Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Between Light and Dark

One of the recently checked-off items on my 26 while 26 list is "take a photography class."

When I came up with this item for the list, I had absolutely no idea where I'd take the class... I was just hopeful that I'd figure it out over the next 364 days. Needless to say, I was super excited to see that Ely Fair was going to be teaching a class!

I signed up for the class in early November, so my anticipation was building for over two months. The class totally delivered!

Elyse was so kind and brought a little gift for each of us in the class. She "teased" us with this photo on Instagram -- I immediately took a screenshot, sent it to my mom and said, "That's me!"

I'm sure you're dying to know... "What's in the box?!"

Well, I'll tell you! 

In the box I found: A darling notebook, pencil, photography principles notecards for classroom note-taking, and a lens cleaning cloth that also serves as a cheat sheet!

Man, the girl is thoughtful AND creative -- plus she's uber talented. She takes seriously awesome photos. (this one might be my favorite)

After learning where to find the shutter speed, aperature, and ISO adjustments on my camera, it was time to start playing and practicing!

The next hour became all about finding that place between too light and too dark.

... and realizing that I have to pay attention to where my focal point is -- otherwise the brownie muffin in the background will be crystal clear and the foreground will look like my morning vision before I put my contacts in.

Thanks for the class, Elyse!

It was such a beautiful afternoon to be at Kitchen No. 324 and learn all about how to intelligently use my camera.

xoxo, E

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Big Dreams, Dumbfounded Moments

You might have seen on Facebook (or on Loops & Belles' Instagram) that I had a pretty big announcement to make last Friday. Yes, I keep having "big announcements," but to be fair, big things keep happening!

I am absolutely over the moon to say that Chirps & Cheers is now carrying Loops & Belles.

But let me back up a few steps...

I was in the store shopping after the New Year and Susan asked me how things were going with the cards. I updated her on the Green Bambino news and said that I had some new designs to release over the next few weeks. 

Susan then said, "Well, I want to talk to you about having your cards in the store."

You guys. I was dumbfounded.

I had told someone a few months prior that while some people dream of having their products in Target (and don't get me wrong, I'm one of those people), one of my big dreams is to have my cards in Chirps & Cheers. 

The store is heaven for any paper person and has fostered my love of snail mail over the years.

And you guys, Loops & Belles is on their shelves!!!

So much excitement. So much joy. So much gratitude. I still can't believe it!!

I think I may be squealing over this for the next few months. I have fallen in love with so many products and designers because of this shop, and now my cards are among them. 


I know that I'm gushing, but I just can't help myself!! 

Allow me to compose myself to say this: Susan has been so supportive, encouraging and offered such great advise as I've worked to build my business. It is such a privilege to know her, and it means the world to me that Loops & Belles is in her store. 

I can't believe that January is almost over. 2015 has been so wonderful to me thus far! In honor of how speedy January has been - and how quickly February 14 will be here - I want to give you all a little Valentine's gift...

Through Saturday, receive a FREE card of your choice with any Loops & Belles purchase. Just include which card you'd like in the notes section at checkout! 

xoxo, E

Friday, January 23, 2015

A Little More Progress - 26 while 26

In case I haven't said it enough, the weather this past weekend was absolutely astounding! In addition to going to Ft. Worth and the zoo, I knocked two more 26 while 26 items off my list!

First up - I had a few friends over to play card games on Sunday afternoon. We laughed and shared stories for three hours straight. How great are these minion playing cards that Erick picked up in the dollar section of Target?!

"Kings in the Corner" was followed by a few rounds of "Cards Against Humanity." I'm not ashamed to admit that I laughed harder than I have in a very long time, for about 5 minutes straight, to the point of tears streaming down my face at the thought of a Biblical plague of boogers. (Yes, it was the card I played, but still! Can you imagine boogers raining down from Heaven?!)

Anyway. We had such a blast, and I think this is going to be a regular thing!

Second - I had the day off from work on Monday, so I decided to tackle my "spend some time at the driving range" goal. 

Please disregard my terrible form - and then my even worse form. The last time I took a golf lesson was like 15 years ago. I also do not plan on returning to golf unless it's simply to drive the cart. 

Whew, glad that item is checked off the list! I'm not someone who enjoys doing things that I'm not good at, so I'm excited to move on to some of the more fun goals on my list! 

Like the photography class I'm taking tomorrow :)

I've also got some more big news for Loops & Belles to share next week. I'm so very excited!!

xoxo, E

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Let's Go to the Zoo!

No. 12 on my 26 while 26 list is "Go to the Zoo to See the New Baby Elephant."

I took full advantage of the unseasonably warm weather this past weekend and went to the zoo with my favorite little lady -- and a few of my favorite adults too!

