Monday, April 30, 2012

Pinterest Style - Beachy Waves

I thought I would share with you a quick and super easy hair idea I picked up from Pinterest that requires no curling iron, no hairdryer, and not straightener. So its good for the health of your hair! When summer approaches I am all about giving my hair that "beachy" look. You know, natural looking waves that are perfectly styled by saltwater and sun...aaahhh. When you don't have those two ingredients you attempt to recreate the look with whatever means you can find. This is really an easy way that gave me great results!

First, after washing your hair, let it air dry until it is just slightly damp. (Yay for not having to use a hairdryer!) As you can see in this picture my hair is naturally a little bit wavy so I'm not sure what kind of results you will get if your hair is pin straight. What you want to do now is divide you hair into sections - I did six. Spray it with a styling spray or some hairspray. Then twist it (or braid it for a more crimpy look - I tried both and preferred how it looked when I twisted it.) Then coil each section in a small bun an secure with a bobby pin or hair band. Prepare to see me looking silly...

Once you get all of your hair in these coils, blow it dry with a hairdryer! I concentrated on each section until it got really hot then went to the next section and repeated this process several times. When you're done and you take your hair down just style it how you like! I loved the results... Enjoy a few pics of my new favorite summer hairstyle (the poor quality pictures are from my phone so forgive the grainy look!)

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Let the Journey Begin

I have always believed that you should be careful when you use the words "always" and "never." Though I believe this, I am guilty of using them carelessly at times. Over the span of my life I have had the privilege to travel out of the US on three separate missions trips to Mexico, Portugal, and The Dominican Republic. All three trips taught me amazing things. However, I was sick on the last two and I developed quite a bit of anxiety about leaving the country ever again. I told people that it wasn't for me... I would never travel out of the country again and I would be perfectly content. Then God. Oh, how He loves to challenge us and stretch us. A few days ago a friend of mine sent me a text saying that she would like me to consider traveling with her family to Haiti. I immediately thought no, but said I would pray about it. I would be so far away from my family, I could get sick again, I would have to raise a lot of money, and my summer is already so full. All of the reasons not to go were on the tip of my tongue. The funny thing is, I couldn't shake the thought. I couldn't get it out of my head. Soon, it wasn't just in my head, but it was taking root in my heart. So, with a very nervous feeling in my stomach but complete peace about my decision, I am stepping out on faith and July 21 through 29 of this summer I will be taking a journey to Haiti.

During the trip I will be staying at this orphanage in the village of Camatin and ministering to the girls who live here. Preston Cunningham, who is organizing this trip, travels here often to serve. Not only that, but he and his family are adopting two girls from Haiti. They have been in the process for almost two years. After a long uphill battle to bring the girls to the US this trip could finally be that victorious homecoming for these girls! Please pray intently that this will happen. From what I understand there have been many bumps in the road and the process is nearing completion but has yet to be finalized.

For those little girls that will remain in Camatin we will love on them, tell that about Jesus' love for them, and help to make their home at the orphanage a better place in whatever way needed. We will also be building a house for the woman in the picture below. She is the grandmother of one of the girls being adopted by the Cunninghams. In addition we will distribute food to those in need, serve in the local church, and hike to nearby villages to help meet needs as pointed out to us by the church leaders.

Most of you know that God has really blessed my photography business. This trip will be an awesome opportunity give back and to use that part of my life to glorify God and draw peoples eyes to a need that they might not see otherwise. And, oh my goodness, I cannot wait to share it all with you right here on this blog! I will also hope to be right there with my camera if Redjina and Jesula finally get to step off of that plane on to US soil to be able to capture the joy that their family experiences and preserve that amazing moment for them! I want to be a blessing to them in that way because they have given so much over the past two years to show the love of Jesus to these girls and the other orphans and people there in Camatin.

I will be purchasing my plane tickets this week and I ask that you would pray for me as I raise my support. If any of you are interested in supporting me financially I would be so grateful! Please send me a private message via Facebook or to and I will send you a self-addressed, stamped envelope for your gift. I will also need a prayer team! Travel to this part of the world does not come without risk so I covet your prayers for health and safety, but even more importantly I want to be the hands and feet of Jesus while I'm there. If you are interested in praying for me while I am on this trip and receiving updates and specific prayer requests between now and then please message me as well!  Even though there are butterflies in my stomach, I am already grateful for this chance to be a part of something much bigger than myself. Never say never... Let the journey begin.

*All photos are property of Preston Cunningham and are used by permission.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Full Bloom

Did you ever see a beautiful, almost ready to deliver, pregnant woman and think how amazing she looked? That's what I kept thinking as I did this session with Elizabeth. She was all smiles! This couple was so much fun to photography because I did not have to prompt them to look at each other, or smile. They were overflowing with love and joy about the soon-coming birth of their daugther, Zoe. After hearing more about how much they have gone through to start their family I realized why. A baby is always a miracle, but sometimes they are a miracle that truly seemed out of reach! Congratulations Matt and Elizabeth. I know that your baby girl will add just that much more light to your eyes. For more of their sweet session click this link!

