My life over the past couple of weeks could be summed up in this one photo:

(Photo cred to my Aunt)

I have had so, so, SO many awesome opportunities to go out and do photoshoots lately. It's a little exhausting, but it's been a total blast for the most part. Here are some of my faves from recent shoots:


——->Pause to insert an embarrassing moment that must be shared: as I captured this super sweet moment… I took a step back, twisted my ankle, and promptly fell on on my behind as my legs and skirts flew over my head.

It was a proud moment.

Anyway. Back to the pics.

I get a lot of questions about why I've ventured into portrait photography. Am I quitting the blog? Am I making more money taking photos? Is it just a hobby?

I don't really know why I felt the push to jump into portrait photography. I think it started a couple of years ago when I took my sister's senior portraits. We did a confetti-blowing shot, and I just kind of caught the bug. It was so fun! I stuck it on the back burner for a couple of years while I had a baby and built a house. But the timing has worked out recently for me to pursue it, and so that's what I've been doing. I adore capturing moments and getting to know people through my lens. I have so far to go to reach the skill level I'm aiming for, but it's been really fulfilling to see gradual improvements after each shoot.

And no. I am most definitely not quitting the blog. Something Swanky is my first priority when it comes to my career, income, and passion (outside of my family, of course).

The photography thing is more than a hobby– I would certainly love to develop it to the point that I could earn a living with it should the unthinkable happen to my blog income (the internet is so unreliable!). But if I ever reached the point I had to choose between portrait photography and Something Swanky, it would have to be the blog all the way. I mean… it's dessert. Who chooses anything else over dessert?? 😉


Annnnnnnnyway. I'm not done. I still have a LOT more pictures of the past few weeks to share if you're willing to stick around!

For instance: Emma's 7th birthday. I lost my mind and threw a full-on, all-out, Littlest Pet Shop bash complete with Pet-i-cures, Pupperoni Pizza, Pet Adoption, and face painting.


I normally excuse myself from making birthday cakes, but this year I just had the itch to do it. So I made not only ONE birthday cake, but two. One for the family celebration on Friday night and one for the official party the next day.

I told you I lost my mind this year.

On her birthday morning, I sent her to go brush her teeth while I went to make her birthday pancakes. As she walked away, she suddenly stopped and whipped around with her pointer finger aimed at me. “There'd better be candles in those pancakes, mom,” she said. ????

Chris just shook his head and said, “I blame your mother for this.”

We take birthdays to the extreme in our family. It's one of our many, many charms. ????


Here's the other one. He survived the birthday hoop-lah just fine 🙂

He's been using this gold medal as a leash of sorts for Mackenzie. Bless her, she just patiently follows him around when he puts it over her head. I guess there's something to be said for not biting the hand that (literally) feeds you– since these two are often in cahoots at the dinner table.

I don't have many other pictures of CJ from the past few weeks, but believe me– he's made his presence very known. There is no walking in somebody else's shadow for this little dude!


What I'm Loving

A couple of weeks ago, I was experiencing the worst headaches I can remember ever having. After talking to my mom, my doctor, and a lot of internet research, I realized that I was having rebound headaches. Basically, I was addicted to Excedrine Migraine (and by extension, in my opinion, caffeine). I've been using Excedrine Migraine pretty freely for YEARS, not thinking that I was suffering any adverse effects. In fact, I raved about it to everyone I knew, always citing that it was the only headache medicine that ever worked for me (which… in retrospect, probably should have been a red flag).

Anyway, all of a sudden, the Excedrine seemed to not be working as well for my usual headaches. NOTHING was working as well. Not even the heavy duty prescription headache meds my doctor prescribed. So she put me on a prednisone taper (which was hell, by the way) and then we agreed the best course of action was just to stay off the Excedrine and grit my teeth through the pain (also hell).

Fortunately, that seems to have worked. No more Excedrine for me, and I'm working hard to really limit my caffeine. I've found that the best way for me to do that is to avoid soda altogether. If I drink caffeine free soda, I usually slip up and start drinking the caffeinated stuff without thinking about it. So I'm more or less OFF soda for the time being.

All of this backstory is just a loooooonnnnnng way to say that anytime I quit soda (because ohhhhhh, my friends, this is not the first time!), I turn to sparkling water. I won't tell you that it tastes just as good. It doesn't. But it does the trick. And I feel distinctly better when I drink sparkling water instead of soda. I really, really love the Dasani Sparkling water, particularly the Strawberry Guava. ☺️


I've mentioned my love of Jessica Smith walking workouts before, but I've been way more into them as of the past few weeks. I found 9 videos on Amazon that I can play on my Roku TV. Three videos focus on cardio, three focus on strength, and three focus on balance. They are all AWESOME, and I can't recommend these videos enough if you need low impact exercises or if you just need the flexibility of being able to work out at home without any equipment. She's so fun, easy to follow, and it's a great workout.

I've also mentioned Karen Witemeyer before. She released these two books recently (one of them just this week!), and I love them both.

I've also developed a secret preference for novellas. I'm naturally impatient, and I sort of love that a novella is a love story going at racecar speed! I used to shy away from novellas for some reason, like I thought they weren't good enough to read or something. But now I feel a little secret glee when I come across one that interests me ☺️. It's the best.

This is my favorite maxi dress EVER. I own three (including that blue floral number in the middle). It's comfy, cute, and versatile. I buy it Jane– which means that it's not always available (I don't think it is right now). But keep your eyes peeled, it shows up pretty regularly in the $24-$32 range.

And lastly… this little gem.

Emma is absolutely INCAPABLE of drying her hair after a shower. This quick-drying kids cap has been amazing. She puts it on, tucks her sopping wet hair up inside of it, and by the time we put her to bed– it's almost completely dry. LOVE IT.