Design + Graduation Announcement

I often dabble in design work. And occasionally I get asked to make a invitation or a graduation announcement. I was lucky to be asked to make a high school graduation announcement for a young man I knew who was graduating. Of course we had to keep it masculine and not too feminine looking, since he is a dude. So I went with a more geometrical look and strong bold fonts accompanied by a few cursives. But all in all I think it turned out great. Congrats on graduation!





I love doing design stuff, it is a creative break from photography and helps me do something else to get the juices flowing. Later this week I am going to be bringing you another creative outlet of mine. I hope you will like. What creative things do you enjoy doing? What gets your noggin cranking new ideas?


*Do you have an invite or announcement you need help creating? Email me at and let’s get a makin!



Newbie vs Pro

Peeps, can we get real for a minute and sit and chat? Can I just be honest with you all? Alright good, glad we are friends and we can get to the meat of things. I get asked a lot why they should hire me, their cousin has a nice camera so that should work right? The answer is yes but No.  Now I have nothing against someone jumping in to use a camera, I think it is the best tool to learn! And it is fun too.. but let’s chat about why you should hire a pro vs a newbie.

Here are my top 10 reasons why you should invest in a professional photographer.


1. You get to be in the images. A lot of the time there is a ‘designated photographer’ for pictures, which means this person, possibly you, won’t be in the images you take. This is an especially rough at weddings, such a momentous occasion!




2. Your session will be well thought out and styled according to your family. I personally make an effort to choose a location that matches the family and help you reach your goals for photographs. I choose unique places and place my subjects so they have the best possible photograph.


3. Equipment. Yes most clients I have and individuals out there do own a DSLR, which is fabulous. However photographers invest in the best equipment, and the best lenses to make that photo magic happen. Not to mention the computer software needed to make them really pop. Most people don’t invest in the amount of equipment or the quality of it to create these stellar images.



4. Education. Your photographer should have some sort of training. Whether it was attending a school and learning from professors or shadowing a photographer for some time, they were all taught how to manipulate their equipment and get the image just right. As a result they will be using their camera to it’s fullest capacity and using manual settings whenever they can.


5. Attention to details. I see it often where a tree limb is growing out of someones ear, or auntie has an extra hand (although useful I am sure). A photographer pays attention to the details to ensure the image you get is the best quality they can. We don’t want uncle frank to have that pole growing out of a body part..




6. You will be supporting someone’s dream, and a local business. Often times when graduation comes around for us photography students, we are dreaming of owning a business and taking awesome photographs. This is a dream of mine personally and I know it helps me get one step closer to my dreams when a client chooses to support me.


7. It is an investment. These photographs are worth the expense you put in because they are memories. You are investing in memories for years to come. Even though you might not do it every year, it is worth it to put a little extra into it.


8. Someone to go the extra mile for you. When you a hire a pro they are willing to put in the hours of time to alter and color correct your photographs, to ensure the best finished product. On average a one hour session can equal about 2 – 2 1/2 hours of post production work. I don’t know about you, but I would really like someone to put in the effort for my photographs!




9. Quality. Sure you could pay your neighbor with her camera $50 to come and shoot your family, and you might have great results, but you may not. With a professional, you are ensured a level of quality. We make your shoot the highest priority we have at the time and while yes it is more than your neighbors fee, it will be worth every penny.


10. A relationship. I personally like to think of all my clients as close friends whom I will treasure. I take time to know my client and make the session(s) the most enjoyable I can. I want this to be a friendship that lasts a lifetime. And if you have issues with the photographs, then you aren’t related to me and can be honest without having those awkward family dinners.


All in all, who ever you choose (pick me! pick me!) you should make sure that you take the time to invest in yourself and your photographs, and find the right photographer for you. These are memories that will last you a lifetime. So choose someone who is willing to help give you that amazing experience with photographs that twinkle.







viva las vegas baby



Once a year my sweet husfriend and I go on a trip. We always go together for at least 3 days but up to 5 just to recharge as a couple and spend time with one another. This past year we knew we would be going to disneyland with my mother in law (it was on her bucket list), so we decided to make our trip a small one. We picked Vegas. We had ironically never been there as a couple. He goes on a ‘Man-cation’ every November to SEMA, a huge car show, and the last time I had been was in college with a bunch of girls. So we thought this could be fun!


