Vintage Wedding Photos

I wanted to share something with you that I just recently posted on my photography blog.  This is my great-grandparent's wedding photo from 1932.  My great-grandma passed away when I was 11 but she was a major influence throughout my childhood.  Through her I discovered the importance of social involvement and community as well as personal style and beauty - she could rock a double-stranded pearl necklace better than anyone.

I would love to make a regular series featuring vintage wedding photos but I only have so many of my own.  So here's where you come in, lovely readers.  If you'd like to contribute and see your family's vintage wedding photos featured on the Stephanie Court Photography blog, please send the photo and a little description to stephanie@stephaniecourt.com  I'd love to feature you and your family's beautiful photos!


Lessons from Molly

1. Eat your leafy greens. Just do it. You'll thank yourself later.

2. Play just because you want to play. You don't need a reason to enjoy life.

3. Fresh fruit is the best dessert.

4. When you get overwhelmed, run a lap and drink some water.

5. Everyone needs some alone time so if you just want to hang out in your igloo all night, you go right ahead and do it girlfriend. Your friends will understand.

6. Always pee before you leave the house.

7. Get at least a little exercise everyday. You don't want your belly dragging on the ground while you're out and about.

8. Just because something (or someone) is really loud, it doesn't mean they're actually a threat. I'm looking at you, vacuum.

9. Take time for cuddles. Life can get pretty busy with all the carpet-chewing and popcorning that must be done so you have to make snuggle time a priority.

10. And finally - hoard, hoard, and hoard some more. You never know who might sweep in and steal your berries.


Weekend Snippets

You guys, this weekend was awesome.  In fact, can I request a re-do because I'd like to go back to Friday and do it all over again.  The Boyfriend worked from home on Friday so we "left work early" and met up with friends for happy hour, followed by a tapas date night.

On Saturday, we lounged around in pajamas until about 1pm then headed out to try the first stop on our SF Summer Ice Cream Tour.  (I found this list of San Francisco's Top 5 Ice Cream Shops so naturally The Boyfriend and I decided we're going to try all 5 this summer.  I mean, who wouldn't?)  Our first stop was Humphry Slocombe.  The Boyfriend had Secret Breakfast - bourbon ice cream with corn flakes.  Amazing.  I got Chocolate Smoked Sea Salt.  Heavenly.  I could eat that everyday if it weren't so devilishly rich.

We headed up to Mt. Tamalpais on Sunday for a lovely 6-mile hike, but not before stopping for donuts and coffee at Dynamo Donuts.  If you want to experience true bliss, you have to try the Maple Glazed Bacon Apple.  Just trust me on this one.  I'll try to get a picture of it for you on another visit but there's not really much time between the noms.

And yesterday, we celebrated Memorial Day by hanging out in the garage with our neighbors and eating hot dogs, fruit, and freshly brewed beer.  I have a special place in my heart for good ol' fashioned hot dogs.  I like mine with just mustard, ketchup, and relish.  And I like to really pour it on, too, so when I take a bite the toppings ooze out over the top.  Hot dogs remind me of baseball games, lemonade, and playing on a Slip 'N Slide in my grandma's backyard.  They just scream summer to me.

How was your weekend?  Do you want a re-do, too?


City Chatter

One of the joys of big city livin' is all the disturbing wonderful conversations you overhear while out and about.  Because I feel guilty keeping all that awesome-sauce to myself, I thought I'd start a new series to share the goodness with you.  It's a little break from our regular Friday's Fancies but I promise, you'll thank me.  I give you - City Chatter vol. 1.

