Tuesday, January 31, 2012

life is short, so laugh and flip your hair.

I adore hair. I always have--especially long hair. I couldn't resist the fair weather today, so I dragged Liv out and demanded a laughter-and-flipping-of-the-hair photo shoot. The sunlight was filtering through the trees, and though we only had ten minutes, we enjoyed ourselves immensely.

At least, I did. :]

..And since I am in the photog mood: I have never been to Paris, but our fair city of Portland the other night whispered of it. I'm no city girl, but there is something about the flickering, dancing firefly lights of a thousand windows on a city night that is beautiful. And so is a charmingly European cafe + street bokeh.

I couldn't resist a shot.

...Nor could I resist a few impromptu self-portraits...

^ Attractive, no? ;)

Hey, girl. Slow down. Life is short, so go laugh and flip your hair, take a photo every day, do silly things, curl your hair with socks, make a finger puppet, write a rambling blog post filled to the brim with happy photos, tell someone you love them, and most of all

don't forget who you are and Who's you are.


ps~ i am now an official member of the loverly inspiration-filled Pinterest. Care to welcome me? ;)

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Monday, January 30, 2012

beautiful friendship.

So many words could define "friendship."

 Beautiful. Tender. Loving. Sweet. Priceless. For who could put a price on friendship? It is not something to be bought, or even something to be earned--but something given.

I have many sweet friends whom I couldn't imagine life without. Close friends, good friends, acquaintances who make life fun--I love them all.

We have similarities, we have differences, we have inside jokes, laughter, memories, photos, stories. It is so true that friends can influence you greatly, and I am blessed to have friends who honor God and encourage me (cue pictures of some of my bestest friends).

..And what about when friendships get rocky?

False friends only want your friendship to gain something from you or because you have something they want--but true friends will stay beside you even if you are the poor and desolate. 

False friends are jealous--real friends rejoice with you and what you have.

False friends always believe they are in the right--real friends are the first to say "I'm sorry." 

False friends think they deserve your friendship--real friends never take it for granted.

False friends ignore and are rude to you for no reason--real friends would never dream of hurting you.

..And how do I know so much about false friends? Because I've had them.

This past year I've realized that though I should always offer my friendship freely and lovingly, there are those who take it and step all over it--they may even be fellow Christians, but they are not worthy of my time or pursuit. 

I am the type of person who cherishes my friendships, and tries and tries and tries to keep every friend close to me.  I've discovered that I need to just let go of those who are hard to keep--because if they're hard to keep, they're not worth it. My friendship is still open and offered to them, but I will not pursue false friends.

False friends are not the friends to have, and this year I am determined to purge myself from them. Not because I want to, but because if I don't...they will bring me down.


So what do I want to do about it? 

I can' fix others, but I want to make sure I am always a real friend, and that I never take the friendships offered to me for granted.

I want to be known as an understanding, loyal, loving person who isn't just a true friend to the popular, good-looking (though I can safely say that every single one of my friends are amazingly beautiful), and outgoing, but to the different ones.

Friendship is beautiful. Let's not forget it.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

do your eyes smile?

I'm sitting here eating cake batter and thinking about smiles. 

I love smiles (and cake batter). Who doesn't (like smiles, I mean)? I think that of all the things God made humans capable of, the act--no, art-- of smiling is one of the best. And since there are tons of cute quotes our there about smiles: 

"A smile is the light in the window of your face that tells people you're home."

..True, right? I mean, even the very spelling of the English word, S-M-I-L-E, looks like a smile (I love it when words do that..). So they must be important. :) 

Nevertheless, smiles have their shortcomings, too. The only thing I don't like about them is how easily they can deceive us. It is just so easy to put on a smile and pretend everything is just fine in the world.

..Or is it?

Awhile ago, a girl confessed to me that she "hated her smile." I told her that she had a beautiful smile,  which she did. But what I didn't tell her was that  it wasn't as beautiful as it could be, for one reason: her lips smiled, but her eyes didn't. And it showed.

It's crazy to think about it, but our eyes, our "windows into the soul," truly are exactly that. Some people are experts at hiding their feelings, but even the best can't fake a genuine smile. I love meeting people who's joy--even when they're going through the roughest of times--spills out of them everywhere...through their smile.

