December 31, 2013

Top 10 of 2013

The end of 2013 is here. Can you believe it? This year has swept by and so much has happened. Today I wanted to share my top 10 favorite moments of 2013. They are in no particular order... wait, except I did try to put them in chronological order.

10.) Celebrating Tyler's Birthday and seeing all the Office Locations (February)
Converting Tyler into a month long birthday celebrator! We spent  half the day checking out a handful of sites that that Office filmed at; Jim and Pam's house, the restaurant where Micheal's last Dundies were, the church where Phyllis got married. 

9.) Meeting Ellie Kemper "Erin" at the Ladies Of Animation Art Gallery (February)
My first "actress/celebrity" sighting, my first time in downtown LA, and my first animation gallery all wrapped into one. Ellie decided to check out the art gallery while she waited for her restaurant reservation next door. 

8.) Going to Dancing with the Stars (April)
Tyler took me to my first show... Dancing with the Stars! Which was fitting because before we got married anytime I talked about living in LA I would always ask Tyler if that meant I would get to go to Dancing with the Stars. 

 7. ) Opening My Etsy Shop (April)
Opening my Etsy shop was a huge leap of faith, courage and an amazing step towards this wonderful creative journey! I am so excited to see how it grows! 

6.) Celebrating our First Anniversary (May)
When we decided we were going to South Dakota for Calen's wedding we were over the moon excited because that was the same weekend as our first year wedding anniversary. Before the wedding we hadn't thought much about our anniversary, being on a tight budget, but God blessed us with something amazing! 

5.) Seeing Calen and Lori Get Married (May)
Calen is one of Tyler's closest friends and he stood next to Tyler at our wedding. We were so honored to get to travel to South Dakota and be a part of this amazing couple's beautiful day

4.) Seeing Caitlin Get Married (July)
Caitlin and I have been friends for years and years, I wouldn't have missed her wedding for anything. Caitlin is the youngest of my group of girl-friends and it was one of those super special moments to be there for her wedding
3.) Shivers Family Reunion (July)
We did tons and tons of traveling this year... we were blown away by how God provided for all of our travels. It was an amazing and fun experience at the Shivers Family Reunion. 

Cambria (August)
Visiting Cambria was like being in another part of the world. It was beautiful, quaint, quite, and charming. We loved that our Fresno family invited us to spend the weekend there. It was amazing. 

2.) My first Dodgers Game (September)
I love baseball games! It's the great American past time. And I loved attending my very first Dodgers game. It was extra cool when we saw Gwyneth Paltrow.

1.) A Fresno Thanksgiving (November)
Anytime spent with our Fresno family is amazing. We always have tons of fun, time to relax, time to catch up, and amazing experiences. 

That does it. What have been your top 10 favorite moments of 2013?


December 27, 2013

Do You Want to Get On the Roller Coaster?

Scenario: You and a friend go out to coffee. Your friend can't wait to tell you about the most amazing roller coaster. The roller coaster was so amazing that she can't even put into words how amazing it was. She has never been on a roller coaster like this one. She tells you that you can't actually see the roller coaster from the line, you simple have to get on. She enjoyed the experience so much that she is bursting at the seams to tell you about it and she can't wait for you to experience it for yourself.

What do you think? Would you get all the roller coaster? 

I have something to tell you. This is how I feel about my relationship with Jesus. There is no other experience like it and I often can't put into words how amazing it is, but all I want to do is to try to figure out a way to share it with you, so you can experience it to.

I'm not always great with words and often times I feel speechless on how to share with you about Jesus, but that is what I want to do, I want to share with you my experience. And I really like the roller coaster scenario. No matter what roller coaster you ride, there is almost always a line, you have to be so many feet tall, you should take your hat off ... or lose it, you should sit on your flip flops, you have to be fastened in... so forth and so on. All of these guidelines are set in place for you to have the most amazing roller coaster ride experience of your life... you know... without falling out. And getting on a roller coaster is a huge leap of faith. You have no idea how it will really be like, you can only go based of the experience and stories of others. And you know what's even more amazing... while the roller coaster is the same, everyone will experience it a little different. All that to say that my relationship with Jesus is the most amazing experience I have ever had... I want to be able to share it with you.

