Wednesday, November 27, 2013

NaBloPoMo Day 25 - She's Working 9 to 5

As this posts, I'm on my way to Virginia to start the Thanksgiving shenanigans with my dad and stepmom. So instead of a well thought out blog post, you get my latest (and current favorite) lookbook from Keaton Row. They're two super cute work looks that I want every single piece of. Enjoy!

Check out the details and purchase pieces here.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

NaBloPoMo Day 24 - Keaton Row

Remember in this post when I talked about how much I loved putting looks together for people and how I wished that was my job? Well...I found a way it (kind of) can! I just was accepted as a stylist for Keaton Row! What Keaton Row does is pair up people who need help with styling with online stylists like me! You pick a stylist, tell us what you need, and we send you a lookbook of the pieces and styling we think would be perfect for you. It's literally exactly what I've been doing for my friends and family for years, but this time, if you buy something I suggest, I get a commission.

I'm pretty excited about it because this is seriously one of my favorite things in the world to do and if I can end up making a little extra cash on it, why not?!

For now, I have no clients yet, but I've been doing lookbooks to share what my style is and what you would expect from me as a stylist. Check out my first lookbook below and let me know what you think.

Visit and shop from my lookbook here

And if you need help styling anything, let me know! Keaton Row is completely free. If you decide to buy something from one of our vendors (Nordstrom, ASOS, the list goes on and on), you just pay the normal price and we get a commission. There really are no strings attached, it's just another business empowering creative, shopaholics like myself to chase their weird little passions.

I can't wait to create more and more lookbooks and hopefully start styling for some awesome ladies and gents!

Monday, November 25, 2013

NaBloPoMo Day 23 - Cool Chick with a Cool Job

Today's Cool Chick with a Cool Job is Candra, an uber talented professional photographer. I’ve known Candra since the days of us working our cute little tails off at the Hallmark in Bakersfield. I always thought she was so interesting, she’s had so many creative jobs, she’s constantly making her own gifts that look flawless, and that accent…come on? Over the years, I have watched her travel the world, live in Africa, battle illness, have a baby, and change her career into something that just makes her seem so fulfilled and happy. It’s been amazing to watch. I recently interviewed Candra about the long road to her awesome job...


V:  What is your education/employment background?

C:  I was a florist for 11 years, and did various other jobs along with it while in school. I have been a paid, professional scrapbooker since 2007. You can see my scrapbooking and photography work on QVC and HSN, as well as various other scrapbooking companies. I currently work solely as a photographer. I have a Bachelor’s degree in Consumer Science from the University of Houston (Go Cougars)

V:  Is being a photographer something you’ve always wanted to do?

C:  Though I’ve always loved taking photos, I never really considered it until my late 20’s. So many in my family are big documenters; it goes back a few generations even. I have a big family, especially on my mom’s side. My grandfather and his father always took photos, so we grew up in that mindset. It was just something we did. They always pushed us to be creative and it worked! In the photo below there are 3 of us (+1 who wasn’t born yet) that are professional photographers across the U.S. and several more that could be if they chose to make it more than a hobby.

It’s really great to be able to confide/collaborate on a professional level with people you know and love. We can see what’s working or not with each other or even just bounce ideas.

V:  What made you decide to finally go for it and start your own business?

C:  What made me go for it was twofold: lack of income and a creative outlet. We had been living in Houston, TX when Hurricane Katrina hit. Most of our family live all along the Mississippi Gulf Coast and were devastated by the storm. Only a few were left with houses and without water. I have vivid memories of my mom’s house being covered in people and photos trying to dry out. My in-laws were only able to salvage a handful of photos, and only 2 from their wedding day. Many things are replaceable, but not those photographs. There was nothing tangible left to those memories. It was then when I started taking photography more seriously, instead of for granted.

When we moved back to California, I couldn’t find a job, even with my shiny new degree (in consumer science). The market was horrible. In between interviews I began teaching scrapbooking classes and taking pictures. They were a great until I found a “real” job with William-Sonoma. It wasn’t long before I was overwhelmed with working all three jobs. Life helped me choose which was most important when I was told I had cancer. At that point I realized that I had 3 photos of myself in 7 years, and while I was busy, I wasn’t happy. That realization may have been more devastating that the diagnosis. I realized that my family would have little to remember me by. I wasn’t leaving enough behind. I quit everything but photography and never regretted the decision. Also, this past May marks 4 years in remission, and I make myself take photos at least once a year (usually a lot more, lol).

V:  What is your favorite part of your job?

C:  This is a hard one to narrow down. Being practical, I like that I can somewhat make my own hours and schedule things around my son. Outside of that, I’d say that I love helping people remember the most memorable moments and people in their lives. Nothing makes my eyes well up faster than watching a baby taking its first breath. To be able to capture those precious, never to be seen again moments, it’s humbling. Secret? My birth clients are usually my favorites.


