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Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Things I'm Loving {Volume 5}

Random posts are my favorite. Months ago I wrote a post called "Things I'm Loving", and it consists of any thing I've seen/bought/heard about that I've liked (most recent here). It's always been well received and I figured with all the holidays, its as good a time as any for an update on some recent thing I'm loving!

-The progress we've made on our portfolio/website. Caleb and I have been working tirelessly on all things business and re-editing some older photos to be more consistent with how we want our brand represented. I wrote down 6 or 7 words that I wanted people to feel/describe as they looked through our portfolio and basically everyone I asked yesterday hit the nail on the head with their descriptions - which lets me know we're doing a good job. Here's a sneak peek of our portfolio.

-This tried and true sheet pan dinner. It's on a weekly rotation in our household because it's so inexpensive, so easy, and so so tasty!

-French vanilla coffee when I get next to no sleep. Caleb and I really need a new mattress, but we're trying to put it off until we start house hunting next year! But seriously, I can't seem to get comfortable enough to fall asleep anymore!

-Our itty bitty Christmas tree. It's just a thin, 6 foot tree, but we love it so much! I asked Caleb the other day if he thinks we'll ever get a real one, and we both just weren't sure. I grew up getting real Christmas trees, and always loved the smell, but man it was a lot of work to keep clean!

-Our ornaments. We don't have a TON, but I love going to new places and collecting new ornaments. I basically get Caleb a new ornament or two every year, and last year I got him this Olaf one so we finally had that to put on our tree. This year, I gifted him one early, and it was hand made by my friend Kaitlin! It reminded us of the Bengals (despite how terrible they are doing this year, we still love them).

-Snapchat and its new filters every day. It's been like two years and I still can't get enough.

-Unblemish. No, I don't sell it and no I don't get paid to say this. This stuff has changed my life. I still break out, as a 25 year old, and it sucks. So a few months ago I re ordered this stuff I used a few years ago and now I'm wondering why I ever stopped in the first place. I've legitimately never left my house without at least a little concealer on, and guys I left the house the other day with ZERO MAKE UP ON. Because my skin feels SMOOTH and clear for once! I'm so happy. Worth every penny.
-How beautiful our world is. Sure, we live in some dark times; with attacks, wild fires, and shootings, but to see everyone come together after a tragedy is always so moving.

-Shopping small. Being a part of a local group of creatives has been so much fun! I've met a lot of new ladies and its cool to bounce ideas off of people who get it! I bought this print from a local gal, Jen, and she's the sweetest! I used to have to convince myself of this all the time when I'd be running for what seemed like forever "you can do this, Kayla!!" it only seemed fitting!

-This precious video of a bear who won't let go of the hero who saved him from the TN fire this week. Seriously, my heart is melting.

-Free square prints from Parabo Press for first time users using the code: "FIRST"! I'm excited about this, especially with Christmas right around the corner!

-How well one of my fantasy teams is doing this year. I held the #1 spot up until this week! Now if only I can win once we get to the playoffs!

I hope everyone has a great week. Go ahead and tell me below ONE THING you are loving, lately! Thanks!

Monday, November 28, 2016

Laughter, rest, repeat.

I can't explain how amazing it was to have FOUR whole days off to enjoy with friends and family. It was like hitting the big RESET button on my soul.

We normally spend Thanksgiving day with my Dad's side of the family, but he's currently on vacation so we switched it up this year and spent it with my mom's side of the family! My mom is still in Maine on her nursing assignment, so we all missed her, but we had a great time! The day was full of family, one deep fried turkey and one roasted, tons of homemade sides, board games and way too much laughter!

Say hello to Pioneer Woman herself ;)

Thursday, after all the time with family was over, we headed to a few stores and got some fun deals, and stayed out WAY too late. Friday we got a LOT done. We felt like real adults ;) we visited Caleb's grandma in the morning, de-cluttered, donated stuff' we seriously got rid of so much junk in our house! We crashed HARD that evening and watched a movie, and seriously passed out on the couch around 9:30!

