OK, so… WHOA.

I should be posting about how LJ turned one at the end of last month. Or about the fun rustic cowboy/cowgirl birthday party I threw for her and her dad. Or the photos I took of our Christmas decor. Or the sweet NYE photo we took with our friends the Pirates. Or a recap of 2010 complete with a gushing letter to LJ about how fast this past year has gone and that I can't believe how fast she's grown. Or her first word or first steps. Or the bazillions of pictures I've taken with full intentions to post them here. However, having come off the most insanely busy month OF MY LIFE, I feel as if I need to get everything down on paper or laid out in front of me just to sort through the mess that has become by brain.

One thing is for sure: I can't sustain the kind of pace I did last month and keep my sanity too. Looking back I've learned that I need to work on setting better boundaries to guard my time. I want to simplify things so that I can focus on the things that matter most to me: my work and photography, my family and friends, my home, my husband, time with the Lord, and this precious little face:

IMG_4369
So on that note, this is my entry for this week's I ♥ Faces challenge: Absolute Best Face of 2010. How on earth I was supposed to narrow it down to one picture I don't know, but this is what I chose. This was taken in October at a campground east of the Valley- one of my favorite places to get away when I need peace and quiet and nature and stillness. No matter what, she will always be the Absolute Best Face of 2010 to me.

Advertisements

Dazzling.

I ventured out with LJ tonight to scout out some photo locations and we found ourselves in the middle of a dazzling sunset. Most of the time I'm driving in the car or don't have my camera or I'm home and totally oblivious until I see it posted on someone's FB page, "Oh, WOW, people, this SUNSET!!" And then I run outside and have completely missed the whole thing. But not tonight! Tonight we were in a park, camera in hand, baby was happy and I started shooting away. It was amazing.

Also, check out my new logo/watermark! It will be a little bit before I launch my new site (I'm thinking sometime in the new year) but I pretty much love it. Cody designed it for me and I put the finishing touches on it. What do you think?

IMG_7314

IMG_7319

IMG_7290

IMG_7292

IMG_7280

If you ask me, the scenery in this last photo is the most dazzling of all 🙂

Nashville.

It's hard to believe that the trip we have been anticipating for months has already come and gone! Cody and I went sans LJ and I have to say, as much as I adore her and missed her while we were gone, I am glad we chose to leave her with my parents (much more fun for them too!). There's no way that Cody and I would have gotten to experience Nashville the way we did had we brought her along. (She is currently in the "can't-sit-still" phase. Imagine the plane ride.) And we pretty much experienced Nashville via our taste buds.

I was really hoping for some abundant fall color, but unfortunately we arrived a little late for the best of it. There was still some color here and there, and I soaked it up as much as I could!

We had some amazing BBQ, phenomenal espresso, the best cocktails we've ever tasted, made a stop at White Castle (a childhood favorite of mine!), and checked out some of the places that were recommended to us by helpful locals and friends who live there. Without further ado, here are some of the highlights:

Crema

Nashville Crema sign

We literally couldn't get enough of this place. We went three times. I wanted to pack the whole thing in my suitcase and take it with me back to Arizona. I learned much about the craft of espresso when I started working at Liberty Market and am thankful that I know a good shot of espresso when I taste/see/smell it. And Crema was IT! Loved the atmosphere too. I do believe this would get the Joe stamp of approval.

Nashville espresso

Nashville latte

Nashville downtown

Nashville Crema
Yeah. It was love.

Marche

Nashville Marche

I was too busy enjoying my savory tart with parsnips, gouda and caramelized onions and tasting Cody's cinnamon croissant french toast to bother with pictures. But this was by far our favorite food experience on our trip.

Patterson House

Nashville Patterson House

Before we went to Nashville, I had no idea what a speakeasy was. But everywhere we went, people kept talking about "that speakeasy the Patterson House." In fact, while at dinner when we mentioned to our server that we were headed over there, she got this dreamy look on her face and said to us breathily, "It's wonderful…" She was momentarily transported out of her current reality as our server before snapping out of it and taking our payment. Little did we know… we'd be doing the same thing after our experience there.

There is a waiting list… a heavy velvet curtain dividing the waiting area from the bar… and once you're inside, you're handed a menu full of drinks made the old way- think an experience that transports you back to Prohibition times. We sat at the bar and enjoyed two drinks each made by our bartender Matt- who was awesome enough to buy our first round in honor of our anniversary. We heart him forever. I didn't have my camera with me (I was KICKING myself) but we went back and snapped this photo. Hands down, most memorable part of our trip- we LOVED it.

Fall Leaves

Nashville sidewalk leaves

Nashville red leaves

Nashville red leaf

Nashville house

Nashville life and death

Of course, being from AZ, we were super stoked to see some actual fall color. And experience some cool fall weather (it stays well into the 100s through October here). Much to my chagrin, it was warmer in Nashville when we arrived than it was in AZ! COME ON! Thankfully, that changed quickly, but sadly for us, we missed the bulk of the color.

Honky Tonkin' 

We also headed down to Broadway to do a little bar hopping and BBQ eatin'. Jack's was SO GOOD. Again, didn't bring the camera (and it's a good thing- the honky tonks were PACKED!) but I took a shot of the area:

Nashville Broadway

Before we hopped on our plane home, we met up with Courtney of Pizzazzerie and being the sweetie that she is, she treated us to lunch at Nuvo! It was so fun meeting her in person and getting to know her a little more. She's a doll and I can't wait to see her again when the TomKat girls and I venture to NYC in January!

