December 19, 2013

December Sponsor Intro!

I love getting to share other sites, shops, and businesses with you all and today I have three lovely ladies to talk about. I asked them all to share their best tips on staying motivated during the busy holiday season, because I know I could use some motivation every now and then!

First up is Tracey, the owner of Becoming Jewelry. It's a gorgeous handmade shop full of the prettiest accessories around. You can see a few of her pieces in action here and here. I also bought my Mom this necklace, and she wears it every day. :)

December Sponsor Intro // Home is with You

Tip ≫≫ I work a lot during the holiday season! I stay motivated by setting production goals and then rewarding myself with little Christmas season treats, like a stop at Starbucks for a Peppermint Hot Chocolate.

Next up is Jennie from Iron Tree Candle, whose Cranberry Fig candle she sent me (that smells like Christmas!) has been burning every fact, it is right now! It smells fantastic and really makes it feel like Christmas in my "office" (AKA my parents basement, for 9 more days) as I'm editing 24/7 these days.

December Sponsor Intro // Home is with You

Tip ≫≫ I remind myself to focus on what inspires me about this time of year. I love the beauty, joy and creativity that come with the holiday season, so I try to slow down and enjoy it, instead of getting caught up in the hectic pace of things!

And last, but not least, is Daina from New York State of Mind. Her pictures of NYC make me want to hop on a plane and join her on walks around the city! If you haven't discovered her site/instagram yet, you're really missing out on some major wanderlust...

December Sponsor Intro // Home is with You

Tip ≫≫ The holidays are one of my absolute favorite times of year! To stay grounded during the holiday season I try to remind myself often that while gift giving is nice, it is not what the season is all about. When I think back on my favorite holiday memories none of them include the gifts I gave or received. Instead, they are about things like pajama game nights with my family, tubing in my hometown in Minnesota, ice skating on my parents' pond, and decorating Christmas cookies. I try to plan fun activities with both my boyfriend (I look forward to our 12 Dates of Christmas tradition every year!) and my family throughout the month of December and focus less on searching for lots of gifts.

Now go show these ladies some love on their sites!

October 1, 2013

Favorite Fall Recipes.

Fall is the best time to bake and cook, thanks to the temps cooling down and making us want to spend a bit more time inside (and not feeling like we're going to melt when we turn on the oven). Plus, the recipes we tend to make in the Fall are always my favorites, how could you not love a time where it's socially acceptable to throw some pumpkin in all of your recipes and comfort food is beginning to make a comeback.

I've shared a lot of Fall recipes since I've been writing in this space, so today I thought I'd compile a few of my favorites, enjoy!

September 27, 2013

My new friend.

Those of you who follow me on Instagram saw that I've had a few close encounters with some awesome Alaskan wildlife this week, so I wanted to share the full story with you all...because I'm still giggling about it.

A few days ago, I was sitting at my computer, as usual...watching the amazing Joe Buissink shoot a wedding on CreativeLive. And I should mention before I go any further, and you all think I'm crazy, that we've been having a lot of unexpected people show up and start working on our rental house lately. I'll be working on something and see a man outside start painting the side of the house. Our sweet landlady wanted to get the house all fixed up and ready to go before winter hits, so they're getting it all done now. Anyways, all that to say, unexpected visitors are not out of the norm here...ok, moving on...

Juneau AK // Home is with You

So, like I said, I was sitting at my computer which at the moment overlooks part of our wrap-around porch. I glanced out the window and see what I think is the top of someone's hair, which makes my heart jump, and I'm thinking "Gah, these worker dudes are SO sneaky!"...because they are. Then, I wonder if it's Dave messing with me again, he's popped home for lunch a few times in the past week and he likes to scare surprise me when he does.

Then, it moved and in my head I'm screaming, "Not a person...NOT A PERSON!!!" I'm frozen, which is why there are no pictures of this awesomeness, as I realize it's a small black bear on my porch. He put his front paws up on our grill and just as he got up, my CreativeLive broadcast (which I had totally forgotten was playing, as I'm trying to be super quiet) got a little loud and the bear turned and looked me RIGHT in the eyes, jumped down, and ran off.