* * * * * *

Let's set the scene, shall we?  I was on the bus* the other day when a passenger who appeared to be homeless (you never know in San Francisco - he could've just been an older hipster) gets on the bus with a giant plastic garbage bag filled with aluminum cans and ... his dog.  The bus is pretty darn crowded but this guy still tells his dog to hop up on the seat next to him and get comfy.  This wasn't exactly a lap dog, either.  She was about the size of a small lab.  Anyway, a younger woman gets on and shuffles by and apparently she stepped on this guy's shoe (remember, the bus is crowded) and immediately after I hear this conversation:

Dog Guy (shouting at his dog, Mamacita):  You see that, Mamacita?  That b**ch just stepped on my foot and didn't apologize.  She better apologize!  I bet if my foot was a twenty dolla bill she'd a stopped.  She don't look like a b**ch that passes up a twenty dolla bill, do she Mamacita?  Do she?

Dog Guy (in what I guess was Mamacita's voice): Oh no she didn't.

Again, I'm on the bus.  A lot of teenagers just got out of school and are riding the bus to get home, including these two sweet friends.

Girl 1:  Can we stop at McDonald's on the way to your place?

Girl 2:  What?  No way, fat a**.  You just ate a slice of pizza at lunch.

Girl 1:  Yeah, ONE slice!!

Girl 2:  Well I only ate half a slice so you ate twice as much as me.  That means you're twice the fat a**.  No McDonald's.

Waiting for the bus once again.  Two middle-aged, mostly normal looking guys are waiting near me discussing Dark Shadows (the new Johnny Depp movie).

Guy 1:  So this vampire has been locked in a coffin and buried underground for 200 years.  200 YEARS!!!  And yet, when he gets out, he has all this compassion and respect for his family.  Can you believe that?  200 years in a coffin and he still knows how to feel compassion and show respect.  Meanwhile you got kids today that don't even know what respect means.  How can a guy trapped in a box for 200 years still understand respect when people not trapped still don't get it?

Guy 2:  Sounds like he's old school.

* * * * * *

*Oddly enough, most of these amazing conversations occur on public transportation.


Awkward & Awesome

- I slept until about 9:30 yesterday morning.  I guess one of the benefits of working from home is that you can sleep in as late as you want but that kind of sleeping in just throws off my whole day.  If I don't get out of bed by 8am, I feel like I'm playing catch-up for the rest of the day.  Not a fun feeling.

- I thought Molly broke her paw yesterday.  She was so excited to get out and play, she practically flew out of my hands as soon as I picked her up.  She landed with a pretty loud thud then just froze in place for a bit.  Guinea pigs are not jumpers so of course I panicked and assumed the worst but she eventually shook it off and went on her merry way.  I still scolded her, of course.  And I totally believe she understood every word of my "naughty piggy!!" rant.

- I have a doc appointment this afternoon.  Nothing major, just a regular check up.  But it's of the "lady bits" variety.  It doesn't get more awkward than that.

- We went to a burlesque show recently and saw Dita Von Teese perform.  And there was a 6'5 guy wearing clear stripper stilletos and a blue bunny body suit, complete with giant blue ears.  You know, standard sighting for a Tuesday night in San Francisco.

- I just realized yesterday that this weekend is a holiday weekend!  Woot woot!!  I'll probably still end up working on Monday but I have some fun ideas in mind for the rest of the weekend.  A hike in the Marin headlands, maybe doughnuts from Dynamo Donuts, maybe ice cream after the hike.  The world is my oyster, if only for three days.

- Speaking of Dynamo Donuts, that place was named one of America's Best DoughnutsDoughnut Plant in NYC is also on the list.  Which means after this weekend, I will have had doughnuts from 2 of the best doughnut shops in the country.  I consider this a major accomplishment, right next to passing the bar exam.  Also, wouldn't it be awesome to do a Doughnut Road Trip and visit all the places on that list?

via pinterest
All this talk of doughnuts is making me hungry.



Is there anything my boyfriend Justin Timberlake can't do?  In addition to stealing my pre-teen heart while on The Mickey Mouse Club, rocking the blonde highlights during his boy band days, following up with a successful solo career, acting, producing, blah blah blah - the guy is now working in the interior design world.  That's right, interior design.

