January 30, 2014

Hand Painted Prints

During the Great Christmas Exchange I was assigned Gini as my mission. I loved putting together a gift with her in mind. A week or so ago I received a surprise package from her. I love getting things in the mail, especially from all you lovelies, because it's always a surprise.  Gini had sent me a thank you card and the most amazing hand painted print.

For Tyler and I this print is perfect for us and I am over the moon in love with it. It totally encapsulates the huge leaps of faith we have been taking.  When I was learning about Gini I stumbled upon her Etsy shop. And it's full of these great hand painted prints.
When I was perusing her shop I picked out three of my favorites. I love that each print is hand painted and I love that I can see the intricacy behind each stroke. I'm a huge fan of artisan crafts and I love that you can see pieces of an artist in their work.

Have you received any surprise mail lately? What are your favorite prints from Gini's Shop?
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January 29, 2014

The Artist Guild

Remember this list I made? I am learning why I don't make these kinds of lists. I'm not super great at accomplishing them. Some of the items on the list; sending birthday cards on time, weekly date night, or visit Point Dume. Those are easier for me to accomplish because I have more opportunity to think about them. Someone's birthday is coming up, check. Card in the mail. I see Tyler every day so if we haven't been on a date I  know about it.

But the creative stuff that I listed is super easy for me not to think about. All day my mind is running with creative thought. That list is the least of my concern. So in my attempts to actually complete the list, I've decided I'm going to have to blog the heck out of those creative goals and I would LOVE for you to join me!

The Artist Guild is an opportunity for us to create together. I've compiled the creative goals from my list and each month I will document my creative process and provide a link-up for you to join in too. Sound fun? I think so! Plus I will actually be required to complete these tasks. 

We'll be sharing our creative accomplishments once a month; the second Thursday of every month. There are 8 tasks. We'll be wrapping this up in September. Remember, creating is about the process and the experience. You don't have to be an "artist" to participate, it's all about trying fun new things and getting creative.

February 13th  : Write a poem 
I have zero concept of rules when it comes to art and poetry. Slap down some words and call it a poem. Just have fun. P.S. This could totally be a sappy Valentines Poem.

March 13th  : Paint a canvas 
Big, small, easy, difficult. You choose. Spend time creating on canvas. Remember this doesn't have to look like a masterpiece. It's just about putting paint on a canvas. Kenzie provides at great example here.

April 10th  : Attempt a new creative hair style
I chopped off all my hair, so the long hair styles I used to sport aren't going to work any more. This is about trying something new, get creative and be adventurous. Find something you love on Pinterest and give it a try. 

May 8th : Adventure around your town on bike
I threw this one in because I'm highly concerned it may never happen unless it's on this list. If you're not into biking around town, that's cool. Go somewhere you've never been and share you adventure with us.

June 12th : Spend an afternoon life drawing 
Life drawing is simply drawing people you see around you. It doesn't have to look pretty. It's about sketching, capturing motion and shape. Check out one of my attempts here and here.

July 10th  : Paint one water color painting in photoshop 
Non-photoshop users, you can use any outlet you wish. You can water color on paper or any platform you like. Again, remember, it's not a masterpiece, it's about the experience. Tip: find something that you can paint over. When I paint in photoshop I found something I can paint over to practice and get a better understanding of shape and shading.

August 14th  : Share one non-related blog photo shoot
I used to take photos all the time, not at all related to blogging. Step away from your blog content, grab some friends and take their photo. You don't have to have a big fancy camera for this task. It's about breaking away from your blog.

September 11th : Vlog
That's right, you read that right. We're going to vlog. Recap your experience with The Artist Guild; what you learned, which tasks you loved, which tasks you didn't love. What you would love to see in the list next time.

What do you think? Are you up for it? Let me know your thoughts.

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January 28, 2014

A Paramount Date Night

Last weekend Tyler took me to Paramount for a screening of Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit. Which by the way, was really good. Chris Pine, Keira Knightley, and Kevin Costner; three actors that I like A LOT. Keira Knightley had an American accent which was totally weird, because I've only ever seen her in movies with her English accent. I felt like I was watching a different person talk. The movie was great and full of suspense. I leaned over to Tyler numerous times to tell him how stressed out I was. Yay, it's that good.