December 26, 2013

True Confessions: Blogger Edition

Hello Friends! Did you have a lovely Christmas!?! I sure hope so and I hope it's still going too! Today is the Blogger Edition of True Confessions which means I'll answer a slew of questions about my blogging journey. Shout out to Meg and Kiki for tagging me. Here we go!
1) When did you first start blogging and why?
I actually started blogging way back in 2009 when I started my journey in photography. I wanted a place to share my photos and document my process. I mostly blogged photos and wasn't very involved in the community aspect. I quit blogging in the beginning of 2012. I started blogging again March 2013. I wanted to document my creative business journey as well as document life with Husband. I wanted this place to be a place of encouragement. A place to inspire creative living and dream chasing.

2) Have you had any past online presence?
I used to have a full photography website were I offered photography services... does that count?

3// When did you become serious about your blog?
March 2013 when I began my creative business journey. At that time I had quit my day job and basically dove in head first. The rest is history.

4) What was your first blog post?
My very first blog post I ever wrote doesn't exist anymore. When I was in college I was taking a new media class... we all had blogs for the class and we wrote about college and hopes for life after college.  The "first" existing post is about photography, you can find it here. That post was one of my very first photo shoots, when I was shooting with film.

5) What have been your biggest challenges blogging?
Not letting work time spill over into home and personal time. Working from home makes it really easy to work long hours. I try to keep my work hours structured so that doesn't happen.

6) What is the most rewarding thing about blogging?
The community! I think we would all agree. Am I right? It is by far one of the coolest things ever. The community is genuinely encouraging and I have made friends from all over the world. I have been shaped by blogging and the blog community in ways I could have never imagined.

7) What is the most discouraging thing about blogging?
I read somewhere a while back that some bloggers were feeling like the blog community was nothing more then high school cliques, which made me really sad. But I can totally see why they would feel that way. I'm not sure why it happens or how it happens, but I'm sure it does. How do you guys think we could make it better?

8) What is your lasting inspiration or motivation?
Don't compare yourself or your journey with anyone else. I have battled this many times before and in those moments I step back spend some time with Jesus and he brings my heart right back to his. Remember your blog journey is your own. Don't let others journey take away from your own. 

9) What is your blogging dirty little secret?
I don't like to write... it's really hard for me. It's probably good for me because it challenges me in different ways, but I don't like it. My posts will sit for days full of pictures and no words. I see other bloggers and I feel like that throw down pages and pages of writing and I always wonder how they do it.

10) What is your current goal as a blogger?
I have had other bloggers invest in my  journey and I want to be able to do that for others. I have met the sweetest people who have become dear friends and their hearts challenge me to want to share that same kind of encouragement with others. My forever goal above all else is to be a vessel for Jesus, for this place to be a light so he can shine through me. Other random goals can be find here, which include my blogging goals.

11) Have you learned or become passionate about anything through blogging that caught you by surprise?
My blog journey started with a desire to pursue creativity. The longer I blog the more I become passionate about design, which is really exciting. I could spend hours studying all kinds of design from fabric and product design to digital design and visual communication. It's actually one of my goals to learn design.

Did you make it to the end! Props friend, props!  P.S. Why are there 11 questions and not 10?

December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas From Our House To Yours

MERRY MERRY CHRISTMAS from our house to yours! Tyler and I hope that you are having a magical day full of love and joy! Even though we're celebrating from afar we wanted to share with you a little bit of Christmas from our house.
I love that so many items we decorate with from ornaments to Christmas cards are so unique to us and our memories. We have ornaments from mine and Tyler's childhood. We have ornaments from friends, we have new ornaments and we have Narnia ornaments... at least that's what I call them.
So many items in our home are handmade. last year I made our stockings. We made our Christmas wreath. I made the star garland and the Noel banner... everything little thing is made with love.

MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!

