February 29, 2012

What I’m Giving Up (maybe.)

I’m not Catholic and so don’t traditionally observe Lent, but lately I’ve been considering giving something up for a while….. 

And what is that, you may ask? 

Wait for it.

Wait for it.

SHOPPING. GAHthereIsaidit. (Can you sense my inner turmoil?)

There’s something about buying a 2000+ dollar camera plus lens plus accessories that will do that to ya.  Make you question your spending habits and whether or not you can really afford to step foot in another J.Crew for the next, oh, FIVE YEARS. 

But what’s worse is that, as a blogger, I feel it my DUTY to make purchases.  I have rooms in my house to finish so that I may photograph them!  For the blog!  I have outfits that aren’t quite complete or blog-worthy until I buy that extra accessory to go along with them!  Hell, I just need new outfits, altogether!  Spring fashion this year is fabulous! My style is evolving! Must stay current! For the blog!

Well that would all be well and good if there was a money tree growing in our backyard, but I’ve checked and all that’s out there is dog shit.  So I’ve been feeling convicted that, if I want to make some money to be able to buy more stuff, it’s going to take a little bit of sacrificing for a while as I learn the ins and outs of photography and start up my business. 

Sacrifice.  I don’t like that word!  But I’ve noticed that anyone who’s made anything out of themselves in this life was willing to do it.  And for some reason I think what’s required of me, maybe just for the month of March at first (let’s not get carried away), is a bit of a spending freeze.  Or maybe I just allow myself $100 to buy a new dress or as much crap from Forever 21 as I can bleed out of that $100?  I’ll think on this.

Oh, and one more thing.  You know, blogging and blog reading and Pinterest-ing can be THE WORST when it comes to coveting and lusting over material things.  Sometimes I feel like around every bend I’m faced with some FABULOUSIHAVETOHAVEIT item or amazing little shop or “great deal” that I’d be stupid to pass up.  But really, each and every one of us has to look at our unique situation and our end goals and ask ourselves if our spending habits are in line with those goals.  Food for thought.

Here’s a pretty picture.

Feb 21 022-1 Happy Wednesday :)

February 28, 2012

I need a baby so it can wear these shoes. (Shwimmy Kids Giveaway!)


Do you have a baby? Do you know a baby? Do you plan on ever having/knowing a baby? Then this is the giveaway for you, my friends!

The Shwimmy Kids shop specializes in handmade baby shoes, but not just ANY handmade baby shoes.  Really freaking cute ones.  So if you’re interested in winning the precious little shoes of your choice, follow the directions below!

To Enter:
Mandatory: Like Shwimmy Kids on Facebook and comment letting me know you did so!

For extra entries (all represented by separate comments):

+ Visit the Shwimmy Kids shop and let me know which pair of shoes is your favorite!
+ Favorite the Shwimmy Kids shop on Etsy (if you have an account)
+ Pin a photo from the shop onto your Pinterest page and leave the link to your pin
+ Like Story of My Life on Facebook

Good luck! Winner will be announced next week! :)

February 27, 2012

Sneak peek of our shoot! (Brittney Squire Photography)

Matthew_Jenni_Preview_2- I think Matthew rocked the plaid shirt, and it was really fitting for this location. But we DID get some shots in the stripes, too! :)

Brittney Squire Photography

So, Brittney Squire is a rockstar and ALREADY sent us a sneak peek of our shoot on Saturday.   I’m a little in love.  These were taken at Commons Ford Park here in Austin, and I can’t say enough good things about that GORGEOUS location!  Fields of long grass and flowers, big fabulous trees, a lake… it really was like some sort of fantasy land, especially late afternoon when the sunlight was perfection.  I want to go back and just bring a picnic and lay in the flowers and smell the earth.

The location even came complete with a creepy farmer-dude watching our shoot through binoculars.  Yeah, you’re not slick at all, Old McDonald.   We see you peepin’ over there. 

