Saturday, December 1, 2012

Day 29-30: Happiness Project- Thanksgiving!

Today was Day 29 of the Happiness Project. Click here to find out more about the Happiness project. 

Three thankful items: 

1) The last day before Thanksgiving.. and it is a half day!!! Woot!
I am sooooo ready for this Thanksgiving break. It is much needed. Not soon after will be my Christmas break.. which is even better!

2) Having a great husband 
I am so thankful for my husband. Every year he goes after work to go pick up our turkey for Thanksgiving. I am so thankful for all the little things that he does! 

3) My family
I am thankful that I have two parents that have really demonstrated how a godly marriage should be. I am thankful for their support and their love for me and my sister.


Beth Moore Study

Random Act of Kindness: 
I forgot to do this. 

Today was Day 30 of the Happiness Project. Click here to find out more about the Happiness project. Today is actually Thanksgiving! I know you won’t be reading this post on Thanksgiving, but it is interesting how due to all my delays in keeping up with the project, it just happened to end on Thanksgiving. 

Three thankful items: 

1) My friend Jessica
I am thankful to have met my friend Jessica! I have actually mentioned her once before during this project but probably just as my “hair dresser”. That is kind of how our friendship started but now we are definitely good friends! It has been awesome to get to spend time with her and her family! It also is pretty great that we live within 3 miles of each other. Hah!

2) Getting to meet YHL (Young House Love)!
Um… so I started writing this “thankful item” and then I realized it really deserved a blog post of its own. So, see it here!

3) Thanksgiving going smoothly
We had a great Thanksgiving. I totally overstuffed myself on food, but it was just so good! We had turkey, mashed potatoes, green beans, cranberry jelly, gravy, stuffing, sweet potato casserole, apple pie, and pumpkin pie. YUM!


Nope. I was pretty busy today

Random Act of Kindness: 
No, but it was Thanksgiving so we pretty much were busy cooking, cleaning, and just spending time with family. 

Day 30 down, 0 days to go! YAY! I am done! I wish I could have finished strong, but sadly I kind of lost momentum. Haha! So did I learn anything? Yes, I think so. When I was really keeping up with the project, I did find that I was searching for "thankful items". Anyway, I am glad to be done!

Friday, November 30, 2012

Day 27-28: Happiness Project - Thanksgiving, Christmas Decor, Aunt Reba

Today was Day 27 of the Happiness Project. Click here to find out more about the Happiness project. 
Three thankful items: 

1) My parents arriving for Thanksgiving
I just picked my parents up from the airport and they are spending the week with us for Thanksgiving! So I am excited to have them here. 

2) Being almost done with the happiness project
Honestly, I think I have failed at this project. I have been totally absent from doing any of it for like the entire month of November. It is like I just stopped. Basically, I think the election and sickness got in the way. Anyway, I am just trying to finish it all up now. 

3) Christmas decorations are almost up
On Sunday I put up the majority of our Christmas decorations! The big thing that is missing right now is the Dept 56 North Pole Village. That takes me forever to set up, so I need to get on that tonight some time. 

Nope, the house is a mess and it is really tough to. However, I have been doing OK on my eating well. One thing this whole happiness project has taught me is that I need to really be exercising. It is very sad that I haven’t exercised like at all during the project. 

I spent some time doing my Beth Moore study today. It was great to dive back into that. I also have been praying a lot lately. 

Random Act of Kindness: 
I have been somewhat keeping up with this. Many times I do something without even thinking about it. Although today, I will say my “act” is being a nice driver to some really jerky drivers that were out on the road today. 

Today was Day 28 of the Happiness Project. 
Three thankful items: 

1) The last “full” day of work for the week
 I am taking a half day tomorrow so that is exciting. 

2) Getting more Christmas decorations up 
Typically I get my Christmas decorations up WAY before Thanksgiving. However, this year, I am like right on top of Thanksgiving. It is crazy! I wonder what next year will be like. Anyway, I hope that it is worth putting up all the d├ęcor this late!

3) My Aunt Reba coming over
I am so glad my Aunt Reba is in town! I always love getting to hang out with her. I know the holidays are really tough for her this year, so I am glad that we live close by! 

Heck no… I have the excuse of company being over! Haha! 

Beth Moore Study

Random Act of Kindness: 
I did this…but I don’t want to write about it.

Day 27-28 down, 2 days to go!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Day 25-26: Happiness Project - YHL, Prints, Sleep

Today was Day 25 of the Happiness Project. Click here to find out more about the Happiness project. 
Three thankful items: 

1) Young House Love book
AHHHH!!!!! So excited that I got my Young House Love book!!!! This is a blog I have been following for a few years. They have like every tutorial known to man on how to do stuff around your house (All DIY). I totally love them! They are also coming to Houston for a book signing and I cannot flipping wait! Here is my book!!!

2) Election Day Party
Tomorrow I have a party that I am going to at my friend Jessica’s house! I am super excited about it. Basically, we are going to just watch the election results etc. I hope it is truly a moment to celebrate (sadly I know the results were not good!). Typically I go to bed early on election night; I can’t stand the pressure/stress. It will definitely be a challenge for me to stay up and wait it out!

3) CreativeLive
I love this website… they have so many great photography classes. I just started a new one regarding weddings. 

No… I was sooooo sore. 

Didn’t really have time for this actually today. 

Random Act of Kindness: 
Offered to help someone at work with their project. 

Today was Day 26 of the Happiness Project. Three thankful items: 

1) My prints from WHCC, Bay Photo, and MPix
I ordered a bunch of different prints to test out the different printing companies to use for my photography business. I think they all came out “ok”… but I do wish they could be better. However, these are the best companies in the market so I think I am just going to need to pick one!

2) The election will be over tonight
Oh goodness I am ready for the election to be over. (haha! see how old this post is)

3) Sleep
I am glad that I got sleep last night and that I have a great place to sleep tonight. Can you tell I am tired today? I am clearly ready to go to sleep. 

No… Ivan got home late last night and therefore we didn’t get to sleep early enough to exercise this morning. Tonight we have a party…so no exercise tonight. 


