Oh. My. February.

It's taken me a while to get back to writing after my last post. I'm sure ya'll understand. But there were plenty of ups for every hard day to share!

Started off the month in the BEST way possible: MY EAGLES FINALLY WON THE SUPERBOWL!!! And man, WHAT A GAME?! Am I right?? Seriously my favorite football game of all time! 

IMG_0939.JPG

Victory!

You might be wondering why a girl from Utah is a fan of the Philadelphia Eagles?

2004. The year of the infamous JT & Janet Jackson fiasco (didn't actually see that, I was in the other room playing with the neighbors when we heard everyone shouting to close their eyes lol). I was 12 years old. Our neighbors, the Parry's, came over to watch the game: New England Patriots vs. Philadelphia Eagles. I watched McNabb throw a touch-down pass to Pinkston and that's all it took. Pinkston. The COOLEST last name I'd ever seen. And McNabb, Pinkston, & T.O. were INCREDIBLE to watch. The Eagles lost by 3 points that day. But they gained a forever fan. 

So seeing my Eagles not only win their FIRST Super Bowl title, but also seeing them take revenge and kick Pat-butt was the BEST!! (ha-ha suck it Pats ;P) 

Then it was MARDI GRAS!! It killed me being so close to Louisiana and not being able to go to a parade! But my mama came through and sent us some good ol' Moon Pies to celebrate with! Maybe next year we'll actually get to a parade! 

We also discovered CARLOS' FRICKEN BAKERY in DALLAS!! It's the closest one to Utah (unless Santa Monica is closer). But I was FREAKING out!! I LOOOOOOOOVED watching Cake Boss and I dreamed of making cakes like that! And guess what y'all! It's just DOWN THE STREET from us! So stinking close! If ya'll come visit us, we'll definitely take you! (The chocolate moose cake is amazing.)

We also got to watch our FAVORITE pup Moose... again! I swear I love him like he's my own dog! Mary, Brady, if for some crazy reason you ever have to give him up, WE WILL TAKE HIM!! (Even Nick said he would!) 

And even though it was cold all month... and I mean COLD, Nick and I made it on a few walks when it was nice. I really love being out and exploring all that Dallas has to offer with my man. This month especially has been SO hard to be away from our families and it's made me even more grateful to have such a rock by my side! I wouldn't change it for the world! But I would LOVE to have family come visit us more! (*hint* *hint* *cough*mom*cough*) 

I also got to make some new amazing friends at a last minute shoot, take a stroll through the Dallas Zoo with the coolest mama and her adorable twins, find a TAXIDERMY place out in the middle of no where (it's actually by the cutest wedding venue! but in the middle of THE country), and eat a DELICIOUS heart-attack-on-a-stick-and-bun (aka: Carnival Berger). 

I also got some new headshots done thanks to my amazing friends Brittany & Lexie AND I found out how hot my hubs would be if he were a SHE! ;) Isn't he smokin?? 

AND I SIGNED UP FOR ANOTHER HALF MARATHON... I think I'm broken. 

And while you see the highlights and the good times and I put on a pretty positive attitude when I write, the truth is that most days just kinda sucked. I don't share them because there isn't much to share. Just the day to day work, chores, appointments, and emotional processing time. We have been so blessed with love and support by people around us but I've found the HARDEST thing for me to get through is the fact that my life has gone back to "normal". My world keeps spinning although I don't want it to sometimes and it just takes time to process that. And I'm not so sure I'm doing a good job at processing it. So please keep loving me. Please keep talking to me even when I don't have much to say. And if you know someone going through a similar thing, REACH OUT. There's nothing worse than feeling alone and unheard. A simple text is all it takes sometimes! 

IMG_1030.JPG

Most of February looked something like this

I'm SOO grateful for the outpouring of love that Nick & I have received since opening up about our loss. It is such a difficult thing to go through and SO many people have been there. But what comforts me most is being able to REALLY talk to someone who knows what I'm feeling. Who gets the weird rollercoaster of being fine and even happy one minute and crying the next second because you saw a cute baby that reminds you that your time isn't yet. 