I can't help but turn into a kid whenever I'm at the zoo.

Exploring the zoo with Miss Cam is one of my favorite things to do.  It's funny to see the animals through her eyes and hear her little comments. She wanted me to carry her for a good deal of this visit, so I got to hear even more of her little comments in my ear as we walked.

As per usual, we looked for all of the bronze statues and took pictures with most. 

"Why?" was asked by the little three year old a lot on this trip. "Why is that gorilla eating a leaf? Why is he scratching his arm? Why is he sleeping?" 

As we approached the [real] gorillas, I mentioned something about looking for the baby like we did last time, but noted that he might be more of a toddler now. 

"Well, he might have grown up like you have. You're not a baby anymore, so he might not be either." 
"That's right! And one day I'm going to be a big girl, just like you!" 

Oh sweet Cam girl, you melt my heart. 

I took off running as we approached the elephant exhibit. I seriously love these creatures an insane amount!

Once we got to the top of the ramp, we noticed that the baby elephant (Achara) was fast asleep on a bed of hay. It was hilarious to watch her mom eat the hay around her and then finally start nudging Achara with her trunk. Finally, the baby woke up from her nap and popped up to her feet faster than any 350 pound animal should be able to move. I was impressed!

It was adorable to watch her little trunk move and swing all over the place while she walked and attempted to pick up some hay. She's just so cute!!!

After the elephants, someone was getting a little hungry - not me this time! - but we made a quick stop to see the sea otters. As you can see, Miss Cam was excited for this stop. 

"Hey Buddy! Come here Mr. Otter. Over here buddy!"

I'm so glad I put a trip to the zoo on my 26 while 26 list. And I'm even happier that I got to share this outing with some of my favorite humans!

Even MORE 26 while 26 progress coming up tomorrow!

xoxo, E

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Exploring Ft. Worth

This week on the blog is dedicated to 26 while 26! Over the 3-day weekend, I made some serious progress on the list.

First up: A day adventuring in Ft. Worth -- and a life lesson learned.

I have been making my Ft. Worth "wish list" for a few months, and I was armed with grand expectations and excitement to venture down on Saturday!

The weather was absolutely gorgeous on the drive down -- then this little devil passed us on the highway and the drive got even better... I squealed SO loud!!

[Apologies for dirty car windows!]

And then the daring duo road off into the sunset together... 

[Notice the dog bone break light on the back of the sidecar? Someone loves his dog!]

The goal was to be in the Stockyards by 11a.m. to see the cattle drive through the street. We got down there a little early and walked around to explore the area.

Then, after some safety instructions, we heard the crackling sound of a bull whip and the drive began!

After the drive, there was an opportunity to saddle up on a Longhorn. Naturally, I took full advantage of this experience!

After the Stockyards, we walked over to Billy Bob's to see the famous hand prints and the concert venue. I got so tickled - and a bit icked out - when I saw all the lipstick on Johnny Cash's square.

This is the point in the trip when the life lesson learning started... It was after Billy Bob's that we decided we wanted to head to Joe T. Garcia's and have some lunch on their famous patio. Once we got there, we found a pretty long line, so we decided to grab a snack and come back for a late lunch. 

In the meantime, we decided to venture down to Sundance Square. However, our route was redirected due to quite the horse parade. You guys, the traffic. It's as if everyone in Ft. Worth was trying to use this same route. Ugh, the traffic.

We finally made it to Sundance Square and walked around for a few minutes. Unfortunately, my feet were hurting quite a bit by this point, so my walk was more of a hobble. Such a beautiful area though!

By this time, I wasn't exactly at the point of hangry, but I was getting pretty close. After sitting in EVEN WORSE traffic for about 20 minutes, the [horrific] thought occurred to me, "What if the line at Joe T.'s is even worse now that the horse parade is over?"

A few frustrated-sighs-due-to-traffic later we arrived and... You. Guys. The line was UNRULY!

Out of stubbornness to keep to "the original plan," we got in line. After only moving two feet in 15 minutes - with probably another 100 feet of line to go - we scrapped our plan and got back in the car.

And then sat in more traffic...

You guys.

After a hunger-and-traffic-related "drama queen" moment, I decided that I just wanted to go home!

Life lesson: Things don't always go as planned. Rather than cutting your trip short, pack goldfish and be a little more laid-back next time!

So, I've still got a few Ft. Worth items left on my wish list, but I had a fantastic morning exploring. I'm still counting it as a city explored for 26 while 26!

Oh, one more silver lining: during the horse parade, these tiny little ponies pranced by. So cute!!

The rest of the long weekend was just the bees knees. I can't wait to share how I took full advantage of the beautiful weather weekend!!

xoxo, E