April 29, 2014

Style Is a Creative Adventure

I really love that style can be so experimental. I love being able to try out different things on a whim. I had a lot of fun with this outfit because I decided to try a couple different things I hadn't before. Since having short hair I have been wanting to try "beachy waves." I gave it a try for this outfit, but I'm not sure if they actually came out as beachy waves. Either way I thought the outcome was really fun. I also wanted to try parting my hair in the middle. I think I liked it parted in the middle, but I'm still on the fence about it. I prefer my hair parted on the side so it may take a few more go rounds before I'm sold.

I'm also wearing these fun feather earrings. Something I had been wanting to try for a long time, but wasn't sure if I could pull it off. I'm officially on board with how fun these earrings are. I had so much fun in this out fit. I love how it came together a little artsy and edgy!
Vest: Thrifted // Halter Dress: Target {similar} // Earrings: c/o Loopsway // Sunglasses: Payless {similar}
How have you experimented with your style lately?

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April 28, 2014

5 Things // Vol. 06

Surprises: Tyler brought this little surprise home last week! I'm super excited to get it potted and I'm hoping I can keep it alive. I'm confident it's possible. I'll have to put it in the office so I see it everyday and remember to water it.
Letters: I got my first letter from my brother since he has been in basic training! I didn't know I could be so excited to receive a letter. Lucky for him he gets to read my crazy ramblings every day.
Ewwy gooey goodness: I made rice krispies treats for one of Tyler's co-workers. He had helped Tyler out on a project and we wanted to show him some appreciation. Plus making rice krispies treats means I get to eat a bunch too. I'm not sure if that's a good or bad thing.
The Shop: The shop has been looking rather empty and I have had the hardest time getting it re-stocked. I've slowly been getting things ready and have been taking it a day at a time knowing I can't always do everything.
Beauty: Tyler had an art class at Brand Park last week. They all painted or drew this museum. I tagged along and had the best time. I took tons of pictures, sat in awe of how talented everyone was, and basked in the evening weather.

(follow along on INSTAGRAM for everyday updates!)
How was your week!?

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April 24, 2014

A Letter a Day

My brother started basic training in April. This is my first experience having any one I am close to in the Army. It's been really interesting because even though my brother and I have lived far a part, it's still hard knowing that I can't talk to him whenever I want. I'm really proud of him and I'm really looking forward to hearing about all of his experiences. You know, when I'm able to talk to him in a couple of months. As for now, I'm writing letters.

They suggest writing a letter a day. I've been writing letters since the day I got back from Joplin and I had been holding on to them until we received his address. I sent out the first of all my letters last week and I had done pretty good at writing a letter every other day, but this week I'm totally dominating the every day letter business. I got my first letter from my brother this week and it made my day! It was exciting to hear about how he was doing and I was really excited to hear about how much he's glad he is there.

Do you have any experience with having loved one's in the military? I would love for you to share.
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April 22, 2014


I've had a lot of questions about my style photos; where I take them, who takes them, how did I do that, ect. I'm definitely still in the process of learning what works best for me during my style shoots and I'm always learning my style. I wanted to share a little bit about how I do style shoots. Please, keep in mind that I've been developing my photography skills since 2009 and any artistic skill takes constant sharpening. I took a year of from photography in 2012 and I came back really rough.

Who: Tyler takes all of my style photos and if there are any other photos of me in regular posts he takes those too. Occasionally, I'll set up my tripod and use the camera timer, but the process is frustrating especially without a remote. Tyler and I always work together during the shoot, if he is having a problem with the camera I can adjust the settings. If I'm looking like a goober he helps to pose me.

When: We only do style shoots during a specific time of day, during the golden hour. We start about an hour before sun sets. Because we are surrounded by mountains we have to catch the sun before it falls behind the mountain. If you live in an area without mountains you won't have to worry about this.