I was still in shock and finally grabbed my phone to take pics, slowly and quietly I opened the door to peek around and make sure he wasn't too close, and he was no where to be found! Once I got brave, I went to the backyard to look around, but he was long gone. That little bear must've booked it!

Juneau, Alaska // Home is with You

Of course, I spent the rest of the day on edge, looking out the window and searching our backyard at any sound from the neighbors or gust of wind. I'm so sad my little friend never came back. Dave joked that he would find me with a trail of fish leading up to our house and me sitting at the end of the trail with my camera, waiting. Anything for the shot, right? Haha, don't worry, I'm not that crazy. ;)

September 24, 2013

A website and a winner!

I've been working on getting the Dreaming Willow Photography website ready to be up and running and it's finally finished! I sent out a sneak peek to the people signed up for the Dreaming Willow newsletter, if you'd like to be added to that list go here. The newsletter includes news, specials, and other fun stuff along the way. If you're in the Wichita, KS area I'd recommend signing up since I'll be headed your way soon!

I'd love to know what you all think about the website! You can see the full site here.

Dreaming Willow Photography Website

And the winner of the Uncommon Goods giveaway is Natasha Stroud Hoover! Congrats, you'll be receiving an email from me later today!

Also, while I'm apparently taking a day to ramble about the happenings around these parts, I should let you all know that my Featured Ad space has just opened up, so if you'd like to grab it you can go here. There are also a few large and small spots available as well, feel free to email me with any questions or collaborations you have in mind.

I hope Tuesday is treating you all well, we're getting another day of SUNSHINE and after a week of darkness and pouring rain I'm pumped. I think you know where I'll be once I get my work done...

September 23, 2013

Velodyne Audio vFree Headphones.

Dave and I have loved Velodyne and their unique headphone designs for awhile now. I still use my vPulse in-ear noise cancelling headphones on a daily basis, they are so much more comfortable than the headphones that come with your iphone and I really enjoy the noise cancelling feature. So of course, when Velodyne wanted to send me a pair of their new vFree headphones to try out, I was pretty dang excited.

Velodyne Audio vFree Headphones // Home is with You

I've been playing with these wireless headphones for awhile now and LOVE them, Dave does too. They are so nice for those times when I need to wear headphones while I'm at my computer. Most of my headphones don't reach comfortably from my computer, so the wireless option is wonderful. You can get up, stretch, and grab some water...all while still listening to your favorite songs. Since they use bluetooth, you can also hook them up to your phone and take calls along the way. 

Velodyne Audio vFree Headphones // Home is with You
Velodyne Audio vFree Headphones // Home is with You

Dave also has a pair of Velodyne's vTrue headphones and they are amazing for recording, but he loves "stealing" my vFree while he does some yoga. He can blast whatever music he wants to listen to as he stretches and really be immersed in it.

Velodyne Audio vFree Headphones // Home is with You

They also have designer skins to go on top of your headphones that make them even more unique. There are lots of cute options, but these were my favorite. I should have gotten a picture of Dave rocking out at his computer with these cute things's pretty comical.

I also love my vFree headphones because they fold up all nice and neat, perfect for traveling! They come with a nice little Velodyne bag you can put them in and slip them in your carry-on. I can't wait to try them out on my upcoming trip to Kansas.

Full Disclosure: The vFree Headphones and Designer skin were both sent to me by Velodyne, but all opinions are 100% my own.

September 20, 2013

Bad news and the silver lining.

This post is hard to write because my thoughts on the news we received on Monday are still all over the place and I'm still not quite sure what to think or feel. I do know that I'm so thankful for all of your prayers that you all (especially my beloved instagram peeps) sent our way, you all make Dave and I feel so blessed and surrounded by love.

On Monday, the VA flew Dave out to Anchorage to have a basic exam to evaluate the current state of his foot and knee problems. While they were doing some routine x-rays the man doing the exam started asking some of the right questions and decided they needed to x-ray Dave's back as well.

