Monthly Archives: March 2017

Happy Friday everyone!  I feel like this week has been a very long week and yet, at the same time a very short week too!  Do you feel that too?  Today, if you are an instagram fan you know it’s #fridayintroductions, but I thought I would move the fun over here to the blog today and share some fun personal quirks, facts, and things that you might not know about me!  I was actually inspired by my friend Bethanne , who is an amazing wedding photographer who shook things up a bit and shared this personal post on her blog on Monday!  These are just silly things that if we were able to sit down and hang out together for maybe a week vacation you would learn!  You might discover them just by being around me and noticing the little details or you could discover them through deep conversations!  Just for today though, you get to discover them without having to take a trip with me (or live with me) and understand a little bit more about who I am, other than just the goofy, clutzy girl behind the camera!

20 things

1.  I love Coca-cola!   My love really isn’t above the drink itself, it’s more the carbonation and also the association with my mom!  My mom also loves a nice ice cold coke and so whenever I see a coke, drink a coke or even hear the pop of a soda can and the fizz of the carbonation, I just always think of my mom!  Coca-cola was my mom’s (and still is) her morning coffee.  It’s her comfort drink when she’s had a rough day.  It’s her go to when she has a migraine and so for all of my life, coke has been those things for me as well.  And… when I just need my mom, I grab a coke.  I know that probably sounds silly to some, but a nice, fizzy, cold coke in a cup with a straw is comfort for me!  That’s why I drink it!  I can go without it for sure and I have for many months at a time and for years even… but there’s something so safe and comforting that reminds me of mom just when I need it!

2.   Barefoot Forever, Shoes Never!  For as long as I can remember, I have never liked shoes.  I still don’t like shoes.  Well, I take that back, my husband will beg to differ.  I actually LOVE shoes and have a closet full of them.  I just never wear them!  I prefer to walk barefoot, even if my feet are freezing (and they usually are!)  I walk the dog barefoot, I ride in the car barefoot to most places that I don’t have to get out of the car!  I’m just always barefoot!

2.5.  That used to go for underwear too!  This is an embarrassing story and I would probably never share but my parents LOVE to share it and it’s been heard so often now that, who cares!  That’s also why it’s 2.5 and not 3.  When I was little, like pre-school age… I used to not like underwear either!  My parents would have to double check to make sure I was wearing it.  I would go to school looking cute in skirts and then sit in a straddle.  Yep, that’s me, I just like my freedom!  Back then… right, let’s get that straight!  Now I’m a complete lady!

3.  I’m always cold, always!  It can be 100 degree’s outside and I will pack a hooded sweatshirt with me.  I might even be wearing a zip up and shorts!  I’m always cold.  I actually love August and September here in Florida because the heat doesn’t bother me.  In fact, I can still wear a long sleeve shirt and shorts down here.  People look at me like I’m nuts but I am just always cold!

4.  Linc has a T-shirt that if I could fit I would wear it because it suits me perfectly:  I put Ketchup on my Ketchup!  It’s my truth ya’ll.  I put ketchup on everything.  I put it on my eggs, my pizza, my grilled cheese even.  I like to put it on plain spaghetti noodles or soba noodles that are swimming in chicken broth and make it a soup.  It’s a real thing I promise!  I like to put ketchup on chips.  I even like ketchup on fruit!  I just love my ketchup!

5.  I am a total Grilled Cheese connoisseur!  If a grilled cheese is on the menu, I will order it!  If Linc orders a kid’s grilled cheese and we could make one better at home, I still don’t care I’m going to finish his left overs!  I LOVE a great grilled cheese!  It can be fancy (which that’s just amazing) or two pieces of bread with a american slice in the middle, it’s all delicious to me!

