September in Review | Let the Settling Begin!

Sweet September.

Warm days, cool days and the wind down of summer.

It was the first full month in our new house and as you can tell by the tardiness of my post, it was a busy one. (Will I ever not say that?)

We took the time to really settle into this place and dang that felt good. It was the first time we’ve had a chance to do so since we were in Hawaii at the beginning of the year!

All of our boxes are unpacked and I actually organized my kitchen! There are still so many projects to do, I’ll putz forever, but as of now, it feels like home.

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One of the things that made September was going to the Renaissance Festival with my aunt. It has been so long since I’ve had a chance to go and it’s so fun to get lost in the magic. My all time favorite festival for sure!

My hubby picked up a work car which has made life so much easier already! With my appointments increasing to weekly, this felt so necessary!

The start to our 5 weekend of visitors began this month and it was everything I hoped it would be. I love being close to our family!

 32 weeks pregnant!

32 weeks pregnant!

Soaking up every minute before the summer fades to fall.

We’re here, in Minnesota. Settling in a house. Preparing for baby and just taking a big exhale.

I almost feel ready to start reflecting on the year, what a year it’s been, but we still have a little living to do. Hope you are all enjoying the small moments and taking time to exhale in your own way.

Thanks so much for reading,


August in Review | Home Sweet Home

Sweet, sweet August in Minnesota. I don't know if there's anything better!

Crisp morning air and sun filled days... I've loved every minute of it and so has George!

It was a busy month, I'm sure each and every one of us could say that!

Walks to the park, a trip up north and spending time with family. We did the State Fair and a birthday party at the Mall of America. We celebrated our 3 year wedding anniversary and my 31st birthday. We had baby appointments and pediatric appointments and sure enjoyed the downtime in between.

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The most exciting part of August though, was purchasing our first ever HOME.
We did it! We found one and they accepted our offer!

We got our keys at the very end of the month and it's been an incredible whirlwind of days since.

You guys, it feels like we've waited so very long for this moment and it's here. I cried twice on moving day. My greatest dream is to create place for my children to grow and flourish.. a place they can always come back to.. a safe, warm home with good food and so much love.

I see it here, I see it all here! 

  My beautiful niece on a trip up north -- she's just the coolest little girl!

My beautiful niece on a trip up north -- she's just the coolest little girl!

  28 weeks ~ in the third trimester!

28 weeks ~ in the third trimester!

  Self portrait on my 31st birthday.

Self portrait on my 31st birthday.

I've been dabbling in my dreams a bit and we've been almost too busy to fully grasp what it is I am doing here but I know there is magic to be made ahead.
Women. Photography. Art. Light. Words.
I have faith it will all come together at the perfect time!

  243/365 August 31st -- the first day in our new home!

243/365 August 31st -- the first day in our new home!

I appreciate all the shared enthusiasm this month - family and friends, near and far, personal and social - you're all the best! Thanks for following as I document the biggest life transitions for my family. What a trip.

There are a few of us still going strong for our 365 Project Blog Circle. I'm so grateful for these talented women who keep me motivated to shoot every day. If you click through to Alyssa Kellert's post, you'll see a beautiful new website with a summer recap. These are the Days

Onward to September!


H O M E | July in Review

Goodbye, Arizona!

After being in the desert for three months, we packed up and hit the road. Homeward bound!

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It took us four days to get from AZ to MN.

Traveling at 22 weeks pregnant with a 1.5 year old that doesn't like his carseat and a small chihuahua that shakes and whimpers when he gets nervous... I really wouldn't recommend it to anyone! Those four days tested every ounce of our patience... but can you imagine the relief we shared as we drove across the Minnesota state line??

Excitement, relief and a huge exhale.

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After arriving in the twin cities we moved into a temporary townhouse. Did I mention we had a huge change of plans at the start of the month?  My hubby had a job opportunity that he just couldn't pass up and it landed us in the suburbs of Minneapolis/St. Paul.

