I Photograph

I walk, I look, I see, I photograph.  ~Leon Levinstein, 1955 

Seems like I’m always leaving something at Carrie’s house.  After Bryan’s birthday weekend, I realized that I had left my two round brushes – for three days I walked around with frizzed out, curly hair until I got a box in the mail from my dear friend.

And then after Spring Break, we weren’t on the road home for 15 minutes before I realized that I had left my camera on her kitchen counter.  I called her the second I realized I had forgotten it and of course she told me she’d get it in the mail ASAP.  But for three long days I felt like I was missing an appendage. Until then, I hadn’t realized how much taking pictures has become part of my daily life. 

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Admittedly, I’ve spent the better part of the past year or so studying photography and things like ISO, aperture, shutter speed, composition, white balance, etc.  Learning those important elements has helped me to take better photos and I’m really proud of how the exposure and composition of my photos have improved.  This Autumn Clematis is a perfect example.

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I still love this photo that I took back in the Fall of 2010, but now I can see that if I had increased the ISO I could have gotten a little sharper image.  Plus the exposure and white balance could have been tweaked.  With just a few simple adjustments in Photoshop Elements, I now have an image that looks much more reminiscent of those beautiful blossoms I saw that perfect Sunday afternoon.

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I think happiness is a lot like like photography – sometimes it’s just in the way we see things.  And I think what I love most about my journey in photography is that it has helped me to more more accurately capture in a photo what I see with my minds eye.  Whether it’s the flowers in my yard, my messy kitchen, or my delightful daughter, for me taking photos is about being inspired by the beauty that surrounds me everyday and celebrating this ordinary, wonderful life that I am so blessed with.

That’s why I photograph.

Peace, Kelly

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New Year, New Blog!

Happy New Year friends!  As part of my New Year’s resolution, I’ve decided to move to my own big-girl, self-hosted blog.  You can now find me at-


I just want to take this opportunity to thank all you so much for following along with my blog so far and for all your encouraging comments.  I am looking forward to 2012 and wish you all healthy, happiness, and hope in the coming year!

Love, Kelly

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The Unforgettable Year 2011

Dear 2011,

If it was your intention to make sure that I would remember you, well then I’d say Mission Accomplished.  I mean, just the weather alone was memorable.  Who could forget the blizzard that dumped over a foot of snow on our fair state.


Then there were all the spring storms that brought hail, high winds, and tornadoes.


And let’s not forget the unrelenting heat and drought of summer.


But it wasn’t just your weather that brought us challenges.  Don’t think that I’ve forgotten that whole frozen pipe/bathroom renovation stunt you pulled.


Seriously, that was pretty uncool considering how much our family already had going on with Kelsey’s college application process and campus visits.  Although I will say that situation turned out pretty well all things considered.


In all fairness, you weren’t all bad.  Even after such a long, cold winter, Spring didn’t disappoint and we enjoyed some lovely weather (when it wasn’t storming of course).



And to be perfectly honest, watching my sweet girl walk across that stage to receive her high school diploma was one of the proudest moments of my life. 


Once Summer came, you seemed to settle down a bit.  Plus, you did a good job helping to facilitate some great memories at the lake.


And speaking of great memories, our vacation to St. John will go down as one of the most amazing vacations ever.


The future is going to have some HUGE shoes to fill in that department.


Once we got home from vacation, you seemed to be in a hurry – it was no time before we were moving Kelsey into her college dorm.


I’m not going to lie, sending our girl off to college was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done.  There was many a day when I wished you were 1999 rather than 2011.


But I suppose if that was the case then I would have missed out on a lot of fun.


2011, you surprised a lot of people.  Even after the long, hot summer…


…you still managed to dazzle me with your beautiful Fall colors.


And by the time Thanksgiving rolled around, I started to appreciate you even more.


Once Christmas came I was full on joyful and in return you rewarded me with one of the most special holiday seasons of my life.


So 2011, as you pack your bags to make room for 2012 I just want to say thank you.  Looking back, there were times that I didn’t like you very much, but I really do appreciate all the lessons you taught me. I learned a lot about myself, but mostly I just learned to be grateful for and to enjoy every single second of my life.


I will never forget you.

Love, Kelly

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10 Things–What Made Me Happy This Christmas

The past couple of nights I’ve stayed up into the wee hours gathering photos for my December Daily album.

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This Christmas has just been so special.  The thing is, it’s not as if we did anything out of the ordinary this year – Kelsey and I made cookies, I wrapped presents, we spent time with our families, we went to Midnight Mass.  I think the difference though has been the gratitude and intention with which I entered into the holiday season.  

