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C A S O N | valentine’s day blondie bar recipe

It’s almost the freakin’ weekend! We’re only 2 weeks away from the day of love so I thought I’d bring back an oldie but a goodie for this week’s #flashbackfriday! Make these blondie bars for those you love and they’re sure to love you back just a little bit more.

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“Whenever I get gloomy with the state of the world, I think about the arrivals gate at Heathrow Airport. General opinions starting to make out that we live in a world of hatred and greed, but I don’t see that. It seems to me that love is everywhere. Often, it’s not particularly dignified or newsworthy, but it’s always there – fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, husbands and wives, boyfriends, girlfriends, old friends. When the planes hit the Twin Towers, as far as I know, none of the phone calls from the people on board were messages of hate or revenge – they were all messages of love. If you look for it, I’ve got a sneaky feeling you’ll find that love actually is all around.”
- Love Actually

A lot of people like to refer to Valentine’s Day as a “Hallmark Holiday.” The thought of cupids, St. Valentine, and conversation hearts annoy them to no end.  I on the other hand love the idea of celebrating love! One of my favorite movies, Love Actually, words it so well. Love is all around us. Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be all about romance and spending the big bucks. Celebrate the day by showing your loved one how much you care for them.  Revel in the bond between mothers and daughters, husbands and wives, sisters and brothers, friends, and family.  Valentine’s Day is a nice reminder to celebrate the ones you take for granted the most! Yeah, yeah…you are probably thinking you do that all the time. It doesn’t hurt to show it just a little more! Nothing says love like handmade does. (That’s the Etsy girl in me!) If you’re in need of a last-minute idea to celebrate someone you care about, try out these Valentine’s Day blondie bars. (And for those of you who will despise the day of love no matter what, don’t worry, Hallmark doesn’t make one penny off of these!)

Valentine’s Day Blondie Bars
Ingredients:

  • 2/3 cup of butter
  • 2 cups of brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 cups of flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup of chocolate chips
  • 1 cup of Valentine’s M&M’s

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees and spray a 9 x 13 pan with cooking spray. Place butter and brown sugar in a medium-sized saucepan and heat, stirring constantly until smooth.  Let the mixture cool for 5-10 minutes. Add eggs one at a time. Stir until incorporated then add vanilla.

Next, add flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder to your mixture until combined. Add half of the chocolate chips and half of the M&M’s and stir.

Transfer mixture into your prepared pan and add remaining chocolate chips and M&M’s to the top! Bake for 25-30 minutes.

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Let your blondie bars cool for a little bit before you cut them into squares. Enjoy! (Bonus: This dessert is perfect for any holiday. Just use whatever seasonal M&M’s are at the grocery store!)

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I hope everyone has a fantastic Valentine’s Day! Make sure you tell that special someone how much you love them. (Even if you do it the other 364 days a year.) Love y’all!

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A U D G E | eat like an ATLien

Making plans for this weekend? Or just wanting to find a new place to chow down? Here are a few places that me and the family frequent. Reasons why I love each and every one of them: Not only do they make mouth-wateringly delicious food, but you could go to any of these places with friends, kids, or on a little date night. They’re versatile! And Lord knows I need that in my life… so here we go! Drumroll please…

A G A V E  restaurant |

AGAVE[photos courtesy of Agave's website]

This is me and the hubbs fave place to scurry off to whenever we get the chance! It’s an “eclectic southwestern eatery & tequila bar” – and I’m not even kidding you, every single thing I’ve ordered from their menu has been amazing! They’ve got something for everyone, but they do each thing really well. They’ve got amazing seafood dishes, hearty cuts of meat for the carnivores, and creative Mexican-ish dishes for the southwestern lovers like myself. Some of my favorite dishes are the Santa Fe Blue Corn Chicken Enchiladas (SO good, I basically lick my plate clean) and surprisingly their Famous Cayenne Fried Chicken. They’ve got great specials too if you sign up for their email list, that’s how we make sure we get the most marg for our buck! ;)