V:  What’s the hardest part of your job?

C:  Finding a time management balance between being a mom and a photographer....and I hate bookkeeping and paying taxes, because I suck at math.

V:  What does a regular day for you look like?

C:  Days are rarely regular, but I like that. Here’s what I WISH my day would look like... I wake up before my son, shower and dress in an outfit that I’ve laundered, ironed, and that’s straight out of Lucky mag. Dang, I’m having a good hair day! I get my inbox cleared and photos edited before he wakes and wants breakfast. After a gourmet breakfast we run errands/make phone calls/scout weather/lighting/locations for the afternoon sessions. I go to the gym to run a few miles, while my 1.5 year old sits quietly playing. Then there’s lunch and a 3 hour nap for him. I make client phone calls finish in enough time to take a short nap myself. The nanny arrives and I head out for client sessions until sunset. Once back at home, I prepare a dinner that would rival Martha herself. Afterwards, my husband gives my son a bath, while I relax and back-up today’s photo session. It’s perfection, of course! Then we all go to sleep by 8:30!

Here’s what my day usually looks like... I wake up with my son, shower, and put my hair up in a bun. I open my computer while putting Eggo waffles in the toaster (because that’s the only thing he will eat this week). Wesley watches Mickey Mouse Clubhouse while I answer emails and update my calendar. If I need a bit more time, I may or may not throw some cheerios on his tray to get me 10 more minutes. Afterwards I put a bra on under my work-out clothes that I don’t work out in, and go to the grocery store, post office, etc... We attempt a healthy lunch, and then play a while with letters and Legos until naptime. Once, he’s asleep, I dash like a mad woman to make client phone calls. Nothing is worse than a toddler crying when you’re attempting professionalism. In the afternoon I get an assistant/babysitter, and I’m off to client sessions for a few hours. Then I cook a dinner to rival Martha (I didn’t let that time at William Sonoma go to waste), family time, and then baths. After reading a book and snuggling him asleep, I attempt late night back-ups and editing and sometimes achieve perfection, until I fall asleep myself. During busy times, I usually hire an assistant/babysitter on a regular schedule. I’d like to say that I find time to run a few miles, but we all know I’d be lying.

V:  What advice do you have for someone who wants to get into your field?

C:  Know that a camera is just a tool. If you don’t know how to use it, or have an eye for photography, you won’t be very successful. A good photographer can give a beautiful image with a disposable camera, iPhone camera, or high-end digital.

Don’t go overboard with camera equipment, props, and editing. LOTS of money can be spent, when the best thing is to get a simple camera and master it. You shouldn’t be relying on filters and props to make your images better.

Know your client. If you have a young girl who is curvy and self-conscious about it, study up on how to best pose her. Making her feel good about her photos, not only lifts her spirits, but also your sales. If you have a family session with all young boys, find out what they’re into prior to the meeting. If you get them talking about their favorite super heroes, chances are they will relax and you will get better pictures.

Back-up. Seriously, the rule around here is that the photos don’t exist unless they are in three different places. You equipment will fail, cards will get erased on accident, hurricanes might wash them away....back up.

Let your only competition be yourself. So many photographers, myself included, fall into the trap of “I wish my work looked like __any other photographer you’ve just discovered__.” While it’s great to have other professionals to look up to, you should only be trying to best your own work. Challenge yourself. Look at your best session and say “How can I make this better?” Don’t be afraid to try something outside your normal. You might be surprised at the results.

Thank you so much Candra!  Check her out on her Website, Facebook, and Blog.


Sunday, November 24, 2013

NaBloPoMo Day 22 - This Sunday Currently

Currently I am...

Reading:  The USPS and UPS websites trying to see which one is cheaper for my shipment.

Writing:  Gift labels.

Listening:  To Grey's Anatomy reruns playing on Netflix in while I gift wrap. I love rewatching seasons of shows when I'm getting ready or doing other things. I'm on season 7 of Grey's now which I've never seen before and I'm re-hooked on the drama. I definitely do not remember crying this much when I watched this show as a younger, less hormonal person.

Thinking:  That I can't wait for next week (only two work days!) and that I wish I had more boxes and gift wrap.

Smelling:  The glue I'm using to stick the doilies to the wrapping paper.

Wishing:  That any of the dang pizza delivery places in my area also offered side salads.

Hoping:  I'm keeping that one to myself for a while. :)

Wearing:  Black leggings, a white tank, and a crop top with a pug on it. I'm too cool for school.

Loving:  That today is a crazy lazy day and that I'm almost done with my Christmas wrapping for the year.

