Monday, July 30, 2012

Ruche Bridal Dresses

Hi Guys!

So I came across this awesome site called Ruche.  Some of you might have heard of it, but if you haven't it is AWESOME!  I wish I had seen the site before I got married because some of the wedding dresses are not only amazing but also affordable.

Ruche is owned by a husband and wife team and they sell vintage inspired clothes and accesories that any girl would want to own. 

I also want to say that this is not a paid post just a site that I thought you all would love!

Addison Eve, $75.99

Gabriella Rose, $72.99

Gwen in Pink, $449.99

Isla, $249.99

Tiffany, $349.99

Vivian, $349.99
Aren't they delightful?!  If Meridyth and I get hitched if it becomes legal in Maryland I just might buy one!

Check out there site:  Ruche.

Lots of Love,


Saturday, July 28, 2012

Photographing Products

Owning my own Etsy shop has been a series of trials and error for me.

Learning what I think my products and worth, how to actually make money selling them, packaging, and most of all the photography.

I am a photographer.  For two years I owned my own wedding photography business and supported myself doing it.  However, I consider myself a lifestyle photographer.  I like taking pictures of people, of events, weddings, families, and snapping photographs of my daily life.

Taking pictures of products?  Very, very different!  I especially have a hard time with products that are three dimensional.

I listed my first paper bracelet about a week ago.  Honestly, I wasn't sure about the photographs.
I think there are a few problems. 
1.  The image may be too dark
2.  The background is too busy and the wood that I placed the bracelet on is too dark.  I think both detract from the product and the customer can't see the textures and the colors clearly.

I started looking on the internet and realized that most products that I am attracted too were much lighter.  Taken with a white background so that I was really able to see exactly what the product was.

I decided to do a mini photo shoot and see what I could do.

First, I do have a nice camera!  I was a photographer, remember?!  It is a Canon 5D.
Second, I do have some lenses and I decided to use my 28-70mm so I was able to zoom in on the product.

Third, I wanted a bright light source that I could point at the product in the direction I wanted.  I am able to change the warmness or coolness when I am editing the photograph.  I decided to use my craft light which I bought at Walmart years ago for $15.
I took two pieces of plain white paper and used a stool I use at my craft table also bought at Walmart for $12.  I set the whole thing up against the wall.  I put one piece of paper on the stool and the other on the wall to make the white background.
I took the two finished bracelets and snapped away at all different angles.  The setup does not look professional but it definitely worked!

I am happier with these photos!  I think it is easier to see the bracelets.  I think the shapes, the texture, and the colors stand out against the white background.

I am going to keep working on it, but I am calling this experiment a success!

Until tomorrow,



Thursday, July 26, 2012

Dreamy Beds with Canopy's and Lights

Good morning everyone!

I don't know about you (particularly the ladies!) but I have always wanted a canopy bed in my bedroom.  Since I was a little girl I dreamed of having a big bed with wisps of light colored fabric floating above me while I slept.  This post is a dedication to all of us out there that have always wanted a fantasy bed.
Bed room in private villa @ Kayumanis Nusa Dua found on Flickr by Akira Sekine
Outdoor Canopy Bed by Design Mobel found on Trendir
I think this could actually go in a day room in hour house with a beachy theme!
Enignum Wooden Canopy Bed by Joseph Walsh Creation
This would absolutely fall into the dream beds of my childhood.
Image found on nicespace
I don't know if I could pull something like this off but I love the tree theme.  It would be like living in a magical forrest.
House Design Decorating website
Image Source Unknown (e-mail me and I will gladly site it!)
I LOVE the lights!  I had Christmas light in my room until I moved in with Meridyth six years ago.  Don't tell her but I would still love to put them up in the basement!
West Elm Ellipse Canopy Bed found on hometone
I like the image above.  It is classic and modern and would be something that Meridyth might like too.

After writing this post, but realization for me is that I still want that wispy fabric and fairy lights above my bed.  I probably always will!

What do you guys like?  Do any of you have that "dream" bed?

Until tomorrow,



Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Illness Updates

Hello Everyone!

I am having a great day on this rainy Tuesday and I hope you all are too.

Last week was not great.  On Monday, I suddenly started to feel short of breathe and like my heart was pounding out of my chest.  Like any person that works in a medical office (I work on the nursing staff) I ignored it hoping it would go away. 

However, after all the allergic reactions, the iron infusion, and the adverse reactions to the meds I then had a fainting spell at work on friday.  I was on the phone with a patient and the next thing I know the world was black.  Luckily, I work in a cardiology practice!

They did an EKG, which for those of you that don't know, is when electrodes are placed in certain places on your chest and a machine prints strips of your heart rhythm.