Saturday, after throwing MORE stuff away and doing an insane amount of laundry, we watched the OSU game and phew! It was a nail biter! Luckily, we pulled out a win against the team from up North ;) and then we were in full on CHRISTMAS MODE! We decorated for a good hour or two and just had ourselves a blast. It's always one of my favorite traditions with Caleb, bringing up all the decorations from the basement and finding new places for them!
Olaf and that sign may or may not be my favorite decoration ever.
My girl Lyndsie was in town and reached out last minute to see if I was free for dinner! I'm so glad I went, even though I was exhausted from decorating, because she and I don't get much time together anymore and we laughed our heads off for hours.

Sunday was deemed the laziest day of our lives; and I kind of loved it. Once we got home from church we witnessed one of the saddest Bengals losses in history (so THAT obviously wasn't fun), but it kept us glued to the couch. We watched an insane amount of Impractical Jokers after that - we're hooked - and had cinnamon rolls for dinner...go ahead, judge us. But we literally didn't do anything but park it on the couch most of the day.

I am so thankful for time off with Caleb! We don't get that much anymore and it was much needed. I really hope everyone had a fantastic break and got to spend it with those you love the most!!

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

What I'm really thankful for

I love what November represents; being thankful for things. I love seeing my Facebook feed brighten up with people and things that my friends are truly thankful for! I'll never get tired of that. I haven't done any sort of "thirty days of thankfulness" post, so I thought I'd list a few things I'm truly thankful for today.

My insanely hilarious, goofy husband. For constantly making me laugh, pursuing me daily, and challenging me to be better.

All of our teens. These girls feel like my little sisters, but Caleb and I feel like we have an extended amount of siblings with these guys. We get to hang with over 25+ teens weekly and pour the Word of God into them and its just so amazing to watch them grow!

Having these guys as our best friends. Erin and Jared feel less like "in laws" and more like actual family. I love that we can all communicate with just a look (Bridesmaids, anyone?) and have so much fun together! Whether we're road-tripping down to Tennessee, or simply having a spontaneous game night. Everything is an adventure when the four of us are together!

Having warmth during this cold season. It's easy to forget the things that we have that others need so desperately. One of my youth group girls just started a Go Fund Me page to raise money so she can make approx 150 blankets to keep the Cincinnati homeless WARM this Winter! It makes me tear up thinking about her kingdom minded heart and how much of a difference she's going to make this holiday season! If you'd like to help by donating, or simply sharing the page, click here! THANKS!

These girls. I love them to the moon. Lyndsie, on the right, has been my best friend since 7th grade. We've been through basically everything together. We grew up together, we went through silly breakups with boys, and we were roommates in college for a hot second. I love that I can be my extremely weird, awkward self around each and every one of these ladies. The two in the middle are girls we met when we were in college, Becca and Angie. I know any of them would do anything for me, no matter how long its been since we've seen each other!

All of the amazing women in my family. Seriously, I hit the jackpot with them.

Getting to serve others by living out my passion; photography. I'm so thankful God blessed me with this gift and that I'm able to give others memories they can literally cherish and look back on for a lifetime!

My few blog friends (but really real life friends because I've met them all) that I talk to almost daily - you know who you are!!! Hiii Becky, hiii Anna!!

My in-laws! They are always willing to do anything for us. I'll never forget when I got a flat tire, and they were there within minutes. Or their excitement when they found out I was going to be their daughter in law! :)

My Dad and his wife, Amy! Although we don't see them near as much as we'd like, they are always willing to be there for us. My Dad isn't a very emotional man but I'll never forget those tears he cried on my wedding day. It wasn't a moment we captured on film, but its one I'll hold dear to my heart forever!

I could literally go on all day about the things I'm thankful for; my car, food, our income, a roof over our heads, clean water, our wardrobe, our health, french vanilla coffee :) and so on and so on! But I don't want to keep you here all day.

One last thing I'm thankful for YOU! Yes, you! The readers (those who comment and those who don't) who encourage me to keep doing this blogging thing, even when I suck and don't feel like keeping up with it. I am so thankful to have each of you here almost every day with me!! It means so much you all listen to my rambles :)

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Thanksgiving Favorites!

I'll just say it, along with everybody else, this year has flown by. I cannot believe we're at the point where I cannot leave the house without my winter coat! But, I'm excited. The holidays just put people in a great mood. Spending time with family, eating great food and reminding yourself you have an awful lot to be thankful for! I saw this fun prompt on Jenn's blog recently, and knew I had to take part!