Wanting:  Some pizza, is it dinner time yet?

Needing:  Bigger boxes for shipping.

Feeling:  Sleepy, but happy to be getting all this done.

Clicking:  Netflix, USPS, UPS, and Reddit in between wrap jobs.


Saturday, November 23, 2013

NaBloPoMo Day 21 - Nothing

I have absolutely nothing to blog about today.



I went to the gym, sat on my ass a lot, ran some errands, watched some movies, ate some bad food, drank some booze, sat around some more.

Thassit today.

Soooo in honor of NaBloPoMo I'm posting something anyway.


I miss my long hair and wish it looked like this today instead of in a dumb/short topknot.

Pretty, fall braided 'do.

There, that counts as a blog post right?  (I'm the worst)

Friday, November 22, 2013

NaBloPoMo Day 20 - Winter

Here are my top 3 favorite and 3 least favorite things about winter (spoiler alert, they are not exciting at all):

1)  The dogs not wanting to wake up in the morning and snuggling up in the covers. Too cute.
2)  Sitting around in comfy pjs and drinking tea to stay warm.

3)  Wearing boots.  Who doesn't feel super hot in a pair of cute boots?!
Least Favorite:
1)  Digging out your car to go to work in the morning.

2)  Working out in the cold. Except, this picture of Mike in his running tights kind of makes it all worth it.

3)  Having to wear tights. I'm too short and they're too tight and just ugh.



Wednesday, November 20, 2013

NaBloPoMo Day 18 - Cheer Up

I had a no-good day today. The kind of day where you feel like you got a giant karate chop to the ego. And then some.

So to cheer me and everyone else who got metaphorically chopped today, here is a corgi wearing a hoodie.



Tuesday, November 19, 2013

NaBloPoMo Day 17 - Life Lately aka iPhone Dump

It is rare that Gizmo does chinfers. He doesn't really like to cuddle.  So when he does, I make sure to take obnoxious photos of it. Also, my foot looks much fatter than it really is...
It's gift wrapping time!!  Did you know that I love to gift wrap? My first job was at a Hallmark and I worked the gift wrapping station a lot and it has stuck with me. The last couple of years, I've tried to do a new and creative theme for my Christmas presents each year. This year is a combination of a couple things I liked from Pinterest and also I had twine left over so...
I kind of absolutely love them and holy crap they're going to be so easy to bows to smoosh!
People that follow me on Instagram must think I don't ever actually work out whilst at the gym. I do, I swear. I also get very bored in between sets when Mike is not being chatty so I take a lot of photos of my feet. At least I'm not taking photos of myself in the mirror in only a sports bra or something, right? (That would be terrifying and blindingly white, btw)
Recently, we found this amazing general store that sells local art, furniture, and food and we bought chocolate covered whoopie pies and I need more, thank you.
Also, homemade apple juice mixed with rum is as good as you would think it is.
Fun fact.

There is an infestation of lady bugs at my office and no one else thinks that is weird. They are seriously everywhere and I'm hoping it means a crapload of good luck is coming our way.
Also, lady bugs are pretty dumb. If you open the door so they can fly out, they freeze in fear and tuck their legs up into their bodies. So, you live here now I guess, dummies.

This has no point, it's just damn adorable. Pug wrinkles!


Monday, November 18, 2013

NaBloPoMo Day 16 - Recipes

For those that asked, here are the recipes from the date night cooking class we took recently.  Enjoy!!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

NaBloPoMo Day 15 - This Sunday Currently

Currently I am...

Reading:  recipes to make next week.  Pretty excited for this one.

Writing:  our grocery list. Why does my grocery list spreadsheet make me so happy?  No one knows, but it so does.

Listening:  to Parenthood playing on Hulu in the background.

Thinking:  Thank God I found some leftover copy paper in an old box or I wouldn't have been able to print out my grocery list and THE WORLD WOULD HAVE ENDED. (dramatic)

Smelling:  the fresca sitting next to me. I know it's too early in the morning for that, but what are you gonna do.

Wishing:  that I didn't have to go to the gym.  My husband is a slave driver.

Hoping:  for things to fall into place (they never do, do they?).

Wearing:  my super old VS Pink pjs bottoms, a too-big white racer back tank, and a leopard cardigan.  Maybe I should stop writing these before I shower and get dressed?

Loving:  that all I have to do today is go to the gym, grocery shop, and then spend the rest of the day watching tv and wrapping gifts.

Wanting:  to take a shower...stupid gym screwing up my morning.

Needing:  to clean up the mess I just made in the office trying to find copy paper.

Feeling:  happy/sleepy

Clicking:  Food52's Pinterest page for recipe ideas.

This is what I currently look like.  Sexay!