Most of you have probably heard of this already but, if you've been living under a rock (like me), then you might not know that Justin (we're on a first name basis ... in my mind) has teamed up with designer/stylist Estee Stanley to create HomeMint.  From what I can tell on the site, Justin and Estee are designers/curators who choose various unique items from around the globe and offer them to consumers at a discount and in one centralized location.  I don't think he's actually designing any of the items but some of his photographs are listed in the Art section.

Basically, the way HomeMint works is like this - you create an account then take a short little quiz to determine your style profile.  Afterwards, you can see the pieces recommended to suit your style and each month you get new recommendations.  A lot of the items are a little out of my current decorating budget but I still pinned away for future reference!

1. Coco's Vintage Pillow - um, it's made from vintage Chanel Haute Couture fabric... that's fancy-pants.
2. Chalkboard & Ceramic Storage Jars - this was one of the top recommendations after my style profile and I have to say, I love them.
3. Antiqued Black Clay Jar - Wouldn't this look so lovely filled with pretty pink peonies?
4. Reseda Dove painting - I love the colors of this painting.
5. Monster Mush photograph - The technique in this photo is breathtaking.

Do any of the HomeMint items grab your attention?


Wise Words

A few words of wisdom for your Monday morning.  It's never too late.



Fab Friday's Fancies | Chambray Season

Happy Friday lovelies!!  I've been excited for this weekend basically since Tuesday.  My dear friend Ali is coming to visit tomorrow (you might remember her - she's the one writing the awesome cookbook).  We're having brunch to celebrate her birthday then I'm giving her a little photography lesson in the afternoon.  One of her birthday gifts this year was a DSLR (her very first!).  I love when other people get excited about photography and I absolutely can't wait to teach her as much as I can in one afternoon (and hopefully not overwhelm her!).

We also have a little thing called Bay to Breakers this weekend.  The short explanation is that it's a 12K race across SF from the San Francisco Bay to the Pacific Ocean, hence the name Bay to Breakers.  In reality, it's a costume-filled city-wide booze fest in which your chances of seeing naked old men are pretty much guaranteed.  I don't know what it is but old guys like to get naked for Bay to Breakers.  And since public nudity is not against the law in this lovely city of ours, those dudes take full advantage.  Sometimes you don't even notice because of the rest of the cold weather crazy costumes but other times, it's a full on eye assault.  It makes for a pretty interesting Sunday morning, that's for sure.

Since Bay to Breakers usually involves ridiculous, nonsensical costumes, this week's Friday's Fancies theme is more appropriate for Saturday brunch/photo session.  If I could, I would rock this outfit in its entirety.  I love the look of chambray with clean, bright colors like white and the gold accessories add a touch of class to an otherwise casual look.  But, alas, the gorgeous accessories are just a teensy-weensy bit out of my budget...

1. True Grit Denim Top
2. Chino Shorts
3. Kathmandu Sunglasses
4. Fireflower Sandals
5. Serpent Necklace
6. Michael Kors Bradshaw Watch

What do you have planned for the weekend?

Happy Weekend!!!


My First Vox Box

A few months ago, Erin wrote a little post about Influenster and as soon as I read that she just filled out a survey and got a bunch of free stuff, I immediately clicked on over and answered away.  Basically you create a profile and start taking very short mini-surveys to unlock various badges.  After unlocking every possible badge I qualified for in one sitting, I clicked away from the site and forgot about it.  About a month later, I got an email saying I was selected for a Vox Box in May!  All I had to do was say yes.  Um, it was free y'all.  Of course I said yes.  I love me some free.

My first Vox Box was delivered over the weekend and it did not disappoint.  It was filled with a few products I loved, a few I actually wanted to try, and one or two I never thought I'd want.

1. Bath & Body Works Fine Fragrance Mist - I'm not much of a scent person so this item didn't get me too excited.  I don't wear perfume, I use neutral-scented soap and deodorant, and I don't have a lot of potpourri or candles around the house.  I can say that this mist has a very light, clean scent that wasn't too perfumy.  If you like lighter, airier scents then you might like this mist.