Nashville Courtney 2

Nashville Courtney

And finally, here are some pictures of us from the trip.

Nashville Cedars of Lebanon

Nashville East

Nashville piggy back

Nashville Gallery

Nashville AEA fall leaves

Nashville couch

So… the verdict? We loved Nashville. Maybe even enough that we could live there… someday. But not now. Phoenix is home and as much as there was that we loved about Nashville, I actually left with a new appreciation for all we do have at our disposal here in Arizona. All in all, we had an amazing trip and loved the time we had for just the two of us. Nashville- we will be back!

Happy 3rd anniversary to the love of my life!

DSC_0290c
 
Where do we go next year? It will be, after all, 11.11.11!

In the garden.

As promised, I went to check out the garden with LJ yesterday. Turns out she's a huge fan of dirt, and I'm a pro at breaking things. The soil looked a little dry, so I decided to turn on the timer for a quick 30 minute soaking. As I was pushing the button to set it, the whole thing snapped off the spigot, and water started pouring out into our neighbor's plot! Uhh. Way to go, Andrea. Apparently I shouldn't be left alone in the garden unless you want important components to get completely destroyed.

Our radishes and green beans are champs just like last time, and everything else is either sprouting or will any day now. Since I can only post so many photos of the garden's progress before you want to stab out your eyes with hot forks from the boredom, I decided to add a little interest in the form of a cute baby in pink. Not that I don't post enough pictures of said baby as it is… but babies are a little more interesting to watch grow than sprouting veggies.

Ljgarden2

Ljgarden3

LJ garden

Agritopia Community Garden.

I was super stoked when my friend Vanessa asked me to share a plot at the Agritopia Community Garden with her and her mom. I have been dying to learn to garden and this was the perfect opportunity. The soil is what Vanessa refers to as "magical soil" AND the garden is strictly organic. I love the idea of feeding my family things that I was involved in from seed to plate, and not only that, but to share in that fun with a good friend!

You may remember Vanessa and her husband Jason from this post featuring some of their maternity pictures. Their little boy Lincoln was born on 10.10.10 and he is such a handsome little nugget! I got to see him last week and he is sooooo precious! I forgot what it was like to have a baby that small… and it hasn't even been that long. Oh boy.

Anyway, three weeks ago (the day before Vanessa's due date/inducement!) we headed out there and seeded our 20' x 20' plot.

Agritopiavanessa

Agritopiabasil

Agritopiavanessaandrea

And thirteen seconds later, Lincoln was born.

About ten days later, Amber and I headed out to check on our little sprouts, and we discovered that we are indeed in business!

Agritopiaplot

Agritopiaradishes

Agritopiasprouts

I'm heading back out there today to check out the progress and see if anything needs to be done. I love being a part of something that fosters community and friendship and mutual support and healthful living. We are in very good company with other novice gardeners, urban farm experts, restauranteurs and friends, all who are willing to offer advice and share what they are learning along the way. It's so much fun and I hope my little girl learns a lot from these experiences in the coming years!

Kelly and Mondo.

The weekend of October 16th was a wonderful time of celebrating the wedding of our dear friends Kelly and Mondo! I have known Kelly and her family and friends for several years now, and although they all grew up together in a small town and have been friends since childhood, they have never made me feel like an outsider- they have always treated me as if I had been there all along, and I simply adore these ladies!

I hosted the bachelorette party that Thursday night with the sweetest MOH ever, Katie, at our house and it was a super fun, laid back time with some really great women. Katie and I set up a taco bar and a dessert table and asked the ladies to bring their beverages of choice.

My BFF Amber came into town that weekend to partake in the festivities, although we missed her at the bachelorette party. She came into town on Friday night after the rehearsal and joined us at Boulders on Broadway for the rehearsal dinner. Our friends Erick and Rochelle are the owners there and let me just say, the pizza was dee-lish!

Saturday was The Big Day, and all of the bridesmaids (all 8 of them!), along with Kelly's mom and cousin, came over to our house to get prettified for our big walk down the aisle.

I didn't have a chance to take many pictures over the weekend, but here are a few of my favorites (party printables made by moi via the TomKat StudioSwanky Chandelier collection):

Kelly welcome sign

Kelly bachelorette

Kelly cupcakes

Kelly dinner

Kelly driveway

Kelly dress

Kelly mondo

Kelly wedding cupcakes

These delicious cupcakes were made by Kelly's sister, Lindy, who also happened to make the gorgeous, bird-nest cupcakes for my baby shower! SHE'S GOOD. If you need baked items, let me know so I can get you in touch with her.

Session Nine did the photography for the Rivera wedding, so be sure to check out their site in the near future for some amazing images of the event. It took place in the huge backyard of what quickly became our dream house- the Richardson family took a quaint little house and remodeled it into something that belongs on HGTV! Again, with the lack of pictures!

Kel, thank you for asking me to stand with you as you married the love of your life! It was truly such an honor! I adore each of you separately, but even more so together… and I can't wait to see what God has planned for the shared life that's unfolding before you. You both chose well, and it was an amazing weekend! Just remember, if it weren't for my and Amber's phenomenal and lawyer-like pursuasive skills at the YH last year, you may not have taken that risk and jumped in with that amazing guy from Colorado who is now your husband! Haha! Kidding. And p.s., the traveling pants will be making their journey your way very, very soon.