Monday, October 20

BEHIND THE SCENES | Field of Dreams

Clara, Ella and Emalyn - October 2014

I shot some pretty photos of my girls over the weekend and thought I'd share a peek with you!!

Isn't this field just AWESOME!?  It's the same field I used to shoot Ella's Wildflowers photos and was the perfect spot once again for the sort of dreamy photos I was hoping for. I think I'm going to have to give it an official nickname:  Field of Dreams (or field of dreamy photos at least)

I love the candidness of this particular photo because as a mom…I can see right through the image and see the personalities of each of these VERY different girls.

CLARA has most likely just tripped over something and is laughing at her clumsiness and will probably not even like this photo because her dress was blowing which will make her feel she looks like she's with child. (which she is not…just to be clear). *wink*

ELLA is staring off at the next patch of flowers she can't wait to pick and is happiest surrounded by her sisters...and holding Ema's hand.

EMA is irritated and hates having her photo taken but is trying to make the most of it. She always lightens up though when Clara laughs so I managed to capture a little smirk she probably didn't even know I got.

I love candids vs. posed photographs when it comes to capturing people.
They tell so much about a subject…when the subject doesn't even realize the camera is rolling.

Which leads me to something I probably should've shared years ago...
I actually had a person tell me one time that they don't like how I take photos of people facing away from the camera or where the subject's face is a little obscured. I was a little caught off guard and responded by saying, "Well that's just my photography style…those are the types of photos I prefer." The person's response? "Well you need to change your photography style."

What the what?
Who says stuff like that?
The person was directly attacking my creativity…and ME as a person.
I could NOT believe it.

I think I was in shock and it was almost 5 years ago and it still gets under my skin. But bottom line is this…

I'm not taking photos for THAT person. I'm taking photos for ME…for my home…for MY family, documenting MY life the way I see it and the way I hope to remember it. Were my feelings hurt? Absolutely. Did I change my photography style? A big freaking "Heck No!" But that exuberant "Heck No!" didn't come immediately…to be honest. I second-guessed myself for awhile and sort of got lost in the disapproval of someone that really had no credibility on the subject to begin with.

There WILL be people out there who will find pleasure in attacking you…just because.
Turn away from it. Consider the source. And do everything you can to let it go.

I'm telling you…if someone has ever offended YOU for the way you dress, fix your hair, draw, create, design, write, cook, bake, blog, paint, interpret, decorate, or photograph your subjects...PLEASE don't succumb to the criticism. Differences make the world go around and I prefer to celebrate my unique perspective on things, whatever it is, as opposed to becoming something someone else would have me be or someone I think other people want me to be. I have DONE it. I am 100% guilty of falling into that trap; Probably because I'm a pleaser and want/need the approval of others. (like so many of us do). But I'm telling you…DO NOT give into it. It's NOT a place you want to be. You won't be happy there…I promise you. I know all too well.

Being something other than who you are is NOT authentic. I hope you will celebrate your uniqueness and always follow your heart and your gut…no matter the whispers or occasionally the loud, rude shouts by the crowd.

I will be sharing more photos soon…
so if you happen to agree with the person mentioned above…
and you don't prefer candid photographs either…
that's completely okay with me.
I respect your opinion.
You're allowed to dislike my photography style.
Just be sure to cover your eyes when you visit my blog…
and please don't request that I change it for you.  *wink*

For those who are wondering:
Clara's Dress - American Eagle
Ella's Dress - The Secret Garden
Ema's Floral Tank - Kohl's & Hollister

Hope you've had a great Monday!
Mine has been…weird.
Sort of productive but not nearly as productive as I would've liked. (story of my life)

I'm getting better and better at letting go of the little things…especially the things I can't control.
I will always be a work in progress though.


Tuesday, October 14

FREE | Monthly Blog Hop Printables :: Give Thanks

Soooo excited to share with you some really cute FREE "Give Thanks" printables as part of of the FUN monthly round-up I've been doing with some fabulous bloggers. We started the "FREE Monthly printables" in January and I have to say I think the collection this month is my favorite so far because our color schemes coordinate beautifully this month and makes for a really pretty collage! Don't you think? It's all about presentation for me anyway…so of course I'm going to love the collage!! 

The printables are just as cute and there's a wide range of things including candy bar wraps, Thanksgiving table conversation starters, art prints and more!! You're going to love them all!!

Be sure to "blog hop" by using the provided links above each image below to find your way to each of the free printables!! If you download a printable I'd love for you to "Give Thanks" and leave some love (a comment) for these fabulous ladies who take their time to create fun things to help make your holidays more fun and fabulous!

by Kori Clark
A beautiful way to have Thanksgiving dinner guests record what they are grateful for

by Nest of Posies
What a cute way to commence your Thanksgiving Feast

by Catch My Party
Perfect for all of your holiday baking and gift giving

by Living Locurto
These would be great as part of your place settings, as teacher gifts or even classroom treats

by No Biggie
Adorable little cards, place settings, or gift tags

by Skip to My Lou
A fun way to get the conversation started at your Thanksgiving dinner

by Hostess with the Mostess HWTM
Everything you need to set a mod Thanksgiving dinner table

by Pen N' Paper Flowers
A cute, gentle reminder to look for the good and have an attitude of gratitude

Don't you LOVE the fun variety of things we came up with this month? I love it all!!

