I finally found some daylight to take some pictures of the tree and presents, so even though it's after Christmas, I thought I'd still post it.  A little bit of Christmas after Christmas, is always good, right??? :)

Beach-themed tree this year.  The snowflakes are our stocking hangers :)

I purchased a cute little "M" for our tree!  Only a couple bucks at Hobby Lobby (have I mentioned how much I love that store??)
I found these ADORABLE Naughty or Nice Gift Tags through a blog and used them on all presents this year

Presents under the tree.
This year, I saw some inspiration for using craft paper as wrapping paper.  So the presents don't look cheap or boring, I added a section of wrapping paper to it and a bow or jute.  This was a WAY cheaper option than using wrapping paper.  I got rolls of craft paper for $1 each at the dollar store, then used hardly any wrapping paper.  I like this for two reasons: 1) craft paper is thicker and doesn't rip like the cheap, wrapping paper does, and 2) it was ridiculously cheaper than using all wrapping paper.

Here are additional inspirational pictures from Pinterest:

I think what I may do next year, is buy the nice, expensive wrapping paper to use like I did this year.  That way costs still stay down, but the presents are still beautified.  What do you guys think of this method?


DIY Christmas Wreath

Through one of the blogs that I read, I saw this AWESOME "S" hanging wreath, which can be purchased through etsy.com. 

Monogram Wreath 

I decided that I could easily make this myself, rather than paying $35 plus shipping.  So... see below for my directions on how I did it.

Products used:
-Cardboard "M"
-Natural Jute (or other twine-like material)
-Hot glue gun
-Black ribbon
Total Cost: $5-10.  All goods purchased from Hobby Lobby

First, I started wrapping the jute around the M.  I glued a piece to the backside to be sure it stayed in place, then just continued to wind around.  I'd glue pieces down every so often, just to be sure they didn't slide around too much. 

Below is the M once all the jute has been wrapped around it.  The way I wrapped it was in 4 different sections.  By doing it this way I could wrap and not worry about the direction I was going or strands overlapping in the tight areas.
After I was done with the jute, I had to figure out a way to hang it, of which I hot glued and stapled a ribbon to the backside (staples in case the glue doesn't hold well).
Then I added a couple of pearl beads to the front and wa-la, it's done and hanging with the wreath on the front door.  I thought it added a bit to the traditional wreath.  Plus the great thing is that how I designed it, I CAN hang it year-round if I want to.  Whoot!


It's Getting to be That Time of Year

Here it is, already December 6th.  Christmas is only 19 days away!!  That's less than 3 weeks, folks!!  I can't believe it!!  I haven't even decorated this year!  I've had zero desire to decorate the apartment.  I'm not sure if it's the lack of cold and snow, or if I'm just not ready for Christmas.

I have GREAT decorating ideas, actually!  The problem is that I have NO IDEA how to decorate the apartment.  Last year we hung a garland and put up our small tree, but I love all the little extras, and we have NO SPACE to put those "extras."  I miss having a fireplace SO MUCH!  That was the easiest decorating piece in an apartment.  I have no place to set any of my cute candle holders or any idea where to put all my cute holiday stuff... for any holiday, not just Christmas.

I even bought this super cute manger candle scene off the internet for $25, but I have NO IDEA where to put it. 
ADORABLE right?!  You can buy it at Dayspring

Plus the great thing about this is that the silhouette's come off so you can use the candles year round.  Oh, and they're LED candles that go inside the little frosted hurricanes. 

How exactly does you decorate your house when there is NO fireplace to set stuff on??  Someone, please help me with this!!  And let me also say that I am not completely opposed of some wall hanging stuff, but I don't want to just change out all my pictures on the wall to make it Christmas-y in my house.

I also came up with using my "Summer" decor for the winter so it didn't feel so stuffy.  I plan on using extra ornaments and sticking them in my big lantern to showcase... but again, not sure WHERE to put it.  I found a picture someplace, but can't seem to find it anywhere.... who knows maybe I'll come across it and add it later.  I have a hard time finding stuff in my blog reader since I subscribe to so many blogs.

