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Friday, June 29, 2012

Photography Post


01 b ZA

This beautiful Mama is on the blog today and also in labor. Click HERE to see all the shots. I cannot wait to meet her little one in the next two weeks! Good luck Camilla!!!

The final week + some letters


Yesterday, I almost gave in and bought some shorts, and a dress, and flip flops and a few other things from Target. BUT then I realized that it’s the 28th, only two more days till the month and this challenge are over and I decided against it.

Since we live in the middle of nowhere, there really isn’t much temptation to spend money. Literally, the only “extra” money I’ve spent this month has been on photography, which has been for clients, which has been paid for by said clients. Hence, I’m thinking I did pretty good.

In the first two weeks of savings, I saved a good chunk of money by not giving into temptation and shopping. I had saved a total of $465.00. Yesterday’s little shopping spree would have cost me an additional $135.00. So In total, for this month, I’ve saved $600.00. HOLY *&(#. Really?

That just took me by surprise, and yes I did have to get the calculator out to make sure my addition isn’t off. That’s my car payment plus at least a week of groceries, and the only thing I did was cut out my shopping habit. Now if only someone would teach me how to coupon so I don’t have to spend over a 100 every week just on groceries.

Well… tell us how you did this month, Janna and I are dying to hear some success stories!



Dear Colorado Wildfires please stop burning my beautiful state and leave my friends and their houses alone. I’d really appreciate that!

Dear 100+ AZ weather I don’t really have much to say to you other than you suck. But I’ll deal with you, because being miserable and complaining does not seem to have an effect on you.

Dear Lilly, I don’t think you comprehend how much I love you and what you mean to your dad and I. We’re so glad we adopted you and that you have become a part of this little family. AND yes, you can have whichever part of the couch you like.

Dear Husband I really enjoyed our dinner conversation tonight, and I’m glad that you are aiming to become your boss’s boss’s boss’s boss’s boss’s boss’s boss. Please know you have my full support if when you decided to run for president.

Dear Work, I love you, really. You’ve been good to me and I can’t wait to see what comes next in this new chapter. We’re going to kick some booty and teach folks how to use their cameras!

Dear Friends and Family in Colorado I’ll be back on August 2nd, and it will be great. Whoever needs to book a session with me and my camera needs to let me know ASAP.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

It’s Okay to be Thankful

Today is Thursday… I’m still having to deal with the fact that week is practically over and I don’t know where it went. I wanted to join in on two little link-ups today, because I find them totally appropriate for the moment.

Its Ok Thursdays




It’s Okay…

… to have coffee, cake and two apricots for breakfast once in a while

… to miss my mama like crazy

… to be completely and utterly in love with your dog

… to think that said dog is absolutely adorable when she cuddles with her toys

… to want to trade lives with said dog or the neighbors dog as they lay around and take in the sunshine (for a day)

… to have a sink full of dishes … it’s actually kind of gross and I’m avoiding the kitchen so I don’t have a meltdown

… to get dolled up just to sit around the house


… to not get out of your sweats all day


I’m thankful for …

… the monsoon that we got yesterday, it cooled things down a lot

… the little rain that Colorado got

… the fact that my friends and family are safe and away from the fires as of right now

… my husband, family and friends

… the internet and the ability to do my job and classes all from the comfort of my home

… my clients

… my life

Sometimes the little things get overwhelming. Sometimes I don’t see the big pictures because I’m so concentrated on the little things. Sometimes I get so stressed that even ice cream and a bubble bath can’t calm me down. I take for granted what I’ve got and always want more. I forget to be thankful that I’ve got a roof over my head, food on the table, a loving and caring family, friends who’ll be there no matter what, unconditional love from a little dog named Lilly, a good job, an education and so on. I forget that there are millions of people out there who never had the opportunities that I had, and only dream of half the life I have. Really, I feel ashamed that I’ve been so ungrateful for all the good in my life.

And yes, the weather here is still hot, but it’s only temporary. Come September it’ll cool down and I’ll once again be able to breath normally. Smile

SEEEEEE… this too shall pass.

Hope you all are having a great Thursday!

Keep Colorado in your thoughts and prayers. My beautiful state is being destroyed.