Random Act of Kindness: 

Day 25-26 down, 4 days to go! 

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Day 23-24: Happiness Project-Fun with Friends, Weather

Today was Day 23 of the Happiness Project. Click here to find out more about the Happiness project. I have been sick lately so it has been really tough for me to remember to do this. I guess I am somewhat defeating the purpose by not doing it EVERY day, but whatever!

Three thankful items: 

1) Having a fun Halloween
We don’t really celebrate Halloween in our house. My family never did, so we don’t. This meant that as kids we didn’t do trick or treating. We did fall festivals at the church and those types of things. However, we do pass out candy to the kids in our neighborhood. This Halloween was actually pretty fun because we passed out some candy at our house, then we went over to my friend Jessica’s house and we walked around with her little one as he went door to door. It was also her husband’s birthday so we had fun celebrating that after the trick or treating. It overall was a pretty fun night!

2) Finally starting to feel better
This whole week I either had a cold or really bad allergies. Either way, I am so glad that I am finally starting to feel better! Whew!

3) The weather!!!!
The weather this week has been awesome. On the weekend it was in the 50s…LOVE! I am so glad to have the weather finally cool down a bit. However, I don’t have faith it will last. I will just have to enjoy it while it lasts. 

Nope but I was giving my body a chance to rest from being sick. 

Spent some time praying

Random Act of Kindness: 
Went over and helped someone (no specific details)

Today was Day 24 of the Happiness Project. 

Three thankful items: 

1) Finding a dress for my Christmas party
Both Ivan’s company and my company have a Christmas party each year. This will be the first year that we actually go to two parties. I went to KPMG’s Christmas party the first year I worked there back in 2008. Then they stopped having Christmas parties. Last year, we went to Ivan’s company’s Christmas party. It was a blast (I wore the same dress that I wore the KPMG party)! This year, I decided that after 4 years, it was time to get a new dress. I have worn my blue dress (here) on cruises, to parties, and other events. It was time for something else. So, I just bought a dress at Nordstroms that I think is gorgeous! I wish I could show it off, but the size in the store was a bit big so they ordered me one in the proper size. I can’t wait for it to arrive!!

2) Christmas Shopping-Almost finished
I know… it is not even Thanksgiving yet! I am almost finished with my shopping. I only have about 2-3 more people to shop for and the I will be done (other than shopping for Ivan). Actually, I have pretty much done all of the Christmas shopping for myself too. All it took was one trip to the Houston Camera Exchange! Haha!

3) Spending time with my Aunt Reba
I spent the a large portion of Saturday with my Aunt Reba. She got her Nikon D800E in the mail and she needed some lenses (heck ya!). So, off we went to the Houston Camera Exchange. She ended up getting a great lens, and a bunch of other accessories. One of the other lenses she wanted wasn’t in stock so she is going to pick that up later. It was really fun! 

Yes, Ivan and I did Insanity. I am super sore now… ug! 

Spent some time in prayer today. I have had a lot on my heart and it has been a bit rough. 

Random Act of Kindness: 
Does buying everyone’s Christmas presents count? 

Day 23-24 down, 6 days to go! 

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Day 21-22: Happiness Project - Voice, Flash, Nephew,

In an effort to hurry this up,  I am going to post two days worth today. 

Today was Day 21 of the Happiness Project. Click here to find out more about the Happiness project. 

Three thankful items: 

1) Getting my quarter work done early
I put together some different reports and financial statements for my employer. However, typically my reports are the last ones to be completed. I have to wait for the numbers to be final. When they finally stop changing, it is like a fire drill to get all my reports done. It is such a pain… and typically causes me a ton of stress. However, this month, the numbers were finalized early. This gave me plenty of time to just prepare my reports in peace. It was great! It still was a bit stressful... but not nearly as bad as it has been in the past. 

2) The Voice!
So as many of you know, I don’t have cable (see this post). Anyway, I don’t typically get around to watching too many new shows unless I see them advertised on a billboard or something. Anyway, I was organizing my office the other day and had nothing to watch, so I decided to watch episodes of The Voice. I am actually caught up to date now on the show, but I watched all the blind auditions in like one day during my cleaning/organizing. ANYWAY, I am totally in love with the show. I have decided that I want to audition for it. I have had people tell me that I should try out for American Idol but the thought of just sitting in a line for days doesn’t really interest me. The Voice open casting call (which is NOT what you see on TV) is a bit more organized so it seems. You actually have a date and a time where you show up. They also take video submissions. I don’t like video submissions though because I don’t have the proper equipment to capture good sounds on video. You also have to sing the song with music on the video submission (the live casting call you sing acapella). Since, all I have is like karaoke tracks, I figured it wouldn’t be the best to submit a video. Therefore, I am planning (as of now) on going to the live audition in…..Atlanta, GA! It is 13 hours away and you have the choice to audition on January 19 (Saturday) or January 20 (Sunday). I chose Sunday, that will give me time to drive there on Saturday. I am still trying to determine which songs I want to sing… I have to prepare 2 songs (and I may only sing 1 or I may sing 2 depending on what they ask for). One of the songs will probably be Blue (by LeAnn Rimes). If you have ever been to karaoke with me… you have heard me sing this song.. haha! I just think it will be awesome to show off the yodeling that the song requires. The second song is still in debate… I am thinking either I Told You So (by Randy Travis/Carrie Underwood), Stand By Your Man (Tammy Wynette), How Do I Live (LeAnn Rimes), When Whoever’s in New England (Reba McEntire), or a bunch of other Reba songs…haha! Anyway, I am betting I won’t get past the first round for the Open Casting Call… but I think I am going to do it.. just for the heck of it.

3) My new flash
With some of the money I made from my last couple of photoshoots, I invested in a flash unit! I have never really worked with flash lighting (and typically prefer natural lighting). However, it is really necessary that I learn so that is my newest project. It is not as easy as you would think. 

Nope… and the alarms were set to do it … but we didn’t

Spent some time praying today, and did part of my bible study. 

