Spring Fever

Winter weather has seriously been putting a damper on my mood. In years past I have taken comfort in the winter season as a time for bettering myself. A time to work extra hard at my job, write more, save money, start a new exercise routine, etc.

But this year I have found it difficult to enjoy any of the winter routines I have in the past. Moving twice since the start of the new year has put a pause on activities I definitely took for granted last year. For example sleeping in the same bed for more than three nights in a row.

I promise I’m not complaining– very happy with the choices I’ve made the last few months. (It’s been way too long since my last post so here is a quick update.) In November I took a leap of faith, quit my job and have been working on growing my photography business. I love it more than I ever could have imagined but constantly being on the go during the winter season has made focusing on my own well-being a challenge.

Not today though. Today the sun is shining. It’s 69 degrees outside. I was able to run my favorite trails this morning and now I am at the coffee shop working on photos. Basically today is a little sneak peek of my spring and the perfect push to get me through winter. I also forgot how much I love spring clothes. Check out todays outfit!

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If you’re having trouble finding happy days in winter just remember that brighter, warmer ones are just around the corner. Do at least one thing that makes YOU happy tonight, tomorrow, and the next day and winter will be gone before we know it!

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You don’t have to like each other but you still have to love each other

This is what my mom used to say to my sister and I when we were arguing about the name to give our new beanie baby, what movie to watch next, or whose turn it was to play computer pinball– you name it, we probably didn’t agree.

It’s just a 15 word line, and I’m sure you’ve heard it a thousand times if you have siblings– but really let the words sink in. They hold so much meaning we can learn from.

 

The events going on in the United States regardless of race, sex, occupation, financial standing, etc., are not okay.

 

Killing each other should not be a option.

 

Just as Milan and I did not always like each other when we were little, adults don’t always see eye-to-eye or like each other at all. That doesn’t mean we should hate one another over controversial matters, whatever they may be.

 

You don’t have to like everyone. 50% (maybe more depending on the day) of humans I interact with get on my nerves. Still doesn’t mean I want to pick up a gun and kill them. So I repeat: You do not have to like everyone. But you can still respect them, which is the most important form of love we need right now.

 

Killing will not stop until the hate in our broken souls is RESOLVED.

Start resolving in other forms than by blaming and pointing fingers. Start resolving by doing more than posting your opinion on social media.

 

Start resolving by being kind to one another. And remember, we will always have to share the earth we live on regardless if we get along or not. Wouldn’t it be better if we did?

Fathers be good to your daughters: from a daughter’s perspective.

I stumbled upon these {amazing} photos of my dad while looking through my phone this morning:

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Look how much swag he had. An “Italian Stallion” shirt on in one. A crop top on in the other. Also, let’s just take a moment and appreciate those tube socks. I don’t think it got any cooler than this in the 80’s. Not to mention his prized possession: a 1974 Camaro.

Then Kylie, my oldest sister was born. And guess what? He gave up ALL that to take care of his new family. Seven years and three extra daughters later (yes, there are four of us) he started driving a mini van in order to haul all of us around. Look at the cars he was used to driving before us! I’ve asked him on multiple occasions why he EVER drove a mini van and he told me because he didn’t have a choice. He couldn’t afford anything else and we were the only thing that mattered to him. I know there are a lot of you who don’t know how that feels, and I am extremely thankful that I got this lucky in the “Dad Department.”

To this day, my father is hands down the hardest working man I know. (If any of you know him, you know this is true!)  And you wanna know why he works so hard? Because he wants to provide for his family, for my sisters and I.

What I am trying to get at is that he instilled his good work ethic and family morals into all of his daughters. We all have college degrees. (Mallory is a doctor.) None of us got pregnant in high school. None of us are addicted to drugs. Kylie and Mallory are married to WONDERFUL men that I am proud to call my brothers-in-law. And I’m not saying we’re perfect, I mean look at me. But we did all turn out pretty normal.