So now we're here, half unpacked and we're house hunting in a crazy way. I think we've seen close to 10 homes so far! The market in this area (I guess all over!) is just bonkers. We're close to finding "the one" though and I hope to have a super positive update next month!

Between the madness we've spent a lot of time with our family that lives here, it's truly been the biggest blessing. Oh, and the park. Clockin' hours in at the park!

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My last bump picture of the month catches me at 24 weeks pregnant. Unreal how fast this pregnancy has gone... but I guess I'm not too surprised! We're all set up at the birth center in Woodbury for our first appointment and excited to be working with a midwife again!

We got the gender in an envelope this month and within a couple days opened it. I can't WAIT to share... we just have one more set of grandparents to tell first so definitely next month!

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Thank you guys for reading. These photos are a part of a 365 project I'm participating in and we're already past day 200! What a year... so many celebrations and challenges, for all of us! The July round up is Kris and I. I love her perspective -- you can check it out HERE.

I feel a shift coming, yet again when it comes to this online space... but I'm not sure what it is quite yet. I think when things slow down enough, it will all fall into place. Photo journal, motherhood... excited to get writing again.

Wishing you all many blessings, always,



June in Review | Al... most... there!

I thought maybe I'd be starting this month's review with news of a home purchase or a move to Minnesota, but we're just not quite there yet. I am certain though, that July will be our month to shake things up. This could truly be the calm before the most hardcore storm yet!

Things in Arizona have been hot but good. We've truly adjusted to the mainland well and I'm so grateful for that... that doesn't mean we haven't been antsy. I know I am going to look back at this time and wish maybe I would have just relaxed and enjoyed our down time a bit more. We're just so incredibly ready to unpack our boxes in a house and start getting settled. So ready. Patience, Elyse'.

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My last bump photo of the month was at 18 weeks. I've reached the point in my pregnancy where although my bump is growing rapidly I feel pretty normal. I have energy again and that has been the best gift. Almost halfway to baby! Gender appointment is coming up... the question is, do we wait or find out!

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Our little George has been keeping us on our toes this month. Besides being incredibly curious and absolutely adorable.. his temper is emerging and do I dare say a glimpse of the terrible twos? Melt downs for no reason, hollering at the top of his lungs when he wants something that just isn't possible.. stuff like that. My patience is being tested in so many ways this month! Add pregnancy hormones and I'm telling you, I have moments that I am just getting by!

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We've never been closer to being home... or having a home. I know that the next life stage is right around the corner. We're opening and closing chapters (MN, AZ, HI, family growth etc.), exploring all opportunities (job changes, location changes etc.) and having some tough conversations along the way (maybe when things didn't play out as we first expected).
It's not always easy but it's growth and no matter what I know we'll make it through.

Thank you guys for reading. I'm so grateful for the gift of photography and this 365 group that I'm a part. It forces me to pause along the way during a whirlwind of a time.
As you know, I'm part of a blog series of talented photographers all over the US -- please click through to see their work and what they've been up to this summer. Up next is KRIS!

Today I Turn 30

Today I turn 30 years old.

It's wild, really.

What a decade.
A wonderful, challenging and adventurous decade.

If I had to describe the past 10 years of my life with one word it would be discovery.

I've changed and evolved so much as a person. Grown, I suppose.

Not to get all groovy right away but when you think about it, honestly, getting older is such a gift. As I reach this significant age I don't feel worried or sad, regretful or upset. I actually feel quite the opposite. I'm excited -- ready -- it feels so fresh to me! Kind of like getting to start a new.

A brand new chapter.

As I think about the last 10 years, all the big stuff comes to mind. The highlights.