Where: Most of the photos are taken at a park a couple of miles from our house. The park is big enough that each backdrop can look different. There are tons of trees, a horse trail, wooden fencing, and it's right next to the LA river, which is just a huge canal, but it provides more variety.

How: A majority of my photos are backlit, that is how I prefer my lighting. It's not the only way and I have some photos where I'm not backlit, but it is what we strive for. Backlighting is kind of tricking, because you usually have to over expose. Also, Tyler and I always shoot manually. Shooting manually gives you greater control over the image your are creating. 
A Few Tips for Posing

Portrait & Full: My favorite photos are portrait, but it's a style post, so I've got to show the whole outfit right? Make sure to get a little bit of both. 

Turn to the side: I'm not a huge fan of having photos taken of me straight on. I try to always turn a little bit to one side. It's a little more figure flattery and I think it makes the photos more dynamic.

Turn your face slightly down: If I look straight at the camera or look slightly up it makes my face look really full. Or if Tyler takes photos looking up at me, again big, full round face. Not my favorite. I try to pull my shoulders down and tilt my head down slightly.

Look away & at the camera: I love getting a variety of photos so I always try to look direclty at the camera and away from the camera.

Remember the details: I'm actually not that great at remember this all the time, but Tyler always does a great job at getting picture of the details of each outfit.

Remember to smile: You may not struggle with this, but my default photo shoot face is the serious face. Tyler is always reminding me to smile. It's not that I don't want to smile, it's just for me the serious face is easier.

What do you think? What has helped you the most when posing for you photos?
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April 21, 2014

5 Things // Vol. 5

Roses: Tyler and I put in two new roses bushes, one red, one purple. The purple are my favorite. Tyler also moved two of the rose bushes because they were all sideways and weird. Being able to maintain the roses at our apartment has been really fun for us... its kind of funny when people see us outside and ask if we miss the mid-west. Because you know, us mid-westerners like yard work.
Projects: I had a few project last week blow up all over our office. I had stuff everyone and then my project table took on a few extra items that I thought, "oh yes, I'm going to turn that into something." Let's see how long those items end up just sitting there.
North & South: Have you seen North & South? If not, you should watch it. I became totally hooked and chatted with Meg all about on Thursday. It's Pride and Prejudice meets Downton Abbey, meets everything else that's amazing. I picked up this Elizabeth Gaskell Collection at the library and it also includes Wives and Daughters. Not sure if it will be as good as North & South. We'll see.
Custom Order: I finally finished this custom order, which I was super excited about. It was kind daunting me and laughing at me because it challenged me it different ways, but I loved everything I learned.
The Newsletter: That's right! The newsletter is here! Last week I finally sat down and hammered out the design and ideas for it! I'm super excited! I would absolutely love it if you would sign up! It comes with really great perks! Check it out here!

Other things:
We hung out in Fresno this weekend! Celebrated our hope in Jesus and his resurrection!

How was your week?!
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April 20, 2014

He Was Numbered with the Transgressors

..."And he was numbered with the transgressors"

I didn't want to let today just pass by, but words don't always come super easy for me. It was really amazing too because without planning it my daily Bible reading was from the end of Luke.  Christ is RISEN! What a beautiful story of grace, mercy, and love. These words from Phil Wickham's song Mercy explain things beautifully.

Heaven to Earth came down from on high
With Hope in His name and a fire in His eyes
The fullness of God walking upon the world
He said He was love then proved it with blood
And rose from the dead to prove He was God
And that's what it takes for one man to save the world

Oh such Mercy, Mercy
He saved the whole world when He hung on a tree
Such mercy

Now here inside of our skin and bones
Heaven above is making it's home
The kingdom of God living upon the world
To love like He loves and give like he gives
To tell the story that makes dead men live
and that's what it takes if we're gonna to change the world

April 17, 2014

Shaping Your Blog Content

I spend a lot of time thinking about blog content. I ton of time, because that's what are blogs are built on. They are built on the content we create. For the past couple of months I have been thinking hard about shaping my blog content and honing in on my strengths. I've had to learn what I'm good at, what I'm not good at and what I want to be good at. Because Elah Tree is a lifestyle blog I have a lot of room to play, but I've wanted to better define my branding based on the content I create.

