Archive | June, 2010

Inspiration: What inspires you?

25 Jun

I find inspiration in lots of places.  A good idea from a friend.  A picture in a magazine.  A scene in a movie.  Blogs.  HGTV.  Etsy.  It’s everywhere, but sometimes I get too busy or too over-stimulated to notice it.  Those are the times when I feel stuck in a creative rut.

Since my job is creative, being stuck in a rut is kind of a problem.  But I think everyone experiences it at some point or another, no matter what you do.

Here’s what I do to help inspire myself….

– Spend the day at a bookstore.
When I have time, I will literally spend hours at the bookstore.  I’ll find books, magazines, journals, postcards and spend all day looking through them, making notes, and figuring out what I like about various things I see.  Some of them will be photography related, some of them not.  I look at wedding photos all the time, so I like to look through fashion magazines and advertisements for things I can borrow and adapt to my clients.

I also like to find all the crafty, diy, and home decorating magazines I can.  These I use for ideas of things I can do around the house.  If you’ve ever owned a house, you know it’s always a work in progress.  I sometimes get my mind set on my plans for something, only to find one little photo that changes everything.  For example, this clock…

I need a clock for the nursery, and I found this one on etsy, and liked it.  But since I’m trying to make everything myself, this could be just slightly intricate…

So, I found this one.  Simpler shape to cut, more painting.  But it still wasn’t quite right.

And then, I found in my blog reader, this fabric. Not the right color palette, but sometimes you have to look beyond that.  (Sorry I can’t remember the blog where I saw this – I save the pictures, I should get better about noting where they’re from so I can tell you.)  Since our room is blue and orange and yellow, and I have kind of an animal theme going on in there, the hippos just seemed perfect.  So, I made a template for my dad, and he’s cutting out a hippo shape for me that I can use as a clock.  Also, I took a trip to the Walmarts with my mom and we found a cheap clock that I could scavenge the clockworks from for about $4.  Cheaper than the ones in the craft stores (at about $9-15), and all the craft store clockworks had super fancy hands.  I wanted simple.  Hence the $4 clock from walmart with super simple hands.

My dad is coming up tomorrow to help with stuff around the house, so I’ll take some in-progress pictures of the clock to share with you.
This site could keep me entertained for hours.  I love to look at all the fabrics, different patterns, and things that people make.  I think I could spend a fortune on bags and purses alone on that site.  Just choose a category and then browse.  So simple.

My google reader is jam packed with blogs.  I do have some friends’ blogs in there that I like to read for the daily (or monthly… or yearly) life updates.  But my main reason for using a reader is to keep track of all the amazingness that’s out there.  I keep a “DIY, crafts, things to do” folder on my desktop and when I see something lovely or something that I think I could make myself, or something that I would like to see in my house one day (whenever I get to build a dream house…far far in the future), I drag the photo over to that folder and save it there for future reference.  I do the same thing for wedding image inspiration in a separate folder.

Just a few of my favorite blogs:

A Cup of Jo – this adorable lady just had her first baby, and it’s been so fun to follow along with her experience, not being too far behind myself.  She also has weekly Wednesday giveaways, and posts some super cute items – for your home, your wardrobe, and your baby.  Lovely!

Design*Sponge – So many great things about this blog!  Under $100 round-ups, the inspirational “living-in” series where she chooses a movie and finds cool and fashionable items that fit the theme and feel of that movie, TONS of great DIY projects with pictures and instructions.  Lots of inspiration here!

Oh Joy! – Oh Joy! has lots of great features.  My personal favorite? The this & that feature.  She finds something amazing that you can wear and something incredible to include in your home design.  Love it!

So, the question is, what do you do to get out of that rut?  Is it as simple as a conversation with a friend?  Or is it more like crawling and clawing your way out of a ditch?  I know I’ve experienced both of them at various times.

The Massive To-Do List

25 Jun

You could say I’m nesting.

I don’t really know what this looks like for other people.  For me, it means wanting to have everything done.  Organized.  Clean.  Minimized. Complete.