December 23, 2013

When I Said "Yes"

I'm not sure I will do this story justice. Tyler seems to tell it better, because well he was the master mind behind all of it. He started planning months in advance and all of my friends and family new what was happening except me. I guess I'll start by telling you he bought my ring on my birthday... November 5th... I'm guessing the plan was in motion then. Tyler told me that he would be coming home for Christmas for a week... I thought maybe the proposal would happen then... okay I was hoping and 95% sure it would happen then. Unbeknownst to me there was a secret plan brewing on facebook... a secret group to be exact and Tyler would be returning 5 days earlier then he had told me.
Tyler flew in to Joplin on Sunday, December 18th. He had called me that day and told me he would be helping out at church and that his phone was dying so he wouldn't be able to call me until he got home. I said okay, didn't think much about it and he called me that night and we chatted. His phone being dead was him turning it off to fly home and when he called me that evening he was in Joplin. It's amazing to me that we were in the same place and I didn't even know it.
Monday, December 19th, he spent the entire day with friends and family preparing for the proposal. Good friends of ours, Matt & Ashley, were attending a church in Downtown Joplin, where they decorated the second floor windows to light up and say "Will you marry me?" Again, I had no idea this was happening... all my friends just lied straight to my face... they're such good friends. I even had lunch with my brother that day and we chatted about what we were going to do for the rest of the day. It was pretty amazing.
My friends Caitlin and Ashley has asked me to dinner on Tuesday, December 20th. I was all about going out to dinner with friends. I had called my friend Caitlin to ask if either her or Ashley were dressing up. I was pretty tired and if no one was looking nice I didn't feel the need to put in any extra effort. We were supposed to be meeting at 6:00... I think. I was already to go when someone knocked.  I answered and it was Caitlin. I didn't know she was picking me up, which wasn't very strange. Caitlin and I hung out all the time so her randomly showing up at my house was kind of normal. Caitlin and I head to Red Onion, so I thought, but on the way we took a detour for her to "show" me a possible place to take photos. Again, totally normal because Caitlin and I took photos all the time together. This however was just a ruse, Caitlin has received a text telling her to stall.
I was told we would be stopping by Matt & Ashley's church to see the new light display that Matt had been working on... again totally normal. We stopped, got out of the car and stood for a minute. I was told the lights would come on in a few minutes... I all could think about was that it was cold and I was hungering. A minute or two passed and the lights came on... WILL YOU MARRY ME? .... the tears started. I didn't see Tyler anywhere. I wasn't sure what to do. I remember asking my friends, "Am I supposed to go somewhere?" They lead me into a building behind us where Tyler and all of our friends and family were waiting. He knelt down on one knee, popped the question and I said yes. 
It had been four and a half years, it was totally worth the wait. After the proposal we headed across the street to Matt and Ashley's church were their refreshments and cookies. Everything was amazing. I always wanted a fairy tale ending... I totally got it. P.S. because I forgot to mention it before, it was December 2011.

{photos provided by friends and family}

December 18, 2013

The Holly Wreath


The Holly Wreath

The Holly Wreath symbolizes the crown of thorns worn by Jesus at Calvary.

It's red berries represent the blood he shed for the forgiveness of our sins.

The endless circle is eternal life obtained through him.  

I'm not sure where I got this ornament. 
I feel as though I've always had it. 
I  think it's a beautiful representation of the spirit of  Christmas and the hope we have in Christ.
The spirit of Christmas is hope.
The spirit of Christmas is salvation.
The spirit of Christmas is healing.
The Spirit of Christmas is love. 



December 16, 2013

My Favorite Holiday Gift: Pretzel Rolos

Today I'm sharing one of my favorite holiday desserts and joining Mia of Mossy Jojo for a DIY Christmas Challenge. I'm not even sure which Christmas I started making these, but once I started there was no turning back. I love making these for my co-workers and Tyler's co-workers. This year, I'm lacking in the co-worker department, but I still made these for Tyler's co-workers.
Have you seen the fancy version of these? You know the ones with a pecan smashed on top? Well, I think these are better, even though I have no basis to judge that opinion because I've never had the one's with pecan's, but mine are still better, because pecan's are expensive. Plus I think these are the perfect ratio of pretzel to rolo.
So let's do this. Preheat oven to 375ยบ, place pretzels on cookie sheet, place rolo on top of the pretzel, pop in the oven for 2-4 minutes. I check mine after 2 minutes. If they are shinning, try smashing on a pretzel. If it works you're good to go.
Final step, place them in something pretty! The only downfall to these is you will want to eat them all your self. Also, these went over great with someone who I think told me they didn't like pretzels or caramel. They are that good!

