Winter fashion- January Edition

I love fashion...there, I said it. Besides the main loves in my life = Jesus, my husband and my kids,

I love the appeal of fresh clothing and accessories, along with each new season. Cute ankle boots? Yep. Scarves in every color and pattern? Totally. Fresh pastels for spring? Yes.

But, More than fashion, I love a good bargain. 

I am a bargain shopper at heart. 

Years ago I made a pact with myself of the "$10 rule". 

I don't even remember how I started with this "rule" but it's just something I came up with when shopping. It has helped SO much! 

If an item at the store was $10 or more, I did not buy it. 

The only exception to this rule has been if it is a seasonal needed item, like winter boots or a coat. 

 

Like my Eddie Bauer Long Winter Coat...originally $200 and purchased last summer for $58.  

Like my Eddie Bauer Long Winter Coat...originally $200 and purchased last summer for $58.

 

 

But, my $10 rule has saved me from many a heartache of buyer's remorse! 

Anytime I would actually contemplate an item on clearance for $12.99, I would ask myself, 

"Is it something I really need?" 

"Will it be worn more then just a handful of times?" 

"Is it practical, or just a style for this current season?" 

All those cute outfits at Target? I don't even look at the non-clearance items. 

Nope. 

My eyes only gaze at the red tags, and then I need to ask the same questions, so I am not wasting my money, or time. 

If I opened my closet for you, I could tell you the story of last summer, when I went to Kohl's and bought my complete winter wardrobe for less than $50. Every sweater was around $3 each, and I found several super cute boots for $8, a scarf and gloves, and several hats for $3 a piece. 

The store cashier probably thought I was crazy buying thick, heavy sweaters when we were sweating indoors in July!!!

But by the time November rolled around, boy, was I glad I had shopped off-season! I also try to shop off-season for my kids as well. It saves so much in the long run!

Coats for $5 that are selling by March?  Buy a size or two up, and your kids are all set for next year! 

So, as much as I love the next season of fashion, cute heels with skinny jeans and a leather jacket. I always check my closet of bargain buys and see what I have already! 

What can $5 buy for you? 



SENIOR /// TALITHA

What a fun evening we had. Gorgeous fall weather. Beautiful trees full of color. 

And Talitha's fun spirit ready to explore with me around on our acreage for her senior session. 

It was such a blessing for me and I hope you enjoy viewing her senior session sneak peek. 

Blessings,

Leah

Fall in Love with Decorating Your Home this Season

For anyone that knows me, I LOVE decorating, especially during the Autumn season. 

There is nothing like the crisp, fall air, with leaves all around. Of course, cozy sweaters, and coffee are a MUST! 

I wanted to think of a simple way to help myself and my family remember what's important as we decorate this season. 

This is our first fall season in our new home. It has a completely different feel than our last home and I want it to reflect our family and bring joy to those who enter.

What about your home? What are some fall decorating that you can do to reflect your home and family? 

I recently found this Christian home decor and really LOVE the Christ centered focus it brings. I am thinking of getting the fall mat. I love it has beautiful scripture pieces as well.

 Isn't it beautiful?

There store is lovely to look around and start getting gift ideas for the holidays.

Want to see more ideas on my Pinterest board? 

Of course, I always want my kids to make some fall crafts as well. Here are a few ideas! 

 

So what are you decorating this fall? I'd love to hear about it! 

Blessings,

Leah

My Favorite Coffee...and it's not at Starbucks.

I love coffee.

There I said it.

I can now drink it black all the time, but when I first started drinking coffee many moons ago it was like....99% cream/sugar and little "coffee" at all. 

No MORE! 

I LOVE fancy creamers, but ever since I stopped eating sugar, all those creamers got thrown out the window. Well, figuratively of course. 

Anyway, now that it's fall and around every corner I drive by is screaming 

"BUY A PUMPKIN SPICE LATTE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"  

But acutally is shouting, 

" BUY A SMALL AMOUNT OF COFFEE LADEN WITH NASTY SUGAR, SYRUPY CREAM AND USUALLY NOT ANY REAL PUMPKIN AT ALL!!!!"  

UMMM.  No Thanks

I found some awesome, creamy, rich-tasting coffee recipes with none of the nasty-stuff and all healthy and so yummy! Here is my favorite for you to enjoy.

