Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy HOWL-oween!

This year I waited a little late on purchasing costumes. I went to Target and basically just got whatever they had left in their sizes. It's usually hard to buy an actual costume for our 70 lb. lab mix (Scooter) and I end up just putting him in a t-shirt with a skeleton or a pumpkin on it. But this year they had one XL hot dog costume left and I LOVE it. I seriously makes me giggle when he is in it. He doesn't mind having it on, I don't think, because he doesn't try to get out of it. But he does shake a lot in it, sort of like when dogs are wet and they shake to get the water off. I think because it's so big and bulky he's not used it. But it is quite comical to see this big dog in a hot dog costume. Can't stop giggling at this picture.

Here are both of my boys.  Notice how trilled they look. haha. I can hear them now saying something like:

Conner:: "Oh these are even more ridiculous than last year. I can't believe we put up with this. At least we don't have to wear hats this year."

Scooter:: "Yeah, you got a cape. I'm in a hot dog suit. I definitely got it worse this year. Just sit still and it will be over faster and then we get treats."

My little super dog, Conner!

The key to taking decent pictures of your dogs:
1. Do it when they're tired
2. Do it often
3. Do it with treats. LOTS of treats!

Happy HOWL-oween! I hope you have fun trick or treating or whatever you are doing tonight. I plan on kicking back with a good meal, catching up on my DVR and passing out candy to anyone that comes by our house. I hope we have a few trick or treaters, otherwise I might eat all the candy myself! YIKES!

The Ghosts of Howl-oweens past

As of now, my husband and I don't have kiddos so all of our love and affection goes straight to our crazy zoo: 2 dogs and 2 cats. We pamper them, give them daily treats, let them sleep in our bed, bathe them, take them on "adventures" (as we call it), celebrate their birthday and yes, even dress them up. Many people think we are absolutely insane. A lot of people think dogs are just dogs and they should sleep outside. We disagree! Our dogs (and our cats) are very much a part of our lives. Dogs are a part of our Buie pack and we wouldn't have it any other way.

Halloween is one of my husband's favorite holidays. He loves all things spooky. We have quite the collection of scary movies and books. I always say he is like this because his family owned a couple of funeral homes when he was growing up. B is very much used to death, dying and "the other side." He LOVES paranormal things too like ghosts, spirits, angels & demons. His fascination with creepiness (as I call it) can't be ignored in this household, especially in the month of October. This is the one month he wants me to watch movies with him...and Halloween is his excuse. So I oblige him all the while with a blanket covering my eyes. ;)

Not only do we watch scary movies for Halloween but we LOVE to dress up our doggies in costume. It started the first year we got Conner. He was about 10 months old and we got him in the Fall. He was always cold and would shiver so I found a couple of sweaters and jackets at Petsmart to help him stay warm... and as B says, it all went downhill from there.  This blue jacket was one of the first outfits I bought for Conner. It kept him warm and dry all winter long. He outgrew this jacket long ago but I still love this pic of him. He was so little!
What started out as finding something to keep him warm quickly turned into finding the cutest outfit for little C. Cute outfits then turned to Holiday outfits for Halloween & Christmas. Conner's first Halloween he was a bumble bee. By far, this is a favorite picture of Conner in costume. He did NOT love the hat at all. 

Over the past few years, I have had fun finding different costumes for Conner & Scooter. They have been a bumblebee, a devil, a criminal, a sheriff, a skeleton, a mailman (I couldn't find my pic of the mailman costume for some reason). I know I might be crazy to some people but this gives me great satisfaction to see my babies all dressed up. Even the dogs don't mind it (I give them LOTS of treats). 

So thanks for bearing with me as I share with you my kiddos. I know so many bloggers share their babies and their children growing up. Hopefully one day I can do the same...but until then, enjoy some doggies pics because you know they are adorable! Even if you're not big dog fan, how can you resist this face??
Stay tuned for this year's Halloween outfits. There were too many pictures to include in this post. 