2. Dr. Scholl's for Her Ball of Foot pads - I love these things.  I don't wear heels that often now that I work from home but when I worked in an office, I had a pair of these foot pads for every pair of heels I wore.  They are amazing, especially if you have to walk or be on your feet a lot while wearing heels.

3.  ChapStick Lip Shield 365 - I was excited to try out a new chap stick because my lips have been crazy dry lately.  This one did a nice job of moisturizing but, like a lot of ChapStick products, it felt a bit waxy on my lips.  I like lip balms that moisturize without it feeling like you have some on.  With this, I was definitely aware that I had it on.

4. Aveeno Daily Moisturizing Body Wash - I love Aveeno products.  I use Aveeno face wash, moisturizer, and body lotion.  The body wash did not disappoint.  It's light and cleansing without over drying.  I just noticed on the back that it says you can also use it as a shaving lotion so I might give that a try next.

5. Sheer Cover Duo Concealer - When I first looked at this, I thought it would be way too dark for my pasty white skin.  But when I dabbed a bit under my eyes, it blended perfectly with my skin.  It was also creamy without being cakey, which is rare for thicker concealers.  I like this little baby.  She's a keeper.

6. Sally Hansen Salon Effects nail polish strips - These things are such a pain in the a**.  I've heard that you have to warm them up a bit between your palms to really get them to apply correctly but I just couldn't do it.  I do like that they're coming out with a line of solid-colored nail strips to balance out the bright patterns so if you can manage applying them, you might like the variety.  As for me, I'm sticking to good ol' fashioned nail polish.

7. SoyJoy Bar - I fully expected this thing to be gross but it was actually quite delicious!  I'm thinking about buying a few to keep in my camera bag when I have long shoots.  I always forget to pack snacks and I get so hungry when shooting for hours on end.  These bars are the perfect solution!

All in all, if you like getting free stuff and don't mind testing it out then writing a little bit about it, I'd say give Influenster a try.  You never know what you might get!

PS - No skrilla was exchanged for giving these opinions or mentioning Influenster.

PPS - This is post number 501 for Big Mario Life!  I thought that deserved a little celebration.


Wanderlust | Maine

Wait, what?  Did she just say Maine??

Yes, yes I did.  When I was in middle school, my grown-up fantasy was to own a used bookstore in a sleepy little New England coastal town.  In my dream world, I'd spend my free time sailing on the Atlantic, eating lobster, and hiking the rocky coasts.  I'd bike to my bookstore every summer morning and take afternoon walks for ice cream with my best friend (who owned a coffee shop, naturally).  I realize this sounds like the plot of a Meg Ryan movie from the '90s but gimme a break - I was 12.

I was reminded of this childhood fantasy by a few things recently:

A) We saw Dark Shadows over the weekend, which was set in the fictional fishing town of Colinsport, Maine and
B) I've been hooked on Once Upon A Time lately - which is set in the fictional town of Storybrooke, Maine - and I just saw the season finale last night

So Maine has been on my mind.  And you know what?  I still think it'd be a great place to visit.  The wildlife, the seasons, the quaint fishing and boating towns along the coast.  Who wouldn't want to spend a few days at a cute little B&B?  I feel like it could be a cute, quirky vacation or honeymoon spot.  What do you think?




Spaghetti and Meatballs

Ey! Oh!  It's-a spaghetti and meat-a-balls-a!!  I found this recipe in one of my Teresa Giudice cookbooks (yes, I have all her cookbooks).  Teresa may be losing it a bit on Real Housewives this season but the girl can still cook.  We made homemade marinara sauce to go with these but you can use any red sauce you like (even store-bought if you need to save some time).  When I made the meatballs for Mother's Day lunch, I doubled the recipe and ended up with about 30 golf ball-sized meatballs.  But whether you're cooking for four or fourteen, it's a super easy, toss-everything-in-a-bowl kind of recipe that you can easily turn out.  Hope you enjoy!