 

Want to grab the closest coffee mug with me and start pouring? 

And, like me, just in case you feel badly about not buying a cup of over-priced joe every trip to Target while walking around and buying (everything else except) diapers, no worries! I just bring mine with me in a cute foam cup from home. 

Drink up, Mama's! 

 

I'll see you in the diaper aisle at Target...

 

Trim Healthy Mama and Fall Recipe!

After I had my son in 2013, I had put on 50 lbs. of "baby weight". Combined with it being my 4th C Section, I really wanted to lose the baby weight faster. I typically put on 40-50 lbs. with each child, and was able to lose the weight within a year. But, I was hoping to get a jumpstart and lose it over the winter and be in better shape by spring. 


I found Trim Healthy Mama online and read a lot of reviews. All from Mama's who had been in similar situations and wanted a healthy way of eating, not  DIETING. 

For the record, I HATE Diets. I loathe the word. DIET. I was never one to try "yo-yo" dieting at all. I ate fairly healthy, worked out some, but the older I got, the more harder it was the to lose weight after baby. 

By January of 2014, I bought the ebook, Trim Healthy Mama, and dove in. Instead of losing the weight slowly over the next 6 months, I lost the remaining 30+ lbs. in about 2 months. I was thrilled!! I was still nursing, and ate plenty to feed baby and lose weight in the process. And I never felt like I was DIETING. Counting carbs? Nope. Who has time for that? 

My baby is turning 2 this week, and I have kept at a good weight, which I am happy about. 

I can make cheesecake (one of my favs) knowing it is sugar free, and gluten free, while not having to worry about packing on the pounds.

This week I bought the NEW Trim Healthy Mama Cookbook which is FABULOUS. Beautiful photos (I love seeing the outcome of the recipe!) and yummy new recipes I get to share with my family. Interested in getting one for yourself? Check out their book here.  

www.trimhealthymama.com
Summer 2015

Summer 2015

Here is a YUMMY fall recipe I want to share with you! You can find much MORE recipes on their facebook page, Trim Healthy Mama.


http://sherigraham.com/trim-healthy-mama-pumpkin-cheesecake-torte-pie-s

I hope this has been an encouragement to you, especially as we head into the holidays. I made the pumpkin cheesecake this week and it was SO good!! 

Blessings, 

leah

Wal-Mart Prints Vs. Professional

I know what you're thinking. Professional Prints are pricey. I want convience and ease by taking my CD of photos to WalMart and getting it done in an hour. 

Well, I used to think that way too, until I started using a Professional Lab for my own portraits at home and more so, for my clients. Do I charge an arm and a leg? No. But I really do want to encourage those that think WalMart, Walgreens or other cheap photo labs are the best way to go to reconsider before they start printing their family photos and Christmas cards. 

Here is a great photo example of WalMart's photo quality vs. Pro found online.

 

walmart.jpg

 Unless you're really going for the "dark and brooding" look for your baby. Yikes.

     Orange, dark, and other colors in your photo? No thanks. 

  Do you see in this one how her eyes "sparkle" in Simply Color than the others? 

 

Do you see in this one how her eyes "sparkle" in Simply Color than the others? 

Another issue I've had with Wal Mart is no matter the size, they ALWAYS chopped off half of a person's head when I got the prints back.  Nice.  (can you note my tone of sarcasim here? )

For me personally, I LOVE giving beautiful images at LOW prices but HIGH quality. There is something so special about packaging images to clients knowing it is a beautiful piece they will have on their walls for years to come.  I know, I used to run to SAM'S club at get prints, but once I saw the difference. NO MORE. NO WAY.  

Here is a simple example: 

  My son was not dressed up fancy as we ran around outside for his sister's birthday photo session. I LOVE this image, but his face has remnants of supper on it. Could I photoshop it out? Yeah. But I love that this is a memory of such a fun age.             Food and all. By the way, I ordered his professional prints and CAN'T WAIT to put it up on his wall.  BRIGHT EYES. SMILING FACE. (LOVE) THOSE DIMPLES.  I wouldn't change a thing.     

