conversations with jeff // v.4

This husband of mine constantly keeps me laughing, And he never fails to remind me how many years he's added onto my life by doing so! Please enjoy my day-to-day conversations with this silly guy.


Jeff: I think I'd look good with a pony tail, it would be different, it's kind of bohemian. 

Me: I don't think so.

Jeff: You've been wrong before. 


[Jeff on Twitter

Jeff: How do I say something on here?

Me: Use your wit, you're hilarious

Jeff: No. Literally, how do I say something on here? Where is it?


Me: You haven't posted anything on Instagram in over a month

Jeff: I know, I'm having a creative block


Me: Hey will you throw my clothes in the dryer since you're over there?

Jeff: Sure, but everything is going in the dyer! Including your sweatshirt. You're going to get bacon zipper!


[Jeff dancing around like crazy

Jeff: Man I'm tired, Jazzercise is REAL.


[Shopping around in West Elm]

Jeff: $150 for a DUVET COVER? We're not the Prince of Persia here!


[On Pringles]

Jeff: I knew once I popped I couldn't stop. 


Jeff: Hey, do I have any other nieces?

Me: Nope, just one.

Jeff: Okay. Lina you're my favorite niece!


Jeff: Should we name our future son Maxwell? 

Me: Sure that's a cute name.

Jeff: Actually let's go with Maximus. Maximus Greenwald...gotta set him up for success. 


Jeff: You know what I could get down on right now? A gallon of milk. 


Me: Hey what do you think of this edit?

Jeff: I mean your aperture is great, but your contrast ratio is a bit off. Is that the right way to critique? 

Me: I applaud the effort.


[After me reading him a conversation my friend had with her son, that she had posted on Facebook]

Jeff: So wait, am I like your child? You always write down what I say and post it places!


v.1 || v.2 || v.3 

Monthly Goals | November

Raise your hand if you're a list-lover like myself! Over the years I've discovered that I seem to be far more productive when I make lists for myself. It must have something to do with being able to physically cross items off upon completion and having a tangible representation of all I've accomplished in a day. So I have decided to start posting monthly goals on my blog to stay on track with everything and see the progress made from month to month! I'll start with my business goals and end with my personal goals.

+ Photograph 3 weddings
+ Photograph 1 family
+ Finish editing 2 weddings
+ Design 2 albums
+ Move everything from old external hard drive to new external hard drive
+ Blog 3x weekly
+ Decide on client Christmas gifts

+ Take down Fall decor
+ Put UP Christmas decor!!!!
+ Thanksgiving!!!!
+ Start Christmas shopping
+ Organize hall closet
+ Gym 3x weekly
+ Unplug one day
+ Finish The Night Circus
+ Be more present with friends and family!

Do you have any goals for the month of November?! List-making means we have to be intentional throughout this next month and since my "word" for the whole of 2014 has been intentional, I'm determined to cross these items off one at a time!

First Impressions | Vol. 1

In an effort to move toward using more natural beauty products, I recently purchased some new items to try out this month and I thought it might be fun to give some first impressions of each! I've only been using these products for a few days now and I'll be sure to update in a month or so with whether or not I'll continue using these products. I'm no beauty guru, nor do I have any bit of professional advice for you, I'm just an average girl looking for decently priced beauty products that get the job done well!

Seche Vite Top Coat Nail Polish: You know the super smooth, can't stop touching, extra shiny top coat finish we all want? Seche Vite is your girl. This top coat polish is a game changer in the best way possible, helping to achieve a gel-like finish to your manicure. My nails did chip a bit on day two but I think it was because I couldn't stop touching them to feel their smoothness, I should have just let them be :).