Before I get busy and finish taking down the rest of the Christmas decorations, I thought I’d share just a few of things that made me happy this Christmas.

10.  Walking with Tripp to the “Lights On” celebration at Utica Square


9.  Making my Pinterest-inspired candle rings.


8.  Buddy the Elf and a new Christmas tradition.


7.  Getting paid to make Christmas cake balls for a friend.


6.  Gridlines on wrapping paper.


5.  Decorating Christmas cookies with my delightful daughter.


4.  Watching Bryan and Bryce reveal their “Gold Rush” t-shirts.


3.  Spending time with my family on Christmas Eve.


2. My wonderful husband and my delightful daughter.


1.  A new appreciation for the ultimate Gift of Love.


Once I get photos into my December Daily (hopefully sometime before I have to go back to work), I’ll upload photos of my completed project to my Flickr photostream and you can view this set here:   http://www.flickr.com/photos/58736886@N05/sets/72157628241447479/.

So I’d love to know, what made you happy this year?  Smile

Peace, Kelly

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Over the River and Through the Woods

What I should be doing – taking down the “pretty tree” before it becomes an even bigger fire hazard than it already is. What I am doing instead – drinking coffee and looking through all the pictures I took at my parent’s house Christmas Eve.

After all the shopping, and cooking, and wrapping in the days leading up to Christmas, it was so nice to go to my parents and relax.


I loved hanging out and spending time with my family. I also love spending time with my brother and his son. My nephew, Chase, has become quite the guitar player and my brother is obviously a proud dad.


After we opened presents…


…while mom was busy finishing up her world-famous lasagna…


…I was working hard taking pictures, and the men were working hard to keep their eyes open.


Poor Tripp, was not successful in his efforts.


Chase and Kelsey must have been full of Christmas spirit, because they allowed me to take about 147 pictures of them in the delightful, late afternoon light. While it was freezing.


I swear it was just yesterday when I took this photo of the two of them.


I’m sorry…but who gave you permission to grow up????

Anyway, before we knew it mom’s lasagna was finished and it was time to eat!


I’ll need five days of exercise bootcamp to undo all the damage I did at that meal. Smile

OK. I guess I’ve put it off long enough. Back to work for me.

I hope you had a wonderful time with your families this Christmas. Thanks for letting me share pictures of mine.

Peace, Kelly

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Christmas Gifts

The presents have been unwrapped and the frenzy of the holiday is over.  Now it’s just me and the Christmas Tree in the peace and quiet.

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It’s seems like so much of the holidays these days is about excess.  I think it’s partly due to our culture and the way we live in general.  But I think mostly it’s because (at least for me anyway) we want things to be special.  To be different.  Christmas is a celebration, after all, and exchanging gifts is one of the ways we celebrate at my house.  But as I sit in the peace and quiet of the Christmas Tree tonight, I am overcome with immense, profound Gratitude for the gifts in my life.

If Christmas gifts are our expression of love for one another, then nowhere is love more evident than God’s Expression of love for us – Jesus.

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John 3:16 – For God so loved the world, as to give his only begotten Son; that whosoever believeth in him, may not perish, but may have life everlasting.

I am so grateful for the gift of my family, friends, and loved ones.  And I am blessed beyond measure by the Love of God and My Savior.

Wishing you all the Love and Peace of Christmas,


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The 12 Days of Pinterest

All I can say is that it’s a good thing that I have a job. 

Since I’ve been home, I have been either a) pinning projects on Pinterest or b) making things I’ve been pinned on Pinterest.  And you know what…I am in heaven.  So as a love letter to my new favorite hobby, Pinterest, I present to you-

The Twelve Days of Pinterest!

One the twelfth day of Christmas, my Pinterest gave to me…

Twelve scrapbook pages;

Eleven artsy projects;

Ten photo tutorials;

Nine homemade cards;

Eight button crafts;

Seven yummy dishes;

Six messy updo’s;

Five glittery letters!

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Four Christmas ornaments;

Three dozen cake balls;

Two candle rings;

And a pair of uncomfortable skinny jeans!

