Friday, February 21, 2014

Life is not so Black & White

 photo EclaireArtBlog938_zps74ed8545.jpg

A preview of what is to come.



I believe that I am finally ready to write this post. 
I realize it is February and New Year's almost feels like a distant memory at this point.
However, I am still reflecting. 

2013 knocked me down over and over and over. 
I am a positive, glass-half-full kind of gal, but this past year shook me up in ways I couldn't have imagined.

The year started off with the loss of our dear Nessie. The impact of her passing forever changed me inside. Corey's very unexpected job loss replaced our sense of security with a constant and exhausting worry for months. It was the fear of the great unknown. I then found myself feeling helpless in a situation where I was unable to protect my husband from unkindness. It nearly broke my heart. There were also deeply personal events that I cannot even bring myself to type...




However, time keeps moving forward... 
and the BEAUTY of life continues to present itself to us.
We just have to open our eyes and see it!


 photo EclaireArtBlog937_zpsca4be417.jpg


Our gorgeous, healthy niece entered the world last week... Hello, Porter Ballou! 
My "little" brother is now officially in his twenties... How did this happen?!? 
Our sweet Yui turned three... I honestly don't know what I would do without her.
There is much to celebrate and so many WONDERFUL things happening. 
Each day is worth celebrating.

The unexpected result that came out of all of this pain was an incredible amount of strength. I feel stronger and more comfortable with who I am now more than ever. I can face things that used to terrify me before. I am equipped with all I have learned from the past year. 

A remarkable thing happened when I stopped grasping for control of my life. I learned that I never had it in the first place. When I handed over my worries to God and had faith in what was to come, that is when I finally found peace.

We all have our own stories... Our own troubles and triumphs. 
These are what mold us, what transform us, what keeps life a fascinating adventure. 
Life is also what you make it, friends.
The things that we do have control over are our actions and how we choose to tackle each day.

Let us be kind to one another. 
Appreciate the simple things. 
Seek out joy. 
Be grateful, often.



My faith and my family are what got me through this. I am brimming with gratitude for these blessings. Thank you, my dear husband, mum, and dad. Your never ending support and brilliant advice will forever be appreciated. You guys have shown me what family is truly about. 

Not a single day goes by without thinking about you, Nessie. 
You were and are so loved, little one.






Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Thankful

 photo EclaireArtBlog932_zps8010ee57.jpg  photo EclaireArtBlog931_zpsb30aceff.jpg  photo EclaireArtBlog930b_zps9b191306.jpg  photo EclaireArtBlog929_zpsdf5f79cc.jpg




What a joyous and relaxing Thanksgiving it was! Mum cooked up a spectacular feast. I am so impressed with her skills and how she is able to prepare so many dishes all in one day. Just thinking about her pumpkin souffle makes my mouth water.

As per tradition, we set out the day after Thanksgiving to pick out the family Christmas tree. A beautiful one was selected and it smells quite heavenly. Pomtinis (pomegranate martinis) have also been a more recent tradition for the holiday season. You can find the recipe here. Yum...refreshing and delicious!

I am beyond grateful for this family. They are such kind souls and we all love one another dearly. We aren't afraid to be silly and laughter is a must for every get together. As I was going through these shots, I found some hilarious photos of my dad, husband, and brother making ridiculous faces (I believe this was post-pomtini). As tempted as I was to publish them here, I think I'll save those for possible blackmail material. ;) I kid, I kid.

I sincerely hope that you all had a blessed Thanksgiving. May we all pause each day to consider what we are grateful for. Life is precious!



I know that I have been gone from here for a while. I've been consumed by projects and preparing for changes to come. I have also been taking the time to truly reflect on this year and focus on family. I plan to pop back in here around Christmas and then to return in the New Year to continue posting regularly. See you then!




Monday, September 16, 2013

Flora + Fauna


 photo EclaireArtBlog928_zpsede1ef58.jpg



Both bring me joy! :) 

Summer is drawing to a close and I can almost feel it! In the meantime, I am enjoying the abundant green foliage before the glorious colors of fall come in. For these shots, I tried to take advantage of some nice lighting on the porch as dusk approached. Still trying to get the hang of my camera and pushing myself to learn more. 

I like that Yui's fur can appear different shades of reddish-brown depending on the light. This Mama sure loves her girl. 





Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Farmers' Market Fun


 photo EclaireArtBlog927_zps6a2a6bc6.jpg  photo EclaireArtBlog926_zps4affc3e4.jpg  photo EclaireArtBlog925_zps73ef891a.jpg  photo EclaireArtBlog924_zpsa3402dcc.jpg



Raleigh has one of the best farmers' markets around! It is such a treat to take in all of the sights and smells. My mouth starts to water the second I get there as I think about what food I want to bring home to cook for dinner that night. I just can't get enough of the gorgeous produce and plants! I rarely take my camera with me while we are out and about, but perhaps I will start doing it more often. I don't think my husband believed me when I said I was going to put up the ridiculous photos he posed for. ;) I love that goofball. Mum just saw the photo of Corey on the bottom and asked, "Is Corey throwing Dragon Ball Z there?" hahaha she is cute. :)

By the way, you should try sea salt on watermelon if you haven't yet!





Friday, August 23, 2013

Focused


 photo EclaireArtBlog923_zps651570b3.jpg



I have been getting a lot of inquiries lately for portrait photography (engagement, family, wedding, pets, etc.). I just want to reiterate the decision I announced on here this past February to not take on portrait work. I am currently focused on projects that require my attention and heart. While following these dreams, I am concentrating on living more mindfully and with intention. I thank you for your understanding.

Being self-taught in photography, I am quite honestly shocked when someone asks me to take their pictures. I still have so much to learn about photography and have only scratched the surface. Your support has been greatly appreciated and please know that I feel honored that anyone would think enough of my photos to ask me to take these important shots. 

If you are interested in portraits, I encourage you to seek out someone properly trained and passionate about this area of photography that also has equipment suited for portrait work. There are some incredible portrait photographers out there - I wish you all the best! 




Thursday, August 15, 2013

New Beginnings...


 photo EclaireArtBlog922_zpse372db90.jpg

An appropriate quote from an awesome Scotsman. :)




Feeling an overwhelming amount relief and gratitude. Worry is such a silly and exhausting exercise of the mind. However, my faith never wavered as I knew He had a plan. Time to embrace new beginnings!



Update: My intention was not to be enigmatic, but to share my relief in good news. After receiving some phone calls asking about my "new beginning"..... I am laughing so hard! It did not even occur to me for a second that this really makes it seem like I am pregnant! It is painfully obvious to me now: new beginnings, an egg, a nest... I am sorry to inform you (and even more sorry to inform Mum) that I am not expecting. We just have our furbaby to love on right now. ;)





Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Corey's Birthday is Here!

 photo EclaireArtBlog921_zps0be56aba.jpg  photo EclaireArtBlog920_zps12f9712a.jpg  photo EclaireArtBlog919_zps7ed9e19e.png  photo EclaireArtBlog918_zps31565027.jpg  photo EclaireArtBlog917_zpsce51550e.png  photo EclaireArtBlog916_zpsf2405ba3.jpg

As you can see, Yui had a BLAST taking these photos! :)





Here is a little video as well. Click to play.



Happy birthday to my dear husband, Corey! I am so very grateful for this man. He is a person of integrity, warmth, loyalty, and humor (a pretty darn awesome combo in my opinion). I hope that this year brings him all the joy he deserves. 

Now it's time to celebrate!





Friday, July 26, 2013

Recycling Dog






Yui loves to help with the recycling. In fact, she insists upon it!

"White dog is the new green dog." - Corey   :)





Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Yui & Friends

 photo EclaireArtBlog915b_zps36b2e179.jpg  photo EclaireArtBlog914_zpsa57e31dd.jpg  photo EclaireArtBlog913b_zps6d149449.jpg

My little Firefox girl. <3


Someone certainly hasn't been deprived of toys over the years! I don't know why, but we always name them. This makes them actually seem like they are her little friends. Mr. Fox is a favorite as well as Hedgie the Hedgehog. :) They are just as much gleefully thrown into the air as they are snuggled with. It was so nice to pick up my DSLR again. I have been taking a little break from photography. Yui is always a convenient and whimsical subject to capture (though I definitely disrupted her nap time today!). 

Worry has been robbing me of peace lately. However, I have such faith that everything will happen as it is meant to. How do you combat worry? Aside from hot showers and walks with my husband and pup, my best worry buster is counting my blessings each and every day. I feel so very grateful for what I have.

The greatest blessing of all is family (sweet dog included). Yui brings such JOY and purpose to my life. I think I will just imagine her singing to the captive audience pictured above (the mice) whenever I am having a hard time. That will definitely bring a smile to my face. :)

I love you, little one.



