Orosz Wedding

Something I never shared that was a completely new to me endeavor was a wedding video that I made for a friend who got married last year. It's the first ever wedding I've ever done videography for, and I completely underestimated the challenge of switching from photography to video. It took ages to edit, but in the end I think it turned out nicely. I think it's really the stunning foggy mountains, the perfect rainy day, or the absolutely gorgeous bride and her groom are really to thank.

Building a capsule wardrobe

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I'm starting a capsule wardrobe! Actually, I started it like a month ago but I'm writing about it!

I've been thinking about it seriously since some time early fall, but when I cleaned out my closet for this minimalism challenge I finally decided to do it for real. My closet wasn't as terrifying as it could have been. I had already organized, purged, and packed away a lot when switching out for winter, but something sounded really enticing about putting a number to it. To defining the parameters and making a challenge of it. 

I don't tend to over-buy so much as I tend to over-think. That's where the capsule wardrobe has me intrigued. Fewer variables with more structure. I have a pretty simple wardrobe already, but when I head to the store I forget what I have. My cycle then becomes: buy something, realize I have nothing to wear with it, make another trip back to the store to return it. Or perhaps more often, freeze up in the dressing room because I can't think of anything in my closet at all and leave empty handed. 

I used Caroline's worksheet to get my ideas rolling, but didn't fill it out in great detail because I already had the pieces that would become my capsule. It helped me think through what kind of situations I'm dressing for and identify colors that I lean toward (and the reason why that cobalt blue sweater I bought last year will never leave my closet and has to go).

In the end, I came out with 30 pieces including shoes, jackets, bottoms, tops, and dresses. Accessories were not counted, but have been heavily pared down. And one of those pieces is a sweater that I'm calling "on reserve" because I can't decided if I'm going to retire it forever, but I wanted it to be available for the rest of winter to see if I wear it. 

For this one, I'm not buying anything new. I feel like I have everything I need, plus it hasn't been all that long since I've been shopping anyway. I'll be changing out this for a spring capsule in April, which also means not shopping until then.

Here's how it breaks down:
Coats/Jackets:
army green parka
leather jacket
grey peacoat

Pants:
black ponte pants
black skinny jeans
dark wash skinny jeans
boyfriend jeans
patterned ponte leggings
basic black leggings

Shoes:
tan riding boots
black ankle boots
clark's ankle boots
black loafers
leopard print flats

tops/dresses:
black tank
white tank 
grey graphic tee
white graphic tee
gray tee w/ leather sleeves
striped sweater
black sweater
buffalo check plaid
black sweater w/ zip back
gray sweater w/ print back
maroon open-knit sweater
rose sweatshirt
grey cocoon sweater
maroon cardigan
aztec print cardigan
black shift dress w/ leather pockets

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Lessons from a tiny kitchen

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On the heels of my recent post about wanting less, wouldn't you know that here I am writing about buying something.

Like many apartments before, mine comes with its own set of quirks. There are the weird sconces in the bedroom that void any reasonable furniture arrangements, the bathroom that has no storage space and too many towel racks, and the tiny kitchen has only two 18 x 24" rectangles of counter space. There's no doubt that my space is small. There is certainly plenty of room for me here, but in such a small space I can't help but be a little more selective about what I buy.  

Does it fit? Is it worth the space it takes up? Is it multifunctional? Does it solve a need? Will I use it for years to come? Everything must pass the test. 

While I realized pretty quickly that the lack of counter space kitchen was going to be an issue, it took me much longer to come up with a solution. I wanted to find a work table that could be used beyond the kitchen, for that someday when my kitchen has just enough counter space. I wanted something that I enjoyed looking at and made my space more beautiful, but also something that wasn't going to fall apart.

I mulled over the decision for so long, several months actually. I found something I liked, but was it too much? Could I find something better for less? I kept my eyes peeled at antique stores, and second hand shops. I even found this tutorial, which I may have used if I had any skills or space to build stuff at all (why hello, tiny apartment). I ended up landing on this shelf, which isn't actually for kitchens at all, but passed on all other accounts. It was just the right height for chopping and mixing, and just wide enough to fit my kitchen aid that had been sitting in a closet for over a year. 

