Saturday, July 30, 2011

[photo 101]

for all you aspiring photographers out there looking for a great straightforward guide to photography,
this is your book! 
 i purchased this puppy a little while ago and it's been so great and helpful!
nicole is kinda my photography idol... she has such beautiful taste, style and composition! i love-a-love her work!

photo 101 covers camera shooting modes, raw vs. jpg, f-stop/aperature, shutter speed, iso/asa, composition, white balance, lenses, and much more!
i highly recommend this book to anyone.
this is the perfect resource for those of you like me who haven't had time to take classes and need a few questions answered :)
nicole also offers on-line courses and additional textbooks.  check her out!
have a great weekend!

Friday, July 29, 2011


i hope i never give the impression that we have the perfect life/family/home/etc.
   i don't ever mean to.  because we don't.  no one does.  sometimes with blogging, it's easy to find all the things/qualities we don't have and get bogged [or should i say blogged] down :)

last night was a good cold reminder that we don't always get what we want.  it feels like i explain this to my children daily, but when it comes to me and something i want, it kinda sucks!

have you ever had to do something that you thought you were strong enough for?
have you ever started out tough and weakened in the moment?
well, that was me yesterday.
we were hit up by some friends to go to san francisco with them in a couple of weeks.  an adult trip.  i was totally on board, getting so excited, and once sam got home and we really thought and talked about it, we knew we shouldn't.
it wouldn't cost a lot of money, but it's money that we don't have to spend on that right now.
so i took it upon myself to be strong and proactive and call them asap so they could get on with their plans and not lead them on any second longer.
so i picked up the phone, dialed, waited...
he answered.
i started talking, feeling confident and brave.
my voice started to shake a little and i tried so hard to keep it together.
i would not cry i kept telling myself, over and over.
tears started streaming down my face and i kept thinking, this is so stupid!  it's not that big of a deal!
it didn't surprise me a whole lot, i can seriously start crying over the dumbest stuff.
thankfully, i didn't sob.  the conversation went relatively quickly and it was over before i broke down completely.

sam was in the other room and i would not have him see me sad.  he asked if i was okay and i quickly answered yep in a clear upbeat voice;  but i really wanted to curl up in the fetal position and just cry my little heart out.  dang it, tears are even forming as i'm typing this!  what's my problem?
but no, i would not be a spoiled little brat and dwell on the fact that we couldn't/shouldn't go. 
so i went outside, sat on the porch, hugged my kids and realized how much i do have, 
and that there will always be san francisco. 
picture via

i hesitated writing and posting this, but it's life and i think people like and appreciate real.
p.s. thank you brandi & gayle for these beautiful zucchinis and yellow squash!  can't wait to eat 'em up!

©2011 brightsides, all rights reserved.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

[shed a little light]

gosh, lighting and mirrors.  it's amazing how they they can brighten and change any space. 

these items were pinned via neiman marcus homearen't they so pretty?  
can ya tell i'm on a major music kick lately?  i'm a nerd.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011


we were somewhere outside swan valley idaho.  the rolling green and yellow hills were electric.  the sky was the most brilliant shade of blue you've ever seen without a single cloud in the sky.  music blasting, kids bopping in the back... we were cruising along in awe of this unreal spectacle. it was like we were limitless~pretty intoxicating. 
the colors were really this striking!  
if you aint makin' dust, yer eatin' it!
after our family reunion in idaho falls, we headed to jackson for cool temps and some good old-fashioned fun.
shopping.  for hats.  i love that my girls are wanna be cowgirls.  
sorry, not at $100+ a pop though!  
there really are so many neat little eclectic treasures in jackson hole.  
i always enjoy meandering through all the little shops there.  
it's my happy place. 
and how about hanging flower baskets?  
i can never get enough. so quaint. so charming.  
love-a-love this dresser (above) cool huh?
jack in jackson sporting his first ball cap and lovin' the stroller.
...until next time, goodbye lush green-ness, cool harley dudes and antler archways.
we hope to return soon!

©2011 brightsides, all rights reserved.

[the good life]

just thought i'd shard these great deals so you can stock up for next summer!
some dang darling swimming suits at some dirt cheap prices for such great quality pieces!

and some hip sha sha shoes!

love mini bo!

my sista shared these songs with me last night and i can't get 'em out of my head!  you've probably already heard/seen them, but...
enjoy!  they're fun summery songs!

Monday, July 25, 2011

[you be the judge]

it's monday morning, post mini-vacation, and i can't decide if i feel more like this dog or the driver!
i want to get going, but i really want to just stay in my jammies.
lol, sam snapped this picture the other day on his way home from work.
we got a pretty good laugh at it's ridiculousness.

we instantly chalked it up to pure laziness, but after thinking about it for a minute, wanting to give the driver the benefit of the doubt, i wondered if he/she was
 a) super sick and the dog kept begging to "get out"
b) too busy and wanted to quickly take the dog on a speed walk
c) just got a horrific haircut and couldn't be seen
d) a punk teenager trying to be awesome funny
e) handicapped
f) an overdue pregnant lady with swollen ankles, crying kids, and craving a doughnut at the gas station.

who knows!  i'm gonna go with f.
you be the judge.

