Senior 2016 | Halie

I had such a pleasure shooting with my beautiful cousin. It was her first time in Ann Arbor, so it was a blast sight-seeing and stopping for a photo op along the way! I know this gallery is long overdue, but I am so proud of all she has accomplished and what she is doing. Congratulations, Halie!

*Click on an image to enlarge it*

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Makeup Review | Tarte

 

During Mother’s Day, Tarte sent me an email saying they had a special deal for one day only. Of course, knowing me I can’t pass it up, but I told myself only to look. The deal was for six items of your choice and a makeup bag for only $59. Six. Full-sized items. For 59 bucks. After I finalized what I wanted I tallied up what it would have cost me: $168 (not including the bag price if there was one). I absolutely love Tarte because they have products that do not irritate my overly sensitive skin. I was inspired to do a makeup review on the products because I usually don’t get this many at once. So here goes nothing!

Empowered Hybrid Gel Foundation: $39

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This foundation is one-of-a-kind. It is hypoallergenic (good for sensitive skin), and it is extremely hydrating, which is perfect for people with dry skin. It goes on very well, gives full coverage, and lasts quite a while. If you have oily skin, or even normal skin and do not like the dewey skin look, then this foundation is not for you. I do have to powder every once in a while because my skin gets shiny as the day rolls on, but I can live with it because it does not irritate the dry patches on my skin. One other note: I hope they come out with more color ranges, because the lightest shade (fair to neutral) they have is a bit dark for me, although I do have the translucent skin of a vampire. It would be nice, though! Overall, a really nice foundation for dry skin!

Limited Edition Lights, Camera, Lashes Precision Longwear Eyeliner: $20

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This limited edition shade, deep brown, is perfect for those who find black to be too harsh for their skin tone or eye color. To be honest I was not too impressed with this. I tried it and it did not go on very smoothly. It snagged my eyelid when I was trying to make a line and it left a patchy job. I do not know if it is because I am used to em by Michelle Phan’s liquid eyeliner applicator or what, but this one was not a winner for me.

Bronze and Glow Contour Brush: $34 & Colored Clay Bronzer Blush: $30

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I never contoured before, and to be perfectly honest I thought it was a fad that was going to fade away (which it probably still is, but not anytime soon). This bronzer/blush combo is perfect for beginners who are a little intimidated by the idea of contouring. The brush makes it super easy, with the slim side used for sweeping the darker colors under the cheek bones, under the jaw line, down the sides of the nose, and around the temples. Then, take the bigger fluffy side and blend, blend, and blend some more! I opted for the pink shade to go more with my skin tone, but they do have a peachy shade as well. It is a beautiful combination of colors – I highly recommend these two!

Lights, Camera, Splashes Waterproof Mascara: $21 

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For some unknown reason, mascara is my friend and my enemy in the makeup world. Any mascara I try, it always smudges underneath my lower lash line. So, I went for Tarte’s waterproof mascara. I probably should have bought waterproof mascara ages ago, but this is a pretty good option. It takes a while to get a few coats on your lashes, but it significantly reduced the fallout/smudging problem I had. I believe the only shade they offer is black. Overall, great mascara! Obviously a little harder to get off, but that is normal with waterproof mascara, just be careful to not rub your eyes raw or pull out all your lashes!

LipSurgence Lip Crème: $24

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This is by far one of my favorite Tarte products! I already had two other shades, so when the opportunity came to get another, I pounced at the chance! I have full lips and I love the formula – it glides on smoothly and my lips stay moisturized all day practically. They also smell minty to me, which is not so bad either ;). The shade Serene is a beautiful peachy pink almost nude color. It looks very natural and is just a beautiful shade. I cannot say enough good things about these – if you do not have one, I would suggest you invest in one. It is definitely worth it.

~

Disclaimer: this blog post was not sponsored in any way – I purchased these products myself and all opinions are my own. All pictures are owned by me and were taken by me.

Confessions of a Maid of Honor: Five Tips to Rock the Job

Recently I was given the “honor” (see what I did there?) to be my best friend’s maid of honor at her wedding. I was absolutely ecstatic! We have been friend’s our entire lives, so this is one of our daydreams coming true. Little did I know everything that a maid of honor entails. There’s so much more to being a maid of honor than giving a little heart-warming speech at the reception. Coming from a now experienced mindset, here are five tips that I’ve come up with to help those new maid of honor’s who are saying, “What did I get myself into?”

