January 27, 2016

my surprise and a blog post

I realized I didn't speak about my "surprise" that I mentioned in a couple blog posts below. I hatched a plan to fly to Spokane, WA last Wednesday to surprise my friend for her birthday, it all went off without a hitch and she was SO surprised and it was SO great! It was one of those moments in life where the long hours of travel, cost, etc. was SO worth it to see her face and to share in her special day, I love things like that -that's the good stuff of life right there.

I finally got around to updating my blog, its always so hard for me to get going once January rolls around! To check out a cute fam head over HERE. Happy Wednesday, y'all! xo

January 25, 2016

processing season

Its been an interesting season (for lack of a better word) in the Winn household lately, lots of processing going on here. Its a new year, and due to certain circumstances its led Adam and I to have many talks about the future, what its going to look like, where we are, where we want to be, what God has for us, what faith really looks like, etc. Some days are easier than others but all in all its been good, just a lot. I invite a lot of people into the crevices of my life to do life with me, people that I know well and trust and who I know love me and the Lord and who genuinely want to see God's will in my life. Its so reassuring to have people speak into your life when you know they are safe and who want good things for you, want Jesus-things for you, and I'm so thankful to have an abundance of these precious people in my life who love me so well. I'm a blessed gal, indeed. I was doing my Bible study homework this morning and one line really struck me today, it said "Remember, God looks on the heart of our desire more than the desire of our heart." [Beth Moore, Believing God] This was really encouraging for me today. I know sometimes I can get really caught up in trying to "make the right call" and I'm reminded, its not always about making the "right" call as much as the process in making the call at all. I spoke to a dear friend of mine today in Waco, I met her through a Bible study she was leading at her church and we've remained good friends ever since. She reminded me too today that God cares about our process and our heart in the process often more than the outcome. Isn't that such good news? I believe with everything in me that God is faithful "even still" (as I often say) and its such a neat reminder that he is looking at our heart in the decision making and not necessarily so focused on our outcome. Sometimes obedience isn't always an easy thing to distinguish, its a good reminder that God gives us brains to make decisions and that he will be faithful to the end. Not sure if someone else out there needed this reminder today, but it was really good for me.

This weekend was really good! Friday we had some dear friends over for dinner and chatted the night away while the kiddies played, love those times. Saturday Adam picked up our new couch and with the help of a precious friend BARELY got it into the guest house in its new home. :) Saturday night we ordered Indian take out and had a chill night at home -lovely. Sunday we met some friends for lunch and I spent the afternoon on the porch enjoying the beautiful day and now here we are at Monday morning (which always seems to come too soon, no?!). This week I MUST do my business taxes (can't put that off forever), my in-laws are coming for a quick visit, and my dear friend Sara is turning 40 and is having a Prom to celebrate! (I bought quite the dress for said occasion! [insert big-eyed face]). Hard to believe February is almost here, that came fast! I hope everyone has a lovely Monday and a great week ahead! xo

January 19, 2016

annnnd still rough....

Man, so far 2016 is NOT my favorite year! We've had some tough stuff going on in this house, I won't over-share here, but its been a hard year so far. Our most current situation seems to be a bathroom issue. Sigh. There seems to be a weird smell from the shower, after doing some research online our best guess is that some plywood has gotten wet, so we'll need to get a plumber out here (AGAIN) and I imagine we'll watch more money fly out the windows. Ah, the joys of home ownership! Today is Adam's first day back to work since mid December (the professor life is a good life :), and B's first day back after a long weekend, its kinda nice to have the house to myself. :) This weekend was good! Aunt Robin and Uncle Lawrence were in town visiting for several days, Aunt Robin and I did some shopping (I ended up scoring a great deal of the comfy-ist couch EVER!) and we ate yummy food and had some great talks. Saturday we all went out to Moreno Valley and I helped to host an engagement party for our cousin and his new fiancée -so fun! Sunday we had a lazy day, we all hung out in our pjs, watched some football, ate grilled cheese sandwiches and just relaxed. This week is kinda busy for me, it involves a secret so I can't say much at this point but the ol' blog will be quiet for a few days. :) I hope everyone's 2016 is off to a better start than ours! Cheers to brighter days ahead! xo

January 11, 2016

Rough Start

Whew, so far 2016 has been kinda rough! Right when we got back from Christmas vacation we picked up our car from the shop, had to pay the deductible, etc. Boo. Then several days later it poured down rain here in CA (which we desperately need) and then we had no hot water. This has happened to us before, when it rains really hard sometimes water gets into our water heater encasement and the pilot light goes out, not a big deal, typically we wait an hour or so and we re-light it. Well, that was not the case this time...we waited a while, tried to light it, nothing happened, this went on for a couple days before we realized we needed to call a plumber. To make a long story short, $1400 later, a new water heater is installed along w/ a gutter on the roof above where the water heater is to re-direct the rain. The $1400 along with the car deductible has made January kinda ICK. And going 4 days with no hot water was no picnic either (imagine heating water on the stove in a kettle and taking it into the shower..no good).