Dad has set the bar of being a good husband and father extremely high. He raised me to realize my own self-worth by treating my mom with love and respect. (Mom says he wasn’t always been so awesome and mature, but they got married at 22 and I think shes just trying to find something to complain about. She knows she lucked out too!)

I also give him credit for my excellent taste in music, cars, motorcycles, and over-all badassness. He is always there when I need him, even if he doesn’t know exactly what to say.

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“So fathers, be good to your daughters. Daughters will love like you do.”- John Mayer

And daughters will also appreciate it more than you will EVER know.

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9 reasons I don’t want a boyfriend; and why you should get over it.

Have you ever met an amazing person, found out they were single, and automatically thought “something must be wrong with them”. Don’t act like you’ve never done it. I know I have.

But isn’t it time to get over that stigma?  In the past 7 months with no boyfriend, I have had countless fun-filled weekends with my best friends, focused on my hobbies, and spent time reflecting on myself. And in those past few months I have come to a realization; I don’t want a boyfriend. At least not for now. And here is why:

  1. I can do whatever the fuck I want, whenever I want. With no one to answer to and no one to argue with. Do you know how nice that is?
  2. I get to spend time with my wide (and spectacular) circle of friends more often.
  3. I’ve been to Vegas twice in the last few months and I am leaving for Mexico next week. Places that I probably wouldn’t have gone if I was in a relationship. Basically, I still get to be selfish for a little bit longer. And at 22 I think that’s completely fair. (P.S. For me to want to stop being selfish with my time, it’s going to take a lot more than a Facebook/text message.)
  4. I’m not putting off my goals anymore. Improving in photography is something important to me, so I am taking a portrait photography class in my free time and it is paying off.
  5. I spent all the recent holidays with MY family.
  6. I haven’t found anyone worth getting off the market for. Yes, there is no such thing as perfection, but there is also nothing wrong with being picky. (*Disclaimer* the line “it’s not you it’s me” IS a real thing, believe me, I’ve gone on dates with awesome guys. Doesn’t mean I want to date ’em.)
  7. I am learning new things about myself. Haleigh took me to a EDM concert for the first time last weekend. Guess what? I loved it. Didn’t even know I’d been missing out on that culture for so long. I like being open to new experiences with nothing holding me back.
  8. I am taking care of my body. Working out and eating healthy are two of my other main goals right now.
  9. My happiness isn’t constantly revolving around another person.  This is a big one for me because in the past I’ve let my boyfriends control my happiness. They could easily steal it away anytime things went south. I feel like this has been my biggest area of growth because I can make my own happiness, and eventually another person will just ADD to that joy.

I feel lucky that I have this time to myself. I know I’ll be a better person when the right guy does come along.

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How To: Stationary Photography Backdrops using only three materials

IMG_3668Photography backdrops can be such a pain. I found a perfect way to use my 5 backdrops easily that keeps them out of the way and works best for my needs. All of my backdrops are vinyl and 5×7 feet, but this way would definitely work for bigger backdrops as well.

What you need: 

-Cheap Metal Curtain rods that stretch the length of your backdrops

-Curtain Rod hooks to hold the backdrop and rod up on wall (these will come with the screws you need to put them in the wall)

– E-6000

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Tools: 

-Power Drill

-Screw Driver

-Measuring tape

Step 1:

Stretch each curtain rod out to the length you need it to go. Lay the backdrop out flat (face side down) and put a continuous line of E-6000 adhesive across the top of the backdrop. Place the metal curtain rod on top (make sure it is pressed down good onto the glue) and let it dry for about 2 hours or until it feels dry. Repeat this step until you have all your backdrops glued to rods.

Step 2:

While you are waiting on the glue to dry, you can start drilling the curtain rod hooks into the wall.

I drilled my first set of hooks 6 feet high and 5 1/2 feet apart. From there I went down around 2 inches for each of the other hooks but kept them all 5 1/2 feet wide. My shortest hooks were about 5 feet tall.