 

My son was not dressed up fancy as we ran around outside for his sister's birthday photo session. I LOVE this image, but his face has remnants of supper on it.

Could I photoshop it out? Yeah.

But I love that this is a memory of such a fun age.             Food and all.

By the way, I ordered his professional prints and CAN'T WAIT to put it up on his wall. 

BRIGHT EYES. SMILING FACE. (LOVE) THOSE DIMPLES. 

I wouldn't change a thing. 

 

 

His sister wanted a shot with her kitty. SUPER CUTE. 

Knowing the quality of WalMart photos and Walgreens, I would HATE to darken the image and leave it lackluster. 

This print is also getting done by a professional lab and will be hanging up on her bedroom wall soon. (LOVE) 

 

So, before you head to your closet Walgreens, WalMart or even a cheap online solution without checking the quality first, PLEASE look at getting your special images done WELL. 

After all, you will be looking at them on your walls every day that you pass them in the hall.

WalMart? No thanks.

I want my images  to be a blessing to those that walk in my home. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Senior /// Grace

Grace was such a joy to photograph!  We had a lot of fun outside and she brought the cutest clothing and special touches to her session. Probably my favorite part was she brought a blanket which she bought on a missions trip while in Mexico, and her Bible; the cornerstone of life, from high school and into the future.

Her beauty of Jesus just shines. 

It was a true joy and honor.. 

Blessings,

Leah

GIVEAWAY!!!

I'm SOOOO close to 500 LIKES on facebook! 

If we can reach our goal of 500 by Monday night, I will be giving away 

 

50% off a Fall Portrait Session

AND a $25 print credit! 

If you can head over to my facebook page

https://www.facebook.com/leahrachelphotography 

and SHARE the post with your friends and COMMENT that you've shared it, that's it!! 

You're entered!!

If we reach 500 by Monday evening, I will be drawing the winner on Tuesday morning!!! 

GO and ENTER and SHARE the LOVE of photography with your friends!!!! 

Blessings,

Leah

Getting off the Merry Go Round

Ever have days where you feel like the everyday seems, well, boring?

Crazy busy?

Why-am-I-doing-this?

Never ending?

 

A spinning circle of busyness, appointments, trips, errands, here and there.

 

Yeah, me too. 

What about, just for a moment, it all, 

STOPPED. 

And, in that little glimpse of quiet, of calm admist the storm, you hear His still, small, voice.

" Find your Refuge in Me. Peace that passes all understanding. Calm. Joy Peace."  

Remember that feeling? His perfect peace that surrounds when everything else around seems like the spinning will never stop.  

I find that the closer I am with Him, the easier it is to shut the crazyness of the world out, and let Him lead my moments, my day, the times with my children, how we spend our time, our focus. 

When my gaze in on Him, my view of eternity is so much clearer. So close I can almost taste it. I see the world with a different lens. 

With a view of ETERNITY. 

"stock photo" 

"stock photo" 

 

 

"I have seen the task which God has given the sons of men with which to occupy themselves. 11He has made everything appropriate in its time. He has also set eternity in their heart, yet so that man will not find out the work which God has done from the beginning even to the end. 12I know that there is nothing better for them than to rejoice and to do good in one's lifetime;…"  Ecc. 3:10b-12

So will you join me today, in just being still?

Even for a short moment, giving your day, your time, your moments to Him. To the One who created time and space, and gives days and seasons, and life. If I focus my time, which really isn't mine to begin with, how much glory am I giving Him today? 

 

Just a little thought as the Merry Go Round pauses, will you and I get off of it? 

Seeing Him.

Have you ever wondered what Heaven, Jesus and angels will look like?

I have. But it wasn't until my  near-death experiences that God became even more real to me. 

2005- I am a young married adult with a 2 year old to chase around. I contracted a staph infection and landed in the hospital along with double pneumonia. I was minutes away from losing my life, and was in a 2 week induced coma. Many prayers were being sent up to the Throne during this time.

Having been through the illness, I knew that during my coma I did not have any "visions" of heaven, or anything like that. After waking up, I knew that the Lord still had a plan and a purpose for me here. The reality of being so near death, but yet staying here on earth was tough. I spent several nights in tears, longing to be with my Savior, yet grieving for my husband and son that would have lost a wife and mother. I have an overflow of gratitude and  thankfulness to the Lord for allowing me to live longer on earth, as I now have 4 beautiful children that I am raising with His strength and guidance alongside my husband.