Before we left for the theater I was super geared up to take my camera and then I remembered it would be dark, so I scratched that idea and threw our point and shoot in my bag. We snapped some fun photos in the lobby of the theater and I totally felt like a 12 year old goob when Tyler took that picture of me standing next to the Audrey Hepburn photo. I'm a huge Hepburn fan, but goob none-the-less. 
Other awesome things that happened that weekend was getting to meet up with Christina and her husband Bill. It was my very first blogger meet-up and it was so cool! It's kind of crazy meeting someone for the first time even though you feel like you know them from reading their blog. We spent the afternoon at Starbucks chatting about blogging, faith, and animation stuff. Good times! If only I would have thought to take a picture of the two of us together. The last email I wrote to Christina I told her she now knows how much of a nut I am.

How have your weekends been treating you? Have you seen Jack Ryan, yet? Do it!
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January 27, 2014

The Majority, The Lies, The Healing

It seams statistics for marriage have hit a rough patch over the years. Some say over 50% of marriages fail. My parents divorced when I was young. After the age of four my father's presence in my life was non-existent. I fall into the over 50% majority.

Today, isn't about divorce, it's about how circumstances in our lives shape us into who we are and how the enemy will feed us lies that we easily believe. The relationship a father has with his daughter and son, I believe is crucial. Without that relationship we're left broken. In our broken state we are easily deceived.

Lies I believed in my brokenness

1.) I was worthless and without value. I have struggled with this lie my entire life. I have believed that I had to earn my worth and value. Everything had to be perfect, my work had to be perfect, I had to do it right, otherwise I would be worthless. LIE. I have value and worth because I am a child of God. No one can take that away from me. God's love, nothing else, defines my value and worth.

2.) I had to earn acceptance. This lie unfolded in my high school relationship with boys. I fell into a destructive relationship, because I wanted to be accepted and loved, I had to earn that acceptance. LIE. Jesus meets us right where we are. We don't have to earn His acceptance.

3.) Relationships weren't safe and I had to guard myself to keep my heart safe. Because of the hurt I faced when my father left I didn't feel safe in any kind of other relationship. I feared all other relationships would leave me broken. LIE. Friends will love you and continue to love you even through rough times.

I cried as I wrote this post. The lack of relationship with my father, will always hurt my heart. But the relationship I have with Jesus healed my heart. He continues to take my brokenness and shape me into something beautiful, something that will help heal the hearts of others. There are more lies I have struggled with in my life, but these three are ones that I have battled through. These are one's that Jesus has given me victory over. It wasn't until I was in college that I had contact with my father. I was still mad at him at that point and it wasn't until a few years later that I was able to forgive him for not being a part of my life. Forgiveness came when I was able to cry for him, to have compassion for where he was in his life and how he had struggled. I can't ever get back the years I lost with my dad. I won't ever have a strong relationship with him. But I can love him, I can pray for him, and hope the best for him.

What lies are you working to overcome? I've joined Overcome The Lie, to share my own struggles, in hopes to help you through some of yours.
Overcome the Lie exist to empower a generation of women to overcome the lie because Jesus overcame the grave.
Learn & Connect : website // twitter // facebook

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January 23, 2014

Dream Big, Work Hard

Tyler and I sat down and wrote this post together. Whenever I think about dreaming big I think of Tyler. I've watched him chase after his dreams and I've watched Jesus shape him as he chases those dreams. I wanted Tyler's voice apart of this post because he had a dream and he has worked to make it happen. Watching him work to achieve his dreams has inspired me to chase my own dreams.

Between the two of us we've written down what is has taken for both of us to chase after our dreams and we're sharing them with you.

1. Be willing to take risks. With every great journey comes great risk and great opportunity to fail. Embrace those opportunities. Be ready to learn. Set out to educate yourself. Learn your craft and keep soaking up new information.

2. Work hard and be willing to work through the trenches. We all start in the trenches, where it's gritty and everything feels impossible. Work hard through those trenches, maintain a strong work ethic and stay focused. Don't be distracted by others who have already made it out of the trenches. 

