Monday, September 1, 2014

the brewer family

I had the privilege of taking pictures last week for the oh-so-adorable Brewer family. It was such a fun, breezy shoot that was, I'm sure, made so much easier by their genuine interactions with each other. I don't think I prompted them once, they just moved from doing one cute thing to the next. Also, how precious is baby Liam? Gah, those eyes! Those teeth! 

I have so far to go, but I'm falling hard for this photography thing.

Monday, August 25, 2014


I was stuck in a cubicle all last summer, breaking up my days by making endless cups of tea and going to the bathroom just for the fun of it. I hated last summer. It was rainy, humid, dull. Also, I attempted the whole no-shampoo thing which did nothing but add to the general sense of weirdness that was my life.  It was only a temp job, but I still couldn't see past the summer; couldn't imagine that my life would ever again be filled with things like shorts or purpose or sunshine.

And instead of mind-numbing routine and flourescent lights, this summer has been an overabundance of adventure and unexpected opportunties, even coming to a dramatic close with our semi-annual pregnancy scare. 

This time around, adventures and opportunities seemed to come out of nowhere, like the first cherry blossoms of the season. Each giving me a choice to either play it safe or take a risk I wasn't sure I was ready to make. I was asked, out of nowhere, to do my first photo shoot, even though I had made a strict decision not to take photos for anyone until I had had my camera for more than, you know, the two short months I had owned it. But I said yes and it was an irreplacable learning experience that gave me confidence I didn't know I had.

After being frustrated with a crappy retail schedule I was offered a job by a friend at church, totally out of the blue. I put in my two weeks notice at Anthropologie, bought some killer pants with my employee discount, and haven't looked back.

When visiting my family one weekend, they asked if I wanted to be an extra in a movie with them (this is the sort of thing one comes to expect when visiting my family. These are people who ride unicycles and fly planes and bring home pet alligators). And so I went home, drove the two hours back to Charlotte the next day and stayed up until three in the morning filming a scene with my sisters and doing everything in our power not to giggle at the hilarity of it all. Because we, out of all the extras, we were positioned directly behind the actors and will most certainly be seen, one body part or another, in the movie.

All the bizarre things I felt I missed out on last summer seemed to come back sevenfold; friendships made and celebrated, suprise parties, a beach trip that involved Trevor and I locking ourselves out of the third floor balcony late one night, coffee dates and library books and sun. We went for late night swims, had magical dates at Italian restaurants where we kept getting free food and beverages "to celebrate special date, yes, and also you are so cute." We rode bikes and boats and jet skis. We added exponentially to the coffee stains punctuating our living room carpet. This summer has reminded me that life can still be a string of adventures even after getting myself situated into this next phase called adulthood. This summer taught me to say yes, to take chances, to revel in spontaeity.

And mostly it's just been sunny.

There's been no real schedule or rhythm or routine. Nothing has been consistent; that'll all come with the cardigans and chilly winds brushing leaves off of branches. And maybe it's a little ridiculous to gush about a good and perfect summer, but the thing is you never know what a season is going to hold and when you're gifted with an almost perfect one, I think it's okay to be grateful for it and let that contented sigh, along with all you've gathered and learned, usher you into whatever's next.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

jewelry shoot

I've been so dang blessed in my photography journey; even how I got my camera is a total God thing, a story that still gives me goosebumps every time I think about it. I'll have to tell it to you one day. Anyway, I was in church this Sunday, chatting with a photographer (whose work I've been drooling over forever) when all of a sudden she said, "Hey, I'm doing a shoot today. Want to come?" 

Um, yes

It was a product shoot for Cotton Dahlia , a jewelry company where all of the products are made by women rescued from sex-trafficking. I love that. It was a long day of shooting, but seriously the most fun I've had in a long time. The girls were as sweet as they were beautiful and getting to work with Christina and watch her shoot was a dream. Also - it was so nice to shoot just for fun (and also practice on someone other than my poor husband.) If there's one thing I've learned in my photography journey so far (besides, you know, how to take pictures), it's that you jump at every opportunity that comes your way.