Sad smile

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

While I complain about the heat in AZ

my beautiful Colorado is burning up.

CO Fire 1CO Fire 2CO Fire 3CO Fire 4

Literally, Colorado is burning. Sad smile

The above are photos taken/posted by Facebook friends and family.

I cannot believe what is going on. In the 14+ years that I lived in Colorado we never had wildfires that were this big and spanned so far.

So far over 32,000 people have been evacuated. Tens of thousands are on pre-evac orders. Over 200,000 acres of land has burnt. Hundreds of homes have been lost.

My parents are in Aurora, Colorado, the suburbs of Denver. They are literally surrounded by fire right now, but it’s still a bit away from them.

Fort Collins, Boulder and Colorado Springs are home to many of my friends. Fires have never been so close to home before. I grew up hiking, camping and hanging out in these beautiful mountains and cities.

I wish there was something I could do for them. Instead, I sit around and complain that it’s really hot here. And that I hate the AC because it’s cooling me down. I’m pretty pathetic.

My thoughts and prayers are with my friend and family in Colorado. My beautiful friend Janna has the fire knocking on her back door. Nina’s husband Brent, a Denver firefighter, is heading south to help fight the fires. Several friends are packing up their lives and don’t know if they’ll see their homes again. Please keep them all in your thoughts until this is taken care of, and do the RAIN DANCE if you can. 

In need of a vacation

The title to this blog is a fact. Nothing more.

I am very much in need of a vacation. Between work, school, photography, Lilly and this house, I just need a drink (maybe 10) and some sunshine.

These flowers are sitting on my kitchen table. They make me happy.

I’m not really sure where all my days are going? I get up at 6 AM … every single day, because Miss Lilly does not like sleeping in … at all. So I get up, have coffee and get my day going. Before I know it, it’s 8 PM and I feel like nothing got accomplished. Maybe it’s just the Arizona heat getting to me.

Yes, she is on the brand new couch. She’s a spoiled brat 

Speaking of Arizona heat, it’s been over a 100 for over 3 weeks now. It’s really gross. I hate hot weather, and I’m not really sure why I agreed to moving out to the desert… since by definition it means HOT!

I literally get depressed when it’s sunny and hot for an extended period of time. I want rainy, gloomy days. I miss rainy, gloomy days. I hate air conditioning too, I would rather it never be hot so I never have to use it. I freeze when the air conditioning turns on. AND since it’s hot all the time, the AC has been on, and I’ve been freezing.


F. you Arizona. Is it really necessary to be this dang hot?!

There really isn’t a point to this post. But I did want to bring this up, in case there are people out there who hadn’t heard about it and see the video.

I don’t even know how kids have gotten so mean and disrespectful. I know that when we were in middle school, we thought we were such grown ups and could do whatever we wanted to, BUT we knew full well that we need to respect our elder and something like this would have gotten me disowned.
This poor woman could be any of our grandmothers. And if someone made my grandmother cry, it would not end well for them. I sure hope that I can be the type of parent who raises my children to be respectful and caring, especially towards adults.
Well… That’s all I’ve got folks!
Hope you have a good Tuesday!!!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Budgeting on a Friday

Is it really Friday already? I’m not really sure where the week went. I’ve been busy with work, and photography and cleaning this dang house. It seems that the list is never-ending.

Without further ado, let’s get down to business, our little Piggy Bank Budget:

This week, I literally didn’t even look at anything to buy, that’s how busy it’s been around here. I usually stop by all of my favorite clothing/shoe website at least once a week if not several times. Instead, this week I spent time going through our income, expenses, bills and debt to see where we really stand. And it really made me want to sell everything I have and pay things off.

In addition my $400+ savings of last week is now gone on an urgent care bill. Sad smile

Last Friday, I happily reported to my hubs that we had at least one airline ticket covered to Cozumel. Only 10 minutes after that, I went and got the mail to see a note from our insurance that we owe $270 to the urgent care I visited here in Tucson while we were down here closing on our house. I was literally dying, I had bronchitis and a sinus allergy and couldn’t even see straight. And even though we pay over $600 a MONTH for our health insurance apparently they do not cover out of area urgent cares. Our address was still Denver at the time and the urgent care in Tucson was considered out of area, so there’s a deductible on it. ANYWAYS, to make a long story short even thought it was an URGENT CARE and it should be covered by our insurance it’s subject to the deductible which I didn’t even realized we had on something like UC and ER. To say that I am disappointed and a little frustrated is putting it lightly.