Dr. Weil for Origins Mega-Mushroom Skin Relief Serum: I had never used a face serum until I stumbled into Origins about a month ago where they introduced me to the Dr. Weil's line of skin care and educated me a bit on the benefits of a facial serum. Since adding this product to my skincare regimen I definitely see reduced redness in my skin and overall improvements to the way my skin looks daily! I use primarily drugstore skincare so I don't feel as guilty splurging on one expensive product that I know will be beneficial long term! But let's be real, if I could afford it, my entire skincare regimen would be and Origins lineup!

Botanics Shine Away Clay Mask: This mask left my skin feeling smooth, refreshed and hydrated. The Botanics line is a plant-based skincare line so I feel better about putting it on my skin! It was also fairly inexpensive for a drugstore mask which is always a bonus.

Botanics Night Cream Triple Age Renewal: We all want to preserve the youthful skin on our face and one of the best ways to do so is by using an age renewal night cream. Botanics promises results in five days and I'm only on day two, but so far so good. This particular one smells and feels lovely on the skin. My skin does feel a tad bit oily after putting this on, like maybe it isn't soaking in enough. So I may just try using less of the product tonight and see if that helps. But overall, the oily feeling doesn't really bother me because I'm asleep anyway!

Aquaage Strengthening Shampoo & Conditioner: I am LOVING this new combo shampoo and conditioner right now. My hair feels so light and deep cleaned after washing with this, and it smells like fresh ocean in a bottle which is probably my favorite part about it.

Are you trying out any new products this month or do you have suggestions for products I should try out next month? Feel free to let me know in the comments below!

Married: F o u r Y e a r s

Today is our four year wedding anniversary. I can't believe it's already been f o u r  y e a r s! It's wild to think about all of the milestones we've gone through together in just four short years and how each of those events has shaped what our marriage is today.

Our first year of marriage was spent in separate parts of the world while Jeff was deployed in Iraq. Our second year of marriage we took the plunge into fur-parenthood and adopted our favorite little animal Turbo. Our third year of marriage Jeff landed a new full-time job and I began planning my inevitable escape from Starbucks. And finally, our fourth year of marriage we've made some of our biggest life decisions yet! I've gone full-time with my photography business and Jeff has decided to further his career in the Army, with songs of re-enlisting and becoming a pilot being sung through out our home. Yowza! I'm sworn to secrecy on details, but more on that in the coming months ;).

Thinking back to four years ago today, I didn't know what marriage at 22 years old would look like. I didn't think it would be easy, and I didn't think it would be perfect, but I did know that Jeff and I had the power to figure that out together and we were so excited to do so.

By no means have we figured out the formula to a perfect marriage and I know that we never will because perfection isn't achievable. But we have figured out what works for us and I am so happy to be doing life side by side with the man God had for me! I am so excited to see where God takes our marriage and our little story in the next four years because if it's anything like the first four, I know it'll be wild, beautiful, adventurous, full of laughing, big changes, and completely us.

Also, we had this conversation this morning:

Jeff: should we name our future son Maxwell?
Me: sure that's a cute name
Jeff: actually let's go with Maximus. Maximus Greenwald...gotta set him up for success.

I love a man with aspirations to further our nonexistent child's career. 

Stream of Consciousness

I have been reminded this week of all the many precious people in my life.

Nothing life altering took place, but it's special when you experience Jesus through other people.

It's in these experiences that I've been challenged to refocus and recommit to becoming a better version of myself and the person I want to be. It's easy to get caught up in selfishness and forget that my purpose is rooted in showing the love of Christ to people. Thinking back to all the many ways I've lost focus of that both saddens me and pushes me to a better place of knowing who and what I want to represent, and all of the ways I can achieve becoming a better me.

I want to be present when I'm with friends and family. I want to ask questions, engage in conversation and I want others to do the same. I want to forget where my phone is and remember the next morning, and not care about catching up with the social media missed in between. I want to read more books and look at less screens. I want to define the things that matter to me most in life, and forget about the rest. I don't want to be concerned with what I am "supposed" to value, or what's "standard for the industry." I want the things that I value to be the standard for my decisions. I want more real and less Pinterest.