3. Leave your ego at the door. Be honest with yourself about where you are in the mastery of your craft. Be open to critiques and improving your work. Don't be a jerk and be easy to work with. Be someone who people love to work with; open minded, excited, encouraging. Remember it's a collaborative journey.

4. Set realistic goals. Create small goals to achieve larger goals. Remember why you're doing this... don't be discouraged by the trenches, stay focused on why you enjoy what you are doing. Remember that moving forward is the key and if it is in small steps than that is okay.

5. Surround yourself with people who will help you succeed. Don't let cynicism or the complacency of other's drag you down. Surround yourself with others who are as excited as you are to succeed. Collaboration is most effective with others who are engaging in a positive way.

Most important, Trust in God... you are not in control. Remember Jesus instilled this dream in you. Stay focused on His dream. Trust through every trench and every stride. The measurement of success is defined in Him not in this world.

What has it taken you to chase your dreams?
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January 21, 2014

A Little Black Dress

We went from freezing temps over Christmas to sunny 70ยบ. Did you see our family photo shoot? We were freezing. When we were reviewing photos we jumped in the van to stay warm. Returning to California meant returning to warmer weather.  Which, when it comes to putting together an outfit I have, for the most part, acclimated to California weather. Light layers, scarves, and boots.

I also live for dress weather. Dresses can be the most comfortable and flattering piece of clothing.  A dress with boots is my bread and butter, you can't go wrong. I'm also over the moon about this scarf I received, from Natalie, during the Great Christmas Exchange. I love the variety of textures and the possibility that it can be warn with any outfit.
And because it's my M.O. I wouldn't dare to leave you without the best part. The outtakes. The outtakes are my favorite part, because the outtakes share pieces of who we really are.
This first photo of on the left is my typical first pose. I stand there with my arms out and say... "What do I do." For real, it takes me running around like a goof ball doing weird things before I get serious. Exhibit the second picture, me doing something weird, and picture three, me making a weird face.
And then near the end of the photo shoot when I've run out of ideas I get even weirder. First picture, me attempting a "model" pose. Classy, right? Second pose, I thought it would be a good idea to pose like a boxer, because of course that would be a good picture... ? Third picture, me falling out of a pose and when I heard the shutter release, I thought perfect, that will be the one.

What is the bread and butter or your closet?
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January 17, 2014

The Art and The Story Behind the Art

Over Christmas my mom suggested going to Precious Moments. I hadn't been to Precious Moments in maybe over 20 years. And it's totally weird that I can say it's been over 20 years.
The story behind the artist of Precious Moments is really cool and the art in the chapel is pretty amazing too. I think most people might only think of the Precious Moment Figurines, but the art and the story behind all the pieces are amazing.  "It is my prayer, that through my work in the Chapel, I might share my faith with others and that the Spirit of God might touch the visitors’ hearts and bring them to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ, our Lord." - Samual J Butcher
It doesn't take very long to visit Precious Moments. The Chapel is where all the art is located. If you're ever driving through the mid-west and you're near Carthage, Mo it's totally worth checking out.
And then when you're done you can take goofy pictures out side the chapel with your mom.

January 16, 2014

Joplin Favorites ... HACKETT HOT WINGS

One of the greatest things about the mid-west is the food. One of the first things I asked Tyler about when I got to California was whether or not there was good BBQ. One of my favorite places to eat in Joplin is Hackett Hot Wings.  I love, LOVE their wings.  I had my very first Lemon Pepper wings at Hackett's and I was sold.
Hackett's is located in downtown Joplin and is in a great historic brick building. So, great food and awesome location. Because yes, I love old, vintage, and historic. We had every intention of taking photos of the food, but once it hit the table it was quickly devoured. Lemon Pepper wings, BBQ wings, carrots and celery rubbed with lemon pepper and ranch. So so good.
I try never to miss an opportunity to go to Hackett's when we're in Joplin. Tyler knows that if we're in Joplin I will want to go to Hackett's. It's basically a tradition now. I ridiculously delicious tradition.

