It’s easy to covet the colors of a frozen moment.

In fact, that's one of the things I adore about photography--the ability to steal moments and keep them cozy forever, to see the beauty of one expression amidst the story swirling around it. But we often forget that there is a story surrounding those pretty snapshots. We become wrapped in their perfection and it cripples the confidence.

I’m a photographer. But against all stereotypes, peek into my life and you won’t find a bright, white coffee table with pops of color and artfully scattered paperclips beside my open, leather-bound journal.

  • I have dog toys scattered around my carpeted floor and sometimes a bone or two lying around as well. 
  • We have a chic fila calendar on our kitchen wall and it makes me laugh every morning.
  • My socks rarely match. 
  • I use drugstore makeup.
  • Sometimes I drink my coffee out of a plain mug and it tastes just as good as if there were a pretty gold foil inspirational quote wrapped around the outside.
  • I have shoes strewn haphazardly all over my closet floor. They aren’t expensive enough to worry about keeping them in boxes. 
  • I’m 9 weeks postpartum and I don’t fit into all my old jeans yet. (gasp)
  • I currently only wear shirts that are baggy sweaters or button-ups because it’s the easiest way to simultaneously cover my stomach and feed a human. 
  • Our storage/laundry room is a cave where card-board boxes go to die. Probably lots of shoe boxes in there.
  • I write with pens I’ve collected from banks and the crevices of old book bags. 
  • We have a brown, microfiber couch that sags in the middle because we let our dog climb all over it. 
  • There’s a pack and play where a dining room table should go. 
  • Most of the recipes I try end up stuck to a pan. 
  • My baby sometimes wears hand-me-downs and clothes from retail chains. She spits on and poops in them like every other baby and looks darn cute doing it. 
  • I feel impossibly rich.

See, the thing is— I’m a photographer, yes. But I’m also a wife, a new mom , a daughter, a sister, and a Christian.

I relax by curling up with my thoughts and writing or watching a movie with my hubby or doing yoga.

I am nostalgic and heart-strong beyond reason.

I get antsy from clutter and disorganization, yet I constantly find myself swimming in both. 

I love to bake and cook but I’m really bad at it and have the burns on my hands on my unmanicured hands to prove it. 

I don't menu plan in my seer-sucker, sparkly pajamas from bed with a latte on a Tuesday morning. (I've actually seen someone post that). 

I am human. I fit no stereotype. 

We can admire the picture others portray of their lives to the public-- we can be inspired by their creativity,  by their organization, their ideas, their words, even by their looks.

But envy is for the weak and we all have something that remains behind closed doors. 

I recently read this quotation that struck me right between the eyes:

“The thing that is really hard, and really amazing, is giving up on being perfect and beginning the work of becoming yourself.” —Anna Quindlen

I look around at my life today and am obsessed with every perfectly imperfect detail. Not to say that I don’t hope to wear my jeans again soon or that I wouldn’t like to have a designer [anything] some day. But all that is so futile. It will come with time. And if it doesn’t, that’s fine too.

We own a home that is warm and beautiful and (relatively) clean and decorated with meaning. We have friends and family who enrich our lives daily. We have a thriving little girl who brightens our whole world. We are still wildly in love after 3 1/2 years of marriage. We both have passions that we've turned into our careers. We have a quirky dog who both drives us nuts and warms our hearts every single day. 

So even when the temptation to compare is alluring and I become soaked in pictures of perfect prettiness, I’ll soak in the moments, and into my couches instead; because what matters is that I do my best to grow a little more, try something new, and be a little better version of myself each day.

I hope you will, too. 

Cheers to real life, real moments, real laughter, real goals, real pictures & real stories in 2016. 

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Read On

Want some more insta-truth? Check out this photography series from artist Chompoo Baritone about what happens outside the Instagram square frame. 

I love the honesty that blogger OLIVIA MUENTER of Bustle shares about her Instagram pictures and the true stories behind the scenes.


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