Oh.. and here is a cute "wreath" or front door idea:

Love this!  Found on etsy.com

See isn't that ADORABLE??  I thought it'd be super cute if I hang it IN a wreath on the front door at Christmas time.  Once I get around to making it, I'll definitely post my instructions and pictures :)  Hrmm... I think I may have to head to Hobby Lobby tomorrow.  Have I ever mentioned how much I ADORE that store?!? :))) 

Well, now that I've semi-inspired myself, I suppose I can at least get the basics done: wreath made and hung on the front door, along with the "M" above, tree and garland set up.  That's a good start, right?  Right.


I Know.... I've Been M.I.A. Lately

Hi, friends!!  Sorry I've been M.I.A. lately, but things have been so un-interesting around my house.  I've had very little motivation to do anything, let alone write a blog.  Sorry friends!  I just have nothing fun going on right now, and nobody wants to hear about the blahhh's in my life.

I think a lot of it goes back to this time of year.  It starts getting darker earlier, and by the time I leave work it's dark... at 5 o'clock!  That sucks!!  No daylight!  No walking or playing outdoors in the sun.  Aghh!  It's mildly depressing, don'tcha think?  Given, there are things I like this time of year, but overall, I could completely skip late Fall time and Winter.  Who wants to be in the cold all the time (other than Alaskians and my friend Denise)?!?!  lol!

Given there are things that do perk me up this time of year, such as fall decorations, wreaths, the smell and taste of pumpkin pie.  I LOVE the smell of fall.  I have a pumpkin spice oil thing that I'm using right now and sooo in love!  I love, love, love Fall and Winter scented stuff.  I love Spring/Summer stuff too, but don't usually use the candles and such as much during that time of year.  Part of that probably has to do with the fact that I'm hardly ever home, since there is so much to do outdoors.

In an effort to pull out of this funk I'm in, here is a list of my FAVORITE Fall/Winter Things:

Baking and eating Pumpkin Pie/Bread/Muffins/Cookies... yumm!!
Pumpkin candles and scents
Decorating with Leaves/Acorns/Pinecones
Decorating for Christmas
Visiting the reindeer ranch
Creating new traditions with my husband at Christmas time
Having a contest (this year) with my husband on who can SAVE the most for Christmas! :)
Playing in the snow with loved ones (not driving in it.. ick!)
Buying presents for others
Going to the pumpkin patch
Dressing up my dog for christmas! :)




Sandy Coughlin at the Reluctant Entertainer is giving away a FREE food processor!!  I REALLLLLY want to win this!  I'd be great to make healthier options at home (like peanut butter :)), and someday, homemade baby food. 

Click on the link below to get more information about her giveaway.

Reluctant Entertainer Processor Giveaway


Geezees.com is also giving away a $75 credit towards one of their art canvases.  I'd LOVE to win one of these too!  You guys should all enter as well!!  Just click the link below.


There are many other giveaways going on.  You can check out the hub of information at the Nester's Site

Have fun!!!


Natural Dog Food

Healthy Food = Healthy, Happy Dog :)
Myrtle Beach, SC

As I've mentioned before, I try to eat healthier options and stay away from processed food as much as I can.  In addition to having healthy options for me, I've always purchased natural food for my dog.  There are many great natural dog foods out there.  We feed our dog, Nutro.  When we got Jake a few years ago, we went to the Petsmart down the road from us and they explained the differences between the different dog foods.  That's when we settled on Nutro.

The biggest thing when choosing a dog food is to be sure the first ingredients listed are whole foods, rather than by-products.  i.e. Chicken, Bison, etc

We chose Nutro because Jake seemed to like it the best.  Plus, he has a sensitive stomach and cannot tolerate some of the other foods.  Nutro also is about $45 for a 3 month supply, where the "unnatural" brands are only about $18, but I figure $45 is still not that much over a 3 month time frame.

My other top holistic dog food would be Blue.  We tried giving it to Jake, but his stomach didn't tolerate it.  The food has a ton of fresh ingredients, including blueberries.  Jake LOVED the taste of it!!  Sometimes we try and get Blue or other natural dog foods to give him a change in his diet.  We just give him a little less of the Nutro, and add a little bit of the other food.  It usually works out well and keeps him satisfied.  

I've also heard of people making their own dog food at home.  Of course this would be the best option if you want to be sure there are no preservatives or additives in it.  However, this could get costly and be time-consuming.

