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Laura Yurs:

I’m incredibly honored to be included in this collective of 33 photographers from around the globe as we document the hours of the day each month. Come joins us and see what 7am looks like around the world!

Originally posted on thehours:

Adriana Botello | San Francisco, California

Tiffani Bearup | Colorado, USA

Angela Lumsden | Breckenridge, Colorado, USA

Angela Hendrix Petry | Bloomington, Indiana, USA

Vanessa Robinson | Dublin, Ireland

Deborah Candeub | Arlington, Virginia, USA

Vanessa Simpson | Reno, Nevada, USA

Sara Lamp | el Segundo, California, USA

Jacqui Miller | Perth, Western Australia

Holly Clark | Philadelphia, USA

Jess Lewis | Acworth, Georgia, USA

Suzi Marshall | Woolsery, England, UK

Lisa MacIntosh | Mississauga, Ontario, Canada

Heather Pryor | Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, USA

Deirdre Malfatto | Chatham, New York, USA

Linda Silva Palleschi | Salem Massachussetts, USA

Andrea Golden | Bloomington, Indiana, USA

Cara Farnell | Tacoma, Washington, USA

Jaime Foran | Hopatcong, New Jersey, USA

Suzanne Puttman | Portland, Oregon, USA

replich-3126Jordan Parks | St Louis, Missouri, USA

replich-3126Sam Wesselhoft | Woodbridge, Virginia, USA

replich-3126Tracie West | Los Angeles, California, USA

replich-3126Audrey Amaro | Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA

Laura YursLaura Yurs |…

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bed and a book

i love reading through the previous hobby posts by my fellow o+u ladies. no surprise that we share so many similar likes in hobbies.
knitting. i too loved knitting, but i have come to realize what i really love is all the squishy delicious colorful yarn. the actual act of knitting left me a bit frustrated, and so my needles sit idle.
sewing. YES! i do love my little hand-me-down sewing machine and adequate sewing skills, but once the weather breaks (like now) it too collects a lot of dust. sewing is more of a winter thing for me.
biking.  this is on my to do list. i always loved bike riding, but for the past few years i have been bikeless. that is all about to change very soon. now that both my young ones are at the riding age momma needs a bike too!
gardening. sigh. we rent, this means no garden. because of this, i have been making a concerted effort on houseplants this past year. i am happy to report i have only killed one. 1 out of 6, i am calling that a win.

right now i have not been very active in a lot of hobbies except that last one jessica mentioned, reading. reading used to put me right to sleep. i am NOT joking. if i needed to fall asleep all i needed to do was crack open a book and goodnight world! i was out like a light. this went on for years.my husband is an avid reader and it made him sad that i just couldn’t get through a book. eventually i stopped trying. magazines i could do, but any big books i suddenly became a narcoleptic. last year i decided to try again. i was visiting the library more and more since both my kids became independent readers. they LOVE bringing home stacks of books. so i tried again, and i have no explanation as to why, but this time it stuck. now i get to catch up on SO many great books that most everyone else has read and re-read long before me. i even joined a bookclub in my neighborhood. non reader me! i like it because each month a new book is chosen by a different member of the club. this has exposed me to books i would never have picked for myself. plus we get to gather and have some wine, snacks and laughs. that’s always good.

some of my recent reads:

Animal Dreams by Barbara Kingsolver
Dear Sugar by Cheryl Strayed (though i have to admit, i loved her memoir Wild even more)
The Orchardist by Amanda Coplin
Fugitive Pieces by Anne Michaels
The Bean Trees (another Kingsolver book)

i started, The Red Tent by Anita Diamant, just last night.  already over 100 pages in.  LOVE it.

have you heard of Goodreads? i am probably the last one to know. i am forever the last one to the party. seems like the happening place for all book lovers. like i need another site to become a habit. LOL

most nights this is where you’ll find me, in bed, tucked in under my covers, with a book.

what are you reading these days?