I have made a giant to-do list with everything that I have to accomplish before the baby gets here.  It is ginormous.  There’s no other way to describe it.  Massive.  But I have it broken down by room, and tasks under each room to keep myself from getting overwhelmed.  Since it’s the beginning of July, and a new month is a good time for starting projects (right?), here’s a bit of it my list (keeping in mind, I know how completely ridiculous I am and how excessive this is…).  Some of the items have already been tackled since my dad was up here last weekend.  He did a lot of things that I couldn’t have tackled myself, which was awesome!  This is more for me to keep track of things, and to feel good about crossing things off when I get them done… I love that feeling.

Flower Bed by Street:

  • kill grass
  • remove grass
  • put down black garden paper
  • buy more mulch
  • put down mulch
  • plant gardenias
  • plant bulbs
  • edge with bricks


  • move concrete block (for some reason, we have this concrete parking stop in our garage… we inherited it when joel bought the house)
  • hang joel’s heavybag
  • move workbench
  • put away gym equipment
  • sweep and mop
  • paint pegboard
  • organize tools
  • put basic tools on pegboard (so i can find a screwdriver or a hammer when i need one. this is impossible right now)
  • move freezer
  • clean out freezer

Garden Tools

  • close in area under the deck
  • put in a work bench/potting bench
  • get containers for potting soil
  • put up hooks for tools


  • get one copy of everything onto one HDD
  • make cuts and delete them
  • backup to second HDD
  • online backup
  • delete all other copies of photos

Laundry Room

  • get small trash can
  • remove cabinet doors
  • organize cabinets
  • throw out trash
  • take all shoes upstairs


  • complete mileage log Jan-June
  • complete expenses spreadsheet for 2010
  • file papers and receipts
  • update website – so many amazing weddings to add to the site… gotta do this SOON!


  • fix door trim
  • choose fabric for bedding
  • make bedding
  • canvases
  • paint clock
  • paint shelf
  • paint bathroom?
  • figure out closet organization
  • get carpet cleaned
  • make curtains

Dining Room

  • organize bills
  • move shredder
  • clean up projects
  • file bills
  • clean out trunk
  • fix leg on trunk

Living Room

  • clean out baskets
  • find a spot for joel’s gym bag to live
  • get table for by front door
  • clean out shoe basket
  • clean out hooks by door


  • clean out tupperware drawer
  • clean/organize ziploc drawer
  • organize pantry
  • clean out inside frezer
  • clean out pantry


  • move dvd shelf down
  • hide cables
  • put new outlet in wall
  • clean out dresser (joel)
  • give away clothes
  • get carpet cleaned

Man Room

  • cover base of stadium seats with carpet (anyone know where i can get a scrap of carpet? maybe 6’x6′)
  • get carpet cleaned


  • put all contacts in
  • clean up laptop
  • memory for mac pro
  • organize files
  • online backup of personal files


  • sweep
  • clean wood
  • refinish

Church Family and Some Belly Pics

24 Jun

Working on the weekends (as well as during the week) sometimes means that I give up doing things that are fun, and even things that I need.  Sometimes I give up sleep.  Sometimes I give up hanging out with friends in favor of sleep.  Sometimes I give up doing things around the house.  Actually, I give that one up more often than not.  Sorry if you’ve been to our house lately.

The amount of traveling and working I’ve been doing lately has meant that I’ve given up something that I’ve come to miss a whole lot.  Something that I really need.  I have given up seeing my church family every week.  Not because I don’t want to be there.  Mostly because my Sundays have been spent shooting weddings or driving back from shooting a wedding, or just being out of town in general.  We did get to go to church the past two weeks, and it was so great to be back.  I didn’t even get to really talk to anyone the first week.  I was so worn out that we left right after the service and I went home to sleep for the rest of the day.  No really.  I did.  But it was so good to be back in the community that we have been a part of for over 3 years now and with people that we have come to love.

Sundays have literally been days of rest for me for the last 2 weeks.  This is a new thing for me.  But right now it’s kinda necessary.  I have spent the past 2 Saturdays (and several before, but the past 2 have been more intense) shooting weddings in near-100-degree heat.  That kind of heat will zap your energy no matter your physical condition, but at 27 weeks pregnant, I’m finding it affects me more and more. I have literally done nothing on Sundays for the past couple weeks after we’ve gotten home from church.  Except maybe sleep.