Also, be sure to take a minute to check out Cotton Dahlia and their gorgeous jewelry. xo


Monday, July 21, 2014

our sweet spot

We went to the lake last week and returned home sunburnt and tired and happy. This has been (or, will be) a busy couple of months for trips and traveling and cramming my newest stack of library books into my duffel (because I always think I'm going to need three books for a two day trip.) I love it - seeing family, weekend trips, the random Wednesday night at the beach. This is summer.

Trevor and I came home from the lake and did nothing for the rest of the night but curl up in bed with The Office, a little wine, and salt and pepper chips. It was divine. I'd rather read than watch TV any day, and watching shows from bed just feels so sophomore year of college, you know, but this was the stay-home date night we didn't know we needed. Chips and reruns.

I love trips and spontaneity, especially of the summer variety. But what I love best is how they make you appreciate the little things of home, of a marriage. Holding hands and buying groceries together, the way the living room fills up with light at exactly three-thirty every afternoon, the fact that we have this whole apartment, it's really ours! decorated just the way we like it, with all our favorite foods in the pantry and our favorite Starbucks Espresso Roast in the coffee grinder. It almost feels like some sort of miracle - am I really grown up now? are we really married? it all actually turned out the way I always dreamed, even down to the part where I marry a man who makes a delicious cup of coffee?

That's what we need every once in a while - to step back and realize how sweet this simple little life is. Even when we're bored on a Friday night, even when I spend so much time in the apartment I get sick of it, even when we don't really know whether we're doing it right all the time. It's ours - this life, this home. Our sweet spot.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

art journal

Adding little things to my art journal on quiet nights is one of my favorite things. 

Thursday, July 10, 2014


I love our apartment. I really, really do. It's so carpety and homey and when you walk in after a long day away it smells cold and clean like a beach house.

We signed our lease, one more year. And at first that freaked me out a little. Another whole year. Because, yeah, sure, it's cute, but another whole year? In an apartment? Does that mean that we're stuck, that we're not moving forward into adulthood by buying a house, settling down, growing babies (or at the very least, tomatoes) etc?

Mostly the thought of staying is what keeps me up at night. I've spent so much of my life planning and rushing into the Next Thing that the thought of actually staying somewhere, even somewhere I love, is daunting. Because staying means that those pictures on the wall are going to be there a while. It means I can't distract myself with figuring out what's next. It means I have to be fully present right here because we ain't going anywhere.

I moved around a lot as a kid and learned to love change, to almost need it, because it was an easy escape. Too shy to make friends at this school? That's okay, I'll be somewhere new next year. Don't like this house, these neighbors? Well, we're moving in a few months. Things will be better then.

But, now that I'm forced into it, I have to admit that I kind of like this staying thing. It's like your favorite show, how it doesn't really get good until the second or third season when you've gotten to know the character's quirks. Staying put helps me to slow down and see things long term, find the beauty in the process. I'm learning alternate routes through town, the names of the cashiers at the store, what this person's story is, the story you can only earn the right to hear over time and cups of coffee.

And that being-present mindset is starting to take over my whole life. I've stopped stressing about finding a new job. I'm slowing down, shifting my thinking enough to where I can actually see the people around me - to appreciate them, reach out just a little more, get out of my head and into a conversation at a coffee shop. It's weird and new, being this person with her feet planted firmly on the ground (or in this case, carpet.) But I love it. I love becoming this more content, settled version of myself.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

June Book Report

June was a good month for books; I think I was so enamored with the idea of summer reading - out on the porch, by the pool, at the park - that I went a little nuts and came out of the library with stacks almost too heavy to carry. But I never regret a long afternoon spent with a good, crinkly library book and a cup of iced coffee.

