The Emerald Girl

casual. classic. curious.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Poolside

 
   
 
Shirt: J.Crew (old) | Shorts: J.Crew | Bracelet: Kate Spade | Sunglasses: Michael Kors (old)
 
When it's the middle of summer and 90 degrees I am so grateful for my parents pool. My apartment gets hot with the Southwestern exposure and no air conditioning. My boy, Jack, loves to swim with his cousins who also live nearby so my sister and I gab while the kids splash in the pool. Summer is fading quickly in the Northwest and soon enough we'll be back in long pants until Spring so I'm living in these ultra comfortable, casual J.Crew chino shorts.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Life Hack: Shop at Drugstores

I'm not one who usually peruses the ads that come in the weekly mail but a few months ago I noticed an ad for the Bartell Drugs down the road. You wouldn't necessarily think to buy groceries at the drug store. Usually when I think of food found at drug stores, I think of cheap, packaged and overly processed foods that I would want to take on a road trip or airplane ride. This may not be true of all drug stores but Bartell Drugs carries some higher quality packaged food that we actually use on a daily basis.
We buy Bonne Maman preserves/jelly. It's non-GMO project verified and it's usually around $5 a jar. Every once in awhile Bartell's has it on sale for $2.99 so we stock up. The other thing we'll stock up on is Adam's Natural Peanut Butter. This can be anywhere from $6 - $7 a jar but on sale it would be $3. Matt just reminded me of the most important find, Theo Chocolate. I can't believe I almost forgot that! Regularly, a bar would be $4 but you can often find them at Bartell's 2for$4 or 2for$5. I consider that a steal and seriously stock up. The only downside, and I hesitate to even say "downside", is that then I'm eating chocolate at all hours of the day all week long.

I know what you're thinking because I feel like a real twit talking about saving $5 a week. I sound like a serious cheapo. Here's the thing though, I like to buy bulk so I'm really shaving off $25 a quarter from our grocery budget which, also, makes me sound like a miser but every dollar counts when you're trying to only spend a certain amount of food and. Food is relatively cheap in general so every $5 saved adds up.

Buying groceries at more than one grocery store is not something that I recommend unless it is super convenient to do so. In my case, I walk to the grocery store and I pass by Bartell Drugs on the way and I'm only buying items that I normally buy anyway. When I worked downtown, there was a drug store a few blocks away so taking a brisk walk to step away from my desk was worth it. Take a look at your local drugstore ad the next time the mail comes and see what you might find that would be worth it for you!

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Five Minute Friday: Loyal

This weeks Five Minute Friday blog link party word is Loyal. The theme of this link up is to write on the topic for five minutes.

I've been trying to think about what it means to be loyal and if being loyal to someone means not being loyal to someone else and how sometimes that line can blur. The easiest way to think about how to be loyal is how to be loving. Of course, in marriage, loyal means the obvious but when I think about other types of relationships being loyal looks differently.

People change and loyalties will change with them. People's perceptions of the relationships they have may differ from that of the people on the other end of the relationship.

When I think of loyalty I think of the Real Housewives and how no ones loyalty towards another housewife can stand the test of time. There's always hope for us viewers that maybe this friendship will last and we want it to but they never do.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Floral Shorts in Queen Anne


Shirt: Anthropologie | Shorts: Anthropologie | Necklace: J.Crew (similar)

Flowers make me happy. They are so beautiful and colorful it's hard to deny the simple pleasure of just laying your eyes on them. I love the ultra feminine look of combining the peplum top with the watercolored floral shorts. Each week I love to get fresh flowers from the farmers market and I was so delighted to bring these sunflowers home!
 

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

3 Tips to Styling Prettier Photos

1. Use Great Light
Perhaps the most obvious but this is the most important step in creating gorgeous photos. For styled photos like these, I use window light. Watch the light coming in your windows throughout the day to see what window will work best. I took these on an overcast day in front of a large Southern facing window and used white poster board as a reflector. Light helps to define the details in whatever it is you are photographing. While you can increase the brightness or adjust your exposure in post, the quality of your photos will suffer the more you do.

2. Choose Your Props Carefully
This is entirely subjective but there are a few things to look for when picking your props, mainly quality. I like to photograph a lot of flowers. I try to use the flowers I buy right away because I want them to look as alive as possible. I wouldn't want to photograph flowers that had lots of brown petals and looked dead. In the case of macarons, don't use one if it's all smashed. When shopping for props, I often look for home decor items that I would use in my own house. Since I don't make my living off of styled images, it's important that I am not spending an exorbitant amount of money on props.

