Monday, February 10, 2014


January was a mighty productive month.

Progress for January:
-Painted the entryway
-Attended the temple twice, including the Gilbert temple open house
-Purchased a extensive meal plan for our dietary modifications and am in the process of weeding through them to find 14 meals to put into regular circulation
-shot 3 rolls of film with the newest camera in my collection
-Participated with the Project Ten Challenge for January
-Bought a ukelele and learned to play one song with 3 chords
-Submitted 1 photo to the Beesley Project
-Gone to the gym, but not consistently each week
-Spent time with the Boy for 15 minutes on some days, but it is proving to be harder than anticipated
-Had friends over for dinner one night, so I could that as social.
-Date night twice!

This list is vague, but I assure you there are posts to come to share more info.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Plans for a Great 2014

That was a long blogger break, but I felt drawn back to track my progression on my goals for the year. Since I last posted, the Boy started Kindergarten and I got a part-time job at a local photo studio. Those two events left me living out the remainder of the year flying by the seat of my pants. And Christmas being thrown together last minute. This year I am going to get my act together.

1. Print photos - I have about 4 years worth of digital photos. Whether it be thousands of 4x6 prints or large wall displays or photo books, those puppies need to be printed. This also goes for professional work so that I can have a hard copy of my portfolio.

2. Read the Book of Mormon as a family - We started it last year and the Boy is capable of reading verses himself, so it just needs to become part of our bedtime routine.

3. Paint entry way - Since we moved in, our entryway has been maroon. It has been doom and gloom dark and not very welcoming to guests (or me). It needs to get happy.

4. Plan and take a fun and educational trip to Oregon - Husband's sister recently moved there and that is reason enough to go visit. The plan is to get books from the library and do a little bit of research with the Boy to figure out what we want to see. Did I mention the Boy loves all the states in the U.S.? I'm hoping we can get to all 50 at some point or another.

5. Go to the temple 6 times - I doubt I made it that many times last year because life was just so busy. Averaging a visit every other month is a reasonable goal.

6. Develop 2 weeks' worth of meals to regularly rotate through - Last year I had to come to terms with the need to eliminate/minimize some foods in my diet for health reasons. Every recipe in my regular standby menu needs to be scrapped or re-configured.

7. Learn to skillfully use 3 different film cameras - I have a ridiculously large camera collection and a moderate-sized supply of film in my fridge. These two things need to join forces.

8. Set up my living room and reading room to be used for photo clients - There are business goals (none included in this list) that I have for this year and having a place to meet with clients would sure help move things along.

9. Scan and restore family photos - My mom's side of the family has a lot of old family photos and I happen to have the skills to scan and restore old photos. It seems like the least I can do in terms of genealogy work. Plus I love looking at old photos.

10. Participate in the Project 10 Challenge every month - I am part of a group on facebook that posts a theme every month for a 10 photo series. While I have been a member of the group for a while, I have not participated yet. It would be good for my photography and soul to have a mini photo shoot that pushes my creativity.

11. Learn to play the ukulele - I have been telling Husband for over a year that I wanted to own and play the ukulele. Jen inspired me to just get it done.

12. Plan an intentional Christmas - To put it simply, this last Christmas was not good for our family. It had everything to do with a lack of planning ahead. Not this year.

13. Submit at least 24 photos to the Beesley Project - It is an honor to have been asked to participate in this project. Basically, it is a daily analysis of each hymn in the LDS hymn book. Another good project for my photography and soul.

14. Learn to play one piece from the Pride and Prejudice piano book well enough to perform publicly - Husband's dad recently gave us his digital piano. I have been without a piano in my home for about 10 years, so my skills have gotten rusty. When I was younger I performed at recitals at least 3 times a year. While I don't really want to have a recital, I would love to have a new piece of recital music ready.

15. De-clutter my house - It is embarrassing to say, but there are still some boxes in my bedroom from when we moved into our house 2.5 years ago. There are things in just about every room that don't really have a home. There are things in my house that I have not used since before Husband and I married 6.5 years ago. My house is in no way any where near hoarder territory, but I would like get rid of things that are just taking up space. Organizing all my camera gear would be helpful, too.

16. Go to the gym 3 times a week - Working out is my anti-depressant and I got out of the habit when the school year started.

17. Spend 15 uninterrupted minutes a day with the Boy - Life has been busy and I have been majorly distracted. The Boy has noticed and often stands uncomfortably close to me while I am working at my computer to get my attention. I read somewhere that spending just 15 minutes uninterrupted by technology or whatever can make a huge difference in a child's day and behavior. It should make a difference in my behavior, too.

18. Attend or host a social event once a month - Hermit behavior does nothing to benefit me. When I get busy, I become a huge hermit. Once a month should keep me connected with the outside world enough to prevent me from being any more awkward that I already am. Lets hope that I can be invited to an event most months so I don't have to plan too much...

19. Go out on a date with Husband once a month - Husband and I have gotten pretty good at setting time aside for each other every evening once the Boy is in bed, but we rarely go out on a date. How can we demonstrate PDA if we are never out in public together?

20. Find and enroll the Boy in an extracurricular activity - Art, dance, sports, music, or something else, would benefit the Boy since he is a sponge and just soaks information up like crazy.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Too Legit

The wait is over. Photography Hill has been officially launched! Check out the website at

And! Check out the giveaway over at the Photography Hill blog.