6.  I am a hoarder of TV series that I love and I will binge watch on repeat forever!  When I say forever, imagine the kid from the sandlot and say it like him… FOR.. EVVV.RRRRRR!  I will give you examples:  Alias!  It’s my all time favorite TV series, I mean Sydney Bristow was a bad ass and it was 5 seasons of crazy amazingness.  I own them all on DVD and I just watch them from the pilot to the series finale again and again and again.  It drives Tuck mad!  He doesn’t understand.  Burn Notice is another one:  Fiona Glennanne… Bad ass!  Same thing, I own them all and I can finish Alias and start that series and watch until it ends, again and again!  I love it because I’ve seen them all and I don’t have to focus entirely on them.  I can do other tasks (like edit, blog, or fall asleep).  They are predictable to me and comforting.  I know what to expect!  But they are still entertaining and again, the female leads are such strong role models!  I can recommend some other shows too:  Merlin (OMG phenomenal) Luther (also soo amazing and the character development is fantastic) and Jane the Virgin is hysterical!

7.  I never thought I was a TV person until I became a mother!  I realized that I use TV (and binge show watching) as an escape from real life!  That’s so tough to admit to myself and it’s scary to admit here because you never want to be “that” person but if you don’t own up to your faults how can you change them?!  Before we become parents we always say I will never do that as a mom, or my kid will never have that!  It’s funny because the second you become a parent it’s all about surviving and just trying to do your best for that day!  Then you laugh at your “before children”  judgey self!  I have realized, especially after our move, just how much TV we have in our house, and also how much time I spend “away” from my family to watch my shows folding the laundry or resting!  So I made a goal this year to change that!  I want to be outside and present more!  Intentional and mindful friends!

20 things

8.  I worked in a children’s hospital for 6 years before I became a mom and I have a title after my name of CCLS!  Certified Child Life Specialist which means so much to me because I worked so darn hard for those initials!  If you haven’t ever heard of a Child Life Specialist and your a mom who finds herself in a children’s hospital one day… you need to know who they are!  They will become your best friend and ally!  Check out the full job description here.  I loved my job as a CCLS and it taught me so many life lessons but the biggest take away that I try to bring into my life everyday is that life is exactly what you make it!  Children see the world with such wonder and amazement:  even when they are so sick, when they feel good they want to play!  They are never the victim!  They don’t try to get sympathy or feel badly just for the sake of it.  They just want to be happy and enjoy the moment!

9.  My first job ever was at our local pharmacy!  I sold candy, worked at the soda fountain making real, traditional lime-aides (still my favorite treat to this day if I can find them) and then eventually helped the pharmacist which was really great and educational.

10.  My second  job all the way through summers home in college was working in a surf shop!  Those were the best days and I even learned how to build skate decks!

11.  I am a huge empath!  I feel everything and very deeply!  If someone else is hurting, I hurt too and in a big way.  A lot of people might see this as a weakness but I have always felt it was one of my biggest strengths.

12.  I cry… a lot!  I cry when I’m sad, I cry when I’m happy, I cry when I’m angry and I cry when I’m frustrated.  Sometimes this can get me in trouble!  I find it hard for people to take me seriously in confrontations or difficult situations when I need to come across as strong and confident.  I feel like I’m always saying please don’t mistake my tears for weakness.  I am not crying because I am sad or afraid, I am actually crying because I am extremely frustrated with our situation right now and would like to come to a mutual agreement and resolve the issue.

13.  I have a serious wanderlust right now and desire for travel!  I have been to France and Peru with my parents and both were amazing trips!  Tuck and I went to St. Lucia on our honeymoon.  We just went to the Bahamas on our Disney Cruise which was gorgeous.  I am still dying to go to Alaska, New Zealand, Italy, Australia, Africa, Japan and Ireland…. just to name a few!

14.  I have 4 tattoos and am working on a 5 right now!

15.  I have a full shoulder replacement and we joke that I am the bionic woman!  Seriously though, my right shoulder is titanium and that is what allowed me to travel with my parents through Peru!

16.  I am a complete believer that everything in our lives happens for a reason and that there are no coincidences!  I believe every situation in our lives is there to teach us a lesson that we need to learn or to slow us down so we can appreciation what we have in our lives at this given moment!  Nothing is random and nothing is without a plan or purpose.  If we can’t see it right away, that’s OK we just need to change our perspective a bit.