Don't forget about the FREE Halloween printables we shared in September!!

If you've missed the FREE PRINTABLES from previous months you can find the posts below
January - Valentine's
February - St. Patty's Day
March - Spring
April - Mother's Day
May - Patriotic
June - Happy Birthday
July - Summer
August - Back-to-School
September - Halloween

Stay tuned for free Holiday and New Year's printables as we finish out the year…

Much better day. No car troubles…kind of.
Apparently the work they did yesterday to fix everything 100% is causing an annoying temporary "jackhammer-like" vibration. J says it'll go away in a couple of days…but of course that's easy for him to say when he's not the one driving around town. Ha!! Think I'll be staying close to home for the next couple of days anyway. *wink*

Here's my Instagram post from earlier today…and that's my outlook on today!!

Whether yesterday was fabulous or a complete brings a new opportunity to DO better...BE better...or BUILD ON the "awesome" you've already started. #keepgoing #keepbelieving #keepfabulous


Monday, October 13

HALLOWEEN | Fun Printables + Cute Halloween Party Ideas

Cute Halloween ideas and FREE printables in the haunted house!
I got together with some of my very favorite Party Blogger friends and I think we came up with some pretty FUN things you can put together easily for that Halloween Party you've got coming up - or even some fun things to use for classroom party favors. I think I'll be using the Trick or Treat Boxes by Bird's Party (shown above) for Ella's classroom friends. *wink*

I'll stop talking and let you start scrolling...

by Giggles Galore
Perfect for party favors, teacher gifts or even for Phantom Pumpkin Treats

by Catch My Party
So cute for school lunches too!!

by Kori Clark
And those white pumpkin cupcakes - too cute!!

by The Cake Blog
Hello most adorable Halloween cake ever!!!

by The Celebration Shoppe
Mix + Match how you please!!

by Celebrations At Home
The kids could even have fun helping to make these!!!

by Pen N' Paper Flowers
Can't get any easier than hotdogs and french fries…am I right?

I just love the fun, easy ideas we came up with to share with you!
Hope you'll be inspired to try one (or all of them out)!!

Looking for MORE Halloween Inspiration?
Check out my "Spooky" board on Pinterest!!

Monday was trying to kick my butt again for the 2nd week in a row.
But I'm NOT giving in. See the details in my Instagram feed.


Friday, October 10

ART PRINT | Put on your Grateful Glasses

Put on your "Grateful Glasses"…
don't you just LOVE that!?

I was reading my "Daily Truth" email from Brave Girls Club and was inspired to create this FREE 5x7 Art Print for my contribution to the "Give Thanks" themed Blog Hop this month.

The email went something like this…

When you wake up every day you have a choice as to which pair of glasses you're going to reach for and wear for the day. Will it be the glasses of optimism or the "glasses of fear, pessimism, anger, resentment, and dread…"

"It is amazing how this very important decision changes everything, and deciding to put on the glasses of truth, optimism, goodness and gratitude will make everything more beautiful, more bearable and ever more fun….  Remember that you can also choose to put down the yucky glasses and put on the good ones at any point in the day…"   I love that!!  And I love this new art print too! I hope you're inspired!!

Print one for yourself and one for a friend too!!
It's such a great, simple and fun reminder that no matter what, we DO have a choice as to how we will deal with whatever life throws at us. It sounds too simple…but it really is THAT simple.

Stay tuned next week for the round up of more "Give Thanks" FREE printables from the rest of my girly blogger friends!!

Have a fantastic weekend you guys!!!

I personally needed this reminder after a bit of a really trying week.
Because of this little ole art print, I officially took off my "crappy" glasses and have put on my "grateful glasses" instead. *wink*


Thursday, October 9

FREE | Cute Halloween Food Idea for Kids

I don't know about you all but I like to do a fun dinner for my girls either on Halloween night OR on the one night during October that we do the Phantom Pumpkin. My festive Halloween dinners are never elaborate and they usually involve quick foods since we are trying to head out the door.

I came up with a super cute AND SUPER EASY "Frankenstein" themed dinner I'll be doing this year. Hotdogs and french fries never looked so cute…am I right?  Especially served up on these mini sheet pans. (see bottom of post for details about ordering these).

I lined my tray with a piece of custom printed "Boo" tissue paper, printed my black and white striped french fry holder and filled it with Ore Ida's Extra Crispy Fast Food fries aka "French Fried Franken Fingers", stuck a boiled hotdog in a bun and added a "Franken-furter" food pick, and I included a small cup of "spider web ketchup/mustard" for dipping...and dinner is done! Yay!!

I've created a FREE printable for you to easily recreate this for your littles too. 
And hey…even my teen girls appreciate this!

To print the tissue, I cut a piece of white tissue paper down to 8.5 x 11 and gently taped it to a piece of white card stock. (I used a piece of washi tape this time but transparent tape works too -  just a small piece of tape at the top and one on the side - you want it to hold the tissue in place as it's fed into your printer so it won't get jammed - but you want to be able to remove the tape easily when you are finished printing).