What You Need:
- 1 pound ground beef (ground turkey would also work well)
- 1/2 c. to 1 c. dry breadcrumbs
- 1 tbsp. Italian seasoning
- 1/2 c. milk
- 1/2 c. freshly grated Reggiano or Pecorino Romano cheese
- 1 large egg, beaten
- 3 tbsp. freshly chopped parsley
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 3/4 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
- red sauce of your choice

What You Do:
1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.  Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and lightly coat with oil.

2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the ground beef, breadcrumbs, seasoning, milk, cheese, egg, parsley, garlic, salt, and pepper.  Knead everything together (with clean hands!) until all the ingredients are combined.  The mixture should be soft but not sopping wet.  If it's too wet, add more breadcrumbs (alternatively, if it's too dry then add more milk).

3. Scoop up a bit of the mixture and shape into golf ball-sized balls.  If you want fewer but larger meatballs, shape into egg-sized balls.  Be careful not to crush the meat between your palms to shape - just work it gently and it'll do what you want.

4. Place balls about 1 inch apart on the baking sheet and bake until browned, about 30 minutes.

5. While the meatballs are in the oven, bring your sauce to a boil in a large saucepan.  Add the meatballs and let simmer for an additional 30 minutes or until the meatballs are cooked through.  Serve over spaghetti and enjoy!



Weekend Snippets

This past Saturday was one of the most relaxing Saturdays I've had in a while.  The only thing on my schedule was a family portrait session in the evening so we slept in Saturday morning, lounged around for a bit, then I sat outside in the sun with my book while The Boyfriend went for a run.  I even got a little sunburned.

It was a glorious afternoon but it didn't last very long.  When I left for my photo session, the sun was shining and I even turned the AC on for a bit.  When I arrived at the location on the other side of the city, the fog rolled in and the temperature dropped at least 10 degrees.  By the time we ended the shoot, my fingers were numb from the cold wind.  That's how quickly the weather can change in San Francisco.

But the sun came back on Sunday (way to be obvious Mr. Sun), and we hosted a lovely Mother's Day lunch.  We made spaghetti and meatballs (with homemade meatballs and sauce), spinach and goat cheese salad, and tiramisu for dessert.  And then ate leftovers for dinner.  And will probably eat more leftovers again today for lunch.  I maybe made just a liiiittle too much...

I hope all you beautiful mothers had a wonderful weekend, too!

(PS - Totally unrelated but I thought you should know that The Boyfriend actually requested to watch Real Housewives last night.  God I love that man.)


Happy Mother's Day!

I love you, Mama.  And those cool '80s glasses of yours.



Friday Funday

I started this week with Monday Funday (so not fun but my tire is fixed... ) so I'm ending it with Friday Funday.  And today might actually be a little bit of fun... or at least the weekend will be!  I have a lot of work to do today but when The Boyfriend gets home, we're making homemade marinara sauce.  We do this every so often so we can store a few jars in the freezer rather than getting the store-bought sauce.  But this weekend we're making it because we're hosting a Mother's Day lunch.  We're going full out traditional Italian and making spaghetti and meatballs, salad, tiramisu ... I'm sure some other foods will creep in there too.  We always end up with more than we need!

I've been spending a lot of my time this week finishing up my last few photo sessions.  I still experience little waves of insecurity but the more I do this, the more sure I am that I made the right decision.  Usually, I save the photo posting for the business blog (you can find it here) but I wanted to show you a little bit of what I've been working on lately.  These are from my two most recent shoots - an engagement session and a family lifestyle session.

I have another family photo shoot tomorrow evening and I couldn't be more excited.  We're getting closer to wedding season when my weekends will soon be filled with crazy-busy, hectic shooting days so I cherish these smaller portrait sessions.  They're laid back, fun, stress-free, and I get to meet some pretty awesome people, too.

Anything fun for you this weekend?

PS - Happy Mother's Day to all you lovely mamas!!