A N T I C O  pizza napoletana |

ANTICO[photos courtesy of Creative Loafing]

For a true Italian pizza pie… this is your place. If you haven’t been yet, don’t walk. RUN. Better yet, maybe just drive. But it’s totally worth the experience! Now be forewarned, this place is really popular and can be pretty slammed so be prepared to wait in line (translate: don’t try it for the first time when you’re about to food freak!) – but it’s totally worth the wait! They’ve got community styled seating and a BYOB policy, so you order in line and then hang out with your crew while they cook your gloriously delicious brick-oven pie. It’s an experience! We even had a Bupper there back in the day… mmmmm. anticopizzaatlanta

N O O D L E pan asian |

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We’ve got one of these right around the corner from our house… jealous?? ;)  There are three locations – College Park, Midtown, and Decatur. So you really have no excuse for not going. They make some amazingly delicious Pan Asian dishes, blending flavors from Korea, Japan, China, Vietnam, and Thailand and making everything fresh to order. Some of our favorite dishes are their Chicken + Beef Fried Rice (you’ll have leftovers… it’s HUGE!), Lettuce wraps, and Mu Shu Wraps (can you tell I’m into the wraps??) – but there are seriously so many different options. I keep going on the same rotation just to get my fix when we go, but one of these days I’ll start branching out to their other menu items too!

Now that your mouth is watering and you’re drooling all over yourself, why not make some dinner plans? Grab a friend or two and make it a party… why not? It’s Thursday after all… that’s the only reason you need!

Until next time!

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J O A N N A | hat lovin’

I tend to be a little bit self-deprecating, I could go on and on about my flaws…. my thighs rub together, my forehead is HUGE, blah, blah, blah. But, there is ONE thing that I DO have going for me… I can seriously rock a hat. I absolutely love wearing hats. Whether you’re looking for inspiration for a hat on a casual day, to complete a look, or to just cover up bad (or dirty) hair, I’ve got a couple of great recommendations for you!

picstitch copyI got this beanie from H&M in the fall… it goes well with everything and is perfect for the cold weather (and when my hair is super dirty).image copyI have a brown hat from Anthropologie that is very similar to this one. I wanted to mix it up this season so I went on the hunt for a burgundy hat, but was hoping to try to find one less expensive. I shopped around for a while but quickly realized that to find a comfortable hat that would fit my giant head, I was just going to have to pay for it. After purchasing this one, once again from Anthropologie, I just have to say that they have the best hats and they really are worth every penny!

Unfortunately, these hats were so popular that they sold out! But fear not, I did the research for you and found all these great, similar styles! (And a few that I have my eye on too!)

Happy hump day folks. Stay warm out there!joanna_crop

K A T | diy paint swatch artwork

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Looking for cute, affordable artwork? Man, have I got the DIY project for you!  This project is crazy colorful so it would be perfect for anyone in an apartment or house where you can’t paint walls. (Bland, white walls are so last year.) All you need is a quick trip to Home Depot, get comfortable in front of a movie, and get to taping!

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[ WHAT YOU'LL NEED ]

:: large frame with paper insert
:: a ton of paint swatches (Maybe ask the store if you can take some paint chips so you don’t look really weird stuffing tons of swatches in your purse.)
:: double-sided tape
:: vinyl letters appropriate to your frame size and phrase

The options are really endless with this project. You can do a small frame or huge frame. I had an old ikea frame lying around and it’s super cheap so it did the trick. I decided to go with a pink ombre color palette but you can obviously do any color scheme to match the space you are decorating.

[ INSTRUCTIONS ]

1 | Play around with your color layout. I went ahead and laid out all the cards and decided the placement before I taped them down.

2 | Start in the top right hand corner and attach double-sided tape to each corner of the paint chip and affix to paper insert. Make sure to measure and line up the first row you tape down then you can line up all the rest of the rows to match the top one.