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to try out a new recipe.  Smile

Happy Pinning!  Love, Kelly

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‘Twas the Week Before Christmas

As I sat down to write this blog post, I immediately noticed three things:

  1. I need to water my poinsettias
  2. There is a giant cobweb in the fireplace
  3. The cat has yacked up a giant hairball on the Christmas tree skirt

Ah…all is right with the world. Smile

My festive mood and happy heart are very likely due to the fact that my delightful daughter is home from college.  Since she got home Friday afternoon, I have followed her around like Riley does to me when we get back from a vacation, and in my happiness to see her I have taken no less than 147 pictures of her in the last two days. (Right now she’s just so happy to be home, so I have to take advantage of these photo ops while I can. In a couple of weeks she will be sooooo over it.)

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You know that purring sound a cat makes when they are happy and content, laying on your belly, and making biscuits…that’s me right now.  Well minus the laying down and making biscuits. Smile

Anyway, it’s been a busy weekend.  Tripp and Kelsey spent some time Christmas shopping and I’ve spent some time wrapping presents.  I’m just going to take this opportunity right now to apologize to my sisters-in-law for the green glitter.

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As usual, I blame Pinterest.

Oh and I guess I should introduce you to the newest member of our family, Buddy the Elf!

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Buddy showed up on Friday – the same day that Kelsey got home.  Since then, he’s shown up in some rather unusual places.

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And I think he is starting to feel at home, because Buddy has become a bit mischievous.

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Last night Kelsey came home to find her bed had been TP’d.

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And this morning I woke to find that Buddy had been into my coffee.

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Even Tripp wasn’t spared from Buddy’s antics and found a little surprise in the shower this morning.

Want to know one of the parts of this weekend?  I don’t have to go to work tomorrow!  Smile  That’s right, I’m on vacation (or as Carrie likes to say, “I’m on vacay!”) until the new year.  So tomorrow I’m going to kick it into high gear and finish my shopping and wrapping.  Then there’s cookies to bake and ornaments to make…

Life is so, so good.

Peace, Kelly 

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My Not-so-empty Nest

I am a walking Hallmark commercial today – my delightful daughter is coming home for Christmas break and I’m so excited I can hardly stand it. 

I am so proud of Kelsey and how she successfully completed kicked-ass! in the first semester of her freshman year in college.  And in related news, I am happy to report that I survived my daughter’s first semester of freshman year.  Unlike my daughter, I did not kick its ass nor did I even rough it up a little.  At best I think I maybe intimidated it or perhaps gave it my angry mom face and sent it to its room to think about what it had done. Smile

Earlier this year I was especially whiny on the phone one night with my friend N .  After about 10 minutes of listening to me cry and whine, my friend N  teased, “You know Kelly, no one ever died sending their kid to college.”  It was a good laugh and made me snap out of my big, fat pity-party.  And she was totally right because here I am, still alive, and not too much worse for the wear. 

My nest has undergone a lot of changes this past year – both literally and figuratively – and I have learned a lot about myself.  One of the things I know for sure is that I really hate the phrase “empty nest.” And this is why – here are just a few of the synonyms that Merriam-Webster’s list for the word “empty”:

  • bare
  • vacant
  • unfilled
  • meaningless
  • pointless
  • purposeless
  • barren

Really??  I guess Mr. Merriam or Mr. Webster didn’t have a hormonal wife in the midst of a mid-life crisis.

Seriously though, does having an “empty nest” mean that my life is now meaningless or pointless? Does this imply that my ultimate purpose in this world was to raise my offspring and send her out into the world? And now that I’ve successfully managed to do that, I’m supposed to just drift through the next half of my life with no purpose or meaning? Seriously???

I’m sorry, but I don’t buy that for one second. Because what I have found, through Faith and a whole lot of soul searching, is that my nest just isn’t that empty.  Actually, on the contrary, my life is abundant.

My life is complete because of my wonderful husband/partner/best friend of nearly 20 years and my delightful daughter. My life is bursting with the love and support of my family and friends. My life is packed with ordinary little things that bring me so much happiness and joy.

And most importantly, my life is meaningful because I am a child of God.  And I am saved.

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“My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God my savior.”  Luke 1:46-47

Peace, Kelly

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Recipe for Merriment

I have a question for you – when is the last time you laughed so hard your face still hurt the next morning?

If it’s been a while, maybe you should have your girlfriends over to play Bunco. 

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That’s what I did last night.  And for just a couple of hours, we suspended the madness that seems to accompany the holidays. 

Everyone brought either an appetizer or dessert (those us addicted to Pinterest brought something we had pinned) and I made my famous Champagne Punch.

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And what followed was an evening of friendship, fellowship, laughter, and a whole lot of merriment.  Smile

Peace, Kelly

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