Random Act of Kindness: 
I helped a colleague out with something at work that I didn’t really have to. 

Day 22

Today was Day 22 of the Happiness Project. Three thankful items: 

1) Getting a cute picture of my nephew for my office
A couple days ago I got a package from my sister. Inside was a black frame with a cute picture of my nephew TJ (picture taken by Erica J Photography). Isn’t he just adorable! I am so glad to have a picture of him for my office now. I have been showing the picture off to my colleagues (I am sure they are annoyed.. hehe). 

2) Ice Cream Sandwich
My phone FINALLY updated to the Ice Cream Sandwich operating system! Yay! I have been waiting for this. It definitely has some benefits, however, I have seen quite a few negatives to it as well. Oh well! It is still good to have it. On the downside, every time I say/write the name, I start craving ice cream sandwiches… mmmmm yum!

3) Ivan’s work Fall Picnic
This Saturday we are going to Ivan’s company’s fall picnic. It should be fun. I am looking forward to it.  (this of course already passed)... here is a pic from the event.  


Spent some time praying today, and did part of my bible study. 

Random Act of Kindness: 
Held the door for a person on the elevator. 

Day 22 down, 8 days to go!  

Monday, November 26, 2012

Day 20: Happiness Project - Girl time, Lunch, and my new book!

Today was Day 20 of the Happiness Project. These are really old posts mind you. Also, there was 1.5 month gap in the middle of my project sadly. I didn't want that to be the case but the quarter close caught up with me and I was too busy to really keep up. Sorry for the huge delay in blogging! I probably defeated the whole purpose of the Happiness Project by not being consistent.. but oh well! Click here to find out more about the Happiness project. Three thankful items: 

1) Fun girl time
Went over to see Jessica today to see some of the work she has been doing on her house. We talked about starting businesses, and DIY projects. It was fun. Oh ya, and we also drank some of the pumpkin spice white hot chocolate! YUM!

2) Husband who cooked lunch for tomorrow!
Ivan cooked lunch for tomorrow. That was really sweet of him! I typically make all the food for lunches etc (unless we are just eating sandwiches).

3) Got my Book 
I ordered this book called “Worth Every Penny". Anyway, it is about building your boutique business (like my photography business). It is written by two individuals who have lots of experience in advertising. One of them actually runs her own VERY successful photography studio. I am looking forward to reading the book!

Nope…. Ivan got home so late and it was already dark. 


Random Act of Kindness: 
I held the elevator open for someone at work today when it was about to close. Although, I am pretty sure I almost risked my arm for this one.. haha!

Day 20 down, 10 days to go! 

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Day 19: Happiness Project- Logos, Global Missionary, Relaxing

Today was Day 19 of the Happiness Project. Click here to find out more about the Happiness project. I am kind of on a high lately. I have had some good news come my way with the Grave’s disease news and the photoshoots. Three thankful items: 

1) Logo Discussions
This is kind of a “see the good in the bad” type of thankful item. I have been going round and round about my photography logo. I just have been debating whether it says “wedding photographer” or not. I want it to be professional, but I also want it to represent me. The pink is definitely girly… but then again, I am girly. So, I feel like changing it to be something “plainer” would go against my style. Anyway, I had some good discussions about the logo today and I know a few changes that I want to make already. 

2) Going to a Global Missionary Event with a friend
I have been a part of a global missions organization for awhile now (see my post about it here). Anyway, I am going to a LOCAL event where I will get to meet other local Houstonians who are also doing the same thing. Since the ministry is almost solely online, this will be a great opportunity. I also get to go with my good friend Cheryl!

3) Relaxing night at home
Last night was just a good night. Ivan and I ate dinner, relaxed, and watched on of our favorite shows Revenge. Every single one of these episodes surprises me. Ivan and I watch two shows together Revenge and Once Upon A Time. I LOVE both of them. I also watch Law and Order SVU and Criminal Minds. Of course, we don’t have cable so I watch these shows online. 

YES! I did exercise! I did couch to 5K with Ivan after work… woot! Go me! Hahah.. finally!

Nope… didn’t do this.. but hey! I exercised!!

Random Act of Kindness: 
Lately I have been doing some free photo editing for friends and one of my colleagues. I think this counts!  

Day 19 down, 11 days to go! 

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Day 18: Happiness Project - CreativeLive, Photoshoot, Graves Disease

Today was Day 18 of the Happiness Project. Click here to find out more about the Happiness project. Today I have really been experiencing some anxiety. I am hoping I can snap out of it at some point during the day. Three thankful items: 

1) CreativeLive Course
Ivan let me purchase a creative live course to watch. I wanted to watch it live (which is free) but my phone is ghetto and it wouldn’t work. Drove me nuts! Anyway, ya, so I bought it so I could watch it later. 

2) Another Photoshoot
I just booked another photoshoot for the upcoming weeks! I keep getting busier and busier with my photography, I may have to outsource my editing!

3) Grave’s Disease-Gone?
Found out at my doctor appt, that I can get off my medication!!!!!!! I am super excited about this. It has been an answer to 1.5 years of prayer. I will write a more thorough blog entry about this later. I still have to see what happens when I am off the medication (because I could relapse) but so far so good. We will know more in January (when I get tested again). 

I did a 5K this weekend. I am counting that for like.. ever hahah!!! I need to get back to exercising. The weather has cooled down so it is the perfect time to get back at it. 

I didn’t really do any of this actually. But the work day was pretty blah so I just sat there… not sure if that counts? Haha!

Random Act of Kindness: 
I bought a colleague at work (who was having a REALLY bad day) a pack of peanut M&Ms. 

Day 18 down, 12 days to go! 