3 | When you add the second layer overlap the previous row so the names of the paint colors are covered up.

4 | Think of a phrase and cut out vinyl letters. I got my vinyl from Hobby Lobby and cut my letters out using a Cricut. If you don’t have access to a machine to cut letters you could always find pre-cut letters at a craft store or order them off Etsy. (If you live near me, I could be persuaded to cut letters for wine.)

5 | Put artwork inside frame and you’re done!

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This project was super easy and I was done in about an hour. If you’re feeling crafty, I say go for it! It adds the perfect little pop of color and is now proudly displayed in Cason and my office!

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C A S O N | everyday make-up routine

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I hope you all had a great weekend! Kat and I are currently celebrating a great Christmas season in Disney World…so absolutely zero complaints here! I’ve told you about products I splurge on and I’ve told you about bargain products I save on. Today I’m sharing my everyday, can’t live without make-up routine. I’ve kept almost the same products for a few years now so these seem to be working well for me.

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1 | e.l.f. Studio Mineral Face Primer | $6
I’ve mentioned this primer before but it’s worth mentioning again. I LOVE THIS STUFF. I might love the price even more. At just $6 this is the best deal in my daily regimen. Put this on after moisturizing and before your foundation. I prefer the green shade as it balances out any redness on my face.

2 | Make Up For Ever HD Invisible Cover Foundation | $42
This is hands down my absolute favorite foundation. It goes on smooth, never cakes, doesn’t make me shiny, and seems to last all day. Foundation for the win! With 25 different shades, you’re sure to find a match. This product is more of a splurge but I’ll be honest with you…I’ve found that foundation isn’t one of those products you can go cheap on. I’ve tried every brand looking for something more affordable and just hated the results.

3 | Smash box High Definition Concealer | $23
I used to not think an under-eye concealer really mattered. Like if I didn’t put it on, would you even be able to tell? Umm..YES. Look at yourself up close in a dressing room and you’ve got your answer. A little bit goes a long way so the $23 price tag is justified when it lasts you a year. I prefer to apply this step with a Beauty Blender!

4 | Ben Nye Banana Powder | $20
One of my faves! So you’ve got your primer, foundation, and concealer on. Time to wrap up your base. This corrective yellow shade highlights your skin and just gives you a perfect glow. It prevents shine, won’t clog your pores, and really just “sets” your make-up. I bought a 3oz jar two YEARS ago and still have enough left for several months. Another $20 totally justified!

5 | bareMinerals Matte Foundation | $28
This is the only step in my morning routine that I may or may not do. It really just depends on the time of year and how much color my face has. After applying the Banana Powder, if I look washed out I’ll swipe a little of the powder on to give me some color. If I’m happy with my base after the Banana Powder, I skip this step.

6 | tarte Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Blush | $26
One of the only blushes I’ve found that last all day! My favorite color is Tipsy – a shade of bright coral.

7 | Urban Decay Naked 2 | $54
Between Kat and I, we own all three Naked palettes so I’ve tried them all. Everybody has a different preference but my fave is definitely Naked 2. I usually do some combination of tease, bootycall, and suspect. (Note: Naked came up with the shade names, not me! I hope that is not a reflection of my personality.) With the smaller end of the brush, I put a thin swipe of blackout underneath my lower lashes in lieu of eyeliner.

8 | Benefit Cosmetics They’re Real! Push-Up Liner | $24
When Benefit rolled out this eyeliner last year, all my dreams came true. I love giving myself a little cat eye wing if I’m going out or just want to feel a little bit fancier than usual. This liner finally makes it easy! Combined with my next product, you’ve got cat eyes for dummies. The best part? It lasts for as long as you want it to. This stuff is not coming off until you force it off! (I use Almay Eye Makeup Remover Pads.)