3. Photograph A Variety Of Angles
Photograph what you think would look best and then experiment with other angles. Move your body up, down, side to side, in and out. My main subject in these photos was the macarons so I wanted to make sure they were front and center. This tip is important because the more you practice the better you will become. So try different angles because you never know when you may discover a more beautiful approach.



Bonus: When you're all done you'll have pages to scroll through (if you shot with your iPhone) that will be so fun to scroll through.

I saved my snaps from the day and uploaded them to YouTube.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Five Minute Friday: Team

What's a team?
A team is one or more people working together to achieve a common goal. Each person on the team needs to trust the others and needs the others to trust them. Trust is gained through action and not words alone. In fact, for me, I don't even need your words. Action truly does speak loudest and best. 

A marriage is the ultimate test of teamwork. My husband is an avid soccer fan. He grew up playing it and he is a season ticket holder for our Seattle Sounders. Sometimes I feel the only way I can explain to him about certain things I may be needing or that are lacking in our marriage is to describe us as a literal soccer team. We can't score a goal unless we work together. Strategize together. Celebrate together. Understand what each other needs. 

Team.

(photo by meghan klein)

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Summer Blues at Parsons Garden


Casual summer style in J.Crew and Gap
Shirt: J.Crew (old) | Pants: Gap (on sale!) | Shoes: Converse | Bracelets: Kate Spade, Gap, Madewell (old)

I've been wanting to start a series about what I wore for awhile now. Since I work from home, I don't often have anywhere to go and my appearance suffers. This will be a fun project to at least put together a whole outfit once a week.

In Seattle, you gotta get your white shoe wearing days in before the rain comes.

Gap chinos are some of my favorites! One tip I've learned is to buy the size that fits snuggly when you try them on. These stretch out a lot and shrink back up when you wash/dry them. Once you wear them in, they'll fit more like the next size up in the dressing room. So try that size on if you want to know what the smaller size will fit like once you break 'em in.



Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Believing the Lie of Creative Entrepreneurship

For the last several years, I have been so caught up in all of the business motivation and marketing blogs that I truly, deep down in my sole, was obsessed and believed that this is what I needed to do with my life. That I needed to make it as a creative entrepreneur or else complete failure. That I was nothing if I could not be successful.
I have been believing a lie.

There are hundreds of blogs out there encouraging and sharing in the world of entrepreneurship and photography that it is very easy to get caught up in it and start thinking that this is the only way to be.

It's good to pursue hobbies and interests but that doesn't mean you have to make them a business. Because I genuinely love business marketing and motivation maybe one day I will but I don't have to. Every interest of mine does not have to be a possible business idea. I don't have to be the absolute best and I don't need to be dependent my hobby to make a living.

My husband just walked by and read the above. He says he thinks it's not a lie. He thinks I should keep pursuing my photography business.

So I should clarify. I'm not saying I never will. I'm saying that I don't need to have so many expectations on myself to achieve. In my last post, I've stated what my short term goals are. Those are the things that really matter to me right now. Being a well paid family photographer is not one of those goals. I like doing my contract work, spending time with my family and then enjoying a few hobbies without feeling like I need to be doing something productive to make my side business take off.

My hobbies: writing these journal-y blog posts, photography for social media and people photography.

I'm not letting them go. I don't feel like I'm giving up either. I'm taking time to focus on what actually matters to achieve my goals and letting myself be more where I am right now with my young children who need a lot of my attention. This is my season of life.

Now I'm feeling insecure about this post. Like, it must read as if I'm trying to convince myself. Words are powerful and maybe I am but it is a mind shift for me. I am not any less of a person if I don't own my own creative business right now. I don't need to feel less than when I look at other successful, creative people's IG feed or blog. I can enjoy and admire their work and let it inspire me in a positive way instead of lead to negative comparison.

I could go on but I feel as though I am starting to ramble.
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Thursday, August 11, 2016

Five Minute Friday: Lift

I recently have decided to join a blog link party whose topic changes each week. The word of this week is LIFT and I will now write about it for 5 minutes.

Let me start this off by saying the immediate thought that comes to mind is hitchhikers. They need a lift. Hitchhiking is not something I have ever seriously considered partly because I have never needed to catch a random ride and partly because even if I did need a ride I'm not the adrenaline seeking risk taker that would dare hop in some strangers truck. 