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Day 17: Happiness Project - To do list, Nausea, Ivan's B-day

Today was Day 17 of the Happiness Project. Click here to find out more about the Happiness project. Three thankful items: 

1) Knocking some items off my to do list
I have had some items on my to do list for like EVER. One of them was to get a new shower caddy for our shower. If you have ever seen our shower, it is basically a typical glass shower. However, it has no place to hold any shower essentials (like shampoo, conditioner, etc). I could get one of those dispensers for the wall, however, I HATE cleaning those out when I change shampoos etc. Also, I would have to buy at LEAST two 4-container dispensers, because Ivan has a shampoo, and body wash. Whereas, I have a normal shampoo, normal conditioner, red boosting shampoo, red boosting conditioner, and body wash. Anyway, we thought about getting one of those suspension rod holders that fits nicely in the shower corner. However, the lovely designers at Perry homes dixed that idea when they made the wall SLANTED right about the shower. ERG! We tried to use one of the caddys that hangs off the shower head, however, the slant on ours is so steep that all of the caddys slide off (we have tried EVERYTHING). Therefore, we finally came up with a brilliant idea. Get some shower/bath command strips w/hooks and hang the caddy (the type that typically hangs from the shower head) on the command strips. Guess what! That worked like a charm! It held a TON of weight (because we used 3). However, the caddy we got rusted within 2-3 weeks. It was really sad. It has now been 6 months and we still have the rusted caddy (it is pretty gross looking with all the rust it has accumulated). So I finally went on Amazon and started searching for caddys that would not rust (but weren’t plastic). I found one that seems great! It is stainless steel (has great reviews) and hangs OVER the glass wall of the shower. What a genius idea (I think I did a little happy dance)! It will be here within 7-10 days so we will see how it actually works out. I have high hopes!

2) No Nausea (No I am NOT pregnant)
Yesterday I was put on a medication (short term), and the first day it seemed to make me nauseous. I was a bit nervous that it was going to continue to make me nauseous, but today I feel fine. That is just a blessing in itself. 

3) Celebrating Ivan’s B-day
We celebrated Ivan’s birthday a bit early this week. He is turning 27! Omgosh we are getting closer to 30 every day! We went to Fogo De Chao, figuring he is Brazilian and we love the place… it seemed appropriate. Yay for delicious food consisting of meat, meat, meat, and cheese bread! YUM!

(Does my happy dance in #1 count? oh well!) We went to dinner instead. I know I am failing in this area. Hopefully this doesn’t make the whole experiment a flop. If it does then, oh well. I need to start exercising but honestly… I haven’t had time. I have the Komen 5K this weekend though (remember these posts are on a delay) so that should count right? 

Spent time in prayer

Random Act of Kindness: 
We gave the waiter at the restaurant a good tip even though he didn’t really deserve it. He clearly was having a bad day. 

Day 17 down, 13 days to go! 

Monday, October 22, 2012

Day 16: Happiness Project - Photoshoot, Christmas Music, and Puberty

Today was Day 16 of the Happiness Project. Click here to find out more about the Happiness project. Three thankful items:

1) Photoshoot tonight
I had a photoshoot with the Hudsons. I always love it when I have a shoot. It seriously brightens my day. I love photography, and I love getting out there an shooting. It is seriously my passion! If you know of anyone needing engagement, maternity, senior portraits, headshots, or family photos refer them to me! My website link is above… Christmas is coming up, so it is the best time for family portraits!

2) Christmas Music
Yup… it is that time of year for me. I know typically people don’t start listening to Christmas music until Thanksgiving, however, that just will not do for me! I started listening in September back when I lived in Maryland. After living so many years in Florida, the “fall” weather in Maryland reminded me of the “winter” weather in Florida. Therefore, when the weather started to change a bit in Maryland, I automatically started thinking of Christmas. Additionally, busy season at KPMG was during September, October, November (since I worked on Federal clients in DC). Christmas music was the perfect thing to lift my mood during those late night work sessions! Therefore, I have continued the tradition now that I have moved. As soon as it is September 1st, I start listening to Christmas music. I love it! It is just calming for me and reminds me of my childhood. 

3) Puberty
I leave you with these early pictures of my prepubescent husband and myself. Thank goodness for puberty… haha!

Photoshoots are a workout for me. I am up, down, all around. 

I spent some time in prayer today. 

Random Act of Kindness: 
I was on the elevator today at work, and although I typically try to rush into work, today I held the elevator open for someone who was approaching. 

Day 16 down, 14 days to go! 

Friday, October 19, 2012

Day 15: Happiness Project - Weather, My Aunt, Doctor

Today was Day 15 of the Happiness Project. Click here to find out more about the Happiness project. Wow this means I am half way done! I really have only done this for a month, but due to the fact I am not tracking on the weekends and I am only posting MWF, it seems a lot longer I am sure! Three thankful items:

1) 65 Degrees this morning
Oh it was flipping glorious to walk out to my car and feel the cool air. Of course, being outside was short lived, but I am excited to take a walk with Ivan tonight around the neighborhood (ya I know.. I am old!). It just made me excited that maybe “fall weather” was finally here.  

2) My Aunt Reba
My Aunt Reba took Ivan and me out to dinner at P.F. Changs last night (can you tell we love that restaurant?). Anyway, it was such a great time! We really enjoyed getting to spend time with her. We don’t see her super often anymore because she works up in Dallas most of the time. Anyway, we came back to my house after dinner and started scrolling through Pinterest. It is so good to laugh just for the sake of laughing! 

Picture from 2011

3) A Doctor Appt
I have been having an “issue” lately and I finally decided it was time to go to the doctor. Everything may be fine but I just want to check. Anyway, because I normally am a pretty healthy individual, I didn’t have a general practitioner in Houston. My health care plan has always just allowed me to go to the specialist I need without a referral. Therefore, I have an endocrinologist, I have a dermatologist, I have/used to have an allergist/immunologist, and I have a OB/GYN. I just don’t have a normal “general” doctor. So, I called this one doctor’s office, and got in for a same day appt. Awesome! How often does that happen? I mean, technically I am in with the nurse practitioner, but that is the same thing in my book. 

Ivan and I walked around our neighborhood. The weather was just so nice, I couldn’t pass it up. I didn’t want to ruin the weather by running (it always feels hotter when I run! Haha!). 

Didn’t really have time for this as I was busy with doctor appts etc. 