Shaping Your Blog Content

Play to your strengths: What are you good at? What do you love to do? Are you able to take those things and turn them into engaging content? I've spent a lot of time thinking about what I'm good at and what I really enjoy doing. I love photography, creating, style, food, faith, dreaming big, and home decor. I try to focus on those things and that is what is dominate in my blog. I rarely ever talk about beauty products, because I'm not well-versed in the subject. I would have to do some learning to create that type of content.

Make a list: When thinking about your strengths make a list. Write down things you are really awesome at and love doing. Also, write down what your not good at and things you don't enjoy. The more things you try the better you'll get at knowing what works best for you. Don't forget to write down the things you want to learn. Just because you're not great at something in the beginning doesn't mean you can't learn about it and integrate it into your content. This list will help you visually see what direction your content is going.

Shape as you grow: Continue to shape your content as you grow. Your content and branding will continue to evolve as you learn more and as your taste change. Embrace all those learning and changing experience. The longer I blog the more I love to write about my learning experiences. I love being able to take what I've learned and share it with you. That is something that has evolved for me over time.

Be realistic and honest with yourself: Don't try to force yourself into something you may not really enjoy, just to be able to create content around it. You won't like it and your content will reflect that.  Also, now when something requires a little learning. If your passionate about it go after it, let it shape you and your content.

What has helped you shape your blog content?
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April 16, 2014

Blogging Foundations: Getting Started

This blogging thing is pretty interesting. Don't ya think? There is so much to learn and for the most part you never stop learning. When I first started there were so many things I needed to figure out and so many things to consider. What I've been learning along the way is that everyone's experience is different, what works for me, might not work for you. I thought I would share some of my thoughts about the things I considered in the beginning that helped create a strong foundation. 

Be decisive: Think about why you are blogging. This will lay the foundation for your blog. Are you blogging as a hobby, wanting to share your thoughts and have a creative outlet?  Are you blogging to pursue blogging as a career? Are you blogging just to see where things go? All these questions will help shape your content and give you confidence moving forward. When I started I knew that I wanted to pursue blogging as a career and knowing that really propelled me in the direction I wanted to go. It also helped in shaping my content, something I'll be sharing on tomorrow.

Design: Your blog design is the first impression of your blog. In the beginning nobody's blog looks that great, but it's important to strive for a visually appealing blog. I went through multiple blog designs until settling on the one I have now. As your blog grows so will your design and there are plenty of options out there, from templates, to custom designs, to DIY. I've been down the DIY road many times.  For me, it's most cost effective. If your working on your own design be organized, make things easy to read, and easy to find. In college I did research on the effect of visual appeal and websites. In a couple of weeks, I'll break down how and why I decided on my blog design and the effects of visual appeal. Stay tuned!

Be you: I think in the beginning we all struggle to find our own voice and I think it can be intimidating to look around at other bloggers who are past their beginning and wonder how we get there. I think we might also have a tendency to try to do what the "cool kids" are doing. Remember, no one else has the experiences that you have, let you personality come through in your content. That is what people will be drawn too. Don't ever not share who you are because you don't think it will go over well. BE YOU.
Photography: Photos help tell your story and striving for quality photos in the beginning will help you create better content in the long run. You don't have to have a big fancy camera to take great photos either, you just have to be conscious about when and how you take photos. Remember that everything is a learning experience and the more you take photos, the better you will become.