Spring Picnic

Everything bloomed early in Knoxville this year! Spring weather came about a month early and it has been absolutely beautiful. A couple of weeks ago I decided I wanted to get the kids out for a photo shoot/picnic. Th picnic was a perfect solution to my kids current protest to having their pictures made. A bribe? Maybe, but they loved it and we got to enjoy some gorgeous spring scenery.

It wasn't a fancy picnic. We had peanut butter and jelly, and fruit loops. (I may have needed groceries...)

More often than not I get faces like these...

When I'm going for this...

But no matter what, we had fun in the process and I ended up with some more memories to cherish.


Happy Spring!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Love at First Sight

It has been exactly a year since I started this blog! I have loved sharing memories, recipes, and my work with all of you. More than anything I have been amazed at the encouragement and support I receive from those who read my blog! You have prayed for me, said kinds words to me, booked photo sessions with me, and even hired me to bake cupcakes. I'm going to ask you to do something special for me today! The above picture is from a recent session (more of it to come!) I fell in love with the way this shot made me feel as I remembered those sweet moments when my own babies were newborn. I have entered it in a photo contest. The winner receives a free seat at a photography workshop in either Ohio or California with some great opportunities for Portfolio building at styled shoots. I would love this opportunity! If you would, follow this link and click VOTE to cast a vote for this precious photo. Voting is done through Facebook, is anonymous and you don't have to enter any information - just click vote! One vote may be cast per account. Thank you! 

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Landon - Two Months

Since I have been away from my blog I have fallen behind on blogging my photo sessions! I have had some amazing sessions in March and April and I wouldn't want to leave them behind without sharing them with you. Baby Landon was my first spring session after returning from vacation and what a sweet way to start! Not only was he completely adorable, but his family was super sweet and I loved getting to know them just a little bit. As I add more clients I am discovering that one of my favorite things about being a photographer will be meeting new people! Please visit my Stories From Behind My Lens page to see more from Landon's session. Trust me, he will make you smile.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Free Supper Wednesday

I thought it was time for me to share one of my favorite things about Wednesdays. Free food at one of my favorite restaurants in our neighborhood - McAlister's Deli.  For those of you who have kids, they can eat free every Wednesday after 5:00 with the purchase of just one adult entree. Almost anything qualifies - I often get just a bowl of soup, but I especially love their sandwiches. (Veggie Club!)

If you're like us, you are busy on Wednesday evenings. I spend the day at home because I babysit, so I always have a long to do list. In the evening we take the kids to Awanas at my parents church so we have to get ready and get out the door at a certain time. My kids love McAlisters (or "the green place" as they call it because of the green sign.) Even Landon, my picky eater, is happy here. He orders peanut butter and jelly.

Kids meals come with a main dish, side or chips or applesauce, teddy grahams, and a drink! We love the sweet tea. Options for kids meal include pizza, sandwiches, salad, nachos, baked potato, etc.

We don't go every week, but we do go often and take advantage of this great deal. Tonight, for example, I took the kids. I ordered a bowl of soup and a drink. The three of us ate a full meal (with leftovers) for $5.12. I dare you to try to do that at McDonald's! You can't beat it. Last week my niece and nephew spent the night with us on Wednesday night so Craig and I took all four of the kids (up to two free kids meals with one adult entree) and really enjoyed the free meals, as well as great dinner companions.


If you live in Knoxville and you have kids then take advantage of this offer and make your mid-weeknight supper just a little bit more fun! If you don't live here in East Tennessee I suggest you check with your local McAlister's to see if they participate. Who doesn't love a good dinner at a great price!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Savannah's Lemonade Party

As you may have read in a previous post, my baby girl turned three just a couple of weeks ago. I wanted to share some pictures with you from her super cute party! It is so much fun to have a little girl and get to do girly things like this. The theme that I decided to go with with "Cupcakes and Lemonade."

I used pink and yellow decor, lemon candy, mason jars, burlap, and lots of lemons for my sparkling strawberry lemonade and for decorations! 

This was my first time making the tissue pom poms and I think next time I'll try to make them a little bit more full, but I love how whimsical they look. Perfect for a birthday party or a shower!

Food was just finger food - sandwiches, chips and dips, and cupcakes of course! 

I made pink lemonade cupcakes. They were very yummy! I love lemon desserts! You can find the recipe here on this awesome food blog. 

But the best part of the party wasn't the decorations, or the food, but the company! We invited just a few people who are special to Savannah and she had a fabulous time.

She just smiled and took it all in as we all serenaded her with "Happy Birthday..."

I'm so thankful to all of our dears friends who came, and I'm especially grateful for the blessing of having grandparents living close by! I know that Savannah will treasure these memories when she is older.

With Papa and Ju-Ju. (My mom and dad.)

Letting us know she is three years old! 

By the time I was able to get a picture with her she was over Craig snapped this random shot. I may have a little bit of a bittersweet expression...I was probably thinking how I can't believe that my baby is three years old and definitely not a baby anymore! How time flies...

With Grammy and Grandpa (or Pi-paw as Savannah says - Craig's parents.)

And finally the measure of a successful birthday party...the birthday girl fast asleep on the couch. Priceless.