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Annoying as my situation was, I'm glad it was something I could take my time with. I've found that by waiting until I've found something just right before making any purchases, I end up with a space that makes me happy and feel good knowing that I've spent my hard-earned-cash intentionally. I think it's so important for me to mention that I do think that function trumps form, but if you can wait until you can afford something that you really enjoy, you end with less regret, less money wasted, and beautiful space. 

To celebrate, I made a coffee cake in the kitchen not made for baking and the stand that made it possible. It's from this recipe by the ever-reliable Smitten Kitchen. Cheers! 

Making the most of a long commute.

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I've alway imagined, in my dream future, that I'd work at a job very close to home. I'd use a bike to get back and forth, and my carbon footprint would be minimal. Instead, I drive about an hour a day and the number of miles I've put on my car makes me cringe. I know it won't always be this way, but while it is I want to make the most of that hour I spend in the car. 

Here's what I've been listening to:

Serial - I remember hearing about this on an episode of This American Life (which is another good one). I completely forgot about it until everyone started chatting about it on twitter. I started writing this list about a week ago, and am now finished listening to this series. I felt sad when it was over. 
The Lively Show - The format is interview based, and she's usually talking to blogger/creative type women. Some of my favorite topics have been minimalism, mental health, and exploration of intentional living. I liked this one and this one.  
Call Your Girlfriend - I think this one touches my heart because it's two best friends who never seem to live in the same place for long. Since my closest friends live in Iowa, Spain, Indiana, Pennsylvania, and Oregon, I feel it. They talk a lot of current culture, feminism, and whatever else comes up.
Being Boss - This is about being a girl boss. So far I've only listened to the pilot, but I'm looking forward to listening to more. It gets my brain moving. 
The Honest Home - I haven't listened to this one yet, but I plan to start here
Love + Radio - Also, haven't listened yet but I'm definitely intrigued. 

I'm also thinking that once I'm ready for something different, I'll be listening to Amy Poehler's book on audio.

I found this list of recommendations too. Any others that I missed?

Wanting less: a practice in minimalism

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When my camera lens broke a couple months ago, I realized how much I want. I needed to buy a new lens to do my job, but I wanted to buy a set of frames for my walls and a new pair of jeans and a bar cart that made me feel like Daisy Buchanan. I stressed about purchasing a new lens (which had been on my radar for awhile) because it meant sacrificing some of the other things that I want. 

When at my most centered, I want to give more than I take. I see value in being a contributor who makes worthwhile things instead of following along on the hum-drum of consumerism. But daily, I am frustrated by the sheer amount of things I want.

Everyday, I subscribe to a feed where people put their best items on display. I double-tap their photo because I love their [insert item here], and I wish I had one too. My favorite bloggers and instagramers post sponsored content where they are marketing beautiful items, that while their opinions may be their own, it is adding another voice that makes it harder to distinguish my wants from my needs. 

I know that I can live out of a suitcase for six months. Not having a lot of extra stuff isn't hard. Not wanting to have a lot of extra stuff is harder.

So lately, I've been thinking of ways that I can challenge myself to move my focus away from my wants towards the things I already have. A good healthy body that begs to be cared for, a home that wants to be lived in, a crazy hectic life that deserves to be tended to. A few days ago, I started a 30-day challenge which has offered some valuable starting points for quieting the monster. I've written goals, unsubscribed from marketers, and improved my morning routine. I plan to journal the process, and share a recap here. 

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This is not necessarily about saving money, but about needing less emotionally. It's about paring down, identifying priorities, but also it's about the process of doing so. If you're doing the same, let me know. I'd love to talk more about it. 

Here are a couple of my favorite blogs lately that help me bring it back in:

Reading my Tea Leaves - Right now, I'm loving her guide on minimalism during the holidays. This post on giving fewer, more thoughtful gifts was my favorite (late for the holidays, but always applicable). 
Un-Fancy - She writes a capsule wardrobe blog which I think is a helpful inspiration for trying to want less. My favorite post is this one on accepting freebies in turn for marketing that she wouldn't otherwise be willing to spend money on.
Into Mind - I mentioned this blog above, but it's worth mentioning again. Her blog makes minimalism feel so empowering.

