Breakfast Cookies

I’m guilty of being a slug in the morning – make a nutritious breakfast? Ha! More like eat a cookie with my coffee. I just can’t remember what “nutritious” means that early in the morning ūüėČ


I am the queen of trying new things – routine makes me feel extremely claustrophobic. Plus there’s the voice in my head always saying “what if!”. What if I miss out on a¬†fantastic recipe because I’m too busy making the same one I’ve made a hundred times? I’m like a Pokemon player in the kitchen – gotta try them all!


I only have a few recipes on hand that I make often, like my jambalaya, burrito bowls, and pork tenderloin with sweet potato hash. These insanely simple recipes will be shared soon! Another classic in my kitchen is my Ultimate Oatmeal Cookie. Versatile, simple and easy-peasy, I make this one quite often.


Trying to keep these as healthy as possible, I scoured the pantry for some dried fruits and came away with Craisins – yum! I knew they’d be tasty as I’ve made these cookies with Craisins a few times. Well, genius that I am, I had the dough base¬†finished and¬†was about to stir in the dried cranberries¬†before I realized they were actually¬†blueberry Craisins. Oops. I was a little worried that these blueberries would taste funny in the cookies, what with the recipe calling for maple syrup and cinnamon. That was a flavor combo I couldn’t even imagine. I scooped some dough onto a spoon, topped it with a couple dried blueberries and then came the moment of truth.


It was¬†delicious! Tart blueberries and a unique hint of sweet maple syrup combined with cinnamon-y spice was an explosion of new¬†flavors. I immediately dumped¬†half the bag of dried blueberries into the bowl and stirred away, already counting the minutes till I could try one warm and fresh from the oven.¬†Thick, fluffy, and chewy, they tasted¬†even better baked! How ironic that I was planning on making a classic recipe and then accidentally turned it into a new creation. Improvisation and creativity in the kitchen are¬†so important! Make a mistake like I did? Who cares.. just roll with it. ūüôā

If you want to invent your own breakfast cookie, or just love oatmeal cookies in general, here is the recipe for my Ultimate Oatmeal Cookie. Follow the directions for the cookie dough base, and then mix in anything your heart desires! If you come across an awesome flavor combination, please let me know so I can try it too!

The Little Things

HOW¬†on earth do you¬†do it?!”

I could’t even try to estimate¬†how many times I’ve heard that in the last year. I almost expect to hear it when I tell people that Bobby is in the Army, and I know I’ll get that reaction if I throw in the fact that we spent almost 6 months of 2015 over¬†1,000 miles apart.¬†But it always makes me think,¬†what is “it“? Could “it” be loving someone so much that the time spent apart is worth it in the end? Or is “it” just¬†being supportive of my husband’s job? Maybe “it” is watching him lace up his boots in preparation to fight for the freedom of a country made up of¬†too many¬†people who¬†take him and his battle buddies for granted. Whatever “it” is, I don’t think about it. I don’t need to.¬†I married Bobby because of who he is as a person, regardless of his job. He could be a nuclear energy technician in Springfield (heh, get it?) and I’d still love him!

He sure looks amazing in this uniform, though!

It seems like most people expect me to bitch and moan about being an Army wife, but I absolutely refuse to waste away my life with negative thoughts when there are millions of gleaming lights of positivity.¬†The older I get, the more¬†thankful I am¬†for my parents teaching me “mind over matter“. I truly believe that you can trick your brain. Why? Because I got into the habit of doing exactly¬†that years ago, and I still do it every day. After wasting away and wandering around hopelessly in no direction¬†for way too long, I decided that my own happiness was my own choice and that if I wanted to be happy, only¬†I could do something about it.

I started off small, listing 5 positive things every morning and 5 good things that happened each day before bed. When I found myself on the verge of a breakdown, sometimes too late, I’d analyze how I got there and then solve the issue and move on. Almost a month after deciding to go out and find my own happiness, I was feeling better and brighter. It took me a while to figure out that some things and people in this world just can’t be changed, and that it’s¬†okay. Cutting out negativity is just as important as welcoming in the positive. I had an “a-ha!” moment when I realized that I’m a minuscule part of this world and that 99% of the things happening around me are¬†completely out of my control.¬†I wasted way too much valuable time just waiting for happiness to magically come to me, and then being disappointed over and over. Never again.

Nowadays it’s easy for me to find light in the darkness, mostly because I know it’s a choice and I’ve gotten into the habit of choosing to be happy. We may be moving across the U.S. twice within two weeks,¬†during the holiday season, with the added stress of selling a car and more paperwork than you could imagine, but you won’t find me pouting. I’ve got the love of my life by my side and¬†so much to look forward to; the light at the end of this tunnel is getting brighter every day.