This weekend was busy, Adam and I each hung out with friends on Thursday, Friday we went to our friend Laura's house for dinner and visited with her and her mom (they were our neighbors from our month rental when we first moved here), Saturday I felt like cooking so I spent the day in my kitchen trying new recipes. I made a roasted corn and tomato soup, chocolate peanut butter bars, braised beef and cheddar grits -all of it was pretty darn good if I do say so myself! Our sweet friends came over for dinner and we had a lovely evening chatting the night away while the kids played. Sunday I went to the flea market with my long-time friend and flea market companion, Lauren and then later than day Adam, B and I went to the grove b/c B wanted to spend her AG gift certificate (which she wasn't able to do b/c the item she wanted was out of stock -sad!). Then Adam and I watched The Golden Globes last night to end the weekend, good times and way to go, Leonardo! (Adam and I saw The Revenant Friday morning, it was good, but only1 viewing is needed, but needles to say -Leo deserves all the awards he gets for this one).

This week is going to be a busy one! Birthday lunch, coffee meeting, Aunt Robin coming into town for a few days, my friend Daniel is in town, photo editing, Bible study, helping to host my cousin's engagement party this weekend, etc. The ol' blog will be quiet this week but I hope everyone out there has a lovely week! Thanks for reading and I hope your 2016 has been off to a better start! xo

January 4, 2016

2015 Highlights/Happy New Year

Happy New Year, everyone! I can't believe this will be my 9th year of blogging here on this little corner of the web, wow! I hope everyone had a nice holiday break, we sure did! It was so nice to be in the NW visiting family and relaxing, and then to have some time back at home hanging out with friends and resuming normal life before school started today (which came too early and I wanted to throw the alarm across the room!). I do love the fresh start of a new year, I like the idea of a clean slate and starting a new season with hope for what's to come.

If you've been reading my blog then its probably not a secret that 2015 was not my most favorite year...by a mile, but it was also a year of good things too. I think that's how life often is, some good with some bad, and you just hope and pray there is more good than bad. I want to focus on the good things that 2015 brought so I'm going to do that, I often do a list of highlights of the good and the bad but this year, I'm choosing to just focus on the good here:

*numerous dinner parties with dear friends

*lots of company that came to visit us and stayed at the Winn Cali Cottage

*spending a glorious week in Cabo with some of our favorite people

*a weekend a the beach with sweet friends

*going to see Britney Spears with cousin Mike in Vegas

*going on a fabulous cruise with 2 of our besties to Mexico

*one of my life-long best friends coming to visit and getting 3 whole days with her all to myself

*the numerous visits to Texas to visit friends

*the several nights at the Cal Phil with our good friends

*going to see my all-time favorite band Toad the Wet Sprocket with Adam

*going to Denver, CO to see Taylor Swift with a Waco friend who had also recently moved

*our annual trip with Doug, Kemi and cousin Mike to root the Ducks onto victory in Boulder, CO

*B turning 9 and having her party at the American Girl doll store in LA

*spending my birthday weekend in Palm Springs with my sister, bro-in-law and Adam

*buying last minute Justin Bieber tickets and rocking out at the Staples Center with my little family

*the many coffee dates, lunch dates, Bible study mornings, etc. with sweet friends who enrich my life and continually remind me what life is really about

2015, I'm not at all sad to see you go but thank you for all that you brought, the good, the bad, and the ugly, I know some years are just harder than others and this was one of mine, but cheers to 2016! Happy New Year, all! xo

December 17, 2015

blogged!

