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Thursday, April 28, 2016

T minus 3 days!

3 days until my 3rd half marathon. Whaaat?!
my bib from my first half in 2014!
I'm weirdly excited for this race. I don't think I trained quite as hard as I should've, but I'm a lot more prepared than I have been in the past. Of course now they are calling for AM thunderstorms on Sunday so we'll see how that goes. Running in the rain isn't ideal, but it beats the race getting cancelled all together due to lightning or something crazy. How about we all collectively do our own "rain dance" today and it'll stay away here in Cincinnati?! Cool, thanks! ;)

Regardless of my worries about the race-day weather, I can't wait to add another medal to my collection!!!

After this race is over, I'll probably take a couple weeks off to relax. BUT! I've really been thinking about working on my speed. Long distances are just hard. I've already told Caleb I will never have the desire to run a FULL marathon - so he can do that bucket list-item of his solo! ;) What I'd really like to do, is sign up for a 5K this Summer/Fall and really rock it. I've only ever run one real 5K and hadn't trained for it at all (back in 2011 - my higher-metabolism days, ha!, so I'm hopeful that I can get around 28 minutes if I really train for one (my sweet friend Anna would leave me in the dust)!

Tomorrow Caleb and I are each taking a half day at work and heading up to Columbus for a wedding of two of our friends! We're so excited for them! It'll be a little strange going to a wedding as GUESTS and not a photographer - but we're so pumped about it. We've known Luke (or as we like to call him, Sarge) and Ashlee for years and have been waiting for this day to get here!  I know its going to be beautiful! I mean, look at how adorable they are!!

I've really been enjoying the freedom of this week. The rain ended up canceling an engagement session that I had on the calendar but its all good - Caleb and I have been enjoying our evenings together! I hope everyone's having a great week! It's almost Friday!!

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Behind the camera all weekend!

Friday we spent the evening celebrating Erin's 29th year of awesomeness. We caught up on life, had a few puzzle races - yes, we made those a thing - and just had a great time relaxing at their place.
You can't tell they are brothers, can you? ;)
Saturday we had another wedding and while I almost had a small anxiety attack when I saw how crowded it was Downtown by the Banks (where the bride wanted all of her photos), Caleb made me breathe through it and reminded me that we ALWAYS figure something out. We made the decision to get everyone back in the limo and drive across the bridge to a quaint little park in Kentucky (a short 5 minute drive). The photos we got made it so worth it, and I'm so thankful to have Caleb with me on days like this when I begin to doubt myself/my work. He rocks!!!

Sunday I had the honor of photographing some baptisms at church. No matter how many I see, I cry every. single. time!

After church I had another photo shoot. When I got home I just flopped on the couch. I was seriously exhausted from a weekend behind the camera...but as I went through my portraits after uploading them, I realized how lucky I am to get to do something that I love!!

Did you guys have a fun weekend?! I'm looking forward to this week. Trying to take it easy after work, no plans, etc.! Hopeful that will actually happen!

Friday, April 22, 2016

Friday Favorites || Late April

Although we've got a busy weekend ahead of us, I'm really happy its Friday! The office is always just a little quitter on Fridays, which mean less people bother me, and I like that!! ;) We've also got fun plans to finally celebrate Erin's birthday tonight! So you could say I'm ready to be done with my work day.

Today I'm joining Amanda for another edition of Friday favorites! So let's get to 'em...
This. This is my life.

 Favorite song right now: Unsteady. The music video is pretty depressing, but this guy has a great voice!

One of my favorite posts this week was this one by Anne! That girl is so dang crafty!!!

Favorite mail day - getting my brothers graduation announcement. Eep (the same day my beloved pineapple shorts finally came - yay!!!!)!!

Favorite freebie: having a LOOONG work day Tuesday but getting free food from Starbucks since I was one of the last people there at closing. #photographylife

Favorite thought: realizing I can finally whip out all my dresses for shooting weddings. It gets HOT here in the summer. Pants just aren't acceptable!
photo booth fun
Favorite gym moment: sprinting up the inclines on the indoor track and feeling like a dang beast - even if only for 3 seconds, ha!

Favorite item - this mask I found in the bathroom storage under the sink. I found a few more and I'm excited to do these more often. It left my face feeling SO soft!!!

Favorite find: a $25 Cheesecake Gift Card we had forgotten about! Woop woop!!

Favorite moment: when your husband amazes you 24/7. He did something really sweet for me last night that left me in a mess of happy tears. I'm so thankful for that man!

So tell me, what was your favorite moment of the week?

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Make yourself happy.