I'm not super interested in the life that social media and blogs have created. That's not to say that a beautifully curated coffee shop image doesn't inspire me, but I think there's a fine line that is often crossed when defining reality vs. inspiration. Blogs, Pinterest, and Instagram offer some amazing inspiration for beautiful living, elaborate weddings, and special memories, but they have also created this alternate reality of square-ready vignettes, easily cropping out the real life happening just inches away.

I am interested in pursuing a life with less social media, less criticism, and more tangible moments with uplifting conversation.

And speaking of less screens, I'm off to read a book!

M a y F a v o r i t e s // Vlog

Well, I did it. I filmed and posted my FIRST Youtube video! I have been talking about doing this for months and putting it off because I didn't want to set up my camera, figure out how to edit the video etc. So instead of making more excuses, I just decided to do it. Thanks FordOlogy for the extra nudge to not shy away from posting!

Some of you might think this is really weird, but that's okay because aside from the awkward greeting in the first few seconds, I had a lot of fun filming!

The video quality isn't awesome because instead of lugging out my big girl camera, I settled for the computer webcam, but I assure you, in videos to come you'll be watching a crisp picture.

Blush All Day: This is a wonderful everyday blush. It honestly lasts all day long and looks very natural. Something else that I love about it, is that it blends seamlessly (if you have a proper blush brush of course).

Naked Basics Palette: I think every girl needs the Naked Basics in her life. For the price point, it's the best neutral palette around. This palette is almost all matte shades with the exception of one whiter shade that's great for a brow highlight or inner-eye highlight.

Origins GinZing Moisturizer: I use this as my under-eye cream. There's also an actual "GinZing eye cream" that might be better, but I didn't realize there was a difference between the two when I first bought them. So, I've used this under my eyes for months now and my dark circles instantly disappear!

Lush BIG Shampoo: This stuff is probably the coolest product I've come across yet. It's a salt-gel like consistency, and lathers more than regular shampoo. The all-natural ingredients in this shampoo are what excite me the most. Some of the great ingredients are: sea salt, seaweed infusion, extra virgin coconut oil, fresh citrus juices, and avocado butter.

Sakura Bath Bomb: I am so excited to venture into the world of baths and yummy bath bombs. This one smells so delicious and I can't wait to use it.

Anthropologie Hanging Planter: If you know me, you know that I love plants. I feel like the add so much to your home and this little planter is my newest addition to the plant family!

Reading / Loving / Watching

Reading || I've been trying to read more since the first of the year and I've failed a bit in the form of reading only TWO books so far. I read Defending Jacob and Gone Girl, both really thrilling reads that leave you with weird feelings. I'm in the beginning stages of Divergent as we speak and after reading those two intense books I'm forcing myself to hold interest. I do however see potential, so I'm not giving up.

Loving || I never used to bother much with makeup, I was fairly plain and didn't really know a thing about how to apply makeup correctly. Well, last year I changed things up a bit and decided it might be fun to learn a thing or two about how to apply my makeup correctly. It can be so much fun to enhance your natural beauty with a few fun products. Right now I'm loving the The Naked 2 Palette and MAC's Blush all day. The Naked 2 Palette was a huge investment for me and it's going to last me forever. You'll probably cringe when you find out that I've been using the same eye shadow since I was like 16 ... needless to say I hardly ever wore it, and it's probably full of bacteria (so gross). So I'm especially excited to finally have big girl eye shadow to play with. I'll be sharing some updates on my beauty routine in the near future.

Watching || YOUTUBE! I'm obsessed. We're canceling our cable once our contract is up because all we ever watch is Youtube. There's some amazing channels out there and here's a few to get you started: Zoella, Tanya Burr, Sprinkle of Glitter, Shaytards, and Pointless Blog. Don't judge me ;)

The art of losing myself in bringing You praise

This post might ramble on and make absolutely no sense to you, whoever you are that's reading this. But I have been thinking lately and sometimes writing out those thoughts almost feels like I'm talking to someone on the other end. So whoever you are on the other end, thanks for listening and caring about my thoughts. As I write this, I have you in mind and it feels like you're sitting on the other side of your computer screen nodding your head, listening with great intent, and sipping your tea. So, thanks and please, sip on.