9 | e.l.f. Makeup Remover Pen | $3
I don’t have the steadiest of hands so my liner usually needs a little bit of help in the shaping department. I love this makeup remover pen so that you can easily remove only what you need to!

10 | Lancome Mascara Base | $25
My lashes just do not look the same unless I use a base. This lash primer makes my lashes fuller, thicker, and longer – all things good!

11 | Benefit They’re Real! Mascara | $23
My favorite make-up product of all time! I have tried every single mascara on the planet. (Sadly NOT an exaggeration.) This is the best mascara on the market. Like if I was stranded on an island and could take 3 things…it would probably be 3 tubes of this mascara.

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Wow…do I really wear that much make-up?! Don’t judge. I just love beauty products! For lips, I don’t really swear by anything. Embarrassingly enough, I usually have about half a dozen lip sticks, balms, and glosses in my purse. One of them usually does the job. My faves would be either Baby Lips or Fresh.

What are your absolute favorite makeup products? Anything you can’t live without?

Oh, one more thing…. HAPPY BIRTHDAY AUDGE! Wishing you all a great week…

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A U D G E | bupper: god shaped hole by tiffanie debartolo

Bupper GSH_007This past Monday night, it happened again… BUPPER! We got together at Nikki’s house this round to chat about Tiffanie DeBartolo’s book God Shaped Hole.

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Alright, full disclaimer: this book was a little heavy on the sexual overtones, so I maybe wouldn’t recommend it to your mom. I don’t think anybody realized that getting into it, but still a good read none the less… so you’ve been warned! ;) In this love story, you follow Beatrice (“Trixie”) Jordan and  Jacob Grace through their not so traditional introduction (an ad in the paper “seeking a friend for the end of the world”), their growing love for one another, and their eccentric L.A. lives. Trixie designs unconventional jewelry, much of  her work being featured in L.A. boutiques and in celebrity wardrobes (which she hates, naturally). Jacob is a writer, constantly stewing and working on his big masterpiece “Alleluia” which he’s hoping to sell and use as their ticket out of L.A. – their grand escape. It’s definitely a roller coaster of a book, with heartbreak and tragedy hinting at every corner… so needless to say you’ll be on the edge of your seat! [Side note: The cover says that this is "This generation's Love story"... so now I'm trying to figure out what that means about our generation?! You read it and let me know what you come up with!]Bupper GSH_001

[the MEAL]

Bupper GSH_004In the story, Jacob+Trixie meet up with their friends for a weekly sushi night. Everyone orders the weirdest rolls that can find on the menu, and then they have a competition to see who will actually eat it. So keeping in the spirit of sushi night, Nikki fixed Teriyaki chicken and rice and made these cute little Rice Krispy and candy sushi rolls -hilarious! (She’s preggo too, so it’s fetus-friendly sushi too!)

Bupper Sushi

[discussion QUESTIONS]

Did you like the book?

What was unique about the setting of L.A  and how did it enhance or take away from the story?

Does the love between Trixie and Jacob seem real and believable?

Do you think the characters change through the story? What events trigger the change?

Did certain parts of the book make you uncomfortable?

Did you like the characters? Who was your favorite? Who was your least favorite?

Do you think the Jacob’s actions are the result of freedom of choice or of destiny?

What type of vision does the author use with her word choice? Optimistic, pessimistic, prophetic, cautionary, humorous

What did you think of the ending?

What is the book’s message?

Bupper GSH_005[next BOOK]

DefendingJacob-pbNext up on the Bupper rotation is Kristin! She chose Defending Jacob by William Landay. A New York Times Bestseller AND  a thriller? This looks promising! Here’s a brief synopsis of the book:

Andy Barber has been an assistant district attorney for two decades. He is respected. Admired in the courtroom. Happy at home with the loves of his life: his wife, Laurie, and their teenage son, Jacob.

Then Andy’s quiet suburb is stunned by a shocking crime: a young boy stabbed to death in a leafy park. And an even greater shock: The accused is Andy’s own son—shy, awkward, mysterious Jacob.