We always seem to go around my birthday, I am pretty sure it is a cop out for the husfriend from getting me a gift. But it is still fun none the less. We drove down there so we could have a car for the weekend, and boy did we use it!


We stayed at the Aria, this hotel was hands down my BEST vegas hotel. I HIGHLY recommend it. The casino doesn’t smell like smoke, their rooms are so clean and the service is top notch. I will for sure be staying there again. The first night we got there we had purchased tickets to see Michael Jackson’s The ONE. Guys.. I am a MJ junkie. Like grew up knowing all his tunes, I can name them by title and sing you part of the song. I have an issue, I know. So since my husfriend knows about this love affair I have with the King of Pop, he bought us tickets to this show. OH MY GOODNESS. Get your self over to it!! It was amazing, from amazing stunts, to awesome effects to snowing in the theater.. yes you heard me.. SNOWING and lastly a spectacular hologram. Like I asked if we could go see it again the next night it was that good.



The next day we were off to be tourists. We checked out a few malls, did some shopping and stopped off at the Hoover Dam. Now let me tell you about the dam, first off it is CRAZY hot in the summer. Be warned. We went in August and it was a oven set to broil, so we all get that nice crispy edge. We brought water, cause we didn’t want to pay for it at the visitors center, it’s like $4 for a 16oz bottle. From getting out of the car, snapping a few photos and reading a few plaques our water went from Gas Station cold to simmering, I kid you not. But if you haven’t seen it, you have to do it. At least once in your life time, maybe just don’t choose the summer like some idiots we know..





Now we are food people, I like to eat and have a slight love affair (who am I kidding, great love affair) with it. So naturally we ate, and at a lot of places. We did Hash House a Go-Go for breakfast. People be warned, a plate from this place is like a large pizza pan. I ordered sides, yes sides, and couldn’t finish them. But the food, AMAZING. Maybe just split with a friend.. Another go to spot is Earl of Sandwich. It is in the Cosmopolitan, and is open 24/7, which is a great plus. Not to mention that their sandwiches are like little heated love loafs. So good people so good. We almost always go to Cheesecake Factory, it is a staple for us for birthdays and anniversaries.. why you ask, I don’t know but we do it. Let me tell you about a little secret item that isn’t listed.. I am a fan of Mac & Cheese, like I try it every where. But this mac and cheese, wowza. So good, it is a smaller portion, but it is just right for me. So if you are a cheese connoisseur like myself, try it.



Since neither one of us was there for a conference we didn’t have an agenda. We walked almost everywhere, like we do when we travel, so we can see all the nooks and crannies of places. You never know what you will find when you are looking for it. And since the husfriend doesn’t do touristy things in Vegas while mancationing, we decided to hit some spots he had wanted to go to but hadn’t. One was Coca Cola world. Yep, that good ole fashion beverage that tastes like magic fairy dust at McDonalds.. I swear they add like crack to it. Back to Coke World.. we decided to do the ‘Around the World’ taster. Be warned, some countries like straight up cough syrup yo. Like I puked it back into the cup nasty. But it was fun and some of them do taste pretty darn good. It’s like russian roulette for your tongue.



Another thing we love to do is walk around at nights and see the lights and shows outside the hotels. One of the favs is Caesars Palace. Maybe cause it reminds us of Rome or maybe cause it is just cool to look at or maybe because a little show called Hangover – you probably get this a lot.. but this isn’t the real Caesar’s palace is it? But we always make a pit stop here and check out the statues. And of course the Bellagio water show, just do it once. DO IT. Seriously best 5 minute break for your feet and beautiful to watch.





All in all Vegas was an fun destination for us both and we for sure will be doing it as a couple again. What are some of your top places there? Anywhere I should go next time??











book lovers anonymous + insurgent

as I stated in this post, I have a love affair with books. It all started back when I was in the first grade. My dad, the great father that he is, taught me to read every night for 20 minutes before I went to bed. It was a requirement back then, but now.. I can’t sleep without the pages of a book. Thanks Dad.