If you’re a photographer, you know that a lot of the time, shooting weddings means that you end up ignoring the things that you need to make sure that you don’t miss anything, that you get the shot, or that you take care of the things your bride needs instead.  That can mean you don’t get a drink of water for 4 hours or longer, because there’s either none to be had or there’s just not a moment to stop for a drink.  I’ve discovered that can be a problem for me these days.  After walking half a mile on the beach, in all black clothes, in the sweltering heat last Saturday, I was red as a beet, sweating like a pig, and about ready to collapse.  Luckily, the catering staff working the wedding was super sweet, and every single time I passed by either of the bars, they would hand me a water, whether I asked for one or not.  They basically forced me to drink it, and I’m so thankful that they did, because I tend to ignore what my body tells me, thinking that I can keep going no matter what.  I’m kinda stubborn.

Anyway, I’ve been really out of it on Sundays for the past 2 weeks, and the only thing I can think to attribute it to is the heat I’ve been in the days before.  But despite being so loopy and out of it, it has been wonderful to be back at our church.  Being away for so long, it has made me appreciate them even more.  And I’m looking forward to being around a bit more now, since my wedding season is starting to wind down.  It’s an abnormally short season for me this year, since I’ll be out of commission for September and October, which were my marathon months last year.  I am kinda sad to be missing out on all those weddings, but I’m sure I won’t give it a second thought once September gets here.  I’ll be glad not to be out in the heat, and counting the days until our baby girl arrives, and frantically trying to get things ready.

I feel like this particular post has been kind of scattered and random… feels a bit like my life right now.  But, like I said, things are calming down, and I’m looking forward to having some extra time to work on things around the house.  Thanks for sticking it out with me this past couple of months.  It’s been crazy, for sure, but good.

People keep telling me I need to post some belly shots… I don’t really have that many yet, and as it’s kinda hard to take them of yourself, I just have a few that Joel has taken for me.  These are kind old, from around 20 weeks (beginning of May).  I’ll work on getting some more taken soon…. 🙂

My view… apparently baby girl was making my belly lopsided that day…

Boring Cardiologists…

22 Jun

The cardiologist I have seen now 3 times in the past week is quite a character. Just picture a tall, skinny, lanky man, late 50’s.  Dress pants and a short sleeved button down dress shirt.  Pocket protector.  No I’m not kidding.  Big plastic framed glasses, and unruly salt and pepper, slightly longer hair.  Goofy smile.  Laptop in hand – typing in the hunt-and-peck style.

My first visit, when we were scheduling the other appointments for testing, he told me that if I came for my echo on a Monday morning, he would be there until he had to leave for to do his “treadmill tests with the old geezers at the other hospital.”  Ha!  But the best part was that one of his “old geezer” patients heard him and yelled from the lobby “I heard that!”  Joel and I cracked up.  He is just a funny guy.

The staff from the office called me last Friday to tell me that the results from my holter monitor were normal.  They didn’t see any events, and apparently everything looked good.  Good news.

Yesterday, I went back to the office to have an Echo done.  It was pretty cool to see my heart beating on the ultrasound screen.  The tech was great and pointed out the different valves and told me what was going on.  And then toward the end, he asked if I wanted a peek at my baby.  Ummm, yes?!?!  Any chance I get, I want to see that cute little face.  He didn’t really know what he was looking at, but I could see the head and arms and legs and she was squirming around.  I love seeing that little girl, even if it’s just a peek.

So then the cardiologist came in and his opening words were “This is going to be really boring.”

Coming from a cardiologist, I’ll take the words boring, normal, and uneventful ANYTIME.

Basically, he told me that I have 2 valves that have a very minimal amount of leakage.  Nothing to be concerned about.  He sees it in 85-90% of the people he does echos on.  Mine is probably just a result of the extra blood in my body due to the pregnancy.  He said he wouldn’t have even told me, but that he didn’t want, “20 years from now when you move to Syracuse” (ummmm WHAT?) and have me find out about it, and call him and ask why he didn’t tell me.  He said that he doesn’t need to do any additional testing or monitoring, and that he hopes to never see me again.

To which I replied, “I hope to never see you again, too.  Nothing personal.”

So, despite me getting myself all freaked out by reading the internets, everything is fine.

27 weeks and so far, so good.

