Only Awesome

I'm leavin' on a jet plane.  Don't know when I'll be back again...

Actually that's not true.  I know exactly when I'll be back.  Monday.  Which is why it's been a little quiet around here lately... lots to do before heading off to NYC!  Of course, I couldn't leave without giving you a little dose of awesomesauce to go with your morning coffee.  (Or tea.  Whatever.  I don't judge.)

- The Boyfriend squealed like a girl when he saw a commercial for Titanic 3D.  Guess I know what we'll be doing in a couple weeks!

- I made this pasta dish for dinner the other night and I've been craving sunflower seeds ever since.  Like, craaaaaaving.  As in, must eat them whenever I can.  "So why exactly are your weirdo cravings awesome, Stephanie?"  Well, Imaginary Person That Asked That Question, this is awesome because ever since I gave up meat for Lent, my body has seriously felt the decrease in iron.  I have low iron naturally but it didn't even cross my mind that I might need to take a supplement over the last 40 days.  Turns out, that wouldn't have been a bad idea.  I have pretty much zero energy, I get lightheaded really easily, I bruise like a ripe banana, and The Boyfriend said I've been looking pale.  All signs of iron deficiency.  My crazy sunflower seed cravings had me a little confused so I googled their nutritional content.  Turns out, sunflower seeds are a top source of iron!  Isn't that crazy?  My brain was able to detect a nutritional deficiency in my body and translate that deficiency into a conscious thought that I could then act upon to correct the situation.  My brain just blew my mind.

- The Boyfriend took over the kitchen on Sunday.  There wasn't a single square inch of available surface space on either the counters or the table.  When I walked in and saw this for the first time, he said, "Sorry.  I needed to be like Tabatha today."  As in, Tabatha Takes Over.  First he buys me Teresa Giudice's cookbook then he references Tabatha Takes Over.  That boy knows the way to my heart is through bad reality TV.

- I have a new office assistant.  Molly.  Lately, she really loves lounging under the table while I'm working so I gave her a little mat to lay on and some toys to keep her company.

I'd like to think her new love for lounging under the table comes from her wanting to be closer to mama  but I'm pretty sure it's not me she cares about having access to.  It's my food.



Hungry for More

We arrived at the theater over an hour before showtime.  Two people were in line ahead of us.  Within minutes, dozens more took their place behind us.  We got the perfect seats - dead center of the theater, not too close and not too far back - and had yummy chocolate bars stashed in our friend's purse.  We were ready.  We were waiting.  And The Hunger Games delivered.

I don't want to give anything away for those of you who haven't seen it yet (or who haven't read the books) but I loved the movie.  It definitely lived up to my expectations and was one of the best book-to-movie incarnations I've seen in a long time.  I'm not sure if it was because I knew what was coming or if it was because I didn't know how it would come, but there was this anxiety in the pit of my stomach throughout most of the two hours and twenty minutes.  Not only did I jump in my seat, I also teared up once or twice.  But, as heart-wrenching and thrilling as it was, there was still something missing.  Of course, when most books are translated into movies, you expect that some characters and events might be sacrificed in the name of time constraints.  The Hunger Games was no exception, but that's not what was missing.  I can't believe I'm going to say this but ... I didn't think it was violent enough.  One of the most compelling aspects of the story is the length the government is willing to go in order to subdue and control their people.  They sacrifice children in the name of power and glorify it for entertainment.  That's some seriously sick shiz.  The way the characters handle both the mental and physical horrors they face is what makes them so human.  But in order to relate to them, we need to experience that horror.  When you read the books, you experience it with your imagination.  When you go to the movie, you experience it through the screen.  Basically, I was disappointed to find that what I experienced in my imagination was much more powerful and horrific than what I experienced through the screen.  I feel like this is the kind of movie where you just gotta take the R rating and really do it justice.  Does that make sense?  All in all, though, it was a great movie.  It actually made me want to go back and read the books again and it got me super excited for the next two movies.

So tell me, did you see it?  What'd you think?


Last Day!