The long and the short of it.

I think year end recaps are fascinating. Personally, I like the act of meditation that comes from reminiscing over the past year of my life. It's a good time to slow down, give thanks, reassess, and move on. I like that we collectively reset our timelines. Experiences that might otherwise blend together are separated, and experiences that seem disjointed are organized neatly into years. It could be just another day if you wanted, but why would you? 

So the short of it is this: my year was pretty damn difficult, and it's not done being difficult. I'm okay with that, although sometimes I feel too tired to deal with it, but I also feel proud because I hustled harder than ever before.

Here are some really important things that happened to me in 2014:
I bought a car. I also couldn't sleep that night because I was so panicked about having just bought a car. 
My little sister got married, and I was her maid of honor. It was an amazing and crazy and perfect day, just as weddings should be. 
I rebranded, and built a new website. It felt like a huge sigh of relief and a step in the right direction.
I bought the camera of my dreams, which was much less terrifying than buying a car. 
I flew to Oregon to see my brain sister. We saw waterfalls, and hiked until our legs were numb. They were the glory days.
I moved into an apartment and lived alone for the first time. I sometimes don't wear pants while cooking dinner.
In July, my friend Kellie came to visit and we did all the best things. It was the first time showing someone my new city. 
My cousin had a sweet baby boy, who was and is the squishiest. 
My friend since forever ago got married too, and I was a bridesmaid. The wedding was beautiful and made me cry, just as weddings should.
Related: her bachelorette trip allowed me one weekend of day drinking by a pool, and one neon party dress I will likely never wear again.
My best friend moved to Iowa.
I drove to Indiana just to get away. Shout out to those friends and a weekend that filled my soul. 
I made two side tables, and my mom and grandma helped reupholster a chair.
Another trip to Indiana, another friends' wedding.
The weather got colder, and my lipstick got bolder.
I got the most tired I've ever been. I tried to slow down. 
I took a mini-vacation from work and my friend Kassie came to visit. We ate like the queens that we are. 
I started rereading Harry Potter for like, the 12th time. I did not finish. 
Plans fell through, but I felt like a champ. Moved forward with my head held high. 
I tried to buy a puppy, but everyone talked me out of it. 

 


honarable mention: feminism, taylor swift, kombucha

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Happy fresh beginnings. Thanks for whatever part you played in my past year.

Fresh beats

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Carley makes me remember and discover what I love about creating all at the same time. She's a film maker, doing her graduate study in Iowa. Her work is amazing, but just as fascinating is hearing her talk about it. She's an artistic mind. A scholar. She makes my brain work harder, and I'm the better for it. And when we're together, we make things happen without really discussing it. There's just a mutual understanding there.

So here is some new work that feels like a breath of fresh air for me. It's all frizzy hair and rain speckled glasses. Shot in high ISO and no tripod and shaking from the cold. Just a moment of chasing light and shooting pictures of what feels inspiring. That's something I can build an empire around.

I've been thinking more about where I am heading with my business, and I hope to make 2015 the year of chasing dream projects and collaborations. Can I just insert one gushy note about Columbus? Being here makes me entirely sure that this is possible. This city is thriving. I would have never expected to love a city so close to home, but Columbus pride is contagious. There is a strong entrepreneurial community here too, and it's filled with people who are very focused on community. 

And as always, I'm always looking for opportunities to collaborate. If you think the crumbs and dirty plates at the end of the meal are more satisfying than a pretty picture before, we should talk (here).

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The lips, the teeth, the tip of the tongue.

My commute to and from work is a long one. It's about 64 minutes per day, plus or minus traffic. That's a lot of time for thinking, or belting out Taylor Swift songs, or both to be honest. I think about things like which rug I should buy, or which new lipstick to try. I worry about how I should be putting more money into savings, young adulthood, feminism, hard work, goals, and dreams. What I really want is a space to spread it all out. Time to write it down, and then scratch it out. To proclaim strong ideas, and share them with whoever cares to listen.