I've been following a girl on Instagram who is hiking the Pacific Crest Trail. She started in April at the southern terminus at the Mexican border and a few days ago has made it to the Oregon border. This is wild. She needs a lift anytime she goes off the trail to a nearby town. This is frightening. A physical lift in which she can sit on a soft seat. She completely relies on the kindness of strangers and I can tell from her stories that the emotional lift she is given by these strangers is a gift she will carry with her for the rest of her life. 

That's my story for the week. Though I probably should have written about how God is my lift or something but I haven't learned to really lean into that yet and I've been letting myself sit in a place of negativity to be honest. 

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Short Term Goals

It all comes down to money. I'm being honest here and I don't think that's a bad thing. These past seven years I have seriously struggled with chasing a creative hobby and turning it into a career versus working for someone else but I think I found my happy middle. Let's backtrack a bit.
Pros of creative entrepreneurship:
- flexible schedule
- earning potential
- being creative
- personal growth
- surrounded by like minded people
- exciting

This list is what attracted me to creative entrepreneurship. Of course, I realize that this list may be the same for someone else working 40 hours for someone else at a desk but it wasn't that way for me.

My goal in life is to have my life be about my life and work is in it NOT to have my life be about work and my life has a role in the background. That's how it felt working a typical downtown office job for me.

Current life goals:
- drop off and pick up my kids from school
- put my kids through private school
- buy a house
- make solid friendships
- family vacation 2x per year (doesn't have to be extravagant)
- thriving marriage and parent/kid relationships
- eat well
- buy my kids cute clothes (this is incredibly superficial, i know but it's still fun and if I want to buy my daughter an outfit just for Valentine's Day then I want to do it and not feel like I'm wasting valuable money)
- explore and enjoy visual creative interests, specifically Instagram and social photography

As you can see from list number two, a lot of my short term goals revolve around money. The second obvious factor is flexibility. This leads me to finding my happy medium. Actually, it's not even a medium, it's just a happy option that I didn't have available to me before.

CONTRACTING.

In December I started contracting for a consulting company; it may be perfect. Contracting is a lot like entrepreneurship in a way because you have to put yourself out there and be good at selling yourself. (This is a skill I am working on but it will come with more practice and in time). I'm determined to make this work. Contracting allows you a lot of flexibility in scheduling your work and depending on where you work, it pays well. As a bonus, it's work I enjoy and have proven myself to be an asset which is intrinsically rewarding. It's really great, big business, a whole new world, exciting to be a part of and a neat opportunity to try different things. As I mentioned, it's sort of like entrepreneurship because you have to be good at building relationships if you want to stay in the game but you don't have all the same stress as owning your own business.

I'm not going to beat myself up anymore about not being a creative entrepreneur right now. I don't feel like I was made to do just one thing in this life. If I want to pursue social photography for now or later or never, I can. My life is always going to be changing and looking different. Thank, God! For real. My concern right now is achieving some sort term goals and it doesn't have anything to do with my career path. I need to hustle my buns and not be afraid. More on my fear and intimidation in this new space in a later post.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Life Hack: Do the Dishes Every Day


One of the most gratifying feelings in the world is having all the dishes in the house clean. On the flip side, one of the most frustrating things in the world is constantly having a sink filled with dirty dishes and a dishwasher fully loaded with dirty dishes.

The key to having no dirty dishes in the house is to keep the dishwasher running like a machine. The dishwasher should be ran once a day (if you are single and live alone, this does not apply to you). I like to run my dishwasher in the afternoon and empty it right before dinner prep. This way dirty dishes from dinner can go straight in, close it up and then in the morning you can load the breakfast dishes in right away. If you end up having lunch dishes put those in, close it up and turn it on.

Even if your dishwasher is only half full, run it. I'm all about being a good steward of our resources and not being wasteful, so if you're thinking that this strategy sounds wasteful, think again. Life is a balancing game. We want to be able to move from one thing to the next rather quickly and we also want a clean house. I know that a sink full of dirty dishes and a dishwasher that always seems to be full day after day is going to bring down my mood. I need to steward my mood too! I'm a work-at-home mom so it's really important to stay positive or else the day is just completely dreadful.

When I was working full time at an office, the key to keeping the dishes going is to start the dishwasher every morning before work and then empty it right before meal prep again at the end of the day.

This practice helps to lighten the daily load of housekeeping while maintaining your sanity and that is always a good thing!