“if we don’t change we don’t grow. if we don’t grow, we aren’t really living” -gail sheehy

i admit, i am a lover of routine. i snuggle up in predictability. there are many reasons why i think i have become this person, but really we do not have the time for that psychoanalysis in this post. :)
one thing is certain, change can be a difficult for me to embrace.

having kids provides an ever constant state of change. “in your face!”, “take that!”, kinds of changes that can be shocking to someone like me. they force me to face the discomfort of change without even trying.

they go from swaddled – to crawling – to running – to driving a car  in lightning speed.
they grow hair, inches, and new teeth seemingly overnight.

we are having that sort of big change right now. our youngest fell flat on her face at the age of one.  no hands to break the fall, instead her face stopped her fall and her little baby chicklet front tooth broke in 2.  the remaining piece eventually abscessed and needed to be pulled.  she has been our gap-toothed, pirate smile, girl for 6 years now.  that missing tooth has been a constant in our every day life. her gap toothed grin and wrinkled up nose was just so “her”. i knew eventually a big tooth would grow in and fill that hole we all came to love so much, but time kept passing and the gap remained.  a few weeks ago her gum became swollen, the tooth was coming. she walks around singing, “all i want for my birthday is my big front tooth.” (sung to the tune of “all i want for christmas is my 2 front teeth”)

this coming monday she turns 7. will she get her wish? …

2008

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2009
4151051040_1e80c8ea31_b
2010
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2011
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2012
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right this moment,
same wrinkled up nose,
brand new tooth.
change.
BOOM.

casey new tooth
happy soon-to-be-7 to my april fool baby, whose smile lights up my every day.

I received this in the mail from a very dear friend a few weeks ago.  I love it.  I love her.  I keep it on my nightstand.  It’s a reminder every morning that I am loved….that I have my own individual beauty….that I am enough.  Today (err..tonight) I’m sharing that love with all of you.

You. Are. Beautiful.  _MG_9965

by Tiffani Michele

A bunch of my friends call February, “Sexuary”, and vow to have sex every day with their husbands. This has been going on for a couple years now.

Last year I ran my first half marathon and moved into a cute little house, and I kind of went under the radar while I focused, ran, and packed/unpacked my little heart out. I barely had any extra energy to feed myself, let alone spend any time texting/facebooking friends or thinking about sex. Plus, I didn’t have a boyfriend. So Sexuary came and went and I had no idea.

This year is a bit different. I happened to meet up with a bunch of these friends in Vegas and they spent part of the time talking about what they had in store for their month long sexathon…outfits they’d put together, toys they’d bought, and all the things they were going to try. Committing to a month of daily sex takes a bunch of planning and, aparently, alcohol. Also, the floozies were sexting up a storm with their husbands while they were living large in the LV.

There isn’t much I miss about being in a relationship, I think the divorce thing is still too new for me to harbor a strong desire to get back into something that still feels like going to jail…but I did feel sad that I couldn’t join in their girly games. And while I have no problems being alone, I did feel lonely for the first time in a while. I have no one to send pictures of my glittery cleavage too. Or my ass in fishnets. Or just me smiling into my phone, wishing the other person was there. My friends were nice enough to tell me I could sext them anytime and they would respond accordingly, but it’s just not the same.

I also started to opt out of all their Sexuary talk, since I’m not in a relationship nor do I have a dude for a booty call every day of the month. I also don’t have 28 dudes for a booty call one time each. I don’t have 14 booty call dudes for sex twice each. I, uh, have no booty call dudes, period.

But then I thought to myself, “Don’t forget about a little something called masturbation.”

I was raised with the belief that masturbation is wrong. To keep me from doing it, or anything bad, I was also told that God could hear my thoughts and see my deeds. And that, my friends, is a real ladyboner killer. I immediately felt sick to my stomach, and so knew I had to commit to Sexuary. Daily sex, oh yes, and with myself. I had some ‘hangups’. I had some nights I felt uninspired. I discovered that I also needed good planning and booze to pull it off.

I’ve invested in myself a lot this month. Some days I knew I didn’t feel in the mood, and did whatever it took to help myself out.