Favorite part of Thanksgiving meal? Sounds totally cheesy, but honestly sitting around a table with my family is what I'm most looking forward to. Growing up, living with my mom, my brother AND grandparents, we always had 5pm dinner. Like, practically on the dot. I'm talking my Nanny always had a HOME COOKED, hearty meal for us. I can practically count on one hand how many times we ate out as a family or ordered something in. No phones, no worries, you just came to the table and we all talked about life, every single day. That's definitely a tradition I'd like to carry out when Caleb and I grow our family.

Favorite side(s)? Sweet potato casserole, BY FAR. Especially when there is a crumb topping and/or marshmallows all over it. BRB I'm drooling. It sucks trying to be healthy around the holidays, but I'm reminding myself that moderation is KEY!

Biggest thing you're thankful for this year? Cheese alert: this guy. He makes everyday amazing. Whether we're just relaxing on the couch while watching a movie, or on an awesome road trip together. I'm proud to call him mine :) he challenges me to be the best version of myself.

Have you hosted before? HA! No. Big fat no. We can fit about 4-6 people comfortably in our entire town home sooo, not yet. One day I'd like to, but I'm sure that's years from now when we have an actual home that we own. I can hardly handle the stress of bringing a side to Thanksgiving this year, let alone cooking an ENTIRE meal involving a turkey, etc.! You'd probably find me crying in my closet ;)

Favorite decor for Thanksgiving? To be honest, Caleb and I don't really have a ton of Fall/Thanksgiving decor. I'd like to change that, so maybe after Thanksgiving this year I can find some items on clearance. What we DO decorate a lot for, though? Christmas!

Pie of choice? Apple all the way (or cherry). I like pumpkin pie, but I usually don't eat very much of it. I prefer apple or cherry pie with a small scoop of vanilla ice cream! 

Tree up before/after Thanksgiving? Always on Black Friday. That's what my family did growing up, and Caleb and I do that every year. For some reason this year, its been REALLY hard not to put that tree up early!!

Gravy or no gravy? GIVE ME ALL THE GRAVY. On everything!

Smooth or chunky cranberry sauce? No. Just no. Although, I've never had like fresh, homemade cranberry sauce.

What about you? What is your favorite Thanksgiving side? What are you most thankful for? I'm so looking forward to a few extra days off with my family! I hope you all enjoy your Thanksgiving with people who mean the most to you!

Monday, November 21, 2016

Thankful for our weekend!

First I just have to say, YAY for a short work week! I'm very thankful to work for a company that allows me to not only have Thanksgiving off, but also Friday as well! I plan on spending LOTS of time relaxing.

I mentioned it last week, but Caleb and I started leading a Young Adult group within our church (for seniors in HS to age 24). This is more of a transitional group for the teens leaving youth group (which we actually help lead, too, so it'll be fun to see them grow) and going into adulthood/working/college life! Friday was supposed to be our first meeting, and we got some unfortunate news that our original plans would no longer work (a bonfire near woods with dry air and a burn advisory in the county do NOT make for ideal conditions). Instead of freaking out, Caleb and I decided to make the best of it and come up with Plan B. He had the brilliant idea of having a low key pizza night (where he also hosted my birthday surprise) in the party room at Donatos! Everyone loved it and a few of us even went across the street to Starbucks afterward. We spent a total of 4ish hours talking with everyone about life, their situations, their jobs, and just excited to grow in community together!
YAY for my first red cup of the season. I don't go there often so I was excited

My personal goal for this first meeting was for at least 10 people to show up, well, including Caleb and I, we had 13. It was so fun to hang with all of these awesome people. They have some amazing ideas for our group and we can't wait to see it all come together! We've invented "Frismas" (Friendsgiving/Christmas) that we're planning in a few weeks and cannot wait for! It is awesome to have a new community of people to spend time with, and grow in community with!

Saturday was a good mix of sleeping in, relaxing ALL DAY (it was amazing, seriously), and spending time with our best friends in the evening. It was Jared's birthday and so we planned a game night with he and Erin! It's always so fun and I'm so thankful we've made sure to continue with our tradition of game night over the years!