So this week, I thought we would follow last book’s post up with the second in the series. These books really are reading bliss. I get carried away when I jump into the world of post apocolyptic chicago.

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**Spoilers Below.. read at your own risk**


We start back up where they left off, arriving at the Amity compound. They are allowed to stay there as long as they live in peace and work in the compound. They agree. As things progress, it is discovered that Tris has the hard drive containing the program and the footage. Another former Dauntless member, Peter, begins to fight with her over it, thus breaking the peace part of Amity. In the process of the fight the drive is broken. I was pissed, what the hell?! That is the only video / photos that Tris had of her parents. And seriously I wanted to punch Peter back in the training days. But alas, I guess we need someone who fights against her. Soon after Dauntless and Erudite leaders, arrive at the compound. Knowing they would be spotted Tris, Four, Caleb and Susan (a former abnegation) make a break for it and manage to escape. As they jump on the train back towards the city, they discover the car they are on is filled with Factionless.


Among the factionless, is Edward, a Dauntless member from Tris’ class who was let go. They take them to the factionless zone where there are hundreds of people. Among them is Evelyn, Four’s mother. He previously thought her to be dead, based on information given to him by his father. Can Marcus get any worse?!? Evelyn reveals her plan to over throw the government but that she needs help from the Dauntless. She talks to Four about convincing the Dauntless faction to join the factionless and take over. Soon after Tris and Four travel to Candor to find remaining Dauntless. Upon arrival they are put under truth serum and some pretty strong confessions come to light. While in candor they are attacked by the bad Dauntless members and they find their leader Eric among them. Four and a group of Dauntless help over power the captors, the bad Dauntless. Tris while fighting injures Eric and then is swept out of the building. Later the Candor leader meets with Max a representative of Jeanine. Tris, Four, Lynn and Shauna spy on the meeting, Lynn is overwhelmed with the meeting and the events that have happened and shoots Max in the chest. They begin to chase after Jeanine they find Peter is one of her body guards. Flippin traitor, can I punch him now? They know that Jeanine will get away and begin to retreat. As they run Shauna is shot and paralyzed from the waist down.

After a few days they trek back to Dauntless, where they in true Dauntless style they hold a court with Dauntless members for Eric due to his crimes. They find him guilty and he is executed. One night at Dauntless headquarters Tris and Four have a spat. Tris knows that Jeanine wants her and she wants to turn herself in to spare the lives of those around her. Four refuses to let her and they eventually agree that she will stay. That night while Four sleeps Tris escapes and makes her way to Erudite headquarters.

Jeanine is pleasantly surprised to find Tris turning herself in. She demands to do testing on her, and Tris agrees only if she will tell her what she is doing and let her see the results of the tests. Jeanine reluctantly agrees. Of course her love Four follows her a few weeks later and is also captured. Weeks later she is told that the next day she will die. She knows what is coming and is saddened by it. Cue tears and kleenex please. As she is walked to the termination room, Peter her guard (seriously can we get a break from him??) allows her to say goodbye to Four. After a brief goodbye she is walked into the room and strapped to the table. She has leads hooked to her to monitor her heart, that way Jeanine will know she is dead. Peter is the one administering the drug and as it does, Tris realizes that she is still alive. She can’t move and her heart is barely beating but enough that Jeanine is convinced. Peter scoops her up to remove her and immediately rushes to Four’s cell. He bursts into tears and holds her close. Peter reveals what he has done and that they must move quickly if they are to escape. So is Peter good now??

They quickly make it out and go back to Abnegation where the factionless have set up house. They stay at his house and quickly make it home. After a few days Tris is wandering around the streets and spots Marcus. She follows him into a building and confronts him. He tells her that there is information in Erudite that was being protected, that her parents knew about it and that is why they died. To get that out. Shortly after Factionless create a group to attack the headquarters. Knowing that Four would be angry that she worked with Marcus she tells him that she is going to stay behind, and he agrees that it would be best. After they leave Tris, Marcus and Christina (Tris’ friend) leave for Erudite with the mission to get that information. They quickly make it in and start making their way to data rooms. They find Caleb her brother there, (why is he betraying her??) who tells her that none of that information would be stored in that room. They would find it in Jeanine’s office. So they start upward. When they reach the top they find 2 doors. Marcus takes one and Tris the other. Through a simulation, involving beating her computerized self, she makes it into Jeanine’s office. Here she finds Jeanine at gunpoint by Tori (a Dauntless who had lost her divergent brother). Tris tries to tell Tori why she is there and what she needs and that she must leave Jeanine alive to get it. There is a struggle, in which Tori stabs Jeanine killing her, and soon Four emerges with Marcus. He confronts Tris about aligning with Marcus and not telling him about her plan. She decides to share why she did it, Four doesn’t believe her.