I'm pretty pumped its Thursday, because I have the night off! No consultations, no workout planned, no specific dinner on the menu. I plan to watch my husband play some softball - and lets be honest, probably grab a soft pretzel or two ;)

This week as I was walking through the hallway to my cubicle at work, checking the time on my Fitbit, a co worker rudely commented as he walked by how "dumb those things are". Truthfully, I just ignored him, because what was the point? Neither of us would've gained anything by furthering the conversation. But, it got me thinking about how funny people can be.

There are always going to be people who don't agree with you, the things you do, and the way you do them. There's always going to be someone who judges you for doing (or not doing) something. So why do some of us try so hard to make everyone happy?

You truly can't please everyone.
If you go to the gym too much, they'll call you obsessive.
If you don't go to the gym enough, they'll call you lazy.

If you work insanely hard for something, they think you're too busy to hang out.
If you spend too much time with friends, you aren't working hard enough.

If you're constantly on your phone, you're not being present.
If you never answer your phone, you're unreliable.

If you stay in on weekends to save money, you aren't living.
If you go out and party too much, you're young and immature.

I could go on and on all day about random examples that came across my brain, but my point is: BE YOURSELF! Do what makes you happy! Go with your gut. Listen to your heart. Do whats BEST for you and your family, and just make sure you're happy, at the end of every day. It can be about something small like wearing a Fitbit, or something as big as following your wildest dreams. You will truly never be able to please everyone, so you may as well do what feels right in your heart.

I hope you do something that makes YOU happy today!

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

A Birthday Wish!

Today is one of my very best friend's birthdays!!! :)
Ignore our overly burned skin. We weren't used to the Punta Cana sun.

I am so thankful to have known Erin these last (almost) seven years. SEVEN YEARS?!? I can hardly believe its been that long. There aren't many people you can talk to basically every single day and never run out of topics to discuss.  There also aren't that many friends you come across in life that truly make you a better person. Erin is always there to pray, support, and encourage Caleb and I whenever we need it. I know I can go to her if I just need a good laugh, but can also turn to her when I need some advice, or to even vent about who knows what. She's one of the few people I can be insanely weird around and not feel totally judged (mainly because she's a total goofball herself, and I mean that as a compliment- hehe)...

She is so special to so many people! My family has basically adopted her as their own...

It's been so fun going through life's big adventures with her, like being there on each others big wedding days... traveling the world together... spending evenings making ridiculous music videos and taking hundreds of photo booth pictures...

...or just simply celebrating every Bengals win together - we're always having a blast!

Erin, I hope you have an amazing birthday today!!! I can't imagine life without your friendship, and I'm thankful I won't ever have to! You're truly like my big sister, and I can't wait to see you become a momma to this sweet baby in a couple short months. Love you, soulmate!!!!

Monday, April 18, 2016

Jam packed (with fun) weekend!

Caleb and I wasted no time after work on Friday and went straight into spring-cleaning mode. We did an insane amount of laundry, cleaned our entire living/dining area/both bedrooms, dusted, vacuumed, organized our basement, cleaned the toilets, washed our sheets, replaced the shower liner, PHEW! I'm getting exhausted just thinking about it. We eventually became exhausted and hit the hay.

Saturday was our 7th wedding of the year. This bride put SO much thought into their big day. If you follow me on instagram you probably saw this photo yesterday- but the bride hand made this GIANT flower wall. Is that not the most gorgeous thing ever?! It was honestly like a piece of art!

DON'T even get me started on this cake. Those flowers? EDIBLE. No joke, its all sugar.

Cami and Scott were really laid back people, and that always makes the day a lot more fun and allows Caleb and I to be a little more creative. We spent the entire day exploring OTR for their portraits and even played a little pinball! It was a long, fun day indeed.

This was the whole bridal party - so simple!
We didn't get home until CRAZY late Saturday (but they served Holtmans donuts at 11 so we didn't mind terribly much)! Sunday after church I made the drive up to Dayton to celebrate my friend Becca's little girl - Norah! It was her first birthday party! You KNOW I wanted little miss' dress in my size! ;)

Sunday evening was spent grocery shopping and watching Star Wars with my man. Sure, it was a crazy busy weekend, but we survived and managed to get some down time together.

I'm thankful for a week with minimal plans after work, those are the best! I hope everyone had a fun weekend!! :) PS: ITS OFFICIALLY BIRTHDAY WEEK FOR MISS ERIN!!!! Can't wait to celebrate you!!! :)

Friday, April 15, 2016

A few Friday letters!