  1. Plan Everything Ahead of Time

I can’t stress enough how vital it is to plan everything ahead of time. You are there to make the bride’s life easier – especially when it comes to planning. Your duties are the bachelorette party and the wedding shower (before the wedding – shower is optional depending on the bride). Coming from a true procrastinator, it will make your life so much easier if you plan on a theme and games and prizes ahead of time – and that means more than two weeks prior to the event. Even if you’re not a list person, they help tremendously! Lists make things more manageable and you can focus on one thing at a time, as opposed to looking at everything you have to do and become a huge stress ball. Another suggestion is to enlist the help of your fellow bridesmaids – they are there to help you and can come in handy! If your all far away and can’t get together as often, enlist the help of a close friend. Remember, you don’t have to do everything on your own!

2. Give Options, Not a Million Questions

Your bride to be is already stressed out with a million wedding details; not to mention everything else she has to worry about like the honeymoon, where they’re going to live, etc. Instead of attacking your bride with a million questions as regards to her taste and wants, give her options. She picked you for this special position for a reason, so obviously you know somewhat of what her taste and style is. Instead of asking, “What centerpieces would you like for the shower tables?” Try asking, “I’ve looked at a couple options for a centerpiece for your wedding shower tables. Which one do you like best?” Get planning and researching as soon as you can, because it comes up faster than you can blink. If a plan falls short or something needs to be changed, have backup options. One thing I’ve learned is that sometimes you don’t get everything you want or planned – things happen. Be prepared with options she will love, ask for the go ahead, and get going!

3. Calm and Collected are Your New Names

With everything that’s going on, you are the solid rock your bride is leaning on. Don’t forget that you are there to be for her, but not just for the wedding details. Everyone else is bombarding her with those questions. Make sure you ask how she’s feeling and try to take her mind off of things once in a while. Bring her back to reality and when things were a lot less hectic. Let her vent, cry, laugh, or get out whatever she’s feeling at the moment. If you’re a person that can’t handle stress well, remember this: this too shall pass. The months leading up to the wedding won’t last forever. Word of advice, the last two weeks leading up to the wedding are the most stressful weeks of her pre-wed life – so that’s a good time for getting her mind off of things.

4. Tips for a Clean Bachelorette Party

As a Christian, bachelorette parties are very tricky these days. I had next to no luck searching for clean bachelorette party ideas on Pinterest. So I basically had to make up a theme, find classy decorations, and come up with clean games. With the enlistment of my fellow bridesmaids and a close friend who is a great host, I came up with a spa themed party; complete with facials and mani pedis. Party City has pretty nice bachelorette party decorations if you’re in need of a place to shop (I don’t know if they’re everywhere in the US, I’m from the midwest). There are a ton of games that you can turn into a clean game. Just swap out dirty questions for clean versions, or trade out alcohol for something else. One of the biggest hits was a game called how well do you know the groom, where the bride has to answer questions about the groom and when she gets a question wrong, instead of taking a shot of tequila, she puts a marshmallow in her mouth and keeps it there until the end of the game. It was a hilariously funny game – especially when she turns into a chipmunk and is trying to get out the answer as clearly as she can. A clean bachelorette party is more work planning-wise, but totally worth it and is just as fun!

5. Wedding Day Duties

Ah, the wedding day. What all the months of planning and preparing was for. This day is the most crucial for a maid of honor. You have to help your bride get ready, keep her from having a panic attack, have everything she would need, hold her bouquet, make sure her train looks good on the stage, remember how to tie the bustle, keep everyone in check for pictures, sign the marriage license, remember your speech for the reception, and remember to breathe. It is a very stressful day for you, but your duty is to make sure the bride has as carefree a day and you can manage. You want to make sure she remembers this day as the happiest day of her life. It’s a long list, but it goes so much faster that you’d think. Remember: you’ll have time to relax after your speech. Then it’s time to party! I would suggest you bring some Tylenol for your head and aching feet. Don’t forget to drink water and eat something prior to the reception meal – it wouldn’t be ideal if you pass out before then. I know because of the adrenaline you don’t feel hungry or thirsty, but trust me. Once the adrenaline is gone, you won’t feel so hot. Make sure the bride is hydrated as well! When you look back at the day, if the bride is happy, that means you did well. :]

Photo: Pinterest

What I Wore | Sweater Weather

Wow it’s been a while since I’ve done my last post in this series – sorry about that! It’s hard to find the time to take pictures and have to schedule with someone else to do them. Anyway, taken again by the lovely Samantha Cushman. I’ll put a link to everything down below (click on an image to enlarge it, too). Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hat | Charming Charlie

Sweater | Forever 21

Necklace | Forever 21 (Similar Option)

Skirt | Target (Similar Option)

Purse | Charming Charlie (almost exact)