Tris is taken downstairs with the other ‘traitors’, while Four and Caleb stay upstairs. Accepting defeat and that she will have to pay for her crimes Tris feels alone. Surrounded by Factionless she sees no way out. Suddenly Four and Caleb come down the stairs and a hologram starts to play. Four finds Tris and they make up ( finally ). There is a young woman talking, named Amanda Ritter. She explains that the world has become so horrible that the government has started genetic altering and putting people into cities and doing experiments. That their city is an experiment of factions and learning to depend on each other, and their qualities would correct the corruption. And when the Divergent began to grow in numbers that they are supposed to unseal the city and join society. Amanda decides to become among them under the name, Edith Prior, one of Tris’ relatives.


This book was a great follow up to Divergent. I did struggle a bit with Four and Tris’ relationship and how it seemed to always teeter-totter. I wish they could just figure it out. And I HATE that Tris felt like it was her duty to turn herself in, she always seems to be a bit careless with her life.  I am not a fan of Evelyn, she seems like she is up to something more than what she claims. And why is Marcus still here?? I am not sure what I feel about Peter, he did a nice thing this once but has been horrid in the past. Does that mean that he is going to have a change of heart? All in all, I loved the first book better, but this was a good follow up. Insurgent is pretty great, so let’s do that one next?


to the pages my fellow book worms!


s’more.. how can I have some more?



Sandlot fans unite! Alright come on whose favorite treat in the summer following a BBQ isn’t a s’more? I mean first you take the cracker and you get yourself some chocolate, then you get your mallow. When the mallow is flamin you are good to go! One of my all time favorite things about summer is the fact that I get to eat S’mores. I can eat them every day, day or night and not have my fill. Seriously these things are great. So when I found a recipe for baked smores.. hallelujah is all I had to say peeps. That was it. So want some more??



1/2 cup butter (room temp)

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup sugar

1 large egg

1 tsp of vanilla

1 1/3 cup flour

1/4 tsp salt

3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs (about 5 full crackers)

1 tsp baking powder

2 to 3 GIANT sized chocolate bars

1 1/2 cup marshmellow creme (about 14 oz)


Heat your oven up to 350. Get that baby cycling through. Start by mixing your butter and sugars. Then add your egg and vanilla and cream that sucker. Then add flour, crumbs, powder and salt. Mix on low until completely mixed (makes a dough consistency).



Divide the dough in half, we need one for the crust and one for the top! Press half of the dough into a GREASED 9×13 pan. Try to make it as even as possible. Next place unwrapped chocolately goodness on top of the crust. Then spread the ‘mallows’ creme over the top of the chocolate. I try to stay slightly away from the sides so it isn’t too gooey when you go to plate.



Place the remaining dough in a gallon size freezer bag. Get your rolling pin and roll that puppy out. When you get it to all the edges, open it and cut down the sides of the bag. Open it book style and place it onto the mallow creme. (I like the word mallow..even sounds good). Spread the dough evenly to the edges, I tuck mine a bit down so the creme doesn’t come out.



Bake in the oven for 30 minutes or until the crust on top is lightly browned. Allow these to cool COMPLETELY before you cut into them. Then bottoms up! Thank you Smalls, Squints and the ‘Ham’ for teaching me about the worlds greatest snack.


stay sweet.






Cole & Ember + Wedding



Let me tell you about my awesome family. I literally won in the in-law lottery. I love my in-laws to death, they are really just my family, not in-laws. Recently my brother in law got married. Remember beautiful Ember from this post? This is her wedding day, the day I gained another member to my family. And let me tell you.. it was pretty great.




