There's Something Magical About December

Well... that was fast!! I absolutely cannot believe that it's ALREADY time for my monthly update! (as evidenced by the fact that I'm writing this 3 days later than I wanted to... off to a great start in 2018). 

I kicked December off with the first styled shoot I've ever put together! I definitely had a LOT of help from the fabulous Jessica Scott at J.Scott Events! (Seriously, if you need an event planner, she's amazing!) And if you follow me on any social media (bless you and thank you!) you've seen that I made a BIG stink about it and then didn't really post anything about it...... well, as far as excuses go, I think it's pretty legit, but I couldn't post about it because I was trying to get it published in a wedding magazine/blog... I still am! But I'm going the non-exclusive route so that I can FINALLY SHARE THEM!! (Post is coming MÁS RAPIDO) buuuuuuuuut who wants to wait for the next post, I definitely don't! So here's more of a sneak peak than I've showed ANYWHERE else! 

I got to work with SO many INCREDIBLE vendors! So if you just got engaged or are planning your wedding and need some referrals (along with an awesome photographer *wink*) I got you! 

Also in the month of December I started planning SEVERAL other styled shoots along with a MASSIVE GUIDED STYLED SHOOT with my amazing friend Mary of Mary Jessica Photography! I'm seriously SOO excited about all of that and CANNOT wait to share them! (not all of them will have insane build up and then a long-overdue follow up I promise!) And if you're a photographer and want to join me on those shoots (I LOVE PHOTO FRIENDS) send me your email and I'll let you know the second tickets are available! (one of these days I'll get a subscription box on my site (just realized I'm REEEAAALLY lovin parentheses today)) 

Baby JoJo came early and I got to do my first hospital shoot and will be sharing those shortly as well! Lots of blogging to do! I also got to work with an ad agency to help with a shoot for Coca-Cola and Mission Tortillas which was a blast!! Hopefully, I'll be able to work with them again soon. 

The BIG event(s) of the month started on the 16th and didn't end until New Year's Day when we got to fly home for the holidays! It was well anticipated because Nick has been SOO busy and a bit stressed with work that we hadn't spent a ton of time together since he started his new job and so 2 weeks of him not having to work (basically at all) and being together 24/7 was amazing! We got to meet up with a bunch of friends (no pictures because although I am a photographer, I SUCK at remembering to take photos in the moment), do a mini Christmas with MY family (we had Thanksgiving with them so it was a Kerr Christmas this year!), go to a Barker AND a Kerr Christmas party and see our fellow relations and eat amazing food! (And there's literally not a single picture of all of that *facepalm*). 

Susan (my amazing Mother-In-Law) and Maddy (my awesome Sister-in-Law) took me and Nick to Gardner Village! It's an old polygamist compound turned shopping center that's actually quite charming! They even have delicious treats and a salt water taffy pulling machine that I could watch for HOURS. We also visited Temple Square with the whole family which was REALLY fun but very cold and stopped by the Grand America Hotel to see the Christmas windows (seriously so amazing! I want to be the one to do it someday!) and the GIANT gingerbread house that was entirely edible (some people tested it...sick) and smelled SOO good! I smelled it before I could see it! 

Christmas was the best! We slept in until 8am (I don't think I've done that on Christmas... ever) opened presents, and had THE MOST amazing breakfast featuring a FRENCH TOAST CASSEROLE that was absolutely to DIE for! (Susan, I'm still waiting for that! ;) ) When she send's that I'll post it at the bottom so you all can try it... It's incredible! Since we had our big Christmas dinner on Christmas Eve we went to Macaroni Grill for dinner! It was great because we didn't have to cook OR clean up! We were so stinkin spoilt by all our family and friends! So here's a GIANT WHOPPING THANK YOU to you all!! LOVE YOU!!

The Kerrs are BIG movie goers. It's kind of our thing! And since Nick & I hadn't gone to a movie in almost 6 months (longest movie draught of our lives) we definitely tried to make up for lost time. We started with Thor: Ragnarok which was definitely our favorite superhero movie yet, followed it with Jumanji (SOOO funny!) which we were PLEASANTLY surprised by, then the new Star Wars which was washed down with The Darkest Hour (10/10 would recommend). For all you history buffs out there who want to nerd out with me... watch The Darkest Hour, followed by Dunkirk (the most beautifully filmed movie of ALL time), followed by The Crown (thank you Netflix!). If anyone else has a more complete and/or better movie/show list of WWII/Winston Churchill's life PLEASE share!! The Kerrs also have the tradition of making gingerbread houses! Before I joined the family, Nick turned the tradition into ginger-massacre-houses (which Ben graciously continued this year). Since I joined the family, the houses have become more designer and Maddy now gives them to her cute nursery kids from church.

