june photo challenge {part 1}

Well, I’ve made it through over half of a monthly photo challenge. I consider that a significant success considering that in months past I’ve usually fallen off the wagon. Why do I keep on trying? Because I love what I get out of these challenges and they push me. One thing I’ve noticed is that summer months are easier for me because it stays light much later. Ah, life in the tundra!

I’m following the Hiyapapaya Photo-a-Day challenge in case anyone is interested :) Isn’t that feed dreamy!? And the author, Cristi, is as sweet as pie.

Without further ado, here’s part one of my challenge thus far. It’s been so much fun.

1. Starts with “J”

I know the mason jar trend is really tired. I guess I can’t help myself? These flowers were for Matt’s and my photo shoot with Mara but since we ended up having to reschedule due to rain {twice! oy, early summer in MN!} I ended up enjoying them at home instead. The jar belongs to my mom who has an epic collection of them including original, vintage blue ones that my friend Joy used as wedding centerpieces a few years ago. I’ve found that in life, having a shelf full of mason jars really comes in handy.


2. Everyday Routines

I know I should probably use my phone, or actually keep personal items on a Google calendar, but there’s a part of me that refuses to part from a paper planner. I love it! This one is from Sugar Paper for Target. I’ve used Russel + Hazel and Erin Condren in the past. Who knows what I’ll do in 2016?


3. Bowl

Just a standard, breakfast bowl from IKEA. I love the pale green color of their dishware… it’s almost jadeite!


4. Upside Down

One of my goals at CrossFit is to do a perfect handstand. I can kick up the wall and am just a few inches away, but usually require help from a coach to push me all the way. This time Matt helped me into the pose and pushed the shutter. Let’s just say that I have some improvement to do!


5. Sky

My stepdad just had a milestone birthday and that meant tailgating + baseball in St. Paul. My mom purchased these awesome number balloons to tie to the truck.


6. Vintage

I found this piece of art at Goodwill while looking for something else. Isn’t that always how thrifting goes? You go in searching for one thing and come out with another. I think it adds a little bit of joy to this otherwise dead corner.


7. In the Car

I drove all the way up to St. Michael today to visit my sweet, almost four Godson Cullen. That means a 45 minute drive in no traffic, and since sitting in back to back makes me want to scream I opted for a lunchtime rather than afternoon visit.


8. Lake or Ocean

Another thrift store find {a giant National Geographic brand map} made for an easy out for this day’s prompt. I just didn’t have the time to head over to one of the 10,000 lakes we have here.


9. Doors

There’s something incredibly cool about working in an old building. One thing I love about Calvary are the big, heavy front doors.


10. Wow!

I added my Target brand string lights to a vintage basket to create a simply lighting fixture. I love cafe lights, but since I don’t have an outdoor space this will just have to do!


Following along with me at @thejadeiteshutterblog

our weekend in Michigan

Well, I’m starting to love Michigan. While there’s nothing better than being home in Minnesota I have come to greatly appreciate Matt’s home state. We flew out Friday for the weekend, to specifically attend Matt’s grandpa’s celebration of life event. It was my first time meeting his sweet-as-pie grandma, uncles, and lots of cousins. I felt embraced immediately and loved every bit of my time up at the farm.


{Andy, one of Matt’s four brothers // Matt on his grandma’s epic wrap around porch}


Matt had told me I would love it, and he was right… I was ooing and ahhing over the entire tour he gave me. The farm sits on a stunning piece of property three hours north of Matt’s parents. We listened to classic country all the way up.

{These guys love their grandma! I wish the other two brothers could have been there.}


We had so much fun… 4-wheeling up into the back of the property, finding wildlife {so many white tailed deer!}, and eating, lots of eating. Matt’s mom made the most delicious pistachio cream dessert dish that I think Matt and I ate all on our own. Isn’t this detail neat? Matt’s grandpa painted that rooster.



Another cool piece of Matt’s grandpa we found while exploring… this awesome Ford tractor. I can’t get enough of the details on this. Tractors make great photography still-life subjects.

IMG_3065-1Saturday afternoon we did a little porch photo shoot. These are all the cousins on Matt’s mom’s side minus three people. Look at all those boys! Matt is the oldest grandchild and his grandma ended up giving us a stack of Matt’s baby photos.


It really was the perfect trip. I had so much fun getting to know more of Matt’s family and loved being up at the farm. We had a little delay getting home, our flight to Minneapolis out of Chicago was cancelled due to weather, but it just made for another night in Michigan!


I can’t wait to go back. I could have stayed on the farm forever!

matt & I : a session just because

My wonderful friend Mara and I share a few things in common: our curly hair and photography! She was kind enough to indulge Matt and I in a session a few weeks ago. No special occasion, just happiness + love*. On account of rain we had to reschedule twice, but oh, it was worth it. This time of year can be so dreamy: everything is still very green, lush, and in-bloom.