I've been thinking about my life, where I'm at, where I'm going, fears, contentment vs. motivation, and how all of these things add up to my overall purpose in this life. I've considered what it is I want to fill my mind with, and things that I don't think I need to fill my mind with. I sometimes feel a lot of pressure from people and the media to be a certain way, and anything outside of that is less than standard. But it's really hard to keep up with people and life in general sometimes. There's a constant need to progress with the times, and stay current on whatever it is that you're expected to know. And to me, sometimes this need for progression may cause you to lose track of your real purpose. It's so easy to become obsessed with looking the part, being the best, beating the competition, living the "dream" etc.

My purpose in this life is to serve others, and show them the love of Christ. Plain and simple. I want my time here to be driven by that. I never ever want to forget where my blessings come from. Nothing that I do should ever come from a place that lifts ME up. I must decrease so that HE can increase [John 3:30].

When I think of my life in terms of this, everything seems to fall into place. I've removed the control from my own hands and placed it into a something bigger and so much greater than me. I'm not awesome at this, every day. Not even close. In fact, I must daily shift my focus and battle the idea that I'm here to serve others and not myself. I'm here to show the love of Christ to my friends and family. I'm not here to have a really cute apartment and take rad pictures so that I can look like I have it all together.

We are in the season of lent right now. It's fairly common among us "religious" folk to give up something for the 40 days before Easter. Well I showed up late to the party because I was probably too busy focusing on myself rather than my Heavenly I popped in around 30 days. Better late than never, they say. So for the 30 days before Easter I've set my focus on reading through the entirety of the gospels. We're currently working through a blended gospel study at my church, detailing the life of Jesus, how He lived, and discovering who He claimed to be. It's my hope and my experience so far that I'll learn to better model the life that Jesus lived while I'm here on Earth. Because that my friends, is what it's about.

And if church and Jesus aren't really your thing, I get that. We all come from different paths and I don't want you to think I'm preaching at you. I'm agreeing with your chant of serving other people, together. I'll do it in the name of Christ, and you can do it in the name of love, and we can hold hands and serve others, together :)  I have learned so much about myself in 2014 so far, and much of it is due to consciously shifting my focus daily. I want to live a purpose driven life [what's up Rick Warren? church girl joke]. I want to lift up the name of Christ no matter what I do. I want to bring positivity into the lives of my friends, my clients, my family, and all those who cross paths with me. I am working toward this, daily. Matthew 16:24 reminds us that we must daily deny ourselves and pick up the cross so that we might follow Jesus.

And six paragraphs later, I think it's time to curl up in bed. Besides, you're probably all out of tea by this point. Friend, let's serve others together in the name of Christ, in the name of love, in the name of doing what's right, and being purposeful stewards with our lives.

19 Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:
20 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:
-Matthew 6:19&20

From the Inside Out by Hillsong United on Grooveshark

taking time for myself

I think this next week I'll be taking conscious efforts to slow down a bit. I'm not one of those people who likes to have a constantly full schedule. I thrive off of down time. I love having time to rearrange trinkets, read a good book, and browse my favorite blogs. These last two weeks have felt a bit all over the place and I haven't had much time to do those silly things. I call them silly like I should be defending my love for them, but in reality I think every one could use to settle down their crazy schedules and read a good book or redesign their dusted mantle. My heart feels rested and creative juices reenergized when I make time for these things, it's really not so silly when you think of it like that.

With that being said, there's a cozy blanket and page-turning book waiting for me on the couch :)

here's to books, and reading lots of them

After my last post, I think today calls for something lighter, and a bit more colorful. Thus, books. 