Monday, October 29, 2012

Detox Day 1 & a Quick Smoothie Recipe

Day one of our detox went smashingly well. I'm proud to say I didn't eat anything with excess sugar all day. This morning I started off with organic turkey sausage links (These are my favorite!) and a peanut butter & banana protein shake. We get them at our local Kroger and they are perfect for adding it a little extra protein to any meal.
This shake is super easy and tasty!  I keep several bananas chopped up and stored in ziplock baggies in our freezer so that they are easily accessible when I'm making my smoothies. 
So here's the smoothie: 
1 frozen banana (apprx. 90 calories)
8 oz of original almond milk (40 calories)
1 heaping tablespoon of peanut butter. You can also use almond butter but I was all out. (95 calories)
1 scoop of protein. I use About Time Chocolate Protein Powder.  (103 calories)
and ice! I almost forget ice.

Blend all of these together and feel free to adjust ingredients based on consistency. If it's too thick, add more almond milk. If it's not thick enough, add more peanut/almond butter. This really is so good and it satisfies my milkshake addiction. I LOVE milkshakes but they are so bad for you. A large chocolate milkshake from McDonalds has 880 calories! 220 of those are purely fat calories. Wowzers! This peanut butter/banana shake is about 330 calories and much better for you! 

For dinner tonight, I made potato, shrimp and corn bisque. Yummo! Hopefully I'll get that recipe up on the blog in the next few days. 

Thanks for following me on this journey to better health. And please know, I am not a doctor, a nurse or a dietician...just a girl trying to make better food choices. :) If y'all try my smoothie concoction, let me know if you like it! 

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Weekend Review: iPhone Dump

 This was a great weekend because Buie was off! We always take advantage of these weekends together. We talked about going somewhere for a couple of days but then decided to enjoy our weekend here in Little Rock since we rarely get a whole weekend together! It started off with a Friday night date at a local Mexican restaurant. Since we are starting the detox diet Monday morning, we over-indulged this weekend... It's sort of like the feast before the fast!

Every year we dress up the dogs for Halloween. It has become a thing for me. I love going to Target and/or Petco to find the perfect outfit. Last year I tried to coordinate their outfits (they were a Sheriff & a Criminal) but this year I just went with random outfits. I'll probably do another post with better pictures of the dogs but this year they are a Hot Dog (Scooter) and an astronaut (Conner). 

 After the front came through Thursday night it was CHILLY and we loved it. Conner gets a little cold and shivers so I broke out the winter clothes. He doesn't mind wearing t-shirts that much because it keeps him warm. After sitting out on the back porch and watching the sun go down, we warmed up by the fire and snuggled: a perfect evening. Look how content Conner looks sitting by the fire. I love this pic.

Saturday morning it was downright COLD! I had a couple of shoots lined up at Pinnacle Mtn. Park. It was absolutely gorgeous out there! If I lived closer, I would have my quiet time there daily. I always feel so much better when I'm surrounded by nature. I am definitely an outdoor girl. I just wish I did more outdoor things. :)

Saturday we hung out all day with some of our best friends, Brian & Alicia. We watched the Ole Miss/Arkansas game, ate chili and hung out literally ALL DAY and into the evening. They live a few blocks away from War Memorial Stadium where Saturday's game was played, so we felt like we were in on the action but we didn't even have to leave the comfort of their home. It really was a perfect Saturday. I didn't take a lot of pics but I did snap this cute one of Ava cat and me and my nephew. Carson is very much a momma's boy; this was right after he figured out his mom had left the room. That face is pitiful! 

Here he is in his mother's arm... MUCH happier. :)

Sunday I woke up not feeling great at all. I think spending a few hours out in the cold wind Saturday morning was NOT a good idea. But after taking a hot bath, drinking echinacea tea, and taking lots of vitamin C, I felt better. We ended Buie's last weekend off before the Christmas retail rush by watching football and carving a couple of pumpkins. We usually try to do this every year. Halloween is one of Buie's favorite holidays and he has to work on Halloween night (of course) so we got in the spirit by carving pumpkins. I tried to carve a kitty pumpkin and I'm not really pleased with the eyes but oh well!