What I have to say next is more for me than for you, but I grew wary of blogging a while ago. It was strange because I still loved reading blogs, and still had a desire to share my ideas, but I fell victim to the pressure of creating content, growing an audience, SEO, et cetera. Except none of it felt right, so I didn't do it, but I didn't do what I wanted to do either. It left my writing in a sort of no-man's land and my blog very very quiet. 

I want to make more of a practice of writing here. No pressure of X amount of posts or readers. Just a blog full of hearty thoughts for no other purpose than to exercise my mind and to feed yours (should you be reading, but no pressure for that either). I do plan to explore some topics that have been on my chest about the subjects listed above, so if those are your cup of tea then bring that cup of tea over here and we'll suss it out together.

Meet Kassie

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Kassie and I have been talking about a photo shoot for awhile now, and it finally happened. This weekend I went to visit Winona Lake and we made it happen despite the hot, muggy weather. Sunday evening, we drove to the country and put on some tunes and stopped wherever caught our eye.

The Flowerman

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See that girl, the one with the wavy mermaid hair? She got married last week, and I'm having trouble keeping up with life's pace lately. The night before the wedding we slept over in Rachel's basement, and just like that we were 16 again (or maybe even 11).

These photos are from the morning before the wedding. Here we are, being fancy making our bouquets, before we proved ourselves otherwise. We made them at The Flowerman in Columbus. The flowers were pre-ordered, and on Friday morning we arranged them ourselves with a little bit of instruction from their staff. They kept them in their freezer so they were still looking fresh the day of the wedding. It felt like one small step in my daydream of becoming a florist.

I could keep gushing. I won't. But it was a really pretty weekend (there were tears).

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Very related: when I took engagement photos for Rachel and James

Wine tasting in Oregon

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I've been promising that I would share these photos for way too long. It's not that I didn't want to. It's not even my fault really, with this move sneaking up out of nowhere. It's been almost two months since I went to Oregon, but I hope there isn't a sweet soul out there who minds looking at photos of gorgeous vineyards no matter if they're from May.

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Elizabeth and Travis live just a bit outside of Portland in a sweet little community that loves the earth and all of its plenty. It's also in wine country. This place. THIS PLACE. It was stunning. I tried to play it cool, but the rows of vines and the rolling hills! We also passed fields and fields of clover, which we decided to stop by and have a taste too. It was such a good day with very good wine and very great company. It was a very serious and high brow day (as evidenced by the photo of Elaine forcing Elizabeth to smile). Emily even joined the wine club, so we drank for free (huzzah!). Shout out to Tualitin Estates for picking such a lovely place to grow your grapes. 

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I heart Columbus.

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My friend Kellie came this weekend. To help me welcome life in a new city, and to reunite after her second year away in Spain. I got to know her many years ago as my freshman roommate with whom I bonded with over talks of loving travel and Europe, though neither of us had seen much of either. The one with whom I spent senior year, procrastinating during finals, searching online for opportunities to go abroad and thinking of choosing Italy together. 

And here we are on the other side of becoming those people we once imagined. She chose Spain. I chose France. We met up in Italy. 

The streets in Columbus are too wide to be Europe, but we played tourists just the same and I tried my best to win her heart for this city the way that it has (so far) made me excited to call it home. 

We saw some of the very best things Columbus has to offer. We rented bikes using Columbus' bike share, CoGo. We rode along the river and made stops in the Short North and German Village. We made it through nearly every room at the Book Loft + tried and loved four flavors of macarons at Pistacia Vera. For lunch, we had a lot of pretzels from Brēzel and took all the free samples we could find in the North Market. A trip to Columbus would be amiss without a visit to Jeni's. Roasted cherries and goat cheese + salty caramel for her and cantaloupe and sun tea + riesling poached pear sorbet for me. We also spend a cool hour-and-a-half at Kroger sampling fancy cheese (among other things). We walked next door to the garden center and picked out plants for my soon-to-be house garden as we told each other our lives. 