I see so often about the harm of social media. And it is REAL. Like, my kids will NOT have social media until they're at LEAST 16, maybe 21... But what if we did something to fight that? What if we shared what's REAL and how to be happier, be better, and live more fulfilling lives? 

Focusing on living a more fulfilling life is so compelling, so motivating! But I'm not exactly sure how to do it. So if you have ANY ideas on how to live a more fulfilling life PLEASE tell me! Comment on this post, email me, DM me, whatever. Just LET ME KNOW! 

 

XOXO meli

Dear January,

This is going to be a real, honest, and most likely, emotional post because our January was AMAZING and awful all in one. So if you're not wanting to see a bit into our lives, you may just want to skip this post. I warned you. 

January started of great! It was full of promise and excitement! We started it off by seeing the MOST amazing movie!! (The Greatest Showman). If you've seen it, I think you'll agree with me when I say the production value was INCREDIBLE! I could go on and on about it but I won't. If you DO want to chat about it LMK and I'd be all over that!

The second week of January was the BEST week of our lives! On January 11th we found out that we were GOING TO BE PARENTS!!! We were shocked! We definitely didn't think it would happen as quickly as it did (only a few months). And Nick came up with the best way to tell our families! Since we're in Texas and they're alll in Utah (and one in Idaho-rebel ;p) we got a family Skype session planned. Nick and I made these t-shirts and when we gave them an update on our lives we started talking all about how Nick is "on track for getting a promotion" and I am "starting a new position soon" and that we made shirts to celebrate (kind of a weird thing to make t-shirts for buuuttt... hey. Don't judge.) We had made sure that no one could see our shirts up until we told them about this and when we panned down to show them our shirts everyone went WILD! It was the best, most exciting time! Luckily, we recorded their reactions and I think I watched each family's reactions at least 5 times right after we were done talking to them. 

We were allll in. I started taking photos to show the progress my belly would make over then next 9 months (first photo I didn't really understand how to pose like a preggers but I was making progress by the second). We started planning family vacations around it and figuring out when my mom would come to help organize my house to get ready for baby. I started getting the low down from my good friend who just had a baby on what to expect and which products I just HAD to get! I even started reading What to Expect When You're Expecting and alllll the pregnancy apps/articles I could find! 

I had 2 wonderful, long, glorious weeks of being pregnant (and knowing it) before I miscarried. But I need to be clear about something. I'm not writing this and telling ya'll about the worst thing that's ever happened to me in any plea for sympathy, encouragement or anything of the like. I'm sharing because THIS IS MY LIFE. It's important to me to share it with my family and friends and maybe because I share my life (even the bad) it'll help someone. 

Nick and I were DEVASTATED. This Little One. This baby the size of a pea had become our ENTIRE LIVES! All we could think about was this baby and then suddenly, it was gone. It was so extremely hard and I can't begin to tell you what it is like going through that. It's still hard. I find myself distracting myself so that I don't have to think about it because the second I do, I'm a mess reliving it all over again. 

But for as hard as this experience is, we have been immensely blessed. Our families and friends have rallied around us, supporting us, bringing us meals, sending us flowers, visiting us and just letting us know how much they love us. And we have felt an enormous peace through it all. 

When I was little, I remember my mom asking me if I could keep a secret. Of course I told her yes because I wanted to know what that secret was SOOO badly! She told me that I was going to have another little sibling soon and I was sooo excited! I wanted a baby sister soo bad! And then a little while later she came back to me and told me that the baby had died. I remember so vividly my mom explaining that the baby couldn't come because they needed a perfect body and the body that had been growing wasn't perfect so it needed to start over again. And a little while later she did get pregnant and had my perfect baby sister!