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Make sure to stop by and check out these other great DIYs.

Mia (Mossy Jojo)

Marieken (Always Wear Your Invisible Crown)

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December 13, 2013

SOUTH DAKOTA ADVENTURES

This year Tyler and I celebrated our one year anniversary... way back in May. I had every intention of sharing with you our adventures, but for some odd reason I thought it would take me a million hours to compile this post... it didn't.
Tyler and I were super excited about our plans for our first anniversary because we traveled to South Dakota for this friends wedding. We fell in love with South Dakota and we loved celebrating with our dear friends as they tied to knot.  There is a section in Rapid City devoted to street art, an entire alley covered in graffiti, which Tyler loved.
We ventured into Keystone a tiny little town full of charm; had breakfast, stopped by the fudge factory, and picked up some souvenirs at the train depot.
From Keystone we headed toward Mt. Rushmore. The temperature was perfect, it wasn't to overcrowded, and we loved taking in all the American history.  Tyler always has his sketch book with him, just like I always have my camera with me. I'm pretty sure there is at least one sketch from every trip we have been on.

After Mr. Rushmore we drove through the Black Hills and headed to Custer State Park.  We drove along Hwy 87, which was recommend by basically everyone we ran into, for good reason of course. It was beautiful. The scenery was amazing and it was a great contrast to the concrete jungle we're used to.
Our final destination was Legion Lake Lodge, were we stayed in this tiny, lovely little cabin. Custer State Park was amazing and the Lodge was amazing. The restaurant/grocery store was next to the lake and there was a hiking trail that you could follow all the way around. 
After our experience in the Black Hills & Custer State Park all we could talk about was how we would love to spend every anniversary in a State Park. We'll see how it goes.

December 5, 2013

A Fresno Thanksgiving

This year marked our second Thanksgiving together as husband and wife! And it marked our second year in Fresno for Thanksgiving!  A new and much loved tradition. Tyler and I love our Fresno family and we love every weekend spent with them. This Thanksgiving Tyler's mom came to see us and Tyler took extra days off so we were able to spend 5 days in Fresno!
Our Thanksgiving was filled with PIE, the best pie ever! A bonfire, an outdoor movie, amazing food, crafts and wonderful time with family. Let's go back to the pie, because I'm not actually a big fan of pie. But this pie is amazing! I'm not even sure what to call it... it has a layer of cheesecake on the bottom... so cheesecake pumpkin pie. It is so good!
We went to Yosemite. I love national parks and this was more first time in Yosemite. I decided that the word Yosemite is weird and I'm not sure why we pronounce it the way we do... I kind of think is should be pronounced phonetically...
We stopped and picniced at this little country church and I learned that I have officially physically acclimated to Southern California weather... I'm such a wimp now when it comes to the cold. Sad.
We ate, we walked around, checked out the inside of the church, and this little bird put on a fashion show for some food. No joke, he perched, fluffed up his feathers and once we tossed him a morsel he was gone. He knows what he's doin.
We finished up the day stopping by this really fantastic hotel and ice skating. I can't remember the name of the hotel... good job me... but I'm 100% sure I saw it on PBS. I was "that person" who walked around and said numerous times, "I saw this on PBS" over and over again. Apparently I wanted to get my point across. Pictured below is Tyler's Mom and Uncle Dave... oh yea, and that's me in the middle...
I knew this would be your favorite picture of all. Lets just say NO ONE looks good ice skating, unless you're actually a figure skater. And look at that, two coats. What can I say, Southern California will do that to ya.

*Update: P.S. The name of the hotel was Ahwahnee. Tyler reminded me.*
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