I talked about this in my goals post, but for the sake of avoiding link overload, I won't link that post here. However, it's about 2 down from this one if you wanted to check it out.


I want to read more of them, and especially these colorful classics. I usually get a bit lost in the classic novels, but I'd like to push myself a bit more this next year and navigate my way through the difficult language they often use. 

I have always loved to read and only within the last couple of years have I struggled to find books that keep me hooked for more than 7 or so chapters. I read a lot of great books last year, but I also started and never finished a lot of so-so, "B list" books. A possible future blog post topic?? I need a page turner to keep me interested, I can't have any of that Nicholas Sparks mushy stuff. Throw me a thriller with intense, controversial topics and you won't move me from the couch!

In addition to the classics, here's a few of the books on my list this year: The Divergent series [namely because it's said to mirror the Hunger Games trilogy with it's Utopian feel], Salem Falls, and I'd really like to finish the Harry Potter series! I don't know about you, but sometimes I suffer from impulse book buying. It's a real thing! I love to buy books, so I'd also like to work my way through the many piles of unread books stashed on my bookshelf. 

Do you read books? What are some of your favorite authors? Sure I have tons of "to-reads" stashed on my shelf, but I'm always happy to impulsively add to that collection :)

If you don't know where to start

Sitting down for a daily devotional time has always been a struggle of mine. And before you click the "X" in the top corner because you're not trying to read another boring blog post about church and Bibles, just hang with me for a minute. It's never been that I didn't believe, or that I sought to discover truths elsewhere. In fact, there have been brief periods in life where my personal study time was thriving and my Jesus thumping heart was popping out of my chest. But like most people, that excitement fades in and out over time when life picks up and more or less, gets in the way. However, I think there were multiple factors involved in my lack of Bible reading.

You see, I grew up with Bible teaching Christians all around me. I grew up in a Baptist church [until 8th grade] and went to a highly conservative Christian school starting in 5th grade. It wasn't until my freshman year in high school that I ventured into a world quite unfamiliar to me, that of public school where political correctness and talking about Jesus didn't really coincide. That year of my life is another blog post in and of itself, so I won't get into that right now. Needless to say, I found my way back to the conservative Christian school and into my comfort zone of Bible teaching Christians.

There were a LOT of things I didn't agree with in my private school and even more things I didn't agree with from the Baptist church I grew up in. But the constant presence of "good people," and the Bible really put me into a comfort zone of sorts. It was so easy to keep up on everything because it was fed to me everywhere I looked.

This isn't a post to say that I lost it once I stepped into the real world because I had been so sheltered all of my life. In fact, that couldn't be further from the truth because I had an amazing support system of friends and wonderful parents that didn't "hide" the real world from me during my youth. But it is a post to say that I lost my groove for a period of time.

There were months, if not years where I didn't open my Bible outside of church. I would leave my Bible in the car just to avoid the guilt I faced each time I saw it sitting on my nightstand collecting dust. Rest assured, I'd remove the dust each Sunday morning so it didn't stare me straight in the face while I sat in church. During this so to speak dry spell, it wasn't that I stopped believing. But the thought of opening my Bible and digging into it just seemed daunting. I mean, I had to do this on my own now. I had to figure out what stuff meant and how genealogies connected, which translation was correct and decide where to start.

The all to familiar stories like Noah's Ark, Jesus feeding the five thousand, and The good Samaritan became fuzzy to me and facing the facts that I had actually forgotten details surrounding some of the most "famous" stories in the Bible embarrassed me. So instead of trying to remember these stories I just shut down and decided it was just "too confusing," to seek out answers. Instead, I read a lot of really good Christian books. I let other authors do the hard part. Instead of opening the Bible for myself, I relied on some of the best Christian authors to interpret who Jesus was to me. Woops.

