November 30, 2012

Laughs & Photographs

So, one of the most memorable highlights of our trip to California was the opportunity I had to meet a favorite blogger of mine, Emily from Anna Delores Photography

Luckily I had won an engagement session from her giveaway over the summer (extremely luckily!) - and granted we have been married over six years, but seriously you guys - we never even had professional photography done for our wedding - so to say I was excited would be an understatement! 

Throughout the blogosphere and social media, I've come to realize how truly amazing a simple photograph can be. I've always been envious - always wanted the love Josh and I share captured through a camera lens, the way I've seen it expressed with so many other couples and families - and not just with a fancy camera, but with the eyes of an artist behind it - someone who can spot those perfect little moments.

Emily had the genius idea of shooting at a local winery in Temecula called Long Shadow Ranch (who has fantastic wine, in case you were wondering... yummmm). Now, this was my first time meeting another blogger in person, and I have to admit, I was kind of nervous! Only at first though, because Emily was a total sweetheart and made the experience so fun and relaxed... 

Josh and I were able to be ourselves and laugh together as her shutter clicked away. No posing required, no uncomfortable positions or cheesy grins... just us in our natural state - happy and giggly, like we'd only just begun.

Looking through these photos I see our true selves being exposed - I can't even begin to express how much I love that last picture... it is so us! 

We are certainly a couple that likes to laugh - loud, obnoxious, inappropriate, and silly - that's us when no one is watching. We literally just spent an hour practicing our Chubacka impressions tonight... I mean, the comfortability we have with one another is absolutely ridiculous and awesome at the same time.

I'm so in love - in love with this man sleeping beside me, and in love with the way Emily captured us on film - I know we will treasure these photographs forever!

Thank you Emily - you are absolutely wonderful!

Find out more about this talented lady over yonder:

November 28, 2012

Don't Quit Your Day Job...


top - pants - belt - earrings :: Forever 21
shoes ::

You might know I'm a graphic designer, but what you might not know is what I do for my day job.

There seems to be this transition period that happens before you can turn your dreams and passions into a full time gig. Instead of jumping the gun on my design business, I've been putting on my big girl heels during the day, kicking them off after I beat the five o'clock traffic, and then settling down with my Adobe Creative Suite during the evening hours.

I'm working as a real estate agent's assistant around five hours a day, and although it might not be that ideal situation I'd hoped for after graduation, I have to admit I feel it's a really good place for me to be right now.

Sure, I could be looking elsewhere and applying for big-time graphic designer positions, and I've felt pressured to do this in the past... to be better than where I'm at, to keep up with expectations, to please others in the hopes that it might be what's best for me... but when I really think about it, I know it's not the direction I desire at this point.

To be honest, I'm happy where I'm at - the pay is fair, the hours are flexible and convenient, the people I work with have turned into really good friends, and not to mention I have a wonderful boss who appreciates and treats me better than any manager or corporation I've worked for in the past.

There's no doubt about it - I'll keep working for that day when I'll be able to focus 100% on running my design shop, adding beautiful pieces to my portfolio, and loving every second of being on my own, but what I've realized is this...

Sometimes it's OK to let go of the anxiety of what we should be doing.
Sometimes it's OK to just be grateful and content with our current situation.
And sometimes it's OK to trust that everything will fall into place... exactly when it needs to.

I'm curious... how do you weigh in on this situation? 

November 27, 2012

November's Group Giveaway!!!

Good morning!!! 

Actually, it's a GREAT morning. Know why? I have a super special treat for you guys today... yes, even sweeter than this Riesling I've been sipping on tonight...

I'm talking about eight awesome prizes from eight of your favorite blogs and shops that are up for grabs.

Yeah, buddy.

But HEY! This is not your average giveaway, you guys. Because, you know what else I threw in, just because I love you? 

A complete blog design makeover... from meeeee! 


And that's not just the wine talking. 

I really wanted to do something special this time around, ya know, spread some holiday cheer to someone who totally deserves it. Maybe it's the warm fuzzies still lingering from my turkey hangover and California sunshine... all I know is that I'm so ready to give back after being reminded of how much I have.

So yeah, have yourself a merry little time entering :)

Oh, and don't you dare miss out on those discounts! It's that time of year to show your support for small businesses, you know... those ladies that are working their faces off? I'm sure they would love to add some handmade loveliness under your Christmas tree this year. And if you make a purchase with any of their discounts you'll get an extra boost in entries. #briberyatitsfinest

blog // twitter // facebook // instagram

blog // shop // twitter // facebook // pinterest // instagram // bloglovin // hellocotton

blog // shop // portfolio // twitter // facebook // pinterest // bloglovin

blog // twitter // facebook

blog // shop // twitter // facebook // pinterest // instagram

blog // shop // twitter // facebook // pinterest // instagram

blog // shop // twitter // facebook

I know, I KNOW. You're so excited. Me too.
8 prizes... 8 winners.

I'll go ahead and cross my fingers for you.