Sunday we heard an amazing message at church about us all having unique talents/abilities that we can "bring to the table", which was so perfect for the upcoming holiday! After church, we headed to Caleb's parents for a Thanksgiving/Birthday/Bengals celebration; unfortunately we didn't stay more than a couple hours because Caleb wasn't feeling very well. We're hoping its just a quick virus that he can shake soon! Sadly, the Bengals loss was pretty ugly! But the time with family was awesome, and the food was incredible! Yay for leftovers!

I'm so thankful for our weekend off. I also can't believe we have THREE more before our next, and last wedding of the year. We are so thrilled to just BE for a while! I hope everyone had a fun weekend, and can enjoy a short week before Thanksgiving is here!

Friday, November 18, 2016

T.G.I.F. for real

Can I just say, TGIF?! I truly don't ever feel like its really Friday because we normally have a wedding the next day. While we love that job, Friday's never really feel like Friday's for that reason. We basically work 6 days a week, and then some with editing at night, so to have a FREE weekend now?! It makes us pretty stinkin' happy. We actually only have 1 wedding left of the year, and its not until mid December! It feels insane to look back and think we've already photographed 30 weddings this year. It's pretty awesome!

This week was a series of working, getting home, making a healthy dinner, exercising here and there, and editing my face off while Caleb kills it on the website. We're trying really hard to knock out all of this editing before November is over so once December gets here, we don't have to edit a THING and can truly just enjoy this season of relaxation and just BE. Just come home from work and cuddle after dinner while watching Elf every night... or is that just us? ;)

This week my brother turned 19 and my family came over for a spontaneous dessert date. It was fun spending some time with him!

I made the sheet pan dinner again with more broccoli this time and I just can't get over how delicious it is. This made enough for 4 meals, and is SO cheap!

Caleb and I are hosting our first "young adult" connect group through our church. It's basically a transition group for seniors in high school (up to age 24) into the "working/college world". We bought the marshmallows, chocolate and graham crackers, and now we just wait to see who shows up to build community and some new friendships tonight! Although we didn't anticipate 70 degree weather late November, we're still gonna rock that bonfire and have a blast.

This weekend will be a good mix of plans and free time, and I'm so so excited about it. Free time is so good for my soul, and I'm really looking forward to the holidays! I have to admit, its getting harder and harder NOT to listen to Christmas music, dangit! Don't judge me if I play a song or two this weekend ;)

Hope everyone has a fun weekend!

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Thoughts and things

Today is a random day...and once upon a time there was a blogger that I LOVED (she has since stopped blogging) that used to do a "Random Wednesday" link up, and I miss that! So I'm reviving the topic for the day! Here's a random list of things that are running through my head at the current moment...

1 || I woke up early to cut a ton of veggies and brown the beef shoulder and cannot wait to inhale that beef stew when I get home tonight! I feel so productive when I make dinner before I've even put my contacts in, haha!

2 || Today is my brothers 19th birthday. I'm not sure who told him it was okay to grow up, but regardless, here we are. He and I are very close, and although we haven't seen much of each other lately, he will always be on of my favorite people on Earth.

3 || Blogging isn't coming as natural to me as it once was. I'm not quitting, but I just feel like I've lost my mojo lately! I need some fresh ideas...anyone??

4 || I feel naked without my fitbit. It died on my way to work and that just sucks.

5 || I need to make grocery shopping a weekly thing, like every Sunday or something. No matter what. When we don't have fresh groceries in the house, we spend too much money eating out and also eat WAY too much junk. Not good!

6 || I love entering giveaways. Somebody's gotta win them! Might as well be me! ;)

7 || Caleb and I are so close to launching our business website and I can't wait to show everyone! We have been working hard on it, and its all really coming together! You'll see lots of gorgeousness liiiike.....

8 || One of my favorite co workers (who was actually closest to my age) quit and her last day was on Friday! The office seems so quiet and I miss our random conversations!

9 || It was so much fun seeing my bestie last weekend. I love that she is living her dream and finally living in TN, but I miss the crap out of her!! We had way too much fun Saturday with our sleepover and although our time together was short, it was a blast! Can't wait til next time!