Random Act of Kindness: 
I did a few things today, most of them were just me going out of my way for others. 

Day 15 down, 15 days to go! Woot! Half way!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Day 14: Happiness Project - Day Off, Website, Bath

Today was Day 14 of the Happiness Project. Click here to find out more about the Happiness project. Three thankful items: 

1) Day off tomorrow 
I realized I had about 11 hours remaining in my vacation balance for the year (after subtracting out my planned December vacation time). I can’t take vacation in October due to quarter end close. Therefore, I got approved to take a day tomorrow. It will be great to have some time to “re-charge” before quarter starts up. I also am going to take the remainder as a half day the day before Thanksgiving which will be nice. Of course, I will probably spend the day editing more photos. However, that will catch me up before my shoot tomorrow! Woot! (Don't forget these posts are on a delay). 

My website address got moved. Although I really liked Lindsey Portugal Photography, it was just REALLY long. I guess that is what happens when you have a name that is 15 letters long on its own. Anyway, we purchased the domain so everything has been migrated over there. The LindseyPortugalPhotography domain will forward to this new one. 

3) A Nice Bath
The last couple nights have been rough. They have consisted of frozen pre-made indian food, me, my computer, and a ton of photos. Last night I finally hit a good stopping point on one of my shoots. I still have to do a last look before I export and deliver, but it was a great stop (I was up until 11:45pm). This is one of the things that is so tough for me… It takes me around 8 hours to edit one shoot. Talk about crazy!!!! Most people it takes like 1-2 hours. I however edit each photo individually.. which is ridiculous. I “attempt” to batch process using Lightroom, but then I always go back and individually tweek the photos. Hopefully, I will eventually get the hang of quick editing. Either way, back to this item, I just took a bath tonight to “relax”. It was nice because Ivan was out of the house for a work event and then soccer. I just “chilled”.

Ya.. ug.. no

I spent some more time in prayer today. I have been enjoying just praying for a bit. I have been doing a Beth Moore study and I have really been enjoying it. I finished one of the weeks though and I am just spending some time in prayer before starting the next week. I have really had a heavy heart lately. It may just be that the holidays are approaching, but I am really wanting a change. We will see. 

Random Act of Kindness: 
I am putting down the fact that I did two free photoshoots recently and edited them BOTH within one week. Of course, that meant I put laundry, cooking, cleaning, blogging etc all on the backburner… but who cares right? 

Day 14 down, 16 days to go!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Day 13: Happiness Project - Completed Tasks, Photo Editing, and Photoshop

Today was Day 13 of the Happiness Project. Click here to find out more about the Happiness project. 

Three thankful items: 

1) Finally getting this project done at work. 
There was a large project at work that I actually do monthly. This month there were so many delays that were dependent on the IT group. It was driving me nuts that I couldn’t finish the reports. Anyway, I finished today and it feels so good to have that finally off my plate (just in time for next month).

2) Progress on Photo Editing
Last night I was editing photos like crazy for the engagement shoot and newborn shoot that I recently did. I have a really hard time with editing photos. I think I just like it too much. I don’t know when to just say “this is good… now walk away”. Ug, sometimes I will be editing a photos and I realize that I have edited EVERY SINGLE ONE. This is taking up too much of my time. I need to get better at just batch processing my photos, tweeking a little bit here and there, and then just letting it be. Either way, I have made good progress… which is saying a lot because I do all this editing after working a full day!

3) New Photoshop
I spent hours today working on photoshoping this one picture. Omgoodness…it took forever. It was just being so glitchy etc. I have the new photoshop CS6 sitting in a box unopened at the current moment. I just haven’t installed it yet. I was too nervous to install a new version for these last two shoots. I already know how to use my old CS3 so… basically I didn’t want to end up “stuck” not knowing how to use the new version. Anyway though, I am going to install this ASAP because it has to be better than the one I am using now. I am thankful that I have it!

I can’t find any time to do this between working and photo editing. I am going to have to get my rear up at 5am I think. Ug… didn’t want to do that but I guess it is going to have to happen. 

I spent some more time in prayer today. I have been enjoying just praying for a bit. I have been doing a Beth Moore study and I have really been enjoying it. I finished one of the weeks though and I am just spending some time in prayer before starting the next week. I have really had a heavy heart lately. It may just be that the holidays are approaching, but I am really wanting a change. We will see. 

Random Act of Kindness: 
Completed this today. Sometimes I don’t like to share these though… so I will just say that I completed it 

Day 13 down, 17 days to go!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Day 12: Happiness Project - Progress, Space Heater, Gluten Free cookies

Today was Day 12 of the Happiness Project. Click here to find out more about the Happiness project. In order to get these posts up to speed, I am going to post them instead of the Pinterest Project. I am currently in the middle of quarter so Pinterest projects are kind of on the back burner. Three thankful items: 

1) Gettin Stuff Done!
Yes I wrote “gettin”... I just have been highly productive at work today. I had a large project I had to finish and I finished early which was good!

2) My Space Heater
Oh my goodness my office is soooooo cold. I am so thankful that I have this space heater to keep me toasty. I typically like to be on the warmer side anyway, so having a cold office is awful. This space heater is a life saver. 

3) Gluten Free Cookies
Yup… I am supposed to be dieting. Yesterday though… I broke down and ate a bunch of cookies (more specifically I made the GF Betty Crocker chocolate chip cookies). I am so thankful that even as a gluten intolerant person I can still enjoy cookies that taste just like the real thing. Mmm… just writing about it makes me hungry!

Nope… should I just remove this from the program? It is getting pretty embarrassing, no?

I spent more time in prayer today. I have been feeling like my health may be deteriorating. I feel like the Graves’ disease may be making a second appearance. I am not sure for certain…it could just be that my thyroid is regulating itself. Either way, I am very nervous. I have been praying a lot about the whole situation. I would love your prayers as well. I get my blood tested again on Friday. (These posts are on a delay so I actually already have the results... stay tuned!)

Random Act of Kindness: 
I actually replied to an email that I didn’t want to. The person that received the email ended up opening up and really appreciating what I said. It was actually surprising. 