My baby sister & me ^^

I have clung to that experience as I've gone through my own miscarriage. And as I've talked to people I've realized that my outlook might be a little unique. For many people miscarriage means the baby just simply isn't coming. For me, I prayed every day that I knew I was pregnant for my Little One to have a perfect little body and my prayers are being answered. This body wasn't going to be perfect and my body knew that so it simply hit the "Start Over" button. And you might be reading this, having experienced a miscarriage and felt like you lost a baby that isn't going to come. And you may be right. I really believe Mothers have an intuition and know. But for me, this isn't a goodbye to the most precious little person that I've never met before, it's a "we'll see you soon because I'm going to do everything I can to get you here." 

 I'm extremely grateful to all of my friends and family who have experienced this loss and have reached out or even just shared your stories. I don't think it's talked about enough. ONE in every FOUR pregnancies end in miscarriage or stillbirth. It's a startling fact and I understand why it's not talked about. It's HARD to open up about your loss. It's HARD to relive it. It's HARD to admit that every time you watch a show and a woman finds out she's pregnant/has a big bump/has a baby you find yourself bawling with grief and envy. I went to the doctors and on the elevator it opened to a woman DAYS away from having her baby in her arms and I LOST IT. Nick had to stare me down so that I didn't break down in front of the whole (crowded) elevator but the second I got to the car you bet I was done for. It's just not something that we want to go through over and over again if you don't have to. 

But I wonder if talking about it and being open about it would help us heal. I'm not sure if it will but this is me trying. I've been dreading writing this post because I didn't have much to share about my January besides this and I'm STILL not sure if I'm ready to share this with the world, but I want to heal. I want to be excited to start my little family again. I want to ONLY feel joy and peace holding my friends' adorable babies instead of a mix of joy, peace, and outrageous envy. (I'm honestly surprised I haven't turned into the Hulk yet.) I know it will happen but being patient has ALWAYS been hard for me and it's especially hard now. 

Nick and I have experienced a MILLION tender mercies though this hard time and want to thank each of you for your love and support! My wish is that I can help someone somewhere though a hard time as well. If you need to talk, PLEASE reach out!! Let's fight the good fight together!

 

XOXO meli

Pierre Family

Meet the Pierres! They are such a fun couple and their little girl could NOT be any cuter!! This session was soo fun to shoot! And the location (Dallas Arboretum & Botanical Garden) is to DIE for! I STILL have yet to think it's ugly (even when there aren't any leaves on the trees and everything is brown). 

One of the challenges I face is photographing little babies. You wouldn't think it would be hard since they're just a sleeping-mush-of-joy but it can be hard to position them just right! So my go to is taking a documentary-style approach! Have Mom & Dad hold baby however they normally do! Or pose Mom & Dad and then have them hold her however is most comfortable for them! You might be surprised and how photogenic people are naturally!! 

Another thing that has helped me is something my film professor, Brenda, taught us (film as in 35mm black & white not video). She taught us about Robert Capa, a FAMOUS war photographer. You might know him from this photo: 

D-day

Click the photo to read about his experience in WWII. 

So here's a guy who PHOTOGRAPHED June 6, 1944- one of the SCARIEST experiences I think anyone could ever have (but especially a photographer) and what did he say? 

If your pictures aren’t good enough, you’re not close enough.

Like, WHAT? Here's a guy that wanted to get CLOSE to war to get good pictures. That's dedication! So if you're thinking, alright Meli, this is cool and all but HOW does a photographer from WWII help you photograph little babies? 

If your pictures aren’t good enough, you’re not close enough.

Just get closer! Closeness increases the sense of familiarity, intimacy, emotionality, and if nothing else, envoys a reaction from it's viewers. It may be a different reaction from every viewer, or a different one than you expected. But good photography ALWAYS evokes a reaction. So GET CLOSER. 

XOXO meli 

Change Your Life in 2018

"If you're bored with life- you don't wake up every morning with a burning desire to do things- you don't have enough goals."     -Zig Ziglar

On Instagram the other week I posted a photo with a caption on how to achieve your goals and I PROMISED I'd write a post about it... welp, HERE IT IS!! 