We visited the Columbus Museum of Art, and celebrated that Sundays are free. I took three naps that day, and then we mustered enough energy to visit the Park of Roses just in time for sunset. We made a trip to the store just to buy ice cream and ate it twice in one day, and had just about the best Fourth of July weekend you could imagine.

 

And just for fun:

Kellie and I in Pisa
Our jaded adventure in Rome
Picking blueberries at her house last year

An update on life at its current fast pace.

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I've moved! It happened at the speed of light really - one week I was vaguely looking at an apartment and then three weeks later I was moving in my stuff. I can't quite express how much of a relief it is to finally be in a place of my own. I can't wait to live it up, single lady style. It suits me quite well, my sweet little neighborhood, as there is a Jeni's within walking distance and a grocery store next door. #iheartcbus 

On living alone so far: quiet morning coffee by the giant window, lighting candles and drinking beer in my sports bra, and making plans to become a doting plant mother because why not? 

I've only been here four days. I'll report back soon. 

 

Oregon Coast

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I went to Oregon a few weeks ago to visit my dear friend/brain sister. It was my first taste of the west coast, and I absolutely loved it. Elizabeth is there living with her husband and studying optometry in a town right outside of Portland. She is just the kind of person you want showing you around a place like Oregon. Important note: we drove everywhere in a 1984 camper van which is perfect for obvious reasons. We called it the adventure machine. 

On day one, we headed over to the coast for a day of hiking and sightseeing. We went to Cape Falcon and Canon beach. I've got a soft spot for rocky beaches and cliffs by the sea. Maybe it's from growing up in the flatlands of Ohio with trips to the (also very flat) beaches in Florida. Either way, would I rather live by the sea or the mountains? I would choose both every time. 

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Paige is a senior.

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Paige is another of my cousins (they're all beautiful, so I cannot complain). She's almost 7 years younger than me, so I remember when she was born and how exciting it was to have her around. I would hold her and pretend like she was mine (a real baby doll!). I remember when she went through a very serious Little Rascals phase and demanded she be called Darla. She's just finishing up her junior year, but we wanted to get a head start so that we could really get some amazing photos. She is a runner and a member of the FFA. She loves fashion, and has great taste in music. 

We started a secret pinboard about a month before the shoot where we gathered inspiration and wrote notes to each other about photo ideas. We mapped out locations and outfits, and figured out that we would want to do multiple shoots. It was really fun to plan, and even more fun to pull together. I think it worked out pretty well, if I do say so myself. Senior shoots are probably my favorite to do. They're a set of photos intended to express a great deal of personality, and it's so amazing to get to draw that out. Senior season is at hand, and I'm hoping to get to do a few more before summer's end. 

As a little expression of my love, seniors who book their shoot before June 13th will receive a free photo book of photos from their session. Use my nifty contact form or email me directly at hello@brookmade.co to set up a consultation. 

Leann + Anthony are gonna have a baby.

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I always feel lucky when photography presents me with the opportunity to meet someone new, but I love when someone in my family asks me to do a shoot for them. I get to experience the joy that photos bring firsthand. These photos are of my cousin, Leann, who is expecting her second little guy in July. I was able to shoot here in such an intimate and soft way in her home on a quiet rainy day. I think these photos embody the glow of pregnancy. I love that they are beautiful, sensual, and empowering. 

Today, I love

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Waking up early so my morning can be a little longer. 
The way the spring means that some walks come with the threat of rain. 
These moody flower photos from one of said walks.
Listening to Bob Dylan songs that remind me of fried eggs made early in the morning over a bonfire. 
Remembering that we never went to sleep. 
Blueberries, frozen and saved from last summer, in my yogurt.
Impending adventuretimes. 

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I've been thinking about the winter blues, and how every spring I find out just how real it is. That first day it's warm enough to wear clothes that let my skin breathe a little and I'm a new person. This is my springtime mood board.


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il pleut was my addition. The French expression for "it's raining."