Anywho, if you want a good reality check and a motivator to stop spending here is something to look at.

  • Calculate your monthly take home income (after taxes)
  • Add up your set expenses (rent/mortgage, car payments, bills, savings and so on)
  • Add up your financed expenses (for us it’s our fridge and washer/dryer)
  • Add up your credit card debit

Once you have all the above added up in set numbers take your monthly income and deduct the set expenses from it. Then deduct the financed items.

The number you have left is what can go towards your credit cards.

BUT there is still things like food to think about, and if you have a pet their food, and other necessities like gas, and cleaning products, and gifts for birthdays and so on.

Let’s just say that even though I didn’t save or spend any money this week, putting numbers on paper really made me realize how much we need a budget, and to budget for little things as well.

What are you budgeting tips, do you do the envelops/cash method? How does that work out? What about rewards on credit cards? I was just able to get about $200 worth of cash from the rewards on our credit cards… so I’d rather use my card and get money back especially since I have to buy food and such.

Thoughts and ideas are welcomed.

Hope you all have a great weekend!


Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Is it Ethical?

As many of you out there I kept hearing about 50 Shades of Gray, and how great it was. I knew the basics, it was based off of Twilight (fanfiction) and that it was very much a erotic novel. So I gave it a try thinking it would be a mindless but good read.


Unfortunately, the author really disappointed me with her lack of originality when it came to her plot and characters. I posted a link on my Facebook from a blog I came across that spoke about the ethical issue of turning a fanfiction into a for-profit book.

After receiving a few comments from friends, it seemed that I had to explain why I disliked the story and the book. So I wanted to share it here with you and see what your thoughts are.

I don't like the fact that the story (plot and characters) are literally stolen from another author.
The books (50 Shades of Grey) started out as fanfiction for Twilight. The names originally used were Edward/Bella and so on. When the author decided she wanted to publish a book because she got such a great following on fanfiction (20k+ comments) she took the original story off the internet and only changed the names of the characters.

It's fine if she wanted to leave it as fanfiction, and I applaud her for getting so many followers. However, when she went to publish the story, she should have changed a great deal so that those of us who have read Twilight don't make the obvious connections.

Here are a few examples:

  • Both Edward and Christian were adopted by wealthy and loving families
  • Edward/Christian have a deep dark secret that makes them dangerous towards Bella/Ana
  • Edward and Christian have stalker tendencies and are domineering
  • Edward/Christian are both very handsome with reddish hair and a great physic
  • Edward/Christian like to give extravagant and expensive gifts
  • Edward/Christian both play the piano, and it’s always sad classical music
  • Christian has two siblings Mia and Elliot who are just like Emmet and Alice. Mia is a happy and energetic fashion lover and Elliot is the frat boy always up for anything.
  • In both books the couple are initially attracted to each other, the hero tries to stay away but the heroine wants the relationship anyways. They end up breaking up because one of them believes that they are in danger. (this is the end of book 1).
  • Both stories are set in the state of Washington.
  • There is another male who is good friend with the heroine (Jose/Jacob). Ana/Bella thinks of him as a brother while he wants a relationship with Ana/Bella.
  • Ana is Bella. She talks like her, she acts like her, she says things that Bella would say, she is clumsy and uncoordinated, beautiful but doesn’t see it.
  • Bella/Ana have an eccentric mother who lives away from them with a different husband. Bella/Ana live with their father/stepfather whom they love dearly
  • Charlie/Ray (fathers) love to fish and watch sporting games. Charlie is a cop while Ray is ex-military.

I’m sure I’d find many more similarities if I went through the book with a fine toothed comb.

That being said. I don't have a problem with the book having sold a million copies and the author making money. This is not the first book or the last that will catch on with a given group and sell like wildfire.

However, the above is my honest opinion. I have a hard time not finishing books, so I finished the first one but wont be reading the second or the third.