I hope y'all have a great week! This week is going to be super busy for me but I'm looking forward to it all!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Fall is here!

Baby, it's cold outside! A front came through last night and I woke up to a chill in the house! This makes me so happy! Can we finally say that Fall is here? Time to pull on those boots and not worry about sweating! This is my favorite fashion time of year: boots, scarves, jackets, sweaters. I seriously wish it could be Fall all year round!

I snapped this pic last week while I was at a shoot and I love it. I might have to frame it and put it somewhere in our house. 

I hope y'all have a fabulous Fall weekend! B is off work this weekend which is rare! We plan on watching football, grilling out with friends and probably eating too much. After all, our detox diet starts Monday. We might as well indulge while we can! Have a happy weekend!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

A Journey to Good Health.

It seems silly to open up a book and start reading in the middle of it, doesn't it? Yet I feel like that's what I'm doing by diving in and starting to write about my health journey from today. To get a little history, read this post. That might give you a little insight anyways. I never did write my health history, part 2. I think by the end of this, there might be a part 3, 4 and 5. :)

          On Tuesday, B & I both went to our doctor in Ruston, LA. This summer Dr. Goodyear gave us several take home tests to finish. None of the tests were pleasant and involved bottling up various bodily fluids and mailing them to different testing companies. I sort of felt like a lab rat by the time it was all said and done. Nevertheless all tests were completed and mailed off about 6 weeks ago. We were very eager to hear the results.

After saying our initial hellos & how are you doing, the first words out of the doc's mouth were, "Let's dive in, shall we? We have A LOT to talk about, especially with you, Cara. We found multiple issues." Just what you want to hear, right? "Multiple issues." This is on top of Celiac Disease, Fibromyalgia, Epstein Barr Virus (among others), multiple Vitamin Deficiencies, etc. that I have already been diagnosed with in earlier doctor visits. I was honestly hopeful that this dr visit would be different. I was hopeful but realistic. You see, B is my voice of logic. He's the intellectual one. I'm the emotional one. When I'm over here saying, "Let's have a baby!" He says, "You're not healthy enough yet." See, he's realistic. So before the doctor's appointment, B gave me a don't be disappointed speech so honestly I wasn't that too disappointed because I felt it coming.

So what else is wrong with me? To name a few: improper cortisol production, low progesterone, high testosterone, extremely low vitamin D levels... to sum it up for you...basically all of my hormones are out of whack. Honestly, the appointment was all very detailed but there was one word the dr kept repeating. INFLAMMATION. All of these different issues in my body is causing major inflammation which is why I'm in pain a majority of time. I won't bore you with all the details... well, I might if I understood exactly what was wrong with me. After he got finished explaining (or trying to explain) my test results, he asked if I had any questions. OF COURSE I HAVE QUESTIONS! But one main question is on my mind and has been for...well, all of my life: Can I have a baby? Is my body healthy enough to conceive? In one word. NO. But the dr. went on to explain why IF I were to try to get pregnant now that I would most likely not be able to carry the child past the first trimester. Was this a shock to me? No, not at all. 6 months ago the doctor told me the exact same thing and I knew my hormones hadn't miraculously corrected themselves. Now my question is WHEN? When can I have a baby? In the next year? Doctor's response: Probably so. Those words are like music to my ears.

The thing I love about my doctor is that while it may be slightly depressing to see about 12 typed pages listing everything that is wrong with you, Dr. Goodyear ALWAYS provides a solution. And it's hardly ever prescription drugs- another plus. So what's the answer? Get my hormones balanced so that I will be healthy enough to not only conceive a child but be able to enjoy life to the fullest! And how do we accomplish this? First things first: DETOX my body so that I will rid my body of toxins. After the detox I will be able to better absorb the nutrients and supplements my doc gives me.

Yes! We have a plan. We have a timeline in place. We have a goal in mind. Let's do this! Monday morning B & I will both start our diet detox. It will last 6 weeks and involves no caffeine. Yeah, that's right no caffeine. This morning I have drinking half-caf in order to prepare myself for what is to come.

