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.





The Bregger Family | Bella Via

Family Session


Starbucks is usually where most of the magic in this world happens. Countless conversations that have taken place inside their walls have blossomed into business ventures and lasting friendships.

And in the case of Kim and I? Both.

As she was nearing the end of her time working for corporate America, she was searching for what she could do from home. Knowing that I am a photographer and content creator for big blogs, she reached out asking how to get started. As I talked, she wrote down everything she could

I remember feeling absolutely humbled when I walked away from that Starbucks. There I was, just doing what I was doing to help provide for my family (and have fun doing it) not realizing the impact I was having on someone else. Kim (and Jordan) have jumped in with both feet into the world of content creating and watching their passions collide into one crazy, blessed adventure has been inspiring.

I know there are going to be days when you’re pushing the boulder so hard up the hill and it’s might feel like you’re not going anywhere. Keep pushing! You never know when the top of the hill is going to appear…and then you won’t be able to keep up!



Dancing in the Desert | Scottsdale, Arizona

dancing in the desert

Bella Via Family Session

What’s better than the dreamy, glowy desert? A ballerina in the dreamy, glowy desert.

A few months ago, I had this vision of a dancer moving and flowing against the desert landscape. I just couldn’t get the idea out of my mind so I reached out to Kimber to see if Delia would be interested in modeling for me and I was a little giddy when they agreed!

When you meet Delia, you know there is something so special about her. I think her smile could light up an entire city. Even though she’s been dancing since she was 6 years old, I think it’s more than just dancing to Delia. It’s about creating last friendships and encouraging her peers to be the best they can possibly be.

Delia, don’t ever stop being you! I love your evident heart for others. I know that God is going to use that to do mighty works. I pray that he will continue to establish the works of your hands…and feet.

Bella Via Family Session
Bella Via Family Session
Bella Via Family Session
Bella Via Family Session
Bella Via Family Session