November 24, 2012

Grazie, Merci, Danke...

Oh, hey there blog fam!!

Since I'm always so organized and think ahead I rarely schedule posts in advance I've been a little M.I.A. lately just because of all the fun and family time we're having in California.

I've loved every minute of this So Cal weather, but we are scheduled to make our drive back into Utah tomorrow morning. I'm very excited to get back to normally scheduled life and snuggle with the pups at night again (yes, they are exactly like living breathing teddy bears).

Anyway, I tried to post on Thanksgiving but got so overwhelmed with everything I wanted to say I'm thankful for, so I wrote this cheesy ass poem (thank goodness I didn't post it!!).

Here's a little blurb I thought got down to the gist of it...

Thankful for everything I've been able to do,
Thankful for all I have yet to pursue.

Basically - this month marked my 2-year Blogiversary.

I've learned so much and come so far from who and where I used to be. Before I was so caught up in jobs that had been whisking me away towards other pursuits - I kept leaving my passions on the wayside.

Everything changed when I went to school and started this blog on November 3rd, 2010. Now I feel like I've found my calling and what I was meant to do, and things I was afraid to do before, like install someone's blog design, I look at with much more confidence now.

And though I'm still like a baby learning how to walk, still shaping the artist I want to be and finding my exact niche, I look back on all of the experiences that have led up to this point and I could not be more optimistic, excited, and grateful for what the future has to bring.

So, thank you - yes, you - the one reading this sentence.
Thanks for believing in me and staying along for the ride ♥

November 21, 2012

What I Wore: Navy & Mustard

Every morning I ask myself the dreaded question, "What the heck am I going to wear?" as I'm sure many of you do too. Sometimes I'm lazy and sometimes I'm feeling creative... it just depends on my mood that morning. 

I start to get extra creative after a recent shopping spree - to revamp a look I like to pair old items with something new. This time, I pulled out an old oversized sweater from the back of my closet. I didn't think to pair it with my new polka dot pants, but with a little accessorizing it all came together... love when that happens! 

Sweater: Kohl's // Pants: Ross // Boots: Target // Necklace: Lia Sophia // Earrings: Old Navy

I think it's my favorite fall outfit I've worn so far - but it might have something to do with mixing mustard and navy - it's one of the best color combos this season, in my opinion!

P.S. What's the verdict on my new straight across bangs? Love or loathe? I'm still getting used to them!

November 20, 2012

Me Myself & I... Round 5!

It's that time of the month again...
(no, not that one)
...time for another round of Me Myself & I!

This month's questions bring on a little holiday cheer - I hope you all take a few moments to join in!

 What are your top 5 favorite movies to watch during the Holidays?
I'd have to say first and foremost... Elf, with a very close second of Love Actually, followed by all-time favs Home Alone, A Christmas Story, and Christmas Vacation.

 In the month of giving thanks, what are you most thankful for?
I think about this all the time... I'd have to say number one is my husband, Josh - he's seriously the definition of the perfect partner - he works hard, tells me I'm beautiful, helps me clean, tolerates my tantrums - he loves me more than anything, and not just says it, but shows it on a daily basis. Also - my family and my dogs aka "children" - I know a day will come when we won't all be living on this Earth together, and I treasure these moments we have while we still can have them.  Lately, I'm extremely thankful for our job situation while so many others are struggling out there - coming from that stressful paycheck-to-paycheck lifestyle, I'm so grateful to finally have the comfort of stability in our bank account.

But most of all I'm thankful for today, this moment, for health, love, music, for delicious food and coffee, and for the beauty of the world. I'm thankful for my country and my freedom of speech I have to share what I think here on the blog. And I'm thankful for you - for reading and supporting me on my way towards a dream I'm so thankful I haven't lost sight of.
If there was a quote or verse to describe your life, what would it be?
image via
Who in the family are you most like?
Very interesting question... I have no idea! We are all very different in our own ways. My Dad is the quirky dude who loves politics, dry humor, and does a great Robert DeNiro impression. My Mom is the free spirit who brings life to the party, loves dirty jokes, and has quite the contagious laugh. My oldest sister is a Capricorn - practical and disciplined but has a wild side that's fun to kick back with. My youngest sister keeps things interesting - strong willed, ambitious, and always on trend. Me? I like to think I'm a good mixture of this crazy bunch... and I believe that's a good thing!

What is your favorite drink to order at Starbucks?
I usually order one of two things - an Iced Chai with a double shot of espresso or a Pumpkin Spice Latte. Lately, though, I'm a little hooked on the Caramel Brulée Latte. Non-skinny, please... thanks.
unknown source  

Ready to link up #MMI style?

My Beautiful, Crazy Life

As much as I love to break 'em, there's only a few rules to abide by...

-Follow each of your hosts:
October's Co-Host: Bits of Splendor
My Beautiful, Crazy Life // KV's Confessions
Whispering Sweet Nothings // Life of the Wife // For Love of a Cupcake
-Grab the button and place it in your post
-Put the button in your side bar to help spread the word (optional)
-Click around on a few other bloggers and get to know some new friends!

