Category Archives: Oreo


Life is still flying by at break-neck speed. Mostly because we got back from Europe just in time for photography busy season. I have to say, though, I have done a pretty stellar job  with self care this holiday season compared to last year. I have been much better about not overbooking myself (even if it meant that I had to refer clients to other photographers) and much better about not letting go of the things that I know are good for me. I still start every morning with quiet time, yoga, and then an hour at the gym. Last year I skipped the gym a lot during this time of year and it definitely left me feeling sluggish. So I told myself this year that I’d do a better job. And I have!


Christopher snapped this shot of me over Thanksgiving week taking photos of my sister & brother-in-law. Their daughter is helping encourage them to smile. I’m pretty sure I need to hire her full time. 😉

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We actually put up all of our Christmas decorations in early November, but I waited to share this picture until now out of respect for my friends who prefer not to be inundated with all things Christmas before Thanksgiving. 😉 For the record, we love Thanksgiving even though we decorate for Christmas so early. We really just love the whole holiday season – the day after Halloween until January 1st. We love gathering with friends and family, attending parties, listening to festive music, eating delicious food, sharing what we’re thankful for, gift shopping, and exchanging gifts. We do all of those things (including giving gifts) at Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years every year. So this whole season is just wonderful and magical to both of us. We just happen to not like Thanksgiving decor near as much as we love Christmas decor. So we celebrate Thanksgiving with our Christmas tree twinkling brightly. 🙂


In general we eat at either our dining room table or the bar in our kitchen. But if we’re home on a Friday night then we are eating homemade pizza while sitting on the couch. It’s one of our favorite traditions. Most pizza nights, Oreo sits on the floor and looks at us with big puppy eyes or occasionally he just lays in his bed and sighs a lot. Anything to let us know that he’s desperately starving. This past Friday, though, he took things to new heights. He jumped up on the couch and literally laid on Christopher. I’m pretty sure he was thinking, “maybe they can’t see me on the floor. Surely he’ll feed me now!” That dog is a mess!


To celebrate Brodie’s birthday we did our first escape room this past week! We just barely escaped with 2 minutes and 38 seconds left, but we had fun!


And on Saturday night we attended an International Night of Worship. We found out about it through World Relief which is a refugee resettlement organization that we volunteer with. It was incredible! There were people from all parts of Asia, Africa, and South America. There were even a handful of people from Italy, Canada, and Australia. As well as people born & raised in the States. Songs were sung in different languages, scriptures were read in different languages, and prayers were said in different languages. It was truly incredible to come together with people from all corners of the Earth and worship God together.

Lots more to look forward to in the weeks ahead! I just love this time of year! 🙂
Love Rach

Highlights Lately

When we got home from Europe we hit the ground running. So in an effort to keep this post from getting super long, I’m going to attempt to share the main high lights.

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One of the funniest things about family photo sessions is when all the adults behind me are trying to get a kid to look and smile (the long ponytail is me). The busiest time of the year for me with photography is September-December. So we came home and BOOM! Busy season! Plus we photographed the wedding a few days before we left the country so I had a ton of editing to catch up on already! But thankfully I love what I do so while it’s busy, it’s a fun busy! 🙂

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I love Gilmore Girls! My roommate in college turned me onto it and I have loved it ever since. I absolutely teared up watching the trailer that they just released! Anyway, when I heard that a couple of Memphis coffee shops were going to be “Luke’s for the day” on October 5th I just KNEW I had to go! I went to one close to our house first thing in the morning with Christopher and then I went again later that same morning with a friend. Oh my gracious, we had a great time! And when the theme song came on, you better believe we were singing it! 🙂

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Back story for those who don’t know about Christopher’s dad. Since his dad can’t travel to Memphis, we took the walk to their town! Some of their friends from church even joined us on the walk which was sweet. We are so thankful for the community that surrounds them since we aren’t there to help out on a day-to-day basis.

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The Fast & Furriest 5k! Except that Oreo was not the fastest or the furriest and he definitely didn’t do the 5k. 😉 They also have a 1 mile fun walk and that’s all we did this day because we had a time crunch (see below) and since it took Oreo THIRTY-TWO minutes to walk a mile (no joke)… we were glad we had opted out of the 5k this time. He just loves to stop and sniff all.the.things. Ha!