Habits are usually bad things. But wouldn't it be lovely to get in the habit of smiling--not just with our lips, but with our eyes, too? I know it's not as easy as it sounds, especially when days are rough. But God promises to give us His joy if we ask for it, and I think smiling comes along with the package.

So ask yourself--do your eyes smile when you do? :)


Monday, January 23, 2012

remnants of white + challenge winners

It's gone. 

The beautiful mantel of white that covered our ugly muddy landscapes for such a short while, making us believe the world was sparkly clean--yes, that is gone. We had a grand twelve inches for a delicious two days, but now the grey-green is returned.

I miss the beauty of the snow, for I know it will not be returning soon.

..Speaking of beauty, I have photo challenge winners to announce! There are no prizes; simply the thrill of the challenge. ;) It was unanimous, though--our "winner" for this month is:

"Blue Eyes After the Storm"
by Makenna 

Truly a beautiful shot. Thank you, Makenna, for capturing "the little things" so well.

Happy Monday, friends.


- all photos copyright 2012 l.m.m., aside from the last photo which is copyright Makenna. // please do not use without permission. - 

Friday, January 20, 2012

better blogging tips from lucia.

I have been blogging for two years this month. It has been a great, inspiring, growing experience, and I can't even begin to say how much my writing, creativity, and photography skills have been enhanced by having a blog.

But. There was a time when I was a boring blogger (I hope the same isn't said for me today!). I lacked creativity, I lacked motivation, I even lacked continuous posts. Maybe that was because I was so new to it all, and I had no idea what I was doing. I wish I had come upon a post of blogging tips (which are happily supplied by so many bloggers now) back then--I might have come out of my non-inspirational shell sooner. Alas, I had to learn the hard way--through experiance.

Even after two years (wow! You guys have watched me grow up. *sniff*), I in no way consider myself a "pro" at blogging. Who is, really? I've decided that there is no such thing as "better-than-you" blogging, but there is such a thing as improvable blogging. Take it from someone who still needs improvement. 

I decided to write my own little list of "better blogging tips" just for fun, and in the hopes of helping someone out there who is like me (or to entertain you, if nothing else). Plus, I need to remind myself of all of these things, and lists always make things so much more manageable. 

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1. "There's no one who's you-er than you." 
..A.k.a., be unique. I know this is cliche, but really--I struggle with it. The trends right now in the blogging world seem to be all fashion, make-up tutorials, interior design, and lowercase letters. I'm not saying you can't incorporate some of those into posts once in awhile if you have something you want to share, but...if you didn't start out as a Vogue blog, don't suddenly leap into daily outfit posts just because everyone else is doing it. 

So find your own niche, even if it's simply posting about your family and animals around your farm. Your blog is by you, so it needs to reflect you. Could your family could read your blog and know who's writing it was without even asking? 

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2. Post like a boss. 
Being yourself is great, but try to get beyond using a whole post to say, "It snowed today. We had fun making forts" -- and then posting a picture of a snow man you found on Pinterest. I'll discuss the photos thing next, but always try to think outside the box. Describe how you felt when you saw the first snowflakes drifting from the sky, include pictures of your siblings laughing during a snow ball fight...you get my jist. Write a post that you know you would love to read. 

Secondly, besides make your posts fun to read, make them readable (I'm going to be contradicting myself here, because already this post is getting lengthy--but I have to say in this case, it's acceptable. ..Right? ;). 
There's nothing that hurts the eyes more than a huge post with ten paragraphs and squished font. If you need to do a long post, break it up with photos and spaces between lines. 

When posting pictures, don't load 25 into one post. I adore pictures, but my internet is slow and literally chokes if it has to load more than 10 pictures at one. 

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3. Original photos = for the win.  
I used to be so bad at this. First of all, me + my camera were not best friends two years ago. Secondly, me + my computer's picture up-loader were mortal enemies. Copying and pasting from WeHeartIt and Google Images was just so much easier...and really, there's nothing wrong with this. I just always failed to link back to the source. Not because I wanted people to think I had taken the pictures, just because I didn't think.

 ..But really, people love seeing your own work, and what you come up with. So try to use your own photos as often as possible (I'm totally contradicting myself here and using pictures from Pinterest for this post). Either that, or be sure to link either below your photos or after your post. It's being nice, and it will keep you out of trouble, too!  