Anyway, it was such a fun weekend, and Brittney was completely awesome.  Check out her blog for more fabulous, natural light couple’s photos... and stay tuned for more from our shoot.

Happy Monday!

February 26, 2012

Best of Instagram, week 8

Happy Sunday everyone!  Thanks for all your input on the stripes vs. plaid debate on Friday… I had to laugh about how passionately people felt on both sides of the argument!  In the end, I wound up having him change halfway, so at some point we’ll have to have a vote about which looked nicer in the photos! ;)

Instagram was an afterthought for me this week.  I only took a handful of pictures on my phone because I was too busy drooling all over my new Canon.  I’ll try to be better next week!  But here are a few choice Insta-shots.  Leave your link below!

cameraThe reason my Best of Instagram today is sparse (and my new reason for living).

dressThe dress.

ice cream A man sized scoop.

c10    Cooper chillaxin’.

gc7Hey what’s up mom.

brunch Out to brunch this morning.

Happy Sunday :)

PS – I’m using a new link-up tool today—I had no idea the other one would turn into a paid account after 30 days!   You have 50 characters in the “name” slot, so fill it with whatever you’d like!

February 24, 2012

Stripes or plaid? Help!

Matthew and I have a couple’s photo session this weekend, and for weeks now I’ve been feverishly hunting for the perfect mustard or gold dress.  96.4% of Matthew’s clothing is blue, so I wanted something that would really contrast nicely with a shirt he already has. 

In a happy little turn of fate on Wednesday night (and thanks to the ninja-like awesomeness of my best friend, who spotted it first), I found that perfect golden dress (here—it’s 50% off today! WTH!) and snatched it right up.  That baby had my name all over it—there were only two left, one of which happened to be my size! When does that ever happen unless God himself intended for you to have that dress?  Never, that’s when.

But now I have a dilemma.  I posed this question to Twitter and Instagram yesterday as well, but the response so far has been split down the middle.  Should Matthew wear the plaid or the stripes?!  The setting will be natural (vs. urban), and while I’m leaning towards the plaid, I adore the stripes as well.  Maybe I’ll make him change half through the session, but still, I’m curious to hear your opinions.  What’ll it be, my friends? The stripes or the plaid?

stripes or plaid 037-1

Happy Friday!

February 23, 2012

Spring style

It has been downright spring-like here in Texas.  Guess what the high is today?  88.  Isn’t it supposed to be winter?!  Just a thought. 

Well anyway, the weather has been ideal for taking outdoor pictures, and yesterday I had Matthew snap some of my outfit.  I think even he felt the power of the Mark II in his hands.  He is usually rather grumbly while taking pictures, but this time he seemed to be getting a little carried away by the super-fast shutter speed.  I have a lot of sexy mid-blink, drunken-looking shots to show for it.  Seriously, I could fill an entire blog with only awkward outtakes from outfit posts.  It’d be awesome.

Anyway, this outfit is simple and sweet… just how I like it.  I am all about the awesome bright shorts out at J.Crew right now, and this green color was my favorite.  Also, pay close attention to the necklace I’m wearing!  I’ll tell you where to find it below.

Outfit Feb 22 049-2

Outfit Feb 22 034-1

Outfit Feb 22 025-1   Outfit Feb 22 046-1

{ Shirt, shorts, and flats: J.Crew, bracelets: F21, necklace: c/o Vintage Wanna Bee }

So let’s talk about that necklace for a moment, shall we?  Can we all just take a moment and admire the adorableness?  Nichelle from Vintage Wanna Bee sent it over for me, and I am mildly obsessed with it now.  Definitely the perfect little pop of color to spice up an outfit (and there are many other colors to choose from—I’ll certainly be going back for more). AND it’s handmade AND it’s affordable.  Win win win.  Check out the mustardy/gold color here or browse the rest of the shop here!  Girlfriend has some seriously sweet stuff. 

