Personal Archive

No Rain, No Flowers: A Personal Announcement on Growth + Change

“If you’re brave enough to leave behind everything familiar and comforting, which can be anything from your house to bitter, old resentments, and set out on a truth-seeking journey, either externally or internally, and if you are truly willing to regard everything that happens to you on that journey as a clue, and if you accept everyone you meet along the way as a teacher, and if you are prepared, most of all, to face and forgive some very difficult realities about yourself, then the truth will not be withheld from you–or so I’ve come to believe.”

                                                                                                                                         – Elizabeth Gilbert

When I’ve mentioned 28 was my favorite year to date in several posts, I meant it. When my high school English teacher sat in front of the class and told us, “Ladies don’t reach maturity until their mid/late twenties and men, often times, their early thirties” I distinctly remember the know-it-all disdain my 17-year-old self had towards her comment.

I can confidently proclaim that 2017 has, thus far, been one of my most favorite years of life, to date. I’ve had years of anxiously awaiting the next season in life, years of many tears, years full of mistakes and learning curves, years of deliberate focus, just to name a few. This year though has been simply magical. Not for any particular life reason or situation, other than I truly feel that at 28 years old, I’m learning to own and love this skin, brain, and heart I have. The things that make me, ME, and simply embracing all that is here–the traits that make up who I am, the people who add value to my life, and the experiences I’m ever-so-lucky to soak in with all 5 of these humanly senses.  I’m learning to be ok with not knowing what the future may bring or being afraid of change.

I know I’m an extra emotion-driven soul. For those of you that think it’s super sappy, apologies! Feel free to stop reading here.  I’ve been meditating, focusing on personal growth in a way that I never before have in my life–a way that turns the mirror around on myself and takes responsibility for the good, bad, and ugly experiences that have found their way to me over the years.2017-10-18_0001

At 28 years old and through much self-reflection, I’ve also come to make the most difficult decision I’ve ever had to consciously make: a decision to graciously appreciate the season, experiences, and beautiful growth my relationship with Preston has brought, but to honor ourselves and our capacity to grow as individuals by going our separate ways romantically.

These words come with a heavy heart and announcing this on social media is a decision I’ve reflected on how to do appropriately for quite some time. Social media is a tricky little thing, and how much of my personal life I share is always done with intention. Nonetheless, as writing, documenting, and sharing the moving stories of my clients is such an inherent part of what makes me passionate about this life, I felt that it would be a bit hypocritical to not expose some of the pieces of my own heart that have molded me and will undoubtedly continue to mold my future.

Break-ups are never easy, and in fact, I think cutting ties with anyone who has ever impacted my heart is an extremely difficult feat for me. An excerpt from one of my favorite books strings together how I feel that I love, perfectly. In If You Find This Letter, Hannah says:

“That’s always been my downfall, the thing my mother always calls me out on. I romanticize things…I feel things too deeply. I hold on much longer than I should. All of life has always been one big book of poems to me. I think every person is a living poem–from their hopeful heart to their ugly habits. Life is just too busy to ever stop and dwell on one thing for too long.”

Letting go of people and the role you are used to them playing in your life is N-E-V-E-R easy, but we all know more than we’d like to admit that the most difficult times are the ones that shake up our insides and mold them into the new form they must take for us to evolve. And well, evolution is ever-necessary for us to reach our full capacity in this one life experience we are given, my friends.

While this decision has, for obvious reasons, not been an easy one for me or Preston, it is one we are consciously trying to navigate through with love and respect for one another. As we have spent nearly a decade and our entire adult lives together, neither of us have the desire to part ways and never speak again. In fact, I feel that that behavior, at least for us, would be extremely silly and counterproductive to us evolving into better humans. We are closing the intimate, romantic chapter of life together, and moving towards our own paths of growth and self-awareness, honoring ourselves as individuals and what that means, fully.

 

Screen Shot 2017-10-18 at 8.57.03 AM Quote from Conscious Uncoupling by Katherine Woodward Thomas

 

This ending to our romantic relationship came at a time when both of us were more whole and healthy than not, as opposed to coming from a place of brokenness or hurt. I share this because, for me, that is particularly important. Important for the both of us moving forward into future, healthy relationships and without overhanging baggage, resentment, or hatred. While this process will undoubtedly bring about various levels of grief, sadness, and occasional negative passion, it would defeat the whole purpose of us growing as individuals if we left this season of life with one another angry, resentful, and broken. I truly wish the best for Preston in life, love, and well-being, as I know he does for me.

