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Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Photographer Spotlight: Melissa Rieke Photography

Today we are featuring one of our favorite photographers, Melissa Rieke Photography.  We've had the pleasure of working with Melissa for quite a few years now and have always fallen completely in love with all of the photos she's sent in using our products.  Melissa is a newborn, child and family photographer out of the Kansas City area so if you are near to her be sure to book a session, you won't regret it!  Just check out some of her amazing children/family photos:


And now on to the adorable newborn photos she's done for us using our Beautiful Photo Props products...get ready for cuteness overload! (All items are currently for sale in our Prop Shop, just click the photo to be taken directly to the item ;)


Do you have a favorite photographer?  We'd love to check them out so mention them in the comments...who knows, we may feature them too!


Tuesday, September 1, 2015

We are so incredibly excited to be featuring and talking today about their amazing Custom Canvas Prints line!   Not only that but they're giving away a 12"x12" canvas to one lucky winner {details below}....

Oubly Who?

In short they are a successful & mature printing company that has a thoughtful bunch of individuals with passion for print, art, design, technology, fine papers, and collaborative culture.
Their newly launched website,, offers a wide selection of beautifully designed and crafted print items for business, or occasions that call for connection and celebration between you, your friends, and family.

Get a long lasting, gallery quality canvas from the experts 

in large format printing.

Oubly’s gallery wrapped canvases are:
  • Printed on 17 Mil thick white artist canvas.
  • Mounted on 0.75" thick wooden frame.
  • Printed with full color, fade resistant, eco inks.
  • Proudly made in Los Angeles.
  • Surface texturing and edge painting options are available.
  • We offer free digital proofs for all canvases.
  • Free Shipping on orders over $49

  • Enter HERE for a chance to win a 12"x12" canvas 
  • of your very own!
  • {Winners will be announced on Oubly's Facebook page below on September 10}


Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Great Beginner Workouts

I used to be the kind of person who hated anything remotely related to exercise...working out, walking, lifting weights, you name it I didn't want anything to do with it.  I didn't like the idea of getting hot and sweaty and always told myself that I was just too busy and couldn't make the extra time to exercise.  But as time went by my body got worse and worse and finally it began to HURT to sit all of the time and do nothing.  SO I CHANGED MY ATTITUDE.  I joined a local running group (of course I started out by walking and gradually worked up to interval running) and also joined CrossFit to try to tone things up (I am on a weight loss journey and so getting things in shape as I lose weight is really important).  What I learned about myself is that I don't hate exercising, I was using that as an excuse to be lazy.  I actually really enjoy the way I feel after running or working out, I love the feeling of my body being awake and my adrenaline flowing....but more than anything I love the feeling of accomplishment.  So much so that I completed my first 5K in March and have ran two more since then!  It wasn't easy to begin, in fact it hurt like crazy the first few times I went out with my running group because my body had never moved like that before.  But it did get easier and easier as time went by.

If you're in the same position and are looking for a good place to start moving your body and working out,  I've got some great beginner workout ideas I'd like to share with you that have really helped me.

  1. 4 Week Walking Plan for Beginners:  My Fitness Pal and Leslie Sansone have paired up to bring you an amazing 30 day walking plan that takes you through not only walking but also working your abs, arms, core and more!  I love Leslie's workouts, they are always so fun and honestly go by so quickly that you can't believe you just walked miles during an in home workout!
  2. Total Body Workout for Beginners:  This is such a great way to work your entire body yet is a great jumping off point if you're just starting out.
  3. Beginner's Flat Abs Workout:  Ab and core work are SO important when working out!  Your core is your body's facilitates movement, houses your internal organs and helps with balance, posture and back health.  Keep this area strong!
  4. CIZE - The End Of Exercise:  This workout is crazy awesome!  I've never had a workout be so much fun and I'm not even a dancer lol!  But this baby works out your entire body in a FUN way so you actually ENJOY working out!  I highly recommend this one for sure!