Couple Suggestions

17 Jun

Dear person-who-designed-the-holter-monitor,

I wore one of your devices for the last 24 hours.  Being a former engineer and designer of medical devices (true story – crazy, I know), I have just a few suggestions for you on how to improve your device.  I think these improvements would benefit everyone, and would make this thing a lot more pleasant to wear.

1. Make the lead wires longer. (Or at least make one model that has longer lead wires.)
See, there is this thing about pregnancy… your belly grows.  Like it or not.  It follows that it is farther around your body than normal when it is in this, let’s call it “expanded,” state.  Thus, the wires that would fit around a normal person’s body don’t go easily from one side of a pregnant woman’s body to the other.  Just a couple extra inches would be nice.  Enough that I could stretch out or twist a bit without pulling the leads off my skin (ouch!).  Also, I’m just thinking that a some of the people who wear your monitor are probably on the larger side, and might have that problem without being in my current “expanded” state of 26 weeks pregnant.

Or better yet, go wireless.

2. Fix the cell phone problem.
I know that it should not be a problem to be without a phone for 24 hours.  But when your job requires you to talk to brides about their weddings, phones are sort of mandatory.  Also, it’s not just the talking part.  I’m not even allowed to text.  We don’t have a land line (yet).  My only form of communication was this computer.  I’m just saying – technology has advanced significantly enough that you should be able to avoid any interference to your device from a cell phone.

Side note to mention – it’s possible that my cardiologist (ok that’s a weird phrase in itself) just has old holters… it wasn’t like shiny and new or anything.

Those are my main suggestions.  Thanks for listening and taking them into consideration.


Note to my readers:
I’ve heard from several of you that you have had a similar experience while pregnant with heart palpitations.  Thanks for telling me that.  Seriously.  It has calmed my nerves a bit and made me feel less like a freak to know that other people have had the same issues.  I totally appreciate all your kind words and especially your prayers for my health and our baby girl’s as well.

My 24 hours with the holter monitor is over – I couldn’t be happier.  Not that it was all that bad.  My main complaints about the thing you’ve already read if you’re still here, and they’re minor, considering that it’s my heart we’re talking about. I’m thankful to have doctors who are thorough and want to make sure that this won’t be a problem later on.  I should hear something this week about the monitor results, and Monday I am going back for an echo (ultrasound of my heart).  I’m kind of looking forward to that one, having worked on a cardiac device for 3 years, the heart intrigues me, and I’m really interested to see my own heart in motion!  Should be really cool.

I have gotten an email or two from some ladies that are having the same experience now… I’d just say, be sure you say something to your doctor, and if they suggest that you do this test, be encouraged, it’s not that bad.  And maybe you’ll even get lucky and get a brand spankin’ new holter that is wireless and that you can use your phone with! 🙂

Just a Soft, Slow Murmur

12 Jun

That’s what the cardiologist said he heard when he listened to my heart today. A “soft, slow murmur.”  They didn’t do an EKG, but I’m going in next week to get a 24 hour holter monitor.  Did you know that you can’t use a cell phone while you have the holter on?  Seriously??? A whole 24 hours without my cell phone???  What in the world are they thinking?  I don’t even think my parents go 24 hours without touching their cell phones anymore.  Maybe not even my grandma.

But I will say this, the holter monitor is a lot smaller than I expected – maybe the size of one of the first ipods – you know the classics.  The ones no one has anymore.  Our friend Jason had one that was the fancy U2 version.  Black and red or something “edgy” looking like that.  It gave him the ipod-sad-face one time.  That’s the kiss of death for an ipod – the happy little message from Apple saying “Sorry, no more music for you :)”  Then it revived.  But, I digress.

That means that I will be out of commission from Tuesday afternoon until Wednesday afternoon.  You won’t be able to talk to me unless you can find me in person.  Good luck.  I am very sneaky.

They’re also going to do an ultrasound of my heart to check for heart disease and any defects or valve problems.  I’m really interested to see that, actually.  It should be a really cool thing to see your own heart pumping.

Anyway, the cardiologist didn’t seem concerned – actually I asked him if he was worried about it, or if I should be.  He said that he wasn’t, and that he’d know more after the other tests.

