Plus Size Model (and her cute hubby)

A few weeks ago, the talented Elisha Snow posted on Facebook about a beautiful, blossom-filled cherry orchard by her house, saying she would do photo shoots there if anyone was interested. I had been thinking a bit about a maternity shoot and I love Elisha's work, so I jumped at the chance. I'm happy to say that my sweet husband played along without the slightest grumble. How'd I ever get so lucky?

Here are just a few of the lovely shots Elisha took, both in her studio and out with the blooming cherry trees. For more on her work, be sure to check out her website.

Thanks so much, Elisha! You do beautiful work and these are photos we'll treasure forever! 


Win a Spot in Maggie Holmes Design's Photo Workshops!

Today I'm excited to announce the launch of some must-experience online photo fun--Maggie Holmes' Photography Workshops. Maggie has an amazing eye for photography with seven years of professional experience. I have the pleasure of working with her on many photo projects for Creating Keepsakes magazine, and I can assure you her style is striking, fresh and full of life. 

Now's your chance to learn from Maggie and use her tricks of the trade to master your own photography style! Here's a peek at just some of her impressive work:

Aren't these pics perfect? I adore how she combines light and color to capture true personality. You can see more of Maggie's work here

This is your opportunity to learn from Maggie and watch your own photo skills...ahem, develop! 

These two online classes have just opened for registration, and, for the first time ever, Maggie is offering an early bird discount if you sign up before the month's end. Giddy up! 

Win a Seat in Class
Naturally, this blog hop party wouldn't be complete without a chance to win a spot in class. Leave a comment on this post on or before this Wed., May 23, and Maggie may randomly choose you to join in the photo fun for free. Yes, free! She's selecting one of her winners from the comments entered at every stop along the blog hop way, so make sure you take a minute to up your odds by also entering at your next two stops, which are:

Double the pleasure--Maggie will randomly select a second lucky winner from comments received on her blog, so you'll definitely want to enter there. 

A Little Fine Print: If you purchase a class and then are drawn as a winner for that class, your registration fee will be refunded. Does not apply to purchases made for previous classes.

Good luck to you, my blog friend! Whether you win a spot or simply sign up for your seat, I'm sure you'll love this experience. Now, hop on!


Wait. Before you take down those lights and drink that last glass of eggnog, let’s talk Christmas for just a few more minutes. I know it’s mid January, but I have a couple of Christmas cuties to share with you from my holiday. Do you mind prolonging the holiday magic for a few minutes more? 
A Themed Stocking
Has Jolly Old Saint Nick ever left you a themed Christmas stocking before? This year was a first for me, and I loved it. What a clever idea! My sweet Santa knows I have quite the sweet tooth and love pink, so he left me all (almost) pink treats in my sock. 

Speaking of themed stockings, my mom sent her sister a stocking stuffed with gift cards to all of the stores she likes the most. 
I love the idea of a themed stocking and definitely see myself doing one in the future. What theme ideas do you have?
A Charming Gift
This charm bracelet is one of my favorite gifts this year. Each of the little charms on it are from Fossil, and they’ve paid attention to every detail. 

Check out this sweet camera charm.

Marketing Magic
I don’t know if it’s because of my PR background or what, but I have a high appreciation for unique packaging. Fossil sent all of my charms in these little felt bags. 

And my watch came in this cute tin.

But it’s the extra surprise they threw in that really made my marketer’s heart sing. It’s a wood ornament wrapped in baker’s twine, with a note to see their special holiday blog for project ideas using the deer. Wow! You bet I checked out their ideas, and I adore the deer. What a creative idea! 

My Favorite Photo
Thanks to this beauty from Cor (the Canon 24-70mm/2.8 lens), I took many lovely photos this holiday...

...but the one below, which was taken before I opened my lens, happens to be my favorite. The boys are watching for a flying sleigh full of toys. Or maybe they’re checking out Frosty. Whatever it is they’re spying, I adore the look of the three of them gathered by the window. This picture will definitely find its way into my scrapbook soon.

Okay, that will be it for the Christmas least until next fall when we get to start the fun all over again. In the meantime, may many blessings be yours this year!

2010 in iPhone Photos

It's no secret that I like to snap pictures with my camera phone. In fact, this year alone I did a couple of Studio 5 segments on this topic and wrote about using camera phones in Creating Keepsakes magazine.

What's the deal with this obsession? Well, a phone is one thing we almost always have on us. If you're lucky enough to have a camera built into yours, and so many do anymore, this means you always have a camera at the ready. Perfect for those everyday shots!

Inspired by an idea Margie Romney-Aslett posted on Facebook, I decided to post a few of my 2010 phone-photo highlights. I have close to 1,000 images on my phone at the moment, so I really had to narrow. Here are a few. I love the glimpse it gives into my year. You bet I'll be keeping that camera busy in 2011.