Step 3:

Roll up dried backdrops and place them on their hook!! They can be changed out to taller and shorter heights still.

This is a very easy and cheap way to hang your own backdrops!!!

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What I have learned in 1 year of loving my job

image1 (27)Today marks my ONE YEAR  anniversary of working at Cocos Boutique in Joplin. Which is both rewarding and scary. –Rewarding because I get tired of everything way too fast and the fact that I have stuck with this and still love it makes me happy. Scary because a whole year has passed and I’m not sure where it went or what I’ve done?????? Mostly hate that I am a year closer to 23 (insert vomit face emoji.) Buttttt I am pretty excited about the amazing cupcake they got me ^^^^^.

I have learned a few things in the last year about myself and what my wants/needs from a job are. It has made me a better person and I know for as long as I live I will NEVER work for money if the job makes me unhappy. Unless it’s a million dollars. Then I’ll consider it…. Anyway, here are some important lessons I have learned at my job the past year:

  1. When you love your job, all other aspects of your life get better because you’re in a better mood and don’t dread waking up everyday.
  2. Feeling guilty for taking a personal day is dumb. Life is short. Take off early to go to a concert or to go see your friend out of town because that’s what life is actually about.
  3. Getting along with (or even just tolerating) the people you work with is the difference between being annoyed 24/7 and acquiring new friendships. (PLUS, you never know when these acquaintances might come in handy!)
  4. There is no such thing as too much caffeine on Monday.
  5. Knowing your worth is IMPORTANT. Make a list of everything you bring to the table. Here are mine: photography, social media skills, killer looks, amaze-balls personality– okay sorry, I got carried away there. But seriously, if you feel like you’re getting taken advantage of, you probably are- and you should address the issue ASAP or you’re just going to continue to be unhappy.
  6. Not being able to answer a e-mail or text immediately is not going to kill you. Or your boss. So chill.
  7. Saying “I can’t do that” isn’t going to solve the problem at hand. So come up with a better solution. (STILL WORKING ON THIS ONE.)
  8. If you love your job, a 30 minute commute seems like a cake walk. It actually becomes one of the most relaxing parts of your day. –If distance is something stopping you from taking a job you know you’ll be happier at, I am telling you- it’s not that bad. I am starting to have such an eclectic taste in music as well.
  9. If you bring fish for lunch, everyone is going to comment on how bad your food stinks. Everyone.
  10. You spend FORTY hours of your week at this place. FORTY. I’m terrible at math but that’s a serious amount of your life. FIND SOMETHING YOU ENJOY!

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–P.S. how funny is this picture that they posted of me as a “meet our new employee”  HAHA I love it. Nothings changed and beer is still my favorite.

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Marketing on Instagram

Instagram is one of the best ways to target consumers right now. It’s easy and so far they haven’t put as many restrictions on your posts as Facebook has.

I manage an Instagram page for the Boutique I work at and I have learned a trick that really makes a difference in how many people engage with my photos.

The type of camera you are using!

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Neither picture has any editing done to it. Obviously the composition of a photo is also important, but which would stand out more to you if you were just scrolling through your feed?

Take the photos you want to use on a DSLR, email them to yourself, and THEN upload the pictures to Instagram. You’ll notice a difference!

 

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Loving yourself and reflecting it into others (A lesson from my portrait photography teacher.)

Today in my photography class the instructor gave us a presentation over the psychology behind portrait photography, and it really hit home with me.

Starting off, he showed a picture of David Beckham (Sexiest Man of 2015) and some really skinny brunette (Sexiest Woman of 2015) and told us that this is not the type of people we were going to be photographing in our lives (unless of course we work hard and become celebrity photographers.) But rather that we would be photographing “everyone else.”

This is true! Not much of the population has a team of experts to do their hair and make-up before every photo taken of them, but that doesn’t mean that “everyone else” doesn’t want to feel just as beautiful and confident in their portraits.