As Craig Hamilton puts it, “If we are willing to walk fearlessly and tenderly into the crucible of a painful ending, we will find gifts waiting for us there that we could never have seen had we continued clinging to the safety of the familiar.”

If you are going through your own life struggles and growth, whether it be from the impending end to a relationship or some other time of change, I encourage you to look within yourself and embrace the insight and beauty life is bringing into your life by shaking up and resituating some difficult emotions. If there’s one thing I know for a fact in life, it’s that we can find beauty in ANY situation we endure, it only requires us to look past the pain to find it.

 
PS. If this post resonated with your own heart and struggles and you’d like me to share with you some of the reading material, podcasts, and resources that have helped me navigate through difficult emotions, I’d be more than happy to share them with you. Send me a message or comment and I’d be happy to point you into the direction of those.

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Healthy Pesto-Avocado Shrimp Zucchini Pasta + DIY Slime | New Orleans Lifestyle Photographer

This weekend was one for the books in the littlest of ways. There weren’t crazy adventures or breathtaking sights, but there was lots of genuine, soul-fulfilling girl time, big-bellied laughs, and the best food to fill these taste buds. I’ve truly been embracing this slow season of life, letting myself soak in the mundane moments, meditate on the why behind certain feelings, and cultivating a heart open to change and growth, even when it feels uncomfortable or scary.

As this weekend was so fulfilling for me, I thought I’d share a few of the recipes that contributed to it. From healthy, delicious meals to crafts and educational events, it was a jam-packed, yet relaxing weekend. I always get lots of positive feedback from sharing healthy recipes on here, so I thought I’d share one of my recent favorites that we indulged in this weekend!

I try to stay away from pasta, so it’s always fun to find alternatives that are both healthy and tasty. Friday night I made Pesto-Avocado Shrimp Zucchini Pasta and it was SO delicious! Here’s the recipe…

2017

HEALTHY PESTO-AVOCADO SHRIMP ZUCCHINI PASTA

3-4 Zucchini

3 lbs fresh shrimp

3 TBSP Grass Fed Butter

1 TBSP Olive Oil

1 Lemon

1 Jar Basil Pesto

2 Avocados

Feta crumbles (optional for topping)

Seasonings: Salt, Pepper, Cayenne Pepper, Garlic Powder, Onion Powder

DIRECTIONS: Peel fresh shrimp. Melt butter + olive oil in pan on med-high heat. Once butter is melted, add shrimp and seasonings. Saute until shrimp is fully cooked. Mash two avocados and add to pan along with jar of pesto. Squeeze lemon over all ingredients.

Clean off zucchini and cut off ends. Using a vegetable spiralizer (I use a VERY simple one similar to this), create veggie noodles with the zucchini. Simply add shrimp-pesto toppings and feta crumbles (if that’s your thing) and enjoy!

I was recently introduced to the world of slime on Instagram by a friend and had NO IDEA of how viral the slime trend is right now. In efforts to get my hands dirty with a light-hearted and fun craft, I bought the ingredients and decided to give making slime a whirl. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the slime craze, it’s essentially what you may have played with if you ever partook in the Gak or Silly Putty phase as a child. As with all things in our Pinterest-driven 2017 though, slime has taken a whole new world compared to the simplistic nature it came in years ago. Now, people are adding tons of beautiful colors and textures to it to create an ASMR (Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response) aka “sounds that feel good” aspect to the fun. It’s actually pretty cool!

I had my good friend Lauren and her daughter Emma over for dinner Friday and Emma had endless fun with the slime and rainbow beads we added to it.

2017

If you have children (or even if you don’t) and want to try it out, here’s the recipe I used:

EASY 3-INGREDIENT SLIME

1 cup Elmer’s Glue (white)

1 cup Shaving Cream

1/2 cup Purex StaFlo Concentrated Liquid Starch

Food Coloring (optional)

Glitter (optional

Rainbow Foam Beads (to add in for fun after slime is made)

DIRECTIONS: Mix glue, shaving cream, and starch together in a large mixing bowl. The shaving cream makes the slime fluffier. You can also add food coloring + glitter to get different colors.