17.  I am a complete clutz.  I trip over everything.  I run into walls (often).  I stub my toes on objects I know are right in my path.  I constantly have bruises all over!  One time on a date, I walked right into a light pole.  I fell down an entire set of brick stairs while shooting a wedding.  I fell of a ledge into a pool while shooting a family session (thank goodness I didn’t have my camera on me) and daily I run into the corner of our bed, that hasn’t been moved an inch since we moved in a year ago!

18.  My husband calls me jowls or gums because I apparently have the biggest cheek walls he has ever seen!

19.  I like real images of play better than sitting still and posed because that is my life!  We are all in a constant state of movement, especially with young children.  Why wouldn’t we want to capture life right as we are right now?!  Working in the hospital I realized that life is seriously precious.  I brought that home and it has shaped the way I live and the way I parent.  I want to capture Linc just as he is in this moment which is crazy active and always bouncing and moving.  I want the life!  I want to movement!  I want the giggles and the laughter and even the “naughtiness”!  He never sits still!  That’s why I shoot the laughter and the movement and the bear hugs.  That’s truly how I see life.  That’s how I want it to be lived!

20.  My house is a shrine to Linc and it’s slightly embarrassing!  We are hoarders of images and prints.  We are also slightly over doing the color blue, but that’s OK!

Life is all about having a good balance of crazy and calm!  At least that’s how we try to live.  We have a little more crazy than calm probably but we are hoping some day it will even itself out!

What are some of the things that you love?!  What are some of the quirky traits that you have?  Do we have anything in common?  Are you a weird ketchup lover like me or have crazy cheek walls?!

I would love to know!

I hope you have a wonderful Friday and a great weekend friends!!!

See you next week for a Magical Monday (hooray) talking about Disney and then some fun sessions in store later in the week!


Linc and I took a nice little trip back to our hometown in Virginia Beach this past spring break!  What happened on the way home was pretty eye opening for me.  Linc and I were standing in the security line waiting our turn to take off our shoes and pack our bins when I realized… oh my gosh, I left my phone in Papa’s chair!  I double checked my bag, even triple checked my bag just to make sure I was mistaken but I could see it lying there in the corner of his brown leather chair and I can even remember getting up, throwing it down as I rushed about trying to get Linc dressed and the bags out the door so we could head out to the airport in time to hit the security lines early.  Now, here we were standing at the front of the almost non-existent line and there was my cell phone, still lying in papa’s comfortably worn leather chair, right where I had thrown it down… left behind.

Now most of you would panic!  Heck, I thought I would panic but oddly enough, I was calm and even relaxed at the thought of not having a cell phone.  The incredible TSA agent heard me talking with Linc and checking my ticket offered to lend me his phone so I could call my parents and have them run it up to me.  He even went as far as to offer to personally run it to my gate since I had plenty of time to spare.  I didn’t want my parents to have to make an extra trip, and it really wasn’t that big of a deal to me so I politely thanked him but told him it was totally OK and my mom could just package it up and send it to me.  He looked at me at me like I had three heads.  “What will you do without your phone for that long, I would be panicking!”

This it when it hit me, how crazy attached we are to these little electronic devices, and why?! Didn’t we grow up without them? Our parents didn’t have them and they raised us to be perfectly healthy and safe adults! So the past few days, I’ve been really mindful of my time and I’ve learned a lot!  Here are some of the things I’ve noticed about cell phones and leaving my own behind:

(Here’s a caveat though:  Tuck did activate my old one so I did have a cell phone to use, not a very good one because it would shut off every 30 minutes or so!  I don’t want to mislead you into thinking I was totally without when I wasn’t!)