We've got lots of busy-but-fun plans for this weekend and I'm so glad it's finally Friday!!  Meeting up with friends, birthday lunches, client meetings, more friend get-togethers for dinner and The Hunger Games ... bring on the weekend!

And don't forget, today is the LAST DAY to enter my Ruche Giveaway for your chance to win a $50 gift certificate!  The contest closes at midnight tonight so get those entries in ASAP.

If these feminine frocks for less than $50 don't convince you, I don't know what will.

What are your plans for the weekend?


Awkward & Awesome

- The Boyfriend and I have a pretty good system when it comes to our household chores.  I cook, he does the dishes.  He washes and hangs the laundry, I take it down and fold it.  Usually this system works well, unless one of us forgets to do their job.  The other day I went out to the garage to take down our laundry, which consisted of what I thought was just a few towels and a pair of jeans.  Unusually light laundry week, it seemed.  Until The Boyfriend came home and pointed out the fact that I somehow managed to overlook all the rest of our clothes still hanging out in the garage.  What the heck was I thinking?  How did I miss an entire week's worth of laundry when it was hanging right in front of my face??  Domestic fail.

- I did a massive amount of online shopping this week ... for Molly.  Yes, I spent more on my guinea pig this week than I spent on groceries.  But that's not the awkward part.  Oh no, that would be too easy.  All this online shopping has to be delivered, right?  And the delivery just has to come right when I'm getting out of the shower, of course.  And I have to open our door because there's no way the FedEx guy can fit the giant box through the gate.  Great.  So I opened the door to the FedEx man in my bathrobe, with a towel turban on my head (you know you do it too).  He looked at me like I was a few fries short of a happy meal.  Probably because it was two in the afternoon on a weekday and most people are showered and dressed by that time.

- Molly got a little territorial on me again last night.  She discovered a little nook under our kitchen table and claimed it as her own.  When I reached in to grab her and put her back in her cage, she did her little rumble strutting thing then proceeded to click her teeth at me.  When I tried to touch one of her toys, she lunged at my hand and moved the toy to where I couldn't reach it!  Who does that little fur ball think she is anyway?

- One week from today, I leave for NYC!!!  I used to go at least once a year but then law school happened and it's been almost four years since I was last there.  This trip is on the Awesome list for so many reasons, the main one being that things like this tend to happen when I'm in NYC:

Like John & Paul said, everybody's got something to hide except for me and my monkey.

- We're slowly redecorating the bedroom and I love how it's coming together.  I'm going to attempt this project over the weekend.  Is it totally nerdy to be so excited over a DIY project?

- I've started making green smoothies for my afternoon snack.  I can basically get 3-4 servings of fruits and veggies for the day in one drink!  My recipes are very scientific - a handful of raspberries, a handful of blackberries, a handful of blueberries, a whole banana, two handfuls of spinach, and a little bit of milk.  Precise measurements are very important, people.

PS - Don't forget to enter my two giveaways here and here!!



Afternoon Delight

Not that kind of afternoon delight, you dirty birds.  The chocolatey kind...  I made some oatmeal cookies yesterday afternoon and, of course, added some chocolate chips.  Then I made the cookies pose for a photo shoot.  They were totally into it.



Weekend Snippets

Did y'all know the first day of spring is tomorrow??  Where has this year gone?  I feel like we were just sipping pumpkin spice lattes and discussing holiday plans.  Oy.

It was pouring rain almost all weekend so I spent most of Friday indoors.  I needed something to do on my breaks so I baked an apple pie.  Totally makes sense.

I managed to squeeze in some down time after a morning photo session and did a bit of reading.  I'm way behind on my goal of reading 30 books in 2012, mainly because that dang Sherlock Holmes book is taking forever.

We had a lot of oranges and tangerines piling up from our weekly CSA shares so The Boyfriend decided to make some freshly squeezed juice.  And you know what I realized?  That guy would make a phenomenal bartender.  He kept topping off my juice glass all morning.  It was like a never-ending fountain of vitamin C.

How was your weekend?

PS - Don't forget to enter my two giveaways here and here!!