This is by no means great literature, and I did not go into reading it thinking it would be the next Wuthering Heights. What I didn't expect was to find a copy of Twilight with a bit more adult thrown in. If it wasn't for the fact that the plot and characters are someone else's, I'd gladly read the next books and support the author.

To add on to my comment. I have an issue with the fact that the author tried to use Tess of the D’Urbervilles as the classical book that Ana loves (Bella loved Wuthering Heights) and fails miserably and making it tie into the story. She just throws it out there to make herself seem smart. Yet, it’s just something else she stole from S. Mayor and Twilight. At least Mayor was able to incorporate the classic better into the story.

Please let me know what your thoughts are on this. I will not be offended if you do not agree with me or have other thoughts.

Again, I am not annoyed that the book is an erotic novel, in fact that’s part of the reason I wanted to read it. I’m annoyed that there is no originality to the story. It’s just Bella and Edward in human form.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Piggy Bank Budget Week 2





Price: 19.80

Price: 22.80


Price: 34.80

Price: 24.80



Original Price: 120.00 Current Price: 59.00

Original Price: 129 Current Price: 64.99

Original Price: 210 Current Price 104.99


Original Price: 9.99 current price 6.00


As you can see from the above, there are lots of things that I want, but I truly just need a new pair of beater flip flops as I’ve almost literally worn a hole in mine. $6 sounds like a good deal to me, and I may order a few of these to keep around. Granted, I wont be ordering anything until July.

The first four items are things that I would have bought just because they are cute, it’s hot here in AZ (so dresses and skirts are welcomed) and because as single items they don’t really have a heavy price tag. The blue shoes from Nine West are one’s I’ve been drooling over for month. Literally, I’ve been waiting for them to go on sale so I could get them. Same goes for the Vince Camutos. I’ve had my eye on these guys for months.

NOW… if I had purchased all these items, which before this challenge I totally would have. I would have spent a total of $331.18.

I wouldn’t have really put the numbers together and look at them, and realized that that’s a plain ticket back to Denver to visit my family plus a $100.00 of spending money. Or a trip for one to San Diego for 4 nights (flight and air – on Travelzoo today from Tucson).

Sooo this week I’m putting $330.00 into my virtual piggy bank towards a vacation that the hubs and I are desperately in need of.

The total so far $465.00 ($135+$330).

That’s a good chunk of change. Smile

What are you saving on this week?

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

A little something to love

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This maternity session. Amy is beautiful, her baby bump is adorable. She has the sweetiest little girl and an amazing little family. You can find the some of my very favorite shots on the photo blog.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Never hurts to ask…

I have a personality issue where I feel that I shouldn’t have to ask for things. That these things are so obvious that they should just be done on their own without me prompting.

For example, I shouldn’t have to ask the hubs to put away the food and I shouldn’t have to ask my teacher for an explanation on a grade… these are things that should just happen.

However, what I’ve learned is that what I see as obvious or necessary may not be so obvious and necessary to someone else. A good example of this is folding laundry. There are certain things (undies) that I like to fold, and stack neatly in my drawers… the hubs thinks that this is completely unnecessary and slightly crazy. he’s stated several times that the undies are small enough that I could just throw them into the drawer and never even notice. However, my OCD personality will not allow for it.

With this whole photography thing going on, I’ve needed to learn lots of things and still have so much more to learn. So while I kind of winged it and learned as I went when photography was just for me, now I’ve had to crack down and get a move on. … SO my personality issue has reared it’s ugly head again. I know that the only way I’ll improve is if I have someone critiquing my photos, and giving me an honest professional opinion.

That being said, I kicked my fear in the booty and asked a few photographers for help. I figured the worse they can do is say no, or not respond. Well, guess what?! They all responded back! And two of them are some of my all time favorite photographers. I can’t wait to hear what they have to say about my work!!!

The lesson, I’d like to leave you with on this Tuesday morning is never be afraid of asking for something. The worst that can happen is a no, which leaves you with nothing less then what you had before.

Happy Tuesday all! I’m off to pick up my handsome baby brother from their airport! Can’t wait to have him here with us for a few days!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Something to be Thankful for

I’m one of these people that has lots of “first world problems.” Really! And the whole hashtag (#firstworldproblems) has really brought out how much I should really be thankful for.

