Snap Shop Phoneography


I am finishing up my second week of a three-week online course for phoneography. I had never heard of phoneography before signing up, but it’s simply taking pictures with your phone. I have a fairly nice camera, but I never seem to have it in easy reach anymore. Even when I’ve got it in my purse, it’s too cumbersome to pull it out, turn it on, and set the features for the pic I want. My phone, however, is sadly always within reach. I love taking pictures, as you can see by my blog, but I feel like they’ve been missing just something.

That’s what I’ve loved about this class! I’m learning tips and guidelines for great photo-taking, not just with my phone, but especially with my phone. I’ve been learning to recognize and define what it is that I’ve always liked about certain pictures and how to prepare myself for the shot that I want.

The course is taught by Ashley at Under the Sycamore. She is fabulous and a beautiful person inside and out. I’ve been following her blog for a while now and love pretty much everything she puts out there. Not only is it great content, but the photos that accompany her entries are gorgeous! She has a whole slew of ready-models too, with their five kids and yard full of chickens. Talk about blog-envy. 🙂

So, if you are interested in an easy-peasy intro guide to good phoneography, you can sign up on her website. She also offers an online DSLR course for those with fancy shmancy cameras.

I think my favorite part of the course is the photo-sharing. This is done through Instagram. We use the hashtag #snapshopstudent and share the photos we are testing out and wanting some critique on. Not only does Ashley offer valuable advice, but the other students in the course do as well. Here are some of my photos for you (you can click on any of the images for a better look):

yard 3 stacked

Shots around our backyard and neighbor’s yard.

suns 02 3st

impatiens after the rain and a late blooming sunflower

suns 01 3 st

I love my sunflowers! These are growing from the seeds we gave out at our wedding. I was very late in planting them.

outside 01 4sq

beautiful sky shots, caterpillar and our shed

out and in 01 4 sq

vintage sugar bowl, painted to fit in with our kitchen; windmill at a local park; niece’s soccer match.

life 2 st

berries in the backyard and a blissful afternoon of 1 Peter and white chocolate pumpkin mocha from Cavu Cafe in West Chester.

Huz 01 2 st

The Huz working on our rain barrel set-up and the wedding quilt his grandmother hand-stitched us.

house 02 2st

Yes, sunflowers again. 🙂

house 01 4 sq

around The House; rain barrel, porch rocker and pavers.

You can find me on Instagram at xapatotheworld. I look forward to seeing you there!


Getting Married: 5 Weeks – Marriage License and Blogs

It’s official now. We got our marriage license! We drove over to the Butler County Courthouse Thursday morning (after I got some new glasses!), filled out our application, laid our cash down and then were quickly on our way.

If you are getting married in Ohio, here are the requirements (as of 4/2013):

Official US ID. Driver’s licenses work just fine.
$40 cash
Any divorce decrees

Since Matt and I live in different counties, I was concerned about where we needed to apply, BUT the lady said we could apply in either county. That was great! I don’t know much of anything about Warren County, but I’ve worked and been through and around the Butler County seat of Hamilton, so we went there.

It’s a beautiful, old building.

We sat on a bench that might have been there since the building was put up.

It creaked…and twisted, when we sat down.

I didn’t move much.

Matt had his pocket knife with him and we had to go through the metal scanners before we got into the courthouse. The deputy confiscated it from him until we were done with our visit. When we came back to the entrance, he was nowhere to be found. He must have cameras, though, because he soon appeared from a back room…with a toothbrush in his mouth. Fun times.

(Matt got his beloved knife back too…amidst our stifled laughter)

Thursday continued to be a busy day. We stopped by a friend’s restaurant downtown called Pappa Luigi’s. It’s fab. You should go…unless you don’t live in the area, and then you should travel here and go eat there. 🙂 Next door is a little shop called Jelli’s Fudgery. I bought some pizzelles and some fudge for Matt and I. He got the Dark Chocolate Rocky Road while I picked up some Inferno.

IMG_20130425_125809Doesn’t that look yummy? The ingredients say that there is Habanero powder mixed in. Love me some chocolate with some spice mixed in. Gives it a kick.