Me to me: “What do you need right now to get you to a happy, sexy place?”
Me to me: “Ice cream with hot fudge!”
or: “Baked brie with french bread!”
or: “new shoes!”
or: “something from a trashy store!”
or: “I need to dance!”
or: “I just need to find a quiet spot to chill and think. With wine.”

So far, so good.

Strike that.

So far, so great!

Actually…

So far, so amaaaaaaazing.

I shortly worked out how to get God out of my head by realizing that if he’s going to be listening to anyone’s scenarios in their head while they masturbate, they won’t be mine. Not that I’m boring, but I know a lot of highly creative people who I’m sure have a lot more twisted shit going on in their imagination that would be a lot more interesting than anything I’m whipping up in there. And with billions of people on the earth, I think my thoughts are flying under the radar.

And I don’t really give a shit anymore, anyway.

What I do give a shit about is learning how to use the most expensive toy I’ve bought for myself. All I can say is, before I didn’t know what to do with this thing that some amazon reviews claimed was “pretty and would even make an attractive sculptural decoration”…and now I can tell you it’s worth the money if you’re in the market.

IMG_5677

I’ve learned a lot this month. I’ve learned so much, I’m surprised. Maybe I’ll sum it all up when this Sexuary month is over. Some things have been fun to learn and some things have been profound. It’s been a lot of fun and it’s been a lot of work, too. It has taken a kind of commitment and devotion to myself that has been unprecedented in my life so far. I can only imagine that this same commitment and devotion is also present if you do it with a partner, and now I understand why my friends do this every year.

It is grueling though, so I also understand why they pick a month that only has 28 days in it!

i’m a list maker. rather, i’m a to-do list maker. i would forget half of the things i need to get done in a day if i didn’t write them down.
however, i’ve never really sat down and made a list of my goals before. mental checklist, sure. pen and paper, not so much. i know that i am terrible at planning and working on that isn’t going to end up on any list of goals (it isn’t high on the priority list of things i’m concerned about with myself). so, when i learned that the topic for the month was going to be ‘goals’ i wasn’t sure what i would write about. i suppose that many of my goals aren’t that unusual or even interesting (be patient, eat healthier, get off my ass more, spend less time on social media, blah blah blah, et cetera).  but, i did come up with a few goals that might sit a little more comfortably under the title “notes to self”.

1. be more of a hard ass & less of a sissy.
i let things bother me when they shouldn’t. i internalize things (for long, far too long periods of time), this is a message to myself to stand up and have the courage to deal with things as they come at me.


2. trust myself.
trust
lately i find my self second guessing everything i do and being in a state of constant doubt. the internalizing plays a big part in this, i’m sure. time for that shit to stop.

3. get organized.
just kidding. that’ll never happen.
some things in my life are just going to be a mess (like my closet and my desk). if those things get organized it means somewhere else more important things have fallen into serious disarray. i’m fine with this arrangement.

4. experiment more with photography.
i leveled off with my photography sometime last year. it’s time to shake things up, try new things,  step up my game and grow as a photographer. my goal with this years 365 is to come up with different ways to push/improve myself each month. whether it’s trying new edits, finding new subjects, using camera settings i’m not comfortable or familiar with or just giving myself a theme to work within.
also, repairing the shutter on this girl falls into the “experiment” category since i’ve never attempted to repair a camera on my own. internets, please be good to me with your how-to advice.
jan18thru20-15

5. be someone who doesn’t take everything so seriously.

 

 

I’m not going to lie – I love Christmas. Here’s the thing though, I really only love it in July when I catch a glimpse of a Christmas scene in a movie and I think “I can’t wait for Christmas!” Cut to me in December and I’m left feeling like something is missing, and wondering how I can fix it.

On the outside we go all out. The lights are up, candles are in every window, the tree is trimmed. Hell, we’ve even been listening to Christmas music since the day after Thanksgiving. Every year I try a little something different- we’ll do our shopping early, we’ll do it late, we’ll get more decorations, we’ll hit all of the Christmas parties, we’ll stay home. Truth be told though, I know what’s missing, it’s magic.