God has been working on my heart for the last few months though. He's been working on it in so many ways that I had no idea even needed "working." He's really shown me the importance of opening the Bible and reading it. Not opening a book from your favorite Christian author and reading it, not listening to sermons from your Pastor on podcast, but the Bible. Don't allow another person to interpret who God is to you. Find out who God is on your own! It's great that Max Lucado and Beth Moore have created such a wonderful line of helpful books to read. But that's really all they are, just books with slanted opinions. The things mentioned above are all wonderful tools that help us grow, but they should never replace the good old fashioned concept of actually opening your Bible.

So if you're like me and looking at your Bible scares you and seems daunting, just know that it's normal. It's a huge book full of history, stories, love, grace, and so many other things. But the secret I've discovered in the last few weeks is just doing it. Something changed in my heart and I decided that I was tired of saying no so I just said yes!

I found an amazing online community of other women studying the Bible called She Reads Truth. The studies from SRT have been really encouraging and I'm so glad that God dropped that gem into my lap. I also picked up a Daily Reading Bible from the bookstore which will take me through the entire Bible in one year. I don't remember the last time I was this excited to read the Bible every day, but something clicked and God really stirred up a desire in my heart to see this goal through.

So, if you don't know where to start, just start at the beginning. I encourage you to make it easier on yourself and grab a daily reading Bible or a One Year Bible as a tool to help you dive in! I've found that in just the few weeks that I've started doing these things I've seen huge changes in my spirit, and I know you will too :)

The year of intentional living | 2 0 1 4

2 0 1 4  is here and although I, nor any other person is awesome at keeping resolutions, I’ve decided that it’s fair to give myself and my business a few goals to acknowledge through out this next year!
Okay self, listen.
G o a l   O n e  | Maintain a steady quiet time through out twenty-fourteen, at least once a day. If you’re feeling crazy then aim for morning and night but if nothing more, at least once. Let’s be real, the least you could do is offer your Heavenly Father an hour each day. Right now you’re on day 3 of studying women in the Bible and it feels fantastic, remember how much better your day is when it starts and ends with God.
G o a l   T w o  | Time management. To be frank, your time management skills are near awful. Set office hours, set timers, focus, be organized. Be conscious of how your time is spent, away from work. It’s okay to relax and it’s okay to take time off but laziness isn’t okay. Limit yourself to checking instagram twice per day, an nothing more.
G o a l   T h r e e | Unplug once a month [eventually once a week?]. Be present with friends, family, and especially your husband. Pick your day at the beginning of the month so you know it’s coming. Make this day together special and don’t cheat. No phone or computer.
G o a l   F o u r   | Your business will only grow if you tend to it. Blog, network, practice, learn, grow, give Jesus all credit and praise. Set monthly goals for Nicole Dianne and keep up with those goals. January goals: blog twice per week & update images on your website [your galleries are almost a year old, let's catch up]. 
G o a l   F i v e  | Read more books. You love books, they’re all over your house. Commit to finishing one of them for goodness sakes. This rolls back to goals two and three, managing your time and unplugging more often. The more you unplug and manage your time better, the more time you’ll have to enjoy the luxury of reading a good book.
If I were to sum up my goals for 2014 into one word, it would be intentional. ”Intentional: [done on purpose; deliberate].” With out intentionally thinking through and praying over these goals each month, it’s likely they won’t be carried out to the fullest. It’s my hope that I’ll remember to check in each month and cross things off the list as better habits form.  Though I intend to keep up with everything mentioned above, intentional living will go beyond these five goals, and dip into the deepest desire of my heart. I desperately want to show those closest to me and those who are mere acquaintances the love of Christ, and how drastically He changes lives. God has been speaking to me a lot in this area, urging me to share my testimony and “do the uncomfortable.” So if I randomly talk to you about God, just go with it…I’m only trying to obey the One who created you and I, and I want you to know Him too :)

Here’s to an intentional 2014 filled with blessings for you and I both!