It looks something like this:
My EKG ended up being abnormal.  The doctor in my office wouldn't let me leave until I did a stress echo.  That test is where you walk on a treadmill, stressing your heart, and then they use an ultrasound machine and take pictures of your heart to see how it is beating with the stress of the exercise.

Thank goodness that test was normal!  My Dad then picked me up and I was able to go to my parents (they live about five minutes from work) and I laid down the rest of the day and actually couldn't physically drive home until Saturday.

Today, I am wearing a holter monitor which is a portable EKG machine that attaches to your chest with electrodes.  You wear the machine for up to 48 hours and it continuously records your heart rhythm and pulse.
I think I will feel much better about my pounding heart once one of the doctors at my office tells me everything looks o.k.!

I did have a bit of a breakdown this morning.  I am so sick of being sick!  I personally think that all of the symptoms:  anemia, pounding heart, pain, fainting, anaphalaxis is all related.  The doctors disagree, looking at the symptoms one by one, and treating each one seperately.  I just can't see how they can't be related!

Not feeling well does have some perks however.  I am busy making paper jewelry and soon will have many new products to display for LoveUPaperly.

I am also going to post some info about learning how to take product photographs and show all the craftyness that has been my life lately!

For tonight, I'm going to go eat some ice cream with Meridyth and be amazed at the tiny contraption attached to my chest that is happily recording my heart, somehow making me feel a little bit better.

Until tomorrow,

Lots of Love!


Monday, July 16, 2012

Roommate notes that will make you Laugh

Happy Monday!

How was everyone's day today?  EVERYONE seemed to be in a grumpy mood today, from the cashier at dunkin donuts to the woman working behind the counter when I went to get an xray.

I had found these notes some time ago and I figured it would be good for today to cheer everyone up!

I lived with roommates my whole life.  I usually lived in a group house with at least six people.  These notes brought me back to my college days and made me crack up.  I think most of us can relate!  Enjoy!

Notes originally found on Smosh Pit.

Lots of Love,


Friday, July 13, 2012

Living with a Chronic Illness

Well, we finally made it to Friday! 

This post finds me with sore and bruised arms from the four IV's that needed to be put in my veins in the last two days.  I am a little loopy from the drugs that coursed through them, and feeling defeated and a little bit like a failure for feeling sorry for myself.

I know I have hinted at different chronic health problems but I wanted to share them tonight after the yucky day I have had.

Here is the story:
I did have neurosurgery in November for a blown disk in my neck.  I had my C5/C6 vertebrae fused and I will live for the rest of my life with a titanium rod and screws hopefully holding together the fake disk that was inserted.

That surgery was difficult, still is.  However, the beauty of a surgery like that is that you can feel better.  Everyday was a struggle but now eight months out I do feel better more days than not.

Yet, that is not where my health problems started.  

It started about five years ago with a blood test done by my primary care provider.  I hadn't been feeling well, unusually tired, fatigued, etc...what was discovered was that my iron stores were low.  It was discovered that I usually do not have any iron stores (ferritin) in my blood and if I do it is usually about a 2 or a 3.  This means every time I bleed I have no iron to replenish what was lost.

Now the strange thing.  Nothing brought it up.  Iron pills wrecked my digestive track and with that realization the doctors decided I was bleeding internally somewhere. 

Next came an onslaught of tests.  Lower GI, Upper GI, barrium, IV's with contrast, Endoscopy, Colonoscopy, pill swallow through.  The list goes on!  Good news...I'm not bleeding, bad news, no reason for my iron.

I had genetic testing done, more poked and prodded and then the idea.  Iron infusions!  I had one infusion and strangely started to get an allergic reaction.  Hot, my back ached, felt like my throat was scratchy.  The infusion center decided to outwit the allergic reaction with benadryl, steroids, and zantac/pepcid.  The infusion which should take at most three hours now takes seven.

I come out of the infusions feeling better though.  I had three rounds with three infusions each for a total of nine infusions.  Unfortunately, that last infusion ended with me in the ER on another IV with more Benadryl and steroids.

Forward six years I needed my very first cavity filled.  An hour after it was done I was in the ER with an IV of steroids from the Novocaine.  Now forward a few weeks later when the Doctors thought the pain in my neck was a pinched nerve.  I gladly took a cortisone shot in my neck to relieve the pain.  That day I had another allergic reaction and was in the ER.

While the doctors were waiting for my MRI results to come back from my neck I was prescribed motrin to relieve the pain.  About two weeks later Meridyth and I were back in the ER.  I needed another IV with more steroids and benadryl now they say from advil.  I am now allergic to that too.

At this point I am allergic to iron infusions, cortisone, Novocaine, and NSAIDS (Motrin, Advil, etc...), I am also allergic to oxycodone.  I am figuring at this point I am allergic to myself!

I had another allergic reaction after my surgery and have had maybe two more episodes since then all ending with an epi pen (They definitely hurt!) and an ER visit.