Saturday, June 22, 2013

Happy Birthday to my Daddy!


 photo EclaireArtBlog912_zps7738b4d8.jpg



Your Grand-dog is wishing you a very happy birthday! She is smiling and ready to celebrate. You are so loved and appreciated, Daddy!

Also wishing Uncle Kevin (my dad's twin) and my Father-in-law (his birthday is two days after) a wonderful birthday!



Saturday, June 15, 2013

Happy Father's Day!


 photo EclaireArtBlog911b_zpsd3815f38.jpg



Happy Father's Day to my sweet Daddy! You have been a truly amazing father to me my entire life. Growing up, you were the "big kid" that wanted to take part in the fun and spend time with his children. I was so proud to have you on field trips and cheering me on at swim meets. You have always been there for us. Countless times I have relied on your wisdom and encouragement to tackle some sort of obstacle in my life. I don't know what I would have done in those situations without you. It has also been a joy to watch you be such an affectionate and adoring Grandpa to our little Yui. You have shown all of us so much love and you will forever be known as an incredible family man. That is something to be quite proud of, Daddy. We love you!

Wishing all the dads, grandfathers, and men who have stood in as father figures out there a most wonderful day!



Saturday, June 8, 2013

Grateful

 photo EclaireArtBlog910_zpsaa5b6420.jpg

My parents gifted me with this gorgeous wooden board for my birthday. 
I am completely in love with it, so you will definitely be seeing it again! :)


I have been quiet on here lately. It is honestly a joy to step away from electronics for a bit. I think sometimes our focus is distracted from "real life" because we succumb to the instantaneous satisfaction of the online world. I have been doing a lot of pondering and meditating. It is important to step back and reevaluate our priorities often. I want to believe I have always had my priorities straight... I just sometimes let other things take over my mind. While worries cannot be completely dismissed, I am focused on living in the moment.

Just feeling so very grateful... Life is precious.




Thursday, May 23, 2013

Instagram: An Unexpected Love





I was over the moon when my parents bought me an iPhone as a birthday/Christmas present last year. A phone that could have internet?!?! (don't judge...I am often behind the times) The last feature I thought I would fall in love with was the camera. My previous phones produced less than stellar quality photos, so I wasn't expecting much. I was pleasantly surprised and now I am so grateful to have this little camera on hand at all times. 

Initially, I was hesitant to try the photo app called Instagram. I had heard of the image rights policy uproar and didn't quite know what to make of it. So why did I give in? Honestly, I am just using Instagram to capture some behind-the-scenes of my daily life and to remind myself of special memories. It is nice to have a place to share these shots with my family, so I personally think it is well worth it. However, that is up to the individual to decide!

You can follow me @eclaireart if you would like to see future photos. As expected, Yui has become a common subject. :) If you don't have Instagram, you can view my album by clicking here or on the button that looks like this (which will always be in the upper right hand corner of my blog): 
 photo EclaireArt-InstagramButton_zps7c26ab09.jpg  
Why I love Instagram:

* I DON'T HAVE TO EDIT THE PHOTOS!!! Spending hours at the computer editing photos can sometimes take the joy out of photography for me. I love that I can just snap the photo and then upload it right away.

* It is honestly refreshing to use the square format. It almost feels like I have to be more creative to capture a square rather than the usual landscape vs. portrait options.

* I can upload the photos to Faceboook without actually having to get ON Facebook. I try to spend as little time as possible on there. It is more important to be enjoying life than living on a computer!

* Filters are actually pretty neat and fun to mess around with. I used to consider them over-the-top and somewhat tacky with regular photography, but it feels somehow different for Instagram photos. Perhaps because they resemble old Polaroids and it gives them a retro look?

* Instagram has a fantastic community filled with tons of creative and imaginative people. I have seen so many inspirational shots on there. What are you waiting for? Check it out!


Thursday, May 16, 2013

Featured in Flea Market Décor Magazine & Romantic Homes Magazine

 photo EclaireArtBlog908_zpse66d5a59.jpg
 photo EclaireArtBlog908h_zps3b359aac.jpg  photo EclaireArtBlog908g_zps5b7019ac.png
 photo EclaireArtBlog908c_zps05104d9d.jpg



You can view the photos I turned in for the Romantic Homes article here

It is so interesting for me to see how they end up arranging my images in the final publication. The editors always surprise me in using a different layout or cropping in a way I never would have envisioned. Below is the format I submitted for Flea Market Décor since I never shared it on here. I apologize that the font is so small - it was intended for magazine size. 