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Immediately after the 5k we ran home to drop Oreo off and change our clothes so that we could meet Christopher’s coworkers for a company wide picnic at the zoo. Isn’t this mug they gave us adorable?! 🙂 We had a wonderful time!

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We love the neighborhood where we live. Neighborhood block parties with live music are just one of many reasons we love it here! 🙂

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Just this past week we got to hear Bob Goff (who wrote Love Does) speak. He was fantastic. Refreshingly funny and inspiring at the same time. If you haven’t read his book, give it a read!


Over the weekend we voted! Early voting is where it’s at, my friends. There was literally no line at all. We walked in, we voted, and we left all in less than 8 minutes.

Since this post is super long already I’m going to put all of our Halloween things in a separate post later this week. Happy Halloween/Monday/start-to-your-week, my friends!

Have you done any fun walks or races lately?
Are you excited for Gilmore Girls?
Have you read Love Does?

Love Rach

Oreo’s Worst Birthday Weekend Ever

{I wanted to post something light hearted today because life itself has not been light hearted lately. There is a lot of hurt in this world. I grieve the loss of lives both here and abroad. So today, I charge you: love one another.}

This past weekend we celebrated 6 years since we brought Oreo home from the Humane Shelter where I volunteered. Unfortunately his birthday weekend was the first time we had available to take him to the vet to be treated for yet another ear infection. You guys, this poor pup hates the vet. So so much. He kept looking at us with this face of utter betrayal the whole time we were there. In fact, if he were to keep a diary, this is what it would’ve said this weekend:

Oreo’s Doggy Diary

Friday, July 8th, 2016

Dear Diary, You will never believe what mom and dad did to me! They took me to the vet (knowing how much I hate that place) and forced me to under-go a nail trim, blood draw from my jugular, sedation, and horrible goo in my ears that made it impossible for me to hear! And did I mention that the horrible lady in scrubs put a thermometer in an unmentionable place and HELD IT THERE for hours?! Well, it felt like hours. Maybe it was just one minute. But I digress. The point is, I was utterly betrayed by these people who claim to love me. Now they are giving me bad tasting medicine that makes me SO thirsty that I have to go potty all the time. They say something about a bilateral ear infection and that I’ll feel better soon, but I just don’t know what to think.

Saturday, July 9th, 2016

Dear Diary, ever since I started taking this medicine I am just so sleepy all the time. I can hear when mom whistles and other high pitched noises, but everything else is so distant and foggy. I’m glad to have mom and dad snuggle with me so much while I don’t feel good. I have more to say, but… zzzzz…..

Sunday, July 10th, 2016

Dear Diary, I can hear again today! My ears still feel a little funny with that goo in there, but at least I can hear mommy and daddy talking to me. I have missed hearing what a good boy I am all the time. I’m still sleepy and thirsty all the time, but I am starting to feel like myself again. Dad took some pictures of me and mom today. I think she wanted me to sit and smile for the camera, but I had trouble focusing through the drug haze. Thankfully she was pretty understanding about it. In other news, mom & dad gave me a new chew toy today for my birthday and it was SO delicious! I wanted to chew on it longer, but the sleep just keeps taking over…

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{Oreo is rocking the Gentle Leader in these photos in case you are curious about the strap on his face}

In the six years he has lived with this, this is definitely the worst birthday weekend he’s had. Usually the day is filled with things he loves (lots of treats, walks, and snuggles), but he was just so worn out on Sunday that we just let him sleep. Thankfully he seems to have forgiven us for Friday. He’ll be done with the steroids (that make him sleepy & thirsty) by the end of the week and we’ll be glad for that for his sake! We had allergy testing done (hence all the blood they took from my poor baby) so we are definitely curious to find out those results. We’re hoping his allergies are really easily remedied because this yearly ear infection business has to stop (last year he had an eardrum rupture because he was shaking his head so much from the ear infection). Next week we’ll make up for his bad weekend and do some things he loves for a belated birthday celebration! 🙂

Love Rach

Turns out not all dogs know how to swim (and other weekend happenings)