If you add too much liquid starch to your slime it gets a little stiff. If this happens, just add a little water – a tablespoon at a time, until the slime puffs up again. Knead and mold the slime until it’s the consistency you like. That’s it!

You can store it in jars, plastic bags, or lidded containers to keep it from drying out.

What new projects or recipes have you tried recently that have enriched your life? I’d love to hear about them!

Happy Tuesday, friends!

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Spring Dinner with Lauren + Emma | New Orleans Lifestyle Photographer

“For just one second, look at your life and see how perfect it is. Stop looking for the next secret door that is going to lead you to your real life. Stop waiting. This is it: there’s nothing else. It’s here, and you’d better decide to enjoy it or you’re going to be miserable wherever you go, for the rest of your life, forever. —Lev Grossman, The Magicians S”
Erin Loechner, Chasing Slow

I was gifted with the honor of crossing paths with Lauren a couple of years ago, and every day since, I remain baffled by the humor, talent, and graceful heart she possesses. Lauren is one of those people that you see online and likely think to yourself, “There’s no way this girl’s life is real.” I’ve watched her pour her heart and soul into her daughter, her home, and the things that fulfill her most, truly content with the time, talent, and people life has given her.

For those of you who don’t know Lauren, she’s an incredible photographer and an equally amazing cook. In between busy schedules, we try to get together for yummy dinners, heartfelt chats, and some girly laughs as often as possible. I took my camera over to her house when she invited me over for dinner and captured a few sweet photos of her and Emma whipping up the best meal.

Dinner with Lauren + Emma

Dinner with Lauren + Emma

Dinner with Lauren + Emma

Dinner with Lauren + Emma

Dinner with Lauren + Emma

Dinner with Lauren + Emma

Dinner with Lauren + Emma

Emma lives the most colorful life for a toddler. From art projects to gardening, cooking together to traveling the world, Lauren is always so involved with keeping her ever-developing mind active and engaged. If you’ve ever met Emma you know just how much her little voice livens up any room…

Dinner with Lauren + Emma

Dinner with Lauren + Emma

Dinner with Lauren + Emma

Dinner with Lauren + Emma

Dinner with Lauren + Emma

Dinner with Lauren + Emma

Dinner with Lauren + Emma

While we waited on dinner to cook, we spent time soaking in the sunset on the rocking chairs of Lauren’s 100+ year-old beautiful home and adventured into the woods behind the house for a little swing in the Hammock. 

Dinner with Lauren + Emma

Dinner with Lauren + Emma

Dinner with Lauren + Emma

Dinner with Lauren + Emma

On our walk towards the Hammock, Emma stopped to show me the garden they had recently planted and told me that “We have to find a way for the animals not to eat her vegetables at night!”

Dinner with Lauren + Emma

Dinner with Lauren + Emma

Dinner with Lauren + Emma

Dinner with Lauren + Emma

Dinner with Lauren + Emma

Lauren, the world truly is a little more enchanting with your hilarious side jokes, breathtaking eye for all things lovely, and graceful soul. Umm, and definitely your delicious meals…

Dinner with Lauren + Emma

Dinner with Lauren + Emma

Dinner with Lauren + Emma

Dinner with Lauren + Emma

If you are interested in a casual Lifestyle Session of this nature in your own home or on one of your family’s adventures. Please, contact me! I’d love to document the activities, places, and people that bring you the most joy in life!

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Our “Friends-mas” | On Cultivating the Meaningful Relationships in My Life

We are made so intricately in the depths of our being to connect with other humans. There’s something so unspeakably soul-filling about being surrounded by a group of genuine souls. I’m going to humbly brag for a moment and say that I’ve always felt extremely grateful by the types of humans I seem to find myself surrounded by.

As life and being a girl goes, close-knit communities of people like this in my life sometimes ebb and flow; nonetheless, I’ve been truly overwhelmed with the loving and talented people I’ve found in my close circle this past year. Having friends that not only lift you, but inspire you to reach new levels creatively are a gift I accept with the utmost gratuity.