Booties | Madden Girl

A Time for Everything | Journal

“For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven. A time to be born and a time to die. A time to plant and a time to harvest. A time to kill and a time to heal. A time to tear down and a time to build up. A time to cry and a time to laugh. A time to grieve and a time to dance. A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones. A time to embrace and a time to turn away. A time to search and to quit searching. A time to keep and a time to throw away. A time to tear and a time to mend. A time to be quiet and a time to speak. A time to love and a time to hate. A time for war and a time for peace.” Ecclesiastes 3: 1-8

There has been so many significant events this year. Some exciting, some heartbreaking. I’ve witnessed three marriages (with one more this year) and two deaths. I’ve seen couples welcome bundles of joy into the world, and I’ve grieved with friends who have had devastating news. There is a season for everything – this year being a pinnacle of whiplashing happiness and sadness.

It’s so easy to question God’s motives and timing. It’s even easier to doubt and make our own timeline for our lives. Yet that can lead to despair and rebellion in the hard times. I’ve had my own season of questions this year. I’ve moved recently (a year ago in August) and I found myself lost as to finding a home church. I’ve been with the same church family for twenty-one years. I visited many churches and had only negatives to say because the “worship wasn’t the same as my old church,” or, “It just didn’t feel like home.”  I began to go to a place of complacency that I’ve never experienced before. It was like I’ve given up hope in finding a church home; given up on finding my fit to where I could lead worship again; given up of God to show me where to go because it wasn’t in my time line. It was a hard time in my life.

It took a while to realize that God had put me through this season of hardship for a reason. There was a lesson to be learned – although we face problems or situations that contradict God’s plan, we should use them as opportunities. Without God, there can be no solution. If we face them alone, we will only sink deeper and deeper. The secret to peace in troubled times is accepting God’s perfect timing. Surrendering myself and my doubts and concerns was hard. It means trusting God completely no matter what happens; giving God the reigns to you life. Yet it was so worth it – not worrying and having a huge weight lifted off my shoulders. It doesn’t mean I’ve found my “home church” yet, but I’m going with a positive outlook and an open heart.

There is a time for every season. We just have to learn to trust and accept God’s perfect timing for everything. What seasons have you been going through? Joyful, trying, or something else? Leave a comment below. :]

“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a hope and a future. In those days when you pray I will listen. If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me.” Jeremiah 29:11-13

What I Wore | Autumn Plaid

Shot by the lovely Samantha Cushman – I realized there were no pictures of my shoes…oh well. I’ll link them with the other items so you can see what they looked like. :]

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  • Hat | American Eagle (N/A)
  • Necklace | Forever 21
  • Lips | Nyx
  • Shirt | Forever 21
  • Jeans | American Eagle (N/A)
  • Booties | Target

Engagement | Sarah & Anthony

“For I know the plans I have for you,” Declares the Lord, “Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11

We had so much fun in downtown Detroit to shoot their engagement photos – even though it was freezing! I might as well post these since they’re getting married in two weeks time. Enjoy! (Click on an image to enlarge it)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Engagement | Tabetha & Jake

“Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.” 1 Corinthians 13: 4-7 NLT

I received the pleasure of photographing my two friend’s engagement. I hope you enjoy them as much as I enjoyed taking them. (Click on an image to enlarge it)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dealing with Anxiety | Journal

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” Philippians 4:6 NIV

Being a Christian and dealing with anxiety attacks can be difficult. It’s like your body is doing one thing while your brain is telling you otherwise. Let me explain to you what I’m talking about (for those who have no idea what an anxiety attack is).

For me, when I get nervous about a situation or an event that I’m not entirely confident with, I will start to have anxiety and dread it. My heart will pound really fast and there will be a sick feeling in my stomach that won’t go away. My body will literally shut down and I can’t think of anything or talk to anyone while this is happening. I usually have to calm myself down in my head and try to distract myself with doing things like watching TV or that require me to think about something else entirely.

I wish I didn’t have anxiety about certain things. I hate it.

It prevents me from doing things that I love because my mind can’t handle it emotionally and my body physically. It stinks. Also, it’s not something that you can make “go away,” either. I can’t force myself to not be nervous (I’ve tried, it only makes it worse if you push it down). Another thing about anxiety is that you fear having another attack and avoid places that can trigger an attack. For example, I am on the worship team for my church and I had stage fright – so much so that I got off stage and threw up. Ever since then, every Sunday morning my body woke me up at an unreasonably early hour and I would be nauseous all morning and dread going on stage because I feared I would have another anxiety attack and throw up. It lasted until church was over.

I didn’t know what to do. They became more frequent until I couldn’t handle it anymore and finally cried out to God. I know, you’re probably saying, “Well that’s what you should’ve done in the first place!” And you’re right. I should have. Yet I’m human and I thought, even though being a Christian, that I could handle this and control it on my own. Without God, though, it’s next to impossible to handle on my own, and I learned that the hard way.