He went over techniques and suggestions such as getting to know your subject before hand, making small talk at the beginning of the session so that they are comfortable with you, giving specific posing directions, etc.

But the part of this presentation that evoked my attention the most was when he talked about us as photographers loving ourselves. What I took from his lesson is that we all have flaws, but it is our CHOICE whether or not to accept/love them. It is unrealistic to think that we are going to look like movie stars and the sooner that we learn that, the sooner we will take better photos.

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Looking at this portrait of me, I immediately pick out characteristics I don’t like. Big nose. More chins than the Chinese phone book……. I  obviously haven’t learned to accept and love every part of my features and our instructor pointed out that this lacking of acceptance will reflect in the portraits that we take of others.

For example, If I am not comfortable with my imperfections, I will notice the same imperfections in others. Even if it is subconscious, I’ll want to “fix” these on the person I am taking photos of. When he said that, I could think of a couple of times that I had done just that.

But what if your client loves and accepts their imperfections? Who am I to make that call? After all, this is part of a persons character and also what makes them unique!

Basically, what I took from this lecture was– don’t project your own insecurities onto other people through your photography.

The same thing can be said for other aspects of our lives. I not only want be comfortable in my own skin, but also love what is on the inside of me so that I can extend that love to those around me.

Moral of this blog post– build other people up, but more importantly build yourself up so that you can.

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Why having a best friend is the greatest

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A lot has changed in the 6 years between these pictures of me and my best friend, Haleigh:

I finally learned how to spell her name correctly, decided that blonde skunk streak in my hair was a bad idea, and figured out that buying clothes from the buckle isn’t what makes you a cool person.

We turned 18 and went off to college, turned 21 and started going to the bars (legally), and turned 22 which means we are now –unfortunately–trying this adult thing.

We’ve experienced heartbreak, lost friendships, and lots and lots of drunken nights together.

We have worked hard at our friendship–There has been awkward moments, but somehow it has always, always works itself out. And that is the greatest feeling in the world.

I know that pretty much any mistake I make in my life, she will be there for me. And she knows I’d do the same for her.

We moved in together in August and living with her has been awesome. I know I will look back 10 years from now wishing we could go back to these times.

Last night we sat on the couches talking (as we usually do) and then both fell asleep watching OITNB. I was on the short couch so I woke up quickly after and went to my bed. When I laid down in bed, I felt overwhelmingly happy.

How did I get so lucky? I know a lot of girls who don’t have a close relationship like this in their life. I joke around and say that Hay is my second boyfriend but… it’t not a joke. She really is. I ask her opinion on most things going on in my life, and I always will.

I am even more lucky that Haleigh isn’t my only best friend. I have multiple true friendships that I cherish now more than ever.

Put the effort in to keep these type of friends. They are worth it!

“Friendship isn’t about who you’ve known the longest. It’s about who walked into your life, said “I’m here for you” and proved it.” 

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An Open Letter to the Boy Who Took The Easy Way Out

You broke my heart.

But that’s not what I’m still upset about; Time heals all.

You left me wondering everyday what I did wrong.

But you were so selfish that you wouldn’t give me any explanation.

You thought immediately erasing me from your life would rid you of any heart ache.

And you didn’t care at all about how that would affect me.

During our relationship you said “I love you” too many times to count.

But your actions after it ended did not support that.

You thought deleting me from your life was the only option, but it wasn’t.

I was close with your family. I was close with your friends. And they were close with me, too.

The way you treated me shouldn’t even have been an option.

So now it is clear to me that you are the one with the problem.

You, with the demons you don’t know how to deal with.

You, who doesn’t deserve someone with as open of a heart as mine.

So what I’m still upset about– is that I didn’t think I’d ever have to date someone like you.

The type of person who is so scared of dealing with their emotions that they take the easy way out.

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