Did I mention that the groom, Cole, is a die hard Packers fan. Why.. I have no clue, maybe one day he will see the light and choose wisely. Ember being as awesome as she is, made her wedding colors include yellow and green, now if that isn’t an amazing bride I don’t know what is.



Sporting an heirloom ring? Ember did it in style, pinky bli to the ng. And did I mention my adorbs nephew?? Um I melt, that kid is so cute. He of course was the ring bearer. He made his way down the isle in a red flyer wagon, cause this kid.. he has style.


The ceremony was seriously the most fun and personal one I have attended. Complete with shocking reveals and laughs galore.



Of course we had to get that cute nephew of mine again with his killer socks. Told you, he has style.




And the food, oh my. You know how I feel about food and sugar. This food was the bomb! They had Magleby’s cater. Seriously you can’t go wrong here. GET IN MY BELLY! Please, don’t ask how many of those mini cheesecakes I had, it may or may not have been in the double digits.C+E7Why not have squishy hugs at a wedding. This brides parents are the best. I don’t think I have ever had more challenges given to me than by the father. He was all about it, kept me on my toes. And siblings, can you just feel the squishy love??



Groomsmen, all brothers might I add. This group.. oui. How I landed this picture between dirty jokes and deep laughs, was a pure miracle. And naturally we have to have a ducky face picture of the bride and her maids.


This was an amazing shoot, one that goes down in books as a memorable wedding for me. Congrats Cole and Ember, thanks for letting me a part of your LAUGH-TASTIC beautiful day!


Hair & Make up : Styled By Ember     Floral Design : Nannette York    Venue : Sleepy Ridge


*Want me to shoot your wedding? I’d love to! Shoot me a email and lets meet!

pinterest picks

let me introduce you to my life suck. In addition to instagram, and facebook, I spend a good chunk of time on pinterest. I mean you can just scroll and scroll forever, and even though you tell yourself that there is a limit to how long you can be on, we can’t be controlled. AHH. So I figured maybe if I showed you some of my pinterest picks every now and then you can share yours with me!


First up is this adorbs print of my favorite pup, the french bulldog. I have a frenchie, if you didn’t know, named Jet. I literally find everything bulldog adorable. It is a weakness. Must STOP.Screen shot 2014-06-27 at 6.45.21 PM



I have been thinking a lot lately about how to get out of creative funks. I think as a creative we have to find ways to keep ourselves going. A lot of the time it means to not do the art we revolve around for a minute and jump into something else. I have always loved watercolor and thinking this might be a great creative release. What creative releases do you guys use?

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Of course I am always on the hunt for recipes to try and desserts I must have. I found these recently and I think I might have to try and share with all of you my sugar friends. Aren’t they the cutest?

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Guys, in addition to adorable melt in your face puppies, I love all things stars. I love constellations and all the amazingness behind them. I even have a star named after me in the constellation Virgo (thanks adoring husby). So of course when I see constellation earrings I go gooey.

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I have wanted to start a new personal project. So I am on the hunt for photo inspiration that fits into the idea I have in mind. This got some creative juices flowing for what may come. Screen shot 2014-06-27 at 6.47.54 PM


Want to see more of my pins? Feel free to have a ‘minute’ gander at my pinterest board.

a slice of american pie



want to know a crazy fact about me? I don’t like fruit, like at all. I hardly EVER eat it. I know you think I am some strange alien, I probably am, but just something I have never been a fan of. There are few things I make an exception for. 1. Fruit juices, probably because they contain oodles of sugar my favorite food group. 2. Banana bread, cause really it is bread. Let’s not kid ourselves on that one. 3. Cherry Pie, cause pie is just delicious. Every Thanksgiving it is my job to make the pies. I do make other pies, like banana cream (which I don’t eat..) and pumpkin but my FAV is cherry. Not sure why but this is one fruit dessert that I love. So pull up the sleeves and get into this recipe, the best flakey crust and cherry goodness.