NYE we got to go up and visit with my family again for a little while which was a blast! We watched the Chargers kick butt (even through their kicker can't) and attempted to play Rook (a 100 yr old Stoker fam. tradition). Unfortunately, we had to leave before we could REALLY play because Nick & I had to get back in time to pack and have Ben's birthday dinner! One of the Kerr traditions is that you can't have your cake & ice cream until AFTER you say something you like/admire/positive about the person whose birthday it is. So we followed tradition and celebrated in style! And this year, the boys decided to do a Madden tournament because Chris got it for Christmas and the boys just HAD to be competitive.... (as always). The seeds were as follows: 4. Wayne 3. Nick 2. Ben 1. Chris. I'll let you decide who won. 

We left for Dallas on New Year's Day which was REALLY hard. We had so much fun with family & friends (and seeing our pup Jack for a second!) and there were SO many people we didn't get to see that we really had wanted to which contributed to the hard factor. Luckily, our original flight was cancelled so we got to leave a few hours later and I got to fly FIRST CLASS!! WHOO BABY! Poor Nick got downgraded from First Class on the original flight to Economy on the one we took and had to sit in the VERY last row... at least it was an isle seat, right babe?? (I honestly don't know how we got First Class to begin with! I know we didn't pay for it!). 

2017 was absolutely amazing! In April we got to graduate together from BYU, hung out at the beach in San Diego while celebrating our amazing country (USA! USA! USA!), moved to Dallas which was only made bearable by my amazing family who helped drive us and our crap out here!, I started doing photography full-time, Nick started work for McKinsey & Co. (definitely more than full-time), we found an amazing support system here in Dallas, and now visiting Utah is FUN!! 

I'm seriously soo grateful to each of you for the love, support, and motivation you give me! This has been a wild ride and I cannot WAIT to see what 2018 has for us! "2.0.1.8. is gonna be GREAT!" -Edie (our Uber driver)

XOXO meli 

 

P.S. Our beloved Prophet passed away last night at the age of 90. He is an incredible example of Christlike love and of leaving the flock to rescue the one. His life is something I wish to mirror of building relationships and growing together to come unto Christ. 

"Never let a problem to be solved become more important than a person to be loved."             -President Thomas S. Monson     1927-2018

P.P.S I know I promised a longer explanation on how I do my goals for the year on Instagram and I haven't forgotten! That will come soon! Promise!

 

SOOO AMAZING!!!! 

 

 

All Things October

My favorite time of the year is FALL. Specifically October because not only do birthdays abound, (6 of them, including mine, in my family alone!) but it’s also HALLOWEEN. My favorite holiday! There is something sooo perfect about the crunching and smell of leaves as you walk to class (or now around the park), the slight bite of a cool breeze, the coziness of a sweater and boots, and the magic of the movies and colors that Halloween brings. Tim Burton is THE magical-genius-prince of Halloween. The ONE thing that Halloween lacks is a decent playlist that’s longer than an hour (course I could argue the same could be said for Christmas).

But this Fall is different in soooo many ways from any other Fall I’ve ever experienced. Here’s the list of reasons why: 
- Dallas
    - Dallas is still hot as Hades and the leaves ain’t changin anytime soon! So there is no smell nor crunch of leaves to add to the joy of the season. 
- Family
    - Minha familía is not here. That means no autumn craft, no caramel apple decorating, no peanut butter ghosts, no Halloween dinner, no corn mazes, and no leaf piles to jump into. 
- School
    - For as long as I can remember I’ve been in school every autumn. And the first time I can actually enjoy the season and get out to do things it’s not even the season yet! 

So I’m going to have to get creative to make Dallas feel like home and ward off the homesickness. (Yes, I’m FINALLY experiencing some homesickness! I miss my family, the traditions, and the magic of the mountains and their mysterious leaf-color-changing ways! I’m actually not sure if I’ll be able to live here for forever-but that’s TBD) I did find the MOST perfect candle of all candles at Bath & Body Works the other day. It’s simply called, *”Hello Fall”* and it literally smells like leaves, coziness, and all things good in the world. 

I am keeping the traditions alive as much as I can (hello caramel apples!), but it’s difficult to find people to do it with when everyone has their own busy schedules. I can definitely see why people say autumn is 10000000% more fun when you have kids! 

Caramel apple decorating must-haves

Caramel apple decorating must-haves

My birthday is the October 16th (anyone else out there??) and it was AMAZING! We kicked off the weekend by watching the original Halloween (1980) with our friends Kayla & Joe. I was excited to laugh about a cheesily made horror film from the 80's.... you know what I'm talking about. And it was sooooo cheesy. Like the "special effects" and plot were soo predictable, which is what made it fun! There was only one part of the movie that made me jump and BOY! did it make me jump (I may have screamed...). It was at the end when there it was supposed to be resolving and make you feel all good and settled and then BAM! It gets ya. (I'm not spoiling anything because I think everyone should enjoy it like I did.) 

Saturday we went to Six Flags with a BIG group of our friends! It was so much fun! I'd never been before but it was awesome! It was especially good because we weren't there super long. We got season passes which is the BEST way to do it so you don't feel like you have to get your money's worth out of it and stay alll day like you do at DisneyLand. 