Network: Building a network of friends is key. They will cheer you on, help you out, and encourage you through your journey. In the beginning connecting with other bloggers can sometimes feel awkward, but it's such a great experience! Networking can happen in tons of different ways. Focus on building relationships. Reach out to other bloggers you admire. Email them and tell them how much you appreciate their blog. Leave comments on other blogs and start connecting with new friends. 
Starting a blog and then building that blog is hard work, crazy hard work, but it's also incredibly rewarding and fun! What do you think? What are things you considered when you first got started? How did you create a strong blogging foundation?
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April 15, 2014

Not Where, But How

Whenever I do style posts, for the most part, I'm thinking about where I got each item so I can share it with you. Something I've noticed that I really love is that I have pieces from everywhere. Thrift stores, friends, Target, TJ Maxx, everywhere. I was really encouraged by this, because it's not about where you buy your clothes it's about loving what you have and being content and grateful for those pieces. Nearly every piece of clothing I have has a story behind it and I'm reminded of a wonderful experience. I love putting on a pair of pants that a friend gave me, like the one's I'm wearing, because I always think of that friend. I love pulling out a scarf and remembering my mom picked it out for me. It's encouraging to be content with the clothing you have because then your wearing your clothes. You're clothes aren't wearing you. It's not about where, it's about how. Love the pieces your have and style them to your unique look.
scarf // TJ Maxx, Tank // Target, Pants // Gifted

Where are your favorite places to shop? 
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April 14, 2014

5 Things // Vol. 4

Frozen: Fun packages came in the mail last week, including FROZEN! I let it play one day last week during work on repeat. Yay, I'm that person. Totally made my day!
Cake: Last weekend I was on a baking kick, but I wanted it to be easy. We picked up a cake mix and icing and I baked a cake to my hearts content. And then I warmed the icing for a little to long and wasn't patient enough to let it thicken up again. I wanted to eat the cake right then, so that's what I did.
Mockingjay: Tyler and I have a new found appreciation for our library. We've been hitting it up on a regular basis and our last trip included picking up Mockingjay on audio. I have the hardest time reading sometimes, but I am awesome at listening.
Lithographs: The other day I remembered that Tyler and I have a handful of different Disney Lithographs. We have two sets of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Monsters Inc. and Mulan. I have had a hard time picking out the final art pieces for our office, but I think these will do it!
Tomato: Tyler recently finished this digital painting and we have named her Tomato. We have a lot of original art in our office put I really love this recent one that Tyler did. It's currenlty my favorite.

How was your week?!
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April 10, 2014

The Artist Guild: Getting Creative with Hair

*Welcome to the Artist Guild, this is our opportunity to create together. The second Thursday of the month we come together to share our creative projects. There are eight creative activities that we'll be working on through September. To learn more, read here. We would love to have you join us and link-up your creative awesomeness! 

Today's Artist Guild activity, attempt a new creative hair style

Having short hair has been a little bit of a challenge in the style department. I had long hair for years and years and for the most part I had a decent amount of styles and updos filed away. Short hair is more of a challenge because there is less hair to be creative with. I decided to try a curling technique with my short hair that I had done with my long hair. I wasn't sure if it was possible because of the length of my hair, but I knew it was the first step in trying different styles. Because my hair is so straight, before I can achieve an updo I have to create enough texture, this curling technique usually does it.  
This technique is pretty simple and I've seen lots of people do it. The first time I actually saw this done was way back in the day, in the movie Bring it on. Yay, that cheerleading movie. Do you remember? Anyways, you take small sections of your hair and twist it into little buns. Fasten the little buns with bobby pins. I always wet my hair a little before pinning it up and I always sleep on it. This ensures that my hair will hold the curl. When you wake up your hair might look like this. Tyler told me I looked like Jean-Ralphio from Parks and Rec. Don't worry, the curls will relax. If the curls are too curly you can spray them with a little water.
1. Link-Up your Artist Guild post below. Please link to the post and not your home page.
2. Be encouraging. Comment on the post before you and tell them how awesome they are!
3. Hashtag your creativity! #theartistguild

Our next Artist Guild link-up

May 8th : Adventure around your town on bike or visit somewhere you've never been
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.
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