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4. Spread the love. 
If you appreciate your readers' comments, send some love back to them! This is another thing I'm really bad at--but I can truthfully say that I've visited every single one of my commenter's blogs (yes, your's, dear reader!). I don't have the time to comment on all of those blogs, but I try to leave some comments when I can. 

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5. Numbers are just numbers. 
Speaking of "popularity," most bloggers I know are, understandably, on the quest to gain more followers. Is this a bad thing? No. It's fun to know that people like what you write and do enough to follow you, and the more the merrier, right? Followers are great, and are a part of what makes blogging fun. But only a part. If you're getting to the point where every time you lose a follower you feel tears rising to your eyes, or you immediately go to your blog's facebook page and say, "I lost a follower today! Ahh! What did I do? I am so depressed!" ...chances are, you're taking things way too seriously.

I've lost a lot of followers in my blogging time. Sure, it's not a happy feeling, but I've learned just to shrug and ignore it. I am honored that the followers I still have are there, and it is a true statement that when you forget about the numbers, suddenly they don't even matter as much. I don't really like the statement, "You're blogging for you, so forget about the followers!" because it isn't true for me. Sure, I blog for me, but I blog to give others encouragement and (hopefully) inspiration, too. If you think about it, even having an audience of ten other people is huge. Imagine ten people listening to you, and only you, talk! Then think about 30. 70. 100. 

..Numbers are just numbers, but sometimes they're bigger than we think. 

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6. Advertising and gloating: big no-no's. 
So you have 400 followers. Great! It's a good feeling. But remember? Followers don't define who you are as a blogger, so don't go bragging about it:

"355 followers today! Yes!" ..then the next week: "We're up to 356! Keep 'em coming!" 

...Followers are fun, and I know it's exciting to gain another one, but this^ is basically bragging. It's totally fine to announce milestones, such as 50 or 100 or 500, because those are milestones. But don't gloat--even if you aren't meaning it, because it comes across that way and people will think you're obsessed. 

Another thing is advertising. If you are just getting started on blogging and would like a few more readers to make the experience exciting, it's totally okay to do a little advertising. But don't visit the most popular blogs out there and leave a comment like, "You are invited to follow my blog." Ever heard of Steve Finell? He pretty much visits every blog out there and leaves a comment exactly like this. As a result, he has over 3,000 followers, but...can someone say, "annoying?" 

Instead, leave a genuine comment just because you want to, but get in the habit of leaving your blog link after your name. That way, if people want to visit your blog, they will--and won't feel pressured into it! 

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7. Design matters.
This is really stressed out there by all bloggers giving tips, mainly because it's so important: have a good design. In other words, if you are serious about blogging, spend a little extra time (or even some money, if you want something really special) on your blog's appearance. Make it look simple, yet eye-catching.  People will come back to your blog if it looks nice, but will steer clear and not even give you a chance if it looks boring, so do some work or find a reasonable design studio and get that blog looking spiffy. 

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8. Break it up. 
Change your blog around sometimes. Get a new design after a few months--write a variety of posts, even if you are a solely photography or cooking blogger. Keep your readers interested, and try to enter into their worlds through post questions and activities like giveaways, blog parties, or photo challenges.  


..Do you know what my favorite kind of blog is? Yes, there's no denying that I like a place with inspiring projects, amazing photos, and uplifting articles...but if your blog makes me feel like I could grab a cup of tea and sit down to read your corner of the web like I'm chatting with an old friend, you are a truly good blogger. 

Keep doing what you're doing, friend. Maybe your blog could use a few tweaks, or some things could be changed, but don't change your style if it ends up changing you. A blog that truly reflects its author is the best blog of all. 


// all photos via Pinterest //

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

first snow.

[click for larger view]

Oh, how I love a first snow. Fresh, clean, new, white, crisp--there is nothing more cozy or thrilling than waking in the morning to snowflakes raining from the heavens, gathering on the ground and embellishing the trees.

Snow. One of God's finest, most beautiful creations. And this northwestern girl and her camera aren't taking any of it for granted. Winter just doesn't seem like winter without it.

Have you seen snow yet this year?


// all photos copyright 2012 l.m.m. - please do not use without permission. //

Monday, January 16, 2012

"the little things" challenge finalists

First of all, w.o.w. 