Some of my current problems include; no living room furniture, because I’m too snobby to settle on one. Dirty floors because the backyard is full of dust, sand, dirt and the dog brings it all in. And so on.

While most of you will agree these are problems they are not the end of the world. While I don’t have a beautiful living room set (or any furniture in the living room for that matter) I have a beautiful house that will eventually get filled with the perfect couches, tables, chairs, and d├ęcor. My floors? Well they’ll get scrubbed with a gallon of bleach as soon as the hubs is done with the yard and Lilly is running on rocks and fake grass.

So here are some things that I am Thankful for on this beautiful Monday morning.

  • The internet: I don’t think anyone of our generation really appreciates the internet as much as we should. It allows me to work from home from a different state. It allows me to see my parent’s faces on a daily basis and speak to them in real-time. It allows me to go to school from the comfort of my tile floor (Smile) and keep in touch with all of my loved ones via Facebook, email and so on.

  • My job: I work… a LOT. Probably more than I should. BUT I love my job. I really really do. I’m thankful that I can sit at home and do what I love and get paid for it. Who else can say that?

  • Husband: We have our ups and downs, and all married couples do. I’m thankful that at the end of the day, the hubs cares and loves me. Even if we are sleeping on a mattress on the floor (which is actually NOT that bad), I know that I’ll wake up every morning to a snuggle and a kiss.

donald and zara

  • Lilly bug: This morning, I was not thankful for her at all. Especially her insistent whining and licking of my face witch cow hoove breath. Only dog owners who give their dogs cow hooves will actually understand how gross they smell after chewing on one of those things. I’m thankful for her health, for her constant want to play and then crash not 5 minutes into playing. OH and her love for running and sliding on the tile floor. She may not be too happy when there is furniture in the house.

Lilly in the kitchen

  • Our awesome neighbors: Seriously, best part of moving to Arizona and to this small town. Our neighbors are beyond awesome and we couldn’t have asked for better. Who else will volunteer to help clean our house and then put together a plan on how to do it?! OH or feed us yummy food? And help move a really heavy couch? And the list goes on. BEST NEIGHBORS EVER! PS: C if you are reading this, I LOVE YOU!


  • My Parents and their health: My parents aren’t really just my parents. Their my best friends. I can talk to my mom about anything, literally, anything. My dad’s pretty much the same way. In fact, I think I’ve talked to my dad about things that no one would really talk to their dad about. AnyWHO. I miss them BUT I’m thankful that their only a short flight away. I can hop on a plan and be in Denver in under 2 hours.


AND I just realized that my list can go on for a very very long time. So here are some in short order with no explanations: my grandfather and his health, my brother and the fact that he’ll be here in less then 26 hours, my computer and camera, the house and cars, and in general the life we have.

So what are you thankful for this Monday?

Friday, June 8, 2012

OHHH it’s Friday

Hi Friends! And Hello Friday!
Granted this Friday means very little as I’m on call this weekend. BAH. I am not a fan of on call weekends. ESPECIALLY, when I get paid nothing extra. Being salaried sucks!
So today, I’ll be talking about what I’ll be saving on and where that money is going to go.
This week, we’ve only spent money on groceries and some presentation folders for my photography clients. The groceries are a necessity, since we do have to eat. And the folders are a business expense that is tax deductible. Other than that, we have spent no other money! YAY! For living in the middle of nowhere!
I have decided that my piggy bank savings will be going into our vacation fund. The hub’s and I are in MAJOR need of a vacation. We have a rule that we need to take time off every 6 months and go on a week long vacation, we also try to squeeze in a few short trips between big trips. BUT between the move, getting things together, traveling for work, school and so many other things we haven’t been able to go on a vacation since November of 2010!!!! That is entirely too long to go without a beach vacation.
Now, some of you might think I’m a snob, but we need our vacations. It’s our way of re-energizing. I refer to the week long beach vacations as my “C drive formatting” trips. I lay on the beach, have some drinks, read a mindless book and not give a crap about a thing in the world. When we come back from these vacations, I always have a fresh and positive outlook on life.
SO vacation = very much needed.
While I didn’t necessarily have anything this week that I restrained myself from buying, I did make some extra money with my photography. I did three paid mini sessions at $45.00 a piece. Now the money goes towards prints as well as my time shooting and editing… BUT it is money that I wouldn’t have had otherwise. So my virtual piggy bank gets ($135.00). That’s a one way ticket to Mexico! Now only to get the return trip!
NOW, tell us what you are saving on and what it’s going towards!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Home made pizza and babies!