We don’t allow ourselves the time anymore to just sit and be!  It seems like today as a society (and this is just my opinion) we have to always be doing something!  We always have to be on the move, on the go, on top of the game, whatever the game may be and in the know and I think the cell phone (because it has every single app and all the information up to date at your finger tips) gives you that in an instant is the perfect answer!  It’s the perfect filler of time!  We don’t like to still anymore and to me this is a bit sad because there is so much you can learn in the stillness!  I realized that I need the stillness and silence and as uncomfortable sometimes as it is, I have to create the space for it.  Leaving my cell phone behind (and having one that shuts off all the time) helped me to create space for stillness.  I wasn’t able to scroll through social media as often or check amazon as often.  I actually had to be in the moment and focus on what I was doing, or not doing, and that actually benefited me in so many other ways, especially my creativity!


This one is a bit tricky because we all know and love that cell phones can create such connection especially when you talk about social media!  BUT and this is a big but, have you ever gone out to dinner and looked around and see “those people”… you know the ones who are on a date but they aren’t talking or looking at each other at all because there eyes are down and totally focused on their electronic device screens!  Have you ever been “those people?”  I think we all have!  It’s so hard because these days we are so extremely connected and locked in that it’s hard to put the phone down and actually be present with the people you love!  So on one hand, you gain connection and intimacy with people but on the other hand, your losing connection and intimacy with those your living with and have chosen to spend your life with!  It’s such a hard balance!  Tuck and I have a rule, no cell phones at the dinner table or after 530 pm.  It’s a great rule.  There’s a problem with the rule though… once dinner is over and Linc’s in bed it’s like the rule is lifted and it’s ok for electronic device time and it’s right back on.  It’s like permission granted and eyes down once again.  It’s such a hard thing to navigate and who’s to say what’s too much time or what’s right or wrong.  It’s a personal choice and every family is different.

We all laugh about the dinner couple, we laugh because we know it’s true.  We laugh because we’ve been the dinner couple.  We laugh because it’s awkward and we hate to admit we’ve all been there.  We laugh because we all want to change it but we accept that it’s a truth too!


I grew up in the 80’s (shout out to everyone else who did!!) and we didn’t have cell phones!  When we played, we came home at a time our parents had designated or when the street lights came on.  When we went out as a family, that was our plan for the day and that was it.  If someone wanted to reach us, they called the house phone and left a message on the machine.  It was so simple and actually in hindsight much better for the family unit.  You made your family plan and you stuck with it.  There were no interruptions during the family outing and guess what:  mom and dad weren’t constantly checking in on social media or taking work calls or checking e mail!  Family time was exactly that:  family time!  Everyone was completely plugged in, 100%.  A beach day was just a beach day!  There were no status updates or pictures taken to shout to the world “hey look at us, aren’t we so awesome and cool!”  Pictures were taken purely for family legacy!  Baseball games were enjoyed by the whole family and dinner was just a family dinner were stories were shared!  What a great time to grow up a be a child.  Sometimes I wonder if I’m doing Linc a disservice.  I document his every move and is that a good thing or a bad thing?!  I think for our own family legacy it’s a great thing, but sometimes I wonder about social media.  I realized this week, I’m all too distracted by my phone.  I need to worry more about giving him my full attention now while he demands and wants it before that’s gone and he’s off with his friends;  and worry less about likes on social media!

Sometimes I even notice a difference in his behavior.  If I’m on the phone, distracted and not giving him my full attention;  I notice that his behavior isn’t as great as sI would like it to be.  He becomes frustrated easier, has more tantrums and generally is just grumpier.  And why not:  his mom isn’t fully present with him.  Moms:  Have you noticed the same?

Why would I not want to change that when the solution is so easy!!!