..I had such a hard time choosing only five photos from fifty-four. I saw way more than five amazing shots, and was tempted to have twenty finalists instead of five. ;) But, I decided to stick with my original plan and attempt the grueling task of choosing

 In the end, here are the five photos I felt best showed me "the little things" uniquely. 

By Makenna. This is just so close, so intimate. The focus is just perfect, and I have never seen this true-to-life expression captured before! Stunning. 

By Marcia.  I love closeness of the shot, the deep color of the eggs, and the way they are nestled so sweetly in their home. 

By Mary, who managed to capture the ever-moving legs of a toddler with perfection. What gorgeous fall colors, and lovely bokeh! I especially love the subject: truly a "little thing" that is so important. 

By Lauren. What a quaint, pretty shot! Lauren captured the "little things" in life via her miniature jug and jar. I love the colors, and how big the blueberries look from this vantage point! 

By Libbi. This is just darling--candid shots are the best. I love the focus, the pig tails, the polka dots,  everything!

..Now, it's your turn! Vote for your fave on the poll on the sidebar, and we'll announce winners next week, as well as showcase some honorable mentions and favorites from other participants. 

Thank you all so much for participating, and please consider joining me for next month's photo challenge (which is yet to be announced).  :) 


Friday, January 13, 2012

i'm human, and it's beautiful.

Have you looked in the mirror today?

Have you seen those features, perfectly formed by a Master Creator who made you as unique as each star that shines in the universe--as each snowflake that falls unknown, yet intricate, on an undiscovered plain?

Have you ever stopped to consider why you're here? Why you were born right where you were--why you were placed in this generation, in this century, in this exact place on the map? 

It's easy for us--more specifically, for me--to lose sight of who we really are. Why is it so hard for me to realize that I'm not just a person, aimlessly floating about the earth doing random things and climbing up the ladder of life for no reason whatsoever.

Why has humanity become so casual?

Why do I keep falling into the mindset that I deserve this life?

Friends, we all share one thing in common, though we come from different races, nations, backgrounds--though some of us may have endured unfathomable hardships: we all have this moment. 

We each have a time, a chunk of existence that is our's, given to us by Him. 

It's more than just ordinary--it's extraordinary. It's beyond my comprehension to understand why God has chosen to give you and me, as we sit here , in this moment, a part in His plan. In His world. 

We're human, but it's more than just a word; a casual thing. We're His creations, and we have a purpose. 

Don't forget it. Remember that you are human, and it's beautiful--because it's only a mirror of what is to come in the fullness of time. 

-all photos copyright 2012 l.m.m. // please do not use without permission (pinterest is accepted) -

Thursday, January 12, 2012

comfort food // buttermilk biscuits

Comfort food. Those warming, homey goodies that give you a certain feeling which surpasses all the French bonbons and caramelized pears in the world. And that's one thing I love about America. We may not have cultured manners or caviar, but we have friendly food--and we do it right. 

It was cold today. Bone-chillingly cold. Sure, the sun was shining and the sky was blue (typical crazy northwestern winter weather over here), but the chill that was in the air made it a day for comfort food. 

When I think "comfort food," I think curling up in a big, over-stuffed sofa with my fuzzy socks on, a big bowl of chicken noodle soup--and buttermilk biscuits. I didn't accomplish the curling up part today, but we had some chicken soup and a good recipe for biscuits handy. 

So, I took the opportunity. 

>>Comfy Buttermilk Biscuits 

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tblsp. sugar
1/2 cup shortening
2 tsps. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
3/4 cup buttermilk 

Preheat over to 450 degrees.

Cut shortening into sugar, flour, baking soda, salt, and baking powder, criss-crossing two knives together until the mixture looks like fine crumbs. Then add the buttermilk and mix until the dough comes away from the sides of the bowl.

Roll or pat the dough on a hard, slightly floured surface until it is 1/2 inch thick. Using desired cutter, cut shapes and place on pan. Bake 10-12 minutes, or until the tops are slightly browned. 

...And just f.y.i., strawberry jam + buttermilk biscuits is always an upgrade. :] 

What is your comfort food? 


ps~ that recipe was all from memory. so trust me on this, but if your biscuits taste funny just blame me. ;) 
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