We just returned from Disney World where we had a surprisingly good time. Seeing the world through a 5 year olds eye’s in a place like that is payoff for parents’ sleepless nights, struggles at dinner, and all-out battles at bedtime. I’m not altogether sure those payoffs outweigh the tradeoffs so I’m going to count them where I can get them.

The most poignant and memorable part of the whole trip was easily inside Belle’s castle. We had just finished watching Beauty and the Beast in the rental van and Wyatt was most excited to see the Beast’s castle. Inside, a talking mirror transformed into a door as we were “magically” transported to the castle. Behind us the voice of a girl no more than 7 exclaimed “Guess what? It IS real.” Those five words sound so simple but they were loaded with joy, and wonder, and a belief in the magic that doesn’t extend beyond childhood. I instantly teared up. That’s the elusive feeling of Christmas that no matter how hard I try, I just can’t access. It’s the magic.

The magic for a 5 year old being surrounded by his favorite characters.

maul

mater

The magic of being able to dance with Belle in her own castle.

beauty

The magic of watching a parade, and fireworks, and staying up past midnight, and waiting for Santa until you’re so exhausted you can’t stay awake any longer.

wy parade

And it’s this magic that leaves me torn – do I feed into the belief in santa, filling the stocking and wrapping the gifts with different paper? Do I let him believe in magic knowing how fast it could, and one day will get ripped away? Knowing how small this window is for this kind of wonder do I encourage it? Or am I setting him up for a lifetime of Christmasses that no matter how hard he tries, just aren’t quite right?  How do you handle santa in your house, and how have you come to grips with it?

 

 

So me. About ME. My about me link has sat vacant for over a year now. I have clicked on that link and tried to write about me. And I am left tapping the keyboard. What do people REALLY want to know?

I am deathly afraid of sounding cliche. Or sappy.

So do people REALLY want to know who I am? Do you want to know that my one year old just emptied the trash can into the toilet? Or that that my son dumped an entire bag of pretzels in my car last week and I still haven’t cleaned it up? Or how about that I pulled the cleanest pair of dirty pants from my three year old’s hamper this morning. hmm…probably not.

I feel like I have to sell myself in my about me. And it has to be grand and spectacular. I have to tell you how great I am at catching that “moment”. And how I have this undying love affair with my camera. When it’s not about that. Really it’s not. I mean I love my camera but really I am in love with the people I photograph. When I was a senior in high school I had a girl tell me I was “nosy”. Well you know what, I am. I want to be all up on your business with my camera. Like one of my favorite photographers Erika Ray says, “Lifestyle photography is like classy reality tv.” I think she’s right.

So again I am left tapping the keyboard. What do people want to know?

by Laura Yurs

“Tell me about yourself.”  My whole life I never know what to say to that statement.  I usually stammer, “I…I….” and look down at the floor.  Then I mutter, “uh, well….” and then I feel it coming on…heat rising to my face….blushing ensues.  My mind goes completely blank and I can barely remember my name.  I’m an introvert through and through.  “Still waters run deep.” This describes my mind perfectly.  One of the reasons I said yes to the O+U ladies was that I knew it would push me WAY BEYOND my comfort level and that’s exactly where I needed to go.

This month we’re talking ME, ME, ME.  Like most of these posts, I’ve avoided it until the last minute because it scares the hell out of me.  “Tell me about yourself.”  I’ve been stammering and staring at the floor for days.  Yesterday, I pulled out the camera and started shooting randomly around the house and, thus, I’m giving you a random assortment of things about me.  Don’t judge.  Or rather, do!  I don’t care.  That’s something new for me.  I’m an incredibly sensitive soul.  However, the last couple of weeks I’ve noticed a shift deep within my core.  I’m still a sensitive soul…I’ll go to my grave a sensitive soul, but I don’t care so much about being judged.  If you need to criticize to feel better about yourself, go right ahead.  No matter.  These days I’m making choices that I feel strongly about and I don’t need to justify them to anyone.