Andy believes in Jacob’s innocence. Any parent would. But the pressure mounts. Damning evidence. Doubt. A faltering marriage. The neighbors’ contempt. A murder trial that threatens to obliterate Andy’s family.

It is the ultimate test for any parent: How far would you go to protect your child? It is a test of devotion. A test of how well a parent can know a child. For Andy Barber, a man with an iron will and a dark secret, it is a test of guilt and innocence in the deepest sense.

How far would you go?

(*dundunDUN!*) So pick up your copy and start reading along with us!

Oh, and what did you guys think about the last book? Love it? Hate it? Haven’t finished it yet?? (Don’t worry, I won’t tell!)

Until next time!

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J O A N N A | white hot chocolate recipe

photo-2Have you guys ever been to Cafe Intermezzo? It’s one of my favorite places to hit up for a late night dessert. One of my personal favorites is a peanut butter cheesecake that is to DIE for! They also have the most amazing hot chocolate; they use WHITE chocolate and it is life changing… and it also inspired this post.

SO, if you’re in need of some hibernation time this winter season, be sure to have the following ingredients on hand…Photo copy 3White Hot Chocolate

:: 4 cups milk of choice (I used whole milk)
:: 8 oz. white chocolate chips
:: 1 tsp vanilla extract
:: Cinnamon (optional)
:: Whipped cream (optional, but duh… you can’t leave out the whipped cream.)

1. Stir together milk, vanilla, and chocolate in saucepan.
2. Heat up over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the chocolate melts and comes to a simmer. (Do NOT boil!)
3. Remove from heat, serve and enjoy!

*Some folks recommend using a double boiler to heat up the milk so that it doesn’t burn. I didn’t have one, but the sauce pan worked fine. If you’re up for the challenge, you can make your own double boiler by adding water to a pot and placing a glass bowl on top of the pot. (Add the milk and white chocolate chips to the glass bowl. Bring the water to a boil, then lower the heat a bit and simmer until chocolate melts.)

imageIf you’re feeling extra fancy you can pair your coco with Cason’s lemon blueberry muffins!

Now, cuddle up with a good book (maybe one of our Bupper picks?), a fluffy blanket, and a cup of white hot coco! (You can thank me later.)joanna_crop

K A T | winter fashion

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I finally got my hands on the coveted J. Crew herringbone vest. Santa listened to my polite demand request and he also threw in cute things like buffalo check scarves and hunter rain boots. I must have been super good last year! These three items have been staples for me this winter. (Especially since it won’t stop raining in GA.) I’ve been pairing my herringbone vest with chambrays and sweaters and I’m loving the look! I’ve even gotten a little crazy and mixed in a flannel or two. Lucky for me, mixing patterns is totally in right now.

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vest: similar J. Crew | Black sweater: J. Crew | Buffalo check scarf: J. Crew similar Forever 21 | Jeans: Forever 21 | Rain boots: Hunter | Pearl necklace: J. Crew | Watch: Kate Spade | Sunglasses: Ray Ban | Bracelets and rings: David Yurman

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Shop similar looks here. Happy shopping!

PS: Happy Birthday mom!

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C A S O N | diy: kate spade glitter studs

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I was strolling through the mall doing what I do best when I spotted the most fabulous Kate Spade glitter stud earrings. At only $38, the price doesn’t seem too bad but then the gears started turning… Since my gold bowl fail, I’m trying to turn over a new DIY leaf. This one seemed like a no brainer. If you’re like me, you have million pairs of stud earrings you just HAD to have when you spotted them on a Target run. Within 6 months they enter the earring graveyard, never to be heard from again. Fish out a couple of pairs because boy do I ever have an easy DIY for y’all today!