Bad news and the silver lining // Home is with You

These x-rays showed that Dave has a broken back, and has for years. He went in forever (and ever) ago and told his Dr. at the time that he was having bad back pain, they misdiagnosed him with a muscle strain. And although he brings up his back pain at nearly every exam (I usually go with him), no one has ever looked further into it.

I'm very thankful that we finally found out what has been causing Dave's pain, but I'm equally frustrated that no one caught it before. He has a fractured L5 vertebrae and it's scary to think of all the damage he could have done, without knowing he had a broken back. Dave was told that if he had been in a car wreck/falling the wrong way/gotten jolted he could have become paralyzed.

Bad news and the silver lining // Home is with You

We're praying that with some specialized yoga and physical therapy we can avoid surgery, if possible. As much as I hate to see my husband in pain and I can't believe he's had an undiagnosed broken back to years, I'm also very thankful that we now know what was actually causing all of the knee/foot pain. In a strange way, it's kind of a relief to know that a lot of his physical pain is all connected, because if we can get the back pain under control then hopefully the other issues will subside as well.

Bad news and the silver lining // Home is with You
These pictures are all Instagram pics from our walks around the glacier trails last weekend.

Again, we feel SO blessed to have such a wonderful online community and I can't thank you all enough for your prayers and concerned comments.

September 16, 2013

Giveaway ≫≫ $50 Giftcard to Uncommon Goods!

I haven't done a giveaway in a very long time, sorry about that, but I'm excited to bring back the giveaways with this $50 giftcard to Uncommon Goods! Before we get to the giveaway, let's talk a bit about all the unique things Uncommon Goods has in their shop. I could spend forever going through their lists of items, and as I scroll their products I'm shocked at all the great ideas I'd never thought of.

Half of the items in their store are handmade and they pay all of their employees at least 50% above minimum wage, now that is a company I can get behind. They also have four non-profits, you can learn more about them and how the company gives back when you shop here. It's so nice to find a company that's so involved and that truly cares.

Anyways, onto the pretty things I found...

I absolutely ADORE this anniversary box idea for a wedding present!  What a thoughtful gift that will be a treat for the newlyweds for years to come. You can find more personalized gift ideas here.

$50 Giftcard to Uncommon Goods Giveaway // Home is with You

Their "gifts under $50" section is a great place to browse and find affordable gifts. I think Dave needs this awesome beer stein! Check out the full list here.
$50 Giftcard to Uncommon Goods Giveaway // Home is with You

And how cute are these Garden Bon Bons?! I think I need these, hint hint. ;) They are packaged so pretty and look like little truffles, but you plant them in your garden. It doesn't get much better than this. More cute little gifts like this can be found here

$50 Giftcard to Uncommon Goods Giveaway // Home is with You

Now for the giveaway, good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

September 11, 2013

Introducing Fernanda ≫≫ Fer the Love of Writing.

I'm really excited to introduce you guys to Fernanda, who writes over at Fer the Love of Writing! I was able to meet Fernanda in Anchorage, after being "introduced" through a mutual Alaskan blogger. She and her husband came to one of Dave's shows and we loved getting to know them a bit, and then on my last day in Anchorage Fernanda and I met up to grab coffee.

Not gonna lie, my coffee date with this girl made me sad to leave Anchorage...she is a sweetheart with a sense of humor and a killer knack for fashion and design. But enough of my gushing rambling and see for yourself!

Fer the Love of Writing // Home is with YouFer the Love of Writing // Home is with You                                                                  Blog // Twitter // Instagram // Bloglovin

September 10, 2013

Fall Favorites ↠

I know it's not Fall everywhere, but here it definitely is. We have the gorgeous colors all around, cooler temps, and the need for snugly clothes...what more could a girl want? My walk in the forest today (or yesterday, since for most of you it's already Tuesday) inspired me to write down a few of the reasons why Fall is my favorite time of year...

Fall Favorites // Home is with You

...what's your favorite thing about Fall?