Have a happy Thursday!

February 22, 2012

The woes of a fur-mom.

Yesterday was kind of a traumatic day for me. 

At 8 AM I dropped Gracie off at the vet to have her teeth cleaned and a mass on her gum removed, but this was the first time in 5+ years I’ve left her anywhere besides with a loved family member or friend.  Gracie is a very anxious dog, and my poor little baby was beyond terrified.  I was fighting tears as they literally dragged her away from me.  The vet tech promised they’d call me as soon as she was awake and available to be picked up after the procedure, so I went home to a very distraught Cooper who ran right past me to look for his sister when I let him out of his crate.  Those two are NEVER apart.

So I ran some errands yesterday and left Cooper with “grandma” where he likely enjoyed a spa day filled with lots of treats and grandma-love, but I couldn’t get my little Gracie bear off my mind.  I hated to think she was scared.

3 o’clock rolled around and off Cooper and I went to pick up sister.  The vet tech and Gracie met me in a little room, and the reunion was joyous! She wasn’t even wearing the muzzle I brought her in with! Her tail was wagging! She seemed almost happy!  What the heck, Gracie.  Your mother was worried sick all day, and now you seem happy and well adjusted?!  Hrrmph. 

But that’s not all, folks. Later that evening I left the two of them to run a few more errands, but when I got back, I was greeted by a very ashamed-looking Gracie, who had escaped from her crate (the door is broken and it pops open if you push on it hard enough).  Cooper was still locked in his, though, and by the looks of the slobber spatter that soaked the rug in a two foot radius from his crate door, he had been spazzing out for quite some time.  Came to discover he had also been chewing the plastic sides of the crate and tore holes in his blankets!  Clearly he was extremely upset by the fact that Gracie was free and he was not.  It took a massive amount of paper towels to soak up all the slobber outside the crate… nice work, Cooper.

Anyway, that’s the most exciting part of my week so far.  I can’t shake this cold and I haven’t been sleeping well… without fail, my mind always goes crazy when something new and exciting happens in my life (THE CAMERA), so I’ve been having trouble shutting down my brain before bed at night.  It’s thinking: white balance! aperture! f-stops! pretty pictures! pretty pretty pretty! mustn't default on my loan! must look into photo blogs! must find people to practice on! Etc.

For now, these little models will have to do…

Gracie and Cooper Feb 22 012-1 my little patient.

Gracie and Cooper Feb 22 036-1 sometimes her lip gets stuck.

Gracie and Cooper Feb 22 047-1 puppy dog eyes at their finest.

Gracie and Cooper Feb 22 057-1a rare captured moment where Cooper is standing still.

Gracie and Cooper Feb 22 062-1 play time.

Happy Wednesday. :)

February 21, 2012

this just happened.

mark ii 120-1

See that sexy beast in the picture above? Do you see it?!  The camera, people, not the girl who hasn’t bathed or brushed her hair yet today. 

That, my friends, is what I was talking about when I said I was going to make shit happen this year (or part of it, anyway).  For you camera enthusiasts, it’s a Canon 5D Mark II (with a 50mm 1.4 lens), and I’ll go ahead and admit right away that it’s a little like handing over a super high-tech toy to a perplexed two year old.  BUT IT’S AWESOME.

All weekend I was researching my purchase before I finally bit the bullet, and yesterday Matthew (who loaned me half the purchase price) made up a contract complete with terms and penalties and everything if I don’t make monthly payments on my loan and start up my business like I’ve been running my mouth about for months.  And I fully expect that he’ll take me to court if I don’t hold up my end up the deal.  (Law school makes you hard.)  It’s OK, though… I need that extra push.

So I’m planning to pour my soul into manuals and tutorials over the next weeks and months, and the thought actually sort of excites me since I’m learning something that I’m really passionate about.  I’m trying not to get discouraged by the fact that I’m still in that gap between good taste and actual skill—because I know I’ll get there.  It doesn’t happen overnight.