I always¬†remember this: “If you don’t like where you are, move. You are not a tree.”¬†


P.S. Sorry I’ve neglected my blog for so long!! It’s been a whirlwind. I hope to have many, many more posts coming your way once we finally reach¬†NY a day or two after Christmas. It looks like we’re going to get super¬†lucky and will be seeing Bobby’s family in Chicago for Christmas on our way up to NY! Talk about a Christmas miracle.

12/8: DIY Gift Bag!

I don’t know about you wonderful people, but I seem to have the hardest time finding bags that match my wrapping paper. I finally said forget¬†this and found a tutorial for making your¬†own bags, custom fit and look, from wrapping paper you already have! This couldn’t be more easy.

It’s also a great way to use up little scraps of paper! This bag is pretty teeny – about 5×5″, but you could absolutely try it with something bigger!

Intrigued? Click here!

12/7: Angles

A¬†quick tip to make your photos pop: Angles. Change them,¬†both in your camera and in life. I love to see things from new perspectives, so I’ve made it a habit as a photographer to push myself to be constantly changing my view.

From low,


To high,


We explored the quaint old mining town of Bisbee, Arizona.

Learn a simple trick to make your photos pop!

12/7: Angles

Christmas in a Jar

Nothing says Christmas like cinnamon and cloves. There’s just something about that combination that gets me in the holiday spirit, no problem. So today I’m sharing with you guys my favorite recipe for Holiday Potpourri, aka Christmas in a Jar.


12/3: DIY Spa Ornament

I know I said I’d be posting the DIY photoshoot workspace today, but I’m going to save it for later so I can feature someone special ūüôā

Today’s Shine Bright idea is a DIY Spa Ornament!


Aromatic Mint and Ginger soothing salts to melt away the coldest winter blues. Use the salts in a hot bath and then hang the ornament on your tree!

Nine of them for under $20 and made within an hour!

Bonus gift box too!


Enjoy ūüôā

12/2: 3 DIY Tripods

If you love DIY projects and saving money, I’ve got you covered!


Three options to remember this holiday season¬†when the group photo comes up: toilet paper, clothespins and business cards. Impress everyone with your MacGyver skills ūüėČ

3 DIY Tripod Tutorials

Tomorrow I’m going to show you how to DIY¬†a table top photo studio, so don’t put away that tripod just yet.

It’s December!?

Holy Cow

I can’t believe December is here already! It’s going to be a huge month for my honey and I. We’ll be¬†moving across country –¬†twice! Not to mention Christmas and New Years squeezed in there somehow.

It’s going to be a challenge to feel Christmas-y this year. Starting with the desert weather here in AZ, then moving cross-country twice, and being away from family for the first time during The Holidays… Oy.

But I have a plan!

‘Tis the season of sharing,¬†so I’m going to share 25¬†Holiday-themed tips and tricks to help make your season¬†shine bright. From family recipes, to camera tricks, to decorations. A new post every day to inspire even the scroogiest of us! Stay tuned this afternoon for the first one.

If you have an epic tradition you’d like to share, please do! ūüôā All faiths are welcome, don’t be shy.

Turning Dreams Into Reality

I came across this nugget of inspiration on Facebook this morning.¬†It really hits home, so I thought I’d share it with you.


When I realized I wanted to be a photographer and then shared these dreams with friends and family or anyone who asked, I heard every word on that wall, every which-way you can read it. For every person who told me my dreams were in reach, there was another negative voice there to tell me they were worthless:

“You need a¬†real degree!”

“What if you can’t pull it off? What are you going to do then?”

“Don’t you have a backup plan, like nursing? Nursing will¬†always be needed.”

The best reactions were the back-handed compliments meant to make me feel guilty:

“You’re too smart for photography, why don’t you do something useful with your life, like practicing law?”

“Women have ample opportunities these days! You’re wasting it away to be a starving artist!”

“You graduated with honors! Any university would be lucky to have you!”

I’d be lying if I said those words didn’t affect me. My first year of college was tainted with these questions that made¬†me second-guess myself and my dreams, my passion. Did I make the right choice? Can I actually, really,¬†honestly, do this?

I had an “a-ha!” moment when my uncle, who also photographs for a living,¬†told me I wasn’t a¬†“real” photographer because I hadn’t taken some BS online test that “certifies” one is legitimate. I was shocked and absolutely broken. The rest of my family and my closest friends supported me, pulling me out of that dark place¬†where confidence doesn’t exist. After emerging far enough to remember that I don’t take “no” for an answer, and realizing how utterly pissed off I was,¬†I hustled forward more determined than before.

Why should I care about the opinions of the ignorant, the disbelievers? I knew right then that what I am doing is exactly what I should be doing, what I was meant to do, and what I will continue to do – despite what anyone says – because I love what I do.

Eleanor Roosevelt said it best:

“Nobody can make you feel inferior without your consent.”