I've never personally made homemade dog food, but here is a recipe I found on one of my favorite organic websites, Organic Authority.  As the website states,"Roughly, you’ll want 1/3 of proteins to 2/3 of vegetables and carbs. "

     1/3 Organic Skinless Chicken Breast
     1/3 Organic Brown Rice
     1/3 Organic Green Beans

Do you give your dog natural food, make homemade food, or go the traditional food route??


Photo Session: Ben and Emily Engagement Session

Head on over to McEinhart Photo Blog and see some engagement pics I took a couple weeks ago of my Brother-in-law and his fiance.


Photo Session on McEinhart Photo

I recently had the opportunity to take some anniversary pictures for my good friend Jenni.  If you'd like to check them out, head over to my photo blog.  I always love getting feedback, so any given is greatly appreciated :)


Leadership Seminar - The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

I can't believe I haven't written a post in almost 3 weeks!!!!  The last couple of weeks have been so crazy, busy for me with work (and photography) I haven't done anything once home at night.

I just wanted to reflect on a leadership seminar I was in all of last week... 

First of all, I'm all about going to leadership events in an effort to better my professional attitude and life.  A lot of the times, personal development becomes part of the event as well, so I usually get something out of it one way or another. 

Day 1 of 5, we all walked in and the lady teaching the seminar was trying to teach us responsibility and commitment via tough love.  No.. actually.... tough love is an understatement.  I understand the idea of what tough love is, but she was brutal.  I went home the first day, mentally exhausted.  I just didn't understand how starting the week out that way, could lead to positive, and potentially life-changing events.

I went back on the second day, and immediately felt the teacher bringing down the hammer again.  Again, she was brutally honest.... and brutally tough.  I left that day discouraged again. I knew all I had to do was follow the rules to a T.  I couldn't be one second late... I had to be early.  I couldn't do my "homework" 95% of the way, it had to be 100% complete.  I had to be fully committed to the week, which in turn means I need to be fully committed to my friends, family, and goals in life.

On the third day, our teacher let up on being so tough.  I finally realized that she was only being so tough on us because she wanted us to get back to the basics.  We had to understand the basics in order to move forward and to understand how to lead a team. 

The fourth and fifth days consisted of pushing yourself to do things you may never have done before, such as rock climbing, zip lining, and climbing a rope wall.  All things that seem nearly impossible for some, but if you trust others, and put the faith in yourself, are POSSIBLE... even to those who think it's nearly impossible for whatever reason. 

All-in-all, I can say I took away a better understanding of MYSELF.  And how I want to be perceived and what I want to do to reach my goals.  This also can help me to lead and enable my team at work to do the same... and hopefully to inspire others to do the same.  This seminar is like beauty.  It's not always easy, but the pain is worth the gain.  And even if I suffered for a week, I am still happy that I got something out of this seminar. 

Thank you to everyone at work who backed me up while I was gone, and thank you to my small group for supporting me thoughout the week.  If it wasn't for you, I may not have made it to the other side. :)  And of course, my husband....  Thank you for questioning my reason for going.  And for doubting the seminar.  It made me check myself and my motive for going.  I now have a reason to be better because I want to do it for me.  For you.  For us.  For my career and my LIFE.  I love you all and couldn't thank you enough!!

And as I told myself at one point last week.................YOU ROCK!!


Myrtle Beach

**Warning: ridiculous amount of pictures below! :))**

I finally found enough time to actually sit down and write about our family vacation to Myrtle Beach, SC a couple weeks ago.  After a LONG 15 hr drive, we finally made it there in tact. 

We spent tons of time at the beach and pool......

Jake normally hates the water and will hardly go in past his feet most times.  The ocean definitely took some getting used to for him, but by the end of the week, he was chasing ducks into the water (see down below).

We also spent some time at the boardwalk.  Tons of restaurants, bars, and shops there.  We ate at Pier 14, just off the water.  It was AWESOME!! 

My parents.  LOVE :)

This is the Skywheel.  It's ridiculously tall.  200 ft above sea level.

Pier 14.  The restaurant we ate at.