I don’t think I’ll ever not have anxiety. I’ve accepted that. Yet I do know that whenever I feel anxious about anything, I go to God. Of course, I’m not perfect and I let my fears get the best of me; which happened recently and that’s what triggered me to write about it. This is a reminder to myself and to anyone reading this that God is bigger than anything we worry about. He understands everything and takes care of us. Every time I talk to God, about anything really, I get this comfort that no human could ever give. My spirit is calm, my heart isn’t palpitating out of my chest, and I know that everything is going to be okay. I encourage you – anyone who is dealing/has dealt with anxiety –  acknowledge that you have worries and fears. Crack open your Bible and start reading it. Memorize scriptures and recite them. Talk to God – He’s always there and will help you through anything. I can tell you right now that He’s better than any therapist or doctor or medication.

Anyway, there’s my little rant. I’m sorry I haven’t blogged anything in a long time. I’ll try and get better.

Em

The Dating Game – Why I Don’t Play | Journal

“Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.” Proverbs 4:23 NLT

Ahhh…dating. Relationships. Boyfriends. It’s what every young adult Christian girl has on her mind. It’s been on my mind too many times to count. I constantly dream about my future wedding and what color my flowers and napkins are going to be. I imagine what my future husband is going to look like, or what he’s actually doing right now as I’m writing this. God created us for relationships; it’s why He created a companion for Adam. We are alive so we can be in a relationship with our Creator. I believe that’s why He thought of marriage, because it is symbolic to our relationship with Jesus. The church is His bride, and He is the bridegroom. Yet in order to get married, you have to find a husband first (for us girls, of course). That’s where dating comes in.

I’ve heard both sides of the spectrum when it comes to being a Christian and dating. “If you really trust in God, you will know that He will bring the right guy to you,” or, “How do you know if he’s ‘the one’ if you’ve haven’t figured out what you like and dislike yet?” I’ve literally heard it all. Some of my friends have dated multiple guys, and some have dated one and know beyond a shadow of a doubt that this particular guy is in fact “the one”. Everyone has their opinion on the matter, and everyone is entitled to their opinion, but this one is mine.

I will admit I did actually go on a few dates with a guy and I knew from the get-go that he wasn’t for me. I was tired of waiting for the one God had for me, he liked me, I thought he was a cutie, so I said, “Why not?” I was tired of being twenty and never being on a date with a guy. Everyone (and by everyone I mean mostly) my age was either in a relationship or engaged or getting married or having kids already. My heart sinks a little every time I see a Facebook post saying someone is in a relationship or is engaged. I felt that I was missing out. So I just did it. I started dating a guy for the wrong reasons. I kept telling myself I’ll never know what I like or dislike if I never date anyone. Just going on a few dates or having a boyfriend or two never harmed anyone, right?

After a month and a half, I broke up with him. I knew I wasn’t going to marry him, so I felt that it wasn’t fair to him for me to keep having him pay for all of my delicious dinners (or my Starbucks). After that whole experience, I want to wait and not date until my future hubby comes into my life. I want to save myself for him, and by myself I mean everything. I’m twenty-one and I haven’t even kissed a boy or even held a boy’s hand romantically. I’m okay with being the rare unicorn as my friends call me. I know that when I share those moments with the one God has intended for me, it will be the most magical and sacred moments of my life. I know this is 2014 and it’s normal for a girl to have kissed multiple boys or do other things. I don’t believe in that. If I lasted twenty-one years without even holding a guy’s hand (and before you ask, I didn’t do anything with the guy I dated – I put my head on his shoulder and he put his arm around my shoulders for less than fifteen seconds and that was it) I think I can hold out a little longer for my future husband. Also, I don’t believe you have to date around to know whether or not you’ve found “the one”. When you’re seeking God with everything you have, He will bring him to you just in the nick of time, and you’ll know. Even though I’ve heard that phrase a million times, I never understood it until I experienced dating. It’s so important that you don’t give yourself (and not just sex) to every guy willy-nilly. Maybe you’ll have to experience dating a few guys for you to finally understand, and that’s okay. To each their own.

The whole point of this is that you need to guard your heart and keep yourself pure. Even if you’ve messed up, God will give you a clean slate and you can start now and be pure until your husband comes into the picture. These are my opinions on dating. And although I should be in a museum in a glass box, I know it’ll be worth it. Remember – a girl should be so lost in God that a guy has to seek Him to find her. To be so lost in God that you don’t have time for a man. The waiting game; however, is for another post.

Em.