Awkward & Awesome

- This conversation with The Boyfriend ("TB") recently.  You should know that, when The Boyfriend sneezes, he likes to say random words instead of the normal "achoo."

TB:  *jihad*
Me:  Bless you
TB:  *jihad*
Me:  Bless you.  Can you please stop saying "jihad" when you sneeze?
TB:  (laughing) Why?
Me:  Because it feels weird blessing you when you're cursing me with a Muslim holy war every time you sneeze.

- We're both trying to be good about expenses these days and really stick to a budget.  But each of us sometimes strays, especially when we're at the grocery store.  The difference is, when The Boyfriend strays from the budget, he buys flowers for me.  When I stray from the budget, it's to buy Flaming Hot Cheetos... for me.  Who's the better person in this relationship?

- Last Friday night a group of us went out to dinner to celebrate a friend's birthday.  One of my friend's left a bottle of wine in the cab on her way to the restaurant.  About two hours into our meal, and not long after lamenting how the wine was now lost forever, her cab driver strolls into the restaurant with the bottle of wine in hand!  Who does that???  The best cab driver in San Francisco, that's who.

- This happened yesterday:

I made a small purchase with a gift card I got for Christmas.  I'm thinking I might show it off next week...

Anything awkward or awesome in your life lately?


The Story

"engagement photos at baker beach"

I just realized last night that I've never told you all how The Boyfriend and I came to be.  It's actually a pretty simple story.  It was a warm August evening.  The law school's welcome barbeque had just ended so my new roommates and I headed over to the courtyard to grab a drink and meet some of our fellow first-year law students.  As I approached the keg, I noticed a handsome, tanned, dark-haired guy in sunglasses handing out cups of beer.  I had no idea who he was so I just smiled shyly, took my beer, and walked away.

School starts, I get to know my classmates and, eventually, some upperclassmen, too.  Turns out the stud with the beer was just one year ahead of me and the vice-president of our law students association.  Hot and ambitious?  Just my type.

Fast forward to spring and it's election time on campus.  The studly v-p who handed me the beer was running for President.  I didn't really know much about the candidates so I went to a lunchtime event to hear their election speeches.  And to get free lunch, but that's beside the point.  Afterwards, the studly v-p stopped me in the hall to ask what I thought about the speeches and to discuss the election.  As boring as that convo topic sounds, he still managed to make me laugh.  Turns out, he's a pretty funny guy.  I like funny.

We became Facebook friends - because that's what you do these days - and started chatting every now and then.  In the evenings, during classes (scandalous!), just a few exchanges here and there.  As the temperature rose and spring became summer, our chats became more frequent and a friendship developed.  And I was totally convinced he saw me as nothing more than a friend but I didn't mind.  He's one of those guys that you just want to have in your life, whatever the title may be.  So if we were just going to be friends, then at least I knew I'd have a really awesome friend.

The following September (over a year after he first gave me that beer), he sent me a text on a Saturday afternoon asking if I wanted to come over and hang out that evening.  Totally something a "just friend" does, right?  I did not think for a second that this was a date.  If I had known, I would've made a little more of an effort to look cute.  I mean, it's not like I showed up in sweats but I certainly didn't pull out all the stops.

Turns out, it kinda was a date.  We talked for hours, rented a movie, made homemade pesto - it was the absolute best way to spend a Saturday night.  I guess I looked cute enough because we've been together ever since.  And sometimes we still spend our Saturday nights with a rented movie and (gluten free) homemade pesto.

And that's it.  That's the story.  No crazy coincidences or fateful encounters.  Just two people who became really good friends, then something a little more than friends.  I wouldn't have had it any other way.

And, yes, he won that election.

And my heart.

(Awwwww...... what? too cheesy?)


Weekend Snippets

I've decided to call today Monday Funday.  It's most likely going to be the opposite of fun day but I'm trying to think positive here.

The weekend started off lovely enough.  We went out for dinner to celebrate a friend's birthday on Friday.  And that's when we learned what sink riding meant.  Apparently, some customers decided to get a little naughty on the bathroom sink the previous weekend.  It didn't turn out too well for them, though.  They broke the sink completely off the wall!