I've blogged a couple mini sessions from the Pacific Palisades over HERE, check it out! xo



December 15, 2015

fender bender

Sigh.....so California finally got some much needed rain, that's the good news, the bad news is Californian's don't know how to drive in said rain. The other night we were coming home from dinner, about 2 blocks from our house, it was dark and rainy, we were at a red light and then the light turned green and we went to make a right turn, as did the person in front of us...only the person in front of us ran up on the curb and ran into a light pole, as we turned the corner we inevitably rear-ended him as his car was half in the street, half on the curb and we had no way of seeing him before we turned the corner. One insurance person said it shouldn't be our fault since his accident caused a chain of events, another person said we hit him from behind so that's on us -WHAT?! We had literally no where else to go but into his rear! Its maddening, I'm not yet sure what the end result will be but I spent my morning dropping off my car and getting a rental. BIG SIGH. There is clearly never a good time for a car accident but the added stress/$ at the holidays is a big ol' bummer. Booooo.

On a lighter note, we had a nice weekend! Our Friday night plans got cancelled since our poor friends got sick, so we stayed in and had a chill evening. Saturday I ran some errands and that night the 3 of us went out for pizza and then went to the annual Christmas lighting on Christmas Tree Lane here in Altadena, that was so fun! Sunday we listened to a sermon online from our church in Texas and then went out to this cute place in South Pasadena that serves cereal and grilled cheese sandwiches and had breakfast, then we went to the park where we celebrated B's 1st birthday. Sunday night we met some friends for dinner and then got in a car accident and then had them over for dessert -fun times (minus said accident). I've been baking like a crazy person, lots of cookies, fudge, peanut butter balls, etc... I don't want to know what the scale says but tis the season, right?!

I hope everyone out there is having a better week-start than me! Looking forward to Christmas and having a nice, relaxing break coming up. xo

December 8, 2015

some thoughts on forgiveness

The other day I was part of a hard conversation, several people were talking about this tragic event that took place recently wherein a pregnant woman was raped by 3 men and then shot in her own home while her infant child slept in the house. Her husband came home shortly thereafter and realized he had left the door unlocked when he went for his early morning workout. There is more heartache here than I can even wrap my mind around but the topic of the conversation quickly turned to that of forgiveness. Apparently the deceased woman's husband is a pastor and was on a news program preaching forgiveness and how he knew that is what he needed to do. Someone in the conversation made mention at how ridiculous that notion even was...and I think it wasn't so much that he didn't think it was the "right" thing to do inasmuch as an impossible and unrealistic task. We discussed how yes, it seems a lot of time would need to take place and God would really have to do some mighty work to allow forgiveness to happen, but it begged the question of how could that even be what is required? We all have a hard time forgiving those who have wronged us when murder of a loved one isn't involved (or maybe I should just speak for myself here? I have a hard time). Let me jump forward a bit, a month or so ago I found myself in a conversation discussing the existence of God with someone, we each have our own experiences we bring to the table that shape our thoughts and opinions as one would expect, but here's the deal, God has proven himself to me time and time again, I would be the idiot not to believe, but moreover, I choose to believe God exists because that is literally the only way the world and its brokenness makes sense to me. I believe that God will do what he says he will do and that in the end, he will make all things right. But here's also the "deal" -I want to believe. I want to live and raise my daughter believing that there is more to this hard, broken, earthly life where people can be raped and murdered and to know without a doubt, that isn't the end. Back to the topic of forgiveness, I think we can all agree that the widowed husband would fare better in life to forgive those men who took his wife, being bottled up with rage an anger will ultimately eat him alive, right? But to go through the process of real forgiveness seems like such a hard and daunting task...does it not? But here's the thing about Jesus, he asks us to do things that we don't want to do, that seem really unfair and hard, and where earthly justice doesn't necessarily get served - isn't that just so ughhhhhhhhh (insert cringy crying face) for lack of a better word. That when someone hits you we're supposed to turn the other cheek? That if someone asks for us to walk a mile were to go two? Isn't it just like Jesus to ask for such an extravagant response that we can't.even.wrap.our.minds.around.it.? And really, any one who has forgiven the unforgiveable, aren't they the ones who turn out blessed, who have the amazing story of redemption and healing and freedom that only real forgiveness from Jesus can bring? The movie "Unbroken" (as hard as it is to watch, and sadly ends before the really good stuff happens -do some research on the real story, the forgiveness/redemption is beyond words), is such a neat picture of the torture that someone can endure but with whom Jesus can do a mighty work and bring about healing because he did the hard work and chose to forgive his persecutors. Isn't that the stuff that movies are made of (literally)? Only Jesus can do that. When people really don't think there are signs of a living God I'm almost at a loss for words, there are stories all around us of something extraordinary that can only be explained in miraculous ways -in Jesus ways. It reminds me of the quote "If you never listen you'll never hear the voice of God calling your name." Please here me here, I'm no expert at/on forgiveness, in true transparency (which really, is the only way I roll) I kinda suck at it, but I know its what I'm called to do and so I go after it. In my lifelong quest to be more like Jesus I work at forgiveness, sometimes it haunts me and I confess in several areas of my life I'm not there yet, but I'm thankful for a God who's paved the way and doesn't ask anything of me that He hasn't done himself. You see, Jesus can ask extravagant things of us, because He is extravagant in His love and sacrifice for us. Come Lord Jesus, come. xo