Day 12 down, 18 days to go!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Day 11: Happiness Project - Photoshoots, Ivan, and Bookcases

Today was Day 11 of the Happiness Project. Click here to find out more about the Happiness project. Three thankful items: 

1) My photoshoots this weekend
I had two photoshoots this weekend. I had one engagement shoot that went really well with Melani and Shad. I also had my first newborn shoot with little baby Anderson. He is so cute! I always feel so nervous during the shoots. I don’t know what it is… self-doubt I guess. However, when I get the photos home, and start going through them, I always get quite a few that I love. I loved working with the couples this weekend, I definitely had a blast! (Remember these are on a delay).

2) Ivan
Ok, so I know I have already been thankful for Ivan. However, I think I can be thankful for him more than once during these 30 days! He was such a sport (as always) during the shoots yesterday. I am always a nervous wreck and I have a tendency to just bark orders at him in the moment. He is so patient and just deals with me. I am so thankful for him and his sweet spirit. 

3) Bookcase 
I got an extra bookcase at work. I REALLY REALLY needed it since some of my binders were just piled on the floor. I have been trying to get one for the last 9 months. I finally hit the jackpot and got one! Super excited to have a nice clean put together office. Yay!

Running with Ivan at night. Of course I really need to do more exercise than once a day, but this is a start. Maybe I can actually keep it up. 

I spent some time in prayer today. There have been some things lately that have been consuming my thoughts. I my attempt to be content, these items have been stumbling blocks. Anyway, my prayers have been focused on just being content where God has me. I can’t do this without His help and His strength!

Random Act of Kindness: 
Not sure if this was a random act of kindness, but I offered to start early on this project at work. The project is pretty tedious and boring. I also complemented a girl about her outfit. 

Day 11 down, 19 days to go!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Day 10: Happiness Project - Bracelet, Fall, Alzheimer's Walk

Today was Day 10 (I skipped yesterday because I was home sick and decided not to write) of the Happiness Project. Click here to find out more about the Happiness project. Three thankful items: 

1. My Pretty Blogger Gift
See my post about this here. I did a Blogger gift exchange. It was super fun and I got a wonderful gift from Stephanie at A Blessed Home!

2. A Fall Morning
I woke up this morning, and it was 60 degrees outside. It was so refreshing. It really is starting to feel like fall (at least in the mornings). I really love it. It makes me excited for the holidays. I wish I was in TN right now though. I could see the trees change etc. But, in an attempt to live in the present… I am excited for the weather here, today, in Houston. 

3. Alzheimer’s Walk Tomorrow 
I really have something to look forward to today. Tomorrow is the Walk to End Alzheimer’s tomorrow. I am super excited. I have my purple shirt ready and the names people sent me written on the back of the shirt. I am super eager to get walking. The weather also has been nice, so I am looking forward to a nice cool morning tomorrow! (Don't forget these posts are on a delay! Blog post coming soon on how the Alzheimer's walk went!)

No, but I haven’t been feeling well either. That isn’t really a great excuse but it is something to consider. I have lost a few pounds though which is motivating me to get back out there. 

I spent some time studying God’s word. Today’s lesson was contentment. It really couldn’t come at a better time. After the bad news from the last couple days, I have become very frustrated with my “present”. My future isn’t what I want it to be either. Anyway, being content was clearly the message. I read some verses as part of the lesson that were encouraging though. It was just God’s reminder to me, to continue to trust in Him:

Psalms 84:11-12
“For the LORD God is a sun and shield; 
The LORD gives grace and glory; 
No good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly.
O LORD of hosts, 
How blessed is the man who trusts in You!”

Random Act of Kindness: 
Erg.. I was bad here.. and I failed. 

Day 10 down, 20 days to go!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

A Thicker Ponytail??

I only have one Pinterest project for you this week! I know I have been slacking here a bit, but October is such a busy month at work and I am also trying to manage the photography business!  

Here is the pin. I figured I would try this to see if it would make my ponytail look a bit thicker. I had my doubts because my hair is so fine. This girl has really thick hair so I was unsure if it would really work. 

Well to say this ended up looking ridiculous is an UNDERSTATEMENT. Haha! Here are some pictures so you can see for yourself. Maybe I didn't do it correctly but I definitely tried. My hair would just NOT do it.

So far so good....

And here is where it failed

But, I decided to try something a BIT different.

I made the pony tail in the middle

Then I pulled the other hair around it
This looked a lot more natural to me... however, I wouldn't say it created much more volume. I mean, honestly, how could it? It is the same amount of hair... so why would it look thicker? I guess the base of the pony looks bigger (because there are two hair ties in there). Anyway, it was a bummer. Have you tried any Pinterest projects that have failed? 

Monday, October 8, 2012

"Fake" Friendships

This is not technically a Happiness project post or a Pinterest post. It is off topic for the most part. However, I felt the need to write it. If you hate reading more "serious posts" feel free to click off now :).  But I figure the title gives away the fact that this isn't a lighthearted post. 

Have any of you had what I call "fake" friends? I feel like at every point in a girl's life, you have a fake friend. I have had several in my life. Some of these friends I still stay in touch with. I wouldn't consider them fake friends in the TRUE sense but maybe just friends that have become acquaintances  However, I know that if they were ever in town on vacation etc... they would call me up to come visit. I am fine with these types of friends. Honestly, in this day and age it is really hard to keep up with everyone in a truly "friend" sense. 

Now, I do have a few people who I would consider close friends. These are people who call me up or email me just as frequently as I email or call them. We get together semi-regularly, or we attempt to get together :). There is also a mutual friendship. This means that they want to be friends with me and I want to be friends with them. It isn't a one way street. I hate one-sided friendships and for the most part I rid myself of them (unless they are long time friends who I consider more like family). 