I like Yo Yo Ma.  I do.  Butterfly’s Day Out is my fave.  Also?  I feel a tremendous sense of nostalgia for this theme song.  I’m curious…oh so curious.  I’ve a million things I want to do, learn, see, hear, travel to, etc.  I have endless projects underway and feel panicky sometimes that there won’t be enough time to experience all of these things.  Next week I turn 37!   Woot!  I wear very little (if any) make up.  Lip gloss.  MAYBE mascara.  My hair is nearly grown out.  I’ll be honest…these days I’m noticing the fine lines and gray hairs in the mirror, but my smile is still the same.  And you know what?  I’m at peace with the fine lines and gray hairs, really.  Signs of a life well lived.  I’ve decided not to color my hair, but to wear it like a badge of honor!  Hell yes!

I recently became a great auntie!!  I’m the last of five children…an “oops!” baby, if you will.  My oldest brother is 20yrs older than me and I was 5 when his first child (my niece) was born.  I adored her when I was five and I adore her even more today.  This little guy is blessed to have such an amazing mama.  

I love coffee in the morning.  And woolen mittens.

I need to mourn this train table and then find another home for it.  The kids have not played with it in years.  And yet, I feel weepy at the thought of parting with it.  At Halloween this year, I made giant spiders out of styrofoam balls and pipe cleaners and pretended like they were attacking the town.  See below.  The kids laughed really hard and then just sort of stood their looking at me.  It was awkward.    

I’m obsessed with globes.  I used to have several and then gave them away when I decided to be a “grown up.”  The hell was I thinking?!  Now I’m on a quest to add more to our home.

I love to wander our yard in the morning savoring the light and the details.

I bought skinny jeans and boots this year.  I bought them, even though I feel self conscious about my body.  I’m embracing it.  All of it.

I’m slowly learning to play the piano along with the kids.  I’m lusting after a Ukelele.

I leave this one picture crooked on purpose.  In part, because it seems futile to keep straightening it, but also because it’s become a great reminder that life does not need to be perfect.  

Lo siento, pero estoy aprendiendo español todavía.  Por favor, hable más despacio. (I’m sorry, I am still learning Spanish.  Please, speak slower.)

I’m learning to shoot film and loving it!  My three faves below.

These Pantone journals make my heart skip a beat!  I’m hoping to have my Christmas stockings stuffed full of these.  I started keeping a gratitude journal at the beginning of the year.  Do I write in it every day?  Child, please.  No.  I do not.  I have written quite a bit, though.  Nothing deep or detailed…just little things.  When my husband’s grandmother died, we went home for the funeral and found she’d made each of the grandchildren a package: photo album, letter to them, various assortment of things she’d kept for them over the years…  All of us sat around her bedroom reading and laughing…crying…remembering and I thought it was the most brilliant idea of hers….a gift to all of us.  I vowed to do the same for my children.  Years and years from now, I want my kids to have boxes of brightly colored Pantone journals sharing how much I loved them and important things to remember: “Today, while walking in the woods, you held my hand and it made my day.”    

I bought these blocks for the kids years ago.  They kinda sorta like them.  I adore them.  I bought two sets and play with them long after the kids have gotten bored and wandered off….

I’m convinced that even after the kids grow up and leave home…we’ll still have a play room.  

I’ve seen both of these movies 1,000 times.  Also, You’ve Got Mail, Stranger Than Fiction, The Life Aquatic, The Royal Tenenbaums, and Monty Python the Holy Grail.  Good stuff.

Speaking of movies, Friday nights are dedicated to family movies and this has become the kid’s favorite.  My son thinks Fozzy Bear is hysterical.

I’m obsessed.  Both with these cans and with colored pencils.  

We are an Uno family.So there you go.  A random assortment of Laura Louise!  I’m blushing.

Now your turn.  Tell me something about yourself!  One thing…I’m all ears and an open heart.

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