*(If you follow the photography blog, you may have seen a few of these photos already.  Let's just call it deja vu.)


Fab Friday's Fancies and a Giveaway

Happy Day Before St. Patrick's Day!!  Any big plans for the weekend?  A couple friends of mine are headed to Savannah for the largest St. Patrick's celebration in the country and, I have to say, I'm a little bit jealous.  Does anyone else find it surprising that Savannah, Georgia has the largest celebration in the U.S.??  I thought it would've been Boston or NYC but no... that honor goes to the South!

In honor of the holiday weekend, this week's Friday's Fancies theme is St. Patrick's Day.  Instead of putting together a full outfit this week, I thought I'd showcase a few cute green items from Ruche instead.  I know,  I know.  I just wrote about Ruche a few days ago.  BUT .... there's a good reason for doing it again.  Today's giveaway - my 'thank you' to you, lovely readers - is:

a $50 Gift Certificate to Ruche!!!

And here are just a few examples of the awesomeness you can get with that gift certificate:

1 | 2| 3 | 4 | 5 | 6

Now for the entry deets:

- Be a public follower of Big Mario Life using Google Friend Connect and
leave a comment below with your email address!
That's it!

Additional Entries
(Please leave a separate comment for each one):
- Like Big Mario Life on Facebook
- Follow Big Mario Life on Twitter
- Like Stephanie Court Photography on Facebook
- Tweet about this giveaway and be sure to mention @BigMarioLife
- Blog about the giveaway and leave a link to your post here in the comments

The giveaway will remain open until next Friday, March 23rd.  The winner will be selected at random and contacted via email.  Good luck!

And don't forget to enter Wednesday's giveaway here!

*This giveaway is now closed.  Thanks!!*


Hump Day Giveaway

Happy Hump Day lovelies!  Hip hip hooray for being half-way through the week!

Big Mario Life is quickly approaching the 300-follower mark and I can't even tell you how much I truly cherish and appreciate each one of you readers.  As much as I write for myself, it'd be a boring endeavor without all of you to join me in the conversation.  To say thank you, I've got a few giveaways lined up for you this week.  Hope you enjoy them!

The first is coming to you courtesy of Alycia from Crowley Party.  Have you been thinking about advertising to grow your blog or draw more customers to your shop?  Read below for more details on how you can win free ad space for one whole month!

* * * * * *

Hey guys! I am so happy to be over here today :) and am excited to offer all you bloggers, shop owners, social media gurus, you get the idea? a little treat!
My name is Alycia Crowley and I blog over at Crowley Party, where I talk about my life, fashion, food, crafts, pretty much whatever interests me! My husband and I think Life Should be a Party (hence the blog title Crowley Party) and that we should enjoy all the little to big things in life. :)

Lately I have been trying to be more creative and have some fun, so in order to do that and push myself, I am hoping to open up a little online shop within the next month or so! It got me thinking about all the other blogs and shops out there that are just starting out or looking to expand. Things cost money, which we all know we want to save some money, so I thought it would be fun to offer people some free advertising space on my blog!

Today I am giving away a Large Ad Spot (30 days) on my blog to one of you readers to bring some attention your blog or your shop, or whatever you want promote! You can decide when you want to start your Large Ad, and it can start whenever you want.

Here are some details behind my blog to intrigue you:
I have over 2300 followers on my blog via GFC.
My blog averages about  1,000 to 2,000 hits a day and I get about 47,000 views a month. 
I would love to help you bring some attention to your creative endeavors!

* * * * * *

Thanks so much, Alycia!!  And now for the deets on how to enter:

Be a follower of the Crowley Party
Be a follower of Big Mario Life
And ... Leave a comment below with your email address so I can notify you if you win!

Additional Optional Entries
(leave a separate comment for each one please!):
1.  'Like' Big Mario Life on Facebook
2. Follow Big Mario Life on Twitter
3. 'Like' Stephanie Court Photography on Facebook
4. Tweet about this giveaway and be sure to mention @BigMarioLife

There you have it - five easy ways to win some free advertising for your blog or shop.  The giveaway will remain open until next Wednesday, March 21st and the winner will be selected randomly!  Good luck!