Last night we made homemade pizza… crust and all.

Home made pizza

It was pretty tasty. Mine had all kinds of things on it, like mushrooms and fresh mozzarella cheese. Hubby’s was a boring cheese and pepperoni.

Lilly in the kitchen Lilly

Lilly helped make the pizza by laying right in front of the ovens and guarding the food while it baked. Unfortunately, she did not get to have a slice as she get’s too many treats as is, and is starting to put on a bit of extra wait. Dog parent FAIL

After dinner, I met a little cutie.


He’s name is Ian and his has some bright blue eyes!

01 b ZA

He wants to be just like dad when he grows up.

05 b

And this may be my favorite picture by far from the whole shoot. The face says it all!

Hope you all have a great Tuesday!!!!


Monday, June 4, 2012

Ramblings on Monday

I don’t know where time goes. Really, it seems like you wake up on a Monday and before you know it it’s Monday morning again. This weekend was very low key for us, we worked on our backyard, cleaned the kitchen, cooked A LOT, drank wine and played with our pup. I worked a little for my 9 to 5 job, and did a few shoots on Friday and one on Sunday. Overall, it was a good weekend.

Here we are again on Monday morning though. Lilly’s been really good at getting me up at the crack of dawn, and it’s actually been nice. While I grumbled a little about it initially, now my body and mind are use to waking up early and it’s nice. I get lots more done, and have time to workout again.

I’ve been going a little crazy between two jobs and school, so I decided to drop my class for this 8 weeks. I’ve got one bitch of a teacher anyways, she constantly takes points off of assignments without explanation. I hate professors like that. For some reason they think they are above everyone else and no one can get a good grade in their class, I’ve seen at least 10 of my classmates already drop the class. Sad smile

On a brighter note, I got a bright orange kitchen aid mixer. We picked the most obnoxious color in the world… just because we could. It’s awesome!

I’ve already made a big load of twice backed potatoes, deviled eggs, funfetti cupcakes and nutella cupcakes (which turned out more like muffins).

I’ve also been able to take photos of some beautiful people… and when my camera decided to quit on me, husband decided that I should get the camera I’ve been drooling over for a year or so. SOO, now I’m the proud owner of a Mark II. <3 It’s love!

I’ll leave you with a few of my favorites shots from my recent shoots:

04 b ZA

My beautiful friend Irina posed for the camera when I was back in Denver at the end of April/beginning of May. She’s one of the most beautiful people I know, and there are so many more shots that I’m drooling over.

004 ZA

I’ve known Navodita (Dita) since we were in the 4th grade. She was one of my first true friends here in the States and we have stayed friends over the years. It’s scary to think we’ve known each other for 15 years!!!


peek-a-boo ZA

When we moved to Arizona, I was afraid we’d never meet anyone or have any friends, as the places we’ve lived before, most of the neighbors have been closed off an unfriendly. Well, we lucked out this time! Our backyard backs up to an amazing family, who has this little boy! They’ve become our close, and this little babe brightens up our day, everyday!!!

Looking back OW ZA

Amy found me through Facebook and we clicked right away. She’s such  a sweet and beautiful gal, a true Southern Belle (she’s from Georgia)! Such a beautiful family! Can’t wait for the arrival of little Mr. Logan!!

02 ZA

Kristin is the local power yoga instructor. She is amazing, and so are her classes!

01 b ZA

This beautiful baby girl is Jenny, Val (the mama) is one of the nicest people I’ve ever met. We were doing a Father’s day mini session for Jenny, when Val got the news that her grandma (Jenny’s great grandma) wasn’t doing so great and most likely wouldn’t make it through the weekend. So we got a few pictures of Jenny holding her great grandma’s picture. Such a sweet moment.

Individual posts with more photos from each session will be posted on my photography blog later on this week. I’ll link it on this one if you all are interested!!!


Have a great Monday!!!

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