Thursday night we discovered that our upstairs A/C was leaking through our ceiling. We immediately shut off the unit and first thing Friday morning called our home warranty people. The earliest they could send someone out would be Tuesday. You guys, the heat index in Memphis has been 100+ all week (one day it was 118!). This is not the time for us to lose air conditioning for (a minimum of) five days. So my very handy husband got busy Googling. Between that and texting a friend who knows more about this stuff than we do, he felt pretty good about fixing this himself. And sure enough… he did!

ac leak.jpg{in that middle photo, Oreo is barking at the ceiling because he hated hearing the leaking sound}

The leak is fixed, the A/C unit is back on and running again, and currently we’re letting the ceiling finish drying out (we have a high powered blower that’s been blowing on it for 2 days) before we go about fixing the damage. I’m so glad he was able to fix this over the weekend so we have the A/C back! Definitely a huge blessing. It’s times like these that I’m reminded how grateful I am that he’s so handy with house stuff!

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Since it has been so hot lately, this weekend was the perfect pool weekend! We even got carry out sushi from our favorite spot and ate by the pool. We swam and played and soaked up the sun (while reading up on the Greece portion of our Europe trip – so exciting!). Considering all the hard work we were doing at home (to fix the A/C issues) this was an awesome way to spend the hottest parts of both Saturday and Sunday!

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Oreo came with us to the pool on Sunday afternoon and it was the best thing ever! Our dog haaaaates water. I can’t even tell you how much he despises being wet. He fell in a lake once and I think that really scared him so he has hated water ever since. Bath time is just horrible for him. Anyway, after a LOT of coaxing (using a toy he REALLY wanted) we convinced him to get in the pool. Before yesterday I thought that all dogs instinctively knew how to swim, but it turns out that our pup needed a little help. He started thrashing around and SINKING when he first got in. So Christopher put his hand under Oreo’s belly to support him in the water so his legs could kick smoothly (like you do with little kids when teaching them to swim) and then walked around the pool with him so Oreo could learn the motions of swimming. It was the most precious thing. And hilarious as well. Once Oreo got the hang of it and could swim on his own, he actually seemed to enjoy chasing the ball around the pool (or maybe he really hated that game, but was just SUPER determined to get the ball, ha!).  Anyway, it was pretty much the best Father’s Day ever (I told Christopher he was getting lots of quality time with his “son” because we are so those pet owners who refer to ourselves as “mom & dad” to our dog).

So despite the initial scare of potentially terrible A/C problems, it turned into a pretty awesome weekend. Christopher feels super accomplished (as he should!). He fixed our A/C, started fixing the ceiling (as much as he can so far), and he taught our dog to swim! 🙂

Have you ever had an A/C leak like that? (if so, any advice on repairing the ceiling? we will be researching that this week)

If you have a pet does he or she like water?

Love Rach

Another Lately Post

Thankfully several of you have mentioned that you really like the Lately posts and I’m glad for that because I have another one for you today. 🙂 So let’s pretend we’re having a coffee date and I’ll fill you in on things lately.


I was surprised in my last post how many of my newer readers mentioned that they hadn’t seen Oreo before or recently. I take so many pictures of him that I guess I just assume that I must be sharing most of them (let’s be real, I totally text them to people all the time, ha!). But I guess I’m not putting as many on here or Instagram as I thought. So here’s a beauty for ya today. 🙂

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It’s summer time which means our small group from church is now meeting pool side on Sunday evenings. This is sweet Miss Ada Grace who you guys met in February. She loved her first pool experience! She did not, however, love looking at the camera. 😉

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Re-runs of the Fix It & Finish It episode that we were on in 2014 will come on TV from time to time and without fail we will get a text or call from someone (or usually several someones) freaking out over seeing us on TV. Sometimes it’s someone who has known us a long time and already knows about it, but every now and then it will be someone we’ve met more recently who didn’t know about this happening. This past week the episode was playing again and we got texts from family and friends about it. Such a sweet reminder of a precious gift that was given to us! You better believe I am still so thankful every time I walk into that room. 🙂

editing photos

Busy season is still in full swing for another couple of weeks before the real heat of summer hits. I photographed a senior yesterday and tomorrow’s session is with an 18 month old. And of course, I’m still working on editing previous sessions (for most sessions I try to have photos back to clients within 2-3 weeks so I don’t give myself an opportunity to be too backlogged). I’m busy, but I’m loving every minute of it! 🙂

You guys know that I love Memphis so I just have to share this video with you. For those who don’t know, Justin Timberlake is from Memphis. And trust me, everyone and their brother here in Memphis either knows him or knows one of his family members or knows someone who knows the family – there is a lot of pride over the fact that he’s from here. Anyway, Memphis made a video for JT’s song Can’t Stop the Feeling and it’s pretty awesome. Here’s a taste of Memphis (some iconic sights & foods & good dancing) for you!