- The first thing, for sure, always -- the people. So many amazing people have shaped these years and honestly made them worth living. Strangers that have become family. My nut farm and friends, co-workers and acquaintances -- all of these relationships that have come to be with a little twist of fate. I appreciate and love them all more than anything else.
The 8 different cities across 5 states (Minnesota, Nevada, Arizona, Texas and Hawaii) -- I've moved 14 times and we're making that 15th move in 2 days!
- An engagement and and a marriage. Something I never thought I'd do. (Love you more than anything, Tom!)
- I grew and birthed the cutest darn human alive, Thomas George. He's everything.
- When it comes to my job, I've lived many different lives. I've stood at the desk of Four Seasons, in the OR during surgery and behind the bar serving drinks. I've provided massage, cut hair and answered phones. Big companies like Zappos and Stryker to small offices and Yoga studios. I've been a cashier at Whole Foods and have spent so much time at the front desk I could do it with my eyes closed.
The hardest, most fulfilling position I've ever had though, is my current gig: full time MOM.
- I've traveled. My heart just wells up writing this because I love it so much. From New York to Colorado, Japan to Italy and a lot of places in between. I really really hope this is just the beginning!
- I quit smoking! (Honestly, I'm so proud of this).. and come to think of it, I stopped drinking too and that's been good for me right now.
- I had a pretty intense bucket list and for a big chunk of my early twenties I chipped away at it. Things like sky diving, surfing and learning how to wakeskate. I checked off some must see concerts like Jack Johnson, Jason Mraz, Bob Dylan, Tori Amos, Rebelution and the one and only Stevie Nicks. I ran a half-marathon, did a Ragnar Relay and lived in a yurt. I've taken a million and one classes on a million and one subjects and don't plan on stopping that anytime soon!

I'm sort of done with having a bucket list BUT I'll definitely stay curious and continue to try new things.

It's so fun to reflect on the highlights but they aren't all that made my 20s. 

As think about it, some tough stuff comes to mind too. Would these be considered the lowlights?

All those moves and changes were exciting, but not always easy! Moving can suckNo other way to put it.
- In the past decade I've been broke, I've been lonely and I've been homesick. (Seriously)
- At one point, during my mid-twenties, I had stage three adrenal fatigue. Once I found out what was going on it took me well over a year to fully recover. That was by far the most challenging thing I've ever been through.
- When you change jobs like some people change their underwear you can feel a little bit like a failure. I felt it, I felt it a lot and often pondered what on earth I was doing with my life. (Still do wonder, just minus the failure part.)
- Speaking of failure... I failed. A lot. I had many ventures and ideas that just never saw fruition. I spent a lot of time and I spent a lot of money that ultimately felt wasted. (If you learn something, nothing is wasted, btw.)
- Lastly, I swear to you, I was my own worst critic. During my early 20s, I never felt smart enough or pretty enough or flexible enough or rich enough blah blah blah etc. etc. --  Oh my goodness, that is, by far, the greatest part of heading into my 30s. I feel so confident, or maybe it's that I just don't care what people think as much -- either way, it's freeing.

I hope in 10 years when I'm 40, I'm still blogging and taking pictures -- documenting life as a mom and wife, creative and traveler. 

It's an empty slate and I don't need a wild life to fill it.
Just family, friends and an awareness of the beauty in every small moment.