If you haven't heard of this one, it is a collection of essays and stories written by a Yale graduate who was tragically killed in a car accident just days after graduation. She was a talented writer with a very promising future ahead, which (let's just be honest) is what makes her words that much more powerful. Personally, I loved it. The collection was a little random (which is to be expected); many of the essays were school assignments, which made me all nostalgic about my own days as an English major. Though I don't think this book is for everyone, I think if you really, really appreciate young talent and good writing for the sake of good writing, it'll be well worth your time.

Fifth Avenue, 5 A.M. - Sam Wasson

This was such a fun, random read. It's all about the making of Breakfast at Tiffany's, from casting Audrey to costuming to drama behind the scenes. It's a quick, entertaining book that is pretty much a must if you are a fan of Audrey Hepburn or old Hollywood in general. I can't believe I didn't read it sooner.

Delancey - Molly Weizenberg

Like many people, I was a huge fan of Weizenberg's first memoir, A Homemade Life, and had high expectations for her newest tale about the beginnings of her and her husband's restaurant. I was pretty disappointed. There was more emphasis on the technical details (of how they perfected their pizza crust, of their oven, etc.) than the heart of the story, the honesty and humor that made her first book so good. I only made it halfway through, so I guess this isn't a totally fair review (although I heard it never really picks up) but if you're a die-hard fan, or are extremely interested in the restaurant business, you may enjoy it.

Glitter and Glue - Kelly Corrigan

Such a fast, funny read. This is one of those highly entertaining memoirs that reads more like a novel. It's about the author's post-grad adventures traveling the world, ending up as a nanny in Australia, and how that made her come to appreciate her less than chummy relationship with her no-nonsense mother. I didn't expect to love it as much as I did, but it was such a...I don't know, fresh read. Not that I want to make it sound like produce or anything. Perfect for reading by the pool.

The Artisan Soul - Erwin Raphael McManus

I was so, so excited when my friend gave this to me and it did not disappoint. I didn't know anything about McManus before I started reading, but apparently he's all over the place. He not only founded Mosaic Church in L.A., but is an incredibly gifted writer, speaker, creative-person-in-general. The book is about what it means to view our lives as a work of art, to craft it into something more beautiful and meaningful. It's a beautiful book, whether you consider yourself "creative" or not. The Mosaic Church podcast has an Artisan Soul series to go along with it, which I would also highly recommend.

In Praise of Slowness - Carl Honore

If you're all about facts and research and reading to better yourself/learn something at the same time, this one's great. Honore has really done his research in the physical, cultural, historical necessity of slowing down. I love that he breaks the book down into sections - on slow parenting, slow work, slowness for the mind/body, slow food, etc. Fascinating and thought provoking. 

A Happy Marriage - Rafael Yglesias

I picked this off the shelf because the cover was so pretty. I have a habit of doing that. This is an autobiographical novel about the first days of a courtship and the very last days of the marriage, as the narrator's wife is dying of cancer. The drawn out scenes detailing her illness made it especially raw and emotional, and I appreciated the author's honesty. I also liked the book's format, alternating from the past to the present every chapter. It's not a lighthearted, easy read, but if you're a fan of One Day by David Nicholls, I think you'd appreciate this book.

Mansfield Park - Jane Austen

When I was a teenager I decided to read one Jane Austen novel every summer until I had read through all of them. And I read them all except for Mansfield Park (I think I dropped the ball the summer I got engaged.) I'm still working my way through it, but, even though it's not my all time Austen favorite, I love the cast of characters. The main character, Fanny, is lacking some of the spunk characteristic to Austen's other heroines, but overall it's a fun, witty, classic Austen read.

What's your favorite book you've read so far this summer?

Monday, June 23, 2014

bike tour of raleigh

He asked me what I wanted to do on my birthday and I said ride bikes and drink coffee, and that's exactly what we did. It was the perfect way to begin my twenty-fifth year. 

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