A big thank you to everyone that has been so supportive of my photography. It means the world to me.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Pleasant Distraction

Friends, it has been too long. To say that I have been distracted would be a understatement. For those of you who don't know, I am getter super serious about my photography and have formed my own company. Photography Hill is soon to be launched in all it's glory this week. I'll post here, Facebook, and Instagram (@photographyhill) about that - complete with a giveaway. Stay tuned! I am so excited to share my work with you (and the world?). Taking pictures of people makes me happy and I want to share that happiness.

Check out my business cards! I'm to legit to quit. Moo provides amazing options for business cards. Without them, it would have taken me a long time to produce my polaroid inspired cards. I thought of the idea about a year ago, so when I saw their template just like I had envisioned on Moo, it was a dream come true.

And again, stay tuned. A giveaway is on the way.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Guest Posting

I'm guest posting over at Jen's blog today. Please send some happy birthing vibes her way, as her baby is 5 days overdue. Let us all collectively will Cletus the Fetus to be born in the next 24 hours.

And here is a random photo for you, since I take pictures and a post is never fully dressed without one. This one is of the Boy at 3 days old.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Lettuce, Turnip, and Pea

Recently, Husband and I decided to get strict with our monthly budget. We are not extravagant with our expenditures, but since student loans are in our lives, we decided that we should tighten up our budget where possible. The grocery budget is ALWAYS where I look first. We decided to go cash only on our groceries, and that the budget would be $200/month or $50/week.

This week marks the end of our first month of cash only. It also marks the end of our first month of regularly buying meat again. I am amazed and excited about how far I have stretched that money (FYI: I stopped couponing over a year ago because it just took too much energy). I was actually $7.18 under budget. A big portion of this success is thanks to Fresh & Easy for their excellent prices, weekly coupons, and reward points system. And thanks to Superstition Ranch Market for excellent prices on produce.

I'm, also, pretty happy to report that we have actually eaten better than usual. This can be attributed to reading It Starts With Food that changed my views of our meal plan (read: put more emphasis on protein, veggies, and fruit, and less on fillers like rice and bread).

Here are pictures of some of my favorite meals from this month so far:

 Salmon Cakes with Asparagus and Bell Peppers

 Banana Pancakes (packed with protein) and Strawberries

Egg Drop Soup with Whole Wheat Potstickers*

Another really great thing about this week is that the Boy helped cook a few meals, which resulted in pride in his accomplishment and more enjoyment eating his meals. Every night he asks what dinner will be and when told, he exclaims "Yes!!! I love (insert food name)!!!"

He sauteed those bell peppers and asparagus amazingly well.

The pride in his efforts for this omelet can be seen in his Awkward Family Photos smile/pose.

He was super excited about the corn bread he helped make, so much so that he inhaled 3 slices in a blink of an eye. 

*I realize this meal was lacking in the veggie department. Can't be winning all the time.

Monday, March 18, 2013

AZ Blogger Meetup Recap

A few weeks ago, I attended a blogger meetup. The idea was to get to know other bloggers through bringing some our favorite things to share. This aspect was what sold me on going. I love putting together gift bags. Receiving bags was fun, too, especially when one included a succulent to add to the succulent garden on my fireplace.

The bags I put together contained:
-80s glasses
-print of one of my Polaroids
-Strawberry Lime Jones soda
-half pint of home canned Sweet and Sour Pickled Red Onions
-Cd of 5 favorite Zumba songs

Lets talk a moment about the shirt I wore to this event. I've noticed that blogger meet-ups are pretty fashionable affairs, but as we seen before, I crack under the pressure. This time around my choice of attire was purely emotional.

Here is a little story:
Once upon a time, in August of 2006, I invited Husband (ex-boyfriend at the time) to attend a Death Cab for Cutie concert with me and some friends. It was an incredible concert, especially since it introduced us to Mates of State (opening band). Both Husband and I bought shirts. Shortly after the concert, I went home for a visit and took my shirt with me. Somewhere during that visit the shirt was misplaced and I thought I had lost it forever. Husband wore his shirt lots and lots in the years that followed. Every time he wore his, I felt a deep longing for my lost shirt. Fast forward to a few months ago when my parents were moving. As they were moving their washing and dryer, they found my t-shirt huddled in a corner covered in dust bunnies. I may have shrieked with joy.

It needed a good wash, but basically it is as pristine as the day I bought it (stark contrast to Husband's shirt which is now sporting a few holes). The day of the blogger meet-up was the first day I wore it. And I could not change out of it into something more trendy for the meet-up. And perhaps I wore it for 5 days straight before I washed it again. And wore it as many days as I could since. We had been apart for 6.5 years, and by the record of days warn in the past month, I have developed separation anxiety. But enough about my weird tendencies...

The meet-up was a lot of fun. I loved hearing from all the ladies about their blogs and eating the delicious food provided by Sweet Cakes. I cannot wait for another opportunity to hang out with these ladies and form lovely local blogger friendships. A big thank you to Camille and Katie for hosting, Sweet Cakes* for providing an after-hours location, Bonnie for taking photos (since I failed to take my camera out during the event), Megan for the succulent and over stuffed oreos, and most importantly, Jen and Brooke for coming with me to ease my awkwardness.

*Anyone else out there want to call that place Sweet Cupin' Cakes?