Note: I'm breaking all the blog/online rules with this lengthy post. Please accept my apologies for all of the scrolling. If you want to opt out now, I'll completely understand. 


Jan. 1: Cory and I try our hand at homemade marshmallows. Aren't they cute? They were tasty, too!

Jan. 7: Jewels and I catch a flick. I can't remember what we saw, but I know we enjoyed pausing to play with the jumbo chipmunks.

Jan. 12: I do my first of many Studio 5 segments for 2010. I was really stressed about what to wear, so I posted this pic for my personal team of fashion consultants. In other words, I posted it to Facebook. ;)

Jan 23: My cute coworker, Kim, and I join friends for a fun-filled day at Disneyland before the CHA craze begins. I can't go to D-land without stopping for some Dole Whip. It's delicious!

Jan 27: CHA (the Craft & Hobby Association trade show) is in full swing. Love the opportunity it provides me to see amazing new crafting products and beautiful friends. Speaking of friends, I adore these two gals, Jill (Jillibean Soup) and Stephanie (Bella Blvd.). We go way back to the new exhibitor days when they were patient enough to put up with my amateur film making skills. You can watch the outcome of those visits here and here.

Another sweet CHA friend. I don't think they get more passionate than Maggie. Check out her Cuttlebug Challenge blog for bunches of projects to make with your die-cuts.

Jan. 30: On my way home from Cali, I stop to enjoy a little Viva Las Vegas with these pretty people (my DH and parents). Here, we're waiting in line to go up in the Eiffel Tower at the Paris (where we stayed), something I had never done before. Very cool, BTW!

Part of my Vegas experience includes my first frozen hot chocolate at Serendipity. Super num!


Feb. 4: The stunning Lori and I fly to Portland, OR to teach at the first CKC event of 2010.

Of course, a trip to Portland meant a stop at the legendary Voodoo Donuts. Oh. My. Gosh. SO good! It was in a semi-ghetto part of town, but the risk to our lives was totally worth it. ;) 


March 14: I spot the March issue of Creating Keepsakes on newsstands. I happened to make the layout on the cover of this issue, which makes this moment even more exciting than it usually is for me. Naturally, I move it and its sister pub, Card Creations by Paper Crafts, to the front of the display.

March 15: I make one of my first posie bracelets, snap a picture, and send it to my friend for feedback.

March 17: Edward and I show up for work in our glorious green.

March 23: A HUGE day. Mom has her last cancer treatment. Our family goes out to dinner to celebrate.


April 1: I show up for work extra early to pull a series of office pranks, including kidnapping this doll and holding it for ransom. This is the picture I sent to the doll's owner when asking for my payment.

April 8: I fly first class for the first (and probably only) time. Look at all of that legroom. My legs actually fit without squishing up against the seat in front of me. I was so thrilled by this that I grabbed my camera and obtained some photographic evidence.

April 10: Kelly and I take a break from teaching at CKC St. Louis to visit "the arches." Some 20 pictures later, we finally got a shot with both of us and the arch. (BTW, "the arches" is what cute Kelly called them. I still LOL every time I think of that. I later told the CKC St. Louis crowd to ask Kelly about "the arches" whenever they saw her. Yeah, she was thrilled. Hahahahahahaha! Good times!

April 25: Cory wins big on a penny slot in Wendover, NV. Way to go, baby. Dinner's on you!

April 30: At last, after nearly two years of growing, my hair is cut for Locks of Love.


May 8: Schmom, Pop, Cory, and I participate in the Race for the Cure. Mom's lookin' extra good in her pink survivor's shirt!

May 15: Cory and I take Cory's parents to see one of our favorite comedians, Brian Regan. If you haven't heard of him, I highly recommend you check him out here. He's heeeeelarious!

May 17: I make my way to NYC for the Nat'l Stationery Show. I couldn't go that far without making a trip to Tinsel Trading. It was just as incredible as Martha promised me it would be. ;)

May 23: I take a break from teaching at CKC Buffalo to visit Niagara Falls.


June 14: My cousins visit from Denver. We go to a family-favorite destination--Lagoon. I rode these same boats when I was their ages.

June 27: Jewels and I visit the Utah Arts Festival, where we purchase darling handmade purses.


July 24: Cory and I take in a ballgame as part of our family's July 24 celebration (UT holiday).

July 29: Time for CHA Summer in Chicago, which means meeting up with more delightful friends, including these two sassy ladies, Kerri and Liz. Love these girls! Ummmm...yeah...Liz is standing on a stool in this shot. She's actually quite bitty, but she wanted to appear taller than me and the step stool did the trick. LOL


Aug. 21: After teaching at CKC Charlotte, Cory joins me for a little summer vacation, which included a stop in Denver, CO, where I bought this M-A-zing card catalog.