September 5, 2013

Random thoughts from my walks in Juneau ≻≻≻

“Now I see the secret of making the best person: it is to grow in the open air and to eat and sleep with the earth.” 
 ≫≫ Walt Whitman

The Trapeze Swinger by Iron & Wine on Grooveshark 
Juneau is so alive, it makes me want to be alive, too. Obviously I'm already alive, and when I say Juneau is alive I don't mean it's a bustling city, because it's far from that...unless one of the cruise ships have just docked. It's the surrounding forests, glaciers, and mountains. They are so filled with peace, hope, and magic that it makes me want to take a step away from the busyness and distractions of internet life and find myself all over again in nature.

Walks in Juneau // Home is with You

I crave this. Putting pencil to paper while soaking up all the sounds of the trees and chatter of the animals. (The squirrels here are loud.) It's all about give and take, I suppose, but lately I'm finding joy in simple things I've been neglecting.

Walks in Juneau // Home is with You

What I'm trying to say here, because there is a point, I that I don't want to look back on my time here, years down the road, and remember it all being behind this computer screen. I know we won't be in Juneau forever, although I feel a very strong connection to the beauty around us here and the quietness of it all, when we "settle down" it'll be somewhere closer to family. Alaska's just too dang far. That doesn't mean I won't be writing in this space, just that I'll be doing it on the rainy days (and trust me, there are plenty) and then spending as much time as I can outside on the days that are just too gorgeous to stay inside.

What about you? Have you been neglecting things that your soul craves? It can be so hard when we feel like there's always something to do, I know. But maybe there's at least one thing you can do next week to break up the madness and make you feel alive...

August 14, 2013

David Owens Music Live ↠ Anchorage Town Square.

A few weeks ago, on a day when it was in the upper 70's (heat wave, watch out!) here in Anchorage and a beautiful sunny day...Dave and I decided to head downtown and see if there was a spot he could plug in and jam out. We found the perfect spot at Anchorage Town Square, Dave asked the few people that were lounging in the grass if they would mind if he played for a bit, and everyone said no.

So that's exactly what he did. Once he got set up and started playing, people who would be power walking by would stop and linger or sit and stay once they heard him. It was so much fun! Dave even got an unexpected backup singer/ was all fun and games until he started grabbing Dave's guitar. Not cool, man, not cool.

David Owens Music Live ↠ Anchorage Town Square.
David Owens Music Live ↠ Anchorage Town Square.
David Owens Music Live ↠ Anchorage Town Square.
David Owens Music Live ↠ Anchorage Town Square.
David Owens Music Live ↠ Anchorage Town Square.
David Owens Music Live ↠ Anchorage Town Square.
David Owens Music Live ↠ Anchorage Town Square.

The food stand people brought us a few waters and people really seemed to enjoy stopping for a bit to bask in the sunshine and listen to some live music. One of Dave's friends from the Air Force even was driving by and heard his voice, he made his girlfriend check on facebook if Dave was in fact in Anchorage and then they turned the car around to come listen and say hi. Such a small world.

August 12, 2013

Places to Visit ↠ Anchorage Coastal Trail.

If you take a trip to Anchorage, of course one of the first things you'll want to do is drive down to the coast and look out at the amazing Alaskan oceans with mountains off in the distance. Since Dave and I live right off the coast, I watch a lot of people drive up to the gate that separates the park from the ocean, they stand there for a few minutes/hours and take it all in, and then hop in their cars and drive off.

As gorgeous as that view can be even from the park, that makes me a bit sad, partially because it took me so long to realize there was a trail right below the park that runs along the coast. It twists and turns, runs by a lake, and generally has some of the most breathtaking views. And even though there are usually a lot of people down there (especially right now since it's the perfect temperatures), it's so peaceful.

Places to Visit ↠ Anchorage Coastal Trail // Home is with You
Places to Visit ↠ Anchorage Coastal Trail // Home is with You
Places to Visit ↠ Anchorage Coastal Trail // Home is with You
Places to Visit ↠ Anchorage Coastal Trail // Home is with You
Places to Visit ↠ Anchorage Coastal Trail // Home is with You
Places to Visit ↠ Anchorage Coastal Trail // Home is with You
Places to Visit ↠ Anchorage Coastal Trail // Home is with You
Places to Visit ↠ Anchorage Coastal Trail // Home is with You
Places to Visit ↠ Anchorage Coastal Trail // Home is with You
Places to Visit ↠ Anchorage Coastal Trail // Home is with You

There are benches along the way that you can sit and just take it all in. I love to take my book down there and read, constantly looking up to soak it all in. Problems seem so small, and the world feels so vast looking out and around here, but our Creator took a little extra time and creativity with Alaska...that's one thing I know for sure.