Now, I'll be the FIRST to admit that I'm not the best at achieving my goals... or even setting them to begin with. I'm definitely not one of those people who naturally has spreadsheets or notebooks of goals, dates, plans, and upcoming goals (*cough* nick *cough*). BUT, 2017 really taught me that I CAN have notebooks (or blogs) of goals and that I really can achieve them! For example: 

Going into 2017 I was going into my last semester at BYU. I was really overweight and just wanted to graduate and lose the weight. Through MANY hours of HARD WORK not only did I graduate, but I also had lost 20 lbs even though I had had surgery on both of my calves! 

December 2016-April 2017

And if I can do that, YOU can do whatever you WANT TO! Hopefully, you have things you want to accomplish! I know I have some goals this year (I'm definitely sharing later) so let's accomplish them together! 

The MOST important thing you can do to meet your goals is to START! Time will pass whether you're working towards a goal or not. Just think, where do you want to be in a year from now? Do you want to be in the same place or even worse? Or do you want to make even a little PROGRESS? 

Do Not Wait.jpg

So let's talk about the 4 steps I gave on my post and hopefully help YOU achieve your 2018 goals! 

How to Change Your Life in 2018:

1:    Write down EVERYTHING you'd like to accomplish 

It's not enough just to think about what you want to accomplish. You need to write it all down, the FULL idea/goal, and start bringing it into reality!. Writing often develops the idea more and it can also help change it in ways that make it BETTER and more REALISTIC for you to achieve! 

2: Pick 4-5 of those goals that are REALISTIC to achieve within the first 4 months

Especially when working towards something big (like losing a lot of weight) it's SUPER important to break your goals into smaller, more manageable steps! When you accomplish a goal, no matter how small, it is SOO motivating!! So make it easier for yourself and pick 4-5 smaller goals to swallow that lead towards the BIG goal. 

3: Write out a DETAILED plan of how you will achieve those goals & set specific DATES & DEADLINES. 

Isn't it so much easier to have step-by-step directions to the new restaurant you want to go to than just driving around until you happen to find it? Why not make it easier and give YOURSELF step-by-step instructions to achieve your goals? And if what if you want to take it to the next level? The answer is simple: ask someone you TRUST and who will be 10000% honest & upfront with you to HOLD YOU ACCOUNTABLE to the plan you set! 

4: AFTER achieving 1-2 goals, pick 1-2 NEW goals from your list & repeat steps 1-3

If you follow this, you're ALWAYS going to have multiple things to be working on. This one is SUPER important for me because I can't JUST work on one at a time! There are SOO many things I want to accomplish that doing one at a time would just take WAYY too long! AND sometimes I have to wait for something to happen (outside of my control) before I can move forward with that goal so I need something else to work on, OR I get a little bored and need to change it up a bit to keep things a little spicy

In the end, there's only one thing that really matters, DO WHAT WORKS FOR YOU!! If you don't know where to even start, try my method. If it doesn't work for you, figure out WHY it isn't working and change it until it DOES work for you! 

But what do those steps ACTUALLY look like? Take a peak at a few of my goals that I'm kickin off the year with:

  • Lose 26 lbs of FAT by the end of the year (that's 2.17 lbs per month) 
    • To achieve that I will exercise 6 times a week. From January to May I will do a full body lifting workout on Mondays and Thursdays and run Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays, & Saturdays. I will exercise at the SAME time EVERY DAY (5am is best for me--sleep cycles) and I will track and adhere to my macros. I will also drink 2.7 liters of water (without caffeine) a day. From May through December I will focus on 3 different 12 week lifting programs while maintaining my cardio fitness. 
  • Read at least ONE book per month that broadens my intellectual, cultural, spiritual, or emotional horizons. 
    • Create and curate a list of books to pull from

So there are 2 of my goals that I'm going to be working on throughout the year! I hope its helpful to see mine and I WANT & NEED ya'll to keep me accountable! Don't be afraid to reach out and ask me what I'm reading or how my running/training is going to check up on me! 

I'd love to hear what you're working on this year! Drop a comment below!

 

XOXO meli