Is this exciting? Yes! Is the detox most likely going to suck?  Well, of course! Will it all be worth it in the end? DEFINITELY.

Thanks for joining me on this journey. Hopefully this time next year I will be writing about the joys of pregnancy!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012


I have gone back and forth about how much to share on this blog. I think this is a common concern with so many bloggers, especially those who are writing about their real life. I can fill pages and pages with adorable pictures of my doggies & kitties but it's like looking at somebody's grand babies, you can only take so much. After a while, they all are start to look the same, am I right? I have never considered myself a blogger or even someone who writes for others. I started this little blog to document our engagement, wedding and marriage. I'm sure my biggest fans are my mother in law (Hi, Mrs. Carole!) and my mother (Hi, mom!) But still, I have to wonder who else out there is reading this. What should I write about today and better yet, what should I NOT write about? I think a majority of couples would agree that the details of our marriage are off limits. While that may be what you readers want to hear (inquisitive minds what to know, am I right?), that would only do our marriage harm, in my opinion. Some things should remain sacred and marriage is number one on that list.

But what about my health? Earlier this year, I wrote My Health History, Part 1 and was amazed at the number of hits that post received. It is still the number one most popular post I've written. To me, that speaks volumes! Like I said, I write this blog for me. That may seem selfish, but I don't maintain this blog for monetary purposes. No one asks me to write posts. I just write what is going on in our lives. Some Most times it's boring and many weeks I just have nothing to write about. My health, however, is another story. I could fill pages writing about the weird things my body is doing any particular day. I've often considered starting another blog just to journal about nothing but my health. I'm pretty sure no one would have any interest in that blog, except for maybe my doctor. But still, I can't help but wish I had journaled all along this crazy journey to see how far I've come. I can't help but wonder how many people are going through what I'm going through. I have watched friends pour out their hearts on their blog and find so many others who are struggling with the exact same issues.

Here are two main reasons why I want to write more about my health:
    - I want to document my journey. Like I said, this is something I wish I had done all along. My goal is to one day hold my healthy baby in my arms and know that all of these tests were worth it. I want to be able to look back and read this blog and watch myself getting healthier and healthier each year and month. I want to wake up one morning without aches and pains and without a pounding migraine and be able to read this blog and remember how far I've come.

   - Another reason I want to blog more about my health is maybe it will help someone. If you are one of my close friends, then you know of my health struggles these last few years. It's not something I like to broadcast but it's there. Perhaps just opening up, even just a little bit, and putting my own pride and privacy aside for a moment may help someone else to ask questions about their own health. Because if I've learned anything these past several years, your health is EVERYTHING. I hope to encourage people who have been feeling poorly to get it checked out, get second opinions, go to a better doctor, eat healthier, and don't be satisfied with feeling horrible all the time!

So in conclusion, watch out for more posts about my health. I hope that it helps not just me to write about my journey.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Monday Monday

Happy Monday, y'all! This weekend was crazy busy filled with wonderful photo shoots and wonderful clients! Head over to my photography site to see more. I try to keep my business and personal separate to the best of my blogging ability but sometimes I wonder if I should just combine them into one blog. There are days when I think it would be MUCH simpler but then again, it's nice to have all of my photography in one spot.

Mondays are usually quiet around my house and I've started to look forward to them.  I have learned (the hard way) that after a weekend full of photo shoots, events and running errands, I usually need a day to recuperate.  When I had an 8 to 5 desk job, Mondays were often hard on me. After long weekends, I would have to get up by 6 or 6:30 on Monday and start my week all over again, not fully resting or recuperating. Now that I work from home, my Mondays are for catching up on laundry, doing dishes, paying bills, watering my plants, taking recycling, returning phone calls, and sometimes, catching up on my DVR. Seriously, everyone needs a day like this. Now I honestly don't know what I would do without my Mondays. We would probably be WAY behind on paying bills, that's for sure!