So there you have it, some of my favorite beginner workouts.  What are some of your favorites?  They can be beginner or advanced, I'd love to hear from you :)


Monday, August 10, 2015

Camera Essentials

Today we're going to talk a little about photography.  As a budding photographer (well, as someone who really just LOVES to take photos of any and everything!) I am always going that little "extra" to learn about the best new (and old) cameras, lenses, camera bags, etc....must-haves for any photographer.

So let's start with the camera....

(photos courtesy of Canon)

I have always been partial to the Canon series.  That was my first camera and so I've become comfortable with it :)  I currently have the Canon EOS Rebel T3i....the hubby surprised me with it for Christmas last year and I absolutely LOVE it.  I love that's it's easy to use and that it has an expanded ISO range so I get great shots in ANY light.  I can shoot video in full HD which I couldn't do with my previous DSLR.  I love that it has a high resolution flip out Vari-Angle 3.0 inch clear view LCD monitor, it really comes in handy when photographing or filming myself.  This is just the perfect camera and one that will be with me for a long time.

Let's talk lens.  My favorite lens for portraits is the Canon EF 50mm 1.8 STM which gives a perfect balance of clarity and background blur.  I also love the Canon EF 40mm f/2.8 STM lens.  This lens is ultra-lightweight and slim, nice and compact in size and delivers not only great photos but is AMAZING when used to shoot HD video.

(Images courtesy of Canon and Amazon)

Now you've gotta have something amazing to put your camera equipment in so let's talk camera bags.  I've had the pleasure of personally owning bags from each of these stores and loved each one.  First up is Epiphanie Camera Bags.  I own (and currently carry) the Stella bag in Hot Pink but it is now one of their famous discontinued bags...however they have plenty of amazingness in stock and ready for purchase!

(The Stella, photo courtesy of the amazing Jennifer Gamet Photography)

I also love Kelly Moore Camera Bags, her bags are top notch!  I own the Libby in gorgeous Orange and have traveled quite a few times with this not only fit my camera equipment but also the contents of my purse, my laptop, my iPad as well as a change of clothes (I used it as my carry-on when flying).   This bag is really stunning!

(The Libby, photo courtesy of Kelly Moore Bags)

And let's not forget about Jototes Camera Bags!  My very first camera bag was a JoTote and I've had a few since then!  One of my favorites has been the Rose Bag in teal (again, this color is discontinued but you can still get it in a few other gorgeous colors).  So stylish, you don't even feel like you're carrying a camera bag!

 (The Rose, photo courtesy of JoTotes Camera Bags)

So there you have it, the most important essentials for a budding photographer or if you're just shooting as a hobby but want to do it in style!  Are you a photographer with tips or suggestions about what are the more important things to keep on hand?  Let us know about them in the comments below!


Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Giving In...

My sweet daughter made these amazing cookies from this jar of cookie mix that she picked up at one of our local shops. It was too tempting not to have one and I spent the next 24 to 48 hours beating myself up for being so weak and caving in. You see, I've spent my entire life battling with my weight and being on every diet under the sun, one after one. So when I have something I know I'm not supposed to have it really makes me feel terrible, like a complete and utter failure. I know I need to work on that, but I also know that I need to give up the things that used to make me happy (food) if I want to make progress and make MYSELF happy. 


Thursday, July 16, 2015

Psalm 139

It took many many years of self hate and self loathing and always putting myself down before I came to the realization that God doesn't make mistakes… He makes each of us individual pieces of perfection in His eyes. He loves us with His whole heart! We are all fearfully, beautifully and wonderfully made! 

Psalm 139:14 - I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
my soul knows it very well.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Feeling Fancy

I am loving my new workout outfit! It is so hot and humid out there and it's definitely time to move out of my comfort zone of wearing T-shirts and workout pants and start wearing shorts and tank tops! This is huge for me because I never wear shorts and I never wear tank tops because I've always had big legs and big arms but now that I'm losing weight I'm starting to feel a little more confident in myself and in what I wear.  And workout clothes don't have to be expensive either...I got everything but the shoes at Walmart smile emoticon
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