Stephanie + Mark | Scottsdale, Arizona

Scottsdale, Arizona Desert Session

Stephanie and Mark’s session in Scottsdale, Arizona is at the top of my favorite sessions for 2017!


At the beginning of 2017, I had one goal. To be published on a wedding blog. In order to do that, I set to work planning my very first styled shoot. As always, I jumped in with both feet and figuring everything out as I went.  As I was in search of vendors for this shoot, I reached out to our local creative community for referrals to some of their favorite vendors.  That’s when Stephanie entered the picture.

I was given a few names for some fabulous macaron artists (I say artists because making macs is a definite art!)  I reached out to one vendor and when I didn’t hear back after a few days, I tried another one.  After looking through Decadent Macaron’s website, I reached out to her.  It wasn’t just her fun website and great looking product that drew me in but one line of her website, “Do everything for the glory of God.”

In this creative industry it’s very, very easy to take credit for everything we do.  For the pictures we take, for the product or service we provide.  I put in the time.  I took that picture (not the expensive camera), I was published….the list of “I’s” can go on and on and on.

While I’m the one holding the camera in my hand, I know I’m not the one who put it there.  I didn’t give myself the desire, the drive.  I see where I’ve been and where I am now, and there’s no way I got here on my own.  I take the photos and am excited when I see the back of the camera because I see growth with each click of the shutter.  There’s only one reason I’m here, at this time and place.  It’s because He’s called me here.

I know when it comes to her business, Stephanie feels the same way.  It’s evident if you follow her on social media.  Since our first styled shoot together at the Royal Palms, we have both grown by leaps and bounds.  Watching her business grow to new limits has been amazing to watch from the sidelines.  I can’t even imagine how she must feel!

Stephanie and Mark,

I know this last year has been an insane time of growth for your business.  I truly feel like the best is yet to come for you two.  I see your hard work and I see where you’re placing your trust.  You haven’t built your business on the failing sand, but on a strong foundation, with Christ as the cornerstone.  With Jesus in your heart and macarons in your hand, you’ll be unstoppable.



Stephanie’s skirt was handmade by Emerge, Designs by Jen. Follow her on Instagram!
Make-up | The Sparkle Bar

Ashley + Brandt | Arizona Engagement Session

arizona engagement session

Well it wasn’t too surprising how fun it would be to photograph these two for their engagement session. Ashley’s parents here in Arizona are some of our very best friends. My husband and her dad are a bundle of non-stop giggles when they are together. Yes. Giggles. Did you know two mature grown men could giggle? If you know Jim and Ryan you know this all to be too true.



Her parents are the ones we call when our fridge breaks. They call us when they need an iron. She calls me when she needs something photographed for her blog, My Plant Based Family.

And on the days where we just need coffee….we have each other’s backs.

The moral of the story, Holly and Jim are life-long friends. 

On our way to our session as Ashley and Brandt were telling me how they met and what life is like in the U.P. of the great state of Michigan, Ashley mentioned her job.  At Starbucks.

Holy cow…did you hear the angels singing?  Me too.

I’m almost 99% sure that Starbucks is the sixth love language.  At least, I know it’s mine.  You’re having a bad day?  I bring you Starbucks.  You want to make my day?  Bring me Starbucks.  I’ll be your best friend forever.  (Currently I drink an iced coffee, extra ice, no cane syrup, with cream and raw sugar…I’m just throwing that out there).

Ashley has worked at Starbucks for a year and a half!  And while Brandt is a coffee connoisseur now, he only stepped foot into Starbucks for the very first time right before they started dating.

And now, he’s hooked on those caramel frappucinos (who isn’t)!  But his addiction did come with time.  When he walked in for the very first time, it was to see her at work.  He said when he walked in, he saw her face light up when she saw him.  At that point, all he could think about was how she looked at him and couldn’t concentrate on ordering anything but black coffee.

That’s it? She said.  Black?  Oh come on.  Really?

Really. That’s how I like it.  (In his defense, he says that the bitterness of black coffee is the only way to wake a man up in the morning…also, he couldn’t think of anything else but her).

I think it was all over at that point.  For both of them.

Thinking about that moment, him walking in, her standing at the counter, all dressed in Starbucks green smiling away, melts me.  Not because I’m a loyal fan of Starbucks, but because I’m a fan of these two.

