On This Day 3 Years Ago…

On this day 3 years ago, Hailey and I embarked on yet another one of our photoshoots. We’ve done some pretty wild photoshoots over the years, with crazy outfits and unlimited creativity, but this is still one of my favorites. I was still studying photography and my assignment was to imitate the work of the great David LaChapelle. His portfolio is eccentric, colorful, exotic, arresting, and completely unique.


These aren’t my typical style, but it’s really important to get out of your comfort zone every once in a while and remember what you’re made of. You might find yourself out there.


I didn’t have the incredible studio space or budget, but I did have a very creative model with a vast wardrobe and an amazing (secret) location. Can you say improvisation?


 There was something so freeing about forcing myself to take wild photos like this, especially with my favorite model. It is so much fun to look back at these and see how much we’ve changed and grown. Here’s to even more growth in the next few years!

What’s Inside?

Remember our cute corner abode that I shared with you guys about a week ago?


Well I finally got around to taking interior photos! Shoutout to Abby for sending my tripod to me after I left it at her house when we were staying with her before moving. Oops. I assure you I’ll never be doing that again.

I’m so excited to finally give everyone the grand tour!

There’s no obvious place to start because this place has 3 entryways (what the heck?!), so we’ll start at the front, in the Man Cave. Please remain seated and keep all appendages inside the vehicle at all times. 😉

The window behind the couch is actually a bay window, one of which I have dreamed of having for years! From the front, it’s the window with the Blackhawks banner in it. I’m sure we’ll get a lot of flack for being Blackhawks fans in the land of the Rangers, not to mention all the Canadian teams. Hehe…

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Directly across from the front door and around the corner from the entertainment center is the dining room that has yet to be dined in. In our last place, we had a bar adjacent to the kitchen counter, which explains those three lonely stools. I love how open all of this is – no doorways or narrow hallways that are typical in houses of this period. And don’t even get me started on the beautiful floor!


This is one of the rooms I am most excited about, naturally. When we toured this place before picking it, I remember exclaiming, “Oh my gosh, look at that back-splash!”. Can you tell I’ve watched a few HGTV shows? Although you can’t see it in this photo, there is a fridge and another entryway in the kitchen.


To the left of the stove is the basement door. I figured I’d save you guys the sight of a million spiderwebs and the all-around creeps that come with an unfinished basement. EEK! To the left of this doorway is the third entryway, and to the right is an office space that is currently being used for storage, I thought I’d save you the sight of junk too! How about that bathroom though?

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It doubles as a laundry room, which I much prefer to trekking down into the creepy basement to switch loads of laundry like I imagine I would have had to with the original layout of the house. I absolutely love the light in here. I know I sound like a spazz, saying I love the light in the bathroom, but I can’t help it! Now back to the dining room and we’ll see the upstairs.


Fun fact: socks and stairs are never a good idea, even with carpet. I slipped halfway down the stairs while brushing my teeth earlier this week. I ended up plowing down them on my tush, so it was almost reminiscent of my childhood, minus trying to avoid choking on my toothbrush. Coordinated, I know.

This is our little sanctuary 🙂 We don’t have a ton of furniture yet, because our last place was a 2br apartment, but it will all come with time! Our room actually has 2 closets. The one with the mirror on the door is really creepy and even locks – I don’t want to know why. The other door, next to the bed, is like the entrance to Narnia! This closet is huge – I’m willing to bet it has close to the same square footage as the kitchen!

Bathroom #2, featuring a really deep tub, which I stuck my tripod in to capture the photo of the sink. Improvisation should be my middle name.

This is my yoga room, or choice #1 for guests coming to visit us. Speaking of, who will be first to visit New York?! I’ll feed you well! 😉 It also has a pretty large closet, which I have already filled up with all of my stuff. I figure this room would make a pretty great spot for some photos, too.

Last but not least, choice #2 of rooms for when guests come to visit. Also a good spot for photos with all that natural light. Nothing special, and more space than we know what to do with at the moment, but if someone were to come visit… *cough*


There you have it, home of the Potestas 🙂 I can’t wait to fill this place up with more photos and some more furniture, and of course, some guests!

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 😉


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. 🙂

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!

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!

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 🙂

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 🙂

Clyde and his popsicle(s)

This little guy is the most photogenic kid I’ve ever seen! He’s a total ham and smiles when he talks, especially about the movie Planes. Or strawberry popsicles! Combine cute little Clyde with “Magic Hour” during a summer sunset and you’ve got the perfect combo for a super sweet picture.



Here’s to summer and popsicles at gramma’s house!

Shooting on the fly


Most of the work I do forces me to improvise – I’m constantly working with subjects and locations that are continually changing. To keep up with my job, I like to practice. Nothing about this photo shoot was planned. We took a cool walk down a trail that led us through a wonderland of blackberries and spit us out onto the banks of the Columbia River. After setting down hordes of picnic stuff and camera gear, we started exploring. Before long, we were both thinking that this would be the perfect place to do some yoga.


Hailey was feeling the Mother Nature vibes and I couldn’t believe the beautiful summer afternoon we were looking at, so we jumped in head-first to photograph any- and everything.


My photo shoots with Hailey usually unfold just like this one. With nothing but our imaginations and my camera, we set out to find our inspiration and just make it up as we go.


I love working with Hailey because she’s a great model, with or without instruction. At some point during these photo shoots I’ll stop sharing my ideas and just let her do whatever she wants, which results in even more magic.


Improvised shoots are so much fun for me because I’m in love with the idea of the fleeting moment. I’d rather capture the moment than create it, if that makes sense. 🙂


It can be pretty insane jumping into a photo shoot with no plan – a wedding is definitely the wrong time to try this technique! However, if you find yourself awe-struck in a beautiful place and you happen to be holding a camera, know that you’ve got all the pieces needed to create something incredible.