Don’t be fooled. This stuff gives you a kick, then punches you in the face a couple times, throws you to the ground and sits on your head while you are gasping for air…it might even pull your arm back and make you cry “Uncle.” Notice that only a smidge of the corner is missing. That little corner left Matt and me crying for some UDF shakes…which we promptly got.

After a little time we drove down to KY to meet our photographer. You can find more about her in this post. For now, I’ll just say that she’s awesome and I’m way excited!

We met at a Frisch’s and decided to grab our dinner there. I had a kid’s meal…then Matt wanted dessert. The waitress was so sweet and brought out two forks for us to share, but I never had a chance.

IMG_20130425_173053Someone gets a little excited about chocolate and ice cream.


We stopped over at Florence Mall to do a little shopping. I found some cute things for certain people who are going to be in a certain big event of mine. Ahem. Also, we found a replica of the water tower nearby in the kids area.

IMG_20130425_185428Then, we almost got run over by a train…in the mall…twice.

The only rider was the man driving it. He seemed to be enjoying himself.

So, I wanted to share some fun things with you. I have a sickness, see? I mentioned before a sickness of buying Thank You notes. Ok, that’s legit. THIS sickness is that I like to read other artsy, creative blogs. Right now, I have five ladies that I follow. I get their latest post shot through my email to me and most days my eyes widen with delight, drinking in the wonder of their lives, and my heart whispers promises to someday be like them.

Ok, not exactly like them, but they are pretty fab – women of God, creative, and REAL! They don’t really sugar-coat anything and that’s refreshing.

I will share them with you now.

It started with:

I found Alisa on Pinterest and fell in love. Her photography urges me to run for the west coast, the deciduous rainforest of the northwest. *sigh* I really AM a gypsy at heart.

Then I found:

I’ve shared Meg’s shop with you before in this blog series. She is fab. Has a brood of kids that I can’t keep straight, lives in Kansas, loves sunflowers, has chickens and a dog named Waffle, and hosts a craft weekend for ladies all over the nation to come and create together. She loves Jesus too, and shares some raw stuff.

I stumbled on this blog mostly by accident.

This blog is very sweet and intimate. With Matt and my crazy schedule right now, this kind of communication has been an inspiration to us. We might not have a lot of time to say a lot, but we definitely have time to say a little, and sometimes that’s all you really need.

Now, this one:

I don’t really know how to describe her. She is quirky, creative, passionate, admittedly full of faults, and committed to striving forward. She emboldens me.

And the last one is a new find:

I’m still learning about this lady. She seems really cool though. I love her DIY home creations. She’s not afraid of a hammer and nails. Geez, she’s building a chicken coop with her dad! I’m enjoying this blog a lot.

Let me leave you with one thought, too.

Do you have a God-kiss? You might not know what that is…especially since I think I made it up.

I have several, but let me explain a little bit. Sometimes, often out of nowhere and very subtle, I will have an experience that will point my mind overwhelming to how much God loves me. I call it a God-kiss. It can be a sight, a sound, a smell, a touch, etc. Here are some of mine: cloud shadows, most anything yellow, fog, laughter, reunions, sunflowers, first times…

To go with the “most anything yellow,” I will share that we got a mesh bag filled with seed as a gift at our first shower. Matt put it up in te back, near the kitchen window. Since I don’t live there yet, it didn’t bother me much that the birds were taking their time finding it. But find it they did, and there has been a lovely little goldfinch couple enjoying the bounty of that little pouch. The other day, I was up and got to see them hanging on and pecking for the seeds. As soon as my camera came out, they flew off. Seems to be a trend for me. Red-wing blackbirds are notoriously shy of my camera.

The next day, Matt, knowing how much I wanted to have a pic of them, emailed me the following.

IMG_20130425_101044Isn’t he just the sweetest thing?! Yes, I mean Matt…of course! But that goldfinch is such a handsome little guy. I’m smitten, and so excited that we have goldfinches up at The House. I can’t wait to get up there and make it our home!


I’m getting married to my, you guessed it, best friend on June 1st, 2013! Matt and I are super-excited and since we have quite a bit of time to plan this thing, I decided it’d be fun to blog about it. Well, maybe not always fun, but at least informative and it might give me a welcome distraction. You can find all the posts by clicking the “Getting Married” tab on the right of this page, or by clicking here. Thanks for stopping by!

My Pinterest Wedding Board

Our Wedding Website on