I have wanted to do a prop-heavy shoot for a long time. Mara and I were on the same page for the look of this session and she was so kind to lend some items belonging to her and her mom {thank you, Ann!}. I was dreaming of, and going for a vintage inspired picnic shoot. I absolutely wanted to use a table, too, and add antique linens– some that belonged to my grandma Amelia. Sunflowers are my favorite and Matt loves playing the guitar so those were obvious choices.



Mara was so generous and gave us several photos {I can’t sing her praises enough}, but I’ve narrowed them down to a few to share here.


*As a photographer, one thing I strongly believe in is doing sessions for no occasion. We have a habit in our culture of only documenting life when we have “milestone moments.” The unfortunate part of that is we miss out on capturing our lives as-is, our everyday. Plus, who needs an occasion to get dressed up and go play in a park? Every “no occasion” session I’ve done {celebrating turning 25, a surprise mother-daughter shoot} has resulted in images I positively cherish. You don’t need to be graduating, engaged, or having a baby to book a session. Just do it because, because your life right now matters. //Rant over!




Thank you again, Mara. You are incredible!!!

A few sources if anyone cares, dress: vintage from Junket in Minneapolis // shoes: DSW // hat: vintage // Matt’s shirt and jeans: Nordstroms // table: IKEA // my jewelry: Silpada cross, heart necklace charm is Lisa Leonard, and leather cuff is from Junk Bonanza // lemonade is Fentimans found at Kowalski’s Market.

be still: the broken bowl


A few weeks ago I acted immaturely and snapped at someone. Even with the best of intentions and full knowledge of who I am I still end up making mistakes sometimes. It is humbling, and at the same time felt a little disturbing to know how childish I can still be from time to time. After a good night’s rest, and the realization that I had been in the wrong in my response I sat with well- some guilt.

I knew I needed to apologize. I knew I needed to make it right. Yet, I refused to because, I didn’t want to humble myself. And I sort of felt justified. After all, it was just a bowl.

I had taken home the bowl from her friend’s cabin because it had leftover food in it. Then, as I made my way inside from the car it broke. I felt badly, I rarely break things- let alone the property of someone else. While I should have told her right away time passed and I forgot. I moved and in that process the chaos of everything overwhelmed me. Almost a year had gone by.

She wrote me back and I felt so relieved. I apologized, and realized that I should have written her first. Sometimes it gets clunky, doesn’t it? Trying to figure out just how to deal with each other down here. Since I had ordered a replacement I felt confident that everything was tied up and taken care of.

Then I found out that the replacement bowl had arrived– wait for it– broken.

I then went through the process of calling Crate & Barrel to have the bowl replaced, again. For a moment the customer service woman put me on hold and a song started playing, one I grew up listening to in the backseat of my mom’s Toyota, Leroy looked like a jigsaw puzzle with a couple of pieces gone.

A broken bowl from a cabin last summer. A broken interaction. A second broken bow. A song about a broken man.

Whenever something like this happens I start to think that God wants me to pay attention, to glean some sort of sliver of wisdom from an apparent, beloved I’m teaching you something moment.

So what can I take from these experiences and all the broken bowl moments?

That things can still be put back together again. Indeed, things can be fixed. It might take an e-mail, an annoying phone call, some sort of follow up we’d rather not be doing, the realistic irritation of fixing someone else’s mistake, enduring being put on hold– all of that, whatever it takes, whatever needs to be done.

Don’t wait to put it back together again. Don’t wait to apologize when you feel like you should. Don’t wait to jump through a few hoops to make a situation right.


I think the lesson God taught me through this is a simple one: even in my total brokenness, my mistakes, and the daily grind that can feel annoying He is there to remind me who I really am– whole in Him under the atonement of His son. I need only be still.

memorial day 2015

Robyn and Eason are always so generous with opening up their place for holidays. I love going to their beautiful home and boating on Lake Minnetonka with them. This year we weren’t so sure about the weather seeing that it had been rainy and cool nearly the entire weekend, but the clouds opened up and the sun came out just in time for boating.

I just love these two. Robyn is my dearest friend.


We headed across the lake to Wayzata Bay where we stopped by Cov for an early dinner + Yogurt{Lab} for dessert. I saved us a table at Yogurt{Lab} and Matt came out with a spoonful of sour patch kids. He knows me well.


Last summer I started handing my camera over more. I’m so glad I decided to do that. Because I end up with gems like this. These girls are so dear to me, I’m so glad to call them friends.

IMG_2440  This truly is the land of sky-blue-waters… so beautiful! It was too cool to swim, but I’m itching to get out there. So soon! IMG_2404 collage3 collage1IMG_2447 collage2

Such a wonderful day to start off a lovely Minnesota summer. Something tells me this is going to be a good one!

Murph, Prayer, and getting over myself.