Josh and I at dinner

Josh on the pier with the skywheel
We also visited Barefoot Landing.  An outdoor shopping area with 100 stores.  We all cruised around there for awhile.  I bought a coozie and took some pictures, but that's about it.  We about ate at what seemed like a REALLY bad Mexican restaurant.  Ever had flavorless Mexican food?  I had a feeling that's what we were about to eat, so we skipped it and went elsewhere.

Since the timeshare didn't allow dogs, we boarded Jake at a place a couple miles up the road (which was a really good first step for me).  He absolutely LOVED it!  But of course, I was worried, so we visited almost daily to take him to the beach and for walks in the park etc.  On one of the walks, we went to a nearby park since we didn't have much time, and he kept chasing the ducks and turtles.  HILARIOUS!  Again, like I said above, he HATES water, but literally jumped in the water to chase them.  Now we know... if we want him to get in the water, just find an animal for him to chase.

This is a MASSIVE and AWESOME hotel nearby that we REALLY want to stay at (and who wouldn't?)
my iPhone takes pretty decent pics sometimes!  Wow!
In addition to all the above mentioned, we went to a local bar and played pool, drank lots, swam, tried to boogie board, went for walks, hung out at the pool, the beach, the jacuzzi, and a bit of time shopping at the outlet mall.  I even had some time to just relax and catch up on some reading.  That was super nice!  Overall, a relaxing vacation!  Definitely  much needed by all of us!!

Has anyone else been to Myrtle Beach before?  I had a lot of fun, but still didn't feel that there was a TON to do there other than bars, restaurants, and the beach.  Did I miss something??


Volunteeering at the Habitat for Humanity Women's Build

This past Saturday, myself and some co-workers volunteered at the Habitat for Humanity Women's Build.  And, boy, what an experience it was!!

Denise and I working hard :)

It was so great to get out there and get my hands dirty building... especially when I have such a craving for it since we can't do anything to our apartment.

The entire time we were there volunteering, we were helping to put up siding on the house.  It's amazing at how quickly a house can be built.  Last week the roof was put on.  It's just so quick!!  And the absolutely most amazing part of it.... THE WHOLE HOUSE IS BUILT BY WOMEN!!!  Whoohoo!!  Girl power! :)

I loved helping as much as possible, and just selflessly donating my time and energy.  The family who will be living in the house was actually there that day and helping alongside the volunteers.  How cool is that?  I have a huge respect for that family!  They can say they not only received such a generous donation, but they also can say they helped build it with their own 2 hands!  Well... 6 hands since there was 3 of them there that day.  :)

I had an opportunity to talk to the family, and learned a bit about the Habitat for Humanity process and about their journey.  It was so rewarding getting to know them on a more personal level.  It makes the experience much more real, since I can actually tie the homeowners to the house and my experience..

Overall, like I mentioned in a previous post, I really enjoy volunteering and the experience that comes with it.  I have not been volunteering as much time as I'd hoped, but life has been crazy busy lately and at least I have found some time to help with the Habitat For Humanity.


Quick DIY Fall Wreath

In an effort to decorate our house for fall, I decided to make a leafy wreath to hang someplace...  On our front door, perhaps?  I still have to get a door hanger if I decide to hang it there for good.  There was a hole big enough for a screw to hang it on long enough for me to take quick picture.  

Picture taken with my iPhone.  Please excuse the crappy quality.

Here is a step-by-step of how I created the wreath in under 30 minutes.

First of all, I started with an old leafy garland that I had laying around the house.  I've never really LOVED the way it laid, so I decided why not make something else out of it.  Everything I used to make this project I already had, but I know it wasn't very expensive. 

Supplies Needed
-leafy garland or other leafy material
-12" wreath (I used a a straw wreath, still in packaging, but I'm sure a styrofoam one would work just fine)
-hot glue gun and glue
-scissors or wire cutters

Leafy Garland
I cut off the leaves with scissors, since they aren't attached through a wire.  If your leaves are attached through wire, be sure to use wire cutters instead of scissors.  It's nearly impossible to detach them otherwise.

Leaves already cut out and bare wreath

I attached the loose leaves to the wreath with a hot glue gun.  I started attaching them by putting the largest on the bottom layer and staggering them around.  I had them all facing outward til I realized it needed to have some leaves facing inward as well.  So I basically had them going each and every direction. 