Friday, July 22, 2011

[no touchies]

the other day while i was making these, i was quickly reminded of my husband's organizing hay day a few months back!
he decided to empty a few drawers in the kitchen.  apparently they were driving him crazy.
i know i'm in trouble when he starts going through a closet or drawer just out of the blue and decides we need to clean it out!  he always starts it and then it usually ends up being me to finish.  it's frustrating.
does this happen to you?  i remember my dad would do this to my mom and it would drive her crazy as well!  i think it irritates me mostly because i was not the one to choose to start the project, and two, it's always at the most inopportune time.  i need to mentally prepare-be in the mood i guess.  i dunno, maybe i'm just being a big baby about it.
but my real gripe is the fact that he got rid of all my extra measuring cups!  
so when i'm cooking or baking something, i only have one set to work with now.  if my 1/3 cup is coated with shortening and i need it for measuring flour, it's just a big pain in the butt to wash out, especially if i'm in a hurry.  and with four kids always needing me, i usually am.  
i should probably have him read this.  better communication i suppose.

thanks dear.
love you.

p.s. take a listen to a sample of my new favorite soundtrack.  ride & reason why.  so good.  tgif.

©2011 brightsides, all rights reserved.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

[sarah jane studios]

i'm sure you've probably heard of sarah jane because she's wildly popular, but i'm infatuated with her work and really want to blog about it today!
sarah jane today is my mary engelbreit of the 90's
 (i hope she takes that as a compliment!  i still love m.e.)
truly it's like sarah opened up the left side of my brain and snatched up all my favorite artistic elements. 
i would LOVE to own every single piece she's made!  
and you can just tell by her charming blog that sarah is SO nice too!  
she has to be to create such precious prints!  right?

can i brag for just a split second?  i am so freakin' crazy excited to say that she has read(s) my blog!  ahHhH!  she even asked if she could use some of my girl's room pictures for her portfolio!  i really think i'm dreaming!!!  i of course said yes & told her that she totally made my year!
here are a couple of my little blond boy faves i REALLY want for jack's room someday.
sarah j is offering an out of this world giveaway on her blog right now!  you won't want to miss it!
good luck!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

[my favorite classic brownie]

my favorite made from scratch classic brownie recipe
sometimes simple desserts are the best!
some like 'em chewy, some like them gooey, some like them cakey... these are the perfect blend of all three!

they're killer.  they haven't failed me yet.
i baked a batch for dessert at our family dinner sunday night and the whole gang went ape over these babies.  okay, maybe not that wild, but i dare say they were a hit!  

it's actually one of my mom's recipes, but sam likes them a bit more gooey & chewy... so i added a few tricks of my own :)

mix together well:
• 1 cup melted butter
• 1/3 cup cocoa
• 2 cups sugar
then add 3 eggs, one at a time.  
finish by blending in:
• 1 1/2 cups flour
• dash of salt
• 1 teaspoon vanilla
*do not over mix

pour batter into a greased 9x13 dish.  bake @ 350ยบ for 25 minutes or until not jiggly and then turn oven off and let sit inside for another 15 minutes.  remove from oven and let cool.  frost with favorite chocolate frosting!  oh baby baby!  you're gonna love 'em!

featured on

©2011 brightsides, all rights reserved.

Monday, July 18, 2011

[hey ya toots!]

i'll never forget one family reunion when sam and i were dating and my little nephew-to-be jake shouted outside the ice cream parlor in the tiniest, highest little voice to some lady walking down the sidewalk "hey ya toots!" (as in tootsie) we were all rolling on the floor laughing!  the lady sure got a good laugh too! 
i can easily say that was one of the funniest things i've ever heard!
get your candy on!
mmm, tootsie rolls are one of my favorites.
have you seen the movie tootsie?  so dang good!

eww, and wash that dirt from under your nails girl!  gotta love summer and the sandbox.
cousin max had a birthday and we scored candy!
more photos to come.  baby crying.

©2011 brightsides, all rights reserved.

Thursday, July 14, 2011


do painting projects make you cringe like they do me?
as a lover of the arts myself, i can totally appreciate the activity, but the maid in me does not.
however, i shouldn't stunt their creativity and neglect flourishing talents because i just don't want to clean it up. 
heck, the kitchen's usually always a mess anyway, so why not make one more, right?
besides, they should be the ones cleaning it up!  yeah?
thank goodness for washable watercolors!  thank you crayola!
one recent boring afternoon, we pulled out the brushes, paper and paints.
the girls gingerly filled up cups of water and grabbed the paper towels.
large white sheets of paper were their blank canvases, and boy they went to town!
i had forgotten how much they loved to paint!
it wasn't near as messy as i remember... i guess they're older now... that helps!
flowers and hearts.  love my girls.  that's what i always used to paint and draw too.  still do.
so, may i remember: each creative mess will make them super awesome artists!
i think they're going places!

©2011 brightsides, all rights reserved.