December 7, 2015

Waiting/Advent

This past weekend went fast, too fast in fact. Last night B said "I feel like we need 1 more day of the weekend, that went too fast!" Friday night we stayed home and had a cozy night of Thai take out, Christmas music and cookie baking, it was lovely. Saturday our cousins came early in the day and stayed until very late in the afternoon -it was so fun! Plans had been in the works for ages for Saturday and it was so fun to have everyone together jumping on the trampoline, doing Christmas crafts, watching movies/football, decorating Christmas cookies, eating pizza, etc. So fun. Right as our company walked out the door we hopped in the car to go to our friends house for dinner where we spent the evening eating good food and playing with some dear friends. Sunday I had a shoot on the west side of town so I made the most of it by doing some Christmas shopping and eating by myself...it was pretty great. :) All in all a great, busy weekend!

Isn't it so crazy how as a child the season of advent seems to take forever and the countdown to Christmas is soooo slow and as an adult there don't seem to be enough hours in the day to get it all done? I feel like a lot of Adam's and my life together can be described as a season of waiting, we've done more than our fair share in the 15 years we've been married. Each year for the past 7 years (the last one not withstanding) our whole year was a season of waiting, in the fall we waited to see what jobs would be posted, in the winter we waited to see if we'd get an interview, in the spring we waited to see if we'd get the job, etc.. It was an exhausting season, and at times seemed endless. Now that he's in year 2 of "the job" its still weird to not be in the "job waiting" but we find ourselves in other kinds of waiting. I don't want to go into that too much b/c some things aren't worth talking about at certain points, but as one example, we're still waiting to see where we'll end up at church. This has been an exhaustive road and one that has left us wanting. I've never not been in church my whole life and we've taken a couple months off...I miss it, I can feel the void of that part of our lives and anticipate it being filled again. The older I get I realize just how much of our lives involve waiting and waiting can be so hard and it can be so hard to do well. My Waco pastor said "When you learn to wait well, something transformative happens." I think this is true, and I know its something I've struggled to do well but something I hope to get better at with time. In this season of advent I've admittedly been waiting on other things more than the birth of our Savior and I hope to be more intentional about that in the coming weeks. I hate that I get caught up in getting Christmas cards out, gifts purchased, photos edited, and events planned more than I get caught up in Jesus -I want to be better, He is so worth anticipating and celebrating. xo

December 3, 2015

the thing about the holidays for me is....

...its the busiest time of year for my job and it makes me a little nutty nut bears. Its been busy over here! I've been editing like a crazy person, giving myself carpal tunnel to get folks their photos quickly so they can get holiday cards going-whew! I don't want to sound like I'm complaining, I'm super thankful for the work, I'm just a tad over my computer screen right now. :) Last night the 3 of us went out to get our Christmas tree, we don't normally get it until the first weekend of December but since we're gone for a chunk of the month we want to enjoy it as much as we can. We're calling this year's tree "the scoliosis tree." The trunk is super twisty which made it very hard to put in the stand and the topper is in sad shape! Most of the trees weren't out of their "sleeves" yet and time was an issue so, needless to say, its not our best tree ever but it will work (unless it falls over...which, to be honest is a strong possibility!). So, I just wrapped up editing a newborn session and I'm going to  go put the lights on the tree so B can help decorate it when she gets home from school. I hope everyone is having a lovely day, head on over HERE to check out this sweet little guy and his cute fam! xo

 
 

November 29, 2015

Thanksgiving 2015 -that's a wrap!