January 15, 2014

Meet the Family

This Christmas when Tyler and I traveled home, my mom asked if we could do a family photo shoot. I'm always on board to do a photo shoot so I chatted with my friend Caitlin and we made it happen. Usually my mom requests family photo shoots when a big life event is about to occur. In this occasion the big life event is my brother going into the Army. He leaves for basic training on April 1st and then he'll go directly into Officer School.
My brother is one of my favorite people. I'm his biggest fan and I am so proud of him for making this decision. Let's be honest, I was a little freaked out. But I know he is going to do awesome! My brother is one of the greatest people. He is encouraging, patient, kindhearted, open minded, generous, and has never said one bad thing about anyone.
One of my favorite things about my brother is that I know he just wants to see me smile ... At least that's what I think. This is my favorite photo of us.
My mom is a beauty and we are freakishly linked. We talk every single day... unless I'm traveling, then it's a little more sporadic. The very first time people see my mom and I together they usually don't think we look alike. But then I tell them that my brother looks a lot like my dad and I look more like my mom and then they see us all together and it makes more sense.
P.S. We took these photos on a super cold morning. I kept joking with my brother that he was so cold because he has 0% body fat. That's not actually true, but I like to crack those kind of jokes because he is awesome at staying fit. Also, a big thank you to Caitlin for bearing the cold with us! You are awesome and I love you! - Samantha

January 14, 2014

A Mid-West Christmas

Is it too late to share some tidbits about our Christmas? When Tyler and I went home for Christmas I almost completely checked out from my blog and social media. Which was amazing. It's not too hard to check out when you don't have an iphone, which I don't,  so easy-peasy. Tyler and I have been blessed to be able to take off two weeks at the end of each year to spend with our families. We spend the first week staying with my mom and the second week staying with Tyler's mom.
Christmas day we spend the morning with my side of the family and then in the afternoon we head to Tyler's side of the family. Last year we started a tradition of making Christmas breakfast which was amazing. Eggs, ham, hash browns, and this year I turned this Pumpkin Doughnut recipe into waffles. I now want to make pumpkin waffles all the time. After breakfast we read Luke 2 and then open gifts. There is only 4 of us so it's pretty low key and relaxing.
After breakfast, opening gifts, and relaxing for a while we head to Tyler's mom for a late lunch and more Christmas. There are a total of 9 adults and 7 children, we basically could have played a baseball game with that many people. We have a delicious Christmas lunch and then we all sit together to open gifts. Because there are so many of us we draw names for gift giving.  After opening gifts we hang-out and play games. I was actually sick so I ended sitting on the couch most of the time coughing constantly.  How was your Christmas?

P.S. The winner of the Reader Appreciation Gift is... Christina!!! Congrats! 

January 13, 2014

Good Bye Long Hair ... Hello Short Hair

Welcome to the official holiday vacation recap week! Two wonderful weeks spent in the mid-west, hanging out with friends and family, eating at some of my favorite restaurants and chopping off all my hair! It's been a ridiculous amount of years since I chopped off all my hair. I've had it cut at random times. I'll have weekends where I chop at it myself, but it has been 7 years since it has been short. I couple weeks before Tyler and I were headed home for the holidays I started contemplating having my hair cut. I usually go back and forth on the yes or not part and during that time I peruse different styles. There are lots of "yes, I totally want to do this" and then, "oh, but I really like my long hair."  In the end, the short hair won and I love it.
My stylist, Kelly, is AMAZING! For real. She was my stylist before moving away, she did my hair for our wedding, which was awesome and she cuts hair like nobodies business. I'm slightly skeptical that I'll find a stylist that I love as much as her, in Burbank. I love the way she cuts hair. She has such a great feel for style, body, and creativity. When she was finished cutting my hair I sat in the chair staring at my hair and told her in these exact words, "Kelly, you are the best hair cutter ever." If you live in Joplin and are looking for a great stylist, look Kelly up at Derma-Tech. SHE IS AMAZING!
It was totally weird to feel my hair short, but it was so fun! I'm really excited to come up with fun new hair styles. It will be a fun challenge! Thank you Kelly for being so amazing!

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