Saturday was a beautiful sunny day and I spent the afternoon in the East Bay photographing the cutest little family.  When I got home, I treated myself to a bowl of flaming hot cheetos.  They're so pretty...

On Sunday, The Boyfriend and I went shopping at the outlets nearby.  Not two hours after he tells me he "just can't do pink," the guy is trying on pink polos in Lacoste because "Kanye wears them."  I have to say, the color looks pretty good on him.

If the weekend had ended there, all would be fine and dandy.  Oh, if only... When we got home, we noticed my tire was looking a little flat.  I went over to inspect and found that I somehow managed to run over a screw.  It hit my tire at juuuuuust the right angle to go straight through the tread.  These tires are less than two years old and barely have 10,000 miles on them.  I'm hoping they're still under some sort of warranty.  Otherwise, I'm screwed.



Chocolate Oatmeal

I was going to wait until next week to post this recipe but, as I was eating it again this morning (this time with strawberries!), I thought it'd be cruel not to share sooner.  Now you can try it out over the weekend and let me know what you think!  The basic recipe is just at 300 calories (I counted out the chocolate chips and did the math) but I'm also including a few other additional ways to change up the recipe.  The extras might push you over 300 but not by much.  Enjoy!


What You Need (for one serving):
- 1/2 cup old-fashioned oats
- 1 cup skim milk
- 1 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/2 banana (optional, but so good!)
- 1/4 tsp. vanilla
- 15 semi-sweet chocolate chips

What You Do:
1. Place the oats, milk, cocoa powder, sugar, and vanilla in a small sauce pan and simmer over low heat until the oats are cooked (about 5 minutes), stirring occasionally.
2. Pour the cooked oats into a bowl and top with chocolate chips.
3. That's it!!!

Other Options:
1. Add cinnamon to the oats as they cook for a cinnamon/chocolate combo.
2. Add a spoonful of peanut butter to the oats as they cook for a melted Reece's peanut butter cup kind of oatmeal.
3. Top the oatmeal off with sliced strawberries or other fresh fruit.
4. Add some flax seed to the oats as they cook for a healthy, slightly nutty twist.

PS - If you're looking for something else new to try this weekend, you can find more of my recipes here.  Happy Saturday!


Featuring | My Musings

Happy Friday my dearest dears!  I am so excited it's finally Friday.  I've got some chocolate oatmeal cooking on the stove to power me through work and spinning class today, then the fun begins!  We're heading out to dinner tonight to celebrate a good friend's birthday, then I've got a family photo shoot and some shopping with The Boyfriend lined up for the rest of the weekend.  He actually requested that we go shopping this weekend.  The Boyfriend has good taste and his own sense of style but he doesn't really go shopping unless I'm available to go with him.  Since he hasn't bought any new clothes in at least a year, I gladly said yes when he made the suggestion.

What do you all have planned for the weekend?  If you have a few free minutes, you should stop by and check out this lovely little lady, Hima.  She's a sweet teenage blogger at My Musings who wanted to stop by and introduce herself to all of you.  And her blog url is a straight-up Harry Potter reference.  I love her already.  Take it away, Hima!

* * * * * * 

Hi Everybody!  I'm Hima and I blog over at My Musings.  I'm a proud Californian and I'm addicted to strawberries and chocolate-covered almonds.  Here are a few unique things about me and my blog!

1. I'm Young - Most bloggers I know are either in college or in their 20s ("or 30s..." - Stephanie edit) and are lifestyle bloggers, family bloggers, product bloggers, or photography bloggers.  But me?  I'm in high school, and a freshman at that!  So come on over for a fresh perspective and more of what you love from your favorite bloggers.

2. Monday Melodies - Every Monday I do a spotlight on one song or artist who I think is really good and should get more recognition.  I try not to post about mainstream artists because everyone already knows about them!  Monday Melodies helps me introduce new people to amazing artists who might not be on the radio 24/7.  Who knows?  You might just find your new favorite!