It always goes too fast! We had a lovely Thanksgiving break with cousin Mike, he left today and so now the house feels too quiet. :( We had a great time, though! We went out for great Chinese food, I made the traditional T-Day feast and we all ate too much and sat around watching football, we went to a couple movies, ate some more and watched some more football - fun times. :) Now I'm doing laundry, catching up on some work, and starting to put away Thanksgiving decorations to make room for Christmas ones. I hope everyone out there had a lovely Thanksgiving with friends and family! Head on over HERE to check out this engagement shoot from Waco! xo


November 24, 2015

I'm thankful for....

my sweet B! I blogged B's 9 year photos over HERE, check it out! xo

November 23, 2015

T-Day week is finally here

I really do love this week, but I love it even more when Adam finally gets home (tomorrow)! I would really like to talk to the scheduler of his conference about doing it a different time of year! B and I have had a pretty good time so far, but today, she woke up sickie. Sigh. B is rarely under the weather and her timing isn't so great when it does happen. I'm hoping this is just a little 24 hour bug and that she'll be back to her old self by tomorrow! I really need to get to the store, my T-day list is made and the supplies need to be gathered! I'm trying 2 new recipes this year, a new and improved green bean casserole and a maple bacon turkey! Ina Garten's turkey recipe is usually what I make and it never lets me down, hopeful for good things with the change-up, fingers crossed! Well, I've got another coat of pain to put on the new (old) door, and some editing to do so I'm gonna get after it! Head on over HERE to see some cute family photos! xo

November 18, 2015

Perch & Brussel Sprouts

Last week a group of us gals went to the swanky Perch restaurant in Los Angeles to celebrate some November birthdays and it was FABULOUS. If you are in LA and want to try a trendy place -GO! We ate outside on the rooftop deck overlooking downtown and it was just so so lovely. What was especially great...the brussel sprouts. I didn't know what I've been missing all my life! Lately I've been obsessed with this salad at this cute restaurant in Pasadena that also has brussel sprouts in it so now I'm officially on a brussel sprout kick! Here's what I've realized, brussel sprouts with balsamic, parmesan cheese and bacon is just about heaven. I made some at home last night for the first time and half my plate was brussel sprouts b/c they were so good-AND B didn't even seem to mind them! VICTORY!!! So, if you're at all intrigued, just google some recipes w/ those ingredients, I bet you'll be amazed if you're not a fan already! In other news, I blogged one of my besties and her cute fam so head on over HERE to check it out! xo

November 16, 2015

Justin Bieber/Venice Blvd/Cheesey Lasagna

Whew! This was a fun and busy weekend! Justin Bieber released his new album this past week and he held a last minute concert at the Staples Center here in LA. Tickets were too cheap to not take advantage of this opportunity so, Adam, B and I went a heard the Biebs on Friday night! It was pretty cool, he did a Q&A and then just sang some acoustic music, no bells and whistles, just a low key show, fun. :) Saturday morning we lounged around the house and then I went and got my first blow out at Pasadena's "Dry Bar." It was fun having someone style my hair since ever since I got it cut I feel like I don't do such a great job. :/ Then Adam, B and I hopped in the car and drove to Venice Blvd where we had our family photos taken, fingers crossed we get some good ones! My friend had told me we must eat at Gjelina so we gave it a whirl. They service was slow and rude (its a pretty snobby place) but the pizza was pretty darn great and I loved the atmosphere. Then we stopped by Blue Star Donuts and paid way too much for these little nuggets of gold, but, truth be told -they were pretty darn good. Really unique flavors and very dense donuts, I'll be going back. :) Yesterday I had a photo shoot, went to the grocery store and made my friend's mother-in-law's lasagna recipe. Its been ages since I made a lasagna but it turned out pretty darn good! (I mistook an "oz" for a 0 so needless to say, it was CHEESE-y~!). Our long-time friends came over for dinner and we spent the evening chatting away and catching up on life. It was a very full and very good weekend, just how I like 'em. :) This week always brings some bluebirds for me and B b/c Adam heads to his yearly conference this weekend (boo!), we always hate it when daddy's gone. :( I'm trying to think of some fun things for us to do, I do have to work a bit, I have a couple photo shoots in Pacific Palisades so, hopefully a play date for B! And then cousin Mike comes for T-Day! I've been scouring recipes, hope to try a couple new things this year! I hope everyone had a lovely weekend too, happy Monday, all! xo

My clients were late to our shoot yesterday so I took some pics while I was waiting. Here's the lovely Pasadena City Hall.