Recently, I have been wrestling with a fake friendship; basically, I have been deciding whether to end it or not. I had this "friend" but now I truly wonder if we were ever friends. We used to get together, but she always had a very "belittling" tone when it came to me. You know those people... you get together with them, and every time they talk to you it sounds like they are talking to their little sister or to a child.   I really didn't appreciate this, but I blew it off because I know some people don't know they are speaking like this (it is just their nature and their tone). Anyway, I finally decided to end this friendship  and here are the reasons why:

1) "Friends" who NEVER email you. You email them to let them know about events, fun things they might enjoy, but they NEVER reciprocate. They also don't seem to appreciate your emails. It is as if you are a bother to them. They reply but it is like "who cares". 

2) "Friends" who live near you, and are interested in similar things but don't invite you. These are the friends who are attending an event or doing an activity that they know you would enjoy. However, they don't let you know about it. It isn't as if you need to go together to the event (although friends typically would), but they don't even let you know about it! I am also not talking about one time occurrences, I am more so speaking of a complete disregard for the other person.

3) "Friends" who just basically don't reciprocate the friendship. Yes, they may "like" or comment on a Facebook status, but it is as if they follow you just to keep tabs on you, rather than to actually be your friend. 

I finally decided to rid myself of one such friend today. I had been debating but I finally made the decision it was time. This person was always nice to my face, but in reality, she ignored me, belittled me, and just basically was not a nice person. It was as if her "nice" demeanor in public, was just to make her look better. It was always a shock to me. She would be totally nice in person (in front of other people) but was a completely different person online. Maybe she was nice to people who she wanted to be friends with. I am sure she was. However, I am tired of trying to keep up with people who don't also want to be friends with me. This is part of my Happiness project in a sense. I am getting rid of the negativity. Now lets clarify I a few things... do I hate her? NO! not at all. Am I mad at her? I am still a little frustrated, but I do forgive her.  If I forgive her, why do I have to unfriend her? There are just certain people who, in their actions, bring about negative thoughts. I don't want to have those thoughts anymore so it is just better that I break it off. It won't really matter, because she won't even know I am gone! haha! 

Anyway, I just wanted to reach out and see if any of you in blogger land have experienced this same thing? Have you had to break off any "fake" friendships? 

Day 9: Happiness Project-Failure...

Sorry about the last week... it was crazy busy around the Portugal home... so I didn't get around to downloading my pictures. Anyway, on to day 9. I can't promise any Pinterest project this week, but we will see how it goes!

Today was Day 9 of the Happiness Project. Click here to find out more about the Happiness project. Honestly today I have had a really hard time. Today I got a lot of bad news in general. I was really excited about the potential for me to get the iphone, but it seems that Verizon has placed so many restrictions on it that it will not be worth it. Not to mention, I thought the “talk+surf” would be an option for the 4G LTE but I guess not. We also got some bad news related to some things we were waiting. Overall it has been a pretty disappointing day. But let’s still try to find three things to be thankful for: 

1. Francesca’s Collection Earrings
So as I mentioned earlier, I went to a Blogger Symposium. At this event, we got a few goodie bags. Typically I find that the stuff in goodie bags is not that amazing. However, I was definitely shocked by the loot I snagged in these bags.  Check out these earrings!!! I typically don’t wear gold, but every once in awhile, I find the perfect outfit for the occasion.. Voila! What do  you think? I lurve them!  


When I started my photography business in May’ish, I really started by reading and just doing research. In my search for information, I ran across Jasmine Star. I watched her videos on the photography business and scanned through the multitude of resources that she made available to people like me! I really admire her passion for photography and her desire to help others trying to make it in the business. I even emailed her a few times just to say “Thanks”. I also find it so interesting that we have so much in common. I swear, if we lived in the same area we would probably be best buds! Haha! Don’t believe me? Check it out, we were both homeschooled, we are both Christians (her father actually goes to a Calvary Chapel), we both feel like a wallflowers in social situations, and we both have/had an irrational fear of failure. I am sure many people also feel as if they are wall flowers or constantly have that voice in their head saying “you can’t do it” but the fact that she was homeschooled definitely boggles my mind. Go homeschoolers! 

3. Safe Drive Home 
I was pretty upset today so I am glad I was able to safely drive home. See, I told you this was going to be a tough day to get my three thankful things in. 

Nope, I was pretty much a mess. Therefore, not exercise. I think I am totally failing in this arena.  

I spent a lot of time in prayer today. I also did my Bible study. But I did a lot of praying. 

Random Act of Kindness: 
Nope… did nothing here. This was pretty much a failure of a day. 

Day 9 down, 21 days to go!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Day 8: Happiness Project - Suitcases, Gluten Free Icecream, and Donors!

Today was Day 8 of the Happiness Project. Click here to find out more about the Happiness project. I am actually starting to notice a difference. Believe it or not, I find myself looking for the positives in each day. Often times I find myself thinking “oh that could be one of my three thankful items!” then I realize I already have three for the day.  The three things I am thankful for today are:

1. Suitcases
I have a really fun photoshoot coming up and yesterday night I found a guy selling 3 vintage suitcases for only $20! I think they will be perfect for the shoot so I am really excited! Remember these posts are on a delay! See more of the photos at!


2. Gluten Free Ice cream
This goes against my diet but we were at whole food yesterday and I found some yummy chocolate peanut butter ice cream. Omgoodness, it was such a wonderful treat last night. It had been quite a while since I had had ice cream. Ivan keeps ice cream with gluten in the house (the only thing in our home with gluten) to keep me out of it.

3. Everyone who donated to my Race for Alzheimer’s 
Today I went to pick up Ivan’s and my shirts for the Alzheimer’s walk this Saturday. First, I wanted to say thank you to everyone who donated to this cause. This cause is very close to my heart. People in my family have had it, and people in my extended family have had it. From the response I received, it seemed that many other families have been affected by it as well. I am excited to walk in the race and I will be proudly wearing my shirt as well as the names of the individuals that people have provided to me. 

I went running this morning with Ivan. It had been a little more than a week since I had gone running. Therefore, I had to start with week 3 again on the couch to 5K program. I was on week 4 before (but I was struggling). It was nice to get out and exercise with Ivan again! 

Spent time in prayer today and studying the Bible. I am always learning things. 