3. Tutorials on anything and everything - I'm not terribly artistic or anything like that but I have bouts of creativity and I love simple DIY projects and anything to do with duct tape.  I also love baking and will often do an easy tutorial on my latest culinary adventure or craft attempt.  Just sharing the wealth, y'all.

4. Thought Rambles - I often have the weirdest thoughts and I love to put them down in writing to see what people think of them.  Because they're usually long and a little unstructured, I've named them "thought rambles."  So far, I've written about Romeo and Juliet and Harry Potter.  And I've got a new one coming up soon!

Hope this entices you to come check out my blog!  I'd love to get to know you and your blog!  Thanks for having me, Stephanie. :)

* * * * * * 

Happy Weekend!!!


Baby Boom

We have a lot of new babies coming into our lives this year.  The Boyfriend's cousin is due in a matter of days, his sister is having a little girl this summer, another cousin is having a little bundle of joy this fall, one of my best friends from college is having her first baby (girl!) some time soon ... not to mention the other friends of ours who either just had a baby or are expecting a baby later this year.  Needless to say, I've been doing a lot of shopping for baby stuff lately!

Most recently, I was looking for cute little baby girl outfits for a friend and I couldn't help but put together a few for my future daughter.  Yes, I styled outfits for a non-existent child.  What?  At least I didn't actually buy any of these items.  Yet...

A Day at the Park
1. Body suit
2. Floppy hat
3. Flower sandals
4. Drawstring shorts

A Day at the Beach
1. Eyelet dress
2. Crochet sandals
3. Floppy hat

Babies Who Brunch

1. Pleated dress
2. Hat
3. Embroidered ballet flats

*All of these items are from Zara and Gap and they're all under $35.  Way to be a budget-friendly baby!


Self-Employment | Month 4

First off, wow.  I can't believe I'm now starting month 5 of this whole self-employment thing.  I can't even believe it's already May.  The last four months have gone by so quickly I feel like I can't blink because, if I do, I'll open my eyes and it'll be Thanksgiving.

One big thing that happened for me in April is that I met my goal for wedding bookings in 2012!!  I did not expect to meet that goal this early in the year.  Actually, in all honesty, I wasn't even totally confident I'd meet it at all.  I am so thankful that it happened so soon and I can now focus on increasing my bookings beyond that goal.  Any opportunity to practice and gain more skills and knowledge is always a good thing!

Of course, this last month had its downsides, too.  I've started to notice that I have a very specific, emotional process after every shoot that I'm hoping will get better as my confidence increases.  Basically, I love every shoot as it's happening, I hate my work when I review it immediately after because, of course, all I can see are the technical flaws, but then when I come back and start the editing process, I fall in love with the work all over again.  I need to learn how to skip that "hate it" part and be confident in the work so I can love it from beginning to end.

I also need to stop comparing myself to others.  When starting something new, it's perfectly natural to do your homework and investigate how others have done it before you.  There's so much to learn there, both from their successes and their mistakes.  But when it reaches the point of comparison, when it starts to get negative, or when thoughts like "Oh man, I'll never be that good" start to pop up, it's time to step away and just focus on the work.  My work is good enough.  My work doesn't have to meet someone else's random standards.  My work is my own and the more confident I am in that, the more likely I am to attract clients who also appreciate and value it.  I don't need to defend my work or prove myself to anyone.  I just need to be.

I've also noticed I get easily overwhelmed with the business end of things when I think of all I need to do.  My "busy season" starts in just one month and when I think of all that must be done, it makes me want to crawl under the covers and sleep it all away.  I need to focus, tackle, and conquer.  Maybe that should be my new motto.

I have plans and dreams of how I want the business to grow but I also have to remind myself to be patient.  I've only been in business for 6 months.  Success doesn't happen overnight.  Mine will come in stride.  But patience isn't exactly my greatest virtue...
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