I’ve been part of the Twin Town Fitness community for nearly two years. I see this as some sort of odd miracle considering that when push comes to shove I don’t really like working out. I’ll be honest, I like it because I know it’s good for me and because of the results. I love the community and the coaches. That being said, until about six months ago my main objective was to go to class, get a good sweat on, then leave. I wasn’t interested in following the paleo diet, logging my scores into Beyond the Whiteboard, or participating in any extra workout events.

Then, Matt encouraged me to put more heart into it. I did. Like any other time when I’ve done that, it has come right back to me. I love the logic behind that.

Each Memorial Day, CrossFit gyms around the country participate in a benefit workout called Murph. I knew that Murph was coming up and I didn’t think much of it, just assuming I’d be there to cheer Matt on.

Then coach Peter encouraged me to sign up. Then Matt encouraged me to sign up. So I did.

11270304_1004284459589750_4637338676724036291_oOn Saturday afternoon I completed 3/4 Murph which is a modified version of the original. That meant I did the following workout, and in 34 minutes:

1 Mile run

50 Pull ups

100 Push ups

150 Squats

1 Mile run

Matt completed the full Murph (1 miles run, 100 pulls up, 200 push ups, 300 squats, 1 mile run) in 54 minutes. To say that I am impressed with us would be a bit of an understatement.

11113220_1004284289589767_7469463540031574598_oWas it hard? YES. But I did what I always do when I’m faced with a difficult thing: I just pray simple, practical prayers. I prayed beforehand that the workout wouldn’t be unbearable (it wasn’t) and that I would get through it (I did). During both mile runs outside I took time to specifically pray about people in my life and those in my city. It took my mind off of what I was doing and allowed me to push through.

11059571_1004284539589742_5557072384906120854_oI was nervous that lots of people would be there watching me. Instead of feeling sensitive about doing a benefit workout with spectators I instead relied on them… they cheered me on and encouraged me. As I finished my last mile Katie was waving and yelling me on. During my sweatiest moments doing push ups, Claire’s kind words helped me keep my pace.

I’m so glad that I have people encouraging me to do hard things. I am more capable than I think I am. We all are.

{photos by Studio 306}

one oh seven one.

I don’t think I’ve appreciated spring in Minnesota enough. Honestly, we are having a beautiful one: stormy nights, humid-but-not-horrendously-hot days, sometimes breezy, and because it’s been so wet– so many pretty, blooming plants. It’s surreal to think that a matter of weeks ago everything was still covered in snow and now, it’s like a rain forest outside. I love it.

This spring has been good to me. I had a really difficult, challenging fall, which was sort of heartbreaking because that’s usually my favorite season. So in turn I’ve been savoring the goodness that is spring 2015!

I feel settled into my new job at Calvary, gladly plugging away with my clothing brand Chintz Petit, and just gearing up for a hopefully fruitful photography season. The days are falling into each other and I’m finally in a routine that works well for me. I’ve got five weddings this summer and the first of them is in two weeks, I’m not doing much travel this summer, so I’m planning on just holding onto the goodness that is June, July, and August in Minnesota.

In sum, God is good + life is feeling good.

{bathroom selfie with the heaviest zoom lens ever}

{Matt indulging me in a quick portrait before sushi}


{magical blooms… these were only around for a few days. A big storm blew them all off}


“Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever.” -Psalm 107:1

calvary’s womens retreat

A few weeks ago I went on my first retreat at Calvary. To say that I was looking forward to this would be an understatement. My co-worker Amy and I spent all of Friday shopping and prepping for our drive up to Shepard’s Hill Farm. I kept checking my phone throughout our errands, I was supposed to shoot my friend Courtney’s birth. I ended up not being able to make it for the delivery, and ended up taking baby H’s newborn photos on Sunday instead. I’m so glad I got to see “the farm” as people call it at Calvary. It’s on stunning place:


There were a few particular details of the farm that I loved: these wall tiles, that simple silver cross, and let’s talk about these awesome hooks. I love a good hook. When you walked into the barn the entire right and left sides were lined with these beautiful double hooks. I guess that’s a really smart idea if you own a retreat property in cold Minnesota. They’d be perfect for coats!


The weather couldn’t have been better: balmy, but windy. This spring has already been so lovely and everything on the farm was in bloom. Our whole retreat went well: we had a grilled cheese bar (it was even better than it sounds!), taze singing, testimony sharing (I told mine… nerve-wracking).


For the first group activity in the evening we planned a reading of part of Matthew 12. I wanted to create something fun that added a bit of ambiance. I just used mason jars + coffee beans + flameless candles + these scripture tags I created in ps. So easy and I think they added the right touch.



Here’s our whole group only missing a few ladies. I am so glad I got to know people a bit better and finally put some names to faces.


A few last details I can’t not share… isn’t the floral pattern on that chair lovely? I really liked this barn sign, also. My co-workers had me cracking up with their remarks of how they knew I’d love this place, and well, they were right.



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