  Photograph by  Jessica Holleque

Photograph by Jessica Holleque

20s vs. 30s -- Ten Things

1. Bedtime, anything past midnight >> 8:30... 9 if it's a wild night!

2. Grey hair! Dudes, I have grey hair. What is going on.

3. I seriously watch so much HGTV it's not even funny.

4. Bye thongs. Adios! Au revoir! Ciao!

5. My phone has morphed from party pictures to baby pictures. So. Many. Baby. Pictures.

6. Hair. Nails. Makeup. >> Mom pony. Little chapstick.

7. Anywhere but Minnesota, anywhere. >> Minnesota is, hands down, my favorite place to be!

8. Swimsuit - Itsy bitsy teenie weenie >> full coverage mom suit. I like it, that's the thing!

9. Self conscious >> Kinda just don't give a bleep

10. My parents don't get it >> My parents know everything

June in Review ~

- Went to the Big Island for the weekend
- Watched hubby complete Ironman 70.3 on Kona
- Visited Kevin & Kelly! <3
- Took Tom George's 5-month photos
- Amber necklace for teething Thomas
- Pool day with the baby!
- Celebrated Tom on Father's Day! Nico's for dinner!
- Chopped all my hair off
- Story time at Kaneohe Library
- Lunch with Gigi and Noe
- Thomas's 6-month wellness check & shots
- Tom's North Shore swim
- Tom George's first swim in the ocean!
- Nacho's at Uncle Bos, Haleiwa
- Completed 2 Skillshare classes
- Booked a photoshoot with Jessica Holleque in July
- Cactus date with husband (baby TG too!)
- Read the book White Hot Truth by Danielle LaPorte
- Gave myself a mani & pedi
- Left for Minnesota trip! HNL ---> MSP
- Caribou in MN!!

May in Review ~

- Celebrated Grandpa George's 80th birthday in Minnesota
- Flew back to Hawaii
- T. George had his 4-month wellness check
- Celebrated my first Mother's Day
- Brunch with family at Crepes No Ka Oi in Kailua
- Back to the Dermatologist
- Binged watched 3 seasons of Shameless (quit watching, couldn't take anymore and needed my life back!)
- Took 4 photography classes on Skillshare
- Purchased Michelle Gardella's Story Waters Lightroom presets
- Aloha BBQ in Honolulu for Tom's co-worker, James
- Mama baby day trip to Ala Moana Mall in Honolulu
- Lunch with Sage and Theo
- Auntie Katie visits
- North Shore Oahu family cruise
- Thomas started to crawl!
- Annual women's appointment with my midwife
- Made a Terrarium with Cami and Art Bridge at Anuenue in Kailua
- Solo coffee date at Chad Lous
- Started an online collection of my photographs {portfolio}
- Packed up my little dude for our next trip to the Big Island


March In Review ~

March! Thing are finally starting to calm down. I'm feelin' like myself more and more each day. 
I have to tell you, those first two months were intense, hard... tiring, but I feel a shift... a welcomed shift and when my son smiles at me (which he is doing more and more) it's all worth it.

Doing this mom thing and also starting to do some work with Earthen Women. It's all slowly coming together and I've never felt more ready. March, in review!

- Brought Thomas to his two month appointment
- Attended the Mama & Me Hui at Castle - x2!
- Donated to the Hawaiian Island Humane Society
- Set up a family filing system (Virgo all day!)
- Went to Sage's house for baby/mama/friends time - x2!
- Got Thomas his passport photo
- Published first post in the Pregnancy Diary - Long Before Baby!
- Put in my two week notice with Stryker
- Met mama Liz and baby Ellie for acai bowls!
- Officially became a Stay At Home Mom!
Opened bank account for Earthen Women / Set up Square
- Pampered myself with an at home pedicure
- Beach day with my family! <3
- Brought Thomas to Pali Momi & Hawaiian Airlines to visit co-workers & daddy!
- Took Thomas to Mele Keiki -- music class! So much fun!
- Read Yoga Beyond Belief by Ganga White of White Lotus Foundation
- Taught Mama & Me Yoga at Liz's house to two Mama's! - x2!
- Ordered flyers for April's Vision Board Workshop!
- Signed up for a family pass at our local YMCA
- Brought Thomas to child watch @ the Y while mama took a Yoga class
- Coffee/Business date with Katie
- Went to the Eat Cake Gallery launch party at Red Pineapple

Things are really starting to pick up with Earthen Women -- setting up workshops and teaching a little Yoga. It's been amazing getting back into it, rolling with the opportunities that are being presented. TY, TY, TY!

February In Review ~

Oh February! What a month! It came and went so quickly. That's how it goes, I suppose.