*This giveaway is now closed.  Thanks!*



How Ruche!

You guys.  Have I been living under a rock?  Does everyone already know about Ruche except me?  If so, why didn't anyone tell me???  In case you, too, have been in hibernation and have no idea what Ruche is, let me tell ya.  This place has some of the most adorable vintage-inspired stuff I've ever seen.  And the best part?  A lot of their stuff is actually affordable.  Think "budget-friendly Anthropologie."

Since this daylight savings business is kicking my butt, I was up super late tonight last night and decided to browse the webs.  (Of course . . .  Not like I could've picked up a book or something . . . )  And that's when I discovered Ruche in all its adorableness.  (Yes, they have clothes in other colors besides mint and melon but, for some reason, I'm just really drawn to those two colors for spring!)

 from top left: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 

from top left: 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12

(Wait, two fashion-related posts in one week??  Wha' happened?) ;)


Sexy Quirky Vintage

The Boyfriend and I have been discussing vacation plans lately so of course I have beaches on the brain almost 24-7.  Oh, to be lounging on the beach with a good book and unlimited pina coladas . . .

Of course, what beachy daydream is complete without a good swimsuit?  While browsing on dem interwebs, I had trouble deciding whether I'd want to be sexy, quirky, or vintage?  All three are flattering and all three kinda suit me (bad pun intended).  Plus, all three go well with sand and waves . . .  Which would you choose??

Clockwise from top left: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6


Self-Employment | Month Two

My morning latte on our new kitchen table/desk
I'm two months in to this whole "working for myself" business and it's definitely not any easier than before.  But ... I like it more and more everyday.  The first month was a whirlwind trying to figure out just how exactly to go about this whole thing.  My challenge at the end of Month One was setting a work schedule and sticking to it.  This is still a challenge for me but I've been much better about it.  This month was more about figuring out ways to grow the business.  My goal of shooting 10 weddings in 2012 is starting to look more and more like a very real possibility.  So I need to think about what my next steps will be.  I never thought I'd be at this point so early on but that's definitely not a bad thing!  Issues like price increases, branding, redesigning my website/blog, were all things I thought I'd face after the first year or so and yet, here I am.  A lot of this month was spent thinking about what my business represents, what type of clients do I want to work with, and what do I need to project in order to attract those clients.  Slowly, slowly, I'm figuring it out.  Emphasis on slowly...

So here are a few other things I've learned in my second month of self-employment:

- I think there's an "urban myth" of sorts that makes people think that those who are self-employed or work from home don't actually do much work.  I know I used to think that.  I thought working from home meant I'd have all the time in the world to do whatever I wanted - work out, run errands, whatever.  This is absolutely false.  In fact, I have the opposite problem - I find myself doing things that constitute "work" almost all day long while not finding time for much else.  I have to fight the urges and force myself to walk away from the computer after dinner and, even then, I find myself waking up in the middle of the night thinking about work stuff.  Really, it's not that much different than other jobs I've had, I just do it from home instead of an office.

- I actually like working alone, in my home.  I didn't think I would.  I thought I'd be rushing down the street to Starbucks whenever I could.  But I kinda like the peace and comfort of our little apartment.  Sometimes I even work in my pj's all day long.  (Although, I do have to admit, I find myself talking to Molly a lot more than I did before and she definitely gets more play time outside of her cage when I'm home all day!)

- I tend to have a one-track mind.  Meaning, when I'm working, I'm working.  All I see is the work I have to do and I somehow convince myself that there's not enough time in the day to do anything else.  I've fallen behind on my workout schedule as a result and I need to be better about doing things for me and my personal health, too.

- Sometimes I need a nap in the middle of the day.  Or sometimes I want to sleep in a bit in the morning.  That's not something I should feel guilty about.

So there you have it.  My second month of self-employment.  Not sure there's anything revelatory or significant in that but it is what it is.  Hope you all have a great weekend!!