I cut the sheet of 8.5 x 11 tissue in half after printing so I would have two separate pieces to complete two trays.

Now we all know a meal just isn't complete without something sweet to finish it off…right? (or maybe that's just me but I have a sneaking suspicion I'm not the only one out there).

In any case... how cute is this mini monster shake…or in keeping with our Frankenstein themed Halloween dinner…a "Frozen Franken Freeze"!

It's super easy to make and I'll be sharing more information all about that cute little detail VERY soon!

I hope you're inspired!!
Do it for the kids!!! They'll LOVE it!! Pinky promise!!

Stay tuned…

This post is part of of a round up of FREE Halloween printables I'm doing with some fabulous blogging friends - this is NOT the same group I've been doing the monthly free printables.

We each took an element of a Halloween party and created a free printable using a black and orange color scheme. (I stuck with black and white and added a piece of orange washi tape - that counts, right?) Anyway, I'll be sharing the round up of all of our ideas next week…STAY TUNED for cuteness overload!!

French Fry Holder + Food Labels - Pen N' Paper Flowers
Boo Tissue Paper Template - Pen N' Paper Flowers
Mini Sheet Pans -  I just HAD to have these awhile back when Sarah Hearts mentioned them. (you can find them on Amazon BUT I scored mine for a SUPER affordable price at Webstaurant and ordered a dozen of them over the Summer - I foresee using these for picnics and for around the campfire too!! Sooo excited about that!! 

It's been an incredibly busy + unproductive week for me.
It's amazing, (+ disheartening), how sick kiddos can really throw a wrench into your plans and programs. This post was supposed to be finished and ready to go up with the rest of my blogging friends on Tuesday. *blushing*
I haven't even posted to Instagram once this week…which is highly unusual for me…seeing as how I usually share an inspirational quote everyday. I typically don't wish the days away…and I'm still not going to…but I'll be grateful when the disappointment from this week is behind me and I'm able to full-focus on the deadlines facing me over the next few days. Sure hope you all had a great week though!!


Thursday, October 2

GIVEAWAY | Photography Prize Pack :: The Cake Blog

Holy "Photography Giveaway Batman"!!
I shared on my Facebook page yesterday that The Cake Blog just launched a brand new online photography class for those of you looking to improve your "Cake" photography.

Well now today…there's an AWESOME giveaway going on over at The Cake Blog website and I'm sooo wanting to enter to win this myself!!  I figured if I wanted to enter it you totally would want to as well so that's why I'm sharing!!

Hello!?? A fab Nikon camera, a pretty camera strap, an amazing photography backdrop and a gorgeous cake stand, created to withstand tiered cakes, all. up. for. grabs!! Who doesn't want every bit of that?

One person will win it all.
If you bake cakes either as a business or even on the side…you should totally enter to win this.
And guess what…even if you don't bake cakes you should STILL enter to win because who couldn't use an awesome new Nikon camera,  (the camera brand I use personally), and that awesome loot to go with it?

You should totally tell all of your cake baking friends about the class and this giveaway. If they win they'll SO owe you at least a couple of FREE cakes….right?

Go to The Cake Blog to enter to win…and good luck!!

I never know what the proper etiquette is when it comes to having friends that do fabulous giveaways.
I always want to enter the giveaways but then I'd feel really guilty if I won - like I'd taken the prize from someone else who might then think my friend just wanted to give the prize to me because…well...we're friends. (which all of my blogging friends are way too honest to do that anyway so I don't know why I even worry about that). BUT still. That would put them in a weird position if my name happened to be drawn because technically I would be the winner…but who really wants to announce to the world, "Yay! My friend won instead of all of you readers out there." I've actually considered entering to win using a bogus name so that neither my friend OR anyone else knows it's me that's entering. BUT…what happens when the prizes have to be shipped to me? Yeah. Awkward. Ha!! Just keeping it real folks... just keeping it real…*wink*


Wednesday, October 1

SHARE | My Fall Favorites

It's the first day of October!? Holy cow!
That means Fall is for REAL here and we are all about to be swallowed up by the holidays!
I'm sharing some of my Fall picks over on the Joyful Scribblings blog today!! Go take a peek…I bet you'll find some things that will get you excited about doing some entertaining this holiday season.

I, myself, am going to host my first annual "Friendsgiving" in November.
I've been talking about it for 2 years but THIS is the year!! I'm determined to make it happen!

I'm SO happy Dawn from Joyful Scribblings reached out to me about sharing some of my favorite picks on her blog. I met Dawn at SNAP! Conference earlier this year and she is just the sweetest!! 
Truth be told…she is really, really patient too. She had to wait for WEEKS to get the information from me in order to get the post up and I'm so happy to she didn't give up on me! 

Oh! and that Friendsgiving I mentioned? I hope to have a fire pit built and ready for some after-dinner s'mores! You hear that J?? *wink*
We've I've been talking about filling in the koi pond and turning it into a fire pit. Now is as good a time as ever! Right? *wink*





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