10 || I'm wearing a new skirt I scored from Loft over our staycation, and I'm not wearing tights with it. I'm not sure how much longer the "warm Fall weather" will last, so I'm taking advantage of it while I can! This thing was only $3.88. I could hardly believe it!

Sometimes, a girls just gotta make some lists. I hope everyone has a great week. We're halfway there!!!

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Our Weekend || A Wedding Getaway to Nashville!

Caleb and I had the opportunity to venture to Tennessee this past weekend for a wedding of an old friend. He grew up in church with the bride, Heather, so we all knew each other already! Also, my bestie was a Bridesmaid in the wedding, which made it even more fun!

They seriously got the perfect weather for a November wedding date. You really never know with November. It could rain, it could be 20 degrees and snowing, or it could turn out to be mid 50's and just tolerable enough to not wear a jacket. Luckily, that last one is exactly what we had. The glow from the sun we had all day was JUST right and I couldn't stop smiling. Michael and Heather, thank you so much for letting us be part of your big day, we had so much fun!

Thats my bestie, Lynds! She and Heather have been roommates for the last few years, so this was a bittersweet day for them!

Their reception was way too much fun! Heather and Michael's friends were all so sweet! We left feeling like we made a bunch of new friends!

Rewind to Friday night when we arrived in TN, we stopped at our favorite book store in all the land; McKays. We discovered it about 3 years ago with Erin and Jared when we made a road trip to Memphis for a wedding Caleb was in, and knew we had to make the pit-stop again. Seriously, I had like 7 books in my hand, all for about .50 cents to $1.75. There was actually one brand new book I've been wanting and it was $7, but that's still a quarter of the price if I had bought it brand new from any other store! We headed back to our hotel and ordered a pizza, watched a movie and called it a night.

When we arrived back home Sunday afternoon, I took a MUCH needed nap. It. Was. Glorious! I'm really excited that we are approaching some SERIOUS free time now that this weekend is behind us. It's much needed. We have one more wedding in December, but guys, we have 4 free weekends before that. I can't even handle it! As much as we love photographing weddings, and serving our clients, its time to take time for ourselves and I'm pumped about it!

Hope everyone had a fantastic weekend as well!

Friday, November 11, 2016

Five on Fri-yay

This week was so great. Here's a few reasons why:

1 || The easiest, most delicious dinner I may have ever made. Caleb and I are BIG fans of spinach dip, so when I found this recipe I knew I had to try it. I'll admit, I get VERY intimidated when reading recipes, and I almost chose to throw this one out because it wanted me to "sear" the chicken on the stove-top, then transfer it to the oven. Ummm!?? Well, I gave it a whirl and am so glad I did! I realized my Granny's cast iron skillet (I never got to meet her, but it meant a lot when my Nanny gave it to me) would work perfectly. Caleb and I basically inhaled the entire thing.

2 || Getting to exercise my right to vote on Tuesday night.

3 || This photo a friend posted on her FB this week. The four of us were inseparable most of our childhood/teenage years, and seeing this photo just brought me back to those 8th grade sleepover days. We had way too much fun! I'm so thankful for each one of those girls! The two on the right are two of my closest friends, and were my Maid of Honor/Bridesmaid- Lyndsie and Ashley!
I'm second from the left...notice the shirt "your lips are moving but all I hear is blah, blah, blah" #mature
4|| Yesterday I was able to take part in my employer's annual community service day. It was a blast. We raked leaves and cleaned gutters for elderly/disabled families in our local area. My co worker Joyce is one of my favorite people at work, and she snapped this hilarious photo of me trying to open a leaf bag. Those things are so TALL, and I am so NOT. So, there's really no other way to get them all the way open unless you get in there like that, ha!

5|| Thank goodness for a half day today from work and a fun weekend in Nashville! Caleb and I are photographing a friends wedding tomorrow, and my bestie Lyndsie just so happens to be IN the wedding as a bridesmaid, which means she and I get a LADIES NIGHT after the wedding is over at her place. I am so excited. With her living a few states away we really don't get to see much of each other and I miss spending time w/ her so much! Throwback photo to post-ceremony CELEBRATIONS at my wedding! Love that girl!

I hope everyone has a great weekend ahead of them!