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[ WHAT YOU'LL NEED ]

:: stud earrings
:: Mod Podge
:: small paint brush
:: glitter

Start with a pair of stud earrings who are in desperate need of a makeover. Cover the surface with Mod Podge. Dip your earrings in glitter.

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Feel free to mix and match different glitter colors! I made 2 different batches – one with gold and silver, the other with gold, silver, teal, pink, and orange.

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Are these not the cutest?! I already owned all the supplies so this was a total win! Honestly, is there anything you can’t dip in glitter? Until next time…

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A U D G E | working at home. with babies. yeah, i said it.

Last week I read this really great blog post by Jody Gray, another photographer I’ve followed for awhile and really admired. She talked about being a business owner  and then adding the title of “Mom” to your plate… and man, the struggle is real! At first you have all of this time you can dedicate to certain tasks and being productive, but once you add in another little human with approximately 3,549 needs an hour, it makes it harder to get… well, ANYTHING done. And adding in the second child was a whole other adjustment all over again.

I really do feel like having kids has been one of the most convicting and sanctifying things for me. Nothing points out your own flaws more than seeing and correcting them in a mini-you. I thought I was patient. I thought I was flexible. I thought I was capable of doing it all. God has used my two sweet little bundles of joy to show me that in fact, I am none of those things – and that is a lesson I desperately needed to be taught. I want to be fully present when I’m with my family, not distracted and detached. I want to be fully present when I’m working, so I can really flex my creative muscles and be productive. And I want to still have time to be a normal person, and still do things like read books and hang out with my husband, and get together with friends and have REAL adult conversations. It’s a balance, right? I haven’t perfected it by any means, but I’ve learned a thing or two along the way. Here are a few tips that have helped me in my life as a Mom-tographer and juggling the many hats I wear:

preggoMama-2P R I O R I T I Z E + K N O W  Y O U R S E L F |

Sometimes you really just need to step back and look at the big picture. Decide what is most important to you, and do that first. I’ve talked about how I’m a “t0-do lister”, and I still am, but I just don’t beat myself up about not finishing it anymore like I used to. I’ve also learned that I have the most focus and energy in the mornings, so if I’m working that day I need to do the activities that need my full attention during this window. This is also when Ollie gets a really solid nap and when Tacie is in school three days a week, so I know I have those three solid chunks of time every week where I can knock some stuff out. During the afternoon (when maaaybe the kids are napping, this window is kind of a crap shoot), I can still be in work mode but I’m just mentally tired. This is the time I usually do the more monotonous “I don’t have to think as much” tasks (ex: answer emails, financial tasks, culling sessions, etc.) or take care of the toddler hurricane known as our house. And you know what? Sometimes if I feel like I’m burned out, I rest. That’s the best thing I can do at that point for my family, my business, and my own sanity. Know when to admit defeat is necessary to stay sane. Otherwise, you’re just spinning your wheels and going nowhere fast, and everyone around you can feel it.

Another thing that’s crucial – the thinner you spread yourself,  the more intentional you need to be about carving out time for your family. Even if that means NOT working. As awesome as it is, one of the downfalls of working at home is that you can’t “leave work at work”. It’s always there, calling your name and pulling your attention away from other more important things. Set rules for yourself if you need to. Don’t do work past 5:00. Or work late at night after your kids are in bed. Or don’t work late at night so you can hang out with your husband. Turn your email notifications off on your phone so you only check it when you’re sitting down at your desk intending to do just that. Everyone’s circumstances are different, but evaluate where you’re at right now and decide what works for you. And you might have to try a couple of different things before you find what works. And if you have kids, it’s going to change as your kids change. Just be flexible and try to go with the flow… you’re the boss! Remember? Don’t stress out about it.