Here is my pie crust recipe (this makes enough for 2 pie shells)

1 cup shortening

2.5 cups flour

1 tsp salt

1/4 cup cold water

1 egg

1 TB vinegar




I start off by mixing flour, salt and sugar. Make sure it is all mixed in. Then add shortening to the mix, cut it in until it looks like coarse cornmeal. Then add water, vinegar and the egg. Mix until it is a dough. Sometimes I have to add a little extra water just to help the dough stick together. Now if you are making your pie right now then put it to use! If not roll into a ball and put it in a plastic bag and refridgerate.

I cut the dough into half, and start going to work. Roll out the dough until it is bigger than your pie plate. You need it to hang over the edge a bit to attach it to the top crust. Lay it into the pie plate and push it into the pie bottom and edges. Now for the filling, yum!




Here is my recipe for cherry filling.

2 cans of red tart cherries (I use oregon brand)

1 1/4 cup sugar

3 TBS tapioca

squirt of almond extract


Start off by draining your cherries, you don’t want any of the cherry juices. This makes the pie runny. Then add your sugar, tapioca and almond extract. I sometimes add a squirt of red food coloring to make the cherries really red. Then pour this into your pie shell.



Now you need the other half of your pie crust to make your topper. Roll your dough out on a floured surface until it is again larger than the pie plate, you need overhang. Now for the top you need vents, this helps the pie not buldge and spill out the edges. So make a cute design, or use a cookie cutter and cut a few vents. You can even save your cut outs and put them on top of your crust. You need a small bit of water, this is your glue. Dip your fingers in the water and run it around the edge of the bottom crust on the pie rim. Do it until there is a shimmer and you can feel it being wet. Then place your top crust over your pie. I like to run my fingers around the edge just to make sure the top and bottom crust are sealed. Then take a butter knife and run it around the edge of the pie plate cutting off the excess pie dough. After this is done, you can do whatever kind of decorative edge you want. I prefer the fluted, just because it feels sealed to me. To do this, hold your pointer finger and thumb about a inch apart, put them on the inside of the pie. Pull up the edge off the pie rim and with your pointer finger on the other side, push the dough into your finger and thumb. Continue this all around the crust.



Now, I like to add a little something-something to my pies. I like to squeeze sugar in at every chance I can! So I take my water and dip my fingers again and run it across the top of the pie. If I saved my leftover cut outs I lay them on top of the crust. Then once I have the pie slightly wet on the top I sprinkle granulated sugar on top.

After this is done I put the pie on a pan of some sort with my ever trusty parchment paper. I hate cleaning pans.. I do this so IF the pie does crack and leak, I don’t have to clean the whole oven. Then I slide that baby into the oven and bake it for 45 minutes at 400 degrees.



You will know it is done when the crust has a nice light brown color to it. I usually allow my pie to cool for a few hours, I don’t like really hot pie. After it has had a chance to cool, I slice it up and get to work.

until next time foodie friends.




Stay sweet.







personal work + 4th of July




holidays, who doesn’t love a holiday? I mean really, an excuse to hang out and have fun. No work and all play. Growing up the fourth was epic. We spent the morning at the parade downtown and spent the afternoon either running through sprinklers or at the carnival. I mean really this holiday rocked.



As I have gotten older, and realize the gravity of the fourth this holiday is more than just a day to spend with others. It is a day to remember those who work hard every year to make sure that we have a holiday. I personally have never been a solider and stood as a line of defense against those who threaten that freedom, but I have a deep gratitude for them their willingness to allow me freedom.




This year, I will be spending the fourth with my husbands family in their hometown of Alexandria Minnesota. I have never been there, and looking forward to a exploring a new town and seeing family that we haven’t seen in years. So while you are having your hot dog and shooting off those glorious sparkly fireworks, make sure you take a minute to say thanks to those who work hard to give you a holiday.Fourth2


Happy Fourth America!




wallpaper + fourth of july

I don’t know about you, but I like to change the wallpaper on my iphone and ipad regularly. i mean i look at it at least 50x a day, i want to see something new every once and a while. and since this week is the fourth, cue fireworks, I thought a custom wallpaper was in order. this is a photo that I shot on a trip to washington dc with my husfriend. the trip was amazing and it was so great to learn more about our country and the wonderful people who found it. so show your american pride, and change your wallpaper!



iPhone |  iPad Desktop