Dear Friday, I am so happy you're here!!!!! Sure, we may have to work this weekend, but it's still nice to be in "weekend mode"!

Dear dance class, you made me so happy yesterday. It was awesome, and I'm so sore! It was a good mix of hip hop and contemporary styles. Of course, trying new things is always a little scary, but everyone was insanely sweet - which, for some reason, I kind of didn't expect. I thought I'd be the annoying new girl who didn't know any of the choreography and that I'd basically just be in the way the entire hour flailing my body in the wrong direction. Dang - was I wrong!!! ;) okay well sometimes I wasn't super coordinated, BUT everyone was SO sweet, encouraging and FULL of high fives - which I loved!!! Dana (mu fav co worker) and I had so much fun!

Dear weather, you've been AMAZING the past couple days. We're shooting another wedding this weekend and its supposed to be amazing out. This meme made me laugh though, because here in OH, you can truly never be too sure.

Dear Heather and Phil (aka my Aunt and Uncle), congratulations on FIFTEEN YEARS of marriage!!! What an accomplishment. My Uncle and I are very close - he was the one who baptized me on my 18th birthday, and over the years my Aunt has become one of my very best friends. I'm so thankful for them both. They are spending their weekend in Tennessee to celebrate their anniversary! Aren't they cute?

Dear McAlisters, I forgot how delicious you were!!! Your bacon spud was fantastic!

Dear friends, thank you for your support on my post yesterday. It means so much. Today is the 2 year mark of my Grandpa's passing and your prayers are so appreciated today!!! Does this man not have the best handwriting!?

I hope everyone has the best weekend!! :)

Thursday, April 14, 2016

"Keep Leaning Forward"

Tomorrow marks a hard day for my family. It was two years ago that my Grandpa passed away. Although we weren't very close throughout my adult life, I loved him very much. It's always sad that when someone passes away, you look back and wish you had spent more time with them, getting to know them, what their interests were, etc. However, I'm insanely grateful that I not only got to say goodbye to him here on this Earth, but that he was part of our wedding, and that we snagged this awesome photo at our rehearsal dinner. You guys, can we talk about how amazing his baby blue eyes are?! I pray our future kiddos inherit those genes!

Last night before bed, I happened upon an old journal under my vanity. When I picked it up, a handwritten letter from my Grandpa fell out. I couldn't believe the timing with it being nearly 2 years after he passed.

The tears started coming before I could even begin reading it, but goodness he had the most BEAUTIFUL handwriting, which always made me smile. Years ago when I was in school, we wrote a few letters back and forth. He had been sick for a long time, and he would occasionally hop on his computer to send me a funny chain email, but for the most part he liked handwritten letters to communicate, which I absolutely loved.

This particular letter will be something I treasure forever. He talked about his old Pentax film camera, told me to always thank a Veteran, and also how proud of me he was for going after my dreams, even though they can be scary. However, my favorite part was how he ended the letter: "Love you. Pay it forward when you can, and keep leaning forward. -Grandpa Phil"

Grandpa Phil, I miss ya.

Have a great day, friends! Thanks, as always, for reading and being supportive!

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

The Next Chapter Begins {Erin's Baby Shower}

The day finally arrived! My MIL and I met up to prep all the food, decorations, and pack our cars just in time to head to our venue and set up for Erin's baby shower! We've been working together on the details of this shower for a few months now so we were very excited the day was finally here!

The small room we had rented was so beautiful. Exposed brick, wooden beams, white paint - basically Joanna Gaines dream (Erin's mom even said-so! Hehe). The room was filled with SO much love for Erin and sweet baby M! Like Erin said, the amount of gifts/love/prayers for them that day was nearly overwhelming, in such an amazing way!

Our theme (you already know if you read this post) was "Storybook". I had lots of ideas before I landed on this theme, but none of them felt just right, and this one couldn't have been more perfect. I'm more than thrilled with how everything turned out. Most of our details had to do with books! Even the food!

We kept the games simple. One multiple choice sheet (storybook themed, of course), one "pass the book" type game (where each table had a winner - they got to take home the floral centerpieces), and one where Erin simply picked a name from a mason jar. Lots of winners, but super simple so we could all have a little fun then get straight to baby gifts!!

This gift literally kept going, and kept going, and kept going! So fun!!
Over the years Erin has grown close to some of the ladies in MY family, so she wanted them invited! It was so sweet!

I can't thank Erin enough for allowing me to be such a big part of this new journey they are on - but I'm so happy about to be around for it. I just know that becoming an Aunt is going to change my life, and I can hardly wait any longer!!! Baby M, you are already so loved!