Goodreads | Still Life with Bread CrumbsFebruary 20, 2015

Winter Reading List
Does that blanket look casually strewn? And that stack of books … perfectly haphazard? Because I really just want to straighten the pile and stack the books biggest to smallest, or maybe according to color. This photo is my attempt at seeming easy breezy. Like I just happen to stack my books perfectly imperfect. But really I was the 6-year-old girl who organized her pile of presents on Christmas morning (in a straight line, each touching the present before). The picture fools you though, huh?

In case you’re wondering what I’ve been doing this winter, this is it. I’ve been curled up on that edge of my couch reading book after book. It makes for a really pleasant day when it’s 0 degrees outside. Actually, I think it might even be -5 or -12 today. I can’t keep track. Basically it’s very, very cold.

In case you’re stuck inside looking for new books to read, I’ve got you covered. As always, you can follow my reading list on Goodreads.

The Lemon Tree: An Arab, A Jew, and the Heart of the Middle East by Sandy Tolan
The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is so complex and heartbreaking that sometimes it seems utterly hopeless, especially to me, someone that has a vested interest from thousands of miles away and isn’t sure what to do or how to help. The Lemon Tree brings the region to life and melds the facts with a true, peaceful human-interest story of an Arab and a Jew and one shared house. I thought about this story long after I finished the book. (*****)

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling
I laughed out loud more than a couple times while reading Kaling’s memories and musings on her own life (The part about her jumping off the high dive as a kid? I died.) But as I went on I kinda felt like the funniest parts were concentrated at the beginning of the book and I lost a little bit of my interest. I recommend picking this up if you’re in the mood for a fluffy, easy read. (***)

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
An engrossing, suspenseful, sometimes highly disturbing read (in the best possible way!) that surprised me with just about every page turn. I feel like I can’t sum the story up in one sentence, so if you’re into thrillers and really beautifully written prose then you need to pick up this book. (****)

Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris
David Sedaris’ wittiness amuses me to no end. He makes me laugh. He makes me cry (because I’m laughing so darn hard!). Mostly I just can’t believe that one human being can have such a smart sense of humor. Me Talk Pretty One Day is a book of satirical short stories based on Sedaris’ life. (****)

The Zimzum of Love: A New Way of Understanding Marriage by Rob and Kristen Bell
Rob Bell has such an engaging writing style, and I thoroughly enjoyed his newest venture written with his wife. I haven’t read a lot of books on marriage (although I probably should!), but this one was such a positive, gentle reminder of how a good marriage should look … and how you can get there if you aren’t there yet. (*****)

Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis
A must-read for anyone exploring Christianity and those who are already there. Lewis breaks down Christianity and builds it back up in a compelling and intelligent way. I need to read this book about 50 more times to completely absorb the enormity of it all. (****)

Still Life with Bread Crumbs by Anna Quindlen
I really enjoyed this fiction story about a once-famous photographer trying to find herself again. This is an entertaining and relatable read for all people, not just photographers! (*****)

Stitches by Anne Lamott
This is my favorite Lamott piece yet. She expertly combines wittiness with really big and important notions, like what we do and where we turn after life takes a detour. Her authenticity and relationship with God inspires me. I’ll be coming back to this one again and again. (*****)

Book Reviews

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Annie & Joe | Hudson Ohio Fall WeddingFebruary 19, 2015

Hudson Springs Park Wedding Photos
In his toast to his new bride and family and friends, Joe said, “Annie’s magnetic.” And that right there is the kindest and most perceptive thing I’ve ever heard a groom say to his bride. Joe and Annie have this quiet understanding of each other that seems to go beyond everything else. It was fascinating to observe them from behind my lens. Annie is magnetic. Yes. But Joe perfectly complements her magnetism in a way that just makes sense. They fit together and are two of the happiest and most content people I’ve ever met. They’re those people that you just really want to be friends with … and they genuinely want to be friends with you too.

“Annie has an air about her that puts people at ease,” Joe said, “and she immediately lights up every single room that she walks into. Everyone, myself included, can feel the sheer amount of positivity and kindness that radiates from her. She’s full of love, and doesn’t ever hesitate to share that love with the world around her.”

And Annie thinks just as highly of her husband.

“Joe is so calm and kind,” she said. “He holds himself to the highest standards in any situation and treats every person as if they’re family. He is truly my better half.”

Annie and Joe, I so admire your authenticity, constant smiles, and unwavering love for each other and everyone around you. You guys are the real deal, and I wish you so many wonderful adventures together.

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This is pure joy! Annie, you’re so sweet!

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Gorgeous. You two are just gorgeous.

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Ceremony: St. Mary Catholic Church
Reception: The Bertram Inn
Florist: Baumann’s Florist
DJ: Freddie James DJs
Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Weddington Way
Honeymoon: Greek Islands!

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Our Annual Ski Adventure | TravelFebruary 18, 2015

Skiing in Steamboat Springs

A couple weeks ago, Nathan and I traveled out west for the annual Baldwin ski trip. Remember, I’m not a great skier, but it was so nice to be in a sunny, warmer climate (50 degrees!) surrounded by gorgeous scenery. Plus we got to spend lots of quality time with family and have a couple adventures while in Colorado. The highlights of my trip included:

  • Taking in the beauty of the mountains from the top of the slope.
  • Helping Nathan eat a cinnamon roll the size of our heads.
  • Finishing two books in front of the fire.
  • Not falling ONE time on the slopes. Whoohoo! I think I’m slowly becoming a better skier.
  • Riding a snowmobile for the first time.
  • Watching Nathan, his sister and his dad swim the length of a 33-degree natural spring pool. (While I sat comfortably in a 104-degree hot spring.)
  • Playing in the snow like little kids, complete with snow angels and a snowball fight.

Nathan also made his first GoPro video from our adventures. Take a peek …

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Baby Mila | 6 MonthsFebruary 13, 2015

Willoughby Ohio Lifestyle Family Photographer
Ohhhh, this family has my heart. Melissa and Michael were one of my first wedding clients in Cleveland, and they are just the kindest, most down-to-earth people. I’ve always loved them. And then. THEN! They had a beautiful baby girl. Just look at little Mila. It goes without saying that she is the happiest baby with the best sense of humor. I think babies can have senses of humor, right? This little lady laughs at everything, and she especially thinks her dad is super funny. Melissa and Michael are smitten with Mila, and I had so much fun documenting their love for each other a few months ago.

Willoughby Ohio Lifestyle Family Photographer Squires Castle Family Photos_0003
Heather of Fair Rarity made some gorgeous floral crowns and headbands for little Mila. She’s like a tiny, laughing goddess sitting in a field down there.

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You guys are beautiful! :)

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