{Note: If you submit a question via this form, you have a chance to co-host with us!}

November 19, 2012

Road Trip to California

Good morning, friends...
and oh, what a sweet morning it is!

Josh and I successfully made our way into San Diego, California yesterday afternoon after road tripping most of the weekend, splitting up the 10 hours from Salt Lake City by staying in Vegas Saturday night.

There were no crazy Vegas adventures, really...

just ate a 10 oz. prime rib,
drank 5.5% Budweiser,
won a Paradise Fishing slot competition,
bought a bunch of cheap alcohol at the gift shop,
ordered cake to be delivered by room service,
hung out in the hotel room watching murder investigation specials until passing out.

After grabbing our Del Taco breakfast burritos, we were back on the road by noon and made it to our destination four hours later.

So what are we doing in California, you ask?

Well, most of Josh's family lives out here, mainly his mom, who is hosting a Thanksgiving for 27 people this year... TWENTY-SEVEN! She's like a mixture of Betty Crocker and Mrs. Claus when it comes to cooking, crafting, and hospitality. 

I usually peel the potatoes.

Besides stuffing our faces, here's our busy schedule, and by busy, I mean not at all...

-Sleeping in.
-Going on Josh's dad's boat.
-Holding my new niece, Olivia for the first time.
-Black Friday shopping.
-Going out with my brother-in-law and his girlfriend.
-Watching lots of movies and football.
-Doing a photo shoot by Anna Delores Photography!

You can bet I'll be Instagrammin' like a crazy person, but in between aventures I'll be missing these two munchkins... 

We left them home to be looked after by my sister-in-law. 
"They'll be OK," I keep telling myself. 

I think I might be the one with separation anxiety.

What are your plans for the week of Thanksgiving?

P.S. Don't forget to participate in tomorrow's Me Myself & I link up - click here for the questions! Also, if you've got some time to kill make sure to enter these amazing giveaways!!

November 16, 2012

The Great Debate: iPhone vs. DSLR

I must say, ever since I downloaded Instagram I feel kind of awesome at this whole photography thing... almost to the point where it makes me question whether I should have a DSLR on my Christmas list this year. 

OK... not that awesome, but the power of filters has really made it's mark on our generation, don't you think?

It's easy to believe you've got mad "skills that kills" behind that touch of your phone screen... but, photography isn't all about choosing a filter - it's an art, a science even, and much more complicated than us Instagrammers realize.

So ya know what I thought? How about we get a pro photographer up in here to give us the deets on what's better - an iPhone camera or that shiny new DSLR? Hmmm...

I'm going to let Kylie from k&camera take it away from here....

oh heyyy kv confession-ers!
so glad to be here :)

i'm a full-time student/part-time photographer in good ol' nebraska.
i've got a bloggy called k&camera - go check it out!
sometimes i cuss.
sometimes i only post pictures of husker football.
sometimes i have no consideration for grammar.

anyway, i'm going to chit-chat with you about a verrrry important subject.

phone photography.

in june, i joined the iphone bandwagon, and to be honest,
i've loved every minute of it...
EXCEPT for the fact that i find it excusable to use my phone instead of my camera.
i own 4 really nice cameras, people. FOUR!
i'm a photographer for pete's sake.
why do i settle for lesser quality?

i'll tell you why - c o n v e n i e n c e.

do you know how easy it is to swipe my thumb upwards and instantly have a camera?
suuuper easy.
do you know how hard it is to go up to my room and grab my DSLR out of my camera bag?
okay, yeah... not so hard.
but still!

let's go through some pros and cons of phone photography...

iPhone vs. DSLR

-super portable camera
-camera is with me at all times
-uh, instagram... HELLO. (and uploading to other social media outlets)

-quality isn't as good as my "real" cameras
-lack of photoshop... (i'm kind of an adobe creative suite junkie... don't judge me!)
-can't change my aperture
-can't change my shutter speed
-can't change my ISO

let's take a little looksey at the difference:
(my room was really dark, so the bottom picture more accurately describes my desk!)

so sad.

don't get me wrong, i looove me some instagrammin'.
one time, i posted about my favorite photo-editing apps.
some of them are free, some of them are not.

i do have some good news, though!

one lucky reader will be able to sleep peacefully at night,
knowing that their phone photos are in good shape -
because i'm giving away a gift card to iTunes to get yourself a photo-editing app.

you're right, i'll never know if you use it towards the N*SYNC Christmas album some sweet jams...
but please don't tell me - i'd really like to sleep peacefully at night,
knowing that i've saved one soul from phone-photo-catastrophe.

also - i'm giving away an advertising package!
free large ad space on my bloggy with a custom designed button!

that's right. a free custom button, free ad space, and free iTunes muuuulah.
twenty-five dolla-dolla bills towards iTunes, to be exact.