PS - I'm guest-posting over at box of crayons today, too!


The Little Things

I don't know what motivated me to buy Fruity Pebbles at the grocery store yesterday but I had two bowls for breakfast this morning.  And it was the most delightful breakfast I've had in quite some time.


Weekend Snippets

Warning: This post is pretty photo-heavy.  Ok, you've been warned.

Hello lovelies!  We're back from our camping adventure and my legs are still sore.  Even though we were staying in a cabin (and a very interesting one at that), we were literally "off the grid."  We hiked in on Friday - four miles, mostly uphill, with all of our gear and food for the weekend - and were in a race against daylight.  We arrived just after sundown and within 10 minutes it was totally dark out.  So glad we made it in time!!

On Saturday, we headed out for an afternoon hike and decided to forge our own path.  I had never hiked with snow shoes before and there was easily 4-5 feet of fresh snow on the ground.  Needless to say, "forging a path" was not easy.  I had no idea my thighs could burn after just 5 minutes on the trail.  Yikes!  It was totally worth it, though.  The weather was just gorgeous and, even though we were surrounded by snow, it was still sunny and almost 60 degrees that day.  We had no access to internet, no TV, no cell phone services, and all the electricity in the place came from solar power generated there on the property, which was only guaranteed to last until midnight of each day.  So after our hike, we spent our indoor time lounging by the fire with a few board games, drinking wine, eating lots of cheese (yes, we hauled in wine, beer, etc on that 4-mile hike!) and playing with the huge dogs that lived on the property.  Overall, it was a great weekend but it also made me realize I do not miss living in wintery locations.  I love that this was only a 4-hour drive from San Francisco.  I much prefer my cold and snow in small doses!



Fab Friday's Fancies | Bag Inspired

We're off to camp in a snow-covered cabin today and, while I'm excited about the change of scenery, I can't help but have spring on the brain.  I mean, it's already March!!  Before you know it, it'll be time for daylight savings, Easter, berries at the farmer's market, and warm, lazy evenings as the days get longer and the nights get shorter.  So it's no wonder this week's outfit is straight up spring-y.  It was pretty much completely inspired by item #1 - that lovely Anthropologie bag.  One side has a spray paint/graffiti pattern and the other has the cutest water-colored bicycles.  And both sides are so different, it's like getting two bags in one!  Totally worth it, right? ;)

1. Painted cycles tote
2. Concealed button blouse
3. Chino shorts
4. Michael Kors leather sandals
5. Thatched cuff

Happy weekend!!!



Awkward & Awesome

- The Boyfriend said I had a weird brain.  I was explaining my daily thought process to him to justify my need to plan.  On the average day, my thoughts go something like this:

"Okay, first I'll take a 30-minute break for lunch, then I'll sit down and edit 15 photos, and after that I'll respond to 5 emails.  Then I get a 10-minute break."

That's how I organize my thoughts.  I set little mini task lists throughout the day and reward myself with breaks when I'm finished.  It's cray-cray, I know.  But I like knowing what comes next, you know?  I explain all this to The Boyfriend and he says:

"Whoa.  Your brain is weird, babe."
Thanks.  Love you too.

- We're going camping this weekend with a couple of friends.  I'm really looking forward to it but we have to hike four miles in the snow to get to our cabin.  And there's no internet or phone services.  I feel like I need to make this public knowledge just in case I don't come back.  I mean, yeah, we're staying in a cabin ... but there's bears out there, people.  And I bet I'm pretty tasty.

- We had this for dessert the other night.  Don't be jealous.

- Anthropologie replied to one of my tweets!

That's almost as awesome as the time Teresa Giudice replied to my tweets twice in one week.

- Did you catch that other "awesome" hidden in the tweet?  We just found out The Boyfriend's sister is having a baby girl this summer.  We're having our first little niece!!

- Um, you guys!  I've noticed a few more faces around here lately and I think you guys are pretty awesome!  I have a little surprise planned for when that number over to the right hits 300.  It's nothing super major, just a little token of my appreciation. :)
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