We substituted for the "Moonbeams" (3yrs) 

We substituted for the "Moonbeams" (3yrs) 

Sunday, I learned that allll the kids LOVE Nick! I mean look at that! ^^ Haha don't mind the one picking his nose... Then I got home to a sweet package from my amazing mama! And she knows me TOO well! She got me the most adorable, pink, KATE SPADE PURSE!! I'm pretty sure I cried tears of joy! (Please tell me other people do that over Kate Spade!)

THE BIG DAY was Monday and NICK GOT OFF WORK EARLY!!! It was the best! He thought he wouldn't be able to get the day off but he did and it was amazing! He made me (picked up ;] ) breakfast, then we watched New Girl and laughed our heads off for a good while. Then my amazing friend Mary took me to lunch at Potbelly's (amaze-balls sandwiches!) before we went and visited our boss mom-friend Natalie who had a baby like 4 days before! (She makes the cutest boys!) Then, it was time for the BIG Surprise! 

I had "challenged" Nick to surprise me for my birthday (he's never been able to surprise me) and he actually did it! He was taking me out to dinner but didn't tell me where (I guessed it but he threw me off the trail ). Well, we ended up at Uchi! It's THE most amazing sushi restaurant and dining experience I've ever had! Uchi is owned/operated by one of the few American Sushi Masters, Tyson Cole. He studied the art of sushi for 10 years! But you can definitely taste it in the food! He created the entire menu. 

Uchi is different than most sushi places I've been because you can purchase an entire experience, instead of individual rolls. We chose to do a tailored experience (mostly because I'm allergic to carrots) and it was INCREDIBLE! There was one sashimi bowl that had salmon, cherry tomatoes, kiwi, cilantro, and some sauce and it was soo incredible! Every single flavor stood out but didn't clash with each other. I've literally never had anything else like it. They also brought us a pork rib that melted off the bone and had some pumpkin and apple sauce on it. Those were probably my favorite dishes of the night (I should've taken pictures!). It was such an amazing birthday!

But wait! There's more! My in-laws came to town and spent the weekend with us! My FIL had a business trip out here and decided to bring my MIL with him and make a weekend trip out of it! Susan and I went shopping (and spent allll the money Nick gave me for my birthday :] ) while the men were working (haha- suckers!!) and then over the course of the weekend we took them to every food place we possibly could before they left! And of course there was LOTS of Bluebell involved! It was sooo amazing to have them here and I really felt soo loved even though I was so far from most of my family & friends. Y'all are the best and I am so incredibly blessed! 

The week after my birthday was a little depressing after having so much excitement the week before but it was time to hit the gym hard and work off the extra pounds from eating so much! Unfortunately, I got the worst cold and couldn't really do that sooo... I may have just kept the pounds haha. Luckily, Nick got me the sickest training shoes ever so I was STOKED to use them! My cousin & his wife (Austin & Kasey) were in town and came and visited us too!  **OH! The craziest thing happened! When we went to the Nike store at North Park Mall (look it up, it's HUGE) to get my shoes, guess who was walking in as we walked out... EZEKIEL ELLIOTT!! It was one of those things where we didn't realize it was him until we had passed him or else we would've gotten a pic with him! So Zeke, if you're reading this, next time don't be shy and say hi! ;) 

The finale awaits! HALLOWEEN!!! 

Friday was a Trick-or-Treat at Nick's Office and was so much fun! Our friends Jared & Holly have the cutest twins that were STUCK to my side! It was absolutely adorable! Saturday we had a ward Trunk-or-Treat at the Church! I didn't realize it, but it was ONLY a trunk-or-treat so when we showed up almost an hour late it was already wrapping up (dang those families with kids ;] ). But we looked fabulous! 

Nick was out of town for work for Monday + Halloween but I kept busy! Monday, Ken & Rachel had the most amazing Halloween party of my life! It was so amazing that I only took one photo and my friend Maggie so generously sent me one of 2 photos she took... so that's how you know it's amazing! ;) Ken & Rachel legitimately dressed up as Beauty & the Beast! Not just Belle and the Prince, but full fur, horns, yellow dress, the whole shabang! It was incredible! Then they had incredible food, desserts, decorating pumpkins, giant jenga, minute to win it games, and giant Connect 4! Incredible people + incredible food + incredible games = One amazing night! 

Tuesday night was eventful too! Holly had me over and we took the kids trick-or-treating (so much fun!) Then, Holly got the idea to watch The Changeling (1980) because she had watched it in high school and didn't remember it being scary so we thought it would be a good one to watch after the kids went to bed. Well, she remembered wrong because it was actually pretty scary! Definitely NOT cheesy like Halloween was! Like, I was a little scared to drive home that night! But it was fun and definitely one for the memory books! 

If you've read up until this point, THANK YOU! Thank you for sticking with me and caring enough about my life to read what I'm up to! My goal is to have a monthly update on my life and blog every photo session I do! I'll have a few up soon for you to take a look at!

 

XOXO meli