babyBOI-2G E T  O R G A N I Z E D |

The things that’s helped me tremendously is taking the time to plan ahead as much as I can. One of the things that I’m doing now since I’m such a visual person is using a paper planner. I found these Erin Condren life planners, and I’ve been luhOVING it. It divides each day into Morning/Day/Night – so this allows me to map out my day and to put a little to-do list in each window. Granted, I know I’m working in smaller spurts of time now thanks to my babies, so I’m just working on tackling one small task at a time. It just helps me to stay focused when I do actually get time to sit down and work on whatever project I have. It also lets me keep the whole spectrum in one place – photo shoots, social activities, kid’s schedules, family vacations, meal planning, you name it it’s there! Shared iCal calendars are good for the big events too for me and my husband, so he doesn’t have to ask me a hundred times what we’re doing this weekend… even though he still sometimes does. Go figure. I also love having this Modern Wall Calendar from When It Rains to get a quick glance at the month. I got lucky and got one for Christmas (YIPEE!), and I keep it on my fridge for a quick reference whenever I need it. It’s pretty rad.

Another resource I loved that really helped me work through my business goals and finding the meaning behind why I’m doing what I’m doing was Amber McCue’s 2015 Plan-a-Thon. While I know this plan I’ve built is flexible and ever-changing, it’s the first time I really sat down and worked through some really tough questions and envisioned what I wanted the future of my business to look like. It was AWESOME. And something I’ll definitely be doing in the last quarter of every year. Just sitting down and making a plan and breaking it down allows you freedom from that feeling of panic when you get to that season. It helped me to break apart the larger goals into smaller, more manageable pieces so it wasn’t so overwhelming. And it’s not just for photographers! Any business owner can use this… so check it out! You’ll love it.

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 presetC R E A T E  a  S P A C E |

Working at home is great because you have the option to be lazy and work in bed in your pajamas and nobody will even know. But I’ve found that I’m more productive if I go through the motions of getting ready (aka put on my “mom uniform” of workout pants and maybe brush my teeth), and sit at a desk to work. If I’m laying in bed, I can see the madness all around me and it’s totally distracting. (I still have to wash that pile of laundry. Man, that’s dusty back there. There are SO. MANY. TOYS. EVERYWHERE.)  This is my train of thought when I’m just around the house. If I’m sitting at my desk in my office, I’m facing the wall between two windows, and the only thing I’m looking at is what I’m working on at the moment. Don’t get me wrong, my office is still pretty crazy and is a constant “work in progress”… but the chaos is behind me. I’m not even thinking about it. The day I get it cleared out though, it’s going to be a HUGE relief! Let me add that to the list… ;)

Processed with VSCOcam with t1 presetO U T S O U R C E |

We found a super sweet lady that comes once every three weeks to clean our house, and it’s been a game changer. It’s been such  blessing to our family, and has helped restore some of my sanity! Tacie is a professional house-destroying monster typical toddler, so cleaning up in her wake is about as much as I can handle… forget having time to get to the deep cleaning. As frugal as we can be sometimes, this is totally worth it.

For work, I also outsource my editing for weddings and album design. I found a company I could teach my editing style, so they can do exactly what I can do. To me, that’s worth getting to spend more time with my kids. If you’re a photographer or run some other business on your own, find the tasks that weigh you down or that are a total time-suck… then immediately pass these off to somebody else. It’s worth it to pay someone else $10/hr. to do the things that don’t need your special touch so you can really focus on your strengths and what actually does need you. This could be anything – facilitating social media, preparing orders for shipping, fielding inquiries, scheduling, administrative tasks, you name it. Give yourself the freedom to do what you do best, and recruit help when you need it!

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[Suuuuper great pic of me and my fellow mom-tographer pal, Greta, from a wedding we worked together]

Most importantly, remember that work isn’t your purpose and it doesn’t define you.

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” – John 15:5

Keeping your priorities straight is a constant battle… literally. It’s every single minute. Your attention is being pulled in a million different directions, some things being worthy of it and others aren’t. You have to fight for what is good and true and pursue that! Stick to your guns, mama. You got this.

Blessings to you, your business, and your crew… mean it!

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