Whether you are at home or at work, I hope you are having a great Monday! As B & I are making some big decisions around our household, I have been meditating on this verse. I wanted to share it with y'all today. Perhaps it might help someone else like it has helped me this morning.

"For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you HOPE & a FUTURE." Jeremiah 29:11

So many things in our life are uncertain, but doesn't it put you at ease knowing that God knows the plans of our future? We might not have a clue what we are doing, but God surely does! :)

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Completed Patio Project!

Warning: there are a lot of pictures of two adorable doggies in this post. Oh, and this post is mainly just pictures since the point is to show you the completed patio project. Enjoy!

It has actually been completed for about two weeks but everytime I think about taking pictures we are outside enjoying it and I don't want to move from my comfy spot to get up and go get my camera.
  I know, lazy! But we have been enjoying the heck out of it, especially in the evenings. We bought a little chiminea to go out there mainly because I thought it was cute but we will probably use our bigger fire pit most of the time. Buie put it together tonight (AFTER I had already taken these pictures).

This is the fire pit that we will use most of the time probably. I actually bought it for B about 3 years ago and it's been sitting in a box in our garage (along with about a million other things). B insisted that we have a proper place to put this fire pit before we opened the box. Hopefully we accomplished that goal.
And I'm pretty sure these guys are in heaven. Conner, my prissy little guy, doesn't much like laying on the cold rocks so of course he gets his own chair or just sits in my lap. :) Scooter is fine sprawled out on the cool sand and rocks. 

 The pergola turned out nicely. Here in another week or so, we will put a stain on it and it will be good to withstand rain, sleet, hail and the intense heat of Arkansas summers. We still have some landscaping to do to spruce it up and beautify it but that will be done in time. In the springtime, I'll hang my hammock in the pergola. Can't wait!

 Scooter and Conner. They are so used to posing for the camera, I hardly have to ask them. :)

Wherever these little guys are, we are pretty happy but we hope to have plenty of wonderful memories in our backyard and hanging out on our patio. We hope you enjoyed our little patio tour! Thanks for stopping by! :)

Check out other posts about our patio project:
Breaking Ground
Updates and a Conversion
Little Sandy Toes
Making Progress

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Silly Shoot with the Lechners

Last weekend I went to my hometown to shoot some mini sessions. This is my busy season in photography as everyone is wanting family pictures for Holiday cards. After I shot 4 mini sessions in Shreveport, mom & I went over to the Lechner's house to celebrate Will's 18th birthday. I have known the Lechners my whole life. They are nothing less than just an extension of my family. I honestly think of Angie and Charlie as my big brother and sister. When I was younger (like around 4 or 5) Angie came and lived with us for a summer when she was in college. We shared a room and a queen sized bed, so to me, that makes us sisters. :) I was a flower girl in their wedding and recently their youngest, Abby, was a flower girl in our wedding. I actually planned our whole wedding around their furlough. Buie and I weren't planning on getting married until 2009 or even 2010 but I knew the Lechners wouldn't be able to be there. You see they used to live in Africa as missionaries and honestly we only saw them about every 3 or 4 years. The summer after I graduated college (in 2005), I went to stay with them for a month. The next time I saw them was 2008. I knew when they went back to Africa it would be another few years before I would see them, so Buie and I pushed up our wedding and I'm so glad I did. Charlie married us and Abby was our flower girl. It was so special to me that they were there. 

These are some of my favorite people in the entire world!

The Lechners now live in the U.S. and not just the States but in Louisiana...and not just Louisiana but 10 minutes outside my hometown. These amazing people have had such an impact on my life. I always find myself laughing til I cry everytime I'm with them.

I had my camera with me and we had an impromptu photo shoot last Saturday. These definitely weren't "professional" or posed in any way but they totally describe the Lechner family. They are crazy, fun, love to laugh and most of all they are genuine people.

I took a picture with each one of them because it's rare that we're all together. (please don't judge me by my appearance in these pics. I had been shooting all morning and didn't have time to shower) :)

I wanted to share these pictures with you and just commemorate this family that God has placed in my life. I have known Angie and Charlie for almost 30 years and I have loved watching their children grow into fun loving, God fearing, crazy kiddos. :) I love y'all!

