Bengals win, but man, I really love my city!!!! The rest of that evening we edited and watched more football...because, why not? Hope you all enjoyed your weekend and that the weather was as beautiful as it was here in Ohio!!