Thanks for all the comments, encouragement, and prayers.  I’m definitely a lot more calm about it now, and just knowing that the doctor actually heard something as well makes me feel less crazy.  Well, kinda. 😉

Gardening and Jewelry

10 Jun

This week has been a little rough.  I haven’t been feeling very well.  I don’t know what it is about this week, but all of a sudden, my belly is feeling very large.  I know, I know.  I still have a long way to go.  A lot of growing to do.  A lot bigger belly to endure.  If I’m not sitting straight up, I feel like I can’t breathe and like everything inside is being smooshed together.  I don’t mean to be complaining… It’s just that it happened all of a sudden.  I’m sure I’ll get used to it though.

Baby girl has been kicking up a storm.  In fact, today she woke me up at 6:30 by kicking the crap out of me.  No, not literally.  But she kicked me hard enough to wake me from a nice sleep.

While we were at the beach a couple weeks ago, my mom and I went to some antique stores.  I found this great little gem – an antique cabochon which I just couldn’t leave without.  It was actually a pretty great bargain, and has a clip for a chain and a pin finding on the back as well.  Today I took a trip to Ornamentea here in Raleigh to find a chain and a closure to make it into a necklace.  The super helpful staff there helped me find some chain that was perfect and a toggle closure to finish it off.  Here’s what I ended up with:

I happen to love it and I can’t wait to wear it!

I spent some time this morning working on a new flower bed.  If you know us, you probably know that the homeowners association in our neighborhood is just SLIGHTLY anal, and send letters and fines for no good reason.  Their favorite target is our grass.  So I’m putting a flower bed across the entire front of our yard so they can’t see our grass as well.  The bed is partially in rebellion against them, but also it’s the only place in the whole yard that gets full sun all day, so I’m kind of excited to be able to plant things that are supposed to get full sun… since I can’t put them anywhere else.  Right now, I have 3 gardenia bushes to plant up there.  I think I was out there for about an hour this morning, and ended up completely exhausted.  I can’t wait to see it finished though.

My cardiologist appointment is Friday afternoon.  Joel’s going to go with me, to help me remember to ask questions that I would surely forget.  I’m finding myself a bit less freaked out now, but more just curious what in the heck is going on.  I did use my sister’s stethoscope to listen to my heart this weekend when I went home… and even my untrained ears were able to hear some sort of skipped or added beat.  I don’t know enough about the different heart sounds to be able to differentiate, so I’m interested to hear what the cardiologist has to say.

Ah, I was thinking the other day that this blog has been a lot more lullabies than law school so far.  You might be wondering why that is.  It would be because law school hasn’t exactly started yet.  Joel will start classes in August, so I’m sure I’ll have much more to write on that subject once the classes start.  However, the other day at the Targets, we did buy some school supplies for him.  I feel like I’m shopping for a kindergartner when I say “school supplies,” but really, what else can you call notebooks and pens and note cards?

I never did make it to get that pedicure the other day.  I painted my own toenails today, and I’m pretty sure that’s the last time I’ll be doing that for a while.  It was really hard to bend over and I could barely reach my toes.  I guess that means I’ll have to get someone else to do it from now on.  Darn it.  😉  Anyone want to join me in a couple weeks?

Heartbeats and Pedicures

3 Jun

Today has been an interesting day.

We had a doctor’s appointment this morning.  I never really know how long these things will take.  Sometimes it’s 30 minutes, sometimes it’s 3 hours.  Today’s was of the shorter variety.  Measurements, bloodwork, and listening to the baby’s heartbeat.  Everything looked good – I’m measuring at 24 weeks, which is about what I would expect.  Baby’s heartbeat sounded good – the doctor had no trouble finding it and baby girl even kicked the doppler machine pretty hard while we were listening.  They took blood to check my thyroid levels.  Then the question that you’re asked every time:

“Do you have any questions?”

Well, yes, actually I do.  Given that this is my first baby, I don’t really know what’s normal and what’s not.  So I asked the doctor about what I thought was the baby kicking me in the diaphragm.  The kicking isn’t what bothers me – it’s that my heart feels like it’s beating out of my chest, and I feel short of breath for a while afterward.

