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Happy Wednesday, brave hearts! We're moving on to our fifth week in the new Instagram challenge with #holdersnotfolders. We thought it would be fun to end the summer with a chance to think creatively, work on our photography skills, and build an even stronger community within #holdernotfolders. You guys are so great, and we love that you are using this little hashtag that reminds us to reach out to others and build community instead of simply folding into ourselves. You all have been posting some really beautiful photos lately, and I so enjoy scrolling through our little hashtag. Thanks for letting us be a part of your Insta community and for giving us a glimpse into your lives.

Here are a few of my favorite SALTY moments from this past week. 

This week, your photo prompt is BRIGHT. Show us all of the bright and wonderful things that fill up your life. Maybe it's something that is literally bright like beautiful sun flares, or maybe it's something rich and filled with beautiful and blinding color. Or maybe it's something that makes you FEEL bright. It's all up to your interpretation. I can't wait to see what you have to show us!

Use it. All the time (or at least as much as you can!) I use natural lighting for almost all of my photos because it is the best and is going to give your photo the most brilliant quality. The more natural light you use, the richer and less grainy your photo will be. If you are inside, find a room with a lot of windows, or open up your door to let some light in. Experiment with taking photos in different parts of your home and find your sweet lighting spot. 

P.S. There will be times when you don't have natural light (or maybe you do) and you will be tempted to use the flash on your phone. For the love of all that is beautiful is this world, please do not use the flash. :) It will wash out your subject and ruin your photo quality every time.

HOMEWORK: Make sure you follow @oakandoats and @megmcilvaine on Instagram and get creative in the ways you show us the BRIGHT things in your life! Don't forget to #holdersnotfolders and make new friends in this community! XOXO.



Oh happy Monday, sweet friends! It's been a while since I've been around here on a consistent basis, and I want to give you a little update. Life has been CRAZY since my move to Colorado. Crazy good. Crazy overwhelming. Crazy exciting. Crazy emotional. Summer is quickly wrapping up, and I will have officially lived through a whole season in the wild wild west. It's a little hard for me to believe that I moved here in May...seems like an eternity ago. Turns out, my goals for keeping up with this space over the summer on a regular basis were maybe a little unreasonable. It's not that I don't have things to share with you, or that I don't have dreams and plans for this space, but I have felt incredibly exhausted and spent emotionally and mentally. Apparently moving somewhere new, starting and learning a new job, and trying to make new friends takes a lot out of you. ;)

So here's the thing. September begins tomorrow and I think I'm finally ready to give a little more time to this community. I plan on being here three to four times a week with new content and adventures and life stories to share with you. Thanks for sticking with me this summer, and for giving me grace during this transition. A huge shout out to those of you who sent me sweet, encouraging emails and notes over the past couple of months. You have no idea how much that has meant to me. XOXO.

1 | Last Sunday we had a garden party dinner at a friend's house. The food and twinkly lights and friends were wonderful. The stomach bug half of us caught that weekend was not as wonderful.

2 | I got to go hiking at work last Friday with a coworker, which was so fun! There are several trails on our property that I haven't been on and am excited to explore. I hadn't filled my outdoor adventure meter in a while, and it was so good for my heart to be out and about breathing in all the fresh air and capturing all the tiny details.

3 | You may have seen this on Instagram, but I am not the best plant mom. I bought two baby succulents back in May, and only one of them is still living and it is a bit sickly. Thanks for your helpful suggestions on Insta! I'm hoping to bring the little guy back to a thriving status.

4 | This weekend I helped the boys cut and hang drywall in the Mayberry's basement. I loved it!! Learning new things like that and seeing walls go up and a space come together is something I really enjoy. Plus, it was fun to have good brother time. Just got made fun of for two days straight. What else is new? ;)

You've never seen a newborn photo shoot like this.
Frozen in 2D.
I'm so excited for a Colorado autumn.
Loving this quote.
Helpful tips for lifestyle photography.

Tell me: How have you been? What was one of your summer highlights? Did you go on any exciting vacations? Do you have any fun plans to wrap up this sunny season? I'm all ears!



If you are from the south, or know anyone who is, you've probably heard about this thing called sweet tea. And if you are from the south, but have moved out west where sweet tea is hard to come by, you learn every single spot you can find it (there are only two, by the way.)

When you're raised in the south, knowing how to make a good batch of sweet tea is a requirement. My grandmama taught my mama, and my mama taught me. It's one of those little things that is passed down from generation to generation. ;) There's something about it that feels like home. A cold glass of sweet tea takes me back to summertime, Sunday dinners, and family gatherings. Now I know y'all are all wanting to know how to create this sweet southern mixture, so lean in real close and I'll let you in on the family's secret recipe...

1 gallon pitcher
4 tea bags
1 1/2 cups of sugar
1 lemon or lime - optional

1. Boil 7-8 cups of water.
2. Drop in 4 tea bags (I use Lipton because it's a classic.) and let steep for 12-15 minutes.
3. Pour the tea into your pitcher and mix in 1 cup of sugar. Mix well.
4. Finish filling the pitcher with cold water and place in the refrigerator to chill.
5. Pour yourself a glass, add a slice of lemon or lime, and grab a seat on the porch in your favorite rocking chair. 

Are you a sweet tea drinker, or is it just a bit too much for you? What drink is a staple in your family? Tell me in the comments!