For more places to visit, go here.

Many more adventures ahead: Bloglovin' // Instagram // Facebook // Twitter

August 8, 2013

The adventure continues ≫≫ next stop, Juneau.

Well folks, if nothing else it's always an adventure around here, am I right? Dave got word yesterday that he's being transferred (willingly) to Juneau, Alaska! We're really excited to see more of this gorgeous state while we're here and to experience living somewhere that's a bit more "Last Frontier" than Anchorage. Don't get me wrong, I have loved Anchorage, and while it has many gorgeous sites of it's own to's still a big city.

 The real curveball though is that we thought we'd at least have until the end of the month to pack up and move out, but we were told yesterday when we got the official word that he needs to be there on the 19th. Which means we leave Anchorage a week from tomorrow...ahhhh!

So crazy, exciting, and a tad bit stressful thanks to the tight time frame. But hey, if there's one thing I've learned with all of this moving it's to be a quick and efficient packer (although Dave would beg to differ, he's the master packer in this family).

The adventure continues ≫≫ next stop, Juneau.

The good news is, we haven't accumulated much stuff since we've been here, pretty much all we have to our names is what came with us on the airplanes and a few boxes that my wonderful parents have shipped us. That makes packing ten times easier than usual, I'll take it.

Dave and I have never been to Juneau, so if any of you have been or live in Juneau, we would LOVE recommendations. Things we need to know, places to eat, must see things once we get there. Leave me a comment or drop me an email and let me know!

August 5, 2013

In the weekend ≫≫ pictures to ease into Monday.

I had a nice weekend taking a break from social media and all of it's distractions. I'm pretty proud of myself for making it all weekend (ha) without checking any of the accounts a million times or even posting on instagram once. I only cheated once (or twice) to check on Ruthie and Mandy's baby bumps...just couldn't help myself there, it's all just too exciting.

Any time I felt like I wanted to start scanning the various social media platforms, I read my book instead. It felt wonderful. We had our first rainy weekend, and it was nice to have a break in the blaring 24/7 sun. Dave and I did some cooking/baking, watched some shows on Netflix (House of Cards anyone?), and generally just relaxed and enjoyed having some time off together.

The Weekend // Home is with You
The Weekend // Home is with You
The Weekend // Home is with You
The Weekend // Home is with You
The Weekend // Home is with You
The Weekend // Home is with You
The Weekend // Home is with You
The Weekend // Home is with You
The Weekend // Home is with You

We were even able to go to dinner with friends on Friday night who are in town from back home, they've traveled in their RV all the way from Kansas. Pretty cool. They've had quite the adventure and we had a great time listening to their stories and catching up.

How was your weekend? Anyone else make it through a social media free weekend? Leave me a comment and let me know!

August 2, 2013

See you on the flip side ≫≫ social media fast.

As someone who is a photographer, blogger, and shop owner, I know how hard it can be to take a self-imposed vacation...especially if all you can afford is a staycation. When most of your work is on the computer and at home, you can work any time and so many of us end up working all of the time. Even though we all know that's a terrible idea.

I found this quote last night and it really hit home...

TOO MUCH // Home is with You true.

Although I try to take breaks and my evenings off when I can, I still find myself constantly on social media. Anyone else? No? Just me? I know I can't be the only one, and yet I wonder if anyone else is as addicted as I am.

This morning I tested it out to see how long I could go before I checked all the accounts. And then, without even thinking about it, I sat down to do something and absentmindedly picked up my phone and started scrolling through instagram. I didn't even know I was doing it for a minute! Yikes.

So, needless to say, this weekend I've decided to do a mini social media/phone/computer fast...who's with me? :)
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