All the leaves attached

I actually only used about half of the leaves that I had from the garland, so you may end up seeing some leaves in another project around the house soon. :)  Betcha can't wait, can you? :)

The wreath up close... and yes that is my dog behind it.  I couldn't resist :)

What do ya'll think?  Have you made any DIY fall projects?  I'd love to hear from you about what you've done or if you have any simple decorating ideas for fall!


Starting a Side Business... Wow!

As I'm sure most of you know already, my husband and I have both started up our own business.  Josh has been in school for design and has been getting experience while he can.  I purchased a (new to me) DSLR camera from a friend who took our engagement pictures.  Since purchasing it, I've been playing around tons and just learning more and more and needless to say, I'm ready to branch out.  I've done a few photo sessions and absolutely love it!!  This has to be the best "side" job I've ever had!!

The past few weeks Josh and I have been working to get McEinhart up and going.  Through McEinhart we have Design and Photo, each a separate business.  I can't even count the number of hours spent with writing contracts, giving ideas for my logo to Josh, making business cards and all of the research and time spent behind the scenes.  I love it though!!  I have my Bachelor's in Business and this kinda thing is right up my alley.  Writing contracts is a lot of fun for me (yeah... I'm weird like that)!  Hmm... maybe I should consider Law School again ;)

All in all, I must say that starting up a business has been sooooooo much work, and soooo time consuming, especially considering that we both work full-time and are still trying to have a social life, as well.  But right now is the time to work my butt off while I'm young and without kids, so I can enjoy life when I'm old.

And.... with that being said....

It's movie time!  Josh and I rented Something Borrowed!!  I sure hope it's good!  I could really use a good movie right now.. it's just been too long!

 Oh... and be sure to check out my photo blog to stay up to date with the latest sessions: 


9/11... 10 Years Already?!

I can't believe it's been 10 years since 9/11 happened.  A life-changing day for everyone, not just those involved or those who lost loved ones, not even just Americans.  It affected everyone across the world.  An event that made us feel hopeless and disgusted that anyone could even fathom something so horrible. 

I'm not sure about you, but I remember exactly what I was doing when I heard the news, like it was just yesterday.  I was on my way to school (I was in high school at the time), and remember hearing on the radio that a "plane hit a building".  I remember thinking, "who would be stupid enough to run a plane into a building?!?!" 

Amazing that a "stupid" person running a plane into a building was in fact a terrorist attack.  As Americans, we never thought that could happen to us.  I know at this point, my ideas of America being a fearless country, have been slightly changed.  Now I worry that we AREN'T untouchable; that we can be easily attacked; that they've broken and beaten us down.  We are still trying to pick up the pieces from 10 years ago, and we will never be the same. 

Today, my heart goes out to those thinking of their lost and loved ones from 9/11.  I can only imagine the pain each year at this time. 

It also reminds me of the song by Darryl Worley - Have You Forgotten?  I listened to this song for a long time when it came out.  I love it!

Where were you when you heard the news about the towers being struck??


This Week...

...is my family VACATION.  My hubbs and I, along with my parents, are in Myrtle Beach.  LOVE the beach!! Absolutely fabulous!  Now, if only I could have the beach as my backyard!! 

So... the reason you guys won't be hearing from me this week is because I'm enjoying the beach-ch-ch-ch-ch :)

And don't worry....

When I get back home, I'll be sure to tell ya all about it!!!

I think this may have to be my new picture on here.  Haha!  I love it!!

Now... I know ya'll are wondering how long it took to get this shot... but really, it only took like 3 minutes and 30 pictures.

I LOVE it! 

Oh... and HAPPY LABOR DAY!!  Make sure you don't do any laboring!  Be sure to relaxxxx... on the beach, perhaps? :)


Making Laundry Soap

One of the things I haven't gotten around to yet is making my own laundry or hand soap.  This week at Rural King they have all the ingredients on sale for making your own laundry soap.  So I bought them all.  $14 later, I will have enough soap to fill a 5 gallon bucket and last forever.  Wahoo!! :)  I plan on making this sometime this week so it can sit for a few days while we're on vacation (yes, you read that right!  VACATION!!), even though it only requires 24 hours to sit. 