Brandt and Ashley,

I know since it came up in our conversation, that neither of you will ever forget your Starbucks moment and I hope you don’t!  I hope that you’ll have those moments every single time you see each other.  I hope that when life is hard, for better or worse, that memory will be the forefront of all the rest.

I keep looking at these pictures, seeing the arching trees and the two of you standing underneath them and I can’t help but see God’s banner of love over you.  I pray that no matter where you go or what you do, that the world will see it.  They will see there’s something different about the two of you.  They’ll long to know the kind of love the two of you share and I know that because of it, you will be a blessing to everyone you meet.  Because you were to me.





Wanna see another engagement session? Check out Jodi and Steve’s engagement session!

Forster Family Session| Phoenix, Arizona

desert family session

To know and be known.

It’s a common saying when referring to community. All of us have a deep desire to live and love life with people who share our passions and beliefs. Our hopes and our dreams. The Forster Family session was one of those beautiful reminders of just how impactful community really is.

Without community, I would never have had the opportunity to meet this beautiful family. Sarah and I met in a photography Facebook group that’s just been one big cheering section.  We share in each other’s successes by seeing who can share the funniest GIF and encourage each other when we just don’t know how to handle certain situations.  The best part is the answers come from servant’s hearts.  They are people whose desire is to love and serve clients (that’s you!)  They’ve made me a better person, a better photographer and a better business owner.  I’ll forever be grateful for all of them!  Sarah is just a few months into her business, and oh MAN is she crazy good. Check out her IG here —> Sarah Forster Photography.

I think the pressure rises when you photograph a fellow photographer.  I’m usually the most nervous right before their sessions!  But Sarah, TJ and that little cutie Fitzgerald (Fitzgerald you guys…as if those eyes weren’t enough to melt your heart) were a dream.  I’m not just talking about their spot on styling and their pretty smiles.  That’s the part you get to see.  What I get to see behind the scenes sends this family session straight into the “dream zone”.

As a parent, and former teacher (that part of me will never go away), I love watching parents parent their children.  Throughout the entire session both Sarah and TJ were so very present with Fitzgerald.  At 20 months old, life can get rough, especially with a crazy lady waving a minion and little snake in front of her camera.  They were both so very patient and gave little Fitzgerald just what he needed, when he needed it.  Whether it was snuggling up with mom or watching Thomas the Train with dad (thank you modern technology), shouting and cheering when he sat down on a stool by himself (be still my  heart), it’s very evident that these are two very involved parents and he is one loved little boy.

Thank you Sarah and TJ for showing the world what it’s like to be loving parents.  For putting your kiddos first.  I know that it probably seems normal to you, but I promise your ordinary is someone else’s extraordinary.



Christmas 2017 + Free Printable Gift Tags

buffalo check christmas tags

It’s the most wonderful time of the year!!!  I’m sharing some of my favorite parts of our house and bonus the cutest buffalo check gift tags!

buffalo check christmas tags
I remember my first Christmas as a mom. I would sit in Rowen’s room late at night nursing him, letting the reality of the tiny miracle in my arms sink in as far as it could possibly go. Suddenly, I related to Mary on a whole new level.  I think I know what Luke was referring to when he said that “Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart” as she held her sweet boy.  Word was spreading quickly of his delivery, faster than she had probably ever imagined.  But as everyone came to worship this little boy, the newborn King who had come to save the world, she relished in the fact that she was his mother.

Those few months were brief.  Life has certainly gone by too quickly.  But as new years come and go, I don’t think I’ll ever forget those sweet moments.  Since I’ve been a mom, Christmas has taken on a whole new meaning for me.  It’s deepened my understanding of our heavenly father.  It’s the most wonderful time of the year, not because we get to deck our halls and drink hot chocolate, it’s because a savior came.  I think the lyrics to Everything Is New by Joel and Amy Davis describe the season perfectly:

My eyes have seen salvation from The Lord
Prepared for all, revealed for me to see
What once was hidden, no longer mystery
Light has come, the glory of our King

My eyes have seen the power of The Lord
His mighty arm exposed for all to see
He is redemption, He’s come for you and me
Victory is here, the glory of our King

Good News, Great Joy
Everything is new
Hallelujah! Everything is new

I long to see the coming of The Lord
His glory on display for all to see
He is Jesus, the advent of our peace
He’ll split the clouds, He’ll come and set us free

Glory to God in the highest
Hallelujah, sing across the earth
Glory to God in the highest
We sing your praise in all the earth

Good news friends.  Light has come.  Hope has come.  Everything is new.