I'm finally starting to get into a groove with baby Thomas. Things aren't feeling as new and overwhelming as they did in those first few weeks. We've developed a little routine and although I'm still adjusting, it IS getting easier. Our baby boy is smiley and strong and we sure do love him.

One thing I'm super stoked about is carving out time to work on Earthen Women! I'm looking forward to networking, doing some coaching and teaching Yoga. I'm still mapping things out but will definitely share more next month!

February in Review

- Mom and dad were here visiting from Minnesota for two weeks! What a help it was. Loved having them!
- Got my nose re-pierced and hoop back in. Feeling like myself more and more!
- Signed up for - I've been doing a 30 minute practice almost every day!
- Brought Thomas to church 2x -- it was hilarious. Let's just say we call him Toots for a reason.
- Published my Birth Story on the blog. It makes me proud!
- Went to the Kailua Town Farmer's Market 2x -- love that place!
- Read Yoga Girl by Rachel Brathen.
- Had one baby appointment and one mama appointment, all is well!
- Went to a Mama & Me Hui at Castle Medical Center to visit other moms.
- Visited my friend Sage and her son Theo.
- Had a date night at Kona Brewing with my husband, so nice!
- Visited Valley of the Temples with my parents, its beautiful!
- Went to the Eye Doctor, ordered contacts!
- Took baby Thomas on his first flight! Scary! It went really well.
- Visited family for the weekend on the Big Island, a much needed quick trip!
- Got a file drawer and organized the family documents. (Virgo all day!)
- Made a recipe notebook for easy food planning and meal prep. (Mom life!)
- Two bags to the Salvation Army.

 Mom and dad here for two weeks! Slamming green drinks at the Kailua Town Farmer's Market.

Mom and dad here for two weeks! Slamming green drinks at the Kailua Town Farmer's Market.

 Our son's first flight to the Big Island! What a travel champ!

Our son's first flight to the Big Island! What a travel champ!

 Big Island with my family. I could stay forever!

Big Island with my family. I could stay forever!

 Date night with the hubby. He is seriously  the best .

Date night with the hubby. He is seriously the best.

 Visiting Byodo-In Temple on the Windward side of Oahu with mom and dad!

Visiting Byodo-In Temple on the Windward side of Oahu with mom and dad!

 Our little baby nugget turned one month old!

Our little baby nugget turned one month old!

January In Review ~

Oh January! What a month. Honestly, the most intense month of my life!

I wrote out January's dreams at the end of December and I kept going back to it throughout each week. I didn't do everything I wanted to do but I got much more done than I expected!

January In Review

- Gave birth to my little human, Thomas George, January 2nd at 7:29pm.
- Spent a week in the Castle nursery with baby Thomas. So. Many. Emotions.
- Read one book, Big Magic (for the second time) -- goodness I love that book. Feeling so inspired!
- Tom's family came out for a visit ~ his mom, stepdad and aunt came to meet our son. So nice seeing and spending time with them!
- My sister Coco came out for a full week! Chats, good food, lounging, beach and lots of baby time. She was the best!
- Got breastfeeding down! It was my greatest desire to BF my baby and without being too tooting of my own horn, we're rocking it. I love doing it!
- Went to one Mommy & Me Hui at Castle. Six moms in a room nursing and chatting. It was everything I needed.
- Created a budget with the hubby! All bills are organized and on a spreadsheet! (Thanks Tom!)
- Had two baby appointments with the pediatrician and a mama appointment with my midwife. (When you have a baby I swear your life turns into appointments!)
- Packed up all my maternity clothes and cleaned out my closet! Boy does that feel GOOD.
- Got my hair done! I hadn't touched my hair since before my honeymoon almost 9 months ago. A MUCH needed and well deserved treat if I do say so myself!

January went by so fast and in all honesty it was really hard. I'm looking forward to stepping into February and getting into more of a routine with Thomas.

I also looking forward carving out time for some of my personal goals ~ reading, blogging, business and getting on my Yoga mat.