Aug. 27: I take a Creative Escape in Phoenix, AZ, where I get to play with paper and see a bunch of sweet friends, including Miss Maggie, who was teaching at the event.


Sept. 5: Cor and I join Curt and Gina for some of the best pizza in Utah. If you're going to have The Pie pizza, Curt (my brother) insists you go to this location at the University of Utah. It's worth the drive.

Sept. 11: I visit the flag fields in Sandy, UT to remember those lost on Sept. 11. The many flags on display, each representing somebody lost, were both beautiful and sobering.

Sept. 25: I take many of my phone photos at the mall. This is one example. I was totally inspired by this Fossil display at Dillards. Wanting to remember the colors, the font, the patterns...basically everything about it, I took a pic.


Oct. 8: The Creating Keepsakes team takes Joannie (associate editor) to Texas Roadhouse for her 40th birthday celebration. Yippee ki yi yay!

Oct. 25: Mom and I head to Denver, where I film a few scrapbooking/paper crafting videos for work. After a long day of filming, Mom and I crawl into bed with Aunt Ruby to watch the nightly news. Yeah, we're a wild bunch like that. Look out, D Town!

Oct. 29: The Creating Keepsakes editorial and events teams get together for a frightfully fun Halloween celebration. Our magazine team came as Cackling Keepsakes, a coven of crazy witches.


Nov. 5: Time for the holiday craft fairs to commence. I was selling my posie bracelets at my friend Holly's boutique. Here they are, all set up and ready to go home with happy shoppers.

Nov. 22: I puppysit for PK. This pic was to let mama know that Lex Pup was doing just fine. Well, she was a little chilly, but we got along okay.

Nov. 28: Bobby comes home from Iraq. We (he, Jewels and I) spent the day crafting and went to a movie that night. After the cinema, we went for this, the best yogurt in town. I'm sure I'll never hear the end of the fact that I thought it would be regular yogurt and not frozen. This also happened to be the day of a major snow storm here in UT. Why on earth would I knowingly go for FROZEN yogurt when it was a blizzard outside? Oh well. My puffy coat kept me warm and this tasty treat was totally worth the chill.


Dec. 4: Another favorite phone use: creating a shopping list. If I see something I want, I snap a photo and send it to Cory. It's a good way for both of us to remember wishes.

Dec. 14: The Creating Keepsakes team takes a break from writing and editing to enjoy a holiday breakfast and Secret Santa gift exchange. Isn't my present pretty? I couldn't resist the photo op.

Whew! What a year it's been. Thanks for taking a look back with me. I hope this inspires (and didn't bore or frighten) you to take more everyday photos with your camera phone.


Faux Photo Booth Fun!

Unless Santa can work a miracle, there’s no way our Christmas cards will be out in time. Because of this, I thought I’d share our silly photo shoot here as an interim holiday greeting. 
I knew I wanted to do a photo-booth approach to the family photo this year, but it presented two problems:
  1. Where can we find a photo booth these days?
  2. If we do find one, how will we sneak the dogs in?
I’m thrilled to say that, thanks to the help of friends on Facebook, I found several photo-booth locations in Utah. If you’re interested, I’m told you can find them here:
Utah Photo Booth Locations
  • Boondocks in Draper
  • The Thanksgiving Point Movie Theater in Lehi
  • Valley Fair Mall (by Penny’s)
  • South Towne Mall (in the food court, by the carousel) 
  • The Kmart in Bountiful (sadly, they’re no longer in the other UT Kmart locations)
We found the booths, but we just weren’t sure how we were going to sneak the pups in, so we decided to set up a faux photo booth in our home. To do this, we hung a blue sheet from our plant shelf, and we pleated the sheet to give it a more authentic feel. We then set two kitchen stools in front of the curtain to make it feel more booth-y. 

Wanting a more festive booth, I cheesed it up with garland and twinkle lights. I simply clipped them to the sheet with clothespins. 

With the booth backdrop set up, it was then time to test the camera. I grabbed a cute model, set my camera to remote shooting, and tweaked the position of the camera until it captured the booth. 

I don't know why, but this photo had Cory and me laughing to the point of tears. It's just that odd. It reminds me of the "American Gothic" painting with a Santa twist. LOL 
Now, it’s time for props. We wanted our photo strip to spell out a greeting, so we selected props that would work to communicate our note. And, of course, costumes were in order. Some of our props included the following:

Photo Booth Props
  • A joy banner
  • A globe
  • A chalkboard
  • A patterned paper #2
  • And costumes (Santa hats, doggie scarves and sweaters, and New Years hats) 
With everything set, it was time to let the photo fun begin. Of course, this meant many, many outtakes. Here are just a few of those for your viewing pleasure. :)
Honey, the globe is not a basketball. 
And there goes the basketball...errr, I mean globe. 