The doctor, though, doesn’t think it can be the baby.  She’s apparently not up that high yet, and since it’s been going on for several weeks, she is very doubtful that it could be from kicking.  Instead, she thinks that it’s probably hormones causing my heart to beat irregularly.  Nothing serious, she says – but I’m just saying, it’s your heart – hearts are pretty serious things.  So she’s sending me to the cardiologist for an EKG, and it’s likely that they’ll send me home with a holter monitor to wear for 24 hours.

So far, I’m doing ok.  I’m trying hard not to freak out about it, but it seems just kind of crazy.  What I thought was just a little baby kicking me, turns out might be my heart doing something funky.  I don’t know what it is… but it’s just a strange thing to think about.  They might wait to give me a referral until my thyroid labs come back, so it could be next week before I know when the EKG will be.

Have any of you ever had this happen?  What did it end up being?  I’ve been researching on the internet, but that’s starting to freak me out a bit, so I’m closing it down.

In other news, I’m pretty excited for tomorrow.  I’m planning to go out to the quilt store to look at some of the fabrics I like in person, and maybe even take a few minutes and a gift certificate to go get a mani-pedi.  Anyone want to join me?  A pedicure is always more fun with a friend. 🙂

We also went with Kelli, Brandon, and Maddie to Maddie’s first movie in the theater – the latest installment in the Shrek series.  Walking into the theater, she turned the corner and saw the darkness, the big screen, and she just froze.  Joel had to pick her up and carry her in.  But after she got in there, she seemed to really love the whole thing.  She ate a ton of popcorn, candy, and drank from everyone’s sodas.  Seriously, does a 3rd birthday get much better than that??  I think it was the most fun I’ve ever had in a movie too – just watching her have so much fun.

Memorial Day – Remembering and Looking Forward

1 Jun

So many days are easy to overlook. We forget that each day is worth celebrating.  Each day is worth remembering.  But there are a few days that stand out as special.

My Pop-Pop was in the Army in World War II.  Somewhere my mom still has his old army jacket and hat.  I wish I could put my hands on the photo of him and my sister wearing the jacket and hat and saluting.  It was such a beautiful moment – and just when I was beginning to get interested in photography.  I wish that interest had piqued just a little sooner.  Pop-Pop would tell us stories about his time in the Army – about walking across parts of Europe, the cost of cigarettes, and the buddies he met along the way.  He was a good man, a good soldier.  I’ve always thought Memorial Day is special because of him.  Because of all the men and women who fight to defend our country, who go on missions of humanitarianism, rescue, and who keep our freedom safe.

However, Memorial Day has taken on new meaning for me this year, as I imagine it will from now on.  My sister joined the Navy.  Yep, that’s right.  My little sister.  Rachel is an ensign in the Navy.

She has always dreamed of being a doctor.  It is the only thing I can ever remember her taking about wanting to do with her life.  If you know my sister, you know that when she decides she is going to do something, it will absolutely happen.  She is an extremely persistent person.  She knows what she wants, and she has a plan for how she is going to achieve her goals.  Rachel is the hardest working person I have ever known in my life.  She studies for hours upon end, and is not happy with anything less than her absolute best.

Rachel applied to a bunch of medical schools, prepared for interviews, wrote essays, and studied for the MCAT.  And she got in to Virginia College of Osteopathic Medicine.  But medical school is expensive.  Paying for it herself would have meant taking out loans, which would have been adding up for the next four years.  So, being the resourceful girl that she is, she decided to find another way to pay for school.  She had already been looking into the options of going into the military in order to help pay for school.  And so, after a lot of thought and deliberation, it was decided – she signed on with the Navy, got a sweet signing bonus, a monthly paycheck, and medical school paid for.  She’ll graduate from medical school and go into her residency with no debt.  She’ll owe the Navy 4 years of service when she’s done.

My sister is an officer in the Navy.  I am more proud of her than I can express.  She’s a beautiful, smart, kind, loving, hard-working woman.  And she will not stop until she has reached her goals (and even then, I doubt that she’ll stop).  That’s the kind of officer the Navy is getting in my sister.  If you ask me, they’re really lucky.  We all are.

Rachel, I’m blessed to have you as my sister.  I love you and I’m so proud of you.  I know that you can achieve anything you dream of.  Keep dreaming big.  The big dreams are the ones worth achieving.  And know that if there is anything I can do to help you reach those dreams, I will do it.

Happy Memorial Day everyone!