I threw a Christmas party this year to celebrate these meaningful friendships–something I now hope to make a purposeful tradition. I thought I’d share with you some of the joy from the night…

2016 Christmas Party

2016 Christmas Party

I made the little cheesecakes; however, our GORGEOUS dark cherry, black forrest cake was made by the ever-talented Bonnie of Pink Cake Love. If you’re looking for a classy, beautiful, and equally tasty cake, she’s absolutely your girl. I’ve been to a few parties and weddings with her cakes and they are always a hit.

2016 Christmas Party

2016 Christmas Party

2016 Christmas Party

My Albert Camus lettered quote framed in gold on the gallery wall is one of the most asked about pieces in my home. For those of you wondering, it’s from one of my favorite hand-letterers, Chelsea Petaja. You can find her stunning work, here.

2016 Christmas Party

SALTED CARAMEL WHITE RUSSIAN:

  • 1 PART Kahlua Salted Caramel
  • 2 Parts Vodka
  • 1 Part Cream
  • Salted Caramel Syrup (for lining the glass)
  • Shaved Chocolate (for garnish)

++This makes for a pretty strong drink. Since we put this into a decanter for guests, I actually added a bit of almond milk. It was the hit drink of the night, for sure.

2016 Christmas Party

2016 Christmas Party

2016 Christmas Party

I had these ornaments custom made as favors from Ashley at Bagsby Blue Co. They’re inscribed with the words “Make Life Pretty” and were accompanied by a note to my guests reminding them that no matter the good, bad, beautiful, and ugly life may bring, you can always choose to make a life that’s pretty–a legacy crafted by nothing more or less than the choices made.

2016 Christmas Party

CRANBERRY GIMLET:

  • 1 Part Cranberry-Pomegranate Juice
  • 2 Parts Vodka
  • Soda Water
  • Cranberries + Fresh Rosemary for Garnish

2016 Christmas Party

2016 Christmas Party

2016 Christmas Party

We had cheese, wine, gumbo, potato salad, and all of the laughs. And a prize for the most awful Christmas sweater, chosen by our youngest attendee, Miss Emma.

2016 Christmas Party

2016 Christmas Party

2016 Christmas Party

2016 Christmas Party

2016 Christmas Party

2016 Christmas Party

2016 Christmas Party

We ended the night around the outdoor fire pit with some S’mores Lattes. Twas the best night.

2016 Christmas Party

2016 Christmas Party

2016 Christmas Party

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The BEST Time of Year is Here! | Festive Holiday Cocktail Recipe

I love all of the weather changes when they come; however, the start of November is A-B-S-O-L-U-T-E-L-Y my favorite. Cozy blankets, festive spiked cocktails, cuddling up to the twinkle of Christmas tree lights–there is not much I find more warm and inviting than that, friends. Since yesterday marked the end of Halloween madness, I felt it was safe to get a little festive with some after-dinner drinks last night.

Spiked eggnog is a staple in my house during the holidays, so I decided to share the recipe for the way we like to sip it…

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HOLIDAY SPIKED EGGNOG WITH CHOCOLATE-RIMMED GLASSES

INGREDIENTS:

Eggnog (Regular, not spiked. I prefer Borden or Kleinpeter)

Southern Comfort Liqueur

Almond Bark (comes in huge brick, only need one square to melt)

Heath Bar Toffee Bits (baking aisle)

  1. Melt 1 small square piece of almond bark in a small bowl for 60 seconds. Continue to heat at 30 second intervals until melted. While chocolate is melting, pour out Heath Bar Toffee Bits onto a plate generously. Once chocolate is heated, dip rims of glasses in chocolate, then in Heath Bar Toffee Bits. Place glasses to side to harden.
  2. Mix equal parts Eggnog and Southern Comfort Liqueur. I basically fill my small glass with both, leaving only enough room for ice. (Here’s where your recipe may differ. We like our eggnog strong. Who wants the calories of eggnog without the appropriate liquor? For a less strong drink, simply add less Southern Comfort.)
  3. ENJOY! PS. Nibble on your toffee and chocolate as you sip–it makes for the perfect dessert after dinner!

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