Everybody just calm down! 

Which way did Jack go?

Oh, here he is. But where are the other two?

Now which way did Cory go? Can't we all just sit still long enough to take a good picture. (If you have high-strung, energetic dogs, you know what wishful thinking this is.)

Uh oh, is that our booth backdrop falling down around us? Yeah, I think it's time to call it a night. 

Believe it or not, between the many outtakes we actually got a few photos that worked. I put those images into a free digi photo booth template that you can download here (complete with instructions for using it). 
And, drum roll please... Here’s the outcome! 
Can you make sense of our greeting? If not, I’ll give you a hint, it says, “Joy to the world,  & a happy New Year!” 

You might think us crazy, but we had SO much fun with this little evening project. A faux photo booth would be a happy thing to set up in your home this holiday. Hang a sheet, grab a stool, set up your camera, throw in a few props, and watch your family fun begin. I have a feeling you’ll LOVE the outcome, whether or not you add them to a photo booth strip or simply add them to your scrapbook. 

Inspiring birthday party and a delicious cake recipe

You know you’re at an amazing birthday party when the first thing you see upon entering is a photo booth. That’s what I saw this summer when I attended my friend Kezia’s 40th birthday bash. Kezia is one of the happiest, most creative gals I know, so it came as no surprise to me that her birthday was a blast. There were so many impressive ideas at this party that I just couldn’t resist sharing a couple of them with you.

As I mentioned, the party got started with a stop at the photo booth, which was complete with stylin’ mustaches like this one.

Once your photos were printed (it printed two sets), you put a set in the guest book and left a message. What a cool keepsake!

My friend Jennafer was my date for the party. Here she is leaving her b-day salutations.

Kezia may have been the birthday girl, but that didn’t keep her from baking up a storm. She made every delectable cake in this amazing dessert buffet. I sampled several slices, with each being as good as the last!

My personal favorite was the old fashioned carrot cake. And guess what?!?! Kezia is passing that tasty love on to you. Check out her delicious website, The Distracted Homemaker, for this and other incredible recipes! Trust me, you'll be delighted you did.

Happy 40th birthday, sweet Kezia. You sexy mama, you!

Take a Photo Field Trip (and a look at my youth)

Several months back, I was in a meeting at work, planning our September 2010 issue of Creating Keepsakes magazine. At that time, we came up with an idea to do a feature on taking a photo field trip. At that time, I was so inspired by the idea that I decided to take a photo field trip of my own.

My longtime friend Julia and I went back to some of our childhood hot spots--our neighborhood, the schools we went to, and a few other regular hangouts. For example, what seems like a typical McDonald’s and Baskin Robbins is actually where we would go everyday after school to wait for the city bus to pick us up and take us home. I can’t begin count how many sweet ice cream treats I enjoyed, sitting on my big ol’ saxophone case, waiting for those buses to come. :)

Even though it was summertime when we took these shots, two of the three schools we went to happened to be opened (at least partially), so we were even able to go inside a get a few shots of the halls and classrooms that once seemed so big. In this hall of our jr. high was one of my best friend’s lockers, where I used to think I was SO funny because I’d smear cheese from my cheese-and-crackers snack on her lock everyday. Hahaha! I’m sure she loved having me as a pal.

If you look closely, you’ll see the name of one of my first high school crushes--Anthony Jones. He was a sr. on the football team when I was just a nerdy (and I mean nerdy) sophomore, and he never had any idea who I was, but I was well aware of him. LOL I had to snap this pick of his name in one of the school trophy cases for old time’s sake. (I promise I’m not a stalker.) ;)

I used to slide down this railing just about everyday after math class. Now they have a pointed edges on them, which means the days of sliding are no more. (Killjoys!)

We had so much fun remembering moments from our past. Many games of kissing tag were played on this playground. Of course, the playground itself looks much different today (probably a lot safer than the one we played on), but the fond memories of being out in there haven’t changed.

The area where we grew up in is rapidly changing. I love that I now have these photos to preserve how things were when I was young. No matter how things continue to change, I’ll have these images that will help me remember what my childhood looked like--images and stories I can pass on to my own children someday. And I love that Julia was able to go with me and help me remember. This is such a fun way to stay connected to what’s important to you.

Over at the Creating Keepsakes blog, Dream Team member Deena Wuest wrote a post that elaborates on the photo field trip concept, including awesome camera-setting advice. Check it out and find some helpful tips for taking a successful trip of your own. Have fun!