Love it. 🙂

And last, but not least (actually I put this last so it would stay fresh in your minds as you leave this post), I wanted to share with you guys that my friend, Julia, started a fashion blog called The Trendy Pharmacist about a month and a half ago and it is awesome! She shares fashionable clothes you can wear to work that are still comfortable. So go check it out!

Love Rach


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Last Thursday we attended an appreciation dinner for the volunteer work we’re involved in here in Memphis. These beauties came home with us from that dinner. We actually got some difficult news on this day so spending the evening being showered with love was a blessing.

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I’ve discovered that I like cottage cheese. For the longest time I avoided it because the texture seemed really weird to me, but I finally tried it and… I actually like it! I’ve been eating it with strawberries and it has been the bomb dot com. Any other recommendations for good combinations with cottage cheese?

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My sister, Holly, and I are constantly competing on Fitbit so even though we were out of town this weekend (and out of our normal routine), I couldn’t miss my work outs and let her win. 😉 Since we were staying at a hotel, I used their gym and it turned out that I had it all to myself! So I took my first ever gym selfie.

oreo at the hotel

Speaking of staying a hotel… Oreo traveled with us this past weekend and he surprised us with how great he was all weekend. He hasn’t stayed in a hotel with us since 2011 (and he definitely had some serious separation anxiety back then every time we left him behind in the room) so we were a little unsure of how he’d do. But he was awesome! We were so proud of him!


Speaking of this past weekend, we were traveling because we were visiting Christopher’s family. I love the joy it brings my mother-in-law to see all six of us together.


Christopher and his parents and brother. I’ve talked about her a lot on this blog, but my mother-in-law really is incredible. In fact, go back to my post from September and read what I said about her then, it’s all still completely accurate.


Yesterday was our first official “school’s out, summer’s here” day with the kids that I nanny. During the school year I hardly get to see Will (who just completed 1st grade) so summer is an extra special time for us!


As you guys know, it’s a busy time of year for me with photography so there is lots of photo taking and editing happening right now. I know my blog posts lately have become snippets of many things instead of normal posts, but with work being so busy, something has to give a little. I may not be able to write as much as I want right now, but I can at least get these little tidbits out there to look back on later. 🙂 Thanks for hanging with me, friends.

Love Rach



with my girls

Remember when I mentioned that I went to Gatlinburg with 90 teenagers? I’m finally recovering from that, ha! Just kidding. 😉 Seriously, though, I finally got my hands on some of the pictures so I’m sharing this one today. I like that we’re repping Memphis! I loved getting to know these girls more!

sunny february afternoon

Christopher is finally home and his work schedule is back to normal. We are so grateful! This past Sunday we had a list of things to get done around the house, but when it was 70 degrees outside in February, we decided to put the house stuff on hold and just go lay out in the backyard and be lazy with our pup. It was a great decision. 🙂

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Yesterday was Super Tuesday here in Tennessee so Christopher and I went out to vote! If you aren’t already registered to vote for the upcoming presidential election in November, you can start that process here. 🙂

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For those who don’t know, I married into the whole Italian thing. By blood my people are from the British Isles, predominately Wales. Which means that come March 1st every year, we celebrate St. David’s Day. Normally we make Welsh Cakes (see last year’s blog post here), but this year we decided to try a healthier Welsh Cake inspired meal using oats! So we had warm buttery oats with cinnamon, a pinch of nutmeg, and raisins. They were delightful!

Do you celebrate any lesser known holidays every year?

Has it been a mild winter where you are? I hate to speak too soon because we’ve totally gotten ice storms in March, but so far this winter has been pretty bearable! We even have another weekend full of 70’s coming at us!

Love Rach