One day at a time

I work from home as a photographer. My office is my couch, my kitchen table, my desk in my actual office, (although most days it's too messy to see the top of the desk). Sometimes my office is at Starbucks and my absolute favorite place to "work" is when I'm actually shooting a session because my office can be anywhere! I purposefully don't plan shoots everyday so that I will have just days when I am at home working. I have tried shooting in the morning, then coming home to edit but most days when I get out of the house (meaning, when I'm dressed for the day), I want to seize the opportunity. I'll run errands, go visit a friend or go see my nephews who live close by. So I plan several stay at home days where my main focus is just to edit a recent session, promote my business, make client phone calls, etc.

On these particular days I'm doing spectacularly if I shower and put on an "outfit" of some sort. Most of the time, I'll throw on my yoga pants and a baggy tshirt, grab a cup of coffee and head for my spot on the couch. The days when I miraculously put on makeup, earrings, and cute shoes, I usually document it. (And you know this if you follow me on Instagram. View my Instagram pics.) Side note:: It really is a marvelous app. It can take an average looking person & with the right editing make you look (or at least feel like you look) like a million bucks. It really is a good job for me, not only because I truly feel like I have found my passion, but because the structure of the job itself fits my personality. I "structure" the days how I want. Sounds like a dream huh? Yes, it is definitely my dream job (no offense to my former job which I LOVED by the way and still miss all the people I worked with). But in the last (almost) two years, I have found things to not be so clear cut.

You see, I'm not a planner. If I could live my life minute to minute, I would. I love being spontaneous and often times impractical (according to my wonderful husband). So many times, I will get an idea in my head, grab Buie's arm and say "Oh let's go do this! RIGHT NOW!" Whatever it may doesn't really matter because according to Buie, it wasn't in the "plan" for that evening. There are times when planning is crucial- like when you get married. Of course, you have to plan your wedding or if you have a wedding planner for a mother like I did, you just let her do everything. :) B and I make plans for date nights. We plan family trips, doctor appointments, time hanging out with our friends. I have learned to plan... a little anyway.

There is a certain amount of planning that goes into owning a business. I plan client photo sessions. I schedule time in my days to edit their pictures in order to return them in a timely manner. All of this takes planning. Heck I never imagined that I, the person who can't do simple addition in her head, would be the one paying the bills in our family. I am in charge of the finances for not only our household but also my business. Yeah, if you know me at all, then you are probably laughing, especially my math teachers.

The point is, I fail all the time at the things I "planned" to do. Two out of the four animals that we have were seriously overdue for their vaccinations...until today, that is. Our garage looks like a tornado went through it. I've had plans to organize it for years now. The power steering fluid has been low in my car for weeks. To make a sharp turn, I practically have to break my arm to turn the wheel. Yeah I know it's not safe but I don't think about it until I make a sharp turn and it takes me two hands to turn the wheel.

So why am I ranting about my failures? Who knows maybe I thought it would make me feel better. The truth is Im a laid back easy going person. I think this is why I dont stress too much over the things not done. I know it will eventually get done. (Side note: This system does not work well in college. When professors say they want a paper turned in by 5pm, they actually mean 5pm, not the next morning or the next week) But these days, in the early stages of my business, if I can get through the day having done one more thing on my "to do" list in addition to editing, promoting, ordering products, emailing clients, etc., I feel good about myself.

I'm still trying to find that balance. I will never be a super organized, rigid planning type of gal and that's okay with me.

I'm taking it one day at a time.

Wednesday I went for a walk with Scooter at Two Rivers Bridge Park, something Ive been meaning to do for a while now. Yesterday I bought pumpkins and decorated my front porch. Today I did a load of laundry, a few dishes and took the cats to the vet. One day at a time, people. Maybe one day I'll hire myself an assistant. Wouldn't that be a dream? But until then, I'll just dream of having a marked off to do list. (yeah, right!) Its a good thing I love my job.