I had an iron infusion yesterday.  You might ask why after all of this, but the truth is I was hoping that if we premedicated before the infusion, but meds in my body through the IV during the infusion, and then tried the infusion I might be o.k.

I was actually excited and though the treatment took 7 hours I was actually feeling really good this morning. Except I noticed that I had some welts on my arms and the skin felt warm.  My energy level was up though so I took a benadryl.  The welts got worse.  I took another benadryl.  Three benadryl's later and crying on my part about letting my co workers down I was back in the infusion center with another IV dripping steroids through my vein so that my reaction would get better.

I wanted to try a different type of iron infusion because when you don't have iron in your blood and nothing brings it up you feel horrible.  I am tired, but not just tired from the everyday grind, I am the kind of tired where some days I don't think I can walk up the steps in our house to get to bed.  I love to live!  I love to travel and see new things and have fun, but I..Have...No...Energy.

On top of this...are you thinking there's more?!  There is!  I have horrible myalgias and neuropathy's.  At first it was thought it was left over from the neurosurgery but it's different.  I went to a rheumatologist who is pretty sure it is fibromyalgia.  Basically, it is just overactive nerves which cause a lot of pain to the point where even having a blanket on your skin or the water from the shower could make you cry.  The doc prescribed lyrica which was actually working really well until my mood changed.  I started to feel depressed.  Very, very depressed.  I stopped the medication and all of the pain came back.

Yet, I think the allergic reactions are the worse.  No matter how much I say I won't get scared, that I know what it is, I still get scared.  I get swollen, and mucous fills up my throat.  My legs and arms swell and get raised and red.  My skin looks like a tomato.  I feel like I can't breathe.  I know I must breathe but I can't.

So, this has been my life.  I am either so exhausted I can't do anything or I am in the hospital being treated for an allergic reaction.  If it is neither of of those I usually have ice packs on my legs and arms to help with the pain.  It is wearing me down, and wearing Meridyth down.

I am hopeful though.  Today was crappy but maybe tomorrow I with feel better.  Everyone teases me I need a doctor House because not one doctor can figure out how or if everything is connected.

However, I am grateful that it is not life threatening, I am grateful that my family rallies around me and picks me up from tons of doctors and hospitals, and everyday that Meridyth tells me she loves me makes me want to get better.

We want to have children, soon, and I want to be ready for that, so I need to fight through this to hopefully come out on the other side.

Now you know when I say I have had a bad week, or don't feel well, or am tired, you know that I was probably in the hospital, my arms hurt from the needles and horrible tape to hold the IVs on, and I have lots of medicine coursing though my brain either making me antsy and agitated, or tired and sad.

I do believe I have something to learn from this.  I'm not sure what it is yet, but I hope you will stay on this journey with me and keep looking at the cool things I find.

Have a great weekend!



Thursday, July 12, 2012

Pencil vs. Camera: Ben Heine

Happy Thursday!  We have all almost made it through the week! 

Today I wanted to share with you a series done by artist Ben Heine.  When I came across these drawings I was so excited because they are

Here is what he say's about them:
"Pencil Vs Camera is nothing but the result of a long graphic exploration and a logic consequence of my artistic evolution. It's a new concept. My primary intention was to create a "battle field" between 2 disciplines: drawing and photography, mixing imagination and reality. The only boundary is my own perception of the world. It's a very exciting project because I can share "pieces of dreams" with the world through illusion and surrealism."

Check out Ben Heine's website for more series and images.

I think this series is so imaginative and whimsical.  I have a few favorites, but the robot with the pencil makes me smile.

Have a great day everyone!



Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Handmade Paper Jewelry

Hello All!

I have been hibernating, not feeling well, these past two weeks.  However, like any true artist when I am feeling sad, what do I do?  I CREATE!

I have so many ideas percolating for my shop, LoveUPaperly.  Unfortunately, it feels like there is not enough time in the day to do it all!

My latest listing is for a beautiful paper bracelet.

I love paper jewelry and have been making it for about two years.  I have sold one ring before, but I stopped selling it because the task felt daunting.  The items take a long time to make and each one is labor intensive that I didn't want to give them up!

However, I love to make it and have received many compliments on them so I decided I really wanted to start to sell them.

I will eventually do a tutorial how I make this, but for now I will just explain.

First, I cut out the shape I want from thin cardboard.  Then I use strips of magazine pages.  I look for interesting colors and patterns.  I layer these using a decoupage method (modgepodge).  The whole process of layering and getting it how I want it to look took about ten hours and lots of gluey hands!

I then covered the bracelet in two coatings of sealant making the item water resistant.  Finishing the bracelet off I cut tiny strips of Velcro so it is easy to put on.  Since it is so lightweight and comfortable it also stays put all day!

I am selling this bracelet for $7.50 on LoveUPaperly.

Lots of Love!