Here’s a few pictures from around my house (all were taken within the first 24 hours of buying this camera, so I certainly don’t claim to know what the heck I’m doing yet).  Have a great Tuesday!

mark ii 045-1mark ii 052-1mark ii 031-1mark ii 106-1mark ii 005-1mark ii 183-1mark ii 197-1mark ii 055-1mark ii 238-1

February 19, 2012

Best of Instagram, week 7

Happy Sunday everyone!  Hope you’re having a nice long weekend (IF you’re having a long weekend).  Matthew is off school tomorrow, so I have a husband for a whole extra day this week! :P 

We’re working on some projects today, so I’ll get right to “Best of Instagram.”  Here are my favorite photos from the week (leave your link below!):

week 7 3

1. A dozen roses from my Valentine.
2. Heart shaped macaroon from Walton’s.

week 7 1

3. Sometimes I eat a really healthy breakfast.
4. Sometimes I don’t.

week 7 2

5. I’m a REAL boy.
6. Having a rough day.

week 7 4

7. Found a Gracie ball on the guest bed.
8. This was mid-week—now all that’s left is the bottom part.  Aren’t Kongs supposed to be indestructible?!

week 7 5 
9. Seemed like the appropriate nail color on this rainy week (L’oreal “Raven’s Strength” with shimmer and bling for the ring finger. Bracelet by Lee La La!)
10. This happened last night.  And I think it seemed even cheesier off the big screen. But I still loved it.

Happy Sunday… :)

February 17, 2012

Friday Features

Good morning folks.  It’s a foggy, dreary day here in Austin, and I have a cold.  How’s that for a bubbly opener? So since my brain is also in a bit of a fog this morning, allow me to introduce a few lovely ladies to you, each of which will do a fine job of entertaining you while I take a sick day.  Check them out!

* * * * *

Ladies and gents (if there are any gents), I need you to meet “Twiggy” (aka Amy).  Maybe you’ve seen some of Twiggy’s comments around the blogosphere—they always have her mark of sarcasm and hilarity all over them, but besides being funny, Amy is also incredibly sweet, an amazing photographer, and an avid hiker (hence her blog name, The Dirt Life).  This, my friends, is a blog you’ll want to read, and a girl you’ll want to know.  

Amy Blog | Facebook

* * * * *

Next is the adorable Britney from The Musings of a Twenty-Something Wife.  Britney blogs about life as a newlywed and everything in between—she’s the sweet girl next door, who you get the feeling would be a wonderful friend in real life. Also, how cute is that outfit she’s wearing in the picture below?!  Love.

Britney Blog | Twitter

* * * * *

And next up is Rachael, the blogger behind Let’s Be Adventurers.  Rachael is a California girl now living with her Dutchman in Amsterdam and gallivanting all over Europe—jealous yet? (And yes, I said “gallivanting.” It seemed appropriate.)  You will love to follow Rachael and Christian’s excellent adventures… go visit!

Rachael (2)Blog

* * * * *

Have an awesome weekend! :)

This blew me away.

Source: fab.com via Jenni on Pinterest


My girl Sarah posted a version of this the other day, and it blew me away.  I feel like I am THERE.  In that gap—photography, writing… hell, even in my my efforts as a WIFE.  I found this SO encouraging.  Like, wow wow wow. YES.  I hope some of you find it encouraging too.  Happy Friday!