 photo EclaireArtBlog907_zpsdce11f07.jpg



 photo EclaireArtBlog905_zps419ce030.jpg



 photo EclaireArtBlog906_zps015b6bda.jpg



 photo EclaireArtBlog904_zpsfca7240b.jpg



 photo EclaireArtBlog903_zps203ebb54.jpg



While Mum and I were at Barnes & Noble the other day, I picked up the latest Romantic Homes magazine. The first page I opened to had two very familiar furry faces staring back at me! I was also completely shocked to find out that my work in Flea Market Décor was out as well. I thought both were supposed to be printed in the late summer, so it was a lovely surprise. It means so much to me that our sweet Nessie could be immortalized in a way through this publication.

Thank you to both Romantic Homes and Flea Market Décor for featuring me! It was such a pleasure to work with you and an honor to have my photography, photo styling, and writing within your pages. I so appreciate your trust in me and for the opportunity to contribute.




Sunday, May 12, 2013

Happy Mother's Day

 photo EclaireArtBlog902_zps481ca38e.jpg


Happy Mother's Day to my sweet Mum! I am so grateful for your incredible support and encouragement over the years. I truly cherish our close bond and the fact that you have become both a dear friend and trusted confidant. How many times have I picked up the phone thinking, "Mum will know the answer!"? Answer: Countless. Moms really do know best.

There have been so many fun memories...I recall the time we almost drove into a ditch while trying to pick wild flowers off the side of the road! We laughed so hard. Thank you for sharing my fondness of beautiful flowers, vintage items, tenacious terriers, delicious food, and robin's egg blue (the best color in the world!).

I feel so blessed and proud to call you my mother! 
Wishing all the moms out there a most beautiful day.




Friday, May 3, 2013

Happy Anniversary to my Parents!

 photo EclaireArtBlog901b_zpsa16e3cff.jpg


Happy anniversary to my parents who celebrated 32 years of marriage yesterday! They started dating their sophomore year of high school and have been together for 40 years now. Thank you for being such an amazing example of love to us kids.



Monday, April 29, 2013

Happy Birthday, Dear Mum!

 photo EclaireArtBlog900_zpsb7b4c18b.jpg


Thank you, Mum...for teaching me to appreciate the little things in life, to see beauty in all of God's creations, and to always seek out the positive in every situation. Wishing you a beautiful birthday. You are so loved!



Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Happy Three Years, Love!

 photo EclaireArtBlog899c_zps039652c8.jpg 



I married my best friend three years ago today. It has been a glorious whirlwind of a three years, packed with so many exciting changes that we experienced as a team and as a little family. Every day, I look into the eyes of the man I married and see such warmth, dedication, and compassion. He has the purest heart of anyone I have ever met. It is truly an honor to be married to such a remarkable human being.

Every time I see the photo above, I am reminded of the magic of that evening. Thank you from the bottom of my heart to those of you who celebrated with us on that special day. We felt your love and were so grateful for your kindness and generosity.

My dear Corey, let us continue this wonderful adventure called "life" together!
You make my heart sing!


Image courtesy of Ball-n-Chain Photography


Friday, April 5, 2013

Two Wonderful Years with Our Yui


 photo EclaireArtBlog898_zpsd1a694a3.jpg  photo EclaireArtBlog897_zps71a48d60.jpg  photo EclaireArtBlog896_zps19cb394a.jpg  photo EclaireArtBlog895_zpsf523b3ac.jpg  photo EclaireArtBlog894_zps446d10b3.jpg




Exactly two years ago yesterday, my husband and I excitedly hopped into the car and drove an eight hour round trip to rescue this precious girl. I recall the intense anticipation we felt on the ride over. "What kind of personality will she have? Will she like us? Am I really going to be a Mama?!" The drive felt ten times as long because we were so anxious to hold her in our arms and kiss her. The instant we saw that little terrier face, we were in love. The car ride back was complete bliss.... She slept on my lap and I watched over this little fluff ball in awe. She was perfect. She was adorable. She was ours.

What a magical two years it has been! I think JOY is the word I associate most with Yui. She exudes such joy and brings us incredible joy. Her silly antics make us laugh and her intense enthusiasm for life inspires me to tackle my days head on. Always eager to please and be by our side, Yui has been such appreciated company. 

We are a happy family of three. The laughter, the long walks, and the shared adoration of our furry clown has brought my husband and I closer in ways we could not have even predicted. 

We love you, Yui Balloui!






I know I posted this last year, but this video just makes me smile! :)