Saturday, November 16, 2013

NaBloPoMo Day 14 - Today

Today was an A+ Southern Maryland day. We went to an event at our favorite local winery Slack trying out their new beers. It was gloomy and foggy outside, but it only added to the ambiance of an outdoor, comfy, cozy wine event in Southern Maryland. There was a bonfire going, music playing, and tons of beer and wine flowing.  Basically, it was my perfect Saturday. Mike and I enjoyed the wine and beer, had big life talks, (like we always do in odd places), and just had a lovely little day. Mike is napping now on the couch trying to sleep off his sore legs from the past two days' soccer games and I'm catching up on Parenthood online and trying to blog despite how buzzed I am off wine/beer tasting.  Happy Saturday!!

The drive anywhere here is just dang gorgeous this time of year.

I love that he wears the weird sweaters I buy him for Christmas.

It's just idyllic other word for it.

Mike gets excited when people serve Sierra Nevada beer

The Slack wine tasting cottage.  Can I move in there please??

Slack has a rescue dog wondering around who is super sweet and this little kid wearing a bear ears hoodie was following it around and oh man was it cute.

Friday, November 15, 2013

NaBloPoMo Day 13 - Cool Chick with a Cool Job

Today’s Cool Chick with a Cool Job is the gorgeous Jenny Maddern.  I’ve known Jenny since I was a sophomore in college and she was my sorority president.  I’ve watched her over the years move, make big changes, go through life-changing ordeals, and come out of it all a strong and determined woman who is now chasing her dreams as a Stylist and Image Consultant.  Recently, I interviewed her about her new, cool career (that I’m totally envious of…need to start an East Coast branch of your business, Jenny?!)

V:  What is your education/employment background?

J:  I’ve been a teacher most of my “adult” life. I waited A TON of tables before that.  I hustled my way through school so I could start working. I‘ve got a degree in English (which I buck conventions of whenever possible) and a Master’s Degree in Education.  My newest, and dare I say proudest , accomplishment is completing training as an Image Consultant (and soon to be Bridal Consultant!!!) Jennifer Maddern, CBS, I can’t wait!

V:  Is being a Stylist/Image Consultant something you’ve always wanted to do?

J:  I was already doing it, I just didn’t know it was a career! I have always loved helping my friends and family look and feel their best. In a rare moment of clarity, I realized I could have a career out of something I love.

V:  What made you decide to finally go for it and start your own business?

J:  Ooh. This one is sort of a downer, but it has a happy ending. I was diagnosed with Cervical Cancer in 2011. During my treatment, I missed too much work and lost my job. When it was time to finally go back to work and start applying for jobs again…I panicked. I felt I was being untrue to my simplest needs and myself. There is something called Post-Traumatic-Growth…it’s incredible. PTG happened to me, it gave me the freedom to give the bird to my “shoulds” and embrace my “needs”.

V:  What is your favorite part of your job?

J:  When my clients realize they can have control over their wardrobes, a light comes on in their eyes! It’s so amazing giving people the tools to be a little happier. Oh and the shopping, obvi right? I get to shop vicariously through each client.

V:  What’s the hardest part of your job?

J:  The hardest part right now is balancing home life and work life. I’m blessed to be home with my two-year-old son Max…I’m also “blessed” to be home with my two-year old…very two-year-old Max.

V:  What does a regular day for you look like?

J:  (I pretended this day didn’t have any interruptions and I was able to accomplish everything I sought out to do, in reality this would be done over 3 or 4 days’ time)…I might spend the morning interviewing a client and analyzing her/his “Style Recipe”, I do some homework , make them a personalized Pinterest page with clothes that I believe would suit their needs, pack up my gear (rolling clothes rack, full length mirror, tubs) and head to the client’s house, go through the closet editing process (which takes about 4 hours) determine which items are needed to “fill in the gaps” of their wardrobe, go “pre-shop” a designated store for client, client arrives and heads straight for dressing room, client falls in love with the clothes I have chosen and chooses his/her favorites, client and I drink coffee and hug because we are so happy, we head back to client’s house and I incorporate new clothes into existing wardrobe, I “shop the closet “ and create 10 – 20 complete outfits for client to wear, I take pictures of these outfits and catalog them for client use and reference. I sleep hard.

V:  What advice do you have for someone who wants to get into your field?

J:  Check out the AICI website first! It has all the legit info you need to know, research Image Consultants in your area and see what it looks like for them, go to and check out their training options. Trust me, this is the place. Don’t let anything stop you. If you are unhappy where you are, make the changes. I’m not saying it’s going to be easy, I’m saying it’s going to be worth it ---(I thought I  coined this phrase, but I’m pretty sure someone else said it first).

Thank you so much Jenny! Check her out on her website, Pinterest, Facebook, and Twitter.