February 16, 2012

Update on Edd

Those who’ve been around for a while may remember back to late November when my step-dad Edd spent a good amount of time in the hospital for seizures, among other things.  It was a really rough time for my family, and we didn’t know if he would make it until Thanksgiving, much less Christmas.  If you want to catch up on this story, feel free to look through old posts here (they’re in reverse chronological order, so it’ll make more sense to start at the end).
Anyway, I’ve owed you wonderful people an update for a while now, but as I said the other day, sometimes it’s just hard to write about, and I’m never quite sure what to say.
I guess I could start by saying things aren’t the same anymore.  Whether it’s the cancer or the seizures or the cyber knife treatments a while back, Edd’s mind has been affected. Often he seems really present and “himself” and will say something very Edd-like, but he is also often distant and confused. He’s considered under in-home hospice care now, and while he’s doing much better physically than he was a couple months ago, he’s not taking chemo treatments anymore (a major reason for some of the physical relief).  Edd’s cancer is in his lungs, liver, and brain, but since they’re not treating or testing anymore, it’s impossible to know what the progression has been lately.  The waiting must be excruciating for my mom.
Edd is the sweetest man I know, and has been so good to her.  My mom thinks of this as an opportunity to give back to him some of what he’s given to her.  Unconditional love. Safety. Kindness. Tenderness. Sacrifice. I’ve learned a lot about love by watching the two of them.  I’ll never understand why our bodies were created with what could easily be perceived as flaws—why they turn on us.  Why someone so good and undeserving would be dealt such a rough deck of cards. (rough? there just isn’t a word strong enough for what he’s been through.) And yet Edd never complains. He was the favorite patient at the oncologist’s office.  His only regret is breaking my mom’s heart.
All I know is that people like Edd put the rest of us to shame.
Honestly, I don’t even know what to ask for when it comes to prayers, anymore.  But thanks so much for your kindness and support and for caring about my family.   I’d give every one of your a big squishy hug if I could. :)
Have a happy Thursday!

February 15, 2012

“People eat with their eyes” (on the internet)

Chile Day 2 114-1
When it comes to food AND design, people eat with eyes first.  I really loved this post and the excellent analogy on why it’s so important for writers/bloggers to design an appealing space.  If you want to have a presence on the web, this is so, so key.  Every blogger (or anyone with a website!) should read this!

I think I latched onto this concept early on, and maybe that has something to do with working at a restaurant so long. Presentation is extremely important.  I don’t know how many times I sent a plate back to the kitchen and said, “this looks like crap, and I’m too embarrassed to bring it to my customer.”

Same goes for good blog or web design and good composition of a post.  Remember that someone’s first impression ISN’T the words you write (or the way your food tastes).  It’s the way your website looks to a new visitor when they enter—it’s the first signal of what type of content you’ll be dishing up.  Just like how the look of a plate signals the quality and taste of the food! 

I know not everyone is all that serious about blogging, but this is great advice for those who are.  It’s something I don’t claim to have down just right, but continue to strive for. 

Just some thoughts for your Wednesday. I love to share good info when I find it!

* * * * *

Also, the winner of last week’s Marolsha giveaway is…



Congrats! I’ll be in touch. :)

February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine’s! (+Walton’s, Austin)

Happy Valentine’s Day, y’all! Any big plans for tonight, or did you love birds out there celebrate over the weekend?  My husband will be with his mistress, law school, tonight. Sigh. 

Yesterday my mom and Edd met me for a quick lunch at Walton’s here in Austin, one of Sandra Bullock’s two restaurants in town.  I’ve been wanting to try it forever now, and I was so pleased to finally visit!  The food was delicious, and I felt like I was in a little NYC cafe.  I’ll most definitely be returning.  Nice work, Sandra! :)

Waltons Feb 13 014-3 Waltons Feb 13 117-1heart shaped macaroon 

Waltons Feb 13 037-1BFT (bacon, frisee, and tomato sandwich)

Waltons Feb 13 029-2Edd enjoying his carrot cake cupcake

Waltons Feb 13 127-1Waltons Feb 13 152-1Waltons Feb 13 141-1 Waltons Feb 13 145-1Waltons Feb 13 167-1 Walton’s, you get an A!

Also, thanks to those of you who’ve asked about Edd lately.  I owe you guys a post, it’s just something kind of difficult to write about right now. 

Tell someone you love them today!

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