Leaving my phone has opened my eyes and allowed me to see that I need to create a new intentional routine!  Seeing all these things that I’ve listed above:  that I’ve been using my phone as a filler because I can’t sit still or focus on just one task.  That we are so connected on our phones that we aren’t truly connecting and investing time into the people we are doing life with and then probably most importantly remembering how I grew up!  I realized that I want to truly be mindful and intentional now of how I use my phone and my electronic devices.  I mean hey, I have to use my phone and social media for my business so I can’t truly escape it, but I can choose HOW I use it and WHEN I use it.  I do want to give Linc the same kind of attention and family time that I had when I was a kid, so I am going to start shutting my phone completely off when I’m with him, that way the temptation isn’t even there to start!  I think on weekends when we are out as a family that’s a great place to totally disconnect!  During office hours, I will keep my phone on but after that in the evenings when Tuck gets home from work, my phone will be turned off as well so I can truly be present for him as a wife and Linc as a mom.  We have a house phone so in an emergency situation we can be reached and that’s really all that matters!  I realized I have less anxiety when I don’t check in and I’m not plugged in and that’s a great feeling!

What do you think friends?!  Will you join in with me on this challenge?  Are you feeling the same way I am with the cell phone connectivity and push and pull?!

Do you struggle with wanting to disconnect?

Have you ever done anything like this or left your phone behind?

Leave a comment below and let me know what you think!!!!

what I learned when I left my cell phone Photo Cred:  The amazing Terri Z

Today, in our culture of work hard so we can play harder, schedules and routines that are often so jam packed, I feel like it is one of the most important and one of the most rewarding things as a parent to be able to just get outside some nights and take a “time off”!  That’s my goal every single time I am lucky enough to schedule a session or a play date as I like to call them with families in the evening and the golden hour!  I love for my families to be able to just let loose, drop the routine and actually PLAY with their little ones!  The real kind of play where you can run wild in the grass, tickle fight and get a little bit dirty without having to truly worry about the kids having to be on their best behavior!  That’s the dream as a parent right?  To actually play with our kids?!  To enjoy them while they are little before they grow up and they are off with their friends?!

This was the exact kind of session, the kind of dream session, I had with the Cooling family!  The girls were perfect in every way:  they came and dirtied up their piggie toes, they ran wild in the grass, they laughed deep belly laughs and they even climbed some trees.  You want to know the absolute best part, mom and dad were right there with them and that was my favorite part!  I was able to capture the whole family playing together and having a great time… together just being silly!  We all sat on monsters, we squished them and made animal noises!  We screamed at the top of our lungs and I think we even sang about booties a bit!

What’s a perfect night without talking about booties right?!

Here are some of my most favorite shots from our time together!

Florida Family Photographer/ Beautiful Outdoor Family portraits

The girls came ready to play!  They brought their lovies and their excitement!  They asked if they could take off their shoes which immediately captured my heart because I almost never wear shoes when I’m shooting!  Let’s earth it together girls!!  😉

Florida Family Photographer/ Beautiful Outdoor Family portraits Florida Family Photographer/ Beautiful Outdoor Family portraits Florida Family Photographer/ Beautiful Outdoor Family portraits Florida Family Photographer/ Beautiful Outdoor Family portraits

Aren’t these girls stunning?!  I mean seriously!!!!  GAH!

Florida Family Photographer/ Beautiful Outdoor Family portraits Florida Family Photographer/ Beautiful Outdoor Family portraits Florida Family Photographer/ Beautiful Outdoor Family portraits Florida Family Photographer/ Beautiful Outdoor Family portraits Florida Family Photographer/ Beautiful Outdoor Family portraits Florida Family Photographer/ Beautiful Outdoor Family portraits Florida Family Photographer/ Beautiful Outdoor Family portraits Florida Family Photographer/ Beautiful Outdoor Family portraits Florida Family Photographer/ Beautiful Outdoor Family portraits

We decided to move down to the path and break out the bubbles!

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We started to wrap things up and of course, I never truly put my camera away until the car doors close and I’m glad I didn’t!  The sillies started to come out and I just couldn’t help but capture these!

Florida Family Photographer/ Beautiful Outdoor Family portraits Florida Family Photographer/ Beautiful Outdoor Family portraits Florida Family Photographer/ Beautiful Outdoor Family portraits Florida Family Photographer/ Beautiful Outdoor Family portraitsThank you so much for hanging out with me and playing with me!!!

I can’t wait to see you guys again!!!



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