I originally found out about the sale on The Frugal Family which is a blog that's written by Misty, a mom that lives in Central Illinois and keeps up on couponing and sales.  Much easier for me to follow her blog, than scour the ads each week and compare :)  Thanks, Misty!!!

I'll post the "recipe" for the laundry soap once I have it made, since I may tweak the one she has posted.

Has anyone else ever made homemade laundry or hand soap?  Do you any tips or pointers I need to know about??  Let me know, please!!!


Photo Blog is Up and Running!!

So as I mentioned my last post, I've been working around the clock on editing photos this past week for a couple photo shoots I did last weekend.  One was a Senior Photo Session, the other was for a good friend and her "family" who just moved into a new house and wanted to send out some of those "We Moved" announcements with their house and new address.  So needless to say it's been a bit crazy this past week.  It's just been editing, editing, editing!   

Since I finally got all their photos edited and to the appropriate people, I thought I'd get the McEinhart Photo Blog up and going.  Check it out and subscribe to the RSS or follow me on there, in order to stay up to date on everything! 

Needless to say.......


I'm doing something for ME and something that I enjoy wholeheartedly...



Crazy, Busy Days

Hello, my friends!!

I feel like I've been a bit MIA lately.  I've been quickly going to all my daily reads, and throwing up a post here and there, but really don't feel that I've devoted much time to the blogworld lately. 

I've had 4 photo shoots within a 10 day time period.  So between all the photo snapping and photo editing it's been a bit hectic and exhausting in my world.  BUT.. the good news is that I'm about done with the photo editing at this point.  And should have my new photo blog up shortly, so I can share all those details with you soon, as well.

I know, you can't WAIT, can you? :)  Get EXCITED!!


Laundry Room Sign

Awhile ago I came across an ironing board holder on a blog that I follow and finally got around to making one for myself.  It seems that I don't really have a place to put our ironing board so it ends up just being moved around wherever it's convenient in the basement, which is where our laundry room is located.

Here I am in the beginning of the process.  I had just sanded the board down and sprayed on the first coat of primer.

Next, I sprayed on some flat white paint.  Once the paint dried, I pasted on some letters.  Then came the glossy spray paint to set the letters and give the board a glossy finish, since all I had on hand was a flat white.  After it was painted, I attached 2 coat hooks with screws.  As you can tell I used hooks that were smaller so the ironing board could sit on top of the hooks rather than in them on the bottom row.  This way I'll be able to hang some extra hangers or a clothespin bag below.

The finished product was hung in the laundry room across from our washer and dryer.  And yes, we have an UGLY, unfinished laundry room.  Don't judge, we don't own it!! ;)


Garden Update: Half Dead

I'm sure if you're reading this post, you've kept up with the garden updates from the creation of the garden box here, as well as all the updates here, here, and here.

It has been over 4 months since we built the garden and unfortunately we've lost the zucchini and yellow squash.  We had a pretty bad case of squash bugs and didn't realize it.  The zucchini never actually produced anything.  The yellow squash kept producing little guys about 3 inches big, but then they'd dry up mysteriously.

Once we finally decided to call it quits on them, we pulled them both out.  Now over the past couple of weeks we've noticed our cucumbers dying mysteriously.  We've been watering them just as much as the tomatoes and other plants, but for some reason they were drying up.  Then one day we saw the squash bugs.  That was when we finally called my dad, aka Mr. Garden Extraordinaire, and explained the bug situation and he told us to get Sevin, which is a garden bug spray that wont harm (most) veggies, but kills the bugs.

It seems we finally got rid of all the bugs, but now our cucumber plant is dead... BOO!!  We did get one cuke off it and Josh said it was really sweet and delicious.  So hopefully now that we know what to look for, next year will be more successful.

And you can now see the new marigold plant we planted in place of the zucchini and yellow squash.  

Good news is that the tomatoes and jalapenos (not pictured) are doing just fine.  Still not sure how the popcorn is going to turn out.  Fingers are crossed for that one!!


Photo Session: Denise's "Senior" Pictures

Since I am just starting to get my photography business off the ground, my best friend Denise agreed to do some "Senior" pictures for me, which ironically fall around her 10 year high school reunion.

My FAVORITE from the day