Having known that, the past summer of 2014 I had a experience like nothing else from my illness or before that.

A glimpse of Heaven

After my 2005 illness, I  have long-term Asthma problems, which come and go depending on health, and the weather affects my lungs as well. 

I was having a rough "breathing" day...wheezy, coughing and just not feeling quite right. I usually blame it on the Nebraska wind we always have! :-) 

I went to bed that night....

 

I found myself dying, and floating up towards Heaven.

As I was floating up higher, my physical breathing, and lung capacity, seemed like the air was getting squeezed out of them.  I felt such pressure on my chest, as if all the air was going out of me and I

was no longer able to breathe.  The higher I went, the

less I could feel any

breath from my body. I could see my feet dangling

below, along with the earth

beneath. I could feel the "whoosh" of the sky, the clouds all around me.

 

And then, I reached the tip, top of the clouds, and the brightness as the Sun

itself.

 

 

But, it was the SON.

Jesus. Himself.

I saw just His face, and what a

glorious face. So gentle. So kind, Such love. 

 

Did I see God Himself? No, just the edge of His Throne. His majestic, glorious Throne. The Shekinah Glory. And, His feet. Because, well, I wasn't allowed to see Him yet...

 

I called out to Jesus, pleading to be with Him. 

He lovingly told me, with an outstretched Arm,

 

"Your time has not yet come. I still have work for you to do." 

 

Gentle words. Like gentle waters. Love. 

 

His hand, reached out to me, as I tried to grab hold of Him. But, He was right, as He always is.

My time had not yet come. 

I felt His breath literally filling me up with air, into my lungs. Just like when God breathed "the breath of life" into Adam. I felt the air, pumping my lungs, no longer the pressure I had felt when I was going towards heaven.

And then I awoke. 

 

Was it real? I believe it was. I knew the reality of what could have been from that near death experience. in 2005. 

Why is Heaven so important? 

Without Jesus, I could not see Heaven. Could not see a glimpse of the LORD, or the Throne.

Because of Jesus' sacrifice for my sin, for your sin and mine, on the cross, we can have salvation and life eternal with Him forever in Heaven. When I was seeing Heaven's gate, nothing else mattered except the most important person.

JESUS.

My only relationship, my first Love.

Jesus.

It is only through Jesus, that I can go to Heaven. And it's the only way you can get to Heaven too. Not just trying to be  a good person. Not doing good deeds, although they are honoring to Him. It is not the way into Heaven. 

Jesus said, "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life, no man comes to the Father, except through Me." 

 

Will you put your faith and trust in the only ONE Who can let you into Heaven? 

Because of Jesus' death on the cross for my sins and yours, there is the only way of knowing you can be with Jesus and be with Him forever in Heaven. 

1. Admit that you have sinned  "For all have sinned and fallen short of the Glory of God."

2. Believe:  Acts 16:31 says "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved." 

   1 Corinthians 15:4 "Jesus died for our sins, was buried and raised again on the third day, according to the scriptures." 

3. Confess:  Romans 10:9 "If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved."

Please pray this prayer with me,

"Dear Jesus,

I admit that I have sinned and done wrong. I want to be forever with You in Heaven. I believe that You died on the cross for my sins and You raised from the dead. I am asking You to come into my life and forgive my sins. I want You in my life, please come and live in me. Amen." 

So on the hard days, the rough days, the tiring days as a mom at home, working on the mundane, God gives me His Word, to be "faithful and diligent" in all that I do. For one day, I will see all of HIM, in ALL His glory forever. And, my prayer is that you have received His gift of salvation, that I will see you there, too. 

 

Blessings, 

Leah

 

 

 

 

Chic Critique Forum Cover Contest!

I had the honor of photographing Haley today, and what a fun time we had! She did a wonderful job and was such a natural in front of the camera! One of the images I thought would be a fun entry into the Chic Critique Forum Cover Contest! You can view their great site at the link button below! 

 

www.chiccritiqueforum.com

www.chiccritiqueforum.com

Source: www.chiccritiqueforum.com