If you know me, you know I’m a DIYer. I love a challenge and I love to experiment. Last year, we converted our front living room into a play room for the boys which meant we lost our Christmas tree space! How many of you walk into a house you want to buy and the first thing you think is, “where do I put the Christmas tree?” (I know I’m not the only one!) Christmas is a big deal for me!

When we lost our usual spot, we had to get creative, but to be honest Ryan and I were both over the gold glitter tipped tree we had in previous years (#glitterfordays is not always a good thing). In searching Pinterest, I stumbled upon this adorable wood Christmas tree from Shanty 2 Chic.

I mean, it was darn near perfect. It didn’t take up a lot of space and was a definite show stopper. So we got to work and created this truly priceless piece. Since I’m all about buffalo check, we decked the tree (and the halls) in buffalo check accents that we adore.

Of course, we do have a little mini tree for the boy’s playroom that holds all of the collectable ornaments. Their Oma gets them new ones every year to add to the tree…sometimes they don’t make it to the tree and get flushed down the toilet…but for the most part, they make a debut every year. #smh #momofboys

The rest of the decor is a simple collaboration between myself, Target and Hobby Lobby (no surprise there!) I like to add just a few pieces each year but I try not to get too carried away because I may be inspired by a new pattern next year. God bless Ryan. And my boys. I can’t help it. I get it from my grandma. It’s in my DNA.

I loooove making my own gift tags each year. One, it’s more cost effective. Two, it’s easier to customize it to my style because I don’t always find what I like in the stores! This year I continued the buffalo check theme and created these custom tags using fun designs I purchased from Creative Market and paired it with fresh rosemary clippings from my backyard. Though I do have to say, my poor rosemary bush is looking a little….pruned. I may need a new one soon!

Scroll to the bottom, past all the pretties to download the gift tags!

If you want more free stuff, check out this printable —> here

If you want more free stuff sent straight to your inbox, join my mailing list —> here

buffalo check christmas tagsbuffalo check christmas tags

You can probably guess where I got most of the items, but here is a list just in case!

PILLOWS: Target 2016
ORNAMENTS: Target and Hobby Lobby 2016
STAR: Michaels 2016
SLEDS & CHARGER: Target 2016/17
BOOK PAPER TREES: These were old Starbucks decor from 2006 that I revamped later on.

Click on the image below to download the gift tags!

buffalo check christmas tags

Steve + Jodi’s Desert Botanical Garden Engagement Session | Phoenix, Arizona

Desert Botanical Garden Engagement Session

The sun had gone down so we wrapped up their engagement session and started the trek back towards the entrance of the Desert Botanical Garden. As we were walking, we of course started talking about the wedding and what were going to be the most important parts of the day for them.  She mentioned one thing that brought tears to my eyes and a lump in my throat.


We spend years playing at their feet, listening to their stories, learning everything we possibly can.

We learn to cook like (or not like) them.

We want to be like them.

They are such a big part of who we are.

Jodi’s grandparents will be married for seventy years when they make an appearance at their wedding in March.


Can you imagine the life lived? The life loved and lost? The seasons navigated? The memories made? The wisdom gained?

Legacies are beautiful because they aren’t just about one person.   Legacies are passed down from generation to generation and everyone, both families together and as individuals, contribute to make them even more valuable. Even more priceless.

I think legacies are incredible gifts, yes.  But I think they are more than that.  They are something that we are entrusted with.  We have the ability to add to them and take away.

To whomever is reading this right now,

I hope that you choose to add value to your legacy.  I hope that as you enter in and out of your own seasons of life that you always remember you’re apart of a bigger picture.  There is a generation that will soon follow in your footsteps, so make your steps count.

Steve and Jodi,

I love so much the few stories you’ve shared with me.  Just walking through the Desert Botanical Garden for your engagement session was enough for me to know that you two are incredibly blessed.  Who you are and what you do is bigger than you realize.  I’m so excited for your wedding in March and even more excited to capture the beginning of something so beautiful.  The best is yet to come.