Random Act of Kindness: 
I spent some time chatting with a friend about something she needed to talk about. I just took time out of my work day to be there for her.  

Day 8 down, 22 days to go!

Friday, September 28, 2012

Stocking Stuffer Swap: My gift from A Blessed Home

So I am very excited to have been a part of this fun blog swap! My friend Darby over at Life with the Hawleys started this swap to give everyone a fun way to pick up ideas for stocking stuffers this Christmas (don't you always find it hard to find gifts for the stocking?). The rule was your gift had to be under $25. Therefore, you had to get creative!

Anyway, I was paired up with a wonderful blogger from TX, Stephanie from A Blessed Home. After a quick peruse of her blog, I new exactly what to get her! You can check out her blog to find out what I gave her!

Her gift to me was sooooo wonderful! Here it is..

Isn't this just the prettiest gift ever?!! I can't express how much I love it. It is a sterling silver bracelet with a camera attached. As a photographer, this is such a precious gift to me. I love it so much, I am pretty sure I am not going to take it off...ever! 

I am so glad I participated in this swap... and thanks to Darby at Life with the Hawleys for organizing it! 

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Yummy White Chicken Chili

As I mentioned before, this week has been crazy. I have been actually writing my blog posts the morning before I go to work. I should have written some of them this weekend to get ahead, but this weekend was CRAZY busy. This pin is basically the same pin as on Tuesday. However, it is a different recipe from the same pin. (I told you I was on a fall kick! What says "fall" more than chili and soup?!)

Here is the pin. I know it looks like the tomato soup. However, it is really a link to around 20 different soups and chilis. On Tuesday, I made the tomato soup. Today I am sharing the White Chicken Chili. 

Source: via Lindsey on Pinterest

The recipe called for quite a bit of spices, which I combined first to save time. Check out the full recipe on the pin above for details instructions. It also called for a whole onion, butter, and white kidney beans. Well, we couldn't find any white kidney beans at the store that we "knew" were gluten free. Therefore, we just bought regular kidney beans. Honestly, it tastes delicious with the regular ones, so don't feel pressured to find the "white" ones. (Please excuse these photos... I totally didn't edit because I didn't have much time).

The spices


Basically, you make a mixture of the onion and spices and cook it. It definitely is fragrant. Yum!

The recipe calls for cooked chicken. So I cooked my chicken in a dish in the oven. Then I cut it with kitchen scissors (which is soooo much easier than cutting it with a knife). Now, you can also cut your chicken before you cook it. It will cook faster that way, however it may dry out a bit.

Then you add the chicken, the corn and the beans. (Again, look to the pin for the detailed instructions!). I get organic corn because most corn is GMO, and I don't want any of that!

Organic corn

2 cans kidney beans

Ok, can I just say for the record that I LOVE LOVE LOVE these green chilis. I have used them in a million different recipes.
2 cans diced green chilis.
 Here is the mixing stage.

Then you add chicken broth and a bit of milk (or cream but I am watching my calories so I chose milk).

You add a bit of flour as a thickener. I used rice flour because I am gluten intolerant. Here is the final result. It tastes VERY good. Ivan loved it. He is always the first to tell me if a recipe was "good, but not good enough to make again". He definitely loved this. He pretty much ate it all before I got to have any!

So what recipes have you been trying this fall? Anything interesting? Anything that you plan to make a tradition?

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Day 7: Happiness Project - Ivan, PF Changs, and Fitness

Today was Day 7 of the Happiness Project. Click here to find out more about the Happiness project. Feel free to join in with your own blog. Post your link in the comments so that I can follow you and see what you are thankful for! The great thing about posting these things on a delay (for example all of this was written over a week ago), is that I get to remember what I was thankful for! The three things I am thankful for today are:

1. My husband coming home!
Although this didn’t occur “today” and rather occurred on the weekend, I am still thankful for it. Ivan was gone on a business trip to Calgary. I am so excited that he is home. I hate sleeping alone and the house just gets so quiet and lonely. I am glad he is home! (Isn't he handsome?!)

2. Diet Accountability
It is time for me to start my accountability today. I am excited. I feel like accountability really helps me get my butt out of bed in the morning to exercise. It also helps me eat right. I know I am going to have to tell my accountability partner everything I eat so it really helps me not eat junk! So let’s see if I can lose these 20 lbs! (sadly this is on a delay and it isn't going well.. stay tuned!) 

3. PF Changs

I love that PF Changs does gluten free. There are so many restaurants out right now that “say” they do gluten free but they really don’t. It bothers me to no end when I see this on a gluten free menu “we have gluten free items but we do not take any precautions in our kitchen against cross contamination. So if you have a gluten allergy please tell the manager”. So what is the point? I mean seriously? This is what happens when people do “gluten free” as part of a diet fad. There is a lack of serious education on gluten in restaurants. I actually ordered off a gluten free menu at this one restaurant. I spoke to the manager and he said that he would make sure it was cooked on a separate area etc. Then, my food came out with BREAD on the plate. I couldn’t believe it! I was ticked off at the manager for clearly promising that he would “look after my food” , and then not following through. I was also ticked at the kitchen for not seeing “GLUTEN ALLERGY” written across the ticket. Anyway, PF Changs is awesome! I always feel safe when I eat there. I have never had a problem… and their food is delicious. We actually got carry-out from there last night. So good!

Ya, did not exercise today. Should have, but I didn’t. ERG. No excuses I know. 

I spent some time studying God’s word today. The lesson was based on God’s tabernacle and how it was the responsibility of the Israelites to maintain it. God blesses us and offers us salvation, but it is our responsibility to be obedient to Him. I enjoyed the lesson. I also spend some time in prayer. My heart has been heavy with just all the things I have on my plate right now. The holidays are approaching and I am starting to feel a bit overwhelmed. This time of the year also makes me wish for certain things that I can’t have right now. So, focusing on the present becomes a struggle